These lazy days of summer are intoxicating. First and second breakfasts are a common love as we live like hobbits... after eating and eating while the air is cool we crawl into swim suits and slather on sunscreen ~ swimming is all that is on our agenda each day. And so we live, lazy and sundrenched and wet; enjoying one another and enjoying the outdoors. The laughter filling us has been full and hearty and contagious.
Until today, I haven't had much motivation to write, I haven't been in a blogging kind of mood. I have been overwhelmed and ill with pneumonia. It seems like such a strange thing to have such a serious illness in the summer time, its all been a little surreal. The heat of these days and their lazy moments have grown wider and lasted beyond their appointed time. But the laughter of my little ones and the eating and the sun have been an oil of blessing and healing. Their joy has been so hearty even with a mama who is only able to look on and not take part in their play. The laughter of my parents caring for them in my place has filled my heart too. I am seeing up close the beauty these lazy days offer us. The beauty of living without a routine, of loving others as the only box to check on the to-do list; the lovely gift I have been given to stop and be still and watch and soak up these people around me. This immobility has rendered me useless and unable to complete my daily tasks. And in this time, I see that it is not at all about what I do, and only about who I am and who they are ~ these loves, these small ones and those that stand in the gap and love and train and teach them when I am so weak. These lazy days are full of such learning! And so we rest and we learn.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Today we are honoring Josh's grandpa,Jerome Kill,and remembering his life and his loves. He inpired us with his passion for our country, recounting stories again and again of places we had never seen, gifting us with an intimacy of history and geography that only comes from someone who loves what they share so much. Battle stories and boyhood adventures were relived so often at his feet... children and adults alike wide-eyed and listening...
Welcoming hugs and kisses, babies bouncing on his knee, peek-a-boo games with bright eyes beaming from behind thick rimmed specktacles...stories we will long to hear again... we miss all these things. As we grieve this special man, we are so thankful for the gift of story he has left us, for the gift of his time and for what we can pass on to our children and grandchildren... stories for generations. We miss him, but we will always honor him with what he has left us to tell.
Eyes open, my warm toasty, content under the quilt toes meet the cool wood of the bedroom floor. The chill and the smooth mingle and wake me from the bottom up. It is early; darkness through my windows on a summer morning kind of early.
Then among a flash…light fills my room from the sky outside my window. I shuffle my toes along the chilled, smooth floor into the living room, standing before picture windows to take in the lightening show. Today, I am awake. Today, I have been stirred. I have risen in my idealistic fashion, early… before Josh or the children have wriggled out of their sheets. The lightening outside my window has struck within my body this morning as well. As if with a jolt, I am eager to begin my day; my tasks, my loves, my serving and caring; my creating of our home. The flashes through my windows charge through me, exciting my senses, invoking wonder, beckoning me to praise their awesome Creator as I look upon them with awe. And so I meet Him, this God who has called me as His own; this God who has created the light and the darkness; this God who has awakened my heart. I meet him and I am in some ways more amazed then ever as we talk among the lightening and thunder. I tell Him how I love His light show; I tell Him that I need Him today as I pour out to my sweet family, that I desire His love to be made known to them, to awaken their hearts as well.
And then the rain pours…
He pours out His waters across the land, the rhythm booming and beating on my roof and my windowpane. The rhythm of His waters boom and beat in me. I sway to the tempo of His rain, I take refuge in His water, in His nourishment.
I am refreshed.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
When I was four, my family moved into a house that I found magical. There was a hidden room above our pantry and my sister, Julie and I would spend hours there with our imaginations and a flashlight. The hallways and little nooks were fitted with built-in bookshelves and writing desks and a backyard lined with evergreens beckoned my sister and I to burrow in between them. This house still holds such a special place in my mind and heart. It is the scene where I can recall my childhood dreams and longings and wonder. It is the place where sweet childhood memories were made and kept. It was also the beginning of an era... One of the rooms had vintage Beatrix Potter wallpaper from the early 20th century and as it eventually became my room, my mom started for me a lofty collection of Beatrix Potter books and dishes, ceramic characters and even stuffed animals. I was a little tired of it by the time I reached the sixth grade, but the indroduction to the character of Peter Rabbit had made a mark upon my life. Throughout college and early married life, I still would become sentimental when I saw a figure of Peter or Jemima Puddle Duck or Tom Kitten in a store window.
