Sunday, March 27, 2011

Elizabeth Jane

Dearest Zibby,

You make necklaces out of everything...including onion rings. You are dainty, delicate, graceful, and incredibly tough. You love all things domestic. You are always nurturing. You are fiercely strong willed. You always pray. You always sing. You understand how to play the piano. You are shy. Easily embarrassed. Deeply empathetic. You are quiet but, you can scream very loud. You take care of every living thing. You love puzzles. You love to draw. You resort to using you fists before using your words. You can dance. You can do the entire pilates video, sometimes twice a day...just for the fun of it, and I'm pretty sure you already have a six-pack. You are intense. You love to laugh. You observe and retain a lot more than we give you credit for. You truly look like an angel.

Your life makes us feel complete.

Would you mind taking your time on this whole growing up thing?

Loving you littlest sister.

~Daddy & Mommy

Friday, March 25, 2011

"You can tame a tiger~but you cannot tame the tongue."

"I hate my big mouth! Why can't I just be quiet like all the other girls?" she said through tears while running upstairs to her room.

I had to correct her for bragging about her new hot pink flats (adorned with rhinestones on the toe) to her brother who did not have anything new waiting for him when he came home from school yesterday.

I decided to leave her alone for a bit until she was ready to talk.

Eventually she came faced & tear stained.

"I'm not upset about you taking my shoes away mom, I'm mad at myself. I just blurt out whatever is on mind. I don't think I'll ever change."

I silently reach for her bible and open it to James chapter three verses one through twelve.

After she is finished reading I ask her what it says to her heart.

"It's impossible to tame the tongue. Words hurt for a longtime, like a forest fire."

And I remind her that we are all out of control if we do not daily surrender to the power of the Holy Spirit working though our lives. I tell her that God wants to turn our weakness into His greatest strength.

It wasn't preachy...just one of those teachable moments.

It's easy to become discouraged over our children's faults. We expect them to behave perfectly at all times and then blame ourselves when they don't.

The fact is they are sinful people just like us. They can only find true peace through the cross of Christ.

We cannot be their victory.

Only Jesus.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Choosing Love

I couldn't tell you the exact day that I fell in love with Aaron.

Just over a month of dating he asked me to be his wife.

We were 20 & 22.

Married one year later.

Football for a job.

Had our first girl just after our two year anniversary.


17 months later had our son.

Moved around.

Settled in Oregon.

Blessed with a new career.

Renovated a cottage.

Had another little girl.

Made memories with family and friends to last a lifetime.

Said goodbye to our dreams and accepted God's plan.

Moved to Massachusetts.

Walked through dark valley's.

Still holding hands.

And I realize neither of us really "fell in love".

This wasn't an accident.

We knew what we were doing.

And we've been "choosing" love ever since.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The side of surrender...

It doesn't matter what will happen to me,
I realize that all of my happenings are in His hands already.
I raised the white flag to His will sometime ago,
and accept the fact that He has been in charge of these "happenings"
ages before I acknowledged Him.
Nothing has changed about Who is in control,
I just yield to the realization that He is.
The proof of this is
the undercurrent of peace within this human heart.
Waves roll,
Sea levels rise,
But The Weathermaker knows my name
and lives to love me.

(photo: Grandpa & Abby Sue, Oregon Coast '05)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Very Happy Days

The piano got plenty of attention.
This hostess couldn't be any happier.
Nerf War!
Aaron's giant birthday cupcake.
Hide n Seek!
Designing their shirts.

I could fill pages with memories of our time with Uncle Garth, Auntie Angel, Kaeleigh, Micah, & Lily...but I think these photos speak volumes. Needless to say we all had the time of our lives exploring Boston, picnicking in Plymouth, beach combing on the Cape, celebrating Aaron's birthday together at a British Pub (all 10 of us!), watching the kids (and adults) risk life and limb sledding down a bobsled run (made by the Daddy's of course!), snowshoeing (courtesy of my resourceful brother), crafting (puffy paint shirts from Aunt Angel, duct tape artwork & jewelry, etc.), and most of all just relaxing and soaking up our short time together. The house was a disaster and I loved every minute of it!

Lily & Zibby at the end of the week...this is how we all felt!
Getting ready to visit the American Girl Doll Store.
Micah & Ben...nonstop sledding, nerf wars, legos, & exploring together.
I love that Garth wrote this in the sand while we were all searching for sea glass on the Cape.
Ice Cream at Spruce Pond just down the road from our house in Franklin.

Angel came up with this design for earrings out of Duct tape...isn't she so creative!
And Garth left me a duct tape treasure in my African Violet...can you spot it?
Pancake morning...everyone agrees, Aaron makes the best & Uncle Garth needs a "Mantula".
Our treasures with their treasures.
The Dunn's in Beantown.
The only photo I could get of all six together!

Garth & Kaeleigh in the homemade snowshoes.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Setbacks aren't Stop Signs...

but they may be pointing you into a different direction than you hoped for.

My marathon dream will have to wait up on the shelf for a while. At least until God chooses to open that book again. For now, my body won't go without serious injury, so I'll take that as an answer. Not an answer that I like, in fact it feels more like a bitter pill, but an answer none the less that I will accept and embrace.

Over the past year I have gone through dark valley's. I have seen places of my heart that revolted under the fires of refinement. I have been stripped of so many earthly joys. I have felt confused and tempted. The pressure almost unbearable.

Running was a solace. A time on the high places, where I could get a better top side view of this tapestry. Now it too lies in a burn pile, along with some of those other things that made me feel alive.

In the barrenness I feel His lifeblood, coursing through me. Quietly nourishing the roots...still alive under the frozen blankets of snowy sorrow.

There are pains of the soul and spirit that only Jesus can work with and cultivate into life again.

I count it all but loss for the sake of Him.

And my fists unfurl in praise.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The way we eat...(especially for my Dory & Angel..who asked)

What I cook with: olive oil, red wine vinegar, real butter, chicken broth, & coconut oil. (for our favorite salad dressing I simply mix olive oil and red wine vinegar).

For flavor: Spike (since I was a little one this has been a favorite!), garlic powder, brewers yeast (on popcorn), kosher salt, and fresh black pepper.

In the can: coconut milk (shakes, Thai food, etc.), stewed tomatoes, Amy's soups (I add ground turkey or chicken sausage to these.), artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, black beans, re fried beans, baked beans, olives, (to name a few).

Greens and things: You can tell what we like, but some tips here are, I only buy the big carrots...they are way cheaper and usually much better than those already chopped up ones, spinach (also great in shakes), we do our best to buy as local as possible...but avocados are a must for this native California girl. Another tip, I try to buy something really different at least once a month, just to give it a try and stretch those little taste buds.

Dairy: (we have a few lactose issues here and can't go too overboard) we usually go full fat on most milk products and opt for the Greek style yogurt. Yo-Kids are a real treat. Buttermilk is for Daddy's homemade pancakes. Goat cheese feta in salads is a must.

Proteins: All meat as free range as possible, we love lean red meat, all kinds of fish, turkey, chicken (oven roasters are a 2 meals in one, chicken supper & chicken soup), pork tenderloin, eggs (every morning:), and all kinds of nuts for snacking.

Grains: Scottish Oats -favorite breakfast(you can make these the night before breakfast in the crock pot, whole wheat and sourdough breads made locally, brown rice, popcorn (I always cook ours on the stove top in oil and season with salt and brewers yeast...this is a favorite after school snack.), corn and whole wheat tortillas, taboule, couscous, and whole wheat or spinach pasta (no gluten issues here:)

Making it sweet: Maple syrup (hey, it grows on trees here!), and real raw sugar within reason. No artificial sweeteners ever...that is one things I cannot comfortably give my family, ever.

What we drink: Milk (hormone free!), water, coffee, tea, and beer (come on, a girl has to have a little fun!)

Favorite recipe site: this one will lead you to about a million blogs about anything you want to cook..from gourmet to down home.

Before I begin, let it be known to every reader that I do not claim to feed these Kookies the purest of foods 100% of the time, and therefore will not be ashamed if you see our gas guzzling SUV pulling through those golden arches every once in a while in search of the perfect french fry. We are a realistic family of five, carving out our own carbon footprint on this fallen world. Therefore, this is a judgement free zone. I vow never to look down my nose at any friend or foe for pulling out a bag of cheese curls and a
juice box, instead of a wax paper wrapped cashew nut butter sandwich on homemade sprouted grain bread. (The only thing worse than an ignorant grocery shopper is an organic foodie snob:)

That being said, I was born a hippie. Ask my mom. It's very easy for me to eat earthy, raw, organic, roughage (the sight of a pomegranate, artichoke, or jicama thrills this soul.) I love it all! I'll admit, I partake in an Oreo now and then, but for the most part I have grown in my passion for nutrition over the years, in part because I have very sensitive guts, but more so because I love my family and want to see them lead the healthiest most productive life possible.

Every family is different and I have found that learning from my mentors and applying what they have shared with me in little bits here and there, keeps me focused, (as the meal maker), without that dreaded feeling of organic condemnation.

What we can purchase and prepare for each of our lives depends on budget and time. No need to beat ourselves up over a bowl of cereal instead of scottish oats now and then.

I have found over 12 years that my family feels love when I take the time to feed them right.

(Love this photo of Zibby today...after she dug into the strawberries:)

sidenote: We have followed this pattern for the most part over the past 8 years and Aaron has maintained an 80 pound weight loss post NFL!...Sundays are "splurge day"...cookies, fried stuff, etc.)