Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas All! I am sitting at my house at 10:19 on a Sunday morning. There was no rushing around this morning trying to get to church by 9:00...we didn't have church this morning in lieu of evening vespers at 5:00. A great idea if you ask me. Of course, Mark felt that he needed to go over to church and attend our Korean congregation's service at 10:30...he's so dedicated.

We are relaxing, getting ready for the parents to all arrive today. My parents were supposed to get here on Thursday, but they were supposed to fly through, instead, they are arriving late tonight. We are just glad they will make it. Mark's parents are coming around 2:00 pm from Gig Harbor so that will be fun.

My parents surprised us with a piano this year for Christmas! I was so surprised and thankful. We recieved it on Friday and someone has been playing it almost non-stop since. I've been taking lessons again and am so thankful to have it so I don't have to try to find 1/2 or so per week to leave and go practice at the church. I kept having flashbacks each lesson from High School...funnily enough, I have the same teacher....but I would sit down and try to fake my way through my songs, trying to hide the fact that I hadn't practiced as much as I should have. I have matured enough to the point of just looking at Carolyn and saying, "Didn't have much time for practice this week". She is much more understanding than she used to be. Anyway, we are very thankful! Will and Lora will start lessons fairly soon. Of course, we have this idea that Lora, being blind, will be some musical prodigy. She may look at us and say, "I want to play football!" and Will might be a musical genius. But this way, they can take lessons and we can find out. Thanks Mom and Dad!

Will is very excited for Christmas...he is being a very good boy. Mark won't let me threaten him with Santa, he doesn't like that idea...but we do remind him of the haul that is coming and if he doesn't straighten up, WE will not give him any presents. I've been amazed by how he's picked up on the Santa thing, darn that TV, and all the Santas I have around the house. We have tried not to play the idea up too much. We don't really have anything against Santa as an idea. I think the big hang up that we've had, Mark mostly, is the idea that we tell him about Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and that they are real and then someday, he learns that they are not so what does that do to his concept of God? We tell him that God is real, you can't see him, is He different. I don't know, I believed in Santa, etc and I turned out okay....

I was laughing this morning about the poor job that we have done so far of telling the kids about the Nativity story. Last year, my mom sent them the "Little People" nativity set and when we opened it, Will saw the angel and said "Mom, a Fairy!" Well, I thought we had told him a little more this year, but this morning, he was playing with a bunch of little people and animals and he was naming them all including "The Fairy (angel still)" and "Baby Jonah". I'm sure we've told him about Baby Jesus......

Anyway, I pray that you all have a wonderful Christmas with family and friends. Find moments to experience the simple joys...a child's excitement, a great piece of toffee, a carol played on a new piano....remembering the Baby that was born so long ago. Welcome to our world Baby Jesus:

"Tears are falling, hearts are breaking; how we need to hear from God. You've been promised, we've been waiting, welcome holy Child, welcome holy Child.

Hope that you don't mind our manger, how I wish we would have known, but long awaited holy Stranger, make Yourself at home, please make Yourself at home.

Bring Your peace into our violence, bid our hungry souls be filled. Word now breaking heaven's silence, welcome to our world, welcome to our world.

Fragile finger sent to heal us, tender brow prepared for thorn, tiny heart whose blood will save us, unto us is born, unto us is born.

So wrap our injured flesh around You, breathe our air and walk our sod. Rob our sin and make us holy, perfect Son of God. Welcome to our world." Chris Rice

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Namaste Ghandi

Mark and I watched the movie "Ghandi" this afternoon. I had never seen it before and was incredibly moved by the life of this man. He was an amazing human being who stood up for people and urged people to stand up for themselves and others using nonviolent resistance. Much like Dr. Martin Luther King. It was a great movie and I highly recommend it.

There is a word that is used in India and other Eastern cultures that I've always wondered about. The word is "Namaste". It is used as a greeting often said with a bow and hands put together at the person's heart. I wondered what it meant, so I looked it up. There are many meanings, but in a spiritual context, here are a few of the meanings I found:

I salute the Light of God in you.
I bow to the divine in you.
The God in me sees and honors the God in you.
May the God within you, bless you

A beautiful phrase with beautiful meanings, if I do say so myself. Just another example of something that we can learn from other I say to you all, my friends, with my head slightly bowed towards you and my palms pressed together in front of my chest..."Namaste"

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Christmas Time is Here...

We're watching "Charlie Brown Christmas" this evening. I love Charles Schultz's version of the Christmas story...its so great and it makes me cry every time Charlie Brown asks, "What is Christmas all about anyway" and Linus steps out and starts quoting the well known passage out from Luke's gospel. Its funny, because when I was in 5th grade, we did "Charlie Brown Christmas" in my school, public school. I was Lucy....I know surprising, that someone like me with such a retiring personality was cast as Lucy...its called acting.

Anyway, whenever I watch the cartoon, I'm reminded of that experience, I remember some of the lines and I'm surprised as Linus starts talking that we were able to quote from the Bible in public school. Of course, it was the dark ages...

I've been thinking a lot about Christmas this year. I was talking with a friend the other day about presents, buying them, not buying them, what to do. Everyone that we buy for has everything that they could ever want or need and more. Mark and I have talked seriously about donating to Heifer International in everyone's name...buying various bunnies, chicks, geese, bees, etc and calling it a day. I'm still not sure what we are going to do.

I'm torn. I completely agree that Christmas has become something that I don't think it was intended to be. It is commercialized and every year I stress out over what to buy for everyone and I hate that. There are so many people in the world that need so much....but, I also think that honoring the people I love in my life is important, showing them that I thought of them is nice, and putting myself aside and thinking of them is good too. I want it to be different, definately...but I don't know if that means not buying presents for my loved ones. I fear that if we just decided to donate, across the board....for me, it might be a cop out. I fear that if I decide to do that it will be out of laziness. I don't know if my motives are pure.

I wonder, for me, if the greater gift would be to actually THINK about my loved ones, try to find something (even something small) that they would ACTUALLY like. Not just going down the list and quickly getting something just because it is expected but to actually think about the person and honor them with something that lets them know I actually thought about them. I don't know...its just what I've been pondering. You may all get a goat or actually part of a goat, because a whole goat is really expensive. I guess I just keep thinking that sometimes I'm not even very good at putting my families and loved ones needs above mine, let alone the rest of the world, maybe Christmas would be a good time for me to show them that I do appreciate and love them, even if that means a hand knit scarf, a CD I really thought they would enjoy or a tin of ginger snaps from Williams Sonoma....something to think about.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Snow, Snow, Snow....

Yes, we have snow in Seattle. I love snow. I reminds me of being a child, waiting to see if we have to go to school...Mark took the kids out tonight to play and they loved it. I've been sick for a few days, so I stayed in. Which is another reason that I'm happy about the snow, I just saw that Seattle schools are closed tomorrow, which means that Will doesn't have school, which means that I don't have to work in his class tomorrow, or try to find a replacement since I've still got a fever. Yeah snow day!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Co-op Revisited

So, I had a "situation" in co-op preschool yesterday. Will threw a fit. We were getting ready for snack and from the sink, washing their hands, all the kids in my small group started yelling, "I want to pass out the cups! I want to pass out the napkins!" etc. Aparently, Will was one of the ones who had requested passing out the cups. But, BB got to the table first, I wasn't thinking, and stupidly let her pass out the cups. So, when Will returned to the table, he freaked out about said cups already being passed out, threw himself on the floor and proceeded to scream, "I said I wanted to pass out the cups!!!" Because I could think of nothing creative to do or say, I stupidly said, "I'm sorry Will, BB got here first and I let her pass out the cups. You can pass them out next time." To which he screamed again and cried. At this point, the teacher interviened, giving him two choices. To either join his group for snack or sit on the couch in the libarary. My strong-willed son stubbornly sat for the whole snack on the couch, never even turning to look at me. Every once in a while, Teacher Kris would warn him that snack would be over soon and that once we went downstairs to play, he would be out of luck. He still sat.

UNTIL snack was over and we were cleaning up. Suddenly, he decides he wants a snack, of course. So, I sit with him on the couch explaining that snack is now over, he missed his opportunity and needed to just join his friends downstairs. To which he wailed, crying "I just want my snack!!!" I was at a loss, anytime I mentioned the words snack or downstairs, he would wail louder. So, I stubbornly decide that he just needs to go downstairs, that seeing his friends playing would wake him up to the fact that he was being silly. So I pick up his suddenly rigid body as he screams louder and I am saying, "This is enough. It is time to play." I get him to the top of the stairs and can no longer hold him, since he has gone limp and seemingly weighs about 200 pounds, so when I drop him, he takes off running back to his couch. I am exhausted, go downstairs to Teacher Kris, feeling like a failure and tell her, "I give up!"

So, she goes upstairs, plays good cop, and gives him a snack. While she is gone, a few other weird things happen with the kids downstairs..we end up back upstairs and my son looks at me, happy as a clam, and says, "Teacher Kris got me some snack!" I feel like a failure and she looks like a hero.

Its the weirdest thing every time Monday comes around...I dread going to this classroom. Its like every insecurity I have ever had from Jr High to my life now, as a parent, comes to the surface and I am beaten by a room full of 4 year olds. First of all, it is a well known fact that your child behaves worse in these situations when you are present. Aparently, the days that I am not there, Will is the picture of good behavior, charming the pants off of everyone. I arrive and he turns into Damian, complete with 666 on his forehead. The other problem is that I realize, I love my children, but other people's children, not so much. I know, it makes me a horrible person, but I think, ever since I've had my own children, I just don't have the time or energy for anyone else's children. I'm kind and can appreciate their cuteness, etc but it just doesn't feel the same as it did before Will and Lora came onto the scene. I just don't think I'm the "Co-op Type". My kids eat sugar, we don't but only organic, we watch cartoons, yes even "Tom and Jerry", I spank my kids sometimes. I feel like a failure when I leave this place. But, my problem is, Will loves it. He loves the class, he loves the teacher, he loves the other kids and parents. He left at 12:45 today with his new friend Paya and Paya's mom to walk to school together and she will bring him home at 4:00. He loves walking to school with Paya and his mom. I could never take that away from him.

So, what do I do with my insecurity?? Just buck up and suffer through Mondays? Convince Mark to get a TB test done so he can at least alternate Mondays with me? Decide already at this age, to homeschool Will just so I can avoid teachers and other parents that make me feel like a failure? I don't know what to do....Any ideas?

On a totally unrelated note.....Lora and I are watching Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and she said to me, "Mommy, let's watch Charlie Brown Pirates"...umm, do you mean Pilgrims? Maybe she's not too far off!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Studio 60....

Okay, so I have added a new show this season. Its "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip", horrible title, great show. It is by the same people who brought us "The West Wing", which I never really got into. I don't know if I'm not smart enough, or just not into politics or what, I just never really got it. This show is about TV, I know TV. Its a great look at the interworkings of a television show, it moves fast and its funny. The humor is sometimes dry and sometimes over-the-top. I just like it.

There is one interesting wrinkle in the show. It is about the making of a show much like "Saturday Night Live"...and they have a Christian character on the show. She is interesting, normal and not one-dimensional. They show her standing up for what she believes while also finding the sketches they do about conservatives funny. She's able to laugh at herself, which is good. On tonight's episode, she has an interesting thing happen....she is in trouble with liberals because of some comments she made in a magazine article and even ends up getting a death threat for her views, but at the same time is cancelled from a "Women of Faith" type of tour for not being conservative enough.

I can relate to her, I feel like I'm constantly straddling that fence between the right and the left. I'm not sure where I belong...just trying to follow Jesus and love people and by doing that, risking hatred from both sides. I still choose to "live in the tension" as I love to say. I think, in this case the middle is the place to be.

On another, totally unrelated note, Christopher Guest...maker of such movies as "Waiting for Guffman", "Best in Show" and "A Mighty Wind" is coming out with a new movie, opening this Friday. Its called "For Your Consideration", its about a little independent movie that starts getting Oscar buzz and how that affects the cast, etc. Its in his typical mockumentary form, with the usual cast of characters and it looks case you need something to do this weekend.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Fightin' Words

I know, everyone's talking about it...Ted Haggard. The fallen leader of the evangelical church. I don't want to just be another one out there talking about him...but it makes me sad. It makes me sad when anyone is unfaithful to the covenant they made. It makes me sad to see a family damaged by deceit. As a fellow evangelical, it makes me sad for the jokes and jabs that inevitably follow. And I get it. I make jokes too. Have you ever noticed though, its like with your family. You can say anything about your own family, but when someone who is not a part of your family, even an in-law says something about your family...those are fightin' words. My son's teacher made a joke today about the Ted Haggard situation. And it stung. The funny thing is, before this, I wouldn't really have identified myself with him. I think of myself as more "progressive" than him. Maybe not so black and white. But when someone outside my circle of evangelicals, an atheist, nontheless made a crack at him, I felt it in my heart. In fact, it made me a little mad.

Isn't that weird? I don't know this man and frankly, when I saw him on 60 Minutes not long ago, there was much that I didn't agree with him about and I found him a little scary. A little too "right-wing" gays are evil for me. But, when someone that I see as even more of an outsider cuts him down, I feel this instant kinship with him. Maybe its the Jesus in both of us. Because even though he's fallen and made these huge mistakes, I think he loves Jesus. He got off track somewhere along the line. Maybe it was something he struggled with his whole life and just couldn't resist any longer. Kind of how I feel every time I eat another piece of candy corn.

Not that I'm equating my eating habits to trysts with male prostitutes...but don't we all have things that we struggle with? Maybe my sins aren't so public or don't have the ramifications that his have, especially to his family. But, who am I to cast stones in his direction? He receives the same grace that I receive and neither of us deserves it.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Halloween, Consumerism and "The Red Tent"...random

Well, Halloween is over for another year. I really like Halloween. For one thing, I love candy. I'm a horrible mom because I let my kids eat candy. I try to monitor, but I'm not good at it. Anyway, they were darling as a Doctor and Dorothy. Will chose the Doctor costume, but we forced Dorothy on Lora. They've never even seen the movie, but with a dog that looks a lot like Toto, it was a natural. On a somewhat unrelated note, it is raining today and I got Lora saying "I'm melting, I'm melting" we were walking back to the car from dropping Will off from school. Kids crack me up....

Something not as funny about kids in general and mine specifically...they are consumers. A friend brought us the Toys-r-us catalogue last night and Will has been studying it ever since. He calls catalogues and such his "newspapers" which is funny because we don't even subscribe to the paper. Anyway, he is intently scoping out every item and is careful to note the age appropriateness of each toy. The funny thing is that he doesn't understand the "and up" concept. So any thing that says "3 and up" he thinks he can't have. He gets really upset if he sees something he likes and it doesn't say "4 and up". Who is raising this consumer??? I blame the grandparents! Not really, I'm only kidding...don't quit buying the kids things based upon one misplaced comment.....

On a completely unrelated note, I just finished a great book. We are studying Genesis in our Tuesday morning Bible study and just recently were talking about the Jacob/Leah/Rachael story, which I posted about earlier. But, out of that, a friend recommended "The Red Tent" by Anita Diamante. It tells the story from the perspective of Jacobs only daughter, Dinah. It is definately fiction with a lot of license taken....but who knows, we are given such sketchy details, maybe she's right on the money. The book traces Dinah from a young girl all the way to death. I love the significance of the Red Tent, not just as a place that the women went at "that time of the month" but the way that it was used as a place for the older women to teach the younger women about life, love, family and even spiritual things. There is a lot of idol worship, the author really takes the stance that Jacob's wives did not only worship his God and were influenced by the gods of their father. Which I think was probably the case. So, I highly recommend the book. One warning...there is some sex, the aformentioned idol worship and some liberty taken with biblical stories. So, if that offends, don't read it....But, I think she has some great perspectives on women's lives in that time period, and I couldn't put it down!

