Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My dad Larry and his dog Toby

This is a picture of my dad (the little guy on the right in the striped shirt), his sister Naomi, his brother Ted, and his dog Toby. Dad considered Toby to be his dog. When Dad was 4, he was running towards the road. Toby saw that a car was coming and he ran ahead so the car would hit him instead of my dad. Toby was badly injured and had to be put down. Dad was so heartbroken, he found a secluded place in the attic and screamed and cried as loud as he could for as long as he could until he was completely exhausted.

He carried this emotional wound with him for many years. In 2nd grade, he wrote a paper about the experience, and got an A on it.

I had never heard the story until a few months ago. Dad had found this picture in a tub of junk in his house. He still doesn't have any idea how this picture could possibly have gotten into that tub of junk. But when he saw this picture, God reminded him of that experience with Toby. And he opened my dad's eyes to see that Jesus did this for all of us... He threw Himself in front of the truck, so the truck wouldn't hit us. Thank you, Jesus!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Compelled to Control

After God used "The Meaning of Marriage" to save our marriage, he used this one to completely transform it. I love my husband more than ever, and we have a marriage of true intimacy, acceptance, and safety. God is so good! I love you, Keith!

The Meaning of Marriage

God used this book to save my marriage. Learning that marriage is not about being happy, but about becoming holy, completely anchored our marriage in the deepest cement. We'd heard it before, of course, but when we read this book together (weeping most of the time), God moved the knowledge from our heads to our hearts. Thank You, Lord!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Host - The Book & Movie

This is the first book I've ever read twice in a row. It spoke to me on a deep level and I absolutely devoured it. The words flew off the pages at me. But then...

I saw this:

We all know how when we love a book and then see the movie that was made from the book, many times we're disappointed in the movie because of all of the changes to the storyline. I noticed the changes right away, but I still feel that the movie The Host captures the essense and spirit of the book better than I ever hoped. In fact, I think I like the movie even better than the book. The only other book/movie combo I felt the same way about was The Horse Whisperer... I definitely liked the movie better than the book in that situation.

Anyway, I love the movie The Host. There's something about it that speaks to the deepest core of me. I don't even know how to explain it. I cry through the 2nd half of the movie every time I watch it, and I crave it like a pregnant woman craves Chinese food, or pickle and peanut butter sandwiches. God brought this movie into my life at a very critical time, and I know that it is He who is speaking to me and encouraging me and uplifting my spirit through it.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


All my life I've had horrible trouble sleeping. Most recently, I've been waking up at 3 or 4 in the morning and not been able to go back to sleep. This has been going on for literally years. Just this past week I've finally decided to embrace the fact that when that happens, I'm literally just one big ball of kinetic energy waiting to be put to good use. Instead of laying there trying hard to fall back asleep and feeling like a failure for not being able to do so, I'm going to get up and put all of that kinetic energy to good use. Needless to say, I've had a week of very productive mornings. Yay!

I've done dishes, de-cluttered, sorted paperwork, cleaned out my purse, and now I'm actually blogging (!!!) for the first time in over a year. Yay again! It feels really fantastic!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Little girl lost

Nothing like a little personal grief and heartache to inspire my first post in over a year. I can honestly say over a year because when I just checked my blog I realized my last one was exactly one year and one day ago.

Yesterday, April 19, 2012, was one of the most difficult days I have lived through thus far in my relatively young life. It started when I saw my 16-year-old daughter Linnea in the morning. She wouldn't look me in the face, and she wouldn't talk to me or acknowledge my presence in any way. She completely ignored two direct questions.

The evening before, she had been told not to go to track after school at all for the next two weeks, but to come straight home and be home by 2:30 p.m. The evening before that, she and two of our other kids had been grounded from all electronic privileges and from sleepover privileges... Phones, movies, video games, MP3 players, staying the night at friend's houses, and having friends stay the night here.

This was brought on by a long season of them all getting more and more lax about their chores and following our household rules. Several weeks (or has it been months?) ago, we sat down with the kids and told them we were done nagging them. That they needed to help each other and work as a team to get their chores done, keep their grades up, and honor the household rules, and that if that didn't happen, we'd be moving to Plan B. We told them none of them would like Plan B very much, so it was in everyone's best interest that we all be responsible and accountable and self-disciplined (as much as possible for our flawed human selves).

Tuesday, April 17, 2012, was the day we put Plan B into action. Apparently Linnea didn't like it too well. I have to say Megan and Stephen rose to the challenges admirably and have been working hard to earn back their lost privileges, which we said could be earned back one at a time, one week at a time, by their being responsible to keep themselves on track without us having to nag them.

