Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Small town movie theater

What I like:

Fourteen dollars. That's how much it cost me to buy the following: 3 small popcorns, 4 small sodas, 3 candy bars, and a tootsie roll pop. I was hungry. At Carmike it would have cost $14 for just the candy bars! This is good for my wallet and my credibility as a parent. (quicktake #2)

The bathrooms. A men's and a women's - one facility each - right in the back of the theater. I can take one of my kids to the restroom and still see the others in their seats when I'm standing outside the bathroom door. Plus, I don't miss any of the movie while I'm standing in line, which means I can drink all the super-cheap soda I want since I won't miss much when I have to go pee.

I'm thinking of putting a commode in my living room so I can utilize this technique during Untold Stories of the E.R. marathons on TLC.

What I don't like:

Zero previews. Seriously, who knew previews were optional?! David thinks this should go on the pro's list, but honestly, I love the previews. I like the music and the montages and the cheesy narration and the racking-my-brain-through-the-entire-movie-I-came-to-see-trying-to-figure-out-who-that-actor-in-the-preview-was.

Plus, no commercials means you have to be on time, and that is never good for me.

One screen. Open for one showing Monday-Friday at 7:30. While this does make it easy to find your theater, it is date-night-prohibitive when the offerings for three consecutive weekends go something like this: Obsessed followed by Drag Me to Hell (not a documentary about my move to Pennsylvania . . . I jest!!!) followed by Dance Flick.

It makes one wonder if a truly worthwhile film like Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen will EVER get here.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Apparently, I need to raise my expectations

Joshua: Mommy, what does a shoe mean?

Me: A shoe? Like you wear?

Joshua: No, it's one word. Ashoe.

Me: Ashoe is not a word.

Joshua: Yeah, it is. Like if you "ashoe chocolate."

Me: Eschew? Where did you hear that?

Joshua: On Larry Boy and the Bad Apple. Does it mean you don't want something?

Me: Yes, it sort of does. Sorry for doubting you.

Lauren and Bella

Lauren's best friend (and cousin) Isabella spent the afternoon over here recently. These two can't be together five minutes without busting out the dress-up clothes. They are such girls, spending twenty minutes deciding what outfit to put on and then changing their minds ten times.

They played a rousing game of hide-n-seek wherein they hid from Grandma by - what else? - closing their eyes.

When that didn't work, they picked a slightly tougher hiding spot:

And were shocked and delighted when Grandma found them.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

From trials to toots

My unsolicited advice for the day: don't get too big for your britches. You never know where life will take you.

Tonight I found myself, as I do many nights, bathing two children while the third was sitting on the potty. As usual, all three events reached a crisis point at the same time.

Lauren screaming through sobs: "Mommy, I got pee-pee on my legs!!! Moooooooooommy!!"

Ethan crying in the fire engine wailing decibel that only he can reach: "Mommy, it's in my eyes! I got soap in my eyes!".

Josh: Mom, I need to toot. (our word for passing gas)

Me, dripping with sweat from trying to rinse out Ethan's eyes while wiping pee off Lauren's legs in our house that does not have air conditioning
: So toot.

Josh: Not in my bath water; that's gross!

Me: If you have to toot, then toot in the bath. It's fine. Everyone does it.

Josh: You don't. You've never tooted in your bath.

Me: Yes, Josh, I've tooted in my bath.

See what my life has become? At some point, seemingly a lifetime ago, I wore power suits and studied case law and debated legal nuances. I imagined that when I was in my 30's I would be arguing to judges and juries about constitutional rights or perhaps persuading my fellow citizens to cast their votes for me and send me to Washington.

But, no. I'm confessing to my six year-old son that I toot in the bathtub.

Like I said, don't get too big for your britches.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Happy birthday, Ethan!

