Easter-Apple Hunt

Uncle Dave, Aunt Becky, Gabe, Jase, & I

Uncle Chuck and Jaden 

I mentioned a trip to a farm in a previous post, and it was a great outing.  Chuck's sister and her family visited us for Easter weekend.  We were excited to have them here and wanted to do something to get out of the house.  A friend recommended Flinchbaugh's Farm where they held a Spring Fest.  Our nephews are 6 and 3 so they got to participate in an apple hunt in the corn field.  Sadly I think they only got one apple each, but hopefully they still had fun.  We all went on a hay ride, the boys pet some animals, painted Easter baskets, dyed eggs, and drove little tractors around hay bails.  It was a gorgeous day to be outside!  Check out the surroundings- seriously beautiful scenery.  

Our nephew, Gabe- in the red pants 

Uncle Chuck being enthusiastic about Gabe's one apple!

Jaden, 3- not so excited about only finding 1 ;)

Happy (and a little sad) Easter!

You all know Jovie, our sweet little pup.  The first picture was taken the night we got her- it is my favorite Jovie picture of all times.  She was only four months old and God used her to bring such joy to my aching heart at the time.  She is such a sweet puppy- loves to sit on my lap, loves to cuddle, loves to follow me around the house- an all around precious girl.  Fast forward two years to this past Easter Sunday.  The whole family was outback while our nephews were climbing around on the play ground.  We were taking some family pictures for Easter, too.  At one point some kids and their dog came running out and I got all excited because I could tell the dog was a half pug of some sort.  I thought it would be great for that dog to play with Jovie, but she was tied up on our patio.  

Well shortly thereafter Jovie started pulling on her leash and whining.  I jogged down the hill to check out the situation, and even checked behind our neighbor's grill to see if anything was there.  Nothing.  I assumed Jovie wanted to lick the grease that had dripped out from the grill, so I decided to let her off the leash.  It's always good for her to be able to run around, get some energy out, and meet other dogs.  

Well after I jogged back up the hill, I turned back around and saw Jovie running full steam ahead and heard Chuck yell, "Jovie NO!"  It all switched into slow motion after that when I realized Jovie was chasing a BABY BUNNY!  I watched the poor little thing leap into the air twice all the while I was running as fast as I could after our dog SCREAMING at the top of my lungs, "NO! JOVIE NO!"  It was almost like I  could hear my panic screaming voice outside of myself.  

It was too late.  By the time Chuck got ahold of Jovie and she dropped the baby bunny, it was twitching and bleeding and didn't stand a chance.  I.was.HORRIFIED.  Little kids were running over and I was trying to get them to go away.  Some neighbor lady ended up swooping in asking me for a plastic bag so she could dispose of it.  Awful.  I hope the poor little thing didn't suffer long.  It absolutely breaks my heart to think of my sweet little puppy KILLING a baby bunny.  The horrors.  And on Easter Sunday of all days.  It was like she killed the Easter Bunny's baby!  Strangely enough, I had already seen two dead baby bunnies on the side walk earlier in the week, so obviously somebody else's pet had had their way with them, too.  

I just can't get over the fact that my precious baby girl would do that.  Chuck says it's the cycle of life- it's nature- but it's just not how I pictured my sweet pet.  I feel bad because I've been looking at her differently all week.  I'm just so upset that would do that.  A friend of mine shared that Jovie probably thought the bunny was a stuffed animal, like her chew toy, so I'm going to believe that.     

And The Winner Is...

Thank you to those of you who participated in my first ever book give-away!  It was sweet to read your comments, and I was encouraged by each one of you.  Keeping with the spirit of the contest, I would like to share that I am thankful for Chuck!  I'm thankful because he supports me wherever I'm at- whether it be in a sad mood, a bad mood, an excited mood, or a happy mood.  He gets me, and I'm thankful.  I love him because he leads our family with Godly wisdom- even when I'm dragging my heels, he makes wise choices.

