We had a minor mishap in our kitchen. The end result required purchasing a new stove top. Naturally the new one was slightly a different size. The resident chef did his thing and researched options to cut the 1/4 inch of our granite tile. While studying up he came across a horror story of a family who did $34,000 worth of damage to their house by cutting granite and sucking the silica dust into the heating ducts. We wisely decided to hire a professional. We also built a tent to control the dust.
"The Martian" is one of the rare times when I liked the movie as much as the book. You remember the scene when Matt Damon built an ecosystem out of plastic and duct tape? He did better than us.
I briefly considered trying to recall my college calculus and geometry and figure out the correct way to proceed. It was easier to wing it and add more tape.
I just fisnished reading "Hidden Figures" about the black women mathmeticians who where instrumental in NASA's early days. The movie was fun, full of emotionally high charged moments and Hollywood inspiration. The truth portrayed in book was different. The changes came slowly through determination and plodding effort. The character of the women ran deep. The book was about relationships, about volunteering with Girl Scouts and Sunday School, about climbing the ladder so people behind you could follow. It was about brilliance, math and science and new frontiers. I was impressed by the grace with which these ladies faced racism. They prevailed through hard work and self control. The book was not as flashy as the Hollywood version but the strength was impressive.
Sometimes its ok to go with the easy add more tape method in life. But if you want to build something which lasts I would recommend the hard work version.
Recently one of my cousins and his wife took in 4 children through the foster parent program.
Rescued from unspeakable circumstances.
They were each given baths the first night. None had ever seen a wash cloth and didn't know what it was for.
They'd never heard about Jesus.
Never heard a prayer or been prayed for.
Never seen Gone With the Wind or The Wizard of Oz.
Never rode a bicycle before.
My cousin has shared with me how each of the children is unfolding and blossoming on a daily basis.
One learned to ride a bike in a day and his self confidence has soared. We are all like these lost children.
We have been saved, for some, from unspeakable circumstances.
We were dirty and didn't know how to be washed clean.
We've never heard the name of our Savior.
We haven't experienced the joys of living in His care.
But He took us in.
He loved us even though the only love we knew was dark and ugly.
He showed us real love.
As we grow in His love and acceptance our self confidence also grows.
We unfold and bloom in the sunshine of His smile as we realize what true love is really like.
Lacey Buchanan is a tiger mom. I would call her a mama bear but that's so cliche. Lacey Buchanan is anything but cliche. Her new book, Through the Eyes of Hope, is a honest, tough, messy and gorgeous look at embracing life and fighting for the ones you love.
Lacey and her husband had a fairytale romance and were thrilled when they discovered they were expecting. Ultrasounds reviewed a birth defect. The Buchanans decided to accept what God sent. However, when little Christian was born they were shocked by the degree of his birth defect. Christian was born with a severe cleft pallet and his eyes did not form. Enter doctors, surgeries, insurance forms and heartbreaking comments from strangers.
Lacey pours out their story with raw truth, plenty of grace around mistakes and the love of her son. The mighty abundance of God is what I saw the most. If you have ever struggled with questions about your life and how hardships can become your strength then you need to read this book. Grab some tissues.
I'm passing on this copy to a subscriber to the Quirk E-mail. If you aren't a member yet sign up today.
Lacey's viral video about her baby and the lessons she learned is a great way to start your day. Watch below.
Twelve years... Twelve years of being an only child.
Did I mind? Nope. Was I lonely? ...Nope.
Well, that all changed when my dad and step-mom adopted a little girl. But hey, it's just one sibling, right? Not that huge of an adjustment.
One year later...one short, brother-less year later... My mom remarried. And her new husband...had three children.
*cue dramatic music*
Okay okay, so this is a little exaggerated. Honestly, having siblings was a nice change. I'm an extremely social person, so an extra sibling...or four...was enjoyable for me. Well, once we established the pecking order and they all knew who was really in charge (me, in case you were wondering) everything was just dandy.
In all actuality, the biggest ripple caused in the ever-growing river of my family was my littlest sibling. Sheppard Kristian, the hybrid product of my mom and stepdad, my only blood related sibling, the kid who topped a blended family off with whipped cream and a cherry...the tiny little whirlwind of energy that sets the house ablaze and then douses the flames with an outpouring of adorable...
This is the story of the entrance of that little boy on a (very unsuspecting) family.
I guess before I start this off, I should clarify that my dad and my stepmom lived in Knoxville, TN, and my mom and stepdad lived in the west coast. At the time, I alternated living 6 months in Tennessee and 6 months in Washington. Well, on the day I received a very special phone call from Washington, I was sitting on my couch in Tennessee.
I looked at the phone to see that my stepdad was calling me. I answered, and he put me on speaker phone with him, my mom, and my 3 step siblings. "We have a surprise for all of you," he said. "I want you each to guess what it is." I, being the smart mouth that I am, jokingly said "Ha, Mom's pregnant." My counterparts all guessed random things, like "Dad got a new job" "We're moving to Alaska" etc.
"Well, one of you was actually correct." Uh oh... "It's Amberly. Mom's pregnant." At this point, we hear an eruption of "WHAT!?!?" exploding from me and my siblings. "Are you serious?!" "There's more," he added. "It's a boy...and she's 5 months along."
Speechless. Utterly speechless.
A few short weeks later, I was sitting on an airplane across the row from my mom, heading back to Washington after they met me down in Tennessee for my stepdad's family reunion. I just remember sitting there, looking at her, thinking about how I never would've imagined seeing my mom carrying another human...wondering if she looked the same when she was pregnant with me. Also, I was marveling at the fact that she was on board an airplane while in her third trimester...
Three months after that, I was sitting in a doctor's office with my mom for her pre-op appointment. Because she had me by c-section, and since she was...*cough*...older...now, she'd have to have Sheppard by a scheduled c-section as well. All I remember of that pre-op appointment was the reality of my mom going into a major surgery and the fact that they'd have to put a needle in her spine - the explanation of which nearly put me on the floor.
On an afternoon in September, I sat in the waiting room with my stepbrother and a couple of friends, awaiting the arrival of my little brother. I was anxious out of my mind, thinking of my mom on an operating table, when the only other surgery she'd ever had was when I graced the world with my presence (ha! As if...)
I don't remember how long the operation took, or what I did while I waited (aside from being amused by my youth pastor purposely tripping and falling on his face in the middle of a hospital hallway.) What I do remember is finally being allowed in the room with my mom, turning the corner and seeing this tiny 5 pound human. I looked at him in awe, trying to fathom the fact that he was my brother - and how crazy it was that the 15 year gap between us didn't seem to change how that felt. I vowed right then and there that I'd love and protect him no matter what, and that I'd always be his big sister.
It's been almost 6 years. That little boy has turned into this whirlwind child who has a mind that sometimes confuses my own with its genius. He got his daddy's brain and his mama's heart - he got the energy, adventurousness, and stubbornness of both of them combined.
That little boy is going to change the world someday. He comes from a dynamic family of creative, logical, forwarding thinking people who are passionate about the Lord and never stop working hard. I'm blessed to be called a part of that family.
I'm blessed to be called a big sister.
Last week was less than excellent. Employee drama, had to put our cat down, wrecked my car and personally delivered a stellar mom failure. My husband and I were also tracking an overwhelming list of things we need to address. Paint on the house peeling, moles in the yard. You know. All the adult stuff.
I am out of town at a work conference. Nice distraction. Good view. I'm in Seattle. I love to travel. It's even fun to visit places I have been before. New circumstances sometimes lead to new perspectives.
After the past session today (PCI DSS, SASSE 16, IOS, PPMS - a full alphabet soup of fun) I headed out to find dinner and some photos.
Seattle in the summer is gorgeous. Floral baskets, water and trees and mountains on every vista. Music and smiles. (If you aren't from Washington I'm actually lying. It's ugly here. Rains all the time. No need to move here).
I watched the guys throw fish. Bought spiced tea and multi colored vegan and organic noodles.
I talked a fruit stand into selling me a box of raspberries even though technically they closed five minutes prior.
I chose a little Turkish restaurant for dinner. I bought chicken kabobs with tomato, onion and lentil soup dressing and wandered down the street, past the original Starbucks (big huge line) and sat in the park facing the water to eat my feast.
There was a man digging through the trash for his dinner. He found a a bag of chicken and a packet of BBQ sauce. He laid it out on the bench like a grand buffet.
Outside my hotel there sits a young lady with pink hair. Nice nails. Tracks on her arms and sadness in her eyes. I handed her the bag of raspberries. She smiled and said thank you.
I owe God an apology. The last couple days I've been keeping lists of things to do, sad woes I've endured and recounted injuries to my girlfriends.
This is a better list.
I'm grateful for water and sunshine and trees. For music aand some cash in my pocket. I'm grateful for insurance and forgiveness and committment. Thankful for work and roof and a clean bill of health. I'm grateful for Turkish immigrants and fish. I am grateful for the girl with pink hair.
Okay. Before I tell you this story I really have to state I do know how to back up a car. For eleven years I lived at the bottom of s steep, gravel, curved road. I could back up it with my stick shift in the dark and rain. So this story is not about my lack of driving skill. It's about my inattention.
My husbad is a kind and patient person. He came and rescued me and my car. He even stuck the broken off piece of trim in the back of his car. Without snide, sarcastic or demeaning comment. He wins.
This is my sweet friend whose brick wall I massacred. She didn't yell at me either. Neither did her two lovely neighbors. I woke them up on a Sunday morning. They came out of their house, took a look at my car and then said. "Oh girl!" About summed it up.
While waiting for my spouse to come assess the situation my youngest was running up and down the driveway. She tripped and gloriously skinned her knees. My friend scooped her up on a massive hug and went to find bandaids.
Friends and Family. This is what to do. When your friends fall down help them up. When your family crashes come to the rescue. We all know this is right. My accident was due to inattention not lack of knowledge. We do the most harm to our relationships not because we do not know the right way to go but because we fail to pay attention.
Thanks team. I love you.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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