Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Our New Story

     For those of you I've kept waiting, I'm so sorry!  I think once you hear the whole story, you will understand.  My intention was to have this written before we left on the long trip that would be the beginning of our new story.  However, the trip was a logistical nightmare and so that didn't happen.  Then, the whirlwind trip started and once it started, there was no stopping it.

     Without further delay.... here you go... OUR NEW STORY.

     Sometimes life is better viewed in reverse.  What does that mean?  That means sometimes in the midst of living life, it doesn't make any sense at all.  Like... at all... at all!  It doesn't make any sense... until you look back.

     In the late fall of 2011, my husband was asked to run for Ohio State Senate.  The senator in our district, wouldn't sign the Heartbeat Bill.  That's a bill that says once the heartbeat of a baby is detected, an abortion can no longer be performed.  A group of people asked him to act like he was running in hopes that  once the senator got wind of it, she would sign the bill.  Well, long story short, she wouldn't sign.  My husband announced he was running, and just like that we were thrust into the nasty world of politics.  He ran a 6 week campaign with $4000 that was given to him along the way (we couldn't ask for money to run a campaign because we live on support... meaning people give to our ministry so we can live.) So we ran using social media and very, very little money.  Some have said she used about $250,000.  In the end, Paul got 32% of the vote.   Pretty good for having little time, little experience and little money!

     When it was over, to be honest, I wasn't sad he lost.  I had no desire to live that life, HOWEVER, I thought it was so weird he lost.  See, we firmly believe God asked us to run that political race; to fight for those who couldn't fight for themselves, to fight for the unborn, and so we were willing.  The confusing part was... if we were certain, God asked us to do it... and we were certain... why didn't we win?  I was so puzzled.

     Then we got asked to move and that was an altogether different and awful whirlwind and I ended up 20 hours away from everything I have ever known.

     We weren't in our new location for very long when Paul ran across an article about how some kid and a van was changing the face of the pro life movement.  He read it and was so impressed that he decided to send them an encouraging email.  However, the email wouldn't go through.  He looked over the site some more and realized that this guy wasn't too far from us (like, a mile away).  So, he called him.  They had lunch the next day and Paul got to hear all about his organization called Save the Storks.

     Fast forward almost a year, hundreds of conversations, and lots of prayer and we have joined the team!

     Were we unhappy with the job we moved to take?  Absolutely not!!!  But joining the Save the Storks team just connected all the dots for us.  It seemed The Lord had been tilling the soil with what seemed like a random run for office 2 years ago.  We believe God used this to get us looking and thinking in the pro life direction.  We talked a great talk 2 years ago about fighting for the unborn and then it stopped there.

     This is the Holocaust of our time.  There have been 55 million abortions, 55 million lives ended.  What is our family doing to stop it?  What is our family doing to fight for life?  Step away from the Bible and what God says about life for a second, even though I could never live without God's Word.   Our country was built, established and I believe blessed by the Constitution.  In it we are told we have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.   THE RIGHT TO LIFE!  Have we missed this?

     So, our family is going to fight.  But, we are going to do it in a totally unconventional way.  Save the Storks takes Mercedes Sprinter Vans and turns them into mobile ultrasound units.  These vans are then parked across the street from abortion clinics.  Before our van arrives though, we contact the abortion clinic and let them know we are there.  We want them to know that we are not going to protest or talk bad about them, or be mean to them.  As a matter of fact, we are going to pray for them.  Then we offer them a choice.  And with the help of our board member, Abby Johnson, if any of them would like out of the abortion industry, we will write them a check for 3 months of their salary and help them find a new job.  As of today, over 90 people have left... including a doctor.

     Women that are walking into the abortion clinics are then offered a chance to see a free ultrasound of their baby.  Once those women see life on the 3 flat screens around that van, a high majority of them chose life.  But, they are not just choosing life for their baby, they are choosing life for themselves.  That's why the organization is named Save the Storks.  Research has proven and stories have been written about women who've chosen abortion in the past.  They spend the rest of their lives in regret and turmoil.  We don't want any woman to live like that.  We want to save them from a life where the past haunts them.

