Monday, February 28, 2011

Being intentional

Today was the day of Intentionality.... 
The last few days were more of the harried 'head just above water' type of days. My little ones rose early, like usual, but this time I was prepared for them. I had even prepped the prepping of breakfast the night before knowing that I wanted Zoe to get some cooking practice in. All the ingredients were measured out and ready to be tossed in to make Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins (a healthy breakfast muffin alternative): I used a 4 oz. jar of baby food pears in place of the 1/4 C. oil and it worked like a charm.

Roman was a good sport during all of this... he kept busy with some cherrios on his tray:).

We placed the muffins in the oven and waited patiently for them to exhibit a golden glow. Then we plopped one on Big Sis' plate.

 She gave thanks to God for her muffin.

And enjoyed her creation very much.

After breakfast we trucked on over to the library on this blustery day and loaded up our recycle bag with books till I could hardly carry it. Every book looked like one Big Sis wanted to bring home and so somehow it found it's way into our little sack.

We hurried home to enjoy some good reads and put Little Man down for a nap. Big Sis and I cuddled into our Book Nook and read about a mouse house that leaked, some greedy farm animals, and how food is digested in our stomachs...

Then a breakthrough happened!!! A real true breakthrough!... we've been working on the potty training for a while now and it hasn't quite taken off like I would have liked... we've been having some difficulty with #2 [if you know what I mean]. Well today was the day, folks. The waste found its place... or shall I quote Zoe "The stinky went to go visit his friends." Honestly... that's what she said. I like to say "The stinky has left the building!"

Well, so much more happened today than I have time to record.... Japanese lessons and tapping sticks songs and the creation of little critters. Our day was really packed full of fun. It was a great day!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

This and that...

I saw it in his eyes so clearly today ... the firm reprimand was followed by "that look"... the look that completely disregards the correction...a willful act of disobedience... otherwise known as "sin." He is 10 months old. But this depravity is ingrained within....

Ingrained within us all... case in point: I spent too many hours in the kitchen and the strain on my body was getting to me. I almost let a small misunderstanding turn into a massive explosion. Like the steaming pot of spaghetti over the stove that I was working with... I, too, was about to 'boil over' with frustration like an unstoppable force.

Then something finally lifts... I realize the state that I am in... one of total depravity. I realize my carnal nature has started to overcome me. I have but one hope... a chance of turning this ship around that's headed for destruction.... it comes with surrendering to HIM  [Jesus] and letting the Spirit fight for me... take my daily battles that wage war against my flesh. I relax and rest in Jesus. Ahh... peace. Thank you, Jesus, for your grace.


A funny note from the day.... It appeared that yesterday the neighbors had some fun in their front yard building a pretty impressive looking snowman. Zoe noticed "Frosty" in the front yard while we were eating our french toast breakfast and she couldn't help, but beg to go see him. She insisted he would talk to her.

As mentioned previous, I spent the majority of my day in the kitchen finishing up my "Once A Month" cooking endeavor. I was blessed to have completed 30 meals! After preparations for 30 meals, you can imagine the state of havoc that my kitchen was in. I set out after the hours of food prep to do a complete clean of my kitchen. One funny thing about me is that when I get started on something, I have to be thorough AND see it through to completion. So, my 'cleaning the kitchen' turned into Spring Clean part 2. See coat/shoe closet below.

Here's how the above picture happened. I went to grab the broom from the coat/shoe closet [where it is kept] to start cleaning the kitchen. I looked down at the mess that was our shoes and decided to begin the rehaul on the closet instead. A half hour later, our closet looked a whole lot better, and I was back to cleaning the kitchen up. Oh... how I sometimes wish I could just keep to the task at hand!

Friday, February 25, 2011


Delicious Indian curry still lingers on my tongue. The evening was filled with the scent of ginger, tamarack, chili powder, and the warmth of special friends. The whole family journeyed over to break bread with some fairly new friends of ours... we were blessed with the delicacies of India. It is amazing to me how our lives are a collection of the people in which we choose to keep company with. I feel blessed to have such special folk surrounding me, who give me encouragement and spiritual sharpening. Thanks Kavi, Alan, & Julia for a great night tonight!

