Wednesday, August 25

everything's great

Everything's fabulous, and I'm going crazy! (Or at least this silly picture makes me look kinda deranged. That's so you laugh.)

This summer, it seems, I've taken time off from blogging. I am hoping that as fall begins, I will get back to it, but there are no guarantees, for sure.

We have been VERY busy this summer, and we haven't gone anywhere since April. I don't know why I always look forward to summer thinking it will be a nice, uneventful time. It's not uneventful. It is nice.

Most of the summer has been spent
*playing outside when the humidity is low(ish) and enjoying my boys.
*trying to get the house ready for the big re-fi
*decorating said house, same reason
*CSA pickups and raw dairy education
*generally losing my mind
*church activities
*missing friends
*mowing the grass and picking tomatoes from the garden
*laughing with friends
*trying to keep 2 busy boys busy in a constructive way
*endeavoring to keep up with friends
*being thankful
*reading Crazy Love
*taking pictures
*taking more pictures
*eating fresh fruit & veggies
*adventuring with my preschoolers
*postponing Evan's birthday
*washing the dishes
*getting great chiropractic care for an even better price
*visiting splash parks
*thinking and rethinking my thoughts about faith, theology, traditions, Relationship
*being overwhelmed by God
*falling more in love with Michael
*skype - dad in China, the Oregonian Forbes'
*sweeping the floors
*losing sleep
*saying "yes" to my kids more
*taking deep breaths
*pondering further education
*being inspired to create (like this, and even a little bit here)
*trying to make naturally fermented pickles, and failing
*baking gluten free snacks
*paying bills, lots of bills
*eating cilantro-lime rice
*saying no
*being content
*being too content
*being frustrated
*trying to relax
(in that order)
*picking blueberries
*thinking about canning salsa
*doing the laundry
*"and et cetera"

Well, you get the picture...and this list, while exhausTING is by no means exhaustive. In the next few months we will be starting a few new things - BSF, hopefully - and homeschooling a little K-4 student, who I'm sure will teach himself to read, given the opportunity. The timer will indeed be our friend.

God is giving, has given, and will continue to give us grace. I'm learning, slowly but deeply, more of Him. I'm truly overwhelmed by His goodness! I hope every one of you who still check in on occasion despite my summer silence will ponder YOUR walk with God and ask yourself when last you were truly overwhelmed with God. I want you all to feel HIM, to taste and see that HE is good. Very, very good.

Wednesday, August 18

the enlightened one (or so he thinks)

So Aaron was talking to me today, and said, "Mom, when it turns winter and it is snowy again, maybe you will have a baby in your tummy and it will turn into a sister."

Kids. They say the funniest things.

(nope, not pregnant)

Tuesday, August 10

and the winnah is...

Thanks to, the winner is...


Congratulations, Karen, and thanks to everyone who wished me a happy day and shared such funny, funny stories. Here's Karen's, in case you missed it.

For my 13th birthday, my parents let me have a sleepover. In my excitement (I'd never had one before.), I had a totally blonde moment when the cake came out.

It was lovely--a 13x9 with cream frosting and decorated with a lovely semi-circle fan on it. Embarrassed for the baker, I sheepishly informed her that... "It's spelled wrong!"

It read, "FANally a teenager!"

Ah, adolescence. I had several of those moments, and sadly, the worst was in college. I am still too embarrassed to share THAT moment. Oh, boy.

I did have a fantastic birthday, with a fun chiropractor/dinner/shopping date with my honey and lots of love and hugs from my family. I am very, very blessed to celebrate another year.

Karen wins...
*A $5 gift card to....Baskin Robbins 31 Flavors!
*a 3-pack of Pampered Chef Paring Knives!
*a coupon for a 31% discount on any one Pampered Chef product! (coupon is only good with me), if she should choose to use it

As a sort-of consolation prize, I'd be very happy to send a recipe card to whomever requests one - just email me your address and I'll send you a surprise recipe from Pampered Chef. I will also be happy to offer 10% off your order and free shipping to anyone (in the US) who commented on the birthday post, and who orders before August 15th. It's no birthday surprise package, but if you were already thinking about ordering something, it might be a little bonus for you. (just email your order to me directly and let me know if you need a catalog or a link to shop online)

Thanks again for sharing the love on my birthday. (oh, and Alicia - here's the reprise - the corrected version, thanks to you - I've been singing it wrong for years!) Ah, ah, ah, ah, stayin' alive, stayin' alive!

