Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Old Couch...

This is the second real piece of furniture/equipment I ever bought. I bought it 9 years ago. I made $16,000 that year trying to see if I should go into education. I love junior highers and high schoolers. I really, really do. But I did not want to be a classroom teacher. Meanwhile I bought a Proform Treadmill (which I still have and use in the winters) and this couch. I wanted a Pottery Barn Basic Couch. I even drove into the Chicago suburbs to the Pottery Barn store. And I filled out the order forms in front of a very kind and helpful store salesperson. But then when I drove back to the town I was living in, I called the store and cancelled the order. It wasn't financially wise. I knew it. So I went to Rockford, IL and I bought this $300 couch. And a half year later I decided not to start Library of Science grad school out in L.A. where I was enrolled, and I moved to Minneapolis to go to Minneapolis Academy of Art and Design. I was working at Barnes & Noble downtown making $7.25 an hour (which was the most I'd ever made in the retail bookstore jobs). So I found an apartment in the Phillips Neighborhood within walking distance of work and school. It was a one-room apartment with a tiny little kitchenette and a closet big enough to unfold my treadmill. My couch was my couch during the day and my bed at night. It was the couch I sat on with Brad for the first time. We weren't dating at the beginning of the evening and halfway through a movie, somehow we were dating. It came with us into Brad's house the week before we were even married. And, of note, it joined the other 4 couches living in the house. Boys and their couches.... I nursed all four of my babies on this couch. I've cried and laughed and talked and wrestled little bodies and cuddled and read countless books and kissed on this couch. And now it is gone. Last weekend, my mother and father-in-law gave us their leather couch and chair. They are mighty fine pieces of furniture -- made well and they look good. I am thankful, so thankful. But I found myself wistful about this simple gray couch so I needed to write a little. Thank you for indulging me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I have a 6 year old. He has homework. We have parent-teacher conferences. This year has been a new place in parenting -- On Monday and Friday mornings the two boys are in preschool. Atticus gets on the bus every day at quarter to 7 and comes home at 2:20. Even now a couple months into school, when I make lunch and only set out 3 kids plates, I double-take. I miss Atticus. I love that his teacher genuinely likes Atticus and sees how much he loves people. She sees that he is enthusiastic and creative. And she sees that he needs more focus and self-directed "carry-through". Amen. In a class of 28 kids, that she knows this (and more) about him and is taking measures to build him in his weaknesses and encourage him in his strengths -- that is amazing. God is directing his steps in so many things. And He determined His teacher this year. I am thankful that the Wednesday night Kids' Bible Classes over at Bethlehem Baptist Church has begun for the year. This is the first year we are trying it and so far it's a good start. I am excited for them -- hoping they get more excited about God's Word and make some good friends this year. I feel like we are in an awkward growth spurt/change with our family. I am realizing we aren't the new family with baby and very young toddler. We are growing into something else. And I am not sure how to navigate these waters. It is weird. It is a new kind of complicated. But I get far more sleep. That is good.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

This is a meditation on Romans chapter 1 by Joe Rigney, professor at Bethlehem College & Seminary -- It is rewritten from the viewpoint of a redeemed son of God. I *love love love* this.

For the pleasure of God is revealed from heaven upon all godliness and righteousness of men, who by their righteousness celebrate the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they want no excuse. For because they know God, they honor him as God and give thanks to him, and become fruitful in their thinking and their humble hearts are enlightened. Having become fools for Christ, they became wise, and received the glory of the immortal God.

Therefore, God restored them in the desires of their hearts for purity, to the honoring of their bodies among themselves, because they gladly received the truth about God instead of lies and worshiped and served the Creator, who is blessed forever, rather than the creature. Amen.

For this reason, God renews their desires and delights and passions. For the women glory in the masculinity of their husbands, and the men likewise revel in the femininity of their wives, and are consumed with passion for them, men honoring the marriage bed and receiving in themselves the due reward for their obedience.

