Saturday, December 19, 2009

December Events

Here are a few pictures of us at the Christmas tree farm...

And Tyler and Emily singing at a Northern Lights Chorale concert....
(Emily sewed her own dress - isn't it beautiful?!)

...and our family at a wedding reception.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Merry Christmas From Our Home to Yours

Merry Christmas 2009 from the Stitt Family!
Our family is doing well and hope that you are well also!

Tim is thankful for his employment and position of leadership at Spectrum Industries. He leads a men’s small group Bible Study, and is serving this year on our church’s Board of Elders, which is proving to be very eventful as our church is undergoing a senior pastor transition.

Paula continues to enjoy her ministry at Kentwood Community Church as Asst Director of Music Arts, and is fortunate to be the home school teacher for Tyler and Emily. She is very thankful that her dad, Paul Davis, is doing much better following a stroke in November 2008. Her Mom & Dad are both quite well, and living in Florida.

Tyler, age 17, is preparing to graduate from High school this spring. He is currently in the decision-making process of where to attend college and what to study. Tyler is a worship leader for the High School ministry at our church and enjoys playing alto sax in a jazz band. His other musical interests are guitar, piano and singing; he is a member of the Northern Lights Chorale. This past year he went on 2 missions trips: one to Arizona and the other to Zambia, Africa.

Emily, age 15, is in her junior year of High School. Extra-curricularly she continues sewing classes, is on the varsity basketball team, and is very involved musically with singing in the Northern Lights Chorale, playing piano, guitar and violin. This past spring she traveled to Arizona on a missions trip, working on a Navajo reservation.

We wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Tim, Paula, Tyler and Emily Stitt

*photo taken 8.15.2009

Saturday, December 5, 2009

What a Difference a Word Makes....

Have a nice day!
Have a great day!
Have a super day!

These are phrases I am very used to hearing, aren't you? I hear them about as often as I hear the word, "Hello". At nearly the end of every transaction at a store, bank, or doctor's office....usually you hear these sentiments in one form or another. It seems that the phrase is stated so automatically that it is sort of simply another option for saying "Goodbye".

At the McDonald's nearest our home I often go through the drive through to order a Diet Coke to drink while I'm grocery shopping. I did so today. There is this one gal who works there taking the money at the drive-through. She is a lovely young woman whose country of origin, I am guessing, is India. Each and every time she encounters customers she accepts the money then smiles pleasantly and says "Have a blessed day!" There is something so refreshingly unusual and encouraging about the word "blessed".

I was thinking about this in greater detail as I left her and her cheery self and drove on to the next window and retrieved my Diet Coke. I realized that her 'blessing' on me had caused me to smile.... and given my spirits a lift.
And then I thought of the great number of people she 'touches' with a blessing each day! What a difference this McDonald's worker might be making in many people's lives. And she may never even know! It's possible that there are many people depressed and discouraged, sad and downhearted, but her "Have a blessed day" comment lightens their load and brightens their day.

Also, I realized that she didn't "bless" me because I had done anything nice to her; all I had done was place my order, reach out my arm and hand her the money. Yet, she was ready to give out a blessing to me, as she does to every driver who passes her window during her 8-hour shift. She's a giver not a taker; a risk-taker not merely a responder.

Isn't it great that there are still people like this in the world?
We all have such great power in the words we offer people.
In this world where slang is king and curses abound, let's offer a change in atmosphere. And like this young lady at McDonald's, let's choose our words purposely. One postive word spoken from the heart at the right time in the right place can make a huge difference!

Friday, November 27, 2009

What a Difference a Year Makes....

What a difference a year makes!
Thanksgiving Day 2009 was such a happier occasion than Thanksgiving Day 2008.
Last year Thanksgiving Day came one week after Dad's stroke and found him in the Rehab Center, unable to speak hardly any words or form any intelligble thoughts.
It was majorly frustrating for him and for all of us to see him this way. Despite all that, most days Dad managed to keep a fairly bright outlook on things and to remain surprisingly optimistic considering how greatly things had changed for him.
However, on Thanksgiving Day last year, understandably Dad was deeply down in the dumps with discouragement and nothing Mother or I could say or do brought him any encouragement. So it was a dismal and sad day for all of us.

We were living out the irony that happens when, on a day meant to be festive and joyous/a holiday/one is struggling with negative changes in their life and finding it difficult, if not impossible to celebrate. It doesn't mean that we didn't find gratitude and thanksgiving in our hearts, but it was tough to express because of the "big elephant in the room": all that had been so recently lost.

But thanks be to God, Dad has come such a long way in this past year! The therapists who were working with him this time last year were telling us we'd be surprised how much he'd gain over time, given 6 months to a year; that they expected he'd gain back much of what he'd lost. And he HAS! Dad came home from the Rehab Center the week of Christmas and had already made much process by that time, and has continued to do so. Today he carries on conversations very well, drives the van, plays his guitars, tunes pianos and sings specials in church occasionally. It's a beautiful thing! Miraculous to see!

So it is with great joy and thankfulness in my heart that I reflect on the differences from one Thanksgiving Day to the next!

Yesterday, even though I would have loved to have celebrated Thanksgiving with my parents in Florida, instead I spend it here in Michigan with Tim, Tyler, Emily and Tim's parents and siblings. But I am grateful that Mom and Dad were able to celebrate a happy Thanksgiving Day, with a bountiful feast at their home, shared by my Uncle John and Aunt Carol, and dear friend and angel-in-residence, Gail.
And it was a joy to speak with Mom and Dad on the phone in the evening and recount the good parts about our day and the blessings we feel to be 'family'.

I hope all of you had a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I'm Counting My Blessings...

Well, alphabetizing them actually...

I am thankful for

A: America, Abundance
B: Bed, Bible, Beauty
C: (Aunt) Carol, Coffee, Creativity
D: Dad: who is healthy and well! he's had a great recovery following stroke in 11/08
E: Emily: my precious, beautiful daughter... sweet gift of God
F: Faith: my best weapon against fear, Family, Friends
G: GOD, Grace
H: Home, Health
I: Ideas, Identity, Ice cream
J: JESUS, and Jake (my dog*), (Uncle) John
K: Kingdom of Heaven
L: Laughter, Love
M: Mom: who is reasonably well; and such a dear mother she is!.....and Music!
N: Nice neighbors, Nachos, 'Normal'
O: Opportunities
P: Piano
Q: Quirks which make me "me", and you "you"
R: Relationships
S: Showers...warm, cleansing water
T: Tim, my dear husband of 20 years AND Tyler, most wonderful son a mom could have!
U: Unfailing, unconditional love of God
V: Van: a new van!
W: Water: fresh, plenteous, clean, readily available
X: eXtras
Y: Youth being renewed like the eagle's
Z: Zoos: well, I am thankful for them...and how many other Z words can YOU think of!?

This list is certainly not all-inclusive, but it's a start.
Count your many blessings; name them one by one. Count your many blessings, see what God has done!
What are YOU thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Today's Adventures....

Later this afternoon we are going to be getting a new van! Yippee. New to us anyway. :)
The older one we are trading in is 1999 Town and Country van with 180k miles, and the new one we are getting is a 2005 Town and Country with 87k miles. We're going to enjoy the upgrade and are thankful for it.

