Monday, November 30, 2009

I WOULD JUST LIKE TO POINT OUT...


that...


I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!


I have officially completed NaBloPoMo for 2009. Yeah, baby! (Yes, I know all caps in print equals yelling. Your DARN RIGHT it does!)

30 posts in 30 days. The entire month of November. I came. I saw. I conquered. And I am not demure or humble about it at all. AT. ALL. Because this is a FEAT of giNORmous proportions. At least, it is in Angela Land. And isn't that where we all live, after all? (If you don't live here, I highly recommend it. MUCH more fun.)


So, this afternoon I said to Nate, "Honey, guess what tomorrow is!"

Without hesitation he said, "The end."

"Noooooo... well, yes. It's the end of NaBloPoMo. But, it's also December 1st, so according to you we can officially put up Christmas decorations. Yay!"

Because Nate is very happy NaBloPoMo is over. He doesn't enjoy it very much. But he only whines a bit when it's nine at night and he is sitting down to watch tv and I say, "Wait! I need to post!" He knows that I enjoy the challenge. He's a supportive hubby like that. (Love you, Honey!)

And, you know what? I do enjoy posting every day. So many people complain that they run out of things to post on. Me? It's just the opposite. There are just so many options swarming my brain! So many subjects! So much to say! Then again, I never have had any trouble filling empty space with words... the variable is just how meaningful those words are.  =^)


However, it does take dedicated time. With my laptop, I have definitely been able to post much more often. But, sometimes it's nice to let a day go by and not stress about it, you know? Because there are just days... Just. Days... that I can't quite get there. That other things should be more important. And, I love NaBloPoMo, but blogging should not take precedent over those "should" things.


But I also realize that I CAN be more diligent with posting... I CAN post more often... if I get my rear in gear and stay a bit more organized time-wise. We all know that is not a strength for yours truly. Never has been. I'm wondering if it ever will be. But, I am always on the quest to reach my goal of Effective Time Manager.

AND... and, and, AND... I never did do that giveaway I wanted to do. Rest assured, I didn't forget. Maybe I'll do a fun Christmas one. Oooooo... now THAT'S an idea! Should I send you all the leftover cheesy decorations I decide not to use? Like a Garage Sale White Elephant. (Where my girls at? Where my girls at?)

NaBloPoMo. You will be mine again next year. Because I'm that good. I'm. That. Good.

(Can I win something? Please? Because I've never won anything for this. And it would be really cool if I did. Just throwin' that out there.)

Thanks to my readers (the whole handful of you) who stuck with my through this. You guys are awesome! You should all fly here to Colorado and we'll have an I Actually Read Angela's Blog party. Maybe it will even be a Garage Sale White Elephant party. Par-tay! Sounds like a plan to me.
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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Passion

I'm passionate. About a lot of things. And sometimes it's hard looking around and seeing people who lack passion... or who just don't seem to show it very well. I try to remind myself that not everyone is going to be passionate about the same things I am... or in the same way I am... or show it in the same way I do... or let it be visible. So, sometimes I think I just need to take a chill pill and do my thing and let other people do their thing and not rock the boat and keep on keepin' on...

But OTHER times I think... WAKE UP!!! Wake UP to a life that is passionate! CARE!

Let your heart break for something. Absolutely break for something. Get angry about an injustice... a wrong... let the tears flow. And then do something about it.

Let joy overflow in such a way that you HAVE to jump and smile and hug the person standing closest to you and just laugh.

Get passionate.

I am passionate about worship. I am absolutely passionate about worshipping the One who created me and has given me LIFE. The One who set this world in motion and is weaving such an amazing tapestry of love and hope and life and forgiveness and redemption. I am passionate about bringing my offering of worship to Him, and about leading other people to bring their offering of worship. Yes, on Sundays. And on every day. Because worship is not just about Sunday morning. Worship is every second of every day. Worship is a state of our heart.

And I grieve for the people I see that are stuck, that can't seem to break free in their worship, that won't let themselves dive in and experience the beauty of surrender, the freedom of laying it all down. I grieve on a Sunday just like I grieve on any given weekday. My heart breaks. And I want to DO something about it! I want to jump and hug people and laugh and say, "Don't you know? Don't you know what will happen when you lay down your life... the one you're holding so tightly to... the conventions you've grown so comfortable in? When you let go of your reservations? Do you know the freedom that comes from lifting your hands in worship and singing with all your might? Jumping out of joy or crying out of despair and yet hope? Don't you know the freedom that comes every single day when you let go of what your plan is and submit it all to what God's plan is? Don't you know? Don't you WANT to KNOW?

I am passionate about people finding freedom. Finding freedom to be who God has created them to be, to use the gifts God has placed within them. I am passionate about women stepping up, stepping out and making a difference. I am passionate about men and women working together to change this world... working together to help others find freedom... working together to open eyes to the hope that is in Christ.

I am passionate. And on some days I think I should just sit back and stop trying to get all up in people's business and get them passionate, too.

But... on days like today... I know that is exactly what God is calling me to do. He has come that we might have life, and life to the full. He wants you to have life! Full, passionate life. I want you to have life.

Break my heart for what breaks Yours
Everything I am for Your Kingdom's cause...

I am passionate to stand up and do whatever it is I can, whatever I have been equipped to do for the Kingdom of the One who created me... who knew I would screw up the way I have... and who made me and made a way to save me anyway. Who loves me anyway. Who uses me anyway. Who equips me anyway. Who calls me to step out anyway. Who has my back anyway.

Because it is the broken that can be restored. So, break me. It is the surrendered who can be used. So, I surrender.

Because I see a generation rising up to take their place. So, I will be passionate. And I will not listen to those voices that try to quiet me. I will listen to the Voice who is making me passionate. Who is breaking my heart.

Are you passionate? Do you get it? Because it's that or nothing. It's Him or nothing. There is no in-between. There is no middle ground.



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Saturday, November 28, 2009

24 Hours

Last night Mom & Dad stayed with the kids...

...and Nate and I stayed just off the 16th Street Mall in Denver. Gone for 24 hours. Just the two of us. It was lovely.

It's easy to forget how much you need something, how wonderful it is to have it. But then when you have it you remember why you needed it, and how wonderful it is to have it.

And that you need to do it more often.

Shopping. Dinner. Conversation. Together. Hot tub. No kiddos waking us up in the middle of the night. Or first thing in the morning. Lunch. More shopping. Wandering. Strolling. Hand in hand.

Lovely.

So, thanks Mom & Dad.

Because I didn't know how much we needed it until I realized in the middle of it how much we needed it.


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Friday, November 27, 2009

Ab.so.lute. CRAZINESS!!!

Okay, so we have never been those "Black Friday" people. I mean, we've gone out at some point on Friday to see if some of the deals were still around. Like a few years ago we scored the kids' scooters super cheap.

And, alright, last year I WAS at the H&M in Walnut Creek (Sarah! I miss you!) at 6:00am because they took an extra 20% off your entire purchase before 10:00am. SO worth it.

But, we don't tend to "wait" in the "lines." We don't "camp out" at "large stores." We don't "push past" the "throngs" of "crazy people." (Channeling Bennet Brauer.)

Then there was last night. Rest assured, we had NO idea what we were getting ourselves into! Holy cowsers, people. We thought, "Gee, Toys-R-Us opens a midnight. Well, that's not too bad. What an experience to take the kids down there. They can spend their gift cards they've been saving and stretch that dollar." Brit had two friends spend the night, and they were so sleepy they opted to stay here. But, all three boys were in.

Colorado Springs only has one Toys-R-Us, so we woke them up at 11:20pm and drove the 25 minutes south. "Hmmm, where are all THESE cars going?" We thought as we were nearing our destination. "They must all be headed to some great sale. I wonder what it is."

Then we pulled around the corner. The parking lot was PACKED! And it didn't open for another 20 minutes. "Oh, it can't be THAT bad." We thought. "We'll just get in and get out."

So naive, we were. Just get in and get out, we thought.

We parked and walked over to where the line seemed to reach around the store to the back...

...and then kept walking all the way around the back of the store and to the other side, where it actually ended. We could SEE the front entrance, we were wrapped so far around. There seemed to be another line. Nate took Ian and went to check that out while I kept our place. Then, at ten after midnight he found himself being pushed through the front door with a mob of people cutting in front of the good line-waiters. There was yelling, screaming, shoving. One lady was giving it all she got, hollering, "My babies need toys! My babies need toys!" Because that somehow negates the fact that everyone else has been standing there in line for who knows how long. I mean, her babies need toys. She should totally be able to push through. She is a prime example of what is wrong with our nation a mother looking out for the welfare of her children.

Meanwhile, I inched my way toward the door with Taylor and Jordan.

Nate already had acquired everything we were getting. Nerf guns, a glow-in-the-dark Nerf hoop, some blendy pen things for Brit and a VERY awesome Christmas gift for Jord that I won't spill the beans on.

People were packed wall to wall. Lots of yelling. But we couldn't find the checkout line. The man at the back of the store said to go up front. The man at the front of the store said, "All you people are cutting in line! You need to go to the back of the store where the blue arrows are!" We had separated trying to figure things out. I stood in a line that was inching to the back of the store to possibly GET in line. Then Nate called me over to where he thought the line was, so I went and stood and inched there, only to find it wasn't actually a check-out line. It was people moving up the far aisle.

I asked the man at the way back, he pointed to a girl standing in a mob and said she should know where I should stand. But Nate had asked her, and she had no clue. People, people, everywhere people. I asked a manager where the check-out line was, where I should stand. He said, "I'm trying to figure that out right now."

We had been inside the store for over an hour at that point, 45 minutes of it trying to find the line. We knew it would easily be another two until we were even close to checking out. And they only had FOUR CHECK-OUTS OPEN! Out of twelve. They were GROSSly unprepared.

I am so thankful for a genius husband. "Hang on." He said. "Here, give me the boxes."

And that is when, in the middle of the babydoll/Barbie aisle, where few people were, he tossed all of our loot atop a very high set of shelves, barely visible to passersby. "We'll see if it's there in the morning."

We wove through the crowds and made our exit. As we drove home we saw long lines outside of stores along the highway. Someone said they'd been camped out at Best Buy for two days. Really? What deals were so good that you would do that?

This morning we slept in a bit. At 10:00am, after dropping me at Plato's Closet, Nate went back to Toys-R-Us. It was still crazy. There were still lots of people. And, do you know what he did? He walked right back to the babydoll/Barbie aisle and got down our loot he had so smartly stashed atop the shelves. VICTORY!!!!!! People kept stopping him, "Oh, my gosh! Where'd you get those? I thought they were out!" He stood in line for 20 minutes (with all 12 check-outs open). The kids got their stuff. We got an awesome gift for Jord. And we didn't have to wait. We DID brave the craziness, but we also got sleep.  =^)

My husband is brilliant.

So, just for the record, while standing in line listening to the conversations around me, I realized something. "Black Friday" people aren't just doing this for the sales. They say they're stretching their dollar. I mean, we are, too! I get that.

BUT, I think it's more like a mentality. There was a girl going to Toys-R-Us, then K-mart, then Wal-mart, then she was going to hit Target if she had time. It was this big, drama kind of thing. And, so many people around me were the same way. Like it wasn't even about the deals they were getting, it was about feeding into something. Fighting others. Talking about shoving people out of the way, and "Well, NO one's gettin' in MY way. I've been waitin' here... and my little Johnnie... and they're not gonna keep me from..."

It all seemed so... so... weird. As if it was it's own culture.

While at Plato's closet, I heard some of the salesgirls talking. Evidently, a fight broke out at Toys-R-Us in the morning. There was punching. One guy punched a cop and got hauled off to jail.

But, my husband is genius. And we got our stuff. And we will never, EVER do anything like that EVER again.

(Unless, I mean, if there were Louboutins on the line or something.)
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Thursday, November 26, 2009

"Turkey for the girls and turkey for the boys..."

"My favorite kind of pants are corduroys..."

Full house. Full belly. Great friends. Yummy food. Mom and Dad here.

Lots to be thankful for.

Including getting the kids up in a bit to head to Toys-R-Us that opens at midnight for their special Black Friday sales... I guess. Nate says it's all about the experience. "How often do they get to do things like this?"

