Today's Highlights

Waking up and spending my first waking moments in prayer.
A good workout after a five day break.
Crawling back into bed for some cuddle time with Mark before the kids wake up.
Addy's excitement at the "pure white snow".
A little girl running up to give me a hug as I show up for computer classes.
Another little boy wanting to hold my hand as we walk to class.
Finding a buy one get one free deal on something I was shopping for.
Hot bowl of Black Bean Soup shared with my Sweetie.
Both kids receiving an award at school.
E helping his sister with her homework.
Great piano students.
Start decorating for Christmas.
Playing ball with Pix.


Thanksgiving Weekend

Thanksgiving weekend is drawing to a close and I have yet to post what I am thankful about.   The weekend was full of family visits, shopping, playing games, and kids playing with their cousin. 

As for what I am thankful for:

Mark--I am thankful for the wonderful man who is my soul mate, my friend, and a source of strength in my life.

My Children--I am thankful for my children, two very special gifts from God, who bring so much joy to my life and are great young people to be around.

Pix--I am thankful for this little guy and the joy that he has brought into my life this year.  He is always happy to see me, cuddles when I need it, and was a great addition to our family this year.

My Parents--I am thankful for constant love and support in my life and that we are now friends, a gift that I do not take for granted.  

My Sister--I am thankful for the friend that has loved me, supported me, and been there through all of the ups and downs of life.   

Compassion Children--I am thankful that our family extends around the world now.   I love the connection that E and Addy feel with our Compassion Children and that we are all connected through God.

My Jesus--I continually stand in awe at his love and grace.   As I look back at the person I was, I am so thankful for the person he is helping me to become.

Friends--I am thankful for the friends that I have.  The support, love, and laughs that we share in life are so important in my life.


Our Day in Pictures

The day began with Computer Class - I had two big helpers today.

We met Daddy for lunch.

A trip to the grocery store and wash the car.

Time for wii....

and a win!

Playing ball.

Mail from Ama & Apa.

Nap time.

Monopoly challenge.

E snagged some cash...

Addy contemplates the trade.

The day ended with Addy cuddling with her daddy and E and I laughing so hard that we both had tears running down our face.    I love having my family home.



Last week I listened to a presentation on passion.  The presenter had put a wonderful power point presentation together on passion complete with quotes, pictures, and songs.   I wish I could give you more details about the it, but honestly it was presented during a spinning class and I was paying more attention to keeping up with the others in the class even though this was my first class.   I do remember these things about the presentation:

A picture of Lance Armstorng

A picture of Apolo Ohno

There were also pictures of the most passionate "famous" kisses from movies and art.  Unfortunately due to the class time, I had to leave before the end of the presentation, but I guess it ended with a picture of the Mayo Brothers. 

I think about all of these people and more, and look at their lives and what they have done with their lives, all I can say is... "Wow!"  These people live, breathe, and dream something until it is accomplished.   I admire this about them.  

Coincidentally enough, I had been wanting to read Apolo Ohno's book, Zero Regrets: Be Greater Than Yesterday.  I purchased the book last Thursday and began the book on Saturday.   Talk about getting in the mind of someone who is passionate!    I am not yet through the book so will save my review of it for later, but I am thoroughly enjoying it. 

Yesterday I listened to Scott Harrison's story, the founder and president of Charity: Water.   Another phenomenal story.   If you have not heard his story,  please check it out here

Scott, after visiting Africa, began a drive to bring clean water to one billion people.   He recreated what a charity looks like and because of bringing clean water to people, is bringing health and a chance to earn an income. 

