Aug 27, 2014

Smooth and Fat

8/27/2014 — cori
So the other night we were comparing thumbs.  Fun.  Right?  Who doesn't do this?  Seriously, if you just isolate your thumb and look at it continuously it looks rather odd.  So, we're all holding our thumbs out for the rest of the clan to admire when Bennett makes an observation:

"I'm smooth and fat like Dad."

To which Daddy instantly replies, " *ahem* Let's clarify, we're talking about thumbs here.  That's the only part of me that's smooth and fat."

Of course.  That's all we were talking about.  Thumbs.  All of Daddy is not smooth and fat.  Not at all. It's just that when Bennett says it, it always sounds funnier.


Aug 21, 2014

How He Loves Us

8/21/2014 — cori

Every time I hear this song, I think of these pictures.  Every time I see these beautiful sunsets/sunrises, I think of this song.  I decided to marry the two today.  Each of these are pictures I've taken over time. Whether on the plains of Texas, the beaches of California, the lakes of Minnesota, the desert of New Mexico or from the barrenness of Haiti, I can remember where I was each time and I am still awed.  It never gets old.  

Aug 18, 2014

Camping Misadventures

8/18/2014 — cori
This was it.  This was the weekend we had all been waiting for.  It had been a whole year since our last, great, Mallott family camping adventure.  We were poised to deliver great expectations on this blessed trip.  However, we have noticed an uncomfortable trend infringing on our glorious camping experiences the last few years.  The trend (or curse) is that of rain.  It seems that no matter when or where we plan a camping trip, it rains.  Not just rain.  Thunderstorms.  This trip was no exception.  Not that it had rained at ALL for the past month.


We decided to head out early on Sunday since the forecast showed the higher percentage of rain for later in the day.  The entire drive to our destination - it rained.  That should have been clue number 1. Oh ya, and it was like 55 - 60 degrees...in August!  We could see our breath people! Our breath!!  This should have been clue number two - just turn around and go home now.  But no, ever the optimists we're all like, "Oh this is perfect hiking weather, we wouldn't want it any hotter - this is just great." Whatever.  Apparently, being outdoors does something funky to my brain and makes me question all things practical and wise.


Hiking in the cool fall-like weather of August with complete cloud cover and the occasional sprinkle was wonderful.  We were lost in the beauty of nature and rock climbing (please don't assume these are vertical levels we are attempting here, they are simply lots of rock outcroppings on a horizontal plane - much easier for us novices to handle).  We are out for a day of adventure and gosh darn-it, we will have it rain or shine!  We will not let the weather control our attitude - even though Chuck and I are giving weary glances back and forth wondering if we'll actually make it all the way through till the next morning.

This is the type of hiking we live for...off trail, climbing, a hint of danger involved and the smell of the great outdoors surrounding us.  A little sun and warmth added to the mix would be nice, but we realize we can't have it all. 


However, we were lucky enough to find the door to the woods, so we felt rather special.


This is the depth of hiking we had at our finger tips.  Too bad our finger tips and the rocks were too wet to climb because of all the rain!  And if it wasn't rain, it was fog.  The fog on the morning we woke up was so thick you couldn't see the other side of the river.


Like I said, we live on the edge.  If you have a teenager around (or Chuck), you know that if there is a sign that says something is probably hazardous, then we have to immediately head for that area and explore it and mock the sign that was meant to keep the weak minded away.  We made it half way down this cliff face before we realized a few important items: 1.  it was already starting to rain and the path was mostly a mud slope with an 10% grade, we might not make it back up.   2. Since it's so steep, it might be painful to (adult) muscles to have to climb all the way back up on slippery mud.  3. We didn't bring any rope, first aid kits or water....so if we got stuck in the 'hazardous' area Bear Grylls might think we hadn't been paying attention to all his hints and tips he so readily gives on all his survivor shows and we wouldn't want to disappoint him.


But oh, would Bear be proud of my husband for thinking up this little trick.  If there must be rain, then we WILL outsmart it.  Never again will we be caught sleeping in a water filled tent (yes, it has happened at least 2, maybe 3 other times to us).  This is the Tarp From Heaven.  It kept us dry all night long.  I was truly impressed with my husband's rope tying skills and ability to keep me from an utter melt-down in the rain.  


Unfortunately for us, we couldn't start a fire in our fire pit at the campsite.  Fortunately for us, there was a 'lodge' on the campgrounds with a massive fireplace.  We improvised and voila....we still had fajitas for dinner....even though we had to cook the teeny, tiny strips of chicken one at a time speared on a k-bob holder.  Our hands were getting slightly burnt being so close to the fire with our one slice of chicken.  Necessity is the mother of invention - thus, that is why our hands are wrapped in our table cloth.  Problem solved.  It only took us a hour to eat one at a time.  Each person got exactly one fajita with one piece of meat but hey, at least we got to eat, stay warm and dry for a while and even had ample space to play our family game of nertz after dinner.


Once we got back to our campsite there was really nothing left to do but read.  It was already getting pretty dark even though it was only 7:00 because of the storm outside.  We kept telling the kids, "We're making memories, so enjoy it."


