Bible Camp,Packing, and Happy, Crappy Father’s Day!

The last few days have been pretty exciting – we finally signed official papers of ownership for our new house in Tennessee! Let the chaos begin! So far I’ve packed three boxes.

boxes

It hasn’t sunk in that we are ACTUALLY moving; I’m still waiting for the big ah ha moment. Hopefully it doesn’t procrastinate too much longer. I’m 90% excited, 10% nervous but that could easily change as reality hits me upside the head while packing with 7 little ones underfoot.

The kids had vacation Bible school every night this past week, aka vacation blissfulness for the parents. Ryan brought them at 6:30, returned home, and he and I would sit in peaceful silence until 8:20. Well, sometimes we would go for a walk, but mostly we sat, enjoying the sounds of absolutely nothing for two hours. Here’s a sampling of the bounty we are now proud owners of due to a week spent at church. Most of this, in all likelihood, will start to slowly and unexplainably disappear as we begin to pack.

vacationbible

Saturday night was date night which we always enjoy immensely but this week was particularly exciting sharing it with one of my oldest (not literally) and dearest friends from childhood, Lisa and her husband Justin. Lisa and I met about 23 years ago and have kept in touch ever since. She has an amazing heart and a kind spirit, and I am blessed to call her one of my closest friends. Before ending the night they promised to visit us in our new homeland, and we’re secretly hoping they love it so much they want to move as well, hint, hint…

004

Sunday was Father’s Day and we had every intention in the world of making it to church to celebrate although that in and of itself can often be a very tedious task. I laid out all of the kids church clothes the night before, bought donuts for an easy breakfast and purchased a honey baked ham for lunch. I snuck out of bed early without waking Ryan, displaying his Father’s Day card on top of the bathroom sink to surprise him, went downstairs, made myself a cup of coffee (it may be Fathers Day but some things still don’t change!) and then made him a cup as well. I was in a cheerful mood, having slept well and asked Mabel to go downstairs and let Luke out of his bed. He has a huge, 6 foot tall, padded bed (similar to a baby crib) that opens in the corner to allow him to gain access in and out. She obeyed, running down to “free” him for breakfast and two seconds later Tate came running up the stairs, out of breath, barely gasping out the words..

“Mom, Luke is covered head to toe in poop and he’s crawling all over the basement!”

“WHAT!” I exclaimed in horror, eyes bulging out of my head, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME???”

Any cheerful disposition was pretty much down the drain at that point, being exchanged with some choice words bordering on profanity forming in my mind.

I raced downstairs to discover that yes, indeed, Luke was covered in excrement and bonus, he was naked. This is his new “thing” and we don’t know what to do about it.  When he gets bored, he takes his clothes off and apparently he didn’t want to wear his pajamas that morning and apparently he was even more sick of wearing his dirty diaper and decided to take matters literally into his own hands. He undressed, took off his two diapers, and in the process made a huge mess all over his bed, his walls, his floor and the basement. No picture for this one… use your imagination, it wasn’t pretty.

My happy demeanor was completely gone. I wasn’t exactly “giving thanks in all circumstances” as Paul admonished the Thessalonians to do around 2000 years ago as I scooped him up, placing him ever so gently into the bathtub, and then proceeded to fill a big bucket with lots of soapy water, scrubbed down the bed with one hand, large cup of coffee in the other hand. I felt angry tears forming, out of pure frustration at how difficult it can be to raise a severely handicapped 8 year old, especially while two curious three year olds look on commenting about how “stinky” it is, and suddenly, my hero stepped into the room.

“What happened honey?” he asked.

My husband, my calm in the face of some serious crap, my much more patient half on his special day, Father’s Day, offering assistance.

“You clean Luke, I’ll get the bed” he offered with a smile.

“But it’s Father’s Fay” I protested, “You shouldn’t have to clean up poop on Father’s Day!”

“It’s just another day” he replied with a smirk.

Tate then piped in his delightful commentary for our conversation with the addition of “This is probably the worst Father’s Day ever, huh dad?”

