Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas 2011 Letter Links

Merry Christmas all.  It has been such a long time since I have written.  Our Christmas letter is posted and can be read at this link:  Below are some links I refer to in the letter.

Drew's first music production, "Fix You" by Cold Play

Drew's Merry Christmas Video
Not sure why this one doesn't pull in the screen.

Dean's Donation Site for Water for Life through Compassion International

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Crazy Drummer Boy

Micah loves to get out all my pots and pans to make a drum set.  I had just finished washing and drying all the pots in the sink (all we owned it seemed) when Micah had his brainstorm.  So I told him he could take two of mine.  So he added his own resourcefulness to complete his trap set.  I thought it was especially clever that one of the two things from the cupboard he chose was the steamer that sounds a lot like a symbol.

He starts off slow but oh boy does he get going!  He is actually quite good!  And hilarious.  There are three different videos but each have their own particular flavor.   Enjoy the concert.

In this one he warns, "I'm really gonna rock 'n roll."

This one includes his own poetic response to the current economy.  "The jobs are gone."  I have no idea where he gets this.  Perhaps too much Obama commentary around the dinner table?  Who knows.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Happy Kansas Day

Micah learned a new song in preschool to celebrate Kansas Day.  The
lyrics are (in case you can't quite hear them):
Oh we're from sunny Kansas, sunny Kansas, sunny Kansas
Oh we're from sunny Kansas, the best state of all
Where is rains some and snows some, it clones some and blows some
Oh we're from sunny Kansas, the best state of all!

He said after we were done recording.  "I started singing like a girl, mom."

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Christmas Blessings

I am so thankful for so many things. I've thought many times about posting but did not quite know where to begin. But here goes.

Every year we do a scavenger hunt on Christmas Eve with our family. The past couple years, I have wondered if the oldest boys would outgrow this tradition. Two years ago, when Drew was 15 and Dean was 12, I was watching closely. Drew was all over it and enjoyed showing Micah the ropes (he was 2). Dean had a bit of an attitude but how could he justify it when his older brother was so cool with it. Last year, not a hint of resistance from anyone. This year, "When are we going to start our scavenger hunt?" was heard from all. Now I can picture them coming home with wives and grandkids saying, "We're still doing the scavenger hunt, right?"

Mark tailors the stops on the hunt to the amount of time we have that day. I did not have to work Christmas Eve - a tremendous blessing - because all my cooking was done by about 1:30pm and we had the rest of the afternoon and evening to enjoy each other. So our hunt included stops along the way like, watch a movie, put a puzzle together, play a game, and sing Christmas Carols (with guitars and piano). It We also enjoyed hot cocoa while we shared our favorite memories from 2009 and our goals for 2010. Here's a summary:

Mark Memories - Orlando trip, working on the house together this summer, watching the boys at all their activities.
Mark Goals - Help Drew and mom through the transition to college, finish some other house projects, more regular quiet time with the Lord.

Cherilyn Memories - Amy's eagle stories and her being cured of her cancer, Drew's $5,000 scholarship, watching Drew and Dean in the musical and Drew in the Variety Show, hanging out with Micah and his friends and their moms and Grant's stories.
Cherilyn Goals - Not cry all the time at the thought of Drew leaving, pray with expection the promises of God and for Melissa's healing, pace myself through May and graduation so it's not so crushingly busy at that time and I can savor the moments.

Drew Memories - Student Leadership University trip to Orlando, winning league in cross country and going to State, beating McPherson at the MAYB tournament.
Drew Goals - Make state in tennis, make a final college decision by April and have all paperwork completed, decide on a major by next December.

Dean Memories - Going to Colorado with the LeFevres, the success of summer league basketball despite being a freshmen only team playing against sophs and jrs., being in high school and getting to interact with the upperclassmen and Drew being so cool about letting him.
Dean Goals - Be on the varsity tennis team, get stronger, give everything he does his best.

Grant Memories - Winning the novice tennis tournament, the Orlando trip, hanging at Trease's house.
Grant Goals - Develop a spin serve, get straight A's, learn to play another instrument and/or get better on the trumpet.

Micah Memories - Swimming at Aunt Carmen, playing Star Wars toys at Aunt Carmen's, blowing out candles on my Birthday pancakes on my birthday.
Micah Goals - Go to Aunt Carmen's more (are you noticing a theme?), play football, play soccer.