Sunday, October 29, 2006


We had our big "transition" meeting for Lora last week. Mark and I met with four people from the Seattle School District and they asked us a bunch of questions about Lora and her development. The day that she turns three, she is out of Boyer, which has been our "safe" place for over two years now. I actually think this is why I had my mini break-down a couple of weekends ago. It was our first meeting about Lora's education that her teacher Mary Ellen wasn't present for. I was dreading it.

Its a really long story, but the meeting was good. We brought Lora with us and of course, she charmed them. The people were nice, not the "big, bad" school district like I expected. I again came away from the meeting realizing what an incredible little girl we have been blessed with. She has so far exceeded her original diagnosis. I am so thankful for her! And yet, I'm nervous about leaving Boyer and every time I think about it, I still get teary. We have some big transitions ahead of us, but I'm sure we'll make them and she will continue to become the incredible little person that God is helping her to become.

Friday, October 27, 2006

A Sick Day

Yes, its been a week since my last post. This has been a crazy week, with preschool, visiting pumpkin patches, Living Room last night and one sick two year old. Lora has been really congested and even threw up last night while we had company. That is fun, especially with an audience.

So, I slept with Lora in Mark and my bed all night and she coughed on and off from 11 until 2 am and then woke up again at 6:51 and started coughing again. I slept well. So in direct contrast to my last I need a break from my kids.

I rented the first season of "Gilmore Girls" from Netflix. I've watched the first two dics and I really like the show. It appeals to the High School girl in me. The mother and daughter have this banter that is great, it is nothing like a normal conversation between a mother and daughter. It is too perfect and thought out, with funny and smart one-liners galore. Its very scripted, but who cares? Its I sat and watched two episodes of it this afternoon on my lap-top and pretty much let the kids watch TV all afternoon....Its a sick day. I fed them and broke-up fights, but other than that, pretty much left them to their own devices. Good thing Will knows how to work the DVD player! Otherwise, his day would have sucked! I was a little concerned when he came in today and said to me "Mommy, God has a new Bible and its called Thomas." He's talking tank engines, not disciples.

Its amazing what a week can do!

Friday, October 20, 2006

This is my job...and I love it

So, here are some snippets of conversations that either Mark or I have had with the kids during the past couple of weeks. Some are funny, some are poignant, some might bring a tear to your eye….I’ve just been thinking about my “job” this week and I truly love it, most of the time. I realize how blessed I am to have a husband and kids and to be able to be at home with them during this time in their lives. I complain about it sometimes, and its not always easy…but when it comes down to it, I love it. So, here are some snapshots from my past couple of weeks:

1. Lora and I sitting on the couch, she is picking her nose and eating the boogers. I say to her, “Lora, don’t eat boogers, that’s icky”. She says back, “Mommy, I’m not eating the icky ones, just the good ones.”
2. Will said to me today, “Mommy, when I eat my boogers it makes me cough.”
3. Mark was putting Will in bed the other night, he was scared to stay in bed by himself, so Mark told him that God is with him all the time. Will said, “No, God lives at Blake’s house.”
4. Another night, I was putting Will in bed and again he said he was scared. I told him he wasn’t alone because God was with him. He said, “But I can’t see God, where is He?” and I said, “No, He’s invisible, but He’s everywhere.” Lora was in bed with Will because we were reading books. So she proceeded to go upstairs and said to Mark in her spookiest voice…”Daddy, we have to hide” Mark said “Why?” and she replied, still spooky, ‘We have to hide, because God is coming! God is coming and He’s everywhere!” Mark said, “Lora, we can’t hide from God” to which she responded “I can!” and she buried her head under a pillow. (we started watching more Veggie Tales the next day, we needed help with the “God” concept!)
5. Mark was driving in the car with Will, Lora and GG. Will was looking out the window at the trees turning colors and he said “Daddy, the trees are so pretty!” so Lora asked, “Daddy where are the trees?” Mark responded, “They’re right out your window sweetie, can you see them?” and she said, “No Daddy, are they beautiful?” Thankfully GG was there and just started describing them to Lora in detail as Mark felt the knife go in his chest and the tear trickle down his cheek.
6. One last one, Lora and I laying in bed the other morning, she is poking herself in the eyes. I say to her, “Lora, don’t poke yourself in the eyes!” she responds, “Mommy, I poke myself in the eyes to help me see better.” I say, “Well, did it help?” She says, “No!” and just goes on talking to me about something else.

I learn so much from my kids about so many things in life. They have helped to shape my ideas about God and helped me to really understand what I do and don’t believe about God. There is nothing to keep you in check like having to explain “lofty” ideas to small kids. My explanations to them have to be simple, but that’s not a bad thing. Maybe my faith doesn’t need to be as complicated as I’ve made it. Lora has taught me already about adapting to situations. Even at two she can seemingly say, “this sucks” and then just get on with playing. I don’t do that very well, I like to wallow and hold onto things for awhile before I get back to playing. So all this to say, I love my “bosses”, they are funny, cute, frustrating, silly, sometimes gross, loving, simple and complicated all at the same time. I wouldn’t want it any other way. Although, right at the moment, I wish Will would just leave the dog alone!!!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Obama for President...and pictures of Zoe

So, my husband has just peed his pants because I am talking about politics on my blog...he gets nervous when I start talking politics. I think he's afraid of alienating people. Who knows...anyway I watched part of two interviews with Barak Obama over the past couple of days, I saw he and he wife interviewed last year by Oprah also and I have to say, I'm impressed. I just like his calming presence. And I love his wife. They just impress me all the way around. Now, mind you, I haven't read his two books, yet. But I plan to. I don't totally know everything about his politics, but I have a good feeling about him. That might not sound like a good reason to vote for someone for president but, I take my "feelings" about people pretty seriously. I think I'm a pretty discerning person and I like him. That's all I'm going to say until I read his books, so maybe I'll say more later.

On a totally different note, I'm posting some pictures of our new puppy Zoe. We got a new camera because our other one broke and I haven't posted any pictures for awhile and felt like my blog looked here are some pictures. She's really cute and I really love her this morning because she slept all night in her crate last night....gotta love that!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

Okay, I've had ENOUGH with serious blogs...after my near emotional breakdown over the last couple of days I need to just talk about nothing or at least nothing too serious.

It is Sunday afternoon....the Seahawks won a close game, which I didn't get to watch because I was at church and then my kids were watching cartoons, but the did win. I'm sitting in my pajammas, its cold outside, Mark is downstairs snoring and the kids and I are watching Spongebob.

I have to admit, I love Spongebob. He is one of the only purely good characters on TV. Spongebob has no gile, he is kind to everyone, even Squidword. The show makes me laugh and after crying for 2-3 days for no real reason, I feel like I need to laugh...Thanks Spongebob! You're the best!

PS - Does anyone have a favorite Spongebob episode? Mine is when Patrick and Spongebob end up as slaves on the Flying Dutchman's ghostly ship and they have to help him scare people...its hilarious. ("How does he do that???It is still a mystery")

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A Little Over Two Years Ago.....

I experienced something a little over 2 years ago that has so affected my life, that I don't know if I will ever fully recover from it. Mark experienced it too, and even though he is the only other person in the world who can truly understand my feelings, I can only speak for myself. We took our 3 month old daughter into a doctor's office perfectly normal and came out with a blind girl. At least that was our perception. I think we both thought there was possibly something wrong, but neither of us was prepared for the Dr. to look us in the eyes and say,"This is a very serious, situation that cannot be corrected by surgery or glasses. Your daughter is blind." The main thing that I remember is that the door to the examination room was wide open to the lobby. I was sitting there, trying to hold myself together as I felt my world falling apart. The only thing that the Dr could confirm to us that day was that Lora could see light, beyond that, we didn't know. We didn't know at that point whether she had some other syndrome that could involve a heart defect or mental retardation. The only thing we knew is that we walked in there with a normal, healthy daughter and were leaving with a blind daughter.

