Monday, November 14, 2011

A Change-Up of Tonight's To-Do List

All of the normal things were on the to-do list for this evening...chores, homework, baths, an episode of Murder She Wrote (our family's current favorite on Netflix), the usual, BUT then I read this post and the to-do list has changed.  We'll be writing a letter and gathering photos for David, our Compassion child in El Salvador.  We've written a few times before and we sent one picture, but can I be gut-wrenchingly honest here?  Sometimes my stupid selfish awful mind thinks "does he really see our exact letter?  does the real David really get our real letters and photos?".  Its not that I think anyone lies about it, but there are just so many children....does our stuff really go straight to him?  I hate that I even THINK that, and I hate that I'm typing it here for the world to see, but that's the raw, real me.  Then I read that post and ended up with tears streaming.  Wow...David does know us, he is waiting for our next letter.  That's what we'll be doing this evening.  Its' coming, David, just hold on.  We're here.  We love you.  We're putting you before chores and homework and baths and even Murder She Wrote.  We are sorry, so very sorry its taken us so long.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The last thing I knew...

...this boy was just a little boy, sitting on my lap, asking me to "sratch (scratch) his bat (back)" while he fell asleep.  Yesterday, he got contacts, and I feel like this seemingly small event is yet another thing making him into a young man.  Its a reminder that we are always dropping pockets as parents.  I love the young man he is becoming, but there are days when I miss that little boy.  Its all a part of the journey, though.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Top Ten Things I've learned from working in the Lunch Room

Part of my duties as a music teacher include working in the lunch room for kindergarten, 1st grade, and 2nd grade lunch.  While I love seeing those sweet little faces munching their food every day, I most appreciate the wisdom I've gained from my time in the lunch room.
10.  Steak bites may or may not have any real meat in them.
 9.  Barbecue Sauce and ketchup can make anything taste ok.
 8.  There are very few lunch buckets on pizza day.
 7.  All parents should be required to practice opening food packages with their children at home.
 6.  Those brown things that schools call paper towels don't actually absorb anything.
 5.  Some people in the world have the gift of packing great school lunches.
 4.  Other people really don't.
 3.  Parents have no idea the amount of food their kids are throwing away every day.
 2.  I still wish Carson Foley's mom would pack MY lunch every day!!!!
 1.  All lunch room workers have sweaty arm pits by the end of lunch (well, at least this lunch room worker does

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

We just couldn't make ourselves go inside.

We spent most of our Labor Day outside.  It was SO beautiful out there.  Tim and Isaac dug up two giant stumps (well, they weren't giant before they dug them up, but they sure did look huge once they were out of the ground).  We built a fire early in the day and then built it back up again after our picnic supper so we could stay warm and make s'mores.  I LOVE days like this...

Simon guards the bowl of peanuts.

Ezra busts a move while helping Isaac build the fire.

Yes, that is a Christmas tub the IBCs are chilling other tub was full of books and I didn't feel like emptying it!!

sneaking some chips before supper

Isaac the firebug

Daddy sipping tea

I have no idea what's going on here...not sure I want to know!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Lou gets a bath

Yeah, she looks content, but really the only thing holding her there is Tim's hand.

Lou is thinking, "WHY are they ALL rubbing me??".

I love these boys.  I love that man.  I love galvanized tubs.  I even love Lou.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Our very own grapes

Our home, built in the 1880s, has only been lived in by 3 families including us since it was built.  We've heard lots of fun stories from the family before us, and many of those are tales of the hard work the kids did outside.  Much of our yard (which is half of a block...four lots) was planted as a garden to feed the family.  There are apple trees and grape vines still.  The apple trees got diseased a couple of years ago, but the grape vines are still kickin' it.  Last week, we discovered the grapes were ready.  Simon helped me pick the grapes, and we brought them in to make grape juice.  I've never been able to leave the grape juice alone long enough to make jelly.  When I was little, my mama would find me sneaking into the kitchen to drink the juice.  Sometimes she would actually make me my very own jar of juice and I would drink it proudly, pretending I was a grown up out to dinner drinking a glass of wine with my steak (which was actually probably a hamburger or a grilled pork chop!!).

There is only a little bit of grape juice left, and no jelly got made, but that's ok.

This is what happens when I ask Ezra to take a picture of me making the grape juice. :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

First Day of School

Is it really time for school? In some ways, I'm ready...ready for the routine, for fall weather, hoodies, packing lunches, chores... I will miss sleeping in and jammie days and swimming Life comes in seasons, though. Here's to moving to the next season....

Mrs. Keown's fifth grader...

Mrs. Crumrin's first grader...

and just for grins, a picture of Isaac four years ago when he was Mrs. Crumrin's (except she was "Miss White" then!) little first grader...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Snapshots of the Woodshed

Ezra has been asking all summer to get the sprinkler out. Since summer is almost over, he took matters into his own hands and found it himself...

Pork burgers on the grill that were bigger than our heads...

the rarely used dining room table is now a homework/arts and craft station. All of us (well, all of us except daddy!) have enjoyed using it already...

...and a new gallery wall in the dining room. I have been dreaming of it for quite some time, and I finally took the plunge...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sweet Silly Simon

So, Simon really DID turn 3 in April...I've just been a lazy blogger. Here's a picture so that when the children look back on my blog, they know that we really did have a special birthday dinner for the 3rd child's 3rd birthday.

Diego and Baby Jaguar cake balls are where its at...does anyone else feel a little silly when they talk about cake balls??? Maybe its just that I live in a house full of boys...

Sunday, July 31, 2011

He got on the big bus...

This little guy left for camp today. Sometimes I forget that he's not this little guy anymore (pictured here with Zia, after they snuck out of church while the mommies were cooking and splashed in mud puddles for quite awhile before anyone caught them......Zia left for camp today, too).

He's big now......he packs deodorant for camp......and he loves Jesus with all of his heart.......and he cares about people.

I love him.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

New Photography Blog/Website

A fun hobby has turned into a surprise little business for me. Just this week, I've made a new facebook business page and a new blog/website. In case you haven't seen my obnoxious announcing of this on facebook, I thought I'd let you know here on the ole' family blog.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Importance of Being [Honest]

Senior Night 2011 at the Dwelling Place has come and gone. I wondered if I would be sad...after all, its the last Senior Night with Tim as the youth minister...well, actually, he's not even the youth minister anymore, but he's been doing the Dwelling Place this year while we wait for God's new person for the job (can I get a Yahoo for Crews!!??!!).

Anyway, of course I cried because we mother-types tend to always cry at events such as these, but it was not a "sad because our lives have changed" cry. It was the same cry I've cried at every other Senior Night in the last 10 years. It was a "happy/sad/love what God's doing in all of our lives" type of cry. I remember in college that my sweet friend Monica told me that God prepares us for each season of our lives and when we get to it we will be prepared for whatever it is. This is so true. Five years ago if someone had told me that our last Dwelling Place (in that capacity) would be coming in five years, I would've been a blubbering mess. However, now that the season has changed, I'm not a blubbering mess (or at least not any more than any other mother-type in the room that night), but instead I'm a child of the King with a heart that's been prepared for His plan.

Well, enough about that...let's move on to what I intended to write about.

So, I think wonderful and fabulous things happen when we are honest. I saw teenagers and adults speak honestly on Wednesday night, and we all left being a bit more like Jesus than we were before....

...when Miriam reminded us of the pain she has seen, we were able to see in living form God's restoring of the broken-hearted. As Tim said afterwards, "our worlds all became a little bigger by being reminded of Miriam's story".

...when Bradyn told us his story, his testimony, concrete ways he is different now because of Jesus, we were reminded that Jesus CHANGES our lives, makes us new, gives us life to the full.

...when Josef spoke honestly about the way he feels about the members of his family, we were reminded that many of us have heroes right in our own house.

...when Ann spoke honestly to Julie, we remembered that all of us have such extreme worth and value in the eyes of our Savior.

...when Andrea shared that she found God during her time here with us, we were reminded that the way we love people matters...that God can be found in us...that the God of our hearts will be going back to Germany inside of Andrea in July.

...when Charlotte spoke about the friendships she found here, we all remembered that this is a special place filled with special people loving an incredible God together.

...when Thomas told Landen that he models himself after him, we were reminded that people are always watching, whether we know it or not, and others know more of Jesus by the way that we love.

When we take the time to speak the feelings of our hearts, we become more like Jesus, we know more of his love, we understand and love each other more.

I love nights like this.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

It is all a gift...

I just finished watching an interview of Noah Worthington's dad, Wil. For those of you who are not local, Noah, age 11, was killed in a car accident last week.

I am left sitting here at my desk, eyes leaking profusely, pondering how this family will go on (I've written about those thoughts here).

The longer I sit there, though, I am struck with the reminder that it is all a gift....ALL of it...every boy in my house is a gift, my sweet husband is a gift, each dear friend is a gift. I deserve none of it.

When I start to consider the gifts in my life as things I somehow deserve or have earned, then living without them is inconceivable. However, gifts are not something to be grasped tightly, but something to cherish, to treasure, to give THANKS for. Gifts are just Blessed be the name of my God, who gives and takes away. My heart will choose to say, "Lord blessed be YOUR name".

Today, when I see my gifts, I plan to cherish and treasure a little more, to hug a little tighter, listen a little more intently, love a little more deeply.

THANKFUL for the gifts,

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Harper Tire...A Blast From the Past

A couple of Fridays ago, after school, Isaac and I decided to take a bike ride. Ezra was at an after school movie, and Simon was safely strapped into the seat on the back of my bike. Isaac mentioned that his tires were flat and I said that mine were too so we would first head to the gas station to air them up, no big deal. WRONG! The airing up thingy was out of order. So, we headed farther (still walking the bikes because when we tried to ride them it felt like we were attempting to push a 3 story house with just the strength of our thighs) to the next gas station. As we pulled up, Isaac said "oh no!" as he read the sign on their airing up thingy which said "out of order". What in the world? Did the airing up thingys of the world get together and decide to take the day off???

At this point, I'm wondering if we should just push the bikes back home and call it a day. As I'm getting ready to suggest this, a great idea pops into my head...HARPER TIRE!!! They are probably really good at airing up tires, and I'm guessing their airing up thingy never takes a break! So, I tell Isaac my idea and we head in that direction. When we arrive, I ask a nice young man how much it will cost to air up our bike tires, and he says there will be no charge and he very kindly fills up our bike tires. I so appreciated his helpfulness, especially after our long journey to get there.

What I did not expect on this particular bike ride was a trip down memory lane. You see, my dad used to keep the books for Harpers. I think he worked there in the summers and maybe even during the school year (he was a high school math teacher), I can't remember. I have no idea if he worked for them for 2 years or 15 years; I just know that I spent a good bit of time there with him as a little girl. You know those moments when you see something from your past and it is just as it was then and it gives you a safe, warm fuzzy feeling? That's what happened to me as those tires were being aired up. It began when I saw the old water fountain, just as it looked so many years ago, except now it had tools sitting on top of it. I looked back and saw the old white refrigerator with the pull down handle...still there, still looking like it did when I was little. The tires seemed to be lined up in exactly the same pattern they were in so long ago. I began thinking of the times I would sit on the floor in front of one of the TVs and watch a movie. We didn't have a VCR at home (my mom didn't get one until after I was married!), so it was always a treat to push play on a VCR at Harpers'. Sometimes, they would have one of those pac man games (the ones that used to be in sat at them and put your hand under the plastic table top to play) in to be repaired and I got to play it. It was like heaven there!!!! I suppose the best part was the people...people who knew me and loved me and cared about my life...some of those special people aren't with us anymore, including my dad.

I'm thankful for the special gift of people in my life. What a surprise to be reminded of that today on what I thought was going to be a simple bike ride. I sure am glad those other two airing up thingys decided to take the day off so that I could be blessed with a blast from the past.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Putting On My Clothes and My Coat, Bowing to the King of My Heart

Colossians 3
Living as Those Made Alive in Christ
1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


I want to put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience each day like I put on clothes. I want my life to feel awkward without these things, just as awkward as I would feel walking out of my house without my clothes on. As a coat on top of these clothes, I want to put on love to hold them all on. I want the peace of Christ to rule in my heart, a king not to be dethroned by anyone or anything.

compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, love, and peace...compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, love, and peace...compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, love, and peace...what a different world this would be if each of us who have been bought by Jesus' blood would put these on and bind them in and let them rule each day....compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, love, and peace...compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, love, and peace...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Vacationing With Friends

We are in the midst of planning a vacation with our friends Jonathan and Lesli for this summer. It is a trip we have talked about since before they were married, always saying, "we should sooo do that sometime!!". Well, sometime has arrived and we are headed to the beach together this summer as soon as school is out! Can I get a yahoo?!?

As I thought about this trip tonight, I could not help but look back at the trips we've taken with friends through the years. There are weekend jaunts here and there, but the three that stand out to me are the BelWoodBourn, the Cruise to the Bahamas, and St George Island 2010.

BelWoodBourn (named for the Beltzes, Woods, and Milbourns) wasthe first trip we really took as grown-ups, married, leaving our kid, etc. It was SO MUCH FUN. We arrived in Florida late at night, walked on the beach, then went to the Waffle House in the middle of the night JUST BECAUSE WE COULD!!! This trip deepened some really special friendships and taught us that time away from the kiddos with other adults is precious.

The Cruise to the Bahamas was with the Scotts, and it was SO RELAXING AND FUN!!! We did WHATEVER we wanted. It was so great to just lay by the pool, read until the sun went down, eat whenever we felt like it, laugh and talk, walk around, buy souvenirs. Our waiters treated us like kings and queens, never letting Tim or Sherri run out of Sweet N Low.

St George Island was just last summer with the Shipps and the Gobles. What a RELAXING way to spend a week, not having to be anywhere...just playing and loving and talking and playing some more and eating and talking and eating some more.

We are blessed with friendships that build us up, make us better than we were before. Thank you, sweet Father, for giving us these people who we don't deserve. Teach us to love them well. Oh, and help us have fun on the beach this summer with Jonathan and Lesli!!!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Art Show

Isaac loves everything about art. He ALWAYS has a project (or 16) going in the house. When asked what he wants to do when he grows up, he will generally answer "be an art teacher". This winter, he took art lessons with our friend Amanda and had a blast doing it.

For one of his assignments he drew a portrait of Harry Potter from the cover of the book Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I loved watching him agonize over the details, erase, re-draw, and erase again, attempting to reach the perfection that was in his brain as he looked at the drawing.

Tonight was the opening of the Children's Art Show at Gaslight Art Colony here in Marshall, and Isaac's drawing was in the art show. It was so fun for our family to go and celebrate one of Isaac's special gifts. Ezra said, "I'm proud of you Isaac". Simon mostly got mad because he couldn't play with the playing cards which were part of a 3-D design in the show, but it was still fun to have him there. The Harry Potter (as you can see) is to the right of Isaac. I don't know who did the flowers right above his head (oops...should've checked that out!!). The 2nd place winner (to the left of Isaac) was Isaac's friend Thomas (yay Thomas!!!).

I LOVE that Isaac played basketball at 3:00 this afternoon and went to his first art show at 7:30 tonight and was thrilled by both.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I'm just wondering...

If i completed half of a workout, but I also broke up 3 fights between the little two and one HUGE fight between the big two and helped build a fort and tripped over a 2 year old pretending to be a cheerleader and sent the oldest to his room for talking to me with a bad attitude REPEATEDLY all DURING the half of the workout I completed and then took out the Jillian Michaels DVD and put Diego on in desperation, does that mean that I actually get credit for the whole workout??

AND can I then go into the kitchen and grab this jar of cookies and lock myself in the bathroom and eat the whole jar and not have the calories count at all because of the stress I've just endured?

Yep, thought so.

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