So ... this morning after a somewhat stressful hour or so at the car dealership,(stressful simply because doing car deals is WAY out of my comfort zone!), after we had settled on a trade in value for the old van and a good price for the new van, Emily (my 15 year old student driver in training) was driving us home in the 'old' van. Let me quickly state that she is doing an outstanding job as a new driver and I am very impressed with her skills and attentiveness this early on. So what I am about to relate to you is NOT (emphasis NOT) a fault of her driving!!
BUT be that as it may....we were making a left turn from the left turn lane at a very busy intersection, going left on OUR green arrow, when, as we were almost to the middle of the intersection, a car driven by an elderly lady came at us from the right, and she was also making a left turn and we nearly collided!
The lady we nearly hit didn't even look phased or like she even noticed that we were almost going to hit her. Like I'm not sure she was in touch with reality....or what was going through her mind at that moment. I looked up quickly to reassure myself that we did have the green arrow! (and we did!) while at the same time firmly saying to Emily, "Stop!" and thankfully she stopped then, immediately. We let the precious little lady go by first, and then we continued on with our left turn. :) Whew!

I was pleased at how well my dear daughter handled driving in this extremely tense situation, and I was very grateful to God for watching over us and keeping us from an accident.

It was only after we had passed through the intersection, and had processed together how fortunate we were to have not had an accident, that we were then thinking of how different an accident would have caused our new van deal to be. Certainly the trade in value of our van with the front left side totally crashed in would not have been what they are giving us for it now, as it is in its good condition!!!

So, who but God can ever know what a day will bring forth? The fun, the adventure, the close calls?! I feel like I've used up my adrenaline quota for a few days...! But all is well!
It's a great day!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Dreaded H1N1...

So it has come upon me. One week ago today....I was so so so tired I couldn't stay awake, couldn't hold my head up. I slept as much as I could even though we were traveling back from Indiana. Then I went to bed early and slept all day Sunday. Then again all day Monday. Achy, fever, chills, cough, yuk. I'd get in the shower and the warm water would feel SO SO SO good, so comforting on my achy body, and then I'd get a wave of weakness and feel like I was going to pass out right then and there.
On Tuesday I started feeling better...aches, chills and fever were gone and I was only left with the cough. So I got up and did a few things and realized that was not the right thing to do. Overdid. Didn't feel quite as good as I had thought. :)
I went to Dr. Lewis on Wednesday morning and he confirmed that I do have the H1N1 flu. Whaddya know? And being the great doctor that he is, he gave me a breathing treatment right then and there in his office to start to clear my lungs (quite congested I was) and to help the cough get better. (I have a great doctor by the way; he and God saved my life in December 2006! - Honestly!). That's the good news: the bad news is that he confined me to my home for one week - for obviously, not spreading this to everyone else, and also to rest and get better. While I do not do this "rest at home for a week thing" very well, I am finding that the doctor knows what he is talking about. My strength is not back yet that's for sure - and the cough is still here - and it wears me out to do the littlest things.
I'm so thankful that the rest of my family has escaped this and I hope and believe that they will continue to do so!
I'm trying hard to be patient and to know that "for everything there is a purpose and a season under heaven", and I guess that must include the H1N1. :)
I'm getting better every day....
Stay healthy!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pictures from Florida Trip (September)

Here are some pictures that you might enjoy seeing of the visit that Emily and I took to Florida to visit my Mom and Dad in mid-September. As you can see there are pictures of myself and Emily with Mom and with Dad. Also, the picture at the bottom is of Dad with my Aunt Carol and Uncle John, Dad's sister-in-law and brother.
It was great for Emily and me to visit with our Florida family. These pictures bring back great memories of good times together!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Catching Up!

It's time to update this blog. It's been a while! Since I last posted in early September here's some of what's been going on at our household:

School is in its full swing....Tyler is a senior this year and Emily is a junior (we're homeschooling).

Emily and I took a weekend trip (September 18-22)to Florida to visit my Mom and Dad. I am very happy to report that Mom and Dad are both doing very well! Truly, they are, and it was such a relief and blessing to visit them in a non-stressful/non-emergency setting! While there we also visited with my Uncle John and Aunt Carol, both of whom have had serioius health issues since I had last seen them in the spring. They are doing quite well also - although it'd be great if you could continue praying for Aunt Carol's vision to improve. She sees very little and what she does see is very distorted and out of proportion following the stroke she had this summer. Other than that, things are all so very well. We have so much to be thankful for.

The weekend after returning from Florida, I had the privilege to lead worship at a women's retreat (called Thrive) at Bair Lake Bible Camp, here in Michigan. It was a great weekend. My friend, Sarah Bokma from KCC joined me in leading worship there and Kristen Cottingham was the speaker. I made some new friends there that weekend.

That very same weekend, here at our own church, Kentwood Community Church, it was Student Ministries Weekend, where our church's students led the services...and I am pleased and thankful and yes, a proud mama to report that my son, Tyler, led in the weekend's worship at all three services (singing and playing his acoustic guitar, and my daughter Emily sang on the vocal team. So both of my kids were onstage leading, with their friends, leading our congregation of 2700 people in worship! Sadly, since I was at the women's retreat leading in worship there myself, I missed it - except for the video which Tim thankfully took. It's really super neat to see your kids growing up, embracing and using the gifts, talents and abilities that God has wired them with!
In the picture below Tyler is on the far left and Emily is on the far right.

So now this brings us to October....and starting last week Emily started Drivers Training. So needless to say, with her having that three days a week all month long, along with everything else, that'll keep us on the move. And what a thought to realize that soon we will have 4 legal drivers in the house. Wow! My kids are definitely no where near babies anymore. They have grown up fast!... Too fast for me....yet I am so proud of who they are, and excited for their lives and all the good things ahead for them.

Speaking of what's ahead, Tyler will be checking out a couple of colleges this month to see where he may wish to attend next year. One of those visits is tomorrow at Cornerstone University here in Grand Rapids, and at the end of the month we'll be going to Indiana Wesleyan University (my alma mater) in Marion, Indiana. Emily is visiting also since college is not far off in her future as well.

So, that's certainly not all that's been happening...we are living life to the fullest over here and there is a lot going on ....Change is in the air in many venues of life.
One thing is matter what, life is good....and mostly, God is good.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Married 20 Years!

September 2, 2009 was Tim and my 20th wedding anniversary. We were able to get away for three days together and we had a lot of fun. We went to Pentwater, Michigan, took our boat and hung out on the waters of Lake Michigan for the better part of two days. Fun times! we watched the sunset two nights in a row from our boat on Lake Michigan. One night the sun was setting in the west and in the eastern sky at the same time was the moon coming up. Kinda cool. So we took pictures with both in the background.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Mackinaw Island 2009

Almost every year since our marriage in 1989 Tim and I, and then later of course Tyler and Emily, have gone to Mackinaw Island every summer. We missed a few years for varied reasons....but it's a traditional visit for our family. We really enjoy it there.
If you've never been, you get over to the island by boat naturally (or plane...which Emily actually did with friends earlier this summer)...and there are no cars on the island. With horses and bikes as the only form of transportation, it's very laid back and slower paced. It's a very relaxing place to be.

A handful of times we have stayed overnight on the island, and that is an additionally peaceful experience. After the last group of visitors have left to go ashore on the last ferry of the night, it gets quieter still on the island....Ah, to walk along the edge of the island and just listen to the waves of Lake Huron....I just love that sound!
The past two years we have skipped the ferry ride (and the price tag that goes along with it) and have had the fun adventure of going over from mainland to the island in our own boat - and what FUN that is! It's about a 15 minute ride....and Tim's a great captain. :) We dock at the Mackinaw Island Marina, and enjoy the perks of having our boat with its belongings there with us all day, and enjoying private facilities of the marina. We also take our bikes over on our boat and have had them there with us to ride around the island. Fun!
During this year's visit to the island we stayed overnight at a cute little bed and breakfast: Pine Cottage. We had a wonderful time.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Pictures from Sarah and Jim's Wedding and Reception

It was a lovely day. The wedding was held at a small chapel, with around 60 people in attendance, then the reception was held at the new family's farm! What a fun day!
Congratulations Jim and Sarah!