Mmhhmm. I'm not sure that "experience" will still be on my Thankful List in the morning.

Happy Thanksgiving. I hope yours was a full and wonderful one, too.
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Grown Up Christmas List (otherwise titled "Dear Husband")

All year long I point out things to you that I'd like for Christmas. We're in a store, I see something I adore (that rhymes!) and I tell you, "You can get me that for Christmas."

But, then Christmas time rolls around and you ask what I want. "I pointed things out to you all year LONG!" I say.

"Well, what were they? Did you make a list?" You say.

What? You mean I actually have to REMEMBER the things I point out? Isn't that supposed to be your job? I could have sworn it was in the marriage document we signed.


So, this year you told me I'd better make a list. Well, I'm making one. And, in year's past, I've separated the reasonable from the probably-not-so-reasonable. This year it's all together, baby.


*A Dog. Named Max. One that will cuddle with me when you work night shifts. One that will keep me company and help me feel safer when you are gone for four months.


*Victoria's Secret stuff. I'll take any Pink clothing at all. Sweatshirts & Sweatpants are $25 each right now. Or I can find lots of drool-worthy things in the catalogue. Gift card? (VS! Hurry up and get free return shipping, already!)


*Sephora gift card. That place is like a candy store. And I want candy.


*Wide band gold ring.


*Flameless candles. (at Costco, the big ones)


*Logic Studio


*Whatever cords and equipment I need to set up my little studio in the basement when we get our new laptop. (Call Dylan.)



*Hampers. For the kids' rooms. Make my life easier. Yes, I'll take them for Christmas.

*A good sleep mask. One that actually blocks light. Unlike the one I got from the Target dollar spot.


*Sarah Palin's Going Rogue. Although, I'll probably just borrow Mom's when she's done with it.


*A subscription to In Style. PLEASE!!!

*Nooma. You can get the entire set on November 30th for only $140! Plus the soundtrack.


*Money for after-Christmas shopping. And then maybe some more bins to store the decor I'll buy? Hee-hee.


*7 For All Mankind or True Religion or CitizensSize 27 or 28. Plato's closet re-sale or the vintage denim section at Gloss. (Or you can just set me loose in Plato's.)


*A shopping trip to Forever 21. (With money to spend. Yeah. I know you too well.)


*A shopping trip to H&M. (Ditto.)



*A Katie Herzig t-shirt. But, I already have the cd and it's a package deal. Don't know how that will work. Email Katie and see if she can pull something special for me.  =^)


*Portable sound system. (Okay, so the Bose one is a bit much to ask for. Just something I can drag around to coffee shops and is an easy set up.)


*A weekly housecleaner. Alright, I'll settle for every other week.  =^)


*Jewelry. Funky costume. Big and chunky. (I sound like I'm on Madagascar.) Or a mommy necklace. Or something in a little blue box. Or whatever you want to give me. Because, if it comes from you it will be perfect!


*Some way to get my jewelry more organized! This is a gift for you, too, Honey. Hmmm... maybe we should forgo the preceding suggestion until we get this one taken care of?  =^)  Costco had that jewelry tree. Or we could just put tacks in the walls. Anything.


*I can't decide if I should put the stainless mixing bowls from Costco on here or not.


*My songs finally recorded. Which will happen if I get Logic Studio with that laptop.  =^)


*Anything with words. Old books. Vintage signs. Words. I love words.


*My website designed! I have not a CLUE how to do that. I need help.

*Shoes. (You didn't think I'd leave this one OUT did you?)


*Louboutins. (No, these don't fall into the previous category. These actually transcend all categories and are in a category of their own. How many times can I say category? Category.)

*A pedal board. (Call Dylan on this one, too. Or Trevor. But it has to be a size I can manage.)

Okay, so maybe these are too many options. But, you said to make a list, right? Really, Honey. You know I'm so easy to buy for! YOU'RE the one that's difficult! I'll love anything that comes from you. As I've said before, "Sheesh. Someone could give me a twig with a bow on it. I would display it proudly, commenting on how unique and rustic it was." And you can save this list and refer to it for years to come.

(Looking back at past lists, I see you MUST refer to them. Because wishes have been granted. And I'm laughing that the ones that have been granted have been transfered on and are still with us. I LOVE YOU!!!!! Thanks for being my Santa, baby. *wink*)
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Muppets!

I grew UP with these guys!!! This video is awesome. 
To see more new muppet vidoes, visit the MuppetsStudio youtube channel.




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Monday, November 23, 2009

Things

I think my second love language must be Gifts. I know my first is Acts of Service. I mean, come ON. I’m a busy mother of four who can’t even keep her purse organized. You do something for me? I will love you forever. But, I think my second love language has to do with material objects. Which makes me feel like a Material Girl. (Are you singing it in your head right now? Hee-hee.) Very materialistic. Very selfish. Very Madonna.


But, over the course of the past few months… even years… I’ve come to understand that it’s not as much the object itself. (Don’t get me wrong. I love the gift of a good heel or vintage art or a fabulous piece of jewelry or a Grande Vanilla Latte with whipped cream. Oh, whoops! Was I that specific?) I think it has more to do with what the things themselves represent. It has to do with the thought behind the thing.

What I’m coming to realize is that the things I have represent the people I love.  Somehow, when I wear them… am around them… am enjoying them… it’s like the person that gave it to me is right there. Or I recall the moment, and I feel loved.

When I wear my Steve Madden Leopards I think of Yensi every time I became aware of them on my feet. They were a going away gift as we departed our dear Santa Maria last July and moved to Colorado.

The other day I had on my gold cropped jacket that was a birthday present from Cindy last year, and it brought me so much joy! It was like having her with me all day.

Nearly every time I sling one of my Coach bags over my shoulder I think of my amazing husband who showed me his love in such an unexpected way last Spring.

I’ve been adoring long layered necklaces. And when I wear the gold beads I got for next to nothing at a thrift store closeout I think of Tammy. How we foraged through the goodies, elbowed the crowds, bargained with the owner who was trying to get as much as she could for what she originally said would be free, and how we gave her $10 because it was right. (Well, Tammy gave her $8. I think I only contributed $2. So, if I say “we gave her” it sounds better.) When those beads are around my neck, it’s joy and comfort. Especially when layered with the moth necklace my mom used to wear when I was a kid…

…because that moth necklace means happiness and childhood and memories and family and history.

My sister sent me an incredible pair of Seven For All Mankind light wash boot cuts (along with a few other fashionable gifts) for my 33rd **gasp** birthday . And, while they are incredible and I feel quite sassy in them, what I love most is thinking of her when I have them on, knowing how she thought of me when she found them.


My mother-in-law sent me the most scrumptious gray jersey tube scarf that she made just because I said I wanted one! I feel so loved when I wear it… and very posh.  =^) 

The other day on my way out the door to choir auditions I put on the black collarbone necklace my parents got for me when they were in Nepal last spring. All evening I would reach up and run my fingers over the smooth black stones, feeling so loved that they had thought of me while half way across the world.

There is a mirror hanging in the hall just outside my bedroom door. It used to hang in Nate’s grandmother’s house, right at the bottom of her stairs. Often I’ll check my outfit in it when getting ready to leave for the day, and I’ll think of how Grandmother must have done the same thing in that same mirror. I feel connected to her. And I love that.

It's the same feeling I get when I wear the pear earrings that belonged to her that I wore on my wedding day. Connected. Special.

Nearly every time you see me in gold jewelry I’ll probably have on a gold bracelet that looks like it’s made up of little gold rolls and a small gold ring that has an L stamped on it. Those both belonged to Grams, and when I wear them I think of her. I also think of my sister, who took the ring and had it sized for me after we went through Grams’ jewelry with Mom a few years back.

Nearly everything in my closet tells a story. Everything in my jewelry box. So many things scattered throughout my house. Hanging on my walls. Tucked in a closet. It’s all special for a reason, which is maybe why I have a hard time parting with anything. Ever. Because it’s not just parting with a thing, it’s… in my own, weird way… parting with the memory of that thing.


I used to hate my love of gifts. My love of… things. I hated that I was so materialistic, that I seemed so into concrete objects. But, I’m realizing that it goes much deeper. Having Gifts as a love language doesn’t mean you necessarily love things... or that you necessarily love getting a gift for the sake of getting a gift. It’s that you love thinking of the people whom you mentally connect with those things. And it’s feeling loved by them. Important to them. That they took the time. Or shared. Or understood. Or… it’s having them close to me whenever I’m wearing it, whenever I pass it in my house. And, it’s not that I want more THINGS. Good grief. I have enough, I’m sure. (Unless you have those Louboutins to send me. I don’t have enough of those. I don’t have ANY of those. If you send them, my life will be complete.) But, I always love having more connections to the people I love.

And the amazing thing is that God… my God… my Friend… is so intimate that He speaks to me in the love languages He created me to have. He arranges circumstances to bless me in the most amazing of ways. He gives me boots. And a laptop. He fills me up, just because He can. Because He wants to. Because He loves me. He’s so incredible like that!

So, maybe Gifts isn’t as horribly embarrassing of a love language to have as I’ve always thought.

Although, if you ask me whether I’d like you to give me something or come help clean my house, I’ll go for the clean my house ANY day. Because my number one IS Acts of Service. Duh. Repeat: I’m a mom of 4. Help me with anything and I will love you forever. You can even kill two birds with one stone and give me the gift of someone that will help me. (Read: housecleaner. Just in case that wasn’t quite clear.)  =^)

***I encourage you to read The Five Love Languages and find out what your own love languages are. AND, find out how to tell what other people's love languages are. This has helped so much in our marriage. I can't even TELL you!!! Because Nate could care less about anyone giving him anything or doing anything for him. His languages are quality time and physical touch. (Duh.) There are some funny stories here that I won't share right now. Miscommunications galore. And all we needed was to know each other's love languages. *rolls eyes* If only I had known it was that easy.
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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Boys

After church today Brit was delighted to get to spontaneously go hang out with her friend Emma, so we took the boys to Fatburger. (One of our family's favorite places that I've blogged on before. Yum. Except that they just raised their prices. Again. Boo.) The burgers are great. The shakes are stellar. And they have a jukebox that's free. Nate and the kids always put in fun songs, and we laugh and dance in our booth.


The boys were all being rambunctious as we walked out the door. Taylor threw Ian over his shoulder, Ian was trying to spank him from his precarious height, and Jordan was talking non-stop while skipping/running/stumbling through the parking lot to the car. There was lots of hollering and play-punching and rough-housing. We get in the Suburban and Nate turns to me, "Aren't you glad you had a girl? Otherwise, this would be your whole life."

His words are immediately followed by a very loud Buddy the Elf style burp from the back seat, then a chorus of high-pitched laughter.

"Yes, I am very thankful." I say. But, the thought does skip through my mind that boys are fun, too.  =^)
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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ian's First Meet

Ian had his first gymnastics meet today. Boy, was he excited!

He started doing gymnastics last January at Central Coast Gymnastics (love you guys!) in San Luis Obispo, California. (Mad props to Chad and Dana!!! ...and sometimes Jason... and, I think, one day of coaching from Shannon. Ha!) When we moved to Colorado Springs in July, we weren't sure if he'd be able to continue because we couldn't find anything online about a boy's team that was close. But, at Brit's gym they said "go to the Olympic Training Center." Yeah, well THAT doesn't sound intimidating at all. But, as it turns out, they have a developmental team program for boys that is wonderful! And Ian is now competing Level 4 for the Colorado Training Center. (Coached by Olympic level coaches and National athletes. Yeah. Craziness.)

Nate and I were so proud of him! He remembered all of his routines and stuck all of his landings... which is pretty impressive for a six-year-old's first meet. We weren't sure what to expect from his numbers, but he tested himself regularly while on the floor and was fine. (Thank you, Lord!)

Evidently, level 4's in Colorado don't do scoring like we're used to. They have set placement standards, and depending on what your event score is, you automatically place. Blue for 1st, red for 2nd, white for 3rd, and green for 4th. (Duh.) We were a little confused at first, but figured it out fast. Ian scored green on his first event, pommel horse. When Nate commented on it, Ian said, "Yeah, that's like the worst score EVER." Then he proceeded to get two whites, two reds and a blue. (And, he was just two-tenths of a point away on rings from getting blue.)

