Happy Birthday Babe

Dear Jim,

Happy 36th Birthday!!!!  I thought I would make you a fun card instead of purchasing one.  I will have this printed for you when you get home.  See why I needed my card reader working today?  🙂  Babe – thanks for being an AWESOME husband and AWESOME daddy.  I am so in love with you and your children adore you.  Looking forward to another fantastic year with you by my side.  We love you more than words can say.  Doni, Tanner, Ty, and Tori


About this picture:

I really enjoy composite photos.  Composites are photos where elements, not photographed together, are artistically blended in one piece of “art”.  My inspiration for this was a picture Heidi and I saw on the web some time back. It was a horse and carriage with dirt underneath and clouds behind (just like above).  I have wanted to try a similar pop out and this morning while laying in bed this idea came to me.  I want to play with more composites using stock photos.  The grass was a picture of a golf course that I took one day but the clouds are from a stock photo I acquired some time back.  The HB sign was purchased for Ty’s last birthday.  The pictures of the Brinkman clan were all taken this afternoon.  Too fun huh?

Teachable Moments


Awwww….my gorgeous little nephew.  Don’t you just love those HUGE HUGE eyes?

You know me and feet pictures…can’t help myself.  You’ll find I took several.  It’s an addiction.  🙂


I have been trying my best lately to find “teachable moments” with the boys.  It hasn’t been going well. Usually they just look at me like they have no idea what I am saying.

Let’s see…it started earlier in the day when Tanner told me Ty was playing a computer game with Rabbit and the Tortoise. Ahhhh…nice teaching moment…an allagory.

“Tanner do you know that story?”


“Remember that the rabbit was so sure he was going to win the race that he got very prideful about it and decided to do what?”

“Go to sleep”

“Yep and then the turtle ended up winning”

“Uh huh”

Primed and ready. All is set to launch into a brief discussion of how pride comes before a fall and/or how persistence can pay off, and/or how one should’t quit just because odds aren’t in their favor (Note to Kristi – none of this applies to us!) ….I was waffling on which I would choose. While I was making up my mind, I realized that Tanner was quite uninterested in the story and only wanted to discuss how one could win at the computer game. The teaching moment would have to wait. It was losing it’s relevance by the minute.

This evening Ty was telling me I was beautiful and how much he loved me (all Ty’s usual affirmations) and I said “I love YOU so much. Do you want me to tell you a story? It has sad stuff in it but all the happy parts are about you!”. He said yes. I launched into a 4 year old version of my grief over infertility and loosing children and how he was in Amanda’s tummy and how God chose us to be a family…how he was born early, how I loved him in the hospital…on and on I went. I noticed that all the while he kept saying “uh huh…uh huh…uh huh..” Finally it dawned on me that his “uh huh” was simply an appeasement because in reality he was watching that really dumb wipeout show out of the corner of his eye with Daddy and Tanner. It was impossible to deny once he was laughing hysterically at all the wrong parts in my story. I finished it rather abruptly and he moved to the couch with Dad for a better look at the TV. Okay – strike two for the day.

The day wasn’t over though – I still had time. When Tanner commented on the Wipeout show with “Hey mommy! That lady just quit!” – I knew I had just scored another opportunity.

“Tanner what do you think of her quitting?”

“She shouldn’t have done that.”

“Why not?” – now I am getting excited because I have got him right where I want him.

“Because now we don’t get to see her fall and that’s funny.”

I just stared at Jim with a dumbstuck look. This just isn’t working for me today. Jim laughed.

I hope my love is so big and my grace so wide that the teachable moments in this house are lived out instead of simply being “taught” because apparently no one is really listening. 🙂 Good grief.




Paradigm Shift


(Picture above – photo album cover for Ryker’s 2 month pictures.  Heidi – you guessed right – Jodi picked this one.  More pictures below).

Last week mom and I were in the car talking and the word “paradigm” came up.  She said “I remember the first time you ever used that word back when you were working for the bank and I had no idea what you were talking about”. 

As I referenced in yesterday’s post, a paradigm shift is a fundamental change in approach or assumptions.  This term has been on my mind this week because I feel like I am at a place of a spiritual paradigm shift. 

Recently, someone said to Jim and I “you guys don’t call yourselves “born agains” do you?”  I always cringe when someone says this to me because I think that what they mean by it and what I mean by it, are likely quite different.  In this instance, I just simply said “yes – we are”.  Then there was silence.  I probably should have launched into a discussion but at the time it seemed wiser not to.

Considering the word “born again” makes much more sense in light of the term “paradigm shift”.  First backing up….where does the whole “born again” thing come from in the first place?  Several scriptures reference this.  Most notoriously would probably be the story of Nicodemus.  Nicodemus was a Pharisee who came to Jesus to inquire about who He was and how he could perform the miraculous signs and wonders that He did.  Jesus in reply said “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” (John 3:3).  Nicodemus had no idea what Jesus was referring to and Jesus followed up reiterating that one must be born again and then by verse 16 follows one of the most renowned verses on salvation in the bible – John 3:16.  We know from this verse that being born again is centered on “whosoever believes in him”. 

Jim became a “born again” Christian about a year before we started dating.  When we started seeing one another, he was just a baby in his faith but growing steadily.  Often times when I would ask him a question, he would take a week to answer me.  The reason was simple.  His paradigm had shifted.  He had to come to brand new conclusions about what he believed because he was starting from a whole new point of reference.  His fundamental approach to everything had completely changed.  Being “born again” seems like a paradigm shift to me in the sense that one begins again (with the help of the Spirit)  seeing life with brand new eyes.  John 3:6 says “flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.  You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 

I was confronted with my own paradigm shift this week when my Dad told me that the center of so many things that haunt me in life is FEAR.  He was right – I knew that.  Working on it.  🙂  Jodi and I were discussing last night that one should never stand on a pier with the two of us – you would be horrified at the worst case scenarios we can conjure up.  🙂

That night I went to bed and was pondering 1 John 4:18 – There is no fear in love.   But perfect love casts out fear because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

In the past, here is what that verse said to me:  “As I learn to love God more perfectly, I will stop being afraid.”  Notice the emphasis – ONCE AGAIN – on what I DO

Saturday night the light bulb came on – not those little night lights but BIG HUGE freeway construction light towers!  “As I learn to live in God’s love and realize how much HE LOVES ME – I will stop living in fear.”  In the past, I stopped too short because verse 19 says “We love because HE FIRST loved us”.  The answer was there all along.   What a difference it makes in how I approach the love related to fear issue.  When the full weight is on me to first love more perfectly and then not be afraid – I tend to fail at both.  When I focus on God’s goodness and how much HE loves me, I feel MUCH safer because He is ALWAYS loving me and working out His perfect plan in my life – even in the storms.  Now that is a paradigm shift.  🙂 


I didn’t digiscrap all the pictures for her book – only a few.  I like the picture itself to take up the whole page in most cases so I only add a little scrapping to some pictures.  Had fun with the above though because I love pop outs and thought toes would be fun for that.  🙂

In the past, Maggie Holmes has taken pictures for Jodi (she is a really good photographer in Mesa).  She does a fun “wash” to her pictures that I was trying to emulate her. Don’t think I quite got it but I liked the effect anyhow.

I thought this picture needed to look dreamy.  Isn’t he so dreamy?   We didn’t get a ton of close ups of Ryker for various reasons but you will see more of him in the days to come.

And the blessings keep comin’…

Prison Break


Tori Time

Would you just look at that little monkey?  I don’t know what to do with her!!!  Notice she is STRAPPED in.  I was at my computer and trying to get her to nap.  I heard her rustling about but was ignoring it.  When it quieted down I looked over to check on her and found her like this.  That is an IMPRESSIVE escape attempt.  Clearly all the energy spent launching this prison break drained her and she needed a brief rest – still biting the glider and all.  🙂  She can escape the bumbo now as well. 

She is ALMOST crawling.  She can get on all fours and rock and she can move forward a step or two (can you say step?) before she loses balance and falls on her nose.  At Sweeties yesterday, she kept standing on her back feet to crawl.  I can only assume she didn’t like the feel of the carpet on her knees (we have wood laminate).  Whatever it is she does, she can get nearly anwhere she wants to go.  Also why she is BACK in my book box at this moment.  Little monkey can’t leave it alone.  We played “your book my book” all weekend.  I would give her a book to read while I was reading my own.  She would abandon hers and eat the backside of mine while I read the front.  Each time I would take MINE back, she would pitch a screaming fit. 