Bennett took it seriously and decided he would be happier making memories if he could eat all the doritos and oreos he wanted inside his sleeping bag that comes equipped with arm holes.  He certainly was a Happy Camper.

Chloe was so disillusioned that we were going to bed so early she would have none of that (plus, she finished her book and hand nothing left to do).  She decided to run away.  At least as far away as the car and try to come up with a better plan.  There was alot of huffy breaths, crocodile tears and drama involved.   She felt we were all party poopers.  So she took it upon herself to try to get our campfire going.  She noticed that when she left the comfort of our shelter that it wasn't raining.  So even though the fire pit was soaking wet, she deduced that a fire would be had.  THIS is what camping is all about - sitting around the campfire at night talking and eating smores.  Thank God for her persistence and strong will in this because she won out, succeeded in dragging us all out of the tent and had (with a small bit of help from Daddy) gotten the fire started and all the chairs set up around it.  We enjoyed our last hour of no rain gathered around the fire talking.   

And then we lie in the tent for the next 8 hours listening to the rain pelt the tarp and the wind howl.  If I fell asleep it was on accident.  I don't know how it would have happened because all I remember was looking at the ceiling and trying to guess what time it was all night.  At one point I rolled over and told Chuck, "I feel like I'm an NFL coach who is waiting for the team to dump a cooler full of Gatorade on me."  I just KNEW all the water gathering on the tarp was going to somehow seep through and shower us from above.  We were all miserable, but made it through the night dry, much to my surprise.  We did a HARD thing.  It wasn't the optimal circumstances, but we indeed made a memory and tried desperately to make the most out of it.  

We were out of there, packed and on the road by 8am.   Maybe the Mallotts will only camp in cabins from now on.  This whole tent/rain thing is getting old.  Every. Time.

Aug 14, 2014

It Matters

8/14/2014 — cori
This poem came in response to my utter sadness over the complete despondency in the world at the moment. I could allow all these horrible events to spiral me downward until I loose hope. Sometimes they do. But then God gently reminds me that He is my hope. He came to bring hope and love and a new way of living for right now. This beautiful earth often seems so full of injustice, fear, hatred, disease, mistrust and war. We hear so much more bad news than good news.

Bennett started reading the news on his phone. He recently told me that it makes him sad but he's glad to know what's going on. I told him I also felt the same way and apologized that we can't protect him from all the ugliness as much any more as we could when he was younger. He told me he doesn't want to be protected from it any more, that he needs to learn how to deal with it and what's going on so he can understand better the world he lives in. But most importantly he said he needs to know it so he knows how to pray. I couldn't agree more.

There seems so little that we can do. Praying is often the only thing I can physically do to help in some of these situations. I can't help the thousands of illegal immigrant children trying to cross the border (alone) for hope at a better (safe) life. I can't drop off food and water to the Kurds stuck in the mountains by Isis and left to die. I can't hug the family of Robin Williams who is left without a Husband and Father because his internal demons were too much for him to bear. I can't change the police in Ferguson, Missouri and ask them to treat the African Americans with more respect and kindness instead of hatred and fear. I can't make Israel and Palestine live in peace. I can't stop Ebola from spreading across Africa. And the list goes on ad nauseum.

But I can pray. I can touch of the lives of people I come in contact with every day. I can show love instead of reciprocating hate. I can give food to those around me who need it. I can help the immigrants and refugees here who I come in contact with every day. But most importantly, I can pray and trust the One who can change hearts and lives and nations. If we all touched one person next to us, then eventually, the whole world will be touched.

To quote one of my favorite movies (The Power of One): "A waterfall starts but with one drop, and look what becomes of that."

I have so, so many questions and I don't pretend to have any answers.  I'm confused so much of the time.  This is just me trying to reconcile all my questions with what I know to be true and what I feel and think. Sometimes it makes sense, sometimes it doesn't.  But I know that everyone matters, otherwise, why did Jesus die on the cross.  If they matter to him, they matter to me.

It Matters

It matters what you say
It matters that you pray
It matters what you do
It matters how you choose

People laughing on the outside
Might be dying on the inside
People hating on the outside
Might be scared on the inside

Spending time together matters
Holding hands in unity matters
Standing up for others matters
Speaking for the voiceless matters

Money doesn’t matter
Skin color doesn’t matter
Address doesn’t matter
Stuff doesn’t matter

Look at the heart, it cares
Look at their eyes, they plead
Look at the bodies, they are broken
Look at their faces, there is fear

Where is the hope?
Where is the love?
Where is the peace?
Where is the justice?

One to one....relationship,
That’s how we care.
Surrendering our pride and need for recognition,
That’s how we give.

Looking out for others not only ourselves,
Touches lives and tenders hope.
Speaking the truth,
Brings pain at first and justice in the end.

Actions matter
Words matter
People matter
Love matters

How do we erase fear?
How do we bring about justice?
How do we help the helpless?
How do we show we care?

We love our enemies.
We do good to those who hurt us.
We turn the other cheek.
We fight evil with good.
We mourn with those weep.
We bless and do not curse.
We pray and always hope.

It matters.


