Thursday, August 31, 2006

THIS SAYS IT ALL (and then some :)

A friend sent me to this on email and I just loved says it all! ENJOY! Sue

This is about Rick Warren, the author. You will enjoy the new insights that Rick Warren has, with his wife now having cancer and him having "wealth" from the book sales.

This is an absolutely incredible short interview with Rick Warren, "Purpose Driven Life" author and pastor of Saddleback Church in California. In the interview by Paul Bradshaw with Rick Warren, Rick said:

People ask me,What is the purpose of life? And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.

One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body-- but not the end of me.

I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal.

God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity. We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense.

Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one.

The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort.

God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.

We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ-likeness.

This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer.

I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't believe that anymore.

Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life.

No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on.

And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.

You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems.

If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness, "which is my problem, my issues, my pain."

But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.

We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her.

It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.

You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life. Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy.

It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease.

So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72.

First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit. We made no major purchases.

Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church.

Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation.

Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.

We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity?

Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?

When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better. God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do. That's why we're called human beings, not human doings.

Happy moments, PRAISE GOD. Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.
Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD. Painful moments, TRUST GOD.
Every moment, THANK GOD.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Susan Simpson, age 8


I promise I don't try to be sad and negative all the time. In fact, most of the time, I truly feel happy and blessed. But, yes the way God made me does incline me to be a little morbid, a little on the overly compassionate side. I have been working on not letting every piece of bad news I hear make me crazy with worry. I have been so at peace during my pregnancy that I sometimes feel like its not me carrying this little bundle of joy around. But, and yes there is always a but with me, yesterday I got a call from my friend in Chicago that I haven't talked to in several months that sent me right back into "Oh this world is so sadville". I asked how her summer was going and she said not very good because her three year old goddaughter drowned in her pool in June. I obviously was speechless. I managed to follow my speechlessness up with my sympathies and then we talked about how my friend knew that her goddauugher, Taylor was in heaven. But, that it was just hard, because she wanted her here, quite understandably! We really had a great talk about how she was so thankful for her faith in God and how she has had a lot of support from her family. We went on to talk about other things but obviously that kind of news leaves an impression. I said a prayer for my friend and all involved and then said to myself, "Ok, now leave it, we're not obsessing over this." I have to seriously tell myself things like that or I will start to think about it too much and really what good does that do. I mean, as bad as it might sound, there of plenty of people I do know, who have or are going through bad stuff, I don't need to add complete strangers to the list. So, I moved on.. and then

Today at the park, my nieces, Jessica and Allison came with me along with Aunt Kim to help with Crazy Evil Kinevil aka Matthew. Well, at one point, Allison didn't have Matt in arm's reach and it looked like he came dangerously close to a 10 foot drop,face first falling.I screamed so loud, I think all of Kalamazoo heard me. The panic I felt was so yucky! Later tonight, I said to JEff, what if he had fallen and gotten really badly hurt or worse? He just looked at me and said, " He didn't, so why are you thinking like that?" That is why I love Jeff, always the voice of reason and sanity. I need to think more like that, more like, " Thank God he didn't get hurt or worse"

All of this brings me to the title of my blog, I use to love Ramona Quimby books by Beverly Cleary. I still do and strongly encourage all LITTLE GIRLS TO READ THEM and while we are on subject, also the LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRARIE BOOKS but I digress. Anyways, I find myself going back to "Ramona Quimby age 8" whenever I am feeling stressed or sad. I relate so much to her character. A sensitive little girl, who worries about everything, that wants to fit in and does despite what tricks her little mind plays on her. In alot of ways, I think reading those stories remind me of a more innocent time when the worst thing that could happen to you was throwing up in class in front of everyone! The possibility of so much and the eagerness to be an adult that comes with being 8. How ironic that once we've reached that esteemed status of adulthood, we end up longing for the carefree days of childhood.

So, I will say a prayer when I hear something sad but I will not go to bed dwelling on it, I will instead pick up a book and be oh so greatful that I didn't have to live with Laura Ingalls Wilder and endure grasshoppers invading your entire wheat crop and then having to endure the Hard Winter:) Those who have read it, I hope your chuckling!:)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I don't want to clean


Well, not much really to say, I am hosting a Body Shop party for my friend Christine tonight and I have NO desire to clean my house. Matthew is sleeping, I checked my email and blog stalked for a little bit and now should go upstairs and clean. But, I really just want to crawl back in bed and sleep. I have been so tired lately. I feel like I did when I had mono. I know its just because the end is near, but its annoying because I am not usually a napper and lately that is all I want to do!

