Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Today is the day that for most of my life I would go fishing early in the morning to spend time alone with God, His creation...including all those fun fish. However, in recent years I have broken from that tradition to spend more time with another of God's great family. Not that going away to be alone with God is a bad thing but if I learned one thing over all those years of fishing it was that many times what started off as something between me and God ended up being something between me and me. Just as God is squeezed from so many things in our life, He became squeezed out of one of the very things I was so thankful for. This got me to thinking about what I really am thankful for and why. As you celebrate this day and what is dear to you, I hope you will find encouragement and maybe a new perspective on what is important to you and where your treasure really is.

I am thankful for who I am and rest in God's Sovereignty. After making so many mistakes in my life and knowing there are countless more, I am so thankful that I am not alone or living in fear or regret. Life is good and exciting and busy and hard and fun and challenging and meaningful and full of surprises. Those surprises are the things I have come to treasure most. Those are the times when I realize that my way is not always God's way. I am thankful for the life I have and not the one I thought I would have and fought to hold on to. I am thankful for unanswered prayers that in all reality is probably why I am able to sit here and write this at all. For all those broken roads and shattered dreams....I am thankful.

I am thankful for my family and just how much they are a part of who I am and who I am becoming. I am thankful for Jodi and that she is my best friend. I am thankful for the mutual love and respect that can only come from God. I am thankful for Andy and his gentleness and desire to learn. I am thankful for Rae Rae and her laughter and her creative personality. I am thankful for Tirzah and her sense of humor and her loving yet bullying demeanor.

Most of all I am thankful for Jesus and the work He did for me. I am thankful that I have peace through Him. I am thankful for all of God's promises...past, present and those yet to come. I am thankful for my brothers who lift me up in encouragement and take the time to hold me accountable. I am thankful for church and what it is to have real fellowship. I am thankful for God's word and that it is here and alive. I am thankful for Grace and Love, both to give and to receive.

On this day I am thankful that God is so good. I am thankful that He has allowed me to focus on the good things in which I have and not be consumed by that in which I do not.

May you all find peace on this day...the kind of peace that first starts in your heart and overflows to all that around you.

Have a Happy, Blessed, Peaceful, Hopeful, Encouraging, Content and Loving Thanksgiving...

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Acting Bug...

Well, if you haven't heard we have some actors in our family! You all know Rae Rae is the diva and is starring again in another show... She is Owl #1 in Sleeping Beauty kids- but did you ever guess Andy would be singing and dancing too? Yes he is and not only that in a big role!

He has wanted to be in a show with Rae Rae for awhile but he eat sleeps and breathes baseball year round! Well this show just happened to fit within the perimeters of fall ball so he was dying to audition. First time out and he did amazing at auditions- he sang " Bet on It" from HSM2. We waited and waited and finally discovered he landed the role of Prince Philip!!! YAY! He is so excited and we all know he will have tons of fun! Rae Rae is happy to be singing and dancing stress free from a lead role this time around and knows she has many years to come for bigger roles like Gretl.

Then there is me... Most of you know too that the acting bug is genetic and it came directly from me. :) The timing was right finally for me to audition for a show and guess what- I got the lead femal role!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am very excited for this opportunity. I am playing Lilli Vanessi/Kate in Kiss Me Kate.

The shows run together as the kid's production is a short preshow at The Escondido Center for Arts.Buy your tickets now via web, at the box office or call me! Please come see us both on Saturday Nov 15th Sleeping Beauty at 1:30pm and Kiss me Kate at 2:30pm. If you can't make that you can still see me in Kate Friday Nov 14 at 7:30, Saturday Nov 15 at 7:30 or Sunday Nov 16th at 2:30pm. Looking foward to seeing you all there!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Reflections on a day.....September 11

The phone was ringing and I knew that a call this early usually didn't bring good news. It was my good friend Andy and all he said was, "Are you watching the news?" No, what channel? To this day I knew my fears were right when all he said to my question was, "It doesn't matter"

As I turned on the news I realized that we were right in the middle of a tragedy that was far greater than any I had ever seen in my lifetime. This wasn't just a random act or an accident but a calculated attack that would have an impact on not only me but the whole world. I quickly thought of my friend Gregor and wondered if he was still in NYC? I knew he was there a few days prior because I had talked to him....he was in Central Park and told me about the twin towers. I said a quick prayer for him and I was relieved to speak with him shortly after, safe and sound back in San Diego.

