Saturday, November 14, 2015

Our Van - What A Headache

Diana reminded me today that I haven't updated the blog in a while. Things have been so busy lately, I've barely had time to think about it!

I got a letter in the mail today from a blogging friend. You know who you are! What a joy to open that mailbox and see an envelope with my name hand written on the front! So fun!! I couldn't wait to get in the house and open it!

Let's see, what else? We got our van back. It was found in another park & ride type of lot not too far from where we had left it. When Chuck and I pulled into the tow yard he noticed the slider door was open. "That's the way we found it" is what the guy at the tow yard told us. Whoever took it basically tore up the inside; opened the glove compartment and various little drawers and dumped everything out. They pulled the antenna off the inside front window (the one for our electric gauges, direction, temperature, etc.) dumped bins over, rolled down windows, just made a mess of things and then walked away from it.

I think I'm more angry at whoever runs the parking lot where it was found. It's one of these places where you park and pay. Our van was stolen on a Monday. Early Tuesday morning the attendant put a ticket on the windshield for non-payment. And they did again the next day and the next day... we got a total of 10 tickets!! Was the slider door open this whole time?? They could tell the van was trashed inside, why didn't they call after a day or two to report it?? Instead it sat in their lot for two weeks, the seats getting soaked from all the rain we've had... grrr!

BUT, we have it back. The guy at the tow yard said to make copies of all the tickets and send them in with a copy of the police report and we shouldn't have to pay them. Driving it home from the tow yard I was so thankful it was still running, no windows were broken and it wasn't stripped. But man, this has been a headache.

I don't think I've taken any pictures in the last couple of weeks. Well, except for the inside of the van. But no fun pictures. :)  Lately it seems I've been more busy than usual. Is your life like that too? Most of the time you're just going through the motions, one day looks like the next. And then all of the sudden you've got meetings and outings and appointments and... I'm in one of those phases. Almost every day there's something to do and someplace to be. Fridays and Saturdays have been my weekends lately. I'm purposely keeping them as quiet as possible!  

Friday, November 6, 2015

A Thief and a Phone Call

On October 26th, Chuck drove to the park & ride and rode the bus into work. When he got back that evening, the van was gone.

He called me, "Unless you or Diana moved the van, it's gone!" "What?!?"

Diana and I drove to the lot and waited with Chuck for the police. They told him this happens quite often and will probably be found in a few days. The thief will take it for a joy ride, then dump it somewhere. Someone will call 911 about a car parked in front of their house and it will end up being a stolen car.

I was in denial. "Chuck, maybe you really parked over there when you only think you parked over here." Now, this is a 15 year old van with nothing special about it. No fancy radio, no sun roof, it doesn't even have a CD player. Why would they want our van?

We talked to friends and they've all told us, "Ours was found the next day." Our car was returned within 48 hours." One lady even told me her car was returned right to her driveway!

But, it's been almost 2 weeks and we haven't heard a thing. We look for it every time we go out. Thankfully our insurance is paying for a rental car but we're ready to have our own car back.


I came home from work the other day and Beth came upstairs. She sat at the kitchen table and told me that someone called her cell phone. She doesn't usually get calls so I asked her if she knew who it was. She got a big smile on her face and said, "It was N!!"

"Really Beth? He called you?! What did he say?"

"He wants us live somewhere else." Hmm, okay. I don't know if he just wishes our families lived closer or if he wants the two of them to live together. Either way, we talked about them hanging out together first, going out to eat, to the movies, getting to know each other better. She smiled a lot and I could tell she was a little embarrassed but she wants this so desperately. To have a real boyfriend.

Well, a couple nights ago her and I were in the living room when her phone rang. She went into the hall to answer it and all I heard was, "Okay. Yea. Okay." When she came back, her head was down. "Beth was that N?" She nodded. "What did he say?"

Head down, very quiet, "I don't wanna talk 'bout it."

"Beth, is everything okay?"

"I don't wanna talk 'bout it."

I asked her sisters if she's said anything to them about it but she hasn't. It's killing me but she won't talk about it. :(

Friday, October 30, 2015

"Let me win. But If I Cannot Win, Let Me Be Brave in the Attempt"

Beth took part in the Special Olympics bowling tournament last weekend. She looks forward to it every year. Generally the girls bowl in the morning and the guys bowl in the afternoon.

Every year it seems like there are a thousand people packed into that bowling alley!

And this was before the afternoon teams arrived!

We all got settled, the bowlers got their name tags and bowling assignments and all the computers lit up. (Thankfully the alley had put the names in ahead of time!) Of course, we got there early to be sure we'd get a seat. Beth was ready and waiting for everything to begin. 

Her team is the Mukilteo Pinbusters

We sang the National Anthem and said the Special Olympics creed.

Let the games begin! 

 During practice earlier in the year, they take the average of each bowler and then for the tournament, they place them with other bowlers in the district with similar scores. So you don't have someone who bowls an 80, competing with someone who bowls a 140. Each member of the team bowls about the same.

