To Read on the Journey

Thursday, August 28, 2014

#tbt

It's  Throwback Thursday!
Where I take a walk down memory lane and share something from 
the archives of my lit'l ol' blog.  

Today, we're revisiting the  31 Days of God-giving series,
and the blog post- 

 Get to Know God.  
 
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When I was a young teen I didn’t want to know God.  My life was miserable and my attitude was 'If there is a God then why did he give me this life? I had done nothing to deserve it.'

As my relationship with God grew, I realized that that was precisely why He wanted me to get to know Him.  He wanted to be Comforter, and the Light that would lead the way out.


Get to know God as friend. 

You know when you get to know someone, and by simply being with them you feel at home, and free to be who you really are.  No masquerading, no having-it-all-together, because that person delights in quirky, wonderful you!   That's what it is like being friends with God, except a million times better. 


 God has the best sense of humor.  The stories I could tell about things I've prayed, and the ways He has responded are comical!

Like any friendship your going to get ticked at God because he won't always do what you want, or think what you want him to.  He won't explain himself either.  You'll be good and mad at Him because you'll want to take a turn being God, and He won't let you.  If you stick with him (and oh, I pray that you will)  hind-sight will be 20/20, and you will see that he always has what is best in mind.  Always.


Nowhere else will you find a friend as wild about you as God~

He thinks you are amazing, gifted, capable, and delights in being your own personal cheerleader rooting you on! 

When you get knocked down, God whisper's truth to you (listen), is protective of you, and fights for you.

Because He loves you, He tells you what you need to hear instead of what you want to hear (you won't like this, but you'll trust Him more for it).  

He's generous in so many ways, even when you don't deserve it (I now find myself joyfully exclaiming to God, "why did You give me this life, I've done nothing to deserve it!")

His friendship stands the test of time AND the test of grace.

Photos of Emilie and Josie on the homemade swing on our old hillside, 2010.

 
It is my prayer that you will be purposeful about getting to  to know Him.  You will find the God of the universe to be your greatest companion as you journey through life.


"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and future.  Then you will call on me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.  I will be found by you,"  declares the Lord. 
Jeremiah  29: 11-14


Live in Peace!

 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Summa Summa Summa-Time


We've polished off our first week of back-to-school here, and we're already missing the lazy days of summer.  Typically I'm one of those folks that enjoys her some routine, but instead I'm feeling "routine shmoutine! the long days of summer that we can fly by the seat of our pants are the best."

Speaking of "flying by the seat of our pants," here's how our summer 2014 flew by~

Our summer took off the usual way beginning with Maycation.
From L-R; Lily, Noah, Gabriel, Brook /Emilie, Christian, Blake, Josefine/ Benjamin, Ruby, Sampson, Eli
These rockers "fight for their right to party!" And are the #1 reason I {heart} Maycation!



 Maycation fun included the usual campfire music and S'mores, Air-Soft (Obviously, Michael was an easy target), as well as biking the 007 Trail, and a Flume Hike.  

The Maycation gals and I also ventured off to the annual Peddler's Fair, where I met this Elvis-loving lady, Buelah, who sold me this fantastic lamp for $8, which I also named "Buelah."


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The moment we returned home from Maycation, Josie got to serious summer business- making the annual paper-chain to count down the days 'til camp at "the home of the world's greatest campers."
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In the meantime Emilie was gearing up to host an end of the school year "Slumberless Party!"


Emilie has the sssswwweeetest gal pals!  Seriously wish I could make them all Marty McFly and go "Back to the Future" to be my high school pals!

Here they are playing Messy Twister, which involves Twister, shaving cream, food coloring, and a willingness to get giggly and messy!




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Both Michael and Noah had the  super cool opportunity to participate in a Bear Grylls Survival Academy for free-firty-free!  They'd tell you how they made and slept in their own shelter, skinned a rabbit and ate it, ate meal-worms and grubs too.. ick!  My photographer husband was even invited to photograph on two occasions... One of those times this happened-
Yep. Bear broke away from his time filming with Channing Tatum only to find himself in the company of an even hotter guy, Michael. ;) 

When my people weren't bunkin' outdoors with the BG folks, they were bunkin' here in our backyard. 
See that hammock back there...that's where Noah bunks.    


