December 30, 2009

Reminder to the wannabe faithful

It's been on my mind more than usual....

7The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. 8Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. 11If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:7-11 I am just passing on the reminder, since I've been reminded. ;) Think about it.

December 27, 2009

A little bloggy business session

Apparently Yahoo has been sending all my comment notifications to my junk mail folder. Imagine my joy when I looked through it tonight and found a bunch of comments from the middle of December til now that I had never seen before! It was like Christmas morning 2 days late! I have now put the comment notifier address in my address book. I think that will solve the problem. Anyway, I did go back and put my answers or comments in on most of the posts, FYI.

I also went back and rewrote this post because I had false information about ADOT in it. I'm sorry ADOT Tim. Thank you for your kind rebuke when you could have just nuked me about it. (I do hate conflict) I have learned a lesson in naming names when I don't really know what I'm talking about. I will try to avoid this in the future. =)


You could not imagine the feeling of relief I had yesterday upon waking. It was December 26. The holiday was over and the relief and peace of a stress-free mind was overwhelming. I ended up spending a lot of time just sitting in my bed with my heating pad, watching a movie or surfing the net, or talking to my dog. (she is such a good listener) At long last I didn't have to think about what menu I was to prepare for, gifts I needed or wanted to buy, the little pile in my closet of things to wrap or events to attend. My day, my week in fact, was free. I like that. I also like planning and attending and buying and wrapping, but only to a certain extent. When it is a constant thought in the back of my mind, it is almost like a slave-master.

Today a Christmas carol came on as I was driving home from church and I remembered the beginning of the season, when anticipation filled the air and we looked forward to bustling busyness and preparation. How then, as the anticipated holiday approaches, do I get so stressed and driven? We lose the anticipation and joy in our busyness.

Immediately after that thought crossed my mind, I compared it with the feeling of anticipation of Heaven. This all happening during one Amy Grant Christmas song, mind you. Charles had just preached about eternal life and we had sung songs about the Hope of Heaven. We sang Better is One Day and On Jordan's Stormy Banks I Stand and cast a wishful eye to Canaan's fair and happy land, where my possessions lie.....

In morning Bible Study we ended our study on Christ's birth and talked about what to study next. Ann suggested the end times signs and what is happening in the world to fulfill the prophecies. That really got people's attention. Someone else wondered if we should, because of all the bad things that are to happen. And that reminded me that Scripture tells us to encourage each other as the day of His return approaches.....with the Hope that He is coming again and we will be with Him. It is encouraging to remind each other of Jesus' return, of our Hope of eternal life with Him. It makes us 'cast a wishful eye' toward our future Hope.

Sometimes we get bogged down with life. There is a lot of stress in the world and it filters down to our very own lives. Jobs are lost, sickness invades, crime is more rampant. Yet we are filled with Hope and longing when we let ourselves think of God's promises and the mysteries of His return during the end times. Just like looking forward to Christmas, sometimes we forget about the fun, the mystery and wonder of it and get bogged down in the details of surviving it. We hear a Christmas carol on the radio or drive by Christmas lights on the way home and remember the wonder momentarily. The 'spirit', the joy, of Christmas fills us again when we're reminded.

And here is a thought. Can you imagine the wonderful, indescribable joy, rest and peace when that Hope is finally realized. Kind of like December 26 magnified to infinity!

So let's keep reminding each other of the Hope.....the Day....the Messiah who will return and I don't think it will be long.

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25

On Jordan's stormy banks I stand
And cast a wishful eye
To Canaan's fair and happy land
Where my possessions lie

All o'er those wide extended plains
Shines one eternal day
There God, the Son forever reigns
And scatters night away.

I am bound, I am bound,
I am bound for the Promised Land
I am bound, I am bound,
I am bound for the Promised Land

No chilling wind nor poisonous breath
Can reach that healthful shore
Where sickness, sorrow, pain and death
Are felt and feared no more

I am bound, I am bound,
I am bound for the Promised Land
I am bound, I am bound,
I am bound for the Promised Land

When shall I see that happy place
And be forever blessed
When shall I see my Father's face
And in His bosom rest

I am bound, I am bound,
I am bound for the Promised Land
I am bound, I am bound,
I am bound for the Promised Land

December 23, 2009

Hope of things to come

(photo: the Eastern Gate...Golden Gate of Jerusalem...where Jesus' return is prophesied to take place)

I found this verse last year just after Christmas, so tucked it away in my purse notebook. And I found it this week as I was looking for my shopping list! Then of course I forgot about it again until a few minutes ago when I walked past our partially dried out tree, it's fragrance sending me a reminder of the cool verse tucked into Psalm 96.

I hope your tree is rustling today too...reminding you of the Hope we are to keep in mind.

Let the trees of the forest rustle with praise
before the Lord, for he is coming!
He is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with justice,
and the nations with his truth.
Psalm 96:12-13

Happy Advent....Jesus is our Hope of things to come.

Also, I was filled with Hope as I read e-mom's wonderful article on the Hope of Advent today at Chrysalis. I encourage you to focus your mind and read's short but deep. It really resounded with my yearnings for Christ's return during this time of celebrating His first coming.

December 16, 2009

Pray for Polly

My friend in Chicago is facing a huge challenge tomorrow. Her down syndrome three year old is having brain surgery tomorrow. (her name is Polly and that is her picture on the right sidebar of this blog) Her story is on Gillian's blog. This is just a reminder to pray pray pray for this family and especially for Polly and her parents. The surgery is tomorrow, December 17th early in the morning.

Thank you!

December 15, 2009

The Cavalcade

There is nothing worse (today anyway) than ME in a craft store at Christmas time.

We have a tradition of making homemade gifts for our family, so each year I put it off until the short weeks before Christmas when sheer panic takes over and I start to wander through craft stores, waiting to be inspired. Today was no different. I thought I had a wonderful idea. So there I was in Joann Fabrics. My mission was to get a few things for very good prices, pay and leave. I filled my basket with my carefully chosen items. Then I saw something else and put all the things I had chosen back where I got them.

While I was trying to decide on the new idea, it started looking daunting, and by the way, so did my original idea. So I put back the second inspiration. Then I decided to go with the first idea again. Couldn't be that hard after all. Then I looked at the time. It was already time to pick up daughter number 3 at school! So back went the items AGAIN. BAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!

And y'know what!!? I'm so relieved that I didn't buy anything. Three useless hours in a craft store. I'm just such a ninny sometimes.

Now, cheer up, there is nothing like the Cavalcade of Bad Nativities this time of year. Hilarious holiday entertainment. Click, scroll and read the captions. The best are on page three.

Oh, and make sure you are not sipping your hot chocolate while reading. It really hurts when it comes out your nose.

December 14, 2009

Tortoises and trepidations

My new job is pretty fun. Preschoolers are awesome fun in general, but when you get to work with them every day, you get to really bond with them. The teacher I am an assistant to is a hoot. She is from England, so everything is said with that English accent and sounds more interesting somehow. She has me doing the craft project in the mornings usually, which I don't mind, except for the burnt hot glue fingertips, paint stains on my hands and arms and more brain power than I usually have in figuring out how to do the craft efficiently!

One day last week, she gave me styrofoam rings, all kinds of plastic leaves and red flowers with plastic coated wire stems, little drums, pine cones, ribbons and garlands. She told me to have the children make Christmas wreaths. I said, "Okay, and how are they supposed to attach all of this to the styrofoam?" With a twinkle in her eye, she said, "I don't know! That's your problem!"

You see how it goes. But I follow orders and try to put in my 3 hours a day enthusiastically. I found out on Friday though, that I do have a breaking point.

Our school principal brought her desert tortoise to school on Friday. When she got it, it fit in the palm of her hand. Five years later, it is somewhere close to 35 pounds. It was carried to our classroom by an assisting teacher whose class was at PE. So our teacher had all the children sit on the floor in a circle and the tortoise was put in the middle of the circle and walked around inspecting the children and munching pieces of apple she had for it. The principal told us all about the tortoise and it's personality and habits and care. Meanwhile, the teacher who had carried the tortoise had to leave to get her class to another place. And after a while the principal said she had to get back to the office, but she didn't know when that teacher would be back to carry it for her. (she had a bad arm and was not supposed to carry heavy things) So MY teacher, without so much as glancing at me, says, "OH, Mrs. L will carry it for you!"

My eyes bugged out and I felt like I was choking and a huge "NO" came out of my mouth. Eh heh heh, embarrassing! She looked at me kind of amused and said, "Why NOT, Mrs. L?" I just mouthed the words I'M SCARED OF IT and of course the children read my lips and were then amused too.

