Thursday, October 19, 2006

Katie's perm

My oldest daughter, Katie, has always wanted curls. Alas, she inherited my stick-straight hair, only even thicker and heavier. We had tried every tool available to curl her hair, all to no avail. If we did manage to produce a weak curl, it was gone within an hour's time.

So, I finally agreed to let her get a perm. She started 7th grade this year, and that's how old I was when I got my first perm. I looked at it as another rite of passage of sorts. She is less and less a girl all the time. She's growing into a beautiful young lady.

It took four hours for the beautician to roll her hair, and we had to go back after about a week for a touch up. That hair just didn't want to curl!! In the end, though, I think it turned out beautifully. Much nicer than my first perm, which was one of those frizzy 1980's poodle perms.

Music Recital

Last Saturday evening, Katie and Mackenzie had a music recital. Katie played two pieces on piano, "The Pink Panther" and "Whisper of the Heart" and two pieces out of her Suzuki book on cello. Mackenzie played "Romance" on piano.

They both did so well and I was really proud of them. Music is such a wonderful gift from the Lord. I pray that my children will use the talent God has given them for music for His glory.

We also recently learned that Katie has been selected to participate in the Illinois Music Educator's Association festival orchestra in November. She and her best friend auditioned a couple of weeks ago, and they were both chosen to participate. Hooray!!

Here are a couple of pictures of the girls with their instructors. These young ladies are also homeschooled, and with two other sisters play in a string quartet. Not only are they tremendously gifted musicians, but they are some of the sweetest, most goldy young women I have ever met. I could not have asked for better role models of grace, purity and excellence for my girls. They call themselves Eden String Quartet, and they just released a CD of hynms that is so beautiful. I bought several of them as pastor's gifts for this month.

Mackenzie with Therese Miller

Katie with Leah Miller

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A giant golfball on a giant tee...

A giant golfball on a giant tee.

You don't see one of these every day, do you?

This picture was taken at the Rend Lake golf course in southern Illinois a few weeks ago. Dan had to attend a continuing education conference there for his funeral license, so we all went along as a little mini-vacation. Elijah was enthralled with this water tower, and every time he saw it (which was many, many times each day), he would say in his loud, shrill five year old voice, "Look! A giant golf ball on a giant tee!" His dad or I would reply, "You don't see one of those every day, do you?" and then he would respond "Nope, you sure don't."

This exchange occurred dozens of times each day, much to the annoyance of his sisters. In fact, I think annoying the girls may be the reason we kept doing it.

We had a good time. Dan was in class some of the time, but the kids enjoyed the pool and we got to go out on Rend Lake for a while one afternoon. It's so nice to get away, even for just a couple of days.

Here's Dan and Eleanor on the boat:

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Indoor campout

The kids decided to "camp out" in the funeral parlor downstairs. Nothing like roughing it on carpet in the air conditioning.

No campout is complete without s'mores, even if it is indoors. The kids had a blast with this indoor s'more maker.

Even better with the lights out!!!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Psalm 150:6

I wanted to share a picture of something very cool we saw while on a youth group camping trip this summer. As we were eating our breakfast, the sunlight came through this amazing spiderweb well above our heads. One of the kids noticed it and exclaimed, "There's a cross in the middle!" Sure enough, right in the center of the web was a cross, gleaming in the morning sun. It was breathtaking. It also gave us a great impromptu devotion about how all of creation does give praise to the Creator. Jesus said during his entry into Jerusalem that if the crowds had not proclaimed his praise, the rocks themselves would cry out. On this July morning, it was a spider.

I wish this picture did justice to what we actually saw, but you'll get the idea.

"Let everything that has breath praise the Lord." Psalm 150:6

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Happy BIrthday Michael!

Today is Michael's 17th birthday. We already had a party for him on Friday with friends and church family, but today is the actual day. Here are some pictures from his party:

Here is Michael finally getting to eat the BBQ sandwich he'd been begging for all day.

Michael was generously given many gifts of cash and Walmart cards to help him get the things he will need for school this year. A couple of his friends had fun with the gift cards and gave him ones with themes like Tinkerbell and Dora the Explorer.

Finally, here is the cake that a friend made for him. He loves the guitar, and even is working with a few friends to start a praise band at our church for the contemperary service.

Today we had a special breakfast. I made pancakes, even though I do not usually cook breadkfast during the week. Then Michael practiced with the praise band for a while, had lunch with friends and swam at his girlfriend's house. This evening his girlfriend came over to our house and we had pizza. Right now he is watching some guy movie with my husband that I think is about people with fast muscle cars helping police catch smugglers or some such thing. All I know for sure is that it is loud.

