96 hours

Last week I was sick with strep throat. It slammed into me out of nowhere. Two weeks prior, the kids were each sick. One after the other. I guess I caught it from the kids – could be a long shot… but probably not. Anyhoo. I was super sick. For 96 hours.

We had been traveling nearly non-stop for 4 weeks, when the kids began getting sick. On our last day, Selah (our 5yo) woke up sick and threw up 5 times throughout the day of travel back home. She slept in and out of cars, planes and shuttles. It was hard… but every time she felt a little energy she sang, “Holy Spirit, You are welcome here…”

For 96 hours, this strep throat kicked my butt. I unable to be of any assistance to anyone. My family, my friends, all of society. It sucked. For 96 hours I was basically useless. The kids were worried about me. They would check on me every so often and Selah would sing “Holy Spirit…” over me. I told the kids not to come too close to me. I did not want to pass anything back to them. For 96 hours, I did not hug my kids… but they would blow me sweet kisses from a distance.

For 96 hours I slept thru the day and night. I did not shower. And wow – I stunk. I am grateful for showers. And soap. I did not eat anything except a few crackers and sips of water. I did not leave the house, except for a visit to the Doctor. The kids fended for themselves. They made their own food and their sticky little fingers left jelly, peanut butter and humus on the drawers and counters and they left their dishes in the sink. They tried to be helpful, but I am a control freak about the kitchen. Eventually, the army of ants we had been trying to rid the kitchen of, took over again temporarily.

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The kids played well together and worked hard to get along and entertain themselves. When I finally emerged from the bedroom after 96 hours, the house was a disaster with their toys everywhere. But they did a great job cleaning up! For 96 hours, Adam avoided me. He had much more to do without my help around the house… and keep working his job… and he did not want to chance getting sick!

We were all extra anxious about my being sick because it was intense for those 96 hours. I was worried the kids would catch something again. Or Adam would get strep throat, and our 18th wedding anniversary trip to Hawaii was upcoming!

Thankfully, I recovered. The meds and prayers kicked in and after 96 hours, I was back to normal. Which is unusual, because I’m an unusual person. But I was back to my normal, unusual self 🙂 Just in time for Hawaii… whew. We had a few days to spend family time together and prep for our trip. Monday morning came and the Grandparents were getting settled in to our house to stay with the kids for the week. We were almost out the door to leave for the airport when… Salem threw up.

NOOO!!!!

Confident in the Grandparents ability to bravely handle whatever came their way this week, we loved on Salem and made sure he was okay before we set out for our trip. He was fine with us leaving, and slept off and on thru the day. We checked in when we could as we traveled, and he was fine by the evening. The next day he had an infected splinter in his foot and Dr. Grandpa took good care of him. Soon, all was well and the kids had a great time with their Grandparents, while we spent 96 hours in Hawaii.

After 96 hours of sickness ended my heart was incredibly grateful. It could have been much worse. There is always so much to be thankful for, regardless of our circumstances. The 96 hours we had in Hawaii together were phenomenal. We celebrated 18 years of marriage and family. We started missing the kids and wishing they were with us after 48 hours! More on our adventures in Hawaii later… Now our hearts are full and we are grateful to be home with our family again. In Him, Leslie

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PDX –> LAS –> PDX –> PHX –> OKC –> CMH –> PDX

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The other day, the kids and I flew from Portland to Las Vegas, and back to Portland… just for the heck of it.

Kind of.

Not really.

We were planning to connect in Las Vegas and fly the rest of the way to Oklahoma City…. but Sometimes you need to take a step backward in order to move forward. Or, in our case, you need to fly back home in order to fly to your final destination.

When we arrived in Vegas, we shuffled ourselves from one gate to the next, anticipating a short layover, with time for a quick bite to eat and onto our second flight. We arrived at our gate and were greeted with a longer delay. UGH.

Our original arrival time was already crossing into the middle of the night, and I did not want my parents to have to pick us up further into the night. SO….. I made a split second decision with a thousand thoughts running thru my mind…..

The kids were crying, missing daddy. We had no desire to stay and watch people play slots in the Vegas airport.  Could we hop on the next flight back to Portland? Try this again tomorrow? Was there another flight back to Portland? Does this even make any sense?!?

Yes. Sometimes going backwards makes sense.

I spoke with the airline agent and worked thru the details. We could fly back to Portland, sleep in our own beds, be with our church family in the morning, and catch the next afternoon flight back to Oklahoma City. Makes sense? Not really. Done.