Now, as most of you know, the reality of her situation has ended up being so much better than what we thought it would be. God is helping Lora to use what she has to the fullest and we have seen miracles such as color vision that we never expected. And, I don't mean to harp on her situation or keep bringing it up, as I know there are much more pressing matters in the world. But this one day, one moment actually, in that Dr's office has seemingly forever shaped my world and how I relate to God and especially how I relate to other Christians.

Because Lora's situation has turned out to be so much better than we expected...I go along feeling like I am no longer affected by it. But then, out of the blue, I read something or hear something that someone has written or said and it sends me into a tailspin. I read a comment on a blog today that gave me such a visceral, physical reaction that I didn't know what to do. I don't want to go into the comment, it is irrelevant, it is my reaction to the comment that I am concerned with. This is a person who I have never met, probably will never meet. He is probably close to 15 years younger than me, has no influence over my life in any way, other than what I allow him to have. As a side note, it is amazing to me how powerful words can be, which is a good thing to remember. But since this moment in my life a little over 2 years ago, I cannot trust my reactions to things. A comment about providence or God allowing things in our lives, or things being a result of sin on our lives, etc can send me down an emotional spiral or on an angry tirade. I am by nature, a pretty laid-back, easy going person...but everything changed in a moment a little over two years ago.

I remember in the months after, hearing from people who had heard from other people how well Mark and I were "handling" our situation. I would respond "Well, those people aren't with us 24 hours a day". I never wanted people to feel like we didn't grieve, or that we still don't. I wonder what those people would say if they could see me now, sitting here at 3:42 on a Thursday afternoon, almost 2 1/2 years later crying and typing over a comment on a blog that sent me into an emotional tailspin and a venting tirade, made by a person I have never met.....Is there hope for me? I think so...I think this is what a real relationship with God looks like. It isn't always pretty or perfect. Its a journey. A rocky one sometimes, but a journey nonetheless. I'm glad I'm on it, most of the time. I think its better than the alternative. Imagine the mess I would be without God...okay, don't imagine it.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Mark and I are leading a study of Genesis on Tuesday mornings at our church. Really Mark is leading and I just make soup...we call it "Souper Study". It really is a nice time. Its mostly the retired folks, plus a couple of "younger" people. But it is a way for us to connect to these people and it has been fun to just go through Genesis, verse by verse. It really is a crazy rivals any modern-day soap opera that I have ever watched for family dysfunction, greed and manipulation.

We were in chapters 29 and 30 this morning. It is the section where Jacob is fleeing his family after cheating Esau out of both his birthright and a blessing from Isaac...Anyway, he meets and falls in love with Rachael...she is technically his cousin, but that is pretty normal for the day. Anyway, he makes a deal with Rachael's father to work 7 years for her and on their wedding day, the father switches Rachael for her less attractive sister know the story. The part that I was facinated by today was after this, where Jacob is now married to both women and they are attempting to bear him children. Leah is fruitful and bears him 4 sons, hoping that this will win Jacob's love...Rachael is seemingly barren so she gives Jacob her maidservant to "lay" with and the maidservant bears him a couple of kids, Leah fights back by giving him HER maidservant and then finally, Rachael bears him a son, Joseph and we all know how that ends up. Its just this huge manipulation by Rachael and Leah...all for the love of Jacob. And yet, God ends up using these 12 sons to form the 12 tribes of Israel...redeeming our stupid choices yet again.

Then, I was talking with Lora's teacher the other day and we were talking about God...she is Jewish and we were talking about radicals in both of our faiths. And she said, "Did you know that there are fundamentalist Christians PAYING Jew's way to move back to Israel because they believe that the only way Christ will return is for all the Jews to be back in Israel?" I had heard of such things, and at the time was mainly glad that she thought of me as different from said fundamentalists, since I am...but Mark used that as an example of people trying to manipulate God today.

Do we really think we CAN manipulate God? Can we? What is prayer if it is not us trying to manipulate God into doing what we want? Someone at our Bible study said that regardless of our manipulations, God will carry out His plan...does that mean that my prayers have no influence with God?

I am also amazed by God's patience with his creations. We screw things up over and over and he continues to redeem our choices for His good...I guess that is free will at its best. Just some fragmented thoughts to think about.......

Monday, October 09, 2006


I don't have a lot of time today...that is what my day has been like. I went to school with Lora this morning, had a one hour break until I had to go to school with Will. Went to the grocery store after school with Will, came home, had dinner and now I'm off to my monthly Co-op meeting from 6-9 PM.

But, I listened to a song today that reminded me that everything in my life is Gods. Everything I have, everything I am, everything I do...It is by one of my favorite artists, Ginny Owens. I was drawn to her initially because she is blind, but I have fallen in love with her voice and lyrics. I tried to get them all down here, but I forgot one little stanza. I think you will all get the idea:

I Bring it to You by Ginny Owens:

My thoughts and meditations, my loudest declarations,
My every inclination I bring to You.

My faith and my religion, My folly and my wisdom,
My heart’s many dimensions, I bring to You.

Everything I have, You have given me.
So take this life, I give it back.
Make it all that it should be.

My search for satisfaction, my thoughts and distractions

My words and my actions, I bring to You.

My journey and my story, My failure and my glory.
And all the dreams I dream for me, I give to You.

Everything I have, You have given me.
So take this life, I give it back.
Make it all that it should be.

Yesterday, my future, what’s certain and what’s unsure.
And all that’s in between, I give to You.

All the see and the unseen, I give to You.My everything, oh I will bring, to You.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Living Room

We have a great new group at our church that I really love. We're calling it "Living Room". We meet each Thursday night at our house. We pick a meal each week that we make together, then we talk both about our live and about a topic that has been chosen each month. This month is grace. Anyway, it is a lot of fun and, I think, necessary for community.

Its amazing how much closer I feel to these 15 or so people now when I see them on Sunday mornings, just because we've spent Thursday evenings togethaner. There is something about being in the kitchen, cooking and sharing a meal together that is bonding. I guess its no coincidence that Jesus shared table fellowship with his friends...It is interesting the things that I've learned about myself through this. One big one is that its really hard for me to let other people help me in my own home. I'm not sure where I got this, but I think I came by it honestly.... Anyway, its really hard for me when people get here to assign jobs and let them help. I noticed it about myself before we started Living Room, but this situation has really brought it to light.

At first, I told myself that I just like others to feel comfortable in my house and that they shouldn't have to do anything, etc. But, I've come to realize that its more about me and my agenda. I have certain ways that I like things done, at least in my mind, and I'm not sure that someone else will do it the way I had planned. So, Living Room has been good for me even just in allowing people to help me in my own kitchen. Thanks friends!

PS - further to my post from yesterday reagarding the "New Guy". I was wrong, it is next Wednesday, so I'll just copy that post for then! :)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The New Guy

Today, when I take Lora to school, we are meeting a new person in our lives. I think his name is Dan and he works for WA Services for the Blind. When we first got Lora's diagnosis, we met a man named Scott who worked for them, he was our go-to guy for any questions we had. He really was the liason between the school district and us, but he would let us ask him any question about anything relating to Lora's blindness. He was this great, fun guy who was in charge of these wonderful programs that help blind kids transition from high school to college, etc. Well, he is not dead, but he did move and this new guy is his replacement. We haven't needed his services for awhile, but he was a great resource.

So, I'm nervous about meeting this new guy. What will he be like? He could possibly be in our lives for the next 20 years, all the way through college...Its weird too, because I forget sometimes that Lora is blind. (You who know her, know what I mean) These kind of meetings slap me in the face again with the "facts".

