Archive for July, 2013


Pine Cove Base Camp again!

Our girls went to Pine Cove Base Camp last week.  This is a true camp experience minus the overnight stays in cabins, (which we are planning on sending our girls to next summer!)  This is their second year, and next summer Asher will get to go!  I highly recommend looking for a Base Camp in your city next summer for your kids ages “going into first grade thru sixth grade.”  (Base Camp will be called “Camp in the City” from now on.)

Ella cried on Friday at the closing ceremonies.  Ella always cries at good-byes.  But James reminded her there will be no more good-byes in heaven!  And going to Base Camp this past week was an earthly taste of what heaven will be like:  dancing and worshiping Jesus with joy, laughing, neon colors everywhere…(okay maybe not that part!)  🙂

Ella with her counselor, Wala Wala!

Pine Cove is all about crazy and silly!

At the end of the closing ceremony, the counselors present their camper with a character quality that they saw in them during the week.

Ella’s was, “Ella is virtuous. Her authentic personality is refreshing to those around her. Ella is faithful in her words and actions.”

Rilyn’s character quality was, “Rilyn is nurturing in the way she encourages others. Her enthusiastic attitude inspires others to be engaged. Rilyn is respectful.”

Rilyn with her 4th grade girl group and counselor, Minty.


breaking “invisible bad”

I had my first deep spiritual conversation with Asher (my 5 year old).  You see, this son of mine, he is a clown-the boy that wants to make everyone laugh, and wants to be the center of attention.  He is the youngest in our family, so I guess it’s not his fault.  🙂  He has never been one to sit quietly through a Bible story or any intentional family night where we are teaching a lesson.  I pray desperately for his salvation at a young age, but do I really believe it?  Honestly, after the 100th time of reading Noah’s Ark to Asher, and I ask him who is on the ark and he says Adam, I’m not really feeling it.  I’m scared for Asher.  Scared that he will do whatever it takes to make people laugh, and because the Bible isn’t filled with stories of fart and poop jokes, he will reject it.

Pray, pray, pray.

me and my boy!

So imagine to my surprise when I was putting him to bed one night he told me out of the blue, “I don’t want to be ‘the crazy one’ mommy.  (Referring to being the crazy one in our family.)  I don’t want to be bad and keep making bad choices.  But I keep doing it! I can’t stop!”

I looked at him and said, “We ALL make bad choices.  We all sin.  But there is good news!  We have a rescuer!!!”

He said, “But mom, YOU never do bad things.  You always make good choices!”

“No, I don’t Asher!  Mommy may not sin like you do (throwing tantrums, whining), but I make bad choices in my head and my heart a lot.  I think and feel bad things about people.”

“But mommy, you’re invisible bad!”   (Parenting lesson for me:  I need to be more transparent when I sin against him.  Too often, I let my sins against him slide because I tell myself he is too young and he doesn’t really get it.  If I yell at Asher out of anger, I must point out my sin to him, and ask him for forgiveness.)

“No, Asher.  God knows every sin we do.  We can never hide our bad choices from God.  But remember, we have a RESCUER!!  He can save and forgive us of our bad choices!  Who is our rescuer Asher?”

“Jesus!”  (He didn’t say Spiderman or Angry Birds-YES!)  “But mommy, I asked Jesus to help me, and I keep on sinning!”

(parenting pause…wow, what do I say?  At that moment, I told Asher to pray with me, and ask God to help him trust Jesus more and more each day.  We hugged, and it was just a really neat moment.)

And when I closed his bedroom door that night, I thought, do I wrestle over my sin?  Or am I content to just “keep on sinning”?  When was the last time I asked Jesus to help me stop sinning?  I tell myself, “I am who I am.  I sin this way, and that’s just how it is.”  But through the words of a silly 5 year old boy, God spoke to me.  And I love parenting for that.

