Monday, January 25, 2010

Where would I be?

I usually have so much to say that I do not need to repeat a post, and for those of you who follow my posts, you may be familiar with the production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat that we had at our school last fall. I am putting a link here so you can go check it out if you wish. In that post, I wrote the story of Joseph for you.

Now I am going to be in an adult version of this musical! It will be held at Rock Rapids, Ia at the Central Lyon High School auditorium. The dates are February 26 and 27 at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, February 28 at 2:00 p.m. I will play the part of the wife of Reuben, the oldest of Jacob's 12 sons.

I can be found singing lines and songs and trying on costumes, trying to come up with all the changes of costume I will need for the productions. Our grandkids were here this weekend and they wanted to try them on too!




Kavian checking out youtube in full dress-Why is it that 5 year olds can maneuver a computer and use websites???

All three, singing, dancing, watching, and learning the story of Joseph. They could tell you all about it! Click on the black triangle to watch!

In this video, I am trying to videotape, plus answer their questions...."What one's ruby?" "What one's "scarlek" (scarlet)?" and "What one's peach?" Looks like a lesson for another day! We will have to get our hands dirty with that one...right up my alley!

We are learning the lesson that you love your family, you care for your family, and you accept your family. You don't hate your brother. You shouldn't be jealous of your brother. You don't take from your brother. You don't throw your brother into a pit. You don't sell your brother. These are the lessons my grandkids are learning while they are enjoying the music.

The best lesson of all....if your family does mistreat you, it is up to you to love and forgive. Joseph forgave all of his brothers and they were all reunited at the end of the story. Amazing!

There really is nothing like the love of family and we are so blessed to have been given a family to love and care for. Where would I be???

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sammi-another lesson

Ok, so it is "Wordless Wednesday", and I tried that if you want to scroll down and check out my last post, but if any of you know me.....I have way too much to say some days, and today is one of those days.

Today is payday, the one day of the month I can actually say I like teaching (just kidding. I love it).

Today was snowday #4. We are having a wedding in June. I hope we will be out of school by then!

I cleaned, I cooked, I scrapbooked, I ventured out to the mailbox and downtown to the post office, I watched Dr. Oz and only one movie today.

Oh, and our puppy died today.

Sammi- a beautiful, strong, healthy little girl puppy suffered the consequence of going onto the road. We have always taught our children that lesson. Sammi did not know.

A nice young man came to the house and said he was sorry, but he just couldn't stop his pickup-too much ice on the road.

Sammi's life ended today, just 4 months after it began. Again with the...."if any of you know me", the tears began to flow, and they flowed and flowed and flowed all afternoon and evening.

Marissa and I made the trip from the house to the road with a big towel, petted Sammi one last time, had our little time over her, then wrapped her up, just like a baby, and placed her in the back of the van to bring her home one last time.

I received the nicest comments on facebook after I posted a "Sammi" album, and then there were phonecalls from my kids. "Are you and Marissa OK? Call me if you need anything or need to talk or anything" and "Kavian is crying and he wants to talk to you".

I knew how sad our grandsons would be. We had big plans for that farm dog. I don't have any very recent pictures, but I would guess she had at least doubled or tripled in size since we got her in November. We were going to play with her this summer and run around the farm with her. Braylyn is just starting to talk. She was a bit wary of this running full speed bundle of energy called Sammi, but if she was held safely at a distance, she would stick out her little hand and maybe sometimes touch her, but say simply, "Sammi, Sammi, Sammi" over and over and over. She will not understand.

I am so sorry, Sammi...sorry I was not there to keep you safe.
I am so sorry, boys...sorry Sammi could not stay with us longer.
I am so sorry, Kelly...sorry I lost one of your brood. Kelly is my friend who trusted us to take Sammi home....she was one of 8 puppies.
I am so sorry, Marissa....sorry you lost another puppy.

I talked to Kavian.
"What happened to Sammi?"
I said "It's OK. Sammi went to live with Jesus today."
He, in his 5 year old wisdom said, as he always does when he hears of a death, "With Grandma Nichols and Grandpa Jim and Grandpa George and Uncle Ryan?"
I said, "Yes, that is right."
"Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
John 20:29

I have tried to explain heaven.
I have tried to explain what happens when someone dies.
I have tried to explain that when the body dies, the heart goes to be with Jesus.
I have tried to explain that when someone is sick or hurt and they go to live with Jesus, they are not sick or hurt anymore.

