Thursday, September 29, 2011

cheesy smiley

a picture with all my kiddos
means one of two celebrations:
mothers day or my birthday
(32.  2 weeks ago...)

this picture
in all it's early morning crustyness
makes me smile

my kiddos make me smile
and the man behind the camera makes me smile, too

is there anything better than a posed,
cheesy-smiley picture?

i don't think so either.

so go and cheesy-smiley picture it up with
one of your kiddos. or two. or three. or more....

happy ETC thursday!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

yeah, yeah, yeah

for by grace you have been saved through faith,
and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God
not as a result of works, so that no one can boast
ephesians 2:8-9

for way too long I left grace in these verses alone.
I kept grace as a 'salvation only' thing. 
Like, yeah, yeah, yeah.....grace is that awesome 'saving thing' God used to secure my eternity with Him
grab me out of the pit of hell, out of my sinful state, and isn't that just the greatest thing ever?!

I'm so glad over the years
(and especially over these last months)
it's become so much more than that to me.

the richness of God's grace
the fullness of its power in my life
the freedom to extend it to others

my perfectionistic self scoffs at the idea of grace.
for myself, mostly.....but sadly at times I saw it scoff at others
(oh, how I hate to admit that!)

my perfectionistic self had me in bondage to
my expectations.
'the product' that I put out:
(a clean house, 3 square meals a day, contented, Jesus-loving children...)
L to the O to the L.

4 children in 7 years was the best thing that ever happened to me.
I say that often to people who ask me,
"how in the world do you do it?!"

you see

4 children knocked my own perfectionistic strength
right out of me (as if I had my 'own strength' to begin with....)
4 children took my perfectionist self off the high pedestal free of dust
and allowed grace to come flowing in
4 children took my perfectionistic tendancies
and smeared jelly-filled fingers all over them
4 children allowed me to see that a sink full of dishes
meant that I was busy reading Curious George books
(instead of seeing failure)

4 children allowed me to see that grace was needed in all parts of my life
so I could extend it to my kiddos on a daily basis
and thankfully, just like the love I have for them,
that same grace didn't need to be divided......
it multiplied with the need
and there was plenty of grace at the end of the day
to extend some to myself as well.

grace for my 'screw up' times:
man, I lost it with my children yesterday
when my head was pounding with another headache
grace for the times I go to my children
and ask for forgiveness
giving them a chance to extend grace as well
grace for the moment when I think I have it all together
and everything comes crashing down around me
grace to appreciate those moments for what they are--
another reminder that I am not in control
and I serve an amazingly wonderful
and extremely gracious God
who is.

have a super day living
in the life-giving grace that is ours to claim daily.

Call Me Blessed

Friday, September 23, 2011

being silly

breakfast.  beautiful flowers from a friends garden.

brothers walking to school.

lego men conduct hostile takeover of bathroom sink. 

crumbs cupcakes.  belated bday gift from sweet friend.  thoroughly enjoyed

caleb takes on the world of 2 wheel bikes.  quality dad time.

brothers and books.

daddys little girl.  look at that dimple.

jon melts his mom's heart.
gives of his own money for the world vision bake sale

little hands helping make goodies
(minus a photo of Char dumping salt all over the table)

{ just some snapshots of our week }

it's official:  fall has arrived
happy autumnal equinox to all!

Friday, September 16, 2011

pumpkin spice latte. perfected. i promise.

i can get a little obsessed with pumpkin this time of year
and coffee is another obsession.
so when we're talking about combining the two.....
well, let's just say i believe i have
perfected the pumpkin spice latte
(insert slight bragging tone)

to join me in this quest for perfection....
assemble the following:
skim milk, 4 cups
canned pumpkin, 4 T (make pumpkin bread with remaining)
 6 T sugar (I used a splenda knock-off)
vanilla, 4 T
spices: 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, pinch of ginger 

you want to make some strong coffee....
i've found that instant coffee is the best
{you will need 1 and a half cups}
my perfected recipe:
2 heaping tablespoons instant coffee
1 1/2 cup water
microwave for 2 minutes, stir to dissolve
combine all ingredients in a saucepan
whisk together until well blended
while simmering over medium heat for 8ish minutes

at this point you will have a pumpkin spice latte
but you will probably only want to drink
about 4/5 of your steamy mug
because the pumpkin settles at the bottom.
enter a final (and in my opinion much-needed) step:
 (Charity was riveted by this process...)
I simply placed a couple paper towels in the bottom of my colander
placed over a glass pitcher
and allowed the yummy latte to pass through
while reserving the pumpkin for the garbage
(this is why I simmered the drink for 8ish minutes on the stove....
to give the flavor to the liquid)
i changed the paper towel about 3 or 4 times
until my latte was free of pumpkin lumpyness
but not magnificent pumpkin flavorness.

it's good.
enjoy the perfection.
you're welcome.
(original inspiration found HERE)

moving on....
i'm really digging all my new picnik options
now that i've stepped up and bought the $24.95 yearly membership
{thanks, sweet hubby, for the birthday gift!}
this is a collage from last weekend when we did 
Great America 2011
with my side of the fam.
4 words:
raging bull. back row.

and my voice is just recovering now
(a mere 6 days later)

and now just to make this post a little more exciting
and longer.
a peek at our week:
1.  homemade birthday cards from the boys.
(love the giant red 'mommy' on caleb's card)
2.  text from my dad the morning of my birthday
(cracks me up that my rents texts.  word.)
3.  older 2 boys thumb-wrestling at Panera Bread.  classic 
4.  awesome deal on cute anti-bac gels at Bath & Body Works
5.  meeting Justin for lunch with just the younger 2 kiddos.  fun stuff
6.  Chicka Chicka Boom Boom  Matthias loves it. Char is not amused. 
7.  puzzles.  because working on letter sounds can be fun.
8.  lunchbox notes begin again.   Jonathan assured me he still likes them.  phew.
5683--code for 'i love you.' 
9.  can this girl get any cuter?!  she's even toats adorbs noshing on a bagel.
at Panera.  while the boys were wrestling with thumbs.
well, that's about it.
if you want to read a life-changer post
check one out HERE (have tissue handy)
having read this blog and followed her inspiring story for awhile
i was pretty moved to tears and moved to pray for her family

on that note
have a super weekend choosing joy.
living for Jesus no matter what, making everyday count.
because that's what really matters, right?!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

32. a stray gray. and a little narcissism.

happy birthday to meeeeee
5 Sunday mornings ago i plucked a gray hair (i think?)

i have a serious obsession with chocolate
i'm not about to give up
even if my waistline disapproves
(and might i add it does so more now in my 30's?!)

my fav color is purple
see?  i'm totally wearing a purple shirt in these pics

this is how i spend my time with Jesus:
coffee cup in hand
laying diagonally on my bed
kiddos napping (or at school)

....but most of my praying happens while vacuuming
(I once texted a friend to let her know I was praying for her while vacuuming
and assured her it wasn't because I thought she sucked.  get it?
slightly inappropriate.... but funny, right?!)

life fav verse:
proverbs 3:5-6

currently meditating on:
psalm 51:17
and just exactly what it looks like to have
a broken and contrite heart

currently wrestling with:
disunity in the church of america
(like...can we not get our act together for the sake of the gospel?!)

hooked on salted caramel lattes from Starbucks
and homemade pumpkin spice lattes
(look for a recipe soon.  like 'meant to blog that today' soon.....)

that's about it
on this little trip of narcissism.

have a super september 14th, all!
a great day to celebrate.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

dear time

dear time,
you are my frenemy.

i love to watch my children grow
and i hate it at the same time.

can i be that double-minded?!

Monday, September 5, 2011

our brown eyed baby boy

Dear Matthias Steven,
you rock our world
with your huge brown eyes
and your huge personality to match.
We love to watch you
embrace life
full force
nothing held back
tons of ambition.
We can't wait to see what God has in store for you!

We love you
just for being you.
And today we celebrate 4 awesome years of your life.
You are one special guy....

happy 4th birthday, Matthias!

Love, Dad and Mom

Sunday, September 4, 2011

now i can handle that......

'we don't master our sins by heroic strength.
we confess them to death.
every confession deprives a sin of oxygen'
{ ray ortlund }

amen?!  amen. 
(because i'm pretty sure i've used up any heroic strength
and i'm in a serious deficit)
but confess, confess, confess?!
sounds like an action plan i can handle.

here's to...
mercies that are new every morning
grace that is greater than all our sin
and a Savior who loves us so incredibly much

(now that's a truth worth writing down!)

happy sunday, all! 


Thursday, September 1, 2011

out of the mouths of babes. embrace it.

defined by wikipedia as 'childrens garden'
(wow.  that explains a lot)
Caleb's all smiles for today

he's been sufficiently kissed
(if that's possible)

he's had the annual 'back to school' trip
to chuck e cheese with the fam
but here's the real sign my sweet boy is ready
for the wiles of kindergarten:
(at least for this mom's heart....)

at registration
Caleb's teacher gave him a
'kindergarten confetti' poem
(and. a bag of confetti)

the poem speaks of the night before kindergarten
and how there's excitement and it's hard to sleep
so says the poem....
sprinkle the kindergarten confetti under your pillow
and then you'll be able to sleep before your big day

Caleb's matter-of-fact response?!

'or I could just pray.'

{and that's exactly what I've been doing all night. and now all day}

have a super day
lifting up all your cares and concerns to the only One
who truly gives rest to the anxious heart.
{ philippians 4:6-7 }

linking up with Emily