Great gain.

April 16th, 2011

Q:  How is Verity?

A:  As of yesterday, she is completely back to her old self for the first time in two weeks, laughing and playing and eating!  I was concerned that she would forget some of her skills (like straw-drinking), since she would not use any of them while she was sick.  But with a little patient effort she is picking the skills back up!  Thank the Lord!


Q:  Have you heard anything from the USCIS?

A:  What!?  And not tell all of you right away??  Inconceivable!!  <grin>

We learned this much from a phone call I made yesterday morning–

Our case has not yet been assigned to an officer, and our fingerprinting appointment has been set for Thursday, May 5th, almost three weeks away.

As soon as we get the actual paper notice of this appointment in the mail, we may be able to have the appointment moved up to a closer date, so we’ll be praying that God will open up a way for that to happen!


Q:  Anything else happening while you wait for the USCIS?

A:  More than can be written here without boring you!

~We are having friends here for meals again, and loving it!  And Thursday night, several other good-sized families came over for a hymn sing!  It doesn’t get much better than that!  What a blessing to see even young children joining in!

~I heard from Stephanie Carpenter yesterday.  We plan to talk soon so that she can give us clear instructions about our dossier.  Katie’s country is picky about the dossier;  it must be put together according to exact specifications.

~We are puttering along on the yard sale project.  It might speed up starting next week, when the 2011 tax season is over and Daniel is back home full time.  (Joseph recently doubled his work hours in our friend’s machine shop.)

~Several weeks ago we had to completely rethink our household schedule.  As the three oldest boys spend more time working outside the house, Laura, age 11 1/2, and Jane, age 9, are learning to be more proficient in the kitchen.  They are very pleased about this development.



While we’re in the kitchen…

*If you prefer pretty, consider yourself duly warned.  There’s some ugly ahead!*

The unit over the stove.

Inside it.

Eeeeeeeeew.  Wiping it doesn’t make any difference.

The steam rises onto the metal over and over, hastening its demise.

The unit over the sink.  When we moved here in 2000, we took the wall units to the barn and spray-painted them as a temporary fix.  We couldn’t remove the sink base, so Joe just brush-paints it with appliance paint every so often.  It’s still in good shape.

And inside.


Anybody want to trade kitchen cabinets with me?


You’d be getting a luxury kitchen compared with the one Daniel Boone’s mom had for her large family.  We’ve seen her kitchen!

All these years, we have thought that someday, Joe would build cabinets to match this one, using the same tongue-and-groove wood.  He would do a beautiful job.

As I saw this time grow closer, I pictured the new ones we’d talked about and felt more and more eager to tear out the old ones.  He would build counter units on either side of the stove, with tailor-made storage space underneath for all our large pots and pans.  The counters wouldn’t be behind a well-used door and under a low overhang like our other counter!  There would be more room for many little boys on chairs, watching me work.  Joe would build a wall unit that stretched generously across the entire space, and the same over the sink.  Clean.  Space.  Aaaaaah.

But now that we are here, our eyes are opened.  Guess what?  We do not need what we had planned to build.  We’ve learned to manage just fine with the set-up we have.  We would never buy new kitchen cabinets!  We just wouldn’t.  Why is it okay for us to hold out for custom homemade ones?  We are convicted that it’s not okay.  We are not building a palace for ourselves to live in!  Lord willing, we will look for something sturdy that can be properly cleaned, and we will look for it at the Habitat Re-Store.  We can beautify it with some paint.  That will be enough.  We can be content with enough.

And when Joe carries these old cabinets outside and hands me a baseball bat, how about I imagine them to be my perfectionist pride.  Or my spoiled discontentment.

Ending on a sweeter note…

…we put these…

…right here…


…and like that very much.


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11 Responses to “Great gain.”

  1. Felicity says:

    Are those apple slices spread with peanut butter???  A favourite among my children!!  I’ve tasted it — not bad — but not something I’m crazy about.  ;-)

  2. Susanna says:

    Yes, but we think the saltiness of the peanut butter is better with sweet apples than tart ones.  We like tart apples with something sweeter, like a vanilla/cream cheese spread.  We also like bananas with peanut butter.  In other words, we pair sweet and salty or sweet and tart, but not salty and tart.  Does that make sense?  We buy our apples by the half-bushel from a local orchard, which has many varieties available, so they are not the bland, waxed, grocery store apples.  That might make a difference.

    By the way, that was a Friday lunch, using up tidbits before Saturday grocery shopping, so we didn’t all eat the same thing.  Any of our five oldest are competent to make lunch without input from me. The challenges of life in our house this past year have been a huge blessing to us, and I’m so thankful God sent them, even though I would not have chosen them for myself.  :)

  3. Yvonda says:

    Hmm…that’s interesting.  I never really noticed your cabinets before.  ;)  When I go in your house, I notice the love and peace that are so present there.  I think those pictures you hung are a good example of that.  :D

  4. Susanna says:

    Thank you, Yvonda.  At least I know one person who will still come eat at our house after seeing our kitchen cabinets!  Seriously, thank you for sensing that I would feel more than a little vulnerable after posting such embarrassing pictures.

