Wednesday, April 20, 2011

High Energy (mostly ) Christian Playlist

Okay so here's the deal, the guys & I joined GB3 last month. It's a fitness club literally 5 minutes from our driveway. I never really thought this day would come. I am more into doing the outside thing. However we live in Fresno, time to face the facts. Bleh! Besides GB3 set an excellent (frozen) price for the 4 of us! The three guys are well beyond happy to get their iron pumpin', which makes for easy PE. I however think that it's incredibly boring. Like fall asleep boring. I refuse. Unfortunately 6:00 am is when our 4-pack needs to go to the gym in order the get back home in enough time for family devotions and math w/ Dad. I don't thinks it's unfortunate because it is so early. I am in love with early morning-ness!  I am bummed because not many other people are interested in watching the sun rise as they exercise. This basically means no fun classes, like Zumba are available for me. Therefore I decided I needed to compile all my "Get Your Fanny Movin' Chica!" songs. Contrary to popular belief, I am electronically challenged. So after deciding which songs would crack the metaphorical whip, asked Jeff to upload them onto the ipod. Here is that list. Starting with my "calm" warm up song & going from there.

Warm Up (& cool down)
#1 Manifesto-The City Harmonic

#2 Hold Me- Jamie Grace & Toby Mac

#3 Say Hey-Michael Franti (not Christian)

#4 Shackles- MaryMary

#5 Pocketful of Sunshine- Natasha Bedingfield (not Christian)

Time to get funky
#6Extreme Days- Toby Mac

#7 Outcast- Kerry Roberts

#8 J Train -Kirk Franklin & Toby Mac

#9 Movin'- Group 1 Crew

#10 Boomin' -Toby Mac

#11 Never Let Me Go- Family Force Five

#12 Extreme Days- Toby Mac

#13Soliders- Out Of Eden

#14 Phenomenon- Toby Mac

#15 No More - Beckah Shae

#16 Supersonic -Family force Five

#17 Rawkfist-Thousand Foot Krutch

#18 Whip My Hair -Willow Smith (not Christian...and yes it is a little girl. Let's just say I totally have some people that inspire me to sing with her when she says "Don't let haters keep me off my grind, keep my head up and I know I'll be fine, keep fighting till I get there...I'm down and feel like giving up? I whip my hair back & forth!!......)

#19 Faith, Hope & Love- Beckah Shae

#20 Catchafire-Toby Mac

Yes, I am aware it is heavy on Toby. I didn't set out to do that. Let's just face it. He has wild, crazy, voluminous ENERGY! When his music is pumpin, so am I. After the fact I have thought of other songs (Toby & not) that I could've added. Maybe they will got into volume two of "Get Your Fanny Movin' Chica!"

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


When my sons were younger we didn't do much. We had an easy, breezy life. I remember feeling lonely and bored some days. Other days I was content to just be. For the most part I loved our gentle, quiet life.

As my sons have become teenagers that has rapidly changed. Jeff & I made the decision to ride this wave, to embrace this exciting time with our sons. However I do wish Spring wasn't quite so incredibly busy.

At any rate I've been buckled up and ready for the spring sensation roller coaster. I love my children. I love providing opportunities for growth, fellowship and fun. Love is my source of energy. I find joy in exposing them to wonderful people, great events and exceptional works! Joy is what drives me forward in this season.

Let me share with you a bit of our March Madness. This is always pretty interesting as we not only deal with all the hub and bub of a rise in activity level, but a side issue. I was walloped again by my yearly storm of life, you know the crazy makers paradise! Grr, boo, hiss! Something I will never "get over". Something I have released to God time and time again. Something I leave in his hands again as I go about today. I am talking about the death of my little sister. Also the knowledge of the lingering death of another little sister. I hate March for this reason. (***for those who don't know, my two sisters are victims of Frederich's Ataxia, a form of Muscular Dystrophy.***)I hate everything about the disease. I hate that it overtook them. I hate that I carry the burden of not sharing in their fate.

This year March got even worse. My sweet, sweet Jacki & her family lost their son. He was 24 years old. A parent should never have to bury their child. Although this was a difficult situation, it was also a joy. We got to watch as God brought this family together. We were able to cry with them and rejoice with them as well. We had a wonderful visit at a pizza party and shared memories together at the memorial.
Billy & Ricky at Pizza Party

The last time we saw AJ. Shown here with little sis Kayleen.

                                Life is delicate, March reminds me of this...every year.

March brings good with it as well. For one can you say, "RAIN, RAIN, Glorious Rain"!?! I do realize that not everyone in this country feels the same way about water right now. For their situations, I am truly sorry. BUT. For just a moment let us shelf that and be utterly grateful for rain in such a baron land. I just love springtime in central California. It is absolutely magnificent, extra especially so this year! I just love all the green and the blossoms are incredible!
Our neighbors front yard

 Speaking of weather this spring. It snowed in Fresno! No joke, really it did! And. It snowed in the central coast mountain areas. We were hiking in the Bear Gulch area of Pinnacles National Monument the day it happened. At one point we were in a cave with an amazing waterfall flowing down the side and snowflakes floating down through open cracks onto our heads. I'm glad we were there for this wildly breathtaking natural event.
A shot of the Pinnacles with snow freckling them
Ricky climbing in one of the many, many caves.
  A sky-lite view of snowflakes falling into the cave.
Billy & Ricky climbing a staircase out of a cave.
 Every March we get to celebrate the birthdays of two very special girls. Elizabeth & Trisitea are not technically my nieces, however that is how we tell the story. Let's let Marilyn Monroe pick this one up for us as she amply puts it "Sometimes things fall apart allowing better things to fall together". Having these two not-so-little-girlies in our lives has been a huge joy for my guys and I. Jeff & I have had the privilege of taking them to a play, out dancing, to a "fancy" dinner and given them "jewels". I have painted fingernails and tootsies as well. I have gone on creek side picnics and other such imaginative play. Even Jeff has played along with ballerina and tea party when they'd beg. Ever hear the one about the uncle whose "nieces" had him wrapped around their little fingers?..I'm just sayin' is all.  Anyway. We've both read countless bedtime stories and said nightie-night prayers. Heck even Billy and Ricky have joined in with jacks, jump rope, hula hoops and taking baby dolls for walks. This year they began teaching the girls a bit about piano and drum playing.

The "March" point? Two years ago, when she turned 10, we bought Elizabeth a hope chest. It is delicate and feminine, just like her. I have had a blast contributing to it ever since. This year Trisitea turned 10. I sheepishly confess that I was terrified to give her a hope chest. In my defense she isn't very...shall we say "girlie". I was afraid she would be utterly disappointed. We did manage to find an old seafaring trunk, which is gold for a tomboy! BUT. That isn't even the best part. She was thrilled with it yes, however she was mostly thrilled that she was getting this extra special "I'm a women-to-be gift. Wow. Who would've thought all this time I wasted in worry? She was on the other side of the coin eager with anticipation at HOPEFULLY receiving the same jester her sister received two year prior. As I sat munching on the sugary nirvana that Elizabeth created for us all to enjoy my mind drifted from the party. It was so special to know that what I do matters, it really matters. I will never forget that day. I will never forget Tristiea's excitement. I will never get over how she scanned the remaining packages after she got the hope chest in search of "just one more package from me". When I handed it to her she said "is this what I think it is?, Is this the first gift for my hope chest?" Awesome. Purely awesome!

In March we went to a dinner theater performance that CJ, our "nephew" was in. He played his part well, we enjoyed the food! Oh my, my and the dessert was de-vine! I should mention that this particular play was put on by a local charity. The proceeds from the play went directly toward water wells in Uganda. We were thrilled to support the cause...and CJ.

In March Billy & Ricky searched out and designed knives for this years Fine Arts Faire. They each made two. They spent any "extra" time they had working at their papa's shop. Jeff & his dad were overseers for this endeavor. The boys were really pleased with the outcome of their products, as were we. Unfortunately they came home from Winter Camp sick and so were unable to attend the Faire. However we did bring the knives in so they could be on display at the Faire. They had rave reviews! We are pleased for them.

Ricky working on knives at Papa's shop

In March Billy & Ricky went to the Rock and Worship Road Show, follow the link if you've never heard of it, or you know, you're curious. We dropped them off at noon in front of Starbucks, across the street from the Savemart Performance Center, with a backpack full of waters and snacks. There they met up with a clump of other teens. Together they marched off to begin their long wait. This concert series is a mere $10 and is 1st come-1st serve. Which translates...wait in line for hours to insure your tickets get bought, hence the backpack. Late that night to avoid traffic jams we met again at Starbucks.

In March Billy & Ricky went to Aquire the Fire. This is a two day event meant to help ignite the desire to live a God pleasing life in the hearts of teens. Check it out if you want to by following this link.  This is something we've been wanting to send our sons to for several years. In the past, it just never seemed to work out. Therefore this year we were so pleased to be able to send them! Jeff was so excited he even upgraded their tickets. They met up with friends while they were there leading to a great time of fellowship in between sessions and during meals.

In March our church hosted A Night to Remember. This was to teach young men how to treat young women. Our sons had to dress formally, use table manners, speak kind words, listen attentively etc..etc..etc..Think of it as Christian Charm School. It was an event filled with great, unforgettable lessons.
Billy and a bunch of friends
March Madness is behind us, thank you Jesus for that. It's hard to finish the last leg of schooling with summer vacation on the horizon and all the wrapping up of the school year activities. In that sense Easter break is like a bit of heaven. It gives me a chance to exhale before resolving to tackle the remainder of the school year. Easter Break begins this weekend and I am oh so glad it does!

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Modern Day Hero...and a hope for us all.

Yesterday we celebrated, along with his family, the life of an ordinary, yet truly remarkable man.

We listened as his sons talked about their Grandparents. How Grandpa would go tent preaching & Grandma along with the children sang songs and played instruments. They talked about the gospel, love (and music) that was clearly in that home.

We listen as his sons talked about how their father (upon growing up from little boy in tent services to head of his own household) continued purposeful shepherding of the church and most especially of his home. He never made his role as pastor more important than his role as husband and father...and grandfather...and great grandfather. They shared about the gospel, work ethic, nurturing, music, love and laughter in his home.

We watched as his legacy unfolded before us. We watched his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren honor him in their own special way, with music. They sang and played instruments individually, in small groups and as a whole family. Even his elderly, rickety brother and his wife were singing for him! The attentiveness that this man gave to guiding his flock was evident. It is so every Sunday as we worship with his family. We see their integrity. We see what God has done in the life of a faithful servant and his generations after him.

This man was Bob Parker. He was Pastor at Riverpark Bible church many years ago. He had been in "retirement" for several years. Though it is said that he never really caught on to that concept. As evidenced by his continued heart felt service to God & His people. This memorial had attendants from many of the churches he visited or was a short term pastor at during his "retirement". He was also cherished by members from the original "Riverpark" as well as those (like us) attending now.

It was a powerful picture of what life can be when our priorities are lined up correctly.

Not all of us can stand and say we have a legacy like the Parker family. A legacy that went even further back than Bob himself. Sadly many people have parents or grandparents who did not lead honorable paths. However a difference can be made right here, right now for future generations. We honor Christ by striving after His gospel. When we lay our troubles at his feet, when we release our hurts for him to carry, when we step back and let him worry about the vengeance we are free from harbored hate or malice. Loving and praying for our forebears comes more easily. Joy is readily available. Peace reigns in homes and in our hearts.

What will they say at your memorial? What will they say at mine? Let us all have the strength to do the things that lead us down the path we truly want for ourselves and our children and our childrens, children......

Thursday, April 7, 2011

BBQ Cups, experience the yum!

I have been collecting recipes, and writing a bit of a story about each one to boot! I do this for my sons despite the crushing fact that they don't seem to really care about this cookbook thang. I am banking on the fact that one day they will understand just how special this is. You know, a family heirloom sort of treasure. If not at least I have my niece Elizabeth. Five years ago she leaned over my shoulder and saw me writing out a story about a recipe. She was thrilled with my explanation about this endeavor. She continues to ask me about it. With the encouraging, "when do I get my copy". Or the annoying, "aren't you done yet".

On to the point. One recipe is from the kitchen of Grandma Debbie, my good friend Jenny's mom and Elizabeth's Grandma. Debbie made BBQ Cups while her kids were growing up. When Jenny became a momma herself she carried this on. One fine day (when the clouds parted and heavenly light beamed down on a kitchen platter) she made these tasty bits for my sons. They love, love, loved them! I asked for the recipe and as they say "the rest is history"!!

Anyway when I saw the following entry over at Rocks in My Dryer I just had to share it! She has such a great visual presentation, much better than any recipe site I searched! So anyway, go to the store, get the ingredients and get your cup on! You can thank me later for this wonderful, simple goodness...

BBQ Cups @ Rocks