Monday, June 29, 2009

Appreciating My Baby

This is my baby. She is my angel and such a joy... And a source of much laughter. A couple of days ago, for example, we were walking in the evening and Nathan began discussing how the moon was only 'half-lit' and about who could be up in the moon turning off the lights. He said, of course, its Jesus up there. Jillie piped up with "Jesus lives in the moon!" Then she grinned like the chesire cat and said, "No, he lives in our 'tomachs!" I looked at her and burst out laughing. She grinned for awhile and then said, "oh, He lives in our hearts." I found it so funny to think of swallowing Jesus. :) She has also picked up the habit of slapping herself in the forehead. "Why did I do that? Uh." slap! She is so silly and laughing at herself all the time. As we walked to the mailbox today, she asked if she could open the box. I said, "Do you know how?" She answered with a totally confident, "Of course I do." Well, who can argue with that?? :) She is a blessing - such an incredible blessing that I am so thankful for! I love her spunk, her tenacity, her independence and her stubbornness. She is so smart, so beautiful and so sweet. I love my baby so much!! She believes that the five major food groups are Cheetos, peanut butter, cheese, sugar and chicken nuggets. She is impossible to please and completely without patience. She is picky and high maintenance. She won't even eat chicken nuggets unless they are in a purple box. McDonalds will put their nuggets in a purple box if you buy the 6 piece size but Burger King's 6 piece comes in an orange box... They will put them in a purple, smaller box, however, when you tell the kind people at the counter that you have a very cranky 4 year old who won't eat them unless they come in the purple container. :) This is also a good way to find out whether or not the food providers have children of their own. They are much more likely to look at you like you're nuts if they haven't been blessed with their own babies. :) Jillian loves to play with the animals, although she isn't very soft with them. She loves the water and is getting closer and closer to being able to swim on her own. This time is so precious and I am so blessed to be able to spend time with my babies. I'm also unspeakably thankful that Lowell has been able to spend so much time with them lately. He's making up for time that he lost in the past because he was working so much. It is my prayer that since we moved, he won't have to spend so much time away from his family. His family is the most important thing in his life - and I'd like to honor that and to show him how grateful I am to him for his support and devotion.

Lots of Blessings

We've had some great occurances here lately. For one thing, the return of our cat. We also finally got the results from Lowell's test. He did very well. And he's on the list for the position with the City of Phoenix. He isn't very opptomistic about his liklihood of getting the job because he thinks the job will go to someone already employed by the city, but I'm just glad that he got a good score and so will, hopefully, feel more confident in his hire-ability. A third big event was that I got my diploma in the mail. :) I actually feel like I've accomplished something now! I graduated Cum Laude!!! Woo Hooo!! I also had the last meeting of my first class. And, while I don't have my official grade, yet, I will definitely get an A in my first Masters class! :) Also, we got 2 ferrets for the girls. Their names are Creepy and Honey. One is brown and the other is, well, honey colored. The kids love them. Our next door neighbor loves them too! Instead of Nathan going over there every day, our doorbell has been ringing every morning at 8 on the nose. Cody loves to come over and play with the ferrets. His mom, however, hates them! :) She's completely grossed out by the little babies and thinks they are too rat-like.