His father did not reply. Ryan’s a good man like that, he just does what needs to be done without making a big deal out of it. I am a blessed woman to have him in my life, our kids are blessed to have him in their lives, and Luke is blessed to have a father, an adopted father, who without batting an eye, or puking up his dinner from the day before, cleaned up piles of poop on Father’s Day. Yup, we have a keeper over here at our house.

We did not make it to church, the mess taking most of the morning to adequately clean up.

The rest of the day was a little less eventful, church on tv, honey baked ham for lunch and a wonderful Father’s Day grill out for the amazing man in our life. Burgers, homemade potato chips, watermelon, and my world famous (well, Ronne famous) peanut butter sheet cake with homemade chocolate icing. This is seriously tasty and seriously easy to make.  

cake

 

Recipe for Cake
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla.
 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a medium pot, stir together butter, water, and peanut butter until it comes to a boil.  REMOVE from heat. In a separate bowl, mix together sugars, flour, salt, and baking soda.  Add it to peanut butter mixture.  Beat the eggs slightly, add to the mix, add the vanilla and the buttermilk.  Pour onto a greased sheet pan and bake for 15 minutes. 
 
Chocolate frosting 
1/2 cup butter
3 TB cocoa
5 TB milk
16 ounces powered sugar.
 
Melt the first three ingredients in a pot over medium heat.  Remove from heat and beat in sugar.  Spread on warm cake.  DELICIOUSNESS!
 

Finally, three of the kids left for their first week long stay at Bible camp! We had some excited campers who are going to have a blast!
campJust keep livin!!

A Tale of Two Men

I was able to twist my husband’s arm today, and he agreed to write a post on an idea he’s been contemplating.  He has these great thoughts and analogies on grief and more importantly, on an ability to make lemonade out of the lemons of life.  I hope you enjoy his story as much as I have!

 A story of 2 men, both loved to run. Each of them lost a leg in separate accidents but they chose very different paths after their loss.

First man was devastated by the loss and struggled with the realization that he must go on with just one functional leg. He mourned the fact that he may never run again. Every morning he woke up and had to face the fact that he couldn’t hop out of bed without the help of a crutch. His doctor tried to convince him that there were alternatives out there but it was too much to think about. How could he ever say goodbye to the leg he lost and replace it with a mere prosthetic. He knew it would never be the same and he could never run like he did before. Some of his friends encouraged him to give it a try but some of them completely understood why he chose not to. Weeks turned into months and months turned into years. He learned to cope with one leg and a crutch. He stopped running but life went on. He was able to take up new hobbies and find some joy in things he wouldn’t have before. He still woke up each morning but was reminded of his loss as he looked down and was forced to relive his tragedy every time he reached for that crutch. His crutch was a constant reminder that he couldn’t do it on his own and that he wasn’t the man he once was. Running was not an option and now, it was just too late to try something new. He knew he had accepted a mediocre life but he had wrapped his mind around it and that’s just the life he must live.

Second man was also distraught but his struggles quickly turned to determination. He chose to see past the setback and immediately began seeking out his options. Many of his friends thought he was in denial and tried to convince him to wait and wrap his mind around his problem before he jumped in to such a drastic step. He didn’t care what they thought and sought out the best prosthesis he could find. He was surprised to find out that there were numerous options and his toughest decision was choosing which kind. He never even considered not running again so that was his utmost deciding factor. He went with the near bionic prosthetic that almost looked robotic. It was beyond difficult to adjust to walking on this metal leg that his body seemed to reject at every turn. He felt like he was a baby learning to walk again. To say it was frustrating was an understatement but he wasn’t known for giving up easy. He fought with it for weeks and even months but he didn’t give up and knew he was being given a second chance. As he learned to walk again he was faced with pain he could have never imagined and days that his prosthetic was thrown across the room in aggravation. He pushed through despite the pain and regardless of the setbacks and just two years after his devastating loss, he ran his first mile without any help. He was adjusting to his new leg and could see the possibility of a marathon in his future even though he had never run one with his two God given legs. He chose not to accept mediocre and strived to embrace a better life.

His loss was the same as the first man but his life was different. He looked past his dilemma and saw hope.

Two men, two losses, two very different endings… which one are you?

Just keep livin’