Sunday, March 30, 2008


Thank goodness these portraits were taken before she cut half her hair off! And I have to tell you, my dear husband gets all the credit for these wonderful portraits (these are scanned though, the quality is much better in person!). Since I was working, Jon got her all ready and took her in to get her portraits done. I am pleasantly surprised that her hair isn't messy and her dress isn't wrinkled. Jon even drove out to Silverton to pick these up for me while I was out of town. Thanks Jon.

I love these portraits! She truly is my little sunshine in her little "lellow" dress.
I love you Olivia Joy!

Friday, March 28, 2008


I have been in Colorado for the last couple of days, and right now I'm sitting in the Denver airport with nothing better to do then, what else? Post a blog of course. I spent 7 hours at PDX on the way here, and have had 8 hours of sleep in the last two days. And what could be better then lugging around a big heavy suitcase full of books? I'm not complaining though :)
Right now I'm sitting in a lovely little cafe overlooking the fountain in the airport (if you've been there, you know what I'm talking about), sipping my mocha and eating warm chocolate bundt cake. And this being my second trip with IDEA (my work), I'm thankful for the opportunity and how it forces me to step outside of my comfort zone as I promote our organization. I really feel my communication skills improving as well as my sense of confidence. Here are some very nice college kids I met (they were my favorites).But boy do I miss my kids' faces. Oh yeah, and that guy I call my husband, I miss his smile too. Can't wait to get home. I brought my camera, but was not able to take any pictures of Colorado. The drive from Denver to Colorado Springs was breathtaking, and I was wishing I could pull over and take a picture of the mountains. But Coloradoans drive like crazy people! The speed limit is 75 mph, and you don't dare drive under that lest you get plowed over by a monster SUV! This morning was freezing, I woke up to a light dusting of snow, and driving back to Denver freaked me out a little. I was in this little PT Cruiser, and could see the ice on the road, and people were just flying by like it was no big deal! Oh well, I survived, and can't wait to get home! Geeez, you'd think I've been gone for 10 days! OK, back to people watching...

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Today of all days is the most beautiful of days. It's a day to celebrate. He is the reason. He paid the ultimate sacrifice, giving us the most beautiful gift. He is our beautiful reward....nothing else.

Some of you might shake your heads in disagreement, and I don't blame you, but, we have never given our kids Easter baskets. Oh, the deprivation, I know. However will they recover from the emotional scars? Maybe I'll pay for their therapy bills when their older. And before you start feeling really sorry for them, every year their Grandma has a big egg-coloring fiasco with them, and she gives them each a basket with candy. And please don't get me wrong, I in no way think less of people who celebrate with candy, baskets and gifts. It's a fun way for kids to celebrate such a special day.
But for me, it all started with Jon and mine's first Easter together. I will never forget it. He had been a christian for just over a year. He bounded out of bed that morning, and woke me up saying, "Liz, it's Easter!" He gave me this beautiful card (which I still have, and also a few more he's given me over the years on Easter, which is pretty amazing because Jon is usually an anti-card person), and in it he wrote how of all the days to celebrate, this is the day! Look at what Christ did for us! Because He died and didn't stay in the tomb, neither will we! Psalms 51 refers to "the joy of our salvation", and Jon was a shining example of someone having true joy in his salvation. It was so real to him, so authentic, so amazing and exciting. It took me by surprise, because for me, growing up in the church my whole life, Easter had become very mundane. Everyone gets dressed up, goes to church, sings the same songs you sing every Easter ("Celebrate, Jesus celebrate....He is risen, He is risen, and He lives forevermore...", I can almost hear you singing along), listen to the same type of Easter message you hear every year, turn and tell the person next to you, "He is risen, He is risen indeed", etc., etc. But that year, seeing the true joy my husband had in knowing Christ died for us and gave us eternal life, changed my whole perspective on Easter. Christ's sacrifice and victory became real to me again through the child-like faith of a new believer, my husband.

As our kids grew, we just never got into the candy, and the baskets, because it just wasn't important to us. A few years ago, our kids came home from the neighbor's house telling us of all the candy and gifts this boy had received, and they were wondering why we didn't give them anything for Easter. I tell you, it was the coolest thing to sit down with our kids, and read in detail the humiliation, pain and suffering Christ endured on the cross....for them, for all of us. And then reading about the joy of the disciples when they found the empty tomb on Easter morning. It was such a beautiful moment to explain to our kids, "He is our reward. There is no greater reward then salvation and eternal life." And that's why we celebrate Easter. We have already been given the greatest gift, there is nothing more that we need.

Now, did our kids really grasp that? I don't know, but I think they caught a glimpse, and someday I pray they will fully understand.

Do they wish they could wake up to a big fat Easter basket full of candy and gifts? What kid doesn't.

When they're grown and have kids of their own, will they spoil them with a ton of candy on Easter just to make up for what they didn't get as kids? Maybe.

But I pray they will truly come to an understanding of what it means to seek after God, and find that a relationship with Him is far more rewarding then anything this world has to offer. I pray that they will learn to seek the Giver and not the gifts.

Even as adults, we are constantly looking at what God can bless us with, and how can He make our lives more comfortable and easier. It's a little something known as "the prosperity gospel". Best selling books and televangelists market this gospel even to the poorest of poor. Telling you if you just say a specific prayer God will give you prosperity, or if you send in your donation God is going to bless you with material wealth. And God wants you to have the "abundant" life, full of big houses and nice cars. But what John Piper (one of my faves) has to say in this short video, is something we all need to be reminded of.

He is our reward. He has already given us all that we need. He is enough. He is beautiful.

Happy Resurrection Day!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Great Is Your Reward In Tacos

"So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you." ~Matthew 6:2-4

We've all heard the saying, "great is your reward in heaven".

But sometimes a nice little reward of tacos sounds good, don't you think? Or some carne asada burritos? Or even some crispy tostadas with fresh guacamole?I was greeted with a wonderful surprise when I walked in the door from work tonight. I was greeted by my husband, and my husband only. Jon's mom had taken the kids to her house to color Easter eggs, an annual tradition she has done with the kids since Daniel was a toddler. (Side note: I have never colored an Easter egg in my life! And Olivia ate a dye-tablet tonight.)

We took advantage of the rare, childless moment, and went out to a quick dinner at a restaurant close to our house. When we walked in, a young waiter looked at me and smiled. I instantly recognized him, but couldn't remember from where. When we sat down at our table, he came over and said hello. Then it all came back to me!

About two months ago, I witnessed a pretty bad car accident, which happened right in front of me. I checked on the vehicles to make sure everyone was ok. There was a hispanic woman who was pretty shaken up and crying hysterically. She had two toddlers and a baby in the back seat. I stayed with her and managed to calm her and her kids down. After a while, I asked her if she was on her way to pick up a child from school. She said yes, and wrote down the child's name. Three schools and one hour later, I finally found the boy who was waiting for his mom to pick him up. He was a sophomore at West High, which is quite funny, because the mother told me he was in second grade (I guess she meant 2nd grade in high school). So all along I was looking for this little boy. Anyways, I told the boy what had happened and that I would take him to the scene of the accident. I guess having my 3 kids in the back seat convinced him I wasn't going to abduct him. He was such a polite boy, and very thankful. When we got to the accident, he lovingly took care of his mom and younger siblings and gave the police officers all the information they were needing. I was so impressed with his maturity and concern for his family. You don't come across many 16 year olds like that.

Back to Tonight:
As we finished our dinner, he came over to our table and handed me our bill. He opened it up, and said, "here, this is for you". I looked at the bill, it said $0.00 and there was also a gift certificate for $25! He got teary-eyed as he told me how much he appreciated what I had done for him and his family. I tried to tell him it was no big deal, but he insisted we take the gift. We were blown away! What a kind young man. And what a blessing for Jon and I.

See, sometimes God does reward with tacos!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Playing Catch Up

Meet DeweyNo, he's not ours, but we sure wish he was.He is the sweetest little Yorkie and belongs to our good friends. They brought him over for dinner last weekend, and our kids were in absolute heaven. Olivia has now named every single stuffed puppy she owns, Dewey.
Goodness, where has the last two weeks gone? It's been a busy time in our house, and I'll give you a quick update:

Olivia got her driver's license Jon let her sit on his lap and "drive" the car up our driveway and into the garage. She was thrilled!
Daniel took over my position at Willamette University He had the day off of school, and was able to come to work with me for a few hours.
I really enjoyed having him there!We made a new friend: Diego Diaz
What a precious, beautiful little boy!(To cut or not to cut, that is the question. I'm thinking about getting a short, sleek, chin length bob. Hmmm....what to do? I gladly welcome your opinion.)

Jonny's Kids:
These two brown-eyed cuties look so much like their Dad, it's unreal.

Yesterday I ran the 8K Shamrock Run in downtown Portland with my sister-n-law Carey. It was a beautiful crisp, sunny spring morning, and we both finished with a PR time. It was such a great run, and we had so much fun! The best part about it was, while I was driving, I listened to 104.1 fm which, I discovered, plays non-stop worship music on Sunday mornings. I sang to every single song on the way there and back. It was amazing, favorite song after favorite song would play, and I just sang my heart out :). It really was a special time of worship. And for me, running is my conversation time with God. That's why I love it so much. I hit the road, and I just quiet my mind (I'm not an Ipod girl, I never listen to music while I run), and pretty soon all my thoughts start to surface, and I just start talking to God. I pray about everything that comes to mind, and often while I'm running I feel such a sense of gratitude. I feel so at peace, and all the things God has done for me come to mind, sometimes overlooked in the busyness, I remember them in the quiet while I'm running and thank Him. Anyways.... I write all this to say, it was a perfect morning. I worshipped the way up to Portland. Had an awesome talk with God while I ran, and worshipped all the way home!

Later that day, I was cutting Sarah's hair, and had a few pairs of scissors on the kitchen table. Somehow, when I wasn't looking, Olivia snuck up and grabbed a pair. Halfway through Sarah's haircut I realized I hadn't heard or seen Olivia in quite a while. I found her hiding behind the piano. She looked up at me and said, "I do nuffin" (translated: I didn't do anything). I looked down and saw the scissors in her hand.....HOLY MOLY! She cut her hair! On the right side of her head, she cut above the ear all the way towards the back. I so badly want to show you a picture, but I can't get my camera to work...bummer! She looks so funny though, and I don't even know what to do. I can't even it out, because she literally would have a boy's haircut, but I can't just leave it, because looking at her straight on, the left side has hair and the right side doesn't. It's quite a sight!
Well, I apologize for this random, scattered blog post, but it's all I got right now :)

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.
~Romans 12:3

Sunday, March 2, 2008


Last Friday was Dr. Seuss' Birthday. To celebrate, the school allowed the kids dress up as their favorite book character. Daniel desperately wanted to be Indiana Jones, but is he a book character? Yes! We searched Ebay, and found some Indiana Jones books, so we justified it. Sarah had no idea who to dress up as. We pondered the idea for many days, and finally we found great inspiration from her Hannah Montana wig! So she put on her Easter dress, braided her wig, and.....Voila!!! She transformed into Rapunzel.
As I sit here at the kitchen table this fine Sunday afternoon, I will also share with you a picture of tragedy....

That my friends is a Triple Grande Nonfat Sugar-Free Vanilla Latte, which cost me $3.95. This lovely 130 calorie drink was purchased at 9:12 am on our way to church. For some odd reason, my husband and I actually shared an engaging conversation on the drive to church :), so I didn't even take one drink. I Felt kinda weird bringing a coffee into church, but did it anyway as I didn't want to waste my $4 treasure. We have been looking for a new church to call "home" for quite some time now (a strange and awkward proccess, if you've ever experienced it, you know what I'm talking about), so I was unsure of this church's "coffee rules". During church, I only took a few drinks because it made this weird, slurping-suction-type noise each time I took a drink. I am quite certain I was annoying the man next to me. (What is coffee etiquette in church anyway? Anybody know?) Oh well, "I can re-heat it when I get home", I thought. As soon as we pulled into the driveway, Olivia shouts out "I gotta go potty right now!" So I race to get her unbuckled and into the bathroom. Yep, leaving my beautiful, perfectly hand-crafted latte in the car. At precisely 3:08, I remember my lonesome coffee, waiting patiently in the car for me. I seriously considered re-heating it... Seriously! But then the voice of reason took over: That latte was made 6 hours ago!!! So yes, a true tragedy. This wonderful latte was completely wasted! It broke my heart.

What a beautiful Sunday though! As I typed out this week's schedule (I'm a serious, obsessive, compulsive list-maker), I began to feel the anxiety creep in. The older kids were outside playing baseball, Olivia was in her room playing Little People, and Jon was at work. So I seized the moment! I walked away from the computer, as well as my stressful thoughts, and with my Bible in hand, plopped down on the couch. I read a blog post today about The Romans 12 Challenge. You read Romans 12 once a day from now until Easter, and see what God impresses upon your heart. So I started today. And what a perfect time to start. Those feelings of stress and anxiety...gone!

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. ~Romans 12:9-13

Did you hear that?
"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer"
Those are some words I need to put into action this week...I hope you do too!