Sunday, August 30, 2009

Praying for Your Kids Monday
Living with Purpose

Since we've gone all Little House on the Prairie I've missed the news the most. I really missed it this last week as Senator Kennedy lost his battle with brain cancer and I didn't get to watch any of the coverage, tributes or funeral coverage. Finally this morning I had some quiet time to sit with a cup of coffee and read coverage, look at pictures and see what was the highly anticipated eulogy from President Obama--it did not disappoint.

I was struck by a beautiful passage; found the text online, read it to Jeff and we both teared up at the eloquence and truth of it.

We cannot know for certain how long we have here. We cannot foresee the trials or misfortunes that will test us along the way. We cannot know what God's plan is for us.

What we can do is to live out our lives as best we can with purpose, and with love, and with joy. We can use each day to show those who are closest to us how much we care about them, and treat others with the kindness and respect that we wish for ourselves. We can learn from our mistakes and grow from our failures. And we can strive at all costs to make a better world, so that someday, if we are blessed with the chance to look back on our time here, we can know that we spent it well; that we made a difference; that our fleeting presence had a lasting impact on the lives of others.

As I sat teary eyed on the couch I prayed that I could live my life with such purpose and I prayed my children would be able speak of a godly legacy I left them. Tonight the President's words still ring in my head; I long for Samuel and Emily to live lives that leave lasting impacts on the lives of others. I long for them to live with the promise of eternity with Jesus in their hearts and God's purpose at the forefront of their minds.

Loving God, only You know our days. You hold the universe in Your hands yet You care enough to have counted my days before time began. I thank You for __________ and I thank You that You knew him even before he was created in my womb. Thank You for knowing every hair on his head; thank You for having plans for him to prosper. I pray You will write Your name on his heart so that he may follow You all the days of his life. I pray __________ will live his life with purpose. I pray he will grow to be a man of God who brings honor to Your name and points others to Christ. To You be all the glory, Amen.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I have been on a bit of a blogging hiatus lately. It hasn't been intentional but a little bit of a "blog clog" in my brain and a lot of outside factors pulling my time and keeping me from writing. One of those things was selling our car and then looking and buying another one, which I had planned on writing all about today. But then while doing my Bible study on prayer a verse jumped out at me and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Phillipians 4:6).

We've all read this verse so many times but let's take a better look at the "petition" part. defines "petition" as a formally drawn request, often bearing the names of those making the request. This bearing the names of those making the request got me thinking about my names in Christ and what it might look like if when I prayed I remembered who I was in Christ. I've been thinking about it all day, actually, can't get it off my mind because I have a feeling it could revolutionize the way I pray and I'm excited about it. Here are some thoughts going through my brain on who I am in Christ; I am...

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace. Ephesians 1:7

Spending eternity in heaven
I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. John 6:47

Deeply Loved
Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 51:10

The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Psalm 34:7

Provided for
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Matthew 6: 28-30

For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. 2 Chronicles 16:9

Chosen and adopted
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. Ephesians 1: 4-6

Free of condemnation
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8: 1-2

Neil Anderson says in his book Victory Over the Darkness, "The more you reaffirm who you are in Christ, the more your behavior will begin to reflect your true identity". So what about my prayer behavior? How does praying with my identity in mind change the way I pray? It should change everything about the way I pray! It takes the focus off of me and shifts it to God's will and God's glory! Instead of praying for my own health, wealth, comfort and security I would pray God's will because I would know without a doubt that God's purposes are already being met in my life. Prayer becomes a time of communion and conversation; of thanksgiving and praise; of supplication for His will, not my own, to be done.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Praying for Your Kids Monday
Self-Control Over Emotions

Somewhere in Alabama Meme is saying "oh bless her heart" because I am THE LAST PERSON who should be giving advice on controlling their emotions. So I won't give advice; I'll simply say we should pray for our kids to have control over their emotions.

You see at our house my kids see their Mama walking around with her heart on her sleeve. If I'm mad, they know it. If I'm sad, they know it. If I'm happy, they know it. I wouldn't say I'm moody (and those of you who would should watch it) but I do wear my heart and emotions on my sleeve. So it is no surprise to me (or my husband, or my mother, or my best friend) that both of my kids tend to be a little on the emotional side.

Jeremiah 17:8 instructs us to be like trees firmly planted and I believe it can apply to our emotions. While God gave us emotions and created us to be passionate beings, He never intended for our emotions to control us. Mad, sad, grieving, hurt, depressed-- God longs for us and our children to call upon the wisdom He freely gives us so that we can control our emotions rather than vice-versa.

Lord God thank You for creating my children with hearts that can feel every emotion under the sun; I know You will teach them powerful lessons through love, loss, pain, and joy. Thank You for giving us Your Son Jesus who is our stable Rock in the peaks and valleys of life. I pray You will guide my children to have self-control in their emotions and that as they grow they will rely on Your Spirit and wisdom to help them not be controlled by their emotions. Amen.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

And we have a winner...

After careful review Hot Jeff decided they were all funny and to give you all a Starbucks card. After I slapped him silly and pinned him down (which he kind of liked) he has picked 2 winners, a tie!!

Our two fabulous winners are Amber Goodrum and Valerie Hibler!

Amber's comment was, "Dad gum, Hot Jeff. I'll get off the computer. You didn't have to taser me." and Valeries's was "Salem Mom of two tragically electrocuted while blogging...Her three year old son unknowingly spilled coffee on her laptop, then rode off into the sunset on his Lightning McQueen scooter".

Your cards are in the mail ladies (you'll both have to email me privately with your address). Congratulations!

Thanks to everyone for playing; that was great fun!

Monday, August 17, 2009


This weekend I went to a Women's Football workshop down at OSU in Corvallis and as you may have guessed, it was all women. About 200 women ranging from ages 18-70ish. It was super fun, went all day long and was a great time with my mother-in-law Cheryl and sister-in-law Jodi.

Here's the confession: I'm a sizer-upper. I didn't know this about myself until just this weekend but I realized it after I walked in to the sign in area and started sizing up all the women around me. Who is older, who is younger? Who is fatter, who is thinner? Who is taller, who is shorter? AND, to make things even worse, I was placing myself higher than them as I placed myself on the chart with them. "Well I'm chubbier than her but she's not all that cute." Oh, she's cute but I'm younger." I'm so ashamed to admit this to you but I was even more ashamed to confess it to God.

Its a humbling thing to have to tell the Creator you judged His work unfairly. And not only did I judge it unfairly but I really have no business judging it all. Romans 14:10 reminds me, "But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.". Ugh.

I began thinking about what it would be like if I had walked in to that room and saw what God saw. What a completely different and really beautiful perspective to walk in and see 200 women who are dearly loved and treasured by the King. The Father who made them lovingly looks upon them with adoration; they are His daughters who He has died for and made co-heirs with Christ. "The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory" (Romans 8: 16-17).

I'm certain that if I could see what God sees I would have seen they were His special creation but I also would have seen that they were all broken in some way, just like me. Isn't it my own brokenness that would cause me to be so insecure in myself that I would have to judge others harshly so that I would feel better about myself? Maybe I would have seen the woman who was just as insecure about her appearance as I was. Maybe I would have seen the woman who was so happy to get out of the house because she and her husband fight all the time. Maybe I would have seen the woman who was fighting cancer, or the woman who just lost her job or the woman who has lost her way. I don't know what these ladies' circumstances are but I know we are all broken, we're all hurting in some way and we all need Jesus.

I'm disappointed and ashamed in the way my thought pattern went on Saturday morning but I'll be honest, I've been asking God to show me blind spots and He did. 1) I have a tendency to be judgemental and 2) it comes from a place of my own insecurities. Here's the best part: I am forgiven and get a clean slate. Secondly, God hasn't given up on me. When I asked Him to show me my blind spots He didn't blow me off and tell the Holy Spirit, "Don't bother, she's hopeless". He's keeping His promise, "He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ, right up to the time of His return, developing that good work and perfecting it and bringing it to full completion in you" (Philippians 1:6).

Could you use a reminder today that God hasn't given up on you yet either? Maybe you're a catty hag like me and need forgiveness and a fresh start; try praying this "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me" (Psalm 51:10). Maybe you're reading this and identifying more with the broken part. If so, let the Psalmist remind you "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds" (Psalm 147:3). And couldn't we all use a reminder of God's astounding love for us? It just never gets old: "Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies" (Psalm 36:5).

I love Paul's prayer for the church of Ephesus and I pray it today for you, "And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God" (3: 17-19).

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Praying for Your Kids Monday
Praying self-control for your kid's spending

If you're the praying mom of a teenager you will no doubt smirk at this story because for sure your teenager is saving for much bigger things but here you go anyway.

At breakfast this morning Samuel announced he would like us to get him a Tigger & Pooh kite. Jeff explained that wasn't in our budget this month and perhaps he should check his piggy bank to see how much money he has so he could buy it himself. This was perhaps the best thing anyone could have told Samuel because 1) I'm not sure he knew he could spend that money and 2) he doesn't know how to count money so he thinks he has a lot. At least enough to buy a kite.

While we sat discussing the big kite purchase Jeff and I warned Samuel that if he planned on getting a kite like his former one that he may want to rethink it. I said it was a "cheap" kite and broke easily. "Remember?" I asked. He did. We then reminded him he had worked hard to save his money, had previously been saving it for when we go to Disney World, and that it may be foolish to spend his money on a kite he knew wouldn't last for very long. I suggested that if he really wants a kite, maybe to keep saving and buy a nice one that he would get more use out of.

The jury is still out on what he decides to do since when we started to count his money his sister came over, scooped it up and started throwing it at the cat.

Its never too early to start teaching your kids about wise spending habits. We live in a society where kids are accosted as early as their freshman year in college to get a credit card and there are advertisements everywhere enticing them to buy the newest, trendiest, "gotta have" item. Before your child has even graduated from college they can have adversely effected their credit so badly that it will haunt them when they go to buy a car and house.

It takes a lot of self-control to tithe, save, live within your means and use your money to help build the Kingdom of God...we better get praying!

God, You are the giver of all things, including our money. I pray You will help me to teach _________ to be a wise steward of her money. I pray You will give her wisdom and discernment when it comes to saving and spending and I pray she will be generous when it comes to building Your Kingdom. Amen.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Funny Friday's Caption Contest

I'm starting a new thing: every now and then when I don't have anything to write about and it is a Friday I'll do something fun like this: a caption contest!! WooHoo. Taking a page out of Amber's playbook and not being too ashamed to put ANY picture of myself up on the you go.

  • All entries must be made as a comment on the blog (so everyone can read them). If you don't have a google account then leave your comment as "Anonymous" but be sure and sign your name and give your email address.
  • All entries must be made by 11:59 (PST) Monday night.
  • Winner, chosen by me and Hot Jeff, gets a $5 Starbucks coffee card.
  • You can make more than one entry.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Childhood Truths
by Samuel

It has come to my attention that my loving mother has been trying to donate me to science. Well guess what Mom? I'm going to tuck this little nugget away and someday when you are old and grey, you need to be spoon fed
and your bladder is failing I will pull this little trump card out...

"Oh Mom, I'd love to have you come live with us but
I was thinking of donating you to science instead".

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I called all around today and no one is accepting donations of 3 year olds. You can be paid for your plasma but no one, and I mean no one, will take a 3 year old off your hands. And so much for science; they will take 2 year olds and they will take 4 year olds but gave me a firm "not on your life" when I said he was potty trained and came with his own scooter.

Only 8 more months until he's 4. And so help me...if things don't change when he turns 4 then EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU WHO PROMISED ME it gets better when they turn 4 better watch out because I will have a score to settle.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Bug asked me last week how my gardening was going and I realized I hadn't put anything on the blog about it in a really long time. I'd like to tell you that I've been receiving a ton of emails requesting information on my garden but I haven't. Not a one. And to punish you for your lack of interest I'm going to write about it. All week long. Every day, every post.

No, come back. Cooooooome back. Alright, we'll compromise--just the one gardening post today.

