Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mr. Middle

Mr. Middle. Elijah Kelly. Man, I love him. He is sweet, funny, and precious. He is fairly compliant. If you explain why something needs to be a certain way, he usually acquieces and moves on. He has a special place in most of my girlfriends' hearts because of his unique way of expressing himself. He's a cutie! But. . .

falling in line like he does, he is often overlooked a bit. He doesn't draw attention to himself by acting out. He goes with the flow. Joshua and JCT are involved in sports and school and other activities that make the attention of our family gravitate toward them. And, then, Eriky D., well, he never suffers from lack of attention because he is the baby (for now! :-), and he is two years old ~ and a curious two year old he is. Therefore, he consumes a good bit of my attention. For months I have tried to make conscious efforts to lift Lije up and draw him out and put the attention on him. But, honestly, it is hard and takes a good deal of effort because the attention naturally falls elsewhere. Until recently. . .

Lije has developed a problem, an obstacle, bless his heart ~ it is breaking mine! And, now, he is the main topic of Erik and my conversation a lot of the time. He is at the forefront. He needs our help, our attention, and he is getting it. Because of his little problem, we have had to slow down, stop what we are doing and give him our undivided attention throughout the day.

And, as I sat, on the edge of JCT's bed last night, watching my three big boys sleeping peacefully, I prayed for my Lije. And, as I prayed and begged God to remove this obstacle or to help him quickly through it, He whispered to my heart the blessing of the thorn. Now, there is nothing good about the struggle he is facing each day, but the blessing is found in the fact that this struggle has forced us to slow down and give him a little extra attention. And, I am so thankful for that.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Holy



I have always had an obsession with home. There is just something about it ~ something amazing and wonderful and simple and pure. It is where love knows no bounds, where children grow, where grace is shown, and Jesus is made known for the first time. It is a sacred place where disorder and chaos collide with peace and tranquility in beautiful harmony. I read this quote yesterday, and Ann Voskamp says it so much better than I ever could. . .

"In the day's last light. . .


when the shafts fall heavy on the dust and the piles. . .


I remember that home is HOLY ground and. . .


PEACE is a Person and He lives in this place. . .


teaching us the ways of GRACE. "

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Could Someone PLEASE freeze time!!!!!!!

Flower Dissection

A special thanks to Mrs. Lee at our church who so sweetly donated flowers for the boys to cut up and literally destroy! I love hands on learning! We all get to have a little fun.



The end was result was too very proud little men!

Happy Days!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Mornings

I'm not sure why I've never written about this before because it is one of my favorite parts of the week.

Friday mornings.

The little two stay with a babysitter at home, the big two go to Excelsior for classes, and I, well, I sit at the Atlanta Bread Company and breathe in and out as slowly and peacefully as I would like to. As I type this I am sitting with a Spanish Omelette waiting to be eaten and a steaming cup of hot raspberry tea just to my left.

I love Friday mornings.

Usually I stare out the window, sip my tea, and work on lesson plans for the upcoming week. Sometimes I read, check email, make lists, or work on account balances for Excelsior lunches. No one interrupts me. For a few short hours, I can sit peacefully and do as I please ~ quiet things.

And, I simply love doing quiet things. They are my favorite things to do. And, I appreciate them now more than ever before in my little life.

Be still my soul!

Thank You, sweet God, for Friday mornings.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Remains of a Fun Week. . .

And, now it is back to work as usual! Actually, we had a very good and productive day today! We started at 8 sharp and finished at 3. It was a full, good day. But, I am missing the snow and all the fun that went along with it!!

Oh, well.

Today, I am so thankful! I am thankful for. . .

* The little one inside of me who is getting so much bigger as evidenced by the increasing intensity of the kicks I am feeling!

* For a home and a husband home with me, a home cooked meal cooking in the oven, clean clothes rolling and tumbling in the dryer, little boys scurrying about at my feet, and soft praise music playing for the sake of my sanity. :-)

* I am thankful for friends of all shapes and kinds that God has blessed me with over the years. I am thankful for old friends and new friends. Friends who understand my life, and friends who think I'm crazy ~ but love me anyway!

* I am thankful for a resolute and unwavering husband. He is my right hand, my anchor, my rock. I am so glad to have him home again!

* For my selfless Mama who I miss with all my heart ~ our late night talks, early morning chats over hot tea and coffee, the spiritual mentor she is to me ~ challenging me like crazy, and all the laughs at my silly boys!

* The changes God is making in me each day as I attempt to lay down my life and serve my family without complaining too much!

* My Lord Who is faithful and good to me despite my raging internal battles with pride and control!! I believe He will see me through!

Now off to work a bit before my sweet hubs comes home!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Like a Child. . .

