Saturday, August 27, 2011

End of Summer

A common response on asking someone how their summer has been: "It has gone so fast!" It seems like it has become as natural as breathing. This frantic pace at which we live our lives! Even though I tried to consciously keep our lives uncluttered and stress-free this summer it has still gone far too quickly! We have one more week before school starts back up and I am really not sure I am ready. I am looking forward to the routine that a school schedule brings but will miss the more relaxed pace at which we live life. We have had a busier than usual week and I will bring it to you now in pictures! We have had a little over 4 inches of rain over the past week and Heidi clearly has enjoyed some of the wetness that follows a good rain storm! She has staked her claim as the goofball of the family! A side of her that few people get to see.

I made a book sling for the girls room that is nestled on the wall above Eden's bed! I am not a crafty person but this was so easy I knew my lack of creativity could no longer be a legitimate excuse to pass up this little project. And could the pictures of Eden on the wall be any cuter?

We attended the wedding of a friend last week and it ranks up there as one of the best weddings I have attended. A sweetness pervaded every part of the wedding and was a true picture of what awaits the Bride of Christ!

Eden went to the wedding with us and was pleased as punch to dance with her daddy! The girl didn't stop smiling!

The boys had two days of play with their cousin Tyler this week! Early morning treks up the mountain hunting (like before I was even out of bed), air soft wars, talk of assassins, chasing each other around with a leaf blower.....the giggles were awesome!!

I loved the expressions on the boys faces! They took turns blowing on their stomachs and I happened to catch the glee on their faces in this picture! It really is the simple things in life folks!

Heidi spent time looking at books while soaking her foot in epsom salt after getting a burn. The kids were doing sparklers one evening and Heidi happened to step on a hot sparkler. She had a nice big blister for 3 days and then it popped. By the next morning it was red and she was very ouchy while tying to walk. She spent numerous times though out that day soaking it in salt water and was fine by the evening. Epsom salt is a necessity at this house and has saved us numerous tips to the doctor this summer. I am convinced of that! Another new thing: Heidi has pig tales! She is beginning to let me do stuff to her hair albeit reluctantly.

Friday found us husking corn in the early morning sun!

We all worked together......

And were finished with the husking part quickly. I sat with Judah and Shane and we talked about all sorts of interesting things pertaining to corn. Who was the first to introduce corn, corn husk dolls, Indians......very informative!

Sometimes little sweeties are tired and want their momma but the momma needs her hands free. So she snuggles in the ergo onto momma's back with her blankies and everything becomes right in her world again.

And when the work is all done and cleaned up corn husk dolls are made! We now have multiple dolls floating around the house and outside. It was fascinating to the kids to learn that years ago this would have been a birthday or Christmas gift. Judah is reading "Little House in the Big Woods" right now and enjoyed seeing in person what Laura played with.

And that is a wrap of our week!!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Why I Might Stop Cleaning

Scrubbed my kitchen floor yesterday because it was looking a little gross. A little while later I decided that attempting to keep a house clean with my crew is a loosing battle. I think I am a slow learner. Within 2 1/2 hours of scrubbing my floor this is what happened:

*there was a cup of milk spilled on the kitchen table which ran onto the floor
*a nice, plump grape was dropped and in the attempt to retrieve it was stepped on - squish!
*a freshly cut piece of pineapple was dropped and splattered everywhere
*a half piece of cornbread crumbled all over the floor - the other half made it into a child's mouth
*a rather large puddle of pee was found when another child was trying to be helpful and clean up the cornbread

And I am sure I am forgetting something! Mark told me he would forget about keeping the kitchen floor clean and would only worry about it when you could shovel things off the floor. So if you stop by please be understanding of the grime you might find. Depending on my mood I will either be scrubbing away or shoveling!

Friday, August 19, 2011

At It Again

Read Adeye's most recent post about another little, and I mean little, treasure in the Ukraine. She laid out a goal to raise $22,000 to pay for this little girls adoption in hope that if a family comes forward the money isn't an issue! In one day the chip-in button has passed the goal!! Amazing to watch God at work in people's hearts! Would you go read this little one's story and not disengage? Just take a moment or two or longer and intercede on behalf of Liliana and so many like her? It really is OUR problem!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


"Mothers have been created by God to be gardeners of the soul of children." - Sally Clarkson.

I read this quote last week on my sister-in-laws facebook status (thanks Christine) and have pondering it ever since. I have said before that I do really well with word pictures. I am sure there are many of you that could tell me my learning style based on that but I have never analyzed myself long enough to figure it out. I just know that word pictures and simple analogies register and remain with me.

For those of you who know us well you know that Mark is gifted in taking a chunk of land and making beautiful gardens! I have long ago bowed out of the beautiful landscaping but still thoroughly enjoy my vegetable garden. There is something gratifying about planting, watering, weeding, harvesting and eating from your own garden. It is the fruit of your work!

Raising children is so similar! Every day there is ample opportunity to till the soil of your child's heart, plant seeds of character, water their spirits with affection and affirmation, weed out the selfishness and ungratefulness and in due time you will reap a harvest! Some things in a garden need pruning and winterized so they survive until the next spring. And sometimes our children need "pruning" so they can overcome and survive "winters" of the soul. This isn't something you ever hope for your child but we do live in a broken world.

I am grateful I read the above quote. It has once again reminded me of the entrustment I have been given as a mother and the importance of what I do daily. I am the gardener of their souls and desire so much to do well in this task. May we not view our children's needs as interruptions but as opportunities to nurture.

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." - Galations 6:9

Monday, August 8, 2011

Outside the Box

Tristan's idea of fun! Writing stories and spelling words! Personally I find this quirky part of his personality endearing. I am going to have to think outside the box when it comes to schooling this boy at home.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Famine in Africa

So many thoughts have been circling inside my heads these past few weeks. Thoughts of sacrificial giving, adoption, injustice...sometimes my heart cannot contain it all. Reading about the horn of Africa and the horrible famine which is taking thousands of lives and I can't help but wonder how it is that I am so blessed? If I allow myself to really think about the reality for our dear brothers and sisters in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia right now I am crushed. I had someone not long ago tell me they think they are naive when it comes to the way a lot of the world lives. I told her I didn't necessarily think being naive is wrong - purposefully disengaging is another thing altogether. And that is where I struggle. It is easier to not think about putting yourself in their shoes because the minute you engage in their suffering you are moved to act.

Imagine with me: your sweet children are hungry and you know there is absolutely no food left anywhere near your home. Your livestock has long since died from lack of food and your dirty water source that has been making you and your children sick has dried up. What should you do? You have heard that there is hope a few weeks away but you are desperate because it is your only chance. You leave early in the morning in the cool of the day with hope that it won't take so long that your children die along the way. But in their already malnourished state you aren't sure how much more they can take. (how old are your children? imagine them walking in heat, hungry and thirsty) Two weeks into the journey your sweet child has weakened so much they are no longer conscience. How much longer? Your child (I am imagining Tristan) cannot hold on any longer and they die. You are forced to leave them in along the path because there is no where to bury them. You leave a piece of your heart behind as you leave. Ok.....honestly I can't go on. The pain is too difficult to even imagine. This is what I mean by disengaging. I can shut off the pain, get up and immerse myself in something else so I don't have to think about their reality. But a dear Somalian momma just like me buried 4 of her children on Thursday! The pain is almost more than I can bear! How is that even possible!!

The UN is saying this is the worst humanitarian crises in history!! When you have a famine this severe their only chance at survival is aid. And that comes from the world joining together to see the purpose of every person and doing what we can to help! I urge you to start regularly reading the updates on World Vision, Samaritans purse and different news sources. All you have to do is google it. The complication of course are the Somalian extremists who are blocking aid into much of Somalia hence the mass exodus into Kenya!

Is there something you can do? If you donate to World Vision they have grants that will take your donation and add another five times what you give. So if you can give $10 they add $50 and your donation becomes $60. If you give $100 they add $500 and your donation becomes $600!

Every time I heard David Crowder's "Oh Praise Him" I can't help but think of children who have been adopted, people who are sponsored, those are are being rescued right now by aid. The second verse says,

"Turn your gaze to heaven and raise a joyous noise
The sound of salvation come, the sound of rescued ones
And all this for a King
Angels join to sing
All for Christ the King"

God is not interested in the amounts you can give but interested in how your heart is moved with compassion! I know I often am urging you to give but it is how my heart beats! I see the plight of children and my heart breaks. I urge you today to not disengage but allow God to walk you through the reality of what it would be like. Grieve for these dear people, ask Him what He would have you do and then walk in obedience. Thanks for listening!

Oh and just to be clear: I am incredibly grateful that God has blessed us! I don't feel like I have done anything to deserve it but I am grateful! I don't walk around feeling like I should be suffering since there is so much of that around us. I do feel like I need to be in tune with His heart, walk in obedience to what He calls us to which will look different in all of us. So there is no judgement in how you live, how I live but a movement towards looking more and more like Him.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


So...this summer is not turning out like I anticipated. Stupid unrealistic expectations once again! You know the expectations I mean? Fun everyday, non-stop laughter, memories being made....fact is life continues pretty much as it always does. And it has taken me this long to be relatively okay with that. I have spent most of my days this summer feeling like a bad mom, wondering why my kids enjoy getting on each others' nerves, feeling weary of the work load, etc.

And you know what else? This really is the stage of life I am in so I need to learn to embrace and deal with it. I have three younger children that are knee deep in character training, who are still learning the basics of what is expected of them and who need to get their bedtime back to a sane hour! Rested children are better equipped to deal with the purposeful antagonizing behaviour of their sibling. They still scream but the decibel level isn't as piercing and it only lasts for a brief time instead of what feels like hours. Usually.

Mark and I had a night away last week and we were so excited to have some quiet moments! It was so nice to just have time to meander around and not feel rushed to get back home. We found ourselves by the next morning both looking at each other and voicing almost simultaneously that we just wanted to be home. We love the home God has blessed us with and the children He has entrusted to us. And we just wanted to be home enjoying both blessings! I will admit - this afternoon amidst the continuous fighting of my children I wondered why I was in a rush to get back over the weekend! I told Mark that maybe we should invest in getting a punching bag for me so that on days when I feel like I am going to blow my top that I could just spend a few minutes getting my frustration out on the bag! Honestly, today I felt like if I could just throw something I would feel better. But then I realized that I would have to explain all of my improper actions to my kids (as if my grumpy face wasn't enough) so I opted to tell them I wanted some time alone to get my head clear. Everyone seemed okay with that except for Eden - she took it personally. So my time alone included one very antsy girl trying to lay quietly beside me.

At the end of the day things become a little more clear. That the intricate workings of a family boil down to this: learning to lay down your life, die to your desires and embrace serving each other. And today I really didn't want to do any of them. That is the awful truth! So now the show the kids were watching is over, Tristan has finally decided to eat his dinner (at 7:30), I have processed my ugliness(thank you for listening), Heidi somehow has Frank Sinatra Christmas music blaring which actually makes me happy and it is time for popsicles!