30 March 2011

God's Word comes

A friend forwarded this to me today, and I just had to share it.
I'm going to be looking for those faces when we meet the Lord!

29 March 2011

Meh

I'm feeling rather blah tonight.  Worries, duties.  More worries...anxieties...stubborn and stiff-necked children...wondering if I'm doing this right.
Sigh.  
Here are some oldies from the computer.
Enjoy.








 

28 March 2011

Counting Gifts at the end of March

sunrise from our bedroom
It's hard for me to believe that it is the end of March!  March always seems like the longest month to me, so I'm kind of glad to see it go.  Why is that?  Why do I want time to go on?  Why do I want to move on?  As I've been learning from Ann, I want to learn to live fully right here in THIS DAY.  
In fact, I just practiced that by playing a game of Connect Four with Walter, and then by reading some Shel Silverstein out loud with Theo.  I'm thankful for those moments.

Count with me?

#1269 - 1282

* waking up
* having my husband; I'm really grateful for him
* sheets and blankets
* a good babysitter who plays with my children and makes them say, "Mom, it was so fun with Bernice!"
* baby showers
* new pregnancies announced
* still marveling at how wide the sidewalks are without all the snow and ice
* nail polish on little bitty finger nails


* 12-year-old who says, "Mom, you need a hug."  And then he hugs me!
* my warm knit tights and red boots
* being able to pay our bills
* boys reading poetry
* SUNSHINE IN MY WINDOWS, shining on my floors and warming us up
* playing Connect Four


27 March 2011

Lord's Day, Third Sunday in Lent

We read this today before we took the Lord's Supper together (I added emphasis for the parts that really got me):

What do you believe about the work of God?

We believe that God - who is perfectly merciful and also very just - sent His Son to assume the nature in which the disobedience had been committed, in order to bear in it the punishment of sin by His most bitter passion and death.

And what do you believe about the work of Jesus Christ?

We believe that Jesus Christ presented Himself in our name before His Father, to appease His wrath with full satisfaction by offering Himself on the tree of the cross and pouring out His precious blood for the cleansing of our sins, as the prophets had predicted.

Why did He endure all this?

He endured all this for the forgiveness of our sins.

What comfort does this give you?

We find all comfort in His wounds and have no need to seek or invent any other means to reconcile ourselves with God than this one and only sacrifice, once made, which renders believers perfect forever.

--from the Belgic Confession, articles 20-21

I know

I know my header is a bit outdated.  Yay for that!  I thought that the snow would last til June, but it's gone, it's really really gone!  I'll work on a spring banner this week...though I have no spring pictures to go with it.  This is mainly because spring in New England looks like a bunch of dead brown branches and dried up things that have been buried under snow for months.  It's not so pretty just yet.  As Lucy would say, "Maybe later..."

24 March 2011

A whole new funny

If you are a child of the 80s as I am, you may have watched "The Cosby Show" and "Family Ties" on Thursday nights at some point in your growing up.
Thanks to Netflix, we've been watching episodes of "The Cosby Show" all together and it. is. awesome!
Our kids think the Huxtable kids are hilarious, the 80s clothes and hair are so fun, and Bill Cosby is just genius.
But what John and I have discovered is that watching now as parents is a whole new funny!  Now we relate to Cliff and Claire Huxtable in a way we couldn't have back when we were teenagers.
Here's a little taste: 


23 March 2011

Hoarder

I spent some time last weekend cleaning out Lucy's room.  I opened up every little purse, every little wallet, every toy suitcase, every basket and went through ALL the tiny things that a five-year-old girl collects over the months.  
She had amassed quite a collection.  I love seeing the things she gathers and the things that she puts together.  I found one little suitcase full of change (it was heavy).  Other containers held rubber bands, Barbie shoes, Nerf darts (of course), rocks, toys from Chick-fil-a, tiny animals, cars, crayons, notebooks, pens, and more.
PS  I love throwing things away, too.  Don't tell.





20 March 2011

Stricken, smitten and afflicted

We sang this hymn today in church.  The tune itself is lovely and moving.  Here is verse 4:
Here we have a firm foundation, 
Here the refuge of the lost;
Christ the Rock of our salvation, 
His the name of which we boast.
Lamb of God for sinners wounded, 
Sacrifice to cancel guilt!
None shall ever be confounded 
Who on Him their hope have built.
 

18 March 2011

He's back!

The good news is that Walter made it back!
The scary news last night was that he ALMOST missed his flight from Chicago.  My heart was in my throat when my phone rang ten minutes after his flight was to depart and it was him!  Poor kid.  Thanks be to GOD that he found where to go, the plane was held (the gate agent was not happy with him) and he is now safely back in our fold.  So so glad!
He had a wonderful time, did so many fun and special Arizona things.  Maybe he'll have some pics that we can share later.
Today was a good but tiring day at school.  My students were squirrely, squirrely, squirrely. Maybe it was the absolutely beautiful weather, or the fact that it is Friday, or a combination of the two.  In any case, by the time I left this afternoon, I felt like washing my hands of them.  Just for now.  I'm sure by Monday I'll be ready again!
I've been cleaning off the desktop computer and going through some photos.  Here are a few that I LOVE from two years ago today:



Where did my baby go?!  I miss those tights, that little skirt, those tiny brown sparkle sneakers, as well as the chubby fingers.  She can still pout like that, at least.
We are just beginning the spring season of sports craziness, as Walt had a baseball practice today.  Theo starts a session of swimming tomorrow, and soon we'll add in two soccer players, and a few more swimmers.  Walt plans to play baseball at school as well as for the town team; I hope we can make it all work!  
I hope to check in this weekend again!

15 March 2011

Just a Tuesday afternoon

It's been a different dynamic around here the last week without Walt.  A little less running around, a little less activity in general.
By all accounts, Walter is having a great time with my folks.  I can't wait to really hear all about it when he gets back!
Anyway, here is our calm Tuesday afternoon just after we got back from school.  While getting up "earlier" is still hard, it is certainly nice to have more sunlight in the afternoon!
Oh, AND today Lucy pointed out to me some crocuses that have poked out their lovely yellow and purple heads.  I just wanted to gaze on them for a while, so much did their sight feed my soul!  New life from the dark, dark ground.
 

14 March 2011

Mid-March Gratitude

Must...get...blog...post up before I go to bed.  This time change is not so fun just yet.  Getting up when my body was telling me it was 4 am did not sit well with me.  Neither did it sit well with a few of my children, one of whom needed a lot of extra time with her blankie before she could be convinced to go to school.

Still, there is much to inspire gratitude, including gratitude itself.  Here I continue my list in the hopes that my heart will remain tuned to Him and how He ever loves.


#1254 - 1268

* that girl up there with the pink bathrobe and colorful headphones, singing along at the top of her lungs
* her predictability:  EVERY morning she awakens hungry and ready for Cheerios
* warm fire on a cold March night
* the snow is ALMOST ALL GONE!  We have a whole new landscape.
* getting ready for (freezing cold) baseball season
* Walter's successful navigation of two airports and his uneventful arrival in AZ!  
* talking about the gospel and how mind-blowing it is - is it still blowing your mind?!
* cleaned-up dining room
* hospitality and friends over for dinner
* red painted chair in the corner against white wall
* two friends who are observing Lent with 40 Days of Gratitude on Facebook
* God showing glimmers of answered prayer in unexpected ways
* being able to get up EVEN WHEN I'm really tired; I'm still ABLE
* keeping up with the laundry...for one week...that's over
* talking with our boys about forgiveness - "Go and sin no more" - no lectures involved
* my parents loving on Walter for a whole week; what a gift
* praying for the world - especially Japan

12 March 2011

Lent

On Fridays I do homeroom with my students and I brought up the question of Lent and what it is for. We talked for a while and I asked, "So during Lent are we really making ourselves more holy for God?"
"Yeah," they answered.  Like, duh.
I explained to them the gist of this quote.  I think they thought I was being weird.
I love the gospel.
 

The holiness into which you seek to grow has already been given to you, whole and entire! It’s yours in Jesus Christ, the gift of His righteousness  fully bequeathed you in Baptism, and constantly renewed in you by absolution and the Holy Eucharist. Through these wonderful gifts, we get to GROW  in the apprehension of that which is already our own, learning to live more and more from it, more and more from union with Christ and less and less  from the old self. So it is not that holiness grows in you; it is that you grow in holiness! Getting used to whom God has made you to be in His Son.   There’s real effort here, of course, but the effort is working at resting in Him who works all things through us. I don’t overcome sin by my willpower (ha!),  but by the strength of Him who has united Himself to me.

I read this quote here and it is attributed to Pastor Will Weedon.

09 March 2011

He's off

Our oldest is off to see his grandparents for a week.  Lucky duck!  First time alone on the airplane...whew.  He's going to have a great time!

08 March 2011

Thanks for early March

I'm giving thanks today (one day late to join the multitude...again).  One thing I'm thankful for is my second son who is a real gourmand.  The plate you see above was one of two such dessert plates prepared by Clayton for him and Theo.  
He said, "Mom, you might should [might should?  where is this boy from, Georgia? hee hee!] take a picture of this.  And put it on your blog."
I am happy to oblige.

Here are a few ways I've felt the love of the Father this week.

#1239 - 1253
* Prayer Life seminar with Paul Miller
* crusty New Englanders...I'm not making it up, they really are crusty!  They get away with stuff that would NEVER fly in another part of the country.
* God's hope in my heart
* hearing immigrants' stories with my students
* Theo serving us with pillows and blankets while we read aloud
* BARE GROUND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
* curbs that are ice-free!  ( you will being to sense a theme)
* my parents, willing to host Walter for a whole week!
* Walter's first trip alone on an airplane - EEEEEK!
* Lucy going to bed at 6:30 - it's hard work being 5
* God meeting me in desperate, head achey prayers
* laughing with sweet little 5th and 6th graders
* my husband's grace toward me
* the ice on our sidewalk is GONE!  I see grass, dirt and lots of trash that's been buried for months!
* putting jammies on at the end of the day

06 March 2011

Come



While the title of this hymn may jar you, it's one of my favorites.  And certainly not too strongly worded.  I've included the verse that especially spoke to me in worship this morning.
Don't wait to come to Jesus.  If you feel your need of Him, it's by His grace and His gift.  There's no "fixing up" to have to come to Him; He wants you now, all a mess.


Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched
Joseph Hart

Let not conscience make you linger, nor of fitness fondly dream.  
All the fitness He requires is to feel your need of Him.  
This He gives you, this He gives you; 'tis the Spirit's rising beam.

05 March 2011

A little story about prayer

Last night and this morning, I had the opportunity to attend a seminar on personal prayer with Paul Miller, author of A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World.
I read Miller's book last year and was greatly encouraged by it.  I've found my prayer life to be much richer and freer since reading it. 
I hope to post here a few highlights from the seminar that were not in the book.  But I don't think I'll have the brain power for that until after Monday when I turn in my report cards.


So for now I want to tell you a little story about Theo and prayer.
The boys' school has a month-long basketball program called March Madness.  While Theo had at one point expressed his interest in attending March Madness, I neglected to register him by the deadline.
The day before the program was to start Theo started in begging me to talk to the school secretary to see if he could still participate.  He hounded me to email, call, DO SOMETHING!  
I assured him that I would talk to her just as soon as I could in the morning.  You know, when someone would actually be in the office.  Meanwhile, I was pretty sure that all the slots were taken and it would be a no-go.
The next morning, a Tuesday, Theo told me in the kitchen before we left for school, "Mom, I feel good, I feel really strong today.  Because last night I prayed that God would let me be able to do March Madness."
He was so pleased, so happy and sure.  All the way to school I had to promise repeatedly that I would speak to Mrs. Z. about it.
Inside school, I asked if there might be any chance of Theo's still signing up.
Mrs. Z. told me, "Well, you know, it was all full.  But just yesterday someone dropped out, so we have one more slot."
Ooo, Mr. Theo, you are in luck!
I couldn't wait to tell Theo after school that God had said "yes" to his prayer!
At pick up that day, Theo said as he got into the car, "Mrs. Z. told me that I'm going to March Madness!"  He was so pleased.
"Theo!  God said 'yes' to your prayer!"
"Oh yeah," he said. "So in my whole life now I've had TWO prayers answered."
I'm smiling inside now.
"Oh really?  What was the other one?"
"Oh, it was about the Barrs.  Having a baby."
The Barrs are our friends from church who are indeed having a long-awaited baby.  Sweet Theo was praying for them.


02 March 2011

Today

Today I snuggled with a five-year-old girl and her pink blanket. She smelled like a Cheerio.  I want to remember that.

Today my eight-year-old boy felt sick all day at school, but managed weakly to tell me on the way home that "the good part about today is that I finished my math test" (a challenge for him).  So glad he could find the thing to be grateful for in the midst of his misery.

Today I folded laundry and eavesdropped on my ten- and twelve-year-old boys as they talked in their beds in the dark.  I liked hearing them talk about dreams they've had and things they wonder about.

Today I am grateful for all the things the Lord gave me to do, from teaching to cleaning up vomit to meeting with other parents to tucking all my children into bed to loving my husband.

01 March 2011

March begins with gifts

Well, I'm a day late for Multitude Monday, but it's never too late to list the ways He loves us.
The sun is not yet up, the kitchen is cold and I'm feeling a tinge of my usual winter dread about the morning.  Two minutes of prayer with my dear husband before he got on the bus really helped.
Just now outside the kitchen window I heard a small squeaking noise in competition with the refrigerator's hum.  I thought maybe it was a bird, and if it was, I want to hear it!
I slowly slid the window up just a crack, and there on the bare branches below our kitchen sat a papa cardinal, singing his heart out.
I let the cold air breeze by my face as I listened to him until he flew away.
I'm so glad for that little gift this winter's morning.  I know that spring will come, and that underneath all the piles of snow and ice, green things are making their way up through the dark earth.  I'm so grateful for that image, and pray that I can live in contentment until this winter truly ends, even while I hope with certainty that spring will come!


Continuing the list...
#1226 - 1238
* that God made little birds and that they're all different
* papa cardinal singing away in the pre-dawn twilight (what do you call it in the morning?)
* bare branches adorned with red berries against the snow
* two minutes to pray together before he zips out the door
* his prayers for me before we sleep, helping me to give the next day to God and not carry worries into bed with me
* that tomorrow will be anxious for itself; I can let my God carry that for me
* turning the page on the calendar - why is this so satisfying?  why do I want time to march on?
* shearling boots and shearling mittens
* sitting on my bed praying with a dear friend
* getting to talk about justification and sanctification with my 4th and 5th grade Sunday school class - so fun!
* how God knew just what children would be perfect for our family
* that God is always good and that I am always loved (thanks, Ann Voskamp
* sending Ann's book to a friend


There's more to share, but I've got to go rouse the clan and convince them that this is the day the Lord has made and that we should rejoice and be glad in it!