Saturday, June 30, 2007

Rockin' Girl Blogger Award

Connie Over at Little Red Hears From God gave me this award.

This is my first award! Like I told her, I started this blog for my own use and it has become such a connection place for me with challenging thoughts in bible study and in the comments that those of you leave.

I want to pass this on to several women that inspire me as I read their life stories online.

1. Cheri, over at Keeping up with HIS plans, definitely gets an award from me. She moved across the ocean before we even go to know each other and this blog concept has helped us nurture a friendship that would not have survived such long distances otherwise. She is honest in her writing and shares her struggles and triumphs. Way to rock girl!

2. Mindy over at Ponderings of the Heart challenges me to be honest as I read her responses to In Other Words and the I AM study. She encourages me to be thankful for all the God has provided and shares all that God is teaching her. She is an inspiration!

3. Susanne over at Living to tell the Story has showed me the joy of living over the border in Canada. I enjoy her reading reviews, which is also a passion of mine. She is funny and joyful with praise given to the King. Thanks Susanne.

For all the blogs that rock - thanks!

Mississippi Vacation - Part 1

We just returned from our annual trip down the Mississippi. This is our 4th summer following the river from beginning to end and seeing all the dams and sights as we go. We traveled from the Quad Cities in Iowa/Illinois down to the Canton Missouri. My daughter keeps wishing for a trip to the tropics – finances just don’t allow that. We travel and camp along the way. It is sudo camping with a pop-up camper with air-conditioning and all the amenities. I am just getting too soft to sleep on the ground.

We never know what adventures will come about as we travel different towns in this huge country or ours. And that is really part of the fun. We drive “the Great River Road” which is as close to the Mississippi River as possible. Hats off to those of you that live and grow all that corn. You feed the world. I just don’t know that I could do that. I am definitely a city girl – wanting my retail conveniences close by.

The first state park that we stayed at was right on the river – actually between the river and the train tracks. We were awakened by the train horn a couple times a night. The kids slept through it, but the adults just couldn’t. The only requirement in a camping site is that they have flushing toilets and showers. Like I said, we don’t really rough it when we camp, but you can’t pass up $18 per night instead of over $100.

Our first stop for tourists attractions was finding our dams. You can’t really tell what side of the river they are on. We have seen many barges lock through dams. This year we got to take a tour inside the gates of the dam and see how it all works. That was truly fun! My kids know more about how dams work than most people do. Who said that family vacations can’t be educational.

We try to throw in some fun days and found a water park with slides and then went to see a water ski show. The water ski show was pretty amazing. They did a trick where 4 skiers went all the way around the boat. Amazing.

This post is already long enough. I will tell the story of our raccoons in the next post.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I AM - Lesson 9

Join us over at The Preacher's Wife for the ongoing I AM bible study.

1. On a scale of 1 to 10, rate yourself on how often your conversation is seasoned with the works of the Lord on your behalf? If you speak very little of Him, is there a reason you know of? If you speak often, how do people respond?

I am afraid to admit that it is probably a 4. It truly depends on who I am talking to. I have learned to be wary of any "religious" conversation as a public school teacher. I will try to jump in and share my viewpoint if the students have initiated the conversation. I love what I do and try to be salt and light in what can be a dark place, but I struggle with how much I can share without getting a backlash. My students are aware on the first day of school where I stand as I describe who I am. I always hope that how I live is different and that they can understand why.

2. Have you experienced a Set Up for a Show Up when you were uncertain whether the situation was the chastisement of the Lord or a temptation of Satan?

We probably all have - I just can't think of one right now.

3. Have you ever or are you now experiencing any Job trials where you can still not identify any wrong-doing on your part?

It seems that I suffered as a child as a result of my parents sin, but not directly related to anything that I did.

4. Apply this principle: How can my response make my God famous? Will obedience result in my sanctification and God's Glory?

My response to God is always a mirror of what He has done for me. If others can see that, even those closest to me like my husband and kids, then this makes Him famous. We all love to talk about famous people - so why shouldn't we be talking about God!

I think that my obedience is making me more like Christ - which is one goal. We should always be able to point to Him as explain why we do what we do. Why did we respond in the way that we did? Etc.

5. Does the origin of our affliction matter in view of the fame God can gain from it?

God is amazing and can use any affliction whether self imposed or not. He is always trying to find a way for us to see Him better - to know Him better. He made the Israelites suffer more so that they would be able to see the pit that God got them out of. Sometimes, in order for me to see God, He needs to be the only thing I can see at the bottom of my pit. It is all about perspective.

