Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tuesday Tidbits


1. Jude went to his first rodeo this weekend.  He still thinks it was called a "radio," and now has a great impersonation of a bucking bull. He stayed up until 11pm and Silas did not get to go, both factors made it an undoubted highlight of his childhood. 


2. Hubs went to the Liberty Bowl with his dad yesterday.  It was around 34 degrees I think.  He loved it and felt very American.  You couldn't pay me money to sit out there.  



3. We tried to make headway on the naming of the baby this week.  We talked about it for about 10 minutes, which is progress.  There are a few names I am mulling over, but I don't love the meanings.  We like names with meaning.  We decided the perfect name for this child, our third boy, would be something like "self control." (Maybe we're feeling a wee bit overwhelmed.) So I looked up names meaning self-control and here are a few options: Uijyant, Ishana, and Jontrell.

I guess not.  

And on that note, I will end the tidbits.  

Monday, December 29, 2014

life overhaul

We are scheduled to be in the US for around six months.  It is a part of our contract that every 3-4 years we get an extended time to reconnect with family and friends.  We have a few other responsibilities too (which it seems will involve a bit of travel!).  There are a variety of purposes for the time away from our international life.  One of them is to help step back from the work we do, reassess and equip ourselves to move forward.

When you pull back from a life that you are very much a part of, you begin to notice the gaps.  I think this is a really healthy and necessary review, particularly in our lifestyle.

Even amid the busyness of this past month, I've been taking note of some of those gaps in my own life. Physically, spiritually, intellectually…I have some work to do.  There are ways that I need to move forward and progress in each of those areas to maintain a healthy and useful life in years to come.

David and I had our first dinner out together in (we think) about 9 months this past Friday.  Our babysitters in South Asia were away, we were in the midst of moving, we've been having serious family fun, etc.  Oh, it's good to be back in the land of grandparents!

Hubs is a great counselor to me.  It's one of the things I loved about him long before we were headed toward marriage.  He just gives good advice.

One of the things we've been talking about is this awkward place I find myself in.  I see some changes I would like to implement in my daily habits.  In stepping back, there are gaps that are more visible to me now. And yet…I have to be honest about where I am.  I'm 7 months pregnant. My body is slower, not faster these days. I am waiting for our 3rd son, taking care of a family, and traveling enough to need recovery time in between trips.  We are way out of our normal routine in Asia.  We are in a transition season….a big transition season.

It's not really the time to overhaul my life.

And I need to see that, and recognize it.  Because, let's be honest, expectations (even of myself) can make or break a season. As my very helpful husband pointed out to me, my Father sees this season  also.  He sees me in it. This is not the time to implement a 4 hour a day prayer plan. Or train for a half marathon.  Or even set large and ambitious goals about Jude's reading skills and Silas's color recognition.

It's a time to wake up each morning in faithfulness.

To do the best that I can with the energy, time and life season given to me in this day.

I've never read this book, but I recall the title quite frequently.  It is better than a life overhaul for me these days. "A long obedience in the same direction." This is the time for long, slow, deliberate obedience. Because mundane days, that don't feel very earth shattering, can add up to a life of focused devotion to Christ.

This New Year's won't find me with a long list of resolutions.  There will be no life overhaul.

But let it be a quiet remembrance of what is good and true.

A face and heart turned toward daily faithfulness. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve



The birth of the child into the darkness of the world made possible not just a new way of understanding life but a new way of living it.    

- Frederick Buechner

Tradition


My sister and I have a pre-Christmas tradition that we've missed these past 3 years. We always rope my Dad into going shopping with us (um, so he can buy;) and treating us to fajitas at El Porton. We've been going strong for about 20 years now! 

Maybe it's not the most reflective few hours of the season for us, but we sure love it! 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Home


The travels are over for now. The tree is hung with ornaments from our childhood.  We actually have a hearth for the stockings this year. Roast turkey and stuffing is on our menu this week. And our holiday plans are full of family. 


It is good to be home for Christmas! 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014

On the road again….

We are in Branson this week with David's parents.  If I can get good enough internet on my phone up in these hills, I'll post a picture or two.  The view is definitely worth the bad reception:) Snow was forecast, but it's been a rather unexciting drizzle mostly.

We're in the land of "shows." I can't recall ever coming to Branson…except in Junior High when our choir sang Saddle Up Your Horses on a stage somewhere. We wore cowboy hats and swayed to some elaborate choreography that I always remember when Steven Curtis Chapman is played.

Yesterday, we went to the Dixie Stampede Christmas Show.  Though I certainly don't think I would have picked it out in a brochure, it was definitely a hit with all of us.  The boys were completely enthralled with the horses, the food was good (and very plentiful), and the Christmas scenes were really  chosen to display the meaning for the season.

This afternoon, we had center stage seats for Jonah. Half way through, there was a gigantic fish floating through the aisle over our heads.  The boys loved it! For me, the fictionalized scene of the repentance of the people of Ninevah was undoubtedly one of the most moving I've every seen. The power and beauty of it caught me off guard.  Rather unexpectedly, I found it thought provoking and compelling.   

Tomorrow, we're either in for Silver Dollar City or the indoor water parks, or both. Whew.  Grandparents know how to party!!!!

In case you're wondering why we seem to be on perpetual vacation, Jude is wondering too.  When I unpacked from our weekend trip only to put the clothes back in the suitcase, he asked me why we are going on so many trips these days.  He seems to think America is just one party after another.  January might come as a shock to him.

We're making up for 3 years away from these beloved grandparents though, and this will be a December we'll remember for a long time to come! They are definitely giving us the gift of lots of great memories together!

Happy Friday to you.

