Monday, December 14, 2009

happy monday

had such a wonderful day-trip with my parents and the kids for my sweet grandmom's 89th birthday. the lady on the far left is my great aunt dorothy who took a 16ish hour bus ride for the occasion. the other two kids are marit and graham's precious 2nd cousins charlie and peter.

graham has just figured out how to play harmonica and it is so cute as his little tummy goes in and out! he is actually pretty good!

we had our FUN Christmas evensong last night and now i am pondering these words:

truly he taught us to love one another.
His law is love and His Gospel is peace.
chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
and in His name, all oppression shall cease.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

simple advent

we put up some very simple and unbreakable decorations to honor this wonderful season when our Lord put on our flesh to be born, live, and then die in our place. i know that stockings and Christmas trees don't have a direct relationship to Christ's birth, but i do love the story of st nick and his generosity. i also love that we can be festive and honor this season by enjoying it well, loving others well, and simply celebrating. i definitely want to make a jesse tree one day. i think marit might understand some next year so maybe that can be my 2010 project. i think hers turned out beautifully! and i love that it ties all the old-testament prophecies together. this year though we are sticking to understanding and learning the nativity and what that means. marit has been ceaslessly playing with our little nativity scene that is (ahem) indeed breakable. i'm waiting on a fabric one to come in the mail so she can act it out with more enthusiasm. we will stuff stockings with simple things and this year we are buying a few small gifts and here is where i feel conflicted. i think how this family celebrates by giving to the least of these is wonderful. we do give to others throughout the year, but i would love to make the connection that giving to those in need honors God and is in effect a gift to the baby born in Bethlehem so long ago. but, is it bad that i LOVE to give and receive gifts? we are not in desperate need for anything...we have food and shelter and each other, but adam needs some new socks. my kids have many more toys than they need, but i have a few things tucked away that will be a joy to give them (art supplies and things). what are your thoughts on gift-giving? any creative ideas for giving to others in this sweet season?

dear kelly

thank you for the beautiful star that hangs in my kitchen window now and cheers me and reminds me to think and pray for you while i do the dishes. what a lovely gift!

Monday, December 7, 2009

holy experience

i don't have a title for this post, but it is multitude monday, so let me catch up on noting everyday graces in our little family. poor snuggle bug had a double ear-infection (her first ever!) last week that dr honey bunny noticed had ruptured on one side. she was just miserable for a couple days, but we put her on some antibiotics (ruptured, but only partially drained and the doc said the process was likely to repeat if we did not treat it) and the effects were almost immediate! marit is really a dutiful patient and loves to have her hears examined.

adam has been soooo busy as usual and i am learning that though there will be worse seasons than others, the doctoring field does not promise to be less than challenging for all of us. ever...mostly due to long hours. BUT he had a post-call day butted up to a day off (1st in 12) this weekend and we were able to go to his fancy work Christmas party thanks to the generosity of a dear friend who loves to babysit the munchkins. we talked and it was great! thanks to those who helped me winterize this green dress that i have not been able to wear for 3 years.

we also got a Christmas tree this weekend, but it is not fully decorated yet...these things happen very slowly around here, but adam was so cute with his hot chocolate after the kids went to bed last night as he carefully wrapped the lights. he is nothing if not careful and i love him for it (when i'm not being sinful). maybe i'll post a Christmas tree photo later.

we have been practicing for our annual Christmas evensong and i just relish all the rich words of advent music. we sing them with the kids before bed too. i've been thinking on these lately and letting them sink in...

O Savior, Child of Mary, who felt our human woe,
O Savior, King of glory, who dost our weakness know;
Bring us at length we pray, to the bright courts of Heaven,
And to the endless day!

more gracious gifts 96-117
family gatherings
God's faithful care
advent preparations
hot showers
helpful parents
generous grandparents
reading beatrix potter with marit
sick toddler means lots of extra snuggles
newlywed cuteness
soft fur
toddler learning to use kind words
sibling kisses
encouraging conversation with neighbor
fancy date with husband
church family meal
advent music
He "felt our human woe"

Friday, December 4, 2009

to share

i read this the other day and was deeply convicted...oh to "take every thought captive" (1cor 10:5) for they matter too.

Seventeen Minutes
It's the thoughts-ordinary, daily thought ---that count
by Andree Seu

These are the thoughts of a woman driving home from the Stop 'N Shop on an ordinary day.
She conjures three comebacks she could've hurled at Ellen if she had not been caught off guard.
She spots the baby shower invitation on the dashboard and schemes a way to be out of town that weekend--then thinks better of it because she has a favor to ask the sender at a later date.
She sizes up a woman standing at the bus stop and judges her.
She stews over a comment her brother made behind her back, and crafts a letter telling him off--and sounding righteous in the process.
she reviews the morning's argument with her husband, and plans the evening installment.
She imagines how life would have been if she had married X (well-worn furrow, this).
She magnanimously lets a car merge into traffic, and then is ticked off when she doesn't get her wave.
She resolves to eat less chocolate starting today--well, tomorrow.
She replays memory tapes going back to the '60s, trying to change the endings.
Somebody rides up the road shoulder and budges to the head of a traffic jam, and she hates the driver with a perfect hatred.
She passes the house of the contractor who defrauded her and fantasizes blowing it to smithereens.
She passes Audrey working in her garden and waves--but thinks, "If Audrey has chronic fatigue syndrome, I'm a Flying Wallenda."
She glares at a driver who runs a red light in front of her, forgetting that she did the same about a mile ago.
She checks her slightly crooked nose compulsively in the rearview mirror, and reassures herself it isn't too bad.
An inner voice tells her to turn off the radio and pray, but she decides that's the voice of legalism.
She brainstorms talking points for her upcoming woman's Bible study lecture on "Ephesians" and considers how she can improve it--and make it better than Alice's talk of last week.
She is angry at God because here she is a Christian and broke, while her good-for-nothing heathen of a brother is rolling in dough.
She thinks how much better her life would be if she were beautiful, and fantasizes all the bungee-jumping, maggot pizza-eating "Fear Factor" stunts she'd be willing to subject herself to to look like Gwyneth Paltrow.
She wonders how her parents will divvy up the inheritance--and how long she has to wait.
she rehearses two good reasons why here sister and not she should take care of the folks when they're too old. She thinks about here childhood and counts the ways her parents have screwed up her life.
The Johnsons drive by, and she recalls all the meals she made for them 10n years ago when Lydia had toxemia during pregnancy, and bets they don't even remember. Hmm, did they even send a thank-you card?
The word treachery flashes through her mind (Mr. Beaver's succint epithet for Edmund in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe) but leaves no footprints.
An SUV cuts her off, and she decides to punish it by tailgating.
Her heart smites her for this. so she determines to try harder to live righteously from now on. Who knows, God may reward her in some amazing way; Her husband may give her grounds for divorce, and God will lead her to the arms of Mr. Right.
She tries to pray but doesn't get past "Our Father."
There are lots of people that the woman does not think of while driving home with groceries, people who are not important to her social status, or just not interesting.
She doesn't think about AIDS-ravaged Africa, she doesn't think about the death sentence dangling over millions in Sudan, she doesn't think about missionaries, she doesn't think about martyrs in Kim Jong-il's prisons, she doesn't think about ways she could encourage her children.
She pulls in her driveway. Total driving time: 17 minutes.
And if you were to ask the lady, as rustles parcels from the car, what she has been thinking about on the drive from town, she would say, "Oh nothing in particular." And she would not be lying.
Imagine believing that we don't need a Savior.

Monday, November 30, 2009

thankful for thanksgiving...

love my sweet family and the fact that they came to us since adam's work schedule would not allow us to travel as a family. we had so much fun planning the big meal, eating together (all 19 of us), exchanging Christmas gifts (we won't be all together on Christmas and so we drew names early this year), going on a chilly but beautiful boat tour (and aida got to drive!), played outside, snuggled, so, so much fun...though we are all a bit worn out now. oh! and my turkey turned out great, thanks to the several emergency phone calls to my father-in-law. he showed up just in time to carve it and make the gravy. i forgot to get a picture of the bird before carving, but it was a pretty one i promise. we ate all 23 lbs of it by friday...

Monday, November 23, 2009

worry to worship

holy experience

been struggling here lately. call it a change in hormones (after being pregnant or nursing for so long, my body is finally getting back to normal), sin (name the sin-self-pity, selfishness, worry etc), tiredness...but i am so thankful for God's grace and mercy and for His good gifts. as thanksgiving and advent draw near, i have been encouraged by this luke series. my sis-in-law blogged about this already, but you can listen or watch this wonderful sermon on turning worry to worship. i need to listen to this again.

just listen:

here are some of God's good gifts that i have written down. there are so many more that i have taken for granted...47-95
warm sun shining through my window
deer sighting on our run
mixed cds (from a sweet friend)
parish dinners
weekend roadtrips
Thy mercy
old college friends and their hospitality
running water
his dirty dishes-so glad he is home to make them
elective rotations
dinner guests
the thrill of a balloon to a child
long run with dear sisters
date with sweet adam-1st real conversation in days
a friend to cut my hair
the privilege of comforting a frightened child
cooler weather
"our God is a shield"
perfect weather for playground romping
spontaneous lunch-dates
God's loving "I will care for you" promises
husband unloading dishwasher (before he left house at 5am)
morning baby snuggles
cheerios everywhere
fall colors
mountains with beautiful half-dressed trees
the ability to run and the "good sore"
provision for what we need, not what we want
27 years
snuggly children
husband enjoying work
silence in the morning
smooth warm coffee with the silence
preparations for family
the love of Christ settling deep down into the crevices of my heart-slowly learning to what extent He loves
mommy friends
a season of thanks
warm november weather
the kindness of my husband reminding me of God's kindness
beautiful leaves and the delight marit takes in discovering God's creation
kind a generous dentist
cookies and milk
toddler eating her peas!

happy monday friends...and happy thanksgiving as i may not get back on her until after. notice His grace all around you today. what a kind Father we have.

Friday, November 20, 2009

did this today

with marit and home-from-work daddy

we gathered leaves yesterday. they did not turn out quite as beautiful as Clover lane's (maybe because my helper is 2?), but the simple joy marit took in noticing "pwetty yeaves" was totally worth the effort. what a fun fall project!

Monday, November 16, 2009

do you want to know why

i blog?

it's ok if you don't care. i do it mostly to slow down-to remember what is happening all around me in such rapid ways. i want to remember God's faithfulness and provision. i want to remember when my kids say and do the silliest and cutest things.

i link blog to facebook?

because i figure maybe one of my many friends who do not know the Lord will stumble upon it and can maybe see a little through our lives that He is good and that He cares for people individually and tenderly. maybe they can see that we have very real failures and flaws, but that God's love is unchanged...they too can be so secured by Christ. no one has to read it, but it is there nonetheless.

my homeschooling post (which was really just a plead for mommies to be gracious to one another and brought back all kinds of homeschooling memories) received very unhelpful and hateful comments from a random friend of a friend. i quickly deleted them, but the damage had been done. of course he would misunderstand because he does not know me or my family. it made me wonder if linking to facebook was such a good idea. i did put some better filters on my profile. my blog is public, so anyone can read it. i don't write to get in arguments with commenters and such. have you ever watched a youtube video and noticed all the CRAZY and sometimes foul comments? seriously, i do not have time for that craziness. of course thoughtful debate or encouragment are entirely different.

i don't know.

in slowing down, i should note that i had a lovely birthday with many greetings, phone calls, hugs, and gifts. i feel loved...all 27 years of me! thank you (you know who you are). adam had the last 2 years of my blog printed in a book which is such a thoughtful gift i think. since most of my blog is happenings and pictures, it will be a sweet hard copy of many memories. it has not yet arrived, but if i like it we may do one every couple years. adam had the day off so that was really fun (even if just to have help changing diapers!), though he did sneak a nap in and marit enjoyed watching over him.

and he surpised this shoe-loving woman with these...SWEET!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

a recovering home-schooler?

disclaimer #1: i am preaching to myself as well in this post
disclaimer #2: we are seriously considering home-schooling our kids
disclaimer #3: maybe i'm writing this post before my thoughts are cohesive enough, but the kids are sleeping so i want to jump on the chance

a dear sweet blogging and real life friend posted this the other day and it has got me thinking a little bit about a whole string of things. hang with me if you like.

i was home-schooled until i reached high school and then we were sent to public high school. my mom did that with all four of us. it was great. my mom loved to teach and learn with us and public high school and college (though shocking in some ways) ended up being a really good next step for us. i loved school and may still go back one day...i think that love of learning is largely due to my mom's enjoyment of it as well. anyway, lest i lose my train of thought (disclaimer #4: my skull houses a somewhat scattered and occasionally frazzled mommy-brain). in the home-schooling world, we ran across all types of people...some were so weird, disconnected from society, judgemental, joyless, isolated, hurtful and i remember a lot of jabs, especially as we went on to public education. thinking back on it now, the thing that caused some of these relationships to be so painful was the fact that these families would take up causes that were not essential to Christianity and make them law, offering no grace to those who did things differently. since that time, i have developed a sensitivity to gracelessness.

i know i have opinions that i sometimes express too strongly too, but i think offering grace to others on the non-essentials is Biblical. graciousness only comes from true humility. pride is the opposite and looks like thinking and expressing that your way of doing something is the right way for every family. true humility comes from knowing the depth of your/my broken-ness and the greatness of our Savior...knowing that the amount of grace that has been and is offered is unfathomable. ok, so if someone does not know Jesus, there is not a framework of grace there...surely these people make decisions and judgements as best as they can, but they are not held to the same standard as someone who professes to know and love Jesus. "and this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us." 1john 3:23. ok, so if loving Jesus and calling ourselves one of His means we are to love one another...what does that look like? "patient and kind, does not envy or boast; is not arrogant or rude. it does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong-doing, but rejoices with the truth. love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." i corinthians 13:4-7 familiar passage?

what is my point? not exactly sure, but i want to be gracious like Jesus has been to me. i want to teach my kids to know truth and to offer grace. i long for them to love Jesus and for a genuine love of others to burn out of their lives because of that Christ-love. i want them to know what is going on in our culture and to strive for redemption in their little spheres of life. this friend is homeschooling and i have the privilege of watching her, dialoguing with her, tagging along on some field trips (and i must say that i was thrilled to meet other wonderful, grace-offering, Jesus-loving families in her little group). this lady has also helped me to think about these things as well. so i might home-school, but please offer me grace if i don't do it the way you would or if i don't do it at all. i promise, we are already praying about this and most other family decisions and we hope to do what God desires for our family.

one more thought...before i reached motherhood, i was unprepared for the unsolicited advice i would receive on nearly everything. new moms are particularly vulnerable to feelings of inadequacy as their heads get muddled with all the different ways to do things. in reality, each child and family is so different and there are lots of "right" and "good" ways to do things. mommy friends, let's be gracious with one another. if we can't depend on one another for this, who can we depend on? none of us has a perfect life...

Monday, November 9, 2009

this and that

i have been such a terrible blogger lately. there has been a lot to do and think about, but some of it by nature is just not great blogging material. or, i've already said it or something. anyway, i remembered that i mentioned on here that i was training for a half-marathon (which was really just an excuse to get in good running shape again post baby 1 and 2 and to hang out with my sweet friend tara a little extra). i used your picture tara...

well we did it together in just under two hours and it was so fun because we chattered the entire way, thanks to me drinking STRONG coffee beforehand. i was sore for a good 3-4 days afterwards and now i feel bewildered about my running purposes. goals really help me:).

the day before we celebrated graham's birthday with a couple of his sweet friends at a little neighborhood party. it was Halloween, so the kiddos dressed up like animals. it was out of control cuteness for sure.

i have not talked much on here about what has been going on in our neighborhood lately. ask me in person if you like, but we covet your prayers for our sweet little urban community. there is opportunity for the Gospel and God is working. He always has the last word, remember? if you pray, pray that God would do His redemptive work as only He can and save a remnant for Himself to further His kingdom.

we are 9 days into another 90ish hrs/week month, but thus far God has been gracious (His grace surprises me all the time) to provide time for our family to be together. and adam has been really intentional about not falling asleep in the middle of our conversations...or if he does he recovers well somehow:).

local peeps, the kids and i have LOTS of free time to hang out, so don't hesitate to ask us to the park or wherever. we like to be busy while adam is working so much. maybe we should take a road trip or paint the living room or something? we definitely need to get ready for BOTH of our families to descend cheerfully upon our house for thanksgiving. it is going to be the absolute best kind of chaos and i need to learn how to cook a turkey!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

to the mountains we went

we held hands, hiked, rested, ate (i froze casseroles to take so i wouldn't have to spend much time in the kitchen). dr honey bunny and i hung out in the hot tub while kids slept. we enjoyed each other, bought a new car battery, left our camera at wendys (thankfully someone turned it in), made up skits for old-fashioned entertainment. we enjoyed silence and God's creation (especially the leaves!) and we played. it was wonderful...