I was saved in the end because the other teacher came in (in the NICK of time!) to carry the dreadful thing back.

I'm sure I'll hear about this again some day, but for now I'm just laughing at myself and a little trepidacious about other 'visitors' this teacher may have during the coming semester. (there is a chinchilla in the room in a cage, but she only lets the kids play with it in the afternoons when I'm not there....this is good because it looks like a very large mouse.

December 11, 2009

My hope for you

When I was pregnant with my second child, Bethany, apparently I had a lot of time on my hands. I painted this whole ceramic Bethlehem town and glazed it. It took a long time to paint and I remember just being obsessed with finishing it.

Unfortunately the misfits from the Island of Misfit Toys got loose in Bethlehem this year.

We now have 6+ nativity sets, including one from Israel, Mozambique and Ukraine, but the homemade ones are still my favorites. This is one Charles made from me with lumber scraps from a neighbor's home being built on one of our first Christmases together.

We usually have a good old celebration around here. We love to shop, make things, bake things, give things, surprise each other and laugh. We eat special food and do special things together. After the busyness of this next week, I am hoping the season celebrations of the week before Christmas and having all of my children home will sweep away these persistent blues and turn me towards the Focus of the season.

I hope your Christmas season is full of



gingerbread men

and gingerbread houses....

but most of all hope. Jesus came to bring us great hope.

This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.
1 Timothy 4:9-11

December 10, 2009


The days are seemingly sliding by, making me feel like I can't keep up.

Mean days. Mean clock.

December 9, 2009

Christmas gift suggestions

I swiped this from Alida today! Thinking of the conspiracy I joined, this is a good adjustment in rethinking what gifts truly are, eh?

“Christmas gift suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.”

Oren Arnold

December 8, 2009

Finishing well and winning kinda badly

Last night we had a storm come through and almost all of Phoenix was hit with strong winds, the news called it a microburst. Huge trees fell over, roots still attached. It was weird, lots of noise, big areas of the city were without power. We only lost one cactus, but it was a significant loss.

When we moved in here, I was nervous about having a jumping cactus (it's real name is a cholla "choya" cactus) because they are so horrible if anyone gets too close to it. It is called "jumping cactus" because the tips of the prickles are nearly invisible so you don't realize you are too close until it gets you, painfully, as if it jumped at you. Over the almost 4 years we've lived here no one has been prickled by it, but we have found several birds (who died really painful deaths) stuck in it. Charles never wanted to cut it down because it was so pretty. And it was pretty, all whitish and fuzzy looking (another nickname for this plant is "teddy bear cholla"), kind of the showcase of our front yard. But the storm knocked it over from the roots and I've been declared the winner of this episode. =) It was almost a "nanny nanny boo boo" moment, but I resisted.

The biscotti is all done, the first wave anyway. I give it as gifts so it's like a factory around here in December. It's an easy, yet really fancy looking cookie. The recipe is here.

Tonight's project has been grating little crayons into tiny bits so our preschoolers can make 'stained glass' ornaments with waxed paper tomorrow. It's not as simple as it sounds and I have crayon bits everywhere. Somehow they get static electricity when being grated and then they jump like popcorn out of the container or out of your hand, leaving a ring of colorful debris around the container.....and on my floor and clothing. I still have 3 colors to go and I finally got smart and melted the piles of jumbo crayons into muffin tin cups so they are easier to handle. Just wish I knew how to make the static more manageable.

December 7, 2009


***I have just rewritten this post to correct some false information. I am not a stupid motorist, but if they had laws incriminating stupid bloggers, I would be in deep doo doo. I haphazardly wrote about the roads in Arizona, mentioning our Department of Transportation, but did not realize they are not responsible for the roads I mentioned....the ones going through dry creek beds. I apologize to ADOT and hope my name is not mud there, as it took a long time for me to remember to rewrite this!! I do appreciate ADOT and love their nice freeways! ***

(In case you are wondering what I'm talking about, please refer to the comments section. I was (very kindly, thank you Tim) informed and humbled.)

I decided to try and knock myself out of this slump I'm in and say aloud and in writing that I am going to try to blog each weekday. Now I may not post it til late at night and it may be something used or copied, but I will go on! (or try....I'm backpedaling already, see?)

Today, after a not so fun morning at work (I had to use a lot of hot glue and nearly took the skin off my fingertips from hot glue), I came home in a sprinkle of rain. The sprinkle turned into a down pour very shortly and it continued to drizzle or pour all day.

I LOVE rainy days. Growing up in Phoenix will do that to you. People who are native Arizonans will rejoice over rain and go out into it to experience it, but they do not know how to drive properly in it and perhaps they are a little too enthusiastic about the rain and they crash a lot. Lots of weather and traffic news on days like this.

Also here in Arizona, there are a lot (LOT, LOT) of dry washes and creek beds. Sometimes they are dry for so long during the year that the people who build roads (and I'm not sure who this is exactly) just build roads right through them. But then they expect people to realize (even though there are usually posted signs I am told) that they should not drive through the flooding waters in the wash during rain storms.

Without fail! people drive through the flooded washes every time it rains and then their car stalls in the middle of the flood and they have to be plucked from their car roofs by rescue helicopters. Even after years of seeing news reports of really ridiculous people being rescued, people look at the flood water and think, "Well I can drive through that!" ehn, nope, you're on the news now! So Arizona now has a stupid motorist law that says people who do stupid things and have to be rescued have to pay big bucks for the helicopter rescue service.

So here in Phoenix rainy days are not only fun and make us hyper, they are also a little entertaining during the news hour.

I am currently making scads of peppermint biscotti. Photo and recipe coming up tomorrow. (that gives me a post for Tuesday. YES!)

November 10, 2009

Thunderless parenting

My junior high daughter had a ball point pen that leaked all over her pencil pouch and got it on her fingers while driving home from school today. But then she reached over and purposely WIPED THEM ON THE BACK SEAT OF MY CAR!!! Her name was MUD very enthusiastically for a few minutes, then I told her she'd have to clean it off when we got home. I told her how it would take a LONG time because ink stains SO badly, "blah blah blah, rant rant rant". We looked up 'getting ink out of upholstery' on google. So she took my hairspray out to the car and after one spray and a quick scrub it came right up.

I hate it when my thunder goes *pfft*

But apparently hairspray will do the trick. (on ink, but also on humility)

November 9, 2009

Mother of all crock pots...and her baby

I told e-mom, at Chrysalis that I would post a picture as soon as I got the crock pot that she gave me for pastor's (wife) appreciation month. Thanks again e-mom! I am cooking chicken jambalaya in it tonight. (It has a 6.5 quart capacity....huge!....and it also came with this little baby crock pot, 2 cup capacity for party dips....cute!)

November 4, 2009

Scavenging for Treasures?

I'm playing in a scavenger hunt for ministry wives. If you are a new visitor from the Treasure hunt, WELCOME to the nest!

The Treasures

1.  First Name

2.  State and Country of Residence

3.  Husband’s Ministry Title


4.  Length of time in Current Ministry Location
Three and a half years

5.  Children?  If yes, give gender and ages.
Hannah, 22
Bethany, 19
Emma, 17
Maggie, 12

6.  Number of unique homes in which you’ve lived during your marriage.
Garage apartment
Mobile home
Brick parsonage with scary basement
Ranch style parsonage by a creek
Small home with big mortgage in big city

7.  Cook Sunday lunch or eat out?
Unplanned, usually eat at home

8.  Typically on time for Sunday School or not?
Typically: running by the seat of my pants late; lately: early (I have to set up the coffee pot!)

9.  Favorite TV Show
The Mentalist, House

10.  Something you watch/like/do that you would never tell the church people.
I would love to have a mildly restored VW bus. (but couldn't drive it in traffic here!)

11.  Most annoying church-related pet peeve.
People who tell me things (usually complaints) so that I will tell the pastor about it and he will fix it. People who constantly drain him or hog his attention.

12.  One thing you need to throw away but can’t bring yourself to do it.
I just purged the house, including my closet, so I have no answer!

13.  The one food you can not live without.

14.  Parsonage or have your own home?
We own our first home after 25 years of marriage. (well, the bank lets us think we own it)

15.  Freak when the doorbell rings or always ready for a visitor?
Both! I used to love visitors but nowadays I'm worn out from work and our schedule.

November 2, 2009

Stuff I like

*I got a job! Since being laid off last May, I have had not a whiff of a job lead until now. My daughter Beth emailed me a job posting (she does the job postings for her office at a college where she works) for a preschool assistant job. It was part time but with the potential of being closer to full time by January. I applied and took in my application, was asked to come back that afternoon for an interview and she hired me on the spot! It turns out that I'll be 8-11am until December when I will be working 8-3pm. Yeah, I thought it was really part timey and it turned into more hours than I had last year, but God knows what we need and hopefully it will really help with 3 girls in college next year!

*One of the blogs I read is Stuff Christians Like. Very funny, kinda snarky and always easy to identify with and makes you laugh at yourself....or your church. Today's blog post almost made me choke when I saw it. SO funny and something that drives me crazy!

*I also got my coupon for my new crockpot and ice cream today! Thank you e-mom for the wonderful gift! (it is for pastor appreciation month) You are a blessing!

October 30, 2009

Iced Pumpkin Cookies

These are yummy little darlins. I doubled the recipe (to take to the kids at AWANA) and rolled the dough into 1 inch balls, so they were small and cute and there were bazillions of them! Thank you to Brandy and Ariel for helping roll, bake and ice!

Iced Pumpkin Cookies

(Yield 3 dozen)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup of butter and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop on cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls; flatten slightly.
3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool cookies, then drizzle glaze with fork.
4. To Make Glaze: Combine confectioners' sugar, milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add milk as needed, to achieve drizzling consistency.

October 29, 2009

Update on prayer for Polly

Please continue to lift up little Polly in prayer in the next few weeks. Here is an update on Polly. She is still seizure free and has regained the motor coordination she had lost from the stroke. She needs to stay seizure free for a few more weeks so doctors can do two brain procedures on her. Lots of tests and trials coming up for this little girl! Thank you for your prayers.

October 26, 2009

Much ado about fuzz

One of my household chores is to trim the dog. She is bichon/poodle and grows fuzzy, curly fur like a machine. She doesn't like to be trimmed though and struggles and wiggles the entire time. I can't even do her feet so she often looks like she's got slippers on. (when I get to her feet, she gnaws on me while I'm cutting and she is constantly pulling away from me very hard at the same time)

The other day I started in on her. I just got her head done, but it wasn't 'done' done, just scissored and very wonky looking. Her neck and body were like a huge puff with her little petite head stuck on, no neck. We could not look at her without giggling, so she was starting to feel self-conscious.

So this afternoon I worked up my nerve to continue. I got her back, sides, bottom, and neck done. So now she has huge puff legs and an under carriage of fuzz. I will try to finish her off (play on words and my attitude) tomorrow, but her legs and feet are the worst part of the job, so I might be putting it off. (just sayin) I guess it's worth saving $40 to clip her myself, but it's a week long process. After I get her all scissored off, I have to even her out with an electric clipper....and that is like trying to shave a greased piglet while it's in hyper mode. She is just lucky she's the best dog we've had, because she is a PILL!

Here are some of her many 'looks'. (because I cannot consistently make her look the same way)

Short ears, very puppy-looking.
Youtube addict, mid-ear length. She like the funny cat videos.
Crazed maniac.
Jay Leno look.
Flat head.
Emo legs.
Muppet. (or "I've got a lazy mom who won't trim me")
She is the one on the left. (I think)
Dandelion, or, the "early look".
Last one.
Basket case.
Oh, and her E.T. look is at the top of the page.

Happy puppies to you all!

October 23, 2009

I'm praying for Polly!

I have a new button on my right side bar, Praying for Polly. My dear friend and fellow PW Gillian has a sweet little girl who has Down Syndrome and has developed a new syndrome called Moya moya syndrome. Here is the story. Please pray for Polly and her family as they wait one month before she can have 2 brain surgeries to correct what is dangerously happening in her brain. They have to wait a month after the stroke she had to do the surgery.

This is my same friend who this year has adopted a new baby from Ukraine who also has Down Syndrome. I had a button for bringing Evangeline home for a long time too and she is finally with her new family. So this is the same family. What a year for them. Thank you for your prayers.

October 21, 2009

The Advent Conspiracy

Have you started your holiday shopping yet??

Well if you haven't, why not do something radically different this year?

Go here and ponder the difference you could have this year in your home during the holidays. Last year we did this. We didn't give to the charity they promote on the site, but we did give to foreign missions. And we made inexpensive homemade gifts for each other that were so cool to open on Christmas morning.

I'll write more about this later, including homemade gift ideas. I just can't tell you what I'm making this year. ;)

October 20, 2009

I won 2 prizes!

I won a prize!!

My friend e-mom over at Chrysalis, an e-zine (electronic magazine) had a drawing for a $25 ice cream gift card. She put the names of frequent commenters in a hat and pulled out my name. I was really happy, I love winning things. But then she added a special prize for me.

She wrote a post for pastor appreciation month on pastor's wives and I left a comment. Something was said about a crock pot idea, I don't know, hard to remember. *blush* So she is sending me a crock pot as a bonus!! How cool is that?

Anyway, she is very cool and I appreciate her as a blogging friend and comrade! She is always sticking up for us pastor's wives and leaving me comments on my blog....she is very encouraging! So thank you e-mom!!!

There will be pictures at a later time and probably a pot of chili or chicken too.

October 19, 2009

Mailman Bob and the rosemary

I just put a roast on for dinner. And I used the postman Bob recipe for roast beef.

When we lived in New Jersey, I had small children and quite often we would be out in the yard playing when the postman came by. In our 10 years there, we never had any other postman except Bob. He was this older Tony Danza type of guy, talked like him too. He was very animated and just loved people. I would see him stop and talk to a lot of people over the mailboxes in those 10 years. My children loved him. One day he rang the doorbell.

"Hi, listen, I hate to bother ya, but I can't help but notice every day when I deliver your mail what a nice rosemary plant you got here. I promised the wife I would make a nice roast tonight and I was wondering. Would you mind if I just cut a little tiny bit of your rosemary to put on my roast?"

He was so apologetic that I was giggling by the time he was done. People in Philly and New Jersey can be very dramatic when they are talking. Drama and postmen just seem comical to me.

"Of course, take as much as you want and help yourself anytime, ok?"

"Wow! Gee, I was so nervous to ask, but I have that nice roast and the wife loves when I roast it with rosemary."

So I had to ask for his recipe, it was intriguing to me. This was about 1993 and I hadn't heard of using rosemary in cooking much. I don't think there was a Food network then, or at least I hadn't heard of it. We didn't have cable and I don't even think there was much satellite television yet. We had it because it was a gift and it smelled so good. So here is his method. I tried it soon after our little front porch talk and we loved it!

You can use any cut of roast, but he always used a top round roast and roasted it in the oven, uncovered and dry like a prime rib. I usually use a pot in the oven or in a crockpot and cover it. The main thing is peel and slice garlic cloves into slivers and pull little sprigs off your rosemary. Then in the top of the roast, cut deep slits, into which you insert the sprigs and slivers. Then generously salt and pepper it. Roast as you like. His method to roast was to put the meat into a baking dish and set the oven on hot, 450º. Put the roast in, uncovered for 1 hour, then turn the oven down to 350º until it is the way you like it rare, medium or well done. DELISH! Serve with mashed potatoes and gravy made from the pan drippings and you have a meal that tastes gourmet.

I always viewed Bob as a friend after that and we would stop and chat a little more often. And sometimes when I stepped out to get my mail, there would be a distinct fragrance of freshly snipped rosemary in the air. It made me smile.

October 6, 2009

Fall in Phoenix

Fall in Phoenix.

It lasts one week and then it's back to summer until Thanksgiving.

In the past week:

-The temperatures have gone down in the 60's at night....very nice. But people go around all the next day with sweaters on while it rises to the 80s. I think they are sincere in their wearing of sweaters, but I still have to giggle.

-People open their windows and doors to let the cool morning air in, even after their a/c kicks back on in the afternoon. (I'm guilty of this, I love outside air....I almost said fresh air....silly me)

-There is a faint smell of woodsmoke in the evenings.

-Fall decor is starting to make it's appearance in my neighborhood. Mums, pumpkins, witches, ghosts, caution tape and weirdly purple lights.

-My sisters have started planning the Thanksgiving dinner menu.

-Candy corn is disappearing from the ceramic pumpkin on our piano.

-3 plastic barrels of ginger snaps appeared on our pantry shelf. (someone keeps forgetting she already bought some)

-Slippers have come back in style.

-The dark loads of laundry are outnumbering the light loads.

-The snowman jar on the microwave is suddenly full of cough drops again.

-There is a distinct difference in everyone's mood.....a more chilled out attitude is evident.

By Saturday it will be back in the 90's again. Kinda makes my pumpkin scented candles seem premature.

September 29, 2009


Sunday was a break through day for me.