Here's Samuel with some of our early bounty. A delicious zucchini who found a home in Neighbor Melissa's spaghetti sauce, one tasty cuke that I ate with a little salt while I made lunch one day and basil that sat in my fridge until the leaves turned brown and I threw it away. I had hoped to make pesto with it. Don't cry for my basil; I have more basil than I know what to do with. If I weren't so lazy and if pine nuts grew on trees I would start my own pesto processing plant. That's how much basil I have.

Ah, another lovely cucumber accompanied by a lemon cucumber. I love, love, love lemon cucumbers which is a good thing because I have a lot of them. The kids like to pick them and eat them like apples. Hooray for lemon cucumbers!
Here's a fun fact: I am growing zucchini in very, lets say, interesting shapes. Two words: Doctor Ruth.


And just because its my blog and I can do what I want, here are some pictures of my really cute kids. I'm actually just posting pictures of them as reverse psychology because right now I WANT TO BEAT SAMUEL WITHIN AN INCH OF HIS LIFE. It is 9:30 and he has just come down stairs for at least the 12th time. Jeff told him he needed to get some sleep because he was going to be tired and cranky tomorrow. Samuel's response: "That doesn't make any sense".

Where does he come up with this stuff?

Baby Emily looking all sweet and sassy in her sunglasses. And seriously, how cute is that outfit? If I were to completely lose what little good sense I have and wear an outfit like that out in public I would be arrested. Arrested, put away for life, and forced to watch episodes of What Not to Wear 24/7. Stacy London makes me want to ram screwdrivers in my ears so that coupled with what little good sense I have, keeps me from wearing an outfit like this.

Reverse psychology. Not working.

Still not working...very glad his Dad is dealing with him right now.

Ok, how tired do you have to be to fall asleep while eating? I fell asleep at Disney World once but I have never fallen asleep eating. 3 year olds are an enigma to me. I'm thinking of donating this one to science.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Praying For Your Kids Monday
"Don't Sass Me";
Praying for self-control over how our kids speak

The last fruit of the Spirit we were praying for our children was self-control. Ah, good ol' self-control (she says with a handful of M&M's in her mouth)... One little fruit with so much jammed packed into it. Hence, we're going to spend the next few weeks praying for specific areas in which our children need self-control. This week: you guessed it, in the way they speak.

Our words have the power to bless or curse and the earlier our children learn this the better off they will be (read more about our words blessing or cursing here). The Bible has a lot to say about taming our tongues/speaking kindly/speaking wisely but perhaps none so popularly quoted as James. James is so aware of tongue's power that he devotes several passages warning of its strong influence. I am particularly moved by this passage, "but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be" (James 3:8-9).

Perhaps this passage strikes me because I am guilty of this every day; praising God one minute and saying something negative about someone in the very next breath. What kind of example am I setting for my kids? Not a very good one. 1) I am disobeying God. 2 ) I am modeling gossip or negative talk. 3) I am acting hypocritical. I have to admit, the more I have thought about this post in the last couple of days I see that I can't pray this for my kids without praying it for myself as well. Maybe this is an area you have a lot of self-control in and if it is I admire you, however, I think a lot of us probably struggle in this area and so this week's prayer will be for us and for our kids.

Lord, I long to be a godly example to my kids; I want them to see me using my words to bless others and glorify You so will You please help me to be sensitive this week to the words I use in speaking to and about others. I pray for ________ this week to begin to understand the power his words have. I pray you'll give us opportunities this week to talk about taming our tongues and blessing others with our words. Thanks for never giving up on us. Amen.

Listen to Brian Condello's sermon "Say What?" here.
Read 20 Resolutions on Taming the Tongue here.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Montana Road Trip--The Conclusion

Well thank goodness the trip wasn't all nursing home all the time. Even though my Mom was working during the weekdays we still got our evenings and one whole weekend with her. She also took the Friday we were there off. Nana, as my kids call her, is madly in love with my kids. I'm an only child hence making them her only grandchildren. To say she is nuts about them is the understatement of the century.

Samuel slept with Nana the whole time we were there and they were both in sheer heaven. Think ice cream sundae with sprinkles and cookie crumbles and chocolate syrup with a side of Doritos and washing it down with apple juice that isn't watered down and you may come close to how Samuel felt about sleeping in Nana's "big bed".

