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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Why Salt Lake City, UT? part 2

My life after meeting Jesus looked markedly different than the one before. If there was one thing that is true now and was true those first years in college was that not only did I believe in Jesus, I wanted to spend my time on this earth living for Him. I quickly etched out a regiment on what I believed that looked like. Things like reading the Bible daily, praying at all times and in all circumstances, waiting for a husband that had the same goals and love for Jesus, giving my time to investing in other people, serving the hurting, leading and ministering bible studies, women's studies, and being an active and committed part of a local church.
Looking back on this list there aren't many of these things that I believe are wrong- in fact there is strong argument from the bible that each of these things should be part of your life. But they became my life. As a pastor recently mentioned, "serving God became the central focus and priority but loving Jesus took the back seat." I soon found myself in the very same place I was before. Empty, yearning for something more, confused, and hopeless.
Here I was, supposedly having the very Jesus that promised me full life and yet I felt that full life was still slipping through my fingers. I had replaced Jesus with business in His name. And lost my love for him. I was defined by my own rules and regulations for what I felt it looked like to follow Him and had enslaved myself all over again.
So I wiped the slate clean. Started all over again. Putting Jesus continually in the center. And here is what I have learned: I don't have a definition of what a godly Christ followers life is 'supposed' to look like. Can they ski? yes. Can they live on a beach? yes. Can they have 10 kids or no kids? yes. Can they live by themselves in the middle of nowhere? yes. What about the big city? yes. Do they read their bible daily? They probably should but not cause they are better for it. But because they want to know better this person/creator that walked the earth for their sake. Here is a big one...are they allowed to have fun? Just for the sake of fun? YES. And until this point I didn't think that was true!

So that is where I am at. Learning to really live for loving Jesus and not knowing at all what that will look like for my life but knowing that God does not intend for it to look exactly like the person next to me. Right now iI believe I am loving Jesus in moving to Salt Lake City. Not that in order to love Jesus you must move to SLC but that right now, in this moment, that is what it means for me. And I am praying God fills in the margins of my life as we walk this path and makes it more clear what loving Jesus means to me daily. I pray my devotion increases.
I was struck by this thought today: Legalism snuffs out devotion. That when life presses in on those who claim Christianity only out of duty, they will abandon it. We weren't created to thrive in relationship done only from obligation.

Why Salt Lake City, UT? part 1

In case you haven't heard my husband and I are uprooting our 3 kids, and moving to Salt lake City, UT.
People ask, "Why Salt Lake." And I say, "why not?"
I've been told that this isn't an adequate answer but then, what is?
There are many unknowns in life. I cannot expect to have an answer to them all. Nor do I necessarily want one. Life wouldn't be an adventure if we new exactly what to expect.
But this is what I do know:
I had an awesome childhood- my friends were always wishing for cool parents that did fun stuff like mine. We were always on the go- skiing every weekend in the Winter, camping and windsurfing every weekend in the summer. I had a blast. Learned a lot. Saw a lot. And as I look back I think all the family time, mixed with being away every weekend kept me out of a lot of the partying trouble other friends of mine got into in high school. But late in my senior year and during my freshman year in college I began to recognize an emptiness that no amount of outdoor adventures could satiate. Life felt purposeless, just one more ski day or one more mountain climbed seemed like an empty chasing after the wind- since that was all that I was looking towards.
In college I was re-introduced to the concept that every person has a hole in their life- a hole nothing in this world was meant to fill. This resonated with me. And the only thing that could fill that hole was a personal relationship with Jesus. In the gospel of John chapter 10 Jesus said, "I came to give you life, life to the full." But he also said you didn't just get this life because you grew up going to church, or gave money, or were generally kind, or kept the ten commandments. The Bible gives specific instructions on how we are to receive the full and eternal life offered in Jesus.

First, it says we must repent. In Luke 13 Jesus said, "Unless you repent, you to will all perish." And in Romans 10 it says we must express this to God: first that we believe in him and that we trust in Jesus death on the cross as the payment necessary for our own sins. This is how we have eternal life! This revolutionized my daily experience. My eternity was settled. But my present was not. I had and still have a lot to learn about the full implications of what following Jesus means for my life time on this earth.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Peace Project - Merry Christmas!

