Saturday, January 29, 2011

Close to His heart

Isaiah 40:11 He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.

If you've ever held a baby, you've probably experienced it- the moment when the little one stops squirming and screaming and burrows into your shoulder, finally offering the comfort you long to give.

Ah... It feels great.

I've been so thankful to know the Good Shepherd who gathers me in His arms and carries me close to His heart, but I've never really considered what it does for His heart when I finally put a plug in my whining and complaining and I, in faith, really rest in His love. I think it must stir emotion in Him and bless Him in some way that I don't or can't even know. I don't want to be presumptuous, but if we, who have tainted and sinful hearts, are moved at this experience of our children, how much more would our Lord's pure and holy heart be moved?

He is strong and He is good and He longs for us to be still and settle into His love long enough to hear the song that He sings over us- to calm our fears and give us true rest.

And it's not even all about us- imagine that.

It's about the Good Shepherd and His strong arms that comfort us.

Press into them today and know that you bless your Creator as you do.

Song of Solomon 5:14 "His arms are rods of gold set with chrysolite."

Friday, January 28, 2011

The perks

I love this job of mine. But it's not always easy. It can be exhausting and tedious and you may not even get to brush your teeth until half way through the day, but it's got it's perks...
video
I'll take the baby kisses and remember that all the sleepless nights and the dirty diapers and the runny noses are totally and completely worth it. Always.

Bippity, boppity, boo

 You might have a handy husband or a do-it-yourself dad, but not me.  I have a little home improvement fairy that swoops in every now and then and does all manner of fix-it genius like repairing my air conditioning vent, refinishing my kitchen table, fixing the track on my pull-out trash can, and hanging curtains.  She's amazing.
 And then she leaves flowers and a magazine in her magical wake.  It was like she waved her magic wand and bippity, boppity, boo...
This same little fairy is visiting her son's  Jack's office today and there's no telling what kind of transformation will take place there today.

It's just another reminder to my heart to use the gifts I've been given to love and serve those around me (and as the packing tape on my air conditioning vent will clearly attest, my gift is not home repair).

This fairy of mine has blessed us more times than I could count.

So thank you, BeBe!  You are truly amazing!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How to make a giant fake lollipop

"A craft post?" you may ask.

Why yes!

In a striking turn of events last week, Anna Grace's sweet dance teacher somehow got the misguided idea that she would ask me to make the props for this year's recital. The girls are wearing green polka dots and will be dancing to... you guessed it... "Lollipop," so my job would be to make nine giant fake lollipops. In an effort to help out (and let's be honest- it's better than the backstage mom gig), I gladly accepted the assignment, put it on the back burner, and then started to break out into a cold sweat on the way to Hobby Lobby several days later. Acting on Anna Grace's brilliant idea, I called her aunt Jenny (the queen of all things crafty- have you seen the cake?) as we pulled up under the big orange sign. After a quick craft consult (but not too long since I had three kids in tow), we gathered our first round of supplies. And now, a couple of days later, I'll spare you the details, but I will relay a few things I've learned about making giant fake lollipos:

1. You can use a plastic tablecloth, tissue paper, or wrapping paper to cover the 16" cardboard cake round, but wrapping paper works best- by far.
2. Don't use a hot glue gun with a plastic tablecloth.
3. Don't use plastic balloon sticks. A wooden dowel works much better. But the balloon stick is good for blazing the trail for the dowel in the innards of the cardboard round. And jamming the stick in the cardboard is a delicate and strenous job all at once.
4. Solid colored wrapping paper is hard to find.
5. Cellophane works great but you will need more than you think. Much more.

So there you go. Now you know why I don't blog about crafts.  Go ahead and laugh at with me. 

I enjoyed this little project about as much as a trip to the dentist.

But...
My little dancer was thrilled. She thought it was the best thing ever and she could hardly wait to take them to class today. It was funny- she seemed to pick up on the fact that this was hard for me because she kept emphasizing what a good job I had done and commending me on how hard I had worked.

It was important because I was able to tell her that I did it because I love her and because I know that God has given her the gift of dance and song.
When it was all said and done, I was more impressed by the irredescent shadow on the wall than the lollipops themselves, but you know... that's how God made me.

I'm so glad He gave us each other. Like I've said, it keeps things colorful.

Here's to lollipops and love!

