First full week in Portland

 

We moved into our swanky apartment (per Courtney) a week ago Saturday.  I can not lie it’s pretty sweet being on the 19th floor having floor to ceiling windows. I’ve enjoyed watching the sun set in the evening around 9:30pm as we have a westerly view.  Thank you Adidas for for the opportunity to vacation and escape the Texas summer heat.

Our address is 430 SW 13th Avenue, Portland OR 97205      Below photo is a view from the roof top (23 floor) looking out towards Mt. Hood.

 

Courtney flew back to PA early Tuesday morning so Cayley and I began a semi school routine where we plan to do school three morning a week followed by afternoon field trips. We joined the OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry).  They currently have on exhibit Narnia, where one can see creatures, genuine artifacts, and costumes from the movie which was nicely done.  Any time you are in a new city there is so much to see and do which we plan to take full advantage of. This week I’ve purchased, “Portland Happy Hour Guidebook,” “Best Places in Portland,” “Out and About with Kids,” “Portland City Walking Tours.”  Yes, I am ready to have fun.  I have also managed to incorporated home economics into our summer as I signed Cayley up for a week long cooking class this month and a sewing class next month.  What excites me most of all is the physical exercise we get almost daily as we walk everywhere given it’s more efficient and I am terrified to drive here.  In fact we are managing to walk 5 miles daily.  My secret?  If Cayley walks 4 miles without complaining she gets a token worth $3 that she can use to do activities she wants i.e. Children’s museum, bike rentals, movies, etc… How do I measure our daily distance?  I use FitBit www.fitbit.com which keeps track of my distance. My husband & Cayley bought me this for Mothers Day and I have truly enjoyed using it as it is my motivator.

The other cool thing about Portland beside the weather 🙂 as I actually find 60 degrees cold and must always wear a jacket, are the many farmer markets.  One can buy fresh produce, preserves, flowers, etc…  We are literally two blocks from Whole Foods so we walk there to get our groceries also.

Of course there are the many weird things about Portland.  Sadly it has a huge homeless population of old and young alike.  Jon thought he was watching a man in the park do tai chi and then realized after the man fell over and could get up that he was actually wasted. Yesterday we were walking and a young man kept yelling, “I don’t need knowledge, I just want to find my friend.”

We are only a week into our adventure so everything seems so exciting but I do miss home, friends, and familiarity.  It helps to know that Caryn will be arriving noonish on Thursday for two weeks.  Yes, Caryn returns from Albania tomorrow so if you think of her keep her in your prayers.  Having Courtney for two weeks and soon Caryn certainly has been a blessing in so many ways especially for Cayley as she is creating special sister time with each of them individually.

Trusting you will have a Happy 4th of July.

 



Family Reunion, Field Trip and Work – Washington DC

I am so excited about traveling to Washington D.C. next week with Jon and Cayley.  This trip is a bit educational, reunion, and work.  Let me explain.

Jon and I lived just outside DC from 1985-1991 in Arlington and Clifton, VA.  What a great place to be right after getting married as we were truly on our own away from family and friends thus having to cleave to one another.  We both had a very worldly existence and desire to accumulate great wealth while living for self.  I was seeking something to fill an indescribable void I continually felt.  After our first year in DC Jon began a new job where he was employee number 3. His two co-workers, Dwight and Dave, both lived a life that intrigued Jon as they were friendly, diligent, and hard workers.  Neither one had typical work ethics.  So finally Jon popped the question, “what is it about you two that is so different?”  Both men attended the same church and were believers.  However, they never preached to Jon as they let their lives be an example.  Since we had been looking for a church we decided to visit Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, VA.  It took several months before our visit and it took IBC only two weeks to visit us at home. The most exciting and life changing event for both Jon and I was our spiritual birth on 2/25/1987  [John 3:6 Jesus said, Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.]  as Jon and I both accepted Christ through a home visitation.  Our lives have never been the same since and honestly I can say my life has taken a 180 degree change.

Soon after accepting Christ these two men and their wives began to disciple Jon and I.  We went through various studies on the Bible and parenting book studies as I had no desire to have children.  We eventually began a study adding three other couples who all poured into our lives.  Then in November 1988 we were blessed with our first child Caryn.  For months leading up to this joyous occasion I had numerous trips to the hospital to stop premature labor and the family of believers became our family away from home as they prepared meals, cleaned our home, and helped in numerous other ways.  We went through the same sort of pregnancy with Courtney and again my church family helped with child care also. It was here that I learned about spiritual mentoring and the incredible value it can have in one’s life.  I can’t imagine what sort of parent I would have been without these mentors.  So it is with gratitude I go back and thank them again for the impact they had on my life.

