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Showing posts from 2011

Rediscovering Christmas

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It's only a few days away from Christmas, and I desperately need Jesus.

Being out there in the great hustle bustle of shopping madness and hurry scurry of busyness has made me a bit melancholy -- because the prevailing sentiment I sense from those around me is one of lackluster fatigue and a "let's just hurry up and get this over with" mentality.

People are rushing around with lists and check marks, with payday loans and credit card transactions, with gritted teeth and a grin and bear it frame of mind.
A Christian friend of mine recently admitted to "hating Christmas." Taken aback, I asked her what she meant by that. She explained how this is her least favorite holiday of the year because of all the trappings and pressure to buy, do, and be. 
I understood....but my heart was heavy.
I understand how those without Christ can go crazy into materialism and the glitz of "the holiday." I can even overlook and forgive the sanitizing of Christmas into &q…

The Power of the Apology

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This past weekend, I ran in what was my fifth half-marathon event and eighth race since I started running a few years back. One of those half-marathons was Nike Women's Challenge in San Francisco -- a large venue of 25,000 runners (mostly women) -- and the largest I had run until...

...the Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Marathon & Half on Sunday night.

Yes...you read that right...Sunday night. It was my first ever night run (awesome concept!) down and back the Las Vegas strip.

It was my first-ever terrible race experience.

I won't go into all the gory details (I feel like I have been reliving and rehashing it all in my head and seeing other people do the same on the race Facebook page), but here's a short list of some things that made for a crazy race experience and unsafe post-race conditions.
Overcrowding on the course with 40,000 half-marathon participants in the wrong start corrals and a street that was not big enough to handle the participants. Later down the cou…

Frugal Christmas Gift Tags

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I think I've established that I'm a Frugalista.

I'm always looking for ways to save money and to keep from spending our hard-earned dollars on things we don't need....or can make/use from items we already have or own.

Last year, I noted that I was going to use up the last of my gift tag stickers and that I would need to purchase more. However, since it was my soon-to-be New Year's resolution to try to be more frugal and use things we already had around the house, I tried to think of ways to avoid spending money on new gift tags.

I thought about making them...much like the one in the photo above. I have friends who hand-make tags from their own card stock, pens and printer ink, but that's too much time, forethought and still requires money spent on supplies for me at this point in my life. Plus, I plain just like the items of reclaiming items that are pretty much destined for the trash/recycle bin.

So, last year as I gathered up the bundle of Christmas cards we…

The God of Soap & Starbucks

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I have been a Jesus-follower since the tender age of seven. It was then that I finally understood the story of the Cross and His death and Resurrection and what that meant for me -- of course in my 7-year-old way.

However, it was real, nonetheless.

I remember finally "getting" how much He loved me (and the world....but ME!!). I marveled at the Bible stories of the miraculous. Need some money to pay your taxes? No problem...throw out your line and reel in a fish that just happens to have a gold coin in its mouth. About to starve and watch your son do the same? Simply be obedient and use the last of your oil and flour to make a meal for a visiting prophet and voila...never-ending bread buffet!

As a child, believing these stories as gospel wasn't a leap at all. Children are predisposed to believe in wonder and to not let things like "logistics" or "relativity" or "gravity" shake that belief.

But as adults, we tend to put on our "reality g…

Easy Instant Pancakes

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Pinterest has struck again! I know that it's easy to get sucked into browsing and repinning -- only to realize an hour has gone by.

However, tonight I redeemed some of that time.

I actually put one of the pins into practice.

Tonight was a rough dinner night. My plans to roast a lovely pork tenderloin in the oven fell apart when I realized that my intention to clean the oven earlier in the day was never fulfilled. I had an oven full of sprayed on oven cleaner and no amount of scrubbing and wiping down could make it stop smelling like chemical.

Opting not to subject my family to chemi-loin, I went to my clutch dinner option -- pancakes!

While I was whipping up a batch of from scratch pancake batter (courtesy of my friend, Deborah), I realized -- "hey, since I'm taking the time to make this stuff from scratch, I should utilize the time and make a DOUBLE batch for breakfast this week."

And I knew I could not only do that, but store it in a convenient and easy way due to…

Run Your Race

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A few days ago, I ran in what was my sixth official race...and the fourth time that I have done this particular local event here in my hometown.

This year, however, was the first time that I did not run the half-marathon event. Instead, I ran the two-person relay with my friend, Gina. This was due to a variety of reasons including an injury (mine), not loving the current course, gearing up for another half mara in a few weeks in Vegas, etc. But, none of these reasons could keep us from participating in the race in some way and the relay was the best of both worlds.

Yet...somehow it felt a bit like cheating -- knowing we have done the the full 13.1 before, but chose this time to halve that distance. However, as relay participants, we got all the swag associated with the event, got to share the road with thousands of other runners -- some competitive, some walkers, and even some friends and family. It was too good to pass up.

So, once again, a group of us were out there excited, cold a…

He calls us "Wanted"

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I'm a firm believer that a person's name is important. We put a lot of thought into our four children's names. We went through baby books and picked out top choices and then tried them out loud, wrote them on paper and made sure their three initials didn't form an embarrassing word or anything like that. We test drove every possible nickname to make sure they wouldn't one day reach a certain age and demand to know what on earth had possessed to name them what we did.

Their names are fairly unique. And mostly, I'd say that's a good thing.

However, we have spent a fair amount of time spelling our children's names or correcting pronunciations. Undoubtedly, we have had to do this the most for our third child (and oldest son), Declan.

I adore his name!

I first heard it when I lived in Belgium for a year after college. One of the t.v. programs they showed over there called Heartbreak High, was imported from Australia -- their version of  90210. Crazy high sc…

'Tis the Season...to be Grateful!

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I have to admit to being a little cranky the last couple of days. Some of it has to do with days getting shorter and darker earlier (I love the long days of summer!), some has to do with the never-ending cleaning and organizational projects I seem to have on my plate (my clean house on Saturday no longer looks that way), but the biggest thing that is yanking my chain is the advent of Christmas.

I'm a scrooge.

Bah Humbug!

Why, you ask?

I really despise/loathe/dislike all the Christmas paraphernalia, decoration, merchandise, music, and yes, even Starbucks holiday drinks (c'mon...has the pumpkin latte even been on the menu for that long?).

I mean, I don't in theory. I really do love all of those things....come the day after Thanksgiving! But it really irritates me to no end to see stores (yes, even my beloved Target) putting this stuff out earlier and earlier every year. (I think I spied Christmas stuff at Target at the start of October after they clearanced out "Back t…

The Nitty Gritty

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It's pretty gritty.

Grimy.
Filthy, even.
It's my silverware drawer.
The crazy thing is that I have opened up this drawer about 20 times per day for literally months without seeing what was literally right in front of me.


I told you it was nasty.

I'm embarrased that it took me one second of full clarity to see what I've allowed to happen in here...coffee grounds abound, crumbs that have fallen in from the counter above, and let's be honest...who knows what else lurked in there.

Our eyes lie...even if we have 20/20 vision. And actually, it's maybe not our eyes that lie, but our brain that does. I'm not sure if it tries to protect us and potentially shield us from becoming overwhelmed by so much that needs attention and adjusting. After all, seeing each and everything in all its state of gory (or glory) could be too much for a small human brain to take.

I don't know how or why it happens, but it does.

That's why I could take out (and infrequently put …

I Breathe You In: A Tribute to Larry Dimond

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This weekend, I'm grieving the earthly loss of a wonderful man of God (and just an all-around wonderful man), Larry Dimond, long-time missionary to Ireland and Zimbabwe, who passed from this world last night, Friday, October 21.

I know that Heaven is his gain and that Larry is lost in the glory of being in God's presence.

I know that.

I rejoice in that part.

But my heart aches for his beautiful wife, Ann, and his two adult children. Hannah and John Michael, and their spouses, Philip and Candace, and for his granddaughter, Haddie Ann. They are left behind (for now) to try to live a life without the man who was everything to their family.

That hurts my heart.

Yet, I know that Larry was not "everything," because their everything is really found in Jesus. I'm so grateful for this reality and that He can comfort them like no man can.

All I can offer to them is my profound sorrow and my profound joy.

It doesn't feel like it's enough.

But I know it's the on…

Caution: Women at Work!

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My children amuse me.

They come up with the funniest things.

Last night as I was walking down the hallway to my bedroom, I noticed a sign posted to my two daughters' door. They frequently tape things up there (pictures, signs, etc), but I could tell that this one was new. And it looked special.

So I took a closer look and recognized my nine-year-old's writing.


It made me chuckle as I pictured my nine and six year old girls hard at work in their bedrooms styling their Barbie dolls, listening to their iPods, trashing their room, etc.

As I got busy doing whatever I did in my bedroom, I started wondering, I wonder why on earth she thought to write and post "Women at Work!" of all things.

So I asked her.

She got an embarrassed look on her face and said, "well, you know...cuz we do stuff in our room. We work."

Fair enough. And though I pressed for a little more detail as to why that particular phrase or the reason for using that wording (as opposed to "Girls…