I love this picture of the 3 of them in the nursing home's garden. They are looking at ladybugs.

No one will believe this but by "total accident" our spontaneous trip coincided with Park City Daze and yes, that is days spelled like daze. Or perhaps I should say, 'spelt like dayz' because I'm quite sure somewhere when the concept of Park City Daze originated the conversation went like this,

"We should have some sort of festival where people come from the two bars in town, together for one night, in the middle of the one main road and drink and dance. And it will last all day long and we'll even have a parade with like the one fire engine and the one ambulance and they can drive down main street and throw candy."

"Yes, and we can call it Park City Days".

"But its only one day".

"Well then lets spell it with a "z".

And then there were a lot of high fives and beer can toasting.

First of all, why do I look so pregnant in this picture? Secondly, even though it was Park City Daze, the trip was centered around visiting Gigi but BFF Traci was able to meet me for breakfast one morning. Traci has been my BFF since the 4th grade when we both moved to Park City in the middle of the school year. We moved within one week of each other and knew we were kindred spirits the day we both wore our hair in pony tails with 4 braids. Awe.Some. I'll go ahead and save you some brain power as I know you're still processing the math of my kids in the car for 17 hours and tell you that "since the 4th grade" is equivalent to 22 years. 22 years Traci and I have been BFF's. 154 in dog years.

In 154 dog years we have seen each other through dozens of boyfriends and subsequent break ups, high school graduation, college graduations, several moves, 3 marriages, 1 divorce, 3 kids and 6 Sawyer Brown concerts. Traci is my North Star.

One hot afternoon while Gigi napped, my Auntie Kathy came out and we loaded the kids and Nana and headed to the Yellowstone River to wade in the water and catch some Vitamin D. Cool water, lots of laughs and at the end of the afternoon no one was sunburned or had drowned. In Montana we call that a successful trip to the river.

This picture really has nothing to do with the next vignette, I just loved that Jeff could sit down and eat 4 ears of Farmer Richardson's corn without stopping to take a drink or a breath. Hot Jeff hearts corn on the cob. Hot Jeff eats corn on the cob without butter or salt--I think he may be a communist. Paula Deen wouldn't let him within 30 feet of her home.

Ok, here's how I tie in the next story: one night we had Mark and Jami Broyles over for dinner and we barbecued and had fresh corn.

Mark and Jami are central characters in the Hot Jeff and Jen love story. If it weren't for them I would have never gone to Alaska and would have never met Jeff, the dead sexiest man alive.

Jami and I met in college and have been dear friends ever since. Mark was Jami's high school sweetheart, sigh. Jami is the type of friend that no matter how long its been since we have talked we can hook up in person or on the phone and its like we haven't spent one minute apart. Jami's gentle spirit is a wonderful balance to my wild one. Mark was Jeff's roommate in Alaska (at the sport fishing camp where we all worked) in the summer of '96. Jami and I weren't up there that summer, we didn't go until '97. AND, the summer of '97 is from here on out known as the Summer of Looooove! In '97 Mark and Jami were newlyweds which left me with a lot of time to myself on a remote island. Jeff befriended me and the rest is Summer of Looooove history.

Alas, we come to the end of this story. It ends much the same way it began: Jeff and I driving on a combined 4 hours of sleep and waking our midgets up at an ungodly hour to drive 940 miles. The only difference is it took us 18 hours to get home instead of 17. Thank you Portland traffic. Can I get a collective groan?

I'll leave you with this little gem from my verbally advanced 3 year old. As we woke his sweet, sleeping body and put him in the carseat he stuck a thumb in his mouth with one hand and waved and blew kisses to Nana with the other. He tilted his head to lean on the seat and closed his eyes as we drove out of the sleeping town of Park City. About 4 minutes onto I-90 as our car began to climb the big hill that would take us west to Columbus his little voice said from the back, "Mama, remember last time we went to Nana's house and we went to the airport"? I told him I did remember that and he replied, "Yeah, me too. We should do that again; its faster".
Gigi-- Montana Road Trip, Part Two

I would like to write that Gigi was on her death bed, we went and saw her, she's better and I'm happy. I cannot imagine the amount of flack I would get from you chumps if I went and pulled a stunt like that. You were all so kind with your comments and emails regarding Gigi and I just love all of you for it. Its just that its kind of a long story with a lot of medical jargon and the ending makes me cry and I will have a hard time making it funny but here goes.

