Saturday, December 30, 2006

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Emilie Hope - the best Christmas present ever!




The phone rang at some ungodly hour early on December 22. John, who was preparing to head to the office after being off for two blizzardy days answered the phone. I rolled over, sliding closer to the dog,wonderi ng what kind of sicko was calling.


Minutes later, John is shaking me awake, "Emilie's coming! Get up, get dressed, and get the booger. We're going to Longmont!"


Usually I'm very slow in the morning. Not even able to speak in complete words, but that morning, I shot out of bed and was ready to go in under 30 minutes.


The drive was scary. It was the first day the roads were "passable" since the blizzard ended the day before. Slip-sliding for an hour and a half, we finally arrived at the same hospital where Kyle was born.


Perry (father-to-be) was in the waiting area briefing Sylvia (g-ma-to-be) when we blew in.


Kyle provided entertainment as we all waited for the news. A few minutes past 1 PM, a red-faced, teary-eyed, breathless Perry bounded into the room yelling, "She's born! She's born and we got to see the whole thing!"


Brithmom allowed both Heidi and Perry into the birthing room to watch their daughter enter the world. After she was out, the nurse placed Emilie on Birthmom's chest. The baby rested there for a moment. Birthmom carefully picked up the baby, turned her around and asked Heidi to approach the bed, "Merry Christmas, Mom!" She said, passing the baby to Heidi.


God sure knows what He's doing. His timing is always perfect. The baby was due Dec. 30, but came early. We recieved 2 feet of snow over the course of two days prior to the birth. The baby came when the roads were "passable" (I say that very sarcastically b/c you needed either a high-clearance or 4 WD vehicle to "pass".) She was born three days before Christmas allowing Heidi, Perry, Sylvia and Mary-Ann (g-ma #2) to celebrate Christmas as a bigger family.


Another cool thing is that Heidi's brother got engaged Christmas morning! We were at Sylvia's house when the call came in.


In all my 34 years of life, this was the best Christmas ever! It snowed on Christmas eve, we had a white Christmas, I became an Aunt as Heidi and Perry became parents, and Kyle celebrated his first Christmas ever with a new cousin.
Now go ahead, try and tell me God don't exist...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Snowy, snowy, Joy! Joy! PICTURES


Let it snow, let it snow! And snow it did. John and I measured 2 feet out back where the drifting was minimal. Esau got "tossed" into the deeps and Kyle was pleased to find how easy it is to stand on his own in snow.





Just try and have a picnic out here!
I'm trying to get one more pic on here, but Blogger is not cooperating...

Looks like we may be hit again come Thursday if the jet stream cooperates. I LOVE this stuff!!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Snowy, Snowy, Joy! Joy!

We are ON for a white Christmas here in Denver. It's blizzarding outside right now. Snow is piling up at more than one inch per hour (we have 12 since 8 AM) and won't stop until late afternoon tomorrow!

Stay tuned for some snow diving cats, buried houses, and a game of "find the car".

Temps are gonna stay cold, so the snow will stick around. Can't wait to strap on the snowshoes tonight to take an etherial stroll around the neighborhood. Christmas lights through the snow...

(I know, Mom, you told me to "shut up". I won't call you hourly anymore with the snow totals, nor will I break into a strain of "White Christmas"... I'll wait three hours!)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Best Christams so far!

The National Geographic channel is going to air a series of documentaries to strip Jesus of his deity. More than ever it seems like people are questioning if a baby was even born nearly 2000 years ago in Bethlehem. Others are writing him off as a smart man with some good ideas.

Jesus was not only born 2000 years ago (no one really knows the real date), but he died, was buried and rose again after three days. He's alive! Keep reading...

John hunched over the battery in the little red car willing the bolts into place when the phone rang. I ran into the house to answer it. It was Perr-ball (aka Perry).

"We need to talk to both you and John," Perry said, his voice with a slight quiver. My heart began to thump wildly. Was Heidi okay? Was something seriously wrong?

I heard a crackling noise as Heidi grabbed the phone out of Perry's hands, "We got a call from the agency! Can John hear me?" I ran into the garage to hold the phone against John's ear.

"Stink, say that again, will ya?"

"We got a call from the agency! We're going to meet the birthmom with Pam (the social worker) for lunch on Tuesday." John dropped the wrench from his greasy hand as we both begin to do the snoopy dance around the junk in the garage. "That's not all..." Perry continued, "the baby is a girl and will be born at the same hospital as Kyle!"

John and I were not prepared for the next slice of news.

"The baby's due December 30th," Stinky shouted into my ear.
"December 30th as in two and a half weeks from now???" I asked, tripping over a box of diapers.

Emily Hope will be born anyday. Stink and Perr-ball got the call on Wednesday. Such is the world of the adoptive parent. We don't get 9 months warning that our lives are going to turn upside down! Heidi is giving her two week notice at work letting them know that they may not even get a full two weeks out of her. She and Perry are headed to the Springs to celebrate their 5th wedding anniversary, but are on call.

Twelve years ago, January, I met Stinky. I had just moved to Colorado and knew nary a soul. Her mom, the Children's pastor at Bear Valley Church called the camp I worked for back then, to plan a snow camp. She told me her daughter had finished a 9th semester at college and just moved back home. She gave me the phone number and told me to give Heidi a call. It was an instant comraderie. Heidi and I became bestest friends. Actually we now consider one another sisters. We are just as close, if not closer than sisters. For years we lived together, navigating the wacky world of the single life. We would take long walks, planning out our elder days. She and I are going to buy a huge home on a mountainside, own 87 cats and rock on our front porch remeniscing our youth. We plan to live into our 90's.

Along came John. Stink was my maid of honor. Three years later, I was her matron of honor. Since then, Perry and John have grown as close as Heidi and I.

In the midst of all those dreams, Heidi wanted nothing more than to be a mom and raise a swarm of kids. She worked temp jobs here and there for years, waiting for a man to helf fulfill her dream of motherhood.

Over the course of the past two years, Heidi and Perry have lost at least 7 babies. They tried a variety of fertility treatments and procedures including IVF (invitro fertilization). This past summer, Heidi had one, then another fallopian tube removed, making conception very difficult. After much prayer and tears, they decided to apply to the same adoption agency we were with.

What's so amazing about all this is that God knew what both Heidi and I would face in terms of infertility and the heartache of not being able to bear our own children. We had no clue 12 years ago, fresh out of college.

When they got the call Wednesday, they asked Pam if the birthmom had any names picked out. Pam told them that the birthmom wanted the parents to name the baby, but had a preference for the name Hope.

Heidi and Perry had girl names picked out for almost two years...

The girl name?

Emily Hope!

Several of us, including Heidi's mother have been praying that God would give Stink & Perr-ball a baby for Christams and HE IS! And the name? A mere coincidence? I think not! The details are falling into place too smoothly for mere chance, and the fact this baby is from Longmont (as was Kyle) is such a God thing.

Still doubting Jesus is alive today? Think God doesn't care?

There are two very best friends - one with a 9 month old gift from God, and another who may be wiping puke from her shirt in the next day to two weeks!

Friday, December 08, 2006

It's Musical Time!

I will probably never figure out how to get pictures and text in an agreeable order until the technical side of blogging is simplified... a LOT!

Anyway, it's that time of year - time for a musical! Bear Valley Church puts on a full-length musical production every other year, and this year's selection is the best yet. "Gifts of the Magi" is the musical rendition of the familliar O'Henry story of Jim and Della Dillingham, a young married couple determined to give the other a gift to remember. As the story goes, Della sells her hair to buy a watch fob for Jim's heriloom watch, and Jim sells his watch to buy Della an exquisite set of hair combs. The choir adds texture and oomph to several of the songs. Jim and Della's tale is superimposed over the story of Soapy Smith, a New York City bum looking for the guaranteed warmth and food of a jail cell.

All of you in Colorado, you need to come and see it! We have three more performances: Tonight at 7 PM, tomorrow, 7PM and Sunday at 3 PM. If anything, you'll get to see John in a kilt! He gets in touch with his Scottish side. I'll leave it up to your imagination as to wether or not he's "authentic" under that there kilt...
The set - 1906 NYC, designed and painted by some of our church members. It looks better in real life. The gels on the lights are warm, and at that point, I didn't know how to adjust the white balance on my camera.


Stinky, Mary Louise and Norma sport their Edwardian attire. We spent an entire afternoon making the hats for this thing. NOT a fun project for those of us who are "craft imparied".


