Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Break 2014

Today marked the end of Spring Break for our camp and I have to say I'm a tad bit bummed. 
I gotta tell ya, it has been so nice to have the extra time with my Fab 4.  We actually got two weeks for Spring Break this year. Can't I get a Whoop Whoop!!
I enjoy hanging out with my Fab 4 so much. Sometimes I wonder why I share them with the rest of the world, ever?  I suppose it wouldn't be healthy if I did keep them all to myself, like the mom in Tangled.
"Mother knows best listen to your Mumzy!" 
Ha ha, that song just popped into my head right now. 
Scurry. 
(Insert emoticon with a straight face and eyes wide open)
00
-
Before you go calling CPS know that I have in FACT, been sharing my kiddos and plan to continue sharing them, it's just sometimes when I look at them I think that mom in the Disney movie Tangled might have been on to something.
I digress.
For the first part of our Spring Break we traveled to Paradise, CA. where my Aunt Linda and Uncle Gene live.
The above pic was taken from their front porch. I haven't been there in years because it was a bit too far to travel from WA. but from NV it's only about a 3 hour drive and I plan on making it lots more in the future. It was a wonderful time with family and my eldest Spawn even did some recording with her band called 
In Between Simple.
If I knew how to share the songs here believe me, I would but alas... I am just not that tech savy.
I need to figure that out, because I am their biggest fan. 
Gotta promote ya know !
While I was there, I drank out of that mug up there.
It belongs to my Aunt Linda and it was my favorite mug in her cupboard because of the saying on it.
I prayed that prayer the entire time I was there and hope to pray it the rest of my life. 
"Lord help me to see thing through Your eyes!"
I really do wish it was possible to keep that perspective all the time.
So often I get caught up in things that don't really matter. 
Things that in comparison to eternity, the bigger picture, just won't even register on my radar.
Oh, to be always seeing things through the eyes of Jesus.
Speaking of seeing things through Jesus eyes, the tail end of our Spring Break I had the immense pleasure of taking my girls to a Joyce Meyer Conference in Sacramento.
(More on this later)

As long as I live on this planet there will never, ever be a better place for me than in the House of God with all His thousands of kids praising him. I love, love, love to hear the people of God come together and give glory to the King of Kings. 
There truly is nothing greater, except maybe seeing your children praise the King with all their hearts, souls, and minds.


I can't get over how my girls have grown and right before my eyes turned into two of my most favorite young women to hang out with. I love to hear how they think and what their dreams are.
My cup overflows with joy for the memories we were able to make over the past two weeks. 
And as they headed back out into the world today, I thought of how fast the time is flying by.
They only have 59 more days of this school year.
That's just nutts!! 
Why do I torture myself with thoughts like this. 
It's a snowball, one finished Spring Break turns into their Graduation which then turns into a Wedding Day, and so on and so forth.
When they all stepped out of the car this morning...
I might have shed a tear like the day when they first went off to Kindergarden. 
I'm not gonna lie, I think I did.
But, hey I warned you... I'm a sentimental heart.
I can't help myself. 
The important thing to remember is that I didn't lock them in a tower ;)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Letter To My 16 Year Old Self



As I look at the above photo of these beautiful young women whom I have known since they were  teeny tiny... I think about being 16 again.
I think about all the hopes and dreams that were in my heart at that stage in life and I wish I could have known some things that I know now.
So I'm going to write a letter to my 16 year old self in hopes that some young girls out there might benefit from what this almost 40 year old woman knows now. 




Dear Noël,

I would first just like to tell you that you are beautiful. You don't need to drink Slim Fast shakes to get skinny, and you don't need to be ashamed of your beauty or wear clothes to hide it. You are NOT fat!!
You and your mind, body, and soul are a gift. Your voice may be quiet, but it is being heard. People are paying attention to the life choices you are making. Without even saying a word you are making a difference. Don't grow tired or weary of doing what you know is right.
 
Your heart is sensitive and your prayers are building your future. God has you hidden right now that's why the cute boy down the hall that you have a crush on is not paying attention to you. But there will come a day when his head will turn and love will be awakened and you will see all these years that the Lover of your Soul has been perfecting that which you are concerned about. 

God has brought people into your life right now that will later become your family. Treasure them. Don't take their love and devotion for granted, and don't forget to tell them Thank You for being there for you.

Stop. Look. And pay attention to your Mom and Dad and your siblings that are still under one roof right now. This will not always be. Remember these are your life's BEST FRIENDS. Do the dishes for your mom, you have NO idea how much this will bless her. Thank your dad for working so hard to provide for his family, and thank him for all the countless times he picks you up and drops you off to work. Squeeze your brother Greg so hard with a Hug so big that he won't ever forget you LOVE him. Let your little sister Gina come in your room and do something fun with her so she too will remember that you LOVE her. 

As far as going off to college don't worry so much about how, and where you will go. These are things that are already figured out. Live in the NOW. Be in the moment and not so far off in the future that you forget what is really important. 

Those dates that you go on with Jesus, keep those up. HE loves these precious times with you, and you will not have as many opportunities to sneak away like that in your future. 

Have Fun, Be A Kid, and you should probably know that the moon doesn't just turn on. This will save you from some embarrassing moments ahead. 

It's all going to be O.K. 
You really can Trust in God for all of this and SO, so, so much more.

Your almost 40 year old self

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Furious ... Not Really

Open your mouth and taste,
open your eyes and see how good God is.
Blessed are you who run to him.

Worship God if you want the best;
worship opens doors to all his goodness.
Psalm 34:8-9

This morning I woke up literally with a song on my tongue.
I'm the kind of gal who always has a song in her heart, but to wake up and sing lyrics to a song first thing in the morning for me is really rare.

Let me tell you why;
I'm not a morning person.
I stumble out of bed most days around 6:30 and I don't really talk until I have slept walked to the coffee pot.

You can ask my 4 children.
In fact check out this conversation that I had the other day, between my oldest daughter Emma and myself.
 

I'm not sure you can see what that mug says, so let me give you a better picture of my disfunction in the morning.


Funny right?
Well, as Corky Ramono would say;
"It's funny cause it's true"

I'm not proud of this behavior in the morning and I don't think for a second that I can't change. 
Trust me,
I have tried as the years have passed by with my children to modify this behavior.
  I do think I'm better, still you would never call me a chipper dame in the morning.
Ya prolly wouldn't call me a chipper dame ever anyways, but I just thought that sounded cute.

But this morning was different.
I'm not sure what I did to wake up so happy?
Maybe something I ate last night, or something I didn't eat?
Maybe the time I went to bed?
Dunno, but I wish I could repeat the way I felt when I jumped out of bed this morning.
I wish every morning could be like this morning, with a song literally on my tongue.

Oh... do you want to know the words to the song I was singing?
"He lavishes his love upon us
He calls us now his sons and daughters
He's reaching out ...."

Better than my writing the words why don't you take a listen and tell me this song wouldn't make you a chipper dame or dude in the morning?


linked up here

Friday, March 21, 2014

Happy Friday

Hello there Beloved Reader, I hope you have all had a great week.
To say my week has been busy would be a very mild way of looking at it. 
I feel as though I should set up camp in my car and just sleep in there because then I would get more sleep.
Ah... Sleep... remember that wonderful state where you get to close your eyes and fly off to Neverland.
I miss that place.
I don't really have a topic to write about before I leave you for the weekend, but I wanted to share with you some of my favorite pictures that I've taken so far with my fancy pants camera that I got for Christmas.
The first two you see here were taken at a dairy farm in California that my Giant and I got to go to all the way back in January.
Can you believe oranges were growing in January?
Or wait maybe it was February... but still... that's amazing don't you think?
Well, I just couldn't get over how beautiful it was there and that oranges were growing in the middle of Jan/Feb? 
So of course, I had to document. 
I mean those oranges are picture worthy don'cha think?
I love taking pictures of nature.
Nature is one of my all time favorite things to document. 
Hands down, God is the greatest artist that ever was, is, and will be. 
FACT!
I mean look at that face. 
No other artist could even come close to making something as amazingly perfect as lil Max Dude.
Ugh.
He is just so darn cute. 
I wonder if he leaves my house thinking well, I finally get a break from that lady with a big black thing attached to her nose that flashes bright lights. 
I try to stop documenting his cuteness, but it's a challenge.
I'm not gonna lie. 
But then there's this lil one who has eye lashes for days!!
Taji Nell, or Peach as I like to call her.
I could get lost and never return from those eyes. 
Those eyes are the work of pure ART... I'm telling ya!
Swoon.
I think I could get lost here too.
I'm pretty sure these are walnut trees. 
I could live off of walnuts.
If I set out to make banana bread but don't have any walnuts I abort the mission.
No sense in trying to make something like banana bread without any walnuts.
That's just crazy talk.
Linking up here
Little by Little
 
AND here;

Friday Photo Journal

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Music is Music

I read this article the other day on one of my favorite websites Sojo.net . 
It was a little Q and A with Gungor ,
and I wanted to stand up in my living room and shout...
AMEN!!
Hallelujer!!
Go read it and check back with me. 
Ok are you back?
Gungor who has written one of my all time favorite songs (lyrically speaking) or what
some might call it a "worship" song said some pretty bad ass things in this article.
Oh, and
We will get back to why I put the word worship in air quotes. 
Yes I was doing air quotes just now, didn't you notice?
Also if you are new here, and don't like my cussing just know that I put a disclaimer in my "About ME" section.
Also, also I don't use air quotes that often, but I love me some explanation marks !!!!!!~!
So Gungor says,
"Christians are people. Music cannot be Christian or not Christian any more than it can be the color purple or not. 
Music is Music."
AND well I have to agree with my friend Gungor. 
 
This is a conversation that I have had many times over with friends and family, but mostly with my Giant. It's not a conversation that I would have with my non-church going friends cause they would just really think I'd completely gone off my rocker, but anyone who has been in evangelical church circles for a while or like ... since I was a teen knows this is a hot topic for me. 
I seriously remember a time of getting rid of all my "secular" music when I first became a Christ follower. 
I'm pretty sure that it was the trendy thing to do at the time and I don't regret it... well maybe that one album from George Michael (wink wink), but I do think now that it was a bit extreme. 
 
My Giant ... well he used to be a non- church goin friend. 
He loves to point out why we, by we I mean people who are Christians, like to make this distinction not only about "Secular" or "Christian Music" but why we call certain songs "Worship Songs" or even why we call the music time at church "Worship"? 
Have you ever asked these questions?
He says, that for him "Worship time" is his least favorite time at church.
He just doesn't connect to God in that way.
He can appreciate some of the lyrics, but worship songs are not his favorite.
He likes old hymns but the rest of it... He could leave it , NOT take it.
It took me a loooooooooong time to be okay with that, because I LOVE
LOVE
LOVE 
LOVE 
that time at church. 
I feel so close to God when I'm singing his praises, but that's because I'm a singer.
You already knew that didn't you?
But thank the Lord we are not all the same.
Different strokes for different folks. 
It's what makes the world go round.
Like my friend Gungor here.
I'm not really his friend you know?
I mean I think we could be friends cause I whole heartedly agreed with this article, but yea... ok moving on.
Well, I really loved what Gungor had to say about it, 
and 
It doesn't hurt that I really like Gungor.
His name is fun to say Gungor. 
Say it.. go ahead you know you want to.
Oh and while you are on your way out if you haven't heard Gungor's music here's a lil snippit of one of my favorite "worship" songs.
Ha ha ha ;)
Also, also there's a little giveaway I got to be a part of  to celebrate my friend Aleisha's 3rd year of blogging. It's  REAL... CASH MONEY going on here beloved reader...
Go check it out at 
britchesnboots.blogspot.com

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Spring is Sprung

Every year around this time I start to get so excited to see signs of Spring popping up all over. 
I sometimes feel like Buddy the Elf with my enthusiasm about Spring because all I need to see is the tiniest bit of color, a yellow something or other and I'm giddy.
My kids know after all these years that I'm going to be pointing and shouting like a mad woman until all of Spring has Sprung. I suppose there are worst things to be, other than overly enthusiastic about nature.
I know I have blogged several times over about my love of the seasons and how important I feel every season is.
I come by this way of thinking naturally as my heart is beyond sentimental.
And a sentimental heart can't help but LOVE the seasons of life and at the same time dread how fast they come and go.
Today however, I don't want to talk about my love for seasons.
 I want to talk about what I think Spring signifies not only in nature but somehow in my soul this year.
To truly enjoy Spring I feel, you have to embrace Winter in all it's darkness. There are dark shadows that brush across all of our lives and we have to fully accept those moments as part of this life. We have to grieve, retreat, and lay dormant for a while, in order that our hearts can heal.
Kind of like what the seed does under the snow.
But, often times we try to hurry up the winters in our lives. 
We don't do pain, darkness, uncomfortableness, and sorrow well.
It is a very beautiful day. The woman looks around and thinks: 'there cannot ever have been a spring more beautiful than this. I did not know until now that clouds could be like this. I did not know that the sky is the sea and that clouds are the souls of happy ships, sunk long ago. I did not know that the wind could be tender, like hands as they caress - what did I know - until now? Unika Zürn
Although, Winters in nature might seem like a time that nothing is really happening we all know that what happens during this season is just as important for the outcomes of the Spring and Summer to come into full bloom.
How we process the winters in our souls affects the outcomes of Spring in our hearts.

In a sense I feel like I have circled around a winter in my soul that has lasted longer than just one natural season.  I'm trying to process exactly what that very long winter accomplished, but I think it has something to do with contentment, forgiveness, and moving forward.
For a very long time I have been holding onto a promise that God gave me several years ago when financially we as a family had lost everything and we retreated to the woods of Washington.
To say we were on survival mode that first year would be an understatement, but by the second year we were starting to get the hang of living in an 800 sq ft cabin with only one bathroom and we were learning contentment. 
Somewhere in that second year God spoke something to my heart that I will never forget, and somehow all these years later I see with my very own eyes HIS promises coming true.
It is as though I'm experiencing Spring for the first time in a very long time.

And like the songbirds that wake us on a beautiful Spring morning, I just want to sing out ...
"Then sings my soul, 
My Savior God to thee
How Great thou art.
How Great thou art."
If today you find yourself still in the season of winter in your soul and it has been a long hard winter, with no sun in sight, please remember that HE who causes the Sun to rise and the Moon to glow(or reflect the suns light for you scientific types out there) 
HE IS FAITHFUL!!
"The soul should always stand ajar, 
ready to welcome the ecstatic experience."
Emily Dickinson

I hope your soul is ajar ready and waiting for the Spring to enter in.
The turning of the corner to the road that was never ending will turn.
The light at the end of the tunnel is there, it might seem dim but it's there.
 The ever approaching season of a Spring like no other that
 your heart and soul has ever known will come.
 
It is because of the Lord's mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness.Lamentations 3: 22-23

Wait for it.
Hope for it.
Believe in it.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Thoughts to Ponder


Happy Friday Beloved Reader!
I have a few thoughts for you to ponder this Friday morning, and it might just take you the whole weekend to read, and get back to me cause it's a long lil rant here. I do hope you enjoy my ponderings though, and please, please get back to me with your own ponderings or if you don't ponder at least leave a mark to let me know you were here. 
I like to hear what your thinking too ya know ;)

This whole blog started because I read the quote below;

"To appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others; 
to give one's self;
to leave the world a little better,
whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
to have played and laughed with enthusiasm, and sung with exultation;
to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived...
This is to have succeeded."
Ralph Waldo Emerson 


The above quote really got to me a few mornings ago. It was from the desk calendar full of quotes, that I have on our bathroom sink.
Upon reading it, I thought two things; 

a. this quote for sure needs to be blogged about, so I have had this blog post waiting in the wings.
and
2. who the heck is Ralph Waldo Emerson, because whoever he was/is this quote sums up and completely embodies the word success for me?

So I did some digging before I came to have this conversation with you beloved reader, and I found out some things about Ralph.
But, before I go any further I just have to say that the name Ralph always makes me think of a very unpleasant bodily function. I do so apologize if your name is Ralph, but there you have it.
 

Moving on before we all get a lil queasy ...

The first thing I found out about Ralph is that he was born in Boston, MA. which explains why he's so awesome. Most of my favorite people were born, and raised there and well, I can honestly say, that state has given this world some amazing people. I always say that I feel I was born on the wrong side of the states;)
Can we all just take a moment to appreciate the beautiful scene here from North Boston?
Remember, to appreciate beauty equates success. 
Or so Ralph says ;)


 
He also went to H A W VARD(say that with a Bostonian accent)
clue number two as to why this man was brilliant.
I wonder if he was a baseball fan? 
Well, he did say to play and laugh with enthusiasm equals success so I'm pretty sure he would have appreciated the best baseball fans on the planet earth.
They ARE certainly the most enthusiastic, I mean come on what other ball club do ya know that bust out singing Neil Diamond songs during the 7th inning stretch?
 
The most beautiful thing in Boston to me is...

Fenway Park. 
Enough said.

Actually, I take that back, the most beautiful thing in Boston to me is my family. All of whom I love dearly, and wish on a regular basis that they didn't live so damn far away.
Sheesh... see how easy it is for me to sidetrack when we get talking baseball.
But, let's get back to Ralphing shall we?
I mean to learning about Ralph.


So then I read that his first wife died after only two years of marriage, which really bummed me out for him. I mean I wasn't totally bummed cause he's dead too now... but ya know I was like... Oh that's so sad. I then went on to read that he was a minister, but was quoted as saying:
 
 "I have sometimes thought that, in order to be a good minister, it was necessary to leave the ministry."


Well, that really stuck out to me, because not only have my husband and I been in formal ministry but we have left it. And I'm not sure we are better ministers now that we aren't paid to do so, but I do know we have come think of ministry totally differently.I've come to believe we are all ministers, or at least we should be. I'm not sure I agree with this above statement, but I wonder what it was that he noticed about the church and ministry of his religious organization that would make him say that?

Maybe it was something like what happened here; You Brought Me a Beer and Took My Picture this is an article about a new bill that was recently passed where it allows business owners and individuals to refuse service to anyone on the grounds of religious freedom. Very interesting article and sadly, how it came to pass is so very disturbing to me.

Whatever your stance on this issue may be, can we all agree these are the type of stories that give religion a bad name. 
I'm pretty sure that as Christ followers we are called, commissioned even to love and accept ALL people, not just the ones that are easy and comfortable for us to love.

This issue is one of those social conditions we could redeem, or make a little bit better than the way we've found it. 
It's about LOVE people.




We are all called to leave the world a little bit better than the way we found it, that's what I call ministry to the human race.

As I continued to read about Ralph's life story, I was really inspired by the way he came to view it. 
Honestly, his life story is a beautiful one. He became an adamant spokes person to abolish slavery, and came to have an understanding of God and all things spiritual that I think is beautiful.

We all will have a life story, what will yours read like?

At the end of my little history lesson about this man named Ralph, who by the way later decided to go by his middle name Waldo (see even he didn't really care for his name) I realized once again why I love words so very much.

I would have never known of this Ralph Waldo Emerson if it weren't for the words he had spoken about what true success is.
And that made me wonder, what is your take on what true success is?
Whose words influence you the most?
What words will you speak that will forever change the world ?

The words I hope and pray I live by come from a man who also happened to be God, some 2000 years ago... they go something like this;

 “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”
Jesus WORDS
From the gospel of John
 chapter 13:34-35 
Message  translation

I want to be recognized as one who LOVES because Christ first loved me. 
I want to leave a legacy of LOVE even when it isn't easy to do so.
And I want to speak out using words only when necessary.
I want my actions of LOVE to be louder than my words. 
That is the life I hope to live and that to me would be success. 
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