Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My Ever-Evolving Hair

Getting a hair cut and color can be awfully anticlimactic. I think and plan and think and plan, looking forward to that one hour where everything changes. And then, slowly the bleach is painted in and the rinsing happens and the cutting moves along at its slow and steady pace. After a hour-and-a-half, I look in the mirror and it's done; no fireworks, no rumbling announcements, just a quiet transition from one idea of myself to another. The only time it's a big event is when it doesn't turn out right, and then the event tends to be after the cut/color: the tears, the wailing, the hiding under the covers till I fall into a fitful, nightmare plagued sleep. (An exaggeration? Maybe!)

Since I was in Oregon and Heather helped me turn my black hair into a shocking orange mess with the assistance of bleach in a box covered with lies (black to platinum blonde in 90 minutes? Nope!), I've contemplated going back to my original blonde hair. When I asked my hairstylist Pauline about it, she said I couldn't take it from the current red ("ginger" it's called here) to light blonde successfully. She suggested "heavy highlights" for a couple of visits this summer, eventually switching over completely to blonde. The deed was done this morning.

What do you get when you mix blonde and red? Orange! But it's ok, I still like it. It's kind of funky, which is fine with me. I'm ok with processes.

Please keep in mind that it's been very hot here, about 90 degrees. That might not seem hot to you, but it's not normal here and without air conditioning and with a high humidity level it's miserable. I look like it's miserably hot!

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Food For Thought: Why You Are Where You Are

Have you thought about why you are where you are? Unless you're living in direct disobedience to a specific call of The Lord, you haven't just randomly dropped down by accident in a town/city/base/state/country. You've been planted there by God's divine wisdom. The people you come into contact with aren't there by accident either, and neither are they in your path by coincidence. You were born for such a time as this.

For some of us, that's comforting only in the way that we know there is a larger purpose and plan behind the trials we are facing; for others of us that means we need to look hard and long at how we are spending the time God has allotted us where we are. Are you waking up every morning looking for the why in your "chance" meetings and dealings with people? Might there be more to it that what you have been willing to see up till this point?

Spend a moment at the foot of the throne of the Most High. Be humbled by His plan and the call He ordained for you before the dawn of time. Then stand up, walk out and be the light you were called to be.

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Valuable Lesson

Dad has no clue how to dress Barbie.

This was definitely a "had to be there" moment. McKenna tied on Barbie's shirt way too tight and I couldn't undo it. She was sure her dad could and I warned her there was no way he would know how to take care of it. He sure took care of it his own way, he ripped it off and busted the straps. McKenna was almost in tears when she realized he had broke her Barbie shirt. Next thing you know she is telling him to put it back on her, so he ties it in a knot around her neck and there you have it. You can't really tell but it's kind of a halter type shirt and Dan just tied the the straps around her neck without putting the shirt all the way on, so it's just dangling around her neck. McKenna was NOT happy, not even a little bit.

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Fashion Show In My Back Yard

Is this the future trend among the young people?! It's highly favored among my youngest boys, as modeled here by Zac.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Mark's Thoughts

Today was my day to post. Reese and I are really trying to commit to keeping up with the blog because it is important to us. I had a really hard day at work. Things are just crazy. I asked my boss to figure out how to clone me so there could be an "at home" Heather and an "at work" Heather. I hate trying to find the balance and get it all done.

Here it is 9:30 p.m. and I had no idea what I was going to post about until Mark came in the room. He's such a funny kid. I had no intention of posting about Michael Jackson or his death. I have my own thoughts on it and it really doesn't matter what I think but one thing I didn't realize is how confusing Michael Jackson could be for our children. I mean, they didn't watch him "evolve".

Dan was watching part of MTV's tribute to MJ when Mark walks in and says "oh, is this about the boy Michael Jackson or the girl Michael Jackson?" Dan and I had no clue what he could be talking about so we tell him there is no girl MJ. He then says "What do you mean? He was once a black boy and turned into a white girl." Now, that's confusing, and looking at his pics I can see where Mark got that assumption.

They also showed MJ singing with Slash from Guns N Roses and Mark says "Hey, that's the guy from Guitar Hero" Dan told him that he was much more popular than Guitar Hero and Mark said "Why, because he has a funny hat, big hair and you can't see his face?" Uh, yeah Mark, that's why!

