Monday, February 28, 2011

The Christian Label

I am a Christian. I am a Bible believing, God-loving woman.

I have a family members that are getting divorced.
I have friends that have had an abortion.
I have family members and friends that are gay.
I have family members that do not talk to each other (and haven't for years).
I have friends that do not go to church and do not believe in God.
I have friends that have a bi-racial marriage.
I have friends that have had DUIs.
I have friends and family members that are teetotalers.
I have friends and family members that do not understand why I like pinot noir (my current favorite).
I have friends and family members that may be doing drugs.
I have friends and family members that don't know what I have drugs I have tried.
I have friends and family that strongly oppose our military's involvement overseas.
I have friends and family that cuss. I cuss sometimes.
I have friends that are overly religious to the point of getting on my nerves.
I have friends that are pointedly liberal to the point of accepting anything and everything no matter how unreasonable it may seem.

I am a Christian.
I am a Bible believing, God loving women, who struggles with many worldly issues (both from my past and present).
I am a Christian.
I do not agree with every choice made by those that do not embrace my faith.
I believe in God. It may not seem reasonable or logical. Still, I chose my faith.
I am a Christian.
That label does not mean I am naive, intolerant or unloving.

On Living

I've decided to write more and perform less. A blog can be a performance of sorts. Anyway, I won't go into the performance part but let me just say, I'm going to write more. I may bore you. I doubt I will enlighten you. I hope I make you think. Maybe, at times, I will make you laugh. It's hard to say. I'm tired of thinking that I don't have anything to blog. I don't want to blog any more. I just want to write.


Two things have riveted my world over the weekend.

First, some friends in my hometown (friends of friends, really) lost their teenage daughter in car wreck on Thursday night. Their other teenage daughter was driving the car and is in the hospital. The driver of the second vehicle (who was not at fault) is expected to be okay. This situation weighs heavy on my heart. It's hard to imagine losing your child- in a moment. She died at the scene. It is heart breaking to imagine the loss and the struggle to console the recovering child that was at the wheel. I'm shaken by the tragedy. For some reason, it's reminded me that tragedies happen daily. More than that, I'm just powerfully reminded that we don't know the day that we will pass. We don't know the day that our loved ones will pass. We need to love freely. I am not sure if each day is a gift (sometimes it doesn't seem like it) but we don't know how many days we have. We should live to the fullest. We should love to the fullest, too.

The second thing weighing on my consciousness is my bubble. I live in a culture bubble. (I believe you do, too.) My surroundings -my town, my kids' education, the TV shows we watch, the local fashion (or lack thereof), my beliefs of what's necessary for success- wrap around me like a cocoon. Yesterday, I saw several presentations that challenged me. Some friends had a Chinese exchange student live with them for a while. There were remarkable differences in his upbringing and the way they are raising their kids in rural Oregon. I also heard a lady talk about a medical mission trip she is going to in Guatemala. I heard stories from a couple that lived in Cambodia for 6 years. The differences in my living situation and the people in those countries is startling. It reminds me that I have much, much more than I will ever need. I am certain that the God I believe in loves those people just as much as me- and it has nothing to do with what we own or how we live. Even so, these glimpses of other countries make me desire simplification.

I want a full life with less, doing more for those I love.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

One Word (TTT151)

One Word: Snow

I am thankful for snow.
It's beautiful.

It makes us smile.

We celebrate with hot chocolate.

These kids

are really excited about school being cancelled on Friday.

Lookout, Friday

you never know what we will do.

This week, snow is a perfect distraction for me.
I am thankful.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Photos

What a tough girl!

A Valentine's Day Morning Toast

Our after dinner shakes

Dog pile!
She's upset because I wouldn't let her be on bottom.

Oregon Rain

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What-in-the-World Wednesday: Say What?

Alternately titled: The Quote of the Year

My husband and I went out without the kids on New Year's Eve. We had a splendid time. We laughed a lot and donned silly hats.

In the middle of it all, he complimented me- or tried to. I laughed until I cried and then I typed it in a memo on my phone so I wouldn't forget the day I died cried.

Men, don't try to flatter your wife this way:

"People look at me and think, 'Wow, he's robbing the grave.'"
My dear husband of 15 years

Monday, February 14, 2011

Made with Love

I decided not to buy store bought valentine's this year. It was a great decision. We had fun being creative.

My Kindergartener's Valentines:
The "To" and "From" are on the back of the heart.

My 1st Grader's Valentines:

He worked so hard on each Valentine. He colored all 22 of his valentines, wrote names on them and decorated the envelopes. I'm not sure if you can tell from the picture but his valentines came with a sheet of stickers. Here's a look at the rest of the Valentines, printed from Family Fun.

My 4th Grader's Valentines:
Again, the "To" and "From" are on the back of the heart.

Happy Valentine's Day! Enjoy celebrating those you love.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Photos

Cupcakes are a super sweet treat

"Tommyhawk" is back

Costco is a fun place to shop eat

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thursday Thanks Tank #150

I am thankful for:

1. Winning. I won a $10 Target Gift Card from Carrie at Martin Manor Happenings just for commenting on her blog. Now, that's fun!

2. A fast week. This week just flew by. Last weekend was long (and boring) but this week was busy (and chaotic). Hm, I'm not really sure why I am thankful for that... but I am ready for the weekend.

