Taking Life One Step At A Time

Taking Life One Step At  A Time

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Contented Longing

I titled this entry "contented longing" because this was the week we were to have gone to family camp. This was a week that I had been waiting and longing for for over 10 years. However, we are not at camp this week. As I mentioned before, we canceled our vacation in order to save for a new roof. And, while I am missing out on a great week at family camp, I am fully enjoying a stay-cation at home. I have chosen to rejoice in the fun times with the kids here in Wisconsin and to enjoy every moment. I'm working hard and accomplishing things that have been on my to-do list for far too long. I'm enjoying my children and my husband and relishing experiences that we wouldn't normally have time to try.

But, since this was supposed to be our time at Lakeside, I have found myself often thinking of fond memories from my years there. So, I am dedicating this blog to the many, many (really too many to count) wonderful memories from my summers at LCC. And since I don't want to go through the effort of dredging up pictures from my early childhood years, I'll just include some here from the years I worked on staff.

Here's a smattering of my favorites:
Mud Diving

The two friends who grew up at camp with me and who I had hoped to spend time with this week:

Counselor Hunt!

Staff Bonding through Funk Bowling, hiking, camping, Ben and Jerry's, lakings and other such nonsense! :)

The July 4th Parade that we snuck into year after year:

Weekly, outrageous skits

Craft Shack Craziness

Getting to know a cabin full of girls each week through their silliness and questions. And especially leading devotions with them and witnessing the birth of new life.

And of course, this wouldn't be complete without a picture that captures the peace of Lakeside. It is still a place I consider home.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Tonight marks the first night of our second week of vacation. We spent our first week traveling to see family and celebrating my brother's wedding. More on that to come later.

But tonight we began our second week which is a week at home to save money for our new roof. To make it more than just a "stay at home and get as much work done as you can" week, we've planned several fun activities. Our first was to go to a minor league baseball game.

This evening we headed out to watch the Beloit Snappers take on a team from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Now, here's the awesome part: We found a great deal that allowed us to pay $11 per ticket and with each ticket we received a hot dog, large drink, box of popcorn and a great quality baseball cap.

Not only that, but because we arrived early, we were signed up for our three oldest to participate in some of the games out on the field between innings. Between them, they not only had tons of fun, but also won 4 free tickets to another game!

Plus we also won a free car wash. Since Gabe wasn't able to go out on the field, we made sure that he got a little alone time with Snappy the Turtle.

Part of the fun of this night was that the game was pretty sparsely attended - which allowed our kids to romp and play as needed. And as I watched my kids enjoying the game, I realized that the trip to this game of a sport I really don't care for was well worth my time and money. Oh, and did I mention that I got to sit next to Josh the whole time? Sappy, I know, but it's the little things in life, right?

After we left the game, we decided to stop for a dessert of candy bars at the local gas station. Once each child had chosen their preferred treat, we bounded over to the counter to pay. The gas station attendant looked at me and said, "Are you really going to give your kids candy just before bed? You must be crazy!" And I thought to myself, "Yes, I may be crazy. But the squeals of joy and the shouts of delight are well worth my moments of insanity."

And so begins our vacation!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Eyes to See

Tonight I am thankful for my eyes. Because I got to see some pretty cool stuff.

We decided that since tonight marked the beginning of a two week vacation from school, we should go out for a special dinner. Well, that and it was raining, so the planned grilling wasn't going to work. After several minutes of waffling back and forth, we finally decided on the Quaker Steak and Lube. Let me tell ya ... if you have one of these restaurants near you and haven't yet been, you are MISSING OUT!! Josh and I began going to the Lube when we were dating in Pennsylvania and were so excited to find one nearby here in Wisconsin.

The Lube is a special place because it not only has awesome wings and ribs, but it also has cars and motorcycles hanging from the ceiling and the kids meals come in little cardboard cars that they can then take home. It is the perfect place for a fun family dinner.

Tonight at the Lube, my heart swelled with pride as we ate. For the very first time, Josh ordered a bucket of wings to share with his son. It's the first time one of the kids has wanted an adult meal at a restaurant - and something that Dad would like to eat as well! So, here's the scene that I watched as we all enjoyed our food:

On the way home from that wonderful dining experience, we witnessed some of God's incredible handiwork. As we drove through the pouring rain, we witnessed this beautiful sight.

If you look closely, you can see that it's actually a double rainbow! And this was no ordinary rainbow. Not only was it a double, but it also stretched completely across the sky so that we could see both sides and the top arch. Incredible!

As we looked behind us to see the sunset, we were astounded to see this gorgeous view!

This picture really doesn't do it justice, but the sky was a bright gold (in the midst of the rain, don't forget) with flecks of orange. One of the most breath-taking sunsets I've seen in recent years. (And we see them every day from our back deck.)

So tonight, I'm thanking God for the gift of sight. Because without these eyes - and especially without my trusty glasses - I wouldn't have seen these views. If you haven't been noticing the splendor around you, open your eyes! It would be a shame to miss sights such as these.

{Sorry for the quality of the pictures. These were taken with our phones.}

Thursday, June 17, 2010

An interesting to-do

I had an odd thing happen today. I was driving to a neighboring town to do some shopping and to stop at the library. As I got off the main highway and headed toward the library, I realized that a cop was following me. At least I thought it was a cop. The car was unmarked, but to be safe, I drove very carefully and with the speed limit.

Just as I pulled into the downtown area the police man put on his lights and pulled me over! I couldn't imagine what I had been doing wrong, but I slowly pulled to the curb and began getting out my license as I waited for him to approach my car. It seemed to take FOREVER for him to finally get to my window and during that excruciating wait I catalogued every reason I could think of for why he might have pulled me over.

When he got to my window, he said, "Ma'am, have you been driving from Evansville?" Why yes, I had been! What does that have to do with anything?! Then he said the most ridiculous thing. He told me that someone had phoned in about a light brown car that was driving erratically. I couldn't imagine why someone would call in about my driving, but I just listened as he continued. "The driver of the car passed another car and then went into the ditch. Was that you?"

Well, goodness. First of all, if I had driven into a ditch, I wouldn't be all the way into the other town. I'd either be still sitting in the ditch waiting for Josh to come and get me, or if I had gotten out on my own, I would have driven home, shaking all the way! But of course, I didn't launch into this explanation to the policeman. All I said was, "I didn't pass anyone on the way here."

That seemed good enough for him. He said that he'd been watching my driving for some time and didn't feel that anything was wrong with me (thanks for the vote of confidence) and that my license plate didn't actually match the one that was called in anyway (so why pull me over in the first place?). So, after wishing me a good day, he strode back to his car and I took off.

I couldn't remember if you are supposed to let the cop pull out first or if you can go ahead and leave. Either way, I left first and was then left kicking myself because it caused him to once again be following me. Needless to say I rid myself of him as soon as I could!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Ants Come Marching ...

Yuck. It has happened again. The ants have found our kitchen.

This time I think they were driven in by all the rain we've been getting. But who am I kidding? They find us every summer. And it's always the same. They begin on the kitchen floor, then spread to the counters, then move to other parts of the house despite our spraying in and around the house. It's the itty bitty, teeny weeny ants that you can hardly see and that leave you feeling like they are all over you. Blech!

I really hate this particular part of summer. And to tell you the truth, I've been dreading it for several weeks now. Knowing it was coming, but not knowing when.

But, I'm trying to find a bright side, and I think I finally have. The bright side is that I'm in the house all the time. The ants may be here for a bit. And yes, they are ridiculously annoying. But, I only have to deal with the bugs for a short time each year. Otherwise, aside from an occasional spider, I have a relatively bug-free home. What a wonderful thing!

I really, really don't like bugs, so this is something that I need to take a moment and give thanks for. I don't live outside, I don't have dirt floors or dirt walls. I don't have critters vying for my bed each night.

