Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bits: Remember, Ask

Oh brother, last Monday I lost it.

I was tired from weeks of packing and travel, maybe.  Probably so, I was more tired of the ongoing rounds of, "Hey, stop it!  It's mine!  Give it back!  Maaaaaammmmma!" followed by tears or screeches or worse. 

It makes me tired just thinking about it. 

Later that evening Joe got home in time for dinner and I guess one little look at my face was enough to merit a slow, "So, how was your day?"  I told him it was hard... and then.

Wouldn't you know my sweet girls start giggling and twirling and dancing with each other?

To which Daddy gently responds, "Well, hopefully you had some moments like this too?"  I started thinking about it and sadly shook my head with a, "No, not too many I'm afraid."

I went and sat on the couch and watched them for a while, smiles lighting up their faces as they held hands and landed in big happy heaps upon the floor.  I called them for dinner and while we encouraged them to eat their BBQ chicken, corn, and rice I was floored.  The tone of day had completely changed.

We got them on to bed and I landed in a heap myself on the couch with the last chapters of another Francis Chan great, "The Forgotten God."  I read for a bit when his words hit me hard, hot and square in the face:

Would you be willing to take thirty seconds right now just to dwell on the fact that God is in you?  Astonished?  This is not a distant, loose connection.  This is the Spirit of God choosing you and me to be His dwelling place.  I might wake up on a particular day feeling physically tired or stressed or impatient, and humanly speaking, those things would probably define my day.  But the reality is that I am indwelt by the Holy Spirit.   And because of this reality, stress and tiredness and impatience don't have to define my day.  If you have received by faith the promise of the Holy Spirit, you are also His temple.  As you drive your children to school.  As you go to work every day.  As you embark on a new, unknown season.  As you go to school.  As you face tragedy or pain.  As you buy groceries.  As you give of yourself in relationships.  As you walk the dog.  As you make decisions.  As you live your life, the Holy Spirit is dwelling in you.

There is more, but in it all I remembered my Monday.  I remembered that after a day of mostly going about it on my own, forgetting what I have been given, doing it in my own strength-- I was spent.  But that afternoon just before Joe got home, I finally-- finally-- uttered the words, "God, will You please help us today?  We are really struggling and we need more of You!"

Therein was the dancing, the giggling, the joy.  It was there all along, actually.  You would think I would remember this by now, but it's the simple that can so often elude me-- especially when I am caught up in the day-to-day.

All I had to do was remember, was ask.

:: This very cool student brought this most gorgeous gift to our Maddie Girl.
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:: I scrounged around until I uncovered two other terra cotta pots for H and A, and now the front porch gives off a new happy hello, even if that hello has gotten a little droopy in the scorching summer sun.
:: Then Joe brought ME flowers just because!  If I was rich and just had to spend something frivilous on myself every day, my house would be covered in an eclectic mix of vases filled with blooms.  They could be free wildflowers from a field for all I care, but so far I haven't found unlimited access to such a place. Photobucket
 :: A little change up or two and I did get into some nest feathering.  Amazing how $2 tea towels and hot glued fringe can inspire me.
:: Plus feathering leads to inviting over friends we haven't seen in a while. Sometimes, after a dinner party, I like to let the mess linger for a bit.  The upturned napkins, empty glasses and bread baskets, wrinkled table cloth... they all speak to having had your house full of people and conversation and, hopefully, lots of good laughs.
On that note, Maddie's decorations may or may not be still be up under the deck

Other things we're liking this week in no particular order:

:: Paying library fines to enjoy borrowed friends in porch forts
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 Next time someone tell the bees there are NOT invited, though

:: Banana pudding for Family Night
:: Accessorizing foreground; Lego family construction background
:: Playing "Miss Nelson"-  the book that I fondly remember being the hot item to check out from the school library long about second grade
:: Breaking in the "kindergarten desk" {stolen, along with much of Maddie's party decor, from Nana's basement}
:: Squeezing in a "Mama Date" with Maddie-- as much as I love our whole family together, there is something so special every now and then to spend one-on-one time with each of the girls.  I always have enough ears and hands for one undivided hour or so.
New birthday purse holding lip gloss, a soft wallet, and a few of her favorite little people.  Hope and Leese, you're up next!

:: An unexpected jammy wearing, lazy Saturday
:: Sonic happy hour
3:58 pm, baby 

:: Using up the last of our annual museum membership
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:: This girl, filling out the middle of our HAM quite nicely
 A: I hit my knee!
Me: On what?
A: Not on the papuss (purpose).

A: I haf'a stinky poopy.
Me: Well, that's okay.  We all do sometimes.
A: Yeah. {laughing} I do stinky ones when I angy (angry).

A: {putting a skirt on under her gown} I'm sooooo fanswey! (fancy)
Fanswey bedtime twirling

Was our week perfect, even after the remembering and the asking?  Nah.  Was it perfectly imperfect, though? 

 Probably so.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bits of Four

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 So big. Yet next year I will probably look at these and think, "Oh, so small."
 This past week we did things like: Swung with grandparents, got blown with air compressors from uncles {who also, it turns out, build wooden pirate ships upon request}, got scooped up by aunts, met aunties with super adorable visiting nieces at the park...
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...and celebrated that three year-old who begrudgingly had my permission to go on and turn four. As is tradition Maddie got to choose how to spend the day of her birth and, since we had already upped the ante with a quick visit to NC, all she wanted was to play hopscotch and in some water. I threw in cinnamon rolls for breakfast and her favorite noodles with white sauce for lunch. We usually don’t do more than one party, but all that cook-out chocolate cake amazingness is simply Nana's doing.  The cordless phone in Madd's hand?  Why Daddy singing with us, of course.

Her day left us pretty full.

It was a big week and with that I think we’ve squeezed just about every traveling bit of excitement out of the month of July. By the time we got back home and had Maddie’s little party with girlfriends, I’d say we tapped the last drop. Now that there are some low key days at home stretched out in front of us, I am actually excited about feathering our nest again.

But first, our girl who loves flowers and digging and decorating and twirling and all things feminine. She had herself a garden party and invited just a few local friends-- two littles from ballet, one from Bible School, and two we met just after we moved here. All of them so sweet and precious, including a most favorite Liberty student and another family with three older girls who are special to us as well.

Our little sprite and her bits of four:

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Blackberry chip mini muffins, ham and cheese bites,  red potato salad, Peter Rabbit's carrots, chocolate and sprinkled strawberries, grapes, garden pasta salad, dilly deviled eggs, little Cottontails (Cheddar Bunnies), and fairy flower dirt cakes for dessert.:)

One of my favorite parts of party day is when the dust settles and we are back to the five of us, investigating new gifts and reliving memories. This year I got to watch our butterflies and fairies twirl and run and play as I straightened up around them. Then it was an early bedtime for three worn out, partying travelers.
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Madison Elise, 

You are loved and cherished. You are both hilarious and sensitive, beautiful and smart, full of emotion and life. You have such a unique way of thinking about things and expressing yourself. You are quick to feel sorry if you are in the wrong and quicker still to give hugs and kisses. We have loved your heart since the moment you were put into our arms. As evidence of this at four, when Nana gave you a beautiful mermaid doll you promptly named her "Lovely to My Heart." This is so you, sweet one.

This past year you loved ballet, reading, dresses or skirts, sidewalk chalk, and playing with play doh or Legos or Polly Pockets. Your art skills took off, you conquered potty training, and you have recently decided you really want to read all by yourself. You have also overcome many health challenges so, by God’s grace, you are strong and healthy. Hoping this is your best year yet! 

Lovely to Our Hearts,
 Daddy and Mama 

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