Checkin' her score

 Unfortunately Chuck had to work and Sharaya had another commitment so it was just me and Diana there cheering her on. (You can see Beth over Diana's left shoulder.)

We waited for everyone to finish bowling and then they had the award ceremonies. They have each team stand up and hand the medals out right there. There's no real fanfare. In fact, they didn't even use a microphone this year so I never actually heard them say her name.  

 "And the gold goes to... Elizabeth Anderson!!"

Yep, she won the gold this year! I think this is her first time! In years past she's won the bronze and silver, and one time got the 4th place ribbon, but this year... the gold!!

We're so proud of her! Way to go Beth!


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Her Favorite

Every year on their birthdays, we ask the girls where they want to eat. And for the last few years Sharaya wants to go to the Rainforest Cafe. I aways think, 'Okay, we can go there' and I completely forget how amazing this place is until we get there!

Unfortunately I couldn't get the camera on my phone to work so I borrowed some pics from Google Images. This place is truly an adventure.

It really is like eating in the middle of a rain forest, but without all the bugs! The night sky changes from black to sunrise red to dusk orange. There are life size elephants and gorillas. Larger than life butterflies, lizards and birds. And about every 20 minutes, everything comes to life!

We had a great time. The food is so good and of course being with family is always the best! Great choice Sharaya!!

(These were their faces after about the 5th time of trying to get my flash to work!)

Standing in front of the elephants.
You can just barely see Allie at the bottom of the picture.

Taken with Sharaya's phone.

(These are from Google/Images) 


If you've never been there, I highly recommend it!

Friday, October 16, 2015

We Finally Got to Meet... HIM!

For the first time in her life, Beth had a birthday party with her friends.

In years past, we've invited friends from the neighborhood, or family or even long time friends of the family. But except for Beth's friend Miranda, there hasn't been an exclusive party with just Beth's friends. She just didn't have any. Well, that all changed Wednesday night.

Beth gave out 5 invitations to her friends on her bowling league and in her art class. We also gave a couple to friends at church and including family there were 15 people that showed up to Red Robin to celebrate Beth! One of those people was Beth's new boyfriend.

I was sitting next to Beth when HE arrived and as he placed his jacket on a chair opposite Beth, I asked Beth if she wanted me to switch with him. She got very embarrassed, smiled really big and said, "Yes!" So I got Ns attention and asked if he would like to sit next to Beth instead and he said, "Now that's a great idea!"

It worked out much better for me too cause then I was across the table and able to take pictures. :) We all ordered our food and then I hollered across to Chuck - he was next to N and down a few seats from me, "Should we have Beth open..." and before I could finish, all her friends began chanting, "Presents! Presents! Presents!"

N was warm and friendly to everyone and was such a gentleman to Beth. You may have seen this picture on facebook. It was like he was instantly one of the family! Sharaya and Diana came after work and were at the other end of the table. They loved watching these two interact!

It was a fun, loud, happy experience for all of us! Everyone kept talking about how Beth is always so polite and honest and she always obeys the rules. The day after the party I talked to a couple of family friends who were there (who are also friends with Beth, they text and talk when they see each other...) and they all mentioned that they're still in a high over what occurred the night before! Oh what a night it was!!



Friday, October 9, 2015

Thirty One Years

Thirty one. Where on earth did the time go?


October 10, 1984.
She's been reminding us for months. :)
Earlier today we were singing 'Tomorrow' From Annie -

Tomorrow, tomorrow.
Your birthday's tomorrow.
It's only a day away!
Happy Birthday Beth!

Saturday, October 3, 2015


Raya. That's what we called her when she was a toddler. Her cousin couldn't say her full name and his nickname for her stuck. The whole family called her that until she started Kindergarten.

We had walked up to the school to see where her classroom would be and that's when she told Chuck and I that she wanted to be called Shara. We thought, "Who is Shara?" But Shara is what we called her. Friends, family, everyone called her Shara. (Some still do!)

In high school she decided to go by her full name, Sharaya. Shuh-ray-uh. And she still goes by Sharaya today. We originally planned to name her Sarah but then we heard the name Sharaya on an album by Amy Grant. We both loved it!

What a joy she's been to Chuck and I, and the perfect sister for Beth and Diana. She's calm, patient, faithful, creative. She was the easiest of my kids to raise! She's happy and so funny! She has the most amazing sense of humor!

October 6, 1986 is when she came into this world. God truly blessed us when he gave her to us.

We love you Sharaya!
Happy Birthday!




Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Back In Time

I got to take Allie to school this week. Yep, my granddaughter started Kindergarten! I went with Sharaya on Monday so I'd know where to park and how to get to her class.

We get out of the car and the crossing guards (5th & 6th Graders) blow their whistles and all the cars  stop as we cross from the parking lot to the school. (Awwe! I remember when Sharaya was a crossing guard!)

As we walk in, Allie points over to a room, "That's the library." She had a bounce in her step and you could tell she was proud of her school.

