Thursday, December 31, 2009

Good Bye 2009...What's Ahead in 2010

Goal Setting. For most of our 17-year marriage my DH and I have sat down in January, usually at the local Starbuck's, with a laptop and a list of goals we hoped to accomplish in the upcoming year. Before we began our new list we retrieved the list from the previous year and evaluated what we achieved. We are a couple who tends to dream big so sometimes our goals remained unmet (like the years when I consecutively tried to read at least one adult book a month), but often times we reflected on great accomplishments.
Then after this time of reflection we would enthusiastically type up the coming year's lofty goals and discuss how we planned to help the other person reach his/her goals.
A couple years ago I became increasingly frustrated with this goal-setting event. Year after year, as I reflected on my previous year's goals I realized I accomplished very little, at least according to my list. Heck, I could not even manage to read a book a month! I would then begin to get down on myself and soon our Starbuck's trip would turn into a pity party/cry fest about how I can't manage to even reach the most mundane goals. Needless to say, DH was not particularly thrilled with where our productive goal setting meeting ended up.
DH would then reassure me that I do a lot, homeschool the kids, make meals, maintain the house, etc. but I wanted to live a life that screamed significance. I wanted to be someone who accomplished more than cleaning the house or teaching a kid to read. I wanted to save orphans, feed the hungry, write cookbooks, learn photography, and serve in ministry. I wanted to be a Martha Stewart, or a Bakerella, or a Beth Moore, or a Farm Chick, or a Dara Torres, or a Max Lange, or get the picture. I now think it's my pride and ego that wanted to be all these things.
Well, this year after six months of slowing down (and reading a lot of books) and enjoying some peaceful living, I think I'm finally realizing I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be. I can be a Martha Stewart for my little family, a Bakerella for my girlie and her friends, a Farm Chick in my little world, a Beth Moore in my prayer/Bible time, a Dara Torres in my jogs along the beach, and a Max Lange to our two beautiful sponsored children. But most importantly, the goal isn't doing these things to prove significance to anyone, but to be significant to those around me and to live a life doing what God wants me to do.
So this year's goals may seem smaller, but I think they'll be more significant. They'll be: To enjoy each day to the fullest. To live a healthy and happy life. To love on my husband and support him. To Cherish the three precious children we've been blessed with. To know my God tomorrow, more than I do today. And to live a life that brings Glory to God, and no one else, especially not me.

When It Rains...We Bake

watching the butter and sugar- looking for a fluffy consistency

carefully reading the recipe

mom, I've got it under control...thumbs up!

6 eggs!

beautiful batter

ready for the oven


beautiful...Great Cake

A pouring-down, rainy kind of day is an excellent day to try out that recipe that's been on your "to try" list.
A couple weeks ago the kids and I went to Starbuck's for a little coffee treat. Standing in front of the baked goods display case our oldest son was trying to convince me that we should buy a slice of pound cake for him. Being the frugal mom that I am, I chimed, "Why buy it? You can make that!"
So yesterday was his day to create his own pound cake. We selected a recipe from Country Living GREAT CAKES. I purchased this book a couple years back when I attended The Farm Chicks Antique Show with a friend. My friend, owner of Summerland Style, had a display booth and I was blessed to be there with her.
GREAT CAKES is a Fabulous cookbook filled with classic cakes. If you're calorie concerned this is not the book for you. But if you want a flavorful, tried-and-true cake pick one from this book. Every year on our kids' birthdays I hand them the book and ask them to choose which one of the cakes they'd like me to make. It's a treat for all of us.

The editors from Country Living also attended The Farm Chicks Show and graciously signed my book. It's become one of my treasures.
Yesterday our boy made...

Spice Pound Cake
3 cups sifted cake flour
3/4 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1 c. butter (2 sticks), softened
2 c. granulated sugar
1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
6 large eggs
1 c. sour cream
Confectioners' sugar (optional)

Make the Batter: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 12-cup Bundt pan. Dust with flour and tap out the excess. Set aside. Combine the flour, nutmeg, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set aside. Beat the butter and sugars in a large bowl with a mixer set on medium speed until light an d fluffy- about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture by thirds, alternating with the sour cream and ending with the dry ingredients, mixing just until the batter is smooth.

Bake the Cake: Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean- about 1 hour 20 min. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Use a knife to loosen the cake from the side of the pan and invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. Sprinkle the cake with confectioners' sugar, if desired.
Nutrition information per serving (makes about 14 servings) Protein: 6 g; Fat: 20 g; Carbohydrate: 77 g; Fiber: 3 g; Sodium: 259 g; Cholesterol: 132 mg; Calories: 499.

Monday, December 28, 2009


The kids like to dress him up. This is Luke in his special Volcom hat.
Just over two years ago a VERY special little cat walked into our lives.

At the time we lived out in the country where coyotes roam at night and cats live a life of risk and/or adventure if they stay out past dark. We had a precious orange tabby cat who was an indoor cat. But late in his life he decided he wanted to hunt for bugs and hang out on the deck. One day a terrible storm came rolling through and that was the last we saw of our orange tabby named Louis.

I combed the shelters put out ads, but no one had heard nor seen our 11+ year old tabby.

After about 2 weeks from his disappearance, I was startled by a skinny, malnourished orange tabby who peered at me through our kitchen window. Being the animal lover that I am I opened the back sliding door and in ran the fur covered bag of bones. He was so skinny and pitiful.

We still had Louis's food and water out in hopes that he would return. This vagrant cat speedily ran to the food and began devouring it.

The kids thought this cat was Louis, but I knew better. I was confident that this kitty was a gift from God. I so missed my orange tabby and since I don't believe in coincidence, the fact that an semi-identical orange tabby showed up at our doorstep, in the middle of country fields, just reminded me that God was looking out for us and this little kitty.

