Monday, March 29, 2010

we're at it again!

Soccer is back! It's fun to see her develop a little more interest & a little more skill & a little more learning how to work together with a team for a common goal. We love this group of girls, parents & our coaches are the best. They care about the girls' character 1st & foremost.....it's just nice to have peple come along side us as parents in the extracurricular stuff.....this is a sweet time.
I need my pause button.

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camera fun

I snapped these the other day & i was so pleased with how they turned out but the bummer is that i have NO idea what I did to have them be exactly like I wanted them to be! The best part is t hat I feel like I "got" her. Captured a part of her that is so just "her". She's is a mess. And the snuggliest, sweetest baby in the world. Lee & i describe her as a kitten who is absolutely certain that she is a lion.



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Sunday, March 28, 2010

rah rah rah

This would be the cheering squad at the soccer game this morning.
and we did not win.
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Thursday, March 25, 2010

my girl

I've had some heavies on my heart that I am not sure if i want to post or not. It's therapeutic to type it out.....it's the publishing part that makes me a little gun-shy. So for today...and maybe even for tomorrow ... i'll stick to the soft stuff. The gluttonous weekend that was my boy's birthday sugar throwdown. A morning filled with Krispy Kreme followed by a cake. I would not have dared take my 1st born near a Krispy Kreme donut at this age.....but this baby is the 3rd....and I feel certain this is not the last time she will be exposed to the bads way before her time......we do love our donuts :)

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Monday, March 22, 2010

THREE!

Too big. He has grown so much just in the past 5 weeks or so.....and he is the funniest little boy. So much fun. I know about the terrible twos & i know about the secret that people don't really tell you about until you actually have a 3 year old...in that the 3s can be even more challenging than the 2s....and I may very well eat these words.....but I just cannot imagine a terrible 3s with this one. It's not that he doens't give me fits....it's just that he's so sweet. And so snuggly. And very tender. I didn't know what having a boy would be like....and maybe that's not a fair statement because I honestly just never knew what having this boy would be like. But however you look at it - he has brought me so much joy. And born smack dab in the middle of March Madness......I remember being in labor watching basketball with my brackets & highlighters :). Great memories of being in the hospital just snuggling with him & following the games. A favorite time of year for me now for those 2 reasons.....a season that I met my son & well, basketball.......an immediate bond.
Happy Birthday Little Man. I am beyond in love with you & your precious heart.


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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

st patrick's day

Well, last year i read on somebody's blog somewhere that they made this awesome-ly fun cake for St. Patrick's Day. So I made a note of it.....and a year later....we did it! It really was so cool & very fun.....& yummy to boot.



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Monday, March 15, 2010

those faces

These are not the best pictures. I know this. I am far from a photographer....maybe one day. But the memories behind these pictures are so beautiful. I just want to freeze. To tell everyone to just stop. They are all growing too fast.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

honesty

A friend sent a blog post to me recently that left me...I don't know the word, but I've never been accused of not being able to muster up word-s....so here goes, I was exhausted from crying, but I was so energized by the very real-ness of the story I had just read. So often we have to fill in the blanks for the what-to-says or what-to-dos because often of the fear to be brutally honest. We make big auumptions on what a person may be thinking or feeling because we are wither afraid to "pry" or the other if afraid to be totally honest.
So we play the guessing game.
Kelle, the author of this entry, had friends meet her in all the ways she needed & she was honest about her weaknesses & her anger & grief ......& when you're honest like that......you make it known that there's a hole that needs to be filled......and then someone can actually at least help carry you. I think it was brave of her. I don't think I know enough people like her willing to show the knee scrapes along the way. But I find that all the scrapes make her love even more beautiful. Maybe it's because I trust that she's telling the truth. Maybe it's because anyone can say they love someone......but I think, & i think you'll agree after reading this, I think that she really really means it. And her love....makes me want to love. More. It makes me want to love more. I felt such freedom & joy in her willngness to be completely open. I think their story is going to be on CNN Tuesday night. The info is on her blog. http://www.kellehampton.com/2010/01/nella-cordelia-birth-story.html

"God loves me....."

It is too easy to make "needs" far away. It's too easy to place ourselves in comforatble settings & then consider ourselves helpless to help others. It has become too easy for me to go about my day enjoying my daily comforts & not remember that others are in need.
Technology today can bring so many scary things into our homes & into our hearts......but it can bring some pretty amazing things as well. It's that way with freedom. With free-will. There is such amazing potential to do amazing things.....and then there are those who do terrible things.
Here's an example of something beautiful happening on the other side of the planet - and though you cannot touch or feel these things from your own computer - Compassion brings us pretty close. Try to remember that these stories are real. And that we actually have the power to change a life & to gain so much by it. http://www.bradruggles.com/2010/03/08/a-father-to-the-fatherless/

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

March 12th! Last day!



Only 2 more days to order these shirts! ALL PROCEEDS WILL GO TO HELP THE KIDS OF TAWV - and to hopefully help others out of extreme povery as well. It's a real easy way to help a group of people who need a little help. So head on over here & grab a shirt for you, a friend & we have child sizes as well!
ORDERS END AT NOON FRIDAY!!!! So hurry up!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

love. love. love.

Such a great day yesterday!?!??! We scored this broken outdorr plastic plaything off the side of the road, cleaned it off & viola - kids had a blast all afternoon. We were actually on our way to goodwill to drop some stuff off when I spotted this treasure. That baby is growing up WAY too fast. Almost 18 months! How is that possible!? I think this is such a FUN age. She's doing so much on her own & really loves to follow what the big kids are doing - would rather them not help her & doesn't usually appreciate their input....but following them, that's her fave.