    Once a woman choses life, we connect them with people that can walk along beside them their entire pregnancy, and beyond.  This gives them counsel, love and options.

     And, like any good story, our story starts off with a bang.  Wait until you hear about the trip we just took to pick up Stork van #6!  (Not promising any timeline though.  Although, I am promising to write more.  I really miss writing!)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

What Kind of Story is Your Family Living?

   How Jason Saved His Family

     When I got back from Los Angeles, I got together with my friend Jason who has a thirteen-year-old daughter.  He was feeling down because he and his wife had found pot hidden in their daughter's closet.  She was dating a guy, too, a kid who smelled like smoke and only answered questions with single words: "Yeah." "No." "Whatever." and "Why?."  And "Why?" was the answer Jason hated most.  Have her home by ten, Jason would say.  Why the guy would ask.  Jason figured this guy was the reason his daughter was experimenting with drugs.
     "You thinking about grounding her?" I asked.  "Not allowing her to date him?"
     "We've tried that.  But it's gotten worse."  Jason shook his head and fidgeted with his fingers on the table.
     Then I said something that caught his attention.  I said his daughter was living a terrible story.
     "What do you mean?" he asked.
     To be honest, I didn't know exactly what I meant.  I probably wouldn't have said it if I hadn't just returned from the McKee seminar.  But I told him about the stuff I'd learned, that the elements of a story involve a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it.  Even as I said this, I wasn't sure how it applied to his daughter.
     "Go on," my friend said.
     "I don't know, exactly, but she's just not living a very good story.  She's caught up in a bad one."  I said a lot of other things, and he kept asking questions.  We must have talked for an hour or more, just about story, about how novels work and why some movies are meaningful and others simply aren't.  I didn't think much of it.  I just figured he was curious about movies.
     A couple of months later I ran into Jason and asked about his daughter.  "She's better," he said to me, smiling.  And when I asked why, he told me his family was living a better story.

