Saturday, July 30, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me



So, it’s my birthday today, and at the Haverkamp house, you can do pretty much anything you want on your birthday (and if you really milk it, you can use the “But, it’s almost my birthday” in a really whiny tone for about a week before it actually happens).  So…here is what I have wanted to do:  Sleep in, go out for breakfast with my parents and Brent, eat multi-colored birthday cupcakes (in the morning) that Shay made me, get texts and Facebook messages from dear friends, visit garage sales with my children, work on a sewing project, hold my birthday cat (yes, I got a cat for my birthday!), take a nap, and pick up Tess at the airport (she is arriving home from Mexico) at 11:42 tonight.  Pretty sweet day, heh?

Life is good!

…until tomorrow…when turnover begins…pray for us.

And now I don’t want to write anymore and it’s my birthday and I don’t have to.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Goodbye Sandy

Now, I’m the grown-up.

Our 17 year old blind and deaf cat, Sandy, was just barely getting by on her 9th life these last few months.  Along with her regular disabilities, she developed something akin to seizures this week and started sleeping for days at a time.  When she did arise, she was all wobbly and fell down a lot. It was more sad than usual.

Today as I was watching her struggle to relax and to breath, and as I listened to her pitiful cry, I decided it was time to put her to sleep—in the vet sense of the word.  She had not eaten or drunk anything for a long time, she could not leave her bed to use her litter box, and her fur was becoming matted from lack of self-care.  I stroked her soft gray head, but she was unable to lift it to respond.  I did hear a faint purr though, and I knew she felt my touch.  I also knew that she was suffering.  I hated to watch.

So…I lifted her uncooperative body into a cardboard box lined with a blanket and carried her to the car.  It was at this moment that I was feeling very parent-like—and unsure of my decision. How was I to know that she wouldn’t rally and begin to make her rounds in the house and start running into walls and furniture again?  How was I to know if she really was in pain?  How was I to know if putting her to sleep was the right decision?  I didn’t know..and that made it hard.  Sometimes being the grown-up isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

So I took her in.  And I said a sweet goodbye.  And I cried. And now she’s gone. 

And I hope I made the right choice.  It’s one of those things a parent’s got to do (right Mom?).

Goodbye, sweet Sandy!  We will be missing you!

‘member that time?

Member that time in first grade in Mrs. Schaller’s class when we got to wear a different color of clothes to school every day?  and member how I only had one brown dress and I wore it on “brown” day?  Then member at recess when that really fat kid wanted to teeter totter with me and he was too heavy and my side of the teeter totter went flying up so fast that I fell off the end and I was hanging by my brown dress? 

Well, not only was that super embarrassing, but my only brown dress ripped right down the center and the nurse tried to fix it with safety pins.  Since everybody could still see my underwear through the safety pinned opening, the nurse-turned-seamstress eventually took me to my house and I changed into a boring blue dress—with shorts underneath—just in case.

And when I got back to school, everybody else was still wearing brown.

The humiliation was nearly unbearable.


It’s ‘member that time Monday and you can wear any color you want!  Check it out at

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Grass Grace

Yesterday the kids made a homemade slip and slide out of painter’s plastic, duct tape and two hoses.  They laid this creation in the very center of our front newly mowed lawn, and slip and slide they did—along with about 8 very wet friends.  This parent-approved frivolity went on for about 2 hours or so, until everyone was either soaked, hurt or exhausted from the combination of the extreme heat, the body/plastic collision, and/or the multiple trips back up the hill.  At the end of the day, when the kids cleaned up the artifacts of their successful slide, they found, to their horror, a 6 foot wide, 85 foot long swath of very dead, very gold, very flat grass underneath.  After an hour or so of hopeful watching, they realized that the grass would never revive into its former green glory.  And this made them very sad…and very scared…because their father is very proud of his grass—the grass he sowed with his very own hands on the land he cut and tilled with his very own tractor.  In other words, Brent is somewhat of a lawnie—which is my made-up name for someone who is anal about the appearance of his lawn.  You know, kind of like a foodie—someone obsessed with all things food.  The children had reason to worry.

When Brent, who had been absent during this whole afternoon delight, returned to his home that day, and saw his beloved grass turned golden, he asked those he thought responsible for this offense what had happened.  The trembling guilty (but really innocent—since they only had the plastic on the grass for two hours—and what grass dies—completely—in only two hours?!  We think it must have suffocated.) faced their father, they feared the worst, knowing that punishment would most likely follow.  And do you know what Brent told them after he saw this ugly mark on his beautiful lawn?  He said,

“It’s just grass.  It will grow back in a few weeks.  I’m glad you had fun with your friends.”

Did you hear that?  It’s just grass!  Just grass!  He was so full of grace and fatherly love.  He was so empty of his own ambitions.  And I was so proud of him!  What a reflection of our Father in Heaven—who gives Grace when we have messed up his perfect world. Who extends love when we don’t deserve it.  Who loves His children so much He gives them free will and lets them haphazardly attempt to live their lives—which means sometimes they mess up.  And sometimes it’s very obvious.

God decided to forgive and love and enjoy those slippery, sliding ones He created for Himself.  He is the God of second chances…and third…and fourth…and fifth.  He is a God of Grace.

I’m so glad that Brent’s my husband—didn’t I get a good one?! I’m so glad my children got to see Jesus in their Dad. And I’m so glad they will be slipping and sliding in the backyard next time.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

Ephesians 2:4


As they always say, “The grass is always greener on either side of the swath.” Or maybe not.  It’s quite the sight.  It looks like the landing strip for a UFO, so we have decided to call it Ames Area 51.

Come out and see us—and our swath—it’s pretty fantastic!

And only for a limited time!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

SC Weekly

OK, I started this stream of consciousness thing last week, so if you found it completely boring, skip this post.  I decided to call it SC weekly to give me the option of doing it on any day I want. Here we go!

I have a lot of ideas for posts about backpacking with the fam and about Positive Parenting Principles, but for some reason, I cannot seem to get myself to sit down and gather up my thoughts enough to write them down.  They just kind of sit there in my brain floating around like jellyfish.  I have been trying to do more summer things this week because I was thinking that summer wasn’t feeling any different than the rest of the year, and that was bumming me out, but what I have found is that the more I try to create that summer “feeling”, the more elusive it becomes.  Sometimes, I think that expectations of what summer or Christmas or romance or friendship is supposed to “feel” like, makes me form fit my life into certain parameters, and when it doesn’t fit these parameters, I can’t seem to achieve the joy that I desire.  In the book, One Thousand Gifts, which I have been slowly working myself through since spring, Voskamp says that she thinks CS Lewis was on to something when he wrote his book, Surprised by Joy.  She says that “Expectations kill relationships”—especially with God.  This means that if I expect certain things from God and expect my life to be a certain way, I will most certainly be disappointed and disillusioned because God’s ways are not my own.  But by giving up my ideas of what I think things, feelings, relationships are supposed  to be, I tell God that I trust His judgment and that His ways are best.  That way when He gives me things I love or when I feel wonderfully fulfilled, I will be full of joy because my expectations were not dashed.  I only expected to be able to trust in my Lord—those expectations will always be accurate and then all the rest is just frosting on the cake. Anyway, that’s what I have been thinkin’ about today.  I also think it strange that I get so worried about summer speeding by that in the middle of June I am counting the weeks until school starts and I get angry seeing all the cheery “back to school” things in the stores because I haven’t had enough of summer yet.  Why can’t I just live in the moment and enjoy the summer that I have now—right here—this moment—instead of ruining it with my anxiety of its ending?  So there you have it.  But I did think of something else.  I really like going to the concert in the park on Thursday nights at Bandshell, and we hadn’t gone yet, so last Thursday night, we put Neo in the back of the car, loaded the family up in the rest of the car, went to Hy Vee and got a bucket of chicken and set out for Bandshell.  Then we ate and we people watched and we listened to music and it was lovely.  Do you know that Ames has been having concerts in that very park since about 1910 or so?  It’s true.  I am proud to be a part of such a longstanding Ames tradition.  It feels good to part of a community and do neighborly, community kind of stuff like that.  And this Thursday night I am sitting here listening to the Cicada singing and trying to live in the moment.  Maybe it will feel more like summer if I eat a fudgesicle.  Yeah.  I’m pretty sure it will. 

…yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

Habakkuk 3:18 ESV

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Truth on the Beach

Since we were at the lake this weekend, and since I sat—almost immovable—from my beach chair reading for most of the gorgeous daylight hours, I completed two books.  One was Northanger Abbey—since I am a Jane Austen fan and I had never read this early work of hers (this was like sweet candy for my brain), and the second was Six Dangerous Questions…to transform your view of the world by Paul Borthwick (this was like a green smoothie with lots of extra veggies—it was soooo good for me!)  I would recommend this book if you want to truly know what you believe.  Here’s a quote for you to chew on (since we are using the food analogy) while you are doing your blog roll reading. Bon appetit!  

“To know a truth is to act on that truth, and to fail to act is to demonstrate a failure of knowledge.  Truth must be rescued from its arid isolation in propositional theology, and must be transferred to the arena of everyday living.”

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Practicing Prudence

Ok Mindy, since you asked, here you go.  I’ll give it a try.

After my last post, I received a comment asking how to create a less moody teenager.  Now, I am not pretending to have all of the answers, but I will tell you what has worked for us, and maybe it will work for you too.  And then, perhaps I will write a book and get rich.  Just kidding. kind of.

Here at the Haverkamp house, we are big into “prudence”.  Prudence is an old fashioned word which means,

“The ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason.” 

The reason that prudence is so important when it comes to moody teenagers (or adults for that matter) is because moodiness is an emotion like any other; when we give in to it, not only are we irritating and unpredictable, in reality, we are being very self-focused.  As Christ-followers, we should be continually striving to be Christ-focused, not self-focused. When we are looking toward God for guidance in our thinking, we are using the renewed mind that He has promised us in Romans 12:2, and we are unable to keep our eyes focused on our selves.  When we allow ourselves to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, we will be able to test and approve of what God’s will is—His good, pleasing, and perfect will.

This is where prudence comes in; when I am tempted to feel discontented in any way, I need to refocus my mind on the TRUTH of God—not the '”truth” of the world. I need to realize that my emotions often lie to me and they will convince me to have that pity party that I desire.  This pity party is not of God, because when I focus on myself…and my hurts…and my perceived injustices, I am idolizing my feelings instead of God’s TRUTH.  But…if I choose to govern and discipline myself by use of reason, I am evaluating what I am feeling by placing it next to what is TRUE.  If what I am feeling does not line up with God’s TRUTH and His character, then I need to train my reactions to these situations and learn to reign in my rogue emotions. 

Elizabeth Elliot says it well; “The discipline of emotions is the training of responses.” When we train ourselves to be God-glorifying with our emotions—even when we don’t feel like it—we are training our responses.  And like any other training, training your responses takes time, work and effort.  And like any other training, disciplining your emotions is often unnatural and unpleasant.  But with practice, all things get easier and more automatic.  When I first started exercising my will to think with the TRUTH, it was as if I were learning to speak a foreign language—the way of reason was so unnatural to me…I was a feeler, not a thinker…and I often used that as an excuse for moodiness.  Once, I understood how I was grieving God by my inward focus, I started immersing myself more and more in the Word of God.  I chose to believe that God’s Spirit inside of me could control my powerful moods and I chose to evaluate where my emotions would lead me.  Basically, I learned to think before I responded to my feelings.

As a teenager, hormones can cause increased mood swings, but if your child has chosen to be called a Christ-follower, then they need to do just that—follow Christ.  When they give in to these very powerful—and real—feelings, they are focusing on themselves and not on God.  Adolescence is a great time for your child to learn how to train their emotions and responses because they will have adequate opportunities to do so.  If they learn the valuable skill of practicing prudence now, they will be prepared for life’s peaks and valleys in the future.  Your child’s adolescence is also a great time for you, as the parent to demonstrate how God is working in your life.  Share your struggles with your teen.  Tell them how you, too, have to choose “agreeability” when you feel like being cross.  And let them know when you mess up.  Apologize when your attitudes don’t reflect Christ.  Authenticity speaks volumes to our kids.

Prudence is a choice. Let’s live our lives in wisdom. 

Our kids are watching. 