God grants us blessings each moment of each day. I don't always see them. My nerves were shot today. I spent the majority of my waking hours today standing in the kitchen layering pans with meals to be frozen. It was "Once A Month Cooking" day for me [the day of my month that I have a love/hate relationship with]. So, I'm having to think extra hard about the blessings that God gave me this day:

* playing with Little Man on the floor and discovering a new favorite game he likes to play
* enjoying homemade apple crisp from a British baker
* spending the evening with my family and getting to know new friends like they were old acquaintances
* partaking of Indian curry and naan [my favorite ethnic food of choice]
* 8 freezer meals complete... that's 8 nights of no cooking for me!
* a husband who watches the kiddos, so I can accomplish so much in the kitchen
* binky's that help comfort in the most distressed of situations
* the thoughts of summer vacations on blizzard-like days

Thanks, God, for your good graces this day.

Fingers entwined...

"Hold my hand, daddy," says Big Sis. "Walk with me." 

It'd been a while. The Preacher had been gone for 4 days. The need... the desire... the longing she had to hold her daddy's hand was evident. She missed him. 

"Are you there, Seeker? Will you hold My hand and walk with Me?"

"I'll show you beauty while we walk close - hand in hand."

 Beauty in the snow....
 Beauty in the mountain....
Beauty in the sky and tree...

....Beauty in you.

Sometimes we just need reminded of God's fingerprint on this world and in our life. He is wanting to walk hand-in-hand with us each day. 

[photos courtesy of Jenna Lee representing Alaska's natural beauty]

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Creating space....

Last night I was up till midnight working on finances. With Excel spreadsheet after Excel spreadsheet open and mouse clicking from screen to screen... a pile of receipts lays on the floor. For some reason I can't get my checkbook to balance. After 3 hours of meticulously scouring my checkbook... relief sets in as the numbers begin to align. Now, my head can hit the pillow.

It is now morning and it is ten till seven. The sun is coming up slowly, but there is still the hint of darkness that covers the earth. Little Man woke up at half past six [an earlier rising than normal], even though he got to bed an hour later than normal. I feed him some milk and insist he goes back to bed knowing that his tired and sick body needs the rest. After jumping into the shower, I saunter downstairs. I still hear him crying, screaming. Surely he will wake Big Sis and the Preacher [who got in last night at 3am after a 6 1/2 hour car trip from Louisville, KY]. I have a decision to make... my bible sits on the window sill... it is calling to me to come explore the Words inside and let them resonate within me.

....All I can hear is the scream of another calling to me and it is shaking my insides up as well.

I have a decision to make... I chose the prayer bench.  I move all of the magazines that are piled on the floor and make "space" for me to commune. I find the day old sippy cup filled with milk that we were looking for yesterday buried below. I move it aside and "make room."

But the screams of little man continue to rattle my brain, I try to focus. Every thing I read is a blur.

"Lord, help me this day to be the kind of mom you want me to be. Help me to see my children through your eyes. Give me patience and strength and help me to dwell in you." Things become clearer.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mismatched Masterpieces

I found myself snowed in at my parent's house after another crazy pounding of the white stuff. It is always a retreat to spend time with family in the comforts of the old country home. There is nothing like the sounds and smells of years gone by. Every nook and cranny tells a tale and memories flood the mind spilling warmth into the heart. It truly is a blessing every chance I get to sojourn there.

With the pressures of housework off my shoulders and Gma spending treasured time with the young'uns, I was left to tackle an inspiration that had been itching to get out ever sense I laid eyes on it.... a creation unlike any I had seen... a "Softie Doll" whose personality was left up to chance pieces and how they were sewn together... a patchwork of sorts... a crazy collection of mismatched pieces that makes me smile every time I look at her... blushed cheeks and a smirky smile... I think you'll find her charming too.

So with some inspiration from "60 piggies" blog that I follow and some creativity of my own, I started to put together mismatched pieces to make a masterpiece unique and zany. By the end of the day, three matchless dolls appeared each waiting for that special day when they can be given... their own little mismatched masterpiece owner.

Now comes the part, where I need some help. I need some clever names for these three softie dolls. If you are feeling up for the challenge... tell me what name you think each one should have!

Softie #1:
 Softie #2:
 Softie #3:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Words that dwell and find residence...

I feel my blood pressure rise and the muscles in my neck and shoulder tense up. "Zoe... STOP PLEASE!!! How many times do I have to tell you that you may not have the candy? If you touch another piece you will go to timeout!" I sigh a heavy breath and try to collect myself. I am on the verge of screaming to release the tension that has built up. Why do I let this affect me so, and then spilling out of my mouth comes less than graceful words? 
The words I have spoken are convicted by these words below....
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 )
Words are one vehicle that I use to touch the world around me: my children, my husband, my dog, my friends, my extended family, my neighbors, and strangers. The words that come forth from me either bring life or bring death to those they touch (John 1:4). Jesus, the very Word himself, came to us touching our lives with the fullness of grace and truth. His very call and commission for my life is to touch others with the grace He has given me.
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. (Colossians 4:6)

Why do I feel that I have to be right in a conversation? Why do I feel that I have to prove a point or even have my opinion known?

Lord, help me to season the lives around me with words of grace today and forever. May I see the world as you see and bring life to a deary land. Amen

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Revive Us Again!

We unlocked the windows and heaved them up, letting in a gush of air.  There's just something about having a cross breeze whip through your house taking the musty scent of months pent up and whisking it right out the window.... it does something for the house and the soul. It just smelled "clean." The sun gleamed in the windows casting a brilliant glow into the warmth to everything it touched. Spring's buds were pushing through Winter's cold. Winter no long had it's grasps...things were coming alive, things were being revived!

I began spring cleaning.... kitchen cabinet crumbs were wiped away and the freshness was spread around the room.

We made a trip to the zoo the first chance we could get. There is nothing like seeing the wonder in gleaming eyes as they marvel at God's amazing creations!

Little Man had his own fun at the zoo in the backpack eating one of his biter biscuits! What a mess!

The garden plans began to come underway. Big Sis and I made a mock mini garden and she helped me sketch out what we wanted to plant where.

We took the family for a stroll across the street to visit neighbors we haven't seen in 3 months and to deliver a bit of Valentine goodness (better late then never).

We walked down two blocks to visit Big Sis' new school (she won't be attending for 2 more years). We were welcomed with big smiles and given a school tour. Big Sis observed a kindergarten class and met the principal.

Banana Banana Bread  is currently baking in the oven ready to be snatched up by eager fingers while it is still warm and steamy (with a spread of butter on top it can't be beat, unless you are the Preacher and then well... Banana Banana Bread doesn't sound appealing for the mere fact that there are bananas in it).  The timer just went off! Time for banana bread!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Confessions of Change...

I confess... I don't think I was at my best today...  I know I was not at my best today. We're in the middle of potty training and the day was spent trying to coerce Big Sis on the benefits of why 'tinkling' & 'stinkying' in the 'big potty' was the best thing since Elmo and Veggie Tales. It quickly turned into a battle of the wills. I had supplied her with the coziest of pottying experiences: she had her beverage of choice (juice) right next to her, a snack to accompany and keep the drinking going, a movie in her hand (courtesy of Pop via my cell phone), and the basket of Potty Presents all neatly wrapped waiting for the deposit to occur.

It never occurred.

Let me back up. The previous 5-7 days has been really great on the potty training front! We'd made great headway with practically no accidents until the last 24 hours.

Something snapped inside that little brain that made her realize she didn't like the change of not being in diapers... the only existence she has ever known for eliminating. And thus the battle had begun... a battle of the wills.

With a look of anxiety in her eye and a diaper in her hand, the little voice squeaks high and emphatically..."Change me, mommy. I don't want to be a big girl anymore; I want to wear a diaper. Change me on the changing table, mommy!"

How many times have we said to God, "God change me. I don't want to be like this anymore." In reality when we begin to feel the heat and the change actually taking place, we pull back. We recoil. We want to say, "I take it back!"

If you want to know how the story ends... well it is still going on. Zoe got her wish... I can't force her to go potty. She is back in diapers. God, too, will let us sit in our filth if we insist. God help us to be willing to change!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Bedtime meditations

We sing our song { Jesus Savior } every night before bed. Big Sis knows it by heart.

Her tiny, sweet, girlish voice can often be heard singing it even throughout the day and it melts my heart. It is our family prayer taken from the words of Frances Ridley Havergal that speak to me each night as they flow off my lips:

Jesus, Savior, wash away
All that has been wrong today.
Help me every day to be
Good and gentle more like thee.

We have put these profound words to song as a way to ingrain them in our minds. We kiss Little Man and Big Sis goodnight. Their soft baby cheeks are smooth to the touch. And they drift off in slumber... well usually :).

Friday, February 11, 2011

Taking off the Blinders...

(photo by Jordyn Tayyy)

The keys are felt under fingertip. I don't typically know what I'm going to type. The kids are in bed and it is my time to exhale from another long day. When I first began recording my day's thoughts I did so as a way to connect the daily ins and outs with family who is separated from us long distance and who can't SEE firsthand what our life holds.  In a sense to "take the blinders off" and let family take a good look at our life from the inside. Oh! I had no idea what God truly had in store.

