Monday, December 31

2007 in Review

Best Fiction (first time read): The Lion, The Witch, & the Wardrobe

Favorite Non-fiction: Personality Type: An Owner's Manual

Favorite New T.V. Show: Life

Favorite Continued T.V. Show: Lost

Worst Moment in Sports: It's a two-way tie between he Oregon Ducks loss of Dennis Dixon and the Blazers loss of Greg Oden

Favorite Commercial:

Movie to Cause the Most Nightmares: A two-way tie between Children of Men and I Am Legend (with the exception of Ratatouille, the only two movies we saw in a theater this year)

Best Vacation (only vacation in many, many years): Christmas in Victoria, British Columbia

Best Food Blog: Smitten Kitchen

Biggest Laugh At Someone Else's Expense: Poor Miss SC

Favorite New Toy:

Hardest Decision of the Year: Transferring Trinity from Woodlawn Elementary to Columbia Christian

Scariest Moment: Connor's close encounter with a waterfall

Favorite Connor Quote: I love my mommy so much my brain hurts!

iTunes Song Receiving the Most Plays This Year: Bad Day by Daniel Powter (thanks to Trinity)

Favorite New Song: Justin Timberlakes' What Goes Around

Favorite Picture:

or Maybe This One:

or Maybe This One:

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 17

Photo of the Day

Fiona at Trinity's Christmas program - by Allan

Saturday, December 15

Christmas Get-to-Know-Ya

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper - there's something anti-climatic about watching someone open a bag.

2. Real tree or artificial? REAL - hello, this is Oregon. I think it just might be a crime to use something fake here.

3. When do you put up the tree? We get the tree the weekend after Thanksgiving; it takes a week or so before we drag it into the house.

4. When do you take down the tree? Usually the weekend after New Years.

5. Do you like egg-nog? Blek.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? The cheerleading outfit my mom made me when I was seven; the dollhouse/book shelf my dad made me that still fills one wall in my childhood room.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? A magnetic one. I think Fiona may have lost Jesus this year.

8. Hardest person to buy for? Dad or Mike.

9. Easiest person to buy for? My kids.

10. Worst gift you ever received? There's been some clothes given to me that, let's just say, didn't work well.

11. Favorite Christmas movie? While You Were Sleeping (does that count?).

12. When do you start shopping for Christmas? After Thanksgiving for the most-part.

13. Have you ever recycled a present? I'm sure I have.

14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Everything but the oyster stew my family insists on making each Christmas Eve.

15. Clear or colored lights on tree? Clear on the tree; colored on the house.

16. Favorite Christmas song? Lots of them - O Holy Night; Mary, Did You know...

17. Travel or stay home? Almost always at mom's house; this year we're traveling & taking the folks with us.

18. Can you name all of the reindeer? Sure thing.

19. What is on top of your tree? A star we bought with a gift certificate that we received as a wedding gift from a little boutique in Gresham.

20. When do you open presents? Christmas (anything else is just wrong).

21. Most annoying thing this time of year? Bad Christmas music.

22. Favorite ornament theme? Theme? Is there supposed to be a theme? Our tree is a great mish-mash of homemade, antique, childhood, and a few specially purchased.

23. Favorite food for Christmas dinner? Ham, Texas potatoes, homemade rolls, pie.

24. What do you want for Christmas this year? I'm with Cherise - a clean house and a long nap!

I tag EVERYONE! Merry Christmas:-)

Friday, November 30

No More NaBloPoMo!

I made it! I don't know when I have been more relieved to see the last day of a month*. This exercise in daily blogging has been more of a challenge than I anticipated. It seems that every night at around 11 pm I would jolt with the realization - I still have to post! I thoroughly stretched my creative & writing muscles, though, which was the point.

In other news: My new MacBook arrived today! Any wagers on when I'll actually pry it out of Allan's hands and get to play with it myself?

Still no news: My dead phone is still...dead. In order to use a fantastic 25% discount on a replacement, I had to have it shipped. It has made its way from China to Alaska and is catching a dogsled from there.

And finally: We in the Northwest are gearing up to be slammed by a trifecta of storms this weekend. Snow! Wind! Rain! Cold! It should be a fun one.

Have a great weekend!

* Besides starting a day late, I missed one day due to extremely needy sick children - please let me set you down so I can post!.

Thursday, November 29

On Turning Five

No more four year old going to bed now! Connor proudly declared a few minutes ago. Clearly age five takes one well beyond the realm of "little boy". We had a great day of celebration for this important milestone. I'm sure Connor would tell you that his favorite part of the day was getting a new train (or two or three) for his Thomas collection or maybe it was seeing the amazing Thomas cake that Grammy made. He thoroughly enjoyed his party with more than a dozen friends, playing games and being as loud and rowdy as our little living room could handle. One part of the party that I surprisingly enjoyed was Connor opening his gifts. This was not the greedy free-for-all of tearing through paper and ribbons to expose the latest and greatest worthless gadgets. Rather, from one family Connor received two trains which he had played with for the last few years at their house. The same was true for three cars given to him by another. His friends looked at their own things and chose with care what they knew Connor would love. It is a tradition that I think is worth perpetuating. The other especially meaningful part of the day happened before the cake and presents. We asked the kids to answer one question - What is something that you like or love about Connor? I was touched as his friends each in turn shared a simple way in which Connor is a blessing. I like how Connor is funny! I love that Connor is smart and lovable. I like how Connor shares his trains and his birthday cake! Connor is nice - he's my friend. I like Connor's eyes. Those are some insightful children! How right they are on all accounts.

Happy 5th Birthday, Connor - I love you more each day.

Wednesday, November 28

Let There Be Rejoicing!

I wish I had a video clip to show you from this evening. During our Life Group, Allan mentioned that he had driven home through some snow. This bit of news sent the children, especially Kevin Crumrine, into a complete tizzy. I thought the poor kid might blow a gasket from his overwhelming excitement. Allan quickly went into thorough explanations of altitude and snow elevations, while I stumbled over an apology to Leah for the night that was to come in their household (he won't go to sleep now!). When we had prayer time with the children, we went around the group and each finished the sentence, "Thank you God for..." and of course snow was mentioned. Just a few minutes later, lo and behold, I got to make the greatest announcement of the day, Kids, It's Snowing!! There was much screaming and jumping. And more screaming and jumping. The joy was beautiful and contagious.

Thank you, God, for the snow-

Monday, November 26

I Look Good With a Gold Lasso

We just finished another exciting episode of Heroes, a tv show about people coming to terms with their extraordinary and sometimes unusual gifts. There's the boy who can control electricity and the girl who instantly self-heals. One girl can learn anything by simply observing (aka a Matrix download). Then there's some of the regular talents - walking through walls, flying, time travel, mind reading. If you could choose your superhero gift, what would it be? I think I have to go with the instant learning gig. Can you imagine? Take in one Bruce Lee flick and then go kick the tails of all the neighborhood bad guys. Today I think I'd like to be a world class downhill skier! Find Picabo Street playing on ESPN classics and viola', play the American national anthem for me. Now I just need to find a good costume. Edna!!

Sunday, November 25

Can You Hear Me Now?

This last week my phone finally went kaput - in a most permanent way. The first couple of days I was filled with anxiety. Who might be trying to call? How can I get in touch with Allan when I need him to get milk? It was especially agonizing the first day when the phone would still ring, but none of the buttons were responsive. So-n-so is calling, but I don't know what they want and I don't have a way to call back. They're going to think I'm just rude by not returning their call! The last few days, though, I have felt strangely liberated from this particular shackle. I realize that I have been freed from other internal dialogue. Should I answer the phone during dinner? It's time to go - where is my phone?? And the rather unladylike Ugh, I really don't want to talk to this person right now. Should I punt them to voicemail or take it? This little unintentional social experiment has helped me recognize some unhealthy boundaries in my own daily life. Just don't be mad at me if I haven't returned your call this week.

Friday, November 23

Black Friday

According to Snopes, an online rumor and urban legend site, the day after Thanksgiving is actually not the biggest shopping day of the year, as it is touted. But you wouldn't know it by looking at all of the ads, or even more so, by stepping outside your house - as only the brave would dare. This day, menacingly known as Black Friday (because that is supposedly the day when businesses become financially "in the black"), is pretty much out of control. Although I love getting a good deal as much or probably more as the next gal, the only shopping I engaged in today was a little online Apple store action. Did any of you brave the crowds for the good deals?

Oh, and just in case anyone was concerned, Mr. Rogers did not serve in the military and is not covered with tattoos.

Thursday, November 22

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope today was a good one for you. We all have so much for which be thankful.

Wednesday, November 21

Thank You

Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary. - Margaret Cousins
Today I answered the door in my striped t-shirt and plaid pajama bottoms (I had been thrown up on & had to change in the dark) to be handed a lovely basket of goodies by a dear friend and a gaggle of cute kids. Being a bit hazy in thought, I rudely did not invite them in (please accept my apologies!). Along with candles, relaxing music, chocolate, and girly lotions and body washes, I was pleasantly surprised to find a kind note of appreciation from my church family, expressing their thanks for me and my work for PUMP. I was washed over with a deep appreciation of my own - for a church that stretches and loves and seeks to be the hands of Jesus to our community and to each other.

Thank you.

Tuesday, November 20

I Am Artist

The art gene runs true and strong in my husband's family. Allan's father and his father's father were recognized talents in the field, as is Allan and his brother. That particular stream runs a bit more shallow in my family - only my mom and brother Steve can claim to have the artist's touch.

That is until I was forced encouraged by my peers to find my inner Martha Stewart. There's a bunch of girls at PUMP who are naturals at all things sponge painting, stamping, scrapbooking, and Michael's craft store. The first several years we were together for Mom's Group or a women's evening out, I would stare in misery at whatever craft project lay before us. The choices of patterns and colors and where to place the ribbon was always enough to send me into a cold sweat. I really don't enjoy the feeling of complete incompetence.

Fast forward to today...This crafty mama convert elaborately designs and creates cards and books, sketches in charcoal and pencil, paints ceramics (see photo - the bowl I brought home today), and can bravely and boldly (okay - maybe it's still timidly) declare myself "artist". So I raise my ceramic painted mug to my friends for encouraging me to stretch into a new and unknown world.

Monday, November 19

We're Communicating

Anyone who has a spouse (or a co-worker, sibling, parent, child...) knows that healthy relationships take work. A lot of work. There are a million factors at play when two people live together day after day and have chosen for there to not be an "out". Personality differences, exhaustion, childhood baggage, temptations, parenting styles, physical stressors, financial difficulties, family obligations, work decisions, and a million other factors can eat away or enhance a relationship, depending on how the couple manages the journey and by the grace and strength of God.

Here's some good advice from Psychology Today:
Want to predict the outcome of a spousal spat? Tally up pronouns. The person who says "we" the most during an argument puts forward the best solutions, according to a study in Psychological Science. "We"-users may have a sense of shared interest that sparks compromises and other ideas pleasing to both partners. "You"-sayers, on the contrary, tend to criticize, disagree, justify and otherwise teem with negativity. When one partner complains that he or she feels under attack, the other can ease the tension by rephrasing sentences to use the winning "we."
Let me try this: "We are late again because we don't care about being on time. This makes us really angry because we feel like we don't care about respecting others feelings. We are such a dork sometimes! Why don't we just listen to ourselves?? We're sorry for losing our cool." I think they're on to something. We feel better, don't we?

Sunday, November 18

My PUMP Morning

Walking three blocks in the rain with Connor & Fiona. Laughing with Joe. With no voice of my own, listening to the beautiful singing. Focusing on Ike's words. Being distracted by disruptive kids. Karla's It is Well. Holding Sariyah in my lap. Thankful communion. Praying with Leah. Telling pre-schoolers the story of Mara (blek!). Older kids cooperating to put together a puzzle. Elbow to elbow people of different colors, ages, backgrounds, & financial standing. Special play time with Isaiah. Catching up with Kristi B. Walking home in the rain.

Saturday, November 17

Learning Leadership

Early the following spring, during the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes' reign, I [Nehemiah] was serving the king his wine. I had never appeared sad in his presence before this time. So the king asked me, 'Why are you so sad? You aren't sick, are you? You look like a man with deep troubles.' Then I was badly frightened, but I replied, 'Long live the king! Why shouldn't I be sad? For the city where my ancestors are buried is in ruins, and the gates have been burned down.' The king asked, 'Well, how can I help you?' With a prayer to the God of heaven, I replied...
Then Esther told Hathach to go back and relay this message to Mordecai: 'The whole world knows that anyone who appears before the king in the his inner court without being invited is doomed to die unless the king holds out his gold scepter. And the king has not called for me to come to him in more than a month'...Three days later, Esther put on her royal robes and entered the inner court of the palace, just across from the king's hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne, facing the entrance. When he saw Queen Esther standing there in the inner court, he welcomed her, holding out the gold scepter to her. So Esther approached and touched its tip. Then the king asked her, 'What do you want, Queen Esther? What is your request?...And Esther replied, 'If it please Your Majesty...'
I was recently reading Nehemiah when I noticed a familiarity in the story with that of a story I know better - that of Queen Esther. I am struck by a couple of ideas. First of all, I am thankful to serve a King who allows me to freely enter His courtyard. He not only accepts my honor and my pleas, but he truly wants to hear the desires of my heart. I think that may be more amazing than we in our free culture can easily understand. Second, I notice deep courage - a great deal more than I have ever had to muster and more than I may even have the potential to find within me. I see selflessness. These two frightened souls put their people and those whom they love ahead of their own safety. These are fantastic accounts about amazing, strong leaders from whom I hope to learn more.

* To read more, see the books of Esther and Nehemiah in the Old Testament.

Friday, November 16

I Love Yogurt!

I love it when I have enough time to let Fiona feed herself - especially something fun like yogurt. There is nothing more amusing than a child totally engrossed in play with food (I especially love the cereal stuck to her belly!). This actually happened while I was turned away, cooking breakfast for the rest of us. Just let her go for it and throw in the tub afterwards!

Thursday, November 15

Who's In Your Five?

I read this interesting quote today:
You are the average of the five or so people you associate with most.
Thankfully I hang out with some pretty nice people, who hopefully have been influencing me through the years. On the other hand, three of my five indicate that I will be spending a portion of each day in tantrum mode! This quote really sparked for me, though, the most important question one can ask - Is Jesus one of my five?If Jesus is even just one-fifth of who I am, I will look at the world with love and hope, not shaking my head in doubt and disgust. If Jesus is part of me, I will boldly speak Truth. I will have kindness in my words, acceptance in my eyes, arms that hug and give and bless. If Jesus is in me, I will crave spending time in the Word and with our Father. I will naturally be drawn to better myself through the spiritual disciplines. If Jesus is one of my five I will be humble with my gifts, be generous with blessings, be thankful for my adversities, and be faithful in everything. If Jesus is part of who I am, the world around me will be a better place. Then anyone who is around me will, in turn, be touched by Him - making their part of the world more like Him as well.

Is Jesus one of my five?

Wednesday, November 14

Free the Rice!

A friend introduced me to a new site this evening that I can already see might be a bit of an addiction. FreeRice is a vocabulary game - for each three correct words in a row, you move up a level; each mistake drops you back down one. As a bonus, for each word correctly defined, the United Nations World Food Program receives ten grain of rice to distribute to needy countries. So not only am I playing a game, I'm getting smarter while I do it and feeding hungry families, too! How great is that?

Although I hit level 39, I really hover around 36 most comfortably. The first time Allan sat down with it, he shot right up there to 45. You know who to turn to next time you are playing Scrabble. Try it out!

Monday, November 12

Boys Will Be Boys. Girls Will Be...

Boys tend to draw trouble to themselves. As a parent of a boy, I look forward with fear and trepidation and a sense of curiosity and bemusement to the antics that will undoubtedly find Connor in the years ahead. With three older brothers, I saw this principle often at work. There was the neighbor's flooded basement, the principal's office filled with newspaper, the classroom filled with mace, and BB guns used to shoot just about anything. A friend told me the other day how he filled a lady's station wagon with dirt and used his dad's record collection as frisbees. I always assumed this was an issue for the male gender since I personally never found the attraction to such revelry. I was probably just too busy, though, protecting my dolls and the small animals of the world from explosions and various forms of torture to partake in the nuisance making. So I have been a little surprised that my sweet, innocent eldest daughter has found herself in the middle of several...shall we call them..."adventures". The latest involves a garage remote and magic tricks. She and her cousin were magically causing the garage door to lift and lower - just by commanding it to do so! It's true - I saw it myself. What happened next I did not see coming, mostly because I told them to stop playing with the remote. They must have thought, "Ah, a call for the finale! We must really show our stuff now!" Here is where they pushed the remote for the door to close and then...yes, you got it...threw the remote under the closing door - kind of like Indiana Jones' hat. Yes, of course we have another remote. Oh wait, you mean the one that Fiona took out in the rain that same week, causing it to short out. Hmmm...

Maybe I should warn the neighbors now.

Sunday, November 11

Family Portrait

My mom has been on our case for a long while about getting a family portrait taken. The one on her wall is from a time when Connor was still in diapers and we had a different third child. It was reinforced recently when Connor was asked to bring a picture of our family to school for a project, yet we could only find one that contained all five of us (minutes after Fiona was born). So, this family of photographers decided it was time to gather on the other side of the lens. Let's call this the before shot:

And this is our angelic group moments later:

Saturday, November 10

And Question 3/4

So...what next?

New possibilities have opened up. Make the change.

So what next, huh? Today's next is to wash my face, brush my teeth, and crawl into bed. Tommorrow's next is to spend some time with a few of those talked about in yesterday's post. But that's probably not quite what this question is after.

I think if I came away from this exercise with any specific ideas, it is that I want to be more deliberate. You know that freaky moment when you pull in the driveway but you can't remember the details of driving there? Your autopilot had apparently been on and got you from one place to another safely. It is so easy to go through the motions of the Sunday morning assembly without engaging one's spirit with the Spirit. At the end of the day you realize that you didn't spend time in play with your children. Weeks (or months) go by between dates with one's spouse. Just letting life happen; forgetting what it's all about. I don't want it to be like that. I want to be deliberate. I want to focus on the many areas of life that are going well and to work to improve myself in those areas that are holding me back. I want to engage with the Spirit and play with my kids and go on dates with my husband.

For now, I am going to deliberately crawl into bed.

Friday, November 9

Question #5

Who do you love?

When you think about them you smile. Love them. And be loved.

That's a pretty big question, given that our English language has so many varied meanings for love, but I'll give it a go...I love my husband - the man whom holds me back from the brink of insanity (and who painted ceramics with me on our date night tonight!). I love my children - and my almost child and any children the Lord might put in our future. I love my parents, brothers & their families, all those Cash people, and anyone else who is or would like to be related to us (because, you know, everyone should want to be related to us). I love PUMP and all the children and adults who have walked through the doors of our little dream. I love the people of Uganda whom I briefly have known. I love all the people of Scotland - whom I consider my extended family. I love the Trailblazers. I love the people of the Northwest - with our relaxed attitudes, pioneer spirit, environmental passion, and great sense of style (okay, three out of four isn't bad). I love my friends - those from my childhood who loved me through the bad haIr years, fits of jealousy, cheerleading tryouts, boy obsessions, and body image issues, and those from more recently who have loved me through pregnancies, motherhood traumas, identity crises, spiritual battles, and body image issues (still??).

There's a whole lotta love going on.

Thursday, November 8

Question #4

How do you want to be remembered?

Your epitaph is already half written. Decide how it ends.

My Nona Cash was a force with which to be reckoned. She was the true matriarch of the Cash Clan. Nona died when I was thirteen, so my impression of who she was is from a child's perspective. I remember her hugs and sitting in her lap and watching her cook. But her greatest legacy - the one that sticks with me the most? Nona as evangelist. The Lord used her to bring my Grandad to Christ - a man who led his church for many years as an influential elder. Nona & Grandad had three sons, two of whom serve as elders in their own churches today. There were eleven cousins produced, almost all faithful Christians. I think there is something like 37 kids in the next generation being taught to love the Lord and live a life in service to Him. That's Nona's legacy. That's a legacy worth pursuing.

Wednesday, November 7

Question #3

First of all, I am not cheating on my one post per day, if you noticed that some dates have changed (and really, who would have noticed that - but I feel the need to come clean). I put a bunch of post drafts up the other day but forgot to change the dates as I finished & posted them. Whew - I feel better now.

What's boring you?

Things are too comfortable. Comfortable is boring with good p.r. Stir things up!

This is a tough one. I really wish I could feel bored more often, but that is so hard when there are so many diapers to change and children to direct and miles to drive and meals to cook. Boredom sounds kind of nice right now.

The only times I can think of being bored is when Allan has control of the remote. He has some compulsion, some odd attraction to shows that have 1. guns, 2. war planes, or 3. martial arts. Say it with me now, "Booorrring." It kills me, really.

Otherwise, I don't feel stuck in a rut. Between PUMP and family, things are pretty much always on the move and always in transition. I think that's a good thing. It helps keep me thinking and dreaming about the possibilities ahead. Or, if not that, at least it keeps me focused on keeping my head above water.

Tuesday, November 6

Question #2

What are you trying to ignore?

Anxiety is a tap on your shoulder saying, "Something important is happening here!" Pay attention.

I'm afraid that I am ignoring a few important health considerations. With a family of diabetics, including a sibling, I have a huge bullseye target sitting right there on my pancreas. Can't you see it? None of us are overweight, so it is easy to think we are healthy. I'm not sure what greater motivator I could have for daily exercising, but somehow diabetes is not enough of a threat for me.

There's a few relationships that could use some healing in my life. I'm not sure how to make that happen, so I ignore the splinter. Not so wise an approach.

Everyone has dreams that creep into consciousness at times and whispers, "Why aren't you coming after me?" I wonder sometimes if I am ignoring some Spirit-led direction in my life - because to answer the whisper would be scary or hard or confusing.

I'm trying to ignore all the TO-DOs that I see around me each day - the cluttered basement, the roses that need trimming, the cookies that should be baked...

*shiver* I'm feeling somewhat vulnerable at the moment, so I think I'll go do something else and ignore these feelings.

Monday, November 5

Question #1

My friend Jennifer, over at Creative Outlet Labs has introduced her readers to Canadian executive coach Michael Bungay Stanier and his 5 3/4 Questions You've Been Avoiding. I figure that if I work through one question per day, I'll be a whole new person by mid-afternoon on Saturday!

What's going well for you?

My marriage is probably my greatest team success story. Allan and I talk deeply, argue well, laugh often, and genuinely enjoy each other.

