Monday, December 21, 2009

Controlled Burn

Driving along the back roads from San Luis today, I enjoyed some rare moments of quiet. The hills were a lush, Irish green and the gray clouds hung in an ominous, drab sky. It was beautiful in a subtle way, framed in the silence of the countryside.

As I wound around the hills and into the clearing, I smelled smoke intermingled with the moist air. I inhaled deeply, and almost expected a little log cabin to appear with a wisp of smoke escaping from a pipe-topped chimney. However, the smoke I saw was thick and billowed from a ranch nestled at the foot of a nearby hill.

Scanning the horizon, I saw another cloud of smoke surging from the midst of another homestead. Then three more would spontaneously greet me before I reached home.

Controlled burns, I thought, finally catching a glimpse of the great pile of leaves, sticks and twigs being consumed beneath the puffs. I had seen them before, but it seemed uncharacteristic that there were so many going at the same moment. Perhaps it was the contrast of the drizzling sky that made them more noticeable.

I wondered how the landowners keep these blazes contained and it made me a twinge nervous to think that the flames could easily begin to consume beyond their boundaries and become a force of destruction.

Just an hour earlier, I had been sharing some realizations during a lunch date with a friend. My emotions and feelings often burn with intensity. When I have the discipline to control them, they are a useful force, fuel for my passions. And there are other times when I allow them to reach beyond their fences and burn those around me.

What I'm considering lately, though, is that emotions and feelings can be contained within a controlled burn lit by an external source. Instead of fanning emotional wildfires in my life, I want to submit my emotions to my Creator. I want to be saddened and angered by what brings sadness and anger to His heart, and not waste my time and energy getting incensed about things that don't really matter in the long run, in God's economy. My desire is for Him to continually ignite my heart within the bounds of His great love and mercy.

I want to be a controlled burn.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bringing my Silly Back

This past year has been a growing one. I'm a processor by nature. I can be very intense. Sometimes I wish I could find an "off switch" in my brain, because I am constantly thinking things through... mulling over circumstances, pondering theology, contemplating ideas.

A little over a year ago, I saw an old friend. She is a friend, essentially from a different lifetime. Do you know what I mean? Someone who knew you back when... when you were you, but a you 20 some odd years ago? It's funny how some people are cemented in your mind in a certain way, and even though time has passed, it seems to stand still in your relationship for some reason.

As we were continuing our conversation and catching up, so to speak, we were discussing our lives and some of what God was accomplishing in and through us. And then she said something that I wasn't quite sure how to respond to.

"I always thought of you as a silly girl," she expressed... or at least something along those lines. It seemed as though she thought it was good I had grown out of my "silliness." And then she immediately looked as if she regretted what she had said.

I have done that thousands of times, so I really felt for her. While I can pull my thoughts together on paper, erase and rewrite until it reflects my true heart, I have a difficult time putting words together in "real time." Often flustered, I can't come up with the vocabulary I'm looking for, or even a coherent thought. I can be very socially awkward, but I've learned to live with it. And having an extroverted husband to compliment my clumsy interactions has certainly saved me on many occasions.

Enough with my babbling though, and back to the "silly girl" comment. I wasn't quite certain how to receive it, or if I even wanted to. Was it condescending? Was she attacking my character? Did she think I wasn't capable? Or was she simply astounded at the fact that God could work through someone like me? Probably the later, as I'm quite bewildered and humbled by that fact on a weekly basis... no, daily.

For a while, I settled on that explanation and moved on. However, I didn't get very far. I kept coming back to "silly." I hadn't ever really characterized myself as silly, nor had I ever necessarily been described that way by anyone else. Yet as I thought about my personality back then, I was a person who laughed with great delight, until I was crying and sometimes on the floor doubled over with glee. Joy came with so much ease and more frequently and freely before "life" happened.

I've realized, in the midst of a difficult season, that I miss that girl, silly or however I might choose to describe her. Strangely enough, God gave me two unexpected friends this year that have drawn her back into existence. I'm getting reacquainted and loving every minute of it.

Welcome back, silly girl.
I've missed you.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Hello, December!

Last year, we all shared our favorite Christmas movies. I wasn't sure if Little Women counted, but you validated my choice! I haven't watched it yet this year, but it's on my list of things to do this December!

This year, I would like to know... what is your favorite Christmas song? And do you have a special memory that goes with it?

I think mine is the classic "Silent Night." It is just such a peaceful and simple retelling of the Christmas story.

In high school, I sang the second verse during a concert. All the lights were out in the auditorium, and it felt as though everyone in the room was holding their breath as my voice echoed in the darkness.

Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight.
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia.
Christ the Savior is born!
Christ the Savior is born.

Last year, a bell choir played a beautiful rendition. Just as the last note resounded in the church, a little newborn baby let out a tiny, perfect cry. It was so beautiful... it still brings tears to my eyes.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Closing out a Month of Thanks

For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.
-Folliott S. Pierpoint, 1864

Nov. 1 The Gospel story through the book of Ruth

Nov. 2 The start of a new women's discipleship group that
the Lord provided for in every way

Nov. 3 A new doctor's office... I am feeling very cared for

Nov. 4 Discoving JJ Heller's beautiful music

Nov. 5 Dinner at Del's with our adorable newlywed friends

Nov. 6 Getting to see Josh and his class work so hard
washing cars
to raise money for the homeless shelter

Nov. 7 A four year old who still loves to cuddle every morning :)

Nov. 8 Family bike rides on the Bob Jones Trail

Nov. 9 Feeling completely alive today

Nov. 10 The most wonderful friends a girl could as for

Nov. 11 A husband who loves me enough to work through the difficult things

Nov. 12 Josh's steller report card... way to go, J!

Nov. 13 Our time at the shelter, which makes me extra thankful for our home

Nov. 14 Pumpkin pancakes and some quiet time

Nov. 15 Yummy birthday breakfast with the fam,
a day early at Zorro's

Nov. 16 Birthday time at Disneyland with my sweet friend, Erin

Nov. 17 A new novel... Though Waters Roar, by Lynn Austin

Nov. 18 My choir family...
so awesome to sing God's praises with them

Nov. 19 My parents who live 8 houses away

Nov. 20 An extended Thanksgiving break... wohoo

Nov. 21 Age spots and gray hairs which remind me how gracious God has been to give me many years of life

Nov. 22 Sunny CA, beach-worthy days

Nov. 23 Sleep...

Nov. 24 My friend Thomas, whose faith
in the midst of a cancer battle
astounds and inspires me

Nov. 25 Watching the boys enjoy Legoland
and drive their "own cars"

Nov. 26 A warm Thanksgiving time with family and new friends

Nov. 27 A God whose love and faithfulness endures

Nov. 28 Coming home after a relaxing time away

Nov. 29 A wonderful church family to love, serve, worship with and grow with over the past 11 years

Nov. 30 All the lessons I've learned in 2009

I'm not the same person I was last November

Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's a Legoland Thanksgiving, Charlie Brown!

It's been a long time since I've done a big picture post,
so here,

New friends in the parking lot!

Hanging out with Bob
and mapping out my day!

How many Legos does it take to build an elephant?

Just me and Indy

Pilot Z and Co-pilot Z


Knight Rider

I'm too old for this baby ride!

Well, maybe not!

Can I have one of these?

Help, I've been swallowed by a great white shark!!

Oh, no! Me, too!!!

This ride is too scarey for me!

Not sure what this has to do with Legos,
but I love English phone booths!

I get to drive my own car???

Josh... very serious about passing the test!

Back in the driver's seat...
"Look, ma! No hands!!"


Sky Cruiser Buddies

Contemplating complex creations...
and looking cute while doing it!

Jason looooooves dinos!

The Whole Lego Family

Thankful that we live in the land of liberty...
and hoping we use our freedoms wisely in the years to come.