Next week, we hope to be firmly planted in Memphis again…at least for a week or two:)


Branson





Monday, December 15, 2014

A weekend in The Valley


We went to visit those dear Boevings this weekend in "The Valley." We loved seeing a glimpse into their small town life. Those late night chats (you know, the ones at 9pm:) were just plain good for our souls.  I l-o-v-e-d seeing the kids become fast friends after all these years apart.  Those little Boeving girls used to hold Jude when he was a baby in Louisville.  We've all grown a bit since then!



This morning we took advantage of the Missouri beauty and hiked up to Elephant Rock.  Jude's favorite part of the trail  was, of course, the Fat Man's Squeeze.



History together is a treasure.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Advent

After two years of thinking I might, I finally ordered the wooden Advent wreath from Joy Wares. We are all counting the days with fresh light this season. I love the quiet of these waiting nights. 



Out of the stump of David's family will grow a shoot-
Yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. 
And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him

- The prophet Isaiah  

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Disney Review




We are back. The laundry is almost folded.  The suitcases are unpacked.  And the tree is finally up.  I think post-Disney weariness may be more severe than jet-lag! 

I don't really know how to summarize a week-long trip to Disney, but for the sake of posterity, I want to try.  Here's are a few high-lights: 

  • The family time was fantastic.  The boys made fast friends with their cousins. They have never actually all been together.  Both Violet and Silas were born after we left the US.  It was especially sweet to see them having so much fun together.  I'm afraid my boys were a rather wild influence at times on the little gals though:) 
  • Cousins aside, the grandparents definitely won the hearts of us all.  I'm not sure Jude and Silas know just how generous a week at Disney was, but they seem to understand that NanNan and PopPop like to seriously spoil them! And they loved every minute of it.  
  • The trip was long enough that we really did get to see and do what we wanted to.  We hit all 4 Disney Parks and had a good time at each of them.  Because the kids are so small, we did spend the most time at Magic Kingdom in Fantasyland.  Peter Pan just never gets old, does it? 
  • Yes, we donned Mickey apparel all week. Please note the Minnie sweatshirts below.  My advice: if you're going to go to Disney, go all the way.  It's the atmosphere. Cheesy is cool. Just let it go, friends.  It was so fun! 
  • Our favorite "shows" were definitely Beauty and the Beast at Hollywood Studios and The Lion King at Animal Kingdom.  Worth the time and effort if you are around Disney this year! Jude is still singing "I just can't wait to be king!"
  • We were on the dining plan, thanks to the grandparents:) So we dined with quite a few characters.  Though they were all fun, our kids really loved breakfast at Chef Mickey's with the classic characters.  The food was great too! 
  • If you want wild-ride reviews, you'll have to talk to hubs.  Preggo ladies have to miss out on quite a bit! Jude was right at 40" this trip, so he did get to do Mine Train at Magic quite a few times…which was his favorite.  
  • We finally pushed ourselves to stay up past 9pm on the last night to go see a parade.  The Electrical Parade on Main Street was just so classic and fun.  I don't think we could have chosen a better time to go! Disney loves lights and Christmas is like an explosion! It was beautiful and such a fun memory with Jude. (Silas was indeed passed out:) 


Want to know the truth? Even at Disney my kids were sinners. Even at Disney, I was a sinner.  It wasn't a perfect week. There is no perfect vacation.  At the risk of sounding trite, let me state the obvious. There were plenty of attitudes, melt downs and parent failures.  Even Walt, in all his creativity, can't erase that nature.  Jesus can. And in His promise of that completion, there is joy.  He's the truest light.  The most faithful friend.  He is our hope and happiness.  Through Him, we enjoy and are enjoyable.  

He gave a good gift to our family last week.  

We are grateful.  


Have a magical day! 


Friday, December 5, 2014

Frozen


Only Disney would drape a whole castle in lights just for a Frozen themed parade. This place is over the top! 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Magical Day




We love Disney.  I'm not gonna lie.  David and I have actually been twice since we married…both times before we had kids. (I do admit matching Mickey shirts is a little over the top, even for us. But...you only live once!) There is something so "magical" about Disney with kids though.  This morning we rode Peter Pan, one of my favorites from childhood.  I love that it will be one of their memories as well.






We spent most of the morning at Epcot, where the rides are a bit on the older interest side. The best part for me? Breakfast with the Princesses.  When God gives you all boys, just take them to the princess breakfast anyways! So while they sat absorbed in their cinnamon rolls, too shy to say a word, I got a few pictures with Aurora and her friends.






Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Disney



My wonderful (and very generous) parents decided to book a Disney extravaganza this Christmas. We are loving it! You'll probably get tired of seeing "the magic" on the blog this week. But here goes!

And just in case you are wondering: Hubs and I did indeed wear matching Mickey shirts all day today. We're cool like that.





Monday, December 1, 2014

It's a….

It's a(nother)…..BOY!!!!



Sometimes instincts are wrong.  Up until the moment the ultrasound tech pointed to the screen, I was convinced this baby was a girl.  I had the pink room planned in my head.  The name picked.  The hairbows ready to purchase. David and I both felt pretty surprised.  We felt so sure. In the end though, there's really no need to break with tradition at this point, right?

The brothers have been rooting for a boy all along.  They are beyond excited.

I admit I had to take a deep breath.  Energy.  Another little bundle of energy.  More wrestling.  More running and jumping. More perilous stunts and bouncing balls.  I'm not sure I have the stamina for this. Then I saw that sweet face. I love boys.  I love being a boy mom. I love that I'm married to a man who, in a confused world, knows what it means to be a man and is instilling that in his boys.

Children are a gift from God.

We are grateful.