My kids are not out-of-control and I have not caused them any intentional physical harm (how's that for looking at the positive!). Although parenting is a tough process, my children are generally sweet kids who hug me a lot, make me laugh, and dance & wrestle with me with reckless abandon. They are healthy, active, and on target developmentally.

We are financially stable. We have a home and a car and can pay our bills on time (or close to it).

I have a wonderful extended family to whom I am immensely proud to be related. Everyone is healthy. No one is too much of embarrassment to handle.

My job is one for which I feel deep passion.

I am enjoying the age I am, the health I have, and the ways I am growing mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Although we do not connect as much as I would like, there are seasoned friendships in my life that bring me much peace.

We get to live in Portland - a place I deeply love (especially on a sunny fall day like today).

Sunday, November 4

Clearing Out the Clutter

I spent much of this weekend packing up my brother's house for their move across town. There is nothing like rifling through drawers and closets to remind us of how much extra clutter we have in our lives. I guess it would have been easier just to look in my basement, though, to learn that lesson. Despite my recent valiant efforts to single-handedly supply thrift stores with years worth of fodder, I would bet there are a dozen boxes that we have yet to even open since we moved in two years ago. Obviously these are not greatly needed items in our life. Even if we did desire some boxed away treasure at some point, we would have no idea where to find it; we'd either have to give up said need or buy a replacement. I'm not really sure why I ever thought I should keep every set of notes in every notebook from every college and grad school class I ever took. These will be a great resource! Maybe, just maybe, in the era before the internet that could make some sense. But now? They are just boxes taking up space - space that could be better used as a place to exercise or sort laundry. So here's to de-cluttering. Here's to sorting through boxes to clear the excess away. Here's to convenient thrift store drop off sites. And maybe this winter, here's to using Psych 101 papers as fire starter.

Saturday, November 3

On Being an Extraordinary Woman

From John McCarthy's Twelve Extraordinary Women:
Wherever the gospel has spread, the social, legal, and spiritual status of women has, as a rule, been elevated. When the gospel has been eclipsed (whether by repression, false religion, secularism, humanistic philosophy, or spiritual decay within the church), the status of women has declined accordingly.
This message is extraordinary! The Bible and the message of Christ is one that brings honor and value to women, even when that view is, at the least, counter-cultural, and at most, seen as heretical.


And on another note - Yay Ducks!

Friday, November 2


November is National Blog Posting Month. Who knew? I have accepted the challenge to write a post each day this month. Why? you ask? Good question. I guess I like a challenge. Have I ever told you about how my dad said that if I chose to go to school in Europe for a semester that there's no way I would be able to pay for it and he'd end up having to bail me out? His lack of trust in my assurances (or was he just being clever?), angered me enough to get two jobs the summer prior and work myself silly to have enough money. Granted, I didn't eat most of semester (one of the professors wives insisted I take her jar of peanut butter in order to get some protein while traveling) and I got to bring home very few souvenirs. I spent my very last $3 for an ice cream cone in LAX on the return trip home. Dad gave me not a nickel for that journey of a lifetime. HA! Challenge me, will you? Shoot - it's already November 2nd, so I've already failed. But that takes the pressure off, right? On your mark. Get set. Blog!

Tuesday, October 30


Gigantic stinging bees. Owls and bats in a dark bedroom. Tooth monsters (you know, a tooth-shaped monster who has lots of teeth and one eye).

Nightmares have found a home in my children's rooms at night. I don't know why these disturbing visions are so especially profound and prolific this week, but my guess is that a certain October holiday which inundates our television shows, grocery stores, and party plans may have something to do with it. What this means for mom and dad is the groggy awakening to the creak, creak, creak of a little person making their way down the stairs. Then there's the momentary guessing game - which child's silhouette will appear in the doorway?

We called a family meeting to address this phenomenon. For all of you insomniacs out there, I thought I'd share the meeting notes.

What To Do When You Have a Nightmare or Can't Sleep Before You Wake Up Mom and Dad

1. Pray. Yes, the Lord is awake and He really wants to help you with this problem. This can help you also remember that you are safe and not alone.

2. Turn on your flashlight.

3. Read a short book.

4. Count to 100.

5. Visualize a great story in your mind. Go on a hike, visit the beach, sled at Mt. Hood. What do you see? Are there any smells? What's the temperature? What do you hear? How do you feel inside?

6. Go to the living room & sleep on the couch.
Try these out and you, too, can have a good night's sleep tonight! And, please, oh please, let your mom and dad sleep.

Monday, October 22

Confessions of a Criminal

It has finally happened. My perfect record is now blemished - never to be snow white again. In the mail today I...[gulp] received my first speeding ticket. There's no denying it. The city of Beaverton took three nice photos of my car, with my lovely smile gleaming through the windshield "She mocks our laws!" they grimace from behind the safety of their shiny black van. Although I clearly showed disregard for the laws of Beaverton, Oregon, it feels a little like they cheated. When an officer pulls my car over and has to look me in the eye before writing anything in that little notepad, I have a glimmer of hope - hope that my loveliness and charm will win over the man or woman in blue. Then I can, once again, drive away having given a polite "yes, officer, of course I'll be more careful - thank you" while tossing my written warning into the back seat. But now my 47 mile an hour in a 35 zone joy ride is complete. I pay dearly for my recklessness.

Sunday, October 14

Growing Up

I don't know if there are many things much more frightening than the realization that your children are growing older. Today I get to be concerned about kids running in the street or eating too much candy or, even worse, something toxic. Then I am reminded about tomorrow. Not tomorrow, tomorrow, but you know, the tomorrows down the road. Dating, driving, committing to Christ, fashion, eating disorders, sports - all those major milestones and hurdles to encounter in the next decade or so are enough to cause a little parental panic attack.

This evening Trinity asked me this: Mom, how come boys have so much more than girls? Because boys are physically stronger than girls and they "usually get to drive" and they "get to fight in wars", she is seeing, for the first time maybe, that there is inequality, even in our corner of the world. Don't worry - this mama wouldn't let that one go unaddressed! As well as assuring her that girls are as intelligent and talented as the guys and that we get the greatest gift of having babies, I used this opportunity to share with her about feminine power - and the need to use our influence over guys for good! That got her giggling up a storm.

Then a little while later she asked me how she has daddy's germs (i.e. genes) inside of her. Do you understand what she is asking me??? I won't go into details about what I told her on this rated G site, but she's got a nice head start on her junior high health class.

It's scary being responsible for all this big stuff, but now that I've taken a deep breath and counted to ten, I can remember that there is a reason why our babies aren't born as teenagers - so we can do this growing up thing together.

Friday, October 12

Book Promo

Before I mailed it to my brother, Steve, for his birthday, I recently read Quiet Strength, the new book from the Indianapolis Colts head coach, Tony Dungy. It's a really encouraging, thoughtful, inspiring read about a strong Christian leader - even for those who are not huge sports fans (but that does help as he recounts his football path). It would make a great Christmas gift, for those who are thinking along those lines already.

Tuesday, October 2

Cooking Day

Zucchini Bread

Today was drizzly and grey. One of those days when I changed out of my pjs this morning right into sweats. I chose to ignore the piles of clean laundry that need to be put away and spent the day happily in my kitchen. Today was a cooking day. I think I hit a couple of balls out of the park.

