Sunday, August 30, 2015

Burlap Daisys

This picture was taken in 1971 at our home in San Diego. I was about 10 years old. That's me on the right. Next to me is my mom, then my oldest sister, (she had blonde hair down to the middle of her back, not sure why she's wearing a wig) then the two guys my parents invited for Thanksgiving dinner. (There was a program where you could open your home to military personnel for the holidays.) My dad and middle sister aren't in the picture, but they were there too.

But I'm not showing you this to necessarily talk about my family. What I want to do is draw your attention to the picture that's hanging on the wall.


My sisters say my mom bought this as a kit and would work on it in the evenings. It hung in our various homes as I was growing up. It's like a green burlap background and the flowers are made with stitches of yarn. 

Fast forward 30 years. My husband and I are living in Seattle and my mom has recently passed away. My heart was aching from missing her. I wanted to surround myself with things that reminded me of her so I decided to go to an antique store near our house. It's quiet and always brings back memories of my childhood. I hoped it would help ease the pain of my broken heart. I'm wandering through the store when I see this:


The EXACT picture that hung in our home all those years ago! There's a glass frame on it now, but it's the same picture! I just froze and immediately emotions bubbled up from deep inside. I called Chuck and through my tears I told him, "I don't care how much it costs, I'm buying it!" (It turns out it really wasn't that much, I just knew I had to have it!)

Over the years I've tried to figure out how this picture made it's way from San Diego to Washington State. Of course, it could very well be that my mom wasn't the only person who purchased this kit all those years ago. Second, after Chuck and I moved to Seattle, my mom followed us two years later. Maybe she brought this with her and got rid of it while she lived here? (But, we helped my mom move and I don't ever remember seeing it among all of her things. It never once hung in any of the homes she lived in while she was here.)

There is a very good chance this is just another random picture from the thousands that were bought and made back then. But in my heart, I want to believe the Lord put the exact picture in my path that my mom lovingly created, stitch by stitch. I want to believe that her hands held this exact burlap, her fingers gingerly moved the needles back and forth to create these very flowers. This picture now hangs in my living room.

 
 
My mom passed away in 2005 and I miss her every day. Her birthday was August 31. She would have been 80 this year.
 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Aha!!

A few months ago I received an email from Mutual of Omaha. You know, the insurance people? They had read my blog. Wait, what??

Mutual of Omaha has an Aha Moment campaign, where they tour the U.S. and record people telling of an aha moment. They read my blog and wondered if I'd want to record a session while they were here in Seattle? Uh, no! Well, maybe. You know, let me think about it. :)

After a few days, I decided I would do it. Terrified, Chuck and I made the drive into downtown Seattle and we found the Aha Moment Tour area. I should have taken a picture, but I didn't. They have a streamliner set up as a recording studio of sorts, with lights and cameras and monitors. This wasn't it, but it looks like this one.



I signed in and waited nervously for my turn. (Even as I'm typing this I'm starting to shake! I've never done anything like this in my life!) They had a monitor outside so anyone walking by could stop and watch you. The girl inside wore a denim jacket and colorful scarf and was joyful and animated. You could tell she was comfortable in front of the camera.

My turn. I walked inside and was ushered to the back of the trailer. I sat on this tiny stool with no back and was handed a Clapper.


She asked me to say, "My name is Cindy and this is my Aha Moment." How hard can that be? So I said it and she asked me to say it again. And again. I guess I never did it well because it doesn't appear in the final cut! :)

So I'm sitting there with 4 very bright lights in my face and she steps behind them and stands right next to the camera. (I think her cheek was touching it) and she tells me to look at her but NOT at the camera. Both her and the camera are in the dark shadows of the trailer and I know I looked at the camera once or twice!

Now for days I had practiced what I was going to say. What I wanted to tell 'the audience', what I wanted people to know about Special Connections and people with special needs. Then I learned that they would be asking me questions. So I tossed out my paper and decided to go with the flow! Bad idea. I was more nervous than I thought. We stopped once because Seattle Center personnel were emptying the trash right outside the trailer. We stopped again for a plane flying overhead. Finally, I was done. The more I thought about everything, the worse it got! So, I decided to just let it go and not think about it again until I saw it.

Chuck and I left Seattle Center (where the Space Needle is located) and headed down to the waterfront. We went to Red Robin for lunch and had a gorgeous view from our table.



 We also watched this bad boy pull up and begin to unload supplies from the dock.



Then we drove around enjoying the sites of this beautiful city. We ended up at a small park south of downtown, right at the end of the runway to Boeing Field. You know me and my love of planes! Chuck sat in the car reading his nook while I walked around the park and took pictures. It was such a beautiful day!










If you'd like to see it, here is the link to my Aha Moment. You might have to copy and paste:  http://ahamoment.com/moments/20611

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Suddenly Obsessed

A few months ago Beth began cleaning out her room. She took down a huge poster that had all the Disney Princesses on it. Allie was more than happy to take it off her hands!

Then Beth decided to get rid of all of her big Disney books. The whole time she was growing up, she collected these books. We'd buy them while on vacation; family members would get them for her on her birthday or Christmas. She must have more than 30 of them!

She wants all of them gone.


(I just can't bring myself to get rid of them yet, plus I did put a few aside for Allie.) 

I still think Beth loves everything Disney but she's going to be 31 in a couple months and she's kind of outgrowing the whole princess thing. Kind of.

See, she has a friend at bowling who loves the Frozen movie. I guess she has a lot of merchandise from Frozen and her enthusiasm is rubbing off on Beth. Since school is starting and every store is filled with back-to-school stuff, Beth has been anxious to go shopping. I teased her recently and told her that she's been out of school for a long time! "What do you want with back-to-school stuff?" 

"I don't know. I jus wan it."

Diana, Beth and I were at Target the other day and Beth literally ran to the back-to-school section. She held up a backpack. "This the one I want!" "To hol my stuff." So this is the backpack she bought.


She has also recently purchased a Frozen tote bag, a bedroom rug, the CD... She has decided she wants a Frozen themed birthday party this year. And she wants to invite the friend from bowling who loves Frozen. She's also now regularly reminding me that "her birthday comeen up!" (It's in October.)  

So, Disney is out. Well, some Disney. Okay, just a few Disney items are out. Very few.

Except Frozen. Frozen is in. Waaay in. :)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Biopsy

We took Beth to the doctor to get a biopsy for the bump on the top of her head. They really did take a piece out it, leaving a hole right in the middle of it! It bled a little so the doctor put some silver on it. 

First they put on some gauze tape to help keep her hair out of the way



 You can tell by the look on the MA's face, it wasn't pleasant!
But Beth never flinched. It didn't faze her at all.



 Then the band aid and we were on our way.



It only took a few minutes and I think the hardest part for Beth was when they removed the tape. I helped her wash her hair that night because I wasn't sure if she should get it wet. But she slept fine and never once complained that her head hurt or anything. I had asked Chuck to come with us for support and told him part way through that I realized he was only there for me! I could have dropped Beth off and she would have been fine! This girl deals with medical procedures SO much better than I do.

And now we wait for the results.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

In Order to be Whole

Something amazing happened this week. For the first time in over 56 years, our church declared, over our website, that we accept and have a place for, people with special needs.

Our church began back in June of 1959 and even though there are people with special needs attending, we've never made it a priority to include them in the life of the church. They can attend. They can allow us to minister to them with a hand shake and friendly hello. But that's where their involvement ended.

But over the last few years, the Lord is changing the hearts of our congregation and we're seeing that without them, we're not whole. If most of Jesus' ministry was to those who were deaf, blind and lame, then our ministry should be as well. 

And now, putting it on the website for all the world to see, it's kind of like putting a fish sticker on your car. Now everyone knows you're a Christian and they're watching how you drive. Now you have to make a conscious decision every day to do what's right.

And what is right, is including people who have special needs. They were always welcome, we just didn't know what to do with them. If I'm being completely honest.

Maybe close to 10 years ago, Chuck and I led a class for parents of children with special needs. We studied Joni Eareckson Tada's lesson titled When God Weeps. It walks you through the difficult emotions we all experience when we first receive the diagnosis. It was a great study, but as the weeks went on, we found most of the parents in our class were beyond that (I guess we should have studied our audience a little better) and fewer and fewer people came. We didn't do another class.

For many, many years we've had a deaf ministry. Deaf Interpretation during the first service and a Sunday school class during the second. We provide them with copies of our Senior Pastor's notes so they can read the transcript and discuss it during class. Earlier this year I met with them and had them write down their talents and abilities, were any of them interested in serving? That's when I learned that one gentleman had become a greeter. His dad greets with him to help interpret when necessary, but he's there at the door, shaking hands and welcoming everyone who walks through the doors!

Another lady loves to knit so I connected her with the director of our food and clothing bank and now she makes blankets, scarves and all kinds of things to be handed out to those who are less fortunate.

It was 5 1/2 years ago that I felt led to begin a class for children who have special needs. My family was actually on vacation in another state when I truly believe the Lord spoke to me (not in an audible voice the way you and I would talk with each other, but in thoughts that I knew were not my own, "I want you to start a class for kids with special needs."

What?? But I'm not in children's ministry anymore. My kids are grown. I volunteer with adults now. You really want me to go back into children's?

