Saturday, September 30, 2006


I just commented on Jodi's blog and thought it summed it up my feelings so well, I'd preserve my thoughts on my own blog as well. I also added a recipe we've been enjoying a lot this season - very good - and very yummy!

Fall is football games, cornstalks, and pumpkins.
It is crisp cold mornings and brilliant sunshiny afternoons.
It is orange, and red, and brown (and around here lots of green and yellow!).
It is Halloween chili and lots of apple pies.
It is costume time and candy corn, and way too many tempting snack size treats.
It is Lone Pine Farms, Detering Orchards, and the crazy wagon ride at Johnsons.
It is an end to a favorite season and a prelude to a favorite season - making it in itself - the very best season of all.

Norkenzie Pumpkin Bars (modified to be Pumpkin Cupcakes)
4 eggs
3/4 cup canola oil
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 15 oz can canned pumpkin
2 cups flour
1 tsp. bakind soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (optional)

Mix together and pour into cupcake tins. Bake 350 for 25 minutes. Top with Duncan Hines Cream Cheese Frosting and sprinkles as desired.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Lizard

I know I've been posting a lot of other people's writings lately - sorry! Just good stuff keeps coming to me......Including this - an email I just received. It is HILLARIOUS - I love the narration..... enjoy!

If you have raised kids (or been one), and gone through the pet syndrome including toilet flush burials for dead goldfish, the story below will have you laughing out LOUD!

Overview: I had to take my son's lizard to the vet.

Here's what happened:

Just after dinner one night, my son came up to tell me there was "something wrong" with one of the two lizards he holds prisoner in his room. "He's just lying there looking sick," he told me. "I'm serious dad, can you help?"

I put my best lizard-healer statement on my face and followed him into his bedroom. One of the little lizards was indeed lying on his back, looking stressed. I immediately knew what to do. "Honey," I called, "come look at the lizard!"

"Oh my! gosh," my wife diagnosed after a minute. "She's having babies." "What?" my son demanded. "But their names are Bert and Ernie, Mom!"

I was equally outraged.

"Hey, how can that be? I thought we said we didn't want them to reproduce," I accused my wife.

"Well, what do you want me to do, post a sign in their cage?" she inquired.

(I actually think she said this sarcastically!) "No, but you were supposed to get two boys!" I reminded her, (in my most loving, calm, sweet voice, while gritting my teeth together).

"Yeah, Bert and Ernie!" my son agreed.

"Well, it's just a little hard to tell on some guys, you know," she informed me. (again with the sarcasm, you think?)

By now the rest of the family had gathered to see what was going on. I shrugged, deciding to make the best of it. "Kids, this is going to be a wondrous experience, I announced. "We're about to witness the miracle of birth."

"Oh, gross!" they shrieked.

"Well, isn't THAT just great! What are we going to do with a litter of tiny little lizard babies?" my wife wanted to know.

The story continues......................

(I really do think she was being snotty here, too. Don't you?)

We peered at the patient After much struggling, what looked like a tiny foot would appear briefly, vanishing a scant second later. "We don't appear to be making much progress," I noted.

"It's breech," my wife whispered, horrified.

"Do something, Dad!" my son urged.

"Okay, okay." Squeamishly, I reached in and grabbed the foot when it next appeared, giving it a gentle tug. It disappeared. I tried several more times with the same results.

"Should I call 911," my eldest daughter wanted to know. "Maybe they could talk us through the trauma."

The story still continues.................

(You see a pattern here with the females in my house?)
"Let's get Ernie to the vet," I said grimly.

We drove to the vet with my son holding the cage in his lap.
"Breathe, Ernie, breathe," he urged.

"I don't think lizards do Lamaze," his mother noted to him.

(Women can be so cruel to their own young. I mean what she does to me is one thing, but this boy is of her womb, for God's sake.)

The Vet took Ernie back to the examining room and peered at the little animal through a magnifying glass

"What do you think, Doc, a C-section?" I suggested scientifically.

"Oh, very interesting," he murmured. "Mr. and Mrs. Cameron, may I speak to you privately for a moment?"

Expecting the worse..........

I gulped, nodding for my son to step outside.

"Is Ernie going to be okay?" my wife asked.

"Oh, perfectly," the Vet assured us. "This lizard is not in labor. In fact, that isn't EVER going to happen... Ernie is a boy. You see, Ernie is a young male. Occasionally, as they come into maturity, like most male species, they Just the way he did, lying on his back." He blushed, glancing at my wife "Well, you know what I'm saying, Mr. Cameron."

We were silent, absorbing this.

"So Ernie's just..just... excited," my wife offered.

"Exactly," the vet replied, relieved that we understood.

More silence. Then my viscous, cruel wife started to giggle and giggle and giggle. And then even laugh loudly.

"What's so funny?" I demanded, knowing, but not believing that the woman I married would commit the upcoming affront to my flawless manliness.

Tears were now running down her face. Laughing!! "It's just...that...I'm picturing you pulling on its... its...teeny little..." she gasped for more air to bellow in laughter once more.

"That's enough," I warned. We thanked the Vet and hurriedly bundled the lizard and our son back into the car. He was glad everything was going to be okay.

"I know Ernie's really thankful for what you've done, Dad," he told me.

"Oh, you have NO idea,"

Closed mouth, my wife agreed, collapsing with laughter.

The cost..................

