Thursday, December 31, 2015

Dear Grammy,

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It was fun to see you a couple times this month! 

The first thing that happened was when I woke up from my afternoon nap on the 11th and there you were!  I didn’t really care WHY you were at my house but you kept talking about going on an airplane together so that Mama and I could be in a wedding.  All I really cared about was showing you my dolls and sitting on your lap to sing Doh-Doh (Do-Re-Mi for those who don’t understand two-year-olds). 

Yes, I threw myself on the floor a couple of times but that’s understandable – things weren’t always going my way. (I’m glad you understand the two-year-old psyche.)  Grace doesn’t have the same flair for drama that I do, at least not yet.

When I got up at 4:00 the next morning I found you sleeping on my couch!  You and Mama dragged a bunch of suitcases down to the car and we headed to the airport in the dark.  Why did you keep talking about coffee?

I would have liked to walk a little faster but you and Mama were going really slow... a few times I couldn’t see you at all behind that big suitcase with my car seat stacked on top and all the bags hanging from your shoulders. 

I liked staring at all the people in that long line.  There was even a big dog with a vest on but we couldn’t pet it – they said something about him sniffing something.  Then we got to run to the underground train!  Then we ran to our gate!  Then you suddenly disappeared and came back with two cups of coffee, which seemed to make you and Mama very happy. 

Just then we got to go to the front of the long line and get on the airplane first!  I said hi and smiled at all the airline employees so that we would get good service.  You and Mama literally fell into your seats in row 20 while I got right to work playing with the tray table and the seat belt. 

I’m proud of you for searching on Pinterest for ways to keep a two-year-old busy on an airplane and for packing a ‘Grammy Bag’ with stuff to do.  That kept me busy for about 23 minutes.  Glad you remembered your “iPad!” 

(Why don’t you have any pictures from that morning?  You must have forgotten that you would be blogging about it or you would have done a better job of recording those memories.)

After we landed in Ontario, went to that big moving belt with our stuff on it, and dragged two suitcases, two car seats and shoulder bags to the shuttle bus, we finally got a pretty new car and headed to someplace called “In n Out” where we ate a lot of french fries.   

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We loved staying in a hotel and watching Mickey Christmas cartoons in bed!

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I’m a little disappointed you didn’t take a picture of me walking down the aisle in the wedding ringing my jingle bells.  Where were you anyway?  Mama said you were in the bathroom with Gracie so you missed the whole thing.  Was she crying because she didn’t get to be a jingle bell girl?

Well it was very fun to be in my first wedding and I’m glad I could help you have fun. 

Then we all got to come to your house for Christmas!  I got to see Aunt Mimi and Aunt Lulu and my cousin cousins…

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I fixed some of your decorating mistakes…

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Gracie and I appreciate all the fun stuff we got…

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But mostly we just like being with everybody!

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When can we come again??




Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Christmas time


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This holiday season has already felt so different for me.  None of our girls were home at Thanksgiving – for the first time ever.  We’re still not sure who will be here at Christmas. 

It’s caused me to think. 

I’ve always struggled to really ENJOY the days leading up to Christmas… to make time to be still.  To listen to the words in so many wonderful Christmas carols.  To give thanks in quiet.

I tend to set ridiculous expectations and I am usually disappointed in myself.  And at the end of the day on December 25th I’m often left with an empty feeling and a great sense of loss – like I didn’t grasp what God had for me throughout Advent. 

I’m realizing it’s about letting God have my time.  The ‘interruptions’ to my carefully scripted days can be the the place where so much joy is found.  Jesus came for people – broken, difficult, bothersome people like me.  And He asks me to love them too.

So time is taking on a new perspective. 

It’s God’s time, not mine. 

Lord, how do You want to use the time in this day? 

Who do You want me to spend time with? 

Fill these days of Advent - these hours and minutes - with significance.

I want to make the most of this blink-of-an-eye I'm living in.  Help me cooperate with You and not miss ways You can use me, teach me, surprise me.





And this might make you cry just a bit… but it's a great reminder to me of what's important.