***  ***  ***   ***

     The night after we talked, Jason couldn't sleep.  He thought about the story his daughter was living and the role she was playing inside that story.  He realized he hadn't provided a better role for his daughter.  He hadn't mapped out a story for his family.  And so his daughter had chosen another story, a story in which she was wanted, even if she was only being used.  In the absence of a family story, she's chosen a story in which there was risk and adventure, rebellion and independence.  "She's not a bad girl," my friend said.  "She was just choosing the best story available to her."
     I pictured his daughter flipping through the channels of life, as it were, stopping on a story that seemed most compelling at the moment, a story that offered her something, anything, because people can't live without a story, without a role to play.
     "So how did you get her out of it?" I asked.  And I couldn't believe what he told me next.
     Jason decided to stop yelling at his daughter and, instead, created a better story to invite her into.  He remembered that a story involves a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it.
     "I started researching some stuff on the Internet." Jason said, "and I came across an organization that builds orphanages around the world.  And that sounded to me like a pretty good ambition, something maybe my family could try to do together.  It sounded like a good story."
     "Right," I said, trying to remember the elements of a story myself.
     "So I called this organization," Jason continued. "and it takes about twenty-five thousand dollars to build one of these orphanages.  And the truth is, we don't have the money.  I mean we just took out a second mortgage.  But I knew if we were going to tell a good story, it would have to involve risk."
     "That's true," I said, remembering it from the seminar.
     "So I went home and called a family meeting," my friend continued.  "I didn't tell my wife first,  which it turns out was a mistake.  But I told them about this village and about the orphanage and all these terrible things that could happen if these kids don't get an orphanage.  Then I told them I agreed to build it."
     "You're kidding me," I said.
     "No.  I'm not.  And my wife sat there looking at me like I'd lost my mind.  And my daughter, her eyes were as big as melons and she wasn't happy.  She knew this would mean she'd have to give up her allowance and who knows what else.  They just sat there in silence.  And, the longer they sat there, the more I wondered if I'd lost my mind too."
     "I actually think you might have lost your mind," I said, feeling somewhat responsible.
     "Well, maybe so," Jason said, looking away for a second with a smile.  "But it's working out.  I mean things are getting pretty good, Don."
     Jason went on to explain that his wife and daughter went back to their separate rooms and neither of them talked to him.  His wife was rightly upset that he hadn't mentioned anything to her.  But that night while they were lying in bed, he explained the whole story about how they weren't taking any risks and weren't helping anybody and how their daughter was losing interest.
     "The next day," he said, "Annie came to me while I was doing the dishes."  He collected his words. "Things had just been tense for the last year, Don.  I haven't told you everything.  But my wife came to me and put her arms around me and leaned her face into the back of my neck and told me she was proud of me."
     "You're kidding," I said.
     "I'm not," my friend said.  "Don, I hadn't heard Annie say anything like that in years.  I told her I was sorry I didn't talk to her about it, that I just got excited.  She said she forgave me but that it didn't matter.  She said we had an orphanage to build, and that we were probably going to make bigger mistakes, but we would build it."  My friend smiles as he remembered his wife's words.
     "And then Rachel came into our bedroom, maybe a few days later, and asked if we could go to Mexico.  Annie and I just sort of looked at her and didn't know what to say.  So then Rachel crawled between us in bed like she did when she was little.  She said she could talk about the orphanage on her web site and maybe people could help.  She could post pictures.  She wanted to go to Mexico to meet the kids and take pictures for her Web Site."
     "That's incredible," I said.
     "You know what else, man?" Jason said, "She broke up with her boyfriend last week.  She had his picture on her dresser and took it down and told he said she was too fat.  Can you believe that?  What a jerk."
     "A jerk," I agreed.
     "But that's done now," Jason said, shaking his head.  "No girl who plays the role of a hero dates a guy who uses her.  She knows who she is.  She just forgot for a little while."

     This was Chapter 9 of Donald Miller's Book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.

     Our family is getting ready to live a new story.  Details coming in 7 days.  One week from today people.
     Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Jackson Hits Double Digits


      Jackson Paul Richard Isaacs was born May 2, 2003 at 11:28am.  While he was in utero, I knew he was going to be busy.  But, day 4 of his life completely confirmed that.  Most of you won't believe this, if someone else told the same story I doubt I would believe them, but, it's true nonetheless.  The 4th Day of his life, I took him to get his picture taken.  While we were trying to get the picture you see below, he was pushing himself forward with his toes.  Had we left him to his own devises, he would have pushed himself off the table.  At... 4... days... old.

     The ninth year of his life would prove to be no less entertaining or nerve-wracking.  When we were still living in Ohio, he came running up the stairs yelling my name.  Practically out of breath, he says, "I wanted to try a back handspring so I stood up and prayed, 'God, don't let me kill myself, and I DID IT!!  I CAN DO A BACK HANDSPRING!'  Sure enough, I followed him down to the carpeted floor to see one of the most beautiful back handsprings I've ever seen from someone with no training.

     The adventure didn't stop there.  This year he has swam in the Pacific Ocean, surfed on the Atlantic Ocean, completed a high ropes course, zip lined, hiked several mountains, learned to fly fish... and made friends with the old men at the YMCA.    

     What?!  How does that last thing fit in there?  I don't know.  This is what I do know.

     We took Jackson out of school in January to homeschool him (L O N G... S T O R Y).  So, almost every day we go to the YMCA.  I take some kind of fitness class and Jackson plays.  At least that's what I thought he did.  I leave him at the big open gym at the Y where he can shoot baskets or kick the soccer ball or run around with all the other kids who also are homeschooled.  When I come out of my class after an hour, he's waiting for me in the lobby.  In the lobby, there's chairs and tables and coffee.  It might be the greatest YMCA.

     As we are leaving one day, he starts saying bye to all these old men.  "Bye Jim!  See you Ted!  Have a good day Fred!  See you tomorrow Tom!"  I stopped and looked at him.  I wish I could have a picture of my own face.

    "What in the world?" I say as we walk out the front doors.  "How do you know those men."

     "Oh!  They're my friends.  I talk to them everyday!"


      "Yeah... sometimes I go down and watch them play racquetball and we talk."

     Hmmmm... so everyday.

     "Oh... hey Ted!  Your late today!"


     "See you tomorrow Bill!"

     What?  Where are the 9 and 10 year olds?

     So, yesterday I finish my class.  I'm pouring sweat, dead tired and starving.  I go to the gym to get Jackson.  I see his bag, his basketball shoes and his basketball... but no Jackson.  So, I head down to the racquetball courts.  I look through the glass into the room and there's my almost 10 year old... goggles on, racquet in hand, sweating and red faced, playing racquetball with a 70 year old man and a 50 year old woman.  They walk over to the door, open it, "Hey I'm Jim." (Shakes my hand)  The woman comes over, "Hi!  I'm Michelle." (Shakes my hand) and then Jim looks at me and says, "You mind if we finish our game?  He's really good!"

     And, so I sit down on the big leather ottoman right outside court A and watch my son finish a game of racquetball ... for the next 20 MINUTES with a two much older people.  And, I smile because that's my son and wherever he goes he wins the heart of people and I think how much I love him and how blessed I am and how... if he doesn't hurry up... I might start eating the ottoman.

    I LOVE YOU BUDDY!!!!!  Happy 10th Birthday!!!!

French Toast for Breakfast

Opening gifts

Sporting Rockies gear.... for we now reside in case I've never mentioned that

$1 Jimmy Johns subs for dinner.  We are going on Saturday night in Denver after a trip to a trampoline park.

P.S.  Cake pictures added later.  It's only 8 in Colorado and he's at soccer and basketball practice.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Conditions on Moving to Colorado

     I said I would never move.  I said I would never leave I sit typing... in my house... in COLORADO!!!

     I also said, "If we move, I just want to have my own computer."

     I had my own computer... for 30 days.  Then somehow, we lost a computer.  It was never taken out of the house.  Therefore, one of two things happened.  1) It evaporated.  Into thin air.  OR  2) Someone came into my house and stole it.

     I also said I would never homeschool again.  I am homeschooling my 2 middle children.

     (Note to self:  I should never say what I will and will not do.)

     So, if you wonder why I am not blogging, it is because one child does all her work on the computer for her schooling.  By the time she's done, the other child comes home and then she hogs the computer for the rest of the night.  Therefore, I can NEVER get on the computer.

     SOOO... all the crazy things that have happened lately... Emme and Scarlett Fever, me slipping and cracking my head open and getting staples in it, going to Palm Springs, CA and peeing my pants in a parking lot, Shelby playing a "lovely lady" is Les Miserable at her High school, walking into my shower to find two large bones that my son found on a hike (why were they in the shower?  You're guess is as good as mine)... and on and on and on... I don't get to write about.

      Pray my computer reappears!

     P.S.  I'm never going to be a millionaire.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

It was a Weird Weird Night

Have you ever watched Kristen Wiig as the Target Lady?  If not... you must!  Here's the link:  Go there now!

Did you hear her say, "It was a weird, weird night?"

I'd like to bet my night was weirder!

Jackson started with a cough on Friday night and I could tell he was not feeling well at all.  The rest of the weekend he went downhill.  His color was bad.  His energy level was WAY down! His cough was getting worse and by Sunday evening he had a fever.  He hadn't been sleeping very well so I gave him some Motrin and put him on the floor in our room to sleep for the night.

I had only been asleep for about 2 hours when I felt someone tapping on my should.  I turned to see Jackson wide awake.  He whispered, "Come here mom.  I have to show you something."  I got up and followed him to the landing right outside my room.  He stopped and I stopped.  I waited a second and then I said, "What do you want buddy?"

His reply was a very frustrated, "Oh NEVER MIND!"

Then he went to his room, instead of back to my room.  He crawled into his bed, rolled himself in a ball and hid his entire being under his quilt.

I thought, "Guess he wants to sleep in his own bed." So I headed back to my room.  In the hall, I ran into Gracie who was completely wide awake.  As a matter of fact, have you seen the owl from the Animal Crackers video who had 12 cups of coffee.  (If not click here).  She looked just like that owl.  She said, "I haven't been to sleep yet!"  She then quickly shut her door.  It was 1:30am and I was so confused.

I later found out she was scared to death.  She had walked into my room right before my incident with Jackson and she had her own incident with him.  Apparently she was heading in my bathroom for something and when she walked into my room, Jackson was just standing there.  She jumped 10 feet and then she asked him if he was ok.  He yelled, "I'M FINE!!!"  She said, "You don't look fine.  You should probably wake up mom and then he yelled, "I'M FINE!!" again.

I was probably back in bed for about 20 minutes when I felt someone leaning over me.  Then Jackson spoke.  He said, "There were two giant needles."  I said, "Are you having a dream about going to the dentist tomorrow?"  He said, "No."

He went back to his little bed on my floor.

30 minutes later...he's back.  He says, "Mom!  When's it going to stop?"

I said, "When's what going to stop?"

"All the screaming and yelling" was his reply.

"I don't know buddy."

He laid back down.

Now, I'm starting to get a little freaked out.  What in the world is wrong with him?  Starring at the ceiling a couple of thoughts went through my head:  1) I'm taking him to the doctor in the morning.  2) I think his fever is higher than I thought.  He must be hallucinating.

But, then I head down a really bad path.  What if he has a mental disorder?  What if he's going crazy?  What if he's still acting like this in the morning?  What if he walks out of the house? What is starts toward the mountains and runs into a mountain lion and forgets all the rules (click here for previous post).  What if.... What if... What if....

A few minutes later, he's back.  "Can you go to the bathroom with me?  I'm really dizzy?

I hold him while he takes care of business and then lay him back on the floor.

Another 45 minutes of tossing and turning, I get myself to settle down and begin to drift off to sleep.  Then... he's back.  He crawls into bed with me and he says, "I get it!!  When the giant meatball hits the brick wall... it turns into a chicken!"

That's it!  I'm done!!  I can not take this anymore!  What in the world is wrong with him?  It'd be one thing if he were doing all this with his eyes closed.  But, he looks like he's never been asleep.  And, he's acting like we are having a perfectly normal conversation.

I don't know if I slept the rest of the night.

I called the doctor as soon as it was 8am.  When I was explaining all this to the lady on the phone, she says, "Are you sure you don't need to take him to the emergency room?"

I said, "No.  I think we'll start with a regular doctor."

Turns out, after a thorough exam, he was diagnosed with a sinus infection and lots of pressure in the ears.  She didn't seem alarmed by any of his behavior during the night!  Shew!  She did say that sinus infections are harder to treat here because of how dry it is so we were given a list of things to do in addition to the antibiotics.

I'm happy to report... he slept like a baby last night.  And, so did I.

It was a weird, weird night.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tradition.... Tradition!! (sing it like Fiddler on the Roof)

We have a tradition every year around Christmas to take the kids to a movie at the nice theatre (not the dollar theatre) and to go to dinner at a nice restaurant (not just pick up a pizza).

We usually do this little tradition of ours closer to Christmas day, but since we've moved ACROSS THE COUNTRY (for crying out loud), we are having to change lots of things.

In the past, it was never an option to go to Denver because, HELLO... we lived in Ohio.  So, how cool did it sound to say, "Hey, let's go to Denver for our annual dinner and movie family date?"  For just a second we pretended we were really wealthy and we only went to fancy, far away places.

AND... how fun was it to wake up to this on our family outing day.  We almost decided to stay around our house for our outing because they don't do much to the roads around here.  (In case you've never heard me mention it, it's ALWAYS sunny here, so the snow doesn't stay around for long... so they don't treat the roads)  Anyway, I'm SO GLAD we decided to make the drive.

