Saturday, August 23, 2008

How Does You Week Look?.......

Blogging is so addictive.
Doesn't that statement simply say it all on so many levels?

When I set out into this world of blogging, my focus was to use it as a sort of journaling. Along the way though I have developed wonderful relationships. What a great fringe benefit.
So, this quick post is to let you know, my friends, that I will probably be pretty scarce this week. I fought it all last week and tried to keep up with visiting everyone but it just didn't work the way I had wanted it to. Please don't feel neglected and know that I am just fine.

I am getting my girls all ready for their schooling experience. My Rosie-girl has home schooled with me all the way thru 8th grade and now she will be stepping into what I hear is the biggest high school in Oregon.

Being the Children's Pastor at our church, it is that time again where I need to make sure that all of the lessons are in order and each teacher has what they need.

And, friends from Hawaii are staying with my mom right now. I am the DD (designated driver) for some of our outings.

It is all fun. But I will probably not have time to visit anyone this week.
Thank you for understanding.
Blessings to you and your week.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Phone Call....

I had a phone call from our foster son yesterday. It was a shock to hear from him and good to know that he is still alive. I had not seen him or heard from him since a week before Thanksgiving when he came over asking for a hair cut. That is 9 months.

He told me that he hadn't been in contact with any of us because he was too ashamed to tell how things had been going for him. Then he said he had been living in a tent behind a local market store on the other side of town and eating apples out of the trees for food.

It breaks my 20 years old that he has been choosing to live that way.

He said he is on some one's couch at the moment and looking for a job. He was calling because he felt things were looking up and he wanted me to know it.

I really hope that this time he uses this opportunity. I pray that this time is the difference and he steps into his self worth.

Morning Advice...

The older I get the more I come to terms with the idea that shoulda coulda wouldas are debilitating AND WE tend to be the only one who sees them in our lives.

After getting up this morning and visiting with a dear friend, this item of advice has stuck in my head. Does that ever happen to you? Something that you tell someone else comes back at you and you learn from it and apply it to yourself as a new revelation?

Monday, August 18, 2008

It is now Monday evening and I can very much feel the effects of the weekend adventures. They always say that when you work muscles that you don't necessarily use a lot you feel it the most on the second day. I can testify that statement to be a true fact. My arms are SO sore. But I am so glad for all that I did.

You sounded a bit interested in learning more details of what exactly a ropes course is and what we accomplished for the day. So, I decided to try and put together a video from what my girls captured. That in itself has been an adventure because I have never made a movie before. I separated them into three video segments for you and published them on youtube ....because it is all I could figure out today. I edited out a bunch of idle stuff so I hope you can get the jest of things without being bored.

There were many other things that we did that day to build one another up but I didn't want to chase you away with too much video.

And though there is no doubt that I have had the respect and love of everyone in the youth group, I definitely have it now. Over and over again they cheered me on, helped me, encouraged me, and cried with me. One young man even said, "From now on is it okay if I call you Brick House (from that radio song) because you are so strong and amazing?" How many times I heard, "Wow that was incredible. I know my mom would never do that!"

I learned a lot on this trip and have a bigger self awareness for myself because of it. I learned that I am strong and I don't give up easily. Those who know me in my every day life probably laugh at that comment because I always go non stop. But putting myself in a physically demanding position is different. I had never figured myself to be able to do anything like that. Now I believe in myself and can say that I am strong, I can do things, and there is a whole world in store for me just waiting to be explored.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Do You Dare.....

I am absolutely wiped out......but I wanted to share with you about the past 24 hours before I plop on the bed in utter fatigue.

This was the weekend of our last big youth event before school starts. Last night we had a BBQ at a friend of a friend's pool. It was a great time for them. The youth played their own versions of the Olympics as they raced to see who could do hand stands longer, throw through the water hoop better, and dive for the most pennies. Then the evening rounded off with a sleep over....guys at one house and girls at another. The goal was to actually sleep so that they could be bright and chipper to hit the road for our adventure today. No they didn't quite sleep like they should have but did we when we were their age?