Both passionate in a very different way, Apolo and Scott have made me ask the question of myself, what am I passionate about?   Do I live each day like like there is no tomorrow?  Do I live each day with "zero regrets"?    The answer is no, but I am trying.   Of course I am passionate.   I passionately love my husband and my children.   Each day I strive to make their lives as easy and as enjoyable as possible.   I hope to give my children the best possible foundation that I can so they can succeed in the future.  I am passionate about my students and that they have the best opportunity to express music and the gift that it is.  I am passionate about the friendships in my life and aiming to be a good friend.  I am passionate about our Compassion children, wanting them to have a better life, looking forward to when I will see them, in heaven if not here on earth.  Above all, however, I am passionate about my God.   Each day I want to become who he has made me to be.   Each day I walk with him, wanting the world to see his love though my life.   In Apolo's book he says,

"Every single on of us has a path to travel.  Everything happens for a reason.  This I believe.... I profoundly believe God has a plan for me." 

I don't know exactly where life will take me as my course is not as clearly defined as some.   But I keep building on the things that I am passionate about, and I may not touch the lives of millions or even billions, but perhaps I can share my love and passion for God, even if it is with just a few.  


Alex & Me

Alex & Me is a delightful story about an African Grey parrot and his owner, Dr. Irene Pepperberg, and the bond they form over thirty years of working together.   Dr. Pepperberg discovered her love of birds as a young child and carried that interest and fascination into her adult life by working with African Grey parrots.   The story while about scientific research is anything but dry, rather is a loving story about some of the accomplishments and obstacles faced by Dr. Pepperberg and Alex.   The stories and interactions about Alex's training were very enjoyable.  I read some of the stories to E & Addy and they laughed and enjoyed them as much I did. 


Spiritual Heritage

I am finally back at it.   I am on a plan, a bible reading plan that is.   I am being realistic this time and instead I am going to read through the bible in 100 days.   :)   Just kidding....kind of.   In 100 days I will read "an overview of the bible... without getting bogged down."   Rather than the 10 chapters a day that my last plan put me on, I have a chapter or two a day.   Yesterday was Genesis 1 & 2, today was Genesis 3.   Tomorrow half of chapter 5 and all of 6, etc.   I am excited but know that this will require some commitment on my part too as there are no "days off" as there was with the last plan.  But I figure I can find 5 to 10 minutes in each day to read my chapter or so, even if it is as I am going to bed at night.  

I have had a couple of things come at me in the past few days, and for some reason somewhere in my head, I have the nagging thought that they all connect together and that I need to pay attention to this.   Perhaps in typing this out to you I will find the connection.  

In church on Sunday the message was about the spiritual heritage we leave our children.   We can't, as parents, choose for our child to live a life of faith as that is a personally made decision.  We can, however, make sure that the "spiritual heritage" that we leave our children gives them the correct tools to choose a life of faith.   We have to make Jesus a natural thing in our lives.   When E and Addy are grown up, and someone asks them, what was something important in your family while you were growing up, would they answer "We loved Jesus"? 

  • Are conversations about Jesus we have as a family natural?   Do the kids hear Mark and I talking about Jesus?  Do we talk about Jesus with our kids?  
  • Is prayer a natural thing in our family?  Do the kids see us pray?  Do we pray with the kids?   Do we pray as a part of life, not just meal times or in times of crisis? 
  • Is devotion time a natural part of our family?   Do we read the bible with the kids?  Do we read the bible ourselves?  Do we talk about our bible reading and the things we are learning? 

This message hit me deep inside.   I want our children to grow up knowing Jesus and having the tools to choose a life of faith as I had growing up.   I remember family devotions, where we would all sit at the breakfast table eating breakfast together as a family and prayers that followed.  I remember cuddling up to my mom every morning when we woke up while she finished reading her bible.  I remember as a child wondering why the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac would make Mom cry, and now as a mom, I get it.   There are many more memories from my childhood that I remember a life of faith modeled for me.   I hope I can do the same for my children.  