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for!  The grand prize winner of her very own copy of, "For Women Only" is:  MELODY!  Hip Hip Hooray!  Just to be fair, I wrote all of your names on little slips of paper, put them in a bowl, and drew Melody's name.

Congratulations Melody!  I will deliver the book into your hands during our next M2M meeting.  Thanks for commenting- hope you enjoy the book.  =)  

A Simpler Life

Just a reminder- tomorrow is the final day to enter my first ever BOOK GIVE AWAY!  (Read previous post.)

Our home is taking on a simpler agenda these days.  A little over a week ago I decided to deactivate my Facebook account.  I have a couple friends who don't have an account and I had been finding myself being envious of them.  I would think things like, "I wish I didn't have a Facebook account."  It was silly to think that because I don't have to have an account.  There are many, many reasons why I finally decided to take the plunge and press that deactivate button.  I won't bore you with the inner workings of my mind and heart, but basically I just don't like the "Facebook Pressure".  There are always several messages to respond to, comments to "like", questions to answer, pictures to post...and I just got tired of keeping up with it all.  I didn't like that I was sitting on the computer while Jase was watching me.  I hated the thought of him growing up saying, "My Mama used to sit on the computer all the time and scroll around on Facebook."  Yuck.  It just took up too much of my time, and I wanted a break.  I'm sure at some point I will activate my account again- maybe even soon- but for now I am really enjoying the freedom.  I really do feel FREE.  It's such a weird thing.  I'm obviously still writing on my blog, still using Twitter, and have email.  That's plenty of social media for me right now. 

Another event that took place last week was our official end to cable TV.  I wrote about that a few weeks back, but it finally kicked in.  There were actually a lot of shows that I used to watch.  I'm not saying that was a good thing, but I do miss the cable options.  I like to have the TV on because the house feels pretty quiet.  Anyway, I don't have a choice but to embrace it.  The idea of a simpler life is appealing.  Even just eliminating Facebook and cable is a nice step. 

This weekend we spent time at a farm with family that came to visit.  I still can't believe this is our life!  But thanks to my Iowa roots, I do have a love of farms.  There was a flyer posted there advertising "farm camp."  I would actually love for Jase to learn farm skills some day- the perfect place to learn how to be a hard worker.  We stuck Jase in this cute little bucket, but he was so intrigued by it that he wouldn't look up for a picture.  We tried our best to jump and cheer and shake things at him and act like goofs but he just cared way more about that bucket.  When I uploaded the pictures later, I noticed the background for the first time, and was struck again by the fact that we are in farm country.  This was taken 8 miles from our house!  Still have a sense of culture shock during times like this.     

Who knows?  Maybe farming is in our future.  It would sure beat spending my days on Facebook. ;)

A glance in our direction- we'll take it!  


For Women Only- Give Away!

I give full credit to this blog post idea to one Mrs. Lindsay Jacobs!  She wrote a blog post about the book, "The Power of a Praying Wife" by Stormie Omartian- you can read her post here.  I have been praying through this book since Chuck and I were engaged, and it's amazing to see how God has answered those prayers.  Lindsay actually had a give away of this book on her blog, and it inspired me to do my own give away of a different book. (*Fun Fact:  Lindsay is the sister-in-law of my "old friend" Amber I wrote about in my last post!)

Chuck's older sister recommended the book, "For Women Only" by Shaunti Feldhahn when we were engaged.  I read it back then, and then recently re-read most of it.  Ironically, a woman from our church gave me another copy for Christmas (but I just got it in March, ha!).  Soooo, I thought I'd do what Lindsay did and offer a brand new, FREE revised and updated copy of "For Women Only" to a randomly selected person who comments on here.

To be put into the drawing, all you have to do is comment on this post about 1.) something you love about your spouse, AND 2.) one reason you are thankful for your spouse.  If you are single, share two qualities you desire in your future spouse.

I am really excited to give this great book away!  Contest closes on Wednesday night, April 23.  Can't wait to read your comments! (Once the winner is selected, I will post the name and the winner can email me their address.)

Old Friends

It has been an incredible gift to have girl friends in my life, some of which I have known for over 20 years.  My first friend (that I am still close with) is probably my cousin, Heather.  I'm sure I must have met her within my first year of life.  She stood up with me at our wedding, and I'm really grateful for her.

Amber is another one of my oldest friends. (I don't mean she's old!)  I can still clearly remember the very first time I met her.  We were both 10 or 11, and were sitting in a choir class at our church.  Amber was sitting next to me and proudly announced, "I have 52 brothers!"  I remember thinking to myself, "OH brother.  She thinks she's so cool!"  =)  Amber's parent's were dorm parent's at BBC, which was the college across the street from our church.  Whenever we got together, I would be so anxious if we played in her home.  I had such a fear of walking into a GUY'S dorm where females were not allowed.  I was convinced I would get into big trouble by walking into the dorm before I reached Amber's door.

Later her family moved to a different dorm, which was for families, so I was relieved.  One afternoon after school we went back to her place where her parents had been secretly keeping two puppies.  We played with those two puppies and had the best time.  What could be more nostalgic than two little girls playing with puppies?!   Turns out, those puppies basically grew up with us.  (I'm so happy to finally have my own pup!)

So that's a little bit about how Amber and I began.  We are now in our 30's (GASP!) and she visited us several weeks ago.  I actually started this post right after she was here, but keep getting delayed in posting because of random things.  Anyway, while she was here we had the best time!  (In my opinion at least.)  There is nothing like spending time with old friends.  It gets so tiring meeting new people so much, and always talking about the basics.  I wonder if anyone else feels this way?  The older I get, the more difficult it is to make those close connections with new people.  And the older I get, the more I cherish those moments with my dear old friends.  One night Amber and I stayed up till at least 1am chatting- I can't remember the last time I did that!

The same week Amber visited, I also got to see two other old friends.  Meet Kristi and Mandi.  I met Kristi when I was just 10 years old after we moved to NEPA.  I don't remember when I actually met Mandi, but we became good friends when I went through one of the most painful things of my life.  Mandi was there for me in a way that no one else could have been.

Both Mandi and Kristi were at a conference just 40 minutes away from us, so I met them for dinner.   We stayed in our little booth at Buffalo Wild Wings until 10 that night.  It was a blissful time of laughing hysterically, catching up on our lives, and diving straight to the depths of the deep stuff.  You can do that with old friends.

That night I learned some new things about myself.  We talked a lot about personalities.  It was freeing for me to learn that just because my personality is different from someone else doesn't make me less Godly.  Usually when I analyze my personality I feel that I can not measure up.  But that night I started to realize I can embrace who God has made me to be- my emotional, dramatic, feels-life-deeply, sensitive, compassionate, and whimsical personality.

They really are all such beautiful women, and I am blessed to call them old friends.

High of 73

The past several days have been unbelievably amazing weather wise.  I mean like the perfect, too-good-to-be-true weather.  For three days straight!  My heart never feels more alive than when the weather is warm.  Today, for instance, our windows are wide open with the breezes flowing through- airing out the winter, stale, cooped up yuckiness.  HELLO SPRING!  Today the high is 73 degree's.  73!  Hallelujah!  After Jase's nap, we'll be hitting the streets.  Jovie will get a walk, I will get a walk (which my fat butt really needs), and Jase will get plenty of fresh air to fill and refresh his little pneumonia-infected lungs.  Don't worry, he is all better, but I feel like the fresh air will just be good for his little bod.

The past two weeks have been akin to a nightmare, but we are putting that behind us and moving towards the joys of Spring.  I may write about Jase's first, incredibly frightening illness, but I may not.  I wrote about it in his journal, and I may just leave it there.

There is so much fun coming up in our lives that I feel excited all the time!  We're going to get to see people that we just love- both family and friends.  Every month from now until October there is something exciting we get to do.