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



He Entered

by: David Fry

He entered under the obscurity of darkness leaving the gates of splendor and entering the gate of a common stall. The King of kings received only the welcome of a few shepherds. As the village slept, the Creator became a creature among men, a baby surrounded by the most unwelcoming creatures, donkeys, sheep, and such like--not a peaceful start for the Prince of Peace. Now the mother of God wrapped a gift she could not give.  Read More....

"Easter is not a time for groping through dusty, musty tomes or tombs to disprove spontaneous generation or even to prove life eternal. It is a day to fan the ashes of dead hope, a day to banish doubts and seek the slopes where the sun is rising, to revel in the faith which transports us out of ourselves and the dead past into the vast and inviting unknown."
~Author unknown, as quoted in the Lewiston Tribune


Daybook: March 30

::Outside My Window::
A bright, beautiful day on W. Freeman Street.  (I'm at my in-law's house doing our laundry.)

::I am Listening to::
Dinosaur Train - the kids are playing on the other computer.

:: I am remembering::
Or trying to remember where I laid my cell phone at home.  I feel lost without it.

::I am Thankful For::
Awesome in-laws. (Who happen to have an incredible frontloading washer and dryer set that I can use for free! Oh, how I love those machines....)

::I am Pondering::
Do I really understand the cross?  I've been feeling like I just barely scratch the surface and want to be more deeply impacted.

:: Some of what I've been reading::
Double Take - written by Jenness Walker (we grew up together as GBS campus brats
I'm enjoying it!  I brought it with me today to read between loads if I get all the other projects done I brought with me.

::From the Kitchen::
I'm just downright discouraged about cooking for this family.  But I am excited about perhaps trying my hand at leg of lamb this week for the first time ever.  And maybe some flower pot cakes (with cakemix).

 ::I am Thinking::
About a powerful video David and I watched together last night after the kids went to bed.

::I am Creating::
Ummm....Don't think I'm creating anything right now.  Oh...guess I've been creating ideas for our Passover Seder meal.  And my mind has been scheming about some exciting new locations for some upcoming photo shoots.

::On my iPod::
Haven't been using it.  It's been taken over on occasion by my quartet-belting husband

:: Towards raising hungry learners::
  • I am looking for an adequate place in our house to create a nature table.  So far the best place I can come up with is the back of the piano.  I was thinking today as I moved the pinecones, pineneedles, rocks, seashells, bug kits and other nature stuff..... that as the kids continue to observe and collect things from nature they will become more discerning collectors. 

  • We had another awesome visit to the Children's museum last week on Spring Break.  I love how that museum grows with you.   We all have a blast- from the playscapes infant area for Corin to the biotechnology lab for the whole family.  This visit David and I had some fascinating conversations with the paleontologists about how the museum acquires and names new dinosaurs.  There aren't many places where a kid can reach out and touch an authentic, real-ife T-rex leg bone while the paleontologist works on it!  And the science club is SO COOL!  This time their prizes were free meals at the Weber Grill restaurant downtown!
:: Towards Rhythm and Beauty::
It feels so good to be back in the saddle with our regular violin and cello practice and our normal weekly schedule.

::To Live the Life ::
In all my getting and doing, I want to get understanding:  this Easter season, in my marriage, in my parenting, as a friend, in my priorities.  I cry out for her.

“Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7).

 ::I am Hoping and Praying::
Towards the future.....

 :: In the Garden::
I've been anxiously awaiting the arrival of annuals at the prestigious Frankfort Walmart Garden Center (Yes, I'm an uber-cool gardener).  I've got to get some color going in that yard before new families start arriving to pick up their puppies or they might turn around and leave when they see our house!

 ::Around the House::
So excited about getting some projects done - things like sorting power and computer cords.  I'm in the living room/entryway zone this week.  I cannot tell you how ready I am to get the coats packed away so we have some room to breathe by our doorways.  But it's Indiana, after all.  We could still have another blizzard, for all we know.

