Archive for August 2009

Sunday Solitude--or not

Sunday, August 30, 2009

This morning I woke up craving solitude and sunshine. My hubby has been on a five day business trip--and it's the end of summer. Aren't those two reasons are justification enough for a little "me" time??? Knowing there wasn't enough time to get everyone to church and back before a friend's wedding reception this afternoon, I got myself all situtated out in the driveway, yes the driveway (the sun doesn't hit the back deck until early evening). My chair, my book and my water were awaiting me and I settled in. Here's a little picture of what that looked like.

Here's what it looked like 15 minutes later. Mind you there are now THREE chairs, and the dog. It really doesn't change as they get older. You remember how the second a phone hit your ear, no matter where you were in the house, they found you?? Well, even though it's not the phone, they still have a radar alerting them when you are enjoying peace and quiet. It's like they just don't believe that happiness can be had without their presence. "Mom must be missing us. Let's go find her."

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't secretly counting the days until the school bell rings. I am also reminding myself that "one day very soon you will want this day back." They are so darn cute in spite of themselves. As much as they make me cry and yell and scream (rarely, of course) they also crack me up and fill my heart to overflowing. Here are some more reasons why.............

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Emily and Jake

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Back in May I traveled to Ohio for the nuptials of this adorable couple. "Emmy" was 2 and I was 15 when they moved in next door to our family in Seattle. It has been a total privilege to watch this precious girl grow into a lovely young woman who loves God with all her heart and soul. She is beautiful inside and out. Although I don't know her new hubby very well, I know enough about him to be convinced that these two are perfectly matched.

Emily has been on staff with "h2o"--a college ministry on the campus of Kent State University. Following their wedding, Jake joined forces with her to reach, not only college students, but their "retirement community" as well. I just received their monthly newsletter and it was heartwarming. I just had to share it with you all. I am humbled and awed by how God is using these two willing servants to love people with his unconditional love. And what a difference they are making. Wow. I'm so proud of her I could just pop.

Here's an excerpt from her email:

As most of you know, Jake and I live in a retirement community situated across the street from Kent State. We absolutely love living here. We love talking with people who have experienced so much in life. Take Ed for instance: Ed is in his mid 80s, having just celebrated his 62nd wedding anniversary with the "girl of his dreams", Mim. Every time we talk with him, he has so many neat things to say about life and what he has learned. I adore him, and I'm always grateful for the times we are able to talk outside in our parking lot.

Then there's Ethel. As we made our way to our car a couple days ago, Ethel waved to us. She waved and beckoned for us to come to her. She looked at me and said, "Hi, I have met your husband, but haven't met you. I'm Ethel." I gave her my name and she said, "I just have to tell you, I really love your porch; you have such beautiful flowers, and it's nice to see some color up there. It really is beautiful." I can't explain it, but there was a longing for something in her voice and I also felt like perhaps she's touched by Jake and I.

As soon as we parted ways, I felt God speak to my heart. 2 Corinthians 2:14-15 came to mind. It says, "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowlege of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing." I really felt like God was reminding me of the life, beauty and love He produces through us for others to see. Our love for Christ and how we love one another, can evoke many emotions and feelings in others. I'm not sure if this is what happened to Ethel, but our interaction was a sweet reminder of how much Christ loves His creation, and wants to reach us. As we live among those in our retirement community--those who understand their mortality--and as we work on a college campus with many young people who believe themselves to be invincible, we are reminded of Christ's heart for all to know Him!

Keep loving them, you two. You are making a difference!


Closed but open

Saturday, August 22, 2009

"This is Kelli from 'ABC Title Company' calling to let you know that your the sale of your home has officially closed and is recorded at the courthouse." I had no idea that such a simple message would have brought a flood of tears and emotion. We had signed the closing documents the previous day but, knowing we still had six weeks to move out, I hadn't given it much thought. Until today. I walked back in the house with a different set of eyes. No longer would I take Millie on our morning walk on the beautiful trail or watch my boys scurry off to school on their bikes along that same trail. My kitchen island, which has served as the background for so many heart-to-heart conversations will soon belong to another family. My basement (or the 'testosterone dungeon' as I sometimes refer to it) was no longer a room I avoided but somewhere I wanted to hang out with my kids. My backyard --which is miniscule and backs up to a busy road--felt huge and beautiful and peaceful. Suddenly, everything I disliked about this house had become so sentimental.

