Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thursday morning observations

Last Saturday, Chris took all four kiddos to the mountains to visit with Grandmom and Pops (and to do a little work on a shared rental property-- they were *excellent* helpers!). I stayed home with Fergie, who is still not allowed to play or romp or otherwise actively socialize with his favorite companions, Mosby, Beau, and Sam. On Monday morning then, Chris returned with Lollipop in tow, but our three musketeers chose to spend their spring break with G-mom and Pops. Work, play, work, play-- their to-do lists were filled to overflowing with possibilities. And, while they were terribly excited about the laundry-list of possibilities, this ever-so-tired momma had equally exciting plans of her own (sleep, for instance, sat at the very top of MY spring break to-do list :). I mean, don't get me wrong-- my children rock my world, but every now and again, a different pace is a welcome sort-of thing.

Well, they've been gone now for 5 days, and I've got to tell you-- their absence has left quite the mark on this camp. For instance:

~ a house minus one wild pup (Mosby has been lounging at Camp Grandmom ever since Ferg started his heartworm treatment) and 3 energetic boys makes for one incredibly QUIET homestead. Serene, even. Calm. Still. Slow.

~ the laundry basket... the bane of my existence... is empty. Has been empty. And will remain empty for two more days. Ah, blessed relief!

~ I've shopped for groceries ONCE and only once, and we've had plenty to eat. We've run out of nothing, and we've even had left-overs. Crazy, I know :)

~ the normal night time routine has been transformed now that there's only one kiddo to tuck under the covers before calling it a day myself. Case in point: on Monday, Chris and I managed to get Lolli down by 7:15, watch a movie-- in its entirety--AND climb in to bed ourselves by 9:45. Clearly, the norm in old town VA departed some time long ago!

~ I have not picked up a single wet swimsuit from the kitchen or laundry room floor this entire week. Nor have I washed a single beach towel. In addition, all goggles are present and accounted for... another striking oddity around this joint.

~ there have been absolutely NO contests/arguments/debates/"discussions" regarding TV time for days. Lollipop has had the set to herself, she's chosen her show (she's loving the Leap Frog series on Netflix right now), and she's enjoyed her 30 mins or so in relative peace. Yes, peace.

Still... this current arrangement, I'm concluding, is not my preferred cuppa tea. Yes, a day or two on my own is quite the delight, but my chillins are... my chillins!! They're my sanity (in an otherwise insane world), they're my motivation, they're my inspiration to press on, to run the race, to obey... to seek Christ in all things so that others-- notably THEM!-- might see Him in me. And without them here, I'm just not the same.

Today, as Lollipop and I strolled the block alone, she randomly announced, "I miss my brothers, Momma! I miss my brothers..."

"So do I, honey, so do I..."

And that's all I could muster. Because even though the work load has been less, and even though the house has been blissfully calm, I miss those wild & crazy young men. The Lord truly does fill the heart and bless the soul and redeem the lost through relationship. And even though possible, relationship via the distance is not quite the same as relationship HERE. Now. Across the table. In the yard. Up the stairs. By my side. In my arms.

Oh, how I truly, truly appreciate the extreme generosity and thoughtfulness and love my parents pour out on those young'uns of mine, but I've got to tell you... I can't wait 'til they come home!

Monday, April 18, 2011

1000 Gifts: April abundance

"Sing to the LORD a new song;
Sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, praise His name;
Proclaim His salvation day after day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His marvelous deeds among the peoples.
For great is the LORD ans most worthy of praise..."

Psalm 96: 1-4a

Filled to overflowing, I add another page to my journal
as I thank Him for the gifts of His hand~

another week... another grace-filled week

marked by the colors of His hand

red (my favorite :)

with pink (hers :)

and a splash of iridescence to top it all off

{Bub}, you need to make the wise choice.
~Big Man

little ears that listen... that hear... that learn

a hand-me-down typewriter and hours of letter-writing fun

"Mommy, I have to type-write!" ~Lollipop

her finished product... "It says, 'Obey your parents, Mom.' "

{Big Man}, we can wear shorts today!!!

spring-like temperatures... WARMTH finally here

A picnic dinner... on the patio. And the John Deere trike.

and boys that never grow too big for such things

bumping in to a friend I haven't seen since high school... in the Costco parking lot

and then again on the pool deck after Big Man's swim practice

this small, small world


"Mommy, it's a beautiful morning!!"

a quiet Sunday-- Chris and the kids out of town, enjoying their get-away

me at home... the garden to myself

his thoughtfulness

spring break

six-year old curiosity

"Mom, is God taller than (Uncle) Dave?
Because in my red Bible, He's really small.
But in my white Bible, He's MUCH bigger."

and the Truth that sets men free

Christ's triumphal entry... His Selfless Sacrifice... His LOVE, poured out for me... Victory over the grave

Jesus has overcome and the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles' wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

~Chris Tomlin

... grace to rise

"But He was pierced for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on Him,
and by His wounds we are healed."

Isaiah 53:5

and the list continues...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Six weeks ago, Ferguson was diagnosed with heart worms. This was the latest in a long line of ailments since we adopted him a little over a year ago. In fact, the very day we learned of his infection the doctor had suggested that we start visiting a dermatologist in Maryland for a skin condition we have yet to control. Funny, I thought-- I don't have a "relationship" with a dermatologist myself, and here I am... readying myself to embark on a journey with one... an entire state away... for my dog!