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This summer there were lots of tears. Lots.  Noah graduates high school in less than 2 years... in 655 days.  Time flies.  Between the tears I stocked up on all the fun I could get with my three. 

We loaded up the bikes and headed to Yosemite Valley to ride and hike and just be together.  


Yosemite is majestic. Hands down the highlight of our day was riding though the meadow. Emilie shouted, "It's so beautiful! I wish I could take a photo with my mind and keep it!"
 I made a decision this summer to get over my hatred of myself in a swimsuit and wear mine. In water.  With my hair wet.  I did it 5x folks. That's Guinness Book World Record worthy 'round here.  The first time was at a water-park.  Want to know something, my kids were having so much fun that I totally forgot I hate myself in a swimsuit.  And It was awesome.  So awesome that I rewarded myself with my first Sonic experience.  Dear Sonic Guy On Skates Who Delivered Our Milkshakes, You better believe we'll be back!! Yuuu uumm!  

This date to pizza, bowling, and the arcade was a blast... literally.  If you're local check out Blast 825 Pizza. Order Chipotle style, Chipotle prices, but it's delicious pizza ready in literally a few minutes.  Also check out the Arcade in Riverpark. There's an arcade "ride" that simulates being on a roller-coaster. $2 to laugh and scream and "woahhhhh."  Also, we recommend our new bowling rule: Loser has to return all shoes. ;) 


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Needless to say, going to camp remains THE HIGHLIGHT of summer for our kids. 

Every evening of the 2 weeks the kids are at camp (Yes, 2 weeks kid-free!!) we get to see glimpses of their day at camp through pix.

Years ago the kids decided to communicate they love me in the pix by giving me two thumbs up. 
 Emilie, who turned 15 during camp, showed me BIG LOVE after dropping 80ft from the King Swing!!  

 While the kids were away the parents did play.  We headed over to California's Wine Country, where we didn't drink wine because it tastes icky. Instead we tasted ice cream. 
We take ice cream tasting seriously. Lappert's Hawaiian Salted Caramel is a MUST if you're in Sausalito. A must. And if you're "lactarded" like me it won't... you know.. make you... well.. you know. 

We also enjoyed some leisurely time on the in-laws boat, as well as  perusing Sonoma, Petaluma (which is now my favorite place for vintage shopping),Tiburon, and Angel Island. 

On my fridge I have a magnet that says "I'd rather do nothing with you than something with anybody else."  I feel that way with Michael. I don't care what we're doing or not doing as long as we're together.  I just like Him, and I like who I am when I'm with him.  

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Back from camp we spent some time with the Maui cousins, Luke and Nicholas. Noah especially enjoys this part of summer because the guys in the house finally outnumber the girls.  
One day Noah lead us to this great waterfall/swimming hole that he learned about during camp. If you're a local it's super eeasssy to get to. If you're not come visit! We'll take ya there!  

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There is only one reason other than camp that Josie loves summer- Emilie's home. To say she adores her big sister is an understatement!  Thankfully, Emilie is just as wild about Josie. I'm blessed Y'all! 

The girls scoured Pinterest and came up with a plan to fill the "lazy days of summer." 


They baked, sewed, crafted, baked, made a music video, baked, played games, and even played with their AG dolls (Emilie isn't too cool or too old or too above playing AG with her sister. Seriously, she. is. a. keeper!) 
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Finally, we took our annual family camping trip to Sunset Beach.  

I neeeeeeeeeeeeed this shirt for next time we go camping. It's true- "I love NOT camping," but I do it for the children, and the S'more French Toast. 

This camping trip we treated the family with a kayaking adventure in the Elkhorn Slough just outside of Monterey, where we kayaked beside seals, sea lions, otters, jellyfish, and more.


A moment from our camping trip that I don't want to forget was when Noah, who I'd been having a rough time with, asked me to do a short hike with him at sunset to look out over the beach. It was cold, and I hate being cold as much as I hate being in a swimsuit, so he coaxed me with the promise of a hug, and I loooovvve Noah's hugs more than S'more French toast.  Once we arrived I took in the beauty and the quiet and the magnitude of the ocean. I thanked Noah for inviting me.  And he reached over grabbed me and gave me the hug he'd promised.  It was the best hug, the best "hold you;" a long embrace, one his mama really needed from him. I stood there wrapped safe in the arms of the youngman who towers over me. I laid my head on his shoulder, closed my eyes, and breathed in that moment; breathed it in deep. And he let me. #andicantafforditbutitsmine. :) 


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And that was our summer 2014 in a nutshell. 

Our days are already being swallowed up by school and work and activity. I'm thankful for all our days, but these days of summer filled my mama-tank... and I'm pretty sure they filled Michael, Noah, Emilie, and Josie's tanks too. They're days we never want to forget.

What was a highlight from your summer 2014?? 


 Live in Peace,

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Back By Popular Demand...

My lit'l ol' blog, Victory Rd.

Okay, popular is subjective.  The only folks really missing me 'round these parts are Great-grandma, a few aunts, a small handful of friends, and a female cat in Washington D.C. named Moses.  None the less, here I am!

So to get back into the rhythm of blogging I've decided on a "Throwback Thursday." Those of you that instagram know what this is, but Great-grandma, my aunts, and Moses have no idea.

Throwback Thursday, better known as #tbt in the world of instagram and hashtags, is a weekly photo "throw back" to the past.   It's not to be confused with "Flashback Friday" (known in the world of hashtag as  #fbf), which is essentially the same thing, only it falls on... you guessed it, Friday.

For this "Throwback Thursday" I'm gonna mix it up a bit and share not a photo, but a previous post from my blog. I've been blogging for more than 7 years, and like a good sitcom, I'm think'n there are some sweet episodes posts that ought to be rerun.  

So for this weeks #tbt (I'm planning on making a regular thing out of this), I'm sharing a blog post from August 2007, containing a short video of my then home schooling kindergartner, Josie, reading her first book.

I chose this post because I'm feeling "sentimentally ill" again.  Monday Josie begins 7th grade, Emilie 10th, and Noah 11th... I'm wishing I could press rewind and that we could literally throwback and flashback.  :) 

Follow me on instagram HERE. 

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Original Post:
5 down, 175 more to go!

 I am glad to say we have completed 5 of our 180 days of school (How many more days till fall break?).
Here is one of my favorite moments from this school week- Josie reading her first book.


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Oh how I miss her "r" less words.


See you next time when I bombard you with photos and details of every. single. thing. we did this summer. Just kidding... maybe.

 
 Live in Peace,
 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Brighter than a shooting star

My girls...
they are the cutest.
Ever.

The way they love each other...
it's my favorite.
MY. ALL. TIME. FAVORITE! 

They make their own summer fun.
They're so glad to be together (it was hard on Josie having her bestie gone every day at high school this past school year), and are intentional about making memories together. 

They're so sweet... I could eat them up!

One day last week they spent an entire day in Josie's room creating...
they surprised us with this!
 


Told you! 
THE CUTEST!  
EVER!
 

Some of the lyrics to the song, "Shooting Star" ~
 
"Fill the darkest night with a brilliant light
'Cause it's time for you to shine 
Brighter than a shooting star
So shine no matter where you are

Let your colors burn and brightly burst
Into a million sparks that all disperse
And illuminate a world that'll try to bring you down
But not this time

Brighter than a shooting star
Shine no matter where you are
they suit my girls. 

Every day they shine so much light into my life... 
And I can't afford it, but it's mine! 


 Live in Peace,

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Tell

I love to tell stories.

There is one story I have told more times than I can count.  I've told it to waiters and waitresses, in the grocery line, at Target, while waiting for a prescription, to our old neighbors and our new ones, to my kids' friends, to their parents... to anybody and to everybody

It's my But God story.


It's when I realized that God, the Creator of heaven and earth, was pursuing me.  It's the story of how at 14, I heard and saw God with my own ears and my own eyes.  It's not a made-up story.  It's for real.  God. is. for. real.  

At the time my dad was a drug user.  He did not claim me as his daughter (he acknowledged my younger sister and half-brother as his).  He was mean.  Awful.  I wanted him to want me so badly that whenever I saw him I'd approach him. I hoped he'd want me. Instead he called me  "the daughter of a whore" or a "little  #&*@ing whore." Instead,  he made it clear that he did. not. want. me.
(He was a drug user for 27 years, until 1998, when he was arrested.  He currently resides in a state hospital, where he is being treated for Bipolar schizo-effective disorder). 

When I was almost 3 my teenage mother left my younger sister and I, a routine visit to my paternal-grandparents turned into a 3 year stay.  When I was 6 she returned.  I think she wanted to be ready to be a mom, but she wasn't.  In the 12 years I lived with her she was preoccupied with men, and payed little attention to my sister and I.  She was married, divorced, engaged, separated, married, divorced, engaged, separated, married, divorced, married.  I've had 7 "dads."

So by the time I was 14 I was certain something was lacking in me.  I was sure my parents had rejected and abandoned and continued to leave because I wasn't pretty, lovely or good enough... because I wasn't deserving.   I was miserable, and in my 14 year old mind had concluded that my life would always be this way.  At that point I considered taking my life regularly.  I tried once. 

I see now that at the time God had intentionally placed classmates in my life to draw me to Him (in fact, I can see that He had thoughtfully placed individuals in my life from day one who would draw me to Him).  At the end of my freshman year of high school one of those classmates invited me to join her that summer for a week at Hume Lake Christian. 

By that point I wanted nothing to do with God.  If  there was a God I had one question for Him, "Why did you give me this life?  I've done nothing to deserve it."

Still, the thought of being away from my chaotic life for a week caused me to pursue that week vacation; however, that pursuit was short lived as camp was too costly for the daughter of a waitress.

But God.

One week before camp I received a call from my friend, who excitedly informed me that another girl had cancelled, her spot was paid-in-full, and her church wanted me to go in her place.

I know now why God wooed me to a camp in the mountains.  At camp my vision wouldn't be obstructed by the lies that plagued me in my home in the valley (both literally and emotionally).  At camp I would see that God wanted me.

So I went.

Hume Lake was breathtaking. The camp experience was like no other, and I was invigorated by the activities, games, being part of community, 3 meals a day, the singing (my favorite), and especially by the people who poured into me.
 
That week the speaker shared that "God is a father who will never leave or forsake us." Psalm 27:10

He also shared Romans 8:38-39  "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor 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."
 

He shared how God gave His son, Jesus, to take on Himself man's sin which separates us from perfect God. Jesus was punished in our place through a painful death on a cross.  But God.  3 days later Jesus came back to life! And by believing in Him we can have a new and whole life, too! 

I wanted that.
All of it.

I longed to be wanted.
I begged to be permanently and unconditionally loved.
I wanted a whole life.
And here was the God of heaven and earth so intimately telling me 'I want that for you, and you will find it in me.'
And on June 19, 1988 I expressed that I believed Him.

 

Fast forward to 15 years later.   I wanted to go back to Hume Lake to celebrate my 15th "birthday" with my husband and 3 young children; to take them to the mountain where my life began.

We hadn't told anyone of our plans.  We were financially strapped and our plan was to camp there for a couple of days.

BUT GOD. 

I was approached by a couple from our church, who mentioned that they had a cabin at Hume Lake, a cabin that they wanted us to use for free!

God wanted me at Hume Lake. With Him. Again.
 
One morning while there I took a long morning walk.  During my walk around Hume, I looked back and thanked God for 15 years earlier- for the rescuing, lavished love, healing and blessing He had generously poured into me over the years.  

And as I talked with Him I recalled the question I'd had for Him 15 years earlier and said, "15 years ago I came here with one question, 'Why did you give me this life, I've done nothing to deserve it?' And today, today, I have the same question for You, 'Why did you give me this life, I've done nothing to deserve it!'

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We did not tell you cleverly invented stories 
when we told you about the power and coming of our LORD Jesus Christ, 
but we were eye witnesses of his majesty.  
II Peter 1:16

And that is why I tell stories.  

My stories aren't cleverly invented stories, they're my firsthand account of how the GOD of heaven and earth pursued and continues to pursue me! 

I tell stories because I have to...

Because I want so much for you to know Him; to know what it is like to belong to the One who made you and knows you and wants you... Who is wild about YOU!

Because I want so much for you to live in the love of One True God, Who loves you higher and wider and longer and deeper than you can grasp or image. Seriously, His love is the best ever! 
And because I want so much for you to live a whole life.
 
  Live in Peace,

 


Saturday, June 14, 2014

726 Days









Noah graduates from high school in less than 2 years... 
in 726 days.

I'm counting. 

Not counting down the days until he can go.  
I'm counting the days I have left- 

  the 726 days that are mine.