Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Living on an Ant Hill

Caution...These photos can be very disturbing!  They disturb me GREATLY!!  We now realize we don't live in a house, we live on an ant hill.  We decided if you can't beat 'um, join 'um, so we invited our new neighbors over for dinner.  We served a Terro product that they're CRAZY about!!  I plated up the delish dinner on handy little cardboard plates provided by Terro.  Just about immediately our little neighbors called out to their friends that dinner was served.  Little did we know they had so many friends and cousins.  Oh my word!!!  We spent countless hours watching them devour the dinner.  I even had to fix up some more on many occasions.  We served dessert and that too was gobbled up.  We hope they share this recipe and meal with their Queen.  I hope she LOVES it!!

The Joy of Giving

Almost yearly my sweetheart signs up to "Adopt-a-Family" through his workplace.  It's always a big deal for us (especially him) to shop, wrap, and deliver to a family who is in need.  Here's how it works:  Nominated families are screened and then employees are given information about them that would assist in the buying process.  This year in my sweetheart's unit participants were grouped (about 4-5 people) and then they each donated money (whatever they chose to give).  The money was pooled and DH (Dear Hub) brought it home and we did the shopping.

Our family was a husband, wife, a daughter, age 7 and a little boy, age 3.  We tried to make the money stretch as far as we could.  I really enjoy the shopping part. Big Surprise?  The kids and I headed out to the mall and start looking for great sales of quality clothing.  We were able to buy an outfit (2 for the little girl) for each member, a couple toys for the kids, and a $100 grocery gift card for their family.  We were really happy with our purchases.

As the day got closer for delivery, life began to get a little crazy.  That always seems to happen when a blessing is on its way.  The day we were supposed to deliver I took the kids on a field trip to the Queen Mary.  While we were gone, Hub was at work and afterward he rushed home to wrap the gifts.  We met up at home.  I was at the point where I didn't really want to go.  Our house looked disasterous and needed SERIOUS cleaning, we were getting ready to head out of town for a soccer tournament, laundry needed to be done for that, etc.  The endless list of household responsibilites was hanging over my head, but we decided it was best to do the delivery as a family.

Here's a note my sweetheart sent out regarding our visit...

"To all-

I just wanted to give a little update for the family we adopted this year.
We finished all the shopping for the family and wrapped the gifts for delivery a week ago Friday. We were able to purchase shoes, some basic clothes and a couple toys for each of the kids. We then set aside a $100 gift card for food purchases for the holidays. With a little help from a translator, we contacted the family and confirmed the location and drop-off time.

We wrapped all the presents and loaded my whole family up in the car for the delivery. We arrived at their apartment a little before 3pm. We met Mom and daughter. The whole family lives in a small, older 1 bedroom apartment and all their furniture is salvaged from the demolition work her husband does for income. Mom spoke very good English and we stayed and spoke with her for over half an hour. She was a great host – she offered us bottled water while we were there and spent the entire day cleaning and getting ready for our arrival. Their daughter was very shy and quiet but near the end of our time was starting to talk and relax. Her mother was very proud of her little girl as she is one of the best students in her class.  Mom thanked us multiple times for our kindness. She confessed that the auto insurance was due this month (a vehicle her husband needs for work) and they had no idea how they were going to make this payment along with their other bills – let alone buy gifts for Christmas.

For my family it was a highlight of the Christmas spirit and season and your donation was very much appreciated by a family in real need.

Thanks again to all of you for participating."
Like he said, they lived in a SMALL (like 300 sq. ft. at the most) one bedroom apartment.  The parents and little boy slept in the one bedroom and the little seven year old girl slept on a futon in what was the living room.  On cold nights dad would sleep in the living room and little girl slept with mom so she wouldn't get cold.
Mom shared with us how they planned to celebrate the Virgin of Guadalupe that night.  Mom had made rice and milk for ALL the guests who were coming that night.  She was really excited.  It reminded me of some of our experiences we had while we lived in the Azores when I was growing up.  I wanted to stay and celebrate with them, even though I don't know anything about the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Mom was supposed to pick up her son at 3:30 and twice her friend called to say, "Let's Go," but she just kept putting her off so she could sit and visit with us a bit longer.  After about a 1/2 hour visit we had to go and Mom needed to pick up her little guy.
In that 1/2 hour my heart was FILLED!  I wished we had more to give them.  The joy that we experienced on the ride home was inexplicable.  We were all filled!  It seemed like we were so much more appreciative than we were when we arrived.  We were not as bogged down by what wasn't done, but focused on what was right in our lives.  Somehow, our perspective was shifted ever so slightly and suddenly that we had hearts of thankfulness and gratitude that we didn't have when we walked into that little apartment.
I don't know if we'll see that little mom again.  I hope so.  God used her in a season of frantic, busy discontent and replaced it with gladness and joy.  Thank you!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Little Things in Life

Can I just say I'm SO thankful for all the men and women who dutifully serve our wonderful country in the Armed Forces?  Just think all over the world US men and women are serving, away from home, doing their day-to-day jobs, but ultimately protecting our country and our freedom.

Today as I was packaging up some items sold on ebay I was pleasantly surprised when I looked at the recipient's name and address and found out he was a SSGT in Avionics at an FPO somewhere possibly in Europe.  So cool!  My dad was in Avionics when I was growing up and suddenly I felt a kinship to this young man.  I know it sounds weird, but I felt like that.  I wrote him a note on the packing slip thanking him for his service and wishing him a Merry Christmas.  What I really wanted to suddenly do is send him a care package.  But then I thought that might be even more weird.

So instead of sending this young man a care package, I posted an inquiry on Facebook asking "friends" if they knew of someone serving in Iraq or Afghanistan to whom we could send a package.  Now I'm checking my status constantly to see if anyone posts.

I hope an opportunity arises to let someone know they are thought of and appreciated.  I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

B.M.I. Schmee. M. I

Yesterday we went in for the routine well-chiled checks.  Our kids have been amazingly healthy, so I thought we'd just go in for the routine, run-of-the-mill check weight, height, what color is your hair now check-up.  The appointment was pretty much that, except for ONE little thing that gnawed at me all day.  B.M.I.

At the appointment, after checking the kids' weight and height we went to the examination room.  The doctor examined each child one by one.  But at one point she leaned over to me and said something like, "See this number? (It was on the bottom corner of the height/weight chart). I'm not concerned about it, but we'll watch it to make sure it remains within 'the range'."  WHAT??  My brain was trying to wrap itself around what she just said.  Did she just say that one of our kids, who eats healthy, well-balanced meals, plays year-round sports, with a perfect little body is on the "fat watch list?"  Maybe I was just over-reacting and the BMI is not really what I thought it was.  So I went home and did what I do best.  Research.

What I discovered when I got home bothered me even more.  Perhaps I'm the only one who thinks the government is over-reaching in so many areas of our lives.  I may be the only one who thinks government tracking of our weight and height is not a good thing.  But, I'm sure there are many others who feel the same. 

So what is BMI?  According to Wikipedia, "The body mass index (BMI), or Quetelet index, is a heuristic measure of body weight based on a person's weight and height. Though it does not actually measure the percentage of body fat, it is used to estimate a healthy body weight based on a person's height, assuming an average body composition."  What I also found is a portion of the “stimulus” bill requires doctors and hospitals to track everyone’s BMI electronically and report it to the federal government beginning in 2014.  Really?  And furthermore I read some schools have been recording a child's BMI on their report card.  Seems out of the school's responsibility to me.  Can you imagine the report card?  "Look honey, Jimmy got an A in English, a B in Math, and what's this?  Oh no, he's got a C in BMI"

From what I read there are many issues with relying on BMI.  One is that it doesn't consider lean body mass, so a very lean, muscular person will/can show up as overweight.  Also, a very tall slender person may also have a BMI that is over the limit.  A friend commented that guys in the army, whom she knew, didn't "pass" their BMI tests because it showed they were "overweight" yet they measured only about 10% body fat.

I completely recognize there is a weight issue in America that needs to be addressed, but having the government tracking us with inaccurate tests doesn't seem to be the answer. 