SO PROUD!!!!!!

Here he is finishing up the pommel horse (photo courtesy of Brit):



And, I had to get one with his coach for today, Alex Shchennikov:


I've kind of gone back and forth about the time and money commitment to a year round sport like this. (Not to mention the miles clocked in the car and hours spent at practices by yours truly.) But, seeing Ian's determination today and how he stepped up and was responsible with his testing and shots, it makes it all worth it. He said he wasn't nervous at all, and didn't seem to be! He was just having fun doing something he loves. It was great to watch.

Besides, he looks awfully cute in his competition outfit.  =^)
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Friday, November 20, 2009

Death of an Organ

This past Tuesday was a normal day. I was at Taylor's wrestling meet (he pinned the guy in 22 seconds). Nate was coaching. Ian and Jordan had walked up to the middle school gym after their school got out.  (So nice that they're next to each other!) Ian stayed, Jord walked home. ("I'm bored.") Brit had intramurals after  school, so she was going to come up about 4:30, when she got done. Her little friend was at the meet, so I figured she'd want to stay and play.

About 4:10 Brit walks into the gym, crying. I'm thinking, "Who did it? I'll beat them up!" She collapses against me on the bleachers. "Brit? Sissy Bear, what's wrong?"

"My stomach!!!!!! It huuuuuurrrrrrts!!!!!"

Hmmm. Brit has a pretty high pain tolerance. That's weird. "Did intramurals get out early?"

"No. I left because my stomach hurt so badly. Can we just go home?" I can barely understand her through her tears. Her friend is watching us from a few seats down, wanting to play but seeing that something is not right.

"Okay, okay. Let me get my things. We'll go home." I let Nate know we're leaving, and Brit sobs all the way to the car.

"Brit, when did it start hurting?" I ask.

"This morning. Right after I got to school."

"What? And you didn't go see the nurse or call us?" My mother's heart aches.

"No." She's in too much pain to talk.

We get home, and she collapses on the couch in tears. I sit by her, not knowing what to do. She's been "backed up" before, which wasn't comfortable, but this wasn't like that. She feels nauseous from the pain. I think that maybe it will subside, but within five minutes she is howling like a hurt dog, screaming at times.

I call the base acute care clinic, praying they'll send us somewhere else, somewhere that will be good. It's our first medical emergency here, and I don't know where to go yet.  The nurse hears Brit in the background, "Is that HER? My goodness. Let me put you on hold so I can get authorization for you to go to the ER."

After a few minutes we get the authorization. I call Nate, who is almost home from the meet. I am suddenly very thankful for a now-13-year-old who can stay at home with the other kids.

Brit can barely make it to the suburban, and lays down in the back seat. Nate walks in the garage, just getting home. He pushes on her abdomen, and she says it hurts all the way across. He pushes where her appendix is, and she says it hurts the same there. We pull out of the driveway, and Brit slowly starts to quiet down. The drive to the hospital is only seven or so minutes, but by the time we pull up to the ER she's quiet, only whimpering. Nate gives me that, "Are you really sure about this" look.

After two hours in the ER, Brit is reclining on Nate's lap, stretched out where before she had to hunch up to lessen the pain. She says it still hurts, but we're wondering if all this is worth it. We discuss just going home, but something in me... something in me says we have got to stay. I reason I'd rather wait here and get a prescription for constipation than have to make another appointment for another day.

So, we wait.

They take x-rays.

They show us back to a room.

The doctor comes in and pushes on her belly. THIS time, it seems to be fine everywhere, except in one particular spot. "Well, that's where her appendix is. We need to get a CT scan to be sure. She doesn't show any of the other signs. No fever, no vomiting, no diarrhea... but we need to be sure."

Nate and I look at each other in disbelief. Really? A CT scan? He says they need to rule everything out, and the nurse comes back with some red stuff for Brit to drink so everything will show up on the scan. Then she has to give her an IV. Evidently, Brit doesn't like needles very much. That was an adventure. I take the BRAVE bracelet off my wrist and put it on hers.

Nate and I keep looking at each other thinking, "Really? Well, I guess it's good that they're thorough."

After an hour and a half of having the red stuff in her, she goes off to get her CT scan. Then she's back. Then we wait, thinking surely they'll come in any minutes and dismiss us with a Glycolax prescription.

Then the doctor pushes through the door, "It's appendicitis." I must have looked a tad shocked.

"What? Really? Really?" I hear myself say. The doctor says they need to do surgery right away, and that the surgeon would be in as soon as he finished up taking out someone else's appendix. I'm thinking this is still bizarre, as she doesn't have any other symptoms. (Brit, who was scared, suddenly thinks it may be cool to be the first one in the family to lose an organ.) As the next 45 minutes or so goes by, she develops a fever. All of a sudden, it's hurting her to go to the bathroom. Hmmm...

After a while, the surgeon comes in. He's very nice, and speaks directly to Brit. She seems a little nervous, but excited too. (She is our fearless one.) He discusses how normally he would do the surgery laproscopically, but Brit's abdomen is so small and her appendix is so swollen that he'll do it the old fashioned way and open her up. But, just a little, he assures her.

Realizing the momentous occasion this is becoming, I realize it needs to be photographically chronicled. Which is why I keep the camera in my purse, for just such times as this.


The surgeon says her appendix appears from the scan to be very large and disfigured and needs to come out right now. The nurse who is tending Brit mentions her fever is, indeed, rising.

So, it's off to pre-op.


Everyone is very nice, and Brit even gets a hat to wear. Someone had given her a little bear earlier, and she clings to it quite tightly.


Awfully cute. We need a close-up.


After this picture, her nerves kicked in a bit. She almost cried, but she was tough. The nurses and anesthesiologist were all around. Nate and I prayed with her, and then she was gone down the hall.

If you look closely, you can see her little hand waving goodbye as they wheel her off.


None of us had eaten anything since lunch at this point, and it was now 11:30pm. So, Nate ran home to get me some clothes for spending the night and acquire something from the only place open. (McDonald's)

The surgeon came out to the waiting area when they were finished to get me. He said it was very, very good that we had come in. Her appendix was so swollen that it would have definitely burst the next day, possibly even by the next morning. I found myself thanking God over and over and over. Her stomach had hurt, but it was climbing the rope in intramurals that pushed her over the top! Had she not done that, we might have just waited at home, thinking we would get something for constipation the next day. That was His protection, to get Brit in and get her appendix out before something worse happened.

Then we got to go in and see her. She was so cute, all woozy and sleepy. She would wake up for about thirty seconds and say, "Where am I? Wow. That was easy!" Then she'd be out.

Then she'd wake up again. "Where am I? Oh! That was fast!" Then she'd be out.

Then she'd wake up again. "Oh, hi! Gee, that was really easy. It was fun." Then she'd be out. SO adorable.





Protective father. All is well. We peeked at her teeny, tiny incision on the side of her belly.

I spent the night with her. She almost fainted while using the bathroom at four in the morning. But, by breakfast time she was getting her energy back.



No, she didn't eat all that.  =^)  But, we had a little of everything because they didn't know what exactly she would be able to eat. I got the leftovers. Yum. Yum.

I read Brit all the well-wishes everyone posted on facebook, and I think she loved hearing that everyone was so concerned for her. She felt very important when the hospital man delivered to her a bear and balloon from my parents. And when Nate walked in the door with a dozen pink roses, well, a girl just feels so special!



A mad game of Connect Four.

After she had lunch and took a shower, Nate and I ran home to get the second car since they'd be releasing her most likely that evening and he had to do the gym run. When I came back, this is what I found:


Brit, walking the halls, pushing her IV herself. They had said the more she walked, the sooner she'd recover. So, we had done a few laps. But, she wanted to show she could do it herself.



Our dear friend Jake came to visit, and he even brought her flowers. She was quite tickled to be so important, and says that her two favorite men in town came to see her: Dad and Jake.


No one under 18 was supposed to visit because of the severity of swine flu, but Ian came with Nate after gymnastics. They watched some tv, then he held his sister and comforted her as they took the IV out. Removing that tape is painful!

So, we checked into the ER at 5:30pm Tuesday, she went into surgery at 11:30pm, was out by 12:30am, and checked out of the hospital at 9:00pm Wednesday... minus one very nasty appendix.

Her brothers were very relieved when she came home, and have been very careful with her. She's finding it very hard to NOT do handstands and cartwheels throughout the house. No gymnastics or soccer 'til the doctor approves it in a couple of weeks (or more, depending).

So, I guess it was a good thing we went in. God's protection was written all over our circumstances. It could have gone so wrong, so many other ways! I'm so thankful that things went the way they did. Brit actually had FUN, too. She said the food was good, her scar is cool and everyone at St. Francis Hospital was so nice. But, her favorite part? "I could watch whatever I wanted on TV and didn't have to share the remote. No boys!" Ah, the desires of an only girl.
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

peopleofwalmart.com

Yes, I know I already shared this site with you. I'll get an update on Brit posted tomorrow. But, we've still been taking care of things. So, I wanted to share with you again something that is becoming a humorous outlet for us. No, it's not okay to make fun of people and laugh... unless you do it in the privacy of your own home because they're wearing something this ridiculous.

Let me share a few of my recent favorites from www.peopleofwalmart.com:


Someone posted this on facebook today. I'm still in disbelief. Seriously?


I got nothin' to say. I'm actually speechless on this one.


I think it's oddly ironic that she's browsing the meat section.


Rarely have I ever been so speechless.


This one just makes me laugh. On what planet would this be okay? Ever? "Honey! I got to go to the store NOW! I don't have TIME to put on pants! I have to get to them there Wal-mart aisles and BROWSE!" I do think the pink fuzzy slippers are a nice touch.

Okay, now you can go to the site yourself, click through actual photos taken by real onlookers at real Wal-marts.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Home...

...from the hospital. Brit is in one piece, minus that nasty little appendix. 27 1/2 hours from check-in to check-out. Will post more tomorrow.
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Monday, November 16, 2009

Save the Ta Tas? Evidently, not so much.



Interesting headline today. Regular exams and self-exams have been drilled into our heads for years. Remember those cards they used to hand out for you to hang in the shower? Well, now they're saying none of that actually works, AND they're saying we shouldn't get regular mammograms until we're 50.


"The value of breast exams by doctors is unknown. And breast self-exams are of no value."


I have friends who have found suspicious lumps by doing self-exams. I would think THEY would say they are effective! Some have been cancerous and early detection was very helpful in minimizing the severity of treatment. Others found (some after a biopsy) a benign mass, and a few went through much agonizing worry over what was actually nothing. The new report says that the older you get, the slower the cancer grows, making self-exams pointless. Basically, wait to be diagnosed 'til your regular office check-up. 


And they're saying that, statistically, it's not worth it for women in their 40's to have mammograms. Also, it's not recommended for women after age 75 because the benefits are unknown.


"Starting at age 40 would prevent one additional death but also lead to 470 false alarms for every 1,000 women screened. Continuing mammograms through age 79 prevents three additional deaths but raises the number of women treated for breast cancers that would not threaten their lives."


I don't know. I understand wanting to reduce the number of false alarms. But, if you're catching more cases earlier, increasing the odds of effective treatment, isn't it worth it? The new advice says no, that we're only saving one life for nearly 500 false alarms. But, what about catching the cancer earlier? Doesn't it follow that the earlier it's caught, the less aggressive and intense the treatment needs to be? What does it mean, "not threaten their lives?" Because they would statistically die soon anyway? I don't know. It's a lot to suddenly digest when we've been told something so different for so many years.


I do understand wanting to reduce unnecessary medical costs, but to me it feels a bit like we're balancing the issue of human life and suffering with cutting budgets. The timing of these findings just seems interesting. Yes, statistics are important to give us an accurate picture. But, we need to be careful that medicine does not become just a statistical quandary. If women over the age of 75 are not given mammograms at all because, well, they're going to die of something anyway, aren't we putting an age limit on the value of human life?


"You save more lives because breast cancer is more common, but you diagnose tumors in women who were destined to die of something else. The overdiagnosis increases in older women," said one researcher.