2 - Lizards - $140...
1 - Cage - $50...
Trip to the Vet - $30...
Memory of your husband pulling on a lizard's winkie.....Priceless

Moral of the story - finish biology class - lizards lay eggs

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Why We Love This Author

Michele emailed me this morning - I thought it would serve perfectly as the Devotional for the Week. Gotta love this woman - I so relate!

Blubbering - Susan May Warren

“Mom, will you look at my essay, please?”
I was loading clothes into the dryer. “Yeah,” I mumbled. I glanced at the clean load of laundry that needed to be folded I’d just emptied from the dryer, glared at it, and shuffled into the computer room to eye my daughter’s essay.

It was entitled, “My favorite lines from books.” And right there, at the top, was a line from Everything's Coming Up Josey. My book. Which she’d read.
I burst into tears.

“Mommy, what’s wrong?” My 14 year old jumped to her feet to put her arms around me (she’s taller than me, now).
“I’m just tired,” I hiccoughed, but that wasn’t it. In fact, I was deeply touched – and feeling horribly guilty that she’d used my book as an example after I’d just harped at her over her dirty laundry, and snapped at my son over the place-setting of dishes I’d found rotting in his room, and barked at my fourth grader to finish his homework.

But, really, I was just feeling overwhelmed, with dishes overflowing my sink, unanswered emails packing my in-basket, a new year of home-school, a book to rewrite, and a sinus infection that made my head feel like it might explode. And all just in time for me to leave town for an event this weekend.

So, being a mature woman, able to control my emotions, I sat down and lost it.
Wanna freak out your kids? Become a blubbery mess before their eyes.
But here’s the cool part – Wanna see what your kids are capable of? Become a blubbery mess before their eyes.

My daughter sent me to my room (There’s a first. I know she loved that). Then, for the next two hours she washed the dishes, made supper and cleaned the kitchen. Then she and her brothers finished their homework and played without fighting until bedtime.

I should break into tears every day, about 4pm.

I know I’m blessed – I have a fabulous family, and a career I love. And every day I’m overwhelmed at the letters I receive, the friends God gives me, the stories He lets me write, the way He shows me his grace and peace, even when I'm tired, and have a sinus infection and the laundry overflows.

One of my favorite verses is Zep 3:17: "He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." Oh, how I love to think of the God of Heaven singing over me (no matter how difficult that may be to grasp.). Imagine it! Can you hear Him?

This world so often drowns out the singing of the Lord. I pray that today, this weekend, this beautiful fall season you hear the Lord singing over you, despite your head cold, and the laundry, and even the moments when you break out into blubbering.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Couple of Questions XXXVI

I can't tell you how excited I am for this:
Yes, it's the little things in life for me..... but the other 2 movies have brought me GREAT happiness during the holiday season, to see that there is an unexpected third movie, what a delight! And, they are bringing back the entire cast - which makes a big difference to me in sequel movies. As it will be the "off year" - meaning no Thanksgiving with the Schillings =( - we've already made "alternative" plans with Mom and Dad to go to the Festival of Trees and this movie instead on that day. Yeah!

So, on to the questions-

1. Is there a particular book or movie that you can't wait to be released this season?

2. Are there any new shows that you think you'll be watching on tv?

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Irony of Alone Time

I just read this article from Ladies' Home Journal - it impacted me so much, I felt the need to share the majority of it. Thank you Jeanne Marie Laskas for putting words to so many thoughts I often have! Hope you enjoy it as well.


A hammock, some shade, a novel, and maybe a nap. I am not asking for much. I am asking only for an hour or two to return to who I used to be, B.K.: Before Kids. Seems to me I used to have a lot of hammock time. I used to travel to distant lands with little more than a passport and a dream - I used to run marathons, play the piano and wander through the woods with my watercolors and paint pictures of leaves.

The old days. B.K. What ever happened to the me I used to know? I used to have interests! Now it seems that if I want to pursue any of them, I have to steal away from my kids and hide.

So, I'm dangling here under theses trees and a perfectly cloudless sky. The book is a page turner muder mystery, nothing too taxing. For a moment I'm free, nothing holding me up but a net of cotton rope, and nothing holding me down. I'm free to lie here and marvel at the fact that so much of the person I used to be is this: a fragmented collection of stolen chunks of time.

[The essay then describes how her 7 year old comes out and invites herself to join Mommy - bringing book, stuffed animal, etc - then asking for help onto the hammock]

I hoist her in, assist her with all her gear. Of couse I do. Because I'm her mom and this is what moms do. You take care of your kid first, then you. Kid first, then you. Kid first, then you.


Your needs fall further and further down the list, until the "you" you used to be seems at times to no longer exist. This is a simple fact of parenthood every mom knows and struggles to forget.

[More description of daughter seeking to read aloud with mom]

"Right," I say, "not out loud. This is quiet time. This is alone time."

Alone time. The fact that my daughter has basically robbed me of my own alone time, my B.K. time, my tiny return to the Who I Used to Be, has not even registered yet. I don't mean for her, which it obviously hasn't and probably never will, but for me. I love my girls. I love spending time with them and their father more than anything else on earth. I love being here, touching Anna's toes under this cloudless sky and sharing a blanket with her and hearing her sweet invitations for conversation. The nagging urge to return to my former self, my childless self, is never about the children, never wanting them to go away - At least not really.

[Now little sister gets involved, is asked to push the hammock, but instead wants to be on too]

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. The truth of this experience if finally starting to register: It's over. Forget about it. This is giggle-with-the-girls-in-the-hammock time, not a chance to become reacquainted with some tiny portion of my former self.

