Tuesday, June 28, 2016

25th Anniversary Trip to WA State: Leg 2


We got up and got moving pretty quickly on the first morning of our Adventure. We knew there were a few places we wanted to see on Bainbridge Island, plus we had a 3 hour drive to Olympia and it was a scenic drive so we didn’t want to be in a rush.
We got up and headed to the nearest coffee place. (Priorities, ya know.) Once we were fueled up we headed up to the Bloedel Reserve. This is a place everyone told us we could not miss. We got there about an hour before it opened so we drove around a bit while we were waiting. During that drive we happened upon this cute little park called Fay Bainbridge Park. It was amazing! What a find. We wandered out to the water and I stuck my feet in the Pacific Ocean for the first time ever…well the Puget Sound part anyway. Have Mercy that was COLD water!



This was the sweetest little beach area. There were lots of giant tree trunk drift wood logs you could climb on and lots of shells and really cool rocks to collect. By the way, real love is having a husband who is willing to put rocks in his suitcase because his wife thinks they’re pretty.



 We found this cool fort someone had made out of the driftwood and I so wished our kids were there. Okay, maybe our kids of about 10 years ago. Those kids and their cousins would have thought they’d died and gone to heaven if they could have camped at this park and played on that beach and in that little fort!

Once we’d collect all the rocks and seashells we wanted, or rather all that someone was willing to carry in their luggage, we went back to the Bloedel Reserve.

This place was incredible. Absolutely amazing. It’s a botanical garden on steroids. This is how I imagine the Garden of Eden. Instead of trying to describe it I’m just going to show you the pictures. They really don’t do the place justice.






(These leaves were about 20" in diameter. Larger than dinner plates!)


(Can't you just imagine Adam and Eve strolling down this path?)



While we were on the path we suddenly heard all the squirrels and birds screeching and tweeting loudly. We stopped and listened because Dave said, “Something nearby is bothering them.” Sure enough, we spotted a Barred Owl! It was just sitting there pretty as you please looking right at us. Before I could get a good photo he flew over to another tree that was back-lit by the sun.

Here is a photo of him. He’s right in the center. You can kinda see his tail off to the left of the trunk of the tree.



In this video you can see him fly off.

video

It was really cool!! I LOVE owls. We have a pair of Great Horned Owls that occasionally land on our tree in front of our house. I love hearing them, and they way they fly is so majestic!

Once we were done we went back through the main house and I mentioned to the curator that I had seen an owl. She said I was probably mistaken. “You never see the owls here.”  She said.  I showed her that video and she was amazed. She said she’d worked there for 10 years, even gone on some owl walks they put on, and she’d never seen one. They know they are there, but no one ever sees them. Apparently I’m the owl whisperer!

Once we were done there we grabbed some food and headed down the 101 to Olympia. The drive, with the top down and the sun shining and the temps hovering in the 70’s, was the absolute perfect way to spend an afternoon!



We got to Olympia in the early evening, checked into our hotel, and went looking for a place to eat. We found a cute little restaurant with an outdoor patio that served some amazing fish and chips. We sat out there for a while, leisurely enjoying both our food, the weather, and people watching.

At one point Dave said that he was looking at the quintessential Pacific Northwest male getting out of his car. I could not see him, but I described him to a T! Mid-length hair, beanie, dark-rimmed glasses, flannel over a T-Shirt, skinny pants, not denim but some other material like khaki or corduroy (they were corduroy) a messenger or cross-body bag of some sort, and sandals. The shoes were the only thing I got wrong. He was wearing sneakers.  We had a good laugh at this. Every area has a type. We all know what the typical Texan looks like!

We ended the day sitting out on the patio of our hotel watching the sun set reflect off of Mt. Rainier.



When we checked out the next day I asked the lady behind the counter what Mountain I had seen the night before and she told me it was Mt. Rainier and that I was very lucky to have seen it. It’s pretty rare to be able to see it from the hotel. Usually it’s socked in behind clouds and fog.


