Saturday, June 28, 2008

Our Fairy Tale Day

Once upon a time, Alex and Kate took a walk in the park.

They found a bench where they could sit and talk.

But then, Alex left his seat and got down on one knee.
From his pocket he pulled a box...
The contents of which inspired a kiss!What a beautiful ring!

There's quite a story behind this ring.

The stone has traveled around the world from war-torn Afghanistan.

And the secrets kept regarding the setting of this stone into a woven white gold band formed a conspiracy of gargantuan proportions!

"Hey- there's Mom and her camera!"
Alex purchased this Sri Lankan Sapphire from a gem dealer in Kandahar before he'd even met Kate, knowing, however, that it would someday adorn the hand of his bride.

Walking on air.

The future Mr. and Mrs. Alex Minarik

Friday, June 20, 2008

On The Road Again

I just waved goodbye to Alex, Kate and Isaac as they left for Indiana and Kentucky. Alex has a Grandmother in Indiana to stop and see on the way back home. Isaac is on two different medications for his Lyme Disease and swollen knee, but hopping around rather well, so he gets to join them for this trip. The sweethearts ought to get more talking time in the car than they did with Erin, because Isaac sleeps in the car where Erin was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed the whole way there and back. They better take pictures this time!

Having spent another several days with Alex here has again been a blessing. The strength of his devotion to God is every day more evident, and his desire to pursue an honorable course with Kate is amazing to see. Though I prayed for so long, when God answered this prayer I am still struck by the answer- far more abundant than I could have dreamed. The way in which Alex has just fit right in with our crazy family has been nothing short of a miracle. Conversations that I have been priviledged to have with him on serious issues touching his walk with Christ, the time he spent in Afghanistan and his feelings for my daughter have grabbed my heart and, on more than one occasion, brought me to tears.

Meanwhile, the house is quieter than I've experienced for a while. Those three are off and away, Jim is in Philly, Erin is with friends at a nearby Walk for Life and Bekah is at work. I hardly know what to do first, something grown-up and responsible, or something silly and selfish...?

And before I forget, here are photos missing from recent posts. My computer isn't working yet, but I've been able to load these through Bekah's laptop. Enjoy-

Half of our giant swing tree, down in a storm....

Isaac gets his blood drawn for the first time,... next time won't be so easy.
John Fromuth fits Isaac with a pair of crutches- Thanks John!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Isaac has tested positive for Lyme Disease, so we are already proceeding with his treatment- two weeks of antibiotics. Now if only there is some improvement between now and Friday morning...

Thanks for praying!

Monday, June 16, 2008

My Dead Computer, Poor Isaac, and Other Thoughts...

A week ago Tuesday, Alex, Kate and Erin left for Kentucky for the purpose of taking Kate to meet Alex's family. I took pictures in the driveway of them preparing to leave.

Wednesday morning we awoke to find that half of our giant swing tree in the backyard had come down in a storm the night before. I went out there and took pictures.

Wednesday and Thursday Isaac went to two different doctors besides getting his very first x-ray and having blood drawn; again, I took pictures.

Saturday a friend from church graciously brought Isaac a pair of crutches and taught him to use them- momentous and touching, naturally, I took pictures.

But since my computer died in the storm that took down that tree, I haven't yet been able to upload any of the week's pictures to my blog! So I will simply have to go back to mere writing about what has happened before I forget it all.

(By the way, I am using Bekah's laptop to email and check the web for pertinent information, such as the latest bumpersticker my daughters have added to their facebook profiles...)

The most urgent thing happening is that Isaac showed up Sunday afternoong telling me that his knee looked funny. His right knee was swollen twice its normal size, yet without pain. A couple of hours later we asked our friend at church, who is a Physical Therapist, to take a look at it. No apparent injury led our friend to recommend a visit to the Doctor, and soon. I was able to get him in to our new Doctor, (we are in the process of changing...) on Wednesday evening. She was very thorough, and very concerned. To the point that she had us get an x-ray and bloodwork Thursday morning and an appointment with an Orthopedic that afternoon. Isaac was brave for the x-ray and surprised with the bloodwork. "She just stuck it right in!"

The Orthopedic we saw is the very man we have been taking Bekah to for her scoliosis. He was also rather thorough, asking a lot of questions before numbing the knee with Novocane- not fun- and drawing 50 ccs of pink fliud out of the knee with a huge syringe- also not fun. What we were able to determine at that point, and by "we" I mean Dr. Cook, is that there is no bacterial infection going on, the x-ray shows no injury, and the tests run on Isaac's blood were not enough to answer the Doctor's questions.

More tests were ordered for the remanining blood and for the fluid and we have an appointment for an MRI on Wednesday. It seems that the concerns are at this point leading to Lyme Disease, perhaps. We live in a wooded area, own a dog, have recently gone camping, and Isaac often plays outdoors and finds the occasional tick on his body.

Since his knee has become rather stiff and sore he is now hopping along on crutches thanks to our good friend who was generous to bring them by, fit them to Isaac and teach him to use them.

Not only is this a lousy way to begin Summer for a ten year-old, but Isaac was supposed to accompany Kate and Alex to Kentucky this past week. It worked out perfectly for Erin to go, and they are going again at the end of this week, so we hope he can ride along this time! He has been informed of the possibility of dirtbike riding in Kentucky, so I am praying that he will be able to go. He will be so disappointed if he can't.