So, what was our adventure today? We went for a whole day of extremes at the Salem YWAM Ropes Course. It is a place where you have the opportunity to push yourself farther than you think you can go, work together as a team, and learn a greater appreciation for everyone. I know I am not doing it quite the descriptive justice so check out the promo video on the above link if you are curious.

We did this last year and had a great time. For the most part I had taken pictures of everyone and did the huge 800' zip line at the end of the day. This year I decided to suck it up, not think of myself as "just a mom" (as if that is a bad thing), and completely do each task set before me to 100%+ of my abilities. I didn't let myself think in fear or worry. Here is a secret...I truly am scared of heights but I make myself do things so that my fear doesn't own me.

The whole day was amazing and I really did push myself more than I dreamed I could do. Despite the fact that I am still out of shape and have more weight to lose, I jumped at the opportunity to do the High Rise Extreme Obstacle Course. Though the sun glare doesn't let you completely look at the whole course, here is a what the course looked like......

And this is a picture of me just to prove that I actually did it.
It was very hard in places and I hugged the instructors when I got to the end platform.

It was a family affair for our household.

Here is my hubby navigating a section.

Here is my Pippin on the hardest part.
This was the last section and honestly when I go halfway through this part
I locked up and needed some help.
Here is my Rosie-girl balancing gracefully on a tightrope wire.
She was laughing and having so much fun.

So many amazing things happened today and I am grateful for every ounce of it.
The girls took videos all day long so hopefully in the next few days I can post a clip or two.
For now though, my nerves are shot and my energy has left the building.

Friday, August 15, 2008

See My Smile.....

Last night I received a phone call from my father in Texas giving me the dates of his up coming trip to our neck of the woods. I am so thrilled! He is really coming.

From the time my parents divorced when I was thirteen, he has always made comments of, "I should go and visit y'all some time." That trip never materialized though. When I was with him for my step mom's funeral back at Christmas time, again he said, "I should go and visit y'all some time." After hearing it for so many years I have to admit that my inside voice was saying "yeah okay whatever I understand. Saying that makes you feel better." But now he is really coming.

While talking with him last night he said, "Don't be worrying about planning all kinds of sight seeing adventures or anything. The only sight seeing I am interested in is being with my children and grandchildren." I have never heard him be so open with his emotions and desires before and it thrills me. Sure I have always known that my father loves me.......but every little girl craves to hear that she is special to her daddy.

As I have been running errands today for the big youth event this weekend, I have had a perpetual smile on my face. I wanted to roll down my window at the stop lights and tell the driver next to me, "Guess what? My dad is coming." When the cashier asked how my day was going I had to bite my tongue to only say, "It is going great thank you and how is yours."

He will be here in one month and he will stay for a whole two weeks. It is going to be amazing. My brother is excited too. He and his wife live 45 minutes away from me on the other side of town. So, I have booked us all reservations to spend a few days here. That way we can all relax and enjoy our time without work, phones, or commitments getting in the way.

Do you see my smile?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Day at the Beach...

I headed to the coast today to pick up Pippin from her 3 week beach get-a-way that she had with our friends. Tomorrow is her 17th birthday and she wanted to be home with us for her special day. It was a perfect day on the Oregon Coast. Once we had lunch, we decided to head south to the next town over. It is a little place called Manzanita. I had never been there before and enjoyed walking the streets with our friends.

Manzanita holds all of the typical coastal type stores that I would expect to find
like book stores, coffee shops, and any type of rental store that mixes with sand and water.
I also found that they are a very polite bunch in making sure no one feels left out.

There seems to always be a place to sit and rest
your feet as you enjoy the day.

I found a plant that I have never seen before that I am quite sure
is not a part of the natural scenery here.

Do you know what this is?
I am so puzzled by it.

There were plenty of things to keep my eyes entertained like these little guys.
Out of the corner of my eyes, I really thought for a second that the gulls were
getting brave in their scavenging.

There were surfers out in the water that made my heart jump with wonder.
Harnessing the power of wind and waves while still being subject to their might
was an amazing thing to watch. I don't think I could do this.

