Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I have decided not to get stressed during this holiday season.  So…if you come on over for a visit and the bathroom’s not clean, sorry, I didn’t get to that.   And if my meal is less than perfect, have grace (after you say grace).  And if my tree doesn’t look like something out of a magazine, that’s Ok--every time I look at it, I laugh because Luke always creates an aviary by putting all of his bird ornaments on one side.  It’s alright if all my kids get is oranges and toothbrushes and lighters (for Cole--he’s a pyromaniac) in their stockings this year.  They won’t even remember next year (unless Cole burns the house down).  What they will remember, though, is the time spent at the table eating and playing games and talking and laughing; and the experiences of cutting the tree, baking goodies, and hanging out as a family. 

I’m choosing to enjoy the holiday season this year by not expecting everything to be perfect.  I will get done what I get done…and what I don’t, oh well.  Life is so much more than presents and decorations and perfectly cooked meals—and well-thought out blog posts (although I do hope to have some time to write those).

God has already shown us perfection when He sent His Son as a tiny baby--and when that same Son died on a cross for our imperfections and our unholiness.  Now we are His children! His heirs! His ambassadors! Meditate on that for awhile.

Thanksgiving is what we should feel at this time of year—not stress—so, I’m going to go with that.  And I think you should too.

Relax.  Enjoy.  Count your blessings. Get some sleep.

Can I hear an Amen?

But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.

Galatians 4:4-7

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Give Thanks

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.                                    

His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.

to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
who by his understanding made the heavens,

His love endures forever.

who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.
who made the great lights—
His love endures forever.
the sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.
the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.

to the One who remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.
and freed us from our enemies,
His love endures forever.
and who gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever.

Psalm 136:1-9; 23-26

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Spoiler warning:  If you get easily grossed out or if you have just eaten a very big meal, do not read the following post:

Ok, so it’s depressing when the vacuum has more hair than you. 

The other day, as I was cleaning my house, I noticed that the vacuum was not working very well;  the suction seemed to work, but the spinning part of the power head was not functioning.  So, being the mechanical genius that I am, I flipped over this piece to check it out.  And I found the problem:  hair—lots and lots of hair—was wound round the cylinder of the beater bar. As I got the scissors from the kitchen and began to cut hair—thick hair—thicker hair than is on my head—from the bottom of the vacuum, and as I began to pull out handful after handful of this thick hair and set it in a pile on the floor, I realized that; 1) I need to clean my vacuum more often, and 2) I really got shorted in the hair department.  I’ve already lamented that issue in this post—check it out. I mean, really, I’m jealous of an appliance because of its hair.  That’s sad.  But, I’ve also decided that maybe it’s good, cause it’s just one more thing that makes me look forward to Heaven (where I will have great hair—or everyone will be bald—either way, I won’t have to worry about it anymore).

Oh, and by the way, I washed the scissors before I used them to cut up the chicken that I used in the soup, and I threw away the pile of hair on the ground even though I was tempted to try to weave it into my own.

So, with those pleasant thoughts swimming in your brain, I wish you and yours a great hair day today and a happy Thanksgiving tomorrow!

Monday, November 21, 2011

‘member that time?

Member that time when we lived in Montevideo and we would go eat lunch at the Bungalow on Saturdays?  where they had maid-rites with only mustard and no ketchup?  And member how mom always let me order a grape pop to go with my maid-rite but I always threw up when I drank it?  member that?

It probably would have been a better idea for me to drink water, don’t you think?  I guess mom never figured that out.  Either that or she really loved cleaning up bathrooms at restaurants.

Anyway, I never drink grape pop now unless I have a bucket nearby.  But mostly, I just drink Diet Coke because it never makes me throw up.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Living for Jesus

When the children were babies and Brent would rock them to sleep, he always sang the same song. Brent is not a singer (and I think maybe this is the only song he knew all the words to. He learned it in Cadets as a child) but his slightly off-key voice always sounded so sweet as he sang this to our sleepy babies lying in his arms.