"I should have liked to have had the lightest licence of a child, and yet be man enough to know its value." - Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Peace Project Countdown- Christmas Eve

Every Christmas morning my husband Chris received a clementine at the bottom of his stocking. Growing up "Erickson" explains this as a Swedish custom from World War II, or possibly earlier, where fruit was so rare and priceless that it was a highly treasured gift at Christmas.
A clementine. A tradition. Not so treasured now, but a beautiful reminder that not every blessing we have now will neccessarily remain so.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Peace Project Countdown- 2!

I miss the snow. It might be the one thing that makes Christmas feel like, well, Christmas. But we don't have any. Not even any hint of it here in the Fort. But I am thankful because really it is a blessing in disguise for us Erickson's. Trying to sell our house is better served by a snow free and bad weather free enviroment. And we prayed for this. So sorry everyone else. But thanks God!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Peace Project Countdown- 3

I am so thankful today for Jesus who died for me, loves me, and fights for me but does not hold me indebted to Him for it. He wants my love, my adoration, my obediance, but does not demand it. Never in my life has he put me up against a wall and told me that his love and support would only be there if I did what he wanted.

And I am thankful for a husband who loves like this as well in regard to our children. He continually reminds them that they will not get away with defiance and disobedience, but even if they misbehave, we will still love and accept them at the end of the day. We pour out on them, not because we expect anything in return but because Christ's love compels us. And God is no different with us. For a kid in our culture the message of Christmas is this- behave and you will get presents. Not in our house. We give gifts to celebrate the birth of Jesus- and everyone gets to receive no matter their past bahavior or future choices. Just like Jesus free gift of eternal life is meant for everyone, not just the well behaved or right.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Evolution of a name

In Salt Lake last month we stayed with a family with other young kids (6 and under). During one particular dinner their daughter said, "Mom that girl (referring to Anibel)..." which led to a quiz on each of our kid's names. When asked, she said (pointing to each kid), "Punkin, Muffin and I don't remember his name." I had to crack up. That is us in a nut shell. Nick names for everyone and a different one for each stage of their life.

Here is Anibel's lineage: Bunches-honey bunches of oats-whaler-bug-goose-punkin-punk-Bella-Bells

Abishai's- Peanut-little man-baby boy-Abs of steal-Abs-man cub-Shai-wrecking ball-walking disaster-Boy

And Esme's so far: Ezzie-Ezzie May-Bebe-Ez-Muffins-Muffs-Macky Muff-love muffin-backpack

Yes. That is correct. The latest name the kids call her is backpack. I guess I can see why...

Peace Project Countdown- 4

Mischief. For most of their infant/baby life I believe my children can do no wrong, and certainly will never sin. And as they approach the 1 year mark their little personalities emerge. This is great fun but also a little alarming. Esme is beginning this process...the process of realizing she has an opinion on her world and starting to express that opinion. Toys that she is sick of? Thrown on the floor. Mommy tells her "no"? Drama ensues. Our "I will eat anything girl"? Now throws the unwanted food across the table if given the chance to lay her hands on it. But ulitmately this is part of the deal and a healthy part of it. The possible implications if she never began to interact with her world for good or bad might indicate any number of brain development issues. So thank you God for a healthy developing baby girl. Even if that development is frightening sometimes.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Peace Project Countdown- 5

Only five days till Christmas! And what simple daily comfort am I rejoicing in today? The toilet. A flushing toilet.

I am going to let you in on a secret. I very often find myself day dreaming about how convenient the world would be if you could go to the bathroom where ever and whenever you like. Every time I come back from camping or backpacking I find myself inconvenienced by having to wait for a bathroom and not being able to use the nearest tree.

But the difference between some remote area and lets say, the middle of Fort Collins is significant. Imagine a city of people living in rather close proximity, without plumbing? Not to hard to imagine... I've been there. It is called India. And anyone who has been to a third world country can relate.

So here's to the flushing toilet- both of them that reside in my house. And here is to the (hopefully) rapidly approaching moment when my son decides to use them.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Peace Project Countdown- 6

My Christopher. Anibel Rayne. Abishai Valor. Esme Patricia. My family. They are at once the single greatest thing I am thankful for and the thing I most often take for granted...