The hunt ends with us opening a few gifts. Tradition is always new pajamas plus the boys open their gifts to each other. But before we opened gifts, we had to go around and say three things we liked or appreciated about each other. There were some funny moments there as well. One that stands out is when Mark was telling Dean that he appreciated the tender heart he had for his friends and Dean's desire to be a leader who inspires them to make good choices. Grant heard "tender heart" and screwed up his face as if to say, "Dean? Tender? I'm not seein' it" and kind of chuckled. Dean caught the look and said, "Grant, I'm gonna kill you" while Mark is continuing on his with he tender descriptions. We all caught the irony and busted out laughing.

I'm so thankful that all the family that was traveling during those storms arrived safely at their destinations and was able to join us as planned. Christmas seemed much more calm this year, I think because I have help at work now and didn't have to work so much, the fact that Christmas fell on a Friday and I still had the weekend after, having our Johnston/Holthus extended family celebration the day after Christmas instead of Christmas night and the fact that we have two in high school instead of one in high school and one in middle school so I had more evenings available leading up to get ready and didn't have much left to do at the last minute.

I'm thankful for the scare my friend Amy had right before Christmas. The doctors called and told her they thought her cancer was back. After 3 days of hell, we found out it was a false alarm. Right after the positive news, Amy and her husband were headed to KC for a family weekend. On the way, they both saw, plain as day, an eagle sitting on a frozen pond near the road. A bald eagle. There were many eagle sightings through her battle but always before they had been flying. When an eagle finds itself in a storm, it leaves the nest and flies into the storm, allowing the storm to push it up and up until it is above the storm flying in the warmth and light of the sun (Son). Only when the storm is over, does it return to the nest. Not only did God command his eagle to come down, He commanded it to sit and wait for Hank and Amy on a frozen pond to reassure her, the storm is over. You are healed. What an amazing God we serve.

Another friend's sister was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of brain cancer. We have been praying for Melissa (please add her to your prayer list) and have all sensed God saying, "She is healed." Amy woke one night and asked God to send an eagle to Melissa. God told her, "Melissa does not need an eagle. Men are confounded by her illness. They will know that I receive the glory and honor when she is healed. Doctors have taken the credit for your healing. I sent you eagles so you and others would know that I am the Lord Your God Who Heals."

God is showing all of us how to stand on His promises and believe He is who He says He is, He will do what He says He will do and that we are who He says we are. I am so grateful for friends who are hungry for more and more of God and that we have each other on this journey of life. I have learned so much for them.

I can't even imagine what God has in store for 2010 except I know it will involve giving us as much of Himself as we are willing to receive.

"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:16-21

Video: The older boys traveling down memory lane looking at Carmen's cousin collage title "Grandmas House: Where cousins learn to be lifelong friends."

Video: Micah's Can't Wait for Christmas song and dance.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I am enjoying the fact that it is 9:00am and I am still in bed! I've been enjoying some peace and quiet and a good book I picked up yesterday. My laptop was nearby so I am taking the opportunity to attend to a very neglected blog.

Dean said something I thought was very profound the other day. I was playing Christmas music and he said, "No! That's just wrong!" When I asked him why it was wrong he said, "I haven't even gotten to relish and enjoy Thanksgiving yet. You're rushing through to the next holiday before we even have a chance to savor this one. I love Thankgiving! I want to enjoy it first."

Wow, isn't that good. Totally changed my view of Christmas music and a few other things. I started thinking about what he said and I realized I LOVE Thanksgiving too! I love the fact that it is all about people and fellowship and nothing about gifts. The gift is the gift of our presence. The gift is the gift of fun. As I was thinking, I realized, it might be my favorite holiday. Christmas brings so much pressure to get all the right gifts but stay in my budget. It is so much work. Our time together is spent throwing paper off packages and then off to the next gathering where we do more of the same. The older I get, the less important the gifts become and the more I long for simplicity.

I love the fact that my boys love Thanksgiving. It's the holiday where the tradition includes their participation. They discuss plays the Kansas City Kids can use against the Greenbay Grown Ups. They plan activities that include kids and adults. They look forward to how they will spend time with their cousins and aunts and uncles. Their appreciation reminds us adults that they really do just want our time and interaction more than they want our gifts.

Too often I have treated Thanksgiving as the warm-up, the prelude, before Christmas. But I have already been in the Christmas frame of mind. This wouldn't be a bad thing if it meant I was focusing with awe and wonder on the fact that God became man so He could dwell among us and be the "with us" God (Emmanuael). But of course, instead it means that I'm making my lists and checking them twice and trying to figure out that perfect gift for everyone on it and wondering how, if life already seems busy, how I'll squeeze in everything that means Christmas.

