We've been having some gorgeous sunrises and sunsets lately! We enjoyed this one as a family since sunrise is so late this time of year. But it's officially winter now, and I am grateful for the winter solstice though because less than eight hours of light per day starts to get to me! So now each day we're getting more minutes of light, and I'm happy about that.
Saturday, December 30
Tuesday, December 26
My Christmas didn't turn out like I had hoped. We had a relaxing morning (with the exception of a messy mishap with the coffee pot and a freak accident with a bathroom candle). I tried to just enjoy being with my family, and for the most part I was successful. But I couldn't fully relax since I hadn't gotten all the cleaning done that I wanted to before Christmas. My hubby doesn't get it, I don't think, but I just can't fully relax and enjoy things when my house isn't clean...especially on special days when I like it to be spotless.
We have started having prime rib for Christmas dinner for several years now. They almost always have it on special this time of year, and since we rarely have extended family joining us, we can buy a small roast relatively inexpensively. I like it because not only is it a treat, but it's so incredibly easy and fuss-free that I can just pop it in the oven along with some potatoes to bake and leave them alone for a few hours.
However, when I went to put the roast in the oven Chrismas Day, apparently it had been packaged poorly and it was going bad from the bottom up (which is why I hadn't noticed anything wrong). I decided to go back to Safeway and see if they were open perchance and could replace it. They weren't. We live in a small town and nothing except Rite-Aid was open. So we had frozen pizza for Christmas dinner! Oh well.
I was disappointed, but as I was driving to and from Safeway I was reflecting on Christmas and our Savior. I am so grateful that Christmas is about Him and God's gift to the world instead of about presents and special dinners, etc. My dinner and other plans for Christmas were lost...but I'm not. I am bought and paid for! I am redeemed (along with my grumpy attitude), and one day I will live in a kingdom free from sin and death (and rotting meat). I am extraordinarily grateful for Christ and His gift of salvation. I am so grateful too that I have a healthy and beautiful family to celebrate with!
Monday, December 25
Saturday, December 23
For ten years now we've dug the box out of our Christmas things, opened it, looked at each little stocking, given each other sad smiles and a hug, and then closed it back up and placed the box on our tree. But this year as I was holding the box in my hand, my four-year-old son asked, "What's in that box?"
The question didn't surprise me or catch me off guard exactly, but I hadn't anticipated having this conversation during our tree trimming celebration. My husband sat down next to me, and we pulled our two precious children close to us as we told them about the box. They had more questions, some of which we had answers for and some we didn't. Then they were satisfied and we went back to decorating this year's Christmas tree.
What a joy the last four Christmases have been! Sometimes I am overcome by the simplest things that remind me how very blessed I am to be a Mommy. As I watched my children excitedly running back and forth between the box of ornaments and the tree, my heart skipped a beat and my eyes filled with tears. It was one of those moments I had dreamed about all those long years when I was aching for children. The joy and fulfillment (and, yes, challenges) they bring don't erase the pain and sadness of the years we collected the stockings, but it gives our joy depth and richness and a perspective I am grateful for.
Though I should have known better, I assumed the kids would forget about the box until next year. But it had an impact, and they are still thinking about it. Abby has been talking about her brothers and sisters in heaven and how she can't wait to give them all a hug. And as I was pushing our grocery cart to the van this week, Ryan looked up and me and said, "Mommy, will you tell me about the box of stockings again?" Yes, Ryan, I would be happy to.
Friday, December 22
It's there every year, inconspicuously nestled into the branches of our Christmas tree. It began the year we found out we were pregnant for the first time. We were thrilled, scared, and dreamy like most first-time parents-to-be. We discovered the news at the beginning of December, and that year for Christmas we were given some things for our baby including a large plastic baby bottle bank filled with goodies and wrapped with a ribbon and a tiny stocking. It was a joyous Christmas despite the horrible morning sickness.
Then February brought heartbreaking news and our hopes and dreams came crashing down around us. We weren't going to hold and cuddle this baby afterall, we would never find out if it was a boy or a girl, we wouldn't be a Mommy or Daddy that year or perhaps ever, and we wouldn't be hanging a third stocking up beside ours next Christmas. We mourned instead, and we would mourn again three more times that year.
The next Christmas had an altogether different feel to it. As we opened up our Christmas boxes half-heartedly, we found the tiny stocking from the year before carefully packed away. I ran my hand over the red felt and remembered the joy of the year before. Suddenly I was surprised to feel something inside. Now intrigued, I looked inside and pulled out a small ziplock bag that had $100 bill and a Post-it note that read "For Baby Garner, to put in the bottle bank when it is empty. Love from Gramie and Granpa."
Though we didn't have the heart to hang up the tiny stocking, that Christmas we bought three more tiny stockings and put all four into a box. In subsequent years we sadly added more until our box now holds 11 tiny stockings, a small rememberance of precious lives dearly loved and wanted.
Thursday, December 21
My African Violet has been blooming for eight straight months, but it looks like it's down to one last bloom. I have been enjoying the flowers so much, especially since it didn't bloom for almost four years! It's the only houseplant that I have ever managed to keep alive for more than a year or so. Hopefully this spring it will bloom again!
Wednesday, December 20
Things didn't turn out exactly as planned this year. I had some things I wanted to do this Christmas, but sickness and other distractions kept me from doing everything I planned. But as I was going over my mental list the other day, I started making another list. I'm so grateful for the things I have and for the simple joys of Christmas:
The baby in a manger who went to the cross for me!
We have heat and electricity!
I have a hubby who would rather be home with us than anywhere else!
No wait in line at our small town post office.
I have two beautiful and healthy (mostly) children!
The smell of gingerbread, evergreen, and cinnamon filling the house.
I love crawling into flannel sheets each evening.
For the first time in my life, I have a house with a garage which means no scraping ice off the van windows each morning!
Tuesday, December 19
"Remember the prisoners, as though in prison wih them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body."
I often say a metal "puh-leeze" when I hear Americans talk about being persecuted for their faith. Though I am not ignorant of the fact that discrimination against Christians is increasing rapidly in our country, there are very few incidents of actual persecution. While I'm certainly not advocating handing over our rights as Americans, neither am I all that outraged by the secular forces-that-be removing the word Christmas from advertising or a nativity scene from a public area. It makes me sad that they choose to reject and revile my Savior and what He has to offer them, but can we really expect the world to act any differently?
It is possible (probable?) that one day Americans will indeed be invading our churches and trying to force us to reform or recant our beliefs, perhaps even to the point of death. In the meantime, let's pray for our country and, more importantly, let's not forget our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world who are truly putting liberty, life and limb on the line to follow Jesus. They need our prayers!
Megan Basham offers a little perspective as well.
Saturday, December 16
There are a handful of columnists that I make a point of reading each week, and Burt Prelutsky is one of them. He used to write a humor column for the LA Times, and his current columns often end up pretty funny too.
This week's column in Townhall is a recycled column from Christmas past and it's not particularly funny, but I loved it and thought I'd share it with you. Burt is a Jew, but he gives a great tribute to Christians in this article and I appreciated his sentiments.
Edited to add: This week's column by Burt is a follow-up to last week's and all the responses he received.
Friday, December 15
I loved this post from Ann at Holy Experience.
I am not a naturally early riser, and my children are very early risers. I try to get up earlier than they do so I can spend some time with the Lord before my day begins. I don't do well at concentrating deeply or focusing intently on anything once the kids are up and so I tend to want to be alone when I'm having my "quiet time" with the Lord, but I read this post a couple months ago and what a fantastic model this would be for my kids. I am a long way from making this scene happen in our home regularly, but it has given me something to think about.
Friday, December 8
I am a big Laura Ingalls Wilder fan. I grew up reading her books, and I learned so much from them. So when my mom recently gave me a collection of books about her life, I was thrilled. In one of them there is a recipe for gingerbread which Laura was famous for later in her life. I knew I wanted to try it, and when we set up our Christmas tree this afternoon, I was in the mood to do some baking. Her recipe was a bit cryptic for me, but I managed to whip up a batch that was very yummy. I know this sounds corny, but it gave me pleasure to enjoy this small part of her life across the years.
1 cup brown sugar blended with
1/2 cup lard or other shortening.
1 cup molasses mixed well with this.
2 teaspoons baking soda in 1 cup boiling water
(Be sure cup is full of water after foam is run off into cake mixture).
Mix all well.
To 3 cups of flour have added one teaspoon each of the following spices: ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves; and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sift all into cake mixture and mix well. Add lastly 2 well-beaten eggs. The mixture should be quite thin.
Bake in a moderate oven for thirty minutes.
Raisins and, or, candied fruit may be added and a chocolate frosting adds to the goodness.
Note: I just made the plain gingerbread and cooked it at 350 degrees since I have no idea what a "moderate" oven is. At this temperature it took an additional 20 minutes to finish baking. So perhaps moderate is closer to 375 degrees?
Thursday, December 7
I am usually up before sunrise, but this morning I slept late (it was wonderful!). When I finally got out of bed and went to open the living room curtains, the view I saw just about took my breath away. The sunrise was glorious! The entire sky was lit up like it was on fire...only pink. By the time I went to get Eddie and my camera, it had faded somewhat. But it was a wonderful postcard from the Lord this morning while it lasted.
Friday, November 17
I asked God to take away my habit.
God said, No.
It is not for me to take away, but for you to give it up.
I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.
God said, No.
His spirit is whole, his body is only temporary
I asked God to grant me patience.
God said, No.
Patience is a byproduct of tribulations;
it isn't granted, it is learned.
I asked God to give me happiness.
God said, No.
I give you blessings; Happiness is up to you.
I asked God to spare me pain.
God said, No.
Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares
and brings you closer to me.
I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life.
God said, No.
I will give you life, so that you may enjoy all things.
I asked God to help me LOVE others, as much as He loves me.
God said...Ahhhh, finally, you have the idea.
(Blog note: I deleted one paragraph that I wasn't sure was doctrinally sound.)
Monday, November 13
November is National Adoption Month, and several ministries are highlighting adoption during the month. Focus on the Family, Family Life, and Shaohannah's Hope are joining together to launch a long term, nationwide campaign called Voice of the Orphan. This campaign seeks to raise awareness of the orphan crisis and spur fellow Christians to action. This week their radio broadcasts will focus on orphans and adoption.
For obvious reasons, I have a special place in my heart for adoption. Not only has it given me two precious children, it has given me new perspective on the world around us, it has burdened me with the enormous need for adoptive families, and it has unbelievably given me a place in God's Kingdom!
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved." Ephesians 1:3-6 (See also Romans 8:15, 23, 9:4; Galatians 4:5)
Just as I sought out my children, the Lord--my Creator, my God, my King--sought me out. He chose me before the foundation of the world. He made me an heir with Christ, His only begotten. If you are a believer, you too have been adopted into God's family. What an incredible gift and privilege! If you are not a believer but you know God is seeking you out, don't wait!
"for He says, 'AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME I LISTENED TO YOU, AND ON THE DAY OF SALVATION I HELPED YOU'; behold, now is 'THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,' behold, now is 'THE DAY OF SALVATION'" 2 Corinthians 6:2
Thursday, October 26
Today's daily Bible reading contains one of my favorite verses.
Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, 'Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them: The LORD bless you, and keep you; The LORD make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace.'"
Friday, September 29
My hubby was nominated by a couple of his coworkers for Sysadmin of the Year! He got a cool and funny T-shirt, and winners will be notified on November 10th...his birthday. Though he doesn't expect to win, it was nice to be thought of and appreciated enough to be nominated. He works hard to keep all systems operational and up to date, and, like most IT personnel, he rarely gets appreciation for it. I just wanted to say Congratulations, Eddie!
Tuesday, September 26
I have been mulling this scene over in my heart and mind for the last several days. We walked into the pediatric hematologist/oncologist's office last week with renewed optimism because Abigail awoke with a normal temperature after 12 days of having unexplained high fevers. It's not an office I ever wanted to be visiting, but in short order we were blessed to be given assurances that she has no signs of a malignancy or leukemia or anything like that. Grateful, relieved, overjoyed...all the emotions I experienced as we were given that wonderful news.
However, underneath my elation there was such a heaviness for the families I saw there. Precious little ones undergoing chemo and other unspeakable things. Abby was the only child in the office with hair, except for the darling one-month old boy who was clearly the love of his Mommy's life. What in the world was he doing there?! I was keenly aware of those in adjacent rooms who didn't have the luxury of leaving that office with a smile of relief.
Do they know the Lord? If not, how do they cope? Where is their rock and shelter from the storm? I have been praying for these families whose faces are now burned on my mind. Mostly I pray that they will come to know the Lord and have strength. From my vantage point it's easy to say this and pray this, but I have been praying they would also come to know that He is good all the time.
"He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge." Psalm 91:4a
Thursday, September 21
This morning's devotion from Elisabeth Elliot:
Have you ever put heart and soul into something, prayed over it, worked at it with a good heart because you believed it to be what God wanted, and finally seen it "run aground"?
The story of Paul's voyage as a prisoner across the Adriatic Sea tells how an angel stood beside him and told him not to be afraid (in spite of winds of hurricane force), for God would spare his life and the lives of all with him on board ship. Paul cheered his guards and fellow passengers with that word, but added, "Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island" (Acts 27:26, NIV).
It would seem that the God who promises to spare all hands might have "done the job right," saved the ship as well, and spared them the ignominy of having to make it to land on the flotsam and jetsam that was left. The fact is He did not, nor does He always spare us.
Heaven is not here, it's There. If we were given all we wanted here, our hearts would settle for this world rather than the next. God is forever luring us up and away from this one, wooing us to Himself and His still invisible Kingdom, where we will certainly find what we so keenly long for.
"Running aground," then, is not the end of the world. But it helps to make the world a bit less appealing. It may even be God's answer to "Lead us not into temptation"--the temptation complacently to settle for visible things.
Wednesday, September 20
I am saddened that most churches today have abandoned hymns. We are missing some great theology and exhortation by forgetting these great works of the past. This hymn is one of my favorites (From Rippon's Selection of Hymns-1787; though it will forever be linked to J. Vernon McGee in my mind!):
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you he hath said,
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?
Fear not, I am with the: O be not dismayed,
For I am they God, and will still give thee aid;
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.
When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.
The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes:
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no, never, no, never forsake!
Tuesday, September 19
A pastor at a church we used to attend had a custom of stating, "God is good!" to which we were encouraged to answer, "All the time." He would then say, "And all the time," we would answer, "God is good." It was done often enough that it often felt like we were not really thinking about what we were saying but going through the motions (I guess to be fair I shouldn't say "we," but "I" felt this way).
As I was reading In the Grip of Grace by Max Lucado about ten years ago, one paragraph in his book had an enormous impact on me, my faith, and the way I think about God. His oldest daughter had fallen into a swimming pool when she was two, and a friend saw her and pulled her to safety. What impacted me was what happened the next morning in his prayer time.
"I made a special effort to record my gratitude in my journal. I told God how wonderful he was for saving her. As clearly as if God himself were speaking, this question came to mind: Would I be less wonderful had I let her drown? Would I be any less a good God for calling her home? Would I still be receiving your praise this morning had I not saved her? Is God still a good God when he says no?" (p. 132)
Though the answer to this question should be axiomatic, we often make it empirical, and the way we see God and how we live is impacted by how we answer that question.
I have dug some deep pits for myself and I have fallen into some of others' making and I have also been led into some by the Lord's own will. I've not always spent my time in the darkness praising God. At times I've questioned, I've whined, I've begged, I've hardened my heart, I've even wanted to walk away and leave God. Somewhere in the last decade and a half though I realize I have grown imperceptibly. I still whine and beg sometimes, but I can't remember the last time I've doubted the goodness of God or asked why He allows this or that. Thankfully, blessedly, there is a rock solid knowledge in my heart, mind, and soul that He is good all the time, and all the time He is good.
I will extol Thee, my God, O King, and I will bless Thy name forever and ever. Every day I will bless Thee, and I will praise Thy name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable." Psalm 145:1-3
Monday, September 18
I am finally reading George Orwell's book 1984. I wanted to read it the year I graduated (which was 1984), but somehow never got around to it. This morning as I was surfing the internet I ran across this article from the Daily Mail describing new talking cameras on the streets in England. People behind the cameras monitor the streets and discourage "anti-social" behavior by talking directly to the offender! I admit I am a little amused by this development, though I am surprised by the citizens' response...they apparently think it's great.
By way of keeping this post light, I can't help quoting the great thinker and politician from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away:
"So this is how liberty dies...with thunderous applause." Padme Skywalker.
Friday, September 15
Why do I seem to have to relearn that same lessons over and over? I am saddened by my own selfishness, my own self-centered view of life. This week has been a long one due to my daughter's illness. I have given in to fear once or twice (always in the night...why is that?), and this morning I contemplated what I was afraid of. Yes, I do not want my baby girl to suffer. It wrenches my heart to see her listless and miserable. I am frustrated by my inability to do more than hold and kiss her, give her small doses of ibuprofen or acetametaphin. I am afraid that perhaps there's a diagnosis around the corner that may be something too frightening to think about (why am I borrowing trouble?). I am afraid of this beautiful creature being ripped from my life.
As I was reading Can the Real Jesus Still be Found by Sigmund Brouwer this morning, this paragraph made me see my fears perhaps for what they really are:
If you accept you have a soul created by the God of love, then you understand that during your life on earth, your intent self-interest and self-absorption will obscure your awareness of the One who created you. Futilely searching for your own satisfaction and your own gods is a chasm between you and God that you will never cross without his help. (p. 98)
Is that what I am doing? Seeking my own satisfaction? Certainly I have tremendous concern for my sweet girl and what she's suffering, but too my fear is so self-centered. I don't want to hurt, I don't want to be inconvenienced by lancets and test strips and the like, I do not want to have to constantly patrol my emotions. I want my life to be predictable, I want it to be "safe," I want it to be comfortable, for my children certainly, but for me too.
But where is the glory in that? Hebrews tells us that "Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered." (5:8) If Christ had to suffer to learn obedience, how much more do I (or my daughter)? Not only that but the Lord loves Abigail infinetly more than I do and not only wants what's best for her, actually knows what's best for her. So this morning I have once again found peace and joy and I am asking the Lord (again) to help me walk in faith and to live out these verses:
Consider it all joy, my brethern, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces enurance, and let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4.
Thank you, Patty, for reminding me of our reading from Job 23:10b: "When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold."
Sunday, September 10
We are taking a two-week break from school, so I decided to get some bigger household projects done this week.
Monday - Even though it was Labor Day, hubby worked and took Ryan with him. So I decided to clean our shower. We have harder water here than in our last home, and I have been frustrated by keeping the shower looking nice. I think I finally discovered a product that will clean the hard water off of the chrome without damaging it and without me scrubbing for hours! I also did some organizing and decluttering.
Tuesday - Pulled out stove and cleaned underneath, also leveled it so my liquids don't all run to one side (my back is still hurting...should have waited and had help). Finished unpacking books since we stilleight boxes left unpacked. Ed brought home some battered old bookcases from work a while ago, so I cleaned them up as best I could, brought them into the office and started organizing books. It took all day, but at last our office has no unpacked boxes in it! We still have two boxes of books left that didn't fit, but I put them in the garage until we are able to get more bookcases.
Wednesday - I washed windows, sliding glass doors and all their screens. I have only done this once since we moved in. The last time I did it, I spent an entire day cleaning off concrete and some paint from the construction, and then within minutes of me standing back to admire them, Abby turned on the hose and squirted all the back windows. Sigh. After that the wind blew and since we don't have grass, they were covered in dirt. I haven't got back to it since. But now they are sparkling...at least until the next rain or wind storm. I also vacuumed all carpet in the house (two bedrooms and master closet) and the living room rug, then organized kids' closets, getting rid of some things they don't play with anymore and clothes that no longer fit.
Thursday - Pulled out the refrigerator and cleaned behind it as well as cleaned it inside and out. Mopped our entire "hardwood floor" (it's really laminate, but it looks like hardwood) on my hands and knees because there were still tiny flecks of paint that the mop just hadn't been picking up. I mop the kitchen and dining room fairly regularly, but our living room, halls, entry, office and master bedroom have hardwoods too, and I don't do those very often (in fact, I've never mopped the office or bedroom before because sweeping seems to be enough and they just never look dirty...it's great). I also vacuumed all living room furniture and dusted, including ceiling fan, chandelier, and recessed lighting in the house.
Friday - I had planned to clean both bathrooms, including the tub in the kids' room, pull out the washer and dryer and clean under them, mop the laundry room and both bathrooms. However, I was so sore from the previous four days' work that I just couldn't work up the energy to do it. I am planning on doing it tomorrow instead. Today all I managed to do was wash bedding and other regular laundry.
Saturday - Abby woke up this morning and told me she was tired! I didn't think a whole lot about it, but then she started to get a fever which eventually got up to 104 degrees. So instead of cleaning, I spent the day on the couch holding my baby and watching endless children's DVDs. This is a great example of "Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today!" I wish I had pushed myself to get this last part of my list done.
Sunday - Daddy took Ryan to church while Mommy and Abby had a repeat of yesterday. She doesn't appear to have any other symptoms, so I am suspecting an ear infection. She says her ears don't hurt, but tomorrow we're off to the doctor if the fever's not gone.
I had hoped to have all my fall cleaning done before hubby's vacation and our new homeschool year begins on the 18th, but I'll just finish the last few things whenever I am able to. C'est la Vie!
Tuesday, September 5
My Bible reading the last two days has been in Job. I've read this book several times, but I am still always filled with amazement at these words from Job after all ten of his children have been killed, not to mention the loss of his great fortune:
Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. He said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD." Job 1:20-21
I saw this in action once at a funeral of a young man whose wife who had just been widowed and left to raise their infant daughter alone. During one of the hymns, she stood, raised her hands to heaven and worshipped God. Afterwards she said she was overcome with love and praise for her God. I'll never forget that moment.
I confess I don't always respond to events in my life with praise to God, but I am inspired by Job and my dear friend to unquestioningly give praise for all that He sees fit to bring my way. I know He brings the crucible only to refine and not to destroy, and today I pray I will respond in submission and love instead of questions and fear.
Sunday, September 3
My hubby has entered into this strange world of blogging, and I thought I'd make his blog, Fish & Chips, this month's feature. He just began it today, so I don't have comments to make. I just want to support him and give you the chance to click on over and welcome him to the blogosphere!
While I'm at it, Honey, I'll take this opportunity to say, "I love you!"
Forgive me for this post, but I just can't resist! It is an understatement to say I'm not a sports fan. However, I do enjoy watching the occasional sporting event live, and maybe an annual televised football game too. However, since the early 1990s the one sport you can find me loosely following is tennis. I'd like to say it's because I appreciate the skill and strategy it takes to be a top player, but the reality is it came about because I liked watching Andre Agassi play.
I've watched him play great matches with the likes of Courier, Chang, Federer and Ivanisevic, but none more exciting than those with rival Pete Sampras. Somewhere along the line, I actually became a tennis fan (not as some would define the word, but it's as enthusiastic as I get over sports), and I enjoy watching a championship game from time to time throughout the year. I watched Agassi win his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 1992, and today I watched him play his last game, set and match.
Pete Sampras' retirement left a hole in the sport, and now as Andre follows suit, I know I will miss watching him play. If I continue to watch tennis it will only be because I learned to respect some of the other players' talents by watching them volley with Agassi. Friday's U.S. Open 2nd Round match with Marco Baghdatis was spectacular, going into the wee hours of Saturday morning, with Andre pulling out a win at last.
Today's 3rd Round match against the unknown Benjamin Becker (unrelated to Boris) didn't rise to that level of excitement, though you'd hardly know it by the cheering crowd that was unabashedly routing for Agassi to pull off a win. In the end he wasn't able to push aside his back pain and lost the match. I disagree with his politics and his personal life doesn't make him a role model I'd like for my children, but as far as watching him on the court, I will miss him and I have to say thanks...it's been fun!
Monday, August 28
I think I have read every book in the Bible at least once, but I am not sure I have ever read it cover to cover in one straight shot. I decided to make certain that I have done that, so I subscribed to a Bible In A Year program. The text for the day gets delivered to your email inbox each day, and you can choose your preferred version of the Bible (I chose NAS) and if you want to read in book order or chronological order. I chose chronological hoping it will straighten out a few time spans I'm always getting mixed up!
I am beginning September 1, and if anyone decides to join me, please leave a comment letting me know. It would be great to know who else is doing this too.
Friday, August 25
I try to keep this blog fairly politic free, but when politics or politicians I support trample on the rights (indeed the very life) of the unborn, I find it hard to keep quiet. Nobody reading this will probably be surprised that I enthusiastically voted for George W. Bush (twice), nor are you likely to be blown over by the fact that I actually support his administration in most of their efforts, especially his pro-life policies and the war in Iraq (imagine that!).
However, you may not know that I differ with him on his education policies or that I don't agree with some of his other domestic policies that only create more and bigger government. Still, overall, I have been a very strong supporter of President Bush and thought I understood his agenda, so to speak. So I was naively caught off guard and felt betrayed when I read the President's comments about the FDA's Acting Commissioner Andrew Von Eschenbach (the President's own nominee) and his proposal to make Plan B, the morning after contraception/abortion pill, available over the counter:
"I believe that Plan B ought to require a prescription for minors—that’s what I believe. And I support Andy’s decision."
Was there a mistake? Surely he didn't mean he actually supported making this so called "emergency contraception," a.k.a. abortion pill, available over the counter? Even "regular" birth control pills are not available OTC! He stood firm and took a stand over embryonic stem cell research, vetoing the bill that would federally fund it, and I was thrilled that he was delivering on his promise to limit federal funding of this research to the stem cell lines that were already in existence. He was doing what he could to protect the sanctity of life, so I thought. What happened in just over a month's time?
Surely there is a superior nominee for FDA Commissioner who's ideology isn't so tragically inconsistent with the President's stated goal of creating a "culture of life." These are embyros that will be prevented from implanting (hence, will die) are no less valuable than those that might be created and destroyed for stem cell research. I am saddened and disappointed, to say the least. Perhaps I misunderstood his statements. Maybe someone will clarify and/or correct me on this. I do so hope to be proven wrong.
"There are six things which the LORD hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers." Proverbs 6:16-19
It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish--Mother Teresa
Ironic footnote: Though you may soon be able to abort a baby with OTC pills, in Oregon we can no longer buy sinus medication such as Sudafed and Tylenol Sinus over the counter--we must have a prescription. Purely nonsensical.
Saturday, August 5
Another great devotion by Elisabeth Elliot:
How can this person who so annoys or offends me be God's messenger? Is God so unkind as to send that sort across my path? Insofar as his treatment of me requires more kindness than I can find in my own heart, demands love of a quality I do not possess, asks of me patience which only the Spirit of God can produce in me, he is God's messenger. God sends him in order that he may send me running to God for help.
The Psalms are full of cries to God about enemies--but it was the enemies that drove the psalmist (for example, in Psalm 64) to cry. If he had had no enemies, he would have had no need of a Protector. God will go to any lengths to bring us to Himself.
"Think of him who submitted to such opposition from sinners: that will help you not to lose heart and grow faint....You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood....The Lord disciplines those whom he loves" (Heb 12:3,4,6 NEB).
Tuesday, August 1
I did a search on strabismus surgery one day last year trying to find some information on Ryan's upcoming surgery. One of the things I found was a website called Celebrating Julia. Julia had strabismus surgery last year, and I found out she has some sensory issues like Abigail does.
Julia is about the same age as Abby and was born with Cri du Chat Syndrome, but she has made tremendous progress. She was the Easter Seals Ambassador last year, and her and her family are special people! I have had the privilege of striking up an email friendship with Beth (Julia's Mommy), and I have been so encouraged by reading of her victories and struggles raising a special needs child. If you want to be inspired and see God at work, click on over to Julia's site.
Friday, July 21
I can hardly believe that today a whole year has passed since I first began blogging. This is my 101st post which means I have posted an average of almost two posts per week, far more than I thought I had done. I often have thoughts rolling around in my mind that never make it to this blog since the kids' blogs are my first priority. Though I'm sure the Lord has a plan in keeping some of those things from ever being said! Many thanks to those of you who faithfully read my humble blogs and even comment occasionally. When I get a comment or someone signs my guestbook, I am always amazed that anyone took the time to read my meager offerings.
Sunday, July 16
The way may at times seem dark, but light will arise, if thou trust in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. That light may sometimes show hard things to be required, but do not be distressed if thy heart should rebel; bring thy unwillingness and disobedience to Him, in the faith that He will give thee power to overcome, for He cannot fail. "Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world," so keep close to Him, and the victory will be won. But do not, I beseech thee, neglect anything that is required, for disobedience brings darkness; and do not reason or delay, but simply follow the leadings of the Holy Spirit, and He will guide thee into all peace. --Elizabeth T King.
Friday, July 14
As Abby and I were leaving urgent care Wednesday evening, we saw this pretty rainbow. We get to see a lot of them where we are living now, and I am always excited to be reminded once again of God's promise (one of His many promises). Of course the picture doesn't do it justice.
Friday, July 7
Thanks, Ann. Your posts are often exactly what I need, exactly when I need it.
I have been working on a family website for almost nine months. I have had trouble getting it to look like I wanted in all the major browsers. It is still a work in progress, but at last I think I've finished tweaking how it looks and am concentrating more on content. So if you're interested, click on over to my home page and check it out.
I also created a new blog several months ago (yikes, not another one!) to track our homeschooling progress. It's called Teaching Mommy. I don't update it very often since our homeschool is a modest venture currently, but please feel free to browse it as well.
Thursday, July 6
Here is yet another wonderful devotion from Elisabeth Elliot.
Certain aspects of the job the Lord has given me to do are very easy to postpone. I make excuses, find other things that take precedence, and, when I finally get down to business to do it, it is not always with much grace. A new perspective has helped me recently:
The job has been given to me to do.
Therefore it is a gift.
Therefore it is a privilege.
Therefore it is an offering I may make to God.
Therefore it is to be done gladly, if it is done for Him.
Therefore it is the route to sanctity.
Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God's way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness. The discipline of this job is, in fact, the chisel God has chosen to shape me with--into the image of Christ.
Thank you, Lord, for the work You have assigned me. I take it as your gift; I offer it back to you. With your help I will do it gladly, faithfully, and I will trust You to make me holy.
Saturday, July 1
Update: Not long after I featured her blog here, she moved her blog. The links are to her new blog, but the specific posts I mentioned, link back to her old blog.
When we lived in Memphis we were privileged to become friends with a woman named DebbieLynne. She has her own blog now, and I wanted to feature it here. It's called Joyful Christian Lady's Museum, and it often features artwork she has done. Though it's not her defining characteristic, I do want to point out that she has cerebral palsy and does all her artwork and typing from a wheelchair using a headstick. I've watched her type with her headstick, and it is a tedious, time-consuming process. I can't even imagine how she is able to draw with it!
She recently wrote a post that I thought was very thought-provoking. I pray The Church will indeed step up to the plate, not just when the government can no longer fill the need, but now...today. I have not been good at meeting the needs of disabled people myself, and I am currently praying and asking the Lord what He would have me do. If you're also wondering how you can serve, perhaps you can read her latest post, as she was gracious enough to post some ideas.
Lord bless you, DebbieLynne!
Tuesday, June 27
After 13 years of talking and praying about it, three years of actually doing it, and one day of celebrating it (we will momentarily forget the years ahead of paying for it), Ed has his bachelor's degree! Several weeks ago he got his last six credits by passing a CLEP exam, and we were so relieved that we were fairly giddy for hours because it was all over and done with.
than the rest of us, who just ignore requests to remain
seated in order that everyone can see their graduate walk?
Sunday we had the joy of watching him walk and finish this chapter of our lives. I am especially proud of him. He balanced an incredibly hectic schedule of work, school, and family with only a mere nine weeks off from school in 2 1/2 years and unbelievably still managed to graduate With Honors...all A's!
It was a rare sweltering day in Portland, over 100 degrees. But the kids were incredibly well-behaved, and we had some precious friends join us which really made it special. We stood in the heat (thankfully in the shade) for 20 minutes to get into the auditorium, then sat for an hour before the ceremony began, then the ceremony itself was two hours long. Afterwards, we went to Ed's work to give our friends a tour, only to find Ed had to resolve a crisis, of course. After another 30 minutes, we went to dinner at the Macaroni Grill. During most of this, both Abby and Ryan were on their best behavior!
Though they weren't the only ones who helped, Joel and Cathy graciously watched our children numerous times so we could have some time alone together. More than once Cathy came to our house and allowed us a late night out together, and we are so grateful for that! Not only that, but they have been models for us in their roles as spouses, parents and Christians.
Congratulations, Eddie! I'm so proud of you...and I'm so relieved it's over.
I have been falling behind on the things I've wanted to post on this blog and my kids' blogs too. Last month I got a computer virus which put me out of commission for a while. Even though it was removed it seemed to bog down my already slow system, so hubby rebuilt my laptop this weekend. I am hoping to be able to post more regularly now that I have an optimized machine!
Friday, June 16
Monday, June 12
I just love living in Oregon. It is so green and beautiful, and now that we're living out "in the country," life is quiet and pretty slow-paced for the kids and me. I stepped outside this evening to look at our hillside, and it was shrouded in these low-lying clouds. It reminded me of the time Ed and I spent in The Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. It was a cool 68 degrees, and the low clouds gave our little neighborhood a cozy and peaceful feeling.
Friday, June 9
After an almost four-year break from camping, we decided to give it a try this year. We went when Ryan was six months old, but we haven't been brave enough to try it again until this year. It was a success in the end, though we had a few rough times, especially getting the kids to sleep. We enjoyed it enough that we're planning another trip at the end of the summer, so the good outweighed the bad.
Some of the good was seeing so much of God's incredible creation! Before we even got to the campground, we saw a couple of deer. They were just about 15 feet away! It was exciting to see them so close. Then our campground was on Timothy Lake, which is gorgeous and has breathtaking views of Mt. Hood. We hiked part way around the lake, and the view just kept getting better. I think if we go back to Lake Timothy to camp again, we'll stay at one of the other campgrounds.
We stopped hiking so we could eat lunch and let the kids play in the lake for a while. We watched large osprey fishing in the lake and Daddy found a frog for the kids to see. The osprey weren't having much luck catching fish, and that made Ed feel a little bit better since he didn't have much success fishing.
Back at our camp we had a visiting duck who had a perfect sense of timing, showing up at 6:30 every evening just in time for dinner. We saw dozens of adorable, though pesky, ground squirrels. They were everywhere and were so brave that I actually had trouble shooing one of them off the table. He didn't seem the least bit afraid of me!
As we were packing to leave, we were visted by a skittish Stellar Jay. He moved so quickly, I had trouble getting a picture of him that wasn't blurry. He was pretty afraid of me, but he had no fear of the ground squirrels. He chased them away more than once from the bread we had thrown on the ground. I just couldn't believe how incredibly blue he was!
Tuesday, May 30
I do not have much of a green thumb, and I usually end up killing any plants I buy or am given. However, I have managed to keep alive an African Violet that someone gave me after one of my miscarriages. It was blooming when I received it, and it bloomed once before Ryan was born, but it hasn't bloomed in the four years since. I was about to give up on it when lo and behold, I was watering it last week and saw blooms pushing their way to the sun! I don't know why exactly, but I almost cried. It now has more than a dozen fully opened and more on the way. I guess maybe the window I put it in when we moved is its happy place.
Friday, May 26
Since we have moved, Ed and I no longer have any friends nearby on whom we can call to watch our kids so we can have a "date night" or some time alone together. So a couple times a month we take the kids to McDonald's. They play on the play structure, and we talk or play a game while they're having fun. It's not very romantic, but it's better than nothing!
Sunday, May 21
Even though we had to content ourselves with viewing it on television, it was pretty spectacular to watch the Trojan Nuclear Power Plant cooling tower implosion this morning. We had hoped to watch it in person, especially since we only live 10 miles from the site, but they had access pretty well blocked off to everyone except those who live within view of the tower. We were at Trojan Park a couple weeks ago, and it was neat to watch them drilling holes for the explosives from a large crane. I've included several links to footage in this post (some of which take a while to load), but Fox News 12 probably has the best montage of footage I've seen so far.
We drove by the site several hours after the implosion on our way to Mt. St. Helens, and it was strange to see vacant sky where the tower once stood. It sure does improve the appearance of the lake and park though! I can't wait to go back and get some pictures of the new landscape.
On a side note for my family, the implosion was done by Controlled Demolition, Inc., owned and operated by the Loizeaux Family. I've been thinking about Miss Loizeaux recently, mostly wracking my brain to remember her first name...Linda? My most lasting memory is of her leaning on the podium in front of the class, twisting her engagement ring while she stared out the window daydreaming about her fiance (Ken, was it?) and their upcoming wedding. I also distinctly remember her making a point the first day to teach me the Spanish word for twins, gemelos. I wonder what she's up to these days?
For my other readers who are wondering what in the world I'm talking about, Miss Loizeaux was my high school Spanish teacher and she also had my twin brothers in her seventh grade class that year.
Sunday, May 14
As I was enjoying a rare and blissful pleasure this morning, an uninterrupted shower, I was praying and thinking about Mother's Day. I find it peculiar that now that I am a mother, I don't have the unreserved joy on Mother's Day that I had once thought I would enjoy once I attained the illusive title, "Mommy."
Maybe the joy is muted by the memory of the many babies I never held or the lingering scar of years of infertility and childlessness. Maybe it's the knowledge that this day holds pain for some that are precious to my heart. I think of those who fear they may never know the joy of raising a child, those whose arms are empty because they loved a child selflessly enough to trust another mom to give what she cannot give, those who are separated from their mothers by death or estrangement or many miles, those who find it hard to celebrate a mother who seems unworthy of praise, those who don't have food or shelter for their children, those who are suffering the pain of watching a grown child make devastating choices, or those who fail to be the kind of mother they know God is calling them to be.
Still, as I enjoyed a pancake breakfast prepared by my husband this morning, I was overflowing with joy. It is a breathtaking privilege to look around the table and see the beautiful faces of two children I have been given the honor of raising. I am joyous this morning because of sticky hands and obnoxious noises that come from my two charges, and I thank God with all that is in me, again, for making me a mommy.
For those who are on the painful side of this day, I want you to know that you are not forgotten, you are loved and needed by many. And I prayed for you today.
Friday, May 12
Monday, May 8
Ever since we knew we were going to be moving, we have been planning to have a yard sale. The one snag was that we moved in the dead of winter. It had been raining for months, and it continued to rain for months after our move. At last it seems that spring might be here to stay, though it isn't consistently very warm yet. So we opened up the boxes of things that we had packed up especially to sell, drug out tables and sorted, marked, and piled things for days before our two-day sale.
It turned out to be a gorgeous day on Friday, and we sold $455 worth of stuff that day alone. We awoke Saturday to rain, so we rearranged our tables and turned our yard sale into a garage sale. We ended up making $300 on Saturday, and the bonus was that someone hauled away our very ugly old couch that we had stuck out on the curb with a "Free" sign on it!
We made enough money to pay Abby's last medical bill (we paid off Ryan's entire surgery bills last month!) and to hire someone to grade our yard in preparation for topsoil and grass. You'd think I'd learn by now and quit worrying about getting bills paid. God is so faithful to provide!
We watch practically no television, largely because we can't find a show that's worth watching. We do watch quite a few DVDs, most of which are ones we own. Once in a while we will brave the video rental store and see if we can find a movie to watch. This past weekend I waded through an astonishing amount of vile films until I stumbled upon a movie that looked safe and intriguing enough to rent. Turned out to be fantastic! It's called I Am David, and it's about a little boy who escapes from a communist forced labor camp after World War II and travels across Europe on his way to Denmark. If you're wanting a clean, interesting, and different movie to watch this weekend, I would highly recommend it.
Monday, May 1
It was another week of lackluster effort as far as losing weight goes. I didn't lose or gain again this week. Hubby and I are taking this week off from even trying. His mom fell and broke six ribs, we've had car problems, and it's just been too hectic trying to coordinate all our schedules, help his mom, and still stay on program. Sigh. We hope to be back at it again next week.
Tuesday, April 25
Thursday, April 20
Monday, April 17
I wish I had victorious news to share today. However, I caved to temptation way too much this week. Abby's birthday didn't go well eating-wise and Easter was just as bad. I almost didn't bother to weigh but decided to afterall...may as well face the music. I gained three pounds. Could be worse, but I could have lost two pounds too. So does that give me a net gain of five pounds? Hoping for a better week starting today.
Sunday, April 16
"The angel said to the women, 'Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.'"(Matthew 28:5-7)
by Keith Green
Hear the bells ringing,
They're singing that you can be born again,
Hear the bells ringing,
They're singing Christ is risen from the dead.
The angel up on the tombstone,
Said He has risen, just as He said,
Quickly now, go tell his disciples,
That Jesus Christ is no longer dead.
Joy to the word, He has risen, hallelujah,
He's risen, hallelujah,
He's risen, hallelujah.
Hear the bells ringing,
They're singing that you can be healed right now,
Hear the bells ringing,
They're singing, Christ, He will reveal it now,
The angels, they all surround us,
And they are ministering Jesus' power,
Quickly now, reach out and receive it,
For this could be your glorious hour.
Joy to the word, He has risen, hallelujah,
He's risen, hallelujah,
He's risen, hallelujah, hallelujah...
The angel up on the tombstone,
Said He has risen, just as He said,
Quickly now, go tell his disciples,
That Jesus Christ is no longer dead.
Joy to the word, He has risen, hallelujah,
He's risen, hallelujah,
He's risen, hallelujah, hallelujah...
Friday, April 14
THY glory alone, 0 God, be the end of all that I say;
Let it shine in every deed, let it kindle the prayers that I pray;
Let it burn in my innermost soul, till the shadow of self pass away,
And the light of Thy glory, 0 God, be unveiled in the dawning of day.
Frederick George Scott
Wednesday, April 12
by Elisabeth Elliot
We like things to go smoothly and as planned. Very often unexpected things intervene, and our plans go awry. We think we've got "problems." There is another level at which everything that happens is being engineered. "God has no problems," Corrie ten Boom said, "only plans." When ours are interrupted, his are not. His plans are proceeding exactly as scheduled, moving us always (including those minutes or hours or years which seem most useless or wasted or unendurable) "toward the goal of true maturity" (Rom 12:2 JBP). Believe God. Turn the interruptions over to Him. He is at the controls.
Monday, April 10
Well, the second month on Weight Watchers has flown by. I struggled a little bit this month, but this week went really well, though I haven't decided what to fix for Easter Sunday. I lost five pounds! Yippee! It feels good to be back fully on program, and I hope this week will be good as well. Hubby lost three too. It's so much easier to stay the course when you have a "buddy" going through it with you, so I'm so glad he's doing the program with me.
Thursday, April 6
I actually have some more thoughtful things to post if I can find a chunk of time to articulate them, but I just couldn't resist one more of these dumb quizzes! This just cracks me up every time I read it!
It also brought back horrid memories of a Grand Opening at a computer store where I used to work. Our vendor rep was Christopher Knight (Peter Brady), and we had a bunch of classless folks working there who, along with other rude things, kept whistling or even singing the Brady Bunch theme song the entire day. I still cringe thinking about that day. Remember that, Steven?
|You Are Jan Brady|
Brainy and a little introverted, you tend to think life is a lot worse than it actually is.
And while you may think you're a little goofy looking, most people consider you to be a major babe.
Wednesday, April 5
I found this quiz today, and I thought the results were funny, though I've never been accused of being modern before! (I'm trying to ignore the fact that they misspelled Frappuccino).
|You Are a Frappacino|
At your best, you are: fun loving, sweet, and modern
At your worst, you are: childish and over indulgent
You drink coffee when: you're craving something sweet
Your caffeine addiction level: low
Monday, April 3
Tuesday, March 28
Not the best week on program, but not horrid either. We were away from home for five days, and though I struggled to stay on program for the majority of the time, I finally threw in the towel on Saturday afternoon and admitted defeat. I pretty much ate whatever I wanted the remaining couple of days. But today is another day, we're home now (though there's not much food in the house), and I am back to counting points today. I did weigh today (nervously), and found I was up one pound. So the damage wasn't too terrible, as long as I didn't lose my mental edge.
Oh, I must share that Eddie didn't even try to stay on program and still managed to lose two pounds! I guess standing and/or walking during 20-hour work days will burn lots of calories. Way to go, Honey!
Ed called me early last week to ask if the kids and I would like a free weekend at a four star hotel downtown. Of course I said, "Sure!" His company moved from the industrial side of Portland to downtown last weekend. When his boss asked him how he was planning on getting it all done (Eddie's the IT Manager), Ed told him that he planned to bring his pillow and basically sleep a few hours on the floor when he could. Later his boss came and told him that they were going to put him up in a hotel and that his family could come too! They also told him to take the whole family out to dinner at the Macaroni Grill (one of my favorite restaurants) sometime during the weekend.
Do you think there are enough pillows?
The kids and I packed up Thursday afternoon and headed downtown to the Marriott. We ended up staying there for four nights instead of just three since the move didn't go quite as quickly as Eddie had hoped. The kids and I had a great time but were ready to come home and left first thing Monday morning. I'm so thankful they allowed us to stay there because during the whole five days we were there, we still were only able to spend about five hours total with him (he did come and sleep a few hours, but not much)! We wouldn't have seen him at all if we hadn't been right up the street.
They RARELY are up this late!
The hotel was one of the nicest we've ever stayed in (who can afford those prices? Tips alone cost us $25 during our stay!), and I was very impressed with the service, with one exception. On Saturday I stepped on a carpet tack that was sticking through some worn carpet on the threshold leading to the bathroom. No big deal, really. On our way out that morning, I informed the front desk of the hazard, and they assured me they would fix it right away. Well, Sunday morning Abby came bouncing out of the bathroom and landed smack on the same carpet tack. Her foot started bleeding (mine didn't...too much callous, I guess), and I was a little irritated that they hadn't fixed it. So again on our way out I informed the front desk. She too was very unhappy that it hadn't been fixed! It was promptly fixed and they sent up milk and cookies for the kids that evening. Also, they set us up with a Marriott Rewards card and put enough points on it for a free room! So if Ed and I ever have a chance to get away for a night, we now have a free room at a Marriott. Yippee!
Monday, March 20
Well, it was a crazy week, but I still managed to lose one pound. I didn't eat all my points, so between that and losing four last week, I didn't really expect a big loss. Hubby lost three pounds! He's doing a great job despite having a chaotic schedule to keep and needing to eat out quite a bit.
Monday, March 13
It's a success for me just to have stayed on program for a whole month, so it was icing on the cake this morning when I weighed and saw I have lost four pounds this week! I seem unable to get my exercise above three times a week though. This winter wet weather really makes it hard for me to do any more. I want to get outside and walk or ride my bike, not do dull aerobics in the house every day. Whine, whine. I am going to try again to exercise more this week. Maybe if I exercise more I will be thirstier (is that a word?) and will drink more water. I am struggling drinking what I'm "supposed" to drink.
Oh, and hubby lost two pounds. It's so encouraging and helpful to have someone to lose with...much easier than going it alone. Thanks, Eddie, and good job last week!
Thursday, March 9
We got a little unexpected snow this morning. It really wasn't much, but it was enough to get the kids excited and to make the hills near our house look gorgeous. I took the kids for a ride to try to find some more snow. We didn't succeed really, but I stopped the car at Trojan Park and let them get out and play for a few minutes. It was really coming down, and they had a blast. I was amazed to see how a little snow could even make a nuclear power cooling tower look pretty cool! (It's not in use anymore, and they're going to implode it this year...can't wait to watch that!) We may get a little more snow tommorrow and/or the next day. I hope we do. It would be nice to see our yard look pretty instead of a big mud puddle.
Wednesday, March 8
Ah, the fun of digital editing! I am sending out "We've Moved" announcements next week (finally), and I wanted to send a picture of our new house with it. Unfortunately, our house looks kind pitiful against the piles of mud and left over constructions debris, so I decided to digitally enhance the picture and add grass. I can't wait till it looks like this! I am happy to report that they did begin grading our yard this week. They haven't finished yet (at least I hope they're not done!), but it is already a vast improvement.
Monday, March 6
Despite a difficult night on Saturday in which dh and I ate almost all of our flexpoints for the week (good thing we hadn't eaten them during the week) in addition to our points for the day, we still lost weight! We both lost two pounds. I didn't exercise more like I had wanted to, but there's always this week to try again. As a matter of fact, I got off to a good start this morning. I put the kids in the bike trailer, and we rode to the library for storytime instead of driving. It's only about three miles round trip, but considering we had a pretty stiff headwind and I was pulling about 90 pounds behind me, I felt pretty good about my workout.
Sunday, March 5
This is one of those internet things that keeps floating around, but in light of my last post, I thought it was kind of timely and funny:
The following is not intended to offend fans of tennis, basketball, football or baseball. It is, rather, an attempt to put everything in its proper perspective.
Ever wonder why golf is growing in popularity and why people who don't even play go to tournaments or watch it on TV? These truisms may shed some light:
Golf is an honorable game, with the overwhelming majority of players being honorable people who don't need referees.
Golfers don't have some of their players in jail every week.
Golfers don't kick dirt on, or throw bottles at, other people.
Professional golfers are paid in direct proportion to how well they play.
Golfers don't get per diem and two seats on a charter flight when they travel between tournaments.
Golfers don't hold out for more money, or demand new contracts, because of another player's deal.
Professional golfers don't demand that the taxpayers pay for the courses on which they play.
When golfers make a mistake, nobody is there to cover for them or back them up.
The PGA raises more money for charity in one year than the NFL does in two.
You can watch the best golfers in the world up close, at any tournament, including the majors, all day every day for $25 or $30. The cost for even a nosebleed
seat at the Super Bowl costs around $300 or more unless
you buy it from scalpers in which case it's $1,000+.
You can bring a picnic lunch to the tournament golf course, watch the best in the world and not spend a small fortune on food and drink. Try that at one of the taxpayer-funded baseball or football stadiums. If you bring a soft drink into a ballpark, they'll give you two options -- get rid of it or leave.
In golf you cannot fail 70% of the time and make $9 million a season, like the best baseball hitters (.300 batting average) do.
Golf doesn't change its rules to attract fans.
Golfers have to adapt to an entirely new playing area
Golfers keep their clothes on while they are being interviewed.
Golf doesn't have free agency.
In their prime, Palmer, Norman, and other stars, would shake your hand and say they were happy to meet you. In his prime Jose Canseco wore T-shirts that read "Leave Me Alone."
You can hear birds chirping on the golf course during a tournament.
Ladies are welcome players.
At a golf tournament, (unlike at taxpayer-funded sports stadiums and arenas) you won't hear a steady stream of four letter words and nasty name calling while you're hoping that no one spills beer on you.
Tiger hits a golf ball over twice as far as Barry Bonds hits a baseball.
Golf courses don't ruin the neighborhood.
And finally, here's a little slice of golf history that you might enjoy. Why do golf courses have 18 holes - not 20, or 10, or an even dozen? During a discussion among the club's membership board at St. Andrews in 1858, a senior member pointed out that it takes exactly 18 shots to polish off a fifth
of Scotch. By limiting himself to only one shot of Scotch per hole, the Scot figured a round of golf was finished when the Scotch ran out.
PS Golfers penalize themselves if they break a rule. Name another sport that does that!
My hubby has a knack for getting something for nothing, and yesterday he did it again. He had a vendor dinner to attend last night, one of those things where they try to sell you their product while wining and dining you and giving away goodies at the same time. Last night's dinner also included tickets to a Winterhawks hockey game. Eddie found out that the sales rep was bringing his wife and two kids and asked if he could bring his too. The rep said yes, and so we all enjoyed a free dinner of caesar salad, pizza, chicken, and delicious cookies, along with free hockey pucks (what in the world are we going to do with those?) and a hockey game which our team even won!
Since we don't like crowds much and really don't do a lot of things you have to pay for (we're kind of cheap...and broke), we don't spend much time among the masses, though I almost always come away with something to think about when we do. Last night was no exception. We weren't a full minute into the game when the first of about five fights broke out on the ice. Helmets came off and fists were flying. What's up with that? The crowd LOVED it. I was annoyed. I wanted to see hockey, not WWF wrestling. I've seen hockey before (okay, just one other time), and the same thing happened then. I'm not sure what annoyed me worse, the players or the crowd howling for more. Fortunately, the players got it out of their system pretty fast. Most of the brawls took place in the first period and they got down to actual hockey after that.
The crowd was enthusiastic and loud! I know I have a low threshold when it comes to noise, but I am amazed that people seem to love making as much racket as they can. The cheer sticks and horns were banged and blown nonstop the whole evening, and of course there was the plain old screaming and yelling going on. I was happy it wasn't a packed arena. In fact, the row behind us was empty until two young men took the immediate seats behind us. The first sentences out of their mouths contained a stream of profanity. Again, I was annoyed. I took a deep breath, turned around and gave to the offender as sweet a smile as I possibly could while at the same time giving him a look that said, "Come on, guys, please DON'T make me and my family listen to this all night." He looked at me and then at the kids and genuinely said, "Oh, sorry." They were pretty decent after that, only saying the occasional minor expletive and no more F words. Of course I'm sure he took great pleasure in blowing his horn in my ear as often and as loud as he possibly could. I was so relieved when after the first period they moved down five or six seats.
It was a fun experience, and since we've been wanting to go see a hockey game, I'm so pleased we got to go for free. But all in all, I could do without seeing live sporting events. I'd much rather see a play or go to a museum. I guess I'm boring, but boring is quiet. I'll take quiet any day. Oh, did I mention, I won the doorprize from the sales meeting...a Winterhawks jersey. Don't you love irony?
This afternoon was a rare opportunity to do absolutely nothing. We did some chores that we had been needing to do since we moved, and afterwards while the kids napped, hubby and I played a game. After the kids woke from a nap we watched a video and had some popcorn. Daddy and kids were snuggling on our new couch, and I they looked so cozy, I just had to take a picture of my family. I am so blessed to have a wonderful husband and two adorable children, living in a brand new home, sitting on a comfy new couch with a fire burning in the fireplace, and living in one of the most beautiful places on earth! Thank you, Lord, for all you many blessings, large and small.
Monday, February 27
Thursday, February 23
Now that we've moved over an hour away from our former church, we have the unenviable task of looking for a new church home. We have been praying the Lord will lead us where He wants us to attend, where we can minister and be ministered to. We haven't attended any yet that instantly said "This is home" to us, but last Sunday's service was very good, especially the worship. It's called Warren Community Fellowship, and it's a medium-sized church. Both hubby and I loved the worship, but then we found out the worship pastor is only an interim pastor. Both kids seemed to enjoy Sunday School too.
When we got home we walked across the street to meet the new neighbors that moved in last week, and their little girl who just turned five said, "He was in my class," pointing to Ryan. It turns out they have been attending WCF for two years and really like it. There's also another family a couple houses down the block who attend. It was nice to find other Christians in our neighborhood, and it definitely makes us think harder about making WCF our church home. It would be wonderful to fellowship with neighbors! But until the Lord makes it more clear, we're still praying and looking.
Tuesday, February 21
Well, here I am again at a weight I swore I would never get back to. Sigh. There's nothing else to do but to get back on the weight loss path again. My hubby and I started back on Weight Watchers last Monday. Last time I joined the online version, but money is pretty tight and I know how the program works, so we're just going it alone. Our first week went really well. I lost six pounds and hubby lost eight. Hopefully we can persevere long enough to get down to more healthy weights. I had made it a goal two years ago to get down to a "normal" weight for me (according to standardized weight charts) by the time I turned 40. That's not going to happen, but I can still get down to what I weighed when I got married, which is a big improvement on where I am now!
Last Friday I had to take our van in for some routine servicing, and I had several hours to kill before we could get it back. I thought instead of just waiting for hours in the waiting room (have done that before too), I'd take the kids on the bus and go to the library. So we crossed the street and stood waiting for the bus for about 15 minutes. It seemed like an eternity though. It was about 30 degrees outside and the wind was galing, bringing the wind chill temps down to the teens or lower. I told myself that it would be fine once we got to the library because we could just browse for hours, read books, and eat our lunch that we brought with us.
At last the bus arrived, and I paid my $1.95 fare for the very short ride up the street to our stop. The ride wasn't nearly long enough to warm us up, but off we went to walk three blocks to the library. It was incredibly cold, and I was glad Abby had mittens on. Ryan didn't have mittens, but his coat was long enough to cover his hands. Mine, though, were freezing! As we walked to the library, I had this horrid thought that maybe the library wouldn't be open. They have changed hours after the last election, blaming budget cuts for their shorter hours. Sure enough as we rounded the corner to the front door, I saw that they wouldn't be open until 1:00! It was now 10:30.
We walked two blocks back to a different bus stop we had passed, and we huddled in the shelter while I decided what to do. The busses on this route go to the transit center where we can catch the Max line (Portland's light rail). Since the kids love riding the Max, I decided to catch another bus to the transit center which isn't very far away. We waited about 10 minutes for the next bus, VERY grateful for the shelter this bus stop had.
We got on the bus for another short ride, and as we exited the bus I was hurrying the children along because the Max was at the stop and we could catch it if we hurried...or so I thought. As we got closer I realized that instead of the usual "Gresham" sign, it said "Not in Service." Ugh. Because of the high winds, a substation had lost power and they were bussing people downtown. We were freezing cold so I just hopped on the shuttle bus headed for downtown. It took me about five minutes to soothe Abigail and get her to stop crying because she was so disappointed that we didn't get on the Max.
The kids enjoyed looking out the window though, and while they looked I decided to call Eddie and see if he was available for lunch. We ended up catching the Max line downtown and meeting him for an impromptu lunch at the mall food court. It was nice to see him during the day, and the kids were having a swell time. After Daddy left to go back to work, we walked the cold, windy three blocks back to the Max. Actually we ran the last block so we wouldn't miss the train. Made it just in time!
They still hadn't gotten the train up and running, so we caught another bus downtown and then transferred once again at the transit center to the bus that took us back to the Kia dealership. Whew! I was never so happy to get into my gas-guzzling minivan and crank up the heat in all my life! Public transportation is great if you have no other way to get places, but I'll take my own vehicle over it any day, especially cold and windy days.
Thursday, February 16
I've been pondering a couple things the last couple of days. The first is very near and dear to my heart...adoption. A friend of mine just found out they will be adopting a 21-month-old little girl, and they will be getting her this weekend! It's been interesting to watch the process as an outsider this time instead of as the participant. The emotions and fears are often so intense, then, strangely, the next moment there's ambivilence, giving rise to the sensation of being on a roller coaster ride of unknown duration.
But the amazing and precious thing to me is how I heard the change in her voice the day she told me they were chosen to be her parents. Gone was the ambivalence, gone were the fears (for the moment, anyway), and all I heard in her voice was excitement and love for this new daughter whom they have never even met! How can people not believe in God when you see that kind of capacity for love? Surely, only the Lord is able to make love flow from hearts of mere men in such a powerful way.
I am so grateful to have been adopted into God's family and to have been blessed to adopt two beautiful children. I know my friend and her family will have their ups and downs with this little girl, but what a blessing she is to them...and them to her!
The second thing that's been rolling around in my thoughts lately is marriage. I've watched marriages come and go, I've witnessed couples pull their marriages back together after devastating actions by one or both spouses, and I've seen others who have frittered away their marriage giving it less thought than they give to their wardrobe.
What's the key to a successful marriage? I don't mean successful in the sense that a couple manages to tolerate each other enough to stay married, but successful in the sense that both husband and wife are growing and love each other's company and work through conflicts instead of ignoring them.
After over 12 years of marriage, I certainly know there's no formula, but I am becoming more and more convinced that next to an unwavering committment on the part of both spouses, selflessness is paramount to a healthy marriage. Duh. I'm as selfish as the next person, but starting today, my goal for this year is to learn to be as selfless as possible, particularly in regard to my hubby. I am grateful that I have a Lord who can enable me to do this as I trust Him to change me and mold me into His image! I love you, Eddie!