Thursday, March 29, 2012

Please Pray for Lori

If any of you have kiddos that are apart of BayKids at South Bay Church, then surely you already know and love Jennalene Nelson! She is one of our children's directors and if you have never seen her in action with those kids you are missing out. She is so gifted and South Bay's kids (& parents) adore her.

Jennalene's mom, Lori, is fighting for her life right now and I want to ask you to pray. Not just to read this and have compassion or warm wishes in your heart. But to stop and cry out to an Almighty God who is able to heal her completely. If it was your mom, I know you would want an army of people who would take some time to pray on her behalf.

Lori was diagnosed with leukemia last July. This was a devastating blow to their family. Jennalene has two younger siblings, Robin (16) & Gavin (13) who still live at home. Lori has always been in great health and so the onset of cancer was an enormous shock.

Last week, the doctors told Jennalene's family that there was nothing else they could do for her and she would probably only live a couple more days. Jennalene immediately got on a plane (by herself) to take the flight that no child ever wants to take. That was 9 days ago, and Lori is still holding on.

In fact, she is doing more than holding on. She is fighting with everything she's got! Jennalene sent me a text that says:
"She is determined to walk again. She has asked for physical therapy and is forcing herself to eat. And she is also working to regain full speech. This morning her doctor was impressed with her improvement and saw that her white blood cell count has gone up. He then decided to start her on another round of chemo right away. All this after them telling her last week that there was nothing left to do! Praise God!!"

Lori is a follower of Jesus and she believes in His power to heal her. She has the will to live and is fighting right now. She's fighting for her 3 children and her 2 grandchildren.

I will keep you updated as I hear updates. But for now, please pray for God to miraculously bring Lori back from the valley of the shadow of death. He is there with her and He is MIGHTY TO SAVE!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Zucchini Bread & Neighbors

Being "neighborly" is slightly outdated these days. Or so it seems. It's easy just to come and go without ever saying more than "hello" if you and your neighbor both happen to be walking to your car at the same time. People tend to have their own circles of friends and a jam-packed agenda, so the need to make friends on their street is a low priority.

When Andy and I were looking for a place to live, one Bible verse kept popping in my mind. "He [God] determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live." (Acts 17:26) I felt so confident that God had a house picked out for us and that there is a reason why He wants us to live there. I feel that way about all of our neighbors, too. There is a reason why God put us on the same street at the same time.

There are 8 other houses on our street. So I decided that I would make everyone a loaf of zucchini bread, write them a brief note, and we'd go over as a family to introduce ourselves. Our neighbors have been shocked (some even skeptical) to see us standing as a family of four on their front doorstep. But it was so worth the effort. No one had so much as said hello to us since we moved in, but after delivering the bread two of our neighbors dropped by our house last Sunday to bring us some goodies!

I'm not sure what these relationships will turn into. Some will probably reciprocate more than others. But Andy & I are praying for them and we want to be a blessing to the people who live around us.

I want to challenge you to reach out to your neighbors. Even if you've lived there for years, get over the awkwardness be the first one to initiate. You may have to initiate a few times before getting any reciprocation. You have people living just a few feet from your front door who are precious in the sight of God and may or may not have a relationship with Him. He could use you to love them, encourage them, and be a source of light in their lives.

Feel free to take the zucchini bread idea and run with it. And after you meet them, make sure to write down their names and any little details you find out about them (job, school, kids, hobbies, etc...). Remembering those things endears you to people and they are great conversation starters in the future.

Here's the note that I wrote and the recipe for the zucchini bread:

Dear Neighbor,
We recently moved into the house at [our address]. We are so excited and thankful to be living in our new home. We wanted to bring you some homemade zucchini bread as a way to meet you. We look forward to getting to know you more in the future. If there is ever anything our family could do for you, please don't hesitate to ask!
                                                                                                    The Wood Family
                                                                                                    Andy, Stacie, Caedmon & Sammy
                                                                                                    [our phone number]

Zucchini Bread
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
  3. Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  4. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

Instead of flouring the greased bread pans, I sprinkled them with cinnamon and sugar which gave the outside of the bread a sweet crunch. Also, my bread always took at least an hour to back. It is really yummy and somewhat torturous to bake when you are fasting! :-) 

Monday, March 26, 2012

October Baby

Andy & I went to see the movie "October Baby" this past weekend. SO GOOD. Must see. 

