Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 Book List

What I read this Year:

1. Divergent by Veronica Roth
2. 11/22/63 by Stephen King
3. Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty
4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
5. Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love & Redemption by Katie J. David
6. Gabby: A Story of Courage & Hope by Gabrielle Giffords
7. Of Mice & Men by John Steinbeck
8. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
9. The Dance of Anger By Harriet Lerner
10. Charmed Thirds by Megan McCafferty
11. Fourth Comings by Megan McCafferty
12. Bumped by Megan McCafferty
13. Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell
14. A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Hope, Deception & Survival at Jonestown by Julia Scheeres

15. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
16. True Grit by Charles Portis
17. The Medium Next Door by Maureen Hancock
18. Change me into Zeus's Daughter by Barbara Moss
19. Possessing the Secret of Joy by Alice Walker
20. Anything We Can love Can by Saved by Alice Walker
21. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
22. In the Wake of the Plague: The Black Death & The World it Made by Norman Cantor
23. Daughter of Smoke & Bones by Laini Taylor

24. Ice: A Memoir of Gangster Life by Ice-T
25. Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult
26. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Peterson
27. The Rivals by Daisy Whitney
28. This Matter of Marriage by Debbie Macomber
29. Run by Ann Patchett
30. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. Grey
31. In the Land of Invisible Women: A Female Drs Journey in the Saudi Kingdom by Qanta Ahmed

32. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
33. Home Front by Kristin Hannah
34. Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares
35. Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
36. The Last Child by John Hart
37. The Book of Jonas by Stephen Dau
38. Save Me by Lisa Scottoline
39. Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood
40. My Own Country: A Drs Story of a Town & Its People in the Age of Aids by Abraham Verghese
41. The Stand by Stephen King

42. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
43. The time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
44. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
45. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
46. Where Men where Glory by Jon Krakauer
47. 14 Minutes: A running Legend's Life & Death & Life by Alberto Salazar
48. The Seven Next Words of Christ by Shane Stanford
49. One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

50. Heaven is Here by Stephanie Nielson
51. Come Home by Lisa Scottoline

52. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
53. Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult

54. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
55. This Common Secret: My Journey as An Abortion Doctor by Susan Wicklund
56. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
57. The Book of Mormon Girl by Joanna Brooks
58. The Gatekeepers by Jaques Steinberg
59. Summer Island by Kristin Hannah
60. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
61. Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom
62. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen
63. Julie & Julia by Julie Powell

64. Black, White & Jewish by Rebecca Walker
65. Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction by David Sheff
66. It's Not About the Bike by Lance Armstrong
67. American Grown by Michelle Obama

68. Marley and Mean by John Grogan
69. Resilience by Elizabeth Edwards
70. Diary of a Submissive by Sophie Morgan
71. Acceptance by Susan Coll
72. The Woman Who Wasn't There by Gaby Fisher

73. The Blind Side by Michael Lewis
74. I Beat the Odds: From Homelessness, to the Blind Side, and beyond by Michael Oher
75. The Racketeer by John Grisham
76. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
77. Second Chance by Jane Green
78. Between Friends by Debbie Macomber
79. The Great Emergence by Phyllis Tickle
80. Calico Joe by John Grisham
81. Promise Me by Nancy G. Brinker
82. The Perfect Christmas by Debbie Macomber
83. Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance by Atul Gawande
84. The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Sherm Alexie
85. Plague year by Stephanie Tolan
86. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
87. Still Alice by Lisa Genova
88. Left Neglected by Lisa Genova
89. Where she Went by Gayle Forman
90. A Winter Dream by Richard Paul Evans
91. Ana's Story by Jenna Bush
92. Sex and the City by Candance Bushnell

93. Finally Free by Michael Vick
94. 1225 Christmas Tree Lane by Debbie Macomber  
95. Grace by Richard Paul Evans
96. The Gift by Cecelia Ahern
97. I never Promised You A Goodie Bag by Jennifer Gilbert
98. Running with the Kenyans by Adharanand Finn
99. Winning Sounds Like This: A Season with the Women's Basketball Team at Gallaudet, the World's Only University for the Deaf by Wayne Coffey
100. When Christmas Comes by Debbie Macomber
101. Addicted to Hurry by Kirk Byron Jones
102. Leaving the Saints: How I Lost the Mormons and Found my Faith by Martha Beck
103. 700 Sundays by Billy Crystal
104. Silent Night by Mary Higgins Clark
105. The Christmas Train by David Baldacci
106. A Cedar Cove Christmas by Debbie Macomber
107. The Letter by Marie Tillman
108. Sex Changes: A memoir of marriage, Gender, and moving on by Christine Benvenuto
109. The Christmas Note by Donna VanLiere
110. A year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans
111. Love Anthony by Lisa Genova
112. Diary of a Player by Brad Paisley

I did it. My goal was to read 112 books and I did. November and December required a lot of catch up reading!

Monday, December 17, 2012

I'm a working mom...

and I am lucky that I often get to do my "work" with a child in my arms.

I think I'm going to be sad when they're too big/have no desire to 'help' me do my work.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Things my kids say...

I often write quotes of things my kids say on facebook but I figured maybe I should compile them into a different medium. In case facebook goes away or something.

Dec. 6th

~Eli accidentally stepped on my feet and Emerson's as he was walking by. He then said, "Sorry Ladies" haha I wonder where he learned that.

Dec. 1st

~I was talking to Eli & Emmy about advent in the car this morning.

Me: Do you guys know that tomorrow we start advent? Do you know what that means?

Eli: Yeah

Me: Okay what does it mean?

Emmy: It means a lot of work!

Haha I can't really say that she's wrong but we did talk about waiting for baby Jesus. Which sparked a conversation about who Jesus' parents are.

Nov. 29th

I just got Eli's bill from his visit to the ER. (It's a lot). Emerson said, "Don't be sad I'll just make you some soup." haha

Nov 28th

~Just listened to "O come All Ye Faithful" Emerson was silent the whole time and when it was over she said, "mama that's a really good song. It's a Christmas song?" I love her.

Nov. 23rd

~Emerson jut came into our room and said, "wake up and come downstairs it's Christmas." (Gram and Granddad are putting up their Christmas tree and I think she's a little confused haha).

Nov. 21st

~My California babies are screaming every time they walk outside, "It's too cold it's too cold!"

Nov. 10th

~Emmy's newest question, "Where's Obama's castle?" haha I think she's still trying to figure out who he is exactly.

Nov. 9th

~Emmy: I want to be 20 like you?

Me: Why?

Emmy: I just want to be 20 so I can drink soda pop.

(She also seems to think that the American Flag belongs to Obama after all the election coverage. She just said, "Obama's flag is so pretty.")

Nov. 4th

~I asked Emerson what it meant that I was a pastor. Her response, "You sing, pray, talk to Jesus, and work and work and work." Eli's addition was, "and you go night night" Overall pretty accurate.

Oct. 6th

~I might have the best 3 year olds in the world. First they behaved in the front row of a 3 hour Tongan Misinali service, after we left they both said, "That was fun!" Plus they got to see a real princess from Tonga. Then we immediately went to Open Circle the Young Adult worship service. Eli fell in love with gospel music and as we left they yelled, "bye church, bye music, thanks for the cake."

They behaved the entire time. Thank you Jesus long but good day! Let's hope they're still enthused about worship tomorrow morning.


Friday, December 7, 2012

I don't blog because I'm tired...

Deep down, exhausted to the bone, can't hardly function tired. I love my job but it makes me tired. It requires so much of my time and my energy and I'm not doing a very good job at balancing all of that. More often than not I do work on my day off, I get phone calls while on vacation from parishioners when it's not an emergency.

I go to work and come and then I often return to work for meetings or classes or something, and I'm tired. As such this blog has taken a back seat. I was going through my posts this year and you can see that the posting frequency went down in July right when I got the job.

I think I need to do a better job at maintaining balance. Whatever that might look like. I think I'd like to go to the movies by myself sometime this week.

My friend and fellow clergywoman wrote this

There are a lot of moments when I am acutely aware of my own inadequacy. I feel the people I minister with have over-estimated me. Don’t they know I am under-qualified to convey these monumental and intensely intimate ideas to my self, my congregation and my culture? How could I ever fully explain that our God loves us and moves into our broken hearts, neighborhoods and nations? I am at a loss.
I want so desperately to do justice to this good news, I mire my soul in well-meaning
action, but it never seems to be enough. I don’t need recognition or glory. Hell, I’ll even
do without sleep. Just one more article, one more sermon, one more visit, one more
call, one more meeting, one more event, one more prayer, one more project, one
more rehearsal, one more hour, one more day…
The trouble is, in so doing, I may instead express a taskmaster God who drives me
to distracted exhaustion. And I spend so much time communicating, conveying,
counseling, and corralling people that I am shocked and embarrassed to find myself
on empty. At the end of the day, I find myself alone and wondering if this good news
is only for other people. When will it be for me?
Maybe after I finish the next thing.
I suspect God is not interested in making me busier but better: to once again infuse
and transform my life, if I’d slow down long enough to let it happen. Advent reminds
me that God can lovingly re-tune even my easily distracted heart to the kingdom of
God, and fill even my mediocre offering with joy, peace, hope, and love.

Go here to read more

A good remind this advent.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

We drove, ate, married, danced, & were sick...

Clever title huh? This last week has been a bit of whirlwind. The highlights...

1.) We drove home for thanksgiving. It took us 3 hours to go 40 miles as we left our city due to a traffic accident and then we hit rush hour traffic. The drive to my brothers which should have taken about 4.5 hours instead took over 7.

2.) We had our christmas pictures taken, and it's getting easier and easier to get a picture with the two of them together.

3.) We had some turkey and stuff...

