To Read on the Journey

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Dear June,

dear month of june,

you spoiled me with 24 unusually cool days.
thank you for the opportunity to sit outside on my swing and enjoy a cool breeze. thank you for letting me run a few errands with out sweltering heat. thank you for mild temps, mid-day play dates at the park. thank you for meals on the back patio. thank you for open windows and screen doors, for letting the sweet fragrances from my flower filled yard drift in with your breeze. thank you for not killing my hydrangeas.

but june, today it is HOT! and it has been hot for the past few days. so hot i am stuck indoors. indoors with 3 noisy, need-to-go-outside-and-play-and-take-their-noise-with-them-kids! indoors with ms."i'm bored," and ms."i have nothing to do," and mr."mommy, can i play wii." indoors huddled up together under the air-conditioning vent. june, we do not function well cooped up indoors.

so please return to those breezy, cool, sunny days. please.

oh and could you tell your friend july to do the same!

Friday, June 26, 2009

bathing suit cover-up

i was trying on $20 bathing suit cover-ups at target last week, and thinking $20 is a lot to spend on something i want, but don't need. i mean i think i need it, covering up is VERY important to me, but i couldn't rationalize spending $20 for something i could live without.
it's not that i am incredibly cheap (okay, i am kinda cheap), i'm just incredibly practical. come on, non of us are rolling in it ($) these days (if you are could i come over and roll in it with you?). i know that i have to be a bit more mindful of where the $ is going, and being a bit more creative certainly helps.
so, i stood there in the $20 cover-up and thought about what i could use instead to cover up this 35 yr old, post babies, body i am not in a whole lotta like with.

then it hit me...make a cover up!
but how? out of beach towels!
so i got myself back in my clothing (thank God for clothing) and headed over to the beach towels, where they had some incredibly CUTE beach towels for just $5.99.

for that price i could make cover-ups for my girls as well.
so here you have it, emilie in her beach towel cover-up!

I think it looks GREAT!

Do you have any creative summer savings tips!

letting go doesn't get easier

i'm preparing to let go again.

preparing comes in the packing, clothes labeling, ironing (yes, i'm o.c.d.), and miscellaneous item gathering (mommy's think of everything).
preparing comes in readying myself to be absent from their presence for 2 whole weeks.
preparing comes in trusting Jesus to hold them, cover them, lead them, teach them, inspire, and grow them without my influence.

i thought it would get easier, letting go, but it doesn't.

i am selfish. i want to hold on tight.
but i won't.
instead i will put on my brave mommy face, smile, and cheer them on to camp, on to their adventure.
and when they aren't looking, when i am back in the van, on my way home, to where i know it will be much too quiet, i'll take my brave mommy face off, and have a short missing-them-already cry.

and when i am done, i will resume the preparing.
preparing for 2 weeks with just josie, making memories with just her.
preparing letters and packages for their camp mail. :-)
preparing to hold them again when they return.
preparing to let them go again when it is time.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Saturday, June 20, 2009

We Are Blessed!

not quiet one year into marriage, i stood in the bathroom of our first home, wondering if the recent nausea, vomiting, and mood swings, were a result of, well...
i examined the First Response pregnancy box,.
i wondered if it was normal for the the stick to turn positive before it turned negative.
i waited the exact number of minuets the directions instructed me to wait.
i waited for that stick to change from positive to negative.
i reread the box.
i reexamined the stick.
+ sign means positive right?
time was up.
the positive sign had never changed, and was now like a neon light shouting, YOUR PREGNANT!"

i just stood there in disbelief that this moment was already here. this life changing moment that i thought wouldn't arrive for a few more years, was here!
"michael, come here," i called with all the calmness i could muster.
i handed you the stick.
but instead of the disbelief and fear i was certain i would see in your young 23 year old face,
our news was welcomed with a tender smile, a sure embrace, and the sweetest words,

"we are blessed."

as i look back, i see that was the moment you became a father. it was the moment you lept into daddy-hood!
you are the best daddy!
the best-


diaper changer

football (colic) holder
"super baby"flyer
bedtime prayer
dish cleaner

"woofle" maker

potty trainer
jungle gym

cookie maker

silly voice story reader
bed time hair braider

snow ski instructor
teeter-totter reinventor


board game player

puppet theater constructor

little girl sunday hair curler and pretty dress ironer

backpacker and front yard camper

go-cart builder
doll house contractor

b.b. gun shooter

hand holder

sand castle maker


lego creation engineer
boat driver and water sports instructor
saturday morning breakfast trainer
project leader
to name just a few (and if you know michael, you know i am naming just a few).

