Monday, February 28, 2011

On Eagle's Wings

My dad likes to visit Guntersville State Park during the month of January in hopes of catching a glimpse of the bald eagles spending the winter in Alabama.  He's seen some beauties in the past month.




And now I have a song in my head...

And God will raise you up on eagle's wings,
Bear you on the breath of dawn,
Make you to shine as the sun,
And hold you in the palm of His hand.
(Michael Joncas, The version in my head is by Justin Barnard.)

Or, as my father included in his e-mail...

Yet those who wait for the LORD will
gain new strength; they will mount up
with wings like eagles; they will run and 
not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.
- Isaiah 40:31 -

I'm glad to start my day with that word undergirding my steps.

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Tale of Two Februarys

February 19, 2010


Both of my boys look younger...
and more alike than I've ever noticed.

February 20, 2011

Giving kisses is something new for James.
He leans in and says, "Mmmm...".  
It's so sweet.

I know he's a little out of focus in this picture,
but it was one of our precious moments this week.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

An Addendum

In addendum to my previous two posts, I offer the following:



  • I found James like this yesterday afternoon.



  • And of COURSE everyone knows that any good love story ends in marriage.  Perhaps women move too quickly in their imagination, as Mr. Darcy contends, but who is really satisfied with the ending to say, Romeo and Juliet?  Sometimes tragedies resonate with us because we are part of a love story gone awry.  We're separated from the One we were made for by our sin, but because of the deep, sacrificial love Christ has for us, when the end of the story comes, it will end in a marriage of everlasting permanence.  And there's nothing more satisfying than that.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

'Round Here

'Round here you might be walking through the kitchen and have to do a double-take.



Who is that?


Where's James?

James has taken his favorite game to a new level.  These days you might find him sitting on the couch with a blanket over his head.  Just sitting.  Waiting for someone to find him.  Or you might find him here, behind a shade, holding a balloon in his hand.

'Round here we sleep with lots of animals so that monsters won't hurt us in the night.


'Round here we raid the pantry when our dinner is late.


'Round here we get really excited about sunsets.

"It's a sunset, Dad!  Hurry, it's the sunset!"

Mom and Dad really like the sunsets, too.  It means it's time for an uninterrupted conversation, no one else talking or falling and bumping their head.  Can't you feel the peace?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Self-Improvement

Yesterday I was thinking of all the ways I would like to improve myself by more self-discipline, and I was reminded of this passage from Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility when Marianne, contrite over letting her emotions run away with her in her disastrous love affair with Willoughby, has this to say:


I mean never to be later in rising than six,
and from that time till dinner I shall divide
every moment between music and reading.
I have formed my plan, and am determined to
enter on a course of serious study.  Our own library
is too well known to me to be resorted to for anything
beyond mere amusement.  But there are many works
well worth reading, at the Park; and there are others
of more modern production which I know I can
borrow of Colonel Brandon.  By reading only six
hours a-day, I shall gain in the course of a twelve-
month a great deal of instruction which I now feel
myself to want.

Elinor honoured her for a plan which originated so
nobly as this; though smiling to see the same eager
fancy which had been leading her to the extreme
of languid indolence and selfish repining, now at
work in introducing excess into a scheme of such
rational employment and virtuous self-controul.

So, today, I am going to try to find the balance between "languid indolence" and "virtuous  self-controul."  So far, so good.  The children have been fed, and a load of laundry put in the wash.  I found the quote I was looking for and wrote this blog post.  Now I'm off to find some rational employment.
Now there's a man worthy of her affections.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Not My Own

My Dear Wormwood...Now you will have noticed that nothing
throws him into a passion so easily as to find a tract of time
which he reckoned on having at his own disposal unexpectedly
taken from him...They anger him because he regards his time as
his own and feels that it is being stolen...

"Let's make Valentine cookies right now, Mom."

Let him have the feeling that he starts each day as the lawful
possessor of twenty-four hours.  Let him feel as a grievous tax
that portion of his property which he has to make over to his
employers, and as a generous donation...which he allows to
religious duties.  But what he must never be permitted to
doubt is that the total from which these deductions have been
made was, in some mysterious sense, his own personal birthright...


The man can neither make, nor retain, one moment of time;
it all comes to him by pure gift; he might as well regard the 
sun and moon as his chattels...The sense of ownership in 
general is always to be encouraged...men's belief that they
'own' their bodies---those vast and perilous estates, pulsating
with the energy that made the worlds, in which they find themselves
without their consent and from which they are ejected at the
pleasure of Another!



Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in
Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form
of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to
be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a
bond-servant... Philippians 2:5-7a

"Is that a belly button?  Wow..."

[above quotation from The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis]

In theory, I'm totally on board with serving my family, but I'm sometimes surprised to find how constant and difficult that task is.  I read the above while James splashed in the bathtub (after the discovery of his belly button) and Ella pressed up against me, disturbing the even track of my highlighter, and thought, "I just look at things so wrongly.  Even in my service, I pat myself on the back because I'm bearing with such patience the interruption of my time and my life and my goals, and caring for these little rascals.  Those precious little rascals.  But the reality is, I am God's servant, this is the job He has asked me to do, and my time is not my own.  

He does not thank the slave because he did the things
which were commanded, does he?  So you, too, when
you do all the things which are commanded you, say,
"We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that
which we ought to have done."
Luke 17:9-10

This is my pep talk to myself before it starts all over again tomorrow.  I grow a little bit every day.  

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Little Boys


Last night after dinner KJ discovered James in the living room with what seemed to be blood all over his hands.  I was a little skeptical at first.  "Are you sure it's not ketchup?" I asked.  Ella had ketchup on her plate, and I wouldn't have put it past James to have taken his fingers for a dip.  But, no, it truly was blood.  


Our first task was to hold his hands still in order to wipe the blood off and find its source.  This was a two-person task.  We were also trying to figure out how and where he might have cut himself.  There was blood all over the the child-sized rocking chair and blood all over the air/heating vent.  We finally found that his thumb was cut on the inside at the joint and was producing quite a lot of blood.  We struggled to hold James still while KJ made a makeshift bandage.  I got blood all over my shirt, but James was surprisingly good about not taking the bandage off once KJ taped it on his thumb.  


KJ was really disappointed that I hadn't documented the whole thing with pictures, but as was stated before, keeping James still and from wiping blood all over the carpet, etc. was a two-person job.  We tried for some pictures of his bandage afterwards.  For some reason, James kept making this face at me each time I pointed the camera at him last night:



But then he cooperated.


We believe that he cut his thumb on the air vent on the wall.  He was making quite a lot of racket banging his hands on it earlier in the evening.  I really should start keeping track of how often James bleeds.  It might become a lengthy list.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Screwtape Letters

I picked this book up yesterday, and it's so easy to read that I've kept on reading.  I think you'll probably be seeing several excerpts from me today.  I love the way Lewis's mind worked/(works?  since he's still alive and thinking better than he ever did in the shadowlands?).


Never forget that when we are dealing with
any pleasure in its healthy and normal and
satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the
Enemy's ground.  I know we have won many
a soul through pleasure.  All the same, it is His
invention, not ours.  He made the pleasures:  all
our research so far has not enabled us to produce
one.  All we can do is to encourage the humans
to take the pleasures which our Enemy has produced,
at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which He has forbidden.


Let's Chase the Moon

I've always loved the moon.  I've frightened many a friend and college roommate by gasping loudly in the passenger seat of their car, making them think they were on the verge of running into something.  What had really happened?  Oh, we just rounded a corner and saw a glorious full moon rising on the horizon.  My poor friends.  I'm happy to report that Ella reacts much the same way.  A few months ago we got out of the car, and she ran out in the yard, and I heard a huge intake of breath, and somewhat startled, said, "What is it?"  "The moon!  I see the moon!"  Yes, she's my daughter.  


One of the first things I did with KJ the night after he first told me he had feelings for me was to make him jump in my car in a hurry one night so we could chase the moon and watch it rise from a good vantage point.  


Last night I was leaving my neighborhood and was just about to turn out when I saw something that made me turn around and drive back to my house for the camera.  I just can't help it.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Reading

Keep his mind on the inner life.  He thinks his conversion is 
something inside him and his attention is therefore chiefly 
turned at present to the states of his own mind--
or rather to that very expurgated version of them which is 
all you should allow him to see.  Encourage this.  Keep his 
mind off the most elementary duties by directing it to the
 most advanced and spiritual ones.  Aggravate that most useful
 human characteristic, the horror and neglect of the obvious.  You 
must bring him to a condition in which he can practise
 self-examination for an hour without discovering any of 
those facts about himself which are perfectly clear to 
anyone who has ever lived in the same house with him or 
worked in the same office.
from The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

Yikes!  I'm going to try not to fall for this trap today, being caught up in a self-righteous frame of mind, while neglecting the needs of those around me.  On a lighter note, check out the backyard fun we had yesterday afternoon.  I knew that hill would come in handy.  Thank you, Uncle Josh and Aunt Nicole for the perfect Christmas gift.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Our Mode of Life

I had this advantage, at least, in my mode of life,
over those who were obliged to look abroad for
amusement, to society and the theatre,
that my life itself was become my amusement
and never ceased to be novel.
- Walden, Henry David Thoreau

This statement is not true of me all of the time, of course.  Just like anybody else, I sometimes look abroad for my amusement.  My mode of life can sometimes feel confining.  But that's only when the constant demands of mothering make me feel frantic inside (as I felt for a little while last night).  This morning, in the light of a new day, I feel more like enjoying it, and perhaps I will even find much to amuse me.  After all, it is kind of novel when James tumbles down the steps on the deck and slightly amusing when he complains about being given healthy foods instead of cookies, when he complains about water over juice, and when he climbs like a monkey from the basket to the piano bench and falls.  But in contrast to those novelties, it's really fun when he dances, laughs with joy, sucks his thumb, gives me a hug, and runs for the door at any sign that one might be going out it.

Ella keeps life a lot of fun, too.  She plays with and takes care of her brother, she asks to watch a movie a thousand times a day, she plays school and travels to "New York," she's learning to read, as well as crying dramatically when things don't go her way (But then, I do the same things she does; she's like a mirror, reflecting the best and worst of me).  And let me just add, that she's also incredibly polite and precious.  She's so intuitive about how I feel.  As I try to write, she keeps calling my name intermittently from the living room.  A little frustration came through in my voice after the third or fourth time, and she kind of laughed and said, "I'm sorry to interrupt you."  She also frequently tells me that I'm "pretty much amazing," and the "best mom in the whole wide world."  I have so much to be thankful for, even when I don't feel like being thankful.  

My life is actually very amusing and offers plenty of novelty.  I'm listening to my children laugh hysterically together now.  I love my job.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentle spirit be known to all men.  The Lord is near.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything 
by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving
let your requests be made known to God.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sweetness


Hillary took this picture of James yesterday afternoon while she was baby-sitting.
I pretty much love it.
I love the little bottom and especially the grass stuck to it.
James is living up this week of sunshine.

Monday, February 14, 2011

"I can't give you anything but love, BABY!"

Is it too predictable to write about Valentine's Day today?  Yes, it is.  But, oh well.  I can't help it.  Valentine's Day has never been something that has meant a lot to me, but it is fun to be given a reason to celebrate love.  So, we're celebrating all different kinds of love around here this weekend.  

  • We're celebrating a love of old movies.


Laura

Favorite quote from a man at a party?
"Laura, dear, I cannot stand these morons any longer.  
If you don't come with me this instant, I shall run amok."

KJ's going to try that one next time we're out.

Rear Window

Favorite moment from a friend who was watching it for the first time?
His response to this scene:


This is not for show.
He was really nervous.
To be fair, it's pretty intense.

  • We're celebrating the love of grandparents who sent money and a Valentine card. 
Thank you, B.P. and Debbo!

  • We're celebrating the love between a father and his son.
(or a shared love of Golden Grahams; I'm not sure which.)

  • We're celebrating the love of a friend who's going to watch our kids while I get my hair done and go out with my husband.

  • In keeping with the sermon we heard last night, we're going to try to love God's Word more.
Your words were found and I ate them,
and Your words became for me a joy and the 
delight of my heart; for I have been called
by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.
-Jeremiah 15:16-

All in all, a day full of celebrating love, don't you think?  I'm most excited about the sunny, spring-like weather we get to love this week.  I think it's going to be a good day, and I hope you enjoy the things you love wherever you are.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Union to the Advantage of Both

She began now to comprehend that he was 
exactly the man who, in disposition and talents
would most suit her.  His understanding and temper, though unlike her own, would have answered all her wishes.  It was a union that must have been to the advantage of both:  by her ease and liveliness, his mind might have been softened, his manners improved; and from his judgment, information, and knowledge of the world, she must have received benefit of greater importance.
- from Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen

I feel that this is not only true of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy but of KJ and myself.
I sure do love that man (and the benefit of greater importance I've received by joining my life to his.).



Friday, February 11, 2011

No-nos and Kisses

A couple of days ago I bent down to pick James up to change his diaper.  He immediately arched his back and started to fuss.  I uttered a stern, "No," and kissed his forehead.  


Then I thought, "I probably shouldn't give him a kiss at the same time I'm trying to discipline him.  I'm sending a conflicting message."  But right on the heels of that thought came the following thoughts:


For those the LORD loves He disciplines...
(Hebrews 12:6)

For He does not afflict willingly...
(Lamentations 3:33)

Behold then the kindness and severity of God...
(Romans 11:22)

Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
(William Cowper)

I feel the need to say that those references didn't dart through my mind; that's just for your benefit.  But, wow.  My mind and heart really felt the force of understanding of these "conflicting" truths at that moment.  Those verses weren't new revelation for me, but I always have to be reminded of them when little hardships come into my life.  My default mode is still, "Ugh.  Why is this happening to me?"  I have to be reminded of these things to give my "suffering" purpose and meaning.  And perhaps each time I walk through a hardship, I understand their purposes a little bit better.

The interaction with my son illustrated to me how discipline and outpourings of love can flow out of the same heart at the same time quite easily.  It was right and natural to correct James' "rebellious" behavior and quite natural to plant a kiss on that sweet forehead immediately afterward.  


Thursday, February 10, 2011

You must remember this...

A kiss is just a kiss,
a sigh is just a sigh...


the fundamental things apply
as time goes by.


And when two lovers woo,
they still say, "I love you."
On that you can rely.


No matter what the future brings
as time goes by.


If only KJ and I had been wearing hats...

Happy Valentine's Day Weekend everyone.

Snow Day!

Our first real snow of the winter at our house


Of course you'll probably see some more pictures soon, 
but here's my snow children.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pictures

Today I downloaded and installed (I was so proud of myself) some new actions to use on Photoshop Elements.  (Don't worry if you don't know what I'm talking about, because I didn't know either before this morning.)  But I spent most of the day playing around with them.  Here are a few results of my spare time today.




Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Downtown

I woke up to this gorgeous, sunny, and very cold day with a thankful heart for God's new mercies and excited about a trip DOWN--TOWN.  You know, I never cared very much for Petula Clark singing that song, but ever since season three of LOST, it can't help but be a favorite.  We listen to it quite frequently when we head out on the town.


You may not be able to tell, but James is bobbing up and down to the music.
Before it started he was fussing about being in the car seat. 
"Music hath charms...".
Try not to notice how dirty my window is, 
but DO notice how sweet Ella is holding James' hand.
(And just in case you're wondering, I took this while at a
stop light; I don't take pictures while I drive.)

I was excited to be able to take the kids to story time at the library this morning.  It became a good opportunity to reinforce the command, "Be still," to James because all he wanted to do was this:


I really love story time.  We read Valentine's Day books and danced, sang, and skipped.  Who doesn't love that?


After the library we headed to Wal-Mart to buy essential items like juice and goldfish then headed for home.  It was past time for James' nap, and he was readily admitting to it.  As I pushed the buggy through the store his whines got a little more insistent, and I said, "Night, night?"  To which sweet James replied, "Nigh', nigh'," in a very pathetic little voice.  Home we came.  While he napped I chopped up some vegetables for our dinner (which always makes me feel super-industrious).

Guess what's for dinner...

BEEF!

Those are pretty much the results of our trip out today. 

For who has despised the day of small things?
- Zechariah 4:10a -

(Hopefully not me.)