Friday, December 28, 2007

My favorite gift

First of all, my most favorite gift (and the reason for the season) is of course, you guessed it, can't wait to tell ya--Jesus. Of course He is the reason why we celebrate Christmas! Keeping Him at the center is really what it is all about and I hope every one of you has accomplished that this year!

As Christmas is also a time about giving, I thought I would share a couple of gifts I received. Little bit of background with the first one. If anybody has ever seen our bathroom, you know that the toilet is just a thing of beauty. Well, not really, at all. It has no lid and has about 13 hundred cracks in the bowl. Well, honestly, probably like 5, but still, it's gross (and no, it was that way when we bought the house). Now most would think, sheesh, they have lived there for... how long? Why didn't they just go out and buy a freaking new toilet? Well, we didn't. Not sure on our reason for that. So... Jesse W. good job on this, he gave us a new rim and lid for our toilet!! :) I was SOOOO happy. It was one of the best gifts ever!

Go figure. When you get excited about toilet accessories, you know you're getting older. Or just less interesting. However, we put that sucker on right away and threw out the other one the very same day!

My other favorite gift was a combo from Dust and his parents. A VACUUM!!!! YAY!!! Okay, so now I have become the least fun gift person ever, I do realize this. It's a curse. Practical is my middle name. But it makes me joyous! And, never forget the most important part of this entire gift; in all its glory... it's WHITE!

Of course, no surprise there. If you were surprised, you just don't know me. You really don't know me.

Christmas took a wild turn of events this year when Dust sheared a lamb and made me some fancy-pants slippers. I was super excited, then I saw the tag and assumed (correctly) that he did, in fact, buy them. The thought of the craft that he had pursued in the effort to produce the most fabulous gift (that I had oh-so-subtle-ly been hinting at for the past 3 years) had me almost in tears that he took the time to create, by hand mind you, and stitch on every piece of wool just was amazing to think about. But since I had said to him, this is the year I WANT my slippers (as was said every year prior) he came through and only since he had no time left to actually make them he did buy them. (He accomplished the last of his shopping on the 23rd... not too bad since we were opening gifts the next morning, but I, yes I, in all my unprocratination sense, had finished on the 22nd. Oh, I know what you're thinking... pretty impressive! I know, you don't even have to tell me!) But I was most happy!

Nevertheless, Christmas is not over, my goodness. We still have one more party and then we will be relaxing, me in my slippers and eating all of the chocolate that was given to me (wow, people sure do know how to make me happy)!

The Holiday Shoe

Oh what a mystery you are, you holiday shoe. Why a mystery, because no one ever notices the pair of beauties adorning your feet... when you take one step across the threshold and and have to discard them there like they're trash.

See, the problem with holiday parties is all relating to the lapse of the shoe as an essential indoor accessory. When picking out an outfit, half of it depends on the shoe. You have to have a shoe to match your outfit, and your shoe should (really) be quite cute if you're dressing up at all. If you ever watch any of the makeover shows, you KNOW that shoes can make your legs look longer or just stump them off like they're stubs.

It is so disappointing to walk into a house for a Christmas party and take off the most fun part of the outfit only to think about how cute they looked while they were on your feet as you walked to the door.

So, to all those who were wondering why I didn't take off my new boots (good job Dust!) on Christmas, and my cute shoes that night, tis the season to wear a shoe inside, I say.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The joy of reading

Well, I just become enamored in the books I read. I must say that I completely lose myself in them and read them with a vengeance (if that's even possible) to the point that I'm done and look around to see the trail I've left in my wake of fervent speed-reading.

I decided last night I was going to start another book (it had been awhile since my last one, I needed a bit of a break after I breezed through all of the John Grisham books a little too quickly). And my goodness, did it just capture me. I started crying already in the Preface. Walking on a treadmill, reading a book, and trying to wipe away streams of tears, all while walking straight is sometimes just too much to do at once! The story is about a missionary woman who (after only one year of marriage) goes with her husband to their mission field and ends up being a prisoner of war. The Preface alone is just thanking her sons and current husband (the first one was martyred) for encouraging her to write the book. Ya don't know me unless you know I cry (all the time!), so this should be of no great surprise to anyone that it got to me.

Now, with Dust, he doesn't read at all, and I just don't get it. People are always trying to refer good books to us, so they'll ask "Do you read?" Okay, first off, "Yeah, I do, I passed first grade." But second, "Of course!" I shout as I get excited to hear what book they're going to talk about. I'm like a kid with a bat, already swinging at the pinata when it's actually time for presents, not heavingabatwithallmymightatabrightlycoloredanimal time. And Dust? He'll go "Well, I read the Bible." While I am not knocking that at ALL, I must say I don't understand. His lack of passion for reading is very clearly portrayed by the fact that he has taken over a year to finish one book! About a month ago he joked that it would be his goal to finish it this year. :) I laughed so hard I about spit water through my nose. (I'd say milk, only I don't drink milk, and I really am just kidding.)

