Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ahhh, Quiet...

Craft time can do wonders for behavioral issues.
The other morning was full of chaos and acting out and lots of yelling and just plain getting into trouble.
Hmmmm, I have a genius idea.... Let's do something structured.
Here's some paper, glue, and scissors. Go for it!
(Ha, that's not that much structure, but a little can go a long way!)

....followed by a much more peaceful afternoon.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Phoenixville Trip

Well everyone, we're off on Friday for the final step our interview process with Grace Valley Fellowship in Phoenixville, PA. All four of us are flying out Friday morning and are staying until Tuesday. Rand will be preaching on Sunday and other than that I don't know a lot of details as far as the itinerary goes. They are setting up a time for us on Monday to go "house hunting" with one of the elders who is a realtor. I'm excited about that part! It's starting to feel so much more real that this is probably-actually going to happen. I'm getting super excited. If/when we get the job we are probably looking at moving at the end of September. All our friends here say, "You're going to leave right when the weather starts getting good." Yeah right! It's still in the 80's into November. Hey, and now that I think about it, not one of our friends discouraged us from moving to AZ in May....right when the weather was getting bad! This seems onesided. :)
As far as I'm concerned we're heading to the east coast right when their weather is getting good. One of the things I miss most about the PNW is fall. I love fall! School supplies and crisp, cold, foggy mornings, leaves and harvest festivals and pumpkin patches, sweaters and hats and rubber boots, candles burning and something smelly and wonderful simmering on the stove....such a dramatic shift in feeling and activity and smells, etc. And let's face it...the east coast is famous for their fall colors. I'm excited to see that. I've already found pumpkin patches and farmer's markets near Phoenixville. Don't freak out, but I have a feeling I'm going to really like it there. House hunting may prove challenging as Rand and I are both somewhat accustom to new...or relatively new construction. So far, most of the houses I've looked at online range from 60 to 110 years old. Wow! I do love the charm and character of an old house, but it might take some convincing for Rand to see the "beauty" in the old and give up some of the convenience of the A/C and big spaces and lots of storage etc, etc. We shall see!
Now, before my West Coast friends and family (and one Mid-West sister) slam shut their computers and pout that we're leaving and going so far I have a few words....
On the other I think I will save them for another time. Let's face it, it's not time to say goodbye yet and I'd rather put it off and live in would many of you. One day at a time. I'll be back in Phoenix on Tuesday....back to life as we know it for now.
I'll try and take some pictures and update as we go along this weekend. If it's anything like last time, you may not hear from me until we get back.
Off we go!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Why Didn't I Think of That???

A typical day for me consists of several struggles over nap time, and staying in bed, and going to bed for the night, and keeping quiet, etc, etc... Brendan responds well to rewards and consequences, like having to go to bed early or not getting to stay up at watch a movie before bedtime if he doesn't rest quietly during nap. Wyatt on the other hand would take the consequence in order to be able to do what he wants to do RIGHT NOW. Yesterday for nap, Rand put them down and for some reason took my iPod dock and his iPod into their bedroom and put on some quiet music for them. They didn't move. They listened and fell asleep in 10 seconds......basically. Same thing for bed last night and they were even sleeping in their special tent in the living room. I half expected them to be too excited to fall asleep in there, but the music did it again. I was in charge of nap today, and they always battle me more than Rand. I tried the music thing. I didn't have to ask them to be quiet or go into their room once! I can't believe it! So simple and yet I have struggled for months trying to solve this problem. WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT!???

Friday, July 25, 2008


Today we were pirates....well the boys were. Bandannas and swords, protecting the house...and me...from the would-be evil-doers that were trying to get in the front door. What good little boys.

Been Sewing...

...mother-daughter aprons for friend, Cody and her daughter, Hailey.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Girl's Weekend

The birthday/girl's weekend getaway to Sedona, AZ -Jenna (Ashley's cousin) Beth (with baby Karissa), Me, Ashley, Michaela and Cody. (All friends from college except Jenna. We all lived on the same floor our first year at Biola)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Phoenixville News

The news has probably traveled to you by now, but if it hasn't I should probably fill you in. The Phoenixville (Philadelphia/Grace Valley Fellowship) search committee, unanimously voted to bring Rand (and me, of course) out to their church to officially "candidate". So what that means is that everyone (the search committee) thinks Rand should be the guy and we are going to be formally introduced to the church and the congregation will be given the opportunity to hear Rand preach, and ask us questions. Scary, I know. So that will probably be happening the weekend of August 3. There's lots more to write, but I'm on a fabulous girls weekend in Sedona at the beautiful Seven Canyons Private Residence Club (of which I am NOT a private resident, but I wish I was.) Check out the website.......STUNNING!
I will write more later and hopefully post some pictures of this place.
Happy Birthday, Ashley! I'm so glad to be here to celebrate with you!

