Thursday, July 31, 2008

It's Our Turn! is the day. Our 15th anniversary. Can I just tell you how shocking that is? I am in shock that 15 years has passed and I am not sure how it happened. Even though so much has happened in those 15 years, it seems like it has gone by in a blur!

We went through the exact same stuff that Tim & Reese went through. People really don't believe that you can get married at 17 and that it can work. It's been hard, the first 7-10 years were constantly rough, but that was because we were both still growing up while trying to raise three babies of our own. I am so thankful to be where we are today. Without God right in the middle, we would not be here.

We are heading away on Saturday, for only one night away, but we need it, and I am thrilled to spend some time with my hubby! Thank goodness for Grandmas :)

I had wanted to share some pictures from years gone by, but our scanner is not hooked up and lately my time at the computer is a luxury.

Here's one from last year, right before I went to see Reese.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Word of the Day

Wonky, adjective;

British Slang.
a.shaky, groggy, or unsteady.
b.unreliable; not trustworthy.

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Safely Home and Shunning Apathy

I'm sitting here at my desk tapping my fingertips against my chin as I try to think where to start. When a gal encounters something that changes her life, it's hard to summarize that in a short post.

First, I read Red Letters by Tom Davis. Step one of an unknown number away from the life I've known.

Second, I read It's Not About Me by Max Lucado. Step 2.

Third, reading through blogs and websites about orphaned children, African and Russian AIDS victims, I sensed a sad shame coming to me over the Western Church's mostly apathetic response.

Fourth, Lora suggested the book Safely Home by Randy Alcorn. I read about it on the internet and then bought it on eBay. I spent approximately a quarter of the book crying. It opened my eyes to the suffering of the Christians in China and how the Church is flourishing under heavy persecution. As for the writing, I was relieved to find it's not dry and flat like too many Christian authors' books. I've only ever completed a handful of Christian novels because I usually put them down in frustration after little more than a chapter. Alcorn kept my attention with ease.

I know the enemy of my soul would rather I not think about anything beyond my own trivial problems. He must spend loads of energy on keeping Christians apathetic and I think that the only reason my eyes have been opened is by a direct moving of the Holy Spirit in my life. He doesn't move in vain and I'm interested in what the future holds. What might an American homemaker living in England do to change the world and challenge the church? Only The Lord can say.

If you don't feel a tugging in your spirit to look into the suffering of the Church and the millions of poor and dying around the world, I challenge you to pray for God to reveal it to you. Read Red Letters and Safely Home, spend some time on websites such as Eternal Perspective Ministries, Children's HopeChest, 5 for 50, Prisoner Alert, Tom Davis' blog, Randy Alcorn's blog, Compassion International, the Bags for Darfur blog, Voice of the Martyrs (and their volumes of resources) and Bibles Unbound (I'm
very excited to check that one out!). I'm sure there are many, many more resources available as well. While you educate yourself, pray that God lights a fire in your heart for the suffering.

Certainly, the most effective and obvious thing anyone of us can do is pray.

Bless you.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Knowing God

As it would be cruel to an Amazonian tribesman to fly him to London, put him down without explanation in Trafalgar Square and leave him, as one who knew nothing of English or England, to fend for himself, so we are cruel to ourselves if we try to live in this world without knowing about the God whose world it is and who runs it. The world becomes a strange, mad, painful place, and life in it a disappointing and unpleasant business, for those who do not know about God.

~J.I. Packer, Knowing God

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Crazyville On The Big Screen

Hubby decided that our Wii needed to be hooked up to the internet this weekend. At first I was digging my heals in, I mean, is that really necessary? Well, no, it's not..but, it sure is fun!
My first stop: Crazyville!
Look how awesome it looks on our 65 inch wide screen. I'm loving it! LOL!

The major drawback is that I got lost in YouTube land last night. I went back in time to all the old Michael W. Smith concerts that I had attended as a teen. Today I am missing all those great times so I have shut my office door and I enjoying all my old MWS favorites on my iPod.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Little Fun with Johnny Depp

I was a little surprised by the passionate outpouring of deep admiration displayed for Johnny Depp by so many of the lovely ladies who participated in Know and Tell Friday. I guess I thought I was the only one with this particular schoolgirl crush. Oddly enough, I never thought much at all about Johnny D until Pirates of the Caribbean came out. What is it about Jack Sparrow that is so darn appealing?

Some of the comments from KATF participants were interesting, including Heather's insinuation that she had shared an evening with JD in Germany and Nancy's observation that he would "just be fun to look at." Lora would pick Johnny up "of course" and Kari mused about why the question even needed to be asked: "Johnny Depp, hands down. Who needs the Queen?" Jodi called him "easy on the eyes" and
Deb R would pick him up, but only of it wasn't an election year.

There were those who showed less love for Mr Depp, including Jodi who actually said "Ugh" and only grudgingly offered Johnny D a ride if she had to! Annie
couldn't pick him up (I think that requires explanation!), but offered a ride to him with her friend. Christine was very democratic and fair, saying she would give a ride to the one who "got in the car fastest." Jodi hoped for her sake it was JD.

Kayren vowed to pass the whole group by and keep an eye open for Barbara Bush.

I must admit that isn't the first time I've tried to sneak in a question about the Johnmeister. A couple of Fridays ago I actually had him at the hypothetical front door with a plate of brownies- but I couldn't think of what to have him do next and couldn't see where the question part fit in! Who knows, maybe he'll pop in again some future Friday!

All the Depp Talk did get me in the mood for one of his movies, so at the library today I checked out "Secret Window". I'm already shaking in my shoes! I've had opportunities to watch it before, but chickened out. I'm going to make myself sit through it this time.

Cheers! Happy Sunday!

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Link RE: Tom Davis' Article on BeliefNet

I referenced Tom Davis' post at Belief Net last week. For those who are interested, here is a post from Mike Morrell regarding Tom's article. I appreciated the added viewpoint.

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Persecution and Martyrdom Around the World

I came across this offer of a free arm band to serve as a reminder to pray for China during the upcoming Olympic Games. I happen to be reading Safely Home by Randy Alcorn, which is a novel that highlights the persecution of the Church in China. It's been a very eye-opening and informative book. I didn't know that there are actually government sanctioned churches in China, but that they aren't allowed to preach certain things, such as that Jesus (Yesu) is the savior of the world. It is illegal to educate anyone under 18 about religion. Many Christians who participate in home churches are persecuted and martyred, though the government is very careful to hide these things from the watching world.

When I followed the link to the Voice of the Martyrs website I saw the program to write and encourage those who have been imprisoned for their faith. There is a newsletter to subscribe to and other available resources. If you want more information on that, click here.

What a blessing it would be to the global Body of Christ if Western Christians became more aware and much more involved in the plight of our fellow brothers and sisters. There are those living in extreme restriction and even losing their lives for the sake of Christ while most of us go about our lives without a true care. Please consider what God would have you do to ease the burden of these courageous Christians.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Kow and Tell Friday: Travel Edition

Another week, another set of questions. I (Reese) have a friend flying into England from Germany so in honor of her visit this week will be all about travel. Can't wait to read your answers!

1. What is your favorite mode of transportation (flying, train, car, boat, etc.)? Why?

2. If you could fly like Superman, jump and swing like Spiderman, swing on vines like Tarzan or fly on an umbrella like Mary Poppins, which would you choose?

3. You're driving down the road and you see a small cluster of people, all with their thumbs out hoping to hitch a ride with you. As you near the group you realize that the people standing there are Queen Elizabeth, Johnny Depp, Barrack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and John Grisham. You only have room for one person. Who would you pick up?

4. What was the most memorable trip you've ever taken?

5. If you were planning a road trip with your best friend, where would you start, what would you stop to see and where would you end?

6. You are able to transport yourself back to any time. What would it be and why?

7. Would you have flown with the Wright Brothers when they first discovered air travel?

Reese's Answers:

1. What is your favorite mode of transportation (flying, train, car, boat, etc.)? Why?
I love the speed and efficiency of air travel. It's really a headache flying with little kids, but if they were older or I was alone I'd enjoy it all the more. A cruise would be fun too.

2. If you could fly like Superman, jump and swing like Spiderman, swing on vines like Tarzan or fly on an umbrella like Mary Poppins, which would you choose?
Spiderman looks so free and limber, I'd go for swinging and jumping around a city.

3. You're driving down the road and you see a small cluster of people, all with their thumbs out hoping to hitch a ride with you. As you near the group you realize that the people standing there are Queen Elizabeth, Johnny Depp, Barrack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and John Grisham. You only have room for one person. Who would you pick up?
I'd be afraid to drive The Queen anywhere; can you imagine the lawsuit if I maimed her in an accident?! Obama and Oprah... I make it a point not to discuss politics very often, so they're out. (Besides I'm not an Oprah fan. She'd probably have me in tears over some heart-wrenching tale before the end of the trip. Then I couldn't see to drive properly... and can you imagine that lawsuit?!) John Grisham... hm, maybe. If I happened to have a fully complete book manuscript by my side I'd probably pick him up and lock him in the car till he promised to read it. But, Johnny Depp is reported to be extremely nice and I'd pick him up in a heartbeat. I might try to get a small part in his next movie too! Plus, I'd like to know what he smells like. LOL! He looks like he smells really good.

4. What was the most memorable trip you've ever taken? Hard to say. Probably the first time I crossed the English Channel into England. I had fantasized about going to England so many times. It was like a dream. At the time I didn't know I'd eventually move here. Tim kept smiling at me, holding my hand, whispering how happy he was so take me. He ended up tossing his cookies into the "rubbish bin" on the ferry which made it all the more memorable!

5. If you were planning a road trip with your best friend, where would you start, what would you stop to see and where would you end?
I think I'd start on the East Coast and make my way west toward my hometown in Oregon. Maybe start in New York and hit Amish country in Pennsylvania, Chicago, Yosemite National Park, and maybe even stop in at Las Vegas.

6. You are able to transport yourself back to any time. What would it be and why?
Texas, 1800's. I want to see my cowboy ancestors in action.

7. Would you have flown with the Wright Brothers when they first discovered air travel?
No way, Jose.

Heather's Answers:

1. What is your favorite mode of transportation (flying, train, car, boat, etc.)? Why? I guess I would say I really enjoy the car, if I am not driving. When you drive you can stop for a break and check out the scenery

2. If you could fly like Superman, jump and swing like Spiderman, swing on vines like Tarzan or fly on an umbrella like Mary Poppins, which would you choose? I have always thought it would be a blast to swing on vines like Tarzan.

3. You're driving down the road and you see a small cluster of people, all with their thumbs out hoping to hitch a ride with you. As you near the group you realize that the people standing there are Queen Elizabeth, Johnny Depp, Barrack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and John Grisham. You only have room for one person. Who would you pick up? Oh, definitely Johnny Depp! (which reminds me of a certain evening in Germany) LOL! Heather, you'd better explain that one. It sounds a little naughty without explanation. :)

4. What was the most memorable trip you've ever taken? Most definitely my trip last year to Germany and Italy. It was such a blessing to be able to go see Reese and her family. I was able to see castles, quaint villages and cottages, the Vatican, Colosseum, Pantheon, etc., etc. We had so much fun!

5. If you were planning a road trip with your best friend, where would you start, what would you stop to see and where would you end? I think I would meet her on the East Coast and just drive wherever we wanted until we hit Oregon.

6. You are able to transport yourself back to any time. What would it be and why?
Definitely the 1800s. That is my favorite time period. I love learning how the pioneer's lived and what they did.

7. Would you have flown with the Wright Brothers when they first discovered air travel? Not in a million years.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Is This Weird?

One disadvantage to living in Europe for more than five years is that sometimes I'm not sure what's "normal" and what's oddly European. For example, I couldn't remember if people in my hometown parked in the road and if cars traveling on the road sometimes had to take turns in order to drive around the cars parked in the road. I'm told they don't generally do that, while I experience it every day. Food products, health and beauty products, gadgets and technology, tv shows, day-to-day behavior... I've lost touch with mainstream America.

So I wondered if this product I found at the English grocery store is unique to Europe or is also in America. Onken BIOPOTS Wholegrain yogurt has little kernels of cooked barley, wheat, oats, rye and rice so it's chewy. It boasts 3 different bio cultures, which is why I bought it. As my mom would say, "It's good for the gut." It's tasty, and great for the body, except that it's whole fat yogurt. A low fat version would be nice.

I really like yogurt with granola, so I guess this is about the same, only the grains are soft and chewy rather than crispy.

Anything else like this in America that you've seen?

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Talula Does The Hula

Now I've heard everything:

A family court judge in New Zealand has had enough with parents giving their children bizarre names, and did something about it. Just ask Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii... (For the rest of the story click here.)

