30 September 2010

Do you have any idea

...how hard it is to get a decent picture of a goldfish? They just won't stop swimming. Just when you think he's looking right at you, he darts away.

29 September 2010

My father-in-law

Wow, who is that handsome man?
That's my sweet father-in-law.
When we first got married, I was scared of him. Don't tell anyone.
I think he is the original American success story. But he definitely wouldn't say that. He's just a guy trying to be faithful. And he is.
He loves us so much and I'm so so blessed to have him in my life.
He's also a new blog reader here. Hi David!
We love you!

28 September 2010

Guess who?

Guess who this cutie is? Found these on my inherited laptop. We have that very vest in our closet from days long ago.
Can you tell what state this guy is from?!

25 September 2010

A Saturday in September

Talk about a busy day. First we got Walter off to his baseball double-header. Then I went to church for music rehearsal. Here's the view on the T. That's what we call the subway here. Pretty, huh?

Then we all went to catch the second baseball game. It felt like summer today!! So gorgeous outside - warm and a bit muggy with a nice breeze.
The next few hours were a scramble from one soccer game to home for a bite to eat to another soccer game, the grocery store and time in the kitchen to make food to share.

We ended the day at our neighborhood block party. Always such a fun event, complete with bouncy house, lots to eat, too much sugar for the kids, road closed down, face painting, bikes, babies and great neighbors.

Sometimes I feel tired before the weekend even starts. I'm really praying about the idea that we can find rest even in times of extreme business. I tend to whine when I'm overly busy. I really don't want to complain, especially about things that WE HAVE CHOSEN (for the most part). I think our hearts can find rest even when our bodies are busy, and that can make us feel refreshed. I need to ponder this further.
What do you think? Come on, I know you're out there!

24 September 2010

Where am I?

This poor blog has been sorely neglected since school started! I do miss it, and am trying to figure out a way to keep it up with out driving myself into the ground.
My extra teaching load, as well as having the children in three different school, has forced me to be much more organized than I would naturally be. It's certainly a work in progress. I've been praying that the Lord would increase my capacity for things (I need more bandwidth) and that He would help me to prioritize in a way that is pleasing to Him.

On another note, I'm the VERY happy recipient of a hand-me-down MacBook from my mother-in-love (hi Judy! I love you!). It totally rocks to be able to bring it to school and enter my grades RIGHT IN CLASS (oooooo, technology!) and keep track of homework. Another added perk is that she left a whole bunch of fun photos on the computer.

In lieu of any real CONTENT today, please enjoy the following. I've had the best time looking at them in the last few weeks.

Here is our little family when John graduated from seminary. You can't see my HUMONGOUS belly, but Theo was in there. HUGE.
Same time frame because I am wearing a maternity shirt (which were not so flattering back in the early 2000s). This is me with John's mom and Memaw! Aren't they so cute?
John and Theo somewhere...maybe in New Mexico? Theo had the roundest baby head ever.
Here's Theo again. In New Mexico again, wearing his grandparents' cowboy boots.
Lastly, here is my piece de resistance. I made this traditional storyteller doll out of micaceous clay a few summers ago. Sad ending: it exploded while being fired. Her head popped off, just like in the beloved childhood saying: Mama had a baby and her head popped off.

19 September 2010

Sunday Readings

These readings from our church bulletin today really encouraged me. We read these before having the Lord's supper together.

Q: What is true faith?

A: True faith - created in me by the Holy Spirit through the gospel - is not only a knowledge and conviction that everything that God reveals in His Word is true, but also a deep-rooted assurance that not only others, but I too, have had my sins forgiven, have been made right with God, and have been granted salvation. These are gifts of sheer grace earned for us by Christ.
- adapted from the Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A 21

Q: Do you have faith in Jesus Christ?

A: I believe in the Lord Jesus who undertook his office of mediator completely voluntarily. In order to discharge it, he was made under and perfectly fulfilled the law. He endured extremely severe torment in his soul and extremely painful suffering in his body. He was crucified and died. He was buried and remained under the power of death, but his body did not decay. On the third day, he rose from the dead with the same body in which he had suffered and with which he also ascended into heaven. There he sits at the right hand of his Father, interceding for believers. He will return to judge men and angels at the end of the world.
- adapted from Westminster Confession of Faith VII.4

12 September 2010

On a lighter note

Last night we ate at Pizzeria Regina (best pizza ever, hands down, no questions asked).
I took Lucy to the bathroom where the toilets flushed automatically, startling the daylights out of her.
"Mommy," she asked, "do these potties flush by magic?"

"Well, not really," I responded. "They are automatic."

"Oh. They are ODD. They are ODD magic."

Right. Now it all makes sense.

