Thursday, December 6, 2012

I'm Not Famous

I feel like I may have mentioned this before, but maybe I have only mentioned it to Dave.  Although, I'm pretty sure my little sister knows this quirk about me all too well.   You see, I have this problem.  I used to secretly, not so secretly, hope that "people" would be watching my life and finally realize what a great spy I could be--recognizing my "raw talent"-- and then recruit me and give me all the training I would need to be the next James Bond.  (Although now that I'm publicly writing this, I have officially dashed all hopes of it ever happening.  The words "Corynne" and "spy" are forever cached together on this thing we call the World Wide Web and my incognito status is forever compromised.)(I just can't let go of the dream, though, you know?!)  And if not that, I sort of always have this kind of ridiculous notion--or feeling, if you will-- that people are watching my life as if it were a very interesting movie.

So in that spirit I boarded a train the other day--feeling as if the whole world was watching me in interest.  I was catching BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) into the city--all by myself--to meet my love and feeling so official, and grown up, and cool and stuff.  The train was packed--standing room only--so there I stood, hanging on to one of the rails and trying to act nonchalant.  I saw some cool scenery and decided to take a picture.  While my camera was out, I noticed my reflection and I just love taking pictures of reflections, so I snapped off a couple of shots when suddenly a horrible realization swept over me and kind of took my breath away: I was not a cool, hip, grown up person that people were admiring at all!  I was still my 12 year old self on that ferry boat to Catalina Island.  The one where I had struck up a conversation with a kind old man and at the end of the trip he told my mom what a very nice son she had.  I clearly remember wearing a flannel and a horrible baseball cap that day with bluntly cut, shoulder length hair.  Not so different from my ensemble today... Today I was older, with a little more of a chest, but still looking no more than 16 years old with my hair pulled back in a bun and stuck through the hole of a surf hat.  Jeans, boots, a grey t-shirt, and a blue jacket/sweater thing completed the outfit. The only difference today was, the kind man I was talking to on this train wasn't quite as old as the one on the ferry.  Try as I might, I'm still the same old person who is just as likely to be mistaken for a boy today as I was back then.  Truthfully, I kind of laughed at myself in that moment.  It was a good dose of reality.  "You are not living in a movie, Corynne.  You are simply standing on a train looking slightly dopey, but having a great time.  Enjoy the moment.  Sheesh!  No one else can enjoy it for you by watching it."

In the end, I got to have a cup of coffee with my favorite guy who likes me just the way I am: not a spy, not a boy, not that cool. Just plain old Cryn.  But he makes me feel like a movie star!  I'm really lucky.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

We Go Sledding and Caiden Snags Some Fame

Most of the places I lived while I was young involved snow.  Sledding was second nature.  It was especially fun to be towed along on inner-tubes by our horse or my dad's truck.  Sadly, my children know nothing about snow.  They've only had one or two encounters with the fuzzy, white stuff.  One of the times was when we pulled off the highway while driving through the Grapevine to get to southern California.  We stopped for 3 minutes so they could touch it and throw a snowball.  The other time was on a brief trip to Kansas when a light snow fell, but promptly melted as it hit the ground.

So when I noticed that a neighboring town was hosting a "Winter Wonderland" and parade with a sledding hill involved, I knew we had to go.

Elliott had no problem sledding like a pro, but Caiden got cold feet at the top of the hill.  There were tears and everything.  But I wasn't going to let her give in to her fears, so I waited with her at the top until she went.  I wasn't going to give up; and I wasn't going to let her give up either.  After all, its not everyday that you find a 40 ton mound of snow to sled on in 65 degree weather.

After about 15 minutes or so, Caiden mustered up her courage and slid down the hill.  At the bottom, we were met by a journalist who told me he had "watched the whole thing unfold."  Apparently, he was touched by Caiden's little journey and wanted to put it in the paper.

They put a couple of pictures of her in the Marin Independent Journal with a little caption, her name, and a bit of her struggle.

And so, one of Caiden's life long ambitions has been fulfilled.  She told me some time ago: "I want to be famous.  I want people to know my name."

Well Caiden, now they do.  Congratulations. You made it.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Time I Missed Caiden's Birthday and Made it Up to Her

When I went to that Pastors' Wives' Conference last month I missed Caiden's 5th birthday.  So sad!  Dave was here, though, and he brought cupcakes to her school and took Elliott and Caiden out to Caiden's favorite place to eat: "Sliders."  They took a super cute picture of her there and gave her presents and everything.

I told her that we could have a party when I got back, but everything got so busy on my return that a whole month flew by before I knew it.  I started thinking that maybe what they had already done was enough birthday stuff, but then Caiden kept saying, "I had my fake birthday.  I haven't had my real birthday yet."  And things like that.  When I told her that she did, in fact, already have her "real" birthday, she started crying.  "No, I didn't!" she said. "I didn't get to have my party yet and I still don't feel five!"

Well, of course, after hearing that, I had to give the girl some closure so we threw her a tea party themed birthday party a full month after the fact.  She loved it.  And now she finally feels five.

But its kind of funny because as a result of celebrating her October 2nd birthday in November, she now associates her birthday as being near Christmastime since all the stores were decorated at that time...  I may have psychologically damaged her just a little bit. :)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I'm Not A Model, But I Do Know How To Wash My Face... Sorta.

This is embarrassing, but relevant: I went to modeling school when I was 15 or 16 years old.  Its not what you think.  They let everybody in.  Thats how they make their money.  It certainly wasn't because I was pretty or cool or anything like that.  In fact, when I was 14 years old I was mistaken for a boy!  And that was well past the age when I had wished I was one.  I had also been told I resembled The Hanson Brothers--It wasn't a good time period for me.

I grew up with an amazing mother.  She built houses with my dad; was the foreman on a cement pool installation company when they met;  installed flooring like carpet, tile, and wood throughout her life; and even did a stint as a taxicab driver during her youth.  My mother could do just about anything and still, to this day, has occasional wrestling matches with my older brother.

I was a tomboy--not exactly through and through, because I hated spiders, didn't really love to play outside, and have a vivid memory of sitting on the stairs, when I was about 5 or 6, totally distraught over my large thighs (ha!)--but I always resented the fact that because I was girl, I couldn't be a cowBOY.  A cowGIRL with piggy tails just isn't as cool.  I resented the fact that I couldn't take my shirt off when I was hot or pee standing up (although I've heard that my mom could do it like a champ back in the day).  I wanted to be just like my mom; strong like my mom and be a laborer, like her.  But she never encouraged that.  "No, Corynne," she'd say, "You don't want to do this kind of work.  I want you to do something more ladylike."  At the time, it frustrated me. I thought I would prove her wrong, but I never did.  My mom seemed to have a knack for having a bead on what her kids would pursue, but that's another story.

Anyway, I didn't know it at the time, but I needed that fool modeling agency to make me comfortable in my skin, my girl-skin.  It was something my mom didn't really know how to teach me.  But that's okay.  I didn't even realize I needed it until years afterward.  Modeling school was like a ladies finishing school for me.  At the time, I think I thought I had a shot at being famous or publicly touted as a true beauty, but in the end, I am happy to settle with just being comfortable as a female.  I learned a lot of things during my "modeling training."  For instance:  I had never had a face washing routine, tweezed my slight unibrow, known anything about makeup or how to wear it, manicured my nails, or had a proper answering machine message.  These were all things I learned at the agency.  Some of them are shallow and dumb, but to this day, if you call my cellphone and get the machine, you will hear a rather proper greeting, which I get teased about all the time, but still can't quite seem to shake the habit of.  I learned that at modeling school! (Not to mention how to walk down a catwalk with attitude...)  Now, I know that all of this sounds so ridiculous, but would it help if I told you that I was also home-schooled and never grew up around kids my own age?  I had no peers until 10th grade.

Everything I know about hygiene and presentableness comes from that modeling agency, my little sister (in-law) who is a make up artist, and a few consultations at Sephora.  So, I'm a prime candidate for improvement and enlightenment when it comes to these things.

So, here's the real reason of my story.  I was going to tell you that I went away for a few days to a pastor's wives' conference and while I was there (with hundreds of other women) I had an enlightening discovery!

One of the mornings I was there, a friend/mentor of mine and I were discussing face washing in our shared bathroom for 6:  "I love the way it feels after I wash my face, but I hate actually doing it," I complained.

"Why is that?" she asked.

"Because its so messy.  Water gets everywhere!"

"Well, that's because you're splashing water everywhere like that!" she chided.  "I don't know how you even do that."

So, my kind friend proceeded to explain how a real lady washes her face and I was just absolutely stunned. I never knew there was another way to do it besides splashing myself silly with water, and then sudsing up with soap as bubbles and water drip down my arms and face and neck and then splash-splashing again to rinse.

Apparently, all you need to do is get your hands wet (not your face!), add soap, lather a little in your hand, apply to your face and then wet a washcloth with warm water and gently wipe it off.  So soothing, so relatively dry and civilized.  I'm almost 30 years old, people.  This is a revelation!  Some things you just can't learn at school.

(me on the right)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Adventures with Pumpkins

Saturday is always a bit of a let down for me as a pastor's wife.  I still always wake up with that Saturday hopefulness and sense of adventure, but as the sleep fog begins to clear, I remember that my adventure buddy still has to study.  Turns out its not Saturday at all--just another work day disguised with a really, really exciting name.  Its weird how that Saturday mentality just sticks with me even when it no longer holds the same meaning as it used to.  (I'm not complaining... just explaining.)

This Saturday, as the sleep-fog wore off and the subtle disappointment crept in, I became inspired to enjoy the fall atmosphere with the kids, even if it was that tricky day of the week.  So I got up, made waffles(!), and we headed off to the pumpkin patch.  We included our friend Caroline.  


I still missed my adventure buddy, but that doesn't mean we can't still have fun without him.  I think I'm finally doing better than the band tour days when I would just sit on my bed and sob while he was away.  Does this mean I'm growing up?!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Caiden and the Salad Fiasco

Its been fun having Caiden in school this year.  Just like homeschooling Elliott for kindergarten helped me learn more about him as a person, putting Caiden in public school for kindergarten has yielded equally rewarding results.

When I pick Caiden up from school she jabbers a million miles per minute and tells me all sorts of things that I only partially understand.

There was the one time she was chattering away while flailing her body about like she does when she talks when suddenly she got quiet.  "I did something bad, but I don't want to tell you!" she confessed.  Turns out, she told a little girl that she didn't want her to sit by her.   We talked and prayed about it, but I was just so happy that she wanted to talk to me about it!  Especially because I often wonder what is going on in her little head.  Now that we are apart for a portion of the day, she is just dying to tell me what's happening in her world/mind!

Last week, at Caiden's "back to school night" I was walking around her classroom looking at her various achievements and projects when I noticed a graph on the board.  It had different foods listed and had the names of all the people in her class in their respective categories, showing how many people liked which food.

There were options like "pizza," "macaroni and cheese," and other things that Caiden likes.  But there was her name (along with most of the rest of the class) under the listing "salad."  What?  I was so confused.  We eat a lot of steamed vegetables and sometimes salad, but I've never known Caiden to claim salad as a favorite food--never.  And Caiden is not wishy-washy.  What you see is (mostly) what you get.  Her teacher assured me that although she, herself chose salad, she had put her own preference down last so as not to influence the kids' decisions.

I thought the whole thing was weird, but...whatever.  I checked it off in my mind as another one of Caiden's quirks.  Plus, I figured she would have an explanation for it, but I totally forgot to ask.

Finally, yesterday, the graph came up while we were at the grocery store.  "We need some spinach," I said.

"Spinach?" Caiden asked.  "I don't like spinach."

"Yes you do," I chided.

"What is it?  Does it go in salad?" she asked.

"Yep,"  I replied, "And apparently salad is your favorite food.  That's what it said on the graph at school."

"Oh,"  Caiden said.  "Oh yeah, that was just supposed to be which one you wanted.  Its not really my favorite.  I just picked it because I wanted my name to be the highest.  Salad was the group that had the most."

Hhmmmm...  Well, that totally explains it!  I KNEW there had to be some kind of quirky Caiden reasoning to explain this salad fiasco.  She is the funniest girl I know.  She doesn't care if people erroneously think that salad is her favorite food.  She doesn't care what people think at all.  Ever.  She just wants to be on top.  She wants to win.  And she totally owns it.

You'll always be number one in my book, Caiden.  I love you, crazy girl.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Popsicle Tents

I'm always looking for ways to spend time with my kids that can combine all of our interests.   I enjoy building lego creations with them, but sometimes hunting for piece after piece among thousands makes me dizzy.

A few weeks ago, Elliott and Caiden had been working on a lego mockup of Carpinteria and they asked me to help build water for it out of legos.  "How about a piece of blue construction paper instead?" I countered.  They obliged, but after solving that problem, I started to think of ways I could make this undertaking even more awesome... (They totally sucked me in!)  I went to my craft dresser and pulled out popsicle sticks, fabric, and a hot glue gun and got to work.  It didn't take long before we had assembled two A-Frame tents, cotton batting stuffed mattresses, and tiny little campfires.  Soon, even David was sucked into our little project and he and Elliott got to work making a wave pop out of the construction paper with foam on it and everything.  The whole thing was pretty epic.  The best part about it?  It was fun and it totally "counted" as real time invested.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Verse of the Week | 2 Corinthians 2:14

"Now thanks be to God who always leads us
in triumph in Christ and through us diffuses
the fragrance of  His knowledge in every place."
2 Corinthians 2:14

Previously, I had thought this verse was saying that God causes us to be triumphant.  But literally the Greek phrase used there means "triumphs over us"(f) meaning that God triumphs over our lives by saving us and leading our redeemed lives about in victory throughout all the earth--wherever we go--demonstrating His ability to subdue and to save.

This whole passage is spoken in a militaristic sense.(f)  When leaders would have victories, in that day and age, they would have incense bearers along the way home (the triumphal procession), and the fragrance would be about them--ushering them in to the city.  It would be an evidence and boasting of their victory, power, and might.  Along with their captives that they would be leading and triumphing over...

So our lives are that fragrance--that evidence--of God's power.  Not only does he triumph over us, but we get to go in triumph with him.  Not as slaves, but as sons and daughters, having been redeemed.

Paul was the writer here and he is the perfect example;(f) Paul was a persecutor of the church and accuser of God's people, sentencing Christians to death.  But Jesus showed up and changed Paul's mind and his life.  God was able to subdue Paul's wrath and self-righteousness and bring him under God's rule and authority.  So Paul traveled throughout all the regions proclaiming Christ as the only way of salvation, being that example or trophy of God's power and effectiveness over the blindness and rebellion of man.  Showing that God can save to the uttermost!  The fragrance of Christ.

"Our only true triumphs are God's triumphs over us. His defeats of us are our only true victories"[ALFORD]. (f)

footnote: thoughts gleaned from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My "Empty" Nest

I'm not even sure how to talk about it.

Let's start with this: Caiden started Kindergarten today.  There.  Let's just pause and let that sink in for a second.

I don't seem to know what has happened.  Yesterday I was a stay at home mom.  Today I am a person at home--alone--having lunch by myself.  Its kind of eery.  It feels a little bit like what I would expect phantom limb syndrome would feel like.  Or is it empty nest syndrome?

This is a new season for me.  As in: I haven't taken the plastic wrap off yet, new.  I hope you'll bear with me as I adjust.  For the past 7.5 years I have been having lunch with one or two little munchkins everyday.  Today I ate alone for the first time.

As my kids have become (relatively) older and (relatively) independent, I have been in for a few surprises.  If you've heard my engagement story, then you know that I am extremely hard to surprise.  Even so, the emotions conjured up by my children have really surprised me.

I didn't expect to feel so proud, so overwhelmed, so goofily giddy and smiley when Caiden came tromping out of those double doors of school after her very first day of Kindergarten.  Its hard to imagine that she can survive without me.  It feels like I've let her go in the deep end of the pool and let her swim on her own.  Is she really big enough to sit at a big cafeteria table and take her lunch out of her lunch bag and eat it without knowing that I'm right there by her side, loving her?  Can she assert herself in a group of people without me next to her, giving her confidence and assurance that she is worth listening to?

And so many other questions flit through my mind as I see her proudly standing there.  And I know the answers, or at least I gather them as I see her smiling and confident.  I'm so proud of her.  But so glad that she is not alone.  I'm so thankful that God is with her wherever she goes.  And He knows her even better than I do.  He knows her innermost thoughts.  She's in good hands.  I'm so thankful.

But I'm surprised when I'm overwhelmed like that, because if you would've asked me about Kindergarten yesterday, you would've gotten a practical answer.  I mean, in my mind its just Kindergarten!  But when it comes down to it...  They're my kids.  That's all.  I freak out when they're injured, I lose my voice cheering when they shake a little bell in the Christmas choir, and I gush when they make it through their first day of Kindergarten.

You made it, Baby.  I'm so proud of you.  You are a Kindergartener.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

To Know and be Known

One of the greatest desires we have in this life is to be known--for someone (or everyone) to understand us deeply.  To get it.  But the problem is, the search for that kind of intimacy can often lead to embarrassment, betrayal, and heartache.  But there is hope for us, because the very depths of that desire is most surely, completely, and definitely met.  Someone knows, sees, understands, and loves us completely, wholly, fully, and forever.  Nothing we can do, say, think, or feel scares this person or puts him off from us.  Listen to this:

O LORD, You have searched me and known me,
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge it too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?  Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.

If I say, "Surely the darkness shall fall on me,"
Even the night shall be light about me;
Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother's womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with you.
Psalm 138:1-18

Such rest and contentment is to be found in those lines.  We can finally stop striving to be known and understood.  Because we already are.  He knows exactly who we are.  We are understood more deeply than we can even comprehend.  Not only does the Lord understand our thoughts, but he knows them before we even can formulate them.  We have a Creator.  And Oh, He is wonderful!

And even greater than all of that--He wants us to know Him.  And He sent Jesus so that we could know Him.  The Creator of the universe has made Himself available to be known by us.

Get this: The most famous person of all is giving you a chance to be part of His inner circle, to know Him intimately.  This is bigger than being "Facebook friends" with Kobe Bryant or having the personal cellphone number of the President of the United States.  This is absolutely the best thing that could ever happen to you.  And it has, through the person of Jesus Christ.

"And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ.  This is the true God and eternal life." -- I John 5:20

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Vacation, Adventure, and Intrigue

I love being warm and I love the sun.  If you had a fishbowl view of my life at home, you would be able to see me migrating to different corners of my house, following the sun and basking in it like a cat, or a lazy basset hound every single day.

So, as you can imagine, a week at the beach is just the thing for me.  Camping on the beach in Carpinteria has been a summerly experience that was started the year I was pregnant with Elliott.  That means we have been enjoying "the world's safest beach" every summer for roughly 8 years now.  And this year was no exception.

It was an adventure on the way down to Carpinteria, in that we weren't sure where we would be sleeping when we got there since we had left a day earlier than the reservation Dave's parents had made for the week would begin.  But we headed down anyway, confident that we would find a one night camping spot somewhere along the way at one of California's many state parks.  But we didn't. Not a single spot anywhere could we find.  I wasn't worried about it, though, until I was made rudely aware of the fact that it is illegal to sleep in your car on the side of a public street.  What???  After that, I started to feel a little bit homeless.  But we continued to Carpinteria anyway and got there around 5 pm.  We hit the beach and the kids gladly romped around in the water and sand after our 6 hour journey finally landed us at the shore.  We ate dinner at a mexican restaurant and when Dave asked me, "Do you want to sit inside or outside?"

I promptly replied, "Inside!" as the uncanny feeling of being homeless was creeping more and more into my consciousness.  So we spent quite a while there after finishing our meal, because after all, where would we go???  But it turns out we know people in the area and we know people who know people in the area, so it really wasn't anything much to be worried about--we were bound to find a driveway somewhere where we could park and sleep in the back of our little SUV.  But we didn't need to do that after all, because a sweet friend had an extra room and we got to sleep under a real-life roof for the night.  We woke up early the next morning, snuck out of the house, and went to a cafe named "Esau's" for breakfast.  Then we hit the beach again while awaiting the arrival of Dave's folks to claim our campsite for the week.

The rest of the week was as you would expect a week of beach camping to be.  Elliott was braver this year and spent most of his time in the water--surfing, swimming, and (he newly discovered) boogie boarding.  We hunted sand crabs, dug giant holes in the sand, biked to the candy store quite a few times, roasted marshmallows, and played games.   By the end of the week we were happy, fat, and tan.

And then the way home was an adventure of its own.  Elliott's window in the back of the car got stuck rolled all the way down, so we had to drive the 6 hour drive home on the 101 highway in 95 degree dry heat with the windows down and the incessant fluttering of the wind whipping by the windows of the car.

By the time we reached the bay area, the wind was much colder and the blankets came out.  The kids didn't complain at all, surprisingly, but still, by the time we arrived home, we were all thankful for the cessation of all that noisy wind!  Finally--Peace, quiet, home!

I printed a few pictures of our beach week and stuck them on the fridge tonight in hopes that the warm and sunny days of vacation linger in our minds and bodies just a little bit longer as we now face the more frigid few days of summer we have left in Berkeley.

Vacation was great, but it is good to be home.  School starts in a week and a half.  Elliott and I are kind of nervous, but Caiden is just plain excited.