Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Life, Plans and the Power that Is

This is quite long, sorry, but at the end I am posting an update to this previously published post.

It's a funny thing about life, it gets in the way of your plans. I am constantly amazed at how things can turn on a dime and suddenly, nothing is how you planned it. I began a rather ambitious, for me, undertaking of encouraging myself and others to live the 1 Corinthians 13 model of love. I still intend to pursue that, but I felt the need to fill you all in on why it has been, shall we say - delayed a bit.

First, I intended to post about my attempt day one to live "Love is patient" in my relationship with my children. Well, I failed miserably. But, taking my own advice, I decided not to consider it failure but rather an opportunity to try again. Before being able to follow through with the update and the encouragement to follow the next step, things got a little complicated in my world.

First for a little background. I have been married for nearly 15 years to the man of my dreams. Honestly, he is everything I would ever desire, not what I am sure I would have asked for 15 years ago, but better than I could have dreamed. Enough gushing about my amazing husband (it's just hard sometimes to stop myself). We spent our first married year living in married student housing at Ball State University. Ah, the days. Free cable, lawn maintainance, someone to fix all our broken stuff. After I graduated we moved into a home owned by my dad. The rent was right, free for the first year as we got our feet under us. That's where it all began.

I loved a lot of things about that little 900 square foot house, the neighbors, the neighborhood, the library, the closeness to my job, the school district, etc. That year we experienced our first water problem, frozen pipes. Ah, yes. Did I mention since we lived rent free we felt it necessary to take on all maintainance. Yeah, pipes froze year one. At the time there was a house trailer in the backyard that my grandmother and uncle lived in. The water was all connected under the trailer, so that is where the pipes froze. Copper pipes. My amazing hubby learned a lot about copper pipes, especially that he wasn't so good at "sweating" them. After a hypothermic hubby and much stress, we called a plumber.

The next winter, we were sure we had it fixed. More frozen pipes. Eventually, we solved the problem entirely. We tore down the house trailer. Ha! Take that. Well, that didn't end the problem, it moved it. Now the pipes in the house (or rather under) began to freeze. Year after year. Yes, we left water running. Yes, we used pipe insulation. Yes, yes, yes. We did it all. Something new froze and/or burst every winter. For the 10 years we lived there, something froze every winter, never the same thing. My husband is practically fanatical about insulating pipes now.

Then God blessed us with an amazing new house. 2300 square feet, 5+ acres, room for the newest baby (totally 5). And this house had a well. My hubby was excited not to pay for water! Life is good! Until the day we arrived to begin cleaning and the well went dry. Yup. Dry. Sure, it was a super dry summer but still, the owner assured us there had never been a problem. We later discovered he was, well, misleading us a bit. Anyway, we decided to move forward with the move-in while my husband and any number of wonderful friends worked diligently to get us water. We hauled water from town every other day while we worked at the water problem.

Replaced the pump on advice from the "expert", turns out original pump was fine. Replaced the pipe. Replaced the wire (130 feet of well pump wire is not cheap). Finally, after chatting with the only well expert we could find, my husband got the water running, though at a much decreased rate.

Wooo Hooo! Water, dream home, life is great! Oh, except the previous homeowner went to great lentghs to hide one small problem. Our water is orange. Not "well water orange". It is so orange the man that came to test it for rust was impressed. Nearly the worst he's seen. Nice. We had purchased as a housewarming present for ourselves a new set of front loader washer and dryer. Not cheap. (My washing machine went out a couple of weeks before delivering my 5th child so I had been washerless for a few months at this point). I refused to put my new, very expensive washing machine in this house with this nasty water. So we waited until we could afford the water softener and rust filter needed for our water.

And waited. And waited. We drove to the in-laws every weekend to do laundry (an hour one way). We stayed Friday evening through Sunday morning every weekend. My life was consumed by being gone all weekend to catch up on laundry for a family of 7. Going to a laundrymat was out of the question at over $40 a week to do only essentials.

At the 2 1/2 years with no washing machine point, my in-laws blessed us with the rust filter and water softener that we needed. Bless them. They got their home back and we got to live at home! Life was good.

Then, somehow, after all this time, guess what? We froze and burst water pipes again. Once again, we spent weeks at the in-laws while repairing the water.

Okay, we are set. Well works, water is clean, washing machine hooked up, pipes insulated, life is good.

This summer, we had a drought again. Yet our yard had standing water. Eventually we realized this didn't make sense so hubby looks in our crawl space and low and behold, we had 3 1/2 feet of standing water. Hundreds of gallons of water. A massive leak and we couldn't even tell. It was days of sump pump running, water turned off to the house to empty the crawl space. When we needed water, we turned it on and used it, but the crawl quickly filled. Once again hubby to the rescue. He fixed even more pipes. He's learned quite a bit that he never wanted to know!

Now life is good. Working well, clean water, washing machine, insulated pipes, new pipes under house. Life is good.

Then....

Well, I'll just say we suddenly couldn't run the shower nor flush the toilet more than once every 20 minutes. Oh, and the rust filter is now worn out, so my water is orange again, but that's another story.

Hubby tries all the variables and decides, much to his disappointment that he must pull the pump. Again. By hand. Yup, dead of winter, snow, all of it. The pump got stuck and he pulled the pipe right off the pump. A good friend came and helped him run a camera down and find the problem. They managed to shove the old pump down the well, and drop the extra pump we had (remember, we replaced a perfectly working one previously) on top of the old pump. More new pipe. Everything hooked up and we have water. Yay! Problem, it still won't sustain a shower. Or laundry.

