A Simple List

Haiti-changed Husband home now three days….my head still swims a bit at what God is showing us.  A simple list today, while I continue to sort things out.

1071.  five blessed hours of silence

1072.  three more sleeps

1073.  dinner date with one of my favorite friends

1074.  photos and texts from Haiti

1075.  a productive, energized day

1076.  ready for his return

1077.  one last girls night

1078.  a head rub from my mama

1079.  running! outside! in the sun!!!

1080.  quietness and sunrise as I drive

1081.  he is home!!!

1082.  wonder

1083.  hope

1084.  amazement at how He moves

Week in Review

Friday night is here again.  Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Pot Pie for dinner, followed by How to Train Your Dragon.  The girls sprawl on the floor, sharing the dog’s bed.  I sit in a chair, heat on my neck, fighting off a wicked head ache.  I reply to intermittent texts from my beloved.  We are now on the same soil.  Tomorrow morning, Lord willing, I will hold him in my arms again.  And we all give thanks for this time and this opportunity and we give thanks that tomorrow he will be ours again.  And I wonder tonight at the changes that may be in store, at what God has done in my husband’s heart and mind these past nine days.  I await, with eager anticipation, to see him, to hold him, to talk to him, about all the Lord has done.

Praying that your weekend is filled with anticipation of the Lord’s goodness ~

~ Sara

More Photo Catch Ups

Emma’s birthday follows Ellie’s by two weeks.  She turned nine in early December.  While she didn’t get a party, we did do our best to celebrate here at home.  Enjoy these photos from her special day….

Cupcakes to share with her ballet class

Birthday Girl

The peanut gallery

I have no words

Gifts!

Every horse loving girl needs a horse themed Bible, right?

Joy

A "real" riding helmet!

Cake! Actually, brownies!

Have a great Thursday, my friends!

~ Sara

Photo Catch Ups

As I’ve been mentioning, I have photos languishing on my hard drive and SD card.  I have finally decided to start working my way through them.  Last night I worked on photos from Ellie’s 5th Birthday (November) and her birthday party.  Enjoy!

Her pre-birthday birthday celebration (since her actual birthday fell on the same night as a family Thanksgiving feast)….

 

And her Puppy Paw-ty (because dogs have paws, you know!).  Many thanks to a great friend for all her great ideas!!!

Table prepped for making "dog ears"

Puppy Ellie

Dog house sign welcoming guests to the "paw-ty"

Grace turning Merikate into a puppy with the help of an eyeliner pencil

Making ears

Misbehaving camera wouldn't take a clear shot; this was the best I could get of the whole group.

Table now prepped for making "pupcakes"

Our options; sorry, girls, no white frosting = no white puppy. 😛

Making the pupcakes

Camryn showing off her handi-work

A sampling of some of the creations

Grace's pupcakes

Uh, the pupcakes were harder to make than they looked in the picture. This is what happened to one child's pupcake.

Emma's creations

Where Ellie most likes to be - the center of attention. 😉

Have a terrific Tuesday, friends!

~ Sara

Multitude Monday….

After a sleepless Sunday night and a Monday morning of four very distracted students, I reflect on quotes that have carried me through the past few days…..

  • Sorrows come to stretch out spaces in the heart for joy. ~ Streams in the Desert, January 18
  • The moment we receive anything from the Lord worth fighting for, the Devil comes seeking to destroy us. ~ Streams in the Desert, January 21
  • We often wish that God would do some great thing in the world, and we look far and wide for just the right places and people.  We must not forget to ask the Lord to make use of us, and to believe that our home might become the central point from which streams of blessing would flow forth. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

I reflect, and I give thanks. The reflection centers me, draws me back to truth. The thanks-giving takes my tired eyes off me and allows me to look up to the One who gives all gifts. He is good.

1046.  three days to go nowhere

1047.  fine arts competition


1048.  first place

1049.  second place

1050.  best of show!

1051.  Sunday school after-Christmas party

1052.  lost camera


1053.  found camera!

1054.  sacrificially generous five year old

1055.  real pointe shoes

1056.  more snow


1057.  the quiet stillness the follows the snowfall

1058.  borrowed four wheel drive

1059.  him all packed and ready

1060.  safe travels


1061.  texts and photos from Haiti

1062.  days and evenings that do not go as planned


1063.  being flexible

1064.  child’s very first game basket


1065.  “best offense” award

1066.  her confidence building

1067.  family night courtesy of Daddy


1068.  knowing that we worship together before the throne, even though we are separated by 2000 plus miles

1069. hearing his voice

1070.  knowing God holds it all in His hands


May every moment be filled with thanks….for His glory ~

~ Sara

 

* there are still so many photos that sit, waiting to be edited and shared….perhaps this week that will happen….for now, photos from my husband’s phone as he serves in Haiti.

Week in Review

Oh, my friends, I’ve missed you! Last week I gave myself permission to blog less and look what happened….I fell off the blogging wagon.

Tonight I’m sitting here with the iPad on my lap, watching a movie with the girls, and thankful for the quiet night at home. The past two weeks have gone well. We’ve had two good weeks of school. This week was a little bumpy with Matt going out of town, but it was still good. We’ve had ballet and basketball and several inches of snow. We have a busy weekend ahead, but I’m looking forward to it. I’m also looking forward to a return to blogging next week with more consistency and maybe even some photos! 🙂

Wishing you a wonderful weekend filled with time with those you love most.

~ Sara

Story-Tellers

“Store up comfortThis was the prophet Isaiah’s mission.  The world is full of hurting and comfortless hearts.  But before you will be competent for this lofty ministry, you must be trained.  And your training is extremely costly, for to make it complete, you too must endure the same afflictions that are wringing countless hearts of tears and blood.  Consequently, your own life becomes the hospital ward where you are taught the divine art of comfort.  You will be wounded so that in the binding up of your wounds by the Great Physician, you may learn how to render first aid to the wounded everywhere.  Do you wonder why you are having to experience some great sorrow?  Over the next ten years you will find many others afflicted in the same way.  You will tell them how you suffered and were comforted.  As the story unfolds, God will apply the anesthetic He once used on you to them.  Then in the eager look followed by the gleam of hope that chases the shadow of despair from the soul, you will know why you were afflicted.  And you will bless God for the discipline that filled your life with such a treasure of experience and helpfulness.

God comforts us not to make us comfortable but to make us comforters.”

~ Streams in the Desert, January 11

We all have a story to tell.  One day soon I will tell my own story here, my story of life before kids, husband, and all that is typically written about here.  I will tell of the times God carried me and how everything changed.  That time is not yet, but He pricks my heart with it periodically.  Today I was just blessed to remember that “God comforts us not to make us comfortable but to make us comforters.”

May you be comforted by His never-ending grace today ~

~ Sara

Monday Evening

Every day is a gift, but some days just have a distinctive feel. Today was that way.

Snow fell soft through the night and we woke to several inches of white wonder. Activities were canceled all across town, promising a day at home. With a short to do list and no where to go, it was a day to slow a bit and feel the beauty of winter.

And tonight we sit, all together, in the living room, a rare treat of relaxing together on a weeknight. My heart is warmed by the blessing of this day.

1018. January sunshine

1019. 30 Day Shred

1020. Do Hard Things

1021. first day back at school

1022. a wonderful first week back at school

1023. a changed second born

1024. remote computer access

1025. sunset at ballet

1026. grocery shopping on Thursday night

1027. smoothies every day

1028. Google Reader on my phone

1029. new tires for the Sequoia

1030. a delightful week of school

1031. the return of Friday classes

1032. skating

1033. first Upward basketball game

1034. marking items off the to-do list, even if it is ever-so-slowly

1035.  dinner with friends

1036.  church and Sunday school

1037.  small group gatherings

1038.  prayers whispered at my child’s door

1039.  SNOW!!!

1040.  an easy finish after a rough start

1041.  “snow cones”

1042.  children playing outside

1043.  hot soup in the crock pot

1044.  canceled activities

1045.  a quiet night at home

Praying your Monday was filled with the beauty of winter and that your week is filled with joy!

~ Sara

Week in Review and Random Thoughts on a Saturday

The past two weeks have been good. Christmas was wonderful and hopefully I’ll upload some of those pictures before Valentine’s Day.  😛

We enjoyed a blissfully restful break between Christmas and New Year’s complete with sleeping in, no outside activities, and no exercising. For the first time in quite a while, I didn’t feel utterly exhausted all the time.  The sleeping in and breaking from exercise did bite me in the tail this week as my body readjusted to real life. I maintain, though, that the rest was worth it.

Matt and I started doing the 30 Day Shred this week. For the first few days I was convinced that Jillian Michaels was trying to kill me. Finally on Friday (day 5 for me), I was able to walk without pain. I don’t like exercising everyday; I believe the body needs to rest. I am, however, going to attempt to do this for the full 30 days and see what kind of results I get. After that, or when the weather warms up for more consistent running, I may adjust it a bit.

We went back to school on Tuesday. The first day was as I expected: slow and somewhat painful for all. On Wednesday and Thursday, though, there was some sort of transformation in our second born child. I’m still delightfully baffled by it. It was as though, all of a sudden, she “got it”. She worked through her school quickly and with focus. She did everything that was asked of her cheerfully. She even CHOSE to get up early on Friday morning to finish up some corrections before Friday classes. I am thankful for those two days and for this glimpse of what she is capable of and I’m praying it’s a lasting change.

We had Chandler’s first Upward basketball game today. Oh my, what fun!  Our sweet child had no idea what was going on, but she hung in and tried hard. By the end of the game you could tell she was starting to figure it out, at least a little bit. I can’t wait to watch more games!  🙂

I need to start using more photos in my posts again. I have a few hundred pictures on my computer that  need to be sorted and edited, dating back to before Thanksgiving. I just haven’t had time. I guess I had time the week after Christmas, but we were all really busy resting. 😉 One of my goals for January is to get through those photos.

I have developed what I have self-diagnosed as a repetitive stress injury in my right shoulder. It seems to be the equivalent of carpal tunnel and is made extremely painful by lengthy periods at the computer. Yet another reason for my unedited photos.

I decided last week, after our pastor’s message at church, that I am going to read all the way through the Bible again this year. As I’ve been working my way through Genesis and Job this week, I thought of the last (and only other) time I’ve accomplished this feat. It was 1997, and it turned out to be a pivotal, life-changing year in my walk with the Lord. And it never occurred to me until this week that it was the sheer amount of time I spent in God’s word that made it so. That led me to wonder what this year will bring!

I have also been contemplating the role of blogging in my life. I find the exercise of writing extremely beneficial and almost a necessary part of my life. I find that when I am writing a  lot, I am more attentive to the details of life around me and I’m more purposeful about  lot of things  But it takes a lot of time to write every day. Last June, when I moved over to WordPress, I challenged myself to post five times a week, and I think I met that goal pretty well all the way through the end of the year. That it still a goal of mine, but if I am honest with myself, I know that two to three posts per week is much more realistic right now, especially during the school year.  So, just know that I will still be posting regularly, but maybe not quite as often.

I hope you all have a wonderful rest of the weekend. We are headed out for dinner tonight with some really great people.  Can’t wait!

For His Glory ~

~ Sara

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, It’s Back to School We Go

After one last lazy day off (well, lazy for the girls anyway), we go back to school today.  The grumbling started already on Sunday with murmurings of “hating” school and how boring it is and not wanting to start.  And Satan wasted no time hitting me in the heart with those words, discouraging me, defeating me before I ever started the battle of second semester.

As kids were sent to rest for Sunday afternoon, I fell onto the couch next to Matt and asked for wisdom, encouragement.  We talked for a bit and then he shared a wonderful illustration.  Matt does construction for a living.  He helps others make their homes more livable, more beautiful, more valuable.  But he does remodeling, not new construction, so every project begins with demolition.  And one day, in the not too distant future, someone else will come through and tear out all that he and his crews have done.  Everything he does will one day be destroyed again.  But in this daily task of raising children I am partnering with God to build something that will last for eternity.

And I make the point that therein lies part of my fear.  I feel I’m walking blind in this day-to-day adventure we call home schooling.  I grew up in a traditional school setting and teaching is not even remotely close to being one of my gifts or skills, and yet this is what I feel called to trade my days for.  And thin-skinned as I am, I admit that it hurts when they say they hate it.  So how do I know that what I’m doing with them isn’t just wood, hay, and stubble that will be burned away?  How can I know that I am trading my days  for things of eternal value?

Honestly, a lot of days I don’t know.  I walk on in faith.  I seek Him daily and ask Him to fill my cup to overflowing so that I can reflect His love and grace more fully to these children who often times seem set on destroying me.  😉  And He carries me on with glimpses of grace, hope in a desert land.  He shows me the oldest gently playing dolls with the youngest.  He shows me 2011 goal lists that include desires to “read my Bible daily, even on weekends” and “be kind to my sisters”.  He shows me the child who volunteers to carry in groceries or clean the kitchen.  He sends hope in their words and actions.  He shows me laughter when I would normally want to scream or cry.  He shows me my own growth and theirs.

And it is on these glimpses that we carry on.  It is by clinging tightly to these things and God’s promises that we embark on the next sixteen weeks and really every day that lies ahead.

What about you?  What daily challenges are a walk of blind faith?

May you be encouraged today as you face those challenges.  Let us remember Romans 5 which tells us, “suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame.”

For His Glory ~

~ Sara