That's the irony, of course. So much of my time running marathons, and reading, and travelling was spent dreaming of a future that always included kids. And, now here I am in that very future, with the two most delightful children. Who knew motherhood could so fully contain two opposite sensibilities? As I lay here agonizing for a visit to Who I Used to Be, I am at the same time loving who I get to be: a mom.

Maybe it's best to forget about the self altogether once you become a mom. Maybe it's easier that way. Or maybe that's the only way to really get to know the new self you've become.


So, what do you think? I find myself seeking the alone time not to return to my former self so much as just to have "me time" - and yet, to embrace the kids the way the author has done vs. losing myself to anger for not getting that time is the trick. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that what I will look back on and wish I had more of is "giggle with the kids in the hammock time" - NOT, alone time reading a good book...... So, note to self - buck it up, Mom - and embrace the kiddos!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Isn't It Romantic?

Boy, are we in trouble. We took three impressionable little girls to a wedding yesterday - and now, uh oh, that's what they think a wedding should be. Horse and carriage leading the bride in, doves released, outdoors, full dinner and bar, lit up tent and dancing. We better start saving up now, or hope to win the lottery.

The wedding was for Nate and Jeni. Nate, aka Nathan, was our best little friend through elementary school. He and his sister, Stacy, would hang out with us practically every weekend as their parents hung with our parents - we have many, many pictures and memories of our adventures with them. We have been able to keep up with Stacy, but not so much with Nate - so it was a joy to watch him live a "fairy tale dream come true" last night.

The best shot I got of the bride's arrival - I'm so glad I brought my sunglasses - instant tears......
As Nate and Jeni walked back down the aisle, married, they played "Celebrate [Good Times]" - that got the girls dancing off the bat-

This is the entire Alexander family!
One of my favorite pictures of them - often Mom does the "refined closed-mouth smile" - we got Dad to "goose" her to get this smile
As you can imagine, John was very sentimental with his little girl throughout the evening....
The two of us, nothing like a wedding to make you cuddly!
Michael and Michele - looking adoringly into each other's eyes!

This is Stacy - the groom's sister, and Ryann - Stacy's daughter and the flower girl...adorable!
The ice sculpture - horse and carriage
The girls were dying to dance, so they played Ring Around the Rosie on the dance floor prior to the bride and groom coming....
Traig was determined not to dance, but finally gave in with his mom

Friday, September 22, 2006

Scenes of September

I really love this month. Today I woke up to that September misty fog that you know will dissipate by noon to become crystal blue skies. Michele woke up to blue skies off the bat - we already had a debate over which was better. In light of yesterday's rather heavy post topic - I thought I'd lighten the mood with a few pics that make me happy about this time of year. Here's to praising God that it is FINALLY FRIDAY - and hoping that you have a wonderful weekend......

This is the apple pie recipe that I truly love!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

In Praise of Modern Medicine

Let me just say from the start - I don't think Tom Cruise and I will ever become BFF's (best friends forever). I used to be a person who felt like medicines were unnecessary. Tylenol or Advil were for the weak of heart. And, the stigma I used to have against anti-depressants - well, that was for people who were REALLY depressed and messed up. If only they prayed a little harder.....

Then, I had my son, and several things happened. First of all - I realized the power of an INTRATHECAL - I was hoping to go drug free in delivery - but after 12 hours of writhing in pain - it was time to surrender to the power of drugs. I've previously discussed the deliriously wonderful difference it made in my life - and having experienced the "ring of fire" with a 12 inch head - I can only imagine what it must have felt like with an additional 3 inches......yes, drugs were good.

Following Brayden's delivery, my body began to stage a revolt. Mastitis - three or four times (ouchie!!!) and, then, there was his weight. He may be a small kid now, but he was a big baby - and that did a number on my neck and muscles. It was then that my headaches began.

Finally, there was the overwhelming feeling that the rest of my body was literally falling apart as well - muscle weakness, tingling in my extremities (result of neck issues..., but didn't know that at the time) joint pain, extreme fatigue, I was eventually tested for leukemia and rheumatoid arthritis. In those days of waiting for results, my increased anxiety had me absolutely believing my days were limited..... It was AWFUL. I remember coming back from Bend the days following New Years 2000 feeling absolutely empty. I had no "purpose" for my life, save caring for a child that didn't yet communicate (which intellectually I knew was my most important job, but didn't feel "important"). If I had had a job more demanding than that, I wouldn't have had the energy to conduct it - And, the worry and anxiety I felt every day - particularly over the frightening health symptoms I mysteriously had, it was miserable.

Fast forward a few more weeks and Brayden experienced his stroke (a whole other story). It seemed that kicked me over the edge of obsessing about myself (much bigger problems) and steadily, things improved - until about 9 months after Mikayla was born. The delayed post-partum/body failure seems like a consistent thing for me after giving birth. I saw it coming, so it was better - but, this time, I began listening to my friend who was a pharmaceutical representative for SSRI's (selective seratonin reuptake inhibitors - I think....) - aka a special kind of anti-depressant - much more carefully. I listened to the science behind it (where Tom Cruise and I drastically disagree) and started thinking....hmmm..... But, pride still got in the way. Finally, at the time of Brayden's 4th birthday, I found myself in such a terrible mess. My heartrate would accelerate for no reason at all - it would also "somersault" - beating irregularly and thumping so hard, there was no reason to test for my pulse - I could feel it. I remember getting out of the shower and having it hit 120 - what was going on with me? Add to that some severe "heartburn" like tightness in the chest and I was sure I was dealing with some sort of heart failure. I came into my new doctor (I'd only met her once before) on the edge of tears and with a sky-rocketed blood pressure. It was a terrible time of life.

