Sunday, February 28, 2010

Time to Celebrate

Since John did such a phenomenal job power-washing the patio last weekend, we thought we better take advantage of the wonderful sunshine and host a gathering at our house to honor Mikaya's baptism. In an effort to "mix up" our food offerings, we opted for some store-bought fried chicken. It was delicious. So were the beans, the chips, the jo-jo's, the fruit salad, the cookies, and the peach kuchen. My belly is full, and I really ought to spend the rest of the afternoon on the elliptical and not on this bean bag watching the Olympics.

Here's some pre-eating shots of Mikayla's fan club (that's our church in the background):

And, Mikayla with Erica - who was also baptized today......

Some of our attendees......we had so much food, and had no idea how many were coming over, I'm pleased that all of these awesome friends did show up (not pictured was John's mom, not so sure how she craftily avoided the cameras!).....

A sample of the food spread.......

We had a fair share of kiddos in attendance too - there were the "big boys"......

And the "little boys"........

And the girls.........

The trampoline was a big draw today. Will, Julie, myself, John, Sheldon, Dennis, Mark and Christy all partook in the fun today - due in large part to the girls' relentless begging.......note the look on Christina's face pleading for her dad to come on and jump with them, as well as the hovering around Julie and Will in these first three pictures.....

Can you believe tomorrow is March 1st? I'm so thankful to be edging closer to spring....these days of sunshine have been so marvelous!

Beautiful Baptism

Today was a very, very special morning. Not only did Mikayla get baptized, but John got to be "in the tank" with her and ask her if she's asked Jesus to live in her heart and if she will follow him for the rest of her life. (She said "yes" to both!) =) I will upload a video once we figure out how that new gizmo works. John was able to also share with the congregation how last year Mikayla commented to us that because of being around the college students, she really understands now what it means to follow Jesus.

It was incredibly beautiful - and very blessedly, Julie and Kaela were able to man the cameras to catch these shots (while I took care of our new videocamera).

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Pre-Baptism Indulgence

Tomorrow, Mikayla is getting baptized. In preparation, our youth pastor suggested that we make a big deal out of the experience - celebrate. do you celebrate a growing-up-way-too-fast little girl? How about an afternoon at the spa? And, that's just what we did. Because, you know, she can't go there by herself - I volunteered to sacrifice my day and accompany her. (It's hard being me).
Actually, it is something we had talked about before, on some sort of occasion when Brayden and Daddy had gone and done something special (perhaps a sporting event or something) - and I had told Mikayla we could do this sometime. She's been "reminding" me for a while, and then, earlier this week, it dawned on me that maybe we could work this all out to make this weekend even more special. I'd use the last of my last birthday gift certificate for the two of us. She also was in need of a good hair trim - and what do you know, but Bello had availability to make both work back to back.

As we were sitting there sipping our fountain sodas and eating our Monster Cookie Snickerdoodles (a splurge pedicure just isn't the same with rice cakes....), I asked Mikayla if this was one of her favorite dates. "Oh yes", was her response. I then asked her if she liked this or the horseback trail ride we did last summer better......"this, because it's warmer!" Hmmm, that wouldn't have been my determining adjective, but whatever.....
I did feel bad for her that she didn't get to experience the full benefits of the massage chair. Her legs were too short so she had to sit forward. However, when her toes were done before mine, I suggested she sit back. The chair had a shiatzu rolling's pretty much a taste of Heaven, and Mikayla definitely agreed. By the time she got to her hair cut and the stylist started blowdrying her hair, she was nearly asleep.......Oh honey, we clearly have the same love language....she said she'll be asking for a Bello gift certificate from Santa this year.......

CCF Talent Show

Last night the Whites and us attended CCF's annual Talent Show. This is our second year going, and I think the entertainment last night exceeded the previous year we went.
There was magic - an ongoing spoof of CCF's oldest sponsor (he and his wife were faithfully there when we attended), as he "helped" in about 5 acts different "first-timers" pull off tricks. It was very cute......
There was singing and instrumental acts, including a few with some SERIOUS talent.

