Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Christmas Jars

For Christmas, my friend Annette got me a book called Christmas Jars by Jason Wright. There just hasn't seemed to be much time for reading since that time. I mentioned before that we are reading Gripped by the Greatness of God for our bible study in church this session, so getting my required reading done each week and still scouring the sales ads in the newspaper were about all the reading I could handle!

Anyway, we decided not to turn the TV on last night - not really a conscious decision, it just didn't get turned on. So, while Matt was reading the paper, I picked up this book and decided I would finally start it. Here are three reasons why it is now on my all time favorite book list:

  1. It is an easy read--no complicated plot, $100 words, tiny print, etc.

  2. It's a pretty short book.

  3. It is so fabulous, you can't put it down!!!

It tells the story of a family who, the first year they were married, saved their change from Thanksgiving to Christmas in a jar, and that was their budget for buying gifts for each other. As the years went on and their family grew, they saved change for longer periods of time. One year, through circumstances I'll let you read about, they end up giving the Christmas jar away. And that becomes their new tradition. And, as each person is touched by their giving, the tradition spreads to countless people throughout their community.

It was all about giving, forgiving, putting others before yourself--it just embodies the true spirit of Christmas, and of Christ Himself. I am officially recommending it to everyone (or at least to all 3 people who ready my blog ;-) Don't wait until the holiday season - read Christmas Jars now, and start your own tradition!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

My Kids' Second Mom . . .

I've been contemplating this post for awhile, not quite sure how to go about it. It is one of the most important things in our lives, yet so hard to quantify. Every working mother out there will know exactly what I'm talking about within about 2 words . . .Quality Daycare. When you have found the right person/persons to watch over your children while you are at work, you just absolutely know it. When it's not quite right, even just little, seemingly petty things - your whole world might as well be 10 degrees off balance.

I have been in both situations - all of us crying at the door in the morning, because they don't want to stay and I don't want to leave them - and all of us crying in the evening, because they aren't ready to leave their home-away-from-home, and I am struggling in this place between jealousy and utter thankfulness to have found the right spot for my children.

What a blessing - the place I'm in right now is the latter of the two situations. I have been blessed with the absolute most wonderful lady in the entire universe to watch over my children during the day. Tina is far and above more than I ever could have hoped for--thankfully, God doesn't restrict himself to the power of our imaginations - He goes ahead and does things more mightily than we could ever dream.

I put about 90 miles on my car every day, driving to Tina's, then to work, then back to Tina's, and home. Seems like a lot - but I would make that choice over and over again for the peace of mind I get when I know my children are loved and well-cared for. She is one of the most special ladies I've ever had the pleasure of knowing.

Thanks, Tina!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Friends . . .

Just a few thoughts today about friends. Don't know why this is my post today, but let's see where it goes . . .

This is a pic of my son Chance and his cousin/friend Wyatt.

  1. I am so very blessed by the friends the God has allowed me to share my life with. The most of which is my husband, who thankfully is my best friend.
  2. Family - my family members are my friends. I still call my mom and dad almost everyday, and share great friendships with my brothers and sister. What a blessing!
  3. Activities - I share interests with many of my friends, and it is a great way to keep our relationships strong. Even where there is distance, a camping weekend can have everyone caught up and laughing like we saw each other yesterday. My scrap booking ladies are some of the best group to touch my life in recent years.
  4. Tragedy - whenever it strikes, you know who your friends are in an instant - and what a comfort that is. Why does Chicken Tetrazini taste like the most gourmet Italian meal when a friend brings it over in your time of need? And, just as important, knowing how fond we are of sweets, there never seems to be a shortage of cookies, brownies, and other just plain comfort food whenever we are in need.
  5. Laughter - my friends make me remember how to laugh. At myself. At my kids. At my situation. It never fails to make things better - even if only just a little bit. And to share common experiences, and be able to laugh at both sides of them, is just truly priceless.
  6. Timeless - I recently got an e-mail to send out to your friends. It was about 15 questions, and you were supposed to fill it out and send it back to your friend to see how much you really knew about them. Things like middle name, color of eyes, music preference, etc. It was so fun to get the answers back from everyone, but I was struck by the great deal of knowledge my best friend from Kindergarten still has about me. Somehow, that is just cool.
  7. Comfort - all of the above things lead to this. What a comfort it is to be surrounded by those that God knows are a perfect complement to your life. Thank you to all my friends - my childhood friends, my girlfriends, my family friends, and my best friend. My life would not be the same without you!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Valued vs. Valuable

We had bible study at church last night--this has become one of my favorite weekly activities. I find that I get kind of "out of kilter" if I miss a Wednesday night study. Currently, we are going through James McDonald's book Gripped by the Greatness of God. What a blessing it has been!

One of the biggest things to hit me during the entire series was a point we explored last night. Being valued versus being valuable. The bible says that I am valued by God. He finds value in His creation. Isaiah 43:4 - Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life.

It seems like a small nuance, but that is not to be confused with valuable. Many aspects of our society right now put being valuable on a pedestal. But, we must be very careful not to strive to be valuable in the eyes of this world. A valuable employee can easily stumble and be replaced. A valuable car can easily get rusted or dented and not be as valuable anymore. A valuable piece of jewelry will become dull and tarnished, and soon not be so valuable. And, if I am valuable, then my qualities, accomplishments, defeats, and falls can alter that perspective.

Thankfully, being valued by God has absolutely nothing to do with anything about me! I can't do anything to either increase or decrease it. It is all about God, and what He sees in His creation. Doesn't that just take the pressure off? What a relief! Now, I can get on with my day . . .

Friday, February 16, 2007

Crème Brûlée

It really doesn't get any better than this . . .

On Valentine's Day, I arrived at work to find my sneaky husband had gotten to my office before me to leave a fresh vase of a dozen roses with a card on my desk. What a way to start the day!

Since it was Wendesday, that is a church night for us - so we went to bible study as usual. And, our romantic Valentine's dinner was beef stew and breadsticks at the "simple supper" our church puts on each Wednesday night for bible-study-goers, choir practicers, teachers, and kids. This was actually great with me - anytime I can feed the family for $2 a head, and I don't have to cook it - hey, that reduction in stress is pretty darn romantic!

We got home, gave the boys a few Valentine's treats, and shuttled them off to bed.

And, then, for my Valentine's present, Matt brings out the largest Crème Brûlée I have ever seen. He is well aware that this is my favorite dessert, as well he is aware of the fact that I haven't found a restaurant version that's as good as the stuff he makes. Folks, it was in a PIE PLATE! And, all for me! He said that those ramekins we usually use always make you feel like you didn't quite get enough - and he wanted me to be able to eat until I thought I'd had enough! Let me tell you, we put quite a dent in it! But, there was still enough for me to have some nibbles for breakfast - hey, it's eggs and milk - I call that breakfast food!

I know, at this point in the post, that if I was a good blogger, I'd have taken a picture of said Crème Brûlée for you to see. Alas, I did not, and all that's left now is an empty pie plate. I promise, I will get better at this, and will include appropriate visual aids from this point forward.

We missed The Office last night - another visit to Wenatchee. Thankfully, we had the DVR set to record, and even more thankfully, Future Heather did not fax me any information that will give away show details before I have a chance to see them ;-) So, I will catch up tonight, and I will know what the closing remarks on BooMama's blog meant today.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day, Sweetheart! 100 things I love about my husband . . .

