Wednesday, December 31

Year In Review

A rather forthright friend just spent a chunk of time reading through all of my 2008 blog posts. He suggested I change the name or at least add a subtitle because it is “neither about music nor about your life!” Hmph. That had me glancing through this year’s prose, being reminded of what a full scene this act of the musical was.

When 2008 began, I was nursing my baby-child and completely and utterly sleep-deprived. It was not a pretty picture. By early spring the sleep deprivation began to manifest itself in (greater) forgetfulness and disorganization; I’m afraid this hasn’t gotten any better. Wallet - lost, replaced, currently lost. Keys - lost, found, currently lost. Wedding Ring - lost, replaced, found original, both currently lost. Depressing, I tell you.

Late spring brought two events that are highlights in my year. First, a trip to New York for the Women in Ministry conference and some fabulous sight-seeing. Second, a trip to the Pepperdine lectures with my mom. I love, love traveling and these fun exertions gave me a much needed boost.

Summer brought activity and energy and excitement! All of my family together for the first time in years...PUMP Summer Program with its amazing kids, loving youth groups, and fantastic interns...a car accident...a beach trip with my three dear childhood friends...the Olympics!...FaithQuest...The Luis Palau Festival at Portland’s waterfront...a beach get-away with the family...good times.

Early fall seemed to be all about politics and back to school and picture taking (our favorite photo time of the year). I also had the great opportunity to take a month sabbatical, where I spent time reflecting, rejuvenating, and talking with my family and my God. But late fall had very difficult parts to it...Cascade College announcing its impending closure...three little girls I know having terrible, frightening diseases...a baby having surgery on his troubles for friends...unexpected death. It has been a season of prayer and reflection.

A monumental personal event of the year, though, happens today for me - this last day of 2008. As of midnight, I will no longer be employed by the PUMP Church of Christ, but will now minister again as a volunteer. This is the church that the Lord led us to plant with six amazing people at the beginning of this decade. I’ve been on staff for seven-and-a-half years, wearing more hats than I could describe.
I absolutely love this ministry. I love my friends in this church family and those in the community who do not yet know about the hope found in Christ. I love the amazing work that PUMP has done for so many hundreds of children, adults, and families, and I love the dream of who PUMP can still be under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

What’s to come in 2009? I can’t imagine. But, with my family, friends, and Lord with me, I am content in heart as I watch the clock strike midnight to see what happens next.

Wednesday, December 10

Heard Around the House

Fiona sucking on toes...
Mom: What's that toe taste like, Fiona?
Fiona: peanut butter & jelly


Kristi: I think Jesus is coming tomorrow.
Trinity: How do you know?
Kristi: I don't actually know. I'm just hoping.
Trinity: Awww - but tomorrow is show-and-tell!


In the midst of a frustrating conversation with a child who was speaking disrespectfully...
Allan: Do you know why you need to talk nice to your mom??
Connor: Yeah, she gave birth to me!

Friday, December 5

Merry Christmas to All

Like many of you, this time of year is a paradox for me. I love this season - the lights, the tree hunting, the baking...and the gifts. I really enjoy picking out something for each person on my list that I know will be a joyous surprise. All the while, I hear my kids have conversations, like the one they had yesterday in the car, that go something like: "I love Christmas - it's my favorite holiday." "Mine, too. But maybe I like my birthday more because I get presents AND cake." *sigh* Doesn't that just warm your heart?

We've all heard it this year. America spends multiple gazillion dollars on Christmas; in contrast, the world could be fully vaccinated with a small portion of that sum. Although Americans plan to spend less on the holidays this year than in the past several years, it's not just about holding back a few additional dollars; it's about making the world a little better place for others as well. It's about generosity and humility and a little perspective.

After that conversation start yesterday, the kids and I decided to put together a list of ways we can help others enjoy their holiday season and choose as a family which ones we will join with this year. I'm starting our list, but I would love to have input. What are other organizations or ideas for giving that you think are great?
  • Sponsor a child through Compassion International, Samaritan's Purse, or another reputable child sponsor organization.
  • Buy a malaria resistant mosquito net for an African family (this is what we gave our dads for Father's Day - to help a few children who may not have fathers).
  • Provide a micro loan in order for someone in a developing country to begin a business that will support their family.
  • Buy a goat, chicken, alpaca, pig, or some other cute animal that will help support a family.
  • Take food to our local food bank.
  • Choose a family we know personally and sneakily drop off gifts & food (I read of one family who blesses a family every year with an anonymous twelve days of Christmas countdown of decorations, food, and small gifts).
  • Give needed clothes or toys to a foster child.
  • Make homemade Christmas decorations for elderly people in a near-by retirement home.
What else?

Wishing a fabulous holiday season for ALL of us.

Wednesday, December 3

What I Needed to Hear Today

Stay in the boat. You don’t have to walk on water. He can. And he’s coming to you.
-Mike Cope

Wednesday, November 19

Prayer Request

We have two sweet kids (& two sets of families) at PUMP who need your prayers. Caitlin, a four-year-old sweetie, was diagnosed with leukemia two weeks ago. We praise God that she is responding well to treatment so far; we know this is a long road ahead though. Today she is at the hospital getting another round of tests and chemo.

Zion, PUMP's newest little one, is a six-month old who is having a traumatic surgery on his skull as I write this. After his three hour surgery, he'll be in ICU for 24 hours and in the hospital for another four days - if all goes according to plan. I'm hopeful that he will surprise all with his rapid and complete recovery.

Please join the PUMP family in prayer for these two precious families. Although trusting in the Lord's care and love, the anxiety and heartache is understandably overwhelming at times for them.

From Psalm 71:
I have come to you for protection;
don’t let me be disgraced.
Save me and rescue me,
for you do what is right.
Turn your ear to listen to me,
and set me free.
Be my rock of safety
where I can always hide.
Give the order to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
O Lord, you alone are my hope.
I’ve trusted you, O Lord, from childhood.
Yes, you have been with me from birth;
from my mother’s womb you have cared for me.
No wonder I am always praising you!
My life is an example to many,
because you have been my strength and protection.
That is why I can never stop praising you;
I declare your glory all day long.

Saturday, November 1

Walking With Others Through Storms

There have been joys this week in my 2nd grader's grand performance as an evil stepsister in their class version of Cinderella, dressing up with the kids for Halloween, and using our fireplace for the first time this fall. This is a period, though, marked with great loss and sadness. Heartache has come in many forms for my friends and family this week:

Family having to unexpectedly move from their home.

A friend leaving her ministry & dream because of the sin of another.

The baby of friends having to endure medical procedures in anticipation of an upcoming traumatic surgery.

An entire region losing an institution that serves as a cornerstone; friends losing their home, college & stability; friends anticipating being unemployed.

A sweet, adorable little friend beginning the fight with a terrible disease.

A friend losing her sister in an unexpected death.

It is often hard to know how to minister to people who are experiencing grief and loss, especially when their hurt cuts deeply into your own heart. With good intentions, people often say hurtful things. Or out of fear of saying something wrong, some say nothing at all. Here are some ideas for ministry to those whose who are hurting.