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The Ministry of Helping the Less (Materially) Fortunate

Since reading Red Letters by Tom Davis and this post, also by Tom, I've been thinking about ways to sacrifice my own comforts and give to the less fortunate. If I worked outside my home it would be easier... I'd simply write a check and/or save for a mission trip. I'd gladly give each month to support a missionary or an orphaned child. Not having much money hampers things a bit. Of course, there's Tim's paycheck and we've never practiced a your/mine routine with the bank accounts- it's all ours. But, that being said, we have to be on the same page. He isn't opposed to helping the needy, but it isn't forefront in his mind, not unlike most Western Christians.

I sell things on eBay now and then, so I listed some books I've meant to sell and stated that all the profits will be given to The Children's HopeChest via 5 for 50. The trouble is that books don't sell very well on eBay unless they are in high demand and when they do sell they go for cheap. So far, with two-and-a-half days left, I don't have even a watcher much less a bidder. (sigh.) I will probably relist them if they don't sell and add a few more books to it. They are older Trixie Belden books and the lots usually go pretty well. I have a load of extras from my buying spree last year. I've managed to collect a whole set and am selling the extras. Eventually, I'll get those all sold and list some other stuff as well.

I've emailed asking if Saint's Coffee can be sent to APO's. If so, I'll try it. What a great way to help out, huh?! Buy coffee, feed an orphan.

How do you help the less fortunate, the orphans, the widows? I'd like to hear so I can get some ideas.

I need to add that the idea that these people are "less fortunate" is to ignore how God sees us. Look at the Sermon on the Mount and see what Jesus said about those who are weak and poor and humble by worldly standards. How much better off most of would be if our spiritual eyes weren't clouded by our possessions. To give out of our own wealth does little to hurt us physically but helps us spiritually when we lighten our worldly load.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I just thought I'd throw out there that Sally Hansen Hair Removal Wax Strips really work. They might draw out with the hair an unstoppable scream though.

After the first scream Tim yelled from the 3rd floor, "Are you alright?"

I yelled, from the 1st floor, "I waxed my face!"

After the second scream he yelled again, "What's going on?! Are you okay?"

I yelled back, "Yeah! I'm waxing my face."

"How can you do that twice?!" He called. After some investigation I found that he thought I had said I
whacked my face! What a dork he must think I am if I'm whacking my face twice in a row!

I've only had the courage to use two strips. After The Boys go to bed I'll try to get to the others.

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Healthy Living

Have you ever visited a very large city and then discovered that it painted the inside of your nostrils black?! As much as I love London, I'm far less enamored with the dirt and grime that invisibly coats the city. I never notice it until the end of the day when I blow my nose. Where did all that grime come from?! You can't find a simple patch of earth for miles on end, but it appears to find my nose without issue. What I'd like to know is what my lungs look like after a day-- or what a permanent resident's lungs look like. Breathing a city's collectively exhaled exhaust can't be good for the body.

What is good for my body is exercise. I haven't worked out regularly since I moved from The United States in 2003. I loved it then and have missed it. A whole bunch of stuff prevented me from working out: lack of transportation, heat, pregnancies and morning sickness, geographical location. It's no wonder I gained 20 pounds.

All it should take to motivate me to exercise is the long list of benefits. Here is a sampling:

  • Reduce the risk of premature death
  • Reduce the risk of developing and/or dying from heart disease
  • Reduce high blood pressure or the risk of developing high blood pressure
  • Reduce high cholesterol or the risk of developing high cholesterol
  • Reduce the risk of developing colon cancer and breast cancer
  • Reduce the risk of developing diabetes
  • Reduce or maintain body weight or body fat
  • Build and maintain healthy muscles, bones, and joints
  • Reduce depression and anxiety
  • Improve psychological well-being
  • Enhanced work, recreation, and sport performance
A more vain reason to get in shape fitting back into my thin jeans. That would be nice.

So Monday I went to the gym with a friend. J going with me was great because she kept me motivated. We chatted while we used the stair stepper, which makes time fly. We took it rather easy since it was the first time; 15 or 20 minutes on the stair stepper, about a half hour using the strength machines (I concentrated on my thighs and arms), then 25 minutes on bikes.

Also on Monday I started walking Zach to school. It's about a 15 minute walk, some of it uphill, and I think it's about a mile. There and back twice is about 4 miles in a day- not bad for starting back into a fitness routine. The downside: English schools let out yesterday for their 6 week summer holiday. I'm already looking forward to starting back in September, if nothing else than for the exercise!

If you're looking for a way to keep track of calories and your daily workouts, I'm going to pass along a site that one of our readers- and Heather's good friend Amy- let us know about. SparkPeople is a very thorough tool for getting back on track. I find it to be a great tool, but if I'm not careful I spend more time skimming through the site than actually moving my backside!


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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Menu Plan Monday: Heather Style

That cracks me up! Menu Plan Monday: Heather Style! If you lived in my house, you'd understand why that is so funny! Do you want to know what we have "eaten" every night for the last 2 weeks (no kidding!)? Smoothies..yes, every night...smoothies!

Here's the deal. I hate to eat, especially in the summer. I know, it sounds like I have some huge mental problem when I say that, but it's true. I'm just not into food. I drink something all day long. Normally, I drink my Pepsi, but occasionally I shake it up with a good smoothie.

My husband is wonderful and will BBQ so the kids actually get real food, but I figure they eat protein, dairy and other good stuff throughout the day that a smoothie for dinner, with something healthy before bed, is not going to kill them, and it makes this mommy happy!

Here's what I put in my smoothies: frozen fruit (peaches, strawberries & melons), 2 bananas, yogurt, milk, fresh fruit (always blueberries & raspberries) & orange juice.

I should mix it up a bit and buy different stuff, but I know that all my kids will drink it this way, without whining or complaining, and they absolutely love it!

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Friendship Hall of Fame: Amber

Amber is my oldest friend... scratch that... the friend that I've had the longest. I met her when I took my eighteen-month-old sister for a walk on the sidewalk outside our blue-door apartment. I was 7 or 8. That was the day that I discovered that a nice girl named Amber lived next door in #43. The rest is history.

We remained friends even after we both moved away from the apartments with the blue doors. (But, seriously, the number 44 remains a special number to me because that's where I lived when I met Amber!) There may have been lulls here and there in our early years when we didn't see each other as much, but by 6th grade our families were living within walking distance of each other again. We'd walk and meet halfway, then proceed to one or the other of our houses for a visit. When it was over, we'd walk together halfway with the intention of separating then. But, inevitably, we'd be deep in conversation and decide to walk all the way... then back to the halfway mark... than back to the house... than back to the halfway mark... You get the picture. We prolonged our times together whenever we could.

We saw each other through tough times, like the death of my infant sister and her mom's illness. We giggled over boys and I admired the rose J gave her after school one day. We dated brothers. We snuck out of the house to meet my boyfriend... and got caught by her parents! We went to youth group together. It was Amber who spilled the news of my top secret crush on a guy named Tim! We laughed together, cried together, made up silly songs, vented about parents and siblings and crushes gone wrong. It was was the kind of childhood friendship any girl would dream of.

Marriage and life have taken us in different directions and I haven't seen my dear friend for many years. We stay in touch now and then through emails and MySpace, but how much happier I would be if she was a constant part of my life again!

Amber, you are a gift and a treasure and I value you highly. I thank God for the gift of our history and our friendship. Bless you!

For past Friendship Hall of Fame recipients and details of how to nominate your special friends, click here.

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Purses, Purses Everywhere

"Balls are to men what purses are to women."
~Sarah Jessica Parker

As we were leaving London, we kept passing bag shops, so eventually we had to stop to check them out! The guy Tim and I had traveled with wanted to buy a couple for his wife, so I thought I'd hitch my hopes on his whim. It turned out that all the shops were wholesale, but the kindly foreign salesman agreed to sell us a few anyway. I got these two at 11 pounds a piece. I'm currently using the one on the right, but I can't wait to travel somewhere that I'll need a bigger bag for so I can use the one on the left. I think I'm a purse addict, but luckily for Tim my tastes run cheap. I have yet to see a designer bag I'd be willing to pay the big bucks for, and besides I like change too much to stick to one purse simply because it cost me a month's wages. Eleven pounds is about $22, which is just about the right price for a Reese purse.

Any other purse addicts reading this? I've been wondering if Heather still uses her purse, and if it's solved her lost keys issue...

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hard Words

Are you a Christian? Ready for a shakeup, a verbal jolt? Try starting your Saturday off with this short article from Red Letters author Tom Davis (click HERE for the article). Read it with an open heart, and keep in mind what Jesus had to say to those in his day who talked the talk but didn't walk the walk.

Click here for Tom's suggestions for 10 practical ways to make a difference. Also, don't forget to check out the details of the 5 For 5o campaign.


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My Mini-Getaway To London

"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford."
~Samuel Johnson

London. Every time I go there, I love it a little bit more. Yesterday and this morning were no exception. The first thing I did, as I made my way through to the crowds to the tube station, was to stop and buy a scarf from a street vendor. I have a small collection of them at home but I thought that in July I wouldn't need one. Wrong. The people of London love their scarves. And being there doesn't feel right until I've got one knotted around my neck or slung over my shoulders.

I didn't get to Poets' Corner at Westminster Abbey, to the British Museum or the Nation Gallery like I had hoped, but London did reveal a facet of itself in the form of
West End Theatre. We tried to get tickets for Les Miserables but it was sold out. We considered Phantom of the Opera and Lord of the Rings, among others, but finally decided on Monty Python's Spamalot at the Palace Theatre. I'm not a Monty Python fan, but Tim is, and I gave in with very little persuading on his part. Afterall, it's England; why not see one his favorites in its own country?

Well, I'm still not a Monty Python fan, but I am now a bona fide theater fan. It was the most amazing experience: the lights, sound, live music, the talent of actors who must create and recreate their characters with no room for error night after night. The musical numbers were astounding; I've always been a little leery of movie musicals and now I know why- they don't compare in the least to the real, live thing. It's no wonder the theater was full of American tourists. It was a thrilling experience.

So, I'm hooked! I've instructed Tim that all my gifts from now on are to be in the form of theater tickets. I hope to have quite a collection of theater programs by the time we leave here.

Any other theater fans out there?

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Know and Tell Friday: Extreme Randomness Edition!

Okay, so my deep-thinking better half is away on a much needed mini-vacation, so that means you are stuck with me, the not-so-deep-thinker, for our Know and Tell Friday. This week is all about randomness.

Here we go:

1. Why were you given your particular name?
2. What's your favorite song of the moment?
3. What are you wearing today which is most reflective of who you are?
4. Have you ever had a pet that was not a cat or dog? What was it?
5. What type of exercise do you do to keep in shape?
6. What is your favorite movie of all time?
7. Do you enjoy gardening, or working with flowers?

Heather's Answers:

1. Why were you given your particular name? I'm not sure about my first name, but my middle name is Leigh, after my great-grandmother, Loleta.

2. What's your favorite song of the moment? I guess this was a bad question for me. I have a lot of favorite artists right now, but can't think of a favorite song. I love Maroon 5, Natasha Bedingfield, some Jordin Sparks, anything and everything by Michael W. Smith...I could go on and on! I guess that's kind of cheating since I didn't list my favorite song, but I don't have one and would love to learn what yours are.

3. What are you wearing today which is most reflective of who you are? Right now I am wearing some comfy jeans with holes in the knees. I hope that reflects who I am: someone who is nice to be around and who people are comfortable with.

4. Have you ever had a pet that was not a cat or dog? What was it? We have had many, at one time we were a regular zoo. Right now the only odd pet we have is my Russian Tortoise, Crikey. He's awesome!

5. What type of exercise do you do to keep in shape? Right now I go bike riding for one hour (about 11 or 12 miles) every morning. I really love it, and hate when the weather gets cold because then I get out of shape!

6. What is your favorite movie of all time? Okay...I hate to admit this one, but it's Dirty Dancing. I don't know why, well, maybe I's Patrick Swayze. I have seen it over 100 times (and that was in my 8th grade year alone). I used to drive my friends insane, we watched it several times a night when they stayed the night. They tolerated it well!

7. Do you enjoy gardening, or working with flowers? I like it, but I am not good at it. This year I put a flower barrel in front of our porch and one by our back door, and the flowers are actually growing! They look amazing and I am thrilled that they are thriving. This is the first year I have actually succeeded in having flowers and not killing them.

Okay, that's it for this week! One other bad thing about Reese being gone is there is no Mr. Linky. My computer won't let me add it for some reason. Please leave a comment, we would love to read your answers! Thanks for playing along this week.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Recycled Post: Knowing and Loving

A guest speaker came from Portland, OR to our church in the Columbia Gorge when I was a young girl. I don’t remember who he was or what his message was about, but I can never forget the slight he delivered the town I loved and called home. As an illustration to one of his points, he emphasized the arid climate, the dryness of the land, the apparent barrenness in comparison to the lush trees and breath-taking mountains just up the Gorge. His point was clear: our town was ugly and inferior. I remember wondering at the gall of a man you visits a town and insults it from the pulpit.

Portland and my hometown are but a two hour’s drive from each other, yet they are separated by the Cascade Mountains which have a marked effect on the climate and landscape. Portland is known for its wet, mild weather. My hometown sits right where the drying begins that leads into the desert. The wind is funneled down the Gorge, a thrill for windsurfers, but a trial for those wanting to keep their hair in place and their skirts around their ankles. The cold winter air is likewise funneled down the Gorge and tends to sit there even after the storm has blown over in other places. There are very marked seasons there: cold winters, hot summers and blessed springs and autumns that bring the welcomed warming or cooling, which ever it might be.

I love that town. If it served my purpose here I could take you on a written tour, showing the cherry orchards that surround it and the grey, wide river that separates it from Washington State. I could take you down streets rich with memories and point out houses where friends and family have lived, parks where I played as a child and where I have taken my kids, and the church where I got married. But it occurs to me as I think of my hometown that I love it because I know it.

I doubt that the speaker that day held any real animosity for that little town in the Columbia Gorge, and his insult was likely not an insult at all but rather a quick observation of the surface of a place he didn’t know. Had he known the town, if its streets were his by virtue of a thousand memories, he would have loved it and his insensitive words would have been reserved for another place.

Isn’t it interesting when you stop to think about this tendency to love what we know? Be it a town, or a pair of jeans or tattered slippers, or something even more dear: a pudgy little hand or the five o’clock shadow on the face that brushes yours during an embrace at the end of a day. Both the condemned and the elderly are given a favorite meal in their final hours, a nod to better times and memories more pleasant. It’s the familiar that holds our hearts, that has meaning, that calls to us.

And just as I know the streets of my hometown and the faces of my children, and the hands of my husband, so God traces the lines of my heart with loving familiarity. In this, we are made in his image. He sees my thoughts; he spends his days thinking about me- about us- and loves us. He knows us. Because he knows us- and sometimes despite knowing us- he loves us.

1 O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.

2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.

5 You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,"

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!

18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake,
I am still with you.

Psalm 139:1-18

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Heather's Life In Pictures

Oh, that was a lot of fun! Sorry Reese, I had to copy you and do it too! LOL! I was so sidetracked doing this that now I only have 30 minutes to get ready and get to work! Oops!

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Reese's Life In Pictures

I got this from Kayren over at Everything's Coming Up Daisies. See her post here for the instructions!

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Book Review: Change of Heart

It's very likely that I just read my last Jodi Picoult book. Change of Heart felt like anti-Christian, many-paths-to-God, embrace-world-religions propaganda. Don't get me wrong: I don't expect non-Christians to write as a Christian would or even to uphold Christian values, but I am offended when they add their written voice to the wave of assaults on our values. If Christians were a violent group of people, as the European Muslims tend to be, books like this would incite riots. Jesus is not going to come back in the body of a convicted murderer, no matter what good that convict may try to do.

The writing was good; she definitely has talent. But I can read writers with equal talent that don't make me want to lose my lunch.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Weekend Away

This past weekend found me 45 minutes from home on our river. I love it there, surrounded by nature, and the blast of the train horn every few hours day and night as it runs through the middle of camp! That was intense. I would be enjoying a nice relaxing moment and then I would hear the thunderous noise of the train and then soon the blaring horn. I was surprised how often trains would go through the camp. Despite the trains it was a wonderful weekend. I was able to relax and the kids had ample room to play.
Here are a few pictures. My camera died so I stole these from my friend's myspace page :)

This is Dan with his walking stick :) There was driftwood everywhere and Dan was able to bungee cord pieces together and make rafts for the kids. He had six kids at the river for 5 hours on Saturday while two of my friends and I rested back at camp. What a great guy!

This is a terrible picture of me but, oh well! This was the first night. We got to camp late because I am always the procrastinator and didn't pack or go shopping until after work on Thursday. Luckily Dan went down early in the day and was able to secure two sites next to each other. Thankfully I was able to get our tent up in record time despite the fact that I had no directions and hadn't used the tent in two years.

I wish I had more pictures of our perfect weekend but the two cameras that were there died. My luck with electronics seems to be very bad. My camera isn't working too well, and I think my home computer is crashing for the second time.

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