Saturday, March 30, 2013

23/365...Lenten Lights

 "Good Friday is the day when you can do nothing.  Bewailing and lamenting your manifold sins does not in itself make up for them.  Scouring your soul in a frenzy of spring cleaning only sterilizes it; it does not give it life.  On Good Friday, finally, we are all, mourners and mockers alike, reduced to the same impotence.  Someone else is doing the terrible work that gives life to the world."
Virginia Stem Owens

"When he received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished."  With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit."
John 19:30

This Good Friday is "good" because it counsels me to cease striving.  I bring nothing.  I rest while the real work is done.  It is finished.  I have nothing to add.  

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee;
let the water and the blood,
from thy wounded side which flowed,
be of sin the double cure;
save from wrath and make me pure.

Not the labors of my hands
can fulfill thy law's commands;
could my zeal no respite know,
could my tears forever flow,
all for sin could not atone;
thou must save, and thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
simply to the cross I cling;
naked, come to thee for dress;
helpless, look to thee for grace;
foul, I to the fountain fly;
wash me, Savior, or I die.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

22/365...Spring Break is for...Reading!

So much of parenting really is about observation.  Taking note of the details that make each kid who they are and connecting all their dots to see the beautiful picture that is your little person...or monkey!

My oldest monkey can wear. me. out. with all the drama.  She is a sass pot for sure.  I have finally landed on an appropriate and effective consequence for the sassy mouth.  Potty mouth cleans the potty. She's also a germaphobe (like her Dad).  Cleaning the potty ranks right up there with death by spooning out of eyeballs.  At least according to her.

I was recently reminded that all humans bear the image of God filtered through a screen of sin.  I want to grow in seeing beyond the screen and recognizing {observing} His workmanship in my monkeys.  This child of mine has a great passion.  For life, for love, for animals, for a good story, for monkey bars and cartwheels and for all things "fun"!  It is a God-ordained passion.  In a world of uniforms and uniformity/conformity, this passion is beautiful.

The feedback we received from her 2nd grade teacher at our recent conference..."It is such a great pleasure to hear her read aloud.  She uses such expression and gives each character a different voice.  It is such a pleasure!"  And this from our "little-engine-that-could" reader!

I walked in on these two huddled on the living room couch reading together.  What a pleasure for a parent to see this God-given passion channeled into the reading of a good book in the service of a brother.  She may give him an ear full a bit later, but for now she is loving him with her passion.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

21/365...Spring Break is for...Protesting Winter!

 Happy Spring Break to you, too!

Here's to willing green grass and baseball diamonds to supernaturally appear...sooner rather than later!

Monday, March 25, 2013

20/365...Spring Break is For...Gentle Presence...Sunlight through Kitchen Windows

“O Lord, this holy season of Lent is passing quickly. I entered into it with fear, but also with great expectations. I hoped for a great breakthrough, a powerful conversion, a real change of heart; I wanted Easter to be a day so full of light that not even a trace of darkness would be left in my soul.
But I know that you do not come to your people with thunder and lightning. Even St. Paul and St. Francis journeyed through much darkness before they could see your light. Let me be thankful for your gentle way. I know you are at work. I know you will not leave me alone. I know you are quickening me for Easter – but in a way fitting to my own history and my own temperament.
I pray that these last three weeks {days}, in which you invite me to enter more fully into the mystery of your passion, will bring me a greater desire to follow you on the way that you create for me and to accept the cross that you give to me. Let me die to the desire to choose my own way and select my own desire. You do not want to make me a hero but a servant who loves you.
Be with me tomorrow and in the days to come, and let me experience your gentle presence. Amen.” - Henri Nouwen

"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known."  1 Corinthians 13:12

Sunday, March 24, 2013

19/365...Ellie Snuggles

There is just no thing like a good dog.
Our Ellie was our first baby.  And she has loved our subsequent babies so well.  The oldest monkey's first words were, "ellieellieellie".  She has been tugged on, sat on, pushed around, yelled at (no, not me!) and still loves us without hesitation or condition.  

I'm not sure how many Minnesota winters this old girl has left in her.  She has slowed visibly over the last couple of years.  So we are counting our days with her as blessed and enjoying our snuggles like there is no tomorrow.  She may stink and shed, but they just don't make 'em much sweeter!

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Only these two can have just as big a time playing king of the mountain and a friendly game of...Scrabble, Jr.

Building forts and Yahtzee.

Super Mario and Uno.

The Male Monkey's buddy is moving to Canada next week.  Today was their last playdate before the big move.