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Favorite Christmas cookies


We all have cookies we remember from our childhood, right?  The ones we made with our moms or the ones our grandmas made every year at Christmas.  Here are a few from my childhood and a few ‘new’ ones that have become part of our family tradition…


peanutbutterkissPeanut Butter Kisses
Peanut butter and chocolate… what’s not to love?  Easy to make with kids.


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Chocolate Crinkles
Crunchy, messy goodness.


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Spritz
I remember my mom letting me choose the designs, color the dough and twist the cookie press.  Then came the sprinkles!  I still use her cookie press.  Rich and buttery… yum.


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These rich cookies just say Christmas to me.


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Pepparkakor
A wonderful spicy cookie that doesn’t need frosting so it’s easier to do with kids.



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Soft Gingerbread Cookie
Wonderfully chewy goodness!


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No-bake Special K Bars
We make these every year and they disappear quickly!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

31



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You know you’ve been married for 31 years when…

  • you get out a calculator in order to figure out it is 31 and not 32 years
  • you start wondering if you sent a thank you card to the person who provided ice cream for your reception or the person who let you use their beach house for your honeymoon
  • your kids are older than Russell Wilson
  • you’re happy to celebrate in a cozy restaurant with good food and cracked vinyl booths instead of a fancy place that rotates 360°
  • you don’t even take a photo of yourselves on your anniversary getaway at the Oregon coast

We had a wonderful couple of days in Cannon Beach during a huge rain and wind storm.  Our hotel looked right out onto the beach and we sat by the fireplace to watch the fury.  Clam chowder, fish and chips, good coffee at Insomnia and few other ‘tourists’ made for a great anniversary!

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I am so very thankful for my husband and best friend.  I’m thankful that he still likes me.  I’m thankful we love our marriage as well as each other.  In many ways it seems like we have been part of each other’s lives for always.  We’re grateful for 31 years of life together.  God is faithful in a million ways and that has been the theme of our marriage.  We’re looking forward to what He has in store in the days and years to come!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Pilgrims

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I’ve been thinking a lot about all the different ways Peter refers to Christians living in this broken world of ours…

Aliens
Exiles
Foreigners
Sojourners

We’re even called ‘pilgrims’ in the old King James.

What if we really believed that and thought and acted that way?  What would that look like?

Well, we wouldn’t be looking to get really comfortable here, as if we owned our house, our car, our stuff.  It’s actually not ours – it’s on loan to us for a little while.  We’d be thankful for the use of it and we’d share it with everybody.

We wouldn’t expect the folks around us to understand us or the way we look at life.  We wouldn’t be completely offended by those who don’t want to acknowledge the Christ of Christmas or who think Black Friday is a national holiday.  They don’t know Him!  We’d be humbled to introduce them to the One who loves them so.

We wouldn’t speak to the ones ‘of this world’ in the same language we’re familiar with.  We’d speak to them in words they can relate to and understand.  We would remember how much we have in common with them. 

We wouldn’t think of this world as home at all.  We don’t belong here.  We aren’t staying here.  This is very temporary and truly is a blink of an eye in light of eternity.  We would always be thinking about our Father who is getting excited about all He is preparing for us with Him.  About going HOME. 

I want to remember this.  I want to live with this in mind… I am just traveling through here. 





*Those pilgrim candles up there are exactly like the ones my mom got out every Thanksgiving.  I played with them for hours, along with the Indians and the turkey that went with them.  I’m sure they sat down to eat with my trolls and my Barbies.  Somewhere along the way they were probably sent to the Salvation Army along with mom’s basket cornucopia and the felt leaf coasters I glued sequins onto.  Sniff. 

So when I saw this commercial recently, it was déjà vu…


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Links I liked


Happy November and the start of the holiday season! 


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So Mod
@megduerksen.com
I actually remember ads like this when I was a kid.  You have to read the wording in each… Love em!



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The World If There Were Only 100 People
@lifehack.org
A great way to wrap you mind around statistics about this little marble we live on!



