Friday, December 18, 2009

Sometimes it's better not knowing...

Because when you have the information you have to do something with it, you can no longer go along in ignorant bliss. So, I've heard all this stuff about where our meat comes from and so far I've really looked at things from a mom point of view. I was concerned about the amount of hormones in milk and meat because I have girls (I imagine it's not good for boys either) and I didn't want them developing breasts at the age of 5 and having to deal with their period when they turn 8, know what I mean???

So, I usually chose natural meat and organic milk...usually. I limited fast food because common sense told me that would be the worst when it came to things like that, but we haven't avoided it altogether. After all, it is convenient when we're out to run through the McDonald's drive through and pick up something from their dollar menu.

But then I watched the documentary Food Inc. You can also find out about more about it at

Now I'm stuck with what I'm going to make for our family Christmas party tomorrow. I was planning on making a ham, but after watching how they treat the pigs and the workers who work in the slaughter houses I just can't. I'm not a big animal rights person, but it was just ridiculously cruel.
I won't give you a bunch more details. I already talked Bill's ear off and we agreed to do some things differently so I'll just tell you those and the reasons behind it.
  • Buying meat from self sustaining local farms. These farms are small and seem to focus on producing a healthy product for their customer, rather than growing to be the biggest and richest businesses in the country. Because of that these people have an uphill battle against the big meat companies and their lobbies ts in Washington.
  • Buying grass fed local beef. Feeding cows corn actually makes them more acidic which makes it more likely the cow will have ecoli or some other bacteria and also makes our bodies more prone to infection.
  • Planning ahead to avoid fast food. I admit, the times that we do stop and get fast food is because I did not plan ahead and simply bring something from home, or better yet, plan on being at home around meal time.
  • Making stuff from scratch. We all know the benefits of less processed and preserved food.
  • Making salmon for Christmas dinner. They didn't say anything about the fishing industry and I would think that with a wild salmon I should be safe. If that movie comes out I'm NOT watching it!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Some Fabulous Giveaways

Daisymay at Daisy Dayz is giving away some beautiful jewelry.

Another good one!

Here is another one that you should go and read. I burst into tears when I saw all the pictures of how happy their daughter was to be found. Wow!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A blog worth your glance

I just wanted to share about this blog that I recently became aquainted with. This family is adopting a child from China right now and definitely needs prayer and support!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Week One lesson - Learn how to deal with failure

That's right after posting to all of everyone who comes accross this blog about a week ago, I have to admit that I have pretty much completely failed in my journey to being healthier...

In fact, after having a healthy breakfast of cheerios this morning I realized we still had ice cream leftover from Brayden's birthday and served myself a bowl. I really have no excuse for that and now I'm feeling not too hot!

My friends and I had a toy exchange last night and I begged one of them to bring brie in a pilsberry crust. It was so bad but so good all at once. In fact I couldn't decide how bad and good it was until I had a second piece;)

I'm not going to step on the scale, I'm not going to measure myself and I'm not going to beat myself up any longer about all of this because...well I was going to say it's a new day but this is the day I've been snacking on cookies and cream, so there's nothing really to say!

I'm going forward. I'm taking my failure with grace and I'm gonna shake what my mama (actually not my mama, probably one of my aunts) gave me tonight at zumba.

Tomorrow is a new day:)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I better write this down before I forget

Two years ago today our youngest child was born. We weren't planning on having any more children, but I remember driving down the street one day and realizing that no matter what we planned things were in God's hands. I found out two weeks later that I was pregnant.

We were so sure we would be having girl number 5. We thought "we populate the world with girls" and so when we saw that little penis on the ultrasound we were both in tears. A boy!

Planning a home birth was really exciting for me. I had gone natural before and just the experience of prenatal care with a midwife was such a nice change for me. No in and out prenatal appointments, she left plenty of time to answer each and every one of my questions.

"What if the cord is wrapped around the neck?"
"What if we have to go to the hospital for an emergency C-section?"
"What if he's turned the wrong way?"
"What if, what if, what if???"

She was so patient and reassuring and finally instructed me to stop watching Special Delivery on Discovery Health, a show featuring high risk deliveries.

My midwife, Charlotte Geddis, has delivered thousands of babies and told me stories of miraculous situations she's seen. Real miracles! That assured me that having this baby in the setting we were choosing was a step of faith, but God would meet us and be with us through it all.

On the night I went into labor I wasn't sure it was labor. No body tells you that the more kids you have the more false labor you have so I had already called her on two different occasions thinking it was it when it wasn't.
Bill went to bed and I got some sleep too. I did rest a little and then woke up and realized the contractions were still going. During false labor, going to sleep at night would be the end of them. I took a shower and the hot water felt great on my back. Then I sat on my exercise ball and watched some late late night TV. Finally the contractions were getting to the point where I needed to breathe through them so I woke up Bill to tell him it was for real this time.

And it was, they suddenly were very intense and pretty regular. I decided right then and there that I would rather go to the midwife's office instead of having her come to our place. I think I decided that because I was suddenly worried about progressing slowly. With Ruby (and pitosin) I kept thinking I was transitioning because of the pain and when the nurse checked me I was only almost to 3cm. I know that had to to with being induced, but I was still afraid that would happen again.

Our kids had spent the night at my parents house so that was already taken care of. I originally was going to have my two older girls there, but changed my mind about that too.

I was the one having the baby so I went with what I wanted.

We got ready to head over to Charlotte's and then we realized we couldn't find the keys to the suburban. No problem...we had Bill's work van! Not a comfortable ride.

We headed over and I suddenly forgot my very simple breathing patten of deep breaths in through the nose, out through the mouth. I started taking little breaths and hyperventilating until my husband reminded me how to do it. He was so good and how did I respond?

"You are getting a vasectomy!!!!" I yelled. He drove faster.
That ride was so bumpy that when we got to her office I stumbled out of the car and barfed.

I told the assistant to prepare the tub. The midwife wanted to check me first. I didn't understand why they couldn't multitask and start the tub and then check me but I guess they sensed I was farther along then I thought. Yep, 9 1/2 cm.

She broke my water, I quickly got to 10 cm and the contractions pretty much stopped.
After some contraction inducing tactics they started back up again and I started to push. This part of it was what my husband appreciated and why he recommends everyone to go to a midwife. Charlotte was praying over us while she was watching, taking care that I didn't tear and waiting for my little boy's big round head to descend.

Just to give you an idea, Emma took all of three pushes, Ruby took absolutely none at all, but Brayden's hard head had me pushing for 40 minutes.

But then he emerged into the world and into my arms (I actually reached down and pulled him up onto me) and the feeling of euphoric elation overcame my tired body. He went right on my breast knowing exactly what that was for.

After the placenta passed, Bill cut the cord. The midwife and assistant cleaned and weighed him. 7 pounds 14 ounces and 21 inches long and that was two weeks early.

I stayed and snuggled with my baby boy while Bill went home to get the suburban and the car seat.

He got back and we headed home, stopping at Dairy Queen for a bigger meal than I'd had in weeks.
The girls were so excited to meet their little brother.
For the rest of the day I laid with him in bed, rested and fell more in love.

Then night came. My milk of course had not come in and clearly the yellow stuff was not enough for my hungry boy. With the girls they simply whimpered and sucked on their hands when they were hungry as a tiny baby, but not Brayden. He screamed! Every two hours he screamed! I seriously remember saying something along the lines of "Oh no, what did we get ourselves into?"

And where was that cute little baby cry that babies are supposed to have?

My milk came in and he slept for longer than two hours but screaming his head off when he was hungry continued.

I got his name from one of those 35,000 baby names books and I thought it was an English name that meant "broad hill" or "wide valley", one of those. But then I found a name very close to his in my Strong's Hebrew dictionary. The word brayed means "to scream with hunger"....yep that fits him.

