Instead of talking out loud to God when I'm spending just some daily quiet time alone with Him, I usually write letters to Him. This keeps my hyper little brain from jumping between three or four topics and never finishing any of them. Last night while I wrote to God, I considered the abundance of people throughout time that have existed on this earth. I thought about what I have to contribute and about how HUGE God is, and how small I am.

In humility, I wrote, "My Master, my Redeemer, my Carpenter, I am nothing special. I am not righteous. I am not worthy..." And while I wrote, the Holy Spirit gently whispered in my heart, "God thinks you're special. He died for you. God counts your faith as righteousness. He has made you worthy."

At work, Craig has been researching a new type of investment where the client pays a certain amount to gain access to this investment. Craig, a self-proclaimed "Tightwad Dutchman," hesitates to charge clients for this service because he is unsure that it will be perceived as valuable by every client. He and I have discussed several times in the last week, what is value? And we have concluded that each person assigns value differently. While one client may choose to accept the fee based on the value of the service provided, another client presented with the same choice, may decide to forgo the added service, assessing it as without value to them.

All of this logic flooded my brain, while the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart. And I realized something: God has assigned value to me. He valued me enough to pay for me. And since God is the Master of the Universe, His opinion matters!

Guess what? On Thursday, I will host my very first family Thanksgiving!

Last year, we collaborated with our friends for the holiday. They brought the meat, and we supplied the house and the fixings. This year, our family is driving to our house, and I get to make all the food, clean the house, put on my apron and pearls and high heels and greet our guests happily at the door. I am SO EXCITED! I feel like a real grown-up.


I've never made a turkey before.

Send chocolate!
My friend sent me this link to the 2008 Presidential Candidate Calculator. (Thanks, Kristin!)

It asks you a series of questions and gives these instructions: Mark the column for Yes if you support the issue and No if you oppose it. After that, select how important the topic is to you. If you are unsure or have no opinion on a topic, just mark the Unsure column. You will be scored based upon how well you match the current views of each of the 2008 presidential candidates. The calculator also supplies a description of each topic for your convenience.

My top candidates turned out to be:

1. Mike Huckabee - 87.10% match
2. Mitt Romney - 87.10% match
3. Fred Thompson - 83.87% match
4. Sam Brownback - 80.65% match

I am now off to do some more research on these particular candidates. Hey, call me a nerd, but at least I'm a patriotic nerd! :-)
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Our family doctor called on Friday.

He said that the CBC conducted at the hospital showed all of Liberty's blood to be in the upper normal range! The two tests done in our family doctor's office were incorrect.

There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with Liberty, and in fact, the brilliant spot light provided by the CBC dispelled the shadow lurking in our corner for good.

Thank you, God! Whatever the outcome, You are worthy to be praised. (But personally, I like this outcome the best.)

PS> Thank you, also, to all of our friends and family who contacted us to pray and support. It's nice to be loved like that :-)
I have not talked about this before, mainly because so far it has just been a lurking shadow in my life, vaguely threatening, but never coming out into the open to do harm. But now, the shadow has moved slightly from it's corner of darkness towards the lighted room where my family lives and laughs and loves.

You may remember the blog that I posted about my brother Peter. If not, you will need to read that post to understand what I am about to write. Our baby girl, Liberty, was born with a few of the physical characteristics that people with DBA demonstrate. Because of those characteristics, her pediatrician in the hospital ran some blood tests for us. He found some anomolies, but nothing exceptionally out of place, and so together, we decided to "keep an eye" on her symptoms.

Liberty Grace turned one at the end of September. At her one year checkup, her hematocrit was low. Not drastically, just one point lower than the range. Our family doctor, a different one than the pediatrician at the hospital, prescribed iron and asked to see her again in one month. Although, I knew a low hematocrit could be a sign of the DBA rearing it's head, I chose to wait a month and administer iron.

Yesterday, I took Libby back to the family doctor for a second hematocrit to see if the iron had helped. It had not. In fact, she is four points lower than last month. Our doctor told us to go immediately to the hospital where they would conduct a CBC to distinguish specific levels of platelets and red and white blood cells. They told me a doctor would call me the following morning to give me the results.

So now, we wait.

I utterly despise waiting. I usually focus on the unknowns and begin to worry. I would rather know that something is wrong, than wait to find out about it. Last night and this morning, I had some long talks with God, and I have chosen to fasten my heart to these facts:

1. God is ALWAYS good.
2. God is ALWAYS in control.
3. If He chooses to do something that I would not choose, like
letting Liberty have DBA, He is still GOOD.
4. So I will praise Him. No. Matter. What.

That is my choice.

Lovely drips of color trickled onto my windshield this morning. As my car passed a maple tree, vibrant reds and oranges leaked down. Warm buttery gold dropped from another nearby tree. Everywhere, sizes and shapes stormed from their upright homes. Large chunks of beige sedately floated to the ground while tiny greens and yellows skipped and flipped happily towards the earth.