When Halle was a toddler, I began reading some of these stories to her. I loved how thoughtful Beatrix was of childrens' size and grip. Even at three, Halle's little hands could wrap around and steady the small books as if they were made just for her... for they had been! Now, Maia, our current three year old is captivated my Peter as well. Her personal favorite is 'The Tale of Two Bad Mice' and when Jones is sleeping she will creep down the hall and assure me she is just as quiet as Hunca Munca.
Dear Beatrix was not one to toss out fluff to little ones, but created for them stories so rich and satisfying that any child would want more and more of this 'good', 'whole',stuff. The diet of beautiful literature was formed in me as I stared at Peter Rabbit on my wallpaper,and what a gift it was! I want my children to have this gift as well, to have stories that inpire them, stories that are written with their whole life in mind and stories that require their full mental faculties to engage them. I want my children to know Beatrix, to know her creatures and her stories...and they will. All I must do is provide the introduction. How thankful I am for this little bunny and the way he has shown to other great works for my little ones and for me as well! Thank you Peter.
Here are some of my other favorite works of Literature to share with my little ones:
Winnie the Pooh Series by A.A. Milne
The Little House by Virginia Burton
The Sory About Ping by Marjorie Flack
Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
Stone Soup by Marcia Brown
Ox-Cart Man by Barbara Cooney
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Mother Goose Collection
Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel
Frances Books by Russel Hoban
Mrs. Piggle- Wiggle books
We wade in and out of our days here, doing laundry, baking bread,tending the garden... tending hearts. We weave strings among us as we go, creating our family tapestry, our family story. The Great Storyteller, the one who knows our insides and calls us to himself in sweet intimacy declares that he has "created our inmost being, that he knit us together in our mother's womb and that we are fearfully and wonderfully made..." And so among these days of tying strings and building our home we are taking a breathe, a sweet pause, to celebrate the gift of another blessing in our family. As this new sweet life grows in my womb I am reminded of God's great love for me, for my children and for my husband. We are so dearly loved,incricately cared for and created. These gifts of family and homelife and beauty and vibrant living overwhelm me. The Creater, the Weaver, is adding another string, another life, another thread, whose beauty will be a significant part of our family tapestry. How we are longing to draw this new one into our arms, and catch them up in our loom, and enjoy their presence. Thank you Father for this wonderful blessing.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Oh, the fun we have around here with feathers and paper plates! This is one of Maia's latest creations and she was so proud, I thought I would post and share it. I am continually amazed by my children and the way that they use their imaginations in all their play. I am further convinced of the power of play and the way it breathes life and brings joy into our home. When I think about all the time and money spent buying toys for children and all the clutter it creates I get overwhelmed... It is encouraging for me to remember that the greatest joy in play for my children has always come from simple items and that the 'work' of creating is a lasting treasure for them. Its a relief for us moms I think as well, to just enjoy the simple things we already have and to be content in finding new uses for them rather than keeping up with the lastest and greatest stuff on the toy store shelves. Its all a part of the way our family is trying to simplify and enjoy what we do have to the fullest.
I am finally able to post again... Hurrah! Halle turned six nearly three months ago on April 22. I have longed to post some sweet pictures of her party here and am excited to now share them. We enjoyed a wonderful day with her, we had some great friends, the Archers, staying with us from Spokane and we all were able to celebrate Halle during a fancy pancake breakfast set among streamers and fancy dishes. Her party was in the afternoon and Halle and her friends dressed up as fairies. They went on a scavenger hunt, made treasure boxes and danced around a flower ring. It was such a warm day and made being outdoors alot of fun for all of us. Halle is growing in her hospitality, in her kindness and service shown to others and in her ability to cheer others with her words and actions. She was thrilled to bless her friends with treats and adventure at her party and we loved watching her in action. I hope these pictures of that time allow you to celebrate her with us...
