Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Funnies

My friend Heather is on a media fast right now, but she developed the Friday Funnies and I wanted to share our latest funnies with you...

In the midst of the sick weeks we have had, my children never fail to disappoint...

Micah, crying because he had to go to another doctor's appointment, said through tears, "I'm going to put a banana on the floor so the doctor can slip on it and fall!"

Upon telling both boys that they had (yet another) doctor's appointment today, they conspired in their room and said, "We are going to put gum on the floor so the doctor will walk and step on it and not be able to move!  We are going to use serious sticky power!"

Jaden woke up at 3am last night and was wide awake for over an hour. During that time he talked a mile a minute, telling me all about how Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's father.  Nevermind he has never seen Star Wars; my dad told him all about it and he was fascinated.

As I was putting Jaden to bed and he was nodding off to sleep, I layed next to him and he whispered in my ear, "Mommy, when you and daddy were praying today, I had my eyes WIDE OPEN!"

Micah missed 3 days of school this week, and I asked if he wanted to go with me to pick up his homework.  He said, "No, I don't want to see my friends from school when I'm absent.  I only want to see them when I go BACK to school!"

The boys have been together so much lately, there have been days where they just get sick of each other.  Micah was mad at Jaden and said, "Your head looks like an oval!"

One of Micah's favorite phrases is "You smacked the cheese off!"  We didn't know what this meant until recently when I finally asked him, and he said, "It means you farted!"  I said, "OH! You mean 'You cut the cheese?'"  He still prefers "You smacked the cheese off!"  :)

And lastly, we were driving and passed a homeless man with dreadlocks wearing a girls' jacket.  Micah blurted out, "That guy is a rock star!" 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Sickies

4 weeks ago, the stomach bug hit our house and Jaden threw up in his Sunday School class.  Fast forward to today, where we have been hit with pneumonia, strep throat, sinus infections, the flu, and colds.  For the past 4 weeks the boys have had fevers of 99-103 degrees, with Micah having two nights of hallucinations where he tried to eat his blanket.

Tomorrow will be our 7th doctors appointment, probably our 3rd round of antibiotics (for Jaden), and we have spent over $300 on medication, vitamins, doctor's visits, etc...  Micah has missed 9 days of school this month, and Jaden missed school today.

I have pumped my babies full of vitamins and probiotics, made healthy meals, sanitized our entire house, and still cannot seem to get rid of this bug.  Even Martin with his rock-solid immune system got hit and I have never seen him sleep so much.

In a word....unbelievable.  In three words....this mama's tired.

Our nights are full of Children's Tylenol, humidifiers, boys sleeping on our chests and coughing in our faces, sick breath, temperature checks, nebulizer treatments, and we are running on about 5 hours of sleep a night.

I have prayed until I can pray no more, and today I cried me some angry tears.  Loving people are calling to check in, asking what they can do.  All they can do is pray that this leaves our house.  I can't remember a time where we were all hit this hard with something for so long (although we have all gotten sick together before, but never for this long).

In the midst of all of this I am trying, trying to find things to be thankful for. Such as:

-We don't live in the prairie days
-We have great doctors who are only about 1 mile away
-Our doctor didn't charge us for 3 co-pays
-We have modern medicine (that is supposed to be helping!)
-I am home full-time to take care of my family and don't have to worry about work
-We have warm beds and clean sheets
-We have chicken soup, lots of food and juices, and everyone has their appetites.
-Cartoons (although my boys have watched more cartoons this month than probably in their entire lives!)
-My husband, who gives me many moments of reprieve even when he isn't feeling well himself

I hope that my next update will be much happier and healthier!

Monday, January 24, 2011

I Heart Faces - Innocent Wonder

This week's theme at I Heart Faces is "Innocent Wonder".  If you've followed my blog before then you have already seen this picture, but I think it captures that theme perfectly.  In fact, when I started my blog, this was on my header, and immediately the phrase "The Wonder Years" came into my mind, thus the title of my blog.  It is overexposed on purpose to show his deep brown eyes contrasted with the green grass.

Micah was about 10 months old when this was taken.  He is now 5 1/2 and I still love seeing the wonder of the world through his eyes!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Messy Home Tour!

Beth over at The Stories of A to Z participated in this linky party from Decor Chick where everyone has been posting photos of their messy houses, and I was smiling BIG as I looked through all the photos.  I was thinking thoughts like, "Um, this isn't even messy!" and "They haven't seen nothin' yet!"  So here goes....

