About Me

My photo
I love Jesus. I love my family. I love photography. I love books. I love thinking. Probably in that order. I have a wonderful husband, five beautiful daughters, a house, and a camera. I enjoy spending time talking to my husband, playing with my girls, redecorating my house and shooting things with my camera. In my spare time, I sleep.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Two of my favorite things!

These are a couple of the last photos I took of my girls in 2008.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Partridge in a Pear Tree (or Jesus Christ?)

I came across this little history behind the song "The 12 days of Christmas" on Mercola.com and thought is was interesting.
"From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning, plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality that the children could remember.
  1. The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ
  2. Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments
  3. Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love
  4. The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
  5. The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament
  6. The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation
  7. Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit
    1. Prophesy
    2. Serving
    3. Teaching
    4. Exhortation
    5. Contribution
    6. Leadership
    7. Mercy
  8. The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes
  9. Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit
    1. Love
    2. Joy
    3. Peace
    4. Patience
    5. Kindness
    6. Goodness
    7. Faithfulness
    8. Gentleness
    9. Self Control
  10. The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments
  11. The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples
  12. The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed
So there's your history lesson for today."
(Taken from Dr. Mercola's Special Holiday Bonus.)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Photo tag

ProudMom posted this interesting little tag on her blog and I thought it sounded fun so I'm going to consider myself tagged and participate!

The rules:

1)Choose the 4th folder where you store your pictures on your computer

2)Select the 4th picture in the folder

3)Explain the picture

4)Tag 4 people to do the same

Well, I obviously didn't take this picture. This is a photo of my aunt & my mom on my aunt's birthday in 1964. My mom is the one with the beautifully dated glasses! I have spent a lot of time scanning my family's old photos into digital format so that I could have useable priceless pieces of family history like this gem.

Now it's your turn! Mom, Jill, Phaedra, Shay, Amy, Anyone who thinks this sounds fun.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

W. Buffalo vs. Lion with special appearance by Crocodile

I watched this video today and found it fascinating and thought I'd share. It's kind of long (8.5 min) and starts out slow (if you want you could start at just under 2 min) but is worth watching. It is a battle for a baby water buffalo between the water buffaloes and lions with a couple of crocodiles getting in on the action. God's creatures are amazing!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A couple tags...finally completed!

A couple (maybe even several) weeks ago I got two tags. One from Sam on his blog Dwell & Cultivate. (One of the only blogs of a person I've never met that I read on a regular basis.) And one from Phae. I decided to fulfill my taggings in one blog today. Below are the rules for Sam's tag. And below that is Phae's tag (8 things).
1. Link the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Share seven random or weird facts about yourself.
4. Tag seven others and include links to their blogs.
5. Let each of the other people know by commenting on their blogs.
Here are seven random or weird facts about myself:

1) I don't like tomatoes.
2) I like the letter 'K' better than the letter 'C'.
3) I dislike the color orange, except in sunsets.
4) I was a history minor in college but can't remember squat about history.
5) I eat my meals one entree at a time, saving the best for last.
6) I wish I could have taken gymnastics or dance as a child.
7) I have a wart inside my nose.


8 TV Shows I watch:
1) The Cosby Show
2) Everybody Loves Raymond
3) The Simpsons
4) Scrubs (Thanks to Jordan introducing me to them last weekend)
5) ....I don't have television so I only watch Dvds.

8 Favorite Restaurants:
1) Olive Garden
2) Chic-Fil-A
3) PF Changs
4) The Outback
5) Beau Jo's
6) Ruby Tuesday
7) Jamba Juice (does that count as a restaurant?)
8) The Emporium

8 Things that happened today:
1) Jasmine threw a temper tantrum in Kmart.
2) Eden had dance class.
3) I ate at Quiznos.
4) I saw a huge, weird bird in the field by our house and tried to take a picture of it. (It may have been a goose.)
5) I got 3 Christmas cards in the mail.
6) I put away some clean laundry.
7) I ignored 2 phone calls from FFFF.
8) The thermostat in our van reported an outdoor temperature of 10 degrees.

8 things I look forward to:
1) Christmas Eve.
2) Finishing my Christmas video.
3) My photography lighting class.
4) Seeing my best friend pregnant.
5) My next meal.
6) Remodeling my house.
7) Traveling.
8) The rapture.

8 things on my wishlist:
1) A Speedlite flash for my Canon Rebel.
2) A slide scanner.
3) A dining room.
4) To find my original wedding ring.
5) Storage space.
6) A trip to someplace tropical.
7) To see our nation turn back to God.
8) To see my savior face to face.

8 people I tag today:
I am not going to tag anyone today...if you feel like answering the call of the tag then consider yourself tagged but I'm not going to drag anyone into this. (This time, anyway!)

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

When I was a kid I used to think that the true love in the "12 Days of Christmas" gave him a 'Partragenapare Tree' on the 1st day of Christmas. I guess I just thought it was a strange exotic tree that I'd never heard of before, and as a kid I failed to notice that birds were a common gift of his true love and perhaps I just didn't know what a partridge was at that point in my life. Even now at age 28, I still have a hard time not hearing/singing 'partragenapare tree' instead of "partidge in a pear tree". Perhaps mis-hearing the words to songs is a common thing. My family still can't sing 'He Arose' at church on Easter Sunday without cracking up remembering my little brother's lyrics. Instead of singing, "Up from the grave he arose with a might triumph o'er his foes", my dear brother sang, "Up from the grave he arose with a mighty trumpet for his nose."!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Watchman on the Web

Hey everyone! My dad has been writing a newsletter for several years now containing spiritual lessons that he has learned and chosen to share. I have always found them very insightful and inspiring. As a result I have encouraged him to start posting them in a blog and he has! Please check out his new blog 'The Watchman Chronicles' and may the Holy Spirit bless you in doing so.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Nothing to write....than Thursday Thunks

Here's a little Thursday Thunks action since I haven't written for a week and feel I need a new post before I leave for the weekend.

1. Have you ever not thought about the possibility of suicide?

This question is asked really weird. I have never thought about the possibility of suicide. However there was one day (ONLY ONE Day in my entire life) when I was truly depressed and got a brief glimpse into what the world must be like for those without hope in Christ who suffer with depression on a daily basis. I thank God for that glimpse because it gave me a greater understanding of the world's need for Jesus. Suicide is not the answer--but to a world without Jesus I now see why it is unfortunetly such a problem.

