Monday, April 25, 2011

Life in Washington!

I've seen this before, but it cracks me up every time because it's SO true.  Have a good laugh on behalf of all of us who live in Washington.  I added my own comments in red :)


If someone in a Home Depot store offers you assistance and they don't work there, you live in Washington. (This is really a plus, because actual employees are never around.  They're like elusive, nocturnal animals)

If you've worn shorts, sandals and a parka at the same time, you live in Washington. (Standard WA attire)

If you've had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed the wrong number, you live in Washington.

If you measure distance in hours, you live in Washington.  (I thought everybody did this?)

If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once, you live in Washington. (Sadly true)

If you have switched from 'heat' to 'A/C' and back again in the same day, you live in Washington.  (Yep.  Or you start out with a hoodie, change to a tee, then back to a hoodie)

If you can drive 75 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching, you live in Central, Southern, or Eastern Washington.

If you design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over 2 layers of clothes or under a raincoat, you live in Washington.  (I design my girls' Halloween costumes so they can be worn with matching leggings and turtlenecks, because it's going to be cold)

If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow and ice, you live in Washington.

If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter, and road construction, you live in Washington.

If you feel guilty throwing aluminum cans or paper in the trash, you live in Washington.

If you know more than 10 ways to order coffee, you live in Washington. (I've traveled, and NOBODY has decent coffee, as readily available)

If you know more people who own boats than air conditioners, you live in Washington.

If you stand on a deserted corner in the rain waiting for the "Walk" signal, you live in Washington.

If you consider that if it has no snow or has not recently erupted, it is not a real mountain, you live in Washington.

If you can taste the difference between Starbucks, Seattle's Best, and Tullys, you live in Washington.

If you know the difference between Chinook, Coho and Sockeye salmon, you live in Washington.

If you know how to pronounce Sequim, Puyallup, Issaquah, Snoqualmie, Wenatchee, Spokane, Umpqua, Yakima, and Willamette, you live in Washington.  (Love this one.  Eastern newscasters always pronounce Spokane as Spo-Cane)
If you consider swimming an indoor sport, you live in Washington.  (This is why I only sign the girls up for swimming at the Y, it's indoors)

If you can tell the difference between Japanese, Chinese and Thai food, you live in Washington.

If you never go camping without waterproof matches and a poncho, you live in Washington.

If you have actually used your mountain bike on a mountain, you live in Washington.

If you think people who use umbrellas are either wimps or tourists, you live in Washington.

If you buy new sunglasses every year because you cannot find the old ones after such a long time, you live in Washington.

 If you actually understand these jokes and forward them to all your Washington friends, you live or have lived in Washington.

**If you're getting married in August and still can't commit to an outdoor wedding, you live in Washington.  (reader submitted commented - but it's hilariously true).

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunday!

Easter morning at church!
Autumn & Cayla

Sisterly love!
Easter baskets for the girlies!  A few years ago we bought them each a Longaberger basket and we re-use them each year.  This year the silly things decided they wanted something more disposable.  OK, Dollar Store baskets for everyone :)

Close-up of Cayla's basket!

Close-up of Autumn's basket!

They both received new Bibles in their Easter baskets.  Autumn's is the aqua and Cayla received the purple.  They are so pretty, and it was special for me to get to inscribe their names, the date and occasion for which they received them.  Tomorrow we'll head to the Lifeway store to look for cute Bible covers.  I hate to cover them up, but I don't want them to get ruined.  In case you're wondering, they're (HCSB) Holman version!

Ahhhh....the joys of finding an egg :)

It took them about 20 minutes to find all 115 (roughly) eggs.

Let the egg opening commence!


She was very excited to find money in some of her eggs!
Late afternoon we headed to Grammy and Poppy's for another egg hunt, and dinner.
So proud of herself for finding all her eggs!
Their cousins were there too.  It was so fun to watch all of them having a blast, hunting eggs.
Caitlin - ever the photogenic one!
Ben & Autumn!
Jim (Poppy), Uncle Kevin (Cory's brother), and Cory!
Aunt Andrea and Cory!
My wonderful mother in law Barb, and her mom, great grandma Helen.  What a blessing to get to enjoy great grandma this year at Easter!
Cayla, Ben, Caitlin and Autumn post egg-hunt.  What a wonderful Easter celebration!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Eggs!

