Saturday, April 30, 2011
The University we work at has a cow and horse farm. I didn't really know much about it until the end of spring break when we had Dan, one of our Lifelines student leaders, stay with us for the last few days of break. Dan works at the farm and helped deliver one of the baby cows when he was staying with us. Then a few weeks later I was talking with a grandmother at our library children's time and she was telling me that she takes her grandaughter there quite often when it's nice. She seemed shocked that the kids and I had never been there for a visit. So, I decided that we must go. And so we did just that- along with my mom (while my parents were visiting recently). And my oh my I'm in love with this little farm. Why? Well, let's just say that I'm a sucker for baby animals and baby cows are no exception. As you can see there is this sweet little room with all the babies - who will happily let you pet them (and nibble your fingers a bit)! There were big cows too and horses, but I could have spent all afternoon with the babies! Eli was really excited about the cows from the beginning, but he was a little nervous for a bit to actually touch them. Instead he just kept pointing at them in wonder (see picture #4) while yelling, "Ooh, ooh!" We hear from our friend Dan that they are due for another baby sometime this week and that we could come meet the new little one as soon as a couple hours after it is born!!! We do have a bunch of meetings this week, and a trip to Bar Harbor planned amongst other things, but maybe if we get lucky we will also have a visit with a newborn baby calf!
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
I love living in a place where we have all four distinct seasons. I love the changing of the seasons and all the new little adventures each season brings. I love summer and fall and I even love winter (at least the first few months of it)! But spring? Well, let's just say that spring hasn't always been my favorite season. It's not that I really dislike spring it's just that it's not my favorite. Truth be told that once I am finished with winter I would be just as happy moving straight on into summer! But that's not how it works and so this year I have decided to embrace spring. So I made sure that we all have a good pair of rain boots and a rain coat and we are getting out and enjoying the wet, muddy goodness that spring has to offer! We are blowing bubbles (because it's never to early to start), playing on the swing set, riding bikes (and other assorted scooters and cars), kicking balls, and our very favorite has become jumping in puddles (both water and mud)! It has actually been quite fun watching Eli really discovering the outside (since he was really too little to fully appreciate it last year). One day while Joe was raking our yard the kids and I had a blast throwing the last chunks of snow (from our massive snow pile) out into the road, smashing the snow with our boots, and watching the last (hopefully) of winter melt into the ground! Yes, I am embracing spring (I even let Eli touch his first worm this morning)! But don't get me wrong, I think I'm still ready for summer!:)
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Above: One of my favorite pictures- but mostly because of the cute shot I got in the background (totally by accident) of Joe and our niece Holly!
Below: I kind of blew the shot, but I still couldn't resist sharing Brenna and Lily doing a little disco dance!
It's officially birthday season for us!
In the last two months there have been birthday parties for a few of Lily's little girl friends as well as our niece Brenna. And this Saturday is Lily's birthday! Followed shortly by Nonnie's birthday and then mine. Yes, it's Spring-birthday season!
These pictures are from Brenna's birthday. Her kid's party was at this great place called The Rumpus Room and for two hours the kids all got to run and climb and slide and play- such a fun place! And after the kid's party there was a family party- and thus we had cake twice! And...we got to watch the girls play Dance Dance Revolution on their Wii! The girls were so great at it- and just totally adorable. I love birthday season!
Monday, April 18, 2011
Just last week I was balancing all of our finances. And things were a bit tight. We didn't spend beyond our means, but because of a number of ministry related expenses (extra trainings, travel for meetings, medical expenses, etc...) it looked as if we would have to take money from our savings (which isn't very large) to cover these expenses. Normally we could just reimburse these ministry expenses from our Campus Crusade ministry account (which we raise money/support for), but things are a bit tighter there as well.
And then a few days later we got the following letter in the mail from the pastor of our church:
"Pastor Jonathan Edwards (early 1700's) made several resolutions as a young man, one of which was that whenever he was in pain he would use it as an occasion to remind himself of how much pain Christian martyrs endured for Christ. By doing so, he avoided the trap of self-pity.
It is a good exercise to occasionally put ourselves in the place of others- to walk a mile in their moccasins, so to speak.
I wonder...what would your reaction be if your source of income was completely cut off and you had to depend on the gifts of others to survive- for money for food, shelter, insurance, etc? Well, both you and I know people who are or have been in that situation? Who? Well...
The 12 disciples. They quit their jobs to follow Jesus.
