Wednesday, November 26, 2008

We're In!

I am thrilled to be posting from our new house this morning while my man snoozes in bed a few feet away.  Praise the Lord!

The work is not over yet (we have lots of clean up to do at the old house, some finishing to do in our new room, and, of course, the whole unpacking thing), but we are so thankful to be officially moved over (aka - sleeping in our new home).

I haven't been good about posting progress reports, so I'll recap:
On Sunday we painted the new room.  It was thrilling to see paint finally going up on the ceiling and walls.  There were times in the last month that I have wondered if it would ever happen.

Here's Jonathan cutting in on the ceiling:

Me painting the ceiling:

Dad Smith cutting in on the walls:

Mom Smith cutting in:

(a note about pictures:  I've just started a new habit of of shrinking pictures before I upload them to the blog.  So, when you click on the pictures, you'll see a bigger picture, but not as big as you used to see.  If I ever post something you'd like a full-sized copy of, just email me and I'll send it to you.  Not that I'm expecting you to want full-sized copies of our painting pictures.)

Monday we didn't get to work over at the new house because Jonathan's work-for-money day was very long. So yesterday, we brought over three loads. When we brought the first one, we took time to mop the floor in the new room, scrape up drywall mud, sweep, and mop again. The second load was beds and clothes, and the third load was office stuff. Jonathan got the computers up and running last night (or was it technically this morning...).

Today, I hope to get a bit of pre-cooking done and establish as much order as possible in my home. We'll see how it goes; I'm learning to be flexible and let go of my expectations more often. I even bought myself frozen pie crusts last night at the store!

My composition teachers would be appalled at my lack of writing finesse this morning, but I wanted to get an update done. So there you have it - we're in. Wootles!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Anticipating Advent

For the last couple of years, our family has been making use of some of the Advent traditions to help us focus on the true meaning of the Christmas season.  Although I'm generally committed to waiting until after Thanksgiving (which is one of my favorite holidays!) to let my Advent/Christmas juices start flowing, the guys at The Rabbit Room have gotten me off to an early start.  This post about Living Between Two Advents is the kickoff for a "Virtual Advent Wreath" series of weekly posts they're going to be having.  I'm really looking forward to it!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Checking In

I realized today that I haven't posted an update on the house for a few days.  It's just that pictures of the various layers of the drywall process aren't distinguishable from one another.  However, though I haven't pictures to post, I can report that we are making progress!

We have a few ceiling joints that need one last layer of mud.  Hopefully, Jonathan will be able to finish up that tonight and we'll get the rest sanded.  Work is running late, so we'll see how much we get done before we crash.  We're planning to paint the ceiling tomorrow, and hope to be able to get both coats done so that we can move over the beds and such on Saturday and start sleeping in our new house!  We'll paint the walls next week probably, but we can scoot furniture away from the walls for that.

No profound thoughts from me today, but this post from Molly shook my boat (she has that way about her, I'm finding). 

Monday, November 17, 2008


Last week we started drywalling our new room. Monday night, Jonathan and I worked on it some Monday night, but were only able to get a sheet and a half up on the ceiling. Tuesday, Jonathan and his dad got quite a bit done.

Then Wednesday, Alan and Joe (and their lovely families) came over. The guys worked together and got almost the whole room drywalled!

And no, it didn't take three of them to put up every piece, but they were obliging and posed for me.

Then, while I was gone this weekend for the doula training, Jonathan and Joe finished the drywall and got on a first coat of mud. Yay! Yesterday afternoon we went over and started the 2nd coat. Later in the evening, Dad Smith helped finish up the 2nd coat.

Serious progress!

Barn Dance

Recently our dear friends Alan and Sue hosted their annual fall barn dance. It is always a great time of fellowship and good wholesome fun, and this year was no exception!

Though it was disappointing to not be able to dance (still not quite recovered from surgery at that point), I had a wonderful time and took lots of pictures. Please excuse the spots... our camera doesn't seem to like cooler work conditions.

We stayed late visiting after the dance (of course!) and Stephen and Gracie T. had nice time playing and reading together. Aren't they cute?!

Do you see what they have in common when it comes to reading?

Please pray for Noah!

I have lots of updates, and hope to get to a few of them tomorrow. But for the moment, I'm just logging in to ask you to please pray for little Noah Estes. He's dangerously sick right now.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veterans Day

Thank you to all who have given of themselves for our freedom.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Some friends of ours

... were on the front page of the St. Louis paper today. Here's the article - be sure to watch the video as well as read the article!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

And a Thank You

Inspiring Story

A Marine friend of mine got a link to this story from one of the eyewitnesses. Unfortunately, this is the kind of story you don't hear on the news...

Corpsman saves life of drowning Iraqi boy
By Lance Cpl. Achilles Tsantarliotis
1st Battalion, 3rd Marines

KARMAH, Iraq (September 28, 2008) – Corpsmen are often considered the medical ray of light for Marines in a combat zone.

