Tuesday, June 16, 2015

29 Years Ago...

June 7th, Mom and Dad celebrated 29 years...

It all started a long time ago when a single young lady purchased a Nissan Sentra from a man in California. It just so happened that the man had a single son about her age that she just had to meet…and they did meet one Sunday morning.

Eight months later, they got married. It all happened while they were driving together one day on one of their dates. The beautiful young passenger looked over at her driver and exclaimed, "What am I going to do with you?" To which he very promptly responded, "Marry me."

Two years later, they began their family when their first little girl came into the world...a beautiful little redhead.

Like all first children, she was pampered and carefully cared for, each little fuss bringing either mommy or daddy immediately to her cradle. 

Then a little boy came along...

...and their little girl had to share all of the attention.

 They told us that at the time, they thought that they had all of the answers to parenting; Charae and Jonathon were God's answering that they still had a lot to learn.

Growing up, no one had a better selection of stories then mommy and daddy. If we were stuck waiting in the car for mom to pick up some groceries, dad was sure to whip out one of his famous “Mr. Frumble stories”. By the time mom had arrived back at the car, we would have gone on a whole wild adventure with Mr. Frumble; whether it was the time that Mr. Frumble made a daring escape from a band of pirates, or the time that he made a surprise dinner for his wife and accidentally lost his glasses in the dough, it was always a surprise. 

Mother, of course, was known for her “Baby Nigh-Nigh stories”, which always began with the baby of the family being put down for a nap right before a party. Inevitably, the little baby would work its way out of the crib and down the stairs to get into all sorts of trouble. 

As the family began to grow, the busyness of life increased. Mornings always began with "Proverbs time". Around 6:00 in the morning, Dad would come into our rooms and wake the four oldest children. They would quietly make their way downstairs to cuddle closely together under dad’s big, old, brown blanket. Of course, not one for early mornings, the oldest one could usually be heard coming down the hall as daddy brought her kicking and screaming to the couch. When we had all gathered together, Daddy would pull out his warn, marked Bible and turn to Proverbs.  

Welcoming Leisel to the family

Of course the putting-everybody-to-bed part was never quite as easy as getting everybody up. The ‘“no-heads-off-pillow-rule” didn’t really mean that we couldn’t carry the pillows around on our heads instead. And if there were restrictions on talking, we found that we could just make up our own form of sign language. 


It was a known fact that Dad was a softie when it came to his girls. We knew all of the tricks to get the right response out of him. Our favorite one was to catch him either when he had just woken up and was still groggy or when he was busy on his computer and then ask him for something. We usually got a very distracted “yes”. And then there was of course the time when we’d ask him to come tell us when our “staying-up hours” were over because we knew that he inevitably forgot and we could get in an extra hour or two of playing. 

School days were often the same routine from one day to the next. Nothing really changed; everybody’s schedules were the same. Back then, life revolved around the kitchen table sitting in the center of the dining room that served as our class school room...

...After everybody was dressed and ready for the day, and the important ceremony of waving goodbye to Daddy as he left for work had been carried out, everybody unloaded their stacks of books from the school cupboard and spread them out onto the table. Then the work would begin. Around the same time every day, Dad would make a call home to check up on mom. Of course, there was always a race to see who could get to the phone the fastest. 

Growing up, the idea of riding a yellow school bus every day was a subject of much fascination for some of the children. To others, the idea of a sack lunch proved intriguing. But going to school in pajamas was something that one really couldn’t beat. And of course mommy always makes the best school teacher.

Around evening time, when the smell of dinner would begin to waft through the house, hungry little faces would peek around the corner to ask mommy, "What's for dinner?". The table that had served as a schoolroom for the day would quickly be transformed into a dining area. Stacks of half-corrected work would be laid aside for later and replaced with dinner settings. 

Jonathon had come to sing me to sleep that night, and crawled into bed with me...this was the result :)


Sometimes the normal school schedule would be interrupted when an important event came up; like when it was time for everyone to shop for new Easter shoes. Then mommy would pile everyone into the car and head to Payless...

