Monday, July 31, 2006

Birthday Sonday

Yesterday was my son's 10th birthday, and we celebrated the day with a family trip to Sea World, San Diego. More to come - gotta run.

Back again...

So, about yesterday. We (my family), my parents, and my brother and his family all converged on Sea World yesterday to celebrate Alec hitting double digits. What a day we had... from Shipwreck Rapids and waterfalls; to "Believe" and getting soaked in the zone by Shamu's splashes; to the dolphin stadium... oops, wait, he changed his mind... to the an encounter with sharks; to "we're waiting for grandpa smoothies"; to the seal lion and otter show; to bathroom pit stops; to Shamu's Fun Zone and scaling rope nets barefoot, and climbing rope ladders, and kicking Coli in the face (accidentally), and crawling through endless tubes on our knees, and jumping as hard as we could on swinging rope walkways to see which kids could remain standing; to Sea World's version of "Those Amazing Pets"; to polar bears in the Wild Artic; to a perfectly ended day eating at a salad bar without any salad. Can anyone say... Shrimp Giver????

Alec, this day was one filled with many memory-making moments! And times with extended family that we cherish now.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

O.C. Fair

1. Never been a fan of the fair... Carnie Dudes are so wrong on every single level.

2. Never been a fan of the fair... It's like a ginormous vaccuum that targets the wallet with a continuous suction until you're completely wiped out.

3. Didn't want to go to the fair last night... Refer to #2 and #3.

4. Best thing about the fair... Grilled Corn on the Cob. Scrumptious!

5. Obligation settled... I can now say that I have officially completed my Mom's Obligation of attending a teeny-bopper concert with my daughter. Jump 5 and.... was it the Bone's Brothers????

6. Most memorable moment #1... Coli and I singing at the top of our lungs and dancing like crazy girls to We Are Family (Sister Sledge covered by Jump 5).

7. Most memorable moment #2... Coli and I "groupie screaming" like all the rest of the 8/9/10 year old girls knowing it would completely embarrass Teighlor, who refused to participate in our moments of craziness.

8. Most memorable moment #3... Knowing it did completely embarrass Teighlor - or at least she pretended to be embarrassed. Deep down inside both Coli and I know that she loves the fact that she has such a "wild and crazy Mom and Cousin" who are not above making fools of ourselves for a memory-making moment!

9. Most memorable moment #4... Teighlor "just having" to get on my cell phone after we left the fair so she could groan to Kelsey about how mortified she was that Coli and I acted like "all the rest of those children" during the last song of the concert, and then hearing Kesley's comment, "Knowing those 2... I'm not surprised!" YES... we do have a reputation!!!!! *wink, wink - Coli*

10. Most memorable moment #5... Seeing how the times have changed - when you look out over an audience of pre-pubescent girls and they're all holding up cell phone cameras taking pictures of their favorite singer! What happened to Barbies, and Saturday morning cartoons, and Sorry! (the board game with the bubble in the center that you have to pop to roll your dice)?

11. Most memorable moment #6... Knowing we just participated in some more memory-making moments that will go down in the history books.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Mohave Memories

On Saturday I was driving through Laguna Beach with by SisNBff. We were talking about how our lives together will be changing… not for the worse… just a change. We are a family that is big on making memories. They are things that we will always carry with us no matter where we live, where we go. Coli was saying how we should really concentrate on making tons of memories before life changes in Texas and how every moment should be made special. Hence, the next thought from my head was…

Give us a moment, we’ll make a memory.

My thought was based strictly on what we were talking about regarding our family time, yet we both realized how great a tag line this would be for the photography business. Stranger things have happened.

These past few days have been filled with memory-making moments… from a wedding in Newport Beach where I know I had more fun than the bride, to the Laguna Beach portrait shoot where the waves decided that they were going to have fun and wreak havoc on the bridal party, to our drive home with Lauren where the evening was filled with silly conversations about bean barritas and Out and In burgers, to an awesome Sunday message spoken by the pastor but inspired by God, to a Sunday afternoon filled with moments captured on film, to our yesterday on Lake Mohave filled with sun, spills and belly flops.

I have so much I want to write about, but I just don’t have the time today. So, I will prioritize and capture those special moments of yesterday.

5:30am… Early rising, out the door, pause for a twilight photo opportunity, and pile in the truck for a 3 ½ hour ride to the river, which turned into a 6 hour cruise from our stops to eat, gas, potty and eat again.

11:30am… We made it – Lake Mohave! Time to drop the boat and drench our bodies in SPF. J’s back from parking the truck, the boat’s engine is revved up, the wind is blowing through hair, and we’ve now officially started our Funday!

11:45am… Our first chance to get wet while Jason is inflating Big Mable (ooops, I mean the Big Maple Bar – thanks, Coli!). We’ve only been on the water for 15 minutes but we’re all already overheating cuz it’s sooooo hot outside… 116 Dees-Grees! I waste no time, and am first to dive in. What’s surprising is that in this kind of heat the water isn’t as cold as we thought it would be… almost lukewarm… but still reeeefreeesshing!

12:00pm… The tube is ready to go and so are we. Coli and I strap on our life vests and jump onto the Big Maple Bar. New tube… new experiences… new thrills… new spills. Our first few rides are just setting the stage for the fun to come.

12:00-Whenever… We all take turns riding the Big Maple Bar, except for Alec and J. J was the captain of the ship, making sure the boat stayed afloat. Alec… well, he decided to cop out of the tube fun (not sure why) and saved all his energy for belly-flopping. (For a glimpse of these memory-making memories… check out the soon-coming video posting)

2:00pm (or so)… We pull into a cove, let down the anchor, and all dive in for swim time. We’re in a cove surrounded by cliffs, surrounded by beauty. I get this thought… “I wonder if one of these cliffs is accessible for cliff jumping?” You see, the other day I was told that the only way to conquer my fear of heights is to tackle it head on. YOU who gave the advice… you’re the inspiration for this next memory.

I assess the depth of the water, ask for my flip-flops, and head off to my next adventure. There’s no easy way to get up the side of the cliff… I had to pull out my “never before used” rock climbing skills to pull myself up. A bit more dangerous than I was initially expecting… considering the rocks just a mere 4 feet below the water surface waiting for my fall. But, I had already mentally challenged myself and I was not turning back… not yet, anyway. I get up to a place on the cliff where I can kind of walk/crawl along the steep incline. All I can think once I get up there is… “What was I thinking?” I’m up here all alone on the side of a cliff, my $2.50 Target flip-flops are falling apart and leaving my bare feet to endure the rocks that feel like they are heated to 200 Dees-Grees, and I’m in no protective clothing other than my bikini. I look down and all I see is the incline of a slippery-slope, and every new moment that my feet are burning, they are also losing ground on the side of the cliff. I now realize that I have absolutely NO access to the dive point from up here… something I could only realize once I was battled my way up the cliff side. Now I have to find a way back down the cliff and the nerves start to kick in. The remaining 5 minutes (which seemed like an eternity) it took me to get down I seriously prayed out loud begging Jesus to allow me the opportunity to live past this really foolish decision and get me out of this mess. Every step I took truly felt like it was going to be the one where the dirt and rocks gave way underneath my feet and I was going over the side. I felt true fear, something that’s quite unusual for me, for the few minutes it took me to get to a point where I could get myself back in the water. I finally made it, I’m sure only because of the 4 angels Jesus sent to surround me on my way down. By the time I hit the safety of the water again, I had incurred scraped knees and elbows, burned feet and hands, and somehow managed to grab a prickle bush with my bikini top and ended up with a million tiny pin-like prickles consistently poking my body. The leaves of the bush were so imbedded in my top that I had to remove it and borrow another top for the rest of the boating time. Needless to say, I will not be attempting to tackle my fear of heights like again – unless the way to the cliff is clearly carved out and set a glow for me.

3:00pm (or so)… time for capturing some more moments on video. Alec belly-flops and Coli catches an attempt at a group dive, which turns into the funniest moment on our video highlight reel. We then head out for some more tubing fun and it’s time, once again, for Coli and I to board the Big Maple Bar. Here’s my chance for reaching back into history for a moment… history that took place a mere two months ago during our first river trip this summer before Memorial Day weekend. You can read about this adventure in one of my former blogs. Anyway, back then I categorized Alec as our “safety first” guy, Teighlor and Coli as medium tubers, and me as the high tuber… all relating to the speed at which each person was willing to be pulled. This time around I was so proud to promote Coli from the medium to high-medium because of her willingness to ride with me and let whatever happens…. Happen. Because of her “throw caution to the wind” attitude, I had the BEST EVER ride of my life – even beating out those moments where I rode by myself, caught air, and skipped across the lake like a smooth rock. Her screams, her noises, her looks… I laughed so hard while we were tubing that I almost lost all strength to hold on. At times I couldn’t even get enough breath to make a laugh noise… I just had my mouth open waiting for my stomach to catch up to my laughter. Coli, I will never forget those two rides, back and stomach, with you. By far, the best moments EVER!

Teighlor and Lauren then take to the tube and give us awe-inspiring moments of profound tubeness. You girls rocked that tube like no other. You held on in moments where we for sure thought you were going to eat lake water. Teighlor, watching your body flail around like a rag doll at times when you could barely hold on… priceless. And you’ve both proven that you deserve to be promoted to “high-medium”. When you can ride the tube by yourself and still survive bone-crushing falls like me… then, and only then, will you be promoted to HIGH!
5:00pm (or so)… Teighlor and Lauren are partaking in the ride of their lives… and the boat stops. Boat’s broken down… not good. Jason spends the next hour trying to get us going, but it just isn’t happening. He flags down a Good Samaritan family who generously offers us a tow back to the launch site. Well, just like cars, boats break down too. At least we got our day filled with fun before this mishap.

6:30pm… We finally make it to Harrah’s buffet for an hour of stuffing our faces with good food – something we were all looking forward too after expending so many calories on the lake earlier in the day. I wonder who ate the rest of my Boston Baked Beans?????

8:00pm… Food’s consumed, it’s in the process of digesting in our tummies, and it’s time to pile back in the truck and head home. We’re all EXHAUSTED… tons of sun, water, tubing and food will get the best of anyone. We did make it home by 11:45pm… great time considering we were only doing 35mph!!!!! *SMILE*

What an absolutely FABULASH day it was…

Oh, almost forgot two special memories of the day…

“Oh, that’s what it’s called. A crop.”

“We’re 2/3 of the way there.”… “So we only have 2/3 left to go???”…. “Oh, I mean 1/4th.”


Friday, July 21, 2006

My Journal Stones

It's always important to leave a stone behind in life -- not to find your way back -- but to help you treasure where you have journeyed with the Lord. (phrase "borrowed" from my Coli)

My stones are the blogs I write about my life; the emotions I go through; what impacts me; and how the Lord works in and through me. By leaving these journal stones I can always look back and see what God has done.

Sometimes and Always -- by Me
Sometimes I am amazed at how easily I lose faith in the God that I serve.
Sometimes I am amazed at how easily I am discouraged by situations that are beyond me and my control.
Sometimes I am amazed at how easily my focus is taken off of God's Sovereignty and instead captured by people.
Sometimes I am amazed at how hard it is to trust in my God who has never let me down; never let me go.
Sometimes I am amazed in the fickleness of my emotions.
Sometimes I am amazed at how easily my heart becomes divided between extreme faith and extreme doubt.


I am always amazed at how God sees me, in spite of how I see myself.
I am always amazed at how God uses circumstances to get my attention.
I am always amazed at how God draws me to Himself despite the stubbornness of my heart.
I am always amazed at how God is patient with me, giving me just enough space to recognize my need for Him.
I am always amazed at how quickly God will answer my cries to Him, even when I put distance between us.
I am always amazed at how the God who created the universe knows every thought of mine before I think it; every word I'll say before I say it; every thing I'll do before I do it.


I will continually be amazed at how God... who knows me better than I know myself... who sees my heart for what it really is and not what I try to pretend it to be... loves me in ways that I will never understand until I stand before Him.

Search me, oh God, and know my heart, test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. ~ Psalm 139:23-24

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Hebrews 6

I read through Hebrews 6 today, read through several different translations as I usually do when studying. The different translations give me a complete understanding of word usage and meaning.

Hebrews 6 has a lot to it, but the 4 points that I could sum up from this chapter are:

#1 - Don't be content by remaining in the "milk" of the word. Once you have learned the basics it's time to be challenged by God, it's time to move to the next levels and a deeper relationship with Christ. It's great to hear of and understand the basic tenets of Christianity... baptism, resurrection, eternal judgment. There's so much more to the Bible than knowing of the death of Christ. Let God show you... invest the time to learn and study.

#2 - I'll let the translation from The Message speak for itself on this one... Once people have seen the light, gotten a taste of heaven and been part of the work of the Holy Spirit, once they've personally experienced the sheer goodness of God's Word and the powers breaking in on us—if then they turn their backs on it, washing their hands of the whole thing, well, they can't start over as if nothing happened. That's impossible. Why, they've re-crucified Jesus! They've repudiated him in public! (Hebrews 6:4-8)

#3 - When God makes promises it is impossible for Him to break them. When He promised Abraham that He would bless him with everything... He swore this on his own name. God's word is unchangeable... therefore, so are His promises.

#4 - Because God's Word and His promises are unchangeable, we who are Believers can take refuge in Him with courage...

Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can take new courage, for we can hold on to his promise with confidence. This confidence is like a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain of heaven into God's inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest... (Hebrews 6:18-20)

When I read these last few verses of Hebrews 6, I was moved by the words. The picture of these verses is magnificently beautiful...

We flee to our Lord, our refuge, with complete courage... no doubt... because we know that His promises are unchangeable... and because of this we are completely confident in our God. This confidence is the anchor for our lives... one that is strong and trustworthy. We never have to worry about whether that anchor is going to hold, even in the strongest of storms. The confidence we have in our anchor, our Savior, is what takes us straight to God's throne room, where Jesus sits at the right hand of God... always in intercession for us.

"Abba, Father. I know that my priorities have been out of order these past weeks... from baseball, to work, to fun. I have put you at the end of the list too many days. Thank you for calling my heart to your side today. Thank you for bringing me into your throne room during my worship with you today. Thank you for always meeting me."

Saturday, July 8, 2006

Waiting Impatiently for Texas

The following is my response to a blog I read tonight... a blog written about God teaching patience through waiting. I am posting it on my blog site because I wanted to be able to look back and be reminded of all that God had us waiting for... as he checks each one off the list. Until then.... PATIENCE.

"Oh my gosh and golly... I think everyone in this household can relate to your blog. Patience is something we are all being taught because, just like you, we all believe that life is waiting for us in Texas... until then, WE WAIT!

I, too, believe that my future hubby is waiting for me in Texas... waiting for the Lord to move my butt out there so he can meet me... and I, him.

My kids' future Dad is out there... waiting for the Lord to move their butts out there so he can meet them... and them, him.

Jason and Coli's future children are out there (or the place where they can start the process is anyway)... waiting for the Lord to move their butts out there so they can meet their new parents... and they, them.

Coli's future clientele is out there... waiting for the Lord to move her butt out there so they can meet her... and her, them.

Alec's baseball future is out there... waiting for the Lord to move his butt out there so it can welcome him... and him, it.

Teighlor's abundant life and all the things she longs to be a part of (and can't be in Dirt Town) are out there... waiting for the Lord to move her butt out there so they can find her... and her, them.

Alec and Teighlor's future best friends are out there.... waiting for the Lord to move their butts out there so they can meet them... and them, them.

Gosh, so much to look forward too! Until then.... PATIENCE!"

Thursday, July 6, 2006

15 Minutes of Fame

We had our first game tonight of the 2006 All-Star Tournament -- and we walked away with our first WIN!!!!!

God blessed Alec abundantly tonight. Not only did he get the call to pitch the first game, but he pitched a complete game and got the win. He also went 1 for 2 with a double, and had 5 put outs of his own. Overall, he had a hand in 15 of the 18 outs for the game (10 K's and 5 Assists).

His pitching Stats... 6 innings pitched (96/32/51), 26 batters faced, 10 Strike Outs, 1 Walk, 6 Hits, 1 Run, 1 Earned Run.

Alec.. the Lord had his hand on you tonight! What a fantastic way to start the tournament!

Ohhhhhhh! More update after the fact. We found out this morning that our All Star game was highlighted in our local paper, and Alec received mention. This is the article...

A.V. American edges Hesperia American
FROM STAFF REPORTS, VICTORVILLE — Alec Brewton tossed a complete game to help Apple Valley American (A) beat Hesperia American (One) 2-1 Thursday night at Hook Park in a 9- and 10-year old baseball All-Star game. Cody Mudford drove in the go-ahead run for Apple Valley in the fourth inning with a single. Hesperia’s Cesar Godinez threw a complete game and struck out 10 batters in a losing effort.

Boy, I wonder what it feels like to have your 15 minutes of fame at 9 years old??????

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

For My Son

Alec, I am so proud of the year you've had in baseball. Your team (Yeah Angels) came in 1st place... with an undefeated season, no less! That's a major feat in and of itself.

Then your team took 2nd place in T.O.C. -- a noteworthy finish -- beat by the only team that could have taken top place from you guys. (Great playing White Sox)

At the Closing Ceremonies your coach introduced you as the THEE player for all coaches to look for in the draft next year -- and even called you, in his opinion, the best pitcher in the league this season. Not too shabby a compliment, considering that you were one of only twelve 9-year olds in a division dominated by 10 year olds.

Then we got the call that you had been selected to the 9/10 year-old All-Star Team! One of only four 9-year olds to make the "A" team. Your coaches have talked you up as possibly the best pitcher on a team loaded with a pitching bench 9 players deep.

Tonight your All-Star team had their last practice before the tournament starts tomorrow. You boys have been busting your butts -- more accurately, the coaches have been busting your butts -- 6 nights a week, 3 hours each practice, to get you ready. It's been a long 3 weeks, but (finally) tomorrow night we'll get to watch as your team takes the field for their first game.

Alec, your passion for this game has driven you to practice almost every day this season -- sometimes more than once a day if you and I had the time (or the daylight) to be outside. You committed yourself to improving your pitching... having me catch your fastballs and change-ups over and over again until your speed and accuracy and delivery were spot on. And your dedication paid off. You have grown leaps and bounds as a pitcher this year!

But, most importantly, you have never boasted in your skills... and that's what I'm most proud of in you. You have remained humble because you understand that all of this is a blessing from your Heavenly Father... He chose to gift you with talent and a deep passion for the game that is unusual in a boy your age. Always keep this perspective... give all the glory to God for all that comes your way (baseball related or not)... and He will continue to bless you.

No matter the outcome of tomorrow night's game or the rest of the All-Star Tournament, I want you to know that you make me so proud to sit in the bleachers and be known as Alec Brewton's Mom. Play hard, play fierce, play fun tomorrow... enjoy your night! And in all innings, whether on the field or in the dug out, appreciate every moment! We will all be there to cheer you on!!!!

I love you, Bud!
~ Mom

Sunday, July 2, 2006

From Tragedy to Triumph

I wanted to write this blog on Friday after picking my son up from Summer Blast (a.k.a. Vacation Bible School), but I wasn't home and didn't have access to the internet.

The last 3 to 4 weeks have been draining... both emotionally and spiritually. Just when we thought a season of mourning was over, another one would begin. We went from a family that hadn't experienced death in so many years, to a family that is now too familiar with death and all that it brings... from emotional lows, to re-evaluating life, to understanding God even more deeply than one thought possible.

Needless to say, these past few weeks have taken their toll but they have also been eye-opening. We have realized that even tragedy doesn't always bring people close to you -- or make them reach out admist the trial going on. "They say" that in times of trial you will see very clearly those that truly love you. But the other side of the coin is still there... you will also come to realize that there are people in your life who are only capable of being with you as long as all is going good. It's not the kind of love that run deeps because it's capable of being turned on and off with flow of good and bad. It's discouraging, but unfortunately, it's also part of life.

All of this is written because it preceeds the joy I was blessed to be a part of this past Friday... and showed me that even in times that are hard, where the storm seems unending, God still finds ways to shine rays of his Son's light into my life.

This past Friday was the end of a week of VBS for my son, and parents were invited to attend that last 1/2 hour... to catch a glimpse of just a part of what the kids experienced that whole week. I went with my daughter and walked out a half-hour later with my eyes focused on the glory of Jesus... something that's been hard to focus on lately.

During the 1/2 hour I was there they played a 5 minute video where kids from different grade levels were interviewed and asked what they had learned over the week. Parts of it were cute and parts were funny but the part that brought me to tears was when several kids said that they had learned about who Jesus was for the first time and had asked him into their hearts.

Then, near the end, the youth pastor had everyone bow their heads and close their eyes... and then he extended an invitation to all kids who wanted to accept Christ, who hadn't done so during the week. Instead of asking the kids to raise their hands or come up to the stage, he simply asked the children to repeat his prayer out loud. Once again, I was brought to tears as I listened to a large number of children repeat the sinner's prayer. To hear all those little voices ask for forgiveness and invite Jesus into their hearts... well, I could only imagine the smile Jesus had on his face, the love and joy radiating from his eyes, as he saw into each and every little heart and watched it change... from one that was lost to one that now knew the One who saves.

Simple words from simple kids... yet they brought me to tears because all I could think was... "this is what life is all about... Jesus saving the lost" -- and watching anyone discover Jesus for the first time, especially children, and then hear of their joy in choosing him as their Savior... well, it was a bit emotionally overwhelming. After weeks of experiencing so much loss, I think my heart just broke open, and it felt so good to experience life again... be in the midst of hearts turning towards Jesus and eternal destiny's changed. It's the shot in the arm I really needed.

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." ~Matthew 19:14