Well, off to another "check-up" appointment.  Let's hope the dentist doesn't have any wacky surprises for us.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Finding Flik

Over my last twelve years of Motherhood, I can almost guarantee I've seen just about every "big" Disney, Pixar, or similar kid movie.  Some of them have been sweet and funny.  Some have positive life or character building lessons.  Some have been filled with inappropriate suggestive humor.  And some have been real yawners.

One of my favorites was A Bug's Life by Disney/Pixar.  I'm not sure if it's one of my favorites because I watched that movie the most times, or if the message of the Little Guy/Underdog overcoming life's challenges spoke to my heart.  Regardless of the reason, I found it quite amusing and entertaining.  I grew attached to that group of ants.  We even had a Flik toy in the house.  We cheered for the "Bugs" when they defeated the mean, overpowering Grasshoppers.  Back in the day, our oldest even befriended a grasshopper.  Dear Grass-Hopper lived with us for a short while, until he died while we went on a vacation.  The death of Grass-Hopper was one of the saddest childhood days for our oldest.  I can say it was the only time I was asked by one of our kids to organize and perform a funeral service.  We had a headstone and a burial plot for 'ole Grass-Hopper.  It felt a little cheesy, but it soothed the sting of death for our then, little guy.

Despite my fond memories of A Bug's Life, I've not grown any fonder of real bugs.  Over the last year and a half, I've found four black widows in and around our house.  And over the last two to three months we've been invaded by little determined ants!  Those Buggers!  Every morning I wake up and in a "Where's Waldo" fashion, I seek out the latest invasion.  They've appeared in our kitchen, all over the cat food, in our living room, in the master bedroom closet, in the master bathroom, in the kids' bathroom, you get the idea...they're everywhere.

Thankfully, we have a neighbor who's an exterminator.  He's really a bedbug expert, but he offered to spray around the exterior perimeter of the house.  Wonderful!  No longer are ants coming in the house, but those who are already here continue to BUG me!  They've decreased in numbers, but the few scouts are still found here and there.  I'll be so glad when I no longer awake to find a trail to a lone Cheerio that was left on the floor under the kids' chairs.

Oh no, just in...as I'm typing one of the kids just says to me from his room, "Mom, I think the ants have found our room...get the vacuum up here!!"  Ugh!  I guess we found our Waldo for the day.  Back to work.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Letting Go of The Stuff

Letting go of MY STUFF is REALLY hard!  It makes me want to cry!  I love beautiful dishes, stunning displays, and a well-decorated home.  But sometimes all the stuff can be just too much. 

When I was growing up, my family never had a set of China and for some reason having a "Special" set of dishes was something I always wanted.  I remember going to friends' homes where the family buffet displayed china and glassware.  It looked so beautiful to my budding inner Martha Stewart.  When I grew up, I hoped to one day to have a set of china to entertain family and friends during holidays and celebrations.

When my sweetheart and I got engaged, we (more like I) picked out a sweet, feminine Noritake China pattern.  When we got married, we received many pieces, but all in all, it was only service for five.  Over the past 18 years of marriage we've never completed the set.  Consequently, we have only used it a handful of times on an anniversary, or if it was only our immediate family, we'd use it on Thanksgiving.

These days, that sweet, light pink floral with a silver lining just doesn't seem to fit our current style.  In our life with three active children, stoneware seems to be the more practical choice.  Furthermore, space is now limited and storage of another incomplete set of dishes just doesn't seem practical.  Rather than storing the incomplete set, I'd like to pay off some debt and save for something more useful to our family.  So, with apprehension and hesitation, I listed my wedding china on ebay.  I'm not sure if it's the right thing to do or not.

The wedding china might move out, but I'll definitely keep the man and the kids.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Too Cheap to Buy, so we BAKE!

Today we went to Starbuck's to take advantage of a holiday special- buy one pound of Christmas blend coffee, get the 2nd for free.  GREAT DEAL for Coffee Girlie!  (Note, they're having 12 Days of Christmas specials daily.  This could be a perfect time for some Christmas shopping for a coffee lover or just gifts for oneself.  I'm guilty of the latter).

Just about every time we go Starbuck's, my daughter, with drool hanging from her lips, eyes the lemon pound cake.  My response every time is..."I'm not going to buy that.  We can make it at home."  I can be such an ogre sometimes, or maybe I'm just REALLY cheap.  I just find it very hard to spend $2 on a slice of pound cake when we have all the ingredients and the know how at home to bake it ourselves.

