Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I won 3rd row concert tickets to see tobyMac. I had entered all the radio contests I could to win these tickets, in hopes of having a great concert experience with Jeff. What I didn't expect is that Jaden would become such a huge tobyMac fan so when we won 2 tickets, of course I had to take my 7-year old!!

What an amazing concert. It was such high energy, punk, hip-hop, Christmas songs, you name it, all dedicated to Jesus. My goal of the night was for Jaden to see that men could be really cool, sing really great songs, do really awesome dance moves, and still be total Jesus Freaks. Glory was given to God all night long and I really wanted Jaden to see that. And it filled me with Joy that this is exactly what Jaden saw.

My favorite part of the night is when a Charlie Brown clip came on the screen and it was Linus talking about the true meaning of Christmas. Then tobyMac sang "City on our Knees" with footage of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina on the screen. And the message was not condemnation ("Look what God did to these cities"), but of hope, and the stories of love, courage and compassion that emerged from those tragedies. I couldn't help but cry but was also filled with hope that if we stand together, we can change the world. We can stand together as Christians, as Jesus Freaks if you will, and pray that God lifts us up as a city, country, and world under Him.

So today, my goal is to live as a Jesus Freak. To proudly and boldly proclaim the love of Jesus Christ and the hope we have in Him. In doing so, I will strive to be humble and loving, looking for every opportunity to show God's love for His children.

And I thank God for great role models such as tobyMac, the Diverse City band, Stephanie Smith, b. Reith, and Relient.K. These talented musicians were all immensely gifted but all praised God and sought to glorify Him. We need more role models like these for our kids!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I let somebody steal my joy....

This morning, I was bursting with joy as our family made the commitment to sponsor a child through Compassion International. Just bursting!! On the verge of tears, I felt so great, like I was doing something really great that God had placed on our family.

Then, at 8:30am, with it slightly drizzling outside, my 4-year old, Colten, asked to go outside and ride a bike. Not a big wheel or something noisy, but a 2-wheeler with training wheels. I went outside to watch him, complete with my coffee mug, big jacket, monkey slippers, and huge grin on my face. I felt great. Standing in the alley behind our homes, guarding my precious child in case someone backed out of their garage or drove in, I felt great.

Then she came out. The neighbor that has been harassing us about our noisy kids. In addition to Colten, we have a 7-year old, Jaden, and the boys do play outside. They'll ride bikes or we'll set up a basketball hoop or Jaden will set up his hockey nets and play street hockey. The kids are always supervised by either Jeff or I, they only play during reasonable daylight hours, and we don't let them yell or be excessively loud. But many of our neighbors are elderly and prior to us moving into the neighborhood a year ago, I can only assume that kids playing outside was not a common occurrence. Her confrontations towards my husband have been quite aggressive, including her going after him as he tried to walk away, but today it was my turn.

So when I saw her garage door go up, I cheerily waved to her and said "Good Morning!", complete with my monkey slippers on. She told me that my son was making too much noise. That all the neighbors thought we were too loud. That he should be riding his bike at the park (1 mile away). That I was arrogant and uppity. That I took better care of my dogs than I did my kids. Ouch!

I tried apologizing for any time I ever came across as arrogant. I told her that the boys had permission to ride their bikes in this alley, that Colten was not even talking as he was riding, he was just happily toodling around in circles. I told her that I wanted to keep peace with the neighbors. I told her that I didn't understand, we had been friends when we first moved in a year ago and I didn't know why she seemed so angry with us. I expressed concern over her recent health problems and that I would pray for her healing (this was said very sincerely, but it seemed to make her very angry).

But most importantly, I lost my joy! I forgot all about my sponsorship of a little boy in Nicaragua. I forgot about Jaden & I winning 3rd row seat tickets for a tobyMac concert this Tuesday. I forgot about God coming through for us financially this week and giving Jeff many promising job opportunities. I forgot about passing Neurology, and all of my other classes, after a very challenging Fall quarter. I forgot about all these things that I had been praising God for all week.

For the rest of the day, I was back in the rain, in my big jacket, my monkey slippers, holding my mug of coffee, but now without a grin as I was told that I took better care of my dogs than I did my kids.

I do pray for Debra, for her physical and mental healing, for peace in our neighborhood, and for our kids being able to play outside without fear of receiving a letter threatening a fine if we continue to 'disrupt the peace'. I pray that God uses this experience to shape me so that I may be able to gracefully handle conflict (I did pretty good today, but threatening to call animal control if her always-off-leash dog ever charged my children again was likely not the Holy Spirit speaking through me at that point; funny how one bad sentence at the end of a conversation can negate all the peaceful and graceful things you said up till then...). I pray that I never let someone else steal my joy like that again. I pray that Jeff's heart softens as well, as he was pretty angry that these things were said to me.

