Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Some of the most beautiful places on this earth are built upon the most destructive of events.

Kauai, Hawaii

Oia-Santorini, Greece

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Giving Thanks

Giving thinks can be tough when your world is spinning like a hurricane. The wind is blowing up dirt in your face. The rain looks like a wall of wet. All you know is that when the eye of the storm comes, there will be a few hours of relief before you get more storm. In the back of your mind, you know this hurricane will only last for a time. The damage its doing will take some time to repair. While I walk through this time with tears running down my face and my hands raised in surrender, I will bless the Lord at all times and his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in you, O Lord...

I am thankful for:

  1. God and his word's to live by.
  2. My husband
  3. The smile and laughter from my little guy.
  4. My friend at work who is helping me see God in a new way.
  5. A warm and dry place to live.
  6. Clothes to wear.
  7. Shoes on my feet
  8. Food in my fridge and cabinets.
  9. The future no matter what it looks like.
  10. Hope.
  11. Eyes that see. Ears that hear. A nose to smell. A mouth to taste, sing, and shout. Hands to touch.
  12. A heart without any known issues.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What can separate us?

There is a chapter in Romans that talks about how nothing can separate us from the love of God. I've heard these verses thousands of times throughout my life. I would become annoyed when I would hear them. I thought of course there is one thing separates us from Christ's love. We can.

For years, I reasoned light and dark don't occupy the same space. When light is found, shadows are made by blocking the light. Bitter and sweet are not usually found together.  East and West are not the same direction. Up is not down.  Closed is not open. Right isn't left. Dogs aren't cats. These things are opposites as are sin and righteousness. Sin will separate us from Christ. I considered other verses I've learned and heard for most of my life to prove the division we can create between our maker and ourselves by having un-forgiven sin in one's life.

It took reading these verses myself to understand it was talking about TRUE unfathomable love. While sin divides us from Christ, it won't and can't detach us from His love. Our maker IS the true essence of love. You know the kind that looks past the storms in your life to see/speak peace. The kind of love that loves the sinner and NOT the sin they commit. This love makes big celebrations out of small victories. This kind of love doesn't sweat the small stuff and yet cares a great deal for the small stuff at the same time. This love is your cheerleader in hard times. Can you hear it? You can do it! You can do it! This too shall pass... You can do it! You can do it! This too shall pass... You can do it! You can do it! This too shall pass... You can do it! You can do it! This too shall pass... I think I shall join Paul in saying, "I'm absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us."

Monday, October 10, 2011

Battle this.

This past week I went to my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. They had a lovely lady there to speak to us about blogging. I realized I hadn't been on here in a couple weeks. I feel like God has been using my job, the soon approaching anniversary of my baby cousin's death, and my busy-ness as a means to wear some rough edges off me. My mom told me once that God will put people in our lives to turn us into river stones. You know the kind of smooth stone you skip across the top of the water. The only way stones become smooth is through the process of unhurried erosion. The water in a river will move over the roughest of rocks to smooth away the cutting edges.

I suppose I have a few more than I thought. Why would anyone willingly submit to being such a difficult process? Honestly, I don't know. Admitting I'm less than I should be will never be easy. I'm called to be my best me. I'll leave perfection to our Creator.

Words can heal or they can take hold of you like a deadly poison. You can be wise. It's all in the learning of when to speak or not. It's always appropriate to be fully honest with the dude who knew you before your 10x Great Grandparents where born. Its important to have a running dialog with him. If you hurt, tell him about it. If you're angry, tell him why. If you feel insignificant, share it with your Maker. If you are insanely excited, talk to him. Can you imagine how big a smile God has? Think of the crazy things kids say to you. I'm sure the Savior's smile literally lights up a room when we come to him. There is a scripture in Romans that says the Lord prays for us. How cool is that? The Guy who knows the secrets of the ENTIRE universe and spoke the most infinitesimal molecule into reality, prays for me and you. He is the guy I want to be pulling for me while those rough spots are smoothed away. The great thing is the Lord has been praying for YOU since time began. Those pains you have. They are gone because God's promises aren't empty. That career you longed for is yours! That loved one who you are missing isn't really that far away. With God big things become very small matters. He shrinks time and the impossibilities in our minds to a couple words: "It is Finished!"

Monday, September 19, 2011

This is just a test...

This is a test. I've been getting some weird stats for my blog. I'm testing it out, so hello world!

Testing 1-2-3...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A year ago today...

Hey Little Buddy,
Today marks the anniversary of the half way point of your short life. I see other l toddlers with Downs running around  and wonder if you would be too. I really wanted to see your cake smash face on your first birthday. We are going to visit your "brudder" in four days. We miss you.
Your cousins,
Andy, Dana and Dylan

Friday, August 26, 2011

The two boys... (day 5)

The entire family arose early. They had to be to the next town by sunset. They had made camp for Nathan's birthday and coming of age ceremony two-thirds of the way there. Breakfast was eaten. The campsite was being packed and children were being gathered. Nathan was waiting for his sister, Michelle, to get his new riding clothes out of her luggage. Grandfather was becoming impatient. The sunlight would not wait. Nathan was to ride along side the wagon on his new horse. His old mare was tied to the back of their wagon. Father was pacing and calling to his brothers to hurry up. Nathan sat on his steed watching the scene with a grin on his face. He'd never seen so much chaos!

