Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Loving & Serving

        Over the weekend Aaron and I traveled to Brooklyn and watched "my Megan" get married. I call her "my Megan" only because when she was barely twelve years old I took her under my eighteen year old wing and became her "big sister", in a way, for the next five years. Megs, along with a handful of other precious teenage girls, would meet with me and my best friend & sister in-law, Dory, for Bible Study every week....we called it discipleship. Looking back I realize how fragile I was at that age and, often, humbled by my own lack of grace. But, in spite of my many shortcomings, those girls and I formed a bond that has grown into lifelong friendships. (Even my other beautiful sister in-law, Angel, & my neighbor up the road, Lindsay, were a part of that discipleship group!) With all of this history, we often feel a kinship that goes deeper than family ties. So, when Megs texted me a photo of her newly ringed finger last fall, I told Aaron that I would not miss this wedding for the world. Megan has worked as a fashion designer in Manhattan for the past eight years. We have enjoyed visiting her big city life, worlds away from the dairy farm that she was raised on, along with four brothers, in this beautiful Willamette Valley we call Home. Life is funny like that. Unexpected. When I left my life in sunny, friend-filled, California (all those years ago) and moved to Oregon...forgoing college & deciding instead to pour my energy into souls, I was motivated by love and an even deeper desire for the Unexpected. I never wanted normal. I planned to stay in Oregon for a "little bit" and then hoped to move to Australia and serve the community of Christ, down under (as I've mentioned...adventure bells.) I was as focused on becoming a missionary in a far away land as my future husband was at becoming a professional football player. Over the years I have had my share of doubts and even regret over an impulsive decision to forgo a college degree at that time. (I had been excepted to a small Bible College with a focus on missions before I took that leap of faith and moved to Oregon.) I never imagined that the step to Oregon would lead me into the arms of an unusually large & tenderhearted football player, who didn't have any plans on moving to Australia . Unexpected. I stayed in Oregon, loved my "little sisters", and quickly became engaged to Aaron Koch. The rest is history. So, on Memorial Day, May 28, 2012, Megan of Manhattan married Derek of Brooklyn and became Mrs. Devine. They will live and serve the community of Christ in Brooklyn for years to both have missionary hearts. So fruit bears fruit. And that's more eternal than any diploma hanging on my wall and even now more precious to me.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

"Who told you...?"

You remember the story, back in the garden, Adam & Eve tried to sew some fig leaves together to cover their nakedness.
Take a few steps back before the whole forbidden fruit fiasco and we learn that this man and woman lived naked together before God and every living thing without any issues. 
So why the big deal now? 
What changed their minds...or for that matter, what opened their eyes? 
The knowledge these perfect humans possessed before the fruit was of complete good know and understand all that is good and right and holy and pure
without a shadow of doubt, fear, pride, envy, despair, or skepticism.
Why would God plant a tree like that in a garden called perfect?
(To ensure a love that comes from choice.)
Now, back to those fig leaves...
Imagine these two, hiding from God...and attempting to hide the something that used to be nothing,
because now they know more than good
they've gained knowledge alright...
but they aren't proud of it. 
So, God "finds" them on one of His evening strolls. 
Heart Broken Good Creator asks,
"...who told you that you were naked?"
We know who...we recognize that accusing whisper...the same one who tells us we are exposed and can't measure up...
in our looks, in our work, in our relationships, he still slithers and whispers,
"you're naked."

We've been listening to the wrong voice for a while.
We anxiously attempt to retrofit some kind of "covering",
but with all of our effort, we still feel exposed.

We cannot brave the elements of good and evil on our own.
Neither could Adam & Eve.
So, God took care of it.
He made a temporary covering for them.
Then His Son became the eternal covering us.

Sometimes our kids don't turn out the way the world says they should.
And sometimes we let the world tell us that we should be worried if they're not.
From standardized tests to the little league field we watch our perfect babies attempt to "measure up". 
We puff up with pride when they are succeed...we worry when they struggle...and want to cover them up.
Who told us they were naked?

When it comes to our kids, we need to make sure that we aren't trying to "sew fig leaves together" for their inherited lack of perfect.

We need to let their Creator do the covering.

AbbySue, Ben, & Zibby, your mommy and daddy are not perfect. We make so many mistakes. But one thing we want you to never doubt....each of you are wonderfully made. We adore every bit about you. Be who God made you. Do everything for Him with your whole heart. Be love. Don't listen to them. 

Listen to Him. 
Let Him cover you.
He is your biggest fan. 
The perfecter and finisher of your faith.

little ones

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Nana came by this afternoon to take out AbbySue for dinner and a movie. My ten year old wanted to look just right, so she asked for a "new hair style". This is the daughter who would let me braid her hair every morning before school or church....heidi braids, laura braids, leia braids, you name it...that little strawberry blond would sit patiently as I brushed, tugged, & pulled those coppery locks. I loved it. Now that she is older she isn't as "into" those younger styles, but today she asked me to try a renaissance small single braid across the top like a crown. I think she looks lovely....but not so little.

Good Job

Our enterprising Kookies...."Come and get your all natural homemade lime soda!"(AbbySue thought of the "all natural" part..."It'll bring them in Mom." (I see marketing in her future.) Daddy invented a simple syrup made from agave nectar and fresh lime juice..then the kids added that to seltzer water. I had to admit, it was good. They earned $5.00 which ended up paying for parking up at Opal Creek on Sunday. Way to go kids!
My first attempt at sillhouettes. I made these for all the Grandma's on Mothers Day. They are a little complicated but I like how they turned out...old fashioned.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Bits & Pieces

I will remember...

A polar bear blinking,

Wide smiles over 14th place,

Discovering a creek called Opal with my favorite four souls,

and a love that calls me "Jenny" in the moonlight.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Both Sides

This has been the most amazing year together. I have to say that homeschooling has proved to be a very rich and rewarding experience for the kids and I. The opportunity to learn, discover, and grow together has been priceless. Aaron and I can see the benefits to both learning from home and learning in a larger classroom setting. That is why we have decided to keep the best of both. We look forward to taking the kids to Evergreen (their little country school before the Massachusetts move) next year. We are a bit in dis-belief that there ended up being room for them. Most of the rural schools here are overflowing. I love that Evergreen welcomes parent volunteers and encourages family participation...these are all the social aspects of public school that I have missed this year. But, I cannot just "close shop" when it comes to home school. I have learned that home school can happen anytime and anywhere, even if that means our kids are attending classes outside these walls. Our home is where they will always be free to ask, explore, discover, and most importantly be taught the foundational principals of faith, hope, and love. These are the lessons that they carry beyond these walls...the lessons that touch the world around them and change it for the better. I want to be the kind of parent that is always a teacher. 

About two weeks ago we checked out a book from the library that I fell in love with. It's called 
13 Paintings Children Should Know. It's been so much fun studying the artists, history, mediums, and even secret clues each masterpiece featured. The kids especially enjoyed practicing their own impressions of a few famous works. 

                                        Zibby's version of "The Hare"..very abstract we think.
                                                           Ben's idea of the Mona Lisa
                                                        Abby Sue's sketch of "The Hare"

Monday, May 7, 2012


Kindergarten Round Up at Evergreen...last week!

Kindergarten Round-Up at Evergreen....six years ago

The sisters decided the scotty-dog dress should be a tradition...I agree. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Adventure Bells

When I was a toddler my mom tied silver bells to my shoes...everyday.

I thought they were wonderful.

I cannot imagine what it would be like to have a little blonde haired, blue eyed girl who was "hell-bent" on roaming. Especially if you lived high up in the wilderness of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Those bells never let me roam away too far.

I had a dad like that.

Problem was, he never came back.

I hate that I can't sit still.

But, I love what I discover.

While I was packing for our weekend trip to Hawaii, I purposely left both hiking and running shoes behind. I was determined to rest. I brought books, magazines, bathing suits, flip flops, straw hat and sunglasses.

Yes sir, I was going to join the masses, slather my pasty skin with sunblock, and waste the day away watching the waves roll in and and and out...that was the plan.

If it wasn't for Diamond Head.

Try as I might, I could not ignore that sleeping volcano jutting out into the tiffany blue pacific.

I could almost hear her calling on the tropical breeze, "You should see the view from up here!"

So, on Saturday, when Aaron left for an all day lab at the University of Hawaii, I ran upstairs, threw a few essentials into my backpack, pulled on an ill equipped pair of flats and set out for adventure.

I couldn't help myself.

Fueled by excitement...driven with curiosity...I practically jogged the entire way.

I must've looked like a crazy lady, blazing past tourists and locals all the while that blue back pack bouncing up and down on my back, the unsupportive flats now working up a few blisters.

I didn't care.

The last part I remember was crawling through some kind of bunker, (I'm almost positive was used in the filming of Lost), up and out of cement crack....light pouring though....

salt air blasting me straight in the face...and

Endless ocean.

To the right was the now tiny floating city of Honolulu.

I found my way to an outcropping (don't worry mom, it was safe...I was still behind the caution sign), climbed up and plopped down.

I'm not sure how long I took in that view. I wasn't in a rush now.

I felt accomplished and humbled all at the same time.

                                     view of Diamond Head from Waikiki

God is really big you know, but sitting up there made me realize that He is little too.

Small enough to sit with me on the top of a volcano.

I don't plan on forgetting my trusty hiking boots again....maybe I should tie little bells to them while I'm at it.