Thursday, June 30, 2011

Embrace The Crazy Uncle

As I mentioned on Monday, my uncle from Michigan came out for a visit.  We had 2 days alone together while my husband and children were visiting the grandparents and we packed it in!!
We headed out in his convertable to Malibu for lunch - top down!
This started out as a great adventure to ultimately see Jay Leno at NBC.  It was the first 95 degree day and after sweating it out at Zumba in the morning and riding in the convertable all afternoon, I wasn't in good shape once we arrived at the studio.  No thanks to NBC who ran out of water for 300+ people!  After my dehydration, heat exhaustion and fun meeting some NBC execs who rubbed ice on me (no, it wasn't really fun!), we went in to the show and had a great time. 

After Jay Leno, realizing that I wasn't going to die, we decided to hit the Dodgers game. 
My uncle is a HUGE Detroit Tigers fan and sadly they lost to the boys in blue!

Next day we were off to see Conan at Warner Brothers and this time the top was up, several jugs of water were in the car and it cooled down to 85.  No thanks to Warner Brothers who gave away our 4 tickets to Conan because we were 4 minutes late!  Yes, 4 minutes!  And might I add that those 4 minutes were spent going through their security check-in!  So they offered tickets to George Lopez's show and we took them.  We decided to turn this sad situation around and make complete fools of ourselves to try to get on TV and it kinda worked!  We were seated down in front and got a few (lame) prizes. 
We laughed our heads off and had a blast!

We ended the night at Phillipe's in downtown LA for their famous French Dip sandwich and let me just say, there's a reason why they're famous!
Moral of the story:
skip TV show tapings and simply watch them at home!
drink lots of water
and make sure to eat at Phillipe's!

*See you back here tomorrow for a packed Yummy Summer post!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I signed up to help with VBS this year and honestly, as the week approached, I kinda regretted signing up. I could have had 3 hours every day for a week with just my little dude while the sissys were at Vacation Bible School. But I was committed so here I am, day 3 of VBS! I am leading the daily lesson that is followed up by a fun puppet theater presentation in the large group. Yesterday we talked about King Solomon and how he asked God for wisdom. I know the story. I’ve read it several times. But as I read the verses to the children I was struck by the profound request from little King Solomon.

From 1 Kings 3:
“the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, ‘Ask for whatever you want me to give you.’

At this point I asked my class of 5 year olds what they would ask for. Their answers: A jetpack. Shoes that could fly. (can you tell only the boys answered?!)

Solomon answered, … ‘Now, O Lord, my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties… So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.’”

For the young king to even consider his responsibilities and his short comings in carrying them out, I’d say he was already rather wise beyond his years! No jetpack for him – nope – he wanted wisdom. I was humbled by his sense of duty. Am I taking my job as a mom that seriously? Do I feel the weight of governing our little family and discerning between right and wrong? Is my first request from God wisdom? I want it to be.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Right Thing

We kicked off our first week of summer with lots of activity!  Daddy left with the kids to start the grandparent tour (more on that Friday) and I stayed behind to play with my uncle visiting from Michigan!  My uncle had planned his visit almost a year ago and we were thrilled to have him.  Then with some job changes, this was the only week my husband could get off all summer – so something had to give.  We talked about me staying behind for a bit and joining the tour mid-way.  But honestly, I dreamed of staying home for 5 days, all alone!  When I say dreamed, I really mean fantasized!  Can you even imagine being all alone at your house for 5 days?  Imagine the cupboards you could clean out.  Imagine the SLEEP you could get.  Imagine the late night movies, running errands kid free, spa dates, magazines, beach… ahh, what a glorious treat!  After a few fights and struggles, I knew in my heart that the right thing to do would be to leave my uncle and fly out to join the annual grandparent tour.  I didn’t want to.  Not at all.  But I knew it was the right thing to do.  I knew my husband wanted (and secretly needed) me there with him.  But all that was within me wanted to stay home and indulge.  The decision was left up to me.  I was so close!  But I bit the bullet and booked a ticket.  I felt so much like an adult – doing what was right instead of what was easy.  As wives we are daily given the choice to serve our husbands first, or ourselves.  As parents we are faced with the decision to serve our children or serve ourselves.  As people we are forced to choose to serve God or serve ourselves.  It’s hard to do the right thing.  But there is great blessing in the sacrifice.  I did have two glorious days at home packed full of adventure with my hilarious uncle!  And if I stayed home to read magazines and clean out my cupboards, I would have missed all this:
the swings in the middle of the woods,  beautiful