We've been reading the Little House on the Prarie books and I love how Laura describes her life in such detail. But she leaves out something that my imagination cannot let go of ... the bugs. I'm sure that in their little house or when they slept in the wagon there were bugs everywhere! I actually think about that as I read the book! And here I am complaining about a few little ants that will eventually be gone - hopefully soon.

So, I'm choosing to thank God for our wonderful house, our shelter from the rain, the wind and the bugs. And even when I have to kill the 197th ant, I will again remind myself to be thankful.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Unexpected Growth

We've been working on our garden for quite some time now. And because we are now homeschooling, we're also using it to go along with our current science unit. To provide even more variety for study, we pulled the kernels off of some Indian Corn that we had from the fall and decided to plant a row of it in the garden.

Only, we ran into a little bit of a problem when the kids knocked over the frisbee we were carrying the corn in on our way to the garden. After picking up what we could, we figured the rest would just be eaten by the birds and forgot all about it.

Until the corn began to sprout in the middle of our yard! Here's what we now have to mow over every week. It's amazing how unexpectedly and quickly that corn shot up!

When I look at that corn, so out of place, it makes me think of my own place in this world. The Bible says that we are to be in the world but not of it. Much like how that corn was growing amongst the grass, but was not actually grass.

Sometimes as believers we feel like we have to be telling people about our faith all the time. And while that is definitely something we should do when the opportunity arises, we also need to remember that just living our lives differently from those around us is an incredible witness.

I'm always amazed when acquaintances and friends who have such different beliefs come and want to talk when the chips are down. I'm shocked when someone says they envy the security I have in Christ. Sometimes it is so easy to forget that just living the faith can make a huge impression on those around you.

Think of the corn. It's green just like the grass. It's growing in the same place as the grass. It's a plant just like the grass. And yet, it's different. It grows a little differently, reaches higher, and produces edible food. In the same way, believers typically look just the same as those around them. They live in the same areas as everyone else and often their lives parallel the lives of unbelievers in many ways. And yet, there is a difference. They have the light of Christ beaming out of them. They place their hope in someone different - someone who won't let them down - and they are hopefully producing fruit.

This corn has been a good reminder for me. A reminder that although I spend the majority of my days at home teaching my children and rarely have time to just hang out with others, my life speaks for itself. My priorities and responses and purpose are different than those of many in this town. God can use me and grow me ... even in a field filled with a different crop.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Yesterday we attended a wedding. At every wedding, I long to reach for my husband's hand as the couple declares their love for one another, but alas, he is a pastor, and I rarely get to share that moment with him.

However, there were some very special moments that came out of the day yesterday.

Always, at weddings there is a moment that causes my eyes to well up with tears. It's never the same moment and I never know what will trigger that "moment". Yesterday, there were two moments in the ceremony that I found especially meaningful. The first was as the congregation joined in song. As we sang the words to the praise hymn, "O Praise Him", I looked up to see the bride and groom joyfully singing praises to their Maker in the midst of their wedding ceremony. What an appropriate thing to do! To give glory to the One who brought them together and who is the foundation of their relationship is the most fitting response they could have.

The second moment was as the recessional music began and the bride and groom literally danced their way out of the sanctuary with grins stretching from ear to ear. Another perfectly fitting response! I wish that every wedding ended with the bride and groom so joyfully expressing their love.

After returning home, my sweet daughter and I twirled in our floofy dresses until we could no longer stand. A third moment to cherish!

The last moment was at the end of the night. The bride and groom chose to put other couples on the spot when the glasses were clinked and asked that whatever couple was chosen out of the hat would show the bride and groom how to kiss. The newlyweds would then imitate the kiss as the crowd laughed and celebrated. Of course, Josh and I were chosen. And for the last kiss, no less! Most ideas had already been taken for a creative kiss, so here's what we did:

That's right. Throw out your idea of a stodgy, chaste pastor. Mine has all the passion in the world! It was a fun way to close out the night for us. And it has led to much teasing in church today. Someday, we'll hopefully live this down.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Rains Came Tumblin' Down

We've been in a drought. No, not that kind of a drought. A babysitting drought.

We moved to this state four years ago and since we were immediately plugged into a church, we had immediate pickings for babysitters. The one problem is that our church has a shortage of high school and college students. However, we found one that we loved and who loved our kids and it worked wonderfully for two years.

And then she went to college. Far away. And we were left without a babysitter. So for two years we have been trying to find someone wonderful who will happily spend time with our four active, but pretty obedient children.

Many adults in the church have volunteered for the job. But there's a problem with that. While we love our friends, many have grown children or no children - which means we can't return the favor to them. And since they refuse any sort of payment, that leaves us feeling like we really shouldn't ask often. I mean, you don't want to abuse somebody's generosity!

It got to the point this winter where we went through a 5 month period of no dates and no time away from the kids. Frankly, that's just too long for a busy couple who really wants to spend time reconnecting in their marriage on a regular basis.

But last night, the rain came! We finally found a babysitter who our kids loved and who was great with them. Plus, since she's just going into high school, she'll be around for four years!! I think we're long overdue for a date ... or two!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Seriously, Don't Blink!

We had friends in seminary with a ten year old son. I can vividly remember going to their apartment and seeing their son playing independently on the computer. He showered by himself and could run around the campus without mom and dad tagging along. He seemed so ... old!

At the time, we only had three children. Our oldest was 4 and our youngest was very young - maybe a few months. In that moment, I thought to myself that my children would NEVER reach such an age of independence and young-man-hood.

You know how people always say when you have little ones, "Don't blink or they'll be all grown!" Yeah, whatever. I was living in the day to day of diapers and spit up and naps and temper tantrums. But somewhere along the line, I blinked. And when I opened my eyes yesterday my boy was two months away from being 10 and on the verge of pre-teen. Yikes!!! When did this happen?!!

The wake-up call came for me as I was folding laundry yesterday. The kids kept running in and out of the room and every once in a while I would get a whiff of what I can only describe as wet dog smell. Except that we don't have a dog. I kept moving over to the window to figure out where the smell was coming from. The laundry was all clean, so I knew it couldn't be that. I smelled myself and I was in good shape. Then, my oldest came to stand next to me. Whew! I just about passed out from the smell! (Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit, but it wasn't pleasant!)

I smelled his hair, I smelled his breath, I smelled his clothes ... and then I smelled his armpit. Wowsers! I asked him to smell his armpits and after doing so, he said, "Wow, Mom! That's pretty bad!" No kidding.

So, we got out a stick of deoderant (the same kind that Daddy uses) and I taught him how and when to use it. Then we talked with the younger siblings about NOT needing it yet and so not touching it EVER. And after they all left my room, I cried.

Wearing deoderant may seem like a little thing, but I didn't think he was old enough for that yet. When did he grow up? When did I blink without realizing it? My sweet boy is turning into a young man.

If you are a parent and reading this, I implore you ... Don't blink! What everyone says really is true: kids grow up when you aren't looking. And soon, you end up with little men and women while you are left wondering when you blinked.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Berry Bounty

I figured out why I don't decorate my kitchen in a fruit or veggie theme. It's because I would have a fit and destroy it each year when that particular food is in season. Take strawberries for example ...

A couple of years ago, we planted strawberry plants in our garden. Of course, the first year you plant, you really don't get anything. Last year we got a few small berries, but this year we expected a rather good bounty. What we didn't count on were the many critters who also like berries and who tend to get to the fruit before we can seeing as how they live outside and all.

We have tried spraying and placing netting over the plants, but something was still getting to them. So, when the realization hit that we really wouldn't be growing many of our own strawberries, I decided to buy a couple of flats to make jam. On Monday morning, I headed to our local veggie/fruit stand and purchased 12 quarts of gorgeous, locally grown strawberries. And I was quite excited to get going on the jam. But then, just as I began hulling and slicing, a friend called. Turns out, her strawberry patch was thriving and she wanted us to come and pick as much as we wanted. Well, who can pass up an offer like that!

