Monday, May 31, 2010

No Greater Hero


Last fall we had a soccer game down at Fort Carson and wound up weaving through the streets of stereotypical military townhouses to reach the field. 
As we drove past it looked like the scene in so many movies where the car pulls up outside a small military residence and men in uniform get out and walk up to the door to inform the wife that her husband won't be returning home.

I cried.

On the way to that soccer game, I felt a knife dig through my heart as I pictured that same scene playing out on the streets we were driving down.

A few weeks later I was talking with an Army wife at Ian's gym. 
She spoke of the sickness in her gut that came when she saw those cars drive down the street. 
How each wife would peer out her window and pray to God that the car wouldn't stop in front of their house.
But, it always had to stop.
It was the worst when it was someone she knew. 

On the way home that night I cried again.

Because I can't imagine the horror, and yet it happens. 
Right here. 
In my town. 
Spouses find out... children find out... that their husband, their wife, their father, their mother won't be coming home again. 

Ever.

On this Memorial Day I again have that scene playing in my head. I can see the rows of houses on those streets I drove down. And there are again tears in my eyes.

I think of the freedoms that I have...that my children have... because our soldiers were willing to give their lives. 

I think of the Iraqi and Afghan people that, despite what media reports tell us, have the hope for a new lease on freedom and life because our soldiers were willing to give their lives.

I think of the Jewish people that survived because our soldiers were willing to give their lives.

I think of the slaves that were freed because our soldiers were willing to give their lives.

I think of our country... founded on God... freed from an oppressive, controlling government because our soldiers were willing to give their lives. 

Because a soldier isn't simply someone in uniform. 
Anyone can put on a uniform. 
A soldier is one who marches forward, knowing the risk, but keeping on because what they are fighting for is greater than that risk.

And I again have tears in my eyes because I am thankful. 
So thankful. 
To those soldiers. To their families. 
For they have ultimately given what they hoped not to, but were willing to.

There is no greater hero.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends
John 15:13

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sassy Shoe Thursday: Q&A with an Expert!

which is written by an actual Shoe Girl...
as in she designs shoes...
like, really designs shoes...
like, she designs for L.A.M.B. *gasp, die*
(Someday. I. Will. Own.)
...and Betsey Johnson.

She did this really great post answering questions we have about shoes and how they're made.
(Like I said, EXPERT!)
So, seeing as how today is Sassy Shoe Thursday, I thought I'd pass this along to you! 

Just hop on over to her amazing Q&A post and become a smarter you.
Oh! And what is that? My question is the first one answered?
Well, what do ya know?
(She just did that. It wasn't planned, fyi. Because it's not like we talk about those things in real life. But, if we did talk about them in real life, I bet we'd be great friends. Because she's cool like that. And she quotes movies like Clueless. *love*)

(photo: Footwear News, via The Shoe Girl's Blog)
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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

So many things...

So many things I ache for.
So many things I want to dive into and hold in my arms and comfort and solve and break through the door with an automatic weapon shouting, "You wanna piece of ME? Let's GO!"
So many things.

There are things we grieve over.
We hear about them and our hearts break.
So we support them financially when and where we can and we pray for them.

And then there are the things that ache constantly in our heart,
that won't leave our thoughts in the middle of they day or night.
They invade our dreams and we find ourselves thinking, "What can I do? How can I act? Would this help over here? Or maybe this thing right here?"

I think God calls us to different things, to act in different ways.
There are so many injustices going on constantly in our world, and we can't be hands on with each and every single one.

But we CAN with at least one.
Or two. 
Or maybe a few.

I'm starting to think that God calls us to invest in and support a variety of things through prayer and finances.
But, there are a few He calls us to invest our time and energy and physical being in.

We can't all do it all. 
But each of us can do some.
And in the each of us doing some, we CAN do it all.

What are you called to dive into?
What is your gut aching to hold in your arms and comfort and solve?
What do you want to break through the door of and shout "My God is bigger and you. will. be. conquered..."

