Monday, February 18, 2019

The value of friendship

I don't know if I've ever written about my experiences with friendships as a kid.  In fact I'm pretty sure I haven't.  It often times brings up some emotions that I'd rather keep tucked away.  I actually don't have a lot of childhood memories.  The memories that I do have of most things are fun and fine, so it's not like I have repressed them, but when it comes to my first memories of friends I get a lump in my throat. I wish I'd had the maturity of me at 33, when I was 6 years old so that I didn't care so much what people thought of me. I can remember being in school and needing to prove that I was strong and tough and could scare the boys away that wanted to chase my pretty friends.  I remember that I was one of the only kids that could climb to the top of the fireman's pole and so I would, and then I'd stay there as long as possible so I didn't have to play with anyone else.  I remember telling a young girl in my class that the Bible was the Truth, and she told me that her mom said the Book of Mormon was the truth.  The next day we both brought our books to school and sat down in the shade of a tree to try and convert one another.  Since neither of us were good readers (this was 1st grade) and also had no idea what we were doing, we simply argued for a few minutes and then decided that it didn't matter and went to play on the monkey bars.  I was never very good with conflict or debates.  I never felt like I fit in at school.  I was lonely. When my mom decided to home educate me and my older sister I didn't feel like I would be missing much at school.

My daughter and I in front of my childhood home.
You'd think it would have been better for me at church, but it wasn't.  Now, before I say anything else I want you to know that the girls at church were very sweet and kind girls and I still keep in touch with some of them over Facebook. They were acting like third grade girls act and I do not fault them for that, and I take full responsibility for my own feelings in this matter.  I went to a very small church growing up and there were only two girls who were the same age as me. They were best friends.  I learned first hand where the quote "Two is company and three's a crowd" came from. There was another set of friends that were a tad bit older than I was and they had a strong connection as well. I felt like I was second best and was invited to play when one or the other was unavailable.  I tell you this only so you understand a young girl's longing for a best friend.  I saw what they had and wanted it for myself.  It's only natural, but I was lonely.

As I aged I had many friends through our group of home school friends, through ballet and through other various activities. I also had a sister who still lived at home, which I realize now fit the "best friend" role perfectly if I'd only had the maturity to recognize it! She later married and so had her own live in best friend leaving me with the last year of high school as a single child! I remember it being a lonely time.  I had friends, good friends, but I was lonely.

It wasn't until my freshman year of college that God granted me the friend that I had been so desperately longing for. She is the jam to my peanut butter, the creamer to my coffee, the Diana to my Anne. We had two and a half years of college together before she transferred to a school in Oklahoma. I felt like my heart was going to explode from the sadness. I almost transferred too. I remember making her a mix tape. I kid you not. It had songs that we both loved on one side, and the other side had songs like "How Do I Live Without You." Was it cheesy, sappy, and way over the top? Yes, but it was how I felt!


We have stayed in touch and this past October I actually got to spend some time with her and her family in Oklahoma. It was fantastic to see our kids playing together! She is still my "kindred spirit" and always will be, but life has us in two different places right now. As much as I'd like to say that distance doesn't matter, it does. We both celebrate our 40th birthdays this year and plant to get together at some point to celebrate in the place where it all began for us; Portland. When we are together it's like we've never been apart and I love that. I cherish every opportunity we have to strengthen one another.

Years ago when I was attending a MOPS group we had a lovely woman come speak to us about the topic "The Seasons of Friendship". It was beautiful and profound. The wisdom she shared about embracing every friendship in their seasons has stayed with me. During my 12 years in Sacramento I built deep and lasting friendships with people I pray I never loose touch with. Each of these friendships have touched my life and my family in different ways. Those friendships went through seasons as well, with patches of shallow, deep, hurt, camaraderie, closeness and turmoil.

And then we moved. We moved to a new town, new church, new school, new weather, new carrier path, new normal for everything! And once more I found myself lonely. We've been here over five years now and God has answered my prayer for deep and lasting friendships, but here's what I've learned through it all.

From the beginning, there was only one constant friend. Even now, with the beautiful friendships I've made and maintained, there's only one constant. Jesus. Jesus has taken on many forms in my life. Looking back I can see Jesus in the loneliness, I can see Him in my best friend, I can see Him in my church family, the move, the friendships He provides and the constant way He loves me.

So if you have friendships, deep and lasting friendships, take a moment to realize the value they bring to your life. Real friends are hard to find, so tell them you love them, value them and let them bless you during this season. You never know when the seasons will change.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

What's On Your Nightstand?