The findings and recommendations hint ever-so-slightly at an underlying moral issue medical professionals deal with on a daily basis. And government-funded insurance, no matter how much they try to steer us away from it, is going to face the same dilemma. Where will our limited financial resources go? It may not be termed a "death panel," but it maybe could be termed a "who's more expendable panel."


If it's a choice between a 35 year old with over half their life left before them and a 75 year old who could die in a few years or twenty, who gets the dollars for treatment? Because, limited finances DO force choices. And no matter how we try to work and re-work it, finances ARE going to be limited. Medical establishments and professionals ARE going to be trying hard to cut costs, and could be rewarded by the government for doing exactly that. 


It's a scary, scary future, no matter how you slice it, looking at people solely based on statistics and age. I'm not saying this article focuses on that, I'm saying there is a hint. Suddenly the government (government paid medical professionals) becomes responsible for who gets treatment and who doesn't. Who lives and who dies. It about who can contribute the most to society. Which, is very logical... and devaluing.


It will be interesting to watch what comes of this new advice.
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

"Day is done...

Gone the sun..."

There is snow covering everything. It is lovely.

My only daughter is now officially nine.

The kids are in bed.

Nate is doing his homework.

I'm helping.

Tomorrow starts another week.

Where do the years go?
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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Late Night Saturday Randomness

*Taylor wrestled today in the City Championships. He placed 5th. He was very disappointed. It's hard to watch my son go through that. Getting beaten. Quite heavy-handedly. But fighting so hard. Rehashing every move he made. Disappointment written all over his face. Yet, proud because he wasn't supposed to be there at all and was chosen to go last minute. I know it's all good for him, but this letting him become a mature adult thing is hard.

*I had the honor of singing the National Anthem. I love singing the National Anthem. It may be one of my most favorite things to sing. Well, that and lead worship. Okay, and sing in coffee shops. Alright, alright. My favorite thing to sing is anything. I just love singing. But, especially the National Anthem. And that may be the ONLY thing I still get nervous singing. Every. Single. Time. Because it's important. And, you really can't screw it up. I mean, you CAN. But, you really, really, REALLY should not... which is what I mean by "can't."

*I'd like to make some of our Christmas gifts this year. I also know it's most likely not going to happen. Like, 99.99999% not likely. But, I'd still like to.

*My only daughter turns nine in just a few short hours. Never again will I have a daughter who is eight. Brittney said I could, though, if we adopted a little girl or I had another one. Then there was a long pause. Then she said, "Except then I wouldn't be Daddy's favorite anymore." "Mmmm," said I. "You'd have to share that. Do you think you could." Another long pause. Then my daughter firmly said, "Yes, I could. And we could share a bedroom, too."

*It's not snowing right now, but it's not raining. It's kind of freeze-raining. There's about a half inch on our porch of something that is not snow, but is white. It's freeze-rain piling up... which is a lot like snow... but it's not. It's quite noisy on the windows. AND I LOVE IT!!!!!

*Ian has been asking more often, "When is God going to fix my pancreas?" I try to leave the room if I cry when he asks.

*I have quite a few emails I need to compose and send, but my brain isn't working. Do you have those times when you know you need to do something but you also know you can't? Because if you did it wouldn't be done right and you'd just have to re-do it anyway? But you still feel guilty for not doing it? Yes. That's me. Right now.

*I didn't really have dinner. I had popcorn and candy corn. I'm not sure that counts. Or, we could stretch and say that I had a lot of vegetables for dinner. If you add in the few grapes, then I also had fruit.

*I watched Bride Wars last night. I'm now considering cutting bangs...



...because Kate looked killer with them. So, obviously, I would, too. Except, maybe that's a decision that shouldn't be made at midnight... when your husband is working... and you're staying up too late watching a movie... and you need to get your hair done anyway, so anything that sounds daring sounds like a good idea. (Summer, I told you. You do it first. And then, if I like how it looks on you think it would look good on me, I'll do it, too. Maybe.)

*My thoughts are SO random. But, believe it or not, all of these actually are connected in my head. I know. I'm nuts.
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Friday, November 13, 2009

Fashion Friday: Feelin' It

The trick is, you gotta be feelin' it. You know? There are few things more uncomfortable than when you're wearing something you're not feelin'. (Please don't add the "g" to the end of that word. Here, it really requires you to drop the "g" in your pronunciation. "Feelin" not "feeling.")

I am a sweatpants kinda girl. Okay, I am also a stiletto girl... and a skinny jeans girl... and a wide-leg trouser girl... and a cutest little dress imaginable girl... and a drop dead gorg retro-grammy's look girl (just in case anyone was thinking of asking me this year).

The point is, you've got to be comfortable in what you're wearing. Period.

Today, I was totally feelin' the sweatpants. I was also feelin' the no-makeup, just because I didn't feel like make-up. (Okay, if I'm being totally honest here... and this blog is all about that... I put a tad bit of foundation on and a smidge of blush. Because the break-out-ness that is all up in here at the moment is. not. cool. Nor is it welcome. But, it doesn't seem to be agreeing with my tirades against it. So, really, that is almost like not wearing make-up. My eyes are bare. So, there.)

Whenever I jump around to fashion posts, everyone looks so cute and pulled-together! I wanted to do a fashion-something post today, but did NOT want to get all, well, fashionable.

So, I'm just driving the point home that you gotta be feelin' what you're wearin'.

Evidently, I'm also feelin' sneaky, because I'm all sneaky-eyed.

Look! Look at those shoes that I luh-uh-uhv. Uhv. And to think I almost passed them up on that Goodwill rack early this past summer. Thank goodness, Nate was with me and saw what my eyes grazed over. "Umm, isn't this the kind of shoe you've been wanting?"

"Eeeek! Yes! How did I miss those?" And thus begin my new love of Pumas. Com-fy, I'm tellin' ya. (There's a lot of dropping of the ends of words in this post.)

My lips are scrunched. I'm thinking of the Halloween candy in the pantry. Mmmm...

Sweatshirt: My beloved thrift store in SLO (A Peek in the Attic, LOVE this place!)
Tee: Pink VS v-neck. On sale now, 4 for $25. Softest EVer. Been living in them for a week.
Sweats: Nike. Had them for YEARS. Nate got them for me. Super fleecy-comfy.
Shoes: Already said Goodwill. Whoop! Whoop!
Hat: Gap. Ancient.
Earrings: Three-set silver hoops from Ross

Okay, so this is kind of a spoof post. Because it's not some fashionable thing you would put on a blog that discusses fashion. But, it's real life, people!!! And I'm a real woman! And I love me my sweats as much as I love me my couture. Don't you know it!

I'm so excited! Snow is on the way!!! It's supposed to hit any moment, and I'm watching it sweep over the Rockies right. now. Right now, people! Look:

See it? See it? That sky was clear blue just an hour ago. And even since I took this picture I can see the snow is creeping lower on the foothills. Yay! Yay! Yay!
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

"It's beginning to look a lot like..."

Tonight we started rehearsing Christmas music in choir. So, evidently per tradition, everyone was encouraged to wear Christmas-y attire.

Oh. It was on. It was SO on.

Me being fashionable.

Me being me.

A close-up of the glorious reality of my knee-high, fur-trimmed Christmas socks.

You want theme dressing? I will GIVE you theme dressing. You ask for it to be brought? Oh, I will SO bring it.

Hat: Santa's (hee-hee)
Sweater: Goodwill, worn by Nate last season
Leggings: H&M
Socks: Target
Fake Uggs: Costco (Possibly better than the real thing.)
Earrings: Target dollar spot (They're jingle bells, if you can't tell.)
Christmas Light Necklace: Thank you to Mrs. Payne at Battles Elementary!

The one thing missing from my incredible outfit? The battery operated miniature Christmas lights we got post-holiday last year. I was going to poke them through the sweater to accentuate it's already fantabulous adornments, but we couldn't find them. Boo! Rest assured, as soon as they are found they will make a grand entrance. Oh, you KNOW it!

(By the way, do you like how you can see my messy countertops in the background? And that slip of paper on the floor? That's right. I'm just keepin' it real, yo. Just keepin' it real.)


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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Today

Today I can worship, in freedom.

Today I can work, in freedom.

Today I can vote on the fate of our nation, in freedom.

Today my kids can go to school, in freedom.



Today I can make eye contact with men. I can have conversations with men. I can go outside of my house any time of day or night. My husband and I can be equals in our marriage, striving together for the best life for our family, in freedom.

Today, I have the freedom to do these things because someone did what others were unwilling to do.

Freedom comes with risk. Risk of life. Risk of liberty. Risk of taking our freedom too far.

Freedom comes with responsibility. To not take for granted. To be thankful. To make wise choices with the freedom we have been given.

Because freedom can be lost. Quickly. Easily. When we squander, forget, take for granted, become selfish. We can lose our freedom. We can be our own worst enemy and make choices that leave us in bondage... debt... slavery. To things... to people... to circumstances.


Today we remember those who did what others were unwilling to do, and we thank those who are doing what others will not. Those who are fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, family, friends. Those who gave and are giving their time, their health, their very lives so we could have freedom; so we could choose to have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.


"Freedom is not an ideal, it is not even a protection, if it means nothing more than freedom to stagnate, to live without dreams, to have no greater aim than a second car and another television set."
~Adlai Stevenson, American Statesman

Thank you, honey, for your service. For sitting consul underground so other nations wouldn't dare try. For combing the earth via satellite for any threat. For training others to protect our nation. For be willing to go and serve.

Thank you, Dad (Vietnam War). Thank you, Grandad (WWII). Thank you, Grandpa Ted (WWII). Thank you, Dave (Desert Storm). Thank you, Great-Uncle Dean (sacrificed his life on the beaches of Normandy).

For the legacy of sacrifice. For the legacy of country. For the legacy of freedom.

Dear readers, I would challenge you: What are you doing with your freedom others sacrificed so much for you to have? 


Let us never forget the great cost at which our freedom has come, and let us never say that our freedom is not worth such a great cost.

"I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom I can see rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the ends is worth more than all the means."
~John Adams


"Greater love hath no man than this,
that he lay down his life for his friends"
John 15:13

Remember today, and every day, to thank those who have served and are serving in our great nation's armed forces.
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tonight...

There are other posts I'm working on. Some stored on my laptop. Some floating in my head. Some half written on my blogger dashboard.

But, tonight, we have a rare evening where we're all at home. No running around. No commitments. Except to each other. Dinner around the table. Together.

Nate was home today, which was why I didn't post anything earlier.

And with this wonderful surprise of an evening, I'm not going to post much now.

Beauty so often lies in the simplicity of life's gifts. Tonight I'm relaxing in it. Relishing it.

Much love to all my readers. Enjoy something simple this evening.
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Monday, November 9, 2009

Crazy Lights

Saturday night the kids and I were driving home from the library. (Because I'm a cool mom like that, who takes her kids to the library... even though it's only the second time we've been... in years and years and years... and we were there right before closing... because I didn't want to pay for a movie... and you can get good, old ones free at the library.) On the dark, winding road home we spotted, off in the distance, a bright and shining light. It was glowing. And large. And filled the darkness. (Are you sensing my dramatic flare?) We were curious, so I turned the Suburban in the general direction of the source.

Holy cow. It's the beginning of November, people.



But, this was just the front. The main source of the glow was the back.



The workers were just finishing up, and as I poised perilously, hanging out the side of the car to take the picture, the head guy came up to me. He said the owners had 6 to 8 people a day working on the house, for an entire week.

Now, it WAS pretty cool to look at. And I appreciate the message all the glowing signs and nativity scenes and whatnot. And the music that played constantly was a nice touch. I just don't want to think of their utility bill. And I don't want to think of their neighbors, whose houses back right up to these festive early yule-tide-ers. (I hope they turn it off when they go to bed so everyone isn't trying to fall asleep with their homes lit up like it's daytime.)

If you want to go see, it's just east off of Chapel Hills, right before it dead ends into Old Ranch. You'll see the glow.  =^)

(By the way, we checked out Gus. Taylor was complaining how old it was, until the end of the movie, when he said it was pretty good after all. No sex? No violence? No language? I think we'll be frequenting the library for movie checkouts more often.)
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