Thursday, July 30, 2009

Feelin' Hot Hot Hot!!!

It was 106 degrees yesterday.

One hundred. And six.

Now before any of you Southerners comment on how you get temps in the 110 and so, please remember that this is OREGON. We, as a state, do not do triple digits. We just simply are not prepared for it. A large percentage of our homes and cars do not have AC. We are sweltering in the heat!!! As I am typing this, sweat is beading on my forehead and dripping down my back.

I am feeling quite attractive.

And smell attractive too, I assume.

Anyways, on to less whiny things...the husband and I just got back from a four day camping trip. It was so much fun! So nice to get away and relax, and just spend time together.

The first night, Tony and Risa were there with us. Even though they could only stay one night, it sure was fun to have them there too!

The Happy Campers =)

Tony and Dave went fishing and caught 6 little guys. (Yes, there are 6 fish there).

Not only did the camp ground have a beautiful lake...

...but the campgrounds were pretty much empty...

(this was after Tony & Risa left, and our lone tent and Jetta down the hill from the lake)

There were deer EVERYWHERE, and they were not scared of people at all! They let us get so close!

We watched the sunset...

...and marveled at the beauty of God.

We did lots of swimming...
Well, David did lots of swimming, I did lots of floating...

(It never ceases to amaze me that in Oregon you can be swimming in a lake in 102 degree weather, yet have a snowcapped mountain in the distance. )

We played scrabble....
And David taught me "Texas Hold 'Em" and another card game called "4 Up, 4 Down", which we played tournament style our first round, and I creamed him...

(we used matches as our currency, and this is my victory shot of me with ALL of them!! please disregard the greasy, make-up-less face, but we were camping.)

My victory, although sweet, was short lived. David came back with a vengeance.
Look who has all the matches next round...

We were blessed with another amazing sunset...

...and again stood in awesome wonder at what an Artist our Creator is.

Nothing like a few days in nature with your best friend to help revive your soul.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Convicted and challenged

I am in the process of reading this book, and yes, if you happen to have a memory like an elephant, it's the same book I referred to here, FIVE months ago. I am not much of a reader, or at least much of a book finisher. In addition to reading Believing God, I am also reading this book for our small group (which is very interesting and has provided much fodder for later posts), this book that I started in Hawaii -ahem, in December- which is excellent but is not something you can just read a little at a time, so I find if I don't have a good chunk of time to devote to it, I just don't. For my "unplug" day last Saturday I took this book that my sister Natalie has recommended I read for years and finally just gave up on me getting it for myself so she got me a copy. Oh and I also had my husband pick up this book for me after I read the synopsis of it in People Magazine (which I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge I DO read- and finish -frequently).

But I digress.

On Tuesday I read something in Believing God that has stirred my soul and pulled on my heart ever since. It was in the chapter titled "Believing God to Put His Word on Your Tongue". In this chapter Beth talks about the power of prayer, and the power of His Word. The whole chapter -the whole book, actually- is quite intriguing, but the part I can not get out of my mind is this :

"I sensed God saying 'My child, you believe Me for so little. Don't be so safe in the things you pray. Who are you trying to keep from looking foolish? Me or you?' You see, sometimes I decided that I'd rather not ask certain things than risk a no. I reasoned that God was sovereign and I'd simply let Him do what He wanted. In reality, I was terrified that God or I would let me down and shake what little faith I had."

Me. Too.

The Holy Spirit has been working on me a great deal lately to expand my faith. I serve a Big God, and yet I pray so small sometimes. Why? Because I am scared. I am scared to be let down. I am terrified of putting my hope in something and then having the very ground I am standing on removed beneath me.

It has happened before, and it hurts. It's hard to recover from.

But you do recover.

And in the big picture, if I truly reflect on God's track record in my life, I am reminded there is no reason to be scared. He has always been faithful. And His Word says He always will be.

I am choosing to take Him at His Word.

Will bad things happen? Yes. But my trust is not that life will always be easy, rather it lies in my God Who will always be there to hold my hand through it, and lovingly pick me up if I am knocked over, and perhaps even hold me for awhile after.

I feel Him calling me to believe Big. To pray Big. To hope Big.

And ultimately, to trust Big.

He is Able. Able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, and Able to hold my life and all my wishes and dreams and requests in the palm of His hand.

So here's to asking Big.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Story in pictures

The upside to having an itsy-bitsy teeny car:

You can fit in tiny little spaces that other cars had to drive past!! Hooray!! What pride you can take in such a feat!

The downside:
Fitting so tightly you can't open your doors, and losing all pride as you climb out the trunk.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

(almost) Wordless Wednesday

Now doesn't that defeat the purpose???