I so appreciate her teacher setting this up. I think she sees so much potential in Lora that she wants to give her every advantage that she can. We all know she is going to be a Rhodes scholar someday.....and this new guy could factor into her life in education. He will be our/her advocate with the school district, will help her apply and transition into college, and even may be the person to help her find her first job. So, here's to the "new guy", I hope you're nice!

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Perfect Seattle Day

In direct opposition to my mood yesterday, I am in a pretty good mood today. A lot of that has to do with the fact that today was the perfect fall Seattle day...I love Seattle in the fall. I'm not really a hot weather girl so a day like today where it is clear and the temperature gets to about 63 is perfect for me.

I worked at Will's school today and we played outside for awhile. I just stood on top of the jungle gym, since that was my designated spot, and thought about nothing really. It was so beautiful and peaceful, even amidst the screaming and laughing of the kids, I just felt peaceful.

I want to go out and buy pumpkins to carve and apples to caramel and candy corn to eat. I've been thinking about Halloween costumes today. (I'm looking for a Dorothy costume for Lora and either a scarecrow or tin man for Will, then we thought Zoe could be Toto since she sort of looks like her anyway.) Just a good day....

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Community Sucks

I don't want to be part of a community today. Its too hard. People are unkind. I have such a hard time giving grace to people who are mean. We've been talking about grace in Living Room on Thursday nights and I've come to realize that the people I have the most trouble giving grace to are the ones in my own community. I don't do well when someone hurts me or hurts a person that I love....I guess that is the true test of grace. And today, I don't have much! :)

Saturday, September 30, 2006

What is Normal?

I've been thinking today about the word "normal"...what does it mean? Who and what does it encompass? Did I spell encompass correctly? These are my questions....this comes out of a conversation I had with a few people the other day. I was talking to them about Will's new preschool and how I love how diverse it is. We have a child from Bangladesh, one from Persia, Jewish kids, Christian get my drift. I was just going on about how beautiful that is to me and how I love it because, other than the parents at my kids schools, I don't have any friends outside of church, etc. I spent a long time the other day with my Persian friend who has just lived in Japan for 11 years amazed by her diversity and the fact that her 4 year old is currently learning English as his third language. People are amazing! So anyway, after the comments about the Iranian possibly being a terrorist (said in a joking manner, but still..) one of the people commented - "I think I just like normal people best" and the other person said "You're probably one of the only normal ones left". I had to stop the conversation right there as these were all people older than me and I didn't want to get into an argument with them that would be disrespectful. The only thing I said was that I often like the people I meet outside of the church better than some that I meet inside, they are often nicer.

Anyway, after I picked my jaw up off the floor I started thinking about the word "normal"...what is normal and who decides what is normal? By our Judeo-Christian standards, I have a very normal family. Both sets of parents are Christian, still married, grandparents were all Christian and married until death. I am married with two kids (a boy and girl even). But if you look closely in my family you will find alchoholism, people who have had brushes with the law, disfunctional relationships. By the world's standards, I am not a "normal" weight...I have a blind daughter, who is not normal. As a side note, in the circles we travel in with Lora, you would never say "normal" or "abnormal" - it has become an offensive word.

Jesus wasn't considered "normal" by His days' standards and he definately wouldn't be by ours...He was homeless, ran around with a bunch of men, hung out with criminals, told people to sell everything they had and give it to the poor, chastised the established church for being hypocritical, used confusing stories to teach truths, loved everyone, even the lepers and outsiders. Need I go on?

I don't know what the standards are for normal, but I doubt that any of us meets them. We have all been affected by sin in our world, we have all experienced tragedy and pain, we all have areas of abnormality in our lives. All of these things have shaped us into the wonderful, diverse population that we are. So maybe the next time we see our neighbor, who has a combination of bright orange and dark black hair in preparation for Halloween...instead of avoiding her like I did the other day, we (I) can say "HI" and try to get to know her. Who knows what I could learn from her and maybe she could even learn something from me....or maybe she's just a really nice person. I may never know.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Puppy Fever

I want a puppy. I know, its nuts. I have a 4 year old and a 2 year old. I have no business getting a puppy, but I want one. I found the cutest puppy I have ever seen on the internet. It is a Lhasa Apso/Miniature Schnauzer mix. I'm in love, my heart hurts it is so cute. I've already named her Zoey. I even e-mailed the lady that breeds them, knowing I don't have the money...I'm crazy in love.

I even tried to convince Lora tonight to tell her GG on Saturday when she sees her that she really wants a puppy. I am evil, but I'm in love. Mark is convinced that if we get a puppy he will end up taking care of it...I assure him, like a child with a parent that I will take care of her, feed her and take her out to go potty. He doesn't believe me, and I must admit, I don't have a great track record...But this one is really cute! I want to be one of those crazy women who takes her dog with her everywhere in her purse...maybe I am sad because my babies are growing up and don't need me as much anymore....there is no analyzing it...I'm in love.

Anybody know a way I can make a little money quick? Legally???

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Scary Church

I went to a wonderful church service today...we sang some great songs, read some great passages of scripture and heard a great word from God...through my husband. We started a fun new kid's ministry, have a great nursery and fun people of all ages that meet each week together. We are all of about 60 people, if you don't include the two other language groups that meet in our building. I don't know why people aren't flocking to our building - I know it isn't about numbers but I think what we have is really great...a little known secret in the greater Seattle area.

Then, I read a blog today from a local pastor - he pastors a very large church in our area - let's call it "Fars Fill". He is extreme in his fundamentalism, believes that women were created "equal but with distinctly different roles from men in the church and home", does not believe in women being ordained, discredits what he sees as mainline protestant churches at every turn. And, for some unknown reason, people flock to his church. I don't get it. I personally think he's scary. I was talking recently talking to a guy from a church in West Seattle that was purchased by "Fars Fill". This was a great emerging church that had a wonderful cafe in its basement that was reaching out to the community, inviting them to play music, hang out and eat with them. He said that "Fars Fill" closed the church down after they purchased it in order to "ready" it for Sunday mornings.

They also closed the cafe and will be eventually reopening it as a space for their church people to use - not as much the community. I just don't get it. Someone explained to me once that young people of my generation and the one after me are flocking to fundamentalism because they are looking for boundaries in their lives, they grew up with parents who didn't give them boundaries so they are searching for them at every turn. Maybe that's it. People want absolutes, lists to follow, black and white. If only life were that easy.

The only absolute that I'm positive of is that God is love, He sent Jesus to prove to us how much He loves us. Jesus told us to love God with everything we are and to love others as much as we love ourselves. In some ways, that is more difficult to do than to follow a list of rules...but if we could do it, truly love others as much as we love ourselves maybe, just maybe we could make a difference in our world. Or, we can sit in our scary churches with our list of rules that people have to submit to before we will let them join the club. WWJD?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Stress has a new name....Co-op

I'm stressed fact, so stressed that my chest sort of hurts. Is that bad? Last week on Wednesday I went to Co-op to help clean the classroom and was rooked into being Secretary of the co-op board. At least I'm not scrapbooker anymore which is good since the zoom on our digital camera is broken. ANYWAY, then on Thursday we took Will to meet his new teacher, who he loves. Then, on Friday I went to North Seattle Community College for two hours to learn how to be the secretary of the Co-op board. I mainly learned that most of these moms are way more serious about co-op than I am; strangly most of them didn't pick it because its cheaper than any other preschool I've ever heard of; and that I know nothing about co-op or how to be the co-op board secretary. I left feeling a little overwhelmed but a little more informed to.

