Thursday, July 31, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Begin

This week I'm again participating in Five Minute Fridays hosted by Lisa-Jo Baker, encouraging bloggers to write on a prompt unedited for five minutes.  I didn't want to miss this week -- its the last time Lisa-Jo will be hosting Five Minute Fridays at her blog.  Next week the passionate and loving Five Minute Friday community it will be "meeting" at Kate Motaung's blog.  This week's prompt: BEGIN


Sometimes the beginning takes the most bravery.

Something new.  Something unknown.

Taking that first step out the front door and beginning a new journey.

When I stand at the point of beginning, I usually can't see the end or even how many twists, turns, rocky or smooth places the road may contain.  The not-knowing often adds to my fear but yet if I knew all I'd need to walk through, I might not be able to take that first step.

Kindergarten is just one month away for our precious son.  A huge important beginning for him.  It is the topic of frequent conversation and soon we'll busy getting everything ready for his first day.  His excitement reminds me of the hope and potential that a new beginning brings.

This fall is a beginning for me too.  A new schedule, new normal.  I've been praying and pondering how best to use the days while he is at school.  Volunteering, a job, something else.  I struggle to wrap my mind around what this new normal might look like.

I've also been pondering the beginning of our adoption journey that seems so long ago now.  I was so certain that there would be another little one in our family by the time our son headed off to kindergarten.  I couldn't see the winding path that brings us to this point, this transition.  In many ways I'm thankful for that.

I trust in God who knows all beginnings, sees all endings and all the winding curves in between.  Whether it be the first step or a hundred steps later, He is there beside me reminding me that everyday is its own new beginning.


Today, I am linking once again with the passionate and loving Five Minute Friday community, hosted each week by Lisa-Jo Baker.  Come join the fun.

Five Minute Friday

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Books While We Wait - July 2014 edition

As you know, we are buying a new children's book each month while we wait. Since the original post has gotten rather long to keep reposting.  I will still update the original list and have added a link near the header, but each month I will only post about the new book.  If you want to see the entire list, please feel free to click on the link at the bottom and review the other ones :)

The Knight and the Firefly: A Boy, a Bug, and a Lesson in Bravery by Amanda Jenkins and Tara McClary Reeves

This heartfelt book is about a knight who protects his bug friends bravely during the day but struggles with being afraid of the dark every night.  A friendly firefly helps him face his fear using Truth about our Heavenly Protector, specifically Psalm 91, learning that with God we are never alone.  The illustrations were beautiful and our son connected with the story.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tball memories

Last week was the end of summer tball for our kiddo so here's a few more pics to share:
tball memories

I love how the preschool tball group here just practices.  No games, no keeping score, and less waiting.  Instead there was lots of time to play catch, practice fielding, hit the ball, and have fun.  Of course they ran the bases and played the favorite Base Tag game too.  Our kiddo had tons of fun, enjoyed seeing his friends, and found a great use for some of his endless little boy energy.

Tball was again a summer favorite but its ending means summer is slipping through our fingers.  Hoping for plenty more summer fun on the gravelly road.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Five Minute Fridays: Bloom

This week I'm again participating in Five Minute Fridays hosted by Lisa-Jo Baker, encouraging bloggers to write on a prompt unedited for five minutes.  This week's prompt: BLOOM


Our garden is full of blooms.  Colorful promises of a future harvest.

Some plants create so many blooms, others just a few.  Some are simple and small.  Others large and loud. But not every bloom will create a vegetable or something to harvest.

Some blow off in a storm or strong wind, some shrivel and fall, and others are eaten.  But the healthy plants keep blooming.

I've written it many times... bloom where you are planted.   A hope I've written in cards for other moms in my small group these past two springs.  A cheerful cards, heartfelt words, and a packet of seeds.  Something small but hopefully encouraging.

But have I bloomed where I'm planted?  Yes and no.  Sometimes I am more like the plant that just keeps growing and stretching trying to reach something beyond, something next, something else.  The plant whose vines need to be carefully moved to keep it from being eaten or trampled.

It is so hard to work at blooming here, now, in the waiting.  Easy to forget the need to continue to put down deep roots to gather enough water for more blooms.  Easy to worry my blooms will be too small or simple. In the busy season of mothering, its so easy to be caught up in the overwhelming to-do list and the sometimes loneliness of caring for little people.

But God is my gardener.  He provides the water.  He watches out for weeds and predators. He gives his Son.  I need to use what He's provided and bloom. He is Enough.


Today, I am linking once again with the passionate and loving Five Minute Friday community, hosted each week by Lisa-Jo Baker.  Come join the fun.

Five Minute Friday

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Feeding the Chickens

Grandpa and Grandma bought him a slingshot this weekend... with clear instructions that it was for shooting marshmallows.

Marshmallows are sticky when squished and shot, over and over again.  Plus the dog eats them.

So this was the alternate we came up with -- shooting dried-out bread to the chickens (or AT the chickens) not sure he made the distinction.  Of course he also had to test how far he could send the bread :)

He was happy, the chickens were happy and I had fun taking the pics :)

Just how life works as a mom to a boy here on the gravelly road.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Wonderful Day

My sister came to spent the day with us yesterday... watched tball practice, played legos, ate lunch with us (cupcakes for dessert) and then joined in the laughs as the kiddo showed off his slip-in-slide skills.  It was a wonderful day.  Our son is so lucky to have her as his aunt!

tball and outside summer fun

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Fourth of July 2014

We had a wonderful holiday weekend, with lots of time with family.  Of course we didn't get to see everyone we'd hoped to but it was still a full and blessed weekend.  I did get to hold our brand-new niece for the first time -- I facilitated her afternoon nap while my kiddo played with her older sisters :)

Most of the weekend's activities centered around the big family reunion -- aunts, uncles, cousins and second cousins visiting from Texas, East Coast, St. Louis, Chicago, Alabama and plenty of places in between.  In some ways it was a bittersweet reunion... the first time we've all been together since we said good-bye to Grandpa, celebrating his favorite holiday and creating family memories just the way he'd want us to.

There was a big picnic at my parents' with yard games and visiting.  There was some rain which moved the last part of the gathering to the garage but it didn't damper the fun or converstaion, at least until the mosquitoes found us.
4th july picnic

Then the next day there was a big 3 generation family softball game, kickball, crazy relays (egg/spoon race, tire roll, a balloon race, tug-a-war, and 3-legged race to name a few), and other outside fun.  And true to family tradition, there was even root beer floats to cool down in between.  The "unplanned activity" that I ended up with many pictures of was balancing/walking on the very large spool.  The softball and games created lots of memories, laughs and helped us make the most of the beautiful weather -- and it was certainly entertaining to those who decided to remain spectators!
family reunion games

Later that evening, the kids enjoyed sparklers, a few lanterns were sent soaring, and then we enjoyed some fireworks, Grandpa's favorite.

It was such a blessing to see the next generation creating wonderful memories on the family farm.
family farm

Monday, July 7, 2014

Garden Blooms

Fun to see so many flowering plants in the garden when we got back from our holiday weekend away (more on that in a later post).  Here are a few:

flowers in the garden

Cucumber, squash, zucchini, peas, tomatoes, and peppers are all blooming, in addition to an early sunflower.  There is even one small zucchini growing and several tomatoes.  The weeds are growing right along with the vegetables, unfortunately, especially after being gone.  Plenty garden work yet ahead, but so excited to see signs of future home grown vegetables appearing in our garden on the gravelly road.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Camping Weekend with Friends

This past weekend was the annual camping weekend with a group of our friends.  As always, there were lots of memories made plus some rain, which seems to be a requirement with this group.

This year the group consisted of four families, with plenty of kids around our son's age.  The weekend was filled with riding bikes, catching bugs, campfires, time at the beach, marshmallow shooters, and plenty of fun.
camping fun with friends

The highlight for the kids though was a flooded campsite a little ways down from ours that was filled with tiny frogs and tadpoles.  The kids referred to it as the "frog pond".  Do you see the tiny frogs in his hand?
tiny frogs

He also enjoyed the classes at the park's Nature Center -- one called "Bug Hunt" (thus the net and bug house) and another where he made a dream catcher.
nature center at state parks

Another weekend of great camping memories.  It is such a blessing to be able to spend time enjoying the beauty of creation together as a family (even if some rain and bugs are involved).

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Book Review- Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look by Emily Wierenga

I was given a free book in order to post a a fair review during release week for this book.  As always, opinions are my own.  

Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look by Emily Wierenga

Over the last few years, I've discovered the beauty of a well written memoir and have written some reviews on this blog of some of my favorites.  There is something truly powerful about someone sharing the intimate details of their life journey, inner struggles and even their faith walk that inspires and challenges me.  I often set the book down at the end feeling like I've made a new friend.  Without a doubt this book falls into that category.

Emily weaves together her journey with raw honesty and storytelling skill to keep the reader connected to the story with each page turned.  The threads of her story build on so many different themes that readers from many walks of life can relate, from caring for an ailing/aging parent, falling in love, walking through seasons of loss, battling anorexia, worldwide travel and missions, to finding authentic faith.

This book is about being a daughter, a wife, a Christ-follower, a sister, a mother and a traveler.  Its about forgiveness, living in grace, and loving unconditionally. Its about seeing God's hand in the everyday moments, especially as she cares for her mother suffering from the effects of brain cancer.  And its about seeing God's extravagant love and hearing Him whisper "Watch me take care of you".

There were so many parts that I loved in this book.  I enjoyed how the author continues to make sense of her past, redeeming the hard places of her story and inviting God into them.  It can seem so much easier to attempt to just move on from the tough stuff, pretend it didn't happen, and try not to think about it again.  But it seems there is always something we can learn or someone we can reach out to because of our journey and our story.  God uses all the parts of our journey, especially the hardest parts.  This book reminds me to again look at my whole journey, not just the part I'm living now, but to remember how God has taken care of me in the past as a reminder that He will continue to do so.

From the book cover:
"Emily Wierenga left home at age eighteen with no intention of ever returning.

Broken down by organized religion, a childhood battle with anorexia, and her parents' rigidity, she set out to find God somewhere else--anywhere else. Her travels took her across three continents in buses, cars, and planes, across mountains and over deep blue seas.

What she hadn't realized was that her faith was waiting for her the whole time--in the place she least expected it.

Poignant and passionate, Atlas Girl is a deeply personal story of the yearning we all share to be truly known, entirely forgiven, and utterly loved."

* If you decide to purchase this book, know that all the proceeds from this book go towards funding The Lulu Tree, a ministry “dedicated to preventing tomorrow’s orphans by equipping today’s mothers”, in Uganda.  
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