My first day back at work, (I'm not kidding!) our Sunday school director came to my desk, sat down in the chair next to me and said, "We have a need. There's a little boy who has autism and it has been so hard for the teachers to work with him and try to teach the class. They're overwhelmed and we don't know what to do." I smiled and told her that I had a solution.

I began to pray about it and talk with some of the pastors and children's staff and a few months later, Special Connections was born. We started in a small room with just a few toys. As we started having a few more kids, we moved to a bigger room with a sink, a bathroom and direct access to the playground.

Over the years though, we found most of the 'kids' were Jr High and older. One Sunday there were 8 kids and 3 teachers and we were packed into that room like sardines! Chaos and noise were the order of that day. Not a good environment for students who have sensory issues. It was soon after, that we moved into our current, much bigger room.

Some of our students have grown up and now sit with their parents or friends in the service, which is our ultimate goal. Our sensory room is purposefully kept quiet and it's filled with LED light toys and sensory pillows and books, great tools to assist those who find a typical classroom too much to enjoy.

This is the sitting area. 
(I have other pics of the room but they're full of kids.)



Beth and Teacher Kathy
(There's a special bond between these two!)
Beth doesn't have many BFFs but Kathy is one of them!



Today, there are people at our church with special needs who sing in the choir and those who assist with our homeless ministry. We have a long way to go, but we'll get there.

If you know of anyone in the Seattle area who is looking for a church where their entire family can worship, you'll find us at westgatechapel.com, under the Ministry tab.


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Tabbys and Westies and Labs, Oh My!

Thanks to Karen Dibert from The French Dog and  The Rocking Pony (I've followed The Rocking Pony for a while and have just recently started reading The French Dog and I must say, 'Louie' is hilarious!) I've been chosen the winner of a free tote bag!

I'd never heard of Tote Tails so I went to their web site: totetails.com and oh my!! Now I've got so many gift ideas for friends and family! They have the cutest animal silhouettes, plus paw prints... and you can customize your tote bag too!

I just ordered my free bag... I'll let you know when it comes in!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Everywhere You Look

Do you ever have so much to write about that you just don't write anything at all? That's where I am. Feast or famine as my mom used to say.

Chuck and I have not always made good choices when it comes to our finances. But the last few years we've made some changes and are actually in a better place now than we have been in a while. Since Chuck was out of work for 6 months last year, we were entering into an agreement with our mortgage company, faxing paperwork, making phone calls; we've spent the last 4 months getting everything ready. We recently found out that we forgot to mail in some of the paperwork. We couldn't email it or fax it, it had to go by snail mail and for whatever reason, we forgot to do it. So, they're removing their offer. It's our own fault. How could we be so careless? Ugh. Chuck and I spent some time today praying, asking the Lord for forgiveness and asking Him to provide another way out for us. But even if He doesn't, we know He'll be with us as we try to make this right.

Chuck and I were planning another trip to the coast at the end of this month, but he found out he has to choose his next route on the same day we were planning to go. At Metro, they have what they call a 'shake up' every few months. All the routes become available and the drivers are able to choose a new route. Course, it goes by seniority so there aren't many good routes left by the time Chuck gets his turn to choose. (He's only been there a few months.) So now we're looking at going somewhere else that day, maybe have lunch at the lodge at Mt Rainier, or have dinner at The Crab Pot downtown and then go on The Great Wheel... we're still deciding.

We had lunch with some friends on Sunday, out in their backyard. It was quiet and relaxing. We had a great time just talking and catching up.

Don't tell Beth I told you :) but she has a 'boyfriend'. They hang out during bowling and in their art class. She said he's held her hand and kissed her on her forehead. N is really into the TV show Full House and he's even met some of the cast! (I had wondered by Beth was starting to watch it again every night.) When Beth told me, I pulled out the picture I took of the Full House house. We visited San Fransisco a few years ago and stopped at the house they used for the opening credits. Our girls grew up watching that show and we all loved it. Beth's mouth popped open when I showed her the picture, I think she had forgotten about it! I gave her a copy so she could show him and she sent me this text, "I did show him Full House picture." I asked her if he liked it, "Yes crazy mothera!"

This is the house from Full House.
A guy was delivering pizza when we drove up.



I took this from the park where they filmed one of the opening scenes of the family 
getting ready to have a picnic.


We love Full House!
And apparently, so does N!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Seaside

As I get older, I find I don't need many things. There isn't even that much that I want anymore. Except for clothes of course! I always want more clothes! I have plenty of nicknacks and books and plants in the garden. And every bit of it requires cleaning and maintenance.

