July 29, 2008

Off to Salt Lake City!

Today I fly with my friend Heather to Salt Lake for Stampin' Up!'s annual Convention! This year is the 20th anniversary, so it's sure to be an amazing celebration. Ted has taken time off work to be with the kids and even plans to do some schooling with them. He IS The Man! I'm looking forward to connecting with dear friends that I only get to see once or twice a year...and I won't lie, I'm super excited about seeing that new catalog. :-)

I'm a Streaker!!

I'm on an exercise streak! I've purposefully exercised for 23 days straight now. This means that I don't count walking from the parking lot into the store as exercise. :-) I've been running 5 times a week and doing some low-impact exercising such as walking, biking, or swimming the other 2 days a week.

I feel great and as a bonus have lost 5 pounds. Woohoo! Mostly, I just felt convicted that I needed to be careful and purposeful about how I take care of my body. Ted and I are going through Beth Moore's study on the book of Daniel, and when we were reading about Belshazzar and the handwriting on the wall, she talked about treating holy vessels as unholy. In the case of Babylon's leader at the time, the vessels were those stolen from God's temple in Jerusalem and used for heathen purposes, but in my case, my vessel is my body...and if I'm not taking care of it the way I know I should, I am treating it as unholy.

So...I began a journey of daily exercise--minimum goal, 4 weeks, but ideally it will lead to a more consistent routine, even more so than I've been doing (which, don't get me wrong, is a MUCH better record than I had prior to moving to Las Vegas!). God continues to "waken me morning by morning" (see Isaiah 50:4 or my post about this here) and has strengthened me to do what He wants me to do.

July 26, 2008

This Is What Happens When Mommy Gets Distracted

I was upstairs on the computer (yes, I admit it, I was Facebooking) when I became aware of some loud laughter downstairs. Finally, after a little while, Arden and Charis began calling to me. "Mom, Kenna's in the mop bucket!"

I was a little bit irritated at first--with myself for forgetting to dump out the water and put the bucket away before I got Kenna up from her nap, and with the kids for not preventing her from getting into it or at least telling me that I had left the bucket out. But when I went downstairs, I quickly realized why they hadn't bothered to stop their sister. She was definitely entertaining! Charis had put socks on her, which were of course sopping wet, and she was having more fun stepping in and out of the bucket. Yes, the mop water was dirty...but I figure it wasn't any worse than letting her play in the backyard. I'm just thankful we use safe, organic household cleaning products from Shaklee!!

The moment was just too fun to waste. Why be upset and annoyed with a toddler who's making a mess when you can grab the camera and capture the memories?!

So, for your enjoyment, a couple of pictures, and if you want to see more, you can click here.

July 21, 2008


This is a month belated, but Charis and Tobin tested for their orange belts before our trip to Idaho and passed. Their next belt test (for yellow) will be in August. They both have earned 2 stripes on their orange belts so far, so one more to go and they will be eligible to take the test. They are very much enjoying the classes, and I think it's been a good thing for them. I do feel a little bit bad that Arden can't be in the "Tiny Tigers" classes, but it would be too much to have them in completely different class periods. Plus, Carmen, our neighbor, takes her orange-belt kids plus mine to class...which is a HUGE help! They go to 3 classes per week, so when you include the driving time to and from the studio, the house gets quiet for about 2 hours those afternoons. It's kind of nice for this homeschooling mom!!

July 14, 2008

Our 4th of July

We had a GREAT Independence Day, despite the Las Vegas heat! All 7 of us (including Grandma J) went to the T family's house for the day. Another family was there, along with Adam and Laura's intern who is living with them for the summer and a friend of his. The kids had a blast swimming with the dads, and we ladies enjoyed chatting and keeping cool in the house! We had a yummy dinner (of course--why would we have a meager, mediocre dinner on a national holiday?!), played some Taboo, and watched as Glen (the intern) and Emily (his friend) helped the kids light sparklers and little fireworks in the street. Kenna was quite fascinated by it all! She wouldn't stay still for anything!

Visit from Grandma J

Ted's mom came to visit us from July 2 - 9. Since we had just returned from Commission a couple of days prior, we hadn't yet settled into any sort of routine, which is probably a good thing. We enjoyed lots of relaxed time together, as Ted had July 4 - 7 off work. Woohoo! We love 4-day weekends! Our activities included several games of Catan, going to Pump It Up, spending the 4th of July with the T family, church, swimming, a date night for Ted and me, reading, assorted games, and movies. Charis also worked on several sewing projects with her grandma (she loves doing this with both her grandmas!). It was a great week, and we were sad to have to take her back to the airport. We likely will not see her for quite awhile, unfortunately. Maybe God will be gracious to us and allow us to be stationed in Colorado next!!

July 12, 2008

Kid Funnies

Charis, after swimming in our community pool last weekend:
"The water in the pool is 5 feet deep, and Daddy is 6 feet deep."

(At least he's not 6 feet under, ha!)


Arden, grabbing a handful of the skin on his neck:
"Mom, this bone here is squishy."


While reading our chapter in Charlotte's Web this evening, Arden was sitting on my lap. I was resting my head against his head, and apparently he could hear me breathing, because he whispered to me:
"Mom, you're sniffing in my ear."


Sorry, I can't think of anything particularly funny that Tobin has said or done lately!


Kenna can't talk, so her funny for this post is the picture we took of her at lunch. She loves her PBJs!

July 11, 2008

Morning by Morning

"The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught."
Isaiah 50:4

I want to be a morning person. I really do. And some seasons of my life I feel naturally perky in the mornings. But usually it doesn't come very easily to me. I'm not really a night person anymore, either. A regular day as a wife, mom, homeschool teacher, and businesswoman leaves me feeling about as energetic as a wet tea bag. I guess you could say I'm typically a noon person.

But over the years I've seen the value of consistently waking up early. If I want a quiet time, it must be done before the kids wake up. If I want to go running, I need to leave the house before my husband leaves for work. If I want time to read the newspaper, it has to happen before breakfast.

The gospels tell us over and over that Jesus woke up while it was still dark and stole away to spend some time with His Heavenly Father. Over the past year I have been convicted that for me personally, this is the model I need to follow. Don't get me wrong--there have been seasons in my life when there was no way getting up while it was still dark was an option. My quiet time during my college years was usually around 10 or 11 p.m. My Bible study and prayer time when my older kids were still infants and toddlers happened during their naptime after lunch. But now? Now it's time to get up while it's still dark.

I've seen a correlation between my exercise habits and my spiritual health. When I'm sleeping in, putting off a run or a workout for another day, I'm more likely to skim through my Bible reading and doze during my prayer time. But on the days I am up early, clearing my brain while pounding the pavement or lifting weights, I sit down with my hot tea and Bible study materials much more ready to receive what the Holy Spirit has for me that morning. I am more sensitive to His voice, possibly because I've been preparing my heart and mind during my exercise time. Another possible reason this happens is simply the commitment and discipline involved in doing these activities regularly.

Once I finally got it through my head that God truly WANTS me to get up EARLY, as in 5 a.m. most mornings, I spent some time mourning for my lost sleep, sighed a lot, and then began praying earnestly that He would help me do this thing.

You know what? He answered that prayer. I still marvel that I am consistently rolling out of bed in plenty of time to spend one-on-one time with my Lord before my small charges are awake and bouncing off the walls. During my time of preparing for and writing the Commission 2008 Bible study, God showed me Isaiah 50:4, the verse at the beginning of this post. He has literally made this true in my life. Morning by morning I've been waking ready to hear His voice. Sometimes He wakens me with a praise song in my head. Other times I have actually awakened with a Bible verse running through my mind like a web banner that can't be overlooked. I've been exercising consistently, and I'm finding that I've been sleeping through the night--a small miracle in and of itself considering the fact that I usually make potty trips in the wee hours (ha!) of the morning.

I write this not to boast about how great my morning routine is, or how disciplined I am for getting up. Those who know me probably understand how amazing it is that I've been waking at 5 a.m. without a whole lot of prodding. (Ted would probably be the first to attest to the fact that I could sleep through his alarm and never wake until after he left the house if left to my own devices.) I praise and thank the Lord for directing me to PRAY that if He wanted me up in the mornings, He would help me do it for His glory.

I felt led to write about this topic in hopes that I might encourage others, particularly moms, in this area. I believe God will bless whatever time we set aside to be with Him, no matter what time of day it is. But I also believe there is a huge amount of value in making that time happen first thing in the morning. If, like me, you typically have difficulty prodding your eyes open before dawn, I encourage you to claim Isaiah 50:4 for your own life. After I read that and prayed over it, I committed the verse to memory, and I was at first astonished to find that that very week, I was waking up moments before the alarm went off, ready to start the day. But why should I have been surprised? Our God delights to spend time with us. He was so eager for me to come to Him that He answered my heartfelt prayer immediately!

I know He will do the same for you.

I Think We Won!

No ants were on the counters this morning! Woohoo! We kept finding them throughout the day yesterday. We once again washed the honey jar, but this time we left it in the dishwasher along with the other clean dishes overnight. I'm cautiously optimistic that I am finished with the Battle of the Ants...

July 10, 2008

The Ants Are Marching In...

It started a few days ago, several ants here and there that were easily squished and swiped away. Yesterday morning Ted calmly woke me up at 5 a.m. and asked if I planned to go by Walmart on my run. "Why, do I need to?" I asked.

"Well, ants are swarming the honey jar."

He wasn't kidding. I have never seen so many ants on one small counter in my life. I quickly ran 2 miles and grabbed some ant traps from the neighborhood Walmart on my way home. I guess I should have grabbed some spray, too, but I really hesitate to spray on our kitchen surfaces.