On our way there, we had played an It's a Wonderful Life trivia game with the kids.  They all have a pen and paper (except Emme) and they wrote down their answers (except Emme... she yelled answers that made no sense the entire game.)  If you are fans of the movie and watch it every year like we do, you should play the game with your family.  Here's the link:

The winner... well... they got to go to dinner and a movie.  HAHA!

It was really fun and Shelby was the winner!

 The pretending we had lots of money thing... it didn't last long.  We went to a nice theatre but went to a matinee ($5).  And, since everything about this year is different, we also didn't see the movie as a family.  The girls saw a girly movie and the guys saw a guy movie.

After the movie, as part of our tradition, we always go to a mall.  The malls we would go to in Ohio... they were fine.  We never buy anything anyway, we just like to be out in the hustle and bustle.  The malls in Denver though... they are a different story.  I'm not a mall fan, but Denver is trying to change that.  I have been to 3 in ol' Denver, Colorado and I'm a fan!

I loved EVERYTHING about the one we went to Saturday.  It was the Park Meadow mall.  I took a few pictures but they really don't do it justice.

The mall was made to feel like it was a big log cabin and it was beautifully decorated for Christmas.

I don't know why, but in the state of Colorado, I am intrigued... fascinated... obsessed with their signs.  

And... just so you know...

We did it!!  We refrained!  We did not enter the water!!  We were so proud of ourselves!

Still refraining!

The girls were so excited to see a Forever 21... although I don't know why.  They were all told in advance we would not be making any purchases.  They wanted me to take a picture of it though.  So... I did... I just forgot to get the Forever 21 in the picture.  Oops!

Just one of their many cool entrances.  Again, the picture doesn't do it justice.

 I was trying to take a picture of the Windows store.  Windows... they are such copy cats!  They totally tried to make their store look EXACTLY like the Apple store.  They should know they'll never be as cool.  Good try though!

Again, pictures don't do it justice but instead of a Food Court, they have a Dining Hall.  All the restaurants look like stations like you'd see in a dining hall.  And, if you look close in the picture below you can see there was a huge brick fireplace (fire on both) sides with a mantle and a wreath.  It really gave the whole place a lodge feeling.

We conned some young guy into taking our family picture.  We did make ONE purchase.  I always buy the kids Christmas pajamas.  I could not find any matching ones this year.  But, here at this amazing mall,  not only did the Disney Store have pajamas in all the sizes I needed, the were all half off!!  WOOHOO!!!!

Huge St. Bernard tied to a pole just sitting there by himself.  He was so good.  Then all of a sudden he barked and we all about peed our pants.  Haha!

Refraining from the water... again!

Loved all the lights and decorations.

Such a cute picture!  Too bad it's so dark!

I wanted to eat at a place we had never eater before.  I spotted what looked like a little Italian palace.  It was called Maggiano's.  That's where I decided we should all go.   We went there all right.  We went in, looked at the menu and walked right out.  Too expensive!

The kids won.  The wanted J Alexanders anyway.  I know that sound expensive too, but not the way we do it.  We get two chicken finger platters (not even on the menu anymore but they still have them) and one kids meal and that feeds us all.

It was such a fun day!  What traditions do your kids look forward to every year??  

Comments would be nice people!!!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Deck the House!

First of all, if you have not read my last post about Emme... you must!

Next, I'm sorry I made it sound so serious.  I always try to make catchy titles so people will want to read my blog.  Maybe I should be worried (especially after tonight... you'll have to wait for the next post), but I actually thought it was hilarious.  She's a spirited one.  But, my fight is bigger than hers... I'm NOT going to stop talking about Jesus... ever!  So there!

 Anyway.... it was fun being in a new house this year and decorating.  Thought you might like to see my cute little house all festive.  

P.S.  I realize... there are multiple pictures of the same room... I liked the different lighting.