It was a red letter day for me! An owl AND a mountain! 

video
Snaps Day 2

Monday, June 27, 2016

25th Anniversary Trip to WA State: Leg 1

As mentioned in my earlier post, Dave and I went to the Olympic Peninsula a couple of weeks ago to celebrate our 25th anniversary.  We had such an amazing time.

(There were poppies everywhere. They're such a pretty little flower.)


I’ve decided there are several kinds of ‘trips’; there are work trips, family trips, vacations, and adventures, just to name a few. Most people go on Vacations. Vacations are relaxing trips where you go to a place and rest and relax and recharge; like a beach, or resort, or a mountain cabin.

We Staalsens do not vacation. We adventure.  We had a lot to see and do in a short time so we kept moving. We were in a different hotel every night as we made our way, counter clock wise, around the Olympic Peninsula.

We landed in Seattle and quickly hopped the ferry and got out of the city and onto Bainbridge Island spending our first night there.  From there we drove to Olympia, but instead of taking the quick way we went up and around the 101 driving alongside a fork of Puget Sound to our east and Olympic National Park to our west.  It was worth it. It was such a beautiful drive.


(View of Seattle from the ferry across Puget Sound)

From there we drove to Ocean Shores, my first time to see the Pacific Ocean!! From Ocean Shores we drove up to Forks where we stayed in a Bed and Breakfast. From there we drove up to Neah Bay for the day, (I wish we’d stayed a night here, it was unbelievably beautiful!) and then went to our hotel at Port Angeles. Next we hoped over to Port Townsend, then from Port Townsend we took a ferry to Whidbey Island and stayed with some friends who recently moved up there, and from Whidbey Island we drove to Seattle and flew home.

(Our very conspicuous rental) 

You guys. I people watched the heck out of Washington State. It was so interesting! Let’s start with Settle. Oh boy. Seattle is a typical American city in most ways.  Everyone’s in a hurry and there are a LOT of people. There is a great deal of pedestrians in Seattle. I’m guessing the not 100° temps encourage that.

(Bainbridge Island Marina selfie. Yes, we were those obnoxious tourists.)


One odd thing about Seattle in particular, and Washington State in general  that we noticed is that they honk, a LOT, but they are fairly friendly drivers and don’t seem to exceeded the speed limit. This was quite a conundrum for Dave. He kept looking around for traffic cops because everyone was going at or under the speed limit. That was very strange for these Texas drivers. Here you go 80 or you get run over, but rarely will anyone ever honk at you.


(Bainbridge Island Marian. This was the view from our table.)

The first day of our adventure was filled with transportation; lots of different kinds of transportation. We flew into SeaTac, walked quite a distance to the light rail, took the light rail downtown. (Thanks for the tip, WA friends, to rent the car away from the airport. That saved us a lot of money and the hassle was minimal.) Walked 3 or 4 city blocks to our rental car place, drove the rental car to the ferry, crossed Puget Sound from Seattle to Bainbridge Island, and finally drove around Bainbridge Island until we found a place to eat and our hotel. Let me tell you, that’s a lot of traveling for this homebody!

(Dinner on Bainbridge Island.)

We ate dinner in a cute little restaurant bar that had a patio overlooking the marina. We were dumbstruck at the beauty at this point so we took several photos of the water, the cute little sailboats, the huge trees (turns out, these things were nothing compared to what we would see later in the week).  We were such tourists, y’all. While people were kind, I’m pretty sure they were inwardly rolling their eyes at our touristy obnoxiousness.

(This tree was so HUGE.)

We were pretty tired at this point so we headed to our hotel thinking we’d watch some tv until bedtime and then go to bed early. We had a big day the next day. Funny thing was, after we watched tv for a bit we were both super tired but the sun was still up. Finally I glanced at the time and it was 10pm and the sun was finally going down. I didn’t realize how light it stayed in WA! That first night, we slept like the dead.

(It went up for miles.)

Here are a few of my general observations from Leg 1 of our trip….

1. Make sure your suitcase’s wheels work properly or you will be that crazy tourist lady who is dragging an unwieldy suitcase all over the city. I was quite a spectacle trying to get that dumb thing through the less than even city streets, up and down escalators, and in and out of planes, trains and automobiles. It was lovely.

2.  WA is lacking in good BBQ. Our rental car guy told us this. He’s from Tennessee. He said, “Here is some advice from one southerner to another. There is no good BBQ here. You may see a sign for BBQ, but trust me, it’s not BBQ. Do not eat it. If you want good BBQ wait until you get home.” We took his advice.

3. While WA is lacking in BBQ, they are flush with Asian food. We had some of the BEST Thai and Indian food on our trip, and we also got to have some actual Indian, as in Native American food!

4. While having a cool convertible was fun, I would have chosen a less flashy one had we been given a choice. We’re already tourists who have no idea where we’re going or what we’re doing, getting a canary yellow Camaro convertible is just overkill. There was no being stealthy. You were not going to miss us coming or going.

5. Some states seem annoyed by tourists (I’m talking to you Colorado), the people of WA seem to enjoy them. We met some really friendly locals along our journey. They would ask where we were from and give us advice about what to skip or what we should not miss while in the area.


video
(Snapchats from Leg 1)



Friday, June 24, 2016

Come Fly With Me...At Your Own Risk

As many of you know, my family travels a lot. We love to go to new places and see new things, but we usually drive. We have an RV and all the kids are good travelers.  (and one of the dogs, don’t ask about the other).

(Note the smile. Clearly this was BEFORE we took off.)

The problem with driving is that it takes time. Normally the getting there is part of the vacation so it’s okay, but this trip was different. This trip was Dave and my 25th Anniversary trip and I wanted to go to Washington State, specifically the Olympic Peninsula. I have wanted to go there since I was a little girl. Growing up in Ks and Tx, the thought of huge trees and ferns the size of small cars and all that lush greenery was just something I had to see.  So, we booked the flights, booked the hotels, and rented the car.


Here’s the thing. Turns out, I’m not the best flyer. I’d only done 3 short round trip flights before our WA trip and the latest one was pre 9-11. Things have changed a wee little bit since then.

My first problem was that I didn’t prepare properly.  We were sitting in seats that had a bit more leg room which was nice, but I didn’t realize that meant that there was no room for anything under our seats so my carry-on bag had to go in an overhead bin making it essentially unavailable for the 4 hour flight. My book, extra phone battery, and headphones were in there. So I had nothing at all to do for 4 hours but worry and feel every little shutter and bump of that plane.


I have never enjoyed the take-off and landing parts. I pretty much gripped the plane seat arm rests like my life depended on it and tried to remember to breathe. Once we were level, the turbulence started. Dave says these were nothing.  No big deal at all. I beg to differ. I’m pretty sure we almost fell out of the sky several times. Each time I would gasp and grab Dave’s arm and dig in my nails. You can imagine how enjoyable this was for my neighbors and especially Dave. 


I tried so hard to talk myself out of it. I was looking around at all the other passengers and no one else was freaking out. Heck, there was a kid behind me having a jolly old time! “Lots of these people look like frequent fliers and they don’t seem worried so I should just calm down.” I told myself. This line of reasoning did not work so I moved on to a new line of thinking.




I know where I am going when I die, and my kids are all almost adults and would do okay without parents, plus they have awesome aunties and uncles who would take care of them so it’d be okay. Now this may seem morbid, but sometimes when my brain decides to do a little freak-out it helps me to play the ‘what is the worst thing that could happen’ game. That way, I’ve considered what is the worst possible outcome and dealt with it. But then I realized that just dying in a plane crash and leaving the kids behind was not really the worst thing that could happen. We could crash over the ocean and I could slowly die of dehydration and exposure, all alone, and finally get eaten by sharks. Forget the fact that our journey did not take us over the ocean. Sometimes the ‘what is the worst thing that could happen’ game backfires.  



Once we landed, I was okay. All was fine. My brain went back to its normal, rational state and we had a wonderful vacation (more posts about the actual vacation coming later).

I did make a few mental notes for the plane ride home to make it a little more tolerable. Apparently, so did Dave.

We got to the airport a little early for the flight home and Dave took me into the Chili’s near our gate and ordered me a glass of wine. I think he might have been okay with getting me pass out drunk so he could just carry me on the plane and strap me in my seat, but he settled for the 1 glass I was willing to drink.