From the larger-than-life zucchini that my friend Erika gave to us from her garden, I made several loaves of the best zucchini bread ever. Really. I found the recipe on my new favorite cooking blog, Smitten Kitchen.
Zucchini Bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8×4 inch loaf pans or line 24 muffin cups with paper liners. In a large bowl, beat three eggs with a whisk. Mix in 1 cup vegetable oil and 1 3/4 cups sugar, then 2 cups grated zucchini and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Combine 3 cups all-purpose flour, 3 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt, as well as 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional), and 1 cup chocolate chips and/or dried fruit (optional - I didn't use nuts, chocolate, raisins, or cranberries this time; I wanted to see how the recipe stood on its own). Stir this into the egg mixture. Divide the batter into prepared pans. Bake loaves for 60 minutes, plus or minus ten, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Muffins will bake far more quickly, approximately 20 to 25 minutes.
Have you noticed how comfort food isn't usually very healthy? Throwing caution and cholesterol to the wind, today I made some scrumptious fettucine alfredo with chicken & tomatoes. Mmmmm.
Fettucine Alfredo With Chicken & Tomatoes
from Kristi's kitchen

Boil 1 lb. fettucine until al dente. Heat large skillet to medium. Add one large chicken breast, diced. Season with Lowery's seasoning salt & a little Worcestershire sauce. Once chicken is cooked through, decrease temperature to low. Stir in 3/4 pint heavy cream, 1/2 cup butter, & 1/2 cup sour cream (I told you it was not healthy!). Keep stirring throughout. Melt in 1 cup fresh, shredded parmesan cheese (this will thicken it up). Season with pepper & garlic salt. Stir in fettucine noodles. Add a handful of bacon bits (those yummy ones in a bag from Costco) and a handful of cherry tomatoes. Serve immediately. Accept the praise.

Wednesday, September 19

Monday, September 17

Family Joy

Fourteen years ago I fell head over heels in love with the most precious being I had ever encountered - my first nephew, Mackenzie. After FaithQuest this month, Mack awakened his parents at midnight, seeking to be baptized by his dad in their backyard swimming pool. Mack is a very analytical guy, so I know this decision has not come easy for him. I am praying that in the years ahead Mack will hear the Lord's words and will feel the promptings and guidance of the Holy Spirit, which lives within him.

A number of years ago, at a time when Cheryl was infected with malaria, we all were concerned as we always are when Jeff or Cheryl get sick in Africa. But this time was different. Cheryl was pregnant with her first child. The statistics of a pregnancy succeeding through active malaria were not encouraging. So we fervently prayed and prayed and prayed. And thanks be to God, our little fighter, Kinley, made it through with no issues. Throughout her young life Kinley has been a child filled with the zeal and knowledge of Christ. I see in Kinley the fire of passion that runs through her parents' veins. We received word that, despite heckling onlookers, Kinley was baptized by her dad this week in the stream that meanders through Ft. Portal. I pray that Kinley will be force for the Kingdom throughout her life, using her gifts for His glory alone.

Thursday, September 13

Today's Math Equation

One 13-month-old + one jar of salsa with an apparently loose lid + light beige carpet = a fun way to start our Thursday!

Wednesday, September 5

First Day of School

We had a successful first day of school and first day back to work and childcare today. You can read Trinity's account and about Connor's day on their blogs.

Sunday, September 2

The Cost of Motherhood This Evening

Screams so loud I am sure all of the neighbors think someone is dying: every 12 minutes

Some type of bodily injury: every 5.3 minutes

Average decibel level: equal to a small chainsaw next to your head

Times each motherly request has to be repeated: 4.2

Ounces of tears shed by children: a big gulp worth

Amount of time between each request to watch t.v. or play on the computer: 1.3 minutes

Physical space between mother and child and any given time: 0.0

Number of hours daddy has been gone: 54

Number of hours until daddy is home: 22

Earlier bedtime because school starts this week: priceless

Wednesday, August 29

We Now Have Maps!

Thanks to dear Lauren Caitlin Upton, Miss Teen South Carolina, there is now a website dedicated to bringing our children the maps they so desperately need. From the webiste:

The children of the US America are in deep trouble. Because some people out there don't have maps. Such as South Africa. Therefore, you must email us maps to make it better. EMAIL: maps AT Our views of Attack of the Show's webpage will encourage our children to believe that there is a future outside of Asia. A future with maps. And such. South Africa.
You can find a map of Ikea in Portland, a map of Candyland, a map of pork cuts of meat, and a map of Nathan's room. There is hope for the future!

Monday, August 27

Some People Don't Have Maps - No, Really, It's True

Another List

Never one to dismiss a friend's instructions to write a blog post, here are today's eight random facts about me.
________'re it!
I've been's the rules:

1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.

2. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.

3. People who are tagged need to write a post on their own blog (about their eight things) and post these rules. (If you don’t have a blog, email me)

4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.

5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.


1. I very rarely sit upright while watching television.

2. Much to my husband's chagrin, I have a tendency to not screw caps down tightly.

3. I eat a bowl of cereal almost every night before bed.

4. I believe that all non-Tillamook dairy products should be banned from Oregon.

5. I have no desire to visit Disneyland.

6. I secretly long for liposuction.

7. Mopping the floor on my hands and knees with a cloth is my preferred method.

8. While I very rarely get upset when driving, slow grocery checkers make me crazy!


I'm tagging: Leah, Sarah C, Sarah W, Kristi B, Jennifer, Elice, Jessica B, Jessica G

Wednesday, August 22

Ten...Make That Eleven...Things I'd Enjoy Doing Before I Die

1. Take a ballet class.

2. Walk hand-in-hand with Allan through the streets of Firenze, Italia.

3. Attend an NFL game.

4. Learn Spanish.

5. Write a book worth reading.

6. Explore Scotland during an extended stay.

7. Climb a few more of the Cascades with my family.

8. Become a good piano player.

9. Spend a weekend or two or ten with my childhood friends, Lisa, Lezlie, & Kristin.

10. Draw plans for our dream house (& then have it built).

11. Have season (even half-season) tickets to the Blazers.

Tuesday, August 14

Good Day

Today started out by dispersing my children to various friends' homes, so this mom could have some friend time, too! **Thanks to Erika, Sarah S., & Suzy!!** Kenli, Casey, and I finally made that super important trek to the new Portland mecca, a.k.a. Ikea. I'm not sure it is very good store for me and my pursuit of contentment, but it's fun to peruse and dream! Next we picked up A'Doisha and headed out for the capital of Oregon - no, not Salem - the Nike campus! After some giddy interactions with large, worn-out basketball shoes and talk of Steve Prefontaine, Alberto Salazaar, Nolan Ryan and the like, we headed over to the employee store - thanks to A'Doisha's dad. One oversized load of Nike gear later, we went for icing on the cake. Tattoos and Piercings. What?? Yep, I watched one good friend get a tasteful Trinity-knot tat on her foot and another get a lovely miniature diamond in her nose. I won't tell you that the only reason I didn't get a tattoo was because the guy couldn't get the picture right, and I would have gotten a second post in one ear had we had more time. Mid-life crisis at 35 or just relaxing a bit in life? Verdict's still out.

Saturday, August 11

Props to BV

Those of us in the Northwest look forward to summer for many reasons, but none more so than the fresh berry shakes from Burgerville. For those unfortunate souls who don't have firsthand experience, these are not just any shakes; these are huge chunks of fresh Oregon raspberries, strawberries, or blackberries with thick ice cream and delectable whipping cream, mixed in perfect harmony. I don't even need to start on the scrumptious Tillamook cheeseburgers and flavorful halibut fish with which we are blessed. Oh my! But here is my newest reason to love BV - their meals for kids. Like many parents I would guess, I am not a big fan of the toys that accompany most kids' meals; for example, our latest "treasure" is a character from the Simpsons who loudly declares, "You can never have enough Flanders!" Fiona loves to push that little button - over and over and over again. BV takes a higher road that I appreciate.
We just finished planting the small packet of sunflower seeds using the little red trowel and miniature plant pot that came with their hamburger meals. Instead of adding to our magnificent Simpsons collection, we can aim to complete our flower garden thanks to the fine folks at Burgerville.