Gigi may have been faking the I'm-Going-To-See-Jesus deal just to get us out there for her birthday.

Ok, not true. Just me trying to make this story funny. The truth is once we got there it was as awful as I thought it was going to be. She was so nauseated, so sick, so depressed. She rallied for us but it was evident she was feeling really crappy. My precious Mom, who by this time was so overwhelmed she could barely speak coherently, called a meeting of all the who's who at the nursing home for a meeting on Friday (we got there late Tuesday night and went to see Gigi first thing Wednesday morning. Keep up.). Friday was also Gigi's birthday and she couldn't keep anything down, was struggling to stay awake and was overwhelmed by the company, phone calls and excitement of the day. She tried to make it to the in-house meeting but got so sick she had to be taken back down to her room.

The meeting was great, I mean really positive. The ladies working Gigi's case are an impressive bunch of women and after reviewing everything decided perhaps her Lanoxin, a medicine for her CHF, was making her toxic. And a little side note, if one more of you teases me for saying Gigi had a congenital heart disease instead of congesitive heart failure I'm going to beat all of you. You can read all about Lanoxin making you toxic here. Sho' nuff, a simple blood test showed Gigi was toxic from the Lanoxin. And seriously, every time I tell someone that Gigi was toxic I want to bust out in Britney's "Toxic" song. Shout out to you Brit. Also, try saying "toxic from the Lanoxin" 10 times fast.

So by Saturday morning they knew Gigi was toxic and had adjusted the meds. By THAT AFTERNOON she was feeling a little better. Amazing. By Sunday she was not vomiting, had eaten breakfast and sat in the courtyard with us while the kids rode their bikes (they have a great courtyard area for the residents). By Monday, our last day, she felt like leaving the center and hanging out at my Mom's house. Can you believe that? I could not believe it. She was perky and had an appetite. Wow. What a difference taking you off of the medicine designed to save your life but is really killing you can make.

So yes, Gigi is better for now. Bottom line, she still has congestive heart failure and a whole host of other things wrong with her. On top of all of that she is in chronic pain so I get it that she is in the twilight of her life but somehow, some-amazing-God-gifted-how, I am at peace.
One night, for some reason, we had 2 cars there. Ours and my Mom's. We were packing up to leave and Jeff suggested he and Nana take the kids home and I stay and visit. I gladly took him up on it. After they left I moved from the chair to the foot of the bed where Gigi lay stretched out. We sat and visited for a while when she stretched out her arm and patted it, motioning me to come and lay with her. So this 32 year old adult woman curled up next to her Grama like I was 4 again. I laid my head in the crook of her arm and chest and she tickled my face. She said it reminded her of when I was a little girl and she would babysit me and I would sleep in her bed with her. She told me I was particularly afraid of thunderstorms and would sometimes lay on her arm so long it would fall asleep but she was afraid if she moved me off of it I would wake up and be afraid again.

That night after I had left and was driving back home to my Mom's I realized that when Gigi dies I will be at peace. No regrets, just peace. Jehovah Shalom, the great God of peace gave me an amazing gift, one that right now I can't even fully appreciate but I know that someday I will bask in it. For now, I store it close to my heart; I know its there and I know someday I will call upon it in the midst of immense sorrow and loss. For now, what I carry outwardly is deep gratitude for the peace that's tucked away.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Getting There-- Montana Road Trip, Part One

Now I know sometimes I give my kids a bad rap; its all a part of my drunk-mom-whose-kids-make-her-a-little-crazy schtick but I know you all know I'm not really drunk all the time and I adore my children and here's why: because they were perfect angels for a 17 hour car ride. SEVENTEEN HOURS IN A HONDA ACCORD BACKSEAT. For those of you who are a little slow on the uptake, that's 17 hours. As in 17 hours. Like only 7 hours short of a whole day. 17 hours.