Peace Project Countdown- 7

That nature of things. Have you ever been in a big city? Like LA or Paris or Rome? My time in each of those cities I hold dear to my heart, but while I was there I was struck by one thing over and over: nature felt inaccessible and distant. It brought a strange sort of longing to my soul. So much so that when in Paris, I declared to my traveling buddies that we were going to catch the next train to Switzerland- strike or no stike.

There is a simplicity, peacefulness, beauty found in nature that cannot be manufactured by humans. What amazed me today was the beauty contained in a landscape that was dead. Dead for the winter that is.

Today I recognize that my proximity to wide open spaces is a blessing, and not something I can expect to have through out my life. I drive by these Colorado foothills everyday and ignore them. I can see at least one fourteener out my window and rarely do I stand in awe. Help me God, not to miss the beauty around me, simply because it is usual.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Peace Project Countdown- 8

Unanswered prayer. Need I say more? One of the great challenges of my daily walk with God is many of the prayers I have or am praying that I have yet to see answers too... And I don't have all the answers. Often I think Christians are afraid of prayer and all the unanswered questions regarding it. We hate to look into the void and not understand. We are quick to compartmentalize it into catagories: "oh you must not have prayed in God's will," or "you didn't pray long enough," or "your motives must have been wrong." But most the time I think God just wants us to sit in the uncertainly, recognizing the lack in our own ability to discern or understand... and then to praise him in the midst of it.
I have a love hate relationship with the following verse. But I read it this morning and am thankful for it.
"Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior." Habakkuk 3:17-18

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Peace Project Countdown- 9

#4 on my list of blessings is the ability to train my kids. Even at this young age I spend much of my time teaching them to work hard. Often I find myself becoming frusterated at having to explain over and over again where to put the silverware, remind them constantly to "obey Mom" or stop complaining about having to do chores. But I cannot expect them to act like adults (even some adults do not know how to work hard, finish tasks, or do them correctly). They are kids, and little ones at that. And it is my job, and my blessing, to train them in how to live.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Peace Project Countdown- 10

Thank you for those chappy red cheeks, the 102 degree temp, and running nose and mouth. But here is what is amazing... through it all Ez is still smiling. I wish when my 'world' was falling apart I would still be able to smile and find as much comfort in my Jesus' arms as Ezzie does in mine. There is something so simple and innocent about it. Oh, and thank you God for Tylenol. Where would we be without it?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Peace Project Countdown- 11

For that one or two times a year I either lose my keys or lock them in the car(today)- I toast the other 362 days of the year that I don't. And thank you wonderful husband for running home so I could go to my pilates class.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Peace Project Countdown- 12

Grouchy kiddos. This is #1 On my list. Cause grouchy or not I still love them. And perhaps a case of the grumps is good for me. It teaches me how to better love those who at the moment are not very easy to love. That and this pic cracks me up!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Project Peace

Discontent. I woke up this morning, not wanting to wake up. I nursed a baby and rolled my eyes when I heard the kids waking up LOUDLY in their rooms and starting to yell. I stumbled downstairs to cereal and munching mouths, thinking, "I want to be munching too." But instead, I poured some coffee, ran upstairs and got dressed. Minutes later I emerged from the bedroom, sighed at the pile of laundry by the door and the dust balls that danced around my ankles, and embarked on feeding Ezzie "twosies." This took nearly all my patience as half of every spoonful hit the bib or balanced precariously on the edge of her chin. And her fresh outfit? Now spotted with applesauce, and me? Spotted with her applessauce as well...

This Christmas I want to stop. Stop. Stop and enjoy all the things I don't enjoy. Because here is the truth. All the things that drive me crazy all day long, if suddenly taken from me, would leave a deep and painful hole in my life. If my kids were taken from me, I would give anything to wash their tiny pants again, to hear them yelling in the next room, or wipe applesauce off their faces. If my house was taken from me, I would yearn to vacuum its floors and turn off its lights. If my husband was taken from me, I would be desperate for one more call from him, even if it was only to say he'd be home late from work.
So for the remaining days until Christmas this is my goal: to share with you one thing a day that I am thankful for, one thing that might normally be taken for granted or even dispised and recognize it for the blessing it is. Feel free to share some of your own as well!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Lesson #3 in semantics - The Golden Rule

"Do unto others what you would want done to you."

