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2.22.2013

<< my week in review: 2/15-21

InstaFriday
It's explosive!

 Sometimes when you look at the pictures you took over the past week, you just have to say,
"Wow. I had a really boring week."


This is my new house plant.
The thing is, it's the only thing I can grow that our cat won't eat. 
Okay, it's the only thing I can grow.
I'm going with it.
It doesn't even have to be watered.

We watched my dog-nephew while my sister was away for the weekend.

Buddy wanted to play, and Reggie was happy to have a play mate.
They like to play the Dominance Game.

I finally broke down and got a Swiffer WetJet Cleaning System
Here's hoping it helps.
Winter sand and salt is not good for houses with no mud rooms.

On Wednesday night JD was the half-time speaker for the Awana Grand Prix at our old church.
We all went to go listen to him talk. 
He did good.

Sarah's been at home all week, sick with a stomach bug. 
But look at that sweet smile.
Secretly, I'm glad she's been sick. Is it okay to say that?
I've had to stay home from work 2 of the days to be with her and I have enjoyed having that time with her.
I wish I could be home more, so I'll take it when I can get it, even if it involves sickness.

We've been watching the Harry Potter movies together this week.
She's the only one of my three who really was interested in that set of stories.
I think I'm enjoying the movies as much as she is.

Look what exploded as it hit the floor. 
I watched it fall in slow motion.
I was like "nooooooo!"
It was one of my favorite bowls, the tangerine one.
A few years ago, I was given some money to go shopping and I decided that I was tired of my mostly white plates that I'd had since 1994. 
They were nice, but I was tired of them. 
I needed some color in my life. 
And there is nothing to cure the need for color like Fiesta Dinnerware
A different color for each place setting. 
Just opening my cupboards and seeing the different color combos makes me happy.

In other news this week, there was an explosion at our kids' middle school. 
In a boy's pants!
I am not kidding.
His cell phone battery exploded. He had second degree burns. Crazy stuff.

Speaking of explosions, I wrote a post on being real about our own marriage explosion
Did you read it?
Okay, well if you did, here's the thing: 
I posted it with that picture with the speech bubbles, you know.
But then I was like, Oh man, I shouldn't have put it up. 
And then I was like, well, that's the whole reason I put it up, because I'm talking about being real and that's what I really thought.  
And then someone thought I shouldn't have said, you know, that swear word. 
And now I feel really bad. And I worry that maybe someone will think less of me.
Which is so ironic because that was kind of my point of being so church-y that you can't be real.
On the other hand I think, "Really? If they think less of me because of only that, then I'm not sure that I care." 
Still, I took the photo off of my blog's Facebook page.
See? I write about it, but I still struggle with it.

That was my week, how was yours?

I'm @annebickle, linking up with @jeannettg for InstaFriday.

life rearranged

2.21.2013

On Being Real, Looking Good and Greater Intimacy

Just being real about my thoughts.
Since my post last week with more (though not all) specifics about our Marriage Crisis that I had only alluded to before, I have received many private messages about how encouraging that post was. Several people forwarded the post to a friend who they thought might be encouraged by our story. One person even tweeted it. Which is great, although I might have written it differently if I knew that it would be passed along as encouragement to those who need it.

My dad thinks I'm being brave. I think I'm just being real. When I share something that exposes some difficulty I've had, I'm more concerned about being real than looking good. The thing is, I believe that when everyone is trying to look good, no one can be real. That isn't very good for relationships.

I think that it happens a lot in some church-y circles. I'm not sure why this is, exactly, but I suspect that it has to do with a misunderstanding of law and grace. (In fact, I wrote a whole post about it on my former blog. I was quite worked up about the issue because it hit very close to home for me.) Being concerned about looking good at the expense of being real is not good. It might be church-y, but it's not godly.


2.15.2013

<< my week in review 2/8-14

InstaFriday
Gotta love it!

My son is now officially taller than me. By about a quarter of an inch. He's taking the picture to prove it. 
The caption on his IG picture says, "after many years of hard work, I am now taller than my mom!" 
Good work, son. I knew you could do it!

Saturday night some friends and I headed downtown to Social Ice. The friend on my left, your right, is from Portland and sometimes she misses all the fun things to do in Portland. 

"Hey, you can't get that in Portland," I said pointing to an ice bar. 

"That's true," she said slowly. I'm not quite sure it's a good thing that we can have a three day outdoor event centered around things made of ice. 

In all there were seven of these ice bars sponsored by different downtown establishments. I couldn't get a very good shot because there were people crowding the bar, but the ice bars were crazy cool. (Here's a link to some better photos of the event.)

Where else can you sit on an ice lounge underneath a cool chandelier? Not in Portland, I bet.

A cover band with 80's hair played 80's hair band songs. The played up in the [warm] sky-way with the music blasting out into the [cold] open air. It was pretty much a very cold 80's concert. A very fun, very cold 80's concert.

Sunday morning I worked in the pre-school room at church with this little cutie who liked to dump things. 
Like the whole box of books. Which he then sat on top of. 
It made me smile, remembering how my own boy at that age used to do the same thing, dump things in the middle of the floor.
...Now that I think about it, his room does still have a lot of stuff in the middle of the floor...

After church I went to Kaitlin's volleyball game day to watch these cuties.

Meanwhile, my boys were up in the Cities, hanging out with the Gopher's Men's basketball team. 
JD gave the chapel talk, then they got to shoot some hoops and watch the game. 
Fun day for them. 

JD has a birthday on the day before Valentine's Day. 
Maybe that's why he's such a Sweetheart?!
Oma made a fantastic birthday dinner for him, and Kaitlin decorated the cheesecake with JD's favorite candy. Good job, don'tcha think?!

Sigh. Only one kid is doing valentines in school this year. 

I'm conflicted about Valentine's Day. 
Always have been.
But I sure do love helping my kids show love.

Sarah drew this. 
She said wanted to start her own blog about her little monsters.
Of course I set her up with her own blog right away so that she can practice writing stories. 
I love seeing my kids be creative.

I had thoughts of making a red themed dinner, but then I realized that Thursday night would be crazy busy for us with volleyball, baseball lessons and a science fair. 

So this is as valentine-y as I got this year:
"Yes, that's a heart on your pork chop, now hurry up and eat it so I can take you to the science fair."

Here's my student athlete. 
Thursday night the judges judged. We'll find out Friday if he won any ribbons.

[little rant]
As I saw all the other science fair boards on display, I thought it would be a fun game to go around the room and guess which ones were done by parents and which ones were done by the students. 
In my book, whether the judges give him one or not, my boy gets an award for doing his project completely by himself from the idea to choosing the fonts in the title. 
[end little rant]

And finally, here's my new arm candy:



 I hope you had a sweet week!



I'm @annebickle, linking up with @jeannettg for InstaFriday.

life rearranged

2.14.2013

We Fell In Love (Twice) - or - The Post In Which I Talk About How We Fought To Save Our Marriage

I fell in love with my husband twice. The first time I fell in love with my husband, I was a junior in college. The second time I fell in love with him, I was the mother of his three children.

The Story of How We Fell In Love The First Time
We're so happy in my grandparents' backyard, 1993.
I met JD for the first time the first weekend of my junior year in college. My roommate and I decided that we wanted to rearrange our bunk bed into an L shape. We needed some cinder blocks, so she called her boyfriend who thought his roommate had some we could have. When we knocked on his apartment door, JD opened it. I'd never met him before, but I'd heard his name. He had gone on dates with several of my friends, including my roommate. (Something I don't let him forget. I jokingly tell him that he dated all my friends before he dated me.) JD was the only one home, so he helped us load the cinder blocks into my car.

As he was helping us I noticed his Richfield football t-shirt. I told JD that my brother, who had been a soccer player in Germany, thought it would be fun to try American football the year my family was on furlough in Richfield and ended up getting some playing time. The thing about people from Richfield is that they like to talk about Richfield. It is a tiny suburb of Minneapolis, so if you meet someone from Richfield, chances are you know people and places in common. JD and I were no exception. We figured out that my grandparents, who I'd spent the summer living with, lived just one mile from his house.

The stars didn't collide during our first meeting. I thought he was a nice guy from Richfield who was very helpful. He thought I was a soccer groupie because I was wearing Umbro shorts and Birkenstocks. (I didn't take that as a compliment coming from a football player.)

2.08.2013

<< my week in review 2/1-7

InstaFriday
It's super duper.

I really wish I had my super duper zoom camera for this picture. 
Then you'd be able to see Kaitlin's super duper intimidating stare down face. 
She's there at the net, looking right at the girl. If I were that girl, I'd probably pee my pants.

"Hey Kaitlin, give me your volleyball stare down stare."

That's what I'm talking about. 
Go Apples!

Reggie parked there in front of me like that while I was watching a movie with Sarah.
He wanted my popcorn.
Sorry Reg, it's not gonna happen. (...okay, maybe this once... because I like you now...)
How can I say no to him when he reminds me of God?

I brought something artichoke-y to the Superbowl Party.

[bonus feature:]

Ever since 199....6? ...7? when we went on a date to Old Chicago and ordered artichoke dip as an appetizer, I have had a thing for artichoke dip. Whenever we go out, if there's artichoke dip on the menu, I have to order it. I have to. I'm like an artichoke dip connoisseur. (I totally had to look up how to spell that.)

[end bonus feature]

It happened.
We had our first high school parent and student night with our almost high schooler.
Graduation requirements and registration details and activities fair. 
Oh my.
I noticed just a little bit of a swagger, too, when he walked through the cafeteria.
That's my boy. 

I've been looking for something like this for a long time.
When we were sitting in the financial adviser's office, I noticed one sitting there.
He gave me three for free.
Share. Save. Spend. One compartment for each.

Oh look.
Snow.
And freezing temps.
Like I said before, I am so over snow once Christmas has passed.
But I soldier on.

Sometimes, if I'm running late for work, I drive her a half a block to the corner while she eats her cereal.

And then I watch her meet up with her friends and walk to school.
Sigh.

I'm @annebickle, linking up with @jeannettg for InstaFriday.

life rearranged

2.07.2013

Is It In You?


I've been going through a study on the Fruit of the Spirit recently by Beth Moore called Living Beyond Yourself. One of the things that struck me this last week is that these things -- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control -- they are fruits of the Spirit.

Duh, right? I grew up reciting them, singing about them, studying them. I know they are the fruit of the Spirit. But what struck me this week is the fact that they are the result of something else.

Often I want to focus on the fruit (I need to love others better!) when I should be focused on the One that produces the fruit, the Holy Spirit.

I can wish for joy or peace in a given situation, hope for patience when dealing with someone, or pray for self-control when it comes to how I spend my time or what I think about. I can want them, but these qualities can't grow in me unless I have the Holy Spirit inside of me.

This reminds me of a Gatorade advertising campaign. The pictures of athletes dripping Gatorade colored sweat and the caption that says "is it in you?" The message is that because Gatorade is in them, they are champions.

As a Christian, I do have the Holy Spirit in me (Romans 8:9). Just like the Gatorade seeps out the pores of the athletes who have it in them, so too should the Fruit of the Spirit seep out of my pores -- and my thoughts and my actions and my words. If it is in me, it will come out.

It occurs to me that the Gatorade doesn't seep out unless the athlete is sweating. That implies hard work. Maybe it's when I am faced with adversity that the Fruit in me is revealed for what it is? Maybe that's how it ripens? Maybe, like an athlete who sweats in the gym, my patience is tested so that it has the opportunity to become stronger. As they say in the gym, "no pain, no gain."

It's not too hard to be loving if someone is lovable. Or joyful if things are going well. But you need the Holy Spirit in you to love the unlovable and be joyful even in trials. The Fruit of the Spirit are a result (fruit) of Jesus' work on the cross and my dependence on God.

When we first went into ministry, one of our trainers gave a talk about fruit and it helped me visualize the idea of God producing fruit in and through us. This teacher was talking about the fruit of ministry but I think it applies to the Fruits of the Spirit, too.

He stood up front and spread his arms out to his sides and said that producing fruit looks like this. When we look to Jesus, we produce fruit. He wiggled his hands to show that they were the branches that held the fruit. But then, he said, if we take our eyes off Jesus to look at our fruit, the connection is lost. It's like a plant that's been cut. As soon as you cut it, it's dead. It might not look it right away, but it's been cut from it's life giving source. You can't produce fruit if you are looking at the fruit. You must be looking at the source of the fruit to produce the fruit.


See how the fruit falls as soon as she takes her eyes off Jesus?

So, instead of saying "I need to be more [fruit of the Spirit]" I should be saying "I need to look to Jesus. Only with him in my life can I be [fruit of the Spirit]." He will grow in me the fruit to maturity.

Another thing struck me this week. My children can't manufacture goodness, just like they can't manufacture apples. If I say to them, "be kinder to each other" it will only go so far. If I want my children to have these qualities they need the Holy Spirit in them.

As I think about this, I picture again the Gatorade ads. When the hard times come and I am pushed enough to sweat, does the Fruit of the Spirit seep out of my pores?

As much as I depend on God, it will.


A Royal Daughter

2.05.2013

The [Love] Language Barrier: An American in Paris

The Eiffel Tower at night, 2008.

I've been fortunate enough to have traveled quite a bit in countries whose language I don't speak. I know what it's like to have that whole language barrier thing. Consequently, I think that it's a good idea to travel with a language dictionary and try to learn some basic phrases you will need along the way, like "where is the toilet?" or "no, you cannot buy me for 10,000 camels." It's also a good idea to travel with a sense of humor.

I've been thinking lately about how my husband and I speak love to each other. And how we want to have love spoken to us. It occurred to me that being fluent in a language involves not just speaking, but also hearing and listening and understanding the language.

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