Wednesday, May 27, 2009


"Your baby will die immediately upon birth", the doctor said.

"The fluid in your baby's brain is growing rapidly, you do have other options"

"Your baby's face is severely deformed as are her hands"

"The outlook is grim, don't make plans for her"

(Mother' Day, the day Bethany did not think would happen)

I listened to those words, instead of these powerful ones:

I will give her a future and a hope, plans to prosper her (Jeremiah 29:11).

Or how about my most favorite verses of all, Psalm 139

For you created McKenzie's inmost being;
you knit her together in Bethany's womb.
I praise you because McKenzie is fearfully and WONDERFULLY made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
McKenzie's frame was not hidden from you
when she was made in the secret place.

When McKenzie was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw her unformed body.

All the days ordained for McKenzie were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

I wish I wasn't so easily swayed. I wish my doubt didn't always creep in so hard and fast. I'm thankful that I have this beautiful little girl in my life to remind me that I don't need to be in control that I just need to trust God for the ride.

She will be 7 months old on Friday! McKenzie had her cleft lip surgery yesterday, and I would say it was successful.

She was beautiful before, and she's breathtaking now. I am thankful I get to be a small part of her journey. The plans ordained for her are going to be amazing to watch unfold. Her personality shines through in every circumstance. She's not able to completely smile yet, I'm sure it will be a few days, but we can't stop staring at her, just waiting to see. You can bet, there will be more pictures soon. She is done with surgeries for awhile and we are so happy.

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Doing Hard Things

I've started reading Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris, and while it's directed at teens, it is hitting me right where it hurts. I've avoided hard things for much of my life, and missed out on many years of rewards as a result.

Here is the book's official description:

The next generation stands on the brink of a "rebelution."

With over 16 million hits to their website, Alex and Brett Harris are leading the charge in a growing movement of Christian young people who are rebelling against the low expectations of their culture by choosing to "do hard things" for the glory of God.

Written when they were 18 years old, Do Hard Things is the Harris twins' revolutionary message in its purest and most compelling form, giving readers a tangible glimpse of what is possible for teens who actively resist cultural lies that limit their potential.

Combating the idea of adolescence as a vacation from responsibility, the authors weave together biblical insights, history, and modern examples to redefine the teen years as the launching pad of life and map a clear trajectory for long-term fulfillment and eternal impact.

Written by teens for teens, Do Hard Things is packed with humorous personal anecdotes, practical examples, and stories of real-life rebelutionaries in action. This rallying cry from the heart of revolution already in progress challenges the next generation to lay claim to a brighter future, starting today.

Had my teen years been the launching pad described here, I can't imagine where I might be. I'm still toying around with the same ideas I was in high school, usually paralyzed by the fear of failure when I think of stepping out and trying anything new. Now, a teen pregnancy, early marriage and four kids later, I've found myself firmly planted in my 30's and wondering how I got here so fast.

My hard things involve career choices, lifestyle changes, and personally radical choices for God. I'm planning an all-out assault on complacency and excuses, in whatever form that assault eventually takes. God is stirring in my heart a compassion for the unborn and the women trapped in the lie of a convenient escape, for the desperately poor in Third World nations, for the persecuted and underground church around the world, and living a life clearly marked as different from that of the world. I'm excited to see what God has in store.

As a side note, do you think he has a visit with Kris in the future for me?! That would be pretty cool too.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Does James Bond ever take a sip and exclaim, "Wait a minute! This has been stirred!"?

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The Dalles Dog Guy

This one is for Reese, she's been begging me to take this guy's picture for years but I'm not brave enough to stop him. This is actually a friend of my boss and he's so darn funny.

Anyway, I knew that Reese would get a kick out of it !!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Tomorrow Is A Big Day - Update!!!!

Update: My mom just heard from Bethany and McKenzie is out of surgery (see below for details). Everything apparently went as planned and McKenzie did very well. She had her cleft lip repaired and parts of her nose redone. I can't wait to see her. As soon as I have pics, I will post them. (I'm assuming there will be bandages on her and it could be a few days before we actually see her).

