Friday, March 25, 2011

Here I go again...

So it's been approximately 14 years since I've travelled this path.  And to tell you the gosh darn truth (Is there supposed to be commas between gosh and darn... are they considered adjectives in this sentence?.. yes I think so) gosh, darn truth I wasn't all that good at it the first time..  I'm headed back to school.  Western Washington University Part Deux.

Already as frantic as a balloon whose air is quickly escaping, why should I  not take on an additional challenge and opportunity??  One as intense as say, Grad School!!?  But I really believe that I am up for the task.  I am excited to take the helmet by the horns (Western's mascot is the vikings after all).

I started this degree 14 years ago, only to find myself pregnant, which totally explained why after a triple latte I kept falling fast asleep in class.  At that time Joel and I both agreed that I should put my education on hold and focus on being a mom.  Wow.. I was so focused it took me 14 years to get back around to it!  Well 14 years, at least 6 moves, Joel's masters degree and then subsequent career change, a few jobs, a lot of laughs,  oh and 2 additional kids... It was a very focused 14 years!

With much trepidation, (as much as if I was jumping off that proverbial bridge my mom kept telling me about) I am about to embark on this journey.  My biggest trepidation is the dust cloud of chaos I am going to be leaving in my wake.  At least currently in my own chaotic world, I am the master at making everything click.  For the most part, the kids get to where they are supposed to be within at least 5 or so minutes of them having to be there... they are typically fed, bathed at least once a week, and occasionally do their homework.  The business/ministry I run both makes money and helps people at the same time,  (most of the time anyway - thanks to my awesome staff) and my house is live-able... (Sure, if you're ever in the need for a dog-hair wig I could sweep for you - who needs slippers! - just kidding) (I actually just made myself chuckle).  I even volunteer at my kids school from time to time (Secretary of the PTA!! woot woot) and am in a few groups at church..  and I even manage to have time left for a great group of friends.

So... friends (or should I say Karrie, since I know you're the only one who reads this) I am afraid my life is going to look more like Pig Pen from Charlie Brown.  A constant state of chaos and out of control crazy, that in the earnestness of trying to gain my upper level education, will burden and barrage the rest of my life.  I am prayerful that my kids, friendships and oh, husband, don't get lost in the middle of the dust storm of my future goals and ambitions.   I really do expect that in the end it will be a win/win for's just the two years of bedlam that it will take to get us there.  I want to say thank you in advance to those who will have to patient with me as they try to find me in the midst of the pandemonium...  Especially to my husband... Thank you for not only allowing me, but for encouraging me (he gave me a backpack full of school supplies for valentines day) down this journey. So here I go again...thankfully, unlike White Snake, not on my own.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Life's Better with Butter

In my life I've had few friendships that have really stuck.  I am not really in contact with any of my friends from High School. Sure there are a few that I am connected with through Facebook, and there are a few that still mean a lot to me because of the memories we share, but I've not done what I should to maintain those relationships.
Joel and I have lived in many places in the 14 years we have been married. Beside occasional Christmas card, I am only in contact with one person (whom I love with all my heart) from those 6 or so different locales. Together we made friends while we were in those places, but the relationships (save for the one) just didn't stick once we left the area.
Even from my years at Western Washington University I left with only one friend who I still see on a semi-regular basis and that isn't even as often as either of us would like.
I've struggled with this from time to time, wondering what I've done to not get deeper in relationship with those around me. I know that I tend to talk too much, listen too little and guard my heart with sarcasm and humor. Joel has really helped refine me helping me realize the need to slow down and listen to others rather than always having a story to tell. He is the master listener. However, like me, he doesn't have many deep friendships from the past. I have chalked that up to him being a guy.
These past 7 years we have lived in Burlington, WA. I love living here. I love being a B-E Tiger and getting involved in this community and the amazing people who live here. However, what I have loved the most about living here is making friends. Burlington has blessed me with incredible friendships. One of the best is my friend Karrie. She is an amazingly gifted encouragement. Hilariously light hearted yet deeply passionate, her heart for others and gift of hospitality is remarkable. Thankfully, Karrie has decided to become a blogger...her decision to blog is the only real reason I came out of blog retirement. I wanted to introduce her to you (which is quite possibly no one since I never write here and haven't really told very many people this blog even exists! :)). Her blog Life's Better with Butter is sure to whet not only your appetite for delicious (and beautiful) baked goods, but also your heart with encouraging and witty wisdom. I know you'll enjoy it and her as much as I do.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Silver Linings