Last night Erik and I took a little time to talk and catch up since we haven't seen much of each other these days!!! (He was in Israel for ten days then came home for a little over 12 hours and flew out to Phoenix with our oldest son early the next morning! Whew!) And, as I was telling him about our great snow, I made the comment that nothing turns grown men into little boys like a good snow! The men in our neighborhood literally turned into little boys when they woke up Monday morning to yards and streets full of snow. You should have seen their silly grins as they drove their four wheelers around the neighborhood! Grown men sledding down hills and being pulled behind four wheelers! Big kids is what they were!! Even Mr. Cole looked like a big kid walking Belle up and down the street. And, no doubt, he was the first to venture out of his driveway on that cold morning!

At one point a man drove a large four wheel drive truck down our street. When he got in front of my home, he rolled his window down. His extended cab truck was packed full of men with silly grins! He smiled hugely at me and announced, "Hey! We are going into town! Need anything??" So thoughtful and so cute!! These men couldn't contain their excitement! They were going on an adventure! They were going out into the great white wilderness of our small town!!! Made my heart sing! Cute!

But, you know what? They aren't the only ones who turn into kids when the snow begins to fall!! I do, too!! I've had so much fun today playing outside with all four of my boys. No doubt, I've had more fun than they have! I wanted to stay out most of the day, but they kept getting cold!! Silly boys! Must be that new extra warm coat my Daddy bought me!!! :-) Anyway, I'm not sure what came over me this afternoon! But, when my kids were adequately occupied inside, I snuck out the backdoor...

And, guess what I did?

The child in me came out, and as quickly and accurately as I could, I walked out "I Love Erik!!" in a virgin patch of snow in our front yard!! It is hard to read, but it is there! I remember doing this as a child, and it was great fun for me to get to do it today!! Wonder if he'll notice???


I'll be sure to point it out to him if he doesn't!!! :-) I love him ~ even more than I love snow!!! Ha! :-) And, I am so excited to have him home again!!!!!!

Snow Day!

I could so get used to waking up and sipping my coffee while looking out at this. . .


How jealous am I of those who live just a bit north of me!!! I lived as a child, for two years, in the great state of North Dakota. My mom says everyday of winter was a battle ~ shoveling the driveway, getting stuck in the snow on the way to drop us off at school, and slipping on ice. But, even she will say that her memories of living there are so happy despite the struggles. I'm not sure, but I think that is why I get giddy over snow like I do. I don't remember the difficulties of living in a frozen land. On the contrary, I have sooo many happy memories of playing in the snow ~ sledding, hiking through the snow covered woods out back, building snowmen and snow forts, having snowball fights with my big brother, eating icicles, and writing words in the snow by walking them out with my snow boots. I remember mama bundling me up and sending me out, then warming me by the fire when I was all played out ~ nose and toes sufficiently numb and red. And, I remember how good it felt to warm myself ~ the feeling slowly creeping back into my extremeties. I love snow, and as crazy as it sounds coming from a very cold natured person, I love cold weather. And, mostly it is not the cold that I love so much as it is the knowledge that in a matter of time I will walk through a door into a warm house and soak up the heat. Cozy, cozy, cozy!! And, I am all about the peace that comes from cozying up by a warm fire, wrapped in a blanket, drinking from a steaming cup! Pure bliss! Snow to me is peace and happy memories and beauty and fun and warmth all wrapped up in one! And, I long for my boys to have memories like mine of hard play in the cold temps followed by hot chocolate fireside!

That is why today has been such a gift! While we have been enjoying our amazing snowy weather, Joshua and Erik have been in the land of cacti and palm trees. They had a Father/Son weekend in sunny Phoenix, Arizona! They went to the BCS Championship game to cheer on my son's favorite team the Oregon Ducks! Unfortunately the Ducks lost, but Joshua still had a blast. They would call us and announce that they were swimming (outdoors) while we were shivering playing in the snow! What a contrast! I began praying on Monday that the snow would last so Joshua would get to build a snowman and make snow angels, etc. And, it did!! They got in late last night, and the ground was still completely snow covered!! :-) This morning the yard looked like this. . .



So, instead of doing school today, we've had a snow day! The only school we've done is what we had to do to get ready for Excelsior tomorrow ~ which was only a few hours worth of work. The rest of the day I've let Joshua get his fill of playing in the powdery, glittery, snow! The boys have played football, battle, explorers, they have knocked down icicles with plastic golf clubs, and they have eaten snow cream (that we made on Monday and froze for Joshua). And, best of all, when they came in complaining of cold wet feet, they played Playmobil by the fire to get warm. All of this makes my heart so happy! I'm so thankful for this warm, cozy, slow paced snow day!!

A few pics from our day. . .

Football. . .

Collecting sticks for our new snowman's arms. . .

Playing in the snow covered woods. . .

Lije loves licking icicles. . .


And, warming by the fire. . .

A good day in my book! Now, tonight we are going to eat dinner and watch a replay of the Tostitos Bowl!!! Maybe the Ducks will win this time! ;-)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Biggest Snow Ever ~ For the Boys, Anyway










 Making snow cream
 Michael took James on a sled pulled by Mark Cartright on a 4 wheeler...


 He loved it!
 Heavy branches...

 I love JCT and Eriky in this picture...

 I haven't had this much fun in a while!!!







 Mark came and picked James up and took him sledding on the big hill behind our house...

 Sterlings land...



Winter Wonderland

Well, the winter storm came and left us with more snow than anyone expected. Our area received between 9 and 11 inches of pure fun. We have played and played and played. The boys were sooooo tired last night. They played hard yesterday! Just walking in that much snow will make you tired!!!

Joshua and Erik were on a Father/Son trip, so they missed the big snow. :-( But, they've made memories and had a blast doing what they were doing!! But, while they were away, I was so impressed with sweet JCT!! He took off without looking back when the neighbors came by on their four wheeler. He has come and gone with them off and on for the past two days. He hears that four wheeler and runs out the front door to play. Usually, he would ask what Joshua wants to do, and then he would do whatever Joshua decided to do. But, without Joshua he has been fine ~ confident and brave ~ going off with the neighbors and trying new things! He decided that he wants a 4 wheeler and a sled for his birthday! Ha! If only we got this much snow every winter!!!!! Oh, to live further north!!! ;-)

My yard is still covered in white, and that is heaven to me! Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!!! Mama took lots of pictures for me. I am never in pictures because I usually always take them, so it is funny (and nice :-) to have pictures of me with the kids! Today the roof is dripping, and that makes me so sad. I am hoping and praying for at least one more snow before the end of winter!! But, in case we don't get one, we made the absolute most of this snow ~ snow cream, snow angels, snowmen, snowball fights, sledding, and lots of cups of hot drinks sitting by windows displaying our very own winter wonderland. . .


Sunday, January 09, 2011

Winter Storm

This is a wonderful Sunday afternoon. We are bracing for my favorite kind of storm, a winter storm. My favorite storm, when I have nowhere to go, that is. And, for the next few days I have nothing scheduled outside my home. My pantry and refrigerator are stocked sufficiently, and I am content to enjoy some quiet downtime within the walls of my favorite place on earth.

I have checked weather.com one thousand times getting updates and checking radars. Outside the world is cold and dreary and peaceful, and inside the fire is going, some boys are sleeping and some are playing board games. The house is quiet. It seems all the world is quiet ~ activities are being cancelled right and left. Families are staying home, enjoying a quiet winter day. What a blessing!

My heart is so thankful. Thankful for my weary traveler of a husband home safe and sound on U.S. soil once again. Thankful for my sweet mom who came to keep me company and help with the boys while he was away. Thankful for my boys who make me smile like no other human beings on the planet. Thankful most of all to be journeying through life with a Guide like no other. My God weaves His perfect ways throughout my life even amidst my silliness. Thankful to be able to look back and see His sovereign hands at work in my little insignificant world. Thankful for winter storms and snowflakes and happy mittened hands!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

My Lijah's Laugh. . .


I love him so, my little sunshiney happy boy!!!

Not So Sweet

It was the not so sweet Sugar Bowl at our house!! But, we had fun even if our Hogs didn't win!! I let the boys stay up until half-time with the promise that they could watch the second half before we started school the next day. They liked this plan! At half-time it appeared that it would not be much of a game, but, boy, did we have a surprise for the boys in the morning!! If only the Hogs could have won!! All the boys had fun cheering for the Razorbacks ~ even cute little Eriky. . .


At one point after several replays of a missed catch by the Razorbacks, JCT yelled at the TV, "Would you please quit showing that!!!!" And, my mom and I got tickled because we felt the same way!!! I love that my boys are getting to ages where they enjoy watching sports on TV. It makes for a lot of fun family nights!! And, with four + boys under our roof, I feel sure watching sporting events and celebrating them will become a tradition in our home!!!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

My photo
Hi! I live in a sweet country home overflowing with love, laughter, and little ones. I have been blessed to journey these days beside a man that I love, respect, and admire. He is my soul-mate and best friend. Together we are seeking to raise our seven children to be lovers of God, to be wise and discerning, and to be all that our sweet God created them to be. I am in the goldfish and cheerio stage of life, but I am keenly aware that these days are slipping right through my hands. This blog is my attempt to keep our memories safe for years to come.

 

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