Friday, January 28, 2011

Embracing Unwanted and/or Unexpected Changes in Life...

A few days ago I wrote a blog about the "Normalcy Bias" effect. After writing it, the comments I read got me to thinking further about the losses we sometimes experience from disasters in our lives (like losing houses and possessions in the fire disaster - which I created a link to in that post, or nearly losing a person to drowning - also linked to in the other post). There were some comments on this post which I really appreciated (as I always do); so,

Thanks so much for your comments! :D 
They really got me thinking...  :)

The comments made inspired some more meditating on my part. I am reminded once again of one of my favorite movies Meet the Robinsons.

In this movie a boy who is an orphan regrets being left on the door step of the orphanage as a baby. He chases after his past (birth mother) and longs for life to be something that it isn't. But after he learns to let go of the ideas of what he naturally thinks his life should be like, he discovers that the tiny "twists and turns of fate" have given him a better life than he ever could have imagined.

The reason this story comes to mind is that I think when disaster strikes, it is natural to lament over the persons or property destroyed or lost, and consider the whole experience as a tragedy. But the truth that is so often overlooked is that losing something often leads to gaining even more; life is filled with "little wonders." There are multiple examples of this in the scriptures (Job, Joseph of Egypt, Moses torn from his family and people etc.).

I liked the way the author subtly wove into the story the message that the boy first let go of wanting what he couldn't have, to be able to realize what he could have. And once given the opportunity to get what he wanted... he chose to accept not getting what he wanted... to stop pursuing it... to have faith that life could be great without it (he had the opportunity to meet his mom and perhaps change her mind; he chose to let her give him up and not even influence her choice at all); this choice is what made his wildest dreams possible. Perhaps this is what is meant by,

"Faith precedes the miracle."

Accepting changes and looking to a new and different future (especially if a disaster caused it) can be hard to do when we idolize what ever it is we lost and can't see into the future to imagine life without it. This used to be really hard for me; it was one of my greatest trials. But Heavenly Father has allowed life experiences to teach me to live by faith. As my faith has grown, my views and feelings have also changed dramatically. It makes me happy. :D

*I hope that after the normalcy bias blog post, I can now relay my feelings that sometimes we find ourselves in situations that we may not want to be in... situations that may even seem like disasters. Sometimes the experience is a natural disaster (like a forest fire), and sometimes it is something that happens in life that may not look like a disaster to others, but feels like one to you while you are going through it (divorce, death of a loved one, becoming an orphan etc). When we find ourselves in these situations, we should realize that nothing in life, and everything in life... is "normal." Every one has challenges and struggles, and anything can happen to anyone... including yourself. Admitting this motivates us to prepare for disasters BEFORE they happen; it also helps us to be able to do whatever needs to be done when a disaster does strike... rather than freezing helplessly over the shock of it all.

After we have done all that we can do, we shouldn't focus on what has changed or view those changes as losses... we should look forward to the future with faith and hope that no matter how great we had it... life can be even better than it was before. We can even learn to do this with small losses in life, like favorite or treasured stories or drawings that we create and then lose. We can learn to let go, move on ~ happily, and look forward to creating all over again. I have LOVED learning to do this in life!

*I believe that God stood back and allowed Joseph of Egypt be thrown into pit, sold as a slave, and then cast into prison... to bring about a greater purpose, so that Joseph could become a ruler and save all of Egypt and the neighboring people. 

*I also believe God stands back and lets us go through difficulties, to bring about a greater cause. And that if we faithfully follow his lead, we will get to be a part of his great cause, which is far greater and more fulfilling than any cause we could ever hope to create on our own.

With faith in God and obedience to his counsels, I hope to always be thankful for my "today's," (even the tough ones) and continue to look forward to the future with happiness and hope in my heart... :D

PS. To my readers who comment, and make me think...

Thank you! :D

I really appreciate YOU! ;D You and your comments are of great value to me.

And to all of you who read this blog, even if you don't comment... I hope that I will be blessed to write things that will be of value to you! ;)

Corine :D

PS Since I love music... here are a couple of you tube links to a couple songs I like from the movie I mentioned. :)

Another Believer ~ "Ain't it crazy... you got more than you paid for!"