But I do admire his devotion to the Bible. He not only listens all day to different sermons, Christian podcasts, and Bible readings, but he practices great hermeneutics as well. Muy impressado! But I digress....

And back to the story; since I haven't really actually even finished the first chapter of the book yet I'll have to keep you posted on the story. I had to quit after I got so emotional. Who ever thought that when you work out, you get more exercise lifting your arms to wipe your tears than lifting actual weights.

Ahh, the joy of parenting... sorta.

Well, Dust and I aren't exactly parents yet, well not at all actually. But we sometimes feel that way. Let me explain.

My little nephew just had his one-year birthday party and we are all just completely dumbfounded at this lil guy's smarts. Also, he now has the fantastical ability to climb steps while NO ONE is looking. Sly and quick I tell ya.

Now while I am truly impressed with this little guy and how much I love watching him grow up, I also have been bragging about something that is truly amazing that has occurred in my very own household. Hands down, no comparison, but Jericho is already lifting his leg to pee... Jude just can't compete with that. I mean, talk about an accomplishment! Seriously, we are talking major "steps" in the area of muscle development and coordination, all while being only 9 months old. AMAZING! Truly amazing.

What other fascinating things has he done lately you ask?? Well, if you haven't seen our Christmas card, you just don't know what cute is yet. He actually, I know hold your breath, this is soooo exciting, kept his little reindeer ears on so we could snap a picture. :) Isn't that great?

Since I'm also on the subject, I might as well talk about his growth ratio in comparison to other 9 month-olds (just like real Mommys do). He is only a whopping 90 pounds! Well, a month ago he was 90 pounds; however, at the statistical rate of growth compared to time elapsed since last weigh-in he is probably breaking a buck already! Now, I am no expert, but I must say that a solid diet of (dog) food and water has solely contributed to his growth spurt and ability to continually pack on the pounds at such an exponential rate that he probably has far surpassed any other competitor his age. I would like to see any 9 month old child eat enough to pack on those kinda pounds. On second thought, I would actually rather not see a child of that magnitude (and I think a group intervention would be highly appropriate with those parents).

Okay, all kidding aside, he is just a puppy, we do realize this. We are only in our 2nd month of counseling for this, but it IS sinking in. Other than the diaper bag, the playpen, the "commands", and cleaning up toys, we are really no more than glorified babysitters acting like we could handle the big time status of being actual parents. Sad, but true.

And to all those who just plain hate it when people call their dogs their child, I have sadly elapsed into the reality that is that person. Dust and I are caught somewhat unabashedly referring to ourselves as "Momma" and "Poppa". And don't forget that Jericho also has Grandparents (he's just now allowed in their houses, how sad)! Ahhhhh! When did this not-ever-having-a-dog-growing-up (and thinking "those people" were all nuts) type person amount to this current total lack of humanity and sensibility person?! But alas, I must go...

...and wrap gifts for Dust... from Jericho! :)

(Pathetic, I know.)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

White, oh glorious white!!

Well, if you know me at all, you'll know I absolutely love white! And yes, it IS a color! I love the freshness, the cleanness... just everything about it! I was fortunate enough for Dust to be okay with us buying an oh-so-beautiful, white car this year (after only about a month of whining). Aside from the jokes about it being an old lady colored car (thanks Dust), I just LOVE it!

But this brings me to this time of the season, where the best thing is snow! Now, maybe it is that Dust doesn't like snow because it is, in fact, (usually) white--except when Jericho can't tell the difference between where the porch ends and the lawn begins and decides to pee right outside of our door, lovely! I really had no point with that last statement, except to let you all know I really do like snow and that I'm about to talk about Christmas. :)

Okay, before I chase that rabbit trail too far, just wanted to share with you all (yes, all 2 of you) our lack of pre-marital counseling depth. Never once was it mentioned before we got married about the fact that one of us likes an all-white Christmas (this means all white lights folks, inside and out) and the other likes tacky, colored, bushels full of, big and small, crazy lights; basically like a shpritzer gone mad with oodles and oodles of skittles.

This time of year always brings about the "discussion" of the Christmas tree. So... let me just tell you that I have such a beautiful tree (other than the fact that it's fake and has about 50 less limbs than it should and that you can see right through it), it's white, and silver, and just plain pretty. Share with me in a collective "Ahhhhhh" as you just imagine and bask in the glory that is my tree. So as a compromise, yup, full of compromises over here, I say "Hey, we'll just have 2 trees; mine will be in the living room where all can see and just drink in the whiteness and yours will be tucked away in your game room where no one will ever know that we actually do own a strand of colored lights." Not quite sure why, but Dust didn't really take to my idea like I thought he would. His theory, "Well we're gonna have kids someday, so we'll have to have color then, and we'll have all their homemade ornaments on there anyway." My theory, formulated solely off of his: "We Don't Have Kids Yet! And when we do, we can have 2 trees... mine out where everyone can enjoy it, and the other colored catastrophe hidden away (maybe even with a blanket over top of it--just to ensure it is completely hidden)."

