Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy Birthday Kara!

Today is Kara's 35th birthday, and although I can't claim originality in this idea of sharing best wishes to her on this blog (see her Oct. 9 entry to me), I can claim it's appropriateness though, given our new and extended miles from most of our friends & family and how great of an idea she had. Plus, I'm not the most creative type, so...I'll borrow from her cleaverness. ;>)

First and foremost, for those who know Kara at all, we know of her deep and sincere heart for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This aspect of her life was one of the very first obvious things to me when I first met her some 15+ years ago. Unsurprisingly, it is also one of the many things I love most about her. Her heart and love for God is seen evidently through each of the fruits of the Spirit I see in her daily: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. I honestly couldn't pick any one of the nine over any of the others to be more describing of Kara.

The very next thing that comes to my mind about Kara is how great of a mother she is to our two great kids, Samuel and Sarah Grace. Although we are always trying to figure out this parenting thing, Kara has always amazed me with her never-ending devotion towards consistently seeking to not only provide them with the best home, education and opportunities, but even more so in providing them with the best mother she can be ("working" on herself, just as much, if not more, than she "works" on them). Samuel and Sarah Grace will probably never know how great of a mother she is...but I do, and I thank God daily for that. She has sacrificed so much for them and me - but counts it all a joy. She is the consummate mother - she loves them (and me) so much and so unconditionally.

Kara is also my best friend. My favorite times are when we are doing something together. We may not enjoy all of the same hobbies (knitting, reading and singing for her; soccer, chess and football for me), but she actively and regularly supports and encourages me in everything I set out to do - whether it's really trivial or not. And as you can only assume from a best friend, she is my absolute biggest encourager when I'm struggling with anything. Whether it's been the recent job uncertainties I've faced or another long losing streak in chess ;>). The other neat thing about being her best friend, is seeing what a great friend she is to others - which I know many of you can attest.

In addition to being such an amazing wife, mother and friend, she is also so talented in so many other areas. One of her passions is singing. Although she may not be the most talented/gifted singer (but she is good!), the combination of her talent along with her obvious heart for singing and passion to lead others in worship is unmistakable. She also enjoys sharing her passion with children by leading them in this at church as well.

In addition to all of these things about Kara I love, there are so many others as well. First of all, and obvious to most, is that she puts up with and loves me. That in itself deserves a lot of recognition. Secondly, is the way that she deals with her own struggles (Celiac for one). She's the last to complain about such hardships that she must deal with on a daily basis, and it's almost easy to forget she has her own problems (while she's helping us with our own). And finally, I must say, she's definitely one of the smartest people I've ever met. If it had been her desire, she easily could've been and done anything career-wise she would've liked to have done and been extremely successful. That being said, she did exactly just that - she is in fact the most amazing friend, wife and mother there could be.

We love you Kara!
Greg, Samuel & Sarah Grace

Samuel's AT-TE Walker

This is the largest Lego set Samuel has done yet.  It's also his favorite.  Thanks Aunt Kayla and Uncle Jason!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Wanna see what we do when we're bored?

We made a Christmas video.  We did it for a "contest" between our family and Dale and Kirsten's.  We had a lot of fun making it with our family and the family next door.   So here it is....but before you hit PLAY,  make sure you have your speakers up and then scroll down to the very bottom of the blog to the music player and click on the PAUSE button, so that you will only hear the music in the video.

Well, I hope that brought some smiles to your day!  


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Addendum to Arctic Blast....

Here are some more pics for your viewing enjoyment!  The dog in the pics is Sadie, the dog-next-door.  She is sweet and a faithful running companion!  The other pics are from Halloween when Samuel and Sarah Grace dressed up as Superman and Supergirl.  I have also included a couple of pics from the Awana grand prix where Samuel's car, 'Spike' won second place for speed and Sarah Grace's car "Ocean on Wheels",  won first place for design.  The kids totally designed the cars themselves and both cars excelled at what their designers had in mind.  It was a fun day.


The Arctic Blast and other happenings....

There is currently about eight inches of snow on the ground outside our house.  All of this winter weather started exactly one week ago with a storm that caused churches and schools to be cancelled for the following week.  Just when the ice and snow had thawed, we got hit with another storm.  This one, it seems, is even worse than the first.  There is a layer of ice about 1/4-1/2 inch thick laying on top of all of the snow that came before it.   The town of Lake Oswego has pretty much shut down.  
Church was cancelled for the second Sunday in a row, so our next-door and across-the-street neighbors all joined at our house for an impromptu worship service led by Miguel (our super nice, very talented next-door neighbor).   We sang songs and read some Advent scriptures and prayed.  After that, Miguel declared he was feeling cabin-feverish and so we all joined him in walking to Starbucks.  Starbucks didn't have any electricity, so they were closed as was just about every other business except for Albertsons.  So we went there and picked up some items to add to the Carne Asada dinner that Colleen is making for all of us tonight.   Colleen, for those of you who don't know, is Miguel's wife and my best friend in Oregon :)!
Greg and Sarah Grace decided they wanted burgers for lunch and so they walked back to the store (which trust me, is no easy task right now).  As I started writing this the snow has started falling again and it's coming down pretty heavily.  I just heard a terrible cracking sound followed by a loud thud and opened up the door to hear some guys walking and talking about how unbelievable this weather is and how they had better be careful what trees they walk under.  Apparently, a sizable limb just fell off of a tree in my driveway!  I will be glad when Greg and SG are back here safe and sound.  

Aside from the weather, we have  just been busy getting ready for Christmas.  We took the kids to see Santa a week ago this past Saturday.  That was at a local rec. center and was a lot of fun.  We have done shopping and we got a tree and decorated it with homemade decorations (since all of our Christmas stuff is in Charlotte).   In many ways, this Christmas has been "simplified" a lot, and you know what?  It's great!  I am missing my family back east pretty sorely right now, but I am also overcome by a deep sense of gratitude for all I have and for how God has so tenderly cared for us these past few months.

Greg is still playing indoor soccer for two teams.   Some of you know, I had taken up running after we moved here.  I have been sidelined for the last month though due to injuries.  I am hopeful to get back to it soon by starting with a steady walking regimen and move back into the running slowly.  
We are getting somewhat active in our church.  I am slated to sing on Christmas Eve in a trio and with the worship team and Greg has been asked to help with communion.  I am also planning (after much prayer) to lead children's worship in the new year.  
We will be sharing Christmas Eve dinner with a couple of other families from our church.  Christmas Day we will enjoy just the four of us being together.   
If I fail to write again soon, I hope everyone has a very merry Christmas!