Sunday, August 31, 2008

Please Pray

No doubt most of you have seen Gustav sitting in the Gulf right now. Some of you may know that my sister and her husband live just outside of New Orleans. I'd just like to ask any of you stopping by to please take a moment to pray for those who are about to be affected by this hurricane. Of course we want to pray for the health and safety of those in its path, but additionally, I'd like to ask prayer specifically for their mental state. Many in the Gulf have only recently returned to a sense of normalcy after the devastation of Katrina. Laura & Jonathan recently rebuilt a cottage that had been submerged by the waters of Katrina. They shared pictures with us on vacation -- Jonathan had done some really beautiful work there. They had fixed most of the damage that their boat had incurred. To have to face leaving all of that behind to again leave it in the hands of the storm has to be difficult for everyone in the Gulf.

I thank you all for your prayers. If you have anyone in the Gulf for whom you want prayer, feel free to post it in my comment section and I'll be sure to add them to my personal prayers.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I only need to watch to 1:22 to get to my absolute favorite part of this video.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

And they're off!

They are now officially all in school. I have become a stay at home mom to two dogs and two cats. I think those puppies are going to get a little smothered today!

I'm sitting here in my living room with a cup of Hazelnut coffee, with the news on instead of Spongebob. When Jason comes home for lunch today, we'll be able to have a nice quiet conversation without feeling like we're excluding the kids. If I decide to sit and knit for a little bit before working, I won't be interrupted to get someone a drink, to settle an argument, to help clean up an art supply spill, to think of something to entertain someone. My time is officially my own.

I miss my kids.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Look

My friend over at Learning for Lifetime recently updated the look of her blog, and that totally inspired me to switch mine up a bit as well! I finally went off the reservation and used a completely different template this time, but I'm pretty happy with the results. I guess after blogging for 3 years, it's time for something completely different!

Today is Bubba's last day at home -- my baby goes off to Kindergarten tomorrow! I'm hoping to have a full day out soon with my friend J. Her kids are also all in school now, so we're thinking we may take a day completely to ourselves. Go get a pedicure, shop, eat some lunch, maybe catch an early matinee, something like that! I'm dying to see Tropic Thunder. It's received rave reviews and I love Ben Stiller anyway, so I hope to catch it sometime soon.

That's about it for here. I know I'm posting a lot of these quick little things. I hope to blog something a little more substantial soon. Let me know what you think of the updated look!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

First day

Today was the first day of school for three of the kids. They're spending a minute unwinding after filling me in on all of the fantastic details. It's always nice to hear that the kids like their teachers and to find out what kids from previous years are in their class. Tonight I've got a mountain of papers to sign and get back. All of the various permission slips, rules forms and emergency contact numbers. We stopped by Bubba's class as well, so I've already got his papers! So I'll probably pop on the convention and watch while I sign papers.

Tomorrow is my last day with one kid home. I don't have any major plans, other than to make sure I get lots of cuddle time with him! And maybe a hair cut for him. He's looking a little scruffy.

Not much to write about. Just wanted to make sure that the first day was documented! Now I'm off to make tacos. Yum!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Gap

Today in church, Pastor Tim started a new sermon series called The Bridge. Today, he focused on the issue of sin and how it creates a chasm or gap that we have no way to cross. Obviously the goal is to get folks to stick around for a few weeks to get to the "good stuff" at the end! I do pray that there's a big turnout and a good response when we get to the 20th/21st of September.

All that said, today's sermon was really something I needed to hear. Holiness has been something I've let slip pretty big time of late. Nothing massive, but in lots of little ways. Not taking care of myself, not really taking care of my home, not really investing in my kids in meaningful ways, not giving my marriage everything, not spending much face-time with my own Creator. In lots of little ways, I've let holiness go by the wayside.

I think that I have a pretty good sense of time. This past weekend I got to play with the praise team for church. We play to a click track (metronome) there, and boy, that sure does show your flaws if you're not with it! It didn't take long for me to find out that my sense of time is pretty fluid, especially if I don't have the click cranked up in my monitor. But when I have that right there in my ear, it's fairly easy to follow it. I think that's how it can be with life. I think that I'm on a pretty good track and don't really need much guidance. And the next thing I know, I've drifted pretty far from my destination.

Another thing I noticed when I was playing was that when we played as a group, it was a lot easier to stay with the click than it is when I'm playing alone. Having others there to support the common goal made the click less of an annoyance and more of that simple guide. Again, that so mirrors life. When I'm traveling alongside someone, it's so much easier for me to join in with them in search of that common goal. As I try to go it alone, it's a lot easier to see God's rules as a hindrance or annoyance rather than as something there because He loves me.

Because of this, I'm committing to joining a Bible study at church. I haven't been really plugged into a regular study for a long time now and I'm really missing the fellowship. Now that all of the kids are heading to school, I don't really have any excuses not to be a part of a group.

