Tuesday, July 31, 2007

It's About Time

It's about time. I made a couple of cards.

Yesterday, I was feeling tapped out as a mom, student, wife, etc., and realizing that I needed some alone time. Some creative time. Re-creation. So, while Amanda was at her violin lesson, I went to a scrapbooking store I had never gone to before. It was deliciously full of cool paper. Paper I can't resist. I bought several sheets.

Then, today, I made some cards. I got so into it, I almost blocked out the incessant violin practicing, the crying, whining and dog barking. It was pretty good therapy. Here's my handiwork:

What neato paper that brown stuff is. It has a little hint of teal, so I used the teal for a background. I punched out teal circles to back the white eyelets in the center of the flowers. I happened to have a perfect tag to match everything, and I stamped "for you" on it.

This card has a similar style to the last one. It was inspired by a style in the Paper Crafts magazine. I love pink and brown.

Oh yeah. I got 100% on my Physics exam today. I can hardly believe it. I had quite the private celebration on my way home. Me..... 100%..... Physics..... Weird. Anyway, I think that deserves a few more days of serious card-making!


I bet you're wondering: any barking dogs this morning?


Monday, July 30, 2007

About Nice

I have awakened to the incessant barking of our new neighbors dogs, that she so intelligently leaves outside from the early morning hours until she returns home from work in the afternoon. I have heard neighbors yelling at the dogs, so I'm hoping someone calls the sheriff. I, myself have drafted a letter, and will be putting it on their door. I'm hoping to give them a chance to take care of it themselves, without having to resort to calling the sheriff.

I'm an action person. I know that most of these neighbors will quietly stew about the dogs, and do nothing, even though they have been awakened at 4:30 in the morning. I don't understand people who don't take action on things. I think it's quite wimpy. If something bothers you, do something about it! Just fix it.

I guess some people would rather "keep the peace" or not come across as "mean." I say, that's avoiding conflict at your own expense! What are you trying to keep the peace for? To please people? To make sure everybody likes you? To be everybody's best friend? Please. Even if you tried your darndest, there would still be people who wouldn't like you, so why even try!?! And, by the way, you don't even have to speak up in a mean way. There's lots of polite ways to ask for what you want. But, maybe you even think that directly asking for what you want is mean! Well, I'm sick of "nice."

I read a little book not too long ago called "Nice Girls Don't Change The World," by the wife of Bill Hybels. It's awesome. It was at a time in my life when I realized I was being too nice, and not being my authentic self. I was still pretty much an action person, but when I would get around people, I would be this, nicey-nice person. The day it made me mad, was when someone from my old church staff, referred to me as "that, nice quiet girl." It made me mad, because that's not who I am!! I realized that I was trying to be so nice and accomodating around people. I would hear myself laugh that stupid, nice-girl laugh, and it started ticking me off. I would allow people to say things and wouldn't call a "time-out" on it. I would think about it later, and wish I would have said something. I think it comes from not really having a voice growing up, and having that programmed into my brain. I've been working on that for years now.

I'm getting better at the spontaneous interactions with people, and being my authentic self more. I'm good at writing letters to a neighbor with annoying dogs, but that spontaneous stuff is more difficult for me. But, the spontaneous stuff - the relational stuff is where the authentic me really needs to come out more. I'm working hard on that, and learning from the hard lessons in my life.

Why do we try to portray ourselves so perfectly to other people? Why can't we just be real? Nobody can relate to us when we put up this perfect front. That's why Paul said we should "boast in our weaknesses." As a small group leader, I did this a lot. I wanted the gals in my group to be have something to relate to - to know that they were not alone in their struggles. I wanted to be a leader on the same level, not above them in some way. I didn't want the seekers or baby Christians to get any sense that they had to attain to some kind of perfection, when it was Jesus who made them perfect. I just knew how I looked up to some pastors and leaders, and how intimidating that could be, if I viewed them as some kind of infallible human beings. After meeting some very transparent ones, I realized that I respected them more, and could be myself around them more....

