Thursday, December 20, 2007


Sarah turned 9 years old yesterday...9 YEARS OLD!!! Where has the time gone? I know that sounds cliche, but seriously, it seems like just last year we were celebrating her 3rd birthday. Except then we were having a party with ponies and princesses, and now it's all about Hannah Montana. I so wish I was able to post the video of her playing her Hannah Montana guitar with her headset on, singing her heart out..."This is the life, hold on tight, this is the dream, it's all I need" Oh, it is so adorable. And reminds me way too much of myself at that age.Since the day she was born, Sarah has brought Jon and I so much joy. She is truly a blessing. She always has a smile on her face and is so excited about something, anything! She's excited it's time to go to school, she's excited it's Saturday, she's excited it's morning, she's excited it's dark outside, she's excited it's time to get in bed and read books...she's just always happy. Sarah has always loved those around her unconditionally. She just accepts everyone, and has never given thought to who they are, what they look like, or where they come from. She just loves, and show kindness without even thinking about it. One of my favorite memories of Sarah was when she was three. My brother Nate and his wife Margaret were staying with us during the week of Christmas, and we all decided to make a bunch of cookies and fill socks with toiletry supplies and go hand them out to the homeless. The picture below is Sarah frosting the cookies that we handed out that night. Well, we were down at the park handing out the plates of cookies and toiletry items, and there was this one very gruff looking man who wouldn't accept anything that Jon or I tried to offer him. He angrily went over to the curb and sat down. Jon and I were always within arms reach of our kids. But all of the sudden, little Sarah looked over at that man, walked away from Jon and straight over to the grumpy man. She held out her plate of cookies for him to take. Right as Jon and I caught up to her we saw the man slowly take the plate and then he asked Sarah, in a low, quiet voice, "can I have a hug?" Jon took a protective step closer to Sarah, but then, without hesitation, she just lunged forward and gave this dirty, not so nice, nor nice-smelling man a big hug. And he just held her for what seemed like a long time. He hugged her so tightly, his eyes were closed and we could see he was starting to cry. And Sarah just hugged him. As my own eyes filled with tears, I knew that this man had been through more then I could imagine. And Sarah's willingness to show love unconditionally blessed this man more then anything else could. She was truly showing him the love of Christ....And that's my Sarah. I know the name Sarah means princess, but some definitions say Sarah means "of noble blood" and Proverbs 31 is a description of "the noble woman" and that is why we decided to name her Sarah. Our desire and prayer for her since the first day we held her in our arms is that she would grow to be a woman of "noble character" and as Proverbs 31 says:

"She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised."We love you so much Sarah, and are so thankful for the gifts God has given you. There is no one else like you. You are truly becoming a young woman of noble character. And we pray that you will continue to grow as someone who is beautiful on the inside, with a kind and loving heart, desiring to please God and show His love to everyone around you. I can't believe you are 9!!! You're half-way to 18! We hope your birthday was special, and we love it when you dress up like Hannah Montana and sing for us. You are OUR superstar!

Saturday, December 8, 2007


I'm giving you my heart, and all that is within

I lay it all down for the sake of you my King

I'm giving you my dreams, I'm laying down my rights

I'm giving up my pride for the promise of new life

And I surrender all to you, all to you

And I surrender all to you, all to you

I'm singing You this song, I'm waiting at the cross

And all the world holds dear, I count it all as loss

For the sake of knowing You, for the glory of Your name

To know the lasting joy, even sharing in Your pain
There comes a point in one's life when you realize, no matter how hard you try, how hard you work, how late you stay up, how early you wake up, how well you just can't get it all done. My heart has been heavy today. I'm overwhelmed. I'm disappointed. Feelings of failure and anxiety are permeating my thoughts. As I stood at the kitchen sink tonight, exhausted, and worrying about the week that lies ahead, I realized I've been trying to make it on my own strength lately. I've rushed out the door too many mornings without spending time with the most important Person. I've made too many decisions without Him. I've been parenting my children without His guidance. I've been looking at my life through the eyes of the world, hence my feelings of inadequacy. I heard this song for the first time tonight, and it was one of those moments where you realize God, in His goodness, is taking the time to speak to your troubled heart. I hope you take the time to listen to this song. I hope it reminds you, as it did me, to lay your heavy burdens down at the feet of Jesus. Let Him take your worries, your fears, your disappointments, even all the things you hope to do and become...just lay it down. Commit yourself to Him, take His hand and let Him gently lead you. His ways are perfect.

"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for
apart from Me you can do nothing.
~John 15:5
I love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. As for God, His way is blameless; the word of the Lord is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God, the God who girds me with strength and makes my way blameless? He makes my feet like hinds' feet, and sets me upon my high places.
~Psalm 18:1-2, 30-33

Friday, December 7, 2007


Last night we were at the outlet malls, and all of the sudden it started snowing! Fake snow that is . Olivia was ecstatic, she thought it was real snow. She was running and jumping and shouting, "it's snowing, it's snowing!" She even laid on the ground and attempted to make a snow angel. So for those of you who live in the Willamette Valley, and are looking for free entertainment for your kids: take them to the Outlet mall! They have fake snow blowing every night from 6 to 7 pm. It's back by the Gymboree store, and it actually is a lot of fun! (I apologize about the poor picture quality, these were taken with my cell phone)

When I was tucking Olivia into bed, she said in her sweet sleepy voice, "Mommy, I had fun in the snow tonight"

She had no idea she it wasn't the real thing!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Happy 30th Birthday Shauna!!!
Shauna with her nephew, Trey
(Thanks Angela for the picture)
If I remember correctly, I met Shauna when I was in the seventh grade and she was in the sixth grade. She was a new student at Salem Academy. We both stayed at Salem Academy all the way until our high school graduations. We played varsity volleyball together, she was our team's exceptionally gifted setter, and I was the incredibly talented defensive specialist :) With my perfect passing and her perfect setting, we were the backbone of our team...right Shauna?!!! :)
We were also in the same home-ec. class together, and as cooking partners, I have vivid memories of us dropping eggs on the floor, and making eclairs that looked like flat oval pancakes! And oh, how could I forget Mrs. Patterson's class?! Shauna sat right in front of me and I would always talk to her. Right when she would turn around, we would hear, "Shauna, please stand at your desk for the remainder of the class!" Oh, Shauna I'm so sorry! It was always my fault, and you always got blamed for it. I remember saying things to purposely make you laugh, and then you could never stop laughing and always got in trouble.

I clearly remember having a conversation about a certain boy who she thought was very cute....his name was Duane. I also remember chatting with Shauna about Duane's cousin, Jon, who I thought was pretty darn cute. I was honored to have Shauna as a bridesmaid in my wedding, and I was thrilled when she elbowed out the competition to catch my bouquet! I remember her pulling me out on the dance floor at Darrin and Angela's wedding. Neither one of us could dance (private school does that to you), and we laughed so hard. I remember how beautiful she looked on her wedding day, and how, for a girl who doesn't cry easily, I got tears in my eyes as her and Duane exchanged vows. We have both had our share of tears over the years, and at times my heart has truly been broken for my friend. Yet just 2 1/2 years ago my heart was overflowing with joy, as I watched her hold her brand new baby girl. She is one of the most devoted and affectionate mothers I know. And although we don't get to see each other very often, every time we see each other, we just pick up right where we left off. I always feel like we're 16 again, laughing it up! Shauna, you truly are a joy. You always have a smile on your face, and something encouraging to say. I'm so thankful, that after all these years, we've remained friends. I'm so sorry I'm posting this so late on your birthday, but I thought about you throughout the day, and I hope you had the most wonderful day. Welcome to the thirties!!! We will wear our age with pride!

OK, I can't resist, one last picture.....

Sunday, December 2, 2007


I'm sitting here on my comfy couch in my fuzzy Oregon State sweatshirt (sorry Jill) and my flannel pj pants, sipping Moroccan mint tea - my favorite! And there is no place I'd rather be. I love being home. This past weekend was a whirlwind, and I'm glad it's over. I have just returned from the NCSS (national council of social studies) conference in San Diego. I am too tired to recount all the details, so I will leave you with a few pictures. Since I'm sure you were all waiting with great anticipation to hear about my trip :)

Yes, such a nice little set-up isn't it? I did that, thank you very much. I spent 18 hours standing in this booth talking to high school teachers about how to integrate our materials into their social studies curriculum....umm yeah. When no one was in our booth, I would frantically read the summaries of each book and try to memorize key phrases so I could repeat them back to people, and sound like I knew what I was talking about
This is what it looked like outside. Cold and windy, with pouring rain on Friday. Do you know why I was most disappointed about the rain? I wasn't able to wear my favorite peep toe pumps....I brought three different pairs. Good thing I had back-ups though, you can never pack too many shoes!
Number 3 favorite part of my trip:
The coffee maker in my room made incredible tasting coffee. Maybe it was because I used the $5 a bottle water to make it :)

Number 2 favorite part:
This glorious bed....simply amazing. I hated getting up in the morning.Number 1 - all time - absolute favorite part of my trip:
Seeing my good friend Janel and her family. She is an amazing, uplifting, wonderful person. And any time I am able to spend with her is a good time. And we had such a great visit together. I will post more about her and her adorable little boys later. Oh, and she is Ona's sister-n-law and is thinking about starting her own blog. So hopefully you will all get to know her and her family very well real soon.