The smiles in the pool

Seeing the progress of my brother's new home

capturing this moment which is a new favorite photo of mine

watching my children play in the peddal car I drove as a child

seeing my motorcycle obsessed son light up when Papa brought this out

walking down to the creek where my husband played as a child

watching that flower float down the creek

and the exhausted littles, giving evidence to a fun packed week
I'm grateful that I didn't miss a thing.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Celebration of Life

Karen and I on a random dirt road in Kyrgyzstan
Monday evening my husband and I attended a funeral for a dear friend of ours who we’d both worked with at Malibu Presbyterian Church, and we had a wonderful time. Is that ok to say that we had a wonderful time at a funeral? I’m sorry if that offends you, but it’s true, the funeral was filled with lots of laughter, big hugs, tons of smiles and a few tears – that was exactly who Karen was. Anyone who knew her knew her huge hearty laugh. The walls shook when Karen laughed (which was often) and you couldn’t help but laugh too. Her hugs were simply bone crushing as she physically expressed her love with all that was within her and although you might have walked away from Karen’s hug wondering if you’d just cracked a rib, you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that you were loved. Karen radiated the love of Jesus. She beamed. She glowed. She was completely filled with the love and joy of Christ and nothing was better than a moment, an afternoon or a trip with Karen.
Karen was the Associate Pastor at MPC when I came on staff as the Director of University Ministries and it was a gift to have a woman in full time ministry walk me through my first year. But what was even better was that through that year, she not only was my mentor, but she became my friend. A dear friend. A treasured friend. Karen was a woman that I wanted to be like in many ways.
In Karen’s last days of fighting ovarian cancer, she planned out her funeral service, or “celebration of life.” And her service was completely “her.” This is my third funeral in one year and there is something radically different about going to a funeral for someone who lived with every ounce of their being for Jesus Christ. Someone who longed for heaven, knowing full well that this life on earth is temporary, but real life is with Jesus. Someone who wasted no time and devoted all of their gifts and talents to knowing Jesus and making him known. Karen was this person and in so many ways her funeral was a total celebration that she made it, she achieved the goal, she won the prize, she was where she longed to be and we couldn’t help but celebrate. I know many funerals are titled, “celebration of life.” But there is little to no celebrating. The room is dim, the music is slow and weepy, the whole mood is heavy and low. I understand that death is hard and in no way am I being insensitive or inconsiderate. But Karen’s service was a complete celebration from her smiling parents that greeted everyone that walked into the church, thanking us for coming, to the Northkirk Church Choir that sang their hearts out and led us in worship that was celebratory and upbeat. Karen chose the scriptures to be read at her service and the pastors who shared words that were amazing and wonderful. I’m sure she chose the music too.
Karen laughing harder than I was at my wedding
I miss Karen. And I do well up when I think of her. But my tears are quickly met with a smile and laughter and the conviction to live my life like Karen. Love intensly, laugh hard, smile big, and most of all tell the world about Jesus everyday, all day, as though their very life depends on their knowledge of Him.
Crammed into a Krygyzstan bus with our college students, always smiling
I miss you dear friend, but I’m celebrating you home. Heaven just got a little bit better.
In the spirit of celebrating, Bird's Party featured our Fairy Garden Party!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day

After June gloom burned off, we headed to the beach for our traditional Father's Day fun.
We ran down to the water

We flew a kite
We waved at helicopters

And had a lovely picnic dinner, ending with Neiman Marcus' famous chocolate chip cookies! 
What a wonderful day.
We are so blessed to have such a wonderful Daddy.
And we were reminded that our Heavenly Father loves us, His children, in the same intimate, kite flying, beach lovin', cookie eatin' kinda way.  He is Abba, Father, Daddy.  And we are more than blessed to have such a wonderful Father and Lord.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Yummy Summer - Little Plum Lanterns

I thought it would be fun to use up the glass jars that we empty this summer and make Little Plum Lanterns.

What you'll need:
Used, empty glass jars – cleaned and labels removed
Glass paint, Paint brushes, Floral wire, Tea lights

After washing our empty pizza sauce jar and olive jar I gave my girls the paints and
told them to do polka dots in the colors of their choice.

As more jars become available, I’m going to change the instructions to stripes or hearts…
When they dried I wrapped wire around the top and made a big loop to hang it from.
In our back yard we have a lovely Plum Tree and all summer long we’re going to add Little Plum Lanterns to it and enjoy the night time glow! 

And at the end of the summer, we can recycle our lanterns and make new ones next year.