That was a huge turning point day. My new, WONDERFUL, doctor discussed, once again, the science behind these SSRI's - and that my body had some very physical reactions to anxiety. I could breathe into a paper bag to help my heartrate, but what I really needed was the ability to get these seratonin chemicals to reach my brain and kick in! Also - ultrasound showed I had a gallstone - so that explained all of the chest tightness. Just having answers - and a hope for improvement, I can't even tell you the difference.

So, now, Michele likes to suggest anytime I don't stress about situations I used to - we can all praise Lexapro. I now know, that even if my mind doesn't feel anxious, but my body is feeling extra stress (like during the busy-ness of the holiday season or when I'm getting sick) I don't need to worry about my heart kicking into "disco fever" - it's just what happens to me. I also don't automatically think cancer, MS, or brain tumors are the reason for any obscure symptom - (not that it doesn't cross my mind - I can't expect to be completely cured of anxiety until I am in Heaven!).

So, am I suggesting that SSRI's are a cure-all drug for anyone who is down or slightly paranoid? No, not by any means. It's a big decision to make - But, what I AM saying, is that, I, for one, am thankful for the achievements scientists have made to help fill the gaps that our "failed bodies" have - and that I became educated enough to overcome the pride and prejudice I had against them. It's made such a difference in my life.

And, to end this post with what I was originally going to write about - I also thank God for Midrin. It's a migraine/tension headache medicine I started 2 months ago. Huge improvements. Oh, the joy of NOT having to end every day with an icepack, vicodin, and a bed (at 6pm!). Modern medicine - it's a beautiful thing.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

This Week's Devotional

Today I met a group of brand new women who will be my Bible Study partners until May. I think they are wonderful and our ages range from 34 to probably 80 something. This devotional has special meaning to me because I will admit, there are times that reputations due influence my attitude of who I'm to spend time with. Which, in turn, makes me wonder what others think about me. I hope throughout this year my search will be for only what is good within this group of women.

What Are You Looking For?
This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden

He who seeks good finds goodwill, but evil comes to him who searches for it.— Proverbs 11:27

As kids there are legendary teachers in grade schools that you hope and pray you don’t get: Teachers known for their huge amounts of handwriting assignments or poetry memorization. These are teachers who make you stay in at lunch if you speak out of turn or who seem to be out to get you for no reason at all!

And these teachers don’t stand a chance! Kids know these teachers by their reputations. Students who are assigned to these teachers are already expecting the worst. No matter how nice the teacher may be, how often the teacher compliments the children or gives them treats, an impression already exists. When kids expect a hard, mean and unfair teacher, they usually find one!

Abraham Lincoln once said, “When you look for the bad in man you shall certainly find it.” The opposite of this is also true. When we look for the good we will find it as well. If you sit down with anyone long enough, you can find something good. Behind a rough exterior may be a man who is scared because he has never known to trust anyone. Behind a gossipy encounter may be a woman who is insecure because she never had a supportive family. Behind a bad first impression, may be a woman who just found out she had cancer. Behind the man who cut you off in traffic, may be a man who’s wife is about to have a baby.

We cannot tell about a person based on what others say about them, or even based on our own first impression. Look beyond their reputation to the reality. When you look for the good in someone you will find it. But, you have to take the time to look.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Instant Comforts/A Couple of Questions XXXV

This list was in the back of my Good Housekeeping magazine this month. I took my favorite 25 out of the 33 that they listed. My questions for you are:
Which 5 most provide comfort to you?
Any additional comforts you'd like to add?

1. Changing into your pajamas (sweats) after a long day
2. Hugs
3. Getting your hair washed at a salon
4. Watching your husband read
5. A napping cat or dog
6. The smell of toast when you wake up in the morning
7. A baby's infectious giggle (or a child's for that matter)
8. Your mother's voice
9. Campfires
10. Macaroni and Cheese
11. Checking things off your to-do list
12. Pulling the quilt (down blanket!) all the way up to your nose
13. Falling asleep without needing to set an alarm
14. A freshly cleaned house
15. A fully stocked fridge
16. Flipping through photo albums from your childhood
17. A big scoop of ice cream
18. A supersoft hooded sweatshirt
19. Buying the perfect birthday gift five months early
20. A quiet morning to yourself
21. Coffee percolating (or in this day and age, the sound of an espresso machine!)
22. Sinking into a big comfy sofa
23. Reruns of "Little House and the Prairie"
24. A hot shower after gardening
25. Brownies baking in the oven

Saturday, September 16, 2006

That'll Teach Us....

I dedicate this post to Sheldon and Christy......way to finish the race strong.......

John and I have been season ticket holders for Duck football since 1997. In '96 we got one of those buy one, get one free coupons from Bi-Mart, attended the game - and fell in love, with college football, that is - but, also, even more in love with each other because we discovered a tremendous joint passion for the game and the entire atmosphere of Duck football.

We've seen lots of victories - we joined the party at the right time, the Ducks have been quite successful over the last decade. We've seen lots of close games, many we thought we'd walk away as losers, only to see a victory - particularly during the Joey Harrington era.

I've also been part of the "not-looked-upon-so-kindly" group that leaves the game early. I have a low tolerance for unruly fans that get extremely negative when the going gets rough. - So, we tend to get going. I feel like I have paid big bucks for these tickets and should not be obligated to spend even more money on a babysitter for a game that is not going well. I realize, the team doesn't appreciate the stadium clearing out, it makes a bad situation even worse, but, in every other way I'm a great fan....

