Monday, June 30, 2008

healing love

Heather of Not A DIY Life hosts More of HIM Monday. It's a wonderful way of sharing where God is working in your life and encouraging one another in our walks.

I consider myself a person who is willing to learn from others. I believe that's the way God teaches me things. I just wasn't expecting it by reading two blog posts today from two people who are near and dear to me... my daughter and my brother.

I don't want to try to tell you the messages these two posts are conveying. I would much rather you read them yourself. I think it would be worth your time. (And if you feel so inclined, leave them a comment with your thoughts.)

In A Summer of Healing, Danielle writes; I love how the Lord gives you what you need in exactly the right amounts. Lately, I've been learning to believe God, instead of just merely believing in Him. He has shown me so much this summer.... read more.

My brother, Steve, writes in his post, Steal and Kill and Destroy; When the devil bites he does damage. But we must never forget that the bite of the devil is healed by the love of Jesus Christ... read more.

What I'm hearing God telling me is that there are things in my life that He can heal - if I only let Him. That He wants us to live a life full of joy, but we don't let ourselves experience that in full if we hold on to past hurts. That His love is so deep, so vast, and so powerful. And that I, a 48 year old, can learn from my younger brother and 20 year old daughter. How awesome is that?

Friday, June 27, 2008

tell me i'm not the only one

I know I may be judged for this, but I do try very hard to paint an accurate picture of who I am and what my life looks like. I am a reality TV fan. There... I said it. Judge me if you wish.

Not all reality TV, because we all know there are some crazy and stupid reality shows out there. But there are some good shows out there. I personally find some value in reality TV. I am an observer of people - of mankind. I find great interest in how people evolve and how they interact with others. That's what most reality TV is all about; how people interact with each other. I find it utterly fascinating.

Anyways, that's just my preface to what I really wanted to say. I just got done watching this week's episode of The Bachelorette. I can't believe I'm watching this show [we'll blame it on my daughter] because I loathe The Bachelor. But The Bachelorette is so different.

When it's The Bachelor, it's one guy with 25 girls who will do just about anything for the attention of the guy. It's not a pretty picture - or TV show in this case. But with The Bachelorette, you have one gal who's serious about finding a guy. She shows her emotions and she honestly cares about each guy, making it very hard to let one (or more) go each week.

This last episode had me in tears - literally. I cried three separate times. If a show can make me cry, it's worth my time. I have really enjoyed the show and the process it chronicles.

So here's my Aloha Friday question:

Do you watch any reality TV?
And if so, what is your favorite?

And just for the record, my favorite is still Survivor. The first true reality TV show.

Kailani hosts Aloha Friday each and every week. For more fun questions to answer, hop on over to her place.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

happy 18th

Yesterday was Jake's birthday. I think he had a nice day. Here's how it went.

Hollee (his girlfriend) came over at 9:15 to wake him up. I have no picture of this, but I sure wish I did. Jake's not such a pretty boy when he first wakes up (who among us is?). And from personal experience, he's usually a little grumpy.

After he gets up and gets himself ready, he made his way downstairs where his mother promptly wishes him a happy birthday.

He and Hollee decide it's time to go and start their fun-filled day.

I know they ate lunch at Wendy's, went putt-putt golfing (where Jake got three holes-in-one), went to the mall, and went to Hollee's house to open his boatload of presents (he got more from her than he did from us)... but I don't have any photographic proof of any of this because the two of them felt no need to take any pictures.

They made their way back to our house around 6:00 because they were hungry and they knew they were getting a free dinner. The birthday boy chose Old Chicago. He opened his presents from us before we headed out.

After dinner we went bowling. We all looked very fashionable in our bowling shoes.

And look at the form of that bowler. You would think her scores would better reflect her near perfect approach to the lane. Now that I look at the form, maybe that's why her scores were so bad =)

But Jake and Hollee look happy. They obviously had better scores.

I have to interject a funny story here...
To show how little Don knew about bowling, it wasn't until we started the second game that he inquired how the scoring went since he was throwing spares and strikes and the numbers just weren't adding up. He was astounded when it was explained to him. How can a person who never bowls and knows nothing about the scoring do so darn good?