Grandpa George can walk.
Grandma Nichols does not have cancer.
Grandpa Jim can breathe just fine now without carrying his oxygen tank around.
Sammi does not have to live outside in the cold and be hungry 24 hours a day!

Sammi is with them now.
That is enough for a 5 year old.
I am not sure I understand myself, but I will continue giving my life lessons the best I can.

I have also told the boys that when they see a big star in the sky, brightly twinkling, it is Grandpa George saying "Hi" and Grandma Nichols saying "Hi".

We go through the list of names of those that they know who have passed away...too many for 5 years, and pick out a star and wave and wave and wave.

We say, "Hi Grandma Nichols, Hi Grandpa George, Hi Uncle Ryan, Hi Grandpa Jim"!

Now we will add to our list and wave and say, "Hi Sammi!"

Life Lessons- Amazing

Wordless Wednesday


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Life Lesson


There were survivors...those who could tell us some of the details, those who could take photos, but mainly, there was death, destruction, fear, panic, rubble and devastation.

Bits and pieces are coming to us about the terrible tragedy in Haiti. The following are small statements taken from newspapers and television broadcasts. They are NOT my words, but words of those who were there and survived to tell the story.............

"People were just running and taking cover and everything, but it was obvious to us the safest place to be was in the middle of the street, so some of them listened; others didn't. Stuff was falling. It was bad."

"It's panic, and it's chaos. It is praying in the streets, it is people singing. It is, at once, solidarity and chaos."

"We collected everyone that was wounded, and we put them in an open field. It was slightly uphill, and it was completely safe, and that was the idea: put everyone wounded in one safe location."

"I talked with a wounded woman. If I could, she asked me to look after her children, and I didn't know where they were, and I couldn't do anything about it, and then she passed away, so that was kind of rough. Lots of people passed away."

"Kind of difficult to talk about, a child dying in my hands, in my arms."

"There are hundreds, thousands, millions of people who are now trying to find water, trying not to get their wound infected, trying to find food."

Back to northwest Iowa, in my art classes, I asked my students...."Can we tell stories with art? Can we show emotions with art?" They agreed that yes, this is possible. My assignment for the day was to ask them to tell the story of what is going on in Haiti....pretty challenging to draw helicopters and water and food being dropped, and children dying and bleeding and bodies sprawled and piled in makeshift morgues, and volunteers trying their best to treat the injured with very little supplies, sanitation or water. Brainstorming began. What happened? Who is helping? What kind of help is being given? How are they reaching these people? How can they bury that many people? How are parents finding their children?

My requirements were only: the size of the paper, the use of at least 5 mediums, and that somewhere in their composition, they would place a heart. When the project began, some of the students were disgusted to be drawing things that were so difficult to even think about much less dwell on and describe through their art, but as the day progressed, some of them really got into it, and they discussed and felt, and cared, and wondered, and hopefully, felt empathy for the people of this country who were so poor and economically challenged BEFORE this tragedy. AND, my hope is that perhaps they can feel some thankfulness and appreciation for what we have in this country and in our community.

Samples of life lessons learned-







America-find the missing-preservation-vision-volunteer-our world-pray- witness-life-children-go-heart-babies-journey-protect-

-Who will help?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"Never will I leave you"

My van- New Year's Day, 2010 -Damaged

The other car -Destroyed

His protection -Priceless

Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you whenever you go. -Joshua 1:9

fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:13

For I, the Lord your God,
hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Fear not,
I am the one who helps you.”

Matthew 10:29-31

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

In times of trial, it is good to call upon the word of the Lord. "Never will I leave you"
Help me Lord to have no fear. "Fear not. I am the one who helps you"
Help us to realize that we are of more value than many sparrows. "Not one of you will fall to the ground apart from your Father."

God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.” Hebrews 13:5-6

I was checking out some of the sites I enjoy and found this giveaway by Kristy at SoSoBella. Check it out for some great gifts...from the heart!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Snow Day

What does a snow day look like in Iowa?

Temperatures are near 40 degrees BELOW zero-
-photo taken by Sandy Ahrendt

Dangerous wind chills-
- photo taken by Sandy Ahrendt

Our cars are not going anywhere-

Roads are closed-
- photo taken by Sandy Ahrendt

In Winter’s Grip

The world, all that I see

in winter’s grip, held tight

the howling winds,

the blowing snow

all I see is white

Our lives, our activities

all within the walls of home

busy work and idle time

pacing round the house

Trapped inside

at winter’s command

our time charted by the storm

curl up with a good book, a cup of tea

Just stay inside, all warm

-poem by Raymond A. Foss

Interstate 90 was closed today between Sioux Falls and Rapid City. Hiway 18 in Iowa was closed as well. Dangerous windchills and blowing snow also are still hitting the area and 200 area schools closed today and most are closed for tomorrow as well.