It was mid-morning before everything was put in its proper place and the campsite was back to its original state. They'd have to push the pace today if they were going to arrive on time. The Seer's invitations weren't something a person should take lightly. Nathan had heard rumors about him from their community's man of God. It was said he was well connected. Other people went to him to find out things. Nobody knew how the seer came by his information. Every word Nathan had heard was dripping with awe and deep respect.

When they stopped for a quick lunch mid-afternoon, the road was packed with all sorts of people. There must be some holiday Nathan didn't know about. His father was avoiding the family and hadn't said much since they'd broke camp. There was so much wonderment throughout the crowds starting to gather that nobody in the family seemed to notice his father's strange behavior. Nathan heard his Grandfather muttering. They'd never make it to the seer's house if the roads remained this congested. They'd just had to hurry as best as they could.

As the sun started to set, the family had just reached the town's main thoroughfare. They found lodgings quickly and got ready for the night's events. Father told the family where to go in case anyone got lost in the crowd. They'd have to take the horses to a barn near the Seer's place. When everyone was ready, the rushed into the streets toward their destination. The closer they got the more people there were. He saw his town's Governor conversing with some other important looking men. What was going on?!? Nathan had never seen so many people in one place, not even on National holidays. Father tapped Nathan's shoulder and pointed to a gentleman standing on a porch of a small building. The wide double door stood open. Painted above the doors in forest green paint read, "B-A-R-N, the place where your animals sleep." Nathan nodded. Father pushed his way through the crowd leading the horses.

They were only blocks from the seer's house. It was so noisy from the hum of so many voices. Nathan missed the ranch. This cacophony hurt his ears. The sun set. He heard the roar of the multitude ahead.

"SEER! SEER! SEER!" People around Nathan started looking around. His sister clung to him frightened. A hush came over the town. Even the dogs seemed quiet. A distant voice could be heard bouncing of the buildings. "I am Sam, the seer, since my youth I have settled disputes between all manners of people. I have kept my oaths and been fare to all in my dealings. If any of you feel otherwise, come to me and I will do my best to make things right." Nobody moved or said anything. Nathan hadn't ever heard of wrong done by this man.

"I have asked you all here tonight to talk to you. I have heard the complaining of those who'd have me removed from my position over all the people in the country. I never wanted to be your judge. You all and the Lord above asked this service of me, so I have done just that. I, however, am willing to answer the complaints in this way. We will elect a person from one of the 12 towns in the surrounding area. Whoever is chosen will help me out in service to you. Is this agreeable?

"YES!", the multitude responded. Nathan was starting to wonder where his father had gone. Sam started to speak again.

"Let the vote begin. Make way for the Governors of the 12 towns." There was a shuffle as the host allowed each governor through. "We will draw straws. Whoever pulls the longest one will have the various patriarchs from there town come forward. They will all draw straws. The Patriarch of each family will then have the men of their family come forward and do the the same. Whoever gets the longest straw will be your new Leader."

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The two boys... (day 4)

The day arrived when Nathan and his family were to leave. Their supplies were all packed into their wagon. Mother had made sure they all had their best clothes. It wasn't very often the entire family went on such a long trip from home. The had a couple of ranch hands staying behind to tend to the animals. Father knew his mother and sisters didn't trust trains, so they were taking this journey the long way- riding, walking and camping outside under the stars for a couple days. Nathan loved the thought. His birthday would be spent on the trail with all the people he loved and who loved him back.

The next couple days went by mostly uneventfully. On Nathan's birthday, they'd made camp on the side of the road to celebrate. Grandfather, Father and him went hunting in the early morning to go fishing for the birthday meal. Nathan's favorite meal was fish roasted in the coals of the fire, rice, and beans. His mother always made this meal for his birthday. Just thinking about it made his mouth water. Tonight would be his rite of passage ceremony with all the men of the family. (Father had made sure of this by letting them all know where they were going to camp that night.) He would be considered a man in his community. His tutors had been working with him to be able to quote the different commandments and names of honorable men from scripture. He was so excited. The day progressed with lots of hugs, laughter and food as more family arrived. It seemed as though everyone had been invited to both his ceremony and the get together in the next town over. Nathan kept hearing whispers among his elders about the "seer" and  the "man-with-the connections".

When evening arrived and everyone had had their fill of the meal, Grandfather stood up to address everybody as the patriarch of the family. Nathan was bursting with excitement and nerves. He sincerely hoped he wouldn't mess up when it was his turn to speak.

