Monday, September 27, 2010

The Valley

This past weekend we had our 10-year high school reunion. We had about a 20% turn-out. I honestly don't think that is that bad of a turn-out. But I was disappointed with the number of people who live locally, who have jobs and homes and contribute to society, who didn't bother to come. Anyway, I was thinking about why they didn't come and it got me thinking about stigma of "staying in the Valley." I wonder if that's why some people didn't come. I don't necessarily think that they're embarassed that they stayed, as much as they thought others, who left, would think that we're not doing anything with our lives because we stayed in this place.

I guess to both parties I'd like to ask, "What would happen if we all left?" It's already called the "great brain drain." Everyone with intelligence and education leaves to find better jobs and better lives and this area falls by the wayside. I'm not sure if it's true. I think plenty of people value living near their families, living in a place with low cost of living, who are educated and able to contribute. Anyway, I just think it's horrible that A) people are embarrassed that they stayed and B) that people think they're better cause they left. Those of us who stayed have a a big job to do. And those who left - well, good luck :)

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Friday, August 27, 2010


Today ends the second week of my homeschooling adventure. So far - easy breezy.

1. I would lack the self-discipline.
2. I'm not patient enough.

1. It doesn't take that much discipline. Honestly, it's fun. It doesn't take too long, and I find myself excited to spend the time with my girlies.
2. I'm not patient enough. But I'm working on this one.

Most people who know me, know I'm more the capable of homeschooling my children, and that their education will probably be superior to public school, and so I don't receive a lot of criticism for that. However, the number ONE criticism I hear - over and 0ver - is that my kids are going to be some sort of anti-social freaks.

I could give some long drawn-out response to that, but I will say, that my children spend several hours playing with their siblings every day. They fight - and learn how to resolve it. For the most part, the get along well, respect each other, and learn much how to interact with each other. The world is a cruel place, and if I can teach my children how to behave and react in an encouraging home environment until they mature, I believe they'll handle social situations with more dignity than students who pick up baggage from the insecurities that those early school years develop. This is one criticism that has not been a fear of mine.

1. Freedom of scheduling. I've always been a free-bird of sorts. So the freedom to do school after dinner, if needed, is awesome. Today, we didn't do school. We did half of today's stuff yesterday, and we'll do the other half, which is reading, over the weekend. It's BEAUTIFUL today and the girls have been outside playing all afternoon. I have the freedom to let them play today :)

2. Sonlight. I was extremely overwhelmed when I decided to homeschool and really started researching what all there is. Sonlight makes it so easy! I pull out the lesson plan binder and it's all right there. I really can't believe how easy it has made it. We're doing a Pre-K 4/5 curriculum with Evelyn (5) and Riley (3.5). And I'm doing K math and Language Arts 1 with Evelyn. We're moving slowly with those as she's not technically in kindergarten yet, but I can't believe how well she is reading!

3. Being part of the milestones.

4. This one is embarrassing for me to admit, but I really don't spend a lot of 'quality time' with the girls (at least not when I compare myself to other moms - tsk, tsk!). I work at the church part-time and like my house to be semi-clean, and it's easy to just pop in a video or send them outside. I've enjoyed spending the time with them - it's created a real bonding opportunity.

5. Surrounded by Faith. Our curriculum is so faith based. I love having Bible as a daily subject. The girls love reciting their verses for Daddy. It's definately a cool thing. :)

Ah, geeze....

It's been so long since I posted that I don't even know where to start! Here's a picture of the whole gang at Eric and Kayla's wedding. Riley hates to have her picture taken, which stinks because she's so stinking cute.
So what's been going on in my life:
1. I've gained weight. Gah! I've needed to lose 15 pounds since Gigi was born, and now I need to lose 20-25 pounds. That's not really fun. I love working out, but I don't always find the time to do it. (For example, I could be doing it now!) But the main cause is my lack of self-control when it comes to food. Anyway, the WiiFit told me the other day that I'm officially "over-weight" for my height and based on how small my pants are all getting, I'd have to agree. So I've been dieting - watching carbs and calories - and trying to exercise more.
2. Enjoying summer with my girls! I was so excited to have a summer with no babies! We hit up the pool a lot and just in general had fun this summer. Loved it.
3. Cleaning, sometimes cooking, cleaning, attempting to work, cleaning. I definately have too much on my plate because something always suffers in my life. For the past few weeks, I've been keeping the house clean, but I haven't been working as many hours. Etc. One thing always suffers in order to make way for another.
4. Homeschooling. This deserves a special post. :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Never-ending Struggle?

