Thursday, December 17, 2009

T (minus) 10 days.

not until christmas, until we move. yep... 10 days.
so most of my house has boxes in every room.
it is pretty much a disaster.
i am learning to be okay the stuff not being put away (learning).
but amongst the angst of stuff being everywhere my mom sent me
this picture of me and my dad.
it was soothing. i was about 7 (ashlynn's age).
my dad had just had his thyroid removed.
he took me to the father-daughter banquet at our church.
this brought me peace amongst the chaos we are
choosing to call life.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

monday blessing.

monday's generally have the same blessing. it is when eli comes over. yesterday was not different... it was just the same. that was my beautiful blessing yesterday. we had dinner. then we looked at 127 pages of and laughed hysterically at some of the interesting people who cross the threshold of walmart (while todd played super mario brothers). it is so nice when things are the same amidst change.

Monday, December 7, 2009


blessings seem to come in droves when you need them. i suppose we are in need of them right now because we have been blessed beyond measure this weekend. which gave me a thought/ idea. we receive blessings each and every day. some little and some big. but often unnoticed. it got me thinking that i probably walk through my days without noticing those blessings. well... not anymore. i decided that i am going to find a blessing in each and everyday & hopefully pass those blessings on to someone else. this weekend our blessings were huge (in my book). here are just a few (seriously there is more than this).

friday: we found a load of free boxes! almost when we were going to give up on looking for them, there they were. just sitting there all nice and neat waiting for us to grab them. (if you didn't know we are moving. that is why we need boxes.)

saturday: someone paid our rent for us. we know who it was, but assume they will want to remain anonymous. it was their special gift to us. they had no idea how in need we were of that in that moment. it was so kind, generous, gracious, wonderful, thoughtful...

sunday: the students in our ministry showed us so much love and compassion when ken told them that todd would be leaving grace. it seems weird, but to watching senior boys cry blessed me. they were able to demonstrate through their emotions that they loved us. i was touched beyond words through so many students yesterday.

i have one for today... but i think 3 is enough for now. maybe i will post today's tomorrow.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

best dressed.

ashlynn had some cal poly students come to her school last week
and help them put together 'the olympics'.
it was really fun. the students
help them pick names for their teams. come up with a
cheer for the team. and told them to come dressed
in theme! well... ashlynn's team ended up
being the dalmations.
their coach (aka a cal poly student) told them to come in black and white.
(well) we had to go ALL out... of course.
why wouldn't you ?right?
so here is ash... dressed up in her black and white.
she got best dressed for the day.


here are the invitations i made for the high school
&& junior high staff christmas party.
they turned out so fun! && so simple.

Monday, October 19, 2009

so proud.

ashlynn did a walk.a.thon to raise money for her school. it is the only fundraiser that they do every year. i must admit i was proud of her. she ran the whole 20 minutes (except when she had water... it was so hot). here are a few pictures of the time she spent running. 1. stretching. 2. running. 3. cooling down. it was so adorable.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


ok... don't you think she needs to make me some money? (don't worry i am kidding).

Monday, September 28, 2009

just a thought.

we have this beautiful gift called life. constantly taking it for granted in ways that often do not make sense. wasting it on trivial things. we walk around as if we are guranteed tomorrow, when in reality we are not granted another second without the LORD giving it to us. so then, why is that we cannot see our life as the beautiful gift that it is? why can we not take these moments that we are honored to have and use it to glorify the LORD... not ourselves? why is it often difficult to simply say i love the God because He is the LORD and not because of what He is able to do for us? life should only have one goal in mind... the LORD himself. be honest with yourself... is that your goal?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

ash's birthday toy.

for her birthday she got a wetsuit && a body board. she gets out there & goes. she even asked to go after school on monday. of course i took her. all i could think about was how i am a big girl mom now. taking ash to do the things she wants... just because she wants too... because it is now her thing... not just because, but because with a purpose.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

what we've been doing.

so much happened as our summer came to a close. we went crazy having just too much fun! here are a few pictures to tell our story that closed out our summer.

first... ashlynn started first grade. i could hardly believe it. i cried when she left to line up for her first day. she loves her teacher & has been making some great friends. next... we took some leadership students to magic mountain. can you believe it? they still have the swings. then... we did a lot of swimming. last pic... we celebrated jeremy's 5 th birthday. it was a huge change for me. my little guy turned 5. i seriously can remember the day he was born. 4 weeks early... 8 lbs 5 oz. he is still my little cuddler. he loves that he is 5!

in this row... first we have 'fall forward'. 101 students went up to camp hammer in santa cruz to enjoy a weekend of craziness. time. second... ashlynn turned 7. yes... i am hit with my kiddos growing up all at once. she turned 7 & it has been one of the hardest days since my pops died (for a lot of reasons). it is funny how i am able to recall everything about the day she was born. i can tell you what i did, what i ate, what time i went to the hospital. after an emergency c-section, i got to hold a 1olb 4 oz baby who was a content as can be. she has this passion for others knowing jesus that amazes me. just the other day she asked one of her teachers (who she knows goes to our church) if he was coming this weeked... oh wait i forgot she yelled it from across the playground. she's a sweetie. next... jt started preschool. watch out world. he is there in full craziness. & last we went camping and did a little body boarding (it was ashlynn's birthday present).

well that about does it! we have had a great summer.

Friday, August 28, 2009


so why am i up at 3: 30 in the middle of the night? obvious reasons... i can't sleep and my thoughts have consumed my mind. it is a process i have become accustomed to as of late. yesterday afternoon i walked into the salon to get my hair colored. wanting to go a little bit darker. shooting for ashlynn's color. still considered blonde i suppose. yesterday i walked out with DARK hair. not just dark for me. DARK HAIR! i have NEVER had dark hair before. (picture will have to follow because well... its late). so i was just sitting on the computer & looked at a picture, (my favorite picture of todd & i) where my hair is extremely blonde. my stomach flipped. what the heck have i done. i wanted to go a little darker, not so dark that i thought i was a completely different person. then i realized... its just hair. wow i really did get a lot of my identity from my hair. still not sure.

Monday, August 24, 2009

something borrowed.

(this picture was taken at the top of a ride called the triple bypass. we laugh because he is always smiling at the top of the climbs. look at the right of photo. you can see part of the road that he came up.)

yesterday i got new handlebars for my bike. well they weren't entirely new. i got my dad's handle bars off his bike that he gave todd. so i rode. 20 miles yesterday. placing my hand where my dad had his hands for SO many countless hours. it was so emotional for me. i thought of all the wonderful times my dad had while he had his hands there. all the fun times he had with his friends. all the prayers he said for all of us. i prayed & thank the Lord for the life of my pops. missing him a lot. it was such an euphoric experience. here's to you pops.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


right now i am studying the life of the apostle paul. && am feeling convicted. i have barely begun this study of paul, but i am already convicted by his imperfect life. now, one thing you must know is that i am a cheater. when i read books.. i always (almost always) read the end of the book after only a few chapters into it. i have to make sure that i like the ending. i have done the as long as i can remember. i did that here too. but i think that it only aided to my conviction. paul had a view of death that should bring anyone to their knees. he knew that his departure from earth was just that... a departure (phil 3:20). death is a safety for us... our rescue from life. a life that he raced well in, he fought strong through, && in the end found a crown that waited for him in heaven because he sought after CHRIST through his imperfect life. so now i will go back from the end of the book (where i cheated) and continue to see how God took saul, and turned him into a man how feared the LORD. i am on my own road, my own journey. as i seek to understand paul & his ministry here on earth, i hope that i can see some of myself in him because he was following JESUS. if i don't... i pray i see that too & i pray i can change.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

9 years.

9 years ago today i awoke on the couch of my little 1 bedroom apartment. i looked down at the floor & saw 6 of my most favorite people. i had quite the adventure that day, as my life has been since then. i awoke at 7. all of us taking a shower. electricity went out while one of the girls was in the shower. finished getting showered at my parents house about 5 minutes away. went to westlake village inn where i got my hair & make up done. got dressed (in all white & the pearls my dad gave me). and began my adventure. the day was filled with laughter... my standing on over a fan because it was so hot. tears... my dad charging todd, a memory that i hold so tight. sweet times... my first dance with todd. release... my dance with my dad. energy... all the dancing. good food... catered by my dad's favorite italian restaurant (wait i didn't get any, but i know it WAS good). memories... because that day i got to marry my very best friend with so many people standing beside me. praying for us. caring for us. laughing with us.

it has been an adventure ever since.

so what did i do today? how has life changed? well... i got up at 515 am. went to the gym. work meeting by 7 am. waited for the delivery of my new washer & dryer (isn't that what every woman wants for an anniversary present). continue to work. & that is where i am so far. funny how life can change in 9 years.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

paintings that heal.

ashlynn painted this all by herself. no direction was given. just put the colors in the paint tray && let her go. she decided to paint a picture of my dad riding his bike. the thing that struck me when i looked at it... was the clouds look a little like wings. it brought a tear to my eye. for the thought of heaven && for the word love. her tender heart is finally starting to heal. it has been in a million little pieces without her papa. literally. my prayer for the last 4 months has been that she would see joy in life once again. for her to remember my dad for who he was in her life. this wonderful gift that no one else was able to share but the two of them. a unique bond that was && is so precious to me. this is her way of expressing her peace of papa being with his Jesus. praise God for healing hearts. they bring an amazing peace.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Life is fragile. Somehow we have gotten to the point where we treat like it is unbreakable. Urging it to push a little harder, faster, stronger. We stress life to a breaking point, thinking that our fragility is too far off to crack. Life can bend and sometimes it can break. Busting at the seams that we thought were woven tightly together. Splitting in places we did not know we had seems. Once it is busted open, world to see or not, we are left standing there… sitting there… crying there, trying to figure out how we mend our pieces to become whole again. Often leaving them for later because walking away seems an easier thing to do at the time. Admittedly it might be easier for the time being, but it definitely needs some mending. A strong stitch to hold it together.

i forget that our great HEALER is the only one who is able to keep us together. HE is not only my HEALER, but also my HELPER. my PROTECTOR. psalm 121:1-8... why do i always forget that i am not in control?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

accidentally uncovered.

everyone needs to see this. jeremy is about 1 1/2 & ash is about 3 1/2. i think i have watched this about 5 times in the last 10 minutes. seriously so PRECIOUS! i need to watch this when i am having a rough day with jeremy. so cute huh?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

finding fun!!!

we can always find fun! it is just really easy when we are camping. we shopped. ate smores (todd had 7). bar-b-qued. swam. made houses. relaxed. & played a ton!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


trees symbolize something sturdy. they remind us that there is something bigger than us. they show us the creation of what our God is able to do. Making something so huge be so beautiful. growing up, my room was at the front of our house. Just outside my window, across the driveway was my favorite thing in our entire yard... a weeping willow. it never seemed so sad/ weepy to me, but it was a symbol of happiness. of some sort of fairy tale awaiting me just beyond the driveway. wow. thinking about that big beautiful tree brought back images i didn't know i still held onto. (smiling).

a girlfriend of mine... seriously one of the nicest girls in the WORLD (if you meet her you will know i am not exagerating). todd was talking about her yesterday and described her perfectly. he said that she makes you want to be a better person. well... she is a new mom & has come up with a little company she is trying to start called 'rooted'. she is getting ready to launch her new line of organic baby things & mommy things. check out her blog. her etsy shop is going to be up soon too. her image is the strength of a tree!

everywhere i look i see trees. the last few weeks i have been having a hard time sleeping. this is the product of waking up at 3:30 AM. ugh.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

cold tangerines.

random title right? give me a minute & you'll gain a full understanding to my insanity. i am an avid reader. i will read just about anything i can get my hands onto. i am not bias to one genre or another. i love it all. i enjoy the classics like jane eyre, wuthering heights, pride & prejudice. i love non-classics too. i love nicholas sparks. i enjoy reading christian books, ones that inspire me to think deeper about my faith. about my Savior. about myself.

i have a friend... lets call him Jav. because well, that's his name. Jav. he has known me for over half my life. he is one of the few guys in my life who has made me cry, but i deserved it (i was in high school & he was calling me out on something). he has inspired me in ways he has no idea. about 6 years ago he recommended a book that changed my life. a book called 'the blessing' by gary smalley. i saw Jav about a month ago. i was telling him how i loved the book he recommended & have bought it for a number of people in the last 5 years. he said he had another book.

'cold tangerines' by shauna niequist. completely different from the first book, but oh so inspiring. life changing... maybe not, but life inspiring... DEFINITELY. it is a collection of stories in which draw us to the awareness of who God is & how He infuses everything... calling us to live the best possible life we can. it isn't a deep theological book. but it has caused me to think about myself in light of how i allow God to use me & how i examine && live life.

here's a quote at the end of the book: 'that's what i want my life to be, like a well-loved gift. i think life, just life, just breathing in and out, is a great gift. God gives us something amazing when he gives us life, and i want to live with gratitude.'

so here is to a life that makes you want to dance, jump, sing, hope, sizzle, and love with your whole self. it is inspiration to be GREAT!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

hume 2009.

our week was full of mimes. clowns. day camp. huckleberry house. staying up way too late. watching insane games. worship. amazing teaching. swimming. running. playing. creating. screaming. watching brothers do stupid stuff. fishing. eating way too much ice cream. crying. laughter. reunions. bike jump. jumping in the lake. boating. you name it... it happened.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


special day today. hanging out with my sister, jason, todd, kids, jan & chelsea. celebrating the 4th & my dads birthday. sad & fun day. this is my all time favorite holiday all year long.

Monday, June 29, 2009

psalm 143.

hear my prayers... answer me in YOUR faithfulness... my spirit is overwhelmed... i meditate on YOUR doings... my soul longs for YOU... do not hide YOUR face from me... let me hear YOUR lovingkindness in the morning...teach me the way in which i should walk... i take refuge in YOU... let YOUR spirit lead me... for i am YOUR servant.

...this is my favorite psalm right now. i read it every single morning. trying to memorize it. obviously i only wrote small glimpses of it. you should read it.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

fathers day.


i woke up this morning feeling a little bit lonely. which was ironic because laying next to me was todd, ashlynn and jeremy. we had our cuddle time. i realized that i wasn't physically lonely, just lonely because i wanted to pick up and dial your phone number. to tell you happy fathers day. to let you know that i love more than i can describe. to remind you that you are the best dad in the whole wide world. i wanted to come down and have a bar-b-que with you. i wanted to go to the beach and walk along the sand. i wanted to lay next to you on the couch. to laugh and cry with you. i wanted to get advise from you. i just wanted you.

since i couldn't call, i prayed. i thanked GOD for allowing me to have you for the time that i did. i praised HIM for allowing you to be the one that was perfect for me. the one that GOD saw fit to raise me. i thanked the LORD for the fact that you taught me to follow the LORD. to appreciate HIS word. to look to HIM in all my darkness, in my joy, in my fear, in my anything. i am better because of you... because you were the one who first directed me to JESUS. your advice still sticks with me. i am only sad that i won't get anymore of it. but i will pass on what you gave me. the love you gave to me. the love for you showed me that only the LORD can provide.

so today, i celebrate you while you enjoy our heavenly Fathers presence. i celebrate your life. the life that i feel was cut so short, but was exactly how the LORD wanted it. i rejoice in your 60 1/2 years of life and your 31 years & 2 days as a father to tony, bri & i. i love you dad & miss you so much today. it is almost your birthday & i know they will have fireworks for you. i can't wait!

i love you triple.


Friday, June 12, 2009

my week.

last wednesday: found a large lump in my neck & got an appointment. they thought that the lymph node was the only node in your whole body you don't want enlarged.

last thursday: had an mri & found out they couldn't tell if it was cancerous or not

last friday: got biopsy #1.

tuesday: found out they only collected muscle tissue.

thursday: had another biopsy... a more painful biopsy.

today found out it was a hemangioma (a begnin tumor of a collection of blood vessels).

no cancer. coming on the 2 1/2 mark of losing my pops, it has been a really hard week. i have learned so much about myself. i have prayed so much it is amazing. beth, my lovely sister-in-law, told me to memorize james 1-2 (or she said she did when she had a biopsy last year)... so that & philippians 4 & a few verses in psalms is all i have read this last week.