We are currently going between our house and in-laws house trying to allow my hubby to work (at his job), research his next step and have some sanity. God bless those in-laws. Oh, then, my baby got sick. Puky sick. Not suffient water to flush more than every 20 minutes, sick 3 year old and then sick mommy.

So, my brain has been unable, until now, to even thing about blogging and about my relationship challenge. We finally started school back this week after post-poning for a couple extra weeks.

Seems like a long story. Truth is, I've actually left some of it out. Parts like my husband and a friend bailing water in the rain while trying to find a leak underground just our side of the water main at our old house.

What have I learned. Life is good. No matter what the water situation. Life is good!

UPDATE:

Since this post was published in January we have added a few more issues to the mix.  This momma had her 6th baby in March.  We brought him "home" to my in-laws.  We stayed up there almost all the time until my "maternity leave from life" ended.  We had the only well expert in town come out.  He suggested either a cleanout or a new well.  We opted to try for a new well.  He needed a few dry warmish days to drill.  Well, nearly the wettest spring in history.  Of course.  So we didn't get the well drilled until after the baby was born.  And it was dry.  155ft.  Hit bedrock.  Found oil (only like 3 drops).  No water.  So we tried a well clean out.  It turns out, he needed dry weather for that, too.  Did I mention historic rains?  July came and we finally managed a well clean out.  Guess what?  He got both stuck pumps out of the well!  And very, very little water.

So, we haul water in a borrowed 400 gallon tank, fill our 1000 gallon tank and await the time, money and emotional energy to move on to the next step, a real cistern.  We hope to use the well to feed the cistern.  This is a plan we've researched.  Seems a reasonable one. 

Meanwhile, winter approaches and we have a non-buried tank, a tank heater and plans of insulation and prayer to attempt a miraculous winter of no frozen water, under ideal freezing conditions.  Feel free to join us in that prayer!

UPDATE 2:

We made it through the winter!  We had one episode of freezing right at the beginning which was perfect.  It satisfied the mandatory "Something must freeze" rule in our world, it showed my hubby the things to winterize and got us set for the winter.  Then God stepped in with a historic warm winter!  I can't remember a warmer, less snowy winter.  This was definitely a blessing from God.  Still no progress toward a buried cistern.  But hope!



Monday, January 10, 2011

On Love and Relationships

"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing." - 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

God gave me a plan for encouraging myself and others to use the 1 Corinthians 13 model of love to strengthen one particular relationship (or in my case 5 - my relationship with my kids). I was amused by the idea as it struck me during my drive to church. I was thinking "how might I" as I sat and listened to my pastor's inspiring message. That is when I knew it was God's idea. When I realized the pastor was preaching very much on what I was planning, I knew God was behind this. God wants you to read this, and God wants me to write this. I believe God wants all of us to do this.

I've developed my own version of the "Love Dare". It really isn't intended to be taken from that movie, but the term fit so well that I decided to borrow it. I want to encourage, even dare you to walk with me over the next days and weeks. Try each of the things with an open mind and an open heart. Listen to what God is whispering to you. See if these things help, if even in some small way. I can't imagine any way in which they can hurt.

First, I want you to identify a person (persons) with whom you feel your relationship needs strengthened. I've chosen my children. It is important to identify a specific relationship to work on. In the end, I believe all your relationships will benefit, but you must focus on one. I decided to consider my children one relationship since what I am really doing is working on how I relate to them more than their individual personalities.

Let's look at what the bible says about love. It is one of the most famous passages in the bible. "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."

Boy, that's a lot. It is too much to try at once. We are going to take this one item at a time. Today: Love is patient. There is an old saying in the christian world "Never pray for patience." What we are going to pray for today is that God will, in his infinite grace, show us what patience is, what it looks like in this particular relationship. For example, my prayer for today is "God, please grant me the grace to see and understand how I am to be patient with my children today." It may be your spouse, your coworker, your sister or your best friend. Ask God to show you today how you can demonstrate patience in that relationship. If you mess up once, don't feel like you blew it. Take the next opportunity to do it right. Keep praying.

A note, if you know your spouse has read this and is working on their relationship toward you, pray for God's guidance on how to receive. Even if you feel things are perfect, it is possible your spouse feels that he or she is not fully demonstrating the love God calls him/her to show.

Holiday World 2011!

Holiday World 2011!

Baby # 6

Baby # 6
Welcome to the world and welcome to our crazy family!

Fort Benning

Fort Benning
We finally made it to Georgia!!!

Just a day at the park!

Just a day at the park!

My Hero!

My Hero!
I don't do dead things. Fortunately for me, God gave me boys!

Much awaited 2009 PJs from Daddy!

Much awaited 2009 PJs from Daddy!
Daddy and Grandma make Jammies every year for the kids, They love it!

Christmas in PJs

Christmas in PJs
Don't I just have the cutest kids?

2010 Jammies

2010 Jammies
Once again Daddy pulled it off. They look cute!

Round 2 birthday parties

Round 2 birthday parties
Cake number 1 of 3 done. I am so not an artist, but I think it came out pretty well!

My Girls

My Girls
Borrowed dance clothes, my girls sure look cute.

Couped up

Couped up
More images below showing the children feeling a bit "couped up" from the long winter!

Chickens: Take 2

Chickens: Take 2
Cute chicks!

The robot cake. I am glad my kids' standards aren't as high as mine!

Tree Climbers

Tree Climbers

Summer Fun!

Summer Fun!
Hi Daddy! Hope you are having fun at work!

This one is so bad, I had to label the cake so you would know it's not a cow!

Dressed for Church!

Dressed for Church!
Come as your favorite Bible character night!

Too cute for words!

If the boy wasn't so tall, I could get a picture of his face!

Establishing the pecking order!

Babies!