17 August 2009

When all thy mercies, O my God...

"When all Thy mercies, O my God, my rising soul surveys,
Transported with the view, I'm lost in wonder, love and praise.

Unnumbered comforts to my soul Thy tender care bestowed, before my infant heart conceived from whom those comforts flowed."

Hymn 51, Trinity Hymnal

Here's an attempt at the numbering of those comforts to my soul. May it increase my joy, as well as yours! Consider joining the Gratitude Community and writing down your blessings as well.

I know this list has no theme, nothing that appears to hold it together. I guess what holds this together is that my Father has bestowed all these gifts in my life...overwhelming! And this is only the tip of the iceberg! More on that next time.

0022 thick beach towels

0023 colorful beach towels hanging up to dry

0024 colorful beach towels stacked up waiting to be used

0025 tiny girl bathing suits

0026 tiny hineys in said bathing suits

0027 brown arms, legs and backs

0028 sun bleached hair

0029 free public pool with every kind of person imaginable in attendance

0030 husband who loves to cook (more than I do)

0031 ice cream maker and fresh peach ice cream!

0032 cold showers at the end of a sweaty day

0033 staying up late and cleaning/organizing

0034 sleeping late in summer

0035 going to a teaching workshop for the first time in at least 10 years!

0036 being able to support friends going into missions abroad

0037 banging my dishes at night because my neighbor is away

0038 sunny kitchen windows

0039 the cool of water on hot shoulders

0040 reading a funny book to the boys (Clementine by Sarah Pennypacker; don't tell anyone but Clementine really reminds me of Theo)

0041 #1 attachment on the clipper set and a freshly-shorn head (Clayton)

0042 having oldest son say he wishes he was like me (gulp!)

0043 when by God's grace I use a gentle answer and thereby turn away wrath

0044 a hazy sunset that reminds me of my years in Atlanta

0045 the Trinity Hymnal

0046 teaching Sunday School to the 2-3 graders. We had such a great discussion yesterday!

0047 having people over and that forcing me to clean up!

0048 the United States Postal Service

0049 the new yellow dress that my dear, sweet husband bought for me ON HIS OWN, UNPROMPTED, COMPLETELY WITHOUT MY INPUT! And I love it!

0050 yellow and how it makes me feel

holy experience

16 August 2009

Banging dishes

Our downstairs neighbor is out of town for two weeks.

This is good because I don't have to be so mindful of being quiet at night when I'm cleaning the kitchen.
For example, just now (it's 10:38 pm) I was rinsing dishes to put in the dishwasher. And I was just happily banging the dishes to my heart's content. Because, seriously, isn't it easier to be loud than to be quiet? It takes less effort to wash and put away dishes noisily than it does to do so quietly.

Now, I admit that I have used dish banging as a form of communication. Usually when my message is something like, "I'm really grumpy and mad and I don't want to have anything to do with dishes and why do I always do all the work?" Some kind of mature message like that.

John thinks I'm really loud. Putting pots and pans away is just not a quiet activity, people! Glass nesting bowls, cast iron frying pans, muffin tins, cookie sheets, cooling racks...they're loud!

Are you a dish banger? My mom (hi, Mom!) was certainly a dish banger when I was growing up. Apple doesn't fall far from the tree. We all need Jesus to help us amend our passive-aggressive dish banging ways.

But tonight, I'm not mad. I'm just happily and noisily and easily cleaning up with kitchen. And glad that I'm not going to disturb my neighbor. For at least two weeks.

Disclaimer: In case you're wondering, "What about disturbing your own family?!" No worries. It's muggy tonight and all the fans are running, thereby drowning out my clanging.

15 August 2009

What is it about clutter?

I've been thinking about stuff, as in physical stuff, our possessions.

We are having a yard sale in a few weeks, so I've been cleaning out, setting things aside. It will feel good to actually get rid of things, but I have this sinking feeling that even if we sell off lots, we will still have mountains of STUFF!

As I look around our house, I see so many tiny, random objects, things that either John and I or the children have collected. I have such a strong urge to get rid of most of it! I think, "What if we were to move? What a huge headache that would be!" We have so much in our basement, and more in the attic.

I feel this desire to be able to just pack up and go. Why? We're not going anywhere. We have no plans to move. We live here; it's not a museum (HAHAHAHA!!!). Why is this bothering me so much? I plan to clean out the hall closet today, but these thoughts have me feeling, "What is the point?!"

What a complicated relationship with "stuff". I'm in the middle of reading The Thing Itself by Richard Todd. It's about authenticity (loaded word, I know, and the author acknowledges that). The book is quite thought provoking and I highly recommend it.

Any words of wisdom, reader?

14 August 2009

Extreme Makeover, Lucy's Room Edition

Okay, it's not really an EXTREME makeover. And I have no "before" pictures. But I wanted to post some pictures of Lucy's new room with her big girl bed. She calls it a princess bed.

Lucy has one those little attic-type rooms with the severely sloped ceilings, a good amount of floor space, but precious little wall space. Her room has a beautiful window, but doesn't get much ventilation. Unfortunately for her, her room is the hottest room in the summer and the coldest room in the winter.

Most of the elements are things we already possessed. I'm so pleased with how they all came together. The bed is really the only thing that is new to us.

Here's the view of her room from the doorway. The big white triangle in the upper left is the slope of the ceiling. We REALLY have to watch our heads in here!
A few notes:
* the LUCY letters above her bed are from Land of Nod, received with a gift card shortly after Lucy was born.
* little yellow bookshelf cheap from a yard sale
* awesome painted lamp is an antique that once belonged to my maternal grandmother, and that my mom remembers from her house growing up
* the wool throw rugs on the sides of the bed are also from my maternal grandmother. I love them! You can only see the green one in this picture. The one on the other side of the bed is dusty rose.
Don't you love the quilt on her bed? Want to know where you can get one? Oh, my aunt made it just for Lucy! Isn't it gorgeous? The boys all have one, each quite different, from Aunt Maura.
* sweet yellow bed was $10 off craigslist! It's from Ethan Allen and was the girlhood bed of the its previous owner. It's just what I wanted.
* old school desk was free from the side of the road several years ago. I've always loved it.

