Friday, November 27, 2009

It's big and shiny... is tradition in our family, Black Friday is a day to avoid the stores and put up the Christmas decorations! We put on the Christmas music, light the Christmas candles and make a big mess! We got the tree up and made decent progress on the rest...but hubby's shoulder was hurting and he had to take several breaks. During one of those breaks he perused the Black Friday ads. And he saw IT. The deal he couldn't pass up. The Christmas present that had been offered by his folks for our family...

A new TV.

See, we are (were) one of those families with the old school super deep box TVs--the HDless, Blue-Rayless, small-screened ugly type. We've had it forever, and it's saving grace was that it was hid away in a media cabinet whenever we weren't watching. Cause, in my humble opinion, TVs are U.G.L.Y. However, hubby had been hearing the siren's call of a flat screen TV for a while. I had many objections...but did finally acknowledge that it was getting hard to see/read things on the TV since everything seems to be made for the large TVs they assume we all have. And I stink at MarioKart on the Wii...cause I can hardly see the road in front of me. :o)

So I gave in. And it was announced pretty early on in my generous in-laws visit with us that if we wanted one, it would be our gift. And now we have a big (by my standards) TV. And a small room. And an awkward corner to put it in. And a cute piece of furniture from Target shoved back in that corner for it to sit on.

And hubby is putting it all together right now. I KNOW I'll enjoy it. We all will. And I'll get used to the way it looks. I'll get used to the fact that it is right out in the open--no cabinet to hide all of it's media-ness.

But all I can think right that it is BIG and SHINY. Two things our home isn't. I seriously want to weather its shiny base with a brillo pad.

Think that would fly? :o)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thankful Thanksgiving.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

My family. My job. My contour pillow. Forgiveness. Pickle's big smile. Bubba's freckles. Hubby's sense of humor. The kids at church. Diet Coke over ice. Having more than enough. My rice bag. Laughing. Our new pastor starting next week. Blogland. My son in heaven. My heated mattress pad. Jesus! Phase Ten. Our Bible Study on Covenant. My doggie. My hubby's job. Music that stirs my soul. The DVR. Our church family. Praying parents. The gift of faith. The Groupies. My sissies. Hope. Knowing I'm Loved.

These are just SOME of the reasons I'm thankful.

Oh. And for THIS!

Thanks to Melinda at Coming Clean: Confessions of an Imperfect Parent who has graciously awarded me with her Blog Award! Who...little ol' me? Thanks so much! Melinda writes a fun, insightful blog--where she helps us feel some company in our imperfect-ness. I have had fun following her blog--make sure to check it out!

Happy Thanksgiving all!

little kindnesses

The little kindnesses add up.

Today I am unwrapping the gift of my husband's care for me and kindness to me. He is a servant-hearted person by nature. Yet, life is full and busy and he gets tired. His job is stressful. It makes him REALLY tired. And I imagine (I know!) it takes that much more effort to be a servant.

Yet, most nights he scoops me some ice cream and brings it to our bedroom for me to eat before bed. He does lots of dropping kids off and picking kids up. He helps with the cleaning. And much, much more. It's love.
in South Dakota in 2008

We don't have a perfect marriage. I think it has to do with both of us being imperfect people...hmmm. But we have put some work in over the years, and we love each other with the kind of love and acceptance that is forged during trials.

Hawaii 2009

Last night, when Pickle and I returned from shopping around 6 pm, hubby was already looking pretty sleepy on the couch. He asked what was up for the night and I told him I still needed to go to Target to get juice for Bubba's class in the morning (why did I leave it until the night before???). I thought he might like to come, so he could check out a piece of furniture I had spotted there. He thought that sounded good...

Then--he fell asleep. Out cold. It was 6:30. Too early to go to bed (unless you are my friend Carly's kids who go to bed at that time every night!). So, at 8:00 I woke him up. I had just finished reading Bubba a story and he was getting ready for bed. After Bubba hit the sack, it was time for me to head out to target.

To my delight and surprise, hubby dragged his tired body out the door and drove me to Target. And shopped with me for way more than juice. After he had basically been asleep for the night. They say a good man is hard to find, but God gave me one. His kindness and care is a gift to unwrap for sure.

I'm sharing this with Emily at Chatting at the Sky--where each Tuesday we celebrate the everyday, messy, imperfect blessings in our lives.

Friday, November 20, 2009

slow down, you move too fast...

Dear Mr. Time,

I have a bone to pick with you. You move WAY too fast for my liking. Granted, there are instances where I'd like you to fly by--when I am sick, when I'm at the dentist, when I'm actually watching SoYouThinkYouCanDance or the Biggest Loser live--and the commercials are getting in the way of me finding out what happened... But mostly...I want you to hold up. S.L.O.W. D.O.W.N. for heaven's sakes!

Since I'm pretty sure it's impossible at some molecular level for you to slow down--can you at least, Mr. Time, install some sort of pause button? I have one on my DVR...and I can hit it whenever I need the show to wait for me. I would love a pause button for you, Time.

There would be so many helpful uses for a pause button. I would hit pause when I need to do just a bit more cleaning before company arrives. I would hit pause when I would like a little more time with my kiddos before their bedtime arrives. I would hit pause when I could do a much better job on something if the deadline wasn't so close...

Today, Mr. Time, I would hit pause for various reasons:

* We would be able to fit more visiting in with my in-laws before they leave in a few weeks.
* I would get my Christmas shopping done now, so I could enjoy the season without running around.
* I would sit for long whiles and ponder the presentation I need to do on Mary in church. I would read all the books and info I could get my hands on and really do the topic justice. 23 days away and I've barely started!
* I would hit pause so I could pick up Bubba in one direction, pick up Pickle in another, and pick up Patch from the groomer. All done at the same time today...yikes!
* I would compose wonderful blog posts and crochet lots of chemo caps.
* I would get the busy-stuff out of the way, so I could be more of the nurturer at home I want to be.
* I would make opportunities for our family to reflect on being grateful during this season of Thanksgiving...without feeling pressure to rush ahead to all of the Christmas stuff.
* I would get the house straightened before bedtime comes so I don't have to choose between sleeping and neatness.

More importantly, I would definitely hit pause right now so I could enjoy who each of my kids are at this point in their lives...before they grow and change once again. They keep doing that, Time, and I think it's your fault! I want to have a moment to emotionally take in the tall, delightful (not a kid anymore) young lady Pickle has become. I want more time to enjoy 9 year old jokes and hugs and imagination from Bubba.

Please. A pause button. Please.

But I must realize that you, Time, are not in control. You might limit me sometimes, but there is One bigger than you. So, into Him I lean my heart. It is He whom I trust in the midst of this life it only seems you are in charge of. I remember this:

"My times are in Your hands..." Psalm 31:15 NIV

So, Mr. Time, I guess I will just have to settle for a few extra weekends between now and Christmas...what do you say?

PS. Linking up with The Company Girls for our weekly catch up...

Monday, November 16, 2009

unwrapping perspective

Not long ago, a friend called my attention to a short article written by John Stumbo, a pastor who attended our church for a season. It was about life-shaping metaphors--mental pictures that can motivate or immobilize us. Some mental pictures do not inspire or motivate us, but actually drain our energy.

Hmmm. I knew I needed to think about this. Drained of energy sounded familiar. What mental images are shaping my life?

Trying my best to be honest with myself, I discovered I was viewing my role at home as a task-master. With a family that copes with ADD, busyness, and recessive slob-genes--on my good days I am focusing on staying on task and keeping the rest of us on task as well. When I let up--everyone seems to, and chaos ensues. We have a family manual (seriously. think what you want, you are probably right.) that has checklists of daily routines in it. A morning, afternoon and bedtime routine for each of us. Whether we like them or not, they really help us--we all acknowledge it. Also in the manual are our "Super Saturday Jobs" we each do over the weekend to pitch in on the general chores of keeping a home. Again, my job is to make sure noone "forgets" to do their part. A task-master.

Bubba tackling a Saturday job

And being brutally honest, not just any task master--but one whose unstated goal was to get everyone (including myself) doing their thing efficiently, so that more time would be left for me to pursue my own interests. Not really who I hope to be as a wife and mom.

So, what is a more empowering mental picture for my role in my family? Hmmm. Who do I really want to be, what do I see as my role particularly as a mom? The word that came to mind is nurturer. I want to nurture my family...encourage, support, and challenge them. Ensure they have nutritious meals, clean clothes and a good night's sleep most of the time. I want to nurture my kids to become faithful, thoughtful, considerate, relatively-disciplined individuals who are armed with all they need to affect the world in the name of Christ. I don't want them to be crippled by hyper-criticism in the name of "teaching", nor do I want them to be coddled to the point of becoming entitled and lazy. Where is that balance? Nurture.

Nurture is defined as:
–verb (used with object) feed and protect: to nurture one's offspring. support and encourage, as during the period of training or development; foster: to nurture promising musicians. bring up; train; educate.
4.rearing, upbringing, training, education, or the like.
5.development: the nurture of young artists.
6.something that nourishes; nourishment; food.


Yes, Nurture(r) is the right word. It contains both support and challenge. It's a much more positive way to view myself in my role. When I picture myself as a nurturer...I picture myself training, not enforcing; discussing more and commanding less; and giving lots of hugs and praise and care.

You might be thinking...who cares how you view yourself, it's how you act that affects others. You're right, but I find that changing my mental picture of my role results in acting accordingly. I'm more patient, more encouraging, less cranky and focused on my family instead of myself. And I find I read more with Bubba and giggle more with Pickle...among other things. :0) When I find myself slipping back into the selfish task-master is a pretty good indication that all is not right in my inner world. Time to slow down, reflect and refocus.

Because I can't nurture them if I don't allow myself to be nurtured by the One who nurtures me.

What mental picture is behind what you do? I'd love to hear your insight...

Friday, November 13, 2009

the first Christmas gift I'm buying

Ready or not, the Christmas season is on it's way. Every year I think I want to get my gift shopping done I can enjoy the season. In the midst of all the selections of gifts to choose from I don't think about this:

It's true and it is NOT OK.

4500 kids die everyday from water related illnesses. Mamas are burying their children because they couldn't provide them the basic necessity of clean water.

Unfortunately I know the pain of losing a child. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. Aidan's death couldn't be prevented. If there was something anyone could do to save Aidan's life, they would have done it.

However, these deaths CAN be prevented and YOU can do something.

So, today, November 13 let this be your first gift.

Ten dollars.

Ten dollars will provide one person in Africa with clean water for 10 years.


Before you head out to the mall or toy store, consider this as your first gift of Christmas. It could very well be the best $10 you spend this holiday season. Spread the word.

Click here to be taken to the secure donation site. 100% of your donation will go to provide clean water. Click here to learn more about the First Gift campaign. Clink here to learn about the orgnization charity:water.

distracto-girl, that's me

Thanks for all the birthday wishes last week--I had a wonderful birthday weekend. You can read some highlights here. On then on Tuesday, hubby and I went to Denver for an overnight and to see Wicked. What a fun show--enjoyed every single minute of it!

Today, I am finding that distractions abound. For one...Lifeway is broadcasting from their woman's leadership conference here. I stumbled on it (thanks Rachel Anne!) and have already listened to Priscilla Shirer give a powerful talk and some chitter chatter from Travis Cottrell--love him. I turned it off for a while now...cause I am recognizing I could watch it all day!

ANYHOO--as I said, I'm distracto-girl today. I know why. I haven't had my diet coke yet! No, that's not the whole reason. The real reason is that I plan to spend a chunk of my day working on (read here: starting) a talk I am giving at church. I need your prayers! I am actually going to be giving the "sermon" (we don't call it a sermon cause we don't really do the women-preaching thing at our church but don't know what else to call it heehee) on December 13! In the first person. As Mary. I will likely regret saying yes at several points along the way...but I think God has told me a theme...and so here I go. Did I say I need your prayers?

I have spoken before. I have done drama before. It's still a bit (actually quite a bit) scary...and will have NO impact apart from God speaking through please pray!

I need to run and focus...have a great weekend!

Linking up with the Company Girls at Home Sanctuary--my friday chat with bloggie friends.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I do miss the little hands in mine. I miss the innocent mispronunciations of a little one who has so much to say. I miss getting completely soaked by bubbly splashing as I bathe a wiggly one. I even miss detangling windblown hair, and braiding and pony-tailing and ribboning.


But today I give three cheers for independence! At 13 and 9, my kiddos get up in the morning and get themselves ready for school. They have their own alarm clocks, shower on their own, they (almost always) choose their own clothes, brush their teeth, even make their own lunches most of the time!

I could be sad they don't need me to dress and wash them anymore. I choose to be thankful that they are appropriately learning to take care of themselves.

They still need me for plenty. Homework, meals, late night chats, snuggles, encouragement, advice and prayers. And so much more.

And every now and then a little help taming some wayward hair in the morning.

Linking up today with Emily at Chatting at the Sky and the weekly Tuesdays Unwrapped celebration.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday, Monday

Monday, you are here.

You follow Weekend. You follow Birthday Weekend. You follow Terrific Birthday Weekend.

Weekend brought me:

wBeautiful weather. Good to be outside weather.
wFriday lunch out at California Pizza Kitchen with my two moms...SO yummy and fun.
wFriday afternoon shopping in the afternoon with my mom-in-law.
wFriday night Groupies--my turn to tell my "story". Always good to reflect on God's faithfulness.
wBubba's last soccer game of the season--he had a BIG fan club. He played well and they won!

Bubba's fan club (minus me-the photographer)

wBubba's birthday party with his friends Saturday afternoon--crazyness! But it wasn't at our house and I didn't have to do much. He had a run-around-nuts good time.

Bubba's birthday party friends

wSaturday night cell phone shopping--birthday present from the fam. Got a great deal on a Samsung Rogue and I love it!
wSunday morning church. Love watching those kiddos enjoying learning about our God.
wSunday evening family celebration for Bubba and me. Yummy chinese food and wonderful gifts! (Pretty excited that my brother-in-law is going to redesign my blog as a gift to me!)

Weekend, you really came through for me.

So, Monday.
Here we are, Monday.
You bring me lots to do.
You bring me excitement about going away with hubby overnight tomorrow--can't wait! But that means more needs to be accomplished today.
You bring me board reports and meetings and projects that need attention at work.
You bring me laundry that is embarrassingly piled up after a weekend of not-touching-it.
You bring me a bedroom and bathroom that need cleaning before Nana and PopPop stay here in our room tomorrow.
You bring me details to work out.
You bring me Bible study homework.
You bring me a big knot in my yarn skein for my crocheting projects that I don't know how to remedy.
You bring me the realization that I'm likely too late for a seasonal flu shot.
You bring me the regular daily.

Monday, not to worry. I don't come to you empty-handed. I bring to you a heart of thanksgiving. I'm blessed. I'm loved. I bring to you confidence that all that is supposed to get done, will...and what doesn't, doesn't. I bring to you a refreshed person ready to hit it hard, with a getaway just a day away. I bring to you a heart of joy knowing that my life is full of good things. And it doesn't hurt that I'll be wearing a new sweater and carrying a nifty new phone.

It's OK, Monday. You and me--we're good.

Friday, November 6, 2009


I'm 43 today. How did this happen??? Seriously. I mean I'm still wondering what I'll be like when I grow up! As I've said before, I feel much younger on the inside than I look on the outside. :0)

I woke up to this birthday present from God.

this is the view from my bedroom window this morning

That's not all I woke up to. I usually write some birthday love on the bathroom mirrors on my family's birthdays. Today I found some birthday wishes on mine! Pickle had written, "Happy ??rd Birthday, Mom!" complete with many, many hearts. I love how she used question marks with the "rd". Just to be sure I knew she knew my age. Cracked me up.

My birthday is a Friday this year! Friday is my day off from work. I'm going shopping with my mother-in-law who is visiting from FL, and my mom is joining us for lunch. This afternoon I'm hanging with Bubba preparing for his birthday bash tomorrow...and then the groupies are coming over tonight. Next week hubby is taking me to Denver to stay overnight and see Wicked! I've been wanting to see that for a long time...

Oh yeah, and it's going to be 75 degrees today in Colorado. Gotta love that!

Seems like a great birthday to me! I hope my birthday is a great day for you too! :0)

Linking up with the Company Girls today over at Home Sanctuary. Hi girls!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

different than I expected...

Are there parts of your daily life that have turned out differently than you expected?

Today I'm unwrapping the gift of one of these unexpected and new differences in our life. On Tuesdays, I join with Emily at Chatting at the Sky to notice and celebrate the unexpected, lovely and messy blessings in our lives as part of Tuesdays Unwrapped.

I never, ever thought that our kids would be in Christian School.

Educational choices are one of those family choices that there are as many opinions and value judgements as there are parents. We can perhaps even judge others based on their choices, and it can be divisive. Homeschooling, public school, private school, christian school, charter school--yikes! Let me be clear here. This is NOT a post about the values of any particular educational choice--cause they all have their pros and cons...and I'm NOT trying to open a debate on the issues. Each family needs to do what they feel is best for their kids.

All I'm saying is that I never thought about Christian schools for my kids. I have been more of a let-them-see-differences-and-process-them-with-us-at-home type. I have also been a my-kids-can-learn-to-be-a-light-in-darkness type. So my kids were enrolled in our public school system which happens to be excellent. And they have had great experiences there.

But, you know, God has a way of shaking things up. He helps us trust Him more this way. Last year when hubby was out of work for a while...God very obviously provided a wonderful job. He became the Business Manager at our city's largest Christian school. We knew this job was for him--it would give him a chance to use his gifts and talents and education to bless this school. And he has. It has been a hard job--especially in this economy--to keep their financial head above water. But He is making a difference there. I'm proud of him.

However, part of the deal of being on staff there, and particularly in upper administration--is that our kids attend. A great perk of working there is free tuition. It's a wonderful benefit.

But wait! Screeeeeeech! Hold the presses! I thought our family was called to public school! God, what are you doing?? I wrestled with this for a while, and eventually realized that a lot of what I was concerned with was fear. Name it, Dawn. I was afraid. Afraid of what people would assume about us if our kids attended there. Afraid that our kids' experience there would make them take their faith for granted. Afraid that it is some sort of spiritual cop-out to allow our kids to be in a Christian environment all the time. etc. etc. All fear. Maybe pride too. Yeah, probably pride too. Yuch.

God asked me if I trusted Him. Yes Lord, I do. Do you trust Me to work everything together for Big G good in your life and your kids' lives? Yes, I do. Then let it go. The fear, the pride. I have provided this job and this community for your family. Embrace the gift it is. So today and everyday, I am. Bubba started there this fall and Pickle will start High School there next year. If this is where God has led our kids, then it is the best place for them. God knows them better than me.

And I have to tell you--it's been WON.DER.FUL. Bubba is in such a nurturing environment. He is thriving there. He is excited about connecting his faith to his everyday learning. He is loved. Even though it is still weird to me that there is a Bible in his desk, and part of his homework is to read and learn scripture, I am choosing to embrace it all. And I must admit, I'm having an easier time than I thought I would.

We write his memory verse on the fridge each week, and this week I hadn't done it yet--so he did. Love that.

It was his birthday yesterday, and I was so touched at what he brought home from his teacher and class.

It's a large card from his teacher with a very sweet note, and a pocket filled with cards from his class. Each was personalized with something that was his favorite--favorite animal, sport, color, etc. They took the time to know those things about him and put them in the cards. Several kids made his name an acrostic for things they liked about him. One favorite for me was "Impossibly great" for the I in his name. Another I loved was a drawing of a giraffe (Bubba's favorite animal) and the little girl had written, "You are tall in kindness". (big smile)

So, wow, my kiddo goes to Christian school. I did not expect that. But it's a blessing. A gift I'm embracing and happy to unwrap today.

What's different than you expected in your life? Is it a gift to be grateful for today?

Monday, November 2, 2009

The day you all have been waiting for...

When I say "you all" I mean Bubba.

Yep. Bubba is N.I.N.E. today!

I love every bit of the sweet, loving, mushy, funny, freckled, cuddly, big-hearted, and happy boy. He is such a gift. Happy Birthday, Bubba!

nine years ago today

ring bearer at kerry's wedding

riding shotgun in pop-pop's RV

2005--disney cruise

love those crow's feet--he smiles big and often

giving his testimony before his baptism--Spring 2009

Hawaii 2009

winkin' at mama in HI

Isn't he something? I love you, Bubba.

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