"You can make anything by writing."

-- C. S. Lewis

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

He Makes All Things New

After getting our last snowstorm just two weeks ago, spring is finally in full force here in lovely Colorado! Last night I had a couple of piano students cancel, and I felt so blessed to have an extra hour to just sit on our back patio, enjoy the soft spring breeze, and watch Juliet (mighty defender that she is!) chase a mother robin out of our yard. The poor mommy couldn't deliver her worm to her small babies, snug in their nest on our patio. After about 15 minutes, I finally intervened, but it was pretty cute while it lasted!

Juliet is such a good dog. Springtime Juliet seems a lot happier than wintertime Juliet! She loves the outdoors. :-)

And she and Ryley are the best of buds. :-) Ryley loves snuggling and petting her puppy while she reads!


With springtime comes sundresses. Back in March, my aunt Coleen spent several hours with Ryley, introducing her to the joys of sewing...

The dresses have been such a blessing, and Coleen is so talented! Every outfit has been absolutely adorable, but this is one of my favorites!


With springtime comes baseball, and we were blessed to be hooked up with free tickets to a Colorado Rockies game! It was a last-minute thing, and it was rainy and cold, and we got soaked through and through, but it was an experience we won't forget!

We finally convinced Ryley to eat a hotdog! This is a major event in our lives. :-) And you know what? She loved it.

Plus, we may never have as good of seats again....front row of the club level! Going to a Rockies game had been on our list of family activities/experiences to splurge on this summer, so the fact that we were blessed with these tickets was just wonderful!!!


With springtime comes 1st grade field trips to the Denver Zoo. Ryan (much more of a zoo person than I) served as a chaperone of four little 6-year-old girls! So cute....

He had a bit of a challenge when one of the girls dropped her sunglasses in the kangaroo pen, and the little girl cried and cried! But he tracked down the zookeepers and saved the day!


With springtime comes yard work and unpleasant discoveries. Look at this thing! It's the sixth snake we've found in our yard in three years. Ryan hacked it to death with hoes and shovels. He's our hero!

Ryley was very concerned that we don't use these grill tongs ever again. :-) My husband is so handsome, especially when he is protecting his family!!


This springtime, I have decided not to plant a vegetable garden. I am taking a year off. I've always planted way more than I can handle, and I think sometimes it's more trouble than it's worth...especially with the hail we've been having. Hail and weeds stress me out during this season of my life, and I think a garden needs to be fun and enjoyable and rewarding. It was my grandma's suggestion to take a break, and I am heeding her advice! She always knows best about such things. ;-)


With springtime comes the end of favorite shows. Like LOST. I love LOST, and I loved the way it ended. It was beautiful storytelling, certainly worth the six years of my life that I followed along. Now that I know how it ends, I want to start over and watch it all again! Maybe someday. I know it sounds silly, but it was so inspirational to me spiritually. The story was beautiful, and I began to think, "How much more beautiful is the story and truth of Jesus?" What a lovely thing to ponder.


With springtime comes the promise of the fall. The promise of football. We found out yesterday that we've risen to the top of the Denver Broncos season ticket waiting list. You know what's funny? We added our names to the waiting list the same month that LOST premiered, in September 2004. Back then, we had no money, but we believed that by the time we got to the top of the list, we would be able to afford it. :-) Well, we're a little better off (praise God!), but not a lot! Ha! They're really not a lot of money in the grand scheme of things, but $20 can be the world to you when you don't have anything, right? We have two weeks to figure this out. Otherwise, it will be another 7-10 years before our names resurface. Knowing Ryan and his love for the Broncos, I am certain that he will figure it out!! One way or another.


All in all, it seems that springtime has finally arrived. God is good, He is faithful, and He takes care of all the many small details within our lives. If He cares so much about the details and little things, how much more then is He taking care of the things that really matter? As I watched Juliet chase that robin, I just reveled in the glory of nature and how our Father sees to it that even the baby robins are fed. My rose bushes bloom without a touch from me, and the bright pink blossoms remind me that it's a new season, and He's doing new things in each of us. What a beautiful story our Heavenly Father has woven together for us to take part in...one of love, one of provision, and one of ultimate renewal.

He indeed makes all things new.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Intrigue (of Babies and Magazines and the Like)

It hailed tonight, and the air is ripe with the smell of rain. So I guess that puts me in a bit of a blogging mood, doesn't it? Unfortunately, there are so many thoughts filling my head that they may not come out very organized!

First of all, my brother Justin and sister-in-law Aly found out today that they're having twin ????. I will let them share their exciting news! You have no idea how stinkin' thrilled we are for them. This is God's redemption at its finest! I simply cannot wait to meet these sweet babies in the fall!

