Saturday, June 30, 2012

small miracles

God's provision is so evident to me of late.  I never quite get the break I am hoping for, but miraculously, I never quite need it as much as I think I do.  Small miracles sustain me.  I call them "small" because to anyone else they would seem rather innocuous everyday occurrences, possibly no miracle at all.  But to me they are life-saving moments placed precisely by God to restore me.  

A child who sleeps in until 8:45am... small miracle.  If you have small kids, you understand.  You are probably envious.  

A magazine that entertains a baby for almost an hour... small miracle.   No, she isn't reading yet.  Simply shredding it to pieces, we have to start somewhere with our love of books though.

child who gets dressed, brushes her hair and her teeth, without crying when we are already running late... small miracle.  You've seen the pictures on this blog.  We do actually own clothing for Annike, she just chooses not to wear them.

An ant crawling out of my baby's mouth when she has been left to play in the dirt by herself... small miracle (for the ant).  Actually, I am just glad that she didn't choke on a rock or a cricket because it has been quite a while since I checked on her.

A baby (who never naps longer than 40 minutes at a time) who sleeps for an hour and a half while we are stuck in San Francisco rush hour traffic... small miracle.

A genuine smile for friends who tell me their babies take long naps everyday, multiple times a day... small miracle.  I am truly glad for them, and seriously, that generous sentiment can only come from above.

A small girl who chooses to share and help her baby sister... small miracle.

Two overtired children who remain happy and fun to be around... small miracle.

A piece of an corner of an hour when my husband is playing with both children and I am typing on the computer, given a fleeting chance to reflect upon God's goodness in this life... small miracle.

But the real miracle for me is that as much as I am dying for a minute to myself, to express, to emote, to refresh, God sustains me.  I don't need that moment on my own nearly as much as I thought.  With two children who could not possibly sleep less and remain healthy, I am always in want of more time to          (you fill in the blank).  There is never enough for me.  And yet, there is always plenty.

I call them "small" miracles because to anyone else they would seem rather innocuous everyday occurrences. Perhaps a coincidence.  To me, they are larger than life, hugely miraculous, sanity-saving moments frozen in my mind as a divine gift from God.  They are proof that God knows me intimately and cares about my everyday needs, some admittedly mundane and insignificant in the large scheme.  He loves the way that He created me, selfish needs and all, and sometimes simply wants His creativity to flourish.

Thank you, Lord in heaven above, for the small miracles that are hugely sustaining, 
enabling me to press forward as myself in world that is 
not always what I expected, or dreamed of.  
Because of Your Provision, Lord, 
it is so much more than I would have hoped.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


I often find myself daydreaming about things I will do one day when I don't have young children... like read a book in the afternoon... go shopping for an entire day without them... sleep through the night, uninterrupted... travel to a foreign country with a small suitcase... use the bathroom alone... Catching my thoughts in places like these, it is tempting to envy retirement and empty nest days as a time of freedom.  In reality, I simply have a bad case of brown-grass-syndrome.

On the tail end of three wonderful family vacations, Christian and I agree that we have never laughed so much at any other stage of our lives.  Never before have we sung so many silly songs, tickled so many knees and bellies, laughed at so many bad jokes, told so many funny stories, or giggled spontaneously so many times in a day.  Can it get any greener than this?

What, exactly, are we laughing about, you ask?  Anything and everything. You might not think it is nearly as funny as we do, but some of the expressions in these vacation photos had me rolling. Feel free to laugh along side of me as I recap a few memories from our most recent trio of travels.

First Stop:  New Orleans to celebrate my younger brother's graduation from dental school!

One thing about children is that at any given moment what they are feeling is written all over their faces.  These two girls were troopers but the significance of posing in a picture with two great-grandmothers was completely lost on them.  As disappointing as it is to have 4 smiling adults and 2 grumpy children in a photo that cannot be duplicated, I can laugh at the outcome.

 The most special part about our trips over the past month was the sister-bonding... 

Welcome to Gators-ville, Louisiana!

The baby alligator doesn't bite... yet.

The next one cracks me up.  Sommer fussed for most of the time on our hot and humid swamp tour.... except when the wind was blowing in her face.  She could hardly keep her eyes open pointing directly into the wind, but at least she was smiling!

Second Stop:  Yosemite camping in the R.V. with my parents and brother.  A cold front came through including a torrential downpour - we were oh so thankful to have the R.V.

Does anyone know who the man with the mustache is holding my baby?

Third Stop: Clearlake for a restful (mostly) summer vacation. The real treat was that my entire immediate family joined us.

Someone has recently begun to specialize in silly faces...

This is the face of a big sister who does not want to share the swing with her little sister.  I was cracking up as I took the picture... one day she might think it is funny too.

Those pretty much sum up our wonderful, short, chaotic, exhausting, kid-friendly, nap-deprived, family-centered, enjoyable, date-less, but still wonderful vacations.

With all of this fun going on, who has time to blog?  Apparently not me.  I do miss capturing my thoughts and recording snippets of our lives, but instead of lamenting the hobbies and projects I just can't keep seem to keep caught up with, I am just going to enjoy this season of laughter with my family.  The grass may never be this green again.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

lost and found

Have you ever lost something dear to you?  And then spent hours upon hours trying to locate it... retracing steps, looking under every bush and rock and cranny where your precious object might be?

These kittens must be precious because my husband spent hours upon hours looking for them in our yard, around our barn, in the thorny bushes, in acres and acres of tall grass.

As I mentioned in a previous post, we found the kittens when they were 2 days old, and promptly moved them and their mother into our barn where they would be safer from the predators on our property (coyotes, foxes, snakes, hawks, and even our own chickens.)  Their feral mother, not at all warmed to the idea of us keeping her kittens, continued to care for them so long as she did not see us near them.  We were determined to handle them enough to tame them.

Despite our attempts at stealth while handling the kittens (and who can resist these fuzzy balls of kitten-ness?), every week or so, Calico Kitty (Momma Cat) found us out and moved them. The hunt would begin again as Christian spent hours bushwhacking to locate the helpless babies and restore them to safety in our barn.  Notable places he found them were in an empty cement container, in the blackberry brambles, in the chickens' nesting box, and even stuffed into the remaining ashes in our barbeque pit.

The feral mother was almost clever enough to outsmart my husband on her final move, and the kittens went missing for a week and a half... until we brought in reinforcements for a final sweep of the property and my sister found them stuffed between logs in the woodpile.

It must be nice to start life out so loved... so loved that someone would search high and low, thick and thin, not giving up until we are found.

The truth?  We are that loved, and more.  By a Savior who will search the brambles and the tall grass and even the darkest places of our hearts to find us and bring us back to a place of knowing Him.   

"Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them.  Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?  And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.  Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep'.  I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent." Luke 15:4-7

We kept one... Annike has dubbed her "Kitty Soft Paws", but they feel pretty sharp to me.