Since I was 16 and hit puberty head-on, I've struggled with my weight flucuating. I've struggled with working out on a regular basis. It's still the same struggle. Except now I'm as heavy as I've ever been and am almost technically overweight. I'd like to blame it on having 3 babies, and that may be what initially caused the gain, but I'm doing a fantastic job of keeping it on by my eating choices. The past 7 weeks have been go-go-go for us: 2 weeks at camp, a retreat, a slew of Affix gigs, and busyness with my job with no time to cook have led to eating a bunch of what I shouldn't and not much of what I should.

Ack. So here I go. I'm going to attempt a raw diet detox this week. Basically, only water and raw fruits and vegetables for at least a week. The best part of this diet is that you can eat as much as you want as far as the veggies are concerned. I'll let you know how it goes! I'm actually not going to committ to working out. One thing at a time. :)

My biggest struggle is going to be giving up my daily chai latte. Oh, I miss it already!

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Switching Hats

It's July now, which my month of June is over. My month of two weeks of camp and 3 days of retreat are over. I wish I would have blogged more about these experiences, but obviously, I was busy on my in-between days. There were wonderful days and awful days, but mostly days filled with fun, faith, friends, and fellowship.

One of the hardest things though is switching back into SAHM roll. It's so wonderful having an adult to talk to first thing in the morning, co-laborers who help you through the days tasks, and prayer and Bible study times. I guess that is what makes it a retreat though.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Random thought

Riley is the age Evelyn was when I had Gigi, and Gigi is almost the age Riley was when I had Gigi. No wonder I wasn't happy about being pregnant! That was crazy and I'm giving myself a certificate of achievement for having 3 kids 3 and under!

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Monday, May 10, 2010

A case of momnesia

I'm sitting at the dentist office, in the parking lot actually, between two identical silver Nitros blogging from my Blackberry because I got the time for my appointment wrong. I am 2 hours early, which is rather impressive considering I'm rarely on time for anything. Maybe this is what God intended: time for me to sit and write and the shade on a beautiful Monday afternoon. Except of course, I don't agree. I was in the middle of doing laundry, the house is a wreck, my mom is watching the girls, and while she doesn't really mind, she has this way of making me feel guilty for asking her. I feel like a failure. Now my appointment that I thought was 1 is at 3 and I have to get home and have the girls ready and be back out to St Clairsville at 6, which I can say, quite assuredly, I will be late for. I also have to teach tomorrow, which means the babysitter is going to get to experience my disgusting house because there will be no time to clean it. Sigh. Oh sigh.

So this is a bad day coupled on top of some bad weeks. Two children from our small communities have passed away. Both tragically and unexpected.

Conflict, again, with an organization that Richard and I have been dedicated to for years. This times lies were told, both to me, and about me. Amazingly, I've been able to find some peace, only through God's grace.

Our small group ended and it went really well. I'm looking forward to doing another one in the fall. But now I kinda feel let down, I need accountability in my spiritual walk, and I'm afraid for the summer ahead.

YM is only going so, so. I used to rely on summer break as a time to build relationships with my students, but they're driving now, applying for jobs, taking summer classes, and doing who knows what else.

Sorry for such a downer post, but it's where I am.

I will add that I've been doing some homeschool prep and I'm pretty excited about that! :)
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Youth Ministry Success

This past Sunday was Youth Sunday at our church. It's a popular thing among smaller churches to have the youth lead the service once or twice a year. It's very draining to me, but it's a great thing for so many reasons. But as you know I've been having some troubles in my job, and consequently, I was feeling a lot of pressure to perform. It took a lot of prayer on my part to move past that.

