Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Very Disappointing Easter

So...."Easter 2013" won't go down as my favorite.  I had such high expectations.  The weather was set to be glorious, it was the "on" year to have the Schillings down, and Mom and Dad were both feeling good and ready to hang and play with all of us.  John had spent the day prior power-washing all of the outdoor spaces, and I had planted some felt like we were going to get a summer party in April.  Costco's "Prime" steaks had been purchased to bbq, corn on the cob....and every other "taste favorite" as Michele and I knew it was our last day to party (eating wise) before getting serious in April.

 Michael took this last picture...which should have meant I would have been in it.

But, no, I'm not there.  I was just down the hallway, having a "pity party" in my bed because my head felt like it was in a vice grip.

To back up, all week long - and even the week prior, in terms of head/neck issues, I had been praising God right and left for the fact that prescription pain killers hadn't even been touched.  It was one of the longest stretches I'd had in a very long time, and spring break was a great time to experience it.

In fact, I spent some time talking about that to the ladies the day before Easter, all the while recognizing a bit of pain creeping up.  But, I figured, with as little as I'd needed the prescription pain killers, just taking one of those would put an immediate stop to it.

But, it didn't.  At the intermission of the play, I found myself dry-swallowing another one (nasty!) - and again that night.  I went to bed early believing all it would take was some heat, but switched to ice halfway through the night.  Then, as I found myself awake until dawn, I figured I might miss church service, but then Mom could come and "patch me up" following it.

That is what happened, but by the time Mom came to the rescue, the pain had settled in so deep that it took a lot of recovery after-the-fact to get beyond the nauseousness and pain.  By the time I made it into the living room, Mom and Dad had already left.  :(  Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah!

It's one thing when it is a big social function (that my semi-introvert self feels thankful to miss out on) that I miss, but something like this - when it is a priceless family holiday.... Yeah, I was in a bad negative place.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

"West Side Story" with the Ladies

While we were in California, ready to attend another theatrical performance, I got a text from Kaela asking if I'd like "to go, like we talked about on Valentine's Day"....I was so confused as she never told me what she was inviting me to attend.  A question resolving text later, it was clarified that I was being asked if I'd like to see "West Side Story" with Christi and Heather as we had talked about wanting to see it when we were on our Valentine's Day walk.  Despite the fact that I've seen it at least a couple of times previously, it's one of my favorite musicals, so I was really excited.  It's funny how that date seemed so far away, and now, here I am, blogging about it.

We were able to bring Heather in to the date too - so the plan was to meet up at Christi's home and walk from her house to lunch downtown, and then on to the Hult Center nearby.  

Christi and Tyler's town house that they rent is absolutely adorable.  And, the way she's already decorated it is so adorable- so classically Christi - beautiful, warm, inviting, classy....

Despite living in Eugene/Springfield almost my entire life, I've never really embraced the downtown community - (which is really trying to build itself's been lacking a lot of charm for many, many years).   So, it was a new experience for me to walk through the streets - several blocks from her home to arrive at a restaurant the ladies were excited to eat at, "Sweet Basil".

"Sweet Basil" is a Thai restaurant and the girls were very sweet in asking me first if I'd be okay with it, knowing I'm not much of an ethnic foods eater.... (I can't imagine where my kids get their picky eating from!!!).  I told them I was along for the ride, and as long as there was a choice that wasn't too spicy (which is not a picky thing, just a "I-can't-handle-it" thing).  This is what I ended up with- I can't remember what it's called, but it was tasty.   I think everyone else enjoyed their entrees too.  However, I found the atmosphere to be absolutely empty...our family (particularly John and the kids) are so influenced by the "feel" of the restaurant - much more than the taste of any food pick.  We are definitely not "foodies" - but more "experience" when it comes to dining out...

This is the reader board at the the Hult Center, our community's performing arts center.  I made a point of catching the title of what we were going to see, but I thought it was worthwhile catching a pic of the temperature of this day in April....ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!!!!  I think it made it to 70 by the of the best spring break weekends we've ever had. 
We finished our meal faster than expected, so we had time to relax before the musical began.  We just basked in the sun and caught up on each others' lives.

