May 30, 2012

She Chose Him

She walked next to me a year ago and told me that she didn't know if she could survive extreme persecution.  If in a pivotal life or death moment she could trade her life for claiming Him as her God.

I told her that we had to do that every day.  That our lives don't require us to make a decision that would determine if we'd be seeing Him face to face that day, but that every moment of every day we have to choose.

We choose to love or we choose to hate.

We choose to be bold or we choose to deny.

We choose to be an example or we choose to compromise.

We choose to deny ourselves or we choose to indulge our flesh.

She is now walking through an event that will change her family forever.  A moment in time that changes hopes and dreams for a child.

And she has chosen to trust.

To not question but to hang on and have faith in extreme circumstances.  In a difficult life situation she has chosen Him.  She is clinging to Him with her whole entire being because her survival requires nothing less.

She chose Him.

I love you EC!

May 29, 2012

I am 16 going on 42....

I don't necesarily remember taking my driving test when I turned 16.  I was finishing my Junior year in high school and the lure of freedom was almost more than I could stand.

Well,  the kind of freedom that comes from sharing your dad's green Nova.....and being the first teenager in the house to drive.

Ok, so there wasn't much freedom but I was excited all the same.

Taking the test to get your driver's license here in Singapore causes great dread in all expats.  Many a lawyer and CEO have been taken down by the test and no one approaches it lightly.  You have to book your test time weeks in advance and it is recommended that you start studying from that moment until you sit in the chair at your Station wiping sweaty palms on your pants ready to face one of life's biggest challenges.

I personally know people who have failed this thing more than once so I had a healthy respect for the test but again, just like when I was 16, the lure of potential freedom was all the motivation I needed.

In true Keri fashion, it got to be 2 days before my test and I still hadn't studied. My friends were nearly frantic in their concern that I would join the ranks of those that had gone before and failed.

It's not that I consider myself above studying or think that I have an innate sense of exactly how many meters one must park from a bus stop, it's just that I can't seem to do anything ahead of time.  I can't pack until I'm down to the wire, I can't work on a project until it's almost too late, and I can't study for anything until I reach a near panic over failing.  I've always been like that.

Last Tuesday I finally sat down and started learning all about bus lanes and odd signage and rules for tunnels and lorries and taxis.  I had to identify the bonnet and boot of a car and figure out which side of the steering wheel the blinker was on.

Thursday I walked into the Driving Center and took my place in line.  I handed the lady my identification and went to my station.  Everyone in the room looked around nervously in anticipation of the 50 questions that would determine our freedom.  We had to choose from one of four languages to take the test and I can't tell you how tempting it was to pick Mandarin just for the fun of it.

The test began and I wiped my sweaty palms on my pants, cracked my knuckles, took a deep breath, said a prayer and went to work.  Ok, so that's a tad dramatic.  I did say a prayer because I just know that I know that I know that God wants me to be able to drive here.

I got through all 50 questions with only one or two causing me to pause.  I sat there as the light blinked at me to end the test.  I pushed the button and PASS flashed up on the screen.  Score?  100%.

I resisted the temptation to throw up my hands to declare myself the winner for finishing first.  Not that it was a competition or anything.  I walked up, grabbed the pink sheet that was the only thing between me and a driver's license.

Except you can't get a driver's license here unless you can show them your driver's license from home.  And my license was tucked neatly away in my safe at our apartment.

Today I went back with all the proper paperwork in order and was first in line ready for my license. Everything went kind of smoothly......only a little sweet talking involved in pushing everything through and I walked out with freedom in my hand.

I enjoyed telling my boys all about my escapades and victory in getting my license and that's when Nathan asked,

So does this mean you're going to drive a taxi now?

Um, no. 

But don't tempt me.

May 28, 2012

Monday Musings...Conveniently

I am finding it increasingly more difficult to think in one coherent stream of thought in these last few days before heading home.  It works well in my favor that today is Monday so I can kinda pretend that throwing out a Monday Musings was in the plan all along!

