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Live Richly, Live Free. Embrace All The Blessings From Our Creator and Marvel in His Creation.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Quiet Me With Your Love

Zephaniah 3:17The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

On the morning of Feb 23, my Amazing husband literally PLOWED SNOW (not just dragged bottom) to take me on our special get away...........

He drove for 7 hours to take me to a place I've always dreamed of going to........
Then we hiked a mile and a half through the snow. He insisted on packing our stuff..........The first 2 springs were occupied with people. Then he found me this little pool. Even though it was tepid, he got in anyway....... just for me.

Then he started to think it might be fun after all...........

If you snuggled by the big rock, it was a little bit warm so we stayed in there for an hour or two.
I decided he had suffered enough, so I told him we could check the other springs on the way out. Just a few feet away, he went off the trail to use the "boys room".

That's when he found this HEAVENLY HOT SPRING! It felt like hot bath water. It was clear and sandy. There was no sulfery smell - just fresh forest air. Behind this big rock, it was so hot you couldn't stay in it for long. It was isolated and private. A Snowy, calm, sunny day, age old trees and river around us, but it was just us. It was PURE HEAVEN...................... I'll never forget it as long as I live.............

Tons of snow, but Hot Hot Heaven in the center of a snowy EDEN.........

I NEVER wanted to leave, but there was a dinner date ahead. He had booked us a room at The Red Lion. Here we are about to head to Outback Steakhouse. I had been dreaming about eating there for 8 or 9 years and never had...... I'd also always wondered about the Red Lion.......
There were a lot of firsts for me on this Heavenly get away. The first time at a natural hot spring. The first time I realized how much I've taken for granted all these years....... I also think about that first barely warm spring as a symbol of a way of life we can choose to have in our marriages - just tepid - just getting by - just mediocre. It was a fun experience, but God has so much better for us if we will only stumble across His precepts........ The second one was spacious, hot, HEAVENLY. I never wanted to leave it. I wanted to bask in it forever. Its off the beaten path, away from where most people travel. Its hard to find, but one you'd never want to turn away from. That's the kind of marriage I want to live in from now on. I don't want to just co-exist. I want to be everything a wife can be. With God's help, I'm going to learn............

Kids Ski Free Day!

Sock Fashion Expert and Art Dog getting off the Lift!
Big Boyz Club - My MAN, "Fiery and Matthew", The Archer

Me in a Groove ;-)

Sock Fashion Expert Following Suit



Would you believe we got the dryer home and it has no heat?! Well, we will be getting a replacement in a week. These are the Maytag's of my dreams (once i have heat ;-) )
My Husband hauling away the evil one....

Aftermath (see the water damage?)

Laundry backing up...............

Friday, February 18, 2011

My Hero Husband

Little Willy with Super Catman and Art Dog

Recently some special girls visited our home along with their little brother. The Archer and Sock Fashion Expert took them on a long hike, snow boarding, baking cookies, and more.

Mist's Incredible Valentines Day Dinner - Green salad with honey mustard dressing, Artisan Bread, Shrimp in Vodka Sauce over Home Made Linguine.

