Saturday, December 29, 2012

Finished, but not really

So, yesterday I realized in my quiet time that I was completed my Bible in a Year.  Most people would be delighted.  But, I was finished but disappointed.  This year my delight in God's Word has been growing. Daily, I found truth about My Righteous Lord and could praise Him. Even the children joined me this year.

In the morning, I liked that I  knew exactly where I can meet my Savior and Lord and listen to HIS word.  I didn't have to flip and guess or wonder where I was going to read.  My app (You Version) which wasn't perfect, but it at least pointed me to the right scripture.  I loved that I had scheduled readings Monday-Friday.  On Saturday/Sunday, I could do other study or just reflect on the multitude of truth and conviction the Lord brought about during the week.  It was called CCV The Bible in One Year.

So, Yeah.  The good news is I can begin again on Monday!

I also wrote about this last year about Bible Reading plans.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Funny Christmas and New Things this Year

Are we losing it?

1) We wanted to continue our tradition to let the kids open one present.  However, this year, we wanted to adopt the New Jamies for that one gift.  Hence, in the morning when we open gifts, their ankles and wrist would be properly covered (all three kids grew so much this past year, their old jammies look like capris).  Guessing which present, I thought I knew.  So, we had the kids open the gifts.  WRONG - WRONG -RIGHT.  Hannah and Max both opened their gift to find NEW PAIR OF JEANS, and Bronwyn got the pjs. I just laughed until I cried. They said, "Did Bronwyn need to open jeans?" I almost wanted to open some more to "find" the pjs.  But, we resisted and smiled.

2)  Now, the kids went to bed with one in the new pjs.  Before we rested for the night, it was the time to help Santa with the stockings.  As we looked at the unnamed stockings, we had NO IDEA whos was whos.  What??  We knew the kids knew.  James said go ask (nonchalantly).  Bronwyn is asleep. Max is asleep. So, I carefully opened Hannahs door.  Here eyes awake, "What?" she asked.  "Um, which one is your stocking?" She told me and laughed.  I also obtained the information about Max's as well.  I put my hand on her face and declared,"You will forget this." And left the room.  With the added information, I told James and the loading began.

3)  Christmas morning comes and the unveiling of gifts with grateful kids warms my heart.  However, NO PJS.  We give a look to each other, then go to the undisclosed location to find our Black Friday bags hidden.  Yeah, Christmas gifts found.  However, Hannah is taller than me so, we got the  pj for teens but, they would fit all three of our children in the pants.  I am NOT joking.  Max's one that we found, fits around his forearm and too small.

We had an amazing Christmas.  We are blessed with a wonderful family, extended family, and church family. We are rich beyond measure.

Five things that we did for the first time this year.

1) Christmas Carol singing at my friends home.
2) Ringing the bell at the Salvation army bucket at Fred Meyers on Christmas Eve
3) Cut down a real tree
4) Invited our neighbors for Christmas dinner.
5) Cookie Exchange with Bible Study Movie Night "It's A Wonderful Life"
Merry Christmas Everyone!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

How to Escape the Wind?

Often I hear people complain because of the terrible winds here in the Valley.  However I have three quick and easy solutions for you.

1) Go to the Butte.
  I have a few friends in the Butte.  Yes, it might be 5 or 6 degrees cooler, but it usually dosen't have the blazing winds.  We hike the shady side of the Butte or go tackle the Intake trail up the Mt. Peak at the end of Smith Rd.  Amazing.  I also recommend the amazing Kahtoolas.  I don't fear slipping.  I can even run down Lazy Mt. with them.

2)  Go to Hatchers.
There is many places to visit. I spent 4 days at the Government Peak Nordic/Skate ski trails down Edgerton Park Rd. just two roads pass the gas station on the left.

Today, I took the kids sledding.  It was breathtaking cold/windy but, no wind there.  Just 15 minute drive from my home.  The fun thing was that no one else knew.  We had the hill to ourselves.

3) Invest in a face mask.
I know my neon green one is not that attractive.  But, I am warm.  As long as the wind doesn't knock me over, I am not affected by the cold gust. You also can use the neck Gaiter.  But, I like my face mask, it never falls down. (enjoy the video with James Embree commentary)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Our Christmas Letter Blog

When asked the kids to write a bit of the Christmas letter I got:"I hope you have a Merry Christmas."
Asking to add some more details I got the second time: "I have a good sledding here. How is your snow? "
So, I decided to interview them. You can guess the person  or look at the bottom of the page.

What I wish I could spend my time on?
a. Build and improve things on lego
b. Go to the animal shelter or go on playdates
c. Hanging out with friends
d. Mountain biking and rock climbing
e. skate skiing, knitting, reading, blogging

I can't believe that I... (not really unbelievable)
a.climb the Butte (little mountain) over and over this summer.
d. almost have a teenager
b. don't have any friends to play with on Saturday.
c.went to drama camp.
e. learned to knit this year.

Can't wait to...
a. go Mountain Biking again. It was a blast and a workout.
b. get Christmas gifts.
c. eat more chocolate.
d. go hiking next summer.

e. see my parents this summer (hope)

If I had a $100,000 dollars I would...
a. give it to Compassion International.
b. give it to the poor and be a missionary.
c. fly to Africa.
d. give most of it away, but get a better mini van.
e. give it personally to missionaries arounds the world.

Favorite book you read this year?
b. Turtle in paradise by Wendy Max
c. Hunger Games by Susanne Collins
d. Wierd by Craig Rochel
a. The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
e. So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore

Favorite Website?
a. poptropica
e. or

Crazy thing?
a,b,c,d,e, Fire in our neighborhood

Who is Jesus Christ to you?
a. savior, someone who I really love, pretty much the ultimate scapegoat for everyone sins
b. rock and foundations, my comforter, and healer, we need him, and my shelter.
c. Father, and shepherd, foundation for my life, counselor
d. God, Savior, and Lord
e.  My Redeemer, my God, My everything

We Wish you all the best this year,
Ella for the family
a. Max  b. Bronwyn c. Hannah d. James. e. Ella

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Not me, but You Lord

A few months back, Jason from church asked James and I to be narrators for the Christmas choir production, "Hope is Born".   We said yes but only had a few practices.  However, during rehearsal my words got all mottled.  I struggled with simple words but the complicated phrases came out even more messed up.  I tend to get excited and animated with the added fact I am a champion skim-reader.  I needed help.

However, after three performances I can honestly say, God helped me.  It was about Him.  The choir hit notes that were so perfect.  At one point when the choir sang about how the baby came to die, I was moved.  I loved being a co-narrator with James from the other side of the stage.

Honestly, being able to exalt my Savior Jesus to people I love, I felt God smiling on me.  It will be a moment in my short-timeline when I can say I was experiencing God's pleasure because "God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him."  (John Piper)

 Great job to all the hard work at Lazy Mountain Bible Church and directing from Jason Patton.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Life Group

James came back from a conference and the thing that stuck out that he told me was, "People grow better in circles than in rows."  Now, I have been to many "rows" in my life and have grown.  However, the concepts and dialog with one another has been a refreshment to my soul.

Seeing people regularly means that I cannot just put on a nice outfit and smile like on Sundays.  People (at least my group), see me without makeup, feisty  not-submitting and sassy.  Not that I hide, but it is easy to smile and wave on Sundays.  But, when your in your home, life is there.  The messy bedroom life.  The hurting life.  The rejoicing life.  The praying life.  We experience one another from a variety of backgrounds, from different ages, however, our one connection (the rope that ties us together) is Jesus.

Our group meets on Fridays.  The meal that we share gives us time to unwind from the week and share LIFE together.  Tonight, I laughed so hard, I cried.  Why?  Well, somethings just need to stay in Life group.  Last week, we celebrated Joe and his quarter of a century life!  Max was so excited to make the cake (even if it was a boxed cake-which he informed Joe).  Why?  Because we love each other.

No, we don't broadcast all the pains of life, but I can trust that these people care for my needs and often pray for their spiritual growth. I hurt when they hurt, I rejoice when they rejoice.  When one gets a job (or 5) I am thrilled.  God created us to be in community.

I recently read the Lord's Prayer.  In circling the pronouns I realized that there is no... I ME OR MINE.  It is in community when Jesus taught us to pray.  Confessed sin, daily needs, and acknowledgment uses the pronouns OUR or US.  Also in Ephesian Chapter 4 the goal of spiritual growth is when we all reach maturity.  I desire that we all grow, not just me.

We recently finished Radical.  But, wrestling with the Bible and others interpretations and ideas have filled my mind with a fresh look at life around me.  I long to be mature and lack nothing.  Thank you Lord for a group with whom we all can grow into maturity.

My large church (Lazy Mountain Bible Church) is amazing.  However, Life happens in small group.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

a phone-y story

Okay, I had a little of a pickle.  It was a bit funny.  I lost my phone.  It is very uncool but durable phone.

You see, this really kind lady who calls herself "old lady" found the phone at the Museum.  I was busy knitting enjoying a Christmas Concert.  It must of fallen out of my purse.  However, when she told security, they requested that she leave it with them.  However, knowing that security people shouldn't be trusted, she wanted to find me herself.

She calls the last number I called (James) and tells him that she has my phone.  So, I called Jean the nice lady and for the next couple of days, I knew her every move.  However, she kept moving around so it was similar to nailing jello to the wall.  It was a bit challenging especially since I didn't know most of my friends numbers (on the phone) and their work schedule plus trying to recoup this phone from a very active socialite calendar from 50 miles away.

All is well, I am reunited thanks to a dear Father in law, many phone calls to Jean and another shuttle from James.

Phone is on.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

My testimony

Standing waiting for the results.  I couldn’t believe it.  The lights were intense and my heart pounding.  I was in the finals for Alaska Jr. Miss Pageant.  Just a few months earlier, I was in the exact place when Michele Shurig from Chugiak won for Alaska Young Women Pagent and I was 1st runner up. I was encouraged to enter again since I had the dress and talent prepared. 

Slowly, the announcer for American’s National Teenager called me in the top ten. Then now, with just three. I stood there shaking, holding the hands of the other two.  And the winner is.. Stacy (I think) Shurig from Chugiak.  Wow, who else can say they were first runner up to two beautiful sisters. UGH.  So close, but disappointed. However, making it to the finals I received a college scholarship in a far away place where maybe.  Just maybe, my life would be better.  
However, I am getting ahead of my self.    

I longed to have two simple things in life.  First, I wanted a family with brother or a sister.  This may not sound like much to you especially if you can remember how your brother would beat up on you or steal your toys.  But, for me, as an only child whose mother could not have any more children, the companionship of a brother or sister was my hearts desire

The second thing I wanted was riches and power.  I believed that if you had enough money and power anything is possible.   Believing “just do it” is the theme my generation adheres to, so, I made certain to work hard to be number 1.  Lying  and “advantage seeking” was the game of the day to get what I wanted.

Growing up in Alaska, I knew everything was perfect at home.  My mom loved me and my dad was my best friend.  We all played games together and worked hard hauling wood in the winter days together as a family.  I didn’t have to guess about their love for me they showed it by the many warm hugs and often told me how wonderful I was.  Even when I felt rejected at school by the cruel things kids said, my parents would say that I was special and they would always care for me.  The words, “I love you,” were proved by our long dinner conversations and gentle discipline.

When I was 12, I went off to summer camp for a week.  One day after finishing a game of capture the flag, my father unexpectedly arrived.  He told me that my mother had left us.  My picture perfect family was completely disintegrated.  I felt abandoned and confused.  How could my mom leave us?  I thought she loved me.  I was deeply hurt.  Became angry on the inside, but put on a smiling face for the world to see.  I was ashamed that my family was broken up.  The one thing (my parents love) that I relied on for security was now gone.  

My dad remarried and my new mom was fun at first.  After a while, I felt like I was in a battle for my fathers love.  We clashed about everything from how I vacuumed to the way I talked.  I wanted to wedge dissatisfaction into the marriage so my dad would choose me.  But, I wasn’t getting love or being heard.  I spent most time in my bedroom so I didn’t have to face reality.

It was at that time, I decided to look for the lost affection from a guy.  After all, Hollywood promotes the tall, dark, and handsome guys.  I wanted a man that would fight for me, care for me and not LEAVE me.  Soon, I found my sweetheart! He was tall with brown hair and blue eyes.  I spent countless hours on the phone, walking hand-in-hand, for three years.  We were inseparable.  I put all my trust in him.  When he was sad-I was sad.  When he was happy-I was happy.  If I wasn’t with him, I was thinking of him and talking about him.  We would even talk about being together forever.  One day, I got a letter explaining that my sweetheart was seeing another women… my hopes of a good relationship disappears again.  This was just another part of my life that was not real.

I was hurt.  Again, how could a man who I put my trust in let me down?  Filled with anger and hatred toward that other women, my thoughts dwelled on getting even.  This hatred brewed inside me.  Concerning relationships, I had learned a valuable lesson.  I was never going to let a man hurt me like that again.  I was going to be “in control”.  I would be the hunter and not the prey.

When I went to that far off college trying to find happiness by changing my location, I had the success and pride of starting my own theater and pizza restaurant out of an abandoned business.  The cast was featured on the 5:00 news hour for being so young and have an entrepreneurial success.  I loved the praise and attention that this business was bringing.

I had put in countless hours working to make this company a success.  Three months after the mayor cut the opening ribbon, the business professor who gave us the idea of starting the business, arranged with the bank to take over the new establishment.  I could not believe that a professor who taught me ethics and many other business classes could be so ruthless.  He even wanted me to work for him.  Tears came easily down my face, when I realized that even my accomplishments meant heart-aches.

I was alone.  All these relationships did not turn out to be what I expected.  They were like seeing a glass of cold water in the dessert heat that dissipates as you get closer …a mirage.  I realized then that nothing is as it seems.  I could not put my trust or security in other people because eventually they would let me down.

I turned to various “hiding” techniques.  I would do so by being busy so I would not allow myself to think.   As long as I didn’t have to face my true angry feelings, I was safe. I wanted to do things so that people would like me.  

If I wasn’t busy doing projects of all kinds, I was being a social butterfly.  I tried on the party hats.  At parties, I could hide my sorrows behind a smiling face.  I would work hard during the week and spend it all at the clubs.

It wasn’t long until my chosen lifestyle became destructive not just to me but to others around me.  My tongue was so full of lies that I would not even know what the truth was.  I continued to make wrong choices and ultimately betrayed my closest friend.

I continued to bury all my feelings.  People would often call me “bubbles” because of my cheery disposition.  But like a mirage, it wasn’t real.  I looked very Happy on the outside but, was really hurting on the inside.  I would often look in the mirror and ask myself “who am I really?”  My emptiness inside began to gradually erode all of my external worth.  Why should I go living?  I am worthless.  I WANTED TO DIE!

Searching for hope, I attended a church.  During the meditations and visualizations I felt so good.  I felt loved and secure.  But, when I left the building in a matter of days, I continued to look for love in all the wrong places.  My heart hadn’t changed.  Soon, I frequented the clubs again and ultimately got myself in a heap of trouble. I was trapped in the mess I made for myself.

As a Resident Assistant in my college dorm, I had to have a “spiritual program” for the students.  I wanted the local fortune teller to come.  When the psychic didn’t return my calls my friend Steve suggested that I invite the residents to a Campus Outreach program.  At the rally, I heard a classmate share “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life.”  He explained that in my life I was earning death by my wrong actions.  However, God had a free gift for me.  The gift was the death of His son Jesus.  They gave me a flyer to attend a Christmas conference, but I put that aside know that I was going to be far away.

During the Christmas break, I encountered more heartache from my relationships with men.  I happened to run across the conference brochure.  My eyes caught the headline…”More than 800 college students from the South”.  Then I thought, there must be some better MEN at the conference than the ones that I had met in the clubs.  So, I got my plane ticket changed with no additional cost to me, and I was off for the “hunt” of a lifetime.

You should have seen the look on the people’s faces when Ella showed up.  I dressed in very tight clothes to woo the men.  However, nobody was interested.

I was surrounded by women who took me in (I belonged eventhough I didn't believe like them).  During the week, I never saw so many people having so much fun without parting.  Since, the men were not paying attention to me; I had to listen to the speaker.  He had many challenging things to say.  

The speaker informed the audience that when you die you can’t take anything with you.  A coffin is not a U-haul truck.  There is something more to live for other than just material possessions.  But what?, I thought.  What was worth living for if everything we have just wastes away.

The speaker explained that God is holy or set apart, and we humans are sinful.  Our sin separates us from God.  The Bible says, All have sinned and fall short of God’s glorious standards.  People have chosen to go their own independent way apart from God.  That has broken the connections between God and people.  Because, God is holy and sin cannot be in His presence.  That was the bad news.  

The good news was that God saw our condition and sent his son Jesus to earth.  The Bible states, “But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”  (Romans 5:8)  He lived a perfect life and was sinless. He could do this because He is God.  He loved us so much that, “Christ died for our sins…they buried him, and He was raised from the dead on the third day, as the scriptures said.”  The speaker said all that I had to do was to receive His forgiveness and live for Him.

I couldn’t move.  The speaker then asked people to commit to God!  It was like I was frozen to my chair.  My mind was racing.  You see I compared my life with people around me.  “I am better them them.  I don’t need Jesus.  But, when I was confronted with a HOLY God, I knew I needed HIM.  I was amazed to find out that on the cross, Jesus died to forgive me of all the wrong things I did and would do.  I realized that his death was a gift for me and that I don’t have to do anything to earn God’s Love.  I wanted the acceptance and the forgiveness that Jesus earned for me on the cross. I had to admit my wrongs and ask God to cleanse my sins.  But, in my mind, I struggled with wanting to keep my old lifestyle. 

Still, I knew I needed something different.  I could not hide under the mask any longer.  That night I tried to convince a roommate  that I was a Christian because I had attended a church and did religious things (like summer camp).  She asked me simply, “If I were to follow you throughout the day, would I see Jesus in your life?” No, I thought. My life was about me not Him.  

Later in the evening, I walked out of the hotel room sat down on the stairs and just talked to God. I told Him how sorry I was for all the wrong I had done.  I wanted to receive Jesus’ death on the cross for my sins.  I gave God my life to use it as He wished and then I sang Amazing Grace.  After that, a real loved relationship with My Savior-Jesus finally filled the vacuum hole in my life that I had tried to fill with every evil thing.  For the first time, I felt the heaviness of my guilt lifted off my shoulders.  I was finally free! I believed.

At that conference I learned many things about my relationship with God.  Reading the Bible, I discovered it is God and God alone that can revive a dead soul.  He was my “lifesaver” and my personal friend.  God has declared in the Bible that I am his delight.  I am a child of God and nothing can seperated from HIS LOVE.  I am never alone- God will not leave me.  He took me from sinner to SAINT.  He has given me worth and a position that I could never receive by my own effort. 

I used to think that religion was about doing things.  Like going to church, being nice, or praying.  But  the Bible teaches that a relationship with Him is accomplished NOT by what I do.  It is done because of Jesus death on the cross.

He did this to demonstrate his grace which I don’t deserve in the love He showered me in Christ Jesus. If I try to be good on my own effort or strength, I am trusting me and not Christ.  

Looking back on the rough road from Make believe to the reality of knowing Christ, I would never wish anyone the pain and consequences of sin I endured.  However, I have been able to see God as the rescuer and comforter in my life.  I am here by God’s grace because I deserved nothing and yet He gave me eternal life and his real LOVE.

Remember that hurt child finding out that she was all alone and thought she could hide behind smiles?  Well, I don’t have to hide any longer.  I have now an open and honest relationship with both my mom and dad.  I understand that people are not perfect and bad things do happen, but I have a loving Father in Heaven that will be with me always. 

Remember the men I tried to put my trust in and desire affection from.  I use to fear rejection.  During my new quiet time I read, “He will not tempt you beyond what you can bear, but once tempted, He will find a way to get out of the temptation.”  I didn’t need to find my worth and security in men.  God allowed me to find a way out of temptation especially by going out with a group of friends instead of solo dating. A few years later, God gave me a dream husband who loves God first.   God has given me the BEST.  But, I don’t trust in James, but in my Heavenly Father.

Remember that business teacher that stole my business.  I learned that I didn’t need to wait for him to admit his wrongs.  If I wanted to be free from the anger that I had towards him, I needed to forgive him as Christ had forgiven me.  So, I went to his office and told him that I was hurt and that I forgave him for taking over the business.  It was amazing that I no longer had to be controlled by my anger. 

Remember how I struggled with my self worth.  I was even at the point of wanting to change my appearance by being obsessed by my eating habits.  I used to think; if only I was skinnier I would be loved.  It was hard to overcome this thinking.  During a Bible study, I was asked to find all the “realities” of WHO I was in Jesus.  The Bible describes in detail who we are when we believe in Jesus.  Like-you are a new creation, saint, image of God.  I kept reading those verses and asking God to help me believe His Words instead of my messed up thinking.  I found out that my worth is not based on what I look like or what I accomplish, but what Jesus did for me.  I am precious in His sight.  This has to be the most freeing REALITY.

Remember the shock of being a child of divorced parents that left an empty whole in my heart.  Well, I can honestly say that our God is a God of miracles.  After a recent fire, my father came down and rescued my mom like a knight in shining armor.  He helped her find another place to live and moved when she was all alone. They where able to be friends and reconciled after 23 years of separation.  My dad asked my mom to marry him.  They just celebrated 5 years of MARRIAGE!

Recently another way that I have seen God being Real and not a mirage is the way HIS word teaches me and points out my sin in love.  I read that my words needs to be encouraging and building people up.  Daily I ask for help to take the reigns of my tongue.  It is hard, but His Spirit lives in me and helps me in my weakness.  

Have you looked for love in friends that turn out to be nonexistent like a mirage?  Have you strived for significance and recognition for accomplishment or doing GOOD?  

May I introduce you to the most loving and trustworthy Savior-Jesus.  He says in His Word, “To all who receive Him, to those who believe in His name, He gave the right to become Children of God”. It is the truth.  He will be that perfect father, savior, and friend NO MATTER WHAT.  Many things and people in this world will try to offer this―but only in Jesus is it true and lasting. Only God can truly satisfy our deepest needs.

He who has the Son has the life.  If we have God’s Son, we have eternal life.  When we trust Jesus as our Savior, He gives us His Holy Spirit to live in us.  It is impossible to live a Christian life without Him.  If you have not accepted Jesus’ death on the cross as full payment for yours sins, do it now.  Confess your sin, repent, and ask God to forgive you.  Invite Him to live in you and control your life.     But you can today choose Christ and be HIS CHILD.

It is not a religion of doing things; it is a relationship that you get.  Jesus has “done” the work that allows us to be a friend with God.   If you want this relationship, pray this prayer silently

…Dear Jesus, I do believe that you are the Son of God and that you died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sin. Please come into my life, forgive my sin, and make me a member of your family. I now turn from going my own way. I want you to be the center of my life. Thank You for Your gift of eternal life and for your Holy Spirit, who has now come to live in me. I ask this in Your name, Amen.

As you prayed that prayer silently, Jesus Christ has come into your life on the basis of His World. Would you tell me at the door as you leave? I have a gift for you called A New Beginning. To Know Him is to spend time with Him in His World the Bible. I encourage you to sign up for one of the Friendship Bible Coffee in your area.

On my shelf this past two weeks...

Started to read
The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak

Fished Reading

A Marriage Carol
by Chris Fabry, and Gary Chapmen

Life of Pi
by Yann Martel

False Impressions
by Jeffrey Archer

Couldn't Finish Reading (too depressing)
The case of the Missing Books
Ian Sansom

Would you pray?

Tomorrow I have the privilege to share my walk with Jesus with a group of young women.  I don't want to go on my own strength.  I need the Spirit to use His story in my life.

Pray that God would open their hearts to the truth of HOPE and to be reconciled to a Holy God.
One of those young women happens to be my daughter.

If you want to read my story for the Young women click here  My Testimony

Pretty is as Pretty Does

Bronwyn was thrilled to be invited to sing on the newest album of Adele Morgan.  Adele is almost finished with her children's cd.  Bronwyn sang Pretty is as Pretty Does which is all about that beauty is from the inside and how you treat others.

Adele is a dear friend of mine who had a dream. I will post later her amazing dream.  

She also came to South Africa to serve along side of us.  She is a gifted musician and fellow saint.   This summer I was her tennis partner and enjoyed praying with her while improving on my swing.

Friday, December 7, 2012

No more box trees...We hunt them in Alaska

Last year, we put up a boxed Christmas Tree.  However, since we have high ceilings it looked a bit small.  
So, we decided to HUNT our tree this year.  
We were well equipped with saw, ax, and sled. We drove by nice trees and decided to leave them standing (because they were in peoples yards).   We came to the field and were able to drive deep into the forrest because of the LACK OF SNOW!!!

It took 6 minutes from the time we left the car until we located our PRIZE LIVING ORGANISM. 

A few chops and Bronwyn starts to drag it to the sled.

Max "I think it was great and the tree was lighter than expected for its size".

Bronwyn was helpful for this amazing photo.  I love that James' head is cut off.  *a little higher next time Bronwyn.  

The MIGHTY hunters and their kill

Amazing Moon at 4 pm as we were racing against the darkness.

It fit with a few boughs to interact with for the drive home (15 minutes).

Willow found her new place.

Hannah's turn for the Angel.  

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Thursday, December 6, 2012


It has been one year since we have been in our home in Palmer, Alaska.  I was speaking to a new friend Serenity who just moved in their home.  She had photos on the wall.  I was so impressed.  She just moved in.

I procrastinate.  However, since James went to Atlanta for a small group conference, I decided it was time to get finished some of the minor details around the home.  PHOTOS!

I put up our photos and other wall hangings. It was similar to a walk down memory lane as I went through many years of photos from South Africa.  Now, I can see reminders of our life then all around us.

Let us not give up.  Grading Grammar is another one.  However, since I put it off for three weeks.  It almost brought me more anxiety as the next day ended and I didn't do it.  So, like I have read so many times.  Do the thing you dread first.  I did it yesterday.  YEAH!  It only took me 15 minutes.

We entered "braces-land"as Bronwyn is sporting her new do. Oh, and I did find Bronwyn's dedication page from her book "Happily Ever After: a horse story"
I dedicate this book to my Mom because she typed it all out when I sat around eating apples.  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Uniqueness of our home

Uniqueness Encouraged.

Today, I spent time cuddled up with Bronwyn reading together under the blanket and comfy chair.  During the independent time, Max was doing laps around the couch between words on his spelling test.  Brownyn was singing a musical while doing her typing with the music so loud I could hear the melody leaking out of the headphones.  Hannah was busy memorizing a sonnet by reciting it out loud with eloquence and drama from William Shakespeare that she picked out.

Did I mention that it was all happening simultaneously in my living room?

We also spent some time around a table and making a blood cell with redhots, sprinkles, and a white jelly bean.  The absolute uniqueness of a Creator God who has a built in recycling center of iron is phenomenal.  I love learning with them.

I lost my temper because of being interrupted.  However, the lessons of forgiveness and grace are important even if I need to humble myself.

The kids ended their day of school playing games at a friend house while I knitted.  After a quick run up a mountain trail with encouraging words from a dear friend.  God is soo good.

We came home to listen to James read to them an epic novel. Thank you for days like these.  The dedication page was added to their books. (of course, I can't find Bronwyn's work...)

by Max Embree

To James. For teaching me that Legos are fun.

I dedicate this book to Ella Embree my super teacher Mom

Dance, Travel, The Grand Canyon, and Pasta

By Hannah Xaris Embree

The Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout for Kinect

After spending a hour (I am not joking) trying to find out how to use this game "The Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout" for the Kinect Xbox 360.  I could make it work.  I even used it for a week.  However, I purchased this item because it has pictured an Exercise Ball.  I use mine for sitting, but I have never had a workout that uses it.  So, I was eager to get the Black Friday special disk.

Because we don't like to kill trees, there is NO MANUAL.  Even master Google couldn't lead me in the right direction.  One You Tube video had a different menu but nothing for the new version I have.

I decided to get help.  I ended up chatting with the Xbox support center.  They were nice, but they couldn't find the answer.  I ended up stumbling across the answer and I wanted other to find out.

As of now, I can only use the "equipment" (stability or exercise ball, bands) by selecting QUICK PLAY.  You can then select either FREE PLAY or CIRCUT TRAINING.  On the FREE PLAY, you can select the exercises that has a ball or bands icon next to the individual workout.

Or in the CIRCUT TRAINING you can select the menu button on the bottom that looks like a ball with a rope around it.  Then you can select your "equipment" ball or bands.  Then select continue at the bottom of the menu.  During the workout, Bob will ask you to get the equipment before starting the exercise.

It was well worth the wait because the exercises rock.

There may be other ways to use the equipment, but those are the two ways I found to use it.  Have Fun!

Winter Exercise

Last year, I was so glad to learn how to Skate Ski.  It is kinda like rollerblading on skis. Fast and Fun. However, we have NO SNOW.  I am not complaining. Creativity had to be implimented in keeping my heart in shape.

1)  Get a friend to explore trails.  No mud, no mosquitos.

2) Go to thick forested places or the Butte if it is windy to run.  *always use a face mask

3) Run with the beast ie. Willow the Great Dane.  She always wants to go for an adventure.

4) Watch and join in with James to fight the bad guys on Kung Foo on the Kinect.

5) Make friends with Annie Rowland and go where she tells you to go. Even if it is a frozen lake.  (nothing keeps her still)  *looks like snow, but it is a type of frost with a dusting of snow.

6) On Black Friday, purchase "The Biggest Loser- Ultimate Workout" and use it for the Kinect Xbox.

I am very thankful for the last one as the winds have been up to 50 mph.