Friday, October 29, 2010

Just trying to stop the rumor mill before it gets going.

What am I saying? The rumor mill already is working - so really, this is my attempt at clarifying where we stand.

Wednesday was not the best of days for Robert. He found out some really troubling news when the press released information about Tim, the guy who owned the computer shop that Robert (ICD) took over. Here's what we know:

Before Robert met Tim, he apparently did a job for a lady, and was never paid. He took it upon himself to threaten her with exposing her drug problems (maybe more, but I'm not clear on that). Anyway, she went to the police and pressed charges for extortion. Again, I'm unclear as to what happened from point A to point B, but long story short, the police got a warrant to search his residence and business. They found meth, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia in his home. He was arrested and jailed for extortion and drug charges.

** If you know us, you know we do not get involved in all the small town gossip. And up until the press release this week, knowing the gossip would have been the only way we would have known what had happened.**

Wednesday morning was the first time Robert was made aware of the situation. He also found out that Tim took a substantial amount of money (by saying a client hadn't paid when, in fact, they did), and was responsible for 'missing' parts. I'm sure that hasn't been all he's been dishonest about, but that's what we know for sure so far.

So, here we are today, 48 hours after finding out all of this. Tim never showed up at the store yesterday, or the day before. Robert has tried to contact him to tell him he's not to come back, and that he no longer will be contracted for any work, but Tim has not responded to anything. We think he may decide to 'skip town' with a computer from inventory, and the money from the check he cashed (which Robert has been reimbursed for from the bank). He is in some B.I.G. trouble now. Well, bigger trouble, but he made his bed...

We've heard a lot in the last couple of days that 'it would have been nice to know all of this ahead of time.' Yeah, I guess, but it's all God that we didn't. My last post went over God's timing with the beginning of this new chapter, and none of that has changed. Even now. If Robert had  known about Tim's recent charges, he never would have taken over Tim's company, the building/phone/utilities, and he would have had to go back to the refinery when they called. You can call it ignorance or whatever you want, but we see it as God using blinders to get us from there to here, just like a jockey uses blinders on his horse to get it to cross the finish line. Because none of this would be what it is today if the events and information came about in any other way than they did.

And that is just one more confirmation that we're on the right track.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Strong-Willed Cowgirl

Our little cowgirl was supposed to have four teeth extracted today. Epic fail. Again.

She's had 3 or 4 other teeth removed before - you'd think she'd know it isn't all that bad. Especially with the use of nitrous oxide. But, once in the chair (of course, after the numbing has taken place), fear sets in, and he closes her mouth. Or runs away. Or both. Sigh.

The very first tooth extraction was a breeze. Well, almost. She started to freak out with all the wiggling and manipulation in her mouth, but she let the dentist finish his job. The second time, she knew what to expect, and she ran away. Like, ranawaysoIcouldn'tfindher ran away. But that was after she locked herself in the bathroom. And the van. We rescheduled for a later time, and with the use of gas, she did just fine.

Fast forward to about three weeks ago, but add a few extra kids into the mix, and you have another epic fail. Unless you were the other kids, getting to pick a few things from the treasure box to keep busy while Mommy tried to convince a frightened cowgirl that getting four teeth pulled was in her best interest! At least Caitlin didn't run away this time, but she about broke my heart when we were talking in the bathroom, and looking up at me with tear-filled eyes she said, "I'm just too scared. I can't do it Mommy." So we rescheduled.

Here we are today, after failed attempt #2. We are going to be referred to a pediatric dentist for the extractions. Let's hope they have better luck than our poor dentist!

Now to look at these experiences in a different light...

After replaying the situation and her reaction to it on the way home, the thought came to me, "Sound familiar?"

Too many times, I run away, locking myself away from what God wants me to do, because my feeble, naive, human brain tells me my way is better. I can read and hear over and over that His plans for me are for good, that His ways are not my ways, but there are times in life that it doesn't make it out of my head. When it's just in my head is when I do not put my faith in practice. When I think I know better, and seek my own counsel instead of seeking counsel from the One whose ways are perfect, and are in my best interest.