We have been the church of a number of international people lately. The apartments in our part of the city are being used by the government to place refugees for a while so that they can settle into American society and try to find jobs. (more on this at another time, it's extremely hard for them to find work) We have people coming from All over Africa, from Burma, Iraq, and some other places I can't remember. Some have lived in refugee camps for most of their lives. Some have been through wars and abuses and have been separated from their families.

The language issue is such a huge barrier. I have not made near the effort I should to talk to these people because I find understanding them very taxing. Oh me, I am so selfish if 'feeling taxed' is such a huge burden when these people are desperate to make friends and to be incorporated into our society and our church, I have to admit.....confess.

Sunday after church we had a Family to Family potluck lunch. A lot of our families are teaming up with a refugee family to be their friend, to help them practice their English by visiting with them and helping them know where to go to get basic help and how to do things in our society. If they need rides we can help with that or take them on errands or invite them over.

So we all came in nodding awkwardly at each other, sat by our families we've been matched up with and ate each other's strange foods. (they feel the same way about our food that we do about their food we have found out) We ate, we talked, we nodded. Then Charles got up and introduced each refugee. They each stood before us and in their best English, told us their story. I can't count how many times my stomach lurched or my eyes filled with tears listening to each one tell of their harrowing experiences of wars and beatings and running away and looking to America for refuge.

One man lived in a refugee camp for 14 years before his name came up to go to America, one woman talked and broke down about her experiences of war and abuse and beatings that she still has nightmares and wakes up screaming from. Another woman told us about how her children were separated from them and they didn't see their sons for 3 years. They just recently found their daughter again after 7 years. She is only 15 years old. So half her life they did not know where she was....which turned out to be American foster care homes. Another man from Burma is trying to raise money and make the effort to bring his wife and children over to be with him here. They escaped to Malaysia and then India, where they wait for him.

I can see these people as individuals now and feel a deep ache for each one as I know their stories. Each one has a deep faith in Christ too. They all gave strong testimony of how they depended on God for help as they ran, waited or were separated.

I wish everyone in our church had been there and could meet these brave people who left their homelands for the security we take for granted here in America. It is precious to them. The next time you come across someone from a different land, give them a second look, a knowing nod or a handshake. Some of them are in such desperate times. They need work, but it is hard to find if you are foreign and do not speak the language well yet.

Pray for our refugees and be on the lookout for jobs you see available or help for them in any way. Let Christ be a refuge for them through you. And when you look at them this Sunday, SEE them.

September 23, 2009

True moxie

My two daughters went to their See You At The Pole meetings at their schools this morning. My high schooler, Emma, goes to a public school. She said there were only 5 when she arrived, then they ended up with 9 kids. She was excited because last year she was the only one there. Last year she just sat at the flag pole and read her Bible and prayed alone. Today she read some Bible passages and they all prayed for their school and for each other. Then Emma played songs on her guitar and they all sang, then prayed some more. Then they moved into the learning center to sit at a table and have a short Bible study.

My junior higher, Maggie, goes to a charter prep school (it is also a high school).....same part of town. Her cousin who is homeschooled came with her. When they arrived there was a high school boy leading a Scripture reading and then he prayed. Then they took turns praying for their school and each other. They were there almost an hour.

It occurred to me that a few years ago I would have wanted Emma to go to a school with a higher percentage of Christians attending too. But we didn't know about that school then and had to get her right in. And I am glad Maggie has the chance to be somewhere that is encouraging to her faith, even though it is not a Christian school. It feels right for her.

But I can't help but be sensationally proud (and spurred on) that my 17 year old is willing to be one of the few in a very secular environment who stands out because of her faith and life. Even if it means praying alone at a flagpole while kids walk to classes. That girl has moxie!

September 21, 2009

SYATP 2009

Wednesday morning September 23, 2009. Every flagpole of every school, 7am. I hope you'll be there to pray for your school and meet the other kids who are standing up for Christ there.

September 17, 2009


I saw this on a friend's blog today and had to swipe it! Thanks Mummy! It reminds me of an object lesson I once did during a True Love Waits emphasis in a youth Bible study (it was part of the curriculum, not my own idea). I gave each group of about 4 girls a bag of Skittles candy and told them the first part of the game was to sort the Skittles by color. I said I had to go do something real quick, so I had to leave the room. But before I did, I told them to just sort now, then we'll eat them later. They couldn't eat them until after the game.

The object of the lesson is that when you have a temptation, such as sexual sin, which was our topic that day, the more you handle, touch and look at it, the more likely you are to give in. Even though you know there is an appropriate time down the road and some day you can enjoy it in a healthy, committed way....marriage. It is truly a powerful way to get this point across if you're needing to......and if you have teens my friend, you'd better be trying to get that across. We are all weak and we desperately need clear boundaries these days.

Enjoy this cute video on temptation. ;)

Oh, The Temptation from Steve V on Vimeo.

September 13, 2009


Okay, e-mom has a great little synopsis of the Feast of Tabernacles up on her web-zine. I love studying the Jewish feasts and their Messianic meanings. Also called Sukkot and Feast of Booths, it will begin on October 2 this year. This is one of the feasts that has not been fulfilled yet and is widely thought to represent the return of Christ.

September 11, 2009

I remember 9/11 and 9/13

Yesterday I picked up Maggie from her jr high school along with 2 friends who I take home. They were all talking about having seen a video about 9/11. None of them remember that day, they were all 4 years old then. And they watched it with a sense of detached horror that something like that happened in our country. They talked about the man on the film who jumped out of a window in the World Trade Center as it burned. They talked about the building just crumbling down and the debri blowing out through the tall buildings like tunnels like billowing clouds, people disappearing as it consumed them as they ran. They were horrified as they watched video of the planes crashing into those buildings. And they wondered what it would have been like to have been in that building, waiting to die as it crashed down.

I cannot imagine that it's been 8 years since that morning. It seems like years, but not 8 years ago. It was a horrifying week for us for more reasons than the 9/11 attacks. I was homeschooling my kids at that time. Hannah was at the school for band practice though and Charles was in Phoenix for a meeting. He called around 8 or 9am to tell me to turn on the television. I remember just sobbing as I watched it unfold over and over and over and over again as the days passed. The buildings, the smoke, the planes, the Pentagon, the crater in Pennsylvania made by the fourth crash. We didn't know if it was over.....we waited with a panicky feeling as the days passed and we turned on the television each day to find out if there was anything more. It was like waiting for the other dreadful shoe to drop.

Charles came home and we watched a lot of television. We felt a strong connection with the rest of our country, stronger than any other time in our lives before or since then. We saw people praying on television, public leaders just pouring out their fears, pleading with God, humbled. People met for prayer. People wandered into our church at any time of the day to talk to Charles and other leaders there. So many questions, so many turning to God for answers.

Well, for us, for our little town, the other shoe dropped two days later. A 19 year old young man, well known in town and the oldest son of our very good friends killed himself. He thought the world could never be the same again. He had so many questions and fears and such anger in his heart.....thoughts overwhelming him as they plagued his mind. There were other factors too that I won't go into, but he felt his world was ending. He mentioned his fears to his family, but of course, they did not realize (how could they?) how tortured he was about it all. Everyone was feeling so insecure. But he could no longer see hope in his life. So in a final, permanent act of impulse and despair, he left us.

Our church and our town were shell shocked. Suddenly it wasn't just terror on the east coast, viewed for us only on a television. This act left us reeling and heart broken in our own circle, a very small towny circle. Such difficult days. We started taking every sad look or worried word that our youth in town had very seriously and we dragged them in to talk to us, the high school in town brought in professional counselors for anyone who wanted to talk. Scary days.

I cannot separate the two events now. They were extreme traumas....two in one week. People walked around in a daze, tears just behind their eyes at all times. We had no words, we didn't understand, but we did pray and sought God's help. This is also what I remember when I think back to that time.

Yet people kept turning to God. Tragedy turns us to God. Even someone who seems indifferent to religion and spiritual life will call out to God in a moment of danger or tragedy. So in a way.....a very far off, think about it deeply way, it was almost good for our country to go through something of this proportion. I hate that it happened but it shows you that deep down, people do still turn to God.

Remembering that day, that week, and seeing where our nation is these days, just 8 years later, I just think......God help us. We (I have to include myself here) are so affluent, so comfortable, proud and selfish. We are lulled back into it so quickly.

I just bought the new Jars of Clay CD and there is a song that describes our current apathy, our lulled apathy. Take off your blinders and talk to each other. We need to say things and be heard, we need a stronger sense of community and a much stronger hope and faith in God. Our lives are not meaningless.....unless you let them be.

