Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Weakness and perspective

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.       --2 Corinthians 12:9-10

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.       --Philippians 4:11(b)-13

Both of those passages of the Bible were written by the apostle Paul. He also wrote this: "Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked." (2 Corinthians 11:25-27) Yep, the same man who said that he delights in his weaknesses, who says he finds his strength in his weakness, who says he is content no matter the circumstances, he survived all of this.

This morning I found myself repeating and praying through those top two passages. I needed strength in the middle of my weakness. I needed contentment. I needed to feel like I could do whatever needed to be done through Christ's strength.

I was getting the kids ready for school.

Sometimes I feel like maybe I need a little perspective on what it really means to "have a rough day."

But then I remember this verse:
"Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,
who daily bears our burdens." --Psalm 68:19

Every day. Every burden. No matter how big--OR how small. God says, "I've got this for you. I will gladly take that."

And then... And then... it's not your own strength your using. It's GOD's strength. And that is some major power.

"For when I am weak, then I am strong."

What's your burden today? I can promise you, God will take it if you will just.let.go.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


This is no ordinary Tuesday.

This is one of the best Tuesdays E.V.E.R.

Especially if you're this boy.

Because if you were this boy... on this day... you would be SEVEN. Today.

Yep, yesterday he was 6. (Actually, according to him, he was "6 and 3 quarters and 2 dimes." He's his father's son, what can I say?) But today... he's SEVEN.

Happy birthday, Monkey!


Thank you, Lord, for every second of laughter with this boy ("You are the best mommy ever--and the second best parent!"), every tender hug, every moment of thoughtfulness ("Mommy, I'll tell you about that later. I want to hear about your day right now.")--for every rock and stick and blade of grass that he brings me as a present. You really outdid yourself when you made this one, God. And then you saw fit to give him to me--I am crazy blessed.

Monday, February 3, 2014


So... I haven't written in a while. Are you still here? Hanging with me? It's been hard for me to blog because--well, no. Just no. My life is 27 kinds of crazy right now, but... seriously, isn't it always? I have no excuse. I'm glad we're together again, friends.

My heart is so full of things to share with you that I hardly know where to start. But for tonight, my head is also full of decongestants--not the mention the congestants that were already there (Blogger is trying to tell me that's not a word, but what else would you call it? Get with it, Blogger.)--so we're going to keep it light. Let's go with vacation pictures.

About two weeks ago, our family had a chance to take a company cruise. My hubby is self-employed, so we took our family, all of our employees, and a "plus one" for each of the employees. It was lots of fun! I'll try to give you the highlights...

First of all, let me tell you that I was a bit apprehensive about this cruise. We left out of Baltimore and traveled to the Bahamas. If you are even marginally familiar with geography (which is my level of mastery of that particular subject), you know that "Baltimore" and "Bahamas" are not exactly neighbors. This meant lots of time at sea. With three kids. One of whom is Roo. Yeah, just tell me your heart isn't already beating a little faster just from reading that. We had 3 days (out of 7) that were entirely at sea--no ports of call. But I have to say, it went surprisingly well. For one thing, those days afforded good opportunities for naptime... for Roo and his mama. Also, cruise ships have this wonderful childcare program where you can drop your children off and they entertain them and keep them safe and all that while you... pretty much do whatever you want. To be honest, they were only in there for about 2 hours a day (and less than that for Lamb, who wasn't wild about the whole deal), but it was a nice break--for them and for us.

One of my favorite things about cruising is the food--or really, the food service. I mean, the food is delicious and all, but no one at home does this for my kids...

Another waiter one morning brought out our breakfast, then asked if he could help cut up the boys' pancakes so that Mr. Fantastic and I could eat. Ummmm... YES PLEASE! And is it wrong for me to kiss you?

And of course, let's acknowledge that the food is fantastic...

This is "best French toast", which is crusted in Frosted Flakes. And then drenched with syrup. Duh.

Oh, I have to show you this--this is one of my favorite pictures...

This is actually from the first day of the cruise. Roo was already so worn out, he fell asleep sitting up during an informational session in one of the showrooms.

It was adorable. You know how people will post pictures of their kids falling asleep in random places, like in their high chair or passed out on the floor or something like that? That has never been my kids. EVER. I couldn't believe that he would fall asleep sitting up, with people walking around and talking and laughing... but he did. One minute he was chasing the big kids through the aisles, the next he just climbed up next to Mr. Fantastic and ZONKED. I love this kid!

Another advantage of the multiple "at sea" days: time for homework.

Yes, this picture is of Monkey, but I have to tell you... it was Lamb who really had to devote time to her studies. Third grade is no joke, friends. She had work to do. Sister cranked out close to an hour of homework every day, not to mention that she spent tons of time getting stuff done before we even left so she would have less to do on vacation!

So our first stop was Port Canaveral, Florida. And here's an interesting story... if you are a Facebook fan, you likely saw my post about Roo needing a fingernail removed. Yep, a fingernail. My digits are tingling just thinking about it. Anyway, he had developed an infection in his finger a few weeks before our trip, and it just wouldn't go away. I kept putting Neosporin on it, and it wasn't terrible looking (I even had a pharmacist look at it, and he said it wasn't bad enough to warrant a doctor visit.), so we decided to just wait it out a little longer. Unfortunately, on the ship it got much worse. Mr. Fantastic finally took him to the infirmary on the ship, and the doctor said we needed to take him to the ER at our next port (Florida) to have the nail removed. Fun times. (Spoiler alert: Mr. Fantastic took him, the doctor there decided it didn't need to be removed. He prescribed a stronger ointment--to be given 3 times a day--and an antibiotic--to be given FOUR times a day. On vacation. Right. Oh, and he recommended that we soak it for THIRTY MINUTES AT A TIME three times a day. Did this guy even LOOK at that child?!?)

Anyway, while Mr. Fantastic and Roo were off on their own little adventure, I took the kids to the beach. Ah, the beach in Florida. Doesn't that sound lovely? OK, honestly, it was lovely. But it was not especially warm. I think the high that day was 60. So we didn't do any swimming, but we had lots of fun just playing on the beach.

Lamb decided to do a little photo project...

That's my girl! She was so proud of herself!

The next day we were in the Bahamas

Again, lovely to be out of the great Midwest, but not the weather one might expect in the Bahamas. Another day at the beach, another high in the low 60s. But this time, we were in the water. Yep, we froooooooooooze!

But it was so worth it. Because we weren't alone in the water--we were with dolphins!

(Yep, just 4 of us. Lucky for us, Gram--my mother-in-law--works for my hubby and was on the cruise with us. She volunteered to take Roo for the day so that we could enjoy the dolphin encounter with the big kids!)

Oh, Little Miss Lamb is very into dolphins right now, and I thought she was going to absolutely BURST with excitement. We had tons of fun doing this encounter!

And then... we just wanted to get warm.

There's nothing quite like a good cup of hot chocolate when you're on vacation... on the beach... in the Bahamas...

Next up: our third and final stop, also in the Bahamas. In a cruel twist of fate, this was the warmest day of our trip... and we weren't at the beach. At this stop, our whole crew (11 of us) did an excursion together, and we visited a botanical garden. It was a little bit of a bummer to be away from the ocean on the nicest day, but the place we visited was beautiful.

They have a labyrinth there, which was not at all what I expected. It was actually just a big slab of... something... with a path printed on it. The idea is that you walk the path slowly while meditating/praying/thinking/humming, and as you journey to the center you also find your "center."

Our family took a different approach: Run as fast as you can, making sure to be loud enough that everyone on the island knows exactly what you're doing.

After the botanical garden, we had a chance to do a little shopping on the island, and there was a courtyard with live music. I took Lamb and Roo out to teach them the electric slide...

Then Roo decided (as always) to dance to his own beat...

But the real magic happened back on the ship that afternoon. We went up by the pool (which was actually covered with a retractable dome roof! Is that cool or what?!?) after Roo's nap. I set him down, thinking he would run to Daddy. Instead he did this...

I love this video. Seriously love it. Do you know that at this time last year, that kid couldn't walk? Check him out, people. This boy is amazing.

So that pretty much sums it up, but let me give you a few other random shots that I enjoy...

Wake up, Monkey!

"Seriously, Mom? Do you see this girl behind me? THIS is why I refuse to grow hair. Bed head. I don't have time to deal with that. I have places to go and people to see."

And don't forget the super-cool towel animals that you find in your room each night...

There should be 6. I have no idea why I only have pictures of 3. But still. VERY cool. It's such a little thing, but one of my favorite parts of cruising. :-)

It was a great week--I'm so glad we had the family time.

Come back tomorrow for more pictures, but not of vacation this time..................