After a trip to the vet we learned that this guy, we now call Luke, was about 3-4 years old.

I put out ads and alerted local veterinary offices in case someone was looking for him, but never received a response.

Now this guy has been with us for just over 2 years. He's left the life of skinny, wandering cat. He's the most friendly cat I've ever met. Our neighbors love him. He's gone from wide-open spaces to the life in the O.C.

This morning as I was holding him I thought back on his last two years. What a change! He was found by a family who would love him. And I think he's got quite the life!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Hittin' the Road

This Christmas we've become a Band Hero, Beatles singing Rock Band kind of family. We've rotated through the vocals, guitars, and drums. We've taken tutorials, and refined our voices (ha!). We've reminisced on great songs of days gone by and how old we were when they were popular.
I feel like an accomplished parent.
I've exposed the kids to one of my favorite bands, The Beatles, thanks to the Wii game Gommer gave them for Christmas. We've listened to Yellow Submarine countless times and I don't think the kids are tiring of it. I've never played so many video-type games for so long in my whole life!! I feel completely unaccomplished, but totally satisfied that our crew has had one of the best Christmas's ever. They have played and played to their hearts content, or so I would think, but our middle son with big, brown eyes reassured me that he still has more left in him to play.
We've sang Taylor Swift's hits many a time and our girlie is asking that we do it "One more time." And who could forget my rendition of Culture Club's, "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?"
Our oldest son said we'll probably be apologizing to the neighbors tomorrow. Let's hope they didn't hear! I can wish!
My voice, and not so good a one, is tired, my drumming foot is tired, my guitaring fingers and forearms are tired. I think it's time to call it a night...
Time to go round up the Band Heroes...try to tear them away from some Jesse McCartney.
Wish me luck...

Friday, December 25, 2009

My first Grandbaby!

This Christmas the #1 item on our 6-year old daughter's wish list was a Baby Alive Whoopsie Doo Doll. Not only does she coo and chuckle, she has the ability to poop and pee. Wow! What a joy! When I had sweet little babies, I didn't wish to become a mom to experience explosive poops, arching pees and the like, but these qualities made this doll a must have on our little girl's wish list.
For months our sweet pea wrote "Whoopsie Doo Doll" on many lists and dreamed about this baby. We even made a trip to Target to make sure it was all that she hoped it would be. She left the store wide-eyed and continued to dream of it being under the tree.
When she awoke, she went for the most odd-shaped present under the tree in hopes that the peeing and pooping doll would be wrapped beneath.
And sure enough it was! Today this precious Whoopsie Doo Doll has been by her side. She's been fed, changed and cuddled. I've been told I definitely need to make a trip to the store for more diapers.
It really is a cute doll. I've rocked her as requested and even fed her. She sucks the bottle, drinks the water, coos, and if you remove the bottle too fast she'll begin fussing.
What warms my heart more than watching our little one truly enjoy her Christmas gift is knowing that even a 6-year old precious has an inner desire to be a "mommy." She is a nurturer and it blesses my heart.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

10 Things I've Learned While Living in the O.C. #2

Okay, this is the second posting of 10 Things I've Learned While Living in the O.C. Despite preconceived notions of what I thought O.C. people would be like, they are warm, welcoming and very inviting. Never before in my adult life have I ever been so welcomed by neighbors and friends. My sweetheart and I have been amazed and completely blessed by the hospitality here. We've also had many a conversation wondering why the people are so much more friendly and inviting.
Since being here we've been invited over for dinner, we've been invited to MANY parties, we've been invited over for holidays, we've been invited over to just hang out, friends have offered to have our kids over at the spur of the moment and we've had a friend offer to just come over and watch our kids so we can go out on a date.
So what is so different that people actually want to hang out with us?? Here are some of the things we've come up with...
One thought is that so many people here are not FROM here so they all know what it's like to be the "New" people in town and want other new people to feel welcomed too. They've walked in our shoes before.
Thought number two...where we come from people have their families (generations in the same town) and their peeps and having new people come in might just be too invading of the way things have always been.
Thought number three...God's just been setting us up perfectly. He already knew what we would need to make this home for the time we are here. He surrounded us with amazing people to make this transition smooth.
So, if you're reading this and you're from our "other" home, I'm not trying to guilt anybody for not inviting us over. I'm just making an observation. You can invite us over when we get back. But in the meantime, invite someone over and include them in your life. It will bless them immensely!
If you're from our "current" town and you've been an inviter, Thank you very much!! You've blessed us greatly.
So, as I've discovered, The O.C. is filled with amazing people who have made us feel like we're at home from the time we arrived. Thank you for being there and for allowing God to minister to us through your hospitality.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Best Kind Of Days

Ever have one of those days that is so good you just want to bottle it up so you can splash it on yourself when you're not having a great day. Today is one of those days. A day when I just want to savor every moment, every laugh, every smile from our kids. I want to purposely preserve it so I don't forget a detail, but these words I'm typing don't even seem to do justice to the feelings of pure satisfaction I felt this afternoon.
Today started out like any other day. We embarked on our daily homeschool routine. We read a chapter from Leviticus. We read a chapter of Indian in the Cupboard. We learned about King James I. Little did I know from him we got the King James version of the Bible. The kids did math, English, spelling, a little geography, read from the American Patriot's Almanac, and practiced their piano. Same similar routine that goes with most mornings around here.
The last few days it's been a bit chilly and we've found ourselves huddling indoors, but for some reason today seemed like a great day for a picnic at the beach. So after schooling we ran one errand then headed to Subway to grab a couple sandwiches. The boys had already packed up the car with bikes, helmets, backpacks with blankets and a good book. We were off.
We headed to one of our favorite beach locations. Deal was I got to go for a little jog at the beach while they biked along. After about a 30 minute run we secured the bikes and then headed to the sand.
The waves seemed more forceful today making a statement with each roll toward the beach. They begged to be noticed and admired. The boys envied the surfers who were out today, but I was glad our boys were along the shore with and sound...and we decided football was more our sport today.
I stood on one end and both boys were on the other side. We threw the football back and forth. With each throw I made they comically dove for the ball, tackled each other and laughed uncontrollably. I love seeing two brothers get along so well. I stood and marveled at the closeness our boys share. I pray this relationship continues to grow and that they forever become each other's best friend.
While the boys and I were playing our little girlie girl was setting up the sandy home front with the blanket. She organized the shoes on the blanket corners so the it was secure. She dusted the sand off and prepared for our meal.
The football toss continued for quite awhile and the whole time I was trying to take in every second. It was just one of those experiences when I thought, "I hope our kids remember this time at the beach."
After our fun, we ate our sandwiches, entertained a little black poodle named Molly who wanted to be part of our moment. Then as the sun started to go down, and the wind began to pick up the chill was getting to be a little too much for our youngest.
We packed up and as we were walking back to the car, our oldest son said, "Mom, it's really great that you're getting sporty. You've really improved on your football throwing."
My reply, "Honey, that's the best thing I've heard all day!"
For some reason his words really hit me. There was so much more behind those words. I don't think it's all about the football throwing. It's the time. It's the setting aside of everything else to take in these moments with our little ones. It's the savoring every moment, laughing, and cuddling on the blanket eating a sandwich. I think for him today was so much more than he could express too.
So as I go to sleep tonight, my prayer would be that God would engrave today on the archives of my memories and mark it "IMPORTANT" so I can retrieve it at a moment's notice. It was priceless and should not be forgotten!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A Holy Spirit Centered Life

I'm currently reading Forgotten God by Francis Chan and it's making me realize how many of us are really missing out on so much of what God has in store for us as we live lives led by our personal interests rather than by living by the Holy Spirit and the abundance He has to offer.

Francis writes, "When it comes down to it, many of us do not really want to be led by the Holy Spirit. Or, more fundamentally, many of us don't want to be led by anyone other than ourselves. The whole idea of giving up control (or the delusion of it) is terrifying, isn't it? Do you thrive on controlling the big and small in your life? Does the thought of letting go and listening to the Spirit's guidance scare you and only make you cling tighter to what you think you have?"

We have some friends who have wholeheartedly followed the Holy Spirit. They amaze me! They have opened their home to orphans. They have left the country they know and love to follow God in a far-away land. They have left the comforts of lucrative jobs for living a life of service. And today I learned they are again listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and adopting another child who would otherwise have no family, no future, no Jesus.

These people are more than Christians who believe in Christ and go to church on Sundays. These are people who are Christ-like.

Francis explains, "When people give their lives to God in exchange for a ticket out of hell, there is often no turning or change of direction, which is the definition of repentance. If all you want is a little Jesus to 'spiritualize' you life, a little extra God to keep you out of hell, you are missing out on the fullness of life you were created for.
He continues, "Not only this, you don't need the Holy Spirit. You don't need the Holy Spirit if you are merely seeking to live a semi-moral life and attend church regularly. You can find people of all sorts in many religions doing that quite nicely without Him. You only need the Holy Spirit's guidance and help if you truly want to follow the Way of Jesus Christ. You only need Him if you desire to 'obey everything' He commanded and to teach others to do the same. You only need the Holy Spirit if you have genuinely repented and believe. And you only need the Holy Spirit if you understand that you are called to share in Christ's suffering and death, as well as His resurrection."

To experience the FULLNESS of what God has designed for life. Doesn't that sound amazing?

I think of our friend's 2 (soon-to-be 3) adopted children, born in a country where God is silenced. Born with minor external differences that would have left them shunned by their culture, possibly begging on the streets surviving one day to the next. Now, because the Holy Spirit is guiding their lives and they've listened, these three children are in a loving Christ-centered home. They have sisters and a big brother. They are surrounded by love and family. They are getting a wonderful education and they will have a blessed future.

Today, I'm asking the Holy Spirit to speak into our lives. To map out the course of our day. I want to value those things God values and have it evident in my life. More than by word, but by action.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Night To Remember

The anniversary couple...married November 1992

Yesterday we celebrated our 17th Anniversary. It's hard to believe 17 years have so quickly flown by.
The day started out like many other Saturdays... Soccer game, basketball practice, etc. After our youngest played her soccer game I learned that it was also last day of baseball sign-ups. What?? We just finished fall sports, just started practicing winter sports, and it's already spring sport sign-ups? Thus began the tension of our day.
I had to rush over to sign-ups with birth certificates in hand and proof of address. I waited in the long sign-up line after filling out my 15 (yes, 15!) forms and then finally made it to the close-out line. It was there I realized I didn't have my checkbook and definitely didn't have the $300+ cash in my wallet.
I phoned DH who was enjoying a U10 play-off game and asked if he could run home and grab the checkbook. "What?? They don't take debit?" was his response. Mine too.
Well, finally as they were closing the gates to sign-ups he arrived with the checkbook, and the boys were signed up for spring baseball.
By then I was feeling tired, frustrated and just wanted to go home for a nap. The relaxing anniversary day I had planned in my head was not panning out.
After a quick lunch at a favorite spot, we headed home. I needed a nap and a workout. The boys went to shoot hoops.
Because of the busyness and the tension DH and I almost decided to cancel our anniversary dinner plans. Things were just not feeling celebratory. Some days things just go awry and you feel like the enemy is out to get you. This was one of those days.
So I took my snooze. Hopped on the eliptical when I got up and started to feel better.
Maybe the date would work out.
In the meantime, DH and the boys had gone out to Ann Taylor Loft and bought me a new outfit. Super cute! Fit Perfectly!
I scrambled and called a friend who would love to have the kids over.
Despite the rough start, we were ready to leave by 6:00pm. The kids called me downstairs and much to my SURPRISE my Chariot did await!!! Hub had rented a limousine for us to take out to dinner!
I had never been in a limousine before. Excitement abounded!!

