Saturday, June 30, 2012

Backyard Oasis

We live in the city – have for the last 18 years (this week!).  When my husband and I first got married we lived in the second house that was on my in-laws 30 acre farm.  I thought I had moved to heaven!  All my life I had lived in a two bedroom apartment – no land to plant anything in, no place to walk safely, constant people all the time!  Moving to the country was AMAZING and I was THRILLED – for eight months!  That’s when we got the call that we could serve with a ministry in inner-city Philadelphia for a two-year internship.  Did I mention we’ve been here for 18 years?  That’s a LONG internship! 

After the two years were up we found we really loved the work God had called us to do and also found out we were expecting our first little one!  We began to look for a house to buy.  At first we looked with an agent, but he wasn’t listening to where we wanted to live.  We then started looking for for sale signs on our own.  On a walk with a friend, I spied this cute little house with a front yard containing a tree, bush, and a flower plot!  Almost unheard of in our area.  016I showed it to Andy and we immediately called the realtor listed on the sign.  We got in the house the next day and it was love at first sight!  The kitchen was HUGE!  And it had amazing windows!  What was even more amazing was the backyard!  It, too, was HUGE!  Most backyards in our neighborhood are referred to as “postage stamp” size.  Ours is at least four yards put together!  It’s wonderful!

Flash forward 15 1/2 years, four kids, and a cat later and we seem to have run out of room!  Two years ago, Andy thought the same thing and built a deck off the schoolroom.  030036At first I HATED it!  He tore apart the wall in my schoolroom to put the door in and then the whole deck thing was mess.  He decided to fiberglass the deck do that the underneath would stay dry and we could use it during gentle rains.  He had to do it at night because the weather was so hot and it required a certain temperature to cure.  It took a lot of time, money and energy and I wasn’t sure it was worth it. 

Today, I am thankful for my husbands wisdom in building this deck!  I spent the morning scrubbing the winter/ spring grime off the fiberglass deck.  218I went to Target and finally found the perfect table to put out there, one where the kids can do schoolwork on the warmer days and we can play games at.223  I also set up Drew’s baby pool – much to his delight!229We planted flowers in the flower boxes and are really hoping the squirrels stay out of them this year!  Last year they pulled up every flower that was in them.235If I can’t live in the country, I guess this is the next best thing.  If I close my eyes and just listen I can hear tons of birds singing and can imagine I’m living back home on the 30 acre farm.  We even have a fountain that sounds a bit like Mom Schultz’s fish pond!  So, for now I’ll enjoy my backyard oasis and be thankful for God’s blessing!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


That one simple word…..what does it conjure up in your mind?  It is often just attributed to that one man in your life that brought you life.  The one you grow up adoring and hoping you’ll find a mate just like.  Growing up I was not blessed with that kind of dad.  My father left when I was two and caused trouble until I was 21.  No, God had another dad in mind for me.  His name … John Henry Schultz, my husbands’ dad.  He is the only person I called “Dad.”  He is the only man who truly fit that word. 

Dad went home to be with the Lord, June 13, 2012.  It was sudden.  It was unexpected.  It is heart wrenching.  My mind is boggled by it all.  My heart is raw and and tattered.  My kids are completely heartbroken.  Daniel’s (6) first words after hearing the news were “But he can’t be gone…he was my best friend!”  And he was.  Pop Pop “knew” Daniel and was crazy about him!  They went on walks together, played checkers, and spent many hours at the swings while Pop Pop pushed Daniel high into the air.201007124Matthew (15) just cried when we told him.  The very morning Pop Pop went to glory he sent out his daily e-mail about living each day for the Lord.  Matt responded to that e-mail immediately saying thank you and that the verses he sent out helped him a lot that morning.  Matt’s parting words in that e-mail were, “I love you, Pop Pop!  Have a great day!”  He DID!  It was the rest of us having a lousy day!323Sarah (13) was Pop Pop’s princess.  Never a visit went by when Dad didn’t tell her how beautiful she was.  He always encouraged her to do her best.  I remember we were visiting and Sarah had a spelling test the next day.  Sarah HATES spelling.  He sat with her and went over each word until she knew them by heart and encouraged her that she could do it.026P9150192Drew (2) doesn’t understand much of what is going on.  He’s confused as to why we are laughing one minute and crying the next.  It breaks our hearts that he will never really remember what an amazing Pop Pop he had.  Drew was the light in Pop Pop’s eyes!  He laughed every time he was with Drew.  One of my last pictures of Drew and Pop Pop is Drew playing peek-a-boo in the stroller.  You don’t see Pop Pop as I was focusing on Drew – but the smile on his face says it all – he LOVED his Pop Pop!  One of Drew’s first words was Pop Pop.  He misses him, too.082031229Andy’s parents have always displayed a strong faith and love for our loving God.  Both have always been amazing followers of Christ.  They ALWAYS pointed us to the truth and ALWAYS prayed for us.  During the funeral, Matt commented on how it was Pop Pop’s prayers that carried him through passing the 9th grade…and all the previous grades!  He’s right!  Now half of that prayer team is gone.  It’s going to take many more to replace those prayers.346073Though we are completely broken by this event, we are not crushed.  Though we are perplexed, we are not in despair (2 Corinthians 4:8).  Dad knew his Savior and served Him with his whole heart.  We KNOW he is in heaven worshipping his Lord.  We KNOW, beyond a shadow of a doubt, we WILL see him again.  I know the tears I cry are completely selfish.  I want him here with us, praying for us, my children, giving us words of wisdom, loving us the way only he could, helping us navigate this thing called life.  But he is no longer in pain, no longer dealing with the craziness of this world.  And I praise God for that. 

I am so thankful I had a Dad.  I may have waited 24 years, but I got the best one out there.  And, yes, I married one just like him!  I am so blessed.132039The above picture is the very last picture I took of Dad.  Mom and Dad had come down to our annual block party to see Matt and Sarah participate in ministering to the people in our neighborhood.  He was so proud!  He witnessed the legacy that he and mom began so many years before with their own sons.  I was disappointed that I didn’t get a picture of them with the kids but didn’t want to call them back as it was so hot and they had a long drive home, so I quick took this snapshot as “proof” that they had been there.  I always thought there would be a “tomorrow” to take that group picture.  Never wait until tomorrow….be intentional.  Dad was and I’ll never forget that as long as I live.  Thanks Dad!  I know you have heard the words, “Well done!  My good and faithful servant!”  We miss you!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Cornerstone Block Party 2012

002Today was our church’s 8th annual block party!  It truly is an amazing event to pull off!  We close a main thoroughfare in our neighborhood – we have to obtain a block party permit and it is ALWAYS a huge answer to prayer when we are granted one – they aren’t too keen on closing a main street because buses have to be rerouted!  But God has been incredible in granting us one every year!

The block party has become an event that the entire neighborhood looks forward to!  There is face painting,083 inflatables,005040007 music and puppets,015 and most importantly – the gospel is being shared through the use of the evangi-cube, stick drama, and gospel magic!035132100110118What I find amazing is that Matt and Sarah are now actively involved in A LOT of the block party events!  They are the ones pictured performing in the stick drama and the gospel magic!  How did they get so old already?

I took Drew and Daniel up for a couple of hours.  076031Daniel was a mess for the first part but soon shipped up and started having fun.  He loved the inflatables!  052055081I tried to get Drew to do the water one – but he would have nothing of it!  079He much preferred to play in the fire hydrant!060064It was a great day and the weather was VERY cooperative!033We are praising God for the people whose lives were touched and praying that they would grow in their faith.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

All Boy!

My baby is now a true boy!003

He received his first knee boo-boo!  And he is quite upset about the whole thing!  He keeps looking at it and pointing to it and just plain ol’ fussing about it!  005007The problem is – he is ALL BOY and is a MANIAC!  He doesn’t slow down for anything and plays HARD!!  So I fear we have MANY more of these in the future.  Hope he gets used to them!004

Saturday, June 2, 2012

My Little Nutkin

Andy is away on a teen retreat with Matt and now Sarah!  She turns 13 this month!!!  Crazy!  So I am home with the two younger boys!  It’s really funny!  I’ve never just had two boys!  The girl has always been there!  The dynamics of the house are very different when it’s just two boys!  Drew has been an absolute NUT!!!  He’s been climbing EVERYTHING, playing with everything and talking to me like crazy!!!  I guess when the girl is away he feels the need to fill the silence!  Though Daniel does a pretty good job of filling the silence along with him!

Today, I opened the dishwasher to unload it and found this…


Apparently he had been there before me!  He was so excited I had “found” them for him!


He’s also VERY into wearing different hats.  He found this one of Sarah’s and has been wearing it around the house for days now….


He is such a nut!  But he is SO MUCH fun!  But honestly, it’s going to be a miracle if we make it through the summer without a trip to the ER!  After he got his cast off in April the doctor said to me, “Try to keep him safe from himself!”  Yeah – I think that’s easier said than done!