I don't have to hear it, if I don't want to
I can drown this out, pull the curtains down on you
it's a heavy world, it's too much for me to care
If I close my eyes, it's not there

With my headphones on, with my headphones on
With my headphones on, with my headphones on

We watch television...but the sound is something else
Just a song played against the drama,
so the hurt is never felt
I take in the war-fires, and I'm
chilled by the current events
it's so hopeless, but there's a pop song in my

Headphones on, in my headphones on
[ Find more Lyrics on ]
With my headphones on, with my headphones on

At the Tube Stop, you sit down across from me
(I can see you looking back at me)
I think I know you
By the sad eyes that I see
I want to tell you (It's a heavy world)
Everything will be okay
You wouldn't hear it (I don't want to have to hear it)
So we go our separate ways...

With our headphones on, with our headphones on
With our headphones on, with our headphones on
I don't wanna be the one who tries to figure it out
I don't need another reason I should care about you
You don't want to know my story
You don't want to own my pain
Living in a heavy, heavy world
And there's a pop song in my head
I don't want to have to hear it

If you want to hear the song, go here and find the song Headphones under 'View Tracks'.

September 9, 2009

Lost dog found!

I got a call from my sister this morning. She and her husband were driving on a mountain road (by Woods Canyon Lake area) and found a lost, emaciated chocolate lab. They were comforting her and feeding her beef stew as she called. So she wanted me to look up lost dogs on the internet. Instead I found the ranger station number up there and she called that. I got a call back after about 10 minutes that they did have a report of a chocolate lab lost in that area THREE WEEKS ago! That is an awfully long time for a dog to go without it's mom and dad. I don't think mine would have survived.

She called the owner's number and he thought it sounded like his dog. So she took it's picture and sent it to him on his cell phone. He was elated because it was his dog....minus about half it's body weight from the looks of it. When I called back to see if it was the right owner, my brother in law answered and told me my sister was on the phone crying with the owner and his voice started to crack too. It was a happy moment. They are making arrangements to get her back to her owner, who lives about 5 hours from the spot where the dog was found. I guess she ran off while they were camping up there and then she came back to the area and hung around there for 3 weeks. So sad!

Another cool thing was that my sister and brother in law were calling her Shadow because their border collie, who died this year, was named Shadow. When she asked the owner her was Shadow! Amazing and kind of bittersweet for them.

So yes, as well as being a currently unemployed stay at home mom, I help reunite stray animals with their loved ones.

All in a day's work, I say.

September 7, 2009


Weird thing happened this week in worship service. We had communion, which takes place from once a month to once every 3 months in our church. Well I guess it had been a while, because the little square wafers were VERY stale. I could tell by the smell when it was about 5 inches from my nose, but I ate it anyway. As I chewed, it became clear we were eating RANCID wafers!!! Oh it was GROSS! I looked around and everyone's faces were showing it, although they were trying not to. What to do? You can't spit it out, you can't make a sound, you just have to force it, and everyone did. It was disgusting. Then there was a quick rustling of gum or candy wrappers. Oh boy.....

The rest of the worship and study time was great. This is what we remember though.

I hoped it wasn't a that we can't handle Jesus or something.......that bothers me in a haunting way.....

August 26, 2009

San Francisco photos

The slide show of or San Francisco trip is now here. These slide shows crash my mom's browser, so I will just post a link for them from now on.

Can you see me now Mom?

San Francisco at a glance

The trip was great! San Francisco is a very unique and cool place to visit. People do not use personal cars there much, so we turned in our rental and hoofed it. =) We got a city pass for the public transport and used it to ride busses, trolleys, and underground trains. It also came with free passes to several museums, two aquariums, a ferry ride, and other things. Very worth it...think it was $59 each. Riding the public transportation was in itself a really interesting way to view the city. It was about half and half tourists and locals on all transportation we took. So if we had a question on which bus to take or thing to see, we asked the locals on the bus. Everyone was so kind, even the drivers, on giving us directions and advice. I loved seeing such a kind hearted city.

I think that in a place like Phoenix, where almost everyone uses their own car and then gets out and dashes into air conditioned buildings to go to their own space, people get very disconnected with other humanity. People are grouchy and bothered in Phoenix. I think we are losing that community spirit and just view other people in our daily world as givers to us and not real people we should connect with and be kind to. We were there for 5 days so we really got to see the real spirit of the city and not just a touristy glimpse.

San Francisco is divided into neighborhoods, kind of like New York City, but much smaller. The row houses are usually divided up in to apartments, so on one street there are hundreds of people living. And each neighborhood has a park or a square, a nice grassy block with trees, benches and surrounded by little shops and restaurants. We spent a little time each day at the square in our host's neighborhood. Locals would bring their dogs to the park and let them off their leash and the dogs were galloping the whole park and romping with each other. They come there each day, you could tell. It was so fun to watch the community spirit and neighbors sitting on the benches or standing in groups talking while their dogs romped. And from outward appearance, it is a very common sight to see people who are on their way home or from lunch or on a break maybe, just throw themselves onto the grass in their dress clothes even and lie in the sun, no blanket or folding chair, but just on the grass. Downtown where the modern art museum was had a lot of people out in the grass, just soaking in the sun or napping. And in every neighborhood park we saw, if it was sunny, people were doing the same. Fun.

It was also freezing cold. brrr! We had to buy an extra jacket (heavy windbreaker with fleece lining) because we couldn't stand it anymore. So we sat in the sun on park benches or short walls, we are not quite ready to go for lying in the grass where the dogs romp freely (if you know what I mean). Don't they have ants in San Fran??

We ate really good food too.....very gourmet appreciating city. We ate at Chinatown where the pot stickers and the green tea ice cream were sublime, a hip Italian place just off of 'our' square and had an interesting polenta appetizer, very much comfort food, a very hip Eur-asian place (our host gave us a gift certificate for there) and ate the fanciest meal we had while in San Francisco. I had a pork chop that was glazed with pomegranate and currant sauce and Charles had a chicken with portobello mushrooms and truffle sauce, and we had fish and chips on Fisherman's Wharf. (that is for Jackie, and no, I did not take pictures of our meals, that would be too much)

We went to church on Sunday morning, it took us about 20 minutes to go across town after walking several blocks, catching a bus, then taking the underground train. Huge, beautiful church, extraordinary worship leader. He was like a professional, but very humble and led from behind the grand piano, very good at leading you through a worship experience and focussing you on God. They had just lost their pastor in June. He passed away and the church was still in a state of grief, you could tell. One of the associate pastors preached one of those very inspiring and modern sermons, using props and audio visuals to get his teachings to relate. The congregation was a total mix of the community. It is good to see that, it means their church is reaching their area and relevant to their community. Our denomination's California seminary is just across the bridge, so there were some seminary students there too and a professor or two.

So all in all it was an exhausting, but really lovely trip. It was totally different than anything we would have planned to do, but we're glad we fell into it because it really gave us an appreciation of another place.....a big city with a sense of community, joy and kindness about it. The friend we stayed with is very sure that the city is on the verge of a huge revival of the believers there and coming to God of the community. So we are joining her in praying in that direction.

I am now going to carry a little sign, so that when people ask, "So how was your trip?" I can just hold it up "Read the blog." It's so hard to explain such a huge trip in a minute or so. ;)

We are so glad to be home though, it was very tiring. But I am making a commitment to be a kinder Arizonan, even while driving in my own car with all the masses who really don't know me, but will react better to kindness than to impatience and aggravation.

August 25, 2009

Tiny homes

I want one of these. I would park it in my backyard so I could have a nice little retreat and Charles could have somewhere to sleep when he mentions me in sermons too much. *j/k* I would plant flowers in the window boxes and paint it light blue with white trim. And in the summer I could haul it up to my sister's lot where her cabin is and Charles and I could have our own private get away.

We always have said when we retire (do pastors ever really retire?), we could buy a travel trailer and live in it while we travel and go on mission trips and such. We have our kids scared that we will park it at each of their four homes for 3 months of the year. (probably because we tell them we will do it) To which Hannah always says, "I'm living in an apartment then." haha, very funny Hannah. When you need a grammy to babysit, I will be at Emma's taking care of all of her sets of twins. (family joke about a very funny game of Life in which Emma needed several minivans to tote her crew around)

If we had one of these, they might want to travel with us though.....we could all caravan! We would have a ready made neighborhood wherever we went!

What do you think? Aren't these the cutest things ever?

August 13, 2009

Hearts and Rain

We woke up this morning to rain! There is always big excitement in Phoenix about rain. It will dominate the evening news. The reporters will be standing out in it, the camera will pan around puddles of it, there will be video of cars driving on wet streets and there will be 'man on the street' interviews of the general public saying how happy they are for the rain. It's really entertaining. It makes you learn to appreciate what you seldom have. It makes you thankful.

