Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Silly Christmas Tradition

Thinking of Nonnie Christmases today.  What does that mean?  Pizza, cheese ball, Dumbo, a movie at the top of my stocking and a fruit at the bottom.  Playing all of our new games.  Trying on new clothes (trading clothes in the hotel room later to get the best fit/style for each of us).

Nana has a cheese ball ready to be made, but we're not having pizza for dinner.  We are having meatloaf and potatoes.  I don't miss the pizza tradition.  She's also got stockings put together.  I'm not sure what will be in them.  Nonnie always had a predictable variety: fruit, chap stick, movie, jewelry of some sort, candy, socks.  They were filled to the brim.  AND we had special stockings with our names knit into them just for us. 

In memory of Christmas with Nonnie, I meant to bring Dumbo to Nana and Poppy's house.. and I'm lamenting, because I forgot!  See, among all of the traditions related to Christmas there is the one that drove me crazy.. at least, by the time Travis came along and discovered Dumbo (as had the rest of us in our own times) I was tired of the movie and ready for something different on Christmas.  Today I wish we had Dumbo to watch with the kids as part of our silly Christmas tradition.

The fate of the Christmas pan

So it was, we crystalized the honey that was planned for gifting.  Rand thought it would be a good idea to melt the crystals.  He put a kettle of water on the stove that he would later use to warm the honey, thus dissolving the crystals.

From the basement, I smelled toast (mind you we have no toaster).  Randy told me what he had done and I figured that must certainly mean the burner had a food spill on it.  I continued on my task of packing for the night  away.  Very shortly, I heard something fall and break.  I ran to the kitchen (a step behind my 2 year old) and saw glass on the floor, and a little bit of cereal.

I was puzzled.  I don't remember having any clear glass bowls, why would they have cereal in them, what did it fall from?  Randy came barreling up the stairs shouting "is everyone all right"?  He saw more clearly the glass covering the kitchen floor, and the fire on the stove. 

It turns out, I left our nice new Anchor cake pan on the stove.  and Randy sat a plastic tray on top of it after we finished a Happy Birthday Jesus cake from Walmart.  Randy turned on the wrong burner for his water and heated the glass cake pan, thus exploding it.  Once it was exploded, the plastic tray was directly on the electric burner and heating up our Christmas morning.

So, thanks Mama Crum for the cake pan.  It was great for the cheesy chicken and rice casserole.  I'm going to miss it.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Radical - book review

I could hardly wait to receive Radical.  I dove in to the book right away and was quickly drawn in by the story telling and Bible teaching.  I enjoyed reading David Platt's theology about the divine purpose.  I struggled, however, with his heavy focus on God's wrath as the reason for Christ's suffering instead of looking at the divine love that God shows repeatedly in the story of Israel.  I think his challenges to the reader are spot on and am working to discover what God would have our family to do as a result of this book.

I received this book as a promotional from Waterbrook Multinoma Publishing Company


This morning health is on my mind.  My health, the health of my family and of my friends.  See, there are a lot of health needs out there and it seems like there are more all of the time.  Maybe that's just because I'm getting older.  Unfortunately there is little that I can offer to anyone, other than prayer and support.  Prayer is a huge thing though and amazing things happen because of prayer.

I am making a commitment right now to pray this year for the health of my friends and family.  If you have health needs that I know about, you are on my list.  (You are likely on  my list anyway).  Without mentioning names, here are a few of the needs that are on my list:

A baby with failure to thrive who is struggling to maintain a healthy weight.
A family member with diabetes and many other health concerns.
My own diabetes, which is currently out of control and needs to change.
A friend with digestion problems who is on an IV just to get enough nutrition to get by.
A friend that is pregnant and sick.
A friend with Chiari.
My little boy with long stretches of diarrhea, and speech difficulties.
My little boy with developmental challenges (who is doing amazingly).
Someone who has recently found out they are pregnant.
A former coworker with some big physical challenges.
A family member with early signs of MS.
A little boy whose skull needs to be reshaped.
A friend with MS.

