Thursday, April 30, 2009


Yesterday Micah was watching me type and he said "Mommy! You are writing the letters so fast on the page! Stop it! You're like Lightning McQueen!" I am still laughing every time I think of it! :)


Do you ever have those weeks that make you feel like you're on a roller-coaster?

If you've been reading lately you have seen what we've been through the last few weeks with our housing situation. Well, yesterday we got "the call." Our landlord said we can stay. He had told us he was trying to change the situation he was in so that we could stay, but we weren't sure until yesterday. He not only said we can stay here, but he said we can stay for as long as we want and he will never raise the rent. He said if he ever has to ask us to move again, he will pay us $3500 for our time and trouble. He even asked if we want to lease the house we're in. I have to say, it is obvious that God is involved when you get a call like that!

But before we ran around the room doing cartwheels, we talked about what we really want again. The bottom line is that our hearts were excited about moving (especially mine). There are now boxes in the garage that we really don't want to have to unpack. Change can just be so exciting! We still feel the need for more space and to be closer to the church, our friends in the church, Micah's preschool, etc... This morning Martin and I talked about how if we stay here for even another two months, we want there to be purpose in it. So we've decided to take the money we had set aside for the move and finally pay off one of our student loans. A student loan that we have agonized over for over TEN years now. If all goes according to plan, then we'll actually be able to pay it off by July 1. Now THAT is a purpose I feel good about! After that, we'll re-evaluate and continue to look for an affordable, bigger place to live.

Until that time, we have a lot going on. For one, we had to reschedule Micah's surgery from June 12th to May 14th. The other night we heard him gasping for air in the monitor. We went into his room and found him choking because his tonsils are so enlarged. He was showing signs of sleep apnea- where a person stops breathing a few times a minute and then gasps for air. It was really scary. I called the surgeon at 10pm and he (thankfully) called me right back. He said there is no quick fix; the only real remedy for chronic enlarged tonsils is to have them removed. The bummer is that the surgery is scheduled for 11:30am - it was the only opening they had in May - and he can't eat anything after midnight the night before. This boy is HUNGRY right when he wakes up every morning, so that will be a challenge. Please pray with us that an earlier time would open up for our boy. I'm sure nobody likes to think about their child having surgery... I trust it will go fine but don't want to see my child have any pain, you know?

So, that will keep us busy for awhile in May, along with a wedding, my sister's graduation from college, Jaden's 2nd birthday, Martin turning 33, etc.... I guess it would have been a really busy month to move anyway :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New Beds

Yesterday we journeyed to IKEA to buy Micah his new bunkbed. They have this great toddler sized bunkbed; it actually fits a twin sized mattress, but it is only 3 1/2 feet high off the ground. The bottom bed lays right on the floor. We decided to only buy one mattress to put Micah on the top, and Jaden could sleep in the toddler bed. This way we can keep an eye on him better (he's not hidden under the top bunk) and we can put their toys on the floor under the top bunk. It took about 3 hours, but Martin did a great job! Here are some pictures....

The boys have shared a room since Jaden was born. There have been a few challenges but for the most part it has worked well, and they seem to like rooming together. A lot of people have asked me how we've made it work, and if they wake each other up. One thing that worked for us was putting the boys to bed at different times (both for nap and bedtime). This would give one the chance to fall asleep so it would be quiet enough for the other one to fall asleep easily. When we've tried to put them down at the same time, they usually play and keep each other up. When they finally developed the same sleeping schedule, we'd put Jaden down at 1:00pm for a nap, and Micah down at 1:15pm. If Jaden still was not asleep by 1:15, we could either let Micah sleep in our bed or wait until Jaden fell asleep. They both would wake up around the same time (around 3pm), but if one woke up earlier, I would just rush in and take that child out of the room. At nighttime, we often put Jaden down around 7:30pm, and read to Micah in our bedroom until 8pm. Then we can put Micah in his own bed quietly, and we make a big deal that it is quiet time. If he wakes Jaden up by screaming or getting out of bed, he gets in trouble. Now that they're both older, though, we sometimes read to them together and put them down at the same time. Sometimes they stay up for about 10 minutes or so, but usually they are both so tired they fall asleep easily.

Last night went pretty smoothly. We finally got the room situated by 9:30pm and so they went to bed very late. But they both stayed in their beds the whole night, except for Jaden who got up once because he had a coughing attack, and he came out looking for one of us to give him water. This morning at 6am Jaden crawled into bed with me and fell back asleep until 6:30. I may let that happen for a few mornings since I miss snuggling with him, but very soon I'll be weaning him off of THAT habit! :)

I think one of the weirdest things was dismantling the crib forever! The crib has been in the room for FOUR years now! Since Micah was only 23 months old when Jaden was born, we just moved Micah right on up to a toddler bed and Jaden used the crib. It was a little sad, but not really :) We were ready.

I'm working on a post describing a church leadership seminar I went to last Friday - it was amazing - so stay tuned for that...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Highlights from Catalyst

Usually when Martin informs me that he has to go to another pastor's conference, I don't exactly do cartwheels. 3 days alone with the boys - need I say more? And sometimes there are 3 or 4 of these a year. But this time, the conference was only 30 minutes away and he was coming home each night. Delighted was I! I was even more delighted when on the second day he called me and said "you need to be here tomorrow. I'm giving you my ticket." Just to be sure we weren't sinning, I checked the website and they said the tickets were transferrable :) I honestly didn't really want to go, but he kept telling me how awesome it was and that he really felt I needed to be there. He knows my heart for ministry and that I haven't really gotten to pursue that much the past 5 years. So, at 7:30am on Friday, my pastor and another pastor picked me up and we all carpooled down there.

Catalyst West Coast is a Church Leaders Conference unlike ANY I have ever seen, heard of, or been to. This blows those other ones out of the water. It is high energy, hilarious, fast-paced, and packed with speakers and musicians on stage. You are surrounded by over 3000 other leaders (mostly in the Southern California area) from different evangelical denominations. I walked in and thought "Wow - I'm in a room full of young preppy church leaders." But before you tune out, I will tell you that I saw a genuineness that I was not expecting. It was life changing. If you are a church leader or even interested in being a church leader at any time in your life, I am not just telling you that you should go. I am begging you to go.

There is no way that you can get the full effect here, but let me at least share a few things I wrote down that may encourage you as they encouraged me. I'll show you a bit what the schedule was like. Oh yeah, and keep in mind that I was only there 1 day out of 3, and missed Hillsongs on the second day. But you can bet I'll be there again next year and will hopefully see them then.

8:00am - Drive into parking lot of Mariner's Church. Greeted by a friendly young fellow (who was really very happy for it being 8:00am) stopping cars and giving out free Krispy Kreme donuts to everyone. Found parking spot. Saw some other pastors walking by who I knew. Saw a group of Mennonites walking in, too. Wow. This should be interesting.

8:15am- Walk down pathway lined with Christian vendors giving out free stuff- be still my beating heart! Got in line for free Fair-Trade coffee. While in line, someone walked by passing out free copies of Dave Ramsey's newest book Total Money Makeover. (Of course I walked OUT of line to check out a booth while these were being passed out and did not get a copy!!!)

8:30am - Walk into auditorium packed with over 3000 people slapping together thunder sticks while singing along to the guy on stage singing "I Would Walk 500 Miles". Fun! Found great seats and watched as two hilarious guys entertained the audience. Funny videos shown. Games played. Extreme Dodgeball game with the actual dodgeball champions (they did this in an open area at the back).

9:00am - Amazing worship. Wow. Seriously. Followed by Erwin McManus.
(Hey! Turns out someone already typed up all the notes for me! Cool! Just click on the name). Erwin's message incorporated amazing visual aids, two dance routines and ended with his daughter Mariah singing. The message was amazing.  He talked about how we all born "unordinary" and somehow we become "ordinary" over time.  We forget the dreams that we had.  We stop pursuing them.  But God wants us to dream again.

10:30am- Break.  Saw Rick Warren outside surrounded by many adoring fans.  Smelled Chik-Fil-A being cooked for us.

11:00am- "A Conversation on Justice" with Jeannie Mai, Naomi Zacharias, and Bethany Hoang.  These 3 young women talked about sex trafficking, which is not only a huge problem in other countries, but here as well. Very moving and inspiring.

11:30am- Rick Warren (see notes here). I have to admit, I wasn't expecting much here. Not because I don't like Rick Warren, but because his books are just so basic and I wasn't astounded by them. But he blew my socks off. He is a very intelligent but very humble man. I got so much out of his message. He spoke a lot about avoiding burnout as leaders. He challenged the church to not just create disciples - not just draw people in or make them commit to tons of ministries, but to actually disciple them. He stressed the importance of having a plan - a process - so that this happens. He said we need to "judge a church not on their seating capacity but on their sending capacity." Read the notes for more great quotes like that.

12:30pm - Lunch. Free Chik-Fil-A. Need I say more? I was in heaven. Took a walk with my pastor over to the wooden chapel on Mariner's campus, and we got some ideas for our own church. Their campus is beautiful.

1:30pm - Came back in to a room full of high-energy people pumped up by caffeine and spicy chicken breath. We worshipped some more, saw hilarious skits, and then welcomed Luis Palau, Kevin Palau and John Bishop who spoke on impacting your city.