How Quiet Marriages May Be the Most Exciting Marriages of All
@aholyexperience
You’ve probably already realized that there was a purpose for your marriage that went beyond happiness. You might not have chosen the word “holiness” to express it, but you understood there was a transcendent truth beyond the superficial romance depicted in popular culture. Far from assaulting our happiness, pursuing the biblical holiness of a quiet and godly life in marriage enhances it by giving us a new appreciation for the person with whom we walk this journey.




Pain: A Secret Garden of Pride
@desiringgod.org
I’ve been thinking a lot about this…
Satan uses pleasure and pain to try and destroy our faith. He wields pleasure to make us doubt God’s satisfying greatness, and pain to make us doubt God’s sovereign goodness. Pain can be a powerful weapon for good in the heart of faith. It can produce deeper, heartfelt humility and greater dependence on God. And pain can inflict wounds far worse and more lasting than any physical agony. At its worst, it can cause us to doubt God’s goodness, to wallow in self-pity, and to isolate ourselves from him, as well as from others.


The Five Friends We All Need
@jenniferdukeslee.com
I loved this one.
Social media will tell that the more friends you have, the better you are.  But that’s not true at all. Friendship is about depth, not width. We don't need 2000 friends... most of us need five. 


And just for fun...




Friday, October 30, 2015

Pumpkin spice



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Our two little princesses…

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{{It’s almost time to put on Christmas music! If you haven’t already…}}

Monday, October 26, 2015

Dear Grammy…


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Thanks for coming up to see us this last weekend!  We missed Papa though.  What’s in Africa that could possibly be better than us?

You said Mama and Daddy went out on something called a date.  They don’t ever do that - which makes sense because why would they ever want to leave us? 

We loved being with Auntie Mimi too!

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You seemed to be really glad she was there too.  You used to take care of three little girls so I’m sure we must be a piece of cake to take care of, right?  Right??

I liked riding in your car…

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even though you don’t have any snacks in there.

And Costco with Grammy is fun!  I haven’t figured out yet that you can actually take home all the stuff in there so I was happy to hold Minnie Mouse…

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play the piano…

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And ride the horse…

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But why did you make me get off?  I did NOT want to get off.  Why did you stop taking pictures, Grammy?

So Grammy, when are Mama and Daddy going on a date again? 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

A cure for Dread

I'd say that for me, DREAD is the most common way fear shows up in my life.

I wrote the post below a few years ago but as I'm slowly making my way through 1 John, I thought about it again this morning in a new light.  Here's my original post and then some thoughts from this morning:

                                    ___________________________________________


dread

dread:  to fear greatly; to be in extreme apprehension; to be reluctant to do, meet or experience; terror or apprehension as to something in the future

I heard someone mention this word not long ago and it’s made me take a look at how much influence dread has in my life.  I think I've underestimated its power.

Dread can be outright terror about doing something.  It's a paralyzing fear of something awful happening.  But it can also be a nagging apprehension about the ‘what ifs’ in life – the kind of below-the-surface feeling that prevents us from sleep or from stepping out in faith.  In other words, dread can cripple us. 

Dread is a lie straight from the master-liar.  Imagining what might happen is not keeping our minds and hearts focused on Truth.  None of those ‘what ifs’ we come up with are really TRUE.  It’s what the bible calls ‘vain imagination’.  In fact, I don’t think it’s too strong to say that dread is sin

In Deuteronomy 1:29 God says, “Dread not, neither be afraid…”

Dread declares God to be unfaithful.  It’s saying (without coming right out and saying it), “God, You aren’t enough.  If ________ happened, I couldn’t handle it.  When I have to face _________, You won’t get me through it.”

What do you dread?  Your next mammogram?  Loss of a loved one?  An uncertain future?

We can lean into God’s strong arms when dread creeps in.  His presence, His nearness, His powerful control over all of our circumstances brings peace and trust.  (I’m speaking to myself here.)  Maybe you need a counselor like I do.

Lord, forgive me for rehearsing ‘what ifs’ and by doing that, declaring that You aren’t enough for me and my circumstances.    Your grace IS enough for whatever You have for me.  Remind me of Your promises.  Help me rehearse the Truth.


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I read this verse today:

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.  1 John 4:18

"Perfect love" drives out fear and its evil stepsister, dread.  But HOW?  And what in the world is "perfect love?"

