Sunday, March 30, 2008

eight is great!

the young pianist


B with her best friend: a girl's night out

a birthday party

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Thirteenth Tale ~ by diane setterfield

the review on the cover of The Thirteenth Tale calls it "eerie and fascinating." i would have to agree. what a page turner! i could not put this book down. i thought the writing was beautiful and the storyline very creative and unpredictable. the author makes quite a few references to the classic novel Jane Eyre, so i have been inspired to reread this and it currently occupies the space on my bedside table.

Monday, March 24, 2008


good friday's cold winds brought snow flurries and discouragement. will spring ever come? hasn't it been cold long enough? how long must we wait for the sun to warm things up? i am impatient for my garden, for walks, for sunshine, and for the children to be outdoors.

but as i thought about it, i realized that discouragement is really so fitting for this day. isn't that what Jesus' followers must have felt as their Teacher and Leader and King hung on the cross that day? how hopeless and disillusioned they must have felt, so much more profoundly than just being tired of the weather. how impatient they must have felt waiting for the Messiah. "we thought it was Jesus' but now he is gone. how long must we wait for our saviour? how long must we wait to be rescued from the romans?" discouragement, impatience, despair.

but the discouragement, sadness, and hopelessness of good friday is broken by the Resurrection. the Light breaks through the darkness. how much more we can appreciate the spring after the cold hard winter. and as we face the fear and hopelessness of our own sin and sure death, how much more do we rejoice and marvel at the miracle of new life in Christ?

Friday, March 21, 2008


it had been a tough morning for B, bickering with her brother, being hurried out the door by me. this is never a good combination: B - irritable, hurt, and frustrated and me - in a hurry and impatient. the more i hurry B, the slower she begins to move and the higher pitched her whining becomes, refusing to put on her shoes and get in the van. (i will spare you any further ugly details.)

later, when things had calmed, i meted out the consequences for her disobedience with assurances of my love. she accepted this solemnly and silently. marching upstairs to be banished from the family in her room for a time, plus an extra chore to complete.

oh, my dear sweet emotional girl. how she sends me for a loop with her unpredictable moods, swinging from out of control outrage to ecstatic happiness and extravagant showers of love. she feels things so strongly and wears her heart on her sleeve. "Lord, how will i guide this precious one? how can i help her control her temper when i can't always control mine? how can i tame her fierce emotions?"

as i am getting ready for bed that night, i see a blue card propped next to my bed. in flowery embellished letters the word, "Sorry." a tear springs to my eye as i turn the card over and read,

"Dear Mom, I love you! I am sorry for what trouble i hav been. love, B~"

i go upstairs to tell her i have found her note. she lifts her groggy head from the pillow to kiss me good night again. i tell her thank you for the note. i have already forgiven her and i love her! she smiles and lays her head back on the pillow.

everyday gift: a love note

cream of asparagus soup

i love asparagus! i found it in the grocery store this week priced below broccoli! another sign of spring! this recipe makes a soup the most beautiful shade of green you've ever seen. and what is most remarkable is that both my boys love it! B turns up her nose at asparagus, but i say, the more for me!

cream of asparagus soup

1 bunch of fresh asparagus
3 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk, heated
1 teaspoon dill
white pepper to taste

slice off the tips of the asparagus stalks and reserve. chop remaining stalks into 1" pieces, discarding the tough ends. chop the tips into small pieces, steam until tender, and set aside.

saute' the chopped onion and asparagus in the butter until the onion is clear and soft, about 10 minutes. sprinkle in the flour and continue to cook over low heat for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the broth and bring to boil. turn heat down and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently.

puree' the soup in a food processor and return to the pot. stir in the heated milk until blended. season with dill and pepper. add in the asparagus tips, heat very gently, but do not boil. serve immediately.

this recipe has been adapted from The New Moosewood Cookbook by mollie katzen
everyday gift: fresh asparagus

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

one of my favorite things

lynn, over at a mother's journal, has posted a call for your favorite things, so i have decided to play along! this is one of my favorite things, a miniature porcelain clock which i bought as a souvenir in haarlem, netherlands. (it is cleverly photographed with many more of my favorite things: books!)

and of course, behind the souvenir is a wonderful memory...i was young, single, out of college but in between any serious job, and i was looking for adventure! i decided to blow my entire savings back-packing through europe. it was a summer to remember. i visited a friend living in madrid, some missionaries in vienna, and l'abri in switzerland. i traveled through 7 countries in all. but one of my most memorable stops was in haarlem, just outside of amsterdam. it was here that corrie ten boom lived with her family during world war II. it was in this family's clock shop and home that they hid jews behind a secret panel in an upstairs bedroom, risking everything including their very lives to stand up for what is right. i took a tour of the ten boom home and heard the stories of God's faithfulness in the midst of unspeakable horrors. i had read the book, The Hiding Place, but to stand in the room where it all took place was very moving. i bought the clock in the shop where the ten booms once did business, thankful to find a treasure that would fit in my backpack. thank you, lynn, for bringing to mind those memories. i just might dust off my copy of The Hiding Place and read it to my kids.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane ~ by kate dicamillo

who would have thought that one could learn a lesson about loving from a china rabbit? we just finished reading this little story aloud and found that it gives a big lesson in loving. i highly recommend this touching book to readers of all ages.

"I am done with being loved," Edward told her. "I'm done with loving. It's too painful."

"Pish," said the old doll. "Where is your courage?"

"Somewhere else, I guess," said Edward.

"You disappoint me," she said. "You disappoint me greatly. If you have no intention of loving or being loved, then the whole journey is pointless..."

yes, opening your heart to love also opens your heart to pain, but without love the whole journey is pointless!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

thank you

some of you have shown your concern about "slaying giants" by emailing and/or praying and i wanted to say "thank you!" your love and support have been very comforting. your prayers on our behalf have been felt in many ways.

i am not trying to be mysterious or vague, in fact, i started out by trying to summarize the entire situation, but realized that i did not want to see that posted. i really want to keep this blog a place to report God's faithfulness to us each day rather than become a venting place. (trust me, i do my share of that). so i deleted it all and wrote only of how God was blessing us through this trial.

and i will tell you this, we have seen some progress in resolving the problem we have been dealing with. God is good, all the time!

everyday gift: answered prayer

Friday, March 14, 2008

the incredible pomegranate

we love to try new things. lately, we have been trying some exotic fruits. last time it was the mango. yesterday we tried the pomegranate. we found it to be a fascinating fruit!

botanical name: Punicum granatum

first you slice off the top crown.

slice through the leathery skin and pull the fruit apart in sections. best done with the fruit submerged in cool water to avoid staining anything with its juice, separate the seeds from the white, bitter tasting membranes. the seeds will sink and the rest will float making it easy to separate the seeds.

each seed is surrounded by a sac of sweet tart juice.

we have learned some interesting historical facts about the pomegranate. this information has been taken from a variety of internet sources:

  • pomegranates are one of the oldest cultivated fruits.
  • the pomegranate is mentioned frequently in the old testament.
  • ancient egyptians considered the pomegranate a symbol of fertility.
  • ancient romans tanned pomegranate skins and used them as leather.
  • Homer wrote about the fruit and its health benefits.
  • according to some jewish scholars, the pomegranate was the forbidden fruit in the garden of eden.
  • the juice of the pomegranate contains powerful antioxidants, perhaps even more than green tea or red wine.
  • the french named their hand-tossed explosive a "grenade" after the seed-scattering properties of the pomegranate fruit.
  • jewish tradition says that each fruit contains 613 seeds representing the 613 commandments of the torah
  • another source stated that each fruit contains 840 seeds exactly. (S thinks we need to buy another one so we can count the seeds!)

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land - a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey...When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Deut. 8:8-10

everyday gift: fingers stained with pomegranate juice

word of the day

en.nui (Fr. an nwe'), n. a feeling of weariness and discontent resulting from satiety or lack of interest; boredom.

i ran across this word while i was reading aloud to the kids and since i did not know what it meant, actually, i did not even know how to say it, we looked it up in our trusty dictionary. so after reading the definition i asked the kids if they understood what it meant.

"you mean, like, 'i am feeling ennui about my schoolwork'?"

yeah. i think they get it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

slaying giants

the past 5 days have been mentally exhausting. i do not have the strength to put into words all the details, nor do i want to. but i will only post that the Lord is my Rock and he is at work. we have not reached the other side yet, but even in the midst, I see everyday gifts that God is pouring into our lives...

...a strong of sense of unity with mark

...a hug from C as he tells me thanks for helping him

...watching painful but productive lessons develop character in an emerging young man

...pride welling up in me as i consider the incredible courage and self-control C has shown during all of this

they're back!

the blue birds! the sun has been peeking out of our partly cloudly skies to begin the long awaited thaw. that's when i saw the flash of blue lighting upon the fence post. i got the binoculars to be sure, and there he was! time to do some spring cleaning in our bird houses!

everyday gift: welcome signs of spring

Saturday, March 8, 2008

keepers of the faith

keepers of the faith is a girl's club that B belongs to. we get together monthly, moms and daughters, to learn all sorts of skills, to memorize scripture, serve others in our families and communities, and to share lots of giggles and fun. they met today to paint pottery and earn their ceramics badge. one of the moms opened up her studio/coffee shop for the girls, complete with mocha lattes for the moms and hot cocoa for the girls! it was a delightful afternoon.

i can't tell you how much i love these girls. they are each so incredible with hearts ready to learn, give, love, and grow! it has been such a joy to watch these friendships blossom.

everyday gift: an afternoon with the girls!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Embrace Me ~ by lisa samson

i was thrilled when i found lisa samson's new book, Embrace Me, the other day, hot off the press! but i must admit, my heart sank a little when the front cover had a definite circus thing going on. i recently read another circus-themed book, Water for Elephants by sara gruen, and reviewed it here. i was not crazy about that book. but knowing what a talented and powerful writer lisa samson is, i took her new book to the check out counter. i was not disappointed.

her characters immediately evoked a whole range of emotions: drew, the pastor and fraud, angered me with his greed for power, deceiving and using his congregation. valentine, the woman whose horribly burned face made me wince at the thought of looking at her scars when she removed her veil. and lella, a woman born with no arms and legs made me feel such pity, but also amazement at her positive and cheerful spirit. the friendship of those two women was very touching. as the story unfolds and the characters process some very hurtful and traumatic events, they travel full circle to a place of resolution and hope, but not without pain. without preaching, this book presents authentic Christianity: an individual's recognition of their own need of forgiveness and the realization that God is their only hope. through our healed relationship with God it is possible to reach out to others, extending forgiveness and reconciliation. our souls long to be embraced by a loving and forgiving God.

Embrace Me was a story of lives torn apart by the consequences of selfish and sinful choices, but also of healing, redemption, and forgiveness. what a contrast to Water for Elephants which puts on display the worst of human nature as a sort of sideshow without any hope or redemption.

Monday, March 3, 2008

my creek overflowth

sunday brought us a warm south wind. what a welcome breeze after the non-stop winter of the past three months. so B decided it was time for a spring walk. she packed a ham sandwich, some girl scout cookies, and her souvenir yellowstone canteen and set off for adventure.

what a fashion statement an explorer she is in her little knit t-shirt, mini-skirt, and winter boots.

everyday gifts: melting snow

Saturday, March 1, 2008

book report

remember when you were in school and had to write a book report? one of the most important aspects of the book was the number of pages read. well, i am beginning to feel that way about the book i have been reading for the last few weeks. The Count of Monte Cristo by alexandre dumas. this book has a whopping 1,462. what was i thinking when i began this swashbuckling epic? well, after several weeks and 586 pages, i am setting it aside. now don't get me wrong, this is a fine piece of literature, excellent characters and intriguing plot twists, but when i find myself glancing at the top of the page to see how far i've read now and discover i have only advanced 3 pages, it is time for a break.

i know, i am a lightweight.