(Oh, and you can say a prayer for me... I've still got one more trip to Hobby Lobby and two more lollipops to go!)

Thomas, Mr. The King, and Me

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Colorful


Every now and then, the Lord does something or adds a little twist or leads you down a path that you just didn't expect. Sometimes, it's even unfathomable. Something happened and it was totally off of your radar, but then, there it is- the unexpected.

It's a good thing, too, because come tomorrow morning, I'll be making sure everyone gets breakfast and brushes their teeth and gets dressed, then I'll take two kids to school and then put one down for a nap while I clean and fold and put away- like I do every single day. So yeah, the unexpected, I feel, is the kindness of the Lord that breaks through and breaks in and gives us a sense of being on an adventure with Him. Even though I'm living in the town I was born and raised in and even though I have a regular schedule and even though I shoulder the responsibilities of a mother day in and day out, He still speaks and acts and leads in ways I don't expect and ways that remind me of the adventure I'm on with Him.

It's good.

And it keeps things... colorful.

Thank you, Lord, for the unexpected in life.

The boy next door






Literally- the boy next door. This is our little neighbor, Greyson. I'm hoping to take a photography class this spring so that I'll actually have a clue about what I'm doing with this camera of mine, but for now, it's fun to just play- especially when you catch a kid in a funny mood with just the right light. Cute kid for sure.

Friday, January 21, 2011

My little present participles

posing


playing


 yearning


proclaiming


 acting


 spilling


delighting

Just another day at the park.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Who, What, and Which

King Hezekiah of Judah really knew how to pray. As I revisited his prayer as recorded in Isaiah 37 in BSF this week, I was struck by how it really had such a "Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name" tone to it. Not only that, but it was the last in a series of things that spoke to my heart in the past couple of days about what we should do in uncertain circumstances and about Who is ultimately in control.

It's amazing that this prayer that this king prayed around 2,700 years ago on the other side of the world could still be a template for us to pray today:
O Lord Almighty, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give ear, O Lord, and hear; Open your eyes, O Lord, and see, listen [to our cry- insert situation here]...Now, O Lord our God, deliver us... so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O Lord, are God.

This must be why Jesus tells us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Our job is to simply take our burdens, cares, and circumstances to Him. That's first and really that's the most important. Then, we listen for His direction and follow where and how He leads (and as I've said before, He leads really well). And when we do that, He gives grace upon grace upon grace to equip us for the task at hand.

It seems so overly simple and yet, it's so extremely profound.

And the thing is, when we do that and we're able to totally trust in the Lord and as He works in our lives, we gain a testimony that speaks of the Lord's faithfulness and His love. Like Hezekiah said, so that all kingdoms on earth may know...

It just kind of blows my mind that I might be part of the answer to that prayer. That 21st century, American answer.

It's a good reminder of a lot of things: Who is in control, What we should do, and Which kind of things might be in the balance.

So persevere in prayer, my friends.

You just never know.

Ephesians 3:20-21 "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."

The pink zebra- then and now


2004

2011

Love the hand-me-downs but love even more these sweet girls.

Cherished

 Asher

 Anna Grace

Zeke

Their socks may not stay on and they may have a flair for the dramatic and they may park cars all over the house, but we cherish these three little monkeys. We are loving life with these wild and wonderful kids of ours.  Slip-off socks and all.  

Monday, January 17, 2011

Power, justice, and love

AGC's latest masterpiece


"Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is love correcting everything which stands against love." 
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.



(props, Amber, for the status of the day- great one)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Best ever

I may have been born in October, but my Kathy arranged the absolute best birthday celebration in January I've ever had.
Between the Chipotle, the baby girl snuggles, the Pei Wei, the share and prayer time, the six year old joy of a basketball game, the laughs, the catching up, and the very funny (and many) mishaps, it was an absolutely fantastic time.


So, thank you, my Kathy momma, for meeting me there and loving me well and celebrating life with me. It was the best birthday in January I've ever had and you are the best mentoring-spiritual-mom-in-the-Lord a girl could EVER have.

I love you so.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

That iconic green corduroy

 Because she lives hundreds of miles away, I don't often get a chance to sit in my friend's green chairs. 
 But when I do, I get all warm and fuzzy inside thinking about all the babies I've rocked in these chairs and all the heart wrenching conversations I've had in these chairs and all the laughs we've shared while sitting in this oh-so green pair of wonderful chairs. 
 I know that they just won't last forever and one day, she'll have to recover them or (God-forbid) get rid of them. 
There aren't a whole lot of things that I really feel strongly about in this world, but, obviously, I'm kind of fond of these chairs. 

Probably because I'm so fond of the owners.

And I've got a few more hours... I'll sit and laugh and conversate while I can. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A shoot from the stump

Isaiah 11:1-10  A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.  2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him-- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD--  3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears;  4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.  5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.  6 The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.  7 The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.  8 The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest.  9 They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.  10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious.

The Clapping Song - Shirley Ellis

My mother in law sings this to all her grandbabies and I finally found the origin! Is this not so fun? Here's to you, BeBe!!!!

The impromptu smores of an amazing woman

Not everybody lives a mile away from their mother.  Not everybody has a welcoming mother or a loving mother or a creative mother.  Not everybody has a mother who cherishes her grandchildren and creates memories like making smores in the backyard on New Years Eve.

Man, am I blessed or what?

Thank you, Lord, for my mom. 

Asher's status

Hey people! I just got to ride on an airplane for my very first time and the nice lady who kept talking to me and gave me a cup to play with also gave me some kind of wings. Mom thought I looked pretty funny.

I am very happy and I am playing with my toys while my mom sings me all kinds of songs (one of which is about a monkey and a goose going to heaven in a little rowboat). I am having a great time on my adventure. My mom tells me I'm going to Kansas City, but I'm down for whatever. Just give me some milk and some crackers and I'm good.

My mom also told me that we have five hours to spend in the airport, so she said we're going to dinner and she's going to do some blogging. Whatever. I'm just happy to be along for the ride.

See ya on the flipside, peeps!

Monday, January 10, 2011

I said it's great... to be...

 An Auburn Tiger!

Not that it's all that important in the grand scheme of life, but my team just won the BCS National Championship.  And even though I'm watching it by myself, I can picture the faces of my Auburn friends and family- Amber and Karen and Jonny and Lauren and Carrie and and Lisa and Andy and Jeff and Jason and Patrick and Bethany and Paul and Beth (just to name a few)- all smiling a wide "it's great to be an Auburn tiger" grin. 

And that's just kind of fun.

War Eagle, friends!

The way I was made to run: getting technical

So these are my new Vibram FiveFingers running shoes foot gloves. I heart them. I first saw these beauties at the half-marathon I ran in December and quite honestly, I was befuddled. They just look so odd. But they seemed to be the latest in running technology and my mother-in-law treated me to a pair, so Saturday morning, I took them for a test drive with my trusty running chum Nora by my side.

Now, seeing as these contraptions seem to be nothing more than gloves for your feet, I was a little concerned about the mobility control I really needed for my moderate to severe bilateral pronation. I mean, the bottom of my flat feet can create an impressive suction on the right surface. They're quite the flipper flapper feet. And then there's my really sweet hallux valgus. Lovely. Pair those with my increased right femoral anteversion and you've got a recipe for chronic injury with distance running.

However.

I found these shoes helped, albeit mildly, with both proper toe alignment and arch support. As I pulled the velcro strap across the top of my foot, I felt it gave at least some support to what is left of my spring ligament complex while allowing me the freedom and efficiency of barefoot running which encourages a lower impact forefoot or midfoot strike at initial contact.

And it felt great. Sort of strange, but great.

Granted, it was a beautiful Saturday morning and I had my buddy by my side, but it was a great run. I'll give Nora and the weather credit for shaving off 30 seconds off of my minute per mile time, but I'm giving the other 15 seconds per mile to the shoes. Or running foot gloves. Whatever.

Turns out, God created our feet to run on. Without air pockets or two to three inches of "responsive cushioning."

Who knew?

Dancing king

video
This video is from Christmas, but Asher continues to kick his legs, bob his head, and dance whenever he hears a tune. It's fantastic!

Friday, January 7, 2011

A colorful dream

I thought our after school outing to the grounds of Norton Art Gallery would be fun.  I had no idea it would be almost two hours of an enchanting and thrilling adventure for my little crew. 






 At one point, Zeke's little heart was just about to burst with excitement when he told me that it was just like a colorful dream.

 And he was right. 
 Even in January, the grounds were sprinkled with color.
And it was dreamy.  



A colorful dream for sure.