Thursday, April 29, 2010

Take Your Daughter To Work Day

Erica, Mom & Lexi ready for work!

This Past Thursday was Take Your Daughter To Work Day. I was working close that night, John was out of town, so I had Kyle bring the girls up to the Mall after they got home from school, & did any homework they had. They were very excited to be going to work! First we went & had dinner together at Paradise Bakery in the mall, then it was on to work . . .

First they auditioned to be mannequins! But as you can see I would have had to be like the Red Queen in Alice & Wonderland, and say: "Off With Their Heads!"

I showed them how to fold our tops the right way! We use a folding board, to make sure they are just right! And that everyone in the pile is identical.

They did restocking. I had them check to see what sizes & colors we needed out on the floor, and where to find them in the back room, and put them out on the floor. They helped customers too, & learned how to ring someone up on the register.

They did some cleaning around the store as well. I could really get used to this free labor! :) But, don't worry, it wasn't all hard work though. They got to try on any clothes they wanted to! (After all that's what I do at work all the time!) And they went to check out a new store in the mall that had just opened!

At closing time I showed them how to close out the registers & count the money in the tills. And then to celebrate the end of our shift we got Dairy Queen! Job well done Girls!

The next day I found sitting on my desk at work this note from Lexi:

Mom, You Rock. Thank you for bringing us to bring your daughter to work day. I had a wonderful time helping and cleaning. If you ever need me to come help out any other time I will. I love you Mom soooo much. Sincerely Lexi.

Though they did ask me if they were getting paid for working! And Erica said that someday when I die, she wants to take over as the Manager at Shade! :) (She always was the bossy one! I wonder where she gets that from?!)

I was always the cool mom, who stayed at home. (My words not theirs! I'm sure I think I'm way cooler than they do! Duh!) But it's fun to now be the cool mom with the cool job!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Illegal Immigration

Now, I will be the first to admit that I'm much more of a "Mommy Blogger" than that of a Political analyst! I love Politics & talking politics, especially with people who don't necessarily agree with me (you know who you are!) And unfortunately, many of my family & friends don't agree with me, much of the time. And that's fine with me. It's one of the many things that makes this country great! I've been wanting to write a post on this subject for a very long time, but kept talking myself out of it. I'm not really a confrontational person, and don't like to ruffle feathers just because I can. I usually keep my opinions to myself, or share them only with those closest to me, who will love & accept me anyway! So please, forgive me as I wax political for a moment. And I hope you return & will continue to read my Blog after this. :)

My home state of Arizona has been in the national news this week. Our Governor signed a new immigration bill. Since we border Mexico, we have a large population of Hispanics, who are here both legally & illegally. The signing of this bill has literally broken my heart. I believe it should break the heart of every Christian & every humanitarian. But, sadly that is not the case. And to be honest I am very disillusioned by this.

I believe this bill will lead to much discrimination, and racial profiling by law enforcement. Which is already bad here to begin with. I watched the governor's press conference as she signed this bill. In her attempts to reassure us, she told of her plan to implement a new training program for law enforcement to help insure peoples civil rights are not violated. All that reassured to me is that she too, knows this bill will lead to that very thing, otherwise we wouldn't need special training, would we?!

Leviticus 19: 33-34 says: "When a foreigner lives with you in your land, don't take advantage of him. Treat the foreigner the same as a native. Love him like one of your own. Remember that you were once foreigners in Egypt. I am God, your God."

We are taught in God's word to love our neighbor as ourselves. And to love our enemies as well. These are people created in the very image of God. And when we hate them, we hate the one who created them.

Matthew 25:34-40: "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why: I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me.' then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you. thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you? Then the King will say, I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me--you did it to me.'"

People will say we have to separate Church & State, one should have nothing to do with the other. I was raised in Church, and have been in the ministry for close to 25 years now. Every thing I do, every decision I make, I make it based on my faith. This country was founded on Faith. It was established by immigrants, who came here from other countries, many illegally, looking for religious freedom. The majority of us would not be here today, if it weren't for those immigrants who risked their lives for the promise of a better life, for them & for future generations. And we are reaping those benefits. And I for one am grateful for that.

The biggest cop out I hear from people is that immigrants take jobs away from Americans. Really? I've never met 1 single person who lost their job to an illegal immigrant. I would bet that I could go into any restaurant, or church, or crowded room, and ask for a show of hands of how many people here have lost their job to an immigrant? Who here was fired, just to have their employer hire an illegal immigrant in their place? As I've said, I've never met a single person for whom this is the case, and don't imagine any hands would go up. It's just an unjustified excuse for hate.

A lot of Immigrants do jobs most Americans would never do, for a lot less pay than any American would ever accept! And yet, some of the very people who use this excuse of they take jobs away from Americans, will hire these very same people to clean their pool, or trim their trees & do their yard work, to paint their house, because they can get away with paying them less. It's a double standard. We yell in their faces "This is America, speak English!" Just think about that statement for a minute. . . I was born & raised, and educated, here in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and I, unfortunately only speak 1 language. And here we expect someone from a third world country, with little to no education to be smarter than us, and all of a sudden be fluent in another language other than their native tongue. Does that even make sense?

We want to blame our failing economy on someone, and they are an easy target. My son Zach took an economics class, & in that class (of mostly white students, with a white teacher, just to clarify, so no one can say they were prejudiced) looked into the affect of immigrants on our economy, and this is what they discovered through their research: If an Immigrant gets a job here, and they are paid, like most of us are, with a paycheck, income taxes & social security is automatically taken out of that paycheck. But since they are not here legally, they can never claim those taxes, or collect on that social security, since they are not an American citizen. So they are paying into a system they cannot take back out of! If they are paid "under the table", or in cash for their labor, they obviously do not pay either taxes or social security on their income. But they are still paying rent here. They are buying groceries here & clothes, etc. They found out that throughout history, as well as here & now, that immigration boosts an economy, not hurts it.

America is a nation of Greed. We let repeat offenders who molest children go free, but if someone swindles money, we throw them away for life. Just ask Bernie Madoff. Don't get me wrong, he deserves to be punished, but people have a hatred for him beyond whats called for. And ask Jaycee Dugard, the little girl who was kidnapped by a man who should not have been out of jail in the first place, & who held her prisoner in his back yard for 15 years. And fathered 2 children with her. Our priorities, in this country are way off here!

Please don't get me wrong. I am not naive enough to think that we can just take in every person in the world. And I do not want criminals sneaking into my country. (I don't even want American born criminals in my country.) I know that there has to be laws to govern immigration, to keep everyone (on both sides) safe. But, I don't believe this is the right law. We need to give people the opportunity to become citizens of this great country. Who wouldn't want to live here? Everyone deserves to be free! I am blessed beyond measure to have been born here. But, I could have just as easily been born somewhere else. And the majority of these people, I believe, just want what I want, the best life possible for them and for their children. They are no different from us!

I had the opportunity to see with my own eyes The Statue Of Liberty in New York. And I immediately thought of all those immigrants of long ago, who risked their lives to come here in ships, with nothing but the clothes on their backs, & the dream of creating a better life for themselves & for their children & their children's children. Who's first glimpse of America was that Statue. And we are all reaping the benefits of their decision. Immigrants today, may not cross an ocean to get here, but instead, risk their lives crossing a desert. And they may never see that Statue in their lifetime, but believe me, they know it's there! And they know what it stands for. And let us never forget what is inscribed on that Statue:

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free"

Friday, April 23, 2010

Too Many Books, Two Little Tweens

You know by now that I love books! (Thank you captain obvious!) And I've always tried to past my love of books & of reading down to my kids. You can read about my journey of trying to get my oldest son to not only read, but like it here. Let's just say, he's kinda the one that got away! My other son Zach is an avid reader! He reads to learn & reads just for entertainment! I got it right somewhere along the way with that one!

Then I had twins. Girls. They are 12 years old now. I made sure to buy them each their own copy of Little Women before they were old enough to read or even know what a book is! Is that going over board? Little Women is my favorite book of all time! And I'm not gonna share my copy of the book! My girls are 4 minuets apart. In some ways they are very much alike & in some ways they are very different! Erica loves to read. She reads a lot. Every new kid movie preview that comes out, she says "I loved that book!" That's my girl! She can't wait for the movie about the warrior owls! That's one of her favorite book series. And she's on the 7th Harry Potter book right now.

Lexi, on the other hand, has struggled with reading. She loves books & has started to read many of them, just to give up, or loose interest in them. She was not reaching her A.R. (Accelerated Reading) goal in school. Since she never finished a book, she never took the A.R. test on it. She would pick out a book & be all excited about reading it, then never finish it. It was so frustrating.

The girls went to see The Percy Jackson movie. Erica had read those books in school too & couldn't wait for that movie. Well, Lexi really liked the movie, so we got the first book & guess what? She read the whole thing! Loved it. And got 100% on the A.R. test. She read the 2nd book of that series. And again got 100% on the A.R. test! I'll never forget the day she left me a note that said: "Mom, I'm on page (#) of my book. I'll probably finish it today. Can you go to Sams Club & get me the next one?" Guess what I did? I went to Sams Club. They only had the 4th book, so I bought that one, and ran to Walmart & picked up the 3rd one! She's read the 3rd book & once again aced the reading test. And is currently reading the 4th book. She continually announces what page or chapter she's on. Score!

Both my girls love the Twilight movies. They have been begging me to let them read the books. If you've read them you know they are not really appropriate for young girls. So, I've been putting them off. (They will be in Jr. High next year! Oh, help me!) The same with the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants book series. The girls loved those movies, but again the books leave a little less to the imagination, if you know what I mean, than the movies do! So, again, I'm holding off. Maybe this summer I will let them start one or the other of these series. As I tell them, "We'll talk about it when your a little older!" Then they always want to know exactly just how old they have to be?! :)

I'm thrilled that my girls are learning to love books and reading them. They were telling me the other day about a summer reading program that Barnes & Noble will be running. (We've done the ones at our local library every summer) But, they loved the idea that with the Barnes & Noble program, you list the places you've visited through the books you've read, instead of just the book title. (Sidebar: I haven't researched this program yet, I'm just letting you know what my girls said about it.) I'm loving that to them, (like me) reading is an adventure! You never know where you might go in a book, or who you might meet while there!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Too Many Books, Too Little Time

At the last meeting of Life On The Same Page Book Club we discussed the book The Five People You Meet In Heaven. A very small but powerful book. Here are just some of the great quotes we looked at from the book that brought up a lot of great responses:

"All endings are also beginnings, we just don't know it at the time."

"Had he known his death was imminent,
he might have gone somewhere else.
Instead he did what we all do.
He went about his dull routine
as if all the days in the world were still to come.

Would you want to know this was your last day on earth? And if you did know it, what would you do differently?

"There are no random acts. We are all connected.
You can no more separate one life from another

than you can separate a breeze from the wind."

"All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped.
Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers.

Some parents smudge, others crack,

a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair"

Love this! What kind of fingerprints are we leaving on our children? Think about it.

"Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from inside.
We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us.

But hatred is a curved blade.
And the harm we do, we do to ourselves."

"Love, like rain can nourish from above,
drenching couples with a soaking Joy.
But sometimes, under the angry heat of life,
love dries on the surface and must nourish from below,

tending to it's roots, keeping itself alive."

"Lost love is still love, it takes a different form, that's all.
You can't see their smile or bring them food or tousle their hair

or move them around a dance floor.

But when those senses weaken, another heightens.

Memory becomes your partner.

You nurture it. You hold it. You dance with it.

Life has to end, love doesn't."

If you've ever lost someone you love, you know this to be true.

"You have Peace when you make it with yourself."

"Strangers, are just family you have yet to come to know."

"Each affects the other and the other affects the next,
and the world is full of stories, but the stories are all one."

Told you this was a powerful book. If you haven't read it, I recommend that you do. Many of our book club members had to miss this months meeting due to circumstances beyond our control. So, even though this was our smallest meeting ever, it was a great one. Having only 6 of us there allowed us to really share openly & a little more intimately. I loved it & I think everyone there did too. And we learned a few fun (if not shocking) facts about some of our book club ladies! Don't worry girls, your secrets are safe with me! :)

For our next months meeting, (the details of which will be announced latter) We will do things a little differently. In two parts. Some of us have read, or are reading The Time Travelers Wife, some are not. See my post about it here. So those of us reading that one will meet to discuss it either earlier, before the others arrive, or on a different night. Let me know your preference on that, both on the same Monday, or on two different Mondays? Then the rest will join us to discuss the next book we're reading The Last Song. I saw the movie, twice! Loved it! And I Love Nicholas Sparks' books!

Then the book for the following month (June's meeting) is Firefly Lane, by Kristin Hannah. I've heard great things about this book. It's about a friendship between two women which begins in Jr. High School & spans through many decades. It looks like, together, we will read through the 70's & 80's, up through present day. Should be fun! Though I'm told it will bring tears as well! Sounds like my kind of book.

I love the excitement that opening a new book brings. . . you never know what lies ahead for you. That's why you need to be living Life On The Same Page with others who love books as much as you do! When you have someone to discus them with it adds another dimension to your reading!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Oklahoma City

Yesterday marked the 15th Anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing. We were living in Michigan at the time. And we had good friends & some family from Oklahoma. My oldest son, Kyle, who will turn 20 in a few short months, (ouch!) was 4 years old at the time, just short of turning 5.

All kids know when their parents are upset about something, and we've always tried to be honest with our kids about what's going on in the world, though we are very careful not to scare them. We talked about what had happened in Oklahoma. Kyle went to a Lutheran pre-school at the time. And because there were many children killed & families affected, his class made cards to send to the victims of the bombing.

One day we had gone out to eat & Kyle asked our server for a balloon, they had tied around the restaurant. She let both our boys choose just what color they wanted. Zach is just 16 months younger than Kyle. They both loved balloons. They would play with them in the car, hitting them back & forth, sometimes getting in the way of, & annoying the driver! :) Any place that had balloons was an exciting place for two little boys!

As we were leaving the restaurant, we got outside & Kyle opened his little hand, releasing his balloon! I said "You really wanted that balloon, why did you let it go?" And he said very a matter of factly "I let it go so all those kids from Oklahoma can play with it in Heaven!" I, of course started to cry & Zach soon followed suit letting go of his balloon as well. And for awhile after that, every balloon my boys got they sent up to heaven . . . We remember.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Book Club Meeting

Yes, it's time for the next meeting of Life On The Same Page Book Club. I'm so excited! The meetings are so much fun, and I truly enjoy time with these brilliant, beautiful women! I love the discussion that happens. It actually makes me feel smarter! :) Come be a part of it. . .

The meeting will be held at The Barnes & Noble Cafe at San Tan Village, in Gilbert, Arizona. (That's the mall I work in as well!) It's on Williams Field Rd. & San Tan Village Parkway (or Greenfield) right off the 202 South. Monday, April 19th, at 7:00pm.

The book we are discussing is The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom. It's really an easy read, you could still pick it up & have it read in time for the meeting. It's a small but very powerful book. With lots of topics for discussion: Life, Death, & Heaven. Parenting, Love, Anger, & Forgiveness. You will want to be a part of it.

Some of the women I'm living Life On The Same Page with. . .

Come out & join us!
I really hope to see you there!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Give A Day - Get A Day

Lexi, getting to the top of things!

I love being part of a Church that is so Community & Mission Minded as Life Church is! They really promote reaching out to our local community and to the world at large. More so than any other Church I have ever been a part of. And I've been a part of some great churches & have always gone on, or sent others on mission trips, etc.

John, getting down & dirty!

Just recently our Church worked with The United Way, and picked grapefruit for a local food bank/shelter. We had over 130 people show up & picked 25,000 lbs of grapefruit. Enough to feed over 19,000 people! That's Awesome!

Zach & Kyle, hard at work!

"Long armed Lexi"

I was way excited for my kids to be a part of this. I've always tried to raise them to think of others. To have compassion, and to know they can make a difference, no matter how small it may seam, in the lives of hurting people.

Kyle & John, Grapefruit getters!

Zach helping out his dad!
(who felt more like an "old Man" after that day!)

Erica on a mission with dad!

And thanks to Disney, who this year is promoting volunteering & giving back to our communities with their Give a Day - Get a Day campaign. So everyone who picked grapefruit that day (& registered with Disney, which we did) gets a free day pass to a Disney park! Awesome!

We are looking forward to spending a day at Disneyland sometime this summer! I can't wait to visit "the happiest place on earth!" It's been way too long since we've been there! And I'm sure many Blog post's will ensue.

The whole group!
Way to go team!

Breakfast, anyone?!
Job well done!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Whats Our Response to Easter?

(John & I on Easter)

Last weekend between Good Friday & Easter Sunday I was reading in the book of Matthew about the Crucifixion & the Resurrection. And I noticed something I hadn't noticed before. Funny how that always seams to happen when reading God's word.


This was after Jesus had risen from the dead: Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion. The moment they saw Him they worshiped Him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally. Jesus, undeterred. went right ahead and gave His charge: "God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far, near, in this way of life . . . I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:16-20 - The Message)


What struck me was that some of His very own disciples, who had watched Him die & were now seeing Him alive again, held back, unsure of risking themselves totally to Worship Him. How many times have we been guilty of the exact same thing? Not willing to quite give our all, even after He's given everything for us.

(Lexi & Erica showing off their Easter dresses)

So my question for all of us is this: What are you holding back? What part of you are you unwilling to risk totally to Christ? Offer it in worship, He has promised to be with us always.

What is our response to Easter?