"May the God of hope fill you with great joy and peace as you trust in him." Romans 15:13

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Heart Disease

I have not blogged much this summer.

In truth I have not known how to post cute pictures of my kids doing all our normal summer activities in light of all that is happening in our country.  And at the same time, I have not wanted to address all that is happening in our country.  It's a messy place in which we live.  People are killing cops.  Cops are killing people.  Both sides say they are justified.  There is enough finger-pointing and blaming and shaming in my news feed each day to make my stomach sick and my heart ache deep and raw.

What I see is a nation suffering from heart disease.  Where we are called by Jesus to love our neighbor as ourselves, we are living instead in fear, anger, retaliation, confusion, and sadness.  The answer is simple, and yet so incredibly difficult - simply love.

The Bible describes love brilliantly in 1 Corinthians.

And that love, Jesus' brand of love, can solve any problem.

It is my deepest prayer that love will win, and that there will be a day when I do not have to fear for my son because of the color of his skin OR for my brother-in-law because of the uniform he wears.  

Come, Lord Jesus.  Purge our hearts of all but Your perfect, unfailing love.

Now because I know you all don't care much about my political or social opinions, I'll give you what you really want to see - pics of my kids enjoying summer.  Prepare to be underwhelmed by the quality, most of them come from my phone, which is always a signal that BOTH my hands and heart are full, and overwhelmed by the quantity!  (Just because I have not been blogging does not mean I have quit taking photos.)  

 Mataya is now in a "big girl bed."  She is thrilled, proud, and has been sleeping like an angel.
 Humidity makes her curls even cuter!
Brenna snapped this group selfie (if there is such a thing) while we cheered for Joshua at baseball one day.

 She is reppin her daddy's business.
Very well!

 I'm not sure which of which of us likes lake time more - myself or Mataya?!?  I spent a few days at the lake with the kids this week, and when Chad drove out to join us, Mataya ran to him and said, "I having fun Daddy!!!!" with absolute joy.
 At the lake my very soul relaxes.
 Jamison has been working a ton - but he has joined us once or twice to play in the water.
 Snuggles on the camper couch.
 Mataya and Wyatt have come a long way.  They play nicely together, for at least four minutes every time they are together!  Okay - seriously, they are beginning to have fun together, and it makes my heart very happy.  BUT - there are still those moments in which sharing is a struggle.  Last week at the park they both wanted to swing.  Since there was only one swing, THIS was the answer.  Believe it or not, they both giggled the entire time.
 Wyatt has only been to the lake once.  He is not as big a fan of outdoors and heat as his Lala is, so I would be lying if I said he loved every minute.  BUT, he did have a bit of fun splashing with Mataya in the floaty.  Maybe next year he will love it?!?
 Silent moments paddling all by myself have been some of my favorite moments this summer.  I adore the silence and the beauty combined with the exercise.
 Mataya is always as close to her kids as they allow.  She is a lucky little sis because they are very indulgent.

TayTay's "park" 
 Sierra has been incredibly busy this summer.  She goes to school, works, plays volleyball, and volunteers at church.  We have not seen much of her, but when she is home she is sharing the love - big time.  (Or sleeping!!)
Sadly, this may have been the first time Jamison held Wyatt.  Wyatt is walking some these days, which makes him about the size that Jamison starts to feel comfortable around.  Ha!

When Daddy/Grandpa is home, he has shadows.  These two "help" him with everything they can.

Hunter's 17th birthday

 Wyatt's first birthday
 Leaving Brenna at Music Camp
 Jamison had his wisdom teeth removed
Picking up Brenna from Music Camp
 Concert at the conclusion of Music Camp
 Wyatt adores Joshua.
Adores. Him.

In fact, Wyatt is a man of few words - but Joshua is one of his words.

Lala, grandma, or anything of the sort is not. . .
 More lake athletics. . .
 Jamison makes everything look easy.
 This is Mataya's favorite seat.  And if you try to sit there, she will be sure to tell you that it is HER spot.  She may just run the world some day.  Ha!
Joshua has wanted to wakeboard or waterski for years.  He has tried and tried - but he is just not able.  Chad bought him a kneeboard, and he popped right up.  As you can see from his grin, he was beyond excited!!

 I'm not sure they look alike beyond the fact that they both have blonde curls, but they are pretty cute together.
 Joshua is awesome at entertaining this duo while I make supper.  I so appreciate it!
 Ready to explore!
Wyatt is always on his feet - but when he is going after something super fast, he still drops to his knees and crawls.

I love that mischievous twinkle!

 In this photo Wyatt was standing at the fence yelling for "oshaaa" and crying because he could not have his uncle.

Yep. For real.

And for the record, it is cuter on paper than in real life!
 Batter UP!
He connects!

 And makes it to first base!
 Mataya is very detailed in her play.  She nearly always has a baby with her, and that baby needs all the things a real baby needs.  If you see me holding and bouncing a "fussy" doll, you now know why.  I'm simply being a "good helper."
 Zoo time with Brenna!
How precious are they?

Joshua hates the zoo.  He hates all the walking.  Mataya LOVES the zoo, and she begs to go often.   Whenever possible I take Mataya to the zoo when Joshua can be elsewhere - because when Joshua is not happy, NO ONE is happy.  But the last time we went to the zoo, Joshua HAD to come along. So,  I told Joshua he could ride in the stroller if he got tired, thinking he would be embarrassed to ACTUALLY ride in a stroller in public. . . As you can see, he was not embarrassed but thrilled!  

Silly boy!

So there you have it - a glimpse into BOTH my heart and my life.

Love well, my friends.  Please, oh, please, love well.

Nothing else matters.

And I am certain that love alone can change our world.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

July 4 - Family Time

It was an idyllic weekend spent with family - some I see often, others I know more from social media than from "real" life.  It was time to savor.  Filled with time to play and laugh and nap.  Time to try new things, share passions, and indulge in conversation.  It was a time in which kids could be kids - exploring with few boundaries.  And adults could be kids too (think my dad tubing with my tall son!).  It was a yard gaming, raspberry picking, fish catching, surfing, tubing, wake boarding, jet skiing, paddle boarding, peddle boating, movie watching, hot tubbing, firework shooting, coffee drinking, meal sharing, and relationship building weekend.

It was time wisely and joyfully invested.

I took far too few pictures, which is always a sign that I was instead relaxed and fully present, so enjoy the few I snapped!

Thank you, Bev and Dave, for hosting us all.  I am sincerely thankful for the time I had with our families!

 Beautiful and serene Lake Lida
 The kids and I LOVED paddle boarding.

(Chad did not!)

One of my favorite things about lake time is that kids can be kids.  The kids ages 8 - 14 spent so much time in the water.  They swam, paddle boarded, peddle boated, and fished all by themselves.  They explored joyfully and freely, while we watched from the deck.  Moments like that are what childhood is meant to be.

 All sorts of yard games were played - corn hole, croquet, ladder ball, frisbee golf, koob, etc. . .  Participants were ages 8 - 68!

 My dad in shorts!  The kids had a ball with him!

The weekend ended with breakfast in bed for Daddy and Mataya while they watched Zootopia.  (In other words I was trying everything I could think of to keep the camper quiet for another hour or so.  The big kids were tired after a late night of fireworks!)  She thought she was the queen bee, though!

I'm tired tonight.

My laundry room is heaped with clothing that smells somewhere between lake water and locker room.

My fridge is empty.

My yard needs to be mowed.

My desk at the office is more than likely piled high.

But, my heart is happy.

All those tasks will soon be done and then undone, only to be redone again.  The time spent with family, I can hide in my heart and savor for years to come.  Oh what a precious investment it was!