Oh! I forgot to say that we are really excited about Phoenixville. We've been praying about it like mad and were so excited that they chose us. It feels like the culmination of a long period of waiting, and a little stress, and prayer about our next step. We're excited to have a little more direction as to what that next step will be......finally! :) And we're excited about the church that picked us.
More to come....

Thursday, July 17, 2008


When we moved into our house here in AZ, we didn't really have beds for the kids. We had a crib and a toddler bed, but only one mattress between the 2. Our plan was to buy bunk beds. We got a smokin' deal from some people at our church who wanted to get rid of some bunk beds and voila!... we had bunk beds. I spent about a week or so painting them and we absolutely love them. You can't tell from the pictures, but there is desk, bookcase and dresser in this set.
This week the bunk beds have been a secret hideout. The kids have lanterns, flashlights, books and their dog in there. (The dog is really more like a prisoner)
Feels a little backwards because this is the kind of thing most people do in the winter when they can't go outside. Well, here, we do this kind of thing in the summer. :)

Psalm 62:1-2

My soul waits in silence for God only;
From Him is my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stonghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Prayers Please

We have heard from our Phoenixville (Philadelphia) job search committee and the news is as follows....

Dear Rand,
Here’s an update on our pastoral search: Our search team has been gathering the information we need to make a decision between two outstanding candidates, one of which is you. We’re planning to meet this Thursday evening to narrow that down to a single candidate. Thanks for praying with us for the Lord’s guidance. You can expect to hear from us on Friday.
Dave Steel
(for the search team)

Will you pray with us for the Search Team and Elders of Grace Valley Fellowship, Phoenixville, PA, that they would sense the Lord's guidance and choose the "right guy for the job"? If it is not us, we know that God has something special reserved for us and we will continue patiently waiting for it to be revealed. If it us then we will pursue the possibility whole-heartedly!
Thanks for praying with us!

Missing Willie

Today is another 14th. To most it is just another day, but to me and my family it is a number that will always be a reminder of something significant that we lost. Today it has been 15 months. I wonder when I will stop counting the months and stop obsessing over the date. Maybe it's like when you have kids and you count the months until they are 2 and then you do the "1/2" thing for a while and then you graduate to only recognizing the year marks. I don't know. I always feel the desire to write something on the 14th, but I rarely know what in the world to write. I don't write for sympathy or so that everyone out there will remember, but because these thoughts are in my head every day of my life and this feels like a bit of an excuse to get some of it out....and maybe that would be helpful for me.
Mostly, when I think about what has happened, I try to avoid the "April 14, 2007" memories. The ones that actually happened AND the ones that I imagine happened to my brother. Still, those things are too painful to relive and I quickly divert my mind when they try to come flooding in.
The thoughts that consume me mostly are just the memories of time together, a presence in our family that is missing, the future I wish we had, and the uncle my kids are missing. I still find it difficult to grasp that this has happened.
My relationship with basically everyone has changed since this happened. My relationship with my siblings is different. My relationship with my parents is different. My relationship with my friends is different. My relationship with Rand is even different. Some good, some not good and some just different.
I reflect back a lot on how grief has changed, how different it is now and how it feels like there is a lifetime of it ahead. I have only documented pieces of my grief on this blog. Even after 15 months it is still hard to figure out what to write. I mean what is there to say?? I miss my brother so bad. I miss him, I miss him, I miss him. That can feel so hopeless.......and yet it isn't. I have said it before and I have to say it again because it is what I always finish my "poor me, why did this happen, I want my brother back" thoughts with. I will see him again. He is alive and well (more than well actually). He is alive, alive, alive. That is so much better than, "he died."
Today, I thought I would re-read my "grief" posts over the last 15 months. There aren't too many, but here are some excerpts from some since the beginning.

May 14, 2007 (the first one) ---(One month after Willie went to Heaven)
Overall the trip in the motor home was a nightmare. I don't know how else to describe it. At the time, I wouldn't have said that, but looking back, that's what it feels like. Not because my parents were so bad or the kids were so hard, but just the things going on inside of me. It tweaks my memory and my perspective on everything. I'm sure by Friday, I'll look back on this week and think, "last week was a nightmare." I wouldn't say this moment is a nightmare...I'm surviving, but looking back I feel so "off" that the time that has passed feels....well, like a nightmare. Moment to moment I survive. I'm busy with the kids and with house-hunting and trying to locate my things and just figuring out my new surroundings. Basically I'm doing normal things and talking to people in normal ways, and to a stranger it would look like I'm perfectly fine. But on the inside I can't figure it out. I can't make sense of my life. I can't find normal. All of the emotions are sitting in my throat at all times and when I am talking or going about my day the only thing I'm really thinking about is everything that has happened. I distract myself on a certain level, but the reality never really goes away. It's always there and it's scary how my tears are right at the surface and fall out easily without a lot of warning. I fight all day to keep them back because I have sooo much to do and it feels so awful. And I have to say, I'm pretty good at it, but that's probably bad. I'm just trying to survive.

May 24, 2007 (A week later)
I'm trying to find God. I really am. I pray more than ever. I call on him more than ever. I need him more than ever. But I can't find him anywhere. Despite what has happened I haven't turned my back on God. I'm mad at him, sure, but deep down I know he's good. I want to believe he has a plan. I want to believe he can see me at all times and that he is taking care of me. I want to believe he will make good out of the bad. I just don't feel him taking care of me or comforting me and I wish I could. I wish he would cut me a break. I wish he would make something easy.
The reason for this little rant is pure selfishness. One, I want my brother back. I'm pissed that from now on I'll only just miss him. I won't get to talk to him, I won't get to hug him. He won't get to teach my kids all those things he promised. I just want him back. ....
I wish God would swoop down from heaven and stand in front of me so that I could just see him. Maybe if I could look at him for a second, I could see in his eyes that he really does love me. That he is sorry about my brother and that soon he will bless me 7 times over. And if he can't give me the things I want on earth, then he would help me understand that heaven is just a snap in time away. Maybe his hand would just touch my shoulder and my pain would go away......

September 14, 2007
Today marks the 5 month anniversary since Willie died. Five months later and that is still really hard to say, hear, read or even write. I actually just paused for a minute after the word "since" trying to decide how to say it so it wouldn't make me feel so sick to my stomach. It's weird how after 5 months I can't decide if the time has gone by fast or slower than ever. On one hand I really can't believe it's been 5 months. It seems like it just happened yesterday. The last time I saw Willie feels like just days ago. On the other hand it kind of feels like years have gone by. The time has dragged on in a way. The feeling of sadness lingers and every day feels hard and I have to live so much more "intentionally" minute by minute.
That being said, I think I'm "living" a little bit better day by day. Part of me doesn't want to get better. I want to be sad and suffer because I don't want to forget him and I don't want to not miss him. BUT, I am definitely functioning better than I was a few months ago. I still feel unsettled, having moved far away and not having a home yet, but I'm learning to lean on other things instead of the things I have typically leaned on for security and comfort. I'm learning a whole new way of trusting God and although I'm nowhere near a place where I can say, "I've learned this or that..." I'm aware that I'm learning and that God is changing me and my whole family. It is true that we will never be the same. Nothing will and that is a major part of the grief. Everything is different. I'm starting to anticipate and "look forward" (in a way) to being changed and molded into something "new". I'm starting to lean into the idea that God wants to use all the tragedy and sadness to refine me and bring about healing. .......

October 19, 2007
James 1:2-4
2Consider it pure joy, my brothers (and sisters), whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything

April 11, 2008
I'm heading to Shelton, WA to be with my family over the one year anniversary of Willie's extraction from Earth into Heaven. I like the way that sounds better than "died" or "death" or "passing", all words that, to me, imply an end. For it is far from an end, it is just a fork in the road and we are separated for a time. Just typing these words triggers in me a gush of emotion and I could probably type pages about tragedy and how our lives have been changed forever, but I will save it for another time. I'm trying to focus on the Truth which is that Willie still "is" and that gives me well as tears...but hope for the future. I choose to praise God because He IS and Jesus IS and Willie IS, too! It's about LIFE!

Those are just bits and pieces of a few significant posts, that to me, show a process. It's weird how I feel more normal, but I don't miss my brother any less. I can't imagine that I ever will. Some days I find myself totally spacing out thinking about him. Or I'll be driving in the car and a song will come on that makes me feel sad and I will forget where I'm going because I get lost in the thoughts. I expect that kind of thing will always happen and I 'm okay with that. It has only been 15 months. That's not very long. The words, "I miss him" just seem so little to describe how it really feels to know that I have to wait so long to see him (although, I suppose it could be sooner than I think) and that it has been so long since I last wrapped my arms around my "big" little brother.

ugh. I really miss him.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Good Luck, Jess!

My friend Jessie, and her husband from Shelton are riding in the STP today and tomorrow. For those who don't know, the STP is a bike race that goes from Seattle to Portland (STP)....205 miles. She's been training hard and today is the day. They actually started early this morning and are as far south as far as I can tell.

The main reason for the post is because she posted a link on her blog so that we could follow her and it isn't working. So, in case you are wanting to track her progress in the race today and tomorrow you can click THIS LINK. I posted a comment on her blog, but I didn't know if people would get it.
Good luck Jess! Can't wait to hear how it went.

Here is a picture of Jessie and Me at my parent's house on Mason Lake....sportin' our "pacificnorthwest girl" t-shirts.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Look! Water!

For the last couple weeks there have been signs of the upcoming monsoon season. I have to say that although the summer heat is almost unbearable here, the monsoon season during July and August is rather exciting. Every afternoon we see these huge billowing clouds in the distance. They look like they are coming up from the earth. Kind of like this: (I didn't take this picture)

Then the wind kind of picks up and we might see some clouds coming our way that look like they might bring rain....usually they don't. Although I have been noticing rain off in the distance like this:

Well, yesterday was no exception. After dinner, around 7:15 I left my house, with my friend Marie-elena for our usual walk down the road. It was cloudy and grey and looked like rain, but we have been walking in this weather for several days and didn't think anything of it. We got a couple blocks from my house, on our way to meet up with our other friend, Ani, who was walking towards us and we felt a couple rain drops. No big deal. In fact we thought it was kind of fun. Yay. Some rain to keep us cool. (We're parched here in the desert) It was only minutes before the couple of rain drops turned into a full on downpour. We kind of started laughing, like wow, we are really getting wet. And then came harder rain, wind and lightning. Oh dear. This is starting to hurt. So we started sprinting to Ani's house to get out of the storm. We flew into her front door dripping wet. We looked like we had fallen into the pool or something. We went onto her back patio (covered patio) to drip dry and watch the rain. It continued to get worse as the rain just dumped and settled on the ground (no soaking into the ground here in the desert. There aren't even storm drains....just washes that turn into raging rivers in minutes.) Ani drove us home and there was literally rivers on the road. Lightening, and thunder crashed for several hours. It was pretty crazy. The thunder was shaking the walls in the house and the lightening would flash continuously for several seconds so that it looked like a light switch had been turned on in the sky.

(I didn't take this one. Wish I did, but I didn't.)

This morning it is still grey and cloudy and kind of dark. It is only 75 degrees! That's quite cool for this time of year.

So, this is monsoon season. Sct. T-Storms in the forecast for the next week.

You'd never know this morning, that last night there was a river running down the road at the end of my driveway.

Still pretty brown out there.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Skippyjon Jones

We have a new favorite book. I'm pretty sure I like it more than the boys, but I know they'll come around. This book is hysterical. I was laughing out loud as I skimmed through it at Barnes and Noble.
Skippyjon is a little Siamese cat whose "ears are too big for his head and whose head is too big for his body." His big ears make him look like a chihuahua. He gets into trouble a lot and escapes into grand adventures with his imagination in his bedroom closet while in time-out. His alter-ego, Skippito, is a Zoro-like character who saves a band of little chihuahua's called "Los Chimichangos". The book forces you to read much of it with a Spanish accent and I swear it will make you laugh as you read, "My ears are too beeg for my head. My head ees too beeg for my body. I am not a Siamese cat....I AM A CHIHUAHUA!"
Love it!

Okay, here's another excerpt:

"Alfredo Buzzito," whispered the crowd. "El Blimpo Bumblebeeto Bandito."

