A Royal Tea Party

No time to blog today.  The Princess and I are taking tea as we watch the wedding of the century.  The Prince accompanied us for awhile, but quickly got bored and headed outside to ride the royal tricycle.

Toodles!

IMGP8412

IMGP8413

IMGP8416

IMGP8417

IMGP8419

IMGP8420

IMGP8421

IMGP8424

IMGP8425

Link it Forward

Well I don’t have much to say today.  Landon and I both have colds and we are snuggled up together on the couch, coughing and snorting and rubbing each other’s backs.  I’ve got plenty of thoughts and ideas rolling through my head, but none of them feel blog worthy. 

It’s a constant balance, this blogging thing.  While I enjoy the journaling aspect of blogging, I have to remind myself that this isn’t a true journal.  I can’t pour out my every thought because with several hundred people stopping by each day my thoughts aren’t so private in this tiny little square of interweb.  I see other bloggers who share intimate details of their lives under the label of bold blogging, but I just can’t do that.  I only share about 4% of our lives on this site.

The rest is just for me.

I’m happy to share what I’m learning, what makes me laugh, how I feel and our every day lives, because I think it’s fun.  But sometimes, I just have to be quiet.  Sometimes I don’t feel funny.  Like today, when my nose is running like a faucet, I’m three days without a shower and my throat has been licked by the flames of hell.

Not. Funny.

But other things just aren’t for sharing in public.  Sometimes I just need to process with a few friends, or my husband, or God.  My blog is only a journal of the things that I feel are appropriate for the world to know.  Ya know? :)

So today, instead of wasting time writing about nonsense (something I’m really good at), I’m going to direct you to some new sites I’ve recently stumbled upon that I love.  I’ve also finally updated my blogroll to include all these lovely bloggers.  So without further ado, I present you a few of my new favorite blogs:

- Bohemian Bowmans: Jessica is funny, sarcastic and incredibly sharp.  She loves Jesus, she loves Compassion and she loves her kids who, incidentally, are terminally cute.

- A Holy Experience: You don’t find writing like this very often.  Ann has a way with words that makes your skin tingle and your eyes water.  She is a poet, a master at prose and a vivid storyteller.

- (in)courage: Many of you have probably already heard of this site, as I had many times before, but I only recently began visiting and reading over there.  If you’re looking for encouragement, this is the place to go.

- The Nester: *sigh* I love Nester’s style.  I sat and talked with her a bit at Blissdom and she is equally lovely in person.  I had never been to her site before then and now I stop by frequently.  I can’t wait to get into a new house and begin decorating it using some of Nester’s tips and advice.  Seriously, she’s talented.

- Faith Like Mustard: Megan and I “met” through this site and I love her sweet heart.  It’s always encouraging to stop by her blog.

So those are a few new sites for you to visit and fall in love with.  Happy browsing, happy reading and happy laughing.  I’m off to take some drugs (easy…it’s Dayquil) and drink some green tea with lemon to soothe my burning throat.  Then I think I’ll sit outside and soak up a little vitamin D because Glory Hallelujah the sun is shinin’!

untitled

Picture0054

Picture0049

Picture0048

Today.  Despite the endless rain.

I

Am

Happy

Picture0056

Handstands in Heaven

Alternately titled: Car Ride of Random

We were heading home from Russian school, altogether as a family (in our smokin’ hot minivan that we now officially own, no less.  HAWT!).  It was raining.  Again.  We were tired and a little hungry since I failed in my mom duties and forgot to pack us dinners to go.  But we were together as a family and  that made everything a little bit better.

“Hey Mom,” Sloan piped up.  “Why do girls always pick on me and bully me?”

“Probably because they like you,” I replied.  I know the girls in question and I’m not entirely sure that’s why they’re picking on him.  I think they’re just ornery, but I felt compelled to give the standard issue Mom answer as clearly directed in Article 16, Section C of the Mom’s Bylaws for Dealing with Difficult Questions.

Lee turned around and grinned at Sloan.  “Told ya,” he said.  It’s the standard issue answer for Dad’s as well, apparently.

“But why do they like me?” he asked.

“Because you’re cute and you’re smart and funny.  Why wouldn’t they like you?” I answered.

“Hey Mom,” Tia yelled from the back seat.  It was raining hard, we had to yell.  “When I go to school and I wike some boys, I’m donna bully dem, okay?”

*This is the part where I desperately thumb through the Bylaws. There are no instructions.  No INSTRUCTIONS!*

“No, you shouldn’t pick on boys,” Lee answered quickly.

“Why?” Tia asked.  “You said dats what girls do when dey wike boys.”

DARN THOSE STANDARD ISSUE ANSWERS!

“Just don’t pick on boys.  Treat others the way you want to be treated.”

WAM!  The Golden Rule.  Works every time…

“Hey Mom,” Tia yells again.

“Yes.”

“Can we do handstands in heaven?”

Laughter ensues, but then I look in the rearview mirror and see a very serious face.  She wants an answer.

“Well, I don’t see why not,” I say.

“I think you’ll be able to do all the gymnastics you want in heaven,” Lee answered.

“Hey Mom, LOOK!” Landon screeches from his seat.

“What?!”

“I saw a kangaroo back dere by da road.”

You saw a kangaroo?!”

“Yeah!  Turn around.  Mom, turn around,” he’s quite serious.

Lee looks back at him.  “Did you see a kangaroo back there buddy?”

“Yeah!” He cries.

“Was it a real kangaroo?” Sloan asks craning his neck.

“No.  It was pwetend.  It was a pwetend one, Dad.”

And then we were home.

Who says riding in the car is boring?

Dear Mom and Dad in England

IMGP8368

Hi.

So while you were off galavanting (something I’ve found you seem to be quite good at) about the English countryside this weekend, I was left to handle Easter on my own.  While you toured Shakespeare’s birthplace and hiked through the animal infested forests, I realized that not only did I need to create some kind of Easter feast for my family, but I also needed to fill up Easter baskets with goodies.  I realized this on Saturday.

I would like you to know that I managed to squeak by without you but I almost ruined Easter for good.  And Christmas too.  And I blame it almost entirely on you.

I dashed out Saturday afternoon for a last minute grocery run, in the rain.  Me and the entire senior citizen population of St. Louis County.  I bought a pork roast.  Not even a pre-packaged one from the refridgerated section, but an actual one from the meat guy.  He’s not a butcher is he?  Do I just call him the meat guy?  Whatever.  I bought it from him.  He wrapped it in white paper.  Fancy.

Score one for me.

I also purchased a round birthday cake with a picture of a bunny on it.  And ice cream.  I was rocking the Easter preparations.

I purchased 45 plastic eggs to put in their baskets.  Why so many?  Because I didn’t buy anything else.  You know, dear mother, how you always filled up our baskets with fun little trinkets and goodies as a kid?  Yeah…I didn’t do that.  I kind of forgot.  Thank God I had the DVD’s you purchsed for the kids before you left for England, right?

Minus one for me.  Holding steady at 0.  Plus six for you, though, for planning way in advance.

When I got home I tried to sneak by the kids with the plastic eggs.  You know, because how was I going to explain that the Easter Bunny used eggs we already owned.  I failed, though.  Eagle Eyes Tia saw the eggs and screeched with delight. 

“What are those for?” they all asked, pushing in on me like tiny little blonde vultures.

I thought quick on my feet, though.  You would’ve been proud.  “We’re going to put them in your Easter baskets and see if the Easter Bunny fills them up while you sleep.”

BOOM! Score three for Mommy.

They each got a movie, a chocolate bunny (of course) and 14 eggs, which the Easter Bunny did fill while they slept.  Except the Easter Bunny is stingy and paranoid about their teeth rotting out so the eggs only had one chocolate or a couple of jelly beans in them.  When it was all said and done they only had a snack bag amount of candy.

IMGP8357-1

Three measly jelly beans...

Three measly jelly beans...

“Is dis all dere is?!” Tia exclaimed after searching through her basket.  There were no stickers, no toys, no coloring books.  “Mom, where does the Easter Bunny come from exactly?” Sloan asked, a little disgruntled.  “Is he real?” 

I had to bite my lip from answering, “Look, the Easter Bunny moved to England, okay?!”  Minus four for Mommy.  I hereby stand at a negative 1.

“That’s what they say,” I answer, dodging the question.  “Well, is Santa real or is he just a guy in a costume?”  Six eyes stare at me intently.

“St. Nicholas was a real man who delivered gifts to boys and girls,” I answered, sweat beading on my hairline.  “Hey look!  Breakfast is ready - come eat quick!”

Plus 1 for dodging a bullet. 

I did remember to put the pork roast in the crock pot (God’s gift to half brained moms) the night before so Easter dinner was partially prepared early.  Which was good since I had to be at church at 7:30 and didn’t get home until 12:45, which means Lee was in charge of Easter lunch.  They ate without me.  Pork Roast, Stove Top stuffing from a box and sourdough bread.  No vegetables or special sides to make the meal memorable because I wasn’t there to fix.

I get plus 2 for preparing the meat early, but minus 1 for not preparing anything else.  I think this leaves me at a plus 1.

IMGP8365-1

The rest of Easter Sunday was quite lovely, actually.  While we desperately missed being with family, I must say it was nice to just be our little core unit of 5 for the day.  I reminded me, Mom and Dad, of all those years when we were growing up and didn’t have family close by.  My holiday memories are filled with leisurely afternoons with you all and Brett. 

We went to Applebees for dinner, which felt kind of lame, but it made the kids happy so I’m giving myself 1 point.  And when we came home, we cleaned up the house, put on our jammies, ate bunny cake and watched Yogi Bear as a family.  I’m awarding myself another point for going with the flow.

So that means my final tally came in at plus 3.  Not bad.  Easter wasn’t a total wash after all. 

But it still would have been better with you here.

Have fun for the remainder of your English adventure.  Tell Will and Kate I said hi…

Love, Your Daughter in St. Louis.

If only they looked alike...

If only they looked alike...

   IMGP8376-1

I laughed until I cried when I saw this picture. Landon's head looks detached from his body.

I laughed until I cried when I saw this picture. Landon's head looks detached from his body.

IMGP8382-1

IMGP8384-1

IMGP8387-1

Studio Shot!

Studio Shot!

Reflection

IMGP5199

No words today.  Just silence and thought. 

Remembrance.

FATHER!

Pierced for our transgressions.

Bruised for our iniquities.

Thorns.

Mocking.

Caiaphas.

Pilate.

Herod.

Taunts.

Manipulate.

Whip.

Silence.

Cross.

Terrible.

Dice.

Gambling.

Darkness.

Grace.

Forgiveness.

It is Finished.

Jesus.

 

Scenes from a morning

It starts with one.

Picture0044

Then another.

Picture0045

A third stumbles in.

Picture0046

A fourth comes bearing coffee.

Picture0047

All before 7:00.  This is what dreams are made of…

Georgia on my Mind

I have lots on my mind today.  Not just Georgia, although that song has been rolling through my head all morning.  I love that song, don’t you?  I’ve had the amazing opportunity to sing with a local jazz band a couple of times in the last few months and twice I’ve gotten to sing that song.  There’s something about that song that just kind of takes you over when you’re singing it.  It may be one of the greatest songs ever written and recorded.

I have other things on my mind, too.  Sleep.  I’d like to do that again and I think I’ll have the opportunity once Easter passes by.  Maybe.  I can at least hope, right?

The house.  While I wasn’t sure I was ready for it to sell right away, I am officially over this business of trying to keep it clean.  What a hassle!  I miss my floor being dirty and beds going unmade.  But the good news is that we’re having showings almost every day, so high traffic is a positive. 

I’m thinking about schooling and summer vacation, kids and life.  I’m wondering where our next house will be and I’m so thoroughly overwhelmed with trying to sell this one that I haven’t been looking for a new one.

I’m thinking about coffee with Peppermint Mocha Creamer (and yes, I currently have six bottles of it in my fridge.  I refuse to run out of it).  I’m thinking about rain and the dream I had about tornadoes last night that woke me up all feverish and nervous.  I’m thinking about how my kids wake up frequently with similar dreams and I usually laugh at them for it, but dang!  Those dreams are scary.

I’m thinking about missions and what kind of missions journey God would like to take our family on.  I love this post by my uncle, an amazing missions minded and hearted man that I look up to.  I’m thinking about when, how and if I’ll ever be able to take my children to Ukraine, which feels like a second home to me and something that I should share with them.

I’m thinking about how I need to run today but I don’t really want to, but really I should because I signed up to run a 5k in June.  I’m thinking about how foolish I am to keep running when I don’t really enjoy it very much.  I’m thinking about how I can possibly get an awesome, toned runner’s figure without actually running…

I’m thinking about how we need to write to our Compassion International sponsored child.  Jonri is seven years old and lives in the Philipines and my kids faithfully pray for him.  But I am admittedly not good at having them write to him.  We are overdue for another letter.

I’m thinking about Easter and what that means.  The drama our church is putting on is really amazing and I’ve learned more about the death and resurrection of Christ in the last two weeks of working on that than I ever have before. 

I’m thinking about making another video, as soon as time presents itself for me to pull it off.

I’m thinking about washing my face and how much I love to do it.  I got new face products the other day and it just made me happy.  It’s the simple things…

What are you thinking about today?

Big Bang

Lee-Kelli 10 (2)

“Hey Mom,” he said as we walked along a path enjoying a beautiful spring day.  “Did you know that the moon was created when a big meteor slammed into the Earth and bounced off of it?”

I snorted and gaped at my boy-man, sure I must have heard him wrong.  “What?!”

“Yeah.  The whole world was created that way.  Giant meteors slamming together.  BOOM!”  He clapped his hands together and made the bomb sound that only a little boy can make.  While he reenacted the world forming out of meteor’s slamming together, I gathered my thoughts.  The absurdity of that theory is not lost on me, but to his seven year old mind it’s a really cool image so I gave him a minute to envision it.

“That’s really interesting, buddy,” I said, after a moment.  “Where did you learn that?”

“Oh, I saw a video at school.”

“Huh.  Well, do you really believe that’s how the world and the moon were created?”

“I don’t know,” he shrugged.

“Do you remember learning about God creating the world, forming the sky and the land and the water and all the animals out of nothing?”

“Yeah, I guess,” he said, picking up a rock and tossing it into a nearby stream.

“Look at the trees,” I said and we stopped.  “Look at how each one is a little bit different.  Now look at the clovers in the grass.”  He and I knelt down next to a patch of clovers and I ran my hand over it.  “See how they have three leaves on them?  But if you look long and hard enough, you might find a clover with four leaves.”

I stood him up and pointed at the moon that was already faintly showing as the evening began to fade to night.  “Look at the moon.  Look at the details in the moon.  And look at your own hand, at the lines and the marks that are unique and can only be found on your hand.  It seems kind of strange that all of these amazing details could have happened by accident, do you think?  It seems to me that there had to have been a Creator to place all the finer details together.”

“Well, yeah,” he said.  “But the video at school said that’s what happened!”

“Yes, I know and I’m so glad to know that you’re paying so close attention in school.  I also want you to know that you don’t have to believe everything you learn.”

“But I’m supposed to trust my teachers,” he protested.

“No,” I responded.  “You’re supposed to respect your teachers.  You can respect them and you can respect the different ideas they are teaching you.  I will tell you where Mommy and Daddy place our trust and that’s in God and in His Word.  We trust that it’s true and when Genesis tells us that God created the heavens and the earth, the sun and the moon and all the creatures upon the earth, we trust that to be Truth.”

We walked in silence for a moment as he thought.

“Do I have to believe what you’re telling me?” he asked.

“No,” I replied.  “You have to decide on your own what you believe to be true.  I can’t tell you what to believe – I can only tell you what I believe and I believe God’s Word to be True.”

“Well how do I know what to believe?”

“Prayer.  And knowing what the Bible says about Science.  God is the creator of Science and there is a lot we can learn from His Creation.  But it’s always important to weigh what you learn about Science against God’s Word.”

He sighed and kicked a rock with his toe.  “Okay,” he mumbled, clearly feeling conflicted until…

“Wow!  Look at this awesome rock!”  He picked up a shiny rock and held it in his hands like a treasure.  He looked at me and grinned, the evening sun dancing across his smattering of freckles.  And just like that, he was a kid again.

This was a conversation I had with Sloan last week.  It’s not meant to start a bashing session against the public school and OMG what are they teaching our kids?!  Admittedly I was a little upset when I first heard what he learned, but after thinking about it I realized I shouldn’t be surprised.  I knew they wouldn’t be teaching my child Creationism.  That’s my job.  And I’m glad that, at a young age, he has been exposed to the idea that there are different schools of thought on how the Earth was created.

Vigilance is key when raising kids, whether they go to public school, private school or you teach them in your living room.  We must vigilantly teach our children how to weigh academia against Truth.  While it wouldn’t have been my first choice for him to learn a modified version of the Big Bang Theory at such a young age, I am glad that we had the conversation that we had.  (Seriously, a meteor bounced off the Earth and that’s how the moon was formed?  I’ve never even heard of that before! :)  ) 

How are you teaching your children to defend Truth in a world that is fighting against it?

The one where I didn’t die

Four years ago, a runner friend of mine convinced me to join her in a marathon relay downtown.  Fancying myself a runner with untapped potential, I happily agreed and then spent the next four months cursing myself for agreeing to do something so reprehensible.  I finished the race, running the last leg, which was uphill.  Six point three solid miles of incline.

One week later I found out I was pregnant and never ran again.

Until, somehow, I was convinced to do the race again this year.  I think my friend used some kind of voodoo mind trick on me to convince me to do it.  Wait…actually I believe it was MY idea to run the race this year.  Clearly I was possessed or on crack or something because why would I willingly choose to do that?

I must say, the training this time around wasn’t nearly as bad.  Probably mostly because I did a pretty pathetic job of it.  But I didn’t hate it.  I finally figured out my rhythm in running and actually found myself, dare I say, enjoying myself.

The week before the race, I ran my longest run in four years.  I did four miles, on the road, by myself.  Major mental victory given the fact that I much prefer running on the treadmill mostly because it helps you out.  On the road you actually have to do all the work and you have to run up the hills and can’t set a negative incline to recuperate. 

I felt like super woman when I finished.  Take that FloJo!  Until…

The next morning I could barely walk.  Seems my left hamstring was in rebellion and for the next week it begged me to back out.  But I wouldn’t have it.  Being the stellar athlete that I am, I refused to back down.  Ahem.

Race day came and the alarm went off at 4:40 in the am!  Again, I cursed the gods of road races and stumbled out of bed.  I was running the first leg of the marathon so tardiness was not allowed.  As we lined up at the starting point, I began to feel the buzz of excitement in the air.  Running isn’t so bad when you are doing it with 17,000 others who are all excited.  We took off and I quickly fell into a nice pace thanks to a friend who showed up and happened to be standing next to me.  He was running the half marathon just for fun.

Just for fun.

Let that simmer for a minute.

It was nice to have a partner and off we went.  A funny thing happens, though, when you’re running with someone who likes to run 13 miles for fun…you get left behind.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

At about the half mile mark we went under a bridge, which was apparently labeled the pee spot as roughly ten men were lined up, peeing against the fence.  “Good to be a guy,” I remarked to my friend, who simply grinned.

At about the two mile mark, we began to head up hill – steeply up hill.  I wanted to keep up with Scott, I really did.  But alas, I needed oxygen.  “Go,” I gasped.  “Save yourself.”  He hesitated, wanting to help me out and encourage me, but it was clear that my lungs were dangerously close to combustion, so on he went, the back of his head bobbing and weaving all perky like.

And I walked up the hill.  No shame.  I walked. 

This turned out to be a terrible idea because once I stopped, my protesting hamstring tied itself in four knots from my butt to the back of my knee.  It was like an indignant toddler, arms crossed, foot stomping, “No I won’t GO!”  But with four miles to go, I needed to keep running so I stretched the bratty hamstring out and off we went, this time with a slight hobble.

I round the three mile marker and thought I was going to hurl – have I mentioned it was close to 90 degrees that day? – when I looked over and saw a woman stop, pull down her pants, and pee on the side of the road.

W-H-A-T?! 

200 yards later we passed a Port-a-Potty, but whatever, right?

At five miles, both amstrings were screaming at me.  They were in full out tantrum mode but on I foraged, stopping only once more to walk up what seemed to be a mountain, but was actually probably a very slight inline.

I rounded the corner of my six mile run right at the 70 minute mark.  Much slower than I anticipated, but I blame that on my stubborn hamstrings.  As I handed off the belt to my friend Amy, who was way too excited, I might add, I exited the course, high fiving perfect strangers all the way. 

“Great job!” they cheered.  “Awesome – way to go!”  I felt so loved and encouraged and I decided I wanted to run another race…maybe the half marathon?

Someone remind me – what’s the definition of insanity? 

Right.  That what I thought.