Everyone has heard this throughout their lives, christian or not. This simple rule covers many of the selftish tendencies of children. But once again I am surprised at my daughter's interpretation.
Abs and Bells play nicely together probably 60% of the time. And the other 40% they fight over toys, they fight over space, they get angry, or they argue over the specifics of how they should go about playing together. This last week I've spent countless moments illustating the golden rule to Bells, asking her to do to her brother like she would want done to her. HER INTERPRETATION: Make her brother do what she wants to do.
She wants the stool in the middle of the kitchen. He wants it by the wall. Solution?
Bells: "Abs you need to put it in the middle cause I want you do what I want you to do." Um yeah....
Isn't that all our apply rules religiously to others but not see our own failure to abide by them?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Lesson #2 in semantics

Another tale of semantics concerning Anibel...
Last night, as we were getting ready for bed, Anibel came into our room and with all the heart felt adoration she could muster said, "Mom and Dad, I really really love you, cause I have to."

We both stiffled our laughter, knowing that she believed herself to have said something really kind. How do I put in four year old terms the complexity of motivation, duty, and blessing others?

It is like Chris giving me roses and when I say thank you he says, "Just doing my duty."
As I encounter all these so called 'lessons,' I am learning more and more how complex our communication is and why kids are so often confused and mistaken.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


This blog has taken interesting turns and now stands at a cross roads. It began a few months ago as a simple challenge to work my writing brain once again. It very soon thereafter turned into a thought sharing on daily life/update on my family blog and now I see it becoming more of an online journal. How interesting it is to watch our natural tendencies play out before our eyes without any conscious thought to it. But I don't want it to be a journal. Nor do I want it to be thought sharing time from Alyssa'a perspective (though it will inherant be this by manner of its creator). I don't know what I want...but my original intention was to diving into my creative brain that seems to have gone dormant during the last 4 years of child-rearing. To explore writing. To explore words. And within those words to explore the origin of yearning, the meaning of experiences, and those things that struggle to explode from my heart while cruising down the road of everyday life. Very simply, to put in print the realities of life.

Lessons in Futility

1. Taking the scenic route at night.
2. Cleaning a toilet.
3. Bathing little boys.
4. and... trying to sell our house!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

These are the moments...

Monday's are date nights. Every monday. And still most weeks one of the kids has a little trouble with us leaving and cries as we work our way out the door.

Yesterday, Bella was the one in tears and descretely in the background I hear Abs say, "Sissy crying. Go help sissy." When I finally peeled her arms from around my neck and set her at the table with Karris, I looked to see where Abs had gone. He was in the livingroom diligently picking up Bell's puzzles and putting them away. These are the moments....

Often I think God just wants my service, my obedience to His rules, my spreading of His name, my giving of our money, etc. None of these things are wrong. And you could argue that is what he does want. But God says he is our father. He too is a parent. And what do I enjoy most from my kids? Their love. Abishai wasn't following the rules, he didn't simple obey a command; he was looking to love his sister. It was the overflow of his heart. And God wants our hearts. He desires us to everyday make Him our first love, not out of duty, because we should or have to or are supposed to. But because we love Him.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The great wink

Nothing in life is certain. Except one thing. We will one day wink out of this existence and into another. I took time this morning to really think about that. What will it be like? Does the thought scare me? Terrify me? Or bring me peace?
My assurance of where I stand with God brings me peace. But mostly I was reminded how fleeting life really is. All the daily interruptions that consume us- houses, finances, jobs, weather, sports, needs, food, all of it doesn't matter much in the light of an existence that in an instant will change. Our economy of living very often does not reflect the very truth that everything passes away except the soul.
It makes me question, "What are you doing today, Alyssa, to invest in your own soul and those around you or is today all about worldly things?"

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Abishai

Chris: "I need a four year old girl. Is there a four year old girl around here?"

Anibel: "I am one of those! Me!"

Chris: "Awesome. Ok, I need a two year old little boy. Is there one of those?"

Abishai: "No"

Chris: "Well, then what are you?"

Abishai: "The Abishai."

Well said.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Macky Mac

If anyone knows who or what the macky mack is and how to kill it please let me know...
It began innocently a few weeks ago. Anibel referred to some friends of ours as the macky mac. We all laughed. Big mistake.
Her brother has since jumped on board the Macky mac train. According to the two youngest I make "macky dinners," play at "macky parks," and drive in the "macky mac blue van." Ezzie is also known as "the macky muff" or the "macky mac muffin". Their most favorite game is to run squeeling through the house yelling, "macky mac macky mac macky mac!"

Apparently, tomorrow night we are going to do the "macky mac" all the way to Lindy's house and have dinner with the Lowes...

I repeat. If anyone knows who or what the macky mac is or from whence it came, please let me know so I can go about exterminating it in the cleanest and quickest fashion.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Days and ways

Here are my favorite things about my days:
- getting time alone with my husband before the kids wake up ( if I wake up that is)

-watching the kids play gas station with their Strider bikes

-Abishai's pronunciation of "whoop-de-doos"; more like "oooop de DOOOOOOOOS!"

-Ezzie's smiles

-Anibel: "First I am going to brush my teeth so they don't fall out, then I am going to do my hair with first a barrette and then a headband and a hat on top of it all cause if I get good at doing my hair Mom and Dad will let me cut Abs hair..."

-Waking up to my husband reading his bible and making me coffee :)

-That my kids are finally starting to play off by themselves at parks or in the yard without me having to be there.

-The way Abs licks his lips and inserts a finger in the mouth when he is uncertain about something.

-Watching Abs eat. Always the enthusiast. And when he is done he says, "Don't like it" which comes out "ike it!" even if he just devoured his entire plate. He learned that phrase from his sister....

- Anibel hopping and dancing around the room just to make Ezzie laugh. And Ezzie just lovin' it.

-That Anibel is a "mom" to Nia her baby doll and puts old rags in her diapers cause they are just like the cloth diapers mom uses.

- That Mom is currently Ezzie's 'happy place!' Especially when she is hungry...

-"I love you Abs." "Thank you (Dink u) mom."

-The way Ezzie's butt gets stuck in the bumbo and Anibel helps me pull it off when I am pulling her out of it.

-"Band practice" in the Erickson household.


I hate waiting.

I'm also not Alyssa. I'm her husband who has hijacked her blog. (Don't tell)

Our house has been on the market for 18 days and we've had 6 showings (although they've stopped altogether recently). While to some, or even most, this would be good or encouraging, I fight frustration and depression over the fact we've not sold yet. Someone reminded me that it takes an average of 130 days to sell right now. My response is to ponder drinking...

The reality is, I HATE waiting. And I don't think patience for the sake of patience is inherently righteous. There is room for debate there, but I really think that patiences as a righteousness blanket probably has some holes. It's not good to be hasty and miss the way, but once you've figured out the way, lets get on with it!
Anyway, in the midst of all of this I've walked in and out of faith several times as to my view on selling our house. I was talking with the Lord last night though and was just struck by the reality of this:
God (ironically in His patience), has been unbelievably tender and purposeful in all of the timing, conversations and events leading up to us moving. I'm honestly blown away and humbled by it. The obvious extension (which Alyss reminds me of) is that He isn't stopping now by this 'incredibly long' period of time we're having to wait for our house to sell.

But I want to push on this thought -- God, the creator of every atom in the universe, the engineer of the human body, the inventor of gravity and the atomic forces, knows me. He doesn't just know of me, but he intimately knows me. My weaknesses. My personality. I think of PS 139 -- "... you discern my thoughts from afar ... even before a word is on my tongue, you know it altogether."
Also, God doesn't just know of me, or know facts about me. HE is purposely focused and invested in engaging with and discipling me.

I think of Adam - God could have just said 'dude, you need a wife' - but instead he had him look through all the animals first. Why!? Because he had to walk him through a process. Because God doesn't just bark down orders telling us what to do - he works with us, 'like a father with his children, ...exhorting...encouraging...'

There are a lot of times I hear platitudes about 'God is in control', or 'God has a plan'....turns out that they might be true, even if we've reduced them to that.

By the way, if anyone wants a house, I'm selling one...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Filling in the margins

I have learned one very vital thing is missing in my life right now... that is, I don't truly value myself as a Mom or parenting as my life work. This has many side affects- frusteration, lack of vision, hopelessness, not valuing my kids. I don't have much time to engage with this but I have come to conclude I need to fill in the small margins of my life with things that speak God's truth. I've started keeping worship music on during random play times or cleaning times during the day. And I am trying to listen to teachings about parenting or the such from people I respect during nap times. I cannot say how awesome this has been. If you want to check them out start with preparing your kids for life-part 1.

I was stuck by how God chose for me to be the Mom to my specific children, in the circumstances I am in and intends for me to succeed in training and raising them to be well rounded and passionate Christ lovers.

"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by his own glory and goodness." 2 Peter 1:3

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Lesson #1 in semantics

Oh the finer mechanics of the English language.

Lesson #1 sounded like this:
Chris: Abishai, sometimes you remind me of a little dog cause you rest your head on my leg.
Alyssa: Abs, you are stinking cute.
Bells: Abs, you're a stinking dog.


How do you explain to a four year old that that wasn't a very nice thing to say. "But you said he was stinking and Dad said he was a dog?" Well sort of...

Oh the fine and subtle meanings of language usage.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Shepherding my heart...

The meaning and value of children...
Oh I wish I had a better understanding of how God views my kids. Chris asked me a striking question the other day. The context of our conversation (and many of our conversations) was this: Do we have Anibel's heart? Not her obedience, behavior. But her heart? At the time the answer was no.
Now here was his question:
But does she have our hearts? Ouch.

I have pondered this question often since that conversation weeks ago. The truth is that she often doesn't. She has my time, but often grudgingly given. She has my attention, but usually tinged with frustration. She has my devotion, but laced with duty. And I have concluded that within my principal goal of shepherding my childs heart (see Shepherding a Childs Heart, by Ted Tripp) is an even greater need to first shepherd my own heart.

There is a real part of our culture that says mothering is natural. That the first time you see your child after they are born you will be forever changed into the perfect mother for them. (That even things like nursing just happen out of instinct and are easy...NOT!) Let us just say my emotional responce was more like, "Are you sure this is mine? Now what do I do?" I've spent so much energy berating myself for not being 'the natural mother'. I have assumed that it should all come easily and that something was desperately wrong with me since it wasn't. A wise woman shared this with me: "...then they (older women) can train the younger women to love their husbands and children. " (Titus 2:4) Her thought being: if loving our kids comes naturally why does the bible say we need to be trained in how to do it?

So now I am attempting to set aside my self-berating ways and shepherd my own heart into loving my kids. I believe a popular children's book captures this kind of love well...

"I love you forever, I like you for always, as long as your living my baby you'll be..."

See in one sense it is easy to love your kids, in the cheap way our world defines love nowadays. But it is harder to like them when they wake you up 4 times a night, or like them when they talk back to you, or like (ie. enjoy, be fond of, admire, cheerish, esteem) them when they laugh at your tears, embarrass you in the grocery store, decide throwing cups water all over the kitchen is a constructive pastime, throw a toy at their baby sister's head, or interupt you 5 times in 2 minutes. And that is what I want to strive to do. Even in the hard times. To always like my children.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

My Bells!

And that is all I have to say about that!

Crashes and the like

"At your funeral what do you want to be remembered for? What parts of your momming do you want our kids to remark on when they are adults?"

These are the questions Chris and I discussed after attending a memorial service for a good friend's dad who died suddenly and tragically in an airplane crash. Needless to say the whole ordeal shook us up. But there was some measure of peace and even more measure of challenge received when we noticed the full life Dan Saunders lived. What stuck out to me was how much he loved what he did and therefore loved life.

Loving life. Living life not in fear. Refusing to accept the status quo. Willing to step out on a limb, take the adventurous route and possibly fail miserably. Those were some of the things that came to mind.

As for being a mommy. Two things came to mind. Being willing to admit wrongs, especially to my kids and seek their forgiveness, no matter how small the offense. And secondly to see immense potential and believe deeply in my children in all that they endeavor. I will camp on this second one for a moment.

There might not be anything more shaping in a child's life than what they believe their parents to think of them. And I've seen this play out in our two oldest (2 and 4 yrs) time and time again. Just this afternoon Abishai was out riding his bike down the big dirt hill (sort of frightening for the onlooking parent). I couldn't help but laugh at how he wouldn't start down the hill until he was sure I was watching and returned to the top with a gleam in his eye saying mom, did you see how cool that was?( At 2 yrs, it was more like, 'Mom, BIG HILL. GO REAL FAST!") But then it happened, the inevitable crash. A pretty big one. Enough to scare his Dad a little and add 2 new dents to the visor of his helmet. Well after 5.6 seconds of crying he picked up his bike and started pushing it back up the hill. He wouldn't look me in the eye, but kept glancing at me, almost as if he was trying to gage if I still thought him as cool as when he didn't fall. The emotion that played across his face was akin to shame. I got down on his level looked him right in the eye and said, "ABS! That was the coolest crash I've ever seen. And you got right back up! You totally rock!" And the biggest grin broke across his face. He was back in the game. And for your information he jumped right back on his bike.

Sometimes I think as Christians we spend all our time consumed with not failing, not making the unwise decision, not sinning, not 'stepping off God's plan for our lives'. Our culture respects those who are responsible, pursue security, have an answer for any situation. So much so that we don't step out at all anymore if we don't have all the answers. We have forgotten that even if we crash spectacularly God will still be there saying, "Awesome crash dude! Now lets try again and this time don't head for the tree." For if I can be this way with my son, how much more so is an infinitely loving and powerful God that way with us?
"If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! " Matthew 7:11

Friday, August 20, 2010


Here are the questions I have been asking myself recently:

When I am 50 will I look back on my life with regret?
What parts of life do I want my kids to 'catch' and am I living in such a way that they will catch them?
Where does joy come from?
Is there a time to throw caution to the wind and strike out? Especially after you have a family?

This is the short of it:
More than anything I want my kids to love Jesus and love loving Him. To be caught up in the adventure of following Him and serving Him. But here is the truth. I am not excited by my current life of serving or following Him. I feel trapped in an endless rut. I want Jesus- I need Him. I just don't want to sit around in my comfortable life doing it. I want something more. To step out and scare myself; to see new people, new things, and do it all for Jesus and with jesus. I want my kids to learn how to live by watching Mommy, not learn how not to live. (Though they will certainly learn much by my failures, no doubt.)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Horsetooth Falls

Anibel hiked the entire way to Horsetooth Falls and half of the way back. What a great day! This hike is awesome for families who want to get out the door but the door is somewhat more complicated with small children.


Chris and I are wanderers. At least in our hearts. We, especially me, constantly fight the battle of restlessness. And while I am abundantly aware that this restlessness cannot be eternally settled outside of God or by anything in or on this earth, we have decided to start considering moving. Not just a simple mental exercise but really consider it. Visit different places, look at houses, attend church...

While a great part of me desires greatly to go, to see things, to experience different places, I have found a significant fear factor that holds me back. Fear of the loneliness and leaving close friends behind, fear of peoples criticism, fear of moving somewhere where we know nobody. No other families, no babysitters, no small group. But do I want to live according to my fear my whole life? And what else is there to do but strike out in opposition to it?

Mostly, I fear that if I don't do something drastic I will slowly die in my heart. "Give light to my eyes. or I will sleep in death..." Psalm 13:3b

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


I feel invisible 98% of the time. From the minute I wake up till the minute my head hits the pillow, I am a Mom. I nurse babies, I change diapers, and say things like,"watch where you are going" and "you need to obey mom" over 50 times a day. I plan meals, or try to; I could be considered a laundry expert. I have set aside my dreams, aspirations, desires, for three little lives- that they might change the world and live for Jesus. And I don't really mind that sacrifice. Most of the time.

What I mind is that my life looks like every other Mom's life out there. There is nothing remarkable or different about it. People look at me and think,"she needs a vacation," sometimes I think I've forgotten how to even have fun. I've actually thought, "I am to tired to smile."

So where do I go with this? Where has it taken me? If I find out, I'll let you know...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fickle hearts

I was pondering the part in the book of John where Jesus questions Peter three times whether he loves Him or not and then tells him to feed his sheep. I couldn't help but notice Jesus' questioning of Peter's fickle heart. The same heart that so boldly exclaimed he would never betray Jesus and then barely 24 hours later did it blatantly. We think we know what we want, what we feel and then we change so quickly.

Am I really so different? One day I want to move, the next I can't bear the thought of leaving. One day I love being at home with the kids, the next I am ready to run out the door and never return. Moment by moment my heart transfers from adoration of Christ to clinging to food, security, money, purpose or adventure to make me feel alive. I can barely keep up with myself.

And of course our kids are the same way. Like us, they don't know what they want, they chase after things that don't satisfy, they become overwhelmed by tears when those things disappoint, their hearts bounce back and forth through an obstacle of things. For example, when hiking last weekend my son changed his mind every 100 feet as to whether he wanted up in the backpack or wanted to walk on his own. Eventually he succombed to a complete and total fit where Chris and I were utterly beffuddled as to what he wanted. So what did we do? We decided for him. And sure he didn't like it but eventually he calmed down and accepted his lot. We know better than he does what is best for him. He doesn't yet know how to deal with his emotions. He doesn't yet know what is best for him. It is up to us to teach him.

Likewise, we shouldn't take any of this personally, especially those moments when your child seems to disdain you but love your spouse. Or worse yet, hate you both but love the grandparents. Their hearts are swayed by the moment, it is not personal, it is not lasting. In fact, sometimes it doesn't even last a minute. We need to teach them steadfast love by not becoming frustrated when they ask for a yogurt and then refuse to eat it; by not taking it personally when they say they want Dad to come home or won't give you a hug. Ultimately the battle is not with you, it is with their own brokenness and the sin that entangles.

Jesus understood Peter's fickle heart. He let him make bold declarations and then fall on his face. He accepted him back unconditionally. He met Peter where he was at, but still gave him clear and complete instructions. And with those instructions he entrusted Peter with one of the biggest commissions of all time.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Semanitisize this...

Is that even a word? Would I like it if it was?
Anyways...our daughter loves monsters. I've spent much time thinking about this strange phenomenon and have whittled it down to a few possible causes. The first being the cookie monster- the first official monster she learned about. And she has a strictly love love relationship with anything cookie in its name.

The second being her father, who for fun and games crawls around the house growling at the kids and grabbing their stuffed animals in his mouth and tossing them to the side. I mean what is a little girl to do?

So now we have table monsters- purple ones, brown, blue, green. Some crawl, some stand. Most dwell under tables eating our crumbs (I am sad nothing dwells under our table and eats their crumbs) and now I've been introduced to a new one called a "cow-poke" for lack of better understanding. Apparently this one will come out from under tables, can walk around, and will go in the house to hide from the people. While most 4 year old girls play princess or wedding, ours runs from room to room playing monster and running from them. What is the meaning of that?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Hops and Hurtles

I've entitled this blog Lessons in semantics.

a.the study of meaning.

2.the meaning, or an interpretation of the meaning, of a word, sign, sentence, etc.:

But let's not argue about semantics.

It is 9:45pm on Friday May 14th. I am currently trying my hand at writing again while multi-tasking the art of motherhood. Which at this exact moment involves drinking a beer while the kids sleep. Tough gig, you think? But I do. See the beer is to increase my milk production for our 2 month old daughter Ezzie, and I hate beer. Why, I ask, does beer apparently aid in milk production? Why can't it be chocolate. I'd even settle for scrambled eggs. My milk recently took a downward turn after a week and half bout with the worst flu bug I've experienced, at least in terms of longevity... I'll let you know how this grand 'beer experiment' works. I figure I'll give it a week.

I have been thinking of beginning this blog for 4 years now, starting roughly when I had my first child. But now that we are on to number three I've decided I finally have enough time to do it. Either that or my body has finally become conditioned to the insane schedule of a mom. One that provides little sleep, little mental stimulation (in terms of conversation beyond the subject level of special treats, cars and poopy diapers), but much emotional provocation at every turn.

Don't get me wrong- having kids isn't all bad. It is my life at this point, the portion assigned me by God, and the daily small victories both in winning my child's heart and in changing those part of me that need changing make it worth it.

Victory of the day:

Anibel:" Mom's do lots of chores. I'm a pretend mommy to Nia so I must do lots of chores. And it will please Jesus."