Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Ten Minute Tree Hunt

Generally, we get our Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. However, this last weekend, the Schillings were down, it was raining hard, and John got immersed in the lights project, so we decided to postpone until sometime this week. Sometime this week became last night and due to sunrise occuring at 4:30, and the earliest John could get off was 4:00 - we were in a hurry. Blessedly, our tree hunt was the quickest ever, perhaps taking only ten minutes to find the 9 footer we put in our living room (do we need a tree that big? No, but since we have a roof that can accomodate it, we do it because we can!) and quickly being able to find the smaller tree that we put up in the bonus room that gets to hold all of the family ornaments (that the kids are decorating as I type....sweet....). I tried to snap a picture of the sun setting in the background -note the kids in their snowsuits - it was cold! But, dry, yeah!

The kids, last year, begged and begged for the opportunity to have trees in their room. We put them off until this year, but, unfortunately, they didn't forget. So, we compromised and got them a $2.99 little fake tree from Jerry's and gave them the chance to pick out a set of mini-ornaments and mini-garland. Decent deal all around. They are very happy.

Thanks for all of the fun responses from the questions - I've really enjoyed all of your insight. Thanks for the thoughtful replies.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Couple of Questions XXXXV

A different twist - I've got some specific questions for people who frequently comment, so here goes-

1.) Heather - What is the connection between you and Thomas and Allison (Star of the Sea blog entries) that you've quoted a couple of times in your blog? Ever since your first post, I've followed both of their blogs consistently, it has been quite a journey for them and certainly inspiring to say the least. I've never known anyone personally, and at our age, go through cancer -

2.) Colie - When is your due date? Any changes you'll make in your birth plan compared to last time?

3.) Hollie and Jodi - What advice would you give to someone who just found out they'll be leaving their hometown to start someplace new with their family? (That's not me, I'm speaking hypothetically!)

4.) Stephie - What advice would you give someone who is considering getting a puppy for their family for Christmas? (And, What do you want Santa to bring you for Christmas? - perhaps some ulterior motives there....)

Drive Safe everyone, it's COLD outside!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

"But I Prayed Three Times!"

That was Brayden's response this morning, near tears, when I had to tell him that "No, it didn't snow that much - and Yes, you will be going to school" Poor guy. It brought about an instant discussion on how God knows best and must determine which prayers to answer and why - (I suggested if it had snowed enough to cancel school, perhaps some mommy could have died in a car crash.....). Tough theological lessons at 6:30 am.

As for myself, even though I am 34, the idea of school closures and waking to a blanket of white still equates to a recipe for a terrible night's sleep. Just like I was at age 10, I look out the window any time I dozily wake up and lie there wondering if it will ever start snowing again. Next time there is snow in the forecast, I think I ought to just take 2 Advil PM's and not worry about it until the alarm goes off. I guess it's good to know that I'm not too grown up-

For those that did get snow, hope its enjoyable for you and, Drive Safe!

Monday, November 27, 2006

How John Spent All Sunday Afternoon

Yes, my beloved did this in the rain - THANK YOU HONEY!

Sunday, November 26, 2006


I don't know about you, but a powerful testimony can speak volumes to my life. It goes beyond any sort of "teaching lesson" to me to go straight to my heart and help my mind make a bee-line to self application. Not only that, but the point of a good testimony is to give glory to the Lord for what He did through His power in a person's life that they weren't able to do in their own power. I love that - and I love the hope that each of us have as we go through very difficult places in our lives that someday these things will be part of our own testimony - and the Lord's glory will be revealed.

This morning John and I had the privilege to hear our friend, Colin, give his testimony - and basically be the main speaker, in all three of our church's services. (to get that straight, he spoke at all three services, but we only listened to one). We were warned to bring tissues as many people came out of the previous services with tears and puffy eyes. It was a good warning. The topics of our church lately have centered around things that are considered controversial - "the church and politics", "spending", "rewards in Heaven", etc - this week was no exception. The topic was "Loving Homosexuals". Colin was asked for a reason - he has struggled with that sin through his life and has been a recipient of the love, grace, and restoration available to those who surrender their lives to the power of Christ. I have heard the testimony before, and was deeply touched and impacted by what he had to say - today, that happened all over again.

