Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Oregon City

We're stuck! My husband's work is taking longer than originally anticipated and what was supposed to be a 4 night stay has turned into a 6 night stay (and counting). In an attempt to focus on the highlights of this trip (and not to dwell on the fact that I'm stuck in a 10x10 foot room with three toddlers and limited activities) I have decided to share a few of our pictures depicting the things we learned about pioneers and their original journey.

Chris, Cody and Ava grinding corn into cornmeal.

Chris and Cody sawing logs (yes, with mean faces).

Lexie crawling in the grass. What did pioneers do with babies? I'm sure they ate a lot of dirt.

We were able to build a log cabin...sort of. The Phillip Foster Farm in Eagle Creek, OR has a giant version of Lincoln Logs. What fun!

Still building...

Okay, so this was as far as we got. Partly because we didn't want the whole thing to fall on Lex and partly because it was really hot!

We took a trolley around Oregon City.

The main reason for the visit...The End of the Oregon Trail Museum. Just my luck, it was closed due to lack of funding.

However, we did have a little fun in the gift shop (yes, that was still open). Cody and Ava being silly.

They even had dress up clothes. Chris and I opted to pass.

Willamette Falls

Friday, July 23, 2010

Wagons West...

Well, more like north for us.

I have mentioned before that I am writing a Christian historical fiction. The beginning of my story takes place on the Oregon Trail (I'm very fascinated by this event in history) while the remaining story is set in Oregon City, a popular ending point on the trail. I have been asking my husband if we could squeeze in a short trip to Oregon (before the kids start school) in order for me to do some research up there. It wasn't looking good.

I'm happy to report that God had other plans and we are leaving today for Oregon City. It just so happened that my husband has to take care of some last minute, unplanned work in Portland, which is a mere 25 minutes away from the area that I want to research.

The only downside that I can see about this upcoming trip is that we will be making a 10 hour drive with a 5 year old, a 3 year old, a 1 year old and way too much baby gear. (What on earth would you do with a baby in a wagon?)

We must be crazy!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Goals...or chaos?

There are never enough hours in the day. I always seem to feel this way. When you combine my daily tasks (cleaning, laundry, cooking, errands, and chasing, feeding, disciplining and playing with three kids) with my need to accomplish personal goals, it can be a recipe for disaster. I often ask myself (at around 4:00 in the afternoon, "Where did the day go?)

I've had three goals that I always wanted to complete before my 30th birthday (which leaves me a little over one year).

Goal 1 - Be finished with my "baby" years. I always wanted to have three or four kids. Now that I have my three, I've decided I could go on indefinitely if given the choice. The design of bringing a baby into this world never ceases to amaze me and the emotional bond between baby and mommy is one of the purest forms of love I have ever experienced. Having said that, Chris (my hubby) is quite sure he's done having children...which I suppose makes my decision to be "done" very easy.

The main reason this goal was so important to me is because Chris and I love to travel. The list of places we'd like to see together could fill 100 books easily. We'd like to be relatively young when we get the opportunity to explore the world (not that I'm particularly excited about having an empty any time of life). More importantly, we want to see our grandchildren grow up and have their own families. I feel like I couldn't have accomplished this particular goal any better than I already did.

Goal 2 - Run a marathon. This thought has always bounced around in my head. I'm not hugely excited about running, probably because I hate to sweat but I am determined to check this off my list before next September. In order to do that, I have a lot (A LOT!!!) of training to do. I've never been a very dedicated exerciser, however I love a freshly baked, gooey brownie so I realize that my need for exercise will only increase as I get older and my metabolism slows down (which I have already begun to notice. Poor me!).

About three months ago I registered to run a half marathon in La Jolla, CA in April of 2011. This will be my practice/trial for the full marathon which I have yet to register for. (Let's see how I do on this one first, shall we?) My main goal in April is to NOT be the last runner to cross the finish line. How deflating to have a truck slowly following behind you, picking up the bright orange safety cones as you gradually pass each one. Lord, don't let this be me!

Goal 3 - To have a wonderfully creative piece of Christian fiction published. Okay, so I'm currently working the hardest on this specific goal. However, I fear I waited to long to begin the process so this goal will have to be amended slightly. Maybe my book won't be on the shelves by the time I hit 30 but let's shoot for a contract at least! If God opens doors sooner than that I'd be over the moon.

Do any of you have any personal goals in which you have assigned a deadline? If so, please share.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

To Go or Not To Go...

I'm notoriously impetuous. I'm famous for it actually. Any time a fun, exciting idea wiggles its way into my head, I clamp down on it like a bulldog with a locked jaw.

About three weeks ago, my "hot idea" was to organize a family cruise vacation. (I've been known to attempt this at least three times a year...its sad really). It started with an ad I received in the mail advertising wonderfully discounted prices. My heart was immediately invested. I called/emailed my family to get the budget and time restraints for each group. Then I spent literally hours...wasted time!!...attempting to narrow down the options that fit the criteria. The outcome is always the same (I've only been able to organize one successful cruise for my family in all the years I've tried) "we can't go", "we can't afford that", "I can't take any more time off of work", etc. Thankfully, I have a wonderfully, supportive family and their judgement is limited to "Lace, where do you get these crazy ideas?"

About six months ago, I was going to conquer the food business world with my Italian Grandmother's unique pasta sauce recipe. The idea came and stuck immediately. I organized comparative tastings including all the sauce competition, I researched prices on the best place to purchase my supplies in bulk, I set up a business relationship with a local shipping company (the first nail in my coffin), I created a website, I read piles of books on creating a successful business plan and running a start up company, I spent weeks and weeks researching and planning. I'll give you one guess what happened. I FELL FLAT ON MY FACE!

There is a very important, four day, Christian writing conference coming up in September. I'm sure most people register for this event months in advance, allowing plenty of time to prepare. However, I only found out about this conference two weeks ago, so I don't have months and months of time to decide if I should go or not. I need to decide. Do I go or do I wait for next year? My heart tells me to go, my fear tells me I'm ridiculous and my head is just confused. This is one decision that I don't want to make impetuously. I would really like to hear the clear, directive voice of God right about now. So God, if you read this...I'm available to chat any time. My schedule is completely open!

On a writing note...I'm having a very hard time writing dialogue for the hero of my book. Every time I read what I have him saying, I'm just unimpressed. He sounds like a wimp. He sounds like a girl. Probably because the person writing a girl! But who wants to read a book with a lame hero...definitely not me. I need him to be bold and commanding. I need to capture the spirit of John Wayne and I'm ending up with Fred Astaire. I need to learn how to speak like a rugged cowboy. Any suggestions, anyone?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

There is a first time for everything

This is my first time blogging...and I'm a bit nervous about it. I'm quite certain that no one cares what I have to say. But I'm going to try and we'll see where God takes this. After all "there are no limits when we place our future in God's hands," that is what my pastor said in yesterday's sermon. It struck me as very profound especially since I am attempting to break into the writing world with little to no experience...just a story in my head and a desire to entertain and touch another life.

Is my story any good? I hope so. Do I have the time to write while chasing down three kids under the age of five? Probably not. But all things are possible with God and I'm hanging onto that verse like it's a life preserver.

So today's overarching theme is "try again". Yesterday's sermon was about how Jesus blessed his fishing disciples (John 21). They had spent the entire night fishing with no luck. They were probably exhausted and wet and weary. Suddenly they hear someone say "throw your net on the right side of the boat." Now if you're like me you hear that and think "don't you think I've tried that already? I've been out here all night. Believe me, I tried the right side!"

Well as many of you know, when they obeyed, they couldn't even haul in the net. It was so full of fish (the Bible tells us later in verse 11 that they caught 153). Finally Peter realized who had spoken to them and says "It is the Lord!"

Now isn't that just like us? We work so hard, all night sometimes, banging our heads into a wall, trying the same things over and over. Then when we finally get the results we're looking for, we're shocked when it's God that made the pieces fit all along.

As I was battling a bout of insomnia last night, flipping through the channels on our television, I came across the movie Shrek the Third, not something I would normally watch but in a very chaotic scene that caught my eye, someone says "each of you is standing in your own way".

My point is: nothing is accomplished on our own strength and by our own doing. God orchestrates everything according to His plan for each individual life. Am I meant to write? Who knows...except God. I will surely have setbacks in my endeavors but that doesn't define me. What defines me is whether or not I try again.