Five years is more than enough time to become attached. Even to something you're not that fond of. Although I KNOW God has a perfect place for our family it's still hard to say good-bye to four walls full of memories. Even though I always knew in my heart we wouldn't settle here forever, I still "nested" and made it a home. And even though it technically belonged to the bank, I still thought of it as OUR HOME.

Yesterday as I sat here crying out to God for peace and direction, an email popped up in my inbox from a dear friend who walked a similar path in the Spring. Here's the most important part of her message:

"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." ~ Isaiah 43:19

"But for now, dear servant Hope, listen— yes, you, my dear daughter, my personal choice. God who made you has something to say to you; the God who formed you in the womb wants to help you. Don't be afraid, dear servant Hope, the one I chose. For I will pour water on the thirsty ground and send streams coursing through the parched earth. I will pour my Spirit into your descendants and my blessing on your children.They shall sprout like grass on the prairie, like willows alongside creeks. This one will say, 'I am God's,' and another will go by the name Jacob; That one will write on his hand 'God's property'— and be proud to be called Israel." ~Isaiah 44:1-5

I am holding on these promises. For in spite of how I "feel" in this "desert" time, I know I can trust that He who has made these promises is faithful.

As all of our moms always said, "when one door closes, another one opens." Cheesy? Yes. Simple? Yes. True? Absolutely!

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Middle School Humor

Monday, August 17, 2009

Last Friday we attempted to take one last camping trip before summer ends. The plan was for me and five (yes, five) boys to head up to our favorite primitive spot on the river, about an hour away. It was a feat in and of itself to survive the trip up there with six of us, the gear and the dog crammed into about 25 square feet. As we turned onto the Forest Service Road you couldn't miss the huge red and yellow signs announcing a burn ban. UGH! It had rained a ton all week and the ground was still quite wet so this caught us by surprise. Trey joined us a few hours later and we unanimously decided that no one wanted to camp without a campfire. We came home unpacked, and crashed around midnight, only to be awakened by what sounded like a huge cat fight. We didn't think anything of it and went back to sleep.

Saturday morning, on his way back from Starbucks (the best part of not camping), Trey saw a huge dead racoon on the side of the road. Turns out it wasn't a cat fight we heard, but a collision of a car and "Rocky". The boys heard him telling me about the mishap and immediately concocted a plan --which you can see below. Is that hilarious or what? Gotta love those middle schoolers.

Sorry about the laugh at your expense, Rocky Racoon. Rest in Peace.


I just love Reader's Digest

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Am I completely dating myself for revealing this little known fact about moi? One of my BFF's dropped off a bunch--and I mean a bunch--of used magazines destined for the recycling bin. In the stack were four or five issues of Reader's Digest. I remember the "All in a Day's Work" page with funny stories from the workplace. Being a true "wordy", I loved being challenge with the Word Power section. They'd give you 17 words with three choices for its definition. My goal was always to get 14-17 and be considered "genius". Still hasn't happened. Over the years when I'd find a copy in a waiting room or hair salon, I immediately went to those familiar pages. There's always been something so comforting about that. Kind of like macaroni & cheese or meatloaf.
The August 2009 issue's (shown above) feature story is titled "Advice to Live By". Everything from "How to Stay Cool" to "How to be Funnier" to "How to Teach a Cat to Handshake" (seriously) is included on these 24 pages. The best part though is that along the bottom of each page the author included "Reader-Tested Life Advice". Some of them you've heard often and others are just plain inspiring. I love these little snippets and just had to share my favorites.
  • Do what is right. Not what is easy.
  • Don't confuse a want with a need.
  • Love people. Use things. Never confuse the two.
  • Live your life so the preacher doesn't have to lie at your funeral.
  • Keep your word.
  • Never burn a bridge. Just shut it down for renovations for a while.
  • Don't be afraid to be different.
  • Put the peanut butter on the bread before the jelly.
  • Respect those below you. You never know when they will be your boss.
  • My sweet great-grandma used to say to us, "Live through it or die from it--you choose.
  • Always keep your gas tank half-full.
  • Don't worry about what you don't have. Be grateful for what you do have.
  • When raising young kids, remember: The days are long but the years are short.
  • Don't ever regret growing older. Many don't have that privilege.
  • Remember that every expert was once a beginner.
  • Maintain a valid passport. You never know when a new adventure might happen.


