The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. Psalm 16:6

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dear Mother

My meager contribution to the Mother Letter Project

Dear Mother,

I remember the moment well. It is one of those memories that stirs passionate feelings that swirl together: fear, thrill, anxiety, helplessness. You see, I found out that I was to join the league of motherhood when I was just three measly months out of college. Unmarried. Twenty-two years old. Surely this was going to make things much, much harder than I had anticipated. This was not part of my well-thought-out, meticulously- created master plan.

Ah, but how could I know that it was part of His Master Plan? The only plan worth anything.

You see, dear mother, it was through my grappling with the complexities of bringing life into this world that He breathed new life into me. He performed divine surgery to remove my heart of stone, and replaced it with a heart of flesh and a new spirit. How like God to take that which is lowly and shamed and shower it with grace and mercy. How like Him to make new where all was dead and decaying.

That was twelve years ago, mother. Twelve years. And one husband. And five children. And four homes. And tears and joy and grief and laughter and sin and victory.

Maybe it is because my new spiritual life was born out of the uncertainty of bringing new physical life into the world that I so closely associate my children with my spiritual journey. I see them as the divinely laid stepping stones that pave my winding sanctification road. The many daily opportunities to love them and serve them lay behind and before. There are patches where the stones lay smooth and are easily traversed. And there are other stretches where the going is rough and sharp, the terrain painful to get through. It is amidst these patches that my clumsy, sinful feet stumble and I fall, my pride scraped raw.

Praise God for that.

For these are the times that the dross is consumed and the gold is refined. These are the painful experiences that make me more like Christ. That my selfish pride is painfully removed by His loving Father-hands. Praise God for His grace.

There will be days, dear mother, in which you think you're the greatest of all sinners.
And then there will be days that you know you are.

But be of good cheer. For it is in your weakness, and mine, that His mighty power becomes so very evident. There will be times, dear mother, when you will fail spectacularly. But more likely, your failures will be subtle and underwhelming. A harsh word. A selfish thought. A lack of love. A dearth of compassion. And each of these moments, when considered thoughtfully, and repented of properly, will be beacons pointing the way to God's grace. For it is all around you, dear mother. For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.

Grace upon grace upon grace upon grace upon grace...

And that is where we meet Him. In our home amidst the din of child-life. When we struggle with our flesh that tells us we deserve "me time" and more respect than these little fun-god-worshiping children can dish up. When we lay our flesh aside and take up our cross. When we demonstrate a hint of the servant heart displayed by Christ, our Savior. When we, by His grace and with His power, reflect the light and life of Christ. It is then, dear mother, that we have drawn closer. Closer to the One who lives within us. Closer to our Goal.

Draw close to Him. And know His Word. And know Him intimately in your prayer closet. And shine His light into the dark, dusty corners of your children. And pray that He would set forth a pattern of grace upon grace in their lives. That He might perform the life-saving surgery they so desperately need this very day.

Much love in Christ,

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Can You Say, "Yummy?"

Two weeks ago, Gustav and I were joined by his brother Eric and sister-in-law Lisa at a fantastic restaurant here in L.A. called Osteria Mozza. Mario Batali, of Iron Chef fame, is one of the owners/chefs of the restaurant. Can I just say...this was perhaps the greatest meal I have ever eaten in my life! Up until now, my favorite meal was at a lovely, quaint little restaurant in Edgartown on Martha's Vinyard. But I think this culinary experience surpassed it!

First off, the atmosphere was great...fresh and fun on the Pizzaria Mozza side and elegant and refined on the Osteria Mozza side. The menu was outrageous! There were some of the most interesting things I've ever seen: pigs trotter, tripe, wild boar, sea urchin, oxtail, calves tongue, and calves brain. Um, this was not the Chili's menu we were usd to seeing!

We decided to begin with antipasti, each choosing one, taking a few bites, and then passing to the left. This was how we did the entire meal, and was it fun! I got to try the most incredible ricotta and Bufala mozzarella I've ever tasted. It just melted when it hit your tongue. Their homemade bread was out of this world, and the bottle of wine selected by my knowledgable brother-in-law was extraordinary. I decided this was my opportunity to try these exotic things I'd never had before, so I chose the calves tongue plate. It was tasty! I was also able to try some delicious octopus. I was in heaven. And we hadn't even gotten past the appetizers!

Next up was the Primi course. More selections by the four Hoyers at the table produced Orecchiette, Gnocchi with wild boar ragu', Tagliatelle with oxtail ragu', and linguine with raw sea urchin. I loved all of this, except the sea urchin. Really strange consistency! But Heather, you can tell Nathaniel that Mr. Hoyer has actually eaten wild boar for real!! :-)

I chose duck for the Secondi course, which was rather foolish, because I was so full at this point, and duck so heavy, I was only able to take a few bites. But I did try my brother-in-law's quail which was divine.

We left "fat and happy" as the Hoyer boys like to say. Which was good, because it took us 2 hours to get home. Nobody told us that driving through Hollywood on Halloween night was a lesson in futility. Who knew that grown people by the tens of thousands paraded through the Hollywood streets at 11PM? Who knew that they would close down streets to allow them the freedom to move around? Who knew that? Well, apparently us rookies did not know that. It was a very interesting way for my Colorado in-laws to see our neck of the woods!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

God Has Established

"Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves." Romans 13:1-2

I am thrilled to throw my support behind President-Elect Obama today. I have been thinking about this all day, and I really am. Not because I agree with him on the majority of his policies, but because he is God's man for the job. And God is sovereign and has a purpose for everything. May we, as Christians, set ourselves apart by respectfully submitting to the authority established by God.

I praise Him for another day of breath.

I praise Him that I have seen the first black man elected president of the US.

I praise Him for the privilege of living in this country where we are wealthy not only in the freedoms we possess, but also in the abundance of provision from His hand.

And I praise Him that I can wake up on the day after an ugly election season, where my man lost, and still know that He, the Creator of the Universe, is the One who "rules forever by His power, his eyes watch the nations..." Psalm 66:7

To God be the glory, great things He hath done...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wordless Wednesday


I agree with Randy Alcorn in every way in the following article. Please take the time to read this post on his blog. It is long, but necessary for everyone to think this issue through carefully and with consideration.

I'm Not Voting for a Man...

Thanks, Marji, for sending the link. I found myself teary reading this, because 12 years ago I was faced with a 'choice.' Unmarried, 2 months out of college, about to move to a different state to start a new job...

Praise God for His hand in my life.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Little of This, A Little of That

Here are the Hoyer girlies showing off the face painting skills of the volunteers at the Fairmont Fair on Saturday. We all had a wonderful (hot!) time. The AWANA program at Grace Community Church sponsors the Fairmont Fair every fall (term used loosely here in SoCal). Tickets are 20 cents each and there are tons of old fashioned booths with fun games. A dunking booth, bounce houses, obstacle course, ring toss, and super-cheap food make it a blast for everyone. (To give you an idea of how cheap the food is, we all ate for under $12!)

Kurt spent almost the whole time we were there in the bounce house. Does he look like he's having fun or what?
My children were so excited to be able to walk around with their friends and without Mom and Dad! Here are the girls enjoying some nachos with their buddies Paige and Kassidy.
I never managed to get Nicholas to stop long enough to take his picture. But, needless to say, he had a great time with his friends Austin and Luke. Even Gabriel got to walk around with his big buddy Vance for a while. Thanks, Vance!

On another note, I have decided to adopt a fall frame of mind even if it does not feel like it at all. It has been so hot here (in the 90's) every day! So, I've been turning down the AC and making hot cocoa for everyone. Looks like fall, right? This afternoon I am going to make some pumpkin bread. Maybe I'll close the shades and light one of my fall-scented candles :-)
Gustav's brother and his family are in our neck of the woods this week. We can't wait to spend the day with the cousins (ages 15, 13, 10, 8) at Disneyland on Thursday!

Our cat, poor thing, is having a little, um, procedure done today.

We have a meeting with the architectual committee tomorrow night to see if we can get our lanscaping plan approved. Gotta love HOA's.

I will, God-willing, complete painting the kitchen, family room, and hall areas today. This has taken me forever! I will be thrilled when it is finally done.