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,  making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

Ephesians 5:15-17

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

S of C Wednesday

Ok.  I haven’t been very good about writing or reading blogs lately, and I’m not entirely sure what is going on it anyone else's life but my own.  And because the lazy days of summer have been calling my name, I have been fairly unmotivated to write. So, here’s what I thought I would do. I have decided to write a ‘stream of consciousness (S of C) entry to get those creative juices flowing. 

Here’s what’s going on in my brain right now:

The fruit leather that Tess made with blueberries, peaches and collard greens didn’t turn out so well which is a bummer because she wanted to call it “Green Leather” and sell it on Etsy since no one else is selling collard green fruit (vegetable?) leather right now…Cole has a pretty easy life.  He gets up in the morning when he wants, eats a bowl of cereal while listening to Adventures in Odyssey on the computer (he does this every single day), puts on a pair of swishy shorts and whatever t-shirt he can find and goes out and plays on the slackline in the front trees for hours on end.  The slackline is a long line made of some type of nylon webbing—kind of like a tight rope, but with some stretch, thus the name “slack”line—which is suspended a few inches off the ground.  Cole sees the slackline as a challenge he must conquer (meaning balance upon while walking the entire length) by the end of the summer.  He says he wants to work up to flips.  Wow.  I will definitely be getting the video camera out when that happens…Shay has been kind of moody lately and I told her that I had never had a moody teenager yet and I didn’t plan on having one now so she had better shape up and that seems to have worked because she seemed to be her same goofy self hugging the cat too tight and all last night after she came home from her small group social with Tess… Cole seems taller lately so I measured the boy and he has grown and inch and a half in the last 6 weeks.  Soon I will be the shortest one in the house.  I’m not sure if Luke likes working for his dad this summer or not.  He seems to come home in a rather sober mood.  Maybe it’s because he has no windows in his office or maybe it’s because he has to be fairly sedentary for the greater part of the day.  That boy likes to move.  Brent has been fairly obsessed with ultra-light backpacking lately and is sitting to my left researching lightweight backpacks without frames.  Every year on our hiking trip we get a little smarter and take a little less and this makes everything way easier on our bodies and our minds.  This concept is fascinating for Brent and he has decided to start investing in more lightweight equipment.  I have been meaning to write about backpacking in my blog because I think it is so good for me and for our family because it teaches us so many things.  Backpacking is freedom for me—freedom from society, freedom from worrying about things, and freedom from any real responsibility save walking from one location to the next over sometimes difficult terrain and washing dishes after dinner.  I’m serious.  That’s all I am responsible for all week when we hike and I love it.  Neo has a big place under his chin where the fur is all scratched away and Tess was afraid he had puppy skin cancer but I am pretty sure it is just some irritation from his collar so I put some Frontline on him to get the biting stuff to fall off if they were on him and I gave him some disgusting fake bacon doggy treats to make him feel better.  I think he’ll live.  And did you know that  some woman in Texas gave birth to a 16 pound newborn earlier this month.  All I can say is “Ow”.  I mean I thought Luke was big at 10 lbs. 14 oz., but that Texan kid was exceptionally huge—no newborn clothes for him. Ok my concentration is waning now because I have been typing for so long and because it is almost time for me to leave to pick up Cole from 180.  I will stop because I am sure that most of you have quit reading by now. I would have quit reading your blog by now if you rambled on like this.

So there you have it, “Stream of Conscious” Wednesday.  Maybe it will become a regular feature. I can tell you are all pretty excited by the prospect. 

Enjoy these gorgeous summer days and make sure you catch some fireflies when the sun goes down.

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118:24

Monday, July 11, 2011

‘member that time?

I’m back!  Vacation was great and I will soon share stories of our adventures, but since it is Monday today, I thought I ought to start things off right with a ‘member that time’.  Here goes…

Member that time when we were hiking on an island in Lake Superior and we were just completing our second day? And member how I fell off some rocks and sprained my ankle and then I had to hike another mile and a half to get to our campsite?  Member that? 

Well, I do.  It was no fun and it hurt a lot and after 25 more miles of hiking, my cankle got big and blue and puffy—not very attractive for sandal season.

But hey, at least I didn’t have to cut it off with my pocketknife.  That would have been supremely painful.  And gross.

It’s ‘member that time Monday on Paige’s blog.  Maybe she has less painful memories to share. Check it out: