Thursday, January 27, 2011

continuing to document Fall Color travels...

I keep trying to post pictures our trip to New England last October.
It's a little anti-climactic now, but I'd be so sad not to have these pictures
in order somewhere!
Enjoy looking back to October with me, or at least have patience
while I chip away at ordering these memories.

Day 12  Visiting precious cousins in Ohio

This little guy (AJ's cousin's son) looks SO much like Zachary did at his age!


























































Day 13  Columbus Zoo
and stayed at Delaware State Park in Ohio.


























I thought Ohio was beautiful!



















































Happy little traveler!
It was a WARM day in October for the Zoo outing








































































Polar Bears





















































Flamingos














































































































Warning:  This is one of those tear-jerker movies.  However.....
It makes me laugh every time!  It just so happens that riding the Carousel
was Carolina's idea and the other kids joined her because she had talked mom
into it.
So, I wonder if she's scarred for life?

video

All was not lost, because we finished the day at Jeni's ice cream shop.







































































































































There were some strange flavors.
In fact, I think they were pretty much ALL strange flavors!
I tried a couple, but I was very happy to see my children choose
Chocolate and Mango.  Aren't the sprinkles wonderful?!!




















































































Jeni's had a super-neat chalk board on their wall and a pile of chalk.
We left our mark.



















































We love you Jeni's!  Even if you put fennel and pepper in your ice cream!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Big truths in small packages

There are perfectly complete spirits inside
those small, childish bodies we love,

They simply haven't the experience that comes of age.
But otherwise,
if you pay attention,
you will hear profound truths spoken
see the Divine encompassed in mortal weakness,
and know God a little better.



































I got a letter today
from Clayton again.
He's a pretty perceptive fella, that manly spirit clothed in 8 years of body.

It read:

"...I'm glad you're part of our family Mom - even when you're grouchy"

And it's humbling.
because he knows me.

I can't even pretend they (my children) don't see my sin.
Yet their grace keeps reaching out
and forgiving my faults
and wanting me around.
Their love does not put conditions on me.

I'm thankful for that - so grateful!
And glad I know
the Lord is that way too.

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"You can take the cake..."

"...Cause I just need some protein."


































Yep!  That's my girls!
Those dolls sure are health conscious, don't you think?
Unfortunately, they (my daughters) didn't learn from me.
At least when it comes to giving away cake - or taking it.
Especially if it's Chocolate cake. HA!
(I don't know where the dolls get such notions)

If no one else jumps in there...
I'LL take the cake!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Shoes to die for!

(sorry, I couldn't think of a better title for this post!)

I am not a fashionista.

I am not even a shoe horse.
I AM, however in love with these:


foto principal del modelo n138  
Last October while on our New England Fall color trip,
we visited Lake Champlain.  
While roaming through Burlington Vermont
I spotted these shoes made in Spain - 
NEVER had I seen shoes like this!
It was a sad case of love at first sight.






foto principal del modelo n095 
OH the colors!
The elements and design!
*Be STILL my beating heart *





foto principal del modelo n740

Don't I have a use for a pair of these?
A NEED?
Can I invent a reason to buy a pair?
Could I possibly decide WHICH pair to buy?

I just wanted to share my window-shopping with you
because someone out there should be able to appreciate my taste!


Oh my Darling El Naturalista!  Must you provoke my senses so?

(and my budget?)


You KNOW I am a common rubber boot kind of girl,
but you make me imagine I could change........... just maybe?
For YOU?

ok.
For ME?

Annnnd HELL-O from under the coffee table!

There should be a good blog-worthy post after a title like that,
and picture like this:


































I don't make any promises, but maybe this is a good time to ignore the kids
who are now standing over my shoulder tattling about who poked the other guy
"...almost in the eye" with a sharp pencil....... *sob, sniff, whine,sob*
to focus on a few lighter moments that contain less drama and more smiles for me.

For instance:

who has the pleasure of waking to "Jingle Bells" sung to the tune of
"Hark the Harald Angels Sing" and containing only the lyrics
"JING-GLE Bells, JING-GLE Bells, JING-GLE Bells...."
and so on.

Or how about a conversation overheard in the land of Legos
(and only when girls play):


"This family has 6 boys and 3 girls."

"Wow, that IS a lot!" 

"Yes, and all of them in only 9 years."

(This spoken as if it's the usual course.  But then...
ahem. ...Well anyways. WHAAAT? It's only 7 in 10 years for me.
ONLY 7!  
 9 in 9 years would be insane.  Sheesh.)

There must have been other laughable words and events today,
but Oh what a GOOD THING to reflect on the delightful,
sparkly, LIFE-filled moments!

It does a heart good:-)

-Especially when getting the same silly clowns
to take less than an hour to clear the table for dinner.
prod, prod, prod...
I can't wait to see how long it takes AFTER dinner. Hm.

Is there room under that coffee table for me?


I'll be ready for bed if no one else is.
And hopefully with a smile and a sigh, as I hear Jingle Bells which is stuck in my head
playing over and over to the tune of Hark the Harald.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

Melt my Heart

I always thought a BIG brother would be nice.


































Now I understand why :-)

Dance little girls, dance!






 *Sisters*
 (will they ever know just how lucky they are to have each other?)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hallway Praying - a way I can worship Him in the Moment


































This is me (and maybe Lina-loo?).

I bet many of you have been in this position?
Someone needs their shoe tied
and Momma is the one for the job...
...at the peril of not getting back up - 
at least not gracefully. HA!

Meditating on the idea of worshiping Him in every circumstance
perhaps you'll appreciate the inspiration behind this sketch.

 ***************************************

I have a secret to share with you - a practical application 
in which we can worship the Lord.  
Even in trying circumstances.

A dear mother who is farther down the road than I
shared this secret with some younger moms years ago.
I must have been about 15 at the time but the term she coined 
and the action behind it stuck with me all this time.

While I've never had even ONE hallway in my house since having my own children,
and for that matter, children are not necessary to the equation,
the concept still applies :-)

*Hallway praying is that practice 
of seeking the Lord for discernment 
on the way to "deal" with some skirmish or tussle.

Asking Him for wisdom when you're meeting a child in a matter of discipline or training.

On the way down the "hallway" to the room you just sent the hoodlum,
beseeching the Lord for wisdom, grace, calm.... to see the heart-need before you
and meet it in a God glorifying manner.

How often do you hear the tumult, or bickering, or noise in the bedroom
for the umpteenth time after you've tucked them in for the night?
Do you ever feel lost
when your feet are taking you in the direction you need to go,
but your heart and hands have no idea what to do?
That is ideal opportunity for Hallway praying
and the ideal time for the Lord to refine mom.  
A time to worship Him when you have something you have to do, that you don't want to do.

When I am at the end of my resources, 
and the Lord gives me a victory after I seek Him in earnest...
I can "Hallway" pray all the way back down the hallway afterwards!
(It comes easy then, but watch out if you're a largely pregnant momma
because it's easy to pull a muscle when you're doing the happy dance while you walk)
;-)

. . . “My grace is sufficient for you,
for My power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses,
so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
II Corinthians 12:9

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

THIS Moment


































There is something on my heart which I must muse about here.

I have written before about how all we have is now.
Now is the moment we are living in.
Not in yesterdays memories, or tomorrows cherished plans.
It is a point I am passionate about.
Why? 
Because I think we are prone to dream up wondrous feats of service
that we offer to the Lord someday far out in the land of "when..."  and "if..."
Is there anything wrong with making preparation for future exploits?
I think not. Rather I am concerned because I notice how fixated we can become
on that thing we are going to do for the Lord (which will make us feel fulfilled and valuable),
instead of choosing to claim the moment we are in for His glory.

It is a faulty notion that there are rungs on a Christian ladder; and here's what that might look like:
Somewhere near the bottom of the ladder is the rung where the common laborer
resides, working in a normal job making an average wage and coming home to family in the evenings,
participating in church activities during the week.
Closer to to the top is the church Youth worker in a position of leadership in the church organization.
Above him is an Elder because he actually has authority (right?),
and higher still is Pastor.
If you want to be a really marvelous Christian, go to a foreign country and be a missionary.
That's about as high as you can get on that fictitious Christian ladder.

I say this tongue in cheek, but even if we'd SAY we don't believe that ladder exists,
and that being a janitor or a mom staying home to raise children is as worthy as being a foreign missionary...
we don't actually believe it.
If I tell you that wiping a poopy bottom is as much a noble act of service as say,
delivering medical supplies to war torn countries,
you are not likely to reconcile that to your actual feelings on the subject.

Please don't misunderstand me.
I don't mean that those serving the Lord in foreign places; who lack family, comfort, and safety
(amongst many other tangible and lesser-seen things)
are not doing a precious thing.
What I mean to say, is that serving the Lord; worshiping Him is not exclusive
to the act of doing "great" things, but that perhaps our definition of "great" things
needs a broader perspective.  A perspective that realizes Jesus served His friends
...and enemies.
And that He healed people who didn't even thank Him. 
Or care about Him at all.
Just because we read about His earthly journey, and exploits of  those men who loved Him
in a book that is the most widely published of all time,
doesn't mean that they seemed very glorious 
at the time those guys were doing them!

So what am I driving at?

I may make great plans to do great things one great day,
but in the mean time, I have right now.
And that's all I have really.
Let me tell you that I mostly see a lot of weakness and not so much potential
in my everyday life.  Not only do I have chores, but I have attitudes that need to be
adjusted - MY attitudes.

I would prefer to imagine how I will take captive every thought to the glory of Christ
when I am imprisoned  in a single cement block cell 
eating gruel once a day.

It could happen.

But it's definitely more romantic to dream up that scenario,
than to actually take my 3 year-old to the potty,
help her with her pants,
set her up on the pot,
wait patiently until she is through,
then help procure the right amount of toilet paper,
wipe her bottom,
pull up those little pants...........

You get the picture.

But that, friends, is a bona fide real opportunity to serve the Lord God;
to capture my heart in that moment
and worship Him.

Just think of this:
Only in this brief journey as a pilgrim on earth, looking forward to my true home
do I have the chance to worship God while doing something I DON'T want to do.
One day I will worship God every day of eternity with joyful abandon and blissful ease
(and desire!) when I am at home with Him in Heaven.
But... in that day God will never give me a task that I DON'T want to do.
That means that only in this earthly life can I offer my worship as a gift to Him
in a time when it's hard to do it.

Here's the crux.
This can be practiced as well from
the Wintry, frozen pipe, no-shower-in-a-week, husband-out-of-town-again,
weepy, pregnant, very inadequate, fixing-one-more-sandwich, running-out-of-steam-before-the-mornings-end Far North of Idaho...
as it can be practiced by that precious servant, dusty and tired, holding a lice-infested baby
pouring out heart and soul; offering hope to a lost and dying people in South Africa.

If ever my focus is placed on the great thing I can do for God
instead of worshiping Him because of the Great Thing He did for me...

it won't matter how great other people think I am.
In that case, all my greatest efforts will be as wood, hay, and stubble,
and weren't intended for the Lord's benefit anyway.

*******************************

So what does this mean for me?
I KNOW I am unworthy of God's gift of salvation,
and I know I am not entitled to the many numerous blessings He's poured out on me.
I am ever-so-slowly learning to look for the Hand of God at work in my
"average"person's life, and to worship Him in the midst of my weakness.

I would like to know how you see the Hand of God in your daily moments;
and what that looks like practically in your life.
Have you ever thought about the fact that doing things we don't want to do, but with a
willing heart can be an act of worship to the Lord?
A little feedback could be very edifying for all the ladies reading comments if you feel inclined..

Take heart!

. . . “My grace is sufficient for you,
for My power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses,
so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
II Corinthians 12:9



Sunday, January 16, 2011

THE most adorable face EVER!


























I am EXTREMELY biased, of course, but STILL!!!!!
Just LOOK at those little pearly white teeth *swoon*

Okay, I know that was an inexcusable amount of capitals, but do you know what I got today?
A vacation.
A retreat.
All completely unexpected and unaccounted for!

It started with 10 hours sleep (waking only once to roll over - does that count for waking?)
Followed by two girls and a baby boy joining me in bed for a wee bit.
Then a Chocolate Chip/Walnut Pancake breakfast made and served by Zachary (!)
Here's the thing:  5 children decided to play Lego's upstairs for several hours and
during that time I stayed in my Pajamas;
cuddled number 6 and smothered him in kisses;
read and soaked in every little piece of Romans 9-12...

See why it was such a blissful day?

Oh!
I forgot the Red Mug!  Full of mocha and topped with whipped cream.  Ahhh..........
After lunch, kiddos paraded up to play at outside at Uncle's,
and babies napped.
Me?   I stayed in my pajamas!  And I worked on Bryce-boy's Christmas stocking.
I prepared Math drills (stapled and hole-punched) for the next couple months.
I had the privilege to talk with my darling girl-friend UNINTERRUPTED!
Made dinner in the quiet stillness.

You know?  I think it was the pajamas and quiet that made it feel like a holiday.
Quiet is so scarce - I can't ever quite hear myself think, let alone read and digest what I just read!

That leads me to another train of thoughts that I'd like to post.
Stay tuned and perhaps I'll remember past tonight.
If we're lucky.

For now I reel from the strangeness of all the quiet I gorged on today.
I feel like a Quiet Glutton! HA!
Well.  All good things have to come to an end, and the quiet left some hours ago
with the return of something even better...

My children.

I am, among women,
rich indeed!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Have You Seen...

Those schmancy new pens 
that you can use to draw on glass?






















We tried them today.


























They were a hit!

















But maybe you deduced that. ;-)