In other news, this weekend I am getting together with a bunch of my girlfriends from college on Sat. We are going over to my friends pool and then out to dinner/drinks afterwards. Jeff is taking Matty over to Grandma Barb's for the night. Oh yah, Jeff and I are taking the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace Univ class at church this fall. I am mostly excited for it but to be honest, kind of afraid of all the changes I know its going to convict me to make. Jeff seems to think he knows it all, but I told him he better lose the attitiude and go in with an open mind, but he is pretty financially savvy. I mean, its not rocket science. I pray that God would open his heart more to having to depend more on HIM, not checking accounts. Jeff is such a numbers man, I know he believes in Christ, but I desire MORE action from Him, more of a desire to get to know Him intimately. I need to pray more consistently for him in that regards. I have really been bad about quiet times lately. BSF starts soon, so that always gets me in more of a groove!

Ok, talk about totally random blog! Oh, one more thing, can any of you recommend a digitial camera? We are going to buy one and need some consumer advice!


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Oh Goodness


Jeff and I always say "Oh Goodness" to Matthew when he is doing something cute, Jeff probably says it like 100 times a day. I swear, he is a total softie when it comes to that boy! He will discipline him and then say, "Come here buddy, its ok". I was just thinking about the word goodness and thought about how God is so Good to us. In the major things like bringing us a phone call or visit from a friend when we're having just one of those really bad days and we might not have made it to another, to inspiring someone to take over your part of the L3 service because you can't make it off the couch and having it turn out so wonderfully, to seeing pictures of a sweet baby boy who was born in May to parents of a child who lost her life to cancer at age 3 and seeing that life really does go on and is filled with hope once again. We really do have an AWESOME, GREAT, GOOD GOD!!


Sunday, August 20, 2006

The best laid plans....


Well, I was really looking forward to this past weekend and as I sit typing this I am thinking, "Gosh this weekend really sucked" :) Jeff and his friend Pat went to Chicago on Friday to go to the PGA that was playing at my dad's country club. Jeff has been so excited for like five months about this. So, I thought I would take the opportunity and go visit some of my girlfriends and their kids. Well, as I was driving up to Flushing on Friday afternoon,I started feeling like some major allergies were coming on, I have really bad fall allergies. When we got to my friend Liz's all heck broke loose, I started sneezing, running nose, yuck!! I attempted sleeping on their pullout next to Matthew's pack and play, well forget about it! A pregnant lady can not sleep on a pullout!! I seriously got like 20 minutes of sleep. Sat was raining and humid and I felt worse than Fri, we went out to breakfast and to a play thing at the mall and then I decided I couldn't go back to their house with the dog, who I thought was causing all these nasal issues. I headed to Lansing to see my friend Pam, whose husband, Pat was with Jeff and made it till 6pm when my whole body was overtaken by chills and achiness, I decided that I just wanted to go home. Pam seemed bummed but understood. I packed Matty up and we drove home. I put him down at 7:30 and went to bed at 8:30!! I felt like I was 8 years old again. Then, I woke up at 1,wide awake and stayed that way. Matthew also woke up crying like 5 times, which he never does, so I was glad he was in his own crib, because being in a strange house could have made it way worse. This morning, I was tempted to go to church, just to let him have some fun in the nursery but couldn't muster up enough energy to get off the couch. Its no fun being sick and a mommy,especially a pregnant mommy. Oh yah, I also had a mini panic attack around 2am when the baby was really quiet and wouldn't move no matter how much I pushed on her. Finally she kicked me rather hard like four times, as to say, " KNOCK IT OFF MOM!! I am sleeping and you barely ate all day what do you expect!!" I miss my mom!!


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

What happened to my baby??