 ::One of My Favorite Things::
  • Cutting up fresh strawberries last night as the spring sun poured in my kitchen window
  • Having David around a little more these days
  • Watching Mya take such good care of her puppies

::The Kids this week::
Corin – two teeth, pulling up & standing, drinking from cup, feeding himself solids, human floor vacuum if left alone.....

Caiden - Anyone want to borrow a vivacious 3-year-old boy?  He's a different boy in March and April every year.  It's downright weird. He's still sweet, though.

Karissa - OH, the drama queen....But she did do the supper dishes last night!  It was awesome to be able to just do a little rinsing and putting away and go do other things while she finished.

 Kayla – Still very sick with asthma.  She's a mystery to me.  Caiden and Karissa are so verbal and in-your-face with anything and everything they are thinking and feeling at any moment.  Her introvertedness baffles me.  It's a challenge for me.

::A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week::
Looking forward to a playdate for some adult conversation at Angie's tomorrow, our Passover Seder, then maybe a date this weekend!?

:: Love this Quote! ::

"On Easter Day the veil between time and eternity thins to gossamer."
 ~Douglas Horton

:: A Picture::
I'm on my father-in-law's computer now, so I stole this from his pictures.  A fantastic memory of a family vacation together at a lodge high up in the mountains. (Oh....Look at my baby girls! Were they really 1 and 3 on that trip?) 

Reading a story with their Grandpa Fry...

Found the "Daybook" idea here.


Gathering Joy

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
~G.B. Stern

  • #87 - Heart Joy while singing beside my husband during Palm Sunday morning worship
  • #88 - Sick asthma girl sleeping deep and long Sunday evening while her body heals
  • #89 - Little boy snuggled  with new Easter Lamb

#91 - Caiden praying over Sunday dinner that Jesus would "help Mya born the puppies"

#92 - The added blessings of  Mya and puppies (her final litter) home, safe and sound after surgery

  • #93 - Space of quiet to reflect as kids slip into slumber and tidied house falls asleep to lullaby sounds
  • #94 - The scent of Easter and IHC memories in my kitchen

  • #95 - Fresh understanding in child eyes as we discuss the passover-redemption story

  • #96 - The scent of straw, the quiet companionship of Mya, and the gentle sound of rain on the shed's tin roof.

  • #97 - Tears

  • #98  - Sleep

  • #99 - Friends - old and new - who make me smile and listen and laugh and I love you.

All of these - Gifts from the Father's heart.

I apologize for the font-and-bullet jumbling in this post.  Not sure why, but the more I try to fix it the more jumbled it becomes. 

Read the joy-gathering story here.  And join in the blessings counting here.

holy experience

Joy and Failure

Wow.  It's been quite a day.  I feel excited and blessed and happy.....but at the same time discouraged and frustrated and almost teary.  Sometimes it's wonderful-tough being a woman, eh?

I got home this morning from getting some groceries and finished getting biscuits and gravy on the table for breakfast.  While the family began eating, I noticed out the window that Max was acting rather strangely.  I hurried outside and found Mya had already began delivering her puppies!  Thus began the mixed-up day. 

I had tentative plans to take Alex Fry's senior pictures today, but found myself instead playing a balancing act between sitting with Mya, managing the house, and making sure the ignored kids were relatively safe.

Part of the day, everything was happening at once....David ran to the store to get last minute puppy supplies.  I was fixing nutritional supplements mixed with icecream for Mya (calcium and sugar for labor), fixing a bottle for Corin, monitoring the heat in the shed, warming towels, helping Mya to calm down (she's nervous in the first stages of labor), trying to keep things quiet and calm in the shed while leaving periodically to pretend like my kids had a mom.  The kids are comfortable with the puppies and the process, and I like that.  I loved Karissa hanging out in the straw, tending Mya and the puppies like a little mama in her pink frilly skirt and pink wellies.

I had other grand plans for the day that didn't happen, but we did have a wonderful meal together tonight, and a very meaningful discussion about Palm Sunday, Holy Week, Passover, the Resurrection, the Lamb of God.  It was one of those impromptu table conversations when you see in their kid eyes that they are making fresh and meaningful connections. One of my favorite things about trying to explain spiritual concepts to the kids is that in the process of putting it on their level, it becomes new and fresh and powerful again.