There are more.  There is some big stuff going on in some people that I love dearly.  God cares, and listens when his people pray.  Please join me in praying for the health of friends and loved ones this year. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Photos

Brotherly Love?
 If you know much about me, you know that I love taking pictures.  I especially love taking pictures of my boys.  I decided that we'd do some Christmas pictures this week.. boy have they gotten squirmy.  We might try again right after a nap one of these days.  Here are some of the "better" results.

He looks like such a big boy here

so tired his right eye is crossing

"Good Grief, enough pictures already"


Cassius makes me laugh, too tired to sit up


What an exhausting adventure

Preschool Party!

Last night we had a preschool party!  We had a blast with a 5 year old, 2 boys that are 3, my 2.5 year old, an 11 month old and a 6 month old.  What a bunch of energy!

So what do you do at a preschool party?  Well, we started out by pulling out the car mat and the matchbox cars, the play airport, and the Little People.  We cranked up some Christmas music.

When the kids started to get a little antsy, we switched to decorating cookies!  I wish my camera had been at home for this part of the party because a couple of the kids did a fantastic job decorating.  Amazingly only 1 of the big kids ate most of their cookie, the others were ready to move on to the next activity before they could get a few bites in!

Next came the obstacle course.  I felt like I was watching an episode of Dora the Explorer as I told them again and again, "through the tunnel, over the chair, around the table, in the house, throw the beanbag".  That game lasted longer than I expected.  One of the lads tired of it after his first jaunt through the course, so he sat at the end and went fishing for bean bags while the other kids went over and over and over...  Then it was time for a book about Jesus' birth, and another about Ayana the Giraffe.

What next? Oh, cars and Little People again for a minute, then TWISTER!  Okay, so preschool twister is not quite the same as big people Twister.  I pulled out a Twister mat and had them dance, jump, touch, bounce, sing, etc, then finally sit on various colors.  Once they were all sitting it was time to rest for a few minutes.

While we rested we pulled out the band instruments.  It was time to crank the music back up and play.  They did not care about the radio though, so it got turned off so that we could sing Christmas songs.. like Hey Diddle Diddle, and Itsy Bitsy Spider.  I bet you did not even know they were Christmas songs.

Next was a short Christmas film, brought to us by Alvin and the Chipmunks (that lasted about 5 minutes).  The kids went back to, what else?  Cars and Little People!  Oh, and a long strand of ribbon that was too much fun to leave sit when they could twist in it and turn and pull each other down!

Fun, fun night!  I look forward to the next preschool party!
only 3 of our big kids wanted to make faces at the camera.. and they were hard to catch!

twisted in ribbon!

oh, and we built a tall block tower

the littlest man watched from the sidelines - it was safer there

And back to Gluten Free

I did a good job at keeping Manasseh on a gluten free diet for about a week.  He had no trouble with his belly that week.  Then I got lax and after a few days of mama being lax about gluten, he started in with belly troubles.  He just cries and cries when I have to change his diaper, and he doesn't want to wear underwear because he can't control his body right now.  Ugh!  So here it is, 2 days before Christmas, and I'm putting my 2 year old back on a diet.  This is NOT going to be fun to deal with over the next 2 weeks as we're traveling and in and out of family activities.  Have I mentioned that my dad's family is Ukrainian and we love gluten?  Breads, cookies, pastries of all sorts... Not sure how I'll deal with that yet on New Year's Day!  Does anyone have suggestions about how to help him through the holidays?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Preparing for the Holidays

Everyone knows that the holiday time is busy.  I still have not figured out why we try and pack 3 big holidays in just over a month instead of spreading them out over the year.  We get so caught up in all that there is to be done that we forget to slow down and remember why the holidays are celebrated.  I am guilty of that every year.  I am so excited, not by the presents and lights (but I like those too).  I am excited about time with my family.  The years that I am unable to attend every family holiday function, I am sad.  Really.  I LOVE my family.

