8.31.2010

Emancipation...

That's the phrase Chele claimed for Steve's lay-off from Nike. And I like it. Set free. It's not even so much about being set free from something as it is set free for something. I know that sounds kinda weird - really it's both the same thing I guess. But being set free from something has you spending most of your energy thinking about that which has locked you and held you back and kept you from freedom... Setting free FOR something... that makes you focus on future, what's ahead, what can be, what's to be, what will be... it means new things, new places, new adventures, stretching wings, new perspectives, new realities... new life.

This isn't something that's "new" either. Life is full of times where things are just hunky-dorry and going great... and times when things get (or need) a little shaking up. I've been thinking about this a lot lately - for the obvious reasons (like Steve losing his job), but also in that I'm finding more and more that some things I assume or take for granted are just not the same anymore... take the concept of a relationship with Jesus.

Now, for those who are Christ-followers, you're in. For those of you who are not, you may think I'm nuts. Hang on...in both cases... let me explain. I do with all my heart believe that God's story is that of a redemption journey - one of bringing people to Him. He was literally in the garden of Eden with Adam and Eve... He created them (and us) and wants to be in relationship/community (friendship if you will) with them (and us). And over and over in the Bible, we see stories of God doing just that --- calling humanity back to Himself --- and giving us eternal "freedom" with Him. =) Smile. Sigh. Rest.

Now - for many when you say "relationship" - there is a bunch of baggage. There's a bunch of disappointment, negative emotion, expectation that's not met, brokenness... And if that's your picture of what a relationship is... and then you say something about a relationship with Jesus, it's no wonder people who are trying to think about Jesus are stopped in their tracks. If that's you... I don't blame you. Who would want to think about being in a "relationship" with Jesus? The last thing you want is something broken, unreliable, pain-ridden... Not all relationships are like that... there are some that have lasted a really long time and then split. There are some who say they're for a lifetime and end a month (or even a week) later. That picture of relationship can mar the whole concept of what God hopes for each of us...

I read a quote today that honestly has be kinda stuck... because I love it. Because it's easy to say things like, that's how it used to be...or that doesn't really work now... but... check this out... "Christ's community is a way of life that incarnates into and challenges any and every culture, in every time, in every place." J. Campbell (actually was quoted in a book I'm reading right now called Breaking the Missional Code by Ed Stetzer & David Putman.) Here's why I love the quote. It's true.

Having community with Jesus doesn't go out of style. Being in community Jesus doesn't go out of date. Living in community with Jesus doesn't expire. Jesus isn't old school. Jesus is always relevant, always consistent, always vital, always pertinent, always life-changing, always life-altering, always freeing. Being in community/relationship with Jesus isn't life in a cage watching the world go by... it's a freedom to fly understanding who you are and Who's you are. And that freedom is the same today as it was when Jesus walked among the earth... it's the same in the USA as it is in Germany, Russia, Botswana, Papau New Guinea and everywhere else on the planet...

"They" (whoever they are) say that the biggest needs people have are to be loved and accepted. Whether you see that as relationship or community... it's do-able. It can be real. I may know you well, or I may not know you at all... but Someone does. Community or relationship or friendship with God isn't dependent on where you live, what you do... or put another way... God's love for you isn't dependent on where you live, or what you do, or what you've done, or what job you have, or what clothes you where, or what country you reside or born in, or what family you're in, or what shows you watch, or what cage you're in. God loves you. Period. He does. You may or may not realize it...but He does. Sitting wherever you are right now --- He loves you.

community or relationship or friendship is a two-way street. It's a conscious commitment by at least 2... God is committed... and I don't know how that hits you today --- as something totally "new" --- or a sweet reminder --- but, I hope either way it makes you think a little... and be challenged or encouraged... and set free...


P.S. And Steve... I believe in you babe. I know we don't know what's next...but whatever it is... we're in it, together... you, and me, & our kiddos... and Jesus. What else could we possibly ask for?? I love you.

P.P.S.S. Steve is starting his 40 days of blogging in the a.m. So be sure to check it out too!!

8.30.2010

Dear Steve...

I love you.

8.29.2010

My hubs says...

I'm a little competitive. But not with everyone. There is this weird somewhat ferocious ugly side of me that comes out when friendly competition is at hand. Maybe it's because I'm no good at actually participating in sports (can't throw a football, take a shot, make a goal, throw a frisbee...), so I know I'm not going to win anything that way. I was a statistician for basketball in high school, scorekeeper for volleyball... (I did march in marching band, and while I lettered, many would say that isn't a sport - but it does take lots of coordination, etc. - don't knock marching band - I'll come after ya! And we did do pretty well at that...) But sports are just not my thing. And that's ok.

