Saturday, August 31, 2013

Fall is upon us

How do I know fall is quickly approaching?

Not from the weather...but it's going to cool off soon.
Not from the leaves changing...but I'm looking forward to it.
Not from the introduction of all things apple and pumpkin...although I'd take something apple related right about now.
But because AWANA starts on Wednesday.
And Bible study starts on Thursday.
And my school schedule is in full chaotic swing.

The above picture is the state of our living room at the moment. My roommate is such a peach for allowing this to happen for a few days every year. Because it stays this way rather than me pick it all up and pull it all out again the next time I have time. I leave her a path to her chair, and I think that is all that matters to her! :)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Have scissors, will cut

This is Cubbie Bear.  He is one of about 6 billion that Emily and I cut out (along with the help of some friends) this week.  Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration :).  Every year I help with the Cubbie craft night.  It is a night that we spend putting together all the crafts for the whole year of AWANA (Cubbies is the preschool program).  But there is also prep work that goes into it.  And for some reason, we often get Cubbie bears to cut out.  We've developed a system, and I'd say it works.  Cutting is pretty mindless, so we cut while we watch TV.  And now we're ready to package tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Just give me 2 minutes...

Okay, so let me start by saying how blessed I have been this summer with nice, cool weather.  No complaints at all.  If I could have 70 degrees for 6 months out of the year, I would gladly take it.  Low 60s at night.  Excellent.  I have loved most days about this summer.

But now, I have just a few complaints about this week's hot weather, because it's my blog.  And I can.
1.  Having a job where you are in and out of the office all day long is only good during moderate temperatures.  It makes me hot and cranky to constantly be going from air to heat to air to heat.

2.  Hot weather makes me nauseous the second I walk into it.

3.  Even the sun is too much.  I can't believe I'm saying this, but I just want a few days of overcast skies.  I had a migraine a couple of weeks ago, and since then, I feel like I have been more light sensitive.  I feel like I need double sunglasses to feel comfortable outside in that much light.

4.  I don't like when I don't feel like I can breathe.

5.  My car does not like to get-up-and-go when the air conditioning is running full blast.  I often have to turn the air off to get up a hill.

That's all.  Now back to the blessings.  Air conditioning.  A summer of mostly great temperatures.  Sunglasses.  An air conditioned car.  See--not really much complaint out of me at all.  It was just REALLY hot today.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Ministry as a Single Person

My church has a newsletter for the women in the church called, By the Way.  I was puzzling through some stuff on my own and was processing events in my life a couple of months ago and ended up with this article as I wrote out my thoughts.  I asked one of the ladies who work with By the Way if it would be something they were interested in.  Not a big deal, but as I read it again today, I continue to be in awe of what God does in my heart in regard to how I love people and how I relate to people.  Just Friday night, I had to make a decision between two events that I wanted to go to.  I chose to go to my Sunday School class social.  And I never regretted it!  They are an amazing group of people who welcome this single gal into their midst without thinking twice about it!  I love them for it and trust me when I say that they are a hilarious group of people to hang out with.  Cheese puffs and shaving cream might have been used in a game.

Anyway, here is the article I wrote for everyone who doesn't get By the Way:

Ministry as a Single Person

In my final year of graduate school, I lived with a family as a nanny for a year.  This was a huge blessing to me in so many ways.  It was there that I was first able to see the love of Christ demonstrated through family and what it means to raise a family as believers.  When I graduated, the husband and wife (Chris and Sarah) sat me down to have a conversation about my future.  I don’t remember much of what we talked about, but one part of the conversation has really stuck with me and has been a guiding force for me in ministry and how I pursue relationships with other believers.  First, Chris asked me when I would ideally want to be married.  I jokingly said, “Two years ago.”  But joking aside, my desire was for marriage and a family, and they knew that based on my heart to take care of their children and be a part of their family for that year.  Their advice to me as I was moving from Texas to Illinois, while partly about finding the person I would want to spend my life with, was to find a church where I could serve families and serve alongside families in ministry.  They knew this was where my heart was in ministry and they believed that in doing so, the man the Lord had for me would be found serving alongside me in these ministry opportunities. 

It has been seven years since that conversation and I am still struck by how much those words have meant to me and have driven how I do ministry as a single person.  I am often struck by the diversity of the body of Christ.  And as a single person, that diversity can sometimes be intimidating and can sometimes make me want to crawl into my single person shell and only seek other single people who understand me. Finding places to serve can sometimes be intimidating as a single person.  For a long time, I had a misguided idea that some ministry opportunities were only going to be relevant for me if I were to get married.  For example three years ago my question was: How could I possibly be a director in AWANA when I am younger than many who serve and I don’t have a family of my own? I quickly was given counsel in this area and was able to realize that it was my own fear stopping me and creating doubts.  The more I find opportunities to serve alongside families, the more blessings I am able to receive and bestow.  You can currently find me directing the T & T AWANA girls on Wednesday nights, serving on a couple of nursery teams, and helping in the kitchen for different events.  Most Sunday mornings (because I am a creature of habit), you can find me sitting five rows from the front on the left side with a wise woman in the faith.  We originally met on a committee for Women on their Own.  I sit with her because I do not have opportunity to see her outside of church and because it is nurturing to my spirit when I miss a week and find out that she has asked others where I am.  And even in our few minutes of conversation before and after the service, I gain a new perspective on my own Christian walk by listening to the perseverance of a saint as she tells me about her week.   Since last year I have been attending one of the multi-generational  ABC classes on Sunday mornings.  Through that class, I am able to study God’s Word with people who are my parents’ ages, who have families, and who are just starting families.  Our life stages do not matter, because God’s Word doesn’t change for the single person or the married person or the widowed person.  God’s Word remains true no matter our life circumstances.  I am also in a small group that has people from other countries in it and people of different life stages.  And again, we are all able to study God’s Word together and encourage one another through the study of His Word. 

Through Bethany, I have found exactly what Chris and Sarah prayed that I would find.  A church where I can minister among families and to families.  A place where I am part of something bigger than myself and where I can seek to glorify God today.  Not while I am waiting, but as I am in service for Him.  Have I found that husband?  No.  But I can’t say that it was ever truly my motivating factor for following Chris and Sarah’s advice.  My motivating factor was to trust the Lord’s good for me and that He would give me the desires of my heart.  Those desires are not always fulfilled in the way we would want them to be fulfilled.  Do I have a family of my own?  No.  But I have children I minister to in multiple ministries.  And I have families who welcome me into their homes to share life with them.  And I am filled with joy as I seek to live out the plans God has for me today.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Happy Birthday, Amy!

22 years ago, I was blessed to have an additional member added to my family. It was the year that Dad married Amy. While it might have been a rocky start, mainly because I was 12 and did not want to give up my time with my dad to another woman, that rockiness did not last long. I have loved having Amy in my life. She has been a great sounding board for many emotional ups and downs. She has supported decisions I have made and counseled me when she thought decisions were not great.  I love that we are in the same profession and that as I started out as a therapist, she was there to be a sounding board with much more experience.  I love that she pushed me to try new foods during the early days of our relationship.  I love our late night chats when we should both be sleeping but it is the best time for girl time. I love that she does not like for me to introduce her as my step-mom because she does not like the negative connotation that goes with that word (even though we have never come up with a good alternative to introduce her because, "Hey, this is my dad's wife" makes it sound even less like I want to claim her!).   I love that we are just family and we don't have to explain it further than that. 

Thanks for doing life with me for the past 22 years, Amy!  My life is blessed because you are in it and I couldn't imagine it any differently!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Forsbergapalooza, Part 2--Organizing the Chaos

My Aunt Kathy is the queen of pictures in our family. Saturday, we shared picture taking duties, but she was still in charge. And of course she said we needed to get some group photos. I protest a lot, but secretly I don't mind so much.  It's just fun to protest! :) 
Above is all of my generation of cousins plus spouses.  Well, this was everyone who was in attendance.
And then we added in all the next generation.
And then we attempted to get a picture of all the younger generation.  I grabbed the camera from Aunt Kathy while she attempted to help organize because I knew the pictures of the organization would be the best.
Missing one twin...
And now he's escaping to the left...
And his mom is trying to catch him as he exited to the right (see some of the kids looking that way)...
They are dropping like flies...
Thanks Jeremy for catching the other twin...
The paparazzi!
Finally...they are all sitting.  Not all looking at the camera, but they are all sitting! :)  We call that success!
And just in case you thought that the adults took their picture with ease, here is one of the outtakes.  Not really sure what Sara was doing but Michelle thought it was really funny!
Later in the evening we had an impromptu gathering of the men.
And the paparazzi swarmed again!

In case you thought this was a lot of pictures to look through, just know that there were over 300 pictures taken on Saturday.  I narrowed it down to about 30 between the two posts!

Forsbergapalooza, Part 1--chaos abounds

This weekend I went up the suburbs where my mom, brother, and sister-in-law hosted the first ever Forsbergapalooza--a get together for my generation of cousins but, because we're nice, our parents were invited too! And we threw in a few extra people too.
Michael was a great help as we set up for the party.  He filled the coolers full of pop.  He was so cute.  Mom would hand him a can and he would say "Tay Too!" and throw it in (literally).
And you have to stop and sample the goods while you work!

Gianna loves my brother.  She would just smile at him and bat those beautiful eyes and get him to do just about anything!
ZuZu was in heaven eating the water all day!  She was one wore out pup that evening and the next day.  I hardly saw her move!
Picking up water balloon leftovers.  And a general picture of the chaos that was the backyard all day.
Nobody likes the photographer.  My aunt Kathy and I shared the privilege of taking pictures with my brother's awesome camera.  Two seconds after this picture, I got shot in the head!
Charlotte loved the sandbox.  She would dump it and squeal!
More chaos.  Nerf gun wars.  And Landon (bottom left) oblivious to it all.
Michael was also oblivious to it all...or hiding from it all...or just generally happy to put a bucket on his head.
Push, Michael, Push!
Again with the face.  Both Gianna and Michael were trying to get Chris to take a bite of their popsicles.  And amusing themselves while they did it.
Landon playing on the tractor.  Also a bundle of cuteness.  Basically...a lot of cuteness was had all day long.
The chaos on the porch.  The adults steered clear of the backyard as much as possible to avoid the dangers of water and nerf guns and light sabers.
Michael enjoying a little sucker. I love this picture because you can see his cute baby teeth.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Bouquets of Sharpened Pencils

I have always been a sucker for the school supply aisle in fall.  Especially if I can find cute school supplies.  Why buy cheap and sensible, if you can get cute and over-priced?
I mean, why would I go for sensible, durable, black or blue for the 1 1/2 inch binder I will need this year for Bible study, when I could get cute green/blue plaid?
WITH polka dots on the inside.  Even if it might not hold up as well.  And it might not have a pocket on the inside.  It's still cute, right? :)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Weather we can agree on

I think I surprised Emily today when she walked in the door and I asked her if she wanted to go to Grandview Drive. But it is a perfect weather day outside.  And there are few days in a year, like maybe 5, that both Emily and I would call perfect weather days!  Granted, I had to sit in the shade and Emily was happy to be in the sun, but we were both content.
And we had a gorgeous view.
And there were even some sailboats on the river.
I brought several things to do.  I'm kind of ADHD when it comes to being outside.  And I move around a lot.
I started on my stomach so I could do my 1 John Bible study, since I had to write.
And then I laid on my back for a while when I started reading a different book.  But the sun started to get in my eyes and when I would underline, my pen wouldn't work because it was tilted backward... I switched to sitting.

I kept losing my shade and moved my blanket at least once, but I was not complaining.  The sun felt good and there was a cool breeze.

I've been kind of nostalgic about college lately, maybe because its almost back to school time.  But sitting outside in the afternoon reading reminded me a lot of college.  We had a beautiful campus and would often "hop a plane to Hawaii," which was our term for the front lawn on a gorgeous day.  There were other key places to meet people for an afternoon of study, like Jamaica.  Just different places on campus that appealed to us.  The funny thing is, this blanket I am sitting on was the same one I took to Hawaii way back in college.  It travels in my car for just such an occasion!

Happy Perfect Weather Day!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Arizona photo shoot on the Riverfront

Saturday after the park, we headed down to the river front to get some pictures of all the kids in their Mission Peoria shirts, plus Dad and Amy.
Amy asked her friend Kelly to take the pictures, so I was just taking pictures for my own enjoyment
While they were regrouping, I took a picture of the bridge.  I love how the sky is the perfect color and the sun was in just the right place to make this picture look almost puzzle quality.
Kelly was a trouper and allowed a couple of boys to foist her into this piece of art so she could do a shot from above.

I was slightly amused by the whole process.
Funny picture!
Getting instructions from Amy about how to pose for the next picture.

The following shots are jumping shots.  I remembered I had a continuous shot button on my camera, so these are most of the pictures in one sequence.  They crack me up every time I page through them one by one.
As you can see, Austen (3rd from the right) jumped the gun while we were counting.  He is slightly ahead of things in all of the shots.

In the picture below, Austen is at his prime.

Josh's face and Antonio's pose were my favorites.  I also love that the girls and Dad and Amy appear oblivious to everything going on behind them. attention!
Overall, a good looking group.