Loving

 
(Valentine's Day 2007)

 

Today I am loving…
:: that our second bout with pink eye is clearing up.

:: that the “big one” is so sweet to his little brother when the “little one” isn’t feeling well

:: that the rain might actually stop on Saturday (please!).

:: that Baby is due in six weeks!!

:: that organizing efforts in our bedroom might actually be paying off.

:: that oven-fried chicken and broccoli slaw are on the menu for tonight.

:: Molly Fox’s Birthday by Deirdre Madden (started on Monday…can’t vouch for the whole book yet!).

:: Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design by Faythe Levine and Cortney Heimerl (finished on Monday).

:: the newest issue of Country Living.

:: the game of catch going on between Daddy and little J as I type this.

:: this little boy bedroom

:: the potential for a productive day.  Better get started…

Giving Thanks…

For childhood memories,

For children making memories,

For waking up to the smell of onions, celery, and butter in an iron skillet,

For families–growing, learning, loving,

For the bright orange of sweet potatoes and the darker shade of pumpkin with just the right amount of cinnamon,

For pie filling that didn’t fit, baked in a little dish for nibbling,

For the land and its natural resources–May we never take them for granted–

For a God who is both provider and savior…

We give Thanks!

So Much to Celebrate!

On Saturday, we gathered with family at our little brick house to welcome the first day of spring.  As my boys get older, I am always looking to build simple traditions that emphasize the two things that we value most: God’s presence in everyday life and our family.  Truly celebrating the change of the seasons is one way that we remain mindful of the beautiful, amazing, intricate design of God’s mighty hands.  So we had a little “shin dig” to thank Him for all the promise of this wonderful season.

The boys took their “decorating” very seriously as we covered the sidewalk and steps with pretty chalk doodles to welcome our guests.

To start, we enjoyed a bell pepper flower with Ranch dressing.  I snitched the idea from the February issue of Parents…

…but the idea for the bird’s nest cupcakes was all mine.  I’m a great copier of cute ideas, but it’s rare that I have a fresh idea of my own.  I’m sure someone somewhere has made nests from chow mein noodles, but for now, I’m going to believe that they are an Erica original.  True or not, they looked cute and tasted yummy!

Happy Spring!

Sweet Home

I am guilty of complaining about my house.  It’s a cute little home, but it is full of the “quirks” of any old house.  From the first few minutes of the first time I walked into this house, my imagination began to transform the place into a home that would reflect who we are and the life that we wish to live.  I could look past the outlandishly ugly lamp that resembled a comic book nemesis.  I could disregard the strangely painted bedroom and the paneling that didn’t quite reach the ceiling.  Beyond the odd choices of the previous owners, I could see a place to begin a family, a place to love my husband and enjoy my dog.  I recognized comfort, charm, and frugality!  We purchased our house for less than the price of our car and set to work turning it into the home that I envisioned for our early years as a family.  Not forever, but a happy “for now.”

Then the wily head of discontent appeared.  I don’t know when the complaining started, but it might have been after the second time that our Christmas decorations were ruined by water in our basement.  Or maybe after the paint mysteriously peeled off of the wall in the nursery.  I don’t really know, and I suppose it doesn’t matter.  The truth is that I lost sight of what we have and focused on what I wish the house was.  I nag about the clutter, the toys, the hole of a basement.  But after six days of staying with family (Thank you, guys!!), my little brick house never looked so wonderful or felt so cozy.

The week-long feud with our furnace made me think of the following passage from Philippians 4:12:  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  As I grew more and more anxious to return home, my mind kept coming back to these words.  Even though being away from our house, our belongings, and most significantly, our routine made me antsy and (according to my hubby) grumpy, the big lesson was not lost on me.  My contentment cannot come from the things we have or the lifestyle we live.  These things are temporary.  Love–God’s Love but also the truest love of my family–is lasting.  As long as I have those things, I can be content.

(The photo is from my aunt & uncle’s kitchen.  Thanks for the nice visit!)

What’s been going on…

The last week has been filled with the things that make life rich and the things that make life real.  To begin, our furnace has been acting funny for a few weeks—the kind of funny that makes you tilt your head, listen carefully, and hope that you are imagining the recurring humming/buzzing/whirring sound that emanates from the basement. The furnace was at the forefront of our minds until last Sunday (January 10) when some bitter weather caused our pipes to freeze.  For about a day, we had no running water.  Then the bathroom seemed to recover.  A few days later, the kitchen started working.  We thought we were in the clear until my hubby noticed a damaged and spraying pipe in the basement.  Ugh.  So there was a lot of tinkering, hair-dryer-blowing, and praying!  Finally, water returned, and the repaired pipe held fast.

 Yep…the ordeal was tiresome, frustrating, annoying.  But call me “Pollyanna”—good did come from the ordeal.  On Wednesday evening—with the water officially turned off by the water authority—we stay at my in-laws for the night.  We toted a bag of clothes and a bulging sack of laundry for an evening of relaxing and enjoying American Idol while the boys played with Grandma’s toys (Why are her toys so much better?).  Instead of my constant tidying and jumping up to fix one thing or another, I played a fun, uninterrupted game of “dinosaur” with my sweet kiddos.  My older boy said, “You’re fun today, Mommy.”  An important lesson! 

 We spent Thursday night with my parents, and again, I noticed certain refreshment in being surrounded by love and comfort and running water.  So I guess you could say that I liked being a kid again!  I went to a Taekwondo class after several weeks of close to no real exercise (lugging a 20+ pound toddler on my hip is almost exercise), and I returned to Mom and Dad’s house with tired muscles and a wonderful sense of satisfaction.

 

While my husband and I were fussing about the inconvenience of frozen pipes and all that goes with such trouble, a tremendous earthquake hit Haiti.  If you’ve glimpsed a TV, caught a moment of a radio broadcast, or even logged on to any major website in the last week or so, you have a sense of the depth and breadth of the devastation in an already troubled country.  What a  powerful reminder of the blessings in my life.  Haiti suffered from the fall-out of a corrupt government even before the ground shook beneath them.  I don’t always like the workings of my county’s government, but I know that avenues exist for my voice to be heard.  I believe that despite political disagreements and differences of judgment on issues of moral weight, we all want the greatest good for rich and poor alike.  I do not feel guilty for being upset over my water pipes and the rust sludge still clogging my washing machine; I feel grateful for in-laws who order pizza and let us use their laundry room and so much more.  I feel grateful for a Mom who washed up a batch of flannel sheets and made up cozy beds for the four of us and a Dad who retrieved a fresh tank of spring water for our visit (more about that later).  Sure, troubles come our way; money is as tight as it has ever been, but I lead a rich life.  I have friends, food, a God above, and the assurance of a steadfast family.