Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween at the Hodge Lodge

For Halloween this year, Amber was a China girl and Autumn was Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Amber really wanted to wear the dress that our friend brought back from China. With a bun in her hair, a lot of hairspray and my pretty chopsticks, she pulled off the look rather well. Autumn wore the Dorothy outfit her sister wore two years ago. Autumn looked more like Dorothy than Amber did because of her darker hair. They were so cute as they left the house with Daddy to go pilfer the neighborhoods! Long before the big night, this morning Amber and Autumn dressed up all of their stuffed animals for Halloween. They even dressed up a few Little Pet Shop animals with ponytail holders and hair clips. I have two very creative little girls. Whew! I am exhausted from the mad make-up/wardrobe dash to get them out the door. Happy Halloween!

The Big 40!

My last day of being 39...

The day I turned 40...

Three reasons I am glad to turn another year older...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My brain is about to explode!

All day long, Amber had asked me deep questions. Here are a few that I can remember:

How did the men who wrote the Bible know what to write?

What does faithful mean?

What does loyalty mean?

How did (young life teen) become a foster child?

She asked me a math question, too, but since math is my weakness, I can't even remember the question.

She asked more than just these, and I attempted to answer each one to the best of my knowledge. When I was putting her to bed, she asked me one more question about my age and my mom, etc. I was so tired that I said--in a sweet tone, "Amber, you've asked so many question today that I just can't answer one more, sweetie."

She said, "But they've all been good questions." I agreed with her and kissed her good-night.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Remembering a Great Aunt

Dortha June Smith
October 5, 1911 - October 19, 2009



Early Monday morning I heard the phone ring. It was my mom, and I knew immediately why she was calling. My beloved Aunt June had passed away, at the age of 98. She was my great aunt, in both meanings of the word "great."

Aunt June was my mom's mother's sister, but she helped raised my mom, so she was so much more than an aunt. She lived in Farmington, Missouri for most of her adult life. Though my family moved from St. Louis to Phoenix when I was 2 years old, we still went back to Missouri to visit from time to time. I have fond memories of going to my aunt's little home. Most of my memories, though, revolve around Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. Aunt June had a clear glass bowl on top of her refrigerator, filled with single sized Reeses (not the little bite-sized ones). When we would come over to visit, she would get it down and give us one peanut butter cup. It became a tradition, and to this day my all-time favorite candy bar is Reeses. It's all Aunt June's fault.

Aunt June was a strong woman. She married a military man in 1941, and less than 19 years later, she became a widow. She remained unmarried for the next 49 years until her death. She also outlived 10 brothers and sisters. She was an aunt of five generations.

I also remember Aunt June for her spunk. She was feisty. She knew what she wanted and could not be deterred. A few years ago, when her health began to slightly fail, she was upset because she was no longer allowed to push her wheelchair-bound friends to chapel on Sunday mornings at the retirement home in which she lived.

Aunt June loved God with all of her heart. Now she gets to see him face to face.

A Week in the Life of a Young Life Volunteer

Wow! It has been a crazy Young Life week for me! Some weeks are quiet, while others are bursting with teen activity. Here's a synopsis of what my week was like:

Sunday, October 11: Young Life Banquet-- a fund raising dinner that I and several other teens waited tables at. We all had a great time serving and laughing together.

Monday, October 12: Young Life Club (every other week outreach event), where I led songs and met several new students. We had great conversations while driving the students home after Club.

Tuesday, October 13: I stood up a Young Life teen. Yep, I forgot that I was going to take her out to lunch for her birthday and I literally left her standing in the rain.

Wednesday, October 14: (Noon) The teen forgave me and gave me a second chance. I picked her up in the rain, and we went out to a new Italian restaurant to celebrate.

Wednesday, October 14 (3:30 p.m.): I took another Young Life teen out to coffee for her birthday where we had a great conversation and I was blessed to see how this young lady is serving God with all of her heart.

Monday, October 19: Young Life Campaigners (ever other week Bible Study for teen leaders) was at our home. Three new people came. I led the Bible Study out of John 2:12-16, talking about Jesus' compassion for the oppressed and those being taken advantage of. We had a great discussion. Then the girls made jewelry while the guys went on a night-time beach swim. Brrrrr.

So that is what has been going on with Young Life in the Ojai Valley. We continue to see more and more new students showing up at both Club & Campaigners. We are growing. And more students are being introduced to Jesus. It's awesome!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Breakfast In Bed

I guess the novelty hasn't worn off, after all. This morning I woke up to a little 6-year-old beauty who brought me breakfast in bed. It was cheerios. With milk. Amber told me that she also got breakfast for her and her sister. "And I didn't spill anything," she said. Sometimes I wonder, "How did I become so blessed with this adorable, sweet family?" I know there are trying times (like right now when they are in the living room fighting over a stupid toy). But then there are times like this morning. And I am overwhelmed with gratitude to God.