Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wonder Women Wednesday: Super Power

This week I asked Becky:  Which creature are you afraid of even though you know it's silly to be scared of it?
You can read her answer HERE.

Becky asked me: If you could have any super power what would it be?

Obviously, I would wear satin tights, while fighting for my rights, and the red, white and blue!  Oh wait, that's Wonder Woman.

I think the coolest super power of all would be Empathic Mimicry like the Heroes character, Peter Petrelli.

Empathic Mimicry is the ability to duplicate the powers of others simply by being near them.  Peter was even able to recall the abilities he had "absorbed" even when he wasn't in close proximity to the original possessor of the power.  

Tim Kring, the creator of the series, said in an interview that Peter's power is "based on his empathy and his ability to connect with people."

Another cool thing about Empathic Mimicry is that you're not affected by other people's super powers.  For instance, you could still see someone when they were using their power of Invisibility.  Or if someone was using Telepathy you wouldn't fall prey to their mind control.    Oh, on that note, a super power I would hate to have would be the ability to hear other people's thoughts.   Scary!

What about you?  What super power would you choose?  I'm also looking forward to reading about all the creatures we find so scary.  You'll find my answer over on Becky's blog and you can leave yours there, too.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

So, our dishwasher broke.  I'm pretty sure we've had to replace a major appliance every year.   In the small appliance category we found that ants were nesting inside our coffee maker.  Yum.

Two guys from Home Depot installed a new dishwasher today.  They also discovered that our old dishwasher had been silently leaking for a long time.   So that's what was causing that odd bulge in the floor.  We feel so dumb.  And frustrated.  I peeled back some of the vinyl "wood" flooring that I put down last fall and sprayed the swollen, moldy floor with bleach water.  Now we're waiting for the floor to dry out to determine if we need to cut the damaged part out and replace it...who am I kidding?  I am pretty sure we'll need to cut the damaged part out and replace it.

Most embarrassing moment:  While the installers were installing the dishwasher Miles came into the kitchen and repeatedly said, "Why is his pants falling off his butt?"

Most disgusting moment:  The putrid smell of the rotting food and stale water that had leaked under the dishwasher and was sitting as a small pond in our kitchen.

Happy thought: This song has been in my head for several days.


Our God's got this.  No worries.  A swollen sub-floor and ant filled coffee maker are really no big deals.  We'll let you know how it all turns out.  It's a never-ending adventure in this happy, yellow house!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wonder Women Wednesday: Greece

This week I asked Becky:  What is the funniest gift you've ever been given?
You can read her answer HERE.

Becky asked me: What part of Europe would you most like to visit?

It's sad really.  I have never had a passport.  Except for Canada and Mexico, I have never been out of the United States.  I have never left this continent and I've barely left the west coast! 

But I do have travel dreams.  And the place at the top of my list is...Greece.  I have a huge crush on Greece.  I've made Geary promise, numerous times, to take me there.  Whenever I see a coffee table book with pictures of Greece I am compelled to open it up and stare at every page for minutes, soaking up the beauty.

via Oia Santorini

The islands, the ocean, the colors, the shapes, the culture, I want to immerse myself in all of it.

via National Geographic
It looks like a fairy tale world to me.  Exciting and romantic and ancient and vibrant and sacred and I want to go now!

via David Pedler

via First Choice

Just look at those cliffs!  And that beach!  And the sea so clear and blue. 
via Tourist Maker

Oh, and Greek food!  I love it.  Well, maybe not the calamari or anything else with tentacles, but everything else, yum!
Via Visit Greece

Via Charter World
I've been told the climate is wonderful. Not too cold and not too hot.  It seems like the perfect place to explore.  And to relax.

via Organized Tours in Greece

Greece also seems incredibly romantic to me.  I can imagine just strolling through a market, holding Geary's hand, marveling at the beauty surrounding me.

Via Visit Greece

I'm extremely interested in Greek mythology, architecture and art.  I want to explore every ruin and visit every museum.  
via National Geographic
And I want to see new construction, too.  One of the things I love most about those coffee table book pictures of Greece is how it can look so ancient and so modern simultaneously.

via Antiworld News
via Beauty in Everything
Someday, Greece.  Someday, you and I will meet.

What about you?  Where in Europe would you most like to visit?  Have you ever been to Greece?  Is it every bit as amazing as I dream it to be?  Also, I would love to read about your funniest gift over at Becky's blog!