So, his verse is this "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. " Matthew 5:6

This morning I sang Happy Birthday to Brayden and then said "How old are you now???" He exclaimed "10!" Hey not so fast buddy! Happy 2nd birthday.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Come with me on this journey

It will be much less painful than it is for me...lover of sweets and baked goods (I'm sooo a dessert before dinner kinda gal)

Isn't it funny how as moms we usually don't know how we look until we see a picture? I mean, how could I know? I glance toward the scale every once in a while and actually stick out my tongue at it. I put my make-up on in front of the overhead mirror in the car (better lighting) and I AM the picture taker.

So this summer when I set down the camera while at the beach and my husband got ahold of it and took this shot I was a little surprised to see myself from behind!

And yep, that's a nice picture of my butt, which is so much cushier than it was before baby number 4...well no 3! Aren't you glad that I trust you people? And yes, I will admit to you and only you that that is back fat you see! Aghhhh!

Anyway, for some reason in the middle of cooking constantly, food galore and my bestest friends, jackets and scarves, I'm all of a sudden motivated to lose some weight, gain some muscle and just be healthier! You know, treat my body better...

Part of the reason is because I finally gave in and stepped on Bad Mr. Scale! That gave me a goal...lose 20 pounds!

Another reason is because I FINALLY found a workout that I love....ready for it? Zumba!

Yes it is so much fun! I took dance when I was younger and believe lose those skills. The first time I went I was so lost and could NOT keep up with the steps, but by the end of the session I was such a sweaty mess and I didn't want to stop because I was having so much fun. I went again a couple weeks later and followed a little better but it still kicked my cushy butt!

Yesterday I daringly went all alone to the town's fitness center which is known for it's gossipy people; so out of my comfort zone. This was the first time that we actually were in a dance study surrounded by mirrors...yikes! This was the reason I went to the health club's Zumba, because I knew the mirrors would help me actually get some of the more difficult steps.

Which leads me to the final reason I'm wanting to do this. I got a look at myself in fitted workout gear in that full length mirror and suddenly saw the difference from when I was really in shape! I thought no wonder I feel the way I do! I know that was before children, but still, I want to feel good again. I want to be able to play tag with my kids and not get completely winded after only five minutes. I want to be able to go out dancing with my husband. I want to NOT have to rely on jackets and scarves to hide that middle area.

So here's my plan. I would totally go to Zumba 3x a week if I could, but that's not very practical with my already busy schedule, so I'll at least go once and then start working out at home too again.

The bulk of my diet (there has to be some room this time of year) is going to be whole grains, lean meats, veggies and fruits. I've also been drinking Acai berry juice this week and feel it doing something in my digestive system.

And lastly I'm going to tell you all about it:) Lucky you!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

You DON'T want a Barbie Dream House???

Tis the season to be....unsatisfied!

Yesterday we were eating dinner and the kids were talking about what they were hoping for in the way of Christmas gifts. I've asked them to narrow down their usually extensive lists to ONE thing and one thing only. Mean Mama? I'll get them each more than one thing, I just don't like how big long lists filled with Wii wishes and Ipod dreams make for unhappy Christmas mornings on every one's part.

Anyway, Shariah says "and by the way Mom, this year can you please NOT get us barbies that look like us???" WHAT??? Seriously, no barbies? Did these girls come from me? And I get so excited to buy a strawberry blond, blue eyed Midge for Shariah, brown haired barbies for Emma and Azzie and a dark blond one for Ruby. I don't think that's too much. I wasn't going to buy Brayden a Ken doll or anything. Seriously girls, can't your mom go back to her childhood a little at Christmas time???

That got me thinking to my Christmas' growing up. I don't think I have to say anything further about my own love for barbies and at the very very top of my Christmas list was the Barbie Dream house. The one with three levels and an elevator to get you there(pictured below - my how it's changed) ! I'm pretty sure it was similar to the kid in "A Christmas Story" wanting that Red Rider BB gun.

So Christmas morning came and presents filled the base of our little tree. Us kids were up at the crack of dawn anticipating...well pretty much just the gifts.

My dad passed out presents to each of us and I instantly noticed the familiar shape of my rectangular wrapped box. I tore the paper to find a bikini clad blond barbie doll. Oh, she's going to love her new house I thought to myself. The next present caused even more excitement. A kitchen and dining set, all pink of course and elegant enough to be in a three story home with an elevator.

I think some other gifts followed. Things like stuffed animals and socks.

Then almost all the gifts were done. Two presents remained and one was rather large, so when they handed the large gift to my younger brother and stuck the smaller one in my lap I didn't know what to think. I can't remember what my brother opened, but in my box I found a pink outdoor Barbie Soda Fountain Shop! First I was confused. That was it? Were my parents hiding the dream house in their bedroom and just teasing me with this soda shop?? I mean, it was nice and it was pink, but it was something that would be down the street from what I really wanted.

I didn't get that barbie dream house that day or ever. It probably had cost more money than we could afford at the time and I suppose the house would have been dumb if I had no furniture or barbies to put in it, but I have to admit, I cried! I cried right there in the living room surrounded by presents on Christmas morning.

My mom volunteered at the Food Bank around that time and one day she brought home dozens of gray Dairy gold milk crates. I stacked those milk crates sideways on one wall of my bedroom and so were invented...the Barbie Ghetto Apts. Yeah, the beautiful pink dining room set looked a little out of place, but there were plenty of small studio apartments for Barbie, Ken, Skipper and the rest of the gang. There was no need for an elevator because there was a handle sized hole in each floor that barbie could just climb through.

I wish I had a picture of that complex in all it's glory, but you're just going to have to use your imagination.

I was happy with the apartment complex and feel that my childhood would definitely be missing something without it, but nevertheless the dream failed to completely die knowing that someday I would have girls of my own and I dreamed of the look of elation on my own daughter's face when she came down Christmas morning to find her very own Barbie Dream House waiting for her.

But my daughters don't even want barbies who look like them!


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Why didn't I think of this??

Last night I went to a Toy Exchange with some moms from church. What a great idea. I packed up a few toys that are still in nice condition and hauled them to the exchange. Now I was kind of sad to see some of these things go. (I can't say what in case any kiddies peek at my post - not that they are even going to miss them). I was sad mostly because we had paid full price for this stuff for something that was thrown in the toy box and forgotten! Then (and this is all on my drive to the exchange) I got kind of mad, at my kids and at myself. That turned into resolve to NOT buy toys at full price anymore. So, now I'm pretty much done "shopping" for my youngest two and I'm thinking about having another toy exchange myself:)

April you'd be into that right???

Friday, November 27, 2009

Rollerskating Fun with Emma

First of all I love birthdays. I feel like a birthday should be celebrated all week (including both weekends) and I'm all for celebrating a half birthday - just because having cake and a special day for you just once a year isn't enough.

I also love parties, especially birthday parties. I love the planning, the cake decorating, the games and afterward remembering how fun it was. But with five kids and after one year spending an obscene amount of money taking an entire second grade class rollerskating, we had to cut down on the big parties.

Now we have parties for birthdays 1, 5, 10, 13 and 16 and in between those years the kids can choose to do something with one friend and the family. So, for Emma's 6th birthday the family went rollerskating. Here's the evening in pictures.

The birthday girl showing just how fast she can go.

Emma with big sister Azzie

Azzie (I know serious red eye, but she's very into twilight so she thought it looked cool)

Once again it took several tries to get an unblurry picture of Shariah, the speedster.

Ruby's first time skating and is holding onto Uncle Peter and Grandma.

And I'm going to leave you with a couple of quotes from my girl who never fails to keep me laughing.

Me: Emma, do you know that the biggest word in the world is supercalifragilisticexpealidocious?

Emma: No it's not Mom!

Me: Oh then what is?

Emma: Go-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-d!

Later that same day...