Their First Limo Ride...the High Life!

The kids, hub and I piled in the limo and we dropped the kids off at their friends' house.
We then went to a fabulous restaurant called The Cannery. The food was amazing!! As was my company!!

Salad and Grilled Seafood...Presentation was beautiful!

And the perfect ending to the perfect meal...bread pudding and coffee
The day seemed to begin in disaster, but at the end of it I felt COMPLETELY
and Adored!
Thank you sweetheart for a most memorable 17th Anniversary!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

10 Things I've Learned Living in the O.C.

I'm not sure I have 10 things yet, but I'm working on them. I'll share them as they formulate in my mind.
#1- When living in the O.C., don't bring dessert to a party. No one will eat it.
My sweetheart made a beautiful Tiramisu recently and we brought it to a party and the hosts said no one would probably eat it. What?? Not even try homemade Tiramisu?? Is that politically correct?
I've been thinking on this for a couple weeks. No desserts?? When you make homemade cookies, kids ask mom "Can I have one??" And many times they turn it down. Very Interesting...
When we moved down here we realized there is a higher level of healthy living than we've ever experienced before.
I think overall people in O.C. choose carefully where they're going to spend their calories. If they're going to have a holiday cocktail, they're definitely not going for the dessert.
According to the Calorie King one piece of Tiramisu will cost you about 602 calories. Wow!! Didn't realize that one!
So...when your living in the O.C., bring a bottle of red wine to your guests. Leave the desserts at home or make them for your friends in other parts of the U.S. where they'll be consumed and appreciated.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Colonial Study

We've been studying the Colonial Times this fall. It's been great fun reading about life from the Pilgrims Landing through the Revolutionary War. The last couple of days we've made apple pies, spiced acorn squash, homemade donuts, and today we made candles.

All the activities are great fun, but we do tend to make big messes.

Yesterday while making the apple pies we were all covered with flour, but it was so fun!
While making the donuts, the tongs slipped out of my hand splashing oil all over my arm. Ouch! But the donuts were SUPER yummy!

Today while making the squash, we ended up having many squash seeds all over the floor, but that's an easy pick up.

And when making the candles, I accidentally spilled wax on the cooktop. That's a CHORE to clean up! But like our little middle son reassured me..."But Mom, it was SO FUN!"

So despite the messes, the burns, the huge clean ups, I wouldn't miss these opportunities to create, make and experience life with these littles.

Waiting for the wax to melt...

The Candles...

Cleaning out the Acorn Squash

Cleaning out the squash

All good projects are better when wearing your beautiful braided LONG hair...

Rolling out the Pie Crusts

The Apple Pie


The burns

Monday, September 14, 2009


God works in interesting ways...this past week a friend asked how to deal with rejection. I don't have all the answers, but noted that Jesus was rejected and knows her pain and that often times we may be rejected because it's not where we're supposed to be and God has a better plan. It's a time for growth and character building, I told her.
How come it's so much easier to comfort a friend going through a tough time then it is to receive your own comfort from the same words you shared.
Yesterday Rejection came knocking on my door...
I was DE-FRIENDED! I wondered who would want to de-friend me (on Facebook, that is). Well, I guess when you have all these "friends" that aren't really your friends you probably don't have all that much in common after 25+ years.
I was then reminded of a comment I had left on this de-friending gal's post one day. We obviously have very different passions, interests and thinking. She's anti-Christianity and posted one day why people would bother to post scripture verses in their status boxes. She continued, if she wanted to hear that...blah, blah, blah. Then the posts started flying...lots of negative comments about Christians and I peeped up... "People post what they love and what inspires them. Many times people post things I don't agree with and I overlook it. You can overlook it or you can de-friend them." Well guess what??? She obviously took my advice and de-friended me!
At first I felt such a sting of rejection!! How could she? I'm a good friend, not one that should be de-friended. It was wearing on me and my sweetheart said, "Let it go." But, but...
Then in church yesterday listening to the sermon, I was hit with, it's not me she rejecting. It's who and what I love that she's rejecting. It's my passion for Christ and for His ways. I was then reminded of 1 Samuel 8:7 "And the Lord told him: 'Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king."
The Bible has a lot to offer on rejection. Jesus, God's own son, Rejected by the very people He came to save. The people He loves so much He was willing to die for. Doesn't make sense. How could you reject someone who loves you this much that He was willing to take all your "stuff." He had all that sin placed on his Perfect life and then died so that you and I can experience eternity with God. Sounds crazy, but true. How can we reject? I don't know. But I think many have de-friended our best friend, our advocate, the one who looks out for us because in our worldview we don't agree with him or what His Word says.
If my sting hurts, I'm guessing Jesus felt the same sting only multiplied beyond measure.
Check your friend status. Make sure you haven't de-friended the most important friend you should have.

