Monday, May 18, 2015

100% Redeemed

I cried a lot today.... over a crashed hard drive.  My back up system apparently didn't work and it seems that 10 years of photos and documents are gone, just like that.
As I got in the car to take my crashed hard drive back to the computer technicians, I cried, just like I had through pieces of the morning.

"Do you see a lot of people cry?" I asked the tech.
"Yea, about one a day," he said.
"Well, I cried in the car, so I won't make your quota today!"
"I can usually recover about 10-70% of what was lost. 
It's a big range, I know, but we can't make any promises."
"Well, I believe in a big God and I'm praying for a miracle! 
Are you ready to recover 100% for the first time in your career?"  I joked with some hope of truth.
"I have a lot of people praying," I told him.

I left and wrestled with the feeling of such a great loss.  10 years of photos of my babies and countless sermons and talks I've written and probably much more that I haven't yet remembered was on my computer.  I've wrestled with losing these things, and knowing that what matters most is still with me.  My kids were all with me at the computer store and I kept looking at them thinking, "I still have them, the real them, not just the photographs."

Then this evening, while the techs still try to recover data off my hard drive, I read a post from Ann VosKamp.  A post that made me too cry like much of my day.  A post that talked of great loss, far greater than photographs or documents.  A post that talked of a loss where there are no technicians to recover 10-70% of what is now gone.  A post that made me more upset than a crashed hard drive.

A post that I hope you'll read too and plead with me to a BIG GOD who can recover and restore all that is lost.  There is no 10-70% with God.
He's 100% Redeemer.

Please read this post from Ann:

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

101 and 1/4 Years

I have a little boy who is obsessed with WWII war planes.

Most specifically the B-17 Bomber that his
Great Grandfather flew 52 missions in and came home alive.
So when I heard that some of the WWII planes were coming to a little local airport,
I knew we had to go.


The roar of the planes coming in was awesome and getting to crawl around inside them was even more awesome!
But then this happened.
A woman pushed a man in a wheelchair over to one of the planes and I overheard her say, "I'm so upset that I didn't bring my camera."
I walked over to her and offered to take some pictures for her and e-mail them to her.
"I don't have e-mail."
"I can text them to you, do you have testing on your phone?"
"Yes," she said, although she didn't have a phone with her!
It was a moment not to miss because she was there with her 101 and 1/4 years old husband!  He dispatched these planes from their manufacturing plant in Michigan during the war. 
John McClellen, nick name "Mac."
I ran and got my little Mack out of the B-17 and told him he must meet this very special man,
 a once in a life time experience.

We sat and talked and listened to this incredible man for quite some time.
We heard all about life stateside during the war.
We heard about the precise inspection of the planes that left the US for Europe. 
We heard about his amazing 100th birthday party and letters from Presidents.
We even heard about his experience carrying the Olympic torch in Utah!
101 years old, and a quarter
Pretty incredible. 
Then he took the hand of his young bride and said,
"these, right now, are the best years of my life," and he kissed her hand.
That really hit me.
Of all the years he's lived and all the incredible things he had accomplished,
this moment, right now, was his highlight.
I think that is the secret to his long and happy life.
His present moment is his best.

Be present in this moment and make it the best moment of your life!

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Royal Princess(es)

A little Princess was born a few days ago!
And my little Princesses turned 9 a few days ago!!!
Oh Princess Kate, get ready for the days to fly by as Charlotte Elizabeth Diana
grows far too quickly into a lovely lady!

 A dinner party with an ice cream sundae bar was all they wanted.
And pink balloons!
Thank you Target for having gold letters and glittered gold numbers just when I needed them!


I feel so very blessed to have 2 Royal Princesses who still love pink and sparkle!
Happy 9th Birthday little ladies.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Proverbs 31 - How Do You Measure Up?

