Friday, November 7, 2008

Prayers please

It seems like we just got Cassie settled in and now Chris is starting in. 

Cassie's doing very well. Her report card for the first quarter shows an A, 2 B's and 3 C's. Way to go Cassie! She's nearing the end of probation. She started her new job at Domino's yesterday. She's got a boyfriend who is a nice kid and a Christian as well. The prayers, accountability, new school, psychologist appointments and medication are all working together to keep her stable. She meets with her psychiatrist today for the first time in a couple of months. We'll see if they bump up her meds to the next level or leave them the same.

Now we need prayers for Chris. Something is going on with him, but I don't really know what. I just received a phone call from the school that he was involved in some trouble up there. He was kind of on the outside fringes of it, but involved, nonetheless. He'll have a day of in-school suspension and two days of detention for it. But it was a big red flag for the school, as his teacher, the principal, and a couple of others in authority up there said "this is just not like Chris". And it's not. 

But we've noticed some things at home too. Just last night I told mom that one of the things I was hoping for while she was home was the she would see some of what we're dealing with with Chris and hopefully help us figure out what's going on with him and how to help him. He's very angry a lot of the time, disrespectful to us, hyper to the point of annoying, disobedient, smarting off and talking back. It's just not like Chris! And he won't open up to us at all either, so I don't know what's going on! 

Now, it could be adolescence setting in. I understand that as the hormones rage kids can get more sullen and disrespectful. It could also be frustration over the increase in homework and difficulty at school. It could be issues with his friends. I don't know, but I know I don't like it and I want to help him work through this and come out the other side a stronger person, closer to Jesus, and better equipped to handle a frustrating situation than he was before he entered this valley.

I've gleaned from watching that there's some friendship issues, some bullying (with him on the receiving end), some singling-out of him by his classmates as the scapegoat and one to pick on. Everything seems to be a battle with him. It's so frustrating! I've been praying hard for him lately, that this spirit of anger and frustration that seems to have a hold over him would be released! The Chris I know is a boy who loves to help others, encourage with words and hugs, have people like him and approve of him. All of those things seem to have gone out the window recently. I'm praying that they will return! Please join me in praying for discernment and wisdom for us and his teachers, for the binding of whatever has gotten ahold of him, and for the Holy Spirit to return in full force in my sweet child's heart. 

I so appreciate the support you all give. Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Tyranny of the Urgent

Just stopping by to say good morning on this rainy, cold day. It's a good day to sit at home, light some candles and curl up on the couch with a blanket and a good book. Alas it's not to be, I'm at work. But there's always this afternoon. :-)

Mom's home visiting from North Carolina. We picked her up from the airport on Saturday morning. While she's glad to be here and see her FOUR children who live in Minnesota, I think she's really missing Katie and especially baby Dominic/Nicky/Roo-Roo (Kate's nickname for Nicky...I don't even pretend to get it lol). I think by this Saturday when it's snowing she's going to wish she's stayed in North Carolina! She's here through Thanksgiving, flying out while most people are out bargain hunting on Black Friday. I am enjoying having her here, of course and am threatening to refuse to send her back. It's so good to have someone to sit and enjoy long conversations with. We talk about God mostly, and what He's doing in our lives. It's one of the things I miss most about her living here, is our in-depth conversations about our Savior, the work He is doing in our hearts and lives, the places we see Him moving in our worlds. It's so good to share those things with a friend instead of just my journal. Of course, lately we've also been talking a lot about politics and the state of our nation. I will confess I've got some anxiety over the election results. As one person stated it on's not that I was surprised, really, but I didn't expect the nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach that I experienced that night, nor the urge to cry. Nevertheless, the people have spoken and so here we are. I can tell you one thing, my choice did not get into office and I am looking forward to January 20, 2013 very much!

Enough about that. My boss is back from Uganda and I'm glad to hand back over the reins to her. I'll confess it was kind of fun putting the paper together, but I'm glad it's not my responsibility all the time. :-)

Life overall is crazy! I feel like we're running, running, running all the time. And it's showing in our health. We're not eating healthy because it's always "grab something quick on the go". We don't have much relaxation/down time and that really wears on a person. Chris missed school yesterday because of stomach aches, Dar missed work last night because he was too physically and emotionally exhausted to go in, and Cassie is home today resting and fighting off a cold. My poor niece and nephew have been struggling with pneumonia. Our lives today are too busy, too rushed, our calendars too jam-packed and we need to slow down! The hard part is choosing which things to say no to! Mostly, the demands on our time and energy are good things! And so, for me, I feel guilty saying no. But I need to know my limits as well and make sure I'm giving enough attention to my priorities and letting the rest either wait or pass. I'm praying for discernment in this area because I know that busy-ing ourselves to death is not in God's will for us. A Bible Study leader once said that we need to not "bow to the tyranny of the urgent"! It's time, for our family at least, to get back to what's important.

So, with that, and the rain, I leave you today. Stay warm and dry! Love to you all and may God bless you! 

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Just living, or living FREE?

Greetings on Election Night! I'm praying God moves in an amazing way and has His way now that the votes have been cast. We have prayed, we have shared our beliefs with those around us, we have voted, and now we wait for His answer. We're listening God.

Yes, God and I have made up. I shared some in my last post that I was struggling so with depression. I felt so distant from God, really battling in the depths of my soul for faith in Him. It was like being in a huge argument with your best friend and not knowing how to move forward in the relationship. Aren't we blessed to have a God Who is so personal and so amazing that He knows exactly how to do that!

He and I had a breakthrough last Monday. I was going through my usual insane and very frustrating Monday schedule. At work before 8am, leaving at 3:30 to get Cassie to her court ordered class in North Mankato by 4, then up to an appointment by MSU by 4:15 (I was late and had trouble finding it too!). When I left that appointment the traffic was crazy, and not being used to the area, I tried to turn left when that was basically impossible. I also had myself in such a position that it was almost as impossible to turn right. The gal behind me was furious with me! She was honking her horn, flailing her arms, shaking her head. I finally got out of there and headed to my next appointment in downtown Mankato (which I was the only one to show up for). Through all of this my frustration was building and building and I was about to burst. 

And then I did. 

I yelled "God, I can't do this anymore!!! Whatever it is that I did to cause You to remove Your hand of blessing from my life, please show me! I CAN'T DO THIS WITHOUT YOU ANY LONGER!!!". 

And all was silent in my van. It was almost like in the movies when time stops and there's just this pause. And then He spoke. I could almost audibly hear Him sigh and say "Finally. Finally, you get it."

What? What?!? That's it? That's all that You were waiting for was for me to finally get to the point that I was so desperate for Your presence that I couldn't...wouldn't take one more step without it? Yes, that's exactly what He was waiting for. 

The dam broke, the fog lifted, His Presence returned and I've had His JOY bubbling in my soul ever since. Even on my frustrating Monday this week, even when things aren't going right, it's still there, bubbling away. Now that I've had 7 days to process all of this, I see so many things behind the weeks of depression that besieged me. 

First I had been praying for a more intimate relationship with Him. And it seemed as if He was giving me the opposite. But the truth is that I had gotten to the point in my walk with Him that I was so used to His Presence, that I took it for granted, I hardly noticed it anymore. And it took Him removing it from my awareness for me to realize how vital it is to my existence! 

Also, He spoke to me yesterday through John 15:9 and the book "The Heartache No One Sees" by Sheila Walsh. In the book of John, Jesus said "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love." Sheila Walsh writes this: "Jesus loves us as the Father loves Him. Think about that! Jesus loves us with the same eternal passion and commitment, the same perfect love, that God the Father has for Him." And it hit me...God the Father, more than that, sent Jesus the Son to earth to be tortured and beaten and killed so that we may have life and life more abundantly. There's a difference there between just living, and living a life free, enjoying the best that life has to offer, free from bonds and chains and sin. So if God, in that eternal, passionate love for Jesus, sent Him to those circumstances, it follows that He also...not just allows, but causes...the painful circumstances in our lives so that others may be free to live life abundantly!

Take, for example, my depression. He knew that I could come through it victoriously because I know Him and have a history of relying on Him.  And if He can use my new understanding of depression, having walked through it, so that I can relate to someone else who is struggling with it, and possibly help them come through it on the other side with a fresh relationship with Him, then it is worth it. That person can live abundantly, in Jesus Christ, because I went through six weeks of a very painful experience. That is no different than all who call themselves children of God because Jesus went through a very painful experience so that we can live in Him! How awesome is that! Would we choose to go through the painful circumstances, by no means! But to be used by God, to be trusted by Him to come through it and help others who are still struggling, how awesome!