I don't want to give away too much. But the movie has powerful themes of forgiveness, adoption, abortion, and healing. Anyone would be blessed by this movie, but I especially think it can bring a lot of healing to people who have walked through an abortion or whose lives are touched by adoption.

It is a beautiful movie. If you're like me, you will laugh out loud and try really hard not to make too much noise as you cry. And you will leave with your heart full.

Here's the trailer:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Join the fight against Human Trafficking

Have you heard of the CASE Act?

If you live in California, it is important to you and you will hopefully being hearing a lot more about it in the next few months.

This grassroots movement was started by Daphne Phung (a Bay Area local) out of a passion to end human trafficking and sexual exploitation that is rampant in our state. She has done an amazing job pulling a team together and they have worked tirelessly to get this initiative on the November ballot. The initiative has been approved for the ballot, but there is still a lot of work left to be done. Just because it made it on the ballot does not guarantee that it will be passed by the voters and made into a law.

Between now and November, there will be a lot of efforts made to educate and raise awareness about human trafficking in California. I want to invite you to join the cause!

For starters, simply follow CASE Act 2012 on Twitter and "Like" them on Facebook. Then, click here to view their website and learn more about how YOU can get involve.

Their tagline is "Justice starts with you." Let's fight for things that really matter. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Praying for your pastor...

I don't think I ever understood how important it is to pray for your pastor until we moved to California. It's strange that it took that long to click in for me since I grew up in a pastor's home. Perhaps it was too familiar or perhaps it was because I was a child and didn't realize the implications of holding the position of "Pastor". I don't know, but I see it in a different light now and I thought I'd shed some light on it for you, too.

Sometimes I will get the question, "So what does your husband do the rest of the week? Does he have another job?"

I smile graciously and say something like, "Ummm, no. It's pretty much full-time with some strict boundaries in place or it would bleed over into every nook & cranny of our 24 hour lives."

I think of Andy's position, not so much as a job or a career-move or a paycheck, but as a calling on his life, our lives, and our family. We take very seriously the vision and responsibility that God has given us.

When Andy stands up to preach on Sunday, he doesn't do it flippantly but with a heavy understanding that he is serving as God's voice to our church. When Andy makes decisions about the future of our church, he thinks it over a million times, prays about it, journals out options, talks to other pastors and mentors, and collaborates with his staff. He is extremely calculated and strategic because he realizes what's at stake. Making a profit is not what's driving him to perform at his very best; it's the understanding that people's lives are on the line.

How we follow up with first time guests, whether parents and kids have a positive experience with Bay Kids, the percentage of people who are connected into serving and life groups vs those who remain anonymous and could easily slip through the cracks...those are the things that keep Andy up at night.

With any type of spiritual leadership comes increased levels of spiritual attack. There is a very real (though mostly unseen) spiritual battle taking place. And while it feels awkward to write about it on this blog, it is a real part of our lives. Jesus said that if you strike the shepherd the sheep will scatter. And you better believe that Satan got that memo. Pastors are prime people for Satan to attack, because if he can get to them, the rippling effect is much greater. I don't want to go into details, but there is no doubt a heightened sense of spiritual activity surrounds Andy's life and our family, especially around seasons of growth for our church and big decisions.

South Bay is in one of those seasons right now. More and more people are attending South Bay and we are hearing stories of how God is changing so many lives right now. We are also less than 3 weeks away from Easter, which is always an intense time. On top of that we are in the process of renovating and preparing to move into our new facility in the next couple months. We believe that there will be a big influx of growth during that time as we open up additional seats and make room for more people to come.

All of this is very exciting and we are praising God for His hand that is clearly on South Bay right now. But we also feel the need to prepare ourselves spiritually for what lies ahead.

That's why Andy & Filipe felt led to do a 21 day fast (drinking only juice & water) leading up to Easter. Mandy & I are joining them by doing a Daniel Fast for the first half and a juice fast for the second half. We want to prepare our hearts for what God wants to do. We are reminding ourselves (and making sure Satan knows) that there is nothing that we want more than to see God move. We would give up anything and do whatever it takes so that more people could understand the love and hope and peace that God freely offers them.

We are praying for our church, for our city, and for a fresh movement of God that will blow our minds.

So, could I ask you a favor? Will you pray for us as we pray for you? Let's get serious about seeing God's Spirit unleashed.