Emma: Hey Mom, I was just wondering, does everyone in the world have taste bugs?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

So Much To Be Thankful For

It's Thanksgiving morning and before I write what I am planning I have to say that my husband is watching the football game and all of my kids, including Brayden (who is not quite two) are all singing along with the Star Spangled's SO cute!

I don't talk about our family much, as in Bill's and my sisters and brothers and moms and dads. But I can count on the Thanksgiving holiday especially to bring all the issues we have right in our faces. We always have the problem of where to have Thanksgiving and the truth is we'd just rather go far far away and celebrate with strangers.

Last year we did skip town and it was wonderful. No stress, no family bickering, no one coming to dinner stoned, you get the point.

One major issue is my sister "B". She's struggled for years with drinking, drugs, eating disorders and relationship problems. I don't think she'd mind me sharing that with the world. She is very open about what she struggles with. Sometimes too open for my personal comfort!

So, on Sunday (I'm sorry if I'm skipping all over the place but as you can imagine there's a lot to this story) I was on my way to church to share that speech. It was the last day of hunting season so my husband had been tromping through the soggy forrest all morning and was meeting me at church. We were supposed to be there early and we were running late and of course I lost my keys, cuz that always happens when I'm already running late for something! I was irritated and yelling at the kids to get in the car, buckle up, etc. They were fighting with each other over who knows what in the back seat. I pulled out onto the road thinking "How am I supposed to go and stand up in front of the church and share when this is how my morning goes???"

I said a prayer that things would change and calmed down myself hoping that it would spread throughout the car. Then I decided to check my messages (I know, I try not to talk on the phone while driving, but listening to messages is different right?) and there was a message from my sister. She called to say that she's going to Teen Challenge and leaving as soon as possible!!!

Teen Challenge is actually for all ages despite the name "teen". It is a year long program which includes drug rehab, discipleship (it's a Christian organization), extensive counseling and eventually outreach. Rather than an 8% success rate like 21 day rehabilitation centers the success rate is much much higher. I'll have to find out what it is find out what it for sure, but from what I've heard, it's more like 80%.

So many seeds have been sown into B and that morning I was so beyond encouraged to see the glimpse of the seeds taking root. I was so filled with thankfulness by the time I arrived at the church.

B has a purpose and she's going to step forward in courage and allow God to lead her and prepare her for that purpose.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Leaves in the wind

So I did it, trembling with a racing heart, I got up in front of the entire church and gave this "speech". I do NOT like speaking in front of people (who does seriously??) but I find myself accepting opportunities and hoping for more. Weird? I never said I wasn't;)

Anyway, a few different people came up to me afterward and said the best thing ever...they said God spoke to their heart through my words...I'm so completely humbled!!!

So, this was edited from the first version.

Just this morning I woke up to a beautiful song. I love music and these lyrics really spoke to my heart. The song is by Among the Thirsty and it’s called “I’d Need a Savior”

How many names can I use to explain the love of my Jesus,the life that he gave and so many times will I raise you today.I lift up my life ‘cause you’re always the sameAnd my offering to you I bring

Last week I was not in the best mood for preparing to say what I’m thankful for. I sat one morning with my cup of coffee and peered out at the blustering day (I do blame the weather). I saw some terrified leaves fall to be swept to a place I couldn’t see from my window, and in a moment of melancholy I realized that I kind felt like one of those leaves being tossed to and fro in the raging wind, only taking detours from my final destination…the ground. I know! Don’t ever let me complain about my girls being overly dramatic!

This year has been tough and last year was tough too. Trials have come one after another and even overlapped each other on several occasions. I’ve become accustomed to moments of brief rest before the testing of my faith begins yet again. I know that testing grows us, but honestly I’ve wondered how much “growing” one person can possibly need…you don’t have to answer that!

There’s been plenty of inspiration on Facebook as so many people are typing out things that they’re thankful for. I also read over my family’s Thanksgiving letters from last year. I usually have everyone write a simple note of what we’re thankful for but I don’t think I’ve ever actually gone back to them until this week. There is something to remembering what we have and counting our blessings. I laughed to see that three out of five children were thankful for candy (probably old from Halloween) last year and the rest were sweet and doing so definitely helped to improve my mood. At the time last year we were struggling with the shock of our situation. Being in the building industry we were hit early by the economic downturn and most of what I wrote in my own letter focused on what we had left. I was thankful that we had our health and our home and family and friends.

As this financial trial has continued, honestly becoming more of a “life” trial, the feeling of defeat and the loss of hope have definitely settled upon me. And that’s where this sorry leaf analogy comes in. I’m definitely in a different place this year and I haven’t decided if it’s better or worse.

Throughout the week I’ve had another song in my head. “I will arise and come to Jesus”. The lyrics that I love are these:

I will arise and go to Jesus,He will embrace me in His rms;In the arms of my dear Savior,O there are ten thousand charms.

Come, ye thirsty, come, and welcome,God’s free bounty glorify;True belief and true repentance,Every grace that brings you nigh.

Come, ye weary, heavy laden,Lost and ruined by the fall;If you tarry till you’re better,You will never come at all.

You see I know what I’m supposed to do. I know what the bible says. The bible says to trust in Him, look to Him, keep my eyes focused on Him, and for the weak and weary there is no shortage of promises, in fact every answer we need is there in God’s Word. But keeping faith and keeping focused are not easy to do when things are pressing at us from every direction. It’s not easy when the possibility of things turning around slips farther and farther away. Honestly there comes a point of giving up on circumstances and lettings things go.

In the middle of my leaf word picture I realized that there is something that I hold onto when everything else is hopeless. I might be heading down to the ground, but God is an expert at raising things from the dead. He takes dead things and breaths life into them, infuses them with His power and His glory and when He resurrects something it is eternally better than how it was before.

Jesus was crucified, but He rose from the grave, He conquered death for all of us and He is living in His glorified body. He saved us by that atoning work and when I think about what He has saved me from, I want nothing more than to serve Him daily!

He saved me at a young age calling my name and for that I am thankful. His grace filled the gaps in my dysfunctional family as He comforted my pain and covered my shame. My despair and unbelief led me to a life of parties and drugs and He saved me from the destruction that I was running towards. I was alone and He restored to me a family with ample room for grace to be lived out daily. I had dreams as a little girl of having a wonderful husband and lots of children and He restored that dream (we have five kids). He took me in my brokenness, in my depression and despair and continues to turn those ashes into beauty.

What I am most thankful for though, is that while I may feel blown around in the wind and while I may lose faith, give up, lose sight of the Truth, screw up, fail, you get the point, God does NOT change. And His power is made perfect through our weaknesses. Not in spite of them, but THROUGH them! That’s grace! The same power that conquered death is in us!

Something that remains on my list from year to year is my thankfulness for my family and our friends; people lift us up when we are lacking faith, speak truth to us when we need it, people who feed us when we are hungry and clothe us when we need it. And people who give us that opportunity to be in their lives so we can do that for them as well.

The last thing that I want to share is that I am thankful for this day, because really this day is all we know that we will have, right? And if we have lost hope and faith for a little while or lived for years running from God one way or another, we have this day. God’s compassions never fail. Lamentations 3:23 says “they are new every morning; great is [His] faithfulness”.

I’m just going to finish with the rest of the lyrics to “I’d Need a Savior”:

How many songs can I sing to proclaim
your wondrous love and beauty so great?
What would I say if you brought down the rain and
I walk through the pain my heart would still

Chorus: Your name is Jesus. Your name is

You’re the Wonderful, Counselor, my Friend.
You’re what I hold on to; I know that you brought me through
All the days of loss, to the cross you knew
I’d need a Savior.

You’re what I hold on to; I know that you brought me through
All the days of loss, to the cross you knew I’d need a

I’d need a Savior
I need you, Savior

Monday, November 16, 2009

This Thanksgiving

I have spent the last couple of days preparing to share in church a little something about Thanksgiving, and the timing was interesting because for the last couple of days the weather has been gloomy, rainy and very windy and I have to say that like so many people around here, my mood has gone right along with the weather.