Little Wonders ~ "All of my regrets will wash away somehow. I can not forget, the way I feel right now."

When You Find Yourself - This one talks about finding yourself in a different place than you thought you would... :) ~ Another concept brought home is that living for someone else (not selfishly) causes one to find himself. (Just a sleepy incidental note... :) The music is WAY too twangy for me, but the song has excellent lyrics.

I really didn't put a ton of thought into which songs to share, and I am tired, so I'm going to sleep... and so you get what you get! ;)

Until another day...
Corine :D

Lessons of the River...

I wrote this some time ago, but posted it here today as a reference to another post that I am posting today. :O I hope someone enjoys it. :)

My family and I love to swim. Over the past few years we have spent a great deal of time swimming in various lakes, enjoying the beautiful mountain views, cool water on a hot day, and all the delights that go with being in the great out doors as a family.

Now and then we would go to the Spokane River to swim, but were always very careful about where we would go. We would usually go when the current was slow and safe, or non existent, and even then we would use personal flotation devices while in the river... just to be on the safe side.

At first, Miles may have seemed like the biggest “chicken” of the bunch – which was appropriate. He absolutely loved water and sailed from the time he was six years old. However, he grew up around ocean waters off the Washington coast. There, it was too cold to swim, and sharks made swimming dangerous. Consequently, he and his siblings never learned to swim growing up. In fact, it wasn’t until a few years ago, after moving near the lakes we now live near, that Miles learned to swim at all.

When we first began going to rivers Miles knew he didn’t stand a chance of surviving the fast rushing rapids, so he stayed away from them. Though he was an endurance athlete in the areas of running and cycling, he knew that his limited experience in the water made swimming an area of physical weakness for him… the one setting in which he knew himself to be in great danger if not careful. So... careful, wise, and safe he was.

As Miles' swimming skills increased, so did both his comfort zone and confidence - unfortunately at a much faster rate than did his increase in skills development (typical, I think.)

For the first time in his life he began to be foolishly impulsive in river settings, jumping into the waters of the fast and furious river then struggling to get back to shore again. He also decided that PFD’s and other safety helps were not needed, for either him or the children (since they swam better than he did).

Though I was only an average swimmer, I had much more swimming experience than he had, and yet, I was much more cautious; I had made more mistakes. Both experience and mistakes had taught me that I have limitations; and I knew that though he did not yet know it… he did too.

Because Miles was so sure of himself, and so lacking in caution, I was afraid for him. I would see him enter extremely strong rapids, without any flotation devices or any way to bring himself to safety should he find himself suddenly in need. Each time we went to the river Miles seemed to grow stronger in confidence.

As I would repeatedly watch Miles dive into the rushing waters, I was filled with fear: fear for his life, and fear that I would soon find myself a widow. Going to the river was no longer fun for me. Instead of enjoying a peaceful swim, I found myself begging and calling out to him, “Come to shore! Please come to shore now; it isn’t safe!”

But my call fell on deaf ears. Miles was too caught up in the rapture and thrill of the moment, and too inexperienced to realize the danger.

This new impulsive spirit of his would repeatedly see an undercurrent he couldn’t seem to resist; and I would, once again find myself praying for his safety as he dove in for yet another adrenaline rush... only to be followed by another slight struggle to shore.

I kept wishing he would simply stand at the edge of the rushing river like he used to, and just wade in the shallow where it was safe. The cool water felt so good there, rushing over one’s feet on a hot day. The sensation was exhilarating. And yet, it only tempted him to go in deeper, for more.

I continued to witness Miles at the waters edge of danger. …until the day that it finally happened, the day I witnessed him crying out for help.

He was drowning.

It was a terrifying experience. But when it was over, he had finally had the experience he needed to teach him that he does have limitations. He finally learned to be careful. After this, when he would swim at the river he would use a flotation device attached to a rope, and he became more selective about which rapids he would jump into. He also got back to teaching the kids to use caution.