So, that's where I'm at today. Really, the title of my last post ("Yes, I'm still alive") was very relevant to what He was trying to teach me. I was just "living". Now I'm "living free"! May you all find that freedom in Jesus Christ as well (if you haven't already found it!)

Love you all!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Yes, I'm still alive

I figured it's been a while since I last posted so I should at least let you all know that I'm still alive. I'm really, really struggling right now. Life just seems overwhelming to me. I've seen a doctor she did not recommend depression medication, which was suggested to me by a very good friend. She said to try and get more sunshine and exercise, to find people to talk to, and to do some things that I enjoy. So I'm doing those things, but it's not helping a whole lot. 
I'm overwhelmed at work. My boss is on vacation and I'm trying to fill in for what she does. And even though she's been training me for several weeks, and I'm fairly comfortable with the actual process, it's still very stressful. It's also inevitable that problems will arise that are out of the usual when she's gone. 

And then there's this struggle that God and I seem to be in lately. There's a song by Barlow Girl called Never Alone which I've never understood exactly before, but which now makes perfect sense to me. 

Here's the lyrics:

I waited for you today
But you didn't show
No no no
I needed You today
So where did You go?
You told me to call
Said You'd be there
And though I haven't seen You
Are You still there?

I cried out with no reply
And I can't feel You by my side
So I'll hold tight to what I know
You're here and I"m never alone

And though I cannot see You
And I can't explain why
Such a deep, deep reassurance
You've placed in my life

We cannot separate
'Cause You're part of me
And though You're invisible
I'll trust the unseen

I cried out with no reply
And I can't feel You by my side
So I'll hold tight to what I know
You're here and I"m never alone

We cannot separate
You're part of me
And though You're invisible
I'll trust the unseen

I cried out with no reply
And I can't feel You by my side
So I'll hold tight to what I know
You're here and I"m never alone

There is this verse in the Bible that talks about if a child asks for bread, that it's parent won't give it a stone. And how if we, being evil, do these good things for our children, then how much more will our heavenly Father do good things for us. Problem is, lately, it seems like every time I ask for bread I get a boulder thrown at me. 

In fact, I'm almost afraid to ask Him for ANYTHING right now because I'm kind of afraid of what He'll give me instead. Cuz I can be fairly confident that it will be pretty much the opposite of what I've asked for. But I'm used to having constant conversation with Him, so I catch myself starting to pray, starting to ask for something, and then I stop myself. And then I feel guilty for not praying. It's like being in a fight with your best friend. And I don't want to feel this way, and I'm trying to choose not to feel this way, but it's always there, like a big pink elephant in the room...I just can't ignore it cuz it's not going away. 

Don't get me wrong. I believe in God. I love Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God. I am trying to draw closer to Him because He says that if we draw closer to Him then He'll draw closer to us. I'm trying very hard to serve Him. I'm also trying very hard to be respectful and I apologize to Him and all of you if this blog seems disrespectful to God. That's not my intention. I'm just very frustrated and really don't know what to do with all of this.

I'm still struggling so hard with Gracie's death. I read her mom's latest journal talking about how she's trying to go on with life, with her husband on the road working, with her going about with "normal" routine with their 3-year old, and struggling so hard that her time with Gracie is over, that it almost seems as if it didn't happen. But it did. So many of us prayed so hard for God to heal her. And He chose not to. It's just like we all prayed SO HARD for Him to heal Joel, and He chose not to. And another story I've been following, so many people prayed so hard for Him to heal Isaac, and He chose not to. 

I just don't get it. I don't understand. My heart breaks for these wounded mommies that are all around us, who have lost their children and are going through a pain that most of us could never understand without going through the same thing. But their hearts are broken, and they still have to go on with life because they have husbands, or other children still walking this earth, or jobs, or whatever it is that they need to continue on for. But they are walking around with broken hearts because they've had to bury their children. I just don't understand why these children have to die! 

And my heart is broken too by their passing. He grew this love in my heart for these children and their moms, He led me to pray, in faith, that He would heal them, and then He didn't. I just don't get it. And my heart hurts so badly for them and there's nothing I can do to help them! I'm even afraid to pray for them because if He continues answering my prayers with opposites, then what will happen to them if I do pray. 

Ugh...I need to go and get some sleep. I have to work tomorrow morning and finish putting the paper together and send it to the printer. Cassie and Chris are going to the Halloween dance in Kasota and then having friends overnight. Then my friend is coming over to scrapbook with me on Saturday. Maybe getting some creative juices flowing will help lift some of this sadness that has crept into my soul. 

I'm planning on going tanning on Monday and I've heard the Vitamin D in the light is supposed to help depression too. Thanks to Jenn for that gift! Something has to work because this really sux right now. I never understood what Mom was talking about when she was struggling with depression without medication. I just thought it was a choice to feel better or not. Sorry Mom...I had no idea. 

Good night all. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day. Maybe the sun will shine. Maybe work will go smoothly. Maybe...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Clean Bill of Health

I've been visiting the doctor recently. Three visits in the past 10 days. I'd have to say that's a record for me who probably hasn't been to the doctor that many times in the past three years!

Why, you might ask, would a doctor-resistant individual such as myself go see one three times in ten days? Well, peer pressure was the most influential factor over my decision. Also feeling so crummy/shaky/hot that I felt like I was about to pass out pushed me over the edge and right into the clinic. I've been being "nagged" for a while now that I should get checked for diabetes. 
1.)My grandpa had it & my mom has it. 
2.)If I eat my favorite Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch or Cocoa Krispies for breakfast I will, without fail, get shaky/hot/pass-out-feeling within two hours. 
3.)That scenario started playing out with more and more frequency until it was almost constant. 
4.)I'm overweight

So, hi-ho-hi-ho, it's off to the good doctor I go to be poked and prodded. Ok, she's a nurse practitioner, not an m.d., and she didn't really poke and prod. She did ask a lot of questions and made me go to the mean lab lady who did poke my finger and take about 2 drops of blood from me.  Then two days later I was back with another not-so-mean lab lady who stuck a needle in my arm and stole two vials of blood from me (but nicely). And then finally this morning back to the clinic for my results. And they are....

(drumroll please)

I'm healthy as a...uh...ummm...well, I'm healthy, ok? No diabetes. Thyroid is a-ok. Cholesterol is wonderful. Woo hoo! At my first appt she said that whether or not I end up diabetic, I really should start counting carbs (instead of the calories I'd been counting). She explained it this way: When I eat a lot of carbs, my blood sugar jumps up. Then my body has to send out a ton of insulin to take that sugar away, then when my sugars level out, I feel shaky/hot/pass-out-feeling, so then I'd eat something again to bring the sugars back up, and it's a crazy, spinning cycle. Besides which, after a "crash" (which is what I call the shaky/hot/pass-out-feeling thing), I'd be exhausted as my body recovered from the trauma. So generally, I felt like crap all the time. 

So she advised me to start counting carbs and try to stick to 30-45 grams of carbohydrates every two-three hours. Doing this would give me little bumps of sugar, so only a little insulin would be kicked out, so I wouldn't experience the crash. Sounded logical to me, and I was already used to counting calories, so I figured it was worth a shot. (Thank you to for making that easy to track!!!)

OK, so now I know that counting carbs is a LOT different! I mean, 1+1 still =2 and all, but it's a whole new way of eating. Things I used to eat cuz they were fairly low in calories are actually high in carbs and vice versa. So I can't just go into the kitchen and grab something. I have to look at the nutritional info first, do some calculating, decide if that little bit of food will satisfy me for 2-3 hours, and then prepare and eat the food. And it usually doesn't satisfy me, but I have to tell myself that I can eat again in just a couple of hours, and that helps my brain/stomach be ok with the tiny portions that I get.

For instance...last night I was able to measure out 1/2 cup of chili and a half a piece of cornbread and eat that with 5 crackers and 3/4 tablespoon of syrup. Let me tell you that a 1/2 cup of anything is not very much food!  But that was about 45 grams of carbs, so that was what I got. The amazing thing is, that while I wasn't satisfied by any means, I wasn't starving like I thought I would be, and I made it to the next meal just fine. (Whew!)

The good thing about all of this? I've lost 4 pounds in 10 days and I haven't had one "crash" in that same amount of time. In fact, I actually feel like I have a little more energy than I did before. So I'm going to keep this up and see where it goes. After all, it is "doctor's orders" lol.

