Sunday, December 30, 2007

"Coffee and Dog Hair...

Yes, here's the funny mug I had wanted and got! Here's a link, they seem to be selling out on many sites. I should get a commission! Everyone keeps asking about them. is where I got it, but they don't have it anymore. has sold out. Here's the link for

I didn't know there's a whole line of products touting the good of dog hair! Glad someone's getting rich on that little bit of farce! Here are a few:

"Cereal's better with dog hair" for your morning bowl of nutrition!

There's a website about dog hair uses: Here's my favorite
"Save dog hair and use as a coffee filter" May I ask why????

How about this one? Knitting with Dog Hair! Why not use the hair from the pet you love rather than a sheep you haven't met? Puhlease! Guess it's better than using the hair on hubby's back!

Check out B.A. Barker (get it?) for absolutely any object you can imagine, designed with and for dogs!

What is this world going to?

Friday, December 28, 2007

Cookies for Christmas

I am just learning to love and appreciate traditions. It seems every year I like to try something new and my kids bring me back to, "can't we do what we did last year?" It seems to be a touchstone in their lives, a security. The whole world around them is changing but our family will stay safe and secure.

Here's one of our traditions, baking cookies. Yes it is a lot of work, especially those stupid frosting bags with the little tips. Whose idea was that? I think it's the cans next year! But the cookies are pretty and it's the fun of getting together. Riiighhhht.
Baking with the Dunhams
Chris is asking Alex to step aside so he can show her how the master does it. Princess Master?
Sam and Alex, with lovely pot hats!

Baking with the Rays

Nana Shepherd and Emma dipping Buckeyes
Gingerbread House
Lessons from big brother

21 Years Fly By

December 27, 1987 at 4 pm at the First Baptist Church of Scottsdale

Susan Ellen and Charles Derrick wed

It was the first time that I know of in our church history, that 2 families were joined. Two families that had grown up in the church.

Pastor Brouwer was amazing. Watching the video tonight, hearing his words again, the first thing that popped into my head was that his prayer was answered. And is still being answered. That we would serve God in all we do. That God would make us the wife/husband and mother/father He would want us to be. Ones that would give Him glory in all we do. I know we fall short of the mark, but it truly is our goal.

Mark Zeeman and Julia Winterberg (Hamilton) on the piano and organ gave us chills. Sacred, powerful music. Processing in to Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee, with a key change every verse, had everyone's hearts pounding!

My cousin Vicki singing Friends for Life and Julianne singing Community Song. Then they sang together: Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us for our benediction/recessional.

My dad's final words in the video were, "the wedding was terrific and we expect the marriage to be even more so, but longer!"

And off to St. Bart's. I'm still hoping to go back there.

Father God, thank You for this man that I will spend the rest of my life with. You knew what You were doing when you brought us together. May we always keep you first, eachother second and these gifts from You third.

Our life poem: "Grow old with me, the best is yet to be. The last of life for which the first was made" Browning

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I can't believe it!! This is the first time I have been able to log on to my blog since the 5th. But instead of getting frustrated, well I did that too, I looked at it like I was being unplugged, cut off, having a little break from the web. In a good way. Hopefully I got a little more done that I needed to and wasn't distracted to see what so and so was up to or to see who had left a comment. We will be getting high speed internet this weekend. They said that there has been a lot more demand in our area and when we moved up here, broadband was the only option.

So, I'll be back.....more to come
But here's a funny "12 Days of Christmas"... I love accapella, and this is from my dad's alma mater, Indiana University in Bloomington.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

'Tis the Season

I know, where have I been? Well, I'm not going to go into the last 3 weeks with detail. I'll try to 'sum up' as Indigo Montoya would do. (Princess Bride for those of you out of touch!)

After arriving home, it's like we went into warp speed. Starting school up, back into choirs and worship team. Then I got sick and that went around and still is. Our immunes were down I suppose.

Thanksgiving was wonderful. Derrick is the king of brining a turkey!! So juicy.

My nephew Jake surprised our folks and flew in.

Derrick's aunt and uncle were here from South Carolina. It was a great time of talking and eating and playing games. Uncle Joe learned 4 Square. He's a good sport!

But I was sick that weekend and it was so hard to decorate like we traditionally do. But we did it.

