Tuesday, May 31, 2016

working out with Ila

My littlest sweetling is helping me with my cardio for the day, but not in the way that you might think ^_~ Here are just a few examples from our day so far...

Earlier this morning right out of the blue:
"Mom, did you know that one of my very favorite things to do is to help you with projects? It doesn't matter, really, what we do, just if we can do it together."

A little later in the morning right out of the blue:
"Mom, I have a question for you! Why does Jesus disappear just when the people recognize who He is? You know like those two men from the road when they sat down for supper and poof! He was gone?"

Just a few minutes ago right out of the blue:
Ila brought me a picture from the fridge and asked, "Who is this again, Mom?" It was a picture of my Grandmother (Dad's mom).

So, in this day so far, I have been encouraged, I have been challenged, and I have had the opportunity to remember. In addition to all of that wonderful, I have had three gorgeous sharing times with my little one, her heart and mine, and lots of smiles and hugs, too!

Need I say how much it means to me that my sweetlings enjoy time with me? It amazes me still after all of these years, and I am so grateful. It's one of those "much more" things that the Father has done for me.

Regarding the question above, we talked about how Jesus first kept the men from recognizing Him. I shared that I think that's because He wanted to have the conversation with them just as one man to other men. He wanted to give them the opportunity to share their hearts without being overwhelmed by who He is. That He allowed them to recognize Him once they had slowed down to rest and to be refreshed, when they could take time to really see. And that He left quickly after that so that the fact that He was sitting there with them would not cause them to forget the lessons of the day.

Oh, and Grandmother. I teared up knowing that Ila does not remember her. It is always my joy and a great privilege to speak of Grandmother. I love to share about her with Ila in particular, because Ila is her name sake. I already see Grandmother's strength, joy, and creativity in my little one. Joy!

Loving every moment of this working-it-out ♥

Sunday, May 29, 2016

chasing darkness away

What if I walked in this world making a point of remembering that I am forgiven? Certain that I am no longer subject to evil, to sin (a sinner, yes, but not enslaved by these things)? No longer condemned, but victorious?

What would be different in the moments of my days if I carried this fact carefully forward in my thinking? Not haughty, not self-righteous, not prideful, but so very grateful for the privilege of being a Christ follower, for the gift of being created to glorify the Father like He did. Gentle, kind, loving, merciful --and victorious. What a combination!

Everywhere Jesus went while He walked this earth, He was chasing darkness away. He was light and life, glorifying the Father, victorious even in death. He bought that victory for me, too, and made me light just like Him.

Just a few notes from my morning...
Happy Sunday ♥

A hearty thank you here to my pastor who kindled this train ♥
and to Dr Alice Cullinan who was more of an encourager than
she could ever have imagined today ♥

Friday, May 27, 2016

the last

Hooray! The sweetlings and I wrapped up our school year today. There were delicious sighs and giggly exclamations as they placed each book back on the shelf for the last time. And to top off an already gorgeous day, Jamie came in and took us all out for ice cream to celebrate!

As usual, I am a little teary as we farewell a year. The thing that is shooting straight for my heart this afternoon is the fact that I have now taught second grade for the last time. I simply love teaching my sweetlings. The joy, the challenge, the difficult days... none is perfect, but it all wraps up into one of the very best, hardest, most wonderful things in my life. And time is fleeting.

To pack away the things of second grade knowing that there's not going to be an, "Oh, I can't wait to teach this again in a couple of years..." is tough. I am just not quite ready for these kinds of lasts. The sweetlings are, though, and I cannot begin to share what a gift and blessing that is! I am so thankful!

Looking forward with a heart full-to-bursting,
while I stand in the last moments of this last day ♥

Thursday, May 26, 2016

faded & holey

He's outside right now planning, digging up beds, planting flowers. Tracks through the lawn show that the tiller has been busy. The sun reflected in his smile and on his skin takes a moment to rest in the laugh lines around his eyes. He looks beyond the current state of things into what will be lovely when placed according to his design.

As much as he is anything - husband, father, pastor, teacher, son, brother, friend - he is what  he is doing right now. Some of it was taught to him, some learned from years of experience alongside wonderful mentors, and some gifted to Him by the Father.

Long before he knew more of what God had in mind to make of him, he was doing this thing that he loved. And that is where the beginning of "us" was. It makes me smile, oh! I love to see him out there. He is beautiful in my sight.

The sweetlings are out there with him, legacy-growing, with dirty hands and grins wide to their ears. They are laughing, sharing, and asking questions, and he is loving every moment.

So I run here, to this witnessing place, counting the thankful things... loving my precious, sweet man in his faded and holey jeans as he takes a little while to breathe-in a part of his heart ♥

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

if I should speak

So maybe you have already heard. Perhaps you already know when you come to speak day in and day out in the places where God has given you voice --just what to say. Some days I do. It rings forth and resonates in such a way that I simply cannot not say. But there are subjects, things we deal with in this present day (and night) about which I have been praying for months upon months. What to say? Father, what would you have me say in response to this? And this? And even this?

Well, tonight? Answers.

"If I should speak then let it be
Of the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him"

And so, I will ♥

Lyric from "My Story" by Big Daddy Weave
Listen to the whole song below :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

present possibilities

It's very, very simple today:

As longs as thanks is possible,
joy is present.

Father, help us to see ♥

Monday, May 23, 2016

the assassin & the stoplight

You know those questions the sweetlings ask... they come out of nowhere, and you find yourself challenged in ways far beyond what you were expecting for normal dinnertime conversation? That's what happened here last night. Meredith asked, "Mom, what would you do, what would you say, how would you handle it if you found out that your very best friend in the world was an assassin? You had absolutely no idea, but you found out that everything you thought you knew about him/her was false and that he/she is a killer?"

My eyes grew wide, and I thought for a minute. And then I started a handful of different sentences only to stop and try again. I hadn't really thought about that particular situation before, so I began searching my heart for some reference point from which to answer her.

Finally, I started with, "I don't know, sweetie."

And then, God stepped in with the words...

"I don't know. There would have to be a conversation - hopefully there would be a conversation, and I can't begin to tell you what I might say. But I do know this for sure, God would give me the words to say. Do you know how I know? Because He has done that for me so many times before."

And then I began sharing examples of times from her own life when God has given me the words to say to her, like the time we were sitting at the stoplight at the end of our road...

We were in a mighty hurry, and of course, the light was red. Meredith was maybe five at the time, and she piped up with, "OOh! Why do we have to sit here and wait for that awful light to turn? Hurry up!!" I told her that waiting is a part of nearly every day and all the time. Moments like sitting at the stoplight are opportunities God gives us to practice our patience, which is one of the fruits of the Spirit. She didn't know it at the time, but as soon as those words came out of my mouth, I was thinking, "Did I say that?!"

She remembered that day - that "practice our patience talk" at the stoplight, and that we sang the Yum Yum fruits of the Spirit song. It was a joy to share what God had done for us that day, and she was comforted by the fact that God can and will handle things that come up for which we simply have no words or answers.

It occurs to me that it would take hours and days to re-tell all of the stories just in Meredith's life when God stepped in and gave me the words that I did not have in answer to her questions, in response to situations in which we found ourselves, in order to comfort her broken heart or her fears.

So, this afternoon, once again, I am bearing witness to His life in our moments.
Counting the thankful things, even the stoplight and the assassin ♥

Sunday, May 22, 2016

first, I thank Him

"...If thanks is the highest form of thought - make it my first thought.

Turn me toward thanks first - so my life doesn't turn into the last thing I'd hoped for.

Turn me toward You first - first things first means to give You thanks first."

Reflecting today on living life looking for the thankful things, and my quiet time brought precious Ann focusing on the first part of Romans 1:8. "First, I thank my God..."

And so I whisper here for you and for me:
remember thanks,
see Him everywhere (that's where He is),
and speak thanks with your life.

May our lives overflow with gratitude to God our Father in Jesus' name... every single moment ♥

quote from a prayer by Ann V

Friday, May 20, 2016

update Dad - praise!

Thank you all so much for your prayers for our family this week. Dad's heart cath went very well! The doctors placed two stents and are so encouraged that this will improve Dad's stamina and overall outlook. Thanks be to God! Everyone we met from staff to nurses to doctors was as kind as they could be, and they are taking great care of him. Dad will be in the hospital overnight, and they will check his kidney function in the morning - please continue to pray with us about that if you will. They plan to have him home tomorrow afternoon.

We love you all and are thankful --so thankful-- for friends who pray ♥

Update: Dad came home on Saturday - praise!
Good report - praise!
And feeling well - praise!
Thanks again for warrior-ing with us ♥

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

the heart of the matter

Please pray with me for my Dad? He is heading in for a heart cath this coming Friday, and as with everything for him health wise, it's a big deal. He's a miracle, has been for years upon years. We are trusting the Father (who loves Dad even more than we do) for His very best.

Trust with me? Thanks, friends ♥

Monday, May 16, 2016

more dragon-y goodness

Another Samuel sanctioned bit of verse to brighten up (or fire us up ^_~ ) for Monday♥

It's true I fried a knight or two--
I left them slightly toasted.
But dragons' caves are private homes--
We all have warnings posted.

We dragons are a peaceful lot--
You'll often find us dancing.
Those knights should take up violin
And stop with all this lancing.

I'd never roast a blacksmith, Judge,
I'd never grill a farmer.
Those knights attacked my humble lair
With swords and suits of armor.

They came at me with weapons drawn
To slice me full of gashes,
So what was I supposed to do
But burn them all to ashes?

It's clear that this was self-defense.
You know the knights conspired.
You've got to say I'm innocent--
Or else you might be fired!

"The Scales of Justice" by Jeff Mondak

Saturday, May 14, 2016

this very moment

That moment when you stop to read / hear / listen to the Father's heart, and the very thing -the very thing- that you have been asking, seeking for is answered. He knows and has known the deepest longing of your heart, those questions that are so beyond your own interpretation or answer, and He meets you there with so much more.

Bearing witness again this very moment to His great love and mercy and grace. Oh, my heart!

"Teach us, Dear Father, to serve You as You deserve;
to give and not to count the cost;
to fight and not to heed the wounds;
to toil and not to seek for rest;
to labor and not to ask for any reward
except that of knowing that we are with You.
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen"

Believing is seeing ♥

quote adapted from St Igatius of Loyola via EE

Friday, May 13, 2016

two more...

Well, now! To say that we are excited for the end of the school year would be a serious understatement. True, the sweetlings are currently in mourning for the end of all things activity-wise. Oh, the drama! Oh, the choir! Oh, the CBS! Oh, the piano! Oh, the soccer! Oh, the gymmies! "We are going to miss our friends, Mom, and we just CAN'T go MONTHS without seeing everyone!"

Ha! But the end of math? Of spelling? Of history? They are quite certain that they will survive these quite well. And so they shall. It has been a wonderful year here under the trees and, though this mommy heart of mine cannot believe that another year has passed so quickly, I am as ready as they are to call it a wrap.

So here's to two more weeks!
Happy Friday before the Friday before the last ♥

Saturday, May 7, 2016

out in the driveway

He's outside just now, standing in the driveway. His hands are tucked halfway into his pockets and he is staring off into the trees. His sermon notes are perched on the closed trunk of the car, and he is talking through the notes he has set down to share tomorrow. Every now and then he gestures, though his only congregants at the moment are Licorice our lab, a bird or two, and maybe a squirrel. It is easy to see that his heart is reaching out already to those who will be there listening tomorrow. Oh, it makes me smile to see him out there...

beautiful ♥
Isaiah 52 / Romans 10

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


That moment when your littlest sweetling has a great need to be seen and her daddy realizes what her behavior is saying, so he calls out to her in his biggest voice. His joyful shout of her name echoes through the house, and she comes running to see what is up. She finds him in the kitchen, and he tells her that he is in need of a great big hug and that she is just the one to help...

Her face!

She knows that he understood just what her heart was saying, and she dives into his arms. Joy! So sweet ♥