(You may have to click on the picture to make it bigger and read the words)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

On balance and the like...

First of all, I am appreciative of the responses to the last post.

To be honest, although it was very therapeutic to write, when it came time to actually post it, my fingers hovered nervously over the "publish" button. I had concerns of being pegged a whiner or that I was acting like a martyr or something. Instead, I received love, acceptance, and encouragement from so many people. (How great are my sisters??).

I was able to read about how many of you find balance in your life, and got some good advice.

And also, I found comfort and solace in knowing I am not alone in feeling this way.

So thank you.

My dad sent me a sweet email tonight with some excellent exerts from this book, and there is one that resonated so deep I thought I would share it here...

Harmony: Achieving Balance in Our Lives

The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes -- ah, that is where the art resides.
-- Artur Schnabel

Harmony is the inner cadence of contentment we feel when the melody of life is in tune.

(Frequently) when the distractions of daily life deplete our energy, the first thing we eliminate is the thing we need most: quiet, reflective time. Time to dream, think, contemplate what's working and what's not, so we can make changes for the better.

Today, just try slowing down. Approach the day as if it were an adagio -- a melody played in an easy, graceful manner.

Beautiful, isn't it?? With those thoughts firmly planted in my head, and on the advice of a fellow blogger whom I happen to think has a pretty good handle on this balance thing, I am going to "unplug" this weekend....or Saturday at least. It's supposed to be a perfect 85 degrees here that day, and I have visions of me under a tree in the park, with a good book and some staring-at-the-trees time where I can dream, think, and contemplate.

And with that I should be refreshed enough to teach the pre-k class during children's Church. =)

Monday, July 13, 2009


I need some.

Could someone please give me lessons on how to find balance??

Of course, that would mean I would need to find time to take those lessons, and I am afraid the lack of time is the very reason for needing the balance.


Lately I am completely lacking in balance. I feel so overwhelmed, and so unaccomplished. Our calendar is completely overbooked, and I have begun viewing it as a checklist of duties. My heart and soul are busy too. I am lost in thought lately and wrapped up in so many many different lives... my soul is weary and I am just plain tired.

Yet rest is slightly hard to come by lately. Last night I slept so restlessly that at some point I turned off my alarm completely. This morning I woke up and squinted at the clock, only to realize I had to be out the door in 16 minutes. Awesome. As Steven Curtis Chapman would say "the day has just begun, and I'm already running late".

My heart is in need of rest too.

One of my spiritual gifts is empathy. I feel things for other people. When someone shares with me something that they are going through, or have gone through, most of the time I feel deeply for them. I feel like I have experienced some of their heartache. It's a strange thing, empathy. It is such a blessing, and yet sometimes can feel like a curse.

There are two people in our lives that we are very close with whose marriages are both ending. Both of them have children, one set which are family and another to whom I am Godmother. My heart is just broken for them. I can not count the number of times I have wept for them recently. I have friends who are hurting, loved ones who are ill, and it just seems the burden's are plentiful lately...

Empathy is something I have always experienced. I even had a guidance counselor once tell me I should never go into a career involving counseling. "You wouldn't be able to do it, you don't have the ability to separate other people's problems from your own". He was right.

And it's not just limited to Real Life. Even the movies or a book can do it. After we watched The Passion I slept for like 10 hours that night. I was exhausted.

But before you think that in anyway noble, let me tell you it doesn't have to be a movie about the death of Christ.

The Notebook? Forgetaboutit.

I even cry every time we watch Wall-E because I feel bad he is so lonely for so long.

He is a robot, people. Issues. I have issues.

But back to real life. Back to feeling overwhelmed and under-adequate. (Yes, I made that up but it's my blog so I can do that).

I feel like I am running around a lot lately, and yet I still feel like I am letting people down left and right. I am behind on correspondence. But I have a decent reason...when I read an email and reply, I don't want to "phone it in", I want to be there. I want to really take in all that the person has said to me and think on it, then reply. I want to focus. I detest the thought of seeing myself send flippant responses to someone who means something to me, or someone who has shared their life with me. I like to quiet myself, and the area around me so that I can give it my full attention....

(There must be some raised eyebrows amongst those of you to whom I email back and forth with, as even my focused, quiet responses are still scattered and all over the place. Ha!)

Phone calls too, yesterday I was finally able to connect with my dear friend, and that was long overdue.

And the Lord, when was the last time He had all of me...for more than 5 minutes??

