Anybody read this?

It seems like I have had discussions about this topic with a lot of people lately. I have never linked to the Wall Street Journal before. It is a subscription paper so you might not be able to access the article. Click Here to try. If you can't get it, Google "contraception as abortion" or birth control pill draft regulation" or something like that - to see if you can get another article about it. It is pretty interesting.

"That boy." (a rare post by Mike)

"That boy" was Olivia's reply when Josie asked who had given her the baseball she is proudly displaying in the picture above. "That boy" was actually Dan Heran, (pictured below)

pitcher for the Diamondbacks who presently has the best ERA in the National League. We learned this from the fella in this picture (click to see it), who was standing beside us at the left field wall during batting practice. I think Heran was a little bit offended when he handed us the ball and then heard me say "who was that?" Sorry to Mr. Heran for not keeping up with my SportsCenter lately. And Olivia expresses her thanks to him. She carried that ball around for most of the game and a good bit of the day today.
We forgot to take our camera to the game this time, but the Padres' photographer took this shot (again, click here to see it) of us before the game started. This was just our second game, and we took blankets and sat on the lawn in right field with our friends Joe and Josie. The park in the outfield is probably our favorite feature of PETCO Park.

La Jolla

I apologize for the lack of creativity in my post titles these days. I mainly just want to keep this stuff up to date for family that is so far away. Once again Mike was behind the camera last Saturday. We picked up In and Out Burger for our picnic and that is my new favorite (actually, only favorite...with the exception of maybe Qdoba) fast food. Those burgers are G.O.O.D. - even cold, which is what they were by the time we found a parking place and got situated. This is me and O. getting started while the boys found a parking place.

This was a great day for Olivia since we got to see a bunch of seals. There were two on this rock until a huge wave crashed over it - then there was one. It was pretty funny because after the wave hit, this guy kept looking all around like "what the heck happened to Frank?!" - or whatever his name was. He even hopped up to the edge of the rock like he was looking over.

That black dot at the front of that white cap is a seal. At times he was only about 10 feet from the shore. I think he was ready to get up and sun but all the people wouldn't go away.

We are now standing on that cove beach you were looking at in the previous picture.

Walking Joe

He is officially a pedestrian, though he still chooses to crawl most of the time - I think because he forgets he can walk...and he can crawl at like mach 8. The additional cheerleader is Josie. She and her husband are here from Covenant as well interning with us.

and this?

...and this...


Joseph on the G words

Listen carefully. Can you tell the difference between this...

Solitude or Selfishness?

Mike's mom got me a 2 year!! subscription to Real Simple for my birthday last year. I am thoroughly enjoying it - even though it often takes me an entire month to get through an issue. This month in the Letter from the Editor, she focused on the importance of (women particularly) taking time for yourself. I have to admit that I do crave that. I think I need it - especially being the introvert that I am. (And it took me years, by the way, to realize I was actually an introvert. I really love being with people and studying them. I was a sociology major in college - which is why I had to get a masters degree. Sociology leaves you with little in the way of marketable skills when you graduate. Anyway, it took me a long time to realize that I needed to be alone in order to have the energy to be with people.)

Back to the letter. To prove her point the editor gave a 5:30 a.m. to 10:45 p.m. detail of her day. A day in which the only time she spent with her 1 yr. old was to feed him (dinner), bathe him, and put him to bed. She did nothing with friends and only saw her husband once in the morning - and may not have even talked to him. Her praise for herself at the end of the day was that she had taken time for herself - to exercise.

I started wandering if this whole idea of time to myself is actually biblical? Or is it a construct of a narcissistic culture? Or is it just that the culture has misunderstood the point? Is it a matter of the heart - our motivation for seeking the time and what we do when we have it? Should time alone only be spent in prayer or devotion, like Jesus? I mean, I don't remember ever reading that Jesus and the disciples ever took time for a jog or a massage or wandering the aisles at an antique mall - just to relax. Almost every godly, empty nested woman I know has encouraged me at some time or another to take time for myself. The devotional writers, like Nouwen and Foster, talk about the importance of solitude, though they typically define it in terms of some sort of spiritual reflection or devtional activity.

In my life I am doing good to get any time alone and there is constantly the dilemna of how to spend it. You see how I am spending it right now. (I am also watching a cooking show - we don't have cable at home.) I am sure this whole issue is addressed somewhere in my worldview, but Joseph continues to rise at 5:30 a.m. and thus my thinking continues to be a bit fuzzy. But I need some answers because until recently the only place I even had a chance of being alone was the bathroom. In our house in St. ouis I could sneak around the corner to the bathroom and use it without anyone ever noticing. In our condo here in San Diego, everyone sees when you leave the room - and now Olivia skips after me excitedly inquiring (eyebrows raised), "Momma, are you going pee or poop?" And then she designates herself my personal toilet paper butler. "Just a yittle bit more, Momma?"

City Gardener


A lot of the trees in California look like Dr. Seuss characters.

About Harbor

I thought that I would give a little information about Harbor Church and our internship - for those of you who don't have all the details.

Harbor started about 9 years ago with one location - downtown San Diego on 5th and G. It meets in the theatre building pictured here. This was the first site we visited. Harbor is one church with multiple sites - they currently have eight sites with a ninth in the "launch phase."

It is really incredible how it all works and I will just explain it from the "wife of an intern perspective" and Mike can correct anything I misrepresent.

There is one church office - downtown. One (small) administrative staff and one Session. You can imagine all the ways this cuts down on costs, but there are far more interesting benefits. When a planter goes out to a new community he goes with the support of an established session, administrative resources, and some financial resources. He still has to raise financial support to support his family and the ministry until the plant is strong, but he is not sent out alone to start from scratch. Furthermore, typically the planter has lived in the planting community for a time and established relationships - the people from his "launch team" - to use their language - are not just people from the Harbor home church, but they are primarily people from that community - another way he goes with strong support.

Another unique aspect of Harbor is how the pastors work together. Many churches long for unity among pastors in their cities and towns. It is difficult for this to happen if they rarely see each other and thus rarely get the opportunity to share in the ministry of the gospel together, work through conflict together, etc. I am by no means setting Harbor up as the perfect model of ministry or church planting, but we are sure observing the sanctifying benefits of pastors working so closely together.

All of the Harbor sites are on the same preaching schedule. For example, right now they are all preaching through Ephesians. One thing that has impressed me is the diversity in individual congregations and across congregations. Last Sunday we worhipped (at one service) in three languages. This morning's service was about %50 various Asian ethnicities - last week Hispanic and African. Two weeks ago we worshipped downtown with business folks, empty nesters, some young families, and a few homeless. The Uptown site reminds us the most of Crossroads - only instead of a 1970's church building they meet in an early 1900's Lutheran church. We go here every Sunday evening and then visit the other sites in the a.m.

That is probably enough information for now. There is plenty more to tell, but I don't want to write too much in one post. Please continue to pray for our learning while we are hear. I can certainly give testimony already to the Lord's faithfulness to grow us as a family, strengthen our marriage, and broaden our understanding of the wider Kingdom of God.

Mission Beach

We finally had our first official beach outing. We met up with some friends who had long surpassed the simple, plastic pail and shovel. They had authentic, dirt shoveling shovels and a slew of masonry tools.

See Joseph and Mike? It was an overcast day, which I was thankful for - there is something about baking my children on the beach that unnerves me. I hope my children look back on their childhood with fond memories. To this point I am afraid that the most they will remember is that their mother was constantly putting a hat on them, denying them oreo cookies (or anything like it), and freaking any time they touched anything in a public restroom.

This picture is more for you to see what the beach was like (and the funny move that fella is doing in the background??) than for Olivia and me. I did wear my swim suit, but contrary to our friend's report that water was not warm! I don't care about all the other people in it. It was cold. And the wind was blowing and the sun was not out! I don't care what you call me - I do not like swimming in cold water. If I cared about maintaining my fun mom/wife reputation, I would tell you I jumped off a garage roof onto a trampoline a few weeks ago. But I don't care about my reputation like that, obviously.

I love the end of an afternoon at the beach. (Sorry about the toilet in the least it was flushed.)


On Friday we drove over the bridge to Coronado Island - which I think is actually a peninsula and not an island??? The oldest and largest wooden structure in the United States is over there - the Hotel del Coronado. If you have ever been to the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island (or seen it in the move Somewhere in Time), it reminds us a lot of that. They are really generous to let non-guests tool through their lobby and use their beach. Olivia was sporting her sunglasses through most of our tour and I told Mike I felt like she belonged there more than we did. All she needed was a little of her aluminum foil jewelry.

Taking in the vista

Hiking Torrey Pines

Isn't this beautiful? We looked and looked for the California Bottle Nosed Dolphins, but to no avail. We were trying to decide whether to stay on the cliff trails or go down to the beach - time prevailed and we stayed on top. Come to find out later, Black's Beach was behind the cliffs. It's a nude beach. Glen Woita's fave. :)

Presenting the Torrey Pine (Payne Stewart and me). Obviously Mike was behind the camera most of the day.

You wouldn't believe the size of the pine cones on these things. Sorry we didn't get a picture.

Torrey Pines Beach

So, this is the second time we have ended up on a beach without our "fwim poops" on. We came to hike, but they don't let you eat on the trails (don't want to introduce people food to the wild life). So we stopped and ate our lunch on the beach. Olivia is loving the sand. I went to Target to get her a pail and shovel the other day...they didn't have any! I asked and she said it was back to school time and they are not restocking their summer items. This is the beach! It is summer year round here. But we will find her one - until then we will continue to sit close to other people who have them.

Who are these cookey people?

Joseph was confused. He thought we were going to the Torrey Pines Golf Club, not the beach.


Olivia is adding to her skill set while we are here too. She is really doing well learning to work these puzzles - to identify corner pieces and missing parts of an animal,etc. You take for granted the things that come naturally now - you forget there was a time you had to learn it.

Seaport Success

And this is why go to Seaport Village - it wears them out and they take a long nap.

Not so picture perfect

When we got there I noticed they were dressed alike and thought I would take advantage of the Kodak Moment. Oh well.

Seaport Village

I will eventually take some more pictures of the actually shopping village. In this picture the Harbor is behind Olivia and the village is behind me. About once a week I jog down there and we mess around for a while and then jog back. Ever since we got our hats wet to keep us cool on our Grand Canyon hike, Olivia wants to get her hat wet in every fountain.

Olivia took this picture. We have seen every kind of water vessel imaginable in the harbor. Ferries, cruise ships, aircraft carriers, HUGE shipping boats. You are looking toward the Navy Port.

This was cute. Joseph is becoming quite a climber. He is quick and aggressive. He will flip around and slide off the bed before you know he is gone. He is good about turning around and going backward on his belly. Apparently this hill felt steep to Joseph because he turned around and backed down the whole thing. You can see it is barely an incline - he kept stopping to look over his shoulder to see how much farther he had to go.

Suckin' Smoothies

In case you wonder what some of our normal, in-house day to day routine looks like.

San Diego Zoo

We went to the famous San Diego Zoo last Saturday and it seemed to live up to the hype on almost all fronts. This is not a monkey with a beak - his nose is white. It is a white-nose monkey - rather original name I thought.

Ducks? Yes, I know they are not terribly zoo-like, but they are still one of Olivia's favorites. I think this comes from living across from Tower Grove Park. Almost every time we say we are going some where she asks, "To see the ducks?"

We love our St. Louis Zoo - especially because it is free. But, there are times we can spend an hour or more there and only see a few animals - they are inside or hiding where you can't see them. The great thing about the SDZ is that there are enough viewing points at every habitat that you can find the animal somewhere. We saw an animal in every exhibit, except the turtles who were under construction or something - there habitat, not the turtles, obviously. The most exciting animal was the tiger who we could hear before we could see - kind of creepy.

Another negative for St. Louis - no hippo rides.

The panda exhibit was interesting. Apparently it is mucho expensive to have pandas. I think the Atlanta zoo had one for a bit. We had to wait in line for 15 minutes to walk about 30 feet through the exhibit while a lady whispered (they don't like noise - wish I could have a sign at my house that says "Please keep your voices down. Mother is sensitive to excessive noise.") commentary about pandas over a microphone. They were certainly cool to see - Mike thought it was a little underwhelming after all the hype. They are kind of like wood ducks - you just can't believe their markings are that perfect and consistent bear after bear. Olivia liked them - and they didn't seem to mind that she doesn't know how to whisper.

Non-nutritive Cereal Varnish

Product warning: I don't particularly recommend Cascadian Farm cereals due to the following - Olivia had some Vanilla Crunch yesterday morning for breakfast. Crunch, by the way is what they call a cereal that they want you to think is a great deal on granola. It is actually just flakes, rice puffs, and about two pieces of granola held together in granola-like chunks with some sort of non-nutritive cereal varnish and sold to you for about 3/4 the price of real granola. Anyway, Olivia had some yesterday for breakfast. I let her eat it sitting on the counter - it was the Sabbath after all - why not give her extra special priviledges on the Sabbath as a foretaste of our eternal Sabbath, right? (That and we don't have a kitchen table and Joseph was occupying more than his fair share of the kids' table.) Anyway again, she made a bit of a mess and in our hurry to get to church I left it on the counter. We had a long and busy (but quite worshipful and restful - more on that later) Sabbath. In our one block of time back at the condo, I chose to take a nap with the kids rather than clean the kitchen. This morning I went to wipe the counters...I had to use a knife to chisel the durn stuff off the counter top. Seriously. It would not come off! I hope the acid in her stomach does a better job than hot soapy water at breaking this stuff down! All that to say - I don't recommend Cascadian Farm cereal. You have the information - do with it what you will.

The park with the mostest

Where else can you feed a family of four for 7 bucks (thanks to July $ days - five dogs and two cokes), play in the sand, watch your old favorite home team (two homes ago), and run the bases? The Padres stadium is just a block from our condo and it is the most kid friendly ball park I have ever been in. They played the Braves and lost, unfortunately. They aren't doing too well. But it was a lot of fun and the kids made it nearly to the 7th inning and we got there an hour and a half early for batting practice. This is the kids in the sandbox behind center field during batting practice (that is me and Joe behind Olivia).

Joseph digs the dogs.

They have a miniature diamond outside the stadium where kids can play - Olivia ran the bases. Good form, eh? Elbows up, head tucked.

I am somewhat embarassed to say that I mistook The Padre for the Little Ceasar's guy - couldn't figure out the significance of Little Ceasar out on the field...turns out it wasn't him after all. Go Padres!