Monday, August 31, 2009

Show & Tell: Perfectly imperfect

One thing I learned this week in my picture taking is that sometimes the best photos are the imperfect ones.

When taking the shot, we might want to delete and make them do it over and look normal this time (or else)!

But when you think back on their childhood, it's the goofy expressions and their "normal" faces (no matter how oddball) that you'll probably miss the most.

And if they ever give you attitude and say "Pictures agaaaaaiiiinnn? Why do you always have that camera?"...

...Just knock 'em over.

But be sure to have your camera ready to capture the shot!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Spicy Crawly Saturday


Did it scare you?

Well, it does look creepy when you see it out of the corner of your eye (on the counter, by the microwave, in the hallway...). If you don't believe me, scroll back up to the top picture and then scroll down really quickly to the end. Did it look real for a minute there? Okay, at least for a second?

My boys are quite the comedians.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It is well with my soul

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well with my soul - Selah

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Giving thanks

Thank you, dear God, for the life of my littlest man Christian.

Thank you for letting me be his mommy. I wouldn't trade the 1,384 days with him for a hundred times the amount of days with any other child in the whole wide world.

Thank you for sacrificing your Son Jesus Christ so that I have assurance of being with my son for all eternity.

Thank you for peace and comfort when my heart is torn and flooded with sorrow.

Thank you for those precious pictures and videos to look upon whenever I am feeling down. It is a treasured and priceless gift to be able to hear his voice and giggles and words, to see his mad guitar skillz (or egg slicer skillz), and to laugh at his short temper.

Even knowing how this chapter ends here on earth, I would go through it all again in a heartbeat. Because the joy of Christian has been worth every single ounce of pain.

But I could not bear it if it wasn't for you, dear Lord.

I thank YOU.

I'll see you in a little while, sweet Christian.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Just call him Chicken.

Many of you know that Christian had quite the fondness for fwogs.

Did you know that he was also fond of visiting Great Grandma?

Not only did she always have ice cream and soft peppermints, but she had these guys...

When I was little, I was scared of chickens (pretty much all things pecky and feathery) mainly due to a mean goose that frequented the nearby marina.

But not my Christian!

He had zero fear of feeding great grandma's chickens or going into the henhouse to gather eggs. Even I had never gone into the *gasp* henhouse. The boys would often fight about who would get to gather the eggs on our visit-- and you could always be sure that Christian would not let himself be overlooked!

I find it a little funny that whenever Christian tried to say his name, it sounded more like "Chichen" or "Chicken". In fact, his church buddy Dustin couldn't say "Christian" either. He'd walk around asking "Where's Chicken? Is Chicken here?" (But you have to imagine it coming from the mouth of a 3.5 year old boy with cowboy boots on.)

Anyhow, I just had to share that memory.

Sometimes I am fearful that I will forget the little details and special moments like that. When I remember them out loud or relive them in my mind, it makes me sad but happy at the same time. I think it's important to be thankful for those precious memories that we did have, rather than focus on not having those moments anymore (not always the easiest thing to do).

Thank y'all for listening/reading/youknowwhatImean. Your encouraging comments and e-mail's on my last post were a real blessing.

I also want to thank you friends for all of the cards, notes, and special gifts that you have sent to me and my family this past year. I am a personal, handwritten thank-you note kind of a girl but have simply been too overwhelmed to individually acknowledge every thoughtful expression and blessing. I hope you will forgive my rudeness. But please know that I have taken special notice of your acts of kindness and do appreciate each of y'all from the depths of my heart!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mowing and memories

After supper yesterday, the skies turned cloudy and the temperatures dropped into the 80s. The slight breeze was a pleasant change to the insufferable heat that we have been experiencing for much of the month.

While David and the boys played baseball in the front yard, I decided to do a little mowing in the back and side yards. I walked around the corner of the shed and stopped as soon as I saw this.

Wow. It has been over a year since the last time I mowed the lawn.

And it had been with Christian.

In fact, Christian spent that last Tuesday morning mowing the lawn with David.


He loved to sit in between our legs and ride around the lawn-- even with the bumps and dust and heat. No matter what we were doing, he just HAD to be in the thick of things and right at our side.

I climbed on the mower and sat in the seat. I put my hands on the handles and remembered Christian's little hands on them-- always trying to steer and be a big boy. He'd laugh and squeal with delight if I took my hands off and let him steer ALL BY HIMSELF.

"...'cause I big boy, mommy! 'member?! You fowgot!!!"

Oh baby, I could never forget you! Or how big you were... because you were always sure to remind me. And every time I'd pick you up, I could tell that you had grown just a little more.

My heart has been heavy all week (all month, all year...). Please pray for me and my family, especially as we go through this next week that will mark the 1 year anniversary of Christian's passing from this earthly life into eternal life.

