stuff I need

One of our favorite books is Casey the Greedy Young Cowboy where little Casey makes this extremely long list entitled "Stuff I Need" and fills it with all sorts of crazy stuff. He learns his lesson in the end, of course, and realizes that family is more important than stuff.

Well, after living in a hotel for a month, I now have my own crazy little list. I realize these things aren't super important and if our storage unit burned down today and we lost everything, I'd be o.k. But here's my list anyway...

Stuff I Need:

my big, comfy couch
my books
my crockpot to make yummy fall soups and stews
my pillow
my aprons
my panini maker
my pillow
my Jane Austen movies
my green and white polkadot spoon for stirring my coffee
my pillow

Yes, in the end I'll learn my lesson and realize that people are more important than everything on this list. But for now, this is stuff I need.


he listens

Wow! Who knew that moving could be so crazy? I used to think that the last time we moved was a big deal--the time we moved with a 4 year old, a 3 year old and almost 2 year old twins. I think that was easier, because as long as their toys and beds came along with us and we found a great park and a library with lots of books we were all good.

Now we have 4 kids who are very aware of what we've left behind. They're very aware of the fact that all of their belongings have been in storage since July and they won't get to see these things until November. One of my girls asked, "Why couldn't we just bring one little piece of wood from my bed?" Ouch. If I knew back then that it would have made things a little easier for her, I would have. But I didn't know.

Trying to keep it all together and keep everyone happy has been difficult, to say the least. But I'm so thankful God cares when I'm overwhelmed or lonely. I'm in such good hands.

"I love the Lord...because He bends down to listen." --Psalm 116

This is such a beautiful picture to me--that God, the Maker of the entire universe, would bend down to listen to little 'ol me.


making a home

...my attempt to make our hotel room feel a little more like home during my favorite season.


kitchen dreaming

One more month until we get the keys to our new house! There are a few little {big} projects we'd like to do before moving in, so I've been dreaming away. I hate spending money, so we'll see how much of my dreaming becomes reality. The home was built in 1925. I can imagine the kitchen was as dreamy as anything, but it was "updated" to brown, orange, gold and maroon. I know, makes me cringe, too. So here are a few ideas that are spinning around in my head...

I can't decide if I want to remove the maroon wallpaper and paint the walls white or this soft, buttery yellow. What do you think?

My accent colors will be red and this tiffany blue/turquoise.
I'd like to change out or paint the dark brown cabinets to white in order to brighten up the room a bit. I also want to remove a couple of cabinet doors to expose my turquoise and red dishes.

The current countertops are a golden tile with thick grout. I would love to change it out with this milky white marble, but boy is it pricey!

The current flooring is a golden yellow ceramic tile with orange and brown flowers. I really like this tile, but I'm thinking it might be a little too busy for a kitchen. What do you think? It might look better in a bathroom--which leaves me searching for flooring ideas. Any thoughts?

I love this subway tile for the backsplash. Right now the countertop tile is extended up the wall for the backsplash.

And now for this little issue...

The house is brick, painted white on the outside. My husband said that when we remove the wallpaper, we could keep going and remove the plaster on the exterior wall and expose the brick on that one wall. I love this idea, but I'm wondering if it would go well with the bright yellow and white. I'd like to brighten up the kitchen and I'm wondering if the brick would be too dark. And would it look good with the white tile and white marble? Hmmm...



Grandma, 90, with 13 or her 16 grandchildren and lots of great grandchildren

Both of my Grandmas' birthdays are 1 day apart. One turned 82 on Saturday and one turned 90 on Sunday. Because we live only 5 hours from our family instead of 17 when we lived in Spokane, we were able to join in the birthday celebrations this past weekend. It was such a special time. We haven't been together since Grandpa's funeral back in 2003. My oldest was only 8 months old.

I'm so glad that my kids will know their Great Grandmas. My husband is so good about having our kids connect with them. Because of him, they've seen both of their Great Grandmas 3 times in the last 9 months. He says it doesn't matter if we drive 10 hours and stay only 1 hour. It's worth it. I'm glad they'll know these women and their little houses. They'll have memories of playing in their backyards like I do.

No matter how busy we are, it's important for us to take time to connect with the past. As we drove home last night, I kept thinking about an article that I tore out of a magazine and stashed away in my address book years ago. It's called "Grandma's Hands," written by Kent Nerburn...

"Did you have a good time at Grandma's? Did you hold her hand? When Grandma was little, her grandma used to hold her hand just like that. And you know what? Her grandma's hand had once held the reins of a team of oxen that were pulling a covered wagon. When you were holding Grandma's hand, you were touching back all the way to the pioneers. She can help you touch faraway places."

Do my kids even know what a privilege it is to know these two beautiful women--to know and to connect with anyone who was born in 1921 and 1929? No, of course not. But it's my job--no, it's my privilege to teach them.



Meet my friend Katie. We met back in 1987 when we were in Jr. High and quickly became best friends. I love that I just used the words best friends, Jr. High and the 80's all in one sentence. They go together, don't they? We had so much fun together. I remember stretching out our Walkman earphones so we could both have an earpiece to "sneak-listen" to Richard Marx. Sorry, Mom.

