Friday, October 26, 2012

Life is Short

Several things in the past month have really helped me step back and think about the gift that life is. I sometimes take it so lightly, assuming with a sigh, sometimes, that tomorrow I'll have to do such-and-such because it's on the calendar, or that next week we'll see so-and-so, and I just continue on with my life, looking at my silly calendar and writing in it all the details that don't often take place (especially when I write "what I'll get done").

Today I learned that a college friend of ours has a serious form of cancer. He has two boys and a terrific wife. He's our age.

Reading Crazy Love, by Francis Chan with our small group reminded me that as Chan talks about doing unexpected funerals nearly every week, and looking at the shocked families... tomorrow is never promised.

We miscarried Sammy's baby brother or sister this month. We had "done everything right," receiving progesterone shots, just like with Sam, but the baby didn't survive. We had thought this time--- for the first time ever--- that the baby would really make it, since Samuel did. We were wrong.

Our time on earth is short, and it could be much shorter than we expect. Our loved ones' time here might be shorter than we expect. As Thanksgiving and Christmas are both approaching, I really want to weigh this fact in my heart, expressing gratitude to the Father for time with our friends and family, and also do a better job of showing loved ones how much they are treasured.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sammy's Four Months Old!

Sammy wanted to make a video for you! He celebrated 4 months today! His mommy accidentally MISCOUNTED his days in the video. At least God has the right number! :D 

Tonight Sammy had his first bite of banana mush. It was a birthday treat!  Mmmmm...

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sammy's Toes

This is a glimpse at the fun Sammy had his first time in a REAL swing!

June Vacation

The Rughs
In June we were able to travel to Illinois to see our families. My mom and sisters in Elgin decided to do an early Father's Day surprise for my dad and invited my Minnesota sister (and family) as well as us to Elgin for the party. We all DID surprise him! It was a two-day adventure with 12 grandkids decorating the lawn and even doing a parade for the neighborhood. (When the Rugh Family gets together, costumes are almost always involved...) There was a talent show the second night, and just about all of the grandkids were involved in one form or another. We had a blast laughing at each other and ourselves and celebrating our dad! Matt, Sam and I stayed with my mom, where some of the festivities were, while the other activities were at my sister Jessica's house.

My dad and I (with Matt and Sam) had a very special opportunity to attend a friend and supporter's funeral the Monday we were in Elgin. She had battled cancer like a mighty warrior, been healed of it by the Lord, and then He saw it fit to take her Home quickly last month. When I found out she was heading Home, I yearned to visit her, but God let me, instead, celebrate her life with my dad, who was her friend. I'm grateful for the timing of our trip.

The Ackermans
Halfway through the week we got to visit the Ackerman family in Joliet! Grandma Christy was even able to come from Iowa to meet and play with Sammy! Sammy's Aunt Anji had the flowers ready to make wedding bouquets for her autumn wedding, and so we had a lot of fun doing that and other "wedding-ish" activities. With less children dangling from light fixtures and popping out of cupboards, the visits to Joliet usually have a different flavor than the Elgin visits, filled with quiet mornings and loose schedules. Dan, Matt's dad, did somethings totally bizarre. For Father's Day, he took all of US out. I couldn't quite figure that one out... aren't the kids supposed to treat the dad for Father's Day? I thought that was ONE opportunity specifically for that purpose! :) [As you can see from these photos, the family is very excited to have the first grand-baby around! Grandma Christy is now, for the first time, a great-grandma!!]

Also, when we pulled onto the road leading to the Ackermans' neighborhood, the "Check Engine" light came on. We were sensing something going awry under the hood, but we were hoping it would solve itself, or something. Anyway, Dan and Matt found out it was the spark plug and took care of it! Hooray! Dan and Matt also washed and waxed the car... We were riding in style!

Basically our trip to Illinois was casualty-free, and Sam was a trooper traveling all that way! We sure enjoyed staying with family and celebrating our dads and wished we had more time with them each. They are so special to us!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

An Afternoon with Sammy

This afternoon we got the internet hooked up at home (after a year and a half without it at the house! YAY!), and I thought to myself, "Boy, if I were a Sam-Fan, I would definitely like to get to know him better." I am a Sam-Fan, to be sure, and I decided to do an interview with him and share it here on our blog. The following is a result of pointed questions and close observations.*

Mom: Sammy, I have some questions for you. Let's start with: what is your favorite time of day?
Sam: That's an easy one. I can definitely say that I really like the morning. I feel strongest and I do a lot of my fancy moves and tricks then. 
M: That's true! You do, don't you! What's one of your favorite tricks?
S: Hmmm... I suppose there are several I like, but lately I've really been doing this awesome tap dancing preparation. 
M: You tap dance?
S: NO! I can't even walk! I just get READY for tap dancing by moving my legs as quickly as possible up and down, and up and down. Like this. See? I'm so fast. And my legs have really strong muscles. Well, you know that... I always like kicking you when I'm on the floor. Right?
M: For sure, kiddo. Now tell me what other tricks you like doing.
S: Well, I'm honestly kinda sick of you always making me roll over. At first it was cool to get all the fanfare and applause, but now it's a little old. I'm liking the dancing, and then there's the Veggie Tale Scoot.
M: ???
S: You know, when I'm all swaddled with no arms or legs to move around and I wiggle my way to the end of the bed? I love that. I just don't know what to do when I get there.
M: Hahaha! That's hilarious. I didn't know you liked that so much. Cool! So you like mornings and tricks. Talk to me about your dad. 
S: He is so fun. He always says goodbye to me in the morning... and usually he leaves after my first breakfast and before my second breakfast. And he ALWAYS kisses me goodbye. His beard tickles. He sings me a song about one-little-two-little-three little naked babies when he changes my diaper. It makes me giggle. He's so great. He cuddles me a lot after work, too. When I cry, sometimes he takes me outside. Sometimes I cry hoping that he'll do just that!
M: He is pretty neat, huh?
S: Yep!
M: What is the best thing about Daddy?
S: Well, maybe that he's really patient with me.
M: Yeah. He is patient with ME, too...
S: You know my favorite thing about you, Mommy?
M: No, what?
S: That you don't get mad when I scream at night. You just tell me you love me.
M: I've been meaning to talk to you about that screaming...
S: I know. I'll work on it.
M: Okay. And about screaming, tell me what the worst part of your day is.
S: I think the worst part of the day is when I wake up hungry and you put a pacifier in my mouth, hoping I'll fall asleep, and I'm too hungry to fall asleep.
M: Oh, yeah. At 4 AM? 
S: Exactly. I mean, really... Mom, I'm starving.
M: Ok, I'll try to... wait a minute. We'll talk off the record about that one. Last question: Throughout the day, I see you gazing out the window. What are you thinking about?
S: I love the sunlight. I think it's really special and huge. I think the sunlight is exciting and it makes all the ivy and trees around our house bright green. It's pretty awesome. I think Heaven is like that. That's what I think about.
M: You think about Heaven?
S: Don't you?
M: Sure... but you're a baby.
S: Well, you asked what I think about, didn't you? What were you expecting? 
M: I guess that's a fair response. Alright, thanks for the interview. Time for your nap. Let's go swaddle you up. 
S: Okay, then I'll practice the Veggie Tale Scoot. Thanks for asking all those questions!
*Artistic liberties taken and interpretations varied.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sam Update

Sammy just turned 3 months a week ago, so we were hoping to do a quick update. We want to officially announce: he is brilliant--- quite ahead of the game! This week he moved a toy from his left hand to his right hand, he raises his head 90 degrees when on his tummy, and he "coos" along with music! Yup! Brilliant.
Life at home is good. Sammy and "Mommy" are getting into a routine, and enjoying spending time together. "Daddy" and Sam spend a lot of time on the weekends walking and playing outside while Mommy, well, does other mom-stuff.

Sammy has had his first baby-sitter! Gail (Molly's close friend) sat with him once for a few hours while Molly went out and also while she cleaned at home, and she has agreed to again while we go out for our anniversary. We are very excited for that date, but find that we are always excited to see Sammy again!

It MIGHT be that Sam is teething early (told you he was ahead of the game). He has been gnawing on his fingers and drooling all over everything. People keep asking if he is... so we say, "Maybe!" (We have no idea, but it sounds like Matt's siblings and he all teethed a little early).

Thanks for praying for Sam. There is sooooo much more going on to share, so we will do that soon. We are putting together our newsletter now, but will have more info about TECH interns and Northwood news!  Also, we just looked at photos from out vacation to Illinois, and we are EXCITED to tell you about our reunion and seeing family.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

He's Here!

We are thrilled to announce the arrival of our son, Samuel Leeland Ackerman! He was born Saturday, March 24th at 7:39 pm. He weighed 7 lbs, 3 oz., and he was 20” long.

His name was chosen after we experienced several encounters with the Lord during the pregnancy. Both of us were brought to the conclusion that Samuel should be his name, and Leeland refers to a meadow, pasture land or valley. We chose this name because we felt it reflected our journey through some valleys to reach Samuel.

We are grateful for the many encouragements we received before and after Sammy was born. Also, your prayers for us have been answered in a sweet and wonderful way. Thank you for praying and encouraging!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Ackermans are ALL growing...

Not much to say, but Matt and I are attending some pretty neat leadership workshops at Missionary TECH Team. They are based around the book Leadership 101 by John C. Maxwell. We're learning a lot... and let me say that this weekly workshop plus all the books we're reading at home are packing our brains with great information and ideas! Not only that, but this new knowledge is going to help us more efficiently and effectively serve the Lord. Pretty cool stuff...

Some things we're learning that we should be: budgeting (via Dave Ramsey), prioritizing (John Maxwell), expressing thanks and love (Ken Blanchard), praying for our brothers and sisters around the world (Voice of the Martyrs), setting goals (John Maxwell), relying on the Holy Spirit's real power (Francis Chan), listening to what God is saying through the whole text of the Bible (Larry Crabbe), and Spanish (I have NO idea what Matt's curriculum is). All that to say, we're learning a lot now as we invest our time in reading and reflecting. (We decided that since we have some quiet before bed, we should take advantage of it while we can...)

So we're growing a bit.

And our little guy is growing, too. This is December's scanned ultrasound 4-D picture of our sweetie. He's quite a bit bigger and chubbier now. In FACT, we had an ultrasound at the beginning of this month (a month after the one shown), and the ultrasound tech said, "WHOA! He as chubby cheeks!" It cracked me up. He's gaining good weight. He's over 2 pounds now, and on his way up. At this week's appointment, my doctor said he's measuring perfectly, and all seems to be in place! Thank you for praying, guys. It appears we may carry him full-term and be parents! How strange to wrap my mind around that. Meet our little man:

(You're looking at his profile, and his arm is bent with his hand near his ear. He kept trying to cover his face, and he finally let us see his eye and nose, so the tech quickly grabbed this pic.)

So this is all I have for you today! Hopefully soon I'll have another newsletter to post!!!  :)

Matt's Project: Pixelated Version :)