Will parenting ever be easy? There are a handful of people in the world who have the ability to rip my guts out, and most of them reside in this house. Dear Lord, please guide our steps and show us the way, by Your grace, and for Your honor and glory!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


The other day (or was it the other week, or the other month? time just goes too fast!), I overheard one of my kids saying to someone else in the family that I didn't used to be the way I am now. Oh, ugh. It was nearly unenduringly painful to hear those words. And I started praying right then and there that God would show me how to get back to being the person I used to be--a person of relatively consistent faith, and joy, and optimism.

I've been going back and reading some of my own older blog posts and they've been blessing me and reminding me of where I used to be. Isn't God great? I had no idea how much of a treasure this blog would be to me when I began it years ago, with the idea that it would someday hopefully be of some value to my children.

This story reminds me of the person (Robert Robinson) who wrote the hymn "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing". I remember hearing that when he was older, he had wandered from God. In his later years, he met a lady who found out he had written that hymn, and told him how much she wished she had his faith. And he replied to her how much he wished he still had the faith he had had when he wrote the song.

Reading the third verse of the song especially lets me know that Mr. Robinson was aware of the danger that was lurking in his own heart. And I believe that God faithfully answered the prayers that were housed in this song. Even though Mr. Robinson had a crisis of faith, I believe that at the end of his life, God restored his faith and joy in his salvation.

Here are the treasured words of this favorite hymn:

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,

Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;

Streams of mercy, never ceasing,

Call for songs of loudest praise.

Teach me some melodious sonnet,

Sung by flaming tongues above.

Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,

Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,

Till released from flesh and sin,

Yet from what I do inherit,

Here Thy praises I’ll begin;

Here I raise my Ebenezer;

Here by Thy great help I’ve come;

And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,

Safely to arrive at home.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,

Wandering from the fold of God;

He, to rescue me from danger,

Interposed His precious blood;

How His kindness yet pursues me

Mortal tongue can never tell,

Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me

I cannot proclaim it well.

O to grace how great a debtor

Daily I’m constrained to be!

Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,

Bind my wandering heart to Thee.

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,

Prone to leave the God I love;

Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,

Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning,

I shall see Thy lovely face;

Clothed then in blood washed linen

How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;

Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,

Take my ransomed soul away;

Send thine angels now to carry

Me to realms of endless day.



Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Secretariat - My Current Favorite Movie

Ever since I first saw my first preview of the movie Secretariat for the very first time, I badly wanted to see the movie. We hardly ever go to the theater because of the prohibitive cost, so I was very nearly holding my breath in anticipation of the release of the DVD. And I wasn't disappointed.

Keith checked out the movie at Blockbuster the day it was released, but that day I had something going on in the evening and we weren't able to watch it. However, the next day, Wednesday, January 26th, 2011, upon returning home from our Wednesday night church activities, Keith and Linnea and I decided to watch it. (The kids' school starts an hour later than normal on Thursdays, so Wednesday nights they're allowed to stay up a bit later than normal.)
Megan decided she didn’t want to watch it, because she “doesn’t like horse movies.” However, half an hour into the movie, she came into the family room and plopped herself down on the floor with a snack, intent on watching with us just while she was eating her snack. But after her snack was eaten, she remained in the room with us. And there she stayed until the very last moment of the movie! And it didn’t matter that the little kids were sleeping… By the end of the movie, my husband was crying, and Megan, Linnea and I were all cheering and clapping. And the very next day, we watched it again—twice!
So for Valentine’s Day, which was also the first anniversary of Keith and I renewing our vows, I asked Keith if he would buy the movie for me on Blu Ray, since we bought ourselves a Blu Ray player a while back, but hadn’t actually purchased any Blu Ray movies yet. So he did! And we spent several hours on Sunday and Monday, watching the movie again, and watching the extras (since the extras are no longer available to watch on most rental discs). Now I know more about Secretariat the horse than I ever thought possible, and it was so much fun getting there!

(I found this lovely painting of Secretariat on the internet, but cannot read the name of the person who painted it.)

