The Time Has Come: How We Can Help

Sunday, June 24, 2012 3 Comments A+ a-

I’m tired of feeling helpless while we watch our mountains burn.  I’m tired of the heartache as I see picture after picture of displaced neighbors and exhausted firefighters.  I’m tired of sitting here and doing nothing.  So the time has come to do something about it.

I’ve had a number of friends, families, and even bloggers across the country ask how they can help.  Please do not feel pressured in any way to send what you cannot, prayers are as greatly needed as monetary donations or goods!  Here’s the plan…

I’m going to open up donations until next Sunday, July 1st.  Here’s what I will be doing with the donations…

For the evacuees:

  • adult and infant diapers
  • wipes
  • personal hygiene items
  • new, packaged underwear
  • non-perishable food
  • dog/cat food
  • new bedding
  • laundry and cleaning supplies
  • trash bags
  • work glovers
  • rakes/shovels

All will be dropped off at a local drop-off site.  If you’re local and what to deliver these goods yourself, they’re accepting the donations at the old Mervyn’s location. 

For the firefighters:

  • chapstick
  • visine
  • Gatorade/sports drinks

Its come to our attention that firefighters are visiting a local King Soopers store and buying these items every morning out of their own pockets.  Part of the donations will go to stock up on these items and have them readily available at the store for whenever they stop in.

If you’re uncomfortable with sending money to a virtual stranger, you can always donate at these organizations too. 

In addition to monetary donations, I’m also planning to include letters/cards for the evacuees and firefighters.  If you, or your littles, want to send a “thinking/praying for you” to the evacuees or “thank you” to the firefighters, email me at biggest_blessings(at)yahoo.com and I’ll send you a mailing address where you can send those and I’ll be sure to include them in the donations I drop off.

** If you’re local and want to include donations/goods, please feel free to drop them off here at our house and we’ll take your items with the rest of ours.

So to sum everything up…

  • If you want to donate money to a fund for physical items/goods for evacuees or firefighters, you can Paypal money to biggest_blessings(at)yahoo.com.  Please mark High Park Fire in the notes somewhere.  There’s already $100 in the account to start us off, and I’ll be accepting donations until next Sunday, July 1st.
  • That following week, I’ll be purchasing and delivering goods for both evacuees and firefighters.
  • If you want to include a thank-you or thinking-of-you card, letter, or pictures, email me at biggest_blessings(at)yahoo.com for our mailing address.

I think that’s it.  Thank you to those who have asked and offered help, it was just the push we needed to get a little something organized.  And thank you in advance!  For prayers, for donations, for thinking of Colorado.

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Sunday, June 24, 2012 8 Comments A+ a-

In the seven and a half years that I’ve been a mother to Devyn, I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve heard God speak to me through her lips.  There is a depth to Devyn’s faith that is incomprehensible for a seven-year-old girl.  I’ve written numerous stories about how Devyn has taught me something new about God, especially what its like to have “faith like a child”.  For every story I’ve written about Devyn, there’s 4-5  more stories that I haven’t shared. So now, when Devyn starts talking about God, I know enough to stop, to shut my mouth, and listen.  Really listen.  Because usually what she’s about to share is more profound than she is aware.

Last night it happened again.  We had pulled into a parking lot to watch the orange glow against the night sky, Hudson and Devyn were as awed as Jon and I, watching the flames lick at the black night.  Its been a heartbreaking two weeks as we’ve watched our beloved state burn.

And from the back, Devyn says, “I know why God’s not sending the rain.”

Jon and I exchanged a side-long look.  “What do you mean, Babe?” I asked her.

“I mean…. We don’t need to be praying for rain.  He’s not going to send it.”

Another side-long look with the Daddy.  Jon opened his mouth this time and even though I put my hand on his arm to stop him, he said, “Devyn, honey, God’s not punishing us.  This isn’t a punishment from God.”

Devyn vehemently shook her head.  “No. That’s not what I mean.”  I lifted my finger to my mouth in a “shhhhh” gesture and shook my head at Jon when he started to speak again.

Devyn continued, “What I mean is… God’s not going to send the rain until He’s ready. He already knows when He’s going to send rain, so we don’t need to pray for it.  It’ll happen when its supposed to and its not time yet.” 

So it was then that we decided to pray for protection for the firefighters, comfort for the evacuees, wisdom for the commanders, and the presence of God for all affected.  The rain will come, and I while it hurts every time I see a flare up or plume of smoke or see pictures, Devyn helped me realize than even in the midst of all this devastation, God’s hand is still on it.  We just need to trust and have faith that He’ll arrive just when he’s supposed to.

Fire by Numbers

Thursday, June 21, 2012 3 Comments A+ a-

When I last left you, we were in the beginning stages of the High Park Fire.  Here’s some numbers of the fire thus far…

  • 68,200 acres burned
  • 55% contained
  • 189 homes destroyed
  • 1900 fire personnel
  • 135 fire engines
  • 18 helicopters
  • 1.3 million gallons of water used
  • 19.6 million in damages

It is one of the saddest things to happen to my hometown.  Since the federal government has taken over the management of the fire, Jon’s role has been minimal.  Until yesterday.  I’m still not sure how I feel about him being given a fire retardant uniform and is now considered part of the emergency response crew.  Awesome. 

But he did get to see his road for the first time in almost two weeks and I can honestly say that it was a relief for him to see everything up close and personal.  He has a lot of work ahead of him in the months to come, but he says its not  as bad he’d feared. 

Please continue to join us in praying for rain and the safety of all the firefighters.  And I leave you with some pictures Jon took while in the canyon yesterday.

PicsArt_1340235125029

Day 10 of 30

Sunday, June 10, 2012 1 Comments A+ a-

FireThis puts yesterday’s mini-flood into perspective.  Please pray for this northern Colorado fire.  20,000+ acres in 36 hours, 0% contained, numerous structures lost, shifting winds, and no rain in the forecast. It’s a dangerous situation and devastating to watch.  I feel so helpless seeing this beautiful area going up in flames…

*photo credit here

Day 9 of 30

Sunday, June 10, 2012 4 Comments A+ a-

When you go into the laundry room to retrieve the curtains you washed earlier in the day and notice the waterfall coming from the vent in the ceiling, you know its bad.  Then as you make your way upstairs and walk past the water running down the walls, then notice the water squishing under your feet, you know its going to be expensive.  And as you walk into your master bath and step into three inches of water, you want nothing more than to curl into the fetal position and cry.

0609122122bThis is what happens when Devyn Paige forgets to turn off the faucet and lets water run for 30-40 minutes.  This is what happens when you’re playing outside with the Littles and don’t hear a running faucet until you come in to make dinner.  This is what happens when your husband goes away on a weekend fishing trip with the brothers.  And no, I have no idea where the water shut-off valve is located. Never crossed my mind that I should know that important tidbit of information.

We’re currently tucked away at my parents house while floors have been ripped up, carpet and pads are turned back, floorboards taken off, walls punctured, fans whirring, and dehumidifiers dry out our soaked house.  And while punishment has yet to be determined, Devyn’s offer to give me back the $5 she earned last night has eased the mad a little. Considering its everything she has, I know she means well.

Oy. What a night.

Day 8 of 30

Saturday, June 09, 2012 1 Comments A+ a-

Remember how I mentioned that our cousin is getting married? And how much we adore the bride-to-be? Seriously so happy to have her joining our family.  Well, yesterday was shower day.  And while I’d love to take credit for how gorgeous it turned out, all I did was the invite.  The other beautimous details were handled by the sisters and Mom.  It was such a fun night of showering Miss Olivia with love and gifts to start her new journey.

06081218570608121857aCourtney found all the fun details online.  I’m sure she’ll share more on her blog, they were perfect!

0608121857cChristine made these cupcakes from scratch and I can’t begin to describe how amazing they were!  There was a vanilla-almond cupcake, a chocolate raspberry cupcake. Delicious!!

0608121857d0608121857eMom and Alli’s made Mom’s infamous chicken salad.  There were mini-croissant sandwiches, crackers with an artichoke dip, fruit kabobs.   There was a peach tea and a punch a la Pioneer Woman.

P6080048The co-hosts, minus Mom.  It was such a fun night!

Day 7 of 30

Thursday, June 07, 2012 2 Comments A+ a-

StormStorm rolling in…

There’s nothing like a phone call from the husband mid-coffee date to inform you that he and the Littles are hunkered down in the basement due to a tornado warning.  Its gets the blood pumping.   Not to mention the most awesome lightning storm taking place outside the coffee shop windows.

When I finally got the all-clear from Jon to come home, he told me to head west, then north, to make sure I avoided the ping-pong ball, sized hail.  So I did.

And felt like I was in a live version of Storm Chasers as car after car pulled over to witness the breathtaking lightning storm.  This is the best I could do with a phone camera.  It was awe inspiring.

Lightning

I will say… I don’t understand the couples who were making a date of it.  It was a gorgeous sight, but no way in heck was I going to cuddle under a blanket and make a night of it.  Get me home!

Day 6 of 30

Wednesday, June 06, 2012 2 Comments A+ a-

AshlynnSomeone needed her baby to warm up with her after a dip in the pool.

