Why it’s been so long…

imageSometimes it just feels good to say “No,” and know that you’re choosing the right thing. I’d be dishonest if I acted like saying no to the blog recently was hard; it wasn’t.

My sweet and energetic four-year-old is just coming out of two and a half weeks of sickness. This has meant multiple wake-ups at night, juggling homeschooling and other energetic children, mental energy trying to figure out what was wrong, and feeling like a thermometer was strapped to my hand.

Our children have been so healthy that I had never dealt with anything like this before; it’s nothing compared to what others live daily, but for me it was quite a valley.

The choice to rejoice and give thanks or to complain and despair was magnified with every day. I could feel myself getting weaker and weaker, and yet I could sense the steady current of God’s strength growing more and more apparent. You never really know when a hard time is coming, but sometimes in the middle you realize an overwhelming comfort that is just normally not sensed.

I have to admit, yesterday after we finally found out was wrong (which was an easily treated infection, much better than things we had begun to worry about) my trust and faith bottomed out. Obviously, when there was now a really good reason to rejoice! I was tired of being tired, and too tired to care that I had chosen the poor-me route.

Unfortunately, I can’t even say that today has been a complete turnaround. Though I woke this morning from an incredible nights sleep to four healthy, happy children, things in my heart are still working themselves out.

So here is what I’m thankful for right now: (and I’m preparing to be very convicted)

~ my husband, who carries more responsibility than I can even comprehend; yet is so loving and patient and understanding with me

~ the mercy of God, that daily keeps me from being consumed

~ our American healthcare system; yes, even that. I’m embarrassed at how many times I was tempted to complain while being helped by such caring, personal professionals

~ friends who cared and asked about and prayed for Sophia

~ a church family I dearly miss when we have to stay home

~ music on my ipad that speaks of God’s sovereignty, greatness, and deep love

~ other little girls who were about the cutest nurses you could ask for

I’m thankful that for now it seems we are out of the woods with this hardship; thankful for the opportunity to be tested and shaped; and praying that my faith will continue to grow as God gives opportunity.

For friends and family: Two-year-old Mckayla

When I dressed Mckayla up and took her to the park for pictures, I imagined them coming out like Gracie’s. What was I thinking? I love these, though. They’re so her. = ) And it’s one of the things I want to do for birthdays!

The best one, if you're talking *still and looking at the camera*
The best one, if you’re talking *still and looking at the camera*

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She wanted to get up on the seesaw "uh-self!" I love the progression of these pictures.
She wanted to get up on the seesaw “uh-self!” I love the progression of these pictures.

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Gracie is patiently waiting.
Gracie is patiently waiting.
And she made it! ...after several minutes. This is how I'm supposed to do it, right?
And she made it! …after several minutes. This is how I’m supposed to do it, right?

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This picture is the most accurate depiction of Mckayla.

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Why not chew on a stick for a birthday snack?
Why not chew on a stick for a birthday snack?
Watch out world, here she comes! = )
Watch out world, here she comes! = )

Prayer, pools, and sunshine

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Last week after a few days of Sophia begging me to take them the pool, I promised that we would go on Wednesday morning.

Tuesday night I had the inclination to check the weather. Sophia was so excited and I didn’t want her to be destroyed if something like rain ruined the plans. Well, the mean ol’ weather channel divulged the news that there were to be thunderstorms and rain ALL DAY! Boo-hoo!

I told Sophia that we probably couldn’t go to the pool in the morning and that we would try to go again the next day.

I did think about praying with her that God would help it not to rain, but 1, though I want my kids to know how deeply God loves them, I do not want them to think of him as existing for the sole purpose of meeting their demands; 2 , I didn’t want to have to explain God’s transcendent will if she prayed that it wouldn’t rain and it did; and 3, this was all extremely close to lights out at bedtime and I really just wanted them to go to bed. Great mom, I know.

Sure enough, we woke up early to rain.

I stayed in bed after Paul left and debated whether I wanted it to stop or not. Again, Captain Unselfishness.

The rain stopped just as the girls woke up. I had decided that if it stopped raining we would go.

Sophia bounded out of bed, checked out the window, and danced down the hall, “Mommy, I prayed last night that God would help it to not rain, and it’s not raining!”

Wow. I was very humbled.

First, that my little girl would think to pray on her own. Next, that God would hear and answer her prayer.

The girls joy and anticipation was catchy so we all ate breakfast and cleaned up in a hurry. We marched down the stairs and the big girls came up with a little cheer that the little girls even joined.

“We’re goin’ to the pool.” Clap, clap. “We’re goin’ to the pool.” Clap, clap.

