Archive for December 2009

Christmas Cheer

Saturday, December 26, 2009

All Ma's boys: youngest to oldest

Millie displaying her southern hospitality. Doesn't she look just thrilled?

The whole gang.

Uncle Brian's "man purse"

Trey is ready to have some "Ele-fun" (corny, I know)

Quinn indulging in some sparkling cider.

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Friday, December 25, 2009

Back in 2003 we ventured up to Mt. Baker on Christmas Eve day for some sledding. The price was right (free) and we needed something to lift our spirits that allowed us to get out of town. On our way home, we decided to stop and see Trey's old boss who happened to be down on his luck too. Both of our families had less than memorable years and it was comforting to be in the presence of others who understood. Their cupboards were as bare as ours save for some choice bottles of wine from better days when business was booming. They happened to have received what they referred to as "chi-chi cheese" from a relative with gourmet taste and a champagne budget. We broke out some Saltines, loaded them up with the divine cheese and toasted to bidding our year goodbye. A tradition was born.

2004 was vastly improved over 2003 and, although we had few sorrows to drown, we all went sledding together and returned to our house for wine and "chi-chi cheese". The tradition has evolved, different families have joined us each year but two constants remain: sledding and breaking bread with dear friends on Christmas Eve.

This year we continued our cheese tradition two days before Christmas with the original family. Christmas Eve included sledding at Mt. Baker but it was just us and another dear family with three energetic boys. It was a beautiful day topped off by a delicious salmon dinner and rich conversation.

It was more "snowboarding than sledding" for my boys.
I may be getting too old for this but it sure was fun!

Go Ben! The next Shaun White.

Quinn gets some air.


I Need A Silent Night

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

If, like me, you are feeling the least bit "Bah-Humbug" right about now, do yourself a favor: Grab a cup of hot chocolate or another soothing drink of choice and watch this video. Enjoy!

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Home Sweet Home...for now

Monday, December 14, 2009

So here we are, two weeks later, settled in to our new digs. We officially moved in Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend with the help of 20+ friends. We started at 9:00 and by 2:00 all our earthly belongings were here, the kitchen unpacked and organized and all our beds set up and made. And, I must add, many of these amazing friends were also here during the last move three short months ago. We are truly blessed.

Within minutes of walking in, all five of us had found our favorite features of this wonderful place we get to call home for a while. I've included photos below.

Trey is crazy about the radiant floor heating. This is especially wonderful when you step out of the shower on a cold winter morning.

I will give you one guess as to what woman loves this feature.

Do you see any clothing in this laundry chute??

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On The Move Again: Chapter Three

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Two weeks had passed since we were "served" our 60-day notice. Sounds like an eviction, doesn't it? At least it was a friendly one.

I've mentioned our landlords before and how super cool they are. In spite of them seeming to feel the same about us, there was a small incident in which she was less than happy with Trey. In his overzealousness to get more light into the home, he took it upon himself (on the first weekend after we moved in) to limb their 50-foot fir tree that was overtaking the front yard. Its branches were resting on the roof and gutter allowing very little sunlight to come in the living room. The next day we needed help getting the pilot light on so we could have some heat. "Mr. Landlord" came by to do this and during the visit I pointed out the lovely limbing job and said "I hope you don't mind but Trey trimmed a few branches." The look on his face told me he did. Oops.

About an hour later I saw both Mr. AND Mrs. Landlord pulled up across the street and stared at the now partially naked tree. They sat there for about 10 minutes and drove away. Probably to plot their revenge. I fully expected at least a phone call but we heard nothing. Trey called "Mr. Landlord" and apologized. Mr. Landlord explained how his wife just loved that tree and never wanted to mess with it in spite of the overwhelming shade it brought. Apology accepted but, in spite of Trey's insistence, he wouldn't agree that Trey's whack job actually helped sell the house. That's fine. It helped ease our guilt.

Fast forward to November 9th. The house had passed inspection, the appraisal was satisfactory and the November 20th closing date remained on the calendar. We technically had until December 27th but who wants to move on Christmas? We didn't.

Enter in my friend Ann once again. "Hey, I was lying in bed last night listening to the wind howl and the branches banging up against the house when I remembered you saying that Trey limbing the tree was the reason the rental house sold. It made me think of the verse, 'I am the vine. You are the branches. You can do nothing apart from me.' This move is about your kids. The branches need to be pruned to bear fruit." She then went on to read me some key verses with this theme. As soon as she said "a shoot from the branch of Jesse" I got chills.

