Friday, July 30, 2010

What's precious?

Jack and I watched The Book of Eli* this week. In the movie, an apocalyptic event had transformed life on earth into a violent, dark, and hopeless existence. Survivors were rare, but in one especially memorable scene, the main character was telling a younger girl what life was like before the event that had devastated the world. He said, "People had more than they needed. We had no idea what was precious and what wasn't."

I have more than I need. But I don't want to confuse the precious with the inconsequential.

Loving my kids and my husband.

Serving and giving.

Investing in relationships.

Spending time with God.

Reading His Word.

I lost my iphone yesterday. After fretting about it for most of the day, I'm beginning to gain perspective again. Life will go on without it. It's inconsequential. The funny thing is, I inherited this device from Jack who got a new one just a few weeks ago. I didn't even really think I needed it. And now, I'm all upset about it.

I must focus on what is precious. And thank you, Lord, I've still got what's precious.

Two little boys, one little girl. A loving husband. A Bible at my bedside and a dozen more around the house. Peace and joy- gifts of God through His Holy Spirit. Jesus- my hope and my salvation.

I still have more than I need. But I don't want to confuse convenience with significance again. And who knows- I might even be better off without it for a while.

Maybe it will help me remember what is precious and what isn't.

*For the most part, I have sworn off movies rated R, but made an exception for this one. The violence was horrific, but if you fast forward through the gore, it's a great movie with an amazing ending. With my disclaimer for unbelievable violence, I recommend it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Isaiah 26:3

"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you."

Perfect peace is knowing you're in the arms of a very capable and very strong Father.

Here's to trusting him today.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Whatcha got?

We've got two weeks before our next week-long scheduled event.  That's two weeks at home without Vacation Bible Schools or day camps or cousins to keep us occupied.  

We pulled out a candle and created some melted crayon art the other day.  It was a BIG hit.  Just peeling the labels off of crayons was a nice time-killer.  

And honestly, I try to buy all the time I can. It's a really good day when I can get showered, but it doesn't always happen.  

All that to say, I would REALLY appreciate some suggestions of things I can do with the kids that don't involve going out into the unforgiving Louisiana heat with Asher.  

You know, like melted crayon art.  

Come on, people... whatcha got?  

***And as a matter of update, we're still praying for Glory.  Thanks for those of you who are joining with me in this.  Stay tuned on But a Breath for updates. Well, updates, and some pretty amazing words from some pretty amazing people.  Glorious, really.  My friend Kayla digs deep into her great big heart and gives you these great big gifts of words that bring hope and life.  Like I said, amazing...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Some things to love about summer

dining alfresco

kids and floaties


and sunsets that don't come until almost nine o'clock

"Summer is the time when one sheds one's tensions with one's clothes, and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit.  A few of those days and you can become drunk with the belief that all's right with the world."  Ada Louise Huxtable

Asher poolside




Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It was beautiful

I wish I had gotten pics of the amazing dance-off and "Hey Poky Way"/"Who Dat" conga line at the reception, but I did manage to capture some of the other beauty of the wedding weekend.  Some of my favorites:

The Bridesmaids Luncheon

 props to Karen on a fabulous cake and for finding pull charms with Biblical blessings

The Rehearsal Dinner

 Our oil and gas men

 the view from my table

Love that Paw Paw Zeke

The Wedding Day Brunch

The Ceremony

The Reception

Congrats, Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery!  We love you and bless you on your journey through life together!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The prayer of the bridesmaids bouquet

There's a big beautiful bouquet of flowers right next to my Ajax dishwashing soap and cleaning brush at my kitchen sink. My bridesmaid bouquet.  

My sister-in-law Kate was the bride.  I have, literally, a hundred pictures of all of the festivities and the traditional, gorgeous Southern ceremony with all its accompanying brunches and luncheons.  

The bride herself was stunning.  

Before I even started my toast at the rehearsal dinner, I was already a mess. I heard someone say to the person next to them, with great pity, "Oh, she hasn't even started and she's already crying."  It was one of those "Well, bless her little heart" kind of moments and it was the theme of my weekend.  Before it was over, I wised up and tucked a handkerchief in my dress- just to be safe. 

As I toasted and blessed Kate and Patrick, I wept.  

When my children walked down that long aisle giggling and smiling like obedient little angels as ringbearer and flower girl, I beamed.  

When I caught Jack's eye as I went down the aisle, I got butterflies in my stomach.

When I saw Patrick's bottom lip quiver and his eyes fill with tears as he beheld his bride for the first time, my heart skipped a beat.  

When my little sister hit the high note as she sang the Lord's prayer, I held my breath in wonder at the holiness of the moment.  

Sunrises and my baby's smile and conga lines and dance-offs have wowed me this weekend.  

My heart danced.  

But in the midst of it all, on my Saturday morning run, I saw a sign in my church's parking lot that the Lord used to speak to my heart.  As flowers were adorning the Episcopal church around the corner in great anticipation of our family's wedding, another family was going to be gathering at our Baptist church for a funeral.  It reminded me of Jesus' words in Matthew 11.  

Matthew 11:16-19  16 "To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others:  17 "'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.'  18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon.'  19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and "sinners." 'But wisdom is proved right by her actions." 

How am I called to dance?  How am I called to mourn?  

What is wisdom and how can it direct my actions?

Maybe it's a good thing that I was a blubbering mess of tears this weekend.  Maybe we weren't meant to live our lives as sedated zombies.  Maybe the Lord is calling us to WAKE UP to what is going on around us, enter into it fully, and let our hearts be moved and changed as we dance or mourn or both in and for Love.  

