About Me

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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.

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!

10 Things I miss now that I'm a mom.

This is a list of ten things that I miss now that I'm a mom (Those of you who are also moms will understand and those of you who aren't, enjoy these things while you can!):

1) Peeing without an audience. 2) Drinking beverages without backwashed floaties. 3) Getting to eat my entire dessert myself. 4) Preparing an entire meal without stopping to "wipe a tooshie." 5) Taking long relaxing showers. 6) Eating an entire meal without getting up. 7) Making a "quick trip" to the store. 8) Having uninterrupted conversations with other adults. 9) Sleeping in. 10) Finishing what I start, the same day I start it.

Perhaps more later...or maybe I'll write about the ten things I enjoy about being a mom. We'll see how it goes. ;)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The enmity between me & food

I hate food...or perhaps I should say, I hate the need for food. I began thinking about my unusual animosity toward eating last Thanksgiving or Christmas when we were playing 'Loaded Questions' and the question was "If you had to give up one of your five senses which would you give up?" Everyone said their sense of smell except for me...I said taste. That seriously made me stop and think...sense of smell never even occurred to me. Food & I have a very close but heated relationship. My whole life pretty much revolves around food...which I resent. I am always worrying about the next meal...because if I get too hungry...I fall apart. I think that there must be something physically wrong with me that causes these physical and emotional crashes that happen pretty much anytime I go more that 6 hours without food. Not only that, but I have had serious struggles with IBS in the past which certainly hasn't encouraged a love for eating. Another factor that has contributed to my hostility toward my need for sustenance is my growing knowledge of nutrition & health issues. Really nutritious food is seriously lacking in our society. Most of the "food" that is sold and consumed in this country barely qualifies for the title since it is so processed and loaded with chemicals that we would never consider consuming under normal circumstances. And even common fruits & vegetables are losing their value. The ground they are grown in is less than ideal for good nutrition, many are genetically modified to look good and make money at a cost to our health, they are usually drenched in pesticides and then to top it off, we usually kill any of the remaining nutrition by cooking them at ridiculously high temperatures. So, all this information in my head telling me that the food that I eat is not even doing its job in keeping me healthy but instead is probably making my body sick in subtle ways as well as the occasional IBS obvious ways, makes regular food preparation and consumption a necessary but hated aspect of my daily life. I need food, I enjoy food, but I hate and detest having to eat it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Motions

Matthew West has recently become one of my favorite artists. I knew I liked his music before but after I saw him at Hill's Alive and actually purchased his cd's, I now am a big fan. His newest cd, "Something to Say" is excellent. I like every song on there. Currently the song that has been resonating with me is "The Motions." Having grown up in the church it is easy to just "go through the motions" and not think about why we do what we do. I've always struggled with feeling things in my life and my spiritual life has been no exception. Some people let emotionalism override their Christian experiences so that there is very little real substance to their relationship with God...I have always hoped to avoid this but I really don't think I need to worry about that because my real problem is not having enough emotion in my relationship. I now crave to feel. I desire a passion for Christ and His work to overtake my life. I wanted to put the song here on my blog so you all could listen to it but I can't seem to find a way to do that so I'll just put the lyrics here and if you want, you can find the song to listen to on your own.

"This might hurt, it's not safe
But I know that I've gotta make a change
I don't care if I break,
At least I'll be feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

No regrets, not this time
I'm gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love make me whole
I think I'm finally feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of this life

'Cause I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?""

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Politics & Faith

This election year is really taking a toll on me. I get so overwhelmed thinking about what the future could bring and how the morality & philosophies of this county are quickly spiraling downward. I fear what changes this election could bring as I see very little chance of any changes being for the better. And although it has blown me away that so many Christians seem to think that the faith of the candidates is fairly irrelevant in choosing who should be leading us...I recently realized that I, myself, was not seeing clearly what an important role faith plays in this election. But it is NOT the faith of the candidates that is the issue here...it's mine. This election is not solely in the hands of the voters. And my hope for our people should not rest in whether a certain person gets elected or not elected...my hope & my faith should remain in Christ alone. God's will indeed shall prevail even if he allows an ungodly person to win. God has placed me and my family here during this time in history for a purpose and even if we as a nation are plunged more quickly into wickedness. I know that He is my savior and that His time will eventually come and that I will have the privilege to stand with Him. I have nothing to fear. My faith is not in man but in Christ. Today in Church we were studying the last chapter of Acts where Paul, as a prisoner, gets shipwrecked on an island & bitten by a poisonous snake...but in all those "bad" things it was God's will that prevailed for His purposes. The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners...God didn't let it happen. The locals normally would kill but instead they help them. Paul gets bitten by a poisonous snake and all the locals thought he was going to die...he lives. And to top it all off, as a result of all of these things happening...the people of Malta get to hear about Jesus and are converted! Paul was a prisoner because his own people were rejecting the message of Jesus that he preached but Paul's faith for his people never faltered...he still had hope for them. In Acts 28:10, Paul says that it is "for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain." If it should ever come to that for us as Christians in this country, I want to be able to say that my suffering is for the hope of the unbelievers. Because as long as Christ has not returned there is still hope for them. So as this election continues and I cast my vote for the person I feel is better suited to the presidency, I will be keeping in my mind the words to the song we sang in church this morning that inspired this blog, "In Christ Alone, my hope is found. He is my light, my strength, my song: this Cornerstone, this Solid Ground firm through the fiercest drought and storm. What heights of love, what depths of peace, when fears are stilled, when strivings cease. My Comforter, my All in All, here in the love of Christ I stand.In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev'ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow'r of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand."

Friday, September 5, 2008

Baby's Breath

I was just wondering....Am I the only person who enjoys the smell of my baby's morning breath?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Dead Kittens & Eden's First Dance Class

This week has been full of ups and downs for my family. Friday we left to spend Labor Day weekend with Russ' sister's family and we had a nice time with them. It had been a year since we been to their house so our visit was well over due. Monday we came back to discover that our town had just been hit with a pretty big storm that had taken the electricity down all over town so Russ had to do some things for work before we even could come back to our house.

When we did finally get home, Russ went looking for our six kittens to make sure they weren't getting too wet & cold. He only found two of them and they both had open wounds on their butts...the one was barely alive. We didn't know what to do so we called our next door neighbor (who has been one of the BEST neighbors anyone could have!) and she came over right away. She had buried one of the other ones while we were gone. She said that it had had a sore on its back too that she had squeezed a big worm/maggot out of before it died. She took the two kitties to her house to die. It was soo sad. Eden couldn't quite grasp what happened. She was crying and asking why **** took the kitties and I tried to explain to her that the kitties died and she just would cry and ask why they died and would cry and say that she missed them...it was so hard. Anyone who knows me very well, will tell you that I am not an animal person at all. But I will tell you that this is part of the reason why I never wanted pets...if you have animals..they will inevitably die and you will have to feel sad. (And it's even harder with a mourning child.) The whole reason that I didn't write this blog sooner is because I hadn't gotten over seeing the once cute lively kittens in that horrid state of bleeding & dieing! Anyway, Tuesday morning we awoke with three kittens unaccounted for but with little hope of finding any of them alive.

Tuesday was Eden's 1st dance class so the sadness of the evening before was overshadowed by the excitement of her new activity. She has been anticipating dance class since we signed her up 6 weeks ago but when she figured out that I wouldn't be staying with her, she told me that she didn't want to go. I promised her that if she was good and wen to dance class that when I came to pick her up she could have a treat...that was enough to get her excitement up again. She put on her dance outfit and I put her hair in a ponytail and she got her dance bag and then.... she had to wait 2 hours. When it was finally time to go, I got my camera and took a photo of her smiling by the door.

Then we opened the front door to get in the van only to discover another dead bleeding kitten sitting in our driveway. Apparently our cat had found it and brought it to our front steps. I got a sick feeling and ran inside to find something to cover it with...(I really didn't want to deal with it just then!) Eden kept looking at it and asking questions. I covered it with a washcloth so I didn't have to look at it anymore and then loaded the girls up and took Eden to dance class.

There are only 5 little girls in her class and they all looked so cute putting on their little tap shoes. Eden got really shy when we got their but was fairly calm while we got her shoes on, only telling me that she didn't want to stay. But when I went to leave she flipped out...started crying hysterically like I've never seen her cry before...like she was really scared. The teacher came and held her while I left. I didn't like seeing her like that but it really wasn't hard for me to leave her like that. I knew it was easier for everyone for me to get out of the scene as quickly as possible. Jazz & I came home during the 45 min class...giving me time to dispose of the kitten, & call Russ and giving Jasmine just enough time to fall asleep before I had to wake her again to go pick Eden up.

The teacher said Eden did fine...she participated in everything they did. Eden told me that they danced with their dolls & hopped like frogs & rolled on the floor. She said she had fun and I was glad to hear it!

Later in the afternoon our neighbor came back over to check in with us on the kittens. I told her we found the one. But still didn't know what happened to the other two. She said she ended up cutting the one kitten open (she used to work for a vet) and found it had 42 maggots inside! She said sh had called a vet and asked him about it and he said the kitten's probably got them through the mother's milk and that we should de-worm her.

Yesterday she came over with some de-wormer she had bought for us at Wal-Mart and helped us feed it to her. (Didn't I tell you she is a fabulous neighbor?) She said that our other neighbor had found the other two cats, so now all 6 were dead & accounted for. At least the upside is that now we no longer have to worry about finding owners for all of them and both of our neighbors have offered to split with us the cost of getting our cat fixed come October.

In conclusion, I hate pets...I hate blood...I hate death. And God bless good neighbors!