Today was one of those days that we opted to leave early. There was record attendance at Autzen and we really felt like there was no point in paying for an extra hour of babysitting that it would take to wait the last five minutes and deal with the rest of the 59,000 people exiting at the same time. We were down by 10, the Sooners were at the 2 yard line ready to score, it was pointless to torture ourselves any longer.

As we approached our vehicle, complaining about the errors by the coaching staff, we ran into Dennis and Lisa. Suddenly, we heard the stadium roar into cheers and wild applause. We looked at each other and said, "Wouldn't it serve us right if they turned it around.....?!" We all agreed we'd take the victory and all the flack that we'd get with it just to have them win....but, we knew they wouldn't.

When Travis, Stephie, John and I got into the car, we flipped on the radio and found out, yes, indeed, the Ducks had scored. Suddenly, the score was within 6 (the touchdown we had thought was imminent had actually become a field goal). The coach's son was lining up for an onside kick - and it appeared to have worked.... After a very long ref review (oh, there were so many in this game), YES, it was declared that the Ducks had the ball - Woo-hoo!!!! Down the field they went - then TOUCHDOWN!!!! With the extra point kick, we were now up by 1. By this time, we were stuck in traffic, listening to the radio announcers reach for their Pepto... Horns were honking, pedestrians were screaming, arms were pumping out of the vehicles - it was WILD!!! The Whites and us were shocked - not only had the Ducks turned it around, but we had missed it!!!! Then, even more agony, as Oklahoma still had 30 seconds, and wouldn't you know, took it down to the 30 yard line, well within field goal range..... With 2 seconds left, they had every probability of stealing the victory right away from us. The ball got placed, the kicker made contact - and then, IT WAS BLOCKED..... DUCKS WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Travis said he's going to get a t-shirt that says, "I'll never leave early again". Our buddy, Mike said he's going to wear a shirt tomorrow that says, "John left early". At any rate, we made a mistake, but given the momentus win, I'll live with it. And, it was a special time in the vehicle celebrating with the Whites along with all of the other "early-leavers" traffic......Unbelievable.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Not Quite What We Had in Mind for the Evening....

Today was one of those days where I have no right to complain - lots of semi-fun shopping errands and both of the kids were "otherwise occupied" through most of it - but, after a bad night's sleep last night and a very busy day - by the time 7pm came around, I was ready to soak in the ambience of a clean house, Harvest candle, first fireplace fire of the season, a new Gooseberry Patch cookbook, and the pattering of rain on the roof.

But, (and you knew by the title there would be one), it wasn't meant to be. Around 7:30, Mikayla went into her room, we heard a crash and then wailing. John arrived first on the scene, was rattled by the blood coming from her head and led her into the hallway. I took over with a washcloth to the forehead wound and "assessed the damage". Yep, nasty forehead gash which resulted when she tried to climb her antique cabinet/armoir (that we keep pj's in and other things), it tipped, and the decorations on top fell cutting her.

Long story short and five stitches later, Mikayla is cozied up asleep in a beanbag with the very stuffed animal I denied her (during a monumental tantrum) at Walmart this morning. Brayden really stepped up, it's nice to know that in an emergency he is very sensible and sensitive - and extremely protective of his little sis.

So, all is well again, almost everyone is asleep - and I think I'm going to pop a couple of Advil PM and join the rest of the party..... the candle's been extinguished, the fire is out, the rain has stopped, and the cookbook can wait.......

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Signs that You Are Living in 2006

Stephietoo just emailed me this and I thought it was definitely worthy of posting. Enjoy!


1. You accidentally enter your password on the microwave.

2. You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years.

3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of 3.

4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.

5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is... That they don't have e-mail addresses.

6. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home to help you carry in the groceries.

7. Every commercial on television has a web site at the bottom of the screen.

8. Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn't have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.

10. You get up in the morning and go on line before getting your coffee.

11. You start tilting your head sideways to smile. : )

12. You're reading this and nodding and laughing.

13. Even worse, you know exactly to whom you are going to forward this message.

14. You are too busy to notice there was no #9 on this list.

15. You actually scrolled back up to check that there wasn't a #9 on this list.

AND NOW U R LAUGHING at yourself.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A Couple of Questions XXXIV

First of all, thank you Lisa for sharing your birthday with me! I haven't done the "River Walk" in well over a year - absolutely gorgeous this time of year. Unfortunately, the gentlemen asleep on the park benches made me realize it's not something I'd feel comfortable doing without a buddy. I had a great day - hope your birthday was wonderful for you....

Alright, I'll take us back here with questions to our childhood in light of the kids' getting the attention with school beginning.....

1. What toys did you play with as a child and do you still have any of them?

2. What was your favorite cartoon character as a child?

They're telling us the weather is due to change, rain's coming in. Enjoy the crisp mornings of September as long as you can-

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Mikayla on Cloud Nine

First of all, thank you for all of the stories that you shared regarding September 11th. It was good for me to honor the anniversary by recollecting the day.