I think the biggest lesson many of us came away with is that, for some reason, there's the special "stigma" that Christians tend to put on certain sins as being worse than others. Particularly homosexuality. But, that's not the only one. I have thought a lot about this and posted prior regarding this, but I'll repeat myself again. In the sphere of people I know, here are some of the sins that Christians I know have struggled with:

- homosexuality
- sexual relations outside of wedlock
- addictions to drugs
- stealing
- fraud
- pornography
- emotional affairs
- alcoholism
- divorce
- adultery
- planned attempts at suicide

I tried to pick the ones that would raise an eyebrow - but, they no longer do to me. As these people have admitted and confessed these sins and placed them on the cross with Christ, they have been made new. Now, this is not to say that, for some of them, they don't have to deal with the consequences on an ongoing basis - or that the temptations have been erased. It is a daily struggle for many, to choose the right path, and for some, one that can only be done with constant petitions and prayers for the Lord to help. I was told of one woman in our church who had previously been part of a demonic cult, who now lives a normal life ONLY by repeating memorized scriptures to combat the enemy.

Here's my question - in the Lord's eyes, what does He see when He looks at His children? Is He decieved by the child that has a relationship with Him, does no obvious sins, but only turns to Him and talks to Him when the need arises, when it fits into that person's schedule? Or does he see that person's heart - the secret sins of worry, jealously, judgmentalism, anger, apathy, lust? You know where I'm going - when it comes to Jesus and how He views His children how happy He is to see that child who has become transparent and authentic, just as Colin did today - and how happy He is to commune with Him daily -to have that intimate relationship.

Today, when Colin finished speaking - revealing the details of a life many Christians would stand in line to picket against - our congregation took to our feet and gave him a standing ovation. I don't know if I was more proud of Colin, or more proud of the men and women I stood with. No matter what, I know my walk with Jesus will be stronger because of the courage Colin had today.

Self Control

Based on the title of this post - I bet you think you know where this is going. Indulgence in the realms of eating and spending? Actually, no.... I could say a few things about that, I'm sure, but that's not what's been on my mind.

I've witnessed two extraordinary examples of the best and worst of self-control regarding personal behavior this weekend and I thought I'd comment about that....

In the category of very impressive: Joey Harrington. I love that guy. He's one of all time favorite Duck players - well, shoot, he is my favorite. He's just "Joey" in this house, Brayden even dressed up as him one Halloween. I would never say he was the UO's all time best player, he wasn't - but, he had this amazing spirit, presence, class, and grace that made him an extraordinary leader and able to rally the team in countless comeback wins. Hopes were high for him as he entered the NFL draft, and sure enough he was picked 5th by the Detroit Lions. Thus began five horrible years for our beloved hero. Joey was supposed to turn their team around and it didn't happen. The team didn't congeal, they didn't support each other, they blamed each other every step of the way - and they lost a lot. Towards the end, the fans despised Joey and the press he received in Detroit was scathing. And, Joey had had enough - despite a bit of an improvement of belief in him from the new coach - he left. And, as fans, we were proud of him.

Within a couple of months, Joey was playing for the Miami Dolphins. He was asked to be the back-up for Dante Culpepper, a great quarterback and once again, with hopes that the entire team would begin to turn around. The early press indicated it was a great fit for Joey and the team and us, Duck fans, were happy. Then, Culpepper got hurt and Joey was put in as starting quarterback. Uh oh - this could be bad. But, it wasn't. They won't be in the superbowl or anything, but good things have happened. They are on a winning streak and Miami fans are beginning to have hope.

On Thanksgiving Day, in the irony of all ironies, Miami just happened to be the team to play Detroit in Detroit's annual Thanksgiving game. Joey was jeered wherever he went. "Boo"d at practices, warm-ups, etc. The announcer even tried to humiliate him by announcing him with the "Piano Man" song (he likes to play piano and is very good), and once again, the fans thought it was a riot to Boo again. Many close-ups were shown on the big screen of his face, more opportunities for the fans to boo. Joey ignored it all and played with his heart - he played one of his best games in the last 5 years. And, Miami won without a contest. And, here's the self-control that this whole post is about - Joey handled it with the utmost of class. He had every opportunity to slam that team, the coaches and owners, and rub in just how much their failure to win had to do with the entire team and not his playing abilities. But, he didn't. He simply made it clear how happy he is to be in the supportive environment he's at - happy to be at Miami.

I bet his parents are SO proud of him. What life lessons to learn, what a need to grow up fast. But, I tell you what, if I were his parents, no amount of scoring statistics could ever compare to the way he conducts his character..... Yeah, Brayden, that's a player to look up to.