And, then, there was the favorite included about 6 collegians doing a very long routine to different genres of dance music classics. When you know these kids as rather "straight-laced" individuals, watching them perform the moves to "THRILLER" is absolutely a crack-up. Another big hit of the night was 6 gals dressed in black with glow sticks taped to their outfits in stick figure shape. With the lights out, it was a super cool effect of them performing to "Single Ladies". I knew the girls in that one pretty well - and was really pleased with one of them especially who normally wouldn't be quite as daring......with no one able to recognize her face (and I was sitting front row so this was very true) she demonstrated the courage. Way to go girl!
The final act of the night tore down the house with one of the veteran members of the Trinity House changing the lyrics to that song sung in "Shrek" ("I like big butts and I can not lie...." that's all I know of it, I know it is a real song, but that's my point of reference) - to "Girl Got Book" - about how attractive a girl with a good Bible is. I'm telling you, that was Danielle's glory moment as she rapped her way through that song with all of us roaring in laughter - not to mention the antics of all of the other dancers/performers with her (even Brayden got pulled up to dance on that one). I'll have to upload the video for you on that one when it becomes available.
All in all, a GREAT night. Brayden brought Jack with him and I think they are convinced they'll do an act together next year. As it was, their "British Accent for the Night" routine had us cracking up. Finally, on the way home from dropping off Jack, here's Brayden's last act of entertainment as posted by Stephie White on Facebook: "Brayden was quite loud on the ride home from the CCF Talent Show Tonight. What came out of it was what I believe is the 'quote of the year'. John: 'Brayden, you can probably just zip it for the rest of the ride home.' Brayden: (after a short pause...) 'Um, my zipper's stuck.' I love you kid!!!!"

P.S. - All these great images are courtesy of Kaela - thank you!!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Good Advice from Joe Fox

I'm so on the edge of putting up a snarky post - I even used my dashboard thesaurus to find a good word for the title, but I know that I'd just end up feeling guilty and pulling the post. It's like those conversations between Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in "You've Got Mail" (LOVE that movie):

Joe Fox (Tom Hanks): But then, on the other hand, I must warn you that when you finally have the pleasure of saying the thing you mean to say at the moment you mean to say it, remorse inevitably follows.

That whole magnanimity thing? Well, I consider it no irony that it was hammered home so much this last weekend - between John and I, we've really had to make choices as to whether or not to put it into practice this week. And, let me tell you, the battle is still going on for that "choice" - even as I'm typing......I've already erased a whole paragraph!

(Hint: My frustration has to do with a question I asked y'all about a week don't go thinking it is anything bigger or more personal than it really is. Let's just say that suggesting change is hard for everyone!)

And, as for John - poor guy - there have been circumstances at work for him - and then my vehicle.......grrrr! We sincerely believe that John negotiated such a good deal for us, that the dealership is dragging their feet intentionally so that my vehicle won't arrive until the beginning of March when everything would have to be re-negotiated as it would launch a new and different set of deals being offered by Honda...... Really?........

The good news: this week seems to be flying by. I had a great "reunion visit" with my long-time friend, Jodi (aka Literarygirl) yesterday. Today I'll be meeting with two super-star college ladies. And this weekend had the promise of some very special events....more to come. =)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


That's a mouthful, huh? I'm still not sure if I'm able to pronounce it correctly.

Being magnanimous means: Rising above pettiness and meanness, noble in mind and spirit, generous in overlooking an offense.

(As communicated by our pastor this last Sunday).

The reference was Genesis 13 when Abram chooses magnanimity in regards to parting ways with his nephew Lot. While that is a great story, I feel like there are plenty of examples in my own life that illustrate the concept much more profoundly - or should I say, have the potential to.

Because, you see, being magnanimous is really a choice- a choice you must actively, repetitively make. More of Pastor Ben's sermon: "Faith affords us a magnanimous spirit towards others in the face of strife. Faith reminds us that as children of God there is nothing of essential value we could lose here on Earth."

Has the choice to be magnanimous in the face of strife been something you've encountered lately? Have you witnessed the destructive path the Enemy has in mind when magnanimity has not been chosen......I know I have. And, in an effort to clear-cut the "logs in my own eye" those circumstances have greatly challenged me to seek to bestow grace in circumstances in my own life.

As far as it coming full circle (and seemingly to have this point hammered home to me) this is an excerpt from my daily devotional:

The Christian life is an exchanged life. Jesus’ life for your life. When Christ takes control, your life takes on dimensions you would never have known apart from Him. When you are weak, then Christ demonstrates His strength in your life (2 Cor. 12:9–10). When you face situations that are beyond your comprehension, you have only to ask, and the infinite wisdom of God is available to you (James 1:5). When you are faced with humanly impossible situations, God does the impossible (Luke 18:27). When you encounter people whom you find difficult to love, God expresses His unconditional love through you (1 John 4:7). When you are at a loss as to what you should pray for someone, the Spirit will guide you in your prayer life (Rom. 8:16). When Christ takes up residence in the life of a believer, “all the fullness of God” is available to that person (Eph. 3:19).

So, here's to magnanimity - and my own efforts to make it my active choice in day to day life.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Productive Weekend...

I woke up and the scales were ugly and the last of my russian tea mix barely made a 1/3 of a cup. I'm sure hoping this Monday gets less ugly as the day wears on..... =(

However, the weekend was a really great one. Despite the way we began Saturday - all four of us lounging on the same couch with even Sydney trying to find a place to join quickly picked up its pace.

