Easter 2011

Time for blogging seems to escape me these days, but here is a sampling of our Easter festivities this year.  We are so thankful for extended family (on both sides of the Atlantic) that truly spoil our girls.

And amidst eggs and chocolate bunnies, we are also incredibly thankful for the truth behind this season: we serve a risen savior.  He is not a far-off, distant, fairy-tale God, but a real, living Lord who shows us the glorious abundance of new life every day of the year.  Hallelujah!

Bit O’ This, Bit O’ That

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

For some reason, this has become one of my girls’ favorite little holidays, largely because of these two odd-looking paper crafts that they have asked to do for the third year running now.  We always wear green and throw a little green food coloring in something to spice up the day, but it really doesn’t take much to impress our girls.

On that note, thanks to a dear friend unexpectedly giving us a parachute  this morning (does anyone ever expect to be given a parachute?  Unless they’re about to jump out of a plane, I mean?), my poor homeschooled kids got to participate in the be-all, end-all gym class activity.  It was every bit as awesome as I remember it being!

It was a gorgeous day, and the sunshine has had marvelous mood-restoring powers for all of us.

Thank you to everyone who has asked how my re-fingerprinting went.  I went on Wednesday, and they took me as a walk-in, no questions asked.  I was all ready with my pictures of our little man, but the receptionist was as sweet as last time and let me right in without batting an eye.

I was told that they will only call you back in once, so even if my fingerprints still weren’t perfect, they will make do with what they have now.  The gentleman who actually took my prints kindly made a phone call to make sure my application reflected that this was my second attempt so that I wouldn’t be mistakenly called in a third time.

I called USCIS this afternoon to make sure my new fingerprints got where they needed to go and check on the status of our application.  Unfortunately, our case doesn’t seem to have reached the main office yet.  That’s okay.  As I have been reminded by a few of you, God is, of course, completely in control even of these details that seem frustrating from my very limited perspective.

Thank you all once again for your encouraging words and your continued prayers!

Thsweet Huthsby

On Tuesday evening, Trevor took a brave step toward correcting a genetic dental condition: he still has four baby teeth, there are no permanent teeth to take their place, and so the baby teeth have begun to recede back into the gum and cause problems.  In order to replace his baby teeth with implants of grown up teeth, he needs to have the gap widened with braces.  In order to get braces he has to wear a retainer to keep him from biting the braces off.  And this is where our story begins.

Trevor picked up his new retainer on Tuesday evening and has to practice wearing it for a week before he gets his braces on and has to wear the retainer full time.  Practice? you say.  What’s hard about wearing a retainer?  Well, apparently, talking is.

On the way home from small group on Tuesday night he debuted his “new accent” for my ears.  Imagine my husband’s usual voice: the perfect British English that lands him regular reading gigs in church circles and makes the ladies in our small group swoon (and sometimes our pastor, too).  Now add in an indecipherable layer of hissing, gurgling and lisping and you have his new way of talking.

When I first heard it, I felt a giggle begin to bubble up from the very core of my being.  Within about three minutes of his describing his encounter at the orthodontist, surrounded by gangly teenaged patients being reassured that it is *much* better to get this over with in high school, I was gasping for breath with tears streaming down my face.  “I’m sorry.”  I kept telling him.  “You sound fine.” (*Snicker*)  “You’ll get better at it.”  (*Chuckle Gasp*)  It’s just you normally sound so… dignified!”  He was very gracious about my indiscretion, seeing the humor in the situation too, and knowing – needing to believe – that the situation would improve before he would be wearing it full time – at work, in church, in meetings.  It will get better.

And it is getting better.  But there’s a reason why they gave him a whole week of testing out his new mouth in the safety of his own home before airing it in public.  These things take practice, and so last night he read the girls their bedtime story from The Lamb, a book that is both very dear to our hearts since we know some of the people involved in its making, and very serious.  Or it should have been at least.

Daddy: And do you remember how the one bringing the lamb put hiths hand on itshth head – thshowing that hithsh sthin waths being plathed on the lamb?

Mommy: (Hands on mouth.  Not going to giggle.)

Daddy: The Bible sthays that when Djesthuth… DjesthuSSSSth…

Mommy: (Gently shaking from silent giggles.  Maybe the girls won’t notice.  Why aren’t they laughing anyway?)

Daddy: …wath nailed to the crothsh, all our sthin  wath taken off usth and plathshed on him…

Mommy: (Ack!  One got out! What’s wrong with me?!  My girls are being read a beautiful, serious, scripturally rich story by their wonderful, loving father.  Get it together, girl!)

Pippa: Mommy – stop laughing at Daddy!

Mommy:  I’m sorry.  I’m so sorry.  It won’t happen again.

Daddy:  He took everybody’ths thshin – from the bethst people to the very worthst….

Mommy: (*Guffaw*)

Pippa: (sighing deeply)  Daddy, maybe I better read the rest of the story.

*  *  *  *  *

And so it was that our firstborn officially became *the mature one* in the family.   It’s a good thing she’s such a good little reader.

Thankful Thursday: FTGI

So, a lot of my friends are posting one thing they are thankful for each day in the month of November.  What a great idea, I thought, only the every day thing was just not going to work for me.  Not for want of thankfulness, you understand, just time.  A post every week is more my pace these days, sadly.  So without further ado, I bring you the first installment of “Thankful Thursday.”

Today I am thankful for “FTGI”.  I know what you’re thinking, does she mean “TGIF”  and she is just having a the-babies-ate-my-brain moment?  No.  It *is* nearly Friday, and I am thankful for that, too, but “FTGI” is something different, something amazing.

Yesterday afternoon as our little charge Ellie was being picked up by her Mommy (whom the girls *adore*), Pippa was putting the finishing touches on a picture she had drawn of Heaven (I wish I had snapped a picture of it – Mommy brain strikes again!).  She quickly decided to give it to Ellie’s mom and rushed over to show us her artwork.

She had drawn a beautiful little house with a curly gate and an inscription at the top: “FTGI”.  I was a little embarrassed in anticipation of hearing what she *thought* this might spell.  (Ellie’s mom is a kindergarten teacher, so, you know, the pressure’s always on.)

“This says,” she proudly explained, “FTGI, which stands for Free To Go In.”

I was dumbstruck.

My sweet six-year-old big girl had just given a (very simple) presentation of the Gospel.  She gets it.

Romans 6:23 says

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Today I am thankful for the truth of her simple words.  We could never possibly earn God’s favor.  We are sinful through and through.  And yet His gift to us, through Christ’s death and resurrection, is that our eternity is secure if we trust in Christ.  Hallelujah, it really is “free to go in”!

And… I am very thankful for a little girl who knows it, and isn’t afraid to share that good news!

No More Bloglines?! What’s a Girl to Do?

So my husband (and my Bloglines homepage, now that he’s pointed it out to me) tell me that Bloglines is vanishing from the face of the Internet in less than two weeks.  Apparently feedreaders as a whole are a dwindling breed.  I didn’t know!

I can’t stop reading blogs, that’s just not an option.  I need to know what’s going on each day in The Shoe and what the fabulous Baker’s Dozen (plus one!) are up to each day.  I must know what names readers are discussing at Appellation Mountain and Swistle: Baby Names.  Not to mention I need to keep tabs on my *actual* friends at places like the AgNews and Em’s Musings.

So, this is a plea for help.  How do you keep track of your favorite blogs?  What feed reader do you use?  Surely I can’t just save everything as a favorite and check things individually.  That would suck my life away even more than the great World Wide Web already does.  No good.  Any suggestions?

Also, if this makes no sense at all to you and you’re wondering if most of the words in the post are actual English words, you can discuss something else in the comments instead, like why God gave female mountain goats horns as well as the male ones.  My girls want to know.

Some Truth About Life

I don’t often post anything of a political nature here, but I have recently come across Gianna Jessen’s incredible story, and I feel compelled to share.

Maybe the fact that this feels “political” to me is part of the reason why more Christians aren’t speaking up on the issue of abortion – our culture has managed to make a life or death issue of the grandest proportion into a simple matter of my rights versus yours, my *opinion* versus yours.

I challenge you to listen to all 16 minutes of this woman’s story (in two parts) and still see it that way.


A Jolly Good Week

Lindsay, Ian with baby Pippa, and Sarah

I’m afraid I left you all on a bit of a whiny note.  The van was actually repaired less than 24 hours after my last post, but I was so caught up in the wonderful whirlwind of our visit from the Burgess family that I neglected to update.  I should also mention that there were no sightings of mice or moth larvae (or “salivas” as Ro calls them) while our visitors were here, and only one instance of vomiting (Romilly) which we can only attribute to Daddy’s crazy driving on the winding, hilly, country roads of Lancaster County.  All that alone made it a pretty spectacular week in my book, given the previous weeks’ happenings.

But it wasn’t just that.

Lindsay was part of a precious group of church friends in Scotland who really became our family when Pippa and Romilly were born.  It was Lindsay and another friend Sarah who were our very first visitors in the hospital after Pippa was born.  And it was Lindsay who missed seeing Romilly in the hospital because she was the one home looking after Pippa and Gulliver for us.

Before we left, we had the privilege of watching her meet and fall in love with her now-husband Nigel.  We missed going to their wedding by just three months when we moved.

Seeing them now as a family and getting to know their precious little son was an absolute delight.  It will never cease to amaze me how God takes two people, strangers at first, and builds a family out of them.  It’s particularly fun when they happen to be two people I like as much as these two.  And let me tell you, their wee boy… oh my goodness, there are just no words for those squeezy legs and sparkly blue eyes.

We miss you guys already, but trust that the Lord will bring us together again, hopefully before your little man loses too much of that glorious chub!

Trouble

Our van is in the shop.  Again.

On Sunday we had a mouse in our house.  Two weeks ago  we had a moth infestation in our kitchen cupboard.  And just before that, as you know, the plague blew through our home sending everyone in its path (and everyone they had subsequent contact with) running for a bucket.  Oh yeah, and our dog *might* have fleas again.