Now, on to the flip side..... much shorter and funnier for those of you that have had a difficult time wading through the football commentary...... On Friday, we began our shopping experience at Kohl's. Michele was quickly disappointed to find that the "doorbuster" item was gone before we got there (in less than ten minutes). So, she opted to drive to Best Buy and leave Mom and I behind. Through cell phones, we found she would be there for a while, so Mom and I opted to carry our purchases through the mall parking lot (no car since Michele took it) and head to Target which would open in about ten minutes. We felt so smug entering the Gateway mall, finding an abandoned cart to put our stuff in and waiting with about 30 other people outside the doors of Target on the inside of the mall (nice and warma and dry). That was, until, we read the signs that were very clearly posted that said that the door to enter Target would not be opened until all of the people waiting in line outside were let in. Bummer, but we still figured we'd made the right choice. However, as time inched by, 6:05, 6:10, 6:15..... and new people were entering the line outside and just walking in and we were trapped outside of the store, we got a little antsy. One woman, though, got a little more than antsy. From the moment 6am hit, she was out of control. Literally kicking the steel door and yelling as loud as she could "LET US IN!" With each repeat of her performance, the whole crowd would go silent and more and more people would move away from her. On one occassion, an annonymous voice responded, "They'll get right on that" and she shouted back in that direction - "SHUT UP!" The crowd grew silent again. This woman was probably my age, and her mom stood beside her - hushing her, cowering from her, warning her. Hmm, if that were my kid.........

Finally, the doors opened and I didn't see her after that..... But, Mom did. As Mom stood in line, she witnessed this woman being escorted by 2 security guards and a manager out of Target, all the while yelling, "I JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND THIS STORE!" When Mom told me that - it put a cherry on my day..... Happy Holidays, Lady----

Friday, November 24, 2006

Day After Thanksgiving

It's an odd feeling sitting here with Michele watching the Ducks and Beavers play. When I'm enthusiastic and attentive to the tv, she's a little down and vice versa based on the performances of our teams. One thing we can certainly agree on is the fact that we are sitting here in a cozy living room instead of in the rain at Reeser Stadium. Hope our men are having fun.....!

Of course, we might both be allowed to be spacy and glass-eyed given that we've both been up since before 4am. (Michele over an hour prior to that....) This pic was taken at 5am, shortly before setting off to Kohl's, Target, Best Buy, Toys R Us, Walmart, GI Joe's, Home Depot, Shopko, and Costco. Good times!

The score is now tied up - not a bad way indeed to spend the Day After Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A WONDERFUL Thanksgiving

It's not very often that a special day comes off as well as you plan for it to - but, today was one of those days. YEAH!!!! We had a great family breakfast, made toasts with our plastic flute glasses and sparkling cider, watched the Macy's Parade, met up with Mom and Dad, hit the Festival of Trees (meeting lots of friends we knew), had a delicious lunch, and finally, watched the not-at-all disappointing "Santa Clause 3" which I was eagerly looking forward to. As soon as Mom returns from putting up the horses, we'll eat our pumpkin pie while opening up the ads, one of my favorite activities of the year. I think the only thing that could have possibly made this day better was if the Schillings were with us. At least they'll be here tomorrow - and as for Michele, that will be in less than 11 hours....... =)
Finally, a good Santa pic with both kids
This is the kids making trees for children in the hospital at The Festival of Trees
The delicious chocolate toffee torte I had for desert
Not so hot of Brayden, but our family at The Festival of Trees
At the theater

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thanksgiving Fun

Just in time for Thanksgiving - I found this - it's from David Letterman. HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!

Top Ten Signs You've Eaten Too Much

10. Hundreds of volunteers have started to stack sandbags around you.
9. Doctor tells you your weight would be perfect for a man 17 feet tall.
8. You are responsible for a slight but measurable shift in the earth's axis.
7. Right this minute you're laughing up pie on the carpet.
6. You decide to take a little nap and wake up in mid-July.
5. World's fattest man sends you a telegram, warning you to "back off!"
4. CBS tells you to lose weight or else.
3. Getting off your couch requires help from the fire department.
2. Every escalator you step on immediately grinds to a halt.
1. You're sweatin' gravy.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Ten Reasons I'm Thankful for Rain

Ironically, Jodi just did a post about reasons she's thankful for the desert - as I already had this one in mind. (I bet hers was easier to come up with......)