So, on to lighter things. Yesterday was Mikayla's first day of twice a week 4's Pre-school. I love the little church based pre-school we take her to, it's not stuffy, there isn't any "parent drama" - it's just the perfect environment for my little kiddos. We found out Mikayla would be having a different teacher than we anticipated, and when I met her, I knew there wouldn't be a problem. As it turns out, Mikayla was so enamored by her that she followed her around the first 5 minutes like a puppy dog just to be non-stop in her presence. Mikayla does that with pretty young gals that she thinks are sweet. She goes into what she calls "shy" mode - and just giggles and smiles at them - she did that with the soccer coach too. I could see how it could get really annoying for her teachers/coaches, but at this age, it's proabably still a little endearing. At least I hope so.... At any rate, I'm just glad she's so happy-

Monday, September 11, 2006

Where Were You?

It was way to early to be waking up, I remember, as I heard the cell phone ringing and took no time at all to decide to ignore it. If somebody really wanted to get a hold of me, they would try my home line. I tried to go back to sleep, but before I knew it, the land line was ringing, this person was persistent. Annoyed, I got up and checked my cell phone. It was Michele. She knew better than to call before 8am, something must be wrong.

The conversation between her and I was fragmented and frantic. Had I been watching the news? Had I heard from John? Was he supposed to fly anywhere today? Where exactly was he flying from and when exactly was his flight? Very concerned, but not wanting to tell me as much, she implored me to turn on the news and contact John as fast as I could. Then, when I did get a hold of him, please call her back immediately….

I flipped on the “Today Show” - Matt and Katie were clearly upset, something big was going on, and they obviously hadn’t completely figured out the scope of it yet, either. In fact, as I sat there transfixed, they shared the shocking news that the second tower had just been hit by a different plane – clearly, this wasn’t an accident…..

I started dialing John’s cell phone as I franticly searched for his itinerary. This was supposed to be a very short business trip, John was to be home within a couple of days so we could prepare for our first family trip to Disneyland that upcoming weekend. His cell phone sent me directly to voice mail – “CALL ME AS SOON AS YOU GET THIS MESSAGE!” Fortunately, I was able to find his itinerary, and though it gave me little insight to his flights for the day, it did have the hotel’s phone number where he was staying in New Jersey. Miraculously, I was connected straight through to the hotel operator. I asked for John Riley’s room….and…..then, the sweet sound of my husband’s groggy voice. “Oh, John, thank God you’re there and safe.” He was very confused at the intensity of my greeting. He had no idea what was going on. In an effort to maintain integrity while traveling, he’d made a promise to himself to not watch tv on his own. I stayed on the line while he walked across the hallway to the concierge lounge. He let me go and promised to call soon when he began to witness with his own eyes the second tower fall……..

As promised, I called Michele right back – it was only then that she shared her fears that he was on the United flight headed towards DC. The terror she had felt knowing that John only flew United and was set to leave from the very same airport that day – overwhelming. Immediately, after hanging up with her, I dropped to my knees and bawled, and prayed, and praised. It could have been me that would become a widow that morning. It could have been the baby girl inside of me, still 3 months from greeting the world, that would have never been able to greet her daddy. And, it could have been the 2 and ½ year old boy, who knelt beside me and watched as Mommy cried and told him how much God had saved Daddy, that might never have remembered a time with him.

We didn’t make it to Disneyland that weekend – instead we reunited as a family in Boise. Because of the FBI quarantine on his hotel, John wasn’t even able to leave for the first 2 and a half days. Why the quarantine? Well, as it turns out, one of the hijackers stayed the night prior in that very same Marriott. John recollects seeing him come out of an elevator and thinking the guy looked a little odd. Odd doesn’t begin to describe it.

Getting home became John’s obsession. Flights were cancelled, and no one had answers as to when. So, he began driving. Originally, he planned just to drive as far as Chicago, believing he’d have a better chance of getting a flight from there. With that in mind, he “adopted” a passenger to ride along with him, whom he commissioned to talk endlessly just to keep him awake. She was a 50 something United employee….. a God-given companion that John ended up sharing the Message with. When Chicago proved no more helpful for flights – he rented a deluxe vehicle (on the company card) and headed west. It was a remarkable journey for him, meeting strangers who, due to circumstances, embraced him as family.

It was hard waiting at home for him, which is why I chose to start driving east early Saturday morning with Brayden (and obviously Mikayla in utero) in tow. The skies were so clear, no planes, no white fuzzy trails from exhaust – it was so surreal. It wasn’t until we embraced at the Fairfield Inn at Boise that things began to feel normal again. We ate at Red Robin, had Baskin and Robbins ice cream, and watched “Shrek” from Pay per View that night. Our family, at least, was going to come out of this thing alright. But, oh, the pain, the injustice, the loss, the sacrifices, the sadness – will never be forgotten.

The night of September 11th, we went to my parent’s house. Brayden was playing unsupervised on their older treadmill and before we knew it, he was wailing. He had fallen and the belt literally took the skin down to the bone on his ankle. It was nasty, but not ER material. I doctored it in the days that followed, but the scar will probably always remain. I call it his September 11th scar – for him, it’s visible, for the rest of us, most likely not – but invisible or not, there is a scar we all feel from that fateful day that forever changed history.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

How Cool Is That?

So, as most of you know, John is part of the leadership team of the CBNW's Men's Round-Up (Conservative Baptist Northwest). That is a retreat that occurs the weekend after Labor Day for men - to inspire, bond, teach, etc.... Kind of like a mini Promise Keepers event. It's always been an important renewal time for John, and, apparently others noticed so he was asked to be part of leadership. The team works with a "successive ranking of leadership" so, during the year of 2008, John will be the president. He'll be given the opportunity to determine the speaker and guest musician (with, of course, input and approval of the rest of the team). He's already started planning and anticipating - it will be very exciting.

