Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Four Christmases....Try SIX!

Yes, I said six. We saw the movie Four Christmases this year. Not a great movie, but kind of funny. I think, like the characters in that movie, a lot of people feel overwhelmed with crazy holiday schedules. At times it can be overwhelming (and I bet once we have kids it will be really hard), but for now I don't mind. It's actually fun.

Here's a highlight of our next few days:
(Keep in mind we've already had Christmas with Jared's dad's dad's side)
--On Christmas Eve afternoon, go to Jared's dad's mom's side of the family for church and dinner number one.
--From Dinner number one, head to dinner number two with my dad's side and some siblings.
--If time, either head back over to Jared's dad's mom's for gift exchange or stop by to see my grandparents and aunts on my mom's side of the family.
--Spend night at Dad's.
--Wake up and head to Jared's parents for Christmas morning.
--Go to Jared's grandparents' on his mom's side.
--Leave after lunch and head to the airport, fly to Denver.
--Arrive in Denver in time for Christmas dinner with my mom's side and remaining siblings.
--Finish off evening with a game of Ho Ho Hold'em.
--Pass out!
--Wake up and continue events planned for Denver trip (including going to Black Hawk--a Colorado casino, my 25th birthday party bash, second annual antique fun-find trip with siblings, movie night, sibling outing, mom/daughter shopping, and Taco Tuesday @ Limes).

Whew! I hope we make it. Jared and I are blessed with a big, crazy, imperfect family. Planning holidays is kind of like solving a puzzle--I enjoy the challenge of making all the pieces fit just right.

I hope you all get to enjoy your own crazy, imperfect families this Christmas. If not, feel free to borrow some of ours!

Just curious...Is anyone making more than six family Christmases?

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Today I was thinking about forgiveness and how powerful it can be, both when given and received. Last night, I had a dream that Jared decided he didn't want to be married to me anymore. Because of my past, not because of Jared or anything he's ever done, this is a real fear of mine. I woke him up and asked if he was going to leave me. He quickly assured me it was just a dream and told me he was sorry...even if he only hurt me in a dream. Along with his tenderness and reassurance, I think the apology was helpful, too.

And not long ago, I was at our church membership class and pastor Beau Hughes talked to us about how the church is full of broken people who sin. He acknowledged that most of us had probably been hurt by the church at some point. Not to get into the divorce/remarriage debate, but I was deeply hurt by the church and some of its members during a time that was supposed to be joyful. As a divorced woman, I couldn't be married without scrutiny to the circumstances surrounding my divorce. I could date all I wanted, I could even be in a leader position, but as soon as I wanted to marry, my morals were put on the stand. Jared and I even lost our best friends over our marriage. Of course, others involved have their well-meaning side of the story, and I understand that the teachings surrounding divorce/remarriage are contraversial, heavy, and difficult. However, I was still hurt. Beau stood up and said "On behalf of all churches, I want to apologize for hurting you." Wow! The heaviness of my grudge lifted. My aching heart felt whole again. Beau was not involved in my pain (neither was The Village Church for that matter), but I was able to fully forgive at that point. I just needed to hear it: "I'm sorry."

In both of the above instances, someone who didn't owe me an apology offered me one on behalf of others. I was able to give forgiveness to the actual perpetrators through someone else's words. It kind of reminds me of the way we receive the ultimate forgiveness.

Here's the churchy part, and I don't like to flat-out evangalize much, but I can't help notice the similarity between my needing to forgive and my need for forgiveness. Just bare with me. Basically, we are all born sinners. God gave us life and we sort of shoved it in his face (self-check yourself with the 10 Commandments...you failed). So, he needed an apology. Jesus, God in the flesh, came to earth (think baby Jesus/Christmas story) and lived a blameless life, was crucified by men on the cross (think Mel Gibson in "The Passion"), and was ressurected (think Easter Sunday without the bunnies). Check out the first four books of The New Testament if you're wondering what I'm talking about; they are fairly easy reads. So Jesus's life was an offering of forgiveness to God on our behalf. And God accepted it. He said that was enough, and all we have to do (in short) is believe that our sins have been swept under the rug by Jesus through the actions listed above. Now, God seriously can look at us without that nagging feeling of knowing we "did him wrong." You know that feeling I'm talking about, right? When you see someone that hurt you and they haven't acknowledged or apologized, yet. You know. Well, he doesn't have it. Which makes him much more approachable to me. He's not judging me when I talk to him or thinking about that mean thing I said to Jared (what? did I admit that?), because he's not looking at my sin anymore.