As time drew near for both kids to be in school all day, I wondered how I would fill my days.  I didn't want to waste my days and in the future look back and say, "What was I doing all day?"   Rather, I have the desire to make each day meaningful in a new way.   I want to still model a life of faith to the kids, but what does that look like now that they are not around 24/7?  Obviously, taking time to adjust to my new job, some things had to be put on the back burner for a little while as there is only so many things a person can focus on at one time.   But now that I am settling in there, I am ready to start getting back to some things and possibly adding some new things.   This past summer when I was reading my bible every day, I was amazed at how much it really helped my day!   I wasn't reading because I was required to read, I was reading because I wanted to read.   I have missed it.   I have missed that time I spent with God each day.  So I have set up a new plan for myself, and I am really excited about it.   This will be an easy conversation point when talking to the kids about bible stories.   It is hard to talk to them about the stories if I am not reading them myself! 

I am excited about my new plan to be at the gym and get back to feeling good about myself and taking better care of myself.   Life has a much better perspective for me when I am feeling good about myself.   It is amazing how much that impacts my daily life.   I am amazed at the energy I feel today after my workout even though I was up at 5:30 to get to the gym.   I am anxious to see if I can maintain, this, but I am putting a priority on it so that I can. 

I tell you this because I read a blog post about pruning.   I want to be careful that while I am adding things to my life, I don't want to become over committed.   I want to be adding things to my life that bring value to life, both mine and my family.  I understand that pruning is not just about schedules, but about growth as well.   I know there will still be a time of pruning even though I am careful about what I add to my schedule.   But I am glad to have the reminder before hand. 

The other thing I wanted to share with you was from a different blog post that I read.   I still want my job as a parent to be my top priority in this season of life that we are in.   Just because the kids are at school all day does not mean that my job as a parent is any less important.  :)   Please check out this post , make sure to scroll down below the pictures and read what has encouraged me and given me a fresh view on my role as a parent.



I just finished reading Banished by Julie Brock and Tom Rigby.    Set in the future, the president of the United States has passed a law that religion of any kind can no longer be practiced.  Despite the ban and risks involved, a group of Christians, who do not know each other,  gather together in an online environment in order to encourage each other and explore faith.   The story does a great job of portraying what life could look like if we had to hide our faith from the government.  

As I read this book I was drawn into the story and how real the government ban on life was.   It left me contemplating what a ban on religion would look like and how that would affect my daily life as a Christian.   I would like to hope that I would be as courageous as this group of Christians was in such circumstances.  



Today I had to opportunity to work the Compassion International table at the Hearts at Home conference.  I had been looking forward to today ever since the email asking for volunteers was sent a little over two weeks ago.  My previous experience of hosting a Compassion table was almost two years ago at our church during a teaching series.   It was so fun to stand behind the table and watch as people would select a child, who is in need, to take home and provide a chance at a better life.    Earlier this week I found out that a friend of mine was volunteering at the same time, I was even more excited!

It was such a blessing today to stand at the table and watch again as children were sponsored.   It was fun and interesting to see how people chose the child that they did.   Some chose them based on their own children's birthdays so they would be similar ages.   Another person chose based on a location, or because the child had been waiting for almost a year for a sponsor.   Some read all of the information about the child, matching interests or just to see what the child liked.  There were a couple of people who walked up to the table and just picked up a packet without looking at the picture or the information.  No matter what it was that made each person pick the child or children that they did, I could not help but stand at the table and thank God that these children were getting help that they so need.   What a blessing that today while we were helping at the table nearly 50 children were sponsored!  



Transparent.  Understood.  Safe.  Loved.  Supported.   In a matter of two hours, I felt each of these feelings tonight.   I love this about the group of women who have been apart of my life for about seven years now.   Tonight, contemplating and processing,  I voiced something I have been praying about for a couple of years now.   With tears in my eyes, my friends encouraged me.   The best part of it all is that they are praying with me.   This is a comfort because this group has proven to me the power of prayer.   When they pray, things happen.   I love Wednesday nights when I get the opportunity to come together as a group to learn, grow, and together become who God created us to be.  


No Sweat

It was one of those moments that a person has when something profound happens and you can remember for a long time where you were, what you were doing, what you were thinking at the exact moment when a major event happens.   For example, I can tell you exactly where I was when I heard the news that a plane had flown into the twin towers.  I am talking about a moment like that.  One that I can distinctly remember happened on January 1, 2006.   After celebrating the beginning of another year watching the ball drop, I was laying in bed thinking about my New Year's Resolutions.   Up to that point I had never really set resolutions for fear of breaking them or the thought that I may forget about them a month later.   As I laid in the dark room contemplating what I most wanted to  happen, I came upon one resolution.  I wanted to loose weight.   After two pregnancies and not really sticking to any sort of diet,  I had put on more weight than I really wanted to deal with.   I hated the way I looked, clothes shopping was not any fun, and I just wanted to change.   My sister was getting married in September of that year, I made a short term goal to loose 2 pounds a month so that by September, I would be 18 pounds lighter.   There, resolution made, plan in place, I felt good.    September came, and I was just shy of my weight goal, but none the less, I felt good. 

Fast forward to Thanksgiving 2007, another day I will never forget.   I stepped on the scale to check the numbers before the holiday weekend began and that day marked a total loss of 50 pounds.   I had done it.   I didn't jump up and down or anything like that, rather I remember sitting on the steps thinking back about how I had done it.  I felt good, because I had lost the weight, but I had also stuck with something and had done something that was good for myself.  

This Thanksgiving marks 3 years that I have maintained very close to the weight I was at Thanksgiving of 2007.   It as been work and been a continual effort of keeping after my diet after slipping, as a diet tends to do.   January 1, 2011 will be the five year anniversary of making the goal, it is hard to even fathom it.  

Today begins a new personal journey.   I have proven to myself that I can keep the weight off.   I have done that.  My new goal involves exercise.   It is an area that I really lack in as I did not loose weight by exercising, but by portion control alone.   I mean, I walk or I will play Wii Fit, but really exercise was not a priority.  Last Thursday I joined the Healthy Living Center.   I was scared, excited, and overwhelmed.  

My dad took me to the center to help me get started as I had never set foot in a fitness center before.   He mentioned I might want an extra change of clothes depending on how much I sweat when I exercise.  Packing an extra set, I thought "I don't sweat much."  He gave me a great idea for remembering my code in the locker room so I am not one of the people staring at a locker that has my belongings locked in it that I cannot access due to forgotten codes.  Next he showed me where the towels are and grabbed one.   I followed suit thinking, "I don't sweat much." 

We started on the treadmills and I thought to myself, I can do this.   No sweat!  After about four minutes Dad said I seemed to be doing well, I could bump up the intensity if I wanted to.   Sure, why not?!?!  After about 15 minutes on the treadmills, my dad asked if I was OK, to which I replied, doing great!   He left to do some other exercises and I put my music on.   I followed each incline change that was on the program and all of a sudden I was walking inclines of 21% then 24% and yikes, it hit 30% incline.  Honestly I think it is the first time I have ever had a workout like that, and I am glad I grabbed a towel! 

Here is to day one at the fitness center.   It wasn't as scary as I had anticipated, thanks Dad!   I am planning to go back again tomorrow.   Next week, I have scheduled a Wellness Evaluation.   I have no high hopes or unrealistic expectations of this exam.   I know I am out of shape...after all, that is why I am going to the center.  I don't know how I am going to measure this goal yet, I am hoping the evaluation next week will give me some answers to that.   In the mean time, I am going to head back to the fitness center and hopefully get my bearings. 


November Reading

Our family project continues with Adventure stories this month.  If you missed the post explaining our project check it out here.   Last month's genre was Historical Fiction.  As a family we read stories from fourteenth century China to Texas just prior to becoming a state, from Eastern America in 1904 to South Carolina during World War II.   At the end of the month we shared what we had learned about the time period, what our favorite part of the book was, and rated the book on a 1 to 5 star rating. 

This month the genre is Adventure.   The reading continues! 


It Is Time

The weekend is just around the corner, and I am so excited and ready for it.  Consisting of dancing to toddler tunes, playing with stuffed animals and/or dolls, loving, laughing, supporting, and yes, sometimes tears, these weekends have become an important part of what we do.    I love these "girls" and I cannot wait for girls weekend.



I have recently finished reading Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.  It is a wonderful story about Santiago's mission to find his Personal Legend.   Through the northern part of Africa, Santiago faces many choices about whether to continue on his journey or settle for the circumstances of the present as good as they may seem.   Through the desert he finds inner peace, true love, and self respect.   

This book has caused me to ponder daily interactions and events knowing that somethings are brought into our lives that we can choose take the step forward, or we can choose to ignore the opportunity and stay in the present wishing we had a different option.   We may not always know where the next step will lead, or what is to come in the future, but if we keep taking a step forward, moving to make ourselves better, we just may find our own treasure. 


A Little Late

I know, I know, Halloween is over and the costumes are put away.   I have been so busy I didn't get to share the kids' costumes with you so, I am going to take a brief minute on this wonderful November day to do that.  

E decided that he was going to be Shaun White this year for Halloween, who could blame him?  Shaun White is the best!   The things he can do on a snowboard make me want to get out on one....almost.   The catch to this costume was to find the red hair that Shaun has, and we did!  

For the parade at school E decided that wearing a winter coat inside for an hour, so we gathered up some knee and elbow pads, a helmet, and a skateboard, and voila!   Another great person in sports.... Tony Hawk!
In this picture E is standing by his teacher Mrs. Kuisle who dressed as the Queen of Hearts and played the character to the hilt with accent and all!  

Addy became a beautiful Renaissance queen and was dazzling in her long hooped skirt dress and crown.   She received a lot of comments on her gown.

For trick-or-treating, Rae-Rae joined the kids as Elmo and quickly got the hang of saying Trick-or-Treat, Thank you, and "next house!"   

Every Vote Counts

Today was the day for voters to go to the polls to vote for their choice as to who is going to be in charge of the state or their representative in congress and/or senate.   The problem for me is, as the sun came up on this day we exercise our right and privilege as an American citizen, I thought I knew who I was going to vote for, but if anyone asked me why, my reasoning wasn't anything concrete, just based on hearsay from other people.   As I was sitting at the breakfast table contemplating this, an email from my brother-in-law came up in my inbox.   It was a link from MPR radio that gave you a quiz and would match you with the candidate that matched your views and opinions about different topics with the candidates running.   Perfect, this is just what I needed.  Upon completing the test, I had more information and less answers to my question of who I was going to vote for. 

The results of the quiz gave me the exact opposite choice of who I was thinking I was going to vote for.   I had to decide if I wanted to vote for a candidate with whom had similar views on a majority of the issues the quiz asked about or if I wanted to vote for a candidate that had the same view point on two issues I feel particularly strong about right now.   Unfortunately, no one candidate covered both areas.   So, I spent the afternoon trying to decide if I wanted to vote with the general campaign of a candidate or the specific issues.   At one point in the afternoon, I was tempted to just not vote, what is one vote anyway?   I mean, really, in the grand scheme of things, does one vote really matter?  Yes.  Yes, it does I told myself and continued to process the information I had in front of me.  

By 3:00 in the afternoon, I could not process anymore and I decided to go vote.  I decided to vote with the specific issues and know that at least I had made a decision.   It is a first for me.   I have traditionally asked Mark who he was going to vote for and followed suit or voted along political party lines.  I know that the voting process is in place so that the general population can choose the leaders, and in this race, no, my one vote was probably not going to sway the campaign one way or the other, but at the end of the day, I read the information, made a choice, and voted upon that choice.