Monday, December 31, 2007
Saturday, December 29, 2007
2. Stomach sickness is even less fun when away from home.
3. Noses can run incessantly...multiplied times three children and you go through a LOT of tissue.
4. Sickness makes you miss the crazy things your toddler normally does...Isaac hasn't climbed on one table or even chair since being sick...but I sure wished he would at times. I'll trade the snuggly baby for a healthy one any day.
5. Josiah has no interest in cartoon networks...he is an Animal Planet or Discovery Channel only consumer (and thank goodness for their availability in the midst of our plagues).
6. The mystery of viruses...we all went through one the week before we left...all got better....Josiah gets another one, Isaac soon to follow....Cole and Maddie still seem relatively healthy.
7. Having a nurse in the family is SO nice when the flu bug comes and bites you.
8. Sleep is very underated.
9. Motrin rocks!
10. Kindness in the midst of illness is a soothing balm.
Well, the short of it is...we thought we were healthy and left for PA to spend Christmas with both sides of the family. We stopped at Mom's first (where Josiah became sick again but seemed to come around within 2 days); then it was on to Krystal's where we had a great Christmas celebration followed by a night of flaming fevers back with a vengeance. In the hopes of quarantining the kids from all the other cousins, I drove the sick ones back to my Mom's leaving Tom and Cole to spend the remainder of the week with the cousins, aunts, uncles, Nana and Gramps (who were all meeting in PA this year). As I write this I am hoping to be reunited with them all tomorrow (Sunday) morning for the twins dedication.
In spite of all of this we have had a really blessed Christmas season. The one song that has reallly struck me this season as ringing very false is "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Forgive me if that is your favorite...but the line "from now on our troubles will be out of sight" is just so far from truth to the people I know that are fighting valiant fights for health or justice. Christ in the flesh does not make our troubles disappear...it does mean He is with us in the midst of them. That had been my one epiphany moment of the season and it ministered to me while I was on my knees cleaning up after one bout of illness. Christ is with us...His presence does not guarantee or promise "merry" days but He does give us quiet joy in the times of question and uncertainty. I am so inspired by my friends who are fighting cancer and their quiet hope and trust in the Lord. I want to live with that kind of Christ in me hope...that no matter what tomorrow holds...to know that I am held by the almighty everlasting omnipotent hands of the incarnate One.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Friday, December 7, 2007
We did make contact with Matt and he is doing ok. His car is totaled, the insurance is a mess, but all that really matters is that he was not hurt worse than he is. He has a lacerated spleen which means he is not allowed much activity. We are so thankful for God's protection and pray he continues to heal.
Maddie was having a ball...she didn't sled near as much as the others but she sure enjoyed socializing with everyone out there...and even if there wasn't anyone around she just kept talking and talking and gesturing with those hands.
Isaac's first run down!
Josiah and Cole were never ready to go...they just went up and down that hill the entire time we were out. And of course there was the elusive "one more time" to end the night.
Just as we were putting the younger two into the car, I looked for Cole and couldn't find him on the hill. Then I found him up above the sledding area trying to sled off a neighboring yard over a retaining wall (of course brick). Boys....you gotta love 'em!
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
Maddie loved baking with me this week...here she is making her own pecan pie.
Dinner at my sister Amy's...food was wonderful as always. We are so thankful Steve began to regain vision in his eye last week. Due to a retinal detachment we feared he would not regain sight in that eye. It is still a long journey but it was especially good to gather on this day and pause to give thanks together.
Aunt B-B manned the kids table.
Everybody wanted to squeeze guess who?
And last...a really magical walk downtown to see the windows at Macy's...this year's theme was the Nutcracker.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
The following lists were written by the kids over the Thanksgiving week.
Cole gives thanks for cousins, friends, my sister, my two brothers, my house, my toys, for me, a school, books, atlas, holidays, food, God, mom and dad.
Josiah gives thanks for his birthday and presents, for big cat toys, my room, school, Mrs. Mommaerts, everybody in my family, my class, pizza, Jesus, Josh, the zoo.
Maddie gives thanks for Nana and Gramps, Grandma, Mom, Si, Dad, Isaac, Anna's mom, Anna, Caitlyn and her family, her doll Emily, her baby doll Lauren, her new song cd, meat, bread and candy.
I loved seeing their personalities reflected in their giving thanks.
We have so much to be thankful for...and even if belated in posting, it's worth a moment to reflect on....not just at this season but everyday.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
A basic article on why we create a Jesse tree
Printable symbols (but feel free to have your kids draw them originally if they are at all artistic)
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Isaac finds new uses for the light saber, a.k.a. walking stick!
- In thinking about frugal living (btw, try googling those two words and you'll be amazed at the plethora of material out there), I think it's important to lay out reasons for frugality:
- It's not about obsessing about money (frugal people can be just as obsessive as greedy people)
- It's not about "getting" more stuff (the point should be good stewardship, i.e. no debt, and a generous spirit that enjoys giving away more)
- It is about evaluating what we "need" vs. what we "want"
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Saturday, October 27, 2007
"I can't just fight when I think I'll win.”
Why is a soft-spoken, introspective, Minnesota mother of three talking about fighting? On her new album, Tell Me What You Know, acoustic pop artist Sara Groves explores what she has learned over the past two years, lessons on the value of long defeats, and the defiance of hope in the face of insurmountable odds. Since the 2005 release of her last project, Add to the Beauty, Groves has been questioning just how, exactly, she is called to do that.
Sara explains, “I believe God invites us to add to the beauty of his plan, letting us participate in his redemptive work. But I found myself asking, ‘How have I applied this idea?' I had groomed and groomed and groomed my personal faith, but to what end?”
Her answers came in a series of global conversations and experiences, from the flood-ravaged gulf of Louisiana, to the genocide memorials of Rwanda, to the testimonies of Southeast Asia sex trade survivors. These experiences showed the disparity between some of the American pursuits of comfort and wealth and the joy of joining the difficult work of social justice and engaging in the suffering of the afflicted. “
One of the main inspirations behind this album is a girl named Elisabeth,” Sara says. “I knew about human trafficking and modern day slavery at some sort of global level, but I didn’t truly understand the personal stories behind what was happening until I met Elisabeth in Washington, D.C.”
Elisabeth’s story is both heartbreaking and phenomenal. The oldest of seven children living in Southeast Asia, the teenager had just finished her sophomore year of high school and decided to take a job in a neighboring community to save money for Bible college. But, tragically, she was betrayed by a traveling companion, kidnapped and sold to a brothel owner. She found herself days later in a foreign country, unable to speak the language, forced into a life of prostitution.
Sara relates the rest of the story: “Elizabeth prayed every night for God to rescue her, even though the other girls in the brothel mocked her. After eight months, an International Justice Mission operative was able to secure her freedom. While retrieving her belongings, they saw Psalm 27 written on the wall above her mattress in her tiny room: The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid?’
“The phrase ‘social justice’ can be loaded. To some people it is a political or a liberal conversation, but to me, it is a Kingdom conversation. There are people behind these stories and statistics, and God’s heart for justice burns on their behalf. I wanted to write songs that drew attention to the people like Elizabeth who know God deeply because of their suffering. There is a commonality in all of these friends, and that is the perseverance of hope.”
Much of what Groves has learned has come through her new friends at International Justice Mission, an organization that stands in the gap for victims of violence, sexual exploitation, slavery and oppression when they are left without an advocate. Her interactions with IJM, as well as recent mission trips to Rwanda and New Orleans, have brought a fresh sense of purpose and excitement to Sara’s life-long Christian faith. “
Much of what I had done before along the lines of service was guilt induced. When I would hear a horrific story, I would want to respond quickly, write a check, and be done with it. But I have met many incredible people who are responding with their lives, and that has exposed something in me. I have been given a lot of joy in life, but I’ve also missed something. All of my life I have been grooming my faith, but have missed something about the purpose of that grooming. If I understand scripture at all, I have to know that to enter into the suffering of the poor and the oppressed is to know Christ and his suffering.”
When listening to the new songs on Tell Me What You Know, it’s clear just how much Sara Groves has been learning. Groves’ songs have always communicated profound insight via an organic yet eclectic musical palette. However, this time around Groves accomplishes something even more incredibly rare, 11 tracks detailing hardship and injustice while defiantly and exuberantly celebrating hope. “I want this album to be enjoyable, for people to be able to listen to it in their car and not be heavy hearted about all the ills in the world. I’ve tried to create music that represents the joy that comes in getting to enter into this work.”
Her joy is contagious, and is certain to extend to her growing family. Sara was writing and recording this album while pregnant with her third child, Ruby Cate, born mere days after the final songs were mixed. Now as Sara and husband Troy welcome their first daughter to a home filled with the sounds of two rambunctious big brothers (Toby, 4, and Kirby, 7), the Groves’ family look forward to learning more about how their lives will be useful in bringing hope to individuals like Elizabeth.
That night in Washington D.C., Elizabeth was asked to share the Psalm she had written on the wall as part of her testimony, but Elizabeth refused, stating that Psalm 27 was for the brothel. Instead, she said, she would read Psalm 34: I sought the Lord, and He heard my cry. “When I met Elizabeth, I felt like I was in the presence of royalty,” says Sara. “She is a college graduate now, and with tremendous courage, has used her story to inspire action. I couldn’t get her out of my mind as I was writing these songs. She knows something about God that I will never know. Those verses are real to her in a way that I have never experienced. After meeting her, genocide survivors, and others who have suffered great oppression, I was humbled by my lack of understanding of life, of love, of courage, and of Christ, and was filled with a hunger to know more.”
Thursday, October 25, 2007
~Cole takes a turn at the "shaving horse," making shingles