My husband just left for work.
It's still dark out.
I kissed him goodbye and returned to my bed to read alone before the children wake up.
My reading took me to Proverbs 31.
As I read this famous and familiar passage, I tried to insert myself and see if I "measure up."
"It is hard to find a good wife, because she is worth more than rubies."
My birthstone is a ruby!
"Her husband trusts her completely.  With her, he has everything he needs."
He does trust me, but not so sure he has all he needs.
"She does him good and not harm for as long as she lives."
Um, he's a cop, there are guns in our house, so yea, I don't try to pull anything on him.
"She looks for wool and flax and likes to work with her hands."
I buy amazing chips from Trader Joes with flax seed in them!  And right now I'm working with my hands preparing some fun things for a birthday party (and I'm typing with my hands!).
"She is like a trader's ship, bringing food from far away."
I go to Trader Joe's, it's too far away to walk, and I bring food home from there.
"She gets up while it is still dark and prepares food for her family and feeds her servant girls."
NO WAY!  I just got up in the dark to make my husband a sandwich! 
But wait - servant girls?  I knew it's was God's plan for me to have some extra help. 
Where are they?
"She inspects a field and buys it.  With money she earned, she plants a vineyard."
Now this is just getting ironic - today I'm taking the children to the nursery to buy plants for our garden.
"She does her work with energy, and her arms are strong."
Remember that lawn mower I rocked?  Yep, big, strong arms!
"She knows that what she makes is good."
My tacos last night rocked.
"Her lamp burns late into the night."
I did stay up until 11pm watching Shark Tank.
"She makes thread with her hands and weaves her own cloth."
Um, what?
"She welcomes the poor and helps the needy."
We had 2 college students over for dinner last night :)
"She does not worry about her family when it snows,
because they all have fine clothes to keep them warm."
Check!  I can promise that I have never ever worried about my family when it snows
 here in Southern California.
"She makes coverings for herself; her clothes are made of linen and other expensive material."
Does Old Navy use expensive material?  If so, I'm good.
"Her husband is known at the city meetings,
where he makes decisions as one of the leaders of the land."
Sergeant Newquist, heard of him?  He's well known downtown!
"She makes linen clothes and sells them and provides belts to the merchants."
Once I led a mission trip of college students to Kyrgyzstan.  The only boy on our team didn't have a belt.  Daily his unders were exposed as his pants hung down.  When one of the Kyrgyz teens pointed out how embarrassing it was, I gave him a belt.
Does this count?
"She is strong and is respected by the people."
Well, not sure about the respect, but I think I'm pretty strong, again, remember the lawn mower?!
"She looks forward to the future with joy."
Yes!  Everyday I look forward to 8pm with great joy.  (that's bedtime for the kids)
"She speaks wise words and teaches others to be kind."
Emma - gentle and kind.  Georgia - be kind.  Mack - are you being kind?
yep, I say these words all day long.
"She watches over her family and never wastes her time."
Contrary to popular belief, I do not think RHBH is a waste of time thank you.
"Her children speak well of her."
Best Mommy in the Universe - they tell me every night from bed.
"Her husband also praises her, saying, 'There are many fine women,
but you are better than all of them.'"
WHAT?  You know other fine women?! Hmmmmm
"Charm can fool you, and beauty can trick you, but a woman who respects the Lord should be praised in public for what she has done."
What I call the 'escape clause,' I'm not that charming and any beauty is quickly fading, but I do my best to live and love like Jesus.  So today I'm going to stand outside of Starbucks at 2pm for any passers by to give me some words of praise and encouragement.
Ah, the famed Proverbs 31 woman.  Seems like an unattainable goal.
The bar is set so high.
Or is it?
When we read this passage, or listen to our friends, or read blogs and magazines, aren't the words just left up to our interpretation?  We often take what we read or hear and elevate it to places it wasn't intended to go.  We compare ourselves to others.  We fall short.  We are discouraged.
We are our own worst critic.  We make many standards and goals unattainable. 
But you know what?
If we are following hard after God, doing our best to know Him and love Him more, making it our mission to raise our children to know Him and sharing His love with all we come in contact with, then we've escaped the pressure and unattainable goals of society.
Today, do your best to fear the Lord.
Nothing more.
Nothing less.
It's ok of the house is a mess and the dishes aren't done. 
 Heck, it's ok if you forget to brush your teeth! 
 Just love the Lord.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Lower Your Expectatioans

One of the greatest pieces of parenting advice I've ever been given was - if your children are not met by a smiling Moma, then lower your expectations of them! 
That hit me hard because honestly, my children are often met by a scowling Moma! 
 I'm frustrated, shocked, disappointed... these little people can drive me nuts!
And then it hit me, my expectations of these little people are far too high.
That's why they often see me scowl.
Mostly at meal times.
Or when we're running late and "hurry" isn't in their vocabulary.
Or when I see the status of their rooms.
I expect far too much from them and I know that frustrates them.
It frustrates me.
Somewhere along the parenting path I've forgotten this little piece of advice.

Then this morning I read,
"Fathers, do not nag your children.
If you are too hard to please, they may want to stop trying."
Colossians 3: 21

Reminded again to lower my expectations of my little ones
so they are met by a smiling Moma more than a scowling one!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Grateful Not Guilty

"Grammie, do I add water to this?  Should I put in more pepper?"
"No, everyone can do their own."
"Grammie, do I do the next potato?"
"Yes, do them all."
"Who's being so kind and nice over there? Is that little Georgia?  I'm so impressed by you."

The sweet conversations of a morning kitchen where my little girls are allowed to help in ways that I'd never entertain.  Frankly, it's too much work.  And I worry about them cutting he selves or getting burned.  And I love to cook and I'd just rather do it myself.  But not here.  Here they get to do all sorts of things without someone hurrying them or yelling at them or telling them, "oh, just let Moma do it."
Here they learn, they are encouraged and they are praised.





I used to feel guilty when my girls were little and my mom would come visit and play with them in ways I never did.  As they got older, she'd let them do all sorts of things that I never would.  Cooking, painting, picking flowers, filling bird feeders... And I'd feel guilty about that too.

