Monday, August 30, 2010

Things That Are Underrated

Just a random list--

--Fun Dip
--Looking for 4-leaf clovers
--Chasing fireflies
--Bubble baths
--Wishing on dandelions
--Watching cartoons
--Holding hands--especially with kids
--Handwritten letters
--Playing in the dirt or sand
--Being still and quiet

What would you add?

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Good List 8-27-10

10. Craigslist and eBay
9. The "C'Mon, Man!" list
8. Greek Yogurt. Yummy!
7. The Glades. Interesting and well-written. Plus it makes me giggle. Bonus!
6. Ray LaMontagne
5. Same Kind of Different as Me. What a fantastic, heartbreaking, heartwarming book!
4. Macy's detective skills. She never stops thinking.
3. When Grace skats. "Zabadabopdabadoobadeedoo." Pure entertainment.
2. Shai Linne (see the video)
1. My sister Jody. Specifically the independent VBS program she planned for her apartment complex with just a little help from a few friends. She amazes me.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I Love Today!

Today I got up much earlier than my body would have liked to make breakfast for my brand new 2nd and 4th graders. WOW! When did THAT happen?

Today I packed 2 healthy lunches and tucked a little love note inside each.

Today I braided 4 little brunette braids and secured them with accessories perfectly matched to their corresponding outfits. ;-)

Today I went to the grocery store to pick out all sorts of fresh items for school lunches, after school snacks, and yummy family dinners.

Today I made lunch for my sweetie to come home to in the middle of his busy day and sent him back to work with a full tummy and a big hug.

Today I baked a fresh loaf of bread that made my whole house smell amazing.

Today I did laundry.

Today I picked up my sweeties from school and took them straight to the library (per their request, which makes me happy.)

Today I made a fresh, healthy after school snack for my favorite 2nd and 4th graders in the whole wide world.

Today I read a surprisingly full information packet all about the new school year and what to expect in the coming weeks and months.

Today I made spaghetti and garlic toast for dinner, because this was Macy's special request for her first day of school.

Today I washed dishes 3 times (there's no dishwasher in the old farmhouse ;-).

Today I listened to my 7-year-old read for precisely 20 minutes (she set the timer), because that was her assignment, but she really wanted to go outside as soon as she could too. :-D

Today I ran outside at the squealing request of my girls so that I could see the "WHOLE COLONY, MOM!" of little lady bugs in a tree stump in our backyard.

Today I cleaned out 2 little lunchboxes which I was happy to see were completely emptied during lunch except for a few craisins that Gracie "didn't have time for".

Today I snuggled with Macy and Grace while they read their evening devotions and then made sure they brushed their teeth really well before bedtime.

Today I tucked in the most amazing and special little girls I have ever known and prayed that God would give them hearts that chase after Him and help me be the best Mommy to them that I can possibly be.

And I smiled the whole time. And my heart was singing and sparkling. Not because I love getting up early and doing laundry and washing dishes and grocery shopping. But because I LOVE taking care of my family. Thank you, Lord!

Monday, August 23, 2010

So What is the Bible Really About?

One of these days I want to go to Tim Keller's church. I love the way this man focuses on Jesus always. Always.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Best Trade of My Entire Life

On August 25, 2010, I begin my first ever school year of being a stay at home Mom to my favorite little girls in the whole wide world. Which means. . .

This year instead of sneaking around quietly to get myself ready for work before my girls wake up, I will greet them each morning with a fluffy robe pulled right from the dryer so they can roll out of their warm beds directly into a warm hug.

This year instead of ironing and coordinating my own outfits for whatever meetings I face during which I need to appear "professional" ;-), I will match bows to girly clothes and make sure athletic shoes are worn on P.E. days.

This year instead of stocking my office with relatively healthy items I could eat at my desk on busy days, I will stock my pantry with everything I need to provide nutritious, fun lunches for Macy, Gracie and Jared.

This year instead of struggling through a few more dozen emails and one more meeting each afternoon, I will greet my girls with a healthy afternoon snack M-Th and something a bit more indulgent on Friday. :-D

This year instead of fighting traffic that kept me away from home until I had just enough time to feed my family and tuck them into bed, I will help 2 little girls finish up homework right after school so that they still have time for an adventure before dinner. ;-)

This year instead of business trips, I will go on field trips.

