Thursday, July 28, 2011

I Heart Maine

I took a gazillion pictures today. And choosing favorites is like choosing which of my children I love more. Impossible. So these aren't necessarily my favorites, but they are the ones that I think represent Maine the best. But it's way prettier than the photos could ever fully convey. You should totally come see it for yourself.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Good List 7-27-11

10. Summer time chore charts. Life is so much easier with these things.
9. Being caught up on laundry. I don't achieve this very often, so all the more reason to celebrate, right? :-D
8. Fire in the fire pit on a nice, cool night.

7. The way clothes still smell the morning after a fire in the fire pit when I gather them up to wash them.
6. Paid off, reliable vehicles. I take mine for granted way too often, but I'm very thankful for it.
5. Aromatherapy growing right in my garden. Lemon bee balm when I need a sniff of energy and lavender when it's time to relax. Excellent.
4. My sister just bought "The Gnome-mobile" for her kids. I can't wait to borrow it! Has anyone else even heard of this movie? We used to watch it over and over when we were kids. Awesome.
3. Keith and Kristyn Getty and the incredibly worshipful music they write and record. This is one of my favorites.
2. The way Jared is always warm when I get cold at night and need to snuggle.
1. Family vacation begins TODAY. It's been way too long. Off to Maine!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

All or Nothing

I have this weird OCD thing about cleaning floors. It feels like it isn't even worth it to bother if I can't do it perfectly. As in--get to every little spot including under the furniture. When I sweep and mop my kitchen, I have to get every single chair out of there first, and even then it bothers me that the table legs are kind of in the way. Isn't that stupid? I mean, they take up about a square inch each. So weird. And the same with vacuuming. I don't do this, because it would be really silly, but my preference would be to move every single piece of furniture completely out of the room, vacuum every inch, and then put it all back. I have no idea why this is a thing with me. I'm not a neat freak. My house gets really messy sometimes, and in general I'm ok with that when we have a million other things going on. But when it does come time to get it cleaned up, I'm pretty much incapable of "half-way doing it." It's weird. I know.

But as I was noticing today what a mess my kitchen floor was and thinking to myself, "I'll just clean it tomorrow when I can take the time to do it right," it made me stop and wonder if this isn't indicative of how many of us treat our spiritual lives. I really wonder. Do we hesitate to surrender anything simply because we somehow believe we're not quite ready to surrender all? Do we give nothing because we don't want to give as much as we can or should? Do we refuse to clean up any part of "our act" because we know we aren't willing to be refined in all areas? Hmm.

Here's the thing. . . . The "all or nothing" mentality as it relates to our spiritual lives is dangerous, dangerous territory. Seems like this only allows for 2 outcomes, neither of which centers on the gospel. Either we never arrive at being able to surrender/give/clean up "all," so we continue to surrender/give/clean up nothing (certainly this is not a way to live or experience the gospel), OR we *think* we have gotten to the point of doing all of those things exacty as we should, in which case we are relying on our own strength and therefore likely don't understand how desperately we need the gospel. No good either way.

Ironically, it's only by bringing our marginal commitments and the tiniest fractions of surrender that our limited humanness can muster that we even begin to understand what that "all" really looks like. And even more ironic is that the more we are affected by the gospel, i.e. the more we draw close to Christ and allow him to mold and change us and alter our behavior, the more we realize how far we are from ever achieving "all" within our own strength. BUT there must be a first step to every path that leads us closer to something, right? So then isn't one tiny step better than waiting until we think we can go ahead and span the entire gap in one leap? (Hint: that's never gonna happen, yo.)

SO--I guess what I'm saying is that sometimes I need to relax and just sweep or wipe up a small spill even when I think it would be better to scrub the whole entire floor. And many times we all need to take one small step in the right direction toward Christ and his wide open arms and love-saturated eyes even when we know it would be better to take 2 steps or 10 steps. The bottom line is that one step is better than none. Especially if it becomes a habit. One step a day gets us 7 steps closer every week. Let's get started. We'll be 152 steps closer to Christ by his birthday. I'm thinking he might like that gift. :-D

Photo of the Week 7-25-11

This one is for my friend, Dale. He will know why. :-D

Friday, July 22, 2011

Photo Contest

There is a local amateur photo contest going on up here that I'd like to enter. The theme is "Special Places: The Places We Like to Go," so that limited some of my first choices, and now I'm having a hard time making a decision. If you're so inclined, take a glance at these, and let me know if any of them "speak to you." :-D Thanks!
























Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Good List 7-20-11

10. German Chocolate Cake coffee. A little coconut. A little chocolate. A lotta YUM!
9. When royalty "statements" become royalty checks. Still barely cover a family night out at Taco Bell, but at least we're going in the right direction. ;-) Grateful for God's provision.
8. The Truman Show. Such an excellent movie.
7. Salty pretzels dipped in cookie dough dip. Y'all. I promise you want some.
6. The crystals Macy has been growing on this rock. Pretty cool. (Thanks, Grandmom!)

5. V*o*cation Bible School at MSCC. Gracie and I have missed most of it, but we're told it has been a huge success and lots of fun for everyone who is attending. The finale is tonight.
4. The tool kit Macy made at VBS yesterday. Good job, Mace!

3. The firstfruits of our blueberry bushes:

Just a few, but look what's coming. They're everywhere! This is about to get awesome.

2. Brand new Ainsley Joy Carr, born Monday to parents Nathan and Jennelle Carr, grandparents Dale and Kim Carr, and all kinds of crazy aunts, uncles, and cousins 'round these here parts. We love our Carrs!
1. A fever-free Gracie. Finally! I can't stop smooching her cool little cheeks and forehead. :-D

Monday, July 18, 2011


Grace has finally decided she needs some variety after watching Phineas & Ferb for pretty much 4-1/2 days straight. Today she watched one of the Benji movies and then decided on . . . . of all things . . . . Monster Quest. We are currently watching the episode about Champ. You know, the big sea creature in Lake Champlain right up here in Burlington, VT just a couple hours away from our house. (I jokingly tell everyone this is the main reason Jared wanted to move here, but there might be more truth in that joke than I realize. ;-) But I digress.

I'm so glad Gracie's sweet and funny personality hasn't suffered this week even during the highest points of her fever. She hasn't been lethargic or "down" much at all. It has given me confidence that she really will be ok (hopefully soon) and made it slightly less painful to see her sick. At least she isn't miserable. This was one of my favorite funny conversations:

Me: So Gracie, if Champ is real, do you think he's mean or nice?
Grace: (incredulous) You're kidding, right?
Me: No, I'm not. What do you think?
Grace: Mom, he's MEAN!!! Seriously?
Me: Well, why do you say that? How do you know?
Grace: Because he's a MONSTER, Mom! Are you watching this? It's called "Monster Quest," not "Loveable Creatures Quest!"

And there you have it. :-D

Photo of the Week 7-18-11

Dig the colors on this guy.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

For Our Children

Father, hear us, we are praying,
Hear the words our hearts are saying,
We are praying for our children.
Keep them from the powers of evil,
From the secret hidden peril,
From the worldling's hollow gladness,
From the sting of faithless sadness,
Holy Father, save our children.
Through life's troubled waters steer them,
Through life's bitter battle cheer them,
Father, Father, be thou near them.
Read the language of our longing,
Read the wordless pleadings thronging,
Holy Father, for our children.
And wherever they my bide,
Lead them Home at eventide.

--Amy Carmichael

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Gracie has been sick for several days now. As I was praying over her and giving her one last smooch and hug late Wednesday night before going to bed, I noticed she was burning up. She was asleep in the same bed as Macy, so I carried her into the living room to take her temperature. It was 103.5!!!! Mommies don't like to see that number on a thermometer. Ever. But my oldest sister who is a nurse has taught me not to freak out about such things. I gave her a dose of children's tylenol and something cool to drink. Then I made sure she was nice and cool and put her back to bed. But I checked on her several times. Her skin stayed cool most of the night. But Thursday morning she was back up to 102.8. No other symptoms whatsoever, so we figured we would just keep giving her medicine to control the fever, assume it was some kind of bug, and let it run its course. The fever stayed in control most of Thursday, getting higher as the medicine wore off, but never getting quite as high as the night before. So we figured all was well. But then Friday morning we noticed a tiny little red patch on her face (which honestly could be nothing more than dry skin) and a very strange and rather large red patch on the back of her right leg. OK. Doctor time. Now we're getting a little worried. I took her to the doctor. He wasn't terribly concerned. He thought the red patch was ringworm which could be easily and quickly treated with a cream that he quickly prescribed, but he ordered a lyme disease test "just to make sure," assuring me that he did NOT think she had it.

I had to take her to the hospital for the blood test, which was somewhat intimidating to her, and when we got into the room and she started seeing the "equipment" (read: needle), she was terrified. We were both pretty exhausted and frazzled by this point anyway, so I was incredibly tempted to feel sorry for both of us and let myself get carried away by that emotion. But OH how God loves me. So gently and sweetly and tenderly. Here's the thing-- The reason Gracie was so terrified of this blood test is that she has never had to have one. And that's what struck me. How blessed are Grace (and her Mom) that in 8 years of life she has never had so much as a blood test--certainly never anything more invasive than that? And there it is. The moment that changes everything. Suddenly I can't stop singing in my heart that God has protected my baby girl so strongly and beautifully all these years. Don't get me wrong. I hated seeing her afraid, and I always hate seeing her sick, even with just a little cold or whatever. But wow. To realize what so many others deal with and compare that to one blood test in 8 years. . . . . Well, let's just say I'm grateful.

She's still running fever, but still no other symptoms, so we're confident it really is just the same virus that seems to be going around. Nothing serious. Just something that has to "run its course." Sadly, it looks like we'll have to miss our church's block party tomorrow, which we have been SO looking forward to. So again, I'm tempted to feel sorry for us and what we have to miss. But I'm fighting it and telling Satan that he should go pick on someone else. We won't fall for that trick this time. God has blessed and loved and protected our family mightily, and we are choosing to be grateful (only by the grace of God who redirected my selfish desire to choose otherwise.) Thank you, Lord, for your gentle discipline. And thank you that my Gracie seems to be on the mend. Not as quickly as I would have chosen, but I trust that You have Your reasons.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Good List 7-13-11

10. Sweet tea.
9. Photo coupons. I recently ordered 99 prints for a penny each. Fabulous.
8. The fact that about 90% of Gracie's pajama items are monkey themed. Makes me grin every time I fold them. Can't imagine why that's what people are drawn to when they think of Gracie. ;-)
7. Pride and Prejudice. It's a little slow in the middle, but still an excellent book. I'm pretty embarrassed that I didn't read it much sooner.
6. The feature length Winnie the Pooh movie which recently previewed on some other movie the girls were watching (can't remember which one.) I'm not even sure when it's coming out, but it looks wonderfully, perfectly simple, sweet and precious.
5. Finding something that I thought was long lost tucked into the corner of a suitcase.
4. True Grit. Excellent movie. Perfect casting, although I can't really decide if Jeff Bridges is brilliant or if he just played himself. ;-)
3. Gracie's new little friend. He let her follow him around pretty closely for quite awhile before he hopped into the bushes. She named him "Bugs" after Bugs Bunny, because she says, "He was a smart rabbit. I mean, he knew I wasn't gonna hurt him. That's why he didn't hop away." :-D

2. The following statement that I overheard Macy say to a very giggly Grace: "I love to make you laugh." (Happy Mom right here. :-D)
1. My new nephew Jack Briggs McLemore. Ok, so he's not really my nephew by blood, but in my heart his parents are my brother and sister, so yeah. . . my nephew Jack. I love him so much! He is exactly one week old today. I can't wait to meet him in person!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Good List 7-6-11

10. White birch trees in the wind. Kinda like the aspens in Colorado, but I don't think we have those here.
9. Face paint. It's just fun sometimes.

8. When Macy incorporates chores into her play. I guess it's her way of not getting interrupted to do chores. ;-) Works for me!
7. Zooey Deschanel. I'm already hooked on the show she has coming out this fall just from the few commercials I've seen.
6. This cake that Grace recommends for every single special occasion we have around here. Sooooo yummy!

5. Mountain Grove Memorial Church in Huletts Landing, NY. Sweet, sweet people. Gorgeous old stone building right near Lake George. This is the second year they've asked Jared to come speak during the summer. We're hoping this becomes a habit. It's such a great place to visit.
4. Fireworks. Especially when you get to watch them with children and hear their commentary. So fun and funny.

3. Long boat rides in a lake surrounded by mountains. It doesn't get much better than that.
2. Celebrating 8 years of Grace Elyse Wilson. She makes every single day brighter.
1. The phone call that I just got letting me know that one of my most special friends in all the world--Sarah McLemore--is in labor with her first baby--Jack McLemore. How cool is that name? :-D So amazing! I can't wait to see him!