Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Wish List

7 Wonders Board Game... Soft snuggly pj's... A puppy!

Isn't it funny to think back on what our childhood wish lists contained? Or to even reflect on what lies scribbled in bullet-point form this December? Thinking on what I really want for Christmas this evening, it dawned on me that the things I want most are not things that can be purchased or gift wrapped. Remember that song that goes, "This is my grown-up Christmas list..."?

Here's mine:
  • Patience
  • Trust in God
  • Motivation
  • Transcendent Peace
What are you wishing for this holiday season?

Watch Amy Grant sing "Grown Up Christmas List" on YouTube.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Work, Vinyls, and Neighbors

What a great day! I'm amazed at how much God blesses us.

Took a new approach to my morning workout. I try to walk the entire perimeter of a nearby park each morning. The "try" is in the getting there, not in making it all the way around. =) My new approach was to pray for my entire family as well as others I've committed to pray for and anyone who popped into my mind. I can't believe how quickly my walk went by! I have a hard time thinking in a straight line, so I usually mouth the words to myself. I may have been tagged a weirdo by a few, but I don't care. It was so inspiring!

I worked a few hours at the thrift store today. I really like my new job. There are some shady characters, but most customers are really nice. Thank you for praying for me and encouraging me. I love seeing Steve light up when I talk about work. I think this job has been even more of a blessing to him than it has been to me. He loves seeing me energetic, and the financial blessing has been a big stress reliever.

Today my supervisor said, "You're doing a great job! I'm so glad you know QuickBooks!" I do? I do! haha They also decided to have me work full shifts on the days I'm there. So awesome! I'm still able to make it to church on Sunday mornings and Sunday/Wednesday evenings. I will even be able to continue teaching the monthly women's bible study as well, as long as I'm not needed on Saturdays. *jaw drop* Still in awe of God's work in our lives. His ways are perfect. Trust Him!

After work, I decided to dig through the vinyl records they have. Two cool finds! Huey Lewis & The News' "Fore!" and John Denver & The Muppets' "A Christmas Together". How fun is that??

Steve and I are still figuring out the two-job communication trick. After missing each other at lunch, we were able to get ourselves straightened out enough to grab a Pepsi together. I cherish those silly little moments. =) Steve was in a state of shock the other night when he realized we've already made it three-quarters of the way through our fourth year of marriage. What?!? Where did all of that time go?

While walking up the sidewalk to our apartment, my neighbor waved me over and handed me a hot bowl of chicken casserole. I had just been planning to make a sandwich. Such a great surprise on a chilly, dark evening. Thanks, Jamie!

Also, a thank-you to my sister-in-law, Patty, for being such an encouragement and helping me stay accountable with working out and staying healthy! She's amazing!

So, so, so very thankful for my life. And my amazing friends. And my incredible Savior, Jesus Christ. This is the good life.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Life @ 27

For the 27th time, Steve and I are the same age again for another six months. November 4th was my birthday. It was the best birthday I've had since moving to Oregon in the summer of 2008. I think I had my almost-mid-life crisis on my 26th birthday. I spent the night crying about how old I was and how many goals I had failed to accomplish. This year was different. Thank the Lord!

Aside from the natural event of aging, a lot has changed. God opened the door for me to move from volunteer status at the humane society to part-time employee. The hours are few, but the schedule is fantastic. It is a temporary position, and it's a great jumping-off point for a job hunt for a more permanent job.

As long as I can remember, I've struggled with anxiety and panic attacks. As a child, I just figured it was normal not wanting to be away from home or family. As an adult, I know it's not normal, and it's been worse over the last two years. Hearing about my nephew choosing a "life verse" at school really challenged me to also take God's Word to heart and truly live by it. This is the verse that's really touched me:

From my distress I called upon the LORD; 
The LORD answered me and set me in a large place. 
The LORD is for me; I will not fear; 
What can man do to me? 
Psalm 118:5-6 NASB
It's been an incredible week of gratitude for me. I started a Thanksgiving Journal just before my birthday. Every night before bed, I write down even the tiniest things I'm grateful for from the day. It has changed my perspective so much. I have been able to look back over all the days of depression and disappointment and see the larger steps of success I've made over the past year.

I had set forth a plan a year or more ago to slowly work through my anxiety to regain where I had been before I went through everything with my thyroid the first year of my marriage.

Goals I've achieved:

* Get In Shape - I'm not the shape I want to be yet, but I've been working out at least 20 minutes a day at least 3 days a week. I feel much healthier. I don't experience debilitating cramps in my legs or back anymore. It's awesome to feel the "good hurt" of exercising and challenging my mind and body.

* Volunteer  - I completed volunteering at the local humane society for 17 months. It was amazing.

