Tuesday, August 30, 2011

1000 Gifts. Counted.

Well seven months and 13 days after I began my 'counting' - I did it! I've paused and counted 1000 gifts in my life. Oh, I've probably duplicated a couple here and there, but that's okay, I'll keep counting, and some are worth counting more than once anyway, right? Below is a list of some of the gifts I've included at the end of my list.

Additionally, I was reminded in a phone call with a friend this morning, that every breath, every moment we have on this journey is a gift. This pausing helps me to not take it for granted and to fully live in this amazing, wonderful, sometimes painful and confusing, journey we call life!  

  • Fresh vegetables, especially free ones from neighbors
  • Mike’s ‘sure’ when I ask him to stop by the store on the way home from work for me!
  • Mike sitting down and looking at the girl’s projects when they ask him to.
  • Ibuprofen
  • Weekends
  • Rainbows
  • Daughters dancing in the rain
  • Morgan noticing the sunset tonight & wanting me to pause & see it
  • Walks after rain drenched the earth
  • The gift of calmness I had dealing with daughter’s attitude
  • Joy I find in ‘organizing’
  • Half price sonic drinks
  • All the tools mike owns
  • All the projects he tackles for me!
  • Games
  • Laughter with friends
  • People in my past (youth) who were there for me and made a difference in my life!
  • New friendship
  • Unexpected days of employment
  • Pizza back on school lunch menu
  • A calm and patient husband
  • Sun kissing treetops
  • Wave reflections dancing on boat’s side
  • Mike changing the rhythms of dancing reflections
  • Adoption
  • Mosquito spray
  • Squeals, smiles & laughter of kids bouncing on tube behind boat
  • Longtime friendships
  • Worn out feeling from playing hard
  • Luxury of ice and simple happiness it brings me
  • Smell of aloe nourishing sun kissed skin
  • Slowed down pace of camping
  • Chocolate pudding on children’s faces
  • Smells of campfire cooking
  • Ooey gooey messy fun of s'mores
  • Honesty of kids
  • Red veins on green leaves
  • A husband to hug
  • “Goodnight” moments with the girls
  • Long walks that seem short when accompanied by good conversation
  • God loving me in each of these gifts. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

First Day of School, Day 3

Well it's day three of the school year and Sarah was so ecstatically happy this morning -- finally she gets to begin her 3rd grade year today!! She was bouncing out of bed an hour early today with a grin a mile wide! So glad she is finally fever free, and thankful her 'sickness' never amounted to more than that!

Click on picture to read the letter.
And as much as I was ready for school to begin, I did enjoy my couple of days with just her. She made me 'mail' and put in our mailbox while she was home (see picture) to surprise me! We read two entire Junie B. Jones book - and I loved snuggling with her and listening to her giggle out loud at the funny parts. (And I wondered, did I ever laugh out loud when I read books like that?!) We also picnicked outside, played perfection, finished her summer scrapbook, and worked on a sewing project she had started six months ago.

This girl is sweetness itself and it just oozes out through her smile and laughter. She's gonna have a 'grate' year, I'm sure!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

First Day of School

My beautiful daughter, Morgan, begins 5th Grade today! And let me tell you how beautiful she is, the first thing she says when she wakes up this morning? "I'm going to make Sarah a special breakfast this morning when she wakes up!" You see, Sarah has had a fever the last two days, so Morgan knew her sister wasn't going to be able to go to school on the first day of school and she wanted her sister to have a special morning too! (See, I told you she was beautiful!)  Well the good news is that Sarah woke up bubbly and with no fever, so hopefully she can have her 'first day' of school tomorrow! :) Crossing my fingers! 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Unsettled and The Impact Effect

I'm kinda excited about two new books coming out next month.  First...unsettled: life beyond the yellow ragged couch...
For ten years, we attended this church in Columbia, MO (and then later in Jeff City, MO when they opened a campus there) called Woodcrest. I got to hear Piet Van Warde speak every week, and I never tired of listening to his messages. I appreciated his authenticity, because God often spoke through him to my heart about what I needed to hear. Something tells me that God may just once again speak to me again through Piet's words, in his newest book, unsettled, so I am looking forward to getting a copy of it soon! Here's the facebook page for unsettled.

Next...The Impact Effect: A revolutionary vision for compassion in your community and the world...
I really didn't want to leave 'woodcrest' - it was one of the hardest part of our move. And yet, God led us to another amazing church, led by Tommy Sparger, called North Point Church (NPC).  What I love about NPC is how hands on they are about living out the christian life in the community and around the world.  Their love for others here in our town and across the globe is real and authentic and inspiring. It's not about talking or programs...it's about action...and making a difference...and loving others with the love that God has placed in our hearts. He explains it all in this book.  Here's more info on Tommy's blog about The Impact Effect. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011


17 years of marriage + 3 years of dating = 20 years of love!!!
Here are 3 songs to help us celebrate! :)

#1 Brad Paisley's, "Then" - it's my newest favorite.
What I can't see is how I'm ever gonna love you more,
But I've said that before. 
We'll look back some day at this moment that we're in,
And I'll look at you and say, 'and I thought I loved you then'...

#2 Martina McBride's "All the Things we've never done" - Discovered this one about 10 years ago and LOVE it!  You have to listen to all of it to fully appreciate it!

#3 Steven Curtis Chapman's "I will be here" - This will always be 'our song' - from our dating years, and has only grown more sweeter as the years go by...
Here are the lyrics: 
Tomorrow morning if you wake up
And the sun does not appear, I will be here.

If in the dark we lose sight of love,
Hold my hand and have no fear, ‘Cause I will be here.

I will be here when you feel like being quiet;
When you need to speak your mind, I will listen.
And I will be here when the laughter turns to crying;
Through the winning, losing, and trying, we’ll be together,
‘Cause I will be here.

Tomorrow morning if you wake up
And the future is unclear, I will be here.

As sure as seasons are made for change,
Our lifetimes are made for years, So I will be here.

I will be here, so you can cry on my shoulder;
When the mirror tells us we’re older, I will hold you.
And I will be here to watch you grow in beauty,
And tell you all the things you are to me;
I will be here.

I will be true to the promise I have made,
To you and to the One who gave you to me.

As sure as seasons are made for change,
Our lifetimes are made for years,
So I, I will be here.
We'll be together and i will be here.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Growing Up

So I've been noticing more and more things that are kinda nice about the girls growing up, for example, this week in KC:
  • I haven't had to push an elevator button even once. 
  • I haven't had to get ice from the hotel ice machine. 
  • They willingly made me a PB sandwich each day for lunch. 
  • They have held the door open for me and for strangers countless times.
  • I don't have to be in the pool with them constantly. I can sit poolside and read a book while they happily splash about. 
  • They can walk longer distances without me having to carry them any more. 
And yet, at the same time, looking back at our trip to KC three years ago, it's amazing how little has changed.
For this week, we've enjoyed these simple pleasures, some shared with Mike, others with just my girls and I when he was in training.  We rode escalators up and down, visited the pool too many times to count (once after dark), splashed together, played 'sea monster', went shopping, had breakfast in bed while watching cartoons, enjoyed the view from our 40th floor room, ran down 23 flights of stairs for fun, laughed together, had pillow fights, ran thru fountains, played cards and banagrams, we let mini trains deliver our dinner again, we toured Hallmark and the Money Museum and made crafts at Kaleidoscope, we explored the art museum and saw Monet's work, and we 'dressed up' to go share cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory! I've definitely enjoyed this week hanging out in KC! And everything we did (except dining and the girls had their own 'shopping money') was free!! :)

waiting for dad to take us The Cheesecake Factory!
Sarah, "Mom, I'm getting a picture of you on your phone!"
The Sweet Joy of Daughters!!
Yes, the girls loved being on the 40th floor!
Night time, roof top, swimming, apparently makes us  "the most awesomest parents!"

Monday, August 8, 2011

Summertime's Last Hurrah

Well our last week of summertime is upon us, next week my girls will begin 3rd and 5th grade! And while I'm slightly grieving the end of one more summertime in my girl's childhood, I'm also looking forward to the routine the school year brings, as well as the chance to work (substitute teach) again! :)

As for this past summer, I really have no regrets (other than deleting most of our 'a to z' summertime pictures!). The first part of our summer was busy, busy FUN...visit from my sister's family, camping, our grand adventure to the Grand Canyon, a visit from Mike's brother's family. The second part of our summer has been filled with relaxing days at home that inspire creativity in my girls, with the fun of our a to z days mixed in, as well as camping and trips to the lake, and scrapbooking with the girls their own books of our Grand Canyon trip.

Our last hurrah is this week at the Crown Center in Kansas City. Mike is here for training with work, so the girls and I are hanging out...visiting Hallmark's Kalediscope center, playing in fountains, shopping, and hanging at the pool (when the weather cooperates), going to the Money Museum...and the best part...all our fun is free (well, other than the shopping!) We'll play all day then join up with Mike in the evening, which will hopefully include at least one night to The Cheesecake Factory!

When the lady at the front desk asked Mike how high we wanted to be in our hotel, he said "as high as we can!" - so we ended up on the top floor! That would be #40!! He definitely scored brownie points with his girls who were screaming and giggling and, well, you can't even imagine the excitement!! It's quite the view too.  And I'm trying to get over my fears...of gettting stuck in the elevator with two girls, of there being a fire in the middle of the night, of storms blowing out windows. Sometimes I wish my heart still beheld the naive innocence that my girl's hearts hold...and I could just be excited about being on the 40th floor!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Dear FEMA,

(Read the first letter to FEMA by clicking here.)

I should feel sweet victory. But honestly, I am simply disgusted with you and your policies. I think it's horrible that someone in an air conditioned office can simply 'redraw' the flood lines. And because of this, we are REQUIRED to pay for FEMA flood insurance (by our mortgage company) because all of a sudden our home is an 'high risk flood zone'!

Well, we KNEW our house was not in a high risk flood zone, so we paid $300 for a surveyor to prove it. Then we had to pay you another $321 for flood insurance, because our mortgage company only gave us 60 days to get this 'flood insurance' and you take 60 days to approve or deny a request, we simply did not have enough time after getting the survey, and filling out your forms, to prove in time that indeed our home was NOT in a flood plain.

We now have our LOMA form that officially removes our home from a high -risk flood plain, but your error  cost us over $600 to prove it! So, if you'd like to do the right thing and reimburse us for the expenses of your error, you know where to send the check.  The only sweet victory that is mine is that I don't have to keep paying you $321 a year for the rest of our mortgage!


Thursday, August 4, 2011

It's HOT!!!

I can't believe how hot it's been. I've certainly been missing Michigan Summers. Since we moved to Missouri 15 years ago, this is the first summer we haven't traveled back to Michigan in the summertime. Don't know if a Michigan gal will ever get acclimated to a Missouri summer! Just look at a few of the 'facts' about Missouri's heat -
  • We've set record highs the past 3 days in a row.
  • We even set a record high for the month of August at 108.
  • Mind you this is Missouri in the summer, so add in humidity and the heat indexes are well over 110. 
  • This is the hottest summer in Missouri in the past 25 years.
  • We went to 'moonlight madness' to ride the roller coasters last night. When we arrived at Silver Dollar City at 6pm, the heat index was reading 117 on my phone. When we left at 10pm, it was reading 102 on my phone. 
  • My air conditioning is set at 82 - and that's still 25+ degrees colder than the outside temperatures!
We did try to cook an egg on the sidewalk the other day...but it didn't work. We might have to try it again!

And really, I love the sun, just not the heat - look at this gorgeous picture I got at sunset camping this past weekend. Yes, we were crazy enough to camp in this heat!!

Yes, I'm SOOO thankful for our central air conditioning!! And I'm thankful no season lasts forever...