November 26, 2009

Snapshots of the Week

Happy Thanksgiving!!!
(I think my Yankee candle says it all, actually)

And because this was too beautiful not to share with y'all:

Sunrise Over Oak Harbor
(taken yesterday morning while Heather and I waited for her shuttle)

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, full of good food and the company of dear ones. We sure did! I don't think I'll want to eat again until Christmas.

Wishing you all blessings and happy memories this Day of Gratefulness,

November 19, 2009

A Hiatus For Company

Just giving y'all the heads up that I will mostly likely be absent from Bloggie World for a few days. Maybe closer to a week.

A dear friend from college is coming to see me this weekend!!! She flies up on Saturday and will be staying with us till the day before Thanksgiving. I'm way-super-uber-totally-completely excited!! Can you tell? Jason and I will pick her up in Seattle Saturday morning, then the three of us are going to a Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert that afternoon. The rest of her stay will most likely involve baking, a wee bit of site-seeing (depends a lot on the weather), and going to see New Moon. Huzzah!

Thus, with company coming and all, my life kicks into high gear tomorrow: food shopping, getting the guest room ready, and preparing to leave Caleb with my in-laws alllllll day Saturday.

So if you're wondering where I am in the next few days, well, now you know. ;)

(I honestly wish I'd have the time to blog because lawdy! I have so many things I want to write about!!! But I think most of them will keep till after Thanksgiving, so check back with me then!)

November 17, 2009

Snapshot of the Week

Hmmm, I think I like this title better than that bland ol' "Photo of the Week" I used before. Henceforth, these posts shall be known as Snapshot(s) of the Week. Now go and do likewise. Er, wait . . .

Ahem. Sorry about that. Got a leetle carried away. Moving on . . .

My Table Looks Like it Belongs in a PreSchool
taken last night

Here's the little mastermind behind it all:

Someone just discovered the joys and thrills of playdough. Now it's all he wants to play with. Morning, noon, and night. And he can't even pronounce "playdough" properly.
But he's awfully cute when he tries. :)

November 16, 2009

Of Birthdays, Hikes, and New Beds

Good {Monday} afternoon, ya'll! A terribly windy morning has given way to a quiet, rainy afternoon here on the island and you know what? I'm lovin' it.

I think it only fair to tell you that there are three posts rumbling around my brain. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to write them all down as the week progresses, but for now, I thought I'd share some pics with you. Pictures have been noticeably absent in these here parts lately. But today they are making a comeback. :)

This goofy guy is my father-in-law. Saturday was his birthday. We celebrated at our house, with my mother-in-law's homemade lasanga, salad, rolls, and of course, cake.

See the cake? I made it myself. Jason helped decorate it. The only thing missing was the actual fisherman, but I wasn't too confident in my edible person-making skills. So I pretended that he'd gone to his truck for coffee. John, bless his heart, pretended right along with me. :)

My father-in-law is a huge blessing to my family. He's retired Navy, a man of integrity who lends his strength, leadership, and wisdom to the rest of his family. He belongs in Washington as much as any person can belong somewhere; he enjoys each season in turn. He fishes and crabs in the summer, hunts in the fall, does indoor projects during the winter, and grows tomatoes and strawberries in the spring.

He has a can-do attitude and knows what to do in almost any situation.

He loves his grandson and treats me like his own daughter.

Happy birthday, John!
We love you!

Earlier Saturday, the three of us ventured out for our first family hike in weeks (due to the sickies we caught, bad weather, and Jason working overtime). Caleb was a little stinker and didn't want to walk. Jason carried him most of the way. But we did make him walk a little.
I yikes da yeaves!

In other news, a few weeks ago Caleb made the transition to a "big boy bed." :) While this is old news to most of you, I never got around to posting the pictures from that first night. So here they are:

Uncle Mike's old twin, remade.

Caleb enjoys the expansive space of his new bed. Compared to his crib mattress, this is huge! I went with the safari theme because our little man loves animals so much. That first night, he couldn't stop pointing and naming them. So cute!

Of course, he doesn't always end up asleep in his bed. Or even on it. But that's a post for another day. ;)

And now, just for fun:
Look at those smiles!!!

I loves that little boy. Oh yes oh yes, I do!

Happy Monday, ya'll!

November 12, 2009

In the Spirit of Honesty . . .

I have a confession to make, friends. I try to keep this blog as real and honest and authentic as possible, but I must admit I failed at all three with my last post. For that, I apologize. I haven't had much time to blog this week and on Tuesday, I was feeling pressure to post something. Not pressure from any of you; pressure I had put on myself. This resulted in the Belgium Waffle Days post, which, if I had been paying any attention at all, I would have realized I'd already posted five months ago.


I have no problem sharing articles with ya'll that I have written in the past. But to post the exact same article on the exact same blog twice? That's a cardinal sin in my writer's handbook.

I'm sorry. I got lazy.

I also . . . got . . . proud? See, I'm terribly fond of my Belgium Waffle article. It's one of my favorites and, I think, one of my best. So when the pressure peaked on Tuesday, and I said to myself "Post SOMETHING!", I replied with "Ok! I'll take a short cut and post something I've already written . . . I know! The Belgium Waffle post! It's one of my best! It'll make me look good and not like a lazy writer who doesn't make the time to write original posts."

Except that, well, it did make me look like that anyway. I apologize friends. For the pride and the deja vu. For being lazy and trying to put on a facade. That's not what this blog is about. And that's certainly not, hopefully not, what I'm about, either.

~ ~ ~

And now for something original. :)

This has been one crazy week. Not in a bad way . . . just topsy-turvy, forget-what-day-it-is type of week.

For starters, Jason worked nine straight days at the bank last week. The bank rolled out some new software and the whole tech department got called in to work Saturday and Sunday. Wednesday (Veteran's Day, which was . . . yesterday. Oh my.) was his first day off. After a weekend that wasn't really a weekend and a day off in the middle of the week, can I just say that my days are super-uber mixed up? Cuz they are.

Then there was yesterday. I think I was home all of four hours yesterday, from when I woke up to when I went to bed. Women's bible study at church all morning, home for lunch, all three of us went to the in-laws for a while, time at the park, home, Wal-Mart, home, Saar's Market, home again . . . you get the picture.

Meh, I'm looking forward to the weekend. It's coming soon, right? I sure hope so. We could use a couple days off. In a row. Together as a family. Ya know?

November 10, 2009

Belgium Waffle Days

This was originally written for and published in my church's newsletter in 2007. I'm re-posting it here for all of you because, quite frankly, I needed the reminder today.

I have a culinary confession to make.

I hate Belgium waffles.

At least, I don’t like the kind they serve at restaurants. I ordered waffles on the menu once; out came the waitress ten minutes later with my breakfast, full of squares the size of asteroid craters. Another ten minutes passed before I could butter each individual hole. Then I spent an extra five minutes trying to pour an adequate amount of syrup over them. By then my waffle, all the way from Belgium, was cold. And soggy.

I never ordered them again.

Now I do like frozen waffles. The kind you put in the toaster. This particular variety has much smaller, more manageable holes. Butter spreads easily over the squares and I don’t have to worry about drowning them in syrup. Breakfast with frozen waffles is quick, easy, and satisfying. And if you can find them with chocolate chips already baked in, well! You can avoid the syrup nightmare entirely.

I wish God shared my views on breakfast. When He is serving up the circumstances of my life, I wish He would remember that I don’t like to work for my food. I want my patience to spread easily. I don’t want too much conflict poured over my life.

Wouldn’t it be great if every day could be a frozen waffle day? But alas! Even when God is the Chef of your life, Belgium waffles happen.

A close friend betrays your trust. Your four-month-old spends the day inconsolable unless you’re holding him. Dinner burns on the stove. Unexpected insurance bills arrive in the mail. Your temper causes an unpleasant fight with your spouse.

Some Belgium waffles are our own making. Others are outside our control. But whether large or small, conflict is the price we pay for our mistake in Eden, so long ago. Jesus very wisely warned us “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). But thankfully the verse doesn’t end there. He completes this discouraging thought with hope: “But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Jesus also promises a way to stomach the Belgium waffles that come into our lives: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). When conflict is on the menu, Jesus promises us a side of Grace and an extra helping of Power to get us through the difficult situation.

Translation? We never eat alone.

Whatever waffles are on our menu for today, Christ is there, sitting across the table, helping us to accept them and digest them. He is, after all, the Master Chef and Master Physician. Nothing is put on our plate without His approval.

November 5, 2009

El Proyecto Numero Dos

Wow, I haven't attempted anything in Spanish in a long while . . . but don't worry, this post will be in English. Mostly. :)

The wind kicked up last night big time and carried on throughout today without letting up. No rain, just wind. Wind and clouds scurrying across the sky like they had somewhere to be.

Perhaps they were late for a very important date.

Oh, I kid.

Anyway, on account of the weather, Caleb and I decided to work on little projects (los proyectos) around the house.

Ok, I decided. But he helped! Honest! Look:

This is a bucket of Caleb's toys. They came in from the backyard two days ago. They've lived outside all summer long, but since the weather's turning wet, I figured it was time to bring them in for the winter, lest the elements put them in an early grave.

Problem is, they brought some of the backyard in with them. I've been telling Caleb for two days that he couldn't play with them, because I didn't want the dirt all over the house. Well, today we figured we'd rescue 'em from the bucket and give 'em a bath.

Caleb got in the tub, too, just to make sure they got good and scrubbed. He's such a thorough little guy. ;)

Here are the clean ones, drying on a towel. Here, also, is a rare look at my bathroom.

But the biggie, the Proyecto Numero Dos mentioned earlier, is this:
The Storage Room
(Please don't run screaming.)

You know what's sad? I took this picture after spending 45 minutes cleaning, organizing, and unpacking. Not that you can tell.
The Storage Room is our Last Frontier. Since we moved in, it has served as our catch-all and surrogate garage. All the boxes still waiting to be unpacked, random junk that hasn't found a home yet, stuff that won't see the light of day for many moons, this room has it all. But . . .
. . . I would like to change that. Or at least to bring a little more calm to the chaos.
When I'm done, it will still be a storage room. But hopefully, we can also use it as a sitting room (maybe for morning devotions??), an extra guest room when we have extra guests (it's big enough to accomodate our queen-sized air mattress), and a craft room for Caleb to use for playdough, art projects, and drawing.
I'm not ambitious. Not at all. Why do you ask?
Hehehe. Ahem.
Since Proyecto Numero Uno is out of my hands at the moment (waiting on John to make final drawings/cut list/price estimate), the Storage Room is filling in as Numero Dos. Because obviously, I have so much free time on my hands.
It will be a fun room when it's all finished, and yes, I promise to take pictures along the way so you can see.
Well, the wind is still a howlin' and bedtime, it be a' comin' (at least for certain almost-three-year-olds). Night, y'all!

November 4, 2009

Photo of the Week

November Blossoms

Look what I found in our backyard! I have no idea what kind of flowers these are, but aren't they beautiful? A patch of pure white in a dirty, grass-stained world.
You know what I love best about these?
In the midst of gray, rainy days with temperatures in the 40s and 50s,
somehow these little blossoms have found a way to bloom.

And I can't tell you how that thought encourages me today. :)

November 3, 2009

Thank You

Thank you, Jesus, for the glow of sunrise over the mountains this morning. For the sunshine that's brightened my day. For the joy of seeing a blue sky. For the two exceptionally wonderful days in a row I've had, and for the promise of a third.

Our pastor gave an interesting sermon on Sunday. The first Sunday of every month is Communion Sunday, and this last week Pastor Lawler preached on remembering what Jesus has done for you. Not just in a communion sense, not just in the thank-you-for-dying-for-my-sins way. But for our lives overall.

Thank you, Jesus, that I am loved by my husband and by my son. Thank you, Lord, that I am loved by my parents and step-parents. Thank you, oh thank you! that I am loved by my in-laws. Thank you that I am loved by my friends in San Diego, by my friends scattered across the U.S., by the friends I am making here, and by bloggie friends and World of Warcraft guildies whom I have never met.

As Christians, we tend to emphasize the picture of the Cross and rightly so. For us, the Cross is our redemption and our hope. But it is not the end of our journey. Rather, it is the beginning. We find life at the Cross; we find forgiveness. But where do we go from there? At the point of our conversion, we are still liars, cheats, and adulterers. We still struggle with anger, impatience, greed, envy, discontent, depression, bitterness, disappointment, and selfishness.

Or do we?

Thank you, Jesus, that I have so much to look forward to. Heather coming to visit in three weeks, Mom and Harry coming for Christmas, the holidays spent here in our new home, our son's third birthday looming before us, a construction project that will be both exciting and fun.

Yes, we do struggle. But praise and glory! the Lord doesn't leave us there. He doesn't bring us to the foot of the Cross, forgive us, and then say "Ok, have a nice life." Nope. He doesn't. The Cross is simply the beginning, the starting place from which Christ begins a good work in us. Rather than leave us to wallow in our self-made hells, He grants us a second chance and begins to change those things that make us miserable.

And that process can take a lifetime.

Thank you, Jesus, for this sunny day. For reprieve from rain. For strengthening my heart, for steadying my feet. For guiding my path so I do not fall. For watching my back and letting me know when I've gone too far. For grace, ever and always, new every morning.

It is on those things that our pastor encouraged us to dwell this past Sunday. For the many ways, tiny and momentous alike, that Jesus has shaped, changed, improved, and saved our lives.
His sermon made me think of a phrase I heard in a bible study by Anne Graham Lotz. She encouraged us to "live a thank-you life to Jesus." That phrase has stuck with me, though sadly, I often forget to act upon it. What would such a life look like?

Thank you, Jesus, for this beautiful place we now call home. For the ocean, always near. For the mountains, sometimes shrouded but never far off. For the trees and lakes, for the hiking trails we enjoy, and for the seashells we collect. Thank you even for the wind and rain, for I have seen a wild, unearthly beauty in them that I had not thought possible. In so doing, I have glimpsed another side of You.

I want to live such a life. This is not just about being grateful; it is also about remembering what He has done. I want those memories to affect me. I want them to sink in deep, to be etched permanently in my mind. I want them to inspire trust when I face a new challenge or threat.

I want to remember. And not just on Communion Sunday.

"Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord.
Renew them in our day, in our time make them known."
Habakkuk 3:2
"The Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes."
Psalm 118:23
"And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.'"
Luke 22:19