Also, this time I had my book, headphones, and extra iPhone battery in my hands instead of my bag and I’d also put my credit card information in my phone so I could buy wifi. This was a good tactic. I still gripped my seat like it was my job on the way up and down, and I did still occasionally gasp and grab Dave’s arm, but the ability to surf the internet, watch a movie, and perhaps the wine, helped me relax so I did not spend the entire flight acting like a cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

One of the things I do when I’m a bit fearful is to sing hymns or worship songs in my head. On the first flight I tried this while we were taking off and I could not remember a single song. NOT ONE SONG. I must have a million hymns and worship songs memorized that I could sing at the drop of a hat, but apparently they all fled my brain once we began to fly down the runway.

On the trip home I was prepared for this eventuality. I had my phone all keyed up and ready with my Spotify Worship Music station up. As soon as we started to take off I hit play.

Y’all.

The song Oceans is what played. Let’s ponder those lyrics, while considering I was in the process of being hurtled trough the sky in a metal can at ridiculous speeds and altitudes.

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

So, as I’m being catapulted through the sky, I am listening to this song and arguing with it! I’m all, “NO! Lord, don’t call me out on the waters! Just get me out of this plane!”

“Also, I don’t want my feet, or more importantly THIS PLANE to fail!”

“Um, and could I go ahead and find you here in this plane and not on the rising ocean waves? I don’t want to go in the ocean!”

“And, can your grace abound in cramped airplanes instead of deepest waters, cuz remember, I don’t want to go in the water!”


“And can we just forget that whole refrain? Because I don’t want any of that! I don’t want trust without borders because that sounds scary! And I really don’t want to walk on the waters and listen, I don’t want to go deeper, I just want to get off this plane! And as much as I love you, Lord, I kinda want to go home and not into your presence at the moment.”

You guys, I am a joy to fly with. 


Friday, April 8, 2016

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats: My Thoughts on Modern Feminism



My daughters and I have been having many conversations lately about Feminism. What is it? Is it needed in America today? In our world as a whole? Is it Christian? I’m not twenty anymore. I have a little life behind me. I’m not full of wisdom.  I have a long, long way to go before I can say that, but I do feel that with age I am beginning to recognize wisdom when I see and hear it, and I am also able to recognize a fad or a bully pulpit when I hear or see it. The thing that stands out to me about feminism is its selfishly demanding attitude, its divisiveness and disunity, and its lies.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
Philippians 2:5-8

Jesus Christ himself became a servant instead of demanding his rightful place as GOD. Am I better than Jesus? Who am I to make demands when Jesus himself became a servant? I wonder if we’d even still be talking about this Jesus guy if he were just one more person who was born on this earth, grew up demanding to be recognized, yelling about his greatness, and then being put to death. Probably not. We are still talking about him because he came to this earth and served those who were beneath him, loved those who were unloving to him, and died for the very people yelling ‘crucify him!’ so that they could live. By that example, we Christians should never demand our own way. We should be the hardest working, most loving, most humble people in the room.

Feminism upsets me not because it is too big, but because it is too small. Not because it’s fighting for the rights of women, but it is fighting for the rights of only women. A rising tide lifts all boats. Do you want to help women? Then help all people. Do you want to change the world? Then start with changing hearts. People don’t need to hear more rhetoric about why women are getting a raw deal; the world needs to hear about Jesus.

Do you want to change the way women are treated in developing countries? Feminism is not your answer, Jesus is. Don’t shout from the rooftops that women are being oppressed and should not take it anymore, shout from the rooftops to EVERY MAN, WOMAN, AND CHILD  that Jesus loves them. 

Feminism will not change the culture of an andocentric society, only the love of Jesus will. Yelling loudly for all to hear, posting on social media, starting arguments with all your friends and loved ones about why women are oppressed might make you feel better or make you feel like you are doing something to change the problem, but I assure you this is simply adding to the noise. If you want to make a real, lasting change give to a missionary that is translating the bible into a developing country's language. Volunteer at a refugee help group. Just telling women they’re oppressed does not help them. The love of Jesus changes lives; men’s lives, women’s lives, and children’s lives. Don’t just aim for helping women, aim for helping humanity. Don’t be part of the noise, be the hands and feet of Jesus. 