We started the day with chocolate chip Mickey Mouse pancakes (topped with whipped cream and sprinkles). Next up: story time at the library, an afternoon of swimming, and tacos for dinner. I love you, buddy!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ethan's birthday party

After just 15 hours (literally) of preparation in the kitchen yesterday, we had Ethan's dinosaur-themed birthday party today.

The dinosaur footprints leading to the house. I thought they looked more like tulips than T-rex prints, but the kids like them.

The menu: two types of chicken salad sandwiches on homemade rolls, dino-shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chips and homemade dip, chocolate-covered strawberries, and two dinosaur cakes. And ice cream, of course.

Dino cake #1 turned out quite cute. Though Joshua tells me that brachiosauruses didn't have spots. I said, yeah, and they weren't made out of sugar either; use your imagination, kid. Then he told me what a great mom I am. Yeah.

Dino cake number 2 did not turn out so well. It looked more like a cross between a dragon and a sick puppy. Even sicker if you could see that one of his back legs is orange because I ran out of blue frosting. (I had tinted a little bit orange intending to give him spots, but I had to use it for his leg!)

Birthday boy and his cake.

Evan, Jack, Ethan, and Joshua

The kids enjoying their cake and ice cream on the front porch because it started raining. Again.

Opening his gifts.

These dinosaur masks were party favors. They came fully assembled with the strings attached and everything. A great find on Amazon.com. (I also put a bag of dino-shaped gummy snacks in each bag, and they took home all of the little sticky plastic dinosaurs they found in the dino-hunt game.)

Happy dinosaurs.

Friday, June 19, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday


I tell Lauren that she's pretty a lot. I can't help it; she's my only girl. Of course, I also tell her that she's beautiful because of what's on the inside, how God made her special, and it's kindness and love that make a person truly beautiful.

I think now I need to start emphasizing humility a little more. Yesterday she came up to me and very seriously asked, "Mommy, why am I so much prettier than Ethan and Josh?"


"Aw, shucks!"

This is Joshua's newest favorite phrase. He purposely asks me for things he knows I will so no to - like having ice cream for breakfast - just so that he can say, "Aw, shucks!" afterward.

It was cute at first, and I laughed about it, but now it's getting a little old. Yesterday I said, "Okay, Josh, enough with the 'aw, shucks.'" He said, "I thought you thought it was funny." I explained that I did, but that after awhile something that was funny can start to get annoying. "You know how sometimes something is funny but then you get tired of it?" I asked to my six year-old son who would watch Kung Fu Panda twenty times a day if I let him and who thinks underarm toots are the most hilarious sound in the world. No, he said, he does not know.


Ethan is going to make me insane. Seriously insane. I know that all younger siblings like to copy their older counterparts. Copying is normal. It is natural. That does not make it any less freaking annoying. It's become as though he doesn't have a single thought in his head that is his own, and because I know that he is a smart kid, it is making me crazy.

Me: Ethan, what would you like for breakfast?
Ethan: What is Josh having?
Me: He's having pickled pigs ears.
Ethan: I want pickled pigs ears.

Josh: I have to go to the bathroom.
Ethan (a split-second later): I have to go to the bathroom.
Me: pee or poop?
Ethan: pee
Josh: poop
Ethan: I mean, poop

Seriously, you can make yourself poop just to copy your brother? What are you??!!

Josh: Mom, I'm cold.
Ethan: And me.
Josh: You're just copying me
Ethan: Am not
Josh: Actually, I'm hot. May I take off my shirt?
Ethan: And me.

All. day. long.


Am I the only one who doesn't understand the point of 2-ply toilet paper? Don't you use just as much paper whether you use a short length of 2-ply or a long length of 1-ply? I can't see why 2-ply paper was ever invented. If it was too thin, why not just make it thicker? Am I missing something here?

It's the important things in life that really bother me.


Joshua loves to wash dishes. He begs me not to put them in the dishwasher because he wants to wash them. Far be it from me to discourage a child from doing something helpful and productive.

