Recently, the littlest hands in our family discovered the piano. Quite often, when Bub and Noh-man practice, these tiny fingers join in for an unscripted duet :)
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
A few days ago, as I was scrolling back through my photo archives, a few photos jumped out at me. Not because they reminded me of some big momentous occasion, but because they all bore one similar posture. It seems my family, both immediate and extended, is a bit enthralled with one favorite childhood past time...
Evidently, you never grow too old for bunny ears!
Sunday, February 22, 2009
This weekend Noh-man competed in the North District Championships and swam like a fish-- a really fast fish, that is! Competing in his first meet since turning 8 three weeks ago, he landed, once again, atop the 8 & Under leader board and made us all very, very proud... not just because he placed so highly, but also because he fought hard (against older and bigger boys!) and displayed the heart of a true champion. Here are his results:
100-yard Individual Medley-- 2nd place with a personal best time
25-yard Breaststroke-- 2nd place
50-yard Backstroke-- 3rd place
50-yard Freestyle-- 2nd place with a personal best time
50-yard Breaststroke-- 4th place with a personal best time (only 0.04 seconds separated 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place!)
100-yard Freestyle-- 2nd place
100-yard Freestyle relay-- 1st place
100-yard Medley relay-- 1st place
I tell ya what... he's some kid!
And I'm one awfully proud mama :)
Friday, February 20, 2009
For the past several days I've been reading through the Old Testament book, Joshua. I've really enjoyed working through this book again as new life lessons crop up daily. In my study this morning, for instance, something occurred to me that I've never once considered before... at least not in these terms.
First, let me briefly set the stage. The Israelites have just conquered Jericho according to the LORD's directions; victory is theirs. The city has been burned along with everything in it; only Rahab and her family have been spared. Joshua then issues the following warning (ch 6, verse 26):
"At that time Joshua pronounced this solemn oath: 'Cursed before the LORD is the man who undertakes to rebuild this city, Jericho:
At the cost of his firstborn son will he lay its foundations;
at the cost of his youngest will he set up its gates.' "
Oh. my. That's a serious admonition. God did not want His people anywhere near the fallen city or its remains; they were to stay far, far away. "Cursed before the LORD is the man..."
So back in my study guide, the author's note-- our present day application-- reads as follows:
"We risk our children... each day we try to build our lives in step with a society that honors wealth, sexual perversion, and selfish ambition above service to our King, the LORD Jesus Christ. We need to step to a different heartbeat... our hearts must pant for His will (emphasis mine)."
Yikes. "We risk our children..."
... every time we make choices that do not align with the sovereign will of God.
... every time worldly desires dictate our choices.
... every time selfishness motivates our actions.... we risk our children.
Now that sheds a whole new light on the way I live my daily life.
The other day I tried to feed the dogs their dinner with Lolli attached to my hip. It didn't work. So, in an effort to keep her out of reach of the dogs' food for just a moment or two, I set her down in the laundry basket and braced myself for her cries of disgust. To my surprise, I only heard giggles of delight from my tiny one.
For the next 20 minutes, Lollipop entertained herself in that basket and never once tried to climb out. Play time only came to an end when I forced her out (we needed to take her brothers to swim practice). Otherwise, she'd likely still be there now :)
It turned out to be a popular hangout, as guests (both the two-legged~
and the four-legged variety) came to visit.
Perhaps she'll play there again tomorrow... why not??
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
... at what's blooming in my garden!!
I know we're still struggling to get through February.
And then there's March--- ughh!
I have a yellow crocus blooming in my garden,
with more to follow, I know.
And that means one thing and one thing only...
spring. really. is. coming!
Monday, February 16, 2009
Weeks ago, Pops and the boys started planning an overnight get-away... a quick trip to New Jersey to visit my grandmother, affectionately known as "Ginger Lady" by the boys. I believe Bub coined that nickname when he was just a young'un. After spending some time together, he couldn't remember her name, but he could remember her dog's name-- Ginger. So he casually asked a question regarding "Ginger Lady," and since that time, the name has stuck. Fortunately, she approves! Anyhoo, Pops had made arrangements previously with "Ginger Lady"-- she knew he would be arriving on Saturday, but she had no idea the boys would be in tow :)
So Saturday finally rolled around-- the big departure day-- and the guys were ready to hit the road. Pops came equipped with "driving hats" for each to wear, and before they even pulled out of the driveway, the stereo could be heard for blocks... "If You're Gonna Play in Texas," their mutual favorite. The men had miles to conquer, and Alabama provided the perfect inspiration.
The first snapshot below is one I took before the fellows left on their adventure; I cannot claim the rest. Bub gladly volunteered to be the "men's town" photographer, so after he showed me his treasure trove of photos this morning, he decided which ones I should include in this post :)
So here you go... a few highlights from Men's Town: On the road~
When the guys arrived at Ginger Lady's house, the boys hid around the corner of the garage while Pops went in to greet her. Bub took this shot as they jumped out in surprise!
The boys loved their tour of the basement, and they got a real kick out of the trains that still remain. Believe it or not, Pops actually rode on these same trains back in the day...
Later in the day, they took a quick trip to the Amish Market for ribs. Here's a shot of some fresh baked goods~
And Big Man, enjoying a ride in the shopping cart (Bub especially liked the "angle" of this one).
Up in Pops's old bedroom, the boys played tons of shuffleboard. Big Man took this picture so Bub thought it should be included...
And then he took another one himself. "It's a better picture," Bub declared :)
A little Scrabble kept them busy...
And a late night movie, Star Wars.
Before heading home on Sunday evening, the men caught up with Uncle Jim, Aunt Ruth Anne, and J.T. for pizza. They were very glad to see them again, though they had trouble staying awake for long :) Busy bodies== tired bodies!
Back in our driveway they landed just after 10 pm... exhausted but pumped! They all had a fantastic time-- laughing and singing and joking and playing and staying up way too late together! Of course, now the plans for trip #2 begin... I wonder if Pops knows what he's gotten himself in to :)
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
... before winter returns!
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Have you ever had something on your mind that you just can't seem to shake? Perhaps a news story you heard the night before or a song on the radio that struck a chord deep within. Perhaps a problem you've been trying to solve for ages now, but for some reason you just can't seem to make it work. Perhaps a comment you overheard or one you wish you'd had the nerve to share. Perhaps you're still mulling over that book you just read or that never-ending to-do list taped to the front of your frig. Even worse, perhaps you're just battered by that horrible fast-food jingle that flashes across the tv screen every 5 seconds! Either way, you know how it works... once that something or other sticks in your head, it's stuck there for good (or at least for a few days!).
Sometimes, though, the LORD is the source of that niggling something. I know. So often He'll have a Word for me... a lesson I need to learn (or re-learn!), and He doesn't "drop it" until I've successfully passed the test, so to speak. Oh, but then... there's more! Because just when I think I'm ready to move on, He throws another little reminder my way, just to make sure :) (Now of course some might call these reminders "coincidences." But I don't believe in coincidences. God-ordained encounters, yes. Coincidences, no.)
So today, as Big Man, Lolli and I waited for Noh-man outside the natatorium, Big Man discovered an old CD in the van's glove box... Hide 'Em in your Heart (volume 1) by Steve Green. In days gone by, it was one of my older boys' favorites. Big Man, however, didn't recognize the case and so he asked if we might listen to it. Sure, I said. So we stuck it in the stereo, listened to the first 2 songs quietly, and then, wham! It hit me. What hit me, you might ask? Oh, it was this song (scroll down), sung by Mr. Green and a precious chorus of children:
"This is how we know (this is how we know)
This is how we know (this is how we know)
This is how we know (this is how we know)
What love is (what love is )
Jesus Christ (Jesus Christ)
Laid down His life (laid down His life)
For us (for us)
For us (for us)
Aahhh, the beauty of child-like faith...
and the simplicity of the gospel.