Yummy Summer is a weekly project to share our summertime ideas.
Join the fun:
1. post your fabulous idea for a summertime craft, day trip, activity, tip, recipe… you name it!
And add the Yummy Summer Button to your post
Not a blogger? No worries – leave your idea as a comment below.
2. Link up your blog post
3. check out all the Yummy Summer ideas and adopt a few for your family

Monday, June 13, 2011

Worth Celebrating

On Friday my girls graduated from preschool.  Things are going by too quickly and it all seems like a blur (kinda like this photo!  Makes me mad that most of my photos from that day look like this).  At the ceremony the principle of the school spoke and he said that life is made up of firsts and lasts.  We often celebrate the firsts – first steps, first words, first day of school… but many of the lasts are not celebrated, but dreaded or feared.  He encouraged us to embrace the lasts and celebrate them.  A few hours earlier that morning I was at the market shopping for our after graduation picnic.  The market was flooded with graduation balloons and I knew the girls would love them.  But then I thought they probably wouldn’t understand the cap and gown thing and maybe these were more for high school graduations.  I caught myself second guessing the balloons and then I started to well up with tears as I thought, “life is worth celebrating, all of it.  From the biggest graduation from college to the smallest preschool graduation.  This could be their last graduation and although it’s just preschool, it’s worth making a big deal over.” 
You know what? 

I bought those balloons and flowers too! 

Preschool graduation is worth celebrating and so are my little ladies.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Yummy Summer Gratitude Journals

As you know, I’ve been working on cultivating a grateful heart on Friday for the past year. I really don’t think that we are naturally grateful. As moms, we are always teaching our children to say, “please and thank you.” “What’s do you say?,” we ask when we give our children something, prompting them to say “thank you.” It just doesn’t come naturally! We have to train them to be grateful. This summer we’re keeping Gratitude Journals. I thought we’d simply do journals where the children draw a picture after we’ve had an adventure to document our summer fun. But when I decided to put my Yummy Summer posts on Fridays instead of my usual Grateful Heart posts, I had the idea of making our summer journals – Gratitude Journals.

Here’s the scoop:
1. Buy a blank book for your child. This can be a sketch book that you get at an art supply store or a blank journal.

2. after a fun summer day (could be a day at the zoo, beach, or simply a day at home) have your child draw a picture of their favorite part of their day.
*If your children are older, they can take photos and assembly a scrapbook of their summer

3. Have your child tell you what was their favorite part of the day and if they cannot write yet, you write what they say on their picture.

4. Select a verse from the Bible that corresponds to the picture your child drew. For example, my daughter drew a picture of a giraffe from our trip to the zoo, so we picked a verse from Genesis when God created the animals.

5. now for the best part! Use your picture, photo, and verse to thank God for your special day and what you loved most in it.
Yummy Summer is a weekly project to share our summertime ideas.
Join the fun:
1. post your fabulous idea for a summertime craft, day trip, activity, tip, recipe… you name it!
And add the Yummy Summer Button to your post
Not a blogger? No worries – leave your idea as a comment below.
2. Link up your blog post
3. check out all the Yummy Summer ideas and adopt a few for your family

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Embrace, Divide, and Conquer!

In the evening we "divide and conquer"!!  Daddy bathes one and takes him to wrestle and I bathe the others.  It's fun to have a little one on one time with the littles before bed!

*See you tomorrow for another Yummy Summer post.  I'll be sharing a summer project that I'm very excited about doing with my children!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Find Peace On A New Path

This past Saturday I had a huge garage sale to get rid of all our baby gear and tons of clothes. The night before, as my husband and I staged everything in the garage, I told him, “I want you to know that this is very hard for me.” As I started to cry, he said, “It’s hard for me too.” Many would think that it was sad because it meant that we are having no more babies. But that wasn’t really it. I was sad for 2 reasons. First, all this tiny stuff (and masses of it I might add!) reminded me how quickly my children have grown out of these swings, bouncy seats, baby tubs, stand up toys and clothes. Second, we saved all of this stuff for a reason. A reason that no longer existed and seeing all of it reminded me of February, when we lost what would have been our fourth baby, the reason why we were keeping all the stuff. I have peace about not having another baby. I really do. I don’t feel a lot of peace about my three children growing up so quickly and I still don’t have a lot of peace about last February.