As we returned home, we were delighted to watch the lightning show from a large storm going through. Once we turned the corner to our house, we saw a very sad sight. Our little tree in the front yard had snapped and was laying on the ground. We figured either the strong wind from the storm did the damage or someone hooked a rope to the tree and their car and drove across our yard and driveway until it snapped. Probably the first.

We then went inside and brought out the cake I made earlier. Yes, I stick all my professional looking cakes in a plastic container and slap a price tag on it... they taste better that way. We sang happy birthday very quickly because by the time we lit all those cute little candles, half of them had melted into puddles of wax on the cake. I'd suggest not using these candles.

The night ended with Jake and Hollee working on a jigsaw puzzle. They've been doing a lot of puzzles lately. One night they stayed up until 3:00 in the morning because they wanted to finish it - quote, unquote. Ah, to be young again.

As I type this, they have abandoned the puzzle and are snuggling and watching the Late, Late Show. I think all the birthday fun of the day tuckered out my little... um, I mean... big boy out.

Happy birthday my dear, grown-up son. I hope you had a wonderful day. And thank you for 18 wonderful years.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

do you like pine nuts?

In my constant search for a healthy snack food, I thought I would try to create one. It was easy. The ingredients were pine nuts, pulp from my favorite grape tomatoes, and a dash of garlic. I mixed up those three ingredients and then threw them in the skillet just to brown them. I even took a few pictures (just showing two here) and felt like all those cooking bloggers out there =)

It didn't take long at all. And before I knew it, I had handfuls of pine nuts to snack on. There was only one problem...

...they tasted terrible!
Seriously. I threw the whole batch in the trash.

and I just have one more thing to add to this post...

Happy Birthday Jake!
He turns 18 today!

Monday, June 23, 2008

a new pledge of allegiance

My mom sent this to me in an email.
I thought it was important enought to pass on.

Since the Pledge of Allegiance
The Lord's Prayer
are not allowed in most
public schools anymore because the word 'God' is mentioned...
A 15 year old kid in Arizona wrote the following:

Now I sit me down in school
Where praying is against the rule
For this great nation under God
Finds mention of Him very odd.

If Scripture now the class recites,
It violates the Bill of Rights.
And anytime my head I bow
Becomes a Federal matter now.

Our hair can be purple, orange or green,
That's no offense; it's a freedom scene.
The law is specific, the law is precise.
Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice.

For praying in a public hall
Might offend someone with no faith at all.
In silence alone we must meditate,
God's name is prohibited by the state.

We're allowed to cuss and dress like freaks,
And pierce our noses, tongues and cheeks.
They've outlawed guns, but FIRST the Bible.
To quote the Good Book makes me liable.
We can elect a pregnant Senior Queen,
And the 'unwed daddy,' our Senior King.
It's 'inappropriate' to teach right from wrong,
We're taught that such 'judgments' do not belong.

We can get our condoms and birth controls,
Study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles.
But the Ten Commandments are not allowed,
No word of God must reach this crowd.

It's scary here I must confess,
When chaos reigns the school's a mess.
So, Lord, this silent plea I make:
Should I be shot; My soul please take!

link of the day:
(thanks Kailani)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

a simple woman's daybook

for today...

Outside my window... are signs that it's going to be a beautiful day. The neighbor across the greenbelt is sitting on his deck in his robe, as he does many mornings.

I am thinking... of what I should try to get accomplished today. Also trying to think of a game to play tomorrow with the youth group. It's our weekly struggle.

I am thankful for... being home. Last week at this time I was trying to navigate my way through the California freeway system.

From the kitchen... my cereal bowl was just added to the growing pile of dishes. My cue to unload and load the dishwasher. There's also a completed jigsaw puzzle on my kitchen table that's not usually there.

I am creating... another blog, or at least I'm thinking about it. It would be for a parenting ministry at my church.

I am going... to try to create a new snack food today. It involves pine nuts, tomatoes, and garlic.

I am wearing... pajamas.

I am reading... Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. I also picked up a new book last night that comes highly recommended; Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations. I might try reading this at the same time.

I am hoping... for a round of thunderstorms this afternoon.

I am hearing... the TV show Take Home Handyman and my dog barking in the backyard. He's probably barking at the neighbor in his robe.

Around the house... it is the normal Saturday morning routine; I am on my computer while watching the home improvement shows on TLC, Jake is still sleeping, Don is sitting in his chair with his headphones on, and dust bunnies are multiplying.

One of my favorite things... is Saturday mornings.

A few plans for the rest of the week... the main event of the week is Jake's birthday and plans need to be made to make it a special day for him.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

This format comes from Peggy at The Simple Woman.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

smiling on the outside

In case the video isn't streaming correctly, you may also view it here on YouTube.

If you haven't already watched the above video, I encourage you to do so. It conveys my feelings better than I can.

My blogging friend Nancy, of More Than Enough, posted this video along with some very personal feelings she experienced during a very hard time in her life (post here). It reminded me of when I experienced some of the same feelings she described.

There was a time when I felt as though I was in an emotional vacuum. I was dealing with heartache and grief and it was getting the best of me. During that time, I felt like I was sleepwalking - just going through the motions of everyday life. I remember going to church one Sunday morning and after the service, standing amongst 100 or so people, I had to smile and make small talk all the while feeling so empty and alone. I just wanted to hide in some corner and cry, but that is not what was expected from me at the time and in that place.

As I stood there, with the smile plastered on my face, I looked around at the other people, who were also smiling and making small talk. I found myself wondering how many of them might be feeling the same way I was. How many of them were dealing with something painful? What struggles were they experiencing but didn't let any of it show? How many tormented souls put on the "I'm okay" mask so the rest of the world doesn't know how broken they really are?

I had never seen or thought about other people in this way before. Later, when my own heart was healed, I realized God had given me a gift. He gave me an insight and I believe He's asked me not to just look at a person from what I can see on the outside, but what might be going on on the inside.

And from my experience, when we start looking inside instead of strictly the outside, we come to learn more about ourselves and realize that we all need to be ministered to.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

silly dog


Wordless Wednesday here and here

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

home sweet home

Well, I'm home. Yes, home sweet home. I missed my family and dog and it feels good to be back in my own house and sleeping in my own bed.

I will miss...

-> my family out there. It was so wonderful to be able to spend quality time with just about every member of my family as well as Don's mom. I will cherish each and every moment.
-> time spent by myself. It was a nice little break for me. I think everyone needs to do something like that every once in a while.
-> Marie Calendar's fresh strawberry pie. Yum!
-> The beach. Oh yes, I will definitely be missing the beach.

I won't miss...

-> The $4.69 (cheapest) I spent per gallon for gas. It's still under $4.00 here in Denver.
-> Driving the freeways.
-> The sheer volume of people everywhere I went.
-> Sleeping in a different bed (or couch) every night.
-> Living out of a suitcase.
-> Eating out for almost every meal. Believe me, it does get old.
-> Being surrounded by Lakers fans during the playoffs where the Lakers are playing.

Oh yes, it's good to be home.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

adios and good riddance

I used to live here. I used to hop on these freeways on a regular basis. I used to know my way around southern California like it was the back of my hand. Not any more.

I drove from Seal Beach (where my mom lives) to San Bernardino (where my brother lives) this last weekend. This is how it went...

I took the 405 to the 55 to the 5 to the 57 - made sure I didn't end up on the 60 because I did that already a couple of days ago and was almost late to the graduation - to the 210 on into San Bernardino. All the while, I was driving next to rude, inconsiderate drivers, through the brown haze, watching the amber alerts flash overhead, and listening to K-Earth on the radio with Charlie Tuna, a disk jockey that I listened to back when I lived here. The tunes of the 70's was the only thing that kept me sane during my drive because I just kept singing away as a distraction to everything else.

The southern California freeway system is just one big tangled up maze of concrete, signs, and cars. And there must be over 50 freeways in just this area of California. It's crazy. Last year when we were out here, we complained about how much time we spent in our car because we were always in traffic on a freeway. This year it was just me driving and I found no joy in maneuvering my way through the maze.

