I Go With God Book Review

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Since we decided not to do Homeschool Review Crew this year, I thought it would be fun to try Book Crash. Book Crash lets you sign up to review books. We are all about free books in this house.

The first book we received was I Go With God by Jill Ferrie. I thought my super hero loving six year old would love to read about a  little boy who learns that prayer is a superpower.

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The book started off with a letter that led me to think that I might not agree with everything the book said theologically.

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In the book, the little boy wakes up excited because he is going to a friend’s birthday party. He feeds his fish and then realizes he doesn’t feel well. He prays and does feel better. He realizes prayer is like a superpower. At the end of the story, he prays for his fish who seems to be sick as well.

I have mixed feelings about this book. The illustrations were simple and colorful. So it was fine for a book geared toward elementary aged kids. I liked that the little boy realized that he could pray any time and God would hear him. I think this book would encouage a child to pray. I wasn’t thrilled with the fact that it says “God’s thoughts are angels.” Some of the things it mentions about angels I would say is the Holy Spirit.

Clarissa wasn’t excited about this book. It did, however, bring up some great discussions about prayer and healing in our house.

Disclosure of Material: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through the BookCrash.com book review program. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

When your vacation turns into a history lesson

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We went to Virginia Beach for Christmas for the first time in six years. It is the first Christmas with relatives that Clarissa will remember.

We were there five days so we had some time for exploration. On Thursday, we headed to Fort Story to see the lighthouses. The general public can get on base by showing ID and getting a visitor pass for your car. Tim’s work ID got us on base without all of the extra steps.

Our first stop was to see the Cape Henry cross. When the settlers first arrived in Virginia in 1607, they planted a cross on the beach before heading to Jamestown. There is also a statue for French Admiral de Grasse who was very helpful during the Revolutionary War. We also went to the lookout to see the beach.

Next, we walked over to the “new” Cape Henry lighthouse which was built in 1881 and is still functional today. Across the street is the “old” Cape Henry lighthouse, which you can actually climb. There is an admission cost and you have to be 42 inches tall. You are not allowed to carry children up the 192 steps.

Clarissa really enjoyed our little field trip. Be careful where you step though. We all ended up with small brambles on our pants and shoes, probably from walking through the grass.

On Friday, we headed to Colonial Williamsburg. Tim and I wanted to see it decorated for Christmas and we were honestly disappointed in that regard. But Clarissa really enjoyed seeing the old houses.

The Governor’s Palace had a garden and a maze that Clarissa really enjoyed. She also enjoyed seeing the kitchen. You can only see the main part of the house on a tour, but after five minutes of waiting, Tiffany was losing it so we had to keep moving.

We headed to the art museums because there was an advertised craft event. We did not last there either as Clarissa was bored with the craft. She liked the art museum though. It was fun to see the old furniture and animals.

Veterans and their families can get in to Colonial Williamsburg for half off admission and active duty families can get in free once per year. Another perk to this kind of ticket is the Liberty Lounge. The information lady told us it was kind of like a USO. There were chairs to sit down (and nurse the baby), a bathroom, and hot drinks (coffee, tea, or hot cocoa). It was a blue house next to the Millery.

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Our Story : The Wedding

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We got engaged the same week as my sister and her wedding was three weeks before ours. Add to that the fact that the school system transfered me to a different grade level at a new school on October 1st. Needless to say, we had a very busy fall.

Another couple from our church got married the same weekend. Their wedding was at a different location on Friday night. Some of our musicians were in the other wedding so they could not attend our rehearsal. One of the pastors attended the wedding as well so he left our rehearsal early.

I like to do things very traditionally, but Tim does not. Our wedding day was Saturday, December 19th, 2009. Tim picked me up from my parents’ house about 9 AM and we headed to the church. That gave us about an hour to hang out in the Chapel before anyone else arrived.

At 10, I headed to the dressing room to get ready with my bridesmaids and Tim met up with his groomsmen. My friend Mary (who was 12 years old at the time) did my hair. Jordan (one of my middle school girls) did my make up. I was dressed and ready for pictures about 11 AM.

We were ready for pictures on time but the photographer was late. Sometimes December in Virginia Beach is 70 degrees and sometimes it snows. On our wedding day, there was snow in Pennsylvania and freezing rain in Virginia Beach. The photographer was coming from the peninsula which was flooded so she had to take a different tunnel.

By the time the photographer arrived it was almost noon. We wanted to take pictures before the wedding. Instead of waiting for Tim to see me walking down the aisle, our photographer took pictures of the reveal. I was glad that we did that. When Tim first saw me he said, “Your hair…is curly?” He had never seen me like that before and it took a few minutes for him to get used to it.

We had time to get pictures of the wedding party finished before the ceremony.

Tim’s mom, with the help of some of the youth group moms, set up the fellowship hall for the reception.

I would love to say that the ceremony was exactly how we planned. Or that even though it wasn’t, I just enjoyed every minute. Sadly, that is not what happened and I do regret my attitude about that the first few minutes of our marriage.

My dad walked me down the aisle and gave me away. My friend Mary did a beautiful dance to For My Love. Scott gave a wonderful and hilarious version of our love story and tied it in to the gospel. At the end, right before Pastor Nate presented us as husband and wife, I realized that there was supposed to have been a second song in the ceremony. It was the song that didn’t happen in rehearsal because those musicians were at the other wedding. But Nate said there was no way to bring that song back into the ceremony and pronounced us husband and wife.

So instead of being thrilled to be married, I walked down the aisle to the lobby very angry. Poor Tim. He definitely did not feel loved in that moment. I was so upset about a song.

After the guests had been dismissed to the fellowship hall to watch a performance by my Polish Folk Dancing group, we went back to taking pictures. The musicians did play my song, Chorus of the Saints, while we were taking the family pictures. After they played my song, I was happy and had completely moved on. But if I could do that day over again, I would not be upset about the mistake in the ceremony and just be excited to be Tim’s wife.

The reception was the best party I have ever been too. Tim and I had our first dance. Then I danced with Dad and Tim danced with his mom. My Polish Folk Dancing friends led the guests in several different dances from other countries. Tim wasn’t into the dancing. But I had the best time.

We had a rice krispies wedding cake since it needed to be gluten free. There was also a frozen custard bar with toppings to make your own sundae. There was plenty of other food as well.

After the reception, Tim’s parents had paid for us to spend our wedding night in a hotel. We stayed at the Hilton on the oceanfront. The view was beautiful and it snowed. They delivered champagne to our room, which I dropped, and it pretty much exploded. We had a really fancy dinner of filet mignon because one of Tim’s uncles gave him $200 at the reception and said, “Don’t tell your aunt…”

Our Story: Engagement

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About a month into dating, I bought the book 101 Questions to Ask Before you Get Engaged and we started discussing it. Question 5 was to tell 3 reasons why someone would want to marry you and 3 reasons they would not. Then we started talking about what it would look like to have an August engagement and a December wedding.

At this point, we saw each other a few nights per week after work. We did some kind of activity together on Saturday, went to church on Sunday, and usually had lunch with my parents before I went to Polish Folk Dancing practice on Sunday afternoon.

Towards the end of March, we started talking about engagement rings. Tim asked if I wanted a diamond or something like an emerald or sapphire? I told him that traditionally, the man should pick out the ring. He thought that was silly since I would be the one wearing it.

March 28, we were at the mall walking around and decided to “start” looking at engagement rings. We really liked the setting on one ring with two diamonds and a dark blue sapphire in the middle. But I really liked the lighter blue topaz on a different ring. The clerk at Helzberg convinced us to buy both rings and they could just switch the stones. Tim gave me the other ring as a promise ring until we were officially engaged.

The following week, Tim asked my parents for their blessing to marry me while I went to a meeting for my mission trip to Kentucky. The church I was attending was very conservative and it was common for the man to ask permission of a girl’s father before proposing. Tim thought it was silly but humored me anyway. He asked both of my parents because he thought it was weird to ask just my dad and he wasn’t really looking for permission anyway.

On April 10, 2009, We drove to Pennsylvania to spend Easter with Tim’s parents. I met his parents Friday night. We hit it off really well. They actually reminded me of my parents. His dad loves history and was very hospitable. He asked about me and my family. His mom has a servant’s heart and was ready to make all of Tim’s favorite meals and treats. She was easy to talk to as well and we talked about things like the house and food.

We did a lot of running around on Saturday morning. I knew Tim was planning to propose that day, I just didn’t know any details. So whenever we went somewhere, I kept wondering if he was going to ask me.

Eventually, we drove to Shikellamy State Park because we were planning to go to a scenic overlook in the trees where you could also see the Susquehena River below. But halfway up the mountain we discovered that the road was still closed for the winter! So we had to go back down. Then we went to a park in the marina below.

We walked around and held hands. I kept thinking to myself, “okay this is it,” every time we walked past something cool like a little shelter or a swing. Eventually, we got to the end of the island on this little pier thing. And the view was so beautiful! You could see the mountain we tried to go up, a really cool looking bridge, lots of trees, and the river was beautiful. So I was really excited and started taking pictures of the scenery.

After I had taken pictures of everything, Tim came up behind me, put his hand in his pocket, pulled out the ring and said, “Will you marry me?” And I, like a dork said, “You’re not going to get on your knee?” He kind of rolled his eyes at me, smiled, got on one knee and asked again. To which I replied, “Yes. Of course I will marry you!” He got up and hugged me. And then he gave me my first kiss! We asked someone walking by to take a picture of us together and then headed to the car to call family to announce our engagement.

Sunday we went to church and his mom didn’t know how to introduce me to people. I was her future daughter in law, her daughter in law to be, Tim’s fiance, and Tim’s future wife. All at different times. His Grandma came over for Easter dinner. I also met his brother, an aunt, and an uncle.

On Monday, we drove home from Pennsylvania. We stopped at King of Prussia Mall on the way home. It was huge. We pretty much held hands the whole drive home. Tim must have been sitting at a funny angle because by the time we got to my house his side was really sore.

Our Story : The Beginning

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It is hard to believe that Tim and I have been married ten years next week. I thought I would spend some time this month sharing our story. Also, how appropriate to begin our story on a Friday the 13th…

Before I met Tim, I was a fourth grade teacher. I spent my Friday nights at an International Folk Dancing class. I was the youngest by a decade or two but I really enjoyed it. Eventually, the people who ran the class invited me to join their performing Polish Folk Dancing group.

Our story actually starts in Richmond, the night after a dance performance at a Polish lady’s house. Somehow at the breakfast table, Donald and I started talking about my love life. Or lack thereof. Anyway, Donald is a fun guy, but he’s one of those guys that has a new girlfriend every week. At some point I said that I was waiting until I got married to have sex and probably until I was engaged to kiss. He was floored, but said he knew a couple of hard core Christian guys. Well, we left and I pretty much didn’t think anything of it.

Apparently, that night Donald went to a Super Bowl Party. He was talking about our conversation with a group of guys and was so amazed that there was a girl who just wanted a nice guy who loved Jesus. So he asked if anyone would be interested in a girl like that. Apparently two guys raised their hands and Donald picked Tim. Donald showed him my picture on Facebook.

Donald told me that a guy named Tim Faust was going to send me a friend request on Facebook. On Tuesday, February 3, 2009, Tim and I became Facebook friends. He then sent me a message and asked if there was another way he could reach me besides Facebook. So I sent him my phone number.

Two hours later, he called me. We talked for about an hour. During our conversation, he talked about the possibility of getting a new job in another country like Philippines or Afghanistan. On the phone we talked about how God is Sovereign, and so if He wants something to happen it will, no matter where Tim is. But when I got off the phone I prayed, “God, if you want me to be in a relationship with this guy, he needs to be local.” So the very next day, we’re on the phone and Tim says, “I can’t really explain it, but I feel like God is staying I need to stay here. And I think you might be a big part of the reason why.”

We talked every night that week for at least an hour and decided we needed to meet in person.

Monday, February 9 was our first date. I walked into Tropical Smoothie, and the first word out of his mouth is not “Hi.” but “Wow!” Apparently, I look better in person than in my Inspiration Awards pictures. We hung out for about four hours and set up another outing for Friday night. We talked on the phone every night in between.

On Friday, February 13th, we meet at the beach. We walked for four miles on the boardwalk. We talked about lots of random things. After our walk, I stood there, waiting for him to get out of the portapotty, staring at the ocean, and knew that I had never felt this safe or protected or loved before.

We then headed to TGI Fridays for some food where we decided we can officially call each other boyfriend and girlfriend. Then we went to my house to hang out. I introduced Tim to my dad as my boyfriend. What happens next is what I call Tim getting to know my parents. But Tim refers to it as the interrogation. That is the difference between introverts and extroverts I guess.

Saturday was Valentines Day and I already had plans. I was to see a play with my best friend and also attend youth group that evening (I was a youth leader at my church). We decided that we were not going to do anything for Valentines Day but Tim would meet me at church on Sunday morning.

On Sunday, he showed up with a rose. I said, “I thought we weren’t going to do Valentines Day?” to which he responded, “It’s not Valentines Day!” He met a lot of people at church that day and got grilled by half of them. But everyone who met Tim liked him.

Our first official date as a couple was the following Saturday. We went to First Landing State Park to what we affectionately called “The Hallway of Trees.”

He told me he loved me on Tuesday over the phone. I told him I wasn’t ready to say it yet and I wouldn’t say it on the phone. He thought I would say it Saturday when I saw him in person. At which point I told him I couldn’t yet and when I did say it, it would mean I was ready to marry him.

The next Saturday, we went to Lakewood Park. We’d had already had our first fight and he was really down because of work and stuff. So we’re on this bench under the trees talking and I asked God what I could say to make him feel better. God said to tell him that I loved him, even though I wasn’t sure if I wanted to marry him yet. I didn’t have to know that. So I told Tim that I loved him.

My last hesitation about Tim had to do with his faith. I spoke church-ese but Tim definitely didn’t so sometimes I wondered if we were on the same page spiritually. One morning I was asking God about it and then I read my Bible like I always do. It just so happens that in the book of Philippians (that I was reading anyway) there is a verse that says “Timothy has proved himself faithful to the Lord.” After that my mind was pretty much made up.

When Tim was a teenager, he was at Epcot with his family. While he was watching Riverdance he heard God say that his future wife would “have green eyes and be of Irish descent.” I just so happen to be Irish and have green eyes.

Easy Pumpkin Drop Cookies

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I have seen different forms of this recipe online and combined a few different recipes before I landed on this super easy recipe.

Ingredients
15 ounce can pumpkin
1 box gluten free yellow cake mix
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. In a bowl, combine all ingredients.
3. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
4. Drop spoonfuls of batter onto lined baking sheet.
5. Bake for 12 minutes. (We like soft cookies. If you like crunchy cookies, you will need to bake them longer.)

Makes about 20 cookies

What my c section taught me about rest (and asking for help)

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The first month or two of Clarissa’s life, I was pretty miserable. She would pretty much only sleep if someone was holding her, which was fun during the day but frustrating at night. Most nights about 3 AM I would question why I became a mom. I remember several mornings, Tim would wake up for work about 6 AM and walk by me in the nursing chair and I would say, “I have not slept yet!”

Then, magically at two months old, Clarissa learned the difference between night and day. By that I mean that she started sleeping consistently from 2 – 7 AM. Once I started sleeping, I was so glad to be a mom.

Some days in the first few weeks, I was really tired and sore so I spent most of the day on the couch watching Netflix with Clarissa and Josie. Other days I felt pretty good so I would vacuum and clean the house. I always overdid it so the following day was usually a couch day to recover.

Going into the end of Tiffany’s pregnancy, I planned to relax more. Tim was planning to be home for two weeks and then Mom was planning to stay with us for a week as well. I wanted to relax and heal the first two weeks and then hopefully do some fun things with Mom before I was home alone with two kids and getting used to our new normal.

I was really tired and sore towards the end of my pregnancy with Tiffany. My belly was huge so if I did a lot of walking, I really felt it and I also had some carpal tunnel. I was still cooking and doing laundry. But Clarissa and I were definitely watching a lot of movies and I was trying to give myself grace for not keeping the house super clean.

After about 44 hours of labor, Tiffany was born by cesarean section. That was not really on our radar. The original plan was for Tim to be in the hospital with me for our entire stay. That didn’t end up being what was best for Clarissa so they left shortly after Tiffany was born. They did not even get to hold her the night she was born.

Since I was on my own that first night, I really had to rely on the nurses to help me. I could get Tiffany out of the basinet when she cried but I couldn’t get her back in to the basinet. But the nurses were great so I would call them and they would swaddle her and put her back in the basinet for me.

The next morning, they did the usual blood work and decided that I needed a transfusion. Apparently I lost a lot of blood during the surgery and my iron count was at transfusion level. There was talk of a second transfusion, but we ultimately decided on iron pills instead.

The first two weeks that Tiffany was home, Tim was off of work. He entertained Clarissa and did the cooking, dishes, and laundry. I basically camped out in our bedroom with the baby and watched TV all day. It wasn’t how I originally envisioned my recovery, but a c section and stairs don’t mix. I went downstairs a couple of times per day to eat, but Tim carried Tiffany up and down the stairs for me.

My mom came for two weeks when Tim went back to work. She took care of the cooking and cleaning so I could continue to recover. She was available to drive to Tiffany’s appointments and to Co op so the girls and I were able to get out of the house some. But I didn’t last very long on my feet anyway.

Four weeks was the first time I was home alone with both Tiffany and Clarissa during the day. I was still really sore and was taking the stairs more so we ended up having a lot of movie afternoons and book snuggles on my bed. Tim took the laundry up and down the stairs for me after work. I started making dinner again. But that was about it for the next two weeks. My pain level actually got worse because I was doing more.

I didn’t start driving again until after Tiffany was 6 weeks old. I did reach a point a few days after the six week mark that I started to feel much better. I went from taking ibuprofen every 4 hours to once or twice per day.

Clarissa and I didn’t start school again until the six week mark either. It took a few days to find a groove with Tiffany. Eventually I learned to wear her while Clarissa and I did school.

Tiffany is two months old now and we are still trying to find our new normal. Thankfully she is a great sleeper. But I do spend several hours per day nursing. So between nursing, trying to give Clarissa attention, and school, I am back to mostly doing cooking, dishes, and laundry like I was before she was born. Thankfully I can drive now, but we wait for the weekend to run most of the errands with Tim.

If I had delivered Tiffany vaginally, I think I would have felt the need to keep up with the housework. I would have asked Tim to help, but not to the extent that I did. The pain level from a c section in addition to my anemia from the blood loss, left me unable to do many things so I had to ask for help. And I learned that people usually want to help you, they just don’t know how so you need to ask.

I am also learning to have grace for myself (and my family) for needing to rest. Sleep and down time are important. I am still only about 10 weeks out from major abdominal surgery so my body is still healing. It will take a while to be completely pain free and have the stamina to be active all day like I could before.