Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Our Red Envelopes

The boys took great pride in addressing our stack or red envelopes (thank you, Les & H., for your help!) as part of the Red Envelope Project, and this morning, we passed them all off to our local postmaster.  1600 Pennsylvania Avenue... here they come!  And fortunately... thankfully... we're not the only ones sending some in that direction. Hundreds (or more likely--thousands) have dropped red envelopes in to their mailboxes.  I wonder how many will ultimately reach the White House??  

Just to give you an idea-- at the above website, you can enter your name and the quantity you personally mailed, and the grand total will be automatically updated.  As of this writing, 1,137,133 envelopes have been pledged... 1,137,133!!  That's a ton of red headed to Washington D.C.!   Of course, only the LORD knows if any of these envelopes will ever reach the President.  Whether or not he ever olds one in his hands though, I'm sure he'll receive the message.  
So... it's not too late to join in-- just drop one or two or fifty red envelopes in the mail, and then pray... pray that the voices of the innocent will be heard in our nation's capital.

"Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to die;
save them as they stagger to their death."

Proverbs 24:11

Monday, March 30, 2009


"O LORD, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to [his] relief."

Psalm 143:1

This morning my heart is burdened for a little boy I've never met.  His name is Stellan.

A few days ago, I stumbled across his mother's blog and there I sat for some time, reading his life story... learning about his condition.  Today I'm posting here, asking that any and all of you who might feel so inclined, will lift his name towards heaven... to the God of the universe, the Great Physician, the Mighty Healer... our Abba Father. 

Prayers for Stellan

Stellan is only 5 months old.  He survived a terrible heart condition while in utero, but now it's back and he's fighting for his life.  The doctors are unable to control his elevated heart rate, and after days of fighting, his tiny heart is getting tired.  And blood is not reaching his extremities.  As a mother of 4 healthy children, I simply cannot imagine...

People from all over the world-- literally-- are praying.  Jennifer, his mother, has started a Stellan name gallery where she's collected photos from people around the globe.  Stellan's name has been written in the sands of Senegal and on a sign in front of the Eiffel Tower; the above button has been flashed across the screen in Times Square, and his name has been posted on the side of a military aircraft.  The stream of photos is long but it's oh-so-cool... to think that that many people are praying for a 5 month old boy! 

So today, in your quiet moments, please pray for this little guy.  The LORD hears our prayers, and whether or not He decides to heal Stellan as we'd all like to see... well, that's up to Him. Hopefully He will, but there's a chance that complete healing here on earth may not be part of His ultimate plan.  And while I cannot fathom the pain that comes with losing a child, it's clear (from reading Jennifer's blog) that she and her family fully trust the One who formed this little life.  They fully believe that He's not only holding that tiny body in His hands, but that He's also working for good... because He loves their boy even more than they do.  

So please... pray for Stellan.  

And if you're interested-- the above button will take you to his mother's blog where you can learn more about this little man and his fight for life.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

After the rain

"Praise be to the God and father of our LORD Jesus Christ!  In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-- kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time."

1 Peter 1 :3-5

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Seasonal Edition

Special treats, random surprises, and seasonal activities... that's the topic for this week's edition of Living Lively with Family.  I had a grand time searching back through my photo archives for ideas, and after peeking at Heidi's post (her photography is fabulous, by the way!), I decided to follow her lead and let the pictures tell the story.  So here goes-- the seasonal edition as it applies to us~ 

Apple picking every autumn...

And sampling a few, just to make sure they pass the test :)

Hikes through the woods as the leaves fall from the trees,

field trips to the battlefields to climb on the cannons,

fun with pumpkins after a trip to the pumpkin patch,

and paintball wars when Uncle Dave comes to town.

Then, as winter sets in, there's skating at the ice rink right up the street

and skiing at a resort not too far away.
(Of course, Lolli & I opt for hot cocoa in the lodge instead of skis on the slopes!)

And then... gradually... the warm weather returns :)
We all love taking a day trip to the zoo, and last year we discovered the Virginia Safari Park, where the animals eat straight from our hands!

Treks to the river...

and rides around one of our favorite beach towns... neither ever disappoint!

When the scorching heat of summer settles in we head to the pool, sometimes for a quiet swim...

and sometimes for a big splash!

And of course, a chocolate ice cream cone at the beach is always a treat!

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven."

Ecclesiastes 3:1

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Red Envelope Project

On March 31st, I'll be mailing a bundle of red envelopes to the President of the United States, and here's why: 

He does not value life.  Every year, untold millions are killed under the banner of "choice" and he-- President Obama-- sees nothing wrong with it.  In fact, he condones the brutal slayings of the unborn.  Voluntary Population Planning... that's what he calls it.  It's despicable.  Horrific.  Barbaric.  Wrong.  

So on March 31st I'll be joining in a peaceful protest, and if you're interested in learning more about the Red Envelope Project or in participating, here's how:

1.  Buy red envelopes or postcards (as many as you'd like) at any Kinkos or party supply store.
2.  Mail them to the White House on the 31st of this month.  On the front of each, write this address:    
                       President Barack Obama                                                                                                                                            The White House                                                                                                                                                      1600 Pennsylvania Avenue                                                                                                                                          Washington D.C.  20500
3.  On the back of each, write the following message:    
   "This envelope/postcard represents one child who died because of an abortion. 
 It is empty because the life that was taken is now unable to offer anything to the world.  Responsibility begins with conception."
The President may never receive these envelopes, but who knows?  Perhaps he will.  And hopefully, 50 million of them will make their way to the White House-- one for every child who's died (in the United States) from an abortion. 

And hopefully... hopefully... the LORD will change the President's heart... that's my prayer.

"For You formed my inward parts; 
You wove me in my mother's womb. 
 I will give thanks to You, 
for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
 Wonderful are Your works, 
and my soul knows it very well."

Psalm 139:13-14

Monday, March 23, 2009

My Age Group Champion

Virginia Swimming Age Group Championships
Freedom Aquatic Center, George Mason University
March 19-22, 2009

Athletes registered with Virginia Swimming: 6000
Qualified to swim at the state championships: 799

And we were there...

All year long, swimmers train and compete and compete and train, all in the hopes of making it to the state championships.  Back in the fall, Bub earned his first qualifying time, and in the months that followed, he earned himself a full docket at this past weekend's meet.  He swam 8 individual events (and 4 team relays) in the 10 & Under category, and... drum roll please... he scored personal best times in each end every one.  Combined, he cut a total of 24.24 seconds!

 One year ago, Bub's scores placed him in the bottom third of Virginia's registered swimmers.  This weekend, however, he proved that he's up there with the fastest in the state!

In the 500 yard Freestyle, he placed 12th in the state of Virginia.
In the 200 yard Freestyle, he tied for 9th.
In the 100 yard Individual Medley, he took 15th place.
In the 50 yard Butterfly, he tied for 11th place (& got an AAA time!).
In the 100 yard Freestyle, he took 11th place.
In the 200 yard IM, he took 12th place.
In the 100 yard Backstroke, he took 20th place (before the race he was in 45th place!)
And in the 100 yard Butterfly, Bub placed 7th in the state-wide competition (he also got an AAA time!)!

And on top of all that, he smoked his biggest racing rival-- a boy he's been "chasing" for almost 4 years (3 summers + 1 year of year-round swimming) -- in 4 separate events... what a weekend!!

To Bub, my Age Group Champion...

Back before the foundation of time, the LORD decided that I would be your mom.  How I could ever deserve such a gift I'll never know.  All I do know is that He chose me, and for that I will ever be grateful.  Your are a blessing... a priceless & precious gift-- ten years ago, a tiny baby boy, my firstborn... and for all time, a treasure of endless worth.

You, my dear, dear Bub, mean more to me that I can ever say.
My heart is overflowing, it is bursting at the seams, it is popping with pride.
I am so, so proud of you and of the young man you've become.
You are wonderful in every way...
and you are my champion.

Congratulations, babe!
I love you~

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Weekly Edition

"There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of human society, are created, strengthened and maintained..."

--Winston Churchill

Living Lovely with Family
, Heidi's new blog series over at Mt. Hope Chronicles, is up and running again with it's second installment... the Weekly Edition.  What are some things we do as a family on a weekly basis (or perhaps 2-3 times/month) that are special and meaningful to us??  That's what Heidi wants to know :)

In our family, we attend church together every week.  As members of a very large church, we have lots of church service options-- we used to attend regularly on Sunday mornings; that's just what Chris and I were used to doing as children and newlyweds.  Nowadays, however, Saturday night services abound, and thankfully, our church provides one... and we like it a lot!  The format is the same as that on Sunday morning so we're not missing out on anything by going then, and it really is a nice way to cap off our Saturday. What started as a convenience (working around travel soccer schedules) has turned into a regular part of our routine, even though we no longer have travel soccer on our regular docket :)
Let's see, a few other weekly activities... of course there's Costco night!  A large pizza (a large yummy pizza!) that feeds the entire family for $9.95... it's a no-brainer!  Plus we get to shop together and the boys get to rummage through the movie and video game bins with daddy-- it's a boy's paradise!  It's also a dinner out for us all with no kitchen clean-up for me... a win/win all the way around :)  [Of course, if we don't make it to Costco for dinner with daddy, the kiddos and I head over during the late morning to get our shopping done and fill our bellies with free samples!]

