Friday, December 30, 2011

steps!

here is brief footage of what miles has been toying with for quite sometime. at 14.5 months, he is our earliest walker and has not fully transitioned yet. what is amazing, is how happy the little guy is when practicing his new-found skill. he has been super frustrated lately with desire to walk, molars erupting, and ears infected. i love to see his sweet happy side again. so thankful for our little bald butternut.
video

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas photos

as our family grows, capturing framable photos becomes more challenging. so for the first time since our wedding, we had someone take pictures for us. we were so thankful for our talented neighbor and her willingness to do this for us. thank you anna! i'm so glad we did this because the little people are growing up so fast and i want to remember them at this precious age. we went to our favorite park, a special place to our family and she just photographed away...

merry Christmas to you and yours!




this would have been our send-out picture since we are all smiling and looking, except for where my hand is holding wiggly miles. oops.











there's still my joy

i heard this song on molly piper's blog yesterday and thought it was so beautiful! family starts arriving today, so wishing you a wonderful Christmas in which you know the "Word made flesh" a little more fully.


I took my tree down to the shore
The garland, and the silver star
To find my peace, and grieve no more
To heal this place inside my heart

On every branch I laid some bread
And hungry birds filled up the sky
They rang like bells around my head
They sang my spirit back to life

One tiny child can change the world
One shining light can show the way
Through all my tears, for what I’ve lost
There’s still my joy
There’s still my joy
For Christmas day

The snow comes down on empty sand
There’s tinsel moonlight on the waves
My soul was lost, but here I am
So this must be amazing grace

One tiny child can change the world
One shining light can show the way
Beyond these tears for what I’ve lost
There’s still my joy
There’s still my joy
For Christmas day
There’s still my joy for Christmas day

Lyrics: Melissa Manchester
Performed by Indigo Girls

Monday, December 19, 2011

the spirit of Christmas

been feeling sort of shy over here lately, but i want to put this here so i can remember.

my mom found this essay on an ancient news-clipping in my sweet grandma's Bible. i think it is a lovely reminder and reflects my grandma's unselfish life.

Excerpt from “The Spirit of Christmas” by Henry Van Dyke 1905

ARE YOU WILLING TO FORGET
what you have done for other people and to remember what other people have done for you, to ignore what the world owes you and to think what you owe the world, put your rights in the background, your duties in the middle distance and your chances to do a little more than your duty in the fore ground,see that your fellow men are just as real as you are, and try to look behind their faces to their hearts, hungry for joy;
close your book of complaints and look around you for a place where you can sow a few seeds of happiness--
Are you willing to do these things even for a day? Then you can keep Christmas.

ARE YOU WILLING TO STOOP DOWN and consider the needs and desires of little children; remember the weakness and loneliness of those who are growing old;
to stop asking how much your friends love you and ask yourself whether you love them enough, to bear in mind the things that other people have to bear on their hearts;

to try to understand what those who live in the same house with you really want without waiting for them to tell you;

To trim your lamp so that it will give more light and less smoke, and to carry it in front so that your shadow will fall behind you;
To make a grave for your ugly thoughts and a garden for your kindly feelings with the gate open;

Are you willing to do these things even for a day?
Then you can keep Christmas

ARE YOU WILLING TO BELIEVE that love is the strongest thing in the world – stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death– and that the blessed life which began in Bethlehem nineteen hundred years ago is the image and brightness of the eternal love?

Then you can keep Christmas.
And if you can keep it for a day, why not always. But you can never keep it alone

From “The Sprit of Christmas“ 1905, Henry Van Dyke.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Grace?

What is grace? Is it a sprinkling of fairy dust, a warm, happy feeling? No. Grace is a power that lifts you out of the domain of darkness and transfers you to the domain of light. Grace is God's magnificent power erupting in your heart and soul by his own intervention so that you move from death to life, from darkness to light, from hell to heaven. Grace is power that is embodied in a person.---joseph r. ryan

Sunday, November 27, 2011

it's Advent!

can you believe it is already here? so this post is a bit late i guess...if only fdr hadn't moved thanksgiving from the 3rd thursday in november, we would have more time to prepare for advent...

i'm just going to post a few resources we have been adding to our family traditions that have been an encouragement to us.

Devotionals:
*love love love Ann Voskamp's jesse tree devotionals...beautifully poetic Gospel words. last year we read them after dinner and it was so encouraging...a bit over tiny one's heads, but worth it still. if you subscribe to her blog, the devotional is free to download and should appear as a link at the bottom of her posts.