2. How many dogs have you owned in your life? What kind? What were their names?

I personally have never owned a dog. I am not really an animal person. My parents had a few dogs when I was growing up on the farm. Most of them were bought under the guise of being my brother's dog but the first one they owned I sort of claimed as my dog. I don't know if they got her before I was born or when I was a baby but I am the first born in my family and the dog was around for as long as I was so she was "my" dog more than any other dog has been. Her name was Cindy & she was a good dog. Died long before I left home. As far as I know, she is one of the few dogs we owned that didn't get run over or shot for eating chickens.

3. In one word, what do most people describe you as?

It's hard to say...probably most people who don't know me well would describe me as 'shy'. Those who do know me well...maybe 'creative'. Although I feel as though neither of those words really describe me accurately.

4. Do you watch HouseMD? Why not?

Wow...this question certainly assumes an answer. I don't, however, watch HouseMD on a regular basis because I don't have television so I don't watch anything unless it's on DVD. I have, however, watched HouseMD a couple of times at my in-laws house and found it to be a rather fascinating program. My mom says she's never watched it because it looks 'disturbing'.

5. What irritates you most about your neighbors?

I suppose it's that they have such nice lawns and make ours stand out as the sore thumb of the neighborhood! Yeah...they are the best neighbors though. (Even though they make us look bad lawn-wise. ;)

6. Have you ever called someone in for some sort of abuse or neglect on humans, animals or property?


7. What color is the sky in your world?

Well, being the practical sort--my sky is pretty much blue when it's sunny and gray when it's not. Sometimes though when the sun is setting...Wow!!

8. Did you see those 2 planets that everyone is talking about this week?

I beleive I did. I didn't know everyone was talking about them. All I know is that my husband pointed out these two bright "stars" and I said "I'll bet those are planets because I don't remember those being there before" and he said "could be" and so I'd have to say yes, I think I did see them. Which planets were they?

9. Would you like to submit your own question for future Thursday Thunks?

I don't care.

10. Do you have a skin condition? Are you gonna tell us what it is?

I little personal perhaps? I just recently have noticed weird skin happenings...pretty much since I had strep throat. I haven't had it medically diagnosed but my suspision is that it is mild case of psoriosis.

11. Have you ever had an STD?

No. (Now we're getting really personal!)

12. Do you do any crafts?

I'm not sure what qualifies as 'crafts' but I used to do all kinds of crafty, fine artsy things when I was younger (beading, crocheting, wheat weaving) but recently I haven't really been doing much of that kind of stuff. I stick mostly with computer or photo related creative outlets. (Scrapbooks, collages, videos, etc.) I wouldn't mind getting back into some type of craft but young children running amuck makes it more difficult.

13. Peanut Butter & Jelly - what flavor is the jelly?

Always grape. (I'm not sure I've ever even had a PB&J with a flavor other than grape.)

14. Stripes or polka-dots?

Uh...here's where my practical side comes out again. It depends on the stripes; it depends on the polka-dots; it depends on the objects for which they're meant. Perhaps I'll go with my instincts here and declare that I prefer neither.

15. What accent drives you crazy? Is it a good crazy or a bad crazy?

Well, most accents drive me crazy in a good way. My hubby has a talent for mimicking different accents and I find it quite appealing! My favorite is probably Latino. I love the way Spanish-speaking people sound when they speak English! It certainly drives me crazy in a very good way.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The One from whom all blessing flow

Thanksgiving is a interesting holiday. It has become another excuse for Americans to take a day off from work and gorge themselves on turkey & stuffing & pumpkin pie. Some people watch the Thanksgiving day parade where hundreds of people in strange costumes dance & sing while huge air filled cartoon characters hover overhead. The best part of the Thanksgiving holiday in this crazy world is that it encourages people to enjoy family & friends and for a brief moment savor those blessings.

But even in those brief moments of thankfulness I wonder how many people are choosing to acknowledge the One from whom all blessings flow. Where are they directing their gratitude? Is our thankfulness for our blessings a vague whimsical idea that floats out into the nothingness of the universe or we thankful to someOne for allowing us the blessing of life.

The history of Thanksgiving takes us back to the Pilgrims who were celebrating the opportunity to live away from religious persecution. Although most of their number had died in the time proceeding that first celebration they did not lose sight of their goal which was to be able to freely worship their Lord & Savior in this new land. It was not simply about the harvest; it was not simply about bridging cultural gaps; No! Their celebration was about acknowledging the abundant grace of the One True God and the finished work of Jesus.

I, myself, find it difficult to quiet myself amongst all the turkey & family & traveling, long enough to sincerely have a moment with my eternal Best Friend to thank him for all He means to my life. To acknowledge that my family, my home, my food, my health, my talents, my friends, my salvation, & much more are all blessings from Him.

I pray that I can find that moment within myself today & everyday. And I pray that you, too, pause before that first bite of pie to say "thanks" to Him.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The "Two-Face" Chili's

There is a Chili's restaurant being built a couple blocks from my house. For awhile we were excited about the prospect of having another choice for dining out. (Well sort-of, in my opinion Chili's & Applebee's are like fraternal twins. While they may technically be genetically different, they obviously came from the same womb.) But the excitement has, for me, turned to utter annoyance. The new Chili's is a monstrosity to the eye!! I don't know what in that very hot eternal place the Chili's corporation was thinking but this new design should have been left to burn there!

Perhaps my husband & I aren't really the best people to judge. We often joke with each other about having OCD, or here lately CDO (it's like OCD only the letters are in alphabetical order like they should be. *wink*) and we share a love of all things symmetrical. This new Chili's is like a big saber poking us in our symmetry loving eyes! Perhaps a less conventional person would be able to look at the new Chili's and appreciate the art in its non-traditional look but for me...every time I drive by I ponder the idiocy of the person who came up with the idea to design it that way and the apparent blindness of every person who had a hand in approving that decision.

Let me describe it's ridiculousness the best I can with mere words. It looks like they came up with two acceptable designs for the exterior of the building and then couldn't decide which they liked better, got in a huge fight and decided to compromise by doing one half in the one design and the other half in the other design. The west side of the building is painted green with multi-colored arched cloth awnings over each individual window. While the east side is dark red on top, yellow on the bottom with a strait square metal awning that spans the length of all the windows. Seriously what were they thinking!!?? I was having enough of a conniption when I found out that they were going to leave the sides two different colors but now that they put different awnings on each side I am even more annoyed. From now on I'm going to have to look away whenever I'm driving east-west on Hwy 26 or may have a design fit and cause a mishap on the road. The new Chili's reminds me of Two-Face from Batman Forever. And it's just as awful.

I wonder if it would be considered vandalism to give it a new paint job while everyone is sleeping?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My 'One Minute Writer' Haiku

Today's prompt on One Minute Writer was to close your eyes, turn around, open your eyes and then write a quick haiku about the first thing you see. Here's mine.

Pictures on my shelf:
Memories of days gone by
smiling back at me.

Okay, now it's your turn. Write a haiku...it's easy and fun. Leave your haiku's in my comments! (And for those of you who can't remember or don't know what a haiku is--"a haiku is a poem of three lines. It doesn't need to rhyme. The first line has 5 syllables; second line has 7 syllables ; third line has 5 syllables.") There you go...haiku away.

Here's one of my favorite haiku's for inspiration. I don't know who wrote it but I like it. Props to them!

Haiku's are easy,
But sometimes they don't make sense,

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

An Award?

So, Thursday Thunker, Kittilicious has bestowed me with a blog award...

...here are the terms & conditions...

1. You have to pass it on to 5 other fabulous blogs in a post.
2. You have to list 5 of your fabulous addictions in the post.
3. You must copy and paste the rules and the instructions below in the post.

On your post of receiving this award, make sure you include the person that gave you the award and link it back to them. When you post your five winners, make sure you link them as well. To add the award to your post, simply right-click, save image, then "add image" it in your post as a picture so your winners can save it as To add it to your sidebar, add the "picture" gadget. Also, don't forget to let your winners know they won an award from you by emailing them or leaving a comment on their blog.
Now---on to my award ceremony.

I eagerly pass this award on to the following bloggers (should they choose to accept it):

1) Shay-There couldn't possibly be a more enthusiastic & dedicated blogger!
2) Jill-Although her posts are few and far between they are always fabulous reads!
3) Lianne- She always has such cute pictures of her kids and her exuberance about them is always quite apparent!
4) C. Beth- As a thank you for her fun writing prompts!
5) Meanma- Because reading her blog always makes me appreciate her more as a person & not just mi madre.

Okay and here is a list of five of my fabulous addictions (although I could give them up any time I wanted, I swear!)

1) Lipton unsweetened ice tea.
2) Checking into my cyber-social life via blogger, facebook & hotmail.
3) Photography (most of my nightmares involve not knowing where my camera is when something photo worthy is going on.)
4) Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm--or chapstick in general. (I'm half crazy when I can't locate one of my many sticks.)
5) Russ. Yep, I admit it...I'm addicted to my hubby! It's just that he's so darn wonderful!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Just For Fun...Thursday Thunks

I came across the blog Thursday Thunks and decided to participate this week just for fun and something to blog about. She gives a list of random questions to answer each week and we answer them in a blog post..so here I go. (BTW, welcome to anyone visiting from Thursday Thunks blog...feel free to wander about my site!)

Woods, Decisions, Water, Jobs, Snow, Beds

1. Have you ever pooped in the woods?

I suppose it depends how you define "woods" but I have in fact on several occasions did some business in the out-of-doors. 'When nature calls', as they say! (T.M.I....anyone?)

2. You are starving. You have not had anything to eat for days. In front of you is poison ivy, a live hissing cockroach, and a rotten stinky piece of some sort of mystery meat to eat. Which would you pick and why?

I think I'd rather starve to death than eat any of those things. Starvation seems like the merciful way to go. But I think the hissing cockroach would be my next choice. Poison Ivy would be painful...Putrid mystery meat would likely give a starving person an even worse case of food poisoning than a healthy person (and I'm guessing a healthy person is gonna get pretty sick eating something like that.) But although a cockroach (particularly a 'hissing' one) is kind of a turn off, I'm guessing it isn't really going to hurt you much and it may actually contain some nutrients for sustaining life. (People eat all kinds of bugs in other cultures, right?)

3. Bottled or Tap water?

Uh..it depends? Some tap water is better than others. Bottled water you always know what you're getting....foreign tap water that has been run through a make-shift purification system and is contaminated with plastic chemicals which have leached into the water during shipment & storage. (okay, so maybe it's not always foreign.) Tap water varies...some comes from wells through lead pipes and contain all the chemicals that we put on the ground, i.e. fertilizers & pesticides. Other tap water comes from public sources, such as "the city" which has been minimally purified to remove natural occurring poisons and then has several unnatural poisons added to it so you get the concoction of chemicals the city deems worthy for you to ingest. So...in answer to the question....I drink both. I like the portability of bottled water but I think it safer to drink my well water...especially after it has been run through our distiller. ;)

4. Your dream job, what would it be and why?

My dream job would be as a traveling creative photographer. I would love to be able to make money to just travel all over, taking photos of whatever I want to take photos of and then having big public art shows that people would clamor to attend so they could buy my work. I love to take pictures, I would love to travel, and to have your photographs looked at is what any sane photographer wants!

5. Do you have any snow globes?

No....wait I do have a small nativity snow globe in my Christmas stuff, i think.

6. Do you like your bed? If not, what kind of bed do you want?

I love my bed. It is a California king with an oak frame & headboard with cubby shelves in the headboard and a double sided pillow top mattress. We got it as a "hand-me-down" from Russ' aunt after her husband died and she was moving to a smaller place. It was a wonderful gift! (Thanks Rox!) The only down side to it is that it is difficult to find California King sheets...but that is a minor detail.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

It's "who I am" that matters, not "what I do"

"So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord...... who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." (2 Timothy 1:8-10, NIV)
I think that one of the greatest spiritual misunderstandings is placing too much emphasis on what we do. So many people, so many religions feel that they must somehow "earn" God's favor. And they look at the world and view the "condemned" vs. the "saved" based on some guideline of performance. And this reasoning works both ways. "I have done such & such...and that guy down the street has committed such & such a sin, therefore we are not acceptable to God." Or it could be, "I have done this good thing and that guy down the street is really nice and helps in that such & such a way, therefore we are good and God will save us." But neither way is accurate.

When it comes to our spiritual standing with God, what we do is not the issue, rather it is who we are. We are not unacceptable to God because of the specific sins we commit; we are unacceptable to God because we are born sinners. I have inherited my filthiness in the same way that I inherited fingers & a liver. It is programed into my genetic makeup and has been passed down since Adam. It is part of being human in this fallen world. Therefore I am not any more acceptable to God than Adolf Hitler. Our sin is spiritually equal because it is not about performance. It is who I am (clothed in my sinful nature) and not what I do (specific sins) that condemn me.

Since our condemnation is not based on our performance, neither then is our salvation. Since I cannot separate myself from my sinful nature there is no way for me to "perform" or "work" my way into being acceptable to God. Since I am incapable of earning it, my salvation is dependent entirely on God's grace (undeserved favor) and Christ's finished work. I can perform my socks off, feeding entire starving countries, never telling a lie, always sacrificing my comforts for others...etc, etc. (anything you can think of that is good) and it is all useless because I still am grody to God because I have failed to rid myself of the inherited sin. "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6, NIV) or as Chuck Missler translates it "are like used menstrual pads." to God. (How do you like that imagery?)