Even though it was not raining, I still didn’t expect it to be that great of a day. It was very cloudy and the water would probably be cold as it had been cloudy and raining for days.

I was in for one more surprise.

When we got to the pool, the whole area was bathed with warm, wonderful sunshine. This blessing was more than I could take; now it was my turn to be excited, “Girls, God is so amazing! He didn’t just make it stop raining; He gave us sunshine!”

We had the most amazing time at the pool. Measured by such milestones as Gracie jumping in with me holding her hands; Mckayla asking for me to let go of her in the water so she could float just with her jacket, and Sophia swimming the length of the pool.

It was so humbling to sit there and talk about how we don’t deserve anything from God, yet how he blesses us in ways that are so personal.

Thank you, Lord, for answering Sophia’s prayer, for our pool, and for the sunshine that tells us every day of your glory.

For family and friends: random hodge-podge

I think that pretty much explains it. Here are some pictures I thought ya’ll might enjoy:

Pictures taken on the day of the trash can fiasco. These were a much more rewarding endeavor.
Pictures taken on the day of the trash can fiasco. These were a much more rewarding endeavor.

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I was seeing how this background would work for those pictures I still need to take of their Easter outfits. = /
I was seeing how this background would work for those pictures I still need to take of their Easter outfits. = /

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Mckayla! Come sit with us for the picture!!
Mckayla! Come sit with us for the picture!!
Here she comes!
Here she comes!
All better. Except Mckayla looks like she still wishes she was over there.
All better. Except Mckayla looks like she still wishes she was over there.
Cleaning out the fish tank? A perfect time to play sink or float!
Cleaning out the fish tank? A perfect time to play sink or float!
Pretty in pink
Pretty in pink
Never a dull breakfast.
Never a dull breakfast.
Ever.
Ever.
A little dark, but I love that she was giving her baby a ride on the horse.
A little dark, but I love that she was giving her baby a ride on the horse.
And some funny, funny faces:
And some funny, funny faces:

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Hope and Sophia looked at this and said, "Whoa! Gracie's face is the funniest!"
Hope and Sophia looked at this and said, “Whoa! Gracie’s face is the funniest!”
I quite agree.
I quite agree.

A lovely long weekend to you all!

For family and friends: Gracie’s birthday

Hello all! We posted Gracie’s three-year old pictures here, and today you get to see her birthday fun.

Her first birthday date with Daddy. Three is awesome already! She picked fix-cha-lay, and had hash browns, little swamwiches, and lumonade. Mm-mmm.
Her first birthday date with Daddy. Three is awesome already! She picked fix-cha-lay, and had hash browns, little swamwiches, and lumonade. Mm-mmm.
Birthday presents from Dad, Mom, and sisters at lunch. A pin-y-ata and kite in the mix!
Birthday presents from Dad, Mom, and sisters at lunch. A pin-y-ata and kite in the mix!

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Fun poster/birthday card made by her sisters and supervised by moi.
Fun poster/birthday card made by her sisters and supervised by moi.
Birthday cake finally! This is what she's been asking for for so long!
Birthday cake finally! This is what she’s been asking for for so long!
Somebody's excited!
Somebody’s excited!
And somebody else!
And somebody else!
And somebody else!
And somebody else!
Mommy LOVES Gracie!
Mommy LOVES Gracie!
More birthday cards and gifts.
More birthday cards and gifts.
A raincoat so I won't get wet!! (Gracie hates wain)
A raincoat so I won’t get wet!! (Gracie hates wain)
The complete ensemble: raincoat, boots, umbrella.
The complete ensemble: raincoat, boots, umbrella.
And ladies and gentleman, it's piñata time! (Ok, the girls actually beat on it for an hour in the afternoon. Then beat on it for awhile in the evening; Daddy had to finish it off. = )
And ladies and gentleman, it’s piñata time! (Ok, the girls actually beat on it for an hour in the afternoon. Then beat on it for awhile in the evening; Daddy had to finish it off. = )
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The piñata was a rare treat indeed. Hope quickly went into protection mode.

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The best way to end a birthday.
The best way to end a birthday.

We love you, Gracie!

Monday Morning Mystery!

Green marker found scribbled on wall: approximately 9 am
Green marker found scribbled on wall: 9 am
Green marker without lid: found: approximately 9:15 am
Green marker found without lid: 9:15 am
Suspect spotted with green marker on cheek: approximately 9:30 am
Suspect spotted with green marker on cheek: 9:30 am

Solved!

I do apologize for the poor quality of the evidence photos; but after all, most suspects don’t stand still.