Monday, February 18, 2013


Last Wednesday I had plans to reconnect with a good friend.  Unfortunately, she had to cancel because she was ill.  I texted her, "Wish we lived a tad closer so I could bring you some chicken soup or something!"   As I hit the send button I felt a quick zing through my heart and that still, small voice said, "You know, you have two friends in town who could use some chicken soup."  I hesitated.  That would mean I would have to actually make chicken soup.  I took a quick peek at my cupboards.  No ingredients for chicken soup.  Oh, well!

Throughout the morning the voice kept whispering and I kept resisting.  Someone ordered a pair of earrings from my etsy shop.  As I printed the mailing label I felt relieved.  Twenty more dollars to help our budget last the rest of the month.  I had completely overspent our grocery money at the beginning of the month and we were barely going to make it.  I thought, "See? I can't afford chicken soup ingredients anyway."  Another heart zing, "I just provided you with twenty dollars."   Oh.   I thought that money was for me, to help my family.  Sigh.   I knew he was asking me to walk in the way of small deeds, rather than skip through the way of grand intentions.  But, it was time to pick up Toby from kindergarten.  No time for chicken soup!

While I waited in the parking lot at school, I decided to scroll through Facebook on my phone.  The very first post I saw was from Lysa TerKeurst:

There is someone in my life who needs something that I think I can’t give. But I can give when I realize God is supplying me in abundance. He is the supplier. I just have to open my hand and channel some of my blessing in this person’s direction.

Could he be any more clear?  "Fine!  I will do it."  My words and attitude sounded like a spoiled teenager but my heart was quickly melting.  Since my one friend canceled I had now time to make soup.  Because of the etsy order I now had money to make soup.  God was supplying me in abundance, I could trust that he would take care of my family, too.

Once Toby got in the van we headed straight for Safeway.   The little boys and I had fun zipping through the aisles gathering ingredients.  We also chose two loaves of fresh baked french bread.  By the time we made it to the check stand I was actually looking forward to making the soup and delivering it to my friends.

The total came to just under twenty dollars and when I opened my wallet to take out my debit card there was a twenty dollar bill that had not been there before.  I know this because I had been carefully counting our remaining cash each day to make sure we would have enough money for necessities until the next payday.  I paid for the groceries and was able to hold my tears in until we were all loaded in the car.

"What's wrong, Mom?"  Toby asked.
"I was wrong, son.  But it's okay now.  I'm starting to get it."

I bowed my head, "I am so sorry, Lord.  I'm sorry I offered to make chicken soup only when I knew I wouldn't really have to make it.  It was a way to appear kind without having to actually be kind.  And I'm sorry it took me so long to listen to you..." I felt his grace wash over me.  His grace is abundant.

I texted my friends, "I'm bringing you homemade chicken noodle soup tonight.  You can have it for dinner or freeze it for later.  I'll text before I come over."

A quick reply, "Wow, thank you so much!  You are extremely kind."

I laughed.  No, I'm not extremely kind.  I'm actually kind of extremely selfish.  And blind.  And hard of hearing.  But Jesus, Jesus is extremely kind.  He was extremely kind to me when he asked me over and over again to be the agent of his blessing.  He was extremely kind to me when he showed me that the money had already been provided.  He was extremely kind to me when he provided a miraculous extra twenty dollars so that there was absolutely no sacrifice on my part. His kindness is abundant.

While the soup was cooking I felt joy building up inside of me.  I couldn't contain it and sent a message to my best friend, "I just had the most amazing encounter with Jesus!"   I shared this story and ended by marveling over his willingness to work through me. "It's such an honor," I said.   She replied, "And a big, fat 'I love you' from your Father."

So much love was poured into that soup pot, my friends.  His love is abundant.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Brothers at Play

Toby:  Noah, I'll be the bad guy and can arrest me and put me in jail.
Noah:  Yeah.  Let's pretend you stole fish from the fish guy on the dock.
Toby:  Yeah! I'm a fish stealer.  And the fish guy called the Penguin Police.
Noah:  Toby, I'm not the Penguin Police.  I'm a Kawaii Island Defender!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wonder Women Wednesday: Summer Camp

This week I asked Becky:  What was the first big thing you purchased with your own money?   You can read her answer HERE.

Becky asked me:  What was your first summer camp experience?  What do you remember fondly about it?

I smiled when I read this question from Becky because summer camp has played a huge role in my life.  Memories from my first summer as a camp counselor came flooding to my mind.  But then I remembered that I had actually been to summer camps with my youth group when I was in junior high and high school.

