Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Good News in Uncertain Times

We are living in interesting times. The economy is sinking fast, people are walking away from their homes in record numbers and foreclosures are at an all time high. Spending on credit has put millions into huge amounts of debt and with all the news of the bailout and the stock market, people are in a panic. I don't think there is anyone that is immune and not affected by the state of the economy.

When it comes to self-indulgence, over-indulgence and greed, Americans are at the top of the list. I have travelled to Third World countries and believe me, the poorest of the poor in our country are still better off than the poor in other countries. Our glutenous, greedy, want-it-all-now lifestyles are finally catching up with us. We have put our faith in our jobs, homes, possessions and the all-mighty dollar and we are seeing what happens when we trust in material things.

I find it interesting that we are experiencing something that happened a few thousand years ago - it is history repeating itself, which I know it has done more than once. People didn't get it then, and we still don't get it now. We are living James 5: Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded.... You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence.

I am thankful that my faith isn't in the money I make, the house I live in, the cars I drive and the stuff I have. That would truly be an empty and unfulfilled life. Instead, I have chosen to ride the wave of 'uncertainty in economic times' by focusing on the blessings in my life and living with a faith that even if I lost all of my material possessions tomorrow, there is still a God who is bigger than the deficit and He will take care of me no matter what.

And that is the best news ever.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Miss Independent Part Deux

So, here she is, the most drivingest (if that's not a word, it is now) teenager since Friday. Notice the huge smile. And yes, that is a Costco sized pack of toilet paper decorating our yard - no doubt courtesy of some lovely young individuals that my daughter attends school with. It gave me a good laugh when I looked out the window first thing anyway!

Good times.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Miss Independent

Miss Independent
My daughter passed her driving test today and is now ecstatically in possession of a driver's license. She couldn't wait to go home and get the other car so she could finally drive on her own.

We had the 'no cell phone while driving' conversation with the obligatory 'I know' from her and of course I threatened to take away everything but her right to breathe if I found out she was using her cell phone while driving. There is a law that kids can't drive with anyone outside of their immediate family for the first six months that they have their driver's license. I told her I don't want to hear that she suddenly has a bunch of brothers and sisters that attend school with her.

I am pretty confident in her driving as she has a lot of common sense and seems at ease behind the wheel. But it's still a little scary having my first teen driver and now, she is that much more independent of me...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Amani Life Project

I woke up feeling exhausted this morning. My body is trying to fight something besides fatigue and on top of that I've been struggling with feeling unsettled lately. There are times when I know that there is something much bigger than anything I can see or grasp that God has planned for me, but I've not been sure what it is.

Well, today was one of those HUGE 'God is never subtle with me and in His frustration with me for not getting it dropped exactly what it is I'm supposed to do right in my lap'. I'm not going to go into great detail because it would take away from God's absolute bigness and I don't want to do that. What I will say is that some really cool, extremely humble people have started a new organization called the Amani Life Project and I'm jumping in with both feet.

Because I don't feel like I could do the project justice by explaining it myself, I encourage you to go either here or directly to the website here and read about it for yourself. And in my excitement I have to give a 'Yay God' shout out because he is bigger than anything I can ever wrap my mind or arms around.

That is awesomeness.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Support Our Troops With The 2009 Military Troops Calendar

The 2009 Military Troops Calendar is on it's way and is available for pre-ordering!

This calendar has been made possible by the collective efforts of some extremely dedicated people who wanted to show our troops how much we support them. Thanks Mike, Scott, Corey, Kris, Steve, Anthony, all of the models, support staff and generous sponsors for making the 2009 calendar a reality.

It is an honor for those of us at Military Troops Calendar to do what we can to help boost morale and show our support of all the brave men and women who serve in the Armed Forces. This calendar is to commemorate the sacrifices and humility our soldiers encounter while so fiercely defending the freedom of others.

Visit the website at www.MilitaryTroopsCalendar.com to see a preview of the calendar and to order a copy for yourself or to donate to the troops stationed in the Armed Forces.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

37 Things I Think Are Cool

Since we seem to be bombarded by bad news on a daily basis(natural disasters, bankruptcies and foreclosures, crime, etc.) it's easy to become a Debbie Downer or Negative Ned because of this. So, I thought now would be a perfect time to come up with a list of things I think are cool. I could easily think of a hundred things, but I am going to just do my top 37, and I chose the number 37 because that happens to be my favorite number this year. This list isn't necessarily in order of importance except for #1. #1 IS actually #1 on my list, always.

1. God loves me, he's always there no matter what and he never holds my crummy actions or junk against me and he is bigger than any mountiain I face. That is awesomely cool.

2. Jon is the love of my life and I really dig him.

3. My daughter is funny, sweet, big-hearted, ridiculous, stubborn, sassy, beautiful and we have a lot of fun together.

4. My son is a hunter and fisherman, a gentleman, kind-hearted, extremely smart and he has a great laugh that makes me giggle.

5. My parents rock. Seriously, I am a lucky girl to have the parents I do.

6. Scott's BBQ'd teriyaki tri-tip. He is the King of that!

7. Tulum, Mexico. I am sure that God has a favorite vacation spot and this is it.

8. My house on the river and in the woods. I don't have one yet, but one-day Jon is going to buy one for me.

9. Indian summer days.

10. When me, my parents and my two brothers are all together. We can laugh for hours.

11. Chips and salsa. These are even better when eaten in Mexico.

12. A cold Pacifico with lime on a hot summer day.

13. A 61' Impala in cortez silver and black - and if God had a favorite car I'm sure this would be it.

14. Jon's laugh.

15. Walking Bozley on the river trail. He is the coolest most dorkiest dog ever.

16. Riding on the motorcycle.

17. Seeing Jon's face when he realized he was the proud owner of a 69' Camaro.

18. Rocky road ice cream with real marshmallows.

19. Friends that I've know my whole life.

20. A good cry.

21. Coaching volleyball.

22. People with big hearts and enormous amounts of humility.

23. My nieces and nephews, especially Eli in his Spidy costume.

24. Vacation.

25. Coffee first thing in the morning.

26. Eggs, bacon and biscuits and gravy from Pilot Butte Drive-Inn.

27. Sunrises and sunsets.

28. Naps.

29. A good book.

30. Gardening AFTER the last frost in June.

31. Tulips.

32. The sun.

33. Hiking in the woods.

34. Mountain biking on Phil's trail.

35. Cocktails with the girls.

36. Dinner with friends.

37. Laughing.

Yep, good stuff.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Random Stuff I Didn't Post

The other day I emailed my husband about going back to school winter term and about some other random stuff, like blogging. He made a comment about my blog and I told him that I thought it would be easier to blog anonymously because so often I start writing something and then have to stop myself because of the whole 'who's reading my blog and can I be so bold as to reveal my true self' thing. Maybe it's my paranoia, but I figure .00001% of the US population could be reading this and possibly someone in Bend (those statistics are probably generous)and they are going to have an 'Ah-Hah' moment and realize it's me doing the writing. And I don't want them to give me funny looks next time they see me because I am insecure that way. Not that I haven't been so bold as to splash my families pictures across the pages, but I do write very guarded and you never know who is going to use the information against you, like maybe my ex-husband's wife? Ok, I digress.

Because I am too busy and starting a second 'anonymous' blog would be too much on my plate at this moment in my life (fun, but it would push me over the edge) I've decided to go ahead share a few of the things I started writing about but never published. It's not earth shattering-will-change-your-life stuff, just things I didn't finish.

I coach high school volleyball and I love my girls but sometimes I'm mean.
My life revolves around two seasons; volleyball season and the off season. When volleyball season starts in August I kiss my husband goodbye and tell him 'see you in November'. I work job #1 from rediculously early in the morning until volleyball practice or on game days until game time and then it's anybody's guess when I'll get home. By week four I'm exhausted from working 6 days/week and can tend to be somewhat of a 'B' word when I let my guard down. It's a big sacrifice for my family and my husband does an awesome job of helping me out around the house and being suspiciously absent when my patience at everything has reached it's limits. But the reason I coach is not just because I love the game and the exhorbent amount of money I make doing so (I jest), but because I have a heart for the girls and have met some pretty cool kids. I love watching the light come on when the girls realize their full potential and the success they experience by playing their hearts out. I feel a tremendous amount of responsibility to be a positive influence in these girls lives and I value the relationships that develop from all of the time I spend them.

But, sometimes I have to get mean. I am big on discipline and it usually involves running. There is discipline for not calling the ball, not going for the ball, talking when I am, disrespect of others, leaving the bus we're traveling in a mess, forgetting any part of their uniform, and being late to practice. Let's just say my team is well-conditioned and they are better for it. I love my girls and I'm sure they love me.

My daughter doesn't have a relationship with her dad.
This is a tough one for me because my daughter is her dad's first-born and I have vivid memories of when she was a baby and how she would fall asleep on his chest. He spent all of his free time with her reading, coloring, watching Disney movies, camping, hunting and teaching her to fish. She was always daddy's little girl until...

I could write a lot about this but have decided not to. I will say that my daughter has reached out to her dad many times, but the relationship is what it is because of her dad's decisions. I hope one day they decide to extend a huge amount of grace and forgiveness towards each other, let the walls come down and just love each other for who they are.

My son wants to be a youth pastor.
My older brother, the one with a dozen-or-so kids, is going to start a Calvary Chapel church back in Virginia. His oldest son is graduating from bible college in December and the plan is for him to be the head pastor. My son has told me several times that he feels like he is being prepared for a life of ministry and I think that is a very cool thing. He would like to go be the youth pastor at this church my brother is starting, but there is one small thing standing in his way. He's in 7th grade and has five years until he graduates. I know a lot can change in five years, but if that is the plan that God has for his life then that desire will only grow in my son over the next few years. I think it's pretty awesome as a parent when we see our children have a heart for God and others. I'm definitely OK with that.

That is a condensed version of some things I started writing but never finished. There are a lot more (like why do grown women think it's OK to wear their pajama bottoms out in public. This is NOT a fashion statement, it's fashion faux pas) but I will save those for another post.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The First Archery Hunt

So this is my sons first year of being able to officially hunt deer, and let me tell you, the anticipation leading up to opening weekend of archery season just about killed him (no pun intended).

My son is the first and oldest grandson on his dad's side of the family and he has gotten to spend the first few weeks of archery season hunting with his grandpa. What a cool thing for Grandpa W to take his oldest grandson on his first archery hunt. They spent the weekends leading up to archery season shooting their bows, pouring over maps, figuring out logistics and doing whatever one does to prepare for hunting.

My son has yet to fill his tag and he'd like nothing more than to do so. But should it not happen, he's OK with that because more than anything, he feels blessed to be able to enjoy the time with his Grandpa W and these are memories he'll never forget. Good times!