While I focused on the house, John and Travis were car-cleaning warriors with my little van. Had to get it ready to trade in! (And, let me tell you, daily traveling with a hairy golden retriever and cloth interior do NOT mix). Yes, that means I'm getting a new vehicle. It was determined that not only my transmission was failing, but most likely the steering console as well. Certainly not worth trying to repair based on what the vehicle is worth. The new vehicle will be probably be in my possession by Tuesday night. I'm very excited, but with all new purchases, there's a feeling of "do I really deserve this?" The kids think so though....they are very excited. (And let me just say that Travis and John are not only skilled at cleaning a vehicle, but oh my, the deals they can score....I stay 100% out of the whole thing and just let them handle it, and boy did they ever!)

On the kid front, Brayden had another basketball game and did another outstanding job. I'm so proud of his achievements and so thankful for the coach that team has - what a positive force.

On Sunday, after a great church service (which I'll probably dive into with a blog post tomorrow), we decided to take advantage of the sunshine and spring clean. With some help from Julie and Kaela (who I honestly wondered about their mental state of mind to volunteer for such an endeavor on such a gorgeous day), we pulled out the boat and tackled the garage.
This meant organizing and putting away all of the residual Christmas stuff - but as it's all done now I can say - Yippee - the boat is ready to go out. Next sunshine-y day - we might just be on the water, and guess who for sure will be the first to be invited......
We also tackled the yards (so much moss!) - and John pressure-washed the back patio. We are legitimately ready for some outdoor if we just recognize that it really is still February - and nearly a month until we are really out of the season of winter.....

Great weekend. The rains are returning tomorrow - but the promise of what's to come seems just a bit closer now!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Nothing Like the Scenic Route

When I saw that the weather forecast showed sunshine through the end of this week - with temps around 60 degrees, I asked Julie and Kaela if they'd like to join me for a hike to Kentucky Falls. Unfortunately, Kaela had other plans, but Julie was game.

It had been about 10 years since I'd done this particular hike, but the route to get there had hung pretty strong in my memory. The cut-off for the BLM road is only about 45 minutes from where we live, but then it's about 16 miles of traversing through the coast range to get to the trailhead. No worries, Julie (and Syd) don't get car sick - and since I had an avid audience, I played a cassette tape of one of my all-time favorite speakers, Lori Salierno, when she spoke at Jesus Northwest back in 1995....that woman is amazing - and her message kicked off a very fun, positive day. =)

This is a picture of the vista as we climbed, climbed, climbed up into the coastal mountains. No, that's not's just the fog settling into the valleys.

After winding through the mountains, we finally arrived at the parking area by the trailhead - only to smell and discover smoke pouring out of both sides of the hood. Uh oh..... Julie and I figured we weren't going to lift the hood to demonstrate our vast skills of mechanics until it cooled down - so, hey, if it starts or not, we might as well go for a hike. (However, the entire time it loomed in my mind that "what if it's my fault? - did I go too long before getting the oil changed? - quick end-to-the-story answer to that - no, it wasn't my fault, we're pretty certain it was from the transmission failing)

So, Kentucky Falls is only a half mile into the hike - and hey, if you are going to drive that far (and overheat your car) - you might as well proceed past these falls and go all the way down to the twin falls at the end of two miles.....

It really is spectacular to be at the base of these two falls. One of them is very obscured by the shade, where the other was shining in the sunshine - you can see them both at the edges of this image:

The falls to the right - more in the shade:

The falls to the left - in the sunshine:

On the return trip (which was all uphill) - we stopped and played a bit to capture more pics of Kentucky Falls at its base

Upon returning to our vehicle, we were pleased to see that none of the dipsticks showed low fluid levels, and it was no longer stinking or smoking. It started right off, which was also a good sign. So, it would have been smart to not press our luck and return directly home, but oh no - we had different plans in mind. Somehow, we took a wrong turn - and by the time we'd realized it, we'd found our way down the mountain along a different path. We were not at all excited by the idea of turning back to the previous intersection and having to push the engine back up an incline, so we figured we'd find a main route soon enough. No such luck. And no map. And no cell service. Fortunately, we did start with a full tank of gas. Eventually, we encountered a woman walking along the road (exercising) - and asked her how to get to a main road. She told us we'd hit up with Reedsport in about 6 miles. REEDSPORT? Are you kidding? We were so far off from our original route...

I snapped a picture of a map of the route we took - if you look closely you can see Kentucky Falls in red - part way between Florence and Eugene. Somehow, we took a wrong turn and found our way considerably south.No worries, after a good laugh, we found that Reedsport had a Dairy Queen that served delicious blizzards - and were able to take Highway 38 on home - showing Julie the highlights of the elk reserve and the cute and quaint town of Elkton along the way.

While there were a few wrong turns and breakdowns along the way, I think both Julie and I would both say it just added to the fun we had. For sure, another great memory day....