Welcome to the chaos that is inside my no particular order.

1.  You may remember this post from last Spring about buying a bunch of Spode Turkey Plates in order to appease my future daughter-in-laws.  I clearly have issues in this department.  On my recent trip to Bangkok with friends, two of which were also involved in the turkey plate debacle, we went to a popular store where you can buy silver very inexpensively.  Yada, yada, yada and I ended up with 16 place settings of flatware for the dinner party I never, ever want to have.  16 place settings.  That is 80 pieces of silverware AND I ended up with appetizer forks because apparently if I don't have appetizer forks to go with the Turkey Plates, my daughter-in-laws will never want to celebrate holidays at my house.  And I will never get to see my grandbabies.

2.  I recently finished one of my favorite books of all times.  If you are looking for a good summer read, I highly recommend The Dovekeepers.  It's a story based on Josephus's writings about Masada and it was carry it around in your purse kind of wonderful.  Another favorite from this Spring was The Forgotten Garden.  I have to host Book Club at my house this Thursday and I haven't even started reading the book I had chosen.  I figure I can throw out some appetizers with their own special appetizer forks and distract everyone enough that maybe they won't notice.  Better yet, I'll put the appetizers on a Turkey Plate.  Book?  What book?

3.  There is not one person in the world that makes me laugh harder than my man.  We have had some good laughs lately and that is a good thing.

4.  In light of recent hair events I no longer have curl in the last 3 inches of my hair.  I can say with absolute and complete honesty that I didn't think I had vanity issues that needed to be addressed.  Clearly, I was mistaken.

5.  Last week was a rough week.  I have been mulling over some things.....lots of things.....and I think it all came to a head.  As a Christian woman, there is a very fine line between living a life that is bold about who I am in Christ and living a life that is void of compromise and judgement and pride.  I want to do well in living life as a godly woman but I fail a lot.  A whole lot.  Many times I can accept grace and mercy and bounce right back but last week I could barely get off my knees.  Those are some of the hardest and the sweetest moments......when I feel like the only way I get back on my feet is when He offers me a hand to help me up.

6.    I watched Garrett ask for a girl's phone number a few days ago.  I had a moment.

7.  I can not wait to drive a car.  I feel like I am going to hurl most of the time when I'm in the back of a taxi and I am just excited to jump in a car and go anywhere I'd like at any moment without the stress of wondering if I have enough cash in my wallet.  

8.  Nathan has his last field trip this Friday to a water park.  They have been on no less than 5 field trips this year and I haven't gone on a single one so I thought I'd finish off the year......and his elementary school days......with a bang.  Oh my.  Nathan was not thrilled at all that I was going.  I think he envisioned me running around in my tacky tankini begging to go down slides with him.  He was relieved when I told him I had zero interest in being anywhere near a bathing suit......or him.  I'll just make him hold my hand when we cross the street and then he's free to go!

9.  I am going into this summer feeling much more emotionally stable than I did last summer.  And all God's people yelled "Amen!".  Last summer I had this driving need for Houston to feel like it was still home....except it wasn't which sent me on an emotional roller coaster.  This year I am going home with the expectation of seeing people I love and being absolutely okay with where I currently live.  I think it's going to be much, much better.  If you run into me weeping in the aisles of Target or eating my 9th basket of chips at Chuys or drinking my 29th Route 44 Diet Coke with lime......then you know that clearly I was delusional in thinking this summer would be easier and an intervention may be in order.

10.  Mmmmmm.......Chuy's.  I am 9 days away from Chuys.

May 23, 2012

Pride? Check!

About this time last year I was in the throes of a blogging challenge I had set for myself.  I was actually doing pretty well keeping up with the "blog every day" thing and it was fun.  I would link most posts to Facebook because that's the only way close friends and family would see it.  I never had any delusions of grandeur......I knew it was some silly stories and random thoughts put out there that few would love.

I was good with that.

Then I was told that linking my blog to Facebook was "self-promoting".  That stung a bit but I was glad for the pride check.  I had to make sure I wasn't doing it for any selfish gain and just to make it easier for family and friends to access stuff I wrote about our life.  

And besides, isn't the whole premise behind Facebook self-promoting?  Just sayin'.......

The year went on.  I blogged.....I didn't blog.  

But I did Facebook....a lot.  It was an easy way to avoid things I needed to do, an easy way to keep up with what everyone and their kids and dogs and cats and grandparents were doing.  It made me feel connected.  

That is, until I realized that reading Facebook could actually alter my mood.  I would be happy, mad, jealous, disgusted, excited, insecure.

Really?  How lame is that?  Could I seriously not just take 5 minutes to read about what everyone is doing without wanting to yell at my teen for not being a perfect athlete, student and muscisian? Or discontent with my husband because he hasn't bought me a boat?  Or down on myself for being incredibly underachieving?  

These are clearly my issues and I'm certainly not faulting anyone for having perfect kids, boats, and achievements.  I'm not.

I just didn't think I was vulnerable enough to react like I did.

This year's pride check?  Epic Fail

I did what any overreacting, hormonal woman would do.  I threw out a cryptic Facebook message about taking time off and then disconnected my account.  Like I thought there would be great wailing and gnashing of teeth if I was absent for a week or two until I could get my act together.  

Then I started to worry that friends would think I had defriended them.  Oh the horrors!  We couldn't have that!  

So I reactivated my account.  

I clearly have issues.

Needless to say, I practiced the long lost art of self-control and didn't look at a single status update yesterday or today.  I got a ton done and can 100% blame all mood swings on my children.

Except they cleaned the kitchen for me tonight when I had to go to a meeting and I must share this note that I found when I got home.

Ok, so I won't be bragging about any spelling awards and his handwriting is clearly indicative of his future as a doctor, but how adorable that the child does know how to write a good salutation!

Makes you jealous, right?  Heehee

May 21, 2012


My computer was shut down for the night and I wandered into the kitchen for my almost nightly ritual of an apple and Nutella.  I justify the Nutella because it is merely a dip for a very healthy apple thus it is void of all calories and fat.  Kind of like when you dip carrots and celery into blue cheese dressing after your 13 year old finishes the wings that were on the plate.

Not that any of those things happened tonight or anything.

I had shut down my computer purposefully avoiding writing a blog post tonight.  I am just not in the mood.

I have a dear friend in Houston who lost her mother suddenly (whom I also adored) and the funeral is today and I should be there.  It's the sacrifice of being so incredibly far away.  It honestly makes me go stir crazy because I should be there.....not here, thousands and thousands of miles away.

I have also struggled today with several skeletons....demons....whatever you want to call them.  It makes me feel weak and that makes me crazy too.

Cue the padded room.

I did actually work out this afternoon with Garrett when he got home from school.  Score one for me!!

There was a small situation where he reacted in a way that makes me crazy so I didn't waste a moment in correcting him.  I started in with the familiar words of parental brilliance and he started mumbling his two favorite words:

I know, I know!

I quickly informed him that clearly he doesn't know because if he did, in fact, know, he wouldn't do the same thing over and over and over again.  He was irritated, I was frustrated.  

Then I fed him and the situation was quickly diffused.

Fast forward to 10 minutes ago when my computer was shut down, apple washed and ready to be cut and Nutella primed and ready on the counter.  I'm irritated and feeling defeated.  I hear a small voice in my spirit correcting me.....convicting me.

I know, I know!!!

And then I had to laugh.  

I could almost see God on His throne leaning over to Jesus saying, "Wait for it.....wait for it".

Yep.  Clearly I don't know because if I did, in fact, know, I wouldn't do the same thing over and over and over again.  

What Garrett and I were both missing today?

It's not the knowing that we've stepped out of line....made a bad choice.....caved into temptation once again.  It's the determination to change, that comes from the knowing, that alters everything.  

Every single thing.

What I'm needing tonight?  A healthy dose of determination.

And a time machine so I can be with my sweet friends today.

Is that too much to ask?

May 17, 2012

One Night in Bangkok

I have clearly now failed in my attempts at blogging every single day.

I also failed at not eating sugar today.

Perfection continues to allude me.

I returned in the wee hours of Wednesday morning from a short girl's trip to Bangkok.  It was my adventure group minus three of our girls who couldn't make it.  We are saying goodbye to Katie and Sharon in the next couple of weeks and an adventurous trip seemed the only way to properly send them off.

All this leaving and saying good-bye just sucks.

I apologize for being crass but using the word "stinks" or "yucky" just doesn't adequately describe how hard it is.  

People come and go quickly.  Most don't really know when their time is going to be up.  There are those who come for two years and are still here after ten.  There are those who come for two years and find out six months into their stay that they are going back.

Many lunch conversations center around guessing and anticipating where life will have any one of us in the next year.  It is odd to be with friends and not one of them knows for sure where they'll be living 12 months from now.  

It certainly brings a sense of urgency to life.  Not a school vacation is wasted when there are places in this part of the world to see.  There are adventures to be had and conversations to enjoy.  Dinner parties to plan and sightseeing to be done.  You invest in your friends because you need them to survive.  You embrace differences in culture and backgrounds because those things make life richer.  

One night in Bangkok we sat around a dinner table.  Six of us that don't come from the same place, believe in the same things, or know where life is leading us next.  Six of us that were able to toast friendships that have strengthened and enriched our lives and stretched our thinking.  Six of us that knew, without giving voice to it, that we'd never have that moment again.  Six of us that missed the three that weren't there.  Six of us that will never forget how our lives crossed in this small country.  Six of us that would say our lives are better for it.  

To all of my friends that are leaving........I will miss you terribly.  You will leave a void but I'm thankful for every moment we had together......I just wish we had many, many more.

Thank you for making me realize what it means to live a life of urgency.  To not waste a single moment when every moment counts for something.

"But about that day or hour, no one knows, not even the angles in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  Be on guard!  Be alert!  You do not know when that time will come."  Mark 23: 32-33

May 11, 2012

Round 3

It is way past time to wrap up this ongoing hair saga.

Can I get an "Amen"?

Yesterday, I went the whole day trying to own my new dark somewhat Gothic look.  I wore black and dark a tattoo and a few extra piercings.  

Just kidding mom!!  

My favorite reaction was a girlfriend of mine who walked into a party I was at, took one look at me, told me she loved me and then gave me a hug.  I love that she didn't even try to pretend that she liked it!  I do have some friends that are somewhat edgey that love the dark hair but I wasn't convinced I could pull it off.

So back to the salon today for Round 3.

The manager met me at the door and we reviewed again what I was ultimately looking for.

Chestnut with golden highlights.  

You know how when you get a new car all of a sudden you notice that car everywhere you go?  Or when you're pregnant it seems like you see pregnant women everywhere?  

Chestnut with golden highlights was checking out as I was checking in......chestnut with golden highlights was just finishing up in the chair next to me.  Chestnut with golden highlights walked past me.  

We all knew that I needed to let go of my chestnut with golden highlight dreams.  

The repair work commenced and I was ready.  Sandwich, computer, my own book, water......and the guy responsible for ashy green in the background.  That's not awkward or anything.

I was a bit nervous as foils were put on my head.  For the record, I would like to say that it is possible to inhale chemicals for over 6 hours and live.  

Foils came out and I had white streaks, there was panic, near tears, reassurance that it would be fine, a toning process of some kind, more hair washing, and then a conditioning treatment that involved a machine my head was strapped into and had smoke coming out of it.

