17 For 17

Happy Birthday, Dear Adam!

In honor of the beginning of your 18th year, I will share a top 17 highlight list/observations of your first 17 years.

17 You clocked in on Tuesday, July 30, 1996, at 10 pounds, 14 ounces. Wowza!
16 From moment one, you have been very sure of what you wanted, when you wanted it and how you wanted it. No self-confidence, wishy-washy issues for you, my boy! ;)
15 When you are in, you are all in. When you are out, well…
14 When you are in, you do it all to the glory of God. We are so thankful.
13 You lead your siblings well. :)
12 You are not afraid to work hard.
11 You have read (and studied) the Bible through multiple times.
10 You did well in speech with apologetics and Mars Hill and are looking forward to a new school year.
9 You are comfortable speaking in front of a group. (You are your daddy’s son!)
8 You are open to whatever The Lord has for your future.
7 You eat whatever is served to you and have never been picky. (Well, except for the anti-stir-fry phase in your younger years on Oak Ave.) Thank you!!
6 You are an accomplished amateur chef and will not starve or live on junk food during your bachelor years.
5 You have blessed us and others over the past year with your growing photography skills.
4 You bless your older friends with patient help with technical issues.
3 You are quite the talented runner and skater.
2 Your construction and dry-walling talents are first-rate.
1 You are a blessing to your parents and siblings.

Love, love, love you, Big A!

1 Chronicles 16:8 (ESV)
David’s Song of Thanks
“Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!”

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Going to great lengths to do what you enjoy!

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Following Paul around the park in Glen Allen, VA.

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What a guy!

Birthdays, Boys and Blessings: Hello New Week

I’m writing, for the first time, a “Hello new week” post and linking in the comments at Lisa Leonard’s blog.

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The new five-year-old telling me a story at the park in Virginia earlier this month.

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The will-be-17 tomorrow-year-old posing for me at the pool at the Homewood Suites in Virginia.

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Lifeguarding for my boys, minus the two oldest, plus two neighbor’s grandsons.

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Painting an antique thrift-store tool box this afternoon with my two youngest and a neighbor’s grandson.

Hello today’s birthday date with my five-year-old youngest.

Hello celebrating my oldest turning 17 (!!!!!) tomorrow. How in the world?

Hello meeting new neighbors yesterday (they came to introduce themselves–we are a lame greeting committee) :(

Hello continuing the major de-cluttering. We are very grateful for a gracious trash service and will be giving them a gift Wednesday morning as a thank you!

Hello lifeguarding.

Hello cooler temps, which make being outside wonderful, but the un-heated pool not-so-much. (Yea! Short lifeguarding break!) :)

Hello getting the children registered for our second year of speech and debate.

Hello going to the big city county fair on Friday for the first time in years to see the children’s first year blue ribbon 4H exhibits that moved on from our club’s small county fair. (That was a confusing mouthful!)

Hello volunteering with Rachel to sort new school supplies for the Salvation Army with new friends on Saturday.

Hello planning on enjoying the last month of summer before we start school after Labor Day.

And, Hello doing this again next week!

Psalm 135:5 (NKJV)
For I know that the Lord is great,
And our Lord is above all gods.

Blessed With Good News: Out Of The Blue On Thursdays

Last week my youngest saved the day with a cuddle .
On Monday, I received good medical news, the kind that makes you overflow with relief. The kind that, before you received it, made you stop, think about the what-ifs and re-evaluate a few things.
Why did I get the good news, while I am sure there were others in the same office, on the same day, that did not? A gift of grace for my day. For my life. My week was changed, my attitude changed, I hope my life from here on out, changed.
I have struggled this summer with a self-diagnosed lack-of-joy. Tired of the mundane, daily, repetitive chores. Tired of referring sibling squabbles. Just tired.
This week I have felt a relief, a refresh, a recharge.
I hope this feeling is not a fluke, but will transform me into a better Jesus follower, wife, mother, daughter, friend.

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Taken at the St. James Park on Monday a few hours after my good news: Pretty proud of himself, cramming his big-boy body into a baby swing and expecting me to pry him out! And the socks, the wrong size bought by a friend and given to him the day before. He had to wear them, not his no-shows, in the 90s heat. Pulled up–all.the.way! Mr. Slick!

Psalm 30:11-12 (ESV)
11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

Five Minute Friday: Belong

Five Minute Friday

Belong

These people. These seven interesting, loud, creative, not-so-compliant, mostly strong-willed gifts are mine. They are mine. I belong.
I struggle with friendships. I like people. I really do, but they tire me quickly and I tire them quickly, when I end up blathering on about this or that in my odd introvertedness and haven’t been able to find a core group that “everyone” says you must have.
I have these people. God gave them to me and they are mine forever. Because, you know, I do know where they live :)
My husband thinks I’m a nut, he is waiting for me and started playing “Isn’t She Lovely” with his free trial of Spotify.
So, I’ll finish with this: I belong, they belong, we all belong. (That sounds like some preschool song!) We belong to God, to each other.

STOP

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Squinting on the Jamestown Scotland Ferry last week after visiting Williamsburg.