We were excited to be at church the next morning to participate in sharing testimonies from our missions trip to Mexico the week before… yep. We had just returned 3 days prior from a 2,500 mile journey to Mexico and California. So, after I made the split second decision to go back to Portland, which turned into a 15 minute discussion, explaining my brilliant idea to my mom, Adam and the kids….. I spoke with the gate agent who told me – it was too late. The Portland flight was about to leave. Panic. Okay. Kids crying. Again.

Still with a thousand thoughts swirling in around my mind – I felt strongly this was the right decision. Mixed with the questions every human being has when they go on a plane – will we die on this plane? or that plane? or either??? Why am I thinking about dying anyway??? Geez THE PRESSURE!!!

Now the ordeal of a flight delay turned into a bigger ordeal I had complicated with my brilliant idea and now the whole deal was a big ordeal.

I sat down and talked with the kids, who had calmed down, drinking their jamba juice smoothie… and I looked at the flight screen. <> Well. Wha-do-ya know? The Portland flight had been delayed and we would have time to catch that plane.

So we did.  

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We had enough time to grab dinner at Pei Wei, laugh at the irony of the fortune cookie quotes, fly back home to sleep in our own beds, in a muggy 89 degrees in our un-airconditioned house, which reeked of a skunk who a just sprayed our whole street, go to church, share in the beautiful Mexico testimonies with our church family, and fly again… this time thru Phoenix… this time with no delays.

“The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord… the heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps…” and flights… 😉

My hearts desire is to please my heavenly Father in everything I do. Every decision I make. Every step -and flight- I take. We made it to Oklahoma City in the not – as – late time of night. Greeted by my parents, we have enjoyed a sweet visit with my family this week. This time together has been such a gift. Making the decision to go back to Portland was chaotic, but it was the right step in the backward direction. Yes. Sometimes going backwards makes sense.

…and in a few days, we fly again. This time to Columbus… allowing us the gift of seeing the old and new converge.

Follow the blog and Join us on the journey… the stories are only half written.

In Him, Leslie

 

Eat. Your. Lettuce… and Kale.

January is rolling on by and we are already well into the New Year. Workout goals, clean eating. organic options, gluten-free and less carbs are on the minds and mouths of people everywhere. We have always included vegetables in our meals. This year, we stepped it up a notch and we are having more Kale… and brussel sprouts…  everyday. I know, we are livin’ on the edge. We’re so radical.

Kale has been a part of our lives for a while. It’s not a New Years fad.  We’ve had smoothies, We’ve had a kale Christmas tree, Adam has a kale tee-shirt. But hold your horses — we’re not ready to give up sugar… yet.

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We have one family rule for mealtime: Eat your vegetables  > > >  then you may have a cookie… an “organic” ‘Joe Joe’ from Trader Joes (the healthiest kind! 🙂 Our kids eat salad everyday, usually twice a day. They’re so used to it, they ask ‘where’s the salad?’ on the rare occasions we have a meal without salad.

Mealtime isn’t a torture scene of threatening and bribery. We still eat sugar, for heaven’s sake. Other than requiring our kids to eat their vegetables, they still act like buffoons at the dinner table most of the time…

/// case in point ///

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And our table time is also filled with songs about burping and farting and stories about butt holes. This is still our 5 year olds favorite word. I’m not sure this will ever change.

/// in case you need another example… ///

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They don’t act like fools with their food all the time. We also hear about their day at dinner time, sharing their ‘Highlights’ from the day… usually it goes something like this, “My highlight was the whole entire day — expect the parts where I got mad.”

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The kids always want to help cook. Our favorite show is Master Chef Junior, and they are gleaning much inspiration watching kids their ages tear it up in the kitchen. They love to be involved with mealtime. Sometimes I love their help 🙂 Sometimes it’s more work to have their ‘help’… Our 10 year old loves baking cupcakes, so we bake in order to balance out our kale smoothies.

So we eat our lettuce … and we’ve snuck in more kale and brussel sprouts in our daily salads. It takes work, but we’ve aligned our taste buds to react with affection toward kale. Kale tastes good (I promise!). Now the kids ask where is the kale when we don’t add it in.