For a 31 Day guide to praying for your pastor, click here

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Show, Don't Tell

Every writer (or anyone who has sat through a high school English class) knows that one of the most important rules for writing is: Show, Don't Tell.

Instead of just writing, "I was excited" you should show that you were excited by describing the expression on your face and the words that came out of your mouth.

The same is true in teaching life lessons to our kiddos.

  • We can't just sit them down and tell them about the importance of respecting authority. They need to see us honor our police officers, pastors, and others in positions of authority. 
  • Telling them to patiently wait for us while we're on the phone doesn't do a lot of good when we're griping at them to move faster as we hurry them out the door.
  • We can tell them all day long to be kind to their siblings, but if we are showing them an attitude of harshness in our interactions with them, the lesson's not likely to sink in.

Two character qualities that Andy & I want to instill in our children are being servant-hearted and being a hard worker. Last Saturday we had an opportunity to "Show, Don't Tell" them what that looks like.

Last Saturday, South Bay hosted a Yard Day to clean up the outside of our new facility. Nearly 80 volunteers worked throughout the day and truly transformed the looks of the exterior of that building. I was a little hesitant about bringing the Littles to Yard Day. I thought it would be a battle all day to keep them on task and I anticipated lots of complaining. But I was pleasantly surprised.

Andy and I both took one kid (switching back & forth occasionally) and it ended up being a great, bonding experience. Caedmon & Sammy were the only kids there, so everyone was loving on them, carrying them around, and giving them high fives. They loved getting dirty and using real tools. I kept saying things like, "It's fun to work hard, isn't it?" 

At ages 3 & 5, their physical contribution was limited. But what was growing in their hearts is sure to reap a harvest in years to come. As they grow and continue to have opportunities to serve and work hard, their skills will increase and they will be able to make huge contributions. They already contributed a lot in brightening everyone's spirits!

What character qualities would you love to see developed in your kids? Are you showing them that with your own life? And are you giving them opportunities to practice and develop those qualities?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Love Letter

I've got some good new today! Not new news, but good news nonetheless. And it's news that, for a lot of us, even though we may believe it's true, we don't live like it's real.

I've been reading in the Bible from the book of Romans this week, and yesterday I was stopped in my tracks as I read Romans 5:1-2. I kept trying to read on, but I just couldn't stop rereading those two verses and thinking about what GOOD NEWS that is for my life.

Reading Romans is comparative to eating a steak dinner. You have to eat it slowly, savoring every bite, chewing really well...or else your liable to choke and die. Ok, bit of an exaggeration, but it's definitely heavier than drinking a smoothie.

So, back to Romans 5.

Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand.

3 HUGE, life-changing benefits for those who've placed their faith in Christ:
  1. Declared righteous
  2. Peace with God
  3. Access to grace
I began thinking about each one of those gifts, and which one (if I had to choose) I was most thankful for. I still haven't come up with an answer to that.

If you have place your faith in Jesus and received His free gift of forgiveness, listen to what He says to you today. 

Dear Child,

(Declared Righteous)
You are clean! I choose to look at you through the perfection of Jesus. You are completely forgiven...of all the sins you used to revel in but now feel ashamed of, of all the sins that you still struggle with on a daily basis, of all the sins that have been committed against you...You don't have to walk around in shame. You do not have to be defined by your failures or the horrible things that have been done to you. I don't see you as tainted, used goods. You are as beautiful and perfect to me as the way you looked at your newborn baby being placed on your chest for the first time. 

(Peace with God) 
I'm not mad at you. I'm not sitting up here in heaven just waiting for you to make a mistake. Quite the contrary! I'm cheering you on! I'm proud of you. I'm glad you're Mine. I love you. I like you. I enjoy you. There is no one I'd rather spend time with than you. We're okay. Don't tiptoe in My presence staring at your shoes. Bust up through those gates with thanksgiving and praise and dancing so free that it makes me belly-laugh. Really, I promise, I delight in you.

(Access to Grace)
I've got ya covered. I know you're going to mess up. And, yeah, it disappoints me. Your sin was costly for all of Heaven. But, listen! It's been paid for! It's been forgiven! I've got whatever it is you need today. I paid too high of a price for this gift for you not to receive it, bask in it, and roll around in it 'til you can't get the smell off of you. I am for you. I'm like the parent who is teaching their baby to walk...hold on to my fingers and trust that I'm right there with you. When you fall (and you will!), I'm not going to yell at you for being some no-good-clumsy-never-get-anything-right-loser. Nope. I'll plop you back on your feet. Kiss those little knees. And pop you on the butt to encourage you to keep going. 

I love YOU,
Your Heavenly Father

You are clean! I'm not mad at you! I've got ya covered!
Today, let's not just believe that that's true, but live like it's real!!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Grocery Shopping 101

I am of the belief that grocery shopping should require at least an Associates Degree from your local community college. It is the most complex household duty that I am responsible for on a weekly basis.

I'm not sure who does the meal planning & food preparation in your home, but if it's anything like mine the responsibility lies almost solely on me. Andy's good about making his own breakfast and eats lunch out most days, but other than that I plan and prepare what every mouth will eat each meal of the week. And I'm totally fine with that. Andy contributes in huge ways to our family life. The food category just lands on me.

SO, in honor of all those women out there who bravely march about grocery stores each week...
in efforts to give the men in our lives a glimpse of what it's really like...

I've compiled a TOP 10 list of things our husbands never realized about the complexities of grocery shopping.
  1. Meal Planning- Before ever making it to the store, we plan out what we will eat for the week. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Breakfast is easy; a couple different options is all you need. Lunch is overwhelmingly boring and difficult to get out of the same ol' ruts. Why does a salad or a turkey sandwich taste so much better from a restaurant than it does from my kitchen? But dinner, now this is where the real art of meal planning is exposed. Every dinner requires a protein, vegetables (not all the same color), starch, make sure it's filling yet low fat, make sure there's something everyone (or most) will eat, consider the family schedule and how much prep time each meal will require. Sometimes I just stare at my cookbook and a blank sheet of paper until I put it away and decide to try again later.
  2. Hormones- As I peruse the milk, eggs, and meats I realize that many of these animals have been beefed up on hormones. We've all been scarred with images of those chickens who are so fat they can't even support their own body weight, right? So I check out the organics which cost 3 times as much. And then I have to decide if I'd rather have my sons develop breasts by age 12 or if I'd rather have enough money to continue feeding them by age 12. Tough choices. 
  3. Artificial ingredients, additives, and preservatives- Whenever a label contains 50 different ingredients which you cannot pronounce, you know you better leave that one on the shelf. Seriously, what chemicals would they have to use to make something taste like strawberries without actually using strawberries? So I attempt to by-pass the center aisles of the store as much as possible and just shop the perimeter.
  4. Pesticides- I feel pretty good about myself loading my cart up with all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables. What a great mom! Providing an assortment of healthy, colorful, fresh options for my family. I feel pretty good until it occurs to me that I may also be poisoning my family with pesticides! Yikes. I should just grow my own food.
  5. Human Trafficking- I never buy coffee or chocolate that I don't wonder if I'm supporting the slave trade which forces children and innocent people to pick coffee and cocoa beans. Talk about paranoia and guilt! I know none of us would want to support that!
  6. Refereeing Children- All the while I am making earth-shattering decisions regarding the wellbeing of my family (and, unknowingly, people around the world!) my children are in tow doing things like eating goldfish and raisins left from the last kid who rode in our grocery cart. Please don't stick your fingers through the plastic on the packages of ground beef! No, we're not buying pop tarts for breakfasts. Let your brother out of that headlock! Please do not lick the handle on the grocery cart, even if there is something sticky on it!
  7. Coupons- At this point, who in the world is in the frame of mind to use coupons?! If you do, God bless you and maybe you could share your wisdom with me. But I for one, am unable (unwilling?) to match which coupon goes to which brand and which size orange juice or yogurt. I often have coupons in my purse that I fully intend on using, but I'm just too mentally exhausted to figure it out while I'm mid-course. 
  8. Budgeting- Because I suck at couponing, I have sticker-shock more than I'd like to admit when the cashier rings up my food for the week. Seriously? But I didn't even by organics! I opted to let my sons grow boobs and poison them with pesticides just so I could meet budget! And you're telling me my groceries costs that much?! Fail.
  9. Reusable bags- Sir, I really do have a whole pile of reusable bags in my trunk. It's just out there in the parking lot! Do you still have to charge me $0.10 per bag because I'm forgetful? Just think of all of things that I have to think of to get through this grocery shopping experience!
  10. Unloading- I love how they ask, "Do you need help to your car?" I'm always tempted to reply, "No, but if you could come home with me and help me unload, that would be very helpful." If you happen to live in an apartment like we have, you know the joy of trying to carry 100 pounds of food in your apartment in one sweep. You have bags hanging off every appendage while you attempt to close your car door with your foot. The above mentioned children are not much help as they are perhaps too small or too clumsy to carry a bag. You take slow, deep breaths while herding your children and staggering toward your gated apartment when you realize that your keys are deep in your pocket so you'll need to put everything down in order to get them. You unlock the gate and before you have time to reload the groceries on said appendages, your kids take off in a sprint towards home. At this point, the long journey of grocery shopping has taken its toll and you begin to lose it altogether. You scream at the top of your lungs, "FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING GOOD AND HOLY, COULD SOMEONE PLEASE JUST HOLD THE DOOR FOR ME?!" With your children no where in sight, an unsuspecting single gal walks up sipping her latte and grabs the door for you. The look in her eyes is somewhere between surprise and pity as she looks at a very harried version of you, and you think to yourself, "It wasn't all that long ago that I looked like you..."
So, honey, every time we sit down for a home cooked meal in the evenings, please know that it is a gift labor of love for you and our kids. I have nearly lost my mind and come back again to the world of sane-living just to bring you this filling, low-fat, expensive, and fresh meal. Sorry about the man-boobs and pesticides!

