Monday, November 14, 2011

My "Weird" Family

I came home a week ago from spending a couple weeks with my family.
I've heard it before, but was reminded just recently how "weird" we were. 
You see, we all really love each other.
I have 3 siblings and they are all married, like me.  We all love to hang out together, play the same games, discuss the same topics (mostly), and of course, eat together!  As I get older and more learned, I have discovered that this bonding we do is not normal.  It's not that we haven't all gone through tough times, because we have, but it's that we are all truly "there" for each other.  We all really love each other in the truest sense of the word.  
There are so many reasons that this has happened in our family, but primarily because God wanted it to happen.  I believe that.  We simply have been obedient.  I am so blessed.

Because of this blessing, I must show off some of my fabulously "weird" family and all our gooey, lovey-dovey selves!!

 My brother's girls are in soccer and I was so excited to see them "play!"  It was mostly running around and sometimes getting near the ball.  Pretty fun!  I've seen their oldest boy play before, so we missed his game to see the girls'.

 I really, really love this girl!!
 I also had the chance to see my grandparents!  It was a special time and I got to see how funny my grandma can be!  She's got some spunk at 89!!
 Halloween was fun with all the costumes and candy!  Plus, I love these jars my sis and her kids made!!

 I had lots of time to play with my N&N's.  Here we were playing "Nap Time."  I wish we could play this more often.  Only for real.  Oh, and this was on a twin bed!!  It was all snuggly!!

 On your mark...get set..."Watch Me Jump!!!!!"

I also got to spend some sweet time with my in-loves!  These kids have grown up so much!!  I really enjoyed spending time with them and hearing them read their stories!

I am truly blessed.  I love my family, and I'm pretty sure they love me back!  It's an unusual set of relationships that I cherish and protect.  What a gift.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Autumn Beauty

Autumn is my most favorite season!  The colors are outstanding and vivid! I couldn't help but share just a "few" of my glimpses of this incredible beauty.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Heart for Freedom ~ Book Review

Chai Ling opens herself up in a daring, courageous step to share her story.  It's not just the story of the Tienanmen Square Protests, but of a girl's growing up in a country about which I honestly know little.  I do remember the news reports of the incident, and I have heard little bits of information about China's policies from time to time.  This story opened my eyes to the real people behind the statistics.

I was engaged in Chai Ling's story from the start.  Giving the details of her upbringing gave me greater understanding of the depths of her struggles.  A familiar need to be acknowledged from family and culture takes shape in a literal foreign place, yet resonates with that same longing in all of us.  I felt as if I could relate, yet my world is so far from hers.  I soaked up the new understanding, from at least one perspective, of the Tienanmen Protests.  In doing, I felt keenly aware of my apathy toward China; convicted, really.  This story gave real faces to the story and I realized their struggles continue.  This was a true page-turner.  I wanted to know what happened to Chai Ling, but also felt that I had gained a valuable history lesson.  I've also come to a deeper understanding of what the "one-child" culture can do, specifically to women.  I can't imagine being without my siblings, and I can't imagine not having the right to decide about my own reproductive rights.

As a Human Rights Advocate, I love the stories that propel me to action.  A sad story with nowhere to go is a hopeless tale, but Chai Ling weaves hope into her story and finally reveals where that hope comes from.  Her faith in Jesus is an encouragement to me, but her action in faith is what makes me want to know her.  She is a true testament to what Living Faith looks like.  She takes what she can and gives it to Jesus to "feed the Five Thousand."  Her revelations of what pressures the government place on women are atrocious, and it struck my heart.

I received this book from the publisher to review, but would buy it in a heartbeat.  This is a story that needs to be heard and shared.  I recommend it, highly, as well as her website:

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Rainbows are so beautiful.  They are this burst of color in an otherwise dark gray sky.  Rays of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple.  

We've had a lot of rainbows here lately.  Our pastor said he'd never known how much it could rain in one place.  He thinks it will never stop until it turns into snow!  

 Have you ever noticed that rainbows don't last for very long?  One morning last week I took my dog for his morning walk in the drizzle, I looked up and saw this perfect rainbow.  It was so much more breathtaking than these pictures could ever portray.  
 The darker the background, the brighter the rainbow.  
 I was reminded that only with the rain can you ever see a rainbow.
Only after the roads have been muddied, can you look up and see beauty.

Rainbows are so beautiful!

Saturday, September 10, 2011


We are all created for purpose.

Those of us who know Christ know the grand purpose of living in such a way as to make Him known.  
But aren't there also smaller purposes?  
I've been in a small struggle with discovering that "smaller" purpose.
It seems that I have been only lightly searching and consistently failing.  I typically move every 3 years (though it's been 4 in this house!), change jobs at least every 5 years, and become restless even more often.   

I don't have children, but I do have lots of opportunities to be around them and make a difference.  I would like to be around my nieces and nephews more, but I still get to participate in their lives, and if I may be so bold, I feel a little more of a "special effect" since I live in Alaska!  I don't feel that this is a loss that I feel, but it still remains that there is a lack of purpose.

My love of nature and former career in Landscape Design was very satisfying, but still left a gap.  It seemed crazy to expect payment for a service that was somewhat meaningless other than visually pleasing.  It was a difficult balance for me.  I understand the pull to farm so much more - as it provides something much more necessary.  I will always love the beauty of the amazing varieties that God has provided (and continues to) and I will never discount the work others do, but it left something missing for me.

