"I hold on to You for dear life, and you hold me steady as a post..." Psalm 63

Monday, August 30, 2010

Back to school...

A sneak peek at our back to school weekend...
Alex couldn't get back to school fast enough...he was so excited to see the friends he's missed all summer and reunite with his roomate...
after a couple of hours of unpacking...to which my son and his laid back suitmates couldn't have cared less about, things were finally in place and settled in...
I know, pretty creepy to have food in your bathroom, right?  Apparently not if you're a bunch of college boys.  {Notice the back of the toilet has mom's gift of Lysol...the Bleach wipes are out of view}
The two adjoining bedrooms have separate themes:
The snack room...
and the Study room...
I'll leave you to decide which side Alex resides in.

6am came way too early for the rest of us this morning...so after a quick one of these
and a quick snap of these
a prayer at the door
 and a walk down the street to a new bus stop-
a new year has begun!

{It's not cool for mom to wait for the bus in her pajamas, so if she sneaks a peek out the front window, she could probably snap a picture of the wait

and the chuckle when the short bus comes to pick them up}

The house is quiet for the first time all summer long.  We've made some great memories the last few months, but it was time for us all to get back into a routine. 

Hello, new school year, nice to meet you.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Twenty years in a blink...

It used to be that when someone asked me about something that happened 10 years ago I had no memory that went back that far.  Then they'd ask about something that happened twenty years ago and I started to feel old because I can vividly remember well things that happened twenty years ago.
 This is my most vivid memory of twenty years ago....

Exactly twenty years ago today my life changed forever.  This little package came my way and changed the way I see life, changed the way I see the world, and changed just about everything else I can think of too.  He was an only child for three years...back when the house was kind of quiet and orderly.  He made me realize that everything I say and do matters..because he was the first one who was watching...really watching to see if I meant what I said.  He pushed my buttons, made me cry on more than one occasion {sometimes for joy, too!}, and made me feel totally inadequate to handle parenthood.  But he was also the reason that I pushed through the fear and the uncertainty and settled on the Foundation on which I would stand.  I guess you could say he made me realize I needed to rely on Someone else for Strength and Wisdom because without It I wasn't going to do a very good job!

Alex tried my patience more than once...like this day- the day I decided to incorporate the book, "Potty-training in a Day" into our routine.  The day was a dud after about an hour of multiple cups of water, alot of pee on the floor and lots and lots of tears from both of us.
Eventually he figured it out and does quite well at pottying these days.
I'm pretty sure this picture was taken yesterday- Alex's first haircut.  I can drum up the memory and almost touch it.  {The blue and yellow pant/dress was in style for little boys those days, I assure you}
These days haircuts are a little more thrifty- they take place in our bathroom and the dress code is optional.
Getting him to smile for a picture with his prized birthday hat used to be alot easier.
now it's like pulling teeth to get him to make a straight face...
His toys have gotten bigger over the years...

And now, the first day of school doesn't involve a big yellow bus, but a walk across a college campus...
It's a strange feeling...this feeling compared to the one twenty years ago.  Back then I was twice his size and towered over him when I hugged him. 
These days our roles are reversed and it's him who towers over me
One thing hasn't changed at all.  Amidst the potty training, the disciplining, the trials and errors, the disagreements, the laughter, the heartache, the joking, the laundry in the middle of the floor, the tattooing, the piercings and the shared memories, one thing has never changed:  This baby boy turned man still catches my heart when I see him.  He still makes me proud to be his mom-still makes me want to be a better me because he is watching.  He has an incredible future ahead of him that is still unfolding itself, but He has a heart to follow God and a zest for life that makes everyone around him smile.

Happy 20th Birthday, Alex
I love you!

"Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven't stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you'll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you'll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us."
Colossians 1:9-12

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Pursuit of God...

Interestingly, all my life I've heard of the book with this title, and upon moving a few weeks ago discovered that I own it, but I have never once read its' contents.  After trudging through a book I started a few weeks ago and never really being able to motivate myself to finish it during my quiet times, I've decided it's wasting my time and set it aside.  So, this morning I went looking for something new to read...something with a little more depth that might cause me to have to think, yearn, worship and maybe even stir conviction. 
The Pursuit of God {by A.W. Tozer} caught my eye first and I guess it's about time I discover why, after over 50 years it is still being talked about.  I have to readjust my thinking when reading something written in "old English" form and filled with quotes from the King James Version of the Word, but it does make me think...and I guess that's the point. Reading some of the background of Tozer helped to set the stage for how amazing his ministry really was.  People in his time called him a prophet- that's pretty unheard of for someone with no formal education or training.  His education and training happened on his knees with his Bible in hand and constant prayer on his lips.  I dare to say that this kind of education would not be acknowledged in our day as "enough" to qualify one for a job in the pulpit or a hundred other ministry positions.  {That's interesting to me.  Makes me think either A) we don't believe it's possible to be educated soley by the Holy Spirit or B) we're so consumed by programs and formalities that we may possibly miss an Ordained opportunity right in front of us.}  Anyway, AW Tozer was an intense man.  He was intent on pursuing the heart and mind of God and encouraging the Christians around the world to think and study for themselves, not just sit on a pew and soak in someone else's studying. 

At first glance it surprises me that someone who looks like this guy {and by that I mean that he's very old, very conservative-looking, and very old school!} has so much to tell me that was not only relevant for his day, but also to mine.  He must have really twisted the faces of the church leaders of his day.  Actually, he might twist the faces of a few modern day church leaders, too.  His concern was to know the heart of God.  Not programs or pretenses...just the intense pursuit of God Himself.  I like him, I think he makes me think. 

"To have found God and still pursue Him is the soul's paradox of love, scorned
 indeed by the too easily satisfied religionist, but justified in happy experience
by the children of the burning heart." 
A.W. Tozer

Friday, August 6, 2010

Our last day...

Sitting alone on the largest wrap-around porch you can imagine, I'm soaking in the quiet and peace of our last day of vacation.  Everyone is upstairs getting ready to start a new day, and I'm wondering how it's possible that this week could have gone by so quickly.  Last week, having gone through a move and then days and days of unpacking...was seemingly endless.  But it had the same amount of hours and days in it that this week had...although I am almost certain the clock ticked in double time this week.  Why is it that real life runs on slow speed and vacation runs on fast forward? 
There should be scientific research on this. 

Here's the thing about vacations...at least in our family.  You learn alot about people when you live in a smallish space with them for 24 hours a day.  Sometimes you learn things you wish you didn't know.  {ie: thongs in the laundry and tofu in the fridge}  Sometimes you learn things that concern you {which will go unnamed} and sometimes you learn things that just make you laugh {ie: SOMEone in our family has germ issues, and placing one of the forementioned thongs on our resident kitty is NOT funny to them...only to us}.  Anyway, the point is this: even when we think we know someone through and through, spending a whole week together is very eye opening.  AND...it gives us a chance put LOVE into practice, because, let's face it...even when we LOVE our family there are irritating quirks that drive us nuts.  Spending an abundance of time with them makes us have to live out who we say we are. 

It's not always easy, because I feel like I just have to say what I think about your attitude, or your immodest outfit, or your way of life.  But it's not my job to convict others and it's not my job to voice my opinion on everything I think.  {That stupid voice inside me tells me I should say exactly what I think....I hate that voice, it really wants to get me in alot of trouble}

My reading for today brought me here....quite appropriate for this last day together:

"Regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way." 
Colossians 3
{The Message}

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

This is what happens....

when you vacation with someone who has a great camera and loves to take pictures, you don't bother using your pocket-sized "camera for dummies" because in the end you get to copy and paste pictures like this into your own photo album.  {and if you don't think too hard about it, you could convince yourself that you actually took the pictures, because after all, you were right there....}

a family stroll on the boardwalk


Lilly and Emma
{youngest in each family...}

Nick and I
{wait...I must say this, if I were the one actually taking the pictures, I would NEVER have taken ghastly pictures of the rest of the family and posted them all over Facebook..I'm SURE of it.}

the feet of my family...
in a rare together moment...
even though one refused to cooperate...

"What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like."

Saint Augustine

Cousins enjoying each other's company

Pierrot the traveling cat

a perfect sunrise...

"No matter what you've done for yourself or for humanity, if you can't look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished?"

Elbert Hubbard

{the photographer}

We've begun a new day with some quiet time on the large porch,
a bike ride to the best donuts in the country...

{picture taken on my camera phone...don't want to offend the real photographer!}

As I look around me right now, there's a "craft table", a video game tourney, some computer addicts {not me!} and a few who are just staring into blissful space.

We've acclimated to beach life...
and have decided we're not coming home.

Monday, August 2, 2010

This is what it looks like

on 5th and Central. 
Our day in the sun started out with a bike ride on the boardwalk..and then alot of this

and this

and this
and this
and when we are all nicely toasted and crispy we head back to 5h and Central
 so that Justin can concoct one of his wonderful meals...
and the rest of us can do something like this
or this...
or this...
or this...

We're all on kitchen clean-up duty {that's only fair!} and then a walk on the beach and a game or two will probably round up the day.
Tomorrow will look like a little more of the above...
we're kind of predictable.

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