Thursday, June 28, 2007

And we're off!

This week has been a whirlwind. Somewhere in the crazy part of my brain I decided that it was a great idea to shift and rearrange furniture in a major thoroughfare of my house as well as rent a carpet cleaning machine and shampoo all my upholstered furniture and every area of carpet in the house while simultaneously packing, planning and procuring groceries for vacation and let's also squeeze in a night of painting at church and another night of shopping for the conference room.

And then I collapsed on the couch exhausted.

That's where I am at right now. I've got that nagging feeling that I am forgetting VERY important things that we MUST have on vacation. I've got lists out the wazoo and they are making me nutty! I keep reminding myself that we have a Stuffmart a short drive from where we are staying that will certainly be well stocked with any and all items that may be left behind. I'm pretty sure we'll make it.

I am just ready to be there already. With my nice tall stack of books by my side. Sitting out on the deck overlooking the lake with a lovely breeze blowing, a nice cool drink by my side, lost in one of the books I can't wait to read. Can you feel it??!!

No cell phone and no internet for the next 7 days. That kind of freaks me out, but I think it will be a good break. Taking time to just be. To be... alone... with my best friend...with my sweet girl...with my family...and with the One who I long to be with the most.

It's gonna be a great week.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Ta da...the almost finished conference room

So here it is. The pictures didn't turn out so great, but what do you expect in a room with no natural light to be had. We are really happy with the way it has turned out and that the feedback has been so positive about it. People have also commented on how functional everything is which makes us feel like we did our job. Amber and I still have some small details to take care of and some shopping to do. But all the major items are in place and it is fully functional. We just got back from painting one of the side rooms (there are two side rooms that we also decorated) and will finally be able to hang stuff up on the walls in there. It's been a slow process getting everything together, but it has been fun! And it's fabulous to see our vision come to life!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

This and that

The following list is a great example of the randomness of life around here lately. I would apologize for the list format, but I really think that we're all better off that way.

1. Haven has been sick all week and now has a rash all over her body. She seems to be feeling okay, but I didn't think it was the best idea to have her around other little kiddos. So that means that we have laid low and not done all our normal weekend things like church and house church. It's been weird to have so much free time. Kinda nice for a change, especially after our really busy weekend that we had last week.

2. Five days until we leave for vacation! I just have to do all the grocery shopping to feed everyone all week. I am the official family meal planner, purchaser and preparer. It's a bit of a job, but I do enjoy it. The only downside is having to go to several different stores with a child in tow. Thankfully, my mom is coming here on Tuesday so she will be able to help out with the Hay.

3. Cale and I also do what we call "Tent Time" on our family vacations (aptly named because last year we had our lessons in the tent) with our 4 older nieces and nephews. Last year we taught them about different aspects of God and the way they can relate to Him (example: God made my ears to hear His Word.) Each lesson had subsequent motions to be learned. The kids really seemed to enjoy it and we really value the time we have to share God's truth with them. This year we are teaching about the Fruits of the Spirit. We actually just finished up our lesson plan and I am really looking forward to all the fun activities we have planned.

4. Amber and I are almost done with the conference room at church. Yippee! We have received nothing but positive feedback about it which has made us feel good about all our efforts. We have some final details to work out and a room to re-paint, but that's nothing compared to what we've already accomplished. I will have to post some pics of it when we are done.

5. I am excited because I just bought The Jesus Storybook Bible on Amazon. I have heard really good things about it and seen a few of the pages and it looks incredible. I can't wait to get it. And because Amazon is so tricky, I just had to find another book to buy so I could get my FREE Super Saving Shipping. My FREE shipping only cost me $17 because I decided to purchase There is No Me Without You. I already wrote about how profoundly this book impacted me and decided it's one I would like to have to share with other people. So money well spent, I think!

6. I read this great post yesterday that I would recommend to anyone. It has encouraged me in my role as a wife and mom and as a keeper of our home. There really is a lesson to be learned by the mundane tasks of life! Go read it!

7. Cale received this for Father's Day last week. Haven loves to watch him fly it around the house. Coincidentally, she has started saying uh-oh this week. Cale has also had to purchase new parts for it. Interesting.

8. No house church tonight means I need to fix an entire meal for us, not just part of one like I usually do on a Sunday. I read a recipe the other day for these delicious, healthy sandwiches and decided that we're gonna give them a shot. I know you're really concerned about what we're having for dinner, but I am excited to be making something new so deal with it! And then go look at the recipe and be jealous that you aren't invited to dinner at my house tonight! You might also find yourself becoming a fan of The Pioneer Woman, and rightly so.