Did you do anything fun during Thanksgiving week?

Friday, November 20, 2009

My New Name

Monday was my birthday, and I went down to the OC to cash in on a free day at Disneyland. Erin and I got the day started with a little detour to Starbucks (cause I know how to order there now). I asked for a Tall Chai Latte and I told them my name was Linda. The Starbucks lady said, "Sure, Annette, coming right up." Hmmm, I thought... did she just call me Annette? No that couldn't be, because Linda doesn't sound anything like Annette.

Three minutes later, the guy behind the counter was calling for Annette. I didn't want to embarrass him or anything... I mean it wasn't his fault. So I just took the cup, and sure enough, in very pretty cursive writing, there it was... Annette.

So I guess I now have a Starbucks name.

Hello, my name is Annette... may I have a Peppermint Mocha Frap, no whip?

Monday, November 9, 2009

On a road marked with suffering...

My emotional state has been in constant state of flux the past couple of weeks. I have been in deep states of sadness, have wrestled with anger, and have stared out the window, my mind swirling in confusion like the fall leaves in a sudden gust.

Why, Lord?

I don't understand.

And the tears well up in my eyes again and it is hard to see the answers.

Wendy was due to have her sweet, firstborn son, most likely on a windy Chicago day in early November.

But something happened. Something no one could foresee. The life she and Larry had been nurturing, praying for, waiting for with hopeful expectation, suddenly ended at 38 weeks.

She labored and gave birth to Jonathan Timothy. He was a beautiful little boy with perfectly formed features, who will someday be reunited with his extraordinary parents who have an amazing love for him.

Wendy and Larry have met this trial with tremendous hope and faith in God. It simply astounds me.

Wendy said, "Life is hard. . . but we have a strong God."

Instead of continuing to question, I am trying to take my thoughts captive and hold on to that truth. I am asking the Lord to help me wholeheartedly believe that he will work this out for good, because they truly love Him and are called according to His purposes. I need to trust in His strength.

Wendy and Larry... you are remarkable parents, and I will never forget your sweet JT and how he has touched my life. May the Lord continue to be your hope, your comfort, and your strength.

He gives and takes away...
my heart with chose to say

blessed be the name of the Lord.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Forgive me, for I have sinned...

My sister-in-law's friend, Caryn, posted a photo of her new bike this week, and I was completely enamored.

Now, normally, I don't find myself coveting other people's lives, stuff, etc. My shopping habits usually stem from necessity, and I still have all my last years' birthday and Christmas money. I'm not kidding.

But, I have to confess that when I saw this bike, I coveted.

This is the sweetest bike I have seen in my entire life. Have I told you that my favorite color for the last 25 years or so is green? Look at the deep forest green frame... oh, and the red spokes and white walled tires are killing me.

Notice the adorable red lacing on the hand grips, which led Caryn to name the bike Pippi. A bike with a Scandinavian paint job named Pippi... could it get any better?

Yes, it could. A girl could ride to farmers market in a flowing skirt and put fresh veggies in the basket. She could ring the little bell and wave to people on the way home.

I need to go repent now.

Update: I decided to take the birthday/Christmas money I was saving to use for a camera lens and I bought this bike. I got to thinking... I could take photos of bikes, or I could ride like the wind on a bike of my own. So I rode, the wind whipping through my hair, all the way down to the ocean in Avila.
I do not regret my decision a bit. I named her Briggita after one of the Von Trapps in the Sound of Music. The hills are alive... and Briggita and I are going to explore them. Yipee!! :)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

And oh, Auntie Em...

...there's no place like home!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Choosing Joy

Patrick and I recently had the privilege of doing pre-marital counseling with a couple we met just a couple months ago. They asked him if he would officiate their wedding last weekend, and despite my warnings that he has only officiated one other wedding in which he veered from the wife-approved script (No, I will never let you live this down, my darling!), it was still a go.

The whole family went to the rehearsal dinner which was held at Alisal Ranch in Solvang. It was like being transported to another world and time. The entrance road was lined with whitewashed bungalows with black shutters and plumply red-cushioned wicker furniture. We were transported by hayride from the wedding site to a beautiful lake surrounded by native oaks and dotted with reeds. The deck was full of picnic tables adorned with charming red and white gingham tableclothes and happy, bright daisies. It was truly an idyllic setting.

We took a little motorboat out on the lake and fished for bass in the well-stocked lake. The resident, majestic bald eagle swooped down to catch fish for his own dinner and chatter and laughter echoed from the other guests enjoying the afternoon.

"We've got to come back here for a little family getaway," we all agreed. In our conversations, we planned a trip and decided that in 4 years it could be the site for our 20th wedding anniversary. Great expectations.

As much as we enjoyed that evening, I don't think we fully embraced the experience, because we knew we would come back. Our intentions, however, were foiled when we came home and searched the internet and came upon Alisal Ranch's website. The least it would cost to stay at the ranch would be $495... per night. Ouch!

Had we known it would be a once in a lifetime experience, I would have...

brought my camera

taken part in more activites

lived it to the very fullest

...and I would have not delayed any joy for another time.

When my sister-in-law, Lisa, closes a letter, she writes:

Choosing Joy,


I really like that. I am often guilty of delaying joy. And I tend to not choose joy when I am going through a trial. I forget that I have a God that is weightier than any trial I may be facing, and I forget that he wants me to live life to its very fullest, infused with His joy... every day. There is not a time, after jumping many hurdles when I will arrive at joy. It is a choice. Sometimes it is easy and sometimes it is difficult, but it is my choice.

Nehemiah said it well...

"Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." 8:10

Are you choosing joy today?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Out of the mouth of babes...

Josh: You hurt my feelings, Jason.

Mom: What happened, Josh.

Josh: Jason has been calling me a selfish jerk.

Mom: Is that true, Jason?

Jason: Yes.

Mom: Josh, were you being selfish?

Josh: Well, ya. But that doesn't mean I'm a jerk.

Jason: It means you're human.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

He asked me out...

I was longing for some time away with him. It had been far too long and my well was drying up. Not sure where to go, I knew I needed a real getaway... to remove myself from the day to day normalcy and to see things with a new pair of lenses.

But where and when? And how?

I prayed. I prayed and I trusted that he had a plan. I needed to leave the details to him.

Then he asked me out. Unexpectedly. He surprised me with perfect timing and thoughtfulness. And he wooed me with song.

At the end of a choir rehearsal, Cara said, "Did you get my email?" I admitted that I hadn't received it. "Well, our church is having a retreat next month. I know you have a lot going on, but I was just wondering if you would be interested in singing with the worship team." You have to understand that this is not the church I attend, nor has Cara ever really heard me sing.

I told her I would pray about it, but I knew right then and there, that he had just asked me out.

"Yes, Lord! I can't wait!" Giddy and expectant, I reveled in the invitation. I couldn't wait to see what he had planned for our weekend long date.

In the meantime, he went through my journals... quite thoroughly. He took my joys and pains, triumphs and failures, and all the verses that have been my little treasures recently, and he wove them into every song and every message prepared for the weekend. Using beautiful human vessels, he spoke to my heart with intimate knowledge.
He saw me.

He held me.

He knew me.

We sat together under a majestic Monterey pine. I sat and read his poetic love letters... so touching, they brought tears to my eyes. Bowing my head, I began to pour out a heart of love, gratitude and passion, penning my own love letter in return. Then seemingly out of nowhere, he sent a sweet, gentle breeze to envelope me for the next few minutes. I was at a loss for words, so I let the minutes tick away, letting his spirit stir in my soul.

And then I simply replied, "Thank you."
I am so thankful for the lavish love of a Groom who continually woos his bride. He gives her his Bread of Life and Living Water, so that she has no need to be hungry and thirsty again.