Work on this musical began in late June. Hundreds of individual hours have gone into this thing. I can't even begin to calculate how many total man hours are involved. My brain would melt, and I'd break out in mathmatically induced hives!
Several people have said to me, "I would love to do something like that if it weren't so demanding of my time. I wish I could just put on the costume and walk on stage. Why do you put yourself through that? Especially when you have a little baby and your husband is also involved?"
Why do both John and I do this again and again, knowing we are up from early morning to very late at night with no rest time between the demands of the day (job & Kyle) and rehearsals. Why do we morph into human vacum cleaners, inhaling dinners w/o tasting the food to be at rehersal on time - especially at Christmas time???
Because we LOVE to do this. God gifted John and I with musical talent. It's what we do best. Our worship pastor, Ryan Durfee, uses the parable of the talents to encourage us when the crunch feels like more than we can handle, or when we question what we do. When God gives us talent, he expects us to use it for him. When we do so, it grows. Remember the guy who burried the money his boss gave him to invest? He was called wicked! His boss nearly ripped him a new ear canal for his "safe" stashing.
Some people can teach Sunday School, or arrange for meals to be made for Gertrude who had her liver removed last week. Oftentimes the demands of such jobs are not as time consuming as the demands of an artist, but their talents are not worth more or less. when things do get crazy, regardless of your area of service, if it truly is your gift/talent, you push through and rest up for the next go around. If it's not your thing, you wipe your hands and say, "Never again!"
Yes the hours are long, yes the demands are hard on Kyle, but we believe we are setting an example for him as he grows older. John and I are doing what God created us to do - that is make music. Boy and I tired, and I think I need a nap NOW, but walking onto that stage knowing I'm in God's will is more satisfying than a gazillion naps!


Monday, December 04, 2006

Parade of Lights

On a frosty Denver night, the 2A Colorado State Champion Sheridan High School Marching Band made their debut in the 9 News parade of lights. The parade is an annual event bringing Coloradans out in some bone-chilling temps to see lighted floats, balloons (think Macy's T-giving parade) and most importantly, marching bands decked in lights and costumes.
The Sheridan band parents painstakingly attached lights, garland to band uniforms and crafted a few unique costumes and props.


Originally, my guard girls were going to wear Dorothy from the wizard of OZ costumes, but they never showed up. Again, band parents to the rescue! Less than two hours before the parade on Friday, a parent huffed it to Big Lots and bought 10 flannel pajama sets! The costumes were a hit! All along the parade route, adoring fans shouted, "Love them PJ's!" It was great.

Unfortunately, I had to watch them on TV Friday night b/c I was suddenly struck with an evil stomache virus. Amidst the violent shivers, tears of joy and pride rolled down my cheeks as the news anchors said nice things about the band as they marched past the grand stand. I did make it Saturday, and boy it was hard to keep up after being so sick!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Temptation

I really hate the smell of poo. So many veteram moms have told me I'd get used to it. Eight months have passed, Stinker is eating solid foods including meats, and my poo intolerance has increased! It takes every ounce of gumption to make it through a single diaper change without baptising the booger in my most recent meal.

As I was cleaning the kitchen floor, I ran out of Swiffer juice. A run to Wal-Mart was needed. Lined up like soilders at Buckingham Palace were colorful cans of Lysol. It's the stuff that eliminates odors and kills 99.9% of all bacteria. Perfect for use in Booger's room after I change a "stinky one".

Yesterday while changing a very foul mess, I was overcome with a terrible temptation.

I looked over at the can of Lysol standing obediently next to the diaper genie.

Kyle's little butt faced the ceiling as he contemplated the meaning of his toes.

My nose twitched and fought to leave my face to head toward the Botanic Gardens.

What if...

What if I sprayed the Wee One's bottom with Lysol?

Oh, my fingers itched to grab the can and give the little man a "once over" with the "odor eliminating" spray!

But I couldn't.

The effects of Lysol disinfectant spray on bare bottoms is unknown. I don't think Kyle would like to be a test subject.

So after all that, I'm still stuck with the smell of poo.

ARRRRRRGGGHHHHH!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Giving Thanks in the Litter


Before you pick up the phone and dial 991 asking for "psychotic transport", let me assure you I did NOT use my hands. I used the scoopy thing...

I'm thinking of making this my header graphic once I can ever figure out how to do so (or find someone who CAN do so).

Picture aside, Thanksgiving is a week away. Most people are scanning the dailies for cupons looking for a gobble of a deal while fretting over Aunt Emma's allergy to anything edible. It's easy to slip into the panic mode when the lady at the checkout counter reminds me for the 17th time that Vitamin Cottage is taking orders for organic turkeys. (Ever wonder why turkeys is spelled with "eys" not "ies"? Call me weird.) But I refuse. There are only three of us and Thanksgiving is about far more than mere gut-filling.

What's even easier a trap for me to fall into is the trap of complaint. I'm in a litterbox! My list of complaints could literally wrap around the world 3 times.

But...

I refuse to do the math.

This year, I'm going to focus on my blesseing and assets (not my over-large derrier!).

First of all, I'm a child of the King. He sent his son, Jesus to die on a cross so all of us can spend eternity with him if we decide to let Jesus be Lord over our lives.

Secondly, I have a fabulous husband. God sure knew what he was doing when he put John and I together. We share so many interests and passions, and best of all, I love watching John be a daddy to the Little Booger. John is the most amazing daddy. The man actually OFFERS to change a diaper or feed the Wee One! (No, John is not for sale or for cloning.) No matter how exhausted he is at the end of the day, he'll feed, dress, cuddle and play xyliphone on the floor with Kyle until Booger's bed time.

Friends. I have to brag on my friends. Our friends are the best possible friends anybody can have. (They too, are not for sale. Sorry.) John and I have friends around the world, near and far, and thank God for them regularly. All of our friends are the most generous, self-sacraficing, loving, committed people we know. I'm not exaggerating here. Whenever we travel, we have places to stay. Peter and Karen even let Caleb-pup stay with them again after he ate a hosta plant in their yard several years ago and peed on their carpet this year. Our Colorado friends make sure we are never in want of any necessity. Kyle has been well clothed thanks to the generosity of friends. I only hope I can be half the friend my friends have been to me.

Kyle. Need I say more? I love that little booger so much it hurts! I had no idea how fierce a mother's love can be!

Last, but not least my parents and Tammie. Honestly, I can't ask for better parents. Both of my parents recieved Christ when I was two years old - all within a week of each other! I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home with parents who sacraficed so much for both Tammie and I. Even during the lean times, they provided for our needs and never let on how hard times were. They allowed us to be kids. We didn't know other people didn't eat Cheerio's every night for dinner. We LOVED the fact we could eat the little round O's that floated in milk. Mom made those times feel special. Dad took me to the library every Saturday morning, instilling in me my love of books and writing. Some of my most cherished memories are hiking Rickett's Glenn with him, and canoeing Lake Jean.
No matter how hard things got in school, my parents encouraged me through the pain of not fitting in. Tammie and I were never allowed to quit anything mid-season. We had to stick to our committments. At the time it seemed like they were so mean, and I even tried to run away once, but as an adult, that discipline sure pays off! Their committment to us was firm. Every basketball game, track meet, band or guard competition - they were there. Even out of state!

My parents are the role model both John and I look to for raising Kyle. God is blessing my parents with another grandbaby in April - Tammie and Shon are expecting their first! Mom's wanted to be a grandma since she was a little girl. And I get to be an Aunt!

I know this blog seems to be dragging on and ooozing with sentimentality, but I want to publically acknowledge my blessings b/c when I grumble, you all can shut me up! Now it's your turn. Put down the frozen bird and think for a moment of all the blessings in your life. If I can find them from in the litterbox, so can you!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Poo fountain

Why, when babies poo, must the nasty green stuff shoot up their backs? Why? I ask? Every single day I am dealing with Butt Rockets X67 and no, he doesn't have diarrehea. This is "normal" stuff.

I'm sooo glad I found a way to get the green, orange, purple (yes, purple - blueberries make purple poop) stains out of his clothes. I use the SA8 Solutions Pre-Wash with Enzymes. Before I got this stuff, Booger's clothes were toast. Baby poo stains big time, and the surface area is huge! After rinsing defiled garments, I squirt this stuff on and when I wash it (hours or even days later), there is not a trace of baby by-product! I was really amazed when the stuff got carrot puke off of a white sweater.

Note: I did NOT buy the white sweater for Kyle, it was given to me. It was a very expensive brand. I wondered who in their right mind would make a WHITE cable knit sweater for little boogers knowing how they stain EVERYTHING they come in contact with...

The SA8 got rid of carrots AFTER several days of sitting w/o treatment. I ordered the stuff when the carrot stains happened. Amazing.

Now my house smells like poo. Diaper genie or not. I've Febreezed everything (except the baby and the animals) and I still can't get the poopy smell out of my nose. Maybe I need to start huffing Febreeze? Yeah, I can see it now: JoyintheLitterbox mom starts new trend in the mommy set - huffing air fresheners.

I guess being a mom means smelling poop in your nose for days on end. I really hate the smell of poop. It's vile!

For those who are wondering: I've recently moved Kyle up into size 3 diapers, they do go half-way up his back. I'm using Costco brand at the moment, but he blew out of Huggies too. I put them on quite tight. His pooper is powerful!

