Monday, November 30, 2009

1000 Gifts: Thanksgiving & Family

"Now, our God, we give you thanks,
and praise your glorious name."

1 Chronicles 29:13

After a delicious & bountiful & wonderful-in-every-way holiday,
I return home refreshed.
And ever-s0-grateful to the One who provided it all.

So this morning, I give thanks to my Abba Father,
for He has done great things!

two Thanksgiving celebrations... with family all around
one in Maryland with Chris's clan and one in the woods... with my mom and dad

this house... their home... their arms-open-wide welcoming, their selfless giving,
their forever-care, their always-love

gatherings, assemblies, shared meals, and rejoicings as we give Him thanks... together

the earnest prayer of my 8-year old son, "Lord, help us to be thankful..."

a busy kitchen, tireless preparation, a bustle of activity... delicious expectation!

lively conversation. everyone gathered 'round. favorite dishes. tasty treats.

dinner plates scraped clean. full, full bellies.
left-overs and "re-runs" for days to come...
food that satisfies over and over and over again

homemade donuts for dessert, the joy of traditions

my grandmother's crystal candlesticks, an heirloom from days gone by.
Once they graced her dining room table; this past Thursday, they illuminated once again~

naps by the fire

books by the fire

a bench to share

a weekend to rest and chop wood and watch football and play!

Sunday morning worship, a shared pew, Christmas hymns & celebration songs.
beautiful Words... our Light has come!

a heart of joy and a new song

this advent season, our great anticipation, our wonderful hope... in the miraculous birth of a Baby... Emmanuel has come!

"And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together."

Isaiah 40:5

holy experience

and my list continues...

Monday, November 23, 2009

1000 Gifts: November Abundance

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name."

Psalm 100:4

This Thanksgiving week, I offer thanks... for:

towering giants, still laden with autumn color

a blanket of leaves already fallen... and those beauties who still cling to their trees

nature's lovely offerings, suited so well for hands so small

the squirrel on my fence, his mouthful of leaves-- dashing off to fluff up his nest...
God's perfect provision, even for His tiniest creatures.

helper hands, a yard now clean... well prepared for winter.
our neighbor's done, too... strong bodies & willing hearts--
opportunities to teach our boys to serve.

time outdoors... time to play and labor... together.

cold-weather foods, beef stew & biscuits, more than enough... abundance

the season's rich bounty. Yes, He always supplies...
God's never-ending care

my son's bold faith and questions asked... my friend's availablity and her willingness to share... God's perfect timing and a seed gently planted... service to our King... to Him be the glory

a morning to sleep in!

golden sunshine

daddy home for a stretch, vacation for all... a full week of giving and thanks

"We are pressed on every side, but not crushed;
perplexed, but not in despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned;
struck down, but not destroyed.
We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body."

2 Corinthians 4:8-10

Oh, the deep, deep love of Jesus!
That never forsakes, but always sustains,
always heals,
always preserves,
always forgives.

This morning, I give thanks....

holy experience

and my list continues...

Friday, November 20, 2009

A pre-holiday day

As Thanksgiving approaches, we're finding it very, very difficult to focus on our studies. Warm temperatures lure us outdoors. Holiday menus distract our grumbling tummies. Christmas wish-lists preoccupy little boy thoughts. And visions of a lazy, school-free vacation monopolize my mind. Yes, the holidays are just around the corner... and as far as I'm concerned, they simply cannot get here soon enough!

So, all that being said, our school days have been a bit off these past few days. A little bit here, a lot a bit there. Study, break, work, break, read, break, write, break. We're just struggling, plain & simple. Some how or other, though, we're still managing to get it all done-- "school" time just looks a little different-- perhaps a tad more strained or bit more disjointed-- than it normally does.

Case in point... the other morning, I found this at my kitchen table~

... evidently that new latin lesson was quite a bear,
and then the math and composition sent Bub over the edge.
The brain freeze that followed led to moderately irrational thought...
who'd a thunk to use a flour tortilla for a mask, I ask you?
Fortunately, we had plenty of others on hand to use for our lunch quesadillas :)

In addition to Mexican disguises,
linking cube pistols have popped everywhere.
I can't tell you how many times I've been blasted to smithereens this past week alone.

Surprisingly, I have survived.
And my pistol-toting cowboy hasn't put up even the slightest battle
when I've insisted he sit down for a lesson.
Number sequencing... one of his newest favorites
via dot-to-dots on the family room floor.
(I love this book, and thankfully, he does too!!
This one is next... it's the perfect follow-up)

Yes, we're checking things off our list, as we go...
anxious to put our books away for a week of rest and thanks.

So... the last few lessons in Writing with Ease are well under way,
with the help and camaraderie of a snugly pup,

and our model canal (it's really a series of locks) was a smashing success
(love this resource!)~
I still can't believe it actually worked...
the boys were even impressed, and that says a lot!

Grammar's running smoothly,
Latin's cruising right along (though it's getting tough... really tough),
history continues to amaze me,
and the basics are in the bag.
And all we're gonna do next week is read... I just. can't. wait!

So, as our mornings wrapped up this past week,
we found lots of spare minutes to spend in the great outdoors--
running and riding and scooting
with even a lesson or two for our smallest :)

With a handful of crackers to pass all around...
there was no need to go in for quite a good time :)

And these little green boots... oh, how I'll miss them when he grows.
They made their regular appearance each and every day,
because my gunslinger's very favorite footwear...
the shoes he chooses most every single time==
his frog boots-- there's just no compare!