Modern Feminism, just like its past counterparts tells us that we can have it all. We can do it all. We SHOULD do it all. If we are not, we are letting half the population down. Modern Feminism tells women that if they have the audacity to put another human being’s interest above their own they are doing it wrong.

To this I say a whole-hearted hogwash! Every child deserves to be someone’s top priority, deserves to be nurtured and loved. Every child deserves a mommy. Nothing makes me more incensed than hearing people talk about that poor sad woman who gave up everything to stay home. She lost her career, her possibilities, wasted her education, just to be a stay-at-home mom. A child deserves his parent’s best. An education is wasted because a mom chose to pour it into her children?

One bit of wisdom that I am learning in spades right now is how fast childhood truly is. Eighteen years may seem like an eternity when you have an infant, but in no time you will be looking over college acceptance letters and wondering where the time went. Work will be there. Careers will be there. You will have given up something, you will have lost some momentum to be sure, but it will be so worth it.

In this modern age there are so many ways to skin a cat, so to speak. You don’t have to throw away work-you when you have children and become only home-you. There are more ways than are even imaginable to make it work. Women don’t have to give it all up and stay home with their kids. There are so many, many ways to work and parent these days. But for the moms who do decide to stay home for the pre-school years, or all the years, you are not doing it wrong and don’t let anyone tell you that you are. Back when I started having kids some 20 odd years ago the mommy wars were in full swing; the Stay At Home Moms vs. The Working Moms.  I’m here to tell you, no one wins in war. You do you, but more importantly, you do what GOD wants you to do.

And that right there is the crux. Feminism has made itself God. Feminism says how we should live and what we should believe and how we should speak, and that is God’s job. I pray if I’ve taught my children anything it’s that the best place for them to be is in the center of God’s will. He will direct them. He will direct them to who they should marry, what jobs they should have, if they should stay home, if they should work, and on and on it goes. They, be they boys or girls, should follow Christ’s example and humbly serve others, love others, and put others before themselves.

If we submit ourselves to the Lord, if we humbly serve one another, if we desire His unity and His truth for all lives, well, then feminism won’t even be a thing.


Monday, September 14, 2015

Doing A New Thing: Chemistry 101

Being in my 19th year of homeschooling and having only the baby of the family left to educate, we're mostly on auto-pilot when it comes to curriculum choices. Why break what ain't fixed, as they say. 

But instead of keeping with that eloquent maxim, I decided to use a different science curriculum with Annika this year. I am a big fan of Apologia’s Science Curriculum generally, but it’s a lot for a dyslexic child to digest.

She wants to be a nurse so I really want her to understand and learn the work, not just get it done so she can move on, which often happens when she is taking an Apologia course at our co op. Not because it’s a bad course, on the contrary our co op science courses are amazing and the teacher is awesome! The problem I’ve found with my dyslexic students is one of timing. We have to fit the whole curriculum into 30 weeks. I wanted to do something at home this year so that if we need to stretch it out into the summer we have the ability to do that. We can go a bit slower if we need to and I think that’s going to make a big difference.

This year for a variety of reasons (not the least of which being that the timing of the Chemistry class didn’t work very well with her schedule) we decided to try something different. A curriculum I found called Chemistry 101. We’re starting week 4 and so far, I am very pleased. Best of all, ANNIKA LIKES IT!!


The Chemistry 101 program is entirely DVD based, but they have a CD with PDF documents you can print out to create a binder like this. Also, they give you a clear path to making sure that even though this Chemistry is a bit nontraditional, it meets requirements for a high school credit.

The tabs read: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Research, Lab Reports, Discussion Questions, Quiz

I also added these two books to our curriculum to beef it up a bit. That Elements book is SO COOL!



This is what a typical week looks like for her. 

Sometimes she will do experiments for the lab herself and sometimes I will have her watch a video of them being done. It all depends on her workload and availability of materials. 

As I said, we're only a few weeks in, but so far so good!