To be honest, I don't really remember very much about my very first summer camp experience.  All of those youth camps kind of blur together in my mind.  I remember the giant camp pictures we would get and how all our cabin mates would sign them like yearbooks.  And I remember french braiding my friends' hair and the goofy games we would play.  Summer camp (and Winter Retreats) were where I had some of my first experiences singing solo in front of others.  This was the age of  "special music" and accompaniment tracks on cassette tapes.   Before I graduated from high school I had amassed quite a collection of accompaniment tracks.   I'm pretty sure it was the summer after 7th grade when I sang "Our God is an Awesome God," complete with hand motions, with my friends Janelle and Teresa.  We had so much fun rehearsing during free time and then we sang it during the last chapel service of camp.  The next summer we sang "Friends are Friends Forever" and since we didn't have hand motions this time I didn't know what to do with my hands.  The camp worship leader taught us to hold the mic with one hand and the cord with the other--so helpful!

My first summer as a camp counselor is much more clear.  I made amazing friends, many of whom are still good friends to this day--both fellow counselors and campers!  I remember decorating my cabin and my first group of campers.  They were going into the 6th grade and so excited to be at a week long slumber party!  We walked all over camp singing songs and giggling.  I put my french braiding skills to good use every day.  And there were still goofy games and crazy pictures.  My first cabin and I also sang a "special music" number--a medley of Amazing Grace with each verse sung in a different familiar tune (Gilligan's Island, California Girls, etc.)

I also remember how God stretched me and used that summer to develop mothering and leadership skills in me.  I prayed with kids who wanted to give their lives to Christ for the first time and I prayed with kids who struggled hourly to believe that God was good.  So much laughter.  So many tears.  Camp is like real life intensified by a million.  I love it.  I fondly remember the twice daily worship times and all the great speakers we got to hear.  I fondly remember silly birthday songs for campers and coming up with crazy themes for our cabin clean up contests (which I won...a lot!)  And I fondly remember the Craft Hut.  :)

Mostly, I fondly remember Cindy.  She was the women's senior counselor and the most encouraging woman I have ever met.  She used to leave little notes in my mailbox and would make sure to tell me I was doing a good job.  She also asked me what I needed and supported me when I had hard days. She was smart and funny and creative and had really great handwriting.  Cindy was an amazing woman.  She still is.  I know this because when we grew up, she married one of Geary's best friends and became one of my dear friends.

I remember when it was time for Cindy to give me my end of summer review.  We sat out on the dock in the warm sun and I listened as Cindy rated me high in every area except one.  Leadership.  But then she told me about a church who had come earlier in the summer "scouting" for a counselor for the girls they would be sending.  They chose one of the more outgoing girls on our staff, but Cindy said she would have recommended me.  I was surprised...didn't she just say that she didn't give me high marks for Leadership?  She went on to explain that she had marked me lower in that area because the camp's definition of leadership was someone who was outgoing and outspoken.  The type of person that others naturally follow because they make themselves heard.  I am not that type of person at all.  But Cindy pointed out that although my leadership was quieter, it was still strong.  She talked about how I led my campers around camp singing and how she always knew she could find me in the middle of my group of girls, braiding hair and listening to their stories.  She pointed out things in me that were the very leadership skills I had admired in her.  And a deep part of my identity was brought forth that day.  I learned a truth about myself and how God made me that I can rely on to this day.  I am a leader.  A quiet, gentle, strong leader.

I spent three more summers at that camp, two of them in the role of women's senior counselor.  The last summer I worked there, Geary also worked there as the men's senior counselor.  In that real-life-intensified-by-a-million time period we lived, worked, played, and ministered together.  We got to know each other quickly and strengths and weaknesses were highlighted in a way that doesn't happen anywhere else except in a camp type setting.  Yes, I have fond memories of summer camp.  Many fond memories.

What about you?  Did you ever go to summer camp?  Was was your experience like?  Don't forget to head over to Becky's blog to read her answer to my question and tell us about your first big purchase.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Monday Morning

I'm answering emails while my children get ready for the day around me.  Miles is eating cereal at the kitchen table and Noah and Toby are getting dressed for school.  I keep chuckling because the chatter and activity around me is getting ridiculous.  Come, be a fly on our wall for the next few minutes.

Miles:  I'm not a baby!  You're a baby!  And your face is a baby!

Toby (waving a sock in the air):  Noah!  Come smell this!