However, this year has brought its own excitement. John was asked to pick-up the guest musician from the airport and taxi him to the camp. After spending time together in the car, the musician asked John to extend his hospitality to "host" him throughout the weekend. Now, if you are not into Christian music, this won't mean much, however, for those who listen frequently to KLOV, the name should be familiar - Mark Schultz. Most of his singles (if not all) reach the top ten of the Christian music chart - and many of them settle in to number one for weeks at a time. His more familiar songs include: BROKEN AND BEAUTIFUL, I AM, REMEMBER ME, HE'S MY SON, I AM THE WAY. I've known that this guy would be the musician for over a year, and have tried, in that time, to contrive a plan to sneak away to be able to listen to him lead worship - but, I figured my husband would spot me, and my kids would notice my absense - and I'm not exactly an "A" cup to pull off the male physique..... This is too bad, because, if there is one guy I would really want to see in concert - it's him. I know my Christian artists and I have a lot of favorites, and truthfully, this guy tops the list. He was a middle school pastor when his first song hit the radio and it just gave me chills how an "everyday joe" with kids who adore him was suddenly becoming famous.

So, that leaves me back to present day - after already getting the heads up yesterday that Mark and John had really hit it off, I was expecting a great phone call today from my hubby. He did call, but when Michele answered and the phone was passed to me, it wasn't John's voice on the line - it was Mark Schultz. Michele can testify that I handled the five minute conversation as if I was talking to an old friend, he's that kind of guy. But, the giddy grin on my face after I hung up the phone wouldn't leave for over 30 minutes. TOO COOL!!! As it turns out, he played volleyball on a threesome team with our buddy Sheldon, and Michele's hubby, Michael - and they won the tournament. He's also been spending a lot of time just hanging with the guys in Michael and Michele's trailer drinking Starbucks from the machine John brought. It sounds as though they are all feeling truly blessed with each other's company - (at least that's the impression I got from Mark =) ).

I am not the "adoring fan" sort of person. I have a bigtime bias against that sort of thing- especially with celebrities whose character's are less than deserving. But, I can say, that with people who are incredibly talented providing music that has led me to tears and encouraged me to "press on" on more occasions than I can count- I can cut myself a little slack for being slightly "star struck". It sounds to me, that this guy's character deserves the attention. How cool is that.....

Friday, September 08, 2006

Did I Ask for Your Opinion?

And, so the week of school, sports, and activities has begun - and I feel as though it's gone well, which I'm very pleased about. But, it hasn't been without a few hiccups.... one, would be the overzealous, intensely competitive, braggart which was the mom of the only other child in Mikayla's soccer class. I had so many options on that class, and I almost chose the hour prior, but, oh no, I stuck with the 11:30 timeslot and consequently had to suffer through the barage of allocades and achievements of one 4 and a half year old daughter (who, I will say, was a wonderful companion to Mikayla - I have nothing against her...). Do some people just not realize how innapropriate it is to completely overpower a conversation with how their child should just skip kindergarten altogether because she is gifted enough to write her name and add by 1's? And, don't even get her started on the genetic giftedness in athletics she possesses.....

If that weren't the worst of it, this is how the mom first addressed the coach, after watching the coach enthusiastically greet my daughter-


Wow, that charmed the pants off of me, let me tell you - I knew right there and then, that this woman and I would be BFF's.....

As for the second hiccup, that would be the unsolicitated opinions that people who don't know you, your situation, or your family decide to give, because, by golly, they are the experts of life. I'll just leave it at that, I had an annoying experience today, but it's certainly not worth diving into - it just teaches me to be careful not to make someone else ever feel the way this person made me feel.

On a positive note, I am THRILLED with Brayden's first grade teacher (she "gets" him - can laugh at his apparent lack of focus and clearly appreciates him for the space cadet/lovable kid that we know he can be - PRAISE GOD!), and both Mikayla's pre-school teacher and soccer coach - Mikayla was so enamored with both of them that she was hardly able to follow directions - she just kept grinning and giggling. Too cute.

Hope your week, went well, hiccups and all.....

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A Couple of Questions XXXIII

I just sent my son to his bedroom for the 3rd time since he got home from school. No crying, no arguing, - just him doing something completely without thinking (like hucking an empty rubbermaid bin across the living room floor narrowly missing a burning candle).... I thought school was supposed to calm them down!!! No luck.... I'll post pictures when John comes home with the camera of Brayden's first day.

Here's the questions:

1. What is one thing you saved for but realized wasn't worth it after all?

2. What is a household item that you consider a bit of an indulgence but really appreciate having?

P.S. Happy Birthday Christy and Liz!!!

Monday, September 04, 2006


This is the first year that I've ever really processed this thought - this time of the year is the only time in which I find myself sad to leave a season, but very excited for the next season. Every other time of the year, I'm either obviously bummed, or obviously pleased with the change - but now I'm going from really great to really great - but all in different ways. This summer was spectacular for us, but the upcoming coziness of fall and direct lead-in into the holidays has always been a wonderful time for me. If it weren't for school starting, I think I could let go of summer easier, but, the regiment of the school year and having our lives once again revolve around its schedule and expectations is a hard pill to swallow. I've heard many moms say they are so happy to send their kids off again - normally, I would fall into that camp. When it's just Brayden and Mikayla around the house, their arguing and self-centeredness can push me over the edge quickly. But, with Michele's kids here, there's been none of that. They are a "pack" and that brings different challenges, but most of the time, the pack is just interested in having fun and running around being happy. Tomorrow. Michele's kids hit the public school system for the first time ever, - mine, the following day. There's a loss of innocence, playfulness, embracing the joys of carefree childhood with that. But, that's reality, and the other necessary, not always so fun, part of growing up and being responsible. Sometimes, having to watch your kids grow up, well, it's bittersweet.........

