Sunday, March 30, 2008

Allergic to March

March is beautiful. I have spent many days gazing out my window, dreaming i was running through these hills.
As i was dreaming, i pictured myself in a long, flowy dress singing as if i were Maria from the Sound of Music. And why wouldn't i sing? Everything is in bloom; lupen, white, bright yellow, and orange wild flowers, and the trees which sprout new leaves each day. The days have been sun shiny and warm with much opportunity to be outdoors.

However, i think i am allergic to March. For the past few years i have become a bit more irritable, annoyed, and blah in the month of March. i am sick of home schooling, unmotivated, short fused, and blah. My hair looks drab, my skin is pasty white, and the holiday feasting is showing, and did i mention i feel blah. March, to me, is like a toddler in the "terrible twos," it pushes me to unbearable limits, but it is so cute you can't help but love it. i hear that some of what i am feeling might also be referred to as "spring fever." Call it what you will, thankfully there are only two more days till April! And i have decided that i will not feel this way in April, because i am not allergic to April (i think).

I decided this past week (spring break) to get away from the routine. The kids and i spent the week visiting with my mom and sister.

One day we visited two of my favorite places ever (i have fond memories of going when i was a child) Columbia State Park, and Knights Ferry.

Columbia State Park is a little town that is set in the late 1800's. We enjoyed visiting the old school house, the blacksmith, bank, dentist office, and mercantile. The kids are learning about the Civil War this year, and i think this helped them wrap their minds around what that time in history looked like.

We also visited Knights Ferry. I use to say, "my great great grandfather owned Knights Ferry." He had come from the Azores, and worked in that area, and as payment he was given a good bit of land, which is now Knights Ferry (he later sold that land and returned to the Azores).

Knights Ferry is a beautiful 20 mile drive away from
Oakdale (the town i grew up in). When I was in high school I loved to go there and just be, take in the beauty, and date God ( and yes, when i ditched school, that is where you would find me). Most importantly, Knights Ferry is the place where Michael asked me to marry him. Right here on this covered bridge.

What a treat it was to be there now with our 3 children.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Mercy Reigns

I had never been in a court room before yesterday. My dad was appearing in court with hopes to be released from the state hospital he is in. I love my dad, and want nothing more than for him to be well, to rejoin society, and to build a relationship with him outside the walls of a state hospital, but he is not well, and what is best for him is hospitalization.

I sat in court for a little over an hour waiting for my dad to be called. As I waited, one after another, men and women, wearing striped jumpers with the word "Inmate" across their backs, and bound by chains would enter. Each one had a face that showed a hurt that went deeper than any crime they could ever commit. My heart broke. That is someones father, mother, son, brother, daughter, or sister. I thought of how there was a moment each one was held, and someone dreamed of a bright future for them, not of this. And one by one they filed in, and out. The room was hopeless, there was no rescue.
I recalled the words we had sung in church on Easter-
"My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God my Savior
Has ransomed me
And like a flood
His mercy reigns
Unending love
Amazing grace. "

My dad filed in- striped jumper, "Inmate" on his back, bound by chains. My brother-in-law Steve sat beside me (he had never met him), "that's my dad," I said, then held back the tears.
I hold him in my heart, and think of a man who taught me to throw a frisbee, bought me my first car (a plastic yellow convertible with peddles), and I think of the day he got me a popsicle every time the ice cream truck passed by... that's my dad.

Praise God that He is rescue. I look forward to the day when we are finally, completely free, when His mercy reigns in our lives, and we live in the fullness of His love better than life.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Wrap Your Arms Around Him Who Made You

Let us love Him! Let us love Him! He made us, and He is near. He did not make things and then walk away. He remains intimately involved, and all things have their being in Him.
See Him.
There He is, where truth is loved. He can be found within the very heart, even if the heart strays from Him.
Go back into your heart and find him sinners. Wrap your arms around Him who made you and hold tight ....

True Life came down to us and bore our death. By the abundance of His own life, true Life killed death.
And the voice of true Life thundered.
He shouted to us to return at once to Him.
He called us to the secret place from which He came.
His journey took Him first to the virgins womb.
There He took up mortal flesh of human creation.
He adopted mortal flesh, so that it might not be forever mortal. He embarked into life as a bridegroom into his marriage, knowing the joy of freedom that a great distance runner feels to launch out on the course.
For He never slackened his pace. He ran on.
and He shouted on.
His words and deeds clamored.
His death and return to life roared.
His decent from the Father and His ascent back cheered.
The Life cried out to us to return to Him. When He did leave the world where our eyes could see Him, it was so that He might return to us in our heart. He left that we might find Him. He departed, and -surprise!- the heart is where He reappeared.

St. Augustine

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

i do not have bumper stickers or other accessories on my vehicle. i would end up being a hypocrite of what ever i placed on my vehicle, and i can't risk that. i am just unable to be holy at all times, and especially when driving. however, i do enjoy reading others (most of the time).
if i did have a bumper sticker this is the one i would choose.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Vava!

Today my g-ma (or Vava as my kids call her) celebrates her 82 birthday.
We celebrated G-ma's birthday with family this last weekend in Modesto.

