Monday, December 16, 2013

just for fun

You all… I know I have been so very quiet here.
I have so much to say.
And yet feel it isn't the time.
So for now, these fun pictures capture some of where I am.

My dear, dear friend Hillary from capturing motherhood
has been the hands of Jesus to me and my family 
and she gifted us with her time and talent to take some pictures.
This first one, there are many in a series that just make me
smile so very much.

I saw the pretty leaves and said, "Hey lets do this!"
Because throwing my hands in the air
and jumping with abandon
that's right where I am.

Letting go of so very much
and reaching with arms wide open to the God of angels armies
who is always by my side!

The baby whose birth we celebrate,

the man whose life saved ours.

The God who holds us up by His righteous right hand.

I pray this season you're able to strip away the unnecessary too.
To look up and rejoice over the only gift that matters.

"Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: 
Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, 
and she will call His name Immanuel.
Isaiah 7:14

The one to be called Immanuel,
God with us.

Do you feel Him with you?
Because He is.
Whether you sense it strongly,
or in a still small whisper.
Love came down at Christmas
for you, for me.

To be the God who is calling us to
draw near,
to reach up,
to hold onto Him

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

hard choices

In life sometimes we have to make hard choices.
And we try, as hard as we might to avoid them.
But when God shows you the way, 
you must just move.
Putting one foot in front of the other.  
And obey.

That is where I've been.

I have been brought to such a place where I equate
it as feeling like I'm on remote control.  God is holding
the remote and I'm literally just walking through the
next open door.  And He is so clearly paving the way.
Putting people in my path, circumstances before me,
and making it so very clear.   

I'm doing none of the analyzing and over thinking that
can be my nature.  And it is so freeing.

In this strange and unchartered territory I feel so at peace.
And can count joys and blessings all around me.
I've been sick.  Very sick for some time.
I'm still not well.  I'm depleted and worn down.

And this led to a decision to make a literal move
for my children to an area where the school district is amazing.

It was a scary leap and one I didn't anticipate making so soon.  But God's
hand has been all over every step of the way.  And I feel so at peace.

They are thriving. 

I see his confidence growing.
And her too.
And this one, well last night she spoke words I thought I may never hear.
She said, "I love reading."  For a dyslexic child who has struggled so
very much, this progress is huge.
And I find my joy overflowing.

I am appreciating all the little things.

This neighborhood park.
The light.
The sense of community.
Oh the community.  
I didn't even know what I was missing.
When I told my friend how amazing everyone has been here
she said, "It's like you're in the south.  That's how they are in the south."
I've never known anything other than the bustle of the city where everyone
is kind of in their own world.  I didn't know what it felt like to have people
reach out to help you with your kids, to help you with carpools, to bring over
muffins, and brownies, and give lend a helping hand.  

I didn't know how much I was lacking, until it all landed in my lap.

And in this process I'm ever so grateful.

This sign in my very own driveway.
Literally telling me to SLOW
and reminding me that it
is safe enough for my children to play
right there in the street.
The beauty is everywhere.
The kindness of dear friends reaching out to help.  
With meals, their time.
A listening ear, and prayer.
I'm learning to say ok to the help.
To admit I need it.
To accept that it's ok to not take care of it all.
And to feel the love of God through others' care.

It's almost too much to bear, but in a good way, you know.
God is speaking to me in so many ways.

Most clearly, that it is time to rest, and to heal.

And so that is where I am.

We are still very much living out of boxes.
And that is hard for me.

But I'm learning to let go of so very much.

To purge what isn't needed.  

To peel off the layers of what wasn't working.

And to rest at His feet.  

To learn again what it means to breathe.

To rebuild.

To dream.

To rise up. 

"Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples;
but the LORD rises upon you."
Isaiah 60:1-2

Sunday, October 6, 2013

insta friday - a season of change

Oh how quiet I have been here.
Life has been full.
And though I've been on pause in many facets of my life.
Many others have been far from quiet.
And so my energy, prayers, concentration have been there.
One of the biggest changes is this little lady
went back to school this past week.
I prayed and labored and cried and prayed
and sought the Lord over this decision.
It was not an easy one to make.

But I knew it was time.

Time to admit that I am not the best teacher for her
right now.  When we began this school year
officially on August 27th much of what she knew
from the last two years appeared to be gone.
And it was scary.
And I had to face the fact that I am
not trained in how to work around this.
I have help.  A wonderful tutor, a language
therapist and an education therapist.
But I had to accept that the few hours a week
of additional help is not getting her where she needs to be.
So there is this very special school just ten minutes from us.
Where every child has dyslexia 
or some form of a language based learning difference.
She is not different.