I got my coffee and went out in the garage to see what Hannah was doing. She is going through her stored belongings, packing things to take with her to California. We are leaving Monday to take her up to a ministry school in northern California for a year.

While we were talking I noticed all the bits of paper all over the driveway. Hearts. Everywhere. We got heart attacked! I'm sure I know who it was since she was here at our house the other day wanting to heart attack people. People who like to do fun vandalism should not brag about it in front of a potential victim. But yes, I know who you are! And if you really love us, you will come and pick up all the bits of paper that has now been wet all day and has sunken down between the rocks in our front yard. Yes, very cute, but the reality is a lot of wet paper.

But I still am thankful for the rain. And in a smaller way (because it's kind of a mess), I am thankful that the youth group loves my kids and gave us a heart attack.

August 8, 2009

Colorado 09

My DEAR husband bought a new wireless router for our internet and now it's zoom zoom zoom! So I finally got all of our vacation photos uploaded. There are about 40 pictures, so it is long, but it's all in one place.

Click here for that slide show.


August 6, 2009

Those were the days my friend

Our Sprint cell phone service has not been working for 3 days.

Now Yahoo won't give me my mail or the news story on the mom who crashed with her kids in NY.

AND my Qwest internet service is iffy today too.

I'm watching Gilmore girls episodes from the days when EVERY person did not have a cell phone. They had pagers, they would get a little beep and have a little time (like in case they needed to go to the bathroom.... awkward while on a cell phone or when your kids bring you your cell phone with a live someone on it while you're IN the bathroom...okay I don't know if I'm going to keep this parentheses) before you call the person back.

They also distinctly have newspapers with interesting stories right there in front of your eyes instead of teasing you with a title to a story you can never read. And you never see people on the internet. That is interesting. People just talk to each other and visit and bump into each other in charming small town settings.

I want that.

But I also want my cell phone to work!

August 4, 2009

Birthday scones

Hannah made me vanilla scones for my birthday. I am working on getting cake replaced with vanilla soy scones for the preferred birthday dessert. =) We topped them with raspberry jam and blueberry jam that she helped someone make in Alaska from berries she helped pick! Maybe she will give us all the recipe. She took one from the internet and added and subtracted things.

I also got a french pedicure with little jeweled flower applique from Bethany. And the Jane Eeyre dvd we started watching last night was from Charles, along with a field guide to my camera so that we can learn to do fancy, cool things with it.

Birthday events

Thank you for all the birthday wishes by phone, by email (thanks Tay), and by facebook! That was fun reading those in my mailbox first thing today....and getting my birthday wake up call from Laurie Luker very first thing!

My children are all home for a couple of weeks, with the recent return of Hannah, so we are laughing a lot, there are squeals of happy late night talking from Bethany's room, and watching lots of Gilmore Girls. I am about to get a pedicure from Bethany while we watch Martha Stewart. Tonight Charles and I are going out with friends and tomorrow I will get together with my mom and a couple of my sibs.

I am happy.

I did a 'what celebs do you share a birthday with' quiz on facebook/wikipedia and came up with:

1. Louis Armstrong
2. Billy Bob Thornton
3. Barack Obama
4. Jeff Gordon
5. Cole and Dylan Sprouse (Suite life of zack and cody kids)

And this morning I turned on Regis and Kelly and it's also GILMAN'S birthday. WILL the coinkidinks never cease? haha Actually Barack, Gilman and I were all born in the same year, same day too. I am wordless.

whoopee! (which is not an actual word, but in interjection)

July 29, 2009

A vacation story (not for the faint of heart)

Everyone is asking how our vacation was, so I need to write this before I can accomplish much else, since retelling the story is making me feel overwhelmed. ;)

We left Phoenix on Sunday afternoon, leaving behind our daughter Beth, 19, who had a sore throat. The first day went off without a hitch. We arrived in Cortez, Colorado around midnight and checked into a local motel and collapsed. The next morning we drove up to Telluride area to find a camping spot, but after cruising through all known camp grounds and driving through the bumper to bumper, crowds of people everywhere town of Telluride, we decided to drive around the mountains and go to our dearly loved area near Silverton. It took a while so we didn't arrive at South Mineral Creek campground until late afternoon. Thankfully they had one spot open, someone had left early and we grabbed it. After setting up tent and stashing cooking utensils and camping supplies in convenient places we decided to go on a drive from the campground up to Crystal Lake. It is a 4 wheel drive only road and ends up at a beautiful natural lake above tree line at about 12,000 feet elevation, filled with only snow melt. It was beautiful. But we only stayed a few minutes because Charles had started feeling a little altitude sickness setting in.

When we got back to camp it was getting worse and he could not catch his breath. He went to talk to the camp host and I walked up while they were in mid conversation. As I walked up I heard, "...well if you're having chest pains too, I think you should get that checked out." I'm like, CHEST PAINS? I thought he was only short of breath. The host called in to Silverton EMTs who told us to come in and get checked out by paramedics. We all jumped in the car and headed to Silverton as the sun went down and it became dark. A police car met us there and escorted us to the fire station where their EMT staff was waiting for us. He was still short of breath and hurting. (he did not think it was his heart, but his lungs, worried it was a blood clot) They did not take chances, though the readings were normal, so they said they needed to drive him to Durango in the ambulance.

Sounds simple, but the only way from Silverton to Durango is a windy mountain road, often edged with a sheer drop off on one side and a mountain on the other for almost 60 miles. The ambulance driver was so concerned about ME driving behind him that he went about 30 miles an hour the whole way, keeping me right behind him so no animals would jump out in front of me. And they did! Deer were all over the place, just running out in front of the ambulance and dashing off the side of the road. I think it happened 8 or 9 times, along with other animals doing the extreme road crossings in the middle of the night.

Finally reaching Durango hospital, it took about 20 minutes for them to decide that it was indeed altitude sickness and partly a panic attack due to not being able to breathe. The doc said that the only way to get acclimated was to spend a couple of nights sleeping in the high country to regulate your body to the altitude. Thanking the Lord that is was only altitude and not anything to worry about, we headed out to the car, only to find a totally flat tire. We stood there, mouths open, eyes staring unbelieving at the tire. Emma gave way into sobs after the traumatic time thinking her dad was possibly seriously ill. Charles went to work digging out the jack to change the tire. A jack in the smart. Eh, only smart if you have a handle with which to work the jack. He went into the ER again to ask if anyone had a jack. The lady who was the receptionist handed Charles her keys and told him to take her car and get what he needed at a 24 hour Walmart down the street. One trip to Walmart, a jack, a tire pump, and a can of fix-a-flat later and we were on our way, profusely thanking the wonderful receptionist who fully trusted us and blessed us with her generousity.

By now it was 1:30am. As we drove through Durango there were no motels that seemed to have any vacancies. I did NOT want to drive up that mountain road again, so we finally found a dingy old motel (the kind you can actually live in) and fell into bed in our clothes. We had left everything at the campground. But it was good to sleep.

The next morning we called home to find out Beth had gone to urgent care and that she had a pretty bad case of strepp throat. ehn She managed to get to the doctor then to the pharmacy herself and then collapsed at home, very sick and very sad. It was like a huge swirling end to a nightmare of running and not getting anywhere. But she said she was fine and we decided since she already had the medicine and was able to stay home and rest, we should continue our vacation in search of relaxation. And by the time we got home on Saturday, she was able to be back at work and was gone constantly with her friends running around having fun. So I think we made the right decision, even though it was a hard few days for her!

After getting our tire fixed for $15 and retrieving our camping set up from Silverton, we found a very nice, lower campground on the east side of Durango by Lemon reservoir called Florida campground. Very nice, camped by a rushing stream, Maggie found a very good friend to play with and we stayed there the rest of the trip. We took 4 wheel drive only trips on mountain roads and read, had campfires and took walks the rest of the time and the first 2 days of the trip seemed like a surreal, distant memory. The patched tire held up, as good as new, even on the rough mountains roads we took.

We are thinking there are probably a lot of lessons to be learned, character to be gained from such experiences, but we are still learning what they might be. We still have no idea why all of this happened or what we've gained, but we are thankful that God took care of us in each little thing....even driving down the mountain with a leaking tire! And we're also thankful for the people He put in our path to help us. The kids had good attitudes and were true troopers, working hard to set up our camp, take down and set up again and not freak out on us.

Mostly I think we are all thankful to be home again. ;)

Slide show of the trip to follow.

July 27, 2009


I'm almost done with camping laundry!!!! You can now walk through the laundry room without climbing mountains of smokey smelling stuff.

