Monday, October 31, 2011

Could it be?

Another Monday.  I begin behind all over again.  House cluttered.  Lengthy reading assignments to conquer. Trash overflowing.  Dishwasher in need of emptying.  Dirty dishes waiting in the sink.  Laundry needing to be washed.  And, I woke up late, and it is time to start school, so I will begin behind again. I'm overwhelmed, but trying not to let the negative thoughts consume me.

We sit down at the table, journals ready, Bible at my side, and we bow our heads.  I sigh deep and long before beginning our school day prayer.  And, as the waves of doubt overwhelm me, I call out and beckon my God come near.  I pray that He will be with us, on our minds, in our conversation, in all we do and all we are.  I pray that He will fill our minds, all that we learn, that He will be in and among us as we walk through our day.  I beg Him invitation to please come and fill us, fill our home, fill our hearts.  Tread our concrete floors, our God. Even in the mess that surrounds me, the mess that we are, come, Lord, come.  The boys send up prayers for family and friends, and we dive into our day.

And, somewhere between math and grammar, spelling and writing, I have this funny little thought.  If I have invited my God here.  If I have asked His Spirit to fill this place, to fill my home, then could it be that this place, this home where we live, where we learn, where we grow, could it be that this place is holy?

Could it be that this is holy ground?

Ground where children learn to help each other, learn to love each other, learn to count and sing their ABC's.  This place where hungry children are fed, where we pray and sing, this place where hour after hour we learn through squabbles and struggles how to give selflessly and love unconditionally.  Where Bible stories are heard for the first time and scripture is memorized. This place where sports are played, and cookies are baked.  Where books are read, tears are shed, and spankings are given.  Where babies are nursed and life-long friendships are formed.  Where direct objects and predicate nominatives are differentiated and round pregnant bellies are treasured and prayed over. Where diapers are changed, old dogs are loved, and little eyelids fall gently in the early afternoon.  Where Daddy kisses Mommy often and sweetly while little children watch, where boo boos are cared for, and children are rocked to sleep.  Where foreheads are kissed, hands are held, and juice cups are filled.  Where little ones are welcomed into their parents warm bed in the middle of the dark of night and where the same old casserole is made and served with love for the millionth time. This place where children are uniquely and preciously loved with a fierce, unrelenting love.  And, souls like gardens are tended and pruned. Where Christ is uplifted and given precedence.  Could it be that this place is holy?

Maybe I should take off my shoes?

Could these crumb covered floors be holy ground?



Could the clutter be evidence of love...


of grace...


And, maybe my mess...



 is beautiful...



And, just because it isn't a blazing bush where God speaks so loud that I can literally hear His voice...



Maybe, just maybe, His presence is here just the same...


and, our Christian homes are holy ground?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hard Love, Sweet Love

Where to begin?  I could write volumes about how awesome my sweet God is!!  How intimate, how close, how beautiful He is.  How perfect are His ways!  I adore You, sweet, merciful Father!  This week was one of those weeks where my God came near to me.  He stooped to bend low to whisper sweetness into my ears with the gentleness and tenderness that I have come to recognize and cherish above all else.

It began on my 36th birthday, Tuesday, October 25th.  I woke ready for a good day.  I wore make up, eye shadow ~ even!!  I never wear eye shadow unless I am going on a really hot date with my dollbaby!  I put on a new sweater in one of my favorite colors ~ oatmeal!  (I know I am seriously boring.  My bridesmaids wore this color.  I love it!)  I poured a cup of coffee, got my ducks in a row, and began a slow ease into our school day.  I adore my mornings with my boys.  We have a calm, nice morning of school.  I sip coffee and teach, and it makes me happy.  So, we began, coffee in hand.

Then, I heard it....

The sound of loud trucks and machinery.  Our friend was back with more equipment to cut down more trees to make more room for my beloved husband's gym.  Yes, my love wants nothing more than to build a gym for our boys.  Yes, a large metal building with two goals at opposite ends of the building.  It will be primative at best, but he assures me that they will use it and love it.  My husband grew up on the campus of a seminary.  His favorite part of growing up on campus was having a gym right down the street that he could use day or night.  And, he wants to give this to his boys.  It is a dream he has had for several years now.  We've saved up, and he is ready to make it happen.  But, unfortunately, it requires the sacrifice of some of my favorite things ~ beautiful trees.  Ohhh.... the pain.