Sports Week

This past week we were blessed to attend to Major League sporting events. We watched The Anaheim Angels beat the Mariners and then later in the week watched the L.A. Galaxy lose to FC Dallas.
Going to see the Galaxy was a huge event for our family. Being the soccer fans that they are, having the opportunity to see Beckham play was top of their "things to do" list. I was amazed how he can even concentrate with all the screaming attention he receives. Maybe it's just part of life and somehow he's able to drown it out.
What am I able to drown out by my life's distractions? Am I drowning out the right things? Drown out the call of the computer so I can play with the kids. Drown out the call of the busyness so I can enjoy some quiet moments cuddling or reading as a family. Drown out the television so I can hear God when he's speaking. Drown out the radio so I can listen to the thoughts of the kids while we're driving. Drown out the negativity of the news and focus on that which is noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. Am I missing out on special moments with my husband, or kids because I'm choosing to drown out the wrong thing. Anything that takes away from God, family, special friendships, peace of mind, etc. drown it out. Be like Beckham in the game...focus on what is important and why we're here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Day at Knott's Berry Farm

Last week visited Knott's Berry Farm. It was a fun day enjoyed by all.

Our little girlie (and her mom) enjoy the merry-go-round, bumper cars and the like. She also liked the Ride the Rapids which made her think the log ride would produce a similar experience. Little did we know what we were getting ourselves into.

We didn't know that a portion of the log ride is in complete, pitch-black, darkness. That feeling of dark emptiness scared her and gave my heart reason to become a bit anxious. I was concerned for my girlie. I didn't want this ride to scare her. She was aware of the drop soon approaching, but after the darkness the drop seemed even more intimidating.

A few moments before the drop she began to cry. Her fear was overwhelming her and I just wanted to take it away. Crazy thoughts crossed my mind, "I bet I could just grab her and jump off this ride and have someone come get us." But I knew I couldn't act that fast and the impending drop was just going to have to happen.

When she saw the light and the upcoming downhill the tears really started to fall. I held her tightly and thought, "It'll soon pass."

We survived the ride, but tears and lots of hugs followed.

Watching our kids go through scary moments or tough situations breaks a mom's heart. For some reason the thought of my own mom standing beside me through the births of our 3 children crossed my mind as I was holding on to our little girl down the log ride. I thought of my mom knowing the pain I'd go through and encouraging me through it. Sometimes there's a pain we can't take away, we can just be there to hug and encourage.

I'm thankful for a mom who encourages and hugs.

Thanks Mom for being there!

Some Mornings are Just Great

Some mornings I wake up, drag myself out of bed and quickly head to the coffee pot for a little caffeine pick-me-up. Such a day is not filled with early morning joy or enthusiasm.

Today is a different kind of day. The kind of day I love! I wake early and feel completely rested. The kids are still asleep and the house is silent. The quiet is so wonderful! I tip toe around so as not to make a sound to cause the littles to stir. I open my Bible study and have a 1/2 hour of uninterrupted "quiet time." And to top off a great morning, the study for today is so compelling! Love it!

I'm currently finishing up Believing God by Beth Moore. It's a great study...some parts are eye opening and encouraging. Others are convicting and challenging.

Today the study was entitled, "One Believing Man." A brief story of the life of D.L. Moody was described. D.L. Moody was an uneducated man, but set out to be a man who was determined to live a life fully and wholly consecrated to God.

He had an amazing life establishing schools, street missions, soup kitchens, and other charitable organizations.

One thing Beth revealed in her description of this amazing man of God is that he was "Teachable."

She writes, "One characteristic of this believing man impresses me most: Dwight Lyman Moody was originally uneducated but his unceasing teachability produced a scholar of scholars. Early in his ministry Moody had little use for grace theology. Then a man named Moorhouse visited Chicago and had a transforming effect on him. Moody invited the former pickpocket-turned-evangelist to preach while he was away. On learning that Moorhouse taught God's love for the worst of sinners, Moody retorted, 'Then he is wrong.' Having heard the sermon, Moody's wife, Emma, suggested that Moorhouse could back up every word from Scripture. When Moody returned to church the next sunday morning, everyone had a Bible."

She continues, "I am impressed by D.L. Moody's willingness to receive constructive criticism and go forward with such zeal that his weakness ultimately became his strength. Beloved, sometimes our hearts are right, but our doctrine is wrong. What fruit is produced when we agree to be teachable...and perhaps even say we were mistaken!"

How powerful!!

It is my desire to have a teachable heart. To learn more and more about the heart of Jesus and to grow in his likeness.

I recently read Sacred Influence and so much about being a godly wife was revealed to me. Life is a process of continuous growth. As Christians we should consistently be striving to have the heart of Jesus. To love what he loves, and hate what he hates.

I hope today continues in the great way it began...the sun is shining, I'm convinced it'll be GREAT!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Skater Boy Takes the Crown

Our middle son just completed a week long skateboard camp. He was ALL smiles everyday...even after 3 hours of activity! Everyday we'd tape up his road rash, and open wounds, he'd put on the pads and head out to learn more tricks. When we'd pick him up he'd remove his helmet hiding sweaty hair and tell us of his experiences. He loved his t-shirt given to him at the beginning of the week by the camp instructor. He wore it everyday even though I begged him to let me wash it. No go!

At the end of the week he was awarded 1st place in the competition for his group. He earned another new t-shirt! Whew! A change of clothing!
He's already asked if he can attend the afterschool camps that are offered throughout the year.

It's great to see your kids find something that they're so excited about.

It was a fun week for all!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Another Attempt...

