Meat from the Word

by sarahmfry, September 24, 2008
"She who has knowledge spares her words,
and a woman of understanding is of a calm spirit.
Even a fool is counted wise
when she holds her peace:
When she shuts her lips,
she is considered perceptive."
Proverbs 17:27-28
Dear Father, take the reins of my tongue today - this week. Help me to use my God-given love for words in the right ways. Control the gate to my mouth. Help me to open it when it will bless and shut it when it will not.

Tomorrow's Eyes

by sarahmfry, September 21, 2008
I found Photoshop Elements 6.0 on Craigslist really cheap and I am excited about embarking on some digital scrapbooking. I love to scrapbook, but at this point in my life, it's not very practical. The kitchen table would be my work area, and I cannot even fathom getting all of that out, spending an hour on a layout and then PUTTING IT ALL AWAY for the next meal! No way. Not gonna happen.

I've thought of doing some weekend scrapnights over at the school, but weekends are pretty precious around here and that solution would not really be consistent enough to keep me moving and up to date.

Solution? Digital Scrapbooking. My picture albums are already digital - and I can just work on a layout for 15 minutes then save it and move on with my day. Did I mention I'm excited? My friend Nelda did some layouts for me of our Labor Day picnic and gave me a super cool 8x8 album.

So I've been having some neat thoughts about the whole "scrapbooking" phenomenon. I have often said that scrapbooking (and now - photography and even blogging, too) changes the way I experience the moments. I am forever capturing moments as they happen - realizing the value and the beauty of even the simple or mundane. And it hit me the other day what is happening there.

I am learning to look at today with tomorrow's eyes.

You know how a miserably cold, rainy camping trip becomes a precious memory.....and those dirty-faced diaper days become immeasurably valuable to a mother after they're gone. Even the different homes and living places of our lives, I think, tend to show their beauty in retrospect. After time has passed, we are able to see the balance of the beauty and the challenge and the beauty is often what shines through.

When I think of our home in Mississippi. I remember the lonely, pregnancy-hormone-laced days of David's first year in grad school. I remember the declining area that we lived in. And yes, I remember the mammoth-sized roaches with which we did battle. But what rises to the top of the photo pile is a gentle, quiet picture of a cozy little house that gave us some very good days.

No matter the challenges of today, tomorrows eyes will see these days for what they are - dear and precious and wonderful.

I believe that scrapbooking helps me to see today with tomorrow's eyes. Even if the pages aren't laid out, the memories are mentally (and literally) filed away. And somehow every beautiful sunset and smiling dirty face becomes worthy of being cropped and enhanced and journaled.

And life has become richer.

Memory Lane :: Sweet Home Alabama

by sarahmfry, September 17, 2008
I just picked up some pictures from the photo lab - developed from FILM! Can you believe it? I had 2 rolls of film that have been rolling around here for about 3 years. I finally took them to Walmart to see what in the world was on them. The quality is horrendous. Maybe I'll photoshop them later. But you get the idea.

Easter, 2006 at our parsonage in Brent, Alabama. This was probably about 6 weeks before Caiden was born. (Can you tell I was pregnant? Ha Ha :)
And the three kids in Mommy & Daddy's bed soon after Caiden arrived. The girls were 1 and 3 when he was born...... Superfun.

Sarah Palin's Security Clearance

by sarahmfry, September 09, 2008
"Before you dismiss the fact that Sarah Palin is Commander of the Alaska National Guard, consider this:

Alaska is the first line of defense in our missile interceptor defense system. The 49th Missile Defense Battalion of the Alaska National Guard is the unit that protects the entire nation from ballistic missile attacks. It's on permanent active duty, unlike other Guard units.

As governor of Alaska , Palin is briefed on highly classified military issues, homeland security, and counterterrorism. Her exposure to classified material may rival even Biden's and certainly by far exceeds Obama's.

She's also the commander in chief of the Alaska State Defense Force (ASDF), a federally recognized militia incorporated into Homeland Security's counterterrorism plans. Palin is privy to military and intelligence secrets that are vital to the entire country's defense.

Given Alaska 's proximity to Russia , she may have security clearances we don't even know about. According to the Washington Post, she first met with McCain in February, but nobody ever found out. This is a woman used to keeping secrets. She can be entrusted with our national security, because she already is. "

(Thanks, Sis. Vernon, for passing this on....)

Dr. Mom

by sarahmfry, September 08, 2008
As I sit here reading the Revivalist and catching up on Hilltop news, that aching feeling creeps into my soul.

"Dr. Jo Anne Lyon (GBS HS '58) is the first woman to serve as General Superintendent of the Wesleyan Church" (followed by picture of an elegant woman speaking at podium)

"Mandy the Executive Assistant to the Presidant" (beside picture of my gorgeous & lovely friend)

"Faculty Assessment Climaxes 2007-2008 Academic Year" (followed by a photo of my teacher and friend - Martha Miller - sitting at a board room table)

And I sit here, spelling words out loud for Kayla, viewing craft creations, changing training pants, planning supper, spending another night alone (well - as alone as you can be with 3 kids and 2 dogs) as my husband works on his PhD in Chicago.

As I read, my ambition wells up. I think of the degrees I still long to pursue. The books I ache to study. Those voice lessons I desperately need to take at Butler. The high school students I miss. The pediatrician I planned to be.