Now if I can just get this depression thing kicked, I might be ok after all. I did have her give me an assessment for that too, by the way and I came back mid-range. Since I'm not a big fan of medication, we opted for me to try and get more exercise to shoot out some endorphins and maybe light some candles whenever it's gloomy out and to get into the sunshine whenever it's out too. She also gave me a recommendation that my husband is sure to like, but we'll see about that. (wink wink lol).

Cassie is off to homecoming tonight (we let her off her current grounding cycle for this special night). She's never gone or wanted to go to homecoming before at her old school, so I'm excited to see her get involved in the new school. She even dressed up for every single dress-up day at school for it! Amazing! She's got a new boy that she likes and he's been to the house a couple of times. He seems ok....for a boy. In general Dar and I aren't big fans of 15-16 year old boys because they all seem to think our daughter is pretty and fun and cool to be with. Ugh! I mean, we know she is, but we're her parents so we're supposed to. We just don't like members of the boy-club noticing these things about her! lol

Dar's working tonight at Domino's, so it'll be Chris and I this Friday night. Unless, of course, he finds a friend to hang with, then I might actually get a whole night to myself! That would be amazing! I might even have time to clean my house, or scrapbook, or watch a movie, or even just go to bed early. We'll see what happens.

Now I'm off to to design and phones to answer.

Love ya'll!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I've been struggling for a while. As most of you know, the darling little girl I've been praying for for 6 months, Gracie Jean Lockyer, passed away last week.

July when I met and prayed for Gracie

Gracie on October 3rd

I've had a hard time with that. I really believed God would heal Gracie. I couldn't understand why He gave me a dream about her that "What Gracie wants, Gracie gets", introduced me to her journey, allowed me to go and meet her parents and her and connect in such a powerful way, only to take her away and let her die.

I've been kind of angry with Him, but mostly disappointed. Wondering if I can still trust Him to be faithful when I feel like He's let me (and the Lockyer family and so many others) down. And so I withdrew a bit. I didn't turn my back on my faith or stop believing in Him, not at all, I just had to take some time and process and reflect and decide what I believed. The thing is, the whole time, I thought it was Him that had withdrawn. But it wasn't, it was me. I found that out last night.

See, we went on a weekend trip to Duluth (which I'll tell you about and share some pics next posting) and we, as a family, had a blast! I had fun, enjoyed His creation, connected as a family. And then I came home and immediately was depressed again. So I walked yesterday and cried out to Him to please show Himself again. I asked, over and over again, "what is wrong with me?!?" Why am I sad all the time? Why does nothing bring me lasting joy? What am I doing wrong? I love Jesus. I serve Him. I listen for and hear His voice in my spirit. I strive for intimacy with Him. I desire Him. So again...what is wrong with me???

Ended up in Ecclesiastes in the Message Bible last night and you know, it pretty much described my feelings to a T! What's the point of any of it?
  • I go on a vacation, have a blast, create memories & bond as a family, and come home to go back to work, school, messy house, crazy schedule, just like before.
  • I clean my house, organize it and make it shiny and neat only to have it get messy and dirty again.
  • I work hard, put in lots of hours, make money and pay off a bill, only to have another one come due.
  • I complete a project at work, am told that it looked terrific and that I did a great job, only to move on to another one.
  • I prepare, cook, and sit down and enjoy a meal of comfort food only to gain weight and be hungry again in a few hours.
  • Mom and/or Kate & Nicky & Tony come home and we enjoy our time together only for them to leave me again surrounded by my tears because I miss them so.

What's the point to any of it? As the writer of Ecclesiastes says, "It's all smoke". A mist. Here, then gone & forgotten. Memories fade. Clean homes get dirty. $ flutters away. Kudos on a job well done fall into the distant memory. The body ends up in the grave. Tears are forgotten. Good food results in hunger a few hours later. It's all smoke...a mist. Again, quoting Ecclesiastes I hate life. Far as I can see, what happens on earth is a bad business. It's all smoke and mist.

Pretty depressing, eh? Now that it's all on paper, I can see why I was so depressed with these thoughts rumbling around in my subconscious (or consciousness). But over the past 12 hours God did show up and make Himself visible to me again and spoke to me through His Word.

Ecc 5...After all the smoke clears, here's the best way to live. Take care of yourself, have a good time & make the most out of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life. That's about it. The human lot. Make the most of what God gives, bounty, the capacity to enjoy it, delight in the work. It's God's gift. God deals out joy in the present, the NOW. It's useless to brood...on a good day, enjoy yourself. On a bad day, examine your conscience. God arranges for both kinds of days so that we won't take anything for granted.

Just before dawn this morning, I had a dream. He speaks to me so often in dreams. This one was about two babies. One baby is healthy, pink, beautiful and is born to a couple who "has it all". They are rich, powerful, have all the right connections, the big house, the perfect family, the whole shebang.

As I turn away from their perfect life and perfect baby, I find the second baby. This one is sick. She was born with no legs and has been abandoned because she needs a lot of TLC to live, to survive. I pick her up and wrap her in a beautiful soft pink blanket and care for her. I love on her like no other has. I eventually come to find out that this darling baby I'm caring for was actually born to the "perfect family" with the other baby, but they threw her away because of her imperfections.

(Side note: Also in this dream, and I know it's connected, is a couple who most of us know who lost their little boy this past year. In the dream, they are having a wedding (even though they are already married) and are celebrating with those they love. He hasn't revealed the whole interpretation for me yet, but I know this symbolizes NEW BEGINNINGS.)

I believe God was telling me in this dream that the meaning in it is the gift He's given me. I've always rooted for the "underdog", the weak. I accept the unacceptable. I love the unloveable. I have a heart for the babies who are sick and dying and their wounded mommies who are left behind. This is what He's called me to do.

At one point after Gracie died, I asked Him not to send me any more sick babies because it's too hard if He's just going to take them away anyway. But as a very wise friend told me, maybe it's not about praying them healed. If these families didn't have all these people praying for them, encouraging them, believing right along with them that their child would be saved, then what do they have? They'd be all alone with no hope or support. So maybe it's more about the wounded mommies (and daddies, and families) that are left behind than it is about the babies who get to go be with Jesus.

As I reflected on all of this this morning, again He spoke to me through Ecclesiastes 8. Do what your king commands; you gave a sacred oath of obedience. Don't worryingly second-guess your orders or try to back out when the task is unpleasant. You're serving His pleasure, not yours. The king has the last word. Who dares say to him, "What are you doing?"

We attended a church called Prince of Peace in Duluth over the weekend. The pastor spoke on us as Christians being a holy priesthood, something I've heard taught several times. But something he said just came to mind when I typed the work obedience. He said that the priests would have blood sprinkled on their right ear, their right thumb, and their right toe. The ear symbolizes hearing what God is telling you to do and obeying. The thumb represents doing what He has told you to do, and the toe represents going where He tells you to go.

Ecclesiastes 8 one more time. I realized that if you keep your eyes open day & night without even blinking, you'll still never figure out the meaning of what God is doing on this earth. Search as hard as you like, you're not going to make sense of it.

So that's where I'm at this morning. It's been pretty intense, but I'm thankful for that. I love learning and being taught by God Himself. It's much better than the depression I've had for the past several weeks.When He gives me things, I write them down on index cards that I have all over my house. This pulling all the thoughts together from the past 12 hours has really helped me to sort through all of this. I knew it all tied together, and writing it all out like this gave it the coherent thread that it needed. So thanks for listening.

Love you posting...DULUTH! :-)

Friday, October 3, 2008


We're going camping near Duluth this weekend. I work for a couple of hours and then the kids and I will head to Plymouth to pick up Dar from work and drive the rest of the way together. He didn't want his car sitting all weekend, so I drove him to meet his carpool this morning. That meant getting up at O'Dark:30. I don't know how he does it every day! If I had my way I'd be up most of the night and then sleep most of the morning...until at least noon! Oh well...c'est la vie, right?

So we've got the tent, the lawn chairs, the firewood, the sweatshirts and jackets all packed. The low tonight at Duluth is supposed to be 31! Highs all weekend in the 50's. So it'll be a chilly weekend, but fun still. We plan on relaxing, hiking, exploring. We used to go camping every fall up there while we were dating, but I don't think we've been since we had kids. We used to stay at Jay Cooke State Park, but state parks are so expensive these days, it's a private campground called Indian Point right on the St. Louis River for us.