"Family, we are here to celebrate my grandson's coming of age. He has proven himself a hard-worker, a good student, a trustworthy friend, and obedient son to his father and to me, his Grandfather. He has been faithful to the Lord's house since birth. We his family are ready to see this youngin' become a man. Nathan would come here, please." Nathan rose from his seat closest to the fire and shakily walked toward his grandfather. He looked over the small crowd. His father had his arm around his sniveling mother. Tears were welling up in his Father's eyes.

"Son, it is your 14th birthday. It wasn't that long ago when I held you for the first time. You've always been a child of strength and full of heart. Do you know what tonight means for your life?" Nathan nodded. "You will be considered a man by all who see you. I commission you to be a man of high moral character, honorable in all your dealings with young and old, and be kind to those around you. I, your Grandfather, wish you to remember who you are and whom you represent." Nathan looked around at the faces looking back at them. He would do what Grandfather asked of him. It'd be easy...

"I, Nathan, represent the I AM, my family, my community, and myself. I vow to honor and obey the wisdom of those who've gone before me like Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Joshua, Noah and Ruth. I will do my best to keep the Lord's commands. Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God he is one. No other gods, only me. No carved gods of any size, shape, or form of anything whatever, whether of things that fly or walk or swim. Don't bow down to them and don't serve them because I am God, your God, and I'm a most jealous God, punishing the children for any sins their parents pass on to them to the third, and yes, even to the fourth generation of those who hate me. But I'm unswervingly loyal to the thousands who love me and keep my commandments. No using the name of God, your God, in curses or silly banter; God won't put up with the irreverent use of his name. Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God, your God. Don't do any work—not you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your servant, nor your maid, nor your animals, not even the foreign guest visiting in your town. For in six days God made Heaven, Earth, and sea, and everything in them; he rested on the seventh day. Therefore God blessed the Sabbath day; he set it apart as a holy day. Honor your father and mother so that you'll live a long time in the land that God, your God, is giving you. Do not murder. No adultery. No stealing. No lies about your neighbor. No lusting after your neighbor's house—or wife or servant or maid or ox or donkey. Don't set your heart on anything that is your neighbor's." 

Everyone stood at this point. Grandfather prayed over Nathan and poured oil over him. It dripped down his nose and off his ears. He was a man.  He felt the burden of it suddenly. When the prayers were over, a shout rose from those on the road side. "Nathan, Go and join those who have gone before you in manhood." His mother scurried to his side. He would have to change before he could greet his guests. The party would soon end for they all were to go meet the seer tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The two boys... (day 3)

That night at dinner Ben told about his adventure. The family and the help sat around the table listening with rapt attention. His father and his man had tracked the animals through several towns. When they couldn't find them, the ranch hand had suggested seeing a man with connections about where the beasts could be. At this part of the story, Ben became antsy and reluctant to say much. He just summed up the story there by saying the man had heard about a large number of livestock being seen in town and had requested for Ben to stay with him for a time. Nathan's father couldn't refuse such a request from so well a connected individual. Ben had sent the ranch hand home to let everyone know he was alright. Ben had come home as soon as he could. The remaining asked questions went unanswered and soon the topic was changed to what had happened around the ranch while Ben was gone.

Almost month passed, things seemed to settled back to their pace. Chores were done. Food was purchase, made, and ate. Clothes were washed. The animals were fed. The mail came and went. Lessons were taught and learned. They continued to be members of their local congregation. Nathan's father remained to be unusually jumpy. The slightest sound would has his father looking over his shoulder. One day a letter came inviting the entire family to the nearest city by the gentleman his father had mentioned. Excitement permeated the house for the next couple days.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The two boys... (day 2)

The days passed slowly for Nathan. Every morning when the light struck his window and the rooster crowed, he'd slowly roll over in his warm bed listening to the sounds of the others in the house. He'd rise to dress. Nathan would run down the stairs for the his morning meal. He'd rush to the road to look for his Father's horse. Disappointed he'd go about his chores and studies. After the noonday meal and customary rest time, he'd go find his friends to go practice their bows and arrows. He was part of the local bow and arrow club. They had a tournament coming up at the next community fair. He really wanted the blue ribbon. It would be a proud moment for him if he won. Father said he could ride with him on his next journey for ranch supplies if he did well. He wasn't a bad shot compared to the other boys. Grandfather had helped him carve and string his bow. He couldn't help but think it would give him a slight advantage.

On Sundays Nathan and his family would go sit with rest of the community at church to hear the words of the Lord. The man of God would stand before them to read from the scriptures. Nathan liked to listen to the ebb and flow of  this man's tone of voice while he instructed the congregation. He and his brothers didn't always get along but he wondered if he could ever sell them into slavery like good ol' Joseph.

 It was the day before the tournament when the ranch hand returned without his father. Nathan had eavesdropped when his grandfather inquired where his dutiful son was. The man said he wasn't sure, but knew he'd been asked to go ahead home to let him know everything was fine. The ranch hand had done as he was told. That night after Nathan and his brothers went to bed, he heard his grandfather's feverishly hushed discussion with his great uncles who'd arrived this evening for the weekly family dinner.

