Thursday, February 26, 2009

Seven 'O Clock and All Is Well

This morning was one of those days where the walls seemed to be closing I was especially excited that I had a coffee date on the calendar to meet my dear friend Dana. We've been friends for over ten years, and I don't think we've ever gotten together without assorted children in tow, so it was really nice!

After a leisurely time at the coffee shop, I visited a couple of thrift stores. One of the stores I went to is truly for the die-hard, as it is next to a pet store, and smelled today--which was humid and warm--a bit like pet food and wet dogs. Nevertheless, I found a sweet summer dress for Annesley (still with the tags on), a new picture frame for my bird-lovin' girl, and two brand-new boutique bibs.

Then off to a hair appointment for a trim, and home to my family. All in all, a nice refreshing day! Oh....And....She walks!

Boys vs. Girls

I was checking out Keely and Noah's journal entries this morning, and what I saw made me smile.

I love their differences! Noah, by the way, only writes three sentences because I have a three-sentence minimum rule. But I'm not trying to insult him; he'd much rather be building something cool, which is great, too. He comes up with the neatest inventions; moving parts and gears and all. I'm a bit in awe that my 8-year-old can do that. I would need a manual and a lot of time.

Does anyone really still believe that differences between boys and girls are due only to 'nurture' and not 'nature'?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

Happy Messes

This weekend I attended the women's retreat through my local home school organization. It was nice to have a day away, and Kevin encouraged me to go, although the kids made a point of letting me know that Daddy didn't make them do any extra chores ALL day...Thanks, honey, for making me the meanie. Anyway, though the teaching part of the retreat wasn't exactly what I was hoping for, there was one thing the speaker said that I loved. I think someone should emblazon this on a plaque or something. This is what she said:

Your home should be neat enough to be peaceful but messy enough to be happy.

Isn't that great? She defined 'happy' messes as temporary, due to a project, or messes that someone is enjoying and using (like a puzzle). I tend to want all messes dealt with and out of sight, so it's nice to have a new way to think about those 'useful' messes. Maybe most (normal?) people need to tighten up the control on clutter; I need to loosen up a bit.

Here's to making some 'happy messes' today!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dear Aunt Bren!

When I was a little girl I loved going to Louisiana to visit family every Thanksgiving. All the food, the excitement, the fun of being with cousins. And there was one family member whose love and attention always made me feel special.

She had a zest for life and could almost always be caught laughing or making someone else laugh. She was warm and kind and always interested in us. One of the many 'little things' she did was save all her 'free gifts' from Clinique and Estee Lauder all year long. When my cousins and I came over she had bags and makeup samples and brushes and mirrors set aside for us. We thought we'd hit the jackpot! Now that I have girls of my own, I've been able to see their excitement to be on the receiving end of those bags of goodies. It seems small, but to me as a child, it was a big deal.

It's been such a joy to me to experience the growth of this relationship into one of my dearest friendships. My Aunt has been an encourager, a cheerleader, and an example to me in so many ways. She and I don't talk as much as we'd like, but when we do, we always manage to pick back up where we left off...and then some! :)

Thank you, Aunt Bren, for lighting up your piece of the world, and for being a 'giver' in a world focused on taking. Love and prayers to you today!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Scooby's Scary

Yesterday the kids and I rented a couple of movies from a Redbox, one of which Scooby-Doo: four of the original cartoon episodes. I let Keely put it on when we got home while I unloaded groceries and got Annesley settled. When I was coming downstairs again, this is what I saw below.

We turned off the cartoons, and tried the other movie instead.

Ooops. Barbie Diamond Princess was a little too much, too. Next time we'll try to stick to Thomas, even though those scare me a little.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Beauty in the Christian Home

"A Christian should live artistically, aesthetically, and creatively. If we have been created in the image of an Artist, then we should look for expressions of artistry." --Edith Schaeffer
When I was a newlywed, our pastor's wife recommended The Hidden Art of Homemaking to me. It was so different than anything I'd ever read before, and I loved Edith Scheaffer's thoughts on finding the value in the beauty of everyday things. She talked about things like setting a beautiful table for your family, or bringing fresh flowers into your home. It's been at least 10 years since I first read that book, but her thoughts on making a home for your family have stayed with me.

I think beauty is important. I'm not talking about the beauty that necessarily comes from expensive things or obsessive perfection, but rather that of a home reflecting and celebrating the beauty and order that God has created for our enjoyment. Like so many things in life, it's all about motivation. Do I want beauty in my home to impress others, or to cause others to look to the glory and beauty of God? I have to confess that I've had both motivations. But the goal should always be--in all things--God's glory.

So, I'm interested in your thoughts. Do you think this is 'pie-in-the-sky' thinking? What priority do you give to beauty in your home?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

V-E Day (Victory over Expectations Day)

I have always loved Valentine's Day. All the cards, the stickers, the glitter and scissors...and, of course, the candy. I think partly this is because my Mother always made a big deal about the holiday. Even when I was in high school she would buy my brother and me a small gift and candy. And every year she bakes and mails the most wonderful iced sugar cookies to me.

Well, not to me anymore, but to the kids. I get my share, though.