The only way to rid ourselves (spiritually speaking) of the condemnation that proceeds from our sinfulness is to accept that Jesus took our deserved condemnation upon His (undeserving) self and let his perfection replace our sinful nature in God's eyes. We are only acceptable to Him because/if we are covered in Christ. It is because of "who we are" (Christ's) and not because of anything we did.

There are many applications that could proceed from this line of thought. Some people out there may still be trying to "earn" salvation and need to accept what Christ has done on their behalf. Some of you may be saved but still feel as though there is something you must "do" in order to deserve it. (Sorry, none of us could ever possibly "deserve" God's favor.) Some may not see clearly their sinfulness and believe that they are "good enough" for heaven. Or perhaps there is a thought somewhere in your mind that your sin is "better" than someone else's sin. Some sinful acts may carry greater earthly consequences but spiritually there is no sin that is "cleaner" than any other. Your sin nature which caused your "white lie" is just as damning as someone else's sin nature that caused them to murder.

I have struggled with several of these at one time or another in my life and am learning more every day what it means to be saved by grace, "through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9, NKJV) I thank God every day that He saw our helpless filthy state and loved us enough to make a way for us to be with Him anyway. And I pray that I continue to learn that my works are meaningless if they are not His works by the Spirit.

"if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ" (Romans 8:13-17, NKJV)

Praise God that it is "who I am" that matters
and that I am a child of God!

Friday, November 7, 2008

My Movie Cast List

So, perhaps I'm pathetic but I have spent too much of my life pondering the question of who should play me and the key players in my life story if my life were to be made into a movie.

For me, I think I'd probably pick Natalie Portman, Reese Witherspoon or Zooey Deschanel. I think they are all very interesting actresses who are about my age. Of course they are all way better looking than me but 'hey' that's one of the perks of picking movie stars! Natalie Portman I think could be a great Gina except for her brown eyes but perhaps colored contacts could rectify that problem. Reese is cute and very funny (maybe too funny to play me...I'm much more serious.) Perhaps Zooey would be a good choice. (Did you know we are only a week apart in age?) She is edgy, funny, and unique but probably way too tall. (I wonder how tall she is, anyway.) Anyone have any other ideas for actresses to play me?

For Russ, I was thinking maybe Colin Ferrell or I'd also considered Jake Gyllenhaal but I don't think either one of them is attractive enough to play Russ. And a problem with Colin is that he has very dark eyes and Russ' are bright blue so I'm not sure that would work. I also thought of Hugh Jackman. Russ & I both enjoy his acting but he's kind of too old. Hmmm...maybe Jared Leto. I thought he was so hot back in high school and he has the blue eyes & dark hair in is favor. (Too bad he's kind of a freak in real life.)

I always thought that Julia Stiles or Katherine Heigl would be appropriate to play my best friend, Connie. And Jill would want Amanda Bynes to play her and I can't argue with that choice much. I also have ideas for a few other people but I think it better not to give too much away. ;)

Anyway, Now it's your turn, my readers...if your life was made into a movie and you could cast any actor/actress to play you, who would you choose? Leave your answers in the comments, please. I can't wait to hear your casting choices!

Kindness of a Stranger

There has been so much going on in my mind lately that I have had a hard time knowing what to blog about...so I decided to get a little help from One Minute Writer. A couple days ago the prompt was to tell a story about something nice that a stranger did for you. Well, I was thinking and one story popped into my head which I treasure because it was so out of the ordinary.

A few years ago, when Russ & I were living in Colorado Springs, ( I believe it was Labor Day Weekend, September 2005) my parents & sister came to visit us. We went to the hot air balloon festivities and then walked up & down the streets of Manitou Springs visiting all the little shops & boutiques. In one of the shops I found a stacked glass cactus that I loved.

For background let me tell you that when Russ & I were dating, Russ, his friend Josiah, and I went to Phoenix, AZ for a conference. The conference was held at a really nice hotel and in the hotel gift shop were these stacked glass cactus that I fell in love with. However, I was a poor college student and decided not to buy the large cactus and spent the next several years kicking myself for not spending the lousy $25 it would have cost.

So fast forward to this shop in Manitou that had for purchase these very same cactus. Some of the stacked glass pieces were placed on glass bases while others were set on rock bases. I loved the rock ones. But I could only find one large cactus in the entire store that had a rock base and it had a small chip in it. I was a bit disappointed. I already had a small cactus from my Arizona trip at home, and I wasn't really satisfied with the glass based ones but yet why would I want to pay full price for a broken one? So I left the store. After making it a couple more blocks I decided that I had to buy one so I returned to the store alone while my family continued to shop down the street. I found the chipped one and took it to the man behind the counter. I asked him if he had any others perhaps in the back. I pointed out the chip and told him that he had plenty with glass bases but I really wanted the rock base but it was broken. He looked a bit and concluded that it was the only one of its kind in the store. I expressed disappointment and pondered what to do. He told me that he'd give me a discount since it was broken. I said okay, I'd take it and he proceeded to wrap it up and I told him my story about Arizona. When he had finished wrapping it and I had my money out and ready to go, he says to me, "Why don't you just keep it, it is broken." I was flabbergasted. "Are you sure?" He insisted that I keep it. So I put my money away, thanked him profusely and left the store in a state euphoria & shock!

I had my money ready...I was going to pay him. He willingly gave a total stranger an item from his store for free! That man did something so unusual and kind. Everytime I look at the small chip in my stacked glass cactus I remember him and his generosity to me. I hope the Lord blesses him for that because he sure blessed me that day. It challenges me to bless others in similarly unexpected and generous ways.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008


My family really isn't into Halloween. Being a holiday that glorifies evil and also promotes large consumptions of candy...it is kind of an irrelevant event for us. We don't dress up and go trick-or-treating, nor do we decorate or party for the occasion. However, we have carved pumpkins the past couple of years. It is a fun tradition that I have fond memories of from my childhood and it is seemingly harmless. This year we also attended the Spooktacular event at our local zoo. Anyway...just thought I'd post some pictures of the very minimal Campbell Halloween fun.
The girls cleaning out the pumpkin that we got from Grandma Veda. Although, it may be October...it was in the 70s outside and therefore shirts were not a necessity.

This next photo is a picture of Russ carving the pumpkin with his tool...kinda messy!

