Wednesday, February 27, 2013

pantry, perennials, prayer


51.  a pantry FULL
52.  another apology accepted
53.  perennial surprises- fruit of a different year's labor
54.  my sin, shortcomings, and failures covered- by the blood of Your Son
55.  my mother's help and company in the kitchen
56.  Asher's prayer full of simple thank-you's (it reminded me that this discipline of thanks is transforming me)
57.  the warmth of the bright sun on a chilly day
58.  a friend's good news- great news- and perspective (I see You in her)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

the Joker

I think I've said it before, but there is just something about our two-year-old.  He just makes us laugh all the time.

At Christmas, he kept telling us that he wanted to be the bad guy when playing with his older brother's toys.  I was a little bit disturbed that he insisted on being the bad guy- that is, until we realized that he didn't want to be the BAD guy, he wanted to be the BAT guy (a.k.a. Batman).  Our mistake.

There are little daily things like how he'll throw his hands up in the air and yell "Hooray for me!" after he pulls up his pants by himself or how he cracks himself up changing the last word of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" to something crazy like "table" or "race car" or how he chants what he wants or how he tries to do a push up but ends up looking more like a disabled frog, but then there are the things like what happened at the vet a couple of weeks ago- things I want to always remember. 

Our miniature schnauzer was due for some shots, so I guess Asher was anticipating Zoe's pain.  He grabbed her furry face and held it close to his.  He bent his knees and looking her square in the eyes, he said, "Zoe, here's the deal.  You gonna be fine."

That Asher-dude...

to 50

46.  clean water from a faucet
47.  a scratched-up little nose nearly healed over
48.  the red headed woodpecker and the robin conferencing in my front yard
49.  plans thwarted (Your plans are better)
50.  a short outing with my girl, top-of-our lungs singing in the car

Monday, February 25, 2013

a marvelous makar

Kayla writes.  Man, can she write.  When you read her words, you can tell, clearly, that the Lord has gifted her with seeing how words fit together just so.  She churns them up and presents them together like a big, beautiful birthday cake.  Or a warm chili on a cold day.  I cannot wait to read her book. 

She has recently posted a couple of writing assignments she's done with her pupils (she's the headmaster of her homeschool domain) and I have had such fun participating that I thought I would share my latest assignment (see Sniglets).  I hope I get a passing grade because I found this assignment much more difficult than the one on color (see a writing assignment).  Since I didn't have a Scrabble dictionary, Kayla assigned me one herself: makar.  Here goes:

Makar
Sounds like a small wooden tool used in the 1800's
Probably malicious or dark
Or a bird indigenous to South America
Or high-fluffed and dense clouds
Or the blackish gray of soot and ashes
But it's a poet

Whew, that was tough.  But thanks for the inspiration, Kayla!
You and your words bring hope and light and joy to so many.  You are a marvelous makar indeed. 

Three day birthday sale

the poster I made for the party

It was a three day sale, but it was more like a four day sale this year.

Of course, the three day sale is simply his favorite t-shirt (thank you again, Rupps), but it has come to mean to us just a general jubilation.  It's donned at the start of a vacation or on a special Friday afternoon.  You can see what I mean.  I always smile when he pulls it out of the closet. 

So the three day/four day sale began and Friday night was dinner out with sister Kate (who drove almost 8 hours for the festivities) and Jack's parentals.  Saturday was a second annual silent auction that bolstered our friends' ministry greatly (and plus we had great food and a super fun photo booth).  Sunday was a trip to Dallas and an NBA game (we saw Kobe Bryant beat up on the Mavs).  Monday, which was his actual birthday, was a day off from work (why not?) and general goodness ending with a crazy dance party with the kids.

So you see, it was a four day "sale" but if you ask me, it was totally worth every second of the celebration.

Happy birthday, Jack, and thank you, Jesus, for these 36 years you've given him.

 I love my birthday-ing, three day sale-ing, treat yo-self-ing man. 


blue crayoned love

39.  the hum of a working dishwasher
40.  finding the perfect birthday card
41.  the chubby little hand that decorated it
42.  Jack and his 36 years of life!
43.  a steady afternoon rain
44.  the potential I see all around me
45.  finding joy in service

Sunday, February 24, 2013

apologies, ideas, and love

31. the house that keeps us warm and close
32. warm biscuits on a Saturday morning
33. the sweet friendships of eight-year-olds
34. my apology accepted
35. an idea that worked
36. the fun of a photo booth
37. watching Jack pop up from the edge of his seat, cheering for one of his favorite teams
38. Kate and how she loves my kids

Friday, February 22, 2013

from luncheon to lens

31.  a minestrone and blackberry lunch with Asher
32.  smiling when I think of Zeke and what You've done in him
33.  a little nudge from a friend because she cares
34.  the family that I wasn't always a part of but that I married into but I feel like part of the family all the same
35.  a new lens- both literal and figuartive

"I pay tribute to God by paying attention."  A. Voskamp

from dreams to sheets

26.  visiting with my dad in my dream
27.  the neck snuggles from my two-year-old
28.  the comfort of Your promise to always be with us, even to the end of the age
29. jokes with friends that make me L O L
30. clean sheets

Congo bars



Since Kayla asked, we're revisiting that old family recipe.  

And when I say old, I really mean it.  It came from a recipe card from my great-grandmother- my maternal grandfather's mother who also happens to be my namesake.  Her name was Amanda Dorothea Vetter Greve.  My mother thought about giving me the Dorothea name, but settled on Amanda (my middle name).  I think when I was younger I might have balked at the name Dorothea, but I rather like it now and besides, it's the name of a very accomplished photographer (Dorothea Lange), so I wouldn't mind it now.  Not that I have any vain imagination that I would ever be a Dorothea Lange, but you know.  I like photography.  

ANYWAY-

Here's the recipe.  It's simple, tried, and true.  A real antique.  

CONGO BARS

2/3 cup butter
2 1/4 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 package chocolate chips

Spread in pan and bake at 350 for 18-25 minutes

(I never said it was healthy)

(Also, my mom and I don't have any guesses on why or how it got its name, congo bars)

Enjoy!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

smells, soup, silliness, and Skype

22.  the smell of an old family recipe coming from the hot oven
23.  warm soup with a friend
24.  Anna Grace's quick wit
25.  Skype and how it connects us


"Faith is in the gaze of a soul.  Faith is the seeing soul's eyes upon a saving God, the saving God of twisted bodies, the saving God of harvest moons... Seeing is the spiritual life.  '...they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and return and be healed' (Isaiah 6:9-10 NASB).  'Looking comes first,' wrote Lewis in The Great Divorce.  First, the eyes.  Always first, the inner eyes."  A. Voskamp

I got some really terrible news from a friend today.  My gaze goes upward.  

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

prayer, pink, progress, and paint

18. weekly pre-dawn prayer meeting with three sister-type friends
19. pink clouds to bring in the day
20. Zeke's great progress in school
21. how even the chipped paint on the merry go round at the park looked pretty in the 4:00 light

Monday, February 18, 2013

warmth and strength

14. towels warm from the dryer
15. an email that brought teary joy
16. my little boy's strong appetite
17. a strong whiff from a patch of paper whites on an afternoon walk
chorizo burrito... yum

Sunday, February 17, 2013

breath, QT, cartwheels, and boots

10. lungs that take air in and breath it out without effort
11. a dad playing marbles with his son


12. Anna Grace's cartwheels in the sunshine
13. little boots dirty from adventure

Saturday, February 16, 2013

cackles, skies, and dogs

7. how my husband made me cackle laugh before I even had my coffee this morning
8. skies all blue
9. swimming dogs and the way they shake when they hop out of the water

Friday, February 15, 2013

Six years of Zeke

When I took the boys outside in between the pizza eating and the cupcake and ice cream eating, what I had in mind was a nice and sweet pic of Zeke and his buddies.  He's a small group kind of a guy, so we went with the only-invite-as-many-friends-as-you-are-old rule- I thought it would be easy enough to get them to sit down and smile nicely.

Hahahahaha.

Zeke was so excited, he could hardly contain himself.  The superhero poses were absolutely all he could do. 

He sounded his untamed six-year-old battle cry more than once.

It was awesome- truly awesome.

He has a warrior boy-heart that Z-man.

And man but we have had to fight for our little warrior.

Like on the day he was born, I wrestled with my numb legs tingling from the epidural so that I could get out of bed and finally hold my baby- the one they had whisked away so quickly.  After 5 hours, I finally won that battle.

Since then, we've battled fear and vegetables and all kinds of things and what we've learned is that the battle is the Lord's and in Him, we are strong.

It is the theme that keeps popping up over and over in life with Zeke:  Do not fear, Jesus is strong.

We ARE winning.  Even in this past year alone, Zeke has been baptized, learned to read, taken to geography, tried new things, enjoyed parties, recognized Asher as his best friend, and grown in so many ways.

I'm so grateful for these six years of Zeke.  It's been such an amazing thing to watch this little boy grow in so many ways.

So happy birthday Ezekiel David!

You are strong and you are loved as you know Strength and you know Love.

cards, light, and zeke

4.  a sweet, encouraging, and unexpected card that came in the mail
5.  the morning light that falls on my table every day around 9:00 am
6.  six years of life that You gave Ezekiel David- he takes my breath away! 


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Eucharisteo

 "Some days I pick up a camera and it's a hammer.  The lens is my ink, for cameras have sensor eyes, and pixels record... I too, had read it often, the oft-quoted verse: 'And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ' (Ephesians 5:20).  And I , too, would nod and say straight-faced, 'I'm thankful for everything.'  But in this counting gifts, to one thousand, more, I discover that slapping a sloppy brush of thanksgiving over everything in my life leaves me deeply thankful for very few things in my life.  A lifetime of sermons on 'thanks in all things' and the shelves sagging with books on these things and I testify: life-changing gratitude does not fasten to a life unless nailed through with one very specific nail at a time.  Little nails and a steady hammer can rebuild a life- eucharisteo precedes the miracle."  Ann Voskamp from One Thousand Gifts
 My Kathy and I have done a lot of reading together and a lot of praying together in these weeks that have added up to months that have added up to years, but our newest venture is to pick up a hammer and pound out the discipline of gratitude together.  I don't know what that will look like- whether I'll post here all 1,000 or just excerpts here and there, but today is the day to begin and today was easy.   


1.  blueberries all dusty looking but delicious tasting, satisfying my craving for something sweet quite perfectly
2.  little boys in ties, yellow roses in hand for their grandmother on Valentine's Day
3.  that moment I see Jack coming around the corner to meet me for lunch and the smile it brings

And we've begun- Eucharisteo!

 (check out Ann Voskamp's book and join us - good stuff!)



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Surprise symphony


It's coming along, coming along! Here's to the best, most patient and kind guitar teacher this side of the Mississippi! High five, Andrew!

Momu (momma)

Oh, how a momma loves her baby.





I assure you, Zeke, the feeling is mutual.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Fat Tuesday














Goodbye king cake and parades, hello Ash Wednesday and fasting.  It was a fun Mardi Gras season, but I think we're ready for the change.

Today, I'm thankful for the balance and comfort that the rhythm of the seasons brings.

But it's still Tuesday, so for now... Happy Mardi Gras!  

Monday, February 11, 2013

A good and true thought


"If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable:  think of it as a place of training and correction and it's not so bad."  C.S. Lewis


Friday, February 8, 2013

The Friday Five

1.  Sometimes at the end of the pilates/yoga class that I go to on Friday morning, people clap.

2.  The daffodils are blooming in my backyard and I find the combination of blue and yellow on my kitchen table quite cheery.

3.  When Asher tastes something that pleases him, he says, "that smells like good."  I love it.

4.  I learned a new word last night: betimes.  It means early or before the usual or expected time.  Used in a sentence:  My husband and his side of the family always arrive betimes at scheduled events.  Am I the only one who has never ever heard of this strange word?

5.  Yesterday, Zeke ate a donut, a bowl of Cheerios, and a waffle for breakfast.  He told me he's trying to grow.  I should think so.

Happy Friday, people!  Enjoy the donuts, daffodils, and dictionaries of life!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Every last drop

 I've resolved to enjoy this little life of mine and suck up every drop of its goodness like a spinach blueberry smoothie on a foggy Wednesday morning.
It may come with its challenges, but it is filled to overflowing with its blessings.

I'm thankful for the Lord's provision and my husband's hard work to make it possible.

It is beautiful.  

Monday, February 4, 2013

Things you do for love

Mardi Gras.

Krewe of Centaur parade in Shreveport, Louisiana.  Where to begin?

Usually, there is only one parade we go to during Mardi Gras season- and we only do that one because it basically starts in my backyard.  However, this year, my sister and her family came in from Dallas and wanted to go to the big parade- the one you go to with your family and 300,000 of your closest friends.

Call me a hater, but I was less than enthusiastic.

Nevertheless, I decided to brave it because life is full of choices and the one facing me was whether to sit at home and do laundry and edit pictures or to spend time investing in the relationships with my sister and her family.

We went.

And lo and behold, the weather was glorious, there was a huge grassy hill that our kids played on for hours, and it was actually not too crowded and not too uncomfortable. 







It was fun. 





We made friends with the nice family next to us who shared their spot, we rode scooters in the street, we took lots of pictures, and it turns out that it was a good decision. 
 Granted, we were in the family-friendly zone situated right next to a police hub so I can't speak to how much fun we would have had further on down the route, but we did it just right and it was the perfect spot for us. 

 When the sun went down, the anticipation rose and the parade commenced. 
Anna Grace later asked why we celebrate Mardi Gras.  Jack and I went through the history of our state's Catholic roots and Fat Tuesday as a day to feast before the 40 day Lenten fast leading up to Easter, but even Anna Grace caught on to the tenuous premise.  That's when we told her that the celebration has become more of a celebration of Louisiana culture than anything else which is somewhat true at least for us Louisianians despite Mobile, Alabama's strong feelings otherwise. 
 But what is even more true than that is that deep within the human heart, we long for the King of glory to parade into our lives.


 "Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.  Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.  Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.  Who is he, this King of glory?  The Lord Almighty- he is the King of glory."  Psalm 24:7-10


 I think it might be true that much of what we do- from the most misguided sinful expression of this longing to the most humble and worshipful expression- is because we long to see our BEAUTIFUL GLORIOUS RIGHTEOUS King come and parade in and fix everything so that we can celebrate with complete joy and triumph.  Whether we're aware of it or not, this informs what we do. 



 He is altogether lovely- outstanding among ten thousand.  When we see Him, we'll know that He is what we've been longing for. 


 All of the celebration and the music and the lights of Mardi Gras point to that longing.   


 I can't wait for that Day that He comes and we can really celebrate in spirit and in truth.
But for now, I'm glad I went on Saturday. 


Until the King of glory comes in all his beauty and all his fullness, I'll keep trying to learn from what he teaches me by the choices we make in the meantime. 

And next time, it will be an even easier decision.  Love before laundry every time. 

(And here's to the 5%, Amy!)