Friday, August 28, 2009

God is so Good-All the Time


A few days ago I wrote a post that told about some times when we our faith helps us to understand the hard times. This post will tell about how God has blessed us in some really fun ways.

Last month, we went to our local Fire Department open house and they had a chinese auction. We ended up winning four tickets to The Beach Waterpark in Cincinnati. Andy and I decided that it would be too much for Mator to spend a whole day there so we planned on getting a cheap hotel and taking the two oldest down on a Tuesday and spending Wednesday at the waterpark. {Just for the record, who do you think we give glory to for giving us those tickets?....Yes, God.}

Then, about a week before the planned trip, our Sunday School Teacher mentioned that he had four free tickets to the Creation Museum (this is about 30 minutes from the waterpark in Cincinnati). So we adjusted our plans to include driving to the Creation museum on Tuesday, spending the night at the hotel and the waterpark Wednesday. {Quick test, where did these passes come from? Hint: G....O.....D....}

We had an awesome time. The days were perfect-very warm but not so hot that as you were waiting around outside you thought you would melt. When we got to the Creation museum we found out that the passes included free tickets to the planetarium show (that would have cost us nearly $30-praise God!) So we visited the beautiful grounds, including the petting zoo and were able to pet and feed zorses and a camel! This was a great petting zoo because the animals were very interested in the food and lively.

Inside the museum are great movies and exhibits that explain the seven days of creation. There is a lot of background and science data but the highlight for the kids were the dinosaurs. Here's Muffin on the one that you can actually sit on (the rest were in exhibits).

The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel and headed out for the waterpark. We had a beautiful day there too. A couple of the slides were not operating which was disappointing. The wave pool had some trouble all morning too, it would kick on for about a minute and then shut down. Finally, the staff was not very helpful or happy that we were there. That being said, once I got over myself and realized, hey, these are free passes and we get to spend the day together-we had a lot of fun. And guess what, God provided for our needs again! I was in line with Doodle at lunch to get her a piece of pizza. I had brought a powerbar for me to save money. While waiting in line, a group standing to the side said, "Does anyone want a free pizza?" A whole pizza! Another lady and I shared it and I brought some back for Andy too! Isn't God good? Here we are, just before leaving at about 6:00! I was very sore for the next couple days, I must be a little old for slides and zip lines!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

First Day-Kindergarten and Third Grade

This year's first day of school, I had two lovely ladies ready and eager to go (well one was eager the other was tolerant). I made the brilliant decision to put an alarm clock in the girls' room and that has been wonderful. It goes off at 6:50 and so far, they have gotten themselves up and at 'em.

Muffin's teacher seems to be so kind and caring. The fact that she also has an interest in photography make it extra nice! Muffin is in the co-op this year which means that she goes in and does regular third grade in the morning (Bible, math, english and spelling) and then I pick her up either before lunch or after lunch / recess (our choice) and we come home and homeschool for science, social studies and reading. Muffin, although doing very well in school, has always had a desire to homeschool. Last year the school started offering the co-op option so we thought this would be a good way to try it out. We are on day six today and so far it has been pretty great. Well, the first two days we didn't do anything at home because Doodle had only half days. This week has been pretty awesome for me and good for Muffin too.

Here she is with two of her best friends, Caitlin and Olivia who are also doing the co-op.And this is her wonderul teacher, Mrs. Thompson.

Doodle was very excited and I think a little nervous although there were no tears (at least on her end!) on the first day or subsequent days. She was very proud of the fact that she went across the monkey bars on her very first day! Her teacher is Mrs. Bennett and is well known for being super-sweet and very musical. What a great match for Doodle! She also happened to be Ben and Will's(my nephews) teacher so that makes her cool too!

Here are Doodle and Mrs. Bennett just before mommy started bawling and had to leave the building Doodle embarked on her first year of elementary school.
This shot is actually from the second day of school. Since both girls were done by lunch time, we had the whole afternoon and spent a few hours swimming at the pond. Then we came home, had showers and ate dinner. Doodle had just finished her dessert when she passed out while sitting in the barstool at the table! They were watching TV and Andy said he watched her just crash. Now that's a good day!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Two Bads = a Good?

We have all heard (and if you are a mom probably said), "Two wrongs don't make a right". But recently I've come to realize through two events that the world would perceive as bad, that God' word is always true.

First, a few weeks ago my business partner and I were discussing one of our largest photography contracts. We have had this contract for a few years and it grows every year. This year, due to the growth of the league, we knew we would have to try a different way to take every child's picture as our old system would not work. One of the ideas on the table was to have a "Picture Day" on a day that wasn't game day or practice day. One obvious choice for "Picture Day" was on a Sunday. We would start after church and shoot for 6 or 7 hours. I had some reservations about this because I knew that this schedule would prevent some people from being able to attend church on Sunday night. I don't personally attend church on Sunday nights but I know many people do. In our area, Sunday has always been off-limits for sports and until recently, so was Wednesday night (called "Dark Night" because all of the buildings in a community were dark except the church). So I asked my Pastor what I should do if this plan of taking pictures were to become a reality. After some wise words, he suggested that I could just pray something like, "Lord, please make it so that I don't have to take pictures on Sunday night." Then wait and let God work out the details. So I did. And He did. And two days later we got a call from the league that said we had lost the contract.

Is there joy and peace in that? Absolutely. I am reminded that Romans 8:28 tells us, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,who have been called according to his purpose." He didn't say that we would LIKE all things. He didn't even say that all things would be EASY. Just that in ALL things He works for the good of those who love Him. That's me. I love Him. So even this "bad" thing will be for my good. And the peace that comes from knowing that is also good.

A few days ago we found out that one of our children has been grouped with other children whose test scores were among the lowest 15% in her age level. She was placed in this small group in order to be given more attention and have the best chance at success. When I heard this, it was like a punch in the gut. I cried a lot of tears and had to deal with issues of pride, fears for her future and worries about the social implications. But guess what. I believe that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him. So even though I don't know HOW this will work for good, I know it will. Of course, I do hope that someday [soon] I will be privileged to know how this works for good. But there are no scriptural promises that indicate that will happen; instead, I will trust God's word without even seeing it is so. That is faith, to me.

In a day or two, I'll give a few recent examples of how God has worked things for good in ways that are EASY to be happy about, and I promise to post pictures too!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

As Promised..American Idol Look Out!

I am attempting to post a video clip of a recent performance by Mator. This was taken during our Foster family vacation to Tennessee this year. We have a talent show every year and this year it extended over a period of several days.

Mator chose to do a singing / dancing routine that, like all of her performances, are completely unrehearsed. This was the final performance of the evening and has been edited from a 6.5 minute routine down to a 3.5 minute piece. For those of you not interested in all that, the final 45 seconds is really the best part. I have attempted to translate and put the words onto the video (as much as I can) but because it is saved as a windows media file (much smaller than my original file) some of the resolution has been lost. I think you'l get the idea though!

Introducing: Mator! Her act was preceeded by that of her lovely cousins, Justine and Jill singing two numbers from the Broadway musical "Wicked". Also performing were the Foster trio (Jared, Justine and Jill) singing their version of the old classic, "Skunk in the Middle of the Road". And the theatrical debut of Justine, Muffin, Annabelle and Wilson in the "Question and Answer Report". Now heeeeeeeeere's Mator!

We like to call this little number, "You thought I wasn't listening but I heard everything you said!"
video

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Complicated



For those of you who think of me as a single-minded (or simple-minded), uncomplicated girl, prepare to be shocked out of your slippers. It turns out, I can be quite a complex person; consider yourself warned.

I hate to run. I love to run. Here I will explore these two seemingly contrasting views and try to make sense of how they can exist in the same person. And possibly get some recommendations for psychiatric evaluations, but OK! For most of my life, I've done everything I can to avoid running. A couple years ago I ran in a 5K in Lancaster and trained for four months. This year Andy was running again so I thought I'd try it again. I started out with a 20 minute mile and am down to an 11.5 minute mile after two months. I am NOT a good runner. So here goes...

Why I love to run:
1. 30-40 minutes alone, without the possibility of interruption.
2. Listening to whatever music I want with no one asking how long until we can put in a CD or a movie.
3. Time to pray and think about things I otherwise almost never would think about
4. Praise time- I listen to mostly praise music (with some Bon Jovi sprinkled in) so if you drive by while I'm running, don't be surprised if you see some weird arm gyrations because I'm in my own world, praising God.
5. For the first mile and a half, I can really appreciate the beauty of His creation and am often overwhelmed by the privilege of being able to enjoy it and interact with it in a body that was created by God and can do amazing things.
6. Remembering how fun it was to run in a race and thinking about it while I'm running.
7. Knowing that, unlike the brownie sundae, this is something good for me.
8. Remembering that one year ago (July 31) I tore my meniscus and six months ago I had surgery. During that time, all I wanted to do was to be able to run.

Why I hate running:
1. I enjoy breathing and the regular, relaxed intake of oxygen.
2. After 1.5 miles, my thoughts turn to whether I'll make it up the next hill, whether I might be dehydrating.At.This.Moment, and whether this really is GOOD for me.
3. I don't like to sweat. Or be hot. Or uncomfortable. Or tired. That's really four reasons.
4. I don't lose weight when I run but I do when I do other exercises. That is really frustrating.

On another note, my inspiring husband is now training to run a half-marathon in Columbus this fall. He is going to raise money for the Al & Phyllis Beavers family. More details will be coming soon!