Noah:  I'm trying to get him in the habit of changing his socks every day.
Jeana: And what, you check to make sure the socks are clean by smelling them?
Noah:  No, I have no idea what that's about.  But I'm gonna get him back

Miles:  No, there's two babies! Right there.  Those two babies.
Jeana:  What babies?
Miles:  On my cup, right there.
Noah:  He means Bert and Ernie.
Miles:  No, them are not babies!  YOU. ARE. A. BAAAAABEEEEEE!!

Toby:  Noah, come smell this!
Noah:  I am not going to smell your socks!
Toby:  I am talking about the toothpaste!
Miles:  Toothpaste is for babies!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Ask Your Child

Can you skip count by 2s?

2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 19, no no no, 20! Am I right?

What happened to the Israelites at the Red Sea?

It split in half and there was dry sand.  The slaves walked on the sand and then the Egypt-jims got on the land and the water closed back up on them.  And...they died.

What can you tell me about an octopus?

They're have eight legs.  Um, they squirt out ink and water.  They have no bones.  They have 3 hearts and a big brain.  They are very smart.  At the night, they hunt for food.  They don't stay in the ocean very long.

Jeana:  They don't stay in the ocean?  Do they go up on land?  Do they fly in the air?
Toby:  No, they don't live very long.  Only one years old.

They don't have any ears so they can't hear.  But they can see very well.  Their blood is blue.  Oh!  And they can change colors.  And they hatch from legs.  I mean eggs.

What did you think about the speech assembly we watched on Friday?

It was good.

Jeana:  You weren't there.
Toby:  Oh.  Well, it was probably still good!

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Wonder Women Wednesday: Computers

This week I asked Becky:  What word(s) do you love the sound of?  Do any words make you cringe?   You can read her answer HERE.

Becky asked me:  What type of computer did you first use on a regular basis? And what type did you first own?

I think I was in 3rd or 4th grade when my dad purchased our first home computer.  It was an Apple Macintosh and looked like this:

I used to draw pictures on it with MacPaint and play games like "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego" and "Math Blaster."  I remember typing a report on the state of Florida on it.  Actually, I remember my mom typing most of the report for me. 

I also remember that my 6th grade teacher asked me to make a chart for him on the computer and in exchange I could choose who I sat next to in class.  My first graphic design assignment!

Black screen, bright green letters, big old floppy disks.  My 5th grade classroom had two of the same computers and we learned to type using a program called PAWS.  We also had inter-classroom email!    And I learned some DOS commands and was able to print out a picture of the Statue of Liberty made entirely out of ampersats (@) on our dot matrix printer.  

I can't remember when our family switched to PCs but I do remember using both throughout middle school and high school.   In college I had a PC but the professor I worked for used Macs.  I'm comfortable using either.  I used to be pretty good at figuring out and solving computer problems, but alas, technology has surpassed my ability and desire to understand most of it.

The first computer I purchased for myself was during my senior year of college.  I bought a laptop from Costco.  It was my first really big purchase and I remember feeling like a certified grown up when I paid for it.  I think it was an HP.

Today, we have a mish-mash of computer pieces.  The actual CPU is an e-machine and it's hooked up to a Dell monitor that is probably near 10 years old.  When this computer dies Geary has talked about getting a Mac laptop.  I'm not loyal to either system but I have to admit that I do love the clean, modern style of Macs.  

Wow, I feel like my answer is really boring.  What was your first computer?  And don't forget to check out Becky's answer to my question and tell us about your favorite and least favorite words!

Recovering Perfectionist

I had an epiphany while I was vacuuming my living room rug this morning.  You see, I have some friends coming over and I wanted the house to be clean for them.  I wanted it to be clean so they would feel comfortable.  And, I admit, part of me wants my friends to think well of me.  But as I was vacuuming, a thought flitted across my mind, "I hope they don't think I cleaned just for them."  I mean, I did clean for them, they are worth the effort.   But I also cleaned because it needed to be done.  And because I like having a clean space.  And because it's my job to redeem my house.

I guess the heart behind my thought was really, "I hope they don't think I cleaned just because I want them to think well of me."  And the thoughts that quickly followed were, "I should clean, but not too much.  Make it look natural.  Like my house is always clean.  My friends should feel like they are part of the sacred inner circle that gets to see my real life."  Except...there I was creating a "real life" level of cleanliness/dirtiness for them.   That totally cancels out the real part of it.