Sunday, January 23, 2011


The last several months it's come to light that I have lost the respect of my children. At least some of them. So I've been trying to set clearer boundaries... and stick to them. The sticking to them is the tough part for me, especially when one or more or all of them are mad at me. Always the peacekeeper (not to be confused with the holy and valuable gift of being a peacemaker) I always want to do what ever I can as quickly as I can to bridge the gap and restore the relationship. Even if it means backing down, compromising my values and saying I'm sorry even if I wasn't the one in the wrong. Eek gads! I've become one of those miserable parents who wants to be their kids' friend instead of their parent. In my head I understand the difference, and the dire need my children have for a parent instead of a friend. But in my heart... That's a different story. Will someone please explain to me why what everyone says is right just feels so stinkin' wrong??
(photo from the internet)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

(this gorgeous photo came to me in an email from a friend, a long time ago...)

This year, as always, there is so much to be thankful for! I pray that God will open my eyes to see ever-more fully how richly He has blessed me, and blessed us, and expand my capacity to feel the passionate gratitude that His blessings and constant presence and attention warrant!

Tonight my family is scheduled to travel to Keith's mom's place in the mountains outside of Colville so that we can spend the Thanksgiving weekend with them up there. I look forward to this trip every year... It's like a retreat! No cell phones, one very slow dial-up computer, a blazing hot living room, freezing cold bedrooms, tons of yummy food, a thousand games of Scrabble and late-night movies... I can't wait!! It's possible that we won't be able to drive up tonight because of the roads, but in that event we'll hopefully go up early tomorrow morning, as soon as the sun hits the pavement!

What am I grateful for most especially this Thanksgiving...? Hmmm... Let's see...

A God Who knows me intimately and wants me to know Him more and more every day
My family. All of them. My husband, kids, mother and father, inlaws--everyone.
A fantastic job that I love and wake up every morning looking forward to.
A church full of real, loving, committed people
A beautiful home with lots of windows that's within walking distance of all of the kids' schools
A rejuvinated marriage
relatively good health
all of my senses
And oh so much more than I could ever hope to write about here...

I pray that God will help me to be faithful with the overflowing blessings He's showered upon me, and that He will help me to bless others in any possible way, at every possible opportunity. I pray also that He will continually remind me that all of this comes from Him... I didn't do anything to earn it or deserve it--it's absolutely 100% all about His grace and goodness! May His love, light, compassion, and heart for service take root and bring forth fruit in my life. Lord, You're amazing!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Favorite Quote from Beth Moore

I just read this quote yesterday for the first time, but it rings so true in my heart and my life and resonates so deeply in my spirit, it has already become one of my all-time favorite quotes:
"I am so frantic not to veer from the path for the rest of my days that I have become maniacal about seeking wholeness in Christ. I hope to pursue His sanctification through and through with total abandon, no matter what the future holds." (Beth Moore, from the "When Godly People Do Ungodly Things" Bible Study Workbook)
(photo from the Internet)

Honey, I'm home!

I find it hard to describe how I feel right now... How I have been feeling for the last month or so. It's as though the real me has been on vacation for many months, and, after wandering and wading through the swamp and the muck of anger, pride, confusion, disillusionment, etc., has finally found a way to come home again. Beth Moore would call it a season of sifting, which God was using, has used, and is using, to sift some of the impurities out of my heart and life.
Our church is going through a Beth Moore Bible Study right now called, "When Godly People Do Ungodly Things." And pretty much through all of the videos, and all of Beth's messages after the main video sessions, and through all of the homework, my heart and my head are nodding in total agreement and as much human understanding as I am capable of right now. It's so absolutely, utterly perfect for my life at this point, that I can see with my spirit's eye God's fingerprints and design all over the road map of my life over the last 2 years or so. He is so wonderful!

It is such a joy, blessing, and gift to be back to a place of total and complete trust in Him. I thought I was trusting Him all along, but I see now that there was some major guck in there that was keeping me from trusting Him fully. Truth be told, I'm sure there still is quite a lot more guck in there, and as painful as I know the process might be, I pray that God will quickly and efficiently set about removing whatever other impurities might be lurking the darkest and most hidden recesses of my mind, heart, and motives. In Jesus' name, let it be so Lord!

Monday, October 18, 2010

I haven't forgotten

I haven't forgotten about this blog, or about how much blogging means to me. Someday soon, or someday later, I will start blogging again. I can feel my next post growing inside me, maturing, getting ready to make its way into the world. Hallelujah! :)

Saturday, March 06, 2010

So much to catch up on...

Let's see... Where do I even begin?

Keith and I renewed our vows on Valentine's Day, and the ceremony was absolutely wonderful! If you'd like to see pictures, try this link. After that, we went on a 2nd honeymoon, just for a few days, but they were fairytale days. We enjoyed each other's company more thoroughly and peacefully than we ever have before. It was so amazing to feel zero stress! Everything about those days was good.