On January 26th I received a call in the office from one of the teachers who works at the school I direct. The teachers frequently call me to help with little things such as bringing them items they need or asking me questions about different children. However, this call was with regards to my son. Charlie would not stop crying after a fall on the playground. The three teachers on the playground did not suspect any kind of major injury, maybe he twisted his knee. Because he wouldn't stop crying, I called our pediatrician to see if he could take a look. Just our luck, our beloved Dr Richards was not in, therefore we were seen by his colleague, Dr. Olmstead. Once she removed Charlie's pants, you could see that his thigh was severely swollen.
Immediately we were whisked off to the ER for Xrays (Stat!). The X-Ray technician kindly explained that only one parent was allowed in the x-ray room, so after a quick game of rock, paper, scissors, Joel in victory went back with Charlie to get the x-ray. Not more than 2 minutes later, the xray tech emerged and with much urgency said, "Mrs. Wasson, please come back here."
Joel fervently yelled, "No, I won fair and square! Rock beats scissors*." Ignoring him, I ran back to the x-ray room to see the picture of my sons leg which you can now also see above.
Poor guy - at this point we had moved him from the playground to his classroom to my desk, where I walked around with him, to the doctors office to the ER to the Xray room and finally to the Examination table where he finally received pain medication. Once they got the IV inserted and arrangements were made they quickly escorted to Children's Hospital in Seattle via the ambulance. Charlie was very disappointed that they would not turn on the lights or the sirens for him. What good is a ride in an ambulance without lights and sirens? (that is Charlie in the ambulance to the left)
After quite a few hours and literal interrogation (the dr's were concerned that the story of how the break happened were not consistent with the injury itself - leading them to question our parenting) they finally took Charlie back to the operating room and placed him in a spica cast, more commonly known as a body cast. Once he came out of the operating room we realized we were in for a quite an adventure. Our All-Terrain Wagon was swiftly transformed into a Charlie Transportation Device. The first few days were pretty miserable. Learning how to deal with the cast was quite an adjustment, it was then however, that the first of the silver linings because clear. Our families and our Crossroads family were unbelievably supportive. From providing meals to bringing creative toys and games to keep Charlie occupied, they were always trying to think of ways to make our lives easier. The love they showed us was incredible and always at the exact right time. (Did I mention that Joel happened to be out of town 2.5 weeks of the six week time frame??)

During the second week of the cast the next of the silver linings showed through. God was giving us a new glimpse into the character of our son. We always knew he was rough and tumble, yet gentle-hearted. What we didn't know was that he was resilient, strong, capable, and most of all determined. Each week Charlie got stronger and stronger and eventually abandoned the wagon all together. He started getting around by scooching and rolling. This led to crawling which eventually led to WALKING! He could literally hold my hand and walk through the grocery store and in our house he could walk from the couch to the chair, from the chair to the table, etc.

Charlie had the cast removed on March 10th. The doctors reported to us at that time that we should not expect him to walk on his own for 3 to 4 days. Joel and I were very nervous about Charlie's condition after the cast came off. He seemed like he was in a lot of pain and didn't seem to have much energy or ambition for walking. We both feared that he might have to return tot he cast or somesort of brace. However, our amazing son was walking within a day and a half!!

