Friday, August 29, 2008

Creative Writing

Eden found this note in her room. Without question, it is Micah's handwriting. I can't read it without cracking up. Even Mitch laughed out loud. I thought you might enjoy the 11-year-old's attempt at humor. Obviously we need to work on some spelling issues. Not so good for a 5th grader I think. ;)


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Manasseh

I was doing some...um...stuff...the other day and I came across a list of boy names that Mitch brought up to the hospital when we had Malachi. The name "Manasseh" was on the list and curiosity got the best of me. I decided to look him up. While there is more than one Manasseh in the Bible, the one that pulled me in is the king Manasseh, son of Hezekiah. I pulled up a sermon by Spurgeon. Wow, was it incredible! It took me two days of "quiet time" (when the kids interrupt me every 30 sec as an attack from Satan, I believe) to get through it all.

Manasseh was evil. He rebelled directly in the face of God. He was forgiven and redeemed. It is a really great story and I guess that now that I'm sitting here I won't attempt to retell it. What struck me most from the sermon is this part:
"for though Manasseh repented, we find that his son Amon followed in the steps of his father in his wickedness but not in his righteousness...Children will imitate their fathers in their vices, seldom in their repentance; if parents sin, their children will follow them, without much doubt; but when they repent and turn to God, it is not easy to lead a child back in the way which it has once forsaken."

Mitch and I were listening to Way of the Master radio a few days ago and there were playing clips from when Todd Friel had been on the beach talking to young adults who were there during spring break. There were two guys and two girls hanging out talking to him, admitting that they were going to do some partying, drinking, then "go back to the room" together (with all that entails). One of the girls professed to be a Christian. Todd questioned her about her sin, and she said, "It's ok, because I know that God will forgive me."

Whooooooaaaaaa. Hold on a minute! Just because God forgives doesn't mean there are not consequences to our sins! Manasseh's story carves a deep life lesson for me, and for America, which has lived under the umbrella of God's abundant blessings for a LONG time. Why do I wonder why I see struggles with sin in my own kids' lives? With the very same sins I continue to wrestle with (ie: short temper for one)? Why do we as a country wonder why there are no "good" presidential candidates to choose from?

It is not hopeless, though. Read the sermon to hear how Manasseh's conversion took place. :) Sometimes it takes a MAJOR loss to turn people around. Maybe that is where America is heading.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pink Diaper


I did go sew a pink diaper. Isn't it beautiful? I'm auctioning it in my store. :)

And Mitch said it is ok to have a holy anger about abortion. We are FAR to complacent over this issue!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Looooong Week

Wow, it was definitely a very long week here! Last week we had our first daycare family confirmed, but they needed to start right away. So we spent the weekend divided between sewing and errand running. Mitch was already scheduled to work 61 hours between his two jobs this week, so that meant I would be doing daycare pretty much on my own. Which meant I got very little sewing time and even less computer time! So it's been a long week. :)

I am weary with daycare calls and interviews. This is not so easy the second time around! We only have 2 full time kids right now, and when school starts it will be down to 1. I am praying we get a few more good families! Otherwise Mitch is considering being a substitute teacher for now, and he may try to get more hours at the group home. So we'll see. I have BIG plans of sewing as much as possible, and seeing where that gets us. There has probably never been a better time for Pampered Cheeks to take off. I might have to get serious about hiring someone!!

One thing is for sure, with Mitch around we are all being put into shape. LOL. My house never looked so good! I'm so surprised at how he has changed. When he is home he keeps us from being so lazy.

On Thursday Mitch was supposed to work, but he managed to get the morning off. I was SO relieved (I was out of Pepsi--and him being home meant I could get a grocery store run in). I told him HE could watch kids and I would mow the lawn. And I did it too. Got the blister on my thumb to prove it. Yeah, we have a very small lawn and I'm a pretty wimpy girl. But wow, it was so nice to be away from kids for a while.

The kids are excited about school. Sort of. They're not sure they're going to like their teacher so much this year. I am not ready for school to begin. I want to set up our office space to be the school room this year, and right now it's still full of junk. I have been emptying boxes but some of that stuff is Mitch's and I just don't know what to do with it. Some of that stuff is Mitch's from his years as a teacher, which means there is enough of it there for an entire classroom. I know we have a large family and lots of kids, but we don't have *that* many kids! [Yet....hehehe...snicker]. I hope to start school the Tuesday after Labor Day. I wanted to start this week, but I can't get the school year off to a good start AND do daycare while Mitch is still working his other jobs this week. Starting in September he'll be home. Pray for us!