2:00pm or so - WelcomedFrancis Chan to the stage. Another amazing speaker. He talked about being bold in our faith, not being afraid of what others think. A great quote by him: "We were taught to preach exegetically but do we live exegetically?" (meaning - do we really apply the Word of God to our lives and let it shape how we act, or do we twist it to rationalize whatever we are doing?)

3:00pm- Powerful worship. Time of repentance and praying for each other. Lots of tears, immediately followed by a break where hundreds of people lined up to use the bathroom who all had puffy eyes.

4:00pm- Perry Noble.
If you ever get to hear this guy speak, he will have you rolling with laughter and then crying the next minute. He is flat out HILARIOUS. I took so many notes, my hand hurt. He spoke about vision. "The size of the vision God has given me is directly related to the amount of pain and discomfort I am willing to endure." He spoke about how ministry is often like speaking to "dry bones" (Ezekiel 37). "The dryness will lead to desperation." "The dryness is not necessarily because of sin in your life but to make you desperate for Him." He asked us "what would you attempt to do for God if you knew you would not fail?" This was powerful. It is hard to put it into words.

5:30pm- As we ended with worship and then exited the building, we were given a departing gift - Otter Pops. Why? I don't know. As we drove out of the parking lot, they had teams of people waving signs that said "Thanks for coming!" "Nice Car!" and "We will Miss You!" There was even a guy stopping every car to hand out Dum-Dum Suckers (hmmmmm)... :)

Basically I feel like I got an IMMENSE amount of knowledge and insight from some of the nations top speakers in only 8 hours or so. If you get a chance to go to one of these next year, do it. It could change your life, your ministry, and give you a new vision. This post is long enough, but there was a new work started in my heart that I will be excited to learn and share about over the next few months and years...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Will You Pray?

Will you join with me today (Tuesday) in praying for sweet baby Stellan, whose story I've been following for the past few months, along with hundreds of thousands of others?  Stellan is having surgery on his heart on Tuesday morning and he is only 5 months old.

It is amazing how this blogging community becomes such a way to connect and make new friends. And although I have never met MckMama, I feel a bond with her because she has been so transparent and real (and she is a sister in Christ).  My heart is just breaking for her as she tries to sleep tonight in the hospital in Boston, knowing her baby is going to have serious surgery in the morning.  Her husband and three young children (under age 4) are back at home.

So please join with me in praying that God will guide the doctor's hands, help Stellan to rest easy and recover quickly, and that He would give His perfect peace to MckMama tomorrow as she waits.  Let's pray together that tomorrow there would be some progress and resolution to his SVT.   Click on the link above or on the "Praying for Stellan" link on the sidebar if you want to read their story.

Friday, April 17, 2009


My boys have been making me laugh lately. Jaden has acquired a love of BUGS of all things, and keeps bringing me "presents" from his time outside. Yesterday I received a live pincher bug and large black roach, and today he brought me another large roach, playing dead in his fingers. Totally gross. You would think my screams would deter him from doing this again, but he loves it.

Yesterday he decided to give his baby bear a snack. This is how I found baby bear, facedown in goldfish crackers:

On Easter, when we were having an Easter egg hunt in our back yard, Jaden kept stopping to play baseball with whatever he found inside of his Easter eggs. He only collected a few because he was having so much fun batting their contents across the back yard.

(That was an Easter egg that looked like a soccer ball. Guess I can't blame him) :)

Today he reached in the fridge and pulled out a bag of veggies and took them outside with him for his snack. Keep in mind that it is like pulling teeth to get these kids to eat veggies, so I was pleasantly surprised!

I overheard another cute conversation today as well. Micah was laying on the floor next to Jaden, and I heard him say "Googy, do you like me?" "I like you too, Googy." :)  

Micah got a ring-pop yesterday from school for a little girl's birthday (the girl he likes). On the way home, he asked Martin, "Daddy, what is a ring pop?" and Martin told him, "Well, Micah, it's a candy ring that you wear on your finger and you can suck it like a sucker!" and Micah looked out the window and said "There's a ring pop, too, Daddy!" Martin looked out the window as they were passing Robbins-Brothers Engagement Ring Store, and sure enough, there's a large diamond ring on their logo :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Something Changed.

This has been a challenging week for us and it is starting (finally) to look up. Micah got sick on Easter Sunday with a really strange rash on his torso that then spread to his tongue (strawberry tongue). He had a fever for 4 days, had thrown up on the first day, and was up all night for about 4 nights in a row with a stuffy nose and coughing. We weren’t sure what was wrong with him so I finally took him to the doctor yesterday, and she couldn’t tell what had caused it either. While the rash was indicative of a virus that is starting to pass, what she could tell us was that he once again had fluid in his ears and he is on the verge of another ear infection. We’ve decided to re-schedule his surgery for tubes and adenoids, and are going to ask the doctor to also remove his monster tonsils (that’s how the doctors keep referring to them). I will hopefully get a date on Monday as to when that will be.