4.) On friday we went to my dad's and had more turkey and stuff (have to love family hopping at the holidays).

5.) Later on Thursday I actually ventured into a store with my aunt. It was madness I'm sure there's some sort of sermon illustration in the experience. I didn't wait in any lines but Marcus did with his brother, and as a thank you his brother bought him a tv. Boys and their TVs.

6.) On Saturday my mom got married and I preformed the ceremony. (I'm write more about this later with pictures).

7.) Eli & Emmy were the cutest ring bearer and flower girl ever.
See aren't they cute!

8.) Emerson was a dancing fool at the reception.

9.) I saw my very conservative cousins and we avoided any political discourse praise the lord.

10.) We were all sick and I had enough voice to get through the wedding ceremony and then promptly lost it by the reception.

11.) Now we move onto advent and Christmas... let the busy season of my job commence! (I just need to get well so I have energy for all the festivities).

How was your thanksgiving and beyond?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

People Say Weird Things...

Occasionally I have days where people just say weird/rude things today was one of those days. Despite being at my church for 4 months now, with 2 kids who are the exact same size, people are still discovering Eli & Emmy are twins.

I did a talk today about an initiative in my denomination that works to improve maternal health around the globe. As part of my talk I mentioned that I owe the health and life of my premature twins to my access to good medical care.

After church I had several people comment on the twin thing but a few comments were particularly odd.

1.) As I was receiving people a man came up to me and said, "One of my twins was premature." I wasn't quite sure what to make of his statement and said, "oh they have different birthdays" (I have heard of cases where one baby is delivered and the other isn't. Rare but not unheard of).

He then responded, "No they were born 3 minutes apart." Um... say what. How do you have twins born 3 minutes apart and only one was premature? At some point I might go ask more questions because this story makes no sense and these are typically smart people.

2.) Another woman told me that she delivered her twins 2 weeks early (aka full-term, but whatever...) she told me they were 7 and 8lbs which is wonderful and I told her such.

Then the dreaded question I hate so so much, "Are yours natural?" I despise this question. For starters how my children were conceived is none of your  business if you're asking for simple curiosities sake. Second, All babies are natural. Three, It doesn't make any different one way or another.

She then went on to say, "Well my twins were natural." Thanks for sharing.

3.) I learned that fraternal twins are not different than a regular brother or sister who just happened to be born at the same time. Again people, I know this. I have a boy and a girl as fraternal as they can be, this is not new information,.

4.) Later in the day we were invited to a gathering at our neighbors house. They mean well but they're old and a little bit nutty. They invited some of the other neighbors over as well. This couple has 2 dogs and I was telling Emerson that we don't feed dogs human food. (If the owners want to that's there business but I don't want Emmy to get in the habit of giving animals any food).

Emerson said okay and went outside to play. The woman than says to me, "When my children were little we never ever said the N-O word... okay... fine but I still didn't want Emerson to feed the dog. 

She also gave Eli and Emerson these huge glass coffee mugs to drink out of and filled them all the way to the top with orange juice. Then she wanted them to drink the entire glass as she stood their and watched. They were both a little perplexed by the request and of course couldn't do it.

5.) Then even later in the day at a funeral at the church I got the standard funeral response during the reception, "You don't look old enough to be a minister. You look just like a teenager." Noted, doesn't need to be said.

In conclusion people are weird.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Perspective on Voting...

 In 2005 I was in Zimbabwe for a work mission trip and we were there during the 4th of July.
One of the students over there said to me, "Congratulations on your day of independence."

I had never thought about it quite in those terms before, until hearing that sentiment from someone who was a from a war ravaged country without that same independence.

Today that same friend is now living in Michigan State getting his masters degree and he asked me today on facebook, "Have you voted today?"

I responded that I had and he replied that voting in America is amazing and so many people just have the freedom and opportunity to vote.

Then he said,  "I hope that will someday be true for all of Africa."

 Again it's that tiny dose of perspective. Our election cycles often turn into a crazy kind of circus. It lasts forever, the ads and other campaigning are relentless, the money spent is horrific, and it can all just be exhausting.

Yet, today I was reminded how very important it is that we have a right and ability to cast our vote, and that for many in the world that notion doesn't exist.

I took Eli and Emerson with me this morning to the polling place. I want them to being to see from an early age how important it is to always always vote.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Just got back from Texas...

I was in Texas these past few days for an advocacy training concerning maternal health and family planning. Really great stuff! Things I'm passionate about and I learned some practical things I can do to start making an actual impact for woman and children around the world.

For the time being though I mostly just want to sleep. Eli and Emerson were a little bit hyped up since I was back and they didn't go to sleep very well. Traveling is exhausting.

Monday, October 29, 2012

"I Santa HO, HO, HO..."

I spent the better part of this weekend sewing Halloween Costumes. I have this thing about wanting their costumes to be homemade. I think it's more fun that way, but it's a lot more work for me (especially since my sewing skills are pretty much non-existent).