He has brought me to his banqueting table...

And his banner over me is love.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sweet and Savory

During the summer, my adorable, radiant and pregnant-for-the-first-time friend, Wendy, came to SLO for her 20th high school reunion. She didn't waste any time letting me know that not a whole lot has changed in these parts since she was last visiting. Wendy and I have this thing.

She doesn't like SLO, and moved away as soon as she could.

I love SLO, and jumped at the chance to move from LA.

I don't particularly enjoy city life.

She has lived in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Austin, and Chicago. She has also flown to most major cities as a flight attendant.

When she and her husband, Larry, left after their stay here, she gave me a bag of Garrett's popcorn. She put it in her suitcase and flew it here all the way from Chicago. Apparently, it is a famous gourmet popcorn with a secret, 3-generation old family recipe. Wow, this is going to be good, I thought.

And then I opened the bag.

All mixed together were two different kinds of popcorn... one a sweet caramel crisp and the other a cheese covered corn the color of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Oh, barf. This just can't possibly be edible.

And then I threw caution to the wind and gave it a try. Moment later, I tried it again... several times. I thought about taking it into a closet and eating all by myself. After all, it came all the way from Chicago... and she was *my* friend. Surely, she meant for it to be mostly mine, right? However, I was good and I shared it. Begrudgingly.

My friendship with Wendy has always been like Garrett's popcorn. It's unique and unlikely. There really aren't a lot of reasons it would work on paper, and yet it is a delicious blend of sweet and savory. Somehow our differences compliment one another and we're better when we're together.

Wendy had a word for this when she visited a few years back...


We laugh and we share...

We easily pick up where we left off...

We sharpen one another.

So, whenever I have an opportunity to spend time with a friend like Wendy, I gobble it up. Because a friendship as enduring and scrumptious as Garrett's popcorn just doesn't come along every day!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Miss Blunt

I ventured into the beauty supply shop and I was overwhelmed. There were so many different products lining the shelves, each one promising to do make me more beautiful in their own unique fashion. If I wanted silky hair or a stronger hold, all I had to do was reach out and try one of these amazing products. Confused, I remembered why I generally avoid the beauty supply shop and stick to what I vaguely know at the drugstore.

This day, however, I had a particular mission in mind. It was time for a different hairstyle, so I thought I would venture out and purchase a flat iron... and I had a very valuable coupon. Needing professional input, I decided to ask the woman behind the register for her expert advice. Lowering her gaze and scrutinizing me from behind her rectangular glasses, she began a dialogue.

"Why do you want a flat iron? Isn't your hair already straight?" she asked.

"Well, it sort of has a little wave in it. Do you use a flat iron?" I replied, observing her very sleek hair.

"Yes, I do. But why would you want to damage your hair with heat if it's already pretty straight," she continued.

"I heard that you can use a flat iron to make long, "beachy" waves (clearly impressing her with my advanced "beauty vocabulary"). That is actually the reason I was interested in purchasing one," I informed her.

"Oh, well, that is very difficult to do. You should just use your curling iron for that. You do have a curling iron, don't you?" questioned Miss Blunt.

I was quickly beginning to surmise that she was not going to sell me a flat iron. "Yes, I have a curling iron. Do you think that is best?"

"That's what I would do," she said ending our conversation.

"Thanks for your help," I said, a bit perplexed at what had transpired.

I was left wondering about Miss Blunt's motives. Was she truly concerned about protecting my hair or did she judge by my "mom" attire that I just couldn't handle wielding such a high tech beautification aparatus? How could she have known, judging by my appearance that day, that I was once an expert curling iron wielder? Just check out these magnificent, late 80's curls.

How could she know just how much damage my hair is capable of withstanding? How could she have known that my hair survived the brutal 80's glam rock culture?

Curled tresses aside, I realize that sometimes I'm guilty of doing this to my own sons. Desiring to protect them, I shield them from harshness. I misjudge their capabilities and deprive them of the opportunity of trying something new. Assuming I know best, I stick my foot in front of their path and squelch their ambitious endeavors.