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Catching Air

First of all -
Jodi - adorable changing address postcard - the best and most creative I've ever seen, hope you are enjoying your new home!
Colie - CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Hope the next 8 months fly by happily for you -
Finally - GO DUCKS!!!! Despite the headache caused by baking in the sun for 4 plus hours, the excitement of watching the first game of the season did not disappoint. How amazing, too, that out of 60,000 seats, our best buddies were able to randomly get seats two rows up from us.....

So, last night as we were all totally exhausted and nursing our heat-induced headaches, Michele walked in towards the kitchen and exclaimed, "MICHAEL RAY!" We (the Whites and us) were in the living room, looked at each other puzzled, and ran in to find, sure enough, Michael, standing there giving Michele a hug. He not only came home 2 days early, but surprised her by driving down here to hang out with all of us. YEAH!!!! It was a great family reunion to behold.

Now that we had the company of the entire Schilling family, we decided to set off for the lake early. What follows are pictures of the attempts made to "catch air". It was a great day.......

John, looking hot, wakeboarding

all together again!

Michele and I went on quite a jolting intertube ride - my expression says it all!

...And the award for "Biggest Air" goes to Travis- pretty impressive

Saturday, September 02, 2006

This Week's Devotional

I thought with the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina- this was a very appropriate pick. It sure stirred me......

Healer of the Broken
This devotional was written by Robin Dugall

“God, if you would be pleased with sacrifices, I would bring them. If all you wanted were offerings, I would make them. But you want a broken and contrite heart, God. That is what You want... that is what you will never turn away.” Psalm 51:16-17

I love the song composed by Chris Tomlin, “This is our God.” I love the fact that, as my community and I sing it, we are in the process of “painting” a clear and accurate picture of who God is. God is a Refuge for the poor, a Shelter from the storm, a Father to the orphan, a Healer of the broken, a Fountain for the thirsty, and a Lover of the lonely. Simple songs like this do more than inspire our worship; they combat all sorts of inaccurate pictures of God. A lot of people don’t know or have never been introduced to the God that the Bible talks about. In other words, there are so many misconceptions about who God is. On the other hand, it has always been my belief that once a person gets an accurate and full picture of who God is, they will yield their lives to Him. You see, God is a God who inspires us to worship and serve.

One of the snapshots of God that means the most to me and many others is that the God we worship and serve is a Healer of the Broken. Brokenness is something that every single one of us has experienced in life. That’s why we need to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is the Healer of broken hearts, lives, emotions and people. In fact, sometimes it is God Himself who leads us to brokenness.

Sooner or later, every person who wants to seriously follow Jesus must face the fact that God is going to have to allow something to break you so that you will let go of the stubborn vice grip you have on your own heart and life. In order for God to guide you the way He wants, you’re going to have to be broken. You are going to have to be broken from self-reliance in order for God to heal and restore you to the place where your trust and reliance is on Him.

Personal brokenness is God’s way of moving you into a new identity and a new life. Because God is the Healer of the broken, you can trust Him to put you back together when you’ll never be able to put yourself together on your own.

1. Take a moment and think... how much of your life do you withhold or even withdraw from God’s hand? How much of your life/your plans do you dare not relinquish to God?
2. How deeply are you broken? Where does God need to break you more?
Psalm 51; Luke 14:25-35; Galatians 5:22-23

Friday, September 01, 2006

If You Love Animals.....

You know how on talk shows they often bring on the "animal experts" with cuddly little baby versions of big scary animals? That is the ONLY reason I would ever want to trade places with those people - the idea of holding a baby wild cub of something - oh, the cozy joy!!! Little did I know that that very "dream come true" could be accomplished in little ol' Bandon, OR vs. Hollywood, CA and without the strings of an agent or studio audience. I'll see if I can't add some captions to bring life to these pics - but, long story short - if you are a lover of wild animals, you need to make the trip (albeit long...) to check this place out.

Perhaps one of my favorite pictures ever - that's me holding a leopard cub!

This is a white bengal tiger - what a thrill to be so close....

I wonder if Uncle Michael has been able to get this close to an elk during his week of hunting!

This is "Sam the Chimpanzee" - we were able to talk to him and to some extent, interact. He made sounds to us, and everytime we gave him a group thumbs-up - he did this -

This is a 12 week old lion cub - she was born in a zoo and will remain in this park to breed

Brayden and the opposum - "Over the Hedge" has made these critters easier to swallow!

Notice the expression on Mikayla's face - terrified - and then there's Aunt Chele - amused. The animals were overwhelming her-

Mikayla and I petting the lion cub

This llama was very interested in Michele's food supply

This is an 11 week old leopard cub, born there at the park

The Schillings with a baby fox - the girls really were excited about the experience

When I worked in Yellowstone we called tourists who used their small children as props with wild animals, "Tourons" - that would be tourist crossed with moron - I'll let you judge for yourself if you think the title fits.....

This is a very special picture as Mom has several snapshots of Michele and I doing the very same thing, carrying around the poor, defenseless pygmie goats the same way he did

These black bears were SO CLOSE - just amazing-

This is the lion cub again, too cute!