Jaden also came down with a cold, and I twisted my knee doing the 30 Day Shred, while simultaneously coming down with whatever the boys have had. Last night I had a good 9 hours of sleep while Martin took care of both boys during the night so that I could sleep. Sleep makes such a difference.

As for our house hunt, we have searched for hours, made countless phone calls, drove around looking for “for rent” signs, etc. What we’ve found has not been what we were looking for either location-wise or rent-wise. God has clearly closed four different doors that we thought were opening. Today our landlord emailed us and said he’s doing whatever he can so that we won’t have to move out on June 1. Well, I almost wish he hadn’t said that because I just want to know one way or the other. I’ve already packed up quite a few boxes. My heart has been set on moving. This morning I wrestled with God about all of this. After my spiritual tantrum-throwing, something changed inside of me. I don’t know what happened, but suddenly I realized that whatever happens, I’ll be okay with it. Maybe God was trying to bring me to that point all along. If we have to move, I’ll be happy for a change. If we don’t have to move, I’ll be happy that we’re saving money (for a future house, perhaps) and that things will stay stable for awhile. We have 6 weeks left, during which time our landlord could say that his situation changed and we can stay. At 9am this morning, that thought would have made me cry. But by 11am this morning, I am okay with that possibility.

God works in mysterious ways, and I don’t have an understanding yet of this process. But I do know that if we’re willing to just be in His will, even if we don’t get it (and we think our will might be better, actually), then He will bless us for our obedience. I know this because I have seen it firsthand before. Most of the big transitions we’ve made in our lives, I have resisted because I wanted something different. And it was painful to have to submit to God. But I see now that when I do that, there are big rewards and He carries us through.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Update... and Easter according to toddlers

The past few days have been rough for me. I have been giving in some to the anxiety and worry that come with not knowing where we are going to live next. I vacillate between strong faith and weak faith, hope and hopelessness. Knowing that God can handle my varying emotions makes it a little easier to be honest. It's not that I don't have faith that He will provide a place. I KNOW He will. I have no doubt that we WILL have a roof over our heads. But it's all the nagging questions that get to me: will it be in a place we want to live? Will it be big enough? Will the price be low enough? And on and on it goes.

We had three leads to houses and had waited over a week to hear on them, which was really frustrating. Well, today we got an answer to all three leads. No, No, and No. Back to square one. My heart says "Rest in Him." "Be still." "Don't worry." "Trust Him." But my mind stays busy. It is 21 days until May 1, when we should be out. But we have a "grace period" of another 30 days if nothing works out.

Today at MOPS I heard a speaker talk about Easter and how it was the "day that changed everything." And while she was speaking I was reminded of another speaker who once said "It may be Friday. Hopelessness, Despair, Fear. But Sunday's coming!" So that is what I'm holding on to right now. I really want my focus to be on Him this Easter, instead of myself and our situation.

Another thing that happened today at MOPS was that Jaden made a little craft for Easter. When I picked him up, he showed me what he colored:

He said "Jesus. Hurt. Owie." I love that childlike faith; the learning that starts so young. It is so great knowing these seeds are being planted. He turned it over and showed me the other side:

"House." he said :)

Micah saw it and said "You made this, Googy? That's nice! Thank you!" then he said "Where are his sandals, mommy? The bad guys took them? They put him in the tomb with the big rock. The bad guys closed it and they put him in the big door and they didn't see him. And now Jesus is alive again!"

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Roller Coaster

I have written a few times about my quest for health in 2009.  About 2 weeks ago I posted that I had lost 7 pounds, and I was so excited that I was actually doing it!  But about 13 days ago I stopped writing down what I was eating, and boy, have I seen a difference.  I thought I could do it, that I had it down after 6 weeks, that I didn't need to record every small detail anymore.  But I've realized that I'm not there yet.  I feel like I'm on a roller coaster.  I do good, then I do bad, and on and on it goes.  My goal was to lose 10 pounds by Easter, and I have come to the realization this week that I failed and it is not going to happen. Unless I lose about 4 pounds by Sunday, which would be pretty hard to do.  This week my total loss is about 6 pounds, but I started almost 7 weeks ago, so it's not that great.

The good news is that I started an exercise video program with some friends on Facebook. We're all doing Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred program.

 I have diligently done it every day for 6 days now.  But every day that I do it, I rationalize eating badly, thinking that I "deserve" whatever food is tempting me since I worked my butt off for 20 whole minutes :)

So, that is my confession.  I am going to get back on the band wagon in the morning, and start yet again.  If anyone has any suggestions I am sure open to them!  It is hard trying to eat healthy AND exercise.  I seem to have a pattern in my life of only doing one thing at a time. Tomorrow is a new day, so I'm thankful for that.