I can't thank you enough for your prayers. They mean everything to us.


Tomorrow is huge for our family. Tomorrow Amanda turns 14. To say that I am shocked is an understatement. It goes by so quickly. I'm incredibly proud of the young woman she has turned into. She is loving, caring and unselfish. I'm thankful for her and the love she shows us everyday. Her sense of humor is the best and she keeps us laughing at her antics.

We also have something else that is huge happening tomorrow. McKenzie is having her cleft lip repaired. They warned us prior to her birth that even though they are doing a necessary surgery that parents often go through a grieving process because their child's looks are drastically changing. We all fell in love with her "as is". Bethany just cannot wait for this to be over. Please be praying that McKenzie does as well as she did last time. It's a 6 hour surgery. Bethany's husband has asked that the family stay home so we will not be with them during this difficult time. To say that everyone needs prayers is an understatement. If all goes as planned they will be home on Wednesday.

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Memorial Day 2009

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

American Idol: The Reveal

Tonight on Idol was amazing!! For awhile I actually forgot that at the end there could be bad news. I also remembered to not go onto Facebook so I really had no idea what was going to happen. I know I voted for Kris close to 100 times so I did what I could.

I couldn't believe the amount of stars that were on tonight. They had Queen Latifah, Rod Stewart, Black Eyed Peas, David Cook, Cindi Lauper, Lionel Ritchie, Santana, Keith Urban, Fergie, Steve Martin (yes, who knew he is a musician), Nick Gentle (I love that guy, he is so funny!!) and the top 13 contestants from this season. I'm sorry if I misspelled anyones' name...I don't have the patience to research everyone - LOL!

It really was a lot of fun to see my favorites come back, including Danny (of course!), Matt, Allison and I even enjoyed seeing Anoop -dawg again. It also reminded me of when Reese was here and most of the contestants were still on. We had so much fun watching it together.

Okay so I wasn't sure what I was going to say next but they just announced the winner and I choked.....the winner is.....KRIS ALLEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh my gosh...I'm actually in shock!! Yes, that's beyond amazing!!!! On the downside, they are making him sing that stupid song again!!

Reese, we started this together, I wish I could watch you watch Kris win...I'm sure you are doing a happy dance over in England!!

For those of you who don't watch American Idol you will be happy that I can't report on it anymore.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

American Idol: Down To The Top 2

Well, tonight was it. The last night to choose who will win it all.

Tonight Adam and Kris each sang three songs. The first was their own pick. Adam picked Mad World. It was a little strange but I actually enjoyed it. Kris sang Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone. I love that song and Kris did a great job. Simon even said that Kris won the first round.

The second song was the producer's pick. He picked Change Is Going To Come for Adam and I'm not sure what the song was for Kris, I don't think anyone ever said. I loved Kris. Simon thought he down played the song, but that's what I loved about it. Simon gave the 2nd round to Adam.

The third song was one that Kara (new judge) co-wrote. This was so upsetting to me. It was obviously written w/out Kris in mind. They did this a few years ago also when it was between Blake and Jordan Sparks. The song was obviously written for Jordan and Blake couldn't compete. Needless to say, Kris did not sing it well. The judges even admitted that it was too high of a song for him and they hoped that he wouldn't be judged on that song. I'm sorry but on American Idol this type of junk should not happen. This is their 8th season and they should have this figured out by now. I sure hope that people look past that and vote on Kris because he's worth it not because someone made him sing a song that wasn't meant for him.

Okay, enough ranting from me...I'm off to vote now!

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Monday, May 18, 2009

So THAT'S what Army Men Wear Under Their Uniforms!!!

Doesn't it always happen this way? The day you don't have time to put your clothes on before war, the photogs show up.

Did you see this news story? Nineteen-year-old Zachary Boyd was asleep when his platoon came under assault by Taliban fighters. He had only enough time to grab his gun, don a helmet and body armor before taking his position with his fellow soldiers. This just happened to be the day a photographer was present to snap pictures of him in his red t-shirt, pink "I Love NY" boxers and flip flops.

Click here for the original news story.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

American Idol: Top 3 Elimination

Okay, let me just say that I am ripping ticked. I went against my better judgment and decided to check facebook before watching American Idol. First thing up was one of my friends from the East coast talking about who gets kicked off. So, as of this moment, I know who goes home. I am going to do a play by play again this week. Hopefully it's okay with you guys, it's easier for me, and I will try not to give it away.

Of course it is dragging on and on. Ryan is calling Danny out and Danny says he's unsure if he'll move on or not. They are showing clips of his return home for a parade. He's very tearful as people are screaming for him. As he states it, it's going from tragedy to triumph. Of course they are not going to tell us at the beginning of the show what's going to happen (even though I already know...insert huge angry face over the fact that I know!!!!!)

Now onto Kris and his hometown. It's so cool to watch the clips of these guys going home. They are in shock over how much people love them. His parents are so emotional over him, he is deeply loved by them. Of course they aren't telling yet (insert another huge angry face because I know).

Now Jordan Sparks is singing. She won a couple years ago. I like her a lot more now that I don't have to see her every week. I couldn't stand it when she was on AI. I'm just fastforwarding it so I can move on.

It's now Adam's turn and his trip home. Man, does he get anymore annoying...apparently he does! Too prove I'm not completely without a heart, they show him going to the children's theater place where he went as a child and he talks with the kids. It was really cute. Okay, can't stand it anymore, fastforwarding again . I love DVR.

Now it's time for Katie Perry to sing and Danny just stated he's done and wants to know what's going to happen and is sick of dragging it on. I agree Danny! Oh nice Katie Perry is wearing this nasty outfit with Adam's name on it. Okay, fastforwarding again! Bummer, I only made it half way through and now I'm caught up :(

The first person competing in the finale is....Kris! Reese you saw the potential there!

Ryan just stated "Who competes against Kris?" The person competing is...Adam. Well, no surprise. To say that I am completely bummed is an understatement. I love Danny!! Insert gigantic, colossal sized angry face!!!! :( I love Kris too, but not sure he can compete against Adam.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

American Idol: Top 3

Tonight was fantastic. Danny, Kris & Adam each sang two songs.

The first set of songs were judge's choice. Paula picked Dance Little Sister for Danny. I have never heard the song but he did a great job at it. Randy & Kara picked Apologize for Kris. I have waited all season for Kris to sing Apologize. It was awesome. Randy & Kara were mad because he stayed true to the song. I thought it was a great choice and Kris was smart to do the song as it's written. Simon chose One by U2 for Adam. As usual, I didn't get it and he got on my nerves.

For the second half of the show the contestant's picked their own. Danny picked You Are So Beautiful To Me by Joe Cocker. It's not a song I like but his vocals were right on. Kris did Heartless by Kanye West. The minute he announced his song I was sure it was a mistake but it was amazing! Randy even said it was better then the original. Kris proved how much talent he has tonight. Adam picked Crying by Aerosmith and for the very first time I loved him. He didn't twist it, he didn't dramatize it, he just sang it.

I don't know whose going home tomorrow. I think it's a total toss up between Kris and Danny. I wish that the finale would be Kris and Danny but I highly doubt that's going to happen.

Reese, quickly, very quickly, find Kris' performances. You are going to love him tonight. I just went to the American Idol site but they aren't listed yet. I'm hoping that by the time you get up they are there.