So, happy birthday, Michael. I hope you've had a good day. We are blessed to be able to celebrate with you!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

It's a boy!

Now, before you get too excited, it's not what you think. This boy is 5'11" and probably 200 lbs. And I only get to keep him for a week.

The young man from our church that I had mentioned before has been staying with us since Wednesday while his guardian in on a trip. We have had such a great time with him. He and Dan have gone fishing, worked on the farm and even went to a demolition derby last night. He's very sweet and polite, and hasn't shown any of that teenage attitude you might expect from a 16 year old, especially one who hasn't been raised under the best of circumstances.

Ever since his situation was brought before our church on Mother's Day, before we even met him, this boy has been on my heart. When we first met him, I was so impressed by him and his courage and conviction to rise above all he has been through. Now that he's been with our family this week, he feels like one of us, and it will be hard to see him go home on Tuesday. I will miss him, and I know Dan and the kids will, too.

But I know that he's going to a good home, and not back to the hard situation he was in before. I'm just being a little selfish. I have felt so blessed just to cook for, shop for, do laundry for and just be a "mom" to a boy who I know needs some TLC. I'm not sure he's had much of that in his life, especially the last few years. And I am sure that we will still be involved in his life. He needs a godly male role model, and he and Dan have really seemed to click. I also expect he will still join us for meals sometimes and I will continue to pray for him daily just like I do my own children.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Katie's garden

A couple of weeks ago, Katie and I put in a flower garden. She picked the spot, researched what plants would grow best in a mostly shady area, and carefully chose flowers that would compliment one another in color and size. I was really impressed. Then we planted the flowers together and moved rocks for a border. The end result was very nice.

I love that as she grows we will always be able to look at this beautiful place we made together and remember the fun we had and the time we spent making it.

Mackenzie has already picked out her spot for her flower garden, too. I hope we can get it done this week. When we do, I'll post pictures of it also.

Monday, May 15, 2006

How my family spoiled me on Mother's Day

I had such a nice Mother's day. I hope you all did, too. On Friday, my husband surprised me with my present, a new bike. I was thrilled! My old bike was really old, a yard sale find from several years ago. One of the tires has been flat for more than a year and we haven't been able to find a new one the right size. This one is so nice. Unfortunately, it hasn't stopped raining here since Thursday, so I haven't been able to ride it yet. Hopefully tomorrow.

We had brunch late Saturday morning with Dan's mom, and enjoyed visiting with everyone on his side of the family. She was so happy to have us all over. I know that is something that she and her husband really missed for the year they lived away from here. Saturday evening, Dan took us out to supper, which was very nice. I sincerely enjoy cooking for my family, but going out to eat is such a special treat. The kids behaved well and we had a great time.

Sunday morning, I was treated to a breakfast of scrambled eggs, fruit salad and cinnamon chip scones. The fruit salad and scones were leftover from brunch on Saturday, but I didn't care. It was a thoughtful gesture. The kids gave me cards and pictures they'd made. So sweet! Then we spent the day with my grandma, mom and dad and extended family.

Here are some pictures:

This is the card Elijah made for me and the flower he brought me from his Sunday School class.

A front and back view of my card from Mackenzie. The back side says "I will give you a very good back rub." What more could I ask for?

And finally, my card from Katie, which brought tears to my eyes.

I am so glad God made me a mom!!!

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Things are quieter around here

and that is a good thing. I could do without any more of the kind of excitement we had around here last weekend!

As an update on our incident, the man who came here was hospitalized briefly, but has been released. He called our home yesterday morning and spoke with Dan. He was apologetic and humble. Dan was able to share forgiveness with him and tell him that we are praying for him. I think there may be criminal charges filed for the\weapons offense, but we reallydon't have anything to do with that. I just hope that through all of this our family might be a witness to this man and that he will come to know the joy and peace that a relationship with God can offer.

In other news, we have been busy helping my inlaws move into their new home. About a year ago they moved 3 1/2 hours away for my father-in-law's work, but they missed their family so much that they decided to come back. They are moving to the same small town where my parents still live. My inlaws are wonderful people. We have missed them so much, and are rejoicing that they are close to us again. What a blessing for our children to have all four of their grandparents living only 15 miles away!

A cute story about when Elijah saw their house for the first time: As we were leaving, he said, "Mom,I got to go into Grandpa's den."

"You did?" I answered.

"Yeah, it wasn't underground or anything. It was just like an office," he replied.