Sometimes their light shines bright enough to reach local Iraqis in need, whether it is during a routine combined medical engagement, or for one Iraqi child who almost drowned, on the spot emergency medical attention that saved his life.

Navy Chief Roger Buck, a 34-year-old battalion medical chief from Niceville, Fla., with Task Force 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, saw the limp child cradled in his father’s arms during an Iraqi key-leadership, joint-forces dismounted patrol.

Buck ran toward the boy and immediately began administering CPR on the drown victim.

“(Our) interpreter explained I was like a doctor,” said Buck. “They told us they found him face first in a canal. He had a light, faint pulse. I tried to calm the parents down then immediately started applying medical treatment. I cleared his airway and started giving him CPR.”

Within a few minutes the boy regained consciousness, coughed up water and was taken to a local hospital for follow on care.

“He did everything he should have,” said Gunnery Sgt. John Schidlmeier, a platoon leader with Lava Dog Assesment Reaction Team, 1st Bn., 3rd Marines. “His actions were admirable; especially for the situation. He reacted even though he was posting security—made sure a Marine took his position and treated the kid immediately.”

Buck said he was merely in the right place at the right time and just doing his job, and the look of gratitude and appreciation on the terrified parents was all the thanks he needed.

Buck insisted that all corpsmen carry a great load of responsibilities, starting from the first day of corpsman training, to adapt and be versatile with varying situations. To him, it was just another day of life in the operating forces.

“I was just happy I could bring the kid back,” he said.

Days later, the battalion recognized Buck’s heroic actions and awarded him a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for his reactive measures and successful treatment.

“There are a thousand things a day that corpsmen do that go unseen,” he said. “It's always good to save a life. You don't always get to save everyone, so when you do it's very rewarding.”

Here's a link to the story with pictures

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Blessings from the Word on Election Day

The boys and I got to work one of the St. Clair polls (for our friend and state Representative Brian Nieves) today for a couple of hours in the midst of our moving busy-ness. Then we all went over to our new house, got some work done, ate our first table meal there, etc. We just got back a bit ago and are settling in after a wonderful day. God gave us beautiful weather today, and we have much for which to be thankful!

Here are some verses that are an encouragement to me this evening. May they be a blessing to you as well...

Matthew 6.25-34 "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

How lovely are Your dwelling places,
O LORD of hosts!
My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the LORD;
My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.
The bird also has found a house,
And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young,
Even Your altars, O LORD of hosts,
My King and my God.
How blessed are those who dwell in Your house!
They are ever praising You. Selah.
How blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
In whose heart are the highways to Zion!
Passing through the valley of Baca they make it a spring;
The early rain also covers it with blessings.
They go from strength to strength,
Every one of them appears before God in Zion.
O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer;
Give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah.
Behold our shield, O God,
And look upon the face of Your anointed.
For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside.
I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
The LORD gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
O LORD of hosts,
How blessed is the man who trusts in You!

Hebrews 11.1-3, 6, 8-10, 13-16
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
For by it the men of old gained approval.
By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.

Phill 3.20-4.1
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.

Autumn Beauty

Moving Fun

The kids are so excited to have climbable trees at our new place!  This first shot looks like Josiah is way up high, doesn't it?

Until you see how much higher Ethan T. is!

Supper time:

Monday, November 03, 2008

Saturday Work Progress

I'm a bit belated with my updates. But such is life!

Saturday morning, Jonathan met Cary at the store to get building supplies. As sometimes happens, our perception of the required time for the task didn't match up with the reality of the needed time. Eventually, however, they got over to the house with windows, a door, lumber, sheetrock, and other fun stuff.

Meanwhile, some friends showed up at the house around 10.30 to help load stuff that was ready to go. They made a box brigade out the front door and to the Henkel's van - great idea!

Once that first load was ready, I headed over to the new house to direct deliveries. I've realized that the process of moving is one area in which my "picky" tendencies tend to show themselves. I truly want boxes to be deposited in the rooms in which they belong! Deliveries on Saturday went quite well, and I was a happy girl.

Once things were unloaded, I headed back to our current house to see how things were coming along. While I had been gone, Mama Byrd and Mom Smith had baked cookies and helped organize/pack, and Sue had led a big yard-clean-up effort and sorted out all the children's shoes (wow!!). It was so encouraging to see all they had done in my absence.

Since most of what we had hoped to take over on Saturday had been taken already, we loaded up the chili and the assorted children and headed over to the new house for lunch.

Stephen and I rode with Mama and ended up being quite a bit behind Sue (who took most of her children and mine). A while after we got to the new house (as friends and family wondered at my amazing slowness) I realized that our refrigerator and pantry were full! Our chapel family gave us a truckload of food, and our friends/landlords added a bunch of meat from their favorite butcher. It was such an amazing show of love... I was pretty much speechless.

The construction crew got quite a bit done by the end of the day, especially considering all the delays. Jonathan made a good bit of progress on the electric stuff, but I didn't crawl down into the crawl space to take pictures of him. Here are a couple shots of the garage project progress: