May 31, 2009

Holy Ground.

You know life is good when you've got a film of dirt on your teeth from digging and gardening with a huge smile on your face.

I'm learning new things about myself while I am here... like the fact that maybe I've had a green thumb all this time and never even knew it.

I think part of this new love of the outdoors is the climate here. It's very much like Reno's climate, where I grew up. Dry (not humid), non-mosquito-y, hot during the day, but cool at night. Also- daily afternoon thunderstorms. You know... practically perfect in every way.

It's hard to love the outdoors in Oklahoma... Humid, buggy, muggy, HOT.

This morning I woke up, threw on some shorts and a sports bra, did a little yoga/exercise, and then spent some time digging up more rocks and making soft soil for the planter by the front porch. A girl could get used to this routine.

Tomorrow, we are packing up the camper and the dogs and the kids and going camping.

I look forward to many roasted marshmallows and lots of time playing in the creek. The campsite we're going to is near a tiny itty bitty town with an ice cream shop. So... you can pretty much bet where I'll be 80% of the time. heh.

We went on a short hike behind my parent's house yesterday to hunt for blooming cacti. It was a blast.

(Myer was enthralled, as you can see.)

Ezra found my old stash of MightyMax toys, and they've become his new BFFs. They HAD to come along on the hike with us.

Me and my boys.

The hidden treasures.

Aaaaand, the nightly light show over the canyons when we returned.

I feel like that last picture, with the clouds, is almost too ethereal to look at. When I look at it long enough, I can see a bearded face and a hand reaching out. Can you see it?

Not to sound too much like a weirdo who is claiming the Virgin Mary showed up in her belly lint or something, but this picture gives me goosebumps and then makes my limbs go a little numb. Then my tummy gets all squidgy. It just feels... holy.

This whole place feels holy to me. Like God likes to hang out here... likes to kick his feet up on the canyons and lay back on the valley grasses.

No wonder they call it Zion.

May 27, 2009

A New Harmony.

So... here I am. In Southern Utah. Overlooking the most breathtaking canyons and valleys I've ever seen in my entire life.

This is the humble view from the deck of my parent's new house.

It is so amazing and peaceful here, I swear even the trees are sighing heavily with satisfaction. The other day I sat outside as a thunderstorm rolled in, and I thought maybe I'd actually died and gone to heaven- the wonder of it all was almost too much. The smell of the wet earth was enough to send me into raptures. I wanted to eat the air. The sunlight was boxing its way through the heavy gray clouds and punching the ground in gold and green streaks. The mountain peaks were lighting up and then slipping back into the shadows like brave little lighthouses.

I find myself running to the windows every few minutes throughout the day... unwilling to miss out on the constant light show before me. All that I can think of as I take in the scene is that God has crammed this earth to the very brink with beauty... that He hand crafted and placed every tree and rock and sunbeam. Also, He loves me enough to have given me eyes to see it all. And a memory enough to take a piece of this place with me wherever I go for the rest of my life.

The kindheartedness of it all is completely devastating.


Chris left on Monday, and, I'm not going to lie, I miss the boy. The days here are still quite busy and loud and full- namely because the children didn't evaporate into thin air when they heard we were going on 'vacation'. They are still the boisterous, needy little munchkins they have always been. They exhaust me. Except, now that we're here, we spend lots of our time outdoors... digging in the dirt and playing with old hot wheels cars that belonged to my brother when he was a kid. All the fresh air and sunlight and fun help me forget my tired eyes and remember my smile. I'm also remembering the strength of my arms as I plow the dirt with the pick axe and haul the rocks away... making soft ground for the future plants to grow in.

Every time I swing that axe I find myself praying along with it rhythmically as it sinks into the ground and pulls up another stone.

"Plow my heart. Dig up the stones there, too."

And as we sift through the soil and shake it down and pull out the smaller rocks after that, I find myself praying along once again.

"Sift me. Shake me. Fine-tune me."

I am thankful to be in this place. It is so very inspiring. It makes me want to write and write and write.

And breathe and breathe and breathe.

And live and live and live.

May 23, 2009

Road Trip, Part One.

Words from the road:

We're in the car on the way to Colorado to visit friends. I'm so excited to see the city... this place that seems to have a magnetic pull on the hearts of so many of the people I love.

Myer is cat napping his way across the country, hardly making a sound for hours on end. Ezra is currently so absorbed in his little DVD player, you'd think it were revealing the mysteries of life to him. (Although, he IS watching Charlie Brown, so, perhaps it really is....)

The scenery here is actually quite breathtaking.

You know... for Kansas.