* Get a Job - I finished my first paid day working at the local humane society as a PT/On-Call Sales Associate. It's a temporary position that ends in March 2012, but I'm honestly grateful for the amazing answer to prayer. I couldn't imagine getting a better schedule in a part-time retail position. Sundays off so I can be in church. Finished by 6:30pm every evening so I can still attend bible study and have evenings with Steve. Never start before 9am so I have time in the mornings to workout and work on our eBay business from home.

Those are a few of the big ones. I'm praying that the achievement of these personal goals will help Steve and I sooner reach our bigger goals of owning a home, having children, and being the forever home of a fluffy puppy. =) Yes, having a puppy is on our big goal list. haha

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Frost. That's what we saw on the neighboring rooftops when we left the house this morning. The orange-streaked sunrise's warm glow on the autumn-colored trees warmed my heart, even if it didn't reach my toes or fingertips.

Our new car has leather seats. Steve was very excited when we got it. I remember saying, "Leather seats are awful. They burn you in the summer and they freeze you in the winter." I just wanted to whisperingly remind Steve, "I was right!".

Other happenings around here include my new silverware drawer organizer. It's such a small, insignificant thing to you, but I rejoiced at the sight of the crisp white glowing back at me, knowing I can simply throw it in the dishwasher when it gets dirty. The old organizer was relocated to the knife drawer. I know. I have issues when it comes to organization. I'm slightly obsessed. In my defense, you should see our office. *No! no... You really, really shouldn't.*

What else is new... Oh! We bought plane tickets to visit all of our wonderful family and friends in Wisconsin! I am flying into Minneapolis, Minnesota on January 5th of the new year. I'll be in gorgeous Wisconsin for TWO WEEKS! I can hardly believe it! That was Steve's birthday present to me this year. It's quite a sacrifice for him. He'll be without me for a whole week, and then he's using a few days of his hard-earned vacation time to fly to Minneapolis on January 12th to join me and my family for an entire week. I'm incredibly excited. We'll be flying back home on Wednesday, January 18th and arriving in Portland around 11am. If you miss us so much you can't stand it, you're welcome to pick us up from the airport! ;)

A bit of sad news: Circle K on Capitol Street in Salem will be closing its doors on October 31st to bow out to another 7/11. We love Circle K. We don't love 7/11. We will be in mourning. My source tells me the rest of the Circle K's in Salem will be staying in business. So sorry to the people who are losing their jobs. Our prayers are with you! :(

It is October. It is chilly. Today is the day for the first pot of Corn Chowder to be deliciously created in our kitchen. Very excited for lunch. I love soup on chilly days. What's your favorite chilly day comfort food?

Thanks for reading! Hope you have a beautiful Autumn and a safe Halloween!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Falling to Rise Stronger

September... The ninth month of the year. Usually considered the first month of autumn for the U.S. September is a month that often brings difficult situations and life lessons my way. Lessons of loss, death, fear, and survival. These are a few of the big ones over the years: 9/11 - National tragedy, death of my sister three days shy of her 28th birthday, death of my first frog on the anniversary of my sister's death, and the month I was told one of my dearly loved relatives has a month to live due to illness.

This year brought a special challenge.

Steve and I have driven an amazing little Jetta for over seven years. It's been a wonderful car, but it's beginning to show its age. It's in desperate need of a new clutch, but we just didn't have the finances or skill to replace it cheaply. So, we began looking for a used car in our price range. It took a lot of prayer and a leap of faith to feel at peace with the process. We had just paid off all non-school debt and were super happy about it. The prospect of jumping headlong into another large loan was discouraging.

We found a little car we liked a lot that was in our price range. A cute little Ford Focus:

The first thing we did after taking the car home was make a trip to the beach. It was so gorgeous. It was the first time we had been able to do that all summer. We got to visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium (thanks to Groupon). If you ever get the chance to visit, it's one of the most amazing attractions on the West Coast. I always love watching the otters and sea lions.

We stopped by Beverly Beach State Park while we were out there. Sweet little campground with yurts and tepees tucked away from the windy beach, but a very short stroll from the waves.

We also got the chance to drive the back roads out to Dallas, Oregon to visit some friends. On the way we saw some pretty cool dirt devils!

Part of me almost wishes I had photos for the rest of the story because I don't think you'll believe me. But trust me. It's all true.

We had the for about a week. Everything was working great. It was Thursday, September 8th. I was driving to the humane society during rush hour around 2:50pm to volunteer, like I do every week. Traffic was moving really slow. Bumper-to-bumper slow. For some stupid reason I had taken Mission Street instead of taking State St to Airport Rd, which is about 10 minutes faster.

I saw a police officer in a squad car sitting at the stoplight in the intersection I had just passed through. The traffic was slow and I had stopped over the crosswalk on the far side. I was a little nervous he might be a picky cop and cite me for something if the light turned red. I made it through on green and two cars came behind me. He flipped his lights on and pulled into the main stream of traffic, and then flipped the lights off again. I was watching in my mirrors because it always makes me nervous having a cop right behind me. I thought it was weird that he only turned his lights on for a second. Then the paranoia set in. Was he going to pull me over for something stupid?