Another wonderful thing, my sister-in-law, Linda, had her baby! She had a beautiful little girl named Kate Emily. Mother and baby are both fine. Lowell has also just recently made another trip up to California to get more of our things and our second car. It will be fabulous to have a second car! We went to MVD (DMV for you CA people) and got our AZ licenses and registered the car. It passed smog without a hitch and, for everything, licenses and registration, it was under $100!!! It feels a little more real - that we're living in Arizona permenantly - now that we have Arizona licenses.
I have been working more on the house. I've decorated Nathan's room and I've finally gotten our books set up. Before, I had our huge tv shelf stacked three deep with books and movies. Now, I've gotten everything organized and set up. Lowell thinks I'm nuts, but I saw one of those tv decorating shows and got the idea to put my books on the shelf by color... I know, nuts, but it really looks pretty cool. :) I made a couple of exceptions, like putting all of one or two authors together and sorting them independently. All in all, I'm really happy with it. Nathan is thrilled with his room and I also hung up some curtains in my bedroom.
The job market is still slow but Lowell hasn't really been looking. That will start this week, so please be praying. I've been struggling with the logistics of finding a job because my schedule is limited both by my school schedule and by the kids. Of course in the summer, the kids are home and so someone has to be here with them. The during the school year, the charter school doesn't have school on Fridays and they want to charge for Preschool for Jillian. I haven't been able to find a state program that offers free pre-school yet.. I'm still looking. Otherwise, I'll be working just to pay for day care and pre-school. The only way that I could work and not pay for those things would be if Lowell worked graveyard and watched the kids while sleeping... I really don't want him to have to do that.. But we will probably need the extra income. Also, he's worried, and I admit, I am too, a little, about when I start doubling up on my classes in the fall. Starting in September, I'll be taking two classes at a time. That will require a lot of work with homework and research... So, I'm really praying for wisdom about what I should do. Lowell could stay on unemployment, be a stay at home dad and let me work, but he doesn't like that idea. He wants to work. In an ideal world, I want to be able to be a scrapbooking consultant and work from home. I'd like to make scrapbooks for people, so long as I can find people and I can get over charging what I need to charge in order to make it worthwile. I've been doing research from others who've done the same thing. The spectrum goes all the way from $10 a page to $30 an hour to $300 or $500 a book. So, I'm not sure what I want to do... And Lowell is pretty sure that he wants me to work a real job first and ease my way into the consultant job. It makes sense because I need to have more contacts and know more people in order to make the scrap thing work but I don't know how getting a real job will work either... So, I'm praying, applying and waiting. And being thankful for the big and the little blessings that we experience so frequently.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Great Return

There have been quite a few interesting happenings around here lately! For example, about 3 weeks ago, we lost one of our cats. It was very sad... I walked around the neighborhood calling him two nights in a row and we always watched for him as we drove around. After he was gone about 4 days, we finally had to accept that he was gone. The girls have been suffering because Nathan has so many friends and fun things to do, so on a lark one day, we looked on Craig'slist for ferrets and found two of them for sale alone with a huge, expensive cage for less than the price of the ferrets! So, we called and then went out and got them. There was a little bit of buyers remorse afterwards because we didn't pray about it first and because it wasn't the smartest use of our resources... But we really wanted to get something for the girls to have especially for them. That's not the point of my story however, the point of my story is that, yesterday after being pestered by Checkers, my cat, for about a half an hour, I finally got up and let her out the back door. As soon as I opened the door, Indy, our missing cat, came flying in the house!!! It was a shock and the kids are thrilled!! He hasn't walked anywhere for the last 48 hours, he's been carried everywhere and he's has been petted to sleep at least 5 or 6 times. So now, Nathan has his cat back and the girls each have a ferret.
I also want to share a story about Chloe... I was standing in our walk-in closet looking for a new shirt because the one I was wearing was covered in Indy hair. I had my shirt folded up on itself so that the hair wouldn't get on all the clean clothes in the closet and I said "I need..." I was going to say I need a clean shirt but before I could finish my sentence, Chloe said, "I know what you think you need, but I think you're good just how you are." There are times when I pull up my shirt and pat my stomach and complain about how I need to lose weight. Apparently, that's what Chloe thought I was going t0 say. How very sweet and mature of her. :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I'm big on taking pictures today apparently. So, I'm trying to set the record straight. The camps are split about 50/50 with people who think Chloe looks like me and those who think Jillian looks like me. I personally can't see any resemblance between myself and either of them.. I do, however, look like my mom in one of these pictures. (Lord, help!) I'll let you form your own opinions on who more closely resembles their mother...
I'm just so happy to be blessed with beautiful girls who love Jesus. Chloe is very thoughtful and loves to organize things. Jillian has the leadership thing buttoned down! They are both sooo smart. Chloe is so logical and reasonable. Jillian is already doing addition and subtraction problems. And they both want to read so badly. Its so exciting to see them grow up and yet I cling longlingly to each glimpse of them as my babies... Not for much longer I'm afriad.

Justifiable Bias

I know that all parents are baised about their kids... I happily admit that my children are the smartest and most beautiful kids in the world. I will, however, say that while they sometimes need some help in the behavior department, they are still much more well behaved than most of the kids they play with! That said, I have to use this forum to display just how beautiful my kids are... So, here is a picture I took this morning.
As I've mentioned before, the girls love Taylor Swift. In this picture, Jillie really looks like Taylor Swift; that is her favorite part of the picture. I am planning on blowing this up because I just love it... :) We recently got Nathan and Chloe's school pictures in the mail, so now I'll have great new pictures of all three of the most wonderful kids in the world. Man, I'm lucky! :) Lowell says that we could make a fortune being surrogate parents or sperm and egg donors because we create such gorgeous kids! I know he's just kidding, but I think he's right! You can't argue with a picture! Especially one this beautiful!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Picasa Pictures