Blessings and thanks for reading-

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I AM - Lesson 8

1. Have you ever been in a situation where you had to 'go back' to a place of shame or ridicule? How did that make you feel?

I choose to go back with the help of some great therapist's/counselors. I really needed to go back to my source of shame in order to realize what it was doing to me on the inside. I had very little self esteem. I still struggle with feeling useful or important, but I am learning to have a healthy perspective. I understand what my God given gifts are and can give the glory to God - it makes it so much easier when I can point to Him.

2. Is there any circumstance in your life that still has you running for cover? Share if you feel comfortable.

I think that I can honestly say no. I don't talk about certain struggles to be sensitive to others or to not "throw my pearls before swine", but I don't know that I am in bondage to my past any longer.

3. When is the last time you felt like an overcomer?

Everytime that I look at my children. I know that they are the blessing to me for putting my faith in Christ. I see the hope and trust in them. It truly is amazing.

4. If you have not yet taken the serpent by the tail, are you willing to stop running, take hold and trust God to transform it into a tool for wonders?

I think that it takes great faith to do this - even with God talking to you from a burning bush. But that is the great thing! He is there, ready to use whatever you have done or has been done to you to be a great tool for the kingdom. Amen!

5. I would like for you to write down this statement based on 1 John 2:14 somewhere you will see it often this week: "I am strong, the Word of God abides in me, and I have overcome the evil one." Memorize it. Say it over and over until you believe it. Will you do this?? Most of the time, there are no right or wrong answers, but on this one, I'm expecting a 'yes'!

Done! On my bathroom mirror.

Thanks for reading! If you want to join us (ANYTIME!) head on over to Lisa at The Preacher's Wife and join the learning and fun.

Maybe I wasn't ready to drive

Well, I had eye surgery and was basically stuck at home afterward because I was not suppose to drive until the next day. I just needed to rest my eye and let the anesthesia wear off.

So, I had a full day of errands planned for Wednesday. Drop Eli off at VBS, go for a follow-up for my eye, post office, etc. Well, things didn't quite go as I planned! I ended up getting in my first accident ever! (At least one caused by me!). I was so embarrassed. I just wasn't paying enough attention. Luckily (or not so lucky) she attends my church and didn't seem too upset - the damage to her SUV was minimal while I have $2500 worth on my car. Please pray that this is a simple accident claim - no lawyers or anything.

Interesting how an accident makes me feel - like everyone can tell by the big scrape on your car. It has become this big spiritual thing for me - how we hide behind how we look when God looks on the outside. I am strange - I know. I am just thankful that we are okay - no injuries - except my pride, which probably needed to be knocked down a notch anyway.

Thanks for reading

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

No Longer Half Blind

I had my left eye lens replacement completed on Tuesday. It ended up being a busy day - being the first day for VBS at our church. Everything went well for the surgery. I thought it might not happen because I got pink eye on Sunday. I picked up some meds Monday and I was good to go. It is quite amazing after wearing glasses and/or contacts since 6th grade to wake up and see. I bet that it is as good as lasix. So, for those of you that knew and prayed for me, I thank you.

Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007


"As Christians, we are called to convert our loneliness into solitude.
We are called to experience our aloneness not as a wound but as a gift--as God's gift--so that in our aloneness we might discover how deeply we are loved by God."

~ Henri Nouwen ~

I have been out of the loop for a couple of weeks. I have been longing for some alone time. The summer is different without work and school to set the schedule, life is more chaotic. We have activities planned, but there are those days when friends are not available or it is raining. What I see as a perfect time to read and focus, my kids see as boredom. What is a mom to do!

Anyway, back to the topic! My best times with God have been almost scheduled alone time with God. In college, during leadership camps for IVCF, we would have a "Retreat of Silence". It didn't mean that you had to be quiet, but that it was time for you and God to connect - not you and other people. Then we would come together for dinner and share what God showed us during that time. I remember vividly after 15+ years those hours of time focusing on God and singing praise songs. I often long for that - time to just focus on God, but admittedly, if I have time alone I don't usually choose that option. Maybe it is about time to seek that "solitude" and be reminded of God's great love for me.

Thanks for reading!


Friday, June 15, 2007

100 things about me

Apparently, there is a blog tradition that at or about the 100th entry of your blog, you are suppose to list 100 things about yourself. It has taken me longer than I thought it would to get this list put together. So, here is mine - read and be amazed!

