Saturday, December 21, 2013

the last word

The Word has come down in the midst of our conflicts and our messes
 and Jesus Christ, The Word, He’s lit the world. 

Everywhere, lights. 

He’s the final Word, the igniting fire 
that goes on forever and kindles and warms and saves.

You can see it today — 
the whole weary world drawing nearer now, coming close to rejoice.

Because the Babe in the manger is the ultimate blessed proof –
that Love has the last word.

~Ann Voskamp

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

two and a half hours on Tuesdays

Each week there is a very special two and a half hours tucked into my Tuesday. My sweet, sweet boy and I have a little time just for us. The girls head out with Jamie to the barn, and Samuel and I have an adventure ^_^

Sometimes we run errands, other times we do projects. If we have had a very busy day, we just hang out and read together or play games or go outside... There is always lots of laughter - my little man is just full of joy, and it spreads like sunshine. I have time to listen to all of his latest jokes and to hear the details of the new designs he has planned for his legos - uninterrupted. Absolutely priceless.

Today we had a very special project! Samuel's pack is having a Christmas party tonight, and he wanted to bake. We counted marshmallows, melted them, and made rice krispie treats -- complete with sprinkles, of course! Then we brought out the cookie pans and made chocolate chunk cookie bites -- piles of them. Samuel made sure to taste test every completed batch, so that we could be certain that everything was just right (lol).

We also planned and made supper for our family in between batches of goodies, so Samuel earned a step for his wolf this afternoon as well (: He was so proud!



What a super fun afternoon!
How thankful I am ♥


Monday, December 16, 2013

our littlest caroler

Last week when we finished getting our tree up and decorated, we all scrunched together onto the couch with all lights off --except for the tree-- to sing carols. Jamie plays his guitar and we sing requests from each one until we get tired or run out of carols ^_^ This is something that we have done every year since Meredith was little, and we all love it.

But this year, we sang one and then another and then as we began the third request, Ila began getting sad. She said, "But I don't know that one..." So we stopped and asked for another request. This time a little more loudly we heard, "But I DON'T KNOW that one!" Another try and we had extreme outside voice followed by tears. ):

Ila couldn't remember the words to most of the carols she learned last year.

I gently told her that she had learned them but because we don't sing them all through the year, she had forgotten. That did not help. I shared that Meredith and Samuel had both had the same experience around this age, and that we would all help her to learn them again. That didn't help either. Finally, we began singing again, having told Ila that she could sing what she knew and that she could listen and start to re-learn the ones that were forgotten. That was the last straw.

Our poor sweetling yelled and stomped and took off for her room. So we ended up with a consequence situation - how's that for a wonderful family Christmas memory?

Ila is the youngest, and she absolutely battles it. Being the eldest, I have only ever been an observer of the challenges that come with being a younger sibling. Samuel did not fret with it so, because he and Meredith have a greater span of years between their ages. But Ila is close enough in age to Samuel to really take it to heart. And it seems right now  (to her) that nearly every situation points to the fact that she is the youngest.

Will you pray with me for my littlest caroler? She has mellowed in her thinking about the songs enough that she is determined to be ready to go Christmas caroling this week. Carols can be heard nearly constantly while she is awake each day ^_^  Pray with me that she will understand that God has called her to be just the age she is -- that He chose her especially because He knew that Meredith and Samuel needed her to be their younger sister. No one else would do! She is His best for them - a gift.

Thanks, friends ♥

Saturday, December 14, 2013

a question

Meredith wrote me a letter tonight. I have told her repeatedly that I love conversation with her in any shape or form, and that it and will always be welcome and a joy. And she has taken those words to heart. Often these days I come upstairs to find a note on my bedside table - how I cherish them.

Tonight, she asked me a question: Mom, if you could ask God for anything, what would you ask Him for?

I began writing the answer before I even thought about it really. I would ask that He come soon and that my family and I could meet Him together. Simple, hopeful on one hand and selfish on the other, and I had no idea that this would be the first answer from my heart to that question.

Another thing I have been saying to my sweet girl for years and years is that the Father teaches me every day through her. The reflection of Him in her face, her heart, her life is beautiful. What a privilege to grow alongside such a one ♥

Friday, December 13, 2013

six little patches

When I work on something on the creative side, painting, drawing, writing, anything I would consider to be of art or of design... there has to be some room for the moment. Hmm... maybe wiggle room would be the best way to describe what I am trying to say? LoL!

I like to plan, to have some idea what I am setting out to do and what I hope to find in the end -- but the more specific details live and breathe as I work (or play).

So, today! Well today I was sewing. And that is not a gift of mine ^_^ A few years ago I made a stuffed cat for Ila -- and it is wonderful in her eyes (which makes it wonderful in mine), but truly it is a homely and very modest attempt at best.

Today, I spent more hours (h.o.u.r.s.) than I care to acknowledge having spent attempting to stitch six little patches onto Samuel's brand new cub scout shirt. They have to be straight, you see. Each of them has to be in a specific spot on the shirt. The point on this diamond shaped patch has to be directly under the point of the left front pocket flap and so on. Yikes!

Well, they are on. In reality, I didn't have the thread colors I really needed, all of my finger tips on both hands are sore, and I am still not sure that any of them are quite straight!

But, oh! His face when I finished the last stitch. Those big blue eyes bright and that smile... he tried it on and was absolutely delighted. He cheered and danced a little, and then there was a big bear hug for mom along with a high-five that made my hand sting ^_^

Celebrating, so thankful - what a privilege ♥

Thursday, December 12, 2013

a wise old bird

A wise old owl lived in an oak.
The more he saw the less he spoke.
The less he spoke the more he heard.
Why can't we all be like that wise old bird?
~unknown

A wonderful little bit of wisdom we are committing to memory today ♥

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

of moods & pluck

Working through my journals again today, and I found the most wonderful notes on "mood" written by Uncle Oswald (who is, of course, Oswald Chambers --and is not my uncle, but I do appreciate him and have adopted him and would like very much to hug his neck at times for the lovely challenges he presents). ^_^

Anyway... enjoy! ♥

"Moods never go by praying, moods go by kicking. A mood nearly always has its seat in the physical condition, not in the moral.

It is a continual effort not to listen to the moods which arise --never submit to them for a second!

We have to take ourselves by the scruff of the neck and shake ourselves, and we will find that we can do what we said we could not. The curse with most of us is that we won't.

The Christian life is one of incarnate spiritual pluck."

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

tunes

What are the sounds of Christmas to you - musically speaking? We have so many favorites! I am sure that you do, too. Gorgeous classics, pop fun, children's favs, lovely hymns & carols, instrumentals... there are just so many songs to enjoy this time of year (:

Here are just a few of the albums we bring out to enjoy around the house and in the car. We would love to hear from you about some of your must-have Christmas tunes as well!

"Christ is Come" Big Daddy Weave
"James Taylor at Christmas" JT
"The Gift Goes On" Sandi Patti
"Hallelujah He is Born" Sawyer Brown
"Come on Ring Those Bells" Evie
"Joy - An Irish Christmas" Keith & Kristyn Getty
"The Gift" Jim Brickman
"Joy to the World" Praise Baby Collections
"Yuletide Guitar" Mark Hanson
Handel's Messiah
and the Young Messiah, too (circa 1992 or so)
"A Very Veggie Christmas" Veggie Tales crew
"Noel" Josh Groban
"Wee Sing Christmas"

Sing praise! Rejoice! Christ is Come! ♥

Monday, December 9, 2013

for this day

Do you not know? 
Have you not heard?

The LORD is the everlasting God, 
the Creator of the ends of the earth. 

He will not grow tired or weary, 
and his understanding no one can fathom.

 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. 

They will soar on wings like eagles; 
they will run and not grow weary, 
they will walk and not be faint. 

Isaiah 40:28-31

Grace for the day and the most glorious promise for every tomorrow ♥

Saturday, December 7, 2013

a Christmas meditation

• Suppose that Christ had not been born 
that far away Judean morn.

• Suppose that God, whose mighty hand created worlds,
had never planned a way for men to be redeemed.

• Suppose the wise men only dreamed that guiding star
whose light still glows down through the centuries.

• Suppose Christ never walked here in men’s sight,
our blessed Way, and Truth, and Light.

• Suppose He counted all the cost and never cared that we were lost,
and never died for you and me,
nor shed His blood on Calvary upon a shameful cross.

• Suppose that having died, He never rose,
and there was none with power to save our souls
from death beyond the grave!

• As far as those who do not know Him know,
these things that I’ve supposed are so.

~MS Nicholson

Thursday, December 5, 2013

all year long

My mind and my journal are positively swirling with Christmas memories today. I have been turning the pages of my mind, holding wonderful gifts close - with tears and such joy! It occurred to me just now as I sat down to write a few of my "favorites" down anew that I cannot seem to isolate them away from the every days.

The precious people I love have/had the gift of living Christmas every single day and all year long, for all the years of my life thus far. And so as I come to another blank page, I whisper and write thanks for a legacy that is grace. Happy Christmas! Oh, Happy Christmas... today and then tomorrow and the next day and the next ♥

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

of tree parties and story time

The sweetlings, Jamie, and I went to Dad's last Saturday to have a little tree decorating party. The children were extremely excited to be invited to help work on Poppy's tree, and it was a lovely, lively time. You should have seen them go! They can get a tree from plain to wonderful in no time (:

As we worked, my job was to unwrap the ornaments. That is my job for our tree decorating at home as well. And I love it! What a blessing to remember the stories behind each ornament and to share those memories. Dad and I had such fun remembering together!

I am looking forward to the time we will spend this coming weekend on our tree here. Telling the stories will be a joy -- and I will hold close the promise of future days, when my sweetlings will share the stories with their own little ones ♥

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

first badge

Oh my goodness, I wish you could have seen Samuel when he came in from cub scouts tonight! He was grinning from ear to ear and looked like he was about to pop ^_^ During the meeting, he earned his first badge! We are all so proud.


He was also delighted to share that he will be marching with the whole boy scout troop in one of our area parades in a couple of weeks. Celebrating here ♥

Monday, December 2, 2013

breathes and shines

It has been a wild and woolly day here. A good day, but there was enough "ack!" in there to make it a challenge. So tonight, I am humming and singing a favorite tune, trying to recover ^_^ Guess what I found tucked into a devotional written by Elisabeth Elliot? It seems she likes my heart-song, too.  Here, I will just share it with you - may it bless you ♥

"Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain."

