Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What My Kids Think of Halloween...

Today is Halloween and in our community, "Trick or Treat" will be happening. My kids have never gone trick or treating. Usually, we attend a "Hallelujah Party" hosted by our church. For a variety of reasons, the party is not happening this year, so we are getting together with friends to knock on a few doors tonight. My husband and I had mixed feelings about going out tonight. We did buy them princess costumes, but we bought them costumes they can play in all year. I have no major issue with candy, so that part is okay. It's the pagan aspect of the night. It's the idea that the intent is to be scary or scare others. It just doesn't seem to be a God-glorifying event. Arguments can be made for and against Halloween, but the only argument I was concerned with was the one made by the Holy Spirit in our hearts. I continued to seek wisdom, all the while preparing for the day.
Yesterday, I told the girls that we were going to our friends' house for dinner and trick or treating. They all whooped and hollered around the table with excitement. They love their friends and they love to dress up so they were in heaven. I explained that we would let them collect a little bit of candy and then head home. They looked at me in bewilderment. Emma said, "What candy?" "Yeah, what candy?!" said Ruthie. "Well, you get candy when you go from house to house on Halloween." I answered. "You mean you get candy AND you tell people about Jesus, too?!?!" Emma asked in excitement.
Somehow in their little minds, they figured the only reason we would be going door to door would be to tell people about Jesus. The costumes were just for fun and Halloween was a holiday all about Jesus. After all, every other holiday we celebrate is about Jesus, too. My heart swelled with pride and broke in disappointment at the same time. I was about to tell them the cold, hard truth about Halloween and what they should expect to see when Emma said, "Well. that's okay. The candy will be fun but we should still tell people about Jesus, too. I don't think He would want us to take candy if we didn't tell other people about Him."
Enough said.
So, today we're making little scripture cards that say "It's no trick...Jesus is a treat!" for the girls to hand out at each house. They are so excited about doing it and I love that we have taken a pagan holiday and made it into a great opportunity to talk with the girls about the Lord.

Thanks, Lord, for Your wisdom and for Your grace. Thanks for taking today and making it into something that can please You. Keep us focused on You tonight, and not what we see All around us. Help us to bring You glory. Thank You for showing me that You are in control! In Jesus' name, Amen.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Top Ten Tuesdays--Signs Your Kids Are Getting Older

Thanks to Ann for creating a new meme, "Top Ten Tuesdays." Following her lead, mostly because our kids are about the same age, here are my top ten signs my kids are getting older:

10. No more cribs in the house.
9. Almost no more diapers in the house!
8. The kids can read their own bedtime stories.
7. Everyone but me sleeps soundly through the night.
6. My older two request privacy in the bathroom and shower, now.
5. Only one car seat in the car, accompanied by two big girl booster seats.
4. No one wants to hold my hand all the time--I actually have to ask to hold hands!
3. My oldest is starting to sound like me--yikes!
2. Board bools are being replaced by chapter books, some without pictures.
1. My daughter is getting e-mail!

It will be fun to do this again in another 5 years...

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Picture Perfect Day

Last weekend, we took the kids to Conner Prairie for the day. It was this picture-perfect day, complete with a canopy of sunshine and falling leaves. These are some photos of our trip:

An X-ray view of our little tribe...

At the axe throw...Charlie was one of only two folks to hit the target! What a guy, and a real hero to the girls!

Pumping water...
or at least, trying to!

As Emma wisely said, "I'm going to take a picture of this in my mind so I can remember how happy I am."

Thank You, Lord, for the beautiful day, the beautiful memories, my beautiful family, and beautiful You! In Jesus' name, Amen.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Isaiah 58:6-14 Tell Me What You Think...

I'm looking for some feedback on this passage. It's one of the passages I may use for my article. What do you think?

