Monday, January 30, 2012

Meal Planning Monday

The last two weeks of planning ended up being a joke with Isaac rushing off to Michigan and then my trip up a few days later, so hopefully this week will get us back on track!

Sunday: Back to snacks between church activities.

Monday: Mexican Chicken Casserole

Tuesday: Beef Stew from the freezer

Wednesday: Meatloaf in honor of Aggie Belle's 1st Birthday!

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: If my extended family stays healthy, we're getting together to celebrate Mom's birthday

Saturday: Maybe, hopefully, finally our birthday celebration at Melting Pot!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

It Was Only 7 Days....

...but it seemed like a month. Isaac's grandpa died last Saturday morning in Michigan, and the past week has been a roller coaster.  We've gone from grief to celebration as we've bounced between death and birthdays.  The flu hit hard as we kept moving back and forth across Michigan visiting family members.  As always, God has been ever present, guiding and strengthening.  I need to write about it all.  I will write about it all.  But for now, we're finally about to board the first of two airplanes to finally get home after this seemingly endless week.  We're exhausted and not sure which emotional state we're supposed to be in, and I am still suffering from a few flu symptoms.  The thought of two sweet puppies waiting for us is thrilling!  If you would, please say prayers this coming week for my little family as we settle back into our routines.  We both have no idea what we'll find when we return from a week away from work-always a daunting thought. 

Here's the list of posts from Michigan as I write them and back-post them:

How We Got Snow in Michigan (1/22)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Grandpa Ozinga's Funeral

These were two hard days.  Grandpa's visitation/viewing was yesterday, and today was the funeral.  Isaac especially was bombarded with a sea of faces he'd never seen-great-aunts and uncles, second and third cousins and the like.  I think he felt like he should've known who they were, and felt bad that he didn't, but that's part of it.  I rather enjoyed meeting Isaac's cousins that hadn't made it to our wedding, but the circumstances sure have made it hard. 

Isaac and Jacob typed up memories of Grandpa for me to read today during the eulogy portion of the funeral.  How do you wrap up a man like Grandpa into just a few words?

Grandpa loved Jesus first and foremost.  The boys don't remember ever hearing about a morning in which Grandpa didn't begin the day by making coffee for Grandma and sitting down at the kitchen table to lead them in morning devotions.  He moved his family, wife and three kids at the time, to Liberia in 1952, long before many people ever wanted to go to such a 'dangerous' place to be missionaries.  He fell in love with the Liberian people and worked hard to build a school for the village and teacher them sustainable farming practices.  Isaac's dad was born during their years in Liberia, and he totally grew up as an African kid. 

When political issues necessitated the return of the Ozingas back to Michigan, Grandpa quickly did what was needed to be certified to teach in his home state.  He taught history for nearly 30 years.  Grandpa was in a tough inner-city school, but he made sure his kids knew he cared about them and tried to make history exciting, back before we had the internet and cool videos to help us with that.  Some of his former students even left notes about how much he meant to them in the online visitor's book the funeral home provided.  Grandpa was always trying to teach the grandkids about history, relating it to things of interest to them. 

Space exploration intrigued Grandpa, especially from a historical viewpoint.  He was so stinkin' proud that Isaac interned with and was hired by NASA.  He drove around Michigan and their winter home in Florida with a NASA logo stuck to the back of his car.  He talked about his grandson who worked at NASA a lot!  Grandpa was one of Isaac's biggest supporters and encouragers when it came to applying for the astronaut corps someday.  Help us, Grandpa's death probably just means my dear husband will fight even harder to get accepted.  :)  Isaac's dad made sure that Grandpa's NASA lapel pin was lovingly in place on his suit coat for the viewing and funeral.  Grandpa would've been tickled pink to know he was proudly wearing that pin for all to say goodbye to him. 

The more I've learned about Grandpa this week, I've realized two things.  First, it's incredibly ironic and not so very surprising that Isaac chose me to marry.  Few people are more fascinated by history than me, but Grandpa was probably one of them.  Then, the bond with Isaac's family and Africa runs as deep as it does in my family.  The overwhelming, burning, fierce desire to be a place half a world a way is breathtaking most days.  I won't say that Isaac necessarily sees Grandpa in me; that would be weird, but I think he was comfortable with my boldness because he grew up seeing it in a man he adored.  For me to join into a family deeply rooted in Africa fits just as nicely as it does for Isaac doing the same with my family.  In other words, we're seeing how God has had His hand in this for many, many years. 