Psalm 27:1 (NKJV)

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?

When A Cuddle Is Just What You Need: Out Of The Blue On Thursdays

I was feeling out of sorts yesterday morning, anxious about an afternoon doctor’s appointment, when Paul asked if we could cuddle. He doesn’t do that as often anymore, he’s almost five and can usually be found tagging along after an older brother or two or chatting with his sister. So, when he asked, I knew that was the ticket.
I needed to quit mindlessly wandering the house going from task to phone to task to iPad, to interrupting the engineer’s work, to worrying.
We cuddled. We read a stack of library books. He enjoys the children’s non-fiction animal books, so our stack included an armadillo, cotton-tail rabbit and buffalo. All short and sweet, like Paul, and full of great photos.
Cuddle time lasted maybe 15 minutes before he was on to an activity with his brother, called out to the bonus room to see some fun invention, but it was just what I needed. A great gift to get my day back on track.

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Telling me a story last week at the park in Glen Allen, (plain old) Virginia (as opposed to West VA) ;)

Matthew 18:1-6 (ESV)

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

5 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,[a] it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

Sunday Smiles and Scripture: A Day Late

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Churches in Barboursville, WV and Winchester KY we attended while traveling through on our way to Glen Allen, VA and from Washington, D.C. They were the fifth and sixth churches we have visited and been blessed by this year.

1 John 1:7 (ESV)
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Five Minute Friday: Present

Writing with the Five Minute Friday group today.
Here are the rules:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat with no editing, tweaking or self critiquing.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in {you can grab the button code in my blog’s footer}.
3. Go and tell the person who linked up before you what their words meant to you. Every writer longs to feel heard.

Present

Being present, enjoying these people God has given me. That’s what I need to concentrate on, not getting stuck in the “I wish things were different or better” doldrums.
We’re not perfect. We’ll never be perfect. I can live in the present and enjoy my blessings or wish for the future and miss out.
The temper tantrums in the car the past two days, by one boy in particular, have worn everyone’s nerves a little thin. That boy needs an extra dose of tlc from his Mama, not threats to miss out on treats. Two days in the nation’s capital, then two more long days on the road.
Prayers in the present. Patience in the present. Persevering in the present. What a gift those would be to my family.

Stop

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On the way to Virginia Beach on Wednesday.

1 Chronicles 23:30 (ESV)
And they were to stand every morning, thanking and praising the Lord, and likewise at evening

“No! No! No!” “Don’t Put Me On Your Blog!!!”

The Six Sibs and their Mama are enjoying Glen Allen, VA this week while The Blog Engineer works down the street from our Homewood Suites Hotel.
This morning we visited Crump Park, a Henrico County park.
Luke jumped into the bouncy animal and the blog title was his response to me grabbing my camera (aka phone). He was obviously in good humor about it and is honored (or should be) to be the subject of this post, after all, it was his idea!

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He sees his mother with a camera. :)

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Panicking as the photo shoot commences.

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Realizing escape is futile.

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Working toward freedom.

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Finally!

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The youngest brother Paul, who is NOT almost six-feet tall, waiting impatiently for a turn.

Psalm 126:3 (ESV)
The Lord has done great things for us;
we are glad.

Five Minute Friday: Beautiful

Writing with the Five Minute Friday group tonight.
Here are the rules:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat with no editing, tweaking or self critiquing.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in {you can grab the button code in my blog’s footer}.
3. Go and tell the person who linked up before you what their words meant to you. Every writer longs to feel heard.

Beautiful

Go

The day started off not-so-beautiful. The house needed some tlc and I was feeling really martryish about it. After a beautiful shower, I was feeling much better and my wonderful spouse had tackled yesterday’s leftover dishes and most of the children had pitched in in one way or another to tidy up a bit for Grandma and Grandpa’s visit.
Mom and Dad arrived around 10 and we visited, grilled burgers, visited more, the children swam and had an good time. They left at 2:00 and the eight of us listened to Daddy read aloud, swam some more, snacked, rested, packed, watched the rain, grilled again, watched a movie and snacked again.
It was a day filled with an unusually high amount of unity–yea!! Lots of downtime and some good productivity too.
Here’s to more beautiful.

End

(16 seconds early, for once!!)

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Independence Day lunch.

Ecclesiastes 3:11-13 (ESV)
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; 13 also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.

Independence Day 2013

A few shots of the morning and afternoon:

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Yummy decaf mocha with homemade whipped cream and dark chocolate shavings made by my favorite daughter and her daddy.

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The favorite daughter putting the finishing touches on our red, white and blue dessert.

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Grandpa doing a cool “How do you tell if gold is real?”experiment with the boys–Scratching his wedding ring, then iron pyrite on a concrete block!

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Grandma getting Isaac.

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Independence Day lunch. Simple and enjoyed.

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The group photograph photographer was photographed by his father.

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Paul and John concentrating on something in the pool.

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Me and my Buddy. She turned 12 last month and we adopted her 12 years ago next month. She’s still miffed at me for making her get a bath last week ;)

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Paul’s pineapple pop!

Psalm 107:1 NIV, 1984

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.