Can you hear Satan's lies to me in there?  Can you see how messed up that thinking is?  I was striving to be PERFECT in MEDIOCRITY.  I wanted to to look like I had tried, but not look like I had tried too hard.  That is so incredibly foolish.  And so much more effort than needed.  I had to turn off the vacuum cleaner and laugh.  I also had to praise God for allowing me to instantly see how goofed up my thoughts were becoming.

My thoughts are still pretty rambling on this but let me try to get them out:

It is a blessing to have close friends who will love me, and even like me, when my house is dirty.  If they should see me and my house in that state I should accept their grace.

My friends are worthy of me providing a clean and comfortable space for them.  I want to do that out of love for them, not from a place of wanting to be seen as "good" or "perfect."

Sometimes I will be able to have a clean house and that will be great.  My friends will appreciate the effort.  Sometimes they will come over and the floors will be sticky and dirty dishes will be piled on the counter.  My friends will appreciate that I am human just like them.

I barely notice these types of things when I go to other people's houses.  Mostly I'm just thinking that I'm glad to be there.  I bet my friends think the same thing when they come to my house.

I thought that I was over being a perfectionist.  Clearly, I am not.  I cannot believe Satan tried to fool me into trying to be perfect at being good enough.  There are most likely other areas where I am still striving to be seen as good.

Here's the truth.  I am already good enough.  Jesus made me good enough when he died in my place for all of my sins.  I will still fail.  I make mistakes daily.  Hourly.  This does not change my status of good enough.  And when it comes to my house (and all things, really) I should simply do my best.  Sometimes that will mean a sparkling clean house.  And sometimes it will mean piles of laundry to step around.  It will always mean that grace abounds and that I don't have to waste energy on creating a fake "real life."  What a relief!

What about you?  Please tell me I'm not the only one who has thoughts like this!

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Ask Your Child

It's time to find out what's happening in Kindergarten with Toby!

Can you sing our Starfish Song ("You are my Sunshine")?

You are starfish, but not a real fish, you have no heart, you have no bones.  You are starfish, but not a real fish, sadly, you have no brain.  

You are a starfish, you have a cool trick.  When you lose an arm it grows back.  You are starfish, but not a real fish, sadly, you have no brain.

What have you learned about Starfish?

They open a shell and eat inside it. And when they lose an arm it grows back.  Some of them have spikes.

Can you name all 10 plagues?

The first plague is the Nile River turned to blood.  And then frogs everywhere and then flies everywhere.  And then...and then...okay, I don't know what happened after the flies.  Lice?  Something about grasshoppers.  It was just a really bad time in history.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Milo Pilo Picky Picky Pilo

That's one of Miles' nicknames.  I don't know where it came from.  Sometimes we shorten it to Picky Pie.   As always he's been cracking us up.  Here are a couple of his latest funnies:

One night, at dinner, I thought it would be fun to have candles on the table.  But when I turned off the lights Miles shouted, "Aaah!  My eyes!  I can't see my eyes!"

As if we can ever see our own eyes (without a mirror).


A couple nights ago when I announced bed time Miles ran to my bed and burrowed under the covers.  "Miles, you're not invited to sleep in our bed," Geary chuckled.  Miles simply shrugged and said, "Well, I got a bad dream!"  I burst out laughing, "Oh really?  You had a bad dream without even falling asleep?  Amazing!"  Miles knew his plan was foiled and he grumbled, "Oh, fine!" and scrambled to his own bed.


Yesterday, we visited Grandma and Grandpa Bob.  One of Grandma's traditions is to make cookies for the boys and send them home with us.  I guess Miles didn't realize that Grandma gives us the cookies because he said, "And we can eat Grandma cookies at home because Dad swiped them!"

Friday, February 01, 2013

Sunshine Day

Today, after Toby was done with kindergarten the sun came out and gray skies turned a glorious shade of blue.
The littles and I decided to eat our lunch outside at a local playground and then we played hard for a good hour.  It was good for my soul.

Miles slid down every slide like he was Superman.

He was not interested in having to stop to have his picture taken. 

Toby, on the other hand, kept calling out, "Mom!  Take my picture over here!"

He's so handsome and he loves the camera. Could be trouble!

Toby was also interested in learning how to take pictures.  
Here's one he took of me.  Well, me and his own finger :)

But he tried again and actually did pretty well!

Another one of my handsome guys.  Still too busy to be bothered with the camera. 

But I finally caught  a smile when he was trapped on a swing!

Mmm, soaking up the sunshine, running around with my kids, fresh air and a new month!