Romans 7:24-25  “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more…enter in the mysterious, wonderful power of the Gospel.  The humbling truth is that on this side of heaven, there will always be sin in my life…in our lives.  But the great news of the gospel there is a WAY out!  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. (John 14:6)

What do we say to someone who recognizes their utter depravity?  The answer:  turn to Jesus.


the day my daughter got punched in the face

It was 3 weeks before 3rd grade was ending when I got the dreaded phone call no one wants.  The vice principal called to tell me that Rilyn, almost 9 years old, got punched in the nose by a boy on purpose.   When we decided to enroll in public school, we didn’t just enroll our kids, but our family.  I am very active in the school, and go up there at least twice a week to help in the classrooms.  Rilyn is well-liked at school, and most of the kids know me, having seen me for the past 5 years at the school.  Who could of done this?!?

All this to say, initially I was shocked she got punched.  Then I remembered that  this world we live in is not our home, and many things here are dark and scary.

First thought:  “How could someone possibly punch my daughter?”  (selfish and angry)

Second thought:  tears streamed down my face.  I was sad for Rilyn, but I was even sadder when the vice principal asked Rilyn if she wanted to talk to me on the phone and she said no.  Rilyn was embarrassed and emotionally hurt.

The VP told me that Rilyn was not badly hurt, no swelling or blood.  The incident occurred in the cafeteria, (they sit next to the person who was next to them in the cafeteria line at the tables.)  Rilyn was next to this boy (who was a new kid this year, and I had not met him personally yet), and Rilyn was “shushing” him, (she put her finger over her mouth and leaned in to the boy) because lunch was over, and they are to be quiet as they are waiting for their teacher to come pick them up.  This boy felt like Rilyn was invading his personal space, so he punched her.  The VP told me that this boy would have consequences, his parents would be called, and he wouldn’t be able to participate in any of the end of the year activities.

I hung up knowing Rilyn was safe, and called James to discuss how we were going to handle it when she got home.  You feel so hurt for your child, but on the other hand, you don’t know this boy’s situation and what he goes home to each day.    We didn’t want Rilyn to play victim when she got home, because I knew she would be getting a lot of that “poor me” treatment from her classmates and teachers.  It’s nice to have people that stand up for you, and want to protect you, but it can easily go too far, and we don’t want our kids feeling that false sense of security.

Rilyn got off the bus that afternoon, and I brought her into her room alone.  I told her, with compassion, that I was so sorry that happened to her, and asked her if she was feeling any pain.  She recounted the whole story again, and told me she was okay, but she was scared.  The boy is on her bus, and she was scared that without the protection of teachers, he would strike again.    I told Rilyn that Satan wants us to live in fear.  He wants her to be scared to come back to school and see him.  We prayed through a verse that we had memorized during the school year:

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? (Proverbs 56:3-4)   “Lord, help my child not live in fear.  You are her protection!”

Then we talked about how she feels about the boy.   We talked about how Jesus feels about that boy. We talked about Jesus, who lived a perfect life and did nothing wrong, was nailed to the cross and how He was beaten, spit on, persecuted for Rilyn’s sin, my sin…our sin.  And what were some of His last words?  Luke 23:34:  “And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

I ended our time telling her that “Jesus came to rescue us so that we can live in peace…peace with our creator and peace with each other.  This peace with each other requires forgiveness; a forgiveness He gave us on the cross to share with each other.  Jesus wants us to forgive the boy who punched you.  It’s okay if you don’t feel like it right now.  God knows your heart, and you can’t fake forgiveness with Him anyway.  But dad and I will pray for you that you will be filled with God’s love and forgiveness, and in turn be moved to share it and forgive him.”

And she did.  (And there was no reaction from him she said.  He was just quiet, staring at her when she told him she forgave him.  Sometimes life isn’t like the movies.)

Thank you Lord for parenting moments like these, although they are hard, they are GOOD because they lift Your name higher!


the sanctifying power of the Gospel in vacationing

A few weeks ago we went on vacation to the Northwest with some friends of ours.  James and his friend dreamed of this vacation being a great, relaxing time.  The problem was that I wasn’t too excited about going on this trip.  I love our friends, but it’s not my idea of a great time to visit down towns (and we were going to visit 3!) and eat all the “best food” in the perspective cities.  I’m a comfort eater, meaning if I have my Reduced Fat Cheez-Its and my Honey Bunches of Oats cereal after dinner, I’m a happy girl.  I don’t care about eating the best “____” in the USA, and I’m not one for trying new foods.  I will do it, but I definitely won’t order it as MY meal.  How horrible would that be to have a gross meal just because you wanted to try something new?  🙂

Back to my point, when James and I vacation, we usually have the whole vacation planned out before we go.  And we, (or maybe I should say I), like to have an excursion to do everyday.  I want to see everything I can while I’m in the destination.  If I’m being honest, I did not want to go to the Northwest, and I surely did not want to go there without a real plan.  (Eat good food and explore is not a plan.)

We went to Vancouver first, and we were going to go skydiving but the weather would not allow it.  I was sad, but it wasn’t James’ fault, no big deal.  We really didn’t have a back up plan though, so I just took a nap and felt bummed.  My attitude kinda kept rolling downhill from there.  I tried to put on a happy face, but James, (and I’m sure my friends), could tell this wasn’t my idea of a fun vacation.  Walking miles to get to a restaurant that has the best “____” or window shopping was not my idea of excursions.  I was definitely grumpy inside, and my heart was not right.

James kept on pursuing me though in love.  He asked me a million times what things sounded like fun, and all I could think was “None, because this should of been planned out BEFORE we got here, and not waste time deciding while we are here.”  He wanted to make sure I was happy.  He treated me to a facial.  He relentlessly loved me even when I would turn to him and say, “Stop treating me so sweetly!!  I don’t deserve it!  Just let me be a grump, and wallow in my self-pity!”  He never gave up.  He took me to steak houses when our friends were at sushi (he would of had sushi otherwise), he found a way for us to skydive in Oregon even though he was dreading doing it.  He always said to me wherever we were, “Get whatever you want!”

Over dinner one night I told him that our marriage, and this vacation was sanctifying me.  His pursuit of me, even in my yucky sinful attitude, reminded me of how God pursues me.  God loves me even in my sin.  And James told me that he was reminded in this vacation that to pursue is costly.  To pursue requires sacrifice, and God sacrificed his own Son for us.  James would pursue me even when I’m “difficult.”

Thank you Lord for James, our 12 years of marriage, and times like these to be reminded of Your *Never Stopping, Never Giving up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love*!

*from my favorite kids Bible- The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name“>


Happy 60th dad!

The night of the fourth, we went to watch the George Bush library firework show. We had to drag our kids to it, because they were scared to death that another fire would start, but we assured them that these were professionals lighting fireworks!

reactions to watching the beautiful fireworks!

LOL…these are obviously FAKE reactions to watching fireworks!

again, fake reactions…maybe we need to work on our acting skills!

My dad turned 60 on July 6th, and we celebrated some more at the Octaranch, despite having almost burned down the place! 🙂 James and my brother worked hard on the ranch, doing as much manual labor they could for my dad! Even Ella joined in! Dad is a godly, hard worker, self-less man who is all about making fun memories with his grandkids!

Me. my sister, dad, and brother!

For my dad’s birthday, we transferred all our old VHS tapes and Super 8 reels into DVDs! It was definitely a good idea, can you tell?

happy tears…


FIRE on the Fourth!!!

I always thought that playing with fireworks was just fun and innocent, (I grew up lighting fireworks in the neighborhood streets), and all those warnings about starting fires were for dummies who lit a firework in a dry cornfield or something…well…fireworks are DANGEROUS and I learned that first hand this July 4th!

Let’s start out with a sweet, patriotic family picture before the chaos…

We were in College Station, at my parents Octaranch having some family fun!

water gun fight!

James trying to shoot my dad!

water gun rage!

having some of aunt Jessica’s birthday cake!

look at all the danger…

So all was fun and games at first

sparkler fun from Asher

look how high!

Then my brother and James paused before lighting a 9 tubed firework. It had lots of “cautions” on it but they figured as long as they set it on a flat stone, it should be fine. Based on the previous pictures, you can tell that I was not with the rest of the family. As soon as the firework lit and blew out it’s first tube, it turned sideways and started blowing 8 more rockets of fire out in a clockwise direction. It shot one under our car, one at my sister’s car, (causing a dent), one right past me in which a small fire immediately started, one rocket across the street that started a larger fire, one at my sister-in-law’s leg that caused a 6 inch bruise and one at Rilyn’s boot! Chaos immediately ensued as this was the size of the fire:

sorry for the poor quality, but I was shaking pretty bad and screaming for someone to call 911. And that is my dad running into the fire with a bucket of water

The fire by me was pretty small, but still the size of an extra large pizza. My dad came running with a bucket of water, but tripped right in front of my fire and spilled it all, so I was forced to put it out with stepping on it (thank goodness I was wearing tennis shoes!) The kids were all in hysterics by this time screaming and crying and I just kept on taking pictures because that’s just what I do! 🙂

again, apologies for the poor quality, I was shaking too!

aunt Jessica and aunt Becca trying to comfort them

I’m pretty sure we scarred our kids for life on enjoying fireworks.