Last night, I was sad and my sweet husband sang this same song to me. As I listened to the words coming out of his mouth, I was struck by the solidity of the truth they contained. So…I decided to share them with you. Here they are:

"Living for Jesus”

Living for Jesus, a life that is true,
Striving to please Him in all that I do;

Yielding allegiance, glad hearted and free,

This is the pathway of blessing for me.

O Jesus Lord and Savior, I give myself to Thee,

For Thou, in Thy atonement, didst give Thyself for me.

I own no other Master, my heart shall be Thy throne.

My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for Thee alone.

Living for Jesus can be so simple.

And we make it so hard.

When we yield allegiance to ourselves and make Him our only Master, we truly will be glad hearted and free.

Let’s try it, shall we?

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Invisible Woman

“It’s one thing to go through a crisis grandly, yet quite another to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, and no one paying even the remotest attention to us…to do even the most humbling tasks to the glory of God takes the Almighty God Incarnate working in us.  To be utterly unnoticeable requires God’s Spirit in us making us absolutely humanly His.” 

~Oswald Chambers


I had an epiphany today; I must be the invisible woman. 

Really, this is what God wants for me—to reflect Him, not myself--to strive more and more to hide in Him so that people see Jesus when they look at Tori. 

That sounds all proper and holy when I write it on here; but real life happens.  In my real life, I love the appreciation, the praise, the atta-girl’s I get from others.  I love it when I am noticed for my special abilities, my hard work, or my insight.   I love all of these things because I think they give me favor with people.  I love all of these things because I think they make me successful.  And every one needs a pat on the back every now and then, right? 

Right…and wrong.  If I receive affirmation for something others see in me, and if immediately give credit to God in my heart, and I instantly turn my focus to Him and His blessings, then praise and accolades can be good; they increase my respect for my Creator.  But, If I constantly crave this encouragement as a way to feel good about myself, and if I focus on it more than I focus on God’s truth, then this yearning for kind words becomes an idol and it makes me focus inward on myself instead of upward on God. This view skews my understanding of true “success”.

It’s OK for me to want to do well.  It’s even OK for me to want to achieve a measure of worldly success.  But if I am doing these things in order to bring glory to Tori, they all become wrong.  Whatever [I] do, whether in word or deed, [I must] do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17). If I hide myself in Christ and His purposes, and if I truly believe what He says about me in the Bible, that huge need to be noticed will be completely filled by Him.  Then when others praise me, it will be a welcome surprise and joy for my soul—kind of like icing on the cake—not completely necessary, but wonderfully fulfilling!

So, every day, I must fade a little more.  And my devotion to MY success, and MY accomplishments, and MY ego must turn into dedication to HIS glory, and HIS honor, and HIS renown.

He must become greater. I must become less. (John 3:30)

I must be the invisible woman.


“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” 

Colossians 3:3

Monday, November 14, 2011

‘member that time? Guest Blogger—my Mom!

It was my Mom’s birthday last Monday (and I wasn’t on the ball), so I asked her to give me a ‘member that time? for this Monday and she did!  Here it is! 

‘Member that time when I was in like 1st or 2nd grade and I came home from school feeling exhausted?  And member how I lay down on the couch and fell asleep for a few hours?  And then member when I woke up and it was dark, my Mom and Dad and sister, Peggy, told me it was morning time and that I should start getting ready for school?  So I did?  Member that?

Well, guess what, it WAS NOT morning.  And they didn’t tell me until I was almost out the door.  I hadn’t even eaten supper yet—let alone breakfast!

I’ll bet they had a good laugh about that one.  Meanies.

Good thing my watch has AM and PM on it now because sometimes we have breakfast for supper. But most of the time, I’m fixing it, so that helps.


Friday, November 11, 2011

30 things your child needs to know…continued

16. How to be discerning when considering books, films, music, friends:  When your child is picking entertainment or company, teach them how to be prudent and wise.  Tell them to ask themselves, “Is this wholesome?” “Will it be good for my mind?”  “Do these friends make me better?” For media review, we love the site www.pluggedin.com

17. How to write a proper thank you note: These should be written (not emailed) and sent in the mail within one month of receiving the gift.  They should be written neatly and be heartfelt and authentic—expressing sincere gratefulness.