Homeschooling is going well this year. Gabriel is learning to read quite well, Lillian is trying to wrap her brain around long division, Gretchen is a champ at Latin translation, and Nicholas is enjoying taking a DVD lecture course on the Early Middle Ages. Lest we forget Kurt, he is trying to master escaping from the house, running away from Mama, destroying all buildings and contraptions designed by his siblings, and jamming his beloved Thomas DVD's into the DVD player. :-)

Life is good.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


We are all terminal, you know. As in dying. All of us. Life for all has that one common thread. The death toll is always 100%.

And yet we are so often taken by surprise, caught off-guard by death and by those who are dying. It was one of those months for me. Watching in horror as a smoldering commuter train, just miles from my living room, with sides and roof peeled back like a banana, hides the bodies of the unsuspecting. Those who were unsuspecting that this was their last day of life...last kisses, last phone calls, last words, last breaths. Taken aback by flood waters rising after the swirling Ike came through and left a deluge which tore asunder, drowned, and swept away those who stayed. Caught off guard by a phone call in which frightened father explains what the doctors found: cancer in his seven year old boy. Or the mother of four, two years my junior, fighting cervical cancer and wondering if life is worth this staggering effort and pain. Stopped in horror as I watch ravenous fires eat up everything in their path. Moved to tears by my boy-man, racked with sobs over his dead dog, wondering if he was happy while living, or feeling abandoned while dying.

And I think to myself: we are all dying.

We are all marching on the road to death. I may reach my destination in 40 years, or 4 years, or 4 days. But never fear, I will reach that destination. As will you. And the commuter next to you on the road, and your boss, and your husband, and your children.

And lest we forget why we are all moving methodically toward our final breath: SIN. That's it. One small three letter word easily sounded out by my little beginning reader. SIN. That concept that is shunned in our politically correct, can't-we-all-just-get-along, toleration-dependent society. The unpopular word that makes us feel somehow less than we deserve. Not less than we are, my friend, just less than we think we are.

You see, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23


Another one of those easy-peasy words to read. But, ah, the significance of that one little trio of letters. None of us is outside that group. We are all the same. We are all sinners. Stained with the same consuming disease. All.

Ever had a prideful thought? How about a selfish one? Looked at someone with lust in your heart? Spoken a harsh word? Had an unkind thought? Been lazy?

Yep. Me, too.

We all fall short of the standard to which we should desire. The glory of God. The perfect, sovereign, omnipotent, righteous God who holds the reigns of our days in His hands. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Matthew 10:29-30

In so acknowledging our lowly state before a holy and perfect God, we are forced to make a decision. Or, at the very least, acknowledge that there is a decision to be made. An either-or. A yes or no. Black or white. No shades of gray here, folks. Acknowledge that we need a Savior, who can take our deserved punishment for us, and in so doing, allow us to stand perfectly clean before the holy throne. Or brush it off as the insanity of the weak-minded, those without the mental capacity to think for themselves. One may choose the wide path which leads to destruction, or the narrow path which leads to life. Two options. One choice.

For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14

And, friend, there may not be a tomorrow in which to make this choice.

Tomorrow it may be you who unsuspectingly takes your last breath, makes your last phone call, hugs your children for the last time. It may be me.

When my numbered days on this spinning ball draw to their predetermined end, will it matter if the Dow ended up or down? Will I care if I have a fixed-rate or an adjustable-rate loan? Will it matter how well-read I am, or how smart my kids are, or how well loved I am by others?

I think you know the answer to that.

Naked a man comes from his mother's womb,
and as he comes, so he departs.
He takes nothing from his labor
that he can carry in his hand.” Ecclesiastes 5:15

It all stays. None of it accompanies us into eternity. Only us, coming before the Creator of the Universe. He is not impressed with net-worth. Or self-worth. For He alone is worthy to be praised. Jesus will judge. And we will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He judges rightly. How will you be judged?

There is your choice.

From one terminal patient to another...

what will you choose?

Sunday, September 28, 2008


My sweet sister-in-Christ, Kim, posed a request in the comments section for more homeschooling-related posts. So, this one's for her. (Just so you know, when I say "you" in the following post I'm talking the collective "you" - all 15 people who read my blog, not just you, Kim :-)

I always second-guess myself when it comes to posting about our homeschooling days. Here are my reasons:

*I don't ever want anyone to think I have it "all together" because I don't. It is very easy (as you can see by the plethora of homeschool websites and blogs) to write about how you intend to homeschool. It is quite a different story, with a houseful of sinful individuals, to implement said plans. As long as everyone acknowledges that my days never go exactly as I plan, and sometimes don't resemble the plan whatsoever, we can proceed :-)
*Also, God has given me five unique individuals to parent the best I can. The way I teach them can, and probably should, be at least a little different from the way you teach your unique individuals. I won't compare my kids to yours and vice-versa. This can be excruciatingly difficult in the homeschooling world, but necessary.
*Lastly, my oldest is only in the 6th grade, so I am certainly not a veteran at this. I so enjoy the encouragement and wisdom I receive from those who have run the full race and finished on their feet!

OK, caveats aside, I will now regale you with our newest, and perhaps most beloved, change. For years I have planned "Fun Fridays." You know, saving art, music, projects & nature study and having a delightful and relaxing Friday to really soak up all of the wonderful beauty and culture that makes an individual "well-rounded." I use that term loosely, because if you ask 10 people what a well-rounded person looks like you'd probably get 10 different iterations. But nonetheless, I wanted a day in the week reserved for the fun stuff. And what better way to end a hard week than with the fun stuff? Here's the problem I was having. Mama can be just an itty-bitty tired come Friday, and she may no longer think those things so important as they seemed on Sunday afternoon when she was planning, thereby letting them slide. In other words, Fun Fridays were not happening.

Enter new idea. Why not do all the fun stuff on Mondays when we're fresh? Let's call it Funday!

So this is what we now do, and boy, what a dunce I am for not doing this sooner! We still begin our days the same as any other: family breakfast at 6:30, devotions with Daddy, personal Bible reading and chores done by 7:45. Then we do our daily Memory Page (which I will expound on in a later post) and practice our instruments. By 9:00 or so we are ready for the fun stuff. Here is what I have scheduled for tomorrow:

  • Mozart unit study - reading and listening
  • election unit study - I'm not sure if this is more for my kiddos or me! The electoral college is not easy to grasp!
  • letter writing - pick a friend, any friend
  • Diagramming - OK, so we are all geeks and actually look forward to this!
  • picture study - up this week: Snap the Whip by Winslow Homer; oil on canvas, 1872. We use A Short History of Art to get some background on the artist and the time he/she lived.
  • music lessons - At least for the time being we have a teacher coming who teaches Nicholas piano, Gretchen viola, and Lillian violin.
  • Scripture memory - We work on this every day but spend more time on Mondays. We are currently memorizing Genesis 1 as a family.
  • Hymn study - we are currently memorizing My Jesus, I Love Thee
  • Recitation - My children have memorized over 40 poems using IEW's Developing Linguistic Patterns Through Poetry Memorization Weekly recitation is a fun way to hone in our recitation skills and practice what we have learned.
  • Nature study - take a walk and record something in your nature notebook
  • History - OK, I know that's not really an extra, but we like it a lot, so we do it on Fundays.
  • Lots and Lots and Lots of Reading - We are currently reading some Andersen Fairy Tales. My kids are learning that Disney has kind of distorted the whole fairy tale concept :-)
  • History projects and Science experiments - tomorrow we'll be doing a Byzantine Mosaic from Story of the World Volume 2.
  • Proverbs Copy Book - Each of the older children has a fancy bound sketch book that they are copying the Book of Proverbs into, about 4-5 verses a week.
  • Personal endeavors - My kids like making movies together. Lillian loves to bake. Gretchen likes to lock herself in a room to read. Nicholas LOVES to draw. Gabriel likes to talk to anyone who will listen. Kurt likes to escape and destroy. Fundays allow plenty of time to follow our interests :-)
If all of that gets completed in a timely way with out grumbling and complaining, everybody gets a turn on the X-Box. Life is good.

My hope is to constantly be shifting what we do so that our Fundays never become dry and boring. I hope to spend some time doing some fun geography units, maybe add in journal writing, I don't know - whatever strikes our fancy.

That's one of the definite perks of homeschooling that I love so much!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I've Found My Ticket!

Now this is one ticket I can firmly throw my support behind. I mean, how many times has he saved my hometown? Surely, he's the best choice for the country! Just the way he can clear those L.A. streets of traffic whenever he needs to go somewhere. Clearly he's a remarkable man.

(My friend Karen ventured into political blogging, so I thought I would add my .02... Heh-heh.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” William Arthur Ward

And how much more should we express our gratitude to Him who gives all good things! Life has been happening around here. One foot in front of the other. I am in the cross-hairs of His grace. And I am grateful.

(19) love covering a multitude of sins...because there are so many...

(20) Two girls, clad in jammies, serenading the family with an after-dinner recital.

(21) cooler days...breezes blowing through open windows

(22) the words of fellow sisters in Christ - some known - many never met, who stretch me and bless me (see sidebar)

(23) curly headed toddler hugging Mama's knees

(24) Siblings with the same goofy sense of humor...enjoying one another

(25) chubby hands grasping well-loved choo-choo's... the same choo-choo's grasped by chubby hands which are now nearly man-size - amazing how the time races

May you see the goodness in all the little things.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Of Beaches and Cowboys and Birthdays

It's been a bit of a ghost town around these here parts, and for that I am sorry. It has not been on account of a lack of bloggable moments. On the contrary, there has been so much going on around here that I have been stymied by indecision and a general overwhelmed feeling. So here I go in an attempt to get you all up to speed in one blog post. I hope you're in a comfy chair :-)

O.K., first off. We visited the beach a couple of weekends ago with our wonderful friends, the James'. It was our first trip to the Malibu beaches and it was absolutely beautiful. Every time we visit the beach I realize that it is my favorite place to be...the smell, the sounds, the sights. I just love all of it.

Next, Gustav left us for his yearly jaunt as a cowboy. Off he went to the Rocky Mountains with his dad, brother, brother-in-law, and best friend for a number of days on horseback. We always breathe a sigh of relief when he returns, as he mentions the urge to go feral before each trip. Here is my favorite cowboy pic of my husband. I've shown it before, but, without women on these trips... Well, let's just say none of these fine men thinks to take pictures.

And to finish up last week we celebrated the birthday of our sweet Gretchen Patricia. She has entered the world of double digits, and is thrilled that she now gets to stay up as late as Nicholas. Ah, it's the small things in life, you know. Gretchen, as many of you know, had a rocky start to life. Colic, dairy allergies, and almost constantly blocked tear ducts made her an incredibly unhappy newborn. We used to measure the amount of time crying each day in hours, and there were many days that I would just leave the house when Gustav came home from work for a few minutes of quiet. Add to that the fact that Nicholas was only 16 months old and, well, I'm actually amazed that I lived through that time period with my sanity intact.

But now we have this sweet and thoughtful young lady who is maturing by leaps and bounds (not to mention the vertical growth!) I am privileged to be her Mom, and I thank God for blessing me with her.

We had a great day at Knott's Berry Farm celebrating her birthday. We finished up at the Rainforest Cafe at Downtown Disney. What a special day for a special young lady.

Here is Kurt responding to to the call "Volcano!!!!" (For anyone not familiar with Rainforst Cafe's dessert called the Volcano, it is always announced by all of the staff shouting "Volcano!!!" at the top of their lungs.) I had never ever seen him put his fingers in his ears before. This was a first...and so funny.

What a gift, these small people. God is good that He has seen fit to bless me, not only with a redeemed cowboy of a husband, but also with five unique, interesting, adorable little people to love. Praise Him!

I promise my next post will be less chaotic than this one.

No, I don't.

You'll all just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ode to the First Day of School (or Why I Love a Schedule)

I cannot stand those days
When the husband calls and asks,
“What's going on at home today?
Have you accomplished any tasks?”

“Well, let me see,” I say at last
For surely there must be
Something accomplished, something done
By little 'ol homemaking me.

“Alas,” I sigh, I cannot think
Of anything worthy of sharing.
“I surely spent my time somehow.”
My ego is despairing.

For all I seem to be able to claim
As the day turns into night
Is that the children were somewhat meagerly fed
And didn't kill one other as they might.

No one died or broke out in hives
Or needed glue or stitches.
So all in all the day was great
And transpired with very few glitches.

