Wednesday, December 10, 2014

He is the Gift – Christmas Video – #ShareTheGift

May you have a Christ centered CHRISTmas!!

This image is sized perfectly for your Facebook Cover Photo.  #Sharethegift this Holiday season by making this your cover photo!

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Biggest Conspiracy Ever

There is a cultural conspiracy so elaborate, that just about every child in America will hear it.  Not only is it a flat out lie, but it is purposefully perpetuated by parents, grandparents, teachers, strangers, radio announcers, TV commercials, TV shows, movies, newscasters, even church congregations.  I'm willing to say it's probably the biggest conspiracy of all time, yet we continually shield our children from learning the truth as long as possible.  When they ask us questions about the nature of this Secret Conspiracy, we make up blatant lies in order to answer and keep them believing the lie.  And one lie leads to another, until this Secret Conspiracy is so elaborate, only magical phenomena can explain it and science and evidence is thrown out the window.

There are so many possible questions and infinite fake answers that parents give their children.  Most people think its fun and some even think its necessary to tell their children these lies.  Parents spend HUNDREDS of dollars of their own money perpetuating this lie every year.  Some people think it is magical and fun to let their children believe in this Secret Conspiracy.

Some observant children begin to wise up and piece together the facts that don't quite add up.  They will come to their parent or another adult they trust and straight out ask if the Secret Conspiracy is real.  Sometimes they will even gather evidence that suggests it is not real.  Some parents might fess up at this point, possibly crushing their child's trust and beliefs, or else confirming what their child may have already deduced.  But depending on the child's age, the parent or other trusted adult will make up even MORE lies, pointing out ways and spending even more money to convince their child it could not possibly be imaginary.  After all, how could so many people be in on it?

[Truman Show Flashback]
Cue Music.  Go Wide.  Cue Light Cam 8
Marlon: "And the last thing I'd ever do is lie to you.  Think about it Truman, if everybody's in on it, I'd have to be in on it too.  And I'm not in on it, because there is no it."

I've decided that I am done lying.  My almost 9-year old trusts me unflinchingly and I don't want to lie to her anymore.  I want her to trust me when she asks questions about pain and life and death and Christ and everything else.  So when it comes to the Secret Conspiracy, I am not going to make up any more stories.  I want her to trust me that genuine spiritual experiences are possible, so therefore I  can no longer try to convince her of untrue supernatural phenomenon in order to perpetuate the Secret Conspiracy.

She is so trusting, and has believed all my Secret Conspiracy lies thus far, that when I tried to carefully unfold the truth for her, she didn't get it.  I tried to explain that reindeer can't really fly, fat men can't really climb down chimneys or travel the entire globe in one night, elves don't exist and presents have to be paid for, and she just couldn't let go of MAGIC. So I had to spoil it all and tell her the truth: Santa Claus is pretend.  Magic isn't real.

Oh, the crushing disappointment.  If ever there is a moment of her childhood that will haunt her future psychotherapy sessions years from now, it will be this one.  Where in a matter of moments, so many shattering truths became known at once: her parents had lied to her for so long, magic doesn't exist, and she won't be getting a Razor Scooter or iPad for Christmas because her parents can't afford them and there are no elves to make it for her.

Don't hate on me for my decision to tell my daughter the truth. I did not ruin Christmas. Only now that she knows can I begin to rebuild her trust.

And I feel liberated that I no longer have to lie about SC or give him credit for the thoughtful Christmas gifts I paid for with my hard earned cash.  And now I can make Christmas about the other Him: the one Jesus Christ whom I do truly believe in and love with all my heart.

After a few minutes of stunned, panicked silence, her whole 8.96 years of life came crashing down around her.  So I video-taped it.   It's funny yet also tragic.  Hopefully she'll forgive me someday.  It's hard for her to loose the fantasy, but we'll still make Christmas magical through Christ, family togetherness, gift-giving, and being Santa for those who need it most.

Monday, August 11, 2014


A year ago in July and August, I had a very difficult summer.  I had extreme anxiety and jitters, countered with extreme exhaustion.

On the one hand, I would be unable to hold still, with impulsive bursts of energy in which I would start painting a room or start driving cross-country at 10:30 at night.  On the other hand, I would completely crash in total exhaustion.   All my senses were on hyper-alert making me so anxious and paranoid that sometimes I was afraid to drive on the freeway at all.  Getting out of bed, going to work every day, attempting any activity that required any sort of exertion was totally daunting.  Being on constant high-alert, no matter how much sleep I got I could not manage to recharge my batteries.  

That summer we saw fireworks, I ran a 5K on the spur of the moment, we went on a 1600 mile road trip, I took the kids camping, I painted the basement, we entertained company, and more.  But all I remember was constantly having to muster energy hour by hour, and really just wanting to sleep all the time. We'd make plans for the evening, and I'd have to take a nap before I felt like I could go. It was kind of like the exhaustion I felt when I was newly pregnant, and I wasn't pregnant.  Combine that with the depression I was already experiencing--with a financially difficult year, moving, and two job changes--I felt like a total mess.

It wasn't until my sister and I compared notes on a new medication we had both tried that I connected the dots.  She had had similar side effects to my mania/exhaustion, and it was like a light-bulb turning on. In June I had started taking Abilify.  Abilify is a medication that is supposed to augment the effect of anti-depressant medications.  Instead, it had the effect on me of amplifying my anxiety and depression, and making me even less energized than my already low-energy self. The same thing had happened to my sister.

Flash-forward to this summer.  I also painted a room, saw fireworks, went hiking, went camping, spent time at the pool, and entertained company.  Yeah, I'm tired, but I feel much different. Looking at the stark contrast from last summer to this has been surprising. I've been able to enjoy family activities and work on projects without completely depleting myself.  I may not be the most energetic person to begin with, and I have had depression for a long time, but I feel more like myself now than I did a year ago.

I just keep looking back at last summer as lost time.  Everything that has happened this year seems to be defined by how it is different, and better, from last year.  My Abilify trial (and failure) has created a reference point for me.

Since then, I have found a good balance of medications that allows me to be functional, happy, and hopeful, and I feel a little bit like me!

Friday, August 01, 2014


Fun day at the zoo with Sorenson cousins. The kids were more interested in climbing on animal statues than look at actual live animals. Figures. Highlights included the bats, elephants, and giraffes. The kids always love going on the train and carousel.  They got to touch a turtle!

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Spartan Warriors

Last Saturday was the much anticipated Spartan race!

Chris has been training for several months, including trail running, running with weights, running soaking wet, climbing, throwing, pull-ups, push-ups, burpees and more. The biggest challenge would be to do them all in the space of a few hours on a hilly, 12 mile course!   In all, Spartan is a test of endurance and strength.

Last year Chris did the Spartan for the first time with less preparation and a shoulder injury.  His goal this year was to be much faster and more physically fit. All his preparation definitely paid off and he completed the race an hour faster than last year's time, even with 90 penalty burpees!  (30 penalty burpees are required for each failed obstacle).  Obstacles included balancing posts, 6, 7, and 8 foot walls,  2 rope climbs, one of which was in the mud, tire flip, atlas ball carry, rolling down a mud hill underneath barbed wire and more. Obstacles he missed were the traverse wall, spear toss, and he fell off the monkey net.  It certainly helped that it was 80 degrees and not 100 like last time.

Chris had quite a cheerleading section!  Fellow fitness buffs Grandpa Joe and Grandma Debbie joined us from Florida. They accompanied Chris to the starting line early in the morning and followed him throughout the race, cheering him on and taking pictures and video. Our friend Ben also came to take pictures and lend support.

Lola and Great Lola also joined us from Washington to cheer him on.  Add Jenny and the kids and that's quite a crowd! 

Not only did Chris race, but Leah and Samuel were also able to participate in a Spartan kids race!  Their course was 1/2 a mile and included mud trenches, climbing walls, tire flipping, and a rope web. They loved it!  Their dad makes it a priority to "train" with them, so they are experienced in running, climbing, and parkour.  They especially loved jumping in the mud!

We founds some friends at the race!
It was quite a day, and we celebrated his successful completion with lunch at Tucanos and afternoon naps.
Big grins in the mud.
Climb, Leah, Climb!
Run, Leah, Run!