Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Free Christmas Cards!

If you're a blog-follower, you may have already seen dozens of posts about Shutterfly's 50-free Christmas cards.  Here's another one!  I'm not usually one to follow through on several steps to receive a free gift because it seems like too much effort.  However, this time around, I'm living on a budget and 50-free cards is good-enough incentive for me!

This will be the first year we're sending out Christmas cards since our wedding was just months before Christmas last year and our hands were too tired from writing thank you notes.  I love receiving cards with yearly updates and hope to cleverly display them this year, too.

For you to qualify for 50 free cards, follow these steps:

More exact details, go here.

I'm excited to add Christmas cards to our list of "Team Bricknell" holiday traditions!  Maybe ours will end up on your fridge! :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bible Study

Today, I'm thankful for my Monday night Bible study.

Sundays are work days for Paul and I don't often come away 'filled' or inspired from the service.
Mondays afternoons, Paul leads a bible study for some high school boys.
Tuesday afternoons, he leads one for middle school kids.
Wednesdays are for 150+ middle and high school kids at youth group and the occasional "late start breakfast" at our house for my junior girls.

And Monday nights are for ME.

I'm so thankful for this group of women, most of whom are young moms with crazy schedules, who set Monday nights aside for fellowship and study.  We just finished going through Chip Ingram's "The Invisible War" and it was both eye-opening and beneficial to study spiritual warfare.  This is a group who faithfully meets together and prays for each other.  These ladies have been meeting for years and it is so special to rejoice together over answered prayers and continued petitions.

I'm thankful for this outlet - where I don't have to teach anything and I don't even have to say anything if I don't want to.

I can just come.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My Thoughtful Hubs

Today, I'm thankful for my thoughtful husband who surprised and blessed me with many lovely gifts upon my return home:

  • a warm airport greeting complete with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers
  • window shopping at Ikea and Home Goods to kill time before our "mystery dinner"
  • Dinner at P.F. Chang's (thanks Mattanda!) and our new menu favorite: crispy green beans
  • the unexpected night's stay at the Heathman Lodge in Vancouver... just because.
I'm so glad I married a man who likes to surprise me. 
He sure knows how to make me melt!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Home, Sweet Home

Today, I'm thankful for HOME.

I've lived in a number of places since leaving Grants Pass as a college student and none has felt as "mine" as ours on Maple Street.

Paul did major work on the house when he moved in 4 years ago.  New insulation, new siding, new windows, new window trim, new baseboards, new plumbing, new bathroom, new paint... the list goes on!  We are (well, mostly Paul) wrapping up some loose ends and putting finishing touches inside.  Now we have windowsills!

Now we're picking out curtains and artwork and it seems as though we're always rearranging.  We've had to be creative with furniture placement in our 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom home.  We'll spend hours cleaning out our narrow, single-car garage to park a car inside, only to start parking in the driveway again to provide temporary storage for our things as we paint, refinish furniture, etc.  It's been a tiresome process and things are looking good at the Bricknell's.

Now we have to find a place for our Christmas tree...

Friday, November 12, 2010


Today, I'm thankful for our dishwasher.

In Mexico, I was washing dishes by hand which I have done much of in the past. Coming home to a dishwasher was delightful!

We were gifted a portable dishwasher from some friends the day Paul got his cast on in May.  We giggle at the impeccable timing and are thankful our friends were gutting their kitchen and no longer needed their dishwasher.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Today, I'm thankful for the game of Cribbage!

I learned how to play in college (thanks, Audge!) but was never very good because I didn't play it often enough to really grasp the strategy.  Paul whooped me every time we played together, and he decided to start keeping score.  So, on the back of our cribbage board, we have a tally set up.  Sure enough, ever since we've been keeping score, I've been winning!

This has been a fun way to spend our evenings together.  It gives us a good excuse to turn off the tv, grab a bowl of ice cream, and play some cards before bed.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Youth Group

Today, I'm thankful for youth group.

I got to skype with the youth group on the big screen, all the way from Chihuahua, Mexico!  It's the first Wednesday night I've missed since I got married, and it was so special to still be a part of things 2,000 miles away.

Though I like to think I turned out okay without a solid youth group growing up, I am so thankful for what our middle school and high school kids have at Calvary - something I never had.

  • an AMAZING youth pastor who has far out done the average tenure of 18 months.  Try 8 years! (The youth pastor before Paul was there for 18 years.)
  • 30+ adult volunteers who show up every Wednesday night
  • a multi-generational youth camp that has been put on for 25 years at Mayfield Lake.  Hundreds of teens have made decisions for Christ here.  Men and women up to their 80s volunteer in the kitchen or snack shack, and even new moms with their babies sleep in the cabins as counselors.  This is one of the best things that Calvary does as a church.

My cabin of junior girls last July

Mud games involving watermelons and crisco...

Team Bricknell baptizing one of my small group girls.  Such a proud moment for me...errr...us!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Loving God With My Mind

Today, I'm thankful that I can love God with my mind.
Growing up, I never questioned the things I learned; I accepted most everything as Truth.

Then I went to George Fox University which blew my mind!

I learned to think for myself, to ask questions of things I had never once considered.
I remember walking out of my philosophy class and theology class wanting to rip out my hair because I didn't have the answers to the questions I was asking.

How can the presence of an all-good, all-knowing, all-powerful and all-loving God coexist with the presence of suffering, injustice and evil?
What is the point of prayer if God already knows everything?  
Can prayer change God's mind?
What does the Bible mean when it says that women shouldn't teach men?

At times, I've doubted.
I still struggle.
And I kept going back for more.
I am so thankful for the freedom in which I can do all three.
I've come to believe that when I wrestle with such complex issues, I'm loving God with the mind He created me with.

Jesus replied, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."  
-Matthew 22:37

Monday, November 8, 2010

4-H & Selling Books

Today I'm thankful for my 4-H experience and Paul's door-to-door book selling.

I didn't raise livestock or do anything animal-related.
What I did wasn't the least bit popular at the time.  I did the "Suzy Homemaker" side of 4-H which included cooking and sewing. While my friends were at the fairgrounds riding the Gravitron with their armband of unlimited rides, I was either making Apple Souffle in a timed competition in front of judges or taking pictures wearing my homemade schoolhouse vest with apple buttons.  (Oh, and I had round glasses, too.  Geek alert!)

Little did I know at the time, about 15 years ago, that the homemaking skills I learned would prepare me to be Paul's wife.  He loves to bring up the fact that I hold Grand Champion ribbons in both categories.  Even more than that, he loves eating what I've cooked up.
Paul sold books door-to-door for two summers while attending Multnomah.  He drove cross country and sold books in a small town in New York.  Southwestern provided opportunities for personal growth, mentoring, character building and life skills training.  There were times when he felt like giving up and he pushed through.  Paul often refers to this experience as something that prepared him to be a better husband and dad someday.

Thank you, Lord, for preparing us for each other even when we didn't realize it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

True Friends

Today I'm thankful for heart conversations with my friends.  We talk about family, church, worship, prayer, jobs, our future, etc.  It's refreshing to be around people who have known me for a long time because we're not satisfied with simple "hellos" and "how are yous."

To all my true friends, you know who you are,
Thank you!

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Today, I am thankful for webcams, g-chat, skype, and the like.  This afternoon, while 2000 miles apart, Paul and I got to see each other!  We used Skype and chatted for about 45 minutes.  It's hard to imagine traveling without the Internet to stay in touch, and I'm not sure I'd be willing to do it.

It's comforting to see my husband's face and I appreciate that it's free and easy!

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Pacific Northwest

I don't ever want to live in El Paso, TX... or Chihuahua, MX for that matter.  The scenery consists of only 3 colors: blue, brown and green.  The sky is blue, the ground is brown, and the green is from the few trees in the area.  The mountains that exist here don't even compare to those in the NW.

I am so thankful to have grown up in an area abundant with lakes, mountains, beach access, trees, flowers, and seasons, as opposed to this:

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Car Conversations

Today, I am thankful for car rides with my husband, with his hand on my knee.  We got up at 4:15 and were on the road by 5am to get to the airport for my adventure to Mexico.  Paul is the best traveling companion, even at 5am.  Even at 5 o'clock in the morning, we talked the whole way down - I can't even remember the details of our conversation, but I do remember feeling content and peaceful.  With his hand on my knee, I feel loved and safe.

I love you, Paul, and I love that you took me to the airport before the crack of dawn because you wanted to.  :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Today (and every Wednesday morning), I am thankful for my mother-in-law.  Rachel (my m-i-l) is absolutely amazing.  She is a woman who loves her family so much and I am so blessed to be a Bricknell under her care!  We have coffee every Wednesday at 10:15am and are using it as an excuse to discover the coffee shops in town and connect as girls- she has two boys.  :)

Thank you, Momma B.  :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Today, I'm thankful for sunshine.  I'm beginning to hate Longview's weather less and less on days like today.  The brilliant colors of the leaves are magnified on clear days like this, and I'm pretty sure I've discovered the most beautiful red-leafed tree in Longview - if only I had my camera!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Leaky Roof

In the spirit of Thanksgiving and in an effort not to overlook its importance with all the Christmas distractions, I'm choosing something to be thankful for each day.

Today, I am thankful for a roof over our heads.  Even though it leaks... we are dry and have a cozy home to keep us warm during rain storms.

This is the surprise we found in in our bathroom today:

 Paul climbed on the roof in the pouring rain and put a tarp down, which stopped the water from coming inside.  When it was sunny a few days later, he patched it, and now we are waiting for it to rain again to see if it works!

Thank you, Lord, for our roof!