We are a family that loves to read. I've read books aloud to the kids as a part of our evening traditions since they were babies. Now that they are older we don't get to read together as often as we'd like but the time we do get they cherish and so do I.
I've been posting to Instagram and Facebook recently regarding my recent reads. I'm usually more of a "brainless novels" kinda gal, but recently my husband wanted to dig into learning about the enneagram. I love that he challenges me to better myself and our marriage by reading.
I thought I'd share with you today a photo of my nightstand and the books that are residing there for the time being. From the bottom up they include:
RealSimple, a good magazine for simple inspiration from recipes, to organizing to decor.
Freedom of Simplicity by Richard Foster. This book challenges the spirituality behind living simply.
Kindness Journal by Candace Cameron Bure; it's a journal with spaces for three kind things you did each day with weekly tips on how to spread kindess.
The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile. This book is fantastic for an introduction to the enneagram. If you're not familiar with the Enneagram or need a lighter not so heavy beginning to understanding how to type yourself this is it.
The Sacred Enneagram by Christopher L. Heuertz. I'm only a few chapters in on this one but having read The Road Back to You, I'm enjoying the depth this book is providing into the sacred spirituality found in understanding yourself. We are all reflections of the Creator and this book explores how our numbers work together to show the awesomeness of our God!

And here is the stack of library books we checked out for our read aloud. We LOVE the "Soup" books by Robert Newton Peck. When we borrowed them from the library a few of them hadn't been checked out in nine years! If you've never read any of these books we highly recommend the lighthearted tales of childhood from Rob's memories of shenanigans with his friend named Soup.

Happy Reading!

What's on your nightstand?

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

February

Ugh! 
The middle of February has me wanting to get away!


I mean look at that beach! I can practically feel the hot sand under my bare feet. 
Never mind the fact that my feet have shoes on and
 I'm sitting by the fire gazing out the window at the snow clad yard.
I have an active imagination.

So what to do? How do I deal with the hum drum of February? You see, in my world poor 'ole February is like Wednesday (a.k.a. Hump Day). That middle of the week, gotta get through it to the downhill side toward the weekend. School is still over three months from being let out. I live for summer break! Not for the weather, though that's nice, but the sleep in if you want to, no supervising kid's school work, no where scheduled to be, impromptu trips to the lake, sit by the campfire reading, forget what day of the week it is break.
Well, for today, here's what I do. I grab my Bible and I open it to Philippians chapter 4. Here Paul writes, "I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed you have been concerned but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Him who gives me strength."

Contentment. 

If Paul can do it, I can too. These circumstances are not seeing me in hunger or need. I simply would rather be somewhere else. (Cancun would be fine with me). However, I don't know what will happen between now and this summer. I don't want to skip over the end of this school year, not really. I want to see my kids finish out their assignments, get their test scores back, and have a sense of accomplishment as they finish of their respective grades this year. I want to finish strong with my dance students as they prepare for recital. If I skipped over the happenings of this life to get to July I might miss out on the beauty of what God has planned for me.

So this day in February, I will sit in my recliner with my feet up by the fire and breathe, content, knowing that God has planned the seasons and they will pass. Each season in turn bringing with it the highs, the lows, the excitement and the hum drum.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

I'm Still Learning

Well, my last post to this blog was in 2013! Seeing as though it is now 2019 it's fair to say a lot has changed in five and a half years. I've changed, my kids have changed, and my house has changed but one thing has most certainly not changed. I'm still learning! I'm a homemaker in training and I still have a LOT of learning to do.
I put up a poll about what people would like to hear about. I thought this would be a good way for me to focus my time and energies. The problem was the answers were as varied as ever! Then a friend from my college posted this.
 "There are so many topics to write about probably hard to choose. I think being who you are and writing what you know - the people will come. When you put your art out there, the authenticity is attractive. Also who is your target audience? Are you wanting all women from all walks of life; or more specific people? I don't have children, so parenting or home school topics won't be applicable. I think the Christian walk and how you live it out-would be of deep interest. How you relate to God- and any lessons you have learned through the years..... but I think anything you write and share is going to resonate with many people... just keep writing and sharing your thoughts... Share your art, as it will bless many women. 

I was so grateful for her words. "Just keep writing and sharing your thoughts."  When I was sharing in this space before I was constantly watching for new subscribers, trying to see how many people were reading my posts, making more posts like the ones that got the most reads and then constantly wishing people would comment. I was blogging for me but I was also blogging in the hopes that people would follow and I could be popular or even make money at this. I'm sure that is why when we moved up to Siskiyou County and our lives took a change from our previous normal I simply stopped writing. I felt like my audience wouldn't be able to relate to my new life. I was certainly more busy than before since I was home schooling all three kids and they didn't take naps anymore, but really it boils down to confidence. I had lost the confidence and the desire to write.
Well, 2019 is the year I want to pick it back up. I want to write the book that has been on my heart for 16+ years and I want to blog again. We have so much to share with one another.
So, I'm not going to care about followers. I'm not going to care about reads, or popular posts. (I do still care about comments and will read them, respond to them and answer any questions you may ask!) I'm not going to hang my hat on the affirmation of my blogging, because I am writing for me. I'm writing because I want to. And if you choose to follow along as God shapes me I'm happy to have you here! ❤️

Monday, October 28, 2013

Seeing the Unseen

We live at the base of the beautiful Mt. Shasta.