For those loved ones in my family who refuse to get a facebook account, but want to keep up with our daily life, I'm going to try, once again, to do a daily journal entry. I think it's a beginning of the school year thing where I get super enthusiastic about schooling, journaling, reading, etc. We'll see where it goes.
Well today is the 12th and according to the UPS tracker email I received a couple days ago...we should expect our homeschool books to arrive today!! I'm so excited about them and I think the kids are very excited too! I'll take a picture when they's that exciting!
We went to Barnes and Noble yesterday because the kids have all completed the Summer Reading Program and had earned (through reading) a free book from Barnes and Noble. Our oldest came home with Percy Jackson's first book in the series, Middle son came home with 21 Balloons, and (not surprisingly) our girlie girl came home with Fancy Nancy! They all were commenting how MANY great books there are to read and can't wait to dive into them.
Right now we're beginning 21 Balloons and just finished reading Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright. It was a great book similar to Little House books or Caddie Woodlawn.
The kids are waiting for me to come downstairs to read...more to come!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Spring is coming. The signs are everywhere. Daffodils are blooming, buds are emerging on trees, life is springing forth out of the cold hard ground. I love this season because it brings us out of our home into the yard where I have the opportunity to kneel in the dirt at the throne of God for hours. I’ve often said my garden time is my best “God time.” Life becomes clear as I work the dirt and ask God to answer my many questions. And answer them he does. It’s amazing!
I’ve had a number of opportunities to hire young workers looking to make a couple dollars helping pull weeds. Working alongside them, one common question inevitably comes up “Why did God make so many weeds?”
The Bible tells us after the fall of Adam and Eve, God said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you and you will eat the plants of the field. Gen 3:17-18
I’ve concluded, because of the fall, we were cursed with weeds (along with other consequences). Weeds are now part of our everyday life and they come in a multitude of shapes and sizes. Strange as it may seem, I actually like weeding, not because I like weeds, but the act of weeding forces me to get on my knees before my Creator and do a self-inventory. Where are the weeds in my life? What are they? What do I need to do to pull them out?
As with weeds, we cannot haphazardly rip at our sin quickly. If we don’t get the root, it can grow again often bigger and deeper than this first weed. Our sin can oftentimes have deep roots that may be painful to work at and dig out, but the result is a clean heart. Our gentle, gracious God will often point out my weeds and then help me get to the root of them so as not to leave a portion that will grow.
The Bible gives us many verses to reflect on while we’re seeking God to weed our hearts. Psalm 139 and Psalm 51 are some of my favorites. Ask the Lord to search your heart and examine your mind. Psalm 139 tells us the Lord has searched us, knows us, He knows when we sit and when we rise, he knows our thoughts from afar. He knows everything about us. In Psalm 51, David humbly comes to God in prayer for forgiveness and cleansing. He confesses his sin and he is renewed and restored by hi s Heavenly Father.
In Christ we have a beautiful life garden that reflects the Glory of God, but we still live in a fallen world. We need Him to consistently weed our hearts of pride, selfish ambition, greed, coveting, fear, worry, etcetera so that we might draw closer to Him and grow in our likeness of Christ filled with humility, generosity, service, compassion, kindness, patience, peace and the like.
Blessings to you while you weed!

Man, It's Been a LONG time

I didn't realize how long it had been since I posted...that's what happens when Facebook takes your time and you think you're journaling, but you're not really.

A lot has happened since March and I'll try to add some events here and there, but for this morning I read a great quote from Beth Moore's Believing God Bible study, "Cain's offering represents every time a believer knows what God wants and refuses to give it. We often quickly give Him other things, as if He won't notice. Sometimes we give more in many other areas but doggedly withhold the one thing we know He wants. And sin crouches at our door."

What am I holding on to?

Is it the comfort of what is familiar? Is it the busyness that keeps my mind from being quiet and listening? Is it memories of the past? Or possibly dreams of how I think life should be? Hmmmmm....

This upcoming move has caused many insecurites to surface, but I have to rest in the assurance that God has a plan and purpose for my life. He has a perfect plan!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Venturing Out of My Comfort Zone

Every year our family makes an annual trip up to Mt. Baker to spend the week snowboarding, sledding, and enjoying the beautiful out-of-doors. Well, to be quite honest everyone in the family enjoys the snow sports, except for me. I go up to the mountain for fun family time, but I do not excell at snowsports. I've taken snowboard and ski lessons, but after days of slamming my face in the snow or falling I give up. Two years ago I declared to my family, “I’m done! It’s not my thing!” There are no new tricks for this old dog. I'm too old!

Each year since I declared "I quit", I have felt a sense of regret.

This year I intended to have a great get-away with the family, but skiing was not in my plans. I did ask God how he wanted to “grow” me during the week, but I thought it would be about relationships or through studying His word in a quiet surrounding. Deep down I had a real sense he wanted me to get out of my comfort zone.

The day we arrived I don’t think it was any coincidence that the lodge, was filled with gray-haired skiers. Everywhere I turned I ran into an older person geared up and ready to hit the slopes. I started to think, “If they can do it…” But still the conditions weren’t perfect yet.

The next day in the lodge an OLD man came up to me and asked why I didn’t ski. I didn’t even know him, nor did I look to him to start up a conversation. I told him I don’t ski. He proceeded to show me how to ski, “Hands on your knees, head up, and smile.” I was embarrassed by this display, but it stuck with me.

That night I wondered if there was something to these things happening, but still the conditions weren’t perfect.

The third day of our trip we woke up to beautiful sunny blue skies. This was a perfect day. I was ready to try…or at least rent skis. I rented skis and then my 5 year old gave me a lesson on the handle tow. This lasted about 40 minutes until she fell asleep in the snow. That was the end of my ski day. I was disappointed, but I had tried. I was out of my comfort zone and had rented skis.

Was that the growing God wanted to do. Did he just want me to gain courage to try or was there something more?

During the week up at the mountain, my bible study dealt with a lesson about perfectionism. I admit I struggle with that, but was that affecting my experiences with my kids and husband? I sensed that bigger than the risk of falling was the feeling of failing. If I couldn’t be Pikaboo Street or Shawn White, why try? Was that what my actions of not trying were really about?? If I couldn’t be really good at it the first time, I wouldn’t even try?