So today after errands, sports practices, and dinner, my girlie and I set out to bake Lemon Lemon Loaf from one of my recent cookbook purchases BAKED.  It looked super yummy in the photo and had lots of eggs, butter and sour cream.  I think this treat might be dangerously good, but did I mention I'm supposed to stay away from gluten and sugar.  Bummer!  That's a whole other blog.
Anyway, the Lemon Lemon Loaf turned out beautiful.  Ours was more like a Lemon Orange Loaf since we didn't have lemons and had to use the zest of oranges instead.  The recipe made two loaves, so we're set for a special holiday snack with a yummy cup of warmed eggnog.  My girlie was happy with the baking and the finished product.  Everyone was able to enjoy a slice (I even tried a bite).  I think I saved at least $10 baking at home.  Maybe my savings will make up for the extra purchases.

On Blogging

If I had my way, and an unlimited amount of time in each day, I'd wake each morning, read while enjoying a GREAT cup (or three) of coffee, work out, prepare FABULOUS homeschooling experiences for our kids, cook a delicious dinner that would make my husband exclaim, "Honey, You're the best cook in the west!", list many items on ebay and blog daily.  In a perfect world that is.

Just about every day I think, "I'd like to blog this...,"  but don't do it.

Yesterday I was reading The Pioneer Woman's blog and one of her recommendations on blogging is to blog often.  "Often" is one paragraph, one photo or a whole commentary.  Just do it often. 

Blog on!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

When Life Hands You Lemons...Think of Abe

I'm finding it's a REAL downer when others (i.e. coaches) don't think your child is as exceptional as you believe him/her to be.  The reality of parenting, at least in my eyes, is I think God blessed me with the BEST littles ever to hit the planet.  They make me laugh, smile endlessly and fill life with abundant joy!  Sometimes they stress me out and bring me to my knees asking God, "What in the world am I doing wrong?"  But, overall they're just AWESOME!

One of our kids was up for a position on an all-star soccer team.  After many try-outs and evaluations, we learned this morning he's not "all-star caliber."  I know there's a life lesson to be learned, but the sting of those words is miserable. 

The other night as he was feeling really down about potentially not making the team, we discussed the life of Abraham Lincoln.  (Doesn't every momma who loves history turn to Abe's life when trying to soften the blow of failure).  Here was a man who faced many failures in life.  Eventually he succeeded winning the Presidency of th United States and now hails as one of America's most successful, popular Presidents.

A common list of the failures of Abraham Lincoln (along with a few successes) is:
•1831 - Lost his job

•1832 - Defeated in run for Illinois State Legislature

•1833 - Failed in business

•1834 - Elected to Illinois State Legislature (success)

•1835 - Sweetheart died

•1836 - Had nervous breakdown

•1838 - Defeated in run for Illinois House Speaker

•1843 - Defeated in run for nomination for U.S. Congress

•1846 - Elected to Congress (success)

•1848 - Lost re-nomination

•1849 - Rejected for land officer position

•1854 - Defeated in run for U.S. Senate

•1856 - Defeated in run for nomination for Vice President

•1858 - Again defeated in run for U.S. Senate

•1860 - Elected President (success)

So, as I hug my sweetheart and console him through this life lesson, I will be reminded that when we fail or don't make the team, we get back up, dust ourselves off and try again.  That's what life's about.  Every day is a new day with new opportunities. 

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Injured List

Tonight, I'm laying on a hotel bed, foot elevated on ice, hoping the swelling and bruising on my right calf and ankle will diminish and I'll be able to walk with a regular gait soon. 
Last week, on Friday evening,  my 3rd soccer game was just beginning. I went to pass the ball and felt an excruciating pop in my calf and was unable to even walk off the field.  A couple guys carried me off and I sat with leg propped and iced.  The following day I learned I strained my gastrocnemius muscle (calf). 
Monday we flew out for a family vacation to Washington D.C.  The first couple days here I tried to use the crutches I was given, but the strain on my arms was exhausting.  So, I gave up the crutches and have become a hobbling tourist.
Despite the injury, we're having a GREAT time!  We've been to the Smithsonian Museums of American History and Natural History, the Lincoln Memorial, The Reflecting Pond, The Korean Memorial, The Vietnam Memorial, The Washington Monument, The Holocaust Memorial Museum, The Bureau of Engraving and Printing, The Whitehouse, Lafayette Park, and enjoyed a picnic on the grass at the National Mall. 
Tomorrow we move onto Virginia.  More excitement awaits!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Great Ebay Sale- Target HOME Plates

Years ago, a good friend, The Queen of Auctions, tried to convince me to try selling on ebay to earn a supplemental family income.  I was too overwhelmed with a real estate career and little ones at home to even think of "trying" something new. 

Since leaving the real estate field, I've often thought of making an effort to sell on ebay for a little extra income.  This year she encouraged me to take the leap.  I opened an ebay store and have been selling regularly since last spring. 

I just attended one of her bootcamps and she suggested I purchase this set of dishes we found at a thrift store for $12.50.  Let me tell you...I'm so glad I listened to her suggestion!  The total profit on this set was $114.07!

I must admit, I didn't listen too well at the bootcamp.  I listed them as a BUY IT NOW rather than at auction first.  She thinks I may have left some $$ on the table.  I guess this is part of my learning curve.  I'm happy with the result.  Hopefully they'll arrive to their destination in Florida safely. 
Terra Cotta Dinner Plate

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

First Day of School- FIELD TRIP!

First Day of School Photo
Our first day of school this year was celebrated with a field trip to SKIRBALL JEWISH CULTURAL CENTER.  I was intrigued with the write up on the Noah's Ark exhibit in Fun and Educational Places To Go With Kids in Southern California.  Not only did the exhibit and museum look education it was packed full of fun!  The kids played for hours in the giant Noah's Ark display.  The animals were made from repurposed materials.  If you look at the flamingo long enough you'd notice the fly swatter legs, the purse for a body, and the thread spool neck.  Other animals would sport whisks for legs, bamboo steamers for necks, noodles for quills, miniature Volkswagen cars for heads. 

In addition to the artistic displays, the kids found hours worth of playing to do.  They climbed rope ladders, pumped water creating the flood, made storm sounds, escorted the animals into the ark two by two, and finished with a little art project.

After the Ark play we grabbed a snack then toured through the displays of Jewish history.  Did you know that along with financing Columbus in 1492, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella also marked history by expelling all Jews from Spain?  Or that in 1881, Jewish people from Europe began immigrating to America.  Between 1881-1924 about 2.5 million Jews came to America seeking a better life. 

Along with history we learned about Jewish holidays, clothing, celebrations, persecution and some of the contributions Jewish people have made in science, music, art, medicine, and more.

It was a GREAT day!  What a wonderful way to begin the year!
See the Metal Blinds?  Or the Whisks?
Climbing through the Rope Tunnels

See the Purse?  Or the Thread?

This was a popular stripe on the first day of school


Monday, September 06, 2010

The Dream is Becoming Reality

Last year in our homeschool studies, we've learned about Colonial America beginning with the Vikings up through the Revolutionary War.  It was my dream to take the kids to see history come to life by visiting the East Coast and the places we learned about. 

In order to make this dream happen, momma needed to raise some $$.  So how does a full-time wife, mom and homeschooler raise money to take five people to tour the East Coast.  Remember the ebay venture I wrote about earlier?  Well, it's going well and we've raised a good portion of the money.  I'll blog on some of the best sales later.  I definitely feel blessed!

Tonight was a BIG night!!  I was a bit nervous, but with the help of my hub we nailed down dates and booked our flight to Washington D.C.!  Whew!!  How wonderful!  Now we'll need to begin planning our agenda. 

I've been told we can catch trains from D.C. to just about anywhere on our list.  I'm so excited!

Back to the research...we'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Many people throw around the "BFF", "Best Friends", and "Love" words like its no big deal.  To me these are SERIOUS words.  I rarely use them because to me they carry so much weight and commitment they are not to be wasted or thrown around haphazardly. 

It is my observation that we all want a best friend.  Someone to call our own and know that that person(s) has your back no matter what. 

I recently did a non-scientific survey.  I polled Facebook "friends" asking how many weddings they have participated in in their lifetime.  By participate I'm referring to being in the wedding party to some capacity.  I was amazed to know some of my acquaintances have been in 7-8 or more wedding parties.  To be quite honest, I've measured likability or depth of friendships to weddings one has been a part of.  I've only been asked to be in one wedding.  Because of this (and I know some of you are going to roll your eyes), I've really questioned the depth of my friendships.  There is NO question that I know a lot of people, but I desire the super-close, be-in-my-wedding-party kind of friendship.

I think we all desire to have this type of relationship with friends.  I've had best friends while growing up and realize some have come and gone and some will stick with you through a lifetime.

This past weekend I attended my 25-year high school reunion and I can definitely say some of these friends are besties for life!  After all these years we pick up where we left off, non-stop conversation, uproarious laughter, and uncontrollable tears.  I watched hilarious scenes of best friends hanging out, making jokes, talking about tough times and praying for each other.  I watched our classmates band together in prayer for a fellow classmate struggling with an unknown illness.  I watched friends cry over years lost with former best friends over some unmentioned dispute.  I sat up until the wee hours of the night (and those who know me know that I am NOT a middle of the night girlie) talking with my high school best friend just because we didn't want to waste any time sleeping because we knew our time together was so limited.

I so loved my reunion weekend!!  I know I have some of the best once-in-a-lifetime friends a girlie could ask for!!  Thank you my beautiful, committed, lifelong friends for being such a blessing in my life!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

So Glad I Married "Glass 1/2 Full"

You know the common expression "Glass half empty or half full?"  Wikipedia defines it as "a common expression, used rhetorically to indicate that a particular situation could be a cause for optimism (half full) or pessimism (half empty); or as a general litmus test to simply determine if an individual is an optimist or a pessimist."

In general I would describe myself as a "half full" kind of person, but I think that only applies to the little/easy things of life and it seems to be the Right Answer when someone asks.  When referring to the bigger things of life, like safety and our kids, financial burdens working out, people I care for making the right decisions, etc., I'm becoming more aware that I'm totally a "half empty" kind of person.  I'm filled with doubt, my trust wanes, and let's just say, I'm a big downer!

If something has a 10-25% chance of happening I will lay awake at night worrying of this something bad happening.  On the other hand, for most of those occurrences, my sweetheart will say, there is a 75-90% chance that it WON'T happen.  Now get some sleep.

The Bible has over 160 entries of Trust, Trusted, Trustfully, Trusting, Trusts...(I do not trust my vision to give you an accurate count, but know there are MANY references to Trusting).  So apparently God knows there may be a few people like me that need to read OVER AND OVER again that I need to put my Trust in Him and not give into the worry that plagues and can cause so much anxiety.

So today, I'm thankful for the Wonderful Husband I married who SO balances my thinking and reminds me that the Glass is 1/2 Full.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Where Are You Going? ~God

Genesis 16:8

"And he (the Angel of the Lord) said, 'Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?'"

Great question. I ask myself that often. A lot of people these days ask me the same thing. Where am I going?

I know where I came from, literally and figuratively. But I'm unsure where I will literally be going, as far as location, next move, etc. Figuratively, I know where I've been and have a pretty good idea where I want to be, and I know what I don't want to go back to.

Hagar, maidservant of Sarai, was "given" to Sarai's husband, Abram, when Sarai was unable to conceive. She wanted a baby/heir, plain and simple, and wanted the baby NOW. So, as was the custom of the day, she took her maidservant and offered her as a surrogate to Abram.

Hagar got pregnant and then the tension between the two women set in. Sarai mistreated Hagar and Hagar just wanted to escape her circumstances and fled. I can only imagine the drama that must have been involved in that situation. I read Hagar didn't want to see Sarai's face. (We as humans haven't changed much have we?)

What happened next is what I love.

Hagar alone, pregnant, without a home, without a place in life, decided to go back to what she knew before life in the Abram clan. What she knew before was life in Egypt. Life serving other idols.