So how's Cassie doing? She's doing good! She had a slight relapse last weekend, but we've worked through that one. One thing I've discovered is when she's freaking out if I can get her to be still long enough to start rubbing her back, she calms down. She's very high-touch and that seems to sooth her even when she is screaming that she hates me! lol

They are at mid-quarter at her new school and she's doing quite well there too. She's got an A, a B+, a B, a B-, a C and one class that's missing a couple of scores so the grade isn't up yet. We are very proud of her! She's been getting all her homework done and assignments turned in, attending every day, and generally behaving herself. We talked last night about what the difference is. She said she thinks better and isn't so distracted. She also said because the two bad-influence girls aren't around her, she's not tempted to skip. She also said she used to worry about whether or not she was going to skip. I thought that was interesting. But she's hanging out with kids who go to school, do their homework, and generally behave themselves. All of that helps, I believe. I'm just very thankful to the Lord that we seem to be on the other side of all of this. Keep praying...God is hearing our prayers and answering them with Yes and Amen!

Another fairly "big" thing in my life is that I'm getting tested for diabetes. I've been getting nagged for a long time to get tested, and I've been gradually feeling crappier and crappier. Like the "shakies" that I used to get a lot, then was able to control by eating smarter, have been slowly increasing in frequency again, no matter how healthy I'm eating. I also finally met a dr that I like (well, she's an RN, but she's thorough, pleasant, helpful, and gentle), so I made an appt with her last week. I go in this morning for a bunch of labwork, then full physical next Friday. In the meantime she's had me start counting carbs. I'm supposed to eat between 30-45 carb grams per meal/snack and eat every 2-3 hours. So after calorie counting for the past year, I'm re-learning how to count...carbs this time. I'm surprised by things that have larger numbers of carbs and lower calories, or lower numbers of carbs and higher calories. It's a whole new ballgame for me! Zsaaaaaaaaaaaaa (that would be from Allie Cat walking across the laptop keys while I was texting with my hubby and not looking for a minute. Cats! lol)

Anyway, I'm off to shower, go get my labs done, change the fish water, finish packing the van, work for a couple of hours, change clothes, and head to Duluth! See you on Monday!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Puffy Heads and Shiny Fishies

Wow...I'm 38 and one week old today. LOL

Tomorrow my "little" brother turn 29. Scary! You can see his picture on the last post...he's hiding in a bush. :-)

Life gets SO busy sometimes I barely have time to catch my breath. I really felt like just crawling right back into bed this morning instead of coming to work. I'm fighting off a sinus/cold and feel really icky. You know that feeling where your head is in a bubble and feels about 50 pounds heavier than it usually is? Yup, that's the one. I just want to lay it down for a while and rest my burning, itching eyes. Alas, it is not to be. I work til 5 (with a trip to the courthouse on my afternoon break to visit Cassie's probation officer with her), then supper and worship practice from 7 until 9, then I can lay my heavy, swollen head on my pillow and drift off into dreamland and hopefully wake up feeling better. :-)

Some of you may remember that all of our fishies died while we were in North Carolina on vacation in July. The tank wasn't doing all that well before we left, actually, and we'd been losing fish several times a week before we went. Well, the rest of them went to fishy-heaven while we were out galavanting in the ocean-side state. Since then our sad, empty tank has sat there, growing algea, breaking down the last of the fish-corpses as they went from mold to nothing in the water. 

Finally three weeks ago we had the time, energy, and wherewithal to empty it out, boil all the parts, and put it back together. So for the past two weeks it's been sitting all shiny and new, but still empty. Dar and I stopped at Petco last night and bought TWO new fishies for our tank! (and the crowd cheers! OK, maybe not the crowd, but the Mohlenbrock's certainly did). They're shiny and new too! Seriously shiny!  We got two Silver Mollies because they were on sale at Petco and they're live-bearers and relatively hardy fish. Our ultimate goal is a community tank with several species(?) of fish, but we needed to start with just a couple so our tank can get used to having LIVE fish in there again. 

Anyway, that is the highlight of our week so far and it's good to see a couple little swimmers bringing life to our tank again. Hi ho, hi ho, it's back to work I go. :-)

Monday, September 15, 2008

I'm hiding in the bush...shhhhh

OK, so you may be wondering what in the world is up with the picture of me in a shrubbery saying "shhhhh"?!?!? Has Kendra gone off the deep end? Well, that may be true, but it's not the cause of the photo lol.

As you know I turned 38 last Thursday. Now, I'm not freaking out over this number because in my brain, age is how you feel not what the number is on your driver's license. I feel 23, so that's how old I am. I don't look 38, I don't act 38, and I certainly don't feel 38, so there you have it. I'm 23. :-)  But, back to the bushes...

I suppose I must attribute something to the number of years I've walked this planet and that is that I've finally "grown up" enough to realize that I don't have to go out and get drunk to celebrate my birthday. Then again, maybe I should attribute that to my walk with the Lord and where's He's brought me in my life. Regardless, I wanted to go out and celebrate my birthday with my friends but I didn't want to play the slam-shots/see-how-drunk-you-can-get game.  

So what's a girl to do? 

Most of you reading this were probably there, so you can attest to this...I sent out an email whining about how my DH had to work and I wanted to go celebrate, and would anyone please join me? I have wonderful friends and family who said they'd join me, and plans were made to meet at the Sugar Room in downtown Mankato on Friday night. The Sugar Room is a tiny little jazz club that serves up yummy food and great music. So I'm picturing in my head how the night might go and realized that sitting around a table eating and listening to music didn't sound very exciting and I wanted exciting!  So I came up with the idea of doing a scavenger hunt. :-)  

By Googling "adult scavenger hunts" and thinking about things that I like, I came up with 13 ideas and made up a list. The plan was to find the things on the list and take a picture with digital cameras for "proof". Here's our list, the story behind their selections, and a few of the photos....

1. the coolest pen you can find (Anyone who knows me knows I have a pen fetish and love to collect awesome looking pens!)

2. something purple (also anyone who knows me at all knows that I LOVE the color purple and sometimes randomly yell out "PURPLE" just for fun. If I describe something as purple, it means it's awesome, very cool or just flat out fabulous). The best thing we found was a purple Harley with blue ground lights. Dar and I have a dream of owning a couple of bikes and when the kids graduate we're going to take off and tour the country. So this one definitely won the prize of being my favorite!

3. someone (not in our group) born in 1970 (it took us three hours and 3 locations to find someone born the same year as me. Most of the time we got these incredulous looks and comments that 1970 was light years ago and we must be ancient! lol) Following is the photo of the co-1970'er. 

4. a tube of lipstick or gloss with a cool name

5. someone holding a screwdriver that was in their purse/pocket (ok...a bit of background here. When Dar and I had been married about a year we were in the middle of a HUGE fight and pushing each others buttons. I was standing in our bedroom door with a screwdriver in my hand. I think I'd been fixing something. He was half sitting/half laying on our bed. He pushed one too many buttons a little too hard and I let the screwdriver fly. As soon as it left my hand I realized what I'd done, obviously too late to stop it. Thank God He loves me and caused the screwdriver to hit Dar in the chest with the handle and not the tip! We don't fight nearly as violently anymore and I certainly don't throw screwdrivers anymore!!!! But this is the reason for the screwdriver being on the list lol)

6. a member of our group dancing with a stranger (we have some single ladies in our group so I thought this would be fun  :-)

7. We were in pairs and one person from each pair had to sing a karoake song and get their picture taken. Dan (my brother) was one of the singers and you can see/hear him in this video...

8. someone (not in our group) who has had their 15 minutes of fame (ie: been in the paper, on TV, been a hero, performed in public, etc) The gentleman below performed with a gymnastics team that won State and they got to perform on ESPN. Very cool! Way to go! :-)

9. a sock with a hole in it (preferably on a foot)

10. a couple (not in our group) kissing

11. one person in the pair hugging a stranger (everyone needs a hug now and then)

12. a stranger's tattoo

13. one person in the pair hiding in a bush and saying "shhhh" (this is from a movie I recently watched with the kids called Son of Ranbow. It was very cute and this line was my favorite from the movie...thus it got included in the list) Everyone had fun with this so here's a couple of photos..

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A birthday blessing...

I just have to tell you how Cassie blessed me on my birthday! She gave me a card that says 

"Happy Birthday Mom; Everyone thinks their mom's the best, but they can't all be right; (inside) Just me." Then she wrote: "Even though most our lifes together we've been on a roller coaster of've always been there for me through the best and the worst times. You'll always be my #1 Mom! I love you with everything. Happy 38th Birthday!"