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A partial lists of my "firsts" from the past few weeks:

  • I started the camera class. Finally, someone is explaining my Canon to me. My knowledge has increased by 200%, which would really be saying something if I'd had any level of understanding in the first place...
  • I listed to The Beatles. Then I listened to them again. And again. And again. And again. And... I'm not a fan. I wouldn't have even listened the first time, but Tim decided to really acquaint himself with their music, and since his studio is across a tiny hall from our bedroom I had to listen too. I'm glad I was born after their prime.
  • I bought a U2 CD, then I listened to it. I've always had a hunch I'd like them if I took the time to listen. I was only 25% wrong. Yes, I like them minus 25%.... whatever that means.
  • I started reading Peter Pan. JM Barrie had the most enchanting imagination. I hope he's in heaven. I want to chat with him.
  • I met with a neurosurgeon. Fun stuff. He wants to cut my neck open and drill my offending disc out. I'm not so sure.
  • My daughter gave me a pedicure last night. Lucky for me, she's decided she wants to be a cosmetologist. I have cute red toenails right now.
  • I cleared out the space under the window in my bedroom and put a small desk there, which is where I'm sitting right now. It's my space and I love it! I don't have many spaces that I have any control of in my house- my techie husband has indulged in his love of technology and what I want comes second. There was a time that this arrangement used to infuriate me. Now I love him for who he is and appreciate small victories, like desks under windows that are all mine. I have just begun to decorate my space: I have a picture of fairies in a meadow, the pressed flowers my Grandmother framed over my great-great Grandmother's napkin and gave me, a few writing books and my Bible, and a ladybug mug with pens and pencils. My mom called me "ladybug" when I was little. I love ladybugs. I also have pictures of my brother Jason, Jonas, my friends Alberto and Christina and their family, and the picture of me squeezing Tim's American buns the day he got home from Kuwait in 2007. (That's a post I never got to!)
Any firsts for you these days?

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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Book Review: The Girls from Ames

For secretaries day my boss bought me this book. Overall I really enjoyed it. It's written about 11 girls that have been friends for 30-40 years and the story of women's' friendships.

There were several things in the book I could really relate to in my own relationships. One was the way one of the women explained what her friendships mean to her. She stated this "Having these women in my world has meant not only acceptance, but radiant joy and laughter that knocks me out of my chair. Through our darkest moments, we have lifted each other up. In every moment of grief we've shared, our laughter is a life vest, a secure promise that we will not go under." That is powerful and oh, so very true. I need my girls, desperately at times. There have been times of deep grief that they have just surrounded me with an "I'm here" and they don't leave. I can never repay my friends for the love they have given me.

There were some things in this book I absolutely could not condone or relate too and greatly disturbed me. In fact when they speak about one friend choosing to abort a child with a disability I almost threw the book away. I chose to keep reading because I was curious to learn about these women and their friendships.

Another thing that was really interesting to me is that they state that life long friends tend to be somewhat distant in their twenties and then in their late thirties they realize how much they need each other and make efforts to spend time together. They say that in their twenties they are so busy getting married, having babies, pursuing careers that their friendships kind of go to the side. Now that I am in my thirties, I see that. In my twenties there are a few of my friendships that I didn't put as much effort into as I should have. Now, I realize how much I need them and I try to make a better effort.

I can't decide if I should recommend the book or not. It was an interesting read, one I could relate to at times and one that disturbed me greatly at times. I know that doesn't tell you much but it is a story about the complete lives of 11 women. There are times of great sadness, hardships, grief and loss and how their friends loved them through it.

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Thursday, May 7, 2009


I've started a camera class, to help acquaint me with the camera I bought last year and the techniques I need to use it properly. While I don't have official homework, I am supposed to be taking pictures while experimenting with different settings. I'm still sorting through the concepts of shutter speed and aperture and how they relate to lighting, motion, and subject when I'm taking pictures. We also covered ISO- which I sort of understood already- and metering, which flew so far over my head that I'm proud to be able to recall the word "metering".

For the next few weeks I'll probably be posting some of the pictures I take. These poppies are from my back "garden" this morning. I don't know how I did as far as technicalities, but I love the blurred poppy in the background and the contrasting colors.