You see, this summer I was asking God for a verse and/or a theme to pray for my kids this school year. I kept ending up at Isaiah 11: "A Branch From Jesse". I had assumed it was for my oldest and continued wondering what it would be for the other boys. Nothing came. But as I re-read this chapter there were three key sentences. One for each of them. I loved this confirmation.

The next day we got a call from Mrs. Landlord. In the process of helping us look for a new house she stumbled up a lakefront property for rent. She explained that they had always wanted to live on the lake but knew it would always be financially out of their reach to buy a home there. If they rented this house, and we, in turn, rented their current house she could get this little adventure out of her system. Were we interested??

Stay tuned.................


On the move again: Chapter Two

I just couldn't believe we were back in the same place: looking for another house to call "home." For me the aspect I dreaded the most was, once again, having our current challenge on display for all to see. After all the employment upheaval over the last two years I was beginning to feel like a modern day Job. Living in a small community makes privacy of any sort a challenge. Add to that a series of visible trials and you can forget about going unnoticed. Putting a for sale sign in the yard of a house that backs up to a busy street didn't help. Now I was living in another house on a neighborhood's main street with, not only, a "for sale" sign but one with a big fat red "SALE PENDING" added to it. Not only did I feel like the trials were never ending, others were also willing to remind me of that fact. I started to feel like we had done something to deserve this.

I spent the next few days hiding from life and wrestling with God. I was not only sad I was angry. Why did my "stuff" have to be so visible? I just can't take the comments and questions all over again. I can't put a happy spin on this one more time. Can't my struggle be an eating disorder or some other addiction that no one knows about? Yet as I asked I already knew the answer: NO! Yet, along with "no" came "let me walk through this with you. My yoke is easy and my burden is light."

I eventually left my cocoon and felt somewhat excited about what was in store. Not the packing part. Not the transferring utilities. Not the sheer exhaustion from relocating a family of five and all their worldly possessions. But the anticipation of what God was going to do and how our prayers would be answered. Once I got my junk out there with Him, I knew there was something bigger going on behind the scenes and I wasn't the main character. This wasn't just about me.

As I sat at the computer screen with my new best friend, Craigslist, I got a call from my friend Ann. This girl has many gifts but the one I love the most is how spiritually tuned in she is to God. I won't go so far as to say she is "prophetic" because I don't know enough about that gift but when she is prompted, it's always right on the money. Here's what she had to say:

"Hey, I don't have much time but I needed to tell you I had a dream about you last night. A bunch of people were at your house and there was a gun on the bookshelf. All of us were talking about it and wondering if it was loaded and if you and Trey knew it was there, etc. You were both acting so casual that you had a gun in your house. Next thing we knew, there was a gunshot outside and someone had shot your dog, Millie. You guys went out there and bandaged her up, brought her inside and went about talking to your guests. A few minutes later Ben came in the house with a gunshot wound straight through his hand. Trey just shrugged and said "Here we go again." He took care of the wound, set Ben back outside and rejoined a conversation. At that point I woke up and the verse that I immediately thought of was: 'no weapon formed against you will prosper.' This is not gonna take you down. You guys are going to be fine. Gotta go."

That night I looked up the verse she shared with me. It was Isaiah 54:17. Specifically it says: "It is I who have created the destroyer to work havoc; no weapon forged against you will prevail and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me." Can you say "wow?" It gets better. I went all the way back to the first verse and was blown away. Here are a few verses that jumped out at me: v. 4: "Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated......." v. 11-13: "O afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted. I will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with sapphires. I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones. All your sons will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children's peace."

As I reread this I realized He was describing a house. A house that He builds. Not one that we do. I began to have a feeling that this relocation was not going to happen the conventional way.


On The Move Again: Update

When I wrote the last post it was the eve of moving day. So, in reality, I've been writing this story backwards. Had I shared every detail from start to finish, any sane reader would have logged off after the first chapter. I'm sneaky that way.

I would love nothing more than to sit here and share "chapter two" but the boxes are beckoning. With 4 hours of solitude, I must do the right thing and finish making this house a home. Hopefully tonight I can continue sharing the adventure.

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