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

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Quiet Spring Beauty

The recent days have been a flurry of to-do lists and packing and feeling the pressure of time and - to be frank - not so much of looking and lingering and savoring. 

I've been wishing I had a pill to take that would settle my insides....
I'll breathe a big sigh when the last lesson is taught and the last suitcase is packed and the last floor swept and we are on our merry to Cincinnati on Friday.

But for now - tonight - this soul needs some quiet spring beauty.


"In springtime, love is carried on the breeze. Watch out for flying passion or kisses whizzing by your head." ~Terri Guillemets





"Yesterday the twig was brown and bare;
To-day the glint of green is there;
Tomorrow will be leaflets spare;
I know no thing so wondrous fair,
No miracle so strangely rare.
I wonder what will next be there!"

~L.H. Bailey




 "I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works."
Psalm 9:1 (KJV)





"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped:
therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him."
Psalm 28:7 (KJV)



Goodnight, All.....

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Daybook: April 13

::Outside My Window::
A bright, beautiful day!  Ten dogs lying peacefully in the splotchy sun. Starlings stealing from Max's food and water dishes.

::I am Listening to::
Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue....
And the sound of birds outside.

:: I am pondering::
Summer work options....

::I am Thankful For::
David is on his way now to pick up a new-to-us frontloading dryer....a bargain find on Craigslist!!!!

::I am Pondering::
The thought hit me this morning as I was washing dishes:  That most of the time, if I have become disappointed in people it has been because of how they use their tongue.

:: Some of what I've been reading::
Last night we read St. George and the Dragon.  I was enthralled with this retelling.  It was powerfully and beautifully written. I'd like to print this and hang it on my fridge:

"Then the dawn chased away the dark, a lark mounted up to heaven, and up rose the brave knight with all his hurts and wounds healed, ready to fight again.  When the dragon saw him, he began to be afraid."
This was a library book we read, but I'm afraid I very much want to buy it. That's the problem with me and library books.  I want to own them!!! It was so fun to watch Caiden tearing around the room, slaying imaginary dragons while we read.

::From the Kitchen::
I am devistated to admit that David has corrupted me.....I joined him in eating a "chips sandwich" today for lunch.  I'm too embarrassed to even tell you how gross that is.  But I only had a half.

::I am Thinking::
About getting all of my IHC packing done tomorrow....because I teach all day Thursday and leave Friday to go to Cincy to be with my sick Grandma.

::I am Creating::
Pictures, pictures, pictures.
And currently, I have created....a mess on the table as I sort papers.
::On my iPod::
 Latest song:  Every Promise in the Book is Mine

We sing a lot during our family devotions.  David likes to have songs that fit the theme of our devotional.  The other night, after several feeble attempts to remember a song he wanted, David was like..."Sarah, go find that song real quick while I read the devotional."  A minute or two and 99 cents later, we owned a fabulous recording of the song we needed.  Doncha just love technology?

:: Towards raising hungry learners::
Trying to be more purposeful about playing the Spanish language around here. Caiden and Corin are both in prime language development stages. Caiden is extremely verbal, and I have known in my heart of hearts that it would be a tragedy to not fill his little ears with foreign sounds. But for some reason I have not remembered to consistently immerse him.


::Towards Rhythm and Beauty::
Tis the season of lots of beauty....
Rhythm? Not so much. 

I am trying to be purposeful about not just putting out the fires of the day, but working routinely through my weekly schedule so that the undercurrent of the home can stay intact.

::To Live the Life ::
I've caught myself in moments of talking less gently than I needed to....oh, the discipline of growing up seems to take so long!!  I remember saying yesterday....."Would you please just be PATIENT!?!"  (She said impatiently.) It's funny, but not.

 ::I am Hoping and Praying::
For the right washer to purchase now that we're getting a dryer.  My washer basin seems to be cracked, and leaks all over the basement floor,  so that's next.  Then a new stove so we can return the borrowed one. Apparently, we should have invested in an appliance store.

 :: In the Garden::
Mom Fry just brought us a ton of hostas.  I love hostas.  She and David got them all transplanted for us.  My next gardening project (post-IHC-week) is mulch!

 ::Around the House::
Working the desk today...and as I cleared some papers from my printer, I found myself literally sighing in relief and saying,  "Space...I just love space."
 ::One of My Favorite Things::
Haagan-Dazs Dulce de Leche icecream....in a tiny crystal bowl.  A little of its richness goes a long way.  The older I get, the more I savor quality!


::The Kids this week::

Corin – Looks so little-boyish today.  He fell asleep in his high chair....preciousness.

Caiden - Says I should tell you that he wants a football cake (followed by gut-busting laughter).  Oh!  And he asked me the other day for an iPod for his birthday (next month).  Mercy, help us.

Karissa - She wants me to tell you that she's five and she's gonna have a butterfly birthday. Oh, and she likes flowers.

Kayla – Her asthma cough persists. (She has Cough Variant Asthma).  Sunday night I took her home from church and we considered taking her to Riley Children's.  I probably should have, because when I took her to our pediatritian the next day, he suggested that he thinks she may be faking part of it.  I'm usually pretty much a weeny when it comes to confronting people, but this time I came up for air a little.  We've dealt with this since she was like 6 months old!  RSV, RAD & CVA diagnoses, multiple doctors, hospitals, & emergency rooms in 4 states.  More treatments and herbs and steroids and syrups and inhalers and xrays than we can count.  Wracking coughs for almost every breath until she throws up..... Don't tell me this girl is faking it to get attention!  Whew.  Down, girl. 

Kayla's doing just fine.  Her mamma is just a little riled. = )

::A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week::
Makes my heart race just thinking about it.  Zoning in on the house, desk & laundry today, Cincy/IHC packing tomorrow, teaching all day Thursday, then off to Cincy after school on Friday.  David's last comps are Monday and Tuesday, then he'll join me at IHC for the first time in seven or eight years!!!  Yippee.....Just look for the short, squatty dishwater-blonde with the gorgeous, elegant, dark-headed man. 

:: Love this Quote! ::
I always prefer to believe the best of everybody, it saves so much trouble.
~Rudyard Kipling



:: A Picture::

(from the wedding of Ashley Turner and Matt Alexander)


Found the "Daybook" idea here.

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Gathering Joy - 4.12.10

This is one of those days when counting blessings is also a discipline.  A way of making a poopy-diaper-morning smell just nicer. And the day got nicer, too!

#124 - A new cashier-feller who was pretty much clueless, but ever and ever so nice about it....
#125 - A quick, quiet lunch (a bowl of cereal) alone outside at our picnic table with the wind and the sun and the tulips.
#126 - A husband who washes dishes while I'm gone
#127 - A daddy who is willing to study sitting in the car at the park so the kids can play while mommy is gone working
#128 - The happy promise of long, hot summer days...popsicles, neighbor kids, wading pools, suntans.
#129 - The fact that - (now that I am a joy-gatherer) - in the dark night hours as I rise over and over with restless, crying children - my groggy mind searches for some gift - something to be grateful for in the exhaustion. 
#130 - Stacks of folded laundry
#131 - Growing things:  puppies, flowers & kids!

(photo by David)
#132 - The sound of Caiden belly laughing in the other room
#133 - A whole night free of asthma girl's coughing.
#134 - Hanging out laundry means being outside in the sun.
#135 - A hot bath after a long day of picture-taking
#136 - Freshley bathed kids in little bathrobes and boots - outside watching Daddy plant things.
#137 - Kindness
#138 - Peace
#139 - Satin and Sequins and Smiles and Promises.  A heritage.  Tenderness and love and support and friendship.  A day full of it.  (with sore feet and tired bodies)






holy experience


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Thinking about kindness.....

How beautiful a day can be
When kindness touches it!

~George Elliston

Dear Lord,
I want to be strong and brave
and beautiul and productive
and so many other things. 
But before all of that,
would you please, please remind me  -
each moment of each day - 
to be kind?

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Jenell's Colorific Salad

(For you, Aunt Gwen!)

Salad:
1 head leaf or romaine lettuce
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 chopped red bell pepper
1 c. pecans
1/2 purple onion, thinly sliced
1 c. Craisins
1 c. honey roasted sesame sticks

Dressing:
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. oil
1/3 c. vinegar
1/4 c. water
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 T. onion flakes
1 T. mustard
2 T. mayonnaise


In a large bowl, combine all salad ingredients.  Combine dressing ingredients and mix well in blender.  Just before serving, pour over salad and toss lightly.

***************
Sarah's Notes:
  • I got this recipe from a lady at Flora Farms (where we buy our herbs).  It's one of my favorite salads ever.
  • This recipe makes a HUGE salad!  Unless you're adding chicken and eating it as a meal salad, you may be able to get by with half the recipe. 
  • I don't suggest adding the dressing early. It's gets soggified.
  • The roasted sesame sticks may be a little harder to find, but they are a huge part of the flavor mixture.  I found them in the bulk foods (Amish) section of our grocery.  I'm sure Whole Foods has them too.
  • I don't bother with the blender - I just shake the dressing up in a sealed container ahead of time and store it in the fridge until ready to serve.
  • I also used two head of Romaine instead of one.
  • I use onion powder instead of onion flakes in the dressing.  Which is actually pretty hilarious, now that I think of it.  The reason I usually substitute powder instead of flakes or diced onions is because of my severely onionphobic husband.  But he wouldn't touch this salad with a ten-foot-pole with or without onion powder.

Happy Friday!
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Cracked

We were all a flurry of bowls and colors and sparkles and eggs.  It was a joyful mess.  And we oohed and aaahhed and praised one another's creations.  And every once in awhile you would hear the crackly thud of another boiled egg-creation hitting the floor or table.....Dropped.  And cracked. 

And  now, after the colors and the bowls are long gone, I keep remembering....when Caiden dropped his favorite egg, that he made for his little frog.  And the disappointment in his big brown eyes started to surface.  But then the girls reassured him and reminded him...

"The Cracks Make It More Beautiful"





And I think of the jumble of colors that I am and the cracks about me.

Yes, I'll be the first to admit that I'm a bit cracked up.  Some of it I can laugh about.  Some of it I can't, yet.

And I remember that the pieces of me that need mending are glued together with the strongest glue ever....Him. 




And what once was a fragile and simple, single piece.....can become stronger and more complex and more beautiful than ever as the strength and color and shimmer of Himself fills in my cracked places and holds me together.



And that's just beautiful......

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At last....

The new website is ready!  Happylujah.

Bear with me.  I still have things to add, things to delete, and things to rearrange.  But you (the faithful few) get a sneak peek.....

I'm sure is not yet bug-free, and may need tweaking here and there.  But it's live.  And I'm pooped.




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Daybook: April 6

::Outside My Window::
The morning sun shining on the white laundry blowing in the breeze.  The white load is my favorite.  = )

::I am Listening to::
Michael Dulin and the sound of bacon sizzling

:: I am remembering::
Memories of the cabin...Rook around the table, popcorn and a video, soaking up sun, walks in the woods, breaking child labor laws, playing in the creek......

::I am Thankful For::
A friend who is taking my boys to the park so that I can work on some special projects today.

::I am Pondering::
How did I get my shirt on inside out this morning without realizing it?

:: Some of what I've been reading::
A new family devotional book we just received.  Looks awesome.

::From the Kitchen::
nothing worth mentioning. at. all.

 ::I am Thinking::
About summer!  I'm getting so ready....

::I am Creating::
Working on Alex's Senior Pictures and getting ready for a wedding this weekend.
::On my iPod::
Just downloaded this month's free audio book download from Christianaudio.com.
:: Towards raising hungry learners::
We started reading James Herriot's Treasury for Children.  I am continually amazed at the new quality this reading list has brought us.  These books are delightful and they are stretching us.

::Towards Rhythm and Beauty::
I know what needs to be done.

::To Live the Life ::

"All that I have seen teaches me to trust God for all I have not seen."
~Author Unknown

"Before me, even as behind, God is, and all is well."
 ~John Greenleaf Whittier


 ::I am Hoping and Praying::
For successful testing....David's last set of comprehensive exams...just before IHC.  I can already feel the intense school pressure lifting.  Happylujah!

 :: In the Garden::
Pinkish-Lavender Tulips.  Yesterday.  Yay!
And last night while I was shooting Senior Pics, David planted a bunch of new happy pink Incarvilleas (Hardy Gloxinia).  I literally get a happy heart  feeling when I think about all of the summer flowers blooming.

 ::Around the House::
Okay. So the living room zone didn't get done last week with all the Easter stuff and whatever else happened in life. 

Kitchen Zone this week.  That's good.  There are always projects to be done in the kitchen.

 ::One of My Favorite Things::
The sight of my handsome husband with a fresh haircut, blue t-shirt with jeans and a spring tan.  (can you hear me smiling?)

::The Kids this week::

Corin – Caiden and Corin have started playing together this week.  It's a blast to watch them.  They play chase (crawling) and then pile on top of each other and laugh their heads off and Corin tries to eat Caiden.

Caiden - Fell asleep reading a dinosaur book.  Very cute.

Karissa - She went with me on a photo shoot for the first time.  And she only dropped the expensive camera lens once.  (grimace)  But it was fun having her.  She has such an intense zest for life.

Kayla – Last night the girls had put Corin up on their bed with them.  Kayla's eyes just sparkled as she said to me, "Isn't he just the cutest thing EVER?!"  It was sweet to watch her love him.
::A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week::
Website to finish, wedding to shoot this weekend, would absoultely love to find some boxes and get the yard sale stuff moved into storage.

:: Love this Quote! ::

"If you've never been thrilled
to the very edges of your soul
by a flower in spring bloom,
maybe your soul has never been in bloom."
 ~Terri Guillemets



:: A Picture::


Found the "Daybook" idea here.

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Alex Fry - Senior Pictures










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Gathering Joy - 4.5.10

Gifts & Blessings......

#100 - Fresh strawberries & sunshine


#101 - Daffodils in windowsills

#102 - Puppy pile in the corner of the kitchen
#103 - Help (from our friend Paul) with removing puppy dew claws

#104 - Watching him crush the cookies for dessert.....with his horse, oh my!

#105 - Tasting the tears

#106 - When daddy helps straighten a room
#107 - Watching boys (3 and 8 mo.) become brothers.  Chasing one another, wrestling, laughing. 
#108 - Warm sweet cinnamon sourdough bread from the hands of a friend
#109 - Easter dinner with family - ham gravy!
#110 - Easter dresses and egg hunts

#111 - "I love you....You're byooful"  words I hear almost everyday from my 3-yr-old boy
#112 - Squeezing my baby dough boy while he smiles his blue eyes

#113 - Feeling the panic of too much in one week, then remembering I can say no...or later. (A long-coming lesson learned!)
#114 - Heart trying to sort through a tough lesson, and feeling the glimmer of light - the beginning of a big understanding?
#115 - Little hands and color everywhere and oohs and ahhs and sparkling eggs
#116 - The leftover mess in my kitchen because I chose to spend extra time with the kids
#117 - Baby who's big enough to pull things off of shelves!!!
#118 - Sitting on the stairs of the downtown circle with David - just talking and watching and laughing
#119 - The chance to practice keeping my mouth shut when irritated (building spiritual muscle)
#120 - Watching Karissa and daddy talk and laugh and play together.  Knowing he's speaking her language.
#121 - Lounging outside under the gazebo on a Sunday afternoon with David, the day so beautiful we can't make ourselves go inside
#122 - So many blessings I can't get stopped.
#123 - Blessed with the family who dirties dishes and soils laundry.....



The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance;
the wise grows it under his feet.

~James Openheim




holy experience
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Worthy!

This week it has been so painfully present with me....

I am not worthy.  I am not good.  I am not beautiful.  I am not enough.

                                     I am dust.

My heart has been heavy with it.

But this morning the joy overflows into tears.....

HE is Worthy!
        He is Good!
                     He is Beauty!
                                       He is......ENOUGH!

And He lives to love me.

How lovingly he wraps around me the crimson robe of His Righteousness, and whispers to me to quit striving and rest in His shed blood that makes right what is wrong with me.

He wraps me in acceptance and beauty and forgiveness....and reminds me that Because of Today eternity is ours.....together.

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.
Isaiah 61:10





I wear a Robe of Righteousness!



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Our First Passover Seder

A very simple passover seder meal....prepared with the young in mind


{seder plate}
A meal that tells a story....

Not all parts of this story are easy to hear.
 

 (even for little boys who helped with the cake icing.)


It is the story of the Israelites and their deliverance from the bondage of Egypt.

Bitter herbs are tasted, telling of the bitter years the Children of Israel endured.

They were forced to work brutally, making bricks


{bowl of salt water....dip the parsley}
They cried salty tears

{hard boiled egg}
But Pharoh's heart was hard
(even as our hearts are hard before we accept his blood)


{lamb bone}
But God had a plan of deliverance....


{Parsley}
They used hyssop to spread the shed blood of a lamb on their doorposts

{Challah}
Matza!
Major correction....(what a doofus am I) 
Challah is braided and golden and beautiful and soft. 
Matza is flat and brown and poked with holes and crackly.

They were to obey quickly, eating bread without yeast.
Three pieces of unleavened bread - even as the three persons of the Trinity
The bread has stripes and is pierced.
The middle piece is removed - his body broken - and we take and eat


We eat and we drink in rememberance


With thankfulness

We eat the lamb and our very small, simple meal (just roasted lamb and potatoes and grape juice)


"I am come that they might have life, and that they might have life more abundantly".
(John 10:10)


This happened in the midst of all of our imperfections and real life - schedules changed, we weren't planning to have the meal then decided to about an hour and a half in advance.  We had a limited amount of time before other activities schedule for the evening.  Table linens were not ironed.  Grape juice was in the bottle.  Kids came as they were - smudges on faces and all.  We simply talked through the story and enjoyed being together.

Just before our meal,  the sun came brilliantly out after a long day of heavy clouds (in the skies and my heart).  How I needed the reminder of the powerful joy and simplicity of accepting his sacrifice.  And the hardest thing of all for me....Of accepting His acceptance.


But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5

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