Now we're working at getting settled back in to all of us living together as a family. While my marriage is better than I ever imagined it could be, I still find myself feeling overwhelmed by the needs of the five children that live with us. I can't possibly meet the needs of 5 different people all the time, and am trying to find a balance that works for all of us. I so desperately want to have a home that is full of peace and joy, but is that even possible? Nothing is impossible with God. I keep telling myself that, like a mantra. And I take things one day at a time and try not to have unrealistic expectations.

I was doing pretty well losing weight there for a while, until the stress started building up again. Stress and me don't seem to get along very well. Cortisol, the stress hormone, turns on all of the fat storage programs in my body, apparently. Does that mean I'll never be able to lose weight until my kids are grown up and have left the nest? Dear Lord, I do hope not.

Lisa and Kristina are both doing very well. They're happy, and in relationships with men who are very good for them, and that they are very good for themselves. Things are really working out so very well for both of them, and I'm so grateful to be able to witness it all.

I've been having a great time keeping in touch with people (including myself) through Facebook and text messaging. And sometimes on the bus I'm able to do some reading, when it's not too hot. If it's too hot on the bus, I can't read because I get motion sickness.

I know I'm rambling, but at least these thoughts are being written down before they fly the coop, so to speak.

Life is good, God is GREAT, and I'm so excited to be back with my family again, I can hardly find words to express it. Love and gratitude are simply overflowing.

I took this picture on our second honeymoon, when we went for a walk on the one sunny day we had.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Learned and Learning

I’m sitting here trying to think of some of the main concepts I’ve learned since August 3rd, 2009, a day that will live in bittersweet infamy for the rest of my life. This is like a test for myself, to see how well I can do at remembering these ideas, without the books being right in front of me. Of course, some of what I’ve learned has already been so ingrained in my thinking that they are no longer conscious thoughts. But I still think it’s important to recall and articulate the basic principles so I can remind myself, and so I can teach them to my children. I’m going to write these things down as I think of them, so they’re not in any particular order:

Lesson No. 1: Always tell the truth, even when it’s hard or uncomfortable. I’ve been notoriously bad about hiding and/or distorting the truth of how I feel, what I like and dislike, what I want and don’t want, what I believe and don’t believe, etc, etc, etc, for the sake of preserving what I believe to be the perceptions other people have of me. “Changes the Heal” taught me the importance of being real. Jesus said “Woe to you when all men think well of you.” Well, that was me. Pretty much everyone liked me, and it was because I had conformed myself to an image of what I thought they wanted, so much so that I lost who I really was, and am still in the process of finding that lost person.

Lessons 2-? (there’s more than one lesson in this paragraph): That I am an adult, and am free to make my own choices. It is my responsibility to live with the consequences of those choices, and to allow others to live with the consequences of theirs. It’s important to be sensitive and empathetic regarding the feelings of others, while refusing to take responsibility for those feelings. A person’s feelings, thoughts, actions, attitudes, choices, desires, likes, dislikes, etc. belong to that person, and when one person takes responsibility for something that falls within the ownership of someone else, boundary lines are blurred, individuality is lost, and authenticity is threatened. People can connect in real and intimate ways with other people most effectively when they are honest and transparent first with themselves, and then with each other.

I suppose I should post this now, considering I’ve been working on it off and on for three days. J There’s a lot more that I’ve learned these last few months, and I hope to record those lessons as well, as they come to mind. (Photo from the Internet, added on 2/8/10)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Thank you

Thank you Everyone for the welcoming, gracious, supportive and encouraging comments. I have missed you all so much. I nabbed this picture from an email someone sent me this morning... Isn't it beautiful?

Please pray for my daughter, Megan. She's in the hospital. I can't share more than that because she swore me to secrecy, but let's just say that she - and we - desperately need to see God's grace and glory revealed in this situation.

Many blessings and grace and peace to all of you and your families. I will post when I can. The posts without pictures are the ones I'm posting via email, and pictures don't come through that way for some reason.