This is not a death-dirge of my dreams. It is that re-evaluation that comes periodically when I look my current choices full-faced.

It's not that I want to be the General Superintendent of anything. Or be anyone's Executive Assistant. Or sit in boring Academic Assessment meetings. But it is easy - as I read about and rejoice in the activities of my friends and see their elegant high heels and lovely high hair -- to feel rather common and stale. And I find myself longing to do something "important".

But I DO rejoice in the beauty of where God has placed me now. I have chosen this career with open eyes and an open heart.

I realize that as I help the girls through a bitter fight over the scotch tape, I'm training them to be peacemakers and put others first.

As I allow them to make messes I foster their God-given creativity.

As I take the agonizing time to make THEM clean up the explosive remains of said creativity (instead of quickly cleaning it myself), I purposefully add one more strand of good habits into their personality.

And as I sat working at my desk this morning (Karissa's piano practice and kid chores done, laundry humming along), I got a call from David in Chicago. He was almost to his class. He was just thinking about me and wanted to call and tell me he was glad I'm home with our kids. And I smiled inside. Yes - it was a good choice to stay home and put my best energy here.

This is NOT about stay-at-home vs. payroll moms. I have teaching in my blood, and I fully intend to be a payroll mom again someday. It is not a discussion about what decisions you are making. Nor is it insinuating that you have to be this or do that to be a good mom. I'm sorta really sick of all that comparison. It is a reflection on my own choices - my own identity. And my own needs and limitations. About doing what is best for us as a family right now.

I have realized that I have a driving need in my life - Margin. Space in my schedule to accomplish what I'm committed to and to do it well. With space left over for the unexpected and unplanned.

I am all too familiar with that sinking, sick feeling in my soul when going to bed at night or waking up in the morning. The realization that the next day and week will hold more than I can possibly accomplish well. That I will have to stretch my energy very thin so that everything and everyone in my life has just enough of me to keep things afloat.

So I've made what to me are some pretty dramatic decisions. Learning to say no. Deciding on purpose where my best energy goes.

I feel bad. Sometimes I even feel guilty when I say no. I don't want to seem uninvolved or unsupportive. But it certainly feels good when I can say "yes" to something knowing that I actually have the time to accomplish what I've committed to.

O goodness. Please don't EVER get the mistaken impression that I am under the delusion that I have it all together. Or even half of it. I certainly don't have it all together. Trust me. I never will. I don't even intend to! (Although it would be nice.....) I know that the pieces of my life will forever be wiggling out of my neat little package, forcing me to scramble and reorganize and regather myself.

There are many moments when I wonder why in the world I ever imagined that I should or could have children and keep them from being societal rejects. If I can't even get them to PEE in the right place or sit still for an hour and a half through church like everyone else's kids, what in the world do I think I'm doing with these energetic, eternal souls in my hands?!

Take for example NOW: I just ran outside when my 2-year-old came and got me. The 4-year old waited partway up the tree, encouraging the 6-year-old as she clung high in the tree - trying to cut down a branch with my kitchen shears!! When I confiscated my beloved shears and explained that such a practice could get her killed, she calmly asked me to send up some shrubbery clippers. See what I mean?! Maybe I SHOULD be sitting somewhere in a boring committee meeting. The world might be a safer place.

But this is also an example of why I rejoice in the now. I wonder at the energy pouring from those little bodies, minds and souls. I pray for Divine wisdom, energy and guidance as I mold and shape and model.

I still ache to write and study and learn and wear high heels and high hair. But I am happy with who I am.

I choose to be.

Besides, It woudn't be nearly so fun to be Dr. Sarah Fry and not have some well-trained, God-honoring, people-loving children to take care of me and change my diaper in my old age.

If you'll excuse me - I have a tea party to attend on the kitchen floor.

Dear Mr. Obama:

by sarahmfry, September 08, 2008

Wolf Family Vacation - July 2008

by sarahmfry, September 06, 2008
Click to play Wolf Vacation 2008 - Autumn Breeze
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Tough Love vs. Spanking

by sarahmfry, September 05, 2008
Most of the American populace thinks it improper to spank children, so I have tried other methods to control my kids when they have one of 'those moments.'

One that I found effective is for me to just take the child for a car ride and talk.

Some say it's the vibration from the car, others say it's the time away from any distractions such as TV, Video Games, Computer, IPod, etc. Either way, my kids usually calm down and stop misbehaving after our car ride together.

Eye to eye contact helps a lot too.

I've included a photo below of one of my sessions with my son, in case you would like to use the technique.

(Thanks, Nelda, for a great laugh! I had to pass it on to all of my spankless friends.)

Ryan and Andrea's Wedding

by sarahmfry, September 01, 2008
It was an exhausting but beautiful weekend. The kids didn't go to Cincinnati with me. They stayed in Frankfort with Daddy and Grandma Fry and had lots of fun.

Ryan and Andrea's wedding was beautiful, classic but unique, and very God-honoring. It was my first time to do violin/harp/piano/organ combinations. Kezia and Deanne were a blast to work with.

Andrea (Whiteman) and Ryan Coleson

(click the picture to see more pictures from their wedding on our photography blog)