It is a time for being thankful – so in honor of that, I’m going to try to put aside my differences with my arch-nemesis and give reasons why I’m thankful for it. Here goes:

1. When it’s raining here, it means some where, high enough, it’s snowing (like on the mountains Jodi looks at everyday) and, I LOVE SNOW!
2. It keeps our community green and I really do like green and lots of happy plantlife
3. I don’t have to worry about wasting water taking lots of baths (because I’m so chilled from getting soaked outside….oops, slipped…)
4. It gives my dog the opportunity to have so much fun! (but cleaning her up is a whole different story.... ooops, slipped again!)
5. If I wear my hair naturally curly, I can “freshen it up” just by stepping outside
6. Without steady rain, these little visitors would have never showed up in front of my house
7. It helps me to never take for granted sunshine in the valley from November to May
8. It really does make a soothing sound at night
9. The kids love umbrellas – need I say more
10. When the rains begin their assault on Oregon, it means I get to decorate for this – and that makes me VERY HAPPY!
(Hollie, I picked these two photos because they showed the two things I got on clearance last year from At Home America.... they make me think of you!)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Curious George

In the spirit of thankfulness, I find myself especially appreciative for the cartoon, "Curious George" which airs at 7am on PBS. BOTH my kids love this delightful little show so much, that they are very upset if I wake them up late causing them to miss it. Yes, that means no arguments these days about getting up - Hallelujiah! You couldn't ask for a sweeter, non-annoying show to have on while they have breakfast either. Yes, indeed, I am thankful for Curious George.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Couple of Questions XXXXIV

I'm sitting with my new favorite beverage - Nestle cocoa mix and International Delight's Peppermint Mocha (dairy case) creamer. Throw some whip cream on top with sprinkles.... ahhhh.

I'm debating on starting in on decorating. I know, it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but I love CHRISTMAS (as if you didn't know), and given that the rains have started in again (and according to the weather, will last through the week) - perhaps that's just what I need to do. Besides, I have a friend visiting my house for the first time this week and Michele and the kids will be coming up Tues. and Wed. so it might be nice to have it done. Hmmm, that's a lot of work, though, for a day that I'm feeling especially lazy. Last year, Michele was around a lot at this time of year - I've missed her and the kids being around so much. But, with them now enrolled in public school, it's not as easy to accommodate. Sigh.....

It's a good thing UO Football Season Ticket holders don't have to commit to purchasing their tickets at the end of the season. By spring when we do have to commit, I'm already missing the festivities and antipating the fun, crisp September days full of expecation, hope and celebration. Yesterday's experience at Autzen, however, was nothing like it. I was well layered and it was still bone-chilling cold, which conveniently matched the attitudes of the fans watching our team self-destruct so pathetically. (Can you say SIX turnovers!) John joked that he'll be wearing orange and black to next week's Civil War with Michael.......that's how bad it was.

We have Brayden's first basketball game this afternoon, perhaps I'll take some pictures and discuss it next time I write. He is such a hoot to watch in sports!

On to the questions-

1. What are your plans for Thanksgiving?

2. What is your favorite traditional Thanksgiving food?

Friday, November 17, 2006

I Don't Want to Sterotype, But...

I know lots of people that do not fit the classic male/female gender roles. I'm not talking sexual preferences or anything, simply those stereotypes of what men or women are "usually like". For instance, the man who prefers "cuddling" (vs. the woman) or the woman who avoids communicating (vs. the man). John and I defy a few of the stereotypes, but, by and large, we fit the model pretty close and have gotten a kick out of watching Gary Smalley on videos and how well he can pinpoint the way men or women think. (On a total rabbit trail, one of my favorite lessons from that series involved Gary explaining to the man how to get a woman involved in sports - describe the players and their personal lives.... A woman (generally) will be much more apt to enjoy a sporting event - or at least tolerate it - if she becomes emotionally involved in the lives of the players - it's not just #42 running down the field to score a touchdown, it's the guy who grew up on the wrong side of town, talks to his mama everyday and just had twins with his new wife..... that, according to Gary Smalley, is what draws a woman in..... And, in my own life, I've found that to be true - funny, eh?)

So, on to the real motivating force for this post. Not to generalize, but, for the most part, women are better "finders" than men. I'm not talking about a real "hunt" being called for, that would involve a whole male instinctual conquering thing and that's not where I'm going. I'm talking about the lack of vision a male has when trying to find the bread in the freezer, or the crackers in the pantry. I have to believe that many of you women reading this are nodding your heads - I can't think it's just a coincidence that both my dad and John have the same chronic deficiency, oh, did I mention Brayden having it too? Yes, that's the point of this post. Once again, I'm finding my children exhibiting one more tendency that shows that each is becoming more and more like their like-gendered parent. Brayden can barely find the nose on his face, and yet, Mikayla can not only tell you the location of virtually every item she's come in contact, but, (and here's the clencher), is willing to look and, 99% successful in finding, an item that is seemingly invisible to her brother. Sadly, I think she's helping to enable him.., but, then again, I don't want to have his future wife not have that satisfaction of being such a huge help-mate to her spouse! Because, of course, satisfaction is always at the top of my list of feelings anytime I hear, "Honey, are you sure we have _________, cuz I just don't see it anywhere?" Hmmm, I don't think so.....