*i just bought this new e-book Truth in the Tinsel over the weekend for $3 (i think it is back to $5 now that black friday is over) and i think it will be a great resource for our kids...seems really aimed at the younger ones. and i don't know about yours, but mine seriously dig some craft projects. this lady gives you a craft idea for each day of advent with clues, supply lists, directions, and devotional.

*i ordered some jesse tree ornaments from etsy a while back because i am not super crafty, but if you are and want to make one real quick or for next year, my friend lauren gives you directions.

*i'm getting out this book again to read during my quiet early morning time to help me ready my own heart for this reflective season. it can be so busy, but i want to take this time to be still and savor the beauty of the incarnation. this book is a collection of writings about the Christ coming as a babe.


music:


*snow angel by my favorite band ever is such a good listen...some traditional carols rearranged and then some originals (one of which my blog is named after). there are a couple love songs too as the band is a husband-wife duo and Christmas time is a romantic season is it not?


*your King has come by indelible grace is a great album too with lots of traditional Christmas hymns revisited in creative ways. the words are so rich on this album

i think i need to download some new Christmas music this year, though...what are your favorites?

Christmas daddy-date



we started a new daddy-daughter tradition this year (though if i'm honest, i hope mommy gets included one of these days when we can afford it:)) of attending the performance of the local ballet's nutcracker. marit LOVES to dance so this was super special for her. we kept it a secret because she likes surprises and so that she wouldn't chatter on and on about it in her anticipation and make graham sad. i've included a video of when adam tells her where they are going. apparently there was a little confusion about whether they would be watching or performing:)
video

Thursday, November 24, 2011

"in the harvest feast...

or the fallow ground, our certain hope is in Jesus found..." sandra mccracken

it was a harvest feast today though with adam's sweet family and we are so thankful for so many blessings, including all 6 of these precious children 4 and under!
micah and miles

asher and graham

marit and lorelai





*shout out to my parents and siblings who i missed terribly today. we are so thankful for you too. love you guys!

give thanks



hope your thanksgiving is wonderful and gratitude overflows!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

give them grace


adam and i have slowly been making our way through this book. thanks to night float, i finally finished it. i'm just going to process it a little on here. it is threaded with scripture and quotes from martin luther, john calvin, cs lewis, and many others. i must say that as far as parenting books go, it has been like drinking a long cool glass of water for a very thirsty mama. don't get me wrong, it is not an easy read that let's the weary parent off the hook. rather, i found it to be challenging and convicting in pretty much every chapter as the authors declare the Gospel and make much of the Christ's work on the cross and less of my feeble efforts. it was especially encouraging to me as i can so easily fall into works-righteousness and self-reliance and forget that only Jesus can change the hearts of our children.
"We work because we love him and all he's done for us. We work because he's commanded us to work. And we work because he may use our efforts at parenting as the means to draw our children to him. But we are never to work because we think our work will ultimately transform our children. Our works are never good enough or powerful enough to transform any human heart." p 54
the book does not diminish the importance of faithful parenting and discipleship, but speaks eloquently to training too:
“Parents are to discipline, instruct, train, and nurture their children. Only a cold detachment or a selfish disdain for children’s desperate need for direction would cause us to refuse to train them” (p. 82).

but hard questions are asked and truths are spoken...such as "consider your reaction when your children fail. If you are angry, frustrated, or despairing because you work so hard and they aren't responding, then you're working (at least in part) for the wrong reasons. Conversely, if you're proud when your children obey and you get those desired kudos---Oh! your kids are so good!--you should suspect your motives. Both pride and despair grow in the self-reliant heart." p54

or "Is there room in your parenting paradigm for weakness and failure if weakness and failure glorify God?...don't we have to be willing to say that the chief end of our parenting is not our own glorification as great parents but rather that we glorify God and enjoy him forever, whatever that means?" p 149

"so go ahead, Work at being a successful parent. Manage, nurture, train, and correct your children in faith today. Teach them of God's precious promises that are able to transform their hearts. Pray for their salvation and that they would come to know and believe the love that he has for them. But hold all your labors, all your prayers, all your plans very loosely. And make it your overriding desire that the Father would be glorified in every aspect of your life, whichever way he turns it. Perhaps his plan is for your family to be a wonderful example of his grace because you have respectful, obedient children. Perhaps his plan won't look anything like that. Perhaps his plan will be weakness, persecution, calamity, affliction. But whatever his plan is for you, you can rest in the assurance that he will always strengthen you by his grace and for his glory." p155

it has been good timing for us as we are having more and more talking in our parenting as understanding grows and my oh my how we want to spend lots of our words to speak life, Gospel truth, remembering the one good story of Jesus rescuing sinners...holding out that truth to our children and letting their thirsty souls drink.

and also, the book does not directly address this, but i was talking with a sweet friend recently and i think living in light of Christ's lavish grace has to result in humble grace being extended to other mothers. goodness, parenting has got to be the hardest thing i have ever done and the desire to do it well is intense, but no one needs to feel any more like a failure. i (we) can be quick to judge others instead of offering humble encouragement to press into Jesus in those difficult moments with difficult children. i am not a good mom; i'm a weak one, but my Savior is strong and his grace is sufficient for all of us.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

stats and stories

one thing night float does allow is time for me to read or blog after the kids go to bed, so it's a good opportunity for me to put some things here that i would like to remember. yesterday the boys had their respective 1 and 3 year well-checks. we are so thankful for such robust and healthy boys!

miles is 22lbs and 30 inches (both in the 50th percentile) while graham has shot up on the chart to 90th percentile for height and weight. when did that happen? he has passed marit in weight by a couple pounds and is maybe just an inch from passing her in height. people ask me all the time if they are twins because they are pretty much the same size. all three noggins continue to follow that 90th % curve (thanks to my wonderful, large-headed husband). miles had to get 4 shots and a finger stick. he didn't like it, but my compassionate and dramatic daughter shed more tears than he did just watching!


miles loves to pull up on me if i'm sitting on the floor and then cruise up to me and give me a big cuddle hug.


and then he tackles me. he is so sweet and snuggly. it's a good thing too, because he is into everything and getting molars, poor thing.


those pictures reminded me of graham in this fleece two years ago. slow down time!

graham is talking more and more and asking lots of questions and just being really cute lately. recent conversations:

me: "graham what are you thankful for today?"
g: *sigh* "my baaaaby brother. sweet darlin' "
graham likes to "take care of miles" in the stroller or the grocery cart. such a sweet big brother.

while using the potty g told me about someone we saw get pulled over by the police
"he just got arrested, mom. he broke the law. *shrug* so, he lost his privilege. *shrug with palms up* yeah, we always sin." got to love bathroom 3 yr old philosophizing.





marit is always chattering also. she is the family play-by-play commentator. she keeps asking me to make this soup my mom made for her when they visited. apparently it has "chicken, cheese, white beans, and repento beans." and then yesterday we walked outside and marit says "oh mommy! what a blustery day!"

oh my, these precious ones keep me laughing and they keep me praying, knowing i cannot love them well or even come close to parenting them faithfully in my own strength.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

not-so-light reading

adam gave me this book for my birthday and i've been looking forward to it for a while. i just started it and then adam picked it up and it is gripping. maybe i'll write more thoughts once i finish it, but i think this is a very important work.


excellent documentary about the book and piper's own race journey.

Bloodlines Documentary with John Piper from Crossway on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

birthday sunset


the heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork
psalm 19:1

i turned 29 today. i am so thankful for all of my wonderful family and friends who loved me well today. thank you. the Lord even gave adam a slow night at work last night so he was rested and able to spend time with me today. and then, this breathtaking sunset on the way home from our run. i feel beloved and am so thankful.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

leaves

i love, love, love this time of year in the south. we finally got around to doing some fall activities around here. it's been crazy as usual and so incredibly beautiful outside that we just haven't been doing many hands-on projects. a chilly saturday morning waiting for daddy to come home from work gave us a perfect opportunity to make a thankful tree...with finger paint.

i painted the trunk and let them use their hands for the fiery leaves

then after each meal, we all get to stick some irregularly (i am not good at cutting) shaped leaves with something we are thankful for. marit's first: "that Jesus died for me." and graham's first: "my brother." my first: "daddy's day off!"


i'm sure i got this idea from one of my mommy friends (tara or nicole or someone), so thanks always for all the mommying inspirations.

i saw this about waxing leaves a couple years ago, but we didn't do it last year as miles had just turned our world upside down a bit. this time marit was a very willing helper. graham was interested for about 20 seconds.


it just preserves the loveliness of fall leaves a bit longer so they don't dry up and crumple after a few days. the only problem is that once you do it, you will not be able to help noticing all the beautiful leaves you missed in the first batch and will be gathering more and more and more and noticing so much beauty in these fall colors.
makes them perfect for making wreaths, or maybe your sweet husband will help you hang them from the window.


hope you have been enjoying my favorite season as much as we have...