Of course.  Because why would any part of this whole thing be normal?

The thing came off, two inches of damaged hair was cut off and there was great rejoicing when my hair was still intact and was a lighter shade of Karma Bites after 4 hours of work.  I jumped out of the chair and hugged the girl more relieved than I should be for something as silly as my hair.

After getting home and watching relief flood the faces of my boys, I attempted the self-photograph.  I took one picture and realized my nose is definitely bigger than it used to be.

Darn chemicals.

I powdered my nose and put on lipstick and laughed at myself for being so silly about this.  Then I proceeded to take no less than 15 different pictures.....of myself.  15.  

Nose looks enormous hither?  Too much Keri needs botox? 

Too strange looking....

That definitely solves the nose problem..... would help if you could actually see my hair.

This is ridiculous.....I give up.  We're done.  

May 09, 2012

Karma Bites

I know that it's not nice to talk about people.  I have gotten myself in trouble more than once over the years for chatting about someone behind their back.

Remember yesterday's post?  The one where I was talking about "kinda" breaking up with my hair lady?  The one where I didn't really say anything mean about her.....just the fact that she is very timely and prefers the color orange?

Today, karma bit me in the hiney.

I don't really believe in karma so maybe we'll say this is what I get for talking about our breakup online.  

I left off yesterday's post talking about handcuffs.  

No, wait.  That's for another time. 

I left off yesterday's post talking about my ashy, green hair.  Just for the record?  Ash should never, ever, ever be a hair color.  

Friend:  What does your hair look like?

Me:  It looks like ash.

Friend:  It looks like WHAT??

Me:  Ash!  I said ash.

Someone in the hair industry should be fired for thinking that was a legitimate hair color.

After tossing and turning last night about the hair situation I decided to be assertive in trying to get it fixed.  This is not a comfortable thing for me but I can't go on with ashy green hair.  I just can't.

I went back to the lovely place that did my hair and the wonderful ladies behind the counter were easily able to see the reason I was requesting a redo.  The manager happened to be standing there and she promised it would be fixed at no charge.  In fact, I could get squeezed in today!  They hooked me up with someone other than the person who was responsible for the ashy green and I went on my merry way happy that my issue would soon be resolved and proud of myself for taking a stand.

I returned for my appointment and showed my new person the exact color I wanted.  He concurred about the green and promised me he would fix me all up.  We chatted, I read more about the Kardashians, I was shampooed and then.............

Then I was introduced to my new hair color that I affectionately call Karma Bites.

I was going for a warm chestnut brown color with golden highlights.  Apparently the only chestnuts my hairdresser had ever seen were burnt to a crisp.

Needless to say, I barely made it out of the salon with my manners still intact.

I walked into my house and the boys were NOT happy.

Nathan was downright mad at me demanding to know why in the world I wanted my hair that dark.  It was his turn to pray at dinner tonight and after praying for Garrett and his schoolwork, Scot and his work, he prayed that God would help mom and "her horrible hair situation".

Garrett's response to my hair?

Mom, you look like Megan Fox from the back!  Well, your head does anyway.


As for Scot?  Scot is a man that has been married to me for almost 17 years.  He knows how to handle these situations like a pro.  Lots of tip toeing around me, gentle smiles, offers to do whatever is needed around the house.  

Tonight I got a call from the salon manager.  She had heard about my head full of Karma Bites and wants me back on Friday to try and fix it again.  

I have Nathan praying now that I won't go bald from all the chemicals my scalp will have been exposed to by the time this is all over.  

May 08, 2012

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Today I "kinda" broke up with the lady who has done my hair since we've moved here.

I can say "kinda" because she doesn't know yet that we've broken up.  She is not one to forgive easily so I didn't want to burn that bridge until I had completely crossed to the other side.

And I'm still rehearsing the whole "It's not you, it's me" speech.

The truth is that I'm a little afraid of her.  She works alone out of her apartment and if you happen to be late........well, few have survived to tell the tale.  Sometimes she's in a good mood and sometimes she's not.  It takes exactly 2.9 seconds to figure out what you're dealing with that day.

The good thing about the hairdresser I've only kinda broken up with?

She's cheap.

A cut and color here in Singapore can run you close to $400.  She charges me $75.  It's amazing how much a girl can put up with for that much of a discount.

Another good thing?

Oh,  how I love this heater/dryer thing circa 1950.  It drowned out all noise and was warm and amazing.... even if I always had a teeny tiny bit of fear that it would catch my hair on fire.

Or my entire being.

I would say the good far outweighed the bad except for one thing.  No matter how many times I told her I wanted my hair a certain color, it always came out orange.  So orange that people now assume Garrett got his red hair from me.

He didn't.

Unfortunately, the best picture of my orange hair raises all kinds of eyebrows, but we'll just leave that story for another day.

I am way too tall of a person to have that much excitement on top of my head.  I work hard at making my whole being blend.  Looking like an oversized match when that wasn't God's original intention in creating me just became more than I can bear.

Today I put on big sunglasses and a floppy hat and snuck off to another hairdresser.  My heart was beating and I had a hard time breathing in nervous anticipation of what this guy would do to my hair.

Two hours later and I am now the proud owner of ashy, gray, with a tint of green hair and a nice set of highlights.

That's what I get.

Maybe I like orange after all.........well, minus the handcuffs.

May 07, 2012

Being Choosy

Someday my boys will pledge their eternal love to a young lady and will walk into the sunset with her to begin a new life.

Excuse me while I throw up a little in my mouth.

I joke (cry) with friends about the day I will be at the mercy of a daughter-in-law.  What probably makes me the most nervous is that I have not been the most stellar of daughter-in-laws myself.  I know first hand how obnoxious they (I) can be.  

That is why I would like to say that I am totally in favor of arranged marriages.  I'll choose a friend I adore who has a daughter I've watched grow up and BAM!  A marriage made in heaven.  I will inform my boys of my choice and despite cries of protest I will create a world in which no other option will be as appealing as the one I have made for them.

All will be perfect until one day my boy wakes up next to the love I chose for him and realizes it is not a love he chose for himself.  Despite my threats and protests and tears, he will set out to find love for himself.  

Will he return to her?  Will he choose wisely?  Will I even get to be a part of the journey or have I lost my chance to influence?

I sometimes wonder if I am not doing the same in their relationship with God.  They have grown up in a house where they are told what to believe and why.  They are taken to church and surrounded by people who believe the same.

We fight and sometimes lose to the temptation to put them in a bubble where they don't experience "the world".  We choose friends, we shelter and protect because we think if given the choice, they might not love the Person we want them so badly to love.

One day they might realize that the God we've told them to love.....they don't really love at all.

Will he return to Him?  Will he choose wisely?  Will I even get to be a part of the journey or have I lost my chance to influence?

My job is to share and teach as much as I can about having a relationship with a woman.

Treat her with respect.  Choose a woman who doesn't seek attention from others with the way she dresses.  Stay away from a gossip.  Look for kindness and patience.  Make her a priority.  Spoil her.  Treat her well.  Love her.

Make sure she wants to share the grandbabies with her mother-in-law.

My job is to do the same with their relationship with Christ.

Trust Him.  Live a life worthy of His sacrifice.  Talk to Him and let Him talk back.  Seek His will.  Ask for wisdom.  Learn His word.  Worship Him.  Cry to Him.  Love Him.

The best kind of love is love where you know out of all the options in the world, you were chosen.

My job is not to choose for them.

I want my boys to choose her.

I want my boys to choose Him.

May 04, 2012

Does This Remind You Of Anything?