This is the week before Maggie starts back to school. A new school. Junior HIGH school. We have to get school clothes, shoes, supplies, figure out if how to do lunches, and calm back to school nerves (mostly mine).

Vacation stories are forming. Pictures are uploading. I promise.

July 17, 2009

Ode to Advil

A long winded, run-on type of Haiku:

Wrapping up a full week of Vacation Bible School
and trying to pack and cook for a week's camping trip
What would I do without Advil?
I love it more than I can say.
Because I'm so pooped.

ps....did you notice, I made a new blog catagory called 'whining'?

July 8, 2009

Getting through

I did it.

I got through. There was a real person to talk to and everything!

I got up at 7am, when the phone lines open, hit redial for approximately 10 minutes before getting on the waiting-for-a-real-person hold line. I dug my heels in and waited an hour, drinking my coffee, playing solitaire and praying someone would answer, and then that someone would NOT answer while I was in the restroom, and then praying for someone to answer again so that I could get on with my life! And they did. And I'm in again.


Sorry, I'm just a little relieved though.

I will never be bad again! (at least not to the government)

July 7, 2009

Unfabulous, unfun, unemloyment

It is indeed, a very frightening thing to fall out of grace with the US unemployment system. They send you into their phone system and torture you with weird music and intermittent messages of 'stay on the line, we'll be with you soon' only to be cast out with an abrupt, "We're sorry. You will have to try and call again later." (yes, you just try that little thing and call again....bwaaaaaahahahaha) All of this AFTER you've been on the phone waiting for a full half hour and gaining hope that an actual person will talk to you 'soon'. ehn

This is all because I went a week without filing my weekly claim. We were out of town Monday through Thursday and I thought I'd do it Friday....but it was a holiday!!! *throws my face into my elbow pit and cries bitterly* And that is why they are punishing me. I let my account lapse.

I am bad. I was wrong. Now I will pay (or not be paid).


July 3, 2009

Mountain trip slides

A week in the mountains

It's stinkin hot here. It's only 102 but the humidity is 27%. (we are used to the dry 8% humidity) ehn

The cabin trip was great! (Charles and Emma were at youth camp and Bethany stayed home) Maggie brought a friend, so they were totally occupied with each other. I did a lot of visiting with my sister and mom. We took the kids to Woods Canyon Lake one day. Larry and Becky took the 2 kids on a hike around the lake and I stayed with my mom and we sat in lawn chairs on the lake's edge. It was beautiful. I did a little hiking too, but mostly visited with my mom.....this was her and my dad's favorite spot and she wanted to tell me all about it, a nice nostalgic visit. A bald eagle who nests there kept soaring right over us and the pine trees we were sitting under. I was always too amazed to grab my camera (which was right on my lap)! I'm a little multi-task challeged.

Another day my sister Becky and I took the 2 girls to Tonto Creek. Very fun, they got to explore and splash and fall in. When we got back to the cabin, I sent them straight to the showers and told them to scrub just in case nasty micro bacterial weirdness were in the never know. ;) We found a privately owned 'fishing hole' (really fancy) and let them fish. Each of them caught 2 trout and we ate them the next day for lunch. It was hilarious to see 2 girls and 2 women try to get a hook out of a fish's mouth. The guy at the fishing shack had to come to the rescue several times and a woman there with her grandkids helped us another time.

It's monsoon storm season here, in the mountains it clouded up in the afternoons and rained two of the days. Just when it's getting hot, the clouds come and you need a lite sweater...perfection! And listening to the thunder off the mountains was beautiful.

Now I'm back and supervising laundry and cleaning and trying to trim the dog. So far I only have her BACK legs and bottom area done, so she's lookin funny. I'm trying to get her done so she can come with us to a Fourth of July parade that one neighborhood by our church does. We always go to it and advertise for our VBS. Everyone brings their dogs. I will try to remember my camera.

June 27, 2009

Shy cactus

Night before last I got up to let the dog out at 11:30pm and this is what I saw in our backyard:

Next morning:

I've never seen it so full of blooms. It stopped me in my slipper tracks! If you get up very early, you can still see most of the blooms open, but who wants to do that????

June 25, 2009


Celebrities are dropping like flies today. People's first reaction to Michael Jackson's death was interesting. I saw a lot of them on facebook. From calling it a publicity stunt (I had that first reaction too) to cynical remarks about how strange he was....and he was. And Farrah Fawcett's very unglamorous end....another 'interesting' celebrity. I know they were real people, they both had families and friends who are grieving, but it's not really personal for most people (unless you're a fan). So we are free to gawk at the evening specials on their lives (I did too) and give our opinions. (I am too apparently) To us they were almost caricatures of humanity, an image, a modern day freak show. Whether celebrities are exploiting themselves or are unfairly exploited is up for debate, but it's all kind of a parade of the most immoral and egotistical eccentrics in our society. Yet this day their eternity was made for them. It's all so empty and strange feeling when you ponder it.

Personally we've had to deal with a friend's death this week too. He was a deacon and a good friend at our last church. Randall absolutely loved life, loved his wife, his children and God. He rode a Harley Davidson and yet would snuggle with and talk sweet to his little yorkie with abandon. It made you laugh, but it was real humanity, not plastic or contrived. He was down to earth and lived his life for God and family, not for the public. When his time came he said, "I'm home...I'm home. Praise God, praise God." Then he breathed his last. Hearing it reminded me of when I'd come home from school, as I would come through the door, calling out to my mom, "I'm home! I'm home!" Cool image....hmm.

My own father's death was similar except he couldn't talk at the end. We could tell that he was keenly tuned in to us, tried to respond when he heard my brother or his sister on the phone. He was more himself than he had been for months Having dementia takes you away before your body is ready, but I think his spirit overcame his mind for a while at the end. He knew what was happening up until the last hour or so of his life.

It was August 21st and there was a storm gathering. We sat with my dad, singing hymns, talking to each other remembering old family stories and jokes. We were holding dad's hand, giving him water on a sponge because he was breathing hard and his mouth was dry. Then the summer storm blew in and raged for a while. I opened the window because my dad LOVED a good summer storm. He would go outside and watch them blow in and through whenever he could, even climbing up on the roof sometimes to watch the lightening (yeah, I know). So for a while we listened to his labored breathing while thunder crashed and rain came down in sheets. When it was over we kept vigil for another hour or so, then he opened his eyes, after having them closed for days, too weak to focus on anything I imagine, and his eyes were bright and focussed up in a corner of the room and there was an energy in his eyes, it wasn't just a look, it was a gaze. It made me actually turn and look as if I would see what he saw. But I couldn't (one day I hope to). I don't know what he was seeing, but I have a very real sense that it was another realm of reality. His breathing which was rough, labored and loud started calming and becoming very shallow and then very intermittent. The storm between death and life was blowing through and we knew it would soon finished. He had been focusing mentally on Heaven a few days before he died and now it was as if he saw it. And his spirit never focussed on us again. He was already stepping over and it was a privilege to be there with him while it happened. He took a few deep breaths and then he didn't breath again. And then, in our hearts it began to rain. But it was a very cleansing, sweet rain.

Death is something we don't often see and have to be there for in our society. But it is a very real part of life. I've been wanting to write of my father's death since the evening it happened, 3 years ago, but it never seemed like the right time. I think in the age where you see celebrity icons dying and we are so far removed from it, but still feel it so deeply, it's good to hear of more personal experiences, something unexploited that gives hope and not just sorrow. Something normal and natural and spiritual. After going through that with my father, I am not afraid to die. I never thought I was afraid, but it was a precarious thought, something far off and surreal. Now I know it is just a transition. I've seen it and envy it a little. Can you imagine stepping over with God and reaching your Home that is more familiar and real somehow than the ones we've lived in here on earth? I'm closer to being able to imagine it now.

"Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:3-4

June 11, 2009

Bringing Evangeline home

Have you ever noticed the button on the upper right of my blog? *points* It has a picture of a baby in pink on it and says "Bring Evangeline home" on it. If you click on it you will find the story behind it.

A fellow pastor's wife friend of mine is adopting a special needs baby from Ukraine. They are raising the money for the travel and adoption costs through the site you see if you click on the picture of Evangeline. There is also a brief story of their life and adoption. Amazingly, through many obstacles and lots of waiting and paperwork, Gillian and Sergei are in Ukraine right now picking up Evie and bringing her home with them.

International adoptions are a long, difficult process, but if they do not adopt Evie, she would grow up in institutional care. Please pray for them as they travel. And pray for Evie as she gets settled into having a family and bonding with them.

You can follow up on the story on Gillian's blog, Pocket Lint.