I see the picture of Caitlin, scared because she knows she has to lose a few teeth prematurely. She knows we would never ask her to have her teeth pulled for the fun of it. She knows that by pulling teeth now, she saves herself pain from a crowded mouth, embarrassment from a crazy toothed smile, and time that she'll need to have braces. She knows that. She wants to get it over with. But when push comes to shove, and she's all numbed up in the dentist's chair, she locks up in fear. The head knowledge that this is for her best interest isn't enough to help her overcome her fear and open wide. She needs to believe it down to the core. She needs to believe it so much that even if it did hurt (which it hasn't in the past), she's ready and willing to to face it and get it over with.

Ever have times where you feel God is leading you one way, but the fear (and, quite honestly, logic) comes into play, and we look for the Easy button, or resist a new change? We know God will take care of us. We know His ways are better. But yet we still want what we think is best. And maybe it really seems to be best, but God is thinking eternally, not earthly.

*****Edit: We just were made aware of some bad news today, the day after I wrote this post, about the guy who works for Robert.  Robert will be flying solo for now, and we have to rely on God more than ever before. But that changes absolutely NOTHING from what I typed last night. God's hand is still moving through all of this. He put Robert where he is today, and we are going to put our faith into practice, continuing on this journey, trusting that God i with us every step of the way. *****

We are having to put our faith into practice now. I'm sure the small town rumor mill has already shared its many versions of our situation, but unless you hear it from us, don't believe a word. I don't know what's been said - I can only imagine, if past rumors are any clue - but I do know that people have been talking. So here it is. Straight from my mouth. Er... keyboard.

The bio diesel plant Robert has worked for over the last 4½ years laid off nearly every employee, starting in the spring. Robert was laid off in August. I think. I can't remember exactly, but I'm thinking it was August. The last month or two have been such a blur...

Anyway, if you remember this post, and then this post, you have a general idea of what big changes have taken place. What you may not know is all the stress, the uncertainty, the questions, and doubts that abounded.

It's one thing to believe that God gave Robert a great talent in the field of computers, and that Iowa Computer Depot (ICD) was a great provision for an outlet for that talent, but it's a whole other thing to believe that God will provide for and sustain our family with that talent!

It was easy to start working full time as the computer guy when there was an unemployment check coming every week. But there was always the question, "What if the plant goes back up? What do we do?" We both knew that we wanted Robert to be just the computer guy, but that didn't mean we were ready to say, "Now is the time - no going back!" We wanted a neon sign from God telling us what to do.

Well, the neon sign didn't come, but what did come was a lot clearer than any neon light!

Robert had been looking into renting a building for his company. He came close to actually going through with one building, but he decided last minute it wasn't right. Robert just decided he would make his office space in the Howard Center and at home work for as long as he could. Then he got a call that changed everything.

There was a guy (Tim) who opened up a computer business in the same town as ICD last winter (I believe). One day, about a month ago, Robert got a phone call from him. He needed some computer part, and asked Robert if he had any available. Then he threw in that they should join forces. He didn't necessarily want to have the stress and responsibilities of owning/managing his own company, he just wanted to repair computers.

So, Robert met with him, and they came to the agreement that they would join forces, and ICD would 'take over.' It was a blessing for Tim, because, as he told Robert, if Robert hadn't agreed to taking over, he was going to have to close up shop.

So, the next week, contracts were written and signed, Robert moved into the building and changed everything into his name. We had just under two weeks to get everything ready for the ribbon cutting, so we got busy. Amazingly, it all came together just in time!

The ribbon cutting was October 5th. Fast forward to a week and a half ago, and Robert got another life-changing call. The plant was starting back up. Long story short, Robert said he wasn't going back. And now I'm finally getting to the point of all of this.

We are having to completely put our faith into practice now. So many probably can't even begin to comprehend what that truly is. How can you put faith into someone you can't see? Well I'm here to say we can see Him. And in this particular situation, His presence is undeniable. Robert was practically handed his opportunities on a silver platter, and the timing of it couldn't have been more perfect. Of course, the whole thing is scary, and it only seems logical that he should go back to the refinery, but this is where we need to fully believe, down to our core, that God is our Provider. He gave Robert the talent and the opportunities to get to where he is today. Robert had to make the very conscious decision to follow where God was leading, knowing it wasn't going to be easy, that it was going to be downright scary and uncertain.

I had a thought pop into my head, right before that call from the refinery. God told Noah to build an ark to save his family and every kind of animal from a flood. A flood that was coming when it had never rained before! He provided Noah with instructions, the means to build, and even brought the animals to Noah! All Noah had to do was obey - put his faith into practice. God did the rest. Though, not to be mistaken for it all being easy! Sometimes, what's best for us is the blood, sweat, and tears. Remember, God doesn't think in earthly terms, but in eternal.

