Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Merry Christmas

The best part of Christmas for me, was just having all six kids home. Nathan is still in the Marines, Emma is living with our niece in Fresno and busy with wedding plans, Mark is in San Luis Obispo. I miss hearing the laughter and screams of anguish over Sorry cards being drawn, sending an opponent back to start,. Or the positioning of who is going to get to sit in the back of the Suburban or next at the opposite end of the dinner table from their Dad.

They love to say that I made their favorite foods, because they are the favorite, but they know the truth- they are all my favorite. Spending a few days together was a treat I will remember long after the Christmas decorations have been taken down and cookies consumed.

Hope your family spent time together and remembered to think about the baby born in a Bethleham under the glow of starlight, visited by wisemen and shepards and eventually changed the world.

From our family to yours.....Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tis the gift...

We just finished our holiday baking! Dipped apricots, fudge, gingerbread men and sugar cookies. Flour and sugar were everywhere while Christmas tunes played in the background. The funnest thing we made was something the kids saw in a Family Fun magazine. A cute pretzel snowmen. They decided we should make them for teachers and friends.
I am sure that the recipients will be delighted at the whimsical snacks, but the real joy was in spending the day in the kitchen together. Long after the cookies are gone, the laughter will linger.

Take time to make a memory.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

yo-yos and a good attitude

Last month was a blur.
It seems like tons of little things and a few big things crowded onto my calender. I can chose which of two ways to react. The first and most tempting is to freak out, stess out and reach for the nearest morsel of chocolate I can get my hands on. The second reponse is to re-balance and ask what really matters in life.
Is the stress really worth it and will it really matter in five years?
Take my favorite brown dress for example. I love that Land's End article and could have screamed at myself when I realized I had dripped a few spots of wax down the front. I did the standard iron it out attempt which worked , for some of it, but seriously it looked like I had just dribbled something down the front of me. So I did what any desparate woman on a tight budget would do. I made yo-yos. I had the fabric and the buttons.And bought a package of garage sale ric-rac.
I did something to improve my situation instead of complain about it. The result was that the dress is even better than before!
Somethings aren't as easy to fix as wax spots on a dress, but we can choose the attitude with which we view the problem. And who knows, maybe with a fresh perspective, a positive attitude and a handful of fabric scraps, things will look a little brighter.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


November is "National Novel Writing Month". Every year people take up the challenge to write up to 50,000 words during the month. There is even a chart to see how you are dong on your goal and you can sign up "Writing Buddies". This year I took the challenge , which is huge for an article writer who has a 750 word attention span.

But it isn't about what I can do...it is about what I am willing to persevere toward. I have heard it said that you don't fail until you quit. I may not be writing the next great American novel. I may not even come near the next great Placer County novel. BUT I am excited to take up the challenge and see what can happen when I put my mind to it.

How about you? Is there a goal or a discipline you have been putting off?
Take up a 30 day challenge of your own, I am sure that you will be glad you did!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

big foot lives here!

The other day Scott went for a run and told me that his feet kind of hurt, which is one of many reasons I try to abstain from that form of body jarring exercise.
"I think my shoes are too small," he said. I looked at his feet. I think the shoes look fine.. but his feet look too long.
"Holy cow! I hope you grow into those!" I said jokingly. "When did we get those shoes?"
"Last year when I joined Civil Air Patrol. I got them at the same time I got my boots."
"Well," I continued my shoe investigation. "How do your boots fit?"
"They are way too small. I just have to crunch my toes up when I put them on."
I had visions of the Chinese ladies with their feet being bound in a way that they could hardly walk. I wondered how in the heck my thirteen year old could run an 8 minute mile with his toes folded in half!
The next time we went to Auburn we stopped in at the Big 5. Scott tried on boots and running shoes. Thankfully they were both on sale.
He went from a 9.5 to an 11 in shoe size. Yikes! No wonder it hurt to run, I am surprised the kid could walk!

Beware Sasquatch- there is a new "Big Foot" in town!

note to self: How many times do I limp along because I am putting on something that does not fit?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

juggling goldfish

A few days ago a wonderful writer friend, Mary DeMuth, posted a question asking if others felt overwhelmed.

Boy, was that relevant to me, especially since I had just grounded myself for not having my homework done, laundry finished, and to top it off my room was a mess!

Sometimes things get done and at the end of the day I breath a sigh of contented relief. Then, there are days when the vacuum expoldes, the toilet overflows and the kitchen floor needs pressure washed due to canning buckets of pea sized grapes into jam.
It isn't always the big things that throw me off my game as much as the incredible amount of little things.

Sometimes I feel like I am juggling goldfish!

I do get overwhelmed. But recently I have been working on my "They Shall Rise Up and Call Me Crabby" book. The chapter I am working on is "Seasons". It is comforting that no matter how crushed I feel by everyday busyness I can have hope.
Paul wrote in Phillipians 4, "I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me."

Even if it means learning to juggle!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

puppy love

It is hard to believe Lucy's puppies are almost 7 weeks old. It has been such a special time for us. The kids watched her give birth, which was a lesson in itself. Later that day after Emma and I had left for a meeting, I called home to check on the little family. Amy said that Jack needed to talk to me because he was FREAKED out.
"He is watching all the puppies nurse and needs to know how he ate when he was a baby," said Amy.
"Put him on the phone."
"Jack.."I paused trying hard to not laugh. "It is true. That is how you ate when you were a baby."
"That is disgusting! Why didn't you use a bottle!" said my traumatized nine year old. I was sure that he would never want to look at me let alone hug me again.
"Bottles and formula is plan "B". Nursing is God's design. Get over it."

Before the day was over we were all mesmerized by the eight miracles of life that squirmed in the straw lined kiddie pool we had set up as a doggie play-pen. Watching the puppies grow has been not only a lesson on life, but on love. Puppy love.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


We were so blessed with an abundant garden. The down side was the crazy amount of fruit flies that decided living in the house was way more fun than living outside of the house. One day we had the shop vacuum out and John had a brilliant idea. He decided to suck them out of the air. FLYPOSUCTION!

It totally gave a new twist to the saying time flys when you are having fun! From now on the kids will always remember their Dad, armed with a craftsman shop vac, taking care of business one bug at a time and say times fun when we were having flies!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

time together

Last weekend I went out to the middle of nowhere to cover a story about a church sponsored dirt bike ride called Desert Storm. As the event got closer I began trying to think of reasons, besides not liking dirt and motorcycles, why I should stay home. Then a pleasant surprise happened. Our nine year old, Jack, said he would go with me. With six kids ranging in ages from 23 to 9 , one-on-one time is a rare occurance.

"Go ahead," I told Jack when we stopped for dinner. "Order anything off the menu!"
The girl behind the counter smiled at his happy little face and said, "Welcome to Wendy's. May I take your order?"
He was livin the dream.
We pulled up to where our friends said they would be and set up our pup tent under the fading light of the dusky sky.
After enjoying the concert by Australian singer/songwriter, Steve Grace, we made our way back to our "camp" and visited with Dean and Shelby before calling it a night. We played a hand of crazy eights then turned off the flashlight. Jack forgot to bring his pillow so we shared mine as we looked at the stars through the tent screen.
"Tell me a story," he said.
"O.K. There once was a family of three bears..."
"No! A real story about you. When you were my age."
"Well," I began. "When I was your age I had my tonsils taken out...."
This led to a whole series of stories about being lost in the woods, pet lizards and the time I got in big trouble for dropping a rock on my sisters foot and jumping on the bed.

He kissed my cheek and said he hoped to ride a dirt bike in the morning. Then cuddled close. Now we were both livin the dream.

Sometimes life's sweetest moments are in unexpected places.

Monday, September 21, 2009

fresh air

John's birthday was last Thursday. My mom and dad took all three kiddos to the Reno airshow so we had the whole day to ourselves. What a rare moment!
We borrowed an older red Mercedes convertable from some friends and spent the day driving around beautiful Lake Tahoe with a picnic lunch and the wind in our hair. Besides the fact that it was a super relaxing day we realized something else as well...after 24 plus years of marriage it is easy to take each other for granted. Sometimes life gets busy, stuffy and cramped. Maybe you just need a little fresh air and a different perspective to realize that the light at the end of the tunnel isn't an oncoming train, but a fresh view of what is ahead.
Take time to slow down and enjoy the drive.

Monday, September 14, 2009

never judge a book by it's cover

I decided to write about something for the local paper I knew nothing about. Tattoos. For someone who threw up on a nurse drawing blood, the thought of going near needles was way out of my comfort zone.
I walked into Old School Tattoo Parlor, pen and paper in hand along with a digital recorder and camera. The owner introduced himself as Crazy Alexander the ink pimp. His arms were covered in tattoos, his long grey hair hung in a braid down his leather vest. He showed me his latest addition, Captain Jack Sparrow that had just been tattooed on his side a few weeks earlier. I looked down at my orange Land’s End dress and matching sandals. I didn't have any ink marks on my arms or legs. I must have looked like some homogenized freak!
I found out that Crazy and his young wife, Ashley, help out with the needs of local receiving homes, host a community Thanksgiving dinner, and sponsor several of the athletic teams. They have a two year old named Harley who was born premature and weighed only 1 ½ pounds. Life is precious to someone who has watched a baby hang on by a thread. Crazy calls him a miracle and adds, “Parents need to spend time with their kids.”
The next day I had coffee with a few older ladies from church. One of them asked what stories I was working on. When I mentioned tattoos, one lady quickly remarked. "Well, I hope you are doing an unfavorable story!”
I acknowledge that there are mixed feelings on tattoos in the church. One thing we should all agree on is that judging one's character based on outward appearances isn't exactly living out the golden rule.
Take time to get to know those who are different than you, you may find that you have a lot more in common than you think. Respect is something that looks good on everyone.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

tough stuff

It was in the middle of the night when I sensed a presence standing near the head of my bed. I awoke to Jack, our nine year old, sobbing. His wrist had taken the brunt of his fall off a skateboard. Now it throbbed in pain. I pushed back the covers and let him slide in next to me.

As soon as Sierra Doctor’s opened the next morning we drove to Auburn.
When we got to the office we filled out the paper work and soon we were called into the room where casting was done. Jack immediately decided on green, because a black sharpie pen would show up. He has signed a lot of casts, so he knew the importance of planning ahead.

The x ray tech came in and took picture, then the doctor came in to give us the news. It was a bad fall, but the bones were fine. He recommended a wrist splint and told us that they could be purchased at the local Long's.

When we got in the car to come home I thought about how thankful I was our little boy was fine.
Jack loves playing outside. It is a part of who he is. The only way to avoid mishaps is to wrap our kids up in bubble wrap, put a helmet on them and prop them in a corner out of harmful U.V rays.

Sometimes the worst wounds are not the ones that leave physical scars, but the ones that are felt.

Life comes with a few bruises and even some tough breaks, isn’t it great to know that when we are sobbing in the middle of the night someone hears us as well.

Monday, September 7, 2009

One Man's Trash

This last Saturday , my two girls, Amy and Emma, and I went to the Dutch Flat White Elephant Sale. Every year I manage to find some treasure that I don't know how I ever lived without. One year I purchased an old wooden trunk for $35.00. Last year I found a set of old china dessert plates and a cup. This year I purchased a set of 14 silverware forks. As we carted home a few old books, a set of china dishes for Emma, and my forks I thought of how fun it is to go through the treasures cast off by others and the quote "One man's trash is another man's treasure."
Once home,I made myself a piece of toast with homemade plum jam, poured a cup of coffee and enjoyed a little snack with my eclectic collection.
Forget fine dining and elegant tea rooms! Sometimes the best things in life are in finding pleasure in simple treasures.