This leads to the next important thing that happened this week. Kate met Alex's family, and they love her. More importantly, Alex's Mom loves her. I know that my baby was so nervous about such an momentous introduction, but it sounds as if the week there was perfect. According to my girls, Mary Larsen and I will be the best of friends once we meet. We already share a lot in common, not the least of which is a love for these two kids of ours. She also has prayed for her baby's spouse for his whole lifetime and her approval of,... no, delight in Kate melts my heart.

The three adventurers are home now, another week has begun, and there is much to do. This month is flying by... I hate to see it go so quickly.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Good Conscience is a Continual Feast

Reading slowly through Jeremiah Burroughs' The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment has indeed been a continual feast. While I have fallen woefully behind on the Puritan Reading Challenge, I am still chewing my way through the Rare Jewel and finding there much to savor.

"To be content as a result of some external thing is like warming a man's clothes by the fire. But to be content through an inward disposition of the soul is like the warmth that a man's clothes have from the natural heat of his body."

"All outward peace is not enough, I must have the peace of God. But suppose you have the peace of God, will that not quiet you? No, I must have the God of peace; as the peace of God, so the God of peace. That is, I must enjoy that God who gives me the peace; I must have the Cause as well as the effect. I must see from whence my peace comes, and enjoy the Fountain of my peace, as well as the stream of my peace."

"Every good thing the people of God enjoy, they enjoy it in God's love, and coming from God's eternal love for them, and this must needs be very sweet to them."

"Not only in good things does a Christian have the dew of God's blessing, and find them very sweet to him, but in all the afflictions, all the evils that befall him, he can see love, and can enjoy the sweetness of love in his afflictions as well as in his mercies. The truth is that the afflictions of God's people come from the same eternal love that Jesus Christ came from."

"This is the art of arts, and the science of sciences, the knowledge of knowledges, to understand this, that God when he will bring life, brings it out of death, he brings joy out of sorrow, and he brings prosperity out of adversity, yea and many times brings grace out of sin, that is, makes use of sin to work furtherance of grace. It is the way of God to bring all good out of evil, not only to overcome the evil, but to make the evil work toward the good. Now when the soul comes to understand this, it will take away our murmuring and bring contentment into our spirits."

"What is Heaven, but the rest and quiet of a man's spirit; that is the special thing that makes the life of Heaven, there is rest and joy, and satisfaction in God. So it is in a contented spirit: there is rest and joy and satisfaction in God. In Heaven there is singing praises to God; a contented heart is always praising and blessing God. You have Heaven while you are on earth when you have a contented spirit; yea, in some regards it is better than Heaven."

There is so much more wealth in this jem of a book, yet if I continue I will have merely an abridged copy to post instead of nuggets.

Monday, June 09, 2008

The Visit

Alex Minarik, who has already endured trial by camping with our family, is our guest for most of the month of June while on leave from Ft. Bragg. Evidently a glutton for punishment, he drove up Wednesday, giving us good reason to be on our best behavior and create a feast for dinner every evening. Gadzooks! Why didn't we do this before?!

Seriously though, we are enjoying our visit tremendously, and spending each evening staying up way too late immersed in great conversation or really good movies. Sleep deprivation will hit soon, but for now we are enjoying ourselves- it is, after all, Summer!

Alex learns the Art of Food

Swinging sisters

We head out for our "Amish Run" on Saturday morning...

And lookie who we find! Gideon and Malinda roasting perfectly wonderful chickens for our lunchtime feast!
Alex watches closely as Gideon Jr. tends the birds.

Organic eggs!

We find the poppies Isaac has been wanting to plant in the flower bed!
Hoover's Market

So for breakfast should we choose the bread or the pie???

Record high temperatures send us to the park pool, where the cannonball king reigns.
And this little beauty sunbathes.

He hasn't yet run screaming for the border...

Big Week For the Kellys

This has been one amazing week for us, and it's only the beginning of a month-long adventure, of sorts, which is still only another beginning. I hardly know where to start...

Having prayed, inconsistently and certainly inadequately at best, for 18 years, for the man whom God intended for our Kate to marry, I believe that we have met that answer to prayer. Alex is, first and foremost, a godly young man. His devotion to Christ is exhibited in his life and conversation as well as his treatment of and respect for Kate (and her parents too!). Jim and I have each had opportunities to talk at length with Alex about his faith and his expectations with our daughter. They have our blessing, prayerfully, with full reliance upon God to give them wisdom and insight, to enter into a Courtship relationship.

Their situation has some unique opportunities, as well as many challenges ahead of them. Kate is still going to Ireland in September for an 11 month internship with Mission to the World. Alex has two years yet to serve in the Army, and having only just returned from Afghanistan, will very likely be re-deployed before his time is finished. He is taking a full month of leave from Ft. Bragg and dividing his time between staying here with us, and taking Kate to Kentucky to meet his family. (They leave, taking Erin along with them, tomorrow, for the first of two such trips.)

Please be praying with us for them, that they would pursue their relationship in a manner that would honor one another and bring glory to God. Personally, I am floored at the faithfulness of God to answer my heart's desire for my daughter in such a way... My cup overflows.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Erin Elected!

I have somehow made a horrible gaff in neglecting to celebrate here the election of Erin to the post of Treasurer for her class! Next year in 8th grade Erin will serve as class Treasurer. She chose Treasurer for a very profound reason,... none of her friends were running for that particular post. This summer she will join the other elected officials for a week-long camp to learn leadership skills- ha, she could teach them a thing or two!

Madame Treasurer