Wednesday, December 31, 2008

everyday gifts 2008

as 2008 comes to an end i am looking back at my year of blogging about God's blessing in my life. and i am overwhelmed. so many of the events are so insignificant that they would have been forgotten if i had not posted a quick snap shot or written a few words about it. but each and every item on the following list is evidence of God's goodness to me. when i am down about something or discouraged, reading over my continuing list has helped me keep my perspective.

may i encourage you, also, to be on the look out for your everyday gifts? i assure you, they are there. we sometimes get so focused on the difficult path before us that we miss the beauty of the wild flowers along the way, or forget to notice the shade tree that relieves us in the heat.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights
James 1:17


Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?
Matthew 7:9-10


The Lord will indeed give what is good,
and our land will yield its harvest.
Psalm 85:2


*digital cameras*reading a good book*my country girl in braids*the first Christmas gift ever, Jesus, the reason we celebrate*joseph's example of kindness and love*mary's example of humble faith*Christmas joy*God's faithfulness to all generations*a majestic and sublime sight*never knowing hunger*Christmas cookies hot from the oven*God's presence through the fire*celebrating birthdays*rosy cheeks and frozen mittens*a treasure from my grandma*a light bulb moment*pizza dough on the ceiling*whipped cream and sprinkles on top of hot cocoa*a blanket of fresh snow*seeing my son's generous heart*His unfailing love*tangy tart cranberries*a barn raising*scraps of paper that testify to God's richest blessings*a small miracle in answer to a child's prayers*a little trip to paris*family gathered around the dinner table*pumpkin orange*another learning adventure*no end to the surprises around here*a girls' night at the theater*the things that make each season special*lamb chops*enjoying the many freedoms so the USA*my american girl and her dolls*surprises along the nature trail*the season of harvest*an unexpected visitor*living hope*the privilege of having known anita, a faithful servant of Jesus*discovering an unexpected treasure on a dusty book sale shelf*working together in the kitchen*the wonderful smell of hot applesauce and cinnamon*living history lessons*hand-dipped ice cream cones*enchanted with a miniature world*enjoying time with dad*all creatures great and small*playing chess with grandy*large bunches of rosy hydrangeas*gran'dad's legacy*a well played game*a ride on dad's tractor*the smell of freshly mowed grass*weaving my family's tapestry*discovering a child's gifts*beautiful surprises*the garden's bounty*a walk in between raindrops*pale shades of blue, green, and tawny eggs*lickin' the beaters*september apples from dad*being lost in a book*rising to the challenges of the new year*learning at home*the taste of summer tomatoes*crunchy granola*sharing laughter*homemaker in training*having mark home again*a nature hike*summer days*eggs in my basket*extravagant fashion show in the garden*kids who love to learn*a friend who shares her garden*the view from a tree*memories of my brother*knowing his salvation is sure*critters in the garden*boys that cook*homegrown spuds*bringing the garden indoors*girls determined to pound those nails straight!*sharing my herbs with caterpillars*shelter in a storm*splashing in the pool on a hot summer day*an adventure in the mountains*big brothers*hummingbirds*living out our history lessons*having B all to myself on a special trip*tea parties and cookies with sugar sprinkles*hot scones and coffee for breakfast*simple pleasures around the farm*serenades of the house wren*black raspberries*fresh bread baked by a little prairie girl*an early morning walk in the garden*the thistles in my life*swedish cream with raspberry sauce for dessert*a flash of blue in the garden*late night talks at the kitchen table with dad*playing croquet in the yard*boys safely home*the sweet smell of hay mingled with the giggles of girls*fresh strawberry jam*God's presence in the midst of pain*self-sacrificing love*purple iris*witnessing the transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly*clematis climbing on trellises built by my dad*God's faithfulness to each generation*baby birds*living school*swingin' in a hammock*muddy toes and tadpoles*incredible creativity*a fistful of weeds, picked with love*lilacs blooming*coach dad*strong legs carrying kids across the field*this incredible planet that is our home*family traditions*spending time with grandpa*sacrificial love gift*the music of our lives*finishing the race strong*kids excited about nature*keen eyes observing nature*warm muffins*garden walks*tender sprouts*school in the garden*another miracle in God's creation*sweet violets spreading joy*the miracle of new life*peeping chicks*first blooms*newborn lambs*brotherly muddy love*break resistant dishes*reading a classic*a love note*fresh asparagus*answered prayer*fingers stained with pomegranate juice*welcome signs of spring*an afternoon with the girls*melting snow*llama kisses*sweet friendship*a milestone reached*boys becoming young men*feathered friends*a valentine surprise*cookies served with nostalgia*snowflakes and snow days*hot soup on a cold day*lessons in compassion*fondue for five*daily chatter on the bed*boys being boys*coffee flavored with toffee nut*forgiveness granted and brothers restored

