Thursday, November 27, 2008

A different thankful outlook

This year Thanksgiving is a bit more heightened for me. With being away from all my friends and family I realized how before I was "thankful". I was comfortable where we were in life. We always had Thanksgiving with my parents, Ed's mom, one or another brother and his family and our great friends Anne and Andy. Every year. This year however, it hasn't taken too much effort to really see how thankful I am. This year my parents are here, but no close friends, no mother-in-law, no brothers, no "comforts". With all the comforts of the past 13 years in Grand Rapids now memories, the things I am thankful for are so much more apparent.

Ed. The past weeks of being deconstructed, disturbed, being taken apart piece by piece and learning how to put everything back together, he has so many times put himself aside and taken care of me. To make sure my heart is still beating. Living. Learning.

Sam and Alina. These two have gone with the flow so well and so easily. They are such huge examples of living life to the fullest and loving God with no strings attached. Child like faith? Yeah....they have it and it's such a huge blessing to see it grow in them and such a huge example to me.

Friends. I miss them. A lot. My heart doesn't ache to the point I can't catch my breath any longer, but now it's more of a dull ache. The long lasting kind. I have amazing friends and I'm so glad distance doesn't lessen a friendship.

Creator. This morning Ed and I were able to watch a beautiful sunrise over the mountains from the coziness under the hide-a-bed covers. Deep hues of pink, turn to orange, to yellow to sunshine. To have such a huge, imaginative, awe-ing God take the time for me. To die for me. To love me. To offer a life changing relationship. To be patient with my wandering heart. To listen to my questions and thoughts even when they're laced with frustration. To create me.

Really, nothing else matters. I am thankful for the things I have, but they are just things. We have SO much. So much!! Shelter. Food. Beds. Clothes. Heat. Running water. Toys (for big and small). So much more than so many people. Could I live without them? Sure. I am grateful for these things and know I have taken them for granted every single day. But to have a family who loves, to have friends who come along side in life's journey to cheer, cry and encourage, to have a God who loves unconditionally. To be living. Period. These are worth living for. Worthy of deep thankfulness. For these four things, I am thankful and believe I have a very blessed life.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Book Review

I just finished the book Holding Fast: The Untold Story of the Mount Hood Tragedy by Karen James for Thomas Nelson Publishers.

This was a heart wrenching, but amazing book. The author is the wife of a mountaineer who lost his life two years ago on Mount Hood along with his closest friends, which is part of the Cascade Mountain Range. I chose this book as I can see the Cascade Mountain Range from our back deck. The book is the journey of a woman who was so deeply in love with her best friend, the tragedy of his death and how her life changed because of it. Her faith in God was transformed because of the circumstances that she dealt with. Seeing how her friends surrounded her, how her step-kids stuck by her, and how she was not afraid to question God was so real.

The book itself went very quickly. You almost feel like you are right there beside her, grieving with her, but I can not begin to imagine the depths of grief she went through.

All around, a good book. Not one that I usually would choose, and I was skeptical going into it, but the first page grabbed me and took me for quite the ride.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Here are some pics from Anne's visit. Can't believe it went so fast, but I am SO, SO thankful as my heart was not doing well what so ever. Thank you Anne for coming. Thank you my sweet husband for bringing her and filling my heart.

The surprise:


Thanksgiving spread and dessert with Hillary, Tim and Aryn. Since we didn't make it to Canada for Canadian Thanksgiving with Hillary and we always spend Thanksgiving with Anne and Andy, we thought having a T-dinner was the way to go. And Anne's old roommate from college and her husband live 10 minutes away so Ed invited them too (back when plans were in the works). :)

Anne's amazing chocolate cheesecake topped with fresh whipped cream. was even better than it looks.

What do friends who met on the computer do at midnight? Why be on the computer together!

Ferry to Kingston Island:


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Thanks to Hillary, I didn't even realize that today is the three year anniversary of my blog. Who knew! So much has happened since the beginning. Growing, learning, milestones, sacrifices, hardships, highs, contentedness.
Lots of memories.
With many more to come.

I could write about them all, but my brain is tired, my kids are tired which means early bedtime = getting dinner ready early and I have yet to figure out what to make.

So, happy anniversary blog. It's been a fun three years.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

shock and awe

As most of you know already (or already knew before I knew), there are guests staying at our house. Last night I had dinner on the table, waiting for Ed to come home from school and had the kids washing their hands. I was standing at the door when Ed pulled in, holding it open for him to come inside. I had my back to the opening, talking to Alina when I felt a pair of arms go around me in a big squeeze. I smiled and was about to say something to Ed when I turned around and it wasn't Ed at all. It was a dream! A dream I never, ever thought would be a reality. My dearest, closest person. I started shrieking and kept hugging her and shrieking and more hugging (and Ed was taking pictures). I couldn't believe she was here. In the flesh! It took a good two hours to stop shaking. I know I went to sleep smiling last night.