Then we had 3 INCHES of rain!! As you know, in the desert, it turns into washes. The ground being too hard to soak it up. We have no curbs and lots of washes running through our development.

Add to that a broken water heater to replace and 2 roof leaks. Yippee.

Emma danced at the Veteran's Home, we saw Annie with lots of our friends in it, and then A Christmas Carol. Aah, culture!

Seeing my friend Pam who moved to Tennessee last summer, was a highlight for me. I have missed hanging out together until 2 in the morning. I sure hope she didn't get sick from me as she is touring with her Christmas Concert.

Lifelong friends of our family, the Olsons, my folks and us. (Next year Morelocks!)

Another highlight, which we do every year, is the Northern Arizona University Christmas Dinner/ Concert. We had to go on a Thursday this year but it was so phenomenal. I am always amazed at how they can do as well or better as the previous year. It is a wonderful mixture of sacred, jazzy, classical choral music. To see all those young people memorizing hours of music just blows me away. It's always beautiful way to start the HOLYdays.
The last song they sing is John Rutter's Candlelight Carol and the words are so powerful. But my favorite part is being reminded that GOD became MAN in the form of a tiny, helpless babe.

Find Him at Bethlehem laid in a manger
Christ our Redeember asleep in the hay
Godhead incarnate and hope of salvation
A child and his mother that first Christmas day.

There is peace at the cradle, and peace at the foot of Jesus. Don't stray from that Holy place.

If people insist on saying Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas, gently remind them, yes these are "holy-days". That's where the word came from!
May you make your season HOLY.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Home Again

Goodbye beach... hello desert
What a joy to get home, safely.

As we were driving home, facing the beautiful clouds in the valley of the sun, we reminisced about past trips, and arriving home to broken AC, broken refrigerator, a shaved dog, getting pulled over for no tail lights, a block from home. But this time was so wonderful!

Aunt Dee had acid washed our tile, surprise, it's light! She planted my herbs, a gardenia bush, painted and repaired walls, removed wallpaper from a bathroom. What a month of work she had! We are so grateful for all she did. Then when we arrived home, yes, fresh homemade tollhouse cookies. Who could ask for more?

So great to be home. Now, to the plethera of laundry!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sheri Rose

What fun that the girls and I could go hear my sister-in-law Sheri speak at Florence Avenue Church, near Fullerton. AND our friend Miriam and Emily could meet us there! They are having their Holiday Tea for 5 nights this week! And I could not believe the beautiful, elaborate table decorations. Each table had a theme, like a holiday, or Princess theme. Sheri Rose's ministry is called His Princess. And many women there had heard her speak when her newest book came out, Preparing Sons for the Other Woman. (see my post on Sept 27 called Sisters)
Check out her website.

But seeing my nephew Jacob was the best. He is now attending the Assemblies of God Master's training at the Dream Center in downtown LA. It's intense but Jake always knew he'd be bold about sharing his faith, just like his mom and dad. Love you Jake.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Sun's Back

In some ways I feel like we just arrived today. Or my perspective changed.

Derrick's back. (and he took the kids shopping for groceries.) While he was gone all week he was worried about us not having food. How sad is that? His vacationing wife can't take care of the kids? Well, all was not lost, I actually went by a vacation menu plan. Not a lot of spices here and I didn't want to spend the money on them and bring them home. We made do. Deli meats, spaghetti, soups, salads, didn't even give in to Mac n Cheese.

The sun is out. And we are working on our sand sculpture. Derrick and Alex are usually the last men standing. I shoveled and bossed them around and gave them a vision. Sometimes they have their own and just smile and nod at me.

Tea Time. I'm sipping coffee on the beach. Last night at a book store,I found the coffee mug for me. But my kids said a coffee mug isn't worth $20. (they were in the process of convincing their dad they should have a variety of toys they had seen)

The mug read:
"Coffee and Dog Hair"
on the other side it said;
"I never leave home without them."

Somebody better get me that mug!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Condo Woes

Okay, Derrick is gone all week,
the hot water isn't working,
they're replacing the steps out front (noisily),
I have to do laundry
and it's SOO foggy.

