It's been two weeks since I have felt anything but congested. My cheekbones were literally pulsating. A sinus infection to bring in the New Year was not what I planned. Nor did I plan for the 5 extra pounds I gained because apparently even though I couldn't smell anything I still had enough sugary cravings to rummage through the girl's Christmas candy and eat a good amount of it. I didn't even ask permission. Horrible parent.

But today I can breathe and I've been off "meds" (ok, just your standard Sudaffed, nothing super fun) for 24 hours. And I mopped the floor. Because I haven't mopped it in a month or so and because it feels good to mop the floor once in a while.


About this time each year I would get the infamous phone call from my dad and it would go something like this....

Dad: Amber! How's it going?
Me: Good dad. What's up? (I just asked that to be polite--I knew why he was calling)
Dad: So, uh, what do you and Ryan need for Christmas? What do the girls want?

You never asked for cash because that meant you only got $50 or so because he hated giving cash for Christmas. You see, Christmas was my dad's holiday. I don't even think he knew all of our birthdays, but on Christmas, it was like it was our birthday. And I learned at a very young age that Christmas was the time of year that you could pretty much ask for whatever you wanted and it would probably be given to you. Saddles, full size keyboards, ponies. It was magical at the age of 8 and was still magical at the age of 31. Yeah...there wasn't an age limit to when the BIG gifts stopped. The phone call was as much for me (even at 31) as it was for my girls.

Last year was my dad's last Christmas here on Earth. The cancer was taking it's toll around this time and even though my dad tried his hardest to go out shopping, he only made it to a few stores before he had to retire home and rest. I can only imagine how defeated he felt.

Of all the "firsts," this is the one I have been most dreading. I long for the phone call....long to hear his voice...long for something normal.

Thanks be to God for my siblings and step mom with whom I can laugh and cry at memories past and join together to honor what once was our dad's holiday and make it our own.

My dad was always and is more God's than he was ever mine, and this Christmas, he is in heaven, doing whatever it is they do up there. Living it up, I can only imagine.
I used to be so comfortable singing in front of people and then one day I just wasn't. I don't know what changed --- getting older--insecurities--??
So basically I can sing my heart out in the shower and not miss a note (well, I'm sure Ryan would say differently), and I can sing to the girls without hesitation, but put me on a stage with lights and I shiver and quiver and kinda just want to puke ---especially if I'm gonna sing by myself and then my voice literally goes--like gone--poof-- and I sound like a mouse--squeak,squeak. My prayer always is that when I sing it would not be a distraction to others while they worship. I'm thinking my solo days are over because I seriously can't overcome the stage fright. New phases in life I guess. Gotta go with the punches.


After this week things should settle down and mellow out.

I've said that so many times...and I used to believe it was true. But alas, it is not. Next week there will be something else and the next week something else and that is life, busy, busy, busy.

But I think I am getting better at enjoying the little things more...like sitting and watching a T.V. show with Aspen on my lap, amazed at how little her hands are still...chubby even. It does seem like time stops in those moments. I pray I would be more aware of those moments and take the time to engage in the present, not allowing my list maker mind move me past the moment and onto the busyness of tomorrow that has yet to arrive.

If only balance came in a bottle.


I am created, not Creator.
I am redeemed, not Redeemer.

Simple enough to memorize, but sometimes too complex to imprint on my heart. But this morning I look around our home and I am put in place as created and redeemed.

We sit comfortably on gray leather couches (from mom) while watching our favorite shows on our big screen T.V. (from brother-in-law). My tea cups have a place to rest on little side tables, all thrift store purchased and refurbished by my mom. My bills live in a desk I used as a teenager, now stripped and stained to fit the look of our home.

My girls have bookshelves and a huge storage case, again thrift store purchased by my mom and repainted to fit their room. Our token pet, Beyonce the Bearded Dragon, was even gifted to us.

The bakers rack that houses our pantry items, a gift. The fridge, a gift. Our stove, a gift. Our kitchen table, kitchen desks, window side bench and corner storage unit, all gifts.

Our yard, filled with grass and plants and a beautiful patio, gifts.

Our trailer, a gift.

Items to fill the trailer for desert and lake trips, mostly all gifts.

I am sure I am forgetting many other gifts, but you get the point.

I am created, not Creator.
I am redeemed, not Redeemer.


I haven't seemed to figure out where keeping the sabbath and stay at home mothering mingle. I mean, do I hang my mom, dishwasher, cook, crumb picker-upper, nose wiper, toilet bowl scrubber, office manager, home school teacher, wife hat on the coat rack and call that "sabbath?" No, no. It has to be more elegant than that. Maybe a stay at home mom's sabbath comes in spurts, like the length of a DVR'd show that I sneak a peak at while folding laundry. Or maybe it's a few hours here and there that Ryan takes the girls and leaves me to some peace and quiet. Maybe it's pulling out frozen Costco dinners that just need a few minutes in the microwave before consuming. Like most things God related, I have found that keeping the sabbath is a heart issue, not a specific set of rules to follow. I love this and despise this. A list would be easier to follow (for me, the anal list maker). But I gather I would feel no rest from following a list on how to keep the sabbath (counterproductive I think). Better to ask God, who knows me and all the hats I wear, what my sabbath should look like. I have a hunch he'll say...Costco pre-made dinner, ditch the mop and sponge, pick up a book and sit outside getting in a few nuggets of truth while watching your girls swing on the rope swing.


I am training to run the SB 1/2 Marathon on 11/6. It was either that or sit on the couch and eat bon bons and get fat. A little extreme, I know. But I couldn't handle Tony anymore (aka P90X) and I couldn't seem to motivate myself to workout without some type of goal.

So I am one week into training which included two 4 mile runs, one 2 mile run and one 6 mile run and I have to admit that I feel a little old. I think I underestimated how long ago I trained for the L.A. Marathon, and how, coincidentally, much older that makes me (7 yrs). And I really haven't been on any type of running plan for 1.5 yrs since my discovery of P90X. Long story short, I am feeling it. But it's good to get out and run again, despite my aches and pains.


This will be the year of firsts, is what the people in this special club tell me. How do you join this club? Just have your heart ripped out by losing someone near and dear to you to whatever type of death came his or her way. I told God a while ago that I wanted to rescind my membership...get a refund and go back to life as it once was. Apparently there are no refunds.

Today marks a painful first. My dad's 8th grandchild that he never got to meet will be born at any moment. The grandkids were his life....so this is especially sad.

These are the moments when I wonder about heaven and what goes on up there. Can my dad see and watch what is going on down here? My finite mind says No. My faith in God says Yes.

Here's to another first. Here's to more crying and wrenching of my soul and heart. Here's to being stretched in ways I never really wanted to, and still don't want to.

Lily Leanne, I am so sorry you never got to meet Papa. He would have spoiled you rotten, as he did all the other grandkids.


In February Ryan got me an iPhone. I pretty much used it to text and make phone calls. No apps. No real iPod usage. Just the bare bone basics. Kind of a waste of money. Life was too busy. I didn't have time to go through the 13 GB of music he had downloaded into my iTunes library to decide what I wanted or not.
But, it's 7 months later, and I was tired of Sage asking,"Mom, can we listen to 'If I were a boy?'" and me saying, Nope, that's on dad's phone.
So I spent some time with my computer, like, a lot of time, and I finally created a playlist for the girls equipped with Beyonce and many other lovely songs. Sigh. One fricken moment at a time.


I've been trying to wake up earlier to get some quiet time in the mornings but my kids just keep waking up earlier and earlier. Is this a sick joke? I get all ready with my tea and stack of books and then I hear a door creak and footsteps and "good morning mama," even before I have cracked one of my books. Haha. Such is life these days.

Sent from my phone.


I cant figure it out. For 9 yrs my to do list has remained the same length.
I do, then cross off.
Then life happens, add on.
Do, cross off.
Live life, add on.

Ok. I get it. The list will always be the same damn length.

At least "buy more diapers" isn't on there anymore. Although the diaper days seem, in my mind anyway, much simpler than life now and that makes no sense to me at all.


Back to my list.

Sent from my phone.