So, I sat with my cup of coffee and peered out with heavy cheeks at the blustering day. There a few terrified leaves fell and were swept to a place I couldn’t see from my window, and in a moment of melancholic tragedy I exclaimed to my pitying self that I felt like one of those leaves being tossed to and fro in the raging wind, only taking detours from my final destination…the ground. I hope I’m not the only one who can be that pathetic!

This year has been tough and last year was tough too. Trials have come one after another and even overlapped each other on several occasions. I’ve become accustomed to moments of brief rest before the testing of my faith begins yet again. I know that testing grows us, but honestly I’ve wondering how much “growing” one person can possibly need…don’t answer that!

For inspiration I read over my family’s Thanksgiving letters from last year. I usually have everyone write a simple note of what we’re thankful for but I don’t think I’ve ever actually gone back to them until this week. There is something to remembering what we have and counting our blessings. I laughed to see that three out of five children were thankful for candy last year and the rest were sweet as well. At the time we were struggling with the shock of our situation. Being in the building industry we were hit early by the economic downturn and most of what I wrote in my own letter focused on what we had left. I was thankful that we had our health and our home and family and friends.

As this financial trial has continued, honestly being more of a “life” trial the feeling of defeat and the loss of hope have definitely settled upon me. And that’s where this sorry leaf analogy comes in. I’m definitely in a different place this year and I haven’t decided if it’s better or worse.

You see I know what I’m supposed to do. I know what the bible says. The bible says to trust in Him, look to Him, keep my eyes focused on Him, and for the weak and weary there is no shortage of promises, in fact I believe every answer we need is there in God’s Word. But keeping faith and keeping focused are not easy to do when things are pressing at us from every direction. It’s not easy when the possibility of things turning around slips farther and farther away. Honestly there comes a point of giving up on circumstances and lettings things go.

In the middle of my leaf word picture I realized that there is something that I hold onto when everything else is hopeless. I might be heading down to the ground, but God is an expert at raising things from the dead. He takes dead things and breaths life into them, infuses them with His power and His glory and when He resurrects something it is eternally better than how it was before.

Jesus was crucified, but He rose from the grave, He conquered death for all of us and He is living in His glorified body. He saved us by that atoning work and when I think about what He has saved me from, I want nothing more than to serve Him daily!

He saved me at a young age, calling my name and I’m thankful I listened. His grace filled the gaps in my dysfunctional family as He comforted my pain and covered my shame. My despair and unbelief led me to a life of parties and drugs and He saved me from the destruction of my own making. I was alone and He restored to me a family with ample room for grace to be lived out daily. He restored to me my little girl dream of having a godly husband and lots of children. He took me in my brokenness, in my depression and despair and turned those ashes into a thing of beauty as I’m able to understand and know firsthand what so many women struggle with today.

What I am most thankful for though, is that while I may feel blown around in the wind and while I may lose faith, give up, lose sight of the Truth, screw up, fail, you get the point, God does NOT change. And His power is made perfect through our weaknesses. Not in spite of them, but THROUGH them! That’s grace! The same power that conquered death is in us, through His Spirit.

Something that remains on my list from year to year is my thankfulness for friends and family; people who fed us when we were hungry and clothed us when we needed it and I’m thankful that we have the opportunity to do that for others.

My challenge this Thanksgiving is to dwell on who He is, remember how He saved you and serve Him daily.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Our Weekend Getaway (Part 1)

We had such a nice weekend together, even if half of it was spent in the car. We set out on Friday morning in the fog and good chance of rain and headed over the "beautiful" North Cascades Highway. Now, I'm sure it is beautiful when the sunlight is gleaming down through the trees, but a better word for it during our trip would be...frustrating. I had to drive really slow through all the windy curves.

The sun did peek through and blue sky was spotted when we got to 8000 feet but it was enough for me. Autumn leaves would have been nice but honestly I was much more interested in the quality driving time with my handsome man:)

We stopped in Winthrop and walked around a little. If you've never been you should go and take your kids and head on into one of their saloons for a sarsaparillas. That's about it.

When we came down into the Metho Valley we did see beautiful leaves and orchards. The valleys in Eastern Washington are always so amazing to me, how things can grow abundantly right along the river, but almost immediately after...I guess where the irrigation system ends, everything is dry dessert land. The rock formations are amazing and made me wish I knew a little more about geology. I didn't get a good picture but so many of them look like God took his hand and smushed it down like dry bread dough.

The other towns we passed were not much to mention and actually a little depressing to drive through even. I mentioned that to my dad when we got back and he said many of those towns are filled with drugs and drug cooking labs/trailers and they have all the other stuff that goes along with that...sad.

Then we got to Colville and I honestly felt like I was home after a long time away. Compared to the other towns we'd gone through (Omak, Republic, Kettle Falls) Colville has much more of an influence from Spokane, which is directly two hours South.

The old Main street looked the same, with the old movie house and other family owned businesses.

We stopped to get a bite to eat at a family Mexican Restaurant and there we got a feel for local life. It reminded me a lot of Stanwood, but maybe a few years behind and an even slower pace.

After eating we drove out of town, further down Highway 20 to the Beaver Lodge Resort. It was dark and we just checked in and headed to our interestingly decorated cabin. I'll just say whoever decorated has a thing for floppy eared dressed up bunnies!

The next morning we headed a few miles down the road to Molanda. It took us awhile to find the place. Last time I was there I was 12 and Bill visited a few years ago with my brother. We finally found it and drove up the old driveway which was heavily overgrown. We found the back door opened and realized right away that our suspicions were too true and grossly understated. Pack rats have taken up residence and the inside was covered with insulation and rat poop. We looked around and took note of how much cleaning we would need to do, got back into the car and headed back to Colville for rat traps and orange vests (it was the height of deer season and I was afraid to get out of the car without one).

In town we drove around and Bill let me be sentimental for awhile. I found my old school "Aster Elementary" and our old house on Summit Ave. I drove by the dirt pit that me and my friends would sneak over to and slide down and reminisced about my childhood and where everyone was now. In our entire marriage I don't think I've ever really done this with my husband. He grew up around Stanwood so we're always driving past places where he learned to ride a bike, played with his childhood friends, etc.

After checking out the Walmart, which wasn't there before, we drove back up to Molanda and in our bright orange vests, explored the property more. I was most excited to see my "Field of Wildflowers" where I'd go as a child and play, pretend and talk to God. As you can see in the picture below there are no flowers there now, but I'm betting they grow there in the spring. We'll have to go back and see for sure.

I felt such peace being there again. The woods are overgrown but I still had that feeling that this was how it should be, that this was how woods should be and this was how I should feel. Completely content with life.

Later went back to where we were staying and discovered Lake Gillette right next to the resort. Beautiful pristine waters with a backdrop of firs and tamaracks (those are the yellow conifer trees).

Overall our trip was such a time of rest, fun being together and beautiful. And we didn't realize how much we needed that!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Glitter happens to be my long lost motivation

This morning I sent the second and third child off to the bus, put the dog outside (I’m sorry I know it’s cold) and poured fruit loops for Ruby and Brayden. I thought surely that would give me a few minutes to check my email and Facebook (that’s right I have not at all stuck with my ban of that – it’s like a drug! I don’t even like how it makes me feel afterward, but I keep being drawn back to it, like a bug to a light zapper).

I checked out everyone’s Haloween costumes and watched a couple of You Tube videos so I guess it did take a little longer than I had expected. Then I went to check on the kids and found GLITTER EVERYWHERE. Mixed in with their cereal, covering the floor and table, not to mention my children. Usually messes like this overwhelm me and make me say things under my breath about life, all I do is clean, etc. But for some reason the sight of bowls filled with milk, fruit loops and sparkles made me laugh and smile the whole time I cleaned.