Movie Monday: Julie & Julia

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Welcome to my first "Movie Monday". Knowing that this will probably go the way of my short-lived "Foodie Fridays", I thought I'd give it a shot. The two words just go together, don't you think??
On Friday night, my mom and I joined about 2oo other mother/daughter pairs to see the premiere of "Julie and Julia". This is a must see. Really it is. And one of my BFF's, who shall remain nameless, claims that "I never like any movies". So you know this one must be good.
This much hyped story is about a 30-year-old Manhattan woman, in a dead-end job, who decides to start a blog about her quest to complete all 524 of Julia Child's recipes from the cookbook "Mastering the Art of French Cooking". And her goal is to tackle this gargantuan feat in 365 days.
As we sat through trailer after trailer about the world ending, vampires and mass murders, the lady next to me yelled out "We came to see a happy movie!!" (thank you fellow moviegoer) Nora Ephron--who also produced Sleepless in Seattle--did not let us down in the least. This really was the happiest movie I've seen in a very, very long time. If ever. I read a couple reviews and a magazine article in which Meryl Streep herself was quoted as saying that the fact both women had supportive, loving marriages was what drew her to taking the role of Julia Child. The fact that a Hollywood actress would make such a statement was reason enough for me to pay the $10. She was not exaggerating nor referring to an inaccurate definition of a "supportive marriage." The sweet and kind manner in which both of these couples treated one another almost made me forget the plot.
Meryl Streep was "spot-on" as Julia and Stanley Tucci was adequate as her husband, Paul. This was the first time I saw Amy Adams and since no one really knows Julie Powell, it's hard to say if she was portrayed well. Chris Messina who played Eric Powell was completely endearing.
That's all I'm going to say. No spoilers here. Go see it. If you hate it I'll personally refund your ten bucks.

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Finally, a role model worth the press

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I'm not a loyal follower of college football but I happen to live with a few people of the male persuasion who are. So I guess, by osmosis, I've learned that ACC, SEC, and Pac-10 all have something to do with the subject. Beyond that I'm clueless.

During last year's national championship game, the camera was all over the Florida Gator's quarterback. Being that we are Florida State fans, (sorry all you Gators out there) I was kind of bugged that they kept making a big deal out of this guy. I heard the announcers mention his Heisman trophy nomination and I figured he was another candidate who would get drafted in the first round, not live up to his potential--or get injured-- never to be heard from again. But then I noticed the black smudges under his eyes. They weren't the typical marks that most players paint on to deflect the sunlight. This kid had some words and numbers on his that I couldn't quite make out on the TV screen. I asked my hubby about it and learned it was the bible verse Phillipians 4:13 which reads "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" Now that takes some "you- know-whats" to write Scripture on your face for the entire nation to see. (Pun intended.) I longed to know more about this guy.

In the past week, three different stories on Tim Tebow have made their way into our house. I learned very quickly that this is a young man who "walks his talk". The first article was a newspaper clipping Mimi sent to the boys from the front page of the Florida Times-Union sports' section. Here's an excerpt:

Needless to say, the attention just intensified when Tebow arrived, with seemingly no topic off limits. During a radio interview Thursday, Tebow was asked whether he's waiting until marriage to have sex, to which he responded, "Yes, I am."
When another reporter couldn't find the right words for a follow-up, Tebow interjected, "I think you're stunned right now. You can't even ask a question. ... I was ready for that question, but I don't think y'all were."
I love it!

The next day, Ian's Sports Illustrated Kids arrived with none other than Mr. Tebow gracing the front cover. The magazine's center pages focused on the quarterback's two national championship titles and a brief mention about his faith. I was hoping for a little more depth but I had to remind myself that the readership only spans the ages of 8 to 12.