*This is not a compensated review, nor are there any affiliate links in this post. I’m just putting this review out there for any other homeschooling parents that might be looking for a science alternative to Apologia.  

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Surprise Party That Wasn’t

Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.





Last night we threw a big, surprise 18th birthday for Evelyn. We worked so hard to keep it a surprise, but when you leave one of the invitations lying around, chances are good she’s going to see it. Oh well, she was a very good sport and acted surprised, but fessed up later that she knew. We all had a good laugh. So really, it was the Surprise Party That Wasn’t.



Regardless of the surprise, or lack-thereof, we had a great time. It was a simple swim party with snacks and cake, but it was awesome because of the people who were there.



This party was mostly Ev’s friends from the youth group and her cousins. There were probably 40 to 50 people there I would guess. As I looked around and watched the kids playing volleyball in the pool, and the kids doing various diving high jinks on the other end of the pool, and the kids sitting around the fire pit, and the group sitting on the porch, all laughing and generally having a great time, and I could not help but think of the verse in Hebrews that refers to a ‘cloud of witnesses.’




I realize those verses are referring to great men of the Bible who had paved the way, given the example, and cheered each other on to ‘run the race with perseverance’ but I see this current group of kids as sort of a contemporary Cloud of Witnesses as they serve a similar purpose for my children.



They show up. They celebrate each other’s victories and mourn each other’s failures and losses and remind each other to not grow weary and lose heart. They are truly an awesome group of kids.


One of the things that always amazes me is the youth leaders in our church. They make it a point to show up to these personal events. They’ve been at all of my kids graduations and many of their graduation parties and birthday parties. They don’t just show up for five minutes and leave either, they stay and participate and have fun.



Last night we all sat around and discussed the various bathroom situations on many of the mission’s trips they’d each been on. It quickly devolved to discussing various sickness and the results of those sicknesses in sundry third world countries. Let me just say, God Bless America and its health care system and excellent plumbing.


video


The point is, even though the conversation literally went to crap, everyone had a great time of good, clean fun. And most importantly, Evelyn felt loved and celebrated.


As I stood in my backyard and surveyed the goings-on, I said a little prayer of thanks for the people God has put in my children’s lives. We could not be more blessed. I don’t think it necessarily takes a village to raise a child, but it most definitely takes a cloud of witnesses. And God has given my children a very rich group who is with them on this race, and cheering them on.

*I did a terrible job getting photos because I was having so much fun! These are the only ones I have, and they hardly show any actual people. Whoops!*

Monday, April 6, 2015

And Peter



As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”
Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. Mark 16:5-8  (Emphasis mine)


Most of us have read this passage several times. This is the passage my pastor spoke on yesterday at Easter service, along with most of the pastors around the world I assume. But Pastor Curt pulled out those two little words and centered his sermon around them. These are two of my very favorite words in all of the scriptures. ‘…and Peter’  

Peter is my favorite. I love Peter. I identify with Peter. Peter is what I like to call the Unlikely Disciple. He’s an ear-cutter, a questioner, a speak-first-think-later disciple, an I’ll-tell-Jesus-how-to-do-his-job disciple, and lastly, he was a denier disciple.

I imagine Peter felt like what he’d done, denying Jesus, (“Yeah, I’m not with him, that *expletive* *expletive* *expletive.*) was as bad as Judas handing Jesus over to be crucified. I would have felt that way. If that angel had not expressly said …”and Peter”, do you think Peter would have considered himself to still be a disciple of Jesus? Would he have gathered up to meet with them? To finish the work Jesus had given them? I doubt it. He felt a failure; worthless, out of the loop. He’d finally done it. That was the last straw. He was no good to Jesus now. 

But the angel said,  "…and Peter".

And that right there is the beauty of the gospel. 

We can’t be too far gone for God to reach us. Too far gone for Jesus to love us. There is nothing we can do to earn his love, and there is nothing we can do that will make him stop loving us. 

Whenever I feel that way, too far gone, I imagine God instructing His angel to say…

…"and Tricia. Make sure to say, and Tricia". 