(from the hymn "O, Worship the King")

"That's praise. By putting into words things on earth for which we thank Him, we are training ourselves to be ever more aware of such things as we live our lives. It is easy otherwise to be oblivious of the thousand evidences of his care. Have you thought of thanking God for light and air, because in them His care breathes and shines?"

Sunday, December 1, 2013

a book day - yay!

Oh, I am so excited about getting our Christmas books down from their "way high tippy top" shelf! We tuck them away each year just after the first of January and do not touch them until the first of December. We begin talking about them as autumn begins ^_^ and the anticipation builds for days and weeks. You could say we are a little bit bookish (lol).

In celebration of the day, we would like to share with you a few of our very favorites. Our Christmas book collection has grown to fill a complete shelf over the years --we try to add two or three each year if we can. There are just too many to list here at one time, but I will be adding many of them to our "what we are reading" tab over the next month.

Please do drop us a note and share your favorite Christmas-time reads, too ♥

A Little House Christmas by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Annika's Secret Wish by Beverly Lewis
Celebrating a Christ-Centered Christmas by Sharon Jaynes (a book of ideas)
Charlie and the Christmas Kitty by Ree Drummond
Christmas Gift! by Ferrol Sams
Christmas Tapestry by Patricia Polacco
Dewey's Christmas by Vicki Myron & Bret Witter
Esther's Gift by Jan Karon
How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas by Jane Yolen
Lighthouse Christmas by Toni Buzzeo
Merry Christmas, Ollie! by Olivier Dunrea
Santa Mouse by Michael Brown
Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon
The Advent Jesse Tree by Dean Lambert (a wonderful devotional book)
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
The Christmas Visitor by Anneliese Lussert
The Mitford Snowmen by Jan Karon

Saturday, November 30, 2013

wishing

There's a very special wish setting up residence in my heart just in time for Christmas. I do not even have the words to begin to talk about it really, but I find myself --all of a sudden, though it has been with me for some years now-- hoping, hoping with so much joy!

This is so little information, I know.
Pray with me anyway? Asking simply for the Father's will.

Thanks & love ♥

Friday, November 29, 2013

in the details

One of the things I love most about the Father is that fact that He deals in specifics. This is also one of the most challenging aspects of knowing and loving Him. There is simply no question about who He is, who we are in Him, and how we are to live our lives. The comfort is that we can become more and more like Jesus every day we live; the challenge is in the becoming :)

My studies in Exodus are what brought all of this to mind. I love the minute details He gives about the tabernacle and the furnishings. What a blessing and a joy to read!

It is a picture of the way God loves and cares for us. As He gives us our lives, He sees things in the most magnificent detail. His plans are so infinitely, amazingly crafted. It makes me smile to write that...

It is also a picture of the way we are to love and bless Him. As we live and walk daily, it is in our attention to the details that a part of our praise is found.

Walking today with eyes turned to the "little" things ♥

Thursday, November 28, 2013

a medley of thanksgiving

...and if God cares so wonderfully for the flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won’t he more surely care for you? (Matt 6:30) 

…so do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Is 41:10) 

…eye hath not seen nor [your] ear heard neither have entered into [your] heart the things which God hath prepared for [you if you] love him (1 Cor 2:9) 

…glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done (1 Chron 16:10-12) 

…always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph 5:20)


Happy Thanksgiving, sweet friends ♥

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

snapshot

Right now...
Jamie is playing the guitar.
Samuel is playing with the springy door stopper (lol).
♪ This is an interesting musical combo for sure ♫
Meredith is chasing the sunset outside with Licorice (our lab).
Ila and I have just removed two beautiful pies from the oven.

Home.
So much energy today.
The joy of gentle, together days.
Time.
The smell of Granny Pearl's pumpkin pies.
Looking forward.
Thanksgiving.
Laughter - esp sweetling giggles.
Back yard football.
A cup of cold, fresh water.

Daily days sing - grateful hearts add the sparkle-shine.
The list grows on ♥

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

where is love?

Trying to find a way to say farewell for now. These precious ones are a part of my breathing out and in, and I do not know how to go. My sweetlings wept last night at the thought, and I am in puddles just now. Bah! So thankful for a forever with no goodbyes...

A good night's rest.
Waking to these faces.
A new home on the map of my heart.
Memories to hold close.
A few more hours together.
The gift of six days.
A short flight.
Someone we love so much waiting for us.
Eyes to see: here is love, there is love.

So very blessed.
Lovely, this listing ♥

Monday, November 25, 2013

most welcome

This morning I am thinking about the art of welcome. Do you know the gentle joy of having been made welcome? Not simply an invitation to be present, but the exquisite gift of being invited to belong?

Even more... to know that you are most welcome, belonging, from the first hello?

It was my privilege and delight to have been made welcome into a precious group of friends last night. We sat around Josh and Paige's table for several hours, sharing, becoming family and absolutely hooting with laughter. 

I will not soon forget the blessing and the lesson.
Counting again today. With such joy ♥

Sunday, November 24, 2013

counting

A brand new day.
A warm house.
Breakfast.
Five sweetlings with wake-cute faces.
"Good morning" greetings and hugs.
The sweetling cousins --all five-- working together to get ready.
Visiting at Vineyard Church.
Listening to my nephew sing his heart out for just the Father.
Seeing M sitting alongside her Halle and a new friend, Sara.
S sitting so proudly with  U Josh & Max.
Putting precious faces with names.
Ila dancing hellos to new friends.
A message about sharing - so rich that I had to take a note or two.

And that is just a glimpse of just the first part of this day.
Living joy, counting blessings ♥

Saturday, November 23, 2013

new territory

Cutest in-flight moment on Thursday...

We were getting ready to land and had just come back down through the clouds. At the first sight of the ground, Samuel said, "That's Missouri down there!" using his not so very inside voice ^_^  Everyone around us enjoyed a sweet laugh.

It was the first flight for all of the sweetlings. Fun ♥

Friday, November 22, 2013

being there

You know as well as I do that there is nothing quite like being there (: For four years now, Paige and I have been sharing Missouri stories --and it has been great-- but I really haven't been able to place her in my mind. The places and faces of her daily days have been just a series of ideas and snapshots in my imagination... until today!

Yay! The sweetlings and I are with the Timers in nevah-land and having a marvelous time. As I type the littlest one is on an errand with Aunt Paige, and the older four are hooting with laughter just over my right shoulder. O my heart ♥

Thursday, November 21, 2013

through my window

M is raking leaves in the yard with a broom, watching Licorice (our lab) play  ^_^
S is dancing around her out there -- talking a mile a minute (in his pjs)  ^_^
I is off to explore the earth (or at least the yard) carrying two walking sticks twice her size ^_^

I just love the way my sweetlings are so very who they are!

A bit of a different day for us here. The sweetlings woke to a surprise I have been working to plan for a few days now. A lovely gift to us all. A grand adventure awaits!

More details to come over the next few days. Meanwhile, please pray with us for a safe, fun adventure and a lovely time together ♥

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

perfect preparation

"Every experience God gives us,
every person He puts in our lives
is the perfect preparation
for the future that only He can see."
~ CtBoom

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

praise Him, praise Him

Shout to the Lord with joy, everyone on earth.
 
Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come to Him with songs of joy.
 
I want you to realize that the Lord is God.
He made us, and we belong to Him.
 
We are his people.
We are the sheep belonging to His flock.

Give thanks as you enter the gates of His temple.
Give praise as you enter its courtyards.
Give thanks to Him and praise His name.
 
The Lord is good. His faithful love continues forever.
It will last for all time to come.

~Psalm 100 from Samuel's Bible (:
(The way he reads it from his NIrV.)

Monday, November 18, 2013

walk now

...walk now in the light of the holiest you know...
~O Chambers

This smallish looking enormously powerful statement is challenging me today. To the best of my ability, to the finest detail of which I am aware, to the fullness of my understanding... walk in the light of the Lord. He has made Himself known; walk now.

Every day - new mercy, new grace, and light in which to walk ♥

Friday, November 15, 2013

Dad - please pray

Please lift up my dad with me as soon as you see this --and as often as this comes to mind. He is on the way to the hospital (out of town) right now, dealing with a recurring issue that is very uncomfortable. The issue usually resolves itself within a few days --and we are praying for a very quick recovery this time. The alternative is surgery, and that would be very difficult with Dad's medical history.

He has been dealing with some pneumonia now for several weeks, and is quite weak.

It is such a blessing to have friends who pray ♥

=====
UPDATE: Your prayers and notes have been such a blessing today! Dad has been admitted and is settled into his room. He is uncomfortable but not in pain (so thankful!)  Now we wait and pray that a resolution will come naturally and quickly.  Please keep Dad close in your prayers, especially for the next few days (:

=====
UPDATE: Dad was able to come home yesterday (Sunday)! He is tired but feeling much better. We are praising the Father for so many things, including precious friends who pray. Thank you ♥

Thursday, November 14, 2013

our "deer" Halle

What joy to share with you that my precious niece, Halle, is going to be a part of a new production of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe! She is playing the part of a Narnian deer ^_^  The show has a lovely director who has expanded parts and allowed for lots of creative fun in the show. It is a blessing just to listen to Paige share about it!

Opening night is tonight, and it runs for two weeks, including matinees on Saturdays (whew! a lot of shows). Pray with me? We are all so proud of our sweet, sweet girl ♥

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

hearts in a cup

Did you know that there is a super special recipe for sweetling smiles? There is! You can mix up a batch any time you like. Would you like to know how? ^_^

You'll need every sweetling's favorite mug, and your own favorite, too.

Set them out on the counter in a row from smallest to tallest. This is an optional step, but it adds to the joy of the moment --and is guaranteed to make you smile.

Gather the chocolate (or cocoa) and the milk, and mix to taste. Begin warming on the stove, stirring often. We want no boiling here - just gentle warming to wonderful. (If you think of it that way, all the stirring becomes a blessing, you see.)

In between stirs, go for the garnishes. The ones I keep on hand are whipping cream, marshmallows, peppermints (Brach's, to be precise), cinnamon, mini chocolate chips and multi-colored sprinkle dots.

When the milk mixture is warmed to steaming, pour the cups. Be sure to leave plenty of space at the top for a mountain of yum!

Call in the sweetlings and voila! Sweetling smiles for miles (:

Let them dress their own cups -- sharing a little advice here and there about the best combinations of garnishes. Our favorite right now is whipped cream with sprinkle dots on top ♥

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

for Lizzie

Before Jamie and I had our own sweetlings by birth, God blessed us with the precious children of our friends to love. How blessed we have been to be a part of the lives of some of the most fantastic kids (all now young adults) on the planet ^_^

One of my first, Lizzie Grace, has her own brand new sweetling today! Her first child, ViviAnn, was born yesterday - baby and Mommy are healthy and well. Will you lift up Lizzie and her family with me today?

Thanks ♥

Monday, November 11, 2013

Samuel's Lava Bottle Experiment

Oh, wow! If you have sweetlings (or grands) around the age range of our three, you will want to make a copy and tuck this into your fun file ^_^ We all enjoyed this experiment - and have done it repeatedly. It rocks!!

How to make your own Lava Bottle:

• Start with a washed and dried clear plastic soda bottle with label removed (one or two liter bottle with cap). Fill the bottle with 3/4 vegetable oil and 1/4 water. Be sure to leave a little space at the top (stop filling just where the bottle curves into the neck).

• Add red food coloring (you can add more later if your lava isn't red enough :)  We also added a good bit of white glitter and gold glitter (the effect is fantastic, so we recommend glitter).

• Now the tough part -- wait for the water and oil layers to settle and separate.

• Break an antacid tablet into two pieces (you can break them smaller, but the effect is better with two large pieces). Drop the pieces into the bottle and quickly put the cap on.

• Watch the show!

This can be done as often as you like with the same mixture (you do not need to make a new oil/water bottle) - one tablet a time. Wait and let the layers separate again before you repeat. Also, give it a try with all lights off and a flashlight held to the underside of the bottle - awesome!

Samuel highly recommends this for some super fun science ♥

~project adapted from Spider magazine

Sunday, November 10, 2013

if anything is excellent

Whatever is true, whatever is noble,
whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable,
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -
think about such things.
~Philippians 4:8



So, if it is not true (if it is a lie or even just supposition or shades of gray), 
don't think about it - or repeat it.

If it is not noble (if it does not have qualities of high moral character), 
don't think about it - or say it.

If it is not right (fitting, proper, or appropriate), 
don't think about it - or share it.

If it is not pure (sinless), 
don't think about it - or dwell on it.

If it is not lovely (if it is ugly or mean), 
don't think about it - or allow it to be discussed in your presence.

If it is not admirable (worthy of respect), 
don't think about it - or live it.

From my thoughtful spot today ♥

Saturday, November 9, 2013

my hope

Tonight at church we are hosting a very special dinner party. The food will be delicious, and the fellowship will be so, so sweet. But the main thing is the story. We will be there having invited those close around us to come and hear about Jesus Christ.

There will be a brief but wonderful video, and Jamie will share a few words. But the main thing is the person. We have asked the Father to be there in the person of Holy Spirit to touch the hearts of those present --and through us/them the world.

Pray with us? ♥

Friday, November 8, 2013

give thanks

Just a little while ago, sitting at the table having lunch with the sweetlings...  listening to the song "Give Thanks" (we are learning it this week)... looking out the dining room windows at the sunshine bursting through the greens, reds, oranges and yellows of the leaves... the backdrop a gorgeous, deep, forever-rich blue...

The wind stirred the leaves.

And the tears come. My heart! I am more grateful, awe-struck, blessed-- than I could ever hope to express --by God's gifts. Oh the joy of a gentle, beautiful reminder ♥

Thursday, November 7, 2013

leaves at play

"Come, little leaves," said the wind one day.
"Come over the meadows with me and play.
Put on your dresses of red and gold,
For summer is gone and the days grow cold."

Soon as the leaves heard the wind's loud call,
Down they came fluttering, one and all.
Over the brown fields they danced and flew,
Singing the sweetest little song they knew.
~ G Cooper

A beautiful day here! We are learning this funny little poem, and the sweetlings are playing with the leaves as they dance in the wind. Beautiful ♥

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

wonder

If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder,
he needs the companionship
 of at least one adult who can share it, 
rediscovering with him
 the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.
 ~R Carson

Oh! to be that one ^_^  To be blessed with the gift, the remembering, the vision to see the way my sweetlings do. To enjoy from the top of my head to the tips of my toes --a discovery. They bring them, dancing and shouting, to share...

I think of the Father, as He was creating this world. As He spoke and gorgeous "discoveries" came into being. Using His imagination (I am blown away by the very idea -so enormous, so creative), He made what He thought up. Oh, it makes me laugh with such joy to see Him in my mind's eye smiling and maybe humming and delighting in every moment. Anticipating the next day's project, even as He finds Himself thinking that this day's work was good.

Walking with wonder here ♥

Thursday, October 31, 2013

perspective

I am not saved by believing;
I realize I am saved by believing.

It is not repentance that saves me,
repentance is the sign that I realize what God has done in Christ Jesus.

The danger is to put the emphasis on the effect instead of on the cause.

I stand justified,
not because I am sorry for my sin,
not because I have repented,
but because of what Jesus has done.

Gems from Uncle Oswald ♥

Monday, October 28, 2013

even though

We had nothing when he found us
We had nothing to recommend us

His grace is like an ocean
His gifts are overflowing

He will care for those who love Him
His promises are certain

We will not walk alone
~C Wells

Oh, If you have not heard this music, find it! Hear it! There is so much wonderful tucked into the notes and phrases (: My favorites so far are Even Though, Teach Us to Pray, and Visible Invisible. Taking a little time each day with them to praise ♥

CD: More Than Rubies
By: Christa Wells & Nicole Witt

Sunday, October 27, 2013

lifting up

Hello, friends (: Will you pray with me today? So many precious people on my mind and heart, and it would be a lovely blessing to know that you are lifting them up, too.

• Dad - just not feeling well for a couple of weeks now, and no answers

• Gary - having an eight hour surgery beginning in the morning at 7am

• Steven - praise! for making it through his crucible weekend, a brand new marine

• Carlton Beam's Family • Bessie Elliott's Family • George Kountz's Family

• Belle - unable to receive any more chemo right now, next MRI is Nov 13 at St Jude

• The upcoming Thanksgiving/Christmas season - my heart is so full, and I find joy and wonder bubbling all around - already ^_^  I am looking forward to what the Father is going to do in these next two months, and oh! I don't want to miss Him anywhere.

Thanks & so much love ♥

Monday, October 21, 2013

in their hands

Bunches of dandelions, a pretty leaf, a cute little bug, fresh picked vegetables from the garden, an interesting stick, a sparkling rock --dancing, rejoicing they bring them to wherever I am so that we can wonder and take delight...

A book she just loved --the story is so rich in her heart that she places the book on my bedside table so I can enjoy it, dream it, live it a little while with her...

Her art, drawings of what's inside and the stuff of her dreams --bringing them and herself, heart completely open, for me to see and to hear and to know...

A super spectacular lego creation, one that I never ever could have imagined. He brings it to me (or me to it) to marvel over, and then he tells me in glorious detail the story of its creation (and the ideas he has for the many adventures to come)...

Her very favorite kitty cat dressed to the nines, her favorite marble, a new art creation with "just bunches of color for you, Mommy," an idea for a new game she just invented...

Willing hearts and hands and voices for days and days of celebration, chores, learning, stories, songs, imagination, adventures...

Hugs and smiles and hopes in the hours of our days for miles and years...

...oh, I am so loved in their hands ♥


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

in the stillness

We tend to think that the great power, the great effect is in the doing, the busy-ness, the project, the mission, the plan, the emphasis, the program, the going, the big wow…

We must put our hands on it!
We must give our opinion about it!
We must make ourselves not only known but heard and understood!
We must effect change, persuade!
We must spend much time!

We could not be more incorrect.


The great power, the great effect is in the stillness,
a quiet heart and mind, listening.

And when we can hear, we can also see.
And when we can see, we know more of His heart.

When we know a little more, we want to keep learning more and more, and we become more like Him --just tiny bit by tiny bit more perfectly who He created us to be.

And as the fullness of the Word, the Life, the Truth settles around and in us,
we know how to pray.

The conversation continues, the relationship spills out and over and into the lives of others.

As we are still, as we know, they will come to know Him, too,
and He is glorified ♥

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

fall festival

We are in high celebration anticipation mode here this week ^_^ Our Fall Festival at church is this coming Sunday afternoon, and the sweetlings are soooo ready! Samuel and Ila begin planning costumes and looking forward to what "Mrs Lindsay" and "Mrs Michelle" have planned just after Christmas each year - I kid you not! Meredith is looking forward to helping out with the games.

So here's a little something fun from my sweetlings to you -- our favorite joke for this time of year:

How do you mend a broken jack-o-lantern?

►  With a pumpkin patch!
(highlight text between arrows to see the answer)

Pumpkin hugs and chocolate kisses from our crew today ♥

Monday, October 14, 2013

not to do, but to believe

I cannot save and sanctify myself;
I cannot atone for sin;
I cannot redeem the world;

I cannot make right what is wrong,
pure what is impure,
holy what is unholy.

That is all the sovereign work of God.

Have I faith in what Jesus Christ has done? He has made a perfect Atonement, am I in the habit of constantly realizing it? The great need is not to do things, but to believe. The Redemption of Christ is not an experience, it is the great act of God which He has performed through Christ, and I have to build my faith upon it.

Believing is seeing ♥

(all except for the ♥ note is OC)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

remembering Mr George

Our precious friend, George Kountz, went to be with the Lord this past week. Today we will gather with his family and friends for his memorial service. He was a kind, interesting, fun, faithful gentleman who carried joy in his eyes, hands, words and heart. George loved so well, providing a beautiful example of caring and grace. We miss him. There is no doubt that he is with the Father - what a blessing to know that for sure.

Please lift up his family with me today.
Thanks so much ♥

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

invited

Mommy? Mommy! Mahhh-meee!!!
That's how it begins, from wherever she is ^_^

Then the five year old feet on the floor sounds:
pat-pat-pat or bam-bam-bam (depending on her original location)

Finally a little sweetling flung into my arms and grabbing for my hand:
Come and see! Mom, you just HAVE to come and see!

So, I snug her for a second as she wiggles and then take her hand. It's always an adventure, and she's always bursting with excitement. And I am always just so thankful to be invited along for the fun ♥

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

presence

"We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade
the presence of God.
 The world is crowded with Him.

The real labor is to remember, to attend.
In fact, to come awake.
Still more, to remain awake."
~ CS Lewis

 
The prayer of my heart is there in this little (huge) quote. I want to see! I want to see! Please, Father, I don't want to miss You anywhere. Help me! Help me see every single solitary thing ♥

Monday, October 7, 2013

a story with Ila

How I wish all of you could be here with me right now to hear what I am hearing ^_^ My sweetlings are stretched out on the living room floor on their tummies, with Ila in the middle. She is reading a story to her older brother and sister.

I don't think I have ever heard the good doctor's Green Eggs and Ham rendered more beautifully.

So here's to marvelous books, imagination, rhyming words, and --best of all-- brand new budding readers. Once again I am celebrating. How often I say that! Joy ♥

Sunday, October 6, 2013

this morning

This morning just as the last hymn began, our little big guy stepped out of the pew and went forward to shake his dad's hand --and to let his church family know that he accepted Christ this week.

There was no indecision on his part. He boldly stepped out with a quick smile to me and to his sisters. And he was delighted to let everyone know what Jesus has done for Him.

What a morning  ♥

Friday, October 4, 2013

Jacqui's Pasta Salad

Yum and double yum! I made this wonderful salad that Jacqui shared with me again yesterday. Everyone here thinks it is scrumptious, in any variation ^_^  I hope that you will enjoy ♥

"Aunt Jacqui's Yummy Pasta & Stuff"
(Jacqui, the sweetlings have re-named the recipe - hope you don't mind!)

• one box spiral noodles (we use tricolor for fun)
Cook and drain, don't rinse, and set aside to cool.

Once the noodles are cool, add the following (quantities to taste):
• pepperoni slices, quartered
• one can of garbanzo beans, rinsed well
• one small can of black olives, drained and sliced
• fresh broccoli, cut into tiny florets

Just before serving, add:
• cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
• fresh parsley leaves
• salad dressing (see notes)

Mix well and serve!

Salad dressing note: I like sun dried tomato vinaigrette best, but you can use Italian or any other "clear" dressing that you like. Start with one cup of dressing and then add more to taste if needed.

Other notes: When I made this last night, I left out the broccoli florets and served steamed broccoli as a side dish. To the pasta salad, I also added some fresh tomato and some baked chicken torn into pieces. It was wonderful! 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

update: Belle

You may remember that I introduced a very special friend of ours to you in an earlier post. Her name is Belle, and she is six years old. Belle has been fighting cancer for four years now, and these days she has been taking a new type of chemo (which is the last thing that doctors believe that they can do for her).

Tomorrow Belle will receive the results of a test on her kidneys. If the test shows that the treatment is too hard on her system, she will no longer be able to receive the chemo.

Pray with us?
Thanks so, so much ♥

=====
Update:  Belle was not able to receive chemo today.  Her creatinine levels are coming down, which is a good thing, but they are not where the doctor wants them to be. Her creatinine level determines how well her kidneys are functioning.  Chemo is not completely off the table yet.  The doctor will check her labs and kidney functions again next Friday to see where she is,  so her body has another week to try and recover more. Please pray that Belle's platelets would come up and that her creatinine levels would come down.  Thanks for your prayers.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

wide awake

The call of God is not for a special few, it is for everyone. Whether or not I hear Him depends upon the state of my ears; and what I hear depends upon my relationship with Him.

God does not come with compulsions and pleadings. When our Lord called His disciples there was no irresistible compulsion from the outside.

The quiet passionate statement, "Follow Me" was spoken to men with every power wide awake.

If we let the Spirit of God bring us face to face with God, we will hear. Then, in perfect freedom, we will say, "Here am I, send me."

Oh, to be wide awake! ♥

(notes from OC with a touch of Q)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

a little leaf named Harvey

Ila's subject of study this week is Ll leaf (:

This morning the strangest thing happened with one of our geraniums! Ila and I were sitting out on the front steps reading part of our lesson together, when we noticed a conversation going on in the geranium bush.

A little leaf named Harvey was fussing! He did NOT like living on the bush with all of the other leaves. Yes, he was getting good food, plenty of water and sunshine -- all that he needed. But he didn't LIKE having to live in the terra cotta pot on the front steps. He didn't WANT to have to do what was expected of him. Harvey wanted to do his OWN thing!

So do you know what he did? He left! He moved from the geranium bush to the window sill beside Ila's desk in the kitchen to live.

Needless to say Ila and I will be watching to see how Harvey does on his own.

=====

This lesson was one that really touched the hearts of Meredith and Samuel as they completed this week of their own Kinder years. I am excited to see how God will use this lesson in Ila's heart ♥

Monday, September 30, 2013

asking

Popping in again today to ask you to pray with me...

On his way to bed just now Samuel said, "Now Mom, if tonight is the night I am supposed to ask Jesus into my heart, I come and tell you, right?" I asked him if it was the time, and he said, "Well, I have been thinking about it."

I told him that he would know for sure when the time came. (We have been praying that for him since he was born - that he would be certain.) And that, yes, he should definitely come down and tell me.

My heart! This is the first time he has ever mentioned thinking about it. Please lift Samuel up with us, asking with us that the Father let him know unmistakably when the time is here. Thank you, friends ♥

=====
Update: Samuel just came downstairs to let me know! We prayed together, and then he called his Grands. How excited and thankful we are! Joy!

the very call

day by day we quietly lay down self
and take up the towel and water

day by day we push our own plans back
and make the time instead
to feed young bodies, nourish minds, nurture hearts

hour by hour
we follow the example He has left us

this is the very call of motherhood
~unknown


What a privilege to be a mom.

What a blessing to have (and have had) wonderful ladies in my life who understood and became the heart of this calling and followed His example. While I watched, lived, they poured out their lives for me and for others. So many of you are here, and so many are with the Father now.

Because it's 30 September, I am celebrating today. So thankful ♥

Saturday, September 28, 2013

a quiet heart

I know of no greater simplifier for all of life.
Whatever happens is assigned.

Does the intellect balk at that?
Can we say that there are things that happen to us
that do not belong to our lovingly assigned "portion"
(This belongs to it, that does not)?

Are some things, then, out of the control of the Almighty?

Every assignment is measured for my eternal good.
As I accept the given portion, other options are cancelled.
Decisions become much easier, directions clearer,
and hence my heart becomes inexpressibly quieter.

A quiet heart is content with what God gives.
~E Elliot

Friday, September 27, 2013

storytime with Ila (:

I stepped away from the dinner table last night, and while I was away, Ila began sharing a story with Jamie, Meredith, and Samuel...

"Oh, man! Do you remember this story, guys? When Peter hopped right out of that boat and started walking on the water? How cool is that? I would love to do that someday! Maybe even with Peter! Those guys were so scared, but Peter wasn't. He went right on out there with Jesus!"

I was hearing bits and pieces and wanted to know what she was saying, so I called her to come see me for a second. She came running and began to tell me the story. We had a fun conversation going, and then Jamie called her back to the table to finish her supper.

Her reply? "Be right there, Dad! Mom's preaching me a sermon!"

Now you know I would never do that ^_^
But you should have Ila tell you that story sometime ♥

Thursday, September 26, 2013

I remember...

... when I was told we were expecting you. I was three years old, and it was the biggest news I'd ever heard.

... waiting with my hands plastered to Grandmother & Grandee's front glass door for you to "ever, finally" come home to me.

... that Mom and Dad let me hold you as much as I wanted to. How proud I was!

... playing with Chris and Jenny. Best friends just our ages, amazing fun.

.... when I came home from school each day, and you and Mom were waiting for me. You were sitting on the rug by the sliding glass door grinning from ear to ear and bellowing for me to come and play.

... so many things.

The stories pop to mind, so many of them. Funny and fun, absolutely joy-filled, heart-wrenching, there are forty years' worth now. Wow. Best part, hands down? They are the story of us.

Love you so much, Paige!
Happy, Happy Birthday ♥

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

being His

"I have chosen you." That is the way the grace of God begins.

If we would be His, it is He who must make the way.

We love because He first loved us. We receive His grace, a gift freely given and wholly undeserved, because He chose to give it.

If we would be His, daily, moment by moment, in His power, we lay down our desperate grip on ourselves and make way for Him to create in us.

Our Lord's making of a disciple is a miracle, a blessing, a grace-gift. He does not build on any natural capacity at all. He does not ask us to do that which comes easily to us; He asks us to do the things we are perfectly fitted to do by His grace ♥

(OC with a touch of Q)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

autumn tea



I just love fall, don’t you? The change of season finds me wanting to make some things with my hands, planning to bake apple pies and pumpkin pies, pulling out the fall decorations box, and thinking of tea parties (:

Would you like to try a new tea this fall? I have some favorites to share, along with ideas about how to pair them with a little fun.  If you have time for a pause and a cup, here are three marvelous ways to celebrate autumn with tea...

The first is a black tea blend made by Harney & Sons called Cranberry Autumn Blend. Their teas are truly excellent, and this blend is available in sachet. I find that this tea pairs best with a wonderful book. It would also be a lovely addition to early breakfast with homemade breads.

The second is a green tea blend made by Stash Tea called Pomegranate Raspberry. Stash teas are always scrumptious, and this blend is available in leaf or bag. Make a fall brunch to celebrate this tea, adding plums, pears, apples and even some pomegranate if you have them available to a fruit plate along with a spicy chicken salad and lovely bread.

Finally, we have a decaf black also made by Stash called Pumpkin Spice. This marvelous blend of tea and spices is available in leaf or bag. This tea would be an excellent treat to take along on a fall celebration walk. I am a die-hard cup and saucer girl, but set those aside for the walk and bring out your favorite wonderful chunky mug.  If you have a mug that will hold a larger portion, invite someone that you love and make it a celebration for two (:

Happy Fall ♥