*Sorry to Jeff & Cheryl for such a heartless post. I'd get you a complete BV menu right now if I could!

Thursday, August 9

Your Own Dream Trip

If you could get on a plane today to escape anywhere in the world - no obligations, money, or time to consider - where would you go?

Monday, August 6


I’m getting on a plane today. By myself. I’m not taking much with me in this daydream – just a few changes of clothes, a journal, a camera, a sketchbook, and a few other sundries that all fit nicely in a backpack. It’s a long flight, but I’m going to enjoy the quiet by reading the magazines on board, watching several in-flight movies of the grown-up kind, and sleeping. Oh, yes, sleeping. Someone else will make my lunch, and it will be will quite satisfying. I suppose at this point in my fantasy I should put myself in first class so I can recline, be offered warm towels and such, but that is so beyond my comprehension that I’ll stay put back in the poor seats.

After a day of flying in the quiet of solitude, I will deplane in the land of my family ancestors. I smile and my heart melts a bit as I soak in that beautiful, melodic Scottish accent. With a map and bottled water in hand, I will easily maneuver out of Glasgow to places unknown. Over the next week I will slowly meander on foot through green fields, stopping to talk with the local sheepherders. I’ll eat lunch in small, tucked-away pubs while reading novels by authors like McIntosh, Wallace, and McGregor. I will find perch on stones larger than houses, sketching puffins and gannets as they hunt for their daily fish along the magnificent shoreline of the Orkney Islands. I will search for our ancestral land – asking a local young man to photograph me in front of Lach Cash or the town signs of Easter or Wester Cash. An old man will keep me company as I walk along a dirt path, sharing with me the history of his clan before I leave him at the gate of his farm.

I will come back refreshed, rejuvenated, replenished. I will be more in tune with my own self and with my God. I will be ready to be a better wife, a better mother, a better worker, and a better friend.

I’d better get packing. I may have to take another trip later today.

Saturday, July 14

Reunited at Last

This week a good friend of mine came home after a long separation. I didn't realize quite how much I missed her until we were together again. Then a lifetime of memories and emotions came flooding back. My friend was my therapist for many years - especially helping me sort through the tumultuous emotions that accompanied my teen years. How many of my tears have fallen on her? Too many to count. I learned dedication and discipline from time spent with my friend. I was sometimes frustrated after our time together, but I was always drawn back for more.

My friend lived in my parents' house most of my growing up years, so we knew each other well. But she was kind of a "foster" to our family; the original family just wasn't in a place to give the her the care and space she needed. A few years ago I was a bit heartbroken when the grandkids of the original family decided it was time for my friend to move in with them. After so many years? How can you take her away - all the way across the country? My pangs of sadness were accompanied by splashes of guilt since I hadn't spent much time with her since I moved out. Isn't that how we are sometimes? We take friends for granted.

Recently, though, the original family grandkids asked Allan and I if we would now take my friend into our home as "fosters"; they will be leaving the country and it really isn't reasonable to take her along. Of course! Of course! So yesterday my friend came home. Getting her settled into this house was not an easy task, but it was well worth the pain and even some temporary damage. It was a joy to introduce Trinity to my friend. I was very surprised when she and I were able to pick up pretty much right where we left off. Good friendships are like that.

Friday, July 6

We had a really nice 4th of July. Having it on Wednesday was a nice bonus since it made it seem like we only had a two-day work week!

First we enjoyed going to see Ratatouille, the newest Pixar creation. My expectations were pretty low going into it - I mean, how good could a movie be that highlights a rat chef? It was really, really cute! It was a nice, pleasant movie that our whole family could enjoy together.

We spent the evening at the Outlaw family's annual celebration. After a fire destroyed their home out in the boon-docks north of Washougal last year, they got their place rebuilt just in time for the 4th party. Their fireworks display was as good as many town fireworks shows! The highlight of the day for me was getting to hang out with Lezlie, my dear childhood friend. She's more lovely than ever. It was special to watch our two daughters, born just one day apart, shyly and sweetly get acquainted.

Monday, July 2


After Connor was to be in bed for a while, he came to the living room and sat down beside me.
Mom, I need to talk to you. I need to give you a hug and a kiss. You need to clean out the fireplace. And this living room needs to be picked up. And the stuff on the table needs to be put away. "I think you need to go back to bed Connor." You need to move the whole fireplace. "The whole fireplace?" Yes. And you need to change this lamp so that when I touch the pole it turns off and on. "Goodnight Connor." Goodnight!
I asked Connor to pick up a cup he had dropped from his car seat to the floor of the car.
I'm not available to do that right now.
When trying to choose a cartoon to watch with one of our interns:
This is the love show! I hate love!!
As our Life Group and the interns were gathered in our living room, Connor came running through, obviously in need of the "facilities" and announcing that he had to wait a long time while they went for a walk. Then, of course with the door wide open to the bathroom, we hear a flush and:
That was a good pee!
When discussing with my kids whom they would choose to marry:
I'm going to marry Michal. She said so! She said that if I don't marry her she won't give me any candy!
Transcribed by his Sunday school teacher on a picture Connor drew:
I love my mommy so much my brain hurts!

Wednesday, June 27

Personality Continued

Thanks for all of your input on the personality discussion! Have I mentioned how much fun this stuff is?

So one of the books sums the types up with a one phrase byline. I added the people whose types I know. They seem remarkably accurate for the most part, don't you think? *I'm adding updates as people tell me.

ESTP [for some reason I don't have the tagline for this one]

ESFP: You Only Go Around Life Once

ESTJ: Life's Administrators

ESFJ: Hosts & Hostesses of the World


ENFP: Giving Life an Extra Squeeze
(i.e. lots of laughing and talking)
Big Steve, Allan, Randy, Kami, Kristi B.

ENFJ: Smooth-Talking Persuader
(i.e. lots and lots of talking)
Luke, Erica, Sarah, Kenli

ENTJ: Life's Natural Leaders

Jason, Carol (J's mom), Ike (seriously - Ike & Jason have the same type? interesting...), Priscilla

ENTP: One Exciting Challenge After Another

INFP: Performing Noble Service to Aid Society

Andrew (you do-gooder, you!), Lindsey

INTP: A Love of Problem-Solving

INTJ: Everything Has Room For Improvement
(a byline that is close to my heart)
Jessica G, Adam (intern), Jessica B

INFJ: An Inspiration to Others
(insert Chicago song here)
Cheryl, Casey

ISTJ: Doing What Should Be Done
("Lord, tell Mary to come help with dinner!")
Aimee Jo, Kristi, Christa, Cheronn

ISTP: Willing to Try Anything

ISFJ: A High Sense of Duty
Emily, Leah

ISFP: Sees Much But Shares Little
Kaelea, Jeb

Now I'm trying to figure out what other people are. I think my brother Jeff (he & Kenli are the only ones I know who have scored 100% extroverted!) must be an ENTJ? Dad may be an INTJ and mom and INFJ? Kaelea would probably be an INFJ? Suzy is an ESFJ?

I know you want more of this, so stay tuned! Possibility for an argument to come (get ready INTJs & ENTJs!).

Thursday, June 21

Personality Type

I entered the field of psychology many years ago primarily because I am fascinated with what makes a person be the person he or she is. Birth order, societal influences, traumas, successes, personality wiring - they all play a part in making us who we are.

This last week a few of us from PUMP took the summer interns out on our annual intern retreat. We spent time on a ropes course, playing games, and discussing our Myers-Briggs types. The Myers-Briggs is one of the most highly respected and amazingly accurate personality indicators. I always enjoy watching people discover and share about those unique aspects of their own personality. And as many times as the staff and I take it ourselves, our discussions always serve as excellent reminders about our areas of strength and those that stretch us into zones of discomfort.

From where do you draw your energy?

Sensing - Intuition
How do you prefer to process information?

Thinking - Feeling
How do you prefer to make decisions?

Judgment - Perception
How do you prefer to organize your life?

You can take an online version here. I'd love it if you'd share what your type & percentages are. This site doesn't have the best descriptions of each type, but there are a ton online if you want more (or I'll share what I have with you!).

I'll talk about my own type soon...

Sunday, June 17

Happy Father's Day

Here's a little video I put together (with the help of my genius husband) to honor the PUMP men and the great fathers that they are to so many kids at PUMP.

father's day

Saturday, June 9

Kristi For President!

The other day I took part in a rare political discussion. Rare in the sense that I actually was having a conversation about politics. Allan and I attempt political discussions all of the time, but they mostly consist of him using lots of big words and complex notions, while I nod my head and throw in the perfunctory "uh-huh", just to keep up appearances. Anyway, back to my discussion with a twenty-something female about "who would you vote for today?". She, with no hesitation, declared Barack to be the clear winner in her book. It was in our examination of other candidates, though, that I found myself trapped by her next adamant declaration. It went something like: No woman should ever, ever be President of the United States. Seriously?? Her reason why? Because women are too emotional - and important decisions for our country can not be based on emotion. That's really had me thinking the last few days. Is that true? Can a woman not lead a country because we more emotionally-based than our male counterparts? I know I couldn't be President because I do tend to cry when under a lot of pressure and that just wouldn't do. But what about Margaret Thatcher? Indira Ghandi? Golda Meir? Benazir Bhutto? My young friend countered that these women were not leading The United States of America, and although that is true, I'm not really sure what she meant by that answer. I'm fairly sure I won't be marking Hillary's name in 2008, but will we see a woman President in my lifetime? If so, she'd better have waterproof mascara. Smeared make-up from all of the crying is just so unbecoming in the press photos.

Sunday, June 3

Debt Reduction

Like many people, Allan and I feel the drain of fatigue on an on-going basis. I just read a little about sleep debt. Wikipedia says, " [evaluating sleep debt] involves relaxing quietly and alone for a short amount of time. If the feeling of sleep comes fairly easily, one is considered to have sleep debt." Since it takes me all of about ten seconds to fall asleep at night, I figure I must qualify, according to this measure. A while back I was intrigued by Jason's plan to get to bed early for one month. I like staying up late, despite the cost of exhaustion the next day. It seems to have taken its toll on me lately, though. So this week Allan and I are going to bed by 10:30 each night. We're on our third night, but frankly, I feel more sleepy (and I'm afraid grumpy) than ever. I know, I know - it takes more than a few days to make up for a year of interrupted sleep. Ack! I better run - 10:29 p.m. Good night!

Wednesday, May 16

Where Have All The Bloggers Gone?

Two years ago it seemed that everyone and their dog had a blog up and running – sparking deep theological discussions, ruminating dreams, sharing the mundane of daily life. With a handful of exceptions, these days the only regular bloggers that fill my newsfeeder seem to be preachers or professional writers. Why is that? What’s happened to Joe Schmo exposing his thoughts to the general public? I can’t imagine that everyone is busier this year than in the past. Did we run out of things to talk about? Has blogging simply run its course – a fad that is no longer in vogue? I kind of miss the connection with my greater online community.

Why aren’t you blogging these days?

Monday, April 16

Dancing For the Lord

Last night our family attended Faith Quest Redux – a reunion for people who love and support the Labor Day gathering of Northwest teens. Never to disappoint, the worship team set the stage for the audience to be lifted into a state of holy worship.

It is not always easy as a parent to join in with the corporate worship experience (okay – it is always hard); but rather than lose heart and hide out for the next decade or so, Allan and I continue to expose ourselves and our children to environments that foster group worship. It is a challenging balance to do so without deterring others from their own chance to focus on praise, especially I imagine, in our church heritage, which tends to worship with a more reverent than enthusiastic style.

At Redux last night there came a time when the kids and I were behind the partition in the back of the room and began to do what comes most naturally to children when music is joyful and high volume – we danced. We spun, we waltzed, we leapt as we sang to the Lord. It was a sacrifice of praise that brought smiles to our faces, and, more importantly, I imagine to the Lord’s as well.

A good friend of mine comes from one of those more expressive church families. Where Church of Christ sings with amazing voice, her heritage uses a lot of body movement to pray and praise. I would love us to find comfort with both. I love the gift of singing that has been fostered in our church heritage; it would be a tremendous blessing for me if we were able to begin working the other muscles in these creative bodies we have been given for the glory of the Father.

And David danced before the Lord with all his might, wearing a priestly garment. So David and all the people of Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord with shouts of joy and the blowing of rams’ horns.
2 Samuel 6: 14-15

Saturday, April 14

The Great Rose City

This morning's hottest New York Times online article is titled 36 Hours in Portland, Ore. Our city looks like so much fun! What a great way to spend a weekend sometime. Of course, they would need to add "9:30 a.m. Sunday: worship services at PUMP Church of Christ" to really get the full experience.

Monday, April 9

Mary Had a Little... Easter Dinner

Holidays tend to bring out the Martha in me. Come on - don't you ever feel the inner call to decoupage, ganache, or embellish?

I sometimes like to pretend I am a gourmet chef. I enjoy purusing cooking magazines and websites, searching for new and adventursome meals to make my own. This Easter I decided to forgo the typical ham and pursue the higher standard. Lamb. Yogurt, fresh lemon, lime, & garlic marinade. And what meat doesn't work having spent time on the outdoor grill? Let me just say, I think it was a success, despite my uncouth family who inflicted jokes about a sad, three-legged sheep and put in requests for grilled rabbit next year.

So now I am exploring all of the options for leftover lamb. Tonight was a Shepherd's Pie-inspired creation. Tomorrow? Who knows. Maybe some kind of stew or kabobs.


Saturday, March 31

Where Is My Cape?

I am a superhero. My abilities are endless, I am sure. I could stop a locomotive with my bare hands, if necessary. I could swim the ocean. I can swoop in and save young, innocent lives from the jaws of death. Just put one of my kids in jeopardy and I will suddenly develop new and amazing talents.
Latourell Falls
Allow me to paint a picture: My kids and I, along with my brother's family and my parents, traversed a hike in the gorge to celebrate a beautiful Spring Break day. We discovered on our return trip from the upper falls that we needed to take a little detour. With the bridge washed out, we needed to cross over the raging, freezing, deep torrents on a log placed just so for such an occasion. Mind you, it was a huge log, so it wasn't really that precarious -- unless you are a four-year-old. As Connor and I, holding hands, neared the far side, he lost his footing and went off the side. As my mind registered that his little body was dangling ten feet over the water, I thought, I've got him! Then just as quickly I thought, We're both going in! As I valiantly fought the beast of balance that attempted to draw us both into its icy clutches, I reached back and grabbed a wee twig - one no larger than my pinky. This little respite allowed just enough time for my superpowers to kick in and right both of us up. When we reached stable land, Connor whimpered a few times and quietly declared, I almost fell in the waterfall, mommy. A little farther down trail and I saw that we were just upstream from a very, very high waterfall.

I am mother. Hear me roar.

Thursday, March 15

Craig Ferguson Piece

Everyone in my family is on that terrible precipice - you know, that ledge right before you succumb to a terrible cold. I'm trying to fight it with Zicam and mind-control, but I'm not sure it's going to hold.

You may have seen this on Mike Cope's blog or a million other places for that matter - once it's on youtube, it's everywhere. Craig Ferguson, whom I enjoy watching mostly to hear his great Scottish accent, gives a poignant monologue about comedy, kicking those who are down, and his own fight with alcoholism. It's worth twelve minutes, if you can find them.

Saturday, March 10

I Miss the Ol' Boy

From Deadspin (a totally irreverant sports site that I cannot recommend due to all things foul - no pun intended):
After you pick up 16 technical fouls in one NBA season, each technical foul thereafter earns you a one-game suspension. You'll never guess who became the first player to be suspended via that rule.'Twas Rasheed Wallace.

You might expect Rasheed to be upset about the suspension, or to say or do something inflammatory. Nope.

"It don't matter to me," Wallace said of the fine he'll draw. "They think suspending me one game, I'm losing all this money and this and that. Money ain't nothing to me for the simple fact I wasn't born with it. Just as fast as you get money, you can lose money. Money's not going to change my character, money's not going to change the person I am."

"We're still going to go out there and play Pistons basketball," he said. "We still got guys who can play. I ain't worried about [missing the game]."

Sunday, March 4

Shake It, Harding!

This little spontaneous choreography by some students during a concert in the Benson Auditorium on Harding's campus actually made it on the news in Arkansas! Seems President Burks didn't take to kindly to such expressions of unbridled joy and ordered those poor Harding security folks to regain order. Good luck there! Ever seen Footloose, Dr. Burks??

Wednesday, February 21

Looking to November 2008

I am a bit of a news junkie; I like to know what is going on in the world. It is not very long that I have been awake each morning when I check my news feeds to see what has happened overnight. Each morning's check is accompanied by a slight buzz of anticipation, since it seems many of our big news stories have hit us on the West Coast during that morning hour (e.g. Oklahoma, 9/11, tsunami). Then there are those lesser news stories that may have contributed to the phrase "ad nauseam". I think we have all had more than our fill of Anna Nichole and Brittany lately.

I read this headline earlier this week: Only 468 Days Until the Election. Really?? The way it has been all over the headlines made me think the election had to be just weeks away! We know copious amounts of info on the black candidate, the woman candidate, the Mormon, the hero, the boring, the repeat, and few dozen others. How are any of these people doing the jobs that they are currently being paid for when they are running for President of the United States of America a full two years in advance? Crazy.

I, hereby, proclaim that no one shall declare their intent to run for President until one year before Election Day. All in favor?

Friday, February 16

Anyone Know a Good Pet Shrink?

People may argue about the validity of animals having emotions, but I have discovered that cats can indeed suffer from PTSD. It might occur if, let's say, a timid little feline is cornered under a small bed by a rather boisterous young man-cub and then trapped there by mounds of clothes and toys. Freedom only comes some time later when mom hollers, "Who unloaded their dresser on to the floor??" "But I needed to keep the cat under the bed, mom." What?!?

Wednesday, February 14

Happy Valentine's Day

I happen to be spending this Valentine's Day with my three littler loves while my first love is out for the evening. Signs of our old love (old in the good sense - like aged wine) that I am noticing on this particular evening when he's not here? I had to hang up my robe that always ends up tossed on the bed; I didn't realize that had become part of his daily routine. No one is telling me that I shouldn't be watching Criminal Minds before bed (although it bothers him much more than it does me). There are no willing hands here to rub my feet. I have to clean out the kitty litter - blek! One day to remember to say "I love you" is fine, but it the little daily gifts that mean everything.

Thursday, February 8

A Good Reminder

From Mike Cope's blog today:

I want to encourage all you younger parents out there in blogsphere. It is hard to be the parent who lovingly gives a hard time. It’s hard to be the one who enforces tv/computer time limits, homework, and bedtimes. It’s difficult to set age-appropriate limits to movies when “every other kids’ parents let them watch whatever they want.” It’s tough to be firm when you’re exhausted from work and life’s stresses.

But hang in there! Your kids are counting on you — whether they yet know it or not. (I just saw a teenager on the plane whose t-shirt had two words: NO LECTURES!)

Your children need to know that YOU are the parent. In too many homes, the children run everything by parents who are overly-eager to please. If they don’t like the Bible class, they don’t have to go. If they have more friends at another church, the family leaves. If they want to eat unhealthily — well, we reassure ourselves that at least they’re eating something. If there is a problem with a coach or a teacher, the child is always assumed to be right.

Be the adult! Be the loving, compassionate, tender, but very-much-in-charge parent! It’s one of life’s ironies: that the one thing kids say they don’t want (rules and limits) is what they need.

I’m not talking, of course, about being a tyrant or about being inflexible. I’m talking about being lovingly in charge.

It may seem to kids that parents who mind their own business, don’t serve vegies, let them wear whatever is in style, allow unlimited time on the net to chat, permit any movie to be shown when friends come over, and ask no questions about where they’re going in the evening are the cool parents.

Here’s my encouragement: Don’t try to be the cool parents. Be the parents who take the time and the love to give a hard time.

Eventually, when your kids age a bit, they’ll know that you really were the cool parents.

Sunday, January 28

Blessed Day

It was a good Sunday. My family, having gotten up and ready on time, was stress-free and even enjoyed breakfast together. Amazing gift, Lord. In our worship assembly, I found the mental and spiritual space to actually worship the Creator. Praise you, Lord. The children's program was funny, imaginative, and taught a great lesson for kids and adults alike. Discipline me, Lord. The kids praised loudly before Jesus. Bless you, Lord. In adult class we wrestled with what it means to store up treasure in heaven. Teach me, Lord. Our leadership team, with respectful and loving communication, dreamed and planned and debated what it means to be the church that God calls us to be. Show us, Lord. I am tired after a long day. But it's a good tired. The kind of tired that comes from exertion that really matters. Thank you, Lord.

Tuesday, January 23

Free Song of the Week

iTunes free download this week is from a familiar source.
On the Third Day is taken from Michael Olson's sophomore album, Where Fear and Faith Collide. The track is a watertight pop song ready for mainstream acceptance, with the Christian artist relaying his faith with a tremendous amount of passion and confidence. Those with a weakness for epic grandeur and who tend to get misty-eyed thinking of 'we are all one'-type sentiments should have a seat and take a listen to our free Discovery Downlado.
- iTunes Store

Download Now *you have to have a itunes account to download song

Tuesday, January 16

Another Tuesday

Just another Tuesday morning. After we all got to stay home together for MLK Day on Monday, it's back to the routine, back to the grindstone. That is - until the blinds were opened to reveal a beautiful winter wonderland! There is nothing better than that first glance at your snow covered neighborhood, especially when it is a great surprise; then it's all eyes on the t.v. to see the beloved words SCHOOL CLOSED! So instead of commutes, ABCs, packing lunches, and "Hurry up - we're late!", we had snow angels, cross-country skiing (you know Allan and his sick need to exercise), hot chili, and another good family day. We already know that school is closed tomorrow because of expected ice. Another good day in the forecast.

Snow Day in Portland2Snow Day in Portland11

Saturday, January 13

Fly Away

Allan and I stayed up too late watching Superman Returns last night. Some important thoughts:
  • When Superman and Lois go for their romantic flights, how do her legs stay horizontal? Wouldn't they be dangling down in a most unbecoming way?
  • It would be quite a challenge to win a custody battle against Superman. I just can't see him saying, I'll take every other weekend and holidays.
  • Even though they don't actually sing the lyrics in the movie, it is impossible to go to sleep with Can You Read My Mind? playing over and over and over in one's head.