And since they saw fit to acknowledge God, God reorients their renewed minds to do what ought to be done. They are filled with all manner of righteousness, goodness, contentment, benevolence. They are full of gratitude for others’ gifts, brotherly love, peace, truth-telling, magnanimity. They are edifiers, encouragers, lovers of God, courteous, meek, humble, inventors of good, obedient to parents, wise, faithful, compassionate, merciful. Because they know God’s decree that those who practice such things will receive eternal life, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Aunt Kara Comes for a Quick Visit!!

Out for coffee with Aunt Kara! Yay!

Running the Distance...

Some of you may remember Dietrich's epic battle in last year's Twin Cities' Medtronic Half-Mile Race over in St.Paul at the capitol. Well, this year, Brad says to me, "Hey, we should sign the three boys up for that race again." Me: "Really? (remembering last year)" Brad: "Yeah, it will be good." Silent pause while I stare at him trying to decide if he's joking. He's clearly not. Me: "Okay."

Here they are with the other runners from Hale Community School. Their P.E. teachers are truly great at what they do -- some of the most fun, well-organized and enthusiastic teachers I have ever met. did it go? - Right? Well, Atticus ran with the first graders on his own and ran hard and strong and finished way ahead of his pack. Next year he will definitely do the mile. He is good and loves running. Yay! Lincoln, probably the youngest runner in his group, ran straight through, no complaining and when he saw the finish line banner, he said he wanted to run hard to the end on his own -- so he took off and did great! Dietrich. Well, a week before the race he decided that his personal goal was to not stop and to not freak out. We agreed that these were indeed good and sensible goals. So he took off pretty hard from the start line and went 3/4 of the way far ahead of us, eyes straight ahead -- good running, no wasted emotions. Lincoln, being so much shorter and younger, couldn't keep up with him, so I stayed back with him. As we rounded the hairpin at the halfway mark, I looked up and saw Deke only about 50 feet away from the finish line. He suddenly stopped, looked around, and emotionally fell apart. I found out yesterday that he thought Lincoln and I had already finished and that he had lost us in the massive crowd of runners and spectators. At the time, all I knew was that I had a broken 4 year old who was going to be pretty disappointed in himself if he didn't pull himself together and finish. As Liz Berget asked me, "How'd he do on a scale of 1 to Animal [from the Muppets]?" Well, it was probably a 4. But considering last year's drama, it was a decided improvement and I think with some better coaching next year and him having a better idea of the length and what to expect, I think he will fly next year! So Brad was right [surprise. surprise. (-:] -- It was good!

Check out the oldest kid...How about a closer look here...

Atticus is Handsome.

Unauthorized Rapper Ninjas

When we were at the Minnehaha Falls Trail we walked along the dry creekbed for awhile and then came up to the bridge we have passed under a number of times. This time since we were in the creekbed and had a different perspective, I saw an unauthorized trail up the side of the ravine which would lead us up to the bridge. It was crazy steep and strewn with glass and unauthorized paraphernalia, but, hey, nothing to stop preschoolers and their mother-with-questionable-judgment scaling it. Yep. So we did. And the kids thought it was awesome -- especially when a field trip of 50 teenagers were passing along the trail on the opposite bank about 75 feet below us. And we all yelled at them and the teenagers rowdily cheered at my kids. That was awesome. And I was an awesome mom for creating that opportunity. Right. Well, anyway, no one got hurt. And it was a beautiful view from the top. And we found war cannons. Keep scrolling down.

And then it plateaued at the top and we found a Veteran's Home with a cannon monument. Who knew?

Okay, so now this is the part where we were headed back down the ravine but Dietrich wanted another group photo. He likes to direct scenes, so he said they were supposed to pose like ninjas. Like Ninjago Lego Ninjas. So Lincoln and Thea Belle aren't sure what that looks like. So they look at Deke and he does this.

So the younger two try...but Dietrich decides he's not sure he got it.

So Dietrich tries this. He says Kai the Ninja does this. Apparently he is some sort of Rapper Ninja.

So the younger two try that.

Thea looks at Dietrich.

Thea looks at Lincoln.

And she does this.

And then she cracks herself (and me) up.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

I love these heart-shaped leaves. This one was about 7 inches long. The colors and light remind me of the Arthur Rackham print that hung in my parents bedroom when I was growing up.

And it is a heart.

And these are the perfect red.

And these are milkweed seeