This Smell...

I open the container and a delicious, familiar, smell overtakes me. Instantly, I am reminded of Christmases with my Grandma Beth and her caramel corn. From one smell, I close my eyes and I remember the Christmas Eve parties at Aunt Madge's. The terrible, yet inviting, red shag carpet; the fireplace that was double sided so it could warm two rooms at once. Hanging out upstairs with my cousins Tammy and Mark in the guest bedroom with the mirrored closer doors or down in the cold unfinished basement room - why it was fun for us down there, I'll never know. Grandma's caramel corn was always there. 

On Christmas Day, the smell was there again. The giant bowl sitting on grandma's table - everyone grabbing as much or little as desired. The smell stayed with you throughout her house - probably stuck on our fingers because it was a bit sticky. Even the 1$ notebooks we always received as a "stocking stuffer" seemed to have a lingering stickiness in the days after Christmas.  

This year, I am continuing the tradition. A few years ago, my dad printed out Grandma Beth's recipe and gave it to us. This year, as a family, we are trying to SLOW the season and enjoy all the gifts God gives. So, I made time to make the caramel corn. It's not difficult - especially now that we have an air popper for the popcorn - but, in years past, I always found something else to take up my time. The process was completed easily during nap time and, even though one batch is without the vanilla, it tastes delicious and the smell is once again in my life. The smell that has many memories for me and now, I pray, will carry many memories for my children. 

John 18:37 "Then Pilate said to him, 'So you are a king?' Jesus answered, 'You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world - to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.'" 

May you see and seek God's gifts and truth this Christmas season. 

Navajo Drive

Well friends, the Madigans moved. "But why does that matter to you?" you ask. They aren't my immediate family, I'm not the one moving - though Pete did help. Well, I have a great many memories in that house, and this is my "ode to the house on Navajo Dr" (yes, I have their address memorized but didn't want to be the one to put it on the interweb, google earth already beat me to it.)

So, let's get started... there are pictures that coincide with the story, but I guess I didn't take any pictures inside their home...

I don't remember 1st time I visited the home of our youth pastor. My family and their family became fast friends shortly after their move, from Michigan, in 1999. Maybe it was a family dinner; shared between the 3Ms (Massie, Maddigan, and Merrigan families - we had a nickname, oh yes.) Maybe it was a Monday Night Football event hosted by the youth pastor.

I spent 10-12th grade and freshman year of college watching Monday night football in the basement; though I mostly did math homework or worked on the computer during the game. A small group of maybe 10-15 youth group kids - many of us siblings - would come over around 6:30 to watch the game and just hang out. I think it was P.T.'s way of being involved in more of our lives while still being able to watch the games - maybe this was before DVR?

I have a few vivid memories associated with the house. One rainy Friday, maybe 2001, I was driving to the Madigans to meet up with my parents, after a high school homecoming football game for which I was a cheerleader. I was pulled over near the hwy89 and Harrison blvd turn off for failing to yield to an ambulance that was turning left from Harrison to hwy 89 - thus the reason I didn't think to yield; we weren't on the same road. Well, later I found out the ambulance was going to help a friend, Thomas, who was going to a different football game with my friend Em, he had passed out at the Chevron across from Washington Heights. Anyhow, I was pretty shaken up when I finally arrived at the Madigan home.
2001 - Junior Year

Another time, I was over at the house with a friend my age and the 4 summer interns from youth group, two of whom were living at P.T.'s house that summer and all were 4 years older than us. I'm now realizing, P.T. and Dianne probably don't know about some of these stories. So we were making brownies "late" at night - it was maybe 9pm but as a 16 year old, I thought I was pretty cool to be hanging out with them. So the brownies finished baking and we cut into them, finding a whole egg yoke intact and hard as a rock. We had a good laugh and Julie fed it to Snickers, the dog. So it was uneventful to most people, but one of my vivid memories of the home.

Snickers was the Madigan's little dog. It was a dirty white colored dog with curly hair and a funny bark. It's hard for me to remember what it sounded like but I laughed at that dog all the time. I don't think he liked me much; but he was always hanging around.

The years passed and we had many events, mostly in the basement, at their home. I was in guitar lessons and they were sometimes held at P.T.'s home. I can still remember being freezing cold in their back game room with my mom's guitar and Matt and Suzy and Branden and whomever else showed up. Also in that back game room, I played Foosball. I first learned at church, but I was taught the "tricks of the trade" at P.T.'s house. The old table he had is now currently sitting in my basement - being played every now and then. I think being good at Foosball helped me show off for Pete, a bit, when we were first dating. I need to practice more and bring the tournament back to church for 2014!

2000- foosball. L-R: Julie (intern who made brownies),
Sarah, Derek, Ashley, and Claire
We also had Bible studies in the basement. I remember sitting on the old worn-out couch, often sandwiched between Paul and Pat, they were twins, 6'5" red-heads from Oregon who played football with Brady at Weber State, so it was usually by choice :)
2002 - Senior Dinner
Many nights after "leaving" P.T.'s house, a different group of us would stand and talk in the drive way trying to decide if we should go home or go somewhere else. Many nights in summer, we just stayed by our cars and talked for probably an hour.

2004 - P.T. officiated our wedding
After I married Pete - who came highly recommended by P.T. - I attended a different church, and trips to the Madigan home were less frequent. But, maybe a year later through a series of events, P.T. became the teaching Pastor at our church in Ogden Valley and I was back to the Madigan household for Bible studies again.  This time, we studied Hebrews, and I sat in familiar chairs, even with a few familiar people from those years before. This time was different because I had my own baby girl! I remember the first time I quietly excused myself from Bible study and went into that same back room as before to change J's diaper. Suddenly memories of the many games of Oodles I had played (and lost) so many years before, came flooding back. It was a sweet moment - no matter the amount of poop explosion that had happened. Seriously, that girl seemed to have the most "blow-outs" at P.T.'s house.

I had now made the switch to the "grown up" BBQs upstairs while talking about the deep frier or kurig machine. Suzy became a friend and member of my worship team instead of Terry's little girl and Sarah's friend. Matt loved to hold BabyJane and they were fast friends. Being a grown-up in the Madigan household was a new role but the history of the memories I had in the home made it all the more sweet.

So as I reflected on the many memories I will miss in that old home on Navajo Dr. I can't help but look forward to the memories to come in the new house with the newest generation!

Thank you, Terry and Dianne for opening up your home to so many kids throughout the years. I know of a few lives, including mine, were greatly impacted because you shared your couch, and red vines, and pretzels, and cocoa. Glory to God because of His work through your family and your home.

2000 - Short term mission trip to Mexico. 

The encouraging side of the internet

Yes. It's been a loooong time since my last post - which was written about March2013 but not posted until May - I get it; I'm not too great at this blog thing anymore. And Yes, there was a time when this was my primary means of sharing my life with friends and family via the Internet. Well, now I have Instagram and I enjoy the ease of posting a picture here and there from my phone much better than the complicated, "download pictures from my phone to my laptop then to blogger" alternative. The blogger app is just not that great (though it has been upgraded so I'll give it another try) and I'm up and about - not really around my laptop enough. So with the current set up I have, the blog took a backseat. Plus, my perfectionism tendencies got the better of me and I felt that I couldn't post another thing unless it was entitled "April 2013." So if you can't do it perfectly...don't do it at all. Yes, I'm going to be fighting that battle with my flesh until Jesus comes back or takes me home.

So that leads me here. This blog is still mine - and if I could figure out how to merge it with my real google account, I'd be much happier and also prone to more posting - I want it to continue to keep record of things for me and others who read it. Therefore, there will now be less organized, more random, and hopefully more often, posts for you to read. No more, "if I just post once a month in 2013" or "7 more posts until I reach 300 - maybe I could do it by the end of the year" or any expectations put on myself. So without further ado.... A few videos I found encouraging to me today: thus the post title.

The first link is a video discussion put out by The Gospel Coalition. John Piper, Matt Chandler, and David Platt talk about pain in their own lives and how their view of God helped and changed throughout.
God's goodness in your pain

The second link is a video set to a poem written by John Piper. It gave me such hope as to what life can look like if you view God as sovereign and glorious. Enjoy.
The Calvinist

The Calvinist, version 2 video with subtitles as read by John Piper. Also has a great article explaining the hope the video will bring to the viewers.

March 2013

I made a special post for Resurrection sunday which was technically in March, however, this is an actual March update; and it's a long one. March family update: on the 2nd Pete went to Austria for a week long business trip and the kids and I stayed home and came down with a month long cold/sickness. Seriously, we were sick for a long time.

Pete's trip:

He went to Graz, Austria with a coworker in order to visit a factory/company his company purchased. They have technology Pete used to hopefully assist in a project he is working on. He was also able to go out with some locals for dinners and such. He said it was a good time; a huge step up from his previous international business trips. He didn't even have any delays, cancellations of flights, or sleeping in airports!

Our Sicknesses:

B's sickness: It all started the last day of February. I had some mom friends from church (and their children) over for our weekly morning "moms group" and by the end of it B's eye was gooey and red. Well, by the end of his nap it was gross and much worse so we made a quick appointment to get some eye drops because I was certain it was pink eye. It was indeed a case of conjunctivitis and we started 10 days of eye drops while I called my friends to spread the news that my baby may have spread something else to their kids. Thankfully, none of the other kids came down with it! I was so grateful. Giving him eye drops was quite the adventure. Pete helped me the first day, but then he left for Austria so I was on my own. I eventually found a good headlock position and he fought well but we made it through.

My sickness: The day before Pete left for Austria, my throat started feeling painful and swollen. Needless to say it lasted so long and was the most painful sore throat I have ever had that I went to the doctor for a strep test. I actually don't even remember what the diagnosis was - not strep but some kind of infection. I was so desperate to be well again. It had been three weeks of sore throat, flu like symptoms, and kids with the same stuff. I took those antibiotics he had prescribed and miraculously my throat felt much better after two days. Yes, I realize that it could have just been time for the sickness to be over but either way, I was so relieved.

J's sickness: She was my little helper. She seemed to miss the pink eye, sore throat, and flu symptoms... at least for two weeks. She came down with the flu stuff too. When she got one of her high fevers, complaining about her ear hurting, and eye gunk too - that's when we went to the doctor. It was her usual pediatrician's day off so we went to Kidscare and the dr there said her eye gunk was probably the start of a sinus infection. We did 4 days of eye drops for her and she was brave as long as I had mini marshmallows for her. As far as the ear pain goes.... she had a dead box elder bug stuck in her ear! The Dr said he sees maybe 3 bugs a year in kids' ears. He said, "What in the world is that?" followed by, "there's a bug in your ear, no really, there's a box elder bug in her ear." I was so taken aback. I don't know how it happened but he thinks it was probably during her sleep. Thankfully, J was so brave and sat very still as he used tweezers to get the majority out. The nurses then came in with a water rinse to get the rest.

By this time, I was fed up with being sick or being around those who were sick. Which of course meant it was Pete's turn. Thankfully, his sickness didn't last as long. It was a long month but I want to share how God has helped me look for His gifts in everything - even the sickness.

Our mom's group - that I wrote of earlier - watched the video Bible study of Ann Voskamp's book, 1000 Gifts. Many of us read it or had read it too. I was loving everything she said. I understood the feelings of life passing so quickly you don't even notice the good in your life. I also understood the hard times when thanking God seems backwards. But I am still today trying to daily write down the gifts God gives, even when the whole house is sick. As I look back in my daily gifts journal, I see the many times in a few weeks that we missed out on an important activity such as church, Bible study, or mom's group. I don't enjoy missing things; but this time around I was able to find the good in it all- even staying home. God is teaching me so much this year about His goodness and my need for Him. I hope to continue to search for His gifts and give Him all the glory.

Resurrection Sunday 2013

All my life I've grown up calling today "Easter Sunday." At church people say, "Happy Easter!" and I reply, "Yes, to you too" or even "Happy Easter" back to them. I've never been one who cares what the secular holiday is referred to - like "Merry Christmas" versus "Happy Holidays" I'm not the one to correct anyone but I will say Merry Christmas over the other, every time. But Easter has always been Easter and until recently I hadn't cared. But in my mind, I now call it "Resurrection Sunday" I won't say, "Happy Resurrection Sunday!" to people as I leave church, but my mind and soul need to be reminded.

 I think it has especially been this way in the last few years. Teaching my kids about what this day is and why we are so excited just doesn't mean anything to them if all we say is, "Today is Easter and it's a time to celebrate" no, I need to share the gospel with them all the time but especially to give today the importance it is due.

 This year I partook a little bit in the practice of Lent. I made it my own - as any baptist kid would do. I scaled back on my social media involvement as a way to gain some time back. But I've learned through all the devotions/sermons/books/blogs that it's not what you give up but more about what you devote yourself to. I started a few reading plans on the YouVersion Bible app that focus your heart during the Lenten season. I read a book called 1000 Gifts - a dare to live fully right where you are. This book has impacted my life greatly and I am so thankful God brought it to my life during this time. I have even been moved greatly by The Bible Series on the history channel - yes, it's true. I love seeing the realistic portrayal of the Bible and Jesus' life.

I am excited that tomorrow is April and the smells of spring are in the air. It is a way for me to move into the next season of life and start fresh with God. To give myself over to the Holy Spirit and let God lead in my life. Of all the devotions and blogs, ect... that I have read recently, this Why He came, a Good Friday reflection: the one-piece life stuck out as a calling to live my life differently. No longer separate with home, kids, church, family, and me but all one piece of my life to live holy for Jesus. I pray it will encourage you to live the same.

He is Risen!

February 2013

Here's a recap of some of our events for february.

February. It was a good month full of friends and easy-going times.

The extended Krishnan clan came back to town. Leah and her kids as well as Micah and his wifey-to-be. We were able to hang out with Leah and the kids a few times because they were here for two weeks. J and N had a good time, and B is still talking about N as his "friend." It is very sweet. We did have a little mix-up with the boys both having the same name. If Leah would tell her boy to stop something, then mine would stop immediately. It was pretty funny.

Micah had an engagement party at Mat's house. It was a good night to catch up and meet his girl. She fits with him so well. God has blessed them for sure.

On the last night of Leah's visit we went ice skating at the Huntsville ice rink with the Aherns. J had a great time and thanks to Matt and Candace for the heads up on bringing 5 gallon buckets to help the kids support themselves. It will be a good family activity next year because there's not much harm the kids can do (if we remember helmets) and the parents can have some fun themselves. The pictures I took didn't turn out well - I mean, it was dark and they were very small, quick moments I tried to capture.

 There was a small hockey game/practice going on down on the other end. It was a bigger, smoother rink this year and we will return for sure. - though they did have what seemed like 12 year old boys running the rental shop. At least next year they will be older, right?
B didn't use skates and he was a boy on his own, mostly refusing to use a bucket for help. He ended up hanging with Elaine and Leah near the picnic tables most of the time. - Thanks to them for helping me.
 L had a great time hanging over the bucket and being pushed around by Eric.
J doing her thing. It was suggested by everyone but me that we should sign her up for lessons. I'm thinking about it, okay.
My sweetie having a great time.

We love where we live (though not loving the construction in the canyon) and I'm learning to be more and more thankful everyday.

January 2013

My goal for two-thousand thirteen is to write one blog post a month. I know, for some people that's not much, but for me it's a lot - I mean this post for January is coming in mid-February.


I have a few new journals this year. I have always loved the idea of journals, but lately I haven't been great at actually using them. For my second pregnancy and first baby (trying to be a bit more private on the blog with names & such - though there will still be pictures every now and again) I had a small moleskine I wrote messages and notes to her. I wrote my thoughts, feelings, symptoms, updates on doctor visits, pretty much everything. After she was born the posts became more sporadic, but I was still able to capture her first year in that one journal. It now resides safely in our safety deposit box. Along came third pregnancy and second baby. This time it was much more difficult to make time to write. I kept a log on my phone with cute things he would do and milestones, but most are still waiting to be written. I don't think I've written in his journal for over a year. 

In that time (about 4 years so far) my journals for my spiritual journey have suffered as well. I know having young kids is an excuse for some but I no longer want to let it be an excuse for me. So this year I bought two new journals in attempts to find a renewed love for journaling. The first is called a Five Year Journal. It contains a small space set out for capturing a memory for each day and each day/page has five spaces for a total of five years. I have been enjoying the freedom of capturing bits of our day or funny/intelligent things the kids say and do without the pressure of filling pages and pages with detail. One step at a time! 

The second journal I purchased (both were Christmas presents for myself from my family) is a moleskine daily diary. They come in a variety of colors, which I love. I chose the larger, kelly green and I love it! It has a bunch of fun extras that moleskine always offers but mostly it has a page per day. I have read through the gospels since January 1. No, I haven't read every day on the day but I have enjoyed it and not felt burdened as before. The journal came with an address book that fits in the back and I have turned it into a prayer journal complete with alphabetized list of friends and families' prayer requests. 

The person I am is very happy to own these two journals. Here's to 2013 and a great year of thoughts, memories, and prayers written down. Hoping to also do a bit of catch-up on the journals for the kids - we'll see. 

Thanks for reading if you are still following :) God bless your year.