This idea of love that is perfected or completed is all throughout 1 John.

Perfect love is living out God's love for me by loving others, completely depending on his Spirit in me to actually do it!  

It's the weirdest solution to fear, don't you think?  How would loving others deal with my fear and dread?

Fear shifts all our focus onto ourselves and how whatever we're fearing will affect us.  It makes worry, anxiety and dread boss us around.

Loving others with Christ's love gets me out of myself, my perspective, my small world of me.   Actually trusting in God's ability to work His love through me is incredibly powerful in setting me free from fear and dread because I experience His life flowing through me.  It doesn't take long to realize that I have a huge God living in me.  And fear is destroyed in the process because which of the things I dread can possibly compare to His love?

Something for me to think more about for sure...




Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Links I liked


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Fakebook
@facebook.com
Facebook’s not real, y’all.


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11 frugal ways to prepare for an emergency
@clarkhoward.com
Do you have an emergency stash?  I don’t but I’m thinking about it seriously.  I’m actually hoping that Jesus returns before this is necessary but if He doesn’t, this makes good sense.


Dear Me
@The Honey Pot
Dear 16 year old me…


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Hummingbird webcam
@allaboutbirds.org
Assuming you don’t have anything better to do, watch some hummers!


Why some 13-year-olds check social media 100 times a day
@cnn.com
When 200+ eighth graders allow their social media feeds to be studied by child development specialists, the results are both telling and frightening.  "To know what each other are doing, where they stand, to know how many people like what they posted, to know how many people followed them today and unfollowed them ... that I think is highly addictive."


About Not Waiting Till Marriage: What No One Tells Kids & What I Wish Someone Had Told Me
@aholyexperience
There’s a story I know about that, that’s likely never going to be told. You don’t need to know the self-hating, shaming pain of that story – just that your father is a very caring man who knows that the soul of a woman needs to feel a deep safeness before you ever touch the skin of a woman.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

What’s up?

A bullet list, that’s what!

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  • October in Oregon is magnificent!  Take-your-breath-away magnificent.  Taking a walk brings lots of scripture to mind… “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes--His eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made.”  Romans 1:20  Don’t you love that God even helps us know Him better on a walk?



  • But all is not beautiful in the NW… We have millions of these creatures filling the air outside.  The ash whitefly (I googled it).  So I think these help remind of the mysterious parts of God’s plan that I’d like to ask Him about when we have a chat in heaven.  Why??


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  • My daughter texted me this pic from the grocery store.  Hadley is such a good mommy – unashamed, really.  The caption could read, “If they start crying in the store, you gotta do what you gotta do.”

  • I completely let my imagination run away with itself tonight… the neighbor’s dog was barking outside for hours (not typical) and I hadn’t seen any activity over there for a couple of days.  After calling and texting and ringing the doorbell, I decided there had been a terrible tragedy (pictured it in detail, actually) so I went to our other neighbor’s and asked him if he had seen anyone around in the last few days.  He hadn’t but had noticed the dog barking all day.  So since Jeff wasn’t home I asked him if he would come with me to go in the house (I have a key).  He was nervous about going in someone’s house uninvited but I assured him that I often took their mail in and fed the dog.  We rang the bell.  Nothing.  With a shaky hand, I unlocked the door, ready to face a pile of dead bodies.  “Hello?”  And that’s when the son came around the corner with a startled look on his face.  Ooops.  I apologized profusely for coming into his house uninvited but explained my completely rational reasons.  A few minutes later his mom called me saying she’d been in a meeting all day and was just now getting my texts and voicemails.  The moral of this story:  follow your gut and be better safe than sorry.  My neighbor agrees, thankfully!

  • I’m going to get caught up on Downton Abbey – I completely missed season 5.  When last I watched, Mrs. Hughes and Carson were wading in the ocean holding hands…
     
  • My hair is driving me crazy.  Flat.  Falling forward. 




Maybe I need a whole new look?

No, too much work.

Definitely time to get off this rabbit trail of bullet points and ridiculousness.  Happy October!

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