Friday, July 11, 2014

Promise-Breaker

I'm a promise-breaker. I told the Lord last week that was it, I was going to quit being impatient, that I was going to make a real effort to practice self-control over that sugar addiction and rise early regularly to read my Bible. I failed in each of those areas, almost immediately. Thankfully, God is not a promise-breaker. He said that His Holy Spirit would complete the work that He started in us. He said we wouldn't have to do it on our own. In fact, going it alone often results in the exact opposite of what we're trying to accomplish. God desires that we depend on Him and recognize our weakness and need for Him. What a contrast to what the world tells us--that we are only successful when we are fully independent and strong. God, the Promise-Keeper, made a covenant with us specifically so we would rely on him and then we would know His great love and care for us. True success would derive from that powerful relationship.
 
 
When it comes to promises, I'm so thankful I don't have to be dependent on my own efforts. I would always get only so far before I would slide back into my previous habits. I see progress though. Slowly, but surely, He's moving me toward growth and change... because He's not finished with me yet!
 
(photos taken a few nights ago of a full-arched, double rainbow that blew us away for about half an hour)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Baby Of The Family

Girlie-May is what her Daddy adoringly calls her. After those rambunctious twin boys, he's melting more than ever. My sister, Holly, gathers wet clothes, cuts cucumber slices and rocks a whimpering Clara after a tumble. She has this routine down to a science with her little ones and it's inspiring to watch. But this tiny person God gifted to our family... this soft and smiley baby is the one my kiddos are all chattering about as we drive to their home almost an hour away. They stake their claim on who gets to hold her first. They take photos with their iPods and post videos of just them and Clara. She's a small package tied with a pink ribbon after five years without more cousins on my side of the family. She's welcomed with enthusiastic love.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Dear Children

Dear Children,

The days seem long, don't they? But you'll be growing up and you'll look back and feel like childhood was actually such a small piece of your life. You'll have responsibilities that are big and important. You'll be venturing out on your own and caring for others through your work, your ministries, and your own families. You might wonder where the carefree days disappeared to as you struggle to understand a suffering world and how you can be an agent of change for God.

(hand-holding as they walk? unprompted and unaware of me--love it)

As your mother, I'm endeavoring to lengthen your days, teaching you to drink life in, worship the Creator and notice the tiny details of His world. Our life isn't perfect but you're learning to love each other and to remember Who is guiding you. You already have compassion for others. I'm thankful for that. I love these times we are living through together, and so I jot down your funny sayings and your inquisitive conversations with me. I snap photos of your growing bodies and changing faces. I want to remind you one day how blessed and lovely these days were--the preparatory days.

The Bible says the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. I'm praying that you will always have a healthy fear of Him, that you'll hear His voice and obey it--that I'll obey it, as I walk this road with you. I'm so grateful for Daddy, who also joins me in creating a loving and disciplined youth for all of you. When you see me mess up this parenting thing, know that I'm human and flawed and that I still love you and am seeking forgiveness from the Lord and from you, to begin again. It's that wisdom from Him that leads me to be able to do this.  

 
I pray that mentors will come alongside you as you journey. The Lord sent me many, and if I humbled myself to take their advice, my path seemed so much easier. One such mentor was my mom, your "Mama". She taught me to have a relationship with Jesus and to love people fiercely. Embrace this heritage and that of your other grandparents too and you won't lose your way. God gave them to you as examples of how to carry out His purposes and to help your fellow humans. They do this well.

 
 
When life gets tough, and it will, remember we were never promised things would always be easy, only that God would carry us in His arms. If you never let go of that knowledge, you'll feel Him, actually feel His arms tangibly around you when you're unable to understand why you're encountering hardship. I know this because I've been there. I believe I could feel Him in moments of despair because of my history of practicing prayer, worship, writing down thanksgiving and answers to prayer.  I was taught to remind myself when life was easy that God is good. As a result, I simply knew it as truth when life wasn't easy. 

I love you, my "babies". You're growing up so quickly. Sometimes I stop in my busyness and just stare at you and whisper gratitude that you're mine. I'm sorry I don't always articulate this to you, but it's true. You're talented, beautiful, kind and already fulfilling your purposes on earth, as God reveals them to you. Young people are valuable and being used by God too! May you always love the Lord with all your hearts and love your neighbor as yourself.

I adore you, every one of you.
Love, Mommy
 
 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Tour Of Africa

When a zoo is making great progress and winning awards as it saves endangered animals, we know it's more than a location solely focused on entertainment and education. That's why we love our African Lion Safari. We took a tiny train ride, mini boat trip and drove through the reserve to get a close look at the species we'll be studying in September for our Africa unit. It brought to life what we can normally only read about in books or search for on the internet.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Utterly amazed by God's creatures!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Plunkers and Ticklers

After a year of standing in the kitchen and breathing deeply through another banging out of "Take Me Out To The Ball Game", all that practice has paid off and we've reached our recital. Don't get me wrong, some days I closed my eyes at that stove and smiled and tapped my foot to the familiar melodies, thankful for the lessons and the love for the piano. And while some are plunkers of those black and white keys and some are ticklers, we gush and bubble with delight as we watch our children take their seats at the baby grand in front of an audience.
 Mrs. Anger lovingly announces each child and a little of the story behind their piece.
 No longer the youngest pianist this year but grinning from ear to ear.
 Daddy and Oliver perform the song they wrote together.
 Emily LOVES to play and uses my childhood book.
 Molly plays a lengthened version of "What A Happy Day".
 Meg plays, "The River Flows In You" by Yiruma
 Mrs. Anger is a key tickler. We all sit and watch in awe.
Listening to Mrs. Anger's 92 year-old mom.
We love our patient teacher!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Taking The Stage

In grande finale style, our three girls demonstrated a year's worth of hard work and exhilarating joy as they took the stage at the dance recital.
waiting for her turn
hallway hair-do
tiny ballerina
She loves every minute.
something new for Molly
 
Hip-hop brings out a whole new energy!
Only stopping that smile for a second to concentrate.
glowing in her final performance
More than dancers, they are friends.
lyrical emotions
more ballet
posing with cousins after the show
Grandma comes to support her grandkiddos.
Mama watches with pride.
Oliver has his own moves.
Praising God for health and strength and opportunity to enjoy His gift of dance!