Finding and creating adventures in everyday life.

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Thankful Thursday – Growing Up

I’ve often said that being a grown up is hard work. There’s a lot of adulthood that’s not much fun. Not that it’s bad or tragic, it’s just that it’s hard work. Paying bills, making wise choices (or trying to), making sure the kids are fed and watered, tidying the house (everyday – can you believe that? Doing it once, even really well, is not enough), insurance, driver’s licenses, putting gas in the car, you get the idea. It can be tedious, boring, and what’s the opposite of fun?

At the same time, there is something amazing when you feel your character actually changing. It hurts sometimes, it is uncomfortable, it is a challenge and yet there is joy.

There are things about being a child that are wonderful – the freedom, the joy in the present, the simplicity of life. At the same time, children tend to be selfish, they see everything in black and white, they don’t have a lot of patience with the shortcomings of others while being very good at ignoring their own.

Ah, the simple days.

Ah, the simple days.

I feel like I’ve been growing up a lot recently in my thinking, in the way that I look at others. I’m looking forward to sharing more about it, but it’s tough on me. There are deep-seated thought patterns and judgements that are being challenged and changed. It’s good though, did I mention that? It’s really good. Being a grown up is hard, but there is a different kind of freedom, a deep joy and you can find simplicity in the midst of our complex lives. I am thankful today that I’m a grown up.

I hope I don’t stop growing. I’m thankful for the grown ups in my life who are blazing the trail. I’ve got a long way to go and I’m going to enjoy the journey.

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Thankful Thursday – Lunch with Zane

Thankful that today, in the middle of a busy day – work, meetings, school – I got to go on a little lunch date with my Zane. At his request, we went to his favorite lunch spot – a little supermarket that has a café – to have macaroni and cheese.

Jude’s almost finished with school for the year and the Summer will look quite different than the past 9 months have looked. We are excited for the months ahead, but the special time I’ve had with Zane will be missed too. Thankfully, I have another full year before he starts kindergarten.

Love my sweet, funny Zane.

Zane at Rays

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Thankful Thursday – Citizenship

I have lived for significant periods of time in four countries and have traveled to many other countries. I love other cultures, I love being in countries that are not the United States of America, I love that my husband is from New Zealand and that my children are dual citizens. At the same time, I am so thankful to have been born in the US of A. I think the United States is a truly amazing place. We have it so good. There are a tremendous amount of things right about America.

I am not blind to the many shortcomings of this nation as well. I won’t list any of them, there are other places and people who would gladly talk about them. I am certainly willing to discuss them and I pray for this country to grow and change, but today I want to talk about the good stuff.

Having lived overseas, I have had friends, family, acquaintances and strangers wax poetic about what is wrong with the USA, but I also see the people who believe in what America is about as far as freedom, independence and opportunity. There are so many amazing cultures within this country, amazing stories and things like Slurpees!

I have a worldview of life, a love of “other” places and I’m not crazily patriotic, but I am, indeed, proud to be an American.

I am also thankful for my husband who has joined me in building a life here in the US. He has left his family in New Zealand, things that are familiar and comfortable for him and it’s not always easy for him. That’s a big deal.

Last year, we decided to start the naturalization process for him to become a citizen. He had a green card, but we figured it would just make life simpler if he had US citizenship. It was a reasonably simple process – paperwork, money and a couple of trips to Portland. It culminated in our final trip to Portland last Tuesday for Colin’s final interview which lasted ten minutes and then a naturalization ceremony in the afternoon. All of the sudden, I was married to a US citizen!

It was fun to be a part of the whole thing. There were 29 people from 16 countries in the ceremony, each representing a different story. Colin was the only one from New Zealand.

Here are a few pictures from the day.

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God Bless America! (And New Zealand, and the United Kingdom and Jamaica and the whole wide world!)

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Thankful Thursday – Libraries

So I’m kind of annoyed that I will probably have to wait months for Game of Thrones & Downton Abbey Season 2 on dvd from the library, but I will get to watch them for FREE! What an amazing concept the library system is.

I can request books and other media online, walk right in and they are waiting for me. There are storytimes and play areas for the kids. All kinds of resources for people – computers, education and a world of knowledge. Quiet places to read, think & write.

Play Area at the Library

Annual Visit of the Train Guy to the Library

So thankful for libraries.


Thankful Thursday – Stephanie Edition

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States. It’s also my sister’s birthday. While her birthday is not always on Thanksgiving, she was born on Thanksgiving Day on an army base not long before my Dad was sent to Vietnam.