1. He loves the Lord
2. He tries his best each day to follow Him
3. A real smile from him (real, real - not the almost crooked fake one) can lift my spirits from the lowest of lows
4. He loves his family
5. He loves me
6. He is a good friend to all who would call him friend
7. He is a fabulous father for our boys
8. He is just the right amount of spontaneous to balance my gotta-plan-everything life
9. He has this engineering-type mind that can plan out and build anything he puts his mind to
10. He involves the boys in said engineering projects, encouraging their imaginations as well
11. He knows how to play
12. He makes me want to remember how to play
13. He stretches my musical interests
14. He would watch shoot-em-up movies every time if he could, but still picks a good chick flick or comedy at least half the time
15. He has no pre-conceptions when he is cooking, and comes up with the craziest concoctions, that 90% of the time turn out fabulous
16. He loves his mom
17. He is a good employee
18. He works hard at whatever he does
19. He is remembering how to lounge around and watch football all day again
20. He likes to watch sports as much as I do
21. He dives head-first into whichever sport Chance is into at the time, and plays it with him incessantly
22. He is not as good at basketball as I am
23. Occasionally, he is honest enough to admit that he is not as good at basketball as I am
24. He is proud of our home
25. He works hard to keep our home/shop/land looking good
26. He wants to be a cattleman
27. He loves my mom and dad
28. He is not threatened by my closeness with my family
29. He never scrutinizes the phone bill
30. He has become such a good friend to my brother
31. He gets along better with most people in Waterville than I do
32. He is such a traditionalist
33. He passes important traditions onto our boys
34. He looks with interest at my endless scrapbook pages, and compliments me on them
35. He appreciates a heart-felt, hand-made gift more than anything I could buy him
36. He drives differently when his family is in the car than when he's by himself
37. He drives 75% of the places we go as a family--and lets me sleep when I get sleepy on the road
38. He thinks he's from a small town
39. He is still a country boy, even though he's from the city
40. Every time we visit his hometown (city), he reminisces about new developments that used to be orchards, pastures, where he rode his go-cart, etc.
41. He is a good provider for our family
42. He is sometimes too worrisome for his own good
43. He is willing to listen to me when I tell him he is being too worrisome
44. We attend church as a family
45. He goes to weekly bible study with me
46. He does not complain when I abandon him for long weekends to attend a scrapbook retreat or two
47. He is the best bachelor dad when I am at meetings or above-mentioned scrapbook retreats
48. He is the boys' hero
49. In many ways, he is my hero
50. In every way, he is my best friend
51. He can raise just one eyebrow, and roll his tongue
52. He puts up with me making fun of him, as I try (unsuccessfully) to raise one eyebrow or roll my tongue
53. I think both boys inherited both of these traits
54. He will laugh with me in later years when I am going crazy seeing these traits in my boys
55. He loves to camp as much as I do
56. He helps me be financially responsible in regards to the new camper we both want
57. When camping, he takes the boys on explores so I can lounge and read a book in solitude, even if just for a little while
58. He eats at least one helping of everything I cook, even if I totally bomb and it's something I can't even eat
59. He eats many helpings of things that I cook that he likes, and compliments me on them
60. He gets a sweet tooth almost as often as I do
61. He's finally coming around to going to bed at 10, and knows this one thing along does not make us old people
62. He will watch the Discover Channel with me for hours, and coupled with the 10-o-clock bed thing, doesn't care that we are definitely getting old . . .
63. He will make as many trips to Wenatchee and Waterville as we need to in the next few months
64. He has tolerated more (many more) than his fair share of trips to Wenatchee and Waterville in the last few months
65. He says very little about the previous two - his eyebrow says a lot, but he says very little ;-)
66. He wants to raise our boys in a Christian environment
67. He makes the sacrifices necessary to send them to the Christian school
68. He is involved in the success of the school, and readily helps whenever called upon
69. He sits for hours on cold bleachers on a wintery Saturday morning because his son thinks he wants to try hockey
70. I know he would do the same thing if I thought I wanted to try hockey (don't hold your breath ;-)
71. He doesn't treat a Hamburger Helper dinner any different than steak and lobster - as long as there's food on the table, he's never picky
72. He knows how to laugh
73. Even at himself
74. But especially at me or the boys
75. He tries hard not to laugh at the boys when it is inappropriate (you know how funny body functions are to little boys)
76. Even though he tries hard, he still laughs (I guess things like this are still funny when you're not such a little boy)
77. He sings endless songs with the boys
78. He will belt out "Jesus Loves Me" as loud as he'll sing Toby Keith
79. He still sends me flowers
80. He still surprises me by delivering flowers to my desk early in the morning before I get to work
81. He makes the most of family time
82. Especially during the times when family time is at a premium
83. He knows the words to the Go Diego Go song, and probably the Dora ones, too
84. He will only look a little bit sheepish when I catch him singing along
85. He writes letters to the boys in case he is called from this earth before they are grown
86. He makes the best creme brulee I've ever tasted
87. Better than any restaurant we've been to
88. He takes us out to dinner every once in awhile, to NICE places, and doesn't look twice at what anything costs
89. He is just as comfortable going with the family to McDonald's, with me making everyone order off the $$ menu to save money
90. He keeps our pellet stove running, and hauls almost every bag of pellets that get loaded into the hopper
91. He lets Colt help him load said hopper, even though it slows him down tremendously
92. He lets the boys drive from the mailbox on the way home
93. He is too chicken to let Chance steer and run the gas pedals, marking the FIRST time that I am more adventurous than he is!!
94. He likes to watch The Office with me
95. He faxes me things from "Future Heather" every once in awhile, to make sure I'm not taking him or myself too seriously
96. He looks fabulous in a suit
97. He was even good looking when he was trying to look unsavory
98. He is as sure as I am that we are in this thing together, forever--there are no other options
99. Thankfully, he's still glad about that
100. I don't want any other options - EVER!

Happy Valentine's Day, Sweetie - I love you!

Valentine's Day Love From The Boys

A little history . . . .

About 3 weeks ago, in Wal-Mart, we are doing our regular grocery shopping after work - which is another post altogether about the sanity of taking two impatient growing boys into Wal-Mart after a 10-hour day to buy a cart full of groceries. Anyway, we are finally done - I've said "no", "don't touch", "keep your hands in the cart", and "DO NOT touch your brother!" more times than I can count. On our way to the check-out, I pause in the women's clothing section to look at a cute pullover collared shirt. Instead of the 2-3 buttons normally at the neckline, it has this little lace-up deal. Colton (age 3) sees what I'm looking at, and the following conversation occurs-

Colton - "Mommy, are you buying that?"

Mommy - "I don't know yet."

Colton - "Don't buy dat shirt, mommy."

Mommy - "How come - I think it's kind of cute? Don't you think it would look cute?"

Colton - "I think you would look like a shoe."

Fast-forward to today, when I actually wear my cute, new shirt for the first time.

Mommy - "Happy Valentine's Day, Colty!"

Colton - "It's Balentimes day already?!!!"

Then, looking at me with a tilted head and half-raised eyebrow . . .

"See Mommy, I told you you'd look like a shoe!"

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Okay, Jane, even though I am a virtual blogging infant who should not yet be eligible for a game of tag, I will take you up on your challenge.

Five random things you probably don't know about me - no fair Darla, you have to work with me for 10 hours a day, so you probably know them all.

1. I sing SO LOUD in my car - I absolutely love to sing. But, I am actually a really, really bad singer, so I sing soooo softly in church, or if anyone else is in the car. My boys have actually asked me not to sing songs that they particularly like - I'm sure because they think I ruin them ;-)

2. I was in our high school drama play in both my Junior and Senior year of high school. I was a really bad actress. This is why this is significant - you see, I just don't do things that I'm not good at. I have always wanted to learn how to golf, but I want to be good at it right away, so I never take the step to learn. Which leads to . . .

3. I have a bit of a competitive streak. Okay, it is a raging river coursing through my veins. Although I know, by God's grace, I am no better than anyone else, somehow whenever something can be measured, timed, or counted I think I need to come out on top. And somehow, in my demented little mind, I am sure that God would not have given me these talents (whatever it is at the time) if He did not want me to strive to use them to the best of my ability! My husband and I compete on our dental exams, for goodness sake! You know, the one where they do the little gum measuring thing to see if your gums are still healthy or not??? Mental hospital, here I come.

4. I am a total Blog and MySpace lurker. I love to keep track of my friends, and their friends, and their friends friends. But, I rarely (if ever) comment, and I have a hard time so far keeping up with my own blog! The more I think about it, this is how I am in "real life" too. If there is any kind of crowd in a room, I will sit back and watch my friends, and their friends, and their friends friends, and just enjoy watching the room dynamics. I would have to know you really, really well to actually be comfortable walking across the room and saying hello. I'm working on that, but boy, it's way out of my comfort zone!

5. If I had my career to choose over again, it would be a chef. I'd have to own my own restaurant though, because I get too controlling over the whole numbers thing. I don't know if it would be entrees, desserts, or the whole ball of wax. I could (and sometimes do) spend hours and hours looking through recipes, printing off ones I want to try someday, and sorting back through those I've already printed to find something I know is in there. Then, 99 times out of 100, I end up not getting home until about 6:00 or 6:30, and throwing together some 30 minute quickie with refrigerated Toll House cookies for dessert (maybe baked, maybe just spoonfuls of dough)!

Okay, that's 5! I am going to tag Darla - I know she has a blog started, even if it only has one entry in it so far!!! Darla, you are it, and I expect to see a link to your results!!!

Thursday, February 8, 2007

A Day In The Life . . .

Wow, what a week. Someday, I'm not going to be able to say that. Someday, just for 1 week, I'm going to be able to look back and say, "Wow, that was a pretty 'normal' week." And I will probably be bored out of my mind that week, and wishing for some action. Who knows . . .

I am making a Valentine's gift for Matt, but I am dreadfully behind on it. I have the pictures chosen, but not scanned. I have completed my side of the journaling, but Matt has not completed his side. So, this procrastination is 1/2 my fault, and 1/2 his fault. It feels so much better to only have 1/2 the blame. And, it's only the 8th - in the life of a scrapbooker, this deadline is still very doable!

I went to see my brother on Friday. That was a tough experience. I'm sure more for him than for us, but I hope we put a little bit of a bright spot in his week. The visiting room at work release is just this probably 15 x 15 room with 4 conference tables in there. So, each family picks a table, and the 4 inmates who have visits scheduled for that 1/2 hour get to come in and talk. Not much privacy, but there's not supposed to be. Sad how many little, little kids were there--and that's the only time the see mom or dad. Just to look around, I know my brother is so much better than that place--but probably most people there think that, huh? There are a couple preachers in there. My first reaction to that was a disappointment at how they have ruined their testimony. Then, I quickly thought of all the times I've ruined my testimony and quieted my thoughts. I hope to see my brother at least every couple of weeks, but it will not be an easy thing--I can only hope it is helping his spirits, even if only just a little bit.

My mom is doing great with her recovery. She is up and around and so far listening to all the doctors are advising. I got to stay with her for awhile on Tuesday while dad had meetings, then the boys got sick, so we left quickly so as not to spread our bad fortune . . .

Which brings me to the rest of the week. Home with sick boys. There is a part of you that enjoys that snuggly, needy little guy that actually wants your help and presence. There is the other part of you that is trying to hard not to throw up while cleaning up. We fought stomach flu and fevers in both boys the better part of the next two nights and a day in between. Thankfully, everyone is so much better this morning, and starting to get that mishcevious spark back in the eyes . . .

Now, if I could just squeeze in a decent chunk of time to wear the wife hat - maybe go out to dinner and have some adult conversation with my husband. That hat would sure be comfy right about now . . .

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Ready, Set, ?????

Wow - So, I start this thing on January 10, with the intention to regularly blog and ease my tired and strained mind from having to remember everything. It is February 1st - not the most fabulous start out of the blocks!!

I will blame the lag time on my mom's car accident, even though it only happened 1 week ago, and can only really be blamed for 1 week of my laziness. But, I have learned/remembered many things in the past week, and will post them now lest I forget them when the next storm comes.

  1. God is Faithful. Always. He is Sovereign. Always. I do not have even a drop's worth of the ocean of knowledge that it takes to rule this universe, and God will always do what is best for me and for those that I love.
  2. My mom is the toughest person I know, hands down.
  3. Once again, friends gather around in your hour of need - some that you expect, and some that are such a pleasant surprise.
  4. There is nothing we can't get through if we seek God in all circumstances. I will praise Him in both triumph and tragedy.

I am so blessed, and I hope to never, ever lose sight of that. So I will leave with a quote from Bebo Norman from his latest song:

I will lift my eyes to the Maker, Of the mountains I can’t climb; I will lift my eyes to the Calmer, Of the oceans raging wild; I will lift my eyes to the Healer, Of the hurt I hold inside; I will lift my eyes, lift my eyes to You