The service was thrown together in so many ways. The students are all so busy this time of year with musicals and track and soccer and proms that getting them all together in one place at one time was nearly impossible. When it cam down to it: the boy who played the offeratory messed up badly and laughed (with Richard) during the middle of it. I was literally running copies 3 minutes before the service. And I never even read what the girl who was doing part of the sermon with me was going to recite! It seriously had disaster written all over it and the result: a miracle.

I stepped out in faith and put in an element of experiential worship. At the end of the service I had the youth stand in the center aisle and had the adults cheer for them, and then I asked them to keep cheering and imagine surrounding them "So great a cloud of witnesses" from the past 180 years who went before us to be with the Lord. And we finished with reading Hebrews 12:1-2. I really wasn't sure how'd they would respond and I told Richard beforehand that it was either going to be well received or an epic fail. (I contiously did not ask them to leave their pew because people in our church have a tough time giving up their assigned seat - you know, the frozen chosen). One woman even got out of her seat and gave all the students a hug.

How do I feel: relieved, and thankful, and hopeful. Hopeful, that it was a step of growth. Sometimes I feel like so much of church life is two sides pitted against each other (and lately it's been young v old). Hopeful, that we can see that we're different and worship different ways, but with the same goal: preserving the legacy of faith. The faith that has been passed down to us from Abel, and Noah, and Abraham, and Isaac, and time would fail me to speak of all those of the past and present who are leaving me and the younger generations a heritage of faithfulness.

I seriously only heard one complaint (and it was the standard, "this was so nice, I wish we could the kids in church every Sunday"). But I've resigned myself to that complaint. All in all, when the church secretary emails and tells you she heard nothing but good things: relief! Thank you Jesus! :)
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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Don't Judge the YM

I had a group of kids at the mall today. We managed to break apart at one point and I had Riley, Gigi and two middle school girls with me in Crafts2000. Riley inevitably had to pee, so I told the girls to watch Gigi for me. As I came out of the bathroom, they came running up to me with Gigi in the middle of a shopping cart filled with rubber balls. I of course laughed, but some other nearby moms thought it was appropriate to give me dirty looks. Don't judge the youth minister lady. Don't judge.
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Friday, April 2, 2010

6 weeks

6 weeks til Richard is on summer break. 6 weeks til my family doesn't revolve around a school schedule... 6 weeks til 3 months of freedom.

I think I have my expectations set a little high...
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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Feeling cheated...

I was pondering today my relationship with a lot of the people in our church. The majority of our congregation is in their 70's, 80's and we even have a few in their 90's. My pastor often criticizes the fact that I don't have a strong enough relationship with them, and I was thinking, "Well, it's hard, they're old enough to be my grandparents." We have not 1 but 2 generations that separate us. It was my parents who were protesting Vietnam while they were trying to keep the reigns on their children. I was in the 3rd grade during the first gulf war, many of them were in the 3rd grade during WWII. They were raised during the industrial revolution, me during the "technilogical" revolution. What we have in common is a love for Jesus, but most of the time our differences stand-out like a sore thumb. I love raising my children in a small multi-generational church, but I think it's unrealistic to think I'm going to become friends with them. What do you think?

People are living longer and longer. We have a woman who is 50 and regularly attends church with her grandmother. Therefore, the older generations of older congregations are holding onto the baton longer and longer which leaves people like Richard and I who are in their later 20's ready to lead and having no place to do it. It leads to frustration and when we leave those emotions unchecked they lead to sin. In the book I'm reading: the Relationship Principles of Jesus Tom Holladay suggests that we deal with that emotion by cutting off the circumstance. (Matt 5:30). What would that look like in this scenario? I think it has looked like the surge of new churches that started in the 80's and is still taking place today. Again, what do you think? I think we end up with churches like Richard's aunt's - 4,000 members and not one over the age of 60. It saddens me to think children in that congregation are missing out on the benefit of having extra-grandparents.

I also wonder what it will be like for me as I age. As the television cartoon the Jetsons becomes more of a reality I'm beginning to think hover-crafts and warp zones aren't so far off. Will I roll with the changes or gravitate to the familiar? Right now I like the music Evelyn likes, but I also like the music my parents like. At the youth ministry convention I attended 2 guys in their early 60's were laying down worship music in funky grooves and I found myself digging it and wishing my parents were there. Some of my best friends are in their 40's and I love their fellowship. I guess my point is that I connect easily with people 1 generation away, in either direction, but find it challenging when 2 or even 3 come between us.