The smile remained while I mopped the floor on my hands and knees, and then while I washed the dishes. I kept smiling while I threw all the sparkly clothes in the washer. And it kept going. I have officially started on my “Fall Cleaning” and could not be happier about it. I've been looking for my motivation for a week now and who knew I'd find it where I did. I still don't know where they got the glitter in the first place though...

Oh and while I was in the middle of the kitchen cleaning I peeked in to see my sweet little children looking at books quietly on the couch.

Yep, I’m counting my blessings today.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

One of many stories I've started and not finished...

Smoke curled upward filling the foyer of the large Victorian house creating a thick cloud around the Nineteenth century chandelier. I had given up smoking years ago and the dense fog burned my eyes. On one side of the room two older ladies sat silently in chairs on either side of a long table. Glancing momentarily my way, the first looked somewhat masculine with short gray hair, jeans and she held her cigarette between her pointer finger and thumb like an old farmer. The other wore her hair in a short bob, obviously dyed black or possibly a wig. She held one of those old fashioned cigarette holders. Her eyes remained pointed at some high mark on the opposite wall and as I walked by the smell of bourbon hit me like a truck. I wondered if she hid a flask in her stockings. That seemed to fit her. I suddenly remembered hearing about a flamboyant aunt who filled small shiny bags with sand and gave them as gifts to her nieces telling them it was fairy dust. I’d always envied Leila for having an interesting aunt when all of mine were in comparison very boring church ladies.

The first time I saw Leila I decided she must be a dancer. She walked into my high school English class and I watched her long graceful neck and a face that came down from her eyes to a point similar to a heart. She looked around the room of students, fixing her eyes on nothing in particular and I could tell she was nervous. I’d seen her earlier in the day, walking from the office with what must have been her schedule and locker assignment.
I wasn’t an outgoing girl in high school but something urged me to meet her. The teacher introduced her as Leila Montgomery and seated her right behind me. That day we became friends.
I wasn’t the only one drawn to Leila. She was quiet at first, just having moved to the area and not knowing anyone. Once she warmed up though she started making friends with everyone. She was kind, funny and pretty and I felt like she was mine.
I had many best friends before but no one like Leila. Maybe it was because of the time in our lives. Those years when you don’t really know who you are and your feelings overwhelm the logical part of your self.

As I made my way past the smoking women I wondered what I was doing here. I hadn’t talked to Leila in years. Could we still even be considered friends?
I took in a breath of clean air as I stepped into the kitchen where more women were preparing food. Not silent but so quiet were their voices that I couldn’t make out a word. I suddenly felt very uncomfortable and wished my husband Max were here with me. He’d become my comfort over the years but he had stayed at home with the kids.
One of the women, wearing an apron, looked up and noticed me. She smiled and started toward me.
“Well, hi dear, you must be a friend of one of my granddaughters. I’m Carmen.” She took my hands and her smile warmed me.
“Yeah, I’m Jessamine, an old friend of Leila’s. I’m really sorry for your loss.”
“Thank you dear.” Suddenly her eyes narrowed. “Leila’s been staying out by herself on that back porch. I won’t allow smoking in the house you see and she seems to think that smoking is going to bring her mother back from heaven now.” I considered the women in the smoke filled room where I had come through, but guessed Leila lived with different rules than her eccentric aunt.

My eyes moved over to the window looking out to the porch she was talking about and I caught a glimpse of my old friend. She looked as if she was about to come in the house and I waited, nervous and unable to move from the spot where I was standing.
The screen door closed with a bang and in walked Leila. She turned her head but her eyes failed to connect with anyone in the room, although all of our eyes were on her.
Her face had aged in the years we’d stayed apart. Her look was tough like the years had not been sweet. Of course I hadn’t expected her to be any other way considering the occasion that brought me down here, but something in me suspected the hardened girl I saw before me had taken years of work.
Her pale blue eyes were lined with dark liner and she had gained a lot of weight which she held around her middle. Her blonde hair was cut into a low maintenance short style and tucked behind her ears where she kept an extra smoke.
On queue with my thoughts she took the cigarette and popped a lighter to light it. Her grandmother was quick to catch her. “Not in here, honey,” to which Leila quickly turned on her heel, marching out the door like a knowing child.
Instantly I felt awful. Awful for letting so many years go by without a word. I felt bad that she did not know my children and Max only knew her through old stories of my crazy high school years.
With guilt of my neglect festering I followed her out the door and found her alone, staring into the empty yard.
She saw me and I noticed the wells of tears in her eyes, out of which one betrayed her and fell onto her blotchy cheek.
“Hey, how are ya?” Leila said as she sniffled and made a partial attempt at composing herself. I went to her and she held her lit cigarette far off the balcony rail while we exchanged an awkward half hug.
“I’m good” I said as I backed away looking down at the worn and weathered floor boards.
She brought her arm in for a long drag while we both stood there uncomfortable and searching for words to say. I felt responsible.
“I’m sorry for not coming sooner,” I said.
“It’s alright. My mom had a lot of people helping out while she was sick.” Leila turned towards the house and stared through the window at her grandmother and the others. “Actually it has been kind of crazy,” she paused. “I sort of think my mom would have rather been left alone more so she could have had some peace.”
I noticed a hint of disdain in her voice and I wasn’t sure how to respond; how to connect so that she would understand me and I could be relieved from some of the guilt I was feeling.
“What I mean is that I’m sorry that I wasn’t here for you.”
“I’m fine.” She shrugged her shoulders. “You didn’t know she was sick, Jess.” She looked at me straight and I felt helpless from further explaining myself. So much so that the thought of getting out of there as quickly as possible rushed at me with overwhelming force.
“So what’s up these days? You live in the same place?” she asked.
“Well we’ve got four little ones now and yes we’re in the same house. We’ve actually done a lot of work to it over the years. I’ve built a big garden and Max has a huge shop where he works out of.”
“Four little ones…” She raised her eyebrows and crammed her cigarette into an overflowing ash tray. “Wow, you’ve really been popping out babies since I saw you last time, huh?”
That was the side of Leila that I’d loved so much as a sarcastic teenage girl myself but as I’d grown, married and matured there was nothing that irritated me more and I couldn’t help but feel defensive.
“You know, I’m pretty happy Leila. I’ve got a good husband who loves me and I like where I live and I love my kids.”
I watched her close off again at my self-protective response and half of me sunk back into the guilt. I silently vowed to be more sensitive. Her mother had just died I reminded myself. And anyway, with all the time that was bound to pass before our next encounter I decided I could endure her rude comments.
We stayed there in silence again while Leila lit another cigarette from a nearby pack that someone seemingly forgot.
“So, what are you up to these days?” I didn’t want to ask if she was still with her boyfriend Jeremy because so many years had passed. I remembered Leila being quite committed when she was involved with someone but honestly, looking and listening to Leila today made me doubt Jeremy could have stayed committed to her all this time.
“I live pretty close to here.” Now she seemed slow to speak but I welcomed the peace between us. “We rent a two story house, my boyfriend Dwayne and I. He plays the guitar and he’s actually made the downstairs into a pretty sweet studio. He’s in a band and they’re pretty good. They just released a CD and their songs are downloading like crazy off the internet.”
“What’s the name of his band?”
She kind of laughed. “Goodbye Rehab!”
“That’s it? That’s their name?”
She laughed again. “Yeah, that says a lot, huh?”
Now I was raising my eyebrows hoping she’d explain that a little further but not willing to ask.
“So, what are you doing?” I asked her.
“Well, I work at a clinic about a mile from here. Yeah, I hate it, but it’s a job right?”
Now I felt bad for getting so defensive about my wonderful life, after all I was probably living a fairy tale compared to her day to day mess, but then again it was her choice to live the way she’d been living all these years.
I remembered encouraging her on my wedding day to settle her self down. I assured her that she could be so much happier if she lived in the little farmhouse for rent down the road from the house Max and I were looking at to buy. We could have gardened together and gone for walks in the mornings. She could have met a sweet guy at our church and had her own kids.
“That’s good for you, but I’m just not ready for that, yet. Honestly I don’t know if I’ll ever be.” Her words from my wedding day still had me wondering and confused.
Leila put out her second cigarette and looked inside the house again. “Ya know? I’m gonna get out of here.”
“You’re leaving right now?”
“Hey, there’s nothing to stick around for and Dwayne’s got a show tonight.” She gave me a quick hug. “Thanks for coming down.”
“Sure, and I am really sorry about your mom. And Leila…”
“I’m sure she’s happier now, right? I guess I’ll see you at the next funeral.”
The words I was about to say disappeared in that instance and I was left with too many questions. Who was there for her right now? Who would listen and care about how she really felt about her mom’s death? Obviously I had wrongly assumed I could walk in and be that person. Why wasn’t Dwayne with her? That one hadn’t occurred to me until I stood there watching Leila hurry down the balcony steps and sneak around the side of the house to leave.
I stayed there for awhile reviewing in my mind what had just taken place. Suddenly I wanted nothing more than to get out of there too, away from that stuffy old house and back home to my husband and his sympathetic arms.
I opened the door and was immediately headed off by Carmen, Leila’s grandmother. “Where are you going dear?” Her sweet voice didn’t match her intimidating manners as she caught me, gripping onto my arm.
“I should get going. My kids are at home and I need to get back to them.” I felt desperate but she seemed to have her own mission.
“Where’s Leila, dear?”
“She said she needed to be somewhere too. Um, I think her boyfriend has a show or something.”
Carmen held my arm tighter, “Well, that good for nothing boyfriend of hers should have understood that she shouldn’t be going to rock shows. Not tonight. Not after just losing her own mother.” Carmen’s head was shaking. Then her fingers loosened as she came back to me and smiled. “Well, it was sweet of you to come here and pay your condolences. Leila’s lucky to have a friend like you.”
I smiled and nodded and when I felt I was free I hurried out the door, past the foyer, now overpowered with the smell of liquor and the two ladies still sitting in the smoky fog.
I hurried outside and unlocked my mini-van and scooted into the driver’s seat. I wanted to drive like a maniac home but all I could do was put my head on the steering wheel and take long deep breaths that kept my tears at bay.
After a minute I put my key in the ignition and started the car. Patting my cheeks with cold hands I felt relieved to have that over with so I could get back to my children, my husband and my life.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