We are fortunate that Randy's family is smaller than mine, so it is easier to schedule with them - they are very flexible because they just want to make sure we can all get together.  So this year we are going to be traveling about to see our family, with day trips, and maybe a couple of over-nights.

What does this have to do with preparing?  Here it is - I have to get ready, I don't mean that I have to buy presents and wrap things and cook and write cards... although, maybe I should do some of that.  I have a long list of things that I would like to get done before Christmas Eve - that is Friday, today is Wednesday - I realized last night that there is no way I will possibly finish everything on my mental to-do list.  So I have started to prioritize.

As I take a break from cleaning the kitchen and washing laundry, I am thinking about Jesus.  Yep, him again.  I've been reading a great book about what it really means to follow Christ.  David Platt writes about truly following God by taking Jesus at his word.  Oi, I know I'm guilty of twisting it to fit my needs.  I will be writing a review of that book just as soon as I finish it - this is not a book review.  This is me, getting my heart and mind ready for worship.

There, I said it.  Worship.  That is what I need to do, that is what I need to prepare for.  I can't worship when I'm worried about all that needs to be done.  Boy do I wish I could.  I CAN worship while I do laundry and sweep and take out the dog, and even change nasty diapers.  Because I can do these things without worrying.  I spend too much time and energy making to-do lists in my head (and on my computer).

Thank you God for sending your son as a sacrifice.  The price for all of my short-fallings.  The price for all of the times that I choose not to love you.  I can not imagine sending my baby in to this cruel world by himself with the knowledge that he would become the atonement for the same people who were cruel to him.  God, I don't know how you did it.  Thank you.  I am sorry for the times that I choose not to love you.  I am trying to learn how to follow your direction more completely and share my love for you more fully.  Help me to slow down in the midst of my holiday hustle and see your face.  Let me show my boys that you are there, in the middle of the business that we wrap ourselves up in.  God, I want to be your hands and feet to my friends and family, not just for the holiday season, but for the coming year (and even after that).  I love you.  JC

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hold Firm, and Be Ready

God's word for me this week is "Hold firm and be ready".  I believe this command is in relation to my ministry call.  God is telling me to prepare myself by updating my resume, growing in prayer and faith, practicing spiritual disciplines, and reading the Bible more.  He wants me to grow in the fulness of his love.  God desires that Ilive in complete devotion to him and it hurts him when my attention is elsewhere.

He also wants me to be ready at a moment's notice.  That is what it will feel like when my call comes to fruition.  When he activates me in a place of full time service within the church.

God, let your will be my will today and always.  Help me to love you more, beginning this moment.  Let me recognize and act when things get in the way of my love for you.  Grant me the strength to hold firm, the desire to grow, and the patience to be always ready.  Amen.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


I grew up in a community of believers that was truly community for each other.  I remember spending many days every week with folks from our church community.  When I was in late elementary school, we spent our weekends at the church, helping to build a new building.  We worked as a community.  I imagine that people helped our family in ways that I will never know, and that our family helped others in quiet ways that my parents did not share with us. 

When I went to college, my community stayed at home.  I went to several churches in college, but never quite found the same community. I found community with a group of friends that met in a variety of ways.  We were kind of an odd group, but worked together well as a community.

In seminary I found a great community again.  I loved it that when someone needed help moving, or making ends meet, we were there for each other with all sorts of help.  This is the way the community of Christ should live.

The next community that I landed with was this one... my coworkers in the battlefield of the children's home.  Residential work is not easy.  It is physically and emotionally draining to work with hurting people.  When you have to burn yourself out day after day, you have to build strong community in order to keep going.  There were so many days that would have felt worthless and left us all feeling hurt and alone, if we had not learned to stand with one another.  Thank you friends and former co-workers.