Now this woman was not kidding when she said her strawberry patch was a bit out of control! Her patch was at least the size of our entire garden just covered in plants. There were no rows to walk through. So once I had picked along the edges, I had to carefully place my feet inbetween plants and try to pick. Several times I ended up with my legs as far apart as I could get them, bent at the waist plucking off strawberries and putting them in my container. I would stay that way until my legs began shaking and then do an odd sort of balancing act to get out of the patch. Did I mention that my hamstrings are so tight that I cried in the shower this morning when I tried to shave?! Yeah, it's that bad.

However, when all was said and done, I came home with another 9 quarts of strawberries. On top of the 12 that I had purchased. And despite the poor pickings in our own garden, Josh came up with another 4 quarts or so. Suddenly I had 25 quarts of strawberries!

I spent 5 hours making jam that night. 20 pints of jam. And still I had at least 12 quarts left. What to do? So, today I made a killer strawberry/blueberry crisp, we've had strawberries on cereal, plain with lunch and dinner and even for dessert. And I froze 21 cups of berries for use in pies and such later on.

Strawberries ... I love the fruit, but frankly, I'm sick of them! And very thankful that I only do this once a year.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Dancin' Fools!

As I mentioned earlier, Saturday was my 11 year wedding anniversary. Josh and I debated for several days about how to celebrate. We had planned on dinner, but then wondered if that was such a good choice given the many graduation parties we'd be attending in the afternoon and all of the eating we'd be obliged to endure at said parties. I know, it's a tough life we live. We thought we could visit the botanical gardens nearby since we have yet to see them in the four years we've lived here. But, then the rain came.

So, we decided on the next best thing. We went bowling.

Now, you should know that we are NOT bowlers. We have fun, but we really are terrible at it! So, after three rather pitiful games, we decided to call it quits. And after turning in our shoes and washing our hands, I found Josh wandering around the small arcade.

I hate arcades. They just rob you of your money. The problem is that you do terribly on the first game and then have to redeem your score. So you end up paying ridiculous money to play a game that has no impact on your life and just sucks your time and energy. Can you tell we don't have video games in our house?

Anyway ... Saturday night changed my opinion of one particular arcade game. It's called Dance Dance Revolution. It's one of those dance machines where they have four pads that you step on as the screen directs you on what to do. I've seen them in movies and was positive that never in my life would I do something so ridiculous - especially not in public. After all, I'm not a teen, I'm a responsible adult! And I really don't need teens laughing at me either.

But, Josh wanted to try it. And since it was our anniversary, I reluctantly agreed to indulge his whim. Whew! Those machines are a workout! After dancing the first set together, we were both sweating and breathing hard. And then we decided to try again. Remember how I told you about the money sucking machines? We fell for it hook, line and sinker!

We had a blast trying again and again to get our foot patterns just so. Neither one of us is very graceful, so I'm sure we were quite a sight to behold. We kept getting off the pads because of our enthusiasm, and failed several rounds, but at least we gave it a shot and were willing to laugh at ourselves and let others laugh with us ... or at us. Although if this shows up on youtube somewhere I'll deny that it's me till my dying day!

So after an hour of dancing, we finally left, tired and exhausted and headed to a late dinner. The dinner was good, and the bowling was enjoyable, but the dancing MADE the date! And as we drove home, it was wonderful to realize that even after 11 years of marriage, we can still find new things to do together and be spontaneous. Nomatter how ridiculous we may look to the rest of the world! Despite the sore joints and heavy eyelids the next morning, it was totally worth it to let down and just have FUN together.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I Still Do!!

On this day 11 years ago, I was putting on the fanciest dress I'll ever wear, packing last minute items for a much anticipated trip and nervously waiting for my big moment! That's right, I was getting married!! 11 years ago today, I made a choice that has altered my life for the better every day since.