Truthfully, that conversation made me feel a little old. There is no way that Mark can understand at his age why MJ or Slash are popular because they are so different from the artists of today. It's kind of like when my mom had me listen to The Beatles and artists of her time. At 11, I just didn't get it...and, none were nearly as confusing as MJ.

I hope this doesn't come across disrespectful, because it's not my intent. Just a glimpse into my 11 year old's head.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Summer Reese Wears Dresses

There was a time in the not-so-distant past that the thought of wearing something that the majority of the population deemed ugly would have sent me into a panic. Not any more. With my 30's came a new-found confidence. Very little actually intimidates me as far as clothing is concerned. (Unless it's seriously immodest- I don't like to go there.)

I've wanted to find some dresses for the summer time; something flowing and airy, not too short (it gets awfully windy here), and low cost. I've dubbed this summer "The Summer That Reese Wears Dresses" but only had two that looked like they belonged outside a church. Today at the BX I decided to have a quick browse to try to expand my selection.

Since I've started a weird patchwork burn/suntan pattern on my shoulders and back, I decided to look for something strapless. Viola!

Sean's comment? "You're not going out in that are you?!"

Kristine's comments? "No comment." (Then she commented.) "You look like you're going to a luau." And: "I'm sitting here in the van. There's no way I'm going to be seen with you in that!."

Actually, as soon as I slipped it over my head in the fitting room I heard my friend Linda say (in her distinctive African-British accent), "I don't like it." She's very honest that way. She doesn't like the color of my hair either. But she loves me.

As for me:
  • Red hair? Bring it on!
  • Pigtails? Bring it on!
  • Wildly unpopular dress that drags the ground and is in a crazy design? Bring it on!

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pizza Night

I don't cook. Most of you know that. In fact, I actually don't even enjoy eating, I mainly eat because obviously we have too. I really don't enjoy cooking. I have been really proud of myself because I have cooked dinner for the last two weeks straight, a true record for me.

For Dan's birthday my mom gave him a gift certificate and you know what that man did? He had me meet him for lunch and he spent all of his birthday money on me for kitchen stuff since I have been cooking. I bought a pizza pan (among other things) and last night I decided to give homemade pizza a try. I have always wanted to cook pizza at home but I have always been scared that I would ruin it and it would just be a waste of my time. I am pleased to announce that it turned out AMAZING and my family is now asking I do it every week.

Here was the kids' pepperoni pizza
Here was Dans

Here is mine (minus green stuff!)

I am seriously so pleased with myself. I'm sure those of you bakers are wondering what the big deal is, but to me this is huge and a way I can bless my family.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Useless Inventions

My oldest son was telling me about some useless inventions he and his friends had come up with (silent car alarms, solar powered nightlights), and it got me thinking about the truly useless inventions out there.

Like this: the contraption that keeps noodles from splatting your face while you slurp them.

Pure genius!

Click here for Time Online list the top 10 useless inventions. I'm digging the alarm equipped fork!

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Summer Activities

This summer my kids are staying home and not going to my mom's house. They are old enough to handle most things on their own. I started to panic a little when I realized that for most of the summer they are going to be alone, probably watching TV, playing on their handheld games of choice, talking on their cell phones, texting and playing on the computer. I'm sorry, but that sounds like a lot of lazy nothingness to me, so I started signing them up for various things to make their summer more productive and so they wouldn't have too much down time. I'm overwhelmed with how much I've scheduled in, and I'm not even the one having to do this all. Think I overdid it? LOL!!

  • weekly art lessons for Mark & McKenna
  • four weeks of the summer daily swimming lessons for Mark & McKenna
  • soccer practice for McKenna
  • weekly reading class at the library Mark & McKenna
  • camping for the whole family
  • family vacation to the beach
  • one week of garden camp for McKenna
  • one week of bug camp for Mark
  • family reunions
  • twice weekly gymnastics for McKenna
  • weekly tennis lessons for Amanda & Mark
  • babysitting jobs for Amanda
  • Tennis camp for Amanda

I'm sure that this isn't a complete list, but this list alone makes me tired. How about you guys? What do you do to keep your kids busy for the summer?

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Matthew 25: 31-46: Verses I Can't Get Out of My Head

The Final Judgment
31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.

Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'

Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' 40And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'

41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.'

44Then they also will answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?' 45Then he will answer them, saying, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.' 46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Healthy Husband

Ruth has been listing the things that she is thankful for and I've really enjoyed reading them. Her goal is to list 1,000 things. That's a lot!! I've been thinking about starting my own list because I think that it is so important to always be thankful.

I'm thankful for one major thing today. I'm thankful for my husband's health. Dan has a terrible nerve disorder called Trigeminal Neuraglia. It's very rare and extremely painful. Usually it doesn't affect him but last Thursday Dan had a tooth pulled and it triggered it. Whenever he has had an episode he has been able to handle it with his medication and within hours of the first dose the pain diminishes. He wasn't so lucky this time. He has been in excruciating pain for 7 days. This was scary. He had to quadruple his dosage to get any relief and by the time he was that medicated he could barely walk from the meds.

The meds are never guaranteed to work and since it took 7 days and huge doses of medication I was frightened. I was so scared that maybe this time his meds weren't going to work. Some people suffer continuously with this disease and never get any relief.

I'm thankful tonight that Dan is healthy. He's back to his goofy self and we can put this terrible week behind us. Plus, it's his birthday and Father's Day on Sunday so he'll be ready to party! :)

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Friday, June 19, 2009

"Live your life in a way that demands explanation."

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

A New Christian Life

I'm not going to lie: I've become increasingly bored with the brand of Christianity I've been practicing. It seems that I joined- no, was born into- some sort of club and the rules involve trying not to cuss, not drinking (or at least not drinking excessively), dressing up on Sundays and carrying my Bible to church. No matter what sort of week I've been having, there's an unspoken obligation to be perky at church. We should be happy at church, but because we're free and forgiven not because it's the thing to do. I've noticed that my life bears very little difference to the lives of my unsaved neighbors and friends. We're all after the same thing: security, money, a healthy retirement account, the American Dream.

Last year I read Max Lucado's book It's Not About Me. (My blog post here.) That was the beginning of seeing my life the way it should be rather than what I've allowed it to become. It was the first time I had consciously considered that Christianity wasn't a side thing to do along with the rest of my life, but the main purpose of the life God gave me. Then I read Tom Davis's book Red Letters (my post here) and started visiting his blog. Until then I had always thought of anti-hunger organizations as the non-Christian's way of feeling like they were making a difference without God. I thought it was making up for not having Jesus. What an eye-opening experience to realize that the saved are those that should be at the forefront of these efforts for the hungry, orphaned and widowed!

God began to speak to me about making a difference where I am- to bloom where he plants me. I can show his love to my neighbors, believing that He put me where I am for a divine purpose. I heard Lee Strobel's Focus on the Family- aired recordings "If Jesus Lived At My House" and suddenly a whole new world of opportunity opened up.

And now I've been reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I've been impressed with so much of the book, but these particular points have stood out so far:

  • Christians were first called "Christians". They didn't name themselves. The unsaved looked at them, at the way they lived, and said, "Those people are like the one they call the Christ. They are followers of his teachings. They are Christians." How many of those around you would voluntarily call you a Christian, or is that a label you've given yourself? What makes it true?
  • God is HUGE and doesn't need me. He wants me. He created everything through Himself and for Himself.
  • It's time to step out of our Western Christian mindsets and live radically for Christ in whatever way He calls each of us to do that.
I'm still not sure what all the practical applications of that will look like in my life. But here are my first, elementary thoughts: I don't have a job and I am raising kids. I want to raise them with an awareness of what true Christianity looks like. I want to be an example of that. In the following days and weeks I will be praying for God's directing in my life on how to do that. I will pray for the lost and abandoned and hungry and pray that the change I see in myself will be lasting and not a passing personal fad. I will start this year to get an education that will lead to money and skills to help the lost and hurting. Currently, I'm planning to pursue a nursing degree, unless God tells me otherwise. Until then, I will begin selling many of the possessions I have that weigh me down. I'm tired of feeling bloated and sluggish in regards to my material possessions. I don't need most of what I own, and it would be much better put to use for the kingdom of Heaven. I will be using my eBay account to sell my things, with a majority percentage of the profits going to charities that I will be choosing.