The SA8 is a Quixtar product (I am a Quixtar rep if you wanna try this stuff. I'm thinking from now on it will be a baby shower gift for new moms! I've tried everything else out...)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Voting, Rachel Ray and a $2500 flat-screen TV


Voting with a tiny tot in tow is quite the adventure. K-Bob and I waited until 10AM to venture out to the closest voting center - the Bear Valley Public Library. It took me a good 10 minutes to unload the Wee One from the car seat, strap him into the stroller arming him with a few toys and head to the line. Where the heck was the end of this thing?

The line curled around the building and I hiked to the very end. Seconds later, a woman wearing a red sweater and "Election Commission" button said the current wait was nearly 2 hours! She suggested that those of us in a hurry (people with small, fussy compaions) go to another site. I knew the Little Booger would not last 2 hours sitting still in a stroller. I also know few people are patient with mommies bearing screaming babies. So, I left. The next wait was only 15 minutes. Kyle voted responsibly (Republican) and recieved the badge of honor for doing his civic duty with such gusto!

Kyle's rationale for supporting the elephant party? He wants to grow up in an America that is not being bombed by terrorists, nor does he want Mommy and Daddy paying taxes so high they cannot afford formula and diapers.

Enough politics - You all know that John and I have been in the financial pit for a very long time. Someone from choir blessed us with a dozen sacs of grocieries recently. I've got meats falling out of my freezer that I never cooked with before. Rachel Ray, a cullinary phenomenon wrote some 30-minute meal cookbooks. I bought two of them. I can do 30 minutes.

I hope Rachel Ray is not reading this post.

Rooting in the freezer I found some chicken thighs. Normally I don't eat dark meat, but when the meal is free, hey!

an hour and a half later, John and I sat down to eat. I couldn't eat the things that squirted blood at me as I tried to cut off the skin. The very sight of the "Thick and jucy thighs" made my stomach do Pilates. This is why I hate cooking. Most people would read the recipe and say to themselves, "Sounds good. This is pretty simple." Not me. I cannot follow sequential directions to save my life or feed my family. No wonder Mrs. Leepers ( the gluten-free version of hamburger helper) makes a killing off of my grocery expeditures alone! It's pretty embarassing to admit I can't even pull of a Rachel Ray recipe. Sorry, Rachel, I'm not the poster child for your cookbooks - or anyone elses. (and I'm supposed to do complicated gluten free stuff - HA!)

When I logged on a little while ago, I noticed an e-mail from Amazon. Oh, did I order a book and forget about it? Opening the e-mail I was HORRIFIED to find a confirmation for my order for a $2500 Sony Viseo flat screen tv!

I'm running Spy Sweeper as I type, and I notified amazon, deleted my CC info and checked all my bank and CC accounts. So far no 2K charges. Heck, I don't have that much credit period! So, as I leave to tend to my snarling baby (couldn't tell you what the snarling is about), beware of such things. Spy Sweeper is finding some trojan horses and other icky things Norton did not.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Hallo-Wee One





We couldn't let Boogie's first Halloween go past without creating some cool photo-ops. Photo-ops b/c there's no way he's gonna remember this night.

Kyle traveled to our next door neighbor's house in his Graco pirate ship. Daddy played the role of the ocean (oh, darn. I shoulda wrapped John in blue lame so he could be the ocean). Gil was scared to see a pirate at his door and feared for his stash of loot. Fortunate for Gil, the little pirate has yet to develop a taste for candy and was satiated with two pieces (one for Mommy, one for Daddy).

From Gil's, we piled into the super-charged pirate ship to sail over to Bear Valley Church. Ahoy! More booty! This baby swung a hockey-stick sword to comandeer more candy (chocolate only please), then shot out a few rouge candle flames for even more. Baby Beard scored big when he wrestled with a shark winning a stuffed Sharpai doggie.

Back on the home front, Baby Beard navigated to another neighborhood house to trick candy out of a 2 year-old dinosaur, Charlie before heading home to have his poop-deck swabbed.

Screams ripped through the house as Baby Beard morphed back into sweet Kyle. The boy hates having his face washed. You'd think I was poking him with an electric cattle prod in his left bun the way he screamed.

Now, to think about next year...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Forever Baby and a Gold Medal



Okay Susie, I'm posting so you better comment!!!

Yeah, yeah, October 11th was a long time ago I admit, but I was busy coaching a Colorado State champion marching band and colorguard and becoming a forever mommy. When's a girl to blog with such a schedule?

I'm proud to tell you all that the Sheridan Marching band swept 2A championship and won by 9 points! My girls won best colorguard in state too! I'm soooo proud of them!

My other proud moment is seen in the pictures above. The little booger became our "forever baby" on October 27, 2006! He's ours. He'll be issued a new birth certificate with our last name on it and can never get rid of us (hee, hee). I can't begin to tell you the exact time of the proclomation of adoption, but I bet John can... he says it was 11:20 AM. Figures. He's an architect!

Thursday morning I awoke to a thick blanket of snow which was accumulating rather quickly. By noon, the snow stopped and the melt-down began allowing the roadways to clear up for our Friday adventure.

I know I didn't sleep a wink Thursday night. I was too excited. My Muffin Man was going to become MINE! John was trying to finish a project for work, therefore I ended up sleeping longer than planned. I readied myself, got the Booger up, fed and dressed then sat him on the floor in the living room so I could fetch his car seat. When I returned to the living room, I found my smiling baby covered in icky-gooeys. He decided to have a second go-around with the bananas and oatmeal. Shaking my head I decided a wipey would have to do, and I prayed the judge didn't look too closely at the knit of Kyle's sweater to see some oats clinging. How awful would it be to miss our hearing - the one we waited YEARS for!

In our lateness, Stink and Perrball (my best bud and her hubby) made it to the courthouse to find out the Douglas County Courts had moved to a brand new justice center. Perry called John's dying cell phone to inform us of the change. We were headed to the wrong place!

At the justice center, a line stretched out the door on to the icy sidewalk. Children ran and slid all around. Turns out that Friday is "Adoption Day" at the court and all adoption cases are scheduled for 9AM. By the time we made it through "airport security" (Kyle set off the alarm with his car seat and John... why does that boy have to carry so many electronics???), our whole party was waiting for us at the top of the central staircase. The wait began.

When we were finally called in, the hearing lasted not even five whole minutes! The judge asked how the baby was doing. He then stated he had carefully reviewed all the paper work, felt it was in the best interest of the child to be adopted by us, and proclaimed Kyle to be Kyle Robert G. from that moment forward. That was it. Kyle was our forever baby!

Later that evening, over 30 people and various small children crowded our home to celebrate this momentous occasion. Three kinds of chilli were served, and Kyle was passed around like an Olympic hero! He was all giggles, grins and sweet potatoes.

October 27th will be Kyle's "Forever Day" and celbrated annually. John and I both want him to know that we cherish him and that his Forever Day was one of the happiest days of our lives.

I feel like I've been holding my breath for 7 and 1/2 months. Holding the decree of adoption in my hand was like making a giant sigh of relief. It's over. While we waited in line to pay Vital Stats for the new birth certificate, our social worker leaned in and said, "So, when are you putting in your ap for the next one?"

January!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

My other kids

Vascilating between being a litterbox and a joy in the litterbox are the kids who make up the Sheridan High School Marching Band. I'm nearing the end of my 6th season as the colorguard coach, and what a ride it's been!

Sheridan is a tiny public school district in a very poor section of Southwest Denver. It is a 2A school almost lost in the shadows of the big 5A schools that surround it.

I can't remember the last time the football team won a game, and some of my soccer-playing girls explained the "mercy rule" to me. Many of their games ended with the mercy rule, and it wasn't b/c they were winning...

State assessment scores are low, more than half the school population doesn't speak English natively, and most of the kids are on free and reduced lunch programs.

But, in the midst of it all a troupe of kids dressed in black, blue and silver stand proudly plumed on a green field. Silks flap in the Colorado breeze while horns twinkle under the bright sunlight. No one moves a muscle while the drum major counts off. The audience gasps with the first crescendo and pop of flags. Underneath many uniforms hang gold medals - a tangible reminder of the rewards hard work yields. The Sheridan band currently holds the title of State Champion for class 2A. Two weeks from yesterday, they will march onto the field in Pueblo to defend that long-sought after title.

It's really hard to be a very small fish in a pond full of mongo-sharks, but the kids never give up. When they fall, they get back up and work harder. Marching band, for many of these kids, is the ONLY spot of success in their lives. For some it is the ONLY thing keeping them in school.

Over the years I 've been asked "Why Sheridan? You could easily teach at a 4 or 5A school." My response: "If not me, then who?" So many small schools don't have staff beyond the director. I see many guards who make up their own show. I admire their courage and my heart breaks for them at the same time. I wish more communities and districts valued marching band.

There are some very difficult students whose personal lives would give you nightmares. Other teachers complain about these kids and some have police records, but you know what? In band, the problems are few and not severe. They feel valued. They succeed. Pray for wisdom as the season winds down and the staff turns up the heat to defend the state title. Pray for the kids that they may take the lessons learned on the field and apply them to life. Support your local marching band!