She also likes crawling to my feet and trying to eat my toenail polish off.  Gross. 

I put her in her crib for the very first time this weekend!  I laid her down for a nap.  I was preparing her room (monitors) for this transition the night before and realized I had to lower her mattress because she was getting on all fours and then reaching up and eating the mobile that I had so painstakenly made for her.  The crib thing isn’t going so well yet because (a) I am not swaddling her because she can turn herself onto her tummy while still swaddled and that doesn’t seem safe and (b) she rolls to her tummy and sleeps face down which is totally freaking me out.  So…for now…she is still swaddled sleeping in a reclined position in my room in her glider.


He Loves Me

If we define God only in our limited interpretation of our own circumstances, we will never discover who He really is.  (He Loves Me, Wayne Jacobsen, pg 22)

Sometimes we build up an image of God in our minds that reflects the outcome of our present and past circumstances.  Amazing how much detail we can add to that story.  Who He is, why He did IT (whatever our “it” of the day is), and worse (for me anyhow), what will cause Him to allow IT again.  What a train wreck that turns in to.  Dad wrote on his blog this morning about precursive faith.  Faith that runs ahead of the evidence (not his words but that was the gist).  I loved the example he used of the Israelites belief that ran ahead of their actions (or not).  We start off on the wrong foot so quickly and easily and then we allow all our misconceptions and our FEAR to create a God of our imagination who ultimately resembles nothing of the King of the Universe.  The Daddy who loves us.  Papa.

Clearly we need a paradigm shift in our thinking. 

For Sweetie – Dictionary definition:  “a fundamental change in approach or assumptions”.  I looked it up LOL.

What Freedom

I love her “scared bunny eyes” in the above picture.  Heidi used to tell me when we were young that I had scared bunny eyes – NOT when I was pouting hee hee – just in general.  Tori has an adorable pout – she is headed for it in the above picture.


I am meeting Jodi to go shopping for Braxtyn’s birthday present so just taking a quick moment to write.  Last night we had our first book discussion at Dad’s on The Shack.  Darin and Jodi and I didn’t leave until midnight.  🙂  Dad decided to just give us all a list of about 10 dig deeper questions from the first sections of the book and then let everyone choose a question that they wanted the group to discuss in more depth.  This format worked great I thought.  There was so much that came out between us all in the discussions.  What an awesome time of fellowship.  My favorite line of the night was this:

Quote:  I was a Christian all my life.  Then I fell in love with Jesus.  – Darin

Jim and I stayed up until 1:00 AM on Wednesday night because he recently finished reading The Shack and is now such an advocate for it.  I love how the discussions stemming from this fictional book are giving such opportunity for us to grow in Grace.  How absolutely fantastic is that?

Last night someone asked Dad a question (“someone” because she is shy and doesn’t like attention being drawn to herself hee hee) and I really appreciated the answer.  The question was “How do you hold on to inner conviction and try to live a holy life without coming off as legalistic to those who don’t have the same convictions?”

Dad’s answer was so good I thought.  He reminded us of how Jesus was the perfect example of that.  Jesus KEPT EVERY LAW perfectly – all 600 something of them but no one accused him of being a legalist.  🙂  Instead, he was accused of heresy.  What mighty competition he was for the Pharisees on the works scale because they had zero chance of keeping the laws in the manner that Jesus did (even though they pretended to).  In fact, he went much further than merely keeping the law.  Have you read the Sermon on the Mount recently?  Matthew 5-7.  Matthew 5:20 said that our righteousness must surpass that of the Pharisees (don’t imagine that went over well with them).  Why?  Because the Pharisses knew how to keep the law (at least to degrees) but they didn’t know Jesus who came to fulfill the law.  Everytime I read the Sermon on the Mount I picture Bruce Marshiano in the “Matthew” bible DVD delivering it and I smile – he did such a fabulous job acting out this passage I thought.

So how did Jesus be a law keeper and avoid the legalism title?  His deep, wide, profound love for people.  When we take our own inner convictions and act on them but free them from the neck of those around us and choose to let the Holy Spirit deal with our brother and sister and we just LOVE – we get freed (and so do they). 

Dad has posted the questions we discussed last night on his website.  www.papaponderings.blogspot.com.  Feel free to jump on over there, take a look at them, and jump into a discussion.