  5. RFH says:

    Your blog is one of a couple that I regularly read.  I don’t particularly care for blogs (for many reasons) and, in the case of those I DO read, I am always a lurker and NEVER a commentor. I read this post this morning, however, and, not only have I not been able to get it off my mind, I feel like I can’t NOT comment.  You put into words something that I have felt many times in my sixteen years of married life.  Something that is often present, looming over me, robbing my joy and leaving me angry and frustrated.  It reared it’s ugly head again in me some time a few months ago and I have been snuggling with it, caressing it and holding it to me dearly.  Snuggling with those dreams of the finished, perfect house, caressing my thoughts of more storage and a trendier look, holding dear the idea that I would surely SOME DAY get my chance to have these things. Today you’ve helped me realize something.  Those dreams, thoughts and ideas have a name – sin.  And when I desperately hold them I am prideful, spoiled, immature, ungrateful, and discontent.  In a world that is swimming in decorating magazines, home makeover TV shows and an obsession with all things trendy, this post was like a jolt, a shock, a reminder of who we are and what we’re here for.  A reminder that we’re not here to build palaces or fashion beautifully landscaped flower beds or design rooms that look like a magazine picture.  I know few people who live lives and own homes that reflect this.  I know fewer still who CONTENTEDLY live lives and own homes that reflect this. I thank God for a lesson shown to me through you. 

  6. Susanna says:

    Thank you, R, for writing.  I’m learning this lesson right along with you.

    It helps to say out loud, “It will all burn up in the end,” when necessary.


  7. Shari~hotfudgecustard says:

    I didn’t notice your cabinets, either.  I do remember noticing the colors of your kitchen and how you were using the table as a prep area.  I remember wondering at the ability of a family to cook for so many with less prep area than I have complained about with a smaller family. 

    What I remember most is feeling like I was walking into the warm embrace of a sister.  : )

  8. Tami Swaim says:

    This is embarrassing for me to write about but I feel safe here.  In Poland when people move they take their kitchen furniture with them.  When we moved into our house that we bought in Poland it was pretty much gutted, except for the decrepit gas stove!  We managed for awhile with book shelves for dishes, boxes, crates…whatever we had to make a make shift kitchen.  It was working well.  BUT then the offer came!  Mark’s dad feeling ever SO sorry for us sent us money to put in a kitchen.  What I am embarrassed about is a glutton for best some how surfaced from with in me and instead of taking time to consider what kind of kitchen the Lord might want for us I went full steam ahead into an area that I’ve never been before>>>going into stores and seeing all the world has to offer for a modern kitchen!  Well, we put in a really nice kitchen.  One better than any of my Polish friends had, well not all, but most.  AND I started to feel badly about that.  The Lord forgives and we move on.  I used that kitchen as much as I could for his glory.  We were the ‘hang out’ place for all the polish youth in the area that we knew from the college where Mark worked and from the church.  So, here I am with my *dream kitchen* AND then we discover that our fourth boy may have autism and needed some attention.  Life in Poland was too stressful for him and he was not thriving.  Unable to talk and approaching four he was becoming very difficult to handle.  Hearing two languages all around him on a daily basis left him in an unorganized state of mind~unable to develop and thrive.  Long story short, the Lord took us out of Poland which meant leaving my *luxury kitchen* behind.  That should have been hard for me but to tell you the truth the lesson learned in that experience is valued higher than my kitchen cost.  We simply can’t become attached to things here on earth.  We lived with Marks parents and then rented for awhile and are now in our own house here in the states.  The Lord did see fit to give my another nice kitchen but I loved not knowing that for sure and being okay with that.  Contentment is a wonderful gift!
    The offer of Mark’s dad to pay for a kitchen was not evil.  It was most likely of the Lord, he’s a man of prayer. I just don’t like how it roused up greed inside of me but in the end I was taught a great lesson.  Sometimes we are ignorant of our own sin until we are tested.

  9. Susanna says:

    You are right, Tami. Thank you for being willing to be open.

  10. Sandie says:

    What I can’t figure out is where you keep all your dishes and groceries?  Although, most of my groceries aren’t in my kitchen, much to my MIL’s confusion.  Ha! 
    I might have more cabinets, and they may look more traditional on the outside, since they are wood.  But they do not hold up as well as your metal ones.  They are falling to pieces in ways that cannot be repaired, even paint can’t hide it.  It use to bother me, but it doesn’t anymore. 
    I’m glad you are getting different/new to you cabinets.

  11. Susanna says:

    Groceries are on shelves in the basement and side porch, as well as in the built-in corner cupboard. Dishes are in the little stand-alone cabinet next to the stove, so little table-setting hands have ready access to them. :) Sandie, if you ever find you really do need to replace yours, I recommend you check out the Habitat store. They have fairly low prices for people who aren’t too picky. :)

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