Grandfather sounded worried, "Ben didn't return today with our ranch hand. I'm worried. I've been hearing things about bandits in the hills nearby." Nathan shivered and muttered, "Bandits?" The adults moved to a different room. He couldn't hear the conversation below any farther. Nathan lay in bed for sometime staring at the ceiling. If anything happened to his father, it'd be his fault. He'd left the gate open when he'd went to find his friends that day. When he'd come back through that evening, all the animal's prints were in the dirt leading out of the gate. He closed it and went to find his father. Nathan was soundly scolded before his father had left.

Nathan awoke to an unusually quiet house. The sun had long since arose. He sat up with a start, quickly dressed and rushed downstairs. His Mother was sitting at the table. She was usually bustling about house. Nathan wondered where everyone was. His mother informed him, before he could ask, the wandering livestock had been recognized by one of their neighbors. The menfolk had gone to fetch them. Once the beasts were back where they belonged, they were going to town to inquire after your father. Nathan munched on some bread, cheese and grape juice. He had to get to his chores! While the others were gone, he'd have their chores to finish too. His tutors would be here shortly.

Two very busy days passed. Nathan didn't have time to even think. Grandfather and the uncles had returned not long ago. His father hadn't been seen. His normally gracious mother was worried. She kept snapping at his sisters. Grandfather would be pacing in his study with an anxiety etched into his wrinkled face. His bread forgotten. Why, oh, why had he forgotten to close the gate? Nathan disparately missed his father. He passed a window in the barn on the way to feed the chickens. He saw dust rising in the distance. Fearing the worst, he ran to get one of his uncles. They raced to the road to head off the stranger. As the figure approached the ranch, they realized recognized the horse and rider from a little ways off. Nathan's uncle told him to head back to the house to let his Grandfather know his father had returned. Relief washed over Nathan. His father was home! He glanced over his shoulder in time to see his father dismount and say something to his uncle.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The two boys...

Once upon a time there was a young boy, named Nathan who lived in a great kingdom. He was a wealthy rancher's son. The boy's father was a handsome man who was well know in their community for his good looks.

One day Nathan's grandfather sent his father to find some livestock that had wondered off. Nathan wondered how long his father would be gone this time. He loved his father greatly and missed their long talks when he was gone. Nathan hugged his father before he left. He stood watching his father ride off down the road with one of their ranch hands until he couldn't see him anymore. His mother called for him to come back to his studies. The tutors couldn't be left waiting. He really didn't want to learn anymore today. He knew he couldn't focus with his father wandering about the countryside. He should have been able to go along with him. He could ride just as well as anyone else. He'd been practicing. Nathan knew his father would be angry with him for neglecting his responsibilities when he returned home, so indoors he went to face the musty smelling tomes and dreary tutors.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Wanting for Dylan to finish pooping, so he can bathe.

Wowzer! It's been awhile. I got inspired to write today. This summer has been full to the brim with activity! We finally moved! As of August 3rd, we are the proud renters of a nearly 1,600 square foot two-bedroom town home. After the entire fiasco we had with attempting to buy a house, we settled on this place. Dylan has his own room for the first time in his little life and seems to be adjusting okay. Be back. Bath time.

Back. We have a clean sweet smelling baby! Back to the previous topic... Dylan is adjusting. Right. I, however, am finding the amount of space... well, spacious. We all lived in such close quarters (625 square feet) before that to have an average amount of room seems to be giving me a bit of separation anxiety. Silly right? I couldn't wait to move... for. the. space. We haven't a tap dancing neighbor or doors slamming at all hours or the smell of choice herbs permeating the halls. It makes me grateful. We have our own washer/dryer AND dishwasher. I suddenly realized the other day, while gathering dirty clothes, I don't have to wait until I have money to do laundry. I snuck downstairs to see if those blessed machines were still there. When they were, I took advantage of them. lol I might do it again today. Just. Because. I. Can. HEHEHEHE!

Work has been crazy to say the least. So many of my co-workers are being moved into other departments of our grocery store. Others are quitting or have quit. A few are going back to school (like me WHOOHOO! More on this later...). Where does that leave me? Well, I've been working between 20-25+ hours a week, being a wife, mother and a S.H.E. (sidetracked home executive). The checks are better with the more hours. I find it an answer to prayer. I've sorta put the serious looking for other employment on the back burner for now.

Dylan at his 15 month Doctor Appointment 8/10/11
My dear mother-in-law, has let us know she wants to go back to being just grandma to Dylan as of the first of the January. We are thankful for her volunteering to care for Dylan for the last 15 (will be 20 months)! Lord bless her for blessing us. We are in the process of trying to figure out what we will do after January 1st. Whatever it will be, I know God works all things for our good. That means God will work for Andy, me and Dylan in a way beneficial to each of us.