Okay, to emphasize, I'm not asking you to say a prayer, blah, blah, blah. But, if this hit home with you...fantastic. Pray and ask God for some direction and clarity. I'll be glad to refer you to someone who's great at answering heavy questions, if you have any.

So, I'll leave you with this. Maybe it helps, maybe it doesn't. On behalf of whoever hurt you, I'm sorry; for whatever it is that you can't let go, I'm sorry. I hope you're weight will be lifted in your giving forgiveness.

Love ya'.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful for the Kindness of a Stranger

First of all, I'm writing this blog from my blackberry...so easy on the critique :)

Today, a fellow blogger from Ohio, whom I've never met, sent me a comment. He had decided to write about the next blog he clicked on. Which happened to be ours! His post (http://drivingwithoutmirrors.blogspot.com/2008/11/friends-i-havent-even-met-yet.html) was so touching I got teary-eyed in a pizza parlor reading it out loud to Jared. Granted, I also cry at commercials and corny movies like Air Bud...I digress... Anyway, Christopher Day committed to pray for us and asked his readers to pray for us, too.

I want to let Christopher know that his random act of kindness was appreciated. Today, Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for his prayers and the people who commented and said they, too, would pray for us. I don't have a dramatic story about how I desperately needed prayer, but I do know that God put this in my life, and maybe I'll never know why...but I trust it's making an impact.

So in return, I'm asking you guys to pray for Christopher Day. And maybe follow in his steps and pick a blog at random to pray for, too. Let them know that you are keeping them in your prayers that day. Careful not to sound preachy or crazy...keep it simple. I can't explain it, but I just felt blessed all day yesterday knowing others were praying for us.

Love you all. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

My first 5K

This weekend I ran my first 5K. I've always considered myself a runner--I ran cross country in high school, and in college I just ran to stay fit, even got up to 13 mile jogs when I had friends around to push me. I'm not very fast, but it's really the only sport I'm coordinated enough to do. Yeah, my mom's famous words to me after numerous games of me sitting on the bench (and her reading a book in the stands) were, "But honey, your hair looks great." Side note: one of the moms in the stands told me those exact words the other day when I attempted to explain how we got two points on a touch back. Apparently you can't get points off a touch back, but you can off of a safety. Whatever...but, my hair looked great.
Anyways, in high school, I enjoyed racing, but I hated that I wasn't quite fast enough to really compete. I also enjoyed running just to stay fit, but you really need other running friends to make that fun, which is harder to find now that I'm out of college.
I loved the 5K I ran this weekend, though. It was the Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer walk/run, so my participation raised money and awareness for a great cause. I set my own goal of staying under 33 minutes and I truly didn't care what place I was in or who was passing me. One of my coworkers ran it with me, and all I really wanted to do was get both of us across that finish line. We did it and I beat my goal by a whole minute! And, my hair didn't look too bad either.

My first race number.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Pop Goes My Heart!

This is the kind of stuff I get to watch when Jared is at practice. Greatness! From the movie Music and Lyrics.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner

Jared's team had their first win on Friday! I was so proud of him, the other coaches, and the boys. It was Jared's second game as the offensive coordinator, too, so I was an especially proud coach's wife.

I took the saying above, "winner winner, chicken dinner," from the blackjack movie, 21 (good movie, by the way). Being a coach is a little like "strategic" gambling. They have a game plan, they practice, they study the game and their opponents, but every Friday the coach puts his career on the line. It's a scary thing to know that your career can depend on the way a 15-year old executes a play. It's kind of like putting your money out on the table and hoping the cards fall your way. Yet, it's exhilarating.

When Jared's team loses, we both get that pit in our stomachs--just sort of sick filling. I personally relate this feeling to tournament poker. Jared and I love to play Texas Hold 'Em, but there is nothing like playing a tournament for hours-on-end and into the wee hours of the night just to "miss the money" (if the top three players get paid, and you're number four, you "missed the money"). In addition to all the practice and planning, the boys fight for four long quarters. That's a lot of work to walk away with nothing.

Sometimes in poker, you play exactly like you should have, or at least the best that you're capable of, but you just get beat. Same with football. Or, you know you made a bad call or fold and you torture yourself by replaying it over and over in your head. Jared replays every game in his head. Even when they win, he questions calls he made.

Oh, but the joy of a win! It's funny--when I play poker and win, I can't wait to play again, but if I lose, I'm just not excited to get back into it. When the boys win, it makes it all worthwhile. All the long hours, all the frustration in dealing with teenage boys, all the pressure of job security (or lack thereof) just seems worth it. It seems like a risk worth taking.

Sometimes you just have to take a gamble and see what cards you're dealt.