Tuesday, February 26, 2013


I just need a little change in my perspective. I find that when I read quotes by Mother Teresa my heart wrenches in a desire to do and be more. Here is one such quote.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Daily Devotion~ When an Apology Never Comes

*This devotional hit me in such a profound way that I had to post it. Not only did it bring healing to some damaged areas of my heart, I realized that I must not be the only one out there that has been in this situation. So often we forget that we can only take responsibility for our OWN actions and not the SHAME that follows when we are forced to believe we've done something wrong...when in fact, we have not. If you are in this season of life when this is absolutely applicable to you, know that you are NOT alone and I, for one, am praying for you.* 

By Stephanie Clayton
Daily Devotion for February 19, 2013
When an Apology Never Comes

"For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1 (ESV)

Numb to the pain, I sat in my counselor's office to talk about the rape that occurred 10 years prior. I wanted to share what happened but the words would not come. Even if they did, would I feel better? I hoped so, but doubted the process. This part of my life had been hidden for 10 years; surely another 10 wouldn't hurt, right?
Although I wanted desperately to run, I desired freedom more than escape.
Freedom from nightmares, uncontrollable mood swings, panic attacks, and the feeling of gasping for air. Freedom from unforgiveness. Hiding any longer from my pain would never help me move forward. So I stayed in counseling.
Uneasy, I described what happened. The sounds, sights, and smells returned as if it were yesterday. I was left wanting one thing.
An apology.
Couldn't someone say they were sorry for what happened? Not a shallow apology, but one that would restore meaning to my life. One that would somehow return my loss of innocence. Surely an apology from the man who raped me would make a difference, right?
After 10 years, I knew I wanted freedom from the unforgiveness that seemed to enslave me. But how was I supposed to forgive when he never said, "I'm sorry"? I spent a lot of time praying and studying how to move forward when bitter and angry. How to forgive when an apology never comes. Along that journey, I learned a few things.
First of all, for forgiveness to bring freedom, I had to offer it freely, with no strings attached. Not because the person who hurt me earned it, but because it's Christ's gift. If you are a Christian, no one's sin, not even your own, has the right to hold you captive. That means you are free to forgive.
You may not feel like forgiving, but that is where you ask for God's strength. Ask Him daily for help until you are able to offer forgiveness freely to yourself and others.
Second, I had to release my shame. Often when someone hurts us, we blame ourselves. If we had been a better person, done something differently, or spoken more assertively we could have avoided what happened. Right? Wrong! Pressing shame and blame upon ourselves is not conducive to freedom and healing. Galatians 5:1 says, "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."
Shame is a yoke of slavery. Instead of accepting shame, choose to stand firm in Jesus' love. Stand firm in His freedom that releases you from shame. Because of His sacrifice on the cross you are free!
Third, I had to keep walking forward. To move past your past you must walk through it to move beyond it. This might involve time and professional help ... but here's the freeing part: your past does not define you, Christ does!
I never received an apology from the man who raped me. But I've come to realize that even if he were to apologize it would not make up for the hurt he caused. His apology could not and would not set me free.
Freedom is not contingent upon receiving an apology from those who have hurt us. Instead, forgiveness leads to freedom and is possible because Christ's death on the cross set us free.

Dear Lord, thank You that Your death on the cross gives us all the strength we need to forgive those who have hurt us. Where there is unforgiveness, uproot it with grace. Allow Your mercy to fall on the burdened places of our hearts and minds and show us the areas we need to be set free. Thank You that Your grace, always has been, and will always be, enough. In Jesus' Name I Pray, Amen.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

How He Loves Us - David Crowder (Matt Chandler & John Piper)

House Full of Fences

YIKES...thats all...just YIKES. LOL!!! Joshua learned in the last 2 weeks, literally, that he doesn't have to squawk to call his personal valets in order to travel about the house. As an army crawling maniac, Josh discovered he can get some place a lot faster and exactly where he wants to go. I think because Duncan was 4 1/2 when Josh came home I had forgotten about baby gates and busy bodies into EVERYTHING. Joshua is just this type of boy...he is into it all! It makes me laugh at the onset of these discovery moments, but am soon frustrated because he's not a quiet baby to just move on to the next thing. No way...he's letting me know LOUD AND CLEAR that he's slightly irritated that the cupboard door is not cooperating with his particular desire. Or I don't hear him for a few seconds, only to realize that he's a fast little thing, and find him halfway up our staircase! Yeah, its slightly frightening to say the very least. I have 3 older tattletales who are more than happy to assist the climb or scare the crap out of me by screaming that 'Joshua is on the stairs' as though he's been badly mauled and bleeding out.

 He's a VERY busy boy. I was silly enough to think that I really wanted him to be mobile. Well, now he is and I'm not sure what to do! 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Monsoon in Your Lagoon

Well, so it wasn't a lagoon...per se...fine...it wasn't at all. It was Sterling Reservoir and definitely not a tropical getaway. BUT! It was a getaway from Greeley, and that is pretty tropical as long as I use my imagination!!! Hahahaha and let me inform you...this getaway was interesting to say the very LEAST. I will hint to the monsoon part being very very real though.

We left with my parents for Sterling the weekend after Memorial Day. I'm actually giggling because it was so memorable that we may not go back to Sterling...ever...to camp...ever.

 And if we ever do, we will be triple checking that our camp site is not at the bottom of the entire area where any and all rain water drains toward and ends up flooding. (Yeah, you'd think that since summer thunderstorms are normal the campground would inform you of the possible risk of flooding should you even show interest in that specific and particular area.) We packed up all of our camping gear and my parents lead the way ahead of us in their new boat. This aquatic machine is only new to them, but was brand new in the 1980s. Its awesome regardless and definitely serves the purpose of fun in the water, but its very heavy and was about to show us who was boss!!!

My dad has always loved sailing. As a little girl, we lived in California for a time and my parents would take me sailing with them. Unfortunately I am TERRIFIED of water. I have a hard time getting into a public pool. I know that there is chlorine in the water. I know that there is no way possible for a shark to be in that water, let alone living and moving. It still doesn't dispel the fear in my head that the moment I even stick my toe in the water a shark has been alerted and thinks, "Crispy Creme!!!" or "Hot Pocket, warm and ready to be eaten." I realize its irrational. Guess what: I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU SAY. And thats just in a pool!!! Imagine how my breathing increases when its merky reservoir water and theres no way to see the bottom...or 3 feet from you. Yeah the very thought makes me shudder uncontrollably. Fortunately, my children ALL LOVE the water.  So back to the weekend. My parents have been begging for a time to take our kids out on the lake and take them tubing. I LOVE tubing. I'm really good at it too because I don't want to get eaten by any sharks and the death grip on the tube makes it impossible to shake me off. Naturally I want my kids to all experience this kind of excitement. The bummer thing about tubing is that the tube is generally huge and no amount of blowing up by a human really gets the tube ride-ready. Memo to Grandpa: remember the compressor.

We got set up with our tents and got dinner going. What says camping more than sloppy joes? Well, maybe hotdogs says camping better...lol  After dinner we decided to continue our little family tradition of going to Dairy Queen for sundays.

Poor Nafe got to stay in the back of the car. As you can see, she wasn't all that impressed. We enjoyed what we thought was an extravagant lightening display as we headed back to the campgrounds. Never in a million years would we have thought that display would soon be right over us and we were definitely NOT enjoying it. Keep in mind too, that this was 4th of July weekend and the campgrounds and town of Sterling were completely packed with people.

My parents are camping kind of people. I grew up knowing that summer always included a camping trip. I will say that this is the very first time we have ever camped in an actual camp site. No really, my dad grew up in Creede, CO and Leadville, CO so camping means going back at least 20miles into the wilderness and living off the land. I don't live off the land well and so as a kid camping also meant a time of fasting because I HATE fish. I LOVE to fish for the little buggars and I'm pretty good at it...but I won't eat them. I enjoy catch and release. My dad likes to catch and eat. EW. We've taken our kids camping a few times now and they all LOVE it. Duncan really loves being able to pee outside without consequence!! HAHA My dad has gotten a lot of really cool things that makes camping a bit more fun now that he has a huge tent with a stove in it and a type of shower thing...hey, these are awesome considering that growing up is was campfires and wet wipes!

Anyway, as we got back to our site the rain had begun. We are in a rain RESISTANT tent...that is NOT the same as a WATERPROOF tent. Very important to point this out. A small, yet important fact. My parents were going to sleep under the canopy thing, but the lightening was a pretty big deterrent since its got metal pieces, so they opted for the boat. Apparently the seals on the windows up front were not sealed well because as soon as the rain began POURING, my poor parents raced back to our large tent. The problem wasn't just the copious amounts of rain, but that I noticed rain dripping on my face and sleeping bag. My kids were also becoming aware that they were not dry either and the lightening was like someone's headlights flashing every few seconds and the thunder was deafening. The storm's power was absolutely amazing. I haven't really been out in storms like this (go figure) so being smack dab in the middle of it with my 4 babies wasn't exactly 'fun.' Joshua was completely passed out and he was in his bassinet. The girls and Dunc all had their own raised cots. Rob and I were on a big blow up and even with all of our weight, suddenly we both realized that we were FLOATING.
as you can see, everything was pushed to the south side of the tent. It was a mad dash OUT f the tent
 About that time was when my parents rushed in and began throwing their stuff in and noticed, hey, its not dry in here either. We sat for a few minutes debating if the storm was passing or if it was just beginning. As we were coming to our conclusion, a MASSIVE bolt of lightening struck the metal picnic table 5 feet from our tent and the electrical current actually traveled our way. Rob sat straight up, grabbed me away from the tent wall and grabbed some shoes. It was pointless because as he stood up our tent floor RAISED UP AROUND HIS FEET BY 6 INCHES!!!!!! I wasn't kidding, our site was the focal point for any and all water from the ENTIRE campground!

this is an 8in hole right outside of our tent door.  I stepped into it on my way out and it went up to my shin

Rob was yelling at me to hand him different kids while he ran them up to the car and threw them in.  I was scrambling for bags and clothes and stuff we'd need going to a hotel for the night. Rob didn't understand my thinking and was nonetoohappy about me gathering items other than our children. He had just thrown Duncan in the car when a bolt hit right by the car and it zapped Rob as he was closing the door and stunned him for a few seconds. Oh and did I mention that the people just next to us had a big sail boat with their MAST UP!? Yeah...it was that warm, fuzzy kinda feeling we will always remember. Its midnight at this point and neither my mom nor dad had grabbed their glasses before exiting the tent or boat. This isn't exactly safe since my dad is driving in rain so thick you can barely see the road without vision issues. I was frantically calling every hotel in Sterling. Apparently every angst-filled teenager was put on the night shift because I didn't talk to any friendly people. Finally, we found 2 smoking rooms at the Motel 8. Let me just say that while I am grateful that we actually found 2 rooms to stay in, this was a time warp to the 80s and I wouldn't have been surprised to see Chevy Chase in his white dancing shoes stroll across the poorly paneled lobby. SCARY. We all got into warm showers and bedded down for the night. We were up and back to the site pretty early since we didn't know how our stuff had faired. The canopy was still standing and you can see by the picture above the path of all the rainwater. It was really muddy, but still alright.  So since we were gluttons for punishment, we unloaded our stuff again, cleaned up our site as best we could, had lunch, and headed out on the water! It was a GORGEOUS day!

Josh isn't a huge fan of his life suit.

I wish I could remember what he's saying now.



Nafe is not only terrified of water, she's not a big boat fan either

Josh had a good time chillin with Grandma

Issi thoroughly enjoying the water

Joshua is about to experience the magic of swimming with Daddy

by the look on Rob's face, I'm assuming Joshua wasn't ready for the temperature change! LOL

CLASSIC Riggins picture.

Natty is SO cute!

I have NO idea why every picture he's making this face. TWIT.

trying to convince me that water is fun and there have been no shark sightings.

well, this is US!

yeah...I did it. And yes, I'm actually plugging my nose. 

This is when Joshua peed all over Grandma. HILARIOUS!

Our children get their love of water from their father. 
All in all it was a really great time. It was jam packed with every emotion possible!!!! We will not be going back to Sterling Reservoir to camp, but maybe if we remember to blow up the tube, we'll be back to enjoy some fun in the sun.