Thursday, November 16, 2006

This Week's Devotional

This was today's devotional that was emailed to me. I thought, given my deep thoughts on Monday, it would be appropriate to share this week.

Home Sweet Home
This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden

“In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2

When I was in college, my psychology professor had our class participate in a test. The test was that each student in his or her mind envisioned a journey along a path. Each student was told to create his or her own details of the journey. At the last part of the path was a wall, where we were told to write down what that wall looked like and how we got to the other side of it. Then, we shared some of our own differing details out loud. At the end, the professor explained what each detail about the wall and getting to the other side of it represented in our life.

When it came to the wall, some classmates saw a large concrete wall with barbed wire or a brick wall that they had to scale and struggle to get over. The professor called on me and asked me what my wall looked like. My answer seemed very different from the others in the class. My wall was the wall of a home and to get to the other side, I simply opened the door and walked in. My professor looked at me for a moment, and said, “Interesting.” For, according to the professor, the wall represented our view on death and how you get to the other side represented the amount of fear one has in facing death.

My professor may not have understood my answer that day, but I knew. For a Christian, death from this life means going home to heaven. I don’t need to be afraid of the afterlife or dying or what comes next, for I have the promises of Jesus in my life. I have been given the mercy and grace of a Savior who died for us all so that we may have eternal life.

No one is absolutely sure what heaven looks like or will be like. The Bible gives us a glance, but not an ultimate picture of what is waiting for us. What we do know about heaven is this: It will be home. Jesus has gone ahead to prepare a place for each person who believes. We may know little about what is on the other side of this life, but here is what else we know: that is where our Master and Maker is. We will spend eternity in something greater than we can even imagine, simply because Jesus is there. And that is enough. There is no reason to be afraid.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Christmas Fun I

I am going to try to infuse a little festivity on the blog - by adding a weekly post of something funny and "holiday-ish". If you come across something, please email me ( and I'll post it. This first one is a bit lengthy, but cracked my mother-in-law and myself up when she came to visit last..... Enjoy! (P.S. I edited a few words from the original version, but this still doesn't quite fit my usual G-Rated posts - I hope no one is offended....)

Twelve Days of Christmas
Warning - Before you send all of the gifts described in the song - "The Twelve Days of Christmas" - read how it can go TERRIBLY wrong... as described by the series of letters from the recipient of such lovely Christmas gifts to the gift-giver...

December 14th
Dearest John:
I went to the door today and the postman delivered a partridge in a pear tree. What a delightful gift. I couldn't have been more surprised.
With dearest love and affection,

December 15th
Dearest John:
Today the postman brought your very sweet gift. Just imagine, two turtledoves. I’m just delighted at your very thoughtful gift. They are just adorable.
All my love,

December 16th
Dear John:
Oh, aren't you the extravagant one! Now I must protest. I don't deserve such generosity. Three French hens. They are just darling but I must insist.... you're just too kind.

December 17th
Dear John:
Today the postman delivered four calling birds. Now really! They are beautiful, but don't you think enough is enough? You’re being too romantic.

December 18th
Dearest John:
What a surprise! Today the postman delivered five golden rings. One for each finger. You're just impossible, but I love it. Frankly, John, all those squawking birds were beginning to get on my nerves.
All my love,

December 19th
Dear John:
When I opened the door there were actually six geese a-laying on my front steps. So you're back to the birds again, huh? Those geese are huge. Where will I ever keep them? The neighbors are complaining and I can't sleep through the racket. PLEASE STOP!

December 20th
What's with you and those birds? Seven swans a-swimming. What kind of joke is this? There's bird dung all over the house and they never stop the racket. I'm a nervous wreck and I can't sleep all night. IT'S NOT FUNNY. So stop with the birds.

December 21st
OK Buster:
I think I prefer the birds. What the heck am I going to do with eight maids a-milking? It's not enough with all those birds and eight maids a-milking, but they had to bring their own cows. There is cow poop all over the lawn and I can’t move in my own house. Just lay off me. SMART-ASS!