For the rest of that day and the days, weeks and months to come, I found myself having a difficult time digesting this whole thing. I was thankful that I didn't know anyone who was lost that day but I couldn't help but think about the countless number of people who would spend the rest of their lives being impacted by the events of that day. I remember being angry at why it happened and feeling sorrow for the people lost. I remember praying for the families that lost loved ones and thanking God that I didn't. There was a greater sense of unity as a nation as we began to move forward and while the people that died were still gone, it was nice to see people come together. Families, churches, classrooms...groups big and small, coming together. I remember praying that out of this terrible thing, God would help me to find something good to hold onto so I wouldn't focus on the bad. I prayed this many times over the next year and God truly did answer my prayers.

On the night of September 10 of the following year, Jodi began to have contractions. She was pregnant with our second child and it happened to be my sister Katie's birthday. I was thinking that maybe our daughter would share a birthday with my sister....that would be pretty cool! But as it turned out, we were only at the hospital for a few hours, returning home in the middle of the night, waiting and wondering when the baby would arrive. Many hours later we returned to the hospital and waited some more until finally, at 6:40 p.m, our daughter Rebecca Rae was born.

As I held her for the first time I remember praying with her and thanking God for this beautiful and healthy little girl. We were so happy that she had finally arrived but it wasn't until I turned on the TV in our room that I realized that not only had God answered my prayer for a healthy baby, He had answered a prayer that I had been praying for a year. I realized that it was September 11, 2002....the one year anniversary of the tragedy we all went through. And as I sat there holding Rae Rae, I knew that I would never forget the day of anguish we all went through a year prior, but that God, in His unbelievable grace, had given me the gift of this day to celebrate the birth of our daughter.

It has now been seven years since those towers went down and nothing will ever bring back the people lost. The pain for some people is still as vivid as the day it happened and it may never fade. Fathers, Mothers, daughters, sons, teachers, friends....people who were important and impacted others were all lost that day. And while I hope I never forget completely what impact this has had on me and the sense of unity we once felt as a nation, I am so thankful that God chose to replace a very sad memory for me with a day of celebration and joy!

As I held Rae Rae the night before her birthday this year she cried a little because for some reason she wanted to stay 5. On the inside I was crying out to God thanking Him for blessing me with 5 wonderful years and that I wouldn't dread the day to come and the memory that follows it. And as I tucked Rae Rae into bed we listed off all the great things she could do when she was 6 that she didn't do when she was 5. She began to smile in anticipation of the year to come. She was excited that in the morning she would have a birthday and I was thrilled and thankful that I was going to be right there with her to experience it!

Thank you God for blessing me with an unbelievable girl who is now 6 years old and for sparing my family on that day seven years ago. Thank you that my kids are here and they have their parents and grandparents and friends.

Happy Birthday Rae Rae...may we you have many, many more to come!


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Nanny's Closet

Nanny's closet is the best place to be...She loves it here! Once we enter the door of Nanny's house she is off and running. "Shoesies, shoesies, shoesies..." We know Nanny probably isn't thrilled with the messy closet she deals with once we are gone( I know my own drives me nuts), but the joy of seeing Tirzah smile is worth it to her.

Tirzah will sit there almost the whole time we are visiting. Taking each "Floppy" off their shelf and trying them all on. One pair is not quite good enough- no she takes them all out and tries to carry them nicely to the other room. Next she'll try them all on for us and show her treasure finds.

Then of course are Nanny's purses as well. This current pictured trip she came running out of the closet screaming," Pink, pink, pink!" There was a pink purse way up high on the shelf- and do you think Nanny said no?- NO WAY! Nanny was off and running (yes running on her sore foot and all :) ) to please the little, red headed, purse freak!

I sit and watch and wonder..." Was I allowed to make such a mess?- No way!" This pleasure of destruction and joy is reserved only for precious grandbabies.

Tirzah says," Thanks Nanny beans."

Monday, August 25, 2008

Great Grandpa Gil is 87!

This weekend we celberated Great Gpa Gil's 87th B'day.The celebration brought a visit from Uncle Abe and Aunt Renee as well! The kids were so excited to see everyone they were counting the days. This great man is so loving and fun with the kids and such a great encourager to them. Grandma Verna is a doll as well. They hold a special place in my heart, too, as I haven't had any of my own grandparents around for quite sometime now. They are always so willing to share stories of the past with the kids and to teach them all they can about their life experiences. They are so wonderfully generous with their thoughtful little gifts and money that gets slipped into their hands from time to time. Though most of all we just love seeing their smiles and hearing their laughs! Someday we won't have them around anymore and when that day comes we will be sad, but we are blessed for now and thrilled to celebrate this 87th birthday. Grandpa is in great health and comes from a family of long lives, so we pray he's around for many more years. God knows what is in store for him and us and we take it one year at a time. He said as he told us goodbye that he hopes he is around for Rae Rae's 16th year- so do we!

The wonderful birthday brought a special Aunt and Uncle as well. Aunt Renee and Uncle Abe(and if you didn't know Tirzah is named for Grandma Verna and Aunt Renee- her name is Tirzah Renee Verna). Each day the kids asked," Is this the day we see Aunt Renee and Uncle Abe?" They live in The Bay Area so we don't see them as often as we would like, but it makes their trips so special. We treasure the time we spend with them. They are both so great at really focusing on the kids when they come, too; asking about their activities, talking and playing. They each played catch with Andy and watched Rae Rae's DVD of a current show of hers. Tirzah got her fair share of attention as well. They are so fun and the kids were sent off with the typical "last tag" game that Aunt Renee has passed down through the years!

Uncle Evan also came, which is always fun! He got the really good pictures, so when he sends them I'll post again. I'll be sure to post Aunt Renee's monkey face! :)

So a very Happy birthday to Grandpa and an official cyber space,"last tag," for Aunt Renee!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Gotta Go Back, Back, Back to School...

School has begun... I am still in shock at the early start this year. Why is it schools seem to start earlier and earlier each year? As previously blogged we have enrolled the kids into Escondido's Classical Academy this year. A new experience to let someone else be in control of the lesson plans. I have had to do a lot less thinking and planning and a lot more adjusting and reconfiguring our scheduling. Today is day 2 and we still have some kinks to figure out, but we'll get there. I am just so proud of our kiddos. Andy is still a grade ahead of most kids his age- he just began the 5th grade. Our little Rae Rae met with the education specialist and she placed her in 2nd grade language arts- that's writing, reading and grammar and she is just in first grade and 5 yrs old!!! I guess my homeschooling job has gone well so far.
The pictures of the kids are our traditional shot.It was very difficult to get Tiny to smile and open eyes at the same time as you can tell. Each first day we pose in front of the flag- thankful for our freedom to learn and the priviledge to do so at home!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Girl Time!

Diva Rae...One of her family nicknames...She sure knows how to be the center of attention! We had a spa day while Daddy and Andy were gone. We went shopping and she picked out her favorite nail color- pink with glitter-foot scrub, nail decals and more. As I gave her a pedicure she sat in my robe sipping hot chocolate from her great great grandmother's china.
As she sat there and I took the picture I realized once again how blessed I am. See I didn't want girls. I had always dreamed of having a house full of boys. I was raised with three older brothers and thought for sure I'd have no clue what do with a girl. Besides that would take the focus off me as the girl wouldn't it? Ofcourse that is how I thought when I was young. The day the doctor told me I was having a girl I was so overjoyed and excited. I realized God knew what he was doing because deep down I craved that little girl. I looked foward to days like the one pictured, playing dress up and tea party, singing songs and playing paper dolls as my mom did with me.
Not only did I have one but God was so gracious he gave me 2! In the beginning everyone kept classifying Tirzah as the dare devil or the tomboy one I'd have since her redheaded attitude gave her a bit tougher side I guess. NOT A CHANCE though- this one is just as girly! She prefers the shoes and purses to the crowns and princess dresses though. She wants everything pink as well. Each day we strive to find a pink outfit for her to wear so she'll be happy. Whoever said redhead's shouldn't wear pink didn't know what they were talking about because she's a doll in pink!
So God has given me this amazing opportunity to have those girl relationships I didn't have. I never had a sister to play with. I grew up in the suburbs so thankfully I had 2 girlfriends that lived right next to me, but still not in my house. Now I get that- 2 little girls to bring out my own little princess. I can have all the tea parties I want and no one would think I am crazy- I just have two special guests to set up tea for... Want to come? Just let me know, we have tons of princess crowns and boa's you can borrow!