So for my birthday the last couple of years, I've wanted to go somewhere or do something. This year, it was the coast. I was born and raised in San Diego and didn't realize what I had until it was gone. Oh, we get plenty of sunshine here in Seattle. Lots of water around here too. But the one thing Seattle doesn't have (besides extended family) is the ocean. And boy do I miss it!

So this year, we drove to Seaside Oregon for the day. Packed up the car early in the morning and drove 4 hours, through gorgeous scenery, over the Astoria-Megler Bridge and into Seaside.



  



We even passed a ship wreck.



The northwest has had 80 and 90 degree temps for weeks now, even months. So what do they forecast the Sunday we decide to go to the coast? Rain. Thunder. Lightning. I almost cancelled the trip but just felt peace from the Lord that it would turn out okay. I finally stopped watching the weather forecasts and tried to just trust the Lord.

We arrived in Seaside at about 1:00 and decided to go get lunch before heading down to the beach. As we're crossing the street it begins to rain. Just as we stepped inside the restaurant, it poured!! The water came down in buckets! People were running for cover and we were so thankful to be inside!



  


We ate at The Crabby Oyster and the food was delicious! By the time we finished eating, the rain had stopped and the sun was peeking through the clouds.



Down to the water!!
It was quite a walk to get close to the water, but I didn't care! I wanted to see those waves crashing on the shore!



  









After a couple of hours, we decided to do a little shopping so we packed everything up and headed back to the car. Beth had a hard time walking all that way in the sand. Her back hurt and her legs were beginning to hurt but I told her it was good exercise and very healthy to walk in sand. 

I don't think she cared. :)

Seaside is a tourist town, and we found the carousel, there were souvenir shops, arcade games, we really had a wonderful day.



The ride home was relaxing and fun.



This is the view from the bridge.





Beth brought her ipod and we plugged it into the car speakers. We all sang along to Disney theme songs, worship music and musicals almost all the way home.

Family, the ocean and music. A perfect way to spend any day. 

(And the Lord was right. The day turned out great!)

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Dermatologist Shrugged His Shoulders

Our church has been in a week of prayer and fasting. One of the things I gave up was social media. I still got on the computer to check email, our bank account, etc. but there's been no Pinterest, no Viral Nova, no blogging, Facebook Tetris, Apod... it's amazing how much time I waste spend on this computer!

Now, I truly don't believe I'm wasting time when I blog, but that's about the only thing. Sometimes with Facebook I connect with friends and family, but usually I just scroll. I had so much time last week! Time to read, to clean house, to WRITE! I forgot how much I enjoy writing! I actually sent out 5 letters by snail mail last week. I called my mother-in-law. I read books. I actually found myself standing in the middle of the kitchen looking around and thinking, 'My kitchen hasn't been this clean in a long time. What else should I do?'

Plus, we had two prayer meetings a day all week, one at 6AM and one at 7PM. They were powerful and refreshing and inspiring. Something our church really needed.

But now the week is over and I can blog again! And of course, the week I don't blog is filled with lots of adventures! I'll start with the small post first. :)

 Beth has had a bump on her head for a few months now. Well, at least I noticed it a few months ago. I'll spare you the pictures, but it's fairly long, right on the top of her head and it seems to be slowly growing. At first I thought maybe she wasn't rinsing all the cream rinse out of her hair (her hair sticks to parts of the bump) so I spent some time with her going over the procedures for washing her hair, but after watching her, she's doing everything right.

It almost looks like cradle cap, that dry scalp stuff that babies sometimes get? But when I tried to scrape off a little bit, it began to bleed. Okay, time to call the doctor. Unfortunately our family doctor didn't know what it was. She took a small culture and tested it for bacteria or fungus but those tests came back negative. She referred us to a dermatologist.

We went to him on Monday. He looked at the bump then said he'd be right back. He returned with a magnifying glass-type-thing and put it directly on her head. After looking for a few seconds, he stepped back, put the magnifying glass down, folded his arms and shrugged his shoulders. "I have no idea what it is." He asked me how long she's had it; if it's changed at all since I first saw it... every answer I gave was met with, "Hmm. I really have no idea." He suggested we get a biopsy done.

That kind of made me nervous. He's a man who has extensively studied the skin and everything that involves the skin, and he has no idea what this thing is. She says it doesn't hurt or itch and it doesn't seem to bother her at all. But it looks like Beth has a biopsy in her future. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Ho Hum

A week has passed but there's still not a whole lot to write about. It's been fairly normal around here:

Sharaya and Allie come for dinner on Mondays now instead of Thursdays. (Sharaya has a second job and Mondays just work better.)

Diana was house sitting for a friend last week but she's home again.

Everything's the same for Chuck, Beth and I.

Yep, pretty boring around here. :)


Beth writing the memory verse on the board for our Sunday school class.