Honestly, it will be nice to just get it over with. Every birthday, change of season, holiday and activity this past year has been met with the bittersweet thought of "...this time last year...".

It has been very difficult at times to put into practice Philippians 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

But why should we think on these things? Well, that means we have to read the next verse:

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

While many of you can empathize with my hurt and sorrow, I wish I could show you some of the blessings and lessons of being wounded-- to see and KNOW the grace and peace that God gives. When your heart is crying out to Him and He clearly speaks to you-- sometimes in a whisper and other times clear and loud, like He is right in front of you.

If you have already believed that Jesus is the Son of God, that he died for your sins and that he rose the third day... If you have already asked him to forgive you of your sins and accepted his gift of salvation, then I encourage you, I implore you to practice that verse up there right now. Read the Bible and put into practice what it says. Do it now while things are going well for you. Do it now when things are difficult for you. Then you too will see and know exactly what I'm talking about, you will see and know the peace that only God can give you. Turn your fears, troubles, worries-- no matter how big or how small, over to the Lord.

And since you're going to read God's Word and practice what it says, how about living your life for the glory of God, rather than the glory of yourself? Because that is where true joy and fulfillment lies. After all, isn't that why God created us in the first place?

And if you, my dear friends, have not given your life to Jesus Christ, then I beg you to do it now! You can't piggyback your way into Heaven on the life of your parents. You can't get into Heaven by doing good things, by being baptized, by being "religious", by going to church all the time or by being a better person than so-and-so who says he is a Christian.

The Bible says that "by grace are we saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Eph. 2:8 KJV, emphasis mine).

Don't let that one hypocrite or that one joyless person (who claims to be a Christian) be the reason that YOU don't get to spend eternity in Heaven. Don't let that "bad experience with religion" be the reason that YOU don't accept this gift of salvation. And for crying out loud, JUST DON'T DIE. Because when you do, YOU will spend eternity in one of two REAL places-- Heaven or Hell.

You know what? I don't know why Christian died when he was only 3.5 years old. I don't even know how he took his lifejacket off (which he never did before) and managed to circle back from the house to the pond without anyone seeing him (not the adults or my other boys who were swimming right there). I don't know why this had to happen us when we love and care for our children, when we serve God, when we help others, when we are diligent in our parenting... But that is where FAITH comes in! Faith is believing without seeing. Faith puts to death all those unanswered questions. Faith is taking God at His Word. And Faith is not turning from the truth of God's Word when life gets hard.

Jesus said "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness." (II Corinthians 12:9).

I won't deny that I am so very weak. And I will shout that He is so strong!

It is through His gift and His grace that I KNOW that I will see Christian one day. I KNOW that I will spend eternity with Jesus. I KNOW that this life is fleeting (way too fleeting on the good days and way too long on the bad!). I KNOW that I can grieve differently than those who have not given their lives to Him.

And it is through His strength that I can face each morning.

How will you face each morning? How will you face eternity? And if you were to die today, do you KNOW where you will spend eternity?

Because we have no guarantee of tomorrow. Or even tonight.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Off the record with Crazy Uncle Brother

My little brother is in town for a job interview. For being a punk brother, I sure do miss his mug.

He looks normal, I know.

But don't be fooled. He's not called Crazy Uncle Stephen for no reason!

I thought it would be fun to interview him for my blog.

(Ha! When I started "thinking" is precisely where I messed up.)

Anyhow, take the following with a grain of salt and consider the source. This information is from the same kid who tripped me ON PURPOSE in our parents' driveway when he was in high school and I was in college.

I had to have bandaid's y'all. It was that bad.

ME: Hey Stephen, I want to interview you for my blog. Just because.

BRO: 'kay.

ME: What do you think about when you think of us growing up together?

BRO: Honestly, you were the only sister I was scared of... the only one. That and you were the best farter.

ME: What?! I was the best burper! I could burp on demand and burp the alphabet. I didn’t fart.

BRO: Are you kidding? You were the worst by far.

ME: Okay, I’m ending this interview right now.

See what I mean? I was tormented by him! And HE LIES.

But I'll forgive him because he did give me a cutie-patootie nephew and all. That's gotta count for something, right?

Aaah... Who am I kidding? I'm going to miss him when he goes back to Washington tomorrow. He is funny, kind, intelligent and just plain fun to be around. I also give him points for being the only boy out of five siblings-- and living to tell about it.

Even if the telling sometimes includes lies and all.

(PS Are you offended that I used this "f" word? I hope not, though I will be the first to admit that it is quite an unladylike term.)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Not Back-to-School Hop: Picture Week

Since school is SERIOUS business, I have some serious pictures of my boys.

Austin: 10 years old, 5th grade

Noah: 8 years old, 3rd grade

To see other people's school pictures, check out Darcy's Not-Back-to-School Hop going on right now!

Hmmm... I wonder where my old school photos are? Y'know, the cute elementary school ones-- not the ones that encompass the teenage years.

And since you're here, please drop by and wish Austin a very happy double-digit birthday!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Double Digits!

I can't believe it's already here-- the birthday de double digits!


I made his cake on Friday night in anticipation of an early celebration with David's parents. But since the cake smelled so yummy and the homemade frosting was beckoning, it was a unanimous decision to celebrate early!

So we had cake (red is Austin's favorite color) and gifts that very night. Even though his birthday is today (Sunday)! :)

Oops! The icing was stickier than I thought!

(Ack! Ignore the gross and disgustingly dirty trashcan.)

Happy Birthday, my Austie-bostie! I am so glad that *I* am your mommy!!! Your hugs, sweet smile and tenderness makes my heart melt. I love you!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Uniform, schnuniform

Almost everyone has a uniform that they wear.

When he's not working, David will most likely be wearing athletic shorts and a t-shirt (solid color- because tall sizes in a graphic shirt are hard to come by... well, except this Game Over one apparently!).

I often wear a skirt and t-shirt in the summer and jeans and t-shirt in the winter. While my skirts are printed or boldly colored, I prefer to play it safe when it comes to shirts.

My favorite color?

Yup, the good ole standard black shirt. See, I don't have too many do I?

(Oops. That's not counting any tank tops, long sleeved shirts or sweaters that might be lurking in my closet. Oh, and that one v-neck in the laundry basket.)

Sometimes my friends and family laugh about my penchant for the dark side, but I really think it's a flattering color on me and when I wear it, I feel confident and comfortable.

I had to make a conscious effort to put on that blue shirt the other day!

So, what's your uniform? Do you have a go-to color or style? Maybe I want to shake it up a bit around here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Country Club

On the way to church, there is one building that constantly gets some sort of remark from my boys-- the "Country Club."

Lest ye think, ahem, that it is a high falootin' sort of place, it is the Country Club Bar. As in a seedy cinder block building set right next to the railroad tracks (because drunks and train tracks are always a stellar combination, y'all).

When my boys were younger, they'd ask about it and what people might do there.

They asked questions like "So what kind of drinks, mommy?" And I'd tell them that people would probably be drinking beer and liquor in there. When explaining liquor, I told them it was stinky, tasted bad and I'm sure burned their throats.

That's when they started whispering to each other "*gasp!* Look! That's where those people drink hot drinks instead of go to church!"

If that wasn't funny enough, conversation took a more interesting turn when we added three little girls to the mix last Wednesday night.

Upon passing the Country Club, this was overheard:

"You can't get drunk from drinking root beer because it's just soda."

"What do you think they do in there?
-I bet they play pool and drink beer.
-And smoke cigarettes!"

"And there are women in there too! And they show their bellybuttons!"

This is the point where Austin, who will be 10yo on Monday, loudly sucked in his breath.

One of the girls turned to him and said "It's not funny, Austin!"

He replied, "I don't think it's funny! I think it's DISGUSTING!"

And all five children concurred that it was indeed sinful and disgusting to be showing your bellybutton.

We tackle deep, spiritual subjects in our devotional time, can't you tell?

Monday, August 10, 2009

I <3 Faces - Crazy, Silly, Funny Face!

This is a much littler Noah on a trip to The Children's Museum. Every time I looked at him, I smiled.

Okay, it was more like busted a gut!

Hmmm... perhaps I should use this tactic with my boys on one of our not-so-great days? I think it would be impossible to be angry if you had to look at a face like that all day long!

A little (lighting) drama

For Melissa's Get the Picture Show and Tell Monday at A Familiar Path, she asks if we have learned anything new this week in our photography.

Oo! Ooooo! Mr. Cart-airrr! Mr. Cart-aiirrrrr!

It just so happens that the very brilliant Beth from Pages of Our Life shared this very handy-dandy tip with me.

"If you place the subject just inside the door of a house where there is no wall behind them, and you stand outside with your camera looking in, it creates dramatic lighting right on the subject."

Since I wanted a picture with my boys (as in a picture of ME and MY BOYS-- AT THE SAME TIME), I set up my camera on a tripod and used a remote. If you don't have a remote, you can try using your camera's self-timer feature and use the *gasp* auto feature. It's probably the only time you would want to hug the auto feature.

Ahhh... room to breathe.

Then it got a little crowded.

And I liked it.

Oops! Sorry about that Noah.

We scooted over a little and tried to make a pirate face.

Some more successful than others.

We laughed.

And then we got a "normal" shot.

I have decided that normal is kinda boring.

But it'll do, especially if we're all together.