I've known people I've really wanted to be friends with, but they are just so darn perfect all the time, it was like an impenetrable wall. It becomes such a turn-off. You can't get close to them. Perhaps I have been this way in the past, but never again. If you think about it, boasting in our weaknesses, glorifies God more. It shows that He is the one who makes us who we are, not us. If we try to portray ourselves so perfectly, it's really relying on our own strength to only appear righteous. The Bible says no one is righteous, so why are we trying to fake it? God knows the truth, and he set us free. When we can show how God took our weaknesses and faults, and has changed us for the better, He is glorified instead of us.

No more Miss Nice Girl.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


Man - I bared my soul a little in that last post, and it's left me feeling a little naked.

I'm gonna go get my bathrobe....

Friday, July 27, 2007


Many moons ago, Joe and I served as part-time staff at a church in San Diego. We ran a Sunday morning service for junior highers - worship, games, message - the works. Our pastor (who hired us) was brand new to our church, and went about transforming it into a more seeker-friendly, healthier place. He taught us so much about what a healthy church is. We were being primed to come on board full-time. Working with he and his wife changed our lives to the point that we were ready to make that jump.

However, the denomination was not taking care of our pastor. He came to a church that was massively in debt, and the denomination had promised to help him. But, they didn't follow through on their promise. The church had sprouted from under 100 to almost 500 in only 18 months, with over 100 people accepting Christ. Even with all of the growth and people coming to the Lord, there was a small group of old-timers (this was a 50-year-old church) who didn't like change. They were vocal about their discontent, and brought constant discouragement to our pastor. Some started leaving, which was a good thing. Our pastor continued to go to the denomination's leaders for help with the financial burden that the previous pastor had been allowed to attain. The church couldn't even pay their electric bill. The denomination refused to help, so our pastor had to make a decision to leave. This broke our hearts. We loved them, and we loved what was happening to the church and the people.

There was one glimmer of hope for our pastor staying, when we decided to go on a three week vacation. We talked about our excitement of joining the ministry the whole time. When we got back, our pastor was gone. We came to church to do the junior high service, and the group of old-timers who had left were back that very Sunday. They were walking around the campus, as if they were claiming their territory. It made me physically sick. We left the next Sunday and joined our pastor at another church he was invited to be the pastor of in a nearby city.

The church our pastor came to, was a brand new church, whose pastor had only planted it, and then left. It met in a high school. There was about 150 people. There was already staff and volunteers, so we began volunteering in one of the children's classes. Soon after, Joe began sensing that he was to get out of the Navy. We kept taking steps forward, and he got his job up here in the Northwest.

Leaving there was difficult for me, because it meant leaving the dream of ministry. Things had changed dramatically when our pastor left our church to go to the new one, so it made it easier to leave. But, I still wonder if we would have eventually come on board at the new church. I think we would have.

When we were visiting in San Diego this week, we got to go see a construction project at our pastor friend's church. The church that met in that high school with 150 people, is now over 4,000 people! They are in their final phase of building projects, building a 1600-seat auditorium!! It is so exciting. I am so proud of our friends, but I also had some angst and sadness with what could have been.

I had a little talk with the Lord about it. I know I shouldn't live in the past or live in the "what ifs," but still. I asked God to show me what the angst means, and what I can learn from it now. I asked Him to help me figure out what to do with it, and be happy with my life now. The thing is, is I don't know if I have been quite as deeply happy and fulfilled as when we were immersed in the ministry with our friends. I was in my 20's, and I remember literally thinking to myself "I am SO happy with my life!" The relationships we shared, were bonds that I have not had again in my life. I experienced something I have not experienced since - a richness, fullness, giving and receiving of love with other Christ-followers. It's been hard to let it go....

When we moved to the Northwest, I was desperately looking for those kinds of bonds and fulfillment in church. I didn't find it. The church I poured myself into, couldn't give me that kind of love and encouragement. I think it was part of the reason for my burnout. It's been very painful.