I've had plenty of friends everywhere I went, just not the experience of community.  Since we moved to Fort Wayne I had been hurting for community.  I recognized this problem, but did not know where to find it.  I decided one morning that what I needed was a group of moms from my church to act as a supportive community.  I saw that it was not happening and was sure that I needed to act in order to make this group form.  The same day I spent my church time praying about it, a friend told me that a couple of other women were getting ready to start a mom's group!  This community has been amazing to me.  I am a welcomed part of a caring group.  And you know what, it's only just the beginning of the group.  We have met 3 times and I have been there twice.  I know I am valued because these women check in on me - online and in person.  They care about me and my family.

Because of my community, my attitude toward our church has changed.  2 months ago I wanted to find someplace else to worship.  I did not feel like a part of things, I did not know people and I felt like it was a generally unwelcoming place.  The last month and half have been transformational for me.  I have not only been involved with these women, but felt more free to talk with other people in the church that I did not know before.  Our family is blessed to be in community at Heartland.

Our Blessing

Randy and I were married on October 20, 2007.  By early November, we knew that we were already expecting our first baby.  Wow!  We knew that it was possible but did not really expect to have a honeymoon baby.  We were very excited and toyed for months with names.  We decided that we would not find out the baby's gender until it was born, so we had 2 names: Michaela, or Manasseh.

It took a lot of work to come up with a boy's name.  Randy had all kinds of crazy ideas about Bible names that he thought we should use. One day he came home from work and said that he thought Manasseh would be a good name.  His logic was sound and we decided that would be the name for our son.  Manasseh was a tribe of Israel that got half of its land before crossing the river Jordan.  They got their blessings early.  Randy figured that since we married quickly and were quickly expecting, that we got our blessings early also.  Not only that, Manasseh is the son of Joseph (you know the guy with the special coat).  Joseph named his son Manasseh because "God has made me forget all my troubles".  We both had some stuff that God was helping us "forget".  So here he is, Manasseh Randall Crum.

From the start, this guy was strong.  Yes, I know, all moms think their kids are special.  He was really strong though, at 2 months he was holding his head up like a 4 month old, at 6 months he was pulling up to stand and 7 months he was cruising the furniture.  Before he could walk, he was climbing.  He has always been very active, and to this day, our blessing loves to jump, run, climb and play hard!  He keeps us moving.

We have experienced a lot of change in our family since our Manasseh came into the world.  We went from a family of 2 to a family of 6 in less than 2 years!  We moved to a new house, changed jobs, got a puppy.  He is so flexible.  He does love routine, and like most children does best when we stick to what's normal.  He is really great at adapting too though.  When Cassius came along 11 months ago, he fell in love immediately.  This boy was in awe of his baby from the start.  Even right now, I can hardly get him to keep his hands off of "Da-ee" (Cashi).  He wants to play "Row your boat"!  He loves other babies too, he got to meet a sweet 2 1/2 week old on Wednesday and was thrilled to bits!

My boy is 2 1/2 now.  He is strong and smart.  He struggles with speech and relating to other kids.  He is learning though.  Manasseh gets therapy for his speech once a week and is doing better at talking.  He will get there in time.  He is enjoying the Christmas season, especially the "ri-mi-wy" (Christmas Lights).  He's growing and changing every day.

We are working on helping him begin to build roots of faith.  Manasseh loves to say prayers at meal times, usually he just names people that he loves and says Amen.  We love it that he prays in his own way for the people that he loves.  We are working on learning the Bible story with him and making it part of our daily routine. 

This boy is truly a blessing to us.  He lights us our lives every day with his smiles, his hugs, and his enthusiasm. 