I had a wonderful time out here in California and loved visiting my family and places of my youth. But I'm more than ecstatic to be going back home... to my husband, kids, dog, home, my own bed, and only four - count them, 4! - major freeways.

Friday, June 13, 2008

back in the hood

I'm having a great time in California. It's been fun to visit - not only family, but places that hold so many memories for me. It never ceases to amaze me how hard nostalgia can hit me as I travel through old neighborhoods, eat at favorite eateries, and take in the sights, sounds, and smells of my youth.

Some times I'm hit so hard, I have to stop and try to hold it all in. Actually, I'm having a hard time articulating how it feels. I can only say it's an overwhelming wave of emotions. At times, my eyes sting with tears and my heart is so full I'm not sure I can contain it all. I guess this is the way it should be. Memories hold a strong place in our lives so we can remember who we are and how we got to where we are now.

So I'll make this into an Aloha Friday. My question is:

Where do you look forward to going when you go back to visit some place you used to live?

Be sure to visit Kailani who hosts Aloha Friday where all you have to do is ask a simple question in hopes that others will answer it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

recommended reading

You'll never be able to guess what happened on my flight into California yesterday. Go ahead, just try. Can't.... okay, I'll just tell you =)

I finished the book I've been reading f.o.r.e.v.e.r. It's amazing how much reading I can get done with 2 1/2 hours of uninterrupted time. The book (I know you're tired of seeing it on my sidebar) was Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult.

I think I mentioned it months ago how hard this book was for me to get through. It's about a teenage boy who, after being bullied for years, goes into his high school and carries out a Columbine-type massacre. I could only read short bits at a time because I found myself in tears with a broken heart.

Of course the school shooting hit a little too close to home, but it was more of how the writer shows us what life was like for this boy. Not only his high school days, but starting at his kindergarten year, how he was misunderstood, bullied, and felt alone and hopeless. As a youth worker, I see this more than I want to, and I see the effects it has on a child. Thankfully, it doesn't lead all kids to going out and exacting revenge, but it does have long term effects.

I recommend this book not only for the readers out there, but all parents. It gives you some insight into the world of a teenager. It also shows us how our words and actions towards our children - as innocent and well-intentioned they are - may not be what they need to hear, how they can actually do harm.

We need to be aware of what our children are dealing with. We need to know how to help them through trying times. We need to help them become strong individuals who know they are loved and can handle everything that is set before them. We need to know what path our children are on before they go down a dangerous one so far that they can't find their way back.

..."Ask a random kid today if she wants to be popular and she'll tell you no, even if the truth is that if she was in a desert dying of thirst and had the choice between a glass of water and instant popularity, she'd probably choose the latter. See, you can't admit to wanting it, because that makes you less cool. To be truly popular, it has to look like it's something you are, when in reality, it's what you make yourself.
...I wonder if anyone works any harder at anything than kids do at being popular. I mean, even air-traffic controllers and the president of the United States take vacations, but look at your average high school student, and you'll see someone who's putting in time twenty-four hours a day, for the entire length of the school year.
...So how do you crack that inner sanctum? Well, here's the catch: it's not up to you. What's important is what everyone else thinks of how you dress, what you eat for lunch, what shows you TiVo, what music is on your iPod.
...I've always sort of wondered, though: If everyone else's opinion is what matters, then do you ever really have one of your own?"
............~quoted from the book, taken from one of the character's journal.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

genuine crisis

Forget that gas prices have gone over $4.00 a gallon.
Forget that the country is at an all time high for homes in foreclosure.
Forget that the unemployment rate continues to rise.
And forget about global warming.

The real problem our country (or at least this part of the country)
is facing is....

The halt in selling and usage of raw tomatoes!

There is a problem in many states where tomatoes have been linked with salmonella (read full story here). Our grocery stores have taken them off the shelves. Our restaurants won't serve them in salads or on sandwiches. Evidently, if they are cooked, they're okay - so Italian restaurants and pizza joints are still in business. But even the McDonalds, Burger King, and the likes have taken away any and all tomatoes.

I'll be honest, this is a real crisis in my life. I love tomatoes! And I have a real hard time eating any sandwich without them. What about salads - it has to have the tomatoes in them (contrary to what my family thinks). And guess what... no salsa! This problem needs to be fixed - and quickly.