But do I want to be home in 95degrees right now? Naahhh

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Mickey's Fine

We hit Disneyland Friday. It was foggy and cool and EMPTY. Well, practically. Only thousands instead of tens of thousands of people. There were no waits on rides. Heaven!

And for the 2nd year in a row, our family got the randomly-handed-out FAST PASSES! What a fun thing. All the employees congratulate you all day and the other sorry chaps look on with envy. It's even more fun as the day goes on and it gets more crowded. No waits in lines.

Sadly, we missed out on the new Finding Nemo ride. No fast passes there, and over an hour wait. Same with Matterhorn.

Lizzy loved Thunder Mountain last year, and cried through the whole ride this year. And Miss First Born, has-to-know-what's-happening- every -second Alex, would not venture on to Space Mountain because it's in the dark!

Guess we had a big lesson in Pleasing Seven. It will never happen. Derrick started with the rule (really more of a guideline) that we all go on all the rides! Oh well, best intentions.

It was a fun day over all. Jack Sparrow still is a favorite and Haunted Mansion a la Tim Burton is an absolute disappointment. The Nightmare Before Christmas has taken it over.

I'm sure we'll still fork out the bucks, even so.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Components of God's Call

I have really been enjoying Ravi Zacharias' book The Grand Weaver, How God Shapes Us through the Events of Our Lives.

Understanding and heeding God's call on our lives seems to be an unending question. It shouldn't be! Dr Zacharias gives 3 very clear ways to hear it.

1. A devout prayer life. Amen! Doesn't it all start with that? If I am to be His temple, then I need to do as God told Isaiah "My house will be called a house of prayer". 56:7. That is where God speaks.

2. Humility is the touchstone of serving God. Why do I think I need to be in a pulpit or on a stage to make a difference?

"A commonplace life, we say and we sigh
But why do we sigh as we say?
The commonplace sun in the commonplace sky
Makes up the commonplace day.
The moon and the stars are commonplace things,
And the flower that blooms and the bird that sings;
But dark were the world and sad our lot,
If the flowers failed and the sun shone not,
And God who studies each separate soul
Out of commonplace lives makes His beautiful whole.

3. And finally, seeking the counsel and guidance of godly men and women. I am SO grateful I have that. My prayer is that my children would seek that as well. I want other men and women to be there for them as we are. Godly people like our parents. What a heritage they have for our children. And you dear friends and teachers. To have your voice in our lives is a gift from God.

And Lord, You are the author of the call on my life. I know You have a plan in mind and I can rest assured that it is the BEST. Even when I can't see the future, I know YOU hold it.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Aah, the view from here

Those are my honkin' feet relaxing in my hammock, looking south toward the pier.

The skies are clearing, the clouds are here, cooling us off.

My folks are on their way to visit my aunt and uncle in Huntington Beach. We've been alone for a week, looking forward to a little visit.

We do miss everyone.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Anti-Narnia, beware

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, along comes yet another blockbuster from our good friends on the West Coast. According to movie critic Ted Baehr, the new film, The Golden Compass, is actually An Atheist’s Narnia. Based on the first book in Philip Pullman’s fantasy trilogy entitled His Dark Materials, the big budget fantasy won’t be released to theaters until December 7, but it is already receiving a heady dose of Hollywood’s pre-holiday hype.
Another website which has scenes and quotes is Snopes.

According to Baehr, Pullman wrote the book “because he was so upset by the Christian evangelism of C.S. Lewis.” Thus, dedicated to undermining Christianity and the Church among young readers, he represents God as a decrepit and perverse angel “who captures the dead in a prison camp afterlife.” And things only get worse from there. Just what we all needed for Pearl Harbor Day--yet another insidious attack!

Our family was just enjoying Narnia last night and we love a good movie. And I used to like Nicole Kidman too! Guess that one won't be it!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Family Routine Set to Canon in D

Thanks for this Michele. I just love the clever words this father sings to Canon in D.

I'm sure some of you can relate to it!!! Gotta run, floss Lizzy's teeth, read a story, smell Dexter's hair, you know, the list goes on.

Canon in D Dad

Close Surf!!

Compare this shot looking south to the one we took 2 days ago.

We awoke to voices talking outside our window this morning. It was surfers!!! The surf was so close, it was like they were sitting outside our window. They were riding waves all the way up to the rocks in front of our condo, then they'd jump off. We've never seen it this close. The Doans and Krells should appreciate this. We have NO beach this morning!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hearty Beef Stew

Derrick must have been pretty optimistic about the threat of evacuation. He started a crock pot cooking that morning. Well, that calmed my nerves!

Here is Derrick and Alexandra making Hearty Beef Stew Friday night when our friends were still here. Fun memories.

And here's the recipe, it was delicious.

Hearty Beef Stew

(If you’re going to be away from your crockpot for more than 10 hours, cut your vegetables into 1 ½ -2 inch pieces. This entire recipe requires a large slow cooker, Derrick cut it in half for the crockpot we had at the beach. He also used celery in place of parsnips because we couldn’t find any.)

5lbs. boneless beef chuck eye roast, cut and trimmed into 1 ½ in cubes

Salt and pepper

3 T Veg oil

4 med onions chopped fine

1- 6oz. tomato paste

2 C low sodium chicken or beef broth

3 T. soy sauce

1 lb. carrots cut into 1 in pieces

1 lb parsnips cut into 1 in pieces

1 lb. red potatoes cut into 1 in pieces

1 ½ tsp minced, fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

2 T. minute tapioca

2 C. frozen peas, thawed

  1. Dry beef with paper towels, season with salt and pepper. Heat one Tablespoon oil in large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add ½ of beef and brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker, repeat with remaining beef. You shouldn’t need to add more oil.
  2. Add 1T oil, onions, and ¼ tsp salt to empty skillet and cook until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook stirring well for 2 minutes. Add broth and soy sauce, bring to simmer and transfer to slow cooker.
  3. Toss carrots, parsnips, potatoes and ½ tsp thyme and remaining 1T oil in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Wrap vegetables in foil packet that will fit in slow-cooker. Stir bay leaves and tapioca into slow cooker, set veg packet on top of beef.
  4. Set slow cooker to high, cover and cook 6-7 hours or on low for 10-11 hours.
  5. Transfer vegetable packet to plate, carefully open, watching for steam, stir veggies and juice into stew. Add remaining tsp thyme and peas and let stand until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

He Hears Our Prayers

Looking toward the Oceanside Pier this morning

Right now we have options. But we're preparing to leave, after cartoons. Kids don't know much yet. But the Fallbrook fire started northeast of us last night, with winds blowing southwest toward us. Camp Pendleton is preparing to evacuate.

Do we drive home? Drive to our friend's? Drive to our relative's? I know we're here until November 15, but going back across the desert doesn't sound economical either.

O Lord, give us Your wisdom. "You are the everlasting God, you do not faint, You don't grow weary. You're the defender of the weak, You comfort those in need, You lift us up on wings like eagles." I will praise You in the storm Father!

Since writing the above, we prayed all together as a family. The kids prayed for the firefighters, the people losing their homes and pets. That we'd get a wind in from the ocean. Sure enough, God thought we should see His power right away! We looked at the TV and along the bottom, it said,
"Fires rage across San Diego county, sea breeze blows in to the north."

The kids' mouths fell open, as did mine.

So we're doing schoolwork today

Monday, October 22, 2007

Smoky Monday

We were so excited to have our home school entrance passes with discounts to Legoland. As we headed 5 minutes south to Carlsbad, the outlook was grim. We had been watching the news about the brush fires inland. It now totals 14 fires!!! Over 20,000 acres, many homes lost and people injured and relocated. Our hearts sank. Legoland was closed because of the poor air quality and employees and families effected by the fires. We weren't sad to miss out on Legoland, we started talking about being sick in a hospital and having to move somewhere else. We talked about losing a home to fire, or worse, a friend or family member. We are praying for God to intervene in a mighty way, bringing all to Him who are open to Him!

So up the coast we went, away from the smoke. It seemed to follow us.

Emma took this picture from the back seat of the car. That wire is a street light.

We had a wonderful tour of the Mission San Luis Rey.
Can't believe we'd never been there after all these years.
What a respite for so many and for hundreds of years.
The sacred garden had my favorite French Lavender and even a mandarin orange tree!

Lizzy and Lavender

I think Emma is missing her Gregg friends. Sorry, no disrespect intended.

Saint Francis of Assissi

Still heading north, leaving the smoke, but finding more in San Clemente.
Then up to Dana Pointe and the Ocean Institute.
I don't ever remember being at the beach when it is this warm! Usually a cool breeze takes over, but not here. We walked out to the jetty where tidepools have marine life in them. Two tall ships were there in the harbor and some kids were leaving on a tour. Wonderful. My kids were sad to learn our Catalina tall ship educational cruise was cancelled in May. Bummer! I had just found out on my email. Maybe next year, or we'll do our own! Always Hubby's dream.

How's that for a smoky shot, sailing off into the ....????

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Fierce Castle Competition

The competition was fierce at the who-knows-how-many Annual Sandcastle Competition. The contestants were as follows:

Twin Sandwich Team were, Carris, Emma and Hannah.

Jefferson, Lizzy and the Future Youth Pastor Keegan
(he's so fun with kids) on one team.

Beautiful Teen Team, Kelsie and Alex.

Dexter was the judge, walking between teams with his expert advise, annoying everyone.

The winners were the Twin Sandwich Team. They were the most persuasive in Dexter's book!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I Hear the Waves

I was pregnant with Jefferson in May of 2001 when we first went to this beach.
(Picture above in the title, from last year)
Sweet memories.

It's our annual Beach trip. After spending a week here and there at the beach, we decided it's too much work to get there and too much work after we get home, and there's so much we want to do there, that we'd stay longer! But I'll be online, maybe not quite as much as that lady in Chicago who gets 20-30,000 hits a day. She has 6 kids. Mommy blogging hit the national news last night. I couldn't believe it!! I do love keeping in touch and reading the wisdom of those in the trenches.

Oh, I'm babbling, back to the beach....

Rest, no stress, family and friend time, healthy food and finally rest. Did I say that twice? I'm ready for it.

The perfect combination.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sweet Baby Emma

Emma had her first birthday on October 12. We are so glad to be part of her life. She has been one precious baby held up in prayer through her short life so far. Check out her family's blog.

Lord, keep her in Your hand and guide her family as they do what is best for her.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

I am So Loved

Lost Canyon Young Life camp, work weekend!

These are my sisters in Christ (and 6 are missing). We're journeying through life together. My heart aches that I can't see them tonight. We meet twice a month. I am completely overwhelmed today, but talked to 2 of my sisters and felt God's balm of love and peace flood over me.
I needed perspective.
I needed wisdom.
I needed a calm voice.
I needed unconditional love.
I got all that and a smile after hanging up the phone. Mmm.
Now I look at my kids and smile, hug them, read quietly to them, grateful to make dinner.
All that because my friends listened.

Monday, October 8, 2007


I had mixed feelings about joining a co-op this year. But you know what convinced me? The wonderful families that are in it. I don't home school to have 'control' over my kids. The better word would be 'influence'. They are mine and Derrick's responsibility. Their character training being first and foremost. Teaching them God's Word, modeling for them how to get along in a family, all day. I am so glad these women are also speaking into my children's lives this year.

Alex and Dex have Economics , Screen-writing, Worldview and Literature. Their teachers bring so much to the class by way of their love for the Lord, the kids and amazing preparation. Let alone, their wonderful abilities God has given them.

Emma has Astronomy, Literature, Writing and Spanish. She loves her classes so much, but she loves the kids even more. Her Tuten family gave her a camera for her birthday and she didn't waste time taking pictures of her friends today.McKenzie and Galilee

Lizzy and Jefferson are doing the Five in a Row curriculum which is so much fun. The moms are taking turns teaching. Every week is a different book and they are making lapbooks to go with it. Each book has been in a different country and the curriculum covers geography, math, science, reading, writing, history and art.
Jefferson and Zion

At home we are doing Math, phonics, music and homework from co-op. It certainly is a change this year for us but we are enjoying it.

Saturday, October 6, 2007


Blond, blue eyed cousins

We are so used to having our boy cousins around, we forgot how fun it is to have a girl cousin. Emilie is almost 8 and lives in Oregon with my brother's family. She and Lizzy (also 7) immediately connect whenever we get together. Guess it's genes. Can't explain it otherwise. But it's so fun to see.Daddy Derrick wanting in on the photo action.