I know that my blogging has come to a screeching halt as of late, but here are the kids pictures for this year. My how Summer flew away!
Today is my sweet Evely’s 8th birthday. Only another Mom can appreciate that on days like these we have to take a journey back to the day they were born. It may only be a moment long, but those memories of babies being brought into the world to live a life all of their own are momentous; not to ever be forgotten. Maybe it’s because we had a hand in carrying them inside, safe and sound until they could thrive on their own. We understand that humbly if it weren’t for God Himself, using our body, could this baby ever be. That is an awesome responsibility and experience that makes a Mom: Mom. I’m thankful to be her Mom and as she grows and changes it’s fun to be friends too.
Here are a few pictures from her little party we had with some close friends yesterday. It was fun and full of laughs and squeals
Evely is the ultimate in creative. She can come up with all kinds of things to make. She loves to write and draw and probably her favorite thing in the whole world is a new journal or notebook. She is funny and has such a great personality. One thing I especially love about her is that she is thankful and she is flexible. Maybe being a third kid in the family has made her laid back and flexible, but it’s such a great asset to her character. She loves to swing and even on a snow day she will get out that snow suit and go swing on the wooden swing hanging in our tree. The best thing about the swing is that while she swings, she SINGS…at the top of her lungs. Someday I will really miss that.
“On Thanksgiving Day we acknowledge our dependence. ~William Jennings Bryan
Today I am making my Grandma Batt’s Butterhorn rolls. (I have the recipe for this amazing food phenom posted under edible crumbs.) Whenever I pull out her mixing bowls and dip the rich soft flour with her flour scoop, I go back. Back to days on a farm in Northern Missouri where I spent days and hours of my childhood. The little white farmhouse was nothing to speak of and by today’s standards would probably be an embarrassment. But to a young girl it was a place of joy and light. It was full of love and laughter at the hands and lips of my dear grandmother. She struggled with so many health issues and cancer most of all. However, when I visited there were no cross words, depressed attitudes or self in her. It was me she wanted to hear about. Me she touched and teased. Me she taught to cook and can. Me she taught to sew and play marbles. Me she allowed to bring countless wild kittens into her kitchen. Me she taught to sit with legs crossed and hands in lap as we sat in church on Sunday morning.
When I look back on her simple life, lived and died in that simple farmhouse, I am awed at her attitude. Her seeming contentment. I know that as a granddaughter I didn’t know all about her, only what she shared. I don’t know her dreams and hopes or her disappointments, and I’m sure there were many. What I did know was her strong faith in a God who sustained her. Her attitude that welcomed all and the joy she could bring with her presence. That doesn’t just happen. That comes from gratitude and acknowledging her dependence on a God who can do all things for us. He can bring contentment and joy to a life filled with heartache and loss. He can make us stronger through the trials. He can cause us to look outside ourselves and to touch a child’s life and make them seem all that is important.
So today as I roll out the butterhorns I will be thankful. For small beginnings. For my humble home and my health. For food on the table and for met needs. For precious children and ornery husband that I love and respect. For salvation from my great sins by One who died for me. He sat aside himself to make way for me live in His eternal home. All of it comes from a Hand that gives with Good Pleasure. All comes from One named Jesus that I must acknowledge my dependence on.
I thought I better post some fun Fall pics before Thanksgiving arrives and then the Christmas season is in full swing. We haven’t reigned in the Christmas spirit around here. Julian has his Christmas lights strung up around his room, Christmas carols are the only music being played and plans for the yearly traditions have been fully discussed. I have to say that this year, I too am in the mood for decorations, baking and celebrating the birth of our wonderful savior.
The last two years I endured. After losing Mom I thought I would never be able to face this season of memory and hope with joy or excitement. Everything we did was surrounded with the nostalgia of a grand lady that made it all happen in a memorable and beautiful way. I thank the Lord that time does the great exchange: it doesn’t take away pain or sadness, but it does trade hurt and pain for memories and wonderful flashes of the past and all those days held. Good sweet memories that make me smile and yes, sometimes shed a random tear.
BUT! This year is different. I can’t wait for this upcoming season and almost want Thanksgiving to hurry up. So I must make myself slow down to be very thankful for the abundance that God has given me and my family.
Here are some Fall memories:
I was surprised when Julian came running out of the house in full Cross Country gear for Halloween. He debated on dressing up for Halloween this year and decided he was too old for it. Last minute he decided to participate and I was glad. Jaden was a bank robber and his candy bag was a “money bag” with a big dollar sign. Evely was a princess and wore her dress that she had for Jonathan and Joy’s wedding.
Tom went as Patrick! We found this adult sized costume at a garage sale and I dared him to get it for Light the Night. That is our church’s trunk or treat that we participate in. Needless to say, Patrick was a huge hit with the kids…and a lot of adults too.
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
Last week I came zooming out of my garage and almost ran over the UPS man. Poor guy, I think he had a premonition that a distracted Mom would be flying out of the garage. As he laughed and waved at me as I nearly missed him carrying his large Kohls box, I about had heart failure. I rolled my window down to profusely apologize and he just laughed and said “I made sure to park in the cul-de-sac because I saw your garage door up and figured you would be leaving.”. I puzzled over the large box in his hands wondering what I had ordered and forgot about. Then it regiestered “hmmm…it’s my birthday this week and maybe somebody is sending me something.” The UPS man kindly plunked the box on the front seat of my van and off I went to run errands. Driving around with that box was great! I love anticipation and the wonder of what is in the box. I kept reading the tag on the front that it was sent to me and not the kids or dear hubby.
When I got home, I carefully opened the box to find this lovely thing in it!
I knew the minute I saw this fine invention that it was from my brother, Mike. Mike is one of those special people that know exactly the right gift that will speak volumes of love and care to the person receiving it. It’s his “gift”, no pun intended. So now each morning I come into my kitchen to my lovely coffee maker all dressed up in fine yellow of happiness and she is ready to perk me the best cup of coffee. She does it in a quick jiffy too! So thanks, Mike!! I LOVE my coffee maker and her name is Joy. (A coffee brewer of this caliber has to have a name)
ON a side note: Aren’t you just enjoying this gorgeous Fall? With the hot weather of the summer, I am surprised at the beauty of the foliage and really enjoying it. I had to take a picture this morning of the tree in our front yard. We planted this as a sapling as a memory of a baby that we lost over 13 years ago. It has grown to this height now and this year is the most beautiful it has ever been! Even the kids keep talking about our tree. I will be sad when it decides it’s time to drop those stained glass leaves and ready itself for the cold season ahead, but I’m enjoying it today.
This weekend we celebrated Jaden’s 9th big mile marker of his life. Boy, does time fly by! I love looking back over the years and pictures of Jaden growth and change. Throughout all of his life he has a constant: his smile and his awesome set of lungs! We called him Mr. Smiles as a baby and he still has that great grin and hilarious humor that we love. His set of lungs is his trade mark. He came out of the womb hurting our ears with that loud cry and even today he can out talk, out scream, out whisper anyone in a building. A few months ago the boys were looking at the meanings of their names and Julian cracked up at Jaden’s. His name means “God has heard”. Julian laughed and said “you were named correctly! Even God knows you are loud and can hear you!”
Jaden has such a great imagination and spends hours on his lego creations. He has a mind that never stops and can remember dates and times better than the rest of us. He asks the most interesting questions and has a sweet tooth that can out-eat his Daddy’s. I just love this little guy!
He had a few friends over for his special day and here are some highlights. It was a nerf war party!
One of the things I totally love about my family is that we laugh a LOT. I think maybe it’s because our humble beginnings were founded on laughter. When I met Tom over 24 years ago (yes, we just celebrated our 21st anniversary a couple weeks ago!) we were drawn together in English 101 and he would make me hysterical over his jokes and humor. I truly did marry one of the funniest people I have ever met and he still prides himself on being able to come up with a new joke that will get me rolling and crying.
So throughout the days our family spends a lot of time laughing together and recently the kids have learned to play jokes on one another. Have you ever played that game where you latch onto some random and silly thing and begin to hide it? It may take a few days of even weeks but it eventually gets found and then it’s your turn to hide it somewhere. It’s usually Tom and I that do this game but now we have a whole family game going.
Over the Summer Tom picked up a rubber snake at a garage sale for the one purpose of hiding it in the kids sleeping bags on our camping trips. The whole 25 cents it cost us was too good a deal to pass up. Somehow the snake came to light and has been found in different places around the house. Well, it was my turn today!!
For some reason, this was still startling! I’m looking forward to seeing who gets in the shower first tomorrow, because they are gonna have a nice Sneaky surprise.
Peaches is Jaden’s new Panda Hamster. She has quite the personality: she is clean, doesn’t burrow, sleeps on her back, is a piglet when it comes to food and just a ham to watch. She came to our home a few weeks ago after we had a proper burial of Evely’s hamster in the unmarked Pet Cemetery under the lilac bush. Evely went to the pet store to pick out a new dwarf syrian hamster named Cocoa and Peaches made it home with us too.
One thing about the Peach is she is a large hamster and when she gets on her wheel she can get that thing walking across the cage and bouncing against the sides…all. night. long. So the other night Jaden woke up to her whirring and banging, sleepily opened her cage, fixed the wheel and went back to bed. There was a step missing there if you didn’t notice. Step 3: Shut the cage. So the next morning I woke up Jaden and saw the open cage and no Peaches. A lone tell tale dropping was found right beside the open vent leading to the ductwork. Shoot!
After three days of listening, searching, waiting, coaxing with treats, vacuum hoses run into the vents smeared with peanut butter and the like, we were giving up. She was nowhere to be found and we were afraid she was dead. Tom called that third afternoon to tell me that we were going to have to do something drastic before the Peaches started to stink. I prayed and prayed knowing that the Lord who “cares about the birds of the air” also knows where a rogue mouse is. I was doing laundry and I heard it! Scratching and scratching in the duct work by the furnace. It was her and I was ready to fetch her out of there; except there was no way to get into the furnace that I could see. Everything was sealed up. After telling my Dad about the hammy, he showed up with some tools determined to rescue Peaches from sudden doom. We were standing there looking at how in the world we would get into the furnace when I saw it: a pink nose sticking from a tiny hole in the furnace. The hole had a rubber gasket around it and she was nibbling away trying to get the rubber off. We stretched it as best we could but to no avail. The hamster was too big to fit through the hole. Finally we figured we could pull the gasket off and when we did, here she came. Pulling, stretching and prying her body from the tiny hole! I almost cried. Like watching a birth. So here she is, back in her cage happy and safe. Mama’s happy she is safe too. God really does answer prayer.
So this year I’m doing something new by becoming a leader in AWANA on Wednesday nights. Last week as I was working with the four boys I have in small group I had two big laughs. The boys were working on John 3:16 which says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
This is how it was quoted to me:
Boy 1: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him will have liberty and justice for all.”
Me: Hahahahahahaha. ROTFL. (Rolling on the Floor laughing)
Boy 2: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him will have everlasting laugh.
Me: Laugh, you mean “life”?
Boy 2: No, it’s “laugh”…the everlasting “laugh”.
I hadn’t thought of heaven before as the everlasting laugh, but maybe he has a point. We know all our tears will be wiped away from our eyes and there will be eternal life and joy everlasting. I’m sure we WILL laugh! I think Awana is going to be interesting.
It’s Back to School time again. Feels like I just posted pics from last year and here we are again. When I look at their pictures from last year to this one I can see such huge changes in each of my kids. Gone are the Primary School days and now we’ve entered into Junior High….yes, Junior High! Can’t quite get used to that one coming out of my mouth yet.
I vowed to myself as I dropped the last ones off this morning to be “in each moment”. To really try to savor each one because I know I will blink and it will be Christmas; I will turn around Summer will be here again. I am excited for what is to come for each of my brood. God has such a good purpose and plan for each of their lives and I love watching it unfold.