So what does this mean?  I don't really know.  I just know that I have so many opportunities to discover my smaller purpose that contributes to my greater purpose!  I am thankful to be in a place that offers me this freedom.  And promise.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Out Live Your Life by Max Lucado ~ Book Review

Perhaps it was bad timing.

I got into a reading frenzy of reading about how to radically change the Christian Walk to make it more of a "living" and less of a "studying."  Max Lucado brings his book, "Out Live Your Life; You Were Made to Make a Difference" into that mix.

Perhaps I should have taken a break from the others before reading this one.  Lucado does a fine job of presenting very valid and motivating reasons why our lives should really be different and how they can make a difference; a REAL difference.  The content of the book is good.  Probably really good, but I wasn't able to get past some of the verbiage that made me almost feel as though it was too simple.  I like to be challenged and this didn't really push me.  Again, I think it may have been because I had already been challenged by about 5 or 6 other books that were similar in message.

If you enjoy Max Lucado, I would recommend this book.  Even if you don't know him well, I think this book is worth reading, though I think others are a step above.

I was not compensated for this review other than the free book from the publisher.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

8 Pound Plan

This picture has nothing to do with the title of this post.  It is a sign that I don't want to show my "before" picture!!  My sister and I are on our new 8 Pound weight loss plan!  We have a goal to loose 8 pounds in the next 2 months.  If we feel really good, we may go to the 10 pound realm, but we are sticking to our 8 lb range!

My plan, you ask?  Well, I dug out my pilates DVD's and will be using them as well as walking my dog at least 1 mile every day.  I'd love to get a treadmill, but only if a garage sale will give a good deal!  I'm also going to try and be disciplined with my sweet tooth.  I'm not sure what that will mean, but I'll be giving an account of my snacking to my sis, so I guess as much as I want to share with her will be what I eat!

Why are we doing this?  I am not excited to enter the winter months at my upper weight range.  I'd like to not be at this range in general.  I don't feel like I am overweight or anything, but if I don't change my patterns now, this 8 pound goal will grow to something much more difficult.  I'd much rather tackle small goals in the weight loss realm.  (just in case anyone thought I was too caught up in weight loss!)

I'm not sure I'll keep up my progress here, but hopefully in 2 months I can share the results!

Friday, July 15, 2011


 Sometimes you just have to get off the couch, go outside, and you will be blessed!  I am so fortunate to have my husband push me out of my comfort zone when I am clearly not comfortable there.  He is such a catalyst for me to see God's gifts!  Plus, on a practical side, being outside is better for one's oxygen intake, physical activity, and mental stimulation in a real-time way!

Oh, did I mention we caught fish?!  I caught the most, but Pat's single catch was the biggest!  We had a wonderful time and even had a "double" - when we both caught one at the same time!  
And to think we could have missed this by going to bed on time.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

It's a Good Day

Life is not perfect.
I still don't have what I wish.
And yet, it is a good day.
It is a beautiful day.
 My mom came to visit, and we got to share so much of the beauty of this place.
The majesty of His creation.

 We had the chance to spend time in the woods in this beautiful cabin on this gorgeous lake.  
It was a good day.

It has been a tough week, but through it all, I have so much for which I am thankful.
So much.
It's a good day.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

O.K., this first picture is just for the posterity thing since I mentioned I'd be getting a new 'do!  I really do like it!  It's given me a lift that I didn't anticipate.  I actually feel like getting ready and take a little pride in myself.  I was getting a little "blah" about myself and such, so this was a good pep up.

A week ago, my husband and I went out to a local lake and spent a quick night out camping.
We've been sensing some changes in our plans, and it was feeling a little overwhelming.  We needed a get-a-way from real life for a little reflection and reminder that God does have it all under control.  Interesting that being away from all the comforts of life and out in His creation can give you that clear perspective. Makes one wonder how much those comforts cloud our hearts and minds.
I'm so thankful that we were able to get away and decompress.  It was good to breathe in the calm and serenity.

Unfortunately, the week came and work was the usual thing and the house still hasn't sold and this and that.  I still struggle with the waiting for what God must have planned.  I wish I could just close my eyes, hear the loons calling over the water and be filled with that sense of calm.  Sometimes it just eludes me.  This limbo that I live in gets old and tiresome.  Dare I say I need roots?

Let's not get too far ahead of myself!

Let's just say I want a glimpse of what is really ahead.  I have been waiting for a while now.  A whole 14 months.  Wow.  That sounds so slight when I compare it to the 3, almost 4 years a friend of mine has waited to bring her son home tomorrow.

I've been learning so much about the power of thanksgiving.  It's a popular topic, and I haven't jumped on the bandwagon, but rather feel dragged along by it.  Kicking and screaming.  I'm trying, but it is so hard.  God has shown me that many of His answers come after a time of thanksgiving.  While I don't want to employ any type of magical formula to God, I realize that He does things on purpose, and this pattern may hold more than just a final wish known.  Perhaps in this journey of looking for that which I am thankful, I will realize how full my life is and pine less for what I wish.
I hear them...if I try.