However - I LOVE to watch sports!! Not just oh that's on, but to watch!! With younger kids in the house, the number of football games I actually get to sit and watch is low, especially since east coast games start here at 10 am, right in the middle of church... And many days I opt to entertain them so Steve can watch... but I LOVE football!!! College and pro! I really enjoy college basketball!!! And anyone who knows me knows I LOVE LOVE hockey!!! Aaaahhhhhh - it's wonderful!

So about that competitive thing. My pseudo way of competing is through... FANTASY leagues. Yep - I'm one of them. I do fantasy football, fantasy March Madness, I did fantasy World Cup (and I also do Fantasy Survivor). Here's the part my hubs thinks is funny. I really talk some trash with a couple of co-fantasy players. OK, so maybe just one. It's Fowler. I don't know why or how or what but my whole goal for any fantasy season is just that Fowler won't win. Steve (my Steve) always tells me to take it easy, so I don't get fired. I told Fowler that one day, and he told me I'd get fired if I wasn't talking trash...

So, a few days ago, I rejoined for 2010, and again, my team name is Down With KFF (Fowler's team name is Kung Fu Fighters). Who knows what will happen this season. Over the last couple of years I've competed in all these leagues and finished in the top 3. There's pressure - that I put on myself to do well. Or maybe it's just that competitive edge... I don't know.

Either way --- Football is here!!! Survivor starts in 2 weeks!! I'm ready!!! Here's to friendly competition, a lot of laughter, few battle wounds...and a lot of fun with friends... (BTW --- I respect Fowler to the N-th degree! He rocks! Trina rocks! Their fam rocks!!)

Anyone else a fantasy league nut like me?? Are you competitive or complacent? Do you check stats all day, or just the next day when it's all posted?? Who's your quarterback??? I've got Peyton Manning --- that's a pretty good pick!! ;)

8.28.2010

An unexpected visitor...

So I was wondering what I was going to blog about today...
when God brought us a visitor...

Kaylee, Noah & I were in the back yard sitting in a circle playing Hot Potato (literally, potato - going around the circle - laughing and singing Phinneas and Ferb)... when I see something on the patio which is about, oh 5 feet from where we are sitting. Immediately I tell the kids to quickly get up and move to the back of the yard not running, but fast and quiet. They jumped up with no question...and after getting to the back of the yard they whispered, "What is that mom?" Well, it's a...

Yep. It's a skunk.
It waddled across the patio to the side of our house and then waddled back and forth along that side of the house for a while. Steve was upstairs trying to nap, when he finally slid the window open wondering what on earth was going on. Immediately he came down to check it out - and it was also the perfect time for me to run in to get the camera...

The kids knew that the skunk could spray 15 feet or more (thanks Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman on PBS), so we were for sure keeping more than that distance, and that wasn't a problem.

I tried Animal Control and Humane Society, but they didn't answer, and then from my phone found that no one in Salem does "free" wildlife removal. (I called the one suggested service and it was a $120 visit and $65/animal trapped.) So, hmmmm. We'll just watch and see what he does instead (we assumed it was a "he.") The neighbors across the street saw us watching so they came to join in the entertainment --- only to find that this little guy (or a relative) was at their parent's house (which is about 2 blocks away) just yesterday.

While we are watching and trying not to get "too" close, he was munching away on the remnants of a cheese stick wrapper.
Walking back and forth and back and forth kept us on our toes.
Steve would get adventurous and then conservative... it was tempting because this little guy literally had NO fear of people, daylight, noises, etc. While we wondered if he was a pet, the reality that he could be one of who knows how many was also dancing in our heads as well.
We're not sure what he was looking for. He truly walked the entire perimeter of our house - including the front yard and under the van and cars to around the sides...and of course he came from the far side when he started.
Then he checked out the back yard and the former tadpole pond and then back towards the front of the house again...
Then...he walked through the neighbor's yard, and around the corner where there was a street full of kids playing, so we passed on the info to the parents on the street, and more onlookers joined the club. One guy is determined to catch him. He was much bolder than we were... when our little friend went under the fence of our next door neighbors yard...

We came inside for dinner...got everything just about ready when Noah tells us our friend is back in our back yard... and I was able to get this... (video is coming...)



About 30 minutes later we saw the brave neighbor walking around the lots behind our house looking for our friend. He's convinced he's one of a family where mama is probably gone. He's also committed to trapping him...although I did see him once do a motion for swinging the little guy over his head by the tail and flinging him into more empty-to-be-developed lots another street away. Who knows? Here's what I know... for the next couple of days --- I'm checking outside very carefully before I head out...and I'm pretty sure the windows are staying CLOSED!!! So weird.

Have you ever had a close-encounter with wildlife at your house like this???


========================================================
P.S. Karston & Kynzi came over tonight for a little while too (no skunk in sight then...) and I couldn't help but snap these pics showing just one little difference between the boys and the girls. I love em all!!!