Until we meet again... :)

Friday, January 08, 2010

Something new to look forward to

One of the biggest changes in the way I think and feel is that I really, really want to be a stay-at-home mom. I’ve haven’t wanted that in a long time, if ever. Basically, the idea scared me half to death. For many years I’ve been clinging to my work as my lifeline to sanity. I feel competent and confident at work in a way that I never have at home – as a wife, a mother, or a homemaker. However, after reading two fabulously incredible books, “Changes that Heal” by Dr. Henry Cloud and “Boundaries in Marriage” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, I feel far more ready to face and embrace the challenges, hard work, and rewards that necessarily go hand-in-hand with such a life. (photo from the internet, added on 2/8/10)

Rethinking Already

After I published that last post, I decided to invite my closest friends and family to read my blog, if they want to. And if they don’t want to, that’s totally okay, too. Whomever reads this, my prayer is that your life is being flooded with the grace, peace, abundance and vitality of Christ! (Photo from the internet, added on 2/8/10)

A Blog that is a journal - for real!

This is my first post in a long time. It feels foreign. But the biggest change is that I'm posting just for myself instead of other people. And the biggest reason is because I don't want my blog to be deleted or deactivated due to extended periods of not being used. I've invested too much time and thought into this blog to allow it to be deleted.

Keith and I will be renewing our vows at 3:00 p.m. on Valentine's Day 2010 at a teeny tiny service in our home. Our family and some of our closest friends will be there. After that, he and I will be departing for a little bit of a honeymoon in Coeur d'Alene. I anticipate doing a lot of sleeping that first night, because I will be so exhausted from moving out of my apartment and back into the house the week before the ceremony.

I am so excited for our new life together to start!

God is so good. I love You, Lord! :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Changes, Changes

Katrena took this picture in Riverfront Park, just a few weeks ago, just a block or two from where I sit writing this.

On Monday August 3, 2009, I moved out of the house. On Friday, August 14, 2009, I moved in to a little apartment about 10 minutes from the house. I don't have a computer there, and I don't want to get one. It's been so great to spend time with people face to face, and not to feel constantly torn by conflicting desires and emotions. And since I'm not supposed to use my work computer for personal matters, either, I guess this is it for blogging for the foreseeable future. If anyone wants to stay in touch, my email address is, and I'll probably be checking it about once a month.

I wish every single reader of this blog an abundance of all of God's richest blessings, favor, presence and protection. My season of blogging has meant the world to me, and perhaps someday I'll return to blogging for another season. May God's will be done in all things, by His grace and for His honor and glory, in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Monday, July 27, 2009


“Be kind and merciful. Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting. In the slums we are the light of God’s kindness to the poor. To children, to the poor, to all who suffer and are lonely, give always a happy smile. Give them not only your care, but also your heart.” -- Mother Teresa

This is an excerpt from the book I'm reading right now called "A Gift for God," which is a collection of quotes and meditations by and from Mother Teresa. It is my heartfelt prayer for myself, my family, and all of God's children that God would make these beautiful words true in our lives and hearts and innermost selves. The picture is a picture of tulips from our yard this spring.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Favorite Scene from Moulin Rouge

I just posted this, but deleted it and am reposting it in an attempt to find a prettier part of the scene to be on the "front cover" (so to speak). Anyway, I could watch this part of the movie 1,000 time without growing weary of it. I hope others will enjoy it as well.

Trying to make it all fit

(I took this picture early this year while I was carpooling to and from work with my coworker. This is one of my favorite sights... Sunny trees against a backdrop of gray clouds. Maybe it's because of my inherent love for contrast and paradox...?)

Life is so amazingly, incredibly, breathtakingly full! I can't believe it's been like two weeks since my last post. Where in the world does the time go...??

Yesterday I finished the last of my continuing education classes, so I'll be able to renew my insurance license now. Whew! That's a load off my mind. I won't have to do that again for another two years. Yippee!!

When Fred was here visiting in Spokane, he brought me a lovely stack of books. I'm in the middle of reading three of them right now. I'm so glad to be able to have more time to read now that my insurance classes are done. I'm particularly enjoying a little book called "Abide in Me," which is based on the passage in John where Jesus uses the illustration of the vine and the branches to help us understand our relationship with Himself. The book is meant to be read slowly--one chapter per day. But I'm enjoying it so much that I'm having a hard time reading it at that pace. However, putting it down is made easier because the other book I have in my bag is a book of prayers and meditations from Mother Teresa, and I'm enjoying that one very much also. Mother Teresa is definitely one of my heroes, and her words are like a healing balm to my very weary soul. Thank you, Fred, so much, for your graciousness... :)

I've also been spending some time recently utilizing the wonderous modern-day internet miracle that is Facebook. It's made it possible for me to re-connect with friends from school that I haven't seen or had any contact with at all since the early 90's. It's also a great way to stay in touch with a lot of people on a daily basis. I'm loving it!