So thanks for the reminder Dean to enjoy this day. To savor it's meaning. To revel in wonder at the abundance of God's blessings and provision but also to remember that the greatest blessings we have, next to our salvation in Christ, is each other. We are so mightily favored it is almost hard to take in.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bacon Fever aka Swine Flu aka H1N1

First of all, thank you for your prayers for our family. God has been so generous in His blessing. Dean started not feeling well on Sunday morning but Dean has had no fever today, no headache and only a slight cough and the rest of the family is doing great! Dean really has not been miserable at all and he is planning to go back to school tomorrow and will be able to perform in the matinee tomorrow! (No cross country or church youth group though.)

I thought I'd share what we have been doing to help Dean get over it so quickly in addition to your prayers, of course! God has also been faithful to lead us to healing supplements.

Dean has been taking liquid called ACF Fast Relief from a company called Buried Treasure. It contains in 2 tablespoons:
1000 mg vit c
600 mg Echinacia
350 mg Citrus bioflavinoids
15 mg. zinc
100 mg osha root
100 mg. Usnea Lichen
750 mg. Elderberry extract
200 mg Goldenseal
100 mg Myrrh
100 mg. Thyme
100 mg. Ginger root extract
300 mg. White willow bark
100 ppm Colloidal Silver

He has taken about a tablespoon 4 times a day. In addition he has taken, also 4 x's a day:
700 mg astragalus
1 Airborne
5,000 IU vitamin D-3 (make sure it is D-3)

He has also sucked on vitamin C throughout the day and drunk lots of water and I rubbed garlic oil on his chest one night.

The rest of us have taken 3-4 times a day:
1 Airborne
700 mg astragalus
5,000 IU vitamin D-3

And another product called Prevention, also from Buried Treasure. It contains in 2 tablespoons:
1200 mg vitamin c
15 mg. zinc
500 mg black elderberry extract
200 mg olive leaf extract
200 mg astagalus
150 Beta 1, 3 Glucans
150 mg. Echinacea purpurea extract
100 mg. cat's claw
100 mg. Reishi mushroom extract
100 mg. shtake mushroom extract
50 mg. maitake mushroom extract
50 mg. ginger root
10 ppm colloidal silver

We have been taking about 1 tablespoon each 3-4 times a day.

Be forewarned, both of these products taste bad, the ACF worse than the Prevention, although Micah downs Prevention without even a blink and even asks me for it. So we mix it with the last swallow of Airborne and follow quickly with water.

I have gotten them at Prairie Harvest in Newton but you can also order them online to have on hand. They are good once you open them for about 18 months.

Of course I'm doing less with Micah, no extra astragalus and about a teaspoon of the Prevention and Airborne only twice a day plus some chewable vitamin C and some Vitamin D-3.

Aunt Sheri shared that her Homeopathic doctor friend is saying that 50,000 IU of vitamin D-3 for three days at the onset is getting people over it pretty fast. Also, coconut milk has proven helpful because it binds to toxins and carries them out of the body. Another herbalist friend also recommended spiralena but we did not have either of these last two items around to try.

I purposefully recorded this here so I wouldn't forget and so we would have a place to refer others. So, hope this information is some you never need! But just in case you do, hope it helps!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Micah's News

Micah at times longs for heaven. It used to scare me a bit but he has done this for over a year now so I'm no longer bothered by it. He will say, "Mom, I want to go to heaven" in this whiny voice similar to what he uses when he says, "Mom, I want to watch a movie" when I have told him no more electronics! It's as though he is being denied the thing he knows will most make him happy. We have not talked a lot about heaven so I can only suppose his knowledge and hunger for it comes straight from God Himself. I have often wondered, from the things my kids say in their preschool years, if they somehow have memory of heaven or at least a more direct connection to God. The things they say about God have not been taught by human parents.

But this last time, he had a follow up question. "How do you get there mom?" So I told him that heaven is for everyone who has asked Jesus in their heart. He said, "I want to do that." So we talked for awhile about why we need Jesus in our heart, that we have sinned, what sin is and what Jesus did to pay for our sin. I fully expected him to lose interest as we talked and to move along to another topic but he did not. He said he wanted to have Jesus in his heart and asked me to help him. So we prayed together and he asked Jesus to come into his heart! I was very excited and asked if he wanted to call his grandparents but he said, "No, I'm goin' outside to play."

I've heard him singing loudly a few times, "Jesus is in my heaaarrrt!" I remember very well the day I asked Jesus in my heart when I was about his age so I hope this day will remain a cornerstone for him. I am greatful for this "deposit" by the Holy Spirit into Micah's life. I am greatful for his yearning for heaven. He is good at reminding me that this world ain't it. IT is still to come!