Lastly, all this thinking led me to think about my grandparents, in particular my grandmother. She died 16 years ago on April 5th. I won't mention it then because it's also my mom's birthday and I'd rather celebrate my mom's life than my grandmother's death. But there are days where I feel cheated, she was my last grandparent and she died when I was 12. I think she'd be 82 and would have lived to meet my kids and several of my cousins. I wish I could end this with some great conclusion, but I don't have one. I love the fact that we have so many generations living amongst us, feel cheated that I didn't have this in my life, but am frustrated by what this means for the life of our congregation.
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Friday, March 19, 2010

Small Group!

So a small group is something that has been on my heart for a long, long time. I miss fellowshipping with adults! And, I need some accountability in my life. So I prayed about it for a long time and was leaning toward starting a woman's group in my home.

(However, one of the complaints the people have of me at work/church is that I don't work enough hours, which I do, but I wasn't keeping a time-sheet. When I first started working there, four years ago, they told me I didn't need to. Well, I didn't for their purposes, but I did to protect my own butt. Lesson learned. So I decided back in January that I didn't need to give them any fuel for their fire and I would hold off).

Obviously, my desire/need for a fellowship group didn't hold off, and it was something I kept praying about. In the mean time, I've managed to scrounge up some committed volunteers (yay!) and was concerned about their spiritual lives as I wasn't spending any time with them apart from the students. Surely, the church people couldn't be mad at me for investing in the lives of my volunteers! Equals a volunteer Bible study. :)

So yesterday, it was me and Richard (my chief volunteer for 4 years, you go baby!), Amy and Dave (their children are in the 5th and 6th grade and I pulled them up this year because we had 0 junior highers, and Amy has been teaching senior high Sunday School for me), Scott (graduated college the same summer the recession hit, was unable to find a job, so got 'stuck' in the valley . . . we were able to pull him in by simply expressing that we could use his gifts), and Joyia (I know little about her, she's not a volunteer, but my pastor asked me to invite her because she's younger, so I did). As you can see, it is this rather hodge-podge group of single and married people, about a 15-year age span and rather diverse economic backgrounds. We didn't fit together too well, except that in a sense we're all people looking for fellowship in what at times seems like a God-forsaken place.

Growth: did you know that 50% of people asked to join a small group say yes? That was an interesting factoid. So next week, we'll hopefully have even more people in our eclectic group as we all set out with the goal of inviting someone new.

How'd it go? Well, I guess. Awkward silences, yes. I'll update you here in a few weeks :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A little on the sad side . . .

Some things have been going on with Richard's work - some of it is his fault and some of it isn't, but let's just say his job isn't exactly secure at the moment. At the very least, he's going to receive a rather dramatic pay cut starting June 1, on top of the pay cuts he's already received.

Fortunately, we've been pretty responsible with our money and we should be okay, but we are going to have to put aside our dream of paying off our mortgage this year. And maybe even next year . . .

I'm not going to lie. I'm pretty sad about that. I was really hoping we could start building the top of our house within five years of moving into the basement, and it looks as if this will also push that dream back. I'm also not looking forward to living on a really tight budget, but that's just me being a spoiled brat.

Really, a lot of this has to do with me, letting go of my plans. I concoct in my mind these plans, and when something happens to throw a wrench in them, I revolt against it. So right now, I'm just trying to hang on to knowing that God's plan is better for me than mine, but I even fight that. I hate my sin nature. The end.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Holy heck!

I thought I was done blogging for the day, but I have to write this!

Evelyn, at the age of 4 and 1/2, took her first willful nap! Laid down in bed and fell asleep with the full-intention of taking a nap! I'm almost speechless. I might check her temperature.

Since I'm writing about Evelyn I might as well add some other thoughts:

- I have started giving her responsibilities! Woot! At the advice of some parenting expert on K-love, I've decided to give her one, age-appropriate task, that I first demonstrated, then assisted, and am now asking her to complete independently. After we get this down, we'll work on a new one. She's been making her bed like a champ for a few weeks now! Yay Evelyn!