'consider it pure joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. and let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. but if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ASK of God who gives to all generoulsy and without reproach, and it will be given to him. BUT he must ask in FAITH without any doubting, for the one who dobuts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. for that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.'

this week i have considered my trial a joy, not because i wanted to have a lack of sleep, to be afraid i was going to get the worse case senario, or because i wanted to cry almost the entire week. but i consider it joy because of how much i was physically able to be on my knees. to cry out for help to the LORD. even if it had turned out to be worse, then i still would have gained the entire experience...with just a little extra trial. praise the LORD it was nothing. it has been a long week. i need some sleep.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

elephant kisses.

kiss. eskimo kiss. butterfly kiss. elephant kiss.

every night jeremy gives me these kisses. we invented the elephant kiss. while watching animal planet one night, showing the life of an elephant herd. they were playfully flapping their ears at one another... showing affection. thus beginning our wonderful playful kisses. so we touch ears... an elephant kiss. i just got one. it was so sweet. it is all sealed with a monster hug.

Monday, June 1, 2009

to die. to live.

'to live is CHRIST, do die is GAIN.'

(todd has been going through philippians on sunday mornings with the high school students.)

this verse continually brought a ton of questions because i never fully sat down and really thought about what the verse meant. i never really comprehended the surrounding verses. i always wondered but never investigated what that truly meant. my question always was, how could both things be good? what does that really mean? to live is CHRIST?

i always got the 'to die is GAIN' part, but what does it mean to live is CHRIST. i get it. it is so simple. to live is to be like CHRIST to those who are around us. to minister & share the word with those who are watching (everyone is watching). to live is to be LIKE CHRIST. todd challenged his students to minister where they were at. to be an example where they are at. to serve others where they are at.

it also challenged me. my 'at' is different than theirs. i need to be CHRIST to my kids. to those that i work with every day. to the teachers that i come in contact with when i am dropping off and picking the kids up from school. i need to be CHRIST to those that are hurting & just want to talk. I need to be an example of CHRIST to those who are doing great and need me to celebrate in their joy. to the high school student who is making poor choices, i need to be CHRIST, reacting as he would react. to be that example every time words come out of my mouth.

i was challenged.
i need to be different.
i should show others JESUS everyday.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

hard to part.

these two are usually inseparable. they do everything together when they are not at school. but they are fighting like crazy too. they have a really hard time being apart from one another & can't wait until the other gets home from school...depending on the day. their sweetness toward each other is breathtaking.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


yesterday... as i wrote yesterday... was a rather unique and difficult day emotionally for me. what could have been a really sad day turned out to be a huge blessing. a little story for you. we were in the market for new cell phones. i thought yesterday would be a good time to go out and surprise todd with the new phone. ash and i headed over to at&t (a new carrier for us) because todd is in love with the i-phone. we make our purchases with a really sweet employee named angel. she ran through everything with me... ash continually asking if it was time to go. (it got a little long). she hands me the phones and i freak out! all the messages i had saved from the past year of my dad were on my old phone, old service, now somewhere is space. i instantly start balling, apologizing continually to her & then get her crying. she went into help mode. i tried to forward the messages on my old phone to her. having to listen to the entire message and then forward them (crying). unsuccessful. she calls verizon and talks with them. i call verizon and talk with the customer service agent who i now have to tell i just left his service but want him to help me despite the fact that i packed up and jumped ship. i hand the phone to her & she gets them to stop the transfer for a few hours so i can get home and record. successful. i rush to pick up jt from tiny tigers (preschool). rush home. charge my now dying phone because i don't want to record the beep of the dying phone. i have to re-listen to all the messages (now for the second time & the tears came that much quicker and easier). but i got them. angel called me to make sure i got them from my phone. she was so sweet. she even called her husband crying after i left the store. her name fit her today. so if you go to slo at&t see her. she is amazing.

on a fun note. here are some silly pics of my kids playing with boxes. we are setting up furniture in an office space & they played with the boxes and painters tape. i comletely remember my little-big brother (i now call him this because he is 6 ft 2 in and i am almost a foot shorter than him... but still older. ugh.) and i doing this when we were kids. my dad was a developer and when they would set up the models (if it was close to our house) he would bring home the boxes & build us these elaborate box houses in the backyard... our houses had windows and doors. i guess that is what you get when you have a dad who is in construction. ash & j just built a ship. one of the boxes became the ocean. j tried to surf on it. he even made surf board out of cardboard. one of the best parts of the day was that my dad's best friends daughter, who is like a sister to me, stopped on her drive to see us. we spent about 6 hours just hanging out. it was perfect.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

two months.

today marks 2 months since my dad went home to be with JESUS. as anyone would assume, this isn't getting any easier for me... in fact there are days when it is harder than i can describe. i deeply miss my dad. the day to day contact (lack of) is horrible. i have only tried to call him once. i actually dialed his cell phone number while driving up to morro bay, so now everytime i drive up there i think of that moment. ash is struggling with life in general and people are telling us it is because of the attachment she had with him & now she is mourning the loss through the only way she knows how (being a BRAT)... this is where we are trying as parents to allow grace and mercy to flow. here is what i have learned these last few months.

1. i talked to my dad a lot & have had a hard time figuring out how to not have that any longer.
2. i really want my kids to remember their papa.
3. it hard to explain to people how i am doing.
4. it doesn't seem real.
5. i need JESUS to get me through all of the gross pain.
6. prayer has been my constant companion as it wasn't as prevelent before.
7. heaven really is a place.
8. JESUS is constantly there to embrace me when i stumble to the ground.
9. it is hard to get out of bed some days, but easier on others.
10. the best think my dad left me with with an understanding of JESUS.

one thing he always said to my sister and i when we were kids was, 'i love you triple.' it was this whole thing we used to do. he would first say, 'i love you double.' we would make a sad face. then he would yell, 'triple'. and we would get all excited. we would do it to him too. in december i remember him telling me (and it has stuck with me), 'i love you triple forever.'

