Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Here are some pictures of our recent activities. I included pics of our making caramel apples with my friend Sara and Jenny and their delightful children along with some hiking shots at one of our favorite hiking spots. Grace and I were treated to an American Girl Doll Tea Party and Fashion Show recently and I added some shots of Grace throughly getting into the modeling on the runway. She wasn't too impressed with the "tea" aspect of it but enjoyed getting acquainted with American Girl Dolls. We now have a VERY long Christmas wish list. This event was especially enjoyable for me as I have been longing to do some girly things with my daughters and this was exactly what I had been dreaming of. I also have added some shots of the light saber battles of which Emily is very much a part. I have a few more pictures of Emily that I am going to try to do a collage.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Friends in China

Good Sunday Morning to everyone! I pray that each of you are having a glorious Lord's Day. The kids and I are home sick today while Mike, being the only one who hasn't gotten the "yuckies" was able to go to church. As all of you mom's know life is not fun when your kids are sick and we have had a week of the "yuckies" making their way to all of us. We are looking forward to feeling better soon. With my house being quiet for the moment and no one needing tyenole, cough medicine, tissues or cuddles I am afforded a little bit of computer time. I just love checking in with all of you in my blogging world. I love seeing how you are loving on your familes and enjoying life. I am encouraged and inspired by your faith. Speaking of wonderful friends who inspire me, my chatty friend Sarah and her beautiful family are currently in China to receive the blessing of their precious son Hudson. Sarah's tenderness and passion for her husband, children and the Lord always encourages me to go deeper in my walk with the Lord and relationship with my husband and kids. The song that is playing on her blog was written by her brother, Luke and reminds me of just how intimately God is acquainted with each and everyone of his precious creations and HE loves us ALL no matter how great or how small. All of HIS children are beautiful in HIS sight. I hope that you will be blessed in following The Strand Family's journey to Hudson. I have lots of pics to share of all the fun we have been having but I need to get them organized first. We are gearing up for a very busy holiday season and I am looking forward to establishing some new traditions with our new friends in this new place we now call home. Wishes to all of you for a great day!

Love and Hugs,

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

I have been tagged by my friend Sarah at (sorry I can't seem to figure out how to get a link with just a name, some of you more savy bloggers can share the how to's) and this is the first time that I have been tagged and I hope that I do this correctly so here goes:

7 Random and/or weird facts about me:

1. I trained competetively in figure skating for about 8 years and once competed against Nancy Kerrigan.

2. I was captain of my highschool cheerleading squad my junior and senior year.

3. My first car was a little red mustang affectionately known as "Oreo" because a one of my best highschool girlfriends covered my car in oreo cookies one cold night while I was cheering at a basketball game.

4. I am a Food Network junkie with Paula Dean being my favorite celebrity chef. I would absolutely love to be in the audience of her live cooking show.

5. I had no idea where I was going for my honeymoon and would have arrived at our destination of Lake Tahoe completely suprised had my husband not slipped with the location the night before we left. (I gave him clothes for both climates and he had the reponsibility of packing for the appropriate weather, thank goodness he didn't keep the secret and I was able to pack for myself because I was certain that I was going to end up in Hawaii so it sure was nice to be able to add some additional items to the cold weather packing.)

6. I love to clean. Deep cleaning my house is theraputic for me.

7. I also love to run and would love to one day run a marathon.

I am tagging these sweet sisters:

Becki at

Dawn at

Heidi at

Charlene at

Keri at

Shelley at

Lissa at

Thanks for the tag Sarah. It is always fun to read these interesting tidbits about the wonderful women whom I now call some of my dearest friends.



Living for Love!

Our sweet boy having fun at his Aunt Chrystals.
I took this photo exactly one week before Connor died.

Have you ever had the blessing of being in the presence of someone who lived out their daily life simply to pour out love onto others? Being deeply loved by someone is something that I don't believe can be adequately described in earthly words. Certainly, many poets and writers have wrote beautiful expressions of love but the depth of "true" love can be often difficult to describe. In 1 Corinthians Paul describes love like this,

"If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "jump" and it jumps but do not love, I am nothing.
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but do not love I've gotten nowwhere,
So no matter what I say, what I believe and what I do I'm bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up
Love cares more for others than for self
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have
Love doesn't strut
Doesn't have a swelled head
Doesn't force itself on others
Isn't always "me first"
Doesn't fly off the handle
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others
Doesn't revel when others grovel
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth
Puts up with anything
Trusts God always
Always looks for the best
Never looks back
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies......" MSG

I love reading the modern Message translation of this beautiful passage as it reminds me so plainly of what life is about.....LOVING OTHERS and that LOVE is much more than the physical expression we so often think of as love. Throughout this week I have thought deeply about love and how I have been loved throughout my life by many people. This thoughtful time has been brought about in my heart and mind because of a time of remembrance of a little boy who was the purest example of earthly love that I have ever know. His expressions of love were not offered in beautiful words nor were they presented in eloquent writings. He loved me with his eyes, he loved me with his touches and he loved me with his reminders that nothing in this world is too heavy or burdensome that love cannot make better. This precious little love was my son, Connor. Oh how I just love to see his name. Just seeing it written is a vivid reminder of the beauty that was bestowed upon me for 3 1/2 years of my life. He was beautiful. He filled my days with joy and meaning and I will be FOREVER grateful that my GOD granted me the great gift of experiencing Connor's love for the short time that I did. Thanks be to the God of the Universe who created all things and chose me to be Connor's mommy. Thank you Connor for showing me the beauty of letting love penetrate every nook and cranny of my everyday life.

Yesterday, our family marked the 5th Anniversary of the day that our little love, Connor made his journey to Heaven. It was a time of sweet and sad remembrance of a day in which we experienced deep deep loss. I miss Connor tremendously but I rejoice in the knowledge that our separation is only for a period of time for "soon and very soon we are going to see our KING" and when I see my KING I will be reunited with my little love, Connor never to be separated again.

It touches my heart to know just how many still remember us in their prayers on this day and we thank you for your thoughts, prayers, emails and phonecalls. You loved us on the day we lost Connor and you continue to love on us 5 years later....thank you! And for the birthday wishes for me...thank you as well. As I said it was a sweet and sad day for all of us. We spent part of the day at the zoo, we released balloons at a favorite hiking spot and spent the evening at a local church having some fun and being loved on by some beautiful Believers who didn't even know us but blessed us with their loving hugs, smiles. And now, may all who read these words know just how much you are loved. I pray that you have someone who loves you like Connor loved me...a pure earthly example of just how deeply your Heavenly Father loves you. And remember that,

"But for right now, until that completeness we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation:
Trust steadily in God,
Hope unswervingly,
And the best of the three is LOVE." MSG

With My Love to you,