No Greater Joy

No Greater Joy

Saturday, November 14, 2009

How I met Sean

This is per Hannah's request! Well, as most of you know I attended Emmaus Bridal...I mean Bible College. Yeah, fellow EBC students know every joke..."ring by spring or money back", Mr. Glock's "look to your right then left, you're probably sitting by your future spouse". Actually Sean never attended EBC! I had already attended Emmaus for 2 years and hit a point where I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do. My friend Ann and I decided to get an apartment in Dubuque together and I got a job in a nanny type position. It was October of 1996 when I came home after work and found my roomie at our apt. with quite a crowd of Emmaus students over. This was nothing unusual, but there was someone there I didn't know. It turned out to be Sean. Sean had come to Dubuque to meet up with his friends from camp (Hidden Acres) because someone they had worked with, Heather Higgens, had died of cancer. It just happened that the friends he was meeting up with were mutual friends of mine that I hung out with at Emmaus. =) We all watched a movie together in our little apartment before heading back to the Emmaus campus. When we got to Emmaus we all went down to the student center to hang out. I spoke with Sean a little bit. He was telling me about him and he was working on school work. He was a 5th grade teacher at a Christian school. Then a couple of girls came over and invited him to the gym to play some games, but he declined because he was going to work on his papers. A little bit later he asked me if I wanted to play ping pong. (There were 2 ping pong tables in the student center.) I said sure. Now Sean remembers winning the first game. Okay...we'll say he did...That's okay because the next couple of games I won! Looking back he says it's not fair because I didn't tell him I had played tennis. In my defense, the 2 really aren't related! Sean left that night to return to his home (which was the same city we live in now). He asked if I wanted to come down sometime to visit so I did and soon after that we began dating!

Pretty simple little story. What's interesting though is how God uses things. If Heather Higgens had not died, we would have never met. That is how we named our oldest daughter. Heather Higgens attended the church where Sean and I attend now. Also, after I completed my education degree at Emmaus I eventually took the 5th grade position at the same Christian school where he taught when we first met. Strange world, huh?!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Our First Letterboxing Experience

First of all I have to thank my friend, Kathy, for giving me this idea. I first heard about this from her blog. She's very creative with a beautiful family. I have her blog listed under people I follow. =)

I went to and looked up locations in our area for letterboxes. I was amazed at just how many locations there are around us!! We picked one that was easy to find for our first. It was the first one on the list and it was on the same road as our church so we went for it.

It is a beautiful day here today! We couldn't have asked for a better day to be out. We did find the letterbox and it was very easy to spot. The girls stamped their notebooks and we signed the notebook in the box and the girls brought cute pencils to leave in the box. They thought it was pretty cool and are asking when we can do that again.

Here's some pictures of our experience.

When we first arrived at the site.

We spotted it right away!

The kids wanted to get it open, but mom just had to have a picture!

The girls were excited at all the trade items in the container.

The girls stamped the "smile" into their notebooks.

Such a pretty little spot...

You can see the letterbox in the bottom left of this picture...and the semi up above going on I-80. Interesting location!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Happy Birthday, Granny

Today is my Granny's 84th birthday!! I look forward to calling her later today when my children come back from Grandma's house. 84 years is a long time, isn't it? She'll tell you she has had a long life, a meaningful life. She's lived through the depression, she lost her dad when she was a preteen, she has seen her mother and all 4 of her sibling die as well as her husband of 50 years. She remembers not having electricity or refrigeration, and how her family worked to survive and the blessings God gave so her mom could raise them. It does seem like a long time, but yet I cannot imagine her time at an end. I know it's coming and sadly it'll be sooner that we hope as she fights the cancer that is in her body. This will very likely be her last birthday on earth. Though I am not ready to let her go, it's not her earthly birthday that gives me hope. She has a birthday worth more than that of being brought into this world. My grandmother has a spiritual birthday. That day when she prayed and asked forgiveness of her sins and that she put her faith in Jesus Christ. She has faithfully followed Him throughout her days, not without failures I'm sure. She'll be first to tell you she has made mistakes. But because she and I both have spiritual birthdays we will have eternity together. Someday soon she'll be with some of her own family that she has seen leave this world, including her husband. It makes me think of a line from an old hymn..."When the roll is called up yonder I'll be there." It's what makes this truly a "happy" birthday instead of a sad one. Here are some pictures of my grandmother over the years.

My grandmother in high school.

This is her on the left right after she married my grandfather. The other woman is my grandfather's sister.

At my college graduation.

My grandparents.

My grandmother holding my mom after she was born.

Her wedding picture.

My brother and I with Granny this summer.

My Aunt and my Granny.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Recent family times

I thought I'd post some pics from my family that I've taken lately. Hard to believe fall is in full swing and Thanksgiving is just around the corner! Enjoy!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Reality check...

I was enjoying my morning at MOPS when a few thoughts entered into my thinking. It was pointed out in our meeting that we are merely 7 weeks away from Christmas! I know Christmas is just around the corner, and I actually have been looking forward to it this year. I'm ready for the Christmas music, decorations, and the holiday dresses for my girls. Usually I'm not ready this early, but it's been a long year to me and I feel ready to celebrate and make happy memories with my family once again this holiday season. I didn't, however, take time to think about what this Christmas will mean in other ways to my family. This morning our speaker in MOPS was asking us questions about the holiday and one of the questions asked us what we don't like about the holiday. I instantly thought about not having Christmas with my own family. It's been years since I've celebrated Christmas with my family. I've never given it too much thought because we visit my family in the summer when we can stay longer and don't have to battle bad weather for traveling. This year is different though. This year I have to face the reality that it's last Christmas my grandmother will be with us.

My grandmother was diagnosed with stomach cancer in June. Her latest scans have come back good, that the cancer is stablized, but we know the chemo she's taking will only prolong her earthly stay for a brief time. Not to say miraculous things can't happen, but I could see it in her eyes when we were there in August. She's tired. She's happy with the life she's lived. She knows something greater waits for her. These are the moments where I realize how hard it is to live so far away. My mom is seeing it now, too. She is watching my grandmother move much slower, requiring more effort in every activity, and also seeing her memory slowly deteriorate.

I am thankful that I have such happy memories of Christmas in my grandparents' home growing up. I don't know how many more visits I'll have to that home I know so well. Eventually it will become someone else's home. Despite how depressing this may sound, I can honestly say it gives me a new appreciation for the reason we celebrate Christmas. The coming of our Savior and knowing that because of our shared faith in his death, burial, and resurrection, I will someday be reunited with my grandparents. Regardless of the hard times, challenges, and losses suffered here on earth, Jesus has given us an eternal hope. This is why I will look forward to celebrating Christmas this year.