Monday, December 28, 2009


Recently an organization I love seems to have lost some of it's DNA. What do I mean by DNA? Well, I mean people basically. The organization I'm referring to has lost some very important people that form the foundation, or backbone of what makes this organization what it is. Or what it was.

In this day and age people come and go - We are a fluid society - We need to embrace change, blah, blah, blah...I'm not bitter, I'm just tired. Tired of losing good people, watching my heritage walk away. Or be sent away in some cases.

But we must not loose our basic DNA. If we do, we just might become a really strange mutation. Ever see The Fly?

From what I read, the purpose of DNA has to do with long-term storage of information. It's been compared to a blue print or a recipe. In this case I'm referring to people that have been there all along, through thick and thin, they help form the genetic blue print of who we are as an organization.

It reminds me of when Dave used to run summer camp, every evening would end with a fun and inspiring campfire. Tired kids, parents and staff would gather around a roaring fire and laugh at great skits and sing together. (Hey Dave, remember when you would sing 'Forever Young' and the parents would all cry?!) Those old skits were part of the DNA of a good camp.

Some of the same skits were used year after year, but even so Dave and his staff would start out the summer by training the new leaders the old skits, the way they were meant to be. I asked Dave why he had to teach the same old skits over again, and he replied, "Because if we don't, they have a strange way of mutating."

It will be interesting to see what this organization does. In the mean time I watch, pray, support and hang on to my fly swatter!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Big Christmas Gift

My friend at work helped me see one of those Christmas traditions I never realized I had. I gave all my work friends a little something and on many of them I wrote something sappy like, "my big Christmas gift this year is working with you!"

So immediately one of my co-workers jokingly complained, "Hey, what do you mean by 'big' Christmas gift? Is that a crack about my weight?!" (no, K.E., it wasn't meant to be a cheap shot!)

Then I realized it is a tradition in my family to talk about the 'big gift.' It's not that we were spoiled or demanding. In fact I think it was my Mom's way of breaking it to us that Santa might only bring one thing that year (even though we were on the nice list.) Mom would approach us with the question, "If you could only get one present this year, what would it be?"

For us, the big gift is the one that if you got nothing else, you would still be excited. So, when I say working with you is my big gift this year, what I mean is that I'm really thankful and excited about it. And content.

I got to hang out with a bunch of friends the other evening who's beliefs are very different than mine. For them, Christmas is only about what Santa brings. But for me, part of the reason I can have peace and contentment in this crazy life, is because for me Christmas is about the birth of Christ, Our Lord. Luke 2 shares it beautifully. He (Jesus) is the ultimate 'big gift.'

Another tradition in my family is that on Christmas Eve we could only open one gift. Somehow it always ended up being pajamas. Yet for several years we were genuinely surprised by guess what my kids are getting on Christmas Eve? (Shhhh, it's a secret!)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ever wonder..?

"Hey Mom, Dad, ever wonder why I started liking the show Teen Titans?" T.Michael asked as we all sat together in the hot tub. It was one of those relaxing family times, when he started this conversation out of the blue.

Startled, I looked over at Dave. I mean, had we ever wondered why T.Michael likes this show? Did we even know there was a show called Teen Titans? What kind of parents are we anyway?

Oblivious to our hesitation, T.Michael proceeded to explain:

"One day I was surfing the one - sevens, when all of a sudden I saw Robin. He caught my attention. And I thought, 'Hey, what is this show?' and I really liked it. I've been pretty much watching it ever since!"

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

tales of a 3rd Grade linebacker

After the game T.Michael ran up to me, pulled the helmet off his sweaty head, pointed to his nose and exclaimed,

"Mom! Did you see that kid?! He knocked the snot out of me! No, literally. He knocked the snot right out of me! See?!"

Another player's Mom standing nearby could not stop laughing.
Ah, such a proud moment!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

The new sermon series at my church is about Jonah...but that's not why I'm writing about him.

Often when I need guidance I pray and ask God to please "shut the door" and keep me from the wrong decision. Then this morning I was thinking that just closing the door is kind of, well, boring. How 'bout something exciting like having a giant fish swallow me to set me back on course?!

There have been times in my life when I had to step out in faith. (like my friend Rachel who is in Mexico City right now -- love you Rachel!) It usually wasn't an issue of right or wrong, but more an issue of "Is that really You, God?" It's times like these I hope to hear Him whisper in my ear which way to go. But if I'm feeling especially stubborn or just don't get it, a big fish just might be the answer!

I realize Jonah's issue was very different from simply seeking guidance. But still I share with you this little rabbit-trail into my thoughts.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cattle Ranch Wisdom

This past week President Cook (Warner Pacific College) shared many inspiring words during all the different events celebrating her inauguration. During chapel last week she shared about her wise & loving Dad with the students. Her Dad is a cattle rancher in Enterprise, Oregon. She told us how he would often say,

"The trouble with living sacrifices is their tendency to get off the the alter!"

That made me laugh, I mean isn't that the truth!?! Out of all the many important things President Cook shared in the past week, this is the one that God used to grab my attention. Zing! I was convicted, just like that!

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship.
Romans 12:1-3

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Just right!

I was reading Proverbs 30:7+ this morning and I was struck by the part that says,
"...Two things I ask of you, O Lord; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the Lord?' Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God."

Not too much, not too little...just right! I love it! It can be the same way with timing too, have you noticed? God's timing and our timing seldom seems to match up. Never too soon, never too late...just right!

We are ever so dependant on Him!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Signs of Fall

Ah,signs of the fall season...shorter days, school supplies, and for the first time EVER in this Proehl family: Football!

Yep, T.Michael once again hurls us into something completely new, all-consuming and wonderful! My friend Cynthia told me she heard on the radio when Dr. Laura told someone strongly that, "No sane parent would ever allow their child to play in a contact sport!"

Well, I always suspected it, and this just confirms it...Dave & I are not sane. (Kind of lets the pressure off, you know?:-)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Little Treasures

Night Stands I call them. Little holders of light and treasures.

A long time ago Grandma Proehl shared with me about taking the time to look around at our lives and write about it -- take a snapshot in time. She was so great at it, sometimes she would write a letter and describe her day, her surroundings, what was going on at that moment. In that same spirit of remembering, I offer these fun little snapshots of the things that found a "place of honor" in the kids' rooms.

T.Micheal's treasures include the super-cool pinewood derby car he and Dad made in the cub scouts last year -- complete with storm trooper driver! Also included are books, a pencil/tracing paper picture (given by a girl), sports box Kleenex, a battery-less flashlight, a lego star ship and lego person and some magnetic shapes that he loves to make into different things.

McKenzie's treasures include silly string, a 3-D light-up Angel, several stuffed animals, sequins, jewelry, a red flashlight, a letter from Grandma Domon, several folded up school papers (recently pulled from pockets), little painted rocks and the Nutshell Library collection by Maurice Sendak.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

One Tough Sandwich

I've been in a bit of a funk lately. You may have seen it. I don't talk about it much because it's hard to explain, and (sigh) I'm afraid there's really nothing you can do, I just have to keep moving forward. It's about a sandwich. No, not a real sandwich. More of a symbolic one.

You see, I had this awesome vacation last week. Got to travel, see friends, walk in the sun, visit Mickey Mouse -- it was great! Truly the kids, Dave and I had a great time together. (See Dave's Facebook for photos)

So why the funk? Well, on both sides of that great week of vacation, I mean literally two days before and two days after, I found out someone in my life died. It's not like they were super-close to me, but they were both young (one age 22, one age 8yrs)and beautiful, and I feel so sad for both families. In both cases I have family members to comfort and encourage. That makes for one tough sandwich.

Looking on the bright side, I'm encouraged too. Things like this make you look life in the face, and think about what you're doing. Is this really how I want to be spending my time? I'm thankful for my family, my health, and the opportunities God has brought my way.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

this old house

Okay, clearly our house is doing better than this one! But my goodness, what a season! Lately we've been hit with a "one-two" punch of repairs -- I know it's part of life but, "Come on!" (If you've ever watched A.D., you'll know the tone used:-)

Let's see...the roof, the dryer, the washer, the TV, the clutch in Dave's care, the bathroom fan, the electrical get the idea!

Dave had a good insight on all this though, he said it's because this is the longest we've ever lived in one place. Now that idea I like, it's kind of like saying we're experiencing some stability! Dave got to live in his childhood home until college, and I always thought that was so lucky! I wonder if his parents ever felt this way?!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Momma Bear

My great Friend-of-Faith MP has shown me by example what a God-fearing woman does when life throws you a curve! You may remember me mention her in a previous blog or two, but I always referred to her as one of my "KB Friends."

Like so many of us these days, she has been job-hunting lately and it has been a real eye-opener for me, seeing how she has tackled this whole burden from beginning to...job.

First, a long time before she needed a new job, she asked for prayer for wisdom about it. Then she sought wise counsel -- her husband, parents, Mother-in-law, KB Friends (including me!) She did the hard work,you know--following up on leads, applying, interviewing...then before long she was offered two really good jobs!

How does one decide between good and good? They were both really great opportunities, one even included some "status" in the community. But how to decide?

Now, Jen, you might ask, where does the whole "Momma Bear" blog title come into play? Good question! The important detail I haven't mentioned yet is that my friend has two amazing middle-school age boys at home, and what I have really learned from her through this whole thing is how to make big decisions in light of putting family first.

In the end it wasn't about which job she wanted most, or about status. In the end it came down to what the boys needed (in having a parent available to them in the afternoons, even though they're "old enough" to be on their own) and which job would keep her closer to home. Things like that. I mean this lady was like a Momma Bear protecting her cubs -- and nothing, I mean nothing was going to get in the way of her protecting those boys.

And this I respect and admire very much.

PS. Alyssa, thanks for the great advice you left on my last post! You Rock Chica!

Monday, March 09, 2009


James 1:5 says “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives gorgeously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” I was reading in the Prayer Devotional Bible about wisdom and one of their little tutorials said wisdom “…is not so much knowing what to do, as how to be. “ So today I’m asking God for wisdom for a particular situation. There is something that has me stumped, and I need to know how to be with it. Hmmm….things to ponder

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Livin' the high life!

Hey, long time no blog...and I miss you! But that's because I'm lovin' my new job and enjoying this season with the kids. T.Michael's done with baseball tryouts, and eagerly waits for the practices to begin! McKenzie is learning some fun choreography to go with the songs from some of the old classic musicals in her NW Children's Theater class -- and when you add all of that together it equals time with people and less time with computers, for now anyway. I call it "Livin' the high life!"

For fun I've included a photo of the kids with my niece Jessica at her Washougal Equestrian Team event. Jessica we're so proud of you!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

This "Apathy" picture is from

From the moment I heard about the movie Slumdog Millionaire I knew I was going to see it. After consistently praying for people in India the last several years, my heart is solidly theirs -- funny how God does that in us.

After almost throwing up and walking out several times, I decided to stay --and came out of that theater a different person. Devastated, motivated, changed forever.

People have already asked if I can "recommend" this movie to them...I don't know about that. All I know is that children should absolutely NOT be allowed near this movie -- that much I can strongly recommend.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

I got the job!

Yes! Thank you for all your prayers and references! I start tomorrow -- I'll keep you "posted!" ...get it? "posted" (lol)

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Returning to the workforce tomorrow I get to interview for a job. Wow, it has been such a long time! I've been working at home for so long -- will I remember how to talk to adults?!