Not exactly sure why, but when the wind is blowing outside,
I decorate inside-with Snowmen! My snowmen are warm and
dry and always have big smiles!

Giving thanks-All is safe and warm-


Within our houses

the world around shut down

nature bringing forth its wrath

we are hunkered down

the snow piling higher still

all the roads closed, still

the drifts up against the house

dunes of snow intense

Locked within our homes

no way to go out

the howling winds of winter

how they scream and shout

Barring out egress

our homes our world alone

what to do within the house

within the raging storm

-poem by Raymond A. Foss

These poems are 2 of Raymond's 5,461 copyrighted poems posted on his site, written since April, 2000. I have emailed Raymond several times, and asked if he could write the perfect poem for me to post today. These 2 are freshly penned, on January 8, 2010, at my prompting! I am honored to post them here as well, and direct you to his website. You will be blessed! Thank you for your words, Raymond!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Leah Has Earned Her Wings

Little Lady Leah

Her mama posted:
"I just rocked her and told her: "No more pain, no more blood, no more hospitals, no more EB". All I ever wanted for her was to be pain free and happy - and this is the only way that could've happened. I know she's in heaven - EB free and beautifully perfect. I know all my grandmothers and great-grandmothers are passing her around, loving her. I know she's smiling that Leah smile with those big blue eyes. She will never be alone and will never be in pain again. I know she'll always be with me, watching over me - and I know I will see her again some day and I'll be able to hug her as I never could here.
Golden slumbers fill your eyes
Smiles awake you when you rise
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby"

Leah earned her wings December 31, 2009
This entire section is copied from Leah's blog site *********************************************************************************
"What my Leah is doing today:

Thanks everyone for all the messages and comments. I had no idea how many people had fallen in love with Leah over the past few months.

We're doing ok - I haven't fallen apart today .... yet. I'll try to keep everyone updated on everything but for now I don't think we will have any funeral. We may have a memorial service at some point - perhaps on what would have been Leah's 1st birthday. We really don't know. We haven't even called the funeral home yet but we know we will have Leah cremated so we can keep a part of her close to us at all times. I've already found a butterfly cremation pendant that I can wear all the time next to my heart."
I first learned about this disease when I found Jonah's blog. Jonah, Tripp, and Little Leah share the same disease, EB, short for an extremely rare genetic skin disorder called Epidermolysis Bullosa . These children face a life of painful blisters, hair, nail, and major teeth issues, as well as the possibility of respiratory involvement. Their first child, Gabe, was stillborn at 37 weeks. "He was only here with us a short time, but we treasure every single moment." They suspect EB is the cause of Gabe's death. Patrice's blog says, "We know that no matter what happens with Jonah, God will be glorified. We can't wait to see Gabe in Heaven and can't wait for Jonah to meet his big brother a long, long, long time from now after he's old and gray and lived a long, full life. Please pray for a miracle for Jonah. We are."


Jonah's mom, Patrice posted, "I hate EB with everything in me. I was already having a really hard time before Leah died, and now the things that I had learned to accept and deal with are making me so angry again. I just burst out into tears today when he rolled over and tore the skin off his forehead. He can't even do something "normal" that should be exciting without hurting himself and crying in pain. These poor kids. I just don't get it. Most days I'm like, "Okay this is our life. This is what we do. No big deal. We'll just do it." But I'm now in a phase where I literally think about what EB is, what it really means, and I'm mouth agape in disbelief. When you really think about it, isn't it just one of the craziest things you've ever heard? Some days, I just can't believe this is real. And even though I never got to meet her in person, I miss Leah a lot. And I'm so sad."

These 3 children are precious children of God, and children of parents, and grandchildren of grandparents, just like us. I have really felt for these families and kept up with them through Caringbridges and blogs. I can not imagine the pain and suffering. If you have time, please visit their sites and pray for them. It would mean so much to me and to them if you pray for an end to this horrible disease and for comfort for Leah's family. I also know it means the world to them to receive your notes and comments. They are holding on but need all the support they can get. Thank you!

Tripp can be found at: or