December 31, 2009

It's All Good

Dear 2009,

There has been NOTHING dull about this year. You threw us for all kinds of loops and in true loop fashion, there were as many ups as there were downs. What was incredibly obvious to us was that God was the steadfast, rock solid constant that went right through the middle of all those loops and my love for Him grew deeper because of it.

In less than 10 hours we will all bid you good-bye amidst lots of celebration. I can honestly say that I will not shed a tear over your departure. No hard feelings, it's just that I am ready to move forward. Don't worry, 2009, because you will not be easily forgotten and I'm sure we will talk of you for many years to come.

I look forward to meeting your close friend, 2010. I am full of anticipation for what is to come this year with a healthy dose of trepidation mixed in there. I have you to thank for making me more confident, my marriage stronger, and my children a little more aware of how much God loves us all.

2009, I bid you farewell. Your job is done. Enjoy all the celebrations tonight in your honor!


December 29, 2009

Come Back........

Do you ever have a moment when you are fully aware of how obnoxious you are being for all those around you?

I have a lot of moments like that......especially when I am with my sisters. We easily get caught up in our own conversations - many of them happening without words ever being spoken. We are each other's biggest fans and despite how annoying it is to others, we will brag on and on about each other. We have the same sense of humor that is almost as dry as the Sahara Desert my sister visits frequently. We obnoxiously and annoyingly adore each other.

Cyndi left today to return to Isreal after living with us for the last 6 months. Lisa and I are left here feeling like one of our limbs has been torn off. The good-byes were very painful......the kind that leave you bent in half , not sure if you will ever catch your breath.

All 3 of us are fully aware of how lucky we are to have each other. We know that it's a gift that we love each other so much. I honestly don't care how much eye rolling we create with our missing each other, I will still say it as loud as I can...

I miss my sister and I just want her back.

December 27, 2009

When The 12 Days of Christmas Turns Into 18

It has been 18 days since my last post.....18 busy and often overwhelming days. I am not sure even where to start as many incredible things have occurred in the last 2 and a half weeks!

The most wonderful event was Garrett and Nathan's baptisms at church today. It deserves a post of its own so as soon as I collect pictures I will share. Suffice it to say, it was the fulfillment of many prayers as a mom....the opportunity to watch my children choose to follow God through belief in the grace and mercy Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection has afforded them and then for my boys to share that decision publicly with others. It was amazing!

On December 20th I had my annual pajama exchange....except we don't exchange pajamas anymore, we collect and donate them for the women and children at the Mission of Yahweh. There are way too many women and children living there right now.......even one is way too many. Most of these women are homeless and the Mission allows them the opportunity to get back on their feet.
My friends have fully embraced this cause and they were all very generous in their giving to allow the annual Christmas Eve party at the Mission to be that much more special with new pajamas for everyone. As an added bonus this year, we had Betty, the woman in charge of donations at the Mission, come to the party to share with the women here about the work being done. She was wonderful to listen to and her blessing she prayed over each of us was something I wish I could have recorded to replay many times over.

I have to admit that it was a very bittersweet event for me. I had my mom and both of my sisters there which was incredible. I was also fully aware that it would be my last pj party for a long time with this group of friends. I will miss the excitement my girlfriends generate in their desire to meet the needs of others.

I was thrilled to be able to drop off the pajamas with my mom and be given a tour of the Mission a couple of days after the party. It meets the needs of primarily homeless women and their children. The stress and pain of their situation was very evident on the faces of the women, but the children seemed happy and carefree for the most part.

One of my favorite Christmas presents this year was receiving pictures from the PJ Christmas Eve party at the Mission. I did ask and receive permission to print them on the blog. I have looked at them 20 or 30 times already trying to memorize each face and loving the joy that is there.

What I was reminded of over and over is that God does not love me any differently than he loves any of the women and children staying at the mission. Yes, our circumstances are different, but we were all created by Him and as His children, we are called to love each other. It is not only a privilege to do so, it is our responsibility.

December 09, 2009

Photo Op or Not

Today was the day I was determined to finish my Christmas cards. I went with a card that allowed me to insert a ton of pictures as kind of a year in review type thing. The one thing missing was a good photo of the boys for the center spot. So, in the never ending pursuit of popularity with my boys, when they got home from school today, snacks and playing outside were put on hold for a clothing change and hair gel touch-up for a photo op.

Did all of you notice the sudden darkness that overcame the land around 4:30? Yep, that was the world coming to an end.