One Liners

I wrote about my blogger and facebook ban and I'm sorry to have to admit but that's been overwith for a month. I've returned to FB and have posted all sorts of clever one not really, I'm more of an obsessive lurker I have to say. But I was just thinking blogging was the thing I was missing, not Facebook. And actually because of Beth Moore's nice little post this morning I am going to take another much needed break from Facebook since it's become more of a nervous tick for me. She quoted 1 Corinthians 10:23 "Everything is permissible"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"—but not everything is constructive.

So, I'm going to be random and give you a few little one liners (with a little explanation added because I'm wordy).

  1. I got the best workout last night dancing crazy with my kids! I actually got a new worship CD by this band called "Jesus Culture" and when put it in both Ruby and Brayden started dancing. So, we just went crazy jumping and and rocking out to the loud songs and twirling and leaping to the slow songs. They loved it, especially when Mommy ignored all her own safety warnings and swung them around in circles by their arms;)
  2. The flu is finally gone! Not H1N1. According to Lemonade Making Mama this still could be in my future! But no we had the tummy bug and the question that I previously posted on FB was "why do kids always start throwing up in the middle of the night?" Seriously, and then the next day they would feel all better and be ready to go and I'd be completely exhausted! Ugh, glad it's over though, but what a week.
  3. We're heading to the mountains. This is our second try at heading over to our family's cabin way over on the other side of the state. We tried in April, but there was still two feet of snow on the ground. The snow is long gone, but summer came and went and I don't know how we stayed so incredibly busy, but now's the time to go. It is going to snow soon again. And this leads me to my next post...
  4. Pray for sun and beautiful leaves:) I can't wait to head over the North Cascade Highway, which is supposed to be the most beautiful drive in Washington. I have only heard and never seen so I can't wait. I love love love driving and looking at Fall leaves. Especially with my handsome husband and a thermos of Starbucks. Expectations high? Yes! Can that lead to some sort of disaster (ie argument, fight, pouty pity part)? Potentially, but let's hope not;)
  5. I have missed blogging! I can't wait to really get back into the swing of things and share with you all the amazing things that have been happening. When I do I want to figure some things out like how to use other fonts because this one is okay, but I detest Helvetica and all of its relatives. I'm also trying to tap into my creative side (it's there, but seems to have been hiding under piles of laundry) and try to....just do something creative (the what will have to come later). I'm not a crafty person (although I love getting ideas from other people and copying them) and I can't sew aprons or make stuff for etsy, but I know there's some outlet for the right side of my brain. Maybe I'll discover it this weekend while on my drive...oops there I go again with the crazy expectations. Okay, sorry you are having to witness my internal argument, but I'm going to just try to enjoy myself this weekend and rest. Hmmm...
  6. I need a new good book. Any suggestions? I like everything except for throw away novels....what kind of statement is that?! My favorites are books that inspire me in some way and don't leave me asking "Why God why??" at the end of in other words, nothing with Oprah's name on it;)

Have a good weekend:)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Just a small break from my ban

I'm sorry! I should have told you what I was doing since I just ended with the Not Me Monday post.

I lead the bible study at our church with lots of help of a couple of other lovely ladies, mind you! After our Spring Women's Retreat my brain was full of questions, ideas and visions I guess you could say. One central theme was mainly on my mind and that was the desire to know who God is. I saw this need come up over and over again at the retreat and so for the first part of the summer I re-familiarized myself with the Psalms. What better place to see who God is right?

So, out of that came an idea for the Fall bible study.

I thought I'd have plenty of time during the summer to search the bible and make up study questions and have it all put together by the start of the Fall.

I feel like I write better on the computer because I am constantly cutting, pasting and rewording...I am a habitual self's horrible!

But every time I got on the computer all you blogger friends called my name. And then there's facebook and I just have to know when people are going to bed and eating dinner and shopping at did I ever get through life without knowing that stuff. Not to mention analyzing people's cryptic messages ending with dot dot dot.

So I banned myself...and I've been getting a lot done, but I'm only halfway there. Here's the cover...

I'll be back soon writing and reading what you have to say and commenting:) Although fasting from facebook has been like coming out of a dark house and wondering what that bright round ball is up in the sky, I have really REALLY missed reading blogs!

And you might be interested in a bulleted style summary of my life these past few weeks so here you go.

  • I survived the summer!
  • School started and Emma started Kindergarten. On her first full day of school she caught the bus. When she got on the bus driver, who's been their bus driver for years, exclaimed "Who's this?" That's all it took. I held back threatening tears and waved goodbye to my baby.
  • We got a puppy. This was a birthday present for my daughter Shariah, six months late. We got it for her because I felt she was old enough to take responsibility for the dog which she does, but I guess I forgot something in my planning...the night shift. We had a couple of rough nights and after trying to stick Bailee (that's her name) in a kennel she went for a day refusing to eat. So, now we've got an "arrangement". She's in our bed! But I'm getting sleep! I had to come to realize what was really important.
  • Bill got paid in stuff! He did a job and didn't get paid because the company is filing bankruptcy. Um, not good because we were pretty much completely depending on that money to survive the current month. But instead, since they were closing their store, they paid us in "stuff" like all new kitchen cabinets, flooring, hardware, carpet, etc. So, I guess I'm going to get a kitchen remodel, but I'm wondering how we're going to pay our bills.
  • I'm either going crazy, am in denial or I'm learning something about faith....can't tell which one it is, but while I wrote that last bullet, I didn't shed a tear and was actually smiling!
  • I'm reading a great book which a friend recommended called "Don't Make Me Count to 3!" Doesn't it sound good? I can't wait to tell you how this book, which is supposed to address issues with 2-4 year olds is helping with our preteen!
  • Bill got hurt. Yep, and still I'm smiling...crazy? Maybe...He re injured his knee. He was in a motorcycle accident when he was 15 and had to have surgery. He got a screw put in and the part of the ligament that goes over the top of the knee never attached fully so he's always had problems with it. It also made it easy for him to hyper extend it which is what happened and he tore one of the tendons from the bone. I guess tendons are pretty important in helping us bend our knees and put weight on our legs so he's on crutches and I'm pulling double duty around this house. He's meeting with an Orthopedic surgeon right now as I write this to see what he says....please pray for us about this if you think of it.

So, I'll leave you today with a couple of verses I've been hiding in my heart as life continues to throw us curve ball after curve ball...

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever!

Hebrews 13:8

Forever oh Lord, Your Word is settled in heaven.

Psalm 119:89

Monday, August 17, 2009

Not Me Monday

For more on NOT ME MONDAY head over to Mckmama's blog to get the rules on how to play and read what she and everyone else have NOT been doing this week.

And I am NOT in need of this guilt free confession time. Another week and I have NOT totally slacked on blogging and I am NOT totally sorry to the handfull of people who read what I have to say.

Last week I did NOT drop off our oldest daughter for her first time at "Junior High Camp". She did NOT try to avoid my hug when I dropped her off at the bus. The next two girls did NOT fight for the rest of the week. Seriously one kid missing does NOT make that much of a difference. While the oldest was at Junior High Camp she did NOT nominate me to come help out at youth group and you know what? I am NOT actually excited about doing it.

On Friday it was NOT my favorite neighbor's bday and a group of girls went out to dinner and then to the University Theatre for Improv Comedy. I did NOT only know a couple of the girls that went and found myself feeling NOT a little insecure. At the Improv I did NOT laugh the WHOLE time even when it was seriously NOT not funny. Like other people were rolling their eyes and there I am NOT practically rolling out of my seat. I'm just NOT like that. There was one of the players and he was NOT a little overweight and his clothes were NOT on the tight side of things. Toward the end of the show somehow, maybe in running around, his pants did NOT seem to be pulled up a little higher than what I would think would be comfortable and he was NOT bulging out of one side. I could NOT not even look his direction and I was NOT with a bunch of church girls who had ordered virgin mojitos at the restaurant and they all did NOT laugh uncomfortably at the site of bulging private parts. It was NOT disturbing, but my husband did NOT laugh his head off when I gave him all the nights details.

On Saturday my friends son did NOT have his first bday party and even though I only brought one child I was NOT still incredibly late for the party. That's just NOT how I run. My son did NOT try to steal his bday toys and his cake.

Yesterday was NOT my husbands big 3-0 bday and he did NOT have to work! I have been praying for ways to encourage him lately because I know he's NOT been stressed about work and money so while sitting in church I did NOT think at the very very last minute to throw him a surprise party. And you know what? It did NOT turn out fantastically! I invited just a few guys from his mens group to come over, stopped at Costco because I finally did NOT have an excuse to buy their gigantic chocolate cake, and then we went home and did NOT work our butts off cleaning the house and the yard. I did NOT exploit the neighbor kids by paying them a dollar each for about three hours of moving wood around the yard, weeding and folding laundry. No I'd NEVER do that. Well, I also promised them a piece of that gigantic cake and I think they were NOT more than happy to perform cheap labor. Carlos, the little neighbor boy did NOT keep hugging me over and over. Hehehe:)

The party was NOT a success for super last minute deals. My husband was NOT happy and totally encouraged and I felt like the answer to my prayer was better than I had hoped for.

This morning I did NOT drop my second child off for camp and did NOT almost cry when she did give me a big hug and then gave one to each of her siblings. So NOT one of those proud mama moments.

Btw, I do NOT have a few planned posts that should be up sometime this week. So stay tuned:)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

He Has a Bigger Plan

I haven't written much lately because I've been at a loss of what to write.

You see I have SO much on my mind that all that is coming out even in my conversations lately is rambling. Rambling on in my own mind's language that sometimes I don't even understand.

Plus I'm feeling needy.

And I have been trying to figure out what God wants me to do with what information I've been given.

Information about girls today growing up thinking they are too much to handle, getting out of control and losing hope.

Girls turning to boys and other things like cutting themselves to ease their storm like emotions.

Girls who are nice, naive and beautiful, taken advantage of and left with scars on their soul.

This morning at church I was feeling weighed down by my burdens and therefore needy myself. And very thirsty. The worship was so beautiful and I just sank into it, listening to the words most of the time and meditating on His Holy presence.

The song that really got to me was this one which talks about God being there for us "again and again". And it also says God is everywhere and during that part of the song they showed pictures of all these beautiful places and I'm telling you it was really powerful.

By the end of worship my cup was full and I felt the weightlessness of my burdens lifted.

Then I turned around right afterwards and met some new people. They are moving to the area because they are the new directors of a Christian youth organization. I talked to them for awhile and the conversation turned to how they are setting up programs from scratch and of course they'll be needing help with that. Hmmm...of course the wheels in my mind started turning.

Something to pray about.

Then I took my kids to a local church where they supposedly had a carnival taking place. The "carnival" consisted of one blow up slide and a little bouncy house. Well, my kids actually didn't complain...except Azzie, who is almost 12 and complains about most things, until she starts doing it and forgets that she wasn't supposed to be having fun;)

A familiar face called "Jewel" and I recognized a girl who had been in a teen parents program which I had worked for a few years ago. She had been a teen mother and her beautiful daughter is now 7. She's also married and a stay at home mom, but she's also faced her share of trials, ones that humble me.

I won't go into details about it, but I'll just say they've faced numerous medical issues with her daughter. Things no mother is prepared to face.

She said she missed the teen mom's program and really wishes they had some follow up program. I think she knows about MOPS but I think what she's needing is more than what they offer. Again the wheels were turning.

I am so thankful to see that God has a plan and if I just focus on Him and let Him carry my burdens and drink His Living Water, that's all I need. He can take care of the rest. He will take care of the rest.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Not Me Monday! - My first attempt

I love reading Not Me Monday! started by MckMama. I shied away from trying them myself because, well it just seemed a little too difficult. Not the part about writing things backwards, but the part about remembering what I did yesterday not to mention details from a week ago.

You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week. Or you can see what my BFF Megan did NOT do cuz she's who started me on this:)

Well, here I go.

This weekend was so NOT hot and humid!

My husband left on Friday to go to a Motor Cross race about five hours away so I was home with the kids. I did NOT have lots of plans. I was going to NOT be painting, NOT cleaning and NOT getting my kids grown out of clothes organized.

I did NOT do absolutely nothing!

I did NOT decide that watching P.S. I Love You was a good idea while missing my husband. It was NOT not a good idea.

On Saturday I did NOT decide in the early morning hours that jeans were a good idea for the day. Then continuing to have bright ideas I did NOT attempt to take my kids to a local country fair in the blazing heat.

I did NOT feel like I was going to pass out after being there for only half an hour.

I am NOT a baby when it comes to either extreme of weather.

While I was NOT struggling with the children in the heat my husband was NOT sneaking into the VIP area of the races. I was NOT so proud of him for that is something I might NOT do;)

After the fair I did NOT change into a NOT too skimpy dress, reserved only for desperately hot occasions;) Then I did NOT take my girls to a birthday party. I was holding Brayden and my brother in law came over with a video camera to "give Brayden a close up". I really think he was NOT getting a close up on my breasts. I did NOT feel majorly annoyed with him and my dress and the heat!