“Trust in the Lord with all your hearts and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5,6
I have little understanding of some things, so I have no other choice but to trust in the Lord. I do find peace in him and as I acknowledge him through life’s changes and disappointments, he opens the road to a new, blessed path.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Drag It Around

When we hit the strawberry farm for the second time, the children all fought over who would get to pull the wagon!  I assumed the Momas would be pulling the littles in the wagon all the way out to the field, but no – the littles, even the littlest littles wanted to pull the wagon!  The image of someone so small pulling something so large struck me.  Even though the weight of the wagon and it’s mere size was wearing him out, he still pulled and continued as if he were on a great quest to prove that he could do it.  In life some of us have been given burdens by our families, our jobs or our mistakes.  We drag them along and try with all of our might to prove that we can still do it; we can beat the odds; we can drag around burdens bigger than ourselves and still make it.  All the while there is a savior who is waiting for us to drop the wagon and allow him to pull it for us.  In fact, he is so loving and strong that he can even pull us in that wagon too and give us the rest and healing that we need.  Are you dragging around burdens bigger than yourself?  Are you ready to drop the weight and let Jesus carry you?
"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."  I Peter 5:7
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls."  Matthew 11:28,29

Friday, June 3, 2011

Yummy Summer Scripture Memory

Today Yummy Summer finds its new home on Fridays!

We’ve been blessed to have our daughters in a Christian preschool for the past two years and I’ve been amazed at the amount of scripture they’ve memorized. It has inspired me.
One of my daughters had been having a lot of nightmares and although we prayed over her nightly, they didn’t stop. Finally I wrote a verse on a piece of paper, she decorated it, and we hung it above her bed. Every night before bed she read the verse and in a few short nights we all had it memorized. And the nightmares stopped. There is power in the Word of God.
So, for one of my favorite summer projects, we’re memorizing scripture. Specifically scripture that speaks to the behavior that we’re hoping for in our children.
There are almost 10 weeks of summer, so I’m shooting for 7 verses to have our family memorize.

Here are the ones we’re memorizing:
Obedience – “Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother – which is the first commandment with a promise – ‘that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’” Ephesians 6:1-3
A little bonus obedience verse! “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” Colossians 3:20
Selfishness – “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3
Selfishness Part II - “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4
Behavior - "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." Matthew 7:12
Truth – “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.” Proverbs 12:22
Attitude – “Do everything without complaining or arguing” Philippians 2:14
Work Hard – “Whatever you do, word at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,” Colossians 3:23
You could continue on: “since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:24

Ways to memorize scripture:
1. Have your verse written in the house somewhere for everyone to daily see: on a chalk board, on a super cute board like this one that my friend Hillary made!~ (I just might have to make one too!!) or simply use some poster board.
2. As a family, say the verse together every night at the dinner table
3. let your kids decorate their own posters with the verse written on it and hang it above their beds. Read it every night before they go to bed.
4. Play games with the verses – blow up little balloons and tape them to the wall. Write one word of the verse on each balloon and read it all together. Pop one balloon, eliminating one of the words in the verse, and read it again. Keep going one by one, pop each balloon, eliminating one word at a time until all the balloons are gone and no words remain! (the same can be done with the verse on the chalk board, erasing one word at a time)
5. use the verse throughout the day in teachable moments. Discuss the verse and it’s meaning and how it applies to you.

Yummy Summer is a weekly project to share our summertime ideas.
Join the fun:
1. post your fabulous idea for a summertime craft, day trip, activity, tip, recipe… you name it!
And add the Yummy Summer Button to your post
Not a blogger? No worries – leave your idea as a comment below.
2. Link up your blog post
3. check out all the Yummy Summer ideas and adopt a few for your family

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Embrace Them While You Can

I registered my girls for kindergarten yesterday.  Boo Hoo.  I'm not excited at all.  I feel like this is it.  It's over.  They will be in school now for the rest of their lives while living with me!  AHHHH
Embrace them while you can.  We only have them on loan for 18 short years!

*join me tomorrow for Yummy Summer.  I'm sharing one of my most favorite projects for summer!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Laugh A Little

I can’t believe it’s been a year today that my Grandma has been gone.  How did a whole year already fly by?  The past few days I’ve been looking back at photos of my Grandmother, wishing I had a lot more, wishing we didn’t live so far away, wishing I could have visited more, yet trying to simply enjoy what I have.  My Grandmother had the most amazing laugh.  I mean that deep down, can’t catch your breath, tears rolling down your face, crazy laugh!  She would start laughing so hard and you couldn’t help but laugh too, even if you had no idea what she was laughing about!  My aunt and my mom have been gifted with that same laugh and when the three of them got together – look out!  I have to be honest, I’ve always been envious of that laugh.  I consider myself a “tough laugh.”  I find many things funny, but not many things get me laughing out loud.  There is something so life giving about laughter.  It’s almost a victorious statement over the trials and tears of life.  Is it silly to pray for more laughter in my life?  I don’t know, but I’m going to.


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