There are five years between us. When we were younger, we weren’t always best friends, in fact there were incidents of being chased around with a butcher knife & maybe even some fist fights.

There were also nights when I was scared & she allowed me to crawl into bed with her underneath her poster of Tom Selleck. There was the time when she had just broken up with a boyfriend, she had some friends at our house & despite being completely embarrassed, she allowed my best friend & I to dance our way through the entirety of Michael Jackson’s Thriller album – “to cheer her up.”

The older we got, the closer we got. We travelled with our parents to Jamaica to live for a few years. We did the laundry by hand together in big tin buckets. We sang songs at the piano together. We explored that amazing country together. She started a school for special needs kids while I went to high school, she was 18 years old.

Then we moved to the States together while our parents stayed in Jamaica. We worked, served & had so many amazing times together. By now, we were well & truly best friends. It was a fun time & a really tough time. I wouldn’t have wanted to go through that time with anyone else.

Then she got married, I moved overseas, but the bond was forever and she’s still my best friend. Through cross-country and international moves. Marriage and children. Children, there’s a thing. I am so thankful that we get to raise our children together. It’s an amazing, miraculous story that our two oldest boys are only four weeks apart to the day & that we get to share mommyhood together. And despite the fact that she lives six hours away by car (it used to be about 5 hours, but we have kids now!), she’s still my best friend. Always a phone call, text or email away. She’s the one I call when I see a funny bumper sticker or when I am having a frustrating day & just need to vent.

Today, on this day of thanksgiving, I am especially thankful for Stephanie. She’s kind, faithful, loyal, fun, creative, funny, beautiful, smart, strong and I couldn’t ask for a better best bud.

I love you, Stephanie! Happy Birthday.


Thankful Thursday – Thankfulness Tree

We decided to start a new tradition this year. A Thankfulness Tree. For the month of November, everyday, each of us will think of something we are thankful for & write it on a leaf that we will attach to our tree. On each leaf, I also added the initial of the person who thought of it.

I cut a very simple tree shape out of brown wrapping paper & put it up on our game cupboards (Yes, two cupboards FULL of games). Then I cut out enough leaves for the entire month. Every evening after dinner, we each go around & say something we are thankful for. It’s been fun to hear what the boys come up with. Sometimes Zane needs a little help. Most times that we ask him what he’s thankful for, he says, “stars”. He always finds other things though.

It’s been good for all of us to take time each day to be thankful for something specific. Our lives are full of blessings – big (our house) & small (butt paste), profound (God is our Provider) & mundane (roast potatoes AND mashed potatoes – Zane loves potatoes), but blessings all the same.

I am thankful that we have so much to be thankful for. I am thankful that the boys are learning to be grateful & to appreciate all that they have been blessed with. I love that all of Jude’s prayers start with being thankful.

As a worrier, pessimist, melancholic, I need all the reminders & help I can get of all that we have been blessed with. I am grateful that we have an entire holiday dedicated to being thankful. I am thankful for Thanksgiving! I’m looking forward to seeing what we come up with the rest of the month.

Here’s our tree & some of our thankful leaves.

Do you have any traditions around the idea of being thankful?


Thankful Thursday – You Tube!

You Tube might be a bit of an odd thing to be thankful for, but I really am. I have instant access to music that I love that brings back memories, makes me dance, makes me cry & inspires. I have access to really funny videos that are always good for a laugh. The boys love You Tube too. They love to watch OK GO videos, especially the Rube Goldberg machine one & the treadmill one. If they have a question about something or want to see an example of something, I can find a video for them. They love to watch Rube Goldberg machines & domino creations. It’s inspiring for them.

I know there is lots of rubbish on there as well, so beware & be careful, but there’s heaps of good stuff too.

It seems a small thing, but it’s the small things that often make a big impact.

In honour of You Tube, here’s our two favourite OK GO videos…

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Thankful Thursday – October 27, 2011

It’s been a bit of a rough day. Nothing earth shattering, but enough to mess up my plans & throw me off my game. The joys of modern conveniences, when something goes wrong, we realise how much we rely on them.

Today I am thankful for these modern marvels. They work most of the time & make life so easy in so many ways. Vehicles, computers, cell phones, the interwebs. When used with wisdom, they make my life better, give me more time for things that really matter & help me build relationships with people near & far.

And then, there’s Autumn & these fellas, more thankful than I can possibly express…