Friday, December 30, 2005

Random stuff … ‘Cuz that’s what blogs are for.

Today Kevin told me: “I had a dream this morning that we took a cruise to Iraq. I thought it would be boring and then realized we’d get to see the Mediterranean and travel through the Suez Canal.”

I’m glad his dream turned out okay.

Because my sister Christy got her own apartment recently, she got a bunch of household items (sheets, pots and pans, etc.) for Christmas. “This is awesome!” she said. “It’s like getting married … but without the man.”

I love my sister.

It’s official now (i.e., enough people know, including our employers). We’re planning to move to Indiana, probably in the spring. We are excited and know it’s what God has for us but – as with all big changes in life – we are also somewhat anxious and overwhelmed.

A lot has to happen between now and then.

My mom hadn’t really said anything specific about us moving until this past weekend. My parents have always been supportive, knowing it will be a good thing for our family, even though I know it’s hard for them to see us move so far away.

Well, apparently, a woman at my mom’s church asked her what she thought about us moving. Her reply was: “I would rather have my daughter be married to a godly man and happy than living close to me without that.”

That is an unselfish love. What more can I say?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A Temperate Holiday

Here I am in Long Beach, sitting in front of my parents’ computer. I had forgotten how warm it can be in So. Cal. in the wintertime. Even Sacramento is considered “extreme weather” compared to here. My first clue in discovering that I’d brought too many sweaters was when we pulled into my folks' driveway and my mom came bounding out of the house in shorts and a tank top.

On Friday we went to the Getty art museum in L.A. We had a great time and enjoyed both the art and the beautiful vistas surrounding the museum. We took an architecture tour and I learned more than I was planning to learn that day about the subject. But it was interesting, I will admit.

Other than the fact that my aunt Lori broke her arm on Christmas Eve, things have been pretty low-key. I can’t believe Christmas is already over. So much hoopla and then … it’s all over. So suddenly. Sigh.

Kevin's already home. Meredith and I are staying a few extra days to visit friends and family. I love my family here in L.B. but Kevin IS my family now. And I already miss him tons. For that reason, Thursday won't be here soon enough.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Merry Christmas from Meredith

This is me on my first date. It was last night with an older man. He is Ty Edmonson and he is seven months old! He gave me a kiss. (It was my first kiss from a boy.) And then I cried.

This is me last night with my parents. They said my first date had to be with adult supervision since I am still so young.

I just want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Kevin in the Paper

Yesterday Kevin was in the Sacramento Bee.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Ahh, Life ...

Yes! I’ve borrowed a laptop so I can get meet some work deadlines before Christmas arrives. I’m glad to be able to get my hands on technology again!

Everything has been going well except for my computer woes and the fact that I left some sugar on the counter overnight and an army of ants overtook my kitchen. Kevin is normally the one who would deal with insect infiltration but, since he was at work, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I couldn’t locate the Raid in the garage but did manage to find another kind of chemical. The bottle advertised that it would kill aphids and prevent diseases on rose bushes. I rationalized that if it could kill aphids, it could certainly kill ants too. Right?

After completely hosing down my kitchen with this aphid-killer, I sat and victoriously watched all the ants drown and die.

Oh, and another thing … thanks to all of you, I recently learned that I was taught incorrect versions of various nursery songs as a child! Not only was I erroneously told that the middle-piggy ate “corn and bread,” I was also taught an incorrect version of Patty-Cake. Maybe I shall need to go into counseling because of this. Does anyone know a good shrink?

[Note: Mom and dad, if you are reading this, I’m sincerely not bitter. At least you loved me and sang to me. Seriously, I think I have the best parents ever. Even if they made up their own words to certain songs.]

Other than these things, mentioned above, we have been greatly enjoying this Christmas Season. I went to a very fun ladies’ Christmas Tea; I’ve been doing a lot of baking (what else do you do when your computer is broken?); we went and saw the glitzy Christmas lights at the Fab Forties; and tonight we’re going to a Christmas party and gift-exchange with friends.

Oh, and last night Kevin introduced me to Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. He’s been saying how much he wanted this CD and so I bought him one for Christmas. Then, low and behold, last night he plans to buy one while we’re at Barnes and Nobles. (Can you believe it?! You’re not supposed to buy things for yourself in December!!) So, I had to reveal my hand and tell him I’d already gotten it for him! Sheesh.

Anyway, last night we listened to the whole thing together. It was fun.

Finally … In case I don’t get a chance to say it before December 25, I wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas!

Now I’ve gotta get to work! Deadlines are looming!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Value of Being Connected

Right now I would say the value of being connected is priceless. Kevin would tell you otherwise. That’s because he’s currently looking at exactly how much it’s going to cost to get us a new computer since ours died on Wednesday night.

We are presently at Kevin’s office using his work computer. He is being industrious with his research and I’m goofing off.

For the past few days I’ve hardly known what to do with myself. I rely on my computer to work, stay in touch with people, read the daily news, and get pretty much all my information, including driving directions, grocery ads, and recipes for dinner! I’m so utterly dependent on the internet it’s not even funny!

Just so you know – if you sent me an e-mail in the past week, I have not received it and will likely never receive it.

Okay, I’d better go. I hope our new computer gets here like yesterday.

VERY Important Question for You

Can you guys please help me and Kevin settle an ongoing debate? Thank you.

Since Meredith has started to notice that she has feet on the end of her legs, we’ve been helping to cultivate her fascination by reciting “This Little Piggy” to her.

Kevin says that the middle toe piggy had “roast beef.” I say this is WRONG. The middle toe piggy actually had “corn and bread.” That’s how I learned it as a child and that’s how it must be.

World War III is likely to break out if we cannot solve this crisis.

It is so very difficult raising a child when the parents each have different views on important things like religion, politics, or how to accurately recite "This Little Piggy."

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Herr President

Apparently, in protest of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s refusal to commute the death sentence of Crips gang founder Tookie Williams, “[l]eaders of Austria’s opposition Green Party even called for Schwarzenegger to be stripped of his Austrian citizenship.” (Here's the full article.)

I don’t often post on our blog, but in light of recent talk about amending our Constitution to allow Schwarzenegger to become the next U.S. president, I find this threat somewhat disturbing. While we can assume the best of Schwarzenegger personally to maintain his loyalties here, the Constitution and its safeguards are meant to assume the worst. I don’t think we should permit foreign nations even the possibility of wielding citizenship as a means of influencing the decisions of our elected officials. They shouldn’t have that kind of influence over any of our elected officers, let alone the president.


In the Toy Shop

Last night was one of those “first experiences.” It was the first time we had the opportunity to go toy shopping for our own child. And it was so much fun! We walked up and down the aisles looking at all the playthings. From time to time, Kevin would pull something down from the shelf and show it to Meredith. We would watch her to gauge her reaction. When she smiled and kicked her legs wildly we figured she liked it. (Aren’t we smart?)

There was one toy in particular, a little plastic cooking utensil set, where she consistently went hysterics every time we showed it to her. [Yes! A girl after my own heart!]

There are several toys from my childhood that I remember in particular: 1) that little cone shaped toy with rainbow-colored stackable rings; 2) that little plastic bench toy with the little “nails” that you can hammer down; and 3) that toy that looks like a vacuum – you walk around with it and the little balls pop up and down.

One thing that was interesting to me is how hi-tech everything is now. The modern versions of all the above toys involve both shinning lights and music. What happened to the beautiful simplicity of toys?

Last night I learned that toys are not timeless. They evolve.

‘Twas 13 Days Before Christmas …

… When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from my couch to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash …

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a large fire engine (so who needs reindeer?),

With a truck pulling an old man, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

Yeah, so, I was talking on the phone to Kevin, who had called me on his way home from work, when I noticed that Santa was cruising our neighborhood to give Christmas greetings to the children in Roseville.

After spotting the hullabaloo through the window, I ran outside to join the throng.

Pretty much all the children in our neighborhood were standing outside their homes with huge smiles on their faces.

Santa spotted me and said, “Ho, ho, ho, who’s that on the phone? Tell them that Santa says Meeeeeerrrry Christmas!” And then he let out a big chuckle.

Ummm … Where can I fill out an application to have his job for next year? It’s like getting to be the biggest celebrity ever for a whole night. Everyone loves you and you get to make people happy. What a great job.

Turns out that Kevin, who was almost home when he called, got stuck in “Santa traffic.” But some little elves came by and handed him candy canes to make up for it.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Weekend Highlights, Lowlights, and Christmaslights

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Koons’ household. Our tree stands shimmering in the living room, greenery ornaments the staircase, and stockings adorn the fireplace. And yes, oh yes, I’m in the Christmas mood.

One very sad thing I must mention, however, is that on Friday, when we were decorating, we despondently realized that we’d forgotten to get a stocking for Meredith. Very negligent of us! (We’re hopefully going to remedy that tonight.)

We took a break from Christmas festivity to celebrate Kevin’s 28th birthday on Saturday. We pretty much lazed around all day, took a bike ride through an “open space” near our house, and then had a great steak dinner.

Thanks to the environmentalists, open spaces are fairly common here in California. The one just down the street from our house looks like an enchanted forest with little rolling hills, long wavy grass, and spooky, gnarled oak trees. In the spring, when everything greens up, it’s especially beautiful with lots of purple lavender growing amongst the grass.

Last night we went to Todd and Kathy’s house and watched the children decorate gingerbread houses. Next year I think I shall plan a Christmas party for adults to decorate gingerbread houses. Wouldn’t that be fun? We could even make it into a contest!

I think Kathy saw that I was envious of the kids and she allowed me to decorate my very own gingerbread man. I loved it!

This morning I went downstairs to play some Christmas music. I turned on the CD player and, to my horror, Kevin had taken out the Christmas music and swapped it with some tribal-sounding chant music. Blah! I immediately switched it back. Now lovely strains of “Oh Holy Night” are wafting throughout my house. Ahhh. Yes, this world is a wonderful place to live. Especially at Christmastime.

Announcing “Winter Family Day,” December 25

I’m somewhat surprised that no one seemed to agree with me that churches closing on Christmas is shameful. To me, it’s not necessarily that I think they’re committing a cardinal sin. It’s more the irony of the matter. I think a church closing its doors on Christmas is kowtowing to the world’s definition of what Christmas is all about.

If December 25 were simply a random day in the middle of winter dedicated to family time and giving, I can see the logic of skipping church for that kind of holiday. (Although I may not necessarily agree with it, I can see the logic of it.)

But, if Christians purport to celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25, but don’t want to go to church on December 25, that’s quite ironic.

It is inconsistent to say Christmas is about Christ and, on the other hand, choose not to go to church on Christmas when it falls on the Lord's Day.

I'm not judging ... I'm simply pointing out an inconsistency.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Fun Food Gift Ideas

Fun! Everyone loves food (some of us more than others)! Give the gift of food.

Bowing to Secular Culture?

When I think of the state of the modern church, the apathy, the disregard for God's word, the love of the world, it makes me want to scream, toss my lunch, pray, and sob ... all at the same time. What has happened to the church?

Some Churches Closed On Christmas

"We believe that you worship every day of the week, not just on a weekend, and you don't have to be in a church building to worship." -Cindy Willison, Southland Christian Church, Nicholasville, Ky.

(AP) This Christmas, no prayers will be said in several megachurches around the country.

Even though the holiday falls this year on a Sunday, when churches normally host thousands for worship, pastors are canceling services, anticipating low attendance on what they call a family day.

Critics within the evangelical community, more accustomed to doing battle with department stores and public schools over keeping religion in Christmas, are stunned by the shutdown.

It is almost unheard of for a Christian church to cancel services on a Sunday, and opponents of the closures are accusing these congregations of bowing to secular culture.

"This is a consumer mentality at work: `Let's not impose the church on people. Let's not make church in any way inconvenient,"' said David Wells, professor of history and systematic theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary …

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Moving Forward or Looking Backward?

Yesterday, the Restitution Study Group announced that a coalition of student, religious, community and other groups are committed to pulling loan money from the three parent banks and their subsidiary lending institutions until reparations are paid. The group’s head, Deadria Farmer-Paellmann, is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against JP Morgan and seventeen other companies over restitution for profiting from slavery.

“The movement for reparations is based on the idea that slavery in the US not only denied captive Africans of economic compensation for their work, but that those individuals’ present-day heirs continue to suffer from that deprivation. Reparations advocates say that trillions of dollars that should have been paid the captive workforce before slavery’s abolition continues to be missing from the coffers of the African-American community. They argue that the heirs of companies that withheld those funds continue to benefit from the inheritance of that money.

“‘These companies have amassed enormous wealth off the backs of enslaved Africans,’ Farmer-Pallmann said. ‘They participated in institutionalized terrorism, genocide, rape, torture, and theft of humans. They owe us restitution, but they refuse to pay. They left us no choice but to boycott.’”

Although slavery in the US was a grave injustice, no person alive today is responsible for what is past. There were a lot of white slave-holders and there were also a lot of white persons who gave their lives to end slavery. (The companies are sued merely because they have deep pockets.) As long as the African-American community looks backwards, instead of forward, the divisiveness will continue. A sense of entitlement hinders vs. empowers.

Searching for Search Lights

I have a crazy husband. Last night, after getting our Christmas tree (finally!), we drove around for twenty minutes trying to locate the source of search lights we saw in the sky. “I want to find them!” he declared. So, we set off on our mission.

They seemed to be mostly west and slightly south of where we were. With Kevin at the wheel, we maneuvered back and forth on both main streets and side streets until we finally found them. It was kind of like a treasure hunt of sorts.

Personally, I think search lights are cool. I love the grandeur of the light beams shooting into the sky, especially as you get closer and closer. Needless to say, we had a good time on our hunt.

In the end, our search light search landed us in the parking lot of a new gym opening up in Roseville. I told Kevin we should go inside to see if they have free cookies and punch. But, after discussing it, we decided to just go home and put up our tree.

I love random adventures.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Proof Boys Need Dads

On the way to a Chinese Restaurant on Sunday, I rode in my dad’s truck with him, my mom, and my ten-year-old brother, David.

“Chinese is my least favorite food!” David moaned, as real tears rolled down his cheeks. “I hate Chinese food!”

My mom, in the back seat, tried to console him. “David, just try to eat a little bit. Please? You like rice, don’t you?”

“Oooh,” he continue to sob.

“David,” said my dad from the driver’s seat. His voice was strong and commanding. I could tell it was going to be one of those no-room-for-negotiation talks I had experienced myself in my own childhood.

“Sometimes we all have to do things we don’t like,” my dad continued. “Today you are going to eat Chinese food and you are going to do it gracefully. You are not going to complain. Do you understand?”

David wiped his tears and managed to mutter a “Yes.”

This little conversation really struck me as proof that boys need a father to become a man. While mothers are essential too, there is just something about a father speaking to a boy to encourage him to rise to the occasion and become a Man.

God bless fathers who take their jobs seriously and make a difference in their boys’ lives.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Every once in a great while, for who knows what reason, I take it upon myself to comment on the latest fashion. Today is one of those days …

Never in my wildest imagination did I ever envision culottes coming into vogue. But, to my utter disbelief and astonishment, such is the case. Culottes are now “the thing.” Who would’ve thought?

Maybe my mind was blinded, thinking this trend impossible, because of those bygone ATI days. Maybe it’s the fact that I have a few horrid pictures of me, being 14 or so, and wearing a homemade pair of culottes! Not because they were fashionable but because they were modest and acceptable for a girl who liked sports but was bound by institutional legalism.

Ugh. Those are the pictures I’d like to rip out of my mom’s photo album and burn.

And to think … today I walked the mall and actually contemplated buying a pair to go with my boots! Not that the culottes I saw in the mall today can compare with those that originated from my mom’s sewing machine, of course.


This is proof that you should never ever say never. Especially when it comes to fashion.

Monday, December 05, 2005

How To Bring Parents Home

Alert – If both sets of your parents live far away from you and you are lonely for their company, wishing you could see them more often, I have learned that there is something you can do about that! And that would be … have a baby.

Yes, a baby in your family has an amazing tendency to draw your parents to your home for a given weekend when, otherwise, they would probably have made different plans.

This weekend both sets of our parents came to town for Meredith’s baptism. Needless to say, it was very special to have all four grandparents present for this momentous occasion.

While we must trust God to plant seeds of faith in Meredith’s heart so that she may someday personally dedicate herself to Christ, yesterday’s baptism was symbolic of God’s working already in Meredith’s life by placing her in a Christian home. We are grateful that God’s promises are for us and our children (Acts 2:39). We are also thankful for the Christian families that God placed us both in. We do not undervalue our godly heritage.

[Note: State Farm has already thanked me for the free advertising.]