And now I thank Pastor Rick Warren for his well-timed tweet tonight:

"Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you."
Luke 6:27-28.

I can only imagine that I did something good for the Lord, and the Devil immediately tried to squash me, and I let it happen. Next time, I pray to do better.

I'm sponsoring a child!

My online friend, Rachel Olsen, had a challenge on her blog to visit Compassion International and pray for one of the children in need of a sponsor. I visited the site and viewed the children in Nicaragua who were in need of sponsorship. I selected Nicaragua because I have actually been there, 3 years ago. The sights of poverty are still with me but I had neglected to keep these families in my prayers. I selected an 8-year old boy and had been praying for him the past two days. During a time of meditation this morning, I felt like God placed it on my heart to sponsor him. It was easy to argue "But, Lord, money is so tight right now!" but then I was gently reminded that the money is God's, not mine, and he has always provided for us in the past and now it is our turn to let God work through us to help provide for another family in need.

Sponsorship of a child is only $38/month. You can select the age, boy or girl, what country the child is from, and can even pick a child based on their birthday (in honor of somebody else, for example). Once I have more information about Jonh, I will happily post some pictures.

I don't count on anyone reading my blog, but maybe somebody else will be led to sponsor a child in need as well :)

In Him,

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Totally Bizarre Dream.....

Our family had a crazy hockey weekend in San Jose and I had to work tonight, so Jeff was kind enough to let me take a nap. Our room was clean, warm, cozy and smelled quite nice thanks to the cinnamon-scented pine cones Jeff brought home recently. We had a great, exhausting weekend and I was looking forward to a couple of hours of rest.

My dream started off innocently enough. I was at work (nurse at the vet school) when I realized I had a lot of old syringes in my pocket. I went looking for a sharps container to dispose of them in and went outside into a woodsy, forested area that was along a hillside. I found a sharps container and off the path noticed an old radio that was on but no one was paying attention to it. The news on the radio sounded very urgent, like we were under attack or there was a war about to start, so I started walking towards it.

As I walked to the radio to listen to what was going on, I looked up and saw a huge, strange looking plane. I looked to the direction where the plane had come from and saw that a large bomb-looking device attached to a parachute was floating down to the water below. I watched the thing drop, absolutely terrified, not knowing what would happen when it hit the water. Would there be an explosion? Was I close enough to just be disintegrated? Turns out there was a huge explosion when the bomb hit the water and I saw it come towards me but I wasn't directly affected. However, I knew that I had to grab my kids and head up the mountain we were on. For some reason, I knew that everyone would be running down the hill but we needed to go up, even though it meant we might get trampled going against the flow.

Flashing forward to the next scene in which can only happen in a dream, I was hiking up with mountain with both Jaden and Colten. Both boys were heroically carrying their personal belongings and trudging up the mountain as fast as they could, never stopping to complain. But as I looked at the boys and myself, I saw that we were changing. Our features were elongating and there were twigs growing out of my face.

Finally, Colten stopped, put down all his stuff and, and looking very dejected said "Mommy, I tuh-wing into a twee" and he was right. We were turning into trees and all three of us were terrified. I grabbed Colten and placed him in a nice, clear area that I thought would be appropriate for him to spend eternity as a tree. I then made Jaden put his stuff down. I got on my knees and wrapped my arms around the both of them as tightly as I could and said "If we're going to spend our eternity as trees, then this is how I want to be, holding onto the both of you". And the three of us were wrapped around each other as we started to root ourselves into the ground and turn into trees.

I woke up from this dream absolutely terrified. The dream was so realistic, right down to Colten's speech and the scared looks on my kids' faces. I had no idea where Jeff was or what I could do to save us. I never have these end of the world dreams but this really terrified me. I started thinking about our eternity, being in Heaven, being with those I love, and wishing I had Joseph around to tell me what this dream meant! When I woke up, I ran and hugged both of my boys as hard as I could and then told my dream to Jeff, which made me cry. It makes me cry just typing it out. It may mean nothing, but I can't shake the feeling that there was some sort of eternal message.

I read my Bible every morning. I make an effort to consult God's will in every decision I make. I spend my day in constant prayer. I listen to praise music at every opportunity. I try and teach my children about the love and grace of God as well as to be thankful for all we have blessed with as well as to pray for others. I don't fear eternity for myself (not in an arrogant sort of way, but knowing that if I obey the Word of God, he has promised eternal life), but I am terrified of spending it without those I love. I have a list of people I pray for every single night, family members and friends who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. I pray that God will give me the wisdom, the words, the courage and the guidance to lead them to Christ. I fear saying the wrong thing that will drive them from Christianity but I know that we are called to create disciples.