I must say though, that compromise did come to our house last year when he "colored" 2 bushes in our front house with red lights. See, I can handle some color. It's odd, though, that those strands have somehow gone missing... but at least we have the white ones to make up for that loss. They're just tacky... almost as bad as the blow up creatures that flail like crazy in the front of yards that when you drive by are almost whispering to you "I have now thoroughly embarassed the wife that lives in this house!" The idea this year... let's make a tree like the Garden of Eden. We'll wrap white lights around the trunk, green ones all throughout the top, and then little red bushels o' fun throughout to look like apples. Now I will admit, there is no question that his creative juices are running rampant, however, there is still just one problem... it's not white!

But hey, at least I haven't gone so far as to spend, what, 4 hours plucking off the colored lights on a prelit Christmas tree so I can replace them with white ones only to find that the lights don't even work (nice Amanda, nice)....

Pull out the suit and tie folks, it's INTERVIEW time!

For all of you out there interested in Dust's job "search" that consists of, well, one job, we have made some headway. Woo hoo! We are now exactly one month away from--insert drumroll--another interview! Alright, not quite the good news you were hoping for, but hey, he passed the most vicious insight into every sin and fault he's ever committed (apart from Judgment Day's analysis, this comes in second); aka THE background check. So what does that mean?? It's time to celebrate! With ice cream. Even though that common, household staple is already consumed every night in our house, why not add that we're celebrating while eating it (which only means there will be even BIGGER smiles on our faces). What's not to love?!

And no worries (Joshua), we decided something... we're going to buy a tie! I know, going out on a limb here, but we are branching out, that's the important thing. No more borrowing them! Dust will now have one... just one, that he will wear, and enjoy, and love, and to be perfectly honest, probably never wear again. But hey, it's the best I could hope for.

And my goodness, does he ever look sharp in a suit! And by suit, all I mean is black pants and a black button down shirt--but SHARP I tell ya, SHARP!

So in case there are those of you out there who are wondering what in the world I am even talking about, here's the latest update for us: Dust has been in the process of applying for a Corrections Deputy position with the Whatcom County Sheriff's office since this last July. He has been working his way through all of the steps and is now over half way done.

We're heading toward the end, and we'll make it soon!

R and F, baby!

So... curious why the title for the blog anyone??? Why the repentance AND faith?? Well, lemme just rant to you about my latest "thing".

Seems to me in our modern day evangelical state of witnessing, our prayers of acceptance of (faith in) Jesus into our lives (the oh-so-boldly penned "Sinner's Prayer") are nothing more than hogwash. Before you attack, listen to my explanation. First off, not EVEN is that Biblical! And well, I'd forget them in a heartbeat, so I'm just going to stop with the First and Seconds (and so on). :)

So, next, I would like to point out that Jesus' entire ministry of witnessing to people was none other than with absolute love behind it, as well as a presentation of the lack of repentance for breaking ALL of God's commandments. Jesus would always lovingly let people know that they have done wrong, they aren't (inherently) good people, and that they need to repent (ie., get down on your face and just proclaim your love to the God who just gave you more grace than you would ever be able to give to, well, everyone you know).

Ask and almost everyone will answer that they think they're a good person. Now, why would a "good person" need a Savior; why would a "good person" need Jesus; why wouldn't a "good person" go to Heaven; who in the world needs to humble themselves if they're a "good person" and throw off all sense of pride to get down on their knees to ask for forgiveness; how in the world is a "good person" bad when their relevant truth and beliefs don't tell them that? Post-modernism is the biggest hype of creating faux-Christians; just because it's your truth, doesn't mean it is truth; as Ravi Zacharias (the modern day C.S. Lewis) puts it, "Truth is relative to God's perspective". Period. Not ours. (By the way, little side note, if this type of study interests you, seriously look into the Truth Project by Focus on the Family!)

As my Grandma says, when you become a true Christian, you have a 180 degree turn around with sin; it's essentially as though you are driving along a highway (you utilize that oddly placed middle strip of pavement connecting to the "other side"), and start driving in the opposite direction that your life was headed before. You view sin differently, you don't enjoy living in sin, you cannot stand sin, you pass it by and don't even look over your shoulder with longing, you're excited about renewing your mind and self with Godly things, and you just plain hate sin! We all know that even Satan professes Jesus' name, so next time you hear someone say the "Sinner's Prayer" maybe enlighten them that they need to go one step further for true forgiveness of their sins (ie, the breaking of God's Laws and Commandments).

In light of (all) that, I ask you, when you became a Christian (and as you daily walk with God), if you've had a different outlook on sin and it's effects on your life and your relationship with your Creator, your grace-grantor, your GOD? And if not, repent!

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