Then, I got home to an e-mail from the co-op reminding us about getting our TB test done, turning in Will's immunization record, getting together his earthquake preparedness kit together and filling out two other forms that we haven't done yet. SO, tomorrow morning at 8:00 I am running up to the Community Health Department to have my TB test done, coming home to get Lora ready for school, Mark and Will are going to drop us off at school and run to Group Health to get a copy of his immunization records. (We seriously considered filling out the part on the form that says that we didn't have him immunized because of religious reasons, but figured since he's already gone through the pain he may as well get credit). Then, Mark will pick us up at noon and I have to be at Will's school by 1:15 for orientation. This is orientation for me, to learn how to be a parent volunteer in the class.

Then, on Tuesday night we have another orientation from 7:00-9:30 for which I just found out I'm supposed to bring snacks and speak on three topics as secretary...two of which I know nothing about at this point, plus take minutes at the meeting.....This is after I've made soup for 12-15 people for our Bible Study on Tuesday morning...Then, finally, Will gets to start school on Wednesday afternoon and I'm not sure, but I think I have to volunteer in his class on that day, even though Monday is normally my day.

I just needed to write that all out and complain about it a little bit. Mark keeps telling me not to stress but I want to punch him every time he says that. I think I have anger issues. I'm sure its no different than anyone else's life but right now, I'm a little overwhelmed but the chest pains have stopped....that's good, right?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Life List....

I've watched the new season of the Ellen Degeneres show a couple of times this week and she has been talking a lot about "Life Lists". She had a gal on last year that had a list of items that she wanted to get done before she turned 40 and Ellen helped her cross off about15 of her items....from drinking Cristal champange to riding on the Orient express to owning a pair of Jimmy Choo's to being backstage at a Dave Matthew's was a fun show. Ellen had the girl on again yesterday and they talked about why she started her life list, in her case it was because she was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as a child and has a short life expectancy...but this has spurred Ellen and many of her viewers to create these lists and also, throughout this season Ellen is going to help more people fulfill things on their lists.

ANYWAY, this got me thinking about my life and whether I have things that I want to accomplish that I haven't done so far. Ten years ago...getting married, having sex and having babies would have been on my list...been there, done that! So what is there now? Other than the obvious...raising children who love God and respect others...having a good marriage...I think it would be fun to have a detailed list of things that I would love to accomplish. I really want to go back to Europe someday...I want to take another cruise with my husband...I want to weight 140 someday.

I think somethimes that I get so caught up in the day to day ordeal of raising two young children that I forget about my own life and what I want to accomplish, if there is anything. So, I think I'm going to start a list. Maybe when I'm done I will post it, if its not too personal. Then I can keep you up to date with how I'm doing.

Anyone out there with a Life List of their own??

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Fall into fall....or sprint into fall

So, we're off and running with our fall...starting today. As I mentioned previously, we FINALLY found a pre-school for Will that we can actually afford, at least on paper. He's going to be in the Wallingford Co-op preschool, actually we're all joining the co-op since part of the "deal" is that one of the parents works one day per week, etc. What I am finding out is that there are many obligations with the Co-op situation. I start today by going to clean-up day at the school from 1-3:45, then tomorrow we have our new student orientation with Will's teacher, then next week on Tuesday we have the parent orientation where we all find out what we are and aren't supposed to do in the classroom...THEN, on Wednesday the "slow start" begins, some sort of staggered start so all of the kids aren't in the classroom at the same time to start, I guess so they don't overwhelm the teacher? Then, finally we actually start the next Monday...and from then on, either Mark or I will be working each Monday in the classroom.

But, beyond that, once a month I have to go to a class about early childhood education since, technically, I'm enrolled at N. Seattle Community College. (and will be getting a grade, by the way). Then there are the every-other-month social get togethers AND I have a committee position on the co-op board.

This is the funniest thing of all....not that this has been too funny so far....but, the committee position that I have been given is that of "Scrapbooker"...for those of you who know me, this is hilarious because I do not even have baby books for my children. I am supposed to take pictures randomly this year and at the various events and then put them together into some sort of yearbook, memory thing at the end of the year. Last year the person gave everyone a picture disk and even a movie to take home...the zoom doesn't even work on our digital camera! So, I'm pretty much screwed and destined to be the laughing stock of the co-op. But it was either that or a maintenance position which is even funnier...

I just have a feeling that these parents are going to be way more serious about all of this than I am. Its like the time that i brought strawberry yogurt for Lora for a snack at Boyer and was promptly told that kids that young weren't supposed to have strawberries...let alone the Princess Fruit Snacks and Smuckers Uncrustables that I also brought (promptly being told that peanut butter was also taboo) I just don't know or don't care as much about all of that...and, so far, my kids are still alive and eating popcicles at 9:30 AM...right now!

I think its my old High School insecurities coming out...the cool moms aren't going to like me, I'm too fat to fit in AND my husband's a about your conversation ender!

Then, Lora starts back to school next Monday...So, we have school all day mondays; Tuesday morning is "Souper Study" with the old people at chuch, which I make soup for, school in the afternoon; school and church on Wednesday; school Thursday, Mark, Lora and I are going to visit people on Thursday afternoons and then we have "Living Room" on Thursday evenings; and nothing on Fridays!!! Which is why today, we are all still in our pj's watching Barney at 9:45 just getting set for the craziness! Bring it on!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Little Miss Sunshine

Last night, my husband and I went on a date. Yeah! We went and saw one of the best movies that I have seen in years, "Little Miss Sunshine". I would give it 5 out of 5 stars. Such a great, sweet, funny, moving film that tackles issues like drug use, suicide attempts, death, dissapointment in a way that is humerous and touching. The acting was overacting or over-the-top antics, just sheer perfection. I will warn that there is liberal use of the "f" word and one scene that has some graphic talk regarding sex...that was for my mom, but well worth sitting through some language to experience this wonderful little movie. If you couldn't tell, I really liked the movie!

On another note, I didn't blog on Wednesday, but it was Will's 4th birthday! It is so amazing how grown up he is getting....he came out at 3:54 AM on 8/30/02, weighing all of 6 lbs 2 oz....and 19 inches long. Yes he was skinny....but cute, at least to me. He is so much fun, bright and funny. He had his first sleep-over on Tuesday night and then we went to Chuckie Cheese's on Wed, it wasn't as bad as I remember it and he had a blast. But today, he is saying that he doesn't want to be 4 anymore, he wants to be 3 again. There is so much pressure the older you get.

On another note, tomorrow is Mark's 44th birthday...We're having a little dinner for him with family and a few friends...Brisket Sandwiches and Strawberry Shortcake was his request...

Happy Birthday to both of my boys!!!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Monday Monday....

I'm in a bad mood today...I have a headache, Lora woke up last night and didn't get back to sleept for a couple of, I took it out on my husband and we got in a big fight, ending with him taking the kids to the store. Which puts me in a dilemma...fight = me at home with no kids watching The People's Court and blogging. Not a bad equation. I probably still need to make up with my husband.....And I promise not to start using fights to get some time alone.

On a better note, we found a pre-school for Will. We joined the Wallingford Co-op preschool. It sounds like fun, it is less expensive than other preschools but one of us has to work one day a week. Which actually is nice because we are more involved that way. So, on Sept 18th, Will will start going to school Mon-Thurs from 1:0-3:45. I think he will love it! It will give him something more active to do and more kids to be friends with. And, we will meet more families in our community which is good too. I'm excited, just bracing myself for the busy Fall ahead.

Wednesday is Will's 4th birthday, time goes so fast. Partially because we are so busy......

Friday, August 25, 2006

Being Vegetarian, not so much...

I was a vegetarian for two days this week. I went on a Detox diet. I cut out meat, sugar, coffee, refined flour and just about everything else except fruit, veggies, beans, milk, yogurt, a few grains and water. I added coffee back on the second day...I added meat back on the third, lean meat mind you, but meat nontheless. I was supposed to make it nine days! I'm such a wimp, but I have lost 9 pounds since Tuesday. I felt so tired and cranky and headachy. That could have been the caffeine...but I feel better now. I'm still eating really healthy, but having a little meat with dinner. I think its hard to be vegetarian if you don't like tofu and I don't like tofu.

