Thursday, March 23, 2017

20 Years

I didn't sleep well last night. It was one of those "can't shut down my brain" nights. So much going through my head. Matt and I are less than 2 weeks away from celebrating our 20th anniversary and I couldn't stop thinking of everything we've been through together. We live in a time when so many people go into marriage with the thought of, "If it doesn't work out we can get divorced."...if they decide to marry at all. Things were rough in the beginning but we had made the promise to each other before he even put the ring on my finger that if we got married, we did it understanding that divorce was not an option. We were 19 years old, hot headed, and completely stubborn...but so completely in love. And though we seemed to hate each other in those first couple years, we loved each other so much more...and we had the promise that we both refused to break. In 20 years we've been through the death of his brother and mother from different forms of cancer, deaths of friends and other family members, loving both of my brothers (and a few friends) through drug addiction and recovery, holding the hands of friends and family through their divorces and their own loss of family, owning 2 small businesses, 5 pregnancies, 3 miscarriages, multiple screaming matches, numerous medical issues and scares, and more tears than we can even dream of counting. But, more important than the sad and hard times...which give us perspective and the ability to truly appreciate the good...have been beautiful perfect moments... Holding our children for the very first time (NOTHING makes my heart beat faster than when I look at the photos I took from my hospital bed of Matt holding Dakota and Montana in the hospital...rocking them and just staring at them. My husband and best friend holding the two human beings that were the perfect mix of the two of us). Holding their hands as they learn to walk...then run in independence. Holding our their hand the first time they walk into a classroom and seeing their beaming faces the first time they announce they made a new friend. Watching them turn and wave the first time they get on a school bus...alone (This was especially hard for me when Montana started school and Matt knew it was going to be. He called me as soon as he knew she was on the bus and just let me cry. He knew I would need to because he knew I wouldn't do it when she could see me). Seeing them take the first steps into employment, and matching them dollar for dollar for their first car (okay...to be honest this has only happened with Dakota but Montana has just now been told she can start working for her dad and grandpa to start saving for her first car). We've...meaning I...have worried as Montana started the new chapter of middle school and becoming a teenager...and proven that she's a complete and total boss. Honor roll, ASB, theater...you name it, she wants to do it...and she's awesome at it. She has the biggest heart in the world and lives her life just wishing only happiness on others. Sometimes I think if her heart gets any bigger it will just burst right out of her chest...and my goodness she is beautiful. So beautiful...inside AND out. We have no idea where Montana's journey is going to take her...and us...but damn...it's gonna be one heck of a ride. Of that we are sure. More recently we've watched Dakota...our first born...graduate high school and in a month we'll be hugging him goodbye as he heads to Jakarta, Indonesia as...get this...a missionary. Our son! OUR son is going to spend 2 months doing ministry in another country! I mean, how awesome is that?!! We've watched our kids go through heartache and come out the other end of the dark tunnel stronger than they've ever been. We've watched them hug each other through the hard times and pray together in good times and bad. We've watched them help others...not because they have to, but because they want to. Not because they're TOLD to but because it's just something you do if you're able. We've watched them be respectful to others because they know it's not someone's job to earn their respect, but only to keep it. Many times Matt and I have just looked at each other in awe, wondering just how we deserved to be so blessed by our amazing kids. The truth is, we don't deserve them, but for whatever reason God chose to allow us to be their parents and we are so proud of who they are and who they are yet to be. Our journey together hasn't always been easy...and that's an understatement for sure. But every single second has been worth it. Every single kiss. Every single tear. In 20 years we have fought hard. For us. For our kids. For our marriage. For our life together...but we've loved harder...For us. For our kids. For our marriage...for our life together...and 20 years is just not long enough. We've been together longer than we were apart. The best gift Matt ever offered me was his name and, proudly, I've been a Lloyd longer than I was a Durbin. There is so much more life in us. So much more love in us. Our journey is not even close to being over and 20 years is just one large chapter in our book of life and I'm looking forward to writing the rest of it with Matt and God. My Love, I know everyone believes their love story to be special...and it is. But OURS is my favorite. Ours started 30 years ago when we both walked into that orchestra room, but it became truly special 20 years ago. I am so thankful you realized it before I did and never gave up. I'm thankful we don't give up TOGETHER now. I still love it when you hold my hand, when you tease me, when you make me laugh when I don't want to, when you wipe my tears, and when you hold me and make me remember that me being me is enough and good. My heart still skips a beat when you tell me I'm beautiful, when you kiss me, and your smile is still the best smile I've ever known. No one knows me better than you. You read me and understand me better than I ever believed anyone could. You are my strength...my true North. You are...everything. I love you more today than the first time I said it out loud. And I will love you even more tomorrow...and the next day...and the next day...

Friday, October 21, 2016

I'm So Over This Day

So today...in order...I Woke up 20 minutes before my alarm because I had to pee...you know it sucks. Got up to pee, stubbed my pinky toe on the door jamb...which made me pee a little (yes...I just typed that out loud) and barely made it to the bathroom (yes...I said some mean words on the way) before the flood gates crumbled...come on...admit it...we girls have all been there. Got to the shop early and went to make the (almost) last of the coffee and ended up dumping the grounds on the floor...I nearly cried. Wasted coffee is no joke! Grabbed the hand held vac...realized it hadn't been plugged in so suction was minimal...and got what I could just to turn around and end up dumping an entire Halloween goblet of powdered creamer on the floor...ya know...because I like cleaning crap off the floor on my hands and knees. Grabbed the handheld...no suction. Battery is dead. Awesome. Used the sweeper to get what I could (which wasn't much) so just used my hands to pick up the most and then took the broom and swept it ALL OVER to spread it out some and make it look less noticeable. I'm awesome and crafty right? Then poured myself a cup of the crappy coffee I could make with the leftover grounds and spilled it on the way back to the counter burning my hand. Yeah...I'm super talented like that. Ended up messing up my words and asking a customer what I could do TO him instead of FOR him. This gave Tara a tremendous laugh. We're talking red face, tears, gasping for breath and all. Yeah...didn't know I was a comedienne too, did ya? Ended up just throwing up my hands and walking out of the room and letting Tara take over. THEN sitting behind the counter I go to just slightly adjust the tines on the plug for my charger and end up breaking one COMPLETELY off! To which my adoring sister replies, "You should have had me do it. You know how your day's been going" **raspberries to her** As I'm leaving the shop she says, "I hope you don't hit anyone with your car!" Nice. I hate her. I come home and tell my hubby and son of my suckish day expecting the love and sympathy of the two men who love me...and who I love...the very most. Nope. Matt laughs his butt off and Dakota says, "So...you're a girl. They always pee. Someone looks at them sideways and they pee. They pee everywhere."...Yeah...so apparently girls are puppies in human form. **rolling eyes** I hate them. Decided to go and take a long hot bath and realized I forgot to put my clothes in the dryer before I left this morning so the comfy stuff I wanted to lounge and then sleep in is still wet...and now I'm sitting in the bathtub and I have no idea where my shampoo or conditioner went. Really...sml.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

My Observations for 10/13/2016

My observations for this morning... I am a much happier non morning person when my husband doesn't let his alarm go off 4 times long before I need to get up. Hugs from Matt and the kids are...they're just...so perfect.
Folgers Black Silk is my happy drug and the first thing I look forward to when I wake up in the morning.
It's good to see my son smile again. That hasn't happened for a while now. His smile makes my heart smile. I slept very well last night even though I didn't fall asleep until after 2am. This makes me a happier person. My husband is seriously sexy when he's sleeping...and not snoring or drooling. Ha! I love old reruns of The Twilight Zone (The original). My daughter is absolutely beautiful.
And she's seriously funny...even in the mornings when I hate life. I am truly blessed by My husband. I am so proud to be his wife. My dog makes me smile because he's always excited to see me...even when I've only been gone for 10 minutes.
I am REALLY looking forward to my upcoming girls weekend in Leavenworth...the one weekend I look forward to every single year and I hope it continues until me and all my girls are dead. I miss My Love. Special K Redberries is my favorite and I'm out. Boo. Waking up and realizing it was still nearly dark outside even though it was almost 7 made me smile. I'm missing My Love this morning and just want to feel him hug me.
The leftover cheddar broccoli and potato soup that I made for dinner last night will be lovely this evening after a day of rain. When you talk to God, he listens...he hears...and he'll make it known if you just be patient and understand that HE knows best...in EVERYTHING. I hope all of you have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Shout Out To My Amazing Husband