8.27.2010

8 Minutes...

I have 8 minutes until midnight and sure want this posted before the clock strikes twelve. OK, so I don't have a clock that will strike twelve, but it'll be midnight either way... Eight... Eight... Eight... Here we go.

EIGHT things I did today
  • 1) Slept until about 8 am... =)
  • 2) Had a fun Mama/Kaylee day
  • 3) Ate at PF Changs for lunch (mmmmm... lettuce wraps)
  • 4) Talked with my hubs about a phone call he got
  • 5) Played a crazy fun game in the backyard with Noah that included a plastic cup, 3 Coke cans, the blender pitcher and a potato
  • 6) Disappointed some people that I surely didn't want to disappoint...
  • 7) Turned the sprinkler off after we watered the backyard for about 3+ hours.
  • 8) Ate a Dove chocolate

EIGHT things I DIDN'T do today...
  • 1) Go to work
  • 2) Laundry
  • 3) Get gas for the van (I'm now on fumes)
  • 4) Any Homework...yet
  • 5) Make a real dinner (gotta love pizza leftovers)
  • 6) See Kaylee's new Nike shirt from her papa
  • 7) Dust... I really need to
  • 8) Finish this list...
Whew... one minute to spare... Hope today was a great day for you... What did you do?


8.26.2010

A little rant...

I'm borrowing one of Erik's words... I'm just wondering - why is it that in order to tale advantage of the best sales prices at a grocery or drug store you have to fill out an application and get a 'card.' really?? What ever happened to, and on sale today is...'??? And why is it they ask for so much on the app?? Name, address, birthday, gender... I know- they want to track my every move in their store. They already keep track of my purchases by my debit card number. Now this. Just so I can get the best deal. This is fresh on my mind today because I had to fill outa stinking app to get the B1G1 deal in ibuprofen today... But on the app they asked for my Mobile Phone Carrier. WHY?? I know you wanna send me text messages (I already said no thank you). In order to get a sales price you need to know that?? Do you want to know our cable provider? Type of computer and style of vehicle?? At what point is this gonna stop??? I long for a store that just wants to sell you quality stuff at an amazing price without having to scan my card every time I go through check out.

Sorry... I long to give you something positive or thoughtful... But this was what came to mind tonight... Question - how many frequent shopper style cards do you have???

P.S. 8/27/10 - went to a couple of different stores today -- 3 of them required a card --- I'm so close to boycott mode. Hmmm, I could be sticking with Target, Wal-Mart, etc. - Who else doesn't require a card these days??

8.25.2010

That reading thing... (Blog A today...)

As I've mentioned I've started two classes this week... and here are my textbooks for these classes. I've read a little over half of what I need to read for tonight - yeah, I know...read!!! -
... but I have to confess, just like when I was in high school it's hard to read what you "have" to read versus staring at what you want to read, which is sitting in a pile next to you as well...

Don't get me wrong...they're all good books to glean from...but I'm torn. Between the have-to's and the want-to's. And the have-to's I do want to, but I'd choose them on my own time and own terms... ya' know. Has anyone read any of them?? A favorite in that top pic?? Maybe it will inspire and spur me on. One is written by someone I follow on twitter...and I thoroughly enjoy it so far (that's the one I'm half done with...).

Anyway...school work is calling... (as is blog b...).

Blog B --- a sneak peek...


Today we had a long staff meeting --- and I have to say - I love them. I love the staff I'm a part of and I love our staff meetings. Today was more of a mini-retreat I think, and an "official" sneak peek into our new community center building, Broadway Commons, 1300 Broadway, Salem, OR 97301 --- Grand Opening September 11-12, 2010!!

Let's just say - the layout is amazing, the furniture is so comfy, the technology rocks, and the lives that I trust will be changed there are too many to count. From Life Center classes (English as a Second Language, finances, parenting, nutrition) to the Salem Free Medical Clinic to the Broadway Coffeehouse (serving Stumptown Coffee) to a special place for moms with young children to go and visit and let their kids play to big seating areas to enjoy conversations to a plaza with a cool fountain and amphitheater to classrooms and meeting rooms and a ballroom to be utilized by the community to the Upper Room (a prayer room with individual prayer closets as well as a general prayer area all open to anyone who enters to pray, leave prayer requests, meet with Him, etc.). I can't wait.

Now, it was a little funny watching some of our staff sit on the big comfy couches... do you see the humor here??

I don't want to give away too much, because I hope when any of you come to Grand Opening weekend that you'll be excited and welcomed by what you see and experience... and if you're legs don't quite reach the floor like in the pic above, feel free to curl up with your feet up on the couch and make yourself at home!!!

In addition to getting to browse the building for a while, we also watched a Bill Hybels presentation from Leadership Summit in 2000 (I think it was 2000). And then as I've been reading in Ed Stetzer's book, Breaking the Missional Code, the phrase came up again... the challenge to know and have the Father's heart. To so know God that you know His heart for people and are committed to them... It's a resonating theme I'm hearing over and over these days... it was similarly in Same Kind of Different As Me with the "Catch & Release" theory. And the only way to know the God's heart is to spend time with Him... And so...