"cheeeeeeeeeeeeese"
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Friday, March 5, 2010

the zoo

We took a day off from the naps, (which is not always the wisest thing to do), and headed out to visit the animals at the zoo - who were mostly taking their naps. But it was a great afternoon. My boy was amazed with that elephant. I kept saying, "Look! Look right there" & when he finally caught sight of that enormous animal right in front of him, he started walking very slowly toward him. It was so cool to witness.
It was a great day for all of us. They keep planning our trip back down there for a day when it's "springier" :). I can't wait!

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

TAWV

Lee & I were a part of Young Life while we dated & after we got married & well, once you're a part of Young Life it just becomes family. So, anyway, while we did Young Life, we had the privilege of meeting so many young people. Heath was one of them. I feel like I knew her better socially after she graduated high school - but Lee & our sister in law have known her for a much longer time. Anyway, she headed over to Africa like many people do & then she went back...and as her heart began to break for the children & the poverty - God put her to work. She has set up a home for children to live in. A safe place under the care of a widow. These kids have sponsors & are cared for nutritionally now & educationally & medically & spiritually & they are able to have a better chance.

Not everyone is asked to go to Africa & serve these children. But there's no doubt that when someone does, we all can play a part. Her life is actively involved with setting up this ministry, Takes A Whole Village - & she & these kids (& MORE kids!) could use some help. We can buy a shirt that will help so many! And it's really just giving up a few cups of coffee for us.

So, will you help us meet the goal of selling just 200 shirts? Will you then help to spread the word? Click on the shirts & you be taken to the site where they are being sold - it's easy. And if you go to the blog part of the page - you can grab a button to help spread the word. And if you're on facebook, find the Neema Shop & become a fan. These will only be avail ale until March 12. And, hey, you get a tshirt just for helping some kids on another continent who could really use the help - even if it's just understanding that somewhere, in another country, people they may never meet cared about them enough to buy a shirt.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Joshua

So I was recently in an argument with a friend. Someone I have known for a long time. A person I love so very much. She was wanting to make a decision that I didn't think was a great idea. I, being a fixer, told her not to do it. Loving her TOO much, I waved my arms real big, yelled words of caution - all in love. And in the process I eventually communicated, unknowingly, that my love for her was conditional. The question was posed to me, "what if it all falls apart, will you still be here?"
That question has undone me for months.
It has made me reexamine what I think about grace & love & my faith.
As that question has haunted me, some books have fallen in my lap & people have crossed my path & sermons have spoken directly to me. I have another friend who always reminds me that books always find me, not the other way around. The books I have read have reminded me how lavish the Father's love is for me. That He never waited for me to get it together before He loved me. And if that's true - then what is it that keeps me from loving people so completely?
You see, when I was in that argument, I believed I was so very right & I voiced it on several occasions...not believing that I was being anything other than a good friend, speaking the truth in love. But what I had done was come face to face with the ugly pharisaical part of me that told her that my love for her was conditional on her getting it "right" - believing that I had gotten it right. Which is a lie.
Throughout the Bible there is much talk about caring for the widow, the orphaned, the sick, the poor, those in prison. And when I think about the common denominator in all those things...they are without something. Without their spouse, without a family, without health, without money, without food, without freedom. They are without obvious things. Some of those things they are without are results of their own actions & others are not. When you are without obvious things, it is not hard to admit your need or at least your loss. I wonder if a reason God cares so much that we be able to engage & live among & be with people who are so obviously without, is that if we are not able to it can serve as a reminder that we have forgotten.....
that we, too, are without. We, too, are so imperfect. We, too, without the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross....are without a Father, a spouse, without health, without parents, without freedom.......we are nothing apart from that Sacrifice.
But I've gotten off a track a little. That's normal for me.
I have been reminded of a story from the Bible throughout this process that I am still struggling through & it's from the Old Testament in the book of Joshua. Joshua is about to take the city of Jericho and as he neared the city, a man stood in front of him with a sword & Joshua asks the question, "are you for us or against us?"
Or from my perspective, 'are you for me or against me?'
That question digs into me & the reason is that in many of my arguments I scream & yell & say things that I shouldn't say all in the "name of the Lord" - because I believe that I am in agreement with Him, therefore, I am His messenger of sorts to stop people from making bad decisions.
Not that helping people make right decisions is wrong.....another post for another day. But, rather, do I believe ... do I really really believe that God is in charge - that He is not caught off guard & that when our disagreements divide us it is because we have maybe lost sight of His ultimate good right-making. His good judgment. And just because I may be "right" about an issue doesn't mean that the way I loved or didn't love through it will be right.
Now the answer that the man with the sword gave was this......the second part of his answer defines who he is....he is the commander of the army of the Lord. The 1st part of his answer to the question "are you for us or against us?" is......"neither".
Neither.
Really?
I am quick to make this whole life story about me.
And instead, God is really for Himself.
His grander plan.
His bigger purpose.
And the Pharisees were the ones who got all wrapped up in keeping the laws & the rules in order to earn their right standing with God. And understanding grace is not a license to do whatever you want. But when someone really gets grace, which I am beginning to really understand.....finally after a long season of trying to get it right & asking those around me to please do the same. Then they understand that the love of the Father is so great & response is natural. The response will be to just join Him. To rest in knowing that His love, His opinion, His will is the only thing that matters.
And as painful as that can be sometimes.....it's part of laying my life down. My expectations. My dreams. My ideas of right & wrong. My comfort. My right to be right.
It's stretching me into crazy great places. And though I know the stretching will continue......and I know I will stumble along the way....am I grateful that I am able to learn through even the hard circumstances?
Absolutely.