December 22nd
Hey Butthead:
What are you? Some kind of sadist? Now there's nine pipers piping. And man do they pipe. They haven't stopped chasing those maids since they got here yesterday morning. The cows are upset are stepping all over those screeching birds. No wonder they screech. What am I going to do? The neighbors have started a petition to evict me.
You'll get yours,

December 23rd
You Rotten Dork:
Now there's ten ladies dancing - I don't know why I call those women ladies. They've been with those nine pipers all night long. Now the cows can't sleep and they've got diarrhea. My living room is a river of cow dung. The commissioner of buildings has subpoenaed me to give cause why the building shouldn't be condemned. I'm sic'ing the police on you. They know where you are.
One who means it,

December 24th
Listen, Doormat:
What's with the eleven lords a-leaping on those maids and aforementioned "ladies"? Some of those broads will never walk again.
Those pipers ran through the maids and are now after the cows. All 234 of the birds are dead. They have been trampled to death in the nasty affair. I hope you're satisfied, you rotten swine.
Your sworn enemy,
Miss Agnes McCallister

December 25th
From the law offices of Dewey, Cheatem and Howe
This is to acknowledge your latest gift of twelve drummers drumming, which you have seen fit to inflict on our client, Miss Agnes McCallister. The destruction, of course, was total. All correspondence should come to our attention. If you should attempt to reach Miss McCallister at Happy-Dale Sanitarium, the attendants have instructions to shoot you on sight. With this letter, please find attached a warrant for your arrest.
Dewey, Cheatem and Howe
Attorneys at Law

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A Couple of Questions XXXXIII

Talk about temptation, I'm sitting next to 2 dozen cookies the kids made, Mikayla's half with peanut butter chips, Brayden's half with mini M&M's and chocolate chips. They wouldn't notice if just a couple were missing.... My only saving grace, thinking about how they licked their fingers after putting each scoop of dough on the cookie sheet - but then again, I share those germs constantly. I'll let you know if I get through the morning without doing a bit of a taste test.....

1. What do you want for Christmas? Yes, generic question, but I'd love to hear specific random answers

2. For the moms out there - What have been some of the biggest "hit" presents you've given to your kids that they've rewarded you with playing with a lot?

Enjoy the morning!!!!!!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Deep Thoughts at 10:18 pm

Many people live for those "defining moments" in life. In pursuit of moments that mark achievements: academically, financially, physically, socially, and emotionally - we go about our lives striving for these things, waiting to attain them - and, just as soon as we arrive - we are forced to come up with a new pursuit.

I'm guilty of striving for these moments. Perhaps because, by the grace of God, I have attained a lot of the things I'd always hoped for, or perhaps because my imagination and goals are small - but the moments I seek to pursue are not huge. No, I'm simply guilty of spending much of my life planning and pursuing "happy experiences". I am guilty of working very hard at making those "Kodak Moments" happen in our family, to reach that spot where everyone is giddy and happy and we look around at each other and think, "How could I ask for more?"

But, and here's the clencher, how long does this feeling really last? Seconds, minutes, perhaps sustainable up to an hour? Then, the endorphines, attitudes, emotions, and rotation of this great planet kick in....... and it's gone. Let me give you a few examples - these are the sorts of things that I exert tremendous amounts of planning and energy to "get to"-

THE MOMENT: Walking into the gates of Disneyland. Kids are wearing their new Disney shirts, "Zip a Dee Doo Da" is playing in the background..... We have arrived!
WITHIN MINUTES: Kids are arguing, the line for the Dumbo ride is way too long, John has motion sicknes, we're arguing, and I have a headache......

THE MOMENT: Sitting in the hot tub at Sunriver, peppermint cocoa with sprinkles in hand, an excellent Christmas romance novel being read, and snow peacefully falling and re-blanketing the ground
WITHIN MINUTES: The snow is turning to rain, I feel incredibly fat and bloated from all of the food I've consumed, I'm depressed by the idea that the Christmas season is almost over, and the house we've rented is completely trashed

Get the picture? I'm finding these "happy places" that I spend so much time trying to attain, are fleeting at best. Am I saying that the experiences themselves aren't worth it? Of course not! But, should I begin changing my perspective so that I'm not expecting the long-term happiness I'm constantly seeking in these moments to last? You bet.

Perhaps, that's why, many people struggle with the idea of Heaven lasting for Eternity. There isn't one "thing/activity" that I can think of that would work for me forever. Boredom, lack of challenge, shifting interests..... all common concerns for what it will be like for us; we know no other perspective.

