Tuesday, November 24, 2009


So I've been avoiding writing about this because, well it's just downright embarrassing, that's why!! I mean, I haven't felt quite this humiliated in a really long time and now I'm about to admit it to the world by posting it on the world-wide web. I don't really know what I'm thinking...but here it goes. I guess a little bit of confession is good for the soul even if it makes me look absolutely crazy.

The week before we went to San Luis Obispo I lost my wallet somehow. I'm still not really sure how it all happened. You're probably thinking, "How do you not know how you lost your wallet?" I know people. I've NEVER lost my wallet before. NEVER! And then all of the sudden we need milk and I go to the store to pick up a few things. My items are being checked through and I start to search my purse for my wallet. It's suddenly nowhere to be found. I start to panic but then assure myself that it must be in the car. I run to the car (as fast as I can with three little boys in tow) and search the entire car top to bottom...nothing. Absolutely nothing! I do find my checkbook though and run back inside to pay for my half-finished Diet Coke (I know...so humiliating!) and the rest of my groceries. Good thing I had that checkbook.

I search all over my house and it isn't anywhere. I can't even remember the last time I used the wallet. I use cash for groceries so I really don't use my bank card that much except for gas and stuff. So who knows? I am befuddled as I have no recollection of where it could possibly be. Later that day, my sister-in-law calls and says that her car had been recently broken into and her wallet was stolen. Hmmmm...she lives up the street. That could be what happened to my wallet but really, I'll never know. It's never surfaced again.

So you get the point. My wallet is gone and I found out in a humiliating way. But this is nothing to what was to come. I had to stop all of my cards, well really only one. I only have a bank card. And then I had the lovely task of trying to replace all of my medical cards, insurance cards, Costco card and of course the lovely driver's license.

So flash forward to San Luis Obispo. I lost my wallet just days before having to depart for SLO and I just had to go. I couldn't get in to the DMV before leaving and I was just praying I wouldn't get pulled over. I think I saw at least ten cop cars on the way down. I'm telling you...scary!! I wasn't trying to break the law, it was just an unfortunate circumstance. So once I get to San Luis Obispo, Debbi Weeks (who we're staying with and my mentor for nearly ten years now) encourages me to stop in at the DMV and see if I can do anything about my license. She graciously offers to occupy the children for the forty-five minutes I'll need to wait to be seen...what an angel!

I wait for what seems like ages but really, I didn't have an appointment so I deserved it I guess. I was so bored I was trying to guess what number they were going to call next based on the pattern. What I discovered was that they weren't calling my line of numbers at all (the G's) but only the B's and the H's. For every five B's they'd call ONE G. I ended up getting so frustrated I stopped paying attention and eavesdropped on the conversation going on between two college girls in front of me. Total drama but at least it was a little bit more entertaining.

Finally I'm called to the front and I expect to pay my money, give my paperwork and get out of there!! But the DMV guy cheerfully announces that it's nearly time to renew my license and so I better just do that rather than have to do it in a few months. Okay...I ask what needs to be done and he mentions it's not a big deal. All right...let's do this. I've got three kids all four and under waiting in the car with their adopted grandma and it's almost been an hour. Give it to me. And let's do this.

We start with the eye exam. Perfection. I can definitely see. I jump through a few other hoops and then he announces that I was chosen to take a written test and that if I could just step over to the other line, I'd be on my way to getting my new license. What?! A written test! I haven't taken a written test since I was 15 and I sure haven't studied. And didn't I just remind him that I had three little boys waiting in the CAR!?