And some of us are called to be wildly involved in one.
And some of us are called to be involved in a few.
But, and here's the thing...

...we are ALL called to be involved.
Because that is the heart of our Father.
People are the heart of our Father.
To break the chains of injustice,
to set the captives free.


What are you called to?

"This is the kind of fast day I'm after:
to break the chains of injustice,
get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
free the oppressed,
cancel debts.
What I'm interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on,
and your lives will turn around at once."
~Isaiah 58:6-9 (The Message)



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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Help 'em out!

So, I have lots of amazing friends that do amazing things that really amaze me.
I know.
I'm totally cool by association.
(Not really, but let's pretend, okay?)

One of them, Kory Brunson, is the worship leader up at Crossroads Church of Denver.
(Crossroads peeps, holla!)
He also has an awesome band that was just nominated for Westword's Country Act of the Year!!!
Whoop! Whoop!
The bands that have won this in the past (The Fray, in the Rock category) have gone on to have some incredible opportunities in the national spotlight, and it would be so awesome to see the Kory Brunson Band launched into that.

BUT, they need OUR help!
To win they'll need lots and lots and tons and volumes and massive online votes.
They're on their way, but we need to make sure they get there.
So, if you could take a second and... 

1.) Hop on over here...

2.) Log in. (Don't worry. They don't want money or your child. They just want to make sure voting is fair.) It's super easy. Super.

3.) Vote for the Kory Brunson Band under categories 15 and 45.

And that's it! 
They have a great new single out right now called Girls Night Out that's gaining ground on radio stations and has been playing at Ladies' Nights at Rockies Stadium.
You can listen to it here.
Or just go to itunes or amazon and download it, because you'll be glad you did.
(Fyi, it's really good. Girls, you're gonna wanna go grab your friends and hit the dance floor after you hear it!)

You can also hear some of their other stuff on their music page.

So, go on! Please? Take a few seconds and help my amazing friends out.
The friends that are cool because they're associated with me make me cool by association.
(Remember, we're pretending that's true.)
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Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday Musings

*My toes are blue. 
I just tweeted about it, so it showed up on my facebook page, too. (Because I connected the two accounts.) I found this great shade at Sally's and when I was applying it this morning (Which I intended to do yesterday before church, but it didn't happen. So I had naked toes yesterday. Eeeek!) I realized it was the. perfect. shade of Air Force blue. 
Which is very appropriate, us being Air Force and all.
Especially since the Academy graduates this week.
And especially especially since the Thunderbirds have been cruising screaming through the valley yesterday and today.

*I've had this great urge to stand up and sing, "And I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died who gave that right to me..."
every time they fly by.

*My husband gets home in a week and a half. My friend, Kelly (Hey, Kel!), said it gets harder the closer you get. 
She's right.

*I've tended to get two different reactions over the past few months to our crazy schedule.
1.) "I don't know how you're doing this." To which I reply, "Oh, it's fine. You just do it, you know?"
or
2.) "Well, what's so hard? I mean, you don't work, do you?" To which I want to reply, "Do you even know? Do you even have children? Would you like to explain to me the definition of work?" Except I don't say that. I usually just smile.

*I really understand why God's perfect plan involves two parents. 
Two involved parents.
I'm so thankful my hubby is an involved parent.

*Did I mention that my toes are blue? I love it.

*Between dropping Brit off at her gym try-out at 8:30am this last Saturday and getting Ian to his last baseball game at 10:30am, I had a bit to stop by some garage sales. 
Score!
When Nate gets home he'll have some long white shelves to put up in Brit's room just below the ceiling to hold all her trophies and knick-knacks.
I love that God remembers what we've been trying to remember to get even when we forget.

*I'm going to have petunias for the first time since Montana. 
Yay!
Now, if I can just get them into the pots, that would be great.

*I love this pic of my kiddos on Mother's Day.
Taylor so did not want to be in it.
(Yes, he's taller than me now. By about two inches. Boo.)
We were throwin' up our signs.
They take that very seriously.


*Hey, guess what! My toes are Air Force blue!

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Fashion Tip Friday: Repurposing

Mom and Dad were out for Mother's Day Weekend.
Of course, Mom and I went to the thrift store, because that is what girls should do.

I found this nifty beaded yellow/earthy-feel belt...
that I would probably never wear as a belt...
(now that I've said that, you'll see it as a belt in a post by fall)
but thought, "Hmmm..."
and I put it around my neck, instead.

Because in fashion things don't necessarily have to be used as they were intended to be used.
(Like my pearl necklace I wrap around my wrist.)
And this totally fits that.

Now, please know that I debated because it was... *gasp* two whole dollars.
I hemmed and hawed and carried it around the store.
Finally, I showed Mom.
"Oh, you have to get it! Two dollars? Get it."

So, I did.
Good choice.

(You can see in the pics I just knotted it twice to make it a bit chunkier/shorter.)











Pulling it all together...
Belt/Necklace: Thrifted
Green Silk Shirt: Thrifted (For a quarter! Love the 90's cut.)
Brown tee: Goodwill, can't remember brand
Jeans: 7 for all Mankind, Mother's Day gift a few years back.
Boots: Gabrielle Rocha, 6pm.com (A little pointier than desired, but so warm!)
Ginormous Gold Hoops: Forever 21

So, what do you have sitting in your closet that could be repurposed? 
Maybe a chain belt that could be a funky necklace?
An old necklace that could double as a bracelet?
You can double and even triple the function of your wardrobe!

It's just all in the way you look at things.
Some of you are saying right now, "But, I don't have an eye for that!" And you're thinking, "Whatever, Angela. I'm just not good at seeing things that way."
Whatever.
You lie to me.
You lie to yourself.
It just takes a little bit of eye-retraining!

Go to your closet and you'll see what I mean.
Don't sell yourself short before you even try, okay?
OKAY?????

Because somewhere there's a skirt that will make a fabulous strapless, flowy dress this summer.
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Loving Lately

"...some people are 'common law Christians' ...they want the benefits of living with Jesus without making the commitment. But even as the full joy of living together is found only within the context of the commitment of marriage, so too the joy of following Jesus is found only in abandoning oneself to every word that proceeds from His mouth."

"Instead of focusing on being creative, focus on being obedient. Give your best energies to waiting on God in His presence, listening for His voice, and then moving out in action only when He has spoken. There's no sense in coming up with your own ideas when it's only God's counsel that will stand!"

Secrets of the Secret Place
by Bob Sorge
(Chapter 4: The Secret of Radical Obedience)


"The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect. The counsel of the Lord stands forever" 
Psalm 33:10-11
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Monday, May 17, 2010

Surprisingly...

Today Nate booked his plane ticket home.
And when he called this morning to tell me, I surprisingly became emotional.
(Okay, surprising for me. The rest of you already expected it, I'm sure.)
Surprising in the way that I didn't expect to burst into tears and jump into his arms outside of Fuddrucker's when we met him there after a long drive to Florida in March.
And surprising in the way I didn't expect to start bawling (Like, everyone could hear me because I was sobbing so loud but I could. not. help. it.) in the Tampa Airport terminal when I saw him a few weeks back.
Surprising because, I'm cool. I'm good. I'm truckin'. I'm doing this thing. It's not easy, but we're doing it, you know?

Except the prospect of having someone here to HELP again... someone I can put my cold feet on at night when I climb into bed... someone who can take the 13 year old out of the room and deal with the snippy comments and angry eyes so I don't have to... someone who will load the dishwasher and sift through papers on the counter... someone who will take the kids to the park so I can sit in silence for a bit... someone who will share the carpool duties... someone who takes me on Monday night dates just because... someone to check the kids into childcare at church while I go get seats... someone to smile at me when I'm up on the choir risers... someone to prune the hedges and bag the branches so I don't scratch my arms up... someone who will kill the spiders for me...

...THAT prospect may be what brings those emotions to the surface.