Friday, February 13, 2015

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

In A Word



I like to choose a word for the year. It’s something I’ve been doing for a while now. One of the first words I chose was ‘courage’. That year, I was baptized. I’ve been a Christian most of my live, but the thought of getting in front of people, well, no thanks. But that year, my children decided they wanted to be baptized and I decided I needed to be courageous and join them. It was awesome. A memory we will all share.

Last year was ‘gentleness’. This word was given to me by my bible study leader. She randomly assigned each of us a fruit of the spirit that she would pray over us all year. I took this as a sign and adopted that word. Not sure how successful that was. I would not describe myself as ‘gentle’ or ‘meek’. I want to be. God has taught me much in this area this year. I wonder if those lessons are outwardly visible. I hope so.


This year I’ve been praying and wondering what the word should be. Last night I got it. It just came to me, a whisper from God I think. I did not like this one. I wrestled a bit. Then I began my search. I googled it.


I can feel the change coming. I’ve felt it for a while, but it’s stronger now. I think I’ve reached the ‘rip off the band aid’ portion of change. I don’t like it. I have been a mom for 23 and a half years. I have homescooled my children all the way through. I have laughed, cried, lost sleep, prayed, and loved every single second of it. Even the hard bits. I’d go back and start over if I could figure out how. I love being a mom. I love my kids. Not only do I love my kids but I genuinely like them. They’re funny and spunky and silly and smart and just all around awesome people to be with.  But you know what? They’re not really kids anymore. They’re 23, 20, 17 & 15 and in 2015 things are going to change. Drastically. I can feel it.

My kids all still live at home. I love it. The boys have been doing their college while living at home and I feel like that’s been a gift. They come and go as they please, pay a bit of rent, help out around the house, it’s a good system. It took some work to figure out how to transition from parent to a sort of roommate, but I think we’ve done a fair job. I love having them here. But in 2015, Bryce will finish his schooling and fly on into his adult life. Gunnar is already spreading those wings putting out applications to Fire Departments far and wide. Eventually one of them is going to hire him (lucky will be the departments that gets him!) and he too will fly from the family home.

Evelyn will officially become and adult, and be graduating high school in 2015. Somehow I have a harder time seeing my girls as adults. Maybe I’m more protective of them. She will start college in 2015. Probably from home, but anything is possible. She’s growing up. Very soon she too will fly from home.

Annika will turn 16 and get her driver’s license in 2015. She is a go-getter, that one. There will be no holding her back once she has her own wheels. She’s already talking about colleges far away from home, near a beach if she has her way.

Change is coming and it’s coming fast. I’ve had more than my share. I’ve had my kids home longer than most. I have good, happy, healthy, Jesus loving kids. I’ve been blessed far and above what I deserve. I know this. It’s time. I know. But I hate change.


God’s working on me, though. I know I have a choice to accept this change or fight it. Either way it’s going to happen, it’s really just about how I’m going to respond to it.

Dave and I had kids right away. We never were those fancy-free newlyweds. The time is coming soon where we can just think about each other. Do what we want. Go where we want to go. Eat what we want to eat. Talk about what we want to talk about whenever we want to talk about it and not worry about listening ears. I know this new phase of life is going to be great. It’s going to be wonderful to just be his wife. It’s going to be wonderful to watch and see who my kids become as they move on to the next phase of their lives. I have no fear about what is coming; I know it will be wonderful. But for me, change is always hard.



 So this year, in 2015, I will choose to embrace the change.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Chicken Tortilla Soup



3 skinless chicken breasts cooked and shredded
1 yellow onion- chopped
4 cloves garlic- chopped
2 10 oz. can diced tomatoes with chilies
1 qt.  chicken stock 1 10 oz. can
2 8 oz cans enchilada sauce
2 8 oz can of tomato sauce
1 5 oz. can green chilies
1 can corn (drained and rinsed)
2 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1/2- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
a teaspoon hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste


Put all the ingredients into a large pot and cook till warm and bubbly. Top with sour cream, cheddar cheese, fresh cilantro, avocado, and tortilla chips. (I use what we call tortilla crisps instead of the chips. I basically take regular flour tortillas and fry them in veggie oil till they’re a bit brown and crispy)