Friday, June 29, 2007

The Way I Feel

My expressive children, Alyssa and Hunter can read and act out these emotions for hours. Alyssa loves to figure out the names of the words that express her feelings.

Hunter just loves to make funny faces.

At Chuck E. Cheese the other night, he rode the car with Chuck E. that takes your picture. He held a silly face the entire ride just so his picture would be hilarious. What a clown!

All of my children love to make each other laugh. They practice these faces then show each other. They make up words then tell each other. They can play for hours talking a nonsense language.

Hunter does this with his friends at church also.

He loves to make cool noises too. When he sees a train he doesn't yell, "Train!" He makes the chugga chugga sound followed by a train whistle. Boys!

Faces, expressions, noises.

This book has taught us how to put words to our emotions.

During rain, snow, whatever weather keeps you inside, this book has given us hours and hours of enjoyment, creativity and expression.

Gotta love it!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

My Pet Daughter

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother's womb. I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day. Psalm 139:13-16 The Message

I have three pets.

Two dogs and a daughter.

A daughter who thinks she should be an animal.

She can pretend to be any type of animal from a snake to an elephant with great detail, enthusiasm and completeness.

Her most fervent prayer for the last several months has been that God would turn her into an animal. She actually prays that she would no longer be human!

I know some of you have children who love animals, want to be veterinarians, even some who love animals so much they are vegetarians. This is very impressive to our family. We like our meat!

My daughter loves animals so much, she wants to be one.

She quit wearing pretty bows in her hair because, "Lemurs don't wear bows." No, Alyssa would never be a circus monkey that dresses up and wears bows. She wants to be a lemur who lives in the forest with other types of monkeys and wild animals. She doesn't even want to be a girls lemur, but a boy lemur.

She knows that God made her a girl. She knows that she cannot become a lemur but in her words, "It for sure can't happen without a prayer."

This summer my girl has been a beaver. She slept in a laundry basket stuffed with pillows for several weeks. She crawled everywhere and we were to refer to her as "Pet Beaver." As long as I referred to her as my pet beaver she was quite happy and amiable.

While we were at the swimming pool she crawled around (don't gross out) eating her fruit snacks off the floor. She sat in my lap and licked my hands the whole time. When it was time to go I asked "Puppy Alyssa" to get out and dry off. She refused her towel saying, "Puppies don't use towels." She then proceeded to get down on all fours and shake off like a dog. This was really cute.

Her latest animal obsession has been a rat. She is still sleeping in the laundry basket but now under that pillow is junk. I'm talking happy meal toys, trash, old pencils, etc. When I cleaned out her basket and asked her what all that stuff was, she replied, "Mom, I'm a rat and that's my nest." She then continued to explain how rats collect anything they can find, usually trash, to make a nest out of so they can have a home in which to live.

If she were to be an animal she would be a funny one. The other night when we were at Fajita Willy's the waitress brought us the steaming, hissing, sizzling fajitas. Alyssa exclaimed over the steam, "Wow! Those cows are really dead!" The girl knows her animals!

When it was time to eat eggs, which she doesn't like that much, she just pretended to be a snake that eats turtle eggs so she would like to eat eggs. She, of course, knew the name of the snake and where it was found and that it likes turtle eggs. I can't remember the name of the snake, don't know how to pronounce it and can't believe that my child is so knowledgeable about animals. Really this knowledge seems innate. I seriously don't know this stuff! She has a great imagination! I mean who else would cry real tears over the fact that they will always be human and never be an animal? Who else?

We are learning some lessons in God's sovereignty. We are learning that He does not make mistakes. We are learning that He has an awesome purpose for this very human little girl. We are learning to give thanks for the things we don't understand. Even the things that make us human!

I love my pet daughter!

Monday, June 25, 2007

My Big Baby Girl Goes Bye-bye!

My baby is at summer camp this week. She's old enough to go away for a week with her peers to make those summer time memories!

Yesterday Julia got on a great big bus with a suitcase bigger than she is and went a long ways away to Tulsa, Oklahoma for a week. She is attending camp at Dry Gulch USA with her cousin's and Gran's church

She's there with her cousin, Jack. I can't believe they're old enough and that they want to go. They're excited about spending a week away from home. sniff sniff. They're excited about the fun, activities and life with their peers. sniff sniff. I am excited about them experiencing for the first time the way that God can grab us when we're away from everyday life and immersed in an atmosphere where God can speak to us in profound, life-changing, forever ways.

Please join me in praying that God will touch them in a mighty life-impacting way that He always seems to do at camp. I pray that amidst tubing on the lake, riding the water slides and jumping on the huge water trampoline that God would capture their little hearts in a great big way! I pray they would come home changed for Christ more aware of their great need for Him and more aware of His great love for them.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Alleluia Ranch

"The Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 Yeehaw!!

We just finished a wonderful week on the VBS ranch.

It was tons of fun. We sang songs, crafted crafts, played games and learned about Jesus.

Julia was my stylish cowgirl singer and rockstar diva in her camouflage and flashy western attire.

Alyssa was my special and loving Brumby horse when she wasn't licking my hand like a cuddly puppy.

Hunter my big helper and friendly, dramatic and excited student as I taught him and 13 of his four-year-old friends.

Palmer was my usual precious, easygoing baby withstanding long hours in the Grace nursery and many loving college-aged hands.

Friday night we had a Grace family hoedown where we rode horses, ate range food and laughed as Scooter and Willy told VBS families about God's amazing grace.

I love Grace's Vacation Bible School every year but this year was extra special. Hunter is beginning to ask lots of questions about what Jesus did for him on the cross and what it means to go to heaven. Andrew, the girls and I are praying daily for his salvation and relationship with his precious Savior.

Vacation Bible School at Alleluia Ranch was a wonderful week full of fun and family memories.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

In Focus

Here Andrew and I are taking a much needed, much enjoyed rest in Galveston. A weekend investment in the much fun and so very relaxing. We are very appreciative to Andrew's parents for keeping all four kids, entertaining them with tennis, swimming, golf, food, fun and activities galore and for allowing us to get away...Thanks Cris and Linda. Thanks for your sacrifice of time and love. We appreciate it and are so grateful for your presence in our lives. We love you!
It was time to reenergize, refocus and reconnect. I was so reminded of the steadiness of God in our frantic pace and anagonizing waits of life. Just as the waves c0me in and go out without stopping, our God is the same yesterday, today and forever a steady presence in our lives, a steady voice in our hearts.

"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

To fully rely on god, we must not allow ourselves to rely on anyone or anything all. Not even a little bit.

For God's grace to be sufficient to overcome the thorns in the flesh, we must let it be so. We must allow God's grace to become sufficient. If we are trying to overcome anything on our own, we are not relying on God or His grace.

For the last month or so my photos have been blurry. I thought my really cool, expensive, new digital camera was breaking. Too much time in the sun, too many little hands and too much time in a cluttered purse/diaper bag are all things that can break a nice camera.

My life is filled with forgetting to bring things in from the car, lots of sometimes grabby little hands and a really big, full, disorganized and extremely cluttered purse/diaper bag.

This last picture of all four kids is super poor quality. I must've taken 25 pictures trying to get a good one. I moved the kids from room to room, made them pretend to be statues and adjusted the lighting many, many times.

Then I actually read the whole owners' manual and looked up information on the Internet to troubleshoot problems with my model camera while taking the time to reprogram the entire thing reading slowly and deliberately through each menu and setting on my deluxe, way complicated, over-my-head digital camera.

After all this, I concluded that my camera was broken.

I was really bummed.

Totally bummed.

My camera is really cool.

Andrew comes home, looks at my blog and tells me what a horrible photo that is of the kids.

I break the bad news...the camera is broken.

He asks me if I tried cleaning the lens first.

Good new is that is the lens was smudgy. Bad news is that I totally wasted a ton of time researching a dirty lens.

That got me to thinking. Sometimes I feel yucky and icky. I lose my temper. I am dissatisfied with my life. It's hard for me to serve my family in love. How could anybody want to be around me during these times? I don't even like to be around me sometimes.

During these times I can sulk accepting it as a "bad mood," I can pray for God to empower me and change me, then I can read the Bible for answers in how to overcome these sinful habits and attitudes with pure ones.

If my heart is smudgy, my eyes are foggy and my attitude is dimmed, I can read God's Word all day and never be clearly focused on my purpose.

Just like my camera.

I can accept the poor quality pictures as the best, research how to fix it to no avail and finally resign myself to its brokenness...or I can just carefully keep my lens, the place from where I view my life, clean and safe.

I pray each day that I will not accept the brokenness in my life as a reality. I pray that God's Word would penetrate my heart and bring revelation to the areas in my heart and life that need forever changing. I pray that I would never settle for less than God would have for me as the quality of my life and relationships.

I pray I will be fully reliant on the power of the Holy Spirit to live my life. I pray I will not try to fix things on my own with my own foolish ways. I pray I will always see God's Word as a living connection to a living God and not just a book of instructions and rules to a better life. I pray will always pray before acting on my own.

May I always fully rely on God.

May I learn how to see clearly with an eternal perspective until the veil is lifted from my eyes.

"Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."
1 Corinthians 13:12

Friday, June 01, 2007

Errand Day

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

Yesterday was errand day. My motto was, "Get 'r done."

My chant was, "Errands are fun once they're done!"

We went to the courthouse, the post office, lunch, the dentist, HEB, and the gym.

It wasn't a perfect day...But it almost was. It was certainly a day for rejoicing and having fun and being together while enjoying one another.

Alyssa set the tone for the day by changing the errand chant to, "Today is errand day. Hip hip hooray!"

My children are so great. They responded to correction and responded to discipline when it was needed.

Mostly, they obeyed, stayed together and got along.

It was a long day with a few fun rewards. We got ice cream at McDonald's, toys at the dentist, gummy worms at HEB and played with Alex and Michael at the gym.

Palmer was a trooper because he got no nap and not enough cold milk.

Hunter survived his first trip to the dentist wonderfully. He was brave and big and even a little excited!

Alyssa was a trooper because she had to sit in the waiting room of the dentist office for almost two hours waiting on her siblings. As long as I remembered she was my pet beaver and addressed her as such she was the perfect pet beaver.

Julia was the biggest helper to me. She set a great example even when she wanted independence, she held my hand. She pushed a stroller around HEB while Palmer took a cat nap, following the cart. She went through the store alone to get items we forgot.

We even saw the new Mrs. Emily Heinrich at the grocery store.

We had a few mishaps and we had several adventures. Like when we went into the wrong building downtown searching for the district county clerk. And, when we accidentally dropped a bottle of fingernail polish in HEB and we got all shiny and glittery and sticky.

When it was all over we came home, laid on the couch, watched Over the Hedge, ate hotdogs and popcorn and praised God for a great day!

"Today is errand day. Hip hip hooray!"