Drink in the Wonder

The smallest things in life can squeeze your heart the most.

Ordinary things take on a new light when seen through eyes of gratitude.

Observe the little things and watch them turn into something amazing.

Savor the moments. Sit and drink it in. Treasure today.

Sept (2)
See life through the eyes of a child. Drink in the wonder.
Did you know a worm can become a candy cane?
Enjoy the laughter, the chattering long stories, and even the arguing.
They are only this age once, it won’t last forever.

Sept (11)
Take the time to sit with family, listen to them, love them, make the most of the days with them. Overlook their faults and shortcomings, you have some too, by the way. Just love them because they are your people.

Sept (14)

Bless someone.
A man behind me in line paid for my pizza one night. It left me sputtering thank yous and “I’ll pass it on.” He smiled. I smiled. Another man smiled. The clerk was just happy to take his money since I had come up lacking.
Now it’s my turn to be a blessing to someone else and see them smile.

Sept (16)

Take a photo of the morning chaos that is breakfast, packing lunches, pulling on clothes, scrubbing faces and teeth, pushing and willing them out the door in peace.
One day it will be but a memory.

Sept (10)

Breathe in the smell of the flower passed from one woman’s garden to the next, carefully treasured flowers that speak of life and love.
Stop and enjoy the leaves turning a beautiful hue, the green becoming golden, and the whisper of the voice of the wind. It is life.

Sept (15)

Raise your hands to Jesus. Whisper thank you for all your treasures, the people in your life, the moments you’ve been gifted today.

_ _ _ _

Today as we watch and wait with bated breath, a little boy is slipping from his Mama’s arms into the arms of Jesus. Whisper a prayer for their hurting hearts and ask Jesus to hold them close.

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Running the Race

You know when you have a friend drop by, invited or not, a good rule of thumb is to never apologize for how the house looks. Don’t mention the toys all over the floor, if you have kids, she knows why they are there. Don’t mention the dirty windows, the spider webs or the overflowing countertop or she might actually notice them.

The same applies to a blog, I should just scribble out a post and not mention how long it’s been or give 1,000 reasons for my 2-month absence. Actually, I can’t really give a reason other then life happens. I think the stage of life I am in is just crazy-never-ending-busy-full of all the things. Everything from school functions, to running kids hither and yon, to family weddings to cooking, baking and cleaning.

Life feels like a rat race. I can’t stop the turning of the wheel,
but I can either be a happy rat or a crabby one about the race.

4-19 (4)
What happens when one holds a fizzing birthday bath bomb a little too long?

My life revolves around school right now. Tieing up all the end of the year things, thinking about field trips, honor rolls, and all that good stuff. The kids are getting antsy to be done also, ready to roll into summer.

And then there are thoughts about the summer. Those thoughts frighten me sometimes and then I think, “Nope, not gonna be like other years. We are going to all get up early, schedule things, work without complaining, whip the place into shape, do the laundry, mow the lawn and then sit on the beach and sip…”
Are you laughing?
Well, you should be because I’m sure it won’t fall into place quite like that since it never happened other years when I planned the very same thing.

What are your summer plans?

4-19 (8)
When the ice cream shack opens for the summer… we are there!

Do you have memories of doing things like this? When I was a kid we had a little ice cream spot in town we would visit occasionally. We would stand in the parking lot with ice cream cones dripping on the pavement, licking as fast as we could. Sometimes Wednesday nights we would take the long way home from church and stop for some ice cream.

My kids seem to think this should be an every afternoon occasion. I have vetoed them more often than not but secretly would like to eat ice cream every afternoon too.

 

Mr. Inventor has been working hard. He has a slingshot and wanted to make a holster for it. Cardboard and a lot of duck tape later he had built what he needed.
The other night I heard him talking about this fishing pole. He kept collecting things to finish the project and with a little bit of help from his Dad, he finished it and is now ready for a trip to the creek!
I’m thinking of buying him stock in the Duck Tape company for his birthday.

4-19 (2)

Once upon a time, we went on a trip for Spring break and a grand time was had by all. We spent a few days in TN with Eric’s family, eating, swimming, playing games, relaxing, driving go-carts, and enjoying life. Time spent together is not something to be taken for granted.

4-19 (6)

Rocky, the infamous dog, continues to cause his share of trouble around the place. Contrary to what one may think when viewing this photo, I do not like actually like him so very well. However, I did agree to take him for a “walk” one day by means of me riding and him running as fast as he could.

4-19 (7)

I am currently teaching the youth girls Sunday school class. I told them recently that when I was voted in, I wasn’t altogether thrilled to be doing this. I had not been teaching very many Sundays when I remembered a conversation I had had with God a month or so before. It included a few things about wanting to invest more time and effort in His Word. I am not doubting at all that He took that request seriously and handed me a group of girls to teach each Sunday morning.

The girls have been choosing the subjects we study and challenging me greatly in the process. I always hold my breath just a bit when one starts to describe a subject to discuss and more often than not I am wincing before they are done. That cliché saying about getting your toes stepped on, well yeah, it is real and it really hurts.

4-19 (5)

One subject we talked about that really hit home with me was kindness. Now I don’t like to think of myself as unkind, but does anyone? While none of us are truly unkind, how much effort do we put forth to practice genuine and true kindness to others? Do we go the second and third mile? Do we bend over backward in an effort to be kind to someone, especially the special ones who are like sandpaper to us?

The Greek root for kindness, as used in the New Testament, means uprightness or benevolence and describes the ability to act for the welfare of those taxing our patience.

Kindness draws others toward us, changes people’s hearts, heals broken relationships and makes people feel loved and respected.

You are never too important to be kind to people.
There is no excuse for not being kind.

Kindness is a skill. We can all learn to be kind. Kindness needs practice. Just as a tree doesn’t strengthen its roots the night of the storm, you can’t develop kindness overnight; you’ll need to practice it in the smallest experiences. With practice you’ll become instinctively kind; kindness will become effortless and will no longer require active thought.

 Kindness is a choice.
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

Musings

I stare at this blank page like I stare at the vast empty months that will fill 2019. I know, I know, we have already finished the 987 days of January and are moving along and leaving the words ‘New Year’ behind.
A lot of you love to start a new year, set up goals for the future, and dream of all it will hold. I have realized lately that a new year scares me. I don’t like surprises. at all. The thought alone makes me twitchy. I want to know what is coming, I like to plan, plot and organize things. To look at 12 empty months is too much. I have to do 1 week or 1 month at a time to hold off the panic of the unknown.
I wonder sometimes, was I always this way or have the last few years changed me? Or does this simply come with increasing age? I am not sure. The older I get the more I try to figure myself out and the more I try, the more frustrated I get with the subject I am figuring out!
________________________________________________

Looking back, the holidays were hard months. With God’s grace, we survived. Christmas especially triggers many emotions and we end up enduring December instead of enjoying it.
When Christmas finally arrives, we enjoy time together immensely, but there is always the niggling thought in the back of our minds that he is missing. Along with that thought, we are extremely grateful for every minute we spend together and try not to take it for granted.

Jan (1)

Many December evenings when the dusk started turning dark, I would flip the light switch up and stare at the star hanging on the porch. It was gifted in memory of Tristan and every year I hang it again in his memory. Christmas was his favorite.

Jan (3)
Christmas day was mild and beautiful. We had fun hanging out at the cabin.

Jan (4)

When the sky glows red with the setting sun, you will find us outside watching.

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

Jan (2)

“Christmas is the best but it’s not because of presents. It’s because of the birth of Jesus. Then see that cross by the star on my tree? That is for Jesus too.”
-Kennedy

Jan (8)

Jan (6)

Philippians 4:14 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
John 15:5 for without me, you can do nothing.
2 Cor. 12:9 My grace is sufficient for you.

  When you face deep waters or deal with a thorn in the flesh, God has two ways to work in the situation. He can either remove the thorn or strengthen your shoulders.

The grace of God is sufficient to help you carry the load he has called you to bear. No matter what you face, no matter what waters God calls you to walk through, you can. Not on your own, sheer willpower will get you nowhere. Recognize your own insufficiency and draw from His. Only He gives the needed strength and sufficient grace.

“Great tribulation brings out the great strength of God. If you never feel inward conflicts and sinking of soul, you do not know much of the upholding power of God; but if you go down, down, into the depths of soul-anguish till the deep threatens to shut her mouth upon you, and then the Lord rides upon a cherub and does fly, yea, rides upon the wings of the wind and delivers your soul, and catches you away to the third heaven of delight, then you perceive the majesty of divine grace. Oh, there must be the weakness of man, felt, recognized, and mourned over, or else the strength of the Son of God will never be perfected in us.” (Spurgeon)

My grace is sufficient for you.
My: Jesus
Grace: God’s favor and love in action
Is: right now. not later. now.
Sufficient: plentiful. more than enough. more than we can imagine.
for you: Not just Paul writing this. but you. me. everyone.

A Hunting Saga

And so it was in the eleventh month of the year,
when the trees of the field had lost their leaves
and the harvest was gathered and stored,
a sudden illness of fever overtook mankind once more.
Lo, many were the bows, guns, and knives gathered
and much scheming of men did abound.

And all the swift-footed creatures of the forest
quieted themselves and turned their heads.
Then, lifting their noses they did sniff the air
and swiftly run for refuge and safety
from the cunning hunters that stalked them.

From generation to generation this saga continued,
men of old teaching children of youth,
line upon line, precept upon precept,
recounting tales of old and skills of new,
all for the cause of hunting the swift-footed deer.

And so it continued in the tribe of Eric, son of Dan,
for behold, the father of the tribe had been taught
this skill also and was well versed in the ways of the wild.

Now it was on the morning of the first day,
that he did send messages unto his brothers,
for they too possessed knowledge and skills in this quest,
gathered from the teachings of their father.
And they went out and from dawn to dusk
did hunt and stalk their prey, making much to-do,
but in the end, all efforts were to no avail.
Though they were much grieved in their spirits
by this failure that had come to pass,
many were the stories thereof told.

Now, the children of the tribe of Eric, son of Dan,
listened in amazement and did cry aloud saying,
“Father, let it be so that we also may join you.
For as sure as the night is dark and the day is long,
we will be able to remain silent
and retain our body heat while sitting in the forest
awaiting the arrival of a swift-footed deer.”

And all the while the mother of the tribe
wondered in bewilderment that you should desire
such a thing when the comforts of home were so sweet.

So it was on the morning of the third day,
the mother of the tribe of Eric, son of Dan,
did arise and prepared food for her household
before they should depart for their classes of learning.
For just as the dawn broke the eastern sky,
there was much hustling, bustling, and stirring about
amongst the children of the tribe.

And so it was that when his morning cup
of black brew was empty, the father of the tribe arose
and quietly left the cup upon the counter to be cleaned.
And standing for a moment did gaze out of the window,
and suddenly he began to call in quiet, frantic tones,
“Behold! There standeth within range,
a fatted doe, awaiting me!
Hide thyself from the windows
and speak with whispered words!”

Swiftly much ripping and racing about did occur,
but the mother of tribe merely raised
her eyebrows as she went about her business,
for she had heard this story before.

And as she called threats to her children to hurry,
there came a resounding, “BOOM!” from a window overhead.
And lo, how her heart did lurch in her chest
as she gasped in amazement from the sound.
Then much to her surprise, she heard a hiss from the stairs,
“The doe hath dropped, but another standeth nearby.
Bring now more ammo and that my daughter
may also harvest one!”

Now I tell you of a truth, that in all the world,
eye hath not seen nor ear heard
the flurrying scurry of all wild things moving at once
as did occur in the moments at hand.
For such a time as this, not one soul
was about to be left behind and all gathered in the bedroom
to behold the sight before their very eyes.

The father of the tribe, as his father before him,
instructed the daughter with care of sighting and aiming.
Tense words were whispered and many movements later,
we closed our ears and jerked to the thundering boom.
Much laughter and merriment did follow
as the children of the tribe cheered for two in one morning,
and none less than from the bedroom window.

But the mother of the tribe not caring as much as her offspring,
was not to be deterred from her mission
and hustled and bustled them around, calling out threats,
and behold, they were only eight minutes late to their classes.

And so it was in the fall of this year,
another story was played out, to be told and retold
for generations to come of the father and daughter
who stalked and took their prey from the comforts of home,
just as the mother of the tribe knew was the best place to be.

R hunts

A Masterpiece

You are a masterpiece.
You are His work of art,
His treasure, His prized possession.

With care, The Potter works the clay
and begins a transformation of you.
Tenderly shaping and forming,
you are molded into His image.
He sculpts and masterfully designs
and with intricate beauty,
crafts you into a piece for His glory.

Along with the spinning of the wheel,
there is scoring, trimming and carving.
The ribbing and scraping of His hand
bring sorrow, pain, and tears.
He is shaping and stretching you
far beyond your comfort zone,
all to be molded for His glory.

As the roar of fiery kiln surrounds you
and you feel the heat against your skin,
your heart cries out with pain,
“Jesus, it hurts! It is too much.”
But The Potter knows that raw clay
will crack and soon crumble under pressure
unless it is heated by the fire.
When it feels overwhelming and your tears fall,
know that He is near, He feels it too,
but with His loving hand
is conditioning you to be used for His glory.

As He works, He perfects your place in this world,
your family, your life, your story.
Each refining moment, every point in time,
show the marks of his gentle touch.
He fine tunes and carves away the rough edges,
He sands, smooths, and polishes,
bringing your shape to its ultimate beauty
to bring honor and glory to Him.

Throughout your life, He will continue to refine,
burnish and polish your character into his Image.
You are an ongoing work of art,
never complete to just hang on a wall.
You are a beautiful instrument meant for use,
fit for the glory of the One who created you.

You are perfectly you, the only you,
just the you He meant you to be.

You are a masterpiece.
You are His work of art,
His treasure, His prized possession.

potter's hands

October, Teenagers, and more

Does life ever slow down? I keep thinking one of these days it will. So far, my hopes and dreams have been dashed every week. Does it keep getting worse as you get older? If so, I’m gonna need a seatbelt for this roller coaster in about 5 years.

10-18 (2)

A reoccurring comment I’m hearing lately, “You need to post more often.” Really? I tend to think that my ramblings are of the boring variety and not worth typing out. My brain feels a bit rattled the last while.

____________________

10-18 (1)

Do you have a church family? Do you like your church family? You should find and invest in one that you really like. It is worth it.
We are blessed to be part of a group of people who enjoy each other, get along well and love spending time together. We went church camping in September and I was reminded again of how much I like these people. There is always someone available to visit with, play a game, sit around the fire, have deep conversations, or a great hearty laugh. Age is usually not an issue. There are listening ears, hearts that care, and a genuine concern for each person. We are a family, not perfect people, only perfected in Jesus.

__________________________

10-18 (3)

October used to be one of my favorite months. It has been less of a favorite in the last few years, but it has also taught me simple lessons.

You will often find the bluest sky and the fluffiest white clouds in October. So often the sun will pass behind these clouds and be hidden for a time. When I see this I am often reminded that although the sun is hidden during a season of life, I know it is still shining.

The leaves start turning red and golden yellow. They are facing the worst point in their short lives, but yet these leaves shine with beauty, pointing people to their creator.

10-18 (4)

I woke early on the morning of October 7, my mind going back three years and I allowed myself to remember. I soon crawled out of bed and took my coffee to the porch. Around seven, Dakota came out wrapped in a blanket and we talked about Tris. I was amazed at all the things he remembered. A lot of things he really does remember, but some he has “memories” of because he has heard the stories so often.

10-18 (5)

Fill your children’s minds with memories!

________________________

10-18 (6)
Squirrel!

Last week we traipsed out into the woods and took a few photos of these two.
They crisscross between laughing friends and snapping enemies, essentially making them frenemies.

I tell them to forgive me, I really don’t know what I’m doing with them because I’ve never had teenagers before, much less two at a time.

10-18 (8)

This one just turned 13.
Oh, you remember yesterday when she was in her terrible twos,
pulling all kinds of stunts and scaring me half the time.
Yeah, me too!

_____________________

Shoot me your organization tips.
I need to go through every single room in the house and purge. I am not a hoarder, but neither am I minimalist and I think it would do me good to err on the side of less.

_______________________

Brokenness is God’s requirement for maximum usefulness.

These are the Days

And then there was this one May we barely kept our heads above water but in the end, we did. Or I think we managed since we still have one more day to go.

I am always so ready for May. I imagine school functions, school ending, relaxed schedules, and warmth, but the craziness is almost more than can be handled at some points.

May 18 (1)

These are the days when:

  • There are appointments for this, that, the next and everything.
  • School consumes your every waking moment and then thankfully it is over.
  • You celebrate Mother’s day in a whirl and then again the next Sunday.
  • You sleep in every morning all summer. ha. Only in your dreams! 
  • You settle more fights then you eat bites of food in a day.
  • Your child smashes his big toe and you earn a medical degree caring for him.

May 18 (3)

  • Your family comes and you have fun together for three days.
  • You unintentionally recreate a Norman Rockwell painting at the supper table.
  • Everyone needs something. all the time.
  • Food, food, food is what’s on everyone’s mind. all the time.
  • You remember your serious diet while shoving a bite of cake into your mouth. too bad.

May 18 (2)

  • You send a child to the basement for french fries and she comes back with no fries but looking like a 99-year-old Grandma! (permission was not granted to share this photo)
  • You make a batch of protein balls and in a few hours, they have almost all disappeared.
  • You drill certain small persons on the etiquette of burping or farting and then laughing about it.
  • You write “Call the dentist” on the weekly to-do list for an endless amount of weeks.
  • You take a pair of boots away from Rocky the dog 98 times a day only to find out they were gifted to him that morning by a worker over at the shop! !!

May 18 (4)

  • You spend quality time involving food with your friends and youth group.
  • You go to the library and in so doing create quiet time and work for yourself. They will all sit and read for hours, but when you want them to get up and work….
  • You come home from town and write something on your grocery list for next week.
  • You set the grocery bags on the floor and they eat the food right out of them.
  • The strawberries you dreamed of all winter are ripe!

May 18 (5)

  • You stand beside Lake Erie and watch the sunset and wonder what it looks like from heaven’s side.
  • You look through pictures on Memorial day and remember.
  • You celebrate your husband’s birthday and are glad he was born.
  • You sit around a fire with family.

May 18 (7)

  • You mention something coffee to your daughter and it appears.
  • You stay up late even when you are dreadfully tired, just because the house is quiet.
  • The next day you consider going to bed early that night. but you don’t.
  • After approximately 325 days with paint-samples splashed about on the bedroom walls and no plans of picking up the brush, you finally paint it.

May 18 (6)

  • And then there was the weekend when you walked into your husband’s family reunion and 3 people said… Noooo, not “Hi, Shannon, how are you?” Nor did they say, “Hey Shannon, good to see you again!” Neither was it, “Shannon! So glad you’re here!” But rather their welcome greeting was, “Hey, how is Rocky?”
    After a momentary mental freeze at that question, the reply was, “The dog in question is lucky to be alive and doing well considering the fact that the kids left the front door open for 2.5 seconds and he ripped in, grabbed a pillow off the couch and went hauling out and around the house before he was caught!”
  • That is how Rocky the dog is.

These are the days!
They tell me I’ll wish for these days someday.