I'm excited about the possibility of change that can happen in me and I look forward to sharing it with you! Have a blessed week!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Rick Rolling

Okay, I got totally Rick Rolled the other day by the author of this blog. In case you aren't aware, Rick Rolling is generally where you post a story about something, and then link to a video of Rick Astley's video "Never Gonna' Give You Up." It's a pretty ridiculous thing, but can be funny if you're truly not expecting it. (Plus, we had a friend in high school who looked marginally like Rick Astley and we called him Rick -- who's laughing now, eh Aaron?)

Anyway, recently someone posted up a Barack Roll video that absolutely slayed me. I love parody vids anyway, and this one is just fantastic.



At the risk of this being a little more serious than it should be (and the above is definitely NOT serious!), if you haven't had a chance to watch the Saddleback Civil Forum on Presidency from last week, I would really encourage you to block out a couple of hours to check it out. You can find the videos here at CNN (they're embedded in the article). I want to give props to McCain for some really excellent answers here -- very concise and direct. That said, I still liked Obama's response to Warren's question about evil. As much as we'd like to believe we can simply "defeat it" as McCain said, I thought his answer was much better.

Either way, the forum certainly has me looking forward to at least one or two of the debates that will start up in the next month or so (I admit, they all start running together for me after a couple!).

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Prep for School

We got the call yesterday that Christopher was accepted over at the elementary school where the other kids attend. I was so happy! I was concerned that we were going to have to shuffle kids between three schools, but right now, it's just two.

Today we took Deborah over to the middle school to make sure she was registered over there. She is indeed. It's hard for me to imagine that my oldest is about to start middle school. And after years at the little elementary schools, it's extra hard for me to imagine my little girl in that gigantic middle school! It's the only school that feeds into the downtown high school, so of course it's going to be almost that large, but it just seems so big for such a little person!

Of course, I'm just in the past couple of days realizing that next week, I'll be at home all by myself from 8-3 every day. That is going to be a major shock to my system! I'm looking forward to being able to work in quiet a lot more, but wow -- that's going to be some kind of quiet. We'll see how long the work from home thing lasts without the kids. Of course, this may allow me to do some other day-time volunteer things that I've been unable to do with a child at home with me.

That's it for me. I hope to have some vacation pics up soon -- I'm sorry for the delay on that. We all got wiped out yesterday with a nasty sick. I'm hoping that will leave us clear for the start of school!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Life is Beautiful

Finally checking in after vacation. Sorry it's taken me so long. I just needed a minute to "decompress" before hopping back into the blogosphere.

The trip was really very good. It probably wasn't quite what any of us envisioned entirely, but when you jam 14 people (six of them kids!) and four different households into a situation where they all need to get along, there are probably going to be a few rough patches. But overall, I felt like it was a really great trip. I especially appreciated the opportunity to reconnect with Laura & Jonathan, with whom we shared a lock-off. It was the longest amount of time we'd all spent together possibly ever, and it was great. We were able to have a couple of needed discussions, and I feel good about that. My kids had a chance to get to know their Aunt Mala & Uncle Pupu and that was fantastic. They're planning a wedding celebration in 2 years and I'm terribly excited about heading down to the New Orleans area for a visit.

I hope to give a better run-down of the events of the trip (though it was mostly shopping and swimming!) in a post later this week, but for now I at least want to share a couple of videos. On Saturday night we had a retirement party for my dad (the proposed purpose of the trip -- celebrating Dad's retirement from teaching). We daughters have been planning the party for several months. Laura had the idea to make Dad a yearbook. I looked around online and was able to find a program that allowed me to lay out a book and have it printed (we used MyPublisher.com). You can see the final project here. We were absolutely thrilled with it.

Because we've always been a performing-type family, Megan organized a family talent show. It was absolutely fantastic. Megan, Justin & the girls did this Yip Yip song, complete with Yip Yip costumes. Laura & Jonathan did a Leeziana Luau using the Hana Hula song. The exciting thing there was watching Jonathan in a coconut bra and grass skirt! It was brilliant!

Our contribution was a rendition of the They Might Be Giants song "E Eats Everything" and a really cute Fruits of the Spirit song that the kids learned at a local VBS. We jazzed that up a bit with some hammy acting from Jason and some props. It was really fun (see the videos at the end of this).

We ended the night with a golf ball cake that Laura made. It was just a wonderful time and I hope that both Mom & Dad felt loved!



Monday, August 11, 2008

We're here!

Not much time to write, but I did want to drop a quick note to say that we're here and (more or less!) enjoying our trip. Lots of visiting, lots of swimming (today Bubba & Faith finally got brave about actually swimming), lots of Wii play and lots of fun!

Also, we had an AWESOME retirement party for my dad on Saturday night -- it was super fun. I haven't been able to talk about it here since my parents occasionally swing by my blog and I didn't want them to know about it, but it was brilliant. I hope to have some videos up when we get back.

Thanks for the happy vacation wishes and prayers -- they've worked!

And BTW, the apple place is a Virginia Farmer's Market outside of Winchester.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Nearly there

Alright, I think I'm about ready. The last load of towels for our trip to the beach are drying right now, and then I think everything except the frozen foods and a couple toiletries will be packed. Great-Grandma Wright brought over one of her homemade blackberry cakes for me (I asked for my birthday cake to be made a month and a bit late so I could share it with everyone on vacation). The kids are bathed, I'm going to hit the showers, and then (hopefully!) a good night's sleep.

The kids have been pretty helpful today in getting stuff together and also staying out of my way while I get the final things packed. I baked tons of pepperoni rolls today -- it's such a handy food for driving and just eating when you've got lots of people around and don't want to cook later.

I don't know that I'll have much opportunity to blog while we're away. Despite these suites being really nice, they don't have wi-fi in the rooms, only in the rec center. That being the case, I don't know if I'll make it out to write or not. It's certainly not a priority for me! But I will definitely post pics once we're back next Friday.

Catch you all later!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Preparations

I tell you what, just preparing for vacation almost requires a vacation! I've been a busy little bee working on getting everything in order for our trip. Taking two cars definitely makes it a bit more difficult, because on Friday, I'm going to be pretty much solely responsible for getting me and four kids out of the house by 7am. Ugh!

We're hoping to travel with Justin & Megan and the girls. At least, that's the plan! We're definitely going to start out together, and hopefully stops will coordinate in such a way that we'll be able to stay together. But I know how potty breaks can slow us down, so we'll just have to see. The trip is only officially about 6 hours, but when you stop in Winchester at the "apple place" and stop to use the potty and stop to get gas, it frequently takes a lot longer. I'm hoping that by telling the kids that since it's just me in the car, we need to limit stops, we'll be able to make the trip a little more quickly. I guess we'll just see!

But I'm still pretty excited about it. I love spending time with family and this year is going to be great since there's so much family there! My kids are looking forward to swimming all day, every day, and of course visiting the big Yankee Candle store. I have some of the most odd children -- what other 5-10 year olds get excited about visiting a candle store? Nevertheless, that's one of the top things the kids mention when I ask what they're looking forward to on the trip. Swimming and Yankee Candle. But that's okay. My kids have inexpensive tastes and they always have a good time, so I can't complain! I know there's a day fast approaching when Busch Gardens is going to be top of the list, and we'll spend a lot more there than at a Yankee Candle store!

Alright, enough lolly-gagging. Time to get back to the packing!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Musical Monday

Today I'm posting a song from one of my absolute favorite indie artists, JJ Heller. She is absolutely beautiful and writes some of the most gorgeous songs I've ever heard. She has a new cd coming out in a few weeks, and is offering a free download on her website starting August 15th. If you haven't heard her before, I strongly recommend picking up that music. Beautiful voice, fantastic lyrics, works with her husband, expecting their first baby -- she's got it all! Seriously, I really, really like Heller. You'd be doing yourself a favor by listening to her music.

Anyway, this is from a cd she put out a few years ago. The song is "Love Me." Most of us have experienced times when we've felt like we didn't measure up. Days where we've felt like if people knew the real us, they wouldn't like us, let alone love us. Days where we've felt that if we could change this or do that, then we'd be worthy of love.

It's all a lie. We can't do anything to earn love. We can certainly do things that make it easier or more difficult for people to love us, but no matter what anyone says, human love is at least somewhat conditional. What is great though, is that we can choose to serve God, and His love truly is unconditional. His love reaches far beyond what any human can offer and extends beyond our own imaginations. The Psalmist wrote, "Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O LORD, you preserve both man and beast. How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings." (Ps. 36:5-7 NIV)

Anyway, this song deeply encourages me in those moments where I'm feeling worthless. May it encourage you as well!

He cries in the corner where nobody sees
He’s the kid with the story no one would believe
He prays every night, “Dear God won’t you please
Could you send someone here who will love me?”

Who will love me for me
Not for what I have done or what I will become
Who will love me for me
‘Cause nobody has shown me what love
What love really means

Her office is shrinking a little each day
She’s the woman whose husband has run away
She’ll go to the gym after working today
Maybe if she was thinner
Then he would’ve stayed
And she says…

Who will love me for me?
Not for what I have done or what I will become
Who will love me for me?
‘Cause nobody has shown me what love, what love really means

He’s waiting to die as he sits all alone
He’s a man in a cell who regrets what he’s done
He utters a cry from the depths of his soul
“Oh Lord, forgive me, I want to go home”

Then he heard a voice somewhere deep inside
And it said
“I know you’ve murdered and I know you’ve lied
I have watched you suffer all of your life
And now that you’ll listen, I’ll tell you that I...”

I will love you for you
Not for what you have done or what you will become
I will love you for you
I will give you the love
The love that you never knew


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I'm a wife to an amazing man, and mom to four incredible kids. I'm a Christian woman who sometimes struggles with doubt. I'm a musician and a writer who is sometimes afraid to play and write. I'm trying to be more authentic every day.
 
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