An art exhibit in Toronto has my attention. How fun! They have been posting images of it on Daily Dose of Imagery for a couple of days now.

June 8, 2009

Swim party yesterday!

Swim party yesterday for our kids' choir rap up for the year.

Thank you for singing in the choir! Hope to see you next time!

Parents if you want the pictures, click on 'view all images' and copy them onto your computer. =)

June 5, 2009

Mission trip to Africa!

I want to share with you a new blog! It is a temporary blog, written by a youth team from our church as they are in Mozambique Africa on a mission trip! Six young people, 2 high school students and 4 college students, who have been training and preparing for this for a year. We have a missionary couple (family) from our church who is there housing, feeding and guiding them. I wish they had a blog. I will have to put that in their ear.

The youth (or joven in Portugese) are there to teach about God's plan for purity. They are teaching the True Love Waits curriculum and also sharing personal testimonies of what God has done and is teaching them in their own lives. And they are also doing some sports evangelism with soccer games with the Mozambique kids and showing the Jesus video in several small villages there. A lot of commitments to purity as well as salvations have happened in their short time there.

Please be in prayer for the time they have left there and see what a great time they are having here: Jovens in Mozambique.

Up please

Our 25th wedding anniversary was this past Monday. We decided to go to a movie and dinner and shipped off the kids to various places. After a little haggling over what to see, we decided on Up. All I can say is GO. It is such a cute movie, so different than what I expected. The first third or fourth of the movie is a very poignant look at a couple as they go through life together. Bring tissues, the story is played out quickly but so well done that you feel as if it could have been partly your story. It felt like that to me anyway. The first part lays a foundation for the story. Children may not 'get it' and be bored, but just tell them to wait and watch.

**spoiler**The rest of the movie is the adventure one spouse goes on, continuing his journey after his wife is gone. He goes on a very unexpected adventure, full of surprises that will have you laughing your heads off or rolling your eyes. But none of it is very predictable. I always appreciate a movie that is not full of predictable moments.

The end is uplifting (not meant to be a pun, but that is funny) and positive too. It's not goofy or predictable either.

It's just a really good, original story (a well organized and put together story), full of originality and character building moments.

May 30, 2009

....of fuzz and scissors

I began the process of trimming the dog the other day....several other days ago. It is such a tedious process with a pair of scissors and a wiggling dog (constantly turning around to get the elusive scissors away from me) that I have put off finishing the job. So for days she has been slinking around with only parts of herself trimmed. Today she got her bath and tonight I will finish the job with some electric clippers (now that I can get through the curly fuzz).

Half way through the process:

Click to see entire photo.

I would hide my face too!

May 29, 2009

Now listen up!

Someone is mimicking someone else. But let's not go there. It's just funny!

May 27, 2009

Sending jovens across the world

This email just in:

The kids are in Johannesburg and headed to bed. They leave early in the morning their time - 11:40 p.m. tonight (Wednesday) our time for Maputo, with a layover and then on to Quelimane. All are well!

Thanks for your prayers

In Mozambique, they speak Portugese. In Portugese, joven means youth.

Our church sent a mission team of 6 high school and college students off for a trip to Mozambique, Africa on Tuesday morning. It is a long, exhausting trip. Now they are in South Africa, sleeping. Tonight they head out on a smaller plane to Maputo, where the airport is full of scammers waiting to exploit anyone who will trust them and baggage handlers who will do the same! Pray that they will make it through to Quilemane safely and with all their luggage and things they are taking to the missionary family there. One of the big prayer needs of any foreign mission trip is safe traveling.

Once they get to Quilemane, Mozambique, they will be teaching the True Love Waits abstinence program and also doing sports evangelism for 2 1/2 weeks. I will give more reports later and let you in on their mission trip blog. Please pray!

May 23, 2009

This wild, crazy life

Well I had my little dose of adrenaline for the day and a few more gray hairs. It seems to be the daily thing now. We were visiting with Phil and Jackie in the hospital when I got a call and it was the border police on the US side. At first I was jolted, thinking Bethany had been in an accident or something had happened to her, so that was the first thing out of my mouth. "Is my daughter okay???" He said, "well she's crying but she's okay I guess." I was like, "Why? what happened?" Apparently he thought I knew. I couldn't stop shaking for over an hour. Here's the story....

She was pulled over while crossing the border on the way home from a mission trip to Naco, Mexico where they were visiting at an orphanage. The border police noticed that her truck had a stolen truck's license plate on it!! This is a common crime here. A thief will steal a car, then find a car that is a similar make and switch license plates with it. So you are driving around with a stolen plate and they are driving around scot free until you finally notice your license plate is different. So she's been there for a few hours. First she had to be cleared of suspicion, and now she is waiting to get a temporary license plate in order to drive home. Thankfully her college group is there waiting with them to escort them home again.

Life has just gotten this wild, crazy element to it lately that I am going to have to learn to deal with better. I feel like it takes years off my life each time something traumatic happens.

Hannah called today too and is doing well. She is liking living in a 'little cabin in the woods'. =)

May 22, 2009

My very long quick update


Hannah is in Alaska. She left me a long voicemail gushing about how beautiful it was, how cute the cabins are (where they are staying) and that she liked where she was going to work. The boss is very low key, hippie type of Christian. *dude* She is so in heaven.

Bethany gets home from her mission trip to Mexico tomorrow afternoon. She went on Spring Break with a college group to help work on dorms for an orphanage there and to play with the children. So this is a follow up trip just to focus on the children. She is in heaven loving on those kids.

Emma is finishing up her junior year. She's learning not to stress out about her end of the year schoolwork. Last year she was beside herself. Right now she is at a going away party for a Russian foreign exchange student who is in her second hour. And she herself leaves in a week for the summer. She is on a team of high school and college kids who will help and actually lead weeks of VBS at different churches and will also help at two different weeks of kids' camp. She will be in heaven too, starting a busy, exciting summer.

I'm so proud of my kids for serving like they do. Something definitely went right in that department!

Jobbish update....I've got to apply for unemployment next week. Weird feeling. These last days of school are just feeling weird too. Today during an assembly, our class was standing right behind the front row of folding chairs and a little girl in the middle of a row of 27 kids fainted and landed, throat first on the chair rung in front of her. It was a horrendous feeling, we could not get to her because the kids all swarmed around her. She started having convulsions while lying there, her throat still on the chair rung. Some adults got to her and she was swiftly taken to the nurse's office. She was okay when I had to leave her, but it was a traumatic experience for all of us. It's been a long day in general at the school with kids who were more wound up than was good for any of our mental states. I was so glad when Charles took Emma and Maggie golfing for 9 holes after school. I had some time to myself. So I trimmed the dog half way. LOL She looks funny, but it'll wait for a day until I can get to the rest of her. And now for the rest of the dog THREE.

Someone stop the world for a few minutes? I need to catch up!

May 15, 2009

Blessings on a bad 'carma' day

I feel more settled now after a major breakdown yesterday. Just work things that are plaguing my mind lately. I spent the afternoon and evening crying off and on yesterday but today I feel perfectly at peace about it. Whenever I think about it, I am honestly sure God is going to lead. If I'm to stay home or go back to some kind of job, He will help me know what to do and have a plan in it. So what is there to worry about? Of course who knows how tomorrow will be, but for today it's peace.

And a good day is not to be underestimated. It is a blessing.

This afternoon Hannah had major car issues on her way back from northern California, where she was checking out a Bible college. Something fell out of a truck in front of her on the interstate and she ran over it. Then she had to limp to Needles, CA to have someone assess the damage. So far the word is that it is just the oil pan that got damaged. The first place she stopped in Needles was trying to tell her it was the transmission! But she took it to another place and they looked and said oil pan. But they didn't have one in stock and could not order it until Monday.

Hannah leaves on a flight to Alaska (to work there for the summer) on Wednesday. (I know...this is a nail biter isn't it?) While Charles was busy trying to configure a plan to get someone to help him drive to Needles and bring Hannah's car back late in the week, I was getting that sinking feeling. We prayed, we ate dinner. Then the phone rang.

As it turned out, the girl who is traveling with her called her dad and it worked out that the girl's brother in law (married to Hannah's best friend) will come pick them up in Needles and bring some thingie that will tow the car back to Arizona, where we can get it looked at by people we know and trust. I love James! An angel with a car tow thingie!

So it's been a crazy 2 days and I am ready to hide away in my bed for a month.

The great thing is, God's given me peace now about the work least for today and I am into that. The daily emergencies and life issues we all face threaten to steal our peace, to sink us down into despair. But God gives us simple instructions about this.....

4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.