Thursday, October 31, 2013

Beautiful Things

The beauty of life is in the changing of seasons. Of growing weary of one and savoring the coming of the next, wearing that one thin and welcoming the familiarity of another.
Beautiful things are really only beautiful when juxtaposed with the ordinary. And plain seasons shine when they follow the painful ones.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Our Heart Motive

I read this post several months ago and its been rolling around in my head since.  Back in 2008 when I started this blog, its intent was to keep a journal, complete with pictures and to keep out-of-state family updated on our growing-daily small children (jsut two back then!).  
It has since evolved to also be a place where I enjoy sharing the things on my heart and WAY more pictures than back then.  :)  When I read the following post, it gave me pause and I really searched my heart about what and how I share.  
We are, of course, aware of the dangers of social media....And even though we are not filling our feeds with inappropriate content, rough language or suggestive pictures, we may not be modest in our use of social media.
Tim Challies and R. W. Glenn write, “Modest speech is speech that draws attention to God rather than attention to ourselves.” (Modest, 983). If this is the mark, we are falling woefully short. Photographs of our children, our immaculately kept and beautifully decorated homes, our food. Status reports and tweets enumerating our children’s accomplishments, our husbands’ good qualities, our errands. Posts about our fabulous vacations, our organizational prowess, the large number of books we’ve read. These are not necessarily sinful in and of themselves; it is our heart motive that makes them so.
I recently had a discussion with several friends regarding this very not often realize the power our posts have to stir up envy, strife and discontent in others who are struggling, particularly with their spouses or their children. We might be wise to take Paul’s words regarding food and apply them to our social media consumption: “But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.” (1 Cor. 8:9, ESV)
Am I praising the Lord that I have the health to chase after three toddlers, or am I simply proud that I am able to do so?
Am I thanking God for the gift of my husband, or am I secretly hoping others will compliment him so that I will feel validated?
Am I honoring God by sharing my child’s grades, or do I just want others to take notice of how smart she is?
Am I offering a true representation of a sinner saved by grace, or have I painted a portrait of a superwoman for all to envy?
I cannot answer these questions for anyone except myself, and neither can you. The answers may surprise us and they may differ depending on the circumstances surrounding us at the time. Yet if we seek to be truly modest in our social media, we will consistently examine our hearts before we click that mouse.
While I think honesty is ALWAYS important, I also am a positive person by nature and spend as little time as possible dwelling on the negative version of things.
For instance, the rose picture I posted yesterday?  
This is what it looks like today.
To me, it goes without saying that along with the good there is also the bad and the ugly.  That for every beautiful rose photo I post (with which you could assume I am a handy gardener...ha!) there is a wilted, frost-touched rose photo that I do not post...actually, I don't even usually take the picture.
I get frustrated with my kids, mad at my husband, my desk is a mess, despite my best efforts.  Our appliances break, I say more than I should, my son eats no meat save for chicken nuggets, I forget appointments.  The list goes ON! 

Fight, kick and pray your way to contentment.  Appreciate your story for what it is and understand that social media will never provide you with the whole picture.  You are loved by a great, big God....even if, like me, you will never sew one darn thing off of Pinterest.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

House Project {Week 30}

People are regularly asking me about progress on the house.  Shaun has been picking at it when he can, but his to-do list is insanely long.  When you are as knowledgeable, skilled and generous as he is, there are no ends to the demands on your time and energies.  He's really good about using his time efficiently and deliberately, so right now he is choosing, and rightly so, to make other things more of a priority.

Years of house-fixing-upping have made me a patient woman and I've learned to take it all in stride.  Every little thing that gets done leaves it better than it was and in time it'll get there.  Plus, we long ago weeded out all the friends who were not comfortable visiting a construction site.  And family?  Well....there's stuck with us.  :)  It really doesn't bother me to have things less than perfect....most days.

Does it feel like home yet? is another question I get.  And my honest answer is no.  While I love the house and our location, I don't feel bonded yet.  Is it because there is work to be done at every turn?  Because we haven't been here long enough or celebrated any major holidays?  Not sure, but I know it will come in time.  Maybe when we set up the Christmas tree, one month from today.  :)

Those windows are above my kitchen sink and I've watched this lone rose bloom three times over the season.

 Its hard to explain where we are at to people.  Much of the house is great, but then there are areas like this stairwell going from the kitchen to the second floor that we use constantly.  Usable, certainly but....
 Aiden's room has all new windows.... does this third floor stairwell window (which also gets us out to a flat roof)
 ...the girls bathroom (which doesn't have a working sink or bathtub/shower)
 ...and the boys bathroom, which is now complete.
 Shaun's been diligently taping the third floor hallway

 And I am picking at the leftover pieces of wallpaper paper and glue, with my worker bee, of course. :)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Project 365, Week 43

This week, not unlike others, was full.  Full of running (around and on the treadmill...yay!), full of rehearsals, and blessings and seeing God work in ways that are so "God".  He is good...all the time.

October 20
In all their years of playing fall ball, this might have been the most guys ever...nine on nine!  It was SUCH a beautiful day to sit out and watch and play with friends.

 Makes me laugh...

 The three fun watching the three of them out on a field or a court together.

 October 21
What?  Don't ALL kids hang out on the house roof?
October 22
A VERY long therapy in-take session (switching to a place closer to our home).  The social worker was an hour late and they couldn't start until he got there.  Aiden and I made the best of it and enjoyed our time alone in the waiting room, snuggled up with books.
 October 23
Farmer Aiden, hard at work.
 We both get so excited when these gloves go on correctly the first time.  :)
 October 24
We've been dealing with a spoon shortage crisis around here and finally some reinforcements arrived.  I think they are getting accidentally thrown away (or hoarded??) by someone.  These should last us a couple months...
 Sweet little guy woke up sick and soaked but I had to run the girls to school while Shaun was in the shower.  We found him a nice little spot in front of the fire with the iPad and that made everything ok.
 This is going to sound bad...R was gone for a couple nights with the youth group doing a campus experience at a bible college....that's not the bad part, this is....Since he was gone, I took the opportunity to make an apple pie, in hopes it would last for a bit longer than usual.  Even still, it was gone before 24 hours was up.
 October 25
We just hired a new employee, bringing our total team up to four people!  Colombo took us out to lunch for our first team meeting.  All 52 minutes of the drive there and back were just beautifully spectacular.  Amazing fall colors (still!) dotting farmland or pretty houses and it was quiet and serene except for my singing.
 October 26
Last day of soccer.  Since Avery woke up pretty sick and Shaun was at rehearsal, our friend (who is a sports fanatic) took him.  They had a blast and Aiden was reported to have scored several goals and used his pullback trick again.

First organized sport for the little guy was a success, if for no other reason than they had cookies and donuts and sugar drinks after the last "game".

He proudly wore his sister's pink cleats all season and would tell people, these used to be my sister's cleats! (and cousin Maddie's before that :)

Lucky for him, its the only pair we have so maybe next season he'll get some that are his very own.   :)

 Homecoming Day arrived.  I got to meet R's date and her mother and by all reports they had a fun time.

I was the 10:30 PM pickup person (45 minutes away) since the Red Sox were playing in the World Series (in case you hadn't heard).

Much of this was foreign to me, but the thing that struck me the most is that NO parent got out of their car.  They all parked in the lot and waited for their kid to find them.

I didn't have to go in, sign my children out, gather their belongings and hold their hand to walk out into the busy parking lot.  Strange.

How cute are they?!?

Friday, October 25, 2013

He's Working

Happy Friday!  Someone new came to our house this week, having not met us before.  She was only here for about 30 minutes, but we were right in the middle of our usual mid-week activities....pick this one up from drama, drop that one off at driver's ed, supervise homework being done, say goodbye to some going to rehearsal, make dinner to feed four different shifts and a yet unknown number of people.

As she was leaving and I was running out the door with a handful of kids, I thanked her for coming and told her she was welcome anytime.  My mind wanted to add, don't worry...its not usually this crazy, but my heart knows that yes, it IS almost always this crazy...and I'm grateful for it.  

Because its through this pressure and over time that God is making me into who He has always intended for me to be.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
Philippians 1:6

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sometimes We Have to Make a Choys

The guys played football on Sunday and there was a record number of participants....18!  Because there were so many, this touch football game got pretty physical.  During a clean play that R was involved in, someone went down with what was later determined to be a broken leg x2.

The kids made get well cards.  :)

 Get better Michael.  I am so sorry for you.  I hope you get better soon.  I no (know) sometimes we have to make a choys (choice) and won (one) time I had to get 10 stitches.  by R's sister.  :)

Shaun and I were talking and Aiden came in and crawled on my lap.

Me: Oh, finally I get a hug!  I tried to get one from you before but you were too into your show.
Daddy: Aiden, TV is never more important than giving momma hugs.  If it becomes too important then we'll just throw the TV in the garbage.
Aiden: (after a few seconds of pondering) Well then Dad, how would you watch the Red Sox?

Amanda and I on the way home from school, I was asking her about her day.

We read a story about a basketball player.  Mom, who's a really good basketball player?
I named a couple, none of them ringing a bell to her.
Mom, he's really tall and has big muscles...I think he's like 6 feet or something.
(laughing) Amanda, that's most of them!
Oh, what's his name.... Michael!  Michael, Michael....Jackson!  
Michael Jordan??
Michael Jordan.

And then she went on to tell me about how he wasn't too good at first and his brother could always beat him, etc.  I didn't investigate whether its true or not...she's a fairly unreliable source of information.  Unless its a family secret.  She's got those stories down really well....and still, at almost seven, shares freely.  :)

Names escape her and I think its hilarious.  She has immediate family down cold, unless its a foster kid we've had for less than six months, but most other names come and go.  Often, when she's talking about someone in her class we have to play this guessing game with her.

Aiden: Mom, did you know that an octopus can change color to hide from its predator?

We've also had multiple discussions about the Red Coats....yes, as in the British.  He also asks me questions like what are pistons on trains?

Seriously??  I figure I have about another year before he knows more than I do.

Actually, this morning he excitedly found me in doing laundry. Mom!  I know something you never knew before!  The squirrel eats the helicopters, too!!  Come see!

When "E" was our letter of the week: (pointing to the alarm clock) Mom, do you see this number??  Well, its a "4" now, but it was an "E".  :)

Me: Aiden, I like your hat.
Aiden: You like Nike?
Me: (shrugging) Umm, sure.
Aiden: Well, MY favorite team is the Patriots.

Aiden, during a prayer over our lunch: And God, right now I just pray for Zacheus.  He really needs help....he's a poor man and needs money.  God, please help him and God, I will give him some of my money.

Avery: Mom, we were in our reading groups today and we were talking about TV.  S said her cousin only watches a half hour of TV a day.  Can you believe that? Do you think that's a lot or a little?  That's like 30 minutes everyday!  Do you think she really watches it EVEY day??

Yes, honey girl, there are people who turn on the TV EVERYday.

I cherish these young years so very much.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Buells Tradition

I am ALL about tradition, and Buells Orchard on Columbus Day has been one since before I had kids of my own.  

The kids are so blessed to have best friends in cousins and we saw 12 in one day!

I think orchard pictures probably speak for themselves, right?


Then celebrate the Festival of Harvest to honor the Lord your God. Bring him a voluntary offering in proportion to the blessings you have received from him.

Deuteronomy 16:10