On Sunday I figured out how to be happier in the heat. It did NOT consist of eating lots of sour watermelon candies and drinking sugary lemonade. Then I did NOT drive around in my air conditioned gas guzzling suburban, giving up all together on housework! Of course NOT!

That's all I've got. I have NOT forgotten what happened before Friday and Saturday.

P.S. How'd I do Megan?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Jesus Calling

It was so hot yesterday and I was in such a bad mood. Partly because of the heat I'm sure and also just having too much to do and ABSOLUTELY NO energy!

My low point came late in the afternoon. My girls were all gone, my husband has been gone all weekend, my little boy was sleeping and I was staring at my sink full of dishes.

That was it, all I could handle. I broke down and started sobbing. Suddenly the tears that had been waiting to spill over all came at once and I found myself incredibly weighed down by it all.

I sat down on the floor and just prayed "Jesus, please help."

When I looked up and out of my kitchen window toward the East I cast my eyes on the sky suddenly darkened with clouds.


"Oh thank you Jesus!"

I went and woke up Brayden and carried him in his diaper to the car. I was needing to pick Emma and Ruby up from a birthday party anyway, so we set out and I drove straight into those dark clouds waiting for the first drops to hit my car windshield.

(If you are reading this and you're not from Washington I may sound a little ridiculous at this point...the fact is Northwest people just do not ever fully acclimate themselves to either extreme of heat or cold.)

I picked Emma and Ruby up from their birthday party and headed further east. It had already been raining, but now I was looking for lightning and listening for thunder.

I was chasing the storm! (Okay, I'll admit now, it was ridiculous).

The truth is I was feeling so down and dark and I wanted a distraction, and some BIG answer from the Lord about my feelings. (Am I the only one who has been there?)

So here I am chasing a storm and dragging my kids along for the ride and this song comes on the radio. One of those songs that I have not really listened to before yesterday.

Jesus Calling by 33 Miles:

When you see the rushing wind, feel the pouring rain
Hear the thunder now as the clouds roll in
You’re blinded by the lightning
Do you also hear that still, small voice saying
It’s okay you’re not alone
You may be scared to death but I won’t let you go
You may think the sky above is falling
But can you hear Jesus calling

What do you see when you look at your world today
Do you see a glimmer of hope, or has it all turned to gray
Well start by counting your blessings one by one
Oh and I’m sure right there, you’ll start to see the sun
You see there’s always another story, another side to every coin
And how you see your circumstance is all about a choice

Because the darker the night, the brighter He can shine

I sometimes feel irritated by the "Christian" act of counting your blessings, but there is something to it...a lot to it!

So I did, and I started by repositioning my rear view mirror for a second to see the quiet faces of three of my biggest blessings riding behind me (quiet because they were eating candy from the party - it didn't last long). I'll be honest in that sometimes my kids do NOT feel like blessings. They always are though, even in the moments when they are "teaching me something".

I woke up feeling so much better today and even though it's hot, I feel in it the bright light of my Father.

Even though the sink is once again full!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Things Kids Say: Neighbor Edition

I'm just trying to get caught up here:) I feel like I've been away for awhile, in some ways physically away and other ways mentally.

So, this is a little bit funny and a little bit sad and it makes me think...hmmm, what do my kids mumble to people we somewhat know?

I dropped Emma off at her karate class and decided to walk with Ruby to the Dollar Store. I saw a couple of girls from Azzie's school, Chelsea and Elizabeth.

In Second Grade I volunteered in Azzie's class and that's when I met Elizabeth. She came in from recess and inquired what I was doing.

"Correcting papers" I told her and then she showed me her cell phone. "I'm waiting for a call."

"Oh yeah?" I smiled.

"Yeah, you see I just found out that I'm adopted and it didn't go well. So, now I'm waiting for my 'parents' (she actually used finger quotes) to call so we can talk."

I did NOT know how to take what this little girl was telling me. I sensed she was telling me a story, but I had not been around a lot of second graders so I didn't want to assume anything.

"Yeah", she continued. "They really dropped a bomb on me with this." She shook her head and I think class had to get started.

So, when I saw them outside of Dollar Plus Chelsea said "hi" and I smiled and said "Hi Chelsea, how are you?" Then, "Are you girls having a good summer?"

I think Chelsea said something like "Yeah, lots of fun," but Elizabeth said "NO!"

"Oh, why not?" I asked.

"Well, my dad (she forgot the finger quotes this time) just leaves us home alone all the time. And when he is there, he just ignores us."

I think I said something like "Well, you're right, that wouldn't be fun."

The sad thing is I know telling stories like that comes from somewhere, but it is kind of funny too. I'll have to remember to pray for Elizabeth.

And on a totally cute note, Ruby and Brayden were playing House in their room while I was in with them but resting on Ruby's bed. Ruby said "I need to go get a baby bottle out of Emma's room, Mom, can you watch Brayden for me?" She was totally serious! She is such a little mama. I just laughed and said "Sure honey, I'll keep an eye on him for you."

(Here's Ruby with all of her babies.)

Good Books Inspire Adolescent Girls

Our oldest daughter Azzie is sooo into the Twilight books right now. All she can think to ask for her birthday is "Breaking Dawn". If you ask her about any of the characters or books, she'll talk until your eyes are glazing a little. Ask my friend Megan!

I skimmed through the first book making sure it was appropriate for our still eleven year old and I took her to the movie. I see the draw, I mean, a nice mysterious good looking guy who turns out to be a vampire, but it's okay, because he's a vegetarian (meaning he sucks the blood of Forrest animals and not people) and is drawn by scent to this awkward girl who doesn't know how pretty she is. And you don't have any scenes where you see little girls turn into ashen statues when the sun hits like in "Interview with a Vampire" because these vampires sparkle in the sunlight. Plus, he just wants a innocent romance with Bella, that consists of sleeping in the grass together, watching the Ocean from tree tops and watching her sleep. Creepy, but remember being 14?

My point is that I told Azzie she could read the books, but in between each book she needed to read something else. I gave her some options. I said she could read a book in the bible or a classic or something I pick out.

The first time I picked it out and gave her a Beverly Lewis book about courting Amish teenagers and had her also do a compare and contrast between dating customs in the different books she was reading. I thought it was a great idea, but she did not!

This time she picked Camilla by Madeleine L'Engle, a book I read again and again between the ages of 12-15. In fact it's falling apart. I carefully handed over my old library discarded book, while certain scenes came to mind causing me to smile. I hadn't really looked at it in years and I quickly noticed the phrase on the cover "Her life is filled with confusion. Will is ever make sense?"

"Wait" I said as something sparked in my memory. Let me look through this. Sure enough in blue and purple ink throughout the book is my own poetry inspired by L'Engle's outpouring of inspiration.

Here is some of it for your enjoyment. I believe I was 13...

~ Title page ~

And wishful thoughts reveal innocent smiles taken wrong.

Just leave me here along.

While tears fall like dew from autumn leaves.

Small attempts to bring life.

If only it all weren't so naive.

~ Page 3 ~

Dry sticky fingers are warmed in summer sun.

Small child gently weeping under rollercoaster lines of people.

~ Page 7 ~

Keep your eyes on the Lord...:)

~ Page 49 ~

Shy eyes wonder aimlessly

Nothing to occupy me...

~ Page 158 ~

Innocent smiles reveal conspicuous thoughts

And alas he's gone.

Too bad he wasn't smiling at me.

~ First page of book ~

12 o'clock at the train station

~ Last page of book ~

Will he even come?

And do what I want?

Wishful thoughts...

So, there you go. I was in therapy two years later by the way. I suppose I'll have to include a few discussions with my daughter during her time with Camilla.


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