A Year’s Recap

I did it again.  I started blogging and then got busy and forgot to update until it got to the point where it seemed there was so much to say and yet no time to say it.  Here’s a picture recap of the past year for posterity’s sake.
April:

Celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary. 😀

Went to this dear friend's wedding in Walla Walla (photo cred Greg Lehman Photography: http://www.lehmanphotography.net/)

Went to this dear friend’s wedding in Walla Walla (photo cred Greg Lehman Photography)

 

May:

My big brother arrived at the grand ol’ age of 30.

My little sister left behind the teens for the 20s.

This guy turned 18. And for the record, he’s one of the coolest little brothers around.

June:

Enjoyed being a part of this lovely wedding.

Enjoyed being a part of this lovely wedding. (photo cred LindseyKay Photography)

Another little brother had a birthday – 22!

July:

I went to DC with a group from our church. So did Rene. So did Jerry. (Another story for another time)

August:

My sister came to visit!!

We went to Canada.

We went shopping.

We didn’t take any pictures. :/

August/September:

I went to this wonderful wedding in Seattle (Photo cred Bokeh Photography)

Road tripped from Spokane to attend this gorgeous Seattle wedding of my favorite Brazilian .  (photo cred Bokeh Photography)

Stayed with one of my favorite families and took a few pictures with this little sis of mine that I hadn't seen in several years.  This is us in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2012.

Spent a lovely day and stayed the night with my second family when we were in Seattle and took a few pictures with this little sis of mine that I hadn’t seen in several years. This is us in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2012.

Continued our trip from Seattle down to Cali, which of course necessitates an In'N'Out Stop

Continued our trip from Seattle down to Cali, which of course necessitates an In’N’Out Stop

Beautiful California Sunset

Beautiful California Sunset

October:

After months that felt like years…

WE'RE HAVING A BABY!!

10/11/12 WE’RE HAVING A BABY!!

Visited the fam in OKC; did some shopping, announced the big news and went to the Children's Museum

Visited the fam in OKC; did some shopping, announced the big news and went to the Children’s Museum

November:

“Morning” Sickness.

a.k.a. All day and night sickness.

Oli’s mom came to visit.

Thanksgiving happened in there somewhere.

Broccoli and chicken both make me gag.

Baby News was made Facebook Official

Baby News was made Facebook Official

Little bro graduated basic

Little bro graduated basic

December:

Still Sick.

Christmas happened.

I woke up Christmas morning craving Mexican food like my life depended on it.

On the ONE day of the entire year that no restaurants and grocery stores are open.

Go figure.

January:

It's a Girl!  (A girl that keeps her hands in her face at all times and doesn't like being poked, squished, prodded, etc.)

It’s a GIRL! (A very opinionated girl that keeps her hands in her face at all times and doesn’t like being poked, squished, prodded, etc.)

This guy turned 16

Can’t believe he turned 16 this year.

My adorable niece and nephew FINALLY arrive home to the states.

My adorable niece and nephew FINALLY arrived home to the states.

February/March:

Morning sickness starts to go away.

Work. Come home. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.

Ultrasound #2 = Finally able to see her little face

Ultrasound #2 = Finally able to see her little face

These two turn 12 and 14.

These two turned 12 and 14.

 

Aaaaaaand, that brings us to April which is just beginning.  Hopefully it won’t be another year before I update again…

😀

 

 

 

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saying goodbye

I’ve been putting this post off for days now, but here goes…

___________

I don’t know about any of you, but I hate saying goodbye.

It seems like every time I turn around, someone else is gone.

In my first post I mentioned how pearls  are formed and that

it is the tears of a wound that cause beauty to grow.

Two weeks ago, a sweet friend of mine went to be with Jesus.

Her name is Abbie and her story is both heartbreaking and inspiring.

Abbie was only 15 and yet she touched so many lives through her joy, her passion

and – in the last two years especially – her determination.

Wounds are never fun.  Losing someone is always painful.

*****

Below is a poem I wrote in 2008 that I often come back to when the process is painful:

Beyond Measure: thoughts on death and love

It is in the deepest well of pain
and the hardest of emotions
that I find the deepest revelations of God’s love.
It seems that the sweetest songs come out of the darkest hours.

The pain and confusion of death have been my winepress these last few years.
The “why?”s. The regrets.
The “I should have, could have, would have”s plague every moment…

until…

Freedom.
Release.
It seems so obvious, so easy,
so simple and yet…

The guilt comes in and tries to steal away the joy.
The love of those I’ve lost is overshadowed by the fear of losing their memory.
The struggle and the confusion mount until finally

I fall on my face and
fall into the lover of my soul.
The true God, the King.
The lover and friend
who is my everything.

His breath is so pure.
His heart and His touch are so sweet.
His tenderness and His love capture the grief.