Add this book to my favs list... my everyday must and want and need to read list... is it on yours??

8.24.2010

School's back...

So, summer break for me is officially over. This week I'm starting TWO classes for the next five weeks as part of my time with Crown College getting my bachelors degree. Oh, I only have 16 chapters to read over the next two days (HA!), but I am excited about these classes. They include journaling, interviews, a spiritual retreat (Upper Room here I come!!!), reading an author I've hoped to read for a while, meeting new people, focus unlike that I've utilized in the last 2 months, a little stress, a bit of chaos, and hopefully a lot of getting to know Him (and myself) better...

I know I'm a school overachiever. I don't take the easy road. (well, most of the time.) If I don't give it 125% I feel guilty beyond belief. I feel bad if and when I get an A like I could have done more. I hope that I'm able to keep my head above water during these classes. The texts seem intriguing (for the most part). The professors are already engaged, and I'm only in day 1.

Two weeks from today our kids are back in school. As I mentioned a few days ago, I'm not ready for that. I'm one of "those" moms that cries for the first couple of days of school. That's better than the first year I took Kaylee to kindergarten where I cried every day until January sometime... Noah? It only took me about 6 weeks to stop crying when I dropped him off to Mrs. Z's class. I get progressively better, but know that when they hit middle school I am sure I'll have that sinking feeling in my stomach...again. Surrendering my kiddos to others for such a huge chunk of the day is hard for me. It's not that I don't trust them...but He's entrusted me with them and I want nothing but the absolute best for them. As their advocate, gatekeeper, protector, mama hen... I long to be with them... I miss them when I'm not with them. They make me smile and laugh...and sure they cause a few aggravations too. But I without a doubt love them and am their biggest fan (ok...maybe tied with their dad and just below their Heavenly Dad...).

I know I'm gonna miss em... but I know I have school a fall kick-off to keep me occupied...so hopefully I won't be crying at church too hard...

8.23.2010

Cup-cake-palooza

Yesterday, inspired by Cupcake Wars, we embarked on Cup-cake-palooza. 4 kids. 7 adults. 144-ish cupcakes. 8 containers of frosting. Nerds. Swedish Fish. Jelly Rings. Fondant. Cool Mist.

Enough sugar to make a herd of elephants run wild...

Hannah and her turtle...

Grace and her cheeseburger...
Noah & his Despicable Me minyon & Gru
Kaylee & her rainbow beach...
Chele & her gluten free, soy free, egg free, dairy free yummy goodness!
Brian opted for sugar straight up...
Josh & his ice cream sundae... (nah...it's cupcakes...)
Bex & her face...
Gaters... come back soon!! Love ya' friend!
This is what it looks like after you've had too much sugar...

We need to set a date for next year... it was fun...
but I don't know that I'm still ready for any more sugar... =)

8.22.2010

The beginning of getting back to reality...

Today we experienced a fabulous church service...
We ate a great brunch at Cafe 22...
This afternoon we were a part of "Cupcakepalooza" - I'll blog about that later.
Tonight we ate Moe's (again) and then...
unfortunately gave Jennifer a ride to the airport to fly back to Atlanta.
What does that mean?
Summer is starting to wind down. Regular world is close to setting in.
Two classes start officially tomorrow.
School starts for the kids in two weeks.
Steve's job ends in a week.
Kick-off is around the corner (and I'm talking ministry kick-off for the school year, not football, although that's coming too).

Real World - not the MTV version - but the real life version is coming back. Fall brings a bit of chaos & structure. It means less flexible and at times more overwhelming. We have one more camping trip for our family - our personal family vacation this summer - yeah!

What I don't like?
The kids back in school (I like spending time with them)
My friends flying back across the country (I like spending time with them)
The weather getting cooler (oh sunshine & warm - hold on)
Having to get up earlier in the morning (duh...)

I don't think you ever escape the feeling that summer is restful, spontaneous, and vacation, and that fall means the end of the fun and the beginning of "real life." Phinneas and Ferb have it right - make the most of it... every day of it. I will NOT take for granted the days of summer that are ahead. Please don't do that either! Check of P&F and see what they do...


There's a longer version of this song...
I'll try to find it and post it...

Til then... make the most of every moment...

8.21.2010

Mission...

(This is kinda a continuation from yesterday. Well, the first part is.)

Today we had our annual leader training event - Ignite. This is our first leaders meeting of the year, where all student ministry leaders/volunteers come together for training, planning, and of course fun and food...and there was plenty of that!!

In our 2nd session, Brian spent time talking about mission - our mission statement. Part of that discussion included quoting mission statements of fortune 500 companies ... Like Facebook...