3. Hugs from my kids. Long story on how this happened but I'm making my kids give me hugs every morning before school. It's on their list of things they have to do on school mornings. "Forced" or not, I'm lovin' it.

4. Surprises. I surprised my kids with a cupcake night earlier in the week. We celebrated for no reason. It was the best night. We laughed a lot and made a huge chocolate mess.

5. My camera. I've taken a ton of pictures this week. Besides the cupcake party, my 3rd son got a mowhawk. I love being able to snap away with a digital camera.

6. Friends. I've felt cared for this week. I haven't been able to respond to several people by email, yet, but I am thankful for the messages and phone calls.

7. Homemade valentines. With 3 kids in school, I have to provide a lot of valentine's. I hate spending $ on the licensced valentines. This year, I'm not. I hit up the $1 store today and I am using my printer. The kids are coloring. I love creative fun.

8. Teachers. I am so incredibly biased but I think that my kids have the best teachers. I was impressed this week (again) by how helpful the staff at my kids' school. They care about the kids Also, they pay extra attention to keep my peanut allergic son safe.

9. Easy Potty Training. I'm really saying it's easy... but potty training is going really well with my daughter. It is easier than it was with my boys.

10. My morning kid. I never thought I'd feel so thankful for him being full of energy in the morning. My morning boy has managed to save our mornings several times recently (including this morning). I'll have slept in by accident and he'll come bounding downstairs ready to get going for the day.

Take time to be thankful today. It's worth it.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Do you see what I see?

I dropped the boys off at school and started home. I don't live far from the school. It takes just 5 minutes at most to get home.
I was amazed at how inconsiderate some people can be.
All along the way home I noticed trash on the side of the road. A can here. Paper tossed aside there.
What kind of person does that? Who tosses their trash out of their car?
Once I started noticing the litter, it was impossible not to see it. It was blown up under the roadside bushes or just left right beside the road. It was everywhere.
I was disgusted and I couldn't shake feeling irritated.

. . . . . . .

I dropped the boys off at school and started home. I don't live far from the school. It takes just 5 minutes at most to get home.
I was amazed at the beauty of the world I live in.
All along the way home, I noticed God's creation. Birds flying in the sky. Trees artistically blowing in the wind.
What a creative God we have! How can I go throughout my day and fail to appreciate nature?
Once I started noticing the scenery, I could not go slow enough. I wanted to take it all in. God's creativity was everywhere.
I was amazed and overwhelmingly thankful.


The only thing different on these two drives was my focus.

I can have a positive or negative outlook. What I give my attention to makes a difference in my day...and in the way I interact with others. My focus makes a difference in my attitude...and in the way I view life.

"Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness." Luke 11:34

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Help me be real

Sitting close to the back, it was easy to watch the people in the room. They were wonderful people. They were all there because they desired to serve, to love, to belong or to worship.

She couldn't figure out what she was doing there. Nothing about the place felt right. Her heart was breaking in to little pieces. The little pieces were breaking into smaller pieces.

A few people asked how she was doing. "I'm okay." "Making it through." The answers came out smoothly but felt forced.

It was weird to be with loving people and not seem to be in the right place.

What would happen if she could break down the walls? Would it be sweet to be open or devastating to her spirit?

It took almost all the energy she had to come. She was depleted when she left.

There are people everywhere that are hurting. I don't know what others are going through. Lord, help me see the needs of others. Help me be real.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Friday Photos

Last weekend, I traveled to Washington. I met up with my husband there (he had spent a week in Seattle doing training) and I spent time with a lot of great friends.

Sharon and I (Isn't that a really cool picture?)

My husband, Seth, and Keith (these guys are double trouble)

Kim and I (these girls are really smart and fun)

The Happy Couple

In the line of fire

Lovin' Game Time

He's a Pro

Boys Will Be Boys

The whole family with a visiting "Flat Stanley" from Georgia

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Thursday Thanks Tank 149

Each Thursday, I take time to focus on thankfulness. Usually (although not as much lately, it seems), I make a thankful list and blog about it. This is my Thursday Thanks Tank.

Tonight I am thankful for:

1. Supermom skills: I love when I can make my son's world all better by simply taking time to walk him in to his Kindergarten class. He was a mess, a waterfall of tears, and then I told him I would walk with him to class. By the time he arrived, he could smile at his teacher.

2. Sunshine. We've had two days of sunshine! This is H-U-G-E in the Pacific NW. Bring on Spring! I am so ready.

3. Bubble Baths: A simple pleasure that is oh-so-wonderful to me.

4. A good book: I haven't had much time to read the last couple of weeks (I know, what am I doing with my time?) but I am enjoying reading my latest book, The Living by Annie Dillard.

5. Great neighbors (with cats): I hate cats. I really do. (In my defense, I am allergic to them.) My daughter loves, loves, loves cats. Today my neighbor gave my daughter lots of playtime with her cats and I got a great break.

6. Book Club: Friends, food, wine, and lots of laughter: Tonight was book club night and I made it there. Woo hoo! Such a great, great night. I can't even tell you how much I needed it.

7. Surprises. This day surprised me. I had time to myself before late at night, which is a rarity. I was surprised at how much the combo- sunshine and getting a break- lifted my spirits.

I am thankful for today.