Now, here I am. At a new church, but burned out and not doing a thing. I love the Lord, but don't quite know where my place is anymore. I'm going to college right now, which is something I've always wanted to do, but I pretty much picked "ultrasound" out of a hat as something to pursue. I think I love the medical field, and it looks like a great job to earn good money. But, seriously, if somebody asked me to join the ministry full-time, I would do it. My secret is, I love the ministry. I would love to be a speaker and a leader. Our pastor friend from San Diego told us once that we would never be satisfied not leading, because that's who we are. I think it's true.

So, how did we end up where we are today? I don't know. I'm trying not to look back, or spend my life wishing for some other life. But, there's that angst. Why do I have it? Should I ignore it or pay attention to it? Is the true longing of my heart to be in full-time ministry? Is it my true calling, or am I just making that up? I just have this deep, nagging feeling that I would be the most happy and the most fulfilled serving God and the church in a full-time capacity. Is it a silly, dreamer's dream that is a grandiose idea of mine? Or, is it God's dream for me? Would it have to be both Joe and I doing it, or could it be just me? I'm not sure. When I dream of it, I see it being the two of us, but I just don't know.....

God is up to something in my husband's life right now, but only time will I tell what comes of it. My secret thought is that maybe it has something to do with this dream of mine, but maybe that's just my grandiose thinking.....I'm just going to keep going. Talking with God, reading the Word, living my life, I guess. I don't know what else to do!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Where have I been?

This is where!!

My preppy husband and me in front of our hotel, overlooking San Diego.

View from our hotel balcony at the Hilton.

Sea World was all about getting wet. Our first ride was the Atlantis, in which we got very wet. Then, we went to the dolphin show and sat in the "soak zone." So much for doing my hair!! After that, we went to a 4-D theater experience, where we got even more wet! The grand finale was the river rapids ride (see below).

Joe and the kids got completely soaked on the river rapids ride. I enjoyed a warm churro and iced tea during their adventure (I'm so smart!)

During our second day at Sea World, we purchased fish to feed and pet the dolphins during a special feeding time - it was SO cool!!

Even I got to touch one! It made me tear up, it was so special to interact with them...

We got to touch the dolphins!!

The fam at Mission Beach. A wonderful man from New York took this picture. We talked for a few minutes, and when he realized Joe was a retired servicemember, he thanked him sincerely for his service. It was so sweet. After that, Joe and the girls rode the wooden roller coaster!

Amanda and Melanie on the beach.

We took a quick stroll through the Hotel del. The girls told Ben stories about the hotel being haunted, so he asked us a million times if there were really ghosts there....I think he was afraid to go inside...

On our last day, we drove out to Chula Vista to visit with some special friends. Our friend and his wife are pastors at Easlake Community Church. We've known them for several years, when we were part-time staff with them at another church (before this one started). Their influence made a huge impact on my life, and what I gained from their friendship cannot be described in words. They sort of put their arms around us, bringing us along into their ministry and including us in their family. They believed in us and loved on us in such a way as I have not found again. I pray that the Lord allows me to experience a bond like this one again...I really miss them....

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Sadness and stuff

The boys tried to go to the drag races yesterday, and it got rained out. My poor husband, he was so disappointed! I felt so bad for him - it's the beginning of his vacation, and he was looking forward to some guy stuff....They said his ticket would be good for next year, but that's not quite an adequate consolation.... :(

Then, last night, Benny was listening to his VBS CD, while I was in his room packing for our trip. A slow song came on, and he said, "I'm sad that VBS is over." I said, "You are?" He nodded, and gave me this long look. He sat down for a minute, and then ran over to me, crying, hugging me. It made me cry! It was a sweet, sad moment...

Today, we're going down to hear Amanda's youth symphony concert. It is the big concert at the end of their week-long camp. Their focus is American music this time, which will be so nice, after all the boring French music last year. They're even going to play a West Side Story medley!! It's a cool experience - she's been staying in college dorms and playing all week. There's been rehearsals, theory classes and lectures.....Her roommates were a couple of girls she has known for awhile from school and symphony, so that's been great for her. We'll be glad to have her back (Melanie most of all)!!

Last night I was reading in 1 Kings about Solomon. The guy had it all, and blew it by turning to worshipping idols at the influence of his wives. Yes, I said wives. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines!! Ahem. I think my husband might say that one is enough! HAHA!! What a different culture than our own, huh? I don't think I would have liked being one of 700 wives. I wouldn't like being one of two wives, for that matter! I'm glad it's not like that anymore! (Well, if you don't count certain people in Utah).

Friday, July 20, 2007

Still raining

What the heck?! It's still raining. What a summer. School got out at the very end of June, the sun finally started coming out around the first of July, and now it's raining again!! All I can say is: San Diego here I come!! Sometimes I really wish we still lived there.

Anyway, today is Benny's last day of "Vacation Bible School." He has had a great time, and comes home with stories and singing songs. I bought him a music CD of all the songs, and he's been listening to it a lot. I love it. I love hearing him talk and sing about the Lord. What a blessing to my heart...

We went down to Amanda's symphony camp to see her in a chamber recital. She was principal of the 2nd violins, which was very special for her. They played a piece by a Northwest composer by the name of Jivonnis (sp?). What awesome music. The conductor described it as "mesmerizing" music, with which you sort of leave your body, and once the piece is finished, you find yourself "refreshed." And, after we heard the piece we believed him. I literally had to close my eyes during different portions of this piece, it was so wonderful. I think we're going to go find a CD....

Melanie has been missing her sister. She has tried to entertain herself with Ben and his friends, as she hasn't been able to get together with any of her friends. Joe is taking Benny to a drag race tonight, so I think I'll take her to see "Pirates." I bought a book for Melanie and I, published by Focus on the Family, entitled "Closer." It's kind of a Bible study book for moms and daughters, with lots of discussion questions. We've done it together once so far. We've never done anything like this before, so honestly, it's a bit awkward, but I've wanted to do this with her for a long time....

Physics is going better. I found a tutor at the campus closer to my house. She is really helping me, and I'm so glad!! Sometimes I shake my head at myself, because I can't believe I am doing Physics. Me! Physics! I must be crazy....

My Bible reading is still going. I'm somewhat behind, but I'm not going to keep close tabs on that. As long as I'm reading everyday, I'm fine with that. I may take a day and catch up a little bit, so I can be finished before Fall classes start. It has just been so cool to read the Bible in this fashion. All of the things I have learned, start fitting together like a puzzle when I'm reading "the story" from start to finish like this. It's so awesome. I'm realizing that I know a lot more about the Bible than I thought. And, when I come to things I wonder about, I look them up. For instance, what is an "Asherah pole?" That is an interesting subject! I have also realized that some of the people in the Bible who are quite "exalted" in Bible storytelling, are really flawed. Some are quite awesome, like Joshua, Joseph and David. But, even they slipped up sometimes. God gave them consequences for their actions, but continued to use them, too.....

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Summer Rain

It's raining steadily this morning. My skin is a little annoyed to have long sleeves and capris on, after so many days of bare arms and shorts. A day like this, after so many sunny ones, puts me in a funny mood. The windows are all open in the house, because it's warm. But, it's dark, so I had to turn the light on to have my latte and look at a magazine. Joe is always good about grabbing a magazine he thinks I'll enjoy, left by some traveller on one of the airplanes.... Anyway, my house is very quiet, as I already dropped Benny off at VBS, Amanda is still at symphony camp, Mel is sleeping in and Joe has gone to bed. I'm listening to the forgotten, metallic, dripping sound of the water trickling down the gutters and the softer, slower, drip, drip, drip coming off the patio umbrella and trees.....I feel drawn to go sit outside, but I know I would get all wet........

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Choose Church....

I think it was Bill Hybels who said that the church "is the hope of the world." I believe this. In talking about my negative experiences, I certainly don't want to give someone another reason not to go. Go! Choose church! Just go find a healthy one. There is no perfect one, but there are healthy ones. First, find one that sticks to the Bible and teaches it's truths. Then, make sure it's a place where loving people and loving God are priority.

I have a passion for church. I have sometimes dreamt about being in full-time ministry. What I bring to the table on this blog, are my experiences with burnout and the subsequent leaving a church. I express my thoughts about the things I think need improvement in organized churches today. I don't think it's a bad thing to expose these things to the light. And, I certainly am not attacking the church. In fact, I have a righteous anger in defense of the church. I want to see the church being everything it should be!! If the church is to remain the "hope of the world," it's leaders need to be healthy if their church is going to be. The only way to change things and improve, is to expose the darkness to the light. Cover-ups and image management is not the way. Being more controlling is not the way. Exposure and surrender is.

We churchgoers and leaders need to be absolutely tenacious in fighting for the health of our churches!! All churches should be places of love and life, yet there are countless stories of the life being literally sucked right out of people. This is wrong!

What I went through was something that took me totally by surprise, especially since I have been a churchgoer my entire life! I thought about throwing in the towel on organized church. But, I didn't. I love God, and I know He wants me to be there. And, praise the Lord - I did find a healthy church. It ain't perfect, because people ain't perfect, but I have found love as well as a culture of transparency. The leaders are open about their failures and weaknesses, which promotes a sense of safety, that helps others to be open about theirs. When mistakes are made, they are exposed without shame, instead of covered up. The person is dealt with with honesty and respect. While their wrong choice is not accepted, the person is encircled by support, friendship and unconditional love. People are given grace in their imperfection, and afforded the opportunity to change. My church is also a place of celebration - celebrating who God is together. It is so fun to worship the Lord with other believers - it's like a weekly party! I also find encouragment every week to continue walking my walk with the Lord. It's tough to be a Christian today, so gathering with other believers is a major encouragement to me. My church teaches the Bible, and oh, how I love the Word. Coming to church and hearing the Truth with other believers gives me confidence in my beliefs and way of life. At church, I am challenged, uplifted, convicted and enriched. Church can be an awesome place....

If you're discouraged because of a negative church experience, don't give up. Find out what a healthy church is, and look for one with a style that fits you! Choose church!

Monday, July 16, 2007

When teenagers borrow your camera

When teenagers borrow your camera, they get very creative and quite silly.....These are the things I have saved all over my computer....

Which one is Melanie and which one is Amanda?

This reminds me a little of a Mary-Kate and Ashley pose....

There's a whole string of these - pretty funny...

They are quite cute, if I do say so myself....


I took Benny to a VBS today - I'm so happy for him and the fun he will have. I happened to see a couple of people from my old church. One of them didn't stop to talk much with me. The other talked with me for awhile. I like those people. People who can still be my friend even though we don't go to the same church anymore.

On the fourth of July, we saw another couple. The man of this couple, greeted us warmly. The woman of the couple didn't. She wouldn't come over to say hello to me. This person was someone I considered a good friend of mine. I felt like I did a lot for her - encouraged her as a leader, promoted her as a speaker and babysat her children. When we left our old church, I emailed her a few times to check in, in order to say "Hey - I still want to be your friend." She dropped off the face of the earth. So, in a way, I wasn't surprised she didn't acknowlege me. It still kind of hurt, though. I didn't go to her on the fourth of July, because I'm tired of being hurt. If she hadn't spoken to me in over a year, why would she want to now? It really sucks.

The thing is, I still love the people I loved there. That isn't any different. The difference is, we're not in the mix of that church anymore. I continued to contact the people I knew most closely, but wasn't getting much in return. Once I stopped, there was nothing. It left me feeling that I didn't have any real friends in the first place. Owie, that hurts. Especially when I felt like I poured myself out in that place.

But, maybe that was the problem. I poured too much of myself out. This friend from the old church that I was talking with today, was telling me that people were asking her to do more volunteering for a new ministry starting up. She already has three kids, works part-time, serves in a MOPS ministry and works in the church nursery. I said, "Say No. Don't burnout like I did. Your first ministry is to your children."

Why does the leadership think it's OK to ask people to overextend themselves in the name of "service?" Why would they want people to sacrifice their health and their families? If they don't have enough warm bodies to run the programs they want to run, then maybe they shouldn't have those programs! Then again, maybe the leadership is doing the same thing, and it's a trickle-down effect. If so, I really worry about the future of this church. There's going to be some major leadership burnouts, that will probably include some big sins and a lot of hurt people.....It's scary and sad, because it is preventable. It will take some major paradigm shifts to change it..... or a major crisis. I'm praying it's not the crisis.....

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Mad Church Disease

I can't believe it. I googled "church burnout," and found a soon-to-be-published book, called "Mad Church Disease." It's so coincidental that I just wrote a post to help anyone going through church burnout, and I find this! I can't really put into words what this means to me. I've known deep in my heart what I experienced was real and specific to my previous church experience, and now this is being confirmed!! I posted a link to this book's website where there are many testimonies left by other church burnout survivors. PLEASE click on this link and check it out!

My Brain is Swollen

I think my brain is swollen. Even my son came upstairs, took one look at me and said "You look worse." I said, "What looks worse?" He said, "Your face - it's swollen." I said, "No, my brain is swollen."

Today, I took my oldest daughter to her symphony music camp, and the traffic going back and forth really sucked. It took forever. I think that contributed to my swollen brain.

Then, I got home and tried working through my second Physics packet. I don't think this whole, "self-paced" thing is working for me. I read things over and over and over and over and over again, and only make small progress in understanding what the heck it is talking about. I know what I'm in for now. I will need to go get some serious tutoring to get through this. At least the tutoring is free, but I will have to go the other college campus, which is a half hour drive....More swollen brain...

Thank you for your prayers. Well, only one person left a comment saying they would pray, so thank you, one person. I have pushed through a difficult situation with courage and maybe even honored God, too. There is still more process to come (oh, how I love processes), but I know that the Lord has given me strength and wisdom when I asked for it. He helped me make some wise choices, and I must continue to make them. There are some funny choices in life, when you choose to go against your feelings, needs, and issues to do what's best for someone else. To put love above everything else, because they need love above anything else. It's tough and right at the same time. Yet, love is the only redeeming thing....

I'm still doing my Bible reading! It's so awesome. I'm in 2 Samuel, reading more about David. What a cool guy. He truly loved God, was extremely obedient, wrote songs, sang songs, played the harp and was willing to dance like a fool before God, too. When his wife put him down for dancing in front of everyone, I love what David said : "I was dancing before the Lord, who chose me above your father and all his family! He appointed me as the leader of Israel, the people of the Lord, so I celebrate before the Lord. Yes, I am willing to look even more foolish than this, even to be humiliated in my own eyes! " You go, David.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Church Burnout

Are you searching the internet to find out what's wrong with you? Are you wondering if you are experiencing some sort of burnout? Are you disillusioned with church? Do you love God, but are ready to give up on church?

You are not alone. Over a year ago, I too, went searching the internet for anyone who had ever felt like I did. I had never experienced anything like burnout before, but I knew in my heart it was something specific to my church experience. I found a website and learned that there is such a thing as "church burnout." Just reading that my feelings had a name, brought unusual relief. The website I found was http://www.smolderingwickministries.org/. At this site, there are a variety of helpful articles explaining the signs and symptoms of church burnout, among many others.

I would love to share my story with you if that would be helpful. You can email me at jodivalidation@yahoo.com, and I will email it to you. I am still in process, but I have found lots of healing. I didn't give up on church, and have found a safe place to heal. God has taught me a lot through this experience. Even though it wasn't fun, I believe He allowed me to go through it, in order for me to become all He made me to be.

Good things are just around the corner for you. You won't feel like this forever. Even though people may have hurt you, God has definitely not abandoned you. This is the start of a re-direction of your life, with new ways of looking at God, yourself and church.

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39

Good Morning

I woke up to the rolling thunder this morning. Kinda cool. I hope that means we'll have a cooler day. It's been so hot! I've had a wonderful couple of days, just relaxing with my husband and family, taking walks and chilling on our patio. The other night, we sat out and watched the stars, and looked for satellites. Mel and Joe (my brother who has been back with us for a couple more days), fell asleep outside and we let them sleep there. My Joe (the husband one) and I had a glass of Chardonnay and talked. It always feels good to me when we just stop the rat race, and chill together for no reason (like we're on vacation).....