He isn't old enough.

He might fall and get hurt.

That's too big of a responsibility for him.

There are times when I need to keep them close, and times when I need to let the line out a little farther.

Because someday they will leave the nest, and they will need to know how to fly...

Friday, September 25, 2009

I had some posts

swirling around in my head.

Now I forget what they were.

That's all.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Make Believe

The summer was coming to a close on an overcast, but warm afternoon. I donned a pair of pinstriped black pants, a silky black blouse and sensible flats. My hair was twisted and pulled back in a simple barrette, and I wore a small satchel purse to hold my keys and drivers license.

I drove to a sweet country inn in Nipomo, feeling nervous and excited at the same time.

And then I began to play make believe.

"I am here to assist Ken, today," I told the dapper Father of the Bride.

Ken entrusted me with one of his substantial Nikons, gave me some direction, and set me free. I eyed flowery still lifes and beautiful smiles, children entranced with bubbles and lovely ladies draped in satin. Memories of love and devotion and celebration framed within a little view finder.

The ceremony ended, and the rain drops began to fall. The bride's eyes sparkled and her face became even more radiant... she loves rain. The groom sheltered her with an umbrella and they shared married kisses in its soft shadow.

While my photos only served as a back up to Ken's amazing professional portfolio, it was so inspiring to step into a new pair of shoes.

To play another role.

Like grown up make believe.

My fairy tale came to an end on Sunday morning as I dangled my bare feet over the edge of the bed. The effects of several hours of lunging and squatting had crept in during the night. The day after the "happily ever after."

Nothing worth doing is ever very easy. Marriage is one of those things. It's not always happily every after. We want the better without the worse, the richer without the poorer, and the health without the sickness. Yet life brings both the good and the bad, and when the bad comes, it's easy to say, "I didn't sign up for this." But I did. I made a vow and signed up for it all... not just the fairy tale.

The shadows prove the sunshine. The raindrops prove the clear blue skies. What a blessing it is when two people are brought together in a sacred covenant to warm each other in the shadows and frolic in the sunshine. It is a beautiful mystery.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The C Word

Some words are hard to say.

Because words are powerful.

And they can change everything ... in an instant.

At times, even if they are unspoken.

About three Sundays ago, the house was empty. I had some rare moments to myself. Strains of blue grass praise echoed through the family room, and I danced and lifted my hands in praise to my Savior. My heart was full of emotion and joy came easily and fluidly. Cleansing tears emerged from my soul, and a divine hope filled my mind. Sweetness and light.

My father was soon in the driveway with my youngest who'd been visiting at his house.

"Can I talk to you about something," he said, his face grave and serious.

He had recently had an MRI on his back to see if he'd be a good candidate for back surgery. The doctor found something they hadn't expected to find. A mass was growing on his kidney and he needed to go to USC's medical center to have a specialist look at it.

"Cancer," I thought. But no one spoke it. If someone spoke it, it might somehow give it life... make it real.

But words are meant to be spoken. Or they fester and come out in other ways... like torrents of tears. When we bring things to light, there can be healing.

My father underwent a major surgery yesterday. Skilled hands removed the tissue that was increasing inside him. Though invasive and uncomfortable and painful in the present, our hope is that it will prevent disease from spreading and taking over his body in the future.

As much as I have been struggling with fear over this dreaded "C-word," I am thankful that it was brought to light. It has brought words of prayer, words of encouragement, and words of love and affection. And an opportunity for the Word, Himself, to reveal His glory.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Pioneer Woman recently posted about Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree. She loves the book, and about 98% of the people who commented said that they cry like a baby when they read it. Having great sentimental value, most people cherish the simple story.