Though Miles now swims carefully, wisely, and very well, and though I no longer stand on the edge of the river from the stress and worry of what could happen... memories and lessons are deeply etched into my mind as a result of these experiences.

I now looked at my life as I reflect upon the lessons of the river to see if I am in danger…not among the Rivers of the Earth, but among the Rivers of Life. I ask myself if there are any little guidelines that my Father in Heaven has given to me through His leaders in the church, scriptures, or from the Holy Ghost, which I am not strictly adhering to.

Looking back, I can think of a time when (in my lack of experience and overconfidence) I placed myself in danger comparable to the danger of swimming in a river with unpredictable currents and varying depths. At this time and in his own way, it was as if my Father in Heaven cried out to me, “Come to shore! Please come to shore now; it isn’t safe!”

Thanks to Him, I made it to shore. I also gained wisdom from experiences such as these… wisdom, strength, and courage to “beware when I think I stand, lest I fall...” and to finally completely avoid the dangerous distractions of the adversary. I learned that the consequences to disobeying small and seemingly insignificant guidelines can actually lead us down a life threatening course... be it physical or spiritual.

It is my children which now come to mind as I watch them making decisions. So far, they are mostly wise, their decisions are sound. But I know there will be decisions that they will make that are not wise, and I am comforted by the knowledge that sometimes, mistakes bring wisdom. I am comforted to know... really know... that all things work for the good of those who love and serve the Lord.

As a mom, (and as an individual) I have on occasions had to remind myself to breathe and remember that it is OK to make mistakes.

But then again, hoping we will all gain wisdom and not wait to act until life is in peril...
I also thank God for the Lessons of the River.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday (night ;) ~ "Little" Brother's Family ;)

I was determined to get these posted - today (night ;)!

When I was a kid, the one thing I wanted to be more than anything else when I grew up was to be a mom. In addition to having one older sister, I also had 5 little brothers and a little sister to practice on. A couple of these kids I sort of mistook as my own kids, rather than as my siblings. :O ~

This man here, in the photo below... he was one of them; he called me "mama," much of the time, and I Loved it! :D At the time, we seemed so far apart in age! The age difference doesn't quite the same now that we are grown.

Here are a few of my favorite photos taken while visiting with my.... big, "little brother" and his family. Enjoy! :D

On the airport bus with my brother and his kids (minus the new baby).
The kind lady who took the photo for us was one of 23 siblings... all from the same mother.
And I thought this little family was doing good! LOL ;D

This little guy - I really miss! He is my little "squishy."

I LOVE taking these natural photos of life being fully enjoyed!
This photo was taken just after my brother brought his wife and baby home form the hospital.
It was fun to see them both grab their cameras when the kids came to see the baby for the first time.
Naturally, I grabbed mine, too! :D  Thus... the photos! :)

I was given this t-shirt while there...
The 5 yr old told me the shirt looked like a boys; I didn't wear it again.
Naturally, I had to be wearing it for the photo! :O
But who can not keep a photo like this one... of kids hanging on them? :)
It was too classic to toss (despite looking like a "boy" - Uggh!).

Sisters, at last! :D

I had a blast taking these photos of the boys...
They just melted into their new baby sister!

All the girls! :D

All the boys! :D

I love my family! :D

*PS I would really love to know which photo coloring you like best... the coloring of these below, or the coloring of ones just like them which are shown above?

Thanks! ;D

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

These Bring a Smile to My Face...

These are just a few of my favorite moments from yesterday:

*I knocked on my son's bedroom door, then slowly opened it. There sitting on the bed was one of my 16 year old boys, Dausen, the second born twin by less than a minute. He had a phone to his ear... his bright blue eyes sparkling, and a big grin on his gorgeous (yes, I'm partial :) young man face. He has the most beautiful smile imaginable when he is happy. A look of, please don't disturb me now beamed from his raising eye brows... and then came the reply,
"I'm on the phone with an AWESOME girl, mom!"
I had to chuckle. :D He doesn't have a girlfriend. But he was most definitely wrapped up in that phone call with someone who he loved dearly. I smiled back at him and then responded before closing the door...
"When you're done talking to your sister, you need to do your chores."
Yes, he (the one that some people think doesn't talk) was talking to his "rock star" sister who he hasn't seen in nearly a week. It is SO COOL to constantly see and know how close they are!) :D

