Friday, October 5, 2012

Life in Idaho

The last couple of months have been busy trying to get settled back into our house, getting things ready for the new baby and traveling.

On our way to Idaho, we stayed a night in Stanley, ID one of our favorite towns here.


The clouds are hiding the awesome mountain in the background

Right after we moved back to Idaho, some old WWII planes came to Sandpoint. We were able to take some pictures from our back yard!

Here's the B-17

In August Brad went on a 1,200 mile dirt bike ride from the Utah/Idaho border all the way to Sandpoint. I'll post pictures of that soon, but in the mean time here is the clan on a trial run they did in July.


My mom was here for the 4th of July and I don't have any pictures of her! Here are some of Brad and Ella playing with "fireworks" in the street.




Ella loves to play in puddles

She has also started ballet lessons and has her first recital in December.

On Friday nights she goes to AWANA at church. Last Friday was animal night and she wanted to be a giraffe so I made this out of a T-shirt I found at Wal-Mart for $1 and some scrap fabric.

She wanted me to get a picture of her braid.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Ella Jean Update

I haven't done a post all about Ella in a while so I thought I'd get caught up on all her doings.

In February, K.T. Kinne met us at the Bridge in Sandpoint and took some cute pictures of her. This was right after her 3rd birthday:

She took a Parks and Rec dance class in Phoenix and enjoyed goofing off with the older girls in her class.



A very rare moment when she fell asleep on one of us

She loves playing in all the water here in Sandpoint

Right after Memorial Day she spent a day at the Kinne's playing outside with all their fun animals

Her favorite goofy face
She loves to be around people and hates playing by herself. She's kind of past mis-saying words, but there's a couple she still says that I love:
Marbles = Narbles
Fingers = Thingers
Lemonade = Lemanlade

Her two favorite words are "why" and "what". They are probably 1 out of every 3 words she says...and she talks a lot. She's very thoughtful and when I wasn't feeling very good during the first trimester would always ask me if the baby was being nice. She enjoys doing things to help out and gives lots of compliments. I overheard her telling another girl in her class that she really liked her hair bow.

She can't wait to be a big sister when she'll all of a sudden be able to do things all by herself, like drive. She's also excited about sharing her toys and clothes with baby sister.

I sure like her!

Monday, May 14, 2012

One Thousand Gifts

In January, my friend Johanna gave me the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I kept seeing it pop up as a recommendation on Amazon and best seller lists so it was on my list of books to read. However, based on the whimsical picture of a bird's nest with beautiful blue eggs gracing the cover, I mistakenly thought it was going to be a nice, easy novel that made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Wrong. This was a pretty deep book that deals with things like, "why does a loving God let bad things happen?". After reading it, I immediately wanted to try and summarize in a logical way, what she said in such a beautiful, artistic way. In other words, I wanted to strip the book of all it's beauty in order to make it sink in for me.

She gets right in to it by chapter 2 where she states her major thesis - Joy is the goal of the fullest life and Thanksgiving is the key to joy. Her reasoning is that failure to be Thankful (which I call pride) is what caused the fall and is what hinders our full salvation. Additionally, Thanksgiving is the evidence of our acceptance of whatever He gives.

In chapter 3 she introduces the reason for the name of the book...the challenge she gave herself to keep a journal of naming 1,000 things she is thankful for. She described the importance the Bible places on naming something which all started when God charged Adam with naming all the animals. I loved this quote on pg 52:
"Now, in the Bible a name...reveals the very essence of a thing, or rather its essence as God's gift...To name a thing is to manifest the meaning and value God gave it, to know it as coming from God and to know its place and function within the cosmos created by God. To name a thing, in other words, is to bless God for it and in it."
I know this wasn't her point, but I thought of how perfectly this describes the comfort that comes from naming a child who never had the chance of life outside the womb. To name something is to become emotionally attached to it. I also thought of how my mom was born 3 months early in Egypt with little chance of survival. Her parents carefully nursed her day and night at home, but it wasn't until she was 3 months old and likely to survive that they got her a birth certificate and gave her an official name.

Why did she choose 1,000 gifts to be thankful for? Because, "practice is the hardest part of learning, and training is the essence of transformation". And after she wrote her 1,000th gift, she made this conclusion, "daily discipline is the door to full freedom, and the discipline to count to 1,000 gave way to the freedom of wonder".

Chapter 4 is where she moves beyond the beautiful things of life that are easy to be thankful for and begins to question what we should do with the ugly. She quotes Job 2:10, ...Should I accept good from you, and not trouble? and concludes that you can't separate the "grace moments (good)" from the "curse moments (bad)" because God transfigures all the world. "Darkness transfigures into light, bad transfigures into good, grief transfigures into grace, empty transfigures into full. God wastes nothing and 'makes everything work out according to his plan' (Ephesians 1:11)".

The next couple of chapters she talks about the ups and downs of this new way of living. Slowly, she has learned how "not be[ing] so reactionary while inserting verbal gratitude into stressful situations is almost like being healed of mental blindness". There are rough times, when "the Lord has to break us down at the strongest part of our self-life before He can have His own way of blessing with us". And she concludes that the secret to joy is to keep seeking God where we doubt He is. This reminded me of Hebrews 11:6, "for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him".

Next, she winds herself into the discovery that Thankfulness in "curse moments" requires trust and therefore we can't be filled with true joy until we have learned how to trust God. "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him" (Romans 15:13) I loved this quote, "If authentic, saving belief is the act of trusting, then to choose stress is an act of disbelief...atheism". She also makes the observation that Thanks is what builds trust. So it's a wonderful cycle of trust generating Thanksgiving which generates more trust.

She gets a little strange in the last chapter entitled "The Joy of Intimacy", but she has an epiphany that I found interesting while visiting an old church in Paris. The ancient steps to God-consummation were purgation, illumination and union. At the time I read this, I was doing a bible study by Beth Moore called Living Beyond Yourself where she describes our need for the daily process of pouring out, pouring in and pouring forth. I think they are saying the same thing and it is this, we must constantly be repeating the cycle of emptying our hearts of the self-will and pride that consume us, allowing the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with grace and joy and finally, pouring forth that grace and joy upon others. As a side note, that is why I enjoy the order of worship of more "reformed" churches. They embrace these steps throughout the worship service.

I have a terrible memory and unless I can distill this further into one sentence, the odds of remembering it are pretty low. So here goes. Humility -> Grace -> Trust -> Thanksgiving -> Joy That can't be so hard, right?

I think her practical application of journaling what you are thankful for is a very good I have yet to start.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Last 5 Months

A lot has happened since my last post in November:
- Thanksgiving in Florida with my family (including Scott and Ann and kids from the Dominican Republic)
- Drive from Florida to Texas with my Dad (December 1st)
- Stay in Texas for about a week (Brad at his brother Steve's, Ella and I with my family in Dallas)
- Drive to Arizona, stay at Brad's parent's house until the end of December
- Drive with Brad's sister, Elizabeth to Sandpoint, Idaho
- Live in a furnished rental two houses down from the house we rented the first time we moved there in January 2008
- Brad starts working full-time for Quest again
- Jenny flies to Texas for her brother, Clayton's wedding January 14th
- Ella's third birthday on February 3rd
- Drive back to Phoenix March 1
- Move back into our old house in Gilbert
- Jenny and Ella go to Texas to see the newest addition to the family, Macklin Jedediah Scott Geer

We now spend our days in a role reversal. Brad works from home and I go into work a couple of days a week. We are planning on staying in Phoenix until the end of May when we'll rent this house out again and go back Sandpoint and move back into our house there.

That's pretty much it in a nutshell. Here's the pictures to prove it.


Ella and her cousin Adeline

Last day in Florida

Florida to Texas: This is the house my parents were living in when I was born (Nacadoches, TX)

Dinner with my Grandparents in Texas

Desert drive near Tucson


The view from our rental in Sandpoint

Yeah for being back in Sandpoint with old (young) friends

It was great getting to hang out with Uncle Mike again in Sandpoint

Ella's birthday party was a car theme and we picked up some plastic lawn edging to use as race track for wooden cars the kids painted. We all had a good time playing with the tracks at home the week before the party. I would highly recommend this cheap way to build a lot of track.

Birthday lunch at the Pie Hut

It's so nice being back in the warm Phoenix sunshine

Scott and Ann's latest baby, Macklin


Ella's cousin, Ezra loved chasing the vacuum

Her cousin Darton had a pirate birthday party

Ann made a cool treasure map for the kids to find coins along the way to the final treasure

While in Texas we had a photographer, Milano Photography come take pictures of all 6 grandkids












And finally, we celebrated Easter with Brad's family here in Phoenix. Ella wore the first smocked dress my mom made for me.


We also made a modified version of a Pinterest tomb. We wrapped "Jesus" in linens and laid him in the tomb, then when she woke up on Sunday morning, the tomb was empty!