Tuesday, November 29

To My Connor Bear

I remember my response when I found out I was pregnant with you, Connor: No way! It can't be! It's not time yet! I'm supposed to go mountain-climbing this summer! I just lost all the weight from my first pregnancy! I don't want to feel nauseated for weeks! Not very maternal, I know. Then I received a holy tap on the shoulder, reminding me of what you truly are - a gift from the Almighty Creator. Since that moment, I have thanked God every day for entrusting you to me.

You are an amazing, precious little guy with a heart of gold. One look at your dark eyes (like mommy's) and your beaming smile (like daddy's) and I am overwhelmed with adoration, all the way to my toes. You are passionate, loving, cuddly, energetic and very, very funny.

I pray that you will always be someone who will bring others joy. I pray that you will use your passion to draw others into a loving relationship with Jesus. May your humor bring light and laughter into the lives of those around you. You will undoubtedly bless others, as you have me. I am so proud to be your mommy.

Happy third birthday, Connor!

San Angelo

Saturday, November 26

Advertise Yourself!

Four out of Five Dentists Recommend Trinity.

Double the Pleasure, Double the Allan.

No-One Does Chicken Like Connor.

To make your own ad, click here- It's great for a laugh!

Friday, November 25

Broken Record

Marriage. Reading scripture. Mountain climbing. Gardening. Graduate school. Planting a church. Making wise financial choices. Childbirth. Traveling. Exercising. Childbirth again. Building relationships. Trying to adopt a child. Getting out of bed. Buying a house. Reading a book. Freelancing. Supporting others' dreams. Training kittens.

Isn't it odd how you can get a line stuck in your head from a song that you haven't heard in eons? Seeing a certain sight or hearing some random word or even the smell of a certain aroma triggers the release from the file cabinet of your brain a song of yesteryear. Then you must endure the repetition of said line over...and over...and over.

One day this week I had such an experience with the line, "It wasn't easy, but it was worth it." I vaguely remember a song with this line - maybe it's a song sung from Jesus' perspective? Or maybe not. It could be a country jingle about a broken marriage for all I can remember. Since only that one line played like a skipping record in my head about, oh, a gazillion times or so, I had ample opportunity to become philosophical with its message.

Above the light switch in his room, my brother Steve had a little scrawled out post-it that read: Those things in life that are most worth having are those worth working hardest for. Attached was a picture of Steve's then-girlfriend, now wife, Dana. I always thought that was a profound statement of love. With my little song ditty of this week ringing loudly in my ears, I am reminded of this concept of commitment. Life is full of hard choices, tough requirements of stamina and endurance. But don't these often result in reflections of amazement? We look back and cannot imagine life before _____. I thank God for those things in my life that were so incredibly hard to go through, but which proved to be so worth it. For through the toughest times, when I am weakest, God's power and glory is made most evident.

Monday, November 21

Perfection to Come

I love getting emails from my brother, Steve, in Indiana. He is one of those guys who is so sincere, so loyal, so incredibly devout that you cannot help but sit back in wonder at the words that he strings together into beautiful thoughts. Here's something he sent to me this week:
One great thing about heaven is how we will be. I stumbled upon a great verse in I John 3:2. It says, "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is...." We will be made perfect - how cool is that?! Even better, my wife will be perfect. :) I can't wait to see her in her total perfection. That will be awesome! I think that that thought alone, if truly believed and visualized, could keep many married people together, keep them more patient and make them more expectant of the day their spouses turn perfect! One day I'll be walking across the street in heaven, see Dana and say, "Wow, she's perfect! I can't believe that I was married to her back in the old days. I sure love what God has done to her. Amazing!" I think it will be very enlightening to see how God fully intends people to be seen.

Saturday, November 19

Texas Trip

San Angelo
Barefoot Connor getting a ride on daddy's shoulders.

San Angelo
Trinity and her daddy practicing tree climbing.

The tree made a beautiful dark background against the bright Texas sky.

To see more, click here.

Thursday, November 17

Connor, Take the Wheel!

Today on Dora the Explorer, Dora and her pals made a very clear point that they were wearing their seatbelts in order to be SAFE. That's great! Thank you, Nick Jr., for reinforcing that important idea with my children. Then five-year-old Dora, her weird monkey sidekick and a Spanish-speaking mole(?) piloted their airplane to the top of a mountain. Hmmm.

Wednesday, November 16

Book Reviews

On our recent trip to Texas I finished two good books. You may not understand the significance of that statement. I, a mother of pre-schoolers, read two complete books! The interruptions of Mommy, come draw with me! and I need juice! are more conducive with the short spurts of reading of magazines or blogs. You are just setting yourself up for frustration if you even attempt to delve into something that requires more than ten minutes of concentration. But I digress...

Light on Snow by Anita Shreve
Twelve-year-old Nicky and her dad, Robert, come across a newborn baby who has been abandoned in the snow in the woods behind their New Hamshire home. Through a series of events, Nicky and her cautious father spend time with the baby's young mom, Charlotte, and are tossed into a whirlwind of grief, conflict, anger and hope.

This is a truly beautifully written book. I fell in love with each of the three main characters and was drawn into their formidable situation. When Allan first saw the book, he declared it to be a "chick book". No doubt the pink cover did not help. If a chick book is defined by a lack of explosions and is a well-spring of emotions, then this does, in fact, fit the bill. On the other hand, it does not have an iota of romance involved, so I think it could pass as gender neutral.

Shreve writes from Nicky's perspective, capturing the tumultuous time between childhood and adolescence for this young girl. I kept thinking as I read the book that Nicky's thoughts seemed rather mature for a twelve-year-old, only to discover later that the author was writing as a thirty-year-old Nicky, looking back on this earlier time of her life. In that case, Nicky has a much better memory than I!

The Constant Gardner
by John Le Carre'
Tessa Quayle is a young, beautiful and vivacious advocate for the poor of Kenya. Her husband, Justin works for the British government, who often gets in the way of Tessa's humanitarian work. After Tessa's gruesome murder in northern Kenya, Justin sets out on a personal odyssey to uncover the mystery of her death.

This is no chick book; it has it all wrapped up in one package - romance, intrigue, spies, murder. Le Carre' wrote this book with just enough complexity to keep one's mind active and involved, but not so complicated as to get lost in too many characters or geographical locales (e.g. Clancy). It is written from a British background, which can be a tad hard to follow at times (am I making myself out to be an idiot?). This is not my normal read, but it was a hard one for me to put down.

Monday, November 14

My Own Lost

I can quit any time I want! I now know I am not a blogger addict. We had to quickly head to Texas earlier this week for a family funeral. In the five days we were gone, I did not once look at my blog or anyone else's, for that matter. Quite a show of restraint, if I do say so myself.

Having to travel with young kids is not an easy feat. One silver lining, though, is that you get to board the plane early, because they (accurately) figure it will take you as long to get the snacks, coloring books, juice, books, blankets and all other necessities settled, as it will to get the entire 737 loaded with passengers and their gear. While Allan was across the aisle wrestling the two crocs into their pjs for the late flight home, I had a chance to watch the people who were joining us on this journey. What if we landed on a deserted island (work with me, I know there are not a lot of islands between Houston and Portland), aka Lost? Who are these people? What are their gifts and abilities? What are they about?

There's the lady wearing sweats, tennis shoes and a huge, white fur coat. Let's call her "Joan". Would Joan pull her own weight or would she be concerned about her manicure?

Over there is "Monica", a twenty-something attractive black woman. She wears Eskimo booties, complete with pom-poms. I think Monica would hold her own; she's not afraid to be her own girl.

I'm a bit concerned about "Bob" and "Elaine". They are a retired couple in matching alligator t-shirts. I think they would take good care of each other, but I can't see them climbing a coconut tree or diving after fish.

Then there's the "Johnson" family, a close-knit group with mom, dad, older teenage boy, middle teenage girl and a youngest son, who is obviously the prankster of the crowd. With their matching red hair, there is something about them that makes me think they will break out into singing musicals around the campfire. That will get old really quick.

Is that Albert Einstein? I can't quite figure this wild-haired guy out. "Gene" looks like he may have just finished a day of safari in a Jeep with the top off. He's complete with jean shirt, khakis and a big, ol' camera strapped around his neck.

"Neil" needs to relax. This fine gentleman wore his suit jacket and tie the entire flight. Being on a deserted island is going to be rough for him.

The lady immediately in front of us I call "Jane", after Jane Goodall, because of her long graying ponytail. Jane plays with my kids, making them laugh and telling them stories. She doesn't even wince when they repeatedly kick her seat. She'll be a good one to keep the troops calm.

"Mike", the guy behind us, looks as strong as an ox, with muscles bulging out of his shirt. He'll be able to move large boulders and won't complain about it.

All in all, I think we'd do okay. A well-rounded, varied group with a great cross-section of ethnicities and ages represented. I don't see any Kate types either, which is good because I don't need my husband being tempted by any other brunettes.

Monday, November 7

Trinity's Blog

Trinity recently informed me that she needed a blog. When we sit down to post, she tells me each sentence she wants to write. I tell her the next letters and she types out the whole thing! I figure this helps us in a couple of ways: 1. I have to practice patient parenting, and 2. she gets to work on writing, typing and story-telling skills. If you were ever interested in the deep thoughts of a five-year-old, check it out here!

Wednesday, November 2

Good Intentions

We judge ourselves by our intentions;
we judge others by their behaviors.
This quote was stated by Mike Armour at a recent church gathering in Portland. I find that idea thought-provoking. In my own walk through life, I used to dwell on how others were incompetent or not living up to my expectations. When others are not performing to one's specifications, it leads to a heart full of frustration, anger & resentment. In the last few years, with great motivation by the Spirit, I have found myself liberated from this way of thinking. Now I tend to see how people are really trying. Most people don't intend to be jerks or relish in their inabilities (there are exceptions, of course); their behavior is measured by my own view of what is acceptable and valuable. Instead of seeing failure, I see a lot of places where people can grow. In this thinking, I also become aware of how other's are growing. Similarly to how using "Choice Language" allows the adult to join the child in the process of discipline, looking to other's intentions reminds us that we are all ultimately in the same race and on the same team.

Now, if I can only get my behavior to be in alignment with my good intentions.