We chat over video on the computer, but there is something about being close to someone in the flesh. The touch. The hugs. This has been planned for weeks. Not a peep out of either Ed or Anne. I thanked Ed countless times last night for bringing her here. I'm savoring every single moment.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


My friend Amy tagged me, so here it goes...

1. What is your husband's name? Edward George Ballance Jr.
2. Who eats more? I would say him, but I can pack a lot in too.
3. Who said, "I love you" first? He did. We were standing in the basement of his house.
4. Who is taller? He is by about 4 inches
5. Who is smarter? I would say him as his brain is being used to the maximum capacity with school and my brain is being used at the 4 and 7 year old level these days.
6. Who is more sensitive? Definitely me. By leaps and bounds.
7. Who does the laundry? We both do.
8. Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? I did for the past 13 years and for the past two months he does.
9. Who pays the bills? He does (I'm horrible at math).
10. Who cooks more? I do.
11. Who is more stubborn? Definitely him.
12. Who is the first to admit they are wrong? We're pretty equal on this one.
13. Who has more siblings? I do. He has a half sister and I have four brothers.
14. Who wears the pants in the relationship? We each wear one pant leg, but he's been given charge (by God) of the belt that holds the pants up.
15. What do you like to do together? Watch movies, do puzzles, camping, hiking, cooking, ride bikes.
16. Who eats more sweets? Depends what's available in the house.
17. Guilty Pleasures? Ice cream!
18. How did you meet? He was a custodian at our church and I was new there. I was 15 and he was 20.
19. Who asked whom out first? He asked me out (after asking my dad's permission).
20. Who kissed who first? He kissed me first (and was quite the gentleman by asking if he could).
21. Who proposed? He did. On bended knee in front of Beaumont Tower at Michigan State.
22. His best features and qualities? The crinkles around his eyes when he smiles, his amazing heart, his dadding skilz and love for our kids, his laugh, his sense of humor and quick wit, his relationship with Christ, his listening ear, his encouraging words, his thinking brain, his strength in so many areas, his friendship.

here you go Anne!! Your turn. :)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

There's a battle waging inside of me. A mom battle. Last night Sam was telling me about one of his friends who's parents fight and yell at each other and slam doors. How his friend is so sad because of what is happening with his mom and dad and that they don't live together any more. It broke my heart in pieces. For this little boy. For his parents. Sam knows about divorce and separation. About so many things I never knew until I was older. I told Ed I don't want him to have to know these things! That he's only 7! I want to shelter him from the real world. I don't want him to even have to worry that what several of his friends go through and have gone through with their parents is going to happen to his mom and dad.

Then there's the other side of me that doesn't want him going into the world so naive that he won't know how to thrive or be able to care for others' hearts or how to make good choices.

It was an eye opening experience last night. I found out that he doesn't worry that Ed and I will get divorced. I explained to Sam that mom and dad do have disagreements but we always talk through things and figure it out. That we love each other very much.

I want this house and our marriage to be a sanctuary for our kids. A safe haven full of trust, joy, laughter. That here we can work through things and be respectful of each other no matter the age or difference. That we can always speak our minds without question. That Christ is evident in our actions and words. That when our kids are grown they will thrive in a world that will be so different than the world Ed and I grew up in. That they won't be scared of it but will go into it with confidence because of all they experienced and learned growing up in this family.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Last night was a page (or chapter) that will be put in history books that my kids will read in school. I enjoyed watching both speeches, am glad all the negative ads are done and am ready to move on in this country. I hope all the bitter and hateful words stop. I'm thankful we live in a country where we can worship Christ openly. Where we have the freedom to vote. Where we live in a melting pot of amazing people. I'm glad that Prop 1 here passed so the light rail transit will expand into the suburbs from downtown as I know it will help so many. The governor race is still going with only 55% of the precincts reporting due to mail in ballot and it could be weeks before we know who wins (and that it doesn't take 3 recounts like it did last time). Here they had a proposal on the ballot about assisted suicide and it's passing. I never thought I'd see the day where I was going to be making a choice if it is ok for those who medically have 3-6 months left to live to go ahead and be able to take their life early. I've never been put in that situation and hope I never will. What a sticky line to walk on.

I'm thankful for life and for living in this country. I'm thankful we have a president. A government. Freedom. Choice.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

all treats

Sam the football player and Alina the princess. They had a fun time trick or treating at all the shops around the town center down the street. We then went over to one of their friends' house (but she wasn't home) so we went up (literally) and down her street. I think the whole street could hear my two yelling "TRICK OR TREAT!!!!" at each door. I enjoyed seeing them get into it. :)