My g-ma is just over 5 ft tall, perfect g-ma size. She makes the best sweet bread in North America (her sisters in Flores, Azores makes some yummy sweet bread too). She tells me funny stories, recites poems, or sings little songs from our island.
She daily eats sweet potatoes, and oatmeal, she also walks, she says these things "keep her healthy." She loves to garden. She can often be found crocheting or knitting. She loves her family deeply, and desires the best for each one. We speak a couple times a week, I love to answer the phone and hear her say, "oh creda," (oh my child). I am warm in grandma's love.

Pictured here are 4 of my 5 aunts (left to right Violet, Marie, G-ma Josefina, Vicki, and Hilda). I love my aunts!
Aunt Violet is independent,and has a spark to her.
Aunt Marie loves tradition and heritage, she is hard working 'ella nunca pada" (she never stops).
Aunt Vicki is intentional about family, compassionate, and strong.
Aunt Hilda has the greatest laugh. We have many fun memories together from when I was a child living in my grandparent's home (she was still living at home).
My Aunt Vera (not pictured) has a soft voice, and gentle kindness.
All of my aunts are beautiful, sensitive, thoughtful, loving, and care deeply for family. I am blessed to have them!

My 1/2 brother Shus, joined us to celebrate g-ma (No, I did not misspell his name. My dad named him after Confucious, - I am soooo glad my name is Denise). This is a treat as he knows little of his paternal side of the family. I see so much Teodosio in him, and I pray when he is with us he will feel a sense of belonging that he has never had before. Pray for him as he takes healthy steps forward in his life (he is recovering from drug and alcohol abuse).
(left to right- me, Vava, Shus, and my sister Toni)
Finally Aunt Violet got herself some fun wheels. We had fun making g-ma climb in.

Monday, March 10, 2008

6 and one month!

Remember when they were babies, and every month was a celebration? When my babies were one month i'd bake cakes, and we'd celebrate cooing, head lifting, and good stretches of uninterrupted sleep. For the second, third,and fourth months we'd celebrate smiles (which were not gas), lying on the tummy, rolling over, and again good stretches of uninterrupted sleep. By months five and six we were celebrating a bit of rice cereal and the commando crawl. Months seven, eight, and nine brought a tooth, followed by another, there were also the sounds of "mamamama" (which clearly stated who baby loved best), there was also the ever popular backwards wave, and if teething wasn't too bad longer stretches of uninterrupted sleep. In month ten baby was giving hearty belly laughs, eating all sorts of orange things from jars, and pulling him/herself up to stand. I usually spent month eleven sobbing because it was almost over, thankfully there was a party to plan.

So today Josie is 6 and one month. She has spent this past month excelling in her reading (i think she is ready for college now), perfecting her rollerskating, and learning to ski. Josie expresses her vocal ability while singing the same tune over and over and over and over and ... and again while letting her big sister know she is not so little (yelling, aahhh!). She is also expressing her individuality- she has decided mismatched socks are her thing, and daily surprises us with her take on sock fashion.
If you know me, than you know i can be a bit o.c.d. (obsessive compulsive), mismatched socks are typically prohibited. But i let it go, and i let her be her Josie self. One small step for Mommy, One giant whimsical step for Josie.

Apparently it's an epidemic, look what my mother found for Josie (packages of 3 mismatched socks, these were found at Gottshalks).

When I was One I had just begun
When I was Two
I was nearly new
When I was Three
I was hardly me
When I was Four
I was not much more
When I was Five
I was just alive
But now I am Six
I am clever as clever
So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever

A.A. Milne

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

delighting in my weakness

Here is a conversation i had yesterday

me: why am i always the weak one? why does it always seem that others are strong and have it together? i am tired of being weak, vulnerable, broken...

friend: what does God's word say..."My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." It is only through your weakness that God is able to display His strength in you.

me: well than, God has a lot of opportunity to display His strength with me ( i say with a bit of sarcasm).

friend: Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Blog Worthy

So here are a few things that are blog worthy (that i am a bit behind posting on).
for Valentine's Day (yes, i know that was like weeks ago) i braided Emilie's hair into a heart. i am a very cool mommy like that.

Recently the kiddos and i went to a ground breaking ceremony for the new Minarets High School. This high school is scheduled to open in fall of 09, and will likely be the high school our children attend. We loved being a part of the celebration, and look forward with anticipation, hope, and prayer for the school, administration, staff, and students. What fun it will be having a photo of them in 6-8 years (when they are in high school) from now with actual buildings behind them.


We spent some time with good friends Jeff & Kelly Hayes. We enjoyed good food, good company, and good play!

i love this man! He makes me feel beautiful and loved (when i am being ugly and unlovable). He sees in me what i do not see in myself. i am blessed.

What does one do when they have a burn pile??? Make smores! Uh huh, Michael's idea... a good man never lets fire, marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers go to waste.

The kiddos have had 2 fun ski days (for school). First with Daddy, Gramps, and Nana. Then another with Uncle Christopher, cousins Luke and Nicholas, and Rick Jackson. Where was i? in a book store, having coffee, browsing through shops, eating good food, at the movies... Where was i not? cleaning the house, teaching school, answering the phone, paying bills, refereeing, driving taxi.

Now i am going to go take a blog worthy nap!