I went for a walk the next morning. We were planning on heading down the mountain after lunch. I talked to God along the walk and looked at the beautiful blue skies and listened. I felt a really strong sense to try again. This time more than renting…I was going to take a lesson. I went back to the lodge and told my family of this. They were SO excited for me!

I took the lesson and was blessed with a very patient instructor. I had a great time and really stepped out of my comfort zone. My husband said I look like a turtle coming down the hill, but I WAS COMING DOWN THE HILL! I got out of my comfort zone and allowed God to grow me and trust Him in the process.
Turtles Rock!

Love a Great Quote

I love a great quote especially when it arrives at the perfect time. Today I was greeted by a series of great quotes that have blessed me and have ministered to me just where I'm at.
In Praying the Names of Jesus, Ann Spangler writes, "Belonging to Jesus does not make us immune to tragedy. But basing our lives on him through faith will enable us to stand rather than collapse in the face of unbearable pressure. Our standing will have nothing to do with luck but everything to do with where we are standing--on the cornerstone (Akrogoniaios Lithos), tested and true.
The other great quote of the morning was from an article in Homeschooling Today. The article was titled, "The Timothy Mandate" by Rachel Starr Thomson. She writes, "We all have expectations placed on our lives- by others and ourselves. In many ways, they control what we do. The Timothy Mandate calls us to live for God first, without reference to what others expect of us. God's call is for each of us to step up and be counted, to live the Christian life to its limits no matter what everyone else is doing."
"God's mightiest servants throughout history have been those who learned to live for God alone. People's expectations may have burdened them, challenged them, or hurt them, but they did not dictate them."

Friday, March 13, 2009

In Memory of Precious Baby Chandler Grace

This has been a tough week for some close, precious friends.
Chandler Grace was born and died at 4:19 March 8, 2009.
We continue to support and pray for this dear mommy and her family.

At the memorial for Chandler Grace I was asked to speak and read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, 11. These verses are taken from both the NIV translation and The Message.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
A time to be born and a time to die,
A time to plant and a time to uproot,
A time to kill and a time to heal,
A time to tear down and a time to build,
A time to weep and a time to laugh,
A time to mourn and a time to dance,
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
A time to embrace and a time to refrain,
A time to search and a time to give up,
A time to hold on and another to let go,
A time to keep and a time to throw away,
A time to tear and a time to mend,
A time to be silent and a time to speak,
A time to love and a time to hate,
A time for war and a time for peace,
He has made everything beautiful in its time.

I’d like to repeat…He has made everything beautiful in its time. Our Sovereign God has a perfect plan. He had a perfect life plan for Precious Baby Chandler Grace and she has forever changed Elissa and many others who have been affected by her short life.
Psalm 139:13-14, & vs. 16 tell us that God created Chandler’s inmost being; He knit her together in Elissa’s womb. We praise Him because she was fearfully and wonderfully made; His works are wonderful, we know that full well. All her days were ordained for her in His book before one of them came to be.
We can hold on to the Truth that God knew ALL of Chandler’s days. Her days were full of love by a mommy who adores her.
I think back to the day Elissa shared with me that she was going to have a baby. She had recently returned from YWAM and life happened. We met in the commons and I knew something was in her eyes. They sparkled with joy and excitement, but the tears of uncertainty welled up and spilled onto her cheeks. She had been given a great gift, but knew not what the future would hold. One thing is certain Elissa loved this little girl from the moment she knew she had conceived.
God is the amazing creator of life and He has a perfect plan for Elissa and Chandler. I’m crazy about Elissa and have loved her since she was a vivacious young AWANA girl experiencing life to the fullest! She remains the strong, vibrant person God designed her to be, but she has grown into a woman of character throughout these past months with Chandler.
Throughout her pregnancy God poured His grace into her life and she received it with open arms. Her strength and determination to provide a good life for her daughter has inspired many. She sought wise council, she pressed into Jesus and she sought Him in the Word, through prayer and while gathering with other believers. Among words people have recently used to describe her are:
Strong, inspiring, amazing, mature, brave, faithful, a passion for Christ, excellent, beautiful, precious, encouraging, amazing faith, one who leans on God and I would like to add worthy, valued, loved and adored. Lives have been touched by Elissa as she carried Chandler Grace.
I have seen Elissa grow her relationship with Jesus since her return and have seen her focus especially on building her foundation on the Rock! Matthew 7:24-27 (NIV) reads:
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."
I know Elissa has a firm foundation on the ROCK and this storm has come, but she will not fall, she will stand strong and God will bring forth beauty from the ashes.
Isaiah 61 tells us that God will comfort all who mourn, and bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
Lastly I’d like to close with a prayer of Psalm 34:18 from Beth Moore’s Praying God’s Word, “You, Lord, are close to the brokenhearted and save those who are crushed in spirit. You are surely close to Elissa, Lord. Help her sense your presence in her life. She needs you more than she needs her next breath. Amen.”

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Freckles...Seeing the World

Since our move is quickly approaching I've decided there are many places in our county and state that we've overlooked or ignored because we've taken them for granted. The kids and I have decided to begin taking in some of the sites of our area before we leave and regret not enjoying it more.

Today was day one in our journey. We've hired "Freckles" to lead the charge and today he showed us some amazing things.
Freckles getting a drink
First we went to the little town post office. We frequent this post office, but it was a first for Freckles so we had to record it.

We then went to a little cafe that has been open for 7 months along a quiet highway. We had a good time getting to know Richard, the owner, who is originally from Cleveland.
Freckles with Bakery Guy- Richard
Freckles enjoying a soda and a pastry with the kids
We then went to a quiet, small, county library. So cute and quaint.