I will tell you right now...I cried. My number one goal as a mom is to be there for them, to love them unconditionally, and for them to know that no matter what they do, I will always stand by their side. Not everyone understands this or agrees with it, and it certainly doesn't mean that we just sit back and let them do whatever they want. We discipline, train, teach, give appropriate consequences, but through it all I want them to feel and know LOVE and GRACE just like Jesus has always shown me LOVE and GRACE! 

This card was such a blessing to me because the past year has been a roller coaster ride, and we've had some rough moments. She's told me she hates me, she's told us "f*%k your rules", she's thrown God and our faith back in our face. But through it all, we have loved her. And now, a year later (one year ago on Monday she disappeared for the first time for 30+ hours), I feel we are on the right track again, and her message to me on my birthday is testimony to that. 

Are we "in the clear"? Absolutely not. Is she the "perfect child"? One does not exist. Are we "perfect parents"? IMPOSSIBLE. BUT, we are headed in the right direction and for the first time in a year, I SEE the hope. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1) and we've had faith that God would bring her through all this, faith without having anything of substance to base it on, and now, God has brought us hope. We will NOT grow weary in doing good for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up! (Galatians 6:9) God is good. God is faithful. God is worthy of all our faith and trust. And to HIM goes all the glory and praise and credit for everything good in our life.

To quote a family who set this example for us, who showed us how to be parents who never, ever, ever give up hope and faith...

Kendra :-)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bye-Bye Bipolar

We met with the Psychologist this week and after further testing she has determined that Cassie does NOT have bipolar disorder. She said she will "leave it on the table" as it was brought up by another psychologist, but had we brought Cassie in, with no prior testing, she would never have brought it up herself. She clearly has ADHD and some peripheral disorders such as Conduct Disorder and Social something Disorder, but she believes those are a spin-off of the undiagnosed ADHD and that as we get the ADHD handled, they should fade out. Woo Hoo! This is good news. Cassie seems to be on the upswing. They psychiatrist upped her Strattera once again to 60mg from 40 and this medication does seem to be helping. 

Cass likes her new school and seems at this point to be doing very well. I am waiting for the login and password info to check on her grades online, but appearances seem to be good. I'm praying that she's on the upswing!

Spiritually, she seems to be heading in the right direction. I was having a rough day yesterday and today at work and I had to go pick her up from school today (she got sick at school :-( ) On the way home she said "it's ok'll get better. Have you prayed?" MY daughter asking me if I've prayed! Again...Woo Hoo! This is good news. I've said from the beginning that this is a spiritual battle and this is more confirmation that God's side is winning! She also said that my bad day is just satan attacking me and I can make it through. I thought it was very sweet how she encouraged me, and it did help. I'd been telling myself that all day anyway, and yes, I'd been praying, but it's always good to hear it from someone else and to confirm it. 

Anyway, things seem to be looking up in the Cassie area.

Chris is enjoying 6th grade as much as any 6th grade boy can enjoy school. He doesn't like doing homework, but his best friend is in his class and lives a half a block away, so they do it together a lot which helps. Ad he is getting it done, so whatever it takes, right? 

Oh, and in case you didn't know...IT'S MY BIRTHDAY TODAY! Yup, I'm another year older. 38 now! Where does the time go? I still feel like I'm in my 20's but with a daughter who will be driving next year and a son who will be in 7th grade next year, I guess that's not possible, is it? Oh well. I work all day today at the front desk of the paper then Dar and I have worship practice tonight from 7-9, so there won't be any going out for my birthday today. Dar started at Domino's Pizza on Monday and he closes on Friday night and works late night on Saturday, so he can't go out this weekend either. BUT, I'm blessed with friends and siblings who will go celebrate with me, so we're going to go out tomorrow night. I'm not sure yet what we'll do, but something will come up. Any ideas? Email me! I'm open to suggestions!

Better run...lots to do yet...but I wanted to get an update out!
Love ya'll! 

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Cassie started her first day of classes at Cleveland High School today. She's been asking us to let her switch schools for a long time and we've resisted. However, after last year being as horrible as it was, her now being on medication and seeing the psychologist and psychiatrist as well as being on probation (LOTS of accountability in her life right now), we decided that if ever there was a time to try it, this is it. So I made some phone calls and a visit to the new school yesterday and just like that, she's now enrolled in the Cleveland Public School system. 

She was very excited to go today (something we haven't seen in a LOOoooooonnnnngggg time!). She'd texted everyone and told them about the change. Because of her long struggle with anything educational as well as the issues from last year, she did not have enough credits to start as a full 10th grader. Our options were to start her as a 10th grader who has to re-take some 9th grade classes, or to start her as a 9th grader who is accelerated into some 10th grade classes. We decided for the latter, so she is entering the school year as a 9th grader. She said she was ok with that, that she understands that it's because of her previous choices. This is good, to me, that she seems to understand her role in where she's at right now. 

I told her that this is her chance to re-define Cassie Mohlenbrock. She can leave the past behind and move forward into a better life if she so chooses. Some of the kids know her from before, but I think most of them are friends of hers who hopefully won't give her a hard time. The other kids have no idea what's gone on before, so she can start fresh. I think this is what she needs. I'm a parent who will try anything and go to whatever lengths it takes to help her move forward and make better choices. I pray this is the right decision and that she takes this opportunity to re-create who she is and live a better life. Please join me in this prayer. 

Appreciate still and always all the love and support you all give us.
Love ya!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Off to Lifelight tomorrow and other things

I can not believe that it's Labor Day weekend already! It seems summer was just beginning, we were anticipating court, planning our vacation, even dreading what might happen with Cassie for three long months of me working and her being on her own. Well, we've made it to the other side with nothing horrible happening. I've heard that 90% of what we worry about never comes to pass. It's the other 10% that worry me! (pun intended lol). But really, it never ceases to amaze me how fast summer flies by.

So while we say goodbye to summer, vacation, carefree, sometimes-schedule free days, sleeping in on occasion, summer sunshine and all of the other summer stuff, we here in the Mohlenbrock household send summer out with a bang! We head to Lifelight Festival in Sioux Falls tomorrow. Most of you have heard me go on endlessly about Lifelight and how much fun we have at it, how awesome it is, but in case you haven't heard, let me tell you. :-) Lifelight is the largest FREE Christian music festival in the nation. A couple of hundred THOUSAND people attend and listen to band after band after band on four different stages. Our favorite is the Souled Out stage which features more "edgy" bands like Family Force 5, Skillet, Grits, etc...rock, rap, krunk, any genre that's not "mainstream". More "normal" artists like Michael W. Smith, Casting Crowns and Natalie Grant will be on the mainstage. There's also a kids' stage and a gospel stage, but I can honestly say I've never personally heard anyone playing on those stages...just not what we go for.

After the mud-nightmare of two years ago, we're ready to try camping again. Not in the South Dakota field this time though, we're staying at a KOA in Sioux Falls and driving in to the festival every day. I just wasn't willing to risk getting stuck in 6 inches of mud in the middle of the night again. That and they were full up at the festival camping itself. That's ok...there's 7 of us going this year and we'll have fun with our open fire pit (not allowed on the festival grounds), 24-hour/day showers (limited hours and not enough showers on the festival grounds) and quiet hours for those of us who are old enough to want to sleep at all. I personally am hoping to stay up late both nights at the late-night praise and worship sessions they're hosting this year. There's nothing like worshiping the King of Kings with hundreds of Christian brothers and sisters late into the night. In case you can't tell...I LOVE LIFELIGHT!!!!!! I believe this is our 5th or 6th year attending as a family. Next year they are starting a second festival in Colorado and maybe we'll try out the new location for something new. We'll see. That costs a lot more money to travel that far...

Speaking of money, I hate the government! OK, hate might be a little strong, but they sure frustrate me! We are on MinnesotaCare (which I am grateful for, otherwise we wouldn't have any medical insurance at all), but were up for renewal this last month. I sent in our income information, they sent a letter asking for more info (paystubs I'd already submitted!), I faxed that to them with my cell number in case they had more questions, they sent me another letter for more information, I faxed that to them. Finally today, August 28th, I get the information on our new premium. I opened the letter and couldn't believe my eyes...they TRIPLED our premium! We were paying $116 and now, with 24 hours left in the fiscal month to pay it, we have to come up with another $225 and pay $341! Like we have an extra $225 laying around. If we did, we probably wouldn't need to be on MinnesotaCare at all! Not to mention the fact that we don't have an extra $225 ANY month of the year! I panicked, started crying, called and questioned them on it, only to be treated like I was stupid for not understanding how it could TRIPLE when our income certainly didn't triple! We have hit the income bracket where we make too much to qualify for any assistance, but don't make enough to actually survive and pay all our bills. I love how they "reward" hard work. We'd be better off if I quit my job! As is stands, we no longer qualify for reduced-lunches either.

