Friday, April 30, 2010

Overheard #5 - I call this one just plain "Useless."

Two ladies, one younger than me, one older, talking over lunch:

"I didn't talk to him at all that night."

"Why not?"

"I don't know why. It was weird. I guess I just never got around to it."

"Why not?"

"Well, I came in the room and I saw him over there. He was talking to a bunch of people. But, I started talking to people and we didn't end up talking for some reason."

"Why do you think?"

"Well, I was busy talking to people and he was busy talking to people. It just never happened. Weird, right?"


"Yeah. It was weird. I don't know why we didn't get around to talking. I mean, when I saw him at first, I thought I'd end up talking to him, but it just never happened. I wanted to talk to him. It's not that I didn't want to talk to him. I just didn't get over there and then, I guess, the party was over. It's weird, right?"

"Yeah. You wanted to talk to him. It's weird that you didn't talk to him then."

"Yeah. I know. Really weird. I would have talk to him. It just never happened."


"Yeah. I know. Weird, right?"


"Yeah. It's weird."

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Three Netflixs arrived in the mail the other day. Dwayne and I both got really excited, until he opened them and read the cases, "Big Love. Season 3." I made a noise that communicated my disappointment. (And, I really was disappointed, too, to my own amazement, since I used to love that show.)

Dwayne and I both agreed that we don't pay enough attention to our Netflixs queue. We choose movies months and months and months in advance, so we often change our minds about them by the time they come in the mail. Case in point.

On the couch later that night, from behind his laptop screen, Dwayne says, "I don't think I'll watch Big Love with you. I've got enough images in my head of Bill Pullman having sex with his wives." He put real emphasis on the fact that that word was plural. I chuckled then said, "I know. I don't think I will be able to watch them either." He looked at me in unbelief for just one second, then there was a moment of recognition and he didn't seem that surprised.

Dwayne's had a front row seat to what God's been doing in my life lately. I guess you'd say that God's given me a new desire for personal holiness. It's born, for the first time, not from a sense of obligation to make myself more pleasing to God or a sense of striving to make myself more acceptable to other Christians who think I could or shouldn't do this or that, but it comes, for the first time, out of a real passion for the presence of God in my life, from a gentle nudge of His Holy Spirit urging me to, "Be holy for I am holy." I guess I feel like He's asking me to make more room for Him in my life.

That was the end of it for a few days. The DVDs lay opened on the sofa while we shuffled around them, living our lives, until I had a brief moment one afternoon to put all three of them back into one envelope, unwatched, and back into our mailbox. Problem is, it was already afternoon and the mailman had come. We had new mail in the box. But, I didn't take the new mail out of the mailbox when I put the DVDs in.

I considered the possibility that Dwayne might just grab the DVDs and bring them right back into the house with new mail when he got home. But, Dwayne likes to get the mail when he gets home. Anytime I do it for him, his feathers seem to get a little ruffled, since he doesn't know where the mail is and he yells in a voice that implies he's on the verge of panic, "Where's the mail?!!" and I never really know right off hand and I get all flustered, because I never put it in the same place twice, so I decided to just leave the new mail and the DVDs in there together anyway.

Turns out, Dwayne did bring the DVDs back in with the mail. I wasn't surprised. Like I said, I considered that this might happen. And, Dwayne laid them on the couch with the new mail, right on top of the mail, actually, and the next morning I had a crisis of conscience over the DVDs. There they were, on the sofa, again, staring at me, tempting me to watch. And, I had time to watch them that day...

This is the conversation I proceeded to have with myself or I think it might have been the devil... Take your pick. But, this is just the kind of moral arm-wrestling we Christians have to do sometimes.

"Why can't you watch them?"

"I don't know for sure. I just don't feel right about it."


"Don't accuse me... of being a Legalist. I'm not a Legalist... I don't think. I just don't think there is a Biblical reason that will free my conscience up to watch them."

"These have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence."

"Good one..."

I actually considered this for a second, but, eventually, shook myself out of the daze I was in...

"What?! The audacity of you to use Scripture! What about, "I will set no unclean thing before my eyes." or "Whatever is not of faith is sin?"


"That's what I thought. I can't watch these 'in faith,' so they are going out of this house!"

And, I say that as I am walking towards the door. And, like punctuation on the end of my sentence, I threw the lid to the mail box down as I put the DVDs back in. And, that was in the early morning, so the mailman would definitely be coming to take them away before Dwayne had a chance to bring them in yet again.

A few minutes later, still stewing over my near upset, I said to the devil,

"You were arguing for the DVDs, that should have been my first clue."

* Disclaimer: For those of you who can't read between the lines. I'm not saying it's sinful for you to watch Big Love. I'm just saying that I couldn't do it "in faith" and according to the Scriptures, "whatever is not of faith is sin." If your conscience won't condemn you for watching, watch away! And, I will try hard not to envy your freedom to do so, since I used to feel free to enjoy that show... a lot.

This post was meant to lead you to consider allowing the Holy Spirit to direct your decision making, even in the "small" things. "Over disputable matters" like what DVDs you will or will not watch, we Christians are called to follow our own consciences. I don't think we should ever, ever, allow anyone (the devil or other Christians, even those Christians we consider to be our mentors) to motivate us to do something that our own conscience condemns us for. We believers each have the Holy Spirit and He knows us perfectly. Perhaps He knows that I, for some reason, should not watch Season 3. I don't know. But, I don't have to know to know that it is perfectly right for me to defer to Him in this matter.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My resolutions for 2010 revisited... again.


Because I have to be deliberate. Even about the important things. Especially about the important things.

Let Norah play outside - She plays outside for a little while almost every single day now, weather permitting. She's even taken to whining about how often I "kick her out" of doors.

Keep a garden.
I've decided to put the majority of my focus on my flower bed this year. I just don't have enough time (and money) to devote to maintaining a full vegetable garden on my own, too. I have, however, offered my vegetable garden to a friend and her kids. She also home schools and they are renting their house and therefore, can't plant a garden of their own. If she decides to use my garden, then I will, most likely, devote some time to help her and perhaps, plant a few vegetables of my own as well. But, I am waiting to see what she wants to do and just focusing on my flowers in the meantime. I am trying to plant only perennials, so the flowers I purchase will not only come back year after year, they will also increase. I am following this garden plan that I got online for free and I am joyfully adding more and more perennials to my flower bed after every pay day.

Listen to Scripture.
Norah and I are using our Bible audio CDs almost everyday. We are memorizing Psalm 27. We listen to it after we read her Bible story, saying as much as we can along with the CD, learning a little more each time we do it. She had expressed strong fears over nightmares, the dark, etc. so I believe this Psalm, about putting faith in God for protection, is ministering to her little spirit. She hasn't been complaining about being afraid lately. I will also play the Gospels while I do housework and she will sit and listen, absolutely caught up in the dramatized version of the story for a half hour or even more. Sometimes I even catch her lying on the middle of the dining room table with her ear right up to the speaker on the boom box, something I used to do as a teenager. (Not lie on the table, but with my head near the speaker.) I have also been listening to the book of Ephesians, trying to soak it all in and memorize what's in it just by hearing it so many times.

I have not been using my books The Power of a Praying Wife and The Power of a Praying Parent that much, but I am praying more, a lot more. In the evenings, I will put on worship music or read Scripture or watch or listen to a sermon online or read a book or do all of those things in turn. The Holy Spirit will lead me through a "lesson" in a week or so, each night revealing something else about a certain topic. I am keeping a journal of all the book quotes, song lyrics, Scripture verses, etc. that I come across and I am also recording the thoughts that go through my own head, but I am not sharing much of any of it with anyone at large. I feel as if God is saying, "Not everything I give you is for someone else, you know?! Will you just let me teach you?!"

Not a stitch.

Collect books and music.
Since my last post, I've purchased a few slow songs to use during the cool down and stretch portion of my fitness classes and two more work out CDs.

Call my friends.
This is going well. I've recently made a new friend. She's more like a spiritual mentor, even though she insists I'm just her "sister in Christ." We have some of the same gifts of the Spirit and I talk to her a few times a week, sometimes on the phone, but usually through email or Facebook. I call her with questions or reports about what God has shown me, but mostly with questions, since she has more experience using her gifts than I do. Another friend of mine has been calling me almost everyday, eager to know if God has shown me something new and eager to tell me what He has shown her. On a side note, about friends... God is teaching me to surround myself with people who really honor me and who esteem what He is doing in my life, not just "friends" who pay me lip service and then turn around and say and do unkind things that tear me down. Believe it or not, I've had friends who, though they were very strong believers, did not honor who I was in God and who tore me apart, even seeming to despise what God did in my life. Perhaps they were jealous? I don't know. It doesn't matter. But, God seems to be bringing other people forward, people who put only positive words in my head, who really love who I am in God and who respect what He is doing in me.

Keep my room clean.
We had a few of the pastors, elders and church leaders... "the big dogs," over for prayer a few weeks ago. So, most of my house is still clean from all the elbow grease I put into shining it up for them.

Attend more home school group activities.
I have let this one go recently, but only out of necessity. Since I am working more, when we are free, we try and stay home to actually do home school. But, I am hosting a field day for our home school group at our neighborhood park in a few days. Almost forty people are expected to turn out, so that should be lots of fun.

Teach Norah to swim.
I've been slack about this one, too. Hopefully, Norah hasn't digressed too much since her success in Florida. I guess we shall see when we start going to the lake this summer.

Lighten Dwayne's load around the house. I've stopped complaining entirely, but I haven't had the time to do anything for Dwayne. Just keeping up with my own duties is a challenge.

Read to Avril. Norah has been reading to Avril more than I have. But, I think it's even better if Norah can read to Avril. Avril seems to love it, too.

Talk to Norah. I went to church for a special prayer service and spent time listening to God, seeing if He had anything to "say." He impressed on my heart the need to show Norah more affection, even though she is not an affectionate child. He told me to say affirming things to her, such as, "That was really nice of you to share with Avril. I like that about you. You are very kind to your little sister. Thank you." I've done that kind of thing since then and she's responded to it like a flower responds to water and sunshine. I am still talking to her, but I am just paying more attention to what I say, making sure it builds her up and making sure I am kissing and hugging her while I say it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Norah finished her math Primer last week. Now she's movin' up to the Alpha book. (The beauty of home school is that you can move up when the child is ready. She isn't stuck in Kindergarten math just because she's still in Kindergarten.) And, this new book is serious. It has real tests. I'm stayin' cool about these in front of Norah, downplaying them, trying to keep her from getting nervous and developing the same anxiety I got over tests through years in public school. But, it's hard to believe. My baby's taking tests!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The girls like to bounce on the couch pillows.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Dwayne saw this in Norah's dollhouse the other day.

I wonder where she got the idea?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Turkey Kabobs with Cabbage Slaw

Make this for dinner on Friday night and save the leftovers for wraps on Saturday. They make a great lunch "on the go."

Do you have any great "on the go" recipes to share?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

You know that tone kids get when they pick up a bag of Skittles in the check-out line, look up at you with puppy dog eyes and in a silky sweet voice ask, "Mom, Can I have these?" Well, my daughter Norah doesn't really ever use that tone. No, honestly. I'm serious. She doesn't. She's given up trying to get things from me in stores. But, there is one exception to this and it's about the only time she ever uses her powers of persuasion on me. She'll ask all sweet as sugar, "Mom, can I please rock with Avril and read her a bedtime story?" And, I'll flinch a little, because I want to get them to bed so I can have more free time to myself, but I can never, ever say "No" to that. Norah knows it and I know it.

Look at the pictures above. Don't they both look like they just talked me into getting them a bag of Skittles?

Is there anything that your kids ask for that you just can't say "No" to?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A few of my favorite things -

My flower box - We will often do our home school work outside on the deck, just to be close to our pansies.

My house shoes - These springtime mornings still carry a chill, so these part sock/ part shoes are indispensable to my happiness.

Avril's backside glory - When she is crawling away from me, her little diaper butt and chubby legs make my heart well up with affection. I usually have to chase her down, scoop her up and kiss her.

My new camera - Dwayne surprised me with this to me for our ninth wedding anniversary. I was perfectly content with my old camera, even if it was covered in finger paint and peanut butter, I didn't even realize how much a new camera would bless me. (Dwayne did, of course. He gives the best gifts.) I take at least eighty pictures a day, so it's been nice to use this sleek little thing instead of my old clunker.

Diet Dr. Pepper - I've been keeping a stash in the fridge and I indulge anytime the day starts to feel long.

Baby pats - That's what we call Avril's way of showing affection. She gives us "baby pats." When her dad picks her up, she will lean into his shoulder and gently pat the sides of his face with her both hands. When I am working at the sink, she'll scoot up next to me like this, lean into my leg and lovingly pat it with both hands. And, of course, I have to stop what I am doing immediately and fuss over her.

Watching my kids play - In the mornings when I don't have to go to work, when we are done with breakfast, the girls play so well together. I just like to sit and watch (and sometimes referee).

These are just a few of my favorite things right now. They cause my heart to well up with thanks to my God.

What about you?

What are some of the little things that bring you great joy?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

As Norah grows more capable and responsible, she's awarded with more chores. Not all of them feel like awards to her, she'll be the first to tell you, but she really enjoys this one.

She gets to fill the watering can herself. (It fits perfectly under the faucet in the bathroom sink). And, then she waters the plants in the flower boxes and pots every morning. (When she thinks I'm not looking, she kisses the pansies and whispers loving things to them. I never let on that I know this because she'd be embarrassed and Norah, technically, isn't supposed to touch the flowers.)

Monday, April 19, 2010

And everything that's new has bravely surfaced
teaching us to breath
What was frozen through is newly purposed
turning all things green
So it is with you and how you make me new
with every season's change
And so it will be
as You are re-creating me
Summer, autumn, winter... spring!

-Listen to the song Every Season by Nichole Nordeman

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Enter to win a subscription to Everyday Food!

I enjoy this magazine so much, I thought I'd give it away: one year's subscription delivered right to your door! Read how to enter to win below.

For your first entry- Leave a recipe for one of your family's favorite week night dinners in a comment box.

For another entry- Tell a friend about the contest. Ask your friend to put your name in their comment box along with their recipe so you can receive credit for their entry.

For another entry- Follow my blog. It'll be unlikely (since I only have nine followers to date), but if you happen to follow my blog already, you'll automatically receive credit for doing so.

Limit three entries per person. The contest will be over in approx. one month (Sunday, May 16) or once I receive approx. one hundred recipes, whichever comes first. Please respect the spirit of the contest and enter a recipe you cook on a regular basis and something your family really enjoys. (Don't just copy and paste a recipe you've never even tasted!) I am hoping to try some of these recipes when this contest is over. Participants can even read the other comments and get some dinner ideas!

Thanks for visiting my blog and good luck everyone!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Avril's a kid who let's you know what she likes... and she likes this flag. She'll hold it in her mouth just like this for an hour while she plays. Try and take it away from her and, well, oh boy, that's another thing about Avril... She let's you know what she doesn't like, too. And, she doesn't like it when we try and take away her flag.

Friday, April 16, 2010

This is a new recipe we have been eating on a regular basis. It's very good. I'd like to make one suggestion, however, that I think makes this dish even better. Cook the bacon until it's crisp, just as the recipe suggests, but remove it before you add the tomatoes. Set the bacon aside and crumble it into bits. Once the dish is finished, sprinkle the bacon on top, along with the Parmesan and parsley. If you leave the bacon in for the duration, as the recipe instructs you to, it will become soft and chewy. I'm not a fan of chewy bacon. But, if you take it out, it remains crisp and you can just mix it into the pasta as you eat it.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Confident Christians used to bug me. I thought they were arrogant, always claiming their "victory in Christ" and whatnot, always walking around with what I thought must be a manufactured virtue, a fake spring in their step, an artificial smile on their face, always using words like "warfare" and "authority" and "overcome." I think I resented them because they didn't seem to have to work as hard at their faith as the rest of us did. They were never worried about pleasing God. They just lived their lives. And, they were also constantly talking about their faith in very abstract terms, their victories over trials that you never actually see them endure. It all sounded so lofty and supernatural. Try to get them to talk about their set quiet time and they just brush you off. They want to talk about "fellowship with the Holy Spirit" and "worship" instead... Bah hum bug.

But, it turns out that I was wrong. (Big surprise, right?) I was mistaking my own doubt for humility, my own ignorance for knowledge. I've come to realize that God isn't now and wasn't ever impressed with my lack of confidence in Him. I had false humility. I thought God was impressed with my hesitance to move forward when I sensed His spirit leading. I was also somehow ignorant to the fact that God is supernatural and the life He's leading me into, therefore, naturally, will have elements that I will not be able to explain.

But, he was long-suffering toward me. However, at this point, He seems to be asking for a return on His investment, so to speak. He's given me years and years full of reasons to believe what He says, plenty of admonitions to stop indulging in unbelief and apathy and plenty of encouragement and evidence of His love to move forward in faith. In fact, I am being commanded to be confident and to "Move!" So, on I go, from less milk to more meat, walking further into this faith of mine.

Now, I find myself constantly meditating on and quoting Scriptures like, "If God be for me, who can be against me?" or "The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?" I sound so obnoxious to myself. But, lately, these verses are more relevant to what I am dealing with spiritually than anything else I read. I see myself becoming one of those Christians I once misunderstood. But, what can I do about it? I have to talk about my faith in abstract terms because nobody can actually see what it is that Dwayne and I have been going through the past several years. It's supernatural. And, unlike most subjects, I haven't been free to just talk about what's happening like it's a bike ride with the kids or a trip to the park on a sunny day. It's the kind of thing I can't take pictures of or even describe in too much detail, otherwise, I might cause confusion and inadvertently give glory and inspire awe toward the enemy who caused the trouble.

But, what I can tell you is what I told God a while back. I told Him that He is free to make me into whatever version of Christian He sees fit. I came to that point of surrender when Dwayne and I were following God towards a measure of freedom that would cause our more traditional friends and family, even our respected spiritual mentors, who also know and love Christ, who also follow Him, to doubt us. Yet, we still followed God. It was the most painful, pride-wrenching experience we have ever been through. But, we assured the Lord that He could make us "liberals" if He chose to, even as that word put a bitter taste in our mouths.

Recently, though, God has been asking if that offer is still on the table. It seems like He is probing to see just how far we are willing to follow. We've taken our Isaac to the top of the mountain. Now will we prepare the sacrifice? We thought He'd be content with the ground we had already conceded, but now His Spirit is moving and so much so that many Christians we love and respect would probably (and properly) label us not only "liberal" but also "charismatic" at this point: the hand raised, heart abandoned kind, not the fainting, running, shouting kind... at least, not yet. (I say that last part in jest).

But, nothing that God is calling us to contradicts His written word as far as His grace has shown us. In fact, His word seems to confirm our every move, enlightening us about all we have been through and where we are going, so what are we to do but follow? The journey we are on is not ours to direct anyway. It never was, in fact. I was just under some grand illusion when I thought that I could be in control of what I believed or that I had God entirely figured out. I never should have been in control or under the assumption that I knew it all, no matter how right I was sure I had it at one point, I was never supposed to tell God what He could (or could not) proceed to teach me about Himself.

He is the one to be leading. We believers are supposed to give Him control of everything, even that thing which we all hold to be most precious: what we believe about God Himself. He is, after all, the expert on this particular topic. Who are we to tell God Almighty what we should think about anything anyway, least of all what we think about Him?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

We had steaks two nights in a row last week, with still two more raw New York strips to do something with. (I had bought too many). The third night, after setting them to marinate in Worchestershire for several hours, we seared them in the skillet as usual, but this time, we sliced 'em, added feta cheese, romaine and salt and pepper to taste. We wrapped everything in a whole wheat tortilla and... Viola! We will definitely do this again, especially this summer, when we, more often, need good meals "on the go."

Monday, April 12, 2010

I love our homeschool curriculum. It doesn't offer a lot of extra activities, like arts and crafts. But, that's okay with me. I'm a no-frills kind of girl. But, what it does suggest is that we practice certain, age-appropriate, practical life skills, like how to pour water from a pitcher or how to fill a bowl with cereal. This really works for us. Why? Because the best time for my five year old to practice pouring milk onto her Frosted Flakes is not right before we have to leave for church on Sunday morning. Murphy's Law says that's when she'll spill it... all over her dress... the only clean one she has at the moment. So, I wanted to suggest this to other moms. If your daughter needs to learn how to better brush her teeth, add it to your school day, even write it on your lesson plans so you don't forget. When she's tired of sitting doing book work, take her to the sink and give her a "lesson." If nights are as crazy at your house as they can be at mine, that also might not be the best time to give a thorough explanation of cavities and fluoride and all the other things that are bound to come up when a curious five year old is seeking ways to stall her bedtime and stay awake just a little longer. That's one of the best things about homeschooling. We don't have to separate learning from life.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The early blossom off a grape hyacinth.

I am gardening again and this year, with more-than-usual gusto. I was forced to take a hiatus last year because Avril was born, so I have been yearning to get back outside and fuss over my flowers. I see spiritual parallels all over the place when I am tending to my garden. I tried to pull a weed that was growing up next to one of my grape hyacinths the other day. I should have waited, I knew, but I hate weeds. Little sucker was gonna pay... But, in trying to pull it, I accidentally cut the blossom off one of my flowers, leaving the weed right where it was to begin with. It made me think of the parable of the wheat and the tares: Matthew 13:24-29 and 36-40.

You can see the weed, the heart-shaped leaves at the base of the plant. It just stayed put. Grrr.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Avril's big enough to ride in the baby seat on the back of my bike now.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Norah picks Avril up now, habitually. We don't actually allow this. We warn. We scold. We threaten. But, then I go and take a picture of it for my blog and really, what does that communicate?! ...I'm becoming such a push over.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

This quick-reference page came in the back of Norah's handwriting book. In fact, it was actually the book's back cover. So, we cut it off and keep it handy during handwriting, of course, but also for math, since Norah is still learning how to correctly form her numbers and both of us often need a reminder on how to properly form them.

We did some of the last pages of Norah's handwriting book first and she learned to write her numbers before her letters. This wasn't my original plan. We started at the beginning of her Zaner- Bloser Manuscript K book and were dutifully going through the program page by page by page, letter by letter, as the book was so neatly designed. This satisfied my inner perfectionist greatly.

But, I began to notice that as Norah was also progressing forward through her math book, the math problems required her to write numbers in the answer blanks, several numbers a day, in fact, and since she hadn't learned to form her numbers properly yet (they were at the back of the K book) and since she was writing her numbers all wrong and doing that kind of thing over and over and over again, I felt like we had to take a detour and learn how to form the numbers 0-9 correctly. Thus we took a detour during handwriting, left the letters at the front of the book and headed toward end of her book so we could learn how to form her numbers. My inner perfectionist was not pleased, but she went along with this anyway.

Once we learned to form numbers, we eventually went back to letters, picking up where we left off and Norah is now more than halfway through her handwriting book. But, this whole process was a little more than frustrating to me. Like I said, I'm a perfectionist. And, just once, I would like to be able to stick to a plan and finish a workbook from front to the back in order!!!

But, this kind of thing, I am learning, is the beauty of homeschooling and what it so significant about it. We make a plan and begin to follow it, but we take detours as often as is necessary. This way, as we go, we actually tailor the program to fit Norah's needs, making it perfect for her, not perfect for her perfection-loving mother.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Just some of the public housing we pass on our way into NYC.

I'd like to confess a thing or two. I am simply fascinated that so many people live this way, as part of "the system." I always stare out the car window with my mouth open like a country bumpkin, just gawking at these buildings. They dominate the landscape for miles leading into the city and must represent hundreds of thousands of people, at least. Every window (or two) could represent an entire family. "Incredible," I usually whisper to myself and then turn and say something similar to Dwayne.

And, somewhat poignantly, these buildings are set off in the distance, surrounded by what seems to be wheat fields. From the highway, we are too far away to see anyone moving around on the ground, so they appear to be totally abandoned. It's an eerie site. My mind always goes to Alas Babylon. (That book will ruin a person for everyday life, by the way. Don't read it if you ever want to be normal again. I can't pass salt in the grocery store without wanting to fill a cart with it.)

Where would these people go if something happened, I wonder. What if the city could no longer sustain them for some awful reason? At least, if the worst happens, we'd have a backyard with a garden and a water source and neighbors with tomato seeds who'd cooperate and help us out.... Mass migrations, I think. Large groups of terribly desperate people heading out of the city on foot toward... where?

Toward where I live. And then I shudder to think. However, a moment later, I am humbled and then I quietly thank God Almighty for his very practical, inherently valuable, often overlooked and taken for granted, real, material blessings to me.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Dwayne had to travel to Pennsylvania for work a few weeks ago. Because of my work schedule, I couldn't tag along this time. He stopped at Shady Maple for a business dinner. It's one of our favorite places to eat, so I was sad to have missed it. But, he brought me back several jars of my favorite apple butter. It's the best apple butter on the planet. Period. I didn't even like apple butter till I tasted it from Shady Maple. It was so good of him to think of me. Don't you think? Anytime I see this apple butter, I hear the tune, "What a man! What a man! What a man! What a mighty good man!" in my head. I have several of these unfortunate melodies stored in my subconscious, left over from my middle school days. But, nonetheless, he is a mighty good man. "Yes he is! Whoop!"

Monday, April 5, 2010

Here are some photos from Easter. The girls woke up to baskets. Avril's had baby books and bath toys. Norah's had toys and candy.

We keep the same Easter baskets and fill them with new gifts every year. It is often more expensive and more inconvenient this way, since I could just pick up a whole basket filled with toys and candy for $10 somewhere. But, I can't stand the idea of buying a new basket every year, not to mention the fact that pre-made baskets are usually filled with cheap toys that will break in a day. Somehow, that seems more wasteful to me.

While we were making breakfast, Norah had to try out the 3-D chalk right away.

Pictures after church.

Our neighbor came over and snapped this one, so we could all be in it.

In the afternoon, I put jelly beans in plastic eggs and hid them all over the yard.

I put one or two jelly beans in each egg, but the golden egg was full of jelly beans. It took Norah forever to find it; I hide it so well.

A few more pictures of our girls before the sun went down.

I feel mighty blessed on days like this.

These girls just delight my soul.

It is the blessing of the LORD that makes a person rich. -Proverbs 10:22