I watched as a mother and child holding hands on their way to school walked in the rain of colors. A small boy with a bookbag on his back trudged through the sunny leaves, oblivious to the shower around him. I imagined myself in the swirling drizzle of leaves, raising my face and hands to God, enjoying the beauty of His autumn. My heart delightfully kicked piles of calico carpeting into the air. My arms scooped up loads of lightweight, vibrant paint. God's paint-chips.

Kimmie, Liberty and I finished our drive to school pointing and aaahhing at God's creation. How beautiful He has made our Fall!
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1979 - Til when?

This past Friday, a 14 year old girl named Kayla who lived in our town, died from eating pizza laced with E Coli. Eating pizza is a normal activity, especially if you are a teenager. She told her parents the next day that she wasn't feeling well, like she had the flu or something. When she began vomiting blood, they took her to the hospital. That was almost two weeks ago. Within days, her kidneys began shutting down, and soon she was put onto a ventilator. Her lungs slowly filled with fluid. Now, her tombstone in Monroe's Silent Cemetery will list the year she was born and the year she died with a dash in between, representing the years she lived.

Right now, I am living in the dash of my tombstone. What am I filling it with? Kayla filled her dash with smiles and action. With verses memorized at AWANA and quoted during every day life. With close friends and a boyfriend. With parents and a sister. Kayla lived in such a way that her actions did not block her father from trusting God to forgive his sins just hours after Kayla died.

James 4:14 & 17 "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes...Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins."

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We had a full weekend together as usual. Friday's sunny afternoon found us speeding driving leisurely along the highway towards Newton for Kimmie's permit test. She did not pass the test, but she plans to study again and retake it. Realistically, I would have been surprised if she had passed it this past Friday. She had a book that she was studying from months ago, but she lost it. Since Newton is the only spot to get a replacement book to study from, and it is a thirty minute drive from our house, we decided that it would be a good idea to pick up the replacement book and have Kimmie take the permit test even though she expected to fail it. That way, she could get some practice and see what kinds of questions would be on the test. So, this coming Friday, we are going to try it again, and she fully expects to pass the test this time.

We stopped off at KFC for Friday night's supper and took home a bucket of chicken and some biscuits, then I creamed Jeremy and Kimmie at a game of Clue. (I rock! Oh yeah!) Jeremy chickened out of a rematch, and Kimmie and I played our own version of Clue with just the two of us.

On Saturday, Kimmie and all the other cheerleaders went to Des Moines to spectate at a cheerleading competition that her school is hoping to compete in next year. They were scoping out their competition. Kimmie came home and reported that she had a headache from watching so many cheerleaders move around so quickly, but she is excited to be part of it all next year.

Jeremy, Liberty and I went shopping with Liberty's birthday money while Kimmie was at the competition. We bought a high chair, some footy pajamas and a potty chair. Liberty inaugurated her high chair Sunday at lunch time. She was quite funny to watch. Because her new seat is actually a booster seat that sits on a dining room chair, she sat at the table and excitedly analyzed our eating habits. She kept grinning and with her wide open blue eyes, watched food disappear from our plates. She really enjoyed watching us eat, and we really enjoyed watching her watching us eat.

Sunday morning, Jeremy and I joined Kimmie's youth group Sunday School class, just to see what they were talking about. Almost 30 teens showed up, and Jeremy and I laughed most of the morning at the comments and antics of the class. Their teacher did a great job of communicating truth, and he was fun to be around. They talked about controlling your tongue, from James chapter five, and the teacher challenged the students to see how long they could go without complaining about something. So Jeremy and I decided to take the challenge ourselves. So far, we're doing great! We'll see how long it lasts!

Jeremy is on day shift this week!!!!!!!! He is on a special team at work, so I get to see him every evening after work. Oh! I am so excited to see him this afternoon! Kimmie has a Bible study after school today with a lady from our old church who she really enjoys being with. Parent teacher conferences are this week, and I'm thankful that this year Jeremy will be able to go with me. I don't like doing parent stuff by myself because it feels very lonely, so I'm really glad that the special team came up during this particular week.

I have more to tell you, but no more time. So I'll continue tomorrow.
I am leaving work early this afternoon to take Kimmie to Newton for her driver's permit test!!!!

We are all VERY excited for her to get her permit, and maybe I'm crazy, but I'm looking forward to teaching her to drive. Jeremy is scared out of his mind about it. (Hm, maybe he is "the only sane one here, " as he tried to quip during a family game night several years ago. Except, back then he accidentally said, "I am the only INsane one here," and he has been trying to live down that slip of the tongue ever since.)

Jeremy has this weekend off, so the four of us are planning to do some serious family hang out time. Think games, movies, popcorn and laughter!

And Kimmie and I have a date with an empty parking lot on Saturday! If I can't type on Monday, you'll know that my hand was broken in a collision with a telephone pole. Send chocolate.