Anyway, I still don't know what we're going to do. With Cassie's issues, I certainly can't NOT pay it and not have insurance at all. We see a psychologist weekly, a psychiatrist monthly and have daily anti-depressents to buy now, plus the meds that Dar is on daily. I'm trying very hard to not worry, but it's hard to stop my brain from working overtime. I came home from work and after the millionth time of realizing I was still worrying the problem over in my head, put on praise music. It's hard to worry when you're praising Jesus! I've asked my Daddy (Pappa...God) for some help, and now I have to wait and see what He says. I'm hoping He'll take pity on us, open up the storehouses of heaven and give us a little extra every month so we can pay our bills. After all, He does own the cattle on a thousand hills and is the Creator of Heaven and Earth, so He's definitely ABLE to help. Now we just have to find out if it's His will, or if there is major lesson that we have to learn through all this first.

Speaking of lessons learned...Cassie finished her 5th and last day of Community Service this week. She's still got a few months of probation as well as another court date coming up for getting busted at Treemendous Park last month. She's also still got to take the tobacco class and the cognitive skills class. She's only earned $20 toward her $120 in court fees/fines, but she's looking for another job. I'm praying she finds one soon.

Anyway...I've spent way too long on this update. I've got packing to do! What am I thinking?!? LOL

Love you all...see you after Lifelight!


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sleep, sweet, deep, sleep

Quit night last night. I let the kids go spend the night at a friend's house. Dar worked, then we watched a movie. I went for a walk, made some brownies, and played the keyboard while he was at was nice to have some alone time. Went to bed at 11:30 and didn't wake up until 9:40 this morning! Wow! I can't remember the last time I slept that long. I must've really needed the sleep. In fact, I know I did cuz I've been exhausted no matter what I do to get energy.
Thank you Lord for a good night's sleep!

Sleep kind of seems to be another "theme" that's going on. I've needed it. I mentioned a couple of posts ago about Cassie being blessed with deep, restful sleep. I read Tina Wagner's Caring Bridge entry ( and she's having trouble sleeping well, and could use a blessing of many nights of deep, restful sleep. Perhaps God is saying to His, rest in ME, let Me restore your energy, your life, your health, through MY deep, restful sleep. Let Him lay you down beside the still waters and restore your soul...we all need it and in this crazy culture of ours, we don't get it very often.

Rest well my friends...until next time.
So here's something interesting. I have KLOVE's encouraging Word of the day emailed to my every day. I just opened up today's Word and it's this:
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, O Lord, will keep me safe. ~ Psalm 4:8 NLT
Hmmm....more to this theme of sleep, eh?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Giving credit where credit is due

Can I just say how amazing God is?

You all know Cassie doesn't sleep well at night. Well, the night of the earache incident, she was very upset and restless, so I went in to her and rubbed her back to try and relax her. I prayed that God would wrap her in His mighty arms and hold her close, ease her pain, and allow her to fall into a deep, restful sleep the entire night through. I went out, shut her door, and set her door alarm so that if she did get up we'd know it. Guess what? She didn't wake up all night long! Not even to go to the bathroom! I woke up the next day, got ready for work, shut off her alarm, and went to work. Last night she texted me after she went to bed and asked if I'd come rub her back again for a few minutes to help relax her, so I did. And again, I prayed and asked God to allow her to sleep deeply and restfully. Again, I set the door alarm, just in case, and again, she slept the entire night through! 

Normally, with Cassie, it's kind of like having a newborn in the house, where you get up every few hours with them because they simply have needs. And the relief when the baby starts to sleep through the night is so immense that it is very noticeable. That's how it is with us. It's such a blessing for us as well as for her, to sleep the whole night through. 

So I had to come on and give credit where credit is due. GOD allowed us these two nights of rest, GOD held our daughter so she could sleep deeply instead of being up all night. And GOD is the One I thank for this blessing. Thank You Father...we love You and appreciate You. You are amazing and we are so thankful to be Your children!

Monday, August 18, 2008


I'm pondering contentment this afternoon. Why, you might ask? Because I'm feeling DIScontent, and I'm not sure why. I'm not even sure what I am discontent about. So I'll explore my're welcome to come along if you like.

I'll admit I'm discontent with my relationship with Jesus. I want to be closer to Him. I want to spend more time with Him. I have not read my Bible today, and have only had on-the-fly conversation with Him. I try to wake up early and talk to Him, read my Bible, etc. but after Motorcycle Sunday yesterday, I was too exhausted! Yesterday we were up at 6:30, at the church by 7:30 for worship team practice, sang for first service, second service, the the RFKC fundraiser hog roast, then singing again in the hot sun for an hour, then tearing down the stage, the chairs, etc and finally home at 5 where Dar and I promptly fell asleep on the couch for an hour. Then we woke up, ran to the store to get something to make for supper and picked up a movie, came home, cooked, started the movie, then I took Cassie to the ER for her ear infection (re: last post if you missed it) Whew! I wonder why I was exhausted, eh?

I usually go for a walk with Him down by Mill Pond on my break, but today I had to run Cassie's prescription for her antibiotic to the pharmacy, go home and give her the numbing ear drops and the antibiotic drops, grab something to eat and get back to work...all on my fifteen minute break. So much for my time with Jesus this morning.

So I'm sure missing spending time with Him is part of my discontent.

What else...

Family. Relationships. They are always hard. I'm very people-oriented. I need time with people (and I need the balancing time alone) and I crave relationships. The kids stressed me out today by going swimming and being gone for 5 hours. Cass went under the water with her infected ear and then gave me the blank look and the "what did I do wrong" spiel. Ugh! They are eating and drinking us out of house and home! And of course, the house is a mess because of them and their friends being here all day while we're at work. So we had a family meeting tonight when Dar got home, which went fine until Dar laid down the law that there would be "NO MORE FRIENDS IN THE HOUSE WHILE WE'RE AT WORK FROM NOW UNTIL SCHOOL STARTS". No discussing it with me first, not even a mention to me first, no questions like "Hey, honey, how would that affect YOUR life if I make this rule since you're the one who works in town and handles all the kid-issues during the day?" (And yes, it does greatly affect me cuz at least when they're occupied with friends they're not calling me at work or coming by my job cuz they're fighting or bored or just have a question...I'm sure my boss LOVES all those interruptions to my work!) Nope, just here's my edict cuz I'm the MAN of the house and this is the way it's going to be. And then when I protested (which of course I know I shouldn't have because it was disrespectful to question him like that in front of the kids), it blew up into a terrific in-front-of-the-kids argument resulting in him storming out of the house to go to his second job and me storming up to my room to sulk. Great....just great. Then Cass asked to go somewhere with a friend and I told her no cuz she disobeyed me today by getting her head wet when she's got an ear infection, so she got mad and stormed away, refusing to answer me when I talked to her.

Other relational issues: I REALLY miss my sister, mom, baby Nicky and yeah, even Tony. I hate them being 1300 miles away and having no idea when I'll get to see them again. Kate's my best friend and it's awfully hard to have her so distant. And when she's in North Carolina we don't talk much cuz we both hate being on the phone. I miss holding my sweet nephew and playing with him and snuggling with him and smelling him and kissing his soft little head. And I miss my mommy. I miss the friendship we used to have. I miss being able to see her and talk to her one-on-one, or have her over for supper like we used to do all the time. She was such good company when Dar was off working and the kids were off doing their thing. Evenings get pretty lonely around this house.

And Joe and Nicole are scheduled to get home from their honeymoon tomorrow. And we didn't exactly part on great terms, which I regret. I regret missing out on the celebration of their wedding because I felt I needed to protect my daughter. I regret the drama and conflict that marked their wedding day for me, instead of the joy and family celebration I would have liked it to be. I wish such a huge deal had not been made about the tiaras that Kate and I wore as a joke to the rehearsal, and then Cassie put mine on for the wedding and got yelled at and bullied into removing. I wish they had not excluded her from any part of the wedding and made her feel so singled out. I wish they had included her enough to at least give her a name-card at the dinner so she at least felt like she belonged in the family. I wish they would just accept her the way she is and love her anyway and encourage her to walk a straighter path because bullying and yelling and excluding her won't draw her toward family and God, rather push her away. So, yes, I am discontent because there is a huge gaping canyon between my brother and me and that hurts because I love all my family SO MUCH!