With the Spirit of Christ in us, we can change the world.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Blogging About Blogging: Anybody Out There With Answers?

Hello, my name's Reese and I used to be a blogger.

Well, maybe I still am. But you couldn't tell by the number of post I've done in the past few weeks, right? These long, awkward blogger pauses are the reasons that people invented recurring, daily blogging events (Wordless Wednesday, Fill-In Friday, etc.); some of us just don't have anything interesting to say every day. I've actually resorted to shoving needles in my feet in the hopes of achieving good post material.

What makes one blog more interesting than the next? Bloggers and their followers are generally bound together by common interests (organizing, cooking, charity work, motherhood), or by real-life relationships (that's why friends and family are our most faithful followers). In the event that a blog is followed by people that aren't family, friends, or don't relate through common interest, humor is often what draws readers. (Every now and then I wish I had the brains and biting wit of Ann Coulter. I'd have thousands of readers to my weekly posts. I'd probably have as many book deals as she has also.)

For me, I'm standing at a blogging fork-in-the-road. To blog or not to blog, that is the question.

What's the answer? I'm still waiting for Heather's email on the subject. Until then, I'd like to ask you, if you're a blogger:

  • What motivates you to blog?
  • How long have you been blogging, and how long do you anticipate keeping it up?
If you're a regular reader, to this or any other blogs:

  • What keeps you coming back?
  • How long does a blog remain stagnant before you give up and stop visiting?
Heather and I have always tried to cover a variety of topics, not purposefully, but just to use the blog as a reflection of our daily lives. If we're thinking about Johnny Depp, we'll probably blog about Johnny Depp. If we are getting misty eyed while we think of our kids, you'll probably be reading about it within a day or two. When school and work and family obligations overwhelm us, you probably won't hear about it- in fact you might not hear about anything from us for awhile. The trouble with that is that when a blog isn't updated regularly people stop visiting, so when we decide to reappear and post again, there might not be anyone around to read it... and what's the point of having a blog that no one reads?

I love our blog and don't think we're anywhere near throwing in the towel. It's just that I'm thinking about blogging, so I'm blogging about blogging.

Got that?!

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mama's Heart

Last night McKenna started showing me all of her first grade, year end stuff - you know, the backpacks filled with all the wonderful miscellaneous paperwork. Most of the items will have to be thrown away, but she stumbled upon a priceless treasure for me. It was her first grade journal, complete with photos that the teacher added in. The thing for me was that as I looked through these photos and saw her bright smiling face, I also saw the sadness in her eyes. I usually measure the year by the school year, not the actual year, and this school year has been filled with so much sadness. I almost cried as I looked through those photos. I knew she was trying so hard to put up a good front, but I also knew how sad she had been most of the year. The house fire was hard on her. She likes her structure and she was definitely out of her element this year. She was very successful academically so I'm thankful that all of the obstacles didn't bring her down. I know that this only helped to shape her character.

As I was looking through her photos I was thinking about Amanda and Mark. They are both graduating on this year. Amanda to her first year of high school, and Mark onto his first year at the middle school. Their first grade years were also difficult. During Amanda's first grade year, I unexpectedly found out I was pregnant with McKenna. Normally that would not have been a big deal as my first two pregnancies were great. However, McKenna had a different plan. Her pregnancy was by far my hardest and Amanda had to deal with a mom that wasn't really "with it" for nine months. Mark's first grade year was the hardest ever. That was the year that James passed away. Thankfully Mark had the best teacher at the school. She happened to be my teacher for third grade and Amanda also had her for first grade. I remember the week after James died and we were all starting to go back to work and school. I walked in with tears streaming down my face. I felt like I was abandoning my children. She came right out with big hugs and wrapped both Mark and I in her arms and told us how much she loved us and that she would take good care of Mark and call me immediately if I was needed. I know he was in an angels' arms that year.