  • acknowledge the pain or loss with a card, call, or letter (which can be re-read during hard times).
  • make specific offers for assistance (e.g. picking up groceries while you're at the store, helping write a resume, or taking the kids for an evening).
  • be supportive of the difficult decisions they are making.
  • pray. Telling someone that you are praying for them is another way of saying you care.
  • tell them that they are doing a good job managing their situation.
  • feel free to cry with the person.
  • simply say "I am so sorry."
  • allow them to talk about their situation at their own pace. Be a good listener.
  • simply sit with the person or offer some other action of support like a hug or squeeze of the arm. Words are not always necessary.
  • remember painful holidays.
  • remember that the pain will likely be long-lasting and nothing you say will make the pain go away.
  • avoid the person because you don't know what to say.
  • say "I know how you feel". This time is about the other person, not about you.
  • tell depressing stories, even if they relate to the loss.
  • say "It's God's will" or "It's a good thing" or "You can [have another child, go on to another ministry, go to a different college]".
  • say "Don't cry" or "Be brave" or "You are so strong", which may cause the person to repress their feelings. They likely do not feel strong or brave.
  • blame or say things that might be construed as blame.
  • use platitudes or cliches, such as "Time heals all wounds" or "Everything will be o.k." It most definitely does not feel like things will be o.k. They need to be given the permission and space to grieve.
Let's all take a deep breath, praise the Lord for today, and walk hand in hand through these difficult times.

[some of these ideas come from Delores Kuenning's "Helping People Through Grief"]

Wednesday, October 29

A Note to My Father

Wow, Lord, this has been a doozy of a week so far, and it's only Wednesday morning. I have started a number of second sentences to this note to You, but the words of our language keep falling short of expressing what I want to say. So, I'll start with what I know. I know you are perfect. I know you are strong and majestic and full of mercy and grace. I know you love - you are love. There is no end to your care and love for us. Thank you. Thank you for knowing us. Thank you for drawing us near, even when we arch our backs & pull away like a toddler trying to get away from the protective arms of a parent or when we hide away and pretend that we are alone. I praise you today for your goodness, for your grace, for your patience. I praise you. All that I know to be true.

My heart literally hurts today, Lord. With each beat there is an accompanying ache. I notice my breathing today, almost like I need to remind myself to take in the vital air. As I do, I breathe in your Spirit. I fill my chest and my heart and my soul with your Spirit, whose very job description is to guide and bring peace. That is what I so need today. I need guidance. I need peace. Where should my steps take me? Show me. Move my feet for me. How should my hands minister? Guide me. Allow me to touch, to call, to love with you as my puppet master, reaching out as you see best. How should I implore to you? Use the Spirit to hear the cries of my heart and those of my dear friends who are hurting so profoundly today. Fill in the words that do not come.

There is a lot of confusion around us right now; there is so much we don't know. Once again, as I get caught up in just thinking about those questions, I have to remind myself to breathe. To breathe in your Spirit and your peace. You are the constant. You are the one that will never change. When all else is chaos, you are the peace. So I rest in your peace today and I hand over my pain. Through loss, heartache, and pain, your strength will be made evident. Be glorified, Lord. We love you and want to honor you today with our heartache.

Your humble daughter

Wednesday, October 22

You Want To Put That Where Exactly?

Just in time for my health post, I went in for some of those necessary physical check-ins. It is national breast cancer awareness month, so with my doctor's orders I had my first...[ahem]...mammogram. I do not see myself as being old enough to have mammograms, but hey, better that than the alternative. Girlfriends, it wasn't something I would choose to do for weekend fun, but it is definitely tolerable. I just had no idea that things could be...maneuvered in such ways.

Good news - my mammogram, thyroid, and blood sugar tests were all good - the latter two being areas for which I am at high risk for problems. My one problem are? Cholesterol. Ugh. Looks like I have one more good reason to get those tennis shoes laced up.

Monday, October 20

And One, Two, Three!

I have several friends right now who are trying to take better control of their bodies through diets. There are some pretty creative ideas out there on how to lose weight. How about the Alternate Day Diet, where you basically alternate between starving and indulging. Just thinking about the Cabbage Soup Diet makes me nauseated. There's all those single food diets, where you pack your gills with one food, like watermelon or grapefruit. There's a million choices: Adkins, Weight Watchers, low-carb, low-calorie, pills, is a dizzying array.

Here comes confession time. I have gained 20 pounds in the last few months. *cheeks blushing, head shaking side to side* Excuses aside, my health needs to be kicked in gear once again. Here's some interesting things I found on Psychology Today:
The government has long espoused moderate daily exercise—of the evening-walk or take-the-stairs variety—but that may not do much to budge the needle on the scale. A 150-pound person burns only 150 calories on a half-hour walk, the equivalent of two apples. It's good for the heart, less so for the gut.
I don't like where this is headed.
"Radical changes are necessary," says Deirdre Barrett, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School and author of Waistland. "People don't lose weight by choosing the small fries or taking a little walk every other day." Barrett suggests taking a cue from the members of the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), a group of more than 5,000 successful weight-losers who have shed an average of 66 pounds and kept it off 5.5 years. They had one thing in common: vigorous exercise for at least an hour most days of the week. She estimates they burn an extra 2,800 calories a week.

Did you catch that? Vigorous exercise for at least an hour most days of the week. I didn't think this was going in the direction I was hoping, which involved more Heroes watching and blog writing. Well, alrighty then. I want to be motivated. I want to be healthy. I want that for my friends as well. So let's get to it, shall we?

Friday, October 17

Wednesday, October 15


If someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.
I Peter 3:15

Our Wednesday evening gathering at PUMP is focused on exercises designed to help us better "discover our faith", while letting I Peter 3 equip us for sharing our faith more effectively. I'm glad we are having a dialogue about this subject, because it surely does not come naturally to most of us; we often don't know the words for our story. But all Christians have a story about receiving the treasured gift of hope; we all have an amazing story of redemption to share. We all have a before and after.

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Monday, October 13

Check Here

The Presidential election is less than one month away. It has been quite a race. There are two good, qualified men ready to lead our country. Anticipation and passion runs high as debates air, political maps are drawn, and sides are chosen. So I now take this opportunity to publicly declare my position. I whole-heartedly, proudly, and without hesitation declare my political party as [drum roll]...UNDECIDED. For some friends and family out there, the fact that I don't see one or the other candidate as Satan himself will be a travesty in their own eyes. At this point I just don't see either choice will be such a terrible one.

I came across a site that has been really informative for me. It's worth your perusal. The Matthew 25 Network has as its mission to support candidates who share the Gospel mandate to put faith into action, to care for our neighbors, especially the most vulnerable.

Since I don't advocate for one particular candidate at this point, though, here's another site that offers a nice interview with the other candidate. This interview narrows in on a conversation about faith and Christianity.

Friday, October 10

Blog Freakiness

If any of you happened to stumble across my blog on Friday, you would have seen the aliens that took over my beloved landscape of words. Apparently whomever held the keys to my lovely "Japanese Fleur" template images got caught up in the stock market frenzy and forgot to pay the bills. Allan was not available to save the day, so horror of horrors!, I had to attempt salvation myself. Voila'! Okay, not quite "Voila!", but I did manage to get something started. If I mess it up enough, Allan will be concerned to the point that he will just have to intervene. At least that's my sinister plot. In the meantime, just ignore it if you see things appear and disappear while I try to figure this thing out myself.

Hmmm...I wonder what will happen if I do this? Oops.

Update: It's been three days and his concern has not spurred him to action yet! He had to work almost all weekend, but that's not a good excuse, is it? Oh, my sad, sad blog.

Tuesday, October 7

Hello, my name is blog.

A new friend of mine was talking to an old friend of mine about me recently. My old friend was liberal with his generosity as he described his perception of who I am and the friendship we shared (he has selective memory issues). The most interesting point he made, though? He stated that he has gotten to know me best ready for this? blog. This weekend when my father-in-law was discussing our blogs with Allan and I, he pointed out how he is often surprised at the level of personal revelation I make. And, just this evening, another friend revealed that his wife is "lurker" of this site, enjoying the opportunity to get to know more about my life.

I find those comments interesting. Is it okay that someone feels like the best way to know me is through their computer? There are many discussions online about this topic. I'm curious what you think. Can you get to know someone through a blog or do you have to have face to face interactions for it to be an authentic relationship? Do you find it easier or more difficult to express yourself in this format? What about it is so appealing to some - the perceived anonymity? the opportunity for a stage without interruption? the ability to make a false front?

Talk amongst yourselves.

Wednesday, October 1

Give Money Away!

Feel like donating to a charity today with someone else's money? Check out this cool project by Squidoo - click here.

Thursday, September 25

Survivor: Fiona

I have a new reality t.v. show in the making - Survivor: Fiona. The goal is to see if the contestants and/or Fiona can survive together for one week. In the last twenty-four hours this bundle of cuteness has:
* been pulled out of the road by her big sister
* sprayed herself down with Fabreeze
* colored herself with dry-erase markers
* pulled the fireplace gate on to herself
* shattered a flower vase (& carried the broken vase to me - aagh!)
* flooded our bathroom ("Look, mommy, the water!")
* shimmied down the length of our attic crawl space

...and these are the ones of which we are aware.

Any takers?

Friday, September 12

When Are You Coming For a Visit?

CNN and Travel & Leisure Magazine received over 600,000 votes on their "America's Favorites" poll. On this day of bright sun and 78 degrees, it's not hard to see that here is what they found:

Quality of Life & Visitor Experience (Overall)

1 Portland, Oregon
2 Charleston
3 Austin
4 Honolulu
5 Minneapolis/St. Paul
6 San Diego
7 Santa Fe
8 Denver
9 Seattle
10 San Francisco
11 San Antonio
12 Nashville
13 Chicago
14 Phoenix/Scottsdale
15 Boston
16 Washington, D.C.
17 Miami
18 Orlando
19 New Orleans
20 New York
21 Philadelphia
22 Las Vegas
23 Dallas/Fort Worth
24 Atlanta
25 Los Angeles

Based on: Noteworthy neighborhoods, Skyline/views, Public parks and access to the outdoors, Cleanliness, Public transportation and pedestrian friendliness, Traffic, Safety, Weather, Peace and quiet, Affordability, People-watching, Environmental awareness

Monday, September 8

Beach Get-Away

Given our summer of PSP, family visits, the Festival, & FaithQuest, we did absolutely no vacationing as a family this summer. I had a Saturday meeting cancel this last week, opening up our entire weekend. The kids and I did some sneaky planning; then on Friday I packed for five and we kidnapped Allan from work (with his boss's okay). What a great weekend we had! I absolutely love Cannon Beach - the most beautiful and relaxing of the Oregon Coast, in my opinion. We had a cute little hotel, just a close walk to the sand & waves. Best of all was the non-scheduled time with the four people I love and adore most.

Beach Weekend 2008

Beach Weekend 2008

Beach Weekend 2008

Beach Weekend 2008

Friday, August 29

Live Blogging FaithQuest

This weekend I will be blogging from FaithQuest. Check it out HERE.

Tuesday, August 26


Portland's own Donald Miller led the closing benediction at the Democratic National Convention last night. When asked by Christianity Today why he agreed to participate, Donald replied, "Somebody calls you and asks you to pray, you do."
Father God,

This week, as the world looks on, help the leaders in this room create a civil dialogue about our future.

We need you, God, as individuals and also as a nation.

We need you to protect us from our enemies, but also from ourselves, because we are easily tempted toward apathy.

Give us a passion to advance opportunities for the least of these, for widows and orphans, for single moms and children whose fathers have left.

Give us the eyes to see them, and the ears to hear them, and hands willing to serve them.

Help us serve people, not just causes. And stand up to specific injustices rather than vague notions.

Give those in this room who have power, along with those who will meet next week, the courage to work together to finally provide health care to those who don’t have any, and a living wage so families can thrive rather than struggle.

Hep us figure out how to pay teachers what they deserve and give children an equal opportunity to get a college education.

Help us figure out the balance between economic opportunity and corporate gluttony.

We have tried to solve these problems ourselves but they are still there. We need your help.

Father, will you restore our moral standing in the world.

A lot of people don’t like us but that’s because they don’t know the heart of the average American.

Will you give us favor and forgiveness, along with our allies around the world.

Help us be an example of humility and strength once again.

Lastly, father, unify us.

Even in our diversity help us see how much we have in common.

And unify us not just in our ideas and in our sentiments—but in our actions, as we look around and figure out something we can do to help create an America even greater than the one we have come to cherish.

God we know that you are good.

Thank you for blessing us in so many ways as Americans.

I make these requests in the name of your son, Jesus, who gave his own life against the forces of injustice.

Let Him be our example.


Monday, August 25

Who Knew?

For some reason I find this oddly fascinating. I look forward to my next drive in the country to see if it is true of the Oregon species as well (note to self: take into account the wind conditions). Don't snicker - this is important research, people!

Thursday, August 21


If you are close enough to be able to be in Portland by tomorrow or Saturday afternoon, you absolutely must get yourself down to the Waterfront for the Luis Palau Festival. There are great activities for the kids, X-treme sports, and amazing musical performances. FREE! When you come, text or twitter & we can hook up. If you want to see the cool work that Allan does, go to the Media Tent & ask for him.

Friday, August 22

2:00 - 6:00 p.m: Family Fun Zone

3:00 & 4:30 p.m: Presentations by Bob and Larry of VeggieTales® and ventriloquist Mark Thompson

2:00 & 3:45 p.m: Livin It® Demos

5:00 p.m: Main Stage Performances Begin

City Prayze

Phil Stacey

Kirk Franklin

7:20 p.m. Luis Palau


Chris Tomlin

Saturday, August 23

2:00 - 6:00 p.m: Family Fun Zone

3:00 & 4:30 p.m: Presentations by Bob and Larry of VeggieTales® and ventriloquist Mark Thompson

2:00 & 3:45 p.m: Livin It® Demos

5:00 p.m: Main Stage Performances Begin


Hawk Nelson

Mercy Me

7:15 p.m. Luis Palau


UPDATE: I was right - it is worth the trip to the Waterfront! Oh my goodness, there are a gazillion people there! Don't bring your bike (unless you park it away), a large stroller, or anything else hard to lug through masses of people. My highlight? Chris Tomlin. That man is something amazing. Loved hanging with Stephanie for a while, then Kymm the rest of the evening. Looking forward to tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 19

Happy Anniversary

Weren't we the cutest little things?? Could either of us have imagined on August 19, 1995 where we'd be today? Three lovely and lively kids...our little house...both working in vibrant ministries that focus on Kingdom work...and a marriage that gets better and better with time. I like walking this journey with you and look forward to growing old with you (except for the annoying old man habits you are already developing). I love you.

Monday, August 18

Look At Me!

I'm still doing some tweaking, but it was high time that this site became a little more pretty. I knew as soon as I started messing around with downloading templates and moving things for which I have no business touching, Allan would grab my laptop and make it all good. Sure enough, he locked himself away for a while, all for the sake of my little blog. How's it working for you?

Friday, August 15

The Shack

I've been sitting on this post for a few days, waiting for the right words to use. Those perfect words never made an appearance, so I choose to just write it anyway. Here's the gist of my message: If you do not have it, go out or get on amazon today and get yourself a copy of The Shack. I am at a loss as to how to break this book down here; I think I need another read through before I can begin an attempt at dissection. Although a work of fiction, this book has the ability to radically enhance one's vision of the Trinity. As I read, I could not help but feel that the author was fully anointed by the Spirit. I just don't see how a human, without the words of the Lord, could use language in such a beautiful way to paint a picture of the dimension surrounding the Trinity. It reminded me of how This Present Darkness changed the way I considered spiritual warfare. As I now envision angels riding on my car or surrounding my house (Allan and I named our head guardian "Mordecai") because of Peretti's insights, I now find myself considering my relationships with Sarayu as an integral part (you'll have to read it to know what that means). Have I convinced you yet? You can see more about it here. Read it - I'd love to talk about it with you.

Tuesday, August 12

Hi, My Name Is __________

First impressions are a funny thing. Not always ha ha funny, but sometimes a huh, that's strange funny. Recently I was with a group who, for some sadistic reason, decided to share with each other our first impressions of each person present. This might have been a better exercise had we all been inebriated. We were camping, so I can only imagine it was the mix of campfire smoke and pine scented air that caused us to partake in such a game.

I communicate well, I'm intimidating, I'm stylish, I'm unorganized and irresponsible, and I married a cool guy - those were the first impressions that I had given. I had to ask myself the same question I ask my kids whenever someone says something to them that stings. Well, is it true? Are you really stupid/ugly/boring (or in this situation) unorganized/irresponsible/stylish? Heavens, no! Those three words in particular are not ones that I have ever heard uttered in a sentence along with my name. It was only after this internal dialogue that I was able to see first impressions for what they are (and even laugh a little).

First impressions are a fickle little puppy. They wield a great deal of power - substantially more than they should. I wonder how many great relationships I have missed out on because I turned away before I got to know someone. How often have I mislabeled someone as aloof when she is simply shy, or a grump when I didn't know of the especially bad morning that he had when we first met, or so stinkin' talented that we'd have nothing in common.

So that's it. I think I'm going to make an effort to see first impressions for what they are. And, unless it involves marshmallows, I think I'll stay away from campfire games for a little while, too.

Monday, August 11

Keeps Us Rolling

If you ever need a good chuckle, check in with one of the funniest guys I know.

Friday, August 8

Let The Games Begin!

Today is a day that I look forward to for years at a time. Four years to be exact. The Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics! I just get goosebumps typing those words. Excuse me one moment while I stand, and, with my hand over my heart, recite the Pledge of Allegiance in solidarity with my proud countrymen and -women who are around the globe at this moment, preparing to represent our fine land in the great tradition of sport! sigh. I just love it!

There have been more memorable Olympic moments than I could possibly recount here. But I shall try, shan't I? [I've never used the word "shan't" before - I think I like it.] Okay, I'll limit my list to the summer Olympics; no winter allowed. And I'll limit it to events I actually remember seeing.

* The archer lighting the torch in Barcelona, 1992
* Ali lighting the torch in Atlanta
* North & South Korea walking together in the opening ceremonies in Sydney, 2000
* That one runner guy who pulled his hamstring and was helped to the finish line by his dad in 1988
* Zola Bud, running bare foot, tripping Mary Decker Slaney, who hit the deck in L.A., 1984
* Kerri Strug and the bum ankle
* Rulon Gardner, the big farm boy from Wisconsin, who took down that great Russian beast, who had not lost in 13 years, in the most amazing wrestling match of all time (except maybe Jacob & God)
* Greg Louganis smashing his head on the diving board
* Michael Phelps winning eight medals in the pool in 2004
* Cathy Freeman, the Aborigine, winning in Sydney
* Mary Lou Retton's all-around gold in 1984
* Carl Lewis on the track in 1984

What am I forgetting?

Thursday, August 7

Committment Embodied

I'm not a big fan of forwarded emails. You the ones I'm talking about, right? Readers Digest-worthy jokes. Why Global Warming is a Conspiracy! Nauseating mom infomercials. So, here's the warning - this is one of those.

Allan and I try to catch the Ironman on t.v. each year (I'm waiting to see Jason Hill there). No other show does a better job at compelling its viewers to lose pounds of water through tears shed. Their bios are epic - we were drawn to the story about this father and son the year they participated.
A son asked his father, 'Dad, will you take part in a marathon with me?' The father despite having a heart condition, says 'Yes'. They went on to complete the marathon together. Father and son went on to join other marathons, the father always saying 'Yes' to his son's request of going through the race together. One day, the son asked his father, 'Dad, let's join the Ironman together.' To which, his father said 'Yes' .

For those who don't know, Ironman is the toughest triathlon ever. The race encompasses three endurance events of a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike ride, and ending with a 26.2 mile marathon along the coast of the Big Island.

Father and son went on to complete the race together.
Watch this (cue sappy song):

Tuesday, August 5

Think Christian

I recently told you about We The Church, a website of only prayers and praises. There are some other good Christian websites that I have been following for a while that some of you might enjoy as well.

Deadly Viper is an website dedicated to conversations on "the issues of radical integrity and radical grace". Their focus is to develop leaders through intentional, transparent, and honest conversations about key character issues. Oh, and they love Chuck Norris, if that makes any difference to you.

At Think Christian there are a lot of lively discussions by a panel of Christian writers about Christ, culture, and the ways that faith plays out in everyday life. I will be writing book reviews for this site in the near future, so keep a look out for that!

Flowerdust, aka Anne Jackson, Ragamuffin Soul, aka Carlos Whittaker, and his wife Heather at Whittaker Woman are three of the most popular Christian personal blogs in the nation. They're popular for a reason - good writing, great humor, and tough topics all to the glory of Jesus.

Christianity Today has two areas to which I return again and again. Gifted For Leadership is dedicated to discussions for women who are "capable, called, and gifted leaders". CT's movie section has some of the best written, unbiased reviews out there.

What sites or blogs do you recommend?

Saturday, August 2

Two Years Old

Wow - no one needs me to say how precious, how beautiful, and how truly special you are, my dear Miss Fiona. Two years ago you came into our lives in a, well, rather violent way. But you and I survived that ordeal together and have been bonded in a special way ever since. I absolutely adore you, and I am so excited to see how you will rock this world. I love you, my sweet girl!

Tuesday, July 29

Courage & Humility

In the midst of a prayer I heard recently, a portion struck a deep chord and has been resounding in my ears ever since. I think it's absolutely beautiful.

Give us courage when you ask us to face a giant.
Give us humility when you ask us to fetch a donkey.

Friday, July 25

BFF: Thirty-something Years & Counting

Growing up can be tough. There is learning to share, surviving mean teachers, managing arguments with peers and siblings, and the dreaded teasing and playground politics. Then comes puberty - navigating fashion trends, enduring new and frightening hormones, and all those important firsts: first bra, first period, first major crush. A little later and there's discovering a personal faith, fighting body image issues, relating with parents, learning to drive. Which job? Which college? Which sports? Which boy? Which party? Which standards?

Three people in particular helped me navigate these years. Our friendship started early in elementary school, and we stayed close by each others sides until we donned our caps & gowns. Through those turbulent years of childhood and adolescence, these girls had more influence on making me who I am than anyone else outside of my immediate family. And their influence? Golden. Godly. Strong. Feminine. So very, very funny.

One evening in early 1990, we sat on the beach in our cheerleading uniforms and dreamed of our future, which included a white picket fence in front of all four of our houses, all lined up in a row; our children were to grow up together and marry each other. It was to be quite idyllic.

We spent this last weekend together, close to that same beach. This was the very first time that the four of us had gotten together by ourselves since high school. We came with a little bit of nerves and a whole lot of excitement (and Three Amigos!).

Our high school dream didn't, or at least hasn't, worked out. But reality hasn't turned out too bad. All four of us still live in the Northwest. We all entered into the helping professions - social work, teaching, nursing, and counseling. We all four are married to wonderful, Godly men. So far, there are ten children (six boys, four girls - so we'll need to figure out that arranged marriage thing) who are healthy and bright and beautiful. And most importantly, we are all still deeply in love with Jesus.