Because I have one of the most amazing husbands in the world.
He protects me.
He cherishes me.
He encourages me.
He's fine with being my excuse when I need one.
He's happy to be my jacket when I forgot one.
He's okay with his shirt being my tissue when I get teary and there isn't any at hand. (Usually.)

So, I'll probably burst into tears again and jump into his arms when he flies into the Springs airport in two and a half weeks.
Maybe this time I won't be *as* surprised by my emotions.

Or maybe I'll be just fine, because he'll finally be home.





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Friday, May 14, 2010

Fashion Tip Friday: Day to Night

Okay, I know I didn't take the "before" pic, which would have been the outfit during the day.

But, I realized as we headed out to dinner on my last night in Florida that this was a great example of an easy transition outfit. 
Meaning you can take it from day to night with just a few small changes.
So, I took advantage of one of the hotel mirrors.
(And, yes, the pic is blurry. Oh, stinking-well.)

Top: Ummm... some department store years ago for, like, five bucks. (I bought three different colors.)
Cardi: Scored at Max Azria Final Cut store in Tampa
Shorts: Old Navy clearance last summer
Shoes: Steve Madden, on my WoF trip with my girlies! Holla!
Clutch: Solas, gift from hubby. Luh-uh-uv. (It lights up!)
Pendant: Mom's. Hee-hee. (Nate got it in Qatar.)
Earrings: Thrifted silver hoops

Okay, mentally put sandals and a big tote with this outfit, and you get what I wore all day!
See?
All I did was exchange the tote for a classy clutch and the sandals for some strappy heels and *voila* a date-worthy look!
I also had on smaller silver hoops and a more demure necklace for daytime.
Chunky jewelry instantly adds more of the evening-fashion-factor.
(I also put on lip color, which helps the transition.)
It's. Just. That. Easy.

So many of us girlies think we've got to have a completely different outfit to be evening-ready. 
Now, often that is nice, but it's not always necessary.
Especially when packing for a weekend trip where you can only take one checked bag because you have to stinking pay for it.
(I tell ya... if I ran the world...)

Okay. This can work with jeans and tee's. 
Skirt and tank. 
Little summer dress.
See?
SEE?????

Now YOU give it a go.
Need help? Lemme know.
Just click that little Ask Angela button over there in the side bar and type away.
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Thursday, May 13, 2010

All the wrinkled ladies...

Oh, my freaking gosh. Hilarious. Gotta love Anita!
(This may be a more enduring message than Beyonce's.)

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I don't enjoy...

Most of life is a lovely kind of skip for me,
but there are a few things that stutter my gait slightly...

*I don't enjoy being cold. Ever. Ever.

*I don't enjoy scooping ice cream. It's either too hard and I can't get it out, or it's too soft and smooshes everywhere.

*I don't enjoy turning dress socks or some kinds of baseball socks right-side-out. They catch on the tips of my fingers, which is worse for one who has guitar callouses.

*I don't enjoy bagging leaves with my bare hands. There are bugs. And spiders.

*I don't enjoy someone correcting me on something that isn't wrong in the first place. Because then I either have to correct them, or just leave it and then they think I'm a jerk. Either way is awkward.

*I don't enjoy getting into bed when the room is already dark. I want to get in bed first, then have the room be dark. (Hence, my love for the clapper.)

*I don't enjoy answering the phone when I'm trying to get out the door or am rushed to do something else. I can give the other person the appropriate amount of attention, and I wind up being late anyway.

*I don't enjoy having dry hands. It's such a distraction for me that at night I can't sleep, and during the day can think of almost nothing else until I get lotion.

Not that any of this is earth shattering, it was just on my mind. Maybe because we had rootbeer floats the other night... or because the laundry needs folded... or because we did yard work Sunday... or because baseball season in Colorado doesn't seem to ever warm up fully... or because the guy at the gas station yesterday was off on his facts... or because nighttime is a tad lonely right now... or because I'm so busy lately... or because I have lotion everywhere in my house.

Hmmm...
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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Just Me & My Man

Our Spring Break Florida Trip was amazing and wonderful...

...so when I was able to go again all by my lonesome (thanks to my incredible Father-in-Law who flew out to take care of the kiddos) to be with my hubby I just felt beyond blessed.

I flew into Tampa, and we stayed the first night at the Tampa Waterside Marriott. 
Because Nate's been in a hotel this entire time He's now a Marriott Platinum member, which means we get upgraded to the best available room AND a gift delivered to it. 

Yeah.
Nice.

And, because I'm a complete and total nerd, I film these things.


On Saturday we drove down to the Everglades. Didn't know there were panthers there.


Nate had arranged a kayaking trip with Everglades Area Tours for the two of us, and it was AMAZING.
We had an awesome guide who was very patient with my non-existent kayaking abilities and my fear of spiders.





We really wanted to see some gators, but evidently they don't operate off of our wish-list.
We did see a few from a distance, and if you look very carefully in the above pic (you may want to click to enlarge) you can see about dead in the center, right below the line of the bank, a dark thing in the water that was the nose and eyes of a very large one.

Nate looking very astute and tough-kayaker-ish.


In many of the mangrove tunnels there were amazing, intricately woven spider webs arching over our heads. 
Like, right over our heads.
As in, we had to duck a lot of the time.
That wasn't exactly my cup of tea.



But, Nate was my hero. Seriously.
My night in shining armor. He let me duck my head down and sweat out my fears while he bravely paddled and maneuvered our kayak through the tunnel and kept me out of webs' way.
And when we were all done he discovered he was wearing a nice web-halo.
(Actually, I think he preferred it that way. I believe his words were something like, "Don't worry, you don't need to paddle." "No, seriously. Stop paddling." "Babe, when you paddle it makes it a lot harder for me to paddle." So, I didn't paddle much.)
For some reason, Nate's arms were sore the next day but mine weren't so much.

The sounds in the mangrove tunnels were incredible. At one point the frogs, as if on cue, swelled up in a chorus all around us, and then stopped just as suddenly. I had to capture it.


We did our tour right around sunset, so we got to go out in the light and come back in the dark. Shortly after I took this video we came out of one of the tunnels to see two huge, glowing eyes right in front of us... then they submerged. So freaky and cool.

When we returned to the sandy banks, our guide called in an order to a local restaurant so we could head straight there and grab dinner.
This was the sign in the boys' bathroom. 
(No, I don't make a habit of going in to those places, but no one else was in there and I wanted a picture of this.)


Then we drove the rest of the way to Miami Beach and checked into our amazing room at the Eden Roc. The fanciest hotel I've ever stayed in. 
Remember Platinum upgrades? Yeah. The nerd thing? In full effect. (And I wanted the kids to see the room.)


(Ummm... everything brings a song to mind. Everything. If you couldn't tell.)

Our Platinum arrival gift made for a nice Sunday morning breakfast. Ha!

Then the whole day on the beach. 
They would bring drinks and food right to your lounge chair. You didn't even have to get up. You just laid there and they came and took care of you.
Incredible.
I've never seen water so blue.
(Yes, I hear Hawaii is bluer. Back off. This is the most tropical I've ever been.)


It was all windy Sunday night. My silk skirt looked so cool and billowy!

I've seen the sun SET countless times over the Pacific, but never rise over the Atlantic. So, Monday morning we set our alarm for it... and then went back to sleep.


You know how you don't realize you need something until you're in the middle of it?
We needed this.
The time together, sans children.
Sunshine and warmth. 
Just the two of us.


Monday afternoon we drove back up to Tampa and then I flew out Tuesday.
A little sunburnt and a lot content.
Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

(I miss you, Honey. Hurry home.)
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Friday, May 7, 2010

Lifesongs

There are a few songs,
less than I need five fingers to count,
I consider to be my lifesongs.
The ones that remind me what I'm here for, what my goals are, what my Passion is.

A friend's post the other day brought this one again to the forefront of my mind.

It's one of my lifesongs.
And in the business and craziness of this season, it keeps me focused on my Purpose on this earth.

"A child of mercy and grace who blessed Your name unapologetically..."

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