I just want to take a moment and give a shout out to my seriously incredible husband. Most of you know his daily job is being a forester/pole buyer. That job in itself takes up the good majority of his week. Top that off with his co ownership of The Family Tree, he doesn't have a whole ton of time left each week. So...he does the very best he can to spend as much time with his kids as he can AND makes sure he never forgets our date night once a week, and makes sure every Sunday is ours.But, with all that being done he also plays handyman and "yard" maintenance man at the shop...Just last night he agreed to redo the entire courtyard before Summers end! And not only does he do all of that...but he makes sales for the shop too...just this morning he placed an order for a bunch of t-shirts for one of his logger buddies...and this is not the first time...or the 2nd...or the 3rd...or the...that we've made sales because of him and his belief and excitement in us.
He is my biggest and loudest cheerleader, my strongest support, my very best friend, the keeper of my secrets, the beat of my heart, the patter of my back, the tissue for my tears, the shoulders I lean on, the holder of my hand...in short, my greatest encourager. I don't deserve him...but he's mine and whatever it is he loves about me...whatever it is that he's loved in me for the last 20 years... I hope it only becomes stronger because I just don't want to do this life without him. I don't ever want my heart to stop skipping a beat when he walks into the room. I don't ever want to stop getting shy and embarrassed when he teases and flirts with me. I don't ever want to lose that tingling at the base of my spine. I don't ever want my heart to stop pounding for him.

Psoriasis Is Not Contagious...But Awareness Is

On a daily basis, I try to remind myself that I'm not going to let my psoriasis decide for me, how to live my life...but sometimes it truly gets the better of me. These last few weeks have been extremely rough. My skin has gotten really bad over the last month (partly due to stress as well as the changing of the seasons, I'm sure), I've had a flare up in my leg, and the psoriatic arthritis is wreaking havoc in my knees and hips. I try not to let it get me down, but I have to admit, I've spent a tremendous amount of time crying, in front of Matt and the kids, and alone, over the last couple of weeks. Sleep has become even more of a problem as the pain in my feet and hips keeps me awake for hours in the middle of the night. I know it'll get better again...at least for a while...but when it's bad I feel as if it's never going to end and I miss out on so much because even walking becomes an insurmountable chore. It's pretty suckish to think that I didn't go to the shop all last week because of psoriasis...because of a skin issue. Fortunately, as I've been dealing with this since I was about 12 (and was officially diagnosed when I was 19) Matt and the kids and my family are amazingly understanding and supportive when I'm having bad days...or weeks. The reason I share all this is that I want to bring awareness of this disease. There's a saying many of us sufferers use: Psoriasis isn't contagious, but awareness is. When you have psoriasis your interleukin genes are on too high alert in your skin. This makes your immune system think you're always being infected there. Basically, your immune system is attacking your skin and the cells as if it's an invader in your body and needs to be killed. Psoriasis is NOT contagious. Psoriasis is NOT just dry skin and can not be cured by creams, lotions, tanning beds, etc. Although some of these things can ease the pain and make skin softer for a time, typically...even with prescriptions... it WILL stop working and then finding something else to replace it is needed. People with psoriasis are not gross...or dirty...or unclean...and I'm pretty confident in saying that we probably bathe more than anyone we know...for me personally, sometimes 3 or more times a day...be we are not without shame and embarrassment. We don't like being stared at. We don't like being given dirty looks when we wear short sleeves, or shorts, or sandals. We don't enjoy seeing people pull their kids further away from us for fear of being touched. We don't like not being able to enjoy going into a pool, or sunbathing on the beach (even though the warmth of the sun can do amazing things in making us feel more comfortable), for fear of people seeing what we deal with on a daily basis...even though the blessed relief of being in water would be so amazing...just to be able to move without so much pain. Remember...we didn't ask for this. It's not JUST dry skin. It's skin so dry that it cracks no matter how much lotion you use. It's not being able to walk because the cracks in your feet are so bad you actually have blood stained socks and shoes. It's not being able to do something with your family because just the thought of the pain walking will cause in your feet and/or joints is enough to stay home by yourself. It's arthritis pain in your joints so bad you cry every chance you get when no one is around, just because it gives you some release. It's smiling and excepting a thousand different remedies from a thousand different people who want to help but don't realize 99.9% of the time you've already tried it or it'll be just another bottle sitting on your bathroom counter. It's missing so much time with your loved ones and friends because you're afraid of holding them all back...and it's knowing that there is the real possibility that someday when you pass on, it'll likely be due to some complication or problem that is caused by your skin. At this time there is NO CURE for psoriasis.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

ALittleGIrlWithABigHeart

On Friday evening I walked into the church for worship practice and noticed almost immediately, the woman sitting in the back of the church just silently watching and listening. I didn't think much of it even though I'd never seen her before, thinking she was a friend of one of the team members and was just hanging around waiting for us to finish.
As we got about halfway through the lineup for Sunday, I noticed that she was closing her eyes and kind of rocking back and forth...getting into the music I guess...and then a few minutes later, I noticed Montana walk over and hand her something and get into a conversation with her. I didn't worry about Montana talking to her even though I didn't know her because I could see everything that was going on from the stage and, as I said, I thought she was a visitor of one of the worship team members. I noticed that Montana didn't much stray from the side of this newcomer and briefly wondered if I should run down and tell Montana not to bug the poor woman. But figured if the lady was smiling, Montana probably wasn't bothering her too much.
We finished up practice got in our prayer circle and prayed for all those who's names had come across the prayer chain, personal prayers, and prayers thanking God for the growth we've been seeing in our church as of late. The whole time I couldn't help continuously peeking out to make sure that Montana wasn't making a nuisance of herself.
When we were done praying, I quickly headed down off the stage, surprised to see and old friend I'd not seen in about 15 years sitting in the sanctuary with his wife and son. I was excited to see them and instantly headed in their directions. As my friend was making introductions, this woman that Montana had apparently made instant friends with came over and said she "had to meet the mother of this beautiful little girl with the huge beautiful heart".
She went on, quickly giving me her name, explaining that she had "strayed" over the last couple of years, saw the lights on in the church and figured she'd take a chance and see if the doors were unlocked. She was happy to see they were, and even happier when she realized that she had happened upon our worship team practicing Sundays lineup. She then told me that at one point she just started crying and didn't even realize she was crying until my daughter went up and handed her a tissue.
She told me Montana rubbed her shoulder and asked her if she was okay. She said she would be and then Montana said, "Don't worry. Everything will be okay." This woman then explained to me that my little girl sat next to her, invited her to church this Sunday, gave her the times of the service, explained that we also have coffee and tea afterward in the fireside room, and then proceeded to tell her that if she didn't know anyone else on Sunday, she was more than welcome to sit with our family.
Now, I know a lot of people may be...irritated...if their 7 year old daughter...inadvertently...asked her family to...I don't know...let's say 'be responsible' for a complete stranger on her first visit back to church in 2 years. But the only thing I could think of to say to Montana was, "I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!"...and last night, while we had our family prayer time, she asked if we could pray for her new friend. Pray that she would be happy.
This morning before I got out of bed, Montana came in to snuggle with me. We started talking and she says to me, "Mama, do you think C***** will actually come to church on Sunday? I told her I didn't know but that we would continue to pray for her. I asked Montana what some of her conversation with this woman had been about and she told me pretty much the same things that C***** had already said to me on Friday night. But then she went into a little more depth.
Montana told me that this lady had told her that she had spent too much time over the last couple years running away from Jesus because she had been bad. She felt like Jesus was mad at her and she was afraid to come and talk to him. Then she decided that she didn't want to run anymore and was going to come and ask Jesus to forgive her. Montana told her, "You don't have to be afraid to say you're sorry to Jesus. He will forgive you no matter what you did...just like my daddy does. He won't ever stop loving you no matter what."

I hugged my baby girl, and choked up, told her again how proud I was of her. Told her that she should be very proud of herself because she was doing what God wanted her to do. Then I told her that she made a mark on someones life last night and told her that God was very proud of her too. She smiled and said, "I know. C***** told me God was proud of me after I talked to her...and God told me in my dreams last night."

I don't know if Montana's new friend will actually show up on Sunday but I pray she does. She was very obviously reaching out last night and I pray she found some of what she needed then, and will find even more tomorrow. And I know a very special little girl who will be overjoyed to sit next to her on Sunday morning and introduce her to everyone who walks by.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

HaveYouEverHadADream

Have you ever had a dream? Something you've wanted to do so badly, but never got the chance? We all have. I know I have.
Well, my little brother Travis has always had a dream to go on a mission trip. To head out and spend time helping those in need, but he's never really been given the chance until recently. Unexpectedly, he was asked to join a group of men going on a mission trip to Mexico. He was so excited, but nervous because he has less than 2 weeks to come up with the money to cover all of his expenses.

Travis and his group of guys will be headed for Urawa Than, Mexico (just about 4 hours south of the border in The Baja) on the 29th of this month. For 10 days they will be working on/building on to 'The Mount of Olives' Orphanage and then returning on November 10th.

Travis is still looking for sponsors to come up with around $1500 to cover all of his expenses while he's gone. If you can and are willing to help, he would be extremely grateful as he's been wanting to do this kind of trip for several years. Please help him realize this dream he's had for so long. Any amount, no matter how big or small, will help him get to Urawa Than, Mexico to help make a better home for kids who don't have families to be a part of.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. God Bless.


*If you're interested in helping Travis, you can send a check or money order to:
Travis Durbin
c/o Whatcom New Life Assembly
P.O. Box 1149
Ferndale, Washington
98248
** Please make checks payable to WNLA
***Please be sure to write in the memo line: For Travis Durbin's Mission Trip

TRAVIS LEAVES VERY EARLY ON THE MORNING OF THE 29TH SO ALL CHECKS OR MONEY ORDERS MUST BE RECEIVED BY THE 27TH SO THE CHURCH HAS TIME TO TURN THEM INTO USABLE FUNDS.

AND AGAIN, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

IAmTrulyBlessed

Summer is finally winding down, and we've gotten back into the school routine again. This is good. The kids are in bed by 8:30, the house is quiet, Matt and I get a few minutes to ourselves...it's good. We've had a lot going on lately, and it seems like we might just get the chance to take a breathe sometime soon.
Today, as the kids worked on their homework, I sat at my window, just looking out at the rain. In the window, I saw the reflections of my kids, the lights from the living and dining rooms, and the glow from the television. I sat there, while it was temporarily quiet, and just listened to the rain. It's really a beautiful, relaxing, sound. Comforting, knowing that I get to sit inside my house, comfortable, and watch and listen, without having to be wet or cold...very...cozy.
And then I started thinking about how I felt about this place when we first made the offer on it. It's no secret that I was not happy. Every chance I got, I told people how much I hated it, all the while, telling Matt that I would work through it. That because he wanted it so bad, I would...eventually...be happy with it. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how incredibly blessed I really am.
I love my house...not 'as is'...as we are doing a lot of remodeling starting really soon, but I love it none the less. What was a bitter disappointment to me 4 months ago, has become something I'm excited about. I am happy, knowing that soon, my house will be everything I've asked for, but mainly, just because it's mine. There are so many people that don't even have food to eat, let alone a warm home to live in, that they can call their own.
I recently had to take a friend...yes, a friend...to The Lighthouse Mission. Which will be his home for some time while he works on things in his life. At first, I felt terribly guilty and entirely sad knowing that when we told him he couldn't sleep on our couch anymore, he would have to go stay in a shelter. It felt bad knowing that we were making him leave the comfort of our home, for someplace where he had no friends, and no family. I hugged him good bye and told him I'd talk to him soon, and pasted a smile on my face as he got out and shut the door. It was not easy to watch him walk up those steps alone to face a life without a home...and I cried as soon as he entered the building...and yes, I understand it wasn't nearly as hard for me to watch him walk in those doors, as it was for him to actually walk in them.
But, after praying about it, and seeing him this last weekend, I believe that there is no reason for me to feel guilty about the things I have, or the decisions we made concerning our friend. He's doing great. He still comes to church every week, he's still keeping in touch with all of his friends, and he recently started working again and is waiting to get an apartment. I'M SO PROUD OF HIM!!!
Don't get me wrong, I feel terrible for those homeless men and women that sleep in shelters, on the streets, in parks, under bridges etc. Especially when I know that the cold weather is just around the corner. Not all of them deserve to be living the lives that they do...but I don't feel guilty for what I have either. Matt and I have worked very hard to get to where we're at and we've sacrificed much...like time with each other, or the kids, or time to do other things. I feel we have every right to be proud of us. Not just for what we have materialistically, that's the least of it. But because of what we have become as a couple, a family, best friends, and more. We've come so far emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically. We are proud of US.
I spent last Saturday at Salt on the Street, an amazing ministry that our church is involved in that reaches out to the homeless to give them food, clothing, and the word of God. We lead worship, and The Fellowship of the Unashamed (a group of men from our church that have all battled addictions, and homelessness), did a small skit explaining how addictions, can press you down, and how having God in your life, can lighten the load. Asking you to come to God AS YOU ARE. They did a great job, and touched a lot of people that night.
I watched them, some family and others, friends so close they could be family and was so proud of who each of them have become. They've all fought addictions...drugs, sex, alcohol, etc...and have come up swinging, to make their lives something they can be proud of. Something that they can share with others, in hopes that it brings others to God. This group of guys are AMAZING!!...and they're all there for each other when they need it...and sometimes when they don't. I'm not a part of this group...I've never lived a 'hard' life, but I spend a very large amount of time with them. They're a great group of guys that will lift you up when you're down, hold you down if you want to get high, and hug you when you cry. These are guys that I would trust with my life. These are my friends. My brothers.
They told their 'collective' story on Saturday night...and they'll share it with you...and no, they're not always happy, they're not always kickin' back thinking life is easy...yes, they struggle...with more than one thing, but they've given their lives to God and keep pushing through, with Him being their goal.
It's heartbreaking to see the suffering that some people go through. I met people that said they'd not bathed in over 2 months, others that hadn't eaten anything in nearly 3 days, and still others who were there to get a hot meal and clothing for a child they had rescued when her mother literally threw her away because she wanted to get high instead.
I can't tell you how sad seeing that is...really. But by the end of the night, I was ecstatic!! I was happy!! I got to kiss a, once unwanted, baby girl who stole my heart, as she reached out for a stuffed rabbit that was given to her. I got to eat a hot dog with a man who stunk so bad it made my eyes water...but he was happy and incredibly friendly...and he was there listening to what we had to say with a generous smile on his face. I got a hug and a thank you from a man so drunk he could hardly stand up straight and I was told by a man who was so shy he could hardly look me in the eye and spoke so softly that I could hardly hear him, that my voice did something to him...something to make him think that God was worth thinking about. I'm not bragging. I can't tell you how much that man's words made me bawl that night. I cried like a baby because he made me feel like I could make a difference to someone...and I just KNEW that when he went to sleep that night, where ever he was, he was thinking about God.
No...I don't feel guilty for all that God has blessed me with. But, I'll share when I can...if it's the right thing to do. I'll lend a helping hand...or voice as it were...and I'll give them what has always been given to me (Thank you Mom and Dad)...the words of God. The promises of God. The knowledge that God exists and is with you...even in the hard times.

And the promise that things can get better. I know they can because I've seen it happen...because I know that some of my closest friends were once where those men and women were and they pulled themselves up by their bootstraps...no, not by themselves, but with the help of friends who cared and a God who cared even more.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

TheChangesComeAndANewChapterBegins

I'm loving the new house.

As most all of you know (because I've not been shy in say so)I did not like our new house when we got word that the bank had accepted Matt's offer. I was distraught. Thinking of moving into a home with no doors, no trim, and more 'potential' than I wanted to deal with.
But, I am happy to report, that after moving in, taking care of some painting, installing doors, lights, and trim...well, I'm just very happy with the progress that we've made and it's already feeling like home. Actually, last night was the very first night that it TRULY felt like home. After having dinner, when dishes were done and bathing was accomplished, we sat down for the first time, as a family, and watched a movie. With just the glow of the kitchen light seeping into the living room, with the kids stretched out on the floor and Matt and I snuggled on the couch...it was home.
Don't get me wrong, there is still a lot of changes we're going to be making. But, if we decided right now, to not do any more work on the house, many many people would be quite happy with it...but, Matt and I always have to make things just a little more complicated and it's not good enough for us yet. But, I'm happy to say that we'll be starting on the shelving for the library, probably this week, and the master bedroom and bathroom will be started sometime in the next 6 to 8 weeks or so. At least that's the plan...but you know what they say about best laid plans. Even so, we're hoping to have the library and master bedroom and bathroom completely finished before Christmas, so that we'll be completely free to start the remodel on the garage that will become the main family room in the spring.
I'm quite happy with how things are coming along. The kids have been wonderful at doing their chores without argument, and with the exception of about 4 days when I was really sick, the house has been clean. I'm still not back to normal, and get tired easily, but at least I'm able to keep up with the house and not worry about it becoming a disaster area.
We've met a few of our neighbors and we've found that one man is the father of three of the kids my mom cared for for several years when they were growing up, two worked with Matt's dad out at Intalco when we was there, and one actually worked at Oeser before Dad or Matt ever started there. It's a small small world. We met our first neighbor KID the other day when there was a quiet little knock on the door. Dakota ran down to see who was here and when he opened the door, Alex, looked at him and Montana and boldly (and very loudly) said, "You wanna be my friends?" The kids were happy to oblige and so 8 year old Alex has been here for the majority of of the day for the last 4 days. He's a good kid and all three of the rugrats get along very well.
The kids have had their first sleep over in the house, and we've realized that the walls in this place are very very thin. Dakota turned 11 on the first of August but we postponed his party as we were spending that day moving into our new house. He happily said that was fine when we told him that he could have a slumber party to celebrate later. He ended up having 3 friends overnight and they managed to stay awake...and keep me awake...until nearly 3 in the morning, with all their giggling and goofing off. But, it was a fun night for all the kids so it was worth it.
Montana will be turning 6 in a few days, and will also be starting kindergarten this year. She is very excited, but quite nervous at the prospect of being away from mommy three days a week. I'm very happy to know that I'll have three kid free days a week to take care of things that were always tough to do before...but I'm REALLY going to miss having Montana around all the time. I'm so used to her being here, it's going to feel quite strange for the first little while not to have her here...I'm sure I'll get over it though...hee hee
So that's about the jist of what's been going on around here. Things are moving at a good steady pace and I'm finding that I love our new house. Matt is thrilled beyond description, and is very happy puttering around outside finding things to do. He's already taken out some of the blackberry bushes, mowed the field, and come up with some idea's for building a pig pen (not that I'm entirely thrilled about that one).
We're back to church after being gone for a few weeks to concentrate on the house and it feels good to both of us to be back with the worship team. I can't tell you how much we missed everyone when we were gone.
With school starting in just a few days, we're about to have to begin a new routine that we've not done with two kids before. It seems like so many things are changing too fast and my kids are growing up quicker than they need to. I know I know....we all go through this as parents. But this is a brand new chapter for me...and I'm excited to see what we have in store.

Friday, July 17, 2009

TheWindsTheyAreAChangin

So it's been a while since I've written, but it's just because we've been so busy. Things are really changing around here.

First off, I just wanted to tell all of you that I hope you all enjoyed your 4th of July this year. We had so much fun. We really let go this year. My parents decided that we should have a get together out at their place for the 4th. So we called a ton of friends, pulled out the games, made too much food, and spent way too much on fireworks........it's the best Independence Day we've ever had. We had a friend that worked a firework stand this year, so we took advantage of the deals he was able to get. To make a long story short, the guys were letting off fireworks for nearly 8 hours and they rivaled any 'big' show you've seen. Their finale was awesome. We had an amazing time with all of our friends. It was so fun to have so many people enjoying themselves so much...I can't wait until next year.
And, this year, Matt was in for a quick surprise. His best friend left for boot camp earlier this year and we didn't think we were going to see him again until he got back in September. Unfortunately, for sad family reasons, Gerrit got to come home on leave for a few days shortly after graduating boot camp. We kept this a secret from Matt. As the evening turned into the very early morning hours, Matt started getting very sleepy and wanted to head home, but we didn't allow him to leave. Just after 1 a.m. a car pulled into my parents place, with the headlights glaring in his face, Matt hears the car door shut and the sound of Gerrit calling out his name. It was quite the surprise for him......and he was thrilled that he hadn't left for home when he really wanted to. And although Gerrit was only hear for a few days, we got to spend some time with him before he headed back......and now, poor Matt has to wait until September before seeing him again.......LOL

In other news, Matt and I bought a house. Finally. Unfortunately, when we first saw it......I hated it. I loved the property, but absolutely hated the house.....I was not happy and for the first couple months, after making the offer on the place, I would cry like a baby every single time we talked about it or went out to look at it. I was very depressed. But I agreed to making an offer and signed the papers because I knew how much Matt loved it.....despite the no doors, no trim, split level, terribly small kitchen, ugly gray and black paint job.........In my eyes, it was everything that I DIDN'T want in a house.
But after a couple of months, when Matt was on the verge of calling it all off, I decided that I needed my attitude changed. I prayed to God to change my attitude and to help me to see the house as Matt was seeing it. Shortly after my prayer, I fell asleep and had a dream about how we changed the house........and the floorplan was perfect and the house was beautiful. So, the next day, I sat Matt down and explained what I would like to do with the house........starting with turning the existing attached garage into a large family room and repainting the outside of the house a much nicer color........Much to my surprise, Matt was thrilled with the floor plan I had come up with.....and so the planning began. (Some of the changed we'll be making: turning the existing master bedroom into a library, using the old laundry room as a walk in pantry, adding a wall to make a room for Montana, turning one of the existing bedrooms downstairs into a master bedroom/bathroom suite, turning the attached garage into a family room, turning the living room into a dining room, changing the color of the house, adding two sets of french door off the back, one from the family room and one from the master bedroom, changing all the white walls into the house that reflects our personalities, building a deck off of the family room, working it's way down to an exposed aggregate patio outside the master bedroom, and remodeling the kitchen to open up the space and making it all a big open kitchen/dining area.) I found myself getting excited about what we were going to do and now am aniticipating the move over. Yes, we'll be working on it but most of the work will be done by next summer and I figure I can live with it.......because it's going to be amazing when it's finished.......and the beautiful one and a quarter acres is a definite bonus. Not to mention it's out in Custer.......it feels like Matt and I are finally going home....and the kids are thrilled that they won't be changing school districts.

So anyway, that's what's going on with us. We will be getting in the new house next week and starting a new chapter in our lives......I hope all of you are doing well and as soon as we get internet hooked up in the new place, I'll be sure to let you all see the changes we're making. I'm very excited and hope to be able to have a big summer party next year to celebrate. Love you all and have an amazing summer!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

सो मच गोइंग ओं.........

I know it's been a while since I've posted, but we've just been so busy and there is so much going on.

First of all, I'll let you all know that the beautiful house that I posted in my last post did not end up becoming 'our' new home. Unfortunately for us, someone made an offer over the asking price and we lost out on it. Matt and I were so upset because we had pretty much convinced ourselves that we were going to be moving into it this summer. Boy were we wrong.
So, after mourning our loss for a few days, we got back on the horse and continued looking for a new home that had our names on it......AND....just a few weeks ago, Matt found the home he fell in love with.......well, he found the SHOP he fell in love with. He knew right away that he wanted to make an offer on it........and I was not thrilled. I loved the property and the area, but the house is definitely not my dream home. Actually, it has nothing to offer that we have previously been looking for.....but Matt just kept telling me that it had potential. So, with my blessing, and the agreement that we are going to entirely remodel the house, he made the offer. He was kind of nervous at first because we found out that there were also three other offers on the house. (He was more nervous than I, as I was hoping they were going to accept someone elses offer....LOL) BUT.....low and behold, our offer was the one they accepted. So we continued to move forward. I was not happy with our 'potentially' beautiful home. But, over the last few weeks, after speaking with Matt at length about the changes we would make, I've come to accept the fact and am looking forward to finally getting out of Bellingham.
The house is a 2136 square foot split level with three bedrooms. Here is a basic list of the remodeling we'll be doing over the next couple of years. We'll be making the existing master bedroom, which is upstairs, into the family room and building an extra room downstairs that will be the master bedroom and adding a master bath downstairs as well. Unfortunately for the kids, they'll be sharing a room until this process is done. Then we'll be adding a couple more walls to make another bedroom for one of the kids.
We'll also be making the room, right at the landing as you walk in the front door, into a small library. We'll be knocking out the wall between the kitchen and the formal living room to open up the space, as well as ripping up the carpet on the top floor in order to install hardwood flooring. We'll be redoing the kitchen with new cabinets and more, and changing the paint colors of the interior as well as the exterior.
That's just some of the stuff that we want to do to the house, as well as whatever Matt has planned for the property. When it's all done, it should be a whole new house that I'm hoping to love.....and, on the upside, both of the kids are thrilled with the new place and are looking forward to moving this summer.....even if they do have to share a room for a little while.
I know. I know. Many women have told me I'm totally crazy to have agreed to all of this, but if they loved Matt like I do, and could see the excitement he's 'exuding' they would have done the same thing. He's so excited and happy and it seems, other than his upcoming fishing trip, to be the only thing he can think about......LOL.
So, tomorrow afternoon, we go through all the mandatory inspections, and if all turns out well, then we should get the keys the beginning of July. And then it's a summer of moving and putting our house in order.......so that we can put our house in order.........LOL

In other news, Dakota decided he wanted to play baseball again this season and loves every minute of it......even when he has to practice in the cold, and sometimes the rain. He's on one of the top teams and so far, they've only lost 2 games. He's got a great coach and is on a team with some really awesome kids. He's really hoping that he can play on the same team next year and Matt and Dad are hoping they'll get a chance to sponsor his team. I've really enjoyed meeting the other parents as they're all great people and they're fun to sit and watch the games with. I'm sure we've all embarrassed our children more than once.....LOL

Montana is excited to be moving soon and is really looking forward to starting school in September. She's so excited that she'll be able to make a bunch of new friends and ride the bus with her big brother. She's a firecracker and I'm sure is going to give her new teacher a run for her money this next year. Hopefully I'm not called into the office too often.......LOL

Matt's busy busy busy.......as always. Oeser is keeping him on his toes and he's working extra hard at the mill to make all the money we'll need for remodeling the new place. Although, secretly, I think he's enjoying it all the more because he knows the money he's making is going to make his new house, our perfect home.
He's excited as well, to be leaving on Wednesday morning for the chartered halibut trip he's taking with his dad, uncle, and grandfather....as well as my own uncle. He's been looking forward to it for the last couple months and is now trying to make sure all is in order before he leaves on Wednesday morning. I'm glad he's getting to go. It should be a great time for him and the upside is I get some fresh halibut on his return.......yummy.......I'm definitely more excited about this trip than his last chartered fishing trip, in which he looted 200 lbs. of tuna.....good, but not 200 lbs. good.......LOL

As for me, I'm keeping myself busy with getting ready for the move, getting Dakota to his games twice a week, helping Montana be ready for kindergarten, doing what I can to help Gram with all her medical stuff, being the happy little wifey for Matt, and singing on the worship team at church. It's a busy life around here, but I love it.
Although, the house isn't what I was dreaming of for Matt and I and the kids, I'm being optimistic and believing that sooner than later, it will be. And I'm looking forward to finally being out of Bellingham and back out in Custer. Closer to my parents and closer to my bestest bud Shel.......who's going to be helping me arrange my new kitchen and house for the summer since I suck at it and she's trying to find things to keep her busy while her hubby is away at boot camp. Should be a fun and busy summer.

I hope all of you mom's out there had as wonderful a Mother's Day as I did. I was awaken by the kids to handmade cards and pictures, and a beautiful card that Matt picked for me that made me cry. I know he took great pains in picking it because the words written on the card, as well as the short letter inside that he had written to me, made me cry. It was beautiful and I'll be sure to keep it forever.
We went to church and then Matt and the kids surprised me with lunch at Mykonos. And, because they all know how much I love it, we spent the afternoon and early evening just driving. We ended up somewhere south of Darrington and it was the funnest trip ever.
I know, it doesn't sound like the greatest of gifts to just spend the entire day in the car just driving around with absolutely no destination in mind, but I love our drives. It's always the time that the four of us spend the most time talking....about anything that comes to mind......and laughing so hard we cry. We all had so much fun and I don't think that Matt and the kids really realize how much I love our times driving. I get to rediscover my kids, and remember all the wonderful things I love about my husband....especially the way he can make me laugh so hard I can hardly breathe.......even after 12 years together. He and the kids have a sense of humor that I treasure more than anything...And then on the way home, we stopped in Mt. Vernon and had strawberry waffles and ice cream for dinner. All in all, it was the most perfect day.

It's so hard sometimes, as mom's, to realize that our families appreciate the things that we do for them. The day to day can be hard, grinding, tiring work and it seem that we're forgotten in the process sometimes. But, if you ever wonder if your kids really care about what you do for them, or if your husband remembers that he's supposed to love you for more than just being a wife or mom, just take a drive in your car. Turn off the radio, don't worry about your destination point, and just talk. If you drive long enough, you soon learn, that they DO appreciate you. More than you ever thought. If you give it time, and start a few conversations, you'll discover all the reasons why they love you.....and you may even rediscover why you love them so much.......and why you continue to do all the things you do, even when it seems to go unnoticed.......

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY. MAY GOD BLESS AND KEEP YOU MOM, WIFE, LOVER, SISTER, DAUGHTER, GRAND DAUGHTER, AND FRIEND.

Oh, and please forgive the scribbling, which is supposed to be my heading.....I don't know why it came out like that, and for some reason, I can't seem to figure out how to change it.........hhhmmm.......

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

We Made An Offer


So I've gotten a bunch of questions about the house hunting that Matt and I have been doing so I thought I'd give ya the lowdown.

We made an offer on a house last week......and it kind of comes with a story.

A couple of years ago, we went and looked at a house that was listed for sale on Enterprise Rd. When we got there, we realized that it was WAY out of our price range. So over the last couple of years, we've driven by it just to see what kind of things the new owners were doing to it. What kind of changes they were making.
We would always drive by, wishing that we could afford it on one income but knew it was impossible right now since they were asking $335,000. That was before fixing our credit report and pushing it to the 'excellent' status....not an easy task and one we worked on for several years. Then, when it was done, we drove by the house again, just to see how things had changed over the last year or so.....hoping we just might get lucky and find out that it was for sale again. When we got there, we noticed that there were foreclosure papers on the door.
So, we called our real estate agent and had her check it out for us. Sure enough, it was going into auction the following Saturday. So, we waited to see if it would sell........it didn't.....not in this market. As soon as it didn't sell, our real estate agent was on the phone trying to find out what we needed to do in order to make an offer on it. She was informed that it was reverting back to the owners for one month, in order for them to try and save the place. On March 13th it reverted back to the bank that holds the original mortgage. Upon calling them, we were informed that the owners still owed $222,000 on the original mortgage and the bank was going to list it again at $248,000. So, on the 14th, we made an offer.
The bank that owns it, is out of Georgia, so even though the property is in Ferndale, we still have to abide by Georgia State property laws.....meaning they have to list it before they can accept or reject any offers. As of right now, our offer is sitting on a desk, waiting for the second that the home is listed.

So.....now we're playing the waiting game. Chances are we'll have to make another offer, since we kind of low balled our offer, but there is a very good chance that the house that Matt and I have been wanting for the last two years will be ours.......and at around $100,000 less than what they were asking for it less than a year ago.......YAY!! So, keep us in your prayers. We are hoping that the reason we havent' agreed on a home or found one to our liking over the last couple of years is because this is the home that God has in mind for us.

Here are some pictures of the house we really hope to make a home:












Monday, March 2, 2009

Thoughts About Mom: Dakota Matthew ~ 10 Years Old

1. What is something mom always says to you?
Did you have a good day at school?

2. What makes mom happy?
When Dad actually gets home on time and skips working at the mill to surprise us.

3. What makes mom sad?
When Dad puts off fixing your car and then goes and spends a lot of money on his truck.

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
By going completely nuts to the music in the car.....like when you pretend to be a rapper for Toby Mac.....

5. What was your mom like as a child?
Um.....young.......

6. How old is your mom
old

7. How tall is your mom?
More than 3'8" like Montana said.

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
Go shoe shopping with your sister....if you have money to spend.

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?
Take a shower and then take a nap.

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
You would become the best female singer in the world except Gretchen Wilson and Hannah Montana.

11. What is your mom really good at?
Typing

12. What is your mom not very good at?
You're not good at killing spiders because they freak you out and you say they're really freaking fast and you don't know where the heck they go........and they can make you lose your breath because they scare you so much.

13. What does your mom do for a job?
You're a freaking awesome mom with great hair.

14.What is your mom's favorite food?
Spaghetti

15.What makes you proud of your mom?
When you sing in church........remember? because that's what I did.......I yelled out That's my mom! and everybody stared at me.

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
Bessie from Back at the Barnyard because you're a sarcastic smart aleck and I'm your karma.

17. What do you and your mom do together?
Sing in the car and make meatloaf.......and make iced tea.

18. How are you and your mom the same?
We are both pains in the neck to our mom's.......like I said, I'm your karma........da da da

19. How are you and your mom different?
You're a girl and I'm a boy.

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
Because it's against the law for you not to love me and the police would take me away if you didn't.......oh, and you cry when I'm gone for more than a day or two because you miss me.

21. What does your mom like most about your dad?
His muscles and his butt

22. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
Church

Thoughts About My Mom: Montana Marie ~ 5 Years Old

1. What is something mom always says to you?
I love you

2. What makes mom happy?
When we go to bed on time.

3. What makes mom sad?
When you have to ask us to do our chores over and over and over again your face looks sad.

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
By tickling me and acting goofy in the kitchen.

5. What was your mom like as a child?
Well, I haven't seen you as a child. How should I know?

6. How old is your mom
21 (Dang.......I knew I loved this little girl!)

7. How tall is your mom?
Um......I bet you're taller than me so I'll say 3'8"

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
You like to laugh.....cuz you laugh, like, a lot.

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?
Make out with Dad...........(LOL!!!)

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
singing to the world

11. What is your mom really good at?
Putting us to bed.....well, Daddy's better but you're pretty good too.

12. What is your mom not very good at?
Your not good at NOT arguing with dad.....but it's okay cuz ya always make out afterwards. (Once again.....LOL!!!)

13. What does your mom do for a job?
You show us how to be good grown ups for when we become grown ups. (I like this answer. It's a good answer.)

14.What is your mom's favorite food?
Salad (Not my FAVORITE, but one of them)

15.What makes you proud of your mom?
She lets me live in her house and tells me she loves me even when I've been bad.

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
Little Bears Mama because you are a mom and you love me like she loves little bear

17. What do you and your mom do together?
We make cookies that you let me and Dakota have because you don't eat sweets a lot.

18. How are you and your mom the same?
Because we're both girls and we have the same hair. (We totally do. The only difference in our hair is that I spend a lot of money to make mine look different.....LOL)

19. How are you and your mom different?
Well, you're bigger than me and I'm littler than you.........duh.......(Yes, she actually said, "duh")

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
Because you tell me that I am your favorite teddy bear when I snuggle with you in the mornings.

21. What does your mom like most about your dad?
Well, he sometimes comes home for dinner on time and you always tell him he looks yummy......and you guys kiss a lot so I guess you like his lips too.

22. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
You like to go out to dinner with the whole family. You like your mommy and daddy so we see them for dinner a lot sometimes.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Dakota's Essay: Two Special People

Dakota came home from school today and told me that he had the first draft to his essay done. He asked if he could read it to me so I could make any changes that might be necessary....The title of the essay is 'Two Special People' and it was supposed to be about 1 person that he admired most and why.....he pulled his teacher aside the other day and asked if he could use two people instead of just one, because he just couldn't choose between them........
This is his essay.....

Two Special People
Two people that stand out of my family, to me, are my mom and dad because they are always there for me. If I am sad they're there to comfort me. If I am mad they are always there to talk about it with me.
One time, I was mountain biking with my friend on my birthday and we made a track with jumps, turns, slides, and a down hill race at the end. There were two of us. My dad came with us to watch as I was doing a good job until the downhill race. We thought, "If we go up the hill higher, we could pick up speed." So, I thought that was fine so we went up. I said to Bradly, "You can go first." .......because I wanted to see if it was safe and he went down without a care in the world. Then my turn.
I pushed off and started down the hill.......then hit a tree root. My bike went bazaar and I went head over heals. Face first in the mud.
My dad jumped 2 1/2 feet in the air and ran over to me and picked me up and brushed me off. The first thing he said to me was, "You were WAY faster than Bradley. You were probably doing 30 miles an hour!"
He walked me to the table and my mom started asking me questions and worrying about me. Then my dad and mom convinced me to try it again. But when I went downhill, I didn't go any higher.
Another reason why my mom and dad are the two people in my family that stand out is because they take me and my sister everywhere with them. One time, my mom and dad took us to a hotel and got us the best room. The biggest one. The bathtub was as big as my bed....and my bed is big. We could all fit in it. I loaded it with soap and I got in. I was in there for 2 hours!
After that they took us to a fancy restaurant in the hotel with stuffed animal heads on the walls, really nice carpets, art work, and it even had a cougar posed to look like it was chasing turkeys. The place had great food and after that we sat up really late and watched t.v. Mom and dad said they just wanted to spend time with us and have fun.
They've also taken us to stay in really nice hotels in Seattle and taken us to the aquarium, Pikes place market, The Old Spaghetti Factory (my favorite place to eat), and all over Seattle because it's one of our favorite things to do as a family.
As you can see, these are just a few of the reasons that explain why my mom and dad are the two people that I care about the most and will never forget. I love them more than anything and they love me more than that.

.....Okay, so how incredibly awesome is my son?!!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I'm More Than Happy To Take The Chance.......

Matt came home today after work and asked me what was for dinner. I told him that I was going to make BLT's.....he said it sounded good, but that we should wait until tomorrow night. When I asked why, he told me that he had gotten a bonus Christmas check from his boss, and was taking the kids and I out for dinner tonight. To The Olive Garden....our favorite place to eat out.
After an awesome meal, he decided to make a quick trip to Wal-Mart to buy a new DVD player since ours decided to peeter out on us last night. And then, as a treat, he decided that a trip to Cold Stone Creamery was in order. So, all in all we had a really nice family evening.
On the way home, happy and full, we came to a stoplight. And standing there, in the freezing cold wind, shivering beyond control, was a homeless man, struggling uphill with two shopping carts full of stuff, that were stuck in the ice.
My first thought was, "He's freezing out there." My second thought was, "I need to give him some money." So, I rolled down my window, and handed him the last 12 dollars I had in my purse. He smiled, said, "God Bless you. Merry Christmas. I hope you have a wonderful new year." I smiled back, thinking about how cold his gloveless hands were, when I handed him the money, and said, "God Bless you too. Merry Christmas."

Now, I've been given a lot of flack over the years, because I very frequently hand money to the homeless people that stand on the side of the road. Many people have said the phrase, "They're just going to spend it on booze.".......and unfortunately, this has been proven correct more than a couple of times. I remember one time, when I gave a man $5 and Matt told me he was going to spend it on alcohol and my response was my usual, "Maybe he won't." We were on our way to Denny's for dinner.......and 20 minutes later, the man I had given money to, walked in and headed straight to the bar. I consoled myself by telling myself that he was just more comfortable in the darker light, and was only going to buy coffee and a hot meal. And, because most of the homeless around here are the same homeless we see everyday, you get to know them by sight. And yes, I've seen others I've given money to, swigging on a bottle. It's a sad cycle that is so hard to break.

But, I am a softy. I always have been. I'm always the one rooting for the underdog, and giving people the benefit of the doubt. I'm always the one that will trust anyone, until they give me reason not to.

Matt and I got into a discussion about this this evening on the way home. (Don't get me wrong, Matt is not heartless. He has been known to give money to the homeless too, just not as much as I do....and he never 'gets on my case' about it. He knows it's just something I do and most of time just smiles at me and shakes his head, then calls me a softy.) Matt asked me why I always give money to the homeless. And the only answer I could come up with was this........

Tonight, we spent nearly $100 on dinner for the four of us, we have christmas presents under the tree, we bought ourselves a new DVD player, and took the kids out for ice cream........and we still have money in our pockets. We were sitting in a nice warm car, coming home to a nice warm house, that is decorated with a couple hundred dollars worth of christmas decorations........all of this bought on the 'extra' money that we didn't have earmarked for something else. We are in the process of looking for a home to buy.....a home that will be ours. Our children need for nothing. We both have incredibly loving and wonderful families that we are close to, our children are getting a great education,and hopefully will have the resources to continue their education out of high school. We go to an incredible church, with wonderful people, that we trust and love as our own family.
Tonight, I get to go to sleep in a nice warm bed, snuggling with my nice warm husband, knowing that my kids are sleeping peacefully in their nice warm beds snuggling with their favorite stuffed animal or blanket.........so unlike the man I saw freezing in the cold tonight.

Anyone can tell me that I'm throwing my money away by giving a few dollars here and there to someone begging for it. Yes, there are homeless people out there that don't do anything to better themselves or their chances for a better life.....but, there are those out there that truly need it. When someone says to me, "They just need to get a job, I'll say, "Who would you hire if you had a business that dealt with the public? The man who came in well dressed and well educated or the one who comes in smelling bad, unwashed, in clothes that have seen their fair share of bad days? They're already not appealing to you, which one will be appealing to the public. Which one of them would you hire to work for you?"

Homelessness is a vicious cycle, as well as alcoholism. Once you've gotten yourself so far in a hole, it's not easy to get yourself out. No, I've never been there. I don't ever intend to be, I have a family and friends that would never allow me to be. Alcoholism, being hooked on drugs, it's not something that you can just 'give up' and get along without....it's a disease that doesn't just 'go away' because you want it to. It takes a lot of work, and help from people that care about you, and you have to care about yourself.....this is something that I HAVE seen first hand, with friends and family that I care about that have gone through it. But, I am happy knowing, that I may have helped put just one hot meal into a cold body, even if 10 others just added cheap wine. And I will continue to help when I can.

I have been truly blessed. No, I don't have an enormous house, or fancy cars, or the money to travel around the world, but I have a roof over my head, food on the table, happy kids, and a loving husband who provides as well as he is able. I love a caring and loving God who provides for me and my loved ones, with an abundance that I don't deserve. No, I don't feel guilty about the things that we are blessed with. Matt and I have worked hard, separately and together, to get the things we have. But, without God's providing, our determination to make a good life for our kids, and the love and support of our families and each other, we wouldn't have what we have.
We have enough to share, even if it's only a few dollars when we can.

So, when I go to bed tonight, I will say a special prayer for that homeless, cold and shivering man. I'll ask God to hold him in his hands, and keep him safe and warm. I'll pray that he didn't spend his money on bad things, and bought himself something useful, like a pair of gloves to warm his cold hands. I'll asked God to bless him in some special way. I'll pray that he has somewhere warm to sleep through the cold winter, and I'll pray, that he knows or gets to know, my loving and caring God. And if I'm told, "He probably just spent it on alcohol...or drugs.....or whatever.".....I'll say, "........maybe he didn't."

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Don't know if I'm going to get Christmas cards out.

So, things have been crazy busy around here lately, and I'm not quite sure if I'm going to be able to get out Christmas cards to all of you, so, I decided that I would write a bit of an update so's ya'll can see how we're doing.

The kids and I decided that we wanted to decorate the house before Matt was ready, so we started without him. We bought a Christmas tree yesterday (first fake one ever but we love it), and before Matt got home, put it together and had it ready for lights. Since Matt strings tree lights better than anyone, we let him do that part. After that was done, it was bed time for the kids so we put off decorating until tonight. When we got home, the kids put the stuff on the tree.....all by themselves.....and I must say, they did an excellent job. I only had to move 2 bulbs to satisfy my anal obsession to have things symmetrical. The tree looks beautiful.
Once that was done, we strung blue lights around the windows and added some bigger bulbs in the same colors we used on the tree to round it all out. The kids were excited when it was all done and the place looks so 'christmasy'.
We're still planning on getting lights on the outside of the house. We've settled on icicle lights on the eves, and around the windows, and red candles in the window sills. We've also got some shiny red garland and big red bows for the porch outside the front, but we're not quite sure of that yet. I can't wait till it's done. The kids and I are really getting in the festive mood now.........we're working on Matt.....he's getting there, but it's a slower process....hee hee.


Most of you know that Matt and I have been looking for a house out in Custer to buy. We've never owned a house before and we've been looking for just the right place. We don't want to move into a house, just to gain equity, then sell it in a few years for a bigger or better place. We want someplace that we will be happy in, at least until the kids are out of high school. We've come across a few places and none of them have been right. BUT, we may have just found the place. We went and looked at a place tonight that has definite potential. It's not really a 'fixer upper' but there are things that we don't like that we can easily change. I.E. different paint colors, a fence around the property, and some nice landscaping. It's only on 1 acre which is less than we had originally wanted, but we really like the property. Nice copse of tree out back, very nice, large front yard, 4 bedrooms, 1.75 bath, 2 car garage....and the biggest seller for Matt....it's a stick built home and not a manufactured home. We've not completely decided if we want to make an offer yet, but we're hashing it out, figuring the changes we would want to make before moving in and whatnot. I'll be sure to let ya'll know when we've made a decision. We're praying that God gives us a sure sign of weather or not this is the right place for us. We'll see how things go.

The kids are doing great. Montana is trying so hard to learn to write all of her ABC's and she wants to read so bad it hurts. We're working on it and I'm sure she will be beyond ready to start kindergarten in September. She's already excited, knowing that at the turn of the year, this is the year she get's to start school.
Dakota is as busy as ever. He's still very involved with the student council at his school, which still keeps me busy as well. My most recent school adventure was helping out with the book fair. Man oh man, what a job that was. But, it was a lot of fun, and I got a ton of good books for the kids that they'll be receiving under the Christmas tree.
Matt is still working his butt off at Oeser and then spending 3 or 4 nights a week out at the mill trying to fill orders. I guess with all the 'decent' weather we've had around here, more people are still working on their houses and still need lumber. Having no snow and no temps below zero is good for business. I do have to say, though, that he's been spending a lot more time at home over the last few months, which we are enjoying tremendously, and I even came home from church last week to an early Christmas present from him and the kids. When I left, the kids still had to have dinner, and the house was a disaster area. When I got home 3 hours later, the kids were fed, the house was clean, homework was done, the kids were bathed, and waiting to head to bed. WOW!!!! Talk about the most incredible christmas present in the world!!! (Am I a mom or what?.......LOL)
As for me, I've been helping out at Kota's school as much as possible, keeping the home fires burning, singing with the church's worship team, and a few other things that I'll bring up later when I'm ready to share. Long story short, I'm keeping busy and looking forward to the future. It is indeed looking bright.

I hope all of you are looking forward to the holiday season. I also pray that we all remember why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. Jesus Christ. Without his love and support, I wouldn't have the wonderful, happy, love filled life that I do. I pray often and thank God every day for the gifts he's given me, even though I don't deserve them.

I love all of you and wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and may all your dreams come true in the coming year.



Oh, and I just wanted to put in a little P.S. here: Many of you know that my nephew Brian has been diagnosed recently with autism. We've all suspected it from the time he was a baby. I just wanted to let all of you know, that your prayers concerning my little sugar booger have been answered. He's a wonderful little boy and has been making GREAT strides over the last few months. He's listening more, interacting more, and deifinitely talking more.........he even says Auntie Tia....over and over and over and over again.........LOL. It just makes me the happiest Auntie in the world!!
Anyway, just wanted to give ya'll an little update. Have a great Christmas!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dear Kota & Tana: We've Seen History In The Making

KotaMan & TanaGirl~

I know that one day, this will all be a dim memory for the two of you, but yesterday, we witnessed history in the making......yesterday was 'Election Day 2008'.
The runners were John McCain & Sarah Palin, and Barack Obama & Joe Biden. This was truly a historical event because no matter who was to win the election, there was going to be something new in The White House. A First Black President, or a First Female Vice President....yes, history in the making.
And, although the election didn't turn out the way I was hoping it would, I realize the significance of it all. This election alone, shows how incredibly far this nation has come in the last 100 years. Amazing really. Where once, women had no voice where politics were concerned, there was a woman who's voice was standing out above all others. A woman who would have made history by sitting at the right hand side of the president. A woman who made history just by running. Amazing. And, where once slavery ruled, where blacks and whites were separated, in so many many ways, where blacks were ruled over and made to feel less than nothing, we now have a very strong, charismatic black man sitting in the oval office, in charge of running this country. Amazing.....So, you see, our country has come so incredibly far.

No, as I said, the election did not turn out as I was hoping. Barack Obama will be sworn in as president in January. And, although I don't agree with most all of the things he wants to do, I do plan to stand up tall and proud, as an American, and a Christian, and respect him. I may not agree with all he stands for, but I will support him in any way I can, as long as it doesn't interfere with my belief in God. The country's people have spoken, and they've spoken very loudly. Barack Obama is our president. John McCain, although the man I was truly praying would be voted in to run this country, lost. And he lost big. He ran a good fight and I'll never forget his concession speech. I truly believe he is an amazing man, with more integrity that most of us are gifted with. I believe he truly loves this country, and although he lost, I believe he will stand behind our president, and try to help make the country we live in and love, the best country in the world.

I just wanted you two to know that. You were here when history was made. You saw things happen that so many people never believed would.

Montana, I know you probably won't remember this election. You are only 5. But, I want you to know, that you were there. You were a part of the reason your dad and I voted the way we did. One day, you will be able to tell your grandchildren, "I was there. I saw it happen........I don't remember it.......but I was there. It happened in my lifetime." I love you Baby Doll.

Dakota, I am so proud of you. When I was 10 I couldn't have cared less about politics. Heck, I didn't even know what politics were. But you, with your sharp mind, your love of people, and your constant interest to learn, proved to me, that kids do have a voice and they understand more than we give them credit for. Take that on and carry it with you always. YOU are an amazing kid and you will go so far in your life. I love you.

The two of you are God's greatest gift to me.

All My Love~
Mama

THE FIRST FAMILY

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Few Things On My Mind

I was watching the news this afternoon, and there was a story about a baptist church in Indiana, who is making it their mission to recruit people with the pretext of hating gays and lesbians. They started with a very small group of people and have grown to 5 or 7 thousand. According to the news, they spew hatred, and some of their main teaching revolves around God hating gays and lesbians............(I'm sorry I don't have the exact name of the church or their website. I was not going to try and remember it because there was no way I was going to 'hit' their website.)

I'm not ashamed to say, this completely TICKED ME OFF!!! It has been bothering me ALL day long. I can't seem to get it out of my head.

All of you know where I stand on my faith. I believe in God, and am not afraid to tell people so. What makes me the most angry is that these people, spewing such hatred, are putting words in GOD'S mouth! They say they believe in the same God I do, but I can tell you that the God I believe in, and love, DOES NOT hate gays and lesbians. He loves them just as much as he love me. In God's eyes, all sin is the same. He hates sin....period. He does NOT hate the person who acts out the sin. No sinner is better than another in God's eyes.

So, that being said, who is anyone to think they are better than ANYONE else? EVERYONE SINS.....EVERYONE.......it is in us from the day we are born.....(Psalms 51:5 'Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me'.)
1 Kings 8:46 says: 'for there is no one that does not sin'. Romans 3:23 says: 'For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.'........did you read that the same way I did?.....ALL. In the bible, in the book of John, chapter 8, the pharisees bring a woman to Jesus who had been caught in adultry. They explain to him, that, by law, her punishment is to be stoned to death and Jesus says to them: "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." (John 8:7 NIV)
I guess the thing that makes me so angry about this 'church' is that they promote dissension, they judge, and they are telling absolute fabrications about the God that I believe in. They put a stigmata, so to speak, on all believers in Christ. My God does not hate people, he hates sin. ALL SIN. Not just the sins of some people and not others. And all sin is the same in His eyes.

No, I don't believe in the 'gay' lifestyle.....but that does not mean, that I can't love a gay person. I know many gays and lesbians, and am friends with many. I may not agree with their lifestyle, but I don't have to. I also have friends, very good friends, that do not believe in my lifestyle........that I spank my kids if I feel they need it, that I believe in a God that they don't, that I'm a republican, or that when all is said and done, I will concede to my husband on most all things, and that HE is the head of this family and when he stands on a decision he's made, even if I may not agree with it, I'll stand behind him.

I have come to learn over the past few years, that you don't have to have the same beliefs as people, to love them, and to be their friend. Even a very good friend.

I belong to a wonderful church that I have been a part of since I was about 13 years old. When Matt and I started dating, I turned from that church for a long time. I didn't turn from my belief in God, but I did turn from the church. Matt and I moved in together before we were married. I knew it was wrong, and at the time, I didn't care. But, I foolishly thought, that I would not be accepted by my church because of that. I was wrong. Yes, in my eyes, in God's eyes, in the eyes of my parents, and my church family, I was sinning. I grew up with the belief that you were not to move in with anyone until you were married. BUT, many times, I received phone calls, letters, and words of encouragement, to come back.........and to bring my live in boyfriend with me. They still loved me! No, they didn't agree with what I was doing........BUT THEY STILL LOVED ME!!

Over the last 18 years, many people have walked through the doors of my church. Sinners of all magnitudes. Drug addicts, thieves, sex offenders, alcoholics, adulterers, gamblers, and many more.........and we loved them. We accepted them into our church and prayed for them.........and WE LOVED THEM THE WAY GOD LOVES US.....WITHOUT JUDGEMENT. It's not our place to judge. Only God can judge. ONLY God.

So, if I could say something to this 'baptist' church in Indiana it would be this:

Who are you? Who is this God you believe in that hates people? I don't know him. The God I know loves everyone.......even you with your hatred spewing out your front doors and on your website. And I will love others the way God has taught us to do. Please read your bible. You might be surprised to find that your teachings are wrong. God hates no human being. He just hates sin.........ALL sin. You and I are no better than anyone else.

Seriously, how do you truly bring people to God without loving them? No matter who they are or what they are doing?