Day 5 of 30

Wednesday, June 06, 2012 1 Comments A+ a-

BaseballFirst team practice. First team huddle. First team cheer.

This promises to be a fun baseball season.

The Blogging Monster

Tuesday, June 05, 2012 19 Comments A+ a-

Every so often, I notice that I’m suddenly more irritable, depressed, snarky, and downright petty.  Its not an attractive look on me, and its becomes even more irritating when I can’t pinpoint the source. But usually, I need not look any further than this little ol’ space of mine. I’d like to introduce you to what I not-so-lovingly refer to as “the blogging monster”.

It comes in all shapes and forms.  Jealousy, envy, bitterness, depression, doubt, self-righteousness, pride.  Ahh yes, the Blogging Monster.  Its no friend of mine, or yours.

I think most of us can relate.  Its that moment…

  • when you wonder why you don’t have more followers.
  • when you wonder why you even bother posting because obviously, no one cares to read.
  • when you fall into a deep funk because the post you spent hours on received 1 or 2 comments, but the post you threw together in 10 seconds flat, received over 20.
  • when you read a post on another blog and think to yourself “At least I don’t do that…” or “If he/she were more knowledgeable/better informed/knew what I knew, they would NOT do that or do it that way.” Its self-righteousness at its finest.
  • wonder why your family can’t cooperate for one darn minute so you can perfectly document this amazing moment that the world MUST KNOW ABOUT.
  • you want the magic formula to successful blogging, and you want it now.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the point.  Let me preface this, I have been there!  The Blogging Monster rears its ugly little head at least 4-6 times a year for me.  And it usually takes a good week or two to reign it in and get myself in the right frame of mind again. Obviously I’m so knowledgeable about the Blogging Monster because I’ve experienced it. Too many times to count.

So here’s a few notes on how I kick this unwelcome guest to the curb.

  1. Accept that these feelings, while not fun or good, are perfectly normal. I dare say that perhaps even bigger bloggers feel them from time to time. (I could be totally wrong about this one. Who knows.)
  2. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to be a successful blogger, or wanting a larger following, or wanting to monetize your blog, don’t let it define who you are. You shouldn’t allow your blog to define you as a success or failure. There will always be someone with a bigger audience than you, as well as someone with a smaller audience.
  3. Get back to the joy of blogging. Remember why you started in the first place, pinpoint which posts made you happiest and why. Step back from the blogging “have to’s” for a week or so and post purely for you.
  4. Be genuine. People will be drawn to your blog when you are being true to yourself.
  5. Blogging is as sporadic as you can get. Truly. It is a hit and miss wonder. Both with the success of blogs and the popularity of posts. If there was a magic blogging formula available, I assure you that everyone would be using it.
  6. Don’t take blogging too seriously. Despite how it can feel from time to time, I assure you, its not a life or death situation.

There you have it.  My introduction to, and the death knell of, the "Blogging Monster”. I hope its stay is a short one with you and yours.

Day 4 of 30

Monday, June 04, 2012 0 Comments A+ a-

PicsArt_1338850586458This is how we avoided the end-of-day-meltdown when it was discovered we needed to wait for Daddy to get home and help us fill the pool.  Thankfully the full-on tantrum lasted all of 2 minutes.  Otherwise, Mama was going to lose it too.

IMG_20120604_120412And this one is just because I love the smiles on their faces. And yes, Reagan is gnawing on the cart itself.  I’ve long since given up on trying to keep germs away from my crew.  It takes a special kind of talent to accomplish that, and its one that I do not possess.

Day 3 of 30, Word of God Speak

Sunday, June 03, 2012 3 Comments A+ a-

Steamboat1I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay
The last thing I need is to be heard
But to hear what You would saySteamboat2

Word of God speak
Would You pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see
Your majesty
Steamboat3To be still and know
That You're in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In Your holiness 
Steamboat4Word of God speak

Steamboat5I'm finding myself in the midst of You
Beyond the music, beyond the noise
All that I need is to be with You
And in the quiet hear Your voice

Steamboat6I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay

Steamboat7

Day 2 of 30

Saturday, June 02, 2012 2 Comments A+ a-

DSCN3803

This is my happy place.

Him. The mountains. The sound of the river. Here is where I get centered, get grounded, get clarity.

Today was a good day.

Day 1 of 30

Friday, June 01, 2012 2 Comments A+ a-

The incredible dessert the restaurant sent out when they heard we were celebrating our 10th anniversary. Cookie dough ice cream with a fudge center, cocoa sprinkled on the ice cream, then topped with hot fudge, whipped cream, and almonds. Delicious!! But I think I gained 5 pounds just looking at it.