Isaiah 58:6-14
6"Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke?
7"Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
8"Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you; The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9"Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry, and He will say, 'Here I am ' if you remove the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness,
10And if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become like midday.
11"And the LORD will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.
12"Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; you will raise up the age-old foundations; and you will be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets in which to dwell.
13"If because of the sabbath, you turn your foot from doing your own pleasure on My holy day, and call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD honorable, and honor it, desisting from your own ways, from seeking your own pleasure and speaking your own word,
14Then you will take delight in the LORD, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; and I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Meatloaf, Menus, Computers, and Writer's Block

This is a random post. I was invited to write an article for our church's newsletter and I have writer's block. Most days, I can't type fast enough to get the words out of my head and onto the screen. Not today. Drawing a complete blank. So, a few random things...

We had meatloaf for dinner and it's a favorite in our family. Meatloaf gets a bad rap at many family dinner tables, mainly because most folks have had pretty bad-tasting, dried-out, questionable-content, meat-in-the-form-of-a-loaf. I adapted my mom's recipe and it is a winner. Even my picky eaters scarf it down!

Jen's Easy Meatloaf
1 lb lean ground beef or ground turkey
1 egg
15-20 crushed butter flavor crackers (not saltines!)
1/2 onion, chopped (about 1/2 C)
3/4 C ketchup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Have a glass or metal loaf pan close by to transfer meat mixture. Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix by hand. (Go ahead, get your hands really messy!) Mix until ketchup and egg are thoroughly incorporated. Transfer to loaf pan and pat evenly into pan. Top with the following:

1/2 C ketchup
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
Mix ketchup and brown sugar together in small measuring cup and pour over meatloaf.

Cover loaf pan with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake additional 15 minutes. Let stand at least 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

I've had several women ask me recently how I plan out meals and do grocery shopping for our family. I guess I hadn't given it much thought, but this is how it works for me...
First, I look through our pantry and freezer to get an idea of what we already have on hand. Then, I take a look at our grocery store ad for the week to see what sort of specials they are running. I write out each meal for each day of the week I'm planning. If we are planning to eat out, I write it down so I remember to budget some grocery money for that event. Breakfasts are almost always homemade oatmeal with several topping choices or cold cereal. Lunches are typically leftovers from the night before or soup and sandwiches. Dinner is where I put most of my cooking efforts. Here is a sample of our weekly menu:
B: Cereal, Yogurt, OJ
L: Chicken nuggets, grapes, carrots, broccoli, cherry tomatoes
D: Chinese Take-Out
B: Eggs, toast, fruit
L: Conner Prairie sack lunches
D: Special Family Night Out
B: Homemade oatmeal, yogurt, milk
L: Leftover Chinese, sandwiches, veggies
D: Steak Fajitas, Quesadillas
B: Cereal, bananas, milk
L: Leftover fajitas and quesadillas
D: Ham, Bean and Potato soup, cornbread
B: Oatmeal, yogurt, juice
L: Leftover soup and cornbread
D: Crock pot orange chicken, rice, salad, ice cream
B: Oatmeal, yogurt, milk
L: Pizza Hut
D: Meatloaf, scalloped potatoes, steamed broccoli, cantaloupe
B: Waffles, apples, milk
L: Leftover meatloaf
D: Big Sandwich, veggie chips, cantaloupe, raw veggies
B: Cereal, yogurt, juice
L: "Must Go's" (leftovers from all week)
D: Chicken and Dumplings, mashed potatoes, salad

It works well for me to have a plan, but I'm also flexible. If it turns cold and rainy one day, I might swap out a lighter meal for one that is a little more hearty. In addition to my planned meals, I always keep the ingredients for a good spaghetti dinner on hand, including frozen bread sticks and extra green beans. If we have unexpected company or my husband ends up in charge of dinner, an easy meal is at our finger tips.

The Lord is blessing us with a new computer! It's in the want category, but I must say, after almost 8 years, this computer has seen better days. We got an amazing deal on our new one and were even able to purchase a new printer, complete with a port for our digital camera, so more photos will be appearing in my posts--yea! I'm really looking forward to our updated system. I will be able to do more writing and reading, surfing and dealing. Thanks, God, for showering us with every good and perfect gift!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ground Hog Day and The Green Eyed Monster

I love being a stay-home mom, a domestic engineer, if you will. I love giving my kids opportunities I didn't have because my mom had to work. I love being available to them and allowing God to change me into the wife and mom He wants me to be. Mostly, I love knowing that I'm walking in obedience in this area of my life.