11 September 2010

Remembering the day: Edited

I remember September 11, 2001 oh-so-clearly.
As you well know, it was a brilliantly sunny early fall day. The sky was blue, blue, blue with not a cloud. The trees seemed extra green.
I remember exactly what I was wearing: khaki cropped pants (zipped up the side; I remember them SO WELL), short-sleeved denim snap-front shirt and Kenneth Cole loafers.
I was to tutor that morning around 10:30, so the boys and I were just around the apartment that morning. At some point, John called me from his work to say that something was going on in New York and I should turn on the TV.
So I did. And I watched, as Walter and Clayton played around me. I prayed. And then the first tower fell, and I began to weep and weep. I went next door to my best friend Meda's apartment and we hugged and cried. I came home and watched as the second tower fell and wept harder. Walter was worried about me and offered me a Matchbox car to make me feel better.
I called my mom and dad in hysterical tears, making sure that no one in my family was scheduled to fly anywhere that day.
I left to go tutoring and brought the boys with me. No one where I taught had seen a TV and they had no idea how awful it was. My instinct was that we should call this whole thing off and all go home. But we didn't. I stayed and taught my class for an hour and half.
Then we went home and heard about the Pentagon attack and Flight 93's crash.
That night, John and I watched the news and saw footage of people jumping from the towers. At one point, Walter (who was just 3) got up from bed and came into the living room. I was so upset that he might have seen what we just saw.
The next morning, I remember waking up as if it were any other day and my next thought was that the world had changed and it would never be the same. It was like waking up and remembering that someone you love had died. It wasn't a normal day.
It felt especially eerie that one plane had been so close to us in Boston.
I also remember the silence of the skies in the next few days. When air traffic resumed, I remember feeling a jump in my heart the first few times I saw or heard an airplane.
I remember reading the New York Times every day. One night, looking at pictures in the paper, Walter looking over my shoulder, he said, "I want to go to God." He asked unanswerable questions about those events, who, where and most of all, WHY. The one we just had the hardest time answering.
The Times published brief profiles on all the victims of that day. And we read almost all of them, and prayed and wept.
It still makes me weep, the horror of it all, the magnitude, the wondering.
I remember watching the news in the weeks that followed and filling up with anger. I wanted something WORSE than death for those that perpetrated this event. I wanted a WORSE hell, a WORSE separation from God. I was struck by the thought that there is no WORSE. Separation from God is separation from God. And save for God's grace in my life, save for His plucking me from a life ignorant of Him, I would deserve all that those criminals deserve. In God's economy, is there a difference between sinners? You may disagree, but I think not.

EDIT: I was reminded by a friend of something that I think I need to clarify on this last part of my post. I think most people who read my blog know me in real life, so I sometimes assume they understand the worldview portrayed my writing. For the sake of clarity, I want to say that there is, of course, a difference between sinners. Sinners who are in Christ have had their transgressions covered by Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. When God looks at those who belong to Christ, He sees them as clothed in Jesus' robe of righteousness (the theological term for this is the imputed righteousness of Christ). Martin Luther said that a Christian is simul iustus et peccator, meaning at the same time a sinner and yet justified. This is a core Reformation distinctive.
Another point made by my friend, that is so simple and yet SO KEY, is that whoever is in Christ is a new creation; the old has gone; the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). The old and the new are worlds apart; Jesus offers us newness of life in Himself.

All 4

Does anything happen around here besides people going off to school?!? Not this week.

Here is the whole crew on Thursday, the first day that all four had school. I can feel that it's going to be a challenge with three different schools in the mix. Next year I hope we'll be down to two schools.

I'm proud of them and looking forward to a great year!

07 September 2010

Middle school?!???!

Okay, so there are a lot of milestones going on in this house lately.
Do you see that little boy up there? Look at those blue eyes. Look at that fuzzy little head. Oh my.
Today Walter started middle school. As in, 7th grade at a new school.
He had to bring in a baby picture of himself for some kind of beginning of school activity, so last night he and flipped through a bunch of photos.
It was so refreshing to remember back to what a jolly and happy baby Walter was. He just was a delight to us and many others. Some of this was no doubt a result of the pure wonder of being the first-born. Everything he did was AMAZING. But a lot of it was his personality, his sense of humor (he's always been pretty funny) and his interest in other people.
As you may (or may not) know from your own life, people who are going into middle school are not ALWAYS very jolly. In fact, sometimes the jolliness factor is in SHORT SUPPLY (if you know what I mean). I don't believe I need to say anymore about that.
So last night Walter and I and John got to look back on the life of a wonderful little boy who is growing into a young man. He is still a joy to us (and others) and we are SO THANKFUL to be his mom and dad.
Love you, son!

PS Please enjoy this array of photos depicting the many baby faces of Walter.

01 September 2010

A very big day

Look at that girl. That picture was just yesterday morning, when she and I were sharing a leisurely breakfast on our little sun porch. She had woken up early, thinking maybe it was her first day of school.

She was one day early in her anticipation. Today was Lucy's first day of school in the 4-year-old kindergarten class at my school. She's been so excited this week, counting down the number of sleeps until she could go to school. Her backpack and lunchbox were ready. The dress was chosen (first day of school is a dress-up day, not a dress code day) and laid out. She even willingly went to bed much earlier than usual so that she could be ready for school.
This morning she arose cheerfully and easily and off we went!

I'm so glad that she and I are in the same building and that it's a place she knows and loves, and where she is known and loved.
She told me this afternoon, "Today in chapel, they were trying to be very important and THEY WERE!" She completely got it, all the pomp and circumstance of the Opening Ceremony.
Even this evening, fighting the drooping of the eyelids, she murmured, "We have to go to bed early because we have school tomorrow. I can't wait to go to school all the days."

Oh, my baby. Don't grow up. I want to still have our leisurely Cheerio breakfasts on the porch and snuggles in our favorite chair.