the cure for cabin fever

After being stuck inside for a few rainy days, the kids and I decided it was time to cure our cabin fever with some sunshine.  We were going for a hike!  They like to call it a nature walk, which is probably more accurate because they like to stop and look at all the plants and trees and pinecones along the way.  We parked the car at the base of Pilot Butte and headed down the Larkspur Neighborhood Trail.  It’s an easy trail that winds behind a few neighborhoods in town.  There is a lot of nature to see and the park at the end of the trail is a nice reward for the kids.  Here are some highlights:

This tunnel helps us avoid the traffic on Greenwood Avenue. And the kids like to test the acoustics!

What nature walk would be complete without a huge modern art sculpture?

taking a breather and enjoying the view

follow the trail marker

some of our nature finds

We saw a lot of these "rest areas" along the trail. Lauren calls them "poop stations."

enjoying the park

Emma decided she wanted to be the photographer for awhile.

After a morning of hiking, we had worked up our appetites.  So we made it back to the car and headed home for lunch.  It was a great way to spend the morning.

snow day

Last week we got our first big snow of the year.  All of the snow is gone by now, but we made sure to enjoy it while it lasted.  The kids are anxious for a snow that will stay awhile.  But for now, we’ll enjoy what we can when we can get it.  Here are some pics from that morning:

Emma helped shovel the driveway.

Lauren wanted to be a part of the action, too.

The first snowman of the season!

hot chocolate and toppings are waiting inside

The kids also combined forces to make the biggest snow angel I have ever seen!  It didn’t show up very well on camera, but you’ll just have to trust me.  This thing was huge!  Now we’re just patiently (or not so patiently) waiting for the next big snow day.  Maybe next time our snowman will last longer than a day or two.  Happy Winter!

the new car

Since the Saturn was totaled last week, Brent was on the hunt for a replacement vehicle.  It  didn’t take him long to find it, thanks to Craigslist.  After more than six years, he’s finally back to driving an SUV, and he’s definitely happy about it.  All of our dealings with the insurance company went well (we’re with Progressive, in case you’re curious).  Now Brent is driving something that can hold his keyboard and provide some extra storage.  If only we could fix the gas mileage!  Once again, we’re thankful for God’s protection in last week’s accident.  Hopefully we won’t have to replace any more vehicles for a very long time!

1998 Ford Explorer

thankful

Coming home from the mountain after a day of skiing, Brent and little Lauren had a run in with an icy patch on the road and a very big truck. Our little Saturn looks like it’s seen its last day.  But I’m thankful that it took the brunt of the blow and protected my loved ones.  Dealing with insurance, renting a car, and finding a replacement car will all take extra time and effort.  But as long as my family came out of the accident safe and sound, I don’t really care if we have to do all of that other stuff.

When I got the call about the wreck, all I wanted to do was see my husband and my child and hold them tightly.  Life is a precious gift.  You’re never more aware of that then when you realize that it could have been snatched away.  And I’m sending up a special prayer today for those people who are dealing with the loss of life.  I know that somewhere in the world someone is getting a phone call that won’t begin with “There’s been an accident but we’re okay.”  It will be a very different kind of call, much more serious and sorrowful.  It will sound more like “There’s been an accident and you need to come to the hospital.”  I pray that the Lord will be their guide through this terrible time.  They will need His comfort now more than ever.

So today I’m thankful that what could have happened didn’t happen.  I’m thankful that my loved ones were protected, even if the car wasn’t.  And I’m thankful for a new day to live life.

one of the best parts

One of my “jobs” in life is being a pastor’s wife.  It comes with a very vague job description.  I’m sure I’ll write a blog post about that someday.  But for now I just wanted to celebrate one of the best parts about being married to the pastor.  This past week, in our home, we were privileged to be with someone as they prayed to ask Jesus to forgive their sins and be the Lord of their life.  For me, hearing a voice pray that prayer is one of the greatest sounds in the world.  I will never tire of hearing it.  And I pray that the Lord will give us the strength to never tire of working to share God’s good news of forgiveness and new life in Jesus.

During that special prayer, I felt like I was witnessing such a sacred moment.  I was blessed to be a part of it and to be one of the first people to offer my encouragement to this new member of God’s family.  I was blessed to watch and listen as my husband coached our friend through the meaning and purpose of surrendering their life to Jesus.  Somehow, the Lord gave him just the right words to say and just the right way to say it.

To put it simply, my husband is a soul winner.  This is the job that God has given him to do right now.  I know that he’s good at other “pastoral” responsibilities, but what he’s best at is showing people the love and the truth of Jesus.  I often get a front row seat to the transformation that God brings to people’s lives, to life-changing decisions, to people choosing hope and freedom instead of despair and bondage.

I don’t take it for granted that people are allowing me to see them when they are most vulnerable, or when they are finally being brutally honest about the condition of their hearts and souls.  I consider it an honor to be able to hold their hand at the very moment when their life is turning around.  I consider it an honor to hear their voices as they pray to the God who loves them like no other.  I cherish those moments.  I always have and I always will.  It’s one of the best parts about being a pastor’s wife.

ski school

One of the advantages of homeschooling in Central Oregon is that we get to be a part of the ski school program at Mt. Bachelor.  Brent and the kids love it!  They go for four Tuesdays in a row, when it’s not too crowded.  The kids have ski classes in the mornings, while Daddy, the “chaperone”, is enjoying the slopes on his own.  (Don’t tell anyone, but this is one of his favorite parts.)  Then after lunch in the lodge, Daddy takes them out all afternoon for some ski practice and fun.  They come home in the evenings ready to drink hot chocolate and tell stories about their mountain adventures.

Lauren has been waiting and waiting year after year to get her turn to be in this program.  And now she’s finally old enough!  Last Tuesday, she was excited and nervous all at the same time about getting her chance to be in ski school.  But she knew that Daddy would be there with her, so that meant that everything was going to be okay.  Blake and Emma won’t have ski school until next month so that Lauren can have Daddy all to herself for her first year.  At the end of the day, she came home tuckered out, but still confident and ready for next week.

So if your up on Mt. Bachelor and you see a little girl in a purple coat heading down the slopes, it just might be a Lauren, becoming the skier that she’s always wanted to be.

lego world

Our son, Blake, is what you might call a lego-maniac.  He could play with his legos for hours on end!  He is always coming up with new creations and new lego battle scenarios.  So today I thought I would share a little bit of his creativity with a lego creation gallery.

This first picture is called “The Satellite Launch.”  Blake got the space shuttle set from his cousins in Oklahoma.  And he’s been using it for all kinds lego adventures.  Anyone want to go on a spacewalk?

The next one is called “The Battle of the Golden Treasure.”  This one has a sea creature and a sea diver battling over a golden magic treasure.  Who knew that a red snake could actually be a battle weapon?

The last one for today is “The Golf Course.”  This one is for Grandpa Robinson.  He’s about to sink a putt to win the tournament!

That’s just a small sampling of the many creations that make up Blake’s lego world.  I like legos for lots of reasons.  One is that is doesn’t require him to be staring at a screen nonstop.  Another is that they’re quiet, except of for all the sound effects he makes when he’s playing some kind of battle.  They don’t wear out or fade.  And they are a great way to encourage creativity.  So tune in next time for the next edition of lego world!

what’s under the bed?

Right now we’re in the middle of a big clean out of the girls’ room.  Now that the birthday and holiday blitz is over, it’s a good time to edit what we don’t need or don’t use anymore. So all of the nooks and crannies of the girls’ room is getting cleared and organized, including under Emma’s bed.  The space under a bed can be an excellent option for storage, but it can also be like a black hole where things go to disappear forever.  Here is the major stash of what we found under her bed:

There were some stray scraps of paper and a few little toys, but the majority of the under-the-bed stash was all these books!  I’ve heard it said that you can tell a lot about a woman by what she carries in her purse.  But in this case, I think you can tell a lot about a girl by what’s hiding under her bed.  Books, books, books!  A few school books (Audubon field guide), a few classics (Where the Red Fern Grows), a few selections from some of her favorite series (Warriors, Guardians, and Mandie), and a few devotionals.  Emma is a reader!  She may run out of time to clean her room but she’ll never run out of time to read a book.  Because she reads so much, I know she’ll be a lifelong learner.  And I’m looking forward to the not-so-distant future when she’ll be reading Shakespeare and Dickens and Austen.  I wonder what books we’ll find hiding under her bed a few years from now.

January Bible reading

After a two month stint with the book of Proverbs, it’s time to move on to something else.  So I’m going with another of my favorites, the book of Deuteronomy.  There are 34 chapters so a few days at the end of the month will get more than one chapter.  This book is Moses’ last chance to instruct the Israelite people, so he uses this opportunity to say some really important stuff.  And through the miracle of the Bible, it’s here for you and me, too.

Yesterday in chapter four, I read these words: “Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below.  There is no other.  Keep his degrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the Lord your God gives you for all time.”  The phrase There is no other is reassuring to me and sobering to me at the same time.  The one true God is the only one to worship, the only one to follow.  It is a foundational truth.  It’s a truth upon which I can build my life.  I’m sure the book of Deuteronomy will give us even more foundational truths as this month goes along.  I’m excited to see what the Lord will reveal.  I pray that your Bible reading will be blessed, consistent, and fruitful.  Stick with it!  You won’t be sorry!

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Today is my dad’s birthday.  If you know him, then you also know that he’s one of the coolest people on the planet.  He has had many titles in his life: son, brother, student, athlete, soldier, husband, teacher, coach, father, uncle, sportsman, leader, grandfather.  These are all great and wonderful things.  But the most important title in his life is Disciple of Christ.  Of all the adventures that my dad has had in his life, none can compare to the adventure of following Jesus.  All of the other adventures would be empty and without meaning if God had not been a part of them.  And the adventures are still happening.  Sometimes trying to keep up with Dad and Mom is like trying to keep up with the wind.  You never know where they’re going next.  And that’s part of the fun.  But no matter what they’re doing, I know that Daddy will always be a praying, always be studying the Word, and always doing what he can to build up the Church.  There’s no doubt about it.  He is definitely one of the coolest people on the planet.