I'm discontent in my home. Not my house itself, I LOVE my house, but I hate how messy and cluttered it is. And the harder I try to clean it, organize it, declutter it, the worse it seems to get. I so want my home to be a place of peace, a refuge, a place where God is honored and Jesus' name is central to all we say and do, and my home is not that right now. My home is messy, and cluttered, and full of chaos and arguing and disrespect and strife and I don't know how to fix it.

I'm discontent in my finances. Again, it's full of chaos and stress and it's out of control. No matter how we try and spend less, reduce expenses, increase income, etc, it seems we get further and further in the hole. I don't know how to fix it.

So, I'm not content. Where does contentment come from? Does it really come from good relationships and a clean home and money in the checkbook? Hmmm...I don't think so. I think contentment comes from how one looks at relationships and home and money. I think contentment isn't so much the circumstances as it is the attitude about the circumstances. So while I really, really, really want those circumstances to change, I think I first need to change my attitude about them. And since I want to have the attitude of Christ, I need to see what God has to say about contentment.

I Timothy 6:6-8 ~ But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing we will be content with that.

Matthew 6:33 ~ But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Ecclesiastes 8:15 ~ So I commend the enjoyment of life because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life God has given him under the sun.

and 9:7-10 ~ Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do...enjoy life with your [husband] whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun - all your meaningless days, for this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.

and of course, Philippians 4:11-13 ~ ...I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him Who gives me strength.

Psalm 13:5-6 ~ I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for He has been good to me.

Psalm 16:11 ~ You have made known to me the path of life, You will fillme with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand

Psalm 33:20-22 ~ We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice for we trust in His holy name. May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in You.

You know what? I just need time wiht HIM! HE is the source of my contentment. HE is the answer to all my relational issues, my financial challenges, my home being a place of peace and refuge. I think I'll go for a walk and have that chat with Him now. It's cooler now than when I got home from work, so even though I missed my morning "date" with Jesus, I can do it now. He's so amazing that way...He loves us so much that He's always there, waiting, wanting relationship with us and wanting us to want relationship with Him.

So really, missing spending time with Him isn't just part of my discontent, it is the main reason for my discontent. Time to go fix that!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Cassie update

I have been trying to write this update for a week. It's been an emotional week, so I start writing, and discard what I've written, then start again, and delete that too. I'm determined this time to get it written.

Cassie started seeing her psychologist. She has seen her four times now. The first time was a get-to-know-each-other kind of meeting. She's gone in for two sessions of testing, and she's had one actual "session" which stirred up a lot of emotions in my daughter. She came out of the appointment with tears in her eyes. They brought up painful experiences and memories, things that Cassie would rather bury and cover up. All she has told me is that they talked about April 19/20 when she was with John overnight and was most likely sexually assaulted. Her psychologist wants her to write a letter to John, I'm assuming not to be mailed, but to help Cassie deal with her emotions concerning that event. I'm glad they are talking about this. I told Cassie it's like having a rotten piece of fruit in the drawer of your fridge. The only thing that will happen by leaving it there is that it will get more rotten, more nasty, and more smelly. It's a dirty, yucky, smelly job cleaning it up, but once its done, it'll be so much better.

She has served three of her five community service days. She says they're not so bad. They do a lot of mowing, shoveling rocks, moving trees...sounds like they work them hard! But she seems to not mind too much. She serves another this Thursday and then it's only one to go.

Yesterday she went swimming at a local "pond" where they were swinging from a rope into the water. At one point she fell onto her side and sounds like she hit the side of her head pretty good on the surface of the water. She came home complaining of water in her ear and that it hurt pretty bad. Within two hours she was throwing herself around and screaming because it hurt so bad. She was up in her room jumping up and down so hard I seriously thought she would either at best knock stuff off my shelves in the living room or at worst fall through the floor into our laps. We had already tried Tylenol and a heating pad, so I said enough was enough and I took her into the ER (this was 10pm). Turns out she's got a pretty bad ear infection. The doc said her ear is swollen so much he can't tell if it's an inner ear or outer ear infection, so to be safe he's treating it topically (drops) and orally (pills). She's probably had it for a while, and we didn't know it, so it's a good thing she went swimming. Getting water in the ear probably aggravated it enough to make it noticeable (and boy did she notice it!!!). It seems it's the time for hidden things in her life to be brought up to the surface and get dealt with, doesn't it? 

That's all for now folks. Lots more happening in our lives, of course, but if I don't hit "publish post" now, it may be another week before it gets posted. LOL.
Love you all...

Friday, August 1, 2008

Vacation and other stuff

Wow...July 8th?!? That's seriously that last time I let anyone know what's going on in our lives? Hmmm...I better get on the ball. In my defense, I did leave on July 10th for vacation and didn't get back until the 21st. So really, it's only been a week and a half since I could have updated. :-)

Ahhh...vacation. Just thinking about it makes me sigh and get that dreamy look in my eyes. It was a blast. The ocean was the most beautiful, most amazing, awe-inspiring part. I love the ocean. The power behind the waves as they crash onto the shore, bringing shells and rocks and sand up, leaving some behind, dragging the rest back into the mass of water as the wave rejoins the ocean. There were yellow caution flags on the beaches when we were there. Thanks to the tropical storms and hurricanes in the near vicinity, the riptides and waves were definitely something to contend with! But they are also what makes the ocean so beautiful. The sound still echoes in my ears, the pull of the waves on my feet, the pounding as the waves crash into and over me, the sight of the white wave tops as they lift out of the water. Oh, if I could I'd be back there in a second! I told Dar he needs to stop bringing me to the of these times I'm just not going to leave. This is my fourth visit. The first was when I was 16, the second on my honeymoon, the third on my tenth anniversary/1st ever family vacation, and then this time. Each time I get a little closer to planting my roots at the oceanside instead of returning to my beloved Minnesota. So if you ever can't find me? Check the beach! :-)

My second favorite part of vacation was getting to meet Baby Gracie Jean Lockyer and her mom and dad, Amanda and Todd, in Durham, North Carolina. God has laid this baby girl on my heart and I'm completely captivated by her! For those of you who don't know, I dreamed about her, oh, several months ago. Almost five now? I dreamed of a little girl named Gracie, who was in a group of children, but stood out, did things very differently. I asked why she was different and the answer I got was "What Gracie wants, Gracie gets". Now, at the time, I did not know a Gracie. I had never met anyone with that name. About a month later, I "found" a website, a CaringBridge website, about a little girl named Gracie Jean Lockyer, who was three weeks old and was in the hospital since she was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart condition...basically the left side of heart did not develop in the womb and she was in NICU getting treated. Now at almost five months old, she is still in the hospital. She's battled for her life non-stop and is still fighting for life. God has done many miracles in her life already and I look forward to seeing what else He has in store for her! Like I said, she has captivated my heart and I've been praying for her since she was three weeks old. So when I found out that the hospital she is in is only an hour and a half north of Fayetteville, where Katie lives and where we were going on vacation, I knew that I had to go and meet her. So I did. I'll post THAT story on another's a long one.

Back to vacation. We drove through the mountains on our way to North Carolina. The kids had never seen those before, so they were amazed, and I was too, as I always am by such majestic creations from our magnificent God. They are so beautiful! We stopped in Charlotte that Friday night and attended a Holy Spirit Breakout at Morningstar Church there. It was quite an experience and it was great to see so many people worshipping our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. :-) We spent most of our time with Katie and Tony, Mom and Dominic. We got to see the Motor Pool on Fort Bragg, where Tony is stationed in the military. Christopher LOVED that day and claims it as his favorite. We saw tanks and humvees and missile launchers and every other kind of military truck you can imagine. We went to a waterpark one day. Stopped at several museums. One of my favorite parts from the museums was the one on post. They had a beam from the world trade center on display and I got to touch it and get my picture taken by it. I thought that was very awesome to get to see something like that.

We took the car and the kids on a ferry and rode from Southport to Fort Fischer where we swam in the Atlantic Ocean for a couple of hours. Then we rode the ferry back to the mainland. We drove down to Myrtle Beach and spent a day there, swimming, shopping the tourist-shops, and exploring.