Kayleen and Lynnae
Then there was always a day set aside for taking out summer clothes from the attic. Mom would crawl into the tiny space (most of the time, half-pregnant) and unload stacks of boxes. It always felt like Christmas again, getting huge stacks of clothing handed out to you. Picking out a dress from that stack to wear for the next day was always a big ordeal.

Kayleen and Dad
Lynnae and Kayleen

When everybody had gone to bed, mommy worked on tirelessly into the wee hours of the night because the stacks of half-corrected school work weren’t going to correct themselves, and those loads of ironing on the washer had been piling up for days. We learned that a mommy’s job doesn’t just end when the day is done. 



Saturdays were always reserved for yard-work. No one was excluded from heading out to pull weeds and trim ivy. 

Life was a lot simpler then. Nothing unexpected ever happened. The biggest news around the house was the grade that someone had gotten on a spelling test or the fact that someone had lost another tooth that day and they were waiting for the tooth fairy to place their dollar under their pillows. Thursdays were religiously set aside as “Family Night”...

...The evening’s event always remained a surprise until everyone was gathered around in the family room. Then mom and dad would come in and reveal the plans for that night. The activities ranged from baking-night for soldiers, playing games of charades or Clue, watching old family videos together, accompanied with Chocolate Sundays and their numerous colorful toppings. Sometimes we would all go out in the garage and prepare for the next day’s garage sale. 

One of the family’s greatest traditions was evening PE. After dinner was over, all the little ones headed up to the bonus room. Using the four corners of the room as “safety zones”, they would play tag with Daddy till they were wet with sweat. They really thought, at the time, that it was hard for Daddy to catch them as it always seemed to take such effort. 

The coming of each new baby was awaited with eagerness. The morning of the delivery generated much anticipation. Everybody practically lived by the phone that day waiting for the call that would introduce either a new brother or new sister into the family...

...As each baby got older, Jonathon would always walk up to mom and ask her, “Are you expecting again?”

No matter how busy life got though, Mom and dad always made time for family devotions. Whether it was early in the morning reading Proverbs together, sitting around the table after lunch studying various passages of scripture, or ending the evening meal with a Psalm, they always made sure we realized that the center of our family was Christ. It was by their faithful example that we have been blessed to see the faithfulness and love of our Heavenly Father displayed in their lives.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Back Home Again!

A week ago this Friday, there was an unusual stir amongst the Spafford inhabitants. It was all hustle and bustle around the home as everybody hurried about trying to clean the home. One might have thought that there was someone important arriving that day.
Then, the awaited hour came; everybody crowded around the front door as a beige Lincoln pulled into the driveway. Charae was finally home.
That Friday was the first "kid's night" together in a long time. Friday nights have always been sacredly set aside in our household as mom and dad's date night and our "kid's night"; which usually means mom and dad going out for dinner and the kids staying back to play a game or watch a movie together. As life has gotten busier, these nights have gotten fewer and far between. That night, everything was going on as it always had before.
Saturday morning the hallway became crowded with moving boxes and duffle bags. Charae was moving back in.
Much to Leisel and my dismay, she has not resumed her former abode upstairs in our room due to what she calls "the business of life". She has promised though that there will be exceptions made every weekend, which greatly consoled us!
Last Saturday, we all headed to town to enjoy a pancake breakfast at the Hockinson Fire Station. This was followed by a trip to DSW, (the result of mother seeing the state of Jonathon's 6-year-old shoes) She informed him that day that he was not going to leave the store until he had purchased at least two new pairs of shoes...he walked away with three ;)
That night at 9:30, we girls got the urge to workout together (and Charae was dragged into it as well ;)
There has been much catching up to do over the past week and an overwhelming amount of hugs to be given. But everything feels normal again: setting the dinner table for eleven, Charae making the morning pot of coffee, and sitting around together in the mornings sipping steaming mugs of it together. It's nice to be able to have girl's shopping days again, dance together to country music, sit around in the evening wearing face masks and laughing about silly things :)
Charae is now working part time teaching English to Korean children over Skype. She is also getting her degree in English, taking online courses from College Plus. We are going to be seeing very little of her as she works to finish her degree over the next year. Please pray for her as she is also looking for another part time job.