*I sat with my youngest son, Levi, on the couch this morning, helping him with an English assignment. I was SO TIRED. He was reading sentences and identifying some grammar and punctuation from a book. He seemed tired, too, as he said in a very drug out tone...
"I'm really thirsty. Let's grab something to drink."
I sighed, hoping he wasn't as tired as I was and wondering if his brain could use a break, and then responded,
"OK, go ahead and get a drink."
His response back was not at all as I anticipated it would be. His head jerked forward just a little bit... then he slowly turned to look at me and then just stared for a few seconds.
"What?" I asked.
Then came the crowning reply...
"I was reading that from the book, mom." 
A huge smile emerged from his face, and then we both broke out laughing. :D I guess I was more tired than I realized! At least his brain was working. LOL I love laughing at my own blond moments! :D

*Levi sat at the computer with a new graphics program and announced with pride... "Look at what I made, mom! Aren't I awesome?" :D  With an attitude like that...  heck yeah!

*I talked on the phone with my daughter as she cried a happy cry. It was a good talk. :)

*During family scripture study discussion, Devry talked on and on about some of the things that made sense to him about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yes... this is one of the boys who for so long didn't really "discuss" things. It is SO EXCITING to see him growing so much verbally, socially, and spiritually!

*One of my 16 year old sons (Dausen) came to me to tell me about how happy he is to read about his all time favorite video game. I Love the way his eyes danced...
"Just reading about it is like having a birthday, Christmas, and all the other holidays put together. The game comes out in November. But the series started on the day I was born."
It made me laugh. I'm glad he is so happy! :D

*Miles went into our teen age boy's bedroom, and told them a bedtime "gerbil" story, like he did when they were little. :) (These are stories that he makes up at random about gerbils.)

*I went to my computer and discovered that the bloggers who I visited at their blogs for the first time a day or so ago, came to visit me at mine. (Here is a moment you can all associate with. ;)

*This morning Dausen asked me if he is supposed to count the time he spends on XBox creating Avatars and purchasing things etc... or just the time spent "playing."

*Though it is in the scheduled routine that the boys can have a half hour to themselves between Seminary and homeschooling, Dausen went straight to his studies directly after Seminary this morning.

I guess it's true... The little moments, really are the big moments.

Corine   :D

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Normalcy Bias... Will You Act, or Stand Helplessly in Denial?

I read a blog tonight titled “Understanding the Normalcy Bias Could Save Your Life.” It really got me thinking. I couldn't help thinking about a disaster I once found myself in, as well as a disaster I once watched a loved one struggle to survive. I realized that, in these instances which came to mind, we both may have experienced the "normalcy bias" phenomenon that I had just read about.

In my situation, I was in complete denial about what I was going through; it took some time before things got bad enough that they also became obvious enough for me to finally admit the reality of the situation to myself (and keep admitting it); this had to happen before I could get into action (and keep acting).

I think it is natural to look at disasters and think “this can’t be happening. Things like this happen to other people… this can’t be happening to me… I must be imagining it.”

Looking at the disasters I recalled today...there was something that each disaster had in common. In each instance, there seemed to be a state of denial which kept the person(s) in danger from responding appropriately... IE. from getting OUT of the dangerous situation. It was as if the denial completely overruled all ability to reason and judge - until the last possible moment of survival was at hand... until the only thing that could be done was to hope to get out to save one's life, having to leave all else behind which may have been preserved if the one in danger had acted sooner.

It is hard. It is painful... to think of the losses which we can do nothing about; but it gets easier when we remember to focus only on what is preserved, on what survives... on lessons learned, and on what we can do something about. Ultimately, what matters most is that, that which is most precious... which can't replaced... life...  is preserved. The rest can eventually be restored or built back up. This is comforting to me and gives me a feeling of peace. :)

Looking at our nation today and the things which could shortly come to pass... I’m thankful to be made aware of the normalcy bias and hope that as a nation we will all be ready for the catastrophes that come our way (be they natural, financial or otherwise), by admitting what is happening so we can ACT and do what we can to make things better. We can not prevent everything from happening... but think of how much better off we can be if we admit what could happen or is happening and prepare/do something about it...