Overall, it was quite the awesome vacation. We crammed a LOT of activities in and had a LOT of fun. For the most part we all got along quite well and it was a very refreshing time for our family. I think it's good for the kids to see that not everyone lives like us, that not all areas of this beautiful country look like our river valley, and that it's good and fun to explore the world our God created. In fact, it's a good reminder for us "seasoned" adults as well. Kind of puts life in perspective, you know?

As far as Cassie goes, things are mostly going well. She's taking her medication every day and I believe it is helping. She has not "snuck out" that we know of since before her court hearing. She did have one episode just the other night. She stayed at a friend's house for the first time since returning from vacation. At 2:30am I got a call from the St. Peter police letting us know that she and five other kids had been found "hanging out" at Treemendous Playground and were cited for breaking curfew. One of Cassie's friends passed out and hit her head after the police showed up and had to be taken in to the hospital via ambulance. She's a tiny thing and hadn't eaten all day and with the adrenaline rush of getting busted, she fainted. She's alright now, thank God. I don't understand the attraction of hanging out at a park in the middle of the night, but hopefully all the kids learned that it's not LEGAL and they can get into trouble for it. Cassie a little more than the others due to her probation. She had to call her PO right away the next morning and let her know what had happened. I don't think she'll get anything other than a good solid lecture, but she better watch it or she'll end up back in court.

She started a job now that she's 15. She's washing dishes for "The Queen" at Patrick's Bar & Grill. It's not many hours, and it doesn't pay a lot, but it's a job and she's on her way to paying her debt to the courts. Then she'll have to start paying us back for the cell phone bills and other items she owes us money for.

She also served her first day of Community Service. She and three other "kids" mowed all of 7-Mile Creek park...with push mowers! I laughed so hard when she told me that. I think it's great that they make them actually work. They also had to weedwack after they were done mowing. They let them out at 2:30 instead of 4, but she still gets credit for the full 8 hours. One down, four to go, unless she gets one knocked off for good behavior.

Other than that, we're all looking forward to my little brother's wedding next weekend. The last of the five Bidwell children to get married. :-) I'm a bridesmaid, Dar's a groomsman and Chris is an usher. Cassie is the only one without a role in the wedding, which has kind of hurt her feelings. I don't know if she totally understands that it's because of her choices over the last 10 months but regardless, it's still hard on a kid to be left out like that. We just help her to deal with it the best we can, and try to use it as another example of consequences to our choices.

That's about it for now. I best get moving on to other duties for the day. Hope ya'll are enjoying your summer. I know we are! Love ya! :-)


Tuesday, July 8, 2008


We had court today. It went pretty good. Cassie dressed up in a white ruffled skirt and a pink top. She looked so pretty! She was kind of nervous going in front of the judge, as she should be. He directed his questions to her and she had to answer for herself, which was good. We were only there for support and extra input. She ended up having three charges...truancy, tobacco possession and runaway. She received 8 hours of community service for the tobacco possession, 16 hours for the truancy and another 16 for the runaway. The probation department recommended 24 for the runaway, but the judge gave her a little break. So a total of 40 hours of community service, which they serve in 8 hour increments on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the summertime. She's also on probation for 6 months. Part of that is Project Night Hawk, in which they can and will stop by randomly, mostly at night, and do a breathalizer and a urinary analysis on her to make sure she's not using. She'll have to attend a smokers-education class that will cost her $20. She has to attend a cognitive skills class that meets for a few hours a week for 14 weeks. That will cost her $50. Then she has to pay a correctional fee of $50. She had to approach the judge's bench at the end to receive her dispositional orders from him. I think that part scared her the most!
We leave the day after tomorrow for vacation in North Carolina. We've scheduled three days to hang out on the Carolina coast. There's fireworks over the water on one beach on Thursday night. And we're supposed to meet up with Katie and Tony at Myrtle beach on Saturday. In between we're going to try and find some sand dunes and lighthouses to visit as well as swim in the ocean and go exploring. We are all so excited and can't wait!
Thanks again for your prayers and support. Things are going fairly well other than some attitude here and there.
Love ya'll!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Thanks for hanging in there with update

Well, it's been another week and nothing really to report. We're just toodling along. I apologize for not getting an update out more frequently. Between working 40 hours last week and four full time days this week (thank goodness for the 4th of July or it would've been 5!), trying to maintain some semblance of order on the home front, keep up with Cassie and Chris' moods and activities, and preparing all the details for vacation, I'm exhausted!  

Dar's working like a madman to pay for vaca. He's working his full time job, which entails leaving the house at 5:30am and getting home at 5pm. Then he grabs a quick bite to eat before heading over to Tru-Green for his second job. He fills the trucks with the chemicals the guys will need to treat the lawns the next day. He also cleans the offices for them and does all the maintenance and upkeep on the equipment. Busy job! He's been averaging 15 hours a week there. In addition to that, he's been mowing, like I mentioned before, for the landlord and another acquaintance of ours. I don't see him a whole lot and this busy, busy is putting a bit of strain on our relationship. We just don't have any time to "connect". 

I keep telling myself, "Hang on, Kendra, in 7 days you leave for North Carolina and then you'll have more Dar-time than you can handle!" Ten whole days of family togetherness. Woo hooo! I'm praying hard that we ENJOY the time together, but knowing our family dynamics, I'm very worried that personalities will clash and moods will get dark and crabby and THAT won't be fun at all! Please join me in praying for a refreshing time together, for restored relationships, and for a fun, relaxing, GREAT time to be had by all!

I can't remember if I mentioned it before, but our first destination on vacation is Fort Mills, South Carolina, which is actually right by Charlotte, North Carolina. We're heading to the site of Jim and Tammy Faye Baker's (sp?) former ministry, which is now called Morningstar. I heard of this from Tina Wagner and she said there's some amazing things going on there right now! They are having nightly meetings called Holy Spirit Breakout complete with healings and miracles. I am ready for some supernatural, God-breathed experiences, and am going with an open heart and an open mind. My logical, oh-so-serious brain sometimes struggles with all of this, but I'm trying desperately to walk closer to Jesus. I want to be close enough to FEEL His power and might, to have some of that rub off on me! This is my prayer. 

We plan to arrive there (actually, at a hotel in Charlotte) on Friday around 5pm, have time to swim, rest, eat, and freshen up before heading to the service at Morninstar at 7pm. We'll sleep (soundly I'm sure after 25 or so hours of straight driving!) at the hotel and then drive the last 3-4 hours to Kate and Tony's on Saturday. I can't wait to see them all! I'm sure Dominic has grown SO MUCH and I just want to get my hands on that baby. :-)

But, the real reason you're all reading this is to find out how Cassie's doing, I'm sure. She's doing well. I think the small bites of consequences is working well. We're also giving her more freedom simply because she HAS to learn to handle it. Getting her into therapy will be good, too, as I pray it will help her deal with all the emotions/thoughts she has cruising through her heart/head. I believe God is going to use all we've learned (and are continuing to learn) on this journey to help others. I'm excited to share with other mom's who are struggling with teenagers some of what God has taught us. In His time...not mine. 

She mentioned to both Dar and I on Tuesday that she'd like to re-dedicate her life to Christ. I pray that this is genuine but my wounded/healing heart has been broken so many times that it's hard to accept without any doubts. I only had a moment to talk to her about it as she brought it up on my way out the door to work, but we had a good, mini-talk. I told her that Jesus has never moved. She may have turned her back on Him, distanced herself from Him, but He's still there, waiting for her, calling her back to Him. He still loves her, He still died on the cross for her, and He'll continue to draw her heart towards Him. His name is written in blood on her heart and she can't escape the fact that she IS a child of the risen Savior! I've told her many times that the only way she's truly going to change her behavior and thoughts is to submit herself to the authority of Jesus. Only the Holy Spirit can change what's inside. No matter how much "will power" we think we have, it may hold us for a while, but will always fail to change us permanently. Only the Holy Spirit has the capability of making us into a NEW CREATION, a beautiful, fruit-evident, child of God. I told her it's that fruit that I need to see from her. If she's truly re-dedicating herself, then the fruit will come. Please continue to pray for her salvation more than anything. Even if our life goes smoothly from now on, never another bump in the road, but she walks through life without allowing Jesus to reign supreme in her heart, I will consider this battle LOST. It really is the only thing that matters! I pray that each and every person reading this knows this truth, and has trusted Jesus with their very heart. He's the only One who will or can ever truly love you the way you were created to be loved!

Love you all...thanks for hanging in there with us!