Healthy eating has a stigma attached to it. It is hard to eat organic, no sugar, no carbs, etc… 100% of the time. But it starts with one choice. We stopped drinking soda several years ago. Now, if I have a sip of soda, it tastes disgusting. We don’t eat fast food. But no judgement for those who do! When we go out, we pack a lunch. It began with one choice – I stopped going thru drive thru’s and the kids never ask. In fact, they prompted the decision. They asked not to go thru Wendy’s anymore… Okay – Done. We started serving salad for lunch and dinner. We started with one choice, made one change at a time, and kept adding healthier eating options.

At the beginning of a New Year, it can seem overwhelming to set goals with the pressure we put on ourselves to start fresh and make changes. But – We can start with one choice. With food, with work outs and with our time spent with God. Start with one choice. Read one Bible verse — it takes 30 seconds. Then, be all crazy and read a few more.  The more time we choose to spend with Him, the more time we will crave with Him. We can taste and see the Lord is good!  There’s no pressure. He’s pursuing us, waiting of us to respond to Him… Like lettuce and Kale and brussel sprouts are waiting for us at the farmers market, in the grocery aisle… or in the garden.

So whatever choice – make one. Eat one more vegetable. Read one Bible verse. Pray one prayer. God is waiting… kale is waiting…

What are your New Year goals for 2015? Healthier eating? Daily Bible reading? Do share 🙂

Our story rages on… In Him, Leslie

blackout

This poetic piece of awesomeness is a finally-finished post I began writing a month ago… Enjoy!

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A  month ago, we experienced our first Portland blackout. We were without power, internet and phones for 6 hours. <gasp, I know> We couldn’t watch the tele or cook or use the internet or make phone calls or go on Facebook or participate in any other nonsense we need electricity to take part in, and guess what…?

We survived. 

How, you might ask? 

We played outside soaking up our last bit of evening sunlight, we snuggled under blankets and read books by the light of a candle. We talked. We told silly stories. We laughed. We played games with the flashlights… and then we went to New Seasons for dinner.

We survived #Portlandblackout2014 by having fun and going to the grocery store. YES. You read that statement correctly. I said, we had fun going to the grocery store. 

We are experts at surviving blackouts.  

We’ve been thru several blackouts before. From Ohio to New York City. Remember #Northeastblackout2003? Yep. We survived it. We were living in NYC at the time and working at our church. When the city went dark, everything shut down… except for the people. People were still on the move. We responded by handing out water to thirsty tired travelers from the steps of our church in mid-town Manhattan. The city air was thick with August humidity and millions of people sweating their way thru the city. People were still on the move. They needed to get home, to pick up their kids. People had basic simple needs – like water.

The truth is – we are experts at enjoying simple things – such as going to the grocery store. In fact, the simpler, the better. If a task is too complex, detailed or complicated – forget it. Anxiety will overtake me and… the end. I will shut down. 

When there’s a blackout, life shuts down. There are fewer options and simplicity takes center stage. When there’s a blackout, I can only see what’s right in front of me. In the dark sky, I can see the moon and the stars. Oh, how I long to take joy in seeing the simplicity in front of me! Take it all in. Breathe in the wonder. Trace the stars. Stare at the moon. Soak in the sounds of my children. Slip into the arms of my husband.

I come alive when I ‘shut down’ and enjoy the simplicity of who is in front of me… My family. My friends. My neighbors…  The blackout forces life to slow down. To darken our ‘world view’ momentarily. To take hold of what we can see. The blackout changes our lens to purely see. An unfiltered view. To truly see. What is right in front of us.

In the blackout, life can shut down… And in the simplicity, we can thrive.

Do you thrive in simplicity? Please share! Our story rages on… In Him, Leslie

All I really wanted this Christmas…

As Christmas day quickly approached a few weeks ago, my house was filled with shrieking, jumping, and count-downing [yes – that is a word, I declare]. The month of December was literally laughing in my face as it slid on by without a hint of showing mercy and slowing down. Our house filled with shrieks, jumps and countdowns expressed by my children – yes… and also, by me.

I was throwing a fit of anticipation, resisting the temptation to be suckered into Christmas anxiety. I was the one shrieking, declaring – I will not lose my cool this Christmas! I was the one jumping, staking my claim – this would be the Christmas I would enjoy every moment of! I was the one count-downing, sweating as each day passed more quickly than the last – with more to do and less time to finish … Christmas.

Finish … Christmas?! What the heck is wrong with this statement???

