26 April 2011

It's a gonna be a week

That is a cute picture of John and Clayton on their trip to Texas last week.
If you've been reading for a while, you may remember that two years ago I took Walter on a trip to Seattle.  Walter was 10.  John and I decided that it would be a fun tradition to give each child a trip with one parent when the child is 10. So, this was the week for Clayton!  These two guys had a great week of seeing family and all kind of other Texas adventures.
This week I'm going to a writing conference in Maine...for THREE days!  I don't think I've ever been to any kind of professional development that was that long.  I'm very much looking forward to it, even while recognizing WHAT A PAIN it is to leave town for any length of time.  Lots to do, lots to do.
Here, see some other fun Texas photos. 

25 April 2011

Counting on Easter Monday

Thank goodness for a Easter Monday off of school!  
Yesterday was a wonderful one.  As is customary for us, all the boys headed off to the sunrise service (which started at 5:45 AM!!) while Lucy and I and Uncle Clayton and Robin slept a bit more.
We had a bit of delicious breakfast and I made a few preparations for our Easter dinner.

 The boys came back from church, we had our Easter baskets.  Then we all headed back to church.

Church was FULL and we sat in the balcony.  The music was wonderful; I felt so thankful for the Word and the sacrament, and the chance to rejoice all together.
We had a post church photo session (which turned out all blurry because SOMEONE in OUR FAMILY turned the camera to manual focus!) and finished up our dinner prep.

Of course we are always so happy to have Uncle Clay and Robin with us.  We're so glad they always make the bus trip to be with us.
As it fitting after such a day, I will continue with Ann and the others to count all the ways the Father has blessed and continues to bless.  These are from the family list this last week:

* Fenway Park
* skyscrapers
* how good the doctors are in Boston
* how nice the people are at the Aquarium
* Theo's friend, Matthew
* Uncle Clay
* food
* Pillow Pets (no, we don't have any.  but we can still be thankful for them!)
* the dentist (this from Clayton who had an emergency tooth extraction while in Texas...more later)
* having breakfast with Lucy...always Cheerios
* going to the grocery store early
* quiet, rainy morning while everyone sleeps 
* all sports being canceled on Saturday (a true gift to this Mama!)
* glitter in Lucy's hair
* all the church services of Holy Week
* the empty tomb...death is dead!

24 April 2011

He is Risen Indeed!

Happy Resurrection Day to you!

I'll have more to tell you about our celebrations tomorrow.  But I wanted to leave you with an AWESOME poem for today.
As my husband noted, Gerard Manley Hopkins is like a Victorian rapper in his use of language.   I find it thrilling to read aloud.  I hope you do, too.

That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire and of the comfort of the Resurrection

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Cloud-puffball, torn tufts, tossed pillows | flaunt forth, then chevy on an air-
Built thoroughfare: heaven-roysterers, in gay-gangs | they throng; they glitter in marches.
Down roughcast, down dazzling whitewash, | wherever an elm arches,
Shivelights and shadowtackle ín long | lashes lace, lance, and pair.
Delightfully the bright wind boisterous | ropes, wrestles, beats earth bare
Of yestertempest's creases; | in pool and rut peel parches
Squandering ooze to squeezed | dough, crust, dust; stanches, starches
Squadroned masks and manmarks | treadmire toil there
Footfretted in it. Million-fuelèd, | nature's bonfire burns on.
But quench her bonniest, dearest | to her, her clearest-selvèd spark
Man, how fast his firedint, | his mark on mind, is gone!
Both are in an unfathomable, all is in an enormous dark
Drowned. O pity and indig | nation! Manshape, that shone
Sheer off, disseveral, a star, | death blots black out; nor mark
                            Is any of him at all so stark
But vastness blurs and time | beats level. Enough! the Resurrection,
A heart's-clarion! Away grief's gasping, | joyless days, dejection.
                            Across my foundering deck shone
A beacon, an eternal beam. | Flesh fade, and mortal trash
Fall to the residuary worm; | world's wildfire, leave but ash:
                            In a flash, at a trumpet crash,
I am all at once what Christ is, | since he was what I am, and
This Jack, joke, poor potsherd, | patch, matchwood, immortal diamond,
                            Is immortal diamond.

22 April 2011

The Sun Stops Shining

Courtesy of Zondervan and the Jesus Storybook Bible (my favorite Bible for kids and even for grown-ups), please enjoy and reflect on this video.  If you'd like, you can "like" the Jesus Storybook Bible Facebook page HERE.  
This story guts me every time I read it with the children.  I have to choke out the words.  I honestly can't read it without wanting to weep; I'm grateful for it. 