Oh, how I love these days... this time with my crew.
To play and laugh and dance and sing.
To whistle and read and run and build.
To dream and explore and imagine and create.
To snuggle and cherish and savor and save...
precious moments...
precious memories...
God's most wonderful gifts.

Monday, November 16, 2009

1000 Gifts: Our trip north

"Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him."

Psalm 34:8

Truly, my cup overflows~

a weekend get-away--- just me and my dad and my tiny peanut, Lollipop...
off to visit my grandmom in New Jersey

daddy at home with my other three... conducting another Menstown retreat while we're away :)

safety as we traveled, backseat slumbers, a tiny hand to hold,
and lavendar wildflowers still blooming along the interstate

time with my dad

his love for my daughter... and her love for him

their time together... shoulder rides and shared meals, ketchup and french fries, sticky fingers and strawberry jam,
Klondike bars and sofa snuggles... Pops-sized hugs

this house... her home... God's provision for the last 44 years

memories around every corner, in every room, on every wall
memories of days gone by.
reminders of love that never dies.

Grandpop's trains... each one handmade, each one built tirelessly from scratch...
this labor of love for yet another generation to enjoy

His legacy

walks through the gardens with Lolli... and the laughter, the joy as she delights in those same paths...
those very same trails I explored so many years ago

this organ--- my granddad's organ... and tiny fingers to make music once again

Lolli in one arm, my grandmom on another... my dad's tender care of two very special ladies

this mother-son bond and the heritage they share

4 generations together-- playing and laughing and exploring and discovering...
moments to cherish forever and ever

my grandmom, her never-ending support, her encouragement and her prayers,
and her gentle reminder... I love you beyond measure

holy experience

and the list continues...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Repeating Words

Tonight, after tucking my littles in bed, I stumbled back down the stairs. Intent on reviewing a few books for my co-op lesson this Friday, I plopped down at my desk to grab the appropriate selections. Somehow or other, though, I ended up back in front of my computer for a quick peak here and a quick peak there. You know... the news, weather, email, a couple blog hops, and so on until I reached my final destination. I just love Ann's site-- her words... her thoughtfulness... her insight... her wisdom... her God-fearing heart... she ministers to me every. single. time. And of course, tonight was no different. Why we memorize Scripture: The habit of repeating Words... that's the title of today's entry, and wow... she hit me once again.

You see, for months now I've been fiddling around with Scripture memorization (I even have my list on my sidebar). Beth Moore set forth the challenge last winter-- two verses a month, I believe it was. Not much. Certainly a very manageable size chunk. So I hopped on board. It made perfect sense, after all... for years Chris and I have impressed upon our children these Words (and the import of them):

"I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You."

Psalm 119:11

I enthusiastically memorized my first few, but then life happened. Responsibilities, obligations, projects, lessons, activites, distractions... reviewing and retaining those verses became difficult. And less frequent. The Words, unfortunately, began to slip away...

As for tonight... enter--> Ann. Enter--> her words. Enter--> the Spirit's conviction.

The memorizing-- what happened to it?? Where'd it go?? And why am I not taking it more seriously?? Why am I not practicing what I've been preaching??

Good question.

So back to Ann. In her post she attached two clips from a John Piper sermon-- I'll link them both here because they hit the nail in my proverbial coffin.

Powerful. Inspired. Awesome. For me~

Check them out. And then if you have the time, read Ann's post. And then ponder. And consider. And ponder some more.

And maybe, just maybe, you'll join me.

With fresh commitment, I'll be repeating Words.

Wordless Wednesday: My Little Skater Girl

Monday, November 9, 2009

1000 Gifts: In the pool

"Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts..."

Psalm 105:1-2

So this morning I do just that...
with a heart full of awe and wonder, I give thanks.

God-given talents, abilities, and strengths... and the opportunity to use them to the fullest

an arena to compete, an opportunity to embrace victory like a champion,
and the lessons learned in the moments of disappointment, too

dedicated coaches who train and encourage and instruct and support...
who challenge my boys and then equip them to excel

a natatorium close to home so that travel is quick and easy

designated space to set up camp... so that we can sit and rest and read and play and just enjoy together

the comaraderie of teammates

the friendships, both in & out of the water, and healthy competition

the willingness-- the choice-- to dream big!
the willingness-- the choice-- to fear no more

an outpouring of God's blessings as seen in 14 races, 14 first place wins, 14 personal bests, and one team record...
and the heart and determination of my very favorite 8-year old

his gracious spirit and his humble heart

and his smile... that face-filling smile we saw this past weekend when he finally met his long-awaited, much-anticipated,
fight-to-the-finish goal

then a moment to give thanks to the One who made it all possible

my eldest's dedication and determination... his relentless pursuit of excellence...
his humility in success... and his willingness to offer everything's he got

his tender heart, his loyal heart, his courageous heart, his Christ-filled heart

and his desire to glorify God with a bold proclamation of his faith

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Philippians 4:13

Oh, the never-stopping, ever-flowing, always perfect gifts from our Abba Father...
every. single. day.

May I always remember to give thanks~

holy experience

and the list continues...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Just another afternoon...

... on the Capitol lawn.

With John Voight, John Ratzenberger, Mark Levin,

and thousands of other Americans--

who are fed up with government waste, a ridiculous healthcare proposal,
and elected officials who refuse to listen to their constituents.

Were our voices heard??

Let's hope so.