Tuesday, August 31, 2010

On Experience


There is something to be said for experience.
There is something to be said for getting into it, getting your hands dirty, struggling through the very middle of the circumstances, wrestling with the best way/worst way/mediocre way/last minute way/someone else's way.

There is something to be said for finding life influences that have already gone through the stuff you're going through; for seeking out those who have done it and done well and then examining their values, motives, approaches.

There is something to be said for seeking experience through following, experience through leading, experience through discipleship, experience through education, experience through...

But, there is no substitute for actually doing it.
And in our culture we tend to take people who have never done it, who have only learned about doing it, and have them teach others how to do it.

Because I can read as many books on teaching as I can, but until I have stood before students...
I can talk to as many war veterans as I can, but until I have gone into combat...
I can attend as many classes on surgical procedures as a medical school offers, but until I have carved the scalpel through flesh with my own hands...
I can research the best ways to capture an audience, but until I have delivered the speech...
I can be discipled in the most effective way to lead, but until I have people who are ready to follow...
I can observe the growth of as many beautiful gardens as I can find, but until I plant my own...


It is said that experience is the best teacher.
I would say that there are many valuable teachers, and that we need to seek those out.
We need to glean from those who have gone before us and soak in everything we can on the topic of whatever it is we are entering into.
(I don't want to be taught by someone who has never done... who isn't doing.)

Because experience through following is still experience, but it's only one view.
Experience through leading is still experience, but it's only one view.
Experience through discipleship is still experience, but it's only one view.
Experience through education is still experience, but it's only one view. 


The fullness is in the doing. In every aspect of the doing.
Because experience is the best teacher.

I want to learn from those who have done... from those who are doing... 
so I can go and do.


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Monday, August 30, 2010

Being Aware


Because we need to be aware.
We need to act.
Once we have seen and know, we are no longer blind... but if we choose to ignore, then we are uncaring.

"Apathy is the glove into which evil slips its hand."
~Bodie Thoene

There is an enemy, a real enemy, that is working hard to ensure the apathy of this world... and the uncaring posture of an American People.

"I, the devil, will always see to it that there are bad people. Your job, my dear Wormwood, is to provide me with people who do not care."
~The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis

When we care, when we engage, when we pay attention then we can make a difference.
One can make a difference. It is a lie that one cannot.
One can make a difference.
Just like in this case.
(I had posted this on my facebook page, but wanted my blog readers to have access, too.
For some reason, I cannot get it to embed, so please follow the link and watch.)

For more information you can visit:

Because slavery still exists.
Child sex slavery exists.
Not just all over the world, but here. In America.
In our country.

You are aware.
Do something about it.


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Friday, August 27, 2010

The Constant

There was a point mid-summer that I felt so expectant, anticipating good things and excited for what was to come.

Then a couple of weeks later I felt frustrated, discouraged. The circumstances hadn't really changed, but my outlook had. I wondered where the movement was, where was what I had hoped for?

Then still a couple weeks later I found myself steadfast, hoping and expectant again but in a different way. Not necessarily for things I could see, but for things I couldn't see.

The reality is that in all three of those very different mini-seasons, not much about the circumstances around me had changed.
I was praying for breakthrough, and not seeing any specific evidence of it.
Nada.
Nothing.
But I was sensing things I couldn't necessarily see.
My soul was affected by what was beneath the lack of visible movement.

The one constant during those times and the times to come?
My Creator.
My time with Him.
The ebb and flow of living life in a relationship with the One who knows me so well.

My emotions will change, even when circumstances don't.
I will sense what's going on around me, even in so much of what I can't see.
When circumstances don't seem to visibly change, I'm still greatly aware of things going on that aren't on the surface apparent.
And that will affect my emotions. The ones my Maker placed in me so I will experience the fullness of the life He has given.

But, the constant is Him.
My time with Him.
Our relationship.
My foundation.

In the midst of it all, as I keep that as my constant, I will persevere.

"...pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition..."
Ephesians 6:18

(My little outdoor quiet place. You can't see it, but Pike's Peak is in that picture, beyond the tree.
Do you have a place?)


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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sassy Shoe Thursday

Back a forever-a-go I had some lovely little thrifted shorter-than-calf-higher-than-ankle-ish boots.
(Yes, I'm the queen of brief descriptions.)
Then they died.
Boo.

I've been wanting some black boots. 
Half to replace those, half because... well... I've wanted them.
Maybe kind of cowboy, but not completely cowboy.
But, vintage is always fun.
Alas, my favorite thrift stores weren't turning up any such treasure and I wasn't going to pay full price for a new pair.

The great thing about vacation is it takes you to far away, formerly unknown shopping territories!
While hanging with my sis-in-law in Redmond, Oregon we thought our coffee would best be followed up by a visit to the local thrift store. 
Well, I thought it best. 
She didn't argue.
(I know. That's hard to believe. That going to a thrift store would cross my mind.)

I had taken no more than ten steps in the front door when I looked to my right and...
the angels didn't sing.
There was no light shining down from Heaven.
But, I did spy a folded over pair of black something-or-other on the top shelf of the disheveled shoe rack...

...and my instinct kicked in.

I ran walked straight over and pulled what I found to be boot shafts up to their full height.
Ooooooo... 80's vintage.
Soft, creamy leather.
Krinkled soft, creamy leather.
I turned them over to find $6.99 marked in white chalk on the bottom.
Looked in the shaft...
size 7 1/2!!!!!

Seriously, people. I'm telling you.
God is in my shopping.
He knows just what I'm looking for and just what will bless my socks off,
even when I've forgotten.
(Because, really, I had nearly given up hope.)

They are quickly becoming some of my favs with everything.
Skirts, shorts, skinny jeans, leggings.
Ah, yes. The 80's version of the trendy cowboy boot...complete with krinkles:






I know these pics aren't the greatest, but I've been very lazy lately and have resorted to using my iPhoto Booth for almost everything. Which is fun, but not the most detailed.

You can kind of see here I'm wearing them with World's Most Comfy Skirt, (which you haven't been introduced to yet but I practically lived in while on vacation).

At $6.99 they were a bit of a thrift shopping splurge for me.
Laugh if you must, but I tend to keep my shoe purchases below four dollars.
However, for boots? Totally worth it.
Especially for the exact boots I had been hunting for.




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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

$1.84

$1.84
That's what I paid today for this at my favorite thrift store:


For 25 cents each:
Two plain layering tees for Brit (Wet Seal, I think).
A pair of Levi's shorts for Brit.
A silk animal print top & a plaid top with sheer sleeves for me.
(They may look a little gramma-ish, but I will funk them up believe-you-me.)

My big splurge at 50 cents:
Penny Loves Kenny metallic pink flats. Ooooooooo, I know.
(Those might be for someone else, though.)

My two tops and the shoes I've had my eyes on since mid-June.
So, imagine my joy today when the tops were on the 25 cent rack out front.
I saw last Tuesday that the shoes had been marked down to a dollar.
Since I tried them on in June and knew they fit and have been sitting there, I thought I'd take the risk and see if they went to 50 cents.
Ha. 
I win.
(Although, the Jessica McClintock dress I wanted was gone. I wasn't going to pay $7 for it last week, so I'm not mourning too much. Someone else is loving it, I'm sure.)

I didn't go in and do a bunch of hunting, either.
I browsed through the few sale racks and that was it.

My point is this: FREQUENT YOUR LOCAL THRIFT STORES!!!!!!!!!!
The larger ones will have a higher volume of inventory,
but the smaller ones aren't going to move things as fast.
You can keep your eyes on stuff and know what's been there for a while.
Find out when they make their markdowns and then make your move.
(And, fyi, I know it sounds like I'm always making special trips to the thrift store. 
I'm not. Really.
My favorite one is just down from the pharmacy.
How convenient that I can shop while I wait for prescriptions to be filled!
*evil laugh*)

$1.84
It's worth it, people.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Parachute Fun

A little slice of our summer fun.
Love my family.  =^)

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Happiness & Toenails

Here I sit at Ian's gym.
I keep looking down at my newly-blue toenails.
Actually, not newly, newly blue, because they were a shimmery light blue for the past two weeks.
And Air Force blue before that.
But, newly this shade of blue.

Because I saw this shade on Love, Maegan early in the summer.
And I wanted it.
But by the time I actually got around to going to get it, I couldn't find it.
Come to learn, it was sold out in the stores here because it was a special summer resort collection.
Boo.

BUT...
*cue dramatic, hero-to-the rescue music*
...my incredible, knight-in-shining-armor husband went on eBay and FOUND it for me!
(Cheaper than it would have been in the store, I might add. Even with shipping.)
It didn't occur to me to buy nail polish on eBay.
(You can just stop with the "what if it's used" statements right now.)

It came the other day, much to my squeals of delight.
But I didn't have the chance to put it on until this afternoon.
And now I keep looking at how lovely my Lapis of Luxury blue toenails look as I sit here at Ian's gym.


*sigh*

Especially in those gold sandals I bought half-price on the Target sale rack in June... after I saw how good they looked on my friend. (Hi, Tammy!)

If you want to be the proud owner of toenails this shade, you can still get your own bottle.
Or I'll share, but you have to come visit me. *wink*

And now I have a new color to look forward to for the fall: Essie's Wicked.
Because shipping was the same for two as it was for one.
So, why not?
(And it's named Wicked.
Ooooooo... *shudder*
...Wicked.)

Oh, here's a farther away shot... just to prove I'm at the gym.
Because that first shot could have been faked to make it look like I was at the gym.
Because so many moms try to fake running their kids around to sports practices.

(Why does mac photobooth make the images look like they're in a mirror?
Is there a way to flip them?)


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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Yummy Fancy (Cheater) Muffins

I remember Mom making muffins extra yummy and fancy when I was little, and I thought everyone did.
Then I discovered that, no, everyone does NOT make their muffins extra yummy OR fancy.

Except, Mom made them from scratch.
Because she's amazing like that.

Me?
Ummmmm...


 Step 1.  Buy mini muffins at Costco. *wink*


Step 2.  Melt butter in one bowl and put sugar in another.
Step 3.  Dip muffin first in butter, then in sugar.
Step 4.  Place on fancy cake plate so people assume you made them yourself. (And they'll look pretty.)


Step 5.  Enjoy your Yummy Fancy Muffins. But, remember to hide the Costco container or people will know that they're Yummy Fancy (Cheater) Muffins.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What's affecting me lately...

My heart's ache.
(Which is why I cry every time I sing this song.)

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Good Things vs. God Things

School started today.
I realize it's still August, but for me this means fall is here.
The calendar becomes very colorful with commitments.
I go through my days a little more sleepy and a little more reliant on that morning coffee and that afternoon soda.
(Hey, you have vices, too. Back off.)

Last night I sat at my favorite spot at our kitchen table... the spot where I can see Pike's Peak... and I made a list.
On one side I listed the things I am definitely committing to this year.
(Year: The time span between when school starts and when school ends.)
On the other side I listed the things I'd like to be involved in, things I've been asked to be involved in, and things I'm just not sure about.
All of them are good.
They're Good Things.
They're all about people, which is what I'm about.

God reminded me the other day that I need to make sure I'm committing to God Things.
Because there are so many good, wonderful things I would love to jump into!
But, at the end of the day I want my schedule to be filled with what God is calling me to do.
I was reminded that if I fill my time with Good Things, then I may not be able to jump into the God Things when they come along.

So, I have my list.
I'm praying over it.
Praying that I'll know what the God Things are.
Because God Things and Good Things are both good.
But, sometimes God Things may not seem on the outside as attractive as Good Things, and we can miss them if we only look at the surface.
And sometimes Good Things look quite wonderful, so we think they're God Things because we don't stop and ask.
And things that are God Things to one person are simply Good Things to another,
because we each have our own unique calling and talents and gifts.
And mine isn't yours.
And yours isn't mine.
But we can have a tendency to get that confused.

So,
I'm taking the time to stop and ask.

Because this is serious stuff.
This is life-changing, world-changing, culture-changing stuff.
And sometimes the simplest of commitments can reach farther into lives and time than we ever dreamed.
And sometimes the simplest of commitments becomes just busyness that drains us of energy we could have... should have... been directing elsewhere.

So it is with God Things...

...which is why I'm taking the time to stop and ask.

(I'm so glad God is faithful to remind me.)

(I love how it's said here!)
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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Visa's Anyone?

Are you going to catch any of the Visa National Championships?
(That's gymnastics, fyi.)
They started this evening and go through Sunday.
Click around your tv listings (NBC and Universal Sports),
or go here to catch the webcasts,
or go here to view live results. 

We're cheering on Ian's coaches...
(Alexy Bilozertchev, Wes Haagensen, and Andrew Elkind)
...along with the rest of the OTC team.
Woo-hoo!
The top qualifiers will make the Men's National Team and go to World's in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

(Ian & Alexy after the OTC National Qualifier in July.)
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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Breaking Through

I was encouraged this morning... reminded.
To be steadfast, confident, persistent.

There are a number of areas we've been praying for breakthrough in.
A number meaning quite a few.
Quite a few meaning sometimes I wonder if it's just too many and feel like giving up.

Because it's easy to get in my head that I'm asking for too much.
Too much in too many areas.
That maybe I should concentrate on just one area and let the others go.
As if my God isn't big enough to handle all of them together, so I should lessen His load.

HA! That makes me laugh!
I start thinking I should lessen His load, as if the maker of heaven and earth can only handle a few things at a time.
As if He's too burdened or overwhelmed.
What the heck?

But, that's my human nature, to think that since I struggle to handle multiple burdens at once, He might, too.
Oh, how finite our minds are.

That's why He wants us to take His burden, which is easy and light.
Lean back and trust.
Because He's got this.
Yes, even this.
All of it.
And just stay steadfast...
...in prayer...
...in patience...
...in confidence...
Not confidence in ourselves, but confidence in our God.
(I hope He's your God, too. He's the only true God there is. You can make up others, but they'll fail you every time. So, really, even if you think He isn't your God, He is. It's just whether or not you'll choose to believe in Him.)

Because breakthrough does come.
It will come.
Sometimes overnight, but more often it comes for those who are steadfast.
Who keep on going.
Who are faithful.
Who are persistent.

I'm going to keep choosing to be that.





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Friday, August 6, 2010

Catching up...

Vacation is wonderful.

The downside is you've got to come back to the Catching-Up thing.
The piles of mail to sort through.
The phone calls to return.
The emails to return.
The toilets to clean that somehow got ridiculously dirty more ridiculously dirty while you were gone.
(Why does evaporating water need to make everything gross?)
The laundry to do.
(It wasn't too bad this time, since we tried to stay up on it while we were gone. Yes, we. I keep telling you Nate is an amazing husband.)

The last two days we've been doing the Catching-Up thing as it pertains to running around and getting school supplies.
Because if we wait another week, they'll all be gone.
Like last year, when we were running around the night before trying to find a stupid Steno notebook that for some reason only one stinking store carries in individual quantities.
Because I don't need a pack of twelve Steno notebooks. 
I need one.
For a fourth grader.
(And, fyi schools, they don't like to sell blue dry erase markers in only-blue packs.
I've only found them in the four pack with other colors that you say you don't need.
So, you're getting black... because they are sold in only-black packs.)

Today Nate went back to work.
Boo.
(We always try to take a couple extra days of leave after we return from vacation just so we can play catch up and re-enter life a bit more prepped and rested.)
So I'm sitting here on the couch with my amazing-beyond-belief laptop taking care of emails and whatnot.
The kids have played a bit too much Wii.
I know that because they're now arguing.
And I just realized my coffee cup is again empty.

Since blog posts are way more fun with photos, I thought I'd experiment with the Photo Booth app.

My new favorite sweatshirt. From Goodwill in Oregon. Because why pay full price for a new one when you can pay just few bucks for one that someone else has already done the work of breaking in? 
Hey! Look! The words read like I'm looking in a mirror! 
Interesting.

I realized how many wrinkles my forehead now contains. Early 30's are NOT supposed to have this many yet. Right? 

Hmmm... empty coffee cup... hmmm...

So at this point in time I should arise, think about lunch for the five of us who are still at home, maybe put on something other than the sweatshirt I've been living in the past few days, and potentially go clean the toilets.

It's always fun to go on vacation...
and it's always fun to come back home.

(Can someone else just come do the Catching-Up thing for me?)
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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Road Trippin'

Just got home last night from our wonderful vacation.
Lots to do.
Things to catch up on.
But I'll be back on here soon with a full run-down.

Until then, here's a little glimpse of what it's like road-trippin' with our family.
(Ian was voted worst DJ of the trip, fyi.)

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