wishing you all a happy new year filled with everyday gifts!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

blog headers 2008

everyday gift: digital cameras

Monday, December 29, 2008

books 2008

this year i read 32 books. the ones in bold are the ones that stood out to me in some way, either the writing was outstanding or the message touched me in a profound way and i turned over words and ideas long after the book was replaced on the shelf; some were fiction from a christian point of view; others definitely not; some were nonfiction; some were meant to spur on my christian walk; others were classics.

here are a few thoughts on the most memorable titles...The Shack: a new way of thinking of what my spiritual relationship would look like with "skin" on, a deeper understanding of God's love for each of us, a thoughtful look at how the members of Trinity might interact...keep in mind this is fiction and you will be blessed! Pavilion of Women: a beautiful look into historic china, the role of women there, but also the heart of women across time and culture, fascinating. Embrace Me: a touching look at our need for love and acceptance. Emma: one of my favorites by jane austen, witty! The Thirteenth Tale: a page turner! Jane Erye: the main character shines through many painful circumstances, i love this classic Do Hard Things: a must read for all teens...and adults! First Light: incredible first in the series of historic fiction set in the time of Christ. Safely Home: a call to pray for persecuted church around the world! Gilead: beautifully written, a deep look into the heart and relationships. Same Kind of Different: the testimonies of three lives changed by God's love, a primer on living a deliberate and compassionate life.

*Same Kind of Different As Me ~ron hall and denver moore
*Joy in the Morning ~betty smith
*The Fiction Class ~susan breen
*Stepping Heavenward ~mrs. e. prentiss
*Gilead ~marilynne robinson
*Imperial Woman ~pearl s. buck
*Sarah: How a Hockey Mom Turned Alaska's Political Establishment Upside Down
*Safely Home ~randy alcorn
*Stone Crossings: Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden Places ~l.l. barkat
*Fourth Dawn ~bodie thoene
*Third Watch ~bodie thoene
*Second Touch ~bodie thoene
*First Light ~bodie thoene
*The Pursuit of Holiness ~jerry bridges
*Secrets of the Vine ~bruce wilkinson
*Rising River ~
*Daughter of Fortune ~isabel allende
*Out of the Silent Planet ~c.s. lewis
*Do Hard Things ~
*So Brave, Young, and Handsome ~lief enger
*The Living End ~lisa samson
*Club Sandwich ~lisa samson
*Women's Intuition ~lisa samson
*Jane Eyre ~charlotte bronte
*The Thirteenth Tale ~diane setterfield
*Emma ~jane austen
*Embrace Me ~lisa samson
*The Debt ~
*Water for Elephants ~sara gruin
*Pavilion of Women ~pearl s. buck
*Chasing Fireflies ~charles martin
*The Shack ~william p. young

everyday gift: reading a good book

Sunday, December 28, 2008

look fast...

tip: put a book in B's hands before attempting to comb and braid her hair!

it is not often that you get a glimpse of B with nicely braided hair! they won't last long so look fast!

everyday gift: my country girl in braids

Saturday, December 27, 2008

wrapping up christmas

ahhh, another christmas come and gone. it was really nice this year. i did manage to cut down on some of the shopping and stress! we spent the day at home with just us. we had my favorite kind of day...waking to the sound of muffled whispers upstairs at 5:30 am! go back to sleep! *smile* finally, we let them open their stockings while i started the coffee, lit the tree, and put on christmas music. we gathered round the tree and read the Christmas story from matthew and luke, passing the Bible around so all could read a part and ending with a prayer of thanksgiving for God's incredible love gift to us, in the form of a baby boy who grew up to become the savior of all who would believe.

and then we exchanged our love gifts to each other: some special surprises included B's homemade chocolate chip cookies for her dad, snowman ornaments for everyone in the family made by C, and a saddle rack for the new barn's tack room, built by mark with his helpers, C and S. aren't these the best kind of gifts? after a few gifts were opened and the kids were occupied with a few new toys, i slipped into the kitchen to pop the breakfast casserole and cinnamon rolls in the oven, and slice the fresh pineapple. i so enjoy our traditional christmas morning brunch. such good food and warm feelings around the table. and then back to leisurely opening a few more gifts. i love our quiet tradition of gifts where we are able to open them slowly, recognizing the giver with a thank you and a hug, and taking the time to enjoy the gift before moving on to another, rather than a frenzy of paper and bows flying!

oh, my. these cinnamon rolls were delicious!

thanks to the pioneer woman!

later in the day we picked up karla and dennis from the airport and they joined us for our Christmas dinner. more food and more gifts! it was a lovely day, we enjoyed just being together with those we love.

praying that your Christmas was just as meaningful, remembering the reason we celebrate!

For to us a child is born,

to us a son is given,

and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called

Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

everyday gift: the first Christmas gift ever, Jesus: the reason we celebrate

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

a blogger christmas card

if this picture had audio...

but honey, we're going to be late for church...

i don't care, we have GOT to take advantage of this snow. it might not last... (who knew we'd have 10 more inches this month!)
umm, kids, i think you better do what your mother says.

S, where is your coat??? B, where are your tights??? C, can't you take down that hood???
mom, i have snow in my shoes.

shouldn't the sheep and llama be in this picture?

a blogger christmas card...because taking the picture is only one step in the process of actually mailing a photocard to friends and family.

wishing you and your family a very merry christmas, filled with joy and laughter. :o)

Monday, December 22, 2008


joseph. he takes a lesser part in this christmas drama. mary's role is front and center, and her faith has brought her much admiration. even though joseph is somewhat in the shadows, his character is also worthy of note.

imagine, if you can, that the woman you are pledged to marry has just revealed that she is expecting a baby...and it is not yours. devastating. all of your plans for the future seem to come crashing down around you. you trusted her and you loved her, and now she has seemingly betrayed you. keep in mind that at this time in history, this would have been an offense punishable by stoning.

hurt. angry. confused. in spite of what his emotions must have been, he just can not bring himself to make a claim against her. scripture tells us that he "did not want to expose her to public disgrace" but rather "had in mind to divorce her quietly." worldly wisdom calls for revenge to satisfy our wounded hearts, but we learn that joseph is kind and noble, caring more for mary's safety than his own pride.

and who could blame him for wanting out? by all appearances, mary had not been faithful. it is only after an angel came to him in a dream that he made his decision:

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" - which means, "God with us."

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife."

Matthew 1:20-24

joseph, like his bride mary, is obedient to the Lord. he married mary without regard to public opinion or ridicule that they were sure to face. he believed God and was willing to take up a task which was intimidating to say the least: to be the foster father to the Son of the Living God. wow.

scripture says that joseph was a righteous man in matthew 1:19. how can i live a righteous life? well, if i follow joseph's example, i need to believe God and obey Him, no matter how difficult the task may seem. and live a life which puts the needs of others ahead of my own, showing kindness and love. joseph was a noble man of the highest character.

Lord, give me the kindness of joseph, give me a righteous love which is expressed in putting others first.

everyday gift: joseph's example of kindness and love.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


as Christmas day quickly approaches, i have been pondering the story, the story i have heard countless times before, for as long as i can remember. it is so well known that i could easily brush over all the characters and the elements. but in these days before christmas, i am going to look closely at the main characters in this eternal play, orchestrated by God, played out on the stage of bethlehem so many years ago. beginning with mary...

what was it like to be mary? a young girl with her life ahead of her; all going as planned; she was betrothed to a good man; a man she could love, live with, work beside, raise a family with, she would be safe and secure...all going as planned, that is until The Visit. and nothing would ever be the same. in an instant, with that angel's visit to mary, all of her plans were set aside. in an instant, she was ready to obey and submit to God's plans. she humbly put herself completely in God's hands, despite the incredible, miraculous, and yes, even terrifying things the angel announced to her. this is what she said...

"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered.
"May it be to me as you have said."

"And Mary said:
My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me-
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm,;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
even as he said to our fathers."

