Saturday, May 29, 2010

Free Day

Yesterday was the first day in two weeks that I really felt good, so I ventured out into the "big" city of Ojai to run some errands. I went to my favorite store in town, "Second Helpings Thrift Shop," and scored some great deals on clothes and accessories that we need to take to Woodleaf in two weeks. While I was there, I saw my friend Jennel, and gave her a ride home because she doesn't drive. As we pulled into her driveway, she pointed out the five large bags of clothes that were sitting on her porch. Her sister, who happens to be my size, did some spring cleaning and was more than happy to pass her clothes on to me! If I hadn't given Jennel a ride home, I would have missed out on a sweet deal! I couldn't wait to go home and try on the clothes. I found the cutest tops and jeans and shorts and sweats. They were in such good condition, too. There were far too many clothes for me, and so I passed some of the bags on to a friend so she could have a new wardrobe, too! Then I did some spring cleaning of my own.

Later I took my girls on a walk and one of my neighbors had a bunch of things on her porch to give away. More spring cleaning and more free stuff for me! I only took what I would use:

* a set of oars, which comes in handy since we broke an oar at Catalina Island last year.
* a wooden folding chair--I have been looking for nice folding chairs for years because we entertain so much.
* a Rubbermaid set of drawers on wheels--next week I was going to buy a plastic bin to store costumes for Young Life and this is even better!
* a wet suit to loan (give) to the next high school student who wants to go surfing with Eric.
* a chalkboard for the girls to use outside.
* and a plastic sword to replace my pirate sword that Amber broke last year (my Jack Sparrow costume is complete again!)

This just goes to show you that if you wait long enough, you don't have to pay for anything, and that includes food. To end our "free day," we ate out at Farmer & The Cook gratis because Eric fixed the owner's car door and he was paid with a gift certificate.

I've said it once and I'll say it again, "If it's free, it's for me!"

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Perspective: found on the sidewalk

I just recovered from having the flu. I spent the last four days in bed--literally. While I lay in bed day after day, my outlook on life got grimmer and grimmer until I felt like I was in a pit of despair (no wise cracks from Princess Bride). Not only was I sick, but I had my usual headaches and there were a few other troubles thrown in the mix. It made for one hurting, crabby and very sad Christine. Until last night. I decided to surrender all of my troubles to the Lord. I had been doing that all along, but my natural tendency to control things found me taking all my troubles back.

Today I felt better--physically, emotionally and spiritually. It was the first day I felt good and so I decided to go on a walk, since I had missed a week of my morning walks. On my way back home, I saw a friend of mine and crossed the street to chat with her. I inquired about her husband, who recently had back surgery-gone-bad. She told me that he has not improved and for now he can't even walk. He can't even walk. He can't walk. I had to pause when I returned home to let that sink in. I felt pretty miserable after my inaugural walk (a touch of the flu still in my body) but I was still able to walk. I walked to the bedroom to change my clothes. I walked to the kitchen to get a glass of water. I walked. It put things in perspective for me. Now I'm not discounting my former feelings of despair or pain or sadness. Most of them were valid and true. But I got out of bed this morning and I can walk.

I can walk.

I can walk.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Real Conversation and Instant Communication

I was talking to my husband tonight about how disconnected we, as a society, have become. With texting came easier, faster, instant communication, but at what cost? I know most of you have read the articles or heard the experts talk about how texting has fostered an inability for teen-agers to have face-to-face conversation. This is not what I am writing about.

Lately I've been disappointed with the fact that it is getting more and more difficult to have a real conversation with another adult. By "real conversation," I mean one that is uninterrupted by a phone call or a text message. More than once I have sat in a coffee shop with a friend who has checked her phone throughout our short time together. Sure, the phone is on vibrate and it isn't ringing the whole time we talk, but it is sending her little signals to check her text messages, which she so dutifully does. She assures me that she is paying attention to me and tells me to "continue" with what I am saying, but at some point it gets rather old, and I feel that what I have to say isn't really important. The truth is, it isn't.