Most of the time.

Lately, I've been struggling with the green-eyed monster--jealousy. I'm painfully aware that this is a sin. I know that the Lord does not want me to fix my gaze on anyone or anything but Him and His plan for my life. Still, I have found myself hunkered down at home, watching the world zip by all around me as I spend yet another day on my hands and knees picking up Cheerios, Barbie shoes and crayons; wiping noses and toilets; chasing children and dogs; reading book after book of children's fiction, hoping to have a few minutes to read a few lines of a book without pictures. My husband asked me the other day if I ever thought my life was like the movie "Ground Hog Day." I laughed and then felt like crying when I realized he was right. It's pretty much the same routine each day, just another name for the day. And, since we decided to home school, there are seemingly many, many more "Ground Hog" days in sight!

Please don't misunderstand....I really do love the plan God has for my life. He is infinitely wise and knows the best place for me to accomplish His will. I've just struggled with the plan He seems to have for others...

For instance, it is a REALLY big deal to have time alone. My husband is fantastic about taking the girls outside to play or go for a walk or even to the grocery to give me a few moments to collect myself. Still, I'm envious of other women who have regularly scheduled time to work out or walk or read or...whatever they want to do, without children in tow. I'm also envious of women who have built in family support systems. Our families are as supportive as possible, but they each live over 3 hours away. They help when they can, but it isn't a regular occurrence. I covet little luxuries like new shoes and mp3 players, pedicures and lunch with friends, vacations and weekend get-a-ways. My husband spoils me with time and attention, but our budget is pretty tight with only one salary.

This thought process drove me to the Word this morning, searching for the cure to what ails my soul. It was so simple, really. It's hard for me to understand why I had not seen it before. The answer? Thankfulness.

"It is good to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning and Your faithfulness by night, with the ten stringed lute and with the harp, with resounding music upon the lyre. For You, O Lord, have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of Your hand." Psalm 92:1-4

Instead of fixing my eyes on all that God has done for me, all that He has rescued me from, all the He has promised to me, my eyes were fixed on the landscape of this world and all its' trappings. (key word: TRAP) I was coming to God with my laundry list of things that seem unjust in my life, not thanking Him for all He has already provided.

"O come, let us, sing for joy to the Lord, let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God and a great King above all gods, in whose hands are the depths of the earth, the peaks of the mountains are His also. The sea is His, for it was He who made it, and His hands formed the dry land." Psalm 95:1-5

If the God who made the earth and all that is in it chooses to bless me today, why shouldn't I offer Him continual sacrifices of praise? Why would I choose to focus on anything but Him? The book of Job asks better questions:

Have you ever in your life commanded the morning, and caused the dawn to know its place? Job 38:12
Have you entered into the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep? Job 38:16
Where is the dwelling place of light? Job 38:19
Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, so that an abundance or water will cover you? Job 38:34

God is not so subtly reminding Job (and me) that He is God alone. He commands the universe. He is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-wise, all-consuming. And still, he looks on me with love. He considers the cries of my heart; my heartaches and pains; my groanings and complaints. All He asks in return for this love is faith. Faith in Him and the power of what He accomplished on the cross. Faith that He is Love. Faith that His Word is true and right. Faith that He has a plan for for me and that plan is the very best plan ever dreamed or designed.

I need to be more thankful for what God has done, is doing and has promised to yet do in my life. I have not yet found in scripture anything that promises me a new mp3 player or a pedicure. I don't see any promises or entitlements to time alone. I haven't stumbled across any evidence that this life in Christ will be smooth sailing. But, I do know that God is in control. Job says it best,

"I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted." Job 42:2

No purpose God has for my life can be thwarted. That is so comforting. I am so thankful for that promise. He is with me, working in advance to prosper me and accomplish His will. Little 'ol me. Amazing.

Loving Father, Thank You for all the many, many blessings You have poured out on my life. I do not deserve them or Your presence, which You so freely offer at all times. Thank You for reminding me to look to You in all situations. Help me to offer each day anew to You. Help me to be thankful for each moment. Thank You for making a plan for me and working to accomplish it. Thank You for Jesus. In His name, Amen.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Things They Say: Marriage

This was the conversation I overheard today at the lunch table:

Ruthie: Henry, you are going to have to spend time getting used to Emma so you can marry her someday.
Henry: Well...(giggle) I don't know about that...(more giggles)
Harmony: Well, Henry, you have to marry someone!
Ruthie: Yeah, then me and Harmony will be sisters.
Emma: No, Ruthie, that's not right.
Henry: Well, I'm not big enough to get married yet, but I know I can only marry one girl.

Long Pause

Harmony: I guess you better pick really careful then.
Emma: Actually, God picks who we marry. He has it all planned out in His big mind.
Harmony: Yeah, He has a really, really, HUGE mind!
Emma: We have to wait until he shows us who to marry. He makes sure they know Jesus and they think we are the most beautiful girl in the whole world.
Henry: I'm not a girl!
Emma: I know! You will think your girl is beautiful. Your girl will think you are brave like a Jedi Knight.
(Huge grin from Henry)

Ruthie: Well, I'm going to wait for the boy God picks for me cause I don't want to mess it up and marry the wrong boy.
Harmony: Yeah, me too!
Ruthie: C'mon Harmony, let's play grocery store.
Harmony: Okay.

Emma: C'mon Henry, let's play with the train.
Henry: Okay. Maybe God will make me see you beautiful someday, but it isn't today!
Emma: Ahhhh! Henry! I'm just little!

Lord, help these children to always take marriage seriously and to allow You to choose their mates for them. Thank You for their innocence and for the reminder that Your way is the best way. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Why I Love Football

I was reading a post on Ellie's Dish today and it reminded me of how much I love football. Her husband has a similiar fanatacism with the Cleveland Indians. I'm a fan of the Indianapolis Colts. I suppose if we lived somewhere else, I might be a Dolphins fan or a Vikings fan or even a (shudder the thought) Bears fan. But, my love affair with football began here in Indiana, so that's where my loyalty lies. My best friend sent my Tony Dungy's book, Quiet Strength, and I devoured it almost in one sitting. The more I learn about key people involved in the Colts' franchise, the more I thank God for godly men and women walking out their faith in plain view of thousands of fans. We need more people like that, rising to the occasion to share what God has done in their lives, instead of falling to the entangling charms of a fallen world.

Here's my personal top ten list of reasons I love football:

10. I get to wear my jersey every week--my girls call it my "dress up clothes."
9. My husband and I love football equally, so he indulges my passion by helping comb radio stations for the game or setting up the living room to watch the game on TV.
8. I am actually beginning to recognize plays and understand the finer details of the game; like "off-sides" and "quarter back sneak" and "fake play action."
7. My team won the Super Bowl last year--I almost cried, it was so exciting!
6. My girls love football, too, and they are memorizing the names and jerseys of our players. They also understand how a 1st and 10 works.
5. Many of the players, coaches, staff and owners of the Colts are believers and work to glorify God. What a great example for kids!
4. I have an excuse to clap and cheer and jump up and down like when I was a teenager.
3. It's a great reason for a party in the middle of winter.
2. I love the drama of the long, drawn-out plays. Sort of like life in Christ. Sometimes you win, sometimes you take chances, sometimes you have to kick it down the field and hope for the best, but you always have the ultimate goal in mind.
1. God used football to help me climb out of depression. When Olivia was born, I suffered terribly from depression. Watching football week after week gave me something to look forward to and something to focus on. I found myself getting excited for my team and then excited about my life in Christ.

Lord, it seems silly, but thank You for football! Thank You for indulging me like a loving Father with all sorts of pleasing things. Thank You for breaking through the clouds of depression and rescuing me. Thanks for the gift of time spent with family and the memories I already have of our Sunday afternoons and evenings together. I love the way You love me. In Jesus' name, Amen.

While Jesus Is Away...How Do I Live?

I haven't written much lately. Not that we have nothing going on in our lives, quite the opposite. We've been so busy I've had a hard time finding time to sit and think as I write. In addition to the continuing remodel of our home (which is going painfully slow!) and homeschooling (also incredibly slow!), Charlie has spent the past few weeks working on a project after his regular work day, out of town. Some nights, he doesn't return until after midnight and then has to rise again around 5:00 AM. Being a person who needs 8-9 hours of sleep each night, I don't know how he has been able to function. Thankfully, he is taking a much needed break from the project this weekend so we can all rest and relax together. We've all been missing him terribly, but we are also proud of how diligent his efforts are to allow God to use his gifts and talents to provide for our family. He is a great husband!

While he has been gone, I realized that I operate differently when he's away. Specifically, my routine and activities with the girls change. I started keeping track of those differences:

1. I sleep in more often. Maybe because I don't sleep as well, or maybe laziness...not sure.
2. I stay up later. It's hard to sleep when he isn't here and without him to talk to, I watch TV more than normal. Probably accounts for #1 as well.
3. We eat differently. I wouldn't say we eat unhealthy, just simpler. I don't feel as excited to prepare a nice meal for kids who would be just as happy with grilled cheese or PB&J.
4. We stay home more. Actually, we turn into downright homebodies. Except for our usual commitments, we stayed indoors most of the time. I think I just feel safer at home and it's certainly easier to cope with the kids and their behavior in familiar surroundings.
5. I avoid housework like the plague! I normally enjoy my housework, but I've discovered without anyone to appreciate it or help me, it's MUCH more difficult to get motivated to clean up after three whirling dervishes.
6. My quiet time stinks. Not that God isn't faithful when I come to Him, but without anyone asking me about it or encouraging me, I tend to go on auto-pilot. Not a good thing...
7. My well of patience runs dry earlier in the day...mostly related to #6.

Not exactly a great wife/mom resume, huh? It reminded me of the passage in Matthew 24:
Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. But be sure of this, that if the head of the house has known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. vs. 42-43.
I knew when Charlie was coming home. I knew that he was returning. And still, I changed my patterns and routines, sometimes knowing that my choices were not helpful or glorifying to God. How much more so do I do this concerning Christ's return? I don't know when Christ will return for us. I do know that He will return, though. Still, I know that I don't do all that I can to bring Him glory, to worship Him and grow in my knowledge of Him. I know that I sometimes avoid doing things that will draw me closer to Him. I sleep in instead of getting up to be with Him. I turn off the radio program that will fill my mind with knowledge and truth, and instead listen to my own thoughts that often lead to destruction. I let the kids watch a video instead of reading them a Bible story. If I knew that Christ would return tomorrow morning, I would most definitely spend today differently!

But, is that how God wants me to live?


That's why He didn't circle in red on our calendars that date He would be back. He left it a mystery to us purposely. So we would always be ready. So we would live each day in honor to Him and for Him. So our lives would continuously be a witness of His great love for us and others. I confess that I am failing miserably in this area right now; just trudging along with my head down trying to get through this day and onto the next. I could allow Satan to convince me that the situation is hopeless, but I see through that nasty lie. The very fact that I see my sin reveals God's love and faithfulness to me. The fact that I even want to change is a witness of the Holy Spirit moving on my heart. Praise God for His unfailing love!

Merciful God, thank You for sticking with me! I confess my sin to You and ask Your forgiveness. Help me to be what You want me to be. Help me to walk down the paths You have prepared for me. I'm sorry You have to rescue me from another pit, but I'm so glad You are! I don't know when You are coming for us, but I want You to find me faithful. Redeem my days, Lord, so that I might live joyfully in You. I love You... in Jesus' name, Amen.

When You're Not Here

The light bulbs burn out;
The trash can overflows;
The dog refuses to eat for me,
And the grass grows faster...
...when you're not here.

The kids test the limits;
They beg for extra stories and hugs and kisses;
They set an extra place for you at the dinner table;
They pray for you at bedtime...
...when you're not here.

My days and nights run together.
The bed is so empty and cold--
I put an extra pillow on your side for company,
I even miss your "gentle" snore...
...when you're not here.

The usually happy house sounds sound lonely and even creepy;
I keep extra lights on for you;
The dog stands guard until you arrive--
I even sit and pray with him!
...when you're not here.

I don't think about the things you do for us,
I think about who you are to me.
We all try harder to do our best--
To make you proud of us.
You are always on my mind and in my prayers;
You are in every breath and sigh as I wait...
...when you're not here.

But, now you are here, and I thank our God and Father for all that you are and all that He is making you to be. I love you.

Friday, October 12, 2007

3 Blind Mice

Take a look-see at our girls' new glasses...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Death Wheel

Last weekend, we visited Charlie's parents in Evansville. It was the last weekend of their annual Fall Festival and the girls have turned the event into a family tradition. We traipsed up and down Franklin Avenue riding kiddie rides and eating loads of unhealthy treats--kid paradise, for sure! Our last stop--and the one the girls had been anticipating all day--was the Ferris wheel. The line was a bit lengthy and the temperature was an unseasonable 90 degrees. We stood in line for about 30 minutes before reaching the cherished destination. We had watched the ride go around and around several times and I was looking forward to riding it simply for the breeze I knew it would provide. This particular Ferris wheel was equipped with carts that could seat up to 6 and you entered from one side through a small gate. We all climbed in and took our seats. As we waited for the ride to start up again, I could see utter delight on the girls' faces and Charlie and I exchanged a smile. It's so fun to fulfill a childhood dream.

I was fine until the ride started--yeah, that's right, I was fine for almost 2 entire minutes. As soon as the ride began its' ascent, I heard this terrible grinding noise that I was certain wasn't there before. We climbed up to the next stopping point and then paused perilously in the air. We were about the same height as some of the other rides and the girls were having a great time peering over the edges. Not me. No sir. I was clinging for dear life to the cold, metal pole in the middle of our basket. Said basket was rocking ever-so-gently as my children looked from side to side. I was certain we were about to plummet to our deaths. Charlie noticed the look on my face and the weird smile plastered there. I was breathing fast, almost hyper-ventilating, and I explained that I was just remembering how deathly afraid of heights I really am. He laughed a bit and said, "Be strong for the girls, honey."

Our cart was suddenly thrust higher. I was sure we were now just cheating death entirely. I looked around just long enough to see some rusted pieces of metal protruding from the inner workings of this death wheel. Now, we were higher than some of the buildings and the girls said, "Look, Mommy! We're as high as the birds!" Great. If only we had some wings or a parachute or something to save us from our doom. I was right, there was definitely a breeze up here but I was beginning to think a breeze was a bad thing. I was already clammy from the cold sweat that had developed all over my body. That breeze was making me feel downright nauseous. My death grip on the metal pole intensified as we climbed even higher.

We were at the top of the wheel now and were taller than some of the trees. Charlie was still telling me to be strong, but I felt like I might pass out. Please God, help me to keep it together. This is so embarrassing! The breeze was strongest at the top and so was my nausea. I tried to use the same mental imagery I use when we fly. I pretend that God's giant hand is holding the plane through the entire flight. This works in a plane because you can't see outside and the details can be left to imagination. Not so with this horrid contraption. I just couldn't convince myself that God's hands would be rusted out or dirty or appearing to be ready to disintegrate before my very eyes. The girls were waving at grandma and grandpa and I was thinking about vomiting. We began to descend.

That terrible noise was back and I just knew that the machinery was about to give out. This time we kept moving. Down, down, down, closer to the sweet earth only to be cruelly launched back into the air. Round and round we went for what seemed like hours. We would be so close to the ground that I could almost touch it and then would swoop back to the top. The carnival worker at the bottom kept giving me funny looks, like he couldn't figure out why I was hanging onto that metal pole so tightly. That pole had become my new best friend!

Eventually, they began to disembark the riders and our turn to get off this death wheel could not come fast enough for me. The girls groaned when it was our turn to get off, but I wanted to kiss the dirty, cigarette butt-filled, garbage-littered, worn-out ground. In fact, I wanted to curl up in the fetal position right next to the trash cans and port-a-potties. Ground is good. So, so good. The girls begged for another ride but one look at my pale face and knocking knees and Charlie knew what the answer was.

And so ended our annual adventure at the Fall Festival. Next year, I'll stick with the Carousel.

Thank You God for Your loving hands. Help me to know that I never need to be afraid when I am in them. In Jesus' name, Amen.