Friendships really do make a difference. If you have children, involve yourself in their peer relationships from an early age. Guide them, as much as you are able, to friendships that are positive and will lead them closer to the Lord. I would not be the ____ (amazing? fabulous? insert positive adjective here) person I am today without these three girls walking alongside me for so many years.

Tuesday, July 22

What a Pain in the Neck!

It started with headaches. Not your run-of-the-mill ache, but a full-blown migraine. Almost every day. For three weeks. Then my neck tightened up to the point that I was unable to lean my head one way or the other. Even though they started weeks apart, I suspect that these two unfortunate symptoms were related. I got chiropractic treatment, urgent care treatment, major pain relievers, and major muscle relaxers; but no healing. We thought we'd glop on a bunch of icing on the cake and got rear-ended on the freeway (the kids thought it was pretty exciting). Unlike this picture which shows the healthy curve of the upper spine, mine is perfectly straight. Apparently that's bad.

I'm having a little pity party for one tonight, and I thought I'd invite you over.

Thursday, July 17

This is a Recording

Every year Allan and I get caught up in watching the Tour. This week I noticed something significant - the coaches who ride along in cars right behind the participants are constantly speaking their cyclist via an ear piece. We got to listen in for a bit as one coach spoke to his cyclist. It went something like this: You are strong! Be courageous! Take it easy on this hill and then take them. You can do it. Be courageous! It used to be in sports that it was just the participant and his or her own thoughts that either would propel or discourage. When I ran cross country, I would have benefited from constant positive reinforcement in my mind or, at least, in my ear. My thoughts went more like: This is ridiculous. You are not a runner. Why are you even doing this? You are not any good. How can I get out of this with some dignity? Or something like that. I needed an earpiece with someone replacing those thoughts with: You are strong. Be courageous!

I have often talked to friends and clients about the tape recorders we carry with us. Maybe it was a harsh parent with one of those statements that stuck. You aren't college material. Maybe like one of my friends, a teacher held up your artwork as an example of what not to do. You are not creative. Don't try. Maybe it was a build up of personal losses. You know, no one really likes you. Our tape recorders flip on at random moments it seems and can get stuck playing these messages over and over.

The cool thing is that we actually do have a coach who speaks into our ear. The Holy Spirit is in us, whispering the truth. You are redeemed. You are worthy. If we get in tune with the Spirit through prayer and Scripture, we will more easily hear these messages that are constantly being spoken to each of us. You are a child of the King! So, if you need to, change out your tape recording. This coach is one with whom you want to listen. You are strong. Be courageous!

Tuesday, July 15

Life In Six Words

Ernest Hemmingway was once asked to write a story in just six words. This is what he penned: “For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.” Wow - that's just sad. So I thought I'd try this exercise, but I'm making it autobiographical.

She birthed three times. She's tired.

Raised in faith. Passing it on.

True Oregonian, she loves the rain.

Thirty-six and counting. Hotter than ever.

Rich past. Pleasant present. Hopeful future.


Now, how about you? How would you describe your life in six words?


Friday, July 11

Time For Another Story

Okay, let's write a story together again! This time let's try this: no more than ten words per comment. Don't worry if you end in the middle of a sentence - that can make it more fun. Add as many comments as you'd like! I'll wrap it up when it seems like a good stopping point, I need to write about something else, or it gets lame. Whichever comes first.
Getting a monkey seemed like a good idea when...

Tuesday, July 8

We the Church

There's a lot online that is trivial. There's a whole lot online that is downright terrible. Every once in a while one can come across something online that is truly good. Simple, effective, community building, and glorifying to God. I found one of those sites a while back; tonight as I was glancing through it's posts I saw this : "God bless the school in Uganda where Chris and Kami are teaching." That made me smile. Someone else, someone I presumably know, found this good tool, too. was created to unite the church in prayer.

Need prayer in your ministry?
Submit a prayer

Thankful for something?
Submit a praise.

And while you're here why not pray for a few things on the prayer list?

It's that simple.
Just us, the church,
praying for each other.

Monday, July 7

Get Your Blog On!

People seem to primarily fall in one of two camps - they either love blogging without reservation or they respond with something like, "Why would anyone want to hear about my boring life?" I think that everyone has something interesting to say; some have just figured out more creative ways to say it. But now there is one more reason you should stop lurking and start writing. It's good for you!

From Newsweek:
Why do people write confessional blogs? It's a creative outlet. It's a forum to vent. It's an exercise in exhibitionism. To mental-health experts, though, it's more than that: a blog is medicine. Psychiatrists are starting to tout the therapeutic power of blogging, and many have begun incorporating it into patient treatment. A forthcoming study in the journal CyberPsychology & Behavior even suggests that bloggers might be happier than nonbloggers.

Saturday, July 5

Prayer Cloud

Allan introduced us to Wordle, a site that allows one to create beautiful word clouds. It is cool how random words can be used to make an artistic and interesting creation. These were some of the topics that I took to God in prayer this week.

Sunday, June 29

I Choose

I internally cringe when people complain about how busy they are, and I give myself no exception to the rule. Because, in my book, people are busy because they choose to be busy.

I am SO busy right now. You would be appalled if you saw the living room in which I sit at this moment. A tornado could not dispense a greater disaster within these walls. I chose not to go to lunch with friends after church and instead am choosing to take a few minutes to jot a note before I take nap in order to be better functioning for two long meetings this afternoon (one is a "choice language" training!).But I do not complain about my schedule, because I love this season.

I choose this...

and this...

and this...

and as much of this as I can get...

Thursday, June 19

Perfect Storm

Accountants have April. Stores have December. I This is the busy season of all busy seasons. PSP starts Monday. Family in from around the world. Kids at Metro's VBS. Swimming lessons. Birthday parties. Event planning. Did I mention that PSP starts Monday? Fun times.

Monday, June 2


Hey! Thanks to everyone who helped write our little story this weekend. It took on a deep, mysterious mood right from the get-go. Hmmm...I wonder what it was that she was holding??

News Updates:

* PSP starts oh-so-very soon! Our summer Coordinators, Josh & Katina, are here from New Mexico and are being put to work. Our six interns will be arriving from New Mexico, Texas, California, and the Great Northwest to begin their summer fun this weekend. We are in high gear and I'm hopeful that this conductor doesn't fall off the train. If you are in the Portland area and want to serve as a reading volunteer, contact us here.

* My Uganda family is making their way to their Oregon home and should here Friday. Welcome home, Jeff & Cheryl, Kinley, Alex, Isaac, & Silas!

* A ton of people I know right now are on health kicks. I feel super-inspired to set some goals, but I'm fearful. I hate disappointing myself.

* I'm not going to tell all of you that I have now lost my wallet. That would be too humiliating. Seriously. Is this a permanent state or do I ever have hope of being the organized and logical person I once was?

* Nothing makes the whole family laugh more thanthis site.

Friday, May 30

Let's have a little weekend fun, shall we?

I've been in a writing mode lately, the latest which has been some groovy kids' stories. You know, the types with dragons and giants and kingdoms and heroes. So let's write a story! I'll start us off and you add one sentence at a time to the story in the comments (you remember this game, right?). Come back as often as you'd like this weekend. If you don't, it will be a lame (and very short) story.
You know, there's nothing as interesting as a locked door.

Wednesday, May 28

So Much For Flattery

This is what happens when you have a marriage built on honesty...

Allan: You sure do have a lot of gray in your hair.
Kristi: It's true. Should I color it?
Allan: Hmmm...yes.