We continue to seek God and watch for doors that He may be opening. We know that His plan for us may look different than our own plans. I have seen Mitch time and time again sacrifice his own dreams to make sure he is able to provide for his family. I know that owning his own business is a dream he has, but I also know that he is willing to lay aside that dream if it's just not working out financially! I can't explain how much he has learned and grown and matured over the past year not being at St. Cloud Christian School. He misses his time there a lot right now, and regrets that he didn't use the last couple years at the school with a much better attitude. Sometimes you don't know what you've got till it's gone, right? ;) He also says this has been a great experience for him in just that--he appreciates his former job MUCH more now. I don't know if there will ever be a job for him there again, but I do know that he has been snatched from a desperate place (depression) that he used to be before. He's not perfect yet, but he is greatly improved!

It wasn't much of a post, but hey, that's better than a political rant, right? Cause I can rustle me up one of those too. Especially after listening to Obama and McCain at Rick Warren's church in Saddleback last weekend. Yeah. I groaned very loudly and left the room before Mitch accused me of yelling at him. This video right here was the one that tipped me over the edge. I can't explain the anger I feel when listening to Obama speak about abortion. He is an idiot!!!!!!!

Sorry. I couldn't resist! Ok...now I need to go think about pink diapers or something beautiful for a while to calm myself down again.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Summer Sunsets



Summer in Minnesota brings long days and gorgeous sunsets that can be seen from our deck unobstructed by houses. The nursery behind our house has beautiful old silos that make a perfect backdrop and provide good opportunity for me to practice. Last night I stepped out on the deck and shot more than 10 pictures of this sunset, then turned around and squealed with surprise and delight to see a rainbow in the opposite direction. Well, the opposite direction does not have the best backdrop for pictures, so we used some props God gave us. :)



Zeke, Josh, and Malachi enjoying some mint chocolate chip ice cream before bedtime.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

July Customs

I really only expect the most die-hard fans to watch the ENTIRE slideshow. I counted 135 different diapers here. :) July was a busy month. Don't miss the photo of Mitch and his mom helping me set snaps on a massive order!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Fun Website HTML Stuff

I've been doing a little researching in my not-so-spare time. I'm learning a little java. Well, sort of. I just put some java script onto my blog. Now any time I want to put a Biblical reference, for example John 3:16-17, it will make a little link that you can hover your mouse over and *should* be able to see the full text. You can follow the link to BibleGateway.com to see the context and other searches. It's also in the ESV (English Standard Version), which is an excellent translation that our church is using.

Another java script that I'm learning to use is called highslide js. It's a very cool photo thumbnail viewer. It's really going to change my pampered cheeks website in a dramatic way. The only drawback is I have to learn a LOT more html, and I'll have to get really good at writing code out by hand (vs. point and click like I do with frontpage). Don't worry, this is a very good thing, though. I needed a good kick-in-the-pants to get it all cleaned up. The html code is a mess over there. Since I'm a real novice, you smart people out there are not permitted to laugh at my humble beginnings! How many of you can sew diapers AND make your own website, huh??? LOL. Actually I'm sure there are quite a few diaper makers who write their own code. And many more who are smart enough to hire someone else to do it! :)

Oh my, was that a boring post? Well, I did have to brag about the cool java script that now powers the Bible references on my blog. Because it is really neat. And it will save me a lot of time typing them out. It's retroactive, too, so you can scroll down and see more if you're a nut like I am. :) And all I had to do was copy a little paragraph of code and insert it in the *right* place on my blog template code. So it's a little technical, but not really...it just makes me look smart. :)

No comments about that last sentence. LOL.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

24 Hours Later...

We are still celebrating and happy to have Mitch home! Yay!! He had a good trip home and has been hit hard with jet lag. I haven't heard too much complaining from him, though. We've kept him really busy. He woke up early (hey--maybe jetlag is a good thing!) and we started working on cleaning/organizing. Later this afternoon I ran errands and Mitch (and Malachi) napped while the older kids undid our cleaning/organizing. I rushed home and we had 20 min to put away groceries and reclean/reorganize before our first daycare interview. Now we're all ready to crash!! Tomorrow it will be back to business for all of us--I will have plenty of bookkeeping to do, and sewing diapers, and Mitch goes back to work tomorrow evening at the group home.

Sigh. Routine is good. :)

Mitch brought many gifts back from Ukraine. Lots of gifts from the church there. Lots of candy. :) The kids love that. It is so neat to be able to get a "taste" of Ukraine without the long travel. The trip was a huge blessing for Mitch and has impacted all of our lives! He said he would have gladly stayed to minister more. Caleb, our little dreamer, says that he wants to be a preacher and go to Ukraine. :)

Goodnight all!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Coming Home!