This will be Cayley’s first visit to Washington DC and since we are home schooling I have some great field trips planned.  We have tickets to see the White House as all children what to see where the President lives.  Learning History hands-on is so much more exciting than reading about it in a text book.  We have made plans for each day by reading books on George Washington so she looks forward to visiting his home at Mount Vernon.  We are now reading a book on Abraham Lincoln. I told her about him being assassinated which sparked her curiosity on how each of the presidents has died.  Thanks to Google we were able to find this info and now, of course, wants to see Ford’s Theater.  I am also really thankful for Priceline as we got an unbelievable rate at a 4 star hotel in the middle of town plus used American miles for airline tickets that all made for a sweet get away.  Of course I will miss the older girls but they have college classes and jobs to keep them busy.

I will help Jon at the Marine Corp. Running Expo where I get to share about the great product Bones In Motion developed with folks who actually enjoy running.  What always surprises me is how many people are completely unaware of the product and when shown a demonstration they get so excited.  These Expos remind me of why we have given up so much to pursue a dream Jon had six years ago.



What God is teaching me – part 1

I had no idea how great my need for parenting encouragement was until this past weekend.  I realized that there are times we give and give; do and do forgetting to replenish ourselves along the way.  This eventually leads to burnout and possible feelings of bitterness.  Thus, find those things that fill you so you can continue to pour into others knowing this  is a balancing act.

For the last 10 years I have attended “The Wholehearted Mother” conference held in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  I have missed a few but not many.   I consider this time my vitamin B12 shot for a balanced mothering perspective.  Unbeknownst to Sally Clarkson, she has been one of my greatest mentors as she has a beautiful heart that seeks to know HIM and shares her joys, sorrows, struggles, life, etc… which I can totally relate to.  I recall first hearing her speak in CA in 1996 at a home school conference where my desire to home educate solidified and became achievable as I too desired to raise our children in the training and instruction of the Lord.  What a joy it has been to shape our girls hearts to be followers of Christ.  Today we are seeing some fruits of our labor as both older girls love God, are passionate about Him and serve Him.

When we moved to Austin in 1998 and I was able to hear Sally share “Educating the Wholehearted Child.”  Ok I feel like a groupie as I made it a yearly commitment to get my dose of encouragement as it related to being a better mother and wife.  Over the years she has brought in other speakers such a Linda Dillow, Jean Fleming, Zan Tyler, and her daughter.  I guess I share this as the role of having Godly (wise) mentors in your life is invaluable and it looks different for each of us.  It’s best to have someone you can meet face to face however with our many moves, home schooling of the girls, the added blessing of Cayley, life, etc.. I found it easier to run to a (conference, book, my past notes) when I needed a little perspective on life not to mention encouragement. 

The conference this weekend was titled “Seasons of a Mothers Heart” after her revised and updated book; which I  recommend for those looking for a dose of mothering encouragement.  I enjoyed how she related the various seasons and changes to our lives as mothers as I am visual.  I know you have heard it said, “before you know it, your baby will be grown.”  It is true and each stage of life is a season.  Use your time wisely and know where you are going.

She began with SUMMER being a time of RESPONSE.  This is a time to plant when we as mothers want to reach our children’s hearts.  To be a planter we must invest our time (mentor).  This investment of time and mentoring has been very intentional with Caryn and Courtney who we desired to know God, be like Him, and serve Him.  I realized this weekend that when Cayley came into our lives I was not as intentional about what the end would look like for her given the 10 year gap and the urgency to finish well with our big girls.  Hence the need for my attending the conference as I desire to clearly define our vision for Cayley’s life.  It is imperative to know where you are going as you will end up somewhere.  We sought God’s word in helping us develop our road map as parents.   I can’t give my girls (others) what I do not have and my help comes from the Lord.   I implore you to spend daily time in the word.  A little adds up over time.  One of my favorite ways to fill/renew my mind with truth is listening to the bible on CD at bedtime.  It is calming and peaceful to fall asleep to truth renewing your mind.  Be sure you attend a bible teaching church. Carefully pray about the various activities you and your children will be involved in.  If you want to make family meal time a priority you might have to say no to other things.  Live your live intentionally.

Next  is FALL a season of RESOLVE sort of where you adjust your expectations, reassess, stand back and gain perspective.  Currently this is one place God has me with all three of the girls.  My expectations have to change now that the older girls have their own schedules (college and work) and we have ours.  We aren’t all able to have a consistent breakfast or dinner time together.   Connecting with the older girls has to be more intention on my part when they are open and available.  Cayley is growing up in a very different decade than her older sisters. How I did things in the past require me to reevaluate them today.  Throw in ministry opportunities, real life, and my bent to be organized and wanting do it all = burnout.  Guess what?  I can’t do it all and especially well.  This is when I tend to fall into many feelings of self condemnation as I allow others opinions/suggestions/request to matter more to me than that of my family.  Thus, I resolve 1) to step back reevaluate what all is on my plate and be sure my priorities are right (God, Jon, the girls, and then other things); and 2) to let go of many of the expectations I have placed on the older girls and our family.  I am thankful for new beginning and knowing it is never to late to start afresh in the grace I am given by my heavenly Father. 

Coming soon part two ( WINTER and SPRING) insight.