I took my first Physics test yesterday, which I didn't do well on. It's an intro to Physics class, where I will work through three packets at my pace, and go into the school to take a test on each one. Not too bad, but Physics is hard. I can't believe I'm even doing this. Me! Physics! Anyway, this is the only class I have this summer, which is perfect. I can focus on my family and relax, so part of me could care less how well I do in this stupid class...

We're gearing up for our San Diego trip. I can't wait! We are so blessed to be able to fly our family places for free. We also got an airline discount for the Hilton! Our focus is Sea World this time, and we'll also be having lunch with some dear friends. It's going to be so fun!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I'm still doing my Bible reading, I just haven't posted lately because I was starting to bore myself, so surely I was boring you! Anyway, I'm still enjoying the Bible reading very much. I'm in 1 Samuel right now. There was a very funny part (to me), where God told Samuel that Saul would be Israel's first king. So, when all the people were gathered together to present Saul, they couldn't find him because he was hiding under something. They pulled him out, and still announced: here is your new king! Everyone cheered. How funny is that?! Here, he was obviously hiding (he knew he was going to be announced as king), yet they still presented him with a big announcement and everyone was still excited. Didn't anyone ask: what kind of a king are we getting that hides under some baggage? What does this say for our future? Haha!!

On another note, I'm going through some stuff. Sometimes I feel like I have the tenacity of Simba on the Lion King, who says "HA HA HA HA! I laugh at the face of danger!" Other times I feel like panicky Pumbaa - a little beside myself. It's been day-by-day, and sometimes moment-by-moment. Would you please pray for me?

Thank you.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

It was worth it...

I went to an Al-Anon meeting with my friend. Her life has been completely changed through AA and Al-Anon, so she's been bugging me to go with her for a long time. I met this gal about 4 years ago through church, and feel privileged to have watched her go from questioning whether following Christ was for her, to the Christ-follower she now is. She also stopped drinking, and is three years sober. It's pretty awesome. She tells me that a lot of where she is today, is because of me. It makes me cry. I remember, as her small group leader, not being able to sleep sometimes, because of the "mother hen" feelings I had for her. I was very protective of what was said in our small group, because I didn't want to confuse her, and I wanted everything to be simplified for her. There were people (mostly Christians who were further along in their walk) who would say the stupidest things in that group, and I wanted to go slap them for causing these baby/seeker Christians to stumble on anything. I was so burdened for their coming to Christ and their growth. I put everything I had into making that group a safe place for those "babies." So, to have her tell me what I meant to her, makes all of that angst and concern and worry worth it......

Now she's helping me, not with alcoholism, but other life struggles. She's done a lot of work on herself, and she's seen a lot of real stuff through AA, so she is able to help others now. It's cool. I'm so proud of her, and I'm so thankful to God for allowing me to watch over her, God's little lamb, who has now grown up into a fine sheep, if I must say so myself....

Friday, July 6, 2007

Fun At The Lake

My 13-year-old brother has been staying with us for the past two nights and the kids have been having fun together. It started off with the fireworks show in Orting, which was awesome. Once we got home, I think the kids stayed up until the wee hours of the morning....They have been good at finding entertainment. They've been watching DVD's of "The Office," swimming in our pool, playing games and watching silly videos on the computer. And, eating A LOT. Yesterday, I took the kids to the lake - it was so HOT!!

Melanie, Joe and Ben trying to catch baby fish. Melanie and Joe almost look like twins!

My brother, Joe (also my husband's name)...

Melanie staying cool....

Amanda getting sunburned...

Ben getting warm, after realizing how cold the water was...

Ben got serious about digging a very deep hole in the sand. He said that on the show "Dirty Jobs," he saw a guy dig very deep and find a catfish. So, that's what he wanted to do. :)
Melanie and Joseph got caught up in making a sand wall......
The construction supervisor didn't quite like their wall.....
Smile Amanda!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy Fourth!

Hey-Happy Fourth of July! The garbage man woke me up this morning, as I made my mad dash to get our garbage out. I thought he wasn't coming today! After that, I made my beloved latte and watched my sprinkler in the backyard.