We set out the 4 ant traps and Ted headed to work. Later, the kids and Ted's mom found where the ants were entering the house, so we moved three of the traps outside. By this point the counters were clear of stuff, so the ants had nothing to swarm onto. Activity was dying down, and we were hopeful that the traps would do their job. The honey jar went through a complete cycle in the dishwasher, and we decided not to refill it until we were sure of the ants' demise.

Ants are not stupid. This morning at 5:15 a.m. they had already determinedly made their way back to that honey jar. There was a moving trail between the phone outlet and the honey jar on the counter on the other side of the sink. Would you believe the empty honey jar was full of ants!

Tobin has been a great Ant Warrior. This whole adventure has fascinated him. He has delighted in killing many of the little pests. In fact, he even (unbeknownst to me) turned on one of the gas burners to incinerate some of the more ambitious insects who were venturing beyond the honey jar. (Don't worry--I have admonished him that he is NEVER to turn the stove on again unless we are with him!)

I'm just thankful we have an ant problem and not a cockroach problem! At least ants aren't germy. And they seem fairly harmless, but I will be very thankful when I enter the kitchen early in the morning and find that my counter is not moving.

July 09, 2008

Commission 2008

This may not be a thorough review of our trip to Idaho, but I wanted to note some things before I forgot them! Our camera batteries died and I never replaced them, so we have no pictures from our time away. That's OK, it's one less event to have to scrapbook, heh!

Friday, June 20
After a hectic week, we managed to leave town by 9:30 a.m. Not bad! We even delivered a meal on the way out to a friend and her family. We made it to Hill Air Force Base and decided to see if there were any TLF rooms available, though we hadn't been able to get through to try to make a reservation ahead of time. Hooray for God--there WAS one available. We all crashed after some play time at the nearby park and KFC.

Saturday, June 21
Made it to Idaho by lunchtime. Ted went off to do his thing with the production team (new this year to Commission--student-led worship team plus photography and power point) and Charis and I headed out to purchase costume supplies from the thrift store. Kenna napped at church and the boys played. Charis and I then went to John and Michele R's house, where we stay every year, to unload the van. We discovered that the van battery was in sore need of replacement...we still had the original battery in when we bought the van new in 2003! Praise the Lord we were at the R's house, as John popped it out, took me to Walmart, and put the new one in for me with no trouble.

Sunday, June 22
After church and lunch at the P___ Cafe, we were ready for students! Thanks to a child care staffer this year, I was able to take part in the camp a little more than in previous years. I was kind of a part-time Production Team staffer and did some signing and singing harmony during worship services throughout the week, which was very fun.

Our days were very full! Morning celebration time, Bible study time (I got to do this with the counselors this year!), then I'd pick up the kids from Backyard Bible Club, we'd all eat lunch together, and then I'd spend some time with the Production Team while Kenna napped in the nursery. Afternoons I tried to get the kids away from church a bit; we went swimming one day and hung out at the R's house other days. Then it was back to church for dinner with everyone else, followed by the worship service. The kids and I would head home so I could get them in bed at that point, while the rest of the Commissioners did the evening fellowship/game time. I look forward to being able to participate in that in years to come!

One neat thing about camp this year was that we kind of "shook up" the worship time a little. As I was preparing to write this year's study--which was supposed to teach students how to study the Bible on their own--I felt led to spend some time focusing on worship. It was a journey that the Lord had led me on earlier in the year, as I read and studied the Psalms of Ascent with Beth Moore as well as Stormie Omartian's book The Prayer That Changes Everything. So it was really cool to see Ted and his production students doing some unique activities every evening at worship time. I think our generation (and the ones after us) are quickly tired of the same format--we don't want to go to church and do the same order of service every week. We LIKE keeping things real and fresh, and the students and Ted did an awesome job of providing opportunities for us to spend time one-on-one with God as well as in corporate worship.

All in all, it was a fantastic week, as usual. We're excited by the opportunity in the next couple of years to expand Commission to reach out to some new locations. Stay tuned for more details! We're hoping to get our web site up and running before too long!

Saturday, June 28
This was our 11th anniversary!! We drove out to the Sand Dunes to say goodbye to the students and let our kids climb a dune before we went back to church to clean up. After a hearty lunch we were on our way back to SLC, where we once again stayed in the Hill AFB TLF. (Thank you, God!) Ted took the older kids swimming while Kenna and I got a nap, and we enjoyed dinner out at Red Robin before collapsing in bed that night.

Sunday, June 29
After too many "how much farthers" and "how many more hours" and a couple of extra potty stops, we pulled in to LV in enough time for me to head to Sam's Club to stock up on fresh produce, milk, cheese, and bread. Ahhh! Ted and the kids unloaded the van, and we got cleaned up and ready to jump back into normal life.

Normal?! Did I say "normal?!"