Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Eatin' soap

"Mama, if Jesus didn't die on the cross for my sins, I'd be eating soap!"

~Jaybird, age 9

:: We have never used soap-eating as a form of discipline, so who knows where that came from. But I thought the picture went well with the quote. (Pictured above: The boys after playing in the backyard and covering their skin in mud. No reason, just cause it's mud and they love dirt.) He makes a good point; his insides are much, much cleaner than his outsides, thanks to Jesus!

“Pleasure is spread through the earth in stray gifts to be claimed by whoever shall find.” –William Wordsworth

Monday, September 28, 2009

Party snapshots

Two of our cousins drove hours to come...thank you! (And we missed our other cousins who were sick!)
What magical memories!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Our princess tea party

We had a fun, fancy, wonderful day yesterday! Lydie's party was everything I hoped. The girls that came were ages 3-6. They were all eager, excited, and entranced by all things girly. So naturally, it was a ball for me! Pictures of the girls to come!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Beauty and desolation

Still cleaning up and starting over in the basement. Still preparing for Lydie's birthday celebration up here on the main floor. Beauty and desolation, all under one roof. I guess this is the story of our earthly life!

Tomorrow at 3:00 we will host 14 little daughters of the King. We will dress-up, have tea & cake, dance, make jewelry, color and play games. I am so excited!!

“Where I am today the Lord is molding me for his purpose and his glory, so don’t misinterpret the molding hand of God as misfortune, rather see the events of today as a refining process, a blessing, and an answer to prayer.” ~my best friend, Lizzie

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."
Lamentations 3:22-24

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Girly dreams

I was going to make Lydie's party dress from scratch. The events of our week have not permitted me to do so. But...I found this beautiful taffeta cream dress today at the consignment sale. It cost $10. I think it was a flower girl dress because it was not store bought and it is made very well. I added the ribbon and flower, and she loves it! (It passed what she calls "twirl-ability". In fact, when she twirls it flows out bigger than any of her other dresses!) It will be perfect for her princess tea party with her friends. For an accessory, I made each girl a home-made crown. And Andy is buying Lydie a necklace with one pearl. Each year we will add another pearl until either she is eighteen or until she gets married, we have not decided. She is going to be so beautiful!! I am so thankful for the blessing of planning her party during such an awful week. What a happy spot!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Drying up

"Contentment involves putting the best possible interpretation on God's dealings with you."(Lou Priolo)

Thanks for the prayers, friends. We are thankful for the meal that was brought tonight, our neighbors, and Mimi for holding down the fort here at home. God graciously gave us a warm, sunny day today. Not one drop of rain fell on our house! The company that was coming to dry up the basement is running behind due to flooded roads and such. So we decided this afternoon to rip up the carpet ourselves. Then we took our shop vac and slurped up all the water. Bucket after bucket. We were going to take 20 minute shifts...the boys, me, and Andy. But once I got down there I couldn't give up the job.

It was so gratifying to see the mess slowly gone. And I had time to spend with Jesus, singing every hymn I know (especially enjoying "Great is Thy Faithfulness"). I prayed, "Give me trust. Give me hope. Give me the joy of my salvation." And he is working against the sin that entangles me and slowly giving me a softened heart, His heart. I found myself wondering, like Peter, who else would I love? Where else would I go, but to Jesus my Savior? I am thankful to remember where my treasure is, no matter what the cost. I am thankful to have a loving God whom I can trust.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Not the colors I was looking for

I was going to celebrate Lydie's birthday by having a pink theme this week on my blog. But instead, we are seeing ugly shades of green, brown, black and gray. We have bronchitis. Not only that, but from the 20" of rain that we have had in the past 5 days, our basement flooded. That's right, t-w-e-n-t-y inches of rain! There is 2" of water downstairs on top of the carpet right now waiting for the men to come tomorrow and dry it up. We spent the evening moving all of the furniture from the school room and Andy's old office. It is now on blocks of wood in the garage, in case of more flooding. I think all of the furniture is unharmed. But, there is more rain predicted every day this week. (Please join us in praying for mercy.) There were 6 fatalities in our area alone today. Due to the basement flooding, reoccurring illnesses, Andy's severe back issues, and other personal issues, I am struggling to find peace tonight.

My daughter turned 3 today. She was all decked out in a pink dress with a big chocolate cupcake in the center. She sang happy birthday to her self all day. She was such a little bubble of delight. She had a good day. We shielded her from understanding our own frustrations. But I will wait until sunnier days to post about her day. We are tired and feel defeated. Just last night Andy and I talked late into the night about the deep joy he is finding in sharing in the suffering of Christ with a certain area of his life. And already tonight, I can not find that joy that was so fresh and real just 24 hours ago! Time for prayer, His Word (clinging to the fact that it "doesn't return void"), and rest. Praying for sunshine tomorrow.
Below are the words that gave us so much hope last night (typed in pink for hope). I am praying it will take root tonight in this weary soul.

Psalm 91

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, "My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." ...you will not fear the destruction that wastes at noonday....Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place-the Most High, who is my refuge- no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. For he will command the angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways...Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver Him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation."

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Eavesdropping and sewing

Except for the 2 hour trip to Wal-Mart (yuck), we have taken it easy today. We went to the doctor yesterday. Lydie and I seem to be fighting a virus that causes bad cold symptoms and nausea. And Jaybird has a slight case of pneumonia. You would never know it, except when he coughs. He is full of energy; I am so thankful. In fact, when I was struggling to get out of bed this morning, he made me breakfast in bed. That boy has a heart of gold, I tell ya. God is gracious. Toot started coughing today, too. He informed me that, "My boogers have bad breath. Help me get 'em out, Mama!" Have you ever heard such a thing? Oh well, at least he uses a tissue. That boy rarely puts his finger in his nose. Gotta love that!

Speaking of male past times, tonight while we watched football, the kids made up a fun, new adventure. It involved robots and thus was titled, "Robot Land". Lydie was the princess of the land, of course. The boys really perfected the monotonous robot talk well. They even dressed the part. (Where do they come up with these costumes?) Listening to them play together is so much fun. Well, except the robot voices got a little annoying after a while. But that was better than Lydie's kitty meows. They go on for hours.
Meanwhile, I decided I felt like tackling a few sewing projects. (Sewing + hot glue gun, that is.) Lydie's birthday party is in a week! I have five or six big projects to tackle this week, along with my fall consignment sale, and the usual school and housework. Lord, give me strength! I am excited! Lots of energy needed, but lots of fun to be had!

This banner was fun to make. I used all scraps and did not invest a penny! It will go on our front door for the party. Sort of a "Welcome to our castle!" kind of decoration. I put the "W" on with sticky felt and plan to change it to an "L" later and put the banner in Lydie's room. It didn't take that long to make, but still. Besides, pink still thrills my soul. I had so little of it for so long. I agree with Audrey Hepburn,

"I believe in pink."

And there will be plenty to go around this Saturday at our house!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

History rocks

While I was in the bed sick today, Andy taught school! He took the day off (of his job), and kept the ball rolling at home with chores, meals, and school. Have I mentioned he's amazing?

I crawled out of bed long enough to capture them wrapping up our study of Pompeii. It has been incredibly interesting. And after today, the boys will not forget any time soon what they learned of Mt. Vesuvius.

The big eruption!

J's reaction

Picture study of Etruscan art

And some good books, too!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Interesting trinity

During catechism questions this morning...
Me: "Lydie, name the three persons (of God)."
Lydie: "Mother, the sunshine, and the holy spit."
Me: (Giggling with the boys) "You meant to say Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Let's talk..."

Monday, September 14, 2009

Our Mimi, family celebrity

Did you hear about the 9-12 Project? (More info here: http://www.the912project.com/) My mother-in-law was there! Last week, she flew by herself (on 9/11) from Alabama to DC to speak out against the current health care reform bill, among other things. I am beaming with pride! We looked and looked for you, Mimi, on Fox News. We just knew we would see your spunky self being interviewed, or chanting with a sign, or maybe even being arrested! :) Even though we didn't see you, the children knew you were there. We told them you went for them. They know you care enough about them to fight for their future. We are thankful and proud!

I also reminded them of your trips to Africa, your fight for creationism to have equal footing with evolution in high school text books, and your crusade to save the unborn when you directed Save-A-Life! We pray that these grand babies of yours- all 6- will inherit your passion for justice and your voice for the voiceless. We are so thrilled that you are passing down a love for Jesus. You once told me out of all the people in the Bible, you most resonate with Peter. I love that about you! You fight for what you believe in. What passion! Thank you for being our Mimi. We love you!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

All this from a pile of rocks

We took a pile of rocks and made a new section in our yard for a bench and potted flowers. I have no idea when God will give us the money for the bench (my birthday, maybe?), but Andy and I can envision it all. We woke up determined to get rid of the extra rocks that have been sitting in our driveway since July from another project.
We recruited the children to pitch in. We only have one child who really embraces sweat and hard work. It's more difficult for the other two. But we encouraged one another and made it to the end. There was a little bickering, but we made it. My parents were always very, very aware of the importance of hard work. Through projects like these, my Dad's upbringing in the country with hard manual labor, and my experience with dancing I learned to push through pain. It's nothing I taught myself, but something that was encouraged and took root, by God's grace.