It took me a second to figure out what he meant, but then I realized that when Nana told him that Grandpa had a den in the house, he was expecting a den like a bear or fox would live in. The room must have been a big disappointment.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

A surreal and scary night

As I am typing these words in the light of morining, last night's events seem like a bad dream. I have to share what happened with you all, partly just to get it off my chest and mostly because I must testify about how God protected our family from a horrific tragedy.

We decided to have a spur of the moment cookout with our neighbors last night. We had just finished eating, and all the kids were playing and jumping on the trampoline. A car pulled slowly into our driveway, about 30 feet away from where we were sitting. Dan, my husband, recognized the car as belonging to a man who has a prearranged service with our funeral home. Even though it was a little late, I didn't think it was too unusual since people stop by frequently to talk to Dan or ask questions about their accounts. However, as I heard my husband's voice, I sensed something was wrong.

I turned back around to look at the car and saw Dan leaned into the driver's side. He appeared to be struggling with the man, and I heard him say,"What are you doing?" I got up to see what was going on, and as I got about to the front bumper of the car, I heard Dan say, "He's got a gun, get the kids into the house!" I could see that Dan was still struggling with the man, but turned and ran to get the kids to safety. As one of the other adults called 911 on his cell phone, I rushed into our neighbors's home, where I stayed with the children. The other adults were still outside. For several long and scary minutes, we waited inside, away from the windows, not having any idea what was happening outside. My daughter was hysterical, and I asked her what we do when we are scared. She answered, "pray" and my children and I hit our knees right there in the kitchen, along with our neighbor's kids, and prayed fiercely.

Finally, our neighbor came into the house and told us everyone was OK. The police had arrived and taken the man into custody. Apparantly, this man has a terminal illiness and severe mental health issues. It also appeared that he had been drinking. He told the police that he had decided to take his own life, and in his confusion and despair, believed that it would be most appropriate to commit the act at the funeral home. However, his gun was fully loaded, and we will probably never know exactly what was in his mind.

I eventually learned that when Dan approached the car, the man told him to get the kids into the house. He saw a snubnosed shotgun on the floorboard as the man reached for it, and Dan grabbed it at the same time. Dan was able to get his hand over the trigger guard, and he and the man struggled over the gun, with the man trying to pry Dan's fingers away so he could reach the trigger. Dan was eventually able to wrestle the gun away from the man and unload it just before the police arrived.

I cannot express with words how proud I am of my husband. His courage and fast thinking saved that man from harming himself. I am humbled by the knowledge that he was willing to sacrifice his own safety to protect his family. Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

Truly God's hand of protection was on us last night. Our decision to cookout was spontaneous, and if we hadn't, no one would have been outside to stop the man, or even worse, the kids might have been playing outside alone. I know God gave Dan the strength to get the gun away from that man and at the same time keep the trigger covered.

I would appreciate your prayers, in thanking the Lord for His protection, for my children as they deal with the trauma of the incident, and especially for the man and his family. He so desperately needs healing and the hope of Jesus.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Elijah's first day of kindergarten

I had big plans to start kindergarten with Elijah last fall, but between moving and a baby, it never really seemed to happen. He's been ready for quite a while now, and after weeks and weeks of asking, I finally caved and agreed to teach the poor child. Isn't that sad?

Here's a picture of the kindergartener on his first day:

So, enrollment at the Krabel Academy is up by 50%. With just two days under our belt, he's doing very well. I treasure the opportunity to teach my children. When I started homeschooling, I thought I was doing it for my kids. Six years later, I realize that my calling to homeschool has been a gift from God to me.

Monday, April 17, 2006


I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Ours was so nice. We went to Sunrise Service at 6:00, and my daughter, Katie, and I played a flute duet. Then we went to our regular 9:00 service, and then to my Aunt's for dinner. The rain held off and the kids were able to enjoy playing outside with their many cousins.

Here is a picture of our family in our Easter finery:

Monday, April 3, 2006

Basic Training

I recently attended a Hearts at Home convention. If you ever have an opportunity to attend one, you should. They are very fun and very encouraging.

During one of the seminars this year, the speaker said something that really stuck with me. She said that as mothers, we are "raising an army useful for the Lord."

I have been mulling that statement over for several weeks now, and I am thinking that I may need to change my perspective on homeschooling. Not that this is anything new. My perpective on homeschooling is always changing as God continues change me.

Am I raising an army useful for the Lord?