The skin-related frustrations were to be put on hold, however, as a much more critically sinister, life-threatening condition now waged war against my pup. Heart worms, contracted by the bite of an infected mosquito, lead to certain death in a dog when left untreated. Ferg had been receiving preventative meds since he'd been in our home, though, so this new diagnosis completely threw me (us) for a loop. The skinny of it all-- from the time of infection, it takes 6 months for a blood test to give a positive result. Clearly, Ferg was infected before we adopted him, which truly comes as no surprise given the litany of struggles that poor pup has had to face due to the neglect and cruelty of his previous owner. Now, a year later, the fight was on.

When Ferg started treatment one month ago, Mosby-- the gray ghost/my other constant companion-- went to live, temporarily, at the Ritz Carlton for pups (a.k.a. Camp Grandmom). He's been abiding in the lap of luxury with Mom's & Dad's dogs for 4 weeks now, but boy oh boy do I miss that boy! Fergie, on the other hand, has been at home... quiet and lonely, bored (I think) and restrained. He misses his pal. He misses his walks. He misses his rough and tumble playtime in the backyard. Because while undergoing treatment, he can't wrestle or romp or exert himself in any strenuous manner.... in any way that might raise his heart rate beyond a resting level. And let me just state for the record-- with a two and a half year old pup, that's no easy task.

Enter last night. At 7: 30 I drove to the vet's office to pick him up after his second round of treatment. This dose had been twice as strong as the first one a month ago, and let me tell you... I was NOT prepared for what I saw. When the technician brought him out on his leash, I hardly recognized him. He didn't drag her across the waiting room-- as he normally would. He didn't wag his tail until it nearly wagged off-- as he normally would. He didn't kiss me all over and hop in my lap-- as he normally would. Instead, he simply collapsed at my feet. I noticed the slightest bit of a tail-wag, but that was it. He just collapsed. And rolled over. And emitted the most pathetic little whimper of recognition and delight.

Freakishly mindful of the time four years ago when, Jack, my best furry friend of 11 years, dropped at my feet (after a diagnosis of brain cancer), I struggled to retain my composure. Jack only lived for 3 more days. I wasn't ready to lose another one.

I carried Ferg to the car and laid him gently on the seat, and all the way home he cried. He cried when we pulled into the drive way, and he cried as Noh-man led him through the grass-- tears stinging Noh's eyes just as they were stinging mine. Thankfully, a spot on the sofa with his family gathered round did the trick, and within minutes, Ferg was sleeping soundly for the rest of the night.

Today, he'll surely be much better, and tomorrow even more so I'm sure. The toxins which are coursing through his body will acheive their desired aim, and thankfully, since the doctor caught the heart worms early, Ferg should recover fully. It's just a dicey and frightening ride en route.

In the meantime, I can't help but thank the Lord for this furry ball of tan and white... for the whimpers of delight amidst terrible pain... for the wag of the tail upon seeing his momma... for the hearts of his kiddos, gathered round to love... for the unconditional love he demonstrates every single day... for the lessons learned in the dark, when the way seems long and the way seems hard, and nothing-- absolutely nothing-- is a guarantee.

Because in those moments of frustration and fear and sorrow and pain, I can rejoice... because I DO have a guarantee after all... nothing-- absolutely nothing-- will ever separate me from the love of God in Christ, and while this life is filled with struggles and battles and conflicts I'd rather not wage, the Lord is working in all things, through all things, with all things for His glory and for His purposes. And if the hurdles I face in caring for this 44-pound bundle of energy and fluff get me closer to the finish line, well then amen... bring. them. on.

"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory
that far outweighs them all."

2 Corinthians 4:17

Edit: At 8:30 this morning, Fergie bounded from his crate... full of enthusiasm, excitement, and strength. God's mercies truly are new every morning!

Monday, April 11, 2011

1000 Gifts: New Beginnings

It's been a long, cold winter. Gray. Cloudy. Rainy. Even bitter.

But Christ's mercies are new every morning, and this a.m., it's time. Time to bounce back. Time to wipe the dust from my hands. Time to taste and see the goodness of the Lord... His splendor, His majesty, His boundless, limitless love. For me. Every single day.

So today I give thanks.
And I count... one by one... the gifts of His hand.

"O taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man that trusteth in Him."

Psalm 34:8

long winter months... which make the newness of spring all the more lovely

daffodils and hyacenths, azaeleas and dogwoods


and yellow

and a garden just bursting with life

year-round swimming for Big Man and wonderful, wonderful success

an award's banquet on Sunday afternoon-- my 3 boys together (plus a little green lady squished in between :)

with medals to bring home...

Big Man's very first one

plus~ a coach's sense of humor... like when he asked Noh-man not too long ago if Chris and I were planning on having more children because our family has been good for the team :)

reminders to SLOW DOWN and savor each moment


"Look, Mommy! Precious little grapes!!" ~Lollipop, referring to the flowers (below) in the garden

a Saturday outing for the girls...

to Bruster's for ice cream. A very, very favorite place... well worth the hour-long drive... especially when there are googly eyes and sprinkles on top :)

boys in the woods-- camping with friends

homebound... just me and my gal


"the peace"

blue skies

and play time OUTSIDE!!!

the beauty of SPRING... with my crew.
How could I ask for more??

"The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"

Psalm 27:1

and the list continues...