Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter

Happy Easter from our family on the gravelly road to yours.  He is risen. He is risen Indeed!

As tradition, we took our family photo before going to Easter Sunday church service this morning.

And while the tradition has little to do with the reason we celebrate Easter or the promises that we proclaim while remembering the empty tomb, its a tradition that slows us down a moment as a family amidst the candy and baskets and busy weekend and hurry to get out the door for church.

I'm thankful for each smile, giggle, closed eyes, and goofy face as I comb through our pictures this afternoon.  We have reason to smile because of that first Easter Sunday, hope for tomorrow, victory over the grave.

But before you think we are some angelic crew, here's one of our silly ones...

May you and yours have a blessed Easter weekend.

And while this is just a peak into our day, I'm hoping to share more of our family fun from this weekend but I don't want to miss what's happening right now on the gravelly road.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Book Review: Never Unfriended

I'm honored to share a bit about a book I just finished reading:  Lisa-Jo Baker's "Never Unfriended: The Secret to Finding and Keeping Lasting Friendships".

This is a book to read slowly and savor over cups of coffee, in stolen minutes of rare alone time in motherhood and womanhood.  It encourages you to ponder you own past and present friendships and to better understand how God designs us for friendship and friendship for us.

Lisa-Jo walks readers through four big questions that color how we see friendships: What are we afraid of? What can't we do about it? What can we do about it? and Where do we start?  Then each section is filled with Biblical wisdom and heartfelt personal stories, where Lisa-Jo leads the reader through a model for lasting friendships based on the most authentic and faithful friend who ever lived - Jesus.

I feel a transition of sorts in my own friend life as my kids will soon all be in elementary school -- preschool and little kid playdates are nearing an end with conversations at school, church, and sporting functions are becoming more the norm.  The idea that next fall is the beginning of my last year of MOPS is a somewhat scary thought- meaning I will need to work at being more intentional about my friendships, without the opportunity to gather, encourage and pray with the same group of women multiple times per month.   So much of this book both encouraged and challenged me in so many ways.
"This is the secret to finding and keeping lasting friendships: become women who want to see the women around them flourish."
So many of Lisa-Jo's words resonated in my heart, advice that should be read and considered over again as seasons of life change and friendships ebb and flow.  From being the "new girl" in a group, to conquering the feelings of missing out, to handing tough conversations or conflict and even supporting a friend through times of grief - this is a book that is can apply to women of all ages and walks of life, a blessing to read by yourself or with a group a friends.
"Maybe the most intimate, radical thing we can do for our friends is to show up."
And yet the even more important message is this: "There is a God who would die before He would ever unfriend you.  There is a God who did die rather than unfriend you... He is the only one who can live up to the promise to Never Unfriend you.  It's worth taking Him up on it."

Take some time to check out this new book.  I hope it blesses you as much as it did me.

Just another look at what I've been reading here on the gravelly road.

** I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased feedback. All opinions are my own. **

Monday, March 27, 2017

Fun in a pink dress

Boys were having a sleep over at Grandma's for the start of spring break.  She wanted to get out her fancy dress and take pictures.  How could I say no?  Twirly, smiling fun.

Just a bit of girl time here on the gravelly road.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Happy 6th Birthday!

Happy birthday to our joyful new 6 year old!  Her big smiles, infectious laughter and silly songs fill our home and we can't imagine life without her.  We celebrated her birthday over the weekend with family -- a fancy Princess Elena cake, tons of excitement and so much of fun.  

On her actual birthday, she opened one more present at breakfast, made delicious cake pops with mom for snack with her brothers after school (using a new cooking kit from grandma) and had a special supper of her choosing.

And as is tradition, here are some of the highlights of her year as a 5 year old as told by mom.

* You continue to love everything about preschool!  Last school year you attended two days a week but this fall you started a new preschool (where Zman had gone) five days a week and you have flourished.  It has been a joy to see you make so many new friends, working hard at speech, and soaking up all the fun learning you get to do.  Kindergarten is just around the corner and we can't wait to see God's plans for you there too.

* You are kind-hearted and thoughtful -- making your friends and teachers special notes and pictures at home to bring the next day, asking if I can send a special picture to a loved one you are thinking about, being so excited to dance at the nursing home, and wanting to help where ever you can.

* You started dance this past fall and it has been fun to watch you pour yourself into it.  The first few weeks there were some tears... not about going to dance but that you had to wait a WHOLE WEEK before you got to go back.  You listen well and love to show us all that you are learning.  Keep practicing hard and doing your best -- they are great skills.

* You love to pretend.  Whether you are playing dolls by yourself, house or store with your brothers, or some other imaginary game outside, you love the big stories and adventures.  From a big sister, a veterinarian, a mom, or a princess warrior, I love hearing all the big roles you pick for yourself.  Keep using your imagination to tell the stories inside you and keep dreaming big.

* Drawing, coloring, art and projects are some of your favorite things.  While your brothers are in school in the afternoon, you spend a lot of time at the table drawing pictures and coloring.  You love the projects you do at school and are always asking to do more at home too.  Cooking projects is another favorite and you are so willing to help in the kitchen.  You are loving the special baking sets grandma gave you and they are a very delicious project we can do together.

* You are determined and work hard at all you do.  You don't give up with things are hard even though they frustrate you -- speech, swimming lessons and tball have been big examples in the last year.  Learning to ride your bike without training wheels was a big accomplishment this year and your determination translated into figuring it out in one afternoon of practice.  I know its hard when you are often the smallest in the group at school or with friends, but your determination serves you well and you accomplish so much. 

* You relish your role as the only girl and little sister, even though you ask all the time for a baby sister.  I treasure the times its just the two of us and we get to have girl time and I'm glad you look forward to it too.  As much as they can tease you at times, know that your brothers are looking out for you, especially when you start kindergarten in the fall.

Happy birthday blessings!  Mom and Dad love you so much and pray your year as a 6 year old is full of new adventures, special memories together and lots of learning.  We are excited to see God's plans for you as He continues to mold you into the young lady He has designed you to be someday.
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