Monday, March 12, 2012

I just can't get it all done...

Does anyone else out there live by a To-Do list?

My college roommate, Kendall, used to laugh at me & my To-Do list, saying things like I probably wouldn't even brush my teeth without having it on my To-Do list. (That may or may not have been an exaggeration. Ahem...) Kendall, never being one who liked to be put in a box or tied to some external structure, was not a To-Do list kind of girl. When I suggested that she start a To-Do list of her own, she laughed and said, "I could write one, but I probably wouldn't do a thing on it. I'd just run all over myself!"

Well, whatever end of that spectrum you fall on, the reality is we all have to get stuff done. And the more responsibilities you have, the trickier it is to fit it all in.

Ever since I became a mom, I have had an exceedingly difficult time getting anything crossed off my list. Gone are the days of crossing off ten items per day...unless, of course, I started putting on my list things like "wipe Sammy's nose 12 times" or "reassemble Caedmon's StarWars legos 4 times". I could definitely feel successful if that was what composed my list.

Seriously though, it seems like I add 3 things to my list for every one I cross off. Even if you're not too good at math, it's easy to see that that is a losing equation.

Last night I was getting a little stressed about my ever-growing list of To-Do's, which might I add has some fairly important stuff on there like TAXES and getting Sammy's Social Security number worked out. So, what did I do? I emailed it to Andy, of course!

You see, my husband has this profound ability to take something complex and make it simple. He sat down with me and in five minutes had organized my list into an A list, B list, and C list according to priority AND he even took a few items off my list and put them on his own! Well that was the most effective 5 minutes of my day!

So, if you are drowning today amidst an ever growing To-Do list, let me encourage you to divide your list into groups according to priority. Try to keep the A list to only 5 items (definitely no more than 10). Everything else has to take a back seat until you get to those most important things.

Also, put a date by certain projects that you don't have time to do right now but you could schedule time for in two weeks from now. Once it has a date on the calendar, it doesn't have to hang over your head with the pressure of "I can never get around to that!"

Ok, I've spent enough time writing about my To-Do's time I go accomplish something on it while Sammy's still napping!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Bright, Sunshiny Day

We are LOVING having a back "yard" to play in!! I put yard in quotation marks because there is no grass. But it is a big, fenced in area for the kids to play and explore without Mom hovering right over them. I think we've eaten lunch outside almost every day since we moved!

The boys' absolute favorite thing to do is play with water. Here's a glimpse at their fun... (Please excuse the inappropriate attire. I have yet to find their bathing suits in the unpacking process. But aren't little boys in their underwear the cutest thing ever?!)

I have some thank-you notes to write while the Littles are napping. I think I'll head on outside myself to enjoy the sunshine while I write!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


There is ONE reason why we moved to California. ONE reason why we would pick up to move 3,000 miles away from family whom we love very deeply and miss very much. ONE reason we would take a risk and start over in a place (a very expensive place) where we knew no one.

That ONE reason is the hope of seeing lives changed by the love and power of God.

Every time we have a baptism celebration at South Bay, I am reminded of why we came. It feels so right and good and exhilarating to hear people's stories and to see them embrace the life changing message of Jesus. I stand in the crowd cheering them on, sometimes choking back tears, thinking to myself, "YOU are the reason that we moved. And you are so worth it."