Please Heavenly Father, may I never lose sight of your wondrous gift...
"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers."
1 John 3:16
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Valentine's Day is just around the corner... huge red hearts hang in every store window. Pink & white heart-shaped candies line every grocery store shelf. Beautifully decorated cardboard mailboxes await every school-aged child, and over the next two days, little love notes will pass from one hand to another (along with a wink and a smile!). Florists will stay open late to assemble bouquets of lovely garden delights, and folks will scramble aimlessly in search of that perfect little gift.
But what is love exactly??
Oh, ask any joe on the street and he'll gladly pass along his own thoughts on the subject. Check with our favorite Merriam Webster and enjoy a whole litany of selections. Or... consult your favorite Hallmark store-- you're sure to find oodles of eye-opening definitions there!
But are any of these even close to the real thing?? Will any of these avenues point to true LOVE? Oh, it's possible, I guess. But if you're interested-- this Valentine's Day-- in celebrating love in its truest form, you need only look to One.
Today, amidst the hustle and bustle of an extremely hectic household, I was gently reminded of this wonderful truth:
"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners,
Christ died for us."
Perfect love... given for us... almost 2000 years ago.
Now that's something to celebrate~
The Power of the Cross
Oh to see the dawn of the darkest day
Christ on the road to calvary
Tried by sinful men, torn and beaten then
Nailed to a cross of wood
This the pow'r of the cross
Christ became sin for us
Took the blame, bore the wrath
We stand forgiven at the cross
Oh to see the pain written on Your face
Bearing the awesome weight of sin
Ev'ry bitter thought, ev'ry evil deed
Crowning your bloodstained brow
Now the daylight flees, now the ground beneath
Quakes as its maker bows his head
Curtain torn in two, dead are raised to life
'Finished!' the vict'ry cry
Oh to see my name written in the wound
For through Your suf'fring I am free
Death is crushed to death, life is mine to live
Won through Your selfless love
This the pow'r of the cross
Son of God slain for us
What a life, what a cost
We stand forgiven at the cross
-- Stuart Townend & Keith Getty
Monday, February 9, 2009
Big Man is, without a doubt, silly!
And since "silly" is this week's theme at I heart faces, I decided to enter this snapshot of him-- it surely represents him well!
So... when you have a spare second or two, hop on over for a peak at all the entries. No doubt there'll be oodles of other wonderfully silly faces this go round, and they'll most likely provide you with a good, hearty chuckle :) Enjoy!
Sunday, February 8, 2009
When the Lord blesses us with a sunny day in the middle of winter-- reaching 68 degrees, no less-- what are we to do?
Head outdoors, of course!
Here's how we spent our afternoon~
In case you need a close-up~
yes, those are indeed snow boots (it's never too warm for snow gear!) atop a skateboard and a scooter... the perfect combination!
Bub & Noh-man raced several times to the bottom of the hill on their bellies~
And once, daddy even gave it a shot!
When Big Man's skateboard needed "repairs," he took care of it all by himself. It worked much better once he completed his work :)
Friday, February 6, 2009
When your daughter's first birthday falls on Super Bowl Sunday, what are you to do? Have a party before the game? After the game? Instead of the game (as if the men in her life would ever agree to that!)? No, the football game was clearly secure on the evening's docket; the men had planned the menu weeks ago, for pete's sake. And I certainly didn't expect them to miss the game; I just wanted to squeeze a few moments in there for Lolli, for her celebration, for her minute in the spotlight.
Fortunately, everything worked out beautifully. We all ate and ate, and then we ate some more. We watched a little football, and then at some point in the early evening, the men gladly turned their attention to the littlest one. And Lolli ate her cake... the prettiest football cake this side of the Atlantic. And I think she even liked it :)