Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summer Bounty

I love where I live. I'm about a mile from my dear friends. With them, I share my life, faith, my tears and a garden. The best of life wrapped up in an amazing place. If only we could get the weeds to stop growing.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Memories and me...

The way I remember my life comes in two different categories, how it smelled or how it tasted. Tell me of a time in my life with joy, and I will tell you what it tasted like. Remind me of a trip to my grandparents farm, and I will tell you how it smelled. My life is sensual, but not in the classic sense. I just remember the smell and taste of things. Perhaps that directly relates to two of my greatest pleasures and greatest splurges.

I am a careful shopper when it comes to food, clothing, most everything. In two places, we have never found a cheaper substitute. Trust me we have tried. I splurge when it comes to our morning cup of coffee and my soap.

My favorite time of day is when I smell the coffee and hear the final sounds of it coming through the coffee pot. It means time reading the Bible, time talking with Jason, and our time of prayer together. It's the best part of my day.  Jason and I mix together Starbucks house blend and their decaf house blend. I have found the best prices at Target.

And when it comes to my soap. I have tired many alternatives. But I found that the cheap soap doesn't last, but when I spend a little extra and buy the French milled soap, it is actually economical as it lasts over three months. And the smell, it's amazing! So my stolen moment of quiet actually becomes a great smelling joy filled experience well worth the extra money spent. I plan to write this company today to thank them. When I looked at the label, I noticed they were here in North Carolina. Thank you South of France, the stolen moment of quiet increases my patience with my children! Thank you. What increases your joy? Where do you splurge? Comment....I double dog dare you!!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Camping with kids...

Camping with kids is much like fishing with kids. Where I fondly remember moments fishing and camping of years past, that is now replaced with a newer understanding and appreciation of them both. First, I grow only deeper in my appreciation for the patience of my grandmother and all the fishing trips she took me on. I have memories of endless bliss of reeling in fish after fish sitting companionably with my elder brother.

Now that I'm a mom, I realize the hard work my grandma did to build such beautiful memories into my young years. Truly, it is sweaty, hot work of endless baiting, fish removal, and fixing hung up line. Somehow my memories seem so peaceful, but I imagine there was one tired grandma at the end of those hot fishing days. Grandma was tireless in creating joy in my childhood.

That takes me to our first camping trip with all four kids. Unlike my backpacking days in Colorado with Jason, we did not ponder life around a fire as we read thoughtful books and gazed at the beautiful scenery.

No, the joy of this trip was much different from the quiet moments of my twenties. Camping with the kids was all go, go, go, and then and eventual crash in sleeping bags. We played so hard, we hoped for an easy bedtime. After a few chapters of an excellent book I've been reading with the kids, they peaceably found sleep.  And Jason and I were able to steal a few moments to talk around a fire...

We went swimming, hiking, wading in a creek, exploring, hunting firewood, hunting bugs, wrestled. The trip was a success, but I came home very tired. Very dirty. Very full. We laughed together with the kids, we laughed watching them feel comfortable in their new outdoor surroundings, we enjoyed ourselves tremendously.

Someday I will return to the quiet camping I once knew, but somehow I think I will miss the busy chaos. I'm forever like my grandma; hard working for the bliss of the joy in watching my children embrace life at it's best!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lamentations 3

22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
24 "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him."
25 The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.
26 It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The place where the best of life takes shape!

This is where I do life! I connect to my story here. I celebrate family and friends around this spot. I live in the chair on the left, it has a hole in the seat, and is nearest the kitchen. My best friend takes up residence on the right. We ask important questions here. We laugh here. We eat a smattering of food here. This place is important, maybe not to you, but to us it is where important moments happen. When I have been too long from this spot, I feel uneasy. My old hand-me-down table, mix of chairs, Hoosier from my beloved grandparent, very simple, scratch filled, but perfectly broken in, create home for my manageable mix of chaos!

Where do you do life? How does it nurture your soul?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Quishable Lake Love

Oh, my kids are all such treats. Each of my children hold a special place in my heart. He still remains pronoun confused often saying things like, "him's my friend"... Lake spends his days working, and rarely plays. Actually work is play for my son.

One day recently, some dear friends of ours were moving. I was heading to the pool while Jason would spend time helping with the move. Isn't crazy to think my son would rather swim than work? As I was dropping Jason off, Lake spotted a group of workers. Better yet, he spotted strong men working. Jason gave me a kiss goodbye, and Lake started to beg, cry, plead to be allowed to also work.

As I neared the pool, the heartbreak of my son became too much. I seriously wondered if I made the wrong decision to rob a boy of a day of work/play. Suffice it to say, he saw his friend at the pool and was distracted. Thank goodness for the red headed friend that met us at the pool. He has brought Lake out of many a funky mood.

My new favorite thing about my son. Words that begin with S and another letter come hard for Lake. ie.. Mom, there is a pider (spider) I need to save you from/ which he bravely often will do for me. Last week he came in our room one morning, snuggled in between Jason and I. We made a yummy Lake sandwich and loved and loved on him. He smiled, he giggled, he pretended to fight... Then he said, "you are QUISHING me"....Which just made us do it more, because I love to quish my little man! He's very quishable!! Unique Lake!!! I love you!!

 I will be sad when his pronouns improve, the baby chub on his wrists vanishes, and when his S makes an appearance in his speech. I celebrate the unique qualities of my children this day.. How do you love your children specifically and intentionally this day?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The beauty of a young lady

Our family celebrated a huge milestone... Ella turned ten on June 8,2011. It was a big event that we decided to mark with a trip alone with me. Jason and I puzzled a long time over the right place to take her. We had several really neat spots in mind, but in the end, the Lord knew just where he wanted us.

We decided to visit our dear friend Mary Jett in Williamsburg, Virginia. Not only is it a beautiful setting with lots of fun things to do; there were two amazing older young ladies for Ella to enjoy.

I picked Ella up from school and we headed North. We were so excited. We played loud music and found some Mexican food to start our journey. On the way to Virginia, I made clear our weekend was for fun, but it was also to talk about Ella growing into a young lady.  I cannot tell you the joy of a weekend of focused attention on Ella.

But the neat thing, it was not just my attention, but the attention of Mary and her roommate Annette that made the weekend so special. Ella laughed hard, tried new things, and enjoyed herself to the fullest.  We went to Busch Gardens, where I nearly had to be carried out from the heat, and we also went to Water Country USA. I think that was the favorite of us both. We also spent a mellow day shopping and catching a movie.  We ended our trip attending the worship service with Mary and Annette. Truly it was one of the best services I have ever attended. I simply cried through the entire service. I will save that for another post. It was such an amazing service, one that I wish Jason could have seen. We have talked for years about worship, and I really think he would have loved what the Lord is doing at Grace Covenant in Williamsburg.

Truly the weekend was amazing. Ella and I had great time together. She was excited and mature about the adult topics we discussed. She loves Jesus, and I see her desire to follow him in her own way. What a gift to have such a daughter.

Ella was surprised by her trip. Harper and Lake are already putting in orders for their trips. Harper asked if she could take hers when she turn 7, and Lake said he's going hunting on his trip. Moments like these cause me to rejoice in my children growing older. It's such a treat to be a mama to these sweet babies!

I really think this age was the right time to have important talks with Ella. She was mature discussing relationships, sex, friendships, and what kinds of things will come her way as a young lady. We talked about the temptation she will face to distance herself from Jason and I, and the importance of choosing friendships wisely.

Kindness is something we spend a lot of time discussing as a family. It's hard work, it costs a lot, but the value of a soft tender heart is priceless. But not kindness for show, kindness that understands the love and kindness shown to us from the Lord. I see that deepening in my daughter. It's a daily challenge for us all. I would recommend to any parent to look at ten as a milestone to celebrate. More than that, I hope we all look for intentional moments with our children. Time is fleeting, and what we do with it is important. I do not want to regret moment missed!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Love your man well!

In the hunt for a mentor in my early years of marriage, I met a woman that forever changed my perspective on loving Jason. This woman liked her coffee strong, loved art, and had a voice of a DJ or rock star. Her children were absolutely unique and she had a great love and admiration for her husband.

The time we had together was absolutely priceless to me. She made herself available to me and was always up for a cup of coffee. She was venerable with her weaknesses and my favorite thing about her...She loved reading.

When I first met her she was working her way through the Pulitzer Prize list of books. I immediately jumped on board with her. I knew I met a kindred spirit when I saw her love for reading.

One day as I was explaining how Jason and I both love books, but could not be more opposite in what we read. She gave me a simple answer that will forever stay with me. She told me how she felt reading made her more interesting for her husband. How she had a lot of different interests that deepened her and encouraged her to be an interesting person. Interesting in the eyes of her husband. She talked how easy it is to become consumed in his world or the world of the children and become somewhat lost. That reading broadened her life and deepened her understanding.

