Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Straight-up Sorrow....Parting Ain't Sweet.

James flies back to Colorado tomorrow, so we are less than jovial this evening.

He has been back in the house for a week. Planning a week of vacation from HornCreek, he agreed to fly in and hold down the fort so that Philip and I could attend the conference without farming kids out and impacting half a dozen homes.

He is SUCH a blessing. His presence here is comfy and calming...in a blender-whirling, romper-roomish way:)

Thank You, God, for JW!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Notes & Quotes

From FamilyLife's "Love Like You Mean It"...

"Then the Lord God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him." - Genesis 2:18

"Helper" is a title of worth. God refers to Himself in Scripture as our helper.

"Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life." - Psalm 54:4

"The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian does make me a different kind of woman. For I have accepted God's idea of me, and my whole life is an offering back to Him of all that I am, and all that He wants me to be."
-Elisabeth Elliot

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Weekend to Remember

Philip and I just returned from a FABULOUS get-away weekend. We attended the FamilyLife conference at the Gaylord Texan.

Beyond the entertaining and insightful sessions, one of the highlights of the trip was our date night Saturday night. We dined at Fogo de Chao. It was truly a dining experience...so fun to share it with my favorite guy.

Now, it's back to the real world. A real world where continental breakfasts and uninterrupted adult conversation are rare luxuries.
A real world with real responsibilities and real stress.

But, alas, a real world with a Heavenly Father
Who is loving me with real love and
calling me to real purpose.

Thank You, God, for a weekend to remember!

"As we grow, we don't get more of God...He gets more of us."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Snapshots of the LizzyBug

"Queen for the Day...or Pope looks more like it:)"

"Hey! You wanna keep it down?? We're in the middle of a photo shoot in here..."

"This is terribly sad, indeed."

"I think I need a hug."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

First Aid

This morning Mari Alice was helping me cook breakfast and as she pulled a pot out of the cabinet, a heavy lid fell on her biggest toe on the right.

She cried and limped and cried some more. "Mom, it hurts so bad. I just need a band-aid. I really do."

I sat down with her and inspected the wound. The skin was not broken. There was no blood. I knew her toe probably throbbed with pain, but she did not need a band-aid.

I stirred the food on the stove while she continued to sniff and whine for a bandage.

I coached myself, "She does NOT need a band-aid. Do NOT give in to her. She is three. You are...WAY older than three!"

Her repetitive sobs interrupted my thoughts: "It still really hurts!"

Maternal compassion trumped a parental need to stand my principled ground. I began to wonder what message I was sending. A band-aid was NOT going to improve her condition - I knew that. But perhaps my care and concern might make a difference.

I told her we could get a band-aid out of the diaper bag. She calmed down and began dressing her "wound". I almost laughed out loud when she asked for verification, "Which toe was it?"

To her solitary surprise, the toe continued to hurt even after applying the bandage.

"I just need one more. Please!"

I said no. Unnecessary supplies blossoming toward excessive behavior would not do.

She persisted, "Please, may I have another one? This one doesn't cover my toe. I just don't want to see it at all."

Just as she was about to unwrap a second off-brand bandage, she sighed, "Ah, man, these are the kind that always come off. Every time I use this kind, they don't work!"

As she shifted her attention toward baking biscuits and setting the table, I pondered her plight and sensed a deeper truth.

I thought of Mandisa's song,

Some people try to listen to the bottom of a bottle.
Some people try to listen to a needle in their arm.
Some people try to listen to the money in their pocket.
Some people try to listen to another's arms.

You and I are not that different.
We got a void and we're just tryin' to fill it up.
With something that will give just a little peace.
All we want is a hand to reach to
Open arms that say I love you
We'd give anything to hear
The voice of a Savior.

So many people are hurting. They think they know what will help. And when it doesn't immediately soothe - or as the initial relief wears off, they think they need more and more of that ineffective "cure".

Basically, they just don't want to see the hurt or realize the pain...they're tired of knowing about it and thinking about it. And deep down. Way deep down, they fear that, yet again, this remedy will ultimately fail, and they will be left with the hurt.

Jesus is the Answer.
He can save the day.

Dear Father, help me have Your patience and compassion for those around me who are wounded and weary. Help me not to be distracted by the futility of what they seek. Please help me extend Your open arms, and speak Your mercy and love. Help me keep my own focus on You. I need YOUR peace.