I, on the other hand, have a hard time with it. It makes me profoundly sad. I'm not sure if I am sadder for the tree who gives until she is a stump and gets nothing in return or for the boy who never learns to give. Perhaps, I don't really understand it's meaning. Is the tree God? Is the tree a mom? Does is speak to the selfishness of humanity or of unconditional love? Or is it a completely dysfunctional relationship?

Maybe it's because it can be interpreted in so many ways, that it is a "good" piece of literature. Maybe we can learn from it depending on where we are in our own personal journeys. I really have no idea... that's why I asked my friends on Facebook.

I really liked the interpretation Steve gave...

"A metaphor and allegory of two kinds of people, those who take, and those who give. Those who seek only to please themselves wind up bitter, alone, and coming back to those who give. Those who give are portrayed as having a seemingly endless wealth of creativity and imagination, while those who take merely consume, consume and consume. Peace!"

Even if I gave and gave until I was only a little stump at the end of my life, I think I'd still rather do that than be a lonely, bitter consumer.

Erma Bombeck once said,
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me".

I like that.

And I am left with a question... How do you teach children to be more like the tree than the old man?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Polka Time

Last night Patrick and I went to a
Viennese restaurant
to celebrate a friend's 30th birthday.
Great conversation and laughter echoed among the exposed wooden beams.
A cute white-haired man played the accordian.
We polkaed and chicken danced around the table.
I needed that...
It's good to celebrate with gusto!

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Story of Redemption

I've been reading a true story this week.

A tale of unfaithfuless...

And the destruction that came to a marriage.

But also a tale of forgiveness

And restoration

And new life.

It's the story of a woman named

Sarah Markley

I highly recommend reading it and seeing how God uses it in your life.

My reaction surprised me.

Usually I am deeply touched hearing testimonies of redemption that God has wrought.

I easily celebrate and give God glory.

But as I read, I discovered a wall around my heart I didn't know I had erected.

And I don't want it to be there.

I don't want to be hard and unfeeling.

I don't want to protect myself in return for losing passion and sensitivity.

I want to live.

I want to be vulnerable.

I want to build relationships even if it means potentially getting hurt.

So I'm tearing down the wall.

Brick by brick.

It's scary.

But I think it's worth it.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Heritage, Part 1

Jason and I were chatting on the couch a few days ago. He stopped for a moment, looking up at me with his velvety brown eyes, and unabashedly told me,

"You are growing a beard, Mommy."

How rude! But much to my chagrin, he was spot on.

Pluck and tweeze as I may, on a tri-weekly basis, I just can't seem to keep my facial hair under control.

You see, my grandfather on my father's side was a full blooded Frenchman. This makes me at least a quarter French by my estimation. This legacy explains my olive complexion and the abundance, and sometimes overabundance of dark hair.

I wonder if it also has something to do with my love for numerous French things.

Impressionist paintings like Seurat's Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Grand Jatte captivate me.

Les Miserables is one of the most extraordinary stories of redemption ever written... and probably my favorite musical of all time.

Beauty and the Beast... hmmm, see here!

Croissants, baguettes, and French toast! Forget about it!

Strangely enough, even my favorite actress spoke French and wore clothes designed by a Frenchman.

It has to be more than coincidental.

I can't help but ponder my heritage.

To be continued...

Monday, August 3, 2009

How can you not like it??

I love Trader Joe's!

Are you smiling yet?

You aren't? Then watch the video, silly!!!

I'll wait!

It made me want to go shopping...

which is amazing cause I've been down with a virus all week.

Now I'm longing for a Turkey Basil Sandwich on Foccacia, the Greek Salad, and some of the yummy Pink fizzy Lemonade.

What are your top 3 Trader Joe's items?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Homemade Heroes

I've been inspired by all the great projects that Jenny has been tackling lately,

so I got out my sewing machine and looked up a tutorial that I found at

the Pleated Poppy a while back.

And the result...

A couple of homemade heroes!


Super "Z" Boy

(he's big on lollipops)


"TB" Technology Boy
(not to be confused with Tuberculosis!)

They are off to save the neighborhood.
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