Thankfully, my dad had a very long hose ready in case of anything like this happening, and so with the help of 4 men together, they put the fire out. The fire was about 4 feet deep, 5 feet tall, and 4 feet wide. It could of been MUCH WORSE if the winds were any stronger, because the firework landed in a pretty dry area. My mom was just about to call 911 when my dad had it out. The whole incident took about 2 to 3 minutes, but it felt like eternity as I thought we were going to be the ones responsible for burning College Station down. Our adrenaline didn’t come down for hours after that and we couldn’t stop talking about how blessed we were.

Even after the fire, we lit a few more fireworks so as not to live in fear.  Rilyn was the only one who would watch them though.  All the other kids hid in the house.  🙂

We went to the George Bush library firework show after MUCH coercing the kids. I’ll save those pictures for another post though!


James skydives!

James went first skydiving in the plane and we hired a skydiver to go with him purely to video tape and take pictures of him.  So his pictures are from a different angle which I think was cool!   (My tandem pro took pictures of me with his GoPro).  James was definitely nervous, and when I landed and asked him how he was, he said he needed to sit down and didn’t know if he could drive back to our hotel.  I think he just needed a good snack though!  Bless his heart-what a trooper!

all geared up!

You can see how wide-eyed James is here! So nervous!!

Our view-can you see Mt. Hood?

Is that a spider on the picture or…

James’ tandem pro reminded me of Bart Simpson at 40!

throwing hand signs!

time to land!  This doesn’t look awkward at all!  😉

smooth like butter landing!



In my head I have a kinda bucket list.  Skydiving was on it, and my dearest husband did NOT have that on his bucket list.  But being the sweet, sweet husband that he is, he took me when we were on vacation!  We were supposed to skydive in Vancouver on day 1 (so we could get it over with for my husband’s sanity), but the weather was cloudy and rainy and they wouldn’t let us.  So, wouldn’t you know it, we skydived on the last day of vacation!  Bless his heart, he endured 6 days of waiting and dreading the SKYDIVE!  We had to get video and pictures of our once in a lifetime adventure.  Video is not ready yet, but here are the fun pictures for you to laugh at!

In the plane before we jumped!

Not my best angle, but this is what it feels like right when you scoot off the plane into free fall at 13,800 elevation about to go 120 mph!

bye bye plane!

woo hoo!

This is the picture I will look at if I’m tempted to get a face lift! Ha!

trying to keep your mouth closed is challenging!

I’m not afraid to admit that I have 6 chins when a parachute pops out above you going 120 mph!

I really wish I remembered what I was thinking during this picture! I think we were spinning in circles (which you do by pulling down on the parachute handles on one side)

Just chillaxing on the way down

He let me have a turn steering!

It was a great experience! I was surprised that I didn’t every feel my stomach drop. It was like floating with wind coming at you really fast! I never had an adrenaline rush the whole time. I was just really at peace, knowing I would be safe with my tandem pro, and I was looking forward to doing it-never nervous. I think because we watched like 20 people skydive before us made it easy for me to trust that everything was going to be safe and fun.  Stay tuned for James’ pictures!


Northwest vacation!

James and I headed to Vancouver, Canada, Seattle, and Portland for a week long vacation with another couple.  Here is our vacation in pictures!

I highly recommend going to this in Vancouver! The Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is beautiful!

The Vancouver skyline…that is our ferry in the background.

Stanley Island

The weather was in the 60s!

Then we drove to Seattle and did some wine tasting!

Can you see the flying fish?!

We did an underground tour of Seattle that was fascinating!

Seattle skyline!

Stay tuned for Oregon pictures where we went SKYDIVING!

My photography business!

July 2013