Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ford cut my Dad

On Tuesday I received a call that my dad was about to be escorted off the premises of his job. He didn't do anything wrong, he simply was a victim of Ford Motor Company's attempt to get get back into the competition. I know that things like that happen in the automotive industry, but my father deserved much more than a forced exit and that made me extremely sad.

In the 1970's my father moved from Sandsprings, Oklahoma, his birthplace, and relocated far from family with his new bride in order to work for Ford. Ten or so years ago, my father's division was bought by Visteon and he was sent out to Dearborn. When Visteon was bought back by Ford, he returned to his position and even turned down a very generous buy-out. Unfortunately, Ford did not recognize the previous years he worked for them and with less then two years under belt since he was brought back to Ford, he was cut. He gave up over 35 plus years of service to their company, but because of a small loop hole, he was a casualty of their latest cuts.

Now my dad, who is too young for full retirement, is back on the market in a state where jobs don't come easy. I know that God has His hand on him and will take care of he and my mom, but the whole thing still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. My dad deserved to serve the rest of his career at Ford and to retire at 65. He deserved to have a big "goodbye" party as they send him off to retirement. Not what he got.

That's my two cents.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tragedy by Lawnmower

We live in a very wet area so toads are extremely abundant. Since we moved here, seven years ago, it has been a spring tradition for Caleb to collect toads in a bucket (then release them after Mom's pleading).

I enjoy mowing the lawn (at least when I'm feeling guilty about my lack of exercise) but I hate the dodging game I have to play with the toads. They always seem to pop up out of nowhere and usually I am able to rescue them from a very quick, but painful, fate. Sometimes, however, I seem to fail at my rescue attempt miserably.

There was one time, when after mowing an area, I noticed a toad moving in the grass, but upon further inspection, I discovered that he was missing his back feet. I can not tell you how terribly guilty I felt as he struggled to move about. I later checked to see if there was a dead toad around but he must have managed to find a safe place to hide.

Today was another one of those days. As I was cutting our front lawn, I suddenly saw the body of a garter snake by our well. I called out to Hannah and our niece, Haley, to come see it and then it lifted its bloody head up and I gasped. Apparently, I had sliced off a piece of his neck with the quick blades of the mower. I thought he was in the course of dying, so I left him alone in hopes that it would be quick.

I was not so lucky.

It took over 5 hours for his little life to end and only after he had squirmed about in the yard, regurgitated a toad (another I didn't save) and turned belly up. It was a pitiful death for a creature I would never have had feelings for in any other situation.

I can't help but think that the reptiles in our area, cringe and run in terror when they see me head for the shed.

I think I'll leave the mowing to Todd for a while. :)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Rollercoaster

Two and a half years ago, I experienced something that has only happened a few times in my life. I heard God speak. Not audibly, but it could have been as strongly as I felt it. The word was "stay". After Todd confirmed he was hearing the same thing, we took our house off the market, became members at the church we had just begun attending and stopped sending out resumes.

After we obeyed, it seemed everything fell into place. The church we had joined opened its arms to us and we dove into volunteer ministry. Todd even felt peace for the first time in almost 10 years working as a machinist. Soon after, a door opened and we took a step of faith feeling very strongly that God had orchestrated all of this for that one purpose. When the door abruptly closed, we were left confused, hurt and felt as if it was man closing the door and not God.

Still, we hung on even though feelings of discontent and eagerness to get into paid ministry again slowly crept in. I also couldn't shake the feeling that we were suppose to go through that closed door and that in time it would open again.

Today, I found out that the same door may once again open and honestly, the first thing I felt was confusion and the need for a good cry. Though I've always known in my heart that there was a mistake made back then, I also am tired of the roller coaster.

It is so stressful not to know where God is leading you. I have no idea how Moses survived 40 years of uncertainty. On one side, I know with out a doubt that Todd and I are called to ministry. However, I still struggle with doubt and questions. While I should be happy at this new knowledge that maybe our time has come, I am left numb and frightened. I don't want to live in the "ifs" and "maybes" anymore. I just want to hear from God one word of certainty- whatever it may be. I'm just afraid to get back on a ride- knowing that the "odds" are that we'll end up where we began.

My prayer right now is that God will help me keep my heart and mind focused on Him and that Todd and I will both have peace no matter what doors open, reopen or close once more.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Dinosaurs and Santa Clause

Have you ever had a childhood belief that sort of lingered into your adulthood? Recently, I discovered that I still had one belief that has held on on these years.

As a child, I loved to "pretend" and act out wonderful fantasy-like scenes. I didn't need a Barbie house, I had a "cave" made out of a big comforter. I didn't need a sailboat, I had a bed that sailed the uncharted seas. The funny thing is, as much as I loved to "make believe", I knew that my stocking was not filled by a magical whiskered man. I knew my Easter basket was a gift from my parents not an egg-laying bunny. And though I always left my teeth under my pillow, the only mystery to me was how my parents got the money under my pillow without waking me up. All of those fantasy figures, were just that: Fantasy. I suppose my imagination just had its own set of rules because I did however, believe that I had a fossil of a dinosaur.

Just recently, while foraging through the attic for Ebay treasures to sell, I came across a box of things I had saved many years ago. There were cards I received when our children were born, yearbooks from as young as third grade and many drawings and writings I had created while in high school. Deep down in the box I discovered a rock that was once given to me by my dad. He had found it as a child in Oklahoma and it held a strange fossil on one side. Somehow, in grade school, I had come across a dinosaur book and decided with my "very skilled" eye that it was indeed a dinosaur embryo. Never mind that the rock was the size of my palm.

I decided to do a search on fossils, came across a website called "The Fossil Web" and posted a picture of my fossil. I got back an answer from someone who believed that it "Looks like it might be a limestone nodule with broyzoans (tiny colonial animals that generally build stony skeletons of calcium carbonate, superficially similar to coral)." And though I still can not see anything but a sea dinosaur embryo, he assured me he was certain it was not, in fact, a dinosaur.

Maybe, as a child, I would have been crushed to discover that my "dinosaur" was only a plant impression with a few scattered sea "bugs", but now as a logical grown-up, I think I will keep my small lingering dream that I own something really special,

a "dinosaur-looking" fossil.

Monday, July 07, 2008

The Best of Manistee 2008

We just arrived home at 1:30 am today from our week long trip in Manistee, MI. It was a fantastic week for relaxing, reading, bathing in the sun and riding awesome rides at Michigan Adventure. We have so many great memories to share so I posted these three blogs for you to get a visual of what we did!

Manistee 2008 part 2

Manistee 2008 continued