(I know what you're thinking, "Um, hello?  It says Monday, January 17th.  That was almost last week".  Yeah, well now you know why I have a messy house.)

Let's just be honest here.  We clean up when people are coming over.  My boys know this, your boys know this.  Unless you are one of THOSE people.  You know, those people who actually clean every day.  I'm not one of those people.  I used to be one of those people, but something in me snapped trying to keep up with the rest of my life, and I just came to total peace with it :)

So, let's start with the house tour.  Which, may I add, is the culmination of me having strep throat for the past 4 days, laid up in bed, not able to lift one finger.  But even if I didn't have strep throat, you may still find this on many days.  It is hard to tell just how messy a house is through a small picture (where you can't see the whole room).  But trust me, it's bad!  And it's been 10x worse too!

Hmmm....The Living Room

Look! The vacuum is there!  (But it's really been there for 2 days now since I can't get it to work for some reason.) "Ohhhh, Flowers!" you are thinking....well, take a few steps closer and you'll be able to smell how old they are.  Here's another view:

And we move on to the Boys' Room:

These messes really look so much worse in person!

And the Bathroom:

Dirty bathrooms really gross me out.  If you came over right now, in the midst of this mess, I would run in there and clean it for you right away.  Trust me, I would.

And our Bedroom:

This is where I've been holed up the past week, quarantined from my family.  I know... my curtains don't match my comforter, and they are hanging by a string on the right window.  I need to work on that.

And then there's the garage....

And the Kitchen - the messiest room of ALL - I just happened to clean today when I got a burst of energy!  It was seriously sparkling clean.  So SEE, I do clean!! Just maybe 1 room at a time.

There is a difference between "messy" and "dirty", and we do try to always keep our house clean, although it is messy.  Some people are embarrassed about their messy houses.  Some people are proud.  I am ambivalent :)  Not really; I just know that we will clean it bit by bit throughout the day, and if someone comes over before it's done, so be it.  As my wise friend Samantha once told me, "Life is being lived here!"

So, it's your turn!! Let's see it!

(P.S. Check out #59 on the linky party - loved the office!!)  :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


For New Year's we went up to a cabin in the mountains, and had a great time of resting and sledding in the snow.  The driveway was steep and covered in snow, so we used that for our sled run and it was perfect!! We also found out that some old friends happened to live across the street.  We hadn't seen them in over 12 years and had such a good time catching up with them.

Micah, however, was acting strange and had a mild fever the whole time.  He kept complaining of his stomach hurting but had no other symptoms.  I knew something was just not right, and we even contemplated taking him to the E.R. on New Year's Eve in Lake Arrowhead because he seemed really sick.  I called our pediatrician and she said it sounded like the flu, and to wait one more night before bringing him back home to see her.  

When we got home and saw her, we were shocked to find out he had pneumonia. He had hardly been coughing at all, yet she told me that the stomach pain was a symptom of pneumonia too.  He was put on antibiotics, breathing treatments, etc... and missed 5 days of school.  He is now completely better and back at school, but that was a scary 2 weeks as we watched him suffer through that illness.

On Sunday night I woke up at about 3am and could tell that I was sick, and ended up spending the next 36 hours in bed with 102.5 fever.  Today I saw the doctor who told me I have strep throat.  I was surprised to hear that because it came on so fast, and I thought it was an ear infection.  

As I lay on the couch resting today, I saw on the news that there had been a shooting at Gardena High School - a school only 1 block away from where I used to teach, and 4 blocks away from where we used to live a year and a half ago.  Three students were injured, but no fatalities thankfully.  It is crazy when news like that hits so close to home.

And that concludes this post of random news from my neck of the woods! :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Food Issues

Every year at this time, I vow to diet, give up sugar, and lose weight.  It seems like every year my "losing weight" goal increases, from 20 pounds, to 25 pounds, to 30 pounds, etc... Something isn't working.  I have been praying about this issue for years now, trying to overcome it through various books, programs, exercise plans, support groups - you name it.   Those who know me well have seen me go through these  seasons where I been successful at times, but then I fall off track again, and it is a vicious cycle.  In fact, even writing about it here on my blog has been evidence of the many, many times I have tried and then failed.

As I have prayed about this issue in my life (which seems to be one of my biggest issues), God has recently led me to some new resources that are causing me to examine the real, root cause of this struggle in my life.  Most of us do have food issues, and we think "If I just start exercising again, or just stop eating junk food or carbs, I will get back on track."  It works for awhile, but then we go back to our old ways, because we haven't really dealt with the root of our struggles.