We know what its like to move far, far away.  From family and friends, home and school, parks and soccer teams.  Adventure is a bitter sweet call.  But we also know the sweet comfort of The Comforter when He calls us out of our comfort zone.  We know the blessed gift of friends who become family when yours are miles away.  We know the beauty of the first snow when first snows don't come where you come from.  And the joy, oh the joy, of spring sprung on a new terrain.  But most of all, we know the truth of being strangers and sojourners in a foreign land.

This is not our home.  The author and perfecter of our faith so graciously nails that truth into us.  It helps us to hold loosely to this world, to keep our eyes fixed on things above.

So...that is our prayer for you, dear Isaac!  That you would live bravely and humbly in a new place.  Trusting the One who brought you there, will keep you there.  We will be cheering you on from Minnesota, buddy!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

17/365...Daddy's Little Helper

This Monkey loves to help.  He really loves to help his dad.  Especially when there are tools involved.

We finally got a vision for the kids' bedroom and it has only taken us 6 weeks of Saturdays to get it all in working order.  A couple Saturdays ago we spent some time hanging bookshelves.  The Hubs says to said Monkey, "Want to help me hang some shelves today, buddy?"
Said Monkey replies, "Remember what Mater says in Cars, Dad?  {in his best Mater accent} 'You need help?  Shoot, that's what a tow truck does!'"

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

16/365...Dance it out!

It was 8 degrees when I got in the car to take the monkeys to school this morning.  8!!!  And evidently it "felt like" -10.  What does that even mean???  I'll tell you what it means.  It was freakin' cold!  On March 19.  I'm pretty sure Minnesota forgot that it is March.

So what else ya gonna do?  Have a dance party right smack in the middle of the messy, not cleaned up from breakfast kitchen.  We have alot of those around here.  Kind of blows off some steam, you know? Feeling a little edgy today?  Crank up the tunes and let it all out in your kitchen.

Monday, March 18, 2013

15/365...Afternoon Light

A few days back I posted a picture of my view of my sweet little Sleeping Beauty.  Last winter was a rough one with the baby monkey.  Lots of screaming.  Difficulty sleeping.  General unhappiness and clinginess to Mommy.  We finally figured out she was teething her 2 year molars and the teething was causing some pretty nasty ear issues.  In the midst of it all I finally threw all the parenting books to the wind and went back to rocking her to sleep for every. single. nap.  I remember sitting in that rocking chair, the very one where I sat to hold, comfort, nurse, and sleep all three of my baby monkeys, and stopped.  Stopped worrying.  Stopped fretting.  Stopped running.  And I sat.  I took in the moment.  The evenness of her heavy breathing.  The drool dribbling onto my shoulder.  How her eyes round and soften when she relaxes them in sleep.  Her smell.  The heat of her sweaty little head on my chest.  And I left that moment refreshed.  Refreshed because I chose, in that moment, to fully embrace the here.

After a time I was able to lay her back down in her crib fully awake, but still had to stay in the chair, right by her crib, until she drifted off.    I remember sitting in that chair with a book and drinking in the quiet and wondering, "Why have I not done this before now?"

That was a year ago.  She has now moved to a big girl bed.  I have traded the rocking chair for the other monkey's bed.  She is now completely capable of getting herself to sleep.  But now I am the one not ready to break the habit.

This is the view from my resting place.  On this particular day, before I got up, I noticed the warm glow on the hardwoods and felt grateful.  Grateful for sun.  Grateful for soul-care.  Grateful for a few minutes of rest.  And I wanted to capture it.

Friday, March 15, 2013

14/365...Hope of Spring

It's snowing outside my window as I type.  And just to clarify, it is March 15.  To put it into context, this time last year it was 80 degrees.  Facebook isn't helping.  All the pictures of my lovely southern friends playing soccer in the front yard in short sleeves, mixing compost for their gardens, laying on quilts in the park in the salt in the wound.  But...

there are evidences of spring...

the anticipation just makes the hope that much sweeter...

and I know one day soon, there will be green...that out of the ashes of winter beauty will rise triumphant...

and we will triumphantly glory in its beauty all summer long!

So this week, when we walked into TJ's and Piper saw the bundles of tulips and daffodils and asked, "Mommy, can we get some flowers?", without hesitation I replied, "Yes!  What color?"

They are beautifully reminding me from my dining room table that somewhere in the world it is spring...and it is on its way here.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


No, I have not given up on my 365 project.  I am still happily and faithfully clicking away.

BUT...circumstances beyond my control happen.  Specifically, a clumsy monkey spilled hot lemonade on the keyboard.  Not that I am ever clumsy.  (If you know me AT ALL you detect the sarcasm.  You also know that I am prone to technical difficulties.)

Good news...the computer is now fixed.  Bad cost an arm and a leg, and I am still trying to figure out how to get all my settings back in order.  (See above reference to technical difficulties.)  Soon and very soon I will be bombarding you with way too many photos.  Til then....