 About a month ago, I went to our local community college to talk to a counselor. I have attended classes there in the past. I knew I was close to getting my Associates degree. I just didn't know how close. The academic counselor told me I need 4 classes to be finished. This has been something I've wanted since I began roughly 9 years ago. I decided to take the chance with a prayer attached. Would financial aid pay for me to finish? I knew with moving money would become tighter. The last thing I wanted was for my education to be a financial burden. The government aid returned with more than enough to cover the 4 classes, the books, the gas, and childcare for Dylan.

 I'm registered as of this morning for a math class. Math isn't may strongest subject. I wanted to focus on doing well in that one area, so as not to overwhelm myself with a heavy course load.

 By this time next year, Lord Willing, I will be walking with another cap and gown, across a another stage, and be handed another piece of paper. I will have earned it with many years of frustration and hard work. I'll be able to rest for a couple years knowing I completed what I started. Insert a sigh of relief here.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A thankful heart is a happy heart.

I walked into my bathroom this morning to find my husband's whiskers in the sink. I started to get annoyed about having to clean them up again. I was suddenly reminded of several people I've been getting to know. You see they don't have a spouse any longer. I thought to myself, "Self, I bet they wish for just one more minute with their clean shaven husband. They wouldn't mind the whiskers they'd have to clean one more time. Get over it. Your hubby is alive and healthy enough to leave you this gift..." Thanks Andy. Love you.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

My Family's Christmas Traditions...

Howdy faithful readers,
I know Christmas is quite a few months away. I normally don't think about the Christmas season, until I can't escape the incessant sounds of bells clanging for money, the crackle of frozen tree branches, and the Chipmunks singing "Christmas Don't Be Late".  Tonight I found myself remembering a promise I made to one of the MOPS moms. She had requested we write a little snippet about our American Christmas traditions. I suppose it's to be posted in a British Church newsletter about Christmas time around the world.  So here are a few of ours... Hope you enjoy.

Christmas time in our house started the day my mom said it did. She was, is, and always be a fan of everything Christmas. We'd pull our boxes of decorations down from the garage rafters. We'd rearrange the furniture to put up our artificial tree. We'd hang the lights followed by scores of handmade and gifted ornaments. It was my little sister's and my job to scatter the tinsel over the "twigs". My mom would have all the Christmas music she could get her hands on playing on repeat all season long. Mom would write our family newsletter with information about what we'd done each year, what our extended family had done, and the length of our hair (we, girls, don't cut or trim our hair). She'd send it to/hand it to people from church, family, our friends and my parent's longtime friends. We were in charge of stuffing the envelopes and putting the postal stamps on. (Except the one year when I was maybe 5 years old and flushed her Christmas Newsletter stamps she'd saved to purchase. I was so mad at her for something. She just sat on the couch to cry. Sorry Mom!)

 A couple days before Christmas Eve, we'd help make up decorative plates of peanut butter fudge (my little sister was/is allergic to caffeine), stained glass sugar cookies (raw sugar cookies decorated with a mixture of food coloring, egg whites, and water. They are baked as normal. They come out looking like stained glass windows.), and other sweet treats. My two sisters and I would put on coats, hats and boots to pass out the sugary confections along with our family newsletter (as I recall) to our neighbors. Our grandma's box of goodies and gifts would arrive at our doorstep in Colorado from Michigan. My mom would always take my cousins, siblings and me to the mall to buy gifts. We'd run off in pairs eager to spend our allotment of cash. (I think the mall trip was more for her to people watch kid free. She would talk about the bustle of last-minute shoppers trying to materialize their love through the gifts to be given.)

We'd head to church for our annual candle light Christmas Carol sing-along which always included a stirring three part male harmony version of We Three Kings followed by the congregation singing together Go Tell it on the Mountain. My mom, who collects/collected Christmasy type stories, would get up in front of the congregation to read a couple. We'd have a short re-enactment of the biblical happening of Jesus's birth. Everyone would head to the church basement, after a closing prayer, for refreshments and fellowship.

Christmas Eve would arrive. Dad would order a pizza because Mom was tired of cooking by that point. We'd pass out the presents to our respective seats. We'd find our bibles. We'd gather around the twinkling tree to first honor God by reading from Matthew 1 and Luke 2. We'd  go around the room youngest to oldest opening one gift at a time until we'd finished. My parents usually used Christmas to buy things we really needed like new shoes, clothes, and that alarm clock my preschool aged self couldn't live without. When the wrapping paper was thrown out and our plates were cleaned up, we'd watch a Christmas movie as a family. That was a huge treat in our family, since my parents decided not to have a television in our house.

On Christmas Day, My mom would wake us up by enticing us to come eat her yummy homemade cinnamon rolls. We'd drearily wander to the table. Our stockings would be sitting at our chairs stuffed to the brim with tiny wrapped gifts usually including, but not limited to: a pad of paper, socks, underwear,  a deck of cars, a toothbrush and walnuts to fill the toe. After breakfast, we'd gather all of our gifts from the night before and our stockings to carry to our rooms. We'd get ready to head to our maternal grandma's and Pastor Grandpa's house.

