Saturday, July 31, 2010

Collective effort

Here is the completed piece that we painted at Luke's family party.

It's out of this world.  Just like Luke.

Friday, July 30, 2010

He's a KID now!

When my husband was a child, there was an exact moment when he became "a kid".  This was on his 4th birthday.  The.  Big.  Day.

And now, that big day has happened in the lives of every member of our family.  Luke turned four yesterday.

A.  Kid.  He's a kid now!

He had art parties...

One in the morning with a few little friends.  We painted birdhouses and made tissue paper dinosaurs, and iced our own cupcakes.  (Take that, Cake Boss!) 


And one in the evening with family.  We iced our own cupcakes again, and also worked on a "mural" that all of our party guests were invited to help with.

The cousins spent a lot of time playing up in the boys' bedroom.  I peeked in, and this is what I found.

All he wanted for his birthday was "art stuff".

Wish granted.  No shortage of art stuff around here.

He had a wonderful birthday.  The parties celebrated him completely!  He's funny, creative, and loves to have a lot of people around.

Luke, you are a blessing beyond our wildest imaginations.  You are hysterically funny.  Yours is a God-given sense of humor, with perfect comedic timing and a sharp wit.  You delight in sitting with paper and something to create with.  You paint slowly, with detail and precision in mind always.  You are an artist, without question.  You are one FUN kid.  Happy birthday to the most amazing four year old we know!  We love you.  Welcome to KIDhood.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Twenty minutes

This is what greets me just 20 minutes from my house.

And this.

I lived in Florida for six years while in my 20's. I missed this. Every. Single. Day.

There's no place like home.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The honor of an invitation

I am studying the book of Ruth this summer. More than a week has passed since studying Ruth 2:14 and comparing it with 2 Samuel 9:1-12, and I just can't stop thinking about it.

Ruth, a widowed woman, a foreigner of enemy ethnicity, has been invited to eat with Boaz, a highly powerful and well-respected man who owns the fields she's been working in. To compare to modern day, this would be like dining with royalty!

In 2 Samuel, King David extended a similar invitation to Mephibosheth, the crippled son of his beloved friend Jonathan...but also the grandson of King Saul who tried to kill him. And David invited him to sit at his dinner table - for the rest of his life, after having returned all of his family's property to him! Again, dining with royalty.

This leads to the question... What is more valuing than being invited to someone's table?

As I reflect on various dinner invitations, meals provided for us, and a week-long stay in our friends' home, I am reminded of (and overwhelmed by) the generosity and incredible thoughtfulness that went into the arrangements. Meal preparations, cleaning the house, the expense, foods picked specifically for us, sleeping arrangements.

A couple of years ago we stayed with friends for a week while on vacation. They gave us their master bedroom (while they slept in the basement). They assembled a crib for Luke, and their children selected their favorite toys to put in the guest room for Zach. They loaned us their van. They grocery shopped in anticipation of our arrival - buying all the kids' favorite foods and snacks! They provided car seats and a stroller for our use during the week. Could they have been anymore thoughtful or generous?

Many other friends have gifted us with tremendous blessings that have not been on such a big, week-long, completely-invading-their-life scale. What immediately comes to mind are meals provided after Luke was born. Kim brought an enormous, should-have-been-on-a-buffet-table fruit platter. And dinner too! She knows how much I love fruit, and I'm pretty sure she brought me one of every fruit she could find. And Shawnda brought us an amazing strawberry cream cake that is one of my favorites (and no cinch to make). And Kathi brought a simple bag of cherries (probably 2 pounds) to the hospital because they are my all-time favorite and the one thing I was craving after 17 1/2 hours of labor. These gifts were prepared and given with me in mind.

As I've studied Ruth and this particular part of her story, the importance of people, and preparations, and invitations has been impressed upon me. It is not hard to recall a time in my life when I threw a party merely because I wanted to have fun or show off my home or just didn't want to be alone, but these days the party throwing is entirely about the people coming! They are truly our guests of honor. Meals provided to families in times of need are not just about nourishing their bodies, but their hearts and souls as well. It's about the love of Jesus Christ, and the love of one neighbor for another. I will never forget my sweet friend who brought a meal over with a note THANKING US for allowing her to serve us that way. I was inspired by that then, and am inspired by it still today.

It is easy to become bogged down with the busyness in life, but it is my desire to intentionally hit the pause button and spend time with friends and give pieces of me -- and get pieces of them -- whenever I can. Tea with a mentor, brunch with a girlfriend, lunch with a cousin, dinner with couples and their kids, holiday parties, end of summer parties... Anything to allow time for friends to get together and feed each other.

I praise God daily for the over-the-top blessings He's provided in my friends.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Things that are making me laugh today...

Mine was the only minivan in the community college parking lot this morning.

I will probably be the oldest person in my Public Speaking class on Tuesday and Thursday mornings this fall.

I wonder if I'll be older than my instructor.

I might be the only one who will have to rush from class to pick up my preschooler.

My other three classes are online. The closest I came to "online" classes in the early 90's was a class on VHS. Do today's college students even remember VHS?

At this rate, I will be a first time teacher at age 40.

Did I mention that I'm going back to college and couldn't be more excited?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Home... Sweet home

My husband took one glance at the untitled list below and said, "What? A list of everything you love about this city?" He knows me so well.

I love it here. Why?

Hydrangeas. Redbud trees. Fields of wildflowers. Freshly mowed hay. Wide open spaces. Mid-town lofts. Tudor homes. Charming downtown areas. Stone buildings. University campuses. Art museums. History museums. Fountains. Monuments. Bridges. City views. Free Friday night outdoor movies. Free summer concert series. Drive-in movies. Unexpected corn fields in the suburbs. Cattle and horses within city limits. Silos. Farm houses. Abandoned barns. Country music. Carhartt. County fairs. Carnivals. Festivals. Parades. July 4th celebrations. Christmas lights. Four seasons. Apple picking. Pumpkin patches. Sledding. Outdoor ice skating. Excellent day trips. Fireflies. Blue Birds and Cardinals. The sounds of crickets. Huge front porches. Backyard gardens. Fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes. Farmers markets. Peaches and cream corn on the cob. Parks. Climbing trees. Creeks. Bike trails. Neighborhood pools. City pools. A wonderfully uncomplicated international airport. Tornado sirens. Basements. The fact that I have heard the whistle of a train from every single home I've ever had in this wonderful city. Covered wagons and outhouses.

Oops.. Those last two are from my great-grandmother's era.

And incredibly nice, neighborly people.

We even have a ski resort and wineries ... not that we ski or drink wine. But I still think it's neat.

My home. Sweet home.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

They make me laugh till I cry

Bryan: "Luke, stop that. Do you need to go to your room?"
Luke: "No... Do YOU need to go to YOUR room?"
~Jan. 12

Luke: "It's a glizzard outside!"
~Jan. 16

Leanna: "You want to join us as we sing and dance?"
Luke: "No. Maybe when I'm nine. For now, I'll just sing Thriller."
~June 15, VBS

Luke (just rolled out of bed, holding his stomach): "I feel the privilege of sickness in my brain."
~June 23

Luke (son of an electrician):  “Careful!  That will electrokill you!”
~July 8

Luke:  “I went off the cannon balling board at the pool today!”
~July 9

Luke (when asked why he woke up topless):  “I slept like a boxer.”
~July 11

Luke: “…and I pray that I won’t get sick, or hurt, or shot, or killed, or arrested…”
~July 13

Sign hanging on the boys' bedroom door .
~July 1

Zach:  "I think we picked the right dog... Apollo runs around like crazy, just like me!"
~Jan. 14

Zach:  "Luke, don't be like the guys who killed Jesus!"
~June 21

Zach (Mad Libs story):  "Here is chef Grandpa's award-flower-picking recipe for roast leg of elephant. Choose a leg weighing about two boxes. Remove excess cheese. Add 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and ripped. Season with 2 tablespoons of chopped apple. Add a tablespoon of juice. Sprinkle with a touch of flat salt. Add a pinch of ground aqua marine bag. Cook at 350 dinosaurs for 300 minutes. Remove from the oven when the skin is blue. Serve with mashed eyeballs and an ear."
~June 24

Zach:  "Without my glasses, you look like a puff ball."
~June 28

Zach (boys are playing Family Feud in the bathtub):  "Top 7 answers on the board.  Name my favorite superheroes."
~July 5

Zach (exasperated because Luke would rather color right now):  "Luke, what do you love more?  ME or a COLORING BOOK?!"
Luke:  "Coloring."
(insert whining here...)
Luke:  "Why don't we just agree to disagree?  I love you and coloring, but I want to color right now."
~July 14

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

July 4th celebrations

We are wild about red, white and blue.  Stars and stripes.  BBQ.  Friends.  Fireworks.  Fireflies.  And freedom.  Independence Day is certainly cause for celebration!

We had a party on Friday night with  neighbors - great food at our house, fireworks next door.  The boys "camped" after all the festivities.

The Flags for Freedom display is awesome.

We spent much of the Fourth just hanging out at home.  We enjoyed some fire-less fireworks at home, and then went out to Grandpa's after dark to let off the rest...between bouts of pouring rain.

Fourth of July...  Just marvelous!