It was quickly revealed to me that this {discipline} of writing consistently of God's good graces had become a much needed "hard stop" for me in my day. I have always known the value of the spiritual discipline of journaling, but with tired eyes and weary body it would always get neglected. This intentionally carved out time in my day, right after kids are in bed, has become my time of reflecting on how God has blessed me and what He has revealed to me this day. Since taking the time to SEE God at work and taking my own blinders off, each day brims with newfound promises & gracious gifts from my Loving Savior. I am looking forward to carving out more "hard stops" in my day!

John 9:25b "One thing I do know. I was blind, but now I see!"

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I heard spring this morning...

This morning God gave me a gift...Just when I thought all life had been sucked out of the hardened earth, I was reminded of His great mercies which are new with every sunrise. 

I peeked my head out the back door and caught a breath of the cold, brisk winter air. 
It filled my lungs and breath seemed to come easy. I lingered, but only for a second... that's all it took. In the the stillness of that second God spoke... 
Lamentations 3:22-2322 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
A bird chirped off in the distance.

Then another joined in, and then another. It was sweet, revitalizing! God is here. He is not far off. And neither is Spring.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Grace Threads

I like to think that my life is 'put together.' That is hardly the truth. I wish I would have taken a picture of my house yesterday an hour before the Preacher came home. Chaos at best, would be one way of describing it. I spent most of my day neglecting the entire house, except for the basement where I am attempting to create a learning center for Big Sis. (She's not even 3 yet and there is enormous amounts of pressure to start her on the educational process...why is this?).

It'd been one of those days: my head hadn't seen a shower for 48 hours, my shirt was on backwards and I didn't realize it until changing into my pajamas, the tie to my pajama bottoms had sunken into the hole and had to be tediously fished out, and I'd been whizzed on by Little Man. 

Yet, something echoed in my head... I verse I had read the night previous.
"He is the image of the invisible God... all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." Colossians 1:15a, 16b, 17 (emphasis added)

"All things hold together"... this spinning out of control life is held together merely by threads of grace. I ponder about my day, all I had done or not done, and I look back to what graces were given to me this day.

#11 the perfectly twirled fork full of spaghetti by Big Sis. She is getting so big.
#12 the spontaneous drop in of a neighbor bringing goodies to share and fellowship for a few short minutes
#13 snuggles in the morning with my little girl all cozy and warm under the covers
#14 God's amazing grace threads

...these grace threads hold all things together.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Holy Experience

I've been moved by the book "one thousand gifts" by Ann Voskamp and would highly recommend it to anyone seeking a more fuller life and A Holy Experience.

I've joined the dare to list one thousand gifts that God has given:
#1: for generous and hospitable family who takes in the 'powerless' (literally the powerless... we had no power for 36 hours!)
#2: For gracious neighbors and brave friends from church who rescue me with a house full of tea treats and no one to eat them.

#3: The energy of a child and her father wrestling on the floor.

#4: The belly laugh of a 9-month old.
#5: Dampened curls that form on the "little man's" head after a restful slumber.
#6: The sleepy pups soft ears that feel like velvet to the touch.
#7: A tummy full after a long and satisfying meal.
#8: A sink clean and clear of dishes
#9: Babies napping simultaneously and the calmness that washes over my weary  body, rejuvenating it every dual moment they sleep.
#10: The smell of fresh roses

Nebulizer Treatments: The Passage of Breath

Life's a busy mess. I was reminded of that today. I've always had trouble with living the 'slowed' life... I have what seems only one speed...5th gear, fast. I live life as if it is the 100 meter dash. And thus, I have trouble breathing. Taking time to just breath. Slow. Deep. Satisfying breaths. The kind of breathing that orients your life. The kind of breathing that says "life's not an emergency." The kind of breaths that are God-inspired, soul-rejuvenating, cell-regenerating kind of breaths.

“Little man” had his first of a series of nebulizer treatments today. With a history of asthma on both sides of the family, it appears he doesn’t stand a chance. With wheezed breaths and body tensed, clenched tight, held in a straight jacket of arms… blonde hair standing in contrast to his beet red body… it was the saddest sight. (Especially since I was the one having to administer and attempt to caress at the same time.) With eyes that screamed and the shrieking, quiver of a baby’s wail he flailed trying to break free from the mask over his mouth and nose.

After a long five minutes, his body relaxes as the treatment comes to a close. His breathing slows and eases, flowing free. We lock eyes for the first time in five minutes. We stare at one another. And I soak it up. This moment I want to remember. This moment I want to "breathe"... I want to slow... I want to thank God for 'little man.' I want to thank God for breath.