my young artist

I felt like my oldest needed some extra attention.  He wasn't demanding it...but his brothers were.  Our sons rotate who is the most demanding and that title had recently belonged to the younger two.  So I wanted to do something that revolved around my oldest.

 He loves art.  He is so proud of his the below hat he made at school. 

 So, we all went to a craft store.  We bought colored paper and spent an hour making die cuts.  It didn't cost much and it was fun for the boys to pick out what colors they wanted to use for their various die cuts.  Then we came home and started painting with glue the pictures onto canvases.  (We already owned the canvases and ha previously painted them with some grey paint leftover from our kitchen remodel.)

 My oldest wouldn't let me take a picture of how his canvas turned out.  He says he needs a few more die cuts from the store before he is done.  I love seeing how artistic he is and what he comes up with.  Discovering what my sons are good at is one of my favorite things about parenting.  
Since my oldest wouldn't let me show his project, I will show my finished die cut craft.  I like the idea of being crafty more than I actually am crafty, so I was somewhat impressed with my end result.  Especially since it cost me under $1.  ( I only bought the lime green chevron paper.  I already owned the canvas, frame and map I used to die cut my two shapes.)

When it was all said and done, I felt a little more connected to my oldest.  Success.


I got a chance to take some family pictures for friends.

seeing God's love everyday

I see and feel God in my ordinary life every single day.
Since I have become a mom, I am better at discerning God's voice.  It is not audible.   Instead, it is a feeling...a message through a moment that speaks to my heart.

I feel it when my 3-year-old repeatedly hugs and kisses me.    I feel it when my oldest leaves me a note that says, "I love you Mom."   I feel it when my middle son asks me to snuggle with him and plays with my hair.   I feel it when we eat dinner as a family.  I feel it when the room fills with laughter because of something cute our boys have done.  I feel it when my husband tells me he will watch the boys and for me to go do something I want to do.  Or he slips his arm around me, just because.   I feel it when my oldest bites into a s'more and his first tooth falls out.  I am captivated by his toothless grin.  I feel it in the excitement of my boys learning something new:  first smile, first word, first steps, learning to swim, learning to read and learning ride a bike.   I feel it when my boys play together,  filling our home with such joy and energy.  I feel it when we do something fun as a family: ice skate, swimming, the zoo, movies, holidays, vacations.... 

In those kind of moments, I look at my family and I think, "I could not love you any deeper."  Then, I feel God speak to my heart:  "And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God"  (Ephesians 3:17-19, NIV).

God speaks of his love in those beautiful moments embedded in ordinary life, nestled sweetly between spilled milk, tantrums, bickering children and all of life's imperfections that also reside in our home.

Yet, God's love speaks louder than the tough family moments.   Because even in the discouragement and fatigue that can come with motherhood, I still look at my family and think, "I could not love you more."  That thought reflects back on to me from my Heavenly Father and speaks directly to my heart.  And I feel God say, "I also could not love you more."  

dinner by candlelight

Just for fun we had dinner by candlelight.  I had envisioned setting a serene and magical mood...I guess I briefly forgot we eat with three little boys.  When I first lit the candles one son yelled, "fire!"  His brother followed with, "It's gunna blow!"  Then, my three year old ran and blew out the candles.  (Apparently the only other time I have lit candles in the house has been for birthdays and he just thought that was what he was suppose to do.)   So the mood wasn't as serene as I had hoped, but it still was fun to make something ordinary a little more fun.

Once a Month - October

Month one of our "Once a Month" adventure was suppose to start in November, but a couple of  miracles occurred that made us start in October.   (If you missed our "Once a Month Introduction" click here.) 
First, we arrived at church early enough to sit and look through the bulletin before the service started.   My husband nudged me to look at something that had caught his eye.  There was information on supporting orphans.  "We could start here ," my husband said.  My heart started pumping a little faster with the anticipation of having an actual starting point for our desire to do a better job of being the living church "out there." 
So, instead of ignoring all the tables set up in the foyer like we normally do and hurrying to pick up our 3 year old--who really doesn't care for Sunday School unless we are his teachers, which we are every other week...enough to tease him with us being in his room, but not to give him the assurance that we are always there like he is wanting--we stopped at a table.  Miracle number two.  And we gathered all the info we could about this organization. 
Later at home, we spread the pamphlets out on the floor and dug in.  What could we do to help?  There was a list of 10 ideas. 
"We could pray one son said. 
"We could give money," said our other son.  He then thought for a minute, seemingly wanting to do more and added,  "...and jewels." 
Done.  That's what we are doing.  Minus that jewels because I really only have my wedding ring.  I am not much of a expensive jewelry person and my costume jewelry doesn’t really count. 
It is touching to hear our boys pray for the orphans.  One night during our bedtime prayers, we forgot, so my oldest piped up at the end..."we pray for the orphans too."  
But what is really exciting is that as I am talking about this with my friends, they are telling me about stuff they are doing too.  It is exciting to notice the living church "out there" that is already going on around me and fun to get more ideas to jump into the serving and giving and sharing this Jesus that makes my heart so happy. 
And honestly, this month wasn't much time and not a huge effort, but our small steps have made us feel more connected to those in need. 
We are off to a good start.  I am excited about next month. 

let's fly a kite...

My youngest was crying. 
My middle son had sat on him. 
Why?  My middle son said he was bored.  I started giving him suggestions of things to do.  He dramatically declared every one on of my suggestions as boring, laid down on the floor and also started to cry. 
My patience was wearing thin. 
My oldest son and Dad walk through the house, heading for the door.  My husband was carrying a kite and my oldest son a huge grin. 
The crying instantly vanished as my youngest boys scrambled to get their shoes on and follow their dad and brother out the door. 
We flew a kite.    
It was a windy day and the strong gusts lifted the kite high up in the air.  The boys eyes' were big, and they were running, laughing and taking turns flying the kite. 
It was a good reminder that we just don't know what is around the corner.  
And God has the ability to turn crying into joy.  

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV) 
This verse has been a pillar of strength for me in my life.  Though tough circumstances, I have had to fix my mind on this verse  and stand firm in God's promises of love, hope and joy.   I have had to let this verse push out negative and discouraging thoughts as I claim God's promise of never leaving me or my loved ones. 
Because, I never know what is around the corner.  And God has the ability to turn crying into joy.  

sun flares

I have been wanting to learn how to capture sun flares and I found this blog that did a great job of explaining how to manually set my camera for this type of picture. Yesterday, was bright, beautiful and sunny--a perfect day to give it a try.