To my future daughter-in-law, whoever you may be: You're welcome.


Tomorrow is Ethan's birthday party. I should be cleaning the house. Or working in the yard. Or making the cake. Or shopping for the rest of the food. Or wrapping his gifts.

But, I'm tired, and the list is so long. Instead I'll procrastinate and wait until I reach the Oh-my-God-the-birthday-party-is-in-a-few-hours-and-the-bathroom-smells-like-pee-and-I-have-to-make-food-so-could-everyone-please-shut-up-and-leave-me-the-heck-alone level of panic. That's when I work best.


You know the best way to get your kids to play with their toys and share nicely? Put said toys in a giveaway box.

While cleaning the playroom a couple of weeks ago, I filled three huge boxes with toys to give away. Of course, those are instantly their favorite toys which they cherish more than anything in the whole world and that have been looooking for and without which they simply cannot live. So, this morning since I wanted to blog need to get the house cleaned for the party, I agreed to let them each take one thing from the giveaway boxes to play with. They have been playing upstairs with said toys for almost an hour.

Must remember this tactic.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Is it me?

I'm thinking of moving back to Georgia.

Don't worry; I won't stay. I just really need a project done in the master bathroom, and it appears that my living here is keeping it from happening.

David lived alone in this house for a few weeks before the kids and I came up. During that time, he managed to refinish our dresser, stain the stairs, take down trim I didn't like in the living room, put together a massive wooden swingset . . . and the list goes on. Mind you, this is not the person I knew before we moved. David has always been much more of a project-starter than a project-finisher. But, somehow when he was here alone, he managed to complete project after project without my even asking him.

And, yes, I have tried the "don't ask" approach; it's not working. It seems that my mere presence in the house precludes him from completing projects that were on my "Get done ASAP" list the week I moved in.

They're not little trivial things either. The two most important ones - and the only ones I would move back to Georgia to get done - are 1.) install smoke detectors and 2.) make the glass in giant round window above our bathtub NOT be see-through.

See, not minor things?

Lest you think that I, too, am okay with having our children sleeping in a 100 year-old house that could burst into flames at any moment, I have put batteries in the detectors. (To David's credit, he did go out and purchase the detectors . . . four weeks ago.) So now they are sitting on bookshelves and countertops waiting to be hung.

And then there's the window. Why anyone would put a HUGE window right next to their bathtub is beyond me. I assume most people don't want random folks on the street to seem them naked. Maybe that's just me. Plus, have they not seen the Seinfeld episode about good naked and bad naked? Even if one did want to provide a voyeuristic view for the neighbors, letting them see you in the buff as you climb in and out of a giant tub is really not the best way to go.

David did try one method of fixing it shortly after I arrived. He bought some sort of spray on stuff that people use at Christmas to make the glass look frosted. He sprayed it on, and that night he went outside to see if it kept him from being able to see into the fully lit bathroom. He said it worked - couldn't see a thing.

I was skeptical because I could see perfectly fine out of the window. He said, "I promise. I just stood in the street and looked. It worked." Not convinced, I got David's mom to stand in the tub while I went in the street and looked up. I could see EVERYTHING clear as day. Seeing his obvious shock and believing that he wasn't lying in an attempt to give the neighbor's a free peepshow every evening, a thought occurred to me. "Honey, were you wearing your glasses?" "Um, no."

That was over three weeks ago. I still have to get in and out of the tub like a hunchback at night to avoid flashing my neighbors. Either that or get out of the tub, dry off, and get dressed in the dark to avoid illuminating the bathroom, but considering how klutzy I am in broad daylight, darkness and movement is never a good combination for me.

So, the only thing I can figure that's different now from a month ago when my husband turned into Mr. Industrious is my presence. In the interest of protecting my children and my dignity (I heard that snicker), I must go back to Georgia. But, maybe I'll wait until winter.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Great expectations

Joshua got really excited when he saw the pumpkin seeds David bought for him yesterday. I thought it was just because he loves to plant things, but then he asked, "Mom, are they gonna grow like that?!"