A cute joke for busy moms

I get a daily newsletter with clean jokes everyday from "Crosswalk.com" and I thought this one was a cute commentary on the busy life of a mom...

Esther Cohen had three very active boys. One summer evening she was playing cops and robbers in the back yard after dinner. One of the boys "shot" his mother and yelled, "Bang! You're dead."She slumped to the ground and when she didn't get up right away, a neighbor ran over to see if she had been hurt in the fall.

When the neighbor bent over, the overworked mother opened one eye and said, "Shhh. Don't give me away. It's the only chance I've had to rest all day".

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

More Pumpkin Pics

Saturday, (as a spur of the moment thing) I took the girls out in the backyard as the sun was setting and took some photos of them with the pumpkin that Grandma Veda gave us. I even let Eden take some photos of me with my camera!

When I had finished and we came back inside, I was quite frustrated and felt as if the "shoot" hadn't gone very well. I put my camera down and didn't even look at the pictures again until tonight when I finally had the chance to download them from my camera. I was quite surprised to see how well many of the pictures turned out! Even the photos Eden took of me were quite good (with a tad bit of editing by me) so I decided to once again share what I got with you. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Lessons from Tink

Today, Eden & I rented the new "Tinkerbell" movie from Redbox. Although, not a particularly spectacular movie, I felt as though it had a rather nice message that I ran through a spiritual filter.

Tinkerbell is "born" into the fairy world and is supernaturally shown what her talent is. It is revealed that she is a "tinker" fairy who has a gift for building, fixing, & "tinkering." She quickly becomes disappointed with her lot in life when she sees & hears about all the "magical" talents that the other fairies have and learns that although they all get to travel to the mainland to help with the changing of the seasons, tinker fairies stay behind. Tinkerbell decides that she doesn't want the talent she has and attempts to "learn" a variety of new talents. Every time she attempts to be taught a different talent, it ends disastrously! Eventually, after destroying all preparations for spring, she uses her "tinkering" talents to save the day. She ends up rejoicing in and appreciating the talent she was given.

I think a lot of times we as people, and we as Christians are disappointed with the talents and gifts we are given by God. We look at what we do and assign it little value and we look at what others can do and the gifts and talents that God gave them and we decide that we want those gifts instead. And oftentimes, like Tinkerbell, we try to fight against how we were made and against the spiritual tasks we were divinely chosen to perform and we try to "learn" another talent and we try to squeeze our mercy-gifted selves into a prophesy-gifted mold with disastrous results. It seems to me that many churches/Christians push certain talents/gifts/jobs over others and as a result there are many talented & gifted stewards of God working aimlessly at spiritual jobs that they were not purposed for. If God made me a "tinker fairy" and not a "water fairy" than it is most likely a waste for me to spend a majority of my time trying to put dew drops on a spiderweb. (If you catch my drift.)

In this mixed-up world we live in, it seems like we often concentrate a majority of our time trying to become adequate in the areas we are weakest when it would probably be more profitable for us to work at becoming proficient in the areas in which we show aptitude. While I think that it is often important to be semi well-rounded in our knowledge & abilities so as to be able to function well in society...I believe that to carry this idea over where our spiritual purposes are concerned is a serious mistake. God has given us all our own unique set of inherent talents when we are born and similarly, He gives us all our own unique set of spiritual gifts when we are born-again. We were not all given the same specific purposes and we were not all given the same specific talents & gift. However, just like in Tinkerbell's world, certain talents & gifts are often societally assigned more value or less value based on the outward appearance of it, but in the "Greater Picture" everyone's purpose has great value, and every job no matter how big & important or small & insignificant it seems, is very significant to the One who designed us for the task.

What I learned from Tinkerbell is that my God-given talents & gifts are a glorious thing and that if I use those talents & gifts for the purposes for which they were created, then there is no reason for me to try to be someone & something I am not.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Let's talk cinnamon

That's the latest word that Jasmine has added to her vocabulary. Pretty impressive considering I know well-spoken adults who have yet to master the word!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

30 years...

Today is my parent's 30th anniversary. They got married at noon, October 21st, 1978. In honor of this occasion, my brother, sister & I had a little cake party for them on Sunday and gave them our gift, treating them to their annual overnight anniversary trip to Rapid City. We got them a hotel gift card, a Olive garden gift card, and movie theater gift certificates. We didn't do anything special for their 25th so we felt it was a good time to honor their marriage and all that they have meant to us. Happy anniversary, Dad & Mom. We love you very much!


Thursday, October 16, 2008


Just wanted to share a sampling of the pumpkin pics I took of my girls today. Enjoy!

Oh, And as a side note...if you ever want to check out my photo site with many many more of my photos all you have to do is click on my face and it will take you there. Or the address is www.jzeena.smugmug.com

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Silly Princess Quiz...which princess are you?

(Interesting that I am identified with Jasmine...when I live with my own little Princess Jasmine!)

You Are Jasmine!
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Independent and adventurous. You don't want much; just to break out of the guilded cage society has put you in and experience life to the fullest. Following orders isn't really one of your strong points, and you would rather live a life of poverty than being forced into something that you hate.

Which Disney Princess Are You?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Strep, anyone?

Well, after suffering a couple days with a bad sore throat & a mild earache I decided to take myself over to the clinic and have a doctor look at me. Turns out I have strep throat. I hate it. (Of course, is there a sane person in the world who would claim to enjoy it?) She (the doc) told me to get plenty of fluids & prescribed antibiotics. The thing is that these stupid pills seem HUGE squeezing past my swollen tonsils. I have barely been able to eat anything because it hurts so bad to swallow. I had trouble with coco-wheats this morning and soup tonight. On the plus side I've been able to drink quite a bit of hot tea because despite the pain of swallowing the heated liquid feels relatively nice.

The other side effect of this sucky bout with strep is that I find it unpleasant to speak much louder than a whisper. It is fairly difficult for me to maintain my silence. My two children seem to insist upon hearing my voice raised and when Russ is home I have so many things I want to tell him that I have a hard time giving my vocal cords the needed rest in his presence.

And to top it all off, I'm not suppose to kiss my hubby or my babies for 36-48 hours. And while I certainly do not want this pain passed on to any of them...their sweet faces just beg to be smooched!

Anyway, just looking for some sympathy, I guess, from my dear blog readers. Hope all of you are blessed with health. Ciao!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sharing Over the Rhine

A very good friend of mine back during my college days introduced me to the music of Over The Rhine. It took me a little while to warm up to them but within a year they were my favorite and they have yet to be knocked from that position. I LOVE their music. Their lyrics are so poetic, profound, and dare I say, esoteric; the accompanying music is soulful, mystical, and alluring; and Karin's (the lead singer's) voice is just phenomenal...exquisite. While my fondness for their work is quite extreme, I have found that over the past six or seven years I have been fairly possessive & protective of them. I have hesitated to share them with people freely as I fear that they would either not be received with the proper awe or that they will become so commonly enjoyed that they are no longer special. Both of these fears I have come to see as being quite ridiculous and thus have chosen to share my favorite music with all of you. What follows are a few Youtube videos of them. Not particularly my favorite songs (since they seem hard to come by on You Tube) but a few I felt worth sharing that perhaps will prick your interest and draw you to the greatest music group of our time. Hope you enjoy them as much as me.

I thought this one was appropriate for an intro to their music. Because I don't want to waste your time with music you don't need. But I think you'll need more OTR.

This is a fun song: Trouble.


This next song is the one that I sung all last Christmas season. Their Christmas Album (Snow Angels) is unlike any Christmas album you've ever heard before. Awesome.

Okay, I can't resist putting one more on here. I don't really care for the "video" that someone put with this but this song is one of my favorites. Probably because it was one of the first songs of theirs that I heard and enjoyed.

Okay so if you have anymore interest in them check out their website. It's awesome.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Cute Sisters Picture

Had to share this cute photo I took today at the park. Eden is reaching to take Jasmine's hand.

I hate to get political but...

I hate to get political on a perfectly fun family blog but this year's campaign has really been a doozy and I guess I have to weigh in before it is too late. I understand that many of you will not share my view at all and that is fine but for whatever it's worth...here is my two cents on the subject---------------

If I had to sum up in just a few words why I will NOT be voting for Obama, I would say this: He supports WAY too much government control.

A quote I found on the Sarah Palin page on Wikipedia:

"Palin has described the Republican Party platform as "the right agenda for America" because of its "respect for equality and respect for life and an acknowledgment that it is individual Americans and American families who can make better decisions for ourselves than government can ever make for us," and has stated that "individual freedom and independence is extremely important to me and that's why I'm a Republican.""

I wouldn't say that this is necessarily a universally true statement about the Republican party but it pretty much sums up how I decide my vote. I vote for the candidates who will keep the government's involvement in personal matters to a minimum and will leave me with the most freedom & independence.

I prefer to maintain some shred of independence and individual freedom. I see it slowly slipping from our hands and based on what I've heard from Obama so far in this election (in spite of his pretty politically-correct rhetoric), if he has his way the little bits we have left will quickly be confiscated by the government under the guise of improving life for the "middle class." but with all due respect to Obama and his supporters, I don't think that this is the help I need. This is not a welcomed "change."

Obama's plans for health care essentially would (as Kevin Gabriel put it) "move us toward complete government control of the health care industry and remove the individual from the decision making process." I cannot even express how much that scares me! I am quite wary of the health care industry as it stands right now but put it in the government's hands and I downright shudder at the thought of what that would look like. I appreciate being able to make choices about me & my family's health care for myself. I do not want someone with different values than me making those decisions for me.

When it comes to Obama's energy policies involving "bigger government role in fostering the development of technologies to reduce emissions and alternatives to fossil fuels", I have to say that I agree with McCain's view that "unintended consequences" can result from improper interference in the marketplace.

Obama's opinions on education are also quite different than mine in this respect. He seems to believe that it is the government's right to educate our children and it is their prerogative to decide what our children should and should not be taught and at what age they should and should not be taught these things. While I do think that every child has a right to a quality education, I believe it is the parent's prerogative (not the government's) to decide what qualifies as a quality education and therefore should make the decision as to how and/or where their child is educated.

There are certainly a lot of specific issues in which Obama & I diverge drastically (Like abortion, marriage, environmental issues) but I would say that this issue of the role of government is the overriding issue. His character, religion, values (and other things that I find relevant for running for such an important office) are questionable but the fact is, when it comes to politics you can't take anything anyone says at face value.

McCain supporters try to smear Obama's reputation and Obama supporters try to paint an ugly picture of McCain. Obama lies, panders, embellishes & omits and so does McCain. The media is no help, they lie, too. What the truth is, only God knows. But from my perspective choosing the so-called lesser of two evils, makes the McCain/Palin ticket the obvious choice. And that is (in a very small nutshell) why I plan on voting for McCain November 4th.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Tag, I'm it...

Shay tagged me and so I guess it's my turn to list 7 weird/random tidbits about myself...

1) My 2nd toe is longer than my big toe.

2) In high school, I really wanted to be a foriegn exchange student to Denmark...but it never happened.

3) I don't like lotions.

4) I fantasize about having a 2nd wedding--marrying Russ in a ceremony on a beach, my hair down, light dress, outdoor reception at dusk.

5) I sometimes miss college.

6) I love hats but hate the way I look in them.

7) I would travel all the time if I could afford it.


Okay, now it's my turn to tag some people---Mom, Jill, Taylor, Amy, Anna & Lianne---Tag, you're it!

Finished Painting

Well, I finished painting the room. I ended up not caring for the brown I had purchased for the task but luckily I had a more chocolaty brown just sitting in the garage that was perfect so I used it instead...no problem. I was going to post photos but my computer & camera are currently not speaking to each other. As soon as I get them to shake & make up I'll add a pic to this post.

I wish I had a before picture but I couldn't find a single pic of the room before...except of me painting it last year. This pic doesn't really show off the colors much either but it's what I got so take it or leave it, I say.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My current painting project

When I was pregnant with Jasmine a little over a year and a half ago I painting her nursery (this was before we even knew we were having a girl.) I chose a light green with a pastel orange trim to match the crib bedding my mother had bought us for Christmas without being too gender specific. Most of the people who saw it said they really liked the colors I chose...I have never liked them. They have pretty much annoyed me ever since I got them on the walls and I didn't really believe people when they said they liked it. (How could they? It was so... uugh!) So now that it's been a year & a half and Jasmine has moved out and the room currently serves primarily as my computer room, I decided to repaint it in more neutral, Gina-friendly colors. I've noticed that my design style tends to center around natural, earthtone colors, and my choices for this room prove to be no exception. I didn't want to have to replace the curtains so I chose colors that would match those. I also wanted to be sure that the next time this room serves as a baby room that the colors would still compliment the crib bedding. What I ended up with was a color called "Bleached Wheat" for the walls (It's a yellow-beige color with green undertones.) And a medium brown for the trim. I am currently only at the half way point in the project. I painted the walls yesterday. Today I plan on taping it up and doing the trim. So far I like it. I think the wall color is great! I'm a little apprehensive about the brown but I'm pretty sure it will be fine. When my painting job is finished...It will be time for Russ to come in and build some shelves in the closet. Yay, I love home improvement projects! I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, September 26, 2008