Personally, I'm very glad Noah chose to obey, being mocked and ridiculed, working hard day in and day out, and living with a ton of smelly animals on a boat for over a year.

Because I wouldn't be typing this if he hadn't. ;)

And that, dear reader, is what I learned from my strong-willed cowgirl.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Parade & Half Time

Sierra started playing the clarinet in 5th grade, and she's still really enjoying it. Especially now that she gets to march!

Sierra's first time marching was for the Carroll Band Day parade on October 2nd. They played very well, and her band even won 1st place!!

Robert, Elise, and I watched the parade from the sidelines...

Elise waiting for the parade to start...

Our church's float that Caitlin, Abby, and Trevor rode on...

Last night, Sierra's band played at half time...

The formation they did spelled 'ESC' (East Sac County, the name of their school). Sierra was the 4th band member from the bottom of the vertical line of the 'E', with the white feather. I mean, plume.

Afterward, we stayed to watch a couple plays because Trevor wanted to see a 'real life tackle.'

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Character 101

Volleyball season is now over. I hate to admit it, but I'm glad. It's been a... trying past few weeks. Sierra has played 3 seasons now, and the character building gets harder and harder each year. Not just for her, either. I can completely understand how parents lose their tempers at games. I sure wanted to! And not just with the coach, but even with most of the girls. The subtle bullying of the girls just gets at me. So does the favoritism of the coaches. To add to that, poor Sierra shed a lot of tears.

I won't go into details. I've recently read something that stated, "Don't put online what you wouldn't say to some one's face." So, being that I don't plan on doing a lot of confronting, I'm just going to say that going by the Golden Rule, there are a lot of people I've witnessed with volleyball who wish to be left out, subtly bullied, bossed around, and ignored. If nothing else, that just made the nice, encouraging, and caring people in volleyball shine all the more.

Now, don't get me wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Sierra play. She isn't the strongest player on the team, but once she gets in her groove, she does pretty good. The frustrating part was the fact that she really wasn't given enough playing time this season to prove that.

The mama bear in me wants to go on the attack. To keep Sierra home so she never has to deal with hard and unfair situations like this again. To keep her away from the rude, snotty girls.  But I know that isn't the answer. Protecting and sheltering her isn't going to make things better. In the real world, it only gets worse, and I'd be doing her a disservice by trying to keep her in a rose colored bubble. Instead, we have to see this as an opportunity to show her love, support, and comfort, and also to teach her how to deal with the tough stuff in life. Teach her Who to turn to to give her the grace and strength she needs to hold her head high, knowing her value does not lie in what mere people think, but it lies in what God thinks. He thinks she is beautiful inside and out, and treasures her more than you can imagine.

And so do I.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Happy 10/10/10!

Fall is full swing in these parts. It is a lovely sight, but I cringe when I think winter is just around the corner.

I just  love this photo. The reds, yellows, and even a bit of green against the blue sky.

It's been perfect tree climbing weather...

And guess what?? I found my already uploaded volleyball pictures! Let's see if I can get them to work...

Those were from the first tournament. I still need to resize the second tournament - the one her team placed second in. This coming weekend is the last tournament. This volleyball season has flown by, like everything else.
I took the kids to a park yesterday, after volleyball practice, to play volleyball and soccer, and hopefully take some fun fall photos. Unfortunately, those tiny black bugs were out with a vengeance! I just learned that the sharp stings aren't actually caused by them biting. Nope. It's their acid urine! Nice thought, huh? Anyway, the kids and I lasted only about half an hour before racing to the car, and checking each other for bugs. Not a single picture. Just a bruised wrist on my part from hitting the volleyball wrong. Still hurts.

Guess what? I bought something today that I haven't owned in a long time.

A kitchen trash can!! We have used hanging grocery sacks for the last several years because we kept losing silverware, thanks to sweet toddlers who loved to throw things away. It may sound like a silly thing to get excited about, but I have been so sick & tired of having grocery bags of trash hanging on my cupboard door, and I no longer have to have that eyesore in my kitchen!

Well, I should get moving. Trevor wants to make French toast for everyone, so he and Robert ran out to get the bread for it. They should be home any minute.

Hope you have a great week!


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