The squad car kept moving to the right shoulder, I supposed to see ahead of traffic. I thought that was strange. The gas light came on. The car being new to me, I wondered how far I could go on a low tank. Should I stop to put gas in and not have to worry about having a cop behind me? I decided not to. I went through another big intersection where another lane added onto the right, creating a five lane road. I moved over to that far-right lane because I needed to turn right in a few blocks to get to the humane society.

The next thing I knew, the cop turned his lights and sirens back on. We all started to pull over to the side of the road. The cop violently pulled right in front of my car and pinned it in so I had nowhere to go. Two more squad cars pulled up beside my car and behind it, boxing the car in, isolating it from all the other traffic.

The doors on all the cop cars flew open. About six cops scrambled out with their guns pointed directly at my head. They were all at least 20 feet away. Before any of that happened, I had already turned the car off and rolled the window down, ready to talk to the officer who came to my window. Clearly, no one was going to approach my window.

I was freaking out a little. Ok... A lot. An officer from behind my car began to yell.


My hands flew up. I could see the officers in my rear view mirror and my side mirrors. My hands started shaking. Honestly, I started to think, "What is going on?!? Maybe I should shake more... Maybe I should start crying??" I was so shocked and panicked that I hadn't even had time to naturally respond to the events exploding around me.


I had started crying by then. My first thought was, "If I move too quickly, they might shoot me." Every time I had to move my hands, I freaked out a little more.


Reaching down to undo my seatbelt was the scariest part, up to that point. I reached my right arm over to pull the door handle, remembering how my dad had always instructed me to keep my hands on the steering wheel and in sight when stopped by a cop. Feeling all the strength drained out of my legs, I got out of the car and kept my hands up in the air. I imagined all of the people's faces looking at me and imagining what I had done. An awful, dirty feeling. I couldn't think of anything I had done to deserve such force. I wondered if I had hit someone. Mentally I knew I hadn't seen anyone or heard or felt any thumps. I wasn't speeding. We were only going 20 mph. I didn't run any lights. I felt like throwing up, but I was too scared to move.


Though there were cars with passengers all around me, I still don't remember a single face or a single car. All I remember is the officer in uniform directly behind me and how fake the gun looked - like plastic. I knew it wasn't. Logic. I backed up until I reached the cops who were standing behind my car.


I was really shaking at that point. I asked the officer "Which way is right?!?" I laugh really hard at that now. I'm pretty awful with left and right on a regular basis. I couldn't think at all. They then directed me to take a few steps over to the squad car and put my hands on the roof - like you see on TV. Insane.

A woman officer patted me down. Arms first. Down my sides. The inside bands of my "unmentionables". Down my legs. Shook out my pant legs. Felt around my ankles. I was sobbing by then and kept asking "What's going in?!?!?!?"

"Ma'am, you're driving a stolen vehicle.", one of the male officers informed me. "Did you know it's stolen?"

Of course not! The question kept echoing in my mind, "How could this happen? We bought it!"

The clank of metal. They pulled my hands behind my back. Cold, metal handcuffs were tightened around my wrists. They cut into my skin. It was uncomfortable, but mostly unnerving. I was then led to a squad car where they opened the door. I just started at it for a few seconds thinking this was absolutely ridiculous.

"Take a seat, ma'am." said the woman officer who had patted me down.

I looked at the hard plastic bench and the plexiglass window, barely a foot away from the bench. Concerned about not being able to use my hands to steady myself, I asked the woman, "How do I get in?" She replied not so brightly, "Put one foot in first." Duh. "Watch your head." Thank you so much for your assistance...

"I can't sit back. How do I sit in here?" I was doing my best to do as I was told.

"If you scoot over a little farther, there's a cut-out in the bench."

A lot of good that did. I was really wishing I had practiced that stupid Jillian Michaels' cool-down stretch more.

People do irrational things when they're traumatized. Through my tears I asked the woman, "Could someone call the humane society to tell them I won't be there today?" The woman looked surprised and a little lost for words. She was probably thinking, "Girl! You're in a heap of trouble, you're bawling your eyes out, and you want me to call the humane society?"

What can I say? I'm responsible.

I only allowed myself to look at the cars to the left once. An older couple with gray hair was driving past slowly. I don't think I'll ever forget the horrified, concerned look on the old woman's face. Perfectly coifed silver hair and pure horror. Quite the reflection. I tried to drop my head, but I had for practicality's sake pulled my hair into a pony tail that afternoon. My hands were bound. It was so humiliating. I kept praying and hoping nobody I knew would drive past.

Terror. Overwhelming grief. Anger. Shock. Denial. Bewilderment. Complete loneliness. Betrayal. Utter helplessness. It all crashed against the shores of my heart like the pounding of a tidal wave.

One large cop plopped into the driver's seat. The woman took the passenger seat. Bars on my window. I was in total shock. Rarely are there pedestrians on that street. I'm sure two hordes walked past, trying to see who committed an awful crime. I was sobbing.

Digging for any semblance of sense in this chaos, "How can this be happening? I was on my way to volunteer for homeless pets. I teach women's bible study. I go to church on Sundays and Wednesdays. I'm a wife who works at home. How can I be any sort of threat? Why did they put me in here??"

The big guy began with the questions.

"Ma'am, what's your name?"

"Date of birth?"

"What's your current address?"

"Have you ever been arrested?"

"Now, can you see this report on my screen? Can you see the car is reported as stolen?"

They read me my Miranda rights and proceeded to question me. All I could think about was other people I've known who have had false charges brought against them, and how much misery they had to endure. I didn't want to talk, but reasoned if I didn't talk, they would take me to a holding facility at the jail. The back of a squad car was feeling traumatic enough. I decided I would tell the truth. I had done nothing wrong.

I couldn't stop crying and I was terrified. I kept praying, "Abba! Help me!" All I wanted at that moment was to be out of that car and to have Steve with me. I told them we had proof of purchase and DMV papers in the car. I was pretty sure the title or registration was in there.

"Ma'am, I have here a form for permission to search the vehicle. I need your consent. Is it ok if we look in the car?"

Thoughts flew through my head. "What if they find something I have no idea about and it can be pinned on me for a crime? It's a pretty far leap, but so was getting attacked by the police with guns and put in the back of this car with these handcuffs." I gave in.

After an eternity, a cop walked up to the driver's window.

"I believe everything she's saying. She's telling the truth."

They had found the proof of purchase papers in an envelope stamped by the car dealership in the glove box.

All the cops got out of the car.

"My wrists are really hurting..." I said out the window as the woman walked by. She looked at my with pity in her eyes. Useless pity. It made me mad.

"We'll get them off of you in just a minute." She abandoned me there in the back of the car. I started sobbing again. Lyrics drifted like smoke into my mind, "When peace like a river attendeth my soul..." I couldn't remember the rest of it, but I knew it fit the situation, whatever the next lyrics were.

After what seemed like an eternity, they opened the door and took the cuffs off. My wrists were a really dark red from the cuffs cutting into them. I probably would have been in a rage, but I was so relieved to be out of that car and those cuffs. I wondered how badly they would bruise. "Am I going to have an arrest record?" I think I asked that six or seven times.

It's terrible the way people look at you when you're handcuffed or in a cop car. What happened to "innocent until proven guilty in a court of law"? I realized then and there that I am one hundred percent guilty of putting myself in the Judge's chair. I am so wrong. I am a sinner. Only God can judge the heart of man. We are to judge their actions according to the law, but the law is incredibly inadequate. I pray even more fervently, "Jesus, come soon!" I thought about how I didn't really do anything "wrong", and that's exactly what people say to God when they are told they need forgiveness. I went through the same reasoning they go through. "I'm a good person." I needed God to intercede on my behalf in that moment in the back of that squad car just like I needed him to lay his righteousness over my sinful heart when I was in bondage to sin and my fleshly desires. What an incredible yet ridiculous object lesson. I will never pray for patience again was my declaration that day. I caught myself praying for it the next day. He knows what I need, and how much I can handle. ;)
The cops explained to me that the car we purchased had been reported stolen an entire month before on August 1st in Astoria, Oregon.

"Somebody has some explaining to do." was their summary of the afternoon's events.

They returned my phone and everything else they took off of me in the initial search, as well as my purse, which they had also gone through.

They had emptied the car of all of our belongings. One of the officers - all their faces blended together by then - told me they had put our things in a "steel sack". I asked what that was. He pointed to a silver trash bag on the sidewalk. It shouldn't have been a big deal, but it felt like a knife through my heart. They put everything I found valuable in a trash bag and had treated me like trash as well and kicked us both to the curb. I was crushed. Steve's toolbox sat beside the steel sack. I felt homeless.

"Did you want to call your husband, ma'am?" The woman asked.

No... I really didn't. I had just experienced one of the worst moments of my life. My instinct was to insulate and protect Steve from every possible hint of it. I felt miserable. I was physically drained from the panic and crying. I was in pain from the handcuffs. I was angry at the police, but strangely grateful to them for giving me back my freedom. I had stopped crying and I could hear my voice was devoid of emotion.

"Hello?" Steve answered his phone.

"Hey. So they sold us a stolen car."

"What?!? Are you kidding me? How do you know??"

"I'm sitting here with about six cops and three squad cars. I need you to come get me."

I felt like the most miserable wretch in the world. I was the one who brought such horrible panic and terror to my husband's heart. I would rather that it was me than to have a cop call him. At least he would know I was alive and mostly ok by hearing my voice. I'm afraid my voice wasn't very assuring though.

He got to the scene and was pretty furious, but he kept his cool. I've never seen his face so tense, and I've seen him pretty mad. I was so afraid he would do or say something and the cops would do something awful - again. I started to feel as though they could do whatever they wanted because they had badges and guns. I just wanted to get home and lock the door. My trust in the police and the judicial & legislative systems was shattered.

This is the part of the story where I get tired of telling it so I just speed through the rest. =)

After the cops left us that day, they weren't helpful at all. They were rude and insensitive. They apologized for the circumstances and expressed sympathy for the trauma I suffered, but never once apologized for the way they treated me.

We ended up doing the investigating ourselves. Steve and his dad went to the car lot to talk to the salesman. He said they had all the legal papers. They had bought it at an auction. A detective finally got back to us five days later, and WE filled HIM in on the case.

According to them, a married couple in California owned the car. At some point, the husband took out a car title loan (where the lender takes your car title as collateral for the money they loan you). The couple divorced and the wife took the car to Oregon. Instead of getting the title back from her husband, she filed a "Lost Title" with the Oregon DMV and put her maiden name on it. The husband didn't pay off the loan and told the company "If you can find the car, you can have it." They located it in northern Oregon and repossessed it.

When the ex-wife came out to her car in the morning, it was gone. She reported it to the Astoria police as stolen. So, the trick here is that there are now two titles to this vehicle. One title says the car is legally repossessed. The other title says the car is stolen. Someone in the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or two police departments (Astoria & Salem) dropped the ball and didn't do their job.

The cops told us (paraphrasing) "Nobody broke any laws. Too bad. That's life. At least nobody got hurt."

Here's how we got the car:

The loan company that repossessed the vehicle sold it to an auction place. They auctioned the car with its original title to the car lot where we bought it. I honestly think some sort of charges should be brought against the wife. She should have gotten the title from her husband, either on her own or through an attorney. It's just irresponsible and stupid. They should have managed their finances better so they didn't need a car title loan. They should have managed their marriage better so they didn't get a divorce. Shoulda. Coulda. Woulda. I'm still working on the forgiveness part of things.

The owner and the salesman at the car lot felt absolutely awful. They decided to help us out by letting us choose a different car for the same price. We picked a fully-loaded 2002 Honda Accord with leather seats. The salesman didn't know he wasn't authorized to offer us that vehicle. The owner said it was ok, but he had paid $150 more at auction for it and wanted to at least get back what he spent. For $150 more, we got a car that was worth $2,000 more than the original car that the cops stole from us with their guns. :P

My summation:

God is good, and he allows trials like this to make us rise stronger and to give us a greater testimony of his faithfulness.

Life is slowly getting back to normal.

I see cops everywhere I go now. Feels like they're stalking me. I also get a little nervous driving the new car, especially by myself. I keep thinking, "The next time a cop pulls me over, he better have a stretcher because I'll probably pass out before he even gets to my window."

The cops told me I was "detained", not arrested. That's a pack of lies, but I'll take the lies if it keeps me from having to fight an arrest record! One of the officers also said "As soon as I saw you, I knew you weren't a car thief!" There were other things said by officers that were inappropriate and infuriating, but I'm just going to keep working on that forgiveness part.

In the end...

Mercy is greater than justice.

God's got my back and He loves me like crazy.

The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Then the Lord giveth even better. ;)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Awesome Websites!

Thought I would share some websites I've found really cool:

Apollo 11 Mission. All about it -- from audio to photo galleries to videos. So great!

Get The Glass board game by California Milk Processor Board. Ridiculously fun for an advertisement. It really is harder than you'd think! Takes a little patience for it to load, but it's cool.

"There! I Fixed It!" aka "OSHA's Worst Nightmare Album" Fun page full of funny-fix photos! Enjoy!

The Pioneer Woman: She cracks me up with her abrupt humor. Love her practicality.

That's it for now! I don't want to be at fault for a wasted day! It's fun stuff! Enjoy!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

100 Top Toys?

100 Most Influential Toys From 1923 to The Present --

**Toys in bold are ones I've owned, stolen, or borrowed. ;)**


Radio Flyer Wagon
Chemistry Set
Joy Buzzer
Pop-Up Book


Stuffed Mickey Mouse
Finger Paint
Sock Monkey (My brother and I each had one - originals with red lips. Phil's had a hat.)
Buck Rogers Rocket Pistol
Microscope Set
Beach Ball
Red Ryder BB Gun
Army Men (Usually stole them from my brother just to irritate him)
View-Master (They have these at a cool little coffee shop by us. Fun idea!)