Weddings and the new life and love that it represents are profoundly beautiful things to dance about.

Death and loss are to be mourned fully.  We look to Jesus for comfort and hope and our grief moves us to pray for his return and for the renewal of all things.  Our hearts should break for the lost, the poor, the lonely, and the brokenhearted of the world. 

Am I dancing?  Am I mourning?  

As in Ezekiel 11:19, I pray for a heart of flesh to replace my heart of stone.  

This weekend, my heart felt exposed and vulnerable but at the same time alive and full.  

And this week, as laundry and diapers replace luncheons and dancing, I'm hoping that the bouquet next to my sink can remind me to dance and mourn even over the small things of my every day life.  

A fleshy heart is exposed, but I'm learning that it's worth the risk it involves.  

Lord, teach us wisdom that directs our actions. Let us love fully, dance joyfully, and mourn appropriately.  

The prayer of the bridesmaids bouquet.  

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kickin it off

Here she is.  The beautiful bride, cool as a cucumber.  

The kids helped us kick off the weekend's wedding festivities with great gusto.  My little ring bearer and flower girl love their Alabama counterparts. 

They were fast friends.  

Let's just hope and pray that our new friends help my super shy Z man make it down the aisle...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

As seen in my kitchen

Today, I was the grateful recipient of locally grown, big, red, juicy tomatoes.

They were delicious.  Thanks, friend, and thank you God, for reminding me of what a tomato is supposed to look and taste like.  

And I thought I'd throw in a picture of the sweet baby who slept most of the day away on my kitchen floor.  For good measure, of course.

Ah, the little things...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tasting and seeing

I have a long list going in my head of all the things I'd like to blog about- things to commemorate and ruminate over and process and celebrate and share. But somehow, time is getting away from me like Zeke in a parking lot. I guess that's life with a newborn and two kids home for the summer. Even the things I should and need to do don't get done.
But the tremendous blessing of amazing friends prompted a quick post.

I just couldn't help myself.

Brody taking shelter between Sherry's Sarah's shoes
We've celebrated a thirtieth, a fortieth, and now a fiftieth birthday amongst our small group friends this year. It's quite the span of years, but we don't miss a beat in the heart level connection that we all share.

I guess that's just what happens when your friendship is built upon the love of Jesus.

Even the Louisiana heat couldn't stop us from dressing in black and gathering on the our friend's back deck for Mexican food and Bethany's chewy chocolate cookies and chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting.

It was divine.

Life isn't and hasn't been all fun and games lately, but the celebration was a reminder to my heart.

"Taste and see that the Lord is good." Psalm 34:8

Sharing in joy and sorrow with good friends truly is a taste of the goodness of God who is near to our hearts in the valleys and the mountain tops of life.

These are friends who have brought me all manner of meals, folded my laundry, loved on my children, and who will keep my infant son- overnight- this weekend as I'm busy at my sister-in-law's wedding.

They're amazing. Little Christs, they are. Christian love in action.

So, thanks, friends, for sharing your hearts.

And thank you Lord for showing up in our midst.

Oh... and thanks, MOM, for babysitting. A night without even a baby boy hasn't happened in a while. Again, Jesus' love in action.

Blessin' the socks off me.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Easy like Sunday morning

  1. Your hang out factor is astonishing, Asher. No matter where we go or what we do, you're pretty cool with whatever. You slept through the night again last night- something I didn't really believe was possible for a seven week old baby. You wake up and smile, you poop and you smile, you hang out on the couch and you smile, you go to sleep and even then, you smile. I find myself looking at you and hearing Lionel Richie belt out his smooth refrain.
You're easy.

Easy like Sunday morning.

Thank you, Lord, for Mr. Smiles.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My Buffalo Flower

Anna Grace at her art desk
"Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."  Pablo Picasso

When I opened my eyes yesterday afternoon, I smiled a broad, groggy smile at what my little artist had created during our quiet time.  What she created with two straws, tracing paper, a bird sticker, three balloons, a pink satin ribbon, and string was nothing short of astonishing.  In a VERY unfortunate turn of events, it got mistaken for trash and was thrown out. 

I seriously considered digging through the garbage to find it.  It was that remarkable.

But with another day came more creative ventures.  This morning's invention was a recipe for "Buffalo Flower" cookies, a lemon-flavored concoction which, despite a strange and slightly misleading name, was delicious.

The afternoon yielded a larger than life butterfly made of tissue paper and a cardboard tube against a backdrop of butcher paper and a turquoise tissue paper sky.  

Duct taped to the floor. 

Her dramatic flair may be difficult to tame and she may leave trails of glitter and glue in her whimsical wake, but my Anna Grace is an artist.  

We'll see how she'll answer Picasso's problem.  In the meantime, I can't wait to see what she'll come up with next.  

Urushiol Oil

A billionth of a gram is all that you need
To make you abhor this most nasty weed

Poison Ivy, you're relentless, you've worn out your stay
Despite steroids and Benadryl, you won't go away

In the face of home remedies and a nice oatmeal bath
All that you do is spread and then laugh

My eye is now swollen and new spots still appear
It's been almost two weeks...

... but the end is now near.


Monday, July 5, 2010

The Fourth of July 2010 aka the best day of Zeke's life

The show thrilled my little boy's heart.  And his excitement thrilled mine.

Shoutin' out to the Grahams for quite the impromptu great time!  Thanks friends!