18. How to run a 5K or something similar:  You may  or may not include this on your list.  I think it is important because it’s important to me.  Teaching my kids to train for, and run, a race produces in them mental toughness and perseverance.

19. How to take care of pets:  As a child, I always had pets and felt they taught me compassion and responsibility.  My children now have pets to feed, clean, train, and love.

20. How to write lists/goals and complete them:  Teach your kids the importance of writing down the things that need to be done.  Challenge them to write goals for themselves and discover ways to achieve these dreams.

21. Basic Medical knowledge:  Every Haverkamp child had to learn basic first aid, CPR, and the Heimlich maneuver.  I made them learn these because I allowed them all to babysit other children and I felt these skills were necessary. This knowledge has also come in handy on our annual backpacking trips—especially when their mother falls and sprains her ankle.

22. How to ride public transportation by themselves:  Riding a bus or taxi can be daunting if you have never done it before.  Teach your child to check out the bus schedule for appropriate routes and times or call the taxi service and request a car. Then have them walk or ride their bike to the bus/taxi stop.

23. How to speak to old people:  Some kids are intimidated by the very old.  When your children are young, take them to nursing homes and hospitals and allow them to converse with the elderly.  Tell them to speak slowly and clearly and to treat the person with honor.

24. How to take care of children:  I alluded to this in the basic medical care section.  Babysitting younger children is an important skill your kids need to gain.  Not only does this prepare them for parenthood, but it gives them the opportunity to learn how to change a dirty diaper, rock a sleepy baby, and make supper with one hand.

25. How to Swim:  Every kid needs to know how to swim—it doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to save their lives.

26. How to be a good guest:  Teach your kids respect for property—yours and everyone else’s.  If your kids stay at another’s home, babysit, or rent an apartment, the rule should always be: “Leave it cleaner than you found it.”

27. How to remember birthdays and special days of family/friends: Teach your kids how to be a good friend.  Good friends invest in others and acknowledge their special days with a note, a gift, or a simple email.

28. How to give a meaningful gift:  Giving good gifts takes skill and observation of other’s preferences.  Teach your kids to think about what will make others feel special or loved.

29. How to make and keep their own appointments:  If you, as the parent, always make and transport your child to their doctor’s, dentists, and optometrist appointments, when are they ever going to learn this skill themselves?  Have your kids plug those important phone numbers into their phones and guide them in this task.

30.  How to call their mom and tell her they love her.  Moms need this.  And they need it often.  Tell your kids to call Dad too.  Even a text is good—anything will do when your baby is far away.


“Sons are a heritage from the LORD,
   children a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
   are sons born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
   whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
   when they contend with their enemies in the gate.”

Psalm 127:3-5


Thursday, November 10, 2011

30 things your child needs to know…

Haverkamp child #2 is just about ready to fly.  It’s in this season that I always evaluate whether I have taught them everything I want them to know before they enter the big world of adulthood.  I’ve never made a list of the things my kids need to master before they leave the nest; I have a mental tally.  But today and tomorrow, I’ve decided to share that previously unspoken list with all of you—15 skills today and 15 tomorrow!  Aren’t you lucky?!  Here goes…

30 Things your child needs to know before they leave your home:

1. How to use and wake to an alarm clock: Believe it or not, some kids are awakened by their parents into their teen years. Teach your kids to use an alarm clock and to manage their own sleeping schedule. Let them be late if they choose to push snooze.

2.  How to clean well:  Every kid should know how to scrub a toilet, shake a rug, and properly make up a bed with clean sheets.  Parent inspection must follow these clean up jobs to ensure excellence.

3. How to do their own laundry—well: This not only includes the washing of clothes, but the drying, folding, and occasional ironing of them.

4. How to properly set a table: Would you know how to set the table if the queen was to dine at your house? Make sure your kids know where the knife, spoon, fork and napkin go, along with the plate, bowl and cup.

5. How to plan a meal: This includes everything from finding recipes and following them, presenting the food, and cleaning up the entire mess.

6. Manners! Social manners, table manners, phone manners—just general respectfulness! Make sure your kids are noticed for their great social graces.

7. How to sew at least one basic item on the sewing machine: In the Haverkamp house, sewing is not a female-only activity. My boys are fairly adept on the sewing machine. At the very least, your kids must know how to mend torn clothing and sew on a button well by hand.

8.  How to handle money: In order for kids to learn about money, they must have some money.  Before they are able to get a job to earn this money themselves, give them an allowance.  As they get older teach them to how to count change, write a check, balance a checkbook, and make investments to allow that money to grow. Teach them how to give, to spend wisely, and to save.

9. How to shake hands with confidence: This is a skill that is lacking in young people today. Teach your kids to confidently look another in the eye, extend their hand, and ask others their names. If your child is uncomfortable looking others in the eye, have them look at the bridge of the other’s nose.

10. How to inquire about, interview for, and maintain a job: This will also include how to work hard at that job even when they don’t feel like it or it is boring.

11. How to plan a route to a destination and get there without using GPS:  With the advent of Google maps and the Tom Tom, our kids have become directionally challenged.  Before your child leaves, make them plan, and successfully execute, a route to a chosen spot using only a map and a compass.

12. Basic auto mechanics:  Every boy and girl that drives a car needs to know basic auto mechanics—changing a tire, checking the oil, filling the tires with air, filling the tank with gas, knowing what to do when the “check engine” light goes on.

13. How to drive a car with a manual transmission: Every kid that drives should also know the basics of driving a stick-shift.  This skill comes in handy when the company car (that goes with the new job) does not have an automatic transmission.

14. How to educate themselves: Even if you are not a great reader, teach your progeny the value of a good book.  Teach them how to experiment with different genres—classics, sci-fi, biographies.  Show them how to go to the Library and look at the research items there in addition to researching topics on the internet. 

15. How to establish a quiet time with God:  This can be done mostly by example.  Kids need to know that it takes time and energy to establish an intimate relationship with the Creator of the world.  They also need to know that it’s easy to put this on the back burner in favor or more “urgent” items.  Show them how important it is to put God first everyday.


To be continued…stay tuned for more necessary life skills in tomorrow’s post!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

21 Hours…

This is what one does when they are home in their own house for 21 hours alone:

Read the entire newspaper, peruse Facebook, catch up on email, write some blog entries, catch up on everyone else’s blogs, go to Orange Leaf and get all different flavors and top it off with Reese’s, eat in in the car listening to talk radio, come home, take a long warm bath, put on sweats, love on the cat with the injured foot, send the college boy a really funny news story, spend some time shopping online at Old Navy, check out books on Amazon, spend some time reading about the Civil War, spend some time reading The Help, go to bed whenever you want--which is 10:30 pm.  Sleep a long time in flannel sheets and stay very warm, get up when you want—which is 8:00 am and put on sweats again and don’t take a shower right away.  Go feed the hungry dog and uninjured cats and notice what a beautiful day God created and give the limping cat her medicine, turn on the fireplace so it will be warm when you have your breakfast fixed, then put bunches of vegetables and some berries in the blender so you can drink a green smoothie for breakfast.  Curl up in your polka dotted chair while the fireplace puffs warmness and drink up goodness and read your Bible as long as you want and be amazed by the stories in Revelation.  Get up and eat a few saltines with chunky peanut butter then take a long hot shower and shave your legs so your partner during boot camp doesn’t have to look at your hairiness on Monday.  Put on old jeans and furry sweatshirt. Then get kind of serious and get down to business and send a query letter to someone who might want to publish your 36 page study guide, and also to someone who might want to publish your Freedom Fence essay.  Make these letters sound confident and shiny-like so these people think you are a professional instead of someone who’s trying to break into the business.  Unload the dishwasher (only because you have to) and do a load of laundry (only because you must), then run back to your cozy chair with some peppermint tea and read some more of The Help.  Greet your husband and your son as they arrive and revel in the fact that most of the time you are not alone.

But every once in awhile, it’s really nice to have 21 hours…

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Plane Truth

My husband, Brent, is a private pilot.

He owns a small plane.