This mama's heart feels a little sad this evening for the hardships my kids have endured. They have come out stronger, but I hate they have had to go through them. If I put it in perspective they really haven't been through alot. However, they have endured more then I did at their ages. The situations they have been through are ones that I have not had to deal with until adulthood. I do know that they are more compassionate, loving and kind. They are accepting of others and their surroundings. I'm thankful for who they are and know that God has an important plan for each one of them and that their childhood experiences will help shape them for that.
It's getting dark and the kids are coming back in so I'm logging off for now. I know I could write this better, but I'm going to leave it "as is" and go hang out with them.

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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Anyone Up For "Swapping" This Weekend?

The Lord has put the hungry, orphaned and widowed on my heart recently and I have begun attempting to mold my life into a more Christ-centered existence. I've started visiting Tom Davis's blog (link in our blog roll), and he has this interesting post about the weekend: Click HERE for the post.

I'm swapping. How about you?

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Friday, June 5, 2009

And The Piercings Continue...

Since Heather and I have a history of sharing when we get pierced with things (click here and here for a reminder), I knew I had to post this one. After teaching at youth group on Wednesday night I got home and effortlessly stepped on a sewing needle. Do these things ever take effort? Well it took effort on the part of the person (Little Boy, no doubt, though no one is 'fessing up) who dug around in my sewing box and carried the needle down to the living room), who not only left one needle on the floor, but Sean found another one after I left for the ER.

Why go to the ER and not just yank it out myself? I was asking myself the same thing for about an hour-and-a-half after it happened. See, I took out "Taking Care of Yourself" (military issue medical book) rather than the needle. When it asked if I'd had at least 4 tetanus shots (I don't think I have, though my last one was in 2007) and if there was any "foreign material in the wound" (duh!), I suggested to Tim that we call the ER before pulling it out. They always "err on the side of caution"; they told me to come in.

Here I am filling out paperwork before the x-ray to see if the needle had hit the bone. (It hadn't.)

The craziest thing about the whole experience was how fun it was. Tim and I haven't had a lot of time together lately, as he is putting in overtime at a second job. As soon as he was told that I had a needle in my foot, he hung up with a client and took good care of me. At the ER the techs, nurse and doctor ribbed me mercilessly and it was fun. We even took out the camera and recorded all the moments we could. Here I am being goofy, still waiting for the x-ray tech.

When it first went in, the only part showing was the eye of the needle. Grossly enough, I pushed on the top of my foot and it stayed at this level the rest of the time, till the doc pulled it out with pliers.

Here's the Staff Sergeant that set off all the teasing when I first got there. He asked me, very seriously, how it had happened. The nurse laughed and said "How else you you get needles in your foot?!" He answered, still serious, "Maybe she did it on purpose." That was it. After that they started teasing me about clearing needles out of every room before they wheeled me, lest I stab myself purposefully again. SSgt P ended up being the one to clean my in-a-flip-flop-all-day foot. Eew!

After it was removed.

Continuing the interesting experience with an airman and the British EMT on duty. That EMT had a blast. I was surely the most interesting case to come in all night.

And afterward, Tim and I had dinner together! What a great way to end a very interesting day. I'd take another needle in the foot for a fun evening with Tim, but I'd probably pull it out myself next time.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My Flowers, The Garden & The Fish

I just had to come today and show you how my flowers are growing, they are turning out so pretty.

Also, I have decided to do a garden this year. The plants I have growing right now are 1 watermelon, 4 cucumbers and 9 sugar snap peas. Right now we have this fencing over it to keep the dogs out. The plants are starting to weave their way through the fencing now so we are going to have to figure something else out.

I've also decided to clear out an area of our yard and I'm going to plant corn, more watermelon, cantaloupe, maybe some more peas and a green pepper.

Here is the area I'm clearing for that.

When I first started it looked like this

As you can tell our backyard is a big, nasty jumbled mess so I'm so excited to see what I can do with it this year. I've always wanted to grow a garden, I just never gave it a try. Apparently this year I felt the need to really go for it. I can't wait to just go out back and grab corn on the cob for dinner!

Oh, and here are my new little friends. I turned one of my wine barrels into a fish pond. We started out with 9 fish and are down to 5. I'm hoping these ones survive okay. It's so nice when you are working in the backyard to hear the sound of the fountain going.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009