How can hours and hours go by
And stress me to no end
And nothing get accomplished?
What does this portend?

Whoever said of summer
It's lazy days refresh
Has not lived inside my house
Or dwelled inside this flesh.

Well, excuse me if I'm prudish
But I really don't agree.
A fairly rigid schedule
Is just the thing for me.

You see, I have these little ducks
As many of you know.
And, boy, this mama's much more calm
When they're lined up in a row.

For lazy days are wonderful
Once or twice a year.
But give me days of structured work
And see me jump and cheer.

So bring it on: the school, the chores,
the grumblin' and complainin.'
I'd take it happily any day
Over these summer days of playin'.

I've bought stacks of paper for making lists
(Don't any of you summer-lovers scoff)
And eagerly anticipate the coming days
Of happily crossing things off!

Monday, August 18, 2008

So Thankful...

(14) The ability, by God's grace, to mark the one-month anniversary of Thurston's death with more smiles than tears.

(15) A tangle of boy parts, age 1 to adult-size, screaming, wrestling, enjoying each other.

(16) New cuddly creatures who purr.

(17) Apologies given over graciously and without prompting.

(18) Happy birthday wishes from good old faithful friends (as well as from new friends).

Friday, August 15, 2008

An Important Choice


I've been turning that word over in my head much of late. Perhaps it's the seemingly endless school planning that I know must get done in order to ensure a smooth year. Or maybe it's the warm weather that keeps us inside more often than not. Or the fact that there always seems to be more month than money, and more payees than pennies. Or perhaps it's that our neighbors all seem to be executing HGTV-style landscaping projects and our back yard remains a grass-less dust bowl. Or that I have been so astonishingly exhausted. Or that I miss spending time with my husband, seeing old friends, petting my beagle.

Whatever the reason, my mind is chronically flirting with that word, that feeling that mischievously seeks to weigh down and drown me in... well... me. Self-pity. Selfishness. Sin. tells us that drudgery means uninteresting work that must get done. Well, I think that nails it pretty well. But who is it that decides a certain tasks interestingness? Ah, that ultimately is the question. For instance, my husband loves to take complex technology apart, piece by piece, and reassemble it because he finds it fun.

I, on the other hand, would prefer a root canal.

I have chosen that particular task as an uninteresting one. He has not.

I could sit for hours and hand quilt a design on a baby blanket. Yet, I am confident in predicting that my husband would find not one iota of pleasure in such torture.

So, I am happy to report that this slow-witted pilgrim has finally figured out what many of you (I am confident) have already learned:

Drudgery is a choice.
I assign any given task the label mundane.

Scripture is not silent on this matter:

“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:17)

“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men...” (Colossians 3:23)

When I am working as though the Lord were the recipient, when I am giving thanks through my Savior, can I really consider any task drudgery? If I set to work with a song in my heart, thrilled to be able to serve my King in any way, can any task be mundane? Have I not received so much more than I could ever conceive of offering? Am I not the debtor? Am I not the freed slave?

So diaper changes, piles of laundry, and excel spreadsheets are regarded a little differently in that light. Dishes, baths, and cooking a reason for rejoicing. Disciplining, bills, and husband-less nights an opportunity for humble joy.

I pray to God for a strengthened faith which identifies each and every job done and word spoken as an act of worship. That the word drudgery be forever banished in my interpretation of my redeemed life.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

It's a good thing he's cute.

This post falls under the "it's a good thing he's cute" category of parenting. You see that defiant fist? Oh yeah, baby. We got a whole lot of that going on round here.

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23

Yes, 18 month-olds are definitely among them.

At least mine is.

I just spent 15 minutes collecting all of the keys from Gustav's laptop which Kurt liberated. Yes, they were sprinkled about the office. When caught, he was recording a little message for Daddy on his voice recorder.

I think I have a techno-wizard on my hands.

Or a terrorist.

Jury's out.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Inexpressible Joy

Oh, that we may live life with this kind of abandon. This inexpressible joy!

On second thought, I think the screaming is expressing his joy rather well!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Good Memories

Despite being a hard day full of tears and sadness, we are rejoicing in our Lord for His good gifts:

(11) A furry friend to love and cuddle with.

