Tuesday, July 29, 2008


If you haven't read the post titled 'Peanuts,' read that first.

This is an update.


We were on vacation last week, so we missed the doctor's call about Sybella's allergy testing.
Yesterday, we finally connected on the phone.
The doctor told me that Sybella has Egg White Allergies and not only that, but the results were significant, a similar level to her peanut reaction.

***Warning: everything that follows is my raw and unfiltered thoughts from yesterday!


Eggs are in EVERYTHING.
Basically, I asked somed questions, told him I would like a copy of the labs so that I can see it in black and white and so that we can take it to an allergist. I asked him about her immunizations (which he still wants her to get--I am definately going to ask the allergist about that) and then I got off the phone 'cause I couldn't hold it together any longer.

I just cried...what am I gonna feed her? will she ever eat school lunch? enjoy birthday cakes? How will we feed her if we are on the road? Will she ever feel normal or will she always feel like the weird kid? I know I can figure this out, somehow, it's what she gets exposed to from other people that scares me!

There are eggs in waffles, breads, crackers, cookies, battered/fried foods, mayonaise, some pretzels, donuts, egg rolls, muffins, and lots of other things.

I feel so bad for her. Oh my God, am I going to have to make 2 different kinds of bread each week?

Is there egg in mac-n-cheese- probably in the pasta. What about pizza?

I guess hot dogs and chicken breasts are gonna have to work for the next few days until we figure this out.

**After 24 hours, I am now a bit calmer and optomistic. The next months will be a transition of learning how to cook for her. David is Oat/Wheat/Gluten, Fish, and Shellfish allergic. So, I already do a lot of special cooking but now she has the 2 main allergies that he doesn't (Peanut & Egg White). My other 2 kids have None...this is going to makes for a crazy kitchen- and unless I am very careful, a potentially dangerous one.

Pray that Sybella is no longer exposed to her allergins and that I find creative ways to make life as normal as possible for her.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


We finally have renters in our Seattle home!

Now you can quote scripture all day and tell me how spiritually grounded you are but I think in these moments your faith can be tested. A year ago (June 2007) the door opened to immediately move to DC as the Director of Business Development at ATS. Little did we know that the move would happen right as the real estate market began to crash. So in April of 2008 we decided to try the rental approach. We had lots of interest, several applications, and none of them worked out.

Now don't forget that during this whole time we are paying to rent a home in DC (can I say costly $$$) and we are paying are mortgage in Seattle...can I say major burden?
This is when you start questioning scripture like: 1 John 5:14-15 that says, "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him."

Is God really hearing me? We were running an extremely tight budget.

Now lest you think the home had something wrong or we did not do something right...we hired a great realtor in the Northwest (Chuck Bills), we staged the home professionally, held open houses, priced the home below the appraised value, we even had half a dozen realtors walk through and criticize EVERYTHING they thought was wrong or could be improved (and we changed EVERYTHING they recommended). And to top it all off, here is the view in the private, gated community:

But God is clear when he says in John 15:7 says, If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.

It's just not on our time line!!!

This is where the test begins...do you remain faithful? Here is what we learned, God's provision was with us the whole time. He provided a job, a partnership, and the money to pay for everything and we did not fall victim to mortgage crisis. And in looking back I CLEARLY see how if the home had sold, where we would have made decisions in the moment that would have altered and deviated from the path we had been placed on. Funny, how I didn't see those in the moment but looking back there is no doubt that God knew what he was doing. It's his money, his house, his family and if he provides for the birds of the air...HOW MUCH MORE DOES HE PROVIDE FOR ME?
We are 'blessed and highly favored'...and on July 25th of 2008..God brought us a renter!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Catalyst Facebook Contest

Wow, I won!

Catalyst is running a contest for Facebook users: the first 3 people to see the newly placed ads on Facebook for the October Catalyst Conference and to send in an e-mail with a screen shot, will receive a book in the mail.

I got an e-mail from Jesse Phillips today to let me know that I am one of the winners and to ask me which book he should send. How cool is that?

I love Catalyst resources. They have podcasts with awesome and innovative church leaders as well as other Leadership Influencers. In addition to podcasts, their site has articles and a blog, as well as information about where the Catalyst Road Trip Vanagan will be next.

You can also subscribe to Catalyst Filter which has exclusive content, webcasts, articles, recordings from previous events, discounts, and tons of other stuff. I have gotten like 10 or 11 free books in the mail which has more than paid for the $144 annual subscription.

My husband is the BEST for cuing me in on this AWESOME resource.
And now, I have won a free copy of Church Unique by: Will Mancini.
Maybe I will win the free-airline ticket contest too. :)
Rumor has it, they will post my name, profile, and blog link to the Catablog. It won't exactly make me famous but exciting none-the-less.
Hope to see you in Atlanta for the Catalyst Conference!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


PRE-CIPROCATION...huh? That's what I was thinking when I heard Connor (Age 7) explaining to his brother Colin (Age 10) what he expected to get out of the deal. Now they were sitting in the very back of the van and I was driving (so I was working hard to ease drop on my children).

I am not sure what the deal was about but Connor wanted 'Preciprocation' for his efforts.

So I asked, "Hey Connor, what is preciprocation mean?" He replied back, "Dad, it's when you do a favor for some one adn you expect them to return the favor".

I had a really hard belly laugh in the van as Sharon and I explained how sharp his negotiation skills were but the word is...RECIPROCATION!

I love to listen to what kids have to say and how they explain themselves...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


A wonderful food item for someone like David who is allergic to so many things but can still enjoy peanuts, peanut butter, and Reese's.

A HORRIBLE thing for my sweet daughter who began demonstrating an allergy/sensitivity at 3 weeks old. (no, I wasn't feeding them to her! I had a can of cashews and she got them thru breast milk.)

Throughout the last 20 months, we have done very well avoiding nuts. We check labels and keep track of things that have caused a reaction even when we didn't think there were nuts in them. For instance, we don't eat (as a family) at Chick-fil-a or Five Guys because they use Peanut Oil. Also, we don't let Sybella eat at Panera; they don't use any peanut oils but she has had a reaction both times she has eaten there. [there may be another allergy that we don't know about....]

But as David says, there is no status quo, things are either moving forward or backward.
Sybella is a toddler now and acts more like a pre-schooler. On Friday, I was taking a phone call and writing an e-mail and trying to get out the door. In about 20 seconds. Sybella went into the Kitchen, opened the candy drawer, got out the Reese's Pieces, opened the Ziploc bag, put one in her mouth, chewed it, and then under (a loud and panicked) command, spit it into my hand. (thanks to her quick thinking brother Connor who screamed for help like the house was on fire! Good Job Connor!)
To make a long story short, 5 minutes later, we were driving to pick up David from a meeting and Sybella started coughing in the back seat. She had strong intermittent coughing for the next 1-2 minutes and had already broken out on the lower half of her face. I began praying of course and shortly, the coughing subsided. She was not having trouble breathing, nor did she have swelling. But, I knew that we had just crossed to another level of allergy reaction, she had not even managed to swallow the Reese's Piece.

About 30 minutes later, we were in the Pediatrician's office getting a prescription for an Epi Pen Jr. and an order for lab tests.
Sybella got 4 tubes of blood drawn and we should have results tomorrow or the next day of her preliminary allergy panel.

So, now the diaper bag has 2 Epi Pen Jr's and Benadryl in it.
After we get back from vacation, she will get an allergy alert bracelet!
From now on, other people worry about gun locks for safety, we will have to have Peanut locks. OK, not really but, ALL products with nuts now go in the highest cabinets and are very secure.

Sybella is fine and wasn't in any danger (this time). Praise God. And although we hope that there won't be a next time, we are realistic and won't be caught unprepared again. I am still amazed at how quickly we moved from simple avoidance of nuts to life threatening defense against nuts!

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Evils of Facebook

Ok,Ok,Ok....to all of our faithful blog readers, we are sorry!

There has been very little blogging going on from the Simon Family because we have been way too busy Facebooking. Yes, Facebooking.
Who could have known?

Within the last 2 weeks, David and I have both joined Facebook. We have connected with people we haven't talked to in ages. It's quite a bit of fun-- lots of games to play, gifts to give, and fun to be had as well as the chating, e-mailing, and updating that you would expect from a 'socail networking' site.

If you haven't joined yet, take the plunge!

P.S. - I will catch up with some blogging while we are on vacation.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Road Trip

Without being to retrospective or philosophical, I wanted to share a few thoughts and I thought these pictures were unique and just wanted to capture them to show my daughter later in life. So it was not really a road trip, but...we did drive down yesterday to Myrtle Beach from DC. It is 7 to 8 hours depending on traffic. Now it is a long enough drive for one person to make but when you add kids to the mix it gets interesting and you begin to learn patience. Sybella was a real trooper but there were moments and the pictures below capture one of them.

I am grateful for Gameboys and other electronic entertainment that help pass the time for the older boys. Poor Sybella, we brought toys of all varieties but when your attention span is only 10 minutes...you run out of entertainment for a 1 year old somewhere between DC and Myrtle Beach. That moment is when this happens (see below). Everyone says she is a 'princess' but rarely does anyone see this side of her. Then it dawned on me...

Aren't we all like Sybella in one way or another?

1. Our attention span shifts from one priority to the next and we wonder why we never hit our goals

2. We have one face we show the public but then there is this 'other face' we have when we are in private

So this week I am thinking through what are the priorities I need to focus on in the second half of 2008 (at work, with the family, and other personal goals). Also want to get better at being of one mind and transparency in all areas.


Saturday, July 19, 2008


We are heading to Jason's Deli in Falls Church. I don't know much about this place but Sharon being a SouthWestern gal claims the food is incredible. Well I don't know about all that but I do know it is ALL FREE TONIGHT!!! That's right, head over to Falls Church location for the 'soft opening'. This is going on between 5:30 and 7:30pm on Saturday, July 19th.

See you there!


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Yikes! Twitter too...

Yikes, it has been a week since we have been on here. It is amazing how fast a week will zip by. Work has been really busy and the Colin is at Camp for the week. You would think our schedule would slow down but it hasn't. We went to dinner with a couple that we recently met and have become good friends with...Chad & Lindsey are great people! Love meeting new friends and building relationships.

Most of my adult life I was a firm believer in isolationism and liked my privacy. But over the years there were several close friends in the Pacific Northwest that we got to know and when we came to DC it became obvious how important and key those relationships were. Now we are rebuilding that network and close circle with people here in the DC and Northern Virginia area.

By the way...I signed up for a 'Twitter' account. For lack of a better description, it is where Blogging and Instant Messaging come together. The deal is you post shorter comments more frequently. I think I am going to use it to remind me of key events that I want to blog in more detail about and to let people know where we are and what we are up to.

Have a great rest of the week.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Wedding

Last weekend, we traveled to attend a wedding. This was not your traditional wedding but it turned out to be one of the best we’ve attended. Why? You ask.
Because it was an awesome example of family, connections, and how to be a Christ Follower.

The basic story is:
A couple we know was getting married. She is a new Christ Follower and her family is Hindu. Her family is from India and many of the guests would expect and accept nothing less than a traditional Indian Ceremony. How do you accomplish that when you can not endorse Hinduism or the adoration of other gods? Not to mention that his family, primarily Christ Followers, would be uncomfortable with the whole idea.

Well, let me tell you.

-They had the Christian Ceremony at Mars Hill Church at 1pm.
-They had an Indian Ceremony, full of heritage and tradition, at 4pm. (Courtesy of meetings with their pastor who helped keep them accountable to making sure that they did not allow heritage and other religion practices to mix.)
-They had the reception at 7pm at a restaurant.

So, what made it so great? We live in the world and we have to live our lives as a demonstration of who Christ is in that world. Christ spent His time with the people and in the community. Most times, He was with people or in situations that many would not have expected.
Now, I am not saying that it doesn’t matter where you are, what you do, or who you spend time with BUT offending others and living in judgment doesn’t help others see Christ. Sometimes it's our job to keep extending ourselves with love regardless of the circumstances. (similar to the 70 times 7 principle).
I often say that people can’t walk thru closed doors. They can only walk thru doors that are kept open (and it doesn’t hurt if there’s a light on inside).

We had the opportunity to live this principle at the wedding. As well, we got to connect with some incredible people who left the door open by choosing to live Christ and their convictions in a loving way, instead of succumbing to their fears, frustrations, and judgments. Can't wait to spend more time with these guys, even if it's only by e-mail and phone.

Meatloaf Muffins

OK- I have been promising the meatloaf muffins recipe to so many people and have not ever gotten around to giving it out...so, I decided it was about time to just post it to the blog.

Credits: this is a recipe that I got from the Rachael Ray website (RR)--I modified the Meatloaf Muffins Recipe to meet my needs but the credit for it's origin belongs to her.
The reason that I love it so much is the short cook time. Meatloaf can take forever to cook and because of the muffin-style preparation, this one doesn't

I have put my substitutions in blue and I left the original RR items in parentheses. If you have questions, let me know. Note: I double the ingredients to make 12 muffins, it works well.
Meatloaf Muffins with Barbecue Sauce
Serves 6

Vegetable oil or extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for pan
1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin (I have also used Pork or Turkey)
1 can Ro-Tel Mild Tomatoes & Green Chilies (1 small yellow onion, 1small green bell pepper, 1/2 cup tomato salsa)
A splash of milk
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup Kellogg's Corn Flake Crubs (1 cup plain bread crumbs)
2 tbsp chicken rub (2 tbsp grill seasoning, such as McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning)
1 cup Famous Dave's Rich and Sassy barbecue sauce (1 c. smoky barbecue sauce)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. Brush a 6-muffin stoneware [tin] with vegetable oil or EVOO.
3. Put ground beef into a big bowl.
4. Add 2/3 can of Ro-Tel Tomatoes and Green Chilies [Put onions into a food processor.Cut the bell pepper in half and rip out the seeds and the white stuff and throw it away. Cut the pepper into a few pieces Pulse the food processor to finely chop the onion and bell pepper. Add to the meat bowl.]
5. Whisk the milk into the beaten egg and add to meat.
6. Add corn flake crumbs/breadcrumbs and rub/grill seasoning.
7. In a small bowl, mix together the barbecue sauce, remaining 1/2 can of Ro-Tel [salsa] and Worcestershire sauce.
8. Pour half the sauce mixture into the bowl with the meatloaf mix.
9. Mix the meatloaf together with your hands.
10. Use your hands [a large ice cream scoop] to put the meat into the muffin tin.
11. Wash your hands well after handling the raw meat.
12. Top each "muffin" with a spoonful of reserved sauce.
13. Bake about 15 minutes. ***I bake for 20 minutes because I use muffin-stoneware instead of a muffin tin.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Locking Doors

Today, we had a new adventure. Sybella, who loves to play with the doors in the house, found a way to shut her bedroom door and get it LOCKED. Unbelievable!

She had opened and shut the door a couple of times when all of a sudden, she had a different tone in her voice and started saying, "mom, mom, mom." As soon as I checked the door knob and realized what happened, I started laughing. Her brothers however began to lose it.
The panic was quite cute. They wanted to know how we were going to get her out. Colin wanted to break down the door. I assured them that a paper clip would do the trick but they were more distraught because the paper clips are in Sybella's room! So, I sent them to "find a paper clip" while I grabbed the mini-screwdriver. Voila! In about 10 seconds, the door was open and Sybella was ready to try it again.

The whole event was funny but the funniest part was the boys assumption that I had never done this before. How do they think I honed my lock-pick skills???
Now they know that I have done this for them before when they were little.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Seattle Ferry

I took the Washington State Ferry system from Bremerton to Seattle this morning. I love riding the ferry. Unlike most public transportation there is more privacy or the ability to have a quiet moment. Whether you stay in your car or go up on deck. I love to sit right up front on the top deck and feel the cool air coming off the water. My other favorite is to walk down where the cars enter and exit and stand down there close to water.

I have meetings all day in Seattle so it was nice to have an hour to sit and think through all that has to be accomplished today. The 'to do' list is a little longer than I wanted but that's part of life. As the ferry was getting ready to dock I saw the old Coast Guard vessel below. Kinda cool to see it up close sitting in the harbor. I then was told that the Tall Ships are in town for the 4th of July and most of them are down in Commencement Bay south of Seattle.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Half-Way Point

Today is the half-way point for 2008. Can you believe it? Half of this year is gone.

It seemed like a trivial fact but kinda cool in it's own way. It's like a mile-marker to let you know how far you have left in this year's journey. (and that you better start Christmas shopping soon)

But, then I really started thinking about it....between the post that David wrote the other day (Movie, 35,000 feet..) and a post that Dave Treat from Willow Creek wrote today (The "Reset" Button), I had to ask myself some real questions:

1. Have I done what I should this year?
2. Have I done it for God's Glory?
3. Would I be satisfied if the year (or the Earth) ended tomorrow?
4. What do I want to do in the 2nd-half of the year?
5. What have I complained about (and probably continue to complain about) that I ABSOLUTELY shouldn't?
6. Have I let the enormous blessings in my life overwhelm me, like they should?

I was a little embarrassed to ask and answer these questions. It was an awesome "reset" button for me.

I have an AWESOME husband, three great kids, lots of extended family, wonderful friends, we are all healthy, we are provided for in every way, and despite losing a car, and a house in Washington State that has not sold or rented, I am still at home with my kids! GOD IS GOOD. Our provision may not always be what we want, but it is always enough. I may have to go back to work in the fall BUT until that day comes, I will cherish a wonderful summer with my kids.

As Matthew 6: 25-34 reminds us:

25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.