Aug 7, 2014

Guest Blogger

8/07/2014 — cori
Today's post is from my favorite 12 year old.   I just love his heart, the way he looks at the world and who he is.  He writes from his heart:

Random blog late at night
Some people are made to write.  Some people are just good at it.  Notice I saidsome people.  (:  My Mom isn't an author but her blogs are like, really long.  Every time I finish a good book, (I counted and I have read 14 books this summer!  All of them were good.) I think to myself how easy it is to write a book.  I have a way of doing things like that it my mind.  Like I think to myself, if someone had a gun against my head and ordered me to to twenty pull-ups, otherwise I would die, I usually just think, yeah I could do that if I had to.  In real life if that situating happened, I would be able to do two pull-ups, then I would die.  Happy thought.  I have a lot of awesome ideas for books in my head but when I try to write them, I get about one paragraph done and give up.  There would probably be a ton of good books written by well, me, if I had continued them.  To many ideas but I can't follow through.  (:  I think the reason I always think that I could do something hat I actually can't do is because of my Lymes Disease.  Now if you were talking about someone who had a life threatening disease, you wouldn't talk about me.  But if you were talking about someone who, every morning wakes up and literally feels like he played a hundred games of rugby during the night them got hit by a truck going 70 mph, you probably will be talking about me.  (: No joke.  Calling me sore would be a huge understatement.  But I'm not complaining.  A couple weeks ago, we went on a canoe ride.  If you have ever gone canoeing on a hot day in a metal canoe in the middle summer you know it's fun.  A couple weeks before that and even that day, I had been taking pills for Lyme's Disease (that didn't work) and one of the allergic reactions that I didn't read was to stay out of direct sunlight.  (:  ahhh, if you know me, you will see the irony.  Making me staying out of direct sunlight?  Are these people crazy?  (:  but I didn't see the note.  So of course after canoeing for a while, I felt a very unusual feeling in my hands so to speak.  First, cake the tingling.  Then came the stinging.  Then came the burning.  Then came the agony.  IT HURT A LOT!  I cried actually and to make me cry from physical pain is very rare.  My hand were on fire and there was nothing I could do.  So I endured the seven mile canoe ride with my hands on fire except with no fire.    It hurt for days afterwards and I still have scars and burns on my hands right now.  Two days later, it was just me and dad in the car and he was asking me questions about the burning in my hands.  We finally came to the subject of cancer patients.  He told me that people with cancer, the medication they take makes their whole body like that!  I am truly grateful and thankful.  My guardian angel knows me well and has been with me through every painful situation I have been through.  (A lot). And probably is so sick if taking some of my pain. (:  Every time I am in a painful situation I actually think of God.  Or my family.  I think of how loved and lucky I am and how good of a life I live.  I am a ground magnet, a human punching bag, and I am sure that one day I will get hurt really really really bad.  But I don't care.  I have God's love, my families love and that makes me so very happy.  No one has a bigger smile than me when I realize all this.  I didn't write this blog to brag about how hurt I am, or how much pain I have endured, or anything else.  Actually I don't know why I wrote this blog.  It is like 11pm and my mind doesn't work properly after about 9:30.  (:  I had an impulse to write a blog so I did.  I don't know if I have ever written a blog this long for no apparent reason.  I have realized who I am.  I am a kid with a big smile, a kid who loves God, a kid who has the best family ever and who doesn't know much more than that.  Goodnight I guess.  I'm tired but maybe you guys are reading this blog in the afternoon or morning.  So I will just say good morning.  Or good afternoon.  Or maybe you are so happy you just wrote a blog for no reason and are reading his blog late at night.  Well since I don't whether to say good day or goodnight, I will just say good.  Cuz God is good.

Aug 3, 2014

Friendship

8/03/2014 — cori

Unadulterated, pure joy, hand in hand - it must be Summer!



A true friend advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, 
defends courageously, and continues a friend unchangeably.  - William Penn


Triathlon

8/03/2014 — cori
This is the second year that Chloe has run the Miracles of Mitch Triathlon.  I just love, love, love that there is something kids can do to actively help other kids.  We didn't even ask Chloe if she wanted to do it this year, she just told us she was.  She raised donations all on her own too.  The air was ripe with nervous anticipation and excitement on race day.  The weather was perfect too.


The procession where all the kids (grouped by age/gender)
 walk into the staging area where the race begins.


Chloe and her friend (that she just met) right after 
finishing the first leg which is swimming.



Chloe beginning the second leg, which is biking.  
Still with new friend. 


Coming down the final home stretch.


Finishers!!

Chloe is loyal if nothing else.  The girl she did the entire race with she just met as they were waiting in the procession line.  Turns out they were both running for the same All-Star (kid with cancer) named Addison.  Then Chloe found out that this girl has been running the triathlon for a few years since her older sister was an All-Star but ended up beating the cancer.  Yay!  So it was very personal for her. 

On a separate note....Chloe did the whole thing without ever training.  That stinker.  I guess swimming a hundred yards, running a half mile and biking 3 miles is just child's play.  All in a day's work.  But she did tell me that next year she will probably have to train because she'll be in the older kids category and they have to do twice as much as the younger kids.

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