For those who didn't read yesterday's post; I was nominated for nicest personality in the 2008 Bloggy Hoss Awards. If you would like to vote for the many excellent blogs and bloggers, you may do so by going here.

link of the day:
(thanks Melissa)

Monday, June 9, 2008

shocked, honored, and gone....

I had a bit of shock last night. I was over at Kailani's place, An Island Life, to read her latest posts, and found her 2008 Bloggy Hoss Awards. She has ten separate categories with many blogs nominated in each. As I was scanning through them, seeing if there was anyone I knew personally - in a bloggy way, I saw my name. I had to take a double take, and then I stared at it to make sure my failing eyesight was seeing what my brain was telling me it saw.

Someone out there nominated me for "nicest personality." Whoever you are... thank you so much. I am greatly honored. I feel like a little fish swimming with the big guys. There are so many good blogs and amazing bloggers out there. I feel like a winner just having my name next to the other nominees. And to me, being nominated for "nicest personality" is the biggest compliment I could ever receive.

If you feel so inclined, you can go here to cast a vote. You have to use her contact form (found at the top of the page) to let her know who you're voting for since the voting boxes have a glitch. You can vote for one blog/blogger in each category until June 12th.

On another note... I know not much blog visiting gets done on weekends, but Susan, of Penless Writer, has started a conversation on being authentic and vulnerable in which I posted [over the weekend] my thoughts on the subject. I think this is a subject worth reflecting on and sharing thoughts and ideas. I encourage you to scroll down to my previous post and visit Susan as she continues the conversation.

And one last note... tomorrow I leave for California for a week. The main reason is to attend my niece's graduation, but since that's where all my family lives, I'll also be doing a lot of visiting. I'll be traveling alone and am really looking forward to my time out there. I may not be around as much during the next week but I'm sure I'll find time here and there to write a post or two.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

being authentic leads to vulnerability

My blogging friend, Susan, of Penless Writer, wrote a great post a couple of days ago on being authentic and vulnerable. I encourage you to go read this post to not only hear her views but to get the basis of my thoughts. I was commenting back to her and the more I wrote, the more it became apparent that I needed to put this in my own post. Here's are my thoughts:

I agree whole heartily with Susan when she writes: In thinking about being authentic I believe the main reason so many people aren't, both in real flesh and blood life and blogland, is the fear of the second word....being vulnerable. It's very true, if you are truly genuine and real, no false fronts, no phoniness, you will make yourself vulnerable.

In my more recent years, I have worked hard at being authentic. It's not always easy. It means that I have to show a part of myself that I don't want to admit to or shed light on. I believe we are all broken, but many times, I don't want to admit that. Some times I have a hard time admitting that to myself. Once I can be honest with myself, I still have to make the decision to be honest and open about my brokenness with others.

Maybe the harder aspect to being authentic is the ugliness that lies in each of us. God created us special and unique, but we live in a fallen world and therefore, sin lives within us. Even though I know I'm flawed, and that everyone else is, too, I have a hard time admitting to that. I don't want people to think of me as being perfect, but neither do I want them to think of me as someone who doesn't have their act together or struggles with something specific.

I guess that's what this all boils down to... judgement. I don't think any of us wants to be judged in any aspect of our lives. By being vulnerable, we put ourselves in that position. Why would we intentionally do this to ourselves? For me, I needed to see or feel the positive effects, instead of looking at it in a negative light.

I've realized that the older I get, the more I needed to be authentic and the more I worked at it, the easier it has become [and I'm still working at it]. I'm sure it's partially because I am more in touch with who I really am and who I really want to be. I think that comes naturally with age, but it does require some soul searching and commitment. For me, one of the rewards is the freedom from hiding behind one of the many masks I've carried with me my whole life.

One last thing... I want people to feel like they can be authentic with me. How can I expect this if I'm not willing to be authentic with them? This applies to all people, but became very real while working with teenagers. I think they have some innate sense of when an adult isn't being real with them. And how could I expect them to be real with me if I wasn't doing the same for them?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

thursday thirteen

I have never participated in Thursday Thirteen because I have a hard time coming up with a list of thirteen for anything. But I could probably think of more than thirteen for this one. So, here's what I love about the summer...

1. Sitting outside on my deck... enjoying the weather, and the sights and sounds around me.
2. Driving around with my sunroof open.
3. While dining out, being able to eat outside.
4. The evenings. No matter how hot the day is, it always cools down in the evenings and they're beautiful.
5. Thunderstorms!
6. Taking walks.
7. Flowers everywhere.
8. Fresh fruit.
9. Summer movies.
10. Vacation!
11. Bar-B-Q's
12. Going to the pool.
13. Not having to wake up at any certain time because of no school schedules.

Thursday Thirteen Headquarters

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

out with the old, in with the new

Good Bye....


ABC Wednesday

T is for Toyota. Both of these cars are Toyotas. I loved my Sequoia, but we no longer needed a multi pasenger vehicle. And with the way the price of gas keeps rising, it made sense to go smaller. The new car is a RAV4 and it's so fun to drive. I can't say enough about Toyotas. They make quality vehicles and I don't know if we'll ever buy anything else.


Wordless Wednesday here and here
(of course... when I add ABC Wednesday, it really isn't wordless, is it?)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Prince Caspian

I went to see the newest Chronicles of Narnia movie, Prince Caspian, this past weekend. First off, let me just say that it felt a little weird seeing it without my kids. I guess I need to get used to seeing movies with just Don.

Actually, both of my kids had seen the movie with their friends and highly recommended it. So when Don suggested going to the movies on Saturday night, there really wasn't any movie I would have rather seen. (I'm holding on to hope that somehow my family can see the Indiana Jones movie together.)

I have to be honest... I didn't like the sequel as much as I did the first movie. I think it was mostly because I loved the first one. I had never read the books, so the first movie was original and full of Biblical parallels as well as a fun and interesting story line. In my opinion, Prince Caspian just didn't have the same stuff. Not as many Biblical references and too many battle scenes.

I wouldn't say don't go see it. I've heard a lot of people say they loved it. I had my expectations up too high and, for me, it didn't reach the bar I had set for it. If you've seen it, I'd love to hear your thoughts, or after you see it, come back and leave me a comment.

link of the day:
(thanks Christy)

Monday, June 2, 2008


What is prayer? It's simply a conversation with God.

I'm always a little amazed and saddened by people who think they can't pray - or don't know how to pray. I'm sure there are different reasons for thinking this way. I can see why some might think they have to recite lengthy and wordy prayers. After all, that's the way prayers are spoken in church. But in actuality, God would much rather hear you just talk to Him.

He doesn't care about flowery speeches. He doesn't want to hear anything rote. He wants to know what's on your heart, your words of praise and thanksgiving, your concerns and petitions - all as if you were sitting next to him and simply talking to Him as a friend.

One of the methods we use with the kids in our youth group is telling them to just say one sentence (during open prayer time). We tell them, "how hard is it to say one sentence?," like, "help my grandma feel better" or "thank you for the beautiful day." Once they start and see how easy it is, you almost can't stop them. There's nothing that makes my heart smile more than hearing a group of teenagers pray in this manner.

I understand how scary it can be to pray in a larger group. I once felt that way, too. But we shouldn't be praying for others and their opinions. We should only be concerned with God's opinion and communicating our heart to Him. That shouldn't be something we're fearful of doing, but something we look forward to.

The other aspect of prayer is the other side of the conversation - the listening. God wants the conversation to be two sided, not one. But that's another post, as well as how often we should pray. Just know that praying doesn't have to be hard, or scary, or even laborious. It's a gift that we're given to be able to personally converse with our creator and almighty God. Give it a try.

And speaking of prayer, a fellow blogger, Penless Writer, has started a 24/7 prayer group here in the bloggy world. I, along with other bloggers, am committed to praying each day for prayer requests that are shared. If you ever would like someone to pray for you or someone you know, you can click on the Hearts In 1 Accord graphic on my side bar and it will take you to the email address you can use to email your request. If you would like to join the group of pray-ers, you can use the same email address.

Be sure to visit Heather, of Not A DIY Life, for all today's participants.