God is so good. I pray that He will help me to abide in Him fully, even in the midst of hectic, chaotic situations, and that He will be glorified in all I say and do.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

My New Old Mantra -- "Simplify!"

(My daughter Lisa took this really cute picture of Rebecca while we were visiting my in-laws over the 4th of July weekend. I think she should go in to photography... She has a gift!)

I feel a desperate need to eliminate clutter and restore order in my life. You should see my craft room... I would post a picture of it, but it would only serve to clutter up my blog and scare the daylights out of everyone who saw it. I know I've said this before, but I hope I really mean it this time.

Good grief! Is there a pill a person can take to cure double-mindedness? The Bible says that a double-minded person is unstable in all of their ways. I've been praying against this as long as I've known that it was a bad thing. But I'm still double-minded and wishy-washy. It's sickening. Most of the problems in my life are problems of my own making that stem from indecisiveness and a lack of discipline. I disgust myself sometimes.

Another thing I want to do is to teach my kids and myself the 8 habits (discovered and unveiled by Dr. Stephen Covey) until they're so deeply ingrained in our hearts that they'll never be able to be removed. Here they are in a nutshell:

Be Proactive
Begin with the End in Mind
Keep First things First
Think Win-Win
Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood
Sharpen the Saw
Find Your Voice and Help Others Find Theirs

These principles, if applied faithfully and in the right spirit, cannot help but to enhance individual lives, and, in turn, make the world a better place.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Words To Live By

This is from the book The Secret Message of Jesus. It's on my fridge at home and on my desk at work. I try to live by these words every day of my life.

The Kingdom Manifesto of Christ:

Be poor in spirit, mourn, be meek, hunger and thirst for true righteousness, be merciful, be pure in heart, be a peacemaker, be willing to joyfully suffer persecution and insult for doing what is right.

Be salt and light in the world—by doing good works. Do not hate or indulge in anger, but instead seek to reconcile. Do not lust or be sexually unfaithful in your heart. Do not presume to make vows, but have simple speech, where yes means yes and no [means] no.

Do not get revenge, but find creative and nonviolent ways to overcome evil done to you.

Love your enemies, as God does, and be generous to everyone, as God is.

Give to the poor, pray, and fast secretly.

Don't let greed cloud your outlook, but store up treasure in heaven through generosity.

Don't worry about your own daily needs, but instead trust yourself to God's care, and seek God's kingdom first and foremost.

Don't judge others, but instead first work on your own blindness.

Go to God with all your needs, knowing that God is a caring Father.

Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Don't be misled by religious talk--what counts is actually living by Jesus' teaching.

Jesus reinforces this last point—that he's looking for action, not just agreement—in the final words of the manifesto:

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall! (Matthew 7:24-27 NRSV)
(The photo is of a lighthouse Keith and I visited while in Florida in May)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Saint Francis

I am reading a book called "Heroic Lives," (by Rafael Sabatini, published in 1934) and one of the sections of the book is dedicated to St. Francis. I was climbing stairs today and reading, when one of my knees suddenly gave a painful twinge of warning. So I decided to go do some low-impact stretching instead, and to try to find a free computer somewhere in order to post several paragraphs from the book that really touched me. Here we go (from pgs 72 and 73):

"He was greeted first in his native Assisi with mockery and insult. Scorned as a madman, he was derided, pelted with filth, even beaten, all of which he bore as so many favours bestowed upon him.

"He preached a simple gospel of love that could be understood by all, and presently, before the inspired fervour of his words, supported by the example of humility, charity and self-denial which his life was become, mockery was gradually silenced, and the Assisians came in ever-increasing numbers to listen to his message. Passionately sincere in his please that men should give up ill-gotten gains, renounce all enmities and prevail by gentleness and love, he bewildered his audiences by no exegitical subtleties, propounded no doctrines. He spoke to them in their own simple language of simple things which they could understand and which were concerned with their own simple lives. He stripped Christianity naked of all theology in which it was swaddled, lost, and stifling, and held it up to them in its pure irresistable loveliness.

"Little by little, the people came to discover in his words that spiritual nourishment for which all men crave, but which there had been practically no one to dispense to them. He touched the hearts and awakened the souls of his audiences. A people brutalized by ignorance or corrupted by false culture, a people who knew not where to seek happiness save in the will-o'-the-wisp of pleasure, were made to realize the joys that may irradiate lives lived for others, the peace and tranquillity that may so be won."