"Si," said Poquito Tito. "The Bandito steals our frijoles."

"Not your beans!" cried Skippito, outraged.

"Si," Poquito continued:...... (you'll have to read the rest yourself) :)

(wow! my spellcheck is NOT liking this post!)

Oh, and I am so calling my brother-in-law Jon, "Skippyjon Jones" from now on. Make sure you tell him, Jo!

Card Craft

Another card made with my very own handmade marbled paper. I love using my marbled paper because I feel a little more justified in making more. And lets face it, marbling paper is the best part. If you haven't done it, you have to try it, it's so fun. It can be a little tricky, and a little messy, but swirling paint in goo is so satisfying. :)

Kim, sorry to spoil the surprise, but you should receive your card in about 3 days. :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sort of Boring....

I'm sorry, but I just don't have a lot to report.
So, to appease the bored blog readers out are some pictures of my fairly uneventful life.

Art day, yesterday.

Playing with trains this morning

I started another hat with some special yarn that Rachel brought me from Ireland a long, long time ago.

I've should we say?....limiting my food intake. And although this bowl of fruit looks delicious, eating less and exercising in the Arizona summer heat, has me a little cranky, and makes me a lousy blogger. ;)

And last but not least, I have been digitally scrapbooking a baby book for my almost 3 year old. Here is the first page of his special book.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Knitting for Babies

I don't know where these silly urges come from, but I just felt like knitting. Haven't knit for...ummmm...maybe a year and a half or so....probably since our little club, "Knit-Wits", was meeting weekly at my house in Shelton. :) (That was fun!)
So I had this random ball of yarn that had pink in it.....and it just so happens that my friend Beth just recently had a baby girl! So I knit her little, tiny, super cute, wonderful baby, this pair of booties. They won't fit her for a while, but that's okay because who needs anything knit in the month of July in Phoenix.....or anywhere for that matter.

After the booties I still felt like knitting, so I grabbed another random ball of yarn and knit up a little hat. It was the first time doing that pattern and I think I will make 10 more. It was so easy and fun and I think I could make several sizes. I was thinking how weird it was to be knitting in the middle of summer, but I suppose it's the perfect time. Then, when we need a warm hat, or scarf we'll have some, rather then spending the winter knitting stuff that won't be finished until summer. ;) I figure, if I have the urge to create something useful (even if it's not useful for a while) go with it!

(I added the flower to make it girly....maybe for a new niece?)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


I L-O-V-E Anthropologie. Luckily I don't live very close to it, because there is way too much cute stuff there that is way too expensive for me to buy. But....I love it. They carry everything from clothes, to furniture, to books, to linens, etc. And it is all very vintage looking and cool. I once bought a coffee table book there called "Collect Raindrops" while I was shopping in Scottsdale. After I brought it home I discovered that the artist was from Olympia, WA. No wonder I liked it. :)
I went there yesterday after my anniversary dinner with Rand-O and bought myself a snazzy new mug to go with my fabulous new French Coffee Press (because who needs a 12-cup coffee monster machine for just 2 cups of coffee??). I also got a fabulous vintage apron in the hopes that maybe it would help me become inspired to do my kitchen duties. So far, it has only added a cute, girly touch to my drabby jeans and t-shirt. Unfortunately, my dishes have not managed to get cleaned :) Oh well.

4th of July Gloom

Ya wanna know what's sad?

It's too hot here to go outside and watch fireworks....even at midnight. Last night we were driving home around 10:00 and our car said it was still 100 degrees.

To me, that's sad and just way too hot.

I wish I was watching the firework show at the in Mason Lake.

Summer here is just depressing to me. I think I've already said this, but it's really hot here.....all the all hours......even the middle of the night!

Ok, enough complaining. Time to go swimming.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

July 1, 2000

Happy Anniversary!

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

It seems like we've had a lot of different "times" in our marriage. Again, we are in the middle of one of those "times"...waiting. Waiting for the next "time" to reveal itself. I'm glad we've been able to figure some stuff out so that our "times", whatever they are, are times of being united and without strife. Thank you for choosing God first in our marriage and being a man willing to grow and who yearns to be better...however God asks it of you. Who could ask for more than that?
I thoroughly enjoy our life together. Thank you for the most wonderful children in the world and for being the best dad ever. And thank you for cherishing me.
I love you!
Happy 8 years!