Saturday, December 31, 2011

Good Bye 2011!

Whew, am I NOT sad to see this year done.  But it wasn’t all bad.  Here are some highlights.

The year was full of dinners with beloved family friends—a practice we greatly enjoy, but had let fall by the wayside in previous years.  For 2011, we were purposeful in getting dates on the calendars to have dinner, games and visiting each and every month. 

The year also had school and fun classes through the year.  We love to learn and share with friends, so these are blessings to us.

January marked the time that we returned to our old church.  We thought we would be able to straddle two churches, attending and ministering in both.  That turned out to be a rather foolish notion, so we have just continued with the one we rejoined in January.

The year began with concern for Brian’s brother. Jeff’s one good eye had a torn retina. At the end of January, we traveled to see my sister and Brian continued on the road to be with Jeff for surgery. On this visit, Brian and Madi went to a Father-Daughter dance and we celebrated Brian’s 40th birthday. The friends and family that gathered ‘round were a true blessing.

For winter, we celebrated our 100th day of school, a first for us. And we enjoyed the snow! Unfortunately, on a sledding trip, Brian injured his wrist. Coming right on the heels of the time taken from work to attend his brother’s surgery and recovery, it became too difficult for us to make our house payment. We began to explore our options while working to maintain as much normal as possible for the kids.

In spring we continued with classes, celebrated Max’s birthday and Easter and had a visit from Brian’s brother and sister-in-law-to-be.  Madi had dance recitals.  The kids participated in an End of Year Show, demonstrating their practiced skills.  We decided to short sell our home, so we began making the necessary preparations to that end.  We cleaned and purged and signed on with a real estate agent.

In summer, we kept the house in tip-top shape, ready for showing. We also got out and about far more than we usually do. We went to Burney Falls, the Subway Caves and Mt. Lassen National Park. We traveled to see family, and became increasingly convinced that we wanted to live closer to them.  Brian submitted papers to transfer.  Time with friends was as precious as ever.

By this time, there were two offers on the house and we were no long showing the place. Dates were promised to be right around the corner for closing escrow—or entering into escrow, as the case happened to be.  We had yard sales to clear out the place. A new opportunity presented itself to us at the beginning of summer and we jumped at the chance for ministry, even if it was in unexplored territory: Young Marrieds group was born.

In autumn, we ended the school year and began a new one.  We began to get serious about moving to a new place.  Our Young Marrieds group started with a book study and regular meetings.  Madi joined a Frontier Girls group and both kids began music lessons. 

And now, we have moved, still waiting to hear what will happen to the old house.  We have grown a lot this year, each of us separately and together.  The meanings and importance of certain things have been branded on our hearts.  Things like faith, patience, forgiveness, family and friendship have more nuanced and beautiful colors for us.  We look forward to the future to see what the Lord will do and how we will be asked to obey.


trip to Katie's, Chinese New Year 005Chinese New Year and Brian's cards 003AprilMay 2011 023AprilMay 2011 019AprilMay 2011 053June, Brian 2011 010AprilMay 2011 048

AprilMay 2011 032June, Brian 2011 053


AprilMay 2011 035






Feb 2011 023trip to Katie's, Chinese New Year 032

trip to Katie's, Chinese New Year 023









Feb 2011 013181713_192668470767145_189987774368548_502875_2219562_nAprilMay 2011 090181735_192668650767127_189987774368548_502877_6135997_nAprilMay 2011 099


AprilMay 2011 086

2011 062

2011 028

Friday, December 30, 2011

Fair Weather Friend

Random thought of the day

The term fair-weather friend is an oxymoron; one word cancels out the other.  What is a friend but one on whom we can rely when things are rough?  Someone who habitually disappears when the trials appear can’t honestly be called any kind of friend.  The accurate word we are searching for here is jerk. 

And if that person insists on calling herself a friend, then she is a lying jerk.  Lying jerks are in our lives so that we can learn patience and how to love the unlovely—and so that we can gain discernment about just who deserves to be called friend!  Don’t let yourself be confused.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Counting my blessings

We are blessed beyond the curse of this fallen world!

During this crazy month of change, my older sister and my dad gave us money.  My little sister dropped the obligations of her busy life to help us move. She almost hit a dear carrying a load from old to new houses, then actually hit and ran over a buck on the way home!  A friend recovering from surgery took time to check on us throughout the week.  Another friend who moved out of town continued to check on me and encourage us through the ups and downs of moving. 

And another friend who has been going through the adoption process invited us to witness the final legal proceedings at the courthouse.  What an incredible blessing that was to us.  For them to think of us at all was wonderful.  But to get outside our own narrow point of view—this was after our night without heat—and see the bigger world with its evils and blessings was just what we needed. 

God is good!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

First couple of days

Once all the big moving was done and we had the essentials unpacked, we ran out of propane—the only source of heat for this house.  Goodness, what a trial of faith for me that was, I am ashamed to admit.  Ever since we signed for this house, we have been hearing about the snow we will get up here.  By law there must be two sources of heat, but this house has only the one, and it depends on propane and electricity—resources that become increasingly unreliable in the winter months. 

Our third day in the house and we lose heat!  I panicked.  We were hearing how guys were transferring out of this town successfully, even after we had been told it couldn’t be done until 2014.  We were worried about keeping the pipes from bursting with how cold it was (the temp fell to 1 degree Fahrenheit that night.)  The money required to keep propane in the tank looks like it will be more than we estimated and rumor is that overtime is going to dry up.  It all came down to being overwhelmed with the idea that we had made a horrible mistake.  What were we thinking?  What are we going to do?  Should we beg out of the lease?  Eat the penalty fees?  We just didn’t know and we were so darn cold that we couldn’t really think straight.

My husband ran for another load from the house and dinner while I sat on the bed and cried.  The kids came to me and asked what was wrong.  I said I was cold and worried we may not do well in the house.  Both responded with faith in Jesus to see us through and immediate prayer.  How humbling is that?!  I splashed water on my face and tried to keep busy—and warm—by unpacking some more.

Next day we got out of the house, which really cleared our heads.  We ran errands, hit the Dollar Tree store to get some stockings and stuffers and ate at a deli owned by a friend.  Another friend called and gave me great comfort.  The food, activity and warmth did much to raise our spirits. 

We came home, cleared the garage for the van and finally the propane was delivered.  Heat!  Hallelujah!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I don’t know where to begin

This is a phrase that dominated our move, or variations of it.  To sum up the move, I face the same problem.  The people who helped, the bruises, the providence of it all…  How do I being?

Since people come first, I will speak about them—though words don’t do justice. Friends who weren’t able to help with the actual move showed us their love and presence with texts, calls and emails all week long.  Just to have them check on us was a tremendous blessing.  On top of that, we had a friend loan us their car while they were out of state visiting family, another loan us their flat dolly and hand truck and another loan us his truck with flat bed trailer!  Holy cow!

The first day of the move, my night-owl, do-it-herself home remodeler, busier-than-all-get-out showed up at our house just as we got the keys to the new place.  She and her girls worked with us all day long, God bless them!  Next came a friend from church who was soon joined by his lovely wife.  Then my sister showed up with four extra sets of helping hands!  That load was unloaded so fast our heads spun!

That night we went to our young marrieds Christmas party.  My sister stayed home with the four kids she brought plus my own two.  She must have brought a whip with her because they unpacked innumerable boxed and made the living room and kitchen beautiful!  The kids’ rooms were set in place as well as they could be with missing beds and the place felt like home when we returned less than three hours later.  Amazing!

Girls spent the first night in the new place and boys slept at the old with the dogs, to save my allergic sister from killer asthma attacks.  We got to work straightaway the next morning and the other couple from the young marrieds group came to help, along with their son.  My sister and her kids also stayed to help the second day.  With the help from those hands and the borrowed truck, we got all the big stuff out of the house that day. 

My nephew worked his tail off those two days!  He was right in there, with the men doing at least as much work as any of the big guys.  I was blessed and humbled by his eager help.  My sister’s exchange student swung the other way and spent hours on the finer things of the new place.  She added decorative touches, organized and displayed all the things in the master bath, kitchen and living room.  She was awesome!

Later in the week our friends who were out of town returned and helped us with the dregs.  My girlfriend worked with me in the school room, incorporating all the supplies into some intelligible organization.  That room was emotionally difficult for me.  I had bought so much to be used with other homeschoolers, and those opportunities are not currently available to me.  I could have drowned in a pity party of lost dreams if it hadn’t been for my friend.

What a week of blessings!  I have been reminded by my Lord just how well He has provided for us this year.  The friends and family who pulled together to help us with this move was a tangible expression of love that overflowed my heart.

Monday, December 26, 2011

New Year, New House

Happy New Year!  Here is a tour of the new place, taken exactly one week after our move day.

Enter to the living room—that looked very much like this from the first day, thanks to my sister.

December new house 001

Walk across the way and turn back to the door.

December new house 002

Another view of the living room.

December new house 003

Final shot of the living room, peeking into the dining room.

December new house 004

The dining room.

December new house 005

Pivot to the left to see the kitchen.

December new house 006

Madi’s Christmas tree on the other side of the fridge.

December new house 007

Again, pivot to the left to see another view of the kitchen.

December new house 008

Walk through the kitchen to see the ‘family room.’  We need a futon or something.

December new house 009

Turn right just before the file cabinet and go through the door.  cross the room and look back to see my bedroom.

December new house 010

Turn around to see the bathroom.

December new house 011

Walk further in to see Brian’s sink.  Further on is an enclosed toilet.  To my immediate left is the shower.  No picture of those.

December new house 012

Go back to my bedroom and go through the door by my bed to see the ‘library.’ The wall to the left is lined with our bookshelves! Yay!

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Out of my room, through the family, kitchen, dining and living room down the opposite direction to the other bedrooms.  The bath is first.

December new house 014

Next up is Max’s room.

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Then the girl. 

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Her ridiculously messy rabbit is hopefully contained.

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The school/activities room.

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More of the school room.

December new house 019

The closet is a walk-in equipped with shelves on all three sides!

December new house 020

Back through the hallway to the living room, dining and kitchen into the family room to the back door.

December new house 021

Pivot to the left.

December new house 022

There is a laundry room and garage, too.  Smile

Happy home.


Politics is not really my passion.  I purposely avoid talking about it with most people because of the inevitable personal and emotional elements that come into play.  But this revelation recently came to me while listening to a sermon (that had nothing to do with politics).
I think I just figured out the need for political parties. It has to do with trust. We elect individuals who make promises, but e can't really trust any individual whom we have never even met. But we can trust with at least a little more reliability a PARTY. A party has a longevity and history that reaches far beyond any particular individual.
We also know that money is involved when allying with a party. That money may bring comprise and sometimes outright corruption, but it also brings accountability. Democrats tend to vote one way. Republicans another. If an individual claiming liberalism consistently votes conservatively, he will be disavowed by his party.  Or so we hope!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Luke 2 NASB
Jesus’ Birth in Bethlehem

Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,  in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.  While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;  for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.  And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.  But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.

Friday, December 23, 2011

More Recent Pictures

It takes a little time to get my phone pictures onto my computer.  So here is a whole collection from the last month or so.


This is Madi winning a badge at her Frontier Girls meeting.


Sweet Brat.


Last minute rehearsal before the show!


The girls danced out in the cold at the street fair, so they are warming up with some cocoa before the performance.


Once a month we get to make dinner for the youth and Pioneer Clubs members.  Here my family is sharing that meal with some of the comers.


Cheerios + Star Wars = giant kabobs.


And all sorts of more fun.


And more!


Wrestling with Daddy.

100APPLEIMG_0807 Daddy beat Madi, but I won!  LOL