Visit the band at www.shsmusicboosters.com!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Getting ready for court

Kyle's adoption hearing is scheduled for October 27, 2006 at 9 AM in the Douglas County courts. John and I will stand before a judge and testify to our competence at parenting. The judge then decides if we are worthy or adequate. Yikes! Most parents have sex, and nine months later a baby is born. Nobody pokes into their lives to make sure the crib slats are x amount of inches apart, or that their home is completely baby-proofed long before the baby can turn over. Nobody demands printouts of their bank accounts or runs credit checks to make sure they can afford care for the baby, or watches to see if they can put a diaper on correctly. Most of all, they don't have to worry that after caring for their beloved wee one for six months, somebody could look at all the data and decide someone else could do a better job, or a birthparent may suddenly decide they want to take their bundle back. Adoptive parents, on the other hand, live on the brink for six months.

Good news is that parental rights have been terminated on both sides. We don't have to worry about the "sudden change of heart". The adoption agency, the pediatrician - they all advocate for us as parents. John and I aren't crackheads, so there is little chance the judge would deny us permanent parenthood. But, the idea of being on trial... it's kinda creepy!

Tomorrow I will submit a deposition from the pediatrician (He simply wrote that Kyle is a perfect baby), and a month-by-month narrative on my expereince as a mother. It's amazing how fast time flew over the past six months. We're almost there. Kyle is almost officially a Gudger. The invasive monthly questioning about what formula is he drinking, how are John and I getting along, what does our financial picture look like - it all will end! YEAH!

Then the court hearing.

Then, John and I can be NORMAL parents doing normal parent things. We can travel out of town without having to report our locations. We can not have to worry about someone deciding we don't make enough money to have a baby in the house. Kyle will be ours. Forever.

No one can ever un-adopt him from us. No matter what, he'll be our son - poopy butt, and oatmeal-faced grin and all!

As tedious as the whole adoption process is, the beauty of it is that Kyle will KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was and is wanted. We waited a lOOONNNNNGGGG time for him and had to work very hard to make the deal a done one. It's also the picture of how we entered God's family.

We paid a big price for Kyle. One that we really couldn't afford. God paid a price - the most costly - to make us members of His family. Angela gave up her only son to us, to make our lives fuller and more complete. God gave up his only son to make our lives complete and forever. Wow!

Adoption is hard. Sometimes the process and red tape can be a pain in the posterior, but it is SO worth it. I don't regret being infertile. If I could conceive babies, Kyle would not be in my life. I love that Little Booger so much, I can't imagine life without him. I don't want to. I would die. God has blessed me beyond my wildest imagination with this very special baby.

Life in many ways, sucks for John and I right now. We are in serious finacial crisis, but the pain associated with those trials diminishes when those chocolate brown eyes squint, the nose wrinkles, and the toothless mouth opens in a squeals of joy.

One month from now, we will celebrate. Kyle will be ours!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Being a Christian in a FILTHY litterbox

"That's not fair!" I'd bellow, my face red and contorted into something resembling an accordian.

"Life's not fair." Mom'd say, her blue eyes blazing like twin blow-torches.

I can't begin to tell you how true her statement was/is, and how much I HATE that truth. Life is not only unfair, it's downright cruel. So much in fact, that for the past several weeks, I've been wrestling with my belief in a loving God.

Sparing you all the heinous details, I will say that for past five years, my husband and I have been plagued trials of many kinds. Right now, we are facing some harrowing and potentially devestating financial consequences from a string of layoffs John had no control over. Talk about unfair! (He's an architect and the Denver market has been far from stable since 9/11). The firm he currently works for, has it's entire crew on reduced salary and may have to lay off come Oct 31 if big contracts don't materialize. John is the latest hire...

When he told me that wonderful news I lost it. I've screamed at God, given Him the silent treatment, called him names, refused to sing praise songs and withdrawn from life in general. The most ironic detail is that we are on our SECOND Crown Ministries plan to get out of debt. We are working with a coach b/c our needs are so severe and unique.

Isn't it odd that when we choose to obey God and try to live life the way He prescribes in His Word, we get sucked into a furnace... or am I the only one who experiences this?

I want ot know WHY? Why do people who consciously disobey God seem to reap blessing vs. punishment? It's all around me - folks prospering from blatently sinful behaviors! I'm no saint, don't get me wrong, but I try. John tries soooooo hard too. Currently I have multiple robbery plots and scams running through my financially anemic brain, but I know I can NEVER act upon them. Drat.

Sunday, Pastor Jim mentioned (again) that we are not created for this world.

Hi. I'm Darcie, and I'm an alien.

As a mystery novel fan, I have not found a mystery more puzzling than my Creator. He baffles me. He makes me mad sometimes - well, I react to what He allows by getting mad. Other times I feel Him touch me gently on the shoulder when I stand in the choir and do my best lip-sync job.

If life sucks so much, and it really is WORSE in some ways as a Christian (we don't have all those coping vices available to us for instant, momentary relief or escape), why do some of us choose to hand our minds, bodies and souls back to our Creator? Why do we let this Jesus, a man of sorrows and suffering, be our Lord rather than pleasure? Why, when He becons me to burrow farther and farther into the litterbox with Him, do I spread my fingers and begin to rake at the clay?

Why?

I've been thinking this through for about two weeks now and all I can come up with is that I'd be TERRIFIED to be in the Litterbox without Him. I wouldn't want to be. I hang onto His promise that He has gone ahead to prepare a place for me. My rewards are in Heaven. Jesus did say that in this world we'd have a heap of trouble (heap of turds to fit the analogy), but not to worry. He has overcome the world (and carries a giant scoop to clear the path).

Thank you Mrs. Samuel for scaring the Hell out of me in Sunday School when I was six, and thank you Mom and Dad for reinforcing the reality of God as I grew up. God is bigger than any poop that falls on my head!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Do sweet potatoes go with my outfit?



Sorry, the promised post is still coming - can't figure out why the camera and computer won't talk.

The Little Booger is almost 5.5 months old already! That means it's time to learn how to eat "solid" foods. Food that slides off the spoon onto your lap before you get it into the tightly closed lips hardly counts as solid!

The pediatrician said it was time. I went out and bought some rice cereal. She told me that all babies like rice cereal. He sure ate it for Grandma, but when I tried to feed him at home, I ended up wearing it!

Sooooo back to Babies R Us for some other flavors. I found a 12 pack "Starter Kit fruit" and "Starter Kit vegetable". They were only $3 each. Not bad for someone whose bank account is anemic.

Bananas went in with a little work (on my part). Apple sauce - same as bananas. Green peas? That little mouth hinged open EVERY TIME the spoon touched his lips with the horrid green stuff. Okay, that's one veggie gone well, let me try another one - sweet potatoes. Who doesn't like them? I had to jam the spoon between his little lips, then in an instant the sticky orange goo was sprayed back at me.

"Listen here kid, " I said reloading the spoon with another blob, "babies are supposed to like sweet potatoes and I bought a starter pack with three more jars. You're gonna like the sweet potatoes. I mean, come on, you LOVED the peas!, most people HATE peas!"

I may have to throw away my shirt. Do sweet potatoes come out of synthetic fabric? What do I do with the remaining jars?

I may have to go to Home Depot and buy plexi-glass to make myself a shield until I can know what Kyle likes to eat. He knows how to let me know when he doesn't like something. I can't afford a whole new wardrobe unless weridly colored stains become vogue...

At least I can laugh...now...right? (until he spews all over my new clothes for church...)

Monday, August 28, 2006

Got a great new post and some pics BUT...

My stupid computer thinks everything plugged into the USB port(s) are malfunctioning. Grrrr.

Keep checking with me. This post is kinda cute...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Terrible Teething and drowing in drool

YesterdayI carefully pushed open the door, hoping to minimize the dreadful SKWEECH of wood against wood - a sound so awful, the cats explode away from my ankles like buckshot from a shotgun. The sun filtered through the cottonwood tree, casting speckled shadows on the green wall above the crib. On my tippee toes I padded to the rails to wake the Little Booger for his breakfast. Peeking over the rails expecting a toothless grin and smiling eyes I drew my breath in sharply, my heart skipped a beat or two... or three.

For inside the crib...

lay not a baby...

But.

A.

FAUCET!

Not just any 'ol faucet, mind you, it was one of those wide-mouthed faucets used to fill up 3000 gallon luxury tubs - kinda like those found in Pinehurst homes lining the excluive golf course.

Water sloshed against the bumper, the quilted animals treading water, gasping for breath. Closing my eyes, I reached down into the slimy, gooey lake and grabbed the faucet, hoping to turn it off before the upper level of my home caved in from the weight of the liquid deluge.

Pulling the faucet to my chest, I discovered the valve was missing. It let out a squeal and cooed in my ear. It reminded me of the baby that once was - a baby that slobbered a little bit and spit up all over me after feeding.

Squeals turned into shrieks. Shrieks morphed into ear drum splitting screams and an increased flow rate. I was wet!

I secured this baby-turned faucet into his car seat trying to fly under police radar to Babies R Us for some gum medicine.

I'm not sure how that stuff is supposed to work when it gets drooled off the gums all over the baby. I think his belly button was numbed...

A few frozen teething toys later and the faucet slowed - a little bit by drifting into a restless slumber.

At five months plus one week and a day, the teething has begun. Oh what fun.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Pig Pizza Perfection!





Nestled in the Wyoming Valley, along Wyoming Avenue, in Wymoning, Pennsylvania sits an icon of pizzadom.

Victory Pig Pizza has been nurturing addicts since the 1930's! My grandparents and parents made pilgramages to this delicious place of pizza perfection for decades. Kyle was the fourth generation from our family to sit at the faded orange tables set on a worn black and white checkered linoleum floor.

Pig Pizza (as the locals call it) is unlike any other pizza anywhere in the United States. It is a rare species of Sicillian Pizza that I have yet to find a rival. Many Pizza places make square pieces with thicker crusts and call it Sicillian.

Pig Pizza stands apart from the rest with its sauce made from fresh tomatoes and a delicate buttery crust that keeps patrons coming back for more. Scandles have rocked the Valley and Back Mountain area as former employees of Victory Pig have tried to steal the top secret recipe or replicate it. Some have come close (Pizza Perfect in Trucksville, PA is pretty close and quite good), but none have cracked the secret held tightly in the heads of the Secolli (sp?) family.

Victory Pig is only open 3 nights each week. My dad, who has serviced the HVAC for over 20 years, asked the owner why they aren't open all week like other restraunts. The reply: "I make more than enough money with only three days. I like having 4 days off."

Every time I've ever been there since I was a wee one, the place has been crowded. If seats aren't available, there is curb service. . . just honk your horn!

The other great thing (I think) is that Victory Pig has not changed since my grandparents ate there when it was a barbeque stand. (Pennsylvania barbeque is NOT what you think. Texans beware: PA BBQ has NO BBQ sauce. It's thinly sliced ham fried in butter on a potato flour bun served with sweet pickle relish.)

In a world of franchise restraunts where every little town is beginning to look identical to the one down the Interstate, it's refreshing to find a place that remains fairly untouched by time.

Northeastern PA has been dubbed the official "Pizza Capital of the World." I know other places make similar claims, but the evidence is in the lack of Dominoes and Papa Johns. Although in my humble opinion, Victory is one of the best, you can't go wrong with any pizza in NEPA - it's ALL good.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Flying high and...naked?

Somebody got a humongo scoop? The stench from the litterbox has intensified exponentially with the revelation of the (thankfully) foiled terror plot in Great Brittan.

All morning long, I've been listening to 710 KNUS from Denver. All morning long, the small newsbreaks mention how lines are terribly long at Denver International and all passengers are tossing sun screen, shampoo, contact solution and baby formula! Sooooo, no liquids on board an airplane b/c there may be an explosive in that bottle of mouthwash.

I'm all for being safe. I try to thank the haggard TSA employees who poke through my belongings every time I fly. But where and when will the madness stop? What happens if someone invents exploding underwear elastic? You know, kinda like the red and green plastic explosive gum Tom Cruise used to decimate an aquarium in Mission Impossibe? Will we have to fly naked? Might as well make the word a global nudist colony, but then women will be targeted for having nitroglycerine implants...

No liquids. Can't bring bottled water on a plane that makes only one beverage pass during a 3.5 hour flight providing only a 4 oz cup... The last time I flew United, I forgot to fill my water bottle. As I boarded, I noticed bottled water nestled in the cup holders of the first class seats. Looking up at the Stewardess I politely asked if I may have a bottle of water to take to my seat. She stared at me as if I asked her to allow me to bite her.

"We don't have bottled water."

"Um... yes you do, " I said pointing to a bottle as a drop of condensation rolled down its side.

"Oh, those are for first class passangers only."

"You mean, a coach passanger is not entitled to a bottle of water that probably cost UAL only 30 cents? You're kidding me, right?"

"I'm sorry ma'am. You'll just have to wait until the flight attendant in your cabin comes along to give you a cup of water, please move to your seat, you're holding up traffic."

What about contact solution? When I fly overseas, I need to remove my lenses, or it feels like a lava-rock boulder field took up residence on my corneas. People who wear contacts on overseas flights know eyedrops and solution are an absolute necessity! (glasses are not an option for me. They cannot correct my vision)

I guess you can't carry on your luggage for a short trip unless you buy toiletries at your destination. What if your destination is a thrid world country?

It's like the shoe bomber thing. Once a plot is uncovered, do you think the terrorist are so stupid to use it? I understand the need for the security in the immediate: there may be others boarding planes with explosive chemicals in a water bottle or eye-drop container, but weeks from now? For years we've had to remove our shoes. What would happen if someone created a noxious, deadly toe jam? Would we have to amputate our feet before boarding a plane?

Yes, that's absurd, but think about it. No matter what the terrorists do, the reaction is to ban anything and everything imaginable that is similar to the "tool" of destruction. The list goes on... exploding tooth fillings, underwire for a bra, zippers, belly-buttons?

These terroists are indeed affecting the lives of ALL of us. It makes me mad. These people want to kill. Negotiate? Yep. That's what our insightful left wants to do. You can't negotiate with people who are following the teaching of their religion. They honestly believe they are doing Allah's work by killing Westerners, especially Americans. Americans to them are vermin. You don't negotiate with that!

Flying is beginning to get awfully cumbersone. Why would anyone want to travel? Given the circumstances now, it would be a HORRIBLE experience to fly with my baby. No formula. No lotion or diaper rash cream... Are we letting the terrorist win by making travel so unpleasant that everyone stays home? That our economy is destroyed? I think this latest ban on liquid substances is pushing it, even from me. The day we are required to strip down, no - better yet show up at the air port NAKED is the day I toss in the towel of travel for good.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Is Jesus stale?

I'm borrowing the title from a post I saw on Humble Beginning's blog ( I have him linked on the side bar). The idea of Jesus being stale comes from a communion joke:

I'm paraphrasing here:

"What'd ya think of communion today?"

"Well, Jesus was a bit stale."

Don't tell me you don't get it... apparantly the church served stale bread/wafers whatever during communion and the bread represents Jesus' body that was broken...

Anyway, I digress from my main point. I got to thinking about this. For the past few days I've been reading a book titled WICCA'S CHARM by Catherine Edwards Sanders, an Anglican journalist who dealves into the world of Wicca to find out why so many people are turning toward it and away from Christianity.

I picked up the book because I am a colorguard instructor with a Denver area high school and work closely with the teens in the marching band and guard. Many of them are wearing pentagrams and interested in spells and witchcraft. Knowing little about Wicca, I decided to purchase this book.

What really fascinated me was not so much the history and practices of Wicca, but rather the short comings of the church! Sanders found again and again that Wiccans and other Neo-Pagans had abosolutely NOTHING against Jesus Christ or even really, the message of the gospel. What drove them from the church were the CHRISTIANS! The pew sitters... US! Yikes.

Pagans are tuned into the natural environment. Sanders accounts a incident in California where a group of witches gathered to celebrate a ritual honoring nature. A band of "Christians" from local "evangelical" churches surrounded the revelers to shout out the name of Jesus and practically beat these people with the salvation message. It wasn't the message that angered the witches, it was the presence of gas-guzzling SUVs on delicate land. The total disrespect for the natural environment that the "Christians" believe their God created... If Christians can disregard the creation of their God, then their faith must be inauthentic. Ouch.

It's not only about environmental awareness. It's about how the church handles suffering. Several Wiccans interviewed left the evangelical Christian church b/c the church was uncomfortable with people in suffereing - especially women who lost babies to miscarriage. Wicca has rites and rituals to recognize the legitamate loss of life, whereas in the church people shake their heads, clear their throats and try to change the subject. My best friend lost SEVEN babies over the past few years. She had to seek out others who walked the path or have suffered similar losses. She feels the church as a whole falls short in recognizing these babies as human beings. There is no closure.

Another turn off is the lack of supernatural experience. Many conservative churches are terrified to acknowledge the active ministry of the Holy Spirit. Sure we'll sit in our pews and learn how to exogete (sp?) a text, but expect God to really DO something in our lives today? To actually heal or work a miracle? Perposterous! Many Christians live as if Jesus were nothing more than a STALE PIECE OF BREAD. I grew up in a church that believed spiritual gifts are dead and that there is no Joy in Christ. Had I not left when I did for college, I probably would have sought something... more real. I'm not even close to being Pentecostal, but I do not belive in boxing God. He can do whatever He wants to draw people to Him.

Finally, there is the long history of the poor treatment of women in the church. Many Pagans leave because they want to feel empowered as women. Oftentimes the church fails to recognize how Jesus elevates women! Heck, they were the first people He sought after he rose from the dead! He knew they'd get the word out. The Roman civilization treated women worse than animals. Jesus treated them as intelligent, valuable human beings.

