Monday, December 15, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Glorieta, NM and God's beautiful creation

This weekend, I had the opportunity to travel to Glorieta, NM to observe the Kick-off for the New Mexico Super Computer Challenge, high school program. While the event was informative the real thrill was returning to the spot where God first revealed to me the true extent of the beauty of His creation. Living in New Mexico, I have been inspired by my fair share of spectacular sunsets and have sat in wonder as the sun rose over many majestic mountains. In the Fall of 1993 however, God introduced me to the pinnacle of HIs creative beauty... my future bride. On that day and on ever day since, the beautiful rainbows, placid high mountain lakes and roaring waterfalls have paled in comparison to the lady that God had prepared in advance for me.

Back here in Carlsbad, under the weight of looming deadlines and urgent committee meetings, we sometimes forget to take the time to admire a sunset or pause to skip a stone across a glassy lake. I am thankful that God set such a perfect example of His creative work in front of me daily.

Only God can take a place as beautiful as Glorieta, beautiful in it's own right with it's towering yellow aspens and unending misty mountain ranges, and make it seem inconsequential compared to the beauty that He placed in the little lady who kisses me goodbye each morning.

He truly is a wonderful God, and He has given me a wonderful wife.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

We're Teenagers

Today was our thirteenth anniversary, and we spent the evening out with our three wonderful kiddos. Even at ten, eight and six years of age, we found that our offspring have a few misconceptions about marriage and weddings.

As we watched our wedding video, Ruth seemed a bit confused about who the groomsmen were. She looked up at Kerri and asked, “Hey, at some weddings, do they just put out some boys and let you pick which one you want?” I sure am glad Kerri chose me.

With Kerri’s class schedule this semester, it has been one of the most hectic times in Our married life. We are both very thankful to the Lord for guiding us together over the last thirteen years. It seems like it has only been a moment since we exchanged our vows, and yet it is hard to remember living without Kerri at my side.

There are so many stories of infidelity and broken relationships around us that we are constantly reminded of how lucky we are to have had such great upbringings and marriage counseling as well as a great group of friends who have surrounded us over the last thirteen years.

While we have now become teenagers in terms of marriage, we have a lot of friends at Church who are in their 30's, 40's, 50's and even 60th year of marriage. And while we are not looking forward to the physical aches and pains that come with age, we are looking forward to being able to say that we are celebrating our 50th year together. Something, I fear will be a rare event by the time Kerri and I reach that mark.

I am definitely a blessed man. Far above all others.

Thank you Kerri, for marrying me.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Congratulations Carl

I would like to introduce Carl and Bronson Christensen. Last night in the garden adjacent to the Natural History Museum in Albuquerque, NM, my little brother married Bronson Elliot.

It was a beautiful ceremony in which Sarah and Ruthie performed flawlessly as flower girls.

Nathan handed out programs in a very professional and gentlemanly manner and I sat with my beautiful bride of thirteen years. Weddings have a way of reminding Kerri and I of just how lucky we are to have each other.

After the service, everyone sat down for a wonderful dinner with a live band and dancing. Of all of the people on the dance floor, one stood out above the rest. Here is a video of her dancing. She was on the dance floor most of the evening.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bubbles, Bikes and Barriers

This morning we ventured up to Albuquerque and visited the Explora. The Explora is a hands on museum where kids (and adults) can explore how things like: light, sound and motion work. I have included some photos of the morning.

This evening we will trek back up to Albuquerque for my little brother's wedding. Sarah and Ruth are two of the three flower girls and Nathan has opted to be a program passer outer rather than a ring bearer (less embarrassing, I suppose). Carl is marrying his girlfriend of several years, Bronson Elliot, who we are very happy to welcome into the family.

Weddings are always a great excuse to get together with family and friends. It has been great to get reaquainted with folks who we haven't seen in as much as twenty years.

I will post some of the wedding photos tomorrow. For now here are a few of the events of the morning.

Kerri, Nathan and the girls milling around after the wedding rehearsal.

Nathan attempting to ride a bike across a tight rope twenty feet above the ground... without a net!

Uncle Mick attempting high-wire. It was great to see Uncle Mick and Aunt Sue after two decades. We will have to shorten the times between visits.

Mom and Aunt Sue hanging out in the elevator. The elevator at the Explora is the size of a small living room and is decorated with couches and chairs for the short one story assent.

Nathan posing for a shot. The kid is growing like a weed.

The giant bubble table. With practice, you can make a seven or eight foot long bubble.

Sarah and Ruth, building a dam. Kids use the the "dirt" to build waterways and dams and then let the water go and destroy it all. 

Thursday, August 28, 2008

First Days and Birthdays

Things have ben a little hectic around here over the last few weeks. On the 14th of August, Ruthie began her first grade year. All three kids are now at the same school, which is great for mom. They now have an additional half hour to get hair combed, outfits selected (and reselected), backpacks checks and all of the sundry little things that go along with getting six little feet on their way to school. My first class at the college begins at 7:45 and so, Kerri is in charge of the mornings. So far, they have performed flawlessly. Sarah began life as a third grader and is thriving at it. Aside from a bout of the stomach bug, she enjoys her class. Nathan is king of the hill this year as a fifth grader. Unfortunately, being king doesn't mean that you can kick the little third graders off of the soccer field... and because they start recess first, there hasn't been a lot of soccer playing going on. He is enjoying the city league and is by far the best player on the team (no parental bias at all here).

Kerri began her "Blocks" a year earlier than expected. A last minute change in class schedules gave her the opportunity to get them out of the way. "Blocks" means that she has four graduate level classes that each meet one evening a week for an extended time. My evening class lets out at 4PM, so she drops the kids off at my class and I then become soccer dad and homework checker. Pray for Kerri, but more than that pray for the kids as they suffer through my cooking!

Below are three shots of the girls in their first day of school outfits. Nathan's pictures came out blurry, so we have included a video of his birthday party. His birthday is on the 8th, but we waited until the 16th so that he could gather friends from school. It was a great time of bowling and cake. It is hard to believe that I have been a dad for a decade! It seems like only yesterday that I was ten myself.

Ruthie posing just moments before heading out the door.

I think Sarah was the most excited of the five of us, to start school. Notice the similarity of the outfits
"So... it looks like we really going to go through with this. Goodbye summer vacation"

August 16th, singing happy birthday to the ten year old. He's tall isn't he?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Out for a spin on my XS1100.

Just a photo of me on my new bike. Unfortunately, Southeastern New Mexico is out of valve stems for my front tire and so until further notice, all uploaded scenery will be Photoshopped.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Double Digits

Nathan opening his newest Indiana Jones Lego set

Kerri writes.... It's my turn to try blogging! Today is Nathan's 10th birthday. He has been counting the days until he turns double digits. I can't believe it has been 10 years since we starting this amazing adventure called parenthood. We told him ten years ago he fit in one arm, made a lot of noise and was hungry all the time. Sam told him not much had changed (hee hee). Now he is almost eye level with me, can build complicated Lego sets in minutes, is a top-notch student and has given his heart to God.

"Thank you for the CARS™ present

The birthday boy is out with his dad having guy time. I am not sure what happens during guy time because the one rule of guy time is don't tell mom what happens!!!! I know it involves BB guns, driving lessons, bugs, dirt, exploding soda cans and great teachable moments.

We are having Nathan's birthday party next Saturday at the bowling alley but we had a small family party for him today. The girls are sitting at the kitchen table making birthday cards for their big brother. It is definitely a Hallmark moment. They have forgone their favorite drawings of flowers, princesses, and various other girlie things and are desperately trying to draw Darth Vador. Sarah has even made a pop-out Yoda on the inside of her card, although Ruth's Darth Vador is holding a pink teddy bear.

Ruthie drew Darth Vader... With a pink LightSaber and Teddybear

Sarah's card, with a menagerie of Star Wars well wishers

Inside Sarah's card was a popup Yoda

Happy Birthday Nathan

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Easy Rider... on a trailer.

Not the actual bike, but the right model, year, etc.

After a summer of endlessly combing the internet, classified and local dealerships, I have finally found a bike! A gentleman who lives a mere three hour jaunt from us is selling me his 1981 Yamaha xs1100 Special (Not the standard or the Midnight Special, just the Special)

I am not sure if I am ready to ride three hours straight on a new bike, on the highway. (that... and I have now way of getting the car back if I ride the bike home. So we have rented a trailer and Kerri's parents are letting us take their Yukon to Clovis tomorrow to pick up the bike.

I figure that I will do better to get comfortable on the bike here in town, at speeds well under 140MPH. That will come later.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

On Top of the World

I think that the best way to get a little perspective on priorities is to get away from all of you "priorities" for a little. Earlier this week I drove the family along with my mom, up to the top of the Sandia Mountains. Up where you can actually see the curvature of the earth, given a moment of silence, things tend to re-focus and you regain a grip on the hectic pace of things below.

It is not always a euphoric moment preceded by a bright light, more often, it is a simple "oh yeah" moment. 

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bikers Dudes and Guns

Uncle Bob and Nathan getting ready for a ride

Uncle Bob  pleading with me not to mangle his bike.

Many men become dads but fail to become fathers. My uncle Bob did just the opposite. He had no kids of his own and when my own father died when I was ten, Uncle Bob stepped up to the plate and took us camping, shooting and taught us many of the lessons in life that only a father can.

Today, Nathan and I spent the morning with Uncle Bob and Aunt Debra. Their house is a young boys paradise. Bob has a huge collection of animal skulls, collects guns and has a new motorcycle. He took Nathan out on the bike (I got to ride too, which only strengthened my resolve to get a bike,) then he showed off his skulls and guns. Nathan got to keep the slug to a .45. What better gift can you give a ten year old boy? He has palmed it for most of the afternoon.

After lunch Uncle Bob and Debra came up to mom's for a delicious lasagna lunch followed by a huge water fight. Tons of fun... except that my wife tried to stick me with a broken gun while she soaked me with her perfectly good one. }:-(

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Breakfast on the veranda

The name of the blog is small town, small house, big life. You may be wondering why... you may not. If you are, here is an explanation. Carlsbad is definitely a small town, not only in population, but it is made smaller by it's isolation for surrounding towns. It is a good hours drive to the nearest Starbucks. (For those who are unaware, Starbucks is an establishment that masquerades as an expensive coffee house, but has no idea what coffee is. more on that later.) But I digress. The second part of the name is "Small house". So named because we purchased a smaller, less expensive home to avoid debt.

While we enjoy not having a huge house payment, 1,000 sqft can get a little cramped. Especially when the single bathroom is occupied or when the girls are watching High School Musical 2 in the living room and Nathan is watching Dirty Jobs in our bedroom.

We have looked at various solutions for creating more space, but they all end up increasing debt. The week after Vacation Bible School, I was hit with an epiphany (didn't hurt). Our front yard is shaded by a large pecan tree but the small concrete slab that serves as our front porch isn't very comfortable to sit on. And so, last week we built a front porch. It is open to the sky (no roof) and it still needs a few finishing touches, but it is like we added a new room to the house. I have never thought of myself as much of a handyman, but I must say that it looks like a right proper porch. .

The girls use it both for a river boat and for tea parties. Kerri and I enjoy a good cup of coffee in the evening and if we ever get up early enough, it will be a perfect spot for breakfast.

Oh and the last part of the name of the blog... Big life, well, even in a small house located in a small town in the middle of the high plains desert, a life lived to it's full potential is nothing if not BIG. 

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Commenting on the Blog

For those of you who are new to blogging, you can leave relevant comments below each posting by simply clicking the word "comment" at the end of each post.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Build-a-Bunny Workshop

We have just arrived home from an overnight trip to El Paso, TX to visit our good friends, the Brittons and to celebrate Ruthie's sixth birthday at Chucky Cheese. Aside from the great time spent visiting with Betz and Julian and Kenya and Xander, the highlight of the visit was a trip to the Build-A-Bear Workshop. If you have little girls and haven't been, make tracks quickly. At the workshop, kids build their own stuffed animal from the stuffing up. (kind of like Frankenstien, but not as scary.) Ruthie chose the hull of a cute stuffed bunny rabbit, stuffed it to the perfect softness and dressed it a white "CHEETAH GIRLS" tee, a pink skirt, denim sandals and underneath it all, bunnyrabbit underpants (complete with a hole for the tail). She named her bunny, Hopsalot, because it hops a lot. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Ruthie Roo

Our little girl hit the big six today. It doesn't seem like six years since I was racing across town in order to get the the hospital. There was a time before 2002 when we could not imagine what she would look like, how she would sound, or even that she would have such beautiful "lellow" hair.

Now we can't imagine life without her.

Happy birthday Ruthie.

Monday, July 14, 2008

How fragile this life is

On a rather sobering note, returning from Roswell we were informed that our next door neighbor was killed in an auto accident. We are not sure if she knew Jesus and honestly did not make much of an effort to find out while she lived next door. She was a nice neighbor, quiet and friendly. Our sympathies go out the her family.

It is also a wake up call to us. Maybe we should spend a little less time in front of the TV and a little more energy getting to know our neighbors.

Keep your kids off the sidewalks

This last weekend was my 36th birthday. I would like to thank Dave Bryant for pointing out that I am now closer to being 70 than I am to my actual birthday. Thanks a lot Dave.

For the weekend of my birthday, the beautiful Mrs. Christensen took the kids and me up to Roswell, NM for the weekend. While she and the kids splashed around in the hotel pool (The kids can swim now, thanks to two weeks of swimming lessons) I spent the majority of the time in "Motorcycle School". I completed the Motorcycle Safety Beginners course with flying colors! Although flying is one of the things I hope not to be doing on or rather off of a motorcycle anytime soon.

I am now searching for an inexpensive cruizer. Hopefully we can save a little gas, but that is not the main reason. Maybe I am having a midlife crisis... who knows? Maybe next I will try skydiving or learn how to ride bulls? (kidding... Kerri and mom).

Teaching at NMSU Carlsbad has some major perks. Being off for two months in the summer is definitely one of those. Not only does it allow me to direct our Vacation Bible school (15 kids saved!!!!) it also allows for side trips and spending time with the kids.

Right now I have to go purty myself up for a new drivers license picture... with motorcycle endorsement! 

Note: The photo is not my bike, just a 3D model of a 1946 Indian Chief that I made last spring using Maya. Those bike run in the mid $50,ooo range today.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I guess this is it.

Here we are on the edge of the great void known as "blogging". One might think that I would have adopted this media a bit sooner, seeing as how I am on the computer ten hours a day and am supposed to be one of the more "digital" guys at work.

But here I am after 36 years, tentatively creeping onto the blog scene, years after the rest of the world... sigh.

In the near future I hope to add photos and interesting newsy stuff about my family and friends. For now those, let this post serve as evidence that the Carlsbad Christensen clan has an online presence at long last.