After supper we decorated our Palm Sunday Dinner dessert....a large (store-bought) cookie decorated with the scene of the Triumphal entry.

It was so fun to see the story so alive for the kids as they came up with ideas for the cookie scene.  The cross and the lamb were their idea.  The army guys (with weapons surgically removed) are raising their hands in praise and the horse/donkey is carrying the Lamb of God on its back, through the crowds of praisers, on the road to the cross.

Okay...so maybe it looks a bit like a bunch of grey, unarmed army guys surrendering to a sheep stuck to the back of a horse with green icing, but it was meaningful to us. (I loved it - one of the kids found an army guy with a big bazooka-gun-thingy and said, "Oh look!  Someone with a really cool video camera!"  That's my Generation Z girl.) Caiden was in charge of paving the triumphal road with chocolate sprinkles. Make no mistake, those are bonafide palm trees you see there.

The lullabys are playing, the kids are all finally asleep after some tired drama, an accidental finger-smashing incident, asthma medication, and me walking into the next room and standing there for a full minute before I could remember what I was getting for whom.

David is sitting with Mya and the puppies.  I just took out some nutritional supplement & agave nectar for Mya and fixed a bottle for a puppy that is slow to latch.

I'm excited about decorating the table for tomorrow with my Walmart and dollar store finds and whatever I can find in our Easter decorations tub.  A white table cloth, artificial palm fronds, some ceramic lambs, a king's crown.  And I found a beautiful plush lamb to give to the kids tomorrow.  I think the passover blood/sacrificial lamb concept has connected with them for the first time this year. I'm hoping falling in love with this gorgeous stuffed lamb will help them to connect even more with the story of sacrifice.

I feel pretty happy, pretty fulfilled. 

So why do I still have such a sense of failure?  I feel like this was such an unproductive day, like I mostly spinned my wheels and splashed mud around.  I'm embarrassed that my house wasn't tidy today.  I'm frustrated that my children don't automatically clean up after themselves unless I am present - monitoring and reminding them.  (Why have I bothered with all that training for the last 7 years?) The clothes are only partially ready for church tomorrow.  I had plans to go to my mother-in-law's to do our laundry, but that didn't happen.  Mya and the puppies still need tending.  Ding-bat-brained me decided to make homeade challah for tomorrow and it needs finished.  The eggs need deviled. Dishes need washed (always).  I'm not crying or falling apart, I just feel tired, a little overwhelmed, and a bit discouraged.  Nothing going on that needs any pity or even encouragement.  Just "that time of night" for a momma, you know?  I know you do, so I stopped in the middle of it all to chat with you awhile.  It has helped my perspective.  (The Dove chocolate didn't hurt any, either.)

If you're sitting in your very tidy home with your crockpot simmering and your starched clothes hanging, that's okay too.  It's all good.  I like how our life is periodically wild. And next week we should return to some normalness.

Tomorrow is a bright and exciting Sabbath day.  I can't wait.  I even have some pre-packaged-frozen cinnamon rolls to pop in the oven for a special breakfast treat tomorrow.

Blessings on your Palm Sunday!


White River Gardens

"I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in."
~George Washington Carver

"God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars." ~Martin Luther

"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I've watched you now a full half-hour;
Self-poised upon that yellow flower
And, little Butterfly! Indeed
I know not if you sleep or feed.
How motionless! - not frozen seas
More motionless! and then
What joy awaits you, when the breeze
Hath found you out among the trees,
And calls you forth again!

~William Wordsworth, "To a Butterfly"

"Man's heart away from nature becomes hard." ~Standing Bear

This little boy is all natured out and SO OVER the butterflies.  : )

Photos by David and Sarah Fry @ Indianapolis Zoo and Botanical Gardens



"Put something where you can see it so your eye will remind your heart." 
Martha Zimmerman, Celebrating the Christian Year 

I've been some time brainstorming and planning for some special days ahead:  The First Day of Spring, Palm Sunday & Holy Week -  Passover,  Good Friday, Holy Saturday & Resurrection Sunday. 