I'm being long-winded here, but I want to encourage you to click on the link for Faith & Forensics on the right as well. Best-selling author Brandilyn Collins posts a review of her newest novel, VIOLET DAWN written by a man who clearly does not like Christians or believe in God. What you read will surprise you and Brandilyn serves as an example to the rest of us as believers in Jesus Christ on how to reach those turned off, not by the Gospel, but by its followers.

I need to look at my life. What do others see that leads them to the conclusion that I follow a stale God? Stale bread is awfully unappealing. Is Jesus stale to you?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Kyle meets the fam

No onr could resist the world's cutet baby in PA. Near fights broke out between Aunt Tammie (above) and Grandma (in the orange below) over who would hold the Little Booger when. I had fun playing spider on the wall with my camera, catching some precious and even pretty funny candid shots. Thought I 'd share a few of my faves.


The one of my dad grmacing in the presence of a whiny baby is my ultimate favorite! It was evening, nearing bed time and Kyle was morphing into the the North American Wild Snorting Baby mode. Dad was making faces at the baby trying to get him to laugh (to no avail) and this photo just happened.

There were four generations in Pennsylvania - the most our family has ever had living at any time. Great Grandma and Grandma plotted a kidnapping scheme to see if they could get John and I to leave w/o the baby and our dog!

Love that "Joe Cool in the Pool" shot as well. Mom put me up to that one. Even the social worker at the adoption agency laughed uncontrollably at that picture (we thought it would freak her out).


On Wednesday, Kyle and I went to the adoption agency for another home study. I turned in the notorized petition to adopt that would be filed with the court in Douglas County, Colorado. Charlene told me that the court date will be sometime in October b/c Kyle has to live with us for a complete six months after birth. When the hearing is over and Kyle is oficially and legally a Gudger, we'll have quite a bash to celebrate! Parental rights on both sides have been oficially terminated, so it's up to the judge to decide whether or not John and I are fit parents.
I have to turn in a statement from the pediatrition, write a month by month reflection on his development, have references of people who think we are fit parents, and then the judge will have a look-see at the Wee One and determine if he thinks the child is thriving in our care. And a crack-head prostitue with aids can push one out and keep it, no questions asked....Sheesh!

This litterbox of life sure is filled with all sorts of stinky poo, but Kyle sure is a major source of joy in my life aside from the ultimate source of JOY!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Pennsylvania the Beautiful (did you miss me?)



Pennsylvania is the mother state. I grew up there and could not wait to leave for college. After I graduated, I ferverently sought jobs elsewhere and ended up in Colorado. During the past 11 years I've been back to PA many, many times, but this time Pennsylvania gripped me by the heartstrings in a most powerful way. Her greenery was so bright, it hurt my eyes to stare at it for any length of time. Looking across the vast rolling expanse of the Pocono mountains dotted with weathered red bans brought tears to my eyes and a homesickness I've never before experienced.

"Dang, this place is beautiful," I snuffled to John as we drove West on 118 toward Rickett's Glen State Park.

"Yup." My man of many words replied.

Hiking along the misty forest paths, I drank in the sights and smells. The loamy smell of moss and rich soil mixed with the spicy scent of white pine, ferns carpeting the ground as far as the eye can see and the blueberries! I remember sneaking off into the woods across the street from my home to climb to the top of blueberry mountain gorging myself until my lips, fingers and teeth were blue. Mom was afraid for my sister and I to play in the woods - especially near the blueberries b/c of snakes. Whose afraid of a cute little snake?

What is most disturbing to me now is that my woods are gone. Developed into pricey homes by a developer.

For all the years I lived in NEPA, (that's North-East Pennsylvania for those of you non- natives), I never thought of it as a place of stunning beauty.

Here in Colorado, believe it or not, there are people who are as blind to the beauty here as I was to the beauty of my motherland. I think it's becuase we get so wrapped up in the demands and trials of life we forget to look for and see the beauty God as surrounded us with. As a child, I was so focused on the pain of being different (thick, Hubble Telescope lenses in the glasses) I yeared for escape. Now, years later, I found myself mourning my lack of appreciation. I could have grown up in a stinky, smelly city. Looking back, I had something very close to the idyllic childhood.

It is my prayer, that in this georgous state of CO, Kyle can grow up and see the mountains every day, finding himself breathless by their massive beauty.

Pictures above are from Rickett's Glenn State Park (except for the barn which is in Dallas, PA)- you should all go there sometime and camp there (or stay with my parents :)

RGSP has one of the most awesome hikes along Kitchen Creek. 32 waterfalls cascade down some very slippery PA shale. Unfortunately, due to all the flooding PA has faced this summer, the trail along with many of it's bridges was washed out. We were unable to hike the trail due to its closure. Next summer perhaps...




Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Over the river and through the woods...my butt!!

Welcome new readers! Greetings from a sunny, green Dallas, PA! John and I figured we didn't have enough excitement in our lives so we opted to pack up the dog and the Little Booger in the car and DRIVE...yes, I said DRIVE from Denver to Dallas PENNSYLVANIA. Oh, what a long and tedious journey. The Little Booger did very well, me on the other hand...

We left Denver on Thursday night and drove to Hayes Kansas. We stayed in an Econo Lodge. In the future let the word "econo" when in a business name serve as a warning. The bed was harder than decade old concrete. The towles rivaled 30 grit sandpaper and smelled like an old ash tray while the wall unit blew like a blizzard storm over our bed. The dog was the only one who slept that night!

From Hayes it was onward to Indianapolis to spend the night with my friends from College: Peter and Karen and their two kiddos. I think we landed somewhere after 10 PM. Peter and Karen have an incredible house in the woods and it was hard to leaave early the next morning to make it to PA.

Did you know Ohio is a fat state? It takes FOREVER to drive across Ohio. So far, the Little Booger slept soundly in his car seaat until meal times, then he would work himself up to a wail that would scare a werewolf. One of us would eat one-handed while holding the bottle. I'm amazed at how many fast food places along Interstate highways don't have baby changing stations in the restrooms. The driver's seat became the make-shift baby changing station.

Midway through PA, I hit the windshield. John was glad I didn't hit him. I'd been in the car toooo loonnnnggggg! Around Danville, PA which is an hour west of Dallas, I began to make crazy screeching noises and go into antsy convulsions. Booger slept through it all. The dog even snored! Did I mention I hate long car trips?

What a relief it was to speed past the white picket fence in my parents' yard and skid to a stop in the driveway around 10PM that night. My sister Tammie rushed out the door to grab the baby. Let me tell you - it was all about the baby. No engulfing arms arond my neck, it was more like, "Hey Darcie, let me at that baby!!!"

So we've been here several days and relaxing. Dallas is a quiet place. My parents live in the woods and there is not a growl of air brakes to be heard. Only the echoing chirps of birds.

I'll write more later. And put up some pics.

My dad's keyboard is in a weird position and my wrists are begininig to cramp. Oh, gotta put the caps lock back on. for some odd reason he types in all caps. I guess engineer/contractor type people can get away with that!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Special Meeting

All of us at one time or another dream of meeting someone whose craft we admire. Today I was blessed to meet one of my favorite contemporary authors - Brandilyn Collins. Brandilyn writes
incredible suspense fiction. Take it from me, a confessed bookaholic, her books are nearly impossible to put down! Titles to check out are: EYES OF ELISHA, DREAD CHAMPION, BRINK OF DEATH, STAIN OF GUILT, DEAD OF NIGHT, WEB OF LIES and soon to come VIOLET DAWN. If you go to B&N, look under Inspriational or Religious fiction. In Christian stores you will find her under the mystery/suspense genre.

Brandilyn took an hour and a half of her time to sit, drink coffee and chat with me. She was interested in who I was, in Kyle (she agrees, he's one cute baby!), and my aspirations to write. She encouraged me to focus on what I am getting done, as opposed to what I'm NOT getting done. Too often I find myself gritching over the fact another two months have gone by since I've last touched my manuscript. Or that I have yet to come up with some really cool story to querry to some paying publication. BC told me that's okay. I'm a new mommy and babies should be my focus. In the mean time I'm to read, read, read and learn from my reading.

Brandilyn has a really cool blog www.forensicsandfaith.blogspot.com you should click on over and check it out! I also encourage you to make a beeline for you local bookstore and snag her books. I promise you will like them!

In the meantime, I will take care of Kyle, read, blog, and maybe get some writing done.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Get Real!

First off, I'd like to welcome some fellow Blogging Chick readers! Glad you want to come back - let me know what your sites are and I'll check you out as well...

A note about the last post: The God Hates Fags people picketed our church one Sunday morning b/c we don't preach hate and actually have small groups geared towards people who struggle with homosexuality. We love them. We help those who come to seek help. Bear Valley Church doesn't turn anyone away.

Okay, now for the "Get Real" post. John and I took some friends hiking on the 4th of July. Hiking is what you do in Colorado for fun that is almost free (GAS!). Wanting to avoid the traffice corridor of I-70 and 285, we decided to find something near Boulder. Why avoid I-70?

Several years ago we camped in Leadville over the 4th. The trip back which should have taken no more than two hours took SIX! Four hours from the tunnel to Georgetown - only 11 miles!!! People actaully sun-bathed on the hoods of their cars. But I digress...

As avid hikers we have hiked many of the front range trails and made a decision to hike unfamilliar trails this summer. We consulted a guide book notating the "best loop hikes in Colorado". I spied the Walker Ranch Loop hike several weeks ago, but John had his heart set on Kenosha pass (see the "Ahhh Colorado" post for pics and a description of that one). The authors described the fascinating hike through a rejuvinating burn area, to a verdant valley in Eldorado Canyon into a dense pine forest, dropping down a cliff face with carved stairs to the Boulder Creek (again), then ascending through some very scenic country side to the trail head. Distance: 7.6 miles. Exertion: moderate. Hiking time, which according to the writers allows for lunch breaks, gawking and periodic rest stops - 3 hrs. Not a bad deal. Moderate would mean some gentle sloping, but to do 7.6 miles in 3 hours, we assumed the trail was fairly flat. So, we suggested this trail to our friends, one of whom does little to no hiking and is only getting started.

We descended and descended and descended for the first mile and a half. Not unusual. Okay, so the last 6 miles would be a gentle climb out. Right? Wrong. We descended to Boulder Creek, ate lunch then climbed very steeply out of the canyon, crossed one ridge, climbed up to another which lead into previously mentioned verdant valley. In the middle of the valley we saw mile 3. Thunder roared and black clouds rolled over our heads as we kicked it up a notch along the flatter portion of the trail through Eldorado Canyon. Maybe the rest of the trail was like this.

After another half hour or so we began to descend and descend and descend and then we REALLY descended. A sign was posted in a spot where a deafening roar of water echoed through the pine forest: bikers dismount and carry bikes. Horses turn around. We inched our way forward and peered over the edge of... a... cliff! We descended and descended some more, aproaching the swollen icy creek. Boulder creek runs deep and narrow and very little aquatic life can exist in its icy waters. Every year people die trying to tube the creek.

Carefully we picked our way over rocks into the deep canyon. The air was cool and clean from the rushing currents. Tired bikers with sore shoulders lay like lizards on the rocks below, huffing from the scary climb down - bikes on back, cleats slipping on the rocks.

We barely past mile marker 4. We already had been on the trail for over 2 hours! What goes down must come back up. It's the law of hiking in Colorado. You'd think the trail would curve and give reprieves. But NO. We climbed and climbed and climbed. Not a gentle rolling climb, but steep loose gravely climbs causing the calf muscles to squeal like stuck pigs. Heidi looked like she was going to die. The Little Booger slept soundly against John's chest. John was slowing down and Perry offered to carry Little Booger the rest of the way. I thought of my legs as pistons in a powerful SUV and methodically placed one foot in front of the other refusing to stop until I reached the top. It never came, or so it seemed. I asked one of the many bikers if a top even existed. They assured me it did. Caleb, my dog plodded on in front of me, his bushy tail marking time. Somewhere along the way I passed mile marker six and shouted "Woooooo Hooooo! Six!" Hoping to offer Heidi encouragement.

I made it back to the trail head aobut 30-40 minutes before the others. The final .6 miles sloped gently downward giving my trembling quads a little break. Caleb wanted water, but John had his bowl.

I waited. Another couple emerged, dusty and trail weary. They were loop-hikers as well.

"Three hours, the wife muttered."

"My guide book said it was a moderate hike," I added.

"Ours too; you must be Kyle's mommy."

"I am."

"Amazing baby to do so well on such a difficult hike."

"Can't believe the guide book said moderate. We used the Loop Hike book."

"Us too," the husband said while loading his hiking poles into the Explorer, "should have considered that the authors were a marathon runner and a professional cyclist. No clue about how long this would take a normal person."

When people write books like that, they need to consider the audience. I was okay, John was okay, Perry and Kyle were okay, but Heidi... I hope she will hike again. Someone needs to write a regular person's guide to hiking in Colorado.

In the end it took us five hours. The park literature I read while I waited for the others suggested 6. Now that was real.

Great hike. Think I'll do it again sometime, only I'll plan on 5-6 hours instead of three!
"

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Snake hygeine and gay naighbors

...that snakes wipe their butts after they poop? I'm not trying to gross you out, really. I'm just sharing a tid bit of information I learned at the Denver Zoo today.

John and I took the Little Booger to the zoo (again - we sure are going to get mileage out of that membership some wonderful unkown person bought for us) after church. On Friday we spent time in the bird house and Primate Panorama. Today the heft of our visit consited of staring into fish tanks and terrariums in Tropical Discovery. We saw a snake poop. John saw it first and pointed it out to me and the hundred others surrounding us. I'll spare you the detials, but when the snake (a huge one, about 8 or 9 inches in diameter) finished his business, he wiped himself clean on a rock! Amazing how God programs some critters with the need for cleanliness! Snakes!

The Little Booger enjoyed his zoo visit. There are a lot of trees. Have I mentioned my son is obsessed with trees?

He also was mesmerized by the fish in the aquariums. I'm thinking of setting up his highchair in front of the one in our house...

Our next door neighbors are the most likeable gay men you could ever meet. We have become friends with them over the past few years and have had some very in-depth eye-opening conversations.

One day Gill and I stood in our back yards on our tippy toes chatting over the fence. Gill popped a whopper of a question; "Does your church have 'gaydar'? Like, if I actaully hung around for a few minutes after one of your choir/orchestra concerts, would people see me, point and yell; 'There's a homo in the sanctuary! Purify yourselves!'?"

Oooohhh. What a question. I would love to say, "No way, our church would do no such thing. We are not part of the God Hates Fag movement." Rather I said, "The mature people who really do what Jesus says wouldn't behave like that." Does your church have a "gaydar"?

Let me say this so you know where I stand:

Homosexuality is a sin, period. Any sort of sex outside of marriage is sin, period. Me not trusting God, and thinking He made mistakes in making me is a sin, period. Stealing, lying, cheating, gluttony, pride, perversity etc are all sins. We all need Jesus.

Gill told me several times he wishes he weren't gay. He's tried in his own power not to be gay, but has finally succumbed to the pull of his flesh. He's terrified of stepping foot into a church b/c he's had some pretty hurtful experiences. What does that say about the "Christian" Church? How would Jesus resopond to these men? They are wounded. They are seeking, but unwelcome in the very places they can find what they are looking for. Why is that?

I'm not knocking my church one bit. I'm talking about Christians in general. The God Hates Fags group claims to be Baptist! Hate is sin too!

Jesus loves these men.so much He DIED willingly for them. He would chat over the fence, eat dinner with them. Laugh and cry with them. He would show them His healing power and allow them the chance to turn to Him and then He would lead them down a new path.

Homosexuality is not genetic. It is most likely result of a deep wound. The world then grabs the struggling youngster/adult and erroniously convinces them they are gay which in the end creates a deeper wound. We have all made sinful choices in the throes of painful experiences.

All that said, if you know someone who is struggling with this pain, love them. Don't condemn them. We ALL have our never-ending battles with sin whether or not its covert or overt.

Pray for our neighbors. We love them deeply. Gill has attended a few concerts, but comes and goes before any stray "gaydar" sensors can go off.

Imagine how different this world would be if we Christians actaully lived what we say we believe the Bible teaches. Oh, and one more thing... ALL 66 books are inspired by God. Some people only beleive the "red letters" are scripture, the rest being debateable. It's all true. We can't throw any of it out. Throwing away what we don't like is what got our world into this mess...

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Blogging Chicks and Scary Things

I put this little counter thing on the bottom of my blog page - well, I had someone else do it b/c it involved complicated and weird computer language - anyway, a few people are actually reading "Litterbox".

Welcome to new readers - most of whom are probably fellow Blogging Chicks. I have joined the Blogging Chicks blogroll (you can see it on the right side - scroll down a bit and there is a looonnnnggg list of blogsites to explore). One of these days I'll have an "official" graphic and intro, but alack and alas, it requires html coding. I just write. Programming and coding are more foreign to me than the Indonesian language.

What are you afraid of? I'm terrified of thunder, lightning, and anything with more than four legs. Even more debilitating is my fear of failure. I'm trying to confront myself on my fear of failure because I use it as an excuse to NOT do what God wants me to do - finish my novel and write articles. I call myself a writer. I love to write, heck, I'm blogging aren't I? But my fear comes in when I know my work must be evaluated by an editor type person for worthiness.

Part of the problem is that I don't know any editors personally. Can't say I've ever met one. Right now when I hear the word "editor", my imagination paints a picture of a tall, menacing, drooling, hairy-faced beast with canines to rival those of a pre-historic hairy elephant thingy. The eyeballs are extra large for reading thousands of pages of 12 pt font, and their fingers are strong enough to rend in half the thickest of unworthy manuscripts. Editors at some of the largest pub houses probably think virgin pine forests in the Northwest are a form of pretzel farm...

No offense to anyone reading who is an editor. Please correct my bizzarre assumptions!

I've querried a few publications for articles and have recieved the mass-printed rejection letter. I know, I know, the best of the best get HUNDREDS of rejections - even AFTER they are well-known. It's a rough world. Not a place for a person with rejection issues. So why has God gifted me with writing (and singing) - talents that are put out there for evaluation and targets for certain criticism and rejection?

I say all this b/c I've been sitting on my novel ms for about a year and a half. My fear prevents me from working on it for months at a time. I want it to be "just right" immediately. I'm my own worse critic. Additionally, I have heaps of article ideas, but am terrified to write the querry letter. Would you believe that one letter I wrote, I revised about 10 times and was still not happy with it when I sent it in? (It was turned down).

So my dilema: God gifted me to write. I loathe rejection and go way out of my way to avoid it. I'd rather break my nose... God called me to write. How do I ultimately overcome my fear enough to obey Him?

Here is the perfect oportunity for you to comment. I'm kinda stuck in the litter box of life right now and it stinks!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Ahhh, Colorado!

John and I are determined to get OUT of the city at least once a week to not only stretch our legs, but to experience the General Revelation of our God.

Life has not been easy for us for a LONG time and it's too easy to dismiss the very existance of God in our lives.











For me, personally, getting into the mountains surrounds me with beauty that only a Creator could design. One look at the complicated shape of a Colorado columbine flower shatteres the belief in random evolution.

So, on Saturday we hopped onto highway 285 and headed south, through Baily, to Kenosha Pass. Kenosha pass has an access point to the Colorado trail which runs from Waterton Canyon in the Littleton/Roxborough area all the way down to Durango. It's a trail that showcases the best scenery in the Colorado Rockies.

The segment we hiked was fairly mild as far as extertion, but it was intense in beauty.
We stepped onto the trail in a thick grove of aspen trees shading a carpet of purple columbine flowers. The columbine is the state flower. About 3/4 of a mile into the woods, we entered coniferous forest with branches woven so thick, the sun struggled to cast it's glow on the soft needled floor.

That's not all. 45 minutes later, we emerged from the pines onto a ridge with a panoramic view of South Park Valley and some glacier - graced mountains. I've lived in Colorado for over 11 years now, and I could not pick my jaw off the ground. John and I stared and stared. We could not take our eyes off the incredible view before us. I tried to capture the moment on the camera, but the lense limited the panorama and doesn't do it justice.

Continuing onward, we passed through the "pencil forest" - Aspens growing together so closely that the trail was the only way through (see the picture above). There were some groves of aspen we dubbed "trees with knees" b/c most of them had the strangest "knee" bend in the middle of the trunk. Did you know that aspen trees can clone themselves from the genetic material in their root systems? This "trees with knees" section gave more evidence to the case of intelligent design.

We hiked for nearly three hours and as we descended into the dusty parking lot along 285, trail-worn young man in dreadlocks and heavy Kelty pack approached us, asking if we were headed to Denver. My eyes grew wide in fear as John waved him over to the Vue and he began to take off his pack. What was my hubby doing??? We had a baby and a dog with us. This guy could be a serial killer on the loose!
As we dashed across the highway, avoiding cars and truck screaming along at 70mph, I yelled, "You aren't wanted for murder or any other crime against humanity are you?"
The young man shook his head.
I felt a check in my heart. God is soverign. I just worshiped in His cathedral for three hours. Besides, this guy looked like Jesus, or so I thought. "What you do for the least of these, you do for Me." I'm a backpacker. This guy was a through-hiker. Hiked all the way from Kenosha to Breckinridge and back. Backpackers are nice people.
We had a great time talking in the car. Thru-hiker's name was Daniel. He's a student at Metro State, studying music comp. He was so appreiciative of our kindness. He said he understood how scary it is to give a hitch-hiker a ride. John simply replied, planting a seed. "I prayed about it when you asked me, and God gave me peace that it was okay."

I don't plan on picking up hitch-hikers any time soon, but this experience made me aware of how quickly I jump to conclusions about strangers. Poor, bedraggled looking people. I have come to the point where I assume they are all criminals. Sure, in this world, caution can't be ignored, but John's example of praying for widom and getting a split-second response... well, that was a pretty convicting sermon preached "on the mount" of Kenosha pass.

Monday, June 19, 2006

A whole new world...




John celebrated his first father's day this weekend. We decided to do some hiking with the Wee One (it costs next to nothing - well gas, and you can't beat the views!)

On Saturday we drove about 40 minutes west on I-70 to Herman Gultch Trailhead which starts are around 10,000 ft. The gultch trail which we have done many times and is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful, takes you up to a glacial tundra with glacial ponds and brilliant wildflowers close to 13,000 ft in elevation. A whole day is needed for that hike.

We decided to take the road less traveled and hiked the Waterford (?) trail which climbed and climbed up over a foothill, away from the interstate leading us into one of the most verdant valleys I've ever seen! We hiked to the top of the valley (not enough daylight to climb the mountain at the end) and made our way back. The valley is a broad valley surrounded by glacier - trickled peaks. A powerful stream shoots through the valley, the bubbling water echoing off the rocky mountain sides. Yellow butter-cup like flowers along with brilliant red Indian paint brush and vivid blue Forget-me nots peppered the lush green alpine ground covers. I didn't want to leave.

And...

We forgot the camera! Grrrr.

On the way back down I-70 we were hungry and decided to stop at McDonalds. I'm on this gluten-free diet now. I was told that most restruants should, by request, provide consumers with a list of foods and allergens contained (now required by law since 1/06). I fugured for sure that someone there could guide me in the right direction.

At the counter, the associate asked if she could help me. I told her I needed a list of gluten-free options. She looked at me with squinched eyes. Her mouth quivered, and she yelled, "WHAT???!" Part of the problem is that she spoke VERY broken English. So I changed my strategy. She probably had never heard the word "gluten" before.

"Do you have a list of foods and the allergens? You know, things that people are allergic to?"

"Huh? We have dees," she said pointing to the menu.

"No, I need to know if you have a list of ingrediants people are allergic to - things that make them sick."

"Ve haf sveet and sour, barbeeQ, and honey mutard."

I asked for a manager. He waved me off saying he never heard of such a thing. I ordered a salad thinking I'd be safe. I doused my salad with some dressing THEN read the ingrediant list. Soy. Wheat germ. UGH! Note to self: read labels BEFORE ingesting. I bombed.

I was only on the diet for two days at that point, and would you believe I started to feel sick and bloated within MINUTES of eating the stuff? That night I suffered with a bad case of fire hydrant bun. No fun!

By the way, I checked McD's website - they DO have a list of foods. The safest thing to eat would have been...

are you ready for this?

The FRIES!!!!!

Go figure.

Hope you like the pictures. The upload worked today. Some of Kyle and John on Father's day at Three Sisters Adlefer in Evergreen. Had to put one up of my backyard since for once, it's actually pretty!


Friday, June 16, 2006

Glutton for convienience

(I tried to post a Kyle pic, but it never showed up... grrr)

(I also wrote this once, tried to post a pic, but when I tired to find the pic, I lost the post! Double GrrrrRRR!)

Yesterday a really big bomb was dropped on my already smelly litterbox world: I have to jump in to a completely gluten free diet FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.

This means that finding foods I CAN eat will be hard work. I can't have anything with wheat, barley, oats or rye OR anything that has come in contact with the afforementioned grains.

No more eating out pizza. My absolute favorite food. McDonald's french fries are out too b/c of the coating they put on them. I have to shop Vitamin Cottage, Whole Foods - specialty grocery stores that cost more money. It even looks like I will be foreced to cook more. I LOATHE cooking. It requires following an outline of directions and measuring. Worse, it requires waiting! When I want food, I want it now. I like frozen things that take minutes in the microwave. I like fast food. Restraunt food. Pre-packaged processed food. (No wonder I struggel with weight). No more. Gotta ask for the gluten free menus in restraunts. Gotta maybe even tell people who've invited me for dinner what I can and can't have. I'm going to be a royal pain in the butt for not only myself, but anyone who desires to feed me!

So yesterday I discovered gluten sensitivity may be the root cause for multiple chronic ailments that are progressively getting worse and interfereing with my ability to care for Kyle and do ANYTHING. I should be jumping for joy! But I'm not. I'm shocked. I wanted a simple fix. I'm a glutton for convienience. An American epidemic. My world has been rocked, and inwardly I'm wanting to go on a pizza eating frenzy! My whole diet revolved around wheat, barley, oats and rye. Pizza with RICE crust? You're kidding me right? I doubt MC's in Denver, or Victory Pig in Wyoming, PA have gluten free crust.

Sigh. I've made it through two meals. They weren't all that bad. I'm just gonna miss my pizza, fries, and most of all... convienience.