HOWEVER, (and this is my "ah-hah" moment that happened last night), if I think of Eternity, it doesn't seem concerning at all if my thoughts go not towards activities, but to relationships. Consider that person[s] in your life that you love, absolutely love. Be it children, friends, spouse, siblings, family - those people that make life better just by being in your presense. Don't have an example coming to mind, how about that initial feeling of "true love forever" with a person you fell for - where all you wanted to do was soak in more and more time just being around him/her? If you'd been asked, you could only have dreamed for it to last for eternity. When I think of eternity in terms of relationships, all of a sudden, I want to cry. How I long to have that endless time with my best friends: my husband, sister, children, parents - and special friends.

So, if Heaven is then meant to be all about the RELATIONSHIP vs. the EXPERIENCES - what should I be putting my thoughts and energy into now? Let's be honest - with as much as I'd want an eternity with these loved ones, I wouldn't want them to be right next to me all that time (or lack of time!). Even the people in our lives can't satisfy all of our deep rooted needs. Yes, it satisfies longer than the "pursued-for moment", but relationships are still fickle and, here on earth, and quite undependable. Except One - (yes, you knew that was coming). God doesn't "get old", let us down, or become fickle in His love and affection for us. He is constant, yet vibrant and not-boring. He sustains, challenges, renews, encourages. The life he offers isn't about the fleeting "happy moments" it's about "life abundant". I love that word, "abundant"- oh, the possiblities.

I'm losing my computer power, and John is gone with the charger (see, fleeting moments!), so I'll end this novel here. I learned some things about myself last night and the futility of devoting so much of myself for things that won't last. As Steven Curtis Chapman so appropriately sums it up, "There's more to this life"......

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Fairfield Inn

Just to paint a little picture here:

-John and I are sitting in the "coffee table" area, with the hide-a-bed pulled out and elevated up, so we feel like we are in a hospital bed. We both have our laptops on our legs, sharing the snowman down blanket I brought. I just finished my second holiday magazine, painted my toenails a pretty glittery red, and am simultaneously watching a very surprising football game in which the bottom-dweller Arizona team is currently ahead of the Pac Ten leader, California. Go Wildcats!

-Both kids are sitting at the base of the "real bed" watching "Pirates of the Carribean" and seemingly getting along. As soon as their movie is over, we'll switch places and begin watching the OSU game, as, for some odd reason, Channel 14 only is received on that tv.

In the last 48 hours, this hotel room has seen 7 different guests. We decided to come up to Portland to see the OMSI "Star Wars" exhibit, and as we researched hotel options, we realized it was actually more advantageous to stay 3 nights. (Points issues). So, since John didn't have the opportunity to take Friday off, Lisa came up with me from Thursday to Friday. We all had a very good time, swimming, relaxing, indulging in KFC, and trashing the room that we knew the housekeeper would clean. Lisa left at about noon, and John joined us about 5 hours later - tomorrow we'll hit the exhibit.

In the meantime, I'm going to continue to soak in the coziness and store this tranquil time away as the busyness of the holidays soon begins to set in.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Couple of Questions XXXXII

I'm pleased to announce that I planted bulbs this morning. Last January I lamented over not getting around to it. So, after much procrastination, many bulbs are now underground. I don't think I did a good job of putting them there, but hopefully they are strong little bulbs and will reach the surface when my heart needs to see them the most!

I know these questions have been asked in various forms already, but in light of Colie's request for Christmas album favorites, I thought I'd revisit them.

1. What Christmas albums do you "highly recommend"?

2. What is a holiday tradition that you do that you hope to repeat again and again because it is just so FUN?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

This Week's Devotional

Pretty cool....

A Sense of Wonder
This devotional was written by Robin Dugall

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

Lately, I’ve been taking more and more time to reflect on the fast pace of life. I’ve thought it through extensively, looking for excuses to blow through life at a supersonic pace. You know what I’ve found? There are so many things that we rob ourselves of when the pace of living goes up and up. It seems like the faster we move, the more we miss. Not only do we miss the wonders of God’s creation all around us, such as sunsets, flowers, the beauty of a smile, and the awesomeness of the changing of the seasons, but we also miss out on one of the greatest wonders in life: the person who God has created us to be. When was the last time you took a moment and simply reflected on the miracle of you? When was the last time you thought about how wonderfully complex you are? Here are some amazing facts I read recently about how God has made you:

50,000 of the cells in your body will die and be replaced with new cells; all while you have been reading this sentence!
In one hour, your heart works hard enough to produce the equivalent energy to raise almost 1 ton of weight 1 yard off the ground.
Scientists have counted over 500 different liver functions.
In 1 square inch of skin there lies 4 yards of nerve fibers, 1300 nerve cells, 100 sweat glands, 3 million cells, and 3 yards of blood vessels.
There are 45 miles of nerves in the skin of a human being.
In a year, a person’s heart beats 40,000,000 times.
Most people blink about 25 times a minute.
Nerve impulses to and from the brain travel as fast as 170 miles per hour.
Your stomach has to produce a new layer of mucus every two weeks otherwise it will digest itself.
10. Your left lung is smaller than your right lung to make room for your heart.