I smile and politely walk over to the other line while seething inside. But at this point, I am determined to leave with the license, written test or not. I get my 18 questions and get started. The first question went something like this, "When is the road the wettest? 5 minutes after it started raining, 15 minutes after it started raining, or after it stops raining?" WHAT?! What does this have to do with driving? Why are they asking me about the weather? And on it went with one ridiculous question after another. Did you know that it's illegal to smoke while driving with a minor in the car? Hmmm...neither did I because well, I DON'T SMOKE! I wouldn't think it'd be a great idea but I didn't know there was a law about it. And I also do not drink much so do I know the legal alcohol limit? NO! I have been driving for nearly fifteen years and there is hardly a traffic question on the test. Give me a traffic question and I bet I'll know it but no, a bunch of questions about rainy weather, obscure laws and that made up my test. I simply do the best I can without studying one bit and hand my test back in.

The lady gives me a knowing nod and quickly grades my test. I could tell by her eyes that I didn't pass. Luckily she was the nicest lady around because she gestures me to come close and tells me, "You missed two too many but I know you have kids in the car and that you're in a hurry. Why don't you do these two on the back and if you get them right, I won't make you retake the test." That was the best news I had heard all day. My humiliation quickly turned to gratitude and I very hastily pounded out those two questions. A few minutes later, I got to take my picture and I walked out of there with my temporary license!!

I'll never know why I was chosen to take that test. My sister-in-law didn't have to do one and she's the same age as me. I have a perfect driving record with no accidents or tickets. Why me? I never knew that a lost wallet could cause me such trouble. However, thank God, it still all worked out and I didn't have to go back and re-take the silly "driving" test.

So all of you be warned...if you have to go in for a renewal, you better dig out your old Driver's Ed books and do a little studying. You just never know if they will put you on the spot and make you take a written test. Take it from me...you want to pass. It's humbling to have been driving for so long and not to pass. It's like I said before, downright embarrassing.

So there it is. You can laugh all you want. I didn't pass. But then a lady had grace on me and I did pass. And really, in the end, I guess that's all that really matters. Once I got back to the car, I thanked Debbi profusely and checked on the boys. They had all waited so well! We got frozen yogurt with "sprinklers" to reward them for their exceptional behavior and to celebrate my license renewal. Who knew there'd be anything to celebrate? I don't think I'll ever take my license for granted again!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Half

Yesterday morning I had the amazing opportunity to participate in my first-ever competitive race by running in the Big Sur Half Marathon. Now when I say it was an opportunity, it really was. I am not sure how many of you remember but I trained for a 10K last summer and ended up getting a really bad case of the flu right before the race (probably was the swine flu) and all of my training went out the window because I couldn't participate. Or so I thought. After that race came and went, my running buddy and I decided, since we were already close to halfway ready having trained for the 10K, that we'd sign up for the Big Sur Half Marathon in November. I knew that I had to hold the race loosely but still train hard. And so we did. We spent our weeks doing relatively decent shorter runs and then on Saturdays we did our long run and added on a mile each week.

First of all, I must say that there is NO way that I could've done this Half Marathon without my husband and my mom. Every Saturday for the past three months Steve has gotten up very early and taken the screaming, crying baby Joshua, who was very upset his mom was leaving, and watched him until his brothers woke up an hour later. Usually at that point, if Josh was still pining for me, he'd at least be distracted by Isaac and Caleb! And every week he did it with a smile. He also came home early one day a week so that I could do a maintenance run on a weekday. And my mom, who comes out once a week for a few hours, watched the boys for me during my other maintenance run. With the boys and such I could only pull of three runs a week, with other exercise on the off days but those runs were enough to get me through and get me ready.

Cary, my running buddy, and I started off the run just like usual, side-by-side, and I stayed with her until Mile 9. It was the most beautiful morning on the coast in Monterey and it was relatively cool making it a perfect time to run. Cary is a much better runner than me (she's run in marathons before) and so, at Mile 9 I told her to go on as I knew I had to keep a tad bit of a slower pace than her if I wanted to finish strong. She ended up finishing just minutes before me. I'm so proud of her! She's a mom of two boys and her husband's a football coach...and she trained right through football season! Talk about dedication!!

Before the race, I never knew if something would come up like an injury or illness, or if it would all work out but, it did and I actually got to experience being in a big race! It was so fun! I got to participate, I never stopped and I was pretty happy with my time. I had really hoped to beat 2 hours even if it was only by a few seconds but...I ended up with a time of 2 hours and 22 seconds. Maybe next time. It was a lot of fun, very challenging and exhilarating. Hopefully I can do it again sometime in the future!!

One of the best parts was coming through the Finish Line and seeing all of my boys waiting for me. Evidently they saw me cross the Finish Line but I didn't see them. I was too focused and there were so many people!! But I saw them soon after and it was so special to me to have them there. I tried to take a picture with all of them but the sun was in their eyes and they weren't too enthusiastic...as you can see.

As a mom, it was really amazing for me to have this opportunity because my life just isn't my own anymore and that's okay. But every once in awhile, if I get to accomplish something like this that's just something I enjoy well...it's really just icing on the cake. It's a blessing. And I'm so thankful!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Eight Years Ago...

It was eight years ago this evening that my husband asked me to be his wife. I remember that it was Veteran's Day and had been pouring all day long. The rain had just stopped (much to my husband's delight) and so we trudged out to our spot at Montana de Oro, where we had our first kiss a few months earlier. Steve brought his guitar, we sang some worship songs and we were literally the only people on the cliffs. It was absolutely beautiful and the sun was setting. Before I knew it, he dropped down on one knee with a beautiful diamond ring in his hand and asked me, ME to be his wife. It still takes my breath away when I think about it.

We met young and married young. But these years with Steve have been the best in my life. They haven't always been easy and we've had to wade through trials. And I'm sure we haven't even seen the worst of them yet. However, I know that as long as I have his hand and that if we keep our eyes on the Lord, we'll make it. God will give us grace and we'll make it despite ourselves. And during these years, we've had so many joys. You see the little faces of our precious children dotting the pages of this blog. What joys they are to us.

Eight years ago I made a promise and I'm grateful. I was scared. I didn't know how it was all going to go. But I knew that I serve a BIG God who gives love and grace and mercy to all who ask. And really, I've learned and continue to learn that it's not about marrying the perfect, right person because they just don't exist. And who am I to think that I don't have any faults either that someone would have to put up with? No...it's about allowing God to make me into a better person, who is better able to love another and give up my selfishness, and I can't do that without being changed to be more like Christ...and I can't do that without God's help. It simply comes down to a choice and that choice started eight years ago tonight.

First he chose me and then I said "Yes!!" Saying, "Yes!!" that evening eight years ago has been the best thing I've ever done. And when I really think about it, it's just like Christ did for me. He chose me first. He loved me first. And then He pursued me. Why? Because of His great love for me. "...Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace...In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses..." Ephesians 1:4-7

Marriage. The gospel. Marriage is a perfect picture, an earthly mirror. A mystery. Yet, it speaks of God's redemption, relentless grace and radical love. If we can, with God's help, live our marriages like the gospel, then the world will see Him and many will come to know Him.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Getting Messy

Lately my two oldest children have been begging me to let them do Play Dough. Aaaaahhh! I thought they had forgotten we even had that stuff. Whenever I get the play dough out it inevitably ends up in hair, on clothes and stuck into the carpet no matter what I do to try and keep it contained. And frankly, that in itself drives me crazy not just the clean-up that has to happen afterward. I usually have to sweep for what seems like decades to get all of those bright, cheery colors that are polka-dotting my floor up.

So whenever they mention the word, I usually ignore them, switch the subject and try and interest them in something else. What a great mom I am huh!! I just have to maintain some sort of order and adding a messy craft into the mix is not my idea of fun. I have three little boys that are making messes every.single.day- all day long! I have to sweep three to four times a day and vacuum often just to keep a semblance of "clean" in my home. It's either that or we'll all be walking through the kitchen and getting last night's dinner stuck on the bottom of our feet! It's not that I'm trying to be so anal, but that I have to have some sort of standards right?!!

But then, Isaac my 4 year old who is like a mirror, said to me the other day, "Mom, you ALWAYS say 'No' to play dough and we never get to play with it." Okay, all right, major guilt. He's right. It's always amazes me how God uses my children to convict me of my sin (usually selfishness) faster than reading through a Proverb. Not that I shouldn't read the Bible, but I daily get reminders from my growing children when I do something wrong (am short with them, or angry) and if I'm not quick to confess, then what am I teaching them about sin, forgiveness, confession and most of all grace? I'm teaching them that I expect them to obey and admit when they're wrong but that I don't live by those standards myself-making me a hypocrite! Being a Mom can be so hard sometimes and so humbling!

So we've been getting messy and as much as it irks me sometimes, it's good for me. It stretches me and reminds me that I am daily to lay down my life for my family. So I'm picking up my cross, cleaning up the mess, trying to do it all with joy, handing out grace, asking God to fill in the gaps and realizing how much letting my children do things they enjoy, even when it's an inconvenience to me, molds me into more of what God wants me to look like. Sort of like play dough.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Morning Exercise

Just another morning at the Dauphin House. Of course, the latest fad has been to throw all of Mom and Dad's pillows onto the ground making a little landing pad to then launch themselves off of the bed at full speed. Josh has even gotten into the act a little (by accident of course) and has had a few falls off the bed! I want to be flexible and let them be boys but....I don't like having my bed messed up five times a day. Even though I do make them help me clean up. Hmmmm....but they're still pretty cute. Wow I love those boys so much!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Problem Solved

So one of the long-standing vices in my marriage has been over laundry. Don't get me wrong, it's not been a huge fight and really I've conceded much over the years. Nevertheless, as an aside, don't ask my husband about ironing and how inconsistent and horrible I am at that!! I'm still growing in this area. And he has been very, very patient with me. So we all have our strengths and weaknesses.

However, when it comes to my husband putting clothes into the hamper, there have been some problems. It's not that he doesn't get them in there, it's that he doesn't put them in the right one. Now I can kinda see how it could be confusing. We have two and they're never the same. It's not that the right one is always whites and the left is always darks. And for that I am to blame. It's just whatever gets in there first begins that pile and it stays that way until laundry day. I haven't seemed to have a problem with it much, occasionally I can get it wrong, but maybe that's because I'm usually the one starting the piles anyway. But often, the darks hamper will end up with whites in it and vice-versa and I wonder to myself how this can happen when a mere glance would show what clothes were supposed to go in there.

Of course I'm much more invested in the laundry since I'm the one who does it and so I'm sure my poor husband, who has worked all day and comes home to a brood of boys all swarming all over him, is just simply trying to get his clothes in the hamper as he changes after work and doesn't always think to look. Okay, I can give him that. And I am so thankful that he gets them in there for the most part and doesn't strew them all over the house. But I did scratch my head over this for years trying to figure out a solution to the problem since extra sorting on laundry day is not my favorite thing.

Well, through a stroke of providence, I have found the solution to the problem. Recently, our old hampers were so tattered (I had them since my college days) that we needed to get new ones. I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond in search of new hampers to adorn our closet and carry our clothes for the next five to ten years or so. There were the cadillac hampers so nice, plush and sturdy and there were the Pintos that looked like they might last a day, at least in our house. I was looking for more of a Honda. Nice looking, sturdy and affordable but definitely in for the long-haul. Anyway, I found what I was looking for and immediately realized they'd also solve my sorting problem.

Now isn't that nice!!! Now after a long hard day, all my hubby has to do is look at the color of the hamper and throw his clothes in accordingly. It's been working beautifully and all of us, myself especially, are so thankful for the new hampers. It's amazing how a little change can help so much!! Now if only I could come up with a little trick for getting myself to iron. Hmmm...I'll have to think long and hard about that one! Maybe in another five years, I'll find a solution to that one and my poor, wrinkled husband will rejoice. Maybe, just maybe.