By 8:00 a.m. this morning, I was dressed in a skirt, wearing makeup and accessories, and seated in a beautifully decorated living room with 20 other people listening to two very smart men talk politics.  I sat and nodded when appropriate, chuckled when others did, and pretended to actually follow the diatribe on foreign policy.  

Folks, I was not the sharpest tool in the shed this morning.  I wasn't even IN the shed.  There was banter about North Korea and China and Polland and Russia.  I do know where all those places are located but am I fluent in their politics?  Uh, no.  

Today was one of those days where I was reminded that there is A LOT that I don't know.  

And then I went to lunch with a group celebrating our friend and the upcoming birth of her new baby girl.  We asked for the beautifully decorated cake with Baby Girl written on the top to be served for dessert.  Our very attentive waiters brought the cake with a candle and proceeded to sing Happy Birthday at the top of their lungs.  

I guess it's an interesting kind of way!  

Today was one of those days where I was reminded that I am merely a visitor in a country that is not my own.  

Tonight I helped pack Garrett for a weekend long campout in another country.  I then listened as Nathan told me about an issue on the bus home today where he had to physically hold back a kid from hitting another kid until counselors intervened.

Today was one of those days where I was reminded that my boys are quickly growing up and I have very mixed emotions about that.  

I'm signing off for the weekend that includes a Saturday where miraculously, Scot and I have an entire day all to ourselves.  

Tomorrow I will be reminded of how much I love spending time with my man!

May 03, 2012

Just Breathe

I think it's safe to say that almost two years into life in Singapore, we have done our fair share of flying.  If it's not within the 272 square miles of Singapore then we have to get on a plane to get there.

Needless to say, our whole family stopped paying attention to the flight attendant and her safety speech a long, long time ago.  We know to buckle our seat belts, we know there's a safety card in the seatback in front of us, we know where the inflatable vests are kept and how to put them on and that there's a whistle attached to call for help. (Oh, how tempted I've been to check out that whistle for myself!) We know that our seatbacks need to be in their full and upright position for takeoff.

We also know that if there's a loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling.  The instructions are to put on your own mask first and then assist those around you.

I can remember traveling with small children and wondering if that act would get my "Good Mother of the Year" award revoked.

Here kids, I know you're scared and we're running out of oxygen, but let me get settled first and then I will help you.....just before you lose consciousness.

A dear friend of mine, Alicia, was just talking about this today.  How true the oxygen mask theory is in real life.

As moms we clean up all the messes around us.....figuratively and literally.  We breathe life into our husbands, our kids, our homes, our volunteer jobs and our paying jobs.  We breathe life into our friendships and our hobbies.

How often do we stop and take a breath for ourselves first?

Taking time to spend with God.


Casting our cares and concerns on Him.


Thanking Him for our blessings so we are reminded to be content.


Reading His word and remembering that we are not in control.


Praising Him for being trustworthy and loving and full of grace.


Laying our cares and concerns at His feet.


Resting in the knowledge that He knows the desires of our heart.


When we take time to breathe first, then we can turn to those around us and breathe life into them as well......without losing consciousness.

It can be life saving.

May 02, 2012

Photo Dump Wednesday

After sitting in front of my computer trying to come up with a catchy moniker for today's post I finally decided to go for the direct route.  

I am bad about downloading photos from my phone.  I take pictures and usually text or email them to someone and then they will sit on my phone forever.  

Typically I will find 862 pictures that look just like this:

Or some other form of strange photo morphing that happens when my phone is hijacked.

I also find photos like this:

The evidence of a good Adventure Club day.  This is Vanessa's arm post paint ball....Adventure Club is not for the faint of heart.

And then there was this:

This guy got on the plane in comfy shorts, dress socks and dress shoes.  I'm not sure if he was prepared to do 5 sets of lunges down the aisle or accidentally dropped a cup of coffee on his slacks.