Luke 1:38, 46-56

when God calls, i want a faith like mary's. i want to be ready in an instant to say yes to God no matter what he asks of me. but so often, instead of setting aside my own plans, i cling to them, and rationalize how my way is the most practical, reasonable, and comfortable! am i missing his plan, and consequently his blessings, right now because i delay to say "yes"?
Lord, make me ready in an instant to respond in faith and say "yes" to whatever your plan is for my life.
everyday gift: mary's example of humble faith

Saturday, December 20, 2008

a simple Christmas

december, as usual, brings its whirlwind of activities, and this year it also brought a whirlwind of snow! with only days before Christmas i am reflecting on the many blessings that come with the season and i am making a gallant effort to set aside the stress that often accompanies all the busyness and expectations. as a family we have decided to forgo the huge pile of gifts for only a few and just enjoy these simple pleasures...

a beautiful concert with fernando ortega,
christmas cards bringing family photos and news of friends,
a snow day...
a sun lit ice show in the garden,
laughter and stories of a white elephant gift exchange,
licking icicles...

a tree cut from the back hill

a new ornament for our "charlie brown" christmas tree

a cardinal in the snow,
the voices of children singing carols in their school program,
cookies hot from the oven...

candles and nativities

the smell of evergreens,
mark and C working on a mysterious project in the barn...


a jesse tree advent that reminds us of God's sovereignty and His perfect plan to bring us salvation through the gift of Jesus!

may this season find you and your family also filled with the simple joys of Christmas!

everyday gift: Christmas joy!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

a love story

as Christmas draws near, i am reminded of another reason that day is special, my grandparents' (on my mother's side) wedding anniversary. they were such wonderful people and i treasure their memories.

these dishes belonged to my grandparents who were married on Christmas day of 1924 in corinth, mississippi. when my gran'dad passed away they had been married 61 years! they were a wonderful example to our family in their love for the Lord and for each other. how thankful i am that their story was recorded in a book that he self-published for his family. his book begins, "What follows is a true story of my 77 years on this earth. I relate it all, mostly good but also not so good. There is nothing that I am ashamed of. I wrote this story just because per chance my precious family may care to know just what makes me tick."

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands. Deuteronomy 7:9

"On July 8, 1923 a boy and girl met by chance or what I was later to know was planned by God. My cousin Helen Wiegel had married Mattie Vance's brother, Clayton Archer. They lived in an apartment in Chicago. Mance had been given a round trip ticket from Corinth, Mississippi, as a college graduation gift to visit them. I had been living in Chicago for about 4 years. I had spent the first week of my vacation at a friends home in Wisconsin. On the morning of July 8 i returned to Chicago and on phoning Helen and Clayton they invited me to have dinner with them and mentioned that Clayton's sister was there. So, at 1:30pm I met their sister who was to be my wife for at least 52 years! Now, I had gone out with several girls but marriage was never in my mind, but one look at Mance and my heart went ping! We went to dances and shows for a week when Mance was due to go back to Corinth but for some reason she decided to stay another week! I was happy! We took a boat trip on Lake Michigan to a summer resort with Helen and my Dad. Helen often told about how she never saw us. We were on cloud 9!

"Mance returned to Corinth where she was to teach school. So from then till a year following we carried on a correspondence courtship with daily letters, except when I went to see Mance in Feb. 1924 for a weekend and for 2 weeks in July 1924 and of course when I went down to get married on Christmas Day 1924! So here were a girl and boy who were very different in many ways. Mance had been raised by loving parents, who I had learned to very much. She had 3 brothers and one sister Bess who was just great, she had 2 sons Dana and Jerry. Mance had gone to college and although her family was poor in a material sense, they were rich in a spiritual sense. The south and the rest was a new world to me! As for me, I had been in an orphan's home, had but a grade school of formal education, very little church or Sunday school and was left on my own after age 14! So, we were directly opposite!

"I have written the background. Now for some events between July 8, 1923 and Christmas 1924. I told about going to Corinth in Feb. 1924. I had bought a diamond ring on time and headed on cloud 9 to my love. I shall always recall stepping off that train. The natives had built fires at homes using pine logs. The fragrant odor of pine wood was great. While on that train I wondered if Mance's folks would go for a damned yankee and a Republican conservative. But all my worries were dispelled when I sat down with Mother and Dad and asked them for Mance's hand in marriage! Wow! Truly, I was in tears of joy when they gave us their blessing!

"Then I went down in July 1924 for my vacation for 2 wonderful weeks...Mance and I had a glorious time those two weeks. We agreed to put off our wedding till Christmastime. The wedding was in Mance's home. It was simple and unpretentious but beautiful. Jim, Henry and Jessie were there and 5 of Mance's college friends came. One sang beautifully while another played the piano. The Baptist Pastor married us. I had brought along a bouquet of sweetheart roses. Mance was simply beautiful. The wedding concluded, we boarded the IC train and had our own private drawing room. When we arrived in Chicago the temperature was a cold 17 below zero! But we didn't care. Ah me! "

These are the words of my gran'dad from the autobiography he wrote for his family entitled, The Life and Times of Herman Weinberger written in 1976.

everyday gift: God's faithfulness to all generations

Sunday, December 14, 2008

christmas book basket

during the month of december we love to get out our christmas books. B wishes i would leave them out year round, but i love unpacking them and putting them in our basket. it makes them all the more special when we have not seen them since last christmas season. and we do have a lot of them! some are from my childhood, some have been gifts, others picked up at a library sale, but all of them are thoroughly enjoyed. here are a few of our favorites:

Christmas Day in the Morning by pearl s. buck. this is a sweet story of a son who gives his father a gift. it isn't a costly gift, but a gift which shows true love in an act of service.

If You're Missing Baby Jesus by jean gietzen. another story which demonstrates how love is an action. very touching.

Robin Finds Christmas by molly brett. i had to search this title out on ebay! i love molly brett's fun stories and illustrations of little animals which remind me so much of beatrix potter. when the robin finds her fir tree house missing from the wood she searches for it and finds in a church decorated for christmas. she not only finds her tree, but she finds the meaning of christmas.

The Mole Family Christmas by russell hoban. this one is not especially profound, but it is nostalgic to me because it is one from my childhood.

Silent Night, Holy Night by myrna strasser. my friend myrna wrote this true family story of how the strasser family helped make "Silent Night" one the of the most famous carols. myrna was a very special lady and a wonderful story teller. she passed away earlier this year and is greatly missed.

Christmas Tapestry by patricia polacco. a beautiful story and a tear jerker told as only patricia polacco can!

Apple Tree Christmas by trinka hakes noble. a discarded library book, bought for a dime, but has become a real favorite here.

The Christmas Tree Ship by judith flesvig merwald, ruth flesvig gibson, and robert flesvig. another true story. this one about the ship that brought christmas trees from northern michigan to chicago in the early 1900's.

oh, i better stop! i know there are so many wonderful ones i have not mentioned, but i have tried to list a few that may not be so well known. i'm off now to curl up in a blanket with my kiddos and read another book!

everyday gift: snuggling up with a book

Saturday, December 13, 2008

eagles gather

with the cold northern weather and the freezing of the mississippi upriver, the eagles come every winter. there are areas in our community that have open water all year round which the eagles gather round to fish. and the numbers of the eagles have been increasing! yesterday we spotted a gathering of birds around a deer carcass in a corn field that was so interesting to watch. several of the birds were obviously bald eagles, but we were a little baffled by the others. the size of the birds ruled out most of the raptors and hawks that frequent our area. ospreys are uncommon here and almost exclusively fishing birds; golden eagles would be a most rare sight here, so far from the rocky mountains. we consulted our friend, steve, an avid bird watcher.

he concluded that they were all, in fact, bald eagles. the brown and streaked birds were immature and have not gotten their adult plumage yet. our field guide did not show such variation for the immature eagle, but mark had guessed this. how amazing to see so many eagles gathered for a feast. S took the pictures from the car window, didn't he do a great job?

not a very pretty sight, not the kind of photo you'll enlarge and frame, or put on a greeting card, but we found it so amazing and fascinating...our own backyard wild kingdom!

altogether there were about 10 eagles including the 3 at the carcass, the 4 or more keeping a distance in the field, the several soaring overhead and the ones in the nearby tree.

everyday gift: a majestic and sublime sight

hunting and gathering

while i was gathering (groceries from the store, children from school, dirty socks from under the bed...), mark was hunting. isn't that the right order of things? *smile*

so tonight, in honor of his successful hunt, mark is joining in' .' + Dad = venison tenderloin + uncle ben's wild rice + green beans

everyday gift: never knowing hunger

Friday, December 12, 2008

peppermint sugar cookies

peppermint sugar cookies

1 1/3 cups shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 or 2 tsp peppermint flavoring
2 eggs
2 Tbl plus 2 tsp milk
4 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
white chocolate chips, melted
peppermint candies or candy canes, crushed

cream together in a large mixing bowl: shortening, sugar, vanilla, peppermint, eggs, and milk. add dry ingredients and blend well. divide dough in half, shape each half into a log about 2 1/2" in diameter, wrap in wax paper and chill for 2 hours. slice and place on a greased baking sheet. bake at 375* for 9-10 minutes.

frost each cookie with white chocolate and sprinkle with crushed peppermint candy. cool on rack.

this recipe was adapted to my favorite sugar cookie recipe by the ideas posted on the five in a row message board. thanks, girls!

everyday gift: Christmas cookies hot from the oven

Thursday, December 11, 2008

faith as gold

i have mentioned him before, our friend bryce, who is in the midst of a battle against lymphoma. he is a brave young man whose trials are revealing the true color of his faith: golden. eleven is awfully young to have to face such a fire storm. but God is surely with him and his faith is proving to be in incredible example to us all. his mom, tonya, recently shared her heart on an update and it so touched my heart:

"...I have seen more miracles in this year than I can describe. I am continually amazed and in awe of Him and the strength He gives this precious boy who in his weak body is so brave and full of courage, peace and strength that comes from a deep trust that he is loved and created for a purpose. Even now, I see each day the workings of those cells we can't see, silently, by pre-design, dividing, building and repairing. Even though in this fallen world one cell made a mistake and divided into many mistakes, his little body is trying to keep doing what it was designed to do. I am so thankful. WE are so thankful.It has been quite an experience for our family this year and it is good to be able to share some of our heart as we go through a sort of whirlwind and yet...there is among the storm much calm and peace. A family that is clinging to each other and the One above and the love and prayers of all of you. Wow."

But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tested me,
I will come forth as gold.
Job 23:10

i found this old picture and couldn't resist sharing it. bryce is the one in orange, sitting just behind S, when their friendship was new. so sweet! behind bryce is his brother and on the end is C.

friends on a home school field trip ~ circa 2002 or 2003 (?)

everyday gift: God's presence through the fire.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

celebrating birthdays

well, it is official. i have a teenager! a few weeks ago we celebrated C's birthday. it is hard to believe that it has been thirteen years since that snowy november day when i called mark at work to tell him to come to the hospital. i was over due and had just taken a stress test at the hospital. the doctor said it was time to get this show on the road! ;o) i remember so vividly the anticipation of our first baby. a baby changes your life in so many profound ways, i don't think any new parent is fully aware of what they are getting themselves into! but at the moment of C's birth, the doctor and nurses struggled to clear his airway for his first breath when the equipment needed was missing from the room. he was whisked away from us as they manually suctioned his mouth and nose. mark and i were left, holding hands, watching and wondering what the problem was and how serious it really was. we prayed. Lord, you have given us this baby, but he is really yours. please take care of him now. in the instant he was given, we had to give him back, in a sense. what a lesson for us as new parents. God blesses us with children and we rise to the task of raising them, but truly they always belong to their Creator; The Father who loves them even more than an earthly parent; The One who has a plan for their lives.
C has been such a blessing in our lives. he has such a sharp sense of justice and a stubborn strength that, i know, God will use one day to take a stand for what is right. he has a desire to understand spiritual things, and he can show a lot of compassion towards those who are younger or weaker. i look forward to seeing God's plan as it unfolds in C's life.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11


hey, you're not taking my picture, are you?!

who? me?

father and son sharing a birthday weekend
and birthday pies!

everyday gift: celebrating birthdays

Saturday, December 6, 2008

fun in the snow

we welcomed december with snow this year, and it hasn't stopped yet, more snow is in the forecast for the next 4 days or so. it certainly does a lot for the Christmas spirit around here! and it is so beautiful. we take all that goes with it, too, the slippery drives to town, the puddles of melting snow on the kitchen floor which i always seem to find with my stocking feet, the dripping mittens and scarfs arranged over the heat vents, the pile of boots at the door, and the laughter and shouts from the kids as they build the first snowman of winter...

i caught C shoveling the porch by the garage, but i had to be sly about snapping this photo! he has been rather camera shy lately, pardon the screen. thanks, C!

it was the perfect kind of snow, packy! i captured the following snowball fight from the safety of the deck!

oh, i know. come january and february i will groan when i look out the window and see more snow, but for now, in early december, i welcome the new fallen snow. there is a magic about it.

everyday gift: rosy cheeks and frozen mittens