Bubble Solution
Little Golden Books (Potty training necessity)
Magic 8 Ball


Water Balloon
Silly Putty
Fisher-Price Little People (Love, love, love the little schoolhouse!)
Paint-by-Numbers Kit
Mr. Potato Head
Wiffle Ball (And wiffle bats... Ouch!)
Matchbox Car
PEZ Dispenser
Gumby (He's on my fridge right now! A friend gave him to Steve and I for our wedding to remind us to always be flexible. Thanks, Shirley! Also reminds me of my cousin Kristen.)
Play-Doh (Just played with some this afternoon)
Tonka Truck
Corn Popper (I'll take this over the newer noisier toys any day!)
Two-Handed Pogo Stick
Hula Hoop
Barbie (Mattel stole years of my childhood! Played with these for hours on end.)
Troll Doll (Mom wouldn't let us have these, but the neighbor girl did.)
Plarail Toy Train
Chatty Cathy
Fake Vomit


Etch A Sketch
Rock-a-Stack (I never knew their name. I called them ring-things.)
Ken (Dreamy! I remember when they made them with real hair. Weird.)
Slip 'n Slide (Best. Toy. Ever.)
Chatter Telephone (Dragged this around for the first few years of my life!)
G.I. Joe (The source of many bitter feuds between siblings)
Easy-Bake Oven (I can't believe my mom trusted me.)
Creepy Crawlers
Rock'em Sock'em Robots
Johnny Seven O.M.A.
See 'n Say (It's addictive.)
Barrel of Monkeys
Radio-Controlled Car
Hot Wheels (Totally raced these down Bore's long driveway!)
Flatsy Doll
Barbie's Dream House


NERF Ball (My husband is still obsessed with Nerf products)
Paddington Bear (I may have only read the book, but I loved that bear!)
Baby Alive (Always wanted one. Mom probably figured four real kids were enough.)
Shrinky Dinks
Magna Doodle (Especially the beard ones! Kind of creepy!)
Rubik's Cube
Stretch Armstrong
Star Wars Action Figure
Mattel Classic Football
Speak & Spell
Star Trek Electronic Phasers


Cabbage Patch Kids (I had a bed-tent that I absolutely adored and lived in for awhile)
Polly Pocket
Slap Bracelet (First one was from an older couple during Halloween)
Masters of the Universe Action Figure (He-Man & She-Ra!! Plus the lion thing they rode)
Glo Worm (Always loved these. My friend Rachal had one. Still want one!)
Care Bear
My Little Pony
Teddy Ruxpin
Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine
Pound Puppy (I remember playing/seeing Phil's. One named smokey)
Koosh Ball (Hate these!)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Skip-It (Neighbor girl had one)
Glow Stick
Wrestling Buddy


Little Tikes Log Cabin --- What happened to Lincoln Logs?!?
Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Car
Super Soaker (received these as gifts from one of my dad's company parties. Fun!)
Beanie Baby
Buzz Lightyear
American Girl Doll (I wanted one so bad! I had a few of the books.)
Tickle Me Elmo
Neodymium-Magnet Toy


Zhu Zhu

I was surprised paper dolls weren't on there. Loved those! What toys do you think should have been on this list that aren't? What were or still are your favorites?

Read more:,29569,2049243,00.html#ixzz1V404AzpJ

Monday, August 1, 2011

First Albertsons Run

Fun, fun, fun! I'm pretty stoked about our first run to Albertsons! It's a 15 minute drive or more for us since it's in Keizer, but it was a pretty sweet deal. We got out of there with 2 cantaloupes and 15 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breast for a whopping $27.45! Love that!

Right now, they have the cheapest BL/SL chicken breast around, and that includes frozen chicken breast. Theirs is fresh! Today it is $1.88/lb. I printed the $5 off $25 or more coupon from joining their email club. The sale price came out to $21.63 for 15.34 lbs of chicken. I then had the $5 off coupon (which I could use because I bought two .48/lb cantaloupe) bringing the price per pound to $1.08. Yeah - that's awesome. Pretty much all of the other stores were over $2/lb for even frozen chicken breasts. Plus, there was barely anyone in the store and there was no wait at the checkout. Shopper's Heaven!

I didn't have the preferred shopper card, but the girl at the register entered her phone number for us. Probably against the rules, but if it brings customers back, why not?!? She was awesome!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Straining Toward The Goal

Inspiration to those working out:

Philippians 3
No Confidence in the Flesh

7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Following Paul’s Example
15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Keep striving for that prize!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Lavender Love

Kari visited a lavender farm outside of Silverton, Oregon with some friends over the weekend. To their surprise, the house and outbuildings were empty and everything was overgrown. It was like a secret garden.

Upon arriving, they were greeted by a pair of deer enjoying the forsaken apple trees. It was such a unique little place. They were all wishing they had $500k to buy the farm. Afterward, they enjoyed a free lunch at Seven Brides Brewing in Silverton, Oregon. The food was delicious. They got all four entrees for free because the credit card machine was giving the employees so much trouble. They're excited to go back. Excellent service. Great food. Highly recommend it. =)

For Havenhill Lavender Farm photos, follow this link:

For Seven Brides Brewing, visit their website:

Friday, July 15, 2011

Why She Loves Laundry...

Most people I know look at me with distaste when I tell them I love doing laundry. I've tried to capture a few of the reasons why.

Running the dryer in our small apartment generates way too much heat.
Hanging laundry on a line not only saves us money, it's sentimental.

I remember watching my mom hang the laundry, and the many tents she made for us in the summer with flat sheets and clothes pins. Some of my favorite childhood memories!

I sometimes light some of my favorite incense to create an inviting atmosphere.

I don't have to worry about a flame and it doesn't create any extra heat.

My bathroom is one of the prettiest rooms in the house. I love the orchid my neighbor gave me. I've never kept an orchid before. It's been a fascinating experience.

The joy is in the details.
Any chore becomes easier when you're surrounded by things you like.

The largest art in my bathroom is this framed photo of a dog on a beach. It totally reminds me of my black lab I had to put to sleep years ago. He never got to see the ocean, but I like to think he's happier now. **I choose to ignore all the theologians and philosophers who declare that animals won't be in heaven.** =)

There is one part of laundry I hate. Stains. The best way I've found to deal with stains is a good sense of humor and some elbow grease.

"Now they show you how detergents take out bloodstains, a pretty violent image there. I think if you've got a t-shirt with a bloodstain all over it, maybe laundry isn't your biggest problem. Maybe you should get rid of the body before you do the wash." - Jerry Seinfeld

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Coyote Run

A surprise day off. We packed up the bikes and headed out for our first ride at Willamette Mission State Park.
The orchards are always beautiful, be they apples, filberts, or cherries.
We started out on a paved bicycle path. Soon Steve diverted to a dirt path. He raced along behind the grass curtain, his heading popping up like a prairie dog with every jump he flew over. I watched from the tame safety of the paved path. Then our paths diverged. Steve won out, convincing me to walk my bike through some tall grass to get to the dirt path. Were the vultures in the distant trees an omen?

The dirt path turned out to be a horse trail with some refreshingly beautiful views of the river.

I took this for the fun of it. It turned out to be a "before" photo. I chopped my hair short about a week ago. The hydration packs were a must. Hot and humid out here lately. Steve boasts a Camelbak. I have a High Sierra that I find works just as well. However, I cheat and use a Camelbak bladder on the inside.

The happy part of the ride! I'm wishing I had gotten some after photos. They may have broken the lens.
We rode almost three miles before coming upon a clearing. We skirted a cornfield and began to feel raindrops. (I had checked the forecast which predicted rain, but didn't want to dampen Steve's spirits and maybe even thought he had checked it himself. haha Silly thought.)

Riding quickly, we made it to the woods on the other side before the heavens really opened up. Lost in the fun of things, we tore headlong into the blackberry briars at a pretty good speed, slipping and sliding through huge mud pits and over tree roots and rocks.

I was at the lead when I heard a crashing noise from the left rear. A few seconds later I heard Steve yelling, "Go, Kar! Go! Go! Faster! There's a coyote chasing me!?!" Not kidding! A coyote Steve describes as looking like this fellow here and weighing around 40 lbs or the size of a small German Shepherd had charged toward him.

We're still not sure if he was chasing a rabbit or other prey when we rode in between them, or if all of the sudden noise muted by the rain surprised him and he happened to run in our direction instead of away. We stopped a ways up the trail and looked at each other incredulously before bursting out laughing, with a bit of apprehension mixed in. Steve got a pretty good scare from it. I didn't even see it and I was terrified. We pressed on.

We rode through some face-high grass which was soaked by the downpouring rain. I felt as though I was 6-years-old again doing bobs during swim lessons at the local pool. Water. Water. Water. Gasp! We realized, after a few gallons of rain and a pound or two of grass seed, that we didn't know where we were and the trail maps weren't making any sense. We were drenched.

We ended up retracing our path past the coyote encounter to the cornfield. Before reaching the huge mud pits or the cornfield, Steve pointed out my rear tire had gone flat. Of course, we had no spare tubes or a tire pump. We're definitely not boyscouts! We ended up carrying my bike the four miles back. On the way, Steve discovered his iPhone had shut itself off and there was water under the screen. It wouldn't reboot.

Before reaching the car, the sun had come out again to dry us off to a sloshy damp and served us up as the main course for the mosquitos. We also felt the skin on our arms tingling. Somewhere along the ride we must have crashed into some nettles. I initially thought it was poison ivy, but it's healing quickly.

Our bikes were beyond dirty.

The mud and rain seeped into our shoes and socks. I try not to think of how much of it was horse poop...

The final tally:
*Too many scrapes & bruises to count
*Steve - 54 mosquito bites
*Kari - 14 mosquito bites
*One ridiculous story!

We'll think twice about riding on horse trails again!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Yesterday's News

So this turns out to be part one from yesterday. Finally got it to load. Coffee from our favorite shop. Steve's favorite light meter. Gorgeous rose from Bush Park Rose Garden.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Backwards Day (Part 2 First)

I was planning to load more photos, but blogger is being difficult. Here are the last photos first. I took a walk at Bush's Pasture Park (simply "Bush" to locals). The rose garden is beautiful right now!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th of July

Having made no traditions for Independence Day yet, Steve and I set about the 4th with open minds. We both hate loud crowds and traffic, so we usually opt to skip the city fireworks. We tried it our first year out here, and it wasn't much fun.

This year, we kicked off the day with a 10+ mile bike ride to Minto-Brown Island Park. If you've read our blog at all, you may have noticed it's one of our favorite places to ride. It was so hot out! Thank you, Camelbaks, for helping us keep our cool.

After our ride, we chilled out at home until it got dark. Then we walked to the Capitol Mall Park to watch the fireworks. Since the sprinklers were on, there was only one other family there. The fireworks are set off over the river, about 8-10 blocks away. We enjoyed watching them without the cramped quarters, foul language, and cigarette smoke. It was fun to watch the little boys from the family ahead of us running in the sprinklers (against their mother's warnings) and to watch their cute dogs wonder what all the commotion is about. It was a really nice, low-key Independence Day. So thankful we have choices. So thankful for the choices so many have made to guarantee that freedom. So thankful for Jesus Christ - the true source of freedom.

Summer in Full Bloom (For Mom)

Enjoyed a beautiful walk around Bush's Pasture Park with a small, furry visitor. Then headed for home to revel in the glory of the flowers of my own little garden and courtyard.

Flowers @ Home

Friday, July 1, 2011

Closing June

June was a busy month. It's always a good feeling to look back and realize we survived. There were cuts & bruises, long days & short nights, sunshine & rain, blessings & burdens. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. It seems there's always a little good and bad to balance the scales of life.

We had a lot of fun with Rob & Catherine while they stayed with us. I definitely need to check out the Fruit Ninja game Catherine showed me. Looks like fun!

We also enjoyed having Justin & Marie stay with us. Their little girl, Grace, is such a sweetheart! After she warmed up to us and was playing and talking, Steve declared we can't have girls. "They're way too cute!" It was great to hang out with them, catch up (for Steve), and get to know them better (for Kari). It's incredible how God has taken our two very different lives and woven them into one. Family. Friends. Memories. Dreams. Our God is an awesome God!

The Church Association meeting went really well. It was great to see friends and meet new people. We really enjoyed the sermons and discussions. One of the highlights was seeing Chris & Lee Margaret Winkler and their almost 3 week old baby boy, Malcolm Bruce Winkler. He's so cute & definitely has a fascination with the new world around him. He stared at Steve for a good two or three minutes.

While June was fun, we're looking forward to what July has in store for us. Fireworks? Camping? More bike rides? Hope so!

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you,
Therefore he will rise up to show you compassion
The Lord is a God of justice
Blessed are all who wait for Him.
Isaiah 30:18

Memory verse from Chapter 1:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wednesday, Part 1

This apple crisp is amazing! It's a definite summer-dessert-must! I always have vanilla ice cream with apple crisp. It's tradition. Yet this apple crisp can stand in the spotlight and garner a standing ovation all on its own! Yum! Steve declared after his first two bites, "MMM! Magnifique!!" He does not use that word lightly. If ever. ;)

(If above link doesn't work, copy and paste this URL into the address bar:

Wednesday, Part 2

"There's a rat in our yard,
Dear Landlord, Dear Landlord.
There's a rat in our yard,
Dear Landlord,
A rat!

So fix it, Dear Landlord,
Dear Landlord, Dear Landlord.
So fix it, Dear Landlord.
Dear Landlord,
Fix it!"

*Lyrics: Kari Hornaday
*Music: Traditional German Folk Tune

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sweat * Blood * Tears

Wanting to get in shape, feel healthy, and have fun, I set about the task of creating my summer goals. I decided to make my goals realistic, fun, and highly visible.

I then decided to work toward accomplishing them. I had an idea they would be demanding, but wasn't exactly aware of how demanding:

Thought it would be cool to color coordinate with my bike.

Steve and I did some off-road riding today. It just so happened to be the day a disgruntled fallen log would take its revenge for the deforestation of its family. Luckily, I got away with most of my limbs intact.

Sweat. Blood. I'm sure the tears will follow eventually.

This post sponsored in part by Band-Aids & Wal-greens Antiseptic Spray.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Chalking it up...

Managed to fit a quick project into this crazy week. I bought some terra cotta pots that already had the colored glaze on the bottom half. Then I used some spray paint chalkboard paint - just a simple black one (about $5 at Home Depot) - to coat the top rims. I think they turned out really cute! During & After photos: