Saturday, May 19, 2018

How our son's wedding weekend ended up in the ICU.

Glory to God, He is faithful!! I am so thankful my husband is alive! That was my Mother's Day gift!! 

What a wonderful time to celebrate our son and his bride as they made a covenant before the Lord to remain faithful to one another until the Lord takes them home.  (I included some pics below!!) How much joy and yet what a whirlwind we ended up having as life started spinning out of control!! 

As usual, the weeks leading up to a wedding get a little crazy!! I felt like Queen Esther from the Bible, with all the preparations I was doing just to get myself ready for the big day!! Along with that, the rehearsal dinner prep, decorations, center pieces, meal plan and making of the deserts was also on my list of things to do.  Making sure my guys had the right size tuxes, girls had their dresses, shoes, and grooming supplies, etc., etc.!! Those that have been a part of the planning process of a wedding with a big family know what I am talking about!! 

Anyway, on Wednesday of  the week leading up to the wedding, Ray came in not feeling well that night! He had been stung by some bees on Wednesday morning, so he thought he might just be having a reaction.  He medicated himself and went to bed early that night.  I wasn't too worried about it and honestly I was more concerned with packing the car and making sure we were ready to go to Texas the next day without forgetting anything we needed!

On Thursday we began to make our trek down to the Ranch for wedding weekend.   I left with the first car full of supplies and kids, so I could get down there and unload and be ready to start setting up Friday morning for the dinner.  Ray came in the second wave, waiting on our college daughter, Ruth, to get out of her last day of classes for the semester.  They came in late that night, and didn't get to the Ranch until 2:30am!  That whole day Thursday, unbeknownst to me, Ray had been treating himself for fever and was taking an antibiotic incase this was some type of infection he had picked up from the bees.

Friday morning we woke up ready to get to work making the flower arrangements and center pieces for the tables.  It was raining, so I assured Ray he could rest, since there was nothing for him to do until the rain stopped and we went down to do final setup late that afternoon.  I thought he was just tired from the late night of travel.  He told me later he was still treating himself for fever and if he didn't snap out of this, he would change to another antibiotic the next morning.  

 Me, Mom, and sisters decorating.
Jeanan, Baylor Friend, came to help too.














The dinner was wonderful and we had a sweet time of fellowship and celebration of Jesse and Hannah.  Ray did an amazing job of leading the dinner and sharing from his heart.  
I thought Ray was all better, but that night when we finally went to bed, his fever came back up and he fought it throughout night, really not resting much.

Also, after the dinner that night, we were driving back to one of the houses on the ranch to pick something up and Ray missed the turn, so he slammed on the brakes on my car.  The brakes seemed to lock up, or at least added a drag to the car from that point on, and wouldn't un-stick.  Oh well, we had to drive to the venue the next morning (which was over 2 hours away), and needed both cars, so we didn't have time to mess with it at the moment!! Ray said it might ruin my car, but honestly, what could I do?  I didn't' feel like I had a choice, my son only gets married once! So Ray said he would stop on the way to the venue to get stuff to fix the car the next day while we were all getting ready!

In the middle of the night, while we were supposed to be sleeping (Ray wasn't because of fever) we got a phone call at 2:30 in the morning, informing us that one of our dogs got out and had been hit back up in Stillwater.  He was alive but not doing that great! Since we were 4 hours away, there wasn't much we could do, so we instructed our friends to put him at the house, and if he was alive the next morning, to take him to the vet.  We would deal with this on Sunday when we got home!!

Saturday morning came, and we were all in a bustle trying to get all our stuff together and head to the venue in Van Alstyne!! Ray was miserable, and had already called in more medicine.  I was a little stressed because we were all supposed to be at the venue by 11 for a walk through rehearsal.  Ray said he had to pick up the meds AND the parts for the car first, and then he would be there.  

All the rest of us headed out, and he was going to be following behind us.  We all made it, but Ray called and said he was feeling so bad, he was going straight to the hotel instead, to lay down. 
 Rehearsal, Esther standing in for Jesse!
 Wedding time!!


After the walk through, we headed to the hotel to start doing hair, makeup, and dresses.  
Ray was resting when we arrived, but I left, and when I got back from my hair appointment, Ray was gone.  The girls said he was stepping out for a minute.  I went out and looked for him, thinking he might have felt like working on the car after his nap, but he was no where to be found.  We all finished getting dressed and it was time to go, but no Ray!  I texted him, but no response.  About that time, in he walks, or rather, drags into our room, shaking and miserable.  I asked where he had been, and he said he had been laying on the parking lot trying to get warm, the asphalt felt good to him!! What?! Well, it was time for us to leave to be there early to welcome guests and be there before the wedding started,  but Ray said for us to just go on without him.  No, I couldn't just leave Ray and I felt like he needed my help, hopefully to get dressed and go, at least to the ceremony, of our son's wedding!  I sent the girls on with my mom, and I helped Ray shower, dress, and he took 1000 ml of Motrin to try and bring the fever down.  

I got him in the car, and drove like a bat out of hell to get to the wedding before it started!! We came barreling in to the parking lot 10 minutes before start time!  On the drive there, his fever seemed to break a little, which gave him some relief.  God, I know, gave him the strength to sit through and enjoy the wedding ceremony, and the first hour and an half of the reception.  






We even had a dance, but then he began to crash.  

My brother-in-law volunteered to take him back to the hotel so I could stay and visit with all our guests.  But when we all got back to the room that night, Ray was shaking, wearing all his clothes, wrapped in blankets and moaning.  That was our night all night Saturday night and early into Sunday morning.  As we tried to get out of bed that morning, Ray finally said, he needed to go to the hospital.  The antibiotics had not helped, and he was obviously getting worse.  We gathered all our crew up and loaded up.  Ray just crawled in the passenger seat and closed his eyes.  Ruth drove Ray in his truck and I drove the family car with the locked up brakes.  I figured if something bad was going to happen in the car, I would rather be driving than her.  We caravanned back to Stillwater, and my car, was dragging the whole time.  Ruth said my brakes lights kept coming on and off the entire time we were driving.  Seemed like I was using twice as much gas, but I didn't care!! Cars are replaceable, Ray is not!! I began calling and asking our family and friends to pray.  Pray for Ray, and for whoever was going to be on the receiving end at the hospital.  We needed the Lord to show the Dr. where this infection was coming from, and not get distracted by alot of rabbit trails.  

2 miles from the Stillwater exit, the "check engine soon" light started FLASHING at me.  Ray always told me that if the light comes on it isn't an emergency, it is just good to get it checked out soon.  If the light starts flashing, pull over immediately!!!  Well, I HAD to get my husband to the hospital, so I just cried out to the Lord, literally,  to keep my car going, and carry it to the hospital.  I scared the kids to death, who were resting from the weekend!! All of a sudden, the light went off, and I kept the cruise control on, heading straight for the hospital.  I kept praying out-loud until we made it, for the Lord to carry our car there and not let it explode!!

When we pulled into the hospital, Dr. Mark Mueller was the Dr. in the ER that day.  He is a friend of Ray's, a Godly man, a fellow Kanakuk Kamp Dr., and his wife was my Bible Study leader last year.  Mark began the process of figuring out what was going on, and after blood work, some tests, ultra-sounds, and observation, he said he was still baffled.  Ray and I kept praying for wisdom, and Mark came back in the room and asked if Ray had been bitten by a tick.  Ray said no, but I said Yes!! reminding him that he had me pull one off of him about a week and a half ago.  Ray had forgotten since we get tick bites all the time in our family and think nothing of it!!  The dots started connecting and Mark said he thought Ray had a tick born illness but it would take days to find out from the tick panel.  Because of the severity of Ray's condition, they put Ray in the ICU until they felt like they had a handle on his situation.  His blood counts for white and platelets were extremely low, and his liver enzymes were rising by the minute, and with a temp of 103.6 and rising with medication onboard, they were very concerned.  

We were a little in shock that he was that sick, but so thankful God had shown Dr. Mueller to ask that specific question.  We have since read that people die from this (Ehrlichiosis) because it is not diagnosed early enough.  Praise God for His wisdom that he gave Dr. Mueller!

That first night in ICU was miserable, as they were not able to give Ray relief from the fever, so he was uncomfortable all night, as well as they wake you up to check on you every hour in the ICU anyway.  I stayed with Ray in the chair next to the bed, trying to doze off every once in awhile.  I guess, because of all the stress from the wedding planning, travel, and Ray's sickness, I got a migraine.  I asked one of Ray's Dr. friends and partners to bring some strong migraine medicine to me that night, and I took it, but it didn't seem to touch it.  By 5 am the next morning, I started throwing up, a result of the migraine.  One of Ray's partners came in to check on him, and I'm right there in the room, ICU toilets are in the room, not separate, throwing up violently.  He got me some nausea medicine, but after 2 doses, it didn't even touch it.  By the time the Dr. came around to check on Ray, I was so weak, dehydrated, and exhausted from throwing up for 6 hours, I could hardly even look up and listen to what he was discussing about Ray's condition.  Ray started trying to lean over out of his bed, with wires connected all over him, to try and take care of me!! Ridiculous!!  Finally, I gave up, and Ray's brother took me across the street to get a shot to help with the migraine and throwing up.  I returned 4 hours later a new woman!!  

In the mean time, while Ray was still in the ICU, we got a phone call from our vet concerning our dog that had been hit over the wedding weekend, since we had not taken car of the dog on Sunday when we got back into town.  Obviously, that had moved down on the priority list, since Ray was about to die and had to go into the ICU.  Once Ray answered and explained we were in the hospital, he assured us he would keep him comfortable until we could tend to him!! Thank goodness.

They moved Ray to a regular room, and after 2 more days in the hospital, the tick panel came back, and it was confirmed, Ehrlichiosis.  They let us go home, but with a pic line connected to Ray, so they could continue to give him IV antibiotics.  We were sent home to rest for the rest of the week.
Below is a picture of Ray resting the evening we got home from the hospital....



While we were in the hospital, some of our friends, who were also our Klife directors in Stillwater, stayed with our kids and tried to keep things going while we were unable to.  They dropped off our car at the shop, thinking I had probably completely burned up the brakes on that 4 hour trek home from Texas.  Can you believe, they looked the entire car over and said they could not find one thing wrong with it!!?? I promise you there was!!! Ray thinks God may have healed my car when I cried out those last 10 miles to the hospital!!!

The dog was not so lucky, as when we finally got over to see about him later on in the week, we had to put him down.  He is now buried in our back yard.  The whole family was sad, but in light of what their Daddy had just endured, and the fact that HE was alive, it kinda gave us better perspective on losing our dog.  He will be missed though.  

Wow, what a wedding weekend!! After it was all over, and we felt like Ray was at least out of the woods, and on his way to healing, and after the dog was buried in the back yard, the flood gates opened up and I cried.  It all came out, and I realized my son had gotten married!! What?!  I barely remembered because of all that had happened since.  Thank goodness people took pictures! Thank the Lord He is faithful, my son is married, my husband is alive, and we are home. Glory be to God.

We are 2 weeks out from the wedding and the ICU weekend at the time I am writing this.  Ray is healing, it is slow but steady.  His energy levels are lower than normal, and he poops our real quick.  He is finished with the antibiotics and is just mending now.  One of our friends from Kamp who had this same thing, said it took 6 months before he felt like himself again.  So we will see, sounds like a marathon and not a sprint, kinda like life in general.  We are grateful for today. Those that have prayed, thank you. 

Gratefully yours,
JJ





Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Sprechen Sie Deutsch?


As a little girl, I remember my grandfather, my dad's father, Pete Janszen (Gramps) saying this and other phrases in German.  I felt very special to have this heritage, and loved having Gramps say all kinds of things, especially a little nursery rhyme in German.  I have loved my German heritage.  Little did I know, God was planning all along to bring a precious German girl into our lives many years later.

Last year, on the first day of school, Esther, our middle daughter, came home telling us about a cute foreign exchange student who was in her Alg. 2 class.
She said she was so pretty and she LOVED the way she talked, in broken, German accented English.  Day after day, Esther would come home and speak more of Stella.  She envited her over to go to the movies with our family, the second week she was here.  I am not sure if she could understand much, it was the remake of Ben Hur, but we had a great time together.  Esther, continued to reach out to Stella, and invited her to come to our home every Monday morning, to a Klife small group Bible study before school.

About the same time, Stella tried out for the Cross Country team, and started running with Ruth.  Stella did not realize Esther and Ruth were sisters, since they look nothing alike!  Ruth felt called to start a XC Bible study, and Stella started coming to that also.
After a few weeks, she put together that these 2 were sisters!! She began coming to our home for some family dinners, and the girls were driving her to Klife Klub meetings as well.  God was definately weaving our lives together!!

Through the semester we were getting to know her, and as we got deeper, it became apparent that Stella did not know the Lord as her Savior, though she had been to church back in Germany, she did not have that personal trust in Him to save her.  But she was courious, and continued to come, ask questions, and was such a joy to be around.  One morning, I overheard someone crying at the girls Bible study in the other room.  Not wanting to be nosey, I stayed out of the room, but later asked Esther if all was ok.  She shared that stella was not happy in her host home, and was asking for prayer to know what to do.

My heart broke for this sweet girl, and I shared with Ray what I had learned.

He said he wanted me to pray about what we were to do concerning our role with Stella.

"What? What do you mean?! What role?  You mean keep having her over for Bible study and some family meals?"

"No, I mean does she need to come live with us?"

"You have got to be kidding me?!" I thought! I already have enough kids, I don't need another child, let alone another teenage girl! And where would she sleep, we already have 3 girls in one room, granted they are in the master, but still, another high school girl!!

I told him I would pray about it, but I wasn't going to tell a soul! I didn't want anyone getting any ideas.  (Now, I know this is so selfish, I know, but at the time, I couldn't see it any other way!)

Well, after 2 weeks of praying for Stella's sitution to improve at her host home, and yes praying for however God wanted us to play a role, Esther came home from school one day and said, "Mom, Stella asked me if she might could come live with us!!"

She told her she didn't know, it would be up to her parents, but I was floored.  I knew right then and there that obviously God was up to somehting and was already working, because He had layed it on Ray's heart 2 weeks early, and had me praying about it to prepare myself.

We had a family meeting, talked about the pros and cons and then Ray said, "Guys, what if God wanted to use our family to point Stella to Him, and we were too selfish to accept this plan?  Our lives are a blip, and the time stella is in the USA is a blip of a blip!!  We will regret if we do not open ourselves up, and our home.  Let us be willing!"  We ALL agreed, and knew he was right.  We began the paperwork the next week, and a week after that, December 15, stella came to live with the Ford Family.

The funny thing is, stella is an only child, from a divorced family, so to move into a home with 7 family members, 3 sister, 2 brothers, and parents, was more of a shock to her than her to us!!
She said she loved it, Stella is a very friendly outgoing person, who loves to talk with people and loves activity!! Well, she found it in our crazy home!

Right after she moved in, we had finals coming up, then Christmas break.  For some reason, I thought Stella would be returning to Germany for the holidays, but I quickly found out she would be with us!! Back to the store, Santa needed to come visit Stella as well!!  We also wanted to get her gifts, but the most important thing we wanted to give her was Jesus.  He really is it, the most amazing thing, so we gave her her very own Bible, she had been borrowing one for small group and XC Bible study.

Christmas took us to Texas again this year, to the ranch.  Stella didn't know what to expect, she said she had heard Texas wasn't that interesting, only dust and cowboys!! Well, she was partly right, but since the ranch in in the Brazos River valley and right on the edge of the Texas Hill Country, it is more than just dust, though we do have some cowboys.










Babe, my mom, and Stella's American grandmother for the time being, gave stella her very own cowgirl boots!!



Christmas day was wonderful, but emotional for Stella, I can only imagine being away from my family at 16 on Christmas day!!  But the sweetest part was when she got her Bible.  I thought she was just missing her family, but the tears fell as she read the note we had written in the front.  The next evening, the girls were up in the balcony coloring and visiting quietly.  All of a sudden, the girls came running to the edge hollaring! "Stella just became a Crhistian!!"  The girls came running down the stairs, with Stella saying, "I am saved, I am saved!!"  As we talked through the conversation they had just had, mainly between Stella and Esther, with Raylee (my neice) and Anna also a part, they shared the questions that Stella had been asking and the answers she was looking for.  Stella shared how she knew Jesus wanted something from her ever since she moved in with us, and after she got her Bible she knew even more, and now she realizes, it was HER He wanted.  He wanted to save HER, He wanted a relationship with HER,  Oh GLORY!! Hallelujah.  She is saved indeed!!!

Our family was humbled, excited, and grateful all at the same time.  Stella, who continued to live with us until the end of May, was, is a new creation for all eternity.  We are so grateful we did not let all our selfish petty reasons for not wanting Stella to come live with us, get in the way of the bigger plan God was working in all our lives.

From Christmas on, it was like Sunday school in our home.  Stella asked all of us, at different times, for the five and a half months, about scripure, about God, about what in means to live out your faith.  It was such a blessing for all of us, as we were forced to answer questions we maybe hadn't dealt with in years.  Who is the enemy? Why does he want to attack us? How does he attack? What will heaven be like? What does it mean to live out our faith in this or that sitution?

And probably my favorite, one evening, the girls and I, along with Stella, were talking aobut what Jesus did.  Stella kept saying, "I just don't understand why He would do that for me, I am so overwhelmed with thankfulness, I have no words!!! Can we just stop and praise Him right now for what He has done?" YES!! we all replied, and what a sweet time we all had together, just thanking Him in prayer for the sacrifice He made.  What a great reminder for all us girls, we just get so used to it, we casually say, "Yes, Jesus died for us and we are thankful." But how often are we really overwhelmed with gratefulness, that we have no words?! Not me, I almost always have words! But I want to be more like this.  So thankful, so overwhelmed for His love for me.

Stella brought this fresh reminder back to our family!! We love our German daughter, we are thankful God in His grace and mercy, brought her to our family, inspite of us!! He saved her, He lifted the veil off her eyes, He saved her, and we got to be close observers of this change.  Glory to His name.

As we sent her back home after the end of May, it was hard to let her go, knowing she doesn't have any community of believers back home, but God is faithful! He goes with her, He will provide, and His Holy Spirit can give her understanding as she continues to study His word.  And, we knew we were not saying goodbye forever.  She is planning to come visit next summer, and go to Kanakuk with us, and we have the assurance that we have eternity with her.  God is so good.

Auf Wiedersehen,

JJ

Saturday, August 5, 2017

I Wanna be "THAT MARY"



Most of you that know me, know I am a Martha! For sure!! Love, Love, Love being in the kitchen.....food is my love language.  Anyone sad, how about a cookie? Bad day at work, Bluebell vanilla milk shake, want to put your feet up? Chips and salsa comin' right up! No question, even though I like people, and do enjoy a good sit down and visit, I love being in the kitchen and hearing the laughter of friends and family in the other room enjoying some fellowship with a treat I have prepared for them. But, God has been showing me something........

First of all, let me back up, this past fall BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) was planning on studying the Book of John.  Ok, confession,...... I don't like the book of John! Yikes! I said it! I feel bad, but it is the truth.  What am I going to say to John when I meet him one day in heaven?  It's just sooooo wordy and flowery. "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God,........" My goodness John, just say Jesus was there in the beginning!!! Just drives me nuts, I mean, I was a PE/Art major, I don't really like wordiness, just spit it out! I am more of a Matthew/Peter kind of girl!!

Well, anyway, because I loved the women in my BSF group, and I am desperate for friends, still new in Stillwater, I decided to gut it up and go!! Maybe God wanted me to give John another chance.  Ok, so after I got through the first chapter, I have to say, it grew on me.  John really is a good book! Ha! I know some of you are horrified with my confession here, I mean come on!! It's THE book we send new believers to to START reading the Bible! Anyway, I have and am continuing to appreciate more and more what I am learning and studying through John.  But one of my favorite nuggets is about Mary.

In Chapter 11 verse 2, it says, "It was That Mary," as he begins to tell us the story of Lazarus. "That Mary"  It made me stop in my tracks. It was that Mary who anointed Jesus with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair.  He wanted us to know that this was a special Mary, not the one that just sat as His feet.  Not just another of the many Mary's of that time, popular name! It was THAT Mary.  The one that loved Jesus so adauciously that she sacrificed a bottle of fragrant oil, very costly, and annointed His feet, then wiped them with her hair.  The whole room was filled with the beautiful smells of her sacrifice unto the Lord.  Everyone in the room was aware of her shamless love for Him. I want to be THAT Mary, or rather THAT JJ.  I want to sacrifice all, I want my love for my Saviour, to fill every area I go.  Not so that people with think great of me, but will think, what in the world is so special about this Jesus that He invokes such devotion, sacrifice, and adoration?  He must be awesome or she must be crazy!  I am sure there will be those that will think I am crazy, stupid, or foolish, consider what Judas said about her.  But all that matters is what He thinks.  I want to be THAT JJ.

I am not there yet, but I want to work, daily, towards loving Him with such abandantment that I forget about myself.

And just think, I would have missed this had I not given the Gospel of John another chance.

God is good,
JJ

Thursday, February 2, 2017

"It's easier to watch, because I know how this will end."

(This post is 2 years old, found it in my drafts, just never posted it. Jesse wasn't even in college yet, and Bryce Petty was still Baylor's quarterback. Not funny, but an encouraging reminder.)

"It's easier to watch, because I know how this will end," says Ray as he settles in to watch the recorded football game of Baylor vs. OU, the day after it was played.

Ray and Jesse had gone to check out a possible college football opportunity for Jesse next year, and missed the entire game of BU vs. OU on Saturday.  Jesse and Ray got ESPN updates the whole time though, so they knew the final score as the game ended in real time.

The next day, Ray settled in to watch the game, and started from the beginning.  Even though Baylor got 3 points on the board first, OU came back with a vengence, and before we knew it, had scored twice on Baylor, without hardly taking a breath.  If you didn't know it, it looked as if this was going to be a tough game for Baylor, and the momentum was moving in the Sooners' favor.  At this point, Ray looked over and said, "It's easier to watch this, knowing how it will end."
I just sat there and stared at him.  He looked over,
"What?"
"Did you hear what you just said?"
"What?"
"It's easier to watch, because you know how it will end?!"....."Ray, that will preach!"
He smiled, because, you see, we are going through some stuff in our little family, that seems right now, to have about knocked us out.  Ok, you may feel like I am over dramatizing, but honestly, we have felt as if we have been so knocked down, so defeated, so lost, that there is no possibility of victory or recovery.  We have felt like complete failures as parents, and failures in our faith that God can even do anything about it.  The enemy has got the momentum, has scored on us multiple times, and seems to be lining back up at our goal line, ready to punch it in again!

We have looked at these defeats as the FINAL outcome, and not as battles that must be fought in this greater war that we are in.
If we knew how it would end, it would be easier to watch.  YES! But we do know how it will end!! We do!! The great enemy of old, still fights to destroy our marriages, our families, and take our children for his own victory.  It may seem as if he has won, FEEL like he has won, and that there is no hope, or even reason to keep fighting, weilding that sword in prayer, because we see this so many times as the ENTIRE war.  But it is not.  It is only a battle, the first quarter, one of many that we will fight, in this greater war that is ulitmately already won.  These battles we are going through now, are worth fighting through, because though we feel like we may have lost somewhat, and given ground to the enemy, we have not lost, we are still fighting, still in this.

By God's grace, He had me listening to another book, right when this thing seemed to rear it's ugly head, He is Faithful by Carol Cymbola.  I highly recommend if you are needing some encouragement that God is faithful through ALL that we go through, whether it is self emposed, or nothing of our own doing.  Of course, it goes along with my favorite verse, my life verse, which is found in Lamentations 3:22-23 "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning, great is Thy faithfulness."

Every morning, isn't that awesome, we get to hit the reset button every 24 hours.  All I know is that I feel down 14-3 in the game, but I have to realize, we are only in the first quarter, and I have seen the end, so even though, it may not make it as easy as watchin' our Bears get whooped up on for the first 15 min, as it is watching my kids get whooped up on by the enemy, I can say, knowing how this thing will end, Jesus gets final victory in their lives, in my life, and this world, it makes these daily battles easier to watch, and yes, also encourages me to keep the shoulder pads on, keep running out there on that field, keep weilding that sword in prayer, because Bryce Petty is bound to get that ball and throw for a first! And then baby, watch out!! The momentum will start rolling, and we are off and running to kick the enemies rear!
Hallelujah,
JJ

(P.S. - Since I am posting this almost 2 years later, I can honestly say God did win the victory in these areas we felt were soooo difficult and impossible!! But with God ALL things are possible!)

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Poor Life of the Baby of 5 children.

(Found this post back in my drafts and never posted it. So it is a year late, but worth a little laugh!!)


You know you are the last 2 of 5 children, when you go to meet the teacher night without your parents!! This is exactly what Joshua and Anna did this year.  We had just moved to Stillwater, so no one knew us, had no idea that we actually DO care about our kids, and don't just let them roam the town on their bikes by themselves! But, this is exactly what it looked like to thier teachers.
The kids had asked if we could ride bikes with our neighbors to meet the teacher night, and I had said it all depended on when Ray and I got back to the house.  We had run a quick errand, and were going to return to the house in a few minutes.  Ruth was there at the house, but really didn' tknow what we were doing with the kids after we got back.  When we got home, we asked Ruth where the kids were, it was time to head to the school, and she said they had left with our neighbors!!

I ran back out to the car screaming to Ray, "Hurry, get to the school!! The kids went with the neighbors, and are at meet the teacher night without us!!"

We spead to the school, and ran to their classrooms as quickly as we could.  We found Anna first, who had picked up all her papers, met her teacher, and said she had told the teacher she wasn't sure if we were coming tonight!! " How embarrasing!! Not wanting to set her straight, and give an appearance of an abusive parent, since I already looked like a negligent parent to her teacher now anyway, I tried to explain that they had left with our neighbors and had been confused.  Her teacher just kept saying, "Well, Anna just wasn't sure if you were coming tonight or not!!" I was so embarrassed, I got nervous, and started talking WAY to much, trying to sound like a good parent, but sounding like an idiot instead, and really making Anna's teacher wary of us.  Oh well, so much for first impressions!!
Joshua's teacher and scenerio was almost an exact repeat.  So imbarrassed, I grabbed the kids hands, smiled as I left the building, then read them the right act outside, all while smiling, incase the teachers were watching.
Don't think we are going to win parent of the year in Stillwater this year!!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Laughing again.......and a 700 lb Spider on Rollerskates

I CANNOT believe it has been one year since I posted on this blog.  Life has been busy of course, but really?  
The good news is, we are still in Stillwater, OK.  The bad news is, we MOVED again! 
I guess it's not really bad news, but moving is hard! 
Anyway, we were going to move this summer, to a little bit bigger home, since we have 5 kids, 4 of which are still home, but the contract fell through.  So we were good with that, stay where we were, in a smaller home, with all our stuff being stored in 7 different places! Yes, that is correct, 7 different places. But still, trusting, God's timing, not ours.  Well, we started the school year and all that it brings.  We had Jesse's football schedule, Ruth's cross country schedule, Esther's volleyball schedule, and Anna's cross country schedule to work around.  Joshua asked if he could sign up for flag football, and my answer was "Heck No!!"  (His time is coming!) So, packing up the trailer and heading out every weekend to somewhere in Kansas for football, plus throwing a xc meet or VB game in there, sometimes we would be in 3 different cities, 2 different states in a matter of 24 hours!! 

Right in the middle of this, the people who owned the house we had put a contract on over the summer, came back to us and offered us a deal we couldn't refuse, so after praying and signing the paperwork, we had to close in 2 weeks.  All of a sudden, in the midst of an already crazy schedule, we were moving across town!! 

This was exciting and exhausting all at the same time, because you know, the Ray Ford Family does not pay movers!! We do it ourselves. Ha! So we spent the next few weeks, slowly but surely trickling things over to the new home.  But as we got to the end of the month, Ray said he was not paying another month in storage, so we HAD to get the storage stuff over to the new home by Friday.  Well, that was fine, except, we had a XC meet in Arkansas, and a football game in KS, along with 2 volleyball games that week, both an hour drive away!  The boxes were not the difficult part, and we were able to get that over in about 5 trips, but the RV, oh baby, that was a different story!  You see, we have a large separate garage/workshop/RV storage at our new home.  I call it the barn. Anyway, it is great, but the people before us didn't have an RV/5th wheel, so they built a loft type structure, to use as storage.  It was right in the spot were the back half of the 5th wheel needed to go in the barn, so we had to take that out.  Well, Ray wasn't about to waste that great storage, so instead of dismantling it, he wanted to MOVE it.  Now this thing probably weighed 700+ lbs.  It was attached to the side of the wall, but had 4 large beams that supported it, like legs.  Ray decided that we could just cut it away from the wall and move it over on wheels.  After we propped it up on skate boards, furniture dollies and the like, and tried to move it a few feet, we rethought! So the next day, while the kids were at school, Ray and I attempted to move this thing.  He attached casters to the 4 legs and we began to push.  It was sooooo exciting, the thing was moving, we were so proud of ourselves, we were gonna have this thing moved and secured to the other side of the barn in a matter of 30 minutes.  

Well, pride cometh before the fall.......... we ran into a little finagling around the garage door and while Ray was trying to figure out how to manuver it, the thing started to fall!! We could hear wood cracking, and I was supporting one leg, Ray ran over to support the other, and we were huffin' and puffin' like to old fat people, sweat beads pouring from our faces.  We couldn't move, yet, we had to get something under this thing or it was coming down!! About that time we look up and here comes 2 Jehovah Witnesses!! They asked if they could have a few minutes of our time!!! What?! Can you not see we are in dyer need of some assistance?! Ray said "No! We are a little busy at the moment, but you can help us if you want!" They declined, but then asked if they could leave some reading material for us?! You have got to be kidding! No! 

After they left, Ray said, "Ok, I am gonna step away and grab the ladder, and try to prop it up underneath, if it starts to fall on you, just run away!!" Oh my gosh, how do I get myself into these situations with this guy??  Well, he was able to get the ladder under the structure before it fell on top of me, and we stepped away for a moment.  He decided we would use the tractor, and lift the weight up off the legs, while we moved it, then secure it into place before we moved the tractor.  Long story short, 10 hours later, after we started this project, we had the stucture moved and secured into place.  A friend stopped by while we were in the process and gave alot of support and encouragement, but like she said, it looked like a 700 lb spider on roller skates!!

Needless to say, we were exhausted after working ALL DAY on this short quick little job, and we were supposed to get on the road that night and head to Fayetteville, AR for Ruth's XC meet the next day.  Well, I thought we were going in to clean up, when I heard the chain saw roar to life! What now?  The 5th wheel was still at the storage facility, but we had to renew the lease the next day if we didn't get it out of there by the weekend.  We were taking the 5th wheel to AR and then to KS, but when we came back home on Sunday, Ray wanted to be able to put it into the barn, soooo, we had lots of tree limbs that hung across the driveway.  Ray had to clear those so he could bring the 5th wheel in once we returned on Sunday.  So all of us went out and as Ray cut a limb, we dragged it into the front yard.  I wanted to take them all to the back behind the barn, but the sun was going down, we were supposed to get on the road, and we just didn't have time.  I was embarrassed because our neighbors all have very well kept yards, and here we come, just moving in, and trashing the place!!  Well, as we worked into the night, Ray cut, and we dragged!  Finally, after he had cut his last limb, the idea of getting on the road was out of the question!! To say we were tired was an understatement! We decided to crash, and just get up early the next morning and head out.  

The next morning, Ray headed over to get the 5th wheel, then come to pick us up and head out.  He called and said to come outside and load up, but as we walked outside, with overnight bag in hand, we see Ray unloading stuff out of the 5th wheel onto the front lawn.  We had several kayaks in the back of the 5th wheel, and to have room for the kids to sleep in the back, we had to unload them.  At this point, we are cutting it close to make it to Ruth's race, so we just start chunking kayaks and all the gear into the front yard, along with piles of tree limbs! About that time, our new neighbors cautiously walked over and asked if we need any help.  What was your first clue?! Yes we need help, but I think it goes deeper than just unloading our crud out of the trailer!!  We graciously declined, and assured them we were not the Clampets, and we would have this all cleaned up eventually!! Ray hollered for everyone to load up, and we flew out of there, dust and leaves off the tree limbs flying behind us!

Well, several hours later, we were cruising toward Fayetteville, when we realized we had missed our exit! That was fight number one on this trip! We only had to go 30 miles out of the way, because we were on a toll road, and there are no exits!!

After getting back in the right direction, and apologizes and forgiveness were given, we were cruising again.  We made it to the meet, and only had to park 2 miles from the course!! Ha!  Thank goodness they had a bus that shuttled back and forth.  We ran up to the start, saw Ruth run with 600+ other high school girls, it was crazy 22 minute race, then loaded back up to head up through Missouri, and over into central Kansas for Jesse's game.  Whew!

7 miles out from the meet, Ray asks where his phone is!! I don't know!! We have find my friends on our phones, so I can see his phone is on the side of the road, back where we pulled onto the highway from the meet.  Ray wheels the big rig around, and we head back to get it! As we are approaching were it showed it was, it begins to MOVE!! What? Someone has picked it up.  We started calling it, multiple times, but no answer! So, what do we do......... We follow it!! 2 miles down the road, it stops in a Lowe's parking lot.  Ray instructs the kids to stay in the car, while we walk around in the parking lot, my phone in hand, tracking where his phone is.  We look like a couple of creepers, and it's a miracle someone didn't call the police.  We had narrowed it down to 2 cars, so as we were looking through the windows of the cars, and getting lots of stares, a shady looking guy comes out towards Ray and asked if we were looking for an iPhone.  Not sure if he had good intentions initially, since he hadn't answered when we had called, but needless to say, we got the phone back!! Miracle!!

Well, that put us 30 minutes later on the road than we had planned, so we headed out again, 5 hours away from where Jesse was playing.  2.5 hours down the road, Ray and I could NOT keep our eyes open, we were so worn out, not only from the last 24 hours, but the last few weeks of moving and kids' athletic schedules.  We pulled the truck over, gave our phones to Joshua and Anna, and all crawled into the trailer.  We set the timer for 20 minutes, told them to play games, and not wake us up until the alarm went off, and we crawled up in the bed and CRASHED, dead to the world, as soon as our heads hit the pillow.  20 minutes later, we were off and running again!

We arrived at Jesse's game, at the end of the 2nd quarter, after dark, in an unfamiliar stadium.  Fight number 2 happened after I tried to coach Ray on where to park!! Ha! Eventually, we made it into the game, reconciled and exhausted, but thankful we had made it, finally.  

After the game, we camped in the trailer and slept in a little the next morning, before we headed back to Stillwater.  When we pulled in, it was bitter sweet.  We were so thankful to be home, yet looking at the piles of stuff in our driveway and yard, it was a little hard not to get overwhelmed.  Ray announced that no one was released until we got this trailer into the barn.  So we all worked together, cutting the limbs up into small enough pieces, so that we could drag them out of the way.  We cleared all boxes out of the way in the barn, and made sure the path was clear for Ray to back that baby in.  It was the moment of truth, and excitement as we had all worked so hard, the weekend was so exhausting, but this would be balm for the soul, and make it all worth it.  You know what I am about to say..........  The trailer AC unit was TOO TALL!! by about 6 inches!!

That was it, we were done, Ray put that baby in park, and we left it there, all week, half in half out!
Our poor neighbors.

We either had to laugh or cry, so we laughed.  We had already cried a little that weekend.  It's all good, right? This is a first world problem, it's not eternal!

Well, I am happy to say, 3 weeks later, Ray Ford, who is a risk taker, and not afraid to attempt something I would NEVER do, took a chain saw, and cut a notch above the garage door, and got that sucker in there!!   No, it's not that pretty at the moment, but even our neighbors were impressed.  I think it is what makes Ray a good surgeon, he is not afraid to cut something open, fix it, and make it work.

And I am happy to say, we have moved all piles and items out of our front yard and around to the back.  Also, things are calming down, thus, the ability to do this blog entry.  Ruth qualified and ran in the State Championship XC meet this past weekend.  Esther finished up a good season of VB a few weeks ago.  Anna had her last meet 2 weeks ago, and we only have 2 more Sterling Football games.  We finally were back in town for church on Sunday after 6 weeks of missing in action from being on the road for football games.  I think things are calming down!! Now to unpacking boxes! 

Have a wonderful week,
JJ

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Wanna "Taco" bout Jesus??



Doing what Ray does, he is like the mailman, come rain, sleet, snow, or hail, those babies will not wait!  Last night we were handing out candy with the kids, and Ray got called in.  I made him go in his costume.  He said the nurses had gotten a laugh and posted it on Facebook before he could even take it off as he went in to see his first patient!!

Another night this month (no picture), we had a bad storm blowing in.  It had just started hailing when he got paged and had and emergency he had to leave for immediately.  He was running around putting his shoes on and asking me for an umbrella since it was hailing.  I told him they were all outside in the cars, of course!! So, the next thing I know, here he comes running from the garage with Joshua's batting helmet on!!  I asked, "What in the world are you doing?"  He said, "It's hailing and I can't get knocked out running from the car to the hospital!!"

Always an adventure being married to Ray!!

A few more pics of the kids from last night.
Anna with a friend, she was a Jawa from Starwars.

Ruth, Esther, Moses and a friend. 50's girls, Nancy Drew, and a chihuahua.

Joshua the Baylor Bear.

Esther and Moses braving the cold to hand out candy.

Happy Fall Ya'll,
JJ