Today as I sat and listened to the dialogue between my girls and their Grandmother in the kitchen, I didn't feel guilty, but grateful.  Grateful that their Grandmother is patient with them, finds the good in them and empowers them to be more.  I don't need to feel guilty that I don't let them cook every meal, do the dishes and laundry, wait a minute, am I nuts?!  But seriously, my mom is now in a different place in life.  She's not rushing out the door, taking care of small children, working... She has wisdom and time that allows her to invite her grandchildren into the everyday tasks that they love and let them participate.  I don't yet have that luxury, so in this season I can't let them participate in everything and I don't have to feel guilty about that.  I'm grateful that in our village, there are those who can give my children what I can't and I will continue to surround myself with those other villagers and allow them to teach and refine my children, guilt free!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Black and Blue? Or White and Gold?

Do you ever feel like it just can't get any worse?
I have.
Last week.
My husband has been awaiting knee surgery for a long, pain filled, sleepless month. 
That means I've been waiting too, caring for the pain (his pain, not him!) and not sleeping for a month.
The night before the surgery was the worst.
The pain, not simply in his knee, but whole body pulsed at a rate that kept us both up all night and I kept trying to encourage him, "Hang in there babe, you're on the home stretch.  Only a few more hours and this will be over."
When he wasn't looking, I secretly went in the bathroom and cried.
I was exhausted.
I felt helpless.
I couldn't stand to see him in severe pain anymore.
(Did I mention that we also had 2 little girls up most of the night, crying, scared for their Daddy and scared that they wouldn't see me in the morning when they woke up! - Um, if you never go to sleep, then you don't need to worry about not seeing me when you wake up!  I lost my patience with them around 2am.  "This isn't about you!  I have to take care of Daddy.  You're fine.")
Once we got to the hospital at 5:45am, I exhaled.  This was all going to end shortly.
Praise God.
After surgery prep, an IV, a chat with the anesthesiologist, a talk with the surgeon, I kissed him goodbye and they wheeled him away.
I turned to lounge in the luxurious waiting area and heard, "Mrs. Newquist, wait."
I turned around and saw them putting my husband back in a room.
"I'm so sorry, we don't have it."
Um, have what?
The surgeon didn't like the cadaver ligament they had to put in my husband's knee.
Surgery was canceled.
We'd have to wait one more agonizing day.
St. Patty's was celebrated with surgery and a great new ligament!
Finally we were on the other side.
Hobbling from the car to our bedroom, my husband looked out our front window and saw the grass that now was forming a small jungle. 
He hasn't been able to keep up for sometime because of the pain.
"We're going to have to hire someone to mow the lawns, I can't do it,"  he told me.
"I can do it!  I'll mow the lawns," I offered.
I figured the money we'd spend on a gardener could be applied to a nice pedicure or manicure for me!
 He looked at me like, "there is no way you can mow the lawns!"
My girls agreed, "Mommy, you can't mow the lawns.  You've never done that.  Daddy mows the lawns."
"You just watch your mother rock that lawn mower!" I told them all.
I suited up, and was totally empowered to fire that baby up and squeeze the handle as the mower jumped into action!

 I was doing it!
 I was mowing the lawn!
First time in my whole life!
 I had the large green trash can handy as I had to stop frequently and empty the grass clippings as it was way over grown.
Finally finished, I swept the sidewalks, hosed down the patio and lined the trash cans along the curb for the morning pick up.
I felt like I had conquered the world!
The following evening my next manly duty came as it was time to bring in the empty trash cans.
I've done this job before, many times, but this time was a little different.
As I stood on the curb, holding onto the big blue can, I kicked the bottom to get it on it's wheels.
When I did, the open lid rested on the top of the curb and as I stepped down, I stepped on the lid, launching the can into the air and me with it.
My head hit the can hard just before I hit the asphalt.
Pain instantly took my breath away as I quickly got up to make it in the house before I began to feel the weight of what just happened.
I hobbled into the bedroom, out of breath, shaking and crying, where my husband was resting.
Let's just flash forward to 5 hours later when I returned home from Urgent Care, checked for a concussion and 4 hand x-rays!
The knuckles on my left hand looked like hamburger and I had a knot the size of a lime on my forehead.
I guess this Moma just wasn't cut out for manual labor.
As a few days passed, I started to see my face turn different shades of the rainbow.

"Can you see the black and blue starting to surround my eye?," I asked my husband.
"Not really," he said.
Hmmm  I called the kids in,
"Can you see Mommy's back eye?" 
"No Mommy."
WHAT?  Where was my sympathy?
I became desperate and even asked the guy at Trader Joes!
He told me he just came from Urgent Care as he cut his wrist at work (accidentally!)
I commiserated with him and shared my story, ending with, "Can you see my black eye?"
"No, not really."
It was like that dumb dress, did you see black and blue or white and gold?
Apparently people just couldn't see my black and blue!!!
Well, it would only be a few more short days until I would find what I was looking for -
my son came in holding his ear, "My ear hurts Mommy."
It was after hours, so I took him to Urgent Care.
When they called us back, a familiar nurse glanced at me and asked, "How is your hand?  Oh, and it looks like you now have a black eye!"
YES!  She saw it!
I'm not crazy.
And, I think I hit my limit on hospitals and Urgent Care visits for the year!


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