Thank you Jesus for our blessing.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Build A Bear Gift Card Giveaway

This is not MY giveaway, but one that I entered from Mom Spotted and Build A Bear

My love

The day Randy met Susan, Erin, and Ashlee
Randy and I met on a dating site called Plenty Of Fish in March of 2007.  We talked via messages on the website for a couple of weeks and decided that we wanted to meet each other.  Before the end of the month, we had met and been on multiple dates.  Coffee shops like The Electric Brew and Firefly Coffee House were our favorite places to spend an afternoon or evening.  We also spent a lot of time going on walks to a variety of parks.  We knew very quickly that this was "it" and that we wanted to make the permanent commitment of marriage.  By June we were engaged and we were married in October.  Our families are still trying to catch up with us.

I loved Randy for so many reasons.  He is smart and always looking to learn something new.  He's adventurous, glad to explore new places.  He had values that I agreed with.  He got along with my friends and family.  He was funny.  Mostly, he was a great companion and I knew that I wanted to love him more and more.  I knew that I wanted our lives to continue to grow together.  (By the way, his friends thought I was crazy for wanting to marry him, but they agreed that it was a good idea for him).

Diamond Mining
Our first really big adventure happened while we were dating.  Randy and I had talked about how cool it would be if we could find a diamond to put in to a ring and have it specially made.  Not that either of us could afford such a thing.  Somehow we stumbled across Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas.  We dreamed about how neat it would be to go there and mine for diamonds.  Our dream quickly turned into a crazy reality.  We gathered up all of our friends who were willing and able to go with us.. all both of them.. and headed out to camp in Arkansas and spend a few days digging in the mud and sifting it in large troughs in order to find gems.  We found a lot of jasper, some quartz, calcite, and a variety of other pretty stones.  We did not find any diamonds.  I loved Randy more for his willingness to go on this crazy diamond mining adventure and do back breaking labor to look for a tiny stone in a large field!

Our families approved of our wedding.  I'm not sure why.  I very rarely took a boy home to meet my family.  Maybe they thought I was crazy but they could not talk me out of it.  They did not try and talk me out of it.  They actually seemed to like him, or at least think he wasn't a terrible person.  I'm pretty sure my dad had someone run a background check on Randy to make sure he wasn't some terrible criminal in hiding.  It was a whirlwind of activity.  It still seems like we're in a whirlwind, but that is another story!

Randy's girls, yes those are all bees
I mentioned before that Randy loves to learn.  He has so many interests, a lot of them are related to ecology.  Randy dives in to things that he wants to learn.  He absorbs all of the information that he can about an issue, activity, event, topic.  One of Randy's long time interests is beekeeping.  When he first told me this, I thought he was kind of crazy.  He kept learning and reading and I learned a bit too.  Eventually, Randy was able to purchase some beekeeping equipment, and he was even given some used equipment from a man who used to keep bees.  Last year Randy had 3 hives, 1 did not make it through the winter.  This year he only has 2.  We do not know if they will make it over winter or not.  We are hoping that they do, or if they don't, that he will get some early swarm calls to fill his empty hives.  We have some amazing honey at our house!

Randy works hard for our family.  He currently works 12 hours a day 3-4 days a week (depending on the week's rotation).  He drives 35 minutes each way to get to his job in a factory to try and make ends meet for us.  He does not love his job, but he does it out of love for his family.  I hope that some day he will be able to get a job he loves (and is closer to home).

He is a faithful follower of Jesus.  We all have struggles and he is open about those too.  He wants us to raise our boys in a way that honors God.  He participates in a fellowship with several of his male friends, and attends church with us on his Sundays off.  He greatly misses the church fellowship on weeks that he has to work.

Daddy Randy
Randy is a GREAT daddy and he loves his boys a lot.  He is willing to go the extra mile to spend special time with them, doing things like building projects at Lowes, and playing at the park or library.  The boys adore him.  Manasseh is sad that it is winter and he can't sit on the front step to wait for daddy when it's time for him to get home, but thrilled on the days we take daddy to work and get to pick him up in the evening.  He's got great dreams for our boys and is glad to be a part of learning what it means to raise boys that need a little "special" care.

I am so thankful for Randy.  God brought him in to my life at just the right time (although I wish sometimes that it had been much sooner).  He is a great leader to our family, example to our boys, love to his wife.

Thank you Jesus.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Miracle Man

On January 8, 2010 or miracle man came into being.  While this is not entirely true (he had been "baking" for about 8 months).  He appeared nice and healthy when he was born, but before we left the hospital, he started showing signs of some trouble.

We ended up taking him back to the hospital (twice) and spending his first 11 days in a combination of 3 different hospitals, trying to take care of his jaundice, and figure out why he could not hold his temperature steady.

While we were trying to figure out why he was so cold, they did an MRI to check for brain infection.  He had no infection, but they did discover that he had a considerable amount of brain damage.  Still no one knows why.  The neurologist was grim about his future.  We learned that he should have a hard time learning to balance enough to sit, crawl, stand, walk... and who knows what other struggles he might have because of his brain damage.

This boy is amazing (his new neurologist said so).  They determined that he did have a stroke some time before the MRI (at about 9 days), probably before he was even born.  He is in physical therapy with the First Steps program, just to make sure he reaches developmental milestones.

He is almost 1 year old and he sits, crawls, stands (holding on), is starting to cruise along furniture, he is starting to talk (hi, mama, mmmm...).

His eyes started crossing in August, he just had surgery for that, he is recovering amazingly.  This boy is a miracle.  We can see God through him every day. 

Thank you Jesus!

Business 2 Blogger

I am dying to do some review blogging.  I want to review products and even give some away. gives me this opportunity.  It looks like a great program, my sister is currently doing her first review and giveaway through Business 2 Blogger.  Her giveaway is for Progress Cards.  I am so excited about this opportunity.  I hope to share some interesting products in the future!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My ministry call and journey

This is a short version of my call to children's ministry, and my process of practicing my call.  I am getting ready to begin the search for a full time children's ministry position in a church.

When I was in high school, I knew that I wanted to be a teacher.  I even had the opportunity my senior year, to help in one of the elementary classrooms for one class period each day.  I made preparations to go to the best teaching college around.  I had no question about what I wanted to do.

And then... (it never happens like this, but I promise, this is what happened)
One day I was driving down the road taking a jaunt home from church to pick something up before evening service.  I heard God's voice... HEARD it audibly.  I heard, "You need to be a children's pastor".  I thought that was ridiculous.  Ihad never heard of a children's pastor.  What would such a person do?  Where would they work?  How would you prepare for something like that?

I did not tell anyone about my encounter with the divine, at all.  I thought it was just plain silly.  Months later, someone asked what I was going to study at college.  When I told them education, a discerning pastor butted in and said, "but it should be children's ministry."  I was aghast.  I still did not tell anyone about this, I went to college and started studying elementary education. 

I loved college life, but quickly realized that I really did need to figure out how to study for children's ministry.  1 1/2 years after I started college, I moved to a school that had a youth ministry program.  I ended up completing a church ministry degree after 5 years of college (and 4 schools).  It was a wonderful adventure and I learned a lot about myself in this journey.  I went on to seminary and completed my Masters of Divinity, then I began looking for the perfect children's ministry position.

While I was in college I helped in a variety of capacities with children's and youth ministry at the churches I attended.  I had an expectation that I would easily find a church that wanted to hire me as a full time children's pastor.  I interviewed with 4 or 5 churches and got 1 offer.  I sadly determined that I was not the right person for this ministry.

I ended up working at a children's home with young boys who had been abused, many of these boys also abused other children.  While working full time (and a lot of over time), I tried to help with ministry at my local church.  I helped with youth, and then volunteered to lead the children's ministry.  I discovered that working more than full time and volunteering for a position that needed full time attention, did not work for me. 

I dated, got married, had a baby, had a foster son, and then another foster son, and then another baby.. all within a year and a half of our wedding.  My children's ministry was in our home.  I also helped with the church youth group.

Now we have moved, we have no foster children, I stay home with my boys.  I need to be involved with children's ministry.  I volunteer in the church nursery about once a month, but that is not fulfilling my call.  I need to begin looking for a full time ministry position.  I don't know what that will mean for our family.  It might mean that we look at moving again, or that we split days at home with the boys, or have to consider daycare.  We are at the beginning of another phase of our family faith journey.

Thanks for reading.  If you have any knowledge about churches seeking children's ministers, please let me know!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Progress Cards Giveaway

Progress Cards

My sister is hosting her first review and giveaway.  I want to support her by helping her get lots of comments on her blog, and a lot of people interested.

Progress Cards are designed to help children learn to track their growth in positive behaviors.  I wish I had these when I had foster kids, I wonder how they might have helped with some difficulties that we had.

Check them out, see if you might be interested in winning them.  Leave comments on her blog (and on mine).

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Santa Claus, Friend of Jesus?

This week my boys had the honor of seeing Santa Claus, twice!  Now, neither of these meetings was planned, but Manasseh was thrilled.  He has NO idea what Santa Claus is or what he has to do with Christmas.  Or even that Christmas is 11 days away.  OR that he's supposed to get presents for Christmas.  I am sure he will figure those things out soon enough.  I am so eager to help my boys experience the magic of the Christmas season that sometimes I forget to stop and make sure they know what it's all about. 

Today we saw the Santa at Riley Children's Hospital.  It was not planned, we just happened to walk in the door where he was stationed.  Manasseh was super excited, he sat on Santa's lap (he did not say anything, I don't think he has any idea what to say to Santa), and this Santa gave him 2 TY Beanie Babies, and a little one for Cassius.  While I registered Cash for his lab tests, Manasseh snuck back into the hallway and went straight to Santa.  Now, I think he just likes it that there is a character whom he recognizes.  If it were Dora or Larry the Cucumber or Woody, he would be the same way, I'm sure of that.  But that bothers me.

You see, if Manasseh saw someone in a Jesus costume walking down the hallway, he would keep going.  I'm not saying I want my kids to sit on some man's lap and smile at him and tell him how glad he is that he's there to see them.  I guess, I just realize the lack of biblical education that my children are getting right now.  It really bothers me, and you know what?  It's my own fault! 

So, in my house, I am pretty sure that Santa is NOT a friend of Jesus.  Neither are Bob the Tomato, or Lightening McQueen.  These things get in the way of Jesus in our house.  Bummer.  What do we need to do about this?  Well, for starters, in our house - we have to be more intentional about the stories our kids hear, and the activities they participate in.  Okay, not just the kids, but the parents!

What's my conclusion?  Just this:  I have to be intentional about leading my children toward an understanding of the Bible story.  I have to be intentional about limiting or eliminating the things that get in our way!

...and moving forward

Yesterday I took some time to look back over the past year.  Today I want to share a bit about my plans and desires for the coming year.  Resolutions? Nah.. Hopes, goals, plans?  A combination of these!

I want to work on loving my husband more.  I intend to practice using his love languages and working hard to let him know that I appreciate him.  When I feel like griping because... well, for all the reasons I gripe to myself... instead, I will try to remind myself of the reasons that I am grateful.

 One thing that has been on  my mind over the past month is that I want to be "a new kind of mom".  Now, the problem is, I don't know exactly what that means in my life.  I do know that it means focusing more on the quality of my time with my family.  We have a lot of time together and do a lot of things together, but I want to make it good.  I also know that there is a HUGE component related to faith education.  We are not failing, but we definitely could use some big improvement.  See, because, if my kids aren't learning about faith at home, they are not learning it ANYWHERE.  This kills me (pardon me if you are offended by this statement) - my kids are not learning about Christ at church.  Crazy, huh?  Manasseh is 2 1/2 and when he's not in the Sunday service with us, he's playing - NOT learning about the story of God's interaction with his people.  I know, I know - I need to do something about it if that bothers me. 