And then there is me. Or rather, us. We are in the middle of things too. I so long for this phase in our journey to result in a baby... but even if it doesn't, I want to at least be able to say that I was present for it. That I was HERE, in it. That I was present in my marriage, and right with my God. Those things don't just happen, they require action, thought, and time from me.

It seems that 10 months and 129 posts later, I still have far to go with this whole miracle of the moment thing.

I have a "need to do" list and a "want to do" list. I am sitting here wondering if some of my wants are actually needs...such as keeping up with friends. And perhaps some of my needs are wants...such as keeping a clean house.

Afterall, at my funeral, I don't really care if people stand up and say "oh, she had the cleanest house", or "she was so organized". I want to be looking down from Heaven to hear people say things like "she was always there for me", "we went through so much together", and "she always made time for me".

The Bible says to "carry one another burdens" and "honor your husband" and "spend time in communion with others" and yet it also talks about the need for rest, and for quiet, and for being filled.

I guess I am walking a delicate road in finding the balance between being there for others and being there for myself. Anybody else walking it too?

Is that selfish? I don't know. I struggle with that. Most the time I rationalize that if I don't take good care of myself I can't very well be there for others, but maybe that's not true. Maybe God will provide the ability to do so.

So those are my thoughts...jumbled and messy. I can't be the only one out there that feels this way... can I? Are there some of you out there that have this balance in life thing down? What do you all do to find balance? Or do you find balance?

For now I think I will spend some quiet time with the Lord, and thank Him for my day...for my job that I was late to today...for my husband whom I adore...for my home in which I am so comfortable...and for a life full of people -friends and family- to keep me so busy....I am grateful.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

God Bless the 3 Day Weekend.... and America

Oh how I adore the 3 day weekend. There is just something so glorious about an extra day off. A freebie.

I spent that freebie Friday exactly how I had planned.

I had big dreams of doing very little, and I am pleased to say I accomplished my dreams.

And it was everything I thought it would be, and more.

I didn't mosey out of bed until after 11am. Ahhhhh the sleep in. A personal favorite of mine. After a nice cup of morning (near-afternoon) coffee, I sat outside and read my Bible while David pruned his bonsai tree.

After that I came inside and promptly got to the tasks at hand. My agenda included catching up on blogs, emails, watching the Netflix movie I had ordered ("The Women", for those curious), and other misc TV.

It's hard work, but someone has got to do it. I mean, afterall, that TV is not just gonna watch itself.

Saturday we got up and got ready to head to Salem with Dave's brother and sister in law. We hopped in my beloved Jetta and got on the freeway.

The following conversation soon ensued:

Tony: "Is the car warbling a bit?"
David: "YES! That's what I've been telling her!"
Me: "Really? A warble? David's mentioned that before....." (insert me drifting off because something shiny caught my eye.)
Tony: "Yes, the car seems to be driving a little off balance, albeit slightly"
Me: "Huh? Oh yes, back to the you think I should pull over??? I really think it's nothing. I drive this car everyday and whatever warble you two speak of doesn't seem to be effecting the driving..."

The boys eventually agree we should be fine to just keep going.

It's important to me that you take note of that last sentence. It wasn't just my decision that we would be fine, we were in agreement.

Risa, you may have noticed, did not join in on this conversation. Smart move on her part, as then she could not be blamed later when this became the state of our affairs:

Yup. A few miles and an almost completely tread-less tire later, we were on the side of the road.

Luckily for us, my dad and stepmom were headed our very direction and only about 20 minutes away! They arrived and rescued us. Thanks again Dad and Ann!!!

Even after our little detour, we still made it in plenty of time to BBQ and watch fireworks with these little cuties:
So all in all, who could complain??

Then I stole this little guy for the night...With a cuteness factor that high, can you blame me??

We had a slumber party last night. I learned two things about him. One, if he gets even a teeny, measly, 15 minute cat nap on the way home close to bed time, that will recharge him for a good 3 hours. Seriously. It was after midnight and I kept saying "don't you think we should head to bed? Aren't you getting sleepy??". Nope. Just wanted more Faffles. *Waffles, to those of you who don't speak James*. And Two, even if he goes to sleep well after 1:00am, this kid gets up before 8:00am.

Luckily the other thing I learned is he will sit quietly and watch cartoons while his Auntie Kendra catches a few more Z's.

This morning he was a big helper as we made this tasty recipe for our Church's picnic.

And after driving him back down to Salem to drop him back off, I am home...putting off cleaning and getting ready for the week, and blogging instead.

Hope you all had a FABULOUS 4th of July!

Friday, July 3, 2009

How many pics does it take... get one... ...where all...

...six girls...

...are looking... the camera...

...with their...

...eyes open??

Kaitlynn, we needed you!!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009