Facebook's mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. (in light of yesterday's post I thought that was very interesting... To give PEOPLE the power to share and make the WORLD more open and connected... But that's enough about facebook...)

Coca-cola's mission is: To refresh the world...To inspire moments of optimism and happiness...To create value and make a difference... Ahhhhhh. They've achieved that with me... Thanks Coke!!

Then we spent some time talking about the mission statement we have for student ministries. It frames all we do, yet we are, in the midst of everything, surrendered to Him to accomplish His purposes in his way and His time.

The statement says: we exist to reach, restore, raise up and release a generation of Christ-followers devoted to making disciples of all nations.

Pretty simple huh. Straight forward. Four R's. But what does that 'really' mean?

Reach: to tell students about Jesus, God's gift of unfailing love to us... And them hopefully coming to see their need to accept that love, forgiveness... It's sharing Christ with those who don't know Him.

Restore: let's face it - you don't get through life without bumps and bruises along the way - restore is the piece of becoming whole and healed through the difficult circumstances that come our way - some by person choice with consequence, and some that are completely out if our control but definitely influencing us negatively...and asking God to redeem this circumstances.

Raise up: the opportunities we have (both formal and informal) to be transformed into His image - learning more of Him and becoming Christ-like.

Release: releasing students and leaders to go make disciples at home, at school, in the community and in the rest of the world. It embraces serving others in His name... Seeing them step into action in sharing their faith in Christ.

Reach, restore, raise up, release... That's what our hearts cry is. I have to say I see an say this statement all the time. And honestly it continues to ground me into the why of what we do... And convinces me time and again how grateful I am to be called to ministry and that I'm available to be used by him and in any and way He sees fit.

You have the right at any time to ask about what we do student ministry wise and where it fits in the structure of reach, restore, raise up and release. When we all talk about events or programs, they are all down through the lens of these R's... it keeps us focused, purposed, and on track... I hope.

I'm honored to be amidst this group of leaders. I know He has assembled this team for this year. I love having a front row seat to see Him work in and through them all (and me) this next ministry year...

By the way...if you want more details about our day - check out Erik's blog with a summary of all of it...







- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

8.20.2010

Give me Heinz for my burger but not...


I'll say it. I'm a ketchup snob. I love Heinz Ketchup. All others are those longing to be ketchup. (Sorry.) But ok, ketchup lovers --- anyone else bothered by this picture?? See anything that just seems a little crazy...

I may be about to show my age...I may just be on a rant, but, well, here it goes. Here's my perspective - Social media should be about people and causes...not about products. Now I know I've clicked "like" for things like wanting a Chick-fil-A in Oregon --- that's a cause. I don't even know that I've clicked "like" Coca-Cola --- and if know me at all that says alot. I don't buy that social media should be used to promote a product. (I am sure I have friends right now that are about to jump out of their skin... hold on... hear me out!!)

I've always considered social media as an avenue for connection - community. While there are many arguments to be made on both sides about the validity of the connection or community, I can honestly with my heart say you get out of this what you put into it. If you want to be connected and in community and you are yourself --- whether in posts, blogs, pages whatever --- you can say you've been real and true here. I don't know exactly all the details about Facebook or MySpace being created, or even Twitter or blogging for that matter - but my perception (or maybe naive belief) is that it is about people - not stuff. People - ok. Organizations about people - ok. Causes - ok. But ketchup? Really?? Seriously?? Our culture has come to a place where anything and everything can be manipulated for the purpose of advertising and dollars. It's not about people anymore. I recognize and appreciate what social media ventures can bring to people and to favorite bands and to businesses... but we've made that swing... to something I don't think it was ever intended to be. I kinda liken it to MTV not playing music videos any more. If someone talks about not liking MTV - why is it? Because they don't play videos... it's lack of vision...focus... manipulating that which had a specific purpose and making it about something completely different. I'm not saying that there aren't times to evaluate and change direction...but becoming something you're not just for the sake of appealing to others, in my opinion, is a cop-out.

I admit it --- it may seem meaningless even to blog about it. It is probably in many eyes an inconsequential rant of ridiculous proportion. But I'm afraid that social media, social networking is a good thing that has started to go bad. Now, I'm not saying that from this day forward I'm bugging out of twitter, facebook, blogging. I like it. I like to twitter, blog, facebook... I like keeping up with friends & family. I like on occasion having a chat box open up with a "hey" from a friend on the other side of the world. I like putting ideas out there on the internet thinking maybe, just maybe, someone might read, or agree, or that someone may think about or seek answers to questions they have because of it. But now, the makers of Heinz and other "products" are taking over for their purposes. I'm even going to step on my own toes here --- I'm not even sure what I think about "like" for a tv show. And I've got a show or two I've clicked "like" for... But really... objects, products??? I don't get it. I don't understand. Even the obnoxious pop-up ads on the sides (which in many cases can be inappropriate too) can be frustrating. Facebook is always recreating itself - even today it said changes were coming on August 23rd...sigh - and making changes that people don't even really want to see. And in many cases, in my opinion, they haven't been the best changes overall... Likewise, I think it's good to make evaluations and improvements, but in the land of keep up, keep ahead, get farther up the ladder of "success" faster, we've come to a point where compromise seems like a much easier option than commitment.

