May 2015 // an overview

Howdy, friends!!!  Much has happened in the past 31 days, from final exams, to plane rides, to birthday celebrations.  Boy, does time fly when you’re havin’ fun – that must be what we have been doing. 🙂 As a tribute to the exciting and memory-filled month of May and an excuse to tell our adventures, I decided to write an overview of the month’s events and fill it with some fun photos!

May 3rd: I take my long-anticipated Psychology AP (Advanced Placement – it allows you to receive college credit for the subject) test at Defiance High School, the first of three college preparatory course tests I took this month.  I’d studied for all three of these the whole semester, and was very eager to get the tests over with.  Psychology was fun, though!

May 5th: Charles finishes his final exam for the semester.  He’s only got one more year of college, and he has secured a nice internship for the summer as well.

May 7-10: Charles, Grace, Beth and I drive to Cincinatti for the weekend with some good friends, the Kisers, and have WAAAYYY too much fun while we’re at it!  Thursday night we attended God’s Bible School’s college spring concert (and ate ice cream afterwards!).

We went canoeing Saturday afternoon with a few of the Kisers’ friends and had a blast as well as some…let’s just say “adventures.”  😉

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(Left to right: (Ethan), Grace, Hannah, Beth, Charles, Josiah, Jeffrey, Jonny, Uriah, Josue)

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(L-R: Josue, Ethan, Jonny, Uriah)

Apparently staying on the ground isn’t thrilling enough for some people! 🙂  Neither is just sitting on the tree branch…ya gotta hang from it to experience life to the FULLEST.  Oh yeah, and don’t forget to climb down in a way that breaks part of the branch off and gives a good scare to everyone around…especially the one still hanging upside down.  All this is absolutely necessary for having fun on a Saturday afternoon – remember that, okay?  Okay.

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The Kisers’ self-built three-seater kayak was much faster than the canoes, thus the far distance between us and the rest of the group, who you can see in the background. 🙂

Ultimate frisbee, tag, staying up late watching The Hobbit part 1, board games, and just hanging out were also part of the weekend that somehow ended way sooner than we wanted it to.  It was a perfect relaxing study break before the next step in my testing marathon….

May 13th: I take my English Language & Composition AP test in the morning, and my Statistics test in the afternoon. It was SUCH a relief to get those behind me!  I went home and took a nice long bike ride to relax.  🙂  Sadly, I don’t get the results until July, though I’m pretty sure I passed them all.

May 15-22: Joy and I fly to Florida to spend a week with Grandpa and Grandma and to fly home with them, since they stay in FL for the cold months and come back up here during the summer.  We swam in the pool every. single. day. – even the day that we flew home!  Who says pool time is off-limits just because you have to leave for the airport at 11:30 AM?  Not us, that’s for sure! 😉

Grandma and my aunt who also lives down in Florida for the winter, Aunt Barb, took us shopping at Kohl’s one afternoon just to spoil us a little…which we didn’t mind a bit.  Grandma, Joy, and I went to three different thrift stores during our stay…my favorite was the one at which I scored FOUR skirts in a row that fit perfectly!  Of course, the best part was that the total cost was less than what we sometimes pay for just one brand new skirt!  🙂

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We went blueberry picking at a local patch one morning.  Seriously, people, you haven’t tasted blueberries until you’ve tried ones as fresh and big and juicy as these were….we picked a grand total of twelve pounds!  And yes, we ate all twelve pounds in 3-4 days.  I’m pretty sure I ate around five pounds of blueberries just by myself…

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They also kept goats, and let Joy in to play with and feed them since she’s had so much experience with goats.  I’m pretty sure this made her day. 🙂

Some of you have already heard about our grand fruit consumption, but for those of you who still need updated, the four of us (Grandpa, Grandma, Joy, and I) with a very small amount of help from friends, inhaled twelve pounds of (fresh, juicy, and delicious!) blueberries, two full-size watermelons, six bunches of bananas, four pounds of cherries, and several apples and oranges as well.  Grandparents are REALLY good at spoiling girls like us!  Feel free to laugh at us crazies (as I’m sure you will!), but just remember that we DID go swimming every day to try to make up for it. 😉

May 16th: My favorite older brother turns 21!!!!!!!  Joy and I were in Florida, so we couldn’t celebrate it with him, but Beth sent us plenty of pictures and an evening summary.  He’s so much fun….we always love weekends because Charles comes home! 🙂

May 23-24: We receive a short weekend visit from a fun family, the Pauluses!  We’ve known the oldest son, Jeffrey (from GBS, see canoe trip pictures above), for almost a year, and we had a blast getting to know the rest of the fam!  So we played plenty of volleyball, laughed till our sides hurt, and watched the boys play “dodge the cow”….or rather “See-who-can-jump-on-the-cow-and-stay-there-the-longest.”  I’d add pictures of our adventures, but they are currently inaccessible.  Maybe I’ll sneak ’em in later sometime when I get a chance. 🙂

May 28th: Joy turns 13!  We’ve got four teenagers again – at least for 6 more months.  🙂

IMG_5142 IMG_5144Joy is a HUGE gift-giver: she’ll leave you notes and candy on your pillow after a long trip, clean the bathroom for you and leave fun food items on the counter for you to find instead of the dirty bathroom when you wearily trek into the bathroom late at night to begin the cleaning process, and go to every extreme to make you feel extra special on your birthday.  Just today I found a yogurt from her in my going-to-work lunch bag! Love you, Joy!!  IMG_5147IMG_5151

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This gift from Grandpa and Grandma was perrrfect for her – except I don’t think she needs a reminder.  I honestly don’t know how Mom and Dad got her name just right like they did, but she is definitely a joy to be with and to have around!

May 28th: I apply to and get hired at Glenn Park, an Assisted Living facility about ten minutes away from home, as a nurse’s aid!  I’m excited, but also realizing that this summer is going to be busier than I thought, with two part-time jobs and a few high school things to finish before I start college classes in late August.  Ah well – hard things are good for me!

I know it’s been forever since I’ve written anything, but I guess that I’ve been so busy living life that it’s hard to find time to blog about it very much!  Remember as you head into this next week that God wants us to LIVE fully alive, treasure those around you, and make use of the little time that you have in your current stage of life.  Before you know it, time will be gone…will you be able to say, “I lived FULLY ALIVE, enjoyed every minute, and did all that I could to glorify my Savior”?  It’s not always easy, and I’m not always successful, but the Lord is teaching me to lean on Him and let His light shine through my many imperfections.

“Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”

“I seek not a long life, but a full one, like you Lord Jesus.”

“When it comes time to die, make sure that all you have to do is die.”

-Jim Elliot

 

Happy birthday to the best Daddy EVER!

Hey!!!  I have some very important news, because today marks an important day in history for a certain man.  He was born on this day (just a few decades years ago…) in Germany on the military base, grew up in Ohio, and went to college for a music performance degree.  There he met and married a country farm girl, and after some traveling, moving, and doubling his family size, settled down in the country.  He and this country girl, though life was not always easy, began working hard and raising a family which eventually grew to include eleven children.  His third child is the one who writes to you today, telling you the important news that this is his BIRTHDAY!

Hopefully by now you realize who this person is…if you haven’t, go read the title of this post!  😉

Maybe not everyone is as excited as children for their birthdays once they reach a certain age, but I wanted to take this opportunity to say a few things and brag a little on my dad.

  • Dad has always been the hero in all of our lives as we’ve been growing up and learning more and more about real life!
  • He’s prayed with each of us every night except when he or we were gone, and has always been available to talk and listen to what we’ve been going through.  This isn’t necessarily easy with his now eleven children – it’s an example of true self-sacrifice and love, as he takes a hour or two each night to put littles to bed and to talk and pray with the rest of us before we hit the hay.
  • Dad is always ready and willing to give us advice when we need it, whether it’s how to respond in a difficult situation, how to stop a bad habit, or how to pull all the hair out of the bathtub drain.  🙂
  • I can count on one hand the times I remember seeing Dad upset.  He’s that steady calming person that everyone wants and needs all at the same time…
  • But he knows his priorities and how to keep them straight.  He puts God first, and then his family, and he refuses to compromise no matter what!
  • He is very patient.  When I was little and he used to tuck me into bed, I always came up with random questions to ask him.  Questions such as “Why do Dalmations have spots?” and “How are cribs made?” would be answered with the best explanation possible for a little girl.  Looking back, I think I just wanted Daddy to stay there longer and talk to me…
  • He has an awesome sense of dry humor!  He often says things that make us all start laughing, and the best part is that Mom usually cannot tell whether he’s joking or not…but we kids can! 🙂
  • Dad is really good at teaching, and doesn’t give up or lash out when his “student” doesn’t “get it” right away.
  • He’s honest.  At work, at church, at home, in stores…wherever he is, he will always tell the truth.
  • Daddy knows how to be grateful for the thought and effort people put in to things, even if the gift or service isn’t exactly what he would have preferred.
  • He’s good at leading his family, and he is sensitive at the same time.  Not one of those people who just orders others around and expects them to do whatever he says – he instead seeks to make a decision for the benefit of everyone involved. 🙂
  • I could go on and on, but I’d have to say that one of the things I most appreciate about you, Dad, is that you are a REALLY good listener.  You can tell when something bothers me, you listen when I explain, and you seem to know just what to say.  🙂  I love you, Daddy, and I’m sooooooo glad that I have the privilege of being your daughter.  <3 🙂

So happy birthday Dad!!!!!  I love you lots!