"Praise the Lord.
How good it is to sing praises to our God,
How pleasant and fitting to praise him!

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Great is our lord and mighty in power;
His understanding has no limit.

The Lord delights in those who fear him,
Who put their hope in His unfailing love."

- from Psalm 147

Monday, June 21, 2010

For the Record

I found these photos on my camera. Luke took them when he was working on his baseball cookbook. Like his mother, the boy's attention span for creativity is fleeting, so this may be as "published" as they get:)

Cinnamon Pinch Hitter
"...a coffee frappe' with just a pinch of spice."

Flippin' Fine Fish
"...Talapia with lemon zest, parmesan cheese and crushed pretzel/cracker FLIPS,"

Lemon Sandie Lots
"...lemon bars made with Pecan Sandies as the crust"

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Everlasting Arms

Ward & Cari 1971

Today I am thinking about my dad. He went ahead to be with Jesus 15 years ago this Spring. I remember his artful skill as a conversationalist. I remember his generosity and his wisdom. I remember his perfectly straight, really white teeth. (He should’ve done commercials, or something!) But my most vivid memory, even after all this time, is of his arms.

When I was young, he would flex his forearm and slightly twist his wrist, to prove the whole “Pop-Eye’s spinach” theory. I also remember how he would lean back against the pillows of his bed to read. As he held a book with one hand, he would stretch his other back to rest behind his head.

As a little girl, I would climb up onto his bed, lie beside him, and rest my head on his folded arm. He would continue reading, and every once in a while, as he brought his hand forward to turn a page, he would gently brush the hair away from my face. With my ear pressed against the front of his shoulder, I could almost hear every beat of his loving heart.

Today, the mere memory of that warmth reinforces me with confidence, and security.
I am grateful that, while on earth, my dad could communicate to me a glimpse of peace and security that our heavenly Father offers forever.

Deut. 33: 27 says, “The eternal God is our refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms…” and Isaiah 40 says, “He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to his heart…”

Can’t you hear the first few lines of that great hymn?
“What a fellowship,
what a joy divine...
what a blessedness,
what a peace is mine,
leaning on the everlasting arms.”

Thank You God for Dad. I'm a tiny bit jealous that you guys get to hang out while I finish this journey strong. Thank You for blessing MY children with a dad who loves tenderly, encourages confidently, and protects securely. You are a faithful Father - a perfect example - and I love you deeply for never changing and never leaving. Leaning on You...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

VBS: Kid Quotes

Monday, we visited "Rhoda"s house in Bible times. She was telling us about Peter having escaped from prison when the thundering sound of Roman soldiers filled the room. The kids all hid under blankets as directed. When the footfalls faded, the children emerged from their hiding places wondering if the soldiers had "really" been there. After a few moments of surmising, one noticeably astute youngster hypothesized, "Hey! I bet it was just a recording of soldier feet playing over those two really big, black boom boxes up there!"

Secrets revealed.

Tuesday, we were sailing a ship through a storm with Paul - another prisoner for Christ. Water bottles spritzed and storm sounds roared, as we tripped and swayed along the deck. After throwing all our cargo overboard [onto the huge blue tarps], I explained that our boat was about to run aground and we were going to have to jump ship. One little girl immediately raised her hand and reported, "I have a really big problem." I asked her to explain. She continued resolute, "If we have to jump overboard, I have an ear infection and I'm not supposed to get water in my ears."

30 bonus points for believability.

Wednesday, our associate pastor played the part of Paul. In full Biblical garb, Paul approached our group as we sat around a camp fire on the slithering island of Malta. One little fellow whispered to his teacher, "That guy looks really familiar!" Remaining in character, the teacher replied, "Sure. It's the apostle Paul. We released him from the ship yesterday...he must have swam to shore." After a brief pause, and another good look at Paul, the boy stood fast. "Nope. I'm pretty sure I've seen that guy at W@lm@rt!"

We might need to increase next year's hair & make-up budget.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Faves

Folks have asked, "Is it hard to have so many children and not have favorites?"

Well, I do have favorites...

My favorite thing about Luke is that, he adds items to the grocery list posted on the fridge. I love to walk up and see his handwriting and be thankful that someone has my back when it comes to the pantry. And I love how he'll lean on the counter and tell me stories of his day.

My favorite thing about Ashli is her giggle. She is usually reserved, so when she lets a chuckle fly, it's for good reason. Her carefully spent, yet boisterous laughs brighten my day. And if I forget to kiss her, she will hunt me down and smooch me.

My favorite thing about Elizabeth is how she physically reaches out to people as a greeting. A gently pointed index finger toward the persons face - as if to say, "I really like your nose!"

My favorite thing about Mari Alice is her independence. (This might also make the list of least favorite things at times, but we'll focus on the positive:) If something's out of reach, she'll get a chair. If she's seen it done once, she'll try it on her own from now on. Problem solver:)

My favorite thing about Ardyn is her happiness. She sees beauty in almost everything. She finds a friend in almost everyone. She likes who she is. Plus also she does her own hair everyday - and it's done beautifully.

My favorite thing about Landen is his peaceful nature. He rarely argues with me. He's always ready to be helpful, and usually has a kind word to share. I also love that he will drop whatever he's doing to come kill a fly. I just keep cooking and holler, "FLY!" and he does:)

Thank You, God, for my children. Help me be a fun mom. Help me teach them Your ways. It's so great to watch them grow. Thank You for trusting me. Oh, for grace to trust You more!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Godly Gals

Melissa Mashburn was kind enough to post a column of mine at her place today:)
Click here to run over there for a sec...


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Baseball Spring'10

Landen, on deck for the Cards.
Liz and the coach in a post-game wrap-up.
Luke after a championship win.
Killing time and rotting teeth on the top row of bleachers.
And to sum up the season...
"Only one more game, then we can go home?"

Monday, June 14, 2010

High There and "Hello!"

I've heard so many people say, "Thank God, for answered prayer!" I trust in the purity of a thankful heart, but part of me wonders if there is just a hint of, "Phew, I'm so glad He worked things out the way I wished."

In my experience, (and you'll forgive me if this concept has already been hashed out in a well-publicized Bible study by a girl with cute hair or in published devotions by a guy from the Great Awakening...I live in a cave.)

IN MY EXPERIENCE, God seldom leaves a prayer unanswered. Though He is seemingly silent on occasion, He most often answers my prayers forthright...with one of two answers.

"Not now."


"For now."

I've thought about it for days, and I cannot think of a situation or need or desire or challenge or mystery that He didn't respond to with one of these two answers.

"God, is this house for us?"
"Not now."
"God, is this house for us?"
"For now."

"God, please heal my friend."
"For now."
"God, again, I ask, please heal him."
"Not now."

"God, bless her with a baby."
"Not now."
God, will You please bless her with a baby."
"For now."
God, I thought you were going to bless her with a baby."
"Not now."
God, bless her with a baby."
"For now."

We are called to live in the "now".

***Oh, wow. I think I might have heard this in one of my brother's sermons. Crud. Well, I'm gonna keep typing and if I find that I'm an excellent & comprehensive listener [read: idea swiper] I will post the link here later. Ok, where was I?***

Living in the "now".

Each moment communing with the Loving Creator who has promised to work His plan for our Good. There is never an end to our circumstances and concerns until we realize we must rise above to set our hearts and minds on that which is everlasting.

The comfort that comes through prayer is grounded in God's character. Compare the prayer of David in Psalm 18, to the prayer of Habakkuk (all 3 chapters):

David has been dramatically rescued, triumphantly delivered.
Habby: not so much.

But both men's prayers indicate an intimate reverence for the Lord, and an unshakable belief that God is faithful. Each man prays to God fervently for relief. And despite the earthly turn of events, each man prays to God sincerely and faithfully with thanksgiving.

Listen to Habakkuk's cry.

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.

And David's song.

For who is God, but the LORD?
And who is a rock, except our God?—
He made my feet like the feet of a deer
and set me secure on the heights.

The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock,
and exalted be the God of my salvation—
the God who gave me vengeance
and subdued peoples under me,
who delivered me from my enemies;
yes, you exalted me above those who rose against me;
you rescued me from the man of violence.

For this I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations,
and sing to your name.
Great salvation he brings to his king,
and shows steadfast love to his anointed,
to David and his offspring forever.

How cool is it that BOTH men recognize and rejoice in God equipping them for higher places?

***Oh, guess what? I'm just now remembering that classic book called "Hind Feet in High Places" that I've never read...DUH! I'm SURE it is a more excellently exposed rendering of this revelation.

(I live in a cave AND I'm slow.)

Despite my inability to achieve fresh profundity...

It's the heights of communion that He calls us to. Whether you sense that God is setting you securely in the heights or making you to tread the heights, He promises to supply your needs and remain in You. No matter the physical outcome, our spirits can courageously soar with Him as we rest in His salvation.

Praise Him Now:)

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Birthday Blah...I mean Blog

Yesterday was Elizabeth's birthday. Like all one-year-olds, she was oblivious. I have always thrown birthday parties when a child turns one. Not this time. Since she had no idea of the day's specialness, I granted myself freedom to be completely selfish. Therefore, I was sad. My last little baby is growing up.

Since her transition to dairy products, she and I have both been a little sad. Our evenings have turned to mourning.

Philip called at lunch yesterday to see if I had baked a cake.

A cake? Like, for a celebration?

Ummm, no.

Liz and I are in sackcloth and ashes, here. I think the Bible speaks of feasting when others are grieving.

A cake would be a sin.

Despite my birthday boycott, her sister's came through with great style. They had wrapped gifts (from their own playbins) for Elizabeth to open after breakfast. I sipped sad coffee while they all had a happy time.

The girls were convinced that swimming was the only appropriate way to spend a birthday afternoon, so swimming we went. I think she really did have fun in the pool. At one point she was sprawled across my legs as I sat on the steps of the shallow end. She squinted into the bright sky and instinctively began to suckle her two fingers while one big toe dipped spirally into the water's surface. One of the older girls noticed and said, "See? This is the LIFE for a one year old!"

By evening, I had repented of my selfish ways, and tried to make restitution with a trip to W@lM@rt. We bought her a new floatie, a stroller she could learn to walk behind, and a new dress. Oh! And ice cream with cones.

As we drove into the driveway, the boys considered playing with some neighborhood friends to use up the last bit of daylight. Lovingly, they decided they'd "rather spend time with their sister on her birthday". Very sweet.

After ABSOLUTELY enjoying her first BlueBell experience, we helped her burn off the calories by walking to and from each couch several dozen times...pushing her new stroller. She doesn't really bend her knees, so it's totally a hip thang. "Waddle, waddle, quack, quack!" Terribly cute!

After 4a kajillion birthday kisses from bed-bound siblings, Elizabeth stayed up for just a while longer. Philip and I spent the last few moments of her birthday with her alone...just Dad, Mom, & baby girl. Tickling, taking steps, talking about how wonderful she is, and thanking God for the joy of raising her.

Welcome to the circus, baby! We love you with a crazy kind of love:)
June 8, 2009

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY Tuesday, June 1, 2010...

Outside my window...bright warm sun & fresh breezy air.

I am remembering...how God has used such special people to encourage and guide my journey.

I am thankful for...opportunities to be helpful.

I am creating...a sewing corner.

I am going...to Landen's game tonight with the whole family:)

I am reading..."Bringing Up Girls" by James Dobson.

I am hoping...to bless my children today.

On my mind...the strange pace of time.

From the learning rooms...Landen is finding more and more success. Luke is thriving. Girls have begun Language and Piano. Mari Alice STILL thinks her "school" should arrive by mail any day.

Noticing that...I do not hear the kids arguing at the lunch table. Have they been revived? or have they R.U.N.N.O.F.T?

Pondering these words...Psalm 32:3-7

From the kitchen...lunch included apple slices, tuna sandwiches and a batch of Great Grandma Walker's Chocolate Chip Cookies..BBQ chicken in the crock pot for supper. Yum.

Around the house...lunch is over now it seems. I hear Ardyn playing sweetly with Elizabeth, Ashlin & Luke are chatting, and I think Landen and Mari must be discussing spare change and chewing gum. A steady succession of laundry loads march through our midst, but otherwise, it's a slow, peaceful day.

One of my favorite things...traveling with my family. There is great comfort in being together. Once the planning and preparations and packing are complete, the only objective is to ride and smile:)

From my picture journal...

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