PS I still love and believe in our nation, despite it's problems...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Making Headlice Treatment Safe and Fun For Kids...

Hi. :D

If you've been reading my blog the past few days, you already know that just days before my sister in law's baby was born, my brother and his wife were blessed to discover that head lice had crept into their home. There were several other blessings as well; one of which being... having me around (he he! :D Aren't I modest?!)  

The day after the baby was born I took a plane over to help out for the next couple of weeks. BTW - I must again make it clear to those of you who know of my prior experience with head lice (You can read about my first experience here if you want to. :O), that we haven't seen this family since BEFORE we ever had experience with it! Just saying! :) I just don't want anyone getting paranoid to be around me... I cherish my social life, ya know? :O

At the moment, I am in the mood to write about something heart warming and "touchy-feely" (I miss you, friends). But for today, I will first share one little "head lice extinguishing" experience, as it may be helpful for anyone out there who may battle head lice, and it is a good little memory for me; and besides, I already wrote it! ;)

Chat with you again soon! :D

It was time to do hair treatment again, so I displayed excitement as I told the kids…

“We are going to do something REALLY funny, and REALLY silly" (I pointed to a kitchen chair) "in this chair!” Of course, I said this with a big smile in an attitude of excitement and celebration. Then I added, “Who would like to go first?” The kids all got excited and ran to the chair…

The oldest three (ages 5, 4 and 2.5) all eagerly began shouting with excitement, “Me! Me! I want to go first!”

After a bit of debate, big sister won and sat in the chair anxiously awaiting the big silly surprise.

It was now time to explain the silly activity in my best delighted voice imaginable. “We are going to COVER our heads with mayonnaise,” I paused to laugh and then continued, “and then we will MAKE HATS to wear on top of the mayonnaise out of saran wrap!”  (FYI - It's all part of the lice suffocation process... you wrap it tightly against head over the ears and all for a oxygen free environment! :)

Their previously delighted expressions were now coupled with a bit of confusion. For a moment, the kids looked disgusted.

I ignored the expressions of disgust.

I laughed. :D

And then I continued to spread... enthusiasm! :D 

“The mayonnaise kills bugs in our hair. And it is going to be SO SILLY, and SO FUNNY!”

 I laughed again.

And then the kids started to laugh.

I think their desire to NOT have head lice munching on their heads helped… coupled of course with their desire to be funny. ;)

I was pleased.

The treatment was administered.

We all looked at the new hats being worn and of course,... we laughed some more. :D

Then I sat them down on the couch (which was draped in sheets) for a “Mario Brothers” party... complete with hats! ;D

Classic entertainment at its best… kids are AWESOME! :D

PPS For those who want to know how to get rid of head lice - NATURALLY... Mayonnaise was only one of the home treatments we used. We used two kinds of treatments... just to be sure (one as soon as the lice was discovered, and then another no later than 7 days later, and another 10 days later. I think we may have even snuck another in earlier on... again, just to be sure!). The other was a mixture of Selson Blue and Dawn dish soap. Both were applied to the head DRY then wrapped in saran wrap. The mayo was on for 3 hours, the shampoo and soap for only 6 minutes. After the treatment was rinsed out, we sprayed the kids heads with vinegar then toweled the head so it wouldn't drip, then left it to dry. On adults, the vinegar was poured onto the heads as a rinse (after the initial treatment was washed out). The head was wrapped in saran wrap with the vinegar as well, and left on for another 6 minutes before being rinsed out. On non-treatment days, the vinegar was gently sprayed into the hair near the scalp wet enough to treat, but not enough to create drips... and left in after daily shampooing. The intense treatment wraps were done as soon as lice was noticed, as well as 7-10 days later. We did it a couple more times to be on the safe side. :O

