Tuesday, December 30, 2008

To marvel....

I am still in shock that we are done with the year 2008. I can't get over it. Steve and I have been talking, and reflecting, and although we both feel this year was probably the worst- the hardest- year of our lives, we are sad to see it go. It feels like another year wasted, another year gone that can't be added to anymore. Our kids just keep growing, life just keeps happening, and I don't feel that I have done all the things I needed to. No matter how hard things are, I don't want to miss a minute of opportunity to learn from God, a minute of the childhood that Jordan and Jasmine are flying through. It's just crazy. (As I think about this, I have a horrible urge to go find a fiction novel- eeekk!)

Well, since stopping time for awhile is outside of my superpower abilities, I will just have to mourn the passing of another year, and rejoice at the prospects of the future. We finally decided that I need to stop working, so that is going to make the next couple of months very interesting. Getting rid of cars, dining out, all the extras- tough, but we have done it be for, and I think we will be glad we did. If I am going to teach my kids to live in the present and appreciate every minute, I am going to have to do it myself and show them, and that is impossible if I am gone all day.

Food for thought: In Matthew 8:10, a man came to Jesus with a request, and his response was so awesome, Jesus " heard it, He MARVELED..." Can you imagine God marveling at you? I wish. Check the passage out, and let's love God in such a way today, and have such faith in Him- that He would marvel at us...

(I marvel at what an awesome "goofy goober" my husband is!)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Maybe once a year...

SO- experiment was... partially successful. I have to say that due to where my life is now- my horrid fiction addiction didn't seem "that bad"- my kids are older and don't seem to care what I am doing as long as I am busy and not bothering them, and I was able to maintain some semblance of normal life while reading my book all day (although I didn't go to bed until well after I should have). That being said, "that bad" equals "bad" in my book, as my kids have heard me say too many times. I found it nearly impossible to think about anything else, or even want to. I LIKE checking out of reality for hours on end, I LIKE great stories, and I LIKE the full range of emotions a good novel provides. And I still like it a little too much. So, I think I will allow myself a taste of fiction on occasion, during winter break when there is nothing else to do, when my kids are gone at camp, or Steve is away for the weekend-times when my complete obsessiveness won't harm anyone but myself. ;) But all in all, I am much too weak of a person, or much too imaginative for my own good, to allow myself the delicious luxury of the fiction world. I find that once I finish a great story, it is very difficult to be satisfied with MY story anymore. It is harder to go about my daily life, participate in ordinary relationships, and muck stalls- when my heart is longing for adventure, and romance, and drama. When I get done with chores, I SMELL like a barn, but my heroines always seem to have the ability to row up river, build a fort, lasso the cattle, and look as perfect as a rose without even trying. Not to mention saving the day and raising perfect children at the same time. I suppose my life has enough catastrophe to keep me entertained. It is more prudent for this dreamer to keep both feet on solid ground and nose in God's word, rather than the land of make-believe where everyone is beautiful and perfect.

Goodbye, books- hello, 2009! We had a wonderful, white Christmas- with lots of love and hugs for the kids, but not enough presents. We got snowed in a week before Christmas, so even though Jordan and Jasmine had to do without a lot on their lists, we had a great time playing in the snow, hanging with the Clark's, and laughing our heads off. We couldn't get out of the driveway to see anyone else for Christmas- but God was so good, and this very bizarre weather came the year that Stef and Nick were our next door neighbors- so we got to spend Christmas with family in spite of the road conditions! Hmmm, how glad I am that there are no coincidences in God's plan! It makes me smile.

This video was pretty funny, I thought I would share. Note that years ago I warned Steve getting me a video camera might be a bad idea. I have a knack for catching people in compromising situations- never intentionally, of course. You see, I just prefer to be behind the camera, so my less than graceful moments are never archived for all history to see...wicked clever, aren't I?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Why fiction might be bad for your health...

So I have pretty much avoided fiction books for the last 13 years because I have this horrible tendency to never be able to put the book down once I start. I have stuck with your lovely theological seminars, self help type, biblical commentaries because for some reason, I have no problem setting those down when needed. Now, of course, it depends on the quality of the novel, but in general- once I start a story, I can't stop- and all else falls by the wayside. Note: I stopped when my first baby arrived, can't imagine why I suddenly realized I couldn't afford to be distracted by my beloved books. :) I still have read the books my kids read over the years, to offer guidance and insight, and make sure I know what might be filling their daydreams, but those can usually be finished in the few hours of quiet before my family wakes. I haven't picked up books "for just me" in years. This last two weeks, with being snowed in, destroyed my carefully crafted resolve, and I have been FORCED to re-read many of my old favorites, and unfortunately, I think the addiction is in full swing again! Alcott, Tolkien, Stowe, Austin,Montgomery, even Shakespeare- have drawn me in this week and absorbed much too much of my attention...and I loved every minute of it! It actually started with the Twilight series a few weeks ago, as I HAD to read the books to censor certain chapters so Jasmine could read them per her request (don't ask why I then RE-READ them 3 times...yeah, all 4), but that seems to have tipped me right over the edge. Now I am horribly tempted to go spend a hundred bucks on Amazon to find more great books, and my question is- can I balance my love of all things fiction, with my other responsibilities? Should I attempt it? Is my life in a place, and my personal growth CAPABLE of moderation when the DRAW... of beautiful monologues, intriguing conspiracies, and lovely scenes that the human imagination paints more vibrantly than any movie set...is so strong? Can I "relish the bouquet without tasting the wine"? Truly, the drive to read "just one more chapter" for me is akin to an alcoholics drive to sit at the bar- or so I am told. Do I have the strength, can I "just say no"? This might be ridiculous to you, but in my list of Top Ten Things Wrong With Me- this is number 8. Is there anything you have been drawn to so much in life you had to quit cold turkey? And if so, did you ever outgrow it, and finally be able to enjoy the pastime, experience, whatever, in moderation? I would love to know. I truly believe God gave us such great imaginations because He has the best one, and I think He LOVES stories, so my love of the stories is not the problem- I don't think- it is my all-consuming NEED to finish it at all costs that terrifies me (picture 16 year old girl driving mother's minivan down populated highway with book in hand because it was "too good of a part to stop"...yeah, terrifying, guardian angels present for said teenager and all other drivers...praise God for His mercy!).

Well, Considering we have another 4 inches of snow on the ground this morning (in addition to the original 3 FEET), I believe today I will be FORCED to pick up another great book and test myself. So ask me this evening if the chores were completed, the children fed, presents wrapped...and what page I am on. Hehehehe

Monday, December 22, 2008


We use to have a 2 foot brick wall in front of the porch- hmmmm....where did it go?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Winter Blizzard...

What a day. We have had snow all week, but the 2 feet of snow today has topped my lifetime record. It is the most beautiful thing I have seen in a long time.
The power went out from 10:30 am to around 4, but even then, the warm wood stove, and blustery wind made the house still seem cozy, and having Steve and the kids all hunkered down in the living room, reading, napping, munching, it was still perfect.
The wonderful PUD got the power going again, and I could swear I heard the Hallelujah Chorus. It was hilarious. Then we made cheese zombies and tomato soup, and spent the evening with our favorite neighbors, Stef and Nick. I hate to say it, but I love being snowed in. The perfect excuse to do nothing but be with my family. Snowball fights and sledding are just icing.
Things have been so tough lately, mentally and spiritually, and it would be just like our God to set up situations that force me to reflect, and evaluate what I know is right. I have been looking around at the naked trees, and the debris and clutter all over the ground from the passing of Fall into Winter, and I can't help but feel sad at the losses this last year has brought, and the emptiness that this world sometimes hold, the "meanness" of people. But God reminds me that I can't run, I can't hide from His amazing goodness, and His great love. Thank you, Father, for an entire season to remind me of how faithful you are to take all things dead and broken, and renew them with life and vitality. Spring is always just around the corner for those who have put their trust in Jesus. May we all find our joy completely in the One who saved us.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow days...

Well, no sooner did I post my last blog- and one AM rolls around, and here is Jasmine, "Mom. Mom! My stomach hurts!" Blech! Barf! All over the place. Good times. It was a short lived illness, but it is so awful to see your children feel bad and not be able to do anything about it really- besides saltines and sprite. She did recover enough to enjoy the snow we have had all week, I am looking out at a fresh new layer from last night. For some reason, snow always lifts my spirits- everything looks clean and fresh, like a blank page in my life, a new start.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Out of the hole....

Wow...yeah. So, nearly 10 days later and I am finally resurfacing. It's so funny that we can go through all the motions of living- eating, drinking, cleaning, caring- and yet be a million miles away in our heads. I did the bare necessities all week, taxi service, youth helper, mom, wife, nurse- but my heart and mind always tucked safely away this week. This was a much needed sabbatical from real life, and I feel so refreshed! As long as I can remember, I have craved "alone-ness" at least every season, and the more entrenched in my responsibilities I have become, the more difficult it is to manage stealing even a few hours when this desire strikes. My whole life I have always felt guilty for my need to be alone- somehow extremely selfish for wanting to disappear from the world- the people world- at times. For wanting above all else, to be alone with my thoughts, read a good book, watch an old movie, write a story, or just stare at the ceiling. Sometimes my friends or husband have accused me of being depressed, but that has never been the case in these instances- when I am depressed and in a hole, I fill that alone time with frantic energy- worrying, cleaning, worrying, cooking, worrying, walking. But these little breaks are something entirely different- and entirely mine. As I have gotten older, that need has never really gone away, although now I can satisfy it with my husband and children still present because they are so much a part of me- but this is the first time that I don't feel apologetic for being self-absorbed. I feel a revelation coming on, so I will spare you the details, but God is so amazingly good, so infinitely kind- I can't put into words how thankful I am to be loved by my Creator, who so totally understands me, and my needs, and is willing to patiently teach me to understand and love myself and those around me. :)

Not to mention such a great day to end my little break on. It has been a blizzard up here all day, with fierce wind and snow, and times of beautiful calm and quiet. It was such a blessing to look out my window and see my kids and their cousins playing in the snow, laughing, wrestling with their dads and the big dogs. Note I was not in that horrible, cold, wet stuff- in addition to the Oregon coast, snow holds absolutely no draw for me anymore- I like to WATCH it, not TOUCH it. (snicker)I nearly died of frostbite just getting to the barn and carrying water buckets to my ponies(OF COURSE the pipe had to freeze in the barn). All in all, a fantastic week, a fantastic life, and a Glorious God to talk to who knows the desires of my heart.(Note- tomorrow is probably going to stink....hehehe That's the way it goes.)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Modern medicine- nothing like the old...

The human body will always amaze me. Even though I don't do cardiac nursing anymore, I like to keep up on what's happening because I find it so interesting. Apparently they have found that hypothermia is a good thing in some instances. The current method Legacy is using to save a person's brain when they are in cardiac arrest is to drop their body temperature around 91 degrees. Now, on a summer day, the outside air feels warm at 91- but our bodies register a chilly feeling at 96 degrees- you would say you were "freezing" at anything below it. Because blood and body functions slow down at 91 degrees, it helps keep brain cells from dying and being damaged by low oxygen levels. Cardiac arrest has a mortality rate of 90%- even when it happens while you are hospitalized. For those who do survive- without cooling, the memory loss and motor function disabilities are life altering.

Amazing stuff, and God knows every beat of your heart- he doesn't have to check your EKG and measure QRST intervals. :)Boggles my mind!

Here is the complete article if you are interested, a Gresham man's heart stopped while playing basketball- and partly thanks to "chilling", he is still here to tell about it. Thank you, Father, for the gift of research and medicine.

(The photo is just one of my favorites- of two of my FAVORITE people! Enjoy!)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

It keeps coming back...

I can't seem to get away from certain topics, and I have to say that is a God thing. The more I am forced to think about it and deal with it, the better my heart feels and the less it hurts. At the Zone yesterday, Tyler talked about how God created us and knows EVERY THING about us. Besides the inflammatory language, it was awesome- and so true.
The statement in this book was "In order to make an kind of human relationship work, there must be forgiveness as part of the mix someplace. We all make mistakes. Many things in life cannot be "made right". THe only answer for the human blundering and living is an honest act of forgiveness. It's outrageously costly...this cutting away from a person their wrong and letting them go free. But there is no other way to meaningful, honest, open, healing, wonderful relationships!"

"She who cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which she must pass herself."
-George Herbert

Wow- that applies to the church, to marriage, to everything. If I could just have that kind of attitude towards all my relationships.

God be with you, and have a great day!

"Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." Matt. 6:12

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


One of my favorite things about Christmas time is our tradition for advent. Since the kids were really little, we have rotated through these wonderful books- "Jotham's Journey, Bartholomew's Passage, and Tabitha's Travels". We light our advent wreath and read one chapter of the book each night, with the exciting story ending on Christmas morning. Before we open any presents, we complete the book- and the author has done such a fantastic job with joining the characters into the biblical story of the birth of Jesus. Jotham is a shepherd boy, Bartholomew is working in the inn, and Tabitha arrives with the wise men from the east. It's such a wonderful time for our family, to read a story, have a devotion, sing a carol and pray- I look forward to it every night no matter how tired I might be.
Tonight the devotion at the end of the chapter talks about grief, and the author uses scripture to encourage his readers to trust Jesus to heal all the hurts. He encourages us to talk with friends or family, and know that until we have gotten rid of all our anger and unforgiveness, true healing can never take place. It was so awesome, and such a reminder of what God has for us. He doesn't want us to be dried up, bitter people- lacking in love and zeal. He wants us to give and rejoice in the life He has provided, whether it is easy or not. What a blessing to be free to worship this amazing God- Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

All we need is a spirit like this...

I woke up this morning wondering what can be done about broken hearts. There are so many people out there feeling hurt by others, struggling with the inability to trust, or to love anymore, and it is so sad. Whether the betrayals they are dealing with are real or imagined, the hurt is undeniable, and it affects every aspect of their lives. It took me until now to realize there is no quick fix, and the only thing I can do for them is to pray. Pray that God would do for them, what he has done for the little gelding in the story below.His determination to survive, and his willingness to forgive and accept love- will give him a new life. I have read about Crystal Peaks Ranch for the last few years, but this story I had to share even for those non-horsey friends. Jesus is so relevant, and His ways are right, even if it doesn't feel that way now. Trust God's Word, and seek His people. I guarantee, you will see a miracle if you are looking. :)

"After nearly 14 years of equine rescue, I thought that I had seen it all, sadly...I WAS WRONG.

On October 18th, Troy and I were contacted by those in charge of recovering a small horse that was found by hunters wandering in the high wilderness of the Cascade Mountain range. Evident by his halter and dragging lead rope, the bay Arab gelding was clearly not wild...it was estimated that he had been wandering for several weeks...his wounds were severe...

His x-rays clearly showed where someone had shot him three inches behind his left eye. The trajectory of the bullet traveled through the top of his lower jaw, shattering it, and continued to penetrate his skull as it exploded into nearly three dozen-inoperable-fragments of jagged shrapnel...

It was hard to believe, looking at him for the first time, that he had survived for an undetermined amount of time with a horrifically infected leg wound, a broken jaw, a destroyed eye and lethal blood loss, all with an exploded bullet scattered throughout his head...it was a complete miracle he was standing at all!

It appeared that someone felt his leg wound was just too much for them to deal with; or perhaps they believed that it was a fatal wound. Somehow, they felt that loading up their friend and driving him to a remote location to be destroyed . . . was their best option. A 'best guess' is that they shot him in the head and fell unconscious from the impact. Bleeding profusely from his wound, it was believed that during this time, he bled out half of his blood volume. Thinking he was dead, the perpetrators left the scene. Miraculously, he woke up. Somehow summoning the strength to stand, he lurched to his feet and staggered away.

Even though his wounds are grave, he is not. He is continuing to make meaningful progress in his efforts to heal...Because of the severity of his injuries, his recovery will be long and intensive...

In these past days of spending time with our new boy, I have become very aware of something remarkable about him. He is courageous, he is a survivor, he has fought HARD to live, to keep going. Most horses would have perished when faced with just one of his symptoms. Yet, he survived what many would believe to be unthinkable odds. The more I ponder our gelding, the more I realize just how symbolic he is of a vast majority of people.

At some point in nearly each of our lives, we go through "horrible, unthinkable" times. We feel as if we have been lead out into the wilderness, perhaps by those we loved and trusted, badly beaten and left for dead. We stumble away, wandering within the desolation of loneliness, unable to help ourselves, unable to stop the 'hemorrhaging', unable to find our way home. The horizon begins to fade into gray. Death looms.

It is then, within our darkest night, our deepest wilderness, our greatest despair, when our hope is bleeding out . . . if we call on His name . . . He comes. Jesus comes into the wreckage of our heart, our blackest place, our wasteland of hopelessness . . . and He leads us home.

Like a soldier returning from battle, or a little horse from the wilderness, we too can fall into the welcome arms of the One who loves us. We, like the soldier or horse, might not look the same on the outside. When we come home from our 'battle in the wilderness', we might be scarred or disfigured, we might carry the marks of our wounding...

Learning from my own experiences, I now know that it's true, we can never be too wounded for the Lord to heal. We can never be too lost for Him to find. We can never be too broken for Him to love back to life. We can never fall so deep into despair, that His immeasurable love for us-each of us-is not deeper still. There is no such place of sorrow, no such wilderness of pain . . . that He cannot find us, help us stand up and lead us home. Because this little horse is so symbolic of this beautiful truth, we hope that you will be pleased to know that we have decided to name him in honor of those who have chosen to reach for the hand of the Lord and walk through their wilderness. His new name shall be . . . 'Hero.'

Written by Kim Meeder Taken from her post on www.crystalpeaksyouthranch.org"

Thank you, Lord- for being so faithful to us- for healing our broken hearts, our injured souls- and putting smiles back on our faces. God, we are able to love...because you truly first loved us. Make us a forgiving and generous people, make us willing and ready for whatever it is you call us to do- no matter how hard.

Here's a photo to make you laugh. Where some horses- or people- are so horribly neglected and abused, there are others- horse and human, who have found fun and love again. (This little filly is ok, they got her out without injury- but what a mess her curiosity got her in!)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Obama's cabinet- how depressing.

I need to learn not to turn the news on right after Bible time. It is too much of a downer! News in general is a bummer, but I thought it would be important to see Obama's elections- yeah, not so much. I could have done without and gotten the list of people later on. To sit here and listen to Obama's eloquent speech, and then see the complete opposite as he tried to answer reporter questions was more confirmation that America is undiscerning and sheep following a sheep. We needed a true shepherd, a leader that would know his own mind and hold to his convictions of what direction we should go- instead, we get "Obama worship"- following a man who changes his mind like most do our underwear, puts Hilary Clinton, a woman he attacked and caste doubt on her abilities in foreign policy a year ago, as his secretary of state. Everyone wants to pretend this is a "team of superstars", but how likely do you think it is that you can put a bunch of opinionated, ego maniacs into a room and actually get things done? And more importantly, how likely is it that Obama- a man who can't speak his mind clearly without having it written down- is going to get run over by these strong personalities?
Whatever, whatever. God is still on His throne, and His plans will not be hindered. It just makes me sad to see Americans follow blindly, and not question the dishonesty and trickery right in front of them.

(The pic is one of my friend a few years ago in AZ- I needed to remember how to laugh after listening to Obama. She is hilarious!)