So, on the anniversary of the day of my birth, our friend, Greg, destroyed my property at my husband's request.  I cried.  All. Day. Long.  I began crying around 10:00, and I couldn't stop.  Friends called to tell me happy birthday, and I let voicemail pick up the calls.  I didn't want to talk to anyone.  Deana B wanted to bring me a happy.  I text her and asked her to please save it for another day.  Joshua begged me, "Don't look outside again, Mommy.  I don't like to see you cry."  Elijah said, "You can't cry! It's your birthday!" To which JCT replied quickly, "It is her birthday!  She can do whatever she wants! If she wants to cry, she can cry!"  He's never heard that song, so that statement actually made me smile!

Beautiful fall trees with lives cut short!  Mercy, I was so upset.  And, in their place dirt lay open bare.  Desolate.  Lonely. Empty.  Ugly.  These words ran around and around in my head all day.  I was hurt.  I was angry.  I was bitter. But, mostly, I was sad.

Erik and I had a fundraising dinner to attend that evening.  He got an earful all the way there and all the way home, and unfortunately for him, the dinner was in a town 20 minutes away.  He, as per his usual, took it like a man.  He was quiet.  He listened.  I think at one point he teared up a little.  He loves me so much more than I deserve, and he hates to see me upset.  And, for me to be this upset about anything is rare.  At one point I looked at him with eyes brimming full and asked him to please ask Greg to put them all back!!!  Neither of us slept much at all that night.  Hard.

I woke up the next morning just as sick at my stomach about the whole thing as I was the day before.  I looked out my kitchen window to the right and saw the wide open dirt filled space where woods used to be and literally held myself back from losing my breakfast right then and there.  My eyes instantly filled with tears again, and Joshua begged me, "Mama, please don't start crying again.  Please!  I hate to see you cry."  But, I couldn't help it.  Joshua's favorite climbing tree ~ gone.  The boys favorite woods to play indians and explorers in ~ gone.  My heart was broken.  So, I did what any girl in this situation would do...

I called my mom.

I complained.  I cried.  I poured out my heart over the phone.

And, she did what she always does.  She listened.  And, then after I had finished my tirade, she gave me tough, hard love.  The first thing she said to me was something like this...

"I understand why you are upset.  I understand, and I would feel the same way.  Give yourself a little bit of time to mourn, but then do not set up shop there.  Satan would like nothing more than to allow this to cause a rift between you and Erik.  Do. not. let. it.  It is not that important.  I know Erik is hurting right now because you are so upset.  You need to let this go.  Move on.  God will be glorified through even this."

So, I got off the phone with her and joined my boys in the school room.  I made the choice.  I was moving forward, looking heavenward, eyes off myself.  A little bit later I sent Erik a text that said simply this... "I love you more than trees."

I finally forced myself to walk outside and look at the irreparable damage.  I walked Rain to the mailbox and got the mail, something I had been afraid to do because it required my looking at the wide open empty space where our woods used to be.

And, guess what was in the mailbox?  A present from my sweet friend, Sara.  I opened it as I walked back toward our house.  And, this is what was in the package...

Alli Roger's new CD ~ Why We Sing

Tears immediately filled my eyes because I knew God had sent this to me through Sara's hands.  He knew when I needed it most.  He sent it on the very day!  I glanced at the clear blue sky and praised Him!!  I couldn't get inside the house to play it fast enough!!  I held Jack, rocking him, and listened to every song one time, soaking in the words, soaking in His ever close loving presence.  He poured His love over me right there in the kitchen dancing with Jack, dancing for Him alone, while boys played wildly behind me.  I worshipped right there in the midst of the chaos.  No one else was in the room ~ or so it seemed, anyway.