While sitting at a spring The Angel of the Lord appears to her. He asks her where she has come from and where she is going. Wow! Can you even imagine? She saw The ONE, the LORD. (Many commentaries state this may have been a preincarnate manifestation of Christ as God's Messanger-Servant.) He asked her what kind of plan she thought SHE was making. She probably didn't know where she was going, but responded, "I'm running away from my mistress."

She was running away. How often do we just want to flee what was undesireable, but don't have the next destination figured out?

I'm currently reading Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers and the main character of the book has a similar life story. Rather than see what God has in store for her, she keeps wanting to flee back to what is familiar. It's not what is better for her, it's just predictable.

In Hagar's encounter with the Angel of the LORD she calls God, El Roi, "The One who sees me" or, "The Living One who sees me." Does it get any better than that?? The ONE who sees me knows my circumstances and knows my heart. He knows what lies ahead and what is in the past. He knows the answers to the questions I have asked and even the answers to the questions I'm afraid to ask. He's got the plan for today and the plan for tomorrow. I just need to trust in His Goodness and be patient.

So, if you're wondering, "Where is she going?" My response is...I'm going where God wants me to go. I'm trusting Him to provide the destination.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Things I've Learned Living in the OC #4- Warm Climate vs. Cold Climate

Yesterday on my facebook page I posted an article published by the Seattle Times about Seattle's Dis-Ease or the Seattle Freeze on developing deep friendships or relationships. I was surprised at the MANY comments I received back on the post. I didn't post the article to slam Pacific Northwesterners, but to bring attention to the lifestyle and to better articulate some of the differences I've noticed in cultures, so to speak, from the PNW to life in Orange County.

Some have mentioned the differences are due to warm climate versus cold climate. Some mention the difference are due to the original settlers of the respective areas. I'm not sure what it is, but simply put, what I do notice is I REALLY like getting together and hanging out with friends and we seem to be doing more of that here in Orange County.

If you know me you know I'm an extrovert. I love my time alone, but I LOVE hanging out with friends too. I love spending time visiting with friends and family, sharing an afternoon, making a meal together, sitting at a sports event talking, going for walks, etc. Being with friends and family fills me up!

Before moving to Orange County, my home responsibilities were many and I know I felt if I took an afternoon off from my "work" I'd fall further and further behind. That is a stressful place to be. I wanted to spend time playing, but also felt guilty and overwhelmed if I took the time off. I did make time to go for runs, weather permitting, and take the kids to the parks, but we would usually do those things alone.

I know in many ways I've changed by moving to the OC. I'm more relaxed, less stressed, happier, family life is better, free-er, and friend time is more plentiful. I want all this to continue regardless of where we live. So how do I make that happen if I live in the OC or in the PNW or the midwest for that matter? Good question.

How would we go back to life in the PNW, but not go back to the isolation. Dear friends, don't get defensive, I love you, that's why I WANT to spend MORE time with you. How do I break the "Cold Climate" mode and live the WARM climate life in a cold climate??

Monday, April 26, 2010

Holding Everything Together

Most people who know me well, know I've struggled with anxiety. After having our daughter I went through quite a long bout of anxiety, panic attacks and post-partum depression. As a result, I made substantial changes to my lifestyle to alleviate the stresses that bring on more anxiety.

Since moving to California, I've felt so rested, relaxed, and peaceful. That is until a couple weeks ago.

Due to the culmination of varying circumstances the monster of anxiety was awakened. I really do hate it! Breathing deeply got me through many a day. The fight or flight response was leaving me shaky and I could just feel my adrenals getting an unnecessary workout.

The last week I've begun to feel more settled. Routine was returning and I was catching up on some of my responsibilities around the house.

{You may wonder what may cause a girlie to become overwhelmed. For me, I'm a routine girl. I like getting up in the morning, having a cup of coffee, reading 10 pages of a book, checking my email/facebook/ebay, getting ready for the day, schooling the kids, working out, cooking, and cleaning the house, putting the kids to bed, enjoying a little tv or reading, a bowl of fruit and a cup of tea and the day is good. Then in the pockets of the day add kid activities, friends, church and I'm pretty good. But when that routine gets whacked and I fall behind...stress starts in at me.}

This is what happened...I began to lose the control of the routine. My housework got behind. I wasn't working out. I wasn't eating in a disciplined way. The kids weren't getting schooled. The rope began to unravel...