I'm not sure. Many days my troops in training spend more time fighting with one another than preparing to someday fight against powers of darkness. We have become mired down in the daily grind: academics, chores, music lessons, etc. When people ask me why I homeschool, I still tell them how we want to disciple our children and give them a solid Biblical foundation, but to be honest, if you had observed our homeschool for the last few weeks, you probably wouldn't have seen much evidence of discipleship.

We are very "behind" according to our school calendar. We started late and have had many interruptions. The past two months, I have been trying to cram more and more math, history, science, spelling and grammar into our days to catch up. I have felt a persistent sense of urgency, as though something terrible will happen if we don't get finished before the end of the summer.

That sense of urgency has been noticably lacking, however, in our spiritual training. As I strain to sqeeze in more academics into our day, Bible time, devotions, and prayer time are slowly squeezed out. What's wrong with this picture? While I have been so distracted and stressed about wordly standards of education, my soldiers have been getting out of step. Disipline issues are taking more and more of my time and attention.

My brother is a captain in the Army. He was deployed to Iraq six months ago. Just a few months prior to his deployment, he was given command of a company of soldiers who had not been well trained. Their previous commander had been negligent in his duties. Without the proper training and leadership, this company of soldiers was ill-prepared for war. Not only would they have been ineffective in their missions, but their very lives were at stake if someone didn't line them out and get some discipline and order in the ranks. It was not easy, but my brother did just that, and the company has successfully served in one of the most dangerous parts of Bagdhad with minimal casualties.

I do not want to send my little army out into the world ill-prepared for war. I want them to be effective in the work the Lord has for them. Their souls and the souls of others are at stake. So tomorrow, it's basic training time. If I truly want to raise an army useful to the Lord, I must refocus my attention and energy on Christ, and point my children towards Him also. I know that if I do that, everything else will fall into place.

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you." Matthew 6:33

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Locks of Love and why you should always wear a helmet

OK, the two topics have nothing to do with each other, except that two members of our family decided to alter their physical appearance this weekend, both voluntarily and accidentally.

My oldest daughter has needed a haircut for quite a while. Her hair was LONG--she could almost sit on it! She loved her long hair, loved putting it up, but the ends were not in great shape so we were going to get a trim. Then, the day before the appointment, she tells me that she wants to donate her hair to Locks of Love, the charity that makes hair prosthetics for sick children. I was surprised. She donated once before, a few years ago, but she really likes her hair long, and the hair must be at least 10 inches to qualify for a donation. When I asked if she was sure, she said she was a little reluctant, but it helped to know that she was helping someone else.

So, here's the moment of truth:

And eleven inches later, here's how she looks:

Now...the makeover that doesn't look so good.

My sweet little boy was racing along on his Spiderman scooter Sunday afternoon, racing his mommy when he got tripped up and crashed onto the asphalt driveway. I tripped over him and couldn't catch his fall. He smacked his head hard and instantly the biggest goose egg I've ever seen popped up on his forhead. I was just sick. To be so close and so helpless to stop it!

We watched him closely. My husband is a volunteer firefighter/first responder (kinda like an EMT) so he knows a bit about emergency medicine. Praise God, he is alright, but he looks just awful!

He actually looks a little worse now, because the knot is all dark and scabby. Nasty.

The irony of it all is that the next morning he was up and running around like nothing happened. I have the smallest abrasion on my knee, but have been half crippled since Sunday. My hip, my knee and my ankle are all out of whack. Seeing the chiropractor again tomorrow. This old body doesn't rebound like it once did.

Friday, March 10, 2006

faith like a child

I have to share an experience I had with my 8yo daughter, Mackenzie, a few weeks ago. It happened on the day of her birthday party, actually, and I can't seem to get it out of my mind.

We are blessed in the fact that most of our family are believers. However, one relative and his family do not attend church. They might tell you they believe in God, but that's about it. His language is a bit coarse, and he particularly has a habit of taking God's name in vain. I think he does try to clean it up around our family, which I appreciate, but at the party he must have let one slip because Mackenzie came to me and asked me why he would say that.

I explained that ____ and his family don't go to church, and don't know the Lord, so we shouldn't be too surprised when they say or do something that seems ungodly. (I thought she already knew this)

I was stunned when she burst into tears. "You mean they're going to go to hell?" she sobbed.

I wasn't sure what to say. Her party was taking place in the other room. I wasn't prepared for this topic. So I told her I honestly didn't know, that I knew _____ had been raised in the church, and God knows his heart. I told her we can invite them to church, tell them about Jesus and pray for them, but ultimately the choice is theirs. She calmed down and the rest of the party went uneventfully.