You may see this as a jump, but I don't know that it is. Our world and culture is full of things that are a good thing gone bad. I already mentioned MTV (sorry - I just don't watch any more... it's all about anything but videos, right?) Even thinking about commercials - which are supposed to be about promoting a product - that's legit - but instead have become about promoting or invoking an emotion and tying a completely unrelated product to that. Um - no. (at what point is that considered manipulation???) Think about having self-confidence... that's a good thing. But take it to the level of being so confident that pride overtakes you and causes all sorts of other problems - not a good thing. It's a good thing gone bad. And there are plenty of other examples of this, but if I go down that road, this will be so much longer than it already is.

Long story short - I'm not going to unite with Heinz Ketchup lovers and make their fan page the one with the most "likes". I will go on Facebook to read up about and connect with friends and family. To get snippets of info to stay as much in the loop as I can. But I don't want that to be my only connection - anymore so than I would want to just be a fan of ketchup and never eat it on a burger. I know connection and community comes from real life interaction.

OK...this is for you Chel... let's be honest - even our technology has gotten us to the point where we can sit in a room with 2 to 4 to 10 other people and spend the entire time messing with Angry Birds or Hungry Sharks and not engaging in face-to-face conversation. iPhone - good with connecting with people and information... not so good when it interferes with real, legit face-to-face connection.

OK...I could go on and on and on and on. Like I said - maybe I'm completely off base, but I don't think I am. People, companies, churches, organizations, causes and yes, even products, need to look at their purpose, vision, mission and figure out why on earth they do what they do, and what these technological communities have to do with it... I know the world is changing every instant. But some things don't and shouldn't...and won't. I'm willing to embrace the time, but not sacrifice reality or common sense, or enter ludicrous alley a result. I'm done ranting now.

Here's my question - for Facebook, for Heinz, for me and for you. When's the last time you took a few minutes, an hour, a day, to look at all that is in your world - the things that you do, say, believe, participate in - and think about if they really honestly truly represent you, who you are, what you are, Who's you are? When was the last time you took an honest evaluation of the snapshot of your life right now and said - this - good. This other thing over here...a good thing gone bad. Maybe today is a good day for that...

8.19.2010

Some things you may not know about me...


1. I'm really just a kid... I love amusement park rides. This one is my favorite. I think you can tell because you continually hear me... it's a little embarassing...
video

2. I was drum major in high school...


3. I'm a sucker for a few "reality" shows...







4. I didn't text, twitter, blog, facebook, flip, skype, etc. all until the last 3 years...
wow...things are different.

5. I'm a cop magnet --- probably because I go to fast, forget to use my turn signals, and always find a way to park in a non-parking spot in downtown Salem...
I really am trying to be and do better in this department ---
but learning to drive in the ATL prepped me to succeed at messing up.


Today is "ask a question, get an answer" day.
You ask the question...I'll give you the most honest answer I can...


8.18.2010

Yet...


My new Christine Dente/Out of the Grey cd has me in a music flashback. No, I'm not talking the bad 80's music that I heard over the speakers at Red Robin today (sorry Red Robin, I mean really... Boy George!?? Yikes!) But in thinking through the music I love and pulling up old favs, I came across a song (I think I mentioned it in my post a few days ago). Just thinking of it made me tear. I wish there was a better link to it...there may be, but this is the best I can find. It is written and performed by Wes King - who is currently battling cancer and yet beginning to perform again. The song was never really that popular (as I remember...).

Steve and I heard the song for the first time at at concert that featured Out of the Grey, and then Wes King, then Phil Keaggy, then Wes, Phil & Scott (Dente) played together - amazing! When this song started, Steve and I just looked at each other, and in no time tears began to fall as we heard from someone else thoughts we'd had for a couple of years ourselves. I know the people sitting around us were totally confused by our tears...but without us saying a word, we knew exactly what Wes & his wife were experiencing...

We're on a different side of this journey now, but even with the gifts that have been entrusted and given to us, there are days when the feelings of this song are just as real as they were that day - maybe I'm hyper-sensitive...maybe He wants me to remember and never forget our kids are His gift to us. Either way, I haven't forgotten... And as we travel roads with others or even remember our own journey, this song hits home...