Jason and I will always read different books. I only read fiction and non fiction books on farming. Jason loves books of faith and theology. We meet daily over the Bible, but we celebrate our differences.

Just last week, Jason heard that a friend of ours was butchering his chickens. He immediately knew it was something I wanted to learn to do. He managed to get us invited. It was fabulous. I even was given the opportunity to kill one of the chickens. You see, Jason has no interest in killing chickens, but he loves my interests. And I want to be someone he finds forever interesting.

This week I'm taking a Thai cooking class. I can hardly wait. Jason was so supportive. He has always been my champion with all my crazy notions. I'm so gifted to have him, so I want to always be a gift. A quirky, interesting, funky, silly, loving gift he can't wait to come home to at night!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Counting the blessing!

56. Under-roooos

57. Kids waking one at a time, and enough lap and time to snuggle each out of their sleepy groggy state

58. The bubble gum supplier at church

59. Learning something new, last week butchering a chicken, this week Pad Thai

60. Kids learning the art of cleaning

61. Coffee

62. Prayers before sleep... They feel like such a peaceful conversation with a beloved friend

63. Rainy Mondays

64. Cookie Monster shirt passed down from my son to my daughter

65. The smell of clean

66. Meal planning, with the hope to share a meal of two or ten

67. Hard work rewarded by snuggles

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Thank you!

I can't imagine this journey without you! What a daddy you are, what a friend and comfort... Thank you for being you, and living your life so trasparently for Him. I'm rich beyond measure. Happy Father's Day dearest.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Historic Day

I don't know how time has passed so quickly, one minute I was in the worst pain in my life, and the next I was a mamma. Now I find myself with the most amazing ten year old daughter. I feel like it was yesterday I met you Ella.

Time has gone quickly, but I have enjoyed every moment of your life. You are so full of sweet grace and kindness. I delight in knowing you, loving you, and being a small part of directing the beautiful heart you have been given. You love Jesus and those around you with such tender kindness, I am often humbled by your love.

A long time ago Jason and I decided to take our children on a trip when they turn 10. The goal of the trip is fun, education, and explanation of expectation. I hope to explain to Ella things that will be coming her way with friendships, her body, and life. I'm excited about sharing with her what things I expect of her as a young lady, and what things I most look forward to with her. I have asked special friends to write her letters. I want other voices in her life. I want her to know she has a much larger community than just this household.

I can hardly wait. As Ella comes home from school today, we are headed to Williamsburg, Virginia. We will be staying with a dear friend, and enjoy

all that Virginia has to offer.

Pictures of the trip soon to come! But not too soon, I want to savor every moment of this time alone with my firstborn daughter!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Kindness is Christ

This has been a tough year where I have had to face unkindness head on. I have had to look at the face of hate and anger and press deeply into Christ. In the face of ugly, it is difficult to seek grace and not revenge. Love and not bitterness, Christ and not self.

I have spoken in veiled utterances, but it is clear there has been much pain. But in the place of pain, He has been there. Right there. Ever present, close, steady and certain. As my idols have deminished, He has filled the empty space.

In the brokeness of life, I don't need to be like Christ. I need Christ himself. I realize the being like Christ can just end up in a pile of works, but give me Christ himself, and I will show you perfect peace in the midst of a terrible storm.

True joy is not the absence of pain, but His presence in the midst of pain. I hurt for those who have not seen Christ in their midst lately. Who have refused the joy and freedom of repentance. I long for more, more, more of Jesus, and that consequently means less of me. Less need to defend and be right... I need Him. Guess what I've learned, it was for freedom that He set me free... He set His love on me for that.. To daily give me Himself.. To be enough for today, tomorrow, and eternity


Overflowing Grace

49. Slow motion that is heat induced

50. Neatly folded laundry

51. Lightening bugs

52. 6 and a half years of nursing

53. 10 year old trip and weaning vacation combined

54. Little girl painted nails

55. Shelling peas and chatting with my brood


41...Schools out for summer

42...Uncertain times that keep you praying and dependent

43...Chubby baby hand reaching into my hand for a snack

44...Firstborn about to enter next season of life

45...Surprise trip with firstborn

46...Weaning last baby, happy and sad about this one.

47...Heat that grows my tomatoes

48...Fresh peas from the garden
A place to find encouragement to love your little ones, your husbands and those you come in contact with daily. Two does not have to be terrible. These are years to grow not simply get through!