Add some financial stress of houses that will be losing their tenants. (The same houses have virtually lost about 25% of their value so we can't sell them). I'm the one hanging on the rope, as it unravels...I'm watching each fiber pull away and break and there's nothing I can do to pull it back together.

I know I have control issues, and God has allowed life circumstances so that I'd deal with this, but obviously I like having some sort of control.

Then this past weekend, we learn the teaching pastor we LOVE at our church that has be such a blessing to us here in California will be leaving in June.

I sat in church yesterday listening to our lead pastor and teaching pastor explain how God is leading our teaching pastor to "something else." What? I imagine he has an idea, but didn't let on to anyone. So...I sat in church yesterday, arms folded, trying to "hold" it together wondering what God has in store. This teaching pastor has been a God send. My sweetheart and I have grown so much and learned so much about God under his teaching. I know God will bring forth someone else, but we REALLY like THIS GUY!!

So all this leads to a song we ended up singing yesterday. I REALLY don't understand God's ways much of the time. I just try to have the faith that His ways are best. And I KNOW He WILL hold EVERYTHING together.

Christ, be the center of our lives
Be the place we fix our eyes
Be the center of our lives

You hold EVERYTHING together
You hold EVERYTHING together

So I'm counting on God holding it together...I'm not so good at that and need to depend on someone more Dependable and Trustworthy!

Love the Little League

We're knee deep in Little League at our house. The boys are both playing this spring. Their practices are usually on different days, two days a week and they play one or two games each week. So, needless to say, most of our weekday evenings and weekends are filled with Little League.

Before each game the teams line up, do the flag salute and recite the Little League pledge. I usually miss those first few minutes and can't decipher what they're saying when I'm there.

But today in the car the boys recited it for me and I can now say I LOVE LITTLE LEAGUE!!

The pledge is awesome and I'm so proud there's an organization that has kids memorize and say it along with the flag salute!!

I trust in God
I love my country
I'll respect its laws
I'll play fair
I'll strive to win,
but win or lose
I'll always do my best

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hero Photos

At Michael Steele's booksigning

Newt is such a nice guy!

After meeting Sean

Enjoying seeing Sean face-to-face

High-fives with Sean Hannity

Photo Op with Sean...silly girlie!

Trying to make the most of our seconds with Sean

Sean had to take this text. Yay for us! We had more time with him.

Sean watching the kids and asking them questions.


Jason Sehorn and Bruce Jenner

Sean and Meg Whitman (former CEO of Ebay- now running for governor of CA)


California- Land of Opportunity

I love living in California. It's sunny. It's warm. There are palm trees and year round flowers. And Conservative political figures and talk show hosts visit often! What more could a girlie ask for?
Since moving here we've visited Reagan Museum & Library twice. The first time we saw Michael Steele-Chairman of the Republican Party and yesterday we saw Sean Hannity.
I've also attended a small business summit where Newt Gingrich was the guest speaker. These guys are some of my favorite people!
I must admit yesterday was one of the highlights of my life. We attended a live taping of the Hannity show and then stood in line for Sean's latest booksigning. We were #539 (out of about 1500) and we weren't promised much time with Sean. There were no personalizations allowed, but candid shots were permitted. As we approached our time in line, Sean received a text message and he needed to respond. I made the most of those seconds. I tried to capture some pics of the two of us together (not that he realized he was in the pic). I also tried to get some photos of the kids with Sean.
After his texting, he took the time to ask the kids their names, ages, what sports they play and then high-fived them all. Priceless!!! He then asked me if I was their momma. Yes, I quickly replied. He shook my hand and I was so thrilled!
After these wonderful, brief seconds we were herded back out.
I had just met a Rock Star! I was shaking. I was so excited after meeting Michael and Newt too!! Now I can add meeting Sean to my list of great life events.
After driving the hour and a half home, I was still on cloud nine. I ended up staying up until midnight, reflecting on this great day and the great opportunities we've had here in California.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Disneyland Photos

Ready for Captain EO
At California Adventure
Beautiful Group with Minnie
Love These Kids
These kids are BRAVE!
Mr. Incredible!  I love the Incredibles!
The Ugandan Kids LOVE High School Musical