When we finally decided to walk inside - we were approached by a well-dressed gentleman who offered to give us four tickets (for free).  We thanked him for the offer and replied that we already had tickets, but then, knowing our seats were in the "nose-bleed" section, suggested that maybe we ask where his seats were located.  Sure enough, they were a lot closer than ours were, so we took them with gratitude and promised to do our best to return the favor by giving away the tickets we had purchased.  He was happy to just "do something" with those un-used tickets.  Sadly, as hard as we tried, no one else we encountered needed tickets, and with such a short time before the musical began - we couldn't find anyone to give them to.  We tried....

We realized after the fact that the tickets were split in to two sets of two, but it was still worth splitting up and seeing the performance up close than being together way up high and way, way back.  Kaela and I took the Orchestra Level seats, while Heather and Christi were in the first row in the first balcony.  I think the two sets of seats were pretty similar in terms of view....which was excellent. 

This is the view from where we sat:

So, with as great as our view was, I wish the performance was better.  This was the least favorite version I've seen.  Mom and Dad had seen the same version the year prior up in Portland (and were also in the audience a few rows back from us at this one) - and had warned me that a lot of the singing was done in Spanish.  That was a bit distracting, but I expected it.  However, they also changed the order of the songs - and turned things a lot edgier.  One scene in particular exhibited violence against a female character that I did not see coming.  It wasn't overtly graphic, just really disturbing....  Kind of disappointing as you have to wonder what the purpose was in needing to make these kind of changes to such an epic musical. 

All in all, though - it was a very special day.  Despite any let down of the performance, - for me - that's not what the day was about - it was instead just the honor of spending time with three very amazing ladies that I adore.

Friday, March 29, 2013

A Few Odds and Ends of Spring Break

Spring break ended up being rather boring in the big picture, but perfectly paced as far as I was concerned.  We ended up staying an additional night in Dallas - which was just fine as far as my boys were concerned.

In fact, as it turned out, they got some additional bonding time on Tuesday of spring break as Brayden woke up in the middle of the night with a horrible sore throat.  A later trip to the doctor (due to additional ear discomfort) proved that he wasn't in dire straights, but I'm glad he went as he'd been sick for a while with a pretty nasty cough.   He ended up staying home from Harlow with Daddy that Tuesday - they watched movies all day and just being cozy.  

Back up in Dallas, this was how some of the time was spent- playing "Ticket to Ride".  It was Mikayla's first time playing and Michele commented that she did a great job catching on (but, Michele still mercilessly beat her.) 

We also did this - a trip to the movies to see "Oz, the Great and Powerful".  The girls all enjoyed it.  

When we returned Friday night, this little cheerleader showed up.  She came over with her parents to watch the Ducks aim for the "Elite Eight".  Sadly, we were dealt the loss by Louisville, but given that they JUST NOW (as I'm typing....) won the national championship, I'd say the Ducks did alright (given we were supposed to be ranked 7th in just the Pac 12).

The loss didn't really bother Whitley...

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Veil Was Torn

As I was growing up, when it came to God and religion, the word that most came to mind was FEAR.  I wanted to know Him, I wanted to understand Him, I wanted to follow Him - but everything I read scared me, so it became easier to do the bare minimum to get by without diving so deep that I'd recognize all the ways I was failing.

In high school, my sister and I made a more concerted effort to "earn favor with God" - and began attending a church that a friend went to.  While we felt it gave us "check marks" in God's attendance chart, it did little else to help us understand Him more.  And so it went as we attended church with one religion/denomination, participated in activities and camps with another religion/denomination, and watched with interest friends participating in so many others as well.  We saw some rules being faithfully followed - and among those following, some with hearts full of joy and love - and others with emptiness.  We saw kids who participated in church-like organizations (i.e. "Young Life") who proclaimed how "cool it was", but later got kicked off their sports team for doing activities way off base (and inconsistent with what was supposedly taught at those Monday night meetings). 