I have in years past had great, nebulous expectations about what amazing and romantic thing my husband was going to do for me, and though he has done some pretty romantic things over the years, this kind of thinking almost always leads to disappointment, I find. This pattern of thinking (read:selfish) has caused me a lot of heartache in my life. And I'm not just talking about as it relates to Valentine's Day. This year....every day, actually, I want to do better at blessing my husband, not imagining the blessing I want to get. Don't get me wrong; I love the cards and candy and romance, but I've just learned that really, the celebration should be about what your marriage is the other 364 days. Forgive me if I'm a bit serious about this topic today. I've recently gotten some sad news that has reminded me to not take my man for granted, to love him and focus on him more than I focus on me. and tomorrow, I'm going to be thankful for my Valentine: roses, candy, romantic dinner, or no.

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Philippians 2:4

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My Favorite 39 Things about My Favorite 39-Year-Old

1. He plays hard with the kids. Lots of roughhousing and screaming.

2. He loves sports-playing and watching. Very manly. :)

3. He is patient with me when I have emotional days and doesn't panic when I cry.

4. He is a lawn-guy, and makes our yard look great. He mows and edges and even sweeps up all those clippings--never blows them into the street.

5. He is tender with our babies and spoils them probably more than I do.

6. He makes a mean hot sandwich.

7. He's thankful when I prepare food for him--whether it's fancy or just a sandwich.

8. He makes time for each of our children.

9. He loves God and seeks Him every day.

10. He is humble and can receive correction from others.

11. He's naturally athletic and can play sports well even if he's 'out of practice'. Let's hope our children get these genes from him, because goodness knows they aren't getting 'em from me.

12. He is a whiz with computers.

13. He puts people at ease, has a great laugh, and a great sense of humor.

14. He likes to read books about theology.

15. He reads the Bible to the kids almost every day.

16. He does things right. I may be able to clean up the kitchen in half the time, but it looks much better when he does it. Things shine.

17. He happily drives a not-so-hot car because it's payed for.

18. He sings loudly in church.

19. He always apologized first after we have an argument. This can actually be kind of irritating. :)

20. He looks fantastic in a suit and tie.

21. He watches Jane Austen movies with me.

22. He encourages me with homeschooling the kids when I feel discouraged.

23. He sends sweet emails and leaves thoughtful messages on my phone.

24. He is a really fun Daddy. The kids like it when he goes to the grocery store because he buys Pop-Tarts and things I never do.

25. He allows me to decorate the way I want to. He has no problem lounging on a flowery chair while he watches football.

26. He reassures me patiently when I'm feeling insecure.

27. He spends time with his guy friends, but not so much that it's at the expense of our family.

28. He provides for our family financially.

29. He tackles 'honey-do' lists with a good attitude.

30. He changes the channel when inappropriate commercials come on.

31. He looks away when inappropriately-dressed women walk by. These last two are so honoring to me as a wife.

32. He pays attention to politics, but trusts in God.

33. When I need something (want something?) he is very generous with me and almost always encourages me to get what I need/want. I have to be careful not to take advantage of this. :)

34. He loves that I try to be frugal.

35. He makes our bed every day.

36. He leads our family lovingly but firmly.

37. He is committed to our marriage and isn't content to 'drift'.

38. He constantly examines himself and strives to be a better man.

39. He gets better and better with age! I love you, Kevin! Happy Birthday!

Gentle and Quiet Spirit

I've been on a bit of an unintentional blogging break. Nothing bad's going on; but life's just seemed so busy lately...moreso than usual. I've been thinking about how to simplify. Surely, I keep thinking, there are some things that I can change to slow down the pace a little. I suspect, though, that this is just the pace of life and I need to deal with it better.

This morning I was working through my bible study and finishing up the chapter on 'Excellence: Made Precious by a Gentle and Quiet Spirit'. This study has been so wonderful and has really caused me to examine myself and encouraged me to cultivate this quality. However, I may need to re-read this chapter beginning tomorrow! I think I frowned a lot yesterday and my kids didn't see much gentleness and quietness. I felt a bit stressed and hurried and I know it showed. Praise God that His mercies are new today! Lamentations 3:22-23

I have noticed that wherever there has been a faithful following of the Lord in a consecrated soul, several things have, sooner or later, inevitably followed. Meekness and quietness of spirit become in time the characteristics of the daily life. A submissive acceptance of the will of God, as it comes in the hourly events of each day, is manifested; pliability in the hands of God to do or to suffer all the good pleasure of His will; sweetness under provocation; calmness in the midst of turmoil and bustle; a yielding to the wishes of others, and an insensibility to slights and affronts; absence of worry or anxiety; deliverance from care and fear, --all these, and many other similar graces, are invariably founds to be the natural outward development of the inward life which is hid with Christ in God.
--Hannah Whitall Smith

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Calvin & Hobbes Trivia

I discovered today that the Calvin & Hobbes comic strip by Bill Watterson was named after two very important historical figures: Thomas Hobbes, English philosopher, and John Calvin, French theologian. Very cool!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Mint Chocolate Oreos

"You guys have been holding out on me."