Wes King, We Thought You'd Be Here

We thought you'd be here by now
Your mother and I
We're praying through our tears that somehow
We might hear your sweet cry
Have we waited too long
It's getting harder to be strong
Is there something we've done wrong

But if you like dancing
I'll make it rain rhythm, and rhyme, and melodies, child
And if you like dreaming
Your mother will make your imagination run wild
Somehow, we thought you'd be here by now

We have a room just for you upstairs - It's right down the hall
So we'll be close should you ever get scared
We'll come when you call
It's a room full of stories
Waiting to be told
Longing to behold

And if you like laughing
I'll paint you a circus of smiles and ferris wheels, dear
And if you like living
Your mother will fly you to worlds both far and near

Somehow...

I never knew the silence could make me so deaf
I never knew that I could miss someone I've never met
Miss someone I haven't met...
YET...

We'll be waiting

P.S. Grateful for "Grooveshark" that let me link the song here...

8.17.2010

Last minute...

There is something fun and adventurous about taking a last minute trip. We don't do it often. I think it's harder to do when you have kiddos, but it's definitely fun. Our friend Jennifer is in town, and of course when people come to visit you want to take them to see things... all the while knowing that it's being together which is the blessing... In the midst of working and weekends and crazy kinds of schedules we realized (we, meaning, me, Chele & Jennifer) we had basically two options to do a day away, and only 1 would really work for Brian too...none would work for all of us... (meaning no Steve, boo hoo hoo...). So, after checking and looking and then taking a risk on the Travelocity Top Secret Hotel deal... we ended up in Bend, Oregon - someplace we had never been before (ok, this "we" is me and the kids and Jennifer...the Condellos had been there before).

I know that staying there a week wouldn't give us time to really enjoy all that is there --- and part of that I know has to be just sitting and resting too. We didn't do that, unless you call riding in the car or on a ski lift sitting and resting. We woke up Sunday morning and drove into Sisters, OR for lunch and cruised the shops there for a while, then made our way to our hotel. After a quick dip in the pool, we loaded up and headed off to Mt. Bachelor to ride the ski lift as far up as we could go (which unfortunately wasn't the tip top of the mountain, but it was still beautiful). After a little chaos we made our way back to the hotel to, of course, watch the Next Food Network Star finale (yeah!!! Arti won!!). The next morning we were up and out and off to the Newberry Crater area to see waterfalls and the Lava Flow area with this bizarre mix of pumice and obsidian all flowed together. While there we saw a bald eagle flying around (which was AMAZING!!) and somehow we always end up having a little chipmunk scurry around us somewhere too... We come down from the crater area and head to the High Desert Museum and realize that while we wanted to do it, the cost was a little out of whack for the short amount of time we had left in the day. Then...we head to the parking lot and realize that I had locked my keys in the van...in the ignition. Classic. (Somethings never change - I've been really good at locking my keys in the car ever since I got my driver's license...). Thanks to the Condellos for having AAA we got back into the vehicles and basically headed to dinner and then back home. A whirlwind trip...but so cool.

I took 300+ pics in that short 36 hours... Here's a few glimpses...

Mt. Bachelor...
Me & the kids up on Mt. Bachelor...
The view from the ski lift...

Me and my girl, Mt. Bachelor...

On top of the lava flows at Newberry Crater...

A cool tree at the water falls...

The cool falls...that I unfortunately don't know the name of but will find out...

Me & my girl at one of the scenic outlooks...
Sisters, Broken Top, Mt. Bachelor in the background...

One of the views on the drive home...

I don't think I could ever grow tired of seeing what God has created here on Earth. His creation is amazing... I love mountains and scenic views... I love sharing that with friends and family (although I really really really like doing it with Steve and was sad he wasn't able to be with us this time...). God thanks for the gift of sun and clouds and sky and trees and mountains...and of each day... You are amazing...

8.16.2010

Half...


Do you see a glass as half empty or half full??

Did you know there is a town called Halfway, Oregon??
Actually they changed their name to Half.com...
(too bad they didn't get the website to match it)


If something is half done, it can either be a daunting task or a relief, a joy or a disappointment... Today is day 21 of this 40 days of blogging...wait, maybe it's 22... I've lost count. Either way...I'm passed the half-way mark. There are days that I've wondered what on earth I'm gonna write, and others when I've purposefully had to cut myself short because it was way to long before I had half my thought down on the screen...

Back to the beginning... do you see things as half empty or half full? Do you look at things as joys or disappointments? Not that there aren't both, but I think that many times our perspective and attitude about things have everything to do with how we respond to them, and the ways we don't just "get through" life but really purposefully choose to embrace it and run with it, or let it pass us by because of worry, embarassment, discouragement, etc. I long to live my life with optimism, hope, passion, and seeing things as half-full.

Romans 15:13 says "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

There are days when that is easier than others...there are days that are amazing...and there are days that are hard. But those amazing take me well past half-full to overflowing, then those days that are harder are the ones, that I sink down to half-full...and not half empty, aren't nearly as hard as they could be. Are you feeling half-full these days?? then maybe, just maybe, ok probably, this next day needs to be one that you honestly trust Him, spend some time talking to Him...and asking Him to fill you to overflowing with Him --- there is hope, rest, peace, contentment, joy, optimism, and passion there... (and in the half-full days too)...