I apologize for not updating yesterday. It's been a little busy here. :)

I woke up yesterday morning to have a new email with pictures from Mitch. I actually caught him while he was online and we "chatted" via gmail for a few minutes. That was kind of fun. Here is the latest news:

I am trying to catch you again see if you read before church. I spoke about good works. Their place in the Christian life. Not gain salvation, but result because of salvation. After, Oksana said this message is greatly needed in Ukranian churches. Josh gave testimony and we all sang some songs in english. We had communion with Horol church. Perfect picture of Heaven. They changed to grape juice to not offend Americans. Break real bread and drink from one cup. Different and good to share with Christians from other traditions. Church extremely gracious and lavished us gifts and kept telling God bless you.

I am trying to send you some pics from service. Hopefully to get to Calvary on time.

Schedule for today volleyball, supper, pack, cry. Tomorrow morning we leave. Still no word on when or who come get us. Pray that we will be taken to Kiev. Tour tomorrow around noon. Staying at Hotel Rus.

Here is an excerpt from our chat:


Mitch: tell story to church for me
we go to nearby village
Mitch: for outreach, it is where last pastor now lives.
7:52 AM me: cool!
Mitch: on way back
we stop to get pic, huge rainbow over all land
and theme is rainbow, and God keeping promise
we get huge group foto
not on camera, sorry
me: that's ok
7:53 AM it's on someone else's camera right?
Mitch: yes, multiple
we will have 1000 plus pics
lots of sorting, cool videos also


Their first flight leaves at 11:45 am their time, which is 3:45 am our time in Minnesota. They will arrive in Amersterdam at 1:50 pm/6:50 am cst. They leave Amsterdam at 3:30 pm/8:30 am and should arrive in Minneapolis at 5:25 pm. Please pray for safe travel and for them to be on time with all the luggage!

**********************************

We're all excited for Mitch to be home. We have a busy month of August planned. Next week we are hosting a Bible club at our house for our neighborhood. A team of youth from the cities is going to come up and lead the club. Please pray for the families in our neighborhood and for a good event. It will be great to plant seeds and spend time getting to know our neighbors better.

New changes on the horizon job wise--we are starting daycare again. This time Mitch will be in charge. :) He is thrilled to be starting his own business. We started an ad in the paper on Sunday--carefully coordinated so that we didn't wait too long but didn't want people to have to wait until he came back from Ukraine. So far I've received 4 phone calls and set up interviews with 2 of them. Exciting! We have carefully budgeted and things should work out. Right now diapers are actually contributing more than I had budgeted. So that's really good. Mitch is working in a group home part time, and he will pick up more hours in August. He has really bonded with the boys in his home and enjoys the job. This has been a very good environment for him to work in. He gets along well with his coworkers, too. They all LOVE his cooking (imagine that)! He stopped working at Fedex at the end of May. He has been working as the lead counselor at a day camp near here. He has worked there in the summers before. I have been amazed at his energy level this summer. He takes the kids 2 days per week to the YMCA. I struggled to take 6 by myself a couple times. Can you imagine taking 30? Crazy! That's more energy than I have. Well...ok...he does have some other counselors with him...but that's still more than my 6. And he takes them swimming. And he takes the city bus. So all that to coordinate just blows my mind!

I had a really, really fun stocking in my store today. I hit an all-time high of 70 shoppers online at one time. 70 people sitting there trying to buy the same diapers (or just sitting there gawking). It blows my mind. Obviously I don't have enough diapers for all of them. Right now I'm still warming up to the idea of hiring someone. I have not made any firm plans to look for anyone yet. I am also doing some restructuring and organizing at the foundational level of my business--things like streamlining how I take orders and organizing my website. My hard work is paying off. :) My sewing room could use a little organizing too. I am ordering fabric in larger quantities these days. Gone are the days of buying only 3/4 yard of a print and 5 yards of the best absorbent fabric. Now I buy 4 yards of cute prints and 20 yards of the absorbent stuff. Whew! It's getting a little crowded in there. :) Anyways--this stocking today--everything sold out within 3 seconds. I was a little mean. I put some stuff in at 12:00, then I had diapers end at 2 min intervals (ie: 12:05, 12:07, so on). It was fun because I could watch each one sell out. And they did. Tonight I sat packing up the orders and taping them shut and taping on the shipping labels. It felt a lot like wrapping Christmas presents. :) I know the lucky mamas are going to feel the same getting them in the mail. It's so FUN!!

I'm too tired to stay up and do any more work tonight. I'll make another go of it tomorrow!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Mitch's Update and my funny kids

Pictures from Mitch. I love this first one where he is obviously laughing. :) Mitch wrote me back with titles for the pictures:

"me using incorrect reference. Translation is tough already. Sasha (AJ) and I laughing because I told him Acts instead Romans. After he translated Acts, it not make sense. Scripture don't always translate, but when wrong book of Bible, never translate. Funny moment though. All laugh, break ice well. Told them AJ and I both nervous, together double nervous. "

"water man at day camp. Josh and I do sports on field, no water there. He brought water much often. Make me happy man to see him each time, because kids very thirsty. No water, no play."

