Busiest Week of the Year. What a great family I have.

Just an update of my life…

This week, as with all 2nd weeks of June, we celebrate 5 things in 5 days:

June 10: Ricky’s b-day (38)

June 12: Mom’s b-day (61)

Last Day of School (for Angel)

June 14: Our Anniversary (17 yrs)

June 15: Father’s Day

So it’s been a whirlwind! But pretty great. I had to back out of worship practice Wednesday (which means Sunday as well) but did keep my standing Monday night commitment w/my Mending the Soul class. Three weeks left and I’ll have completed the class and be better equipped to help those affected by abuse, neglect or trauma. I’m praying that even though I don’t know what’s around the bend or who God has in store for me to meet and help through healing, He will use this training. He will take  what I’m learning and I’ll be able to understand someone – maybe even lots of people – and take their hand as they journey toward mental, emotional and spiritual healing and health. If not one-on-one, then maybe I’ll use the wisdom to become a facilitator of a related class, myself some day.

Braylon and I have been getting in the Word in the mornings this week too. It’s been pretty cool. 10-15 minutes, we each read. He reads from Proverbs (the chapter of the day) and Ephesians – his book of choice written by Paul. I loved that he chose such an encouraging book. We’re talking about reading until something jumps out at you, writing that thing down, and then we’ll talk about why it seems significant – and today I talked to him about why it’s important to go deeper than just reading to cross it off your list – but read to really understand what God’s saying to you in that moment. Instead of reading and writing it down and moving on, we’re praying a quick request to God beforehand that He’s speak to us and help us understand and apply what we read, we’re then reading, writing and talking about how it might apply…with one example we can think of.  I think this will really pay off. Heck, I know it will! Isaiah 55:11-13 promises! It’s always a battle to start getting in the Word more intentionally and consistently. But once you’re there, you’re like – this is sweet! Why did I ever stop?! God is speaking right to me!  or – that would be perfect for me to send to so-&-so right now!  It’s cause it really is ALIVE and active – full of power and life.

Angel is still so sweet. Every year I keep waiting for her to turn bratty and sour. But NOPE. Not yet. 🙂 She told me yesterday that she wants to be a singer when she gets older and my heart stopped and did a happy dance in my chest for 2 seconds. She’s good at it, too.

I had to re-wash and re-rinse her hair tonight. I thought she, at 7 1/2, would be old enough to wash her hair by herself. But alas, she hopped out without yelling at me to check it first…and she had weird dry scalp flakes (or hair gel pieces) and soapiness still in there! So here we go again. She loves to play outside with her bro who she still at times calls “bwud-ger” and their favorite outdoor activities lately involve the “over the creek” swing their dad made, hanging with the 5 “Buck Boys” down the street  jumping on their trampoline or shooting hoops, riding bikes or rip-sticking.

Sometimes Bray goes exploring in the big backyard, takes his knife and cuts or whittles whatever wooden thing he can get his hands on. When I look for him from the back porch, I usually find him just in time to see his arm flailing as he chucks a rock or a stick as far as he can. Which is SO Braylon. He’s been doing that since he was like 3! He’s really worked on drawing this year and has gotten so dang good at it! I love his determination. His perfectionism is an unfortunate genetic obstacle to artistic greatness. It’s ok though. It’ll hopefully equally help him achieve his artistic goals! He is just like his daddy who used to draw and doodle in high school and then way after that, he realized – wait a minute! I think I GOT somethin’ here! And next thing you know he’s like Creative Director Web Designer and Marketing Consultant for a major corporation. But whatevs ~ Braylon will be fantastic at whatever he does with the Lord’s help and guidance. His openness, compassion & humor light me up…and his dad loves how sensitive, creative and confident he can be.

It’s now after midnight on 6/14 – which means it’s Ricky’s and my 17th anniversary! We’ve been hanging out lookin at our wedding photos and he was kind enough to oblige me and pick out his favorite one of just me, just him and both of us. Today we played ping pong (I beat him again! All three games this time. Hee hee). We listened to the Lionel Richie Pandora Station during dinner (I made us raspberry salad and grilled bacon sandwiches) and  afterward when we found ourselves alone by the ping pong table he made, right after I beat him, we kissed and slow danced for a minute to Journey’s “Open Arms”…despite my garlic bread breath.

I can’t wait to see what later today has in store for us.

Or the rest of our lives.

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Playing at the Symphony with Angel, & in the Creek with Braylon

I am so thankful I’ve been able to spend some precious time with my lil ones lately. Week-in-Review! Monday we designated as date night, but not for Ricky & me…we split up with the child we were about to be away from for 8 days (while the boys traveled to the great NW)! So, I took Bray to the creek & (per his request) to Golden Chick where they served the best Diet Coke on tap that I’ve ever tasted Continue reading

Blessed to be a blessing

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Thank you!!

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A New Phobia

Well, I just discovered tonight (after 2 & a half years) that Angel has a phobia.  This is in addition to her previously known phobia of fuzz captured on camera, HERE.

As I was searching the internet for the term for this new one, I came across a blog post listing & describing the Top 10 Bizarre Phobias, but to no avail. This fear was not to be found on a list. So what is it that Angel’s so afraid of, you ask?

Automatic Car Washes.

Below are the shots her Daddy took with his iphone camera, in order, as the car went through (just after playing at Dairy Queen). Let’s see if you can tell which shots were taken when the brushes were pressed up against the windows:

angel-at-dairy-queen

Happy-go-lucky, sweet & sweaty Angel at Dairy Queen (the mercury crawled up to 103 today)

car-wash1

What’s goin’ on…where are we?

car-wash2

Attack of the blue brushes

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…and from all angles?!

car-wash3

Please don’t hurt me. I mean you no harm, soapy robot

car-wash4

Make it stop! Daaaaaaaaddy!

car-wash5

The quiet before the storm

car-wash6

Loud noises, invisible forces!

car-wash6

The Dry Cycle, cont’d

car-wash8

It stopped. Did it stop? Where are we?

car-wash9

The light of day:  freedom is in sight

Get this one?

Sometimes, when you’re just doing the mundane responsibilities life demands, God wants to meet with you, one on one.

Last night at 10:04, I was tryin’ to finish a chapter in my current book when I realized just how sleepy I was. Finally, I let my eyes close…until of course, a minute later when I heard a baby cry & a husband ask, “get this one?”.

Angel (actually 28mo.s old) was struggling to find her way to the door I’d just opened… in tears, and shaking. She kept saying, “Oweee”. She seemed very afraid. Earlier, we’d noticed she was running a temp. I looked over at the new bouncy Ikea Poang chair I’d put in her room forher-rug1 nights just like this, but it seemed appropriate to just gather her in my arms and my criss-cross applesauce lap, right there on the floor.

She kept looking at me. I thought. I mean, it was kinda creepin’ me out. But then over the next 2 minutes or so, as I studied her eyes, I noticed they were looking right above my left shoulder. Her crying stopped. Her shivering stopped. But her eyes were wide and slowly blinking. There was a few feet of nothing behind me & then a wall, so I reluctantly broke the silence, “what do you see?” and with that, her eyes, as if tracing an object, quickly moved from behind my shoulder, to the door behind her, even causing her to arch her back a bit to see it as long as she could.

I prayed over her and hummed “My Favorite Little Girl“, until she found sleep again, in my arms. This is the third time something like this has happened. I’ve even written about an amazing experience when Braylon was her age. What a wink from God! That He would care so much to send us His angels to comfort & heal.  It pleases Him to minister to those who are too young or too disabled to articulate it. I share a belief with Christian author and strong woman of God, Pam Vredevelt, who wrote of a similar story in “Angel behind the Rocking Chair” …that once in a while, these little ones are blessed to experience His supernatural presence in a more tangible, visual way.

Next time your spouse asks you to take care of a crying child, count it a privilege. It may be more worth your effort, than you think. I’m so glad I “got this one”.

At that time Jesus prayed this prayer: “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike.  Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way!” – Matthew 11:25

Christmas 2008

From my journal on Christmas night:

What a Christmas vacation. Two nights ago we boarded a plane from Austin to Seattlecontinental airlines (which was cheaper than tickets to Portland, even with a rental); drove south (Oregon bound) but only made it Olympia before the snow started comin’ down heavy – too heavyimg_0039 & sticky for our lil Ford Focus with lil bare tires. With the help of some of God’s angels, we made it to a Red Lion Hotel and only paid $89. for a great room with two queen sized oh-so-comfy beds. We had quite the view of a the swimming pool-ice-rink and at breakfast,img_0038 we sat at a table with huge windows overlooking a half-frozen lake and snow-blanketed trees all around, which made up for the suckie food. It was still snowing lightly when we looked at the freeway.

I-5 was wet & clear so we packed up & continued on, with 3.5 hrs of sleep, home-sick hearts and 3 refills of coffee as fuel. It amazed me how great we felt.

On Christmas Eve, we made it to Sherwood, OR … no roadside assistance necessary, even on the worst roads, Tualatin- Sherwoodme-n-ricky and my family’s street, SW Houston. The Stewarts came down to the Bebb’s and we got to love on each other, have chicken divan & Christmas cookies (wiener-dog shaped w/icing & sprinkles). Narnia and It’s a Wonderful Life played as the kiddos (Gabby 5, Jamae 7, Angel 2, and Braylon 6) ran around the house. Finally, we gathered in the living room where I read a few paragraphs from new-jammiesLuke 2 about Jesus’ birth before

sleepy-angel Bray interrupted with, “can we open a present now?!”  The kids got one gift to open. We set out three cookies and a small glass of milk on the piano. It was going to be two cookies, but Bray said that Santa (from the mall) whispered to him that he likes to have three.

At 10:15pm after everyone went to bed, I re-wrapped one present & wrote that it was from Santa…well, actually I wrote:

For Braylon:

Santa and all us elves wish you God’s very best! You were on his “good list”.

Love, Hermie (the Dentist-Misfit Elf)

 I messed up the car track in front of the fireplace, scooted a bench next to the piano, and made tiny arm & foot prints (the kind you make with the side of your hand) inside the dusty fireplace vent that opened wide. It would prove to be the perfect set-up.

Hook, line and sinker, baby. Two years in a row. After reading it, Braylon lit up when he thought it was amazing they knew him by name, and again when he remembered who Hermie was. He watched the old Rudolf claymation show last week.  Hermie and Rudolf were both misfits that became friends.

Bray opened up the gift & it was (by coincidence) exactly what he’d asked Santa for three days ago when Papa Rick, Granny & Deenie took him to the mall ~ an mp3 player. What a convenient gift for our lil traveling buddy. Complete with a collection of the legendary sounds of Jonny Lang.

mp3-player

img_0051At 9am, we headed over to the Stewart’s place through the icy snow for a huge, yummy breakfast (including the traditional Santa-pancakes) and then back to Mom and Dad’s for presents. After Stew and Rick helped my Dad get our rental out of a snow rut, we were packed up and were off again…another 280 miles south, to see the rest of the family this Christmas day!guitar

I-5 to Medford was wet & clear…even over the Sexton Pass (almost 2k ft). We made it to the condo by 6pm in time for some of Janis’s good ‘ol chicken spaghetti with the Reeves. We just hung out, caught up, laid back and relaxed in the presence ofclint family. A sense of warmth and safety loomed. Braylon had a gift that he was just enamoured with ~ a small laser pointer. Someone asked him if he could give us a laser light show, to which he and his cousins all replied, “what’s a laser light show?” (What? You mean you don’t remember Pink Floyd at the OmniMax Theater?!) Well, after explaining it, we all took turns with our own unique designs on the ceiling. At one point, we all stopped to notice snow flurries lit by a parking lot lamp, out their 2nd story window.

Bob (inside-jokingly) said, “hey, lets all go around in a circle and name something about our spouse that annoys us!” Referring, of course to Rick’s genius attempt in 2003 to simultaniously cure bordom, bring laughter and promote the expression of  brutal honesty among family members). This time Rick replied, “How ’bout we name one thing we love about our spouse (or for the kiddos,  a parent or sibling)”. Well, this generated quite the response. Love filled the dimly lit room. Rick said: “I love how she cares how she looks, but isn’t so into herself that she goes to extremes. She knows who she is.”

After we all answered that one, we kept the ball rollin’ with a few more…

“name the best material gift you could ever get”

“name an aspiration you would love to do or learn the art of one day”

“name one place you’d like to travel”

“name one fear you have”

“name one thing you use or have, that you take for granted on a daily basis”

and we finished the night with real stories of angel sightings. It was about 11pm…and about 10 minutes later, not a creature was stirring.

The next day was shared with the other link in our Russ-chain: Jeremy, Jamie, Tyler  9, and baby Riley  10 mo.s (who weighed in at appx.28 lbs!).  We grubbed on Greenberg smoked turkey (sent from Gam, of course), green bean casserole, mashed taters & gravy, and warm rolls…oh, and three gallons of Tillamook Ice Cream with brownies made from scratch.

riley

sweet-angel

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reading

grrrrick

sleepless

airport

de-icing-plane

Those few days were packed with blessings from my God. They were so much fun, and such a blur, that I just had to write it all down. Sometimes it can bring joy and comfort to be able to re-read and ponder the details of family gatherings such as these, for years to come.

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kissing

“come” ~ a poem i wrote today

come

come, peace

come, fulfillment of souls and stomachs

come, grace

come, love with a vison so bold

come, healing

come, hope in letters to children

come, Jesus

come, voices to stories untold

come, bloggers

come, nets, vaccines and toothpaste Continue reading