Here is my Pippin trying to take in the last bit of beach before we head out.

All day long there was a huge white cloud bank lurking off the shores. It was majestic and mysterious as it shaped its way around the bay and made a barrier wall.

It is now going on midnight and my car has another 225 miles on it from our adventure.
It was a full day with wonderful friends and sights to treasure.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Shopping We Will Go....

I had told Rosie-girl that we would go shopping on Monday. She gave a smirk and said that would be cool and we didn't discuss it anymore that night. However, when I got up yesterday morning she was ready to go with sparkling teeth, belly full, clean clothes on and even her little purse slung over her shoulder. She paced around while I got myself together and it seemed like silent torture for her to wait but she endured it all and we were soon under way.

More often than not, we head to the mall for a quick mission and get out of there as soon as possible because all of the high prices and silly gimmicks that make me a bit uncomfortable. But yesterday was different. I had told her that we would really probably find our best deals at the local everything store, but we would window shop at the mall and see what kind of trouble we could get into.

It turned out that we had so much fun walking around the mall and pointing at things. We saw styles that made us laugh and made us wonder. Who would have ever thought there would be such a thing as knee high Converse shoes? She really wants a pair too. At $70 though she will definitely have to earn the money herself.

Rosie loves wearing every day t-shirts that are in a girl cut and have fun things on them like drums and bright colors. So when I found a super deal on some and told her she could pick out a hand full it was priceless. Watching her jump up and down and lavish me with kisses was a thrill.

After a full lap around the upper mall level we stopped for lunch. We had packed pbj sandwiches and little bags of chips in our purses but the smell of Cinnabon was too much to resist. So our lunch was rounded out with a shared Cinnabon and 2 strawberry lemonades.

Later, while walking around the lower mall area we happened on a pair of shoes that were too good to pass up. I don't know who teared up more at her display of affection, me or the cashier who welled up with tears and said my girl was simply too sweet for words.

When I was paying for her shoes, Rosie hugged me around my neck and pecked me to pieces with kisses while stating, "Mom today is the best day ever. I thought we were only going to window shop and that would have been fine. But you got me 6 shirts, a Cinnabon, and now shoes. You are like....the coolest mom ever! And I am not just saying that because you are buying me shoes right now."

Monday, August 11, 2008

Decorating With Friends....

What is that?
Yes I am sharing pictures of my bathroom with you.

The area really is too small for me to figure out how to shoot it well but at least this way you get the idea. I wanted to share my newly decorated bathroom with you because of what I put on the wall.
See one of the many advantages to blogging and experiencing friendships around the finding that those friends have great talent. I asked Mima and Polona if I could print up a few of their photos to have as decoration and they both graciously agreed.

Okay, I can't bear it. In truth I printed them before asking. My cheeks are so red right now. But I couldn't live with myself. I felt so very guilty and decided I couldn't go on without asking permission.

Don't they have great talent? This is the main bathroom and I love walking in there just to see the photos that my friends took. It is like it brings us all a little bit closer in the world.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Unexpected Encounters...

Dad was on my mind when I woke this morning. I had made the long distance call to San Antonio, Texas a couple of days ago to see how things were going for him and I could tell when we talked that he was feeling out of sorts. He is walking through the stages of grief with losing his spouse and that is a hard roller coaster ride that takes a long time to go through. He misses her of course but is also grateful for her to not be in the cruel pains of cancer any longer.

There was a time when things were very strained for us. We never meant for it to be. It is just the way things sometimes happen. Sometimes we lived as far as a half of a world away from one another; me becoming a young wife and mother while he participated in a new marriage complete with step children and grandchildren all around.

There is a subtle thing that seems to be happening now that she is gone. He has a lot more time to himself. My step siblings love him and profess continually that he is the father that they never had. But their busy family raising lives keep their schedules wrapped up more and more. Though they all live in the same town, he sees them less and less now that she is gone.