 Saturday's gorgeous sunshine paved the way for a walk in the park, followed by dyeing Easter eggs.  Sunday is supposed to be equally beautiful, and we're eagerly awaiting fellowship with church family to celebrate our Risen Lord, and then Easter dinner with Cory's family!  Could it be a more perfect weekend?!
It's amazing how much they've matured since last year.  There were no fights about colors, and no tears  over broken eggs.  It was perfect!
With 12 colors to choose from, making a choice really took some thought!
The Christmas cups are nice aren't they?!  :)
Autumn and the eggs!
Eggcellent :)
Definitely not dark enough yet!
They were much more patient this year and left the eggs in the dye long enough to produce vibrant  colors.
Previously seen sunning himself, Chuck wandered over to check out the glorious egg smell :)
Chuck thinks it looks good enough to eat!
Such inexpensive entertainment; yet it brings great joy!
Smiley Cayla!
Nearly finished.  Making final evaluations :)
Happy Easter!  He IS Risen!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cookies & Awana Awards!

My sister asked me to contribute something for the youth auction at church.  I decided to make cookies and since I was making them, I wanted to make more for family who live in town.  They're definitely  not professional, but they were fun to create!

This is the bucket, filled with cookies, that I made for Ben & Caitlin.

The cookie filled planter, for the church auction.  The planter was paired with a couple of other hand crafted items which sold at auction for $30.00.  Not bad considering it cost me pennies to make :)

Another basket of cookies for Lisa Dawn, Kelly, Luke & Mark.

Another shot of the auction basket.

Cookie close-up - smile :)

Deciding on patterns took more time than actually implementing them!

Cayla, receiving her award for finishing her book in Awana.

Autumn, receiving her Awana book-1 award!  So proud of my girlies.  They worked hard to memorize verses, and loved attending Awana every week!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Our Disposable Society!

I can't recall exactly how I stumbled upon the article below, but it definitely stirred emotion within me. While it made me a little angry, it mostly just made me sad. Sad because this woman is living in the dark. She clearly doesn't know Jesus and she's not aware of the immense joy HE brings, even in the midst of depressing circumstances.

The Incredible Shrinking Woman

ELLE writers on Justice Anthony Kennedy’s Gonzales v. Carhart

What Kind of Life?
The best research to date suggests that the vast majority of women who have abortions aren't plagued by regret. One tells her story

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote: "While we find no reliable data to measure the phenomenon, it seems unexcep­tionable to conclude some women come to regret their choice to abort the infant life they once created and sustained. Severe depression and loss of esteem can follow."

It is unexceptionable to conclude that Justice Kennedy and his four concurring justices have never created and sustained an infant and do not have degrees in psychology. They do admit that they have no reliable data, but apparently base their "unexceptionable" conclusion on the old norm for determining what is pornographic—that is, they know it when they see it.

Having personally created, sustained, and aborted fetuses myself, and further, having talked with many women who have done the same, I'd like to offer my own reliable data for the Court's future forays into the tricky realm of female mental health, and—let's face it, because this is what they are alluding to—female spirituality.

I begin with a June evening in Salamanca, in western Spain. I am sitting in the late light with a man I love. Families stroll aimlessly, casting shadows onto the sand-colored stones of the plaza. We are sipping vino tinto at a small round table, watching the remains of the sun turn the dust golden. I feel the future in that light, a realm of glorious possibility. In the years to come, I will go to Paris, to Istanbul, to the shores of the Indian Ocean. I will have countless transcendent moments, including the births of our children.

Rewind about two years before Salamanca. I am five weeks pregnant with an embryo created with a man I'm not sure I love. What I know with certainty is that I face a life that looks something like this: I marry a man who doesn't inspire me. We buy a stroller and a crib. I tether myself to diaper bag and stroller. Together, we three share a roof until death do us part. Or: I don't marry him, but I have his child. I tether myself to stroller and crib, and when I can get away, it is only to scrape and scratch out a living as a single mother—a role I've never wanted, although I know many women eagerly choose it, or gracefully accept it.