Then off to a hidden, frozen lake.
At an unfrequented park
Ice sliding
Freckles at the State Park
Mt. Baker
Love these old barns
And then home to the familiar.

It was an extraordinary afternoon.

We're looking forward to our next adventure!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

This Week-Book Club

Our oldest son's book club is currently reading In The Year Of The Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord. We will finish the book at our next meeting. It's been a great read and we've learned quite a bit along the way.

This past week we focused on milestones in the history of black Americans. We created a timeline beginning in 1619 when the first slave ships arrived in America and ended in 2009, when the first black American was elected president. There were quite a few interesting facts along the way that I hope the kids internalized. So many advancements have been made just in my lifetime, which is amazing.

So far my favorite speech from the book came from the main character's teacher. She shared with the kids how anything is possible in America.

"Baseball is not just another sport. America is not just another country..."
"Mrs. Rappaport's speech thrilled Shirley like sunlight and trumpets.
'In our national pastime, each player is a member of a team, but when he comes to bat, he stands alone. One man. Many opportunities. For no matter how far behind, how late in the game, he, by himself, can make a difference. He can change what has been. He can make it a new ball game.
'In the life of our nation, each man is a citizen of the United States, but he has the right to pursue his won happiness. For no matter what his race, religion or creed, be he pauper or president, he has the right to speak his mind, to live as he wishes within the law, to elect our officials and stand for office, to excel. To make a difference. To change what has been. To make a better America.
'And so can you! And so must you!
'This year, Jackie Robinson is at bat. He stands for himself, for Americans of every hue, for an America that honors fair play.
'Jackie Robinson is the grandson of a slave, the son of a sharecropper, raised in poverty by a lone mother who took in ironing and washing. But a woman determined to achieve a better life for her son. And she did. For despite hostility and injustice, Jackie Robinson went to college, excelled in all sports, served his country in war. And now, Jackie Robinson is at bat in the big leagues. Jackie Robinson is making a difference. Jackie Robinson has changed what has been. And Jackie Robinson is making a better America.
'And so can you! And so must you!'" (my empasis)

This Week- Hold Them

This week was an emotional one. On Tuesday we prepared a meal for a family struggling with a sick little one. Their 7-year old son has a brain tumor. He has done remarkably well for the type of cancer he has, but began failing in December.
The little guy and our middle son are in the same Sunday school class. We don't know the family, but have been following their blog and praying for them.
It breaks my heart to know of any child suffering, but I've been so impressed with the way this family is handling the painful life situation. They are living each day to the fullest and embracing the wonders that surround them. They are so optimistic, loving and encouraging.
As I dropped the food off, I introduced myself, told them of the food and then the Mom gave me a hug, kissed me on the cheek and thanked us. I was blessed by her sweetness and strength. Amazing!
When I got home I checked my email and found that an acquaintance had been in a car wreck while taking her girls to school in the morning and her 7-year old daughter had tragically been killed in the wreck. This stopped me in my tracks. The road she was on was one we travel often. And she was doing what so many of us do every day..taking our children to school and activities.
How does this happen? She woke up one morning and was just doing life and then in a flash it has all changed.
That Tuesday night I climbed into bed with my sweetheart, paused, and then told him I'd be back later. He asked where I was going. I responded I was going to cuddle with my 7-year old and hold him. I want to cherish each moment with the precious children we've been blessed with.
This has given me much to think about this week. I've looked my children in the eye more and intently listened to their many stories. I hope to live each day to the fullest and enjoy the moments together!

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Today the boys in our family headed to the mountain and my girl and I stayed home. To make our day more eventful and not just a sit-around-the-house kind of day, we decided to take in a movie and wander around the mall.
We're now at the place where we can walk together. Gone are the days of strollers and diaper bags packed in the back of the car. We now shop together and my little princess loves to take a trip to the "fitting room" to try on clothes. She loves that she is growing up, but I'm trying to put on the breaks and slow this train down.
After this week of making it to the learning how to ride a bike milestone, I've reflected on the other milestones our youngest is achieving. It feels as if I'm soaking her in more because I don't want to miss anything or more importantly not remember every detail of our kid's lives.
I've loved having the opportunity to teach her how to read this year. Teaching a child how to read is usually not my favorite thing to do. It's very slow and can be frustrating, but for some reason I'm really enjoying it. I love watching her little mouth as she's trying to produce the "th" or the "f" sounds. With the "th" her tongue comes out sometimes spittle makes me laugh. Or the way she tries to sound out the word "old" but always says "load" when she tries to prounounce it. We get a chuckle out of it now. Her brain must mix the letters up in the process from sounding to saying.
Oh, and I love looking at her little arms. Her skin is so soft and I can still see the faint dimples in her precious!
Yesterday when we were driving in the car she realized she has a tooth that is beginning to wiggle quite a bit. She still has all her baby teeth. I asked her if I'd still recognize her if she lost some of her teeth. She reassured me that I'd still know it was her because she can still recognize her friends who have lost their teeth. But what she didn't realize is I'm thinking of the "little girl" face I'm so familiar with. Will she lose that with the teeth and start looking like a "big girl?"
I wonder if every mom who realizes her time with her kids is quickly slipping by thinks on these things? I know I do. I'm grateful for the opportunity to spend every day with these precious gifts and really KNOW them. What a blessing!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

This Week-Craft Club

Our daughter had her girlie friends over yesterday for craft club. We actually squeezed in three activities.
They did some beading and all made bracelets. We made a Valentine hanging heart. And they each decorated a mini-cupcake to finish off craft day.
It was all great fun and a great opportunity for moms to sit around with a cup of coffee and visit.