I've uploaded a couple more pictures on Picasa so I thought I'd share the link again. :)
Enjoy! Love you all and I so so so appreaciate all the comments you make on my blog. I love knowing that people are actually reading it!!! :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Emotionally Throwing Up

I'm up late tonight. Not really a good idea because tomorrow is a really big day but, not much I can do about it. When I lay down, my tongue starts to swell up and I get butterflies in my stomach. I get hot flashes and start to 'freak out'. If anyone has had an anxiety attack, this is what mine start out like. They go downhill from there.

I've learned in the past year or so, as I've begun to study my attacks, that they don't often coincide directly with periods of great stress. They are often the day or two after I've been completely overwhelmed. Today follows that pattern. I was on emotional overload both Sunday and Monday for a few different reasons that I won't go into here, but now I am suffering the effects. I won't have a seizure tonight both because of my medication and also because of my CBT. (Cognitive behavioral therapy) I'm teaching myself to get control of the anxiety and dissapate it. I'm learning - the art is not perfected yet by any means but I feel more in control of my epilepsy as I get better at controlling this early stage of the seizures.

Normally, when this feeling begins, I eat something because the tongue thing really freaks me out. I remember laying in bed growing up in Copperopolis, feeling my tongue swell and wondering what was wrong with me. I would chew on my tongue and try to get it back to its regular size but it never seemed to work. I remember getting up nights and trying to read in order to think of something other than my mouth. Usually I could read myself to sleep but sometimes it was too much to ignore and then I would get sick. These nights, I now know were seizure nights. Interesting the things you learn as you educate yourself. :)

I hate knowing all the fear and stress that I felt, even so young, but I'm coming to grips with the fact that I was not in control then and, honestly, I'm not now either. God is the one who holds the world in His hand, and He is the One orchestrating this play called life. In a way, its terrifying to let go of the false sense of control that I feel but on the other hand, its freeing to know that the huge responsibility of trying to protect and control all the people I love is not mine after all. I want to protect my children and I want to keep them from pain, but I can't do that. They are in God's hand and I just have to do my best and leave the rest up to Him.

Anyway, the circumstances that have led me to begin learning these hard lessons were a huge portion of the stresses in the past few days, but they are all working for my good, aren't they? Because I love Him and because He loves me. :) What was my point? Oh yeah, through all of this, I've been "emotionally throwing up" on my computer. I've written quite a bit of raw material that I'm going to use for my book. I've begun the process... Startling, I know. I don't know how long I'll stick to it before I become totally freaked out and stop working on it altogether, but for now, the writing of my feelings and thoughts, dreams and fears has been very theraputic.

We've been talking a lot in class about how the issues that we have as individuals will come up in our sessions with our clients if we don't deal with them now... The therapist will need counseling! :) So, I've been praying for the strength and opportunity to deal with some of my issues.. (Stupid prayer, I know! :)) But God is being completely faithful and answering them. I am using His power, because it is made perfect in my weakness (and Lord knows I'm weak after some of these dreams...) and because my own power to deal with the depth of some of my pain is woefully inadequate. I need Him and that's the way its supposed to be. So, Lord, here I am, on my knees, knowing that whatever You need me to go through in order to be the servant that I was created for may be painful, but I am willing. I stand on Your promise that You will not give me more than I can handle and that You will freely give of Your unending reserve of power so that I can deal with my struggles and weaknesses. I only wish to bring You glory, Lord. It is only because of Your grace that I am here, working to help others. Lord, it is my prayer that You continue to teach me the lessons that I need to learn in order to be an effective witness of Your grace and mercy and that I can be freed from the emotional entanglements that may be a hinderance to my ability to counsel. I love you and I thank you for the trials that I've endured as I know they will enable me to empathize with so many. Thank you for using me.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