“Oh God!” I cry out. “I want to speak life! I want to bring life!”

Like a surgeon He carefully removes every stench of decay.
All the grief, all the fear, all the pain.
He scrapes them out with His tools and
in the void that’s left
in the hole of loss
He begins to pour.

He pours out His love.
He pours out His grace.
He pours out His strength.
He pours out His will to overcome.
He pours out His LIFE.

And there He waits.
There He waits for
the confusion to cease
for the fear to run dry and
for the chaos to leave.

There He waits so patiently
and so beautifully
for the tears to begin.

The cleansing wells of water overflowing
and running into His streams of mercy
and His streams of love.
Every one kept in a bottle.
Held for a purpose I do not comprehend.

It’s so hard for me to cry.
In fact I didn’t cry for so long that
often now I long to feel the tears
running down my cheeks.

And when I do

when I feel them

I know it is the Lord.
I know it is His Presence.
I know it is His love.

His love. True love.
His joy, His love, overflow out of my heart.
I love to love Him and
I love to know that those I love here
love Him as well.

I love His Presence, His voice, His touch.
No sting of death or fear of separation could ever separate me from

His perfect love that casts out all fear, pain, rejection and loss.
I love the love of the Lord.

Do you have a revelation of the love of the Lord?
It’s all I live for – His love.
All I strive for is that you too would know His love.
Beyond measure.

Beyond life or death.
Beyond truth.
Beyond fear.
It’s all there for you.
Take hold of it.

*****

Dear Abbie, you were and are loved more than words could ever describe.  Your beautiful smile, your love and your joy, your heart and your passion for the Lord, your fight and your determination, will never be forgotten.  There is a hole in all of our hearts that is left only to be filled by the love of the Lord.  You will always be remembered and you will always be missed.  The night you went to be with Jesus I was lying in my bed trying to fall asleep when I saw an angel come down to your bed, take your hand and lead you up to heaven.  The indescribable joy and peace on your face filled my heart.  I knew in that moment, that as much as you dearly loved your family and friends here, you were in a place so much better than anything you had ever experienced before.  The next morning I woke up your dad’s post that it was over.  There have been many tears and prayers over the past few years, but I wouldn’t trade the 15 years I knew you for anything.  You were truly a treasure and I am blessed that I had the privilege of knowing and loving you.  I look forward to seeing you again one day and joining you in that great cloud of witnesses.

Goodbye sweet girl. I love you.

Dear everyone else, don’t take life for granted; we never know how long we have.  There is no reason to live in fear, but let’s not become familiar with those around us and forget what a precious gift life is.  The only thing you can take with you into eternity is relationship.  How are you investing into those relationships today?  Your relationship with the Lord, your relationship with your family and your friends – these are the things that matter and have eternal value.  Don’t let the “stuff” of life get in the way of loving others.  Don’t let the pain of loss or past relationships harden your heart.  As C.S. Lewis said: “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”  I have lost over 30 people in the last 10 years and if there is one thing I have learned – other than the faithfulness of the Lord – it is this:

‘Tis better to have loved and have lost than to have never loved at all. (Tennyson)

Be blessed and go love someone today.  It’s worth it.

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madness

I know, I know, it’s been almost 3 weeks since I’ve posted.

I keep telling myself that I’ll post “when I have time” or “when I have a free evening” or “when I can collect my thoughts and actually make sense”; when, when, when.  I give up!  Because I am determined to keep this blog going, I am refusing to let the “whens” get in my way.  I have decided that (at least for today) a post of all the randomness of the last few weeks is better than no post at all.  So here goes:

*my baby brother turned 13 last week:

This is us a year ago.

*Work has been craaaaaazy.  Nearly half of our department has been taking turns at being sick, which means a lot more work for all of us (and we were already short-staffed to begin with).  Did I mention that I currently am the only person fully trained as a back-up for most of that work?  Yeah.  Good times.  I’ve been coming home exhausted every night, feeling like I just ran a marathon.

*Psalm 16 has been my lifeline lately.  Especially verse 8: “I have set the Lord continually before me, because He is at my right hand I will not be shaken.”  This is one of those Psalms that I’ve read a thousand times, but it has been brand new the last 3 weeks; I can’t get enough of it.

*If you didn’t know, my [older] brother and sister-in-law are in the process of adopting from Africa; the whole process is an emotional roller coaster in general, but lately it seems to be even more so.  Here’s the latest update on that.

*I’m turning into one of those crazy, all-natural food  people.  (Okay, not really, I did have Burger King for dinner).  Seriously though, when you take the time to actually read the labels on the food you buy – and do the research – it’s appalling.  I attempted to buy frozen sausage a week or two ago and happened to notice “BHA” and “BHT” on the label.  I had never heard of those two, so I looked them up.  What did I find?  “petroleum-derivative, known to cause cancer, banned in 3 states and by McDonald’s”.  Um, I might not be the healthiest person out there, but I consider McDonald’s the bottom of the food chain and if they’ve banned it I’m certainly not eating it!  That being said, I am now looking into bulk canning and freezing.  I would love to eat only from-scratch, all-natural, healthy meals, but the last thing I want to do after an 8 hour work day is spend another 2 hours in the kitchen cooking!  We do a lot better when I’m able to plan and prep ahead of time.  So that’s where that’s at.  I made a big batch of burritos yesterday that I tossed in the freezer for lunches (thanks Pinterest!); I have yet to try them though so we shall see.

*One of my dear friends [and her hubby] had their first baby last week:

isn't he just precious?

*Another of my dear friends got engaged a couple of weeks ago.  ‘Tis the season for love and babies apparently.

*I think all of the Hunger Games madness is ridiculous.  I refuse to jump on the bandwagon until everyone chills out a bit.  Oh, I’m sure I’ll get there, but I like to take my time.

*I currently have a stack of books waiting to be read, but as you can see from all of the above, I haven’t made the time for that either…

*I have tons more running through my head (and people wonder why I can’t sleep at night…), but I will leave it at this for tonight.  There could quite possibly be a part 2 to this post in the near future, then again, maybe not.  Either way, I’ll leave you with this:

how’s that for random? 🙂

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happy birthday, sunshine

It’s March!  Hooray!

Today, being the first day of March, is a very special day.  This girl turned 11 today:

Isn’t she so pretty? (This picture is actually a couple years old)

For those of you who don’t know her, this is my baby sister (aka Julie, Juliebug, bugsy, bugs, princess, Lou, cutiepie, sweetheart, Grace… ).  This girl is my sunshine.  She’s so full of life [and sass] and she’s the best secret-keeper.  She brings joy to everyone she is around.  I am so grateful she was born.  Happy birthday, sunshine.

I often refer to March as my “happy month” for two reasons:

1. some of my favorite people were born this month

and

2. daffodils bloom in March

I seriously have an obsession with these.  Prettiest flower ever.

What do you love about March?

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elephants and pearls

Hello!

Welcome to my forty-thousandth [latest] attempt at blogging!  I’ve tried this whole “blog thing” before, but – for a variety of reasons – never stuck with it.  I’m hoping this time will be different.  Actually, I’m determined that this time will be different because… well… we’ll get to that.

To begin with, I should let you know that I’m a bit like the Amplified version of the Bible (in other words, long-winded), so go grab a cup of coffee and a cozy blanket and settle in before I go on.

Ready?

Okay, here goes:

For my first post, I have decided to share with you why I chose the name “elephants and pearls” for this blog.

elephants

Whenever I think of elephants I think of memories.  Weird, I know.  It all started with a proverb-turned-comment made by a good friend of mine… “Kerri, you’re like an elephant – you never forget!”  (she also compared me to a pit-bull, but “pit-bulls and pearls” just didn’t quite have the sound I was looking for :P).  Now, of course, every time I think of an elephant I think of their amazing ability to remember; and although I do have a good memory, it’s not quite that good, which brings me to reason number one for this blog: I want to remember.  As I mentioned earlier, I never really stuck with the blogs I began in the past.  However, I do love to go back and re-read the things that I wrote.  It’s an interesting trip down memory lane, and also an opportunity to see how much I’ve grown.  There are many Bible verses that talk about remembering what God has done; Psalm 105 is one of my favorites, you should read it. 😉  I intend to use the blog as a way to record the things that I want to remember – the things that have happened in the past and the things that are a part of my present world.  In 2, 5 or even 10 years from now I want to be able to look back into this moment in time and remember the journey from here to there.  This is part number one.

pearls

In addition to remembering, I am creating a place to express my thoughts; this is where the pearls come in.  Pearls are very special to me, I wear them to remind myself of who I am and of my value in God’s eyes.  Do you know how pearls are formed?  A pearl is formed when a foreign object gets inside an oyster’s shell, similar to a splinter like you and I would get.  This irritant in the oyster causes the oyster to “cry”, or secrete a substance, which eventually creates the pearl.  In other words, it is the tears of a wound that cause beauty to grow.  This is my testimony.  I believe that wherever there is pain, there is an opportunity for beauty to grow.  The process isn’t pleasant, but if responded to correctly, something of value can be produced.  One of these days I will share the many words and scriptures I have been given about pearls, but for now, this blog will be a place where I can post the musings and “working out” of those processes in me, as well as those “pearls” of wisdom that I glean from others.

So, there you have it: elephants and pearls.

Elephants for the memory and Pearls for the process.

Welcome to my journey.

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