As December 25th drew near, I almost lost all I really wanted for Christmas. It was subtle, and it crept in momentarily… I was the one setting ridiculous impossible enjoy – every – moment of Christmas goals for our family. I was the one losing myself in the chaos of my mind wrapped up in thoughts of presents, coupons, sales, mailing and wrapping packages, decorating the house, cleaning the house, and planning the meals… I was the one having an anxiety attack in Target, pacing the aisles, waiting… for our eldest daughter to pick out elf pajamas she absolutely had to wear for the Christmas party she was hosting with her friends.

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She does look pretty darn cute as an elf 😉

Snap. That’s when it happened. In the Target aisle.

“I can’t do this anymore! I won’t do this anymore!”

I stopped the madness and took the kids outside of Target. “Let’s go back to the car, pick up the reusable bags I left in the trunk, and start over.”

Okay mom.

They understood. They saw me unraveling and helped me pull it back together. We went to the car, picked up the reusable bags, went back into Target and all I really wanted for Christmas wasn’t lost anymore. I found it – again.

Wonder. The Wonder of Moments. Joy-filled Moments. The Wonder of laughter, peace, simplicity, enjoying each other, being fully present together. (Even while shopping at Target.)

The next day, after the Target panic attack, I went to my women’s Bible study. Just a week shy of Christmas day, naturally the conversation turned to the potential –and sometimes inevitable– stress of Christmas. Why do we always put this pressure on ourselves? To create the “perfect” Christmas? Why do we put ourselves thru this year after year? *One friend described Christmas as an orgasm that never happens. Another friend piped in – I don’t want to fake it! HA! We were rolling in laughter – yes, at our women’s Bible study. Because the truth is this – There’s this pressure to have a grand, unforgettable, life-changing Christmas experience, and sometimes it just. doesn’t. happen.

All I want for Christmas is to be wrapped up in The Wonder of Emmanuel ~ God. With. Us.

Every Christmas, the dreaded gingerbread house taunts me. I suck at making them. The kids have made them at school, and I’m at home, praising the Lord I didn’t have to. It is always a chore. But this year the kids are being homeschooled, and Trader Joes came to our rescue! We decided to buy a Gingerbread House kit from TJ’s and the kids were excited about it. Whew. I stopped sweating over that stress. Every time we went into TJ’s to pick up groceries, the kids would ask – can we get our Gingerbread House this time? No – next time.

Until the next time they were out of Gingerbread Houses!!! Noooooo!!! Say it isn’t Soooooo!!! 

I briefly freaked out and calmed down, and said “Kids, I will get you a Gingerbread House kit if it’s the last thing I do!!!” I scrambled and called the next Trader Joes closest to us, desperation in my voice – “Do you have anymore Gingerbread Houses in stock? Ummm… let me check. (pause – panicked – moments – waiting). Yes, we have TWO left! Okay-can you put it on hold for me? We’ll be there in the morning to pick it up.”

The next day, we went to pick it up and the TJ’s associate I had spoken to went to the back to find it. He came back – ma’am I’m sorry, it was sold. I had your name on it, but someone must have sold the last TWO we had. I almost started crying… no – not really… but he could see the disappointment in my face and the kids. “Is this a gift?” He asked. “No, my kids and I were going to put it together for fun.” …you know, making Christmas memories that could be destroyed and possibly ruined forever if we don’t build a Gingerbread House together!!! “Well, we do have a few left we were planning to donate because the boxes were damaged slightly. If you don’t mind.” What?! Do we mind?! No way!! This is the Best. News. Ever!!! So the associate came back a few moments later with the perfect Gingerbread House box kit just for us. The best part – it was free 🙂 Thank you Trader Joes!!!

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After all the fuss, we had a blast making it, but it didn’t taste very good. Similar to cardboard with sugar on top. Oh well, it was all worth it – no doubt 😉

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All I wanted for Christmas was to lose myself in the Wonder of it all. The first time Jesus came to earth. The first Christmas as a baby. As Emmanuel God with us. God coming as a child. The Wonder! I want to be wrapped up in the child-like Wonder of it all. Now Christmas has come and gone and the New Year is in full swing. Yet nothing about Jesus has changed. He has been, still is and always will be Emmanuel ~ God. With. Us! He is with me. I can forever be wrapped up and lost in His Wonder. And that’s all I want for Christmas ~ and every day in between.

What did you want this Christmas? Did you lose yourself in His Wonder or in stress and anxiety? Please share – don’t be shy – we’ve all been there!

In Him, Leslie

*I hope you won’t be offended – all stories necessary for the authenticity of this post!