An Apology

I received an unexpected package in the mail yesterday. Well, had I remembered, it would've been expected, but since I didn't, I was ever so surprised! :) Aren't unexpected packages the best??? Anyway, this was from my great-grandma, or as my children call her, "Mamoo". I've called her Mamie my entire life, so I'll continue to do so here. :) Anyway, Mamie has recently been learning how to make jewelry. Yes, I know what you're thinking.. My great-grandma. She's going to be 86 this summer, she still drives, works, scrapbooks, sews, lives alone, and yes, makes jewelry. She's awesome. So, anyway, she made me a pair of earrings to match a pair of new shorts I got shortly before moving and she made the girls each a bracelet! Also, she sent me earrings in the shape of a scrapbook, complete with a very tiny pencil and, my new favorite thing, a pair of earrings shaped like giraffes!! :) The front of the earrings have the giraffe's front, and the back shows their little tushies! :) I'm so blessed! And, the important thing to mention, is that I haven't been very thankful toward her lately. Awhile ago, I was a little hurt by some things that she had to say and I'll allowed that hurt to stay with me instead of really forgiving and letting it go. In class, we've been talking about trying to look at the intention of what people are saying instead of the words themselves because often, we can misspeak, but it is infrequent that we really mean for our words to hurt another person. We've also been talking about unconditional positive regard. It is therapist talk for teaching yourself to be supportive of a person whether you agree with them or not. It is crucial for us to show our clients that we will not judge them and that we won't abandon them or be angry with them because of their decisions. We've also discussed how important it is to have boundaries in place so that we are able to do the right things, teach our clients and encourage them and then let go of our attachment to the outcome. Our job is to guide - but we are not responsible of the choices our clients make. (This applies to all relationships in life) Well, because of all these different topics that we've discussed, along with a lot of prayer, I want to apologize to my great-grandma for forgetting how important she is to me and for letting myself hold onto my anger. There are always going to be times when we don't exactly get along with some of the people we are close to but it is crucial to remember how important these relationships are and to work at mending them when needed. So, Mamie, I hope that you can forgive me. You mean a lot to me and I appreciate all the sacrifices that you've made on my behalf and just how much you've always loved me.

Oh, and thank you for the earrings! :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Banking Blessings

I am here in my kitchen, sort of watching Wheel of Fortune and cooking dinner while Nathan is creating a pirate ship out of Imaginex while waiting for his friend Cody to finish dinner so that he can come over to play. Nathan and I just got back from a bicycle ride. It was great. He said I wiped him out. :) I ate some cake and ice cream today and I wasn't feeling very good, so I was excited about riding. :) Lowell is currently at the park with the girls. We went yard sale-ing this weekend and found - get this - a scooter for Chloe and a bicycle for Jillian. Now we only need to find Chloe a bike and we're set. Well, and something for me. Also at the yard sales, we found two futons. We have decided that futons would be the best way to go in the kids' rooms because of the lack of floor space. Whenever they want to play with their toys, they tend to venture out into the living room or into our bedroom because there is more space. While this is ok, sometimes, having them out here all the time has gotten old - fast! So, I'll have to take new pictures and post them... If they ever get their rooms clean again. :)
We went to get a checking account yesterday and discovered that their is something showing up on our credit that shouldn't be there. I don't know what it could possibly be and apparently, we can't find out until they send us a letter in the mail... So, we were money-less for awhile... I have some checks, including a refund check from Grand Canyon, but no way to cash them.. Since the Grand Canyon check was written from BofA, we decided to go to a BofA to see if they would cash it without us having an account. It turns out that, in order to do this, I need two forms of ID. Ok, drivers license and either social security card or birth certificate, right? Nope. Actually, they wanted another credit card that had my name on it... Well, we don't use credit. And I don't have my ATM card from our other account... Its in Calaveras County in case we need access to that account... So, what to do.. Well, I prayed about it and then I waited. The banker said that I needed to talk to the manager. Well, the manager wanted to leave early, so she said, "Just go ahead and do it". :) Isn't God funny? He used someone else's impatience to bless me. :) Gotta love those moments when we can tangibly see His hand move. :)
I have homework due tonight. It is an easy assignment. I have felt very blessed about my class. I haven't really struggled with my first Masters class and I am feeling like I may not be as in over my head as I first feared. I am getting to know some of the girls in my class and they are encouraging about the ability to double up with classes. My professor is also very open about which classes are just too difficult to double up with. With this class, I have three assignments a week, so I'm assuming that I'll have the same with another class. That means 6 assignments a week, 2 days in class and working... I'm going to be VERY busy. I don't have a job yet... And I'm feeling a little stress but I've just really begun to look... Some of the other girls in my class said that they applied for 3 months before finding a job... I'm confident that we are where God wants us, and so I'm standing on the promise that He'll provide. It would be silly of me to doubt Him after all the confirmations that He's shown us... So, I'm just waiting to see what job He has picked out for me. :)