Friday, October 15, 2010

Grandparent's Day 2010

Today was Grandparent's Day at school. Unfortunately, none of the grandparents could be there...they were all out of state. Emily had her first sax "solo" or rather duet with her teacher. She's been playing for a year now and taking lessons for about 4 months...something has clicked...and she did beautifully. Christian is playing in the second clip...he's frustrated with his band because they won't stop screwing around...but he is doing well. Jed is in the third clip. He didn't know I was there till the end...that's when his smile came out. And Wesley, he had pink eye today...and it sucked! But we had a good day...just screwing around. And tomorrow is his BIRTHDAY!!!!!! YAY!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Never Alone

I found this on another blog...if anyone is still reading my blog, I hope you are blessed by it like I was.

Like many people around the world today, I am transfixed by the drama unfolding in Chile as the 33 miners who have spent 69 days 2000' underground are pulled to the surface one by one. I can't imagine the ordeal they went through as day after day went by with an uncertain future.

In reading the CNN article on this story, (so far, as of noon on Wednesday), one line jumped out at me.

"To say there were 33 trapped in the mine is wrong, Ramirez said. There were 33 men -- and God."

I've had a few phone calls this week with folks who are facing uncertain futures, and fighting with despair. Whether it's health issues, job issues, divorce, addictions, or a myriad of other challenges that our people are facing, the challenge remains the same; an uncertain future.

It is imperative that we remember one critical truth as we navigate our life on earth; you are never alone. For those who have called and trusted in the name of Jesus, you will never again be alone. It's you + God and that is an equation built for success. Consider the following Scriptures;

[Jesus] "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand." (John 10:27-28)

"Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (Hebrews 4:14-16)

No matter what we face in life; whether it's a test or a trial, grief or sin, remember that you're never alone. As the popular worship song by Matt Redman says,

Oh no, You never let go, through the calm and through the storm,
Oh, no, You never let go, through every high and every low,
Oh, no, You never let go, Lord you never let go of me.

"When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze." (Isaiah 43:2)

My prayer is that you would be reminded today that Christ is IN you. I leave you with this;

"And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you." (Romans 8:10-11)

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Do you remember this movie? It describes a little bit of what I've felt is happening in my life. After 13 years of being a stay-at-home mom things are changing all around me and in the process I've experienced an awakening deep inside of myself that I wasn't expecting.

Soon, I will be sending my baby to Kindergarten and everything I've known about every day life is going to change. This is a day that I've dreamed of for years. I never understood when other mom's would cry and be so emotional about watching the last one go to school...I always thought these women were nuts. But now, in my old age, I get it. It's the end of an era. And, that is sad in the way that it is always hard to say good-bye and it is always hard to experience change.

Knowing that this moment in time has been approaching quickly has forced me to take notice of the every day common things that will soon be gone such as: the feeling of a little hand reaching up to hold mine as we walk through a parking lot, the smell and softness of sleepy heads right after dawn, the richness of being able to pick up a big 5 year old in my arms and feel his tight grasp around my neck, laying in bed and reading a picture book, the feeling of joy I get when I tickle a belly and the wonderful sound of tiny giggles, enjoying peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at my kitchen table at noon, chalk drawings on the sidewalk and wiping tears of disappointment...really all those things are rich and buttery and sweet. But, for so many years they have just been common...not for long.

My role is changing...ready or not. I've been given a shove in that direction over the last 6 weeks because a job literally fell into my lap. I wasn't looking, wasn't expecting to go back to work, wasn't preparing to go back to work, just suddenly was back to work. I think I was naive about the whole thing and just thought taking this position would be like getting paid for what I was already doing. It has come to mean so much more than that and it requires much more than that...ready or not!

Over the last few weeks, we, my kids, my husband and myself, have had to quickly learn what it means that mom is not always around. What it means that mom has to leave and they have to step up and take on more responsibility. I think this is a good experience...we just weren't prepared for the shock of it all.

Personally, I wasn't prepared for what is awakening inside of me. It has been like a part of myself that has been asleep for many years is alive, thriving and begging to get out. I've located a new boldness I never knew I had. I'm having conversations I never thought I could have and asking for things in a way I didn't know I was capable of. And, I'm taking risks...and really, that is brand new for me. I'm asking people to believe in me...and in order to do that I must first believe in myself...

Nothing in the world is permanent, and we're foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we're still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it. If change is of the essence of existence one would have thought it only sensible to make it the premise of our philosophy.
W. Somerset Maugham, The Razor's Edge, 1943

Saturday, June 05, 2010

My oldest...

My oldest child, Christian Douglas, will stand in front of our church tomorrow morning and make his very own profession of faith. I just can't believe that he is old enough! It seems as if it was yesterday that I was counting the days until my due date...and then experiencing those 3 painful days that I had to wait past my due date until he made his appearance.

When we found out I was pregnant, after experiencing a terribly painful miscarriage, we knew immediately what we were going to name him. Christian Douglas would be his name...this little man who would be the most perfect representation of our love. Combining my name Christine with my husband Douglas's name.

Christian is a thoughtful, wise, intuitive young man who is one of the most forgiving people I know. He is incredibly musical...never ceasing to amaze me how he can improvise on his saxophone with out any practice at all? Makes this momma wonder what how great he would be if he practiced.

He is also an incredible dedicated Christian who is not afraid to ask difficult questions, wrestle with difficult concepts, but is also not afraid to accept the things he can't always understand. He seeks to know Christ, he struggles to read his Bible and he seeks to hear God's voice through prayer. He teaches me things daily and often has insights that are beyond his years.

I'm incredibly proud of him, incredibly blessed by him and can't wait to celebrate with him tomorrow.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Learning about photography

I got Doug a Cannon Rebel XSI for Christmas this year. The camera does so much and I really have no idea how to use it except for the point and click function. I have this great instrument and only know how to play chopsticks on it. I am having fun trying to blindly find my way around the camera...and slowly I'm learning about the settings on the internet. I don't own a good photo editing if anyone has any suggestions I'm all ears. I am thinking about of my girlfriends has warned me that it is really hard to use. Maybe I'll take a class at our local community college?

Here are a few pictures of my beautiful children. My favorite subject.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Miscellany Monday

i've been reading lots of blogs lately, probably to just keep from doing my housework...and lowercase letters is one i occasionally read. i like her title. that's probably what brought me there in the first place, that or a give away. i'm a givaway addict lately...but haven't won anything yet. i even entered a blog that pathetic? we are leaving for mexico in a week from tomorrow...i'm not counting the days or anything. wish we had left about 6 weeks ago because i was 10lbs lighter then...and then, i fell off the wagon. birthday cake will do that to you...birthday cake and stress. i eat when i'm stressed...i've had a lot of stress lately...i've been eating alot lately. last random thought of the day, doug just asked me what i was humming while i was surfing the web...the song from dirty dancing that the sister sang in the talent show..."join hands and hearts and voices, voices, and hands. at kellerman's the friendships last long as the mountain stands." ya, i have no idea why?

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

I got this beautiful hand made card from Wesley this afternoon. He spent the afternoon over at Ettema's playing with Alaina. I was so touched I almost cried. "Ahh...buddy, did you make me a sweet boy..." Then I read it....all typed up in pretty different colors(Alaina had helped him)

Happy Mother's Day Mom!!

I love and I'm sorry you had to go on the
camp out with Emily and that she was so
annoying. Happy Mother's



Thursday, April 08, 2010


As I sit here at the computer I hear Emily and Wesley chatting together. They don't know that I'm eaves dropping because I'm not in their sight lines but I can still hear their conversation and the crunch of their chips as they eat an entire bag of chips together as an afternoon snack. I hear him telling her all about his day as we "dragged him into all kinds of daddy clothes stores." I hear her ask him for a kiss because, "Wesley kisses are the best." They are having a great time and it makes me smile. It's times like these I need to remember when the trials of being siblings gets the best of them. Ah!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

I'd like some more stuff

So the other day I was making dinner. Wesley was asking me 10,000 questions about what I was making...nothing new there. But I didn't have the patience to answer all of the questions. So, when he asked me what I was making I told him "stuff." That night he kept saying, "This stuff is great! I love this stuff!" The next day in the car he told me, "Mom, I really liked that stuff we had for dinner last night. Tonight I'd like to have stuff again! Ok?" Crack me up! That kid is the best!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sitting alone...

This afternoon I am enjoying the rare treat of sitting alone at Borders with good coffee, a computer with free Wi-Fi, actual work to do and the smell of ...the bathroom? It would be a perfect afternoon if the horrid smell of the men's toilet wasn't wafting above the smell of Seattle's Best. Oh Well.

Tomorrow morning I'm speaking to my church's MOPS group on the topic of marriage and sex. I've spoken to many groups over the years but never to our church...strange huh? I was given an opportunity to speak at Christmas for a few minutes and I guess I proved myself because they asked me back.

I love giving this speech because it seems so naughty to talk about sex in church. I love busting through the embarrassment wall that is there and getting real with the MOPS moms. Any time I talk to MOPS groups it amazes me how walled off the ladies are...and when I start to reveal my own struggles and embarassing stories...they start to tell their own. It's amazing!

It's also a very heavy job too. Each time I've spoken, on a variety of topics, there is one or two ladies who tell me their stories...and I am amazed at the resiliency of women and how strong they are and how much they put up with. My heart breaks at the stories I've been told...

There is so much brokenness in this world, in our churches, in our circles of friends. We need each other so badly. And we so badly need to stop trying to be perfect and appear as if we have everything together...authenticity and transparency are so much less lonely than keeping up a great appearance.

My prayer for you today is that you have someone in your life who you can be completely real with...someone who you don't have to pretend around...and that you have the freedom to really share with someone what is going on in your life.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The calm after the storm

Through the power of the Holy Spirit, I can do things I couldn't, feel things I didn't and know things I wouldn't...Praise God! --Beth Moore

I find myself asking to be filled with the Holy Spirit almost daily lately because I am convinced that it is not in my own power or wisdom that I have been able to walk through the last few weeks of parenting. I'm so glad that I can say I am looking back on this latest storm and so thankful that I don't think I've burned bridges but by God's grace was able to build some.

So, I cried all day the day I emailed the principal and band teacher. In hinds sight, I can see that I was getting my period but at the time, I was overcome with anger, sadness, frustration and grief. So many times in my life the most compelling drama comes right before my period..and it leaves me to wonder...which comes first? Seriously, what's up with that?

Anyway...the principal called me shortly after I had written my blog post. She wanted to find out more about the story and help me process through this situation. She did tell me that she saw this as cheating, stealing and lying and that there is a specific discipline rubric to handle this although it did offer her a range of punishments from suspension to detention. When she mentioned suspension I felt as if I had been punched in the stomach...OMG, what have I done? Many times throughout this process I've had to remind myself and have others remind me that "I" did not create this situation, that my daughter had created this situation, this was not my doing. As a mother, it's hard to keep that in perspective sometimes. The thing is when I see other people going through similar situations, I quickly and freely judge their emotional responses, but experiencing this first hand awarded me a much different perspective.

After much discussion, the principal and I came to the conclusion that a 1-2 day out of school suspension was probably not the most effective punishment. Social networking is my daughter's most valued resource, so it was social networking that was going suffer the most. She was going to be pulled into the principal's office, talk this over with her, be required to talk to the band teacher face to face and confess what she had done, lose recess for 2 days and lose the privilege of attending all specials such as gym, music, band, chapel, library and computers. She was going to be required to sit in a room alone during all of those times during the school day. The unfortunate thing for her, and the rest of the family, was that this punishment was taking place from Friday to Monday.

All day on Friday, I was conflicted. I wanted to kill her. I wanted to hug her. I wanted to protect her. I wanted to teach her. I wanted...I had no idea what I wanted....I wanted this to end. During the day, I was given a unique perspective on our relationship with God. The Bible says that we "grieve the Holy Spirit" and that Jesus "wept over Jerusalem." I don't think I ever fully understood this...but now, I think I have a better understanding. My heart was breaking over her choice and what I was being required to do in order to parent her. I knew that I had to continue to punish and instruct her and yet throughout it all it was breaking my heart to see her in such pain.

Oh, the drama! I should have known 16 years ago when Doug and I got married that we would always have a lion's share of drama surrounding our family. Neither him nor I seem to escape comes naturally, it often thrills us and life just isn't worth living if you don't fully experience it. My children, all of them, have embraced this way of life as well. Oh, the drama! She cried from Friday pretty much straight through until Sunday. As I type this we are in the midst of a 30 hour snow storm. Just when I think it's over, the snow comes back with a vengeance...such was the crying in our house. "The worst part is, Mom, I just don't know what to tell my friends about why I'm not out at recess or at band. I don't ever want anyone to find out about this mom...I haven't even told my best friend."

I prayed with her...ALOT! Over her, with her, for her... And for that I'm thankful. We have since been praying together and studying God's word together. She asks for it. I'm glad. If this is what it took for the two of us to start learning about living with was worth it. She is worth it.

It's just the beginning though... 5th grade, 6th, 7th, 8th and then high school... I'm buckling my seatbelt, reading my Bible and praying hard... life, here we come!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Shock and Awe 5th grade style

I write this with tears in my eyes and my heart breaking...and yet I can say God is good! The last few days here at home have been full of drama...the shock and awe kind...5th grade style.

I could see my daughter starting to spin out of control on Tuesday evening when she came down crying because Wednesday was report card day. She was starting to take an inventory of all the things she did not do over the past quarter and knew that it was going to be on paper for us to see. She was terrified of facing that truth. The tears started to flow, her stomach started to hurt, she was too sick to go to school in the morning...and on and on. She cried literally all night long. I still sent her to school. She called me at 11am to come pick her up. I did not. I told her she wouldn't die, that it was what it was, that she needed to face up to the truth take her punishment and move on. She cried. She cried so hard all day that when I picked her up her face was swollen, her eyes were blood shot, her head hurt.

At this point in the story, let me say that she is an all A and B student...mostly A's. Her report card was brilliant. Except. Except for the two places she was responsible for putting in time to read or practice. Those tasks that you can't save until the end, the stuff that needs to be done consistently day in and day out. The stuff you can't fix at the last minute no matter what. The tasks that will kill a procrastinator every time. I know these tasks because I have suffered from procrastination my whole life. It sucks, there is a lot of shame involved in knowing that you could have done something but that you choose not too and now you have to pay the piper.

So, she showed us her report card. She was told, "good job" and that in those two places she needed to improve. That her environment was going to be altered to set her up for success(I literally used those words); that she shouldn't blame any teacher for this problem yet she should own this and make it better. There wasn't any yelling, there wasn't any screaming, no one threw anything. And yet, she cried. She cried and she cried until her anxiety gave her such bad heart burn she talked me into letting her stay home from school. It was against my better judgment, but I caved none the less.

Throughout the course of the day she lied to my face three times. The first was a slight lie, the kind that you pull when you think that simple coincidence will be your friend and cover for you. The kind where you don't give up the truth right away, but hope that someone else in the room will explain away what happened so that you don't have to. The type of lie that makes a mom wonder, did she just pull a fast one on me?

The second lie was the kind the exaggeration kind. "How'd you do?" "Great!" is the reply. "Really?" "Well, I got a little bit done." "Really?" "Well, I just started." "You need to be more truthful with your answers..." was my response. But I was starting to get irked...something was telling me to take notice.

At that point, I turned on my computer and found a reply from the band teacher. It read, "Sure, I'll do that. Mr. Band Teacher" I was confused, I checked the date stamp, I checked the original message, I didn't understand and then, lightbulb, "OH, Crap!" The origninal message was: Chris(Mr. Band teacher's first name), My daughter practiced 300 minutes but forgot to turn in her practice sheets. Please change her grade to reflect this. Thanks, MY NAME

At this point in the day, I could have ripped someone's head off! I simply was dumbfounded by what was in front of me. I was shocked. Shock and Awe...reigning down on me 5th grade style.

Parenting these types of problems makes me sick to my stomach. I love my kids yet I want them to know that their actions have consequences and sometimes, I'm at a loss of what those consequences should be. I wish there was a manual about this, a troubleshooting guide for when things go wrong. But there is none.

In your room for the rest of the day, computer privileges taken away, TV taken away...but really don't know if these are consequence based punishments. I firmly believe that the punishment should fit the crime but those aren't always the easiest to come up with.

This morning I wrote her principal and her band teacher. I told them what has been going on and asked for their help. I asked for a detention. I know this is going to crush her...really, really hurt her. I'm sick. I know it's right but my heart is breaking...breaking for my beautiful little girl and the pain she is going to go through. It's not jail, she's not pregnant, she hasn't robbed a bank...and thank God!

I'm laughing at little because when I was toilet training her and was so ultra frustrated, older parents would say, "just wait." I'm so glad that I had that option. As I grow as a parent, so do the issues. I'm so thankful for that...that there is a learning curve. I know it could be worse...but for today this is about as bad as I can handle.

I know she will live. I know I will. But I don't like it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ode to My Funeral (inspired by a true story)
When I die, will you dance at my funeral?

Would you have loved me enough to wear your favorite tutu
twirl your very best twirls
and point your toes?

When I die, will you dance at my funeral?
Even when all others will concentrate on suppressing a smirk
Will you proudly resemble a pink jelly bean
up on the stage?

When I die, will you sing at my funeral?
Will you clasp your hands before you
warble your strongest warble
and attempt your best opera?

If you love me, you will dance your best dance
and warble your best warble
and embarrass yourself as much as possible
And hopefully accomplish my goal-
to crack everybody up.

At your expense.

Now THAT would be an awesome funeral.
(Dedicated to the most pious and godly Deb Marth.Amen.)

So I ran across this poem yesterday on a blogging friends site and I couldn't think of a more fitting tribute to my girlfriends.

Friends who have become more important to my heart than any I ever thought possible; my life would not be as rich and as full and as purposeful without them.

At this point in my life, what was once a constant is now only a distant memory and our new "normal" is nothing like I ever thought it would be. Sometimes, often, I long for the day when we were all SAHM's who lived close and met often. Back then, I couldn't wait for the babies to grow and leave us so we could finally have uninterrupted conversation. But when that happened...suddenly we were called on the leave as well; to take up other projects. There was a time when I took our time together for granted, believed that a Wednesday morning would always hold the reverence and awe and strict observance it did...but Wednesday mornings have become just another ordinary morning... I hate people who live in the "glory days." But today: guilty as charged.

This past summer, one of my sister-friends lost her grandma. Attending her funeral together caused us to think about our own mortality...and in true sister friend fashion, that got us laughing and then what followed was totally irreverent.

We pictured the five of us a pall bearers...I've written and rewritten what comes next, the description of all of would be bossing everyone around, another complaining that the casket was too heavy, one of us would be late and have totally missed the funeral, one would be so loud that someone would probably call the cops for a noise disturbance, one would be so busy preaching to anyone who might listen that she'd wonder why in the world she had to do the work of carrying the casket...and of course, we pictured ourselves old and gray.

During the time I've been working on this post, there was a mom from a near by highschool who passed away at the age of 42. I thought twice about posting this, hoping you wouldn't see this as tacky and uncaring. However, I think this post is even more important in the wake of this recent tragedy....we need each other. In life and in death, in happy times and sad, when were SAHMs and when we are called to other jobs.

We need our girlfriends. Without them, who would keep us sane? Who would make us laugh, who would we cry with, who would understand us the way only a girlfriend can?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Almost Finished

I'm getting to the end of the book I've been using for the past 3 months for my prayer/devotion time. This is always a bitter sweet time for me. Mostly, because by the time I get to the end of a book, I'm so familiar with a writer's thoughts that the last few chapters are almost always the most significant and challenging for me personally. However, because I've been with this writer for so long, the thought of getting to know someone else is daunting. And it's often a struggle to keep this "getting to know you" phase from tempting me to stay in bed.

However, I'm not done yet...just not looking forward to actually turning the page and finding the end. So, today I read about really understanding God and His intentions. This is a huge concept but today it's reduced to something really simple and incredibly convicting... I have a problem or a need or see someone in need....I pray and ask God about it... I get a glimpse of what I think God might be up to and then I fill in the blank and take the ball and run with it...never stopping to see or hear if this is really God's intention or simply mine. In my rush to "do" God's will I leave God behind. And only after I've "done" something do I take the time to consider if that was God's will. I tend to follow my "hunches" and then fast forward through to the end. I guess the way I watch TV is somewhat similar to the way I live my life.

Really listening for God and truly waiting to hear from Him takes patience and quietness. Not two of my strongest attributes. I'm learning that God doesn't always write me a letter but rather leaves me clues to follow and search out. And that taking the time to do the work is more fulfilling than filling in the blanks and pushing fast forward. I'm learning to listen...learning to ask, "God what do you want me to do here? What do you want me to see or hear? What do I need to repent of? What do I need to confront?"

I'm also really wondering about the effect of spiritual warfare in my life and in the world around me. I'm starting to learn to ask God what is going on, when I don't understand the way people are acting or don't understand why I'm feeling the way I do. I love this adventure of getting to know God and Jesus and the Bible....I love it when it seems as if the veil is lifted from my eyes and suddenly I'm given the opportunity to see things ...things that have always been around me but I never had eyes to see them. Life with Jesus is amazing... pursuing Jesus is thrilling... surrendering is freeing...

The book I've been reading is called Walking with God by John Eldredge He's been a good teacher, I know this because I'm able to walk with God more freely now than ever before. It's amazing how when you start to learn "how" it gets easier. I think someday I might write my own book about this, piecing together all the things I've learned from all the authors I've read. But for now, I'm looking for another spiritual teacher to guide me through my mornings...and as I've mentioned before, I'm not too fond of this process. ~Christine

Monday, January 04, 2010

I'm pissed!

This is not a long thought out blog post...that will come soon I hope. But today I just need to be pissed because I'm again starting a weight loss and exercise program...and my foot is killing me. I've done EVERYTHING to heal this stupid foot and nothing works! I hate that this makes everything so difficult. I hate getting old! I hate that if I lost weight my foot probably wouldn't bother me so much but in order to lose weight I have to exercise...and my foot is "standing" in the way! I'm so pissed! I guess if a 400lb guy can run a marathon, I can do this...but really why does it have to be so frickin hard. So today, I'm so frustrated. I want this healthy body weight and I want to physically be healthy...but my dang foot!