The second thing I've learned is that Grandpa left big shoes to fill.  He left his kids and grandkids a legacy that won't die because he instilled so much of himself into them.  It's not going to surprise me one bit when Isaac is named to the astronaut corps.  The man has more determination now than ever, and Grandpa has helped with that.  I think Grandpa has also lit a fire for Africa in Isaac for which I'm incredibly grateful.  The money isn't together yet, but Isaac's as determined as I am for us to get to Zambia together, and I can't wait. 

Thank You, Jesus for such an awesome man to teach so many about You!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Happy Birthday, Isaac!

Isaac's birthday is one to remember and forgot this year.  Bless his heart. 

I got horribly sick with the stomach flu yesterday and ended up at urgent care, but not before making sure I had ordered my man a cookie cake for today!  I've got to redeem myself from "Worst Wife of the Year"!  And, I had been able to grab him a birthday card at the Hallmark store in the Chicago airport on Saturday, so check one for thinking fast on my feet.  Phew!

Isaac's uncle picked up the cookie cake for me, and the whole family met us in Holland, Michigan at an AMAZING restaurant called Boatwerks. I'm so glad Hellen and Dave recommended it for us and took us up there. It sits right on the lake and is super fancy.  Everyone's meals looked incredibly-lots of seafood-but I stuck with a plain potato to stay safe.  No more yuckies for me!  The staff was fabulous, bringing Isaac a sundae to go along with his cookie cake.

Outside Boatwerks
Beautiful restaurant

I'm so grateful to have another year with this man.  Isaac is beyond talented, and he spoils me.  We're working out marriage day by day (it's a learned thing, you know!), and he's a great leader for our family.  Happy birthday, Sweetheart!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Gorgeous, Beautiful Snow

Sunday was a gorgeously, cloudy, cold day in Grand Rapids.  Grandpa's family was still in shock, and funeral plans couldn't be made til Monday, so we were on our own for the day.  Isaac, Jacob, and I spent the week in Grand Haven, about 40 minutes from Grand Rapids, with the boys' aunt Hellen and her husband Dave.  Hellen's son is Jason, our third stooge, so he was with us when he didn't have to be at work on the other side of the state. 

The morning made me aware of just how much water surrounds Grand Haven.  The river is on one side, lots of small lakes are scattered around, and Lake Michigan is on another side.  The other amazing thing is the sand dunes!  Sand is all over the place.  It's like Florida, but taller dunes several stories into the air.  Amazing!  On this particular day, the dunes were covered in snow.  Snow and sand together?  Count me in!

Hellen and Dave wanted to drive us 'kids' around to see some of the places they all used to go as kids.  I'm a bit jealous I never got to play in these places when I was little.  Sliding down dunes sounds fantastic!  The area was absolutely breathtaking with all of the snow.  The waves of Lake Michigan are beginning to freeze in jagged patterns along the shore, so we 'walked' out onto the lake.  So cool! 
Snow covered beach at Lake Michigan

The 3 Stooges standing on Lake Michigan

I blame the wind for my closed eyes. 

Channel into Lake Michigan.  Killer icicles. 

Standing on top of a dune, looking down at the ski club.
Grand Haven is just a fun small town.  I like small towns, and the beauty of the river front and lake front are just amazing.  It's so easy to find views of the whole town from atop the paved, house lined sand dunes.  Incredible structuring.  Isaac has promised we'll go back in a few summers so we can really play.  Obviously this isn't how I'd hoped to first be introduced to Grand Haven, but I'm glad we got to visit.

How We Got Snow in Michigan

Be careful what you pray for...God will answer.

As Isaac and I learned, He doesn't always answer in the way we expect.  For weeks before Christmas, we prayed and prayed for snow while we were in Ohio for Christmas break.  We got upper 30s and rain.  Little did we know that Isaac especially, but me too, would see tons and tons of the fluffy white stuff the month after Christmas.  I thought specifically praying for Christmas so that Aggie Belle and Bailey could enjoy it would be enough, but it wasn't.

Isaac's granddad went in for surgery on MLK to have a mass on his intestine examined and removed.  The surgery went well; small masses were removed and the larger mass was biopsied to ensure it was benign.  Tuesday morning, the 18th, we received a call on our way to work that Grandpa had been rushed back into surgery due to internal bleeding.  The places where the tumors had been removed weren't healing properly.  Grandpa had just turned 82 and was in pretty good health, but the thought was that the blood thinners he has taken for several years were just causing the blood to not clot properly.  Isaac was shaken up, but we prayed, and kept on with our day.