Celebrating special days of the Christian Calendar has long been a joy for us, but it varies greatly from year to year what we get around to.

Why celebrate?  Why go to the trouble? 
  • It's fun, for one thing.  It creates memory glue for our children and our family. It gives me a reminder to do something extra - something special outside of the everyday.
  • It helps us (adults AND kids) to remember the Christian Calendar - Special days that remind us to keep Christ as the center of our home and our year and our days.
  • It is a learning opportunity.  A chance to share with our kids in new ways about the Bible, History & what serving and Loving God means for us. 
  • It is a means of worship - learning & remembering what He has done.  Seeing and savoring what He has given us.
Some days we do nothing but the ordinary.  Other times, we do something small like add green food coloring to things on St. Patrick's day and talking a little about his ministry.  Other days/years, we do something extra special.  This is not a matter at all of guilt or drivennenss or a requirement whatsoever for being a "good mom."   It is just a collection of fun, meaningful and valuable ideas to add in here and there over the years if it's something your family enjoys.

One of the earliest resources we started using was Martha Zimmerman's fantastic book:  Celebrating the Christian Year.  With background information & current facts about the major Christian Holidays as well as ideas for celebrating that range from blessedly simple to the more exhaustingly elaborate.  She suggests that we "put something before our eyes to remind our hearts."

Another source of formation for us was one of David's seminary teachers.  I was able to attend a class with him and many of the ideas became building blocks that have shaped much of our parenting.  We have never forgotten his advice to NOT overdo it on the celebrating.  He shared that their family got to the place in their practice of Celebrating the Biblical Feasts that it seemed they were serving the feasts, not the feasts serving them.   We took that advice to heart and have just let the celebrations come as they will.

Ann Voskamp @ aholyexperience often has brilliant, thought-provoking ideas for recognizing and worshiping the Special Days.

And of course, there's always Google and the web.  Ah, what would I do without google?  Want the recipe for empty tomb buns?  Google it!  Want to find a cheap mold for white chocolate resurrection crosses?  Amazon search. 

I don't get around to a lot of the things I think about doing, and it seems I've been doing less and less of these kinds of things lately as our house fills with more kids.  But I'm okay with that.  I think the planning and thinking helps me to at least be more mindful of the season so that I can talk to the kids about it as we go about life.  Here's a little of my current brainstorming: (Many ideas from Zimmerman.)

  • Continue listening to & reading Passion Hymns for a Kid's Heart so kids will learn hymns well

  • I want to build a new cross for inside and one for outside (The old one was old and got tossed)...where to find the wood?

  • Need to pull out my Easter Decorations:  crown of thorns,  colored cloths to represent the days, Cross, etc.

  • First day of Spring - This Saturday, 3/20 - Fresh flowers for the house, Nature walk, Pink spring cake for Sunday Dessert.  Use this day to celebrate the beginning of our spring break

  • Palm Sunday - 3/28 - Hoping our church will have fresh, live palm branches again.  Day of celebration - white table cloth, candles, beauty. Last year for dessert we made a bundt cake and decorated it like a King's Crown (well, sortof).

  • Passover Eve (on Maundy Thursday or another convenient night) - Have a simple family passover meal  for supper- with new dishes & candle light. (I've never done this!  I need to do more reading & purchase some food items.)

  • Good Friday 4/2 - Attend Easter Cantata?

  • Holy Saturday 4/3 - need to read up on Zimmerman - a day of quiet waiting with things draped in black?  Maybe just a black cloth on table for us. New litter of puppies due!  Talk to kids about new life.

  • Resurrection Day 4/4 -  Try making Empty Tomb Buns! Worship at our church, dinner with family.  I don't have elaborate plans....buns for breakfast, candles on the table, hymns in the speakers.  I'm just hoping to make our home as peaceful and happy and worship-full as I can on that day.

  • On my wish list! Just discovered this book: expensive, but wow!

  • So much to learn about Biblical Holidays over at Heart of Wisdom

Daybook: March 24

::Outside My Window::
Sunshine spilling out onto kennel straw and yard grass!

::I am Listening to::
Caiden's favorite version of Brahms Lullaby.  (It's naptime around here.)
The sound of Kayla's Nebulizer - after a very, very long time w/o treatments, asthma has struck again.
:: I am remembering::
A wonderful little mini-vacation we just took to Indy for Spring Break.

::I am Thankful For::
A husband who takes special time with our family.

::I am Pondering::
Where in the WORLD are those seder plates for the kids my Mom gave us?  grrrr.  I think I'm going to have to descend into the basement and do a tubs search.

:: Some of what I've been reading::
Everyday Talk by John A. Younts
The One Year Bible - New Living Translation
and as reference for upcoming Holy Week activities:
Celebrating the Christian Year - by Martha Zimmerman
::From the Kitchen::
We had Pierogies, cheesy vegetables and Black Cherry Concord Grape Juice for lunch today.
Caiden has been having eating issues lately.  Today he didn't want one bite of lunch.  He was duly warned about the consequences, and is enjoying a fast until supper. He's gonna be one hungry dude. His lonely pierogie sits forlornely on the table along with some cheesy veggies waiting to be claimed.

 ::I am Thinking::
About some things I don't like about myself.  And about an encouraging word I heard this morning from my mom.

::I am Creating::
Been working on lots of lists.  I love lists. I list things on my calendar, on my electronic sticky notes and in my daybook.  Not that creative, I guess.  But the lists do include basic ideas for some simple Holy Week ideas I'm planning!
::On my iPod::
David's been adding some songs with a southern gospel flavor lately.  That's okay.  I'll listen to southern gospel blasting through the speakers in my kitchen if it means David's home with us!
:: Towards raising hungry learners::
We've been taking advantage of the weather and have been outside more.  We just had some wonderful learning times at the Children's museum (our favorite place!) and the Indy Zoo. Not sure how much Dinosaur Train is helping them, but they're hooked.

:: Towards Rhythm and Beauty::
We're enjoying a break from our normal rhythm.  But frankly, I miss it.  Although I did very much love sleeping in this morning!
::To Live the Life ::
I'm feeling guilty for being off the envelope system. I haven't been very disciplined. Oh...ouch! I do the budget and bills around here, so I have the ability to make our financial plans succeed or fail.  I'm ready to hit the envelopes again for April! (And yes -we do believe that how we handle our finances is a humongous part of living the holy life.)

 ::I am Hoping and Praying:
That the Lord helps us to find the right dryer and stove to purchase....SOON!

 :: In the Garden::
At home:  Crocuses and now Daffodils!  And yesterday we had the privilege of experiencing the spring plants and butterflies at the White River Gardens!

 ::Around the House::
Mostly, I don't want to talk about it.

But I will say that I have been in the bedroom zone and I love the clean, open feeling of a room after zone work!
 ::One of My Favorite Things::
This peaceful quiet of having all four kids napping at once.  I feel spoiled.
::The Kids this week::
Corin – He's still a happy baby, but he's starting to show his other side!  A little intensity has been seeping out at the edges.  Yesterday he got hold of a pizza crust and when I took it from him....oh, the weeping and wailing.  He was not a happy camper.  He's in that stage where his mind is bigger than his body - he wants to be and do everything his older siblings do.  At the same time,  his body is capable of trying things it shouldn't.  He's a handful and I'm actually considering investing in one of those large play yards so that I can leave him in a safe zone.

Caiden - I already mentioned his eating issues. He used to have a very good appetite.  He's also having a little bit of the night-terrors kind of stuff he has every spring.
Karissa -I have been thinking today about how far she's come.  She went through some very traumatic times in the last couple of years.  She is mellowing and is a generally happy kid now.  I'm so thankful. 

 Kayla – Asthma.  She's a trooper about taking her herbs, but she hates treatments.  They make her nose run and they make her eyes droop. 
::A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week::
  • Wednesday – planning day, pull out dog records, paperwork for taxes, putter around a lot
  • Thursday – Only one make-up lesson this week...no regular lessons.  Ahh...what to do with an entire extra day in my week?!  Maybe I'll sort and remove the yard sale/consignment pile in the living room. yay.
  • Friday – House Cleaning and No idea what else
  • Saturday –Photography work - Alex's Senior Pictures
:: Love this Quote! ::

 Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

 :: A Picture ::
  (Photo taken yesterday at White River Gardens)

Found the "Daybook" idea here.


First Day of Spring

I'm not a girl who hates the winter.... I love boots and sweaters and cold and being cozied up under blankets of snow.  But the delightful thing about seasons is that they come and go.

Spring is welcome here, for sure, with its sun and warmth and birds.  The other morning after taking the girls to school, I took baby Corin and went inside.  When Caiden did not follow, I found him still sitting in his carseat - nose pink with morning chill - quietly listening to the birds. He is a beauty-catcher.  I love that.

And we do love birds.  We still haven't gotten all of our houses and feeders arranged, so the bird bath is a giant feeding area for now.

Mya is certainly great with child.  She is getting sluggish and sleepy.  I remember not too long after this time last year I was feeling the same.  She rests while Max stands watch.  She delivered 11 pups her first litter, and she doesn't seem any smaller this time. David finished up the new shelter shed this morning by attaching it to the kennels.  Dad Fry brought over a brand-spankin-new whelping box he built for Mya.  We all anxiously wait.  It's fixin to get crazy around here!

Our first blooms of the year!  The kids were elated.  Karissa thinks it's just incredible that the crocuses are our school colors.
Friendship blossoms, too.  We haven't seen our neighbor Christopher much at all through the winter.  It is so good to be meeting our neighbors in backyards again. They have been building things and blowing bubbles and eating pizza and riding bikes.  Our neighbor Mr. Wright brought over a scooter and a bike for the kids.  Kayla has the bloody elbow to prove it!

The dryer is broken.  Not a small matter for a busy family of 6.  But thankfully, I do enjoy hanging out laundry.  I don't enjoy the inconvenience of it long-term (gets old fast at an average of 2 loads per day!), but it's just the teeniest bit fun on the first day of spring.

Karissa (5) has been anxiously waiting all day for the clothes to dry so she could help me gather them.  The temperature dropped quickly, the sky turned grey, and we raced to get them down as we felt a few drops coming.

She has such a natural love for homemaking already.  She was so excited to use her own little pink basket. 

Kayla couldn't care less about gathering laundry. She frankly isn't terribly concerned that she have clean laundry to wear! But oh, does she ever love science. Tonight she discovered the first mosquito of spring on her daddy's arm. He said, "I hope it wasn't there long enough to bite me."

She said in her adorable little accent,  "Well, Daddy, it's only the female mosquitos who bite.  So if it was a male mosquito you don't have an-a-thin' to worry about.  Male mosquitos only eat plant juices." (It's true! I looked it up!)

We just look at each other and chuckle and shake our heads.

We're so excited about the promise of blooms around here.  As I snapped some pictures of them, I felt so thankful in my heart for new beginnings.  I found it hard today to keep my attitude behavin'.  I found myself feeling frustrated and grouchy.  I'm so glad that tomorrow's a new day....fresh with no mistakes in it. (Miss Stacy, Anne of Green Gables).

We got the laundry down in plenty of time - I don't think that rain has come yet.

I looked up through the empty clothespins and saw this reminder of the season.

We had soft "lent" pretzels today and talked about arms folded in prayer - searching our hearts for ways to draw closer.  And after kids' baths to wash off those spring hours of play, we ended the day with a very simple family night....a happy pink strawberry cake and come creepy-cool snake video clips.

Happy Spring, Friends!

"It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!"

~Mark Twain


Just a little prayer

Lord, please protect me from the foolishness of spending too much time gazing out my window-screen into others' lives.......
while the cobwebs gather in my own.

Amen and Amen!


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