Saturday, November 29, 2008

It is good to feel better

We had a lovely Thanksgiving in the Eppers house. It was certainly not fiasco free, but it was lovely! We had a turkey that was still frozen despite our best efforts to thaw it properly. So that delayed our lunch to dinner. But, that was ok because we took the kiddos to see the movie Bolt. By the way, it was awesome! So, we get back home, rest for a bit, then begin preparing our other dishes. The bag for the turkey bursts open, spills the marvelous juices all out in the bottom of the oven (actually, this happened before we even left for the movie). No big deal, a little stinky, but the oven was on low enough, what with the frozen turkey and all, that it didn't matter. However, when you have to turn the temperature up, a fire may occur. Did I say may? Let me change that to definitely. Yes, we had fire in the oven while we were making the cornbread for the dressing (some of you may know that as stuffing). Thankfully, I am a good southern girl and I make my cornbread in a cast iron skillet, so the fire couldn't really get past it. Anyway, my fabulous husband put the fire out by throwing water on it, which I thought would not work b/c I thought it was a grease fire and water isn't supposed to work on those, right? I thought it was salt or baking soda. Anyway, finally, around 5 or 5:30, we were able to enjoy turkey, dressing, sweet potatos, green beans, corn, gravy, rolls, pumpkin bread, it was delicious, what I could stand to eat. I wasn't feeling too great so I couldn't even finish my plate. Later that night, I was thankful I didn't because I had such a stomach ache I couldn't sleep. Finally, at like 2:45 am I got up to head to the restroom and ended up puking my guts out. Then I was awake still with terribly tummy ache until around 7 when I finally got to sleep. Brian took the kiddos out shopping and ice skating that morning so the house was quiet and I could rest. God love him! What a blessing he is! Anyway, it is so good to feel better now. I will post some pics from Brian's phone. I hope everyone had a great day of Thanksgiving!

Thankful Daddy and kiddos

Ahhh...we are so thankful to have made it
through the cooking process without getting

Again, could I please have a photo where I am
not making a weird face?

Eat that turkey leg Jman!

Alix digging in

My little monkeys

The kiddos were proud of having helped set

the table

Jaden is ready to dig in!


this was just after the fire, not sure what I am doing

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

It has been a while since my last post. I have been busy as well as lazy. Last weekend was really great. Brian and I had dinner with a couple we have recently met. They happen to be the parents of Jaden's new best friend, Jahmen. The youth at their church were hosting a free parent's night out, yes, I said FREE!!! WoooHooo! So, Angie and Eric had invited us to dinner. Also, they wanted to, in their words, honor Brian for his service to our country by paying for dinner. What a blessing! We had a lovely dinner and enjoyed conversation and fireside s'mores at our table. If you have never tried this, you definitely should. After dinner we still had a bit of time so they came back to our house and we talked for a bit more and listened to music. It was a lovely evening and the kids, apparently, behaved well. On Saturday, Brian had to work so we didn't do much, just go to hockey practice. On Sunday, the Lord once again spoke to my heart through the sermon Pastor Scott was preaching at Grace Evangelical Free Church (Grace E Free for short). Of course, the kiddos weren't as well behaved this go round, but they did ok. Sunday night brought chaos and fighting as Alix decided she didn't want to participate in Figure Skating that night. Monday, I was exhausted and beaten up from the chaos and fighting, and still battling the ferrocious headache that hit me Sunday morning so not much got accomplished. On Tuesday I was able to go to work, a place I can feel good about myself because there, I don't feel inept, at least not completely as I do as a parent. Yesterday afternoon, however, the kids and I went to the library. We were there for two hours. It was great that they were behaving well enough to stay that long. I found a book entitled ScreamFree Parenting and so far, it is so relevant to where I am. I am enjoying it. Today I am off because I told work that with the kids being out of school, it would cost me money to work that day, and that is just not good business. So I have been trying to tidy and get ready for the big meal prep, I haven't made an extreme amount of progress as I did have some work to do from home this morning and then there was a battle with Alix that to say it didn't end well would not do justice. But I am not giving up. I did catch myself praying for guidance during the middle of the battle today. That was encouraging. Anyway, just catching you up, perhaps more than you needed to know. Happy Thanksgiving to all. And to my extended family, I will truly miss being with you tomorrow and I love you!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Not much to say today! Just, tired and cold. Not sure I am quite ready for winter, but it comes regardless. Oh, and I did something dumb today, I forgot to buckle my seatbelt and got pulled over by a cop and got a ticket for it. Plus, he gave me a warning for having the expired TN tags on my car. See, Brian and I have been in this battle, he was supposed to put on the new tags forever ago, but he didn't and Idon't want to 'loose' the battle, right ladies? So, though I am quite capable of doing it, I have not. I suppose I will have to get that taken care of, huh? So now, I have $88 in stupid tax for forgetting to buckle my seatbelt. live, you learn. Or, when it rains, it pours (though in my case, it feels more like a hurricane).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Calling All Believers