Monday, June 15, 2009

The first frigid swim

Today's high: 73 degrees
Last night's low: 47 degrees

In Georgia, this would be early-March weather, and I would never agree to let my kids swim. Here, however, this is apparently mid-June weather, and the kids are out in full force at the town pool. Agreeing with "the locals" that it was a hot summer day, my kids begged to go swimming today.

They lasted approximately 35 minutes before admitting, through teeth chattering so hard I was afraid they might break, that it was too cold. When we got home, Joshua spent half an hour with a blanket wrapped around him . . . though he does have a flair for the dramatic.

Friday, June 12, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday


We had some nice weather this week. This morning it's 58 degrees again, but for a few afternoons this week, it was in the 70's. So what did everyone do? Headed to the pool, of course.

Well, everyone except us, that is. I decided to let the kids splash in the creek at the park, which is right down the street from our house. (It's actually the Allegheny River, but it's just a really big creek at this particular point.) They've been dying to get in it since they saw some kids in there a couple of weeks ago. Why not, I thought. They can splash around and get wet, but it will not be the big production of bathing suits, floaties, sunscreen, and everything else that accompanies going to the swimming pool . . . which I figured they'd stay in for about three minutes since it was only 72 degrees outside!

They did indeed have a great time. At one point Joshua mentioned that it smelled bad in one particular area, so I told him to stay in a different part. A little while later, he was wading past that spot again and said, "No wonder it stinks, mom . . . there's a dead possum in here!"

Maybe the pool wouldn't have been such a bad idea after all.


The neighborhood kids have taken up residence here. At any given point in an afternoon, I look out the window and see anywhere from 3-8 extra kids in our yard.


When asked what kind of sandwich she wanted for lunch, Lauren said "Turkey with spicy cheese and mustard." A few minutes later, she saw me cutting up some banana for Josh's peanut butter sandwich and asked if she could have some banana on her sandwich, too. I told her that banana would probably not taste good on a turkey sandwich but that she could have peanut butter and banana instead of turkey if she wanted. Indignantly, she replied, "No, mommy, I'm just waiting for what I already ordered."


David and Jason took the boys fishing last weekend, and apparently they stopped for some beef jerky on the way out of town. Today when I ran into a different grocery store than normal, Josh said, "This is where they sell beef jerky! Can we get some pleeeeeeeease?"

So, here are my boys enjoying some beef jerky and coke on the front steps. Aah, childhood.


Of course, the coke has already been spilled on the kitchen floor. Why I ever let Ethan have anything other than water is beyond me. While I'm on my hands and knees wiping the floor with a wet rag (because it appears I would rather do anything than actually mop), he comes in and says, "Mom, I need you to wipe my nose."
"Um, why don't you wipe your own nose?"
"Because my hands are full." (of beef jerky and a cup that is now empty)
"Put your cup down and go wipe your nose."
"Why don't you want to wipe my nose?"

It's moments like these that remind me that I, too, once did not think of my parents as real, live human beings. They were, you know, parents. Why would they want to do anything besides wipe someone's nose?


So, my bid for the position as Assistant Commonwealth Attorney has been considered and rejected. Yeah, rejected.

David's partner just got elected Commonwealth Attorney for the county we live in, and he and David had planned to make David his assistant. We got the idea a while back that it would be great for me to do it instead since it's a part-time position, I have experience in criminal law, and with two kids in school in the Fall, I wouldn't mind getting back to work part-time.

Apparently, however, he wants to "keep his promise" to the voters, having told some of them that he would be making David his assistant. That and David has prosecutorial experience. And he's actively licensed in Pennsylvania. You know, he's just full of silly trumped-up reasons like that.

Oh well, David says he'll make me his partner come fall when the kids are in school, and he'll have an empty office anyway when his current partner leaves. Given my apparent lack of credentials, I think people are going to suspect I just slept my way to the top. Because, you know, I don't have time to take a continuing legal ed class from time to time, but I have time to do that.


David's uncles know how to work their way into a kid's heart. We have Hershey's chocolate bars and/or a watermelon delivered to our house on a regular basis by two of his uncles. The kids may not know many people in the family, but they are quite fond of those two!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Joshua's first book

Joshua spent the entire afternoon writing a book. He says it's going to be a chapter book. Here is page 1 . . . the words are entirely his, but I helped with the spelling.

Here's what it says:

Once upon a time there were some pirates and they were mean pirates and they were off to find the treasure. But they caught sight of something. It was scallywags and they came on board. Aargh you mateys. Fire 1 Fire 2 fire 3 Good job mateys. Land ahoy! This is the wrong beach. Sailaway mateys. We are at sea. Oh no. They are chasing us again. Fire! We are out of cannons. Drat! Get your weapons. Attack! Capture her.

Hate to leave you hanging, but you'll have to tune in again for page 2. :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Is that saying much?

The library here is small. Like really small. Unable to find books by any of my favorite authors, I decided to just give a few random titles a try while I wait for my inter-library loan requests to come through. So far they've all been a bust.

The latest one is by an author named Beverly Lewis, and I could not get past the first 10 pages for the poor writing. As I was looking at the back cover again trying to remember what made me think it might be worth reading, I noticed the large quote of praise in the center of the cover:

"No one does Amish-based inspirationals better than Lewis."

Could the praise get any narrower than that? Was there a lot of competition in the "Amish-based inspirational" category? Judging by this book, I'd say not.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Why everyone should have a daughter

Tucking Lauren into bed tonight, she said (as she often does, so it must be true), "Mommy, you're the best mommy in the whole wide world."

As much as I know my boys love me (they are some awesome snugglers), they never say things like that.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Spiritual lessons from Optimus Prime

The kids are loving our new church. The children's church program is fantastic, awarding the kids tokens each week for a) being present, b) bringing their Bible, and c) memorizing a weekly Bible verse. (Every so often they are able to "shop" with their tokens.)

The boys are doing a great job with their memory verses, and they ask frequently to practice them. This week's verse is the first portion of Romans 12:2: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind . . ."

I've started doing a short Bible lesson with them before bed some evenings, so tonight when they wanted to recite their verse I decided to use that verse for a Bible lesson. In an attempt to illustrate what "conformed" means, we used some containers in the kitchen to show how a substance conforms to the shape of a container and talked about how that can happen to people when we try to be like those around us. Then we got to the second part of the verse, and I asked them if they knew what "transform" meant.

What was I thinking? Of course they know what transform means. "It means a robot turns into a car!" Well, yes, Ethan, let's go with that. They totally got what transforming meant thanks to Mattel or whoever makes Transformers. It was an understandable illustration of how our hearts look ugly and selfish before Christ transforms them to look like His love.

Which would be a bigger miracle, I asked, to change a helicopter into a robot or to change a person's heart? They agreed Optimus Prime's got nothing on the Son of God.

House photos

Okay, you asked for them; here they are.

The front, which is actually the side, but it is where we go in and out all day, and I think it seems more like the front. (got that?)

The kitchen, which I LOVE.

The dining room (I'll be getting new doors and paint for the cabinets and a cushion for the window seat. I'd love to do something about that blue, too, but I'm not sure what.)

The lower cabinets on one side of the dining room have these GREAT drawers built in. The top drawer is divided for holding silver, but since I don't have any silver, it works great for markers, colored pencils, etc. The next several drawers are deep enough to hold placemats without folding them. I use the ones on the right for placemats, and the ones on the left hold the kids' coloring books, sketch pads, construction paper, etc.

The living room (The rolled-up rugs and plaid love seat are not staying.)

The music room. I love the little built-in corner cabinet (you can barely see it in the pic); it has triangular drawers at the bottom. I want to change the rug and drapes, but they came with the house, so for now ($$), they stay.

The master bathroom.

The third floor is a giant playroom. I'm embarrassed to post the picture, but trust me, I spent almost THREE hours cleaning/organizing this room on Friday. (The boxes of toys are ones I am getting rid of.) However, last night we had six kids ages 3-6 playing up there for hours, so it's in need of a little work today. (You can't really tell in the picture, but there is a little alcove on each side of the room, and there is a twin bed in each of those, so this doubles as a guest room.)

Friday, June 5, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday


It's 58 degrees here again today. We walked over to the park this morning and had to come home after about half an hour because we were too chilly. (It was only about 49-50 degrees then.) I guess one keeps long sleeves and long pants accessible all year round here. I had planned to move them to the third floor, but it seems the kids need them every couple of days.


We went to David's cousin's house last night to celebrate her son's finishing kindergarten. On the way there we stopped to get him a card. Lauren said, "Is it Jack's birthday?" I explained that it wasn't his birthday; it was just a celebration like we had when Josh finished kindergarten a few weeks ago. She responded, "Great! I LOVE to celebrate!" And she does.


I'm amazed at how many things one can buy in a hardware store in a small town. Just now I ran over to get some colored pencils for the boys. I ordered some Dover coloring books from Amazon last week because they were having a buy 3 get 1 free sale. They are such great educational coloring books, but the ones for older kids are so detailed that you really have to use colored pencils. Right now Ethan and Josh are on the front porch coloring in theirs; Josh is coloring in "Indians of the Northeast" and Ethan in "The American Revolution."


I've been feeling a message from the Lord lately about being light in darkness, but I haven't figured out where it's going yet. Does that ever happen to you? Like you keep thinking or encountering the same concept over and over, and you feel like it must mean something but you're not sure what? I'm going to try to flesh it out when I can.


I drove to Buffalo last weekend to fly down to Chattanooga for a few days. As I was looking at the atlas trying to get to the airport, it struck me how close Canada is. It takes a little over two hours to get to Buffalo, and it appears on the map that it would take only another couple of hours to get to Toronto. (That's my guess anyway . . . it's about an inch and a half. I'm not so good with the math.) I'm hoping we can take a trip up to Canada sometime soon. Does one need a passport for Canada?


I think I"m getting sick, but I'm not sure. I worked out at the gym last night and used more weight than I should have. So, now I'm not sure if I ache all over because I'm stupid or because I'm sick. Hope it's the former because at least stupidity is not contagious. Well, then again, there are the democrats . . .


The kids have loved having "new" cousins here to play with, no one more so than Lauren. She and Isabella have become fast friends and LOVE playing with each other.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Things I've learned today

1. If you tell your child he's going to start tai kwan do lessons tomorrow, and he's so excited he can barely breathe, he will get a stomach bug the next day - complete with 102 degree fever.

2. If you change your potty-trained daughter's sheets in the morning and she falls asleep on her bed during time-out in the afternoon, she will have an accident on her freshly laundered sheets. Especially if you forgot to put the mattress pad back on.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ten things I love about our new home

1. The mailbox. It's on the front porch right outside the door. You know, the kind that are attached to the house and have that cute little top you just lift up? It's so cute, and I can just reach out the door and grab my mail. I love that the mailman walks to deliver the mail.

2. Rooms! Our old house had an open floor plan where the great room and the kitchen were sort of all one big room. It was nice for being able to watch the kids while I was in the kitchen, but after awhile it began to feel like we were just always on top of each other in the same space. Our new house has eight different rooms, not including the bathrooms or laundry area. I love rooms!

3. This whole being able to walk to the library and the park thing is still really blowing me away. It's awesome.

4. The privacy hedge. We have tall shrubs lining the entire front and side of our property, which is very unusual here. The privacy it provides is great, but even better is that added layer of protection between my kids and the street. It's better than a chain-link fence because of the aesthetic element and better than a privacy fence because it allows us still to see people on the street. You know how I like to be neighborly.

5. The built-in storage. Pretty much everything we own is put away now, and there are still cabinets and/or shelves that have nothing in them.

6. My kitchen. All of the lower cabinets (and the tall pantry cabinets) contain pull-out drawers, so I don't have to get on my knees and dig for things EVER. Plus, the corner cabinet has a lazy Susan for pots and pans.

7. My bathtub. 'Nuff said. (Although I don't like that there is a giant circular window just above my tub, so when I get in and out at night I have to do my Hunchback of Notre Dame impersonation to keep from flashing the neighborhood. My husband is supposed to be working on doing something to make that window non-see-through (to use the technical term), but he's also supposed to be installing carbon monoxide detectors and taking out the trash, so we'll see.)

8. The music room. It's actually just another living area; I guess most would call it a living room or a sitting room, but since it houses the piano and David's trumpets, it has been dubbed the music room. There is a loveseat in front of the window, and it's my favorite reading spot. Other than my bathtub, of course.

9. The window seat in the dining room. I just need Renae to come make me a cushion!

10. The playroom. We have never had a playroom before, so the toys have always been housed in the kids' rooms . . . and the living room . . . and the master bedroom . . . and the kitchen. I love how neat and tidy I can keep their rooms when almost all of their toys have a room of their own now. In fact, they have a floor of their own. Even better.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Never say never

I've had many people express amazement - shock, even - that I consented to letting David purchase a house I had never seen. "I would never let my husband by a house without me!" (or "My wife would never let me") is the chorus sung in unison by pretty much everyone we encounter.

There are a few factors that no doubt contributed to my willingness to acquiesce on this. First,in a town of 3,000 people, there is a limited number of homes for sale. Absent a mass exodus, the pickins are slim. Second, after a decade and countless homes looked at together, David and I very much know what the other likes and dislikes. He truly wanted me to be happy here and to love our new home, so I was able to trust that he considered my preferences (which are usually pretty in line with his) when selecting a house for me. What a blessing to be able to trust someone's love that way.

Neither of those factors, however, was the predominant reason for my being able to let David make this choice for us. Here's what did it: God gave me the grace I needed when I needed it.

If you had asked me a year ago whether I would ever let David buy a house I had never seen, I would have agreed with the masses and declared a resounding no. Of course, three years ago that was also the answer to whether I would ever live in small-town-in-the-mountains, Pennsylvania. No way, no how. It wasn't just that I was unwilling; I was completely unable. I could not even talk about Pennsylvania without crying and sometimes even hyperventilating. There was no. way. I could leave my family and all the comforts of a city and follow my husband into the mountains. Sorry, God, you'll have to think of something else.

Of course, God wasn't calling me to come here then.

What I've learned is that there is never a reason to fear what God may ask us to do. When God told me to come to Pennsylvania, He also changed my heart so that I wanted to come. He took away my fear. When God wanted me to let David buy a house without me, He gave me the peace I needed to say yes.

I am learning that what my dad told me when I was a kid is true: The will of God will never lead you where the Grace of God cannot sustain you.

With His calling comes His grace.

Paul spoke of this several times in his letters: "Faithful is He that called you who also will do it." (I Thes. 5:24) "He who began a good work in you will be faithful to carry it to completion . . ." (Phil. 1:6)

The One who calls me to do something WILL equip me to do it. We need not spend our lives worrying that God may call us to some unimagineable service, be it moving to Africa, letting go of our possessions, losing our health, losing a child . . . whatever that thing is that we fear most and pray "God, please, ask of me anything but that."

If God asks it of you, He will do it in you. Maybe not a moment sooner than He asks it, but rest assured, He will complete His work in you. And it will be good.