Here's a story of ONE life that was changed. I hope it touches your heart the way it touched mine.

Way to go, Marian! We are so happy for you!!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Mouse Trap

This morning at 4:45 AM I heard some rustling around and my first thought was "Sammy's up." I lay there half awake trying to figure out where he was and what he was doing. Then my closet light (which is a motion activated light) turned on. I thought, "Why is Sammy in my closet?" But then I realized that it wasn't Sammy in my closet. Both the boys were fast asleep in their beds.

Oh. My. Gosh. There is something moving around in my closet! What am I going to do?

Don't freak out. Don't freak out.

I had seen some mouse traps around our garage, and the previous tenants mentioned that they once had (past tense) a problem with mice. So I figured it was a mouse.

At this point I gathered all the blankets and sheets to the center of the bed. I didn't want anything to be touching the floor per chance that little rodent decided he wanted to jump in bed with me.

I grabbed my cell phone and called Andy, who was 2,000 miles away. What in the world did I think he'd be able to do?

Surprised to be getting my call so early in the morning (it was 6:45 for him) Andy answered saying, "Hey, what's wrong?"

"Andy! There is something moving around in our closet!"

Phone disconnected. Call back.

"Stacie, call me from the house phone."

"Are you crazy?! I am not getting out of this bed!"

Phone disconnected. Begin texting.

Andy texts things like, "How big does it sound? Is it still moving around? Be bold and courageous. When life hands you rats, make rat soup!"

I text things like, "I'm freaking out. We need to call an exterminator. I do NOT do rodents!"

Of course there was nothing Andy could do for me, so I did the only logical thing I could think of. I called my dad...who was 3,000 miles away! He didn't answer. Sigh.

I attempted to go back to sleep (with the lights on, mind you!) but every time I would hear a rustling my eyes would pop wide open. I was hearing all kinds of noises and I was just certain that that little mouse was doing victory laps around my closet because he knew he had totally terrified a creature 100 times his size. They can sense fear, you know...

It got quiet for a minute. The motion light went off. But 30 seconds later it was back on again. I figured he went and got all his little mice friends to come play ring around the rosies, make nests in my shoes, and poop on my floor. I heard squeaking and I'm almost positive that I heard laughter at one point. Taunting me.

As I was laying there paralyzed in fear, I was trying to talk some sense into myself. I reminded myself that I love riding horses, which are about 100 times my size, and it would not scare me to have a Rottweiller lick my face. I used to have a pet gerbil as a kid, which is really just a glorified mouse, and I would play with it and let it run all over me. But I was not feeling the animal love at 5 AM this morning.

When I finally worked up the courage to go get in the shower (at 6:15) I noticed on my neighbors roof those exhaust vents that look kinda like a mushroom and spin around. Wouldn't you know, they squeak! Just like the squeaking I had been listening to for the last hour and a half through my open windows. And, although I'm 95% certain there was indeed something (a mouse, a ghost, an evil villain, etc.) moving around in my closet this morning, I will concede that it's possible that the wind was blowing and making things in my closet move thus triggering the light.

All that emotional hyperactivity for nothing! I'm really glad I didn't send that email to my landlord that I was working on at 5:15 from the confines of my bed! Why does everything seem more dramatic in the middle of the night?

Monday, March 5, 2012


I cannot even put into words how blessed I feel right now. When Andy & I moved to California 3.5 years ago, I kinda gave up hope of ever living in a beautiful, spacious home. The housing market here is outrageous and it was just one of those things I felt like I needed to let go of. But this weekend, wouldn't you know that we moved into a beautiful, spacious home and we are counting it as another one of God's miraculous and gracious provisions for us as a family.

One other reason that I feel abundantly blessed right now is because of the amount of support and help we received in this move. I counted 30 (THIRTY!) different people that helped us in some way...from childcare to painting to loading & unloading the truck to assembling beds to unpacking my kitchen to providing meals for us on Saturday and Sunday night. It really blows my mind. Even now as I think's just amazing.


Filipe & Mandy
Steve & Kathy B.
David & Maria
Andres & Lina
CJ & Miriam
Fred & Evelyn
Jonathan To.
Jonathan Ta.
Steve & Ann
Steve & Cathy S.
Alan & Cindy

You blessed us beyond measure and we are still basking in the joy of it all.