Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New book for January book club

When my "well read friend" Amy announced this was to be our next book....I had an excited flutter in my stomach followed by a panic attack flutter. As much as I would like to read the confessions...I also thought how in the world am I going to do that in my current stage of life?!

But you know what, I made it through book 1 the other night (while taking a long relaxing soak in the tub....I love to read books that way) and it's really not that hard. Lots of food to chew on and I'm really excited to complete it now. Just like with running, I find most battles are in my mind. If I decide I AM going to do it--nothing stops me. But all too often, I defeat myself in my mind before I ever even try.

Here is a link to the Midday Connection (a Moody broadcast) Book Club with lots of resources (including study questions, and a podcast with lit prof from Moody discussing this book later in January).

So, I know it's a busy time...but I'm not trying to finish it until late January. Anyone else interested is cordially invited to read with me the Confessions of St. Augustine (you know..."our heart is restless until it rests in Thee"...that was him).

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving happenings

We did it!!!! Tom and I successfully completed a 10K during the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot. Don't ask us where we placed and I'm not sure you could call it "running," but our bodies were in perpetual motion the entire time and boy were we proud of each other for finishing. Next year...a respectable time!

Maddie loved baking with me this she is making her own pecan pie.

Dinner at my sister Amy' 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

Giving thanks...

This season I have been poignantly aware of how thankful I am for the gift of health and life. I know, now more than ever, that whether we live or die we do so to the Lord. There is no fear of dying. There is no overglorification of the fallen world we live in. But I believe when we were created, life was grand and our quest to understand it was insatiable...that drive within us remains. I love life...I love experiencing it in community with my wonderful children, beloved friend I call husband, extended family and many special friends. There is another consuming I living this life well? I living it to all the potential God has planted within me?...what dreams are left to be brought to fruition? I am so thankful for the gift of life and my prayer is to "live each day well." I borrowed the last phrase from my friend Michelle's recent update and request for prayer. She is a young mom of 3 boys and is battling stage 4 cancer.

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

Jesse Tree

We're going to try to make one of these again this year. In all honesty, last year we kept getting behind, and then racing to get "caught up" so I think a lot of the devotions got crammed together and weren't able to digest long enough. This year, I'm a step ahead of the game in that I know how it works...and thought I'd pass it along to anyone else interested (thanks to Cara for sharing it with me several years ago!). My idea this year is to color/make all the ornaments on Sunday afternoons...then during the week all we have to do is read the devotions at the supper table and place the coordinating ornament on the Jesse tree. I'm sure there will still be interuptions...but at least we have a plan!

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)

Printable devotions

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Random thoughts from the past week...

Some of you know that Tom is on sabbatical writing this semester. He has been working from "home" (he usually goes over to the library a few blocks away) 2-3 days a week, eliminating his commuting time on those days. One of the other perks is that we get the treat of eating lunch together. This week, Daddy delighted Maddie by playing Candyland over his lunch break. She just couldn't have been more pleased had he roped her in the moon. We've been trying to work on ways to enjoy one on one time with our children. Next planned...a date for "tea" out with Dad. I'd love to be a fly on the wall for that one...but that would ruin the whole point, huh?
Whatever card she just drew....this look says she is well pleased! What a gift to enjoy the "small things" with our children and delight in watching their enjoyment.

Isaac finds new uses for the light saber, a.k.a. walking stick!

It's finally real fall weather up north...I had to dig and find the hats and mittens this week. Our fall is unusually late, though, and the majority of the leaves on our trees have not fallen. However, we did start the fun of raking this week. I love seeing the kids play in the piles...and don't mind the exercise either. I just have to figure out a way to watch Isaac and rake at the same time. He is loving his newfound freedom in walking, but can really get hurt falling on the pavement outside. Right after snapping this picture, he sported a new bruise above his right eye.

Yesterday we headed up to the zoo for free days. Our in house animal enthusiast was "in heaven" and the rest of us enjoyed it as well.
Speaking of "free" my local friends know all too well, I've been on a "frugal living" re-evaluation. Tom and I have always been either students or in full time ministry, which in our case has meant we had to live on a budget. Through my friend, Amy, I have been linking to a web site that highlights really good deals. I must confess that coupon clipping just seems so "hassle-full" to me. But, with Crystal's help (the lady), it is greatly simplified because she tells you what coupons to clip, combine, and what stores have the best programs to save with. The main two stores that always have "free" deals (after rebate and coupon) are CVS and Walgreens. I happen to live, literally, blocks away from both, so I am trying to embark on this new frugal journey. Crystal feeds her family of four on $35.00/week!!! That blows my mind...I don't think I will ever be there but I think I can surely manage to trim some of the excess off of our own grocery list.
  • 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:
  1. It's not about obsessing about money (frugal people can be just as obsessive as greedy people)
  2. 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)
  3. It is about evaluating what we "need" vs. what we "want"

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Where has a year gone...

How can it be that a year ago this time I was waking up in a recovery room feeling like my abdomen had been ripped open (actually it felt that way because it had) and wondering how in the world I was going to make it through that night. But then, hours later as I was wheeled back into my hospital room my all consuming thought was to be reunited with the little one who had grown as one (or at times at war) within my body, for the previous nine months. I hope I never forget that feeling of hearing the nurse wheel our precious Isaac Thomas into that quietly lit room. It felt so different to pick up this baby from whom I had been separated from for several hours. Our first three children had no complications, and almost textbook style the doctor would have their Daddy clip the cord, only to be handed into my/our waiting arms. But with Isaac, I learned in a whole new way that as a mother I would do anything to give him life. Just the thought that something was wrong made me realize I would have let the doctors cut me any which way if it would guarantee his safety. I remember being surprised in the OR that you are strapped crucifix style on this teensy table...but what a blessed reminder that Christ lay down His for give me life abundantly. As it turned out, neither my life, or Isaac's were endangered...the delivery went smoothly, just differently than anticipated. But the lessons I learned were indicative of a year's worth of lessons. As I reflect on this, the eve of his first birthday, I am poignantly aware of the beauty of motherhood, the sacrifice it entails, the joy in it's journey, the fear of doing it wrong, but ultimately the grace and freedom of realizing our children come not from us, just through us.

Isaac, your name means laughter, you came after an impossible promise that God would build a mighty nation from a barren womb. We are so thankful for the many ways you make us laugh, we delight in the fleeting days of your babyhood, we celebrate your drive to keep up with your older siblings (while inwardly we cringe a little to see you so anxious to grow up)but most of all we are excited to see what impossible feats you will accomplish, what dreams God will plant and bring to fruition through only you. No one else could do exactly what God has ordained for you to perform. So strive on dear boy, I won't hold you back (I will shed a few tears) but if you look back, always know that your old mom will be your greatest (well at least the loudest) cheerleader; and your dad, the greatest coach a boy could be given.

As always...words fail. But never fails.

We watched a wonderful movie tonight, together, called The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey. We've had the illustrated children's book for a couple years but the movie version really gripped all of our attention tonight. As Mr. Toomey listens to Willie tell him "how" to carve Mary and the baby Jesus, he explains..."it's simple, just carve them like they loved each other more than anything else in the world." is simple...but I can't think of anything more fitting.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

keeping up with the big boys

He did this ALL on his own...

Thursday, November 1, 2007

sprinting by next week?

Maybe he'll be ready to run the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day with mom and dad...