And did I mention we have a lovely family of three coming from Scotland to stay with us for a week tonight?  And do you know that every time we have international guests we either have car trouble or a tummy bug? (Back me up here, international readership – it’s true, am I right?) It’s never been both at once, so perhaps the Burgesses may be spared the famous Young stomach flu.

Anyway, life has been full of problems lately.  Little annoying problems that cause us to recognize our dependence on God’s goodness that these things don’t happen all the time, and that they aren’t big problems, but that nevertheless rock our little world for a couple of days.

I rarely find myself asking “Why me?”.  I know it is only by God’s grace that I have life and breath and food and water, and I know I *don’t* deserve the incredible blessings He has lavished on me:  a house to have a mouse and moths in, a van to have break down,  a generally healthy body (or, husband, as the case may be) to have temporarily given over to sickness.

But I do find myself, more often than I’d like to admit, muttering to God, “I really didn’t need this.”

But I do need this.

My God knows exactly what I need, and He graciously gives me precisely that, though not always what I want.

Romans 8:28

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

What a joy it is to serve a loving God who has every detail of life under control, and is working things together for my good and his glory!

The mouse has been… umm, taken care of, although Trevor is concerned that he may have had cousins. The moths are gone now, although I do still turn into a raging lunatic when one gets into my house.  The van, well… still in the shop.

But God is on His throne, and I have peace in knowing that His purpose will be accomplished in all this.

Seriously, is that a moth on my ceiling?  I gotta go.

Odd and Ends

As is usually the case when I’m not blogging much, the problem isn’t a lack of things to share.  The problem is that there is *so* much going on all at once that by the time I think about writing a post about one thing, life has whizzed past me and something bigger and more interesting is going on.  So, just by way of keeping you all up to speed, here are some highlights:

  • The school year is over!  Which means: Pippa is done kindergarten (what?!), my baby sister Paige graduated from high school (WHAT!?!), and Ellie is now happily enjoying summer with her mommy, who is a teacher.  We are enjoying the lazy pace of summer and the relative ease of scooting around with just four little ones, or at least we were until… well, I’ll come to that.
  • Our friend Liz came to visit from Scotland.  The summer before I was pregnant with Pippa, we went on a short term missions trip to Romania (I still know a few useful phrases and even some songs – ask me sometime).  Liz was part of the team we went with, and she has been a dear friend ever since, though we’ve been out of touch for too long.  She showered our girls with some good Scottish children’s literature (I am having to relearn words like glaikit and ken), and was an instant hit with them.  This is Liz, then and now:

  • My ‘little’ cousin Holly got married!  A long time ago, I told you all how weird it was that my cousin Michael (Ellie’s dad) was all grown up and living around the corner with his wife, because in my head he’s still about six.  Well, this is his *little* sister.  You can imagine!  I am getting old, old, old.
  • Our van’s transmission bit the dust.  We have been stuck in the house for most of the week and are just hoping to have it back in time for some plans this weekend and next week.  Three years ago a similarly enormous and unexpected car repair came up, and prompted our big financial rethink of 2007.  This time, we both took the news much more peacefully, knowing that God has a purpose for even this, and looking forward to seeing what it might be.  For one thing, I know I will never again take for granted having a car big enough to fit everyone so that we can not be stuck in the house all day!  Which brings me to…
  • It’s so hot!!!  I have always joked (half-joked?  Not at all joked??) that the only things Trevor and I fight about are baby names and air conditioning.  So, as such, this extended period of non-pregnancy and non-heat has been a lovely time of refreshment and growth in our marriage, but I expected it to come to an end with the hot weather.  You know what?  Two things seem to have happened this year in a huge answer to prayer: 1.  Trevor doesn’t like the heat any more than I do this summer, and has on more than one occasion *gasp* turned the air on before I even thought of it, and 2. I am finding myself less inclined to spend the money and more inclined to hide away in the cooler rooms of the house and wait it out.   I’m not sure our AC usage is much different than usual, but it sure has been less contentious!
  • Finally, in case you’ve been missing my posts on much other than cute pictures of my kids, I have a post up on our church’s blog, and a few others back in the archives a bit if you feel like digging for them.  Our assistant pastor’s apologetics series has been awesome and so have my friend Jocelyn‘s posts, so it wouldn’t hurt to read in between my posts as well.

Thanks for sticking with me through this dry spell.  Maybe someday I’ll get back into a groove of posting more often and more substantially… maybe.

I Love You, Mama

I had a look through the archives to see what I’ve said about my mother on Mother’s Days past, and the truth of the matter is that I’ve already said it all.  In fact, the photo above, which embodies everything I loved about my childhood and everything I love about my mom all in one picture, has already appeared on this blog at least twice before.  And you know what?  I’m posting it again anyway!

But today I am feeling especially thankful for having my mom nearby and involved in my life while I am finding my own way as a mother.   You are such a tremendous blessing and an encouragement to me, and I am thankful for you every day of the year.

Happy Mother’s Day to my own sweet Mama, my two wonderful grandmoms (the Alices!), my dear step-mom Debbie, and of course my mother-in-law Elaine, as well as to all the other wonderful mommies reading!