Our final silver lining was a HUGE blessing to us. We have been nervous as to how we were going to pay for the medical bills we have encountered due to this adventure. Friends of ours encouraged us to apply for Financial Assistance through Children's Hospital. With hopeful reluctance we submitted the application and were approved!! Anything above our insurance will be covered through Children's Hospital Financial Assistance. Please do me a favor and whenever you see one of those hotair balloons you can purchase for a dollar at the check out stand, please purchase one on our behalf and families like ours. What an amazing blessing! This financial blessing was even more abundant than we first realized....Charlie is an acute asthmatic. He spent the late summer and early fall in and out of the hospital with asthma. We finally have the asthma under control thanks to over $200 monthly in medications. Because we qualify for the Children's Financial Assistance Program we can have Charlie seen by one of their pulmonary specialists and our prescriptions will be covered!! So not only will he be seen by a state of the art pediatric pulmonary specialists, but the financial burden will be lightened on our family. SILVER LINING!!!!

For God works everything together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. 1 Cor.

I am not so naive to not understand that there are those out there that are far worse off than we and that they might be yelling at God similar to David in the psalms. But I must trust my faith to know that they too must have some silver linings in the midst of their trying circumstances. A friend of mine who is going through a difficult time said that others kept trying to encourage her with the light at the end of the tunnel. Being unsure that light was ever going to come she has decided to choose joy in the midst of the tunnel rather than waiting or hoping for a light that might not show. Choosing to praise God even in the darkness. Looking for the blessings; maybe searching for the blessings, but choosing the joy.

Thank you to all of you who helped us during this crazy time. Those who rallied around us were definitely easy to find in the darkness. You are silver linings, you are blessings.

* There was truly no rock, paper, scissors played while our son was lying there in excruciating pain. I promise...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Climbing in a womb

A friend that I haven't seen since college, Shelby and her family, live in Bangkok. Her blog fascinates me. She posts adventures of their life living in Thailand along with mouthwatering recipes for Thai cuisine. In her last post she wrote about the Children's Museum in Bangkok at which her children can climb into a replica of their mother's womb.

We have a wonderful Children's Museum here in the Skagit Valley. We are members and try to stop by quite frequently. My son loves driving the Semi-Truck and my daughters could spend hours creating art projects in the wonderful art studio. The thought of them climbing into a womb replica creeps me out a little bit, however, the idea of it has really caused me to think more about Christmas... Just think...that is exactly what Jesus did when he left heaven. He climbed into a womb. He lost all of the pomp and circumstance of heaven and became "God in a Bod". Confining himself into the dark, dampness of Mary's uterus. I know He is God and all...and He probably understood what was happening, but I just couldn't imagine having my Father, the King, coming to me and saying okay here's the deal...I am going to reduce you to the size of an embryo, cover you in amniotic fluid and set you into the womb of a teenage girl. Divinity humbled to the epitomy of humanness. Talk about going out of your comfort zone.

In everyday circumstances I find myself choosing the comfortable rather than awkwardness of uneasy conditions. Philippians doesn't quite do Him justice when Paul claims that Jesus, humbled Himself to the point of a bond-servant... Jesus humbled Himself to the point of a helpless, fragile fetus. Coming to us at Christmas to save us from ourselves. One of my favorite Christmas Songs is by Relient K called Celebrate the Day...
The lyrics say: And the first time
That You opened Your eyes did You realize that You would be my Savior
And the first breath that left Your lips
Did You know that it would change this world forever

To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me
In the hope that what You did
That you were born so I might live
To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me

And I, I celebrate the day
That You were born to die
So I could one day pray for You to save my life

God climbed into a womb. Extreme Humility Personified.
Merry Christmas

Monday, July 14, 2008

How many have you read?

So my friend Jen posted this on her blog and she had read a whopping 63. I am feeling pretty good at 30ish. The National Endowment for the Arts posted this list that's making the rounds. According to The Big Read, the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books on their list. Wouldn't it be fun to have read them all... I know I at least have to work on the Harry Potter books. I think I am the only person in the world who hasn't read them.
1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling (I know this is pathetic)
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. 1984 - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare (I have read a lot of Works of Shakespeare, but probably not the COMPLETE works...)
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams (I've always meant to read this)
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis (is this a trick question in terms of #33?)
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres (does seeing the movie count...I didn't think so)
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood (I think I've read this, but can't remember)
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52. Dune - Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (In the middle right now...don't know if I'll finish)
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones' Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte's Web - EB White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92.The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams (is this the one with the rabbits??)
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare (one of the works I've read)
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo (again, one I've meant to read)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Costa Rica

So my husband, 4 other adults and 11 students just returned from a trip to Costa Rica. That left me with 6 kids of my own to maintain while he was a way. My good friend and neighbor, Sherry, also works with youth and joined the trip to Costa Rica (she is the hot Filipino in the front row) leaving behind her beautiful three children. Her husband, Mark, (my number 2) was also around but he works full-time. That left he and I to "tag team" parent between the six kids. I think we ended up doing quite well. Mostly this was in great part to our awesome church family. Our pastor and his wife helped out a ton. Bruce even took the kids to swimming lessons a couple days while Mark and I both had to work. We only had one major mishap. Yes the picture below shows that my son is growing a second head! While at the pool with Bruce, Charlie managed to bump his head. Many people have declared that it is the biggest bump they have ever seen! The person I feel the sorriest for in this situation had to be Bruce. Oh and Lucy, apparently she was supposed to be helping when all this went down and she felt awful. The other mom's at the pool decided that Bruce was inept and all gave him explicit directions on how to attend to such an injury. Including tips on how to check for a concussion and other wonderfully patronizing remedies. So I fired Bruce from his Manny (male nanny) position and Mark took the kids to swimming the next day. (It was already planned that way, but it sounds better to say I fired him) I am sure the supermoms were pleased to see my new Manny the next day.

All this to say, I had quite an adventure myself, while my husband was off adventuring in a remote banana plantation in La Malinche, Costa Rica. Joel has come home with eleven kids whose lives have been eternally changed as a result of the time in Costa Rica. I am so proud of him and the adult team that shepherd these kids into making decisions that they will never regret. Joel was told that most often after a few months the changes in the kids are non-existent. Not one to adhere to statistics, Joel is determined to see the changes become permanent and has risen to the challenge of providing mentors for each student to help facilitate permanent change. This makes my 10 days of single (well sortof) parenthood worth every minute. There is a woman named Kathy Robbins somewhere in Oklahoma...she sacrificed time with her husband in order to have God work through him to make changes in me. It's my turn; I'm honored.

Monday, May 19, 2008


So my friend Jen has written and published (which is the greater feat by far) her first Young Adult novel called Shift. I have pre-ordered on amazon (follow the link and you can too!) and am waiting for the smiling box to appear in the mail any day. I can't wait to start reading it. Following the Shift's conception and fruition has been fun to be a part of from afar. Not only has it been fun to think that now I can add published author to my repertoire of friendships, but also I have witnessed someone living their dream. That is not something you get to do everyday. So here's to Jennifer Bradbury...someone who has inspired me repeatedly with her tenacity to become who she is meant to be...teacher, wife, author, traveler, friend, mother. Unlike myself, Jen is not a sideline-sitter. I desire to get into the game, but yet always find myself too lazy to move. Jen sets goals and realizes them. From traveling across the country on her bike, to teaching in India, to becoming the wonderful mother of Evie June - she has awakened me to the possibilities that lie within my own self. The limitations I am bound by have only been placed upon me by, well, It's high time that I listen to the beckoning in me and figure out what I have to contribute to this world. Wow, that's sort of intimidating - now I have to do something about that don't I? In the end this blog was really meant to get you to pick up Shift. Look for it at your local, independent bookseller or your local library, or order it on Amazon. Let me know what you think.