Their house at Christmas and Thanksgiving always smelled of laundry sheets, roasted/smoked turkey (my grandparents could never decide how they liked the turkey best), and raising dough. My grandparents had eight kids (six girls and two boys) including my mom. All of whom were/are gifted cooks. Each of my mom's siblings would bring a portion of Christmas dinner.  We'd often have other members of our congregation join our festivities being my Grandfather was/is a Pastor and had an open door policy for "whosoever will". My humming Grandmother would just shake her head and add another place setting. Some of the best and most loving arguments arose out of those occasions often peppered with a Maurice or Doris. While the aunt's were busy cooking, the oldest cousins would pass out gifts and be munching on pumpkin cookies and other finger foods. Everyone always got at least one gift. Opening presents would take at least 3 hours with the number of the family/church friends. School aged youngsters would open one present at at time starting with the youngest moving to the oldest until all the gifts were open. The adults would banish them next door to my Aunt's house to play while they followed suit in gift opening.

When they were finally finished, we'd eat dinner, clean up and go for a walk in the brisk evening air through the cemetery next door to my grandparent's house. When they returned it was time for dessert and board games. More church members would arrive to hang out. I can't count how many times I fell asleep to the sounds of friendly arguments over the correct answer on trivial pursuit or boggle. My grandpa would always challenge someone to a game of Scrabble. He'd usually win....

Santa and eight month old Dylan
Christmas 2010
I've moved away now that I'm married. We are starting to build our own traditions. We usually visit several different relatives for dinner and conversation. Our son went to see Santa when he was 8 months old. Our church does a Christmas Service. My parents usually come from Colorado for a visit. As Dylan gets older I'm sure we'll be more adventurous with our Christmas plans.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

What a thought!

The One Year Bible Compact Edition NIVA few years ago my family was going through some tough times. In true Gordon style, we dug a bit deeper to hold to hope, love and our family's legacy of faith. My mom and 5 aunts decided to start reading the bible together. They all purchased the same version of a read-the-bible-in-one-year-bible. They found strength in their reading and that they wanted to share the things that stuck out to them with each reading with each other.

Over the years they've added more people to read along with a weekly sharer. It has become an email I look forward to. Below is this week's Thought of the Week. I make no personal claims to righteousness or holy perfection. I do try to conduct myself with honor and keep a song in my heart. I have thought about this concept a bit in the past couple months, hence my posting it. Without further ado...

For the sake of the Righteous...

The Gordon Sisters:
 (Left to right) Mom (Karen), Karla, Krystal, Kelly and Kathy
"God was furious! He was angry at Solomon for breaking His holy laws. He had appeared to him in a very supernatural way. Not once - but two times! God had specifically warned Solomon about worshipping other gods. But he ignored those warnings and chose to do "his own thing". What a sad state of affairs. Solomon was truly one of the most magnificent rulers of possibly the most magnificent kingdom that ever existed on the earth!
Judgment was coming. God told Solomon, "I'm going to tear the kingdom out of your hand and give it to one of your servants!" God was ready to mete out the judgment right then and there! But wait - He remembered something. He remembered the faithfulness of his servant, David. God told Solomon, "Judgment is coming. But I won't do it in your day. It will come during your son's reign."
What was God's reason for the delay? It was for the sake of David, Solomon's father. On his own merit, Solomon did deserve the judgement of the Lord. But his judgment was seen by God through the "rose-colored" glasses of David's righteousness.
...for the sake of the righteous. What a powerful thought. You and I have the ability, through our righteous living, to affect all of those around us. Our children, our families, our co-workers, and our neighbors are affected by our lives. If we live righteously before the Lord, His blessings follow us. And the overflow of that righteous living spills over on those close to us. The Word of the Lord mentions that an unsaved husband is "sanctified" by the believing wife. That doesn't mean he is saved. But it does mean that he's blessed because he's living with a righteous woman. The blessings that the Lord is going to show that faithful, righteous wife will benefit him as well!
What a responsibility that places on each of us. I really, really want to walk in a pleasing manner before the Lord. That way my children, grandchildren, friends, customers, etc. can hear the Lord say, "You deserve judgement, but for the sake of my servant, Karla, I'm not going to do it right now." I've prayed that prayer before. "Lord, please remember me. And for your handmaiden's sake, do this and this..."
It's so tragic that Solomon didn't think of living his life in such a way that would keep his children under God's protection. The divine blessing and protection of the Lord ended when Solomon deliberately broke God's laws. And his children were the recipients of God's judgment.
Just like Abraham pleading for Sodom, we can plead for the ones in our lives. God was willing to halt all judgment because of Abraham's plea for any righteous people in Sodom and Gomorrah. God was willing to do what his righteous servant was asking for.
When speaking about Solomon's judgement, God spoke these words in Kings 11:13, "...I will not take away the entire kingdom; I will let him be king of one tribe, for the sake of my servant, David..."
My prayer is that God will see my life, my example, (and hopefully) my righteous living, and say the same thing about me. For the sake of my righteous servant, Karla...
Love you all!!"

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hope strikes again!