We started as all good road trips do: going to bed at midnight and getting up at 2. We woke the kids up at 2:50 and were on I-5 by 3:20. As we picked their innocent, sweet, sleeping bodies up they both looked at us like "I'm sorry I didn't pick up my toys like you asked, but this seems a little extreme". Several minutes into the drive Samuel exclaimed, "I know its a long drive to Nana's house but I don't really want to sleep". And friends, he pretty much kept to his word. For 17 hours.

I'm going to save you all the boring details but I will tell you this: bribery was involved. And new toys from the $1 store at every state line. And Bob the Builder. A lot of Bob the Builder. Perhaps too much Bob the Builder. I also had the entire snack aisle from Walmart on the floor of the backseat and if ever we heard a hint of whining we said, "Who wants a snack? How about some gummy worms? Peanut butter crackers? Ooh, what's this? Grapes!" For Samuel and Emily it was the closest they will ever get to being back in the womb: not a lot of room to move and a constant flow of food. The whir of the tires on the highway was the perfect background music like that of my blood flow as they lived in my belly. Hummmmmmm. Hummmmmm. Hummmmmmmm.

The key to long road trips with a 1 and 3 year old is an early realization that making good time is a luxury meant for childless couples and college kids who haven't gone to bed yet. The prime goal becomes arriving with everyone's hair still on top of their heads. For us that meant making some good stretch stops. We had a short one in The Dalles and another in Wallace, Idaho and lastly in Butte, Montana.

We found this perfect little rest area/park/mining memorial/shallow river right off the highway. Kudos to Wallace, Idaho City of Commerce for making this place especially for us. The Hendersons thank you. We spent a whole hour here stretching, peeing and playing. It was awesome and when we left Emily screamed so hard and so loud we started calling her Samuel.

Here's an imitation mine shaft where we threatened to leave the kids if they cried in the car. "Stop crying or Daddy will turn this car around and take you back to that mine shaft in Wallace, Idaho". No, I'm just kidding.

When I bought Samuel's leather sandals at the beginning of the summer I told Hot Jeff to try and not get them wet because they would start stinking to high heaven. Well when I caught up to them after changing out camera batteries it was too late, the damage had been done. And yes, those shoes now stink to high heaven and Hot Jeff has taught Samuel the phrase, "My dogs are barkin'".

It was shortly after this stop when the kids were quietly watching a movie, Jeff was driving and listening to his iPod and I was writing on Ruby when I decided this was definitely not what Willie Nelson had in mind when he sang 'On the Road Again'. Remember the good ol' days when we took road trips and the only thing we had to do besides sleep was play the license plate game? And how about just making the back seat one big, huge bed to stretch out on? Well Willie Nelson can suck it because I'm pretty sure he's high on all of his road trips and not traveling with a 1 and 3 year old so bring on the porta-DVD player. There's always time to play the license plate game when the midgets are a little older, can read and have an attention span longer than 4 minutes.
My kids rock.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Where to Start?

I guess I'll start with the obvious: we're home! After an amazing, blessed trip to Montana...we're home. After a 17 hour car ride to Montana and an 18 hour car ride back...we're home. Traveling with children has given me a whole new appreciation for "making good time".

I hope to write about our trip soon; maybe even as early as today but we'll see. My brain is in a total fog so I'm going to go ahead and let you pray for your kids and self-control another week and update PYKM as usual on Monday. Thank you Bug for letting everyone know I was pretty much on an internet hiatus as my Mom's computer was in Emily's room and the only time I was around to get online happened to be when Roo was sleeping.

Thanks for all your prayers, comments and emails. It was a great trip and I'm anxious to tell you about Gigi's improved health.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

PYKM Postponed

Jen asked me to update her blog and to let everyone know that PYKM will be late this week. She is still out in Montana and the computer is in Roo's room so she can't update it now. She is having a wonderful time with Grandma Emily and her mom and we are all thrilled at Grandma's improved health. I'm sure Jen will update you all soon enough.

Have a great week! Bug (Cousin Traci)