Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Baby Turns 3

Oh, my! Can it possibly be that 3 years have passed already? Yes, it’s true. Baby Bekah is now 3 years old. She’s a little spitfire, able to take on even the most rambunctious big brother and a most motherly big sister. Once again I have the privilege of watching a new little personality grow and blossom. It sure makes life fun and interesting!

She blew them ALL out in one blow! OK, so she had a little help from her brothers, just don’t tell her that.

Everyone was quite impressed with the Treasure Box Luke made for her. Here they are checking out all the little cubbies, nooks and crannies.
Trying on the new hat Caitlin made for her.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Garden Illustrations

Our garden is off to a terrific start. We did have to replant most of the green beans and cucumbers, a few other things. But now everything is up and thriving. We’ve had a mild ( and wet) to this summer, so with hot weather waiting in the wings, it will really take off here soon.

The garden provides so many illustrations for life and the lessons I learn from my children seem to come around again and again. Today, as I was looking out my bedroom window, I was struck by how much bigger the plants seemed since last evening. I’m not kidding – some of these plants grow by inches overnight! I remembered the tiny seeds we sowed only about a month ago. There is so much potential packed inside that wee little package. I have had the same thoughts while snuggling my sweet newborn babes.

After a short time in the warm, moist, nourishing soil, they push up through the surface with incredible strength. So strong, yet fragile at the same time. And so it is with infants. It boggles my mind that when my babies are still so tiny they quickly become mobile. Crawling and pulling up and exploring and discovering, they can withstand bumps and bruises that would send me howling.

Then those seedlings turn their faces to the warm sun, drink up the rains, spread out their leaves, send their roots deep down for the nutrients of the soil. In the same way, my little crawlers are soon toddling along, turning their faces up toward mine for encouragement and approval, reaching out their arms for a reassuring hug, planting their feet firmly as if to say ‘this is MY turf!’

We now have tomato and pepper plants beginning to blossom. How exciting! A beautiful gift to remind us of the fruit still to come. Each new stage and phase in the development of my little one brings the same gift, the same peek into the fruit of the future. I have loved this journey, watching my children grow. Yes, I am always a bit sad to leave the sweet baby years behind, but it is so fun to see their personalities blossom. There are always surprises. Remember that seed with so much potential? Now I really begin to see just what was packed inside.

I have not forgotten the fact that tending a garden also means dealing with weeds, disease, pests. I think I’ll leave that to another post ;-)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Another Page in Our Birthday Book

Yesterday was A’s birthday. 22 years old. Because she lives so far away, this is the 3rd year we haven’t been able to celebrate with her. However, we did get to call and sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to her. Amazing how our voices can travel across the ocean.

Now, backing up to my birthday last month, here is a picture of the bouquet that was delivered to me, ordered all the way from Africa. Her name wasn’t on the card and I spent the whole day guessing! C made angel food cake and chocolate covered strawberries. A very nice treat for Mom.

There will be more Birthday Installments coming soon, so Stay Tuned!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Why do they call them ‘Strawberries’?

Because you should use a ‘straw’ to de-stem them! I don’t remember where we learned this little trick, but if you take a drinking straw and push it up through a fresh strawberry from the tip to the stem, it remove the core and stem with a perfect strawberry left in tact – ready for your favorite recipe. The younger ones were a great help this year, including 2-yr old R. She’s a real pro!

Again this year, L and C worked for a neighbor that has a U-Pick berry patch, and while they received a nice little paycheck, I received some very nice strawberries! With the berries they brought home, and the berries my littles helped me pick, we put up a batch of strawberry-rhubarb jam and a batch of strawberry syrup and several pints of sliced strawberries in the freezer.

I love getting good things for my family stored away for the winter. The bright red jelly jars on the counter shine like jewels, the packages of fruit in the freezer remind me that we’ll have good things to eat even when the garden has finished producing. I’m thankful and amazed at how the Lord provides and I’m happy to do my part to make sure my family eats well.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

In the Midst of Birthday Season

Our Whirlwind Birthday Season is upon us once again. It started with B, turning 23 this year. WOW! My aunt always told me that when she heard how old I was made her realize how old she was. (But you are still young in my book, Aunt R!)When I hear the ages of my own, I find myself thinking “I’m not THAT old, am I?” With B living in another city, his birthday is covered with a card and gift certificate in the mail (have you picked up your coffee grinder, yet, B?)

Then came my birthday – my children still tell me I’m young, so I won’t go into how old I am (wink), but I’m focusing on not-so-little-N, who celebrated his 5th birthday last week.

His request was a Spotted Dog Birthday Cake. C came up with the idea of a Fire Engine and Dalmation. I could handle the fire engine, but opted for a plastic dog to top it off. He was thrilled. He was also quite impressed that Aunt L's gift to him (unknowingly) was a really cool rescue vehicle set, complete with a fire engine!

It was fun to reminisce, going through the photos of his Birth Day (gotta love those digital photo slideshows!) N was amazed at how small he was. Well, I informed that he was NOT small, weighing in at 9 ½ pounds. He wasn’t convinced. He was also fascinated by his hands. Because he was born breech, his hands took on that healthy pink color more slowly than the rest of him. In his very first pictures, at just a few minutes old, his hands were still a bit bluish next to his pudgy, pink cheeks. He looked down at his 5-year-old hands and was very glad to see them pink and plump.

This boy approaches life head-on. He has learned to read this year, mostly on his own. Once he decides he can do something, he’s usually right – he finds a way to do it! He really lives things up around here, a real joy and blessing.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Garden Is In!

A couple of weeks ago the children helped me get the garden in. L got the tomato and pepper plants in the ground. The younger ones helped get the seeds in the ground after C hoed up the rows. They were fascinated with the fact the a handful of seeds would make enough green beans to fill all those jars we have waiting in the canning closet downstairs. We discussed how those dried-up, dead-looking beans would come to life sending out roots into the ground and stems up to the air and then producing green leaves and fresh, new green beans.

All this led to a discussion about how the seeds have to die before they can come to life again, just like Jesus. We talked about how our own sin has to die, and how we live in Christ. I'm so thankful that God is a God of illustrations. Visual, hands-on kinds of lessons make things more clear not only to my children, but also to me

"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain" John 12:24

"When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn't grow into a plant unless it dies first. And what you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a dry little seed of wheat or whatever it is you are planting.

Then God gives it a new body-- just the kind he wants it to have. A different kind of plant grows from each kind of seed." 1Corinthians 15:36-38

"But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you." Romans 8:11

Heirloom Tomato Plants (thanks to a fellow MOMYS' dh) and Pepper Plants -- Jalepeno, Green Bell, Sweet Red Bell

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