I don’t like to fly.

I don’t like to fly because I am afraid the plane is going to fall out of the sky.  It never has yet…but I’m just waiting. 

So…when I do acquiesce to the occasional time-saving flight over the earth, I am always rather tense.  This anxiety does not a pleasant flight make.  In fact, because I am on edge while in the airplane, every little bump or dip scares the living daylights out of me.  Brent, the ever calm and confident super pilot, always reaches over to my rigid leg when this bumpiness occurs and says, “Relax.  Turbulence is not dangerous.”

And you know what? He’s right.  Turbulence is not dangerous.  It is just the wind currents jostling the plane—just like gentle waves rock a boat or gravel makes your car tires bounce.  Turbulence, like it or not, is a pretty normal happening when you are speeding through the air in a small fiberglass vehicle. 

Turbulence feels dangerous to me. Turbulence makes me feel like the plane is out of control.  It makes me doubt the power of the mighty engines…or the speedy propeller…or even the natural lift of the air beneath the craft.  I have not made peace with turbulence yet because I don’t really believe in the power of the airplane and the physics of flight—but I’m working on it.

Turbulence in my life feels dangerous too.  When things get beyond the point that I can comprehend; when I feel like the earth might drop out from under me, I begin to get tense.  I get anxious because it’s hard for me to believe that God has everything under control.  It’s difficult for me to comprehend that this uncomfortable rocking could be achieving God’s purposes.  I can’t relax because I don’t really believe that God is good—(whoa, do I dare say that?!) but I’m working on it. 

Here’s what I know;  the more time I spend soaking in God’s word and basking in His presence, the more I trust Him when turbulence hits.  The more I learn about His character from books, and sermons, and faithful followers, the more honored He becomes  in my eyes.  And the greater awareness that I gain about my Father, the more awed I am that He saved me. 

He is trust-worthy. 

I am His child. 

And…turbulence is not dangerous.

Believe it.

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”

2 Corinthians 4:17

Friday, November 4, 2011


When I was little and I would go to bed, it was always comforting for me to hear my mom in the kitchen washing dishes, or in the bedroom using the sewing machine…just generally being up and being busy as I was falling asleep.  I’m not sure why this made me feel safe, but it did.  Maybe it was because as I was alone and in my bed, I knew that she was there.  I could “hear” her presence.  And her presence gave me a sense of security.  In fact, the realness of her presence gave me such a sense of peace that I was able to rest easily.

I think now, as an adult, if I really tried, I could probably “hear” God’s presence and see Him on the move.  I think if I really looked for where He was working, and if I really listened intently to His children, I would sense His nearness.  And I think if I did this, it would bring a sense of rest…and child-like security to my life…to know that He is busy and working.

I think I would like that.

I think I’ll start looking…and listening…and resting right now.

“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety".”

Psalm 4:8

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Noise Pollution

The other day as I was driving, Brent called me.  I couldn’t hear him very well and I absentmindedly reached for the volume knob on the radio to try to turn up the volume on my phone.  Needless to say, this didn’t make Brent’s voice any easier to understand and the unexpected noise of the radio drowned out any possibility of  communication between us.

But this silly foible made me think about how I communicate with my Father.

Sometimes I go to God in prayer, really wanting to hear His voice, but while I am waiting on His answer, I turn up the volume of the world by looking to people, circumstances, and my own feelings for affirmation.  This misdirection only serves to drown out any possibility of my hearing the still, small voice of my Creator and allows a lot of unnecessary distraction. And I end up being confused.

When I pray, I need to trust that God is listening and acting. He is taking care of my petition. I need not step ahead.  I need not  “arrange” circumstances to my advantage. I must sit and listen and trust, and when He speaks, do what He requires. I must resist the temptation to ask the world’s advice when my answer is not immediate. I need to remember that it is God I am trying to please, not man.

The volume of the masses don’t have a chance when I choose to tune in to the all-knowing, ever-present, gentle voice of God. It’s a choice I must make every time.

I must train myself to reach for the right knob…and the real Truth. 

God will be faithful. The world will disappoint.

Choose wisely.

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

John 10:27