I think it is extremely important to teach perseverance, not just mentally, but physically to my children. I need it every single day as a Mother. And Andy certainly does as a Father as well. I have to ignore fatigue, my own desires, and sometimes pain to do what I am called to do well. Sometimes I fall short, but I have learned to keep pushing. I love the metaphors in Paul's letters that compare this life to a marathon or race.
So we will keep dragging the kids out to join us on these projects, hoping that as they push themselves to do these little tasks they will reap the benefits of being adults that don't quit at the first sign of defeat. And more than that, we hope that they will physically be able to push beyond what they think they can do to accomplish what God calls them to do (and enables them to do). His work takes wisdom and patience first, but also physical strength and determination. And even in these little bodies, I can see glimpses of two men and a lady that are being formed with each passing day! May they use every moment, with all their strength (as well as hearts and minds) to purposefully serve the Lord.
*And now, time for a hot shower...

"It is always too soon to quit." ~V. Raymond Edman

"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” ~Hebrews 12:1

Thursday, September 10, 2009

From the mouths of babes

Toot (age 7): (Snuggled under the covers) "Well, I know God is everywhere. But Jesus must be going to sleep in the living room. That's because He came back to life again. So he must really like the living room. And by the way, could you pray the makers of the Bionicle movie believe in Jesus, too?"

Jaybird (age 9): (During family prayers) "God, I just pray that my Great Granddad is doing well in heaven. I know he must be happy. I pray that you took away his brain cancer. I pray you gave him a boat in heaven cause he was in the navy and loved to fish."

Lydie (age 2): (Randomly all day long) "God loves me and takes me care of." And her prayer request tonight : "That Alabama loves Jesus."

"Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them. For of such is the kingdom of heaven." ~Matthew 19:14
~Father, make us less so that you can be more in this family. Thank you that your light shines even among the smallest. Please continue to soften, mold, call, grow, and knit us together with You and then one another! We are truly RICH!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Taking the plunge

This book was so lovely and sweet. It is a retake on "The Mouse and the Lion" fable. Toot, Lydie, and I read it together a week or so ago. Later that night (because I will do just about any crazy thing to encourage a meaningful follow-up activity + my husband was working late), I let them play like Amos and Boris in the sink. Eventually, all three of the kids were in on the fun for nearly an hour. The only real requirement is a nice, fluffy towel on the floor to soak up the "waves".
The giggles and newfound adventures that I heard from my bedroom were worth the mess. Toot taught Lydie about sinking and floating, among other things. Lydie gave Toot a good lesson in patience, as she was not in a sharing mood (see picture above). But eventually, big brother Jaybird came in and set them both straight.

It's really the little things, isn't it? (Meanwhile, four new, unopened birthday presents for the boys are collecting dust in the play room. I guess when they run out of mud and water they will get to the new toys. Winter, maybe?)l

Monday, September 07, 2009

Back-to-School Party

Sunday we met with our group for a new school year celebration. I am very excited about this year. Last summer I called all the families from our church plus a few others who homeschool and we began praying and planning together. Little did I know that these ladies and children would become so precious and valuable to me! This past school year we celebrated, prayed, learned, served and played together regularly. They are a very important aspect of our homeschooling adventure! Sounds silly, but homeschooling would not be as rich without these children and parents!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Making a Lovely List: an art collage

Inspired again by Heidi's challenge (make a lovely list), I decided to make a collage. All of the words on the collage answer the question,
"Who or what am I in Christ?"

Honestly, it's the most lovely list I've ever read. It's Jesus' love letters to me and to anyone else who knows Him as Savior. Just reading the words fills me with humility and gratitude beyond measure. What an undeserved phenomenal thing to be loved by Jesus! My childhood friend Tiffany wrote a beautiful post on the same topic. She discovered and shared so many beautiful images from just one Psalm. I used many of her words, among others. And I was also very inspired by my best friend's testimony that she shared at our Women's Ministry brunch last week. She spoke of three gifts that she received before birth (believing she was predestined to be His): innocence, righteousness, and intimacy. Those are words that I didn't even include on the collage! There are too many to fit on the canvas, praise God!!
The best thing about the collage is that there was really only one place for it- the door that leads to the basement. We go through this door every time we begin or finish school. But this door also is in plain view from my bedroom (I can sit on my bed and see most of the words). It is in the hallway that we all travel when we enter and exit the house. And, it is in a spot that can be seen from the kitchen. These are the rooms that I frequent most. I am so excited to have the words as reminders all throughout the day!! I look forward to noting how this little collage has a big impact on me by reminding of the gifts of my salvation secured through the work of Christ. (And the robin's egg blue is definitely a picker-upper, as well. I've had dreams of blue for months.)
I think I will call this little piece of artwork "Basking". It makes me very happy! More than happy, it makes me grateful, rich, alive...the list goes on and on! I hope to be less likely to forget these gifts! And more than that, I hope to be even more often drawn to prayer and moved to live a life with and through Him that is worshipful, purposeful and obedient.

You and me

My beautiful artist