(I find this excerpt so amazingly lovely, humbling, and inspiring, that I know I'll be reading and re-reading it for some time to come.)

(Photo from the Internet)

Monday, July 06, 2009

A Near-Death Experience

Everyone needs to have one from time to time, I think. Yesterday we were up north visiting my husband's family. We went tubing down the Kettle River with many of our extended family, plus Linnea, Megan, Stephen and Rebecca. Most of our tubes or rafts were roped together so we wouldn't get separated. We floated about 4 miles down the river, and just as we were approaching the end of the route, the "get-out-spot," one of our ropes ended up getting caught on a rock. The rapids wanted to carry us all away. They flipped my son, Stephen's, raft, just before they flipped me out of my tube. I literrally thought I was going to die. The first thing I remember upon emerging from the water was hearing all of my kids screaming "Mommy!" at the top of their lungs. With herculean strength, Keith managed to get the rope unstuck, and his brother, Eulas (pronounced You-less), helped get the whole miserable group over to the edge. When we finally got our feet on solid ground, I thought my heart was going to burst straight out of my chest. But I honestly think everyone should face death every once in a while... It's a great wake up call, and a reminder about what's important in life. Like the importance of relationships, and not sweating the small stuff. God is good!
(Photo from Katrena)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Message to my blogging friends

Hi all,

I have been a terrible blogger lately, and I'm afraid it's not going to get any better in the foreseeable future. There are so many posts that I haven't been able to read, or comment on. And so many people have blessed me by leaving comments on my blog, and I haven't been able to reply to those either. I am so dreadfully sorry. I love you all and you're in my thoughts and prayers constantly. I pray everything is going well for you, and that you're healthy and happy.

Many blessings,

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Life Goes On, and Adventures in Reading

It has been a particularly hectic, busy, difficult, draining season lately. Praise God, He is faithful on a daily basis to remind me of His presence and care, and to reassure me that this difficult season will end, and a fresh season of peace will take its place (at least for a while). Until then, the little reminders from God are a lifeline for me. Many of them come from the blogs and comments of my good blogging friends, Joseph, Fred, Danielle, Laura, Donna, Katrena and Pastor Eric, to name a few (and not in any particular order). Many come from my family and friends, and some come straight from God's Spirit. This rose, which I discovered in Katrena's photos today, whispered God's peace to my spirit. It was much needed.

Recently I finished reading the book "The Unthinkable" and that same day I started reading the next book on my list "The Leader in Me" by Stephen Covey. It's so inspiring and thought-provoking, I'm having a hard time putting it down. In fact, my love for reading books has been recently rekindled, which is part of the reason I'm not posting as regularly as I used to. If you could see all of the sticky-notes that pepper the pages of the books I've read recently, you'd laugh. All of those sticky-notes represent quotes or paragraphs or excerpts that I would like to post on my blog, or explore in more detail. I have to laugh at myself. :)


The other day Megan had a band concert. She plays the trumpet. Unfortunately, none of the pictures turned out that we took of her with the trumpet in her hand. But here she is sitting in her seat, smiling sweetly.

While we were waiting for the band to be ready to play, Linnea wanted to show me something in her locker. She did not, however, want me to take any pictures of her messy locker. But I couldn't pass up posting this cute picture, because it captures Linnea's flare for the dramatic, and Rebecca's curiosity about "big girl" things. Like middle-school lockers.
Meet Marcelle the pig. Marcelle is actually a French vending machine from the early 1900's. I met him the other day while "running errands" on the 1st floor of the building where I work. He's on loan from one of the customers that frequents the first floor of City Hall.
Linnea took quilting as a class her last trimester this year, her 8th grade year. Here's a picture of her proudly holding up her lovely quilt for all to see.
A few days ago when I came home from work, my mom and the little ones, Michael and Rebecca, were anxiously waiting to show me their triumph for the day--a lovely tent made out of our swing set and several blankets, sheets and towels pinned or sewn together. It took quite a long time to build, and everyone enjoyed playing in it and resting in it, including our Pomeranian, Shiloh.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

My Dad, and my Trip to St. Al's

Here are some pictures from my dad's birthday (Megan made the cake), which we celebrated on May 28th... And some pictures from the inside of St. Al's, and a cute little marmot I met on my way there. :)

Our Surprise Welcome Home

We got home from our trip to Florida at about 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 20th. The house was dark and quiet, and we assumed everyone was in bed. A few seconds after we walked in the door, however, we were greatly surprised when the lights came on and my mom and all of the kids jumped out from behind the couch shouting, "Welcome home!!" Megan made this beautiful welcome home sign for us, and mom picked a couple of branches from our Dogwood tree to put on the table, festively decorating the place in a cheerful homecoming celebration. I took these pictures the next day, when there was daylight. I wish I would have thought to put the dogwood branches in the sunlight... They would have looked prettier on camera that way. But you get the idea, anyway.

I finished reading "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" and managed to actually get some excerpts from it posted on my blog, "Echoes." Can you believe it? :) Then, a few days ago I started reading "The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes and Why" by Amanda Ripley. It's extremely fascinating. It's a non-fiction book, but it reads like fiction. I can't put it down.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

"Above All Things I Believe in Love"

1 Cor. 13:13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

I’m telling you, the truth of God’s Kingdom is spread far and wide, and appears in the most unlikely of places… Look at this interchange from and early scene of the movie “Moulin Rouge”:

“Do you believe in freedom?”



“Yes, of course!”

“Truth, love?”

“Love? Above all things I believe in love. Love is like oxygen.”

* * * *
Like I said… God’s message is everywhere, even in the most unlikely of places.
(I took this picture early in the morning recently in the Valley Park 'n Ride lot)

Thank God for Movies!

I'm in the middle of a massive project of filing away 6 months worth of paperwork. Previous to this, I took 2 months worth of cardboard to the recycling facility, which was also in itself a major project.

The reason I say "Thank God for Movies" is because this particular movie is helping me get through this extremely tedious filing project. As I'm filing, I'm playing this movie (which I dearly love) on the DVD Drive in my PC. I took a break from filing to post this post because something in the movie spoke to me.

Near the beginning of the movie, there's a scene where the main character is filling in for an actor who has passed out. The main character begins to sing "The Hills are Alive" from the movie "The Sound of Music," and his skillful singing and the beautiful music serve to bring order out of chaos.

This spoke to me, because this is how God so many times brings order out of chaos in my life... Through music. I love the music in "Moulin Rouge" which is why I love the movie itself. There are many things I don't like about the movie, but what I love about it far overshadows those things. So I say again, "Thank God for Movies." :)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Thank God for my Husband!

(This is a picture of some of our famous Spokane Lilacs, which I took while walking along the river the other day, heading towards another cathedral in town to check it out.)

Anyone who's been reading this blog for any length of time knows how much I want to be able to take care of my home and yard, and how miserably I fail at being able to do that. Well, Keith was home on Thursday night, and I was, too, unexpectedly, because praise practice was cancelled. He made a long list of everything that needed to be done (vacuum, sweep and mop, clean the bathrooms, etc) and assigned a task or tasks to everyone in the house (except for my mom and the little kids).

(I encountered these lovely cheery little daisies while on my way to another cathedral at lunch the other day, the same day I took the picture of the lilacs.)

The cleaning streak lasted... Friday night and all day Saturday, we worked our tails of and accomplished so much! My bathroom has never been so clean, not since the house was built, probably. A large portion of my time was spent looking for a tool in my husbands tool chest in the garage. After much searching, I finally found a socket wrench that would fit the nuts on the shower door handles, so I could take them off to be able to clean off the hard water stains that have graced the doors since many years before we moved in, I'm sure. Anyway, it's gleaming now, and hopefully we'll be able to stay more on top of it now.

Michael and Rebecca were keeping me company while I was working in the yard the other day, and I was able to snag this cut photo of the two of them. I hope they'll always get along at least as well as they do now, or better. Unfortunately, they've been fighting more lately, taking after the example set by their older siblings. Sometimes I retreat to my room to get away from the constant state of world war III, which my friends tell me is normal, but which drives me crazy none the less. Most of the time I just tattle on them to my husband and he takes care of the problem, for that situation at least. Like I said, thank God for my husband!

Here's a picture of one of the towers of St. Al's, another cathedral in the area. I had mentioned to a friend that I'd gone to Lourdes Cathedral, and they said that was a beautiful church, but that St. Al's should definitely be visited, too. So the next day I ventured out to go there, and snapped this photo as I was coming up on the church from behind it. One thing I love about Catholic churches is that they provide a comfortable way to kneel and pray.

Here's my daughter, Linnea, who will be turning 14 next month. My, how time flies!

Today I have a whole room full of paperwork to sort and try to get put in the proper places. I also have some home courses in insurance continuing education that I need to get through. I'm not looking forward to this very much, but it needs to be done. I'm hoping to get through all of this today and tomorrow, but we shall see.

God is good!