i love you triple... forever.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


i just love this boy. he CRACKS me up. we went and grabbed dinner together last night... at the most classy place of course (taco bell). we just talked and talked. i am not really sure about what. it was such a sweet little moment. just the two of us. isn't he too cute?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


so i have been a rather pondering type mood. trying to find myself or something. i am not totally sure, but thoughts of life & survival have popped in my head a ton this past week. the realizations of who i am have been a little bit daunting, but nonetheless insightful. allowing my mind to try and figure out 'life' is insane. here is my question... why is it that we (i) allow ourselves to stand in the shadow of others? even if they are our friends. why do we not see ourselves as worthy of shining as bright as those who are around us? how come we don't value who we are in Christ, bringing forth a ray of light that is so striking?

amuse me for a second... i was watching 'the holiday' with kate winslet, jack black, cameron diaz, & jude law. there is a scene that always makes me think. it is when kate winslets character is eating with the older gentleman in a restaraunt & he is analyzing her (in a sense). he used to be in the film industry & is trying to encourage her in her recent 'split' of sorts which brought her to LA on 'holiday'. he says... in movies, there are the friends & then there are leading ladies. kate winslet's response is... you are supposed to be the leading lady of your own life. there are word in between, but you get the picture.

we get this beautiful life only once. we get today only once. this moment is only seen once. i need to make sure that i am shining in this life, today, & moment... but how is the question.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

just sewn.

a few weeks ago i bought the book 'sew what! bags'. it is a pretty cute book... not a ton of things i love, but what drew me to the book was a few things. they are some cute patterns for big bags (we can all use some big bags), but also it had a holder for paint brushes. being that i already have a bag for my brushes, i had an idea. not loving the bag that my make-up brushes were in, i thought that i would shrink down the size a little bit. make compartments for large brushes and smaller things as well... like tweezers & q-tips. i love it a ton. with the extra fabric, i made a matching make-up bag that is 10" x 9". it is perfect. the best thing... it think... is that the top folds down so that the brushes don't fall out.

Monday, May 11, 2009

only part superhero.

i had a revelation today. actually just a minute ago. here... all this time... i thought i was a super hero. but i realized that i am not a super hero. because if i was a super hero, i would be able to work as much as i needed to in order to complete the task at hand, dinner would prepare itself & the ingredients would be fresh (because i would grow them in my back yard of course), i would have no dust in my house, and the halos that reside above my children's heads would be so bright that you wouldn't be able to look at them. wow... no super hero here. it was like a 2 x 4 just smacked me in the face. i gave it some thought... well maybe i can be just part super hero. tomorrow starts a new day. we shall see.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


do you know that moment, just before summer sets in, but springtime is coming to an end? it is the end of the beautiful blooms, but the looming of summertime bar-b-ques & fireworks. just before the warm of the summer sets in. just before the beaches are packed full of people. just before the everything starts getting fun and crazy. smiles on faces. school is almost out. summer is beginning to start. its coming, but not so far ahead that you cannot see the warmth of the summer sun. it is the beautiful moments of spring & summer all rolled into a moment that constantly takes your breath away because you can see and hear the creation of God. you can experience it first hand. the craftmanship of the Lord. it is beautiful. it is magnificent. it is breathtaking.

this is one of my favorite moments of the year. our summers are crazy fun. they are filled with tons of ministry (our home is always open to our students). they are filled with a lot of trips to the beach. bar-b-ques in the backyard. park days. bike rides. trips to hume lake. it brings a smile to my face. oh i am so excited. that upcoming happiness gets me all excited for the summer. last year i set out to make a quilt that captured the craziness of our summer. the delight of our springtime experience. something that was fun. that was bright. that was happy. and i finished it! i love it. it makes me smile. it reminds me of that moment at the end of the peaceful, beautiful, wonderful spring & the excitement of the crazy, fabulous, sunfilled summer months.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

i'm a dork.

so i just finished watching high school musical 3 for the umpteenth time! i love it. that is the dorky part! i know the songs. i can sing them for you. although you don't want me to. i can sing all the songs from all 3 high school musicals. i watch the outtakes on the end... and laugh hysterically! i think they are a little cheesy, but they are so light hearted. i remember watching grease when i was ashlynn's age. i thought it was so funny when my mom would watch it with me. i know ashlynn is going to think the same thing. but oh well. right now she wants me to watch it. we have our favorite songs that we will sing together. ooohhh... the bonding moments of mother and daughter over a movie with a bunch of singing high school students who are actually more college age. way fun for a wednesday night.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


so we live by the airport. we often watch the planes take off & touch down. the kids love seeing them come in from a distance while we are driving & want us to slow down our driving so we can watch them land. it really is so fun! i grew up with my dad being a pilot. not for work, but for pleasure. which meant we got to go a lot of fun places just for the day. during the winter months, we would fly up to mammoth almost every weekend (usually just me and my dad) for a little ski time. yesterday, while i was driving down tank farm, a smaller jet took off and crossed over the street. the plane looked a lot like one of my dad's. i started to cry & then without control started to smile. even now remembering that moment yesterday, i am smiling.

was i remembering those precious times? was i laughing at all the silly things we used to do together in the plane? or something else? i think it was a combination of everything. memories flooded back to me. i could hear the laughter of my siblings and i in the back of the plane as we played games & waited with anticipation to land. and the reality that almost 3 weeks ago, my dad flew away to JESUS.

it is nice to have these wonderfully precious memories come to me, instead of those last few memories of seeing my dad sick. it doesn't make my need for him any easier, but i have shared a lot of stories about growing up lately and that makes me smile!