21 April 2011

An afternoon of NO ONE TALKING

Our church's annual women's retreat was a few weekends ago.  This was the first year in several years that I did not have very many duties in preparation for the event, though I did help out with a few things (both of which I much enjoyed!).
Our speaker this year was Heather Ashe, a former member of our church who recently relocated to Pittsburgh.  She spoke about service and the gospel, and it was so refreshing.  The gospel never ever gets old.  I find that I forget it all the time, so when someone tells it to me, I am again amazed by it!  It's like that old hymn that says, "I love to tell the story; 'twill be my theme in glory, to tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love."
I was privileged to get to know some women I had never even met in my small group, I loved hearing from women older than I, I loved laughing and being silly and making crafts and eating junk food from the snack table and communing with my sisters.
However...however...I have to say that my favorite time at the retreat was Saturday afternoon.  After I had spent some time talking and creating (cute little fabric flower pins), I decided to take a walk outside.  The sun shone warmly, though snow piles still hid in the shadows.
I took a familiar path, one I discovered at last year's retreat, and found myself in an empty meadow.  The grass still lay flat, yellow and smashed from months under a blanket of snow.  Instead of being tickly, the grass made a cushiony bed, so I lay right down on the ground.  The lumps and bumps of the earth beneath made a pillow and so I lay and contentedly read my book. 
After about ten minutes, the warmth of the sun and the wonder of the silence overtook me.  I curled up in the soft yellow grass.  I TOOK MY SHOES OFF (if you live in New England, you can understand how amazing this was).  If I had been a bird, I would have tucked my head under my wing.  I basked in the sound of NO ONE TALKING.  I listened for every sound I could detect: distant cars, the breeze in the bare branches, an intermittent bird call.  When I opened my eyes, I took in all that surrounded me:  still-stark branches against a bright blue, wisps of high clouds, vapor trails criss-crossing, a bird far above, soaring and riding the invisible air highways, undulating golden earth beneath me.  I thanked God for that time, that hour, and I slept there, alone in the open space.
When the shadows began to grow longer and the breeze began to chill, I brushed the grass from my sweater and made my way back to join the group.  I fairly skipped down the wooded trail, so refreshed and glad I felt, like a child who had just dozed in her Father's lap.

18 April 2011

First time for Fenway

We've lived in Boston for about 15 years.  In all that time, I had NEVER been to a Red Sox game at Fenway Park.  That is, until last week!
In case you don't know, Boston is baseball crazy.  The Red Sox are BELOVED in Boston and beyond, and Fenway is a ballpark of legend.
In the last couple of years, I had begun bugging John that I hadn't had the quintessential Boston experience of sitting in Fenway Park, preferably eating a Fenway Frank and cheering for the boys.
A few weeks ago, John bid on and won a couple of tickets to a game last week.  Oh joy!  He was finally taking me to a game and it was going to be awesome.
Except for the day of the game dawned to a bit of rain, and a very sick John.  He slept all day and told me he really didn't think he would be able to go.
I have to admit that I was quite sad at the news.  I debated with myself:  Should I abort?  Go by myself?  Bring a friend?  (And, oh yeah, sorry John was feeling so bad.  Nope, I was pretty much thinking about myself.  Sigh.)
I would have brought a child with me, but the one who really needs a fun outing (Theo) had a BIG event at school the next day and couldn't spare the sleep that would have been lost.
So I sent out email pleas, Facebook pleas, trying to find someone who might want to come with me.
Late in the afternoon, I heard from my dear friend and neighbor, Sherri, and she said she was up for the adventure!  Yay!  
We bundled up, drove to the T, and made our way to the park.

My VERY FIRST view of Fenway!

What could be more New England than Dunkin' Donuts and Fenway?

Fenway did not disappoint!  I can't wait to go back!
Thanks, Sherri, for being a pal.  I had the best time with you!

For He has done marvelous things

It's been too long since I typed in this space!  Last week was full full full of many great events.  I will write more in another post of all that been going on the last couple of weeks.
Today, as we begin Holy Week, I am joining with Ann and others to sing the hard hallelujah, recount all the ways the Father has shown His love this week.   We all contributed to the list this week, as you'll see!