By Wednesday afternoon, things weren't looking good for Grandpa.  Isaac didn't want to believe anything bad was going to happen, but I told him that if it did, and he didn't get to see Grandpa one more time, he wouldn't be a happy man.  We began to back him a bag, and my dad took him to the airport early Thursday to get to Grand Rapids.

When I went to bed on Friday, things seemed to be stable.  The next thing I knew, my doorbell is ringing and it's 6:45 AM Saturday morning.  I had gotten a smart phone a week earlier and wasn't used to the new ring sounds.  I'd slept through an hour of Isaac, my dad, and my granddad trying to wake me. Ten minutes later, my granddad arrived, not knowing Isaac had spoken to my dad too.   I officially get the Worst Wife of the Year Award, and it's only January!

Grandpa had died about 5:15 in the morning.  Isaac and his brother Jacob had spent the night at the hospital on Friday, and they held him as Jesus took him Home.  That's a hard thing for a man to have to tell his wife.

Isaac told me I was booked on a flight to Detroit that left in 2 hours...I had an hour to pack and get to the airport.  The fact that the only thing I forgot was a pair of dress pants is pretty impressive.  My granddad took me to the airport and then went back to my house to pack up the dogs' stuff so they could go to Pearland for the week.

By 4:00 Saturday afternoon, I was in Detroit, met by the 3 Stooges (Isaac, Jacob, and their cousin Jason) and in a land of freshly fallen snow. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Meal Planning Monday

Sunday: Tuna Salad with crackers and carrot sticks (it was a busy weekend; don't judge!)  :)

Monday: Grilled Salmon with Lemon Dill Sauce

Tuesday: Spaghetti (frozen from the Fall) with garlic biscuits

Wednesday: Mexican Chicken Casserole

Thursday: Veggie Beef Stew from freezer from the Fall

Friday: Melting Pot to celebrate both our birthdays!!!!

Saturday: Eve with Steve Fellowship Night

TWO new recipes this week-yay!  My goal for 2012 is to try one new recipe a week.  So far I'm doing great; we'll see if I can keep it up!  :)

What are YOU eating this week?  Please share!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Vision 2012

Each winter UBC hosts a retreat for the Youth Group called Vision.  My first Sunday at UBC was Vision Sunday 1998 when we moved back to Houston when I was in 7th grade.  At the time, Youth Group was only 7th-12th grade, so technically, I made it to Vision every year until I graduated.  It's a super fun time to stay with a family from our church, hang out with a cool college kid that loves teens, and have 2 full days to shut out school and other distractions to focus on Jesus.  Before I got sick in college, I was able to lead a Vision group, which was a blast.  This year, Isaac and I decided to host a group for the first time.  We're exhausted right now, but we are so, so glad we jumped into Vision!

For starters, we were given the 6th grade girls, 4 of whom are in our Sunday School class.  Three of those four I've known since they were just barely toddlers, and one has been in our Sunday School since last year when they moved here.  She's also mine 5 days a week at school.  :)  The other three attend Sunday School at the other hour, but they fit right in with the rest of us.  Our 7 girls are just so sweet and darling, anxious to please God and the adults in their lives while still desiring to have as much fun as they possibly can. 

Our college leader for the weekend was Rose Hale, and she is so much like me it's eerie.  God planned this weekend out to a T!  Rose went to the same high school I did and was in the same service program called PALS.  She's also an Aggie and pledge into Phi Lamb, the Christian sorority  I was involved with during my 4 years in Aggieland.  What a treat to have her stay with us!

All ten of us got along so well, and Aggie Belle and Bailey were plumb thrilled to have 8 new people in the house to play and love.  Maybe, just maybe we have a new tradition on our hands!

Friday evening was full of brownie and greeting card making to prepare for our visit with some homebound folks on Saturday.  Then we headed up to church for worship.  Matt Wheeler and his band led worship for the weekend, and they are fabulous!  I hadn't been in a truly Spirit filled contemporary worship service in quite awhile.  What a treat.  The girls then had Bible study with Rose in our office while we got the living area ready for them to crash.  Surprisingly, they all really did go right to sleep at midnight.  Woohoo!
Sarah, Katy, Grace, and Shirley working on cards.
Katy and Sarah with half of the sleeping arrangements.