So... half-way through this 40 day journey... grateful, challenged, encouraged, ready for lots, lots more... and grateful for His hope on each of my days...

8.15.2010

I've never...

So vacation continues. Well, this summer had been more about 2 days away kinds of vacations instead of the staying gone for a week kind of vacation. When you hit the road you never know exactly what's ahead for you...

There's those memorable moments of things you've been waiting to do and finally get to... Or the unexpected things that you experience out of nowhere...



I've seen a riding lawn mower ridden on the road before... But never seen it parallel parked on the side of the road... Random.

I've never seen motorcyclists riding in a single lane of traffic passing cars by riding the the oncoming 2-lane traffic - honestly... I was scared twice that I wad going to hit one of them...

I've never seen Mt. Bachelor or Sisters like I did today. I have seen them before on a ski trip, but they look different and more majestic I think when they are not blurred by snow covering everything in site...

I've never texted across the room in a hotel with the hopes that my kiddos would fall asleep while the 'grownups' just want to stay up talking...

I've never liked the days I don't get to spend with my hubs (even though I'm having fun, it'd be funner with him with us...)

It was a good day... Withs ups and downs. For sure theres things I would do exactly the same, and things I would TOTALLY say and do differently. I guess that's not so unexpected... That's pretty much the same every day huh??

I guess I could say I've never had a day where I haven't wanted a do over of some sort. I don't mean that bad, but just in a recognizing I totally know there are things I could do different every day... Things I could and should do better...

I know what my thing is I want to do better tomorrow... Do you??




8.14.2010

Giddy...

So, I picked up a box at church tonight. I know...it's my day off - what am I doing checking my mailbox?? I can't help it. I walk by - I look in it. Tonight...I'm so glad I did.
I am just now enjoying what I found there...
For a long time I've had a favorite music group. They are actually a married couple - Scott & Christine Dente, who have a group/duo called Out of the Grey. Steve and I discovered them back close to when we first got married. You could say we were groupies in the early days. Their first cd came out in June 1991 - and I was nearly obsessed. I played it all the time. If they were playing in town - we were there. Churches, Six Flags - you name it...we went. Early favorite songs - He is Not Silent and The Deep. Still favs. I got every cd they issued. They are incredibly talented musicians ... and I just love their music. I love Christine's voice. I love their artistry. Scott played for a while with Phil Keaggy and Wes King - incredible 3 guitar show... (oh...that's where we heard that Wes King song for the first time... I'll have to blog about that a different day --- teary now just thinking about it...). They are both musicians who love Christ and honor Him with the gifts He has given them...and share that with us. I can't count the number of days, times, moments when I've just blasted their songs --- my co-workers at Providence probably were so sick of the song Disappear - I think it's fab!!

So, a few weeks ago, I was listening to Out of the Grey a lot and started a little looking and stumbled upon christinedente.net and read about a new album release... Voyage. Yep. The one in the picture. That was what was in my box today --- with a personal note, from Christine saying "Thank you for investing in us and our music! Christine." Handwritten. Then she and Scott signed my cd. I know, it may seem like not a big deal...but to me it is. I've met them a couple of times. They don't know me from the next person on the street... but I am and have been grateful for their ministry to me through their music and I'm convinced this new cd is nothing less... the songs are based on a book of Puritan prayers and I can't wait to dive in... and yes, I'll be adding the book to my reading list too. Anyway --- check out christinedente.net or Out of the Grey on iTunes or on YouTube or Facebook or wherever. I'm a fan.

8.13.2010

A beautiful day...


We were supposed to go to the pool with friends...and then one of those rogue fevers takes out a sweet little girl...(Not mine, hers...hope you're feeling better soon Mia...). Plan C. Head to the coast...

It's a rare day that you get to sit on the beach area in Lincoln City without a jacket, but today was one of those days... a little cool to start with, but then the sunshine took over and it was GREAT!!! UNTIL... Chele tells me to stay still because there's a bug on me. (I'm laying down on a beach towel soaking up the sunshine of course...). I can tell that she's standing next to me when she says, "Oh, it's a spider..." and then I went nuts... squealed, flipped over, shook all over... it was the highlight of the day for the girls...

The highlight for me... chillin' with friends, watching the girls play in the water, seeing my lil' and big man fishing and crabbing off the pier not to far away... all with the sunshine keeping me warm on the sand. I loved it.

P.S. - after we were all back home tonight, the kids got cleaned up and heard me mention the meteor shower...so we all went and sat on the back porch looking up at the sky for about 30 minutes or so. Kaylee saw her first meteors --- and was so excited. Noah...didn't, and was a bit disappointed... We'll try again for sure.
 

©2009 Until... | by TNB