Despite so many observations, camp "mountain top" experiences, sermons from those I didn't respect and some I whole-heartedly respected, at-home Bible readings, songs by Christian artists, friendship conversations, and "Grandma lectures" - I DID NOT GET IT.  It was as if a shroud concealed me from grasping the truth of the Gospel despite all of MY efforts to get to it.

It wasn't until the beginning of my sophomore year of college that through GOD'S divine intervention (quite the set of random circumstances got me there) - I attended a Campus Crusade for Christ retreat.  I think I've made references to this before, but it was there that everything lined up.  All along I'd been trying to figure out which ONE particular denomination/religion was going to be the key to getting to Heaven - with each of them, thus far, having let me down in one way or another.  It was at this retreat that the shroud was lifted...the veil was torn.  I wasn't finding truth because I was looking for all the wrong things - I was looking for a church, or a group, or a set of followers with rules....instead of looking for the person of Jesus Christ - the answer to it all.

In following the remarkable pattern of twin ship that Michele and I shared, we both came to this radical grasp of God's love on the same day - finally "getting it" on the Sunday of the retreat.  And, in a special gift also bestowed from God, he ignited in both of us a recognition of what love could feel like for a future husband on that day too.  Essentially, we both fell in love in two ways that day - finding ourselves finally able to see God as loving and the extent of His love for us through Jesus - and secondly, meeting men that embodied the qualities we'd always longed for, but never thought we'd find or be worthy to receive.  Michele ended up marrying that man she fell for that for me, he was the first of four men I gave a part of my heart to - a man I believed I could have married, but thankfully was not the ultimate one God chose for me to walk down the aisle to commit my life to.  Clearly, God knew that both of us needed to understand the depth of His love before we could ever recognize and accept the love of a mere man who would make as many mistakes as we would on the journey.


As I thought about what I'd like to write about this Easter, God impressed upon me, through a Christian song I was listening to, how important the "veil being torn" following Jesus' death on the cross is.  Of course, at Easter, there is so much of significance to focus upon, and I don't want to take away from everything that happened for you and for me on the cross - the very act that made access to God, to Heaven, available for the asking.

But, for me this "veil" is extra personal.  It's God saying, "no more rules, no more 'high priest', no more special-access-only, no more animal sacrifices... I've destroyed that way of living, that way of thinking and have made it so that Jesus is the only way and path you'll ever need to come to Me".

I can write from heart until my fingers go numb, but am quick to admit that my explanation of theology is not something I'd want to be "quoted on" - so I'm adding an excerpt found very simply through Google....but in its simplicity I feel like it's exactly what I'd want to be able to say and reference if I could.  So, I will "cut and paste" so it's also available to you....

Found at

Question: "What was the significance of the temple veil being torn in two when Jesus died?"

During the lifetime of Jesus, the holy temple in Jerusalem was the center of Jewish religious life. The temple was the place where animal sacrifices were carried out and worship according to the Law of Moses was followed faithfully. Hebrews 9:1-9 tells us that in the temple a veil separated the Holy of Holies—the earthly dwelling place of God’s presence—from the rest of the temple where men dwelt. This signified that man was separated from God by sin (Isaiah 59:1-2). Only the high priest was permitted to pass beyond this veil once each year (Exodus 30:10; Hebrews 9:7) to enter into God's presence for all of Israel and make atonement for their sins (Leviticus 16).

Solomon's temple was 30 cubits high (1 Kings 6:2), but Herod had increased the height to 40 cubits, according to the writings of Josephus, a first century Jewish historian. There is uncertainty as to the exact measurement of a cubit, but it is safe to assume that this veil was somewhere near 60 feet high. Josephus also tells us that the veil was four inches thick and that horses tied to each side could not pull the veil apart. The book of Exodus teaches that this thick veil was fashioned from blue, purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen.

The size and thickness of the veil makes the events occurring at the moment of Jesus’ death on the cross so much more momentous. “And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Matthew 27:50-51a).

So, what do we make of this? What significance does this torn veil have for us today? Above all, the tearing of the veil at the moment of Jesus' death dramatically symbolized that His sacrifice, the shedding of His own blood, was a sufficient atonement for sins. It signified that now the way into the Holy of Holies was open for all people, for all time, both Jew and Gentile.