He was quiet for a while while silence hung between our conversation. Once that silence was unbearable, now it is a shared thing like we are sitting next to one another.
Finally he said, "I am so looking forward to visiting you in the fall."
I swallowed and said, "Me too Daddy. But how I wish I could just hug you right now."
"I know Angel. I wish the same thing."

This is new for me. My dad has always been strong, a resilient military man who never shows emotion. But now he is in a new season. Me, being the fixer and emotional nurturer for everyone....I can't fix this. He has to walk through this and I can only listen from afar.

I was thinking about all of this today while taking a walk on the butte. My mind was counting the minutes till he comes to visit, as if that could will away his turmoil. A grandmotherly woman with 4 children around her snapped me out of my thoughts. In her broken English she asked if I would take their picture for her so that it would help her remember her visiting time.
"Sure no problem", I said. "That is wonderful that you can visit. Where are you visiting from?"
"San Antonio" she said as she smiled and discussed flowers with her grandchildren.

Isn't it amazing how God does that. As I snapped her picture, smiled, and bid her a wonderful visit, on the inside my heart was jumping at the reminder that God was telling me. "Don't worry about your father precious. He may look alone because they are busy and you are far away, but I am always with him."

This is a picture of Hydrangea blossoms that I saw while at the beach last week. Around here they bloom in the end of summer as the other plants are giving off the last of their color. While looking at this picture today and thinking about my encounter, it stuck me how the blossoms remind me of butterflies taking flight and new life.

Laugh and the World Laughs With You Take 2.....

While Rosie-girl and I were driving home, she said, "Wow Mom look at the sunset. It is amazing."
I turned to look as I was driving and instantly my mind flashed to the night before when the moon showed us a sliver of a crescent shape in the sky. My thought that went with that picture was......"Oh look it is a full sun today."

Yeah I really thought that. We had a good laugh over it when I realized my silliness and shared with her. She said, "Wow Mom at least you didn't share it with a group of people like you were in a real conversation."

No I figure I will just blog it here so that everyone can have a good laugh.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

He Is My Dad...

I have three fathers......
1) my God whom I often refer to as my Heavenly Father and never leaves me alone because He is in my heart.
2) my Dad who is my parent and biological father. He calls me his angel and we are working on having a real and current relationship that actively involves one another not just in heart but also in thought and deed. He lives in San Antonio.
3) then I have my Dad who became my step-dad when I was 14 years old. He and my mom never had children of their own. My brother and I became his children in all matters of heart and action. How blessed I have been over time for my heart to learn to call him Dad. How many ceaseless times he has proven to be there for our every need and care no matter what the sacrifice. He lives 15 minutes away with my mom and Nana.

My Dad and my Dad. It is funny......I call them the same name. I am sure it is confusing to those around me as they try to quickly figure out which man I am referring to. In my mind, when I say Dad and Dad, they sound different to me because I think in pictures and feelings. It is as different to me as when I say the name "Lonnie" who is my friend's husband or "Lani" which is my mom's dog. Go ahead and say them aloud. Or try Anne Shirley's Anne with an "e" instead of plain old Ann. Doesn't Anne with an "e" feel more eloquent on your tongue? Don't they feel different to you even though you say them the same?

So tonight I am thinking about a conversation I had today with my dad. (Did you hear it? Which one am I referring to? Right, the one who lives here.)
I had been visiting my mom and was leaving to finish the final preparations for my small part of my cousin's store. I couldn't make it all the way up the driveway though because Dad was coming down in his truck. So I backed up to let him pass. We pulled up side by side to each other's vehicles with windows down to give a "Hey how's your day going?" Dad quickly decided that wasn't enough and got out of his truck so that he could come stand by my car and visit a bit more personally.

We spoke of garden projects and airplane fixings (his job). Then he turned subjects on me and asked me what kind of fan I would like in my living room. Sounds like an odd question given the other topics right? There is a story behind it but not one that bears the importance of retelling. Suffice it to say that he got it in his mind that we needed a fan in our living room and more over, he needed to be the one to provide it. I tried to re-direct the conversation plenty of times but, if you know my precious Dad, that is much like re-directing a freight train through a pin hole. There we were, he wanting to freely buy something for us and me feeling the guilt of my Dad using his money on us when I know they need their own things.

Finally I asked why it was so important to him that we have a fan and that he got it for us. With misty eyes and before he realized what exactly came out of his mouth he said, "Because there is so much more I should have done over the years for you all."

I welled up with my own tears as I looked at him and said, "What do you mean? What more should you have done? Your heart was the most precious and dear thing you have ever given me and all I have ever needed."

It was precious and goofy all at the same time as we both donned the "hey why are you crying" badge. We were a sight. I guess we both needed it.

I doubt I have explained it here adequately enough to share the depths of our hearts in the moment but that is okay. I just wanted to share and wish the same special bonds of relationship into your life.

(This post was honored by David at Authorblog for top post of the day. What a blessing for me. Here I was just wanting to journal and not lose track of a special moment and I am finding so many people are blessed by it.)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Beach Combing....

Pippin and I drove to Cannon Beach yesterday so that she could spend a two week visit with our friends before school starts. We always love going to the beach. It was a cloudy typical NW coastal day with spots of sun, regular clouds, and a slight breeze. This time for our entertainment and hanging out time, we opted to go to the neighboring town of Seaside to do a bit of exploring. Normally when I think of beach exploring and combing, a vision comes to my mind of something like this....

Our discoveries proved to be quite different though this time around. In the parking lot of a hotel we found that this "man" seemed to be radiant as he pondered his hard day of work.

I could tell he felt the pull of being in two places at the same time as he rested in his truck.

All of our walking around and window shopping gave us the munchies so we decided to grab some appetizers at a shoreline restaurant. While sitting there, a man pulled up outside our window along the sidewalk. Dressed in a Sturgis cut off t-shirt and shorts and riding a three wheeled pedal bike made for a not quite ordinary every day site. I heard the man at the table next to us tell his wife that he resembled a summertime Santa Claus with his big white beard and Mrs. Claus must have demoted him to this grown up tricycle for summer use.
The waitress came over and happily answered questions about the man as we all watched him set up his supplies of giant homemade bubble wands and a huge dish of liquid while he mumbled to himself. He's a war veteran and a regular part of the Seaside happenings. He routinely goes out to the boardwalk to share his bubbles with the families that come to the beach. No, he is not a threat, just a bit unusual. She also offered up the fact that he makes his own special bubble recipe by using Joy dish liquid and Karo Syrup.
We headed outside to try and get a view of what all was happening. We found that this gentleman had a radio in the basket of his bike cranked up to a classic hard rock medley. Around him were 4-6 children eager to learn his skill in the art of making the biggest soap bubble imaginable.

Their were bubbles of all sizes floating up and down the boardwalk as the children giggled and moms smiled. My friend and I both smiled and agreed to the thought and amazing fact of how bubbles changed a scene. Had this man simply been riding his bike down the sidewalk and mumbled to himself, those moms would have probably wanted to protect their children from potential harm and steer them far away from the unknowns. But the bubbles changed everything. He became a source of delight to child and parent alike.

He enjoyed the scene until the dish of bubbles emptied. Then he thanked the children for playing, loaded up his supplies, and headed off down the boardwalk. Every few feet he would greet another passerby and wave his wand around as he rode, leaving a trail of magic floating behind him.

(enlarge here)

Now to share one more thing....
Before the evening ended and I headed back over the mountain pass, we rented a video to giggle to. Have you ever seen the movie Shall We Dance with Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gere? It was the only one I had been familiar with and wasn't completely impressed. I felt like there was something missing. So, my friend recommended to me that the Japanese version was much better....and she was completely right. I can always count on her for a thrilling and enlightening out of the box experience. We watched the movie with English subtitles and had so much fun with it. The missing element from the Hollywood version was completely there in the Japanese version. There was comedy (lots of comedy) and drama, the conflict of heart and culture was very evident in all of the characters. I highly recommend it. If you would like an out of the box experience....give this movie a try. Here is the movie trailer. Remember that you can watch it with English sub titles.