On weekends, there's always work to be done around the house... little repairs, extra projects, and of course, yard work in summer.  All three boys have practically run the wheels off their little bubble-blowing lawnmower in years past as they've helped dad "mow the grass."  The guys try to catch a little football action, too, both on tv (when it's in season) and at the park across the street.  Sometimes it's baseball.  Sometimes soccer.  And sometimes it's just a wrestling match in the front yard.  In nice weather, we also attempt to get outdoors for a family walk-- sometimes around the neighborhood and sometimes on one of the many trails in our neck of the woods. 

Weekly, we also spend lots of time at the boys' sporting events. Between soccer and swimming, most of our Saturdays (and many of our Sundays) have been spent around the field or at the pool (though I think soccer has been crossed off our list in favor of swimming).  During the summer, the boys' team competes every Saturday.  During the school year, their year-round team competes once or twice-- and sometimes even 3 times-- a month (and those meets run all weekend long!).  We have a lot of fun cheering the boys on from the sidelines, and we also enjoy the time we spend just "hanging out" in between events. 

And of course in the summer months the kids and I spend every day at the pool... there's just no other way to enjoy the outdoors here in summer!  Several nights a week we'll make it a late day so that dad can come swim after work, and once a week (generally), we'll trade in our Costco trip for a pizza dinner at the pool.  That's always a lot of fun!  

All in all, I think the best thing about our "weekly" activity list is that, just like our daily one, we're all together... and that's a wonderful blessing!

Where will our country find leaders with integrity, courage, strength-- all the family values-- in ten, twenty, or thirty years?  The answer is that you are teaching them, loving them, and raising them right now."

--Barbara Bush

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Paw power

On Saturday morning, we crawled out of bed in the wee hours, dressed ourselves in the dark, and then hopped in the truck (we had packed it the night before) for a 3 and a half hour drive west.  Our destination: Husky Power Dog Sledding in western Maryland.  Our mission: take a ride!  

Several months ago, I made reservations for the 5 of us (Lolli stayed home with Grandmom) and since that time, I (in particular) had been sitting on pins and needles, anxious for this day to arrive.  From the moment we stepped foot on the property until the time we waved goodbye, we all had an absolute blast and the events of the day-- without a doubt-- did not disappoint!  The owners were lovely, the dogs (all 19 of them) were beautiful, and the ride... oh, the ride.  Let me tell you, dog sledding has always been at the top of my I-really-really-really-want-to-do-list, and now I can honestly say (from a position of experience, mind you)-- if it isn't on your list, put it there!  Really.  It was that fun :) 

So.  In technical terms, we didn't actually sled.  Instead, we mushed.  The dry land way.  And to be even more precise-- the warm weather dry land way.  Typically, a dry land sled would have been used (I have a picture below), but since it was a relatively warm day-- approximately 40 degrees-- the dogs pulled us on an ATV instead.  And here's why: the use of a motorized vehicle gave the musher a bit more control over the dogs' exertion level.  You see, the dogs prefer much cooler temps.  Cooler, as in -10 to 20 degrees F... yikes! So when the day is toasty, as ours was, the owners pull out the ATV. For most of our ride, it's power wasn't needed; the musher just kept the engine in neutral.  But when the dogs reached an incline, he kicked it in to gear.  Working too hard in warm air can be harmful to the pups, and the owners certainly didn't want any of their dogs overheating. 

So, here's the "colonel" with Zsa-- the matriarch, the alpha... the gal at the top of the pecking order. They headed to the front of the line~

And below is the super-cool rig.  It's a Touri-- a German dry land "sled" of sorts.  It's the one the dogs pull when the air is cold.  Bub liked it so much, he asked if we could combine his birthday money for the next ten years (plus some!) to buy him one (currently, there are only 6 in the U.S.).  He said he'd worry about acquiring a dog team sometime thereafter :)

Of course, a ride on snow in a traditional sled would have been great fun, too-- perhaps next winter...

This handsome pup is Oreo (he liked Chris!), and he was my favorite.

Noh-man really enjoyed meeting all the dogs.  He wanted to buy Zoomer; unfortunately, Zommer was not for sale.

Our good friends from church went with us, and that made our day even better!

My friend, Cheryl, took this photo of us-- that's Big Man sitting in front of Jake (the musher) and that's Chris and me on the back.  So, so fun!

So now I've been dog sledding, or at least-- dry land mushing.  And it was utterly fantastic! 

 Next go round... a ride in the snow!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The big snow

Almost 2 weeks ago it snowed.  A lot.  Almost 5 inches, I think.  We haven't had that sort of accumulation in ages! And it even lasted for a couple days!  That made for lots-o-fun in the great outdoors.  The kids had a grand time, per usual, and I even enjoyed it for the first day or two.  But then, when the spring-like temps rolled in... well, let's just say that I'd much prefer that sort of weather!  

Anyhoo, I'm a bit late in getting these photos posted.  Things have been crazy here, needless to say. But hey, better late than never~ 

So, here they are-- a few shots of our most recent (and hopefully "final") snow day of the winter!