Either way, I'm bitter, unfulfilled, driven mad by the crushing weight of the parenthood I didn't want. Severe depression and loss of esteem (in the eyes of the world or the self—Kennedy curiously makes no distinction—but what difference does it make at this point?) follow. That's my parallel universe, the realm of quiet desperation, suffocating sacrifice, a place where to long for the transcendent is to wish for death. My version of hell.
Many foes of abortion believe in a heaven after this life, a heaven where I will meet my aborted fetus again in a glow more golden than that late June light in Spain, and where this vale of tears is but a dim, dark memory. With all due respect to their beliefs, I believe in transcendence here on earth. It exists in independence, self-determination, and love, none of which is possible in the universe Justice Kennedy and friends are crafting. For the psychological record, I don't regret that abortion; it has not depressed me, nor lowered my worldly or self-esteem. (I'm not putting my name on this essay, but I'd proudly do so if it weren't against my employer's policy to express political views.) On the contrary, it was a crack in a wall that I found in the nick of time, fleeing an infinitely depressing place.

I know that I transmit my notion of the joy inherent in this world to the children that I did choose to have. And I know that my children are better, more hopeful, and healthier people for it.
So she's not one of the women who suffers regret, or sadness (yet) because she chose to end a life.   But I'm guessing she's rare.  She doesn't offer any solid reasons (not that there are any in my opinion) for aborting her baby, she just states that it allowed her to "flee an infinitely depressing place."  Well my goodness, if we could just end a life every time we got depressed.  Wow!  Think of the possibilities.  The world would be rid of bitter ex-husbands/wives, children who throw tantrums, all government workers, the boss who fired you from your last job, your mother-in-law (no offense Barb :),  and the list goes on.  Just because we get depressed doesn't mean we get to terminate a life.
Did you notice the author never once mentioned HAVING the baby (or the fetus/embryo as she so dismissively refers to it) and bringing immense joy to someone else's life by giving him/her up for adoption?  No, she selfishly considered HER needs ONLY.  And she couldn't bother to look at every option, she just looked at the pro-death option.
I know people who have had abortions and while they may not sit around in a severely depressed state all the time, they do wish they had thought through ALL the options.  They wish they had made a decision that allowed them to give them the life they wanted, while giving their baby life period.
I saw a bumper sticker yesterday, and it so aptly applies:  "It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish." ~Mother Theresa

Monday, April 11, 2011

Automated Answering Nightmares!

When we first signed up with our cable company, we were enticed with wonderful offers to receive benefits FREE for a year.  Well, free is a subjective term.  Yes, they were free for one year, but then after that year was over, all of a sudden our bill skyrocketed.  I called the cable company and after punching 6,798 numbers into an automated system (which I HATE), I was told by the automated voice, "We are currently experiencing higher than normal call volumes.  Your expected wait time will be xxxx."  WHICH I HATE!!!!

 This whole automated answering system companies love to use is just ridiculous.  99% of the time my problem/question/concern does not fit tidily into one of their pre-conceived answers.  I want to speak to a human, which unlike a machine, can discern my issue and direct me to the right customer service representative.

I have a few recommendations:

1)  Companies should be required to notify customers when something is about to expire, instead of just billing them for something they had been getting for free.  *Yes, I realize I was told this when I signed on, but one tends to forget what items were included free.  So, why not a call or e-mail to remind me that my free items are about to end, and unless I cancel them, my bill will increase?

2)  Companies should do away with the courtesy message stating that they're experiencing high call volumes.  They're ALWAYS experiencing higher than normal call volumes.  I never get a message that says, "We're currently experiencing lower than normal call volumes, so expect someone to..."  "Hello, thank you for calling Company X, my name is Helpful.  How can I help you today?"

3)  In fact, companies should just do away with the automated answering system all together and put a few more Americans to work.  Don't outsource my customer service to someone who doesn't speak English as their native language, and don't put me through a series of dialing numbers, and listening to options that don't fit my specific need.