There are many cool old churches around here, one in particular that I'd like to visit with my camera. They all have amazing, crumbly old cemeteries. I'll make a point of going there soon and snapping some pics.


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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Top 4: Elimination Night

I'm going to type it as I watch it tonight.

Of course they are going to drag it out tonight with Ryan putting them in their normal line and saying:

Allison is....

Danny is....

Adam is....

Kris is....

The one going to safety is.....Kris! That's awesome. I don't really know if the other three are technically the bottom three or what.

Every week I wonder what star is going to sing on elimination night and tonight I'm thrilled to find out it's Chris Daughtry (No Doubt and Paula Abdul also sang, but Daughtry is the highlight for me). That guy has mass talent! We love watching him. New CD coming out in July, I'm sure Dan will buy it the second it's released. Daughtry is one of the few idols we actually agreed upon. There was no arguing in the house that year :)

This is killing me...who is going home?? I'm going to drag it out for you guys, just like the torture that is happening to me right now. Another commercial, that's the nasty thing about watching a show live. I think this is the only show that I watch live.

I did just realize something. They said that this is the exact week, three years ago that Daughtry was kicked off. It was a total shock, everyone thought he was going to win the whole thing. You think it could happen again? You think Adam could go? Oh, commercial over, only ten minutes left in the show. We'll know in a second.

Ryan just announced it's all random order. The 2nd person safe is....Adam. Okay, so nevermind what I just said. So, it's down to Danny & Allison. The panic is starting!! I'm glad I voted 125 times last night.

The one going home is.....Allison.

Y-E-S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My votes counted - LOL!!! Actually, I think that Allison is awesome. I really wish that the three going on would be Allison, Kris & Danny.
Next week will be really interesting. Down to the bottom three.

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American Idol: Top 4

Okay, it's midnight so I'm going to do this quickly. I know that Reese will be up soon (or up now) so I need to get this posted :)

Tonight was a fun night. It was Rock N Roll night. I was a little worried about this because Adam & Allison are clearly shoe-ins for this type of music and Kris & Danny are more pop. It turned out really interesting though. Adam did A Whole Lot of Love by Led Zepplin. Again, didn't like. I really hate the drama. All the judges said that it was amazing and no one could top it. I guess Dan got sick of our comments because we were told we couldn't comment anymore - LOL! Allison did Cry Baby by Janice Joplin. I thought she did okay, but the judges didn't like it at all (that gives me hope for Kris). Kris did Come Together by The Beatles and I thought he did a really good job. Danny did Dream On, I think by Aerosmith. I thought it was great until the very end and Simon stated it was like watching a horror show. I hate to admit it, but it was painful. The end scream was scarey, but he's still my favorite. The judges did give him props for trying something new.

And, I have to give myself props - I voted for Danny 125 times. I didn't even realize it. I voted for about half an hour straight and when I looked at my phone I was pretty impressed. What makes it even more impressive is that Dan just called me from work, and he forgot to vote for Adam. Yes!! LOL! He did just admit that Danny is his second favorite, so he'd be okay with him winning too.

Truthfully, I can't begin to guess who is going home tomorrow. I would like for Adam to go, but am pretty sure it will be either Allison or Kris. She's been in the bottom the last few weeks and didn't get much love from the judges tonight, so it should be an interesting show tomorrow.

I should go re-read this,but I have to be up in 6 1/2 hours, so I'm posting as is. Hope it's okay.

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Monday, May 4, 2009

Still Smiling

One thing that I have learned through adversity and watching my nephew and niece go through painful medical procedures and just a difficult life in general is that smiling just makes it better. Three days after having a feeding tube inserted, surgery on her eye and being blind for several days McKenzie started smiling again on her way home. It was the first smile my sister had seen since the surgery and I was lucky enough to catch it.

Thank you so much for your prayers. McKenzie is doing awesome. She even was able to get the eye patch off today. We praise God daily for McKenzie, thank you for praying with us.

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