Of course, I had to check the blogs I read, and I always get so excited when there is something new to read and see. It's funny how I care about these gals, and only correspond through their blogs. There are some people I truly like and admire, and wish to spend more time with, but circumstances don't allow it. It's weird. I guess we'll all have to hang out when we get to Heaven....

Tonight, we're going down to Orting to see the fireworks show. It's kind of a tradition! They put on a fabulous show for a small town, I tell ya. It's awesome! And, this time, my husband is off, and my girls aren't away at camp, so I get to go with my whole family!! My sister might even meet us down there with my little brother. She went to Port Angeles and picked him up yesterday. He is 10 months younger than Melanie, making him 13! I was there when he was born (held one of my mom's legs, actually!). The next day, I brought my 10 month old (Melanie), and 3 year old (Amanda) to see their new, baby uncle. HAHA!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Lotta Plantin Day

Yes!! I got a lot of planting done today!! I'll have to post some pics tomorrow. It feels good to have my body a little sore and tired at the end of the day. I got so HOT, though! I finally slapped my swimsuit on and hopped in the kids' pool. It was like ICE! It felt pretty, darn good. Then, I stayed in my suit the rest of the day. I BBQ'd in it, cleaned in it, etc. When my girls wanted to go to the mall, I said "OK. I'm going to wear my swimsuit!" I love to embarass them. No, I didn't wear my swimsuit to the mall, but I have it on right now while I'm typing this! hee hee.... I kinda feel like a little kid wearing my swimsuit around, but it's fun! I look like a flabby, out of shape, almost 37 year-old, but it's fun. :) And no, I will not be posting a pic of that.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Mel and Laura

Here's Mel with her youth leader, Laura. Laura has been Mel's small group leader, as well as a "Master's Commission" student at our church. (Master's Commission is a one-year program where college-aged students volunteer their time at the church, live in host homes, while being mentored and trained. They also get college credit.) Laura will be getting married this Fall, and Melanie is going to miss her.....


Convo 1: My family and I ate dinner out on our patio tonight. During dinner, my daughter said something about the kids she would have one day, and I said what kind of grandma I was going to be. Then, Ben said, "When I'm a Dad, I'm going to take my kids to the park every day." I asked "Well aren't you going to go to work?" Ben said "No." "How are you going to get money for your family?" I asked. "Go to the bank," he said. HAHAHAHA!!

Convo 2: Earlier today, I picked up one of Amanda's guy friends to take them to their "devos" (devotionals) they do on almost a daily basis at various coffee shops around town. They were talking about how this guy friend left a voicemail on another friend's cell phone. Here's the message: "Does it bother you that half the people we know are going to Hell?" Let that one sink in.

Convo 3: Melanie and I were driving in the car, and we were talking about moving. I said I would like to move when I finish school and get a job. She said she didn't want us to ever move, so she could bring her kids to the house someday. She said "Yeah, I could take 'em around and say, this is the hole I made and this is the thing I broke, etc., and here's my room...."

Alotta Nuthin Day

I've decided that when you have kids, there are days when it seems like you've been doing a lot of nothing. That happened to me yesterday. My feet were killing me from walking and standing all day, but I felt like I got nothing accomplished. I had great plans, but they never got anywhere. I think it all started with my trip to Lowe's. I hate Lowe's. I had a $40 gift card there, so I wanted to buy the things I needed to do some yardwork. But, their plants suck. So, I wasted a ton of time trying to pick through their plants to find something decent. Then, I waited in line forever! It just kinda took the wind out of my sails. I had wanted to hit 3-4 different stores, but by the time I got outa Lowe's, Ben was hungry for lunch and so was I.

We came home, ate, and then it just seemed like I couldn't get to my yardwork. Kids wanted to be driven here and there, and then they wanted to swim in the pool. I wanted to let them swim, since we just got it set up. Then, it was time for dinner and more chauferring. I did squeeze in my Bible reading before bed....

Today was a little better. Only a little. I got some weeds pulled, and determined what I want to do with my flowerpots in the back. I still need to get more plants, since I hardly found anything good yesterday. Maybe tommorow will be A Little Bit O' Nuthin Day instead of Alotta Nuthin.