This afternoon, the boys and I were perusing through the "free magazine" section at our local library where they added last week's Sports Illustrated issue to the stack. Inside Quinn discovered a feature story titled: "You Gotta Love Tim Tebow". It must be killing these reporters that they can't find any dirt on this guy--and you know they've tried. SI's Austin Murphy focused on the work Tebow does off the football field. On the day Sports Illustrated followed him, this stellar young man was spending the evening at a prison on Lawtey, Florida. "It's one of my favorite things to do, Tebow said during the drive, making it sound as if he were bound for Disney World rather than this razor-wire-ribboned stalag 35 miles northeast of Gainesville. 'You're talking to guys who have no hope, no support, who have been totally written off by the world'." Is he for real??? Not only is this guy well-respected by his team but his lifetstyle of selflessness and compassion carries over to his coaches and fellow players. "Even as the football program has suffered an embarrassing string of arrests, the number of hours players devote to charitable causes has dramatically increased. 'Our community service hours are off the charts, says Meyer (a UF coach), who describes his quarterback's influence on the team as 'phenomenal'.......It had begun to prey on Meyer's conscience that he luxuriated on a cruise ship or sat on a beach while his starting quarterback spent his vacation working in a Filipino slum. Thus did the Meyer clan sign on for six days of servitude in the Dominican--and ended up loving it." Murphy interjected his own opinion into the middle of the story: "Having covered Tim for three years, I would say he's the most effective ambassador-warrior for his faith I've come across in 25 years at SI." You go, Tim!

OK, I'm sold. In a day when college sports players are becoming as unethical as their professional counterparts, it's easy to be jaded and cynical. Thank you, Tim Tebow, for giving hope to the next generation (and their parents) keeping their eyes on you. I'm glad that your eyes are looking above and beyond yourself.


I love my "cuz"!

Monday, August 3, 2009

We all have those moments when the thought crosses our mind: "I'd love to trade places with her." The "comparison game" can be a struggle for me. Especially when I'm wallowing in discontent and selfishness. Sooner or later God drags me out of the pity party and I'm thankful for the life He's chosen for me. However, when it comes to the current events in my cousin Andrea's life, I am downright jealous. In a good, holy way of course.

Andrea's dad and my mom are siblings. I was 14 when she arrived so, needless to say, I wasn't around for most of her growing up years. In fact I really didn't know her at all. When she was 14 her parents divorced and through the pain she and her sister found their way to Young Life. It saved them--literally. I would hear through other family members that they were "religious"--which I knew only meant one thing: they loved God.

In spite of the years, distance and lack of contact, there is a bond between us, from not only the blood we share as cousins but our shared beliefs. Since Facebook came on to the scene we've "talked" more than ever before. About 18 months ago, Andrea sent out a letter seeking prayer and financial support for an opportunity like no other. She had applied and been accepted to join The World Race team. A little bit like The Amazing Race reality show but the final prize is not a million dollars. She will travel to 11 countries in 11 months!! Places like Thailand, Ireland and Egypt. I am so green. I'm also so proud of this young lady.

Even though she's spent the last seven years in the Los Angeles area, she did come back to the Northwest for five days of time with family and friends. In the whirlwind she was so sweet to drive two hours up here and spend a night with us so we could all give her a good-bye hug.

I can't wait to hear how her life is changed and she changes the lives others these next 11 months. If you're intrigued too, follow her blog here.


Happy Anniversary

Sunday, August 2, 2009

August 1, 1992
Seventeen years ago today we said "I Do". For fifteen of our anniversaries we've managed to escape out of town for an overnight celebration. Don't ask me why, but I'm a stickler for celebrating special occasions on the actual date. This year we broke with tradition. Big time. Not only was there no getaway but we weren't even together. Sigh. Don't worry. Everything is just fine. But my hubby needed an escape of his own. He was in desperate of need of filling his own soul and not having it involve a wife or kids. So my anniversary gift to him was a "kitchen pass" to join his friend Mark in a sailing race from Vancouver Island to the San Juans from Thursday to Monday. It was one of those "once in a blue moon" opportunities that I couldn't let him pass up.
All was not lost though. He was able to call me internationally from the boat but had Quinn give me a very sweet anniversary card from him. Planning ahead and doing that was gift enough. But then I walked out the door yesterday morning and was met with a dozen red roses on the doorstep. What a guy.
Here's to 33 more!!

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