Okay, then. There you have it. Don't hold back, hon, really.

Tuesday, May 27

Things I Learned (or was reminded of) In New York

* You never, ever wait for the cross signal to change to walk. You go when there is a gap in traffic; otherwise, you will be trampled by all other pedestrians.
* One could spend weeks exploring the MET.
* One could spend weeks exploring Central Park.
* It's really, really easy to lose one's sense of direction in Central Park.
* It's hard not to laugh when a guy says, "How you doin'?" just like Joey from Friends.
* They know how to cook in that city. I don't think we ate one mediocre meal - it was all fabulous.
* Front row, center at Hairspray is about one of the greatest places on earth.
* Singing along with YouTube videos of Journey is a great way to annoy twenty-year-old roommates (who did not know Journey!!)
* Cheryl sleeps with one sock. Then she focuses on whichever foot will bring her to a comfortable temperature.
* A $10 umbrella will last less than ten minutes when the wind blows.
* No matter how cute you want to look, comfortable walking shoes are a must.
* It is really, really hard to get large luggage through the turnstiles in the subway.
* Cheryl is not strong enough to ram herself through a turnstile.
* Only idiots don't see that there are doors right next to the turnstiles to be used when one has large luggage.
* Even those who claim to not care about those who are famous, can become completely star struck in the right environment.
* Donald Trump's hair is actually worse in person.
* It seems that those who have been in show business the longest recognize the wisdom in schmoozing with fans more than some of the newbies.
* If you want to do any major tourist thing, like the Statue of Liberty, get up early.
* Everyone is quieter in the vicinity of Ground Zero.
* Taxi rides are a lesson in personal and intestinal fortitude.
* Taxi drivers do not speak English (at least none of ours did), yet they can get you where you need to go ("80th?" "80th." "8-0?" "8-0.").
* Texting friends back home adds a great dimension of fun to a trip.
* Times Square at night is amazing.
* New York never sleeps.

Sunday, May 25

Needed: Forever Families

James 1:27 - Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

Today there are around 3,000 children in the Oregon foster care system who are waiting to be adopted (around 130,000 nationally). Around 20% of those children have been waiting for four or more years. Did you hear that? For four years or longer children have been waiting for someone to choose them. Waiting to go home to their family. I don't have stats on international adoptions, like the one we have been reminded about this week because of the family of Steven Curtis Chapman. It is unfathomable to imagine the number of children in this world who need a mom and dad to love them and teach them Jesus.

To our almost-daughter, happy 5th birthday, sweet girl. We'll be blowing out candles in your honor today and praying for you as always.

Saturday, May 24

New York Hat

Allan assured me that it was perfectly acceptable to put my own picture up on my own blog. I had to show you my new hat!

Friday, May 23

Women In Ministry Conference

I've got to fill you in on New York! It was such a great adventure - so much fun and freedom. I think I would really enjoy living in New York - you know, except that I would be homeless because I couldn't actually afford to live there. But that's beside the point.

Lest anyone think I just went there for the fun, I'll start with the conference of which most of you have never heard. This was the fourth annual Women in Ministry Conference, sponsored by Pepperdine & the Manhattan Church of Christ. When I heard about this gathering, I knew I had to go. I was so excited to be in the same room with other women who are serving Christ as leaders and pioneers in their congregations.

It ended up being about as eclectic of a group as you could put together from within the CoC. There were a lot of women who volunteer as organizers in ministry within their churches, elders' wives, children's ministers, education, involvement & small group ministers, theology students, professors, and full-time ministers from gender inclusive congregations. We heard speakers discuss how to discern God's calling for your life, self-care & mindfulness (contemplate the apple), & story telling. We had lunch with those from similar areas of ministry and did yoga together as a large group.

The highlight for me was our first night which was set up as a beat poet, open mic, coffee house theme. If the world was to have a "So You Think Your Church Has Talent" reality show, I have no doubt PUMP could hold its own. But I'm thinking the crown would go to Manhattan CoC. Holy smokes! Let's just say that the worship leader for the evening is on Broadway as Joanne from Rent (soon to be leaving to become the Lady of the Lake in Spamalot). Then there's the jazz singer...the interpretive dancer...the actress playing the woman at the well...Sick, I tell you. Those women have more talent than is fair!

It was an encouraging time that, of course, rocked my world a bit (can't we all use a good rocking sometimes?). Girlfriends, check it out next year. It will be at Pepperdine, near the time of the lectures.

More of the New York fun to come...

Wednesday, May 21

Sad News

Terrible, tragic news from the home of Steven Curtis Chapman, one of the most recognized Christian artists and an amazing advocate for international adoption. His oldest son accidently ran over & killed their youngest daughter (pictured seated on SCC's lap) today.

Monday, May 19

Fill in the Oval Completely...

I really want to tell you all about my trip to New York last week, but I'll need to get back to that soon.

Today Trinity and I had a great conversation about national politics. It is a topic that I'm sure she overhears her parents talking about in car rides and at the dinner table more than she cares about or understands. Up until now, she has told me that she would like "the girl" to win the presidency. There's now a story circulating that the dad of one of her classmates was fired by "the girl" for "no good reason", so she wouldn't vote for her because "she's mean" (I'm not sure what that's about, but isn't that how politics goes?). I think there are a few others in the country who might agree with her assessment.

She asked me to find her the names of all of the Presidents from history, so we started with George and ended with our current George. We picked out the ones who were related, and we talked about some of the more prominent stories, including the assassinations of JFK, MLK, & Robert Kennedy. After we finished the list, she asked with a quizzical look, "Are they all men?" Why, yes, my dear, they are. We talked about how important this election is because there is a woman candidate and a black candidate (we also talked about the great war hero that McCain is).

As a woman in a male-dominated industry (religion), I empathize with the trailblazing battle in which Hillary has placed herself. Whether or not I agree with her, will vote for her, or if I think she is a mean girl, she has helped changed this country. There have been many, many excellent female leaders on the world stage throughout history, from Deborah and Esther to Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meir. Many countries, even those which are more conservative and traditional, such as India, Ukraine, & The Phillipines, have great women leaders in place. I am so pleased that my daughter will live in a time when she can truly consider herself a viable option for a leadership position - whether in business or for her country.

Tuesday is election day in Oregon. Get your ballot, spend a few minutes here, and get it turned in here. These things really matter. We have been blessed beyond measure to be in a country where each individual - man and woman, white, black, or other - has a voice. In honor of all those people around the world who are kept silent by their government, vote today.

Update: I took Trinity with me to turn in our ballots at 7:50 p.m. (yes, I turn in my taxes in April, too). The library was abuzz with happy people and high energy.

Obama must have read my post. From tonight's speech: "Sen. Clinton has shattered myths and broken barriers and changed the America in which my daughters and yours will come of age." That's what I said.

Wednesday, May 7

The Behappytudes *

Happy are those who know who to depend on (poor in spirit)
Happy are those who know what to be sad about (mourn)
Happy are those who know how to use their strength (meek)
Happy are those who can only be satisfied by God (hunger and thirst for righteousness)
Happy are those who give people a way to start over (merciful)
Happy are those who keep it honest even when it hurts (pure in heart)
Happy are thse who never give up on making up (peacemakers)
Happy are those who won't quit doing right when it's hard (persecuted)

Last week I was blessed beyond measure when I was able to attend the Pepperdine Lectures. The flowers in Malibu were in full bloom, the sun radiated a steady 75 degrees all week, the views were spectacular. More than the refreshment received from the physical surroundings, though, I was nourished by the fresh look at Jesus' Sermon on the Mount given by amazing orators of the Word and by reconnecting with friends and mentors. I would never grow tired of sitting at the feet of Mike Cope, Don McLaughlin, Monte Cox, Prentice Meador, and so many others as they challenge and encourage. It was so good for my mind and spirit to be stretched in new and uncomfortable ways. Get it on your calendar for next year - it is worth it.

*from Don McLaughlin's fourth-grade class


If you are in the mood for an impassioned political letter, read & comment on this.

Friday, May 2

And, now, the rest of the story...

I love surprising my kids. I've learned not to tell them that we "might" go to the Carousel at Jantzen Beach or that I'll "think about" pick up a trinket for them. There is much greater joy in giving them a special treat when it is unexpected.

God is our Father, so I believe He feels the same way towards me, His child.

This last couple of months have been a bit of a rough road for me. I have struggled with depression, resentment, and confusion that stemmed from a myriad of sources. I also could sense God humbling me, which frankly, I didn't like one bit. Then came the fateful week at the end of March when I lost my keys, my iPhone, and my wedding ring. I was beginning to wonder if I could be trusted with anything of value, including my own children's lives!

In my humility, I prayed many times a day something like this: I know this stuff doesn't really matter at all; I know it has absolutely no significance in the eternal scope of things. I feel selfish and petty even bothering you with it. I also know that you find pleasure in gifting me with the desires of my heart; so please, Lord, show me where they are.

As the days and weeks past, I honestly did not lose hope. I believed that the Lord would reveal to me my phone & ring (keys had been found right away). My anxiety did grow, though, as I anticipated my two trips this month. I really wanted a ring on my finger when I was going to be away from Allan for so many days in a row. And how on earth was I going to navigate, photograph, & twitter my way through L.A. & New York without my iPhone?!!

Fast forward to this past Monday, the day before I left for Pepperdine. I was praying my same prayer for the millionth time as I packed for my trip, fully expecting the Lord to show me my phone, when ta-da!, there was a glint of something shiny under the leg of my dresser. MY RING! Oh, thank you Lord. I knowm this symbol of my marriage is more valuable in every way to a silly electronic gadget. Thank you!

That afternoon, after listening to me bemoan again the anguish I felt about going on this trip without my phone, Allan said, "Let's go. We're getting you an iPhone for your birthday." On the drive there, I felt strangely torn. I used this phrase to describe it to Allan: I feel unfaithful. I feel unfaithful because I believe the Lord desires to give me this gift in His time. Allan soothed me with words of comfort and release from guilt, and we made the purchase. I was absolutely giddy with the reunion (and yes, I absolutely know how terribly ridiculous it sounds to be so emotional about a phone, but you have to consider my emotional state for the previous months, and hey, it's an iPhone!).

Later that evening, as we're getting everything on the new phone just so, it rings. Guess what we found? says my mom, Your cell phone! After we talked a minute, I quietly hung up. The tears began to flow as I shared the news with Allan. The tears had absolutely nothing to do with a phone that had been found; they have everything to do with a Lord who takes pleasure in granting the desires of my heart. There is no way, in no one's explanation, that all of that was coincidence. For over a month my wedding ring and cell phone had been missing. Then the day before I leave on my trip, both items are found in two different places, by two different people.

The last couple of months have been tough, no doubt about it. But I was profoundly reminded through this story that I serve a God who cares. I serve a God who, with millions of children to watch over, many who are hurting in ways I could never understand, He remembered me and delighted in granting me a little gift.

Monday, April 28

Parable of the Lost Ring

Suppose a woman has ten lovely rings and loses one. Does she not light a lamp (or find flashlight batteries), sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together (or blogs about it) and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost ring.' In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

My left hand looks incredibly beautiful today with its dear old friend firmly back in place. My wedding ring has been found!

Friday, April 25

No More Good-byes

I'm sick of saying "good-bye". In the past couple of years we have sent friends to live all over the world. With dear family living in Texas, Colorado, Indiana, and Uganda is seems we are saying our good-byes just moments after we have greeted with hugs and hellos. This week we had to do the dreaded deed once again. We are sending our good friends, Tim & Cheryl, Rylee, Skyler, & Kendall, back to their other home in New Mexico. It really stinks.

This is another reason why I am looking forward to heaven with such great anticipation - no more "good-bye"! Won't that be great?? We just get to hang with our friends and family, laughing and joking and bantering and generally having a great time together. I don't know, though - Tim & Cheryl may get us into some trouble up there. We'll have to see.

I'll be seeing you guys at Pepperdine next week, and then two weeks later spending some good girl time in New York with Cheryl, so I guess this doesn't really count as a good-bye this week. Right? In honor of some of my biggest laughs this year, Cheryl, I'll translate for you:

Ill be see'n you guys at Pepperdine N-to-tha-izzext week, n then two weeks lata spend'n some good girl tizzy in New York wit Cheryl, so I guess this doesnt really count as a good-bye this week. Riznight?*

And while you are getting settled in NM, don't forget to unpack your Business Socks! Love you guys!


Thursday, April 24

Walking With Blinders

This week there was a terrible story out of Kent, Washington where a girl was killed while crossing train tracks that run through her neighborhood. It appears that Angelina was so engrossed in a cell phone conversation that she didn't hear frantic warning honks from a witness in a car or even the train whistle as the giant came barreling at her. Angelina lived next to the tracks and there is speculation that she had become so used to the sound that she no longer heard the massive locomotives rumbling by each day.

I couldn't help but see a parallel to our life journeys. We get used to our everyday surroundings and become comfortable taking risks. Even though signs point out a safe passage just a short distance away, we choose to cross at our own risk. We get so absorbed in our own selves and so used to the presence of danger that we don't hear the warning sirens as the force of sin comes to destroy. We often don't even know what hit us.

So stay alert! Keep your eyes up. Don't take the easy path, which can be fraught with danger. Listen to others' warnings. Be careful out there today.

Tuesday, April 22

Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!

This conversation has been all over our blogdom circles the last twenty-four hours. Whether you tend to side with the likes of Mark and Greg or lean more towards a view shared by Jared or Mike, it is a hot topic, to be sure (where are all of the thoughtful political discussions led by women??). This election cycle has brought out great passion in many people, which is such a great thing for our country! In years past, there was a lot of talk of the apathocracy that is the American public; this year's elections have awakened the sleeping beast it seems.

So let's hear it...If you had to vote today, where would you check your ballot: Clinton, Obama, or McCain? And most importantly, why? What leads you to support a candidate? What sways you most - the particular hot issues at hand, the party, or the candidates overall character? What issues are non-negotiable?

Tell me what you think! *Be Nice* as you share.

Saturday, April 19

Website Redesign

I was looking at this blog the other day and my reaction? Blah. Blah. Blah. I have commissioned the best of the best to make me look better than I deserve. He's asking for feedback, so for my sake, let him know what you think!

Tuesday, April 15

The Making of Super-fans

As I was driving to pick up the kids after school I heard a commercial highlighting that tonight was the Blazers' last game of the season. One of my lesser noble life goals is to get Trailblazer season tickets; I could not let this season go by without entering the pearly gates of the Rose Garden at least once! When I suggested it to the kids, Trinity responded appropriately: We have to go! We just have to go! Being quite early, we played outside in the freezing cold for 90 minutes before joining the mass entrance. Up to the very, very tip-top row we went, but no complaining from any of us! When we found ourselves down 8-5, Trinity became rather despondent: Mom, we're gonna lose. I just know it. Thankfully, a fortune teller she is not. It was a great game, with the Blazers up by fifteen when we left at the start of the fourth quarter (already way past bedtime). The best part of the evening was passing on the joy of this Portland tradition. I remember the '77 championship and my brothers' room adorned with Blazer paraphernalia. Now my kids, thanks to fan appreciation night, have their own Blazer posters to put up. We talked about the importance of home court advantage and the sixth man (we also discussed the importance of dancing appropriately, unlike the Blazer Dancers!) It was great seeing Trinity raise her arms and yell with each three-pointer. I laughed as people four rows up looked back to see if there was a bald-eagle screeching in the rafters - Nope, that's just Fiona screaming for joy like everyone else. Connor's biggest concerns of the evening were that the blimp couldn't throw things to us because we were too high up. Some day we'll be in range, buddy. Someday.

Thursday, April 10

American Idolness

Do my ears deceive me? Am I in some Alice In Wonderland land? American Idol closes its mega-evening with "Shout to the Lord"? Nice.

I have never before watched AI, but thanks to the writers strike, I got on board on opening night this season. Since the basketball brackets are all said and done, I'll place my predictions for American Idol (in order of dismissal):

As Simon often points out to the early contestants, I think he's "forgettable".
Our Oregon girl has had a couple of good weeks in a row, but I think she's annoyed enough people to not make it all of the way. Way to hang in there, girl!
There's no doubt she has a pretty voice and an amazingly beautiful face, but she seems limited in the type of music she can perform well.
His aw-shucks personality is both his greatest strength and his biggest annoyance. I do really enjoy his mellow sound. His "Hallelujah" was one of my favorites of the season.
Ah, Brooke. I love Brooke. She has the most attractive personality of the whole crew. Her sound is unique and her songs choices have been perfectly suited for her.
David A
The 12-year-old (not really) early crowd favorite has definitely been blessed with some amazing pipes. That kid can sing fo' shizzle (sorry, the urban comes out sometimes). But does no one else hear that airy rasp that comes out with his words? Anyway, he probably has the voice and talent to win it all, but he just doesn't have the total package. He's appears too innocent and shy. Not star-like.
Carly was my favorite from the early try-outs until the last few weeks. Her vocal strength is totally amazing. She's sounding kind of the same in a lot of her songs, though, lately. I was hoping she'd be the winner, but I'm not sure now.
David C
Other than being a cocky dude, this guy is IT. Did you hear Billy Jean? Very, very cool. He is the full performer. The Rock Star. This year's American Idol.

Any opinions you want to share?

Tuesday, April 8

Tuesday Randomness

No, I have not found my beloved iPhone yet. Or my wedding ring. But I did find my keys! Yay! I feel a little guilt that I am more emotional over my phone than my ring (which I do truly love). I am moving nicely through the stages of grief - I rested in denial for a while and still visit there often. I hit anger a few days ago. Where is that stupid phone?? I don't know if I am bargaining exactly, but I have resorted to begging God to show me where it is. Please? Please? Just show me today. Please?So I guess depression and acceptance are soon to follow.

I just read that Condolezza Rice left the door open regarding running as VP with McCain. That doesn't make him as attractive as Barrack, but it surely would help his case, in my book. Go Condi!

There was baby in India born with two faces! Have you ever heard of such a thing? I know it's tacky to be a rubber-necker, but you have to see the pictures. Bless her sweet heart!

My newest addiction? Geni.

Thanks for the prayers for my dad. He ended up having his gall bladder out due to "sludge" (which makes my mom smirk every time she says it) and pancreatitis. He's recovering well and is home from the hospital now.

Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, April 1

Don't Believe a Thing You Hear Today

I am not an April's Fools Fan. I don't particularly enjoy Punk'd or any event where someone is made to feel stupid for someone else's pleasure. BUT, there have been some good pranks pulled out there. And I'm not just talking about the rubberband that the kids and I put on the kitchen spray nozzle so it shot straight at Allan when he turned the water on this evening.

* A few years ago when I was listening to NPR, they did a long story about changing the Boston Celtics (seltics) to the Celtics (keltics), to be culturally sensitive to the Irish. They interviewed players, people in Ireland and Boston - giving all points on both sides. I was shocked - Can they change the pronunciation of such an institution? It wasn't until the next day that I realized that I had been snookered [other yearly spoofs include last year's iBod, federal health care for pets (2002), and advertisements projected onto the moon (2000)].

* Today I was checking in with one of my regular reads - Tim Ferris and his 4-Hour Workweek. Part of his regular message is smart workflow and outsourcing pretty much everything (he has even outsourced his dating - seriously). Yesterday, which he reasoned was April's Fools somewhere in the world, he wrote a post about how he was confessing to have outsourced the writing of his blog for the past year. People were outraged and disappointed - until he fessed up today.

* In 1996, Taco Bell announced it had bought the LIberty Bell, renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. A White House spokesman furthered the joke by stating that the LIncoln Memorial was now the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.

* In 1998, Burger King introduced a Left-Handed Whopper. It had the same ingredients, but the condiments were rotated 180 degrees for the benefit of left-handed customers. They received thousands of requests for specific handed Whoppers.

* In 1957, BBC made an extensive report on spaghetti trees, which remains one of the most well-known April pranks.

Monday, March 31

Now Where Did I Put My Kids?

So I can't find my keys. Or my wedding ring. Or my cell phone (I know, it's not the first time).

We may have a burglar who enjoys stealing one item at a time.

Or I've lost my memory along with several of my possessions.

update: Found the keys! Half the set right where the should be; other half left at the parents when they borrowed car.

Sunday, March 30


Johnathan wrote a nice tribute to my brother, Jeff, on his 52 Photos site.
Sissy slap Monkey fights, gourmet "pressed head", AK-47's, rebellions, babies, witches, curses, fires, plane crashes, stranded, dredging dead bodies from mucky waters, snakes, COBRA'S, poisonous centipedes, children's hospitals, betrayal, threats, broken bones, riots, theft, machet, viruses, soldiers, orphans, hunger, refugee camps, LRA, ADF, muzungoo, teaching, prayer, faith, love. Believe me the list goes on and on. Many will die having never lived... not Jeff.

Jeff embraces life. ALL OF IT. When Jesus said, he came that we might have life and have it abundantly, Jeff believed it.
Read the rest of it here.

Thursday, March 27

Random Thoughts From My Thursday

Every year I say that I'm going to get my taxes done "early", but then I have to spend an exorbitant amount of time organizing before I can print out my nice spreadsheets for my lovely accountant. Once again, I find myself surrounded by bank statements and receipts at the end of March.

I just realized that my phone has not rung since Monday. I'm glad, because I really don't like talking on the phone.

When I was confirming the above statement, I saw that I had received a text from my seven-year-old. She's so cool.

My oldest two have been in central Oregon with my parents since Monday. I feel a bit guilty that today is the first day that I have really missed them.

My baby's tonsils are so big that it may be keeping her from regularly eating solid foods. That could explain her resistance to finish nursing. Surgery is likely in our future (for the tonsils, not the nursing).

I made up a recipe last night for Life Group that worked! Layer inch-cubes of potatoes, frozen Costco corn (the only non-fresh corn to eat), bite-sized hot dog slices, and a healthy heaping of Tillamook cheese (of course, the only cheese). Same layers again. Pour 2/3 cup of milk over. Cover with foil; bake for 90 minutes at 375. It would be great with sausage, ham, chicken, or hamburger, too, I'm sure. Yum!

I'm not going to make dinner tonight. I'm not in the mood and I don't think we have any dinner-worthy food in the house anyway. Fiona & I already ate the leftovers from the above recipe for lunch.

Easter candy should be more about quality chocolate and less about marshmallows and cheap jellybeans.

If you are my friend, you should be twittering. I'm kristicw in that land. For some reason, I find twitter oddly enjoyable and addicting.

Enough of a break - Back to the tax slog.