Wednesday, August 4

it's still hard.

Today, no one in my family passed away.
No one was seriously injured.
No one had to have chemotherapy, kidney dialysis, or a transplant.
No one received a difficult diagnosis.
We are able to pay our bills this month; Michael has a job.
There is food in our refrigerator, pantry, deep freezer.
We have a beautiful home to live in.
I am in love with my husband, and he loves me.
I have two gorgeous, bright, curious children.
We are not oppressed, abused, or threatened for our faith.
We have freedom to live, to love, to worship.
There is much to be thankful for.

But it was still a hard day for me.

And it's okay for me to struggle with that. It's okay for my small trials to remind me of God's Big Grace. It's okay for me to fail and get back up, and it's okay to revel in God's love for me in spite of my failures. It's okay for me to admit that I am blessed and that I still struggle. I know I am not alone. I know I am human.

God is so good to me, so beyond words. Sometimes I taste His goodness in the form of blessings and selfishly want more sunshine, more happiness, more ease. Instead, I pray that no matter how my day goes, or what small or large trial comes my way, I would truly desire God's glory above my comfort. I've been singing this song today.

Words and Music byMark Altrogge

Shall I take from Your hand Your blessings
Yet not welcome any pain
Shall I thank You for days of sunshine
Yet grumble in days of rain
Shall I love You in times of plenty
Then leave You in days of drought
Shall I trust when I reap a harvest
But when winter winds blow, then doubt

Oh let Your will be done in me
In Your love I will abide
Oh I long for nothing else as long
As You are glorified

Are You good only when I prosper
And true only when I’m filled
Are You King only when I’m carefree
And God only when I’m well
You are good when I’m poor and needy
You are true when I’m parched and dry
You still reign in the deepest valley
You’re still God in the darkest night

Monday, August 2

Happy Birthday to meeeee! (a giveaway)

It's my birthday, something I like to celebrate because I am so thankful to be alive. I'm not sure when or why people started to get embarrassed about their age -it doesn't make any sense to me! With age comes so many benefits (and the sad reality of having much less energy you can fully appreciate when you have it, let's say at the age of, oh, FOUR or so) and there are so many blessings that come with each year, I say...there's always room for another party!!

This year's virutal cake is definitely going to be gluten free, and I daresay if you haven't tried a gluten free cake recently, it's about time you did. So pull up a seat and slice some flourless cake from this delicious chocolate creation. It is totally fat and calorie free, so make it a big slice. It is not, however, dairy free. Good thing it's virtual. (Click the photo if you want the actual recipe)

I *love* doing giveaways on birthdays. In fact, I love giving things away in general, so my birthday just provides an excellent excuse. Here is what I'm giving away this year (drumroll, please) because I'm so happy to be 31.

*A $5 gift card to....Baskin Robbins 31 Flavors (we can make other arrangements if you live somewhere that 31 Flavors does not, or if you are dairy intolerant)!
*a 3-pack of Pampered Chef Paring Knives (one for every decade)
*a coupon for a 31% discount on any one Pampered Chef product (coupon is only good with me), if you should choose to use it
*a SURPRISE! (because I love surprises)

This giveaway is open to anyone with a US address! To enter the giveaway, just leave a birthday memory or just a "Happy Birthday" but who doesn't love those funny/awkward preteen birthday stories! (you can leave a comment even if you don't want to win the giveaway, just mention that!) The giveaway will be open until NEXT Monday, August 9th. I'll draw a winner and let you know on Tuesday who wins!

Now let's get this party started!!! (anyone know where that disco ball went??) Oooh, oooh, ooh, ooh. . .stayin' alive, stayin' alive!