And I think that about wraps it up. Thank goodness!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A book or two in review

Earlier this week I finished one of the best books I have read in some time, There is No Me Without You by Melissa Fay Greene. The author tells the story of one woman's journey to save AIDS orphans in her country of Ethiopia. But more than that it is a schooling on HIV/AIDS, big pharmaceutical companies, and the world's slow response to this pandemic. I consider myself to be relatively educated about HIV/AIDS from our experience working with Christ's Hope International, but I was still overwhelmed by the numbers of lives that are being wiped out every day. It's so easy to be caught up in my nice middle class life that I forget the suffering and pain that millions of people are experiencing on a daily basis. But I am getting off track and that's a whole other post!

Anyways, this book was well written and takes a difficult, far-reaching subject and makes it personal without making it overly sensational or falsely sympathetic. It's real and raw and for me, a call to action. What that action is going to be I'm still working out, but reading this book stirred up things that have laid dormant in my heart for awhile. As I wrote the other day, the Lord is doing some exciting things and I can't wait to see how what's next.

I also recently finished, Peace Like A River by Leif Enger based on Sarah's glowing review. I'm not sure that I loved it quite as much as she did, but I did thoroughly enjoy it. I took my time reading it, savoring the excellent writing and truly wanting to draw out the wonderful story as long as possible. I have since purchased the book and have convinced Cale that he would enjoy it. It's now on his list of books to read on vacation (which is only 9 days away- yippee!). It's actually the only book on his list, but whatever.

This is probably also a good time to mention that I didn't quite finish all the books on my Spring Reading Thing List. I almost made it, but not quite. I started Sense and Sensibility, but then got books from the library that I requested and just got caught up in other things. I anticipate getting back to it later this summer. Teach them Diligently will be finished hopefully soon. It's a really good resource, but for some reason I am having a hard time getting through it; which is sad, because it's really not that long of a book! I also need to get around to reading One Night with the King. Not sure why it is still sitting there, unread and unloved, but it is. I think I have had too many other things that I wanted to read a whole lot more than it. It has probably fallen into the category of "desperation read" because I won't get around to it until I have absolutely nothing else to read! The other one left on my list is For Women Only and I have a good excuse for this one! I requested it from my library four months ago and just yesterday was able to pick it up. It looks like a quick, but hopefully informative read.

I have amassed a lovely stack of books to take on vacation with me next week. I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to it!

Monday, June 18, 2007


Confluence: a place where things merge or flow together

I can't think of a better word to describe what I feel like the Lord is doing in my heart and mind of late. So many things He is teaching me and digging out of my heart.

Dreams and plans and hopes and wants. Things I didn't know I wanted so much and plans beyond my wildest imagination. God-sized dreams that I can't figure out or see how the details will come together. I can only see a glimpse of how it will end (or maybe begin) and that is more than enough to make me want to dive right in!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Love at first sight

Happy Father's Day, Cale! Haven is one lucky girl to have a daddy that loves her as much as you do. And I am blessed to have you as my partner in life- especially in parenting!

We love you!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Makes me smile

I always seem to have a list of some sort in my back pocket...for the grocery, Target or a to-do. Tonight when we were at the store, the end of my list written on bright pink paper was sticking out of the top of my pocket. Apparently it was drawing attention to itself.

Cale came up behind me and said, "Sometimes I wish I was a list so I could spend my day riding around in your back pocket."

Monday, June 11, 2007

Home again, home again

We made it home from Nashville on Saturday afternoon. While it was a good week, it is so nice to be home again and to know that the next time we pack up and leave it will be to go on vacation in 3 weeks! I can handle packing up for that! Seven days at the lake with some of my favorite people in the world. Sign me up!

On our drive home Cale was trying to think of something fun to do. He suggested that we stop at the Gap Distribution Center. Now let me just tell you that I am married to the greatest man alive. The Gap Distribution Center is like a dream come true for me. I have been wanting to go there since the moment I first heard about it, but it has never worked out. The GDC is a treasure trove of good deals and great clothes, but you have to be willing to dig for your treasure. How can you resist shirts for $.49! You can't! The store carries Banana Republic, Gap and Old Navy merchandise and on Saturday Old Navy clothing was even cheaper! Haven is now the proud owner of several new shirts that were acquired for $.99. Cale and I both found a few items as well (Gap pj pants for $1.99 for me!)