And every teacher is a trained special education teacher.
And they know just what to do when all the myriad
of challenges arise.

Her class size is 4 kids per teacher.
Broken down so that each group is all at the same learning stage.
So no one feels far behind all the others.  
I knew about this school.
But I also knew it didn't start until 3rd grade.
However, in my feeling like I didn't know what else to do
I called.
Just to see it.
For the future.

And on that tour I learned this year they
went down to second. 
So there's one class that is a 2/3 split.
Which is just perfect for her because
technically she should be in third.
But because of repeating kindergarten
she is doing 2nd grade work this year.
And so it felt like a gift.
I know the whole feeling that if God
calls you to something he'll equip you.
He'll fill in the gap.
But he also sends help.
And so I see this as a gift.
A life raft he has sent to us.

While last year homeschooling was such a beautiful experience.
This year was already proving to not be what's best for her.

I am trusting that great things are going to happen here
this year, and I'm just praying for the Lord to unlock doors.
My education therapist has guided me in decisions for the last three years.
She is on the dyslexia board and I trust her.
When she said this is such a crucial age.
This is when we need to get her over this hurdle
so that she doesn't slip further behind.
So here we are.
And this week overall, I'd say was a success.
There were some tears, and anxiety.
But she is happy.
And was so excited for bring your pet to school day.
She also did something for the first time ever.
Something many kids do years earlier.
She sat down and wrote and illustrated a little book.
And then read it to us at bedtime.
Just for fun.
You see these natural developmental things,
they're not fun when it's all so much labor.
But she did it, just because.
And that is a sign to me that things are working.

To say this decision has weighed heavy on my heart
is an understatement.
So when this little lady out of nowhere told me,
"You know you're a one million infinity times 134 cool mom" 
it was just the encouragement I needed.
She is getting used to our days without her sister.
That has been hard too.
My instagram pics have been quiet too, so this will be quick.
We went to a beautiful beach baptism last week.
Played with friends.
I got a super cool Girl Scouts handbook from
1972 from one of the vintage sellers I follow
on instagram.  Oh I just can't help myself.
It was 2.00 and I think will be so cute in the girls
room.  Not to mention it's slightly sentimental for me.
It was published the year I was born, and I was a 
girl scout for years with my mom as the leader.
I'm loving this sweet October owl she's working on
in art class.
And we finally connected with some dear friends
for much needed fellowship.
The kids had a candlelit dinner.
And afterwards we played spades while
being fueled by these yummy pumpkin spice chai lattes!
 (the ladies won by the way!! hee hee....
this is like a three year ongoing rivalry) 
Cheers to a new week beginning.
New promises.
And His ever present hand in all things.
I'm resting in knowing that I have 
a God of angel armies by my side.

Friday, September 20, 2013

insta friday - catching up

Oh it has been awhile hasn't it friends?
I have so much to say.
But for now no time to do so.
So, here is a little instagram recap of the last two weeks.

I'll start with school clothes.
They don't really need 'school clothes', but it's still fun for these girls to shop.
They like it much more than me.  I am not a shopper.  
But their dad promised them a new outfit.
And so it didn't matter that it has been in the 100's.  
They're ready for fall and are going to dress like it.  
I love their little styles.  
And these pants, can I just get a pair in my size already?
Not only are they comfy looking, but the little bows.

School has been rougher this year than I expected.  More on that soon.  
I documented this moment because it was a peaceful one.
One where no one was upset or crying.  Including me.
I'm only kind of joking here.

And this fur-baby of mine she took center stage a bit on my instagram feed.
The Rhonna app was free one day, so I had some fun playing around with it.
Love that squishy face.
And this is how she sleeps, all the time.  It cracks me up. Not a care in the world.

She and my middle
one who is quite the animal whisperer they hang together a lot.  And when Piper wants
her company, she'll literally bark at her til she joins her.  She is super vocal in letting
us know she literally just wants our love.  It's pretty sweet actually.  Here they're
bird and squirrel watching.  Never a dull moment I tell you.
Oh my, it's already starting to be too dark to see the sunrise on my way to my
spinning class.  But for weeks I would be greeted by the most glorious display
of God's handiwork in the early morning.  You just can't help but feel like it's going
to be a good day starting it out this way.
I've had some super happy mail lately.
I fell in love with these cute and necessary alphabet cards
She so kindly included a little surprise. 
And you all must know by now that I LOVE
books.  Used books, new books, vintage books especially.
And I also LOVE Tasha Tudor.
I follow quite a few vintage sellers on instagram.
And books are my weakness.
So when I happened to log on to see
Tasha Tudor's Christmas book "Take Joy"
just listed.  And no one had claimed it yet.
OH I just had to. 
She is one of my biggest inspirations 
as an artist and a person.  
I just think she was one amazing lady.
This book is filled with Christmas stories,
sheet music, recipes and neat little tidbits about
her own Christmas celebrations.
And imagine my delight when I opened it
to discover that inside she had signed the book herself.
It'll be fun to look through this year after year.
On to other things.
My husband takes the girls to run errands.
And texts me pictures like this.
My son tried out for a traveling baseball team
and the season has begun.  So we're in full swing
with games and practices.  
It's a whole new group of boys and families
and a whole new experience. 
So far so good!
And they practice at a park where lots of people
are working out.
So the girls and I have decided to get some
exercise with Miss Piper too.
The table set and decorated by the girls.
And power outages, not so fun.
But making the most of it,
reading by flashlight.
And this truth is speaking to me right now.

 "Our hearts are like a sensitive 
photographers plate; in order to have God 
revealed there, we must sit at His feet a long time."

Sometimes we have hard decisions to make.
I know I can feel at times like I'm not sure
where God's voice is.  I don't hear it as clearly
as I'd like.

And so this fact, that sitting, just sitting at His feet.
for a "long time." It's important.
Not to rush or be rash.  
But to make sure we're giving God time
to reveal himself in our heart.  
It's a pretty beautiful thought
and something I know we need to practice.
And this bridge, it just makes me happy.
As does having kids over for dinner playdates,
with the chaos of racing cars and scooters spinning 
through the house.
It takes me back to those toddler and preschool days.
When there weren't classes, and practices,
and homework.
Oh look at their joy. 
I just love it.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

family camping

We had one last hurrah for the summer.
A road trip, not too far away.
To the city of Carpinteria for some beach camping.
It was my girl's first time ever camping besides the backyard,
our first time camping as a family,
and my first time camping right across from the beach.
They were all pretty excited, Piper included.
Our adventures took us a short walk/bike ride away to the dog friendly beach.
And guess what, it was Piper's first time seeing the ocean.
It was pretty cool for everyone.
Relaxing and downright beautiful.
And then my adventurous boy doing what boys do
started jumping from those rocks, running around
and doing it again.  I just said, "You probably shouldn't
be doing that, because you don't know what's under the
water there."  He assured me it was fine.
And a moment later was screaming "crab, giant crab!"
 with blood gushing from his ankle.
And I suspected he probably stepped on a sting ray.
This child has one of the highest pain thresholds.
He broke his arm clear through both bones without crying.
But he was writhing in pain and barely able to walk from this.
Fortunately we got him to the lifeguard headquarters
where they got the hot water ready and confirmed it was a sting ray wound.
We all learned a little science lesson that day.
The lifeguards informed us that the poison in the sting,
(which is really more of a deep puncture wound by the way)
is a protein and putting it in hot water cooks it like an egg,
it coagulates and is drawn out.
Pretty trippy. 
And so for two hours they kept him there.
They let him shower and eat some cake.
Because his bravery called for some kind of treat, poor kid.
They said a fifteen year old girl earlier that day
was going into shock and throwing up from the pain.
And described it as being similar or worse than childbirth.
So he now knows about 
the stingray shuffle.
And I think he also learned a hard lesson
that when Mom cautions about something, 
she just might have good reason.
The pulling out of the poison took until
sunset, so we got to enjoy it from
the lifeguard station.
And then the view from our camp.
After dinner, the night called for s'mores.
And what they called the roasting wars to find the perfect 'golden delicious.'
The next day, my husband so graciously made a 
starbucks run to go with breakfast.
It kind of helps that everything is walking distance away.
Despite not sleeping so super well
due to the family of five racoons climbing up and down the
tree above our heads and the nearby train causing our dog to howl
her head off, we still had a fabulous time.
The kids loved the park just a few steps away.
And I loved the walk through town.
Especially the fun antique shops!
A used book store was calling all of our names.
Each kid got to pick a book, at the price
of a dollar an inch.  
I almost forgot to mention,
Piper's favorite part,
Squirrel hunting.  
There were plenty just waiting to torment her.
Then we ventured for another trip to the ocean.
My son said he would not go in.
But eventually he did.
And all was well.
And last, but not least the day rounded out perfectly with a gorgeous sunset.

God did not disappoint.
All in all, it was a really beautiful
first time family camping experience
and a wonderful way to say goodbye to summer.