This year instead of reports and spreadsheets, I will prepare home-cooked dinners.

This year instead of planning Christmas in July and stressing over reports throughout November and December, I will savor every second of the holidays--every bite of festive food, every Christmas song, every room lit by nothing but Christmas lights and candles, every snuggly red sweater, every mug of hot chocolate or flavored coffee.

And because I'm a sinful human being, I know I won't do it perfectly, but to the very best of my ability, I will rejoice in each moment and never take it for granted. I am so grateful to God and my amazing church family for the life-changing opportunity we have been given to simplify our lives and re-focus on Christ and our family. Beyond awesome.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Yes Indeed

This makes me happy every time I hear it. The world could use a few more Ray LaMontagnes.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Good List 8-18-10

9. Ramona and Beezus. Yeah, I know it won't win any awards or anything like that, but it was very sweet and uncomplicated. And I want to adopt the little girl who played Ramona.
8. The way so many old buildings have the year they were constructed literally built into the structure--and I don't mean a plaque on the wall. Not sure why I think that's so cool, but I do.
7. People with integrity.
6. Shooting stars. Anyone catch the Perseids Meteor Shower last weekend? Pretty cool. I love that kind of stuff.
5. Ann Hicks' "breakfast garden." A little taste of paradise.
4. Play dates at KimDale Farms. Pool, zip line, swings, snacks, and friends. What more could a person possibly need? ;-)
3. Vicki Courtney and the way she has poured her entire life into ministering to teen/tween girls and their parents. Awesome.
2. Macy and Grace's creativity. Their imaginations never cease to amaze me.
1. Our visit with Ed and Amelia Nizynski last weekend. Love those special people!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Shelburne Museum

Our friends Ed and Amelia Nizynski came to visit this weekend, and after a fabulous breakfast at Miss Ann's Trillium Hill B&B on Saturday morning (in what I like to call her "paradise garden"), we ventured up to the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont (just south of Burlington.) I dare say this is the most fantastic and interesting "museum" I have ever seen. It consists of 39 different buildings/exhibits which span over 300 years of architecture. They include houses, barns, a jail, a schoolhouse, a general store, a traincar, the Ticonderoga steamboat, stagecoaches and several other attractions. Each of these were transported to Shelburne from surrounding areas by the museum's founder, Electra Havemeyer, so that she could preserve them as monuments and testimonies to life in Vermont. The buildings themselves were fascinating enough to hold my attention, but in addition to the buildings, there are all sorts of collections and exhibits including dolls and dollhouses, quilts, photography, hand-woven tapestries, retired carousel animals, etc., etc., etc. I love this place! Check it out here. And if you like it, come visit, and I promise we'll take you there. :-D

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Good List 8-11-10

10. Homemade hashbrowns. YUM!
9. Playing online games with friends and family on the other side of the country. Words with Friends and Canasta are my current favorites.
8. Looking at my packed calendar but NOT cringing at any of it like I used to. ;-)
7. Comfortably wearing a sweater in August. I promise I'm not trying to rub it in; it's just entirely too awesome not to include on the list. I don't want to appear ungrateful. :-D
6. The huge patches of gorgeously healthy black-eyed susans I seem to see at every turn up here. They make me happy.
5. The faint smell of cigar smoke wafting past the kithen window while I'm washing dishes ('cause that means Jared is relaxing at home.)
4. When Phineas says, "Hey--where's Perry?" Makes me giggle every time.
3. Baptism services--particularly when we get to watch a father baptize his daughter. Awesome.
2. The first day of each year that feels like fall. There's something mysterious and exciting about it that I can't quite describe.
1. Celebrating 1 year of ministry with my favorite church in the whole wide world.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Apparently, It's All About the BOW!

Jared took Macy with him to work today. Tuesdays are usually "out of the office" days, so he figured today would be a little less boring than having her sit in his office and watch him study and answer phone calls all day. ;-)

That leaves Gracie to run errands with me. Not exactly glamorous or thrilling, but we can usually make our own fun along the way, so we are actually pretty excited about it. She informed me a little while ago that she wanted to get ready "by herself" this morning. I returned to find her dressed in her "Sunday best," which led to the following conversation:

Me: "WOW! You look gorgeous! Is it ok if I'm not so fancy?"
Grace: "Yep. I don't mind."
Me: "Why are you so dressed up? Did you know we're just going to Subway and the grocery store?"
Grace: "Yep. But see Mommy? Look!" (holding up one of the bows she got in the mail from JoJo yesterday) "This is what matches my favorite bow the best."
Me: "Indeed it does. We should take a picture for JoJo."
Grace: "Yeah! Make sure you get a really good one of the bow, Mom!"

And there you have it. Off to the grocery store in my jeans, hoodie and flip flops with my lovely little Gracie in tow.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Good List 8-4-10

10. The smell of homemade bread baking. (I'm especially fond of rosemary bread scent. ;-)
9. Christmas Tree Shops. Super inexpensive. Lots of variety. My kinda place.
8. Quiet. It's very underrated.
7. The $1 bins at Michael's where you can stock up on note cards and journals without wrecking your budget.
6. Spotting constellations in the dark, starry skies of rural living.
5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Yes, I know I'm 13 years late to the party, but I had good reasons for putting it off. Now I'm excited to get to read them all back to back without waiting months between releases. :-D Bonus!
4. Serving up homemade lasagna, salad, and rosemary bread with balsamic dipping oil to a table full of some of my favorite people.
3. Not caring what day of the week it is because there are no more "typical Mondays" in my life. Awesome.
2. Listening to Macy and Grace play "Ratatouille" in the kitchen. Pretty funny stuff.
1. Being married to a man who still loves to surprise me. (Last weekend was SO much fun and well worth the wait.)

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Gift of the Present Moment

"The next hour, the next moment, is as much beyond our grasp and as much in God's care as that a hundred years away." --George MacDonald

This truth is one that I have struggled with throughout my entire life. I am a planner by nature. I don't *think* I'm a control freak, but maybe someone else should chime in and correct me if I'm wrong. ;-) What I mean by that is that I don't mind not always BEING the planner--I just think SOMEONE should be planning most things. Things like--- If we are driving somewhere, we should have directions beforehand, right? If we want to eat throughout this week, we need a menu and a grocery list first, yes? If we want to eat after we retire, we should budget accordingly now. If we're moving 6 states away, we HAVE to sell our house first. There's just no other way to do it. You know--the basics. And if someone (with skin on) wants to take the reins on these things, I'm happy to sit back and relax. But not until I know everything is under control.

I'm guessing most people would agree with me that there's nothing necessarily wrong with making plans and taking responsibility for our lives and our futures. To a degree. Unfortunately, though, (and much to my disappointment) I realized about 18 months ago that I had fallen into a pattern of trusting human beings with my life and my future a lot more than I trusted God. I drew more security at times from a piece of paper drawn up by a flawed, untrustworthy human than I did from the promises of Holy, God-breathed Scripture. So stupid, yet so easy to do. And I justified it a million different ways.

"Oh, I trust God, but I still think He wants me to be responsible."
"Oh, I know God doesn't NEED my help, but he gave me a mind for a reason, right?"
"It's ok to make plans as long as my plans don't go against scripture."

The list could go on and on. And sure! None of those things are untrue or glaringly wrong at first glance. In fact, I would argue that it IS incredibly important to be responsible with our resources, etc. The problem (at least for me) lied in valuing my plans MORE than I valued God's plans. As long as His plans seemed to follow mine pretty closely, I was happy to "trust Him." But when He started doing things that didn't make sense to me, my initial response was anything but selfless abandon to His mysterious ways. Thank GOD for honoring the faithful prayers of my amazing husband and many of my friends and family at a time when I was so very tempted to run like Jonah in the opposite direction of where I was being sent.

I'm certain I'll continue to struggle with this lesson for the rest of my life. The idea of creating "security" for myself and my family here on earth tempts and teases me every day, even though I know that self-created security is really nothing more than a myth. What is beautifully real, however, is the freedom I have experienced through sweet abandon (especially when it made no sense at all to me). When I get out of my own way and rest in that freedom, it transforms this stubborn soul in remarkable ways that only God could have accomplished. I'm so glad He disciplines and redirects us so gently sometimes.

"Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things." --Matthew 6:34 (Oh, how I long to obey that verse every single day of my life. . . . .)