(12) A cute and loyal companion.

(13) A dog who was always there. (This one from the heart of my 11 year old boy-man.)

A Time for Tears

Thurston Howl
January 20, 2002 - July 17, 2008

We will miss you so much, buddy.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Snatching at Praise

Things have been tough here for the past few days. Our dear, dear beagle Thurston is in the doggie hospital with kidney failure and we are not sure that he will come home. Despite the fact that I am really not a "pet-person," I am finding myself very, very sad. We, the kids and I, went to visit today and he just looked so sad and pathetic lying there all hooked up. Poor little guy.

I have been reminded frequently, however, of my gratitude journal. Praise the Lord that He is good all the time, and never ceases to bless us innumerably every day, from the simple to the magnificent. Here are a few praises I snatched out of our simple days:

(6) Simple hats that bring big (sticky) smiles.

(7) Visits from old home-town friends.

(8) And the gifts they bear. (If only one could smell through the screen!)

(9) Victory! Kurt wins his 1st ever battle against Nutella!

(10) The joy of a five year old "reading" his very own Bible.

Our three big children have a time of personal Bible reading every morning after breakfast. Well, this morning my little boy-man Gabriel, nicknamed Sparkles because of his sunny disposition, asked if he could do his Bible reading next to me while I was answering email. He then proceeded to "read" from his Bible:

"God created everything in the universe. He made the first two people and they were very good until sin poured into the world. Then they had to go away from God."

I loved it. And he was so proud.

He's gotten to be so funny with his speech. The other day during a phonics lesson he said, "I know, that's a 'b', and that must be a caffeinated 'B'!"

Of course, he meant 'capitalized.'

Saturday, July 12, 2008


I have been contemplating (why contemplating?) beginning a gratitude journal as Ann speaks about over at Holy Experience. But the quote she used yesterday by J.I. Packer did me in:

"The life of true holiness is rooted
in the soil of awed adoration.

It does not grow elsewhere.

That which grows elsewhere is not true holiness, whatever else it is.
No blend of zeal, passion, self-denial, discipline, orthodoxy, and effort adds up to holiness

where praise is lacking

~ J.I. Packer

Praise has been lacking here as of late, while I focus internally and miss entirely the comforting touch of God. May a new found focus on praising Him for unmerited gifts stretch me into a more holy creature. May I feel the warm soil of awed adoration squish between my toes.
" The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; This is my God, and I will praise Him; My father's God, and I will extol Him." Exodus 15:2
Father God, I praise You for:

(1) The life-giving Word of God, without which I would not know my Savior.

(2) Good friends, sisters in Christ, who pray for me.

(3) Quiet Saturdays to rest and recharge.

(4) The delighted squeals of my french-fry loving toddler.

(5) Sisters giggling and enjoying one another's company.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I've Been Tagged

My dear friend Karen has tagged me to reveal six unremarkable quirks about myself. Since there is so much unremarkable about me, this is a particularly difficult assignment, but I'll do my best to whittle it down to six:

(1) When eating a PB&J, the jelly just HAS to be on the top. I can't imagine what it would taste like if the jelly were on the bottom. Blech.

(2) I have never gone into labor on my own. It required copious quantities of pitocin five times.

(3) I am a closet writer. I have started more journals, books, and stories than I care to count. My issue is my lack of follow through to actually complete any of them.

(4) I can't mix my fruit. I really don't like juices/yogurts/pies that mix fruit in them. Just give me strawberry or banana, but please, no strawberry-banana.

(5) My brother is 16 months older than me. My sister is 13 months younger than me. My mom had 3 children under 2 1/2. She's Wonder Woman.

(6) When I was in high school/college I acted and sang (even tap-danced!) in all kinds of musicals. Somehow I always managed a starring role. I was pretty sure I wanted to be on Broadway. Then I realized that you can't be on Broadway and have stage-fright at the same time.

OK, so now that you know all of this new information about me I'm supposed to tag 6 fellow bloggers, 'cept I don't know 6 who have not already been tagged by Karen. Sad, I know. Come on friends, y'all need to start blogs so that I have someone to tag!

How about I just leave you with some adorable pictures of our new kitten, Sushi: