Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A few twigs, some dirt, and a rock...

Memories from last Easter...

As I listened to the Palm Sunday sermon of the torture and pain that was endured on that cross so long ago, I glanced next to me to see my girl quietly drawing a pretty picture of a cross.  She even drew a scalloped brown border around it, framing that cross, so simple and pure.  But isn't that what we often do with the cross?  We gaze upon it sitting so high up on our steeples.  We wear it on necklaces and place it in our homes as decorations.  But do we really believe in it?

Ann Voskamp reminds me, "When Jesus gave thanks, He took the bread before His crucifixion, before the Cross and the thorned Crown, and gave thanks for that. Gave thanks for that which symbolized His own breaking. Gave thanks for that which tasted of death, because He knew, He trusted, that even the hardest, the incomprehensible, was for ultimate good."

When have I truly given thanks for the cross?

When was the last time I was broken over the cross?

How long has it been since I sobbed over the pain He endured... for me?

If I claim to be a Christ-follower, why doesn't my life reflect Him?

Galatians 2:20 states, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

My greatest desire this week and continuing on throughout the year is for my girls to see the power of the cross.  To claim the name of Jesus unashamed...  To see those around them, through His eyes...  To give thanks in all things...

Here are a few ideas we hope to use in our family this week in preparation for Easter...

May you all have a blessed Easter, celebrating our risen Lord!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My Last Confessions...

On the first day of spring, I will conclude the last of my 33 confessions of a 33 year old mom.  Many were quite random or just plain weird, but that's me.  Take it or leave it.  

23.  Vacuuming can be one of the most satisfying tasks,        especially after having it my to-do list for a week.
24.  I have a bad habit of finding a song to almost any word my family says.  

25.  You know the new mom advice to sleep when the baby sleeps... I still take that advice quite seriously.  My youngest will be 3 next week.

26.  Instead of hitting the snooze button once as I did at 23, I now hit it at least 5 times every morning.    

27.  I have become more directionally challenged with each year of my life.

28.  One of my greatest dreams is to be on the Amazing Race with my amazing husband (who is not directionally challenged.)

29.  The smell of Vick's Vapor Rub can cause childhood memories of boarding school to come flooding back.  

30.  I admit that I am a pack rat with the desire for simplicity.

31.  I am planner who is easily let down by my own expectations.

32.  Crying can come easily to me... (chick-flicks, a sad book, talking in front of a crowd, my own imagination.)

33.  I am wholeheartedly in love with my family!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Confessions Part 2...

11.  iPhones & iPads are mommy-sanity-savers that can be easily overused...

12.  I've restarted the dryer three times in one day... the same load.  (Yes, I know how much electricity it uses).

13.  I've restarted the dryer without anything in it.  (I know...)

14.  I sometimes use the bathroom when it's really not necessary, sooooo I can browse on Pinterest.

15.  I can't exercise more than 15 minutes without having a bathroom break.  (or jump on the trampoline...)

16.  No matter what form of exercise I do, birthing hips are here to stay.

17.  I detest exercising!

18.  Reading a "real" book is now a luxury that puts me to sleep. (sigh...)

19.  There is no such thing as a flattering mirror in a Goodwill dressing room.

20.  I have discovered at least a half a dozen grey hairs around my forehead, of which I have promptly plucked (and changed my hair style.)

21.  Don't tell... but I put my make-up on in my van more than I do at home.  (I'm really trying to change this confession!)

22.  Whoever invented car-shaped shopping buggies and "little" buggies could not possibly have children... (or they must have incredible muscles and the patience of a saint.)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Confessions of a 33 year old mom...

I have this weird thing for numbers.  I have always loved the numbers 3, 7, 13, 27, 33.  Some are for strange reasons.   #3 & #33 were my favorite Charlotte Hornets' numbers.  #13 was my volleyball jersey number.  So needless to say, I had high hopes for my 33rd birthday, not the actual day (especially since I was sick as a dog), but I'm truly believing that it's going to be a great year.  So in honor of my 33rd year, I'm going to give you 33 confessions on the 13th day of the 3rd month of this fabulous year.... (I know... I'm weird.)

  1. I obviously have an obsession for numbers.  My husband and I were married in the year 2000 to help us always remember how many years we've been married.  We were also married at 1:23 pm on that wonderful day in June.  No one ever forgot it.
  2. Green smoothies may look weird, but I love how they energize me!
  3. Dark chocolate is the only chocolate worth eating (unless it's white chocolate in a cookie with cranberries.)
  4. Dried kale is a new addiction of mine in which I cannot indulge in because my husband says the house smells like stinky feet when I bake it.  (Thank you, Mama, for supplying me with some here and there!)
  5. I love coffee!!!  But I'm trying to SLOWLY wean myself off of it with Teeccino (a caffeine free herbal coffee).
  6. Makisushi (veggie rolls) would be my first choice of a lunch treat. My mouth is watering as I type this...
  7. Chick-fil-a chicken will always smell good...
  8. However, cutting raw chicken now nauseates me.
  9. The last box of Annie's Mac-n-cheese can look like little nuggets of gold after an exhausting morning.
  10. The rest of the house may look like a pig sty, but if my kitchen is clean, I am at peace.
  11. But... I will, on crazy days, leave the lunch dishes to be cleaned later, in favor of an afternoon nap.

I know that most of these confessions revolve around food, so I promise that the next eleven will be more random.  Confessions of a 33 year old mom to be continued...

Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Change in Plans again and again and again...

Day 1

Everyone needs a break sometimes.  Because my husband is in the ministry and my career of homeschooling and motherhood is full-time... 24/7, it's nice to get away and refocus on our family (obviously, motherhood came with me, but it was the fun side of being a mommy!)  So, Tuesday morning, we packed our van, totally surprised our girls, and took off for a mini vacation to Shenandoah Valley.  We arrived a little after 7, did the usual... unpack, eat supper, swam in the big bathtub (the goggly girls, that is...), and sent a few lady bugs to their watery grave.  

Day 2

We knew that snow was a possibility, but 6 inches!!!  We awoke to a winter wonderland and the wind howling outside our windows.  A few hours later, two snowmen sit freezing outside our door and the dryer runs hard, full of wet clothes from a hike through the woods, snow angels included.

I am so thankful for this last wonderful snow for us!  Marty wasn't able to enjoy the last snow we had with our girls due to prior commitments, but our surprise Virginia snow made up for it.  He and Chloe did the majority of exploring through the woods.  Special memories made!

My littlest two came inside early where we enjoyed our hot chocolate, Tales of Peter Rabbit, and secret note making for mommy.  Oh be still, my heart!

One thing I haven't mentioned is our spontaneous bouts of electricity, or should I say, lack of it.  This wasn't a big deal at first considering our housing was equipped with a gas fireplace.  But as the day moved on, the thoughts of no hot showers, no cooking, no lights (besides flashlights and fireplace), no phones, not to mention we'd all have to sleep in the living room, became less and less appealing.  We knew that Monopoly and puzzles would not hold out for long, so we inquired about our options.  The changes began...  

With over one million homes out of electricity and no guarantee that it would come on for the rest of our stay, we were given the option of packing up and transferring to Williamsburg, where there was power and no snow!    Even the two hour drive was an adventure!  Driving through snow, dodging trees laying on the highway, pelted by salt from a snow scraper, and trying to find a gas station with less than 50 cars in line (due to no electricity) is just a glimpse of our journey.  We arrived in Williamsburg after dark and attempted to check into our new lodging.  We were told they were full with the exception of their presidential suites (3 bedrooms!!!), but in order to get there, we would have to shuttle our girls and all our belongings (a van full!) on a little golf cart (because of construction in the parking lot).  This would have been perfect if it had not been raining (windy, freezing, hard rain!).  Change #2... They then sent us down the road to another hotel, smaller rooms, but much drier and actually closer to Colonial Williamsburg.

Day 3

I forgot to mention that we had originally planned to visit Monticello while staying outside of Charlottesville on Day 2 (the day it snowed...).  Obviously, this was another change, but instead, we stayed within walking distance of another historical landmark, Colonial Williamsburg!

Williamsburg has many memories for us.  Our honeymoon and ten year anniversary were both spent in Williamsburg.  Sweet times!  After the three mile trek around the colonial sights, we rested and headed out again in search for ice cream and a local park.  Ice cream (Naomi's request) was a success, but the park was a little more challenging.  The first park we found was a mud pit from all the rain the night before.  A local to the area then gave us directions to an "incredible" park.  All excited, we drove 15 minutes to discover the park was closed to construction.  What is with all the construction!!  Change of plans again...

My brilliant husband "Googled" some more, found another park, and remembered the free ferry rides from Jamestown.  While one napped through the park excursion, the other two girls and I enjoyed some fresh air, swinging and climbing before heading out for our ferry ride.


Naomi finally woke up on our return ferry ride.  Needless to say, we enjoyed most of the ride from the comforts of our car.

Day 4 - Good bye, Williamsburg!

After checking out of our rooms, I wanted one last family picture, so we drove back to Colonial Williamsburg and had our picture taken with a character of colonial times.  We couldn't leave without taking another trip to the bakery for some delicious cookies, of course.

Last Thoughts...

This was a vacation like no other for us.  Yet, our one and only expectation for the week was to get away and be together as a family.  We accomplished that and so much more!  
  • By not have much electricity our first day, television and internet were not an option, causing us to focus on other activities to do with our girls. 
  • I was determined to put away my phone more this week, and once again see my girls through the eye of my camera (my real camera!)  I was not disappointed.  
  • So often, on vacation, my time with the Lord seems to get put on the back burner.  But this week, I was able to make it a priority and what a blessing that was!  
  • Even with all the changes, we were able to give thanks.  "So then as long as thanks is possible... Joy is always possible." - Ann Voskamp