Relaxing at Mist and Fiery's Home

Mist's Incredible Home Made Linguine Process

I wouldn't normally be blogging so soon again, but I couldn't help telling the crazy story that happened to me yesterday.
I was in the middle of doing two back to back 12 hour night shifts. I had just gotten off work scott free and was feeling pretty happy to be heading out the door so early. I sauntered out to our new 90's model Toyota Corolla. It was my first time driving it to work. My husband was rather proud of his purchase and had just given me permission to take it to work that day before. I unlocked the door, threw my back pack in and started her up. Next I looked around earnestly for something to remove the 2 inches of accumulated snow. All I could find was a plastic bag. I put it on my hand and arm, shut the door, and started wiping the thick snow layer off the windows. When I was finished, I opened the door to get in......NOT. Uhh... it wouldn't open. I looked at the lock sickly as my gut turned. The lock was up and all the others were down. I rattled the handle..... Nothing. Feeling panic begin to descend, I began shaking the door hard by ramming it with my hip......Nothing. "Oh God - Why Today?" I asked feeling desperate. "Its not even my fault" I fumed.
I took the cell phone out of my pocket and called my husband (who is an hour and a half away). He said "Good Morning" in the sweetest voice ever and my heart pitter pattered. I hated to tell him. I blurted it out. He didn't sound quite as sweet, but I could tell he was talking very restrained..... trying to figure out what could be done. In the end he said it wasn't going to get fixed over the phone and that he was coming but I could try other things if I wanted. Relief flooded over me. I just couldn't bear the thought of him being mad.
He was supposed to be going to another big city in the opposite direction to pick up our new washer and dryer hours away from this city. I offered to ride over there with him. He considered the matter. I was again, hopeful. Nothing could be better than spending the day alone in the truck with him all to myself (even if I had to sleep and work that night). I reasoned that it would be noisy at home, but not in the car. He bought it and told me to go take a shower. "Yeehaw!!" I walked back into the hospital rather embarrassed (but happy). Sheepishly I told my co-workers what had happened. A well meaning friend thought he could get the door open and I followed him back outside. He rattled the handle hard...... and ...... it broke off in his hand. Oops........ Secretly, I was still glad I was stuck ;-)
Another nurse told me to call a lock smith and gave me his personal home phone number. I called him. He said he would do it for $40. Again, I was a little bummed. Reluctantly, I called back my husband who said he would just come. "Yeehaw!!" "Doesn't it cost that much in gas for your husband to come?" somebody asked me. "He's a mechanic" I explained "He's also my hero". I like getting rescued by him. 3 other people asked me the same question. I started to get silly and giddy. "Tehehehe my husband is coming to rescue me". I kept thinking. It defied reason. I kept looking out the window.....waiting. I tried to occupy myself passing trays to patients. I took a shower. I caught up on blog posts. It was broad day light by now and the running car with head lights on was beginning to attract peoples attention. Finally when I thought I couldn't bear waiting for MY HERO any longer, somebody said "There he is!" Every one watched out the window, even the Doctor. They all wanted to see the Hero in action. Who could possibly turn the serious ER nurse into a silly, giddy girl with a grin as fat as Texas?
My hero and my son hero were out there working on the lock. I floated out across the parking lot proudly. The door was open before I got there. I knew it would be. There is nobody as capable as my husband. I took the broken door handle out of my pocket and placed it in the center console while my husband was momentarily turned. I gave my husband a kiss and thanked The Archer for coming. Then my husband asked me a serious question. "How did the door handle get inside the car?" I giggled. No, I didn't have a "Blond Star" moment and no I didn't do it on purpose. He teased me, or maybe flirted. I blushed.
Soon my other Hero, The Archer, had driven home with our new car and I was left ALONE with my husband for the entire day. I guess I'd just better stop there ;-) All I will say is that I was smiling when he returned me to the hospital 10 hours later ;0)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Memories of The Monster Man

Job 3:25 "For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, And what I dreaded has happened to me."
You begin to question your sanity when you find yourself walking down a lonely, snow laden road, being rained on at 1am AND carrying a fishing net....... a story of tragedy, devastation and hope, but one I will never tell.

And the washing machine saga continues. Thanks all for your encouragement and comments. My dear husband hauled out the old washer and drier today!! Tomorrow he is making the drive to the big city to pick them up!! I will most definitely be blogging about this occasion SOON :-) (followed by doing infinite loads of backed up awaiting laundry).........................

Did I ever tell you the story about the time I drove cross country into a place I'd never been before? It is a state called Oregon. My husband and his team of fire fighters were on a job down on the Oregon/California border. I was in my late 20's and hadn't yet gotten eye glasses. This would not be a problem, except that I could not see - especially at night. There is this uncontrolable force in me that drives me to my husband. I can't explain it. It doesn't matter where he is on the face of the earth. Once the switch flips, I have to get to him no matter what the circumstances are and I will fight hells fury to do it. Its happened to me several times now. Mostly we've always been together, but when we're apart I can only go so long before my mind loses all reason and I've got to find him.

In this particular case, he'd agreed for me to come down and stay as it looked to be a long job. I had begun driving early that morning but I couldn't stop. I just couldn't. I had to get to him. Reason left me as a sleepy, zombie like state emerged. It was dark, very dark. I followed the main highways, which was fine, except that I couldn't read any of the road signs. Our oldest son, The Archer, was just a young lad, about 9 or 10, but he was the only one in the car who could read signs. He'd drift off to sleep and then I'd shake him in the passenger seat wildly begging him to read the upcoming sign. This went on for the next several hours. It was rather unnerving for both of us. I literally couldn't have found my way had it not been for his good eyes. Reason told me to get a motel and drive on the next day, but that inner switch had been flipped and i had to get to my husband.

The further on we drove through darkness, the more unfamiliar the terrain became. It felt creepy.... alone with 3 kids and a dog..... I glanced down at the gas gauge and it read empty. Fear struck me to the core. I couldn't be stranded out here, I just couldn't be. I began to look for the next town that would come along, pulling over and shining my lights to see the how far signs said. I was afraid of being stranded in this creepy dark country and I prayed I could make it to an open gas station. I felt so relieved, yet scared when I got to a dimly lit town. I began to think of scary movies I'd seen. My mind began reeling. Suddenly Silence of the Lambs, Jason and Freddy Kruger were lurking about every dark corner. I saw a dimly lit gas station with "open" on it. A gigantic beast of a man sat outside with folded arms. He was wearing brown coveralls and his head was down. I guessed him to be some drifter hitching rides, or maybe a crazed psychopath. I hoped he wouldn't wake up. It was 2 or 3am and the entire town was deserted. Goosebumps formed on my arms as I pulled up the gas pump. I would have kept on driving, but the empty sign was lit up. Hesitantly, I unlocked the door and started to get out. The children were all fast asleep. That's when terror struck me and my blood ran cold! The monstrous hulk of a man was awake and coming toward me! I was standing outside by now opening the gas door. The man was now almost an arms distance away and picking up the gas nozzle!! What did this man want?!?! Did he think if he pumped my gas that I would give him money or was it a ploy to grab me or my kids? Was he trying to steal the car? His giant shadow loomed up in the darkness against the pump and I jumped into my vehicle shaking so bad it took seconds to lock the door. Then I started up the engine and drove wildly, jumping the curve! I could hear him yelling loudly "You crazy b****!" as I screeched the tires across the cement. Jumping the curve caused the car to bounce uncontrollably and the kids were all jostled awake in horror! I drove madly away as fast as I could all the while looking back in the rear view mirror hoping the MONSTER MAN wasn't behind......

I kept driving through the town, now wondering where I should stop because soon I would have no choice where to park. The gas light seemed to be echoing louder and louder in my brain. That's when I saw it...... A well light gas station on the other end of town. Still shaking from the terrifying experience, I pulled in and began to get out. That's when yet another man came toward me. This one seemed smaller and younger, but still suspicious. Ohhh.... I just couldn't take it. "What do you want?!?!" I yelled loudly. "To pump your gas ma'am". He replied softly. "I can do it myself!" I yelled back, trying to act big and tough. "State law says I must ma'am". The man replied quietly. Suddenly I felt rather sheepish...........................

I made it to my husband that day. Actually it was evening before I saw him. He was checked into a motel room, but gone at the fire so I had to wait until he got back. The kids and I unpacked and awaited his arrival anxiously. When he came through the door in soot covered nomax, it was the most wonderful sight in the world......................................

Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Evil, Homicidal Appliances Out To Get Me AND When Moonbeam Gets Ready For Church

When Moonbeam gets dressed for church, she runs to her big sisters mirror to check how she looks.........

Her Daddy tells her she looks "very pretty" and gives her a kiss............

Her Mama says she is "soooooo big"!!

So far its been a week of great adversity and some good things too..... I honestly don't know if i have it in me to blog, but I think I should. Recently I've been trying to encourage a friend whose been struggling with some things. I hope I gave her good advice. I haven't stopped thinking about her..... or praying for her. There but for the grace of God go

I did a week of 1500 calories a day. It was good, but challenging. I was kind of obsessive about it. The one thing about eating plans - its something you can control. When I'm at a loss of control in other places in life, controlling something seems comforting even if its as small as what I ate that day. During one of the hardest times of my life a few years ago, I was the most successful with weight loss. So anyway, all week I drove my family nuts saying "Please I have to get on that computer to see if I have enough calories left to eat____". They all seemed mildly glad when my obsessive behavior ended for the time being - lol!!
For many many years, as a matter of fact for as long as I can remember, washing machines have been a great source of agony for me. Its almost as if I was predestined to be ostracised by their kind. As I was saying, washing machines (and dryers) have really had it out for me. I can still remember, as a young 19 year old, pregnant with my first baby like it was yesterday. I only had a handful of maternity tops that were at all suitable for public appearance. My boyfriend was trying to support us on $5.25 an hour wages and there was NO MONEY at all for any more. I put my cutest, most adorable maternity top in, and it came out with Awful rust stains all over it. Even before that, living in an apartment by myself, I had to go to the dark and terrible basement of the complex to use them..... They (the appliances) always laughed when i didn't have enough money. Then I'd have to run to the gas station, trade in a dollar food stamp for a 10 cent sucker and return to the basement of doom to finish the load. It was horrible...just horrible. I was just sure some dead washing machine ghost was down there ready to spring out and get me.
Later on, as we moved up in the world, my husband usually had a washer going for me, but it was always on its last legs and there were always gaps were I had to go to the laundromat. Most of those days, wet clothing had to be hung up around the house because we couldn't afford a dryer. If we had one, we couldn't afford to use it. It was rather gloomy always having laundry hanging up all over. For a brief time, I had a good running set from a rental house, which we purchased and took along with us. That set ended up staying with a house we moved out of. Then it was back to bad again.

This last set has had a personality all its own. I knew from the get go that it had it in for me, but nobody would believe me. It was kind of like one of those movies where the the person is being stalked by an unseen force and nobody believes them. It started with the dryer. It simply refused dry the clothes. BUT, it did it in a sneaky, psychopathic manner. I'd have to run the thing 2, 3 times to get one load to dry. Having a family of 7, a job and home schooling, this was incredibly inconvenient. For a while the heating element seemed not to work. Just when I thought I had my family convinced the dryer was mutinous and up to no good, it started intermittently working. It was like the thing was trying to make me look bad or something. Then, finally, my husband started cleaning the vent hose out and that seemed to help some. Between you and i, I think the thing relished my husband's attention, the home wrecker!! It still required 2 cycles to dry much of the time.

The washer then started in. About a year ago, it conked out. I was so relieved. I kept thinking my husband would some how come up with the money to get us a new set. Much to my horror, (please imagine "Jaws"type music here) he set to fixing it!!! He figured out what part was broken and ordered a new one. He encouraged me to be patient and trust him and to make due a while longer. I knew I wasn't being very content and had to put up with it once again. All the while, the thing smirked at me as if to gloat. About that time I found a used set at a second hand store but my husband wouldn't let me buy them. He said they'd seen too much use. I also found a dryer at a garage sale but he wouldn't let me get that either.
I began to feel trapped with this set. They were out to get me and nobody would believe it. Didn't anybody know this set was about to do something terrible?!?! Didn't they understand that it was the "Chuckie" of laundry?!?! Well any how, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I made a giant poster saying "Thank You God for my new washing machine and dryer". I put it up on the front of the washing machine. Day after day the sign seemed to discourage me more than anything else. To make matters worse, the set seemed to be working somewhat okay. The sign came and went.............

Then one day the washer stopped spinning out, or rather intermittently stopped spinning. Again, it only did it part of the time. With each off balance loud knocking, it sounded as if it was laughing at me! "Hahahaha this problem is again, in your head" it poked. Still, i'd have to reset the spin cycle a few times to get the laundry to spin out. Sometimes, i think it even tried tripping me on my way out of the room, but the only thing anybody could see was that I was entangled in panty hose. Then I'd have to dry it 2-3 cycles after finally getting it to spin. On a regular basis, our laundry stunk because I would be gone and not remember to spin it out till a day or two later, or not set it to dry again. Then the kids would just dump the basket back on the floor 0n top of a hopeless giant mound of stinky, dirty, sometimes wet laundry. It was awful. It was hard not to feel frustrated at times. Sometimes dirty laundry haunts me too. Its in cahoots with that homicidal pair of appliances......
Most recently, they all ganged up on me. I discovered that besides the several times I have to dry clothes and besides the several times I have to spin them out, there was a new problem. My mom had noticed some wetness around the washer last summer. I started noticing the clothes at the front of the knee high pile were particularly wet. The front sticky floor tile no longer stuck. "Great" I thought. I mentioned it a few times to my husband. By now he was maybe thinking I needed to some serious help... I don't know. So anyway, next thing I know the washer is back on its side and out of commission with a rather wet particle board floor underneath...............

If i haven't driven you mad with all of these tales of woe, you are to be congratulated because you are a strong individual. This rates up there with "One Flew Over The Cookoo's Nest". Lucky for me nurse Ratchet did not pop out of the washer and neither did an escaping mental patient. Amazingly, my husband began researching washers and dryers. Even before that, in passing, he told me to look for a good deal. I didn't want to get my hopes up again, as I had off an on for years. ........... Long story short, after making multiple phone calls and a trip to multiple appliance stores, I have ordered the washer and dryer of my dreams!! I honestly didn't know if I'd ever actually get to see this day. For years I dreamed about having a nice, fancy, large capacity, front load Maytag set. Too often I wallowed in self pity. Too often I was so frustrated I didn't have an ounce of faith to believe it would ever happen. Too often I was bitter. The truth is, if my attitude, faith or perseverance had anything to do with it, I would have never gotten them, because I never achieved there. It was one of those sinner saved by grace deals. Despite the fact that I was rotten, ugly and bad tempered, God, in His mercy, is taking my evil, dirty, homicidal set from hell and replacing it with something beautiful and new from Heavenly Home Depot.......................... Selah

Friday, February 4, 2011

My Husband's Inner Red Neck AND GIVE AWAY WINNER!!

Just catching up on photos - SFE's lovely Birthday cake thats she made me

Our neighbor lady's husband made this marble game. She brought it over to share with our kids.

It didn't take him long to discover that this wasn't the kind of store he wanted to be in. As he walked by, people seemed to look somewhat different. He made his way into the bathroom. Just as he got there, a European looking man walked out. Brazenly, the man looked him up and down passionately. That was when he decided he would be waiting in the car..........

Me on the other hand, well, I was having a great time browsing the aisles of a gigantic organic "clean eating" store. As I made my way through the bins of grains, I eagerly scooped out bags of several different kinds.
A pretty, thin, woman with a shiny face, but dark eyes passed by me. She seemed a world away from me, yet here we were enjoying the same place. She had one child in her cart, which was an obvious product of a lot of care and doting. I looked at my kids. They were strong, slender and capable. Each one looked brilliant in a sea of dark faces. They weren't raised being doted upon, nor have they had the finest of arts and music, but passion burns in their eyes. Playing and working outdoors and eating well have helped sculpt their appearance. Though allot of their clothes are "second hand", they wear it well. I knew I didn't fit in with these people, but yet I some how embraced a part of their culture - the appreciation for good quality whole food. I decided not to let the strange vibes bother me. I had every right to be here and I was staking my claim to good eating for my clan.

That's about the time my husband found me, obviously uncomfortable. "This is NOT what I thought it would be." he said with obvious disappointment in his voice. "Did you find any big bags of grains?" I asked him. "No" he said. Then he looked at me and said "I feel like yelling out "I wear leather and hunt my meat!". That's when I knew I needed to begin power shopping. He elected to wait in the car while I finished. I began observing the people more closely. There was nothing they had to say or do to show what they were. They just were. I didn't care. I just am too. I decided to tread my common ground, boldly. I smiled and chose to enjoy what the store had to offer. I eyed some bulk bags at the check out and grabbed a 50 lb bag of organic oats.... knowing it would please my husband............

The rest of the trip was unique as well. Super Catman's Orthodontist wasn't mad at me, like I feared. Rather he was quite pleasant and personable. I had found a great deal on a motel room and so we elected to stay rather than drive the entire 5 /12 hours there and 5 1/2 hours back. That, in itself, was a huge relief to me. Though we didn't buy as much as we hoped to, The Sock Fashion Expert and I found racks and racks of $5 clothes at the mall. Walmart had $3 and $5 racks which was fun too. Some of the food items were 2/3 the price of what they are in the near by cities I shop at. I stocked up on all the great deals I could find.

When we got to the motel, I was awed by how nice it was. Even though it was the cheapest deal, they offered free amenities. Everything was clean. The clerk seemed pleasant. Even the bathroom was roomier than most I'd stayed in. Other than the creepy bar people, the rest of the place seemed formidable. I went in to check on pizza prices there, since it was adjoining and the bar tender and waitress seemed to ignore me. It was almost like I'd walked into some kind of Zombie Horror Flick. People stared, but that's all they did. I ended up ordering Papa Johns for the first time ever, and it was good. I had night mares and Miss Moona hogged the bed. When I got comfortable, I got worried and found her wedged, SLEEPING, between the bed and nightstand in mid air. After prying her out, and laying her back in bed, she just kept on sleeping....... Sheesh! The breakfast was also amazing. My husband, who had hoped to find a super cheap used mini van or econo car was disappointed after his search the next day. Still, he was glad to get back to our home far away. He would eat well, despite embracing his inner red neck ;-)