So Many Children

Today I have five children under my care...7 yr old Shawn, 3 yr old Eden and three 1 yr olds! How do I have the time to blog this morning, you may be asking yourself? Well, I put in a movie and now I have myself 5 little zombies. At least for a minute. (A minute is all you get with one year olds!) ;) I must enjoy it while I can!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Organizational Enjoyment Disorder

Call me crazy if you want to but I just love to organize things. I don't know what it is but I get great satisfaction out of taking what appears to be a chaotic mess and turning it into a manageable organized system of items. I have spent many a day organizing books, organizing boxes, organizing files on my computer. Heck, I've even spent time at stores organizing their cd or movie inventories. In some ways, I really enjoyed the many times we moved in the first few years we were marred because it gave me a chance to utilize my organizational skills. The problem I'm having now is that my house is pretty organized...granted there are always new piles to be sorted and accumulated items to be put away, new photos to be put in scrapbooks, but the number of real untapped challenging messes are diminishing at a rapid pace. I now find myself looking for ways to improve upon my already organized systems. Reorganizing what has already been organized. My most current project being the basement storage room. I have been going through all the boxes looking for items that I can throw away, get rid of, or consolidate. It has been a fairly successful endeavor. I went from having no empty shelves to having several so I have to say it has been quite satisfying. But where do I go from here? I am almost restless looking about the house and finding nothing to organize. I am now inventing organization projects for myself, borrowing other peoples messes to organize. On a recent visit to my sister-in-law's house I went through her boxes of photographs and try to sort them for her...it was a slightly overwhelming task for a holiday weekend so I only did a very minimal job of it . (Perhaps giving me something more to do in the future!) I also borrowed some of my favorite photos of hers, bringing them home to scan into my computer and sort into the various folders on my harddrive. Perhaps it is a sickness to enjoy organizing as much as I do but when I go to people's houses and see a messy closet or a box of papers or pictures or cds or anything...I downright salivate at the prospect of getting my hands dirty in putting them all back in some sort of order! I wonder if they have a name for this problem...Organizational Enjoyment Disorder or something. If only there was an obvious way for me to capitilize on my sickness.....hmmm?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Interesting quotations

"If you think you're free, there's no escape possible." ~Ram Dass
"You can't wake a person who is pretending to be asleep."
~Navajo Proverb
"Who is more foolish, the child afraid of the dark or the man afraid of the light?"
~Maurice Freehill
"Skin is a covering for our immortality."
~Ever Garrison

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hotels: "How many stars?"

Last weekend's trip to Denver solidified for me, a theory I had been working on about the optimal number of stars for a hotel to have. When I was first married I assumed that a person would always want the most stars they could get for their money; I have since changed my mind. I have decided that 2 1/2 star hotels are the ideal hotels for me & my family's needs. One star hotels are out of the question unless completely desperate (they are rare anyway.) 2 star hotels are very basic and are fine if you just need a place to sleep for a few hours. A 2 1/2 star hotel is generally very clean & respectable, they offer all the basic amenities (TV, pool, internet, iron, shampoo, etc) and also will often provide you with a free continental breakfast. Anything higher than 3 stars offers VERY nice accommodations and can meet any needs you may have but you must expect to pay for every need that they meet. They are usually the kind of hotels where the bed is even more comfortable than the one you have at home but everything else comes at a price. Last weekend we got ourselves a room at the 3 star Sheraton hotel for $52.00. Excellent price but I almost wish that we would have paid $49.00 for the 2 1/2 star hotel instead. The room was great! The bed was extremely nice. And the hotel itself was beautiful. But we couldn't get on the internet unless we wanted to pay $10.00 to do so. There, of course, was no free breakfast. Breakfast was offered at their in-house restaurant at between $8-$15 a plate. And the thing that really pushed me over the edge is that the rooms were stocked with bottles of arrowhead water but with labels that stated that they would charge the room $3.50 EACH if they were consumed!! $3.50 for a bottle of water that I could get for $1.00 at the Target down the street sitting there all convenient and tempting next to the ice bucket. For the extra $3.00 I paid for the room at the 3 star hotel, I earned the privilege of PAYING for internet, breakfast, & water. I think from now on I'll stick with 2 1/2 stars...and I advise you to do the same.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Verse for thought...

Hebrews 4:13

"And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account"

Monday, September 15, 2008

"Somebody help me, I'm being spontaneous!"

"Somebody help me, I'm being spontaneous!" Truman Burbank in 'The Truman Show' says this and Russ & I were quoting it all weekend because, somebody help us, we were being spontaneous! We woke up Saturday fully intending to have an uneventful weekend at home but at about 10 or so, I remembered that the Steeling the Mind conference was going on in Denver and mentioned jokingly to Russ that if we left now we could make it for the 2nd half of the conference. He says, "Pack our bags, let's go!" I thought he was just kidding but by 11 we were on our way to Denver!

It was fantastic! I LOVED that we were being spontaneous. We had just thrown some things in a bag and got in the van. No real plans just to see about catching the end of the conference. We stopped once to fuel up the van and once to fuel up ourselves. We made it to the outskirts of Denver by 2:15. I knew that the conference was being held at a church that it had been held at in previous years so we made our way to the Calvary Chapel in Lakewood. We got there to discover an empty parking lot. Russ got mad that we went to the wrong church...I thought it was hilarious! It is one of the prices that you pay for spontaneity...we hadn't taken the time to double check the location! So, we called Russ' mom to have her look up the venue. Luckily we weren't too far away. And found the correct church within a half hour. We made it in time for the start of the 3:30 speaker. When his time was up, it was the dinner break, so we left to go get some food and arrange for accomodations. We first headed strait up Colorado Blvd to the nearby Jamba Juice. (Have to have that Jamba!) Russ & I each got one and we purchased Eden her first Jamba Juice. She loved it! We got back in the van and Russ got out his lap top and we went driving in search of a wireless network we could connect to. Finally parking in a McDonald's parking lot where we killed several birds with just the one stone. We found a network, we returned our Redbox dvd and we used the restroom. Once on the internet I got on Hotwire and booked a room for a very reasonable rate. Ended up being a Sheraton hotel..very nice. After knowing we had a place to sleep we drove down to Chick-Fil-A and got us some drive thru fair. Yum!

We got back to the church in time for the worship leader. I thought his music was beautiful but I was very disappointed because I was hoping that he was going to lead us in song and instead he mostly just sang his own songs which none of us knew. Then we settled ourselves in the "crying room" to listen to the final two speakers. (The "crying room" is where parents can take their children behind sound proof glass but they can still see and hear what is going on in the sancuary.) The first speaker was a woman who was born in Egypt, raised Muslim in Gaza. She now lives in the US and has become a Christian. She was very interesting. Spoke about what it is like in the Islamic world and how there is nothing peaceful about their religion. She said that their religion is centered around their hatred for non-muslims. The last speaker of the night was Chuck Missler, who we always enjoy, speaking on China.

When it was over we left to find our hotel. Eden kept asking where our house was. Russ eventually told her that we couldn't find it so we were going to stay at this hotel. When we were getting out of the van, Eden turns to Jasmine and says, "Jasmine, we can't find our house so we're going to stay at this hotel." And then when we got inside she picked up the phone (which Russ had unplugged) and said, "Hi, Jeni, we can't find our house so we're just gonna stay at this hotel. okay, bye." So cute! The girls had so much fun running around the hotel room. They had been pretty good all day in the car & at church but they hadn't hardly napped at all but they didn't act in the least bit tired. They ran & laughed and crawled on the bed & crawled off the bed and laughed, and talked on the phone, hid in the closet, got crumbs on the floor. It was so fun watching them.

Sunday morning, we slept in until almost nine. (well, Jasmine didn't but we stayed in bed that long) It was fantastic. Snuggling in a warm comfy bed in the morning with my hubby was nice...hardly ever get to do that at home. After we got up and got around we left the hotel and went to Krispy Kreme and watched the doughnuts being made...and then ate some. That was a pretty neat experience for Eden. We also loaded up on Jamba Juice again before leaving town. I had a serious sugar rush, sugar headache, & sugar crash from all that sugar in the morning. Between the smoothie & the doughnuts that was way more sugar than I'm accustomed to having in one sitting. It was tasty but I'm not sure it was worth feeling miserable all afternooon.

We stopped at Aunt Roxie's for an hour or so on our way out of town. It was good to see her and the girls enjoyed playing with her pillows & her cat. Then we stopped again in Loveland to see a family that Russ worked for before meeting me and who Russ & I lived with for a couple weeks when we were first married. We visited with them for a couple hours. It took Eden a little while to warm up but by the time we were ready to go, she and their 6 year old were having a lot of fun together and she didn't want to leave. Jasmine ate a bunch of watermelon and had to be changed into one of Eden's shirts because she completely soaked her outfit.
We left their house at 4:30 and went to Ft. Collins to eat supper at Fazoli's. After a yummy meal there, we finally headed home. Got home at about 8:30. I told Russ that we should be spontaneous more often. We had a really nice time and it was the lack of planning that made it extra exciting.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A love letter to my mother

I've heard it said that children will never love their mother as much as the mother loves her children and in some sense I think it's true. A mother loves her children selflessly and sacrificially in a way that children don't. When a child is born, the mother spends her next eighteen years thinking about what is best for her child and working to raise that child to become a responsible, well-rounded individual who can leave home and succeed on his/her own.


The child's role in the relationship, in a lot of ways, is dependence. This role of dependence at first results in the child feeling secure and looking to his/her mother with admiration and awe. As the child gets older...he/she starts resenting this dependence and starts rebelling against the mother that loves him/her so much. When the child is old enough, he/she leaves home and starts living a life that is separate from his/her parents. The child is no longer dependent on the mother and therefore the mother's role is changed and the selflessness that she has dedicated her life to is no longer needed in the same capacity. It is because of this that it appears as if the children do not love their mother as much as she loves them but I don't think that it is the amount of love that is the issue.


Children adore their mothers and as they get older, it is true that they no longer see the same perfection in her that they saw when they were babies and it's true that opinions begin to diverge from 'what Mommy thinks' but to some extent the selfless sacrifices made and the love poured out for us have not gone unheeded.


To my mom, I must tell you that we, your children, care more about what you think than we typically ever want to admit and that the reason that you think that we are irritated by you and whatnot is because we hurt when you see flaws in us. We hurt when you challenge our decisions. We hurt when you don't take pride in the things that we care about. Our lives and our viewpoints may never match yours again...and we often will not make different choices because you want us to...but please NEVER think that this reflects in ANY WAY the depth of our love for you. I dare to challenge the statement that started this blog. Your children DO love you...perhaps not more than you love us...but we LOVE YOU IMMENSELY! ANd when you say otherwise, you cut us to the core. Our lives would be devestated if something happened to you tomorrow. I know with all my heart that I speak for Jordan & Jill too. A child's love for his/her parents may have a different face than the love that a mother has for her child but to say that the amount of love is less cannot be so.


Teaching Baby Sign Language

I always thought that teaching baby sign language to an infant was fascinating. Before I had kids myself if was a marvelous thought that a baby who wasn't old enough to speak was capable of learning sign language to communicate their needs. I personally have always wanted to learn sign language myself and knew a few basic signs long before my children came along. When my firstborn, Eden, was very young, I thought it would be fun to teach her some baby sign language. I didn't really take it too seriously just thought it would be a fun little experiment and let me tell you, it was. (A fun little experiment.) Eden picked it up right away. It only took a few days of signing with her to get her to sign back. Several months before her first birthday she was easily signing 'please', 'thank you', and 'more'. My dad said it was a dirty trick teaching a baby to sign because who could possibly say no when a sweet little thing is looking up to you signing "more, please"? We have taught Jasmine several signs as well. Some people wonder if signing would hinder language development because the baby can sign for anything they want rather than having to speak for it but most studies show the opposite...that signing with your baby actually can improve their language and eliminates a lot of the frustration that both the children & the parents feel in trying to communicate. Both of my children spoke very early and very well. I do not credit signing for this but I am not going to discount the possibility that it helped. I would definetly encourage any of you with babies & young children to utilize this tool. I love watching my kids sign, I love knowing exactly what they want, and I love how proud they look when they know they've been understood. Here's a link to one resource for learning baby sign language , if you're interested.

Signing 4 Baby

Thursday, September 11, 2008

10 perks of being a mom.

On the other hand...there are perks that come with being a mom and here are a few of the ones I came up with: 1) I can act ridiculously silly whenever I want to. 2) I have an excuse for getting out of unpopular events & places early. 3) I get to buy twice as many shoes! 4) I can get away with bringing snacks to church & the movies. 5) I get to stay home all day. 6) No one thinks it is strange when I have sticky fingerprint stains on my chest. 7) I have cute stories to tell when friends come over. 8) There is an endless supply of photo ops. 9) Bodily fluids begin to lose their impact on my gag reflex. 10)There is physical evidence that my husband & I are the smartest, most attractive couple in the world!