I remember when I was in high school, on one of my many diets, my mom bought tofu and brought it home. She told me that it takes on the flavor of whatever you put with it. As if! She made me a strawberry milkshake with tofu in it, I could totally taste it...I think we may have even tried it in lasagna...gross. I don't care what anyone says, it has a weird taste and texture that I just can't get over. Mind you, I have many weird food issues but I just can't do it. So I don't. As such, I will probably never be vegetarian, that and the love of red meat thing......

On another note, I'm reading "The Nanny Diaries" and really like it. It is a fun brainless read. Just recently, I read "The Secret Life of Bees". That is a really good book too, I highly recommend it.

I'm going to try to post every day so, they may become more and more random, just a warning!

Monday, August 07, 2006

A Beautiful Day

Hi, I know I'm a loser....I just haven't felt inspired to blog recently. Its been HOT here, I'm not a hot weather person. In fact, Mark and I were thinking the other day about the fact that we almost moved to Yuma, Arizona! We cannot believe that we ever even considered it. We both hate hot weather so much. It was when we were still living in Oklahoma...we were ready to get out there and start pastoring. We went and interviewed in Yuma, liked the people and the DS, get a unanimous vote from the board and decided to let the church vote on us. We waited our two weeks and then on Saturday night, before they were supposed to vote on Sunday, we got a call from the DS saying that the church had decided not to vote on us. Aparently, they had a faction in the church that didn't want a pastor, they wanted to save money and move the church out to the suburbs and then get a pastor. We were disappointed, but felt like it might not have been a good fit if they wanted to move out of the city, we love the city. And, in the meantime, we had received a call to come for an interview in California and we moved to the Bay Area not too long after that. San Francisco was definately a better fit for us. It all ALMOST makes me believe in providence!!

I was thinking about that yesterday as Mark and I and the kids went with our friend Lori on a ferry yesterday from West Seattle over to Southworth. It was a beautiful day, perfect really. Mt. Rainier was incredible - so clear. The Olympics were gorgeous. We drove up to one of our favorite little towns, Poulsbo. Drove back down to Gig Harbor and spent an hour or so with Mark's was wonderful and none of this could have been done in Yuma, Arizona. I think God does love me!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I'm Back....Again

I just returned from a 10 day vacation in Colorado with my husband, my kids, my parents, my brother, his wife, their four kids and one miniature schnauzer....I know, sounds like a huge menagarie, and it was but it was also fun. We stayed in a beautiful house, overlooking picturesque Breckenridge. We played games, rode on alpine slides, bounced in bouncy houses, watched movies and ate good food. It was a lot of fun.

One of my favorite things that we did was a throw back to my childhood...we went to the world's largest natural hot springs swimming pool in Glenwood Springs. I grew up swimming in this pool and I love it. It is one of my favorite places in the world. Actually, my mom grew up going there, they passed it on to my brother and I and now we've passed it on to our kids. Sorry Debbie, you're wrong, its a beautiful place. :)

To get to the city of Glenwood Springs, you have to travel through this beautiful canyon, there are huge rocks on either side of the car with hidden waterfalls and wonderful colors. I used to call it the "block-long pool" when I was a kid because its huge. I have tons of memories from this place with my grandparents, parents and brother. From my first ride on a waterslide to Dad almost needing stitches from the same slide to "petunias" and just swimming until I was one big prune. It was fun to see my kids doing the same things that I did as a kid....They swam and swam and swam, they rode on their first waterslides, and even got a little sunburned and they loved every minute of it. We had to drag them out of there kicking and screaming and Will said he wanted to stay forever. Its just nice when a memory from your childhood turns out to be just as great as an adult.....

Thanks Mom and Dad for the great vacation! It was fantastic!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

525,600 Minutes

Yes, obviously, I watched Rent last night...I've never seen it before, shocking I know. I loved it. It is about a life very different from mine, or is it? Its about community, a community that loves each other and cares for each other no matter what. Its about a year in the character's lives and what transpires in that year.

One of the themes of the musical is "No Day But Today". I think its great to remember that we really only have today. We tend to get se bogged down in our past or so worried about our future that we miss today, this moment. I find myself, with two small children always living for bedtime or naptime instead of enjoying each moment I have with my children. My husband and I say, "won't it be fun when both of the kids are in school..." instead of enjoying today with all of its joy and sorrow....

So I leave you all with this....

"525,600 minutes, 525,600 moments so dear. 525,600 minutes - how do you measure, measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee. In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife. In 525,600 minutes - how do you measure a year in the life?How about love? How about love? How about love? Measure in love.Seasons of love.

525,600 minutes! 525,000 journeys to plan. 525,600 minutes - how can you measure the life of a woman or man? In truths that she learned, or in times that he cried. In bridges he burned, or the way that she died. It's time now to sing out, tho the story never ends let's celebrate remember a year in the life of friends. Remember the love! Remember the love! Remember the love! Measure in love. Seasons of love! Seasons of love." Seasons of Love - Rent

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Broken Pieces

We did a really cool thing at church on Sunday. We are doing things a little differently this summer anyway, our services are more family oriented. We aren't having children's church and have geared the services to kids and adults alike. Its been really fun, we have been looking at different Old Testament passages in different ways. Then each week we have had an "expression" (or craft time to some) that we can all participate in that goes along with the passage we are looking at.

This week, we looked at the narrative on Ruth and Naomi. I had always heard this story from Ruth's point of view, but this week, we looked at it from Naomi's point. Naomi was, at one time, a wealthy wife with two sons and daughters in law. Her husband and both of her sons die and Naomi ends up a stranger in a strange land with her two daughters in law. One of her daughters goes back to her family but Ruth stays with her and they return to Naomi's homeland of Bethleham. Naomi returns a broken woman, no home, husband or money. Amazingly, Ruth falls in love with Boaz and they make a place for Naomi in their home...but we looked at her brokeness this week...the hard things in our lives that shake our faith or the tempations in our lives that we just can't get ahold of on our own.

We took ceramic tiles and wrote those hard things on the back, then we smashed the tiles and poured the pieces at the foot of the cross. We then took the pieces and made 4 mosaics that when put together, formed a cross. We are now going to take that cross and hang it in the front of our sanctuary as a wonderful reminder of what can be made with our lives when we give our brokeness to our wonderful, creative God.

It was a beautiful, meaningful service. Its amazing what can be made with broken pieces. It is amazing what God can make out of broken lives.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Its Just Hair

I'm thinking about compromise today. I've been married for 8 years to a wonderful man. He is patient and kind, funny and sweet, he is a great father...etc, etc, etc. We really only have one disagreement that comes up often, that subject hair. I like my hair long, he likes it short. I know, I should be thankful that he likes it short because most men are obsessed with long hair. Short hair is easier to take care of, I'm sure its better for the environment or something, less product used.

In all fairness to my husband, I have worn my hair in a ponytail for the last 7 days straight. I tend to do that, so I can sort of see his point. Anyway, I have a haircut scheduled today at 2:00 so the delimma becomes, do I compromise and cut my hair short to please my husband OR do I leave it long, just get a little trim and continue down my ponytailed pathway???

I'm leaning towards compromise...because it is summertime and its getting hotter and a new style would be nice....but as my family can attest, I am just rebellious enough to not want to do it just because I know he wants me to...Isn't that mature? In all honesty I actually like my hair both ways so I don't know what I'm dragging my feet about. We'll see and I'll let you know tomorrow if my better nature wins out. Its just hair.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A Great Place to Start

I've been feeling so tired and overwhelmed with life this week. We just seem so busy and have so many responsibilities and activities, not a lot of "down time". I was feeling sorry for myself and then I received an e-mail from a friend that I met through my mom's group. We have a group of moms that meet that all have kids who go to the same early childhood center. Its for mom's who all have children with some delay or disablility.