This hope doesn't rest. I've got a promise like a fat kid loves candy. It won't let me go.

“The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” Psalm 121:7-8 NIV

"11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD...

Jeremiah 29:11-14 NIV

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Dear Uncle Stan

My Grandpa with the Hat, My Uncle Rodney and Great Uncle Stan
Who knew that when I started this blog a few months ago, I would have a quite a few "in memoriam" blogs. Here I am again to write yet another. My great Uncle Stan Gordon passed away early this morning. He was a sweet old guy. He was an honorable man from what I knew of him. He loved his wife and kids. He treated them with high regard. He was faithful to the Lord's house. He used to come to Thanksgiving and Christmas get togethers to play games after we ate. He had Alzheimer's disease and had a stroke. He went into hospice last week. My mom says he was 82. Now that  Uncle Stan is gone my grandfather is the oldest of his siblings. Sleep Sweet, Uncle.

Uncle Stan

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Take a deep breath. Now do it again...

Well folks its been awhile since I last posted. Life has been rushing past at break neck speeds. Dylan turned one on May 4th. You may have caught the blog post. :D My dear mother-in-law played hostess to a birthday party for the family who couldn't make it to the birthday brunch. The following Saturday we celebrated a second time at clubhouse here in town. We had a nice turn out. We are blessed to have so many people care about our family and show it through their gift giving. (By the way, thanks to all who helped make Dylan's birthday parties a success!)

Andy and I are in agreement, we need to move. Dylan is crawling like a champ and will soon be walking. Space is an issue in our apartment. We've been debating on our next step. We've been house/apartment/townhouse hunting for the last couple months. We are looking for a place in a nice area with at least 2 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms, a dishwasher, AND washer/dryer in the place. Renting a 2 bedroom apartment or townhouse seem to be about the same cost as a house payment in our area. We thought we had found a house. We even made an offer on it. Due to some mistakes on the realtor's part we backed out of the deal. We are rather disappointed with that situation. We aren't sure what to do now, since we both had our eyes/pocket book backing the thought of being house owners. I'm sure we'll find our window soon with the door keys still in the bank's hand.

Work hours for me have picked up. There has been a lot of shuffling of departments. I still would like to move on and feel rather stuck on where to go next. The temp agency is still not panning out the way I'd hoped. You've heard it all from me about this situation in past blogs, so I'll refrain from repeating myself.

It can be rather lonely in the transition times of one's life. Friends come and go. People's interests change. I find my heritage tapping on my shoulder more often than ever these days... The voices of my ancestry chime together: Don't forget the cross. Don't forget the prayers we prayed for you. Take of your Jesus. TAKE CARE OF YOUR JESUS! Remember Rahab. She made serious mistakes in her life, but her promise to take God at his word gave the family under her roof salvation through her example. Don't forget to sing the songs on Zion. Don't forget. Talk of the Lord when you sit down and rise up. Remember the Sabbath and Keep it holy. It is important so important! No one knows the day nor the hour. He is shield and buckler to them that walk uprightly. The messages march like sentinels before me. They are ever vigilant. Dylan is watching.

And yet with all that is happening in my life, I keep finding this not so chaotic place inside myself. The walls are covered in sweet posters that say things like, "Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes with the morning light." or "Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breath out. Don't you fell better? Good." Or "Waiting is good when there is food on the table." Or "Dare to Hope." Or my favorite "Give yourself a break, Human!" I feel like there is purpose in my waiting these days. There is no doubt this stand still on my future as an individual is frustrating and infuriating at times, I know my dreams with find fruition one day. My hope can rest in an uncompromisingly honest God. While I take a deep breath again and again and again...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Happy Birthday, Buddy!

Tiny hands fists closed tight
Tiny dreams held inside
Tiny hands how they’ve grown
Like the babe I used to know

Tiny mouth, button nose
Eyes closed tight breathing slow
Tiny face how it’s grown
Like the babe I used to know

For me it feels like yesterday, just yesterday to me
I looked into your tiny face, your tiny face held me
Of course I know all children grow 
All children grow of course I know…..
I didn’t know how fast you’d grow

Tiny feet awkward now
Pirouette, take a bow
Tiny toes how they’ve grown
Dylan at 3 weeks old
Like the babe I used to know

For me it feels like yesterday, just yesterday to me
I looked into your tiny face, your tiny face held me
Of course I know all children grow 

Dylan at 46 weeks old.
All children grow of course I know…..

But I didn’t know how fast you’d grow 
Tiny child fall asleep
Close your eyes find your dreams
Tiny child how you’ve grown
You’re still the babe I used to know

Signing Time ©2008 All rights reserved. Songs by Rachel de 
Azevedo Coleman and Lex de Azevedo. © 2008 Two Little 
Hands Productions, LLC www.signingtime.com

Monday, April 18, 2011

God has not forgotten.

I had a couple wake up calls this week. Nothing horrible happened. In fact, it was quite the contrary. I got a $0.25 raise! I know it doesn't sound like much. I had been considering asking for one, but wasn't sure with whom I should speak. It made me feel good to be noticed by my employer of  2 2/3rds years. The recognition may not be much, but it made a difference to me.