And, here I sit one day later my cup still overflowing.  His goodness, His faithfulness overwhelms me!  As I type my sons are outside on the trampoline watching the dump trucks go in and out of our yard.  I hear the slamming closed of the back of the truck after a load of dirt has been emptied.  I hear the beep beeping of the trucks backing up and backing out.  But, there is peace, overwhelming, amazing peace.  I can look out at the dirt and not feel sick.  It is what it is.  My prayer is only that He would be somehow glorified through all of this.

It was a simple reminder for me that His ways are best.  Even when I can justify my reasons, my anger, my hurt.  Laying it down as an offering, as a sacrifice, it is the way to peace.  And, how faithful He is to meet us there, to come near, to stoop to our level, to love us, to walk through our issues with us no matter how big or how small they are.  Sweet Emmanuel, thank You for walking this life journey with me.  There is no greater joy on this silly spinning planet than to relate to You, O great Creator and Lord!

Monday, October 24, 2011

An Afternoon at the Pumpkin Patch!


A trip to our favorite pumpkin patch...


We had to drive about 40 minutes to get there.  And, it wasn't until I put the van in park in that big open grass field that I realized my billfold was at home.  No money.  None.  Thankfully, I was meeting sweet friends who offered to pay for our family!  (We are not a cheap date!)  But, I am even more thankful that when the owners of this sweet establishment heard of my plight, they told me not to worry about a thing!  They offered to let me mail them a check! :-)  Meagan vouched for my character, and later when I went home, I wrote the check and mailed it the very next day!  Happy ending! :-)



First we drove these little thingys around...


This is sweet Summer and her youngest son...


She is so polar opposite of me!  We went to a women's conference together this past weekend, and she leaned over to me during one of the speakers and whispered, "My husband just text me.  He bought me bullets!  That's love, Baby!!"  She cracks me up!  After the first session of praise and worship, I realized we needed to have a talk.  She bounced and danced a bit ~ so happy!  So, I whispered, "I have to tell you, Summer, I have no rhythm!"  She laughed, tossed her long black hair over her shoulder and said, "You're white, ehh??"  I said, "Yes!"  She smiled and said, "Well, you need to know that I was raised charismatic before I married my good Southern Baptist husband!"  And, I felt like at that point we had an understanding. It was a fun day!  Sweet Summer was raised all over the world from Guatemala to Taiwan by missionary parents.

I digress...

Onto the trailer we went...


Sweet kiddos...

Meagan and Mobley...


First stop...  

Animals!  Eriky loved this!!!



Lije milking the pretend cow...


The hay maze...

Elijah and Summer's little boy Jack!  They are in class together on Fridays.  Jack cracks me up!  One day after I explained step by step how we were going to make a certain craft, Jack looked up at me and said, "Okay, girl!!  I'm on it!!!" :-)


The first pumpkin Eriky picked up was rotten.  He dropped it, and it smashed into a squishy mess on the ground!  Ooops!


Joshua and his pick...


Sweet Lije...


We had a really good time!  Believe it or not, it was very relaxing and fun!! 

Me and my boys...


Monday, October 17, 2011

Slow and See...

I woke up behind.  I didn't do the things that I needed to this weekend in order to help begin my week on the right foot.  Laundry cluttering my laundry room folded, but not yet put away.  They've been sitting in baskets waiting since last Thursday.  Piles of laundry waiting to be washed in baskets beside them.  Counters cluttered, bar stools covered in church clothes and shoes ~ the remains of a busy weekend.

But, still we begin.  We pray. We dive into our work, and I am one hundred percent teacher.  There will be no catching up until after 3, and even then it may not happen.  Oh, how I hate to start weeks this way!!

Scripture recitations to memorize, history readings to work through, letters to write, chapters of literature to read aloud, a new Latin declension to introduce, math lessons to do, and direct objects to diagram... I try to stay one step ahead of them, but I feel the clouds of doubt hovering, the dark gloom of the overwhelming.  How will we get all this done?  Families with only 2 kids ~ how much easier it must be to accomplish all this!!  Or, families with all older children, I could do that!  But, this, Lord, this, it is too much!  And, Jack needs to be fed, and Elijah needs help with cutting and glueing shapes in their proper places...  And, I am pulled this way and that, my heart overwhelmed and torn...

And, then He comes, and I remember.  And, He whispers...  "I'm here.  Just do your best.  You were never meant to do this by yourself.  Tend my lambs, and I will take care of the rest.  Tend their souls first, and then their hearts, and then their minds.  Do what you can do and leave the rest to Me.  Let Me fill your gaps.  Rest and Trust."


Rest and Trust.

And, the clouds of doubt begin to clear a bit...

And, we dive into Thutmose the III and Jack begins to fuss, and I read and rock and read and nurse, and I remember and cling to His whispers.

And, we dive into our novel, and a voice calls from the bathroom... and I put down book and go...

And, I listen to little one sound out little words while bouncing baby boy on my knee and an older brother beckons from the kitchen table needing help with math...

And, I realize again that I can't do it all, and I feel my muscles relax a bit, begin to rest in Him, to trust...

And, I rescue baby brother from older brother balancing himself on side of pack and play tipping it a bit...

And, Fernando Ortega sings "Grace and peace" over my home, fall candle fills the kitchen with sweet warmth...

And, biggest boy surprises me with a bear hug from behind, and tells me, "I really love you, Mom..."

And, dog barks loudly startling me, and violin sings jingle bells from the laundry room hitting a wrong note here and there and making my heart smile...

And, I nurse sweet baby watching his toes wiggle happy on my leg and his fingers reach for a stray hair of mine, and my heart sings joy...

And, I breathe deep of this warm sunny afternoon, dog on leash, and air full of little boy giggles...

And,  we go over grammar while I prepare food, and it isn't ideal, it isn't perfect, but it works...

And, I straighten school room, tidying papers, and cupping a sweet little superhero face in my hands and kissing his forehead slow.  Can I freeze this moment in time...

And, I warm frozen milk, make baby cereal, and giggle as he chews his cereal as if I have given him a spoonful of steak...


And, the orange ball of light begins to tuck itself into the trees behind Mr. Cole's house, and the big boy dons shoulder pads...


And, the laundry sits unattended still at day's end, and the school checklist has boxes left unchecked, but I have tended little lambs to the best of my ability.

And, I breathe a deep long breath, a thankful prayer to my faithful God.

Oh, it is hard and long and trying, but, oh, there is so much good when I slow and see...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Seasons

Seasons of life...

the ebbs and flows... the never knowing... the following... trusting... putting your head down and just walking on through seasons, ever changing, never the staying the same.

Life is never quite what we expect.  Neither the good nor the bad are predictable.  My belly is a bit swollen and round, and after 15 weeks I still look over at my Erik and say, "Can you believe we are pregnant?"  Like, where did this come from?  It wasn't scribbled in on my to do list for this year.  It wasn't what I expected, but it is good.  I'm thankful that God writes our stories instead of us.  I might have stopped at four, and can I imagine life without my Jack?  I wouldn't want to. And, my heart is so ready for this next little one.  I am so happy to be with child once again! :-)

A few weeks ago we dedicated our baby Jack ~ all seven of us standing before the congregation.  And, I giggled to Erik later that it was a first for us ~ dedicating the child we held in our arms while another child was growing deep inside.  

I'm not getting much sleep these days. Jack is in a routine of waking 3 times at night.  He quickly returns to sleep, but still...  And, pregnancy helps to make me weary some days.  I took the boys to the pumpkin patch with some friends earlier this week.  It was a fun and relatively easy outing.  My boys are good to me, and I am so thankful.  If they were not, I fear we'd have to stay home because I couldn't handle it all by myself.  But, they are helpers.  They carry things for me, hold the baby, and watch their younger brothers.  I'm thankful.  But, at the day's end I was tired, so, so tired.  And, I fell into bed knowing that it wouldn't be long before my precious fuzzy headed friend would need me.  But, as I lay there, I pondered deeply my day ~ and not just this day ~ all of these days.