I remember getting to the church just before the wedding started and watching my bridesmaids walk down the aisle. I wasn't nervous until the doors closed and I stood alone with my Dad waiting for my turn. It's not that I was nervous to get married, but rather to walk that long aisle in front of so many people to finally get to Josh! But, I should have known that my love would set my mind at ease. As I took my first few steps and he came into sight, this is what I saw: A groom eagerly standing at the front of the church, grinning from ear to ear! He was actually FLIRTING with me in front of the entire church, winking and making me feel like a treasured princess.

Now, I've been to many weddings (one of the perks of being a pastor's wife) and I sadly admit that most grooms don't behave in this manner. I've seen more somber men than young bucks enthusiastically welcoming their brides. Each time a bride walks the aisle, I watch the groom to see his expression and his joy. But I have got to admit that even after 11 years, I have yet to see a man welcome his bride with as much enthusiasm and excitement as mine did! Way to go, Josh!!

And now, 11 year later, I still see him receive me with the same vigor. Oh, it's not that every time I walk in the door, he rushes to my side and can't wait to greet me. But, I definitely see that same spark from time to time and it brings joy up from my toes to know that I am still desired and deeply loved by this incredible man. I love the possessive arm that he places around me as we talk with others, I love the fact that the pastor holds my hand as we worship in church, I love that he continues to pursue me with his kind acts and loving words, and I love that our chemistry has not waned despite poochy tummies, 4 pregnancies and a busy life. And I love that he so readily translates his love for God into love for me and the kids.

So, here's to us, my love! I look forward to the next many, many years with you! And today I toast to that young buck and shy doe who had no clue what a fabulous adventure was in store!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Love's Letter

Below is a letter that Josh recently brought to my attention. It is a letter from a wife to her husband on the eve of his execution. The incredible focus, faith and love that comes through in the writing astounds me. And it makes me think, if I were in the same situation, would I ever be able to write such words? Is my faith and the foundation of our marriage such that we would speak with such boldness, or would we revert to the sappy, tearful writings that are much more common? Please read:

My Dear Heart,—Before I write a word further, I beseech thee, think not that it is thy wife, but a friend now that writes to thee. I hope thou hast freely given up thy wife and children to that God, who hath said, in Jeremiah 49:11, ‘Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive, and let thy widow trust in me.’ Thy Maker will be my husband, and a father to thy children. O that the Lord would keep thee from having one troubled thought for thy relations! I desire freely to give thee up into thy Father’s hands, and not only look upon it as a crown of glory for thee to die for Christ, but as an honour to me, that I should have an husband to leave for Christ. I dare not speak to thee, nor have a thought within my own heart, of my unspeakable loss, but wholly keep my eye fixed upon thy inexpressible and inconceivable gain. Thou leavest but a sinful, mortal wife, to be everlastingly married to the Lord of glory: thou leavest but children, brothers and sisters, to go to the Lord Jesus, thy eldest brother: thou leavest friends on earth to go to the enjoyment of saints and angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect in glory: thou dost but leave earth for heaven, and changest a prison for a palace. And if natural affections should begin to arise, I hope that spirit of grace that is within thee will quell them; knowing that all things here below are but dung and dross in comparison of those things that are above. I know thou keepest thine eye fixed on the hope of glory, which makes thy feet trample on the loss of earth.

My dear, I know God hath not only prepared glory for thee, and thee for it; but I am persuaded he will sweeten the way for thee to come to the enjoyment of it. When thou art putting on thy clothes that morning, O think, I am now putting on my wedding garments, to go to be everlastingly married to my Redeemer! And when the messenger of death comes to thee, let him not seem dreadful to thee; but look on him as a messenger that brings thee tidings of eternal life. When thou goest up the scaffold, think (as thou saidst to me) it is but thy fiery chariot, to carry thee up to thy Father’s house. And when thou layest down thy precious head to receive thy father’s stroke, remember what thou saidst to me, though thy head were severed from thy body, yet in a moment thy soul should be united to thy head, the Lord Jesus, in heaven. And though it may seem something bitter, that by the hands of men we are parted a little sooner than otherwise we might have been; yet let us consider, it is the decree and will of our Father; and it will not be long ere we shall enjoy one another in heaven again. Let us comfort one another with these sayings. Be comforted, my dear heart, it is but a little stroke, and thou shalt be there where the weary shall be at rest, and where the wicked shall cease from troubling. Remember, though thou mayst eat thy dinner with bitter herbs, yet thou shalt have a sweet supper with Christ that night. My dear, by what I write unto thee, I do not hereby undertake to teach thee; for these comforts I have received from the Lord by thee. I will write no more, nor trouble thee any further, but commit thee into the arms of that God with whom, ere long, thou and I shall be. Farewell, my dear, I shall never see thy face more, till we both behold the face of the Lord Jesus at the great day.

Mary Love, July 14, 1651.

Taken from: http://www.go-newfocus.co.uk/pages.php?section=21&subsection=4&artID=138

Thursday, June 3, 2010

98 cent bliss

Remember those booths at carnivals where you could purchase a rip roarin' kiss for just five dollars? I have never purchased a kiss before. But today I did!

I was in Wal Mart and in a spontaneous moment decided to look at the aisle of trading cards. (No, I did not kiss a stranger in the trading card aisle!! Good grief, keep reading!) I have never before collected cards, nor do I desire to spend any time in that "waste of money" aisle! However, today I stopped by in a moment of temporary insanity. My two older boys collect trading cards. They don't take great care of them, but rather spend hours reading the cards, memorizing the names and facts and spouting them off to each other. In fact, they can spend half a day just rearranging the cards in their folders! The fun in this escapes me, but apparently they find these cards quite fascinating.

Despite the fact that they have many football, hockey and basketball cards (we don't really follow baseball in our house)there is one sport that we've been missing. We can't find soccer cards anywhere! And trust me, we've looked everywhere! The cards online are ridiculously expensive and I'm not willing to shell out my or my children's money for a few cards that will soon be bent and without value.

Since the world cup is this summer, we've been keeping our eye out for all things soccer - especially trading cards. And today, when I stopped in that aisle, I found them! The very first soccer cards offered at WalMart! Score one for Mom!! I bought a pack for each of my two older boys and came home to surprise them.

What I hadn't counted on was how very, very ecstatic they would be! My oldest especially has been desiring these cards for many months and I became the sudden hero of the day! So, in a moment of pure genius I said, "You know what I think this deserves?" To which my son replied, "Yeah. I guess so." And then I received the most feathery light kiss on the cheek from my affection-shy child. Ahhhh. A moment of pure bliss for a mother starved for the touch of this particular child.

Don't get me wrong, he shows his love in other ways. But my other three kiddos are all cuddly. He's not. Occasionally I can wrestle a hug out of him (literally), but giving and getting kisses are completely taboo. So today, I proudly purchased a kiss on the cheek from my firstborn for the low price of 98 cents. If I could do it every day, I'd gladly pay each time. But I think I'd better relish this particular moment and commit it to memory. It's a rare thing - which makes me treasure it all the more!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Complaint Cure

I'm rather complainy in my heart today, so here's a complaint cure simply because I need it!

Thanking God for ...
~ Rhubarb (read strawberry rhubarb pie, blueberry rhubarb crisp, strawberry rhubarb jam ...)
~ Sunshine! I keep reminding myself of the weeks in winter when we see no sun. Many days in a row of sun is spectacular!
~ Children who can play independently
~ My wonderful husband who did many, many dishes last night.
~ Sabbath
~ That our sabbatical grant application is mailed. Whew!
~ special days: graduation, anniversaries, birthdays
~ a love of reading
~ a flourishing garden
~ friends who are good at fixing things.
~ the fact that God KNOWS me through and through
~ gentle breezes