Calm and stars…

On my piano sits a picture of Jesus Christ by Yongsung Kim called Calm and Stars. I can’t remember the first time I saw this picture but I remember being captivated by grandeur of the stars and the light opening up to the heavens.

I imagine this picture is depicting Jesus Christ after he has calmed the raging sea and in it’s place brought peace and light. (Is there anything more peaceful than a quiet starry night?!)

For me, this depiction is a reminder that He’s with me in the storm. I may not always feel Him, but He’s in my boat. I have to have faith that He will either teach me how to maneuver the boat or calm the sea. Always.

Mark 4:37-41

37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.

38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?

39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?

41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

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The story of the gate…

Our side gate has seen better days.

A while back, when we had a microburst and our trampoline was found crumpled in our front yard, our side gate to the back yard was damaged. It wasn’t anything overly extreme, but it took some time to get it back in usable condition, but we did it.

Another year went by and although the gate worked, the previous storm had left its mark and it was starting to break down. One monsoon/haboob came later and our frame was broken and completely not functional. This was well past my pay grade and I contacted a company to come out and fix it. They came out to give a bid and then never showed up. We contacted another welder and he too didn’t show up. We have backyard remodel plans and we figured we’d address it eventually.

The backyard plans have been slow to come to fruition and we got used to the broken gate hanging on to dear life by a single spring. We kept it in the open position and went about life and frankly forgot about it.

But we have very kind an observant neighbors who are always looking for a reason to serve. This week we were the recipient of that service. At 8pm we found a neighbor on our driveway examining the gate. He had a welder that was going to be in the area and knew he could fix it quickly. The next morning the welder showed up and within 20 minutes he was done. The gate that had been damaged for two years was restored to working condition in no time with the help of our neighbor and someone who knew how to weld it.

After he finished, I wondered why in the world I hadn’t pressed sooner to have it fixed?! Initially, I tried finding someone to fix it, but then I just stopped seeing the broken gate. Why is that? It’s like the pile in my bedroom that drives me crazy, but then after its there long enough, I forget it’s there! I just stop seeing it. The gate had been forgotten – but evidently, not by our neighbors!

Today I’m grateful for neighbors who are bold enough to step in and take action. They didn’t ask if we needed help with the gate (to which I’m sure we would have told them we could take care of it!) instead they could see a need and filled it. Now I’m looking for an opportunity to pass on the gesture. 🙂

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Dash of crazy…

I’ve been working on the bathroom and laundry room (the project that never ends) and it often becomes the topic of conversation with people I know personally, as they’re asking for updates and what I’m working on next. I was recently talking with someone and they said the phrase that I’ve heard SO. MANY. TIMES.

“You’re so talented, I just wish I could do that.”

I chuckle because talent often gets confused with hard work and drive. It’s not as if I was a wood working prodigy that was destined for greatness.

In fact, I was just going through a box that my mom had given me and inside was a little wall hanging I made when I was 14 years and had given to my grandma for Christmas. It hung on her kitchen wall for 20 years until her passing.

I present one of my first wood projects.

My grandma obviously loved my mad skills and kept this on display long after it’s expiration date. She was never able to witness any of my projects first hand but if she had, I’m sure she would have seen an improvement from my early gift giving years.

Not to mention my fantastic bubble-end handwriting! I nailed it. It does not go unnoticed that my 14-year-old handwriting and my daughter’s 14-year-old handwriting are vastly different!

Hard work and determination got me from a fantastic wall hanging to laundry and bathroom cabinets. I tell most people, anyone can do this if they really want to. They just need a dash of crazy to get them started.

Luckily this picture is older and I’m a little further along. At this rate, I’ll be done by fall.

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The lake is open…

The good news is the lake is open. 🙂

The bad news is, it’s absolutely freezing and there’s no way you could convince me to jump in anytime soon. (I’m more of a bathwater temperature kind of girl, which is perfect for an Arizona summer).

But that didn’t stop several in the family from taking the leap. It didn’t help that we went in the morning and the air temperature hadn’t warmed up yet. Hallie was the first in and I’m pretty sure she complained that she couldn’t feel her toes for the rest of the day – but she claims it was worth it.

Hunter took his turn, but sported a shorty wet suit which made him better suited to handle the cold water.

Steve took a turn surfing and Bennett opted to learn how to surf when the conditions were more desirable. But he did take a turn on the tube.

The tube is a fairly safe option when the water is cold – kids can ride and stay relatively dry. After Hallie finally warmed up after surfing, Hunter convinced her to take a ride on the tube. She reiterated many times that she did not want to fall off. It was a gentle ride – until some fluke wave caught the tube and in the slowest motion sent them all flying off the back of the tube. I wish I had a video because I don’t think they’ll ever be able to recreate it.

It was a one and done ride – nobody wanted to hop back on after that.

Lucky for us, the weather is only getting warmer and the lake will be calling our name. The downside is…the weather is getting warmer and relief from heat is another 6 months away. 🙂

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Weekend soccer…

We spent the weekend as a family down in Tucson for Hunter’s soccer tournament (his first traveling tournament since they were cancelled last spring) and we had a great time. He played four games in less than 24 hours and by the end they were exhausted, but they pulled out a second place tournament win.

Side note: We are a no Sunday soccer club which means we typically play in tournaments and are not able to compete in the Sunday final play. This tournament was accommodating and allowed us to play two games Friday night and two games Saturday in order to be considered for final play.

We had never been to Tucson and we were pleasantly surprised with the landscape. I think I was expecting it to look like our area and instead we found the city surrounded by foothills – which made for a beautiful backdrop for soccer. Throw some snow on those mountains and it looks like Utah…kind of!

One of the complexes we played games at had the most beautiful soccer fields we have every seen. It was a new facility and the grass was golf course quality.

This was our third COVID era tournament and Tucson had the strictest protocols out of all of them. We were allowed two spectators per player (luckily we had several players without spectators which is how we got our whole family to go) and boxes were painted on the field where two spectators could sit together. They had monitors making sure you stayed inside your box and kept a mask on. Fortunately, the players didn’t have to wear masks. They played, they hugged, they high fived…and then when they stepped off the field, they put their masks on. Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but we were happy to follow the rules in order to let kids play.

Aside from watching soccer, we are good friends with one of Hunter’s teammates family which meant all the kids had friends to hang out with all weekend long – they were in heaven.

We were a little surprised to show up to our hotel 10pm Friday night to learn that they had cancelled our two rooms. We had booked through hotels.com and had a guaranteed booking and yet the hotel, without contacting us and without any reasonable explanation had cancelled the reservation.

The real kicker – they were now full. (They let us know that had we checked in earlier, we would have had no problems, but they gave our rooms away just two hours earlier. I have never witnessed something so crazy and they had no explanation for me. I had my confirmation and guaranteed rooms – and still nothing. Not what you want to deal with at 10pm. Probably won’t be using hotels.com anytime soon or the hotel chain that just couldn’t come up with a reason as to how they were cancelled).

We called hotel after hotel. Every hotel was full. Every single one. I’m not even sure how that’s possible unless they are limited occupancy due to COVID. We had four people searching hotels in the area trying to find space. We finally found one room, which was not enough space, but at 11pm we took it. Hunter stayed with a teammate at the original hotel. Some of us stayed in the room and some slept in the car! 🙂 It’s what family memories are made of, right? It’s a weekend we won’t soon forget, that’s for sure!

Awful sleeping conditions aside, we got to watch some good soccer.

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