1. I was born and raised in a suburb of Denver, Colorado.
2. I once had a siamese cat named Stubs that had a short tail (thus the name). He slept on my bed and died of feline leukemia at age 14.
3. I much prefer cats over dogs.
4. I have been accused of having the sleeping habits of a cat - taking a nap whenever and where ever possible.
5. My career goal since 5th grade was to be a medical doctor.
6. God changed my heart and redirected my career to teaching during my junior year in college.
7. I never really had marriage as a goal.
8. I have now been married for 12 1/2 years. (Don't tell me that God doesn't have a sense of humor!)
9. I don't like any kind of lemon desserts.
10. I moved to MN to be a mime (try explaining that to your parents)
11. I met my husband while being a mime - we performed the gospel in mime.
12. I have only owned one car that was not a Honda.
13. I received Christ as my savior as a Junior in high school after hearing "Friends" by Michael W. Smith at a Youth for Christ retreat.
14. I was baptized last summer after struggling with the concept since college.
15. I have become an avid NASCAR fan.
16. I know more about the rules of baseball, basketball and football than my husband. He is not much of a sports fan.
17. I don't know much about hockey (welcome to MN!)
18. I have grown to love watching competitive and synchronized swimming.
19. My favorite hobby is srcapbooking.
20. I love to read - mostly fiction. I have several books going at one time. My husband doesn't quite understand this.
21. If I was trapped in a building I would choose a library.
22. I love to learn new things. It keeps my brain from decomposing.
23. I would like to go sky-diving.
24. I would like to lead someone in prayer to receive Jesus as their Savior.
25. My favorite color is purple.
26. I want to learn to ride a horse.
27. My favorite type of food is mexican (even though I am culturally Italian)
28. I am a grand-daughter of Italy (grandfather 1st generation Italian-American).
29. I am the oldest of 4 children - one whole brother and 2 half sisters 21 years younger than me.
30. My favorite movie is "A Walk to Remember"
31. I love contemporary Christian music, i.e Casting Crowns, Switchfoot, Third Day, Newsboys, etc.
32. I was born to teenage parents.
33. Neither of my parents graduated from high school.
34. According to statistics, they were divorced when I was 5 years old and my brother was only 3.
35. I was the first in my family to graduate from high school.
36. I was co-valedictorian with my best friend on my high school graduation day 20 years ago.
37. As a teenager, I thought that love and sex were the same thing.
38. I became pregnant for the first time my freshman year in college and had an abortion.
39. God used this experience to bring me closer and more dependent on Him.
40. I became pregnant again 5 years later and now have a beautiful daughter, a husband and a son.
41. I am an adult child of an alcoholic.
42. I have benefited from Godly counselors to find healing.
43. I like to make and can my own strawberry jam and salsa.
44. I can water-ski better than I can downhill ski (this is odd since I grew up by the mountains and not by the water.)
45. I never thought I would own my own boat, but we do.
46. I traveled to Guatemala and saw real poverty for the first time.
47. I saw real joy in the eyes of the poor as they talked about Jesus.
48. We sponsor 1 child in Guatemala and 1 child in Mozambique.
49. My first broken bone occurred when I was 35.
50. I have had reconstructive plastic surgery on my face due to a dog bite when I was 8 or 9.
51. I am not a very good cook, but I am learning.
52. My favorite chore is laundry (if you can have one)
53. I hate dusting - as you can tell by the names written in the dust on my end tables.
54. My husband's love language is serving.
55. My love language is quality time.
56. My main spiritual gifts are administration and shepherding.
57. I have worn contacts since 9th grade.
58. I am having lense implant surgery so that I don't need contacts anymore.
59. Fall is my favorite season.
60. I enjoy watching movies.
61. I am still amazed at the size of the trees here in MN.
62. I am an introvert.
63. I would rather email someone than call on the phone.
64. My favorite fast food hamburger is a Whopper Jr. (kids don't like it because they have "seeds" on the bun).
65. We are doing family trips each summer to follow the Mississippi River from the headwaters in Itasca, MN to the Delta in New Orleans, LA. We are currently in the middle of IA.
66. Our next trip will be to follow the Missouri River - the Lewis and Clark trail.
67. My mid-life crisis car will be a red Miata convertible - coming sooner than I think.
68. I have always struggled with being happy with my weight - slightly anorexic in high school.
69. I have a 1st generation i-pod - which was revolutionary at the time and just "big" now.
70. I can't really go to sleep at night without reading.
71. I am a night person.
72. Heath bars are my favorite candy bar as well as DQ blizzard flavor.
73. I once worked the overnight shift at a Mister Donut and frosted donuts.
74. I once dated a State Trooper for a week that I met working at Mister Donut.
75. I first colored my hair 5 years ago - first red and now blonde highlights.
76. I once had posters on my wall of Scott Baio (Happy Days), John Schneider (Dukes of Hazzard) and Greg Evigan (BJ and the bear).
77. Favorite authors, Karen Kingsbury, Max Lucado and John Ortberg.
78. I look forward to going to church every week. The music and message is always refreshing.
79. My greatest joy has been watching my children grow.
80. I don't smoke
81. I have a pond in my back yard with plants and 5 goldfish.
82. It annoys me when people don't leave a message on an answering machine.
83. My favorite fruit is peaches.
84. I like liver.
85. I sold Creative Memories products for 2 years.
86. I helped lead my daughters girl scout troop.
87. My favorite place for a retreat is Beartrap Ranch in CO.
88. I failed a biochemistry course in college and thought it was the end of the world.
89. I am committed to making my marriage work - divorce is not an option.
90. I have a husband that believes the same thing.
91. I don't tan , I just freckle.
92. I saved money during high school and went on my first and only cruise vacation (so far!)
93. I am still in contact with my best friends from high school - I have no idea where the boys are that I dated.
94. I love to get manicures and pedicures.
95. I am so blessed to have been born in America.
96. I once sang in the choir for a Billy Graham crusade held in Denver.
97. I once sang in a backup choir (200 of us) for a Micheal W. Smith concert.
98. I may not feel rich, but I am wealthier than 95% of the world.
99. I love a rainy day where I can read or scrapbook all day.
100. My life belongs to Jesus - Praise HIM!

Yea! I did it!

Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Summer is Here!

Summer is here! I feel like I get twice the joy since in addition to being a parent and getting to spend more time with my kids, I am also a teacher and get about 8 weeks off from grading and planning for my other “kids”. Many of my students ask me if I am looking forward to summer and I suppose that I do. Yet, I truly enjoy my job – I feel like it is my calling. I can’t imagine doing anything else. But I do look forward to making memories and spending significant time with my family during the summer months ( My husband is also a teacher – so we get time off together).

We attend church on Sat. night. This is a great option. We can avoid rushing around on Sunday morning and just spend the day together, resting. Anyway, our sermon series is on the book of Colossians called Rooted. Our pastor said this “Paul says that ‘full’ people are thankful people and that thankfulness is one of the signs of a mature faith”. I was asking myself if I am ever thankful? I want to think that I am.

Sunday was a great beginning. Sunday am we take the boat out for the first time this summer. The wind is low, the temperature is about 80 degrees Farenheit (30 degrees celcius), and very few boats are out on the lake. My daughter is in her element with the ipod on and sitting in the front of the boat with her feet up. My son is more fascinated with the motor and leaning off the back. I am enjoying the worship music on the radio as my husband drives us around the lake. It was just a glorious moment! I remember thinking that someday I wanted to have a boat – sometimes it seems so surreal. We are so blessed to have this, but even beyond that, to have my family all together, enjoying the same thing. What an incredible blessing.

We have several trips and activities planned for the summer. Here is the short list:

-Continue following the Mississippi River from beginning to end. We are currently finishing Iowa this summer. Our goal is to make it to New Orleans and see where is ends. Hopefully, by the summer of 2011.

-We are making our pilgrimage to the Sonshine Music Festival. Three days of outdoor music and camping. We went last year and had a great time.

-The daughter is signed up for summer synchro clinic (no surprise there) and the boy is doing teeball.

-I am attending a chemistry teachers conference with a co-worker the last week of July in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. 1000-2000 chemistry teachers in one place – it is truly a riot.

-My husband and I plan on attending a leadership conference through our church. Our church is a satellite site for this conference hosted by Willow Creek Assoc. It should be great!

-Work on my pond – the never ending project. I am close to done – then I will need to find another outdoor project. I will try to post pictures.

By the time all of this is done, school will start and so will swimming for the girl and a whole other group of students to share with. I truly hope that you have a great summer also.

Thanks for reading


Wednesday, June 06, 2007


This is sort of random and I don't usually blog about students. But this whole conversation just amazed me. One of the fashion trends is to wear t-shirts with sayings on them. They must have been trying to come up with there own and this is what I got.

Male student asked me: "What would you think of a t-shirt that said 'I need to Poop' on it"

Me: "I don't know that it would attract any women with a brain"

Student: "I don't care about that, but wouldn't it be funny?"

So, the hormonal 16 year old boy just wants to be funny? Something that I have been pondering since I heard it. Does this really work? I would be embarrassed to be dating someone wearing this shirt - unless he is a 2 year old....Hmmm...maybe there is a connection here...

Thanks for reading


Tuesday, June 05, 2007


"What used to make us stumble,
God can use to make us stand. What once

made us bow our heads in shame,
He can use for His glory."

~ Joanna Weaver~
Having a Mary Spirit

2 Cor. 1:3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.
4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.
When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
5 For the more we suffer for Christ,
the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ.

This is the verse that came to mind when I read the quote. God is my comfort, so that when I do fall as a result of my sin or the troubles of this world, I know where to turn. He disciplines me and teaches me through His Word. I truly believe that my greatest ministry has been a result of directing others to the true hope and comforter.

Our faith does not make us perfect, we still stumble like unbelievers. I think that my failures also make me real to those around me - and how I respond is the difference. Do I get angry and blame others? Or do I turn the mirror on myself and apologize for my words and actions? Our response to the trouble is often a greater indicator of our faith then being able to avoid the trouble to begin with (even though this is the preferred path). A great example is Heather at Especially Heather. Her witness of Christ has been so powerful as a result of her pain - she has chosen to worship Christ regardless.

I pray that I may use my weakness as a way to introduce the hope and glory of Christ to others.

Monday, June 04, 2007

My accent

I found this quiz via Mindy at Ponderings of the Heart. It looked fun, so I tried it. I knew what it would be like, fairly generic since I grew up in CO. I am now a transplant to MN, but haven't quite picked up the scandinavian sound. Go and give it a try.

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The West

Your accent is the lowest common denominator of American speech. Unless you're a SoCal surfer, no one thinks you have an accent. And really, you may not even be from the West at all, you could easily be from Florida or one of those big Southern cities like Dallas or Atlanta.

The Midland


North Central

The Inland North


The South

The Northeast

What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Thanks for reading


Friday, June 01, 2007

New Neighbors

I finally have some time to comment on the goings on in our neighborhood. I am not a real gossip - I really try to avoid it. Part of our goal when we moved into a neighborhood - opposed to apartment living - was to get to know our neighbors. We have tried get togethers - didn't work so good. I have found that the kids have opened up more opportunities than I would have imagined. So, after 9 years in our house we know most of our neighbors by name and actually celebrate with them for birthdays and holidays.

We have become really good friends with the neighbors to the left of us. They have twin girls that are a few weeks younger than my son - and a full 6 inches taller as well. This is how we have gotten to know their whole family. Now, they are a blended family. Both parents have been married before and he has two children from his previous marriage. The relationship that he has with his ex-wife is a little odd. His current wife and his ex go shopping together and go to candle parties together. His wife figures that they should try to get along since they share custody of the older kids.

Now, this is where is gets interesting. The ex and her current husband has been looking for a place closer by so that they could eliminate driving time back and forth. Guess what, she has purchased the house directly across the street from us! I am all for being available for the kids, but wasn't there a reason why they got divorced in the first place? They also have 3 dogs and 2 cats. I like other peoples dogs - I just don't have the energy needed for a dog (at least I know that).

So, we are losing some great neighbors - and planning on keeping in touch with them-and gaining quite the interesting triangle. My plan - to stay out of the middle of the whole thing! Say a prayer, life is going to get even more interesting...


Friday Feast 146

Come join us today at the Feast.

Name something you think is “the best.”

My kids are growing up and I still think that snuggling with my kids and smelling that kid smell is the best think in the world. Soon I won't be able to as my youngest is 7 already.

On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 highest), how stressed are you today?

At the beginning of the day it was a 10 - I had to grade a bunch of papers for school and was behind and I had lost my sons baseball glove.

I am now down to a 2, since I got my grading done and I located the glove. I can always tell when I am stresssed because I can't sleep. So in addition to being stressed I end up being tired. Never a good combination.

What kind of cleanser do you use to wash your face?

I will admit that I am a Mary Kay Girl. I am not necessarily devoted, but it works for me.

Main Course
Tonight is a blue moon! What is something that you believe only happens “once in a blue moon.”

This one is stumping me. I am going to skip this one.

When was the last time it rained where you live?

It rained here on Wednesday. It was sunny and all of a sudden the rain just came down. I was glad that I was not at a baseball game.

Thanks for reading