So finally we made it to church this morning. We tried last week but of course, I slept too late, as usual. I am not sure what is wrong with me, but getting up in the mornings is severely difficult for me, and has been over the past few months. But today, we visited a new church, one that I have been wanting to visit but just never made it. I enjoyed it. The kids didn't want to go to children's church so they sat in with me, and did stellar, I might add. There was even a couple that greeted us, who found us afterwards to see how we liked it, who commented on how well-behaved my children were. Now that is the kind of thing that a parent in turmoil NEEDS desperately. I am still struggling to find my home church here. It is difficult when you compare it to the church you were calling home before. I have visited four churches here in Mason since we have been here. Each has things I like, but I am not certain that one holds a home for me yet. But, I do plan to attend the one we visited today next week, because I don't feel I can make a decision yet. And, God did speak to me through the Pastor this morning. He preached about prayer. He used Exodus 32 where Aaron fashions the golden calf and Moses seeks and gains the favor of the LORD for the Israelites because God was ready to wipe them out. But Moses stood in the gap for the Israelites and begged for mercy for them. It reminded me that we must 'pray without ceasing'. It reminded me that we do have to stand in the gap for others, for our Nation, for our leaders. Right now, I have stand in the gap for my family because we are falling apart. Maybe not where it is evident to others, but we are. I am not pleased with the job I have done as a parent. If my children base their knowledge of God as a father on me as a parent, then they will have an extremely SKEWED view. It has come to my attention that in our house, we do not practice grace. I have not extended it to my children, now, they do not extend it to each other or anyone else. Grace is difficult to explain anyway, much less to children. However, if you haven't practiced grace, they really have NO concept of it. God's grace is one thing in life I know I could not live without, I am so thankful for it. But I have lessened what it means in my life by not sharing that with my children. What happened to me? Why is this such a struggle for me? Why am I always so ANGRY? My children are blessings. The Bible tells me they are a heritage from God. I am asking all believers out there to stand in the gap for me on this. My children are my first mission field and I am really messing it up. I need to wake up every morning remember they are a blessing not a curse. I know I am being very open here, but I really need help. Right now in my life, parenting is an everyday struggle. The kind of thing that makes me not want to get up in the morning. I am always at the brink of tears because I feel so lost in this task. I have pretty much checked out of life altogether. Honestly, I am not functioning well as a human. I can go to work and I function pretty well there. But at home, I am lost. Even as I am typing this, the children are arguing and bickering and I feel my only tool is to yell. What kind of message does that send to my children? I know this post is long and the thought process is hard to follow, but I have to type as it comes or I loose it. I suppose that is all for the moment. But please, brothers and sisters in the Lord, lift me up. I am finally at a point where I feel I can change. I still feel defeated, but I am standing up, struck down but not destroyed. I know I must let HIS joy be my strength.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wow! It has been over a year here

It has been a while since my last post, sorry. I am sure no one is hanging by any threads of anything I have to say. I feel I have lots to say but not sure what I want to share with the entire world and what I don't. I will start with some random thoughts. Today, on the way to pick up the kiddos from school I was thinking about the past year. Yes, we have officially (by the way, in Iowa, officially is pronounced with a long o) been in Iowa for over a year now. But, I was thinking about the craziness of that year. Some of you know what I am talking about, it is like we brought a plague with us or something. Hmmm...first there was the girl who rear ended my van in November when my in-laws were visiting. Our furnace kept randomly going out and we would be without heat, us poor little Tennesseeans here in Iowa. Then winter came nasty and early and lasted forever. We got ice on the FIRST weekend in December, and that same 4 inch thick sheet of ice (plus ALOT more snow) was still on my driveway in March. People said it was the worst winter here in something like 12 years (sometimes they joking blame us for bringing it when we moved). Let's see, I fell on the ice while ice skating with the family on New Year's day. I got to have my first broken bone (right ankle), my first surgery (eight screws and a metal plate), my first non-baby related hospital stay, all in one shot. Ooh, and I got to use a walker and have pretty purple cast, and go to physical therapy. Also, I had started a paper route to try to help out with the financial strain of not selling our TN house, yeah, that lasted two weeks until I broke my ankle. Hmm...then my wonderful mother-in-law came and took care of me for about a week or a little more. Then my wonderful mother came for, gosh, was it three weeks. During this time, my poor mother had a small accident with my van, the day after my new insurance started on my vehicle (she can't laugh about it yet, but really, I CAN). Then it was time for her to go home and my mother-in-law came back for nearly a month. On Feb. 5, I started my job at Harley-Davidson of Mason City. Then on Feb. 9, my poor mother-in-law (Linda) caught a patch of ice while driving my van to Minneapolis to pick up my brother-in-law from the airport. After a devastating experience for her, the van was totalled. (All involved were fine, but we are getting to that part). So our insurance covered most of the amount due on the van, just left a couple thousand dollars unpaid, it could have been much worse. So then, when Linda and Kevin were finally able to make it home (though I really wanted them to stay much longer), it was nearly March. Yeah, they don't like Iowa weather so much. Then later in March, coming home from parent-teacher conference, a guy rear-ended my car as I was trying to turn into my driveway (road was pretty slick). It did no damage because it was barely a tap, but I remember thinking, should I just walk EVERYWHERE I go? Also, the guy didn't stop to check on me or anything. Then about a month ago, we learned that after a year of trying to sell our house, and struggle to keep both houses afloat, we are losing the TN house in Foreclosure. Then the Harley had to go, which hurt Brian more than it hurt me, but it hurt me for HIM. So, it has been quite a year. But, this afternoon when I began thinking about it, I began to think of what the good was instead of the bad. For instance, in all of the car accidents, NO ONE was hurt. And my kids were in one of those. So for that, I am THANKFUL! Also, I have wonderful family that took such great care of me and my family when I was unable to do so. For that, I am beyond THANKFUL!! And yes, we are losing our property in TN, but once it is gone, we will have a relief from that mortgage, that electric bill, and that water bill. That will be nice. It has been a vicious year in some ways and I won't even dare say that I handled it all with grace, because I know I didn't. However, I found opportunities to grow and become better, even if it was in hindsight. At the moment, life is hard. It is difficult to face financial ruin and be a good person through it. But, I am trying not to lean on my own understanding and know that 'my ways are not His ways'. Please know, I am not writing this as a way for people to feel sorry for me. Rather, I want to remember that there is always something to be thankful for, even when it seems there isn't.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Historic Moment, Indeed