Blair and Shirley with the other half.
Human knot before bed.

More human knot.

We were supposed to visit 3 homebound families after I cooked breakfast, but we were only able to get ahold of one couple.  Still, we had a great visit with Mr. and Mrs. Brenton.  The girls seemed to truly enjoy the stories they were told, and their cards and brownies were very well received.  As always, I think we had more of a blessing from our visit.  I just love how God works in that way!

After lunch, we took the dogs to the dog park so everyone could run off some energy.  Whoever said 12 year olds (and 27 year olds) are too big for playgrounds has never met us!  The girls had two more Bible study sessions in the afternoon, separated with some crazy games of Red Rover.

Rose, Sara, Blair, Sarah, Cassidy, Shirley, Grace, and Katy
Grace couldn't break through Blair and Cassidy, along with Sara.

Rose, Katy, Shirley, and Sarah deciding who to call next.

Dinner at church was followed by a second fabulous worship service.  Kyle had several stations set up around our chapel where the kids could pray, meditate, focus on maps of the area to see where they are called to be disciples in this moment, and various other activities to help them focus on Christ.  Most of the adults don't seem to participate in these worship times, maybe so the kids don't feel intimidated, but I don't agree with that view.  I didn't go to the stations, but Isaac and I sat right where our girls wanted us to be, and prayed, read our Bibles, and sang right along with them.  To have an hour to sit and meditate on God's word interspersed with song uninterrupted is a precious, precious gift I don't give myself (or God) nearly enough.  I have a long way to go in my spiritual disciplines, and this weekend gave me some focus on where to begin strengthening my walk with Christ. 

The girls came back to our house for their last Bible study with Rose before one more trip up to UBC for the day to play two mean games of hardcore laser tag.  Kyle had hired portable laser tag to set up in our field for all the kids.  Host homes were told to play, though Isaac and I were the only two that did.  All the 6th grade girls and boys, their leaders, and a few 7th graders were on our team, and we beat out the rest of the 7th and 8th graders in both games.  The kids were stoked, and I think I have been given a new level of respect in the eyes of my 6th grade boys for all the kills I made.  hehehe
Gig 'em!

Listening to laser tag instructions.

Rose, Blair, Sara, me, Cassidy, and Katy-no one ever said laser tag gear is glamorous, but it sure is fun!
Blair, Sara, Grace, me, Cassidy, Katy, Sarah, and Isaac.
Aggie Belle was so sad to see the girls pack up this morning.  She was convinced they were at our house for her and not Jesus.  The girls seemed a bit bummed our time had ended as well, but most of us will be back together next Sunday, and there's always next year!
Such a blessing! Rose, Blair, Grace, Sarah, me, Isaac, Katy, Cassidy, Sara, and Shirley

Thank You, Jesus for such a blessed weekend!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Houston Fun with Jacob

Isaac's brother Jacob drove home with us from Ohio and stayed for about 8 days.  We love when Jacob visits, and the puppies are always in Heaven with Uncle Jacob in the house.  Half the fun is exploring our city as Jacob finds fun things he'd like to do.

On the Friday before New Year's, we had a warm day, so we headed to Galveston.  This isn't a new thing for us, but it's a treat to be on the beach, mostly to watch the excitement of Bailey and Aggie Belle.  Bailey acts like a pup each time his feet hit the sand, which always warms this Mommy's heart.  It was a warm, sunny day, but the water was about 56 from the cold snap we'd had over Christmas.  Tepid water didn't stop Aggie Belle from diving head first into the surf to hunt down her ball.  Crazy!

New Year's Eve found us at the zoo for elephant bath time, the sea lion show, and a date with the giraffes.  It was a cooler day, but that just meant the animals were extra playful.

My last day off was Monday, so we decided to visit the Downtown Aquarium since none of us had ever been there.  We had some coupons, so it wasn't expensive, and our pass allowed us to go to through the aquarium as many times as we wanted as well as ride the ferris wheel, train, and carousel. The aquarium is small but incredibly well done.  Each exhibit has the utmost in detail.The 4 tigers there are beautiful.  We enjoyed watching their training demonstration.  They are so incredibly smart!  We saw Nero. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

According to my birth certificate, I turned 27 at 2:30 PM today.  I can't figure out these late twenties years, how I'm supposed to feel about them and all.  That's another post though.  This was one AWESOME birthday!

Teaching the Omega kids (Gifted/Talented) means we have permission to do more in-depth teaching.  Why not go on a field trip then, say to see King Tut, and have lunch at Hard Rock while we're at it?  And since I was planning this shebang, why not my birthday?  Such a good idea! 

The kids were thrilled to celebrate my birthday on a field trip, and I think I was sung to at least 10 times.  Eh, it's fine.  I sing to them on their birthdays, so it's only fair! 

King Tut: FABULOUS exhibit!  Half the fun was watching the awe and gross out factor in the kids.  There's a canopic jar where some of the embalming fluid from 1320 something BC can still be seen from where it dripped down the side.  Cool and icky all at the same time!  Seriously though, do some research ( is a simple place to start), and then go!  We had a local Egyptian expert visit with out kids on Friday, and they were definitely able to apply their knowledge to what they saw in the exhibit.  That'll make for a happy birthday right there!  To stand in front of a statue, carving, or piece of jewelery that's over 3,000 years old is mind boggling.  The intelligence of the ancient cultures can't be overlooked, and if the Bible isn't proof enough for you, this exhibit will be. 

At Hard Rock, I was brought an ice cream sundae with a candle, and all 81 kids sang their hearts out to me.  I wasn't expecting the 'stand and be sung to' routine, hence the picture:
What an embarrassed goober!
The kids on my bus decided to serenade me on the way home with their own renditions of  Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Boys II Men.  I felt like I was back in 6th grade when they bust out "I Swear" at the top o their lungs.  However, I did have to draw the line at Barney's theme song.  A girl has her limits!

I came home to find:
Inside was The Story CD.  Check it out if you don't know about this awesome musical take on Genesis to Revelation. Thank you Isaac and babies!

Isaac and I then went to spend the Vera Bradley gift card my parents gave me.  With a coupon and their Winter sale, I got:
Bible cover, lunch box, sticky notes, and stationary in Rhythm and Blues
We did some more browsing and headed home for Carrabbas leftovers (thanks Mom and Dad) from Sunday when my family had a game night for my birthday.  With an added bottle of champagne and the following little beauties for dessert, I had one blessed birthday.
Thank you Ms. Ginny's for being such a wonderful, right-around-the-corner bakery.  Coconut cream, chocolate dream, German chocolate, and Italian cream.  Two still remain for another day.  :)  Thank you Isaac for the treat!
I was very spoiled today, and it's super fun to have a day all about me, but my prayer is that God uses me to magnify Him in great ways this year as I certainly have no clue what 2012 and 27 hold.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Meal Planning Monday

Sunday: Carabbas carryout to my parents for a family game night for my birthday!

Monday: Russian Chicken leftovers

Tuesday: Carabbas leftovers for my birthday.

Wednesday: Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

Thursday: Cilantro Chicken 

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Vision dinner at UBC

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Very Sad Horse Visit

Every time we go to Ohio, we visit Isaac's former teacher, Steve, to catch up and love on his horses.  The dogs Raven and Jack usually make sure we visit them too.  This year was a sad trip because my favorite of the horses, in actuality a Shetland pony, had been put down just a few days before our visit due to irreparable Founders .  Hotrod was my buddy, and just the cheekiest of equines.  You can read more about Hotrod here. Needless to say, I was crushed upon this news.  Major and Dolly, the big guys on the farm, were pretty crushed too.  The day before our visit, they'd been found in the back pasture (where I've never seen them go) and both stood on either side of Hotrod's grave.  Yep, even animals mourn.  They were in such a depressed state they wouldn't even come out of the barn for carrots.  Now, they did eat our carrots, but we had to come to them.  So much for play time this visit.  I miss my little buddy.
Major and Dolly not wanting to be social.

Finally coaxed Dolly into a mini rubdown.

Hotrod opening my zipper pocket Dec '10
Brush down and comb out with Hotrod Spring of '10.
Munching apples Dec '09

Monday, January 2, 2012

Meal Planning Monday

*I'm really not ready to go back to work this week, but I am ready to get back into a cooking routine.  The last minute plans are killing my planning!

Sunday: Pizza Hut

Monday: Sandwiches.  I had planned to cook, but then the boys ate a late afternoon snack, so what was the point?

Tuesday: Jacob's last night, so restaurant of his choice.

Wednesday: Russian Chicken with green beans

Thursday: Beef and Mushroom Barely Stew

Friday: Chicken and Veggie Alfredo Biscuit Bake

Saturday: Left-over Russian Chicken
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...