Maegan mentioned after my post from last night that it sounds like a stressful time. And while I totally understand how you could get that impression, her comment prompted me to share some things that I ran out of time for last night.

By God’s grace alone, stressful is not at all the way that we have been experiencing this time. He has been so good to us, and He has kept His faithfulness in the forefront of our minds. The last several days have been a wonderful time of rest in Him and sweet fellowship with each other and with family. We are waiting with a great sense of expectation to see what He is going to do in our lives.

As regards our vehicle situation, we are looking to see what He has for us. Our gray van is done for… it’s old enough and worn enough that the cost of repair would exceed its value. The Lord has already shown us a few options.

Our dear Byrd family has together promised $3,000 toward a new vehicle! Through a trusted friend of a cousin, we have the opportunity to purchase a 1999 15 passenger van in excellent condition for $6,000. $3,000 puts us halfway there. We are reluctant to go into debt for a van when things are already so tight for us financially, so we are praying about that option.

There is a slightly older van for sale by owner about 50 miles from here. We don’t know much about it – it is a 1996 and is reportedly in good condition. They are asking $4,500. We will probably be looking into that, but my personal thoughts are that God can provide $3,000 more as easily as $1,500 more, so I’m not deferring to the cheaper van yet. 🙂

The other possibility so far is that we have been offered a Suburban by some friends by home. A Suburban officially only has belts for 8, though another friend of ours is able to install an additional belt. We will be looking into that possibility as far as legality and such, and continuing to pray for wisdom and guidance.

We are so grateful that we can trust that the Lord will guide and direct our steps, and that He will provide abundantly for all of our needs.

The next big adventure on our list, aside from continuing to watch the Lord work to provide for us, is a trip to Florida to see my G’ma Dawson. She’s my last grandparent and we haven’t seen her for about a year and a half, so we don’t think we should miss this opportunity to go visit her. A family member here in NC is loaning us a mini-van, so we will be caravaning with Papa and Mama.

And now, a Quiddler game is calling me! More later…

More about our adventures

I’m finally getting another opportunity to post more about post-crash events and post some pictures.

The crash occured on I-24, near downtown Nashville. We came to a stop just past an exit ramp, and evidently there was enough room behind the crashsite for the police to route folks down the exit ramp, for which I’m sure all the people behind us were glad. All of the public servants we encountered were helpful and considerate – I was pleased and grateful.

I forgot to mention in my last post that there was no declaration of anyone being at fault and no tickets were issued. That’s a big praise, because often even when there’s no wrong done, the driver whose car does the “hitting” is issued a ticket.

When we were given the okay to go (I signed a refusal of medical care form because they wanted to take me to the hospital and we decided to wait and seek care later if needed), they cleared the ramp so that we could back up and exit the interstate. Thankfully, the van made it down the ramp and to a nearby hotel, where we unloaded every bit of our stuff, thinking that the tow truck was going to come and tow the van that night. While he was gone to take the remains of the first car we hit to the salvage yard, we decided to wait to have it towed and see if we could get it to a mechanic in the morning. We finally got to sleep sometime after midnight.

Thursday morning, Jonathan went out to look at the van and discovered that the impact had destroyed the radiator and it would not hold any coolant. See?

Since we only have the required liability on our van and our insurance would not be covering our vehicle, we decided to see if we could limp our way to NC, stopping to let it cool off whenever it got hot. We might have made it ten miles at the most before we overheated the first time. Not the 40 miles or so for which we had hoped! It became obvious that we were not going to limp our way to North Carolina. As a matter of fact, we only managed to limp to the bottom of an exit ramp before the van died for good.

In the meantime, our friend Bob was working all through the day to secure a rental vehicle large enough to transport us all. We’re so thankful for cell phones – I’ll have to count the calls we made that day once we get our bill. Bob’s people were finally able to find a van for us; a policeman came and called a tow truck as well as a “flashing lights truck” to guard our backs and direct traffic around us. And Enterprise really does pick you up!

Here’s our van being prepared for towing.

And here we are on our way to the Enterprise office to finalize details.

We were told we would not be taking this same van as our rental, but were so grateful when plans changed and we did not have to unload and reload all of our stuff yet again. By 6.30 (central time) that evening, we were finally on the road again, and arrived at my folks house around 3am (eastern time). The drive took some extra time because there was no way we were eating in that rental van. Not after seeing the havoc that the drive from Missouri to Nashville had wrought on our gray van (which had been swept before we left home)!

We are supposed to go by the towing company’s office on our way back through Nashville to settle with them. I was suprised they let us go without taking payment first, but that $65 or $75 in gas left in the van probably had something to do with it!

God’s Goodness

Wednesday afternoon we left home for North Carolina to visit my folks, participate in memorial activities for my grandparents, make some money, and jog down to Florida to visit my G’ma there.

Wednesday night around 9.30, we hit Nashville.
Well, okay, we didn’t hit the whole city, but the two cars we did hit probably feel like we did.

It was a dark and rainy night… and Jonathan doesn’t like driving in the rain. I understand why.

He saw a long line of brake lights ahead of us, and hit the brakes. In retrospect, he thinks that it should have been soon enough to stop (taking distance into account and all…). But the brakes locked up, and down the wet road we slid.

When we hit the first car, we were probably going between 20-30 mph. Despite the fact that the turning was ineffectual due to everything being locked up, because Jonathan was trying to turn the van into the empty lane, we knocked that first car out of the way. When we hit the second car, we had slowed down to around 5 mph, we’re guessing.

I say “we’re guessing,” but that’s a lie. Jonathan is guessing. I have nothing on which to base a guess. I threw the book I had been reading aloud onto the dashboard (face down to save our place, hilariously enough), covered my face with my hands, and cried out “Oh God!” No, I was not taking His name in vain – it was a heartfelt cry for help.

Help was given.

The lady driving the first car we hit was not seriously injured, though the back half of her car was completely smashed. Thankfully, she had no one riding with her. Anyone who had been in that back seat would have had slim chances of survival (I would say none, but we have a big God, you know). They did have to cut the woman out, but the EMT’s seemed convinced she did not have any “serious” injuries. But I pray that she has a good chiropractor and that our insurance is generous in paying for her treatment.

The couple in the second car we hit did not appear to be injured (though again, I hope they see the chiropractor). They drove off once all reports were filed.

And us?

I’ve never been so thankful to hear 7 children cry at the same time. Well, maybe I’ve never heard that before, but it was a sweet sound because it meant that they were all okay enough to cry.

It turns out that the Blessings are all fine. We will be getting follow-up care to insure that they have no lingering effects from the wreck, as their little bodies took quite a shaking up. But they have no critical immediate injuries. Jonathan is sore, but okay. I must have hit the dashboard/console area pretty hard – my left elbow/arm was unusable for the first day or so (I changed a diaper by myself for the first time this morning – kudos to my sweetie!), and my right shoulder has some developing soreness from the seat belt impact. All the relaxin in my system left over from my pregnancy makes a crash like that worse than at another time, but I am functioning pretty well for the most part. Yesterday I would have been typing with one hand, so I’m thankful for my progress.

We have so much to be thankful for in this, and the Lord has kept His faithfulness at the forefront of our minds. He is so good to us!

I’ll write more later about what happened after the wreck, but my body needs a break from the computer.

God is good. All the time.

Good gravy, I’m glad I sat down for a little break

I’m busy today getting our family ready for a two week road trip. And yes, the in-laws will be at the house, so I’m not afraid to say it. Actually, I trust God to protect my home, but it’s just nice to be able to add that in there.


I sat down for a break and a cup of chai (yumm!) and after I posted that last link to BooMama’s wisdom, I headed over to Humble Amy’s (that’s what we call her at our house) to see what was up. More blessed wisdom for my little heart! I’m thanking the Lord and wanting to share.

Just a sample:

But the place to begin the work is always at the beginning. Where is that? That is here– that this task, this work before me was given by God, and He will enable to do it. He is good. I belong to Him, so all that He gives me is from His mercy. The “how”, the “why”, the “what for” is for later. Settle once and for all Who you belong to and Who you are working for.

The rest comes after that.

The Blender Pancakes Recipe

Here’s the recipe – it works for Waffles or Pancakes, she says, but I’ve only made pancakes:

Place in blender; blend on high for 3 minutes –
1 3/4 c buttermilk (I didn’t have buttermilk and added a bit of apple cider vinegar to not quite the amount of milk)
2 T olive oil 1 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 c brown rice or uncooked rolled oats (I actually doubled the recipe and used half and half)

Put lid on blender, let it stand overnight (this allows for better assimilation of the nutrients in the grain)

When you’re ready to cook them, add 1 egg and reblend for 1 minute.

Last, add the leavening ingredients and blend briefly.
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt (I used 1t for my double batch)
She recommends sifting these through a strainer to break up lumps. I added them to a 1/4 c milk because I felt more comfortable knowing they would be dissolved, and because… well, it’s fun! 🙂

Then you’re ready to go!

She mentions lots of other grains you can use – millet, kamut, spelt, wheat, buckwheat, barley (hulled, not pearled), corn (dry whole corn), and quinoa. I think it will be fun to experiment.

If you try them, let me know what you think!

Blender Pancakes

I’ve been borrowing some Sue Gregg cookbooks from a friend. I don’t agree with all of her principles, but she has some great practical ideas that I’m interested in trying. One of the things that has piqued my interest most is the Blender Method. You use your blender the night before to get most of the batter ingredients mixed up, and you can use whole grains without investing in a mill! We’d like to invest in a mill, but in the meantime, this seems like a great (and inexpensive!) way to incorporate some true whole grains into our family’s diet.

Last night, I started my first batch of Blender Pancakes, using 1/2 brown rice and 1/2 steel cut oats. I can share the recipe later if anyone is interested, but I need to run for now. I will say that most of my family really liked the pancakes. I found them very light, yummy, and filling. I’m looking forward to getting some wheat berries and other whole grains for making muffins and breads.

Have any of you tried this?

Barn Dance

Some dear friends of ours started a wonderful tradition a couple years ago… they host a Barn Dance each fall and spring. It is a wonderfully fun and wholesome evening, fun enough to make it worth the fact that I can hardly move come morning!

This year after the spring Barn Dance, some of us talked about the fact that it would be easier for folks to learn the dances if some of us practiced together. Well, Sue and I had babies in the meantime, so the practicing didn’t start until mid-summer, but four of us couples got in enough practice that we were able to easily teach quite a few people a few basic dances last night. And we made it obvious in our demonstrations that it was okay if you didn’t get it perfect – because we sure didn’t! 🙂

Our camera had some condensation on the lens, apparently, but I’ve posted our pictures from last night’s Barn Dance. Enjoy!

The 12 days of Smitty Christmas!

Okay, I realize my last post was about fall color and now I’m jumping ahead to Christmas. But I logged on to Shoutlife this morning for the first time in ages, and found that Michael W. Smith is having a special “ramp-up” to the release of his new Christmas album. Each day of the “12 Days of Smitty,” there will be a new song up on his myspace player. They each last for 24 hours (although there are 2 there right now…), so go take a listen. I LOVE Michael W. Smith Christmas music; he has such a gift for capturing the season. I was trying to explain this to Jonathan this morning and he was laughing at my sappiness. But that’s okay. 🙂 So, if you just don’t know what to give me for Thanksgiving, here’s your clue – It’s a Wonderful Christmas – release date October 16!