Allie stood against the wall with the other 5-6 year olds to wait for the teacher to open the door. More and more kids arrived and the sound of little voices was everywhere. Teachers walking back and forth, carrying supplies, giving hi-fives to the kids.

I'd never been there before. I didn't recognize anyone, but it was all so familiar.

It's been 13 years since I was last at an elementary school. Diana, my youngest, left 6th Grade 13 years ago! Oh my word! I remember helping at Sharaya's school when she was in the 2nd grade. Every Friday, my mom or Chuck's mom would watch Diana and I would spend the day in Sharaya's class, reading to the students, helping the teacher with whatever she needed.

I remember one year they had a fun basketball tournament, letting the kids shoot hoops and whoever got the most points would move on to the next round. Well, Sharaya was one of the kids who kept moving up and one of the bigger tournaments was held at a different school. The whole family came to cheer her on! I think she was in the 3rd or 4th grade.

Seems like it was just last year.

And now, her daughter is in school. Her daughter will ask to order books from the Scholastic catalog. Her daughter will come home excited because she got picked to be a crossing guard! Sharaya will get to hear stories about what happened on the playground and all the funny things the teacher does.

Sharaya - 2nd grade

Allie - Kindergarten

It was a very strange feeling to be walking beside my daughter, watching her daughter walk to class. I can't really describe it, being in this foreign place, but feeling so at home there. Being surrounded by familiar sites and sounds but not recognizing anything.

My granddaughter is in Kindergarten. I pray she makes friends and has fun and leads her class in ways that unite them and points them toward...exceptional...! Okay, so maybe I'm getting a little carried away. I expect she'll mainly be learning simple math and how to work in a team and how to organize a backpack. But still, my daughter's daughter is in elementary school. That's a pretty big deal! I have a bounce in my step and I'm proud of them both!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Her First Kiss!

A few weeks ago Beth came home and I asked her, "How did it go at bowling today?"

With a sly little smile she said, "Awesome. I got two strikes and a spare."

Then she threw her arms in the air, "And I got my first kiss!!" 

And she squealed!

"What?!? N kissed you?!?"


"On the lips?"


Oh my. This is getting serious. 
They've been sitting next to each other in art class and they sometimes hold hands.

Then she says, "I think he's the one for me."

(Deep breath, Cindy! Keep breathing!)

Today during karaoke she sang an Austin & Ally song called Me And You.

Me and you
Ooh ooh
So glad I got a guy like you
Me and you
Ooh ooh 

N went up front and they swayed together while she sang.

I'm thinking maybe it's time we meet 'Mr Right''.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


Our church has been unsettled.

Our worship pastor changed the style of music we're all used to. There have been so many staff members and pastors that have left recently; one felt called to another church, one retired, another left to take care of a family member... the reasons have been good ones but all this change has caused pain and confusion among the congregation.

Our pastor has been receiving texts, emails and letters filled with suggestions on how to get this person back or how to fix this situation. He could tell we were 'unsettled'. When he used that word, it resonated within each of us. It's exactly how we feel.

This nation seems unsettled. In fact, the whole world seems to be in a place of turmoil.When you go to church, you expect to find a place of peace and joy. But that wasn't the case at our church.

When the old testament church was feeling unsettled, the priests tore their robes and called for all of Israel to fast and pray. So our pastor called us to a week of prayer and fasting. Except for our food and clothing bank, all other activities were cancelled. He felt led to have prayer twice a day, once at 6AM and again at 7PM. He told us later that he would be happy if 50 people showed up that first morning.

 Some people fasted food the entire week. Others turned off the TV. For me, I fasted social media. I can spend hours scrolling through Facebook posts or looking through Pinterest ideas for my house or yard. For that week, when I would usually be on the computer, I would go into my bedroom (often called your Prayer Closet or, taking from the new movie, the War Room) and I would pray. For me, for my family, our church, for this nation.

As our senior pastor pulled into the left turn lane that first morning, he waited. And waited. As car after car after car pulled into the parking lot. He was overwhelmed when he walked into the Sanctuary and saw 200-300 people ready to call on the name of the Lord! At 6 in the morning!

We cried out to God, confessing our sins and asking His forgiveness. People would go to the microphone and pray whatever was on their hearts. We prayed for families, for the youth of America, for teachers and for our government. Our hearts were softened to our sin, our grumbling and our lack of trust. People wept and they changed.

After a few days, the prayers began to change from repentance to gratefulness. We began to thank the Lord for all He's done for us. For His grace and mercy. We thanked Him for our church and for the freedom we have in this nation to worship Him freely and without fear.

I can truly say we are a changed people. We realize that through all the changes our church has been through - God is still on the Throne. None of the things happening at our church have taken Him by surprise. We still have a calling to pray, to worship and to serve the community. That hasn't changed. God has a plan for each of us - that hasn't changed. We need to trust Him, and remember that He loves us with an everlasting love.

That will never change.