- I've been slacking on homeschooling :/. I'm still going to attempt Kindergarten this/next year, but I'm not sure it's going to work. I'm working too many hours and I'll have to find a way to cut back in order to homeschool. Time will tell; I'm not sweating it!

- She's growing up and is starting to get excited about things like sleep-overs and daddy dates and friends.

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Winter? Spring? Winting? This is generally one of my least favorite times of the year. I hate the changing of seasons. However, this year I have had my full-share of snow, as we were bountifully blessed. The last few days we have had temperatures in the high 40's to almost 60! However, we still have 6-12 inches of snow in places; although, there are places where it's completely melted. We live on one of the highest points in Belmont County in the foot hills of Appalachia on a north-east facing slope. Therefore, we get more snow and it melts later.

It's been weird! The girls and I went out to play this morning, as the forecast is calling for rain the rest of the week, and I wanted to get them out in the sunshine! I've actually been enjoying the remaining snow because our yard is so muddy from the melt that it's a good way to clean our boots off before coming in the house. And we even had enough that we went down the hill twice this morning! Without our coats on! LOL. We only went twice because we're pretty tired of the snow and we spent most of the time playing on the swingset and a little bit on the trampoline.

This post isn't put together very well. I just wanted to say I'm enjoying the season change. I'm prepared for one more snow, but looking foward to getting the girls out to play on their swingset, soccer, and picnics. And excited for my three favorite months of the year: April, May and June! Woot :) I'm also looking forward to the time change. Love the extra evening sunshine and Richard getting home before sunset!

Youth Ministry Update

All said in my last post, I still have my doubts about ministry. I too easily allow my emotions from one successful moment or one dreadful meeting lead my heart and my mind. I need serious prayer in that I feel my heart, almost physically at times, being torn in two directions. While I love, love, love youth ministry. I hate, hate, hate working for a church. I love every aspect of the ministry opportunity I have: I love being relational with teenagers; I love doing administrative work, I love encouraging volunteers and planning events and chatting with parents.

My past with the church is a long history, and so I come in predisposed to having, at best, an awkward relationship with it. I've been hurt so many times that the scared child part of me wants to get out before I get hurt again. And I see it happening, the power plays, the communication break-downs, the gossip, the misdirected frustrations that are all a part of small-church ministry.

Both directions are valid. Both come from a very real places of joy and pain.

SYMC Highlights

I have so much to blog today that I don't know where to start! I thought I would highlight the Simply Youth Ministry Conference that Richard and I attended last weekend. I went into the weekend rather drained from my youth ministry experiences (actually, more accurately stated would be: drained from working in a church, I still have this enormous love for my students and youth ministry in general). I was desperately in need of encouragement and I received it 10x over. So for that, I owe the SYMC team a huge "Thank you!"

The general sessions had you belly-laughing one minute and crying the next. Connections that deep can only come from sharing each other's experiences. You feel as if every leader of SYMC has somehow experienced all the same joys and sorrows.

I got to see Toby Mac . It was kind of funny; I think the ym's were way more excited about seeing him than my youth kids would have been. You're getting old Toby, lol.

I also attended the Speaking to Teenagers track with Duffy Robbins, who is one of my all-time favorite speakers. It was wonderful and I felt infused with knowledge!

Ultimately, the weekend came down our relationships with Jesus and the legacy we were leaving in the hearts of the teenagers we work with. Amazing :)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Thankful for a Board Game

Last night we spent the evening with Richard's aunt and her sons, Jake and Cole. Jake is 15 and Cole is 13.

Rewind: when we were packing, I thought to throw the game Settlers of Catan in our bag. It's a fun stratagy game, that I highly recommend!

Fast forward: we arrive at their home yesterday and Jake was excited to see us and greeted us cheerly, but that lasted about 15 minutes and he realized that Richard wasn't the fun big cousin that Jake remembered from when he was little. Richard totes along diaper bags and Dora videos, and a bossy 4-year-old. He quickly migrated to his room where he picked up the Xbox Live controller. Cole is still young enough that he didn't mind playing Easter Egg hunt with Evelyn. Later that evening Linda was telling us how distant Jake has grown from her and Tom. He definately has become a typical young teen. So after dinner and visiting and getting the girls settled, I suggested that we play Settlers with Jake and Cole. It was great, and I'm so glad we did. I was never so thankful for a simple board game.

I also forgot (on here) to wish Riley a happy 3rd birthday. That's probably because I'm in denial. She's still my baby. Happy Birthday Riley!

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

A fun road trip?

We're about an hour from our suburban Chicago destination for the Simply Youth Ministry Conference, which is amazing :). Tonight we will visit Richard's aunt and uncle and cousins, and the conference will take place tomorrow evening, Saturday and Sunday.

I have to say I've actually been enjoying the road trip. Richard and I are so busy and it's given us some time to just be together. Of course, road trips "to" are always so much more exciting than "from." But non-the-less, it's been going great. It's an 8-9 hour trip, and we've figured out how to travel fairly succesfully with the girls. We left yesterday around 5:30 and I drove the 2+ hours to my brother and sister-in-law's in Columbus where we had a nice visit and dinner. Gigi was in love with their cats and chased them around the whole time saying "Meow. Meow." During the drive, Richard read to me from his youth ministry text, required for him and enjoyable for me. I'm not really a "music" girl and I'd rather listen to talk-radio, so this was even better because it was Richard reading to me. :)

We left my brother's at 9:30. By this time, the girls had burnt off some steam and Gigi was ready for bed. This was the toughest leg of the journey because Richard and I were so tired, but it makes it so much easier on the girls. We popped a movie in for E and R, since I knew they weren't ready to sleep after sleeping all the way to Columbus. I rearranged the van for this journey, flipped Gigi facing-forward, and moved Evelyn over in the back. With the help of a t.v. tray I was able to set our mini-DVD player up so they could all see it.

We made it to Indianapolis a little before 1 a.m. We managed to get a sweet hotel rate from hotwire! Slept nicely and got up and had a nice breakfast. Richard managed to finish some school work after breakfast while I let the girls play in the bath. We hit the road again around 11:30 a.m. just in time for Gigi's nap (Riley took one too)! Woot! I drove again while Richard did more reading from the youth text outloud.

Richard's finishing up the last leg while the girl's take in some Dora. And with only 47 minutes remaining to Linda's, I have to say, it's been our most successful road trip to date!

P.S. Evelyn has spent a lot of time playing with an activity book and crayons. And snacks, have also been vital!

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

On the road, again...

This weekend, we had an awesome opportunity to visit with some great friends from Japan. Well, they're not from Japan anymore, they live in Chesapeake VA and we met them for a weekend of snow in Canaan Valley WV. Woot. It was awesome, ice-skating, swimming, amazing buffets and skiing for the guys. Chuck and Kevin (16) and Richard and Tyler (my brother, 13) had a great time on the slopes. Marcia and I taught Evelyn and Riley to ice-skate, and they didn't do half bad for their first time. Evelyn had a chance to learn to ski, but she didn't like it! Gigi also went ice-skating but in her shoes. It was so cute.

This is the second time I've seen them this year (Richard's third), which is an amazing blessing, since we went 3 straight years with no visits! When we visited the Ellis's this past summer, we decided to plan something soon because 3 years was too long!

We also stopped on out way home and had dinner with John-Mark Stone, Camp Presmont friend, and that was wonderful. It's such a reward to see a young man who loves God and seeks to please Him! Blessing, blessing.

I'll try to post pictures on FB soon of our weekend adventures!

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Sunday, February 14, 2010


I just watched Julie and Julia, a fantastic movie about a girl blogging about herself and Julia Childs. It's really good, anyway, it has gotten me into the writing mood. A contemplative mood. It's been a while since I've blogged and now I can think about 3 different pieces I'd like to write.

Youth Ministry. Today we had youth group. I have 3 students who are active in our senior high youth group. That is about 30% of the senior high students in our church, so I would guess that is actually a decent percentage. However, today we had youth group and not one of them came. This isn't uncommon - in such a small group - they often coordinate absences. However, this year we combined our jr/sr high group and I had to deliver my message, that was very much written with them in mind, to the jr highers. And won't be able to repeat it anytime soon, in that setting! This is just a frustration I have with doing ministry in a small church. It was a good message, an inspired message, and I wish I had recorded it.

Garbage. I have a pretty strict rule about not blogging or FBing negatively about my husband or children. This isn't to be fake and act like my marriage and home life is some utopia, but rather because I wouldn't want them doing the same about me. So I hesitiated to write this thought, but I figured it could be a chance to be transparent and to perhaps teach a lesson. Richard and I probably get into a good fight at least once a week. And I fight much, much dirtier than Richard ... It really is an area I struggle in.

One thing we fight over frequently is ... Garbage. Literally garbage. Growing up my dad always took care of the garbage. He really didn't do any household chores other than that. So it maybe it is wrong of me to just assume that the garbage (and recycling) should be Richard's job. After all, I cook, clean, do laundry, do dishes, budgeting/ bill pay, schedule appointments, all while working 2 jobs and looking after our 3 children! Okay, I'm playing "woe is me" a little bit. Richard does help with some of those things, some of the time, and he works full-time, goes to school full-time, and then some, but all I want him to do is take out the freaking garbage!!! Actually, he does usually take it out without being asked even... It's usually the recycling that piles up until I can't open the utility room door w/o it cascading upon my head. (Okay, I'm exaggerating again, sorta).

You get the picture. :) More later, duties call.
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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Round and round

Well, we're finished with 4 weeks of BTC this quarter and Richard is finishing up his 2nd week at Liberty and I'm already ready for a break! Fortunately, Richard's semester is divided into 2, 6 week terms, and he gets a week for spring break in just 6 weeks. I love that! Too bad our breaks don't fall on the same week:/ (I have 7 weeks until my Spring break).

Today is a day of laundry, cleaning, and catching up with Calvary work. Although, I was doing a pretty good job of keeping up with the house until I got sick last weekend. Boo. Thankfully, we had our children close together and they entertain each other. I feel bad neglecting them. Sigh.

The good news is that I figured we'll be getting a hefty tax return this year (still waiting on my W-2 from Calvary) and we'll have the van paid off by the end February and have $$$ left over to get us well on our way to our 3-6 months living expenses in the bank. Woohoo! I really can't wait to start tripling and quadrupling our mortgage payments! I was hoping to have the mortgage paid off by the end of 2010, but it'll looking like it won't be until next years tax return. Either way, the end of our insanity is in our sight!
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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sick Day

So Thursday night the girls got sick - I mean, fine one minute and then puking the next. Yesterday Evelyn laid on the couch all day and slept or watched movies. So just as the girls were perking up last night it hit Richard and I. Thankfully, between the Taylor's and my parents were not going to have to take care of the girls all day. So guess what we've been doing? Sleeping on the couch and watching movies.

I've become accustomed to always being busy, so I'm actually rather annoyed that I don't have the energy to move. My head is throbbing right now! I took some Tylenol and hopefully, I'll hold it down and this headache will cease!
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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Church Talk

I was sitting in church this morning and Richard leaned over and asked, "What are you thinking?" I guess I was wearing the look. We sit in the cry-room in the back of the church where we have a view of the entire congregation. I leaned over and replied, "I think there's one person out there who is under 60." I wish I could say I was exaggerating, but I wasn't. There literally was one person, a 6th grader sitting with her grandmother, who was under 60 (maybe a few are still in their late 50's). There were 5 "families" in church today, they were in the cry-room with us. As I relayed these thoughts to one of my supportive-former session members after church, I asked her if she thought it would help if they could sit back there and see it. Her response, "They know it Kendra. We're providing hospice care to a dying congregation."

Anyone know of any church successful at creating a sub-church within an exisiting church? I really see it as our only hope.
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Friday, January 8, 2010

Christmas Part V

I'm ending it here!

On the 26th, we woke up and enjoyed some of our new toys: Richard's iTouch and of course the Wii and WiiFit! We just love it. The girls' are playing it as I write, so I say if the novelty hasn't worn off in two weeks for a 2 and 4 year old, it's a good gift!