She's in Oregon this week so we've been able to catch up after all these years. I vacationed here with her family 21 years ago--we can hardly believe it's been that long. We decided to go to the mall today, because that's what old friends from Jr. High do.

When my girls and I drove out to pick her up this morning, they asked me all kinds of questions about Miss Katie. I told them that we used to save up our babysitting money so we could go to the mall to buy clothes, and that one year for my birthday she gave me Salon Selectives shampoo, conditioner, mousse and hairspray because I loved how it smelled like apples.

It's so fun to meet up with someone from your past--someone with whom you can just pick up where you left off, no matter how long it's been.


three letters

With the kids in school this year (we've homeschooled up until now), I've had lots of "think time" this week. The boys are in school all day and my girls are in half day Kindergarten, so I'm not quite sure what to do with my time while staying in a hotel in a new city.

Yesterday I drove up to my husband's work just to look at the directory in the lobby. He told me they had just placed his name on it and I wanted to take a peek. I know it sounds silly, but it took my breath away. Seeing those three little letters after his name...PA-C...made me so happy. Then I had this thought...no one who glances at that directory will ever know how those letters have impacted our little family. No one will know that those three letters after his name are a testament to what God has lovingly brought us through. I wish they could, though. It changed us, and I want everyone to know about it.

My husband used to be a firefighter. Five years ago, he was injured at work. One day, as he was driving an ambulance on a call, a truck crossed the double yellow lines on the highway and struck him head-on. The other driver was killed instantly; Phil survived, but sustained several injuries that would end his 18-year career as a firefighter. He had 3 surgeries that following year. Things at home were probably very hectic...I don't really remember much. I'm sure it was God's grace. Our girls were only 3 months old and our boys were 1 and 3. All four of them were in diapers. It's all a blur now. When I watch our home movies, I'm so glad to see that the kids were happy. They just toddled around, laughed and played with their toys. It was probably a good thing that they were all so young and didn't taste the bitter aftermath as we did. We prayed and prayed for healing from physical injuries, Post Traumatic Stress, and direction for what to do next. God directed Phil's heart to pursue a new career as a Physician Assistant, and he was accepted into the University of Washington's Physician Assistant program.

Four years ago, we moved from Northern California to Spokane, WA, so he could attend school. I remember wondering how I would survive without the help and support of all of our family and friends in California, but I quickly learned that when God leads, He also provides. Spokane will always hold a special place in my heart. So far, it's the best place I've ever lived. I think it's because it's the first time in my life where I had to depend completely on God and He proved Himself to be ever faithful. I watched my husband heal, my kids grow, and I watched my own heart grow as I learned to trust when I couldn't see. I loved our little 2 bedroom/1 bathroom house. I remember wondering how all 6 of us would manage in such a tight space, but we always had room enough--even for out-of-town guests and weekly preschool playdates that would number in the 20's! I learned that God makes much out of little.

Now we've moved to the state of Oregon. I'm anticipating that God will fill our lives as He did in Spokane. I'm really hoping that He will, because waves of sadness come over me when I think about our life up there. I miss people and places and my heart is breaking. So yesterday when I walked into the lobby at Phil's work and saw those three little letters...PA-C...after his name, my heart leaped. Those three letters mean God has carried us through darkness. He's been good to us--beauty from ashes, is all I can think of. Beauty from ashes. He's redeemed something that was so ugly at first glance. Five years ago, I remember thinking, "What are you going to do with all of this, God? It hurts so much." God never let go of me. I feel mended. These glimpses of why, these answers, are so sweet and so dear to me. This transition time for our family will unveil a few more answers, I'm sure. I don't want to miss any of them.

I need to write this, because it makes me sad to think that no one who walks into that lobby and sees his name on that directory will know this. But now you do.


back to school

Tonight is First-Day-of-School Eve here in our hotel room (more on that later). My kids are going into third grade, first grade and kindergarten. We've homeschooled since day one, but this year all 4 are going to school. We're all so excited; in fact, my husband starts his new job tomorrow, as well! People keep asking me if I'm excited to have time to myself. The answer is no. I'm really going to miss them. But I'm just as excited as they are because I'm excited for them. We've been bustling about doing our Back to School shopping (my first time ever) and it's been so much fun. When I'm through typing, I'm going to pack their little lunches--something I've always dreamed of! When I taught school, I would check out my students' lunches and say to myself, "When I'm a mom, I'm going to pack..."

Now, about the hotel...we don't get the keys to our new home until the middle of next month, but Phil needed to start his job and the kids needed to start school. So instead of renting a house for 1 1/2 months, we're staying in an extended-stay hotel. It was easier than unpacking our belongings and getting utilities and Internet hooked up--not to mention there's a pool, continental breakfast and housekeeping. :) We have a 2 bedroom/1 bathroom suite with a kitchenette.

We're just so, so excited about tomorrow!