These are some of the hardest days of my life.  And, by hard I mean physically hard ~ mostly.  But, also, I mean hard because I am laying aside the things that I selfishly desire for the ones I love most.  Elisabeth Elliot once said that her parents taught her this in regard to her brothers and sisters, "My life for yours."  Christ lived out daily.  My life for yours.  For this season, it is for me, my life for theirs.  And, it feels good.  It feels right.  I'm tired.  I'm worn out daily.  The old ladies at my church watch me walk my children into Wednesday night activities, and they smile and say, "Bless your heart."  And, oh, it is blessed!!  God has used this time to strip me and teach me to live for someone besides myself, and oh, how I needed that!  I need it still!  I am thankful for the hard. I am thankful that I, who used to struggle with the inability to fall asleep, rarely wrestles with thoughts deep in the dark of night.  I'm worn too ragged to wrestle.  I've simply given up, given in, and often feel that I am just falling into His arms.  It's never been my life to plan and choose, anyway, right?

Falling into bed exhausted, completely spent, means I did something today.  I gave of myself today, and that feels good.  I spend a lot of time and energy complaining that my life is hard.  Sometimes I tell Erik that, "No one understands.  No one has any idea..."  But, even as I complain, I wouldn't have it any other way, not for a second. Not for one single second.

The winds of change are blowing.  I can feel them, their gentle breeze cool and soft in my face.  We lost some trees this week, and this was quite hard for me...


However, it has not been hard for my husband who is quite excited about the changes coming.  I'm a little more reserved, holding my breath, waiting...  There is a hole in our woods now. :-(  But, it was a carefully constructed, planned out hole.

The day our friend came with the bulldozer Eriky asked me to read The Giving Tree to him at nap time.  I had to laugh at his choice!  Here I was mourning the trees our friend was taking down, and he wants me to read The Giving Tree!  Oh, the irony!  I got about halfway through the book when sweet Eriky stopped, hugged his silky, looked up at me with big brown eyes, thumb in his mouth, and said, "I just love that tree!"  Oh, heart smile!!! :-)  I just love him!

But, to come full circle, I pray that I can be like that sweet tree always giving, always happy.  I make Eriky finish the sentence each time the book reads, "And, the tree was..." pause, wait for little man, "Happy!"

"Who was happy?" I ask him.  "The tree," he answers.  "Was the boy happy?" I probe.  "No," he says after thinking a minute.  I agree, "No, the boy wasn't happy.  He was always searching, always wanting more.  So, who was happy ~ the one who gave or the one who took?"  He looks at me, big brown eyes full of thought, "The tree who gave."

Let it be with me, Lord.  Oh, that I would be willing daily to give my apples, my branches, even my trunk.  Let me not be fooled by the lies of this world telling me that happiness comes from having more and more, from being served.  True joy is found in laying down my life for You, for others.  Give me eyes to see Your truth and courage and strength to act on it.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Questions

First, I want to answer two questions left in my comments from a previous post. The first question was about what astronomy curriculum we are using.  The boys do astronomy through our co-op, and my friend, Nichole, uses a combination of two astronomy curriculums.  She uses Apologia Exploring Creation with Astronomy and Jay Ryan's Signs and Seasons.  I hope that helps!

The second question was, what did I say to Joshua when he made the comment that all through time people have been against the Jews?  I simply complimented him on his perceptiveness.  When I told Erik about it later, he said, "Did you tell him it was because the Jews are God's chosen people?" No, but if I had it to do over, that is what I would say!!

In other news...  Life has been it's usual craziness here.  My boys keep me so busy, but so happy. :-)  I was doing Grammar with Joshua when Eriky came into the schoolroom to show us how he was storing his fruit roll ups for later...


In case I haven't mentioned it, we are all about ancient Egypt here.  All about it!  The boys love it!  They eat up their history lessons about various Pharoahs.  For some reason this is so interesting to them.  Joshua read The Golden Goblet in literature, and we loved it!!!  I was having trouble not reading ahead!!  He has to do a project for literature each semester, and he chose to make a golden goblet for his project this semester...


The shorts on his head?  Yes, he and his brothers do this when they play Egyptians in the backyard.  I had to call him away from their reenactment of the Hyksos invasion to spray paint his goblet!  The goblet has Thutmose's name engraved in hieroglyphics.  Joshua was so proud!  He (with the help of the master sculptor, his Daddy) sculpted the goblet out of Crayola air dry clay.  It worked perfectly!



Another crazy Egyptian son of mine...

Here they are playing a game they made up called "Mummified" where they wrap each other in a white blanket.



It is never boring around here!  Not even for one little second!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Fickle

I'm fickle.

I cannot deny it.  I've always been fickle.

It all depends on the weather.  I'm not liking someone so much, then they do something halfway nice ~ instant forgiveness and friends again!  Horrible, rotten, no good, very bad day, then I get a happy from Amazon in the mail, and it is the best day ever!!!!!!

But, you know what?

There is one thing I've never been fickle about, one decision I made that I never questioned.

It all began at a fifth quarter when I met a young man in an Alabama cap.  He carried a little tiny Bible that he called his pocketknife.  And, after spending very little time together, I took a walk with God to discuss this young southern gentleman who was taking up residence in my thoughts.

I remember it like it was yesterday, beautiful sunny spring day, and I was walking alone to class with a little bounce in my step.  I was smitten.  So, I smiled up to the clear blue sky, and said...

"Lord, I really like Erik....

but I like You more!"

And, then my heart giggled for a second, but quickly grew quiet before my first love Who up until this time had not had any competition for my heart.  Oh, but my heart was wholly His and still is!  The beauty of the three strands!  I quieted my joy, and continued my conversation with this... "Lord, today I want to lay all 6 foot 7 inches of Erik on the altar.  He is yours, as am I.  I want what you want, not what I want, nothing more or less. I will not arouse or awaken love until You so desire it."  The last part is a verse from Song of Solomon that Erik and I claimed throughout our dating relationship.

We were always friends.  We really weren't boyfriend/girlfriend until we were engaged.  I never really knew what was coming next.  God just asked me to trust Him, to trust Erik, to wait, to be patient, to not press Erik for answers, but simply to trust.  Those were 2 good, but difficult years. I could write a book about the lessons Jesus taught me as I walked through those days of uncertainty clinging to Him, not Erik, loving Him first, then Erik. Trusting. Erik never wanted us to become confused in our relationship by making it too romantic, and he was committed to presenting his bride pure.  So, we were friends ~ friends who kissed on occasion! :-)

Few things in my life have I been more sure of than this.  I decided that spring day that I would wait.  And, wait, I did.  I never looked back.  I was never fickle when it came to my Erik.  My soul loved his soul, and his soul was worth waiting a thousand years for.  There would be no other.  How could I date another after knowing him.  I had found the one that my soul loved, and I never looked back, never questioned, never wanted any more or less.  I saw Jesus in him, and I was drawn to Him in him.

On the one year anniversary of our marriage, after living one complete year beside him, after being loved and served by him, cared for and protected by him, nurtured and respected by him, I sat across a dimly lit table, stared deep into his soul, and said these words that I had thought of mid year and rehearsed over and over again waiting for God to give me the right moment to say them....

"I have learned more about Christ's love from living one year with you then I have in all the years before."

And, isn't that the Biblical picture of marriage.  Christ laying down His life for the church.  The husband the leader, the Earthly picture of Christ.

He had washed my feet, literally, time and again, day in and day out.  Like a little flower, I had blossomed in the rich soil of his love.

Life is hard.  It can be cold, bitter winds will blow.  Relationships can be confusing.

But, God made love as an earthly refuge from these things, and Erik has always been that for me. Our love has always been simple and sweet.  Just easy.

I never have to wonder if he means what he says.

I know.

I never have to wonder if he will rescue me when I am in need.

He will be there.

Easy like Sunday morning.  No trying to figure out how to read between the lines and what did that mean?  Just simple, easy. Just love.  We aren't overly affectionate in public.  I don't need moonlit dances or romantic dinners and vacations.  I don't have a lot of expectations but neither does he.

Easy.

A simple kiss goodbye.  A knowing glance from across a crowded room.  A smile.  A shoulder squeeze during a church service. Long familiar fingers reaching for my hand to send secret messages to me through special handholdings that mean sacred things.

I'm not sure why I'm writing all this.  I'm just thankful, and it hit me the other day that I wanted to tell my sweet love, how thankful I am.  Thankful for every kiss, every hand squeeze in the middle of the night, every "I love you," every time I wake up and find the dishwasher unloaded or the laundry folded, every time you start my car and back it out for me when I'm running late on Friday mornings, every sweet random text you send for no reason except to say how you love me, how thankful you are for us, every little everything you do.  I'll never deserve you, but I'll always love you.

You may kid me about my fickleness, but you must know that I have never, never ever, been fickle about you.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Crazy!

Life has been a little crazy lately, and I have been a little tired.  I used to be a fairly high energy girl, and it has been said (but, of course, not by my husband ;-) that I am in most instances an annoyingly happy morning person.  But, I'll be honest, I'm just not feeling it these days.  Jack thinks waking up twice during  the night is great fun, but, unfortunately, it leaves me blurry eyed and stumbling around most of the morning.  I'm exaggerating, but you get the idea!

But,  life does not stop for tired mamas!  So, we've been living a lot of life here in our little corner of the world, and that has been a big blessing ~ even if I do yawn every so often...

This post is mainly for people like my mom who enjoy glimpses into our everyday, stories from the chaos that doesn't always allot for much talk time.  But, this post, just uploading the pictures, has been therapeutic for me.  I always take pictures, a few everyday, but I rarely reflect on them.  These pictures are from our life over the past two weeks or so.   It has been nice to see all the fun we've had even though it all is but a blur to me!  I'm so thankful!  These are in random order with no particular reason for being in this collection other than the fact that they were taken recently!!

James took this picture of me drilling Joshua for his Friday tests.  I thought it was a great picture of my everyday life right now!! :-)


I am so thankful.  My heart is full!  Life feels as if it is moving at breakneck speed these days, but, still, even still, life is good.  Life is full and rich and good.  Every night I have the privilege of tucking in five precious clean little boys.  And, I can kiss their foreheads, and they are beautiful and well and good.  We have so much to be thankful for, and I am not, not even for a second, willing to take it for granted!  God is good, and life is so sweet.  They go to sleep smelling like this...



It is the scent of my sweet babies.  Joshua and James no longer use this. :-(  But, they still smell fresh and clean and are safely cuddled under warm covers on nights that lately have been quite cool!

God's word is my strength on weak days.  It is life and breath and wisdom.  I love the pages, the words,  God's heart lay open for us to soak in and refresh our weary souls.



This has been a big part of our life the last few weeks...


Joshua is so happy.  He is having so much fun.  I'll be honest, it is not my favorite thing, but I am supporting him!  He is loving every minute of it!

Jack is growing and changing! He has mellowed out into such a sweet little guy!  And, his big brothers still think he is the greatest gift ever given to them!!  


I love the bonds that bind sweet little boy hearts together.  They play outside every afternoon, and it is always all together.  They rarely split up 2 and 2.  They pretty much play together all 4 of them.  And, it makes this mama's heart smile to look out the window and see them creating....

 exploring...

imaging...


completely immersed in play...


together here on this little 7 acre piece of land Erik and I chose to buy a little over 10 years ago.


We thought it would be the perfect place to raise our little ones even though we had no children at the time.  Who knew we would fill this little home to overflowing!!  That we would renovate not once but now most likely twice.  People ask why we don't just buy a bigger house?


We couldn't even think of it.  This is home.  It is such a part of us. My heart will break in two when I have to leave this place one day.  It is good to be home, and it is even better to be home in autumn!!


The fall weather has been so beautiful that we have taken our work outside a good bit.  The sunshine refreshes me.  It just feels good...


This day was a bit chilly, but I had the itch, so I took the books outside.



James Christofer did his work wrapped in a blanket. :-)  I had my hot tea to keep me warm from the inside out!


Teaching Elijah this year has been such a joy!  He loves to do his preschool work especially when it requires scissors and glue!  He is such a doll baby, and I love introducing him to so many new fun things.


This is where Jack plays a lot.  He is very happy here right now, and it helps me so much to have him safe and contained!


But, often I walk by checking on him and find him like this...


Look at those little legs!  Life is good!!  I get to squeeze those cute little legs all day long!!

Elijah loves to help and teach Eriky how to do new things!  The other day he told me that Eriky was his  "bestest buddy"!!!  Ohhh, happy for mama's heart to hear!  :-)


I love my Eriky...


I'm not sure, but I think he may be our family clown!!  He is a happy little dude!  Here he is pretending to read on the potty...


Joshua has had a blast learning Astronomy this year.  We do lots of outdoor observations and record them in his field guide.  He prefers literature and history to math and science, but Astronomy really challenges that!  This, so far, has been a really fun learning year for him.


He has been studying ancient Egypt lately, and he is totally into it.  He wants to be an archaeologist... today, anyway.  And, for "movie night with mom" as the boys call it (When Erik is at away football games on Friday nights, we watch movies), we watched the Prince of Egypt.  And, in the middle of the movie, Joshua got very serious and quiet.  He looked at me with thinking eyes and a heart putting pieces of a little puzzle together, and he asked, "Mommy, why does everybody not like the Jews.  I mean, Mom, all through history, Pharaohs in Egypt all the way to what we studied last year about Hitler.  Why is everyone against the Jews?"  You are growing in wisdom and stature, sweet one, and I am so proud of you!


And, this kid right here, he kills me.  He totally cracks me up, but he isn't clownish silly like Eriky.  No, he is as witty as they come!  I love him!!!!!!


He can snap me out of bad moods in a way that no one else except his father can do.  I can be so serious and so angry, and they can say one little thing....  And, no matter how hard I try... I have to laugh ~ even when everything in me tries to fight it ~ I just have to laugh.  The other day I was sitting in my little peace chair trying to nurse Jackaroo.  All five children like to be wherever I am, and I am thankful for this.  I love that they like to be with me, but when I nurse Jack it is hard.  Every time they talk or jump or squeal or anything Jack comes off and looks around.  So, I had asked them nicely to leave several times, and they weren't moving fast enough.  So, I finally got a little angry and said in a slightly :-) raised voice  "Please leave.  I'm overstimulated!!!  There are too many people too close to me!!!  Please go now!!!!!" Instead of just leaving, James Christofer Truett came up to me and put both his hands on the arm of my chair.  He got eye level with me, completely serious.  And, in a tone of voice that was meant to calm me down and let me know it was going to be okay, he said....

"Okay, I'm just going to go get in the dishwasher."

He is a nut!  But, he ruined my bad mood with that one comment.  I laughed so hard that I cried.  Then, I couldn't even get the words out to tell Erik the story when he got home because I was laughing too hard.  You just have to know James.  He's a hoot!  Goodness, I love being his mom!


And, gotta love sweet Lije, too.  Everybody loves Lije.  He's sweet and sensitive and good to the core!
His heart is big, big, big!

Sometimes in the morning my heart just swells.  Breakfast with Dad is a sweet time.  I love to watch the boys eat their breakfast slow and enjoy being together.  They have a good time.


I'm telling you, Eriky is the class clown!


Afternoons are for reading around here ~ reading to mom, reading to yourself, reading to your brothers, and mom reading aloud to all of them.  I love the peace of reading during nap time.


See this little guy.  He is a charmer like JCT used to be.  He cried when I left him in the nursery at Excelsior this past Friday.  He cried pretty hard but only for a couple minutes.  Then, Meagan came in and asked if she could take him to Starbucks.  I said yes.  A little while later I looked out the window and saw Meagan and Eriky walking from her car back to the school. Meagan was carrying a latte and Eriky a Horizon Chocolate Milk, and he was smiling and talking and having the time of his life!  He is something!  Mr. Brown eyes...


And, I have to add this picture of a sweet boy in my preschool class.  He had a Walmart bag for show and tell, but inside the Walmart bag was something wrapped in a towel.  Who would have guessed that he had a real alligator head in there!!!


Seriously.  His "PaPa" wrestles alligators and apparently he is quite good at it.   He surprised his teacher with this one!

Life is good!
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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