That brings me to my next point, it's recently come to my knowledge that I need to begin looking at children's ministry positions again.  I need to find a full time position in a church, where I can have lead parents, grandparents, friends, neighbors, teachers, etc.  I was called in to children's ministry MANY years ago, and have pursued this call, but it has taken different shapes and faces over the years.  So, at the start of the year, I will officially begin my search.  (This means it's time to update my resume again).

Personally? Oh so many things that I need work on.  I HAVE to get in control of my diabetes.  We haven't had insurance since June, so I've been at a stand-still, but it can't wait any longer.  We'll have insurance at the start of the year, and I can't neglect that part of my well-being any longer.  I am going to dive in to relationships with other women in the area (look out Mom Time ladies, you're on my hit list).  I've been starving for relationships since we moved and I know it's not healthy for anyone in my house!  My God-life is on an upswing right now, I need to keep that up and even do some more intentional time.

We've got a few bills that we are hoping to pay off after the start of the year.  That will free us up financially in a big way... I'm sure there will be plenty of things to eat up that freedom - like fixing the dryer and the drain for the washer, I can't figure out what happened with that! 

That's the short version.  I could ramble all day long about what I want to do with my family, my house, my money.  

Monday, December 13, 2010

Looking Back: 2010

January 7 was a day with heavy snowfall.  We were scheduled to arrive at DuPont Hospital that evening to prepare for the induction of our baby boy, who did not have a name.  It took 3 hours to get from Goshen to Fort Wayne, and we had to drop Manasseh off before we got to the hospital.  (Thanks again Lem and Deb).  Our bundle of joy arrived at 8:03 on Friday, January 8 (3 minutes after my sister called to check in on us).
Cassius Jackson

We were quickly transformed into a family of 6.  Cassius brought with him scary medical diagnosis and a lot of questions.  We spent his first 11 days together in various hospitals.

February brought a huge blessing - our new house.  Thanks to our tax return and savings, we were able to (mostly) buy a house in Fort Wayne.  The big boys were excited about our move, which we expected to take place over the summer, unless our Goshen house sold.  (for the record, it's still for sale).
The New House

March was a sad time for our family.  One of our big boys had to be moved to a new placement.  We still miss him, but get to talk with him regularly, and visit him about once a month.

April was spring break month!  We visited with family and friends, and spent a few days at the new house.  We had a great spring break week.
Children's Museum, Spring Break

May was the end of school for the year.  Our belongings were largely moved to the new house.  Randy had not yet found a new job, but was finishing the job in Elkhart.  What a scary time.

June was amazing.  We went to Sunset Beach, NC with my parents, my sister and brother in law, an 11 year old, and 5 children under 5 years old!  (2 were infants).  After we returned, our big boy went to science camp and we spent the week finishing our move.
on the way to the beach!

In July we rented our house in Goshen.  Manasseh turned 2.  We had a lot of family time (because Randy still did not have a job).

In August, our second big boy moved on to a new home.  Randy found a temporary job, and the little boys and I worked on settling into our new reality.

September was a great month for us, we enjoyed the changing seasons, the warmth of the sun on hot days, and the coolness of the wind and changing colors.  We took some time for walking around the neighborhood and attending a couple of neighborhood events.

exploring nature
October was our 3rd anniversary!  We took the boys to Hoosier National Forest for a weekend of camping.  The boys enjoyed Halloween festivities.  We played with the leaves, a lot!

November was cold!  I started attending the new "Mom Time" group at church - and LOVE IT.  Great fellowship with great ladies.  Thanksgiving was an amazing time with family.  Cassius had surgery on his eyes to fix their crossing.  Randy started working full time for Buckhorn the same day!

Now it is December and the snow has settled, I think it is here to stay for the next few months.  We are looking forward to Christmas with our fun little family.