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Since the explosion that is Microsoft Vista has hit our computer, I don't know how to do anything technical and have sorely missed blogging. Our sweet Jones turned one year on March 10 and as I watch him teeter around the living room right now I am reminded that he is such an amazing gift. What a change he has stirred up around here with his sweet boy nature. His newest love is eating dirt out of the pots on the porch...literally by the handful. We are having a simple spring around here. We have begun our gardening, the girls are growing Lupines and I have begun to baby some herbs in my kitchen. We planted lots of ranaculus yesterday and the reds and oranges are ministering to my spirit from the kitchen window. We also planted a beautiful willow tree yesterday and are enjoying the view of neighborhood birds perching so close to the house. The fresh and the new are energizing our little family today.
Monday, March 12, 2007
We've Gone Green
Since the New Year, we have been committed to being a vegan family. We live in a rural are where there is a lot a love for beef, poultry and the like and where we are pretty much guaranteed to get eye-rolling responses when we tell people we don't eat meat. The road to this lifestyle has been a long one for us, and we have considered so much along the way. Now that we are in the groove of eating and living out this vegan thing we feel ready to explain it. So what is a vegan anyway and why on earth would we want to abolish yummy stuff from our diet?
Well, vegans are like vegetarians in that they don't eat meat, but beyond that, we also don't consume any animal product, which means, no milk, cheese, eggs, butter, ice-cream, etc. We do not believe that people should avoid these foods for any spiritual reason, nor do we believe that it is "the best way" for everyone, but it is just something our family has been lead into. For us, the journey toward all this began when our kids started having allergic reactions to eggs and milk. One of our kids suffered from intestinal bleeding and another from severe excema. When these things were removed from their diets, they got better. And when our mainstream doctors began to tell us that we should avoid these foods to help with our children's health issues, it made us think. Then we researched, thought some more, researched, thought some more, etc.We were very blessed to have a close vegan friend, who guided us along the way and directed us to some great resources and ideas. Our most pressing concern was how our kids would get all the things needed in their diets to grow if we were vegan. We were directed to the blog of a family that posted some great research that soothed our minds and gave us the tools to take this on. I have included it below in the hopes that it will encourage, educate and interest you as well. Now, three months in, we are feeling healthier and more full of energy and life than ever before and so thankful for this gift and education. Enjoy...
Vegan Children: Healthy and Happy (article from PETA website)
Children raised as vegans—who consume no animal products, including meat, eggs, and dairy products—can derive all the nutrients essential for optimum health from plant-based sources.
Hot Wings, Heart Disease, and Sick Stomachs
Unprecedented rates of children raised on the “traditional” American diet of cholesterol and saturated fat-laden chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and pepperoni pizza show symptoms of heart disease, the number one killer of adults. A study in The New England Journal of Medicine found that at least 60 percent of children and young adults have early atherosclerotic (hardened artery) damage. It’s no wonder considering that hot dogs, sausage, and bacon are on the daily menu for a stunning 25 percent of kids between the ages of 19 months and 2 years.
The number of obese preschool-aged children and 12-to-19-year-old adolescents has more than doubled since the 1970s and more than tripled for 6-to-11-year-olds. Pediatricians are reporting an alarming increase in the number of children diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, a disease that typically affects adults, and 85 percent of those cases involve overweight kids.(4)
According to acclaimed pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock in his book Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care, “Children who grow up getting their nutrition from plant foods rather than meats … are less likely to develop weight problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, and some forms of cancer.”
Food-related illnesses affect more than 76 million people annually and kill more than 5,000. Farmed animals are fed 20 million pounds of antibiotics each year, which are designed to promote growth and prevent them from getting sick but which are retained in the flesh that people eat. Scientists believe that such involuntary consumption of these drugs by meat-eaters is giving rise to strains of bacteria that antibiotics are ineffective against when consumers become ill.
Salmonella poisoning alone affects at least 40,000 people each year (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suspects that unreported cases may increase that number 30 times), yet only one in 16 million chickens is tested for it. A Consumer Reports study of 525 supermarket chickens found campylobacter (which causes illness in more than 1 million people every year) in 81 percent of them and salmonella in 15 percent, with up to 84 percent of the bacteria resistant to antibiotics. Eggs pose a salmonella threat to approximately one out of every 50 people each year in affected areas of the U.S. E. coli is a type of bacteria that can be deadly to children and sickens more than 73,000 people each year, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that half the cattle slaughtered for food in the U.S. are likely infected with it.
Fish flesh also presents health problems. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), residual industrial compounds that can still be found in the environment, have caused cancer in animals and skin problems and liver damage in humans. Fish flesh has been found to harbor levels of PCBs thousands of times higher than those in the water that they live in. Fish also accumulate methylmercury in their bodies, and pregnant women and children have been cautioned by the Environmental Protection Agency not to eat fish flesh that may contain high levels of this toxic substance.
Dangers of Dairy Products
According to Dr. Frank Oski, the former director of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University, “There is no reason to drink cow’s milk at any time in your life. It was designed for calves, it was not designed for humans, and we should all stop drinking it today, this afternoon.” Dr. Spock agreed, saying, “There was a time when cow’s milk was considered very desirable. But research, along with clinical experience, has forced doctors and nutritionists to rethink this recommendation.”
Cow’s milk is the number one cause of food allergies in infants and children, according to the American Gastroenterological Association. Millions of Americans are lactose-intolerant, and an estimated 80 percent of African-Americans and up to 100 percent of Native Americans and Asian-Americans suffer from the condition, which can include symptoms such as bloating, gas, cramps, vomiting, headaches, rashes, or asthma. As early as 2 years of age, most people begin to produce less lactase, the enzyme that helps with the digestion of milk. This reduction can lead to lactose intolerance. Breast-feeding mothers should also shun cow’s milk from their diets, as the proteins can be transferred to infants and upset babies’ intestines.
Milk is suspected of triggering juvenile diabetes, a disease that causes blindness and other serious effects. Some children’s bodies treat cow’s milk protein as a foreign substance and produce high levels of antibodies to fend off this “invader.” These antibodies also destroy the cells that produce insulin in the pancreas, leading to diabetes. Studies have also found that autism and schizophrenia in children may be linked to the body’s inability to digest the milk protein casein; symptoms of these diseases diminished or disappeared in 80 percent of the children who were switched to milk-free diets.
Other common childhood ailments such as chronic ear infections, asthma, and skin conditions can also be eliminated if cow’s milk is avoided.
Nutrition in Vegan Diets
Nutritionists and physicians have learned that plant products are good sources of protein, iron, calcium, and vitamin D because they can be easily absorbed by the body and don’t contain artery-clogging fat. The American Dietetic Association states, “Well-planned vegan … diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence.”
• Protein: In the U.S., consumption of too much protein is a much bigger issue than not getting enough. Protein deficiency is common only in countries suffering from famine. Eating too much protein, however, can lead to cancer of the colon and the liver. Children can get all the protein that their bodies need from whole grains in the form of oats, brown rice, and pasta; nuts and seeds, including sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, and spreads such as tahini and peanut butter; and legumes, including tofu, lentils, and beans.
• Iron: Some babies’ intestines bleed after drinking cow’s milk, increasing their risk of developing iron-deficiency anemia, since the blood that they’re losing contains iron. Formula-fed babies should be fed a soy-based formula with added iron to minimize the risk of intestinal bleeding. Iron-rich foods such as raisins, almonds, dried apricots, blackstrap molasses, and fortified grain cereals will meet the needs of toddlers and children 12 months and older. Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron, so foods rich in both—such as green, leafy vegetables—are particularly valuable.
• Calcium: Cornbread, broccoli, kale, tofu, dried figs, tahini, great northern beans, and fortified orange juice and soy milk are all excellent sources of calcium. As with iron, vitamin C will help your child’s system absorb calcium efficiently.
• Vitamin D: Cow’s milk does not naturally contain vitamin D; it’s added later. Vitamin D-enriched soy milk provides this nutrient without the animal fat. A child who spends as little as 10 to 15 minutes three times a week playing in the sunshine, with arms and face exposed, will get sufficient vitamin D because it is synthesized in the skin when the skin is exposed to sunlight.
• Vitamin B12: Whereas other primates get their necessary vitamin B12 from dirt, unchlorinated water, feces, and insects, commercially available multivitamins will ensure an adequate amount of the vitamin for your child. Vitamin B12 is also found in fortified soy milk and many cereals.
What You Can Do
A healthy vegan diet is easy to plan and maintain. Products fortified with calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 are available in most grocery stores. Mock meats are especially delicious and are also readily available in most grocery stores and many restaurants. For tips on tempting your kids with delicious vegetarian dishes, visit VegCooking.com and check out the following additional resources.
A mom recently sent me an email that started a whirlwind of ideas in my mind. She said that we will only have 17 Springtimes with our children while they are still children at home...17!!! Each of them will be unique because our children will never again be at the developmental stage that they are right now or next year, etc. So I began thinking, this applies to all other times of year as well...17 winters, 17 autumns, 17 lazy summers, 17 is beginning to seem like a small number. I want those seasons to be filled with laughter and snuggling and beauty and fun. But that means that TODAY I need to include those things in my life. Today, I need to see my little ones and stop what I am doing. I need to wrestle, bake cookies, read, cuddle, create, listen, take a walk, look and linger with them over each and ever worm wriggling on the sidewalk, laugh with them and invoke wonder in their little hearts. How I live today makes all the difference. Will you join with me in choosing to make the most of these moments? Will you help me to see the value of laughter in my home and yours? Today is going to be glorious.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Tuesday, January 2, 2007
Okay, so its the New Year....2007 and this picture was supposed to be the 2000 model. Where is my waterproof furniture and and sqeaky clean hose thingy? We do have a leather sofa, but I just don't think this method will fly around here. The promise of something new and clean is very appealing to me. I am constantly trying to find a "system" that I can put into action that will forever keep my home sparkling and new inventions that will help keep my kids' hair shiny and their teeth bright. (Anybody ever tried baby oil on a tangle, works like a charm!) I long for my carpet and hardwoods to be free of the moth ball, lint, pine needle junk that seems to collect every day. This weekend we were in an uproar around here... furniture was being rearranged, closets being emptied, garbage flying out the back door by the bag. It was a lot of work, but the process was one of rejuvenation. We were making way for the new, creating a fresh start. As this new year brings a bit of breezy fresh air and the hope of all things new, we are reminded of God's promise to us, the one that says HE has brought us the ultimate new, fresh, squeaky clean feeling I am seeking each January 1st.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! - 2 Corinthians 5:17
I am so thankful for this reminder. I don't have to work as hard as I think I do to polish up my heart or home or to measure up. I am taken in the arms of Christ, found in him... and new. When this word of God seeps in to my being I can relax a bit and live with floor lint and the clutter, remembering that what I am offer today through Christ is enough. I am enough for him. I still feel a little jipped about the lacking technology of the promised housewife 2000, but I am thankful for the reminder of who I am today as I scrub away around here. I am thankful that God is the one doing a great work in my heart and that when I give myself wholly to him, I can truly rest.... and have lots more time to clean :)