But I keep pondering. _______ and his family married into our family five years ago. We do not have a lot in common, but we have come to care for them very much. So why hasn't my heart been broken before now for the condition of their souls? I have friends who do not know the Lord. Have I ever wept for them?

My eight year old daughter immediately recognized the desperate condition of a life without Jesus. Her response touched a chord in me. How can I be so complacent about the fact that people I know and love do not know and love my Lord? I have been so focused the last several years about leading my children to Christ that I have forgotten that my circle of influence does not stop at the door of my home.

Thank you for reminding me, Mackenzie.

Saturday, March 4, 2006

Katie's pancakes

My lovely daughter Katie made pancakes for her family's breakfast this morning. She got up first and just fixed them without being asked. From scratch. With chocolate chips and everything.

Here she is, my little apprentice:

Here are the adorable mini pancakes she made for her baby sister.

Notice that she added colored sprinkles and Mickey Mouse ears. Yeah, she's a gem.

Teaching my girls to work in the kitchen has been such a blessing. My mom is a good cook, but she doesn't like to cook and doesn't do it much. We ate a lot of frozen/convenience foods and take out when I was growing up. When she did cook, it was easier and faster for her just to do it, and so I didn't know how to cook anything beyond frozen pizza when I got married. My poor husband.

After 13 years, I have learned to cook and love preparing meals for my family. I also love passing on those skills to my girls. When the time comes for them to be married, I want them to be prepared to take care of their homes and families. Some of our best conversations and teachable moments have taken place over a batch of cookies.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

keepin me humble

I was over at granolamom6's blog and she talked about how her toddler's behavior keeps her humble. I can so identify. In fact it seems like whenever I start to feel a bit prideful about my abilities as a parent, God uses my children to remind me that I am still a very cracked pot.

Wednesday evening, for example. Our church held a revival this week, and after each service we had refreshments in the fellowship hall. During this time, my husband and I were visiting with a friend at our church. He was very complimentary of our family and supportive of our decision to homeschool. As he was sharing about how pleasant and well-mannered he found our children, I'm starting to feel just a wee bit... well, prideful. After all, my kids did sit through four nights of revival. My oldest even took notes! And they dressed up, unlike some of the kids there who looked like they'd just rolled out of bed. And, really, it is a wise choice we have made to educate our children at home rather than abdicating our responsibility and sending them through the gates of hell into public school. Yep, I am a quite the godly woman. Yessiree.

Oh, how the tiniest seed of pride can grow and grow.

So, as I sat there feeling so satisfied, my 8yo daughter runs up to me and exclaims:

"Mom, Elijah just knocked a big hole in the wall of my Sunday School classroom!"


I went to see what had happened and sadly, her report was true. My polite, well behaved, well dressed, homeschooled son had disobeyed me by going upstairs, running around in the unsupervised classrooms and ultimately crashed into a wall, leaving a very large dent in the drywall. I was angry and embarrassed and humbled.

The church was very gracious about the damage. Later that evening, as I was mulling over the incident, I thought about how ironic it was that I was informed of the problem just as I was basking in the praise of our friend. Obviously, I was not pleased that my son had disobeyed me by going upstairs or that he was running around the church like a wild man. But what a reality check. Any "good" that my kids do is not my doing, it is God working in them. I should never allow myself to take credit for the work that He has done. All of the glory rightly belongs to Him and Him alone.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

My mom has lost her mind...

at least I'm pretty sure that's what Eleanor was thinking when I put her in the sink for a bath. Our tub is till not usable, and while everyone else can use the standing shower in the basement, the baby got a sink bath. It freaked her out a little at first, but once she got over the shock it was fine.

The good news is that the tub surround is in and as soon as the caulk is dry we can start using it again. Hooray! Mom and Dad are coming over tomorrow after church so he can get his apple pie.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

My bathroom is demolished

Not long after we moved here, the tiles in our tub/shower started coming loose. The soap dish actually fell out, leaving a gaping hole in the wall. We've been trying to keep the water out with Glad Press 'n Seal for some time now. (without much success, I might add)

So anyways, my dad the carpenter is coming tomorrow to put in a new tub surround. Yeah! It is so handy to have a carpenter in the family, especially one that works for apple pie. My husband and four year old son spent the evening tearing out the rest of the tiles. They made a huge mess and had a blast. It was so precious to see my boy doing "men's work" alongside his daddy and to see the gentleness and patience his dad showed him while they worked together. It almost made me not mind that they then proceeded to track plaster muck all over the carpet. Sigh...