* our play "Esperanza Rising", even more awesome than we could have imagined
* a warm day 
* one little crocus in the middle of our "lawn"
* hungry boys
* forsythia coming out!  it's really happening!
* my afternoon ALONE at the women's retreat
* blankies 
* riding bikes with Matthew
* nice cars and their rumble!
* birds chirping in the morning, even when it's cloudy!
* our beds
* the bread
* the wine
* window chalk
* Mrs. Piggle Wiggle 
 * first ever History Fair at the boys' school
* FIRST. TIME. AT FENWAY (more later).
* a flock of birds eating berries outside our window
* goofing around with Walter
* changing into dry socks and warm slippers
* STILL...my down parka
* brothers
* Mama and Papa
* colors
* Palm Sunday and singing in church 
* Marathon Monday and Patriots' Day.  I love Boston!

Many more are on the list, too many to include here without boring you!  But it doesn't bore our Father, as we sing back to Him His blessings!

Oh sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous things!
He has remembered His steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel.  
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
Psalm 98: 1,3

12 April 2011

She was mad redux

Lucy had another tantrum the other evening.  This time it had to do with dinner and the fact that I would not let her go back outside to play with Jack, our neighbor.
She sat on the stairs yelling about all the people she doesn't like.
When it came to objects instead of people, she went for the MUCH stronger word, "HATE".  Not a word I condone in our home; I would have corrected her, but I thought it was not quite the right moment.
"I'm not eating dinner!  I HATE dinner!  I'm NOT going to school!  I HATE school," she screamed.
But, as they say, you cannot keep a good woman down, and she just couldn't lie about hating school.  This is the kid who is disappointed when she finds out the next day is not a school day.  So she kind of whimpered, "Well, sometimes I like school," but then at full volume, "But I'm NOT going to school!"
Sigh.  Then it all just turned into sadness and she started crying, "Mamaaaaaaaaaaa!"
Oh, little baby with the sunny disposition.  How I love you!

11 April 2011

New every morning

I'm dashing this off quickly before I have to wake everyone, but wanted to get in my thanks early.  No time to even post a picture!
Friday night my upper school students presented the play we had been writing and working on for months.
Saturday and Sunday I had the privilege of attending our church's women's retreat this past weekend.
This morning I have the privilege of caring for my husband and my family, and putting into practice all that the Lord reminded me of over the weekend.

Giving thanks today for the ways He always loves:

* hearing birds in the morning
* students who put their hearts into their work and performance
* appreciative audience!
* early morning drive with good coffee and friends
* time ALL ALONE in a warm field to notice creation, to sleep, to bask in God
* hearing the gospel again and again
* learning about each other, sharing each other's burdens
* making stuff with hot glue and laughing
* coming back to my little dusty children and my hard-working husband

07 April 2011

She was mad

Lucy had one of her most epic tantrums yesterday.  I'm not completely sure what brought it on, but it seems to have been a combination of unfilled expectations (I didn't have the ipod with her stories on it), disappointment (I had just picked her up from a fun play date) and fatigue (she had been up past 9 pm the night before, which is like midnight to a girl who has no problem retiring for the night at 6:30 pm).
I put her in the car, and she was screaming "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!", kicking the seats, punching her booster seat, and carrying on.  Nothing I hadn't seen before.
But I knew this tantrum was special when she said that she didn't like Mama, she didn't like Papa, she didn't like brothers or anyone.  As we drove by a soccer field, she cried for me to drop her off there all by herself. 
But the best was when she said, "I don't like Mama!  And I don't like the BIBLE!!"
Ooo, she was really going in for the kill with that one.

It took all the way from her friend's house to Walter's school for her to calm down.  She was still mad when we arrived.
But her heart miraculously changed when we got out of the car to go find Walter in the library.
As she skipped toward the door of the school, she turned to me and said, with some real regret, "I'm sorry for my tantrum, Mama" and she gave me a good hug.
I love that she was able to come to that all on her own.  Man, it is not really easy to admit our own shortcomings, is it?

06 April 2011


Last night we had dinner with our dear friends from Zim.  That's Zimbabwe for the uninitiated. 
Craig and Mell and their two wonderful boys live and work in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, their homeland.  Craig is a lecturer at a theological college.  Mell keeps herself incredibly busy providing for her family and participating in many different ministries.  We only see them about once every three years when they come to the States to visit supporters.
It was a real joy last night to hear about the Lord's faithfulness as they persevere in a land ruled by corruption and filled with AIDS and dire poverty.  We feel privileged to be a tiny tiny part of their work and to serve so great a God alongside them.
And, all our kids had a great time raising a ruckus together!