Friday, April 10, 2009

nothing but love.

reality is hard, but laughter has covered a magnitude of grief. it is fantastic the way the LORD has allowed my kids to say and do the most silly things. today i am thankful for that in a way that i have never been able to understand before. plus... todd has been such a great help for me emotionally. he has allowed me to be really sad (and is sad a long side of me) & laughs with me when the silliness happens. i am very thankful for my little family. thank you all for your constant prayers & support. for all the cards & phone calls.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

today we ride. not to race. not to win. but to honor. from santa clarita park, the boys + 3 girls took off to pay tribute to my dad. it was a beautiful experience. these men who have riden with my dad over the years. tony made armbands with my dad's initials. everyone had their 'gary waterbottles'. they prayed at the park & took off up bouquet canyon. to the top. & back down. never leaving each other. of course todd & jeremy (a friend not my son) had to race to the top. old habits die hard. it was a way to honor him. a way to love him. a way to pay tribute to him. it was beautiful.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

a tribute.

this is going in the pamphlet for the memorial service for my dad... one of the hardest things to write...

Everyone has a story. Each story paints a picture of life. Some stories bring sorrow. Other stories share burdens. Gary’s story generates HOPE. Here is his story.

Celebrating the birth of our country took a different shape in the Catalde family on July 4, 1947. Gary was born to Charles & Joyce Catalde at the Queen of Angels Hospital in Los Angeles, becoming their ‘Little Firecracker’. His nickname quickly became that of his personality, not simply holding the significance of his birth date. Gary was the middle child, placed strategically between two amazing brothers, Brian and Dale. The love and bond between the three of them has continually been evident as an example of how brothers should be knit together.

Following his marriage in 1976 to Caryl, Gary seemed to find a niche in life that suited him completely… fatherhood. Over the span of six years he became a father to three amazing kids; Summer, Tony and Breezi. Also, striking a unique love only to be found when he became Papa to his grandchildren, those whom he knows and those whom he was not able to hug, but loved nonetheless.

Gripping his heart, the Lord drastically changed his life. In 1984, in front of Tim Tom’s Burgers, Gary surrendered his life over to the Lord through prayer being led by Chuck Molton, a Los Angeles County Building Inspector. Immediately following that very precious moment, he fell in love with Scripture and its guidance for his life. Through it developing an understanding of God’s grace, mercy and love.

In December 2005, he wed Jan who walked gracefully alongside him through the last few years of his life.

Cancer seemed to enrich the faith that God had given to him. This triumph of faith manifested itself through the “assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen.” A hope that despite things such as cancer, there is a plan that only the Lord knows and that only the Lord can understand. The cancer that seemed to take his life far too early, actually took his life at the exact moment that God desired. Seeing fit, the Lord called one of his faithful servant home. His 15 year battle with cancer was won, with the Lord saying, ‘well done my good and faithful servant.’

Saturday, March 28, 2009

1:56 pm.

what a miracle life is. how precious life is. spectacular even. GOD has given us this precious gift of life in order to honor him and love him. at 1:56pm on march 26th my pops saw Jesus. he walked with HIS SAVIOR. it is so surreal. so sad. so amazing. i can picture him right now. belting out his favorite songs honoring the Lord in HEAVEN. (he didn't have a great earthly voice, but i know the Lord fixed that when he got to heaven. he would have to... it is supposed to be beautiful music). my dad passed away peacefully. which is what we wanted. he was sleeping & woke up in the arms of his Lord.

the drive down was hard. i talked with my sister a lot. i cried with todd a lot. but the question of seeing him loomed in the distance. do i walk into his house to see the shell that is left of my dad? i did walk in & reacted much different than i thought i would. i knelt by my dads body, face on the floor. i cried. i screamed. i told him i loved him. & then i prayed. i thank God for such a man. who lead me towards Jesus. who was my counsel. a man who highlighted my favorite verse in his bible. who calls me on mothers day. a man who prayed for me every day. a papa to my kids & my niece & nephew... and my sisters kids who we don't even know. a friend to so many. a love to so many!

thank you ALL for you prayers for my family. all of you have expressed so much love to us in the last few months. we are doing 'ok' given the circumstances. we are surviving.

i did my devotions out of my dads bible this morning. i wasn't sure what i wanted to read, but to know that where ever i read... he had read those words. here is where i landed... because in the margin in my dads handwriting were these words... 'my strength for the last days on earth.' 2 corinthians 5 (the whole chapter, but here is the first few.): 'For we know that if the earthy tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens... Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord~ for we walk by faith, not by sight~ we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.' this was my dad... is my dad. he is at home with the Lord & we are left to fight the sadness. and embrace the joy.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


for years the only person that i could find that had my birthday was the drivers ed instructor who taught my class when i was getting my license. i really wanted to find someone else who did have my birthday... someone other than the guy who made me watch 'red asphalt', had a huge beer belly, & i am pretty sure hit on all the young guys in the class. i went in search. not everyday, but i still did. when it was my birthday month i would look in people magazine to see if any celebrities had my birthday. nope. i would hope some of my friends would have babies on my birthday. nope. i almost gave up when my brother started dating beth. we were getting to know each other and... she has my birthday. how amazing. now the only bad thing is that i am older than her, but i can get over it. because someone normal has my birthday. i knew my brother had to marry her... i mean aside from her loving my brother. beth is mom to matthew and becky... the best nephew & niece (my only nephew & niece), wife to my favorite brother (my only brother) & currently holds the title of the best person to share a birthday date. silly right? well she truly is an amazing person. i love her because she loves my brother. is an excellent mom. counsels me through some hard stuff. laughs with me. cries with me. loves the Lord. i can call her when i see a kid on a leash & we can joke about it. she is such a special person in my life. she is the best sister in law in the world!


Sunday, March 22, 2009

for what its worth.

it has been amazing to walk alongside of my dad through this rough time. it has been wonderful to hear the heart of those who are coming and reading scripture to him & what they are choosing to share with him. it is fun to hear him talk with my brother about work stuff (he will never let that go). to watch my little sister (who is beyond precious to me & makes me laugh, cry, & oh so proud) fall asleep at my dads feet. to see ash & jt standing outside of the hospital window trying to get my dad's attention to say hello. to watch todd sit in a hospital room & not really do anything but chat with my dad. this morning in church we sang 'blessed be your name'. it spurred on the thought i have been mulling over all day long. my pops is still blessing the name of the LORD. it really is amazing that i get to watch this part of my dads life. of course, i wish i didn't have to watch it, however, i am thankful that it is a process for me. a hard process, but nonetheless a process that only refines my heart & my reality into exactly what God wants of me. i am blessed. what a blessing i have in my wonderful family.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

simply put.

walk with me through my last few days and see what the LORD has taught me through my kids. i will set the stage for you just a little bit. it is tuesday afternoon when i received one of the harder phone calls of my life. it was my dad & he started the conversation with, 'well, there are been so new developments. i am going to be stopping my treatment & going on hospice. i need you to come down and been here when i tell your sister. when can you come?' with that came a flood of emotions. there was a sick feeling in my stomach so bad that i thought i was going to throw up. the harsh reality that i was losing my dad. and of course the ever present rush of tears. i sat on the floor of my bedroom crying after just having talked with my mom & trying to figure out what i needed to pack for the next few days down in l.a. here is where the lessons rushed into my life.

1. 'it is okay to just let someone cry it out.' ashlynn kept jeremy away while i cried, taking the responsibility of him for a short time.

2. 'just ask in a calm fashion what is going on.' ashlynn sat down next to me and asked the simple question.

3. 'it is okay to hurt & mourn for those that you love.' when jeremy overheard the news about my dad, he started crying, saying that he didn't want his papa to die.

4. 'but it is JESUS.' through the tears of jeremy and myself, ashlynn's child-like faith came flooding out of her mouth... but j, when papa dies, he gets to be with JESUS. isn't that amazing!

5. 'innocence produces the most pure prayers.' i asked the kids to be praying for papa, aunt breezi, uncle tony. they stopped right where they were and prayed that everything would work out the way it was supposed to. they prayed that my dad would be healed. that aunt breezi wouldn't be too sad.

6. 'cuddling helps.' when we were within about 30 minutes from valencia, j was really sad again about what was going on. i climbed into the back seat of the car and just cuddled with both of the kids. it was healing.

it made me think of the verse that calls us to have a child-like faith. to be so pure with our ideals when it comes to scripture, to JESUS, and even to death. how did i loose that faith? how come i am having a hard time seeing that my dad going to be with JESUS as a sad thing? how come it is difficult to see past my fears? answer... i am selfish. because i am not getting it my way. i am not seeing it through the eyes of JESUS. because i want to have my dad forever... but my dad wants JESUS. i asked him if he was ready to die. his simple answer was , 'yes'. wow. i am not sure i could say that right now and be completely honest!

Sunday, March 15, 2009


on thursday morning, i sat by my dad's hospital bed and prayed with him & the chaplain of the hospital (who also happens to be a dear friend of my dads). something she said has stuck with me far longer than i thought it would have. it also is something that i know & have known for as long as i have known Christ. margarie's pray included these simple, yet profound words, 'in CHRIST we have victory.'

i began to think why we needed victory (not simply the generic reasons that my kids can give me. not sunday school answers), but truly why do we need victory. victory insinuates that a stuggle is going on... check. that the battle it painful & therefore it might need a little bit of effort... check. that it is a hard time having made fight that much more indearing... check. why is there a fight? why is there a battle? why is there pain during suffering? my answer just came to me. satan has no heart. he is an opportunist by nature. he is willing to take advantage of those who are at their lowest or have a broken heart. he allows no room for us to grieve and hurt, but rather kicks us while we are down. satan isn't in this world to fight fair. he is here to fight hard and fight dirty.

that is why we have victory. that is why we need to seek victory in CHRIST alone. for this reason we fight our hardest to have victory in CHRIST alone.

Friday, March 6, 2009


ash likes to take pictures of herself. almost all of these pictures are when she is in trouble, sitting on my bed, my camera close by her. others are taken at graduations while i was sitting next to her (no idea she was taking them of herself). the bottom middle was at disneyland while she was using a table to help assist her in her efforts to catch her silly face. these are the ones from the last year! she is a silly girl.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


a student of ours... lets call him eli. eli comes to our house once a week, lets our kids jump on him, plays guitar hero with todd (or the wii), and generally stays to watch 24 with us. he also saw me cry after talking with my dad one night. he has been such a blessing to us over the last year, making our transition easier into a ministry that is a little daunting. 'eli' is very musical & enjoys sharing music with us as well. he made me a cd of wonderful encouraging songs. i am listening to it right now actually. he titled the cd 'silent screams. quiet prayers.' so perfect. silently i scream out 'why!', and quitely i pray 'show me!' also included were some verses. here is one:

'why are you downcast, o my soul?
why so disturbed within me?
put your hope in GOD, for i will yet praise HIM, my SAVIOR & my GOD.'
psalm 42.11

thanks eli for being a part of our family.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

oh so fun.

using all the letters of the alphabet, ashlynn came up with some fun things that she loves. just to name few... belly buttons (favorite book as a little person). mooches (her bear). elephants (her favorite animal). u. it was a silly little project that made us laugh a lot! oh and she says she likes to say the word ooooh! it felt so good just to laugh. why do i have to remind myself to have a little fun!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

old pics.

these are pics of my mom and her family when she was little. she lived such a fun life. my grandpa was in the airforce so they traveled and lived all over the world. the little boys are my uncles... uncle cary && uncle carl. my mom's name is caryl. my aunts names are carli && carin. try yelling all 5 of those names in a row... carin, caryl, carl, cary, carli! i have trouble with two kids and their names are so different. go figure. my grandma is pretty amazing. even at her age, she is still giving tours through old museums in virginia near dc, working in the garden, enjoying life. i don't know them very well, but i want to be like that when i am in my 80's.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


'have no fear for giving in
have no fear for giving over
you better know
that in the end
its better to say too much
than never to say what you need
to say again
even if your hands are shaken
and your faith is broken
even as your eyes are closin'
do it with a heart wide open... wide
say what you need to say'
-part of john mayer's song 'say'

Monday, February 9, 2009

holding hands.

i walked down the hallway holding my dad's hand. he was in the emergency room due to the massive fluid constricting his lungs. the pressure was literally killing him. as we were entering the hallway... lined with white walls. white floor. white lights. white linens. i felt my dad grab my hand and squeeze it. it was all i could do to not explode into tears! not to run and crawl into a corner. not to scream at God as to why this is all happening. instead, i remained strong. i walked my dad into his room. he gave my hand three more squeezes and then let go so that he could lay in bed. that is when i exited the room, back down the white on white hallway & broke down.

yesterday they released the pressure of the lung by removing 1600 cc's of fluid (that is about 1 1/2 iv bags of fluid). his pain hasn't subsided and the fluid is starting to increase again. we are waiting. i talk with him on an almost daily basis. sometimes it is about him. sometimes it is about the kids. all the time it is about how God has planned his life from the beginning of time. today he told me to call whenever i could. to yell if i needed to. to cry if i needed. to just sit on the phone if i wanted. he said he wished i was there to be with him. i would never yell at my dad (no regrets right?). i always cry. i don't want to just sit on the phone... i just want to talk. i always want to be there.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

dad update.

hey friends. thank you so much for all your prayers and questions about my dad. his cancer seems to be slowing down for right now. the treatment he has received in mexico has complete eliminated 3 out of 4 tumors on his liver. made the tumor outside of his lungs beneath his sternum smaller. caused his blood cell count to be better than it has been in a long time.

with all that said, he just called me telling me that he is going to be admitted into the hospital. in december they cut into his paracardium and placed a window so that his heart would work at the appropriate capacity, draining the fluid that was around his heart. the window has stopped doing its job. he is back to having a hard time breathing. he is having a lot of pain again. continue to pray. he is fighting as hard as he can! his endurance amazes me beyond what i can even understand!!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

the rag coat.

we are reading the rag coast by lauren mills this week for school. this piece of literature is so spectacular. as a little girl, Minna is growing up a poor girl in the cold appalachian mountains. her papa has died while she is still young. 'everyone comes at once and brought us food. i couldn't figure out how so many people could squeeze into our little cabin, but somehow they managed it.' (Minna narrates) the story goes on to tell of the path this little girls takes to get to school, needing a coat to face the weather... something we so take for granted. as the quilting mothers make her coat from scraps of their own fabric, Minna's excitement is almost uncontainable. after she overcomes people making fun of her for her rag coat, she tells her story & the stories of those people in which the fabric came from. i could totally empathize with her grief of losing her father (not the lacking part), and cried through the whole book. i read the book twice yesterday to myself to try and prepare my heart to get through it, but i didn't work. i still cried.

our project for the book was to do a 'quilt square'. we could use paper or material. of course ashlynn wanted material. she has been wanting to use my sewing machine for such a long time. when i told her she would be able to use it, i thought she was going to come out of her skin with enthusiasm. so... off we went. she picked out everything! she picked the colors above (so proud they all match), red thread, and what she wanted on it. (she actually wanted her whole name, but that just was too much). she cut the fabric... with my help. our story for the these squares is this... the red, yellow & star patterned square comes from my mom. the 'A' was used in a cape from my nephew. the final square was used in another project for what? i have no clue. so she sat in my lap and guided the pieces of fabric through the machine needle. she picked the stitch we used for the 'A'. when she was done, she was so proud. i was proud of her too. to see her get so excited. chatting the whole time about how great it was to sew on my machine. it was such a sweet moment. plus... she did a really great job! just don't look too closely at the back.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


i was raised by a mom (an art teacher) who abled me and my siblings to love creativity! whether it is drawing, painting, designing, ect. i try to do that with the kids... ash has taken to it so much better than j. i have started volunteering in ash's class teaching the classic artists. i love how everything comes out so different from student to student. ash has fallen in love with the charcoal. painting. pencils. markers. everything. i just love it.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


we all need to harness our 'diva' images. girls will be girls. we are fun. silly. a little crazy. always up for something adventurous! i decided i needed a little diva in my purse... so i made a diva pen. for some reason it reminds me of greece. i have never been, but plan to go. the blues and the greens remind me of 'mama mia'. can't you just see it. the blue waters. the greens of the hillside. the crystal clear sand beaches. ah. to just be there right now.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


we had some of our closest friends surprise us on new years eve night. they came and stayed with us for a night. it was so sad to see them go... but we did have fun watching the seals do some pretty 'interesting' things at the pier in port san luis. we had a blast going to pismo for lunch! it was a short time together, but it is always filled with laughing! we did a lot. heck look at the pictures. jeremy is apparently a pirate. ashlynn can open her mouth larger than danny. jeremy and todd look like they are in the 50's on a date drinking out of the same cute at the local diner. we had a blast together. hurray for fun friends.