Saturday, July 28, 2012

Amazing . . .

We were pregnant with our second child and found out it was a girl. We had named our oldest daughter Hannah Grace. My pregnancy with her was so rocky and there were so many opportunities for things to go tragically wrong that her healthy birth was a true miracle and only by the grace of God is she such a healthy incredible little girl.

With the second little girl, we wanted to be as intentional about her name. Unless you have done it (and naming a dog doesn't quite count) there is so much pressure to name another person. It's something they will have their whole life. It's something they will be known for and remembered by. And we did not want to pick it willy nilly.

Travis has been a coach for many years and seen hundreds of kids pass through his program. Some have been difficult. Some have been wonderful. Some even still come back years and years later to volunteer coach with him. One student stood out above the rest. Not only was she the fastest runner anyone has seen in a long time (winning races at meets by a very very very long margin) but she was the most humble girl with a contagious smile. Most incredible to me was her heart. She would run her race and win every time with no competitor even close, but between each race, you could see her warming up with and encouraging the slowest students. There was no pride evident, only support for her team mates no matter their level.

She made such an impression on us, we decided to name our little girl after her. She was overwhelmed that we would think so highly of her.

She succeeded all throughout high school. She was at the top of her game in track and maintained her integrity. In 2008, she qualified for the Olympics representing her Dad's home country of the Marshal Islands. She didn't make it past the qualifying race but what an incredible opportunity!! We clipped articles and put them in Haley's scrapbook. Last night we were watching the opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympics in England and during the Parade of Nations we saw this . . .

Carrying the flag with her smile lighting up the stadium. As Travis posted on his Facebook page:

This is Haley Nemra, whom I taught and coached in basketball and track. She's running the 800m for the Marshal Islands and got to carry the flag. This kid was so amazing we named our daughter after her. GO HALEY!!

We are so excited for her. What an amazing honor to go from a small town girl succeeding in a sport she put her heart into, to a spot in the Olympic games and be recognized by the world. We are so proud of you Haley!!!! (And so thrilled that the namesake of our little girl continues to shine)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

My New Personal Trainer

Today I took out my special oldest daughter on a date. We packed our bikes and went for a ride on a beautiful local trail. I was excited to show her a place that I've really enjoyed going for walks the last couple months. We pulled the bikes out of the back of the van (which in and of itself is a workout) and away we went. I was foreseeing a peaceful journey over the river and through the woods building memories and healthy habits with Hannah. And don't get me wrong . . . it was all those things and more. But I may have passed on some over-achieving goal oriented genes. "Let's go Mom. I want to do at least two miles today." What? "Come on Mom. Go a little bit fast up and over this hill." Are you kidding me? "Doing great Mom. Let's see if we can see the next mile marker."

Needless to say, although I had no idea I was training for a triathlon, we biked 2 1/2 to 3 miles today. I love this little girl and am so proud of the young lady she is becoming. I am so thankful to be healthy enough to exercise with her . . . and (I guess) appreciate the free personal trainer I just hired today. As we were putting the bikes in the car she said, "Mom, next time we're gonna walk/jog OK?" Aye yi yi.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

An Anniversary Honeymoon

On July 14th, we celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary. My parents, the generous grand-kid loving people that they are, took our kiddos for a six day "gramma camp" while we enjoyed some special time of connecting and relaxing and enjoying eachother.

We watched a total of six movies, read a total of three books, went to sushi, explored a little street fair, took a walk, slept in, made some fun meals, and ended with a grand finale trip to Seattle having lunch at the Space needle, visiting the newly built Seattle public library (solid glass windows - crazy!) and finishing with some world famous featured on Food Network Top Pot doughnuts. We had an incredible time . . .

It was an amazing time . . . full of memories and some much needed time to focus on nothing but each other. As much as I couldn't wait for the girls to be picked up, the day they were coming home, we both couldn't wait for their arrival. I felt like the kids staring out the window every few minutes . . . and this went on throughout the entire day!! That little knock on the door was sweet music to our ears . . . and the hugs from a time away warmed my heart.

Our marriage came first . . . and will always be first. It's healthy for our kids to see us wanting to spend some time together and important for us to clear away the distractions every once in a while. But man, do we love those kids! Part of what has made our marriage so special and these 11 years so sweet is the addition of two incredible little girls rounding out our family.

Marrying my husband was the best decision I have ever made in my life. Thank you for standing strong beside me when I couldn't, for still making me laugh, for adding spontaneity to my type a life, for stepping up to the challenge of being a daddy and doing it so well, and for living your vows everyday . . . in sickness and in health, for better or worse, in joy as well as sorrow, supporting me and loving me and cherishing me . . . as long as we both shall live.

The Jesus Scandals (GB T.A.Marsh)

Hello all! This is Guest Blogger Travis Marsh, husband of said blogger Karla.  After avoiding most of Facebook, all of Twitter, never Skyping and rarely reading anyone's blog except this one, I am going to post my first "blog".  Or is it blog my first post? Post a blog? Bost the first Plog? AHH..why am I so old?!

Karla gave me the book "The Jesus Scandals" by David Instone-Brewer (Kregel Pub) to read, thinking it would be right up my alley.  Well, she was right. This book surprised me with its easily flow, fruitful (and often surprising) insight and personal stories that relate to the everyday reader.

What David Instone-Brewer has basically done is take the actions of Jesus and plainly describe the enormous impact on the culture of his day.  While I know nearly every story that he cites in the book, what I didn't know was the details of the historical cultural view. He truly brought new light to many of Jesus's actions that I had never heard.  As I progressed through each topic, I would turn to Karla and say "Did you know this???" or "Listen to this!" as I shared the author's extremely competent historical knowledge. There were several stories in the bible that all of a sudden clicked for me. 

David Instone-Brewer shows how Jesus was the most scandalous person of not only his day but centuries.  David is able to give current, real life examples of what would happen if Jesus actually did these actions now.  For example he gives insight in to how children were treated/abused and how Jesus challenged this. He brings forth some incredible history of divorce and how the church may have gotten the "sexual immorality only" part wrong. From bad table manners to supplanting Passover, David clearly shows how Jesus threw everyone for a loop.  Did you know that being single at age 30 as Jesus was in that culture was viewed as very rare and despised?

The book itself is broken up into short, easy sections to read.  I promise that this book will have you thinking, questioning, asking for days.  It will spur you to look for more answers and give clarity to areas you never knew needed it. I highly recommend this book to all those interested.

Thanks Karla, this was fun.  Felt similar to writing a paper for college, but without the worry of grades or the smelly dude in the back of the classroom.

To win a free copy of this book, enter your name in the comments section.

Jesus Scandals Cover

Thursday, July 12, 2012

New Roof

I realized I haven't written a blog posting in a long time. Why? We have been enjoying summer to much to stop and even look at the computer. We've had rainy days of playing games, breezy days in the backyard, and sunny warm days at the lake with friends.

The new adventure this week is . . . a new roof. It's exciting and wonderful but LOUD!! It sounds like someone is going to fall through every second of the day.

And yes, that is my hubby enjoying getting in on the fun of ripping and tearing and hammering. It has been the hottest week we've had this entire summer so the amazing men working on this project are sweating like crazy. So far they've gone through a case of waters and countless amounts of Gatorade (we're keeping the cooler full as we didn't buy the heat stroke insurance!!)

During all this loud craziness, the girls and I decided to take off for a day at the zoo with some fun long time friends.

There were plenty of opportunities to photograph the incredible animals we saw but I thought I'd focus on my little monkeys instead. The Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle is like no other. Evey animal has a beautiful natural habitat and there is so much to see . . . We enjoyed lots of viewing and laughing and picnicking and exploring and marveling at all the different kinds of animals. I was questioning how people can deny a creator when you really look at the diverse shapes and sizes . . . could you have thought up a giraffe, a hippo, a toucan or a porcupine?

What a wonderful day it was. I could have stayed forever. Haley (our little animal lover) was awestruck and amazed. She stood the longest at each exhibit and took in each little thing. When I asked her what her favorites were at the end of the day she said the taper because she'd never seen anything like it and the wart hogs because they were a brand new exhibit and I think she felt like she discovered a new species or something. I loved watching the whole thing through her eyes.

As I type, the banging continues. I hope I have a chance to publish before some hard working man falls through the ceiling and lands on my computer.

Hope you're enjoying the pace of summer . . . the possibilities of endless adventures . . . and the memories you're making with your family each day.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Legacy Questioned

In an interesting and engaging novel, Graham Garrison explores the dilema of creating your own future while dealing with the past. 

How much does our upbringing and history determine our future? In evaluating who we want to be when we grow up, how much is swayed by our experiences as a child, both good and bad? "Legacy Road" faces the challenges of one young man's journey to understand and come to grips with his past relationships while attepting to move forward in his life.

Graham Garrison addresses a journey many of us face as we approach our adulthood. The story follows a graduate student on the hunt for civil war letters and locations who finds himself hunting for the truth of his past and plan for his future. The tale was intreging and the end result was both heart warming and growing for all involved chareacters. 

If you're interested in receiving a free copy of this book, respond in the comments sections and the winner will be notified.