Anyway, my friend's 10 month old baby died about 7 weeks ago. Talk about wake-up call to me to not whine about my petty problems! She is doing okay, not great. She's Buddhist and she said the most beautiful thing that her priest has told them. He told them to remember their son as a teacher that was sent to them to remind them of the beauty and frailty of life. I thought it was a beautiful statement and actually I liked it better than some of the platitudes that I've heard fellow Christians spout to grieving people at funerals. God didn't need another flower for His garden in heaven....and God didn't take him in order to teach his parents a lesson. But God can use his life to teach them and others to appreciate life and to see beauty and value even in a life that only lasted 10 months and that during that short time was wrought with struggle...I think it is good to see the beauty in other religions and what they can teach us about our own faith.

Instead of being afraid of or divided by our differences...embrace what is similar and grow from there. I pray often for my friend, that she will find comfort in her religion and that through it she might come to a greater knowledge of God and how much He loves her. I think that's a great place to start.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I'm Back!

Hello! I've been away, actually just without a laptop, but I'm back!

I go to a group at church on Monday nights, we call it "Underground". We called it that because we began meeting in the basement, sort of a clandestine underground revolution of sorts. A group of people that are truly wanting to know what it is Jesus said to do and a place to talk about how we do what He said. We're reading "Blue Like Jazz" by Donald Miller together. He is a great author and the book is really good, if you haven't read it.

One of the chapters that we read last night was about a Christian writer that he went to listen to that he felt was using popular buzz terms and quoting things just to be "trendy". He felt like this author might be cheating on Jesus in order to be more popular with the world. I'm going through that in my life right now...I feel like I've become more "tolerant", which has become a dirty word in evangelical circles...I'm not sure why. But, I'm not sure of my motivation. I think its because I've come to believe that we, in the church, may have been focusing so exclusively on some issues that Jesus never even addressed, at the expense of issues that were near to his heart, such as taking care of the "least of these". We pick and choose issues, even picking up our picket signs and petitions, that I'm not completely convinced that God cares about. We even pick out scripture references from Leviticus to write on our picket signs but ignore the rest of Leviticus...have you ever really read that book? Its crazy! If you are blind, a dwarf or have crushed testicles, you can't be a priest, just so you know!

Even in the New Testament, we do the same...We chalk up Paul's statements about women in leadership to the culture and site that Jesus acutally elevated the status of women, but we don't do that with other issues. I just don't get it. Jesus spoke very directly about divorce, saying that it is okay in only very few cases and then even goes so far to say that if a man marries a divorced women he causes her to commit adultry! I don't see anyone with a petition about that. And I don't want us to start...but why to we pick certain issues and not others?

I have to look at the overarching theme of scripture and see that it is a book about love. About a God who loves us so much and desires a relationship with us so much that He tried every means He could think of to reach out to us, including sending His own Son to live among us to show us how to love each other. I think that when it comes down to it most of us are actually going to be surprised by the mercy of God toward some issues and the judgement about others....Taking care of the poor is referenced over 2,000 times in the New Testament alone, I think it is an important issue. Can we say the same about some of the issues that we have taken on as important?

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

My Kids Amaze Me

I have two children. William is 3 1/2 and Lora is 2. Will is obsessed with trains, especially Thomas the Tank Engine. He has a train table in his room and he is a true collector at 3...As soon as one of his grandparents buys him a train, he is looking for the next one that he wants. I don't know that he's just greedy, but a collector. Last night, Mark was trying to get him to go to bed and was singing to him in operetic form (we saw Les Miserables last week) telling him to go to bed, so Will started answering back in the same singing voice, it was hilarious.

Will does everything with this great sense of abandon...He jumps in with two feet in every area of his life. When he hugs me, he runs towards me full speed and slams into me with his arms flung open wide, sort of a tackle hug. When he kisses me, it is full on the lips or all over my face. I love that about him, as long as he's not mad...then he can be a little scary. But he is funny, smart and so cute.

Lora is 2, she is also amazing. She is funny, smart and adorable also. She happens to be blind. Well, visually impaired, I guess. According to the doctors, she should be blind, but functionally she is not. I don't really know how to explain it, maybe there is no explanation that is easily understood, she is a miracle. That was actually hard for me to say for awhile, I'm not sure why...we found out about her "condition" pretty early in her little life. It was pretty devastating at first. I struggled through the whole thing, questioning God's role in her life....I struggled with the whole idea of God causing/allowing these situations, how that all works together. I questioned whether He is involved in our lives at all. Its funny, I was talking to a friend about all of this last night, people would say to my husband and I the whole time how wonderfully we were doing, how we just handled the whole "thing so well". I guess we did. I'm sure it was God. Because most of the time I felt like I was just holding on by a thread, but really I wasn't... anyway, I did a lot of questioning...I still do. There are so many things about God that I don't understand.

I couldn't accept that God had any part in her blindness, and I still don't know that I believe that He did. BUT, now that she is two and is this brilliant, beautiful little girl who is defying everything that any doctor that we see says she should be able to do...I don't know how to explain it. She sees color...she doesn't have the part of her eye that should enable her to see color...she recognizes pictures in books...she has almost no optic nerve or retina...her doctor is baffled her teacher is amazed. So, I want to give God glory for that - and rightly so, I think. But, my theological dilema is that I removed God from her creation, at least for creating her imperfections, but then I want to add Him back in when things are better than we expected? Can I do that? I mean, I guess I can, but should I? I believe that He has interviened in her life, maybe that is just a good place to leave things.

But to add to the confusion, sometimes I wonder if she were fully sighted, would she be a different little girl? I wonder if she were fully sighted, would her personality be different...if things came easier to her, would she have the determination that I see in her...I know that I am probably overthinking this, but I do think about it. Anyone have any thoughts?

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I am a horrible person...

I am so all talk. I say that I love people but I am still so selfish. Last night was my husband and my 8th wedding anniversary, very nice. We went out to dinner at "The Melting Pot", a local fondue restaurant. It was really fun, almost 3 hours without the kids. (Thanks to Lori and Ben for the free babysitting) Anyway, we get home from our $100 dinner and are met with the homeless man that Mark has been helping out and my only response to him is annoyance. He was hanging out in our church, which is behind our house and I am utterly annoyed.

No love from Christa, no sympathy. All I can think about is the fact of how much time Mark has had to spend with him these past months...the number of housing opportunities that have been set up and somehow "didn't quite work out"...Mark having to explain to him that he can't sleep in the church but he can sleep in our "fort" in the backyard. I kept thinking that we have fed this kitten too many times and he keeps coming to our backporch...I am just being honest, I'm a horrible person. I'm not sure I'm really a Christian at all..

Here is one of "the least of these" and I can't even muster up one emotion other than frustration and annoyance. I'm so torn because I constantly live in the tension between wanting to just give away everything that I have and wanting to blame the person we are trying to help for getting into their mess in the first place. I think that there are choices that are made sometimes that keep people in their situations...but what about the choices that I have made..why do I have a family that has bailed me out of stupid financial decisions and helped to keep me from being homeless a time or two and some people have no one?

Life is weird and I don't know how it all works. I don't know how God works all of the time and why things happen the way that they do. I do think though that we haven't gotten it yet, all of us as human beings and especially those of us who call ourselves followers of Christ - at least I haven't. I'm glad that God didn't give up on us as a human race and sent us Christ to model how we are supposed to love each other - without judgement or constraits. I'm glad that because of Christ in my life I AT LEAST am living in that constant tension between wanting to do what He would do and wanting my own way. I guess that is a start for now....with His help I want to love more.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Here it Goes...

I'm not really sure why I'm doing this...or how to go about it. But I do have thoughts and sometimes it is nice to just write them all out. I am a mother of two children, Will is 3.5 and Lora is 2. I have a husband, Mark...we are happy. I love my family...I like knitting, friends, discussing theology with friends. Well that is all for now, it is late and I need to sleep while I can.