That's Lucy little cardboard playhouse. It doesn't fit quite as well with the new arrangement, but I think it can still work.

Here is the reading nook on one side of the bed. Hidden from view under the bed is a long basket of books, in addition to the books on the shelf.
* blue comfy chair from IKEA
* old wooden crate from my post-college days and filled with dress up clothes.

Here's the view from the bed toward the door.
* white wool rug from IKEA
* glider is the one we bought before Walter was born. It's rocked many a baby
* needlepoint pillow on glider was on my Grandma's sofa in Tucson. I remember it there so well, and feel glad to have it where we can enjoy it every day
* blue dresser from IKEA. Not my favorite and the drawers are not holding up very well. But it is fine for now.
* the Benjamin Bunny print was given to me by my mom. I think we had it when we were little. I love it.
* the doll on the dresser was brought to us recently by my mother-in-law.
* the little pink sweater hanging from the sconce belonged to John's late sister, Stacy. Lucy wears it, but I think it looks adorable on the fancy wire hanger, too!

Here's a closer shot of the doll and Beatrix Potter print and pillow:

This is the closet/attic space just to the left when you enter the room.
* the framed cross-stitch on the wall was done by my paternal grandmother for Walter when he was a baby. The stitching became too difficult for her to do before she could finish it, so her friends stepped in to complete it. It is a treasure. I love how the blue frame matches the dresser.

This picture is a bit fuzzy, but shows the main closet on the other side of the room. You can see the door of the playhouse and the glider to get perspective.
* the cat painting is an original done by my mother-in-law many years ago

Lucy will need some more substantial bedding for the winter, so I will be thinking about what kind of duvet/duvet cover to get her.
I think the thing I like best about the room is how many things that I love have come together in the space, and that many of those things come from family and mean something to us. I also appreciate the mixture of old and new.

Happy Friday!

12 August 2009

A cool rainy morning

It's a cool rainy morning, perfect for reading and puttering. Here's the run-down:

Didn't get up until 8 am! Mmmmm, sleepy time. Just John and I were awake for a while, and it was so nice to be able to chat without interruption.

Lucy was up first and we made a breakfast of left-over banana muffins from yesterday, bagels and sliced peaches and strawberries.

The boys slowly trickled in and we listened to Kenny Curtis on XM radio, Kids' Place Live. LOVE that radio show.

Prepared peaches for some ice cream making later!

Called all children to the table and we did our Bible reading for the day - a chapter from Proverbs and a section of the New Testament. I am really trying to be MUCH more intentional and regular about this. We NEED it. We need God's Word to help us, to discipline us, to instruct us. The more we do it, the easier it becomes. I really like doing it at breakfast.

Children scatter after clearing the table. Theo has created his own reading nook in the kitchen next to the refrigerator.

Clayton is listening to a book on CD in the family room, under a pile of pillows, completely hidden from sight.

Walter, wearing his robe, is sitting cross-legged on the red sofa, also reading. We went to the library YESTERDAY and he is on his third book!

Funny story about Walter and reading: The other day, Walter and his best friend, B., were here and John finally shooed them out of the house, as they had been reading together all afternoon. "Go out and DO something!" John told them.
As they left the room, I heard B. say, "Let's take some books outside!" They are truly two peas in a pod.

Lucy, as usual, is flitting around, making up stories and playing make-believe.

I'm sure by the time I post this the serenity will have been shattered...but for now it's so satisfying!

09 August 2009

A summer morning's gifts

holy experience

More gifts for a Monday morning...

This was my view on the kitchen table early one morning before anyone was awake. So many things for which to give thanks.

The photo looks like a jumble, I know. But there are so many things here that remind me of God's sweetness, just here on my kitchen table! I'll show you a few.

Reading God's Word early in the morning, in the quiet.
Greek yogurt, thick and creamy, with vanilla and agave syrup.

An encouraging thank-you card from John's grandparents, the children's great-grandparents. So thankful for their godly legacy and that our children have had a chance to know and love them in this life.

A good old-fashioned phone with a cord. Makes me stay in one place and multi-task less.

Another Nerf dart, this one lodged between the window panes. A reminder that some wonderful BOYS live here. And play here.
View into our neighbor's yard. We're thankful for them, their friendship to us and our children, and the chance to love them with Christ's love.

A little ladybug music box. Our children and their friends enjoy this little gem. A reminder of simple joys.

Our wooden rooster, carved in Zimbabwe and a gift from Zimbabwean friends. We pray for them and are reminded of believers all over the world who live in oppression and injustice. Grateful for the privilege of standing with them.

Theo's Native American doll he made...with a ninja head. I'm thankful for his creativity, his zest for life, his sensitive heart.
The white pot was from an auction dinner at the children's school. I'm thankful for the gift that this school has been to our children in the past two years.

Girly things, like sparkly nail polish. So blessed to have girls AND boys in our family. The differences are so fun.
My rock collection from Vashon Island, still on the table. Reminder of time with my oldest boy, and time with precious family.

A heart box made by Clay. He's always been my "maker"; he loves to create with whatever materials we have on hand. I'm thankful for his giving spirit, his love for others and his quirky artistic sensibilities.

Would you like to join the Gratitude Community? I heartily recommend a visit over to Ann at Holy Experience. You will be blessed to hear what she has to say.