Sunday, January 20, 2013

Day 16 - Signs of Winter

This summer we started a nature co-op with our homeschool group. We have learned together, to keep our eyes open, to look and question. 

Now you come running... 

" What plant do you think this is?" 
"Mommy, see this bug?" 
" I wonder what kind of fruit this plant makes?" 
" What flower is this?" 
"Do you think frogs live here?" 
" Why can birds fly?" 

I love when you think quietly and then answer, the wheels of wonder and logic rolling. Then you speak. With surprising wisdom, you understand, you know by observing God's creation, innately, something of it's essence. It's purpose. 

Sometimes you don't know. Sometime neither do I. Then you look at me and say 
" Maybe we can do some research and try to identify that" 
" We should go to the library and find a book that can tell us more about it!" 

In all the technology, movies and disney worlds ... children are so thrilled by the bright and shiny  plastic and noise, that we forget to teach and forget to show them, the beautiful wonder of the earth. 

They don't know how to be lost in the joy of exploration in just a field. If there isn't something to entertain, they become bored. 

I want a field, a forest, a river, a mountain ... to be the most riveting adventure of all for you my sweet children. 

You made me smile so much Esther, when in the snow you discovered this green. The brightness shining with spring through the evidence of winter. You were so proud. And I am so proud of you, for noticing the small, insignificant - to - many, green in the snow. To me, it meant so much. 

Day 15 - Confusing


Beautiful words that role of the lips like silky sweet chocolate. Yet as I battle flesh - my discontentment,  whining, groaning, frustration, anger and worry ... the shooting arrows ...sometimes I can barely in the confusion of the daily fight, quite understand how ... how to see God's mercy, His grace and His love in the sometimes overwhelming battle to become the peaceful mother I desire to be. 

We remember though ... how we are told to deal with those flaming shooting arrows... 

Ephesians 6:10-18

The Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

I am slowly learning to recognise those arrows shot at the heart of strongest battles.  With small words I ask simply .. Lord, Jesus, Have mercy on this sinner... 

Lord have mercy. 

And when I mouth that cry, I see mercy clearly, for  the arrow misses its target. 

Then I feel peace and joy, and see His grace as I then, return to love ... because there is no fear in perfect love. 

Day 14 - Temptation

It is true. I am a comfort eater. I should not ease my woes and calm my frustrations with warm tea, cookies, sweet ice cream. I should be a comfort - prayer. If I got on my knees and prayed as often as I sit with a sugary treat and a caffiene - infused mug. I wonder how much more I would know God's will  for me and how much more peace & joy I would have. 

Sugar is the bandaid, it is not the cure. It's a temptation just to keep covering my heart, soul and mind with band aids, but the truth is, it's like sticking a stone in the hole in a dam. All that pressure and it's going to build up until an emotional torrent pours forth. 

We need to resist the temptation to eat our worries and fears away, but instead, fall down and pray. 

Day 13 - Forgotten

I often just watch you all play. You know, it's easy for us grown ups to forget how to play. We stop being able to just sit down and get lost in a world of trains, dolls & make believe. 

It is one of the most precious and beautiful things about child. I adore your imaginations, your story lines, the way you act out while adventures and love stories. 

You want me to join in, and I try my best, but it's hard because my mind is so consumer with dishes, deadlines and daily routine that somehow it is hard to let my mind discover a land of fairies or a go on a railroad adventure. 

I've forgotten how to play, but thank you for giving me the opportunity to learn again by being with you and watching you.  


It's the simple things like the robots Stevie G drawsAnd the ease with which we seem to pull those tricksThere are moments of escape for every one of usAnd the beauty in the times that we create

I saw you smilingAnd I need my vehicles and animalsAnd I will be alrightTake me back to 1979 so I can find my open eyes

He can play all by himself for many hoursI have never seen a kid who's so contentAnd there is nothing from the outside that can touch him'Cos he's just learning how to be alone with one

I saw you smilingAnd I need my vehicles and animalsAnd I will be alrightTake me back to 1979 so I can find my open eyes

And I need my vehicles and animalsAnd I will be alrightTake me back to 1979 so I can find my open eyes

Lying down on my bed
I just got another kick to the head
Oh yeah you're a part of me
Yet another branch on the family tree
Salt on my fingers salt in my cuts
Salt on my face and salt in my guts
It's been a battle but we've come through ok
Stop what you're doing and play

Cos we've got our vehicles and animals so
We're gonna be alright
There's no need for us to go back in time
Because we've found our open eyes

We've got our vehicles and animals
So we're gonna be alright
There's no need for us to go back in time
Because we've found our open eyes

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Week 3 Themes!

Day 12 - Mini ... Minnie ....

When I read the theme 'Mini', the word transformed ... Jasmine ... Minnie. My not so little sister. 

Thousands of miles apart. Yet my sister still. I miss her. 

I miss the laughs over a cup of tea we could be having. 

The conversations about life, hair, love, shoes, clothes ... 

Shopping trips .... making fun ...  long walks.... cooking together... working on art and photography together...milkshakes at The Coffee Exchange. 

This ring, belongs to my Minnie, and I wear it everyday ... so everyday my heart remembers her... all the way back home in Clitheroe, England. 

Day 11 - Signature ....

We sign everyday. A check, a form, a birthday card, buying a car, a house, signing a birth certificate ... each one carrying into effect a consequence, a memory, propelling change in small ways. The scratch of the pen to paper slowly but surely etching away the direction of your years with each tiny signature.

 The most important signature I ever made ... was for my marriage license. 

It was the signature that transformed the details of my future from settling into a new life in America, to determining the thoughts, feelings, challenges and joys of my story, unfolding each moment as if a pen flowing, forming each predetermined letter of your unfolding on paper name, your signature. 

My signature. My signature move ... was marrying the most wonderful man, most certainly whom God ordained from the moment He breathed me into existence. My life will always wonderfully determined by that choice.

My husband ... who is so a part of what makes up who I am. Who gives helps me to be the best version of me. Who is loving me closer to Christ. As my husband teaches me more what true love is by attempting to love me sacrificially as Christ loves the His bride, the Church. My husband loves me, his precious bride. Every moment, he makes me more aware of his love for me, it shows me how much Christ loves me, how much Christ loves His bride, the Church. 

When God said, the night I first saw my husband " This is who you I intend for you to marry" 
I responded " I don't not know him, what if we end up not liking each other?" 
God replied " I made you for him, and him for you. As long as he always loves my son Jesus, he will always love and want you. This I have ordained. Joshua. He is your future. Through Joshua, you will learn to love and follow Christ. For Joshua, is a man who will show you Christ" 
I spoke in my heart " I trust you Lord" 

And we married... and all of God's promises were true, with each year, I see they were more true that I could ever have fathomed. 

My marriage was formed in heaven. I am a most blessed woman. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Day 10 - Games!!!

Dear Esther & Rachel, my beautiful girls, 

I love that everyday, with sparkles in your eyes, you run to me with anticipation of that short hour of the day, when little babies are fast asleep and you get mommy all to yourselves. 

Some days, you request a tea party, others it is a book to be read. Should we get lost in Beatrix Potter? Discover the world of Laura & Heidi? Cry over the Little Princess? 

Every now and then we have a 'big girl craft' - like the time we made plaster tiles and painted them, or butterfly magnets, or paint stained glass, even make a necklace or two! 

Lately you request games. You delightfully run off and come with a stack of games... Snakes & Ladders, Candy Land, Old Maid, Go Fish, Bingo, Cards, Dominoes, Chess, Pass the pig. 

I hope that when you grow, that amongst the busyness of housework, school, errands and the daily distractions, you will remember, that even just for a short time, life slowed down and my eyes were on you alone. 

You are so well behaved and helpful, you play so quietly while I nurse a precious new baby or weather a  sweet two year olds tantrum as he navigates his new emotions, that I often feel bad that I don't give you all the time I wish I could. 

But I want you to know, that I am so proud of you and even if I do not sit with you all day ... that with all my heart ... I wish I could and that the times I do, I will treasure forever. I hope you treasure them too! 

Love, Mommy. 

Day 9 - In a Drawer

We all have THAT drawer.

 The one that you tidy again and again, yet it always ends up filling up with a bunch of assorted stuff. 

There isn't always a good place for it anywhere else in the house. 

There is not enough of a certain item in a category to warrant its own space.

 Or perhaps you are trying to clean up fast and you shove it there so 'tidy' because you are to lazy to put it in its rightful place. 

 So it all gets grouped together. 

Sometimes I think we have a drawer of emotional 'junk' too. We feel something, and instead of engaging in dealing with it. We shove it away. The drawer gets so full of all the little stuff in live that niggles and bothers, then one day, the drawer is to full and spills where everyone can see it. 

It's a better idea to deal with each feeling & thought in the moment it reveals itself. To instantly process it, sort it, chose prayerfully how to respond ... and move on. 

I need to get better at not shoving my emotions in a drawer, just to let all that little stuff, explode later on...  dealt with NOW .... it's nothing ... but left alone to pile up ... it becomes something so big you can't ignore anymore, it starts to cause a serious problem.  

No matter which way you look at it... you have to deal with it sooner or later. Sooner is better. 

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things"
Philippians 4: 6-8

 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:5

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Day 8 - My Front Door

" Lewis loved to read; and, as his father's house was filled with books, he felt that finding a book to read was as easy as walking into a field and "finding a new blade of grass". "

For where else can a child's imagination be thrilled with adventure, love and intrigue but 

in carefully crafted words and artistic images upon the these tender pages?

For when we curl upon the couch, breathing in the tale, time is lost and our hearts engaged, 

a story so captivating, it's delight transcends mothers, daughters, grandparent's ages... 

Yes, my sweet children run through a field, each blade of grass a captivating tale, 

Grasp one in your tiny hands and hide with it in a cozy nook... what will you find? 

Giants, fairies, castles, birds and whales!  

By my front door, there you will find, no welcome mat or coat hook, 

For in the way you'll find a richer welcome, 

The invitation to sit, and read a wondrous book.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Day 7: Simplicity

It's the simple comfort of a cup of tea, in a pretty tea cup, on the sofa, with a spiritually enriching book that can transform my tumultuous soul to one of calm.
 The simplicity of daily rituals to breath in a moment of quiet. 
I regroup, I run the words I read through my mind & heart, over and over, like fingers running through soft toddler hair, head rested on your lap. 
My dear husband appears amid a storm ... sit down, I'll make you some tea he entreaties. 
All is peace in this daily simplicity. 
I sip ... I look around ... I quiet my soul ... and remember ... Be still & know that I am God. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Day 6 - STILL life.

A new baby,
Health issues,
Cold wintery days,
Cold & Flu season ... 

Life slows. The rush ebbs away to be replaced by the stillness. 

Hot drinks, hearty stews, pajama days, books on the sofa, baby snuggles. 

Life suspends. 

Projects forgotten. Housework neglected. School books unopened. Play dates rescheduled. To - do list on fridge door, neglected. 

But its still LIFE  ... it's still the story ...  

Then engines begin to warm and the wheels begin to roll, for the movement and flow must go on. 

Yet, you reflect on the long lost stillness of those winter, sickness ridden, christmas, newborn baby, never leave the sofa or the pajama days in wonder ... at the beautiful of the still, the quiet and though you wanted so much then, to go, go, GO! Now, you want  to slow, slow ... become still again ... and breath in again what you wished away. 

Momentum builds ... it's spring ... summer ... then winter again ... the once still baby, is still your little baby ... but she isn't so still now, fluttering by on tiny feet...  

So I breath in NOW. I sit still on this sofa. Bound by her insatiable desire to nurse in my arms and hope it will last for ever. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Day 5: A room with a view...

The floor needs sweeping and mopping,
The dishes need putting away,
There are toys scattered, 
There is a pile of clutter on the counter,
Spilt coffee needs wiping, 
Yet this is a room with a view.
A perfect room. With a perfect view. 
Two little girls, daydreaming, as they anticipate a tea party...  as their peppermint tea is steeping. 

From my point of VIEW ... this is the most beautiful, sweet sight for a mother. 
Simple, beautiful, blissful, innocent childhood. 
This is the kind of moment I will miss, when they are grown. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Day 4: Grace - FULL

Todays theme is 'Graceful' 
Images of dance, movement, soft light came to mind. 
But, it was a day of doctors visits, blood test, and replacing all the tires on our car. 
What to post? What to take a picture of? 
My camera battery needed charging and it was getting closer to bed time.
As a sat quietly nursing my new, tiny daughter, surrounded by the other kids dashing back and forth, playing, pretending, shouting, giggling. 
Graceful on my mind, my lips. The word transformed... 
Grace - Full. 
Yes. My life is FULL of grace. 
The picture I am about to share, is one which reminds me of a great way in which God has shown me grace, in answer to my prayers ... 

It's a picture Josh took with the iPad. I know it will be one of my favorite pictures of all time, just because of the moment in our lives in records. 

It shows me, smiling, so much, because after a very traumatic birth with my 3rd child two years ago, here I am holding my 4th child ... my prayers answered. God in His grace, answered my prayers. 

My prayers for another child. My prayers for a healing birth. 

There was a lot of medical concern in me having another child. Yet I knew, there was a child waiting to be born into this family, my heart had a place for her before she was formed. I longed for her with all my soul. When I thought I would have to stop having children, I mourned for a child, that wasn't yet created. In my heart, she was real though. 

I am beaming with love for this sweet new beautiful babe. My sweet sweet Emiliana. My heart is yours. I love & adore you!

 Full of energy and adrenaline, from an amazing natural birth,  in which for the first time, I was able to immediately hold and tend to my new baby, without some complication or issue preventing me giving them my full attention. 

I was elated. In His grace, I have my new baby girl, who I desired so much, and had a birth that allowed me to heal from the nightmares of the past. 

Emiliana Lucia Joy 12-13-12 

You will always remind me that God is full of grace, and that my life, is Grace-FULL.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Day 3 - One day, he will change the world...

I think that to some degree, when naming their son, men think of the men that they admire, the type of man they hope their son will become. 


I knew we had our name when my husbands eyes lit up and he said ' I can just imagine that on the front of book someday ... ' and he start announcing the name in variations, experiencing the sound on his lips as he read the name as that as an author.. a philosopher... a man with a great mind. A man that could change the world. 

Joel Athanasius. 

I know my son will change the world. I have one expectation for him. That he be a good man. The kind of man, whom is honest & good from the core. A man who can love abundantly. 

I am optimistic.... I want to raise a man who will change the world... by loving his wife as Christ loves the church. Who nutures his children with grace and compassion. Who works hard. Who is loyal and has integrity. 

I already see the kindness in his eyes, the gentleness of his soul. The compassion. His tender love for his family. The way he likes to climb on your lap and rest his cheek right against mine. The way he strokes my arm, when I stroke his head at night, as I rock him to sleep.

We change the world not always by great professional endeavors that are their for all to see. No, we change the world by loving unconditionally and sacrificing for those who know us. 

The truth is, we don't mind what profession he chooses. I do care, who he chooses to be ... I want him to choose to be the kind of man, father's are happy for their daughters to marry. 

I am also optimistic ... that he will love books & reading... since he already makes us read at least 10 books a day, and here .... he fell asleep, in his diaper, 'reading' a rather large book ... 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Day 2: Little Mirrors...

Our children are often reflections in a small way of who we are. I tend to hone in on the negative behaviors and traits I have passed onto my children. 
I saw a meme last year, it went something like this... 
" That awkward moment when you realize that you are telling your child off for being just like you"

What I have failed to do, is to look at our children and see the GOOD things they have picked up from me. Don't get me wrong, I think my children are the most amazing in the world. Generally I see all their awesomeness first. Yet I don't attribute that awesomeness to good parenting skills, but I do attribute their bad behaviors to my poor moments as a parent. 

This is how I realize, that I don't truly love ME.  In order for me to love my children more fully and enjoy them more, I need to learn to recognize the ways in which I am kinda cool & unique. 

Our children are our little mirrors. 

Rachel.  She is sassy, sharp, mischievous, love-smothering, cheeky ... she skips everywhere she goes. She will stand on a stage with a microphone since she was 2 and belt solo's for everyone at church to hear. 
She doesn't hide any emotions. Every little feeling, if only for a moment, is dramatically portrayed on her sweet little face. 
She is creative. She like things done her way. She is determined and doesn't give up easily. She is stubborn. 
She is a natural clown & comic. 

I adore all these things about her ... and I look at the list and see, that me & her, I guess there are quite a few things we have in common. 

She is also, very very uniquely RACHEL though. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Day 1 : Seeing Esther ...

My goals for 2013 include: 
- Letting my children choose how they want their photos taken
- Getting to know my children's personalities on a deeper level
- Taking more pictures of everyday life
- Sharing the imperfect images, the ones the photographer in me criticizes, and focusing on the photo's that as a mom, I will adore when I look back. 

I feel this picture is a step towards those goals. 
Esther ... She is sweet, compassionate, spilling with empathy, a deep desire to please and satisfy. She fears failure. She  thrives on success. She is amazingly tender, forgiving, thoughtful and pays attention to details. She is self giving ... sacrificing her own desires and happiness, for that of those around her. 
She is also fierce for what is good & true. 
She is also incredibly goofy and hilarious, when she is relaxed..