Monday, December 29, 2008

love dare...

Ben and I started the Love Dare three days ago. It's a book that was created for the movie, Fireproof (recall my post here). We were a bit nervous that the challenge would be much like the film...a bit cheesy. However, it's been so much fun already.

Each day there's a small written segment that describes what is needed to love your spouse as Christ loves us. From there, you're given a small dare for the day. Each day builds on the previous day(s). So, you're constantly challenged to repeat the daily dares.

So, whether you find yourself enjoying pure marital bliss, or you're a bit frustrated by your mate, consider picking up this book! It's well worth the $.

P.S. I'm not being paid to say any of this...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

merry christmas... all and to all a good night!

The Simmons family would like to extend our warmest wishes for a most wonderful Christmas!

We would also like to remind you that this blessed day is not about gifts, family, friends, a decorated house, or the "spirited feeling." Instead this day is celebrated because of our Savior's birth. Let us not forget the true reason behind our gatherings and gift exchanges! Without Him, we would have nothing to celebrate.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

how does this work...

I did my last bit of Christmas shopping online, December 6th. Included in this order were two gifts for Ben and one for my mother-in-law, Suzy. I figured it would be here by now. Since I was a bit concerned by the delay (we are heading up to the Island on Saturday, so I need to make sure I can wrap it and such), I checked my email for the original information.

Turns out Amazon sent me an email today apologizing for the delay. That was nice. However, it went on to say that the book for Suzy (above) would not be in until the middle of January or February. Really? Oh, and they also mentioned that the other two items would ship shortly and should be here AFTER CHRISTMAS! What?

Am I missing something?

Friday, December 12, 2008

i should clarify...

My post below was not meant to offend. I should be careful what I say and how I say it. No matter how you and your family go about your Christmas greetings, it's all good! :) My apologies.

Alicia, I'm excited to use I don't need anything now, but I saved it to my Favorites.

Christie, I'm sure your Christmas cards will be lovely!

Kara, keep an eye on your mailbox. But don't get too excited. They're nothing monumental.

Lisa, I will think of you the next time I read a personalized note. I'll be smiling too. :)

christmas cards...

Lately we've received a handful of Christmas cards in the much fun. However, I must say that I'm extremely disappointed with the way it's all carried out these days. Suddenly there's nothing personal about the cards. No one actually writes a personal message. Instead, you get these cute pictures with a standard greeting. Often times the address is even printed off on a label. I miss the days when people would actually sit down and hand write a personal note. I was never the one doing this at our house - I was too young. Instead, my mom would write out every single Christmas card by hand. Then, I would eagerly check the mail each day, looking for letters from our friends and family. It was so much fun. Now, it's kind of a disappointment.

This year, we have Christmas cards (for the first time) and I've typed up a specific note for each person/family. I wanted to write them by hand, but I was fearful I would run out of time. Ours is not a great novel about this year's adventures. Instead, I've just made it a point to get specific and personal for each recipient.

I don't want to see these Christmas traditions as bothersome, or taxing. Instead, I want to enjoy it. I want to sincerely wish people a Merry Christmas. I want them to know that they are thought of during this blessed season. I also want to remind them of the true meaning behind it all.

Maybe we've all just got too much on our plates during this season...and that shouldn't be the case. It's my goal to simplify things and continuously remind myself that there's more to Christmas than just the long to-do lists.

Can anyone else relate?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

the cutest...

...twins in the world (although Shawna and Scotty are pretty cute too)!

Ella - The more relaxed of the 2 sisters. Ella doesn't really fuss too much and she's a pretty easy-going little lady. She loves to cuddle and she's quite good at burping up her food.

Evie - I didn't get a close up picture of Evie this time. I'm already struggling to "keep things fair." She is a mama's girl...or a daddy's girl. Basically, she just wants to be some body's girl. She loves to be held and she doesn't want to miss out on any of the action. She's not a fan of sleeping all too often either.


We spent the night at Emily and Ryan's last Wednesday. This was done for 2 reasons - 1) Ben and Ryan were playing football early on Thursday morning up in Edmonds and there was no way we were going to make that drive on Thanksgiving. 2) The extra night with Emily and Ryan, also meant more time with Evie and Ella! To some this may seem us, we recognize it as a duty - as an auntie and uncle!

Wednesday night we stayed up late and played a round of Settlers. Emily did well as a first-time player. And although Ben and Ryan argued over the game as if it truly mattered, my husband proved victorious. I also think it's important to note that I was planning to lay down the win with my next turn. Ben was seated to my right and his turn preceded mine...I could taste the victory and then it was quickly stolen.

Emily is playing with Evie on her lap. I held Ella most of the game...they're just so cute. Anything that only weighs 8 pounds is just absolutely adorable!

Once Ella's eyelids became heavy, I put her in here to sleep. She watched us play for a few moments and then she was off to dreamland. So sweet!

Thanksgiving on the Island was great. The ferry ride there and back were not as pleasant. I could do without the waits. Oh well. We had some yummy food and it was nice to see Grandma Nancy, Bob, Kathie, Don and Suzy.

Check out the cute grandparents. Can you tell that they're thrilled to have these little blessings (Evie on the left with grandpa, Ella on the right with grandma)? It's great for each of 'em.

Monday, December 1, 2008

some feedback would be nice...

As soon as I'm done entering my grades and comments (maybe Wednesday), I plan to put together the greatest Christmas playlist ever! Yeah, this one may actually top the NKOTB's Merry, Merry Christmas album. Hard to believe, I know.

So, here's where you come into play. I need to know what tops your list of favorite Christmas tunes. I can tell you right now that mine is O Holy Night. It doesn't matter who sings this song, I love it...any and all versions are lovely.

I must confess that I'm not a big fan of Christmas music. To me, it's like watching a movie over and over again...I don't find it all that fun. However, there are a few exceptions. So, now you might be able to understand why I need your feedback. Feel free to leave me a comment with some of your favorite songs - and please include the artist(s) as well.

Worth mentioning - I do not care for instrumentals, the Little Drummer Boy, or O Christmas Tree. Got it? But I totally favor Mariah Carey's, All I Want for Christmas. That's right, I said it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

wouldn't it be nice... have 2 Thanksgivings? One to share with the husband's side of the family and another to share with the wife's?

We do all sorts of crazy things for our spouses (i.e. this picture of Ben)...I guess the holiday trade-off is yet another adjustment. I wonder if it will always feel a bit foreign to miss out on seeing my family for Thanksgiving.

P.S. Don't get me wrong, I love Ben's family. However, it's just not the same (I'm sure he would say the same about my family).

Friday, November 21, 2008

thank you...

...for the prayers! It went fairly well and I'll tell you more tomorrow. I would have updated earlier, but I came home and crashed for a few hours. It's been a long week...but PRAISE THE LORD, it's over! :)

Who knew that the land of blogging could provide so much encouragement! Thanks to all of you!

say a little prayer for me...

I'm less than 20 minutes away from an assembly. As a leadership teacher, those are nothing new to me. However, the students decided to switch things up and we're doing something that's never been done before here at MMS. I'm excited, but incredibly nervous. I have some upset staff members - they felt that our traditional assemblies should continue. Apparently, they aren't fans of change. Needless to say, I just need a little boost from the Lord! So, if you've got some time on your hands, feel free to toss up a prayer for me and the kids.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

i am blessed...

The Lord has opened my eyes over the last few months and now I'm sharing it with you.

I just wanted to let you all know that it's important to be part of a local church. Sure, it sounds simple. However, I have come to see just how much the Lord uses the church community...accountability, growth, wisdom, insight, challenges, prayer, opportunities, service, outreach, and healing. I feel so blessed to be a part of Lake Sawyer Christian Church. It's not a perfect group of people and yet the Lord is still using us to do His work. I'm thankful to be a part of it all!

If you're not connected with a church, what are you waiting for? Maybe you are attending a church already. If that's the case, are you involved? If not, take the next step and get yourself plugged into something outside of the Sunday morning service. God can and will use you!

Monday, November 10, 2008

i wasn't informed...

According to one of my students, John was the father of Jesus. Did you know that? :) He wrote in not other specifics - just that the stable was a place where John, Mary and Jesus gathered to wait for the 3 wise men. So sweet.

We have been working on different forms of prewriting/brainstorming. This young boy was choosing to write about Christmas. He might need to do some editing to his "historical" take on the birth of Christ.

Sometimes I am truly entertained by my students! I hope you all are enjoying your day at work (those of you at home are the hardest working of all) and laughing like I am!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

my heart breaks...

Before school this morning I had an IEP (Individualized Education Program) meeting for a young lady who is struggling in all of her classes. D is a sweet child with a difficult past. It was awesome to see the teachers come out to support her. However, it was beyond discouraging to sit back and watch D's grandparents (her guardians) rip her apart. As a team, we tried to be positive. Each time something encouraging was suggested or stated by a staff member, D's grandparents would tear it apart. They are convinced that D does nothing in class - I had to tell them that I actually see her with my own eyes - and she works. I repeatedly asked D's grandparents to allow me to finish my sentences...they interrupted me on several occasions. The negative words that came flying from their lips was unlike anything else I've ever experienced. They were harsh towards her, her failed mother, her failed teachers, and her overall failures in life.

Never before have I had to leave a meeting out of fear - fear that I was either going to reach across the table and slap these people, or fear that I might say something inappropriate. My cue to leave this meeting came as soon as D's grandmother made a statement about the future..."If D doesn't get her act together, she's going to fail in life and have to work alongside those retard people."

Are you kidding me?

To these people I say, "Ha. You might be having a difficult time loving your child, but I am here to help fill that void. When you tell her that she's not good enough, I will tell her that I am proud of what she has accomplished. When you insist that she is never going to amount to much in life, I will remind her that she is beautiful and life is full of endless possibles. Each night as my head hits the pillow, I will pray for this young lady and her rough home life. I will even seek out the prayers of those around me. D has the ability to go places in life - to be someone who others admire, respect and look up to. I will do whatever it takes to help her realize this...and remind her that not everyone in this life is against her. Ha."

P.S. Did I mention that D was present at this meeting? Yeah, how sad! Oh, and every teacher who walked out of that room today cried on behalf of this child.

Monday, November 3, 2008

i'm a wildcat at heart...

Why didn't my high school days consist of singing and dancing in the cafeteria? Why wasn't there some cute athlete who fell in love with a smart and beautiful young nerd (or me)? Why didn't they star in our school's musical productions? Ah, I should have gone to East High!

Well, I must explain (or confess) that last night I went with my friend, Hillary, to see High School Musical 3. That's right, I actually paid to see this film. It was the sweetest little treat! I smiled throughout the entire thing...and at times I laughed a bit at the cheese factor. The dancing was so much fun to watch and the songs were enjoyable.

It was all I had hoped for and more! Go Wildcats!

(You can hate all you want...I was skeptical too.)

thank you for passing this along...

I hope Cindy doesn't mind that I am sharing what she sent out in a email today. It is far too applicable today and I wouldn't want to miss this opportunity to share it with everyone. Thank you for sharing Cindy! :)

May this be our prayer TODAY AS WE TRUST God with our Nation and our future… God always does the right thing at the right time!

'Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good,' but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem. We have abused power and called it politics. We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and Set us free. Amen!'Commentator Paul Harvey aired this prayer on his radio program, 'The Rest of the Story,' and received a larger response to this program than any other he has ever aired. With the Lord's help, may this prayer sweep over our nation and wholeheartedly become our desire so that we again can be called 'One nation under God.'

Commentator Paul Harvey aired this prayer on his radio program, 'The Rest of the Story,' and received a larger response to this program than any other he has ever aired. With the Lord's help, may this prayer sweep over our nation and wholeheartedly become our desire so that we again can be called 'One nation under God.'

Thursday, October 30, 2008

happiness is...

...coming home from work to some delicious Tortilla Soup!
I love the Crock-pot!


Most people are sound asleep at 12:30 in the morning. Some are up tending to babies. Others might work during this late/early hour. I should be snuggled in my bed with pleasant dreams filling my mind. My alarm goes off 5 hours later, so it would make sense to be sleeping. Alas, this is not what life is like for this teacher. Instead, last night, I found myself tossing and turning (and trying to ignore Ben's snoring). My head was full of ideas. Honestly, I think I do my best brainstorming between 10:30pm and 2:00am. Go figure.

At 12:30 last night/this morning, I was trying to work out the logistics of our upcoming pep assembly. Finally, I pulled out my cell phone and typed up some of these ideas...pies, staff members, 8th grade athletes, the Ram mascot, relay races, trivia questions, food toss, Young Life games, and prizes.

You see, this is the life of a teacher that is hardly recognized. I know some folks think that teaching is a great gig - summers off, shorter hours during the day, great benefits. While those things are nice, I think it's important to note that for 10 months out of the year, my mind is constantly racing! Do you know what it's like to take your work home with you (whether you want to or not)? Do you know what it's like to wake up several times throughout the night with possible solutions for Johnny's inappropriate behavior? Do you know what it's like to hear a voice in the back of your head repeatedly nagging at you because there's more grading to complete? Do you know what it's like to work at all sorts of crazy hours? (One year I attempted to keep track of my hours. I did this so I would have some ammunition the next time someone ranted and raved about how "cake" teaching can be. The large numbers quickly became depressing, so I quit adding them all up.) Vacation time like Spring Break and Christmas Break are wonderful indeed. Unfortunately, it takes a few days to even slip into a vacation mode. Chances are, I'm still going to have to do some planning and some grading.

At the same time, I wouldn't trade-in the chaos of these 10 months for anything in the world! I have one of the greatest jobs on planet earth! I get to spend time with 7th graders! They are humorous, obnoxious, lovable, frustrating, challenging, rewarding, uplifting, draining, remarkable, enlightening, intelligent, humble, boastful, loud, silly, and intriguing! Each day I am greeted with new adventures. I am so blessed!

Although I've slept for only a few hours, I come to work eager to see the smiling faces that await me each day. I want them to feel loved and appreciated. I want them to know what it's like to be in a place where you are valued. So, I put on a smile - not a fake one. No, it's a tired smile, but I wear it out of gratitude. They deserve at least that much. In the end, I am thankful for all of the day's challenges in room 212. I wouldn't have it any other way!

P.S. Today we're making a graveyard for all of the overused words found within their writing - Dead Words as we call them. How cool is my job? :)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

i love...

...the Duggars!

Wow, they are super conservative and I don't quite understand the desire to have 17 (soon-to-be 18) kids. However, they are still so much fun to watch...their hair, the outfits, the homeschooling, all of the "J" names, and romances. Really, what's not to love?

Check 'em out!

P.S. I wonder what non-believers think of this family...and Christians in general!?!? Do they know that not all of us are this extreme?

Friday, October 24, 2008

brace yourself...

A Friday Night at the Simmons' House (really, it's just a condo)
  • I laid down around 4:30 to take a quick nap
  • Talked to my dad for a bit
  • Ben talked to his mom (about the twins and all)
  • Didn't really sleep due to the conversations taking place - no big deal
  • Ben made me a sandwich for dinner...I told him I didn't really feel like cooking (cute, huh?)
  • Convinced Ben to come talk to me while I was attempting to get out of bed
  • Ben fell asleep around 6:30
  • I ate my yummy sandwich while Ben slept
  • Packed-up my school stuff (Master's class) and headed to the library - I needed to get away from the distractions here at home. 3 papers need to be written and 2 discussions need to be posted. I must work on it all this weekend!
  • Library was closed
  • Relocated to Safeway - they have free WiFi
  • Realized I didn't bring the right stuff for my class...LAME
  • Graded vocabulary quizzes instead
  • Called Ben on my way back home and he was still sleeping. I told him to take out his contacts...then go back to sleep if he still wanted to.
  • Came home to a cute husband nestled in bed
  • Sat on the couch, read through some blogs, watched a taped episode of Ace of Cakes, checked my email, Facebook and MySpace
  • Never even considered working on the Master's class crap again!
  • Now I'm thinking about heading to bed myself. I will be up tomorrow fairly early for a trip into Seattle. 4 of us (7th grade teachers) are meeting to take the Seattle Underground Tour. We're planning a field trip for the spring and in order to write up some grants, we want to know exactly what to expect. I'm excited!

(We were supposed to go see the twins tomorrow - they're both home - but that will have to wait until next weekend. Emily and Ryan have been showered with support and you can only fit so many people into their house at once. So, we will patiently wait for our chance to hang out with the girls. They're just so cute...)

Monday, October 20, 2008

fabric feedback...

I need your help! I would love to know where you purchase your fabric. Right now I'm looking for some cute, more modern choices and Joann's just isn't cutting it (they hardly ever have anything worth purchasing). So, I come to you seeking feedback. I've been looking online and I've listed a few of the sites I've visited recently. Perhaps you've purchased from them before...and if so, let me know what you think. (super expensive) (all sorts of goodies) (a random assortment) (surprisingly there's lots to choose from...and their prices aren't so bad)

Thanks for your help!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

a song worth sharing...

I don't necessarily feel like I'm in a season of "waiting," but this song is still so beautifully written. I figured I should share it now in case someone out there is "waiting"...

While I’m Waiting

Psalm 5:3, 27:14, 33:20, 37:7, 38:15, 40:1, Isaiah 30:18, Lamentations 3:24

-John Waller

"The explanation for this song is simple, I was waiting on God and I was hurting when I wrote the lyrics. I probably wouldn’t have written a song if my friend, Mike, hadn’t encouraged me to document what I was going through during that time. I’m sure there are few people who can’t relate to this song, but the important thing to remember while we’re waiting on God is to not just wait but to actively wait. Serve, worship and be faithful with what you have, where you are…even while (you) wait.”

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience

While I’m waiting
I will serve You
While I’m waiting
I will worship
While I’m waiting
I will not faint
I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it’s not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait

I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting on You, Lord

© 2007 Travelin’ Zoo Music (ASCAP) (admin. by EMI CMG Publishing)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

movie update...

Not long ago, Kara and I were talking about this movie. We joked that it would probably be a "cheesy Christian movie."

Let me back up a bit...I absolutely Kirk Cameron and he was one of my first loves (think Growing Pains era). Our church reserved a theater and watched it on opening night. Ben and I didn't go...they ran out of tickets before we could purchase ours. Since then, we haven't run into anyone else who has seen the film. That didn't matter...

Last weekend we decided to hit up AMC in F-dub and watch the movie...along with 3 other people (that's it...the theater was nearly empty). The cheesy factor was heavily present. However, the Truth behind it all was so real. The movie is about an unbelieving couple and their struggles in marriage.

Regardless of your martial status, I would recommend this film. (I might regret this later...once someone actually views the movie.) The dilemmas these characters face are real and the Truth is just as real. Ben and I actually left the theater talking about our marriage and what it looks like in the eyes of Christ. It was just so refreshing to leave a movie and talk about meaningful insight and what truly matters in life.

It was NOT a waste of our time! (Although Kara and I might have been right.)

P.S. This film was put together by a people volunteer to act, and help behind the scenes. Keep that in mind while watching it. :) Oh, and Kirk Cameron is still as cute as ever...and he loves Jesus!

Monday, October 13, 2008

so excited (and in no particular order)...

...Ben and I finally decided it was time to get new cell phones. His was only working on speakerphone and even that was starting to fade. Talking to him was a nightmare. You could barely hear him, the sound was all broken up, and the annoyance was a bit too much to handle. Now we're super cool because we have iPhones. (At least we think they're cool.) :)

...I'm doing a Beth Moore study with some women at my church. We're working through, A Woman's Heart - God's Dwelling Place. We're only at week 1 and already I'm enjoying it. Honestly, I can't imagine a Bible Study of hers that wouldn't be enjoyable...and challenging.

...Laura is coming into town this weekend. She's flying in for my birthday. Can you believe it? She had planned it as a surprise, but I figured it out. I'm so smart (and maybe she forwarded me an email with a message that I wasn't supposed to see). :) I don't know how I'm supposed to top this for her birthday in January.

...Emily and Ryan's babies will most likely get to come home this week. They are growing like weeds and well past the 5 pound mark. We are so thankful that they are healthy and developing as they should. :)

Ella on the right, Evie on the tiny and so sweet! I love them so much already...and they are only a few weeks old! :)

Monday, September 29, 2008

election rambles...

This post is long overdue and thanks to a wonderful breakfast experience with some intelligent folks, I feel the need to share my thoughts. This comes from the heart (and my current quiet times)...

Regardless of who you're voting for, I want to express some of my concerns. Honestly, it doesn't have much to do with the candidates at this point. Don't get me wrong, I have opinions on the matter, I've done my research (and continue to) and I make it a point to dialog with others about the future of this great country. However, it's all of the stuff leading up to the vote that seems to concern me the most.

As a Christian, I feel there are some ground-rules that should be established when talking politics. Specifically, I'm referring to our upcoming presidental election. I understand that people are passionate about what they believe, who they back, and what they want to see in our future. We should all be vocal about our stance on issues. We should all seek out the facts (unbiased ones, if possible) and then share what we know. We should all listen to each other. We should share our concerns. We should pray for our country and its leaders. We should look to the Bible for guidance.

[Eph. 4...1As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.]

None of this is new. These are things we are encouraged to do as Christians. Why should it be any different when dealing with the political issues in life?

So, here's where my concern comes into play. Why is it that so many of us (Christians) have become rude, forceful, dramatic, and pushy when discussing our political beliefs? Why do we make others feel alienated, upset, and disrespected for choosing one over another? We are called to love one another. I cannot (and should not) forcefully impress my beliefs upon anyone else. Sure, I may not agree with others, but that does not give me the right to belittle them or make them feel as though they are unintelligent and incapable of making an educated decision based upon what they value and deem important.

[Eph. 4...14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.]

Regardless of who wins this election, I think Christians have an opportunity to make a huge impact on our society - one for the better. We can open up to others, listen to their words, and then intelligently share our own Biblically based ideals. What an opporunity to be a light in this dark world. I'm not suggesting we become "soft" and refrain from voicing our thoughts. Instead, I think we should share...and we are instructed to do so. However, we must remember that we are called to love.

Eph. 4...17So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.

20You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

25Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26"In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold. 28He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.]

I look forward to reading your comments...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

it's so hard to say goodbye... Dusty and Kara!

Today we (Joel, Erin & Cami, Chris, Christy & Case, Erik & Krista, Kim & Dave, Dave & Doreen, and Terry) helped our friends move out. I should actually clarify...Ben helped with the moving. I did a lot of standing around, holding babies. It was great! :)

Since I failed to post these pictures earlier, I figure now is a good time. A while back, we had a going-away party for our friends. Check out the fun...

Who attended...
Todd, Jessica & Hailey
Greg & Kelly

Ben & I

Chris & Christy


The girls were a bit bored by all of the football we decided to take the fun outside. Here we are demonstrating our croquette skills (or lack of).

Kelly totally makes this sport look cool...and cute!

Kara looks so...graceful?!?!

These two pictures of Jessica are my favorite! She is so stinkin' funny...I love spending time with her. Oh, and she and I were on the same team. I'm pretty sure we won!

Hailey was by far the most adorable player!

Some of the girls

Some of the fellas

Goodbye kisses

Monday, September 15, 2008

wanna go for a walk?

How about 60 miles? :)

Friday Morning Ben dropped us off at Bellevue Community College. The sun was just beginning to rise and we were gearing up to walk 23 miles. This is the scene that greeted us upon our arrival.

The crowd...a sea of pink!

These flags were everywhere. Throughout the day, people would carry one as they walked and then pass it off to someone else. Hillary and I carried quite a few on our first day.

Our first shot of the day. Can you tell that we took it? So tired...yet so excited!

Here we are at a pit-stop. They had stops about every 3 miles. This is where you would grab some food, refill your water supply, and use the porta-potty. We lived for any sort of stop! It felt like a small goal to reach each one of these stations. This was the Double-D Ranch. :)

Hillary and I pose with a flag. We were still full of energy and feeling great at this point on day one.

This is the pig motorcycle. You wouldn't believe how many rough-and-tough biker men invade the Breast Cancer 3-Day course. They volunteer their time to ensure our safety along the routes. Dressed in pink, they stop traffic and help us cross the street. They greet us with smiles at several stops along the way. We became big fans of the pig guy. :)

Here's what we saw as we started day 2...22 miles!

Ben showed up at lunch with a pink bra on...over his white t-shirt! He fit right in! :)

Here's the fam. They were all there at lunch on the 2nd day. This is when my mom helped out by lancing my blister. My dad took countless pictures of the ordeal.

The blister returned several times...I just couldn't get it to go away. This is the smaller version too.

Kara was nice enough to come see me during the lunch break as well. What a good friend! Thanks for your support K-Ham!

Proof that we were still out on the course!

Hillary's mom (Leslie) and her step-dad (Lonnie), were huge supporters! They live near Marymoor Park and showed up at countless cheering stations, visited us at camp each night and even brought us coffee on Sunday morning. Riley stayed with them for a couple of nights since Steve had to work, so he came to cheer us on as well. It was so much fun to see him light up each time Hillary came into view.

Riley wanted to walk with his mama at one point. So, he grabbed his blanket and showed his support. How sweet, huh?

These signs were posted before every pit stop. During the morning hours, we were happy to see these. As the day wore on, we hated these signs...a mile can seem like forever when you're walking 60! We're also pretty sure that the signs were posted 2 miles before the pit stops. Someone needs to check for accuracy.

Here we are at a pit stop. These themes, the friendly people, and endless supply of food and drink were a welcomed break in our day. We were so happy to reach each pit stop...smaller goals within the 60 miles.

The last day...I wanted a picture in front of the fountain (not turned on) at u-dub. I figured Ben would appreciate this. On the far right, is Kasey. Hillary and I know her through Maywood. She has helped with our school musicals in the past. Right now she's gearing up to play Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz at Seattle Children's Theatre.

Here were are in the "holding-tank." We completed the walk and this is where we were waiting for the rest of the walkers. SO EXCITED TO BE DONE! At this point, the pain didn't really matter.

Here is a look at everyone lining up for our entry into Memorial Stadium.

I looked for my family as I came out. They were the ones holding the "Anne Simmons Rocks" poster. It's just to the left of the large pink blow-up. You can't really see it here...but it meant the world to me at this point!

Everyone out on the thankful to be done!

We held up a shoe in support of all of the survivors who walked. Those of us who simply walked wore white shirts. Those who walked as survivors wore pink shirts. This is when the survivors were introduced. I wish I could have seen the sea of pink shirts a bit better. Regardless, it was extremely emotional.

Here are a few survivors who carried in the flags. At this point, everyone is crying. The strength displayed is beyond description.

This is a picture of the women raising the final flag...the one that says something about a world free of breast cancer. Hey, with the 8.6 million dollars raised from this walk alone, that's a huge possibility!

So happy to be a part of something so meaningful!

I don't know that there are many things in life I have truly been proud of. I mean, there are a few things that come to mind, but something about this challenge has brought so much joy to my life. I kept telling Hillary that I was so proud of her. I know it wasn't easy and I couldn't have done it without her support. At this point, I wonder how long it will take me to sign up for next year. :)


So many of you have supported me in this walk and I can't even begin to thank you! Your prayers, financial support, emails, encouraging words, and willingness to come out to the event made a huge difference. I continue to hope and pray that the cure for breast cancer is something we'll see in my lifetime. Thank you for doing your part to help make that a reality!