Speaking of redemption, the fifth issue of SHINE Magazine is now in print and distribution! For some reason, this was a tough edition to edit, and it took a lot out of me. But I know that it's because it's going to be a blessing to so many women. These articles are so anointed, and this issue has already received rave reviews. I was also able to write and include an article of my own this time around, so I am really excited about that! If you are interested in receiving a copy of the magazine, I have many extra, and I will happily send one to you! Just say the word. :-)

Work is getting busy again! Every day I learn something new about being a boss. I am learning to confront attitudes and missteps more quickly, and I am becoming more confident in my position. We have started a book club on Thursdays, and though the other office girls are not Christians per se, the book we are discussing is an excellent Christian book called "Commanding Your Morning." I don't dwell on or force the scriptural elements of the book; the principles are wonderful even without discussing the scriptures that support them. Even so, I have been a little nervous about leading the discussion (lest awkward conversations ensue), and I have prayed that God would give me wisdom in those moments. Last week, one of the girls had an issue with one of the scriptures, and she said so. As I searched for the words to respond, God gave me the perfect scripture (hidden in my heart long ago) that clarified the scripture she had an issue with. When I suggested and quoted that scripture, she immediately reacted positively. God brought to my remembrance the perfect words at the perfect time. It's been a long time since I've felt like that! I am thankful that God is allowing me to lead these girls in gentle pursuit of Him. And He draws all men unto Himself!

I can still be so naive, though. One morning, one of the girls was in an abnormally good mood. I knew she'd been on a date the night before, so I asked her how it went. She smiled coyly and said that it had gone wonderfully. So I teased her, "Yay! Did he kiss you?" Both of the girls kind of laughed, and she admitted that he had. I shrugged and went on with my day. Hours later, I found out that she had actually ended up spending the night at his house. How I didn't jump to that conclusion in the first place, I'll never know! My dating experience was just so different from that, and I am still extremely old-fashioned. Thank God.

In the last month, I have discovered the following about myself:

.....I love, love, love discovering good new music. Then I play those songs to death.

.....I hate jokes. Knock-knock jokes. Chicken jokes. Blonde jokes. Hate them.

.....I think the phrase "just living the dream" is funny when used ironically. Every time someone says it, I laugh. And I always picture that person as a child, dreaming wistfully about what they do today.

.....I really want my own greenhouse. I want one where the ceiling windows open up to let in the fresh air. And I want a comfy couch right smack in the middle of all the flowers and veggies where I can just lie and smell the rich soil. This greenhouse would allow for me to have a garden protected from our precious, destructive dog, along with a dual purpose of providing a place for me to get lost in my thoughts or in a good book. Also, I think I would have more control over weeds this way. I might decide to boycott gardening altogether until I can have my own greenhouse. :-)

.....I am all for bark collars. Out of desperation and fear that we may get complaints about our annoying dog (we were becoming afraid to answer knocks to our front door), we finally bit the bullet. And it has made all the difference in the world. It doesn't hurt her. She's only had to wear it four times in over a week, and she's already learned to control herself. Our quality of life has improved 79.2%.

A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of hosting Ryan's sister Gwen and family for a last-minute visit from their home in New York. Here are some pictures of their super-fun visit:

Ryley with her cousins Kaleb, Raegan, and Nathan

Uncle Ryan and Aunt Joy took the kids to Tiny Town on a Saturday. They rode the train and explored all the little buildings.

Then we headed over to Heritage Square to do the Alpine Slide and enjoy the amusement park.

Uncle Ryan shows Nathan how to use stilts!


And here are some random pics of Ryley from the last month. She likes to watch movies on the portable DVD player. Sometimes we discover her curled up somewhere random, watching "Up" and giggling.

Here's her choir concert at school. She's in the very middle.

Ryley and Daddy time each other's abilities to spin a top on the kitchen floor. Whose spin lasted the longest? Mine. :-)

Ryley and her friend Amirah enjoy the rain. April showers bring May flowers and weeds and long grass that we can never find time to cut between rain storms.

And that's all she wrote. At least for now. :-)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ryley Stories

For several days, I have felt the urge to write and reflect. That's what happens when we get rain for a week straight....I always prefer rain to shine; I feel more in tune with myself somehow.

But then the sun came out today, and I lost it. Darn it.

The other problem I have is that I always need to have a clean house before I allow myself to blog. It has something to do with "work before play," which was drilled into me as a child, and I continue to drill it into Ryley. :-) So while it was raining, I was busy doing other things and cleaning the house in whatever spare time I had, and now that the house is clean and I do have time to blog, there's nothing in my head to say. It's a little frustrating.

Hopefully some Ryley Stories will suffice....


We were playing a silly game the other day, where we were going through the alphabet and naming things we would feasibly bring to a picnic (apples, brownies, chips, etc.). We got to "Z," and we were a little stumped.

