Thursday, December 8, 2016

November 2016

Now that we are over a week into December, it's about time that I blog November. Here's what I have to say about was long. It was also very wet, but mostly it was long. It was a good month, overall, and we are so very blessed...but it was so long. So far December has mixed reviews...last week went super fast, thank goodness, but this week is draaaaaagggggging. Seriously. Can't it be Friday already? All this lamenting about the passage of time - it all has to do with awaiting Sarah's return from college, you know. We are getting anxious. The ache grows bigger with each passing day. I have this app that tells me how long until Sarah's plane lands in this moment of typing, it's 9 days, 3 hours, 49 minutes, and 23 seconds. For this mama, it may as well be 9 months. I had NO idea it would be as hard as it is and I had NO idea before that this is how my parents must have felt when I left for college as a 17-year-old. I'm not trying to whine, just trying to be real. And it's hard to be a good blogger when those feelings are all battling inside my chest and making me fight for composure more often than I care to admit.

Moving on...I still have 3 beautiful daughters and a great husband at home, not to mention a job I love, the best best friends ever, GEMS, and life going on all the time. With that, I present.....NOVEMBER!!!

Bethany is on Student Worship Apprentice Team at school - plays violin for chapels occasionally. She's only done it once this it's obviously not a huge commitment, but I do love to listen to her play her violin in worship. She's been doing it in church a little more lately, also, and it makes me so glad she has stuck with that violin for so long.

So, this girl. Part of the reason this fall has been so hard is because of those crutches right there. Just before the end of the cross country season, before the 3 biggest and most important races of the year, Sarah was diagnosed with a stress fracture. She was on crutches for a while, and her season was over, and no running. She's still not healed and won't be able to run the trails over Christmas break, which was what she wanted to do most while she was home. So it's been hard. There are good life lessons to be learned from these things, and we are grateful for so many prayers and for so many people who care and for blessings that have come from this, but it's still hard. She's been coping amazingly well, probably better than me, and I'm so proud of her. 

Saw this beautiful snowy mountain driving home a few weeks ago and had to take a picture and send it to my girl in the midwest. I remember SO WELL that feeling of missing the mountains. The mountain is like a compass...providing a constant sense of direction and belonging and knowing exactly where you are all the time. There's nothing like that in Michigan. No reference point, no way to tell which way is up or which way to look towards the ocean, towards home.

Those Starbucks red cups make me happy!

Becca had a fun 13th birthday party with some really good friends!! 

It was an emoji party! We had a lot of fun - and they did "spa" stuff, too. 

For about 10 years, it's been a dream of mine to visit The Esther School  in Zambia...GEMS built the school and manages it and it's been a life-changing place for so many Zambians and North Americans. Our GEMS Club sponsors a girl there, who is now in 3rd grade. There is an LC/Calvin grad who teaches there now. I always had in the back of my mind..."maybe summer 2017...that would be a good time to take Sarah & Bethany", but I don't think I really ever believed that it would happen. Early in November, I received an email..."There's a work team going in June, would you like to go?" Wow. Just like that. It costs a lot of money. But Sarah, Bethany, & I all want to go. So, time to fund-raise. God gives me an idea - those ornaments up there. We need to raise about $6000 after church's support of $1500. Those ornaments up there were truly a divine far, God has provided with sales and donations and crazy gracious gifts from friends who donate portions of their business sales, and we are *almost* to $3000. In less than one month, with one fundraiser idea! Praise be to God!

The Track & Field Record board at school has been updated! Sarah is up there twice! Such fun memories!!

Our last 5th grade cell project! Finally, one we don't have to decide whether to keep or throw out! Her classmates ate the whole thing. :D

Crazy college kids - supporting their teammates in 40* weather at Nationals in Kentucky. Brrrrrrr!!!!

We've got a basketball player in the house...she's doing really well, playing on C team, and having fun. I love when they can actually HAVE FUN playing sports. Sports were rarely fun for me as a kid, so I'm thankful for those opportunities for our daughters.

I had a birthday the week of Thanksgiving and received this beautiful plant from my students and their parents, along with some other gifts and an ice cream cake! Mmmm! I was good & spoiled and it was just a few days before Thanksgiving, so it was a short week. It was possibly one of the hardest weeks for missing Sarah, though. 

Our Thanksgiving was small, but so relaxing and easy and fun.

My Uncle being goofy.

Thanksgiving weekend we got to work on those ornaments! My dad cut the wood, Bethany cleaned them, I cut the stencils and painted, Ed drilled the holes, Bethany tied on the twine, and she & I packaged and mailed them! A true family effort. I couldn't have done it without my parents and Ed & the girls.

Over 200 of them made and out the door in 4 days time. I've received more orders since then and am really hoping for this snow day tomorrow that we're supposed to get so I can get those done. :)

In fact, last weekend, I had the privilege of setting up at a local craft fair and so I have lots of orders to fill from that event! It was really fun, and my dad & I even came up with some birch slice wreaths to sell as well! 

That's a wrap for November and a sneak peak into December as well. :)