"we are blessed" that God wrote you for us. you are this girl's dream of a daddy and a husband. getting to partner with you in this adventure of parenthood is an honor and a gift. thank you for leaping into daddy-hood everyday.

I LOVE YOU! Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 19, 2009

21-derful years ago

(originally posted June 2007)

Nothing Is Worth More Than This Day

19 (now 21) years ago today I was saved from defeat, lies, darkness, hopelessness, abandonment, loneliness, despair, death. I came to life.
A friend invited me to Hume Lake Christian Camp, but because my mother was a semi single mother who worked as a waitress, camp wasn't financially possible (I mean we got the free cheese- those of you who got free cheese know what I'm talking about). Then a week before camp, the same friend who had invited me, called and said a girl canceled, the church had to pay for her spot, and they wanted me to go in it.
I can't say I wanted to go to a Christian camp. If there was a God, I had a question for Him- "why did you give me this life, I didn't do anything to deserve it."
From birth my dad had rejected me, and over the years has made it clear that I am not his daughter (My dad was a drug user for 27 years, until he was arrested in 1998, and found to be mentally ill. A paranoid schizophrenic, he now lives in a state hospital). A weekend visit to my grandparents at the age of 3, turned into a 3 year stay, as my mother decided she couldn't care for my younger sister and I. After returning to my mothers at the age of 6, she continued to "look for love in all the wrong places," married, divorced, engaged, separated, married, divorced, engaged, separated, married, divorced, married. I've had 7 dads. No one stayed. No one loved me and stayed. No one gave up their life for me and stayed. No one said I was enough, beautiful, lovable, wanted... everything they did said I was anything but these things.
And so I went to camp, desperately wanting a week break from it all.
It was amazing! Games and activities, being part of a team, 3 meals a day, singing, beautiful mountains, people pouring into me... It felt that I had really breathed and lived for the first time in my then 14 years of life.
That week the speaker , Steve Russo, spoke about how "God is a father who will never leave you or forsake you," he said. "that nothing can separate us from the love of God." (tears- It still gets me). I needed that. So, I took my first steps to my Father, while singing "Oh Lord, take my life as an offering, let it be molded by your own hands, fill me with your spirit and your grace to quench a thirsty land, thank you for always being near even after I've done you wrong, Father please use my frail life now for when I am weak I am strong." And He breathed new life into me, and He called me daughter, and He promised to love me, and never go. 19 years later I can say that "His love is better than life." And I have one question for Him, "Why did you give me this life, I did nothing to deserve it."

Thank You! To all of you who serve in the camping ministries, every part of what you do is important. Thank you to those of you who pay for kids to go to camp, and for those who pay for kids who can't pay for themselves. Your saving lives.
Check out some of the fabulous camps in our back yard-
Calvin Crest
Summit Adventure
*Camp Oakhurst
*Yosemite Sierra Summer Camp
Sugar Pine

(* camps my husband and I have worked at)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

hoast beef

i'm visited my grandmother yesterday. i love my grandmother.

EVERYTIME i visit she makes me my "favorite" meal,
"hoast beef" (roast beef).

first, grandma (who we lovingly refer to as "vava") doesn't speak english (she speaks portuguese. yes, i speak portuguese too) and can't say her "r." it is incredibly cute when she attempts to speak english, and i for one love her "r"-less words.

second, roast beef is not my favorite, but don't tell vava!
about 15 years ago on a visit to vava's she had made "hoast beef," i commented on how good it was, and from that time on she has referred to it as my favorite and has ALWAYS made "hoast beef" when i come for a visit.

for the portuguese the way to show affection is by feeding each other. there is always a great feast whenever we are together. i receive affection when i enjoy the feast.

i think of the feast God provides for me daily. do i come to his table? do i feast on what he knows will be my favorite meals? the truth is i don't. i snack, but rarely do i feast.

and i'm hungry.

i stand at the refrigerator of God' s word, undecided on what i should consume. usually after a few moments of staring in i close the door, decide on a snack, and satisfy my hunger temporarily. but in the end i'm still hungry.

i receive affection from God when my plate is filled at his banqueting table. i am exhausted and worn down when my plate is filled from life's table.

"Come unto Me" Matt 6:28

"Do I want to get there? I can now. The questions that matter in life are remarkably few, and they are all answered by the words- "Come unto Me." Not- Do this or don't do that; but- "Come unto Me."
... The attitude of coming is that the will resolutely lets go of everything and deliberately commits all to Him.
..."Come unto Me, and I will give you rest," i.e., I will stay you. Not - I will put you to bed and hold your hand and sing you to sleep; but-I will get you out of bed, out of the languor and exhaustion, out of the state of being half dead while you are alive."

Oswald Chambers

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Oh Baby!

this is the follow up post to Make It and Love It.

i told you i was going to attempt to place appliques on onsies, but i CHICKENED OUT!!
i took one look at the onsies and realized that the material was so flimsy that i wouldn't have a finished product i liked in the end (tell me where do you buy good quality onesies these days).

i decided to embellish some burp cloths instead.
they turned out fine, and compliment the cushy blocks nicely.

and here is a $ saving tip for you, decorate a gift bag.
instead of spending up to $5.00 for a gift bag, i purchased a solid colored bag, got out some old scrap-booking supplies (i gave up scrap-booking shortly after josie was born), and whipped up this bag. a little creativity goes a long way, especially in this economy!

what creative, $ saving, gift giving tips do you have?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

twirly skirts

during vacation, my sis-in-law lindsey and i whipped up these twirly skirts for my girls.sewing with lindsey is always lots of fun. she is okay with the "imperfections," and sees the beauty in them. this makes it easier to learn to tackle something new (like sewing) along side her.
i began writing down directions and taking pictures (i'm a visual learner) in hopes i would be able to make more skirts on my own, but half way through the jotting down and photographing i called it quits! i enjoyed that lindsey was doing all the thinking, all i had to do was follow directions and sew. i figure if i see something i love that lindsey has whipped up (which happens a lot) i'll just load the kids and the sewing machine up in the ol' mini-van and drive over to s.l.o. for a lesson.
after all lindsey won't mind... will you linz!

how do you like this posey pin we made to compliment the twirly skirts?
you can buy your own posey pin, and a number of things at lindsey's shop, The Pleated Poppy.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


i'm home. everything is unpacked and put away. but i'm still unpacking. i've realized that i have brought home an additional piece of luggage... the one that is in my heart.
the time away from our home and in bass lake was full. i feel as if i have packed each person, conversation, all the embraces, laughter, tears, wonder, every moment in a suitcase. this is a suitcase i won't be able to empty in a day. i don't know where it's contents go.
but God does.
even as i write God has given me this beautiful image of a chest of drawers. each drawer being filled with sweet memories.

and here is the thing, at the end of this unpacking the drawers won't close neatly. no, they'll look more like my chest of drawers from high school (o.c.d. didn't set in till motherhood. my teenage drawers were a mess), with moments spilling out of them, into other drawers.
that is my God. my God causes me to have "life in the full." He blesses me with moments to cause my heart to spill over.

below are pix from some of my favorite moments-
jumping into real life friendship with blog friends sarah and the f.o.t. campfire with sarah, squeezing in as many words as we could, desperate for more time together, followed by a good let-me-keep-you-longer hug.the feast of tents; heart stirring messages with al siebert, moving worship with chad markley, the song You Gave Your Life Away that still resonates in my soul, the cross covered in portraits signifying the intimacy we have with our Maker. conversations kristen and i shared. sharing the cracks in our armor, amazed by God's grace.

sharing kristen with lindsey.

watching the kids play and really enjoy each other.

my 3 on uncle pluto's lap. they LOVE uncle pluto.being rescued by the mole! ahhhhhh!! what we originally thought was a mouse turned out to be a big, furry, mole in the house!time with the hayes' family (jeff and i have been friends since jr.high). it is a joy to have a friend who is a brother. we delight in each other and in each others families.
be on the look out for a video highlighting our time.
can't wait to share more with you!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

make it and love it

recently i stumbled upon a great sewing blog, Make It and Love It.

ashley offers some easy to follow tutorials for a wanna-be-sewer like me.

i followed this tutorial to whip up these cushy baby blocks. they will be part of a baby shower gift for a party i am attending next week.
(i inserted a plastic easter egg filled with pennies in the larger block to add a bit of jingle).

next, i'm going to attempt to place appliques on onsies! ( ahhhh!!! what am i thinking! i hope it works. it's so much easier to trust the target registry than my own sewing abilities).

Thursday, June 11, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow?

in late april michael planted a garden.

he leveled the side yard, laid gofer wire, built 4 garden beds, fenced in the garden, picked up 2 truck loads of compost from a friend (who helped with gardening tips), planted the seeds, and put in the watering system. he has tended to his garden, and he has waited for the garden to grow.

before we left for bass lake, nearly 3 weeks ago, the garden was showing promise. we had enjoyed 7 strawberries, 1 small zuchini, and a bit of cilantro.

but look at it now!cilantro, basil, oregano, garlic, garlic chives, corn on the cob, roma tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, spinach, pumpkin, zucchini and yellow squash!it is exciting to see and to eat the fruit of his labor.

i was in charge of the garden signs which read-
"the not so secret garden" (emilie's favorite book is the secret garden)
"come lettuce worship and bow down"
"give weeds an inch and they'll take your yard"
"grow what you love, and the love will keep it growing"
"live fully!"
"bloom where your planted"

oh, and those aren't real snakes in the garden (can you see them in the pix). the kids placed their plastic snakes in the garden to deter birds, and other animals. those plastic snakes are good at keeping mommy out of the garden too!

now that we have all these great veggies, when are you coming for dinner?

my 5 favorite words

"I wanna sit by mommy"
we had just finished our good bye bass lake dinner at millers landing, and were walking back to the boat. the boat was taking us back to the house, back to the vehicles already packed, ready to be driven home.

that is when my 3 started chanting in a choral round,
"i wanna sit by mommy."
their chanting turned into arguing, and into "i said it firsts." i told them they could all sit by me, as there is plenty of mommy for all of them to sit next to (especially after all of the vacation eating i have been doing for 3 weeks).

and as they cozied up to me i thought to myself, why? wasn't i the one who told him i was unhappy he had stained his new t-shirt, didn't i make her vacuum the stairs in the lake house, and wasn't she unhappy about the 2 day old tangles in her hair that i had to brush through.

sometimes i wouldn't blame them if they were done with me. sometimes i am done with me.

but by God's grace these kids LOVE me, and want me, still.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

miss me?

you may have gathered that i have been on vacation. i figured you were missing me, so i thought i'd drop by blogville and say, "hello!"

i will be on vacation through the 1oth.

when i return to reality i look forward to sharing all the juicy details of my vacation...i know you can't wait!

so after the 10th be on the look out for details about-
the feast of tents
my time with sarah markley and kristen cheney
sewing with my sis-in-law lindsey from imperfect/pleated poppy
patio furniture being built by my husband (that's vacationing for him)
playing with the kids
playing with friends
the extra lbs i put on from vacation eating (i think i'm gonna have to pick up that darn jillian dvd i keep reading so much about here in blogville, and start shredding when i return to reality).
in my "I F.O.T.'ed at Church" shirt. (F.O.T.= Feast of Tents)