We moved here about three months ago.  Almost every day since we unloaded the truck I stand at my kitchen window and marvel at the mountain.  It draws me into worship.  It causes me to pause and ponder His greatness. It makes me smile when I don't feel like smiling and its beauty is a comfort to me. It does this because it reminds me of the God I serve. It it my clear and ever present picture of Him.


This morning as I stood at my kitchen window, this is what I saw...


I could not see the mountain.
And yet, I marveled, worshiped, pondered and smiled anyway.

Because the mountain is still there, even if I can't see it.

It made me think of God and the way He is our source. When we "see" Him on a daily basis life is good.  What happens when life clouds over who He is in our lives? Do we forget? Do we scowl and grumble and question Him?

I say no.

He's still there.
Even if we can't see Him.

Hebrews 11:11-12 (CEB)
"Faith is the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don't see. The elders of the past were approved because they showed faith. By faith we understand that the universe has been created by a word from God so that the visible came into existence  from the invisible."

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Promise Fufilled

Now that we live here in Weed, I have to adjust my mindset toward meal planning. I've blogged previously about many different methods, but now that my closest "big store" is over an hour away, I've got to go back to my once a month shopping! One BIG shopping trip and then a few trips to the local market to add a bit of fresh stuff to our weekly meals. A far cry different from what I was doing before.
When I posted on Facebook that I was meal planning for the entire month I had many requests for my meal list as well as a request for the grocery list as well! To honor the promise I made I will list out for you our September month of meals!
Each week for breakfast we make it easy and have the same thing every Monday-Friday. So this month our breakfasts are:
Monday: Eggs & toast
Tuesday: Granola and fruit
Wednesday: Breakfast cookies & smoothie
Thursday: Bran muffins & fruit
Friday: Oatmeal
On Saturday/Sunday:I switch it up some and vary between pancakes, french toast or breakfast sandwiches

I do the same thing for lunches.
Monday: Peanut Butter on Whole Wheat Crepes
Tuesday: Peanut Butter on Toast
Wednesday: Rice (either with beans or fried rice)
Thursday: Bean Burritos
Friday: Sack lunch for school, (The only day I make my kids eat a sandwich!)
Saturday: We often eat leftovers or have a picnic as we have three soccer games each Saturday
Sunday: Crock pot meal, This month they include: Chicken, Pork Loin, Pot Roast, Chicken

And now, dinners! This month I planned by theme as I often do.
Monday (Mexican): Burritos, Burrito Bowls, Tostadas, Veggie Fajitas, Beans and Rice
Tuesday (Asian): Lettuce Wraps, Pulled Pork with Asian slaw, Chicken Curry & Rice, Rice Noodles
Wednesday (Italian, mostly): Pasta with Mizithra Cheese, Breakfast, Fish & Rice, Pasta with Mizithra
Friday: Family Pizza night! (Most of the time we make our own, but sometimes we get a Papa Murphy's!)
Saturday: This month our Saturdays are a bit crazy with soccer schedules, so my Mom is graciously fixing dinner on two of the four Saturdays. One was my son's birthday dinner which he chose Breakfast Sandwiches and the other we are getting ribs from a local BBQ place. (I'll fix the side dishes here at home)
Sunday: Popcorn and snacks

I've tried to include as many links to recipes as I can in the list above, but feel free to leave a comment with any questions you may have about the menu!


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Transition

We now live in Weed, California...It's a long story.

A story that has taken about eight years to unfold and has lead us to right here.
When Abraham was called by God he was not told where his final destination would be. I'm sure if God had told him he might have had a reaction similar to that of being told he was going to have a child in his old age; laughter. But sometimes, like Abraham, being called lends itself to a certain veil, a blindfold if you will. God will reveal the destination, but not until you are ready to see. He simply says "Go", and you go. You trust, knowing that He wouldn't send you without a plan, His plan.
That, my friends, is how we came to be here.  We were at a place of wandering, knowing God had called us but not knowing where or to what.  I must admit, it's an awkward place to be with people asking you where, why, how and when and only having the answer; "God knows"!
His timing however is perfect, and His plan impeccable.
The right ministry, the right home, the right school, the right time... the right support and encouragement. It all fell into place like a perfectly planned puzzle. He's amazing that way.
Today I sit at my desk at the foot of Mt. Shastina.  The cool breeze blows the trees and a smell of fresh baked zucchini muffins fills our home.  I have peace.  It has not been easy; transition is always hard. Equipping is part of calling and I feel confident in the fact that God has brought us here and He will also sustain us.