I was at a used bookstore two weeks ago and ran across this book called Thin Within by Judy Halliday for only $1.00.  Every page I read seems to change my life a little more.  This book is not a diet plan, but teaches you how to recognize when you are truly hungry (using through a hunger scale from 0-10), and eat until you are comfortable, not stuffed (a 3-5 on the scale).  Whereas other plans sometimes use Scripture to make you feel as though you are sinning if you overeat, this is a "grace based" book that encourages simple observation and correction when you make a mistake.  The entire book is full of loving encouragement and no condemnation or guilt-based theology.  She does not tell you what to eat, and actually encourages you to throw away your diet books.  This is definitely a new way of thinking for me.

The second book is one that a friend recommended, and it is called "Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food" by Lysa Terkeurst.  This book is easy to read with humor throughout, and you feel as though you are talking to a girlfriend.  I am reading this together with "Thin Within" and the messages are very similar although communicated differently.  Both of these books have 5 stars from reviewers on Amazon, and it is easy for me to see why. I would give them both 5 stars too!  You can visit Lysa's website here, and she has authored other great books as well.

I have not lost any sudden weight or feel as though I have finally overcome my issues.  Yet these two books are opening my eyes to the deep-set beliefs and patterns that have been set in my life for years.  I never really realized before that my true food issues have stemmed not from what I was eating, but from why I was eating.  I look forward to seeing how God continues to work in my heart through these books and hope they encourage you too!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Problem with Church

It seems like the longer I am in ministry, the more I run into people who have been  hurt by the ministry.  It bothers me that I become associated with a group of people who have hurt others, whether it is by just wearing the name "Christian", or being connected to a group of people close to the wounded.  Everybody seems hurt these days, by the very people who are supposed to bring a message of love and healing.

Some of the causes of this hurt in the church include:

-Hurt feelings: feeling "slighted" over decisions, looked over for ministry positions, or just not being listened to.

-Differences in opinion: whether it's about what color the new paint will be, or how money is spent, or decisions about direction in the church, hurt can ensue when common ground cannot be reached.

-Differences in style: worship, preaching-style, what cookies are served after the service, etc...

-Gossip:  unfortunately there are many "talkers" in churches, and this sin runs deep and rampant.

-Bad theology: sometimes members are made to feel guilty that they are not doing enough, not giving enough, not contributing matter what you do, it is never enough.

-Personality differences:  a church is made up of every different personality known to man (and God).  When you have to work alongside people who may rub you the wrong way, you want to run.  It is hard when these people might be in leadership in the church you go to, because you already may not like them very much, yet they may make decisions that impact you and your family.

-Genuine abuse:  unfortunately in some churches, real abuse happens - whether physically, sexually, emotionally or spiritually.  People hurt in this way may never want to go back to a church (ever), and for understandable reasons.  But God can still heal even our deepest wounds.

If you feel you have been hurt, can you narrow down which of these areas you were hurt by?

There are also generally two types of people in churches: givers and takers.

The givers get involved and contribute, may be involved in small groups, in leadership of some type, and are hopefully excited to be there.  Being a giver is not always better than being a taker, because sometimes we give out of our own selfish needs for approval.  We don't know when to say "no." Sometimes we get involved in ministry when God might actually want us to rest.

The takers come and sit.  They watch.  They may need healing and time, which are good.  But other takers just come and criticize.  They talk to others about it.   They complain.  They are never happy and they are not really interested in contributing anything good.

The fact is, we have all four types of these people in our churches today:

Givers who give with pure hearts; givers who should be resting instead.
Takers who are healing their hearts; takers who are critical and negative.

Which type of person are you?  It is easy to point the finger at the others and say they are the ones causing the problems.  But really - which one are you?

If it is a time to rest, then rest.  But don't get too comfortable. We need you, but only after God has started to heal your heart.

If it is a time to work, then work with all your heart.  Do it for the Lord, not for others. Because I'm telling you right now, that others will disappoint you.  People in the church are just as broken and sinful as those outside the church, and you will get hurt.  I guarantee you.  But what will you do with that hurt?  Will you be bitter and broken forever?  Or will you turn your eyes back on Jesus and let him heal your heart?

The church has no hope if we continue to keep our focus on each other.  We are broken and bruised, and we hurt each other. Our only hope is to keep our eyes on Jesus, ask Him to heal our hearts and not become bitter, and allow him to use our brokenness for His glory.