Wow! I can barely describe how I feel at this moment in time. My emotions from the past months, and especially yesterday, have exhausted me. Yesterday, Election Day, brought a deep pang inside me that I cannot put words to. The whole political system pretty much disgusts me, anyway. But the outcome of last night put me over the edge. I cannot believe that my America felt it best to put Barak Obama in office. Don't get me wrong, I think our great nation has made great strides in that a black man was elected as President. However, did it have to be a President who seems to wish for socialist policies and doctrines, who is a proponent of taking the lives of the innocent unborn, who supports the demise of marriage as God designed it, and who will likely stick it to military families by cutting the pay they receive, which is already miniscule? I believe the thing that bothers me most about the situation is that there are born again Christians who voted for this man. This man of Muslim descent. At what point did we as Christians decide that these moral issues were neither here nor there when exercising our right to vote in this 'land of the free'? Of course now, the damage is done. Now we have to exercise our freedom of boldly approaching the throne of grace. We must respect this leader of our great nation and we must hit our knees for him, for his decision-making, DAILY. I am so guilty of not being faithful in this area. In fact, the Lord is doing a work in me. I am realizing how unfaithful I am in a lot of areas. I was talking with a girl at work today and telling her that I feel I have become what I despise; someone who wears her spirituality on her sleeve and pulls it out when it is convenient. I am not saying that I have ever denied God. I am saying that I have not faithfully tended the mission field that God has placed me in. That is hard for me to just lay out there. But last night was an eye opener. I cannot afford to sit back: no one can. God is Sovereign. But we must do our part, not because God cannot function without us. But because God has commanded us to humble ourselves and pray. Because he has CHOSEN us to be warriors in His army. Now, let us fight as true prayer warriors fight, never give up. Blessings.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Exploring Me

I love when I get to go shopping all by myself. Today, I got my rear in gear and got my grocery shopping done first thing this morning. This means I didn't have to spend an hour of my shopping time grabbing arms saying, "stop that", "behave yourself", "what are you thinking?", "use your inside voice", etc. I was even able to stop into Hobby Lobby, which has become a favorite store of mine, despite the fact that I really do not know the first thing about how to use 90% of the items in that store. However, this store holds some enchanted power over me. I peruse the aisles imagining I am as crafty as (insert crafty person's name here) and I can certainly paint a beautiful portrait on that blank canvas, or I could definitely use these pieces to decorate my space and make it look fabulous. However, at some point I have to wake up and have some realizations. Number one: I do not know the first thing about painting, though I would really LOVE to try it. Number two: I am very limited in funds right now, and ALWAYS! But, I really want to try painting on those blank canvases. I just need the space, the money, and the will to clean up the mess. My friend Rae always tells me that painting, for her, is very therapeutic and I should definitely try it. I have seen her paintings and I know why they are therapeutic for her, she is MAJORLY talented! But perhaps I am as well and I simply do not know it for I have never chanced it. So one day, when I have a penny to my name, someone encourage me to try it. Remember this post as I will surely find a way to talk myself out of trying it, not sure why, I suppose fear of it turning out badly, then thinking of the money I have wasted. For now, I will secretly be an artist in my heart and mind.