Other actions taken include either tossing, or placing all hair products (brushes, combs, hair ties, barrettes etc) into boiling water for 30 or more seconds; vacuuming the furniture; bagging up all stuffed animals and other items with cloth that you don't want to wash then throwing the bags in the garage for the next couple of weeks; washing in hot water (with 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar in the wash load) all cloth items you want to access within the next couple of weeks... clothing, coats, gloves, hats, scarves, bedding, and curtains if you have them (thankfully, they had blinds); and then daily for two weeks... vacuum the floors and the mattresses first thing each morning; run the bedding in the dryer for 30 minutes on high each morning upon arising; do an apple cider vinegar rinse after shampooing hair each day; wash combs after each use (I like to also spray them with alcohol after each use); do not share towels or combs so as to prevent spreading. Not at all complicated... but very busy!

It is extensive... but it works! Many people have head lice come back over and over again. If everyone ridded their homes of lice (not just their heads), they wouldn't find themselves reinfected (with exception to when friends spend the night... who have the lice :O).

Any  questions? Feel free to ask.

PS I have used a natural oil treatment too, which makes the hair really feel healthy, but does cost more than the others do. If anyone wants the formula... here it is! BTY... it is also put onto the hair dry (esp near the scalp and first two inches of hair) then the head is wrapped in saran wrap. We left the oil wrap on our heads for at least three hours.

A vinegar wrap follows all treatments and is very important for breaking down the skeletal systems of the lice as well as for loosening the lice and eggs for removal.

I hope you never need to know this, but if you do, I hope you remember it! ;)

Corine :D

PS... More photos of these little dears to come soon. :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Recent Update...

Hi. :) I know very few of you have seen me poke my head out from among the MIA to the world of the living cyberspace world for some time now. Hopefully, life will calm down and I will get to be more consistent with blogging. But considering the circumstances... I think you will agree that my reasons for being sporadic are quite good!

What have I been up to, you ask? OK - time for a quick brain storm and brief summary of life as of late. But where and when to begin? Do I start with November, or January?

I think I will begin with November.

*Had company from out of town the first 16 days of Nov. Found out just days after company left that they brought head lice with them when they came (which they acquired from their neighbors just days before coming to visit us... the 4th time those neighbors gave them lice... and the second time these friends gave it to us! (you can read about the first time here if you want to).

*Spent the next couple of weeks doing laundry and cleaning house and vehicles to get rid of the lice eggs left for us. Thankfully for us, only eggs were found in our home, not the hatched lice.

*Got on an airplane for the first time ever... and visited my mom for a week.

*Came home and enjoyed Christmas season with family.

*Went ice skating for the first time! IT WAS WONDERFUL! :D

*Went out of town with family so the twins could go to a New Years dance with friends; their friends were bursting at the seams for my boys to attend the dance with them... ;D yes, their "friends" are girls! :O

*Almost cut the twins hair... but didn't thanks to no thanks to a couple of adult women who lamented and raved over how good they looked with long hair and of how a guy can only get away with it in his teens so he sure better (I could not believe these friends of mine!!!! - I can't even bring myself to get a family photo... and they are encouraging this!!! (Yes ladies, you know I still love you. ;). And yes sons, I still adore you! ;)

Decided to ask a friend we were visiting with to take a quick snap shot or two of the family... even though my boys still haven't had hair cuts! :O

They were obviously very enthusiastic about having their photo taken... :O (just kidding)

*Read an email (while out of town for New Years) informing me that my sister in law (whose husband is currently taking 35 credits in Chiropractic School) had her baby early (baby #5, and the oldest is 5) ~ Cesarean. And... they found out they had head lice 3 days before the baby was born. Naturally, I changed my plain flight to leave the next day from where I was and took my weekend bag of two outfits to stay with my dear family for the next two weeks.

*Helped my brother and his wife to finish ridding their home of head lice (Yes... this really is true. And, NO, I did not pass the head lice on to them!!! :O I haven's seen this family since BEFORE my family had our lovely head lice experiences. On a positive note... At least I knew what to do when I came here. :) I think I have this lice treatment down, if anyone has questions! :D

*I played with the kids when I could (5 kids ages 5 and under... AWESOME! :D (I think my sister in law should apply for a wonder woman contest ;). I really look forward to visiting again without the huge workload of eliminating head lice, so I can play with them MUCH MORE. Pictures of kids to follow soon, perhaps with head lice treatment tips...

*"Tried" to write while out of town (this was drafted while out).

*While away, my oldest 3 kids were with another homeschooling family helping the father to take care of his children while the mother went to be with their oldest daughter who has just given birth to her first baby. Homeschooling ROCKS! I'm so thankful that they get to have these growing leadership experiences!!! :D

Corine :D

PS I just came across this photo tonight. It was in my "Devry" file, but it looked like Dausen, so I began to move it to the "Dausen" file, when suddenly I realized I wasn't sure who it was! Seriously!! This really is bothersome to me. Which one does it look like to you?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I'm Home! :D

Hi! :D
I’m Home! :D

I haven’t been home since New Years Eve. That’s right. Miles and I took the kids out of town for New Years Eve so our twins could attend a dance with some friends (upon pleadings from their adorable female friends… :O)

While there, I checked my email one evening and discovered that my sister in law had her baby that day… a week earlier than I had planned on going to help her out. So I changed my air flight to leave the following day and come home a couple of weeks later (yesterday). I had a great time while there and will tell you about it soon; but today I will talk about the here and now. I want to record my homecoming with my husband and youngest son while it is fresh on my mind.

What about the other kids, you ask? Well, I haven’t had a “home coming” with them yet. They are all out of town themselves, helping a fellow father to take care of his 6 children while the mother is away taking care of the new mother and grand baby. They will be home tomorrow. I’m so excited for tomorrow’s “family reunion!”

As far as the partial family reunion goes, I wouldn’t have it any other way! These two men of mine (husband and little man – age 12) had a great time getting ready for my arrival. While I was away I received multiple emails and phone calls from my husband concerning business and personal goals and changes he is making.

I knew he was extremely busy with work while I was away, so my son’s comments did not surprise me.

“The house is such a mess! I’m really sorry, but dad and I just couldn’t get it clean.”

I sighed. “It’s OK. I know there has been a lot going on.” It felt good to be OK with it.

Levi continued talking, and here is where my vision of the house took a turn for the “better.” :D

“It’s so bad we even thought about going to a dump and gathering empty beer cans to scatter around the room, then lounging around on the couch in front of the TV when you come home.”

I laughed. Neither one of them has ever even desired to taste beer. They must have cleaned house much better than usual to surprise me. I was confidently hopeful. :D

Sure enough, as I walked into the door my eyes danced with happiness at the lack of clutter. Everything was in its place. :D

The smell, on the other hand… had much to be desired. :O After “ooing” and “awing” over how clean it was, I found the culprits of the smells. Non visible was the evidence that the cat had done it again (not used the litter box while we were all away. The cat has been kicked out, and we will NEVER have an indoor pet again!!!! Now ALL the carpets have to be replaced!).

In addition, there was food in the fridge that had been there since before we all left at the end of the year. I immediately began dumping stuff into the trash can. The once empty sink was now filled with containers to wash (some were trashed). I tried not to work just after arriving home, "just a few minutes of work to get the smell out…" I reasoned with myself, "and then I will focus on my family. Besides, this is why we goofed off in Spokane before coming home… because I knew I wanted time with them before being distracted with work that needed to be done."

I felt somewhat guilty regardless of the rationale, because I had previously decided not to work at all until the next day so I could just focus on spending time with my family upon arriving home. I was relieved that the teenagers weren’t home to reprimand me for working instead of spending time with them right when I came home after not seeing them for two weeks. I was surprised that Miles didn’t (they learned to be annoyed at me from their father’s annoyance). But Miles surprised me again as he has so many times before. He laughed!

“Levi” he chuckled, “didn’t I tell you your mom would do this as soon as she walked in the door.”

“I’m sorry!” I confessed. But my apology was met with a smile and the response,

“It’s OK. You’re a woman, and you have an amazing nose!”

I am constantly amazed lately at how attitudes are changing for the better. I feel so incredibly blessed! I feel more loved than ever before, because I feel so accepted, so completely.

I hate to admit it, but we have at times fought like little kids. Right before I left, my husband and I had such and incident (hopefully the last one). I was so sad that I cried all the way to the airport. I cried as I got into line to leave, and as I saw my husband behind the window at the airport; he didn’t leave until after my flight took off.

As we talked over the phone to work things out (I in my brother’s garage), things changed. There was such a change in our communication that I couldn’t believe it. As the following two weeks passed, our correspondences continued to improve, and mutual love and respect continued to grow.

After arriving home, I asked my husband what had changed about him, and why he was so different. He said it was because it broke his heart to see me so sad at the airport. He said he wanted me to be happy, so he decided he just wasn’t going to fight with me any more.

I know it may seem naive of me to think he has actually changed/improved in his way of communicating with me – just like that. But he has made many sudden and instant changes before, and I really think he has done it again.  He seems so different... more patient with me (believe me, he is a saint for putting up with me!), more kind, more loving; He seems to have simply chosen to really accept me and all my quirks, and rather than being angry, or even tolerant; instead, he actually seems to have changed his perspective in a way that causes him to loves me more for them, rather than in spite of them.

I love the way he loves me! :D

I would love to make changes... "just like that." I wonder if I can do it too. I'm inspired to try.

PS Here is a photo taken just after my husband and youngest son picked me up at the airport and took me to river Front Park. 
(Hand in hand... in the guys pockets :)
LOL ~ I can't believe how I have my hat turned up here... I look like a dork!
I Love Miles' grandpa's hat. :)
I guess Levi really missed me while I was away! His arm was in mine and he hugged it non stop as we walked the malls and streets of Riverfront Park together. But it was easier to walk hand in hand so I eventually took his hand, and to my surprise, he let me!

Miles put my hand in his pocket to warm it as he often does. Our son followed his example and did the same. It made me chuckle inside with delight so much that I asked a stranger to take a photo for us. I LOVE IT! :D

I'm so happy to be home! :)

Corine :D

World Sailling News

Hi. LOL! :D I just got on my blog and was very surprised to see this video. :O I suppose I should have logged off before giving the notebook back to my sailing loving husband! :D PS. You'd think he would at least post a video in ENGLISH! ;O

(Note... there was a sailing video here... don't know what happened to it. Please move on to another post here at my blog! :D Sorry for the time wasted!)

The Refiner's Fire: A Lesson of Life's Trials

The following story is a great example of how the Lord teaches and molds us through life's trials.

There was a group of women in a Bible study on the book of Malachi. As they were studying chapter three, they came across verse three which says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." (Malachi 3:3) This verse puzzled the women and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.

One of the women offered to find out about the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible study. That week this woman called up a silver smith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest in silver beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silver smith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot--then she thought again about the verse, that he sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.

She asked the silver smith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left even a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silver smith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?"

He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy--when I see my image in it."

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has His eye on you.

Author unknown

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year! :D ~ Cheesy Card :o

This simple little greeting card was spontaneously emailed out to family and friends but I KNOW I missed a few of you; and that kills me! :O  So I'm posting it here so no one gets left out. ;) PS It also kills me to send out a card with a photo of just me... and not a family photo!!!! Hopefully you won't get an invitation to my funeral as a result of this! :O  ;D

Hi! :D I (Corine) went ice skating on a near by pond... for the first time (with exception to boot skating on the pond as a kid ;)! Miles was nearby on cross country skis... while the boys slid around in their boots. We had SO much FUN! :D Today, I sat down to look at my photos, and the next thing I knew, I had this! (Hmm.. too bad it wasn't one of their photos I was viewing when I fell upon this card! :o ) It may not be the best photo or represent the lot of us, but it has me waving hello for the lot of us ~ while experiencing a dream come true! ;) And since I never finished that Christmas letter I started writing a month ago... :o, I figured this could do the trick! ;)

*We hope your celebration of the baby Jesus was beautiful, and that the coming year carries dreams into reality in the form of new and fun experiences for you and yours! One of our "soon to be" experiences will no doubt, include having a family photo taken!  :O