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November 2015

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I am thankful for my trials. Say what?! I know. In the midst of them, it’s hard to say it. I wish there were another way. For whatever reason, maybe they’re meant for our refinement or maybe so we enjoy the victory all the more, we go through situations less than ideal. Maybe our trials serve to show that apart from God, we can do nothing. James 1: 2-4 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. So, here’s to considering it all pure joy. A sign you’re on the right track. You’re being refined. And when your time comes – you’ll be ready & lack nothing. Thanks for reading my 30 Days…

We are making the trek back to Oregon today. I love Oregon, but California will always be “home”. I think no matter where you grew up, that place is always what you indentify with as being home. Until I moved to Oregon almost 16 years ago, I had no idea what a beautifully diverse area I grew up in. While Portland is a very accepting & welcoming city, it is not nearly as diverse as my Bay Area. But I think it’ll get there someday. I think it’s also further testiment of my good upbringing – the fact my parents never called attention to people by the color of their skin. So, I’m thankful for my roots in a diverse place.

Sitting in their living room, drinking Dutch Bros., talking about life, I felt an extra dose of thankfulness for my sister & brother in law. They are honest. Hard-working. Funny. Intelligent. Loving. Excellent parents. Wonderful friends- not just family. Amanda & Arnie live a life of service. Not only in the care of their 5 amazing children, but they serve in their church, the foster care/adoption community, in their friendships but also – Arnie is a police officer. He works most holidays & has been known to dress as Santa during Christmas time & ride around on his police motorcycle when protecting & serving his community (escorted by his chief). Their 2 youngest children are adopted. They were rescued from what would have been a life of pain, addiction & heartbreak. Now, they are THRIVING, wonderful little boys who will do great things in life. They have a family motto,…

I’m thankful for good driving conditions & safe drive as we hit the road after work last night & pulled into Napa at 2am. Thankful for my night owl husband who was able to drive without getting sleepy. Thankful my kids were total troopers. I’m thankful that I will have a pre-dinner nap. I’m thankful that dinner with family tonight will make me laugh & eat until it hurts. (Stretchy pants. Thankful.) Happy Thanksgiving to all. May your hearts be as full as your stomachs!

My children are the most precious gift. However, they were less than cooperative this morning. My Wyatt screamed a good 3 miles on our drive until his anger was subdued by the gentle rhythm & rhymes of the Jungle Book blaring from the van’s DVD player. I barely enter the building before a dear friend & school employee says, “They woke up in a great mood this morning!”. But my stink-eyes told a different story. I made a few remarks, trying to make light of my frustrating morning, as I tried to heard the children into their class. Soon the frustration melted away as tender, heartfelt goodbye hugs & kisses came. As I walked back to my car to head to my office, I thought about grace. I had not been very gracious with the boys this morning. No, they weren’t perfect – but none of us are. We all…

I’m thankful for a gift I gave myself: the freedom to fail. I did not give myself this gift until over age 30, but I wish I had grasped the concept earlier. Comfort is not only an illusion. It is a mirage in the desert of a water park! It’ll fool you every time & still leave you thirsty. Comfort & fear are the silent dream killers. Cut yourself some slack. That thing you have in you buried down deep – let that out. It starts by giving yourself permission to fail. And dear fellow dreamer, I assure you, you will fail. Not always. You just try again. Why? Because the alternative sucks. In addition to giving yourself freedom to fail, I want you to consider being the champion of another fellow dreamer. I’m in a stage of life where I can’t really do a whole lot regarding my dreams…

Today, I’m thankful for church. It’s been a busy day. Singing, corralling the children, a nap & then the boys & I headed back to the church tonight to pop in a youth event, the Giving Thanks Dinner, to see David. I won’t be the first to tell you- church is complicated. Why? Because it is imperfect. It is filled with imperfect people. And I am one of them. Unfortunately, people get hurt sometimes. We hurt each other. It’s not intentional, but it ends up stinging us on a spiritual level. So, how do we press on? How do we remove the stinger & move forward? For me, I needed to be reminded that it isn’t about me. It’s about US. It’s about gathering together. We need each other. Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV) 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25…

Tonight during my boys’ bath time, I did my usual scurrying around. Clean up, filling up water cups, laying out their jim jams. Then, I overheard the sweetest thing ever. The kind of sweetness that fills your eyes with tears, makes your heart swell & makes you hold your kids a little tighter. David asked the boys what they were thankful for. Without hesitation, both exclaimed “mommy & daddy!”. So today, I’m thankful for that love.