When Jesus died, the veil was torn, and God moved out of that place never again to dwell in a temple made with hands (Acts 17:24). God was through with that temple and its religious system, and the temple and Jerusalem were left “desolate” (destroyed by the Romans) in A.D. 70, just as Jesus prophesied in Luke 13:35. As long as the temple stood, it signified the continuation of the Old Covenant. Hebrews 9:8-9 refers to the age that was passing away as the new covenant was being established (Hebrews 8:13).

In a sense, the veil was symbolic of Christ Himself as the only way to the Father (John 14:6). This is indicated by the fact that the high priest had to enter the Holy of Holies through the veil. Now Christ is our superior High Priest, and as believers in His finished work, we partake of His better priesthood. We can now enter the Holy of Holies through Him. Hebrews 10:19-20 says that the faithful enter into the sanctuary by the “blood of Jesus, by the new and living way which he opened for us through the veil, that is, through his flesh.” Here we see the image of Jesus’ flesh being torn for us just as He was tearing the veil for us.

The veil being torn from top to bottom is a fact of history. The profound significance of this event is explained in glorious detail in Hebrews. The things of the temple were shadows of things to come, and they all ultimately point us to Jesus Christ. He was the veil to the Holy of Holies, and through His death the faithful now have free access to God.

The veil in the temple was a constant reminder that sin renders humanity unfit for the presence of God. The fact that the sin offering was offered annually and countless other sacrifices repeated daily showed graphically that sin could not truly be atoned for or erased by mere animal sacrifices. Jesus Christ, through His death, has removed the barriers between God and man, and now we may approach Him with confidence and boldness (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Have a BLESSED EASTER everyone...and it is my prayer that the significance of the veil being lifted will be a very real experience in your own heart.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Whew!  We made it.  We have officially arrived to spring break and I am ever so thankful.  Michele's kids started their spring break a little earlier than ours, so they arrived on Friday morning.  Michele got to enjoy some Whitley time on the last day I had her before the break.  Stephie has accumulated enough "comp" hours to be able to stay home with Whitley during spring break- so happy for her!  

This pic was snapped on Saturday morning.  Michele's not thrilled that she looks grumpy - I think it's amusing that Whitley's bouncer is still in the living room from the night before when the Whites were over, and John is snuggling Mikayla's polar bear pillow pet.  That's what you get when you snap a candid pic trying to get the whole family in the shot.   I'm pretty sure it was "Auction Hunters" that was on the tv that had everyone semi-interested.  Throughout the day, the kids spent A LOT of the time outside (Hallelujah!) - playing on the court, playing "Hide and Go Seek", etc....and as for us adults, we were busy watching the Ducks make it to the "Sweet Sixteen" in basketball.  Such a shame that our UO athletics have been so lame this year!  ;) 

Sydney managed to wrestle the pillow pet away from John to cuddle with it too...

On Monday morning - this happened.  Because of the year age difference between Traig and Brayden, Traig got to bump up in his roll at Harlow - this year qualifying as a CIT - Counselor in Training.  That means he gets to spend the night at Harlow during the day camps, including spring break.  I wish that Brayden got the opportunity this year, but then again, it's a great thing for them to develop their own identities - especially Traig as this isn't his home town.  It's a very cool thing when he visits high school group on Sundays and has a group of friends that look forward to seeing just him.

We're also happy to have Brayden around during the evenings for one more year.  He's in a really great place in life right now- so his enthusiasm/happy factor is pretty high.  Other than exasperating us to a huge degree when it explodes at the bedtime hour, it makes him pretty fun to be around.  =)  

Go get 'em Phineas!

After dropping Brayden off at Harlow on Monday morning, Michele and I took our girls and headed north.  (John's able to pick up and drop off B at Harlow - giving those two some quality bonding time in the evenings through Wednesday).  Our first destination point was the Woodburn Outlets.  That place just keeps getting better and better with its constant expansion providing more and more shopping (spending!) opportunities.  Of course, it was at Nike where I spent the me some sporty comfort clothes! 

Now on Tuesday morning, I'm sitting in Michele's bed, watching a little "Today" show and anticipating a day of "R & R" before heading back to Eugene with everyone on Wednesday.  Michele will hang out for the rest of the week with us, and then Michael will join us on Friday afternoon in time to watch the Ducks play their next basketball game that could lead them to the "Elite Eight".  I'm looking forward to the weekend as well - the temperatures are predicted to be in the low 70's (are you kidding?!).

On a final note, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!  As I wrote on Facebook, I couldn't ask for a more extraordinary mom - who plays so many priceless rolls in my life.  I hope today marks the beginning of one of the richest, most abundant years ever for you! 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Weekly Whitley Fix

It's been a while since I've thrown a whole bunch of Whitley-themed pics together - so this will be random.

This was taken on one of the many walks I get a chance to take with Whitley - so cozy.

On Stephie's birthday, after I took her out to see her mommy, I met up with Christi and Heather for a quick lunch.  Again, that little girl gets SO MUCH love.

This pic was taken on Wednesday when Kaela did a quick stop by.  Gorgeous, indeed!

I happen to think carrots are Whitley's favorite.  I prefer the smell of them compared to squash or sweet potatoes, which Steph prefers.  Perfect....I'll take the carrots for my shift.  They are very messy though, especially when you let Whitley get a hold of the spoon.

Mikayla, trying to teach Whitley how to use her ipod...(or more likely, showing her pictures of herself)

Whitley loves her feet and her toes.  She's a very flexible baby - and thinks it's hilarious when I take one of her feet and touch her nose with her big toe.  I love these kind of poses with babies...

She's also a water lover.  Travis and Steph took some outstanding photos/video of their time together in the indoor pool in Sunriver when they took their first family mini-vacation.  She'll be following in her mom's award-winning swimming path in no time.   So, I decided to take advantage of that by having Whitley join me in the shower.  She got a lot more "back-splash" than intended as I washed my hair so it wasn't as fun as I'd hoped for her....but, of course, she was smiling anyway.

One of the dozens of pictures I could take on any given morning of Whitley and Brayden together...

Last Tuesday I went to visit my doctor, Lisa Quillin, to fill her in on some of the details of an upcoming sinus procedure I'll be having- and look at a harmless spot on my leg.  (So, in other words, a social visit).  I mentioned that as the spot on my leg that was the purpose for the visit had already started healing right on its own, I was tempted to cancel the appointment.  Lisa looked hurt as she would have missed out on seeing Whitley again - as well as catching up with me.  She is just a couple of years older than myself and I can't believe how much I scored in having a doctor as priceless as she is - that also qualifies as a friend.  She even called me the other day, out of the blue, just to let me know that she'd ran into another doctor, who's a family friend, that I had helped out when their family was going through a rough time - and after hearing that conversation wanted to let me know how fantastic I am.  Definitely not what a person would expect to hear when they see their doctor's name pop up on caller ID!

In an effort to keep Whitley happy while I'm out at Mom and Dad's getting worked on, I picked up a cheap walker at Target that folds down that can be kept out there just for our visits.  Indeed, Whitley liked it, but what I didn't anticipate was how much Mackie would love it.  He LOVES any and all toys (he's such an interactive, curious, playful dog) - so he thought that all those plastic gadgets, particularly the horn that made the familiar squeaking sound was just for him.  Throw in a cute baby with all sorts of great smells and he was on Cloud Nine.  Because of Bogey and Sydney - and every other home she's ever stayed at/been babysat at (grandparents/aunts) all having dogs - she is very comfortable around them, so Mackie doesn't bother her either.  Eventually, in Mackie's attempts at checking out all of the "toys" he began pushing her walker around the massage room, much to Whitley's delight.  It was so cute.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Return to the Pool

A couple of weeks ago, John returned to OHSU to see the doctor who performed his cornea transplant.  He got the great news that it is healing exceptionally well, his vision is steadily improving, and...most importantly to the kids....he can lift a weight over 20 pounds again and go swimming!  Woo hoo!  They have missed their daddy during our visits to the hotel pool!

