He fills the longing soul with good things. Ps. 107:9

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Chicago Night

For those of you who don't know, David is gone to Chicago two days and one night each week. I love to grab the camera and see the shots he brings home. We love Chicago. We love riding Metra into the city and standing by the tracks as an Amtrak train zooms by and takes the wind with it. This set of pictures from last week just captures a piece of Chicago in such a great way.
 Love it, hon.


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"Mr. Frog" by Kayla Fry

Found this little guy in the scanner today. He makes me smile......



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Corin - 9 weeks, 6 days old

He's discovered the world.  We love this stage - when they come out of their "creatureness" and start exploring and interacting and becoming curious about all around them.  We love every stage.  But right now, we love this one.





"I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift,
that gift should be curiosity"
~Eleanor Roosevelt


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Things to come

For some reason, this picture just cracks me up....I'm afraid it's a picture of years to come.
I'm thinking roller coasters, schemes & plans galore. It seems to me that Caiden will be dragging poor Corin along.  Or perhaps it will be the other way around.  Heaven forbid they're both as full of it as Caiden is.

Caiden saw this and said. "Look....Corin's laughin'."

Uh. No, Dear. He's terrified. Of.  You!
Heaven help this mommy. 

Here they're both trying to give their "thoughtful and pensive" looks.  I guess.



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Quoted

God is not a belief to which you give your assent. God becomes a reality whom you know intimately, meet everyday, one whose strength becomes your strength, whose love, your love. Live this life of the presence of God long enough and when someone asks you, “Do you believe there is a God?” you may find yourself answering, “No, I do not believe there is a God. I know there is a God.

                                                                 ~Ernest Boyer, Jr.

Picture:: Sunset along David's drive home from Chicago.

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Picture updates and new sneak peek....

Updates to......
Johnson Family
Davis Family
VanStrien Family (and baby Naomi)

Pardon our dust.....changes in progress and parts may look a little disorganized. 

(And could someone fluent in HTML please, please be my friend?)
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"Do Hard Things"

I've been thinking.  And I just realized that much of this thinking is coming around to a theme.  It's about parenting.  And perspective.  And power.

And I'm afraid if I don't stop and let thoughts pour from my fingers and find a place, these words will get lost in the folds of the laundry and never come back to me in quite the same way.

From almost as young as I can remember, I wanted to be a doctor.  Well...at first, it was a nurse's uniform I wore to career day at school.  But that interest and passion soon steered me towards looking through the garbage-bag full of college brochures that came in the mail my senior year....trying to decide where to go for pre-med.  It was an agonizing summer.  I had been studying music all my life.  And I didn't want to abandon my music.  But I wanted to add medicine to it.  Long story short, I decided against a university where I could do music and pre-med and instead chose GBS.  Definitely a God thing.  Met amazing husband (who had changed his law school plans to enter the ministerial department.)  Realized that I had a passion for lots of other things.  And above all....I learned to worship during those years.

Fastforward eight years and four babies later....

So now - what am I about?  The medicine bug isn't gone from my blood.  My love for music lives on through my little group of private students. I dabble in some (extremely) amateur photography.   But mostly, these days, I take care of little ones.  Cook. Clean.  Do laundry. Change diapers.  Repeat.  Give spankings. Do dishes.  Repeat.   Practice spelling words.  Feed baby. Repeat.

And I love it.  With all my heart.  But sometimes that pre-college girl returns....sitting on the floor by the fireplace in my room.  Poreing over university brocures: the world open and alive and waiting and mine.  I look, I dream, I scheme.  And then always -- like the power of instinct driving a salmon to its beginning waters -- reality brings me back to my place and my passion for home.

But lately,  my thoughts are funneling into that reality a fresh hope-filled anticipation for my children.  As seems to be God's pattern, when there is a lesson to be learned for this distracted blonde, He sends it through several different forms.  Microphones.  Books.  Friends.  And I look back and realize that there has been a message coming to me from all directions.

Lucy Swindoll - "Irrepressible Hope"
I recently listened to Lucy Swindoll speak.  She is, of course, sister to Chuck Swindoll.  (President of large seminary, recipient many  honorary doctorates and multipleawards, head of Insight for Living...on and on).  And Lucy has touched millions herself through her speaking and writing and spirit.  And as she spoke, the quiet and colorful theme - sort of a gold cord - that ran through her speaking, was the rich training and passion for life that both of their parents gave them.  Never met those parents, never heard anything great about them.  But the children they have produced have literally touched the world with their passion for God and the commitment of their gifts and their spirits to Him.

Ben Carson - "Gifted Hands"
I've been watching the Ben Carson story.  He is a famous and talented Christian surgeon who came from a difficult childhood.  His mother pushed and prodded and believed in him.  She encouraged him to be exceptional.  And she made him read.

Harris Twins - "Rebolution"
I've also been listening to the Harris twins (brothers to Joshua Harris) speak about the summer that started  the "Rebolution" in their lives.  They were bored teenagers.  Their father walked in with a huge stack of substantive books and gave them a summer reading assignment that changed their world.  They went on to write a book called "Do Hard Things."  This book challenges teenagers to rise above the ordinary, to do the hard things that are required to be something for God.  I am struck by their answer to the question of why they actually read all those books their dad suggested.  It was so simple, so obvious.  He was the dad.  He had created and nurtured an authority and a relationship with those handsome teenage boys that was respected and responded to. 

Zac Sunderland - "Around the World"
Zac is a teenage boy who sailed alone around the world at age 16/17.  I mean think about it.  How many 16-year-olds do you know that you'd trust making a trip to the next state, much less sailing alone for a year around the world.  Alone.  There had to be some serious training and investment and deposits made into that boy's person to create a young man strong enough to endure the journey of a year - alone.  Just think about the discipline involved in learning the sailing sport well enough to navigate such a trip.  Think of the hours spent sailing with his father.  Who, by the way, broke into tears and pointed heavenward as he explained that they would not be a family without Jesus.

The evangelist encouraged us during revival to discover our "kingdom assignments" and to invest into them.  I was feeling guilty, after my fourth child was born within 8 years of marriage, about not doing a better job of reaching out to my neighbors (one of whom terrifies me).  And believe me, I am a believer in reaching your neighbors.  But I got to thinking about this:  What if I had a plan in which you could embark that would give you the tools and opportunity to thoroughly evangelize, disciple, train and mentor 4-6 (give or take) people for the first 18 years of their lives!  These individuals would be entrusted to you as generally blank slates.  You would then be given the challenge and opportunity to fill them with the knowledge and understanding of what it means to serve and worship the One True and Living God with all of their being for all of their days.  It doesn't involve knocking on doors or riding busses.  But the hours are grueling.  The process painful.  Not to mention tedious.  And there is no guarantee that they will leave as Worshipers when they turn 18. But the odds are in your favor. And you would not be alone, of course. 

So right now -in this season of my life - this is my kingdom assignment.  It's not like I didn't know if before, it is just coming to me with new freshness.  New excitement.  New possibilites and hope and responsibility and energy and intensity.

Which one of my children's hands might heal and soothe the hurting as they carry a gentle and Godly Spirit into a hospital? 
Which one might become a worshipper in another land?  Or Shepherd a flock?
Which one might  - oh I don't know - write books or study stars or sail around the world or raise a large, godly family?

The only hope of lofty thoughts is the diligence of practical discipline. 

That's where the rubber meets the road.
                  The bow meets the violin. 
                               The paddle meets the bottom. 
                                         The broom meets the floor.

We will never do great things if we don't first dream them.
We will never do great things if we don't first do hard things.


So when my 7-yr-old cries during her math homework...."Do Hard Things."
When my 5-yr-old cries or whines during violin practice....."Do Hard Things."
When my 3-yr-old would rather dance than do chores...."Do Hard Things."

I am challenged to play harder. To laugh with them more.  To sing songs.  To assign more chores.  To take more walks.    To be tougher and more gentle.  To work on myself.  To offer them classic books and clean videos.  To expect more.  To think big thoughts and to talk great talks.
See, fellow Mommies....I suspect we're more important than we feel today. 

                                                         And I think that's exciting.

(And now I drag myself away from the lofty thoughts to the diligent discipline of  - I kid you not - about 10 loads of laundry waiting to be folded. I think we must be the laundriest family in the entire universe.)
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Sneak Peek - Davis Family

Picture junkies - click on over:   www.momentsapiacere.blogspot.com
How could the morning NOT be fun with a couple like this?!
They were being downright scandalous....


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I'm a failure

In spite all the music exposure and experience I try to give my kids.....the kindermusik, the piano lessons, the violin lessons.  Twinkling and pre-twinkling.  Daily times of family singing.  Exposure to almost every genre.  Tastes of The Greats. 

And their "favorite song in the whole world" is this current blog music. They gush with love for this "song."  We actually listen to it. "We just LOVE it," they say.

I mean, granted....  It has a certain groove to it.  But it's a web loop for pete's sake - and a free one at that! It's not even a song, guys!  Not even elevator music.

Why don't they beg for Hilary Hahn on soaring solo Bach?   John Barry's luscious themes? Il Divo's powerful Adagio? Alison Krauss' Living Prayer? or even Sinatra's comforting crooners? 

At least the crazy loop isn't atonal.

Why do I bother.  Help me, De!
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10 pounds of wonder (7 weeks old)

Lake sparkles......
                   Bach Preludes......
                                    Rainy Mornings......
                                                 Sunny Patches.........

 God's glory spills out everywhere

Forest Trails...............
                Belly Laughs............
                                     Cocoa Beans...........
                                                        Fire Glow............

God has a lot of awesome ideas

But this wonder.....This 10 pounds of blue-eyed  love

THIS is one of God's best ideas yet.
                         
I am sorry for those who do not see God's wonder.  His glory.  In the everyday.  But there is nothing everyday about this. 

This baby:  Tiny. Priceless. Helpless. Powerful.
He shows me the glory and heart of God until it fills me and flows out into speechlessness.
No - there is nothing common about this.  He is special.  Extraordinary.  I feel it, know it.  See it in his sparkling blue eyes.
You know.  Maybe you've had a miracle, too.  I guess there's almost no use in trying to describe it.  Impossible to put into words. 

And I've also been wondering....
Why do we love Him so much, this 10 pound bundle?  He can't really do anything for us.  Isn't productive.  Can't even hold himself up.  Can't contribute.  Yet he changes us, enriches us.  Makes us stronger and softer all at once.  Shows us the heart of God, but not in some concrete, definable way.  It's more a window into the mystery and heart and humor of God.  Abba, He is.  The way He wants to love us and squeeze us and protect us and wrap himself around us and gaze at us and know us. 

The way we're utterly and frighteningly and deliciously dependent on Him.

  And the cool thing is, that's not just poetry.  It's Truth. 
And He has spilled more of Himself - his quiet glory -  all around this place today.
Now I have dishes and whiny kids and laundry and supper.  But THAT'S a miracle worth stopping to wonder over, Doncha think?

Now THIS one, He's special too.

But that's another story.....
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Corin - 6 weeks

"Wolf Intensity!"
The eyes...the hands...the shoulders.  It's scary.
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Corin - 5 weeks, 2 days

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My Girl with the chocolate eyes

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Krazy Kids

David and I were setting up for a Labr Day photo shoot and we had the kids jump in to be our models for lighting. They had fun and got a little crazy.  Who am I kidding.....they got a LOT crazy.  They drove ME crazy!  I think I'm getting old.  But in the midst of the bonkerness, this turned out kinda cool.
 
Oh.....Karissa, Karissa.
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