However, enjoying our gifts was short lived, as I had to finish my gift-exchange gift for the Badia family party (my mom's side of the family). I had been working on that stinking sweater for months - "the project" - and I was so relieved to have it over! Nothing like going down to the wire. We loaded up the cookies, and games, and gifts, and supplies, and girls and hit the road once again (hehe - my aunt and uncle live about 2 miles away). My mom's side of the family's meal is fantastic; it's why I claim to be Italian when really I'm a lot more German :). We had wedding soup, stuffed shells (with pork, not just plain old ricotta), meatballs w/ peas (yes, that's the third meat!) and HAM! Lol, tradition has it that the reason that Italian's have the feast of the 7 fishes is because fish is plentiful in Italy, and better meats were saved for the Christmas Meal!We also have salad and homemade rolls and sweet potatoes; I'm salivating writing this.

Moving on: last year we started a white elephant gift exchange with a twist: you have to make your own gift! We had been doing gift exchanges in the past, but they got pretty expensive, so we decided to do this, so we would still have the fun of exchanging gifts but it wouldn't be as expensive. So I got this bright idea to crochette a sweater. I'm pretty good at crochetting and made it pattern-free. I really loved it (except the sleeves weren't the best, but I ran out of time so had to make them shorter than I planned). And guess who won it: Eric! The one person who could not use it. LOL. And Kayla (his fiancee) would not be able to wear it either. So, anyway, oh well. Richard won a set of dried herbs from my mom and I won a painting that Eric did that Evelyn really wanted. It's hanging in her room. :D [It was so funny as we were leaving Tracy told Evelyn, you know I really wanted that painting, and Evelyn replied, "Well, you can come look at it in my room." Oh, too funny!]

After the gift exchange we all enjoyed each other's company by playing games: Settlers' of Catan, Wii, and more. Good times. Good times. :)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Christmas Part IV

I hope I can remember everything, it's been so long. After we left Richard's parents we headed over to Eric (Richard's Uncle) and Leslie's house for Christmas dinner. Richard's mom's family has 5 siblings and his grandparents are still kicking - and learning to play the organ! They're so cute! Uncle Kirk came in from Nashville with his wife and daughter. And all the others were there as well (except Chad and his 2 boys). All said, there were 2 grandparents, 10 children and spouses, 15 grandchildren and spouse (Richard is the only one married), and 3 great-grandchildren! Whew! It was awesome tho.

The girls got even more toys there compliments of great-grandma and great-grandpap. Evelyn really enjoyed playing with her cousins! She doesn't see them often, but loves it when she does! (Richard is the oldest grandchild so many of his cousins are still in grade-school). We also had a dinner similar to a Thanksgiving meal, but with not a single green! Lol. Someone must have forgot. I, of course, provided a few dozen cookies from my supply.

Unfortunately, it was around this time that Riley started running a fever :/. Poor Riley. To be sick on Christmas stinks! She fell asleep snuggled up to PapPap Rick and he loved every minute of it tho.

From there (yes, there's more) we took off to my parent's where Seth and Liz had arrived shortly before and Tyler was anxiously awaiting some Christmas company. It was after 8 by this point.

Seth and Liz, Richard and I, and Tyler buy for each other still and for our Mom and Dad, so we did those gifts first. Seth and Liz loved the "Used Beer" sign we got them to hang on their bathroom door and Tyler was very excited about his iTunes gift card! It's fun buying for people outside of our immediate family. Seth and Liz got the girls new pajamas and Tyler got them new boots, *relief!*

After that exchange, Mom and Dad gave the girls their gifts to open. Evelyn was super-excited to receive a karaoke machine, with a REAL microphone, from my mom and Gigi loved her rocking chair. Riley liked her gifts too, but she was feeling pretty crappy and didn't get too excited. My mom did a nice job of getting them one or two toys each and the rest were nice clothes, snow gear, and DVD's. Whew! Again.

It was still overwhelming tho the mass loads of gifts that we carted away! My mom loves Christmas shopping and got us all very nice gifts! Highlights: Weed whacker and guitar case for Richard, Cutco Steak Knives, new earrings, and some rain boots for me and a new surround sound system for us both! And gotta mention the Longhorn gift card!

After eating some lasagna and doing to karaoke, we managed to get home by 1 a.m., and Evelyn fell asleep on the bathroom floor! :)

Part V to follow!
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