"Team's attempt to lead Ukranian songs. Very funny also. We are making sign for flood rising. From fool/wise man building house on sand/rock. We kind of lead by watching children, backwards huh?"


Oh do I ever have a funny story to tell...but first, Mitch's update today:

Hey Girl,

Relaxing day today. Sleep in. Inventory supplies. Then took Pastor's family, translators, team out to lunch. Very nice eating place. Recreation of Ukranian village, 100 year ago. Water wheel, heavenly gardened with vines all over. Food upon food upon food. Tomorrow I speak in church, already sick with anxiety. You know that goes. I will be speaking good works. That they not gain salvation, but they are product of salvation. etc. We went see Lida tonight, at hospital. Sergey held up his new baby in the window for us to see, very beautiful. She is doing well, happy to see us. We exchanged gift with translators and family. Was happy/sad time. Kelsey, Josh, and I stay up 2 am last night learn Ukranian alphabet. I have sounds almost down now. Josh cannot roll tongue, we spend much time on floor laughing. Roma good teach sounds gutteral to us. I make video for kids to learn also. I hope see you soon. To God be Glory.

Mitch is probably speaking right now as I write this. Or very soon. :) So I'm praying as I write.

The calendar for Sunday says:
"Worshiping our Lord together. We will try to have the children from Day Camp come to church and be part of the service."
Psalm 141:1 Praise the Lord!For it is good to sing praises to our God;for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.

The calendar for Monday (in case I don't get to update, and since their trip will start in the middle of our night, we can be praying now):
"We will leave Horol and travel to Kiev today, as well as debrief at Center of Christian Life in Irpin. Pray for traveling safety."
Deut. 31:8 It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

****************

Now my funny kid story. Micah and Eden spent the night at Paul's house last night and spent the day today with him. They were up early this morning fishing. They got home just at bedtime. They had lots of stories for Caleb about cleaning fish and how gross it was and how he will have to do it if/when he goes fishing. The discussion continued on and on about how gross this is. Caleb was really trying to figure it all out. I was minding my own business (Mitch says I really should pay more attention to them) sewing. Suddenly something caught my ear:

Caleb: "Which is more gross? Cleaning the fish or kissing on the lips and touching your gums?"
Me: panic inside. I do not hear Eden's response. "WHAT?!?"
Kids: repeat Caleb's question
Me: blink, blink. their innocence is gone. "Where did you hear about that?"
Caleb & Eden: "At camp."
Me: so much for "Christian" camp.
Eden: "Caleb DID IT!"
Me: "TO WHO?"

Note: I'm about to pass out at this point. Eden's face, which is a little sunburned, is flushed. The kids are grinning sheepishly. I have assumed the worst (even if it really isn't all that bad).

Caleb: "The fish!" (like, duh, mom!)

I lost it. I was doubled over laughing. I said they needed to hurry REALLY fast and get in bed. I grabbed the phone and ran outside.

Who did I call?

Kristin, of course. She needed to know that Shiloh's future hubby is getting all practiced up on the fish!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Middle of the day update

I just love this latest update from Mitch. I had written to him and asked him to find me some "yummy" fabric to make some special diapers. I also asked him if he was learning any Ukranian words. I think he's learning some Ukranian English. :) He wrote back:

It is funny mentioned this today. Sasha and I just checked for today after Adventure Camp. I am getting early tomorrow to check for more. I have not found any yet. More tomorrow.

Camp ended today. Emotional draining day. Sasha asked me to move here and teach english a school. He said he teach me Ukranian. I told I think it over. I been considering foreign country for long time. Being here make easy to say "yes" if God opens door.

We spend much the morning signing our names on shirt of kids. They see us in sidewalk and run over to us. They spill fast Ukranian over us. It is hard enough to think one speaking, but when 3 or 4 are it is too much. We sign shirts and walk as we talk. It is amazing how good charades works when neither speak good each othere. Last night we had "Birch Juice." The translators told us, but all team heard as "Bird Juice." I asked how many birds you need squeeze to make 1 cup? We laughed over many. Also, Nastya (more translator) one day as walking translated a sign on government building as, "government and blah, blah, blah." I said, "Oh great, we have a translator that says, "blah, blah, blah." I told her she probably says that when I am speaking also. We laughed over blah, blah, blah many times.

Got to go, Kelsey is done. Later.

We go to meet kids in streets for youth night, pray for some to come out.