Lord, help us not to become the hurt or the hurters.  For we do not often know what pain our actions may cause others.  Let us not focus on ourselves and our own pain, but on you and the pain you endured so that we could have the privilege of worshipping you.  Help us to have your perspective, God.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Year's Reading

I have not read a complete book in over a few years.  I attribute that to motherhood and being continually interrupted every 10 seconds.  Yet this year (all 6 days of it) I picked up a few books and started reading again as though I was starving for words.  I finished the first book in 3 days and the second book in 5 days because they were SO good.  For those of you looking for some encouragement or a good book to read, please read these books:

1) Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo.

Seriously, one of the most amazing books I have ever read in my life.  This is the true story of 4 year old Colton Burpo, whose appendix burst inside of him. After numerous life-threatening emergencies related to that, he emerged from the hospital after 2 weeks with incredible stories of being to heaven, retelling  stories of people he met up there (including his great-grandfather whom he had never met on earth).  Colton's father is a Wesleyan pastor and re-tells Colton's story through his own eyes as well as through Colton's. 

The most impactful part of the entire book was, for me, when Colton announced to his mom and dad that he has a second sister whom he met in heaven.  They had never told Colton that they had experienced a miscarriage before he was born.  He tells his parents in detail what she said to him ("I can't wait to meet mommy and daddy!"), that she wouldn't stop hugging him, and what she looked like.  Colton's mother burst into tears when she heard his account of the daughter they never knew they had (they didn't know if the baby was a boy or a girl). 

Colton talks about what Jesus looks like, meeting Jesus' cousin John the Baptist ("he's a real nice guy") and other people whom he had never been taught about (at the young age of four).

This book truly changed the way I viewed heaven and the prayers of God's people here on earth.  Colton talks about seeing the Holy Spirit "shoot down power" to his daddy during his daddy's sermons on Sunday mornings. 

You can read an excerpt of the book on the Heaven is for Real website, and it is on sale right now at for only $6.49.  I highly recommend getting this book ASAP.

2)  90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper

I admit that I've always been skeptical about this book, but I had a big lesson in humility since I actually read it and my views on it completely changed. This isn't just another book about someone's journey to heaven - this is a book about suffering on earth, a journey through depression and loss, and longing for heaven.  Yes, Don Piper was pronounced dead for 90 minutes and also shares in detail what he saw.  However, the book is a huge encouragement to those who are discouraged in their faith and suffering through various physical ailments. 

What is interesting is that when I told a friend about the first book, she asked if I had read this one. Two days later I wandered into a used bookstore, and this book stood out on the shelf to me.  It was only $1.00 so I picked it up.  Reading this book at the same time as Heaven is for Real not only deeply encouraged me in my faith, but gave me a new-found desire to pray, because I know God hears and answers.  (Not that I didn't know that before, but sometimes you just need fresh encouragement). 

The similarities between what these two books shared regarding their accounts of heaven are strikingly vivid and similar.  It feels odd to read a 4-year old's account, and then a 40-something year old's account, and have them be so alike. But they both provide descriptions that expand in detail what is already in the Bible.

These two books alone will bolster your faith like never before.  I have been reminded of a few things through reading these:

-Prayers WORK.  Do not stop praying!
-Jesus LOVES children.  We need to cherish them more and treat them with patience and love.
-Their is a spiritual battle raging at all times.
-We need to share Jesus with others.  It is URGENT.  At the end of 90 Minutes in Heaven, the pastor who prayed for Don Piper to come back to life starts to cry in a restaurant they are in, and they have this conversation:

Dick Onerecker: "If you saw a little kid run out in the street, you'd dash out there and try to save the child's life.  Human nature is like that  We try to preserve life, and I will do that any time I get the opportunity.  So would you...Yet here we are sitting in this [restaurant], surrounded by people, many of whom are probably lost and going to hell, and we won't say a word about how they can have eternal life.  Something is wrong with us."

Don Piper: "You're absolutely right.  We're willing to save someone in a visible crisis, but a lot of folks are in a spiritual crisis and we don't say a word about how they can get out of it."

Is that convicting or what?  Does that not change your perspective a bit?

This book is also on sale at Amazon for only $8.47.

3) The last book I want to recommend is not one that I have read entirely, but I have read many portions of it.  It is Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman.

This book is written by Steven Curtis Chapman's wife, who tells the story of adoption and subsequent loss of their little girl Maria, who was hit by a car in their driveway.  The book is very moving, and even funny in places, and a great account of a family who holds onto faith in the midst of tragedy. 

Choosing to See is only $13.19 on  I highly recommend getting all 3 books together with Super-Saver Shipping for only $28.15 total - an awesome deal!

These three books together might seem a bit....depressing. But, in fact, they are exactly the opposite. They provide encouragement and fresh insight into our relationships with God. 

If you need some encouragement, are going through a tough time, or know someone who is, pick up these books.  If you or someone you love is facing a life-threatening illness, I know these books will encourage them (and you).  I hope you are as blessed by them as I was!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Signs You're Approaching Your Mid-30's

This year I turn 35, which feels pretty strange.  Some days I still feel like I'm 25, and other days I could believe I could not be over 30, yet here I am.  I look in the mirror and find new companions - grey hairs, smile lines, things growing on my body, and new moles. 

Here are some more signs, compiled by me, that you, too, may be approaching your mid-30's:

-You care more about being comfy than cute (most of the time).

-Your nighttime routine includes facial moisturizer, plucking hairs and Crest Whitestrips.

-You go to Victoria's Secret for one thing and one thing only - comfy cotton underwear.

-A late night means that you're in bed by 10:30pm.

-You play "brain games" to keep your mind stimulated (Soduko, Crossword Puzzles, etc.)

-You carry Bean-O or Tums in your purse

-Teen girls pass by you, whisper to each other and giggle.

-Your knees pop.

-You need help getting up off the floor after playing with your kids.

-You listen to KOST 103.5 and secretly hope your spouse dedicates a song to you.

-You look at old pictures of yourself and say, "I was so skinny!"

-Your wardrobe contains the brands Merona, Lee, High Sierra or St. Johns Bay.

-You have a crockpot cookbook.

-You sleep with earplugs, lotion and/or chapstick next to your bed.

Do you identify?  Am I missing anything?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My Inward Resolves

I used to be a BIG New Year's Resolution girl, but each year I grow more disenchanted with that word...with the unrealistic goals I set for myself...with trying to be different instead of accepting the way that God made me....and then with the feeling of failure that I haven't met any of my resolutions at the end anyway.  I read this post from my friend Victoria, however, that I really liked - her resolutions seemed to focus more on inward resolve rather than external things. 

Every year around Christmas time, I pray that God will give me a word that will describe the coming year for me.  A word that I can hold on to and look forward to.  In 2009 I felt that the word was TRANSITION, and we ended up moving to our new house.  In 2010 my word was CLARITY.  This past year did give me opportunities to clear out "excess" from my life and focus more on what is most important.  I also stepped aside from ministry in a few areas which allowed me a much needed break. 

This year the word I have sensed for 2011 is CHANGE. I'm not sure what (or how), but I pray that I will welcome it and be open to what God has in store. 

One of the first changes I am making is taking a break from photography for awhile.  I will still do editing on the side for income, but I am not going to do any photo sessions for a long time, possibly until September (for the 2011 Christmas season).  I need to upgrade my equipment, get my computer fixed, re-define my goals and just have a break.  The business has been running for 5 years now and I'm praying about whether I should continue to pursue it as a legitimate business, or just a hobby.  As of right now, it is no longer fun, no longer energizing to me, but just constantly draining.  The minute I made that decision, I felt a huge weight lifted off of me. 

This past year was busy.  Photography, MOPS, women's ministry, lactation counseling, and then entering the world of kindergarten was a lot.  I have ended 90% of what I was involved in, and it feels good.  For now I will focus on continuing to help in Micah's class, volunteering once every 2 months at the Pregnancy Help Center, and as for the rest, we will just have to wait and see...

Change is ahead, and it feels good.  Sometimes you have to stop and re-focus so that you can enter a new phase with energy and vision.  I also don't want to be known as a "busy" person, and I regret that is how many people have seen me.  Busy does not mean important, or effective, in any means.  I want to be present, not busy and distracted.  While we can't avoid certain commitments or scheduled events, I don't have to overload myself with more to do.  It is okay to say "no" and not be overly concerned with what someone else might think of me for saying that. 

So, if I'm going to make resolutions this year, instead of my same old list (like last year's), here are my 2011 Inward Resolves:

-I resolve to welcome change instead of resist it
-I resolve to find the beauty in the season I am in
-I resolve to be less busy and more present
-I resolve to appreciate my boys and the stage they are in more
-I resolve to say "no" more often
-I resolve to not feel guilty about having to say no
-I resolve to love more and fight less
-I resolve to honor Christ more with my thoughts and words
-I resolve to serve and love my husband in new and creative ways

What are your 2011 Resolutions or Inward Resolves?