Now we all know how much I love a deal, but what was even better is that my fabulous husband suggested that we go shopping and was a good shopping friend the whole time. And he took it upon himself to keep Haven happy and entertained. Seeing as how she was tired, that was no easy task. I walked out of there giddy with my great deals and Cale was happy simply because I was. He's the best. And he's all mine!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Another lesson from Much-Afraid

I read this yesterday morning and it hit me hard. It filled me with hope, but also with dismay.

"...she thought of some words which one of the Shepherd's servants had spoken down in the Valley of Humiliation before the Shepherd had called her to the High Places. He had said, 'Love is beautiful, but it is also terrible- terrible in its determination to allow nothing blemished or unworthy to remain in the beloved.

When she remembered this, Much-Afraid thought wit with a little shiver in her heart, 'He will never be content until he makes me what he is determined that I ought to be..."

from Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard

The process of removing all that is unblemished and unworthy in me is a painful, exhausting, laborious process. But, I am His beloved and He will not give up on me.

I long to be who He has "determined I ought to be", but oh the pain in getting there. But the grace that covers me and the love that guides me to the darkest times will not fail.

That terrible love will see me through.

Monday, June 4, 2007

The not so great outdoor adventure

It's taken me a few days to get around to writing about our camping experience because I'm still trying to recover from it! It was somewhat traumatic for Cale and me. Haven loved camping and being allowed to run around outside for hours on end. She even did really well sleeping in the tent. I've learned that if you keep her up long enough, exhaustion can be our friend. That's how we played it on Friday night and it was successful. Well, until the sun came up at 5:45am and she decided that seven hours of sleep was more than sufficient. And I really wouldn't have minded her getting up that early if I had gone to sleep before 3am. But I didn't, so I minded. A lot.

We started the trip off with a bang by realizing as we were setting up camp that our air mattress (yeah, we were really going to rough it!) had been left at home (by Cale, I would like to add). I was bummed, but figured we could just sleep on the sleeping bag we had brought for Haven. That was a great idea until we discovered that the sleeping bag was with the air mattress at the top of the stairs at home. We had one blanket for the three of us and two sheets. Not good. Our friends we were camping with took pity on us and offered us their extra blanket so we then had two thin blankets for our bed. It was only one night so I got over it.

We had a lovely evening hanging out with Matt and Ashley and eating some delicious pizza mountain pies. Cale was feeling just a little bit guilty about leaving some critical items behind and so he took extra care in cooking my mountain pies for me. And they were absolutely perfectly cooked. If you've never had a mountain pie, you have not fully lived. Haven loved having so much room to run around and loved playing catch with her ball, playing with the frisbee and her daddy's airplane.

Around 9pm several cars pulled into the campsite diagonal from ours. We knew we were in trouble when we saw the beer getting pulled out of the car (alcohol is prohibited in the park.) Things went downhill from there. There were at least a dozen people at that campsite and they had no regard for anyone around them. Apparently they needed music to help them set up their tents because they started blaring it around 10pm. I could go on and on about their offenses, but I won't. Let's just say that the volume wasn't even the biggest issue- it was their topics of discussion and the language that they used to talk about these things.

Haven was the least of our problems and went to sleep with little fight. Now it helped that it was 10:30pm when we put her to bed and she's used to going to sleep at 8pm, but she had been happy and having fun, so we let her stay up. I took her into the tent and she immediately laid down on the blankets. I sang a few songs to her and she was out. She stirred a few times in the night when she got caught in the corner of the tent, but she did so much better than we anticipated she would. Cale and I were a different story altogether. We hung out with Matt and Ashley around the fire, eating s'mores and talking until about 12:30am. Cale and I tried to go to sleep, but it just wasn't working. About 1:30 we took a walk and sat around the dying fire, so tired, but not able to block out our noisy neighbors. At 3am, they all decided to go for a swim and quiet descended on us and sleep was my friend. Until Haven woke up. But the day was already heating up so we didn't mind getting out of our hot tent.

Cale tried his hand at cooking breakfast over the fire and it was a success. I think we need to go camping more often because Cale seems to take a great interest in preparing our food. I think it has to do with the fire, as he is a bit of a pyro, but hey, if he's the one cooking instead of me, I'll take it!

We spent the afternoon out on the lake with Cale's aunt and uncle and sister on their boat. We had a great time hanging out with them. Cale did some water skiing and tubing and Haven loved watching him out in the water. Haven really loved everything about being out on the lake and kept saying please, please to get in the water. Got a little bit sunburned as I was late in my sunscreen application, but nothing that a little aloe can't soothe. Thankfully, I was more vigilant about Haven's sunscreen and she remains pale and pasty as ever!

We were all exhausted by Saturday night and when Haven got kicked out of the nursery at church because she was inconsolable we decided we should just go home and call it a day. I'm not so sure that Cale and I are going to go camping anytime soon, but if we do, we know that we don't have to worry about Hay. She was great. Despite our other issues, we really did have a great time hanging out with Matt and Ashley.

And at the end of the day, time with good friends and watching Haven explore and learn more about the world around her is definitely worth losing a few hours of sleep over.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

16 Months

This beautiful girl is sixteen months old today! I can' believe how fast she is growing!

Friday, June 1, 2007

The Great Outdoors

Tonight we are doing something we have never done before. We are taking Haven camping with us. We're not really sure if this is a good idea, seeing as how there are such things as fire, sticks, sharp objects and our daughter's ability to get hurt while sitting down. But we're doing it anyway. Actually the thing that strikes the greatest trepidation in my heart is sleeping, or the lack thereof, by all parties staying in our tent. Haven is an absolute crazy sleeper and I'm just not sure how that's going to play out in a three-man tent. I think it's going to be a long night!

Cale and I haven't been camping for a few years and have not had the best experiences when we have gone. We both grew up camping, but our families did things a little differently. Cale was a tent camper. My family had a pop-up camper that we used to travel all over the place with. I have many fond memories of sleeping on the couch/dinette/my bed with my brothers on the pop out double bed beside me and fighting with each other and thus, getting into trouble. We used to play Uno like it was going out of style when we went camping. And for some reason, Uno=eating licorice in the recesses of my memory.

After several years of being migratory campers, my parents decided to buy a park model trailer and settle down at one campground. So then we had a "camp" that we went to all summer long. We built a deck and bought patio furniture and enjoyed not having to load the car down every time we wanted to go camping. That camper (that my mom still has) had a bunk room in the back and I could not even begin to recount the hours spent by me and my friends talking what weighs on the mind of every 12-16 year old girl: boys ("What did he mean when he said that? Do you think he really likes me?"), our hair and painting our toenails. Deep stuff.

After we got married we thought it would be fun to go camping together. And the first time we went, it started out pretty well. My always thrifty husband thought we should stay at the horseman's camp which basically means, no electricity, no real bathrooms. Lovely. It unfortunately meant that night drunk, mean people as well. We had a nice dinner and had enjoyed a small fire for awhile. Then it started to rain. So we got in our tent and decided to just go to sleep. Easier said then done as the drunk, mean people got louder and rowdier.

When three hours had passed and it was now 1am, we decided to call the park ranger and have them come down and shut the partiers down. Generally speaking, we would have tried to deal with the problem on our own, but seeing as how there were several men who had been drinking for several hours and only one Cale, we thought that wasn't the way to go. I don't know if you know this, but drunk people are hard to reason with and Cale wasn't up for it. Actually, I wasn't up for it! So anyways, we called the ranger and they said they would be right down. At 2am, the ranger had not yet showed up and it was starting to pour down rain. We'd had enough. We started throwing everything into the back of the car and were getting ready to leave, when guess who got there?! You guessed it! But it was too late, and we headed home. Not the best night for us, but it makes for a good memory.

It took us several months before we decided to try again and let's just say it wasn't much better. This time we didn't have drunk people, we had a speedway! That didn't shut down until after 1am! And we couldn't sleep! It was awful! This time we were much further away from home, so packing up wasn't really an option. We survived, but let's just say I wasn't exactly excited about going camping again anytime soon.

We have had a few positive experiences and I am hoping that we can add tonight to that list. We are going with some newlywed friends of ours that we haven't hung out with in awhile. I'm thinking that as long as I get a pizza mountain pie, Haven doesn't get burned in the fire or otherwise maim herself, and we can get at least a few hours of shut-eye the night will be a success. Good friends, the great outdoors and my family...what more do I need? Well, I'd really appreciate it if it didn't rain and if we had sober fellow campers. Here's for hoping!!