I was looking through some old pics of Matthew today and can't believe how big my baby is getting! He isn't a baby really anymore. Today Barb watched him so I could go to the Chiropractor and when I got home he looked like such a full fledged toddler. I imagine when the baby is born he will look just giant! He is starting to babble more like he wants to talk but can't seem to get the words out, but he nods yes when he wants something and still likes to say "Og" Dog, " Uck" Duck and his favorite word,"Hat". I am helping out at VBS this week and so Jeff has been putting him to bed. Well, last night he just kept crying and saying, "Mama, mama" from his crib. When I got home, 2 HOURS past bedtime, that little boy came running up to me, Daddy had apparently given up, he looked at me like, " Your not made are you mommy?!" We went up and rocked and 2 minutes in he was out like a light, such a mommy's boy!! Poor daddy!

Look how my baby has grown!


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Baby Cameron

I know in past posts I have joked and referred to myself as the "blog stalker" and usually when I do so I find comfort in the fact that in a lot of ways we're all struggling with the same types of stuff, kids, faith ,husbands, money issues. But, there are times when I read others blogs and I truly feel forever changed by what is going on in their lives and how they are handling it. Today, my friend Beth called with a prayer request for her friend Rory's little 4month old son, Cameron who was born premature with "dandy walker variant" Its a birth defect that causes fluid to build up in his brain, he is missing a kidney and has diaphragm issues as well. He is such a little miracle baby and has already endured one brain surgery. Well, tommorrow he has to have another. Its quite unexpected and I imagine they are just at a loss for what to feel about it all. His blog is and you can get much more detail there. But, please if you can please pray for this little guy and his family.


Sunday, August 06, 2006

Go Ahead and Look Lady

Hi All,
Ok, on Saturday, Jeff, Matthew and I went to Old Country Buffet with Grandma Barb. It was like nine in the morning and there was hardly anyone there. Matthew has just become annoying to take out, he use to be so content just being out and eating...not so much anymore. He has taken to throwing his food lately, at which point we take away his food, but still its mildly annoying. So, he was actually being good, for a 15 month old and these people who were sitting kitty corner from us that looked like they were in their 70's and were with their grandson who looked to be about 10 kept staring at us and shaking their heads. SO ANNOYING! Matthew was sitting in his seat playing with a balloon for like 30 minutes of our 45 meal. I don't know if its the pregnancy hormones or just "witchiness" in general, but I was like 2 seconds away from going up and saying, " What is your deal?" Obviously you have had children and your with your grandchild who I assume was 15 months old at one point, meany!" I mean we were at OCB!! If you want a peaceful, quiet breakfast, go to know what just stay home! Uggh!
Matthew has taken to severe tantrums lately when he is taken out of someplace he is having fun. Yesterday, it was when we were outside and came in he screamed for 25 minutes. Today it was leaving church! Oh Goodness! Very strong willed that one. I will tell you when you see you child exhibit some of your not so flattering character traits, got to say, SCARY! I always look at Jeff in these moments and say,"Look at your son!"


Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Yesterday was the anniversary of Josh and Shelly's daughter, Ava's death. I have been thinking about them a lot lately and especially today. I remember last year, when it happened, I was in South Haven on vacation with Jeff's family and Matthew who is only 10 days older than Ava. I remember Wes calling me and having some bad news he wanted to tell Barb, he wouldn't tell me and I remember feeling such panic, thinking, "Who died" you know how you just know that the news is that horrible. Never did I imagine that it would be that horrible. I remember just clinging to Matthew and holding him close and crying. Jessica and Allison, who were in Josh's youth group, had so many questions that seemed to come up slowly throughout the next couple days. I remember Jessica in particular, who is a very quiet girl and introverted would just seem to blurt out a thought or question to me and she kept saying, " Its just so sad, why did that happen." They talked about how cute she was and how she was so pretty. I pray that God is comforting them today, that all the prayers that are being prayed are acting as one big, giant hug. I know that every death I have ever experienced, whether I know the person well or not, has taught me so much. Through their loss, I have learned never to take your kids for granted, to hold them a little longer when the fall asleep on you at night and just let the dishes sit in the sink, to turn off the tv and read Good Night Moon for the 500th time, to cherish every movement from my unborn daughter ,even when its keeping me awake in the middle of the night. To know that we are blessed to have a Lord that gives us all we need and more, even when the things we hold dearest are taken away.