With Mikayla's club volleyball team, there are two tournaments a month from January through May.  However, due to spring break, February and March seem to have them all back to back.  On this one, we opted to stay at our Lake Oswego Fairfield Inn.  Notice Brayden in the background on his pull out sofa...he was a little bummed to be the one shafted from the king size bed.  We'll return to two queen beds in the future.

Saturday morning took us to the pool.  Together again!  I was playing around with my phone camera settings and found some cool features to try to capture them "in flight".

As it turned out, Kenady's club soccer team was playing on Saturday about 15 minutes from where we were staying.  As Mikayla has wanted to support her by catching a game, we figured this was as good as time as any.  Unfortunately, it was POURING down rain throughout...  The good news, we were cozy next to Jonna under a gigantic umbrella.  The bad news, Kenady didn't have that benefit.  She played her heart out, though - so impressive.  That girl is such an outstanding athlete.

The tournament on Sunday was a casual one, without an effect on overall standings.  The kids had fun, ended up in third place and we were on the road heading home by 3:30....perhaps a new record for the quickest tournament exit. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013


In lieu of yet another tournament trip up north, I took Sydney out to Mom and Dad's for a weekend with Mackie.  Usually, when I'm out at Mom and Dad's, it's for my benefit, and my goal is to keep Whitley happy while I'm worked on, but it's not "about her" time.  So, it was great to have a little time to just have fun with her out there - as frequently she gets a little scared waking up in her carseat in a foreign environment in the massage room. 

Grandma pulled out all the stops and let her bounce on the mini-trampoline.  As Mackie is OBSESSED with Whitley and particularly any toys she has, he couldn't keep off of it while it was her play time.

Next up, the horses.  Mikayla and my dad had taken her out to see them on a previous trip when she was upset during one of my sessions with Mom.   However, she was not in the mood for new experiences on that day.  So, I had to remedy that - Mom and I formally introduced her to River.  Not surprisingly, Whitley was fearless.  With all the dog encounters she has in her life, I didn't expect to have a "really big one" scare her.  She pet them, smiled at them - enjoyed it all.  And, sweet River was as gentle as could be.

I don't think we are seeing any signs of "Horse Fever" yet, but I wonder if Travis and Steph will want me to limit some of these visits just in case she does fall head over heels (like my mom has) for horses.  Travis and Steph's home (like ours) isn't quite ready for a "birthday pony".  =)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Whitley's Play Date

On Thursday, I knew I'd be seeing the doctor in regards to the results of the sinus CAT scan.  Not knowing how long I'd be waiting and imagining Whitley would prefer other arrangements, I asked Christi if she'd be willing to watch Whitley during that time.  She, of course, said "Yes" - and then asked if she could bring little Madeline (18 months) over with her as she was watching the little girl (that she nannied for last summer) while their current nanny was on vacation.  

I had Mikayla help me pull our some Barbies and her bin of stuffed animals and Madeline walked in pretty impressed.  But, I think the big pull was the exersaucer that Whitley plays in. 

And, obviously, the Bumbo seat...

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this picture of Whitley...priceless!  Christi snapped it as she was watching Madeline play with her toys.  I don't think she's a fan of sharing.  HOWEVER, with the news this week that Travis' sister, Kristen, is expecting a GIRL on Whitley's first birthday...I think Whitley will soon find these rolls reversed as she'll be the "Madeline" in the story line when little "Malia" will be the new baby.  It's good she's starting some practice already.

HUGE THANKS to Christi for hanging with the girls.  I ended up waiting in the waiting room for a full hour before being called back to have a 15 minute chat with my I'm so grateful that Whitley was happily entertained back home instead of being bored with me.

Kenjon's Visit

Look who sauntered in through our door on Wednesday night...

It's too bad that the kids have forgotten him already and could care less that he paid us a visit...

Kenjon was in town for "Pro Days" which took place at UO on March 14th.  He did AMAZING...killing his previous time on the 50 yard dash (one of the best in the country). 

He's been training for the NFL down in southern California since January, so it was so good to get a time together in (albeit brief).  Oh the changes in store for this guy in the days ahead...