This happens not only in the coffee shop, but it happens as I talk with people who are visiting in my home. It happens during Bible study, and yes, I have even seen people text in church. I guess what the pastor has to say isn't that important, either. At least I'm in good company.

I may have ticked off a few friends by what I wrote. After all, who am I to talk about texting, I don't even own a cell phone. On the other hand, maybe no one will read this since blogs are a thing of the past. But I really am concerned with how far we've come in this techno-savvy age we live in. Have we come so far that we've forgotten the importance of a real, uninterrupted conversation--a conversation in which both people can talk and be heard, really heard? Have we forgotten that the people who are right in front of us are--at least for those few moments--more important than the people who are on the other end of the cell phone? Instant communication has its costs, just like instant gratification, instant coffee and instant mashed potatoes.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Woodleaf Family Ministry Getaway

It's been more than a week since we returned from Woodleaf, and I am finally sitting down to record some of the highlights of our 10-day stay in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This is the second year we've gone to Woodleaf, a Young Life camp, so that Eric could help the camp mechanic service and repair camp and staff vehicles. In exchange for Eric's help, we get to stay on this beautiful campus free of charge. This year, we got to stay in a home that is 100-years-old! That was fun!
While at Woodleaf, we went on walks in the woods by ourselves (me), went on walks as a family, fixed cars (Eric), homeschooled, petted horses, picnicked by the lake, picnicked on the porch, painted (the girls), fed the birds, fed the fish, took lots of pictures, found an elf, had dinner at the Gardners, had lunch at the Greshams, had dinner at the Gardners again, had lunch at the Hagenbuchs, went on a muddy walk with Becca (me), slept in, babysat the Gardner kids, went on a date (Eric & I), made a lot of crafts, went to a Ladies' Bible study, raided the Lost-N-Found, cleaned and organized the Falck House kitchen, went hot-tubing, ate ice cream at the Sugar Barrel, had a fish fry with Eric's sea bass, strengthened relationships, made dandelion wishes, stopped to smell the flowers, saw six baby goslings, saw dozens of geese, helped build a fence, built a fort in the living room, watched it rain, watched it hail, WATCHED MY GIRLS DANCE IN THE FALLING SNOW!

The 100-year-old Falck House front porch
(I failed to get a pic of the whole house!)

Dancing in the snow.

The girls.

Amber took this adorable picture!

Daddy & his girls by the lake.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Lucky

Tonight we were joking around at the dinner table about someone being "the luckiest person on earth" and Amber said, "That's not true. Daddy was the luckiest person in the world when he got married!"

The Best Mother's Day YET.

Today was a wonderful Mother's Day. I could go on and on about how my family spoiled me...actually I will go on and on. It started with flowers from my husband last night, then this morning Amber & Autumn let us sleep in until 8:00. When I awoke and stumbled into the hallway, I almost collided with Amber, who was carrying a plate of food to my room. Breakfast in bed included bread, a banana and yogurt--with a sweet hand-written note from Amber.

Then I got to open my hand-made cards from the girls; the cards that they made on their own with no help from dad. These girls may have a future in card-making! Autumn gave me a trinket box she made in preschool and Amber gave me a home-made necklace and also lotion & lip balm (from her own stash). Eric also made me a card, with photos of me that he cut out in the shape of hearts! After church the girls presented me with more goodies: colored pictures, and Amber brought in a beautiful bouquet of flowers from our garden.


After lunch, we went to the matinee showing of "Disney's Oceans" and sat with friends who joined us at the park afterward. Then we returned back home for a game of Sorry and dinner cooked by Eric--white sea bass!


As I sat on the living room carpet and Amber rubbed my feet (I am not making this up), I said, "This is the best Mother's Day ever!" Amber stopped rubbing my feet and said, "I say this is the best Mother's Day yet, because next year will be even better!" With a family like mine, I'm sure she's right.