Nobody reads these posts, I know that, but I wanted to document this dream and ponder it's significance, if there is any at all. Am I certain of my eternal salvation? What about my children? Where was Jeff? Why was I so scared? Why, did at no point in this dream, did I stop to pray? Where was everyone else? Can I spend eternity wrapped around my children? Are cinnamon-scented pine cones to blame for dreams of turning into trees???

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Last Few Months

Somehow, I allowed life to get really hectic the last few months. September and October are kind of a blur, and here it is almost Thanksgiving and I feel like I finally have some time to wind down, catch up, and remember what our family has accomplished.

I'm a 3rd year veterinary student at U.C. Davis now, and this year we start doing our surgeries. My first surgery was to neuter a cute little puppy named Grizzly.

(that's me in the center holding Grizzly with my awesome surgery partners, Kari & Maryam)
Grizzly was from a shelter and I have heard that he was adopted after surgery :)

My 7-year old son, Jaden, is now playing hockey!!

(Jaden holding his 1st medal for his team finishing 4th place in a tournament that only had 4 teams :D)

I have a position at school in which I attend conferences throughout the year with most of the expenses paid for. Our most recent meeting was in Newport Beach and Jeff was able to come along. Unfortunately, I had been sick as a dog so was not able to enjoy the luxurious room, the beautiful pool, or the really expensive seafood dinner we were treated to, but Jeff still took some pictures. I still was so glad that he was able to come with me.

Our beautiful room

The view from our private patio

Me in front of some of the big fancy yachts docked next to our hotel, clutching tightly to my Diet 7-up that helped ward off the nausea...

Our 4-year old, Colten, is doing so great. He has adapted to life as a hockey sibling.

Colten showing what the back of my car looks like as we travel to hockey games, filled with equipment, food, and blankets.

He has been a real trooper about getting up early (still in his jammies) as we travel...

...while Jaden chooses to catch up on his sleep :D

Sometimes Colten hides when I pull out the camera....

..but then sometimes he takes the camera out himself!!

I usually don't see these until I upload pictures, apparently I need to keep a better eye on my child!

Jeff still continues to be my hero: taking care of the boys, taking care of me, opening all the jars that I can't, helping out people in need, and just being an all around great guy. I thank the Lord every night for my husband and pray for me to be the wife that Jeff needs me to be and that God wants me to be!

So that's what we've been up to!! We've also received some really great news! Our oldest son, Drew, proposed to his wonderful girlfriend, our daughter and her husband are expecting their first child (I'm married to a GRANDPA), and a niece and nephew both announced engagements this week. We'll be celebrating my mother-in-law's 75th birthday this weekend and both the boys and I are out of school next week. Life is great!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Husband, the Hero...

Last night, Jeff took Jaden to hockey practice. I was home sick, so Jeff also had Colten and a neighbor boy who wanted to watch Jaden play hockey. On the way home last night, Jeff made it back to West Sacramento, pulled off the freeway, and found himself stuck behind a stalled pick-up truck. The driver was waving people past and as Jeff pulled past the driver, he rolled down his window and asked the driver if she was okay and needed help. The driver said that she had run out of gas. There was a gas station around the corner and Jeff offered to push her truck. She agreed, and Jeff pushed her old pickup truck around the corner and rolled her safely into the gas station.

Once at the gas station, Jeff saw that the driver looked uncomfortable. Jeff then asked her if she had money to pay for gas and she said no. Jeff paid to fill up her tank and started talking to her. She also had 3 kids in the truck and mentioned that her husband had just been placed back in prison. She lived in a rough neighborhood in Sacramento and was in West Sac visiting her mom. Jeff told her about our church, Trinity Presbyterian, and encouraged her to come by if she needed support, food, or help of any kind. She was very grateful and said that she had been looking for something. Jeff talked to her kids, asked them how they liked school, and they all said they loved school. The mom was so appreciative and Jeff was very touched.

Afterward, Jeff felt bad that he didn't get her contact information or offer to buy dinner for the family. I pray for this family and hope that we'll see them at Trinity soon, or that they find a church home that will support and encourage this family in need. But I am really proud of Jeff for taking the time to help her. He took the time even though he himself had 3 kids in the truck and everyone was tired and wanting to go home. I am so thankful for Jeff's generous heart and pray that this is instilled in our own boys.