Jesus himself. During his three years of ministry he depended on others for support.
Missionaries. For example, Dr. Jennifer Hall could earn lots of money as a MD in the US yet she lives on what churches and individuals give her so she can give free medical care to the poor in Africa's Ivory Coast.
Here are two more examples:
Joe and Angie Cousins
Dave and Tina Roderick
The Cousins and Rodericks work with students on the UMO campus, choosing to give up other career pursuits so they can help students come to know, love, and serve Christ. Like Jesus and the early disciples, they are dependent on those who believe in what they are doing for support. It is up to them to raise money they need to live on and to cover ministry costs. It is hard.
Each Easter, we take a special offering. This year we will divide our offering between the Cousins and the Rodericks, who work with Campus Crusade and Intervarsity, respectively. What a privilege we have in working with such dedicated young people who choose to do this hard, and at times, frustrating work.
I am happy to support both of these couples who attend our church. If you wish to support them please use the enclosed envelope and either mail it or bring it with you to church."
As I initially read the letter I was INCREDIBLY humbled. After all, our pastor was comparing us to Jesus (not so much in character, but in circumstances- but still)- humbling. And then I thought back to the night I spent balancing our finances a few days earlier and I was overcome with thankfulness and gratitude for God's provision and goodness. In all of our years of ministry we have never been at 100% of our financial support, but we have also seen God provide for every one of our needs. He does indeed provide and to Him we are most grateful. We are also incredibly thankful to our church for their support of our ministry and our family and for the love and encouragement they show to us on a regular basis. God is good- all the time.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Did you have a guess? Did you figure out what they were doing?
They were actually "bobbing" for play balls! Eli started doing it randomly and then they both started doing it (although Lily was actually the only one who could grab one with her mouth).
So this is what we did on a gloomy, dreary spring day.
In the fall I cleaned out our sand box (the red crab), filled it with play balls that we borrowed from friends, and made a ball pit in our basement. Unfortunately our basement is pretty messy and cold and we didn't use it all that much during the winter.
And now that it's actually starting to feel like spring it's almost time to move the sand box back outside and fill it up with sand.
So I figured that we might as well move the ball pit up into the living room for a few days of play before we take it outside.
So on this gloomy spring day we did just that. And to make it even better we made it so that our slide goes right into it!
Do you think that they are having fun?
They had a blast- sliding down the slide, crashing into the balls and each other, kicking and throwing balls, laughing their heads off, and doing it over and over and over again! And oh my, I just can't get enough of this picture above (sibling fun at it's best)!
Climb! Jump! Slide! Repeat!
That's how you cure the gloomy spring time blues (and give mom a little time to make dinner)!
Monday, April 11, 2011
Sunday, April 10, 2011
I've been doing a lot of thinking lately. Maybe a little too much thinking. Sometimes I over-think things, which can lead to anxiety and often results in me trying to figure things out in my own ability rather than trust in God's goodness. Don't get me wrong-thinking is clearly good. I've been thinking a lot lately about God and family and the economy and schooling and photography and my new camera and computers and well- I'm exhausted. I spent a late night wrestling with my new camera and in tears and now I just need to be done thinking for a bit and rest. And it's funny how when you start to rest your thinking (and maybe even your pictures) become a little clearer.
Friday, April 8, 2011
And here is Eli after his first haircut!
So I have to admit that I was fighting this for a long time. Joe kept telling me that we needed to cut his hair, but I just couldn't bear to part with his sweet, wispy, baby blond locks. And I knew, I just knew that if we cut his hair he would seem less like a baby. So I put it off for months. And then over spring break our students started saying that he looked like Tom Brady and I began to realize that maybe the time had come!:) And yet I just couldn't bring myself to do it. At the start of last week Joe finally said that it was time. I guess I still thought I could hold him off a bit. And then last Wednesday morning I took Lily to the dentist and Joe stayed home with Eli. I didn't see it coming, but I'm sure you can. Yep, Lily and I came home to find Eli's sweet wispy locks gone! Gone!!! And I started crying. I was just shocked! Joe took him to a local barbershop for his first haircut. I wasn't upset or angry at all- I was just shocked that he did it (and a little sad that I didn't get to take pictures). But once I got over the shock I really did/do like it. Of course I do think he looks less like a baby and more like a little boy, but it does look so much better! In fact I actually love it. I think he might just be the cutest little boy ever and if you disagree I just dare you to look at this last picture again- totally ADORABLE!