Suddenly, Ryley shouted out, "Zap! Like out of a tree, so we can make syrup?"

Ryan and I laughed and told her she meant sap, but that wouldn't work since it starts with "S."

We were still stumped for awhile longer, so finally I googled "foods that start with Z" on my IPhone.

"Zucchini!" I said.

Ryley looked puzzled for a second and then said, "Yeah...I guess you could wear a zucchini as your underwear to the picnic."

"Are you talking about a bikini?" I asked. "Zucchini is a vegetable; a bikini is a swimming suit."

We all laughed for awhile over that. :-) There will not be too many more word mix-ups as she gets older and smarter. We cherish every single one!


I don't really remember how it came into conversation, but Ryan and Ryley were talking the other day, and Ryley insisted that reindeer live in rainforests. :-)


On Mother's Day, our church requested that all the ladies wear hats to go along with the sermon illustration. Well, that's not really my thing, so I chose not to participate. Our church service looked like the Kentucky Derby. :-) Ryley (who did choose to wear a hat) was in awe, so I put her to work counting the hats, and she got to 102 before the service even began!

Then this lady entered the pew in front of us, and her hat was a little different...It was a little eccentric and looked like it was part of African traditional garb, perhaps? Anyhow, Ryley needs to have a story and a reason behind everything, so she whispered in my ear, "Oh, do you think that lady -- she really wanted to wear a hat to church, but she didn't have one, and she didn't have the money to buy one, so she just decided to make her hat out of paper!"

I have to be honest that that is what it looked like!!

I love Ryley's desire for every decision to be qualified somehow. :-)


I was having a little chat/pep talk with Ryley today about the importance of getting our work done. Somehow she thinks I like cleaning the house and that I am only eager for her to share in the joy of it! I'm not sure how she twisted my meaning into that, but whatever. :-)

So, I felt like I should tell her about what the Bible says about noble wives and women and work, so I opened the Bible to Proverbs 31. As I read, I admit -- I was a little convicted. I don't get up while it is still dark, and Ryley dutifully pointed that out -- "You don't do that!" I don't sew, and she noticed that too. So I explained that in these modern times, things are different....I may not make her clothes, but I make sure she has clothes. I burn the midnight oil editing for the magazine, and the money I get from that helps us to pay for extra things that we need or desire. I work full-time, I teach piano, I make sure our house is clean. Any good thing you want takes work to accomplish it. If we want our lawn to look pretty, Daddy has to go through the agony of mowing it. If you want to be a doctor, you have to go to years and years of school. If we want a garden, we have to plant it. There is a price for everything. If you want a clean room, Ryley, you have to clean it. It doesn't clean itself.

So, when we were done, I had her draw on a piece of paper the things that she got out of the scripture we had just read and discussed. This is an exercise she does at school, and I've noticed that it seems to work for her and is interesting for me to see what she is comprehending as well. Do you know what she drew? Out of all of that, she drew my strong arms with big, bulging muscles. After all, Proverbs 31:17 says, "Her arms are strong for her tasks."

Thank goodness, she's only six. There's still time. And she cleaned her room and was cheerful about it, so I guess I can't complain, right? :-)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lost and Found

The journey began nearly six years ago. We had just moved to Colorado from Montana a month earlier. We were adapting to new jobs and making new friends. Our baby Ryley was just a one-year-old pixie of a thing. And one Wednesday night, Ryan and I sat down on the couch to watch the pilot of a show for which we had seen intriguing previews and which Ryan had read was the most expensively produced pilot of all time.

It didn't take much for us to fall in love with the story -- that of a crashed plane on a mysterious tropical island and its intriguing passengers who are most eager to survive. A culture was born that night.

Six years later, and through the miracle of video tapes set to record and (these days) TiVo, we have never ever missed an episode of LOST. It is, for us, like a beautifully written, complex novel...90 hours longer than any movie or miniseries. A story of redemption that we have followed breathlessly for almost the length of time that we've been parents.

In this season of our lives, it feels like we have less and less time to get sucked into TV shows. We've had to make choices on what we're going to spend our time and mental energy. We chose LOST.

There are rules we have set...

We don't watch it without the other.

We watch it the same week it airs, preferrably the same night. We haven't rented DVDs the way we have for other series. We've read the chapters one suspenseful week at a time, the way it was meant to be.

The piano theme still gives me goosebumps after all this time, so much so that we found the sheet music this week, in honor of the show's impending conclusion...only days away.

I post this tribute -- not to reveal how nerdy we are (you already know that!) -- but to reflect on this part of our lives that has been present for more than half our marriage. It has been something for us to look forward to, something for us to discuss and ponder.

For the lovers of a good story like we are, it's certainly been fun. There will be other stories, I'm sure, but nothing quite like this one.