Every quaint farm we drive by- sitting out there on its green manicured patch of earth, next to its private pond of unicorn tears- makes me want to unbuckle my seat belt and leap from this moving car (pen in hand) so that I can do a quick ninja roll or two, regain my footing, and then sign the deed to the place and move right in. These places just seem to ooze contentment to me.

But then, I think about how the nearest grocery store is a three day mule's ride away, and I immediately come to my senses again. Can you imagine ME living that far away from a frozen pizza isle? HAHAHAHA. That's just silly.

(Note to self: You should really stop planning your westward road trips across the country around the hours of 5-9 pm. The sun shines so brightly-- DIRECTLY into your waiting pupils-- so that you spend the rest of your vacation seeing tracers and floaters out of the corners of your eyes. and then you start doing the "phantom-swatting" thing again, and that's just not good for ANY of your relationships. It makes you look certifiable.)

Photos from Denver:

Photos from the Road to Utah:

I have so much more I want to say and show you. Thoughts about Denver, and pictures of my parents' ridiculously amazing home. I couldn't stop crying as I walked through it and drank in the view for the first time. They have worked SO hard to get to this place in their lives- they have sacrificed much and they have been incredibly frugal and wise. What an example! I am so very happy for them.

More to come soon!

May 18, 2009

On the Road to Zion.

Tomorrow, we are packing up the family and heading out for our first roadtrip as a foursome. I'm so excited for the destinations, but a little anxious about the actual driving. Myer doesn't do super well in the car for longer amounts of time. We'll be driving 10 hours to Denver, where I will get to see some friends and check out a city I've been told I will love. I am so excited to see it! And the people I love who live in it!

After a couple of days there, we will pack up again and drive another 8 hours to southern Utah, where my parents have just recently built a house and moved. My friends Rebecca and Randy will be following us out there from Denver, and both my brothers and my sister-in-law and my brother's girlfriend erin will meet us out there too. We'll be celebrating Jaxon & Doodad's birthdays- Jaxon is turning 30 on the 29th, and my dad will be turning 60 on the 30th. So, big cause to paaaarty!

I can't wait to see their house.

Just check out these views that are waiting for us:

Ummmm... how amazing is this?? This is the view from their patio. Those rock formations are just part of a little place I like to call Zion National Park. It's like we're going to a luxury vacation destination... only it's my mom & dad's house! Crazy.

Here's the latest development... We were only going to be able to stay in UT for a couple of days because Chris is really busy with work and needs to get back home, but I just checked the price of one-way tickets from the Vegas airport (closest to mom & dad's house) back to OKC, and there were flights starting at $63.00. SIXTY THREE! So. I think what will end up happening is that me and the kiddos will stay a bit longer and then just fly home later. That way we can spare ourselves from the awfulness that would be a 2 day, 18 hour car trip back home with two kids. *shudder*

I'm off to do laundry and start packing and hit the library and playgroup and the store and....

oy vey.

i'm exhausted already.

Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

May 16, 2009

The SECOND Reported Case of Accidental Cloning.

Practically twins.


Does anyone who has been reading this blog for a ridiculous amount of time recognize this monkey? (The one on the left, more specifically.)

The first to correctly reply with this Monkey's full name will receive a little sumpin' sumpin'.

Happy Saturday!

May 14, 2009

Bump It Up.

i colored my hair today (more brown than red this time around) and i found a new way to style it that i love.

Although, perhaps I should not have been so quick to mock the Bump-It the other day.


It seems I've gone and grown a bump of my own.

(sarah palin would be so proud.)


May 11, 2009

The First Reported Case of Accidental Cloning.

This boy doesn't just look similar to his daddy.

He is THE spitting image.

I mean, I knew he didn't really look like me, but this is just ridiculous!

Is this totally insane to anyone else but me?!

I'm freaking out over here.

(FYI, witty bitty Chris is on the left, Myer is on the right.)

Wiggity wow!

May 9, 2009

My Mother.

Some of my favorite memories are the hours and hours we spent in the car together- just me and her- as she carted me off to my gymnastics lessons or my softball games or my choir rehearsals. We would blast the country radio station and sing our hearts out... just like the Judds! The Judds with a smidgen more oomph!

She taught me to harmonize, to find what wasn't there and fill it up with my voice. She was the one who had an ear open to hear my budding vocal chords belting out hymns as I stood on the chairs at church and reveled in the freedom of a whole group of people joining in song.

She was the one who told me my voice was something special... who believed in me and whom I still think of with gratitude to this day every single time I open my mouth to sing.

My mother is the bravest woman I know. She loved her children enough to let them experience life with a freedom not many get to experience. I always felt that she trusted me, because she allowed me to make my own decisions about things and she never stifled me in any area I desired to explore or tough decision I needed to make. She supported me with her wise counsel, and then had the bravery to step back and allow me to fight my way through situations so that I could discover who I really was.

Yet somehow I always knew that she was there to catch me if I fell... to fight alongside me if the battle got too rough.

My mother is cute. And also adorable. Oh, and I forgot to mention, darling.

On that fateful day four years ago, when my own child filled his lungs with the air of this earth for the very first time, my relationship with my mother was forever changed. Suddenly, we were business associates. Mothers alike. Same job descriptions, different levels of experience. (I was the pimply trainee holding the mop.)

All of the hard work and tears she'd poured into raising me well were to now be poured into the next generation. Her hard work would be multiplied and magnified- the foundation upon which the lives of her grandchildren would be built.

She is fiercely intelligent and willing to take big risks in life. She trusts her gut instincts, and this is probably the biggest gift she has given me: She has taught me to do the same.

She has taught me to trust the small voice inside of me and value the inklings of my heart.

I would be nowhere that I am today if I had not seen my mother living this way and desired to follow suit.

Dearest MoMar, I will never be able to wrap words around what you mean to me and my family. You have been a faithful mother to me and my brothers, and I know that your dedication to that job will be rewarded 100 fold someday- either in this lifetime or the next.

Thank you for pouring yourself out for me. I promise to do the same for my children, too. And thank you for embracing my husband as if he were a son, it blesses me more than I can say.

You will never know the extent of the effect that you've had on this world through parenting your children well, but I know that it will be huge.

Just look at these cute little buds already sprouting in the soil!

We love you so very, VERY much.

Happy Mother's MoMar's Day!

May 7, 2009

Why My Life is Awesome.

boy one. the tender-hearted captain.

boy two. the passionate gatherer.

boy three. the wide-eyed wonder.

These men overwhelm me with their fantasticalities. (totally a word.)

What a lucky, lucky girl I am!

May 4, 2009

The Recession in my Heart.

gratuitous kiddo shot. just cuz.

I have recently come to the life-jarring realization that what the Bible says is actually true and that when jesus says things like "sell your possessions and give to the poor" he is not speaking in cute little parables, or making off the cuff statements for only the uber-spiritual, or speaking in some sort of martian code. He is saying "Hello! You there! SELL YOUR JUNK and give to those who have nothing!"

As middle class American citizens, my husband and I make 100 times more money than the average person on the planet earth. And yet we have the audacity to walk around feeling like and complaining about the fact that we "have no money".

We cling to our 'debt' as reason enough to not live lives of generosity.

"When I'm less in debt, THEN I'll be a generous person, mmmm kay?"


I'm ready to simplify.

I'm ready to downsize, to sell the excess, to unplug a bit and be more generous with my time.

When I get overwhelmed thinking about all of this, God reminds me that He, too, can be simple. He is asking me to take steps towards generosity. One foot in front of the other.

He asks me to make a meal for my elderly neighbor who is sick with cancer.


He asks me to invite over the recently divorced single mother across the way.


He's got me where I am at for a reason. It almost feels like, at this point, it would be taking the easy road to flee from this place He's planted me... in the name of 'helping the poor'. There are poor all around me! Poor in spirit. Poor in health. Poor in community. People who are lonely, heartbroken, desperate.

Anywhere you go, there are the poor and needy. In affluent gated communities? Yes. In the homeless shelter downtown? Yes. In the house I can see outside my front window? YES.

One day, I will be stand before God alllllll by myself and give account for the life I lived on earth. I'm afraid that my current path would lead me to hear these words from His mouth on that day:

"I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat,
I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,
I was a stranger and you did not invite me in,
I needed clothes and you did not clothe me,
I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me...

I tell you the truth,
whatever you did NOT do for one of the least of these,
you did not do for Me."
-Mt 25:42-45

This passage is... unsettling at best. How does one "fancy footwork" their way around a statement like that? I've been trying to do just that- to fancify my footwork around all sides of these words... figuring out how it doesn't quite fully completely actually apply to ME necessarily per say- but I keep tripping. And landing on my face.

Sooo... my new game plan is as follows:

Step one: Fall madly in love with God whilst learning to give from all that He's given me. (from my money, my time, my giftings, my home, etc.)
Step Two: Live a life that is truly RICH from a heart that is wealthy.

I'm so very in. There is only one thing that satisfies in this life, and I'm not willing to waste another moment chasing after anything else. Stick a fork in me. I'm done.


Thoughts inspired and provoked by the book 'Crazy Love' by Francis Chan.
Read. It.