It only took me about 12 shots to get one I was happy with

You know, once I could convince Nathan that talking out of the side of his mouth was NOT going to work.

Bodily noises were not going to work either....even though they are so very, very funny. I'll give you one guess based on facial expressions who the culprit was! boys. May I introduce to you Garrett, otherwise known as G in Doing Life land...and Nathan, who would be known as N. Yes, I outed their names because it was just too much code to keep up with.


My world has suddenly been consumed by pajamas. You may remember last year......we are doing the same thing again this year. 52 women and 37 children will be getting new pajamas to open Christmas Eve at the Mission of Yahweh Women's Shelter. It is truly an honor to be allowed to minister to these women and children.

I pray that each of you are given an opportunity to experience giving in a new way this Christmas season!

December 03, 2009

11 Things I Love About You

Good grief, buddy! How in the world did we get to 11 so quickly? It just doesn't seem possible that in two short years you'll be a teenager already. I am so proud of you because you've had the kind of year we adults would call a "character building year" and you came through it with very few scars. It sounds very fancy, but character building usually isn't any fun at all.

Your Top 11:

11. You started off your 10th year with all 3 inner ear bones in place. After a good catch by Dr. McClintock and great work by Dr. Chang, you now have Titanium in your head after the removal of an incredibly large cholesteatoma. Believe me when I tell you that this has provided you with a great party story.

10. Your first solo trip on a plane this last summer to California to visit Grandma and PaPa. I was so worried that you'd be incredibly homesick and you weren' all. Not even a little bit. You went panning for gold, ziplining, the theater, rode a train, went to museums, and visited Old Town Sacramento. You loved seeing the Governator's office and thanks to Grandma's green thumb, you can identify about 5 different fresh spices on smell alone. The one downside to all this? You gave up your seat on your way home and got to ride first class on your new flight.....this has ruined you for life. You have been exposed to all the mysteries that take place behind the blue curtain.......flying coach will never be the same again.

9. You finally topped the 5 foot are 5'1" on your way to 6 feet plus. Won't be long until you are eating a box of cereal out of a mixing bowl with a ladle.....just like your 6'8" Uncle used to do. Lord have mercy on our grocery bill!

8. You rightly earned the nickname "The Kenyan" from your baseball coach. I have never, ever met a child that loves to run more than you do......and you are very fast. The fact that you feel the need to run without shoes on all the time about makes me crazy and seals the deal on the nickname.

7. You wrote your first "I would like to get to know you better" note and boldly left it in a girl's desk at school. The adorable factor in this story is staggering, but even more I love that you are willing to put your heart on the line for someone despite what others may think. You've done that before for a little girl, and I'm sure you'll do it again. I am working on keeping my Mama Bear instincts in check and allowing you to experience life as you, and not as a mini-me.

6. After hours and hours of diagnostic testing we learned how differently your brain works from other kids. Your Dad and I enjoyed the time we've spent with you and Dr. Tarnow just figuring how what makes you tick and how we can parent you in the way you deserve. That coupled with shear determination on your part, had you finishing your 4th grade year a straight A student and starting off 5th grade a Meritorious Scholar......a HUGE accomplishment!

5. I can honestly say that you mastered the skim board at the beach this summer. You were determined to get it down and you did. You stuck to it for hours and hours and are officially addicted.

4. You have fallen in love with your guitar. I smile every time I send you upstairs for something and then hear you strumming your guitar. It just calls out to you, doesn't it? It's like you just can't help yourself.

3. We had to say good-bye to Barnes this year. Telling you that he had died was hands down the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I have never watched you mourn like you did for him. In all of that, you were so happy Barnes got to go camping with us this year over Spring Break. Me too, too.

2. When your dad was out of work earlier this year, you took the money you earned watering Mr. Keith and Miss Honey's plants and immediately gave it to us because you wanted to be a part in helping our family. There are no words.......

1. Just yesterday I was having a conversation with you about what it means to have or be a Mentor. You listened to me intently and then asked me why I needed someone else to be my Mentor.......shouldn't God be the only Mentor I need? I am so thankful that you see Him that way.....not as a mean God, not as a distant God, but as a God that wants to walk alongside us and coach us through life. My prayer is that you, Garrett, will have a heart for Him.

Whew!! What a year! Your dad and I are super proud of you and very honored that out of all the parents in the world, we got picked to love you. I can not wait for all the adventures we have waiting for us this year!

I love you!

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