And a reminder from this day:

Teacher conference day and we decided to browse through the Science Fair first.  Nathan didn't participate and there was great rejoicing in the Jenkins household because of it.  I still haven't recovered from the days of my youth when I had to do Science Fair.  I hated it.  I loathed it.  I had a best friend who grew crystals and won every single year.  She was 4'11" and named Heather.  I hugged and hugged Nathan this day and told him how proud I was of him for not getting sucked into Science Fair hell.  Then I bought him ice cream.  Parenting at its finest!

Oh how we love this little guy:

Meet Gus.  He's our rent-a-dog.  His parents are empty nesters living here and they travel often.  Since they opted not to get a helper they were in need of someone to babysit Gus.  We love him.  We cuddle with him.  We talk babytalk to him.  Then we send him home for a few weeks until he comes to visit again.  Scot's and my first real taste of what it will be like to be Granparents....or grown ups who hold the dog on their lap because he's afraid of thunder and proceed to talk him through it.  Not that I'm doing that right now or anything......

The only photos I have from Easter:

We were at an Easter lunch after church and the family had a bunny costume.  Nathan couldn't resist and down the stairs he hopped much to the delight of the moms and children.....

but not his dad.

The day I wanted to murder a 7th grader that was not my own flesh and blood:

Nathan came home upset after having slime slapped on his back by a teenager on his bus.  This picture was my evidence for when I called the school asking that the slime wielding teenager replace this shirt.  The photographic evidence wasn't necessary as all was resolved in a calm, cool, collected manner but darn it if I wasn't disappointed a little bit about not being able to showcase my quick thinking, evidence collecting ways!

Not Scot's finest hour:

A sprained ankle just prior to a trip where we'd be hiking up a mountain.  


I am doing a Bible study with 3 friends and I had to take a picture and text it to all of them making sure they had done this page.  Reminders of who I am.  Not what the world says I am, not what I say I am, but what the God of the universe says I am.  

Picture perfect in His eyes.

May 01, 2012

The Kiss of Death

I love my boys.  I think they are funny and interesting and.....well, unexpected.  I love that they keep me on my toes.  I love how humble they keep me, I really do.

In March I was asked to sit on a parenting panel for a MOPS meeting at our church and the very next week I got to speak to the MOPS group at our church and the very next few week after that, both boys went off the deep end.  One wanted to run away, one acted like a lunatic at a party, one was failing a class, one said a bad word, one wasn't invited to a party.

Just in case I thought for some reason that I had the whole parenting thing all figured out, they clearly set out to prove that I don't.

To make it even better?  I have witnesses.  Yeah for me.

It was a good, swift kick in the hiney to remind me of several things:

1.  It is NEVER a good idea to let your self-image be wrapped up in the behavior of your kids.  That is a wild ride that will make you puke every single time.

2.  Do not let fear motivate parenting.  We fear our kid will walk out if we punish them, so we don't.  We fear our kid won't like us if we set boundaries, so we don't.  We fear our kid will fail, so we don't let them suffer the consequences of their actions.

3.  We clearly do not know our kids near as well as the One who actually created them.  It just might be a good idea to ask Him how to best raise them.  Parenting books are all fine and good, but they most definitely should not take the place of praying over our children and asking for wisdom every single day.....or hour.....or second.

4.  Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, is more of a witness to our kids than our own actions.  They can be preached at and in church 7 days a week but if they have parents that claim to be godly and act anything but, then they are getting nothing more than a good lesson in hypocrisy.

5.  A friend told me the other day that the older her kids get, the less judgemental she becomes of other parents.  The words, "My kid will never......" are the kiss of death.  Kids will mess up.  They will make choices that leave us with our jaws on the floor wondering which side of the family their genes came from.  They will question and argue and roll their eyes and slam a door and stomp out of a room.  My struggle is to not let those times define my success as a parent.

My kids aren't perfect.  Scot and I aren't perfect.

But He is perfect.

And I'm never accepting an invite to speak on parenting ever again.  Never, ever, ever again.


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