Amazing, isn’t it? What a wonder you are! I love this quote from St. Augustine, “People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long course of rivers, and they pass by themselves without wondering.” Today, take time to recognize and then thank God for the wonder of who you are!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Music Recommendations

I know, I know, - it's still early for Christmas music. I have this rule for my own life that it is "allowed" after Halloween, but preferred to start at Veterans' Day.... but I think the weather influences my decisions each year as right now, the rain is definitely calling for a start to the cozy endorphines brought on by some good music.

So, I made a chance discovery at Target and found two CD's that I am really enjoying. They are found at their Christmas music kiosk (the kind where you can sample them and play the songs) - and it is called I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS - TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS VOLUME 1 AND SILVER BELLS - TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS VOLUME 2. Doris Day, Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Burl Ives - all the oldies but goodies by their original artists. Very fun.

Mikayla is definitely MY daughter - she is loving the music, singing along to each song, and her favorites are mine as well. I'm loving it. This morning brought two very funny things from her mouth, here you go:

Upon listening to the McGuire Sisters sing "Frosty the Snowman" she said:
"Those girls sad a bad word, Mommy"
(Knowing immediately what she was referring to-) "No, honey, they said 'button nose' not 'butt on nose'".

"Winter Wonderland" started to play and she said:
"What is that song - it sounds like 'Frosty' but I don't think it is?"
"No, it's called 'Winter Wonderland'"
"Oh, is that what Alice listens to all the time because she lives in 'Wonderland'?"

Too Precious!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

This Dog Roots for the Ducks (Not the Dawgs.....)

"Captain Bogey" adorned in his UO sweater for Halloween

Friday, November 03, 2006

Little to Say

Sorry my posts have been few and far between this week - not much to say. I finally got all of the laundry put away from Disneyland only to have 3 bins to put away from laundry just this week. Back to routine.....

I'm currently at Michele's for a quick overnite visit. We had to come check out Ruby and Mimi - Nati's new teddybear hamsters. Cute, but glad they're not mine. I know Michele feels the same way about Sydney.....

Right now, Michele is taking off with the girls to Walmart and the boys are out in the rain in rubber boots getting completely filthy and wet - good ol' country fun and just the place to do it at (not my house getting destroyed with dirt....)

John is home right now suffering from a nasty head cold. Hopefully Sydney is being a good nursemaid to him. His illness has led us to sell our Husky tickets. Hmmmm, watching the game in 50 degree rain at Autzen, or home with 100 hundred extra dollars watching the game on TBS, with a fire roaring, candle lit and magazines a plenty....... Sorry you are feeling crummy, honey, but thankful that it gave us an excuse to opt out!

John's family will be joining us on Sunday, so I should have some fun pics to post from that - until then, keep dry and enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Too Funny to Withhold....

Everybody that has read this has gotten such a good laugh/smile out of it - I had to share.....

A cabbie picks up a Nun. She gets into the cab, and notices that the VERY handsome cab driver won't stop staring at her. She
asks him why he is staring. He replies: "I have a question to ask you but I don't want to offend you."

She answers, "My son, you cannot offend me. When you're as old as I am and have been a nun as long as I have, you get a chance to see and hear just about everything. I'm sure that there's nothing you could say or ask that I would find offensive."

"Well, I've always had a fantasy to have a nun kiss me."

She responds, "Well, let's see what we can do about that: #1, you have to be single and #2, you must be Catholic."

The cab driver is very excited and says, "Yes, I'm single and Catholic!

"OK" the nun says. "Pull into the next alley."

The nun fulfills his fantasy with a kiss that would make a hooker blush. But when they get back on the road, the cab driver
starts crying.

"My dear child," said the nun, why are you crying?"

"Forgive me but I've sinned. I lied and I must tell you, I'm married and I'm Jewish."

The nun says, "That's OK. My name is Kevin and I'm going to a Halloween party."