Dylan started to sign back to me. For those who have talked to me for even a few minutes, know I have a fascination with American Sign Language. Huge studies have been done on the benefits of teaching a child a second language from their earliest moments. I have been working with Dylan since he was born very basic sign language: mama, dada, milk, more, me, eat. Well he watches me intently these days when I sign to him. He thinks its funny when I say the wrong thing with a sign. I'll sign more, but say mom. He just shakes his head no while giggling. Anyway He signed "milk" to me as I was making his milk. I made a huge deal of it. Ran to Andy, so his daddy could see his skills. :D He did it for Andy too. How very rewarding! I hope to help Dylan be trilingual in English, sign and Spanish eventually.

I had the worlds busiest week. My dad had heart surgery. Everything went well and he is recovering with astonishing grace. My sister and brother-in-law got an their 4th or 5th offer from this job in Maryland. Who knows if this is where the Lord is leading them? My dear friend is learning to FLY (finally love yourself). I couldn't be prouder! We've been house hunting. It'll be our first home. With God's grace, we'll find the house that will be a blessing to us and NOT a curse.

All-in-all God hasn't forgotten me. I have a very thankful heart just now.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Finally My Friends...

Ephesians 6:11-18
11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can fight against the devil's evil tricks.12 Our fight is not against people on earth but against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world's darkness, against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly world.13That is why you need to put on God's full armor. Then on the day of evil you will be able to stand strong. And when you have finished the whole fight, you will still be standing.14 So stand strong, with the belt of truth tied around your waist and the protection of right living on your chest.15 On your feet wear the Good News of peace to help you stand strong.16 And also use the shield of faith with which you can stop all the burning arrows of the Evil One.17 Accept God's salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.18 Pray in the Spirit at all times with all kinds of prayers, asking for everything you need. To do this you must always be ready and never give up. Always pray for all God's people.

March 28th was my first day being 28 years old. As I look into the coming year, I have but one thought pushing me onward and upward... Be strong in the Lord by putting on the whole armor of God. Christ has many titles: Savior, King, Carpenter. The idea with putting on the armor is to arm yourself with Christ and not in some offensive/defensive way. We aren't to use this armor to beat up those around us. Have you ever tapped a metal pole to listen to the sound? The more you bang on a pole the more the sound vibrates the length of it. The more you beat that metal pole it won't make it a bell, unless you put the metal through the fire. It is then a metal pole will become a pretty sounding tinkly bell.

The armor of God is meant to withstand those things we can't see with our natural eyes. The armor is God's name. Christ IS our Salvation. Christ IS truth. Jesus was the ultimate example of right living. Christ IS a lamp unto our feet and a light to our path. Christ IS peace to those who walk uprightly even in the midst of the storm. Christ is a shield and buckler to keep us from falling prey to temptation. Prayer keeps us a friend to the light, the peace, our shield, our defender and most importantly our salvation. Don't surrender yet. The Lord, the maker of all things, sees you and hasn't forgotten who you are. You maybe tired, hurt, disappointed, or lost altogether. He that began a good work in you is able to complete it. Drink from the still waters and be restored.

Much love for you all in Christ.
28 year old me.

Monday, March 21, 2011

If you...

Thanks Grandma G. Thank you mom!
Thanks Carrie.
Thanks Grandma W.
It is 3:47am. I am exhausted. My sweet son is teething, again. He is hopefully asleep after giving him some pain killer. I, however, was doing dishes until a moment ago. I'm upset. Why? Being a mom is the most thankless job, so if you have a mother, wife, or sister with a child thank her. Thank them for the time they spent wiping your tiny hind parts, giving you baths, and putting clean clothes on you for the emp-teenth time. Thank the lady who thought you were more important than the friends who didn't have time for her anymore. Thank the lady who wiped your tears away and held you. Thank the lady who held you before God the moment she found out you were to be and gave you back to his keeping when you were born. Thank the lady who signed up for a 40+ year job. Thank the lady who will always see you as the 6lbs 13oz sleepy bundle she brought home with her. Thank the lady who will clean up the results of your bodily functions without gloves or a clothes pin on her nose. Thank the lady who didn't let you drink the chemicals you somehow got your hands on. Thank the lady who didn't let you play in, on, or around the toilet. Thank the lady who makes scrap books of your milestones. Thank the lady who worries about who you are around, all while being so proud she wants to show you to the world. Thank the lady who doesn't allow you to do whatever you desire. Thank the lady who heart falls out of her chest when you decide to jump from the 12th stair up or you bonk your head on the corner of some furniture. Thank the lady who gave you to someone else because she could not care for you the way you needed. Thank the lady who took you in and became your mother. Give them a hug, a call, a smooch. They deserve it.

Thanks Bernice.
Thank you Karly and Destiny!
Thanks Dylan you made me a mama.
I can never thank you enough.