Emerson's princess dress took forever and they both kept asking, "It all done?"

I promised as I tucked them in last night that they're costumes would be finished when they woke up so they could wear them to church.

When I came home from the early church service to pick them up they were both happily wearing their new, finished, costumes.

Eli walked to the car saying, "I santa Ho, Ho, Ho" and then as I was buckling him into his carseat he looked at me and said, "It's all done, thank you mama."

It was the sweetest thing I've ever heard in my entire life.

When we got to the church Eli wasn't quite expecting the attention his Santa costume would attract. Everyone was asking for presents, trying to get him to say Ho, Ho, Ho on command. My poor quiet boy does not like the attention, and by the end of the day he was just snapping, "NO!" and people haha.

He still didn't feel very well, my family hung out in my office during church, the kids did the Halloween activities following the service and they quickly went home as Eli kept saying, "I all done."

My Santa and Princess

They like to be with me during the first part of the service before the children's message. 

You can't really see us but we're all up front.

Santa got a little warm. Apparently, Santa suits are not designed for October in California. (Don't mind his too small t-shirt).

Saturday, October 27, 2012

First ER Visit in the new city...

It was bound to happen. My children have a way of need to visit ER's no matter where we live. Eli woke up early this morning (like 4am) screaming.

We were able to get him back to sleep but he woke up again at a decent hour screaming and crying about his ear. He wouldn't sit up, or move, he just laid in his bed and cried.

We figured it probably had an ear infection and decided that given the amount of pain he seemed to be in the pediatric ER was our best bet.

Poor baby cried the entire way to the hospital. They gave him some ear drops and an antibiotic plus a stuffed lizard he named "Greenie" and some stickers.

When he came home and showed Emmy his prizes from the hospital she immediatly said, "I'm very sick" and fake coughed. She's pretty ridiculous.


Today I said to Marcus, "If we decide to ever have another kid we should probably do it while we live in this city since there's a NICU here."

Sort of a sad statement, but it just came out of my mouth. It's the only reality I know.


My senior pastor stopped by on his way home from the church today to see Eli. It was unannounced and our house was a mess. I was horrified oops.


I have a paper due tomorrow. Apparently paper writing does not end after school is over for me. Another to do in the long list of requirements for the ordination process. I haven't started it yet... some habits never change.


We carved pumpkins, and I finished the kids costumes. I'm not a seamstress. Emerson's princess dress is a hot mess but she thinks it's beautiful.

Eli's Santa costume is cute but sewing on Santa fur is tough on my sewing machine. It gets stuck in the foot. Marcus said, "That's probably why Mrs. Clause sews by hand," He's so helpful.

I've mentioned before that Marcus is the head coach of the boys high school cross-country team. This week it was the high school's homecoming/spirit week and after school on friday was a pep rally and football game so Marcus decided to have a morning practice so as to not interfere with their activies.

The parents of these boys lost their minds. How dare Marcus make their children get up early and have a practice, surely this is way to much for their precious little breakable teenage boys. Only 1/3 of the boys showed up and Marcus got a lot of angry emails from parents.

What is wrong with parents? It was one morning practice, one. Getting up early will not kill a teenager, in fact I imagine that there will come a time in their life when it will be required. Get over it already good lord.

One mom emailed the team mom to complain. The team mom promptly forwarded it to Marcus and told the other mom, "It's tradition and no boys have ever been harmed from an occasional morning practice" Seriously, these parents are insane. 

When I did high school sports we often had morning practice. My sophomore year of high school I took a zero period weights class that required me to be at school by 6am every day. I lived...

Thoughts at 12:44am...

1.) Do you think there's something inherent about being a mom and feeling guilty? I have never, not once, ever heard of a guy feeling guilty for having to work and be away from their kids. That's not to say it doesn't exist but I've never heard it as being an over-arching theme in the experience of fatherhood, and yet mommy guilt is a pretty common expression.

I love my job, I look forward to going to work, but in this new position, at this much larger church I continue to struggle with the work-life balance. More than anything I recognize that Emerson is having a hard time not getting to spend more time with me. On Wednesday evening I had to go back to the church to lead my small group.

Marcus told me that after I pulled out of the drive-way she came outside and just cried for me. When I got home later that night, she was still awake in her bedroom so I went to talk to her and she said, "I cried, because I missed you very so much, and I just wanted hugs and kisses."

Then the next morning at school drop-of she cried for the very first time because she didn't want me to leave her. My poor sweet girl just wants more time with her mama, and I'm working on it.

2.) Today at our music rehearsal at church I was mentioning our need for a drummer and was joking that I would just try and do it. The senior pastor jokingly asked if I had rhythm and I responded that I had no idea.

Another congregation member interjected by saying, "She obviously doesn't have any rhythm she has two kids."

Took me a minute to realize he was referring to the "rhythm method" of birth control/family planning. I really hate inappropriate and awkward jokes. Men do not ever need to speak about me and reproduction.

3.) I worked on Eli & Emmy's Halloween costumes today. Emmy requested a pink sparkly princess, and Eli wants to be santa. I'm not a seamstress at all but I really do prefer homemade costumes even if they're far from perfect (which mine always are).
Here's a bad cell-phone picture preview. They're not quite finished.

4.) Speaking of mommy-guilt I'm going to miss Halloween. I have to go to a work conference in Texas that day. 

5.) Emerson is laying in bed next to me. She wandered into my room around midnight. Climbed into bed, mumbled something about wanting strawberries and then fell asleep again. 

Good night!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Baseball fan...

Eli is such an interesting child full of contradictions. He's both shy and outgoing. He's thoughtful and loud. Gentle and rough. He's also hilarious and loves jokes and musics.

I think one of my favorite things about him is how he's truly content with what he has. Emerson always wants something. They're both obsessed with Santa (especially Eli) and Emerson can make a whole list of things she wants Santa to bring her.

Not Eli he's pretty happy with what he has. I asked him if he would maybe like a new bike, his response, "I already have a bike, I'm good."

At one point we were discussing puppies (the living kind). Eli says, "I already have a puppy see," then he shows us his stuffed puppy.

He's also hilarious to go to the store with. I was buying Emmy a new headband and Eli said, "we already have some at home, we don't need any more." He pretty much said this about anything I was contemplating purchasing that day.

 So because he's so content and truly doesn't ask or want for anything (except candy he has a huge sweet tooth) and time he gets something new he really really loves it.

Marcus found little balls and bats on clearance the other day and surprised the kids with them. Eli couldn't have been more excited.

He's been watching baseball and when he does, he throws with the pitcher and swings with the batter, following everything that's going on.

Now he can go through the motions with his own bat and ball.

We found him asleep in bed tonight with the ball in one hand and the bat in the other.

My sweet boy (with his puppy)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I did it...

What did I do you may ask I survived what can only be described as the longest week of my entire life. I pretty much moved into the church and never left, it has not been a healthy work/life balance at all.

Here's a rundown of what I did:

~ 2 counseling sessions
~Wrote 2 sermons
~ Preached at 3 different servies
~Assisted with the homeless service
~Launched our new young adult service
~Planned and officiated a Memorial service with 450 people in our church
~Preschool open  house
~Read 2 books
~Fellowship with the young adults until 1am
~All the other normal weekly work things

Plus had two sick kids.

sometimes a quick nap between services is needed. I told Marcus not to let me sleep through the service. Although considering the senior pastor was gone today I think someone might have come looking for me at some point.

Good times, good times, but I made it mostly. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I read an uncomfortable book, some thoughts...

I was invited by BlogHer* to read and review The Diary of  Submissive by Sophie Morgan. A memoir written in the wake of the crazy popular 50 Shades of Gray books which highlights a Dominant/submissive relationship.

This book is offered as a non-fiction account from the perspective of a the submissive in the relationship.

I was intrigued about the subject matter. Particularly why someone might engage in a what at least on the outside appears to be nothing more than a consensual abusive relationship.

One adult giving another adult permission to beat them and do other kinds of humiliating, horrific, and often dangerous things to the other. I don't get it and was hoping that Sophie Morgan's memoir might offer some insight into the whys of a Dominant/submissive relationship.

It did not. Overwhelmingly this book made me uncomfortable, not so much because of the graphic nature of many of the scenes, but because time and time again it ceased to seem totally consensual.

There are moments when the author talks about being humiliated, degraded, wanting to stop (but not wanting to appear weak), not being able to speak to use their "safety" word, angry, embarrassed, in immense amount of pain.

 And I did not get any answers as to the why? Why allow someone to treat you this way? Especially given the range of emotions, none of which were positive.

Sophie Morgan doesn't offer much insight into the whys. She's careful to note that she's a "feminist' that she comes from a normal childhood without abuse or any other dark hidden secrets that make her damaged in some way.

I wasn't really sure how to feel at the end of the book. Sophie Morgan did an excellent job of explaining the range of emotions that one might experience in this type of relationship, and many of those emotions were not positive as I described above.

I suppose if you're interested in reading an account of someone who exists in the real world as successful functioning adult, but then in their private life allows and invites physical abuse and pain this might be a book for you.

There are trigger warnings though it's violent and graphic.

If you're interested in joining the on-going conversation about this book go here

*This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Good & Bad...

The Good : Marcus had a cross country meet and brought me the car at work so I could had a way to get home. (The joys of being a single car family).

The Bad: Marcus took the car keys with him to the out of town meet so I couldn't actually use the car.

The Good: Eli and Emerson go to the preschool at the church so at least I didn't need to drive any where to pick them up.

The Bad: The 3 of us were stuck at the church.

The Good: My church is located within walking distance of a million different places to eat, so for the first time in their lives I took them to a restaurant by myself.

The Bad: Being out numbered by tired 3 year olds in public is not really my favorite.

The Good: We all sat on the same side of the booth because they both wanted to sit by me. Emerson said, "We need a camera to take our picture."

The Bad: After we finished eating we still had no way to get home.

The Good: Eli & Emerson's preschool open house was tonight so at least we had something else to do at the church.

The Bad: Eli & Emerson were not suppose to attend the open house.

The Good: I'm the supervisor of the preschool staff so... oh well.

The Bad: By the time Marcus returned from the xc meet Eli, Emmy, and I had been at the church for 10 hours.

The Good: Home at last!

The Bad: Eli threw our last roll of toilet paper into the toilet... 3 year olds are not always so fun.

The Good: I had another 3 year old that was perfectly willing to reach into the toilet bowl and retrieve the entire roll, without even flinching.

So at least we ended the day on a high note. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Self Hair Cut...

You know those moments when it's just a little too quiet?

You don't realize it at first because you're enjoying the calm, but then your realize that when you have two 3 year olds, quiet is never a good sign.

I knew Eli was okay since he was right next to me but Emerson was dangerously absent and quiet.

I asked Eli if he knew where his sister was and he said, "In the play room"

She was not the in the playroom. Instead she had been giving herself a haircut.

On my lord she did quite a number on her hair, it's so so bad.

As soon as I saw her she knew she was in trouble and immediately started crying hysterically before I even said anything.

After she calmed down I told her that she was very naughty to cut her hair and it made me really sad.

Poor girl was so upset. She told me she would put it back on, then she said she would kiss me better, and then in a very tiny voice she said, "I'm sorry I cut my hair mommy."

*sigh* it's just hair but it's so bad. I don't even know how they're going to fix it.

It was suggested to me that maybe she could just become a hipster. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

What I've been up too...

1.) I had a migraine for 5 days and basically couldn't really function. I went to work each day last week only to come home early. I finally got some pain meds. on friday and slept.

2.) Eli and Emerson are being a little bit challenging. At what point do kids grasp the concept of lying? Emerson lies. She flooded the bathroom sink. I caught her soaking wet in the bathroom, her response, "Eli did it." Um... no he didn't.

3.) Eli's doing better with school. Seems happier to go, started playing with some of the other kids and he's so proud of that, doesn't really cry anymore which both Eli and Emerson report back to us each day.

How was school? The response always "Eli not crying."

4.) Marcus has been coaching cross-country for 1.5 months and he's really enjoying it. He has a job interview this week for something totally outside of his field but it pays well. He's been studying to try and get up to speed before the interview. Here's hoping.

5.) Worship service for the homeless tonight. It was interesting, and powerful, and then interesting again.

6.) The senior pastor has been out of the country so it's just been me at the church. Thank goodness it's been pretty calm. Last time he left for vacation it was so busy with funerals and services.

7.) Those of you with wood floors how do you keep them clean. I feel like no matter how much we sweep and mop they're always a mess.

 How my family looked when I left for work this morning. All cozy in bed watching a tiny little ipod. Love those 3.

Good night. Exciting times at our house.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Eli woke up this morning and said, "I want to see the airplanes."

He remembered that we mentioned we might go to the local airport for their airplane days. He was less than pleased when I told him I first had to go to work for a few hours, but when I came home 4 hours later, he reminded me again, "I'm not crying, I want to see the airplanes."

Eli is fascinated by most mechanical things in the world. Actually, he's just kind of fascinated by the world. He's quiet, and he likes to study things to try and figure out how they work. Often he'll see something and simply tell Marcus and I, "I'm going to watch" and then he'll fold his hand in front of him and do just that taking it all in.

They had the local Fire department there as well. So they were excited to see the truck up close.

Eli even had the chance to sit in the drivers sit (Emerson didn't want to).

They were able to explore all different parts of the truck. As a side note Emerson picks out her own clothes. That's a battle I don't really want to take on. She picked out her former Christmas dress, we had so many comments from people about how over dressed she was for the event haha. The outfit was completed with a pink sparkly hair clip.

For some reason Emmy loved being in the back of the police car. 

Eli also got to sit in an airplane. He really really wanted to go up in the air, but pretending to drive was fun too.

The pilot told Eli to do thumbs up. Eli doesn't know what that means apparently and put his arms up instead haha.

My cute co-pilots.

NASA was also hanging out today. Eli became an astronaut. 

And so did Emmy...

And me too. (Marcus wouldn't play haha)

Then we looked at some 3D images of mars

Fun stuff

Some other NASA things. Eli was pretty sure that this one was something he could fly since it was his size.

Standing in front of a plane for sale. Eli said, "I want to buy this plane" so I asked if he had any money. He seemed sad that he didn't haha.

There were a few animal friends out visiting the airport today too. Eli wanted nothing to do with them, but Emmy loved them. So it turned out there was a little something for everyone.

Eli got a police badge that he's been wearing all day and even took to bed with him, and a tattoo of some aviation wings. He's pretty ecstatic about the whole thing.

Friday, September 21, 2012

"I'm 28 Praise Jesus"...

I turned 28 today. Emerson at point in the day shouted, "You're 28 Praise Jesus!" She cracks me up. It was a low key day. A day off and it was so nice just to be at home. I slept in Marcus and Eli & Emmy brought me cinnamon roles in bed. Marcus took them shopping and they made cupcakes. 
Eli & Emerson waited so long to have some cake. We asked what they wanted for dinner. Their response, "Cake!"

Me and my Emmy baby. All day they both kept saying, "It's your Happy Birthday Mommy"

They helped me blow out my candles too.

It's a good thing I have help since there are so many candles these days. 28 seems especially old for some reason haha 

On Wednesday of this week the church and the preschool surprised me with a small birthday celebration at work. 

Eli and Emmy held the sign and they were so excited. They both kept saying, "We surprised you"

My cake and flowers at work

Eli & Emmy each picked out a present by themselves. Emerson handed me my wrapped present and said, "It's a bracelet" haha I love 3 year olds.

Emerson did in fact by me a pink sparkly bracelet and Eli bought me some new "leaf earrings". He kept saying "look they're leaves" 

A nice relaxing, low key 28th birthday.

These pictures are out of order but I'm too tired to fix it. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I'm Part of the 47%...

A few days ago a video of presidential candidate Mitt Romney was released with some rather shocking statements including:

"...there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That that's an entitlement...These are people who pay no income tax....I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives"
More than anything I was saddened by these comments and I thought I would share my own journey in the 47%. My husband and I are both college educated. He has a bachelor of science degree and I have a masters degree from an Ivy League University.

We supported ourselves through college and are the first in each of our respective immediate families to complete college degrees. We graduated with an immense amount of student loans, but as we took those out to complete our educations we weren't worried. We had a plan in place which would allow us to pay them back and we were confident in our ability to manage our money long term. We were obtaining education a promise to a brighter future right?

However, when we graduated in 2010, with one year old twins, reality sunk in. The economy was at an all time low, and we finished our educations with no job prospects in sight. We spent the next several months applying for positions all over the country, and I found a full-time job paying $30,000 which utilized my degrees and would be a stepping stone in my career. I jumped at the chance.

In addition to my full-time job I also took a part time job tutoring low income kids to bring in some extra money so we could afford the basics we needed to survive. 

Marcus, continued his search for a job in his field, even pursuing an extra certification to make him more competitive in the job field. However, a job did not come despite the many, many  applications he submitted.

In the meantime we had to do something about insurance for Eli & Emerson. Eli and Emerson were premature and in their early years had several medical, occupational, and physical therapy concerns that needed to be evaluated and treated.

With no other option we enrolled Eli & Emerson in medicaid, and thank goodness we did as both Eli & Emerson were in the E.R. that year with Emerson being admitted to the hospital for 3 nights for RSV and Pneumonia. Without medcaid those bills would have been impossible for us to pay.

During this first year post-college Marcus went without insurance and we prayed that we would avoid calamity, which aside from a visit to urgent care (my church generously paid this bill) we did. 

At the end of the year, I was delighted to learn that I would be given my first pastoral appointment in church. The down-side was this was only a part-time position, but since we were being provided housing we thought that though tight we would be able to continue to manage. We also hoped a new state and a new area might yield better job options for Marcus.

Our optimism was quickly shattered when we learned that we simply could not survive on the income I was being paid. Marcus continued his persistent and never ending job hunt, and finally settled for a a part-time job as a tire technician making less than minimum wage.

Despite this, we still could not make ends meet, and we realized that by the time our basic bills were paid, we were putting our groceries on our credit card.

So I enrolled in WIC, this too was not enough and I finally told Marcus that we had no choice but to apply for food stamps. We could not make ends meet, and despite his protests I did just that.

Our health insurance situation continued to be difficult. Due to a number of pre-existing conditions I could not purchase health insurance (despite my employers willingness to pay for it). I finally found a HIPAA plan with such a high deductible it was as though I had no insurance at all. This then created another hardship related to the medication I use for my Crohn's disease which costs $700 a month.

Eli and Emerson were thankfully still covered under medi-cal but at this point in our lives, despite doing everything we could we were on medi-cal, WIC, and foodstamps, not to mention the tax credits that go along with being a low income family. All programs Romney suggest are an "entitlement"

In July I was given yet another appointment and I finally have a full time job that allows us some more flexibility and freedom. Marcus continues his quest for full time employment using his degree and yet over 2 years past his graduation date has not been able to do so. The emotional and psychological effects of this frustration and constant rejection are taking their toll. He is coaching cross-country at a local high school for a very minimum sum. 

I am once again covered under a decent insurance plan through my employer, however Eli and Emerson are still covered under Medi-cal because, at the age of 3 they too have pre- existing conditions which precludes purchasing a plan (at least until 2014 when President Obama's no denial for pre- existing conditions goes into effect).

I'm part of the 47%, despite my education, despite my very best efforts, but I continue to recognize that I'm still among the privileged in our society. 

I'm educated, my employment provides housing so despite our income we will never be homeless, and I'm a pastor so I'm blessed with the knowledge and the presence to see and encounter those on a daily basis who are not as lucky as I am. I see that as frustrating as my own realities I'm wealthy compared to much of the world.

Mr. Romney, I am entitled to food, housing, and health care as is every American. Not only do I believe this is true on a societal level, but my faith tradition calls me to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, and find for justice for those on the margin of society.

In many ways my own necessity of partaking in social aid programs better equips me to help those who come through the doors of my church because I have an intimate knowledge of how the system works. Of the need to have access to computers, phones, copy machines, documents to prove income, status, etc.

Are there those who abuse the system? Of course, but I'm not really interested in that, there are dishonest people at every soci-economic level. What I'm more interested in is allowing people to live in our country without worrying that one hospital bill will bankrupt them. I'm interested in living in a society that allows people to purchase food without going into more debt, or causing them to worry how they'll pay some other basic bill, I'm interested in a society that cares about one another on a deep level.

A society full of people that as Michelle Obama said, "When [they] walk through the door of opportunity [they] don't slam it behind [them]-- [they] reach back."

I'm part of the 47% and I'm devoted my life to a calling that expects me to be among and help those in the 47% recognizing that if Jesus were here today that's exactly who he would be ministering too and with.

Never mind the government, on a basic human level, we should all desire to help one another live.

I'm part of the 47%...

I really love 3 year olds...

or maybe I just really love my 3 year olds but they're so fun right now.

They can talk pretty well, they have such funny personalities, they make jokes, tell stories.

It's amazing to me to see how they're personalities develop, and actually how they continue to develop in ways that have been who they were since the womb.

Last night Emerson got out of bed 3 times to use the bathroom. Well, both she and Piggy needed to use the potty. I know it's a stalling technique but what am I going to do tell her she can't use the bathroom.

But then each time I went and tucked her back in bed and she wrapped her arms around me and said, "Good night mommy, I love you."

I think I would let her get up a 100 times just to hear those words.

This is also not to say that we don't have our moments of trials, but over-all being 3 isn't so bad.

Plus, I'm not sure anything can ever be worse than their newborn months.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Washington, Football, and Roadtrips...

we were in the car for 14.5 hours coming home from our trip to Washington. Eli and Emerson were so amazing on the trip. They're good little travelers and watched about a million movies but whatever gets them through the long hours.

About 12 hours into the trip we stopped for dinner. Eli & Emerson have been really into telling stories lately and they wanted to share one.

Eli's story went like this: "Once upon a time, GO HOME!" Silly boy.

It was a good trip even if it was a long drive for such a short stay. I'm at a point in life where I think making an extra effort to spend time with family is important. Eli & Emmy spent some time with two sets of Great-Grandparents and any time they get with them is just a gift.

Eli & Emmy watching their Great Grandpa fill the bird feeder
They liked their great grandparents Buddha statue. 

While we were at a football game their Gram took them to their first movie. Nemo in 3D. 
Eli's re-telling of the event. "I saw fishies, it was too dark, I had candy"

Before the movie

Emmy loved it. She wore her 3d glasses the entire time and ate her popcorn. 
Her re-telling including mentioning that she drank juice and had popcorn.

Feeding some geese at the park.
Eli & emmy with their great grandparents. GG and Papa
Marcus, Emmy & piggy
They had some fun with Halloween stickers

Part of the reason for the trip was to see the Dallas vs. Seahawks game. Marcus has been a Dallas fan forever and his grandparents love the Seahawks so as a gift to us they bought us tickets to the game back in April or May.

They had a sign posted when we arrived that said, "Seahawks Rule" in the dark of the night Marcus fixed the sign to say, "Seahawks suck" Eli & Emmy seem to know that the Cowboys are the way to go.

This was my first NFL game and I had a great time

Marcus grandparents are funny. We're at a point in our lives where I think we're just extra worried about our grandparents and their health. However, our grandparents still see us as little kids.

We took a bus down to the stadium and as we were about to get on Marcus Grandma said, "Now when we get on the bus we might not get to sit by each other but we'll wait for you when we get off."

Haha they were so cute. They were worried about us and we were worried about them. The walking, heat, stairs etc.

Aren't we cute? haha I have to tell you, that wearing the opposing team's jersey in the home stadium of the winning team makes for some interesting experiences.  Boos and taunts by the winning team. Hugs from fellow cowboys fans. It was hilarious.
The seahawks stadium is one of the loudest stadiums and thus the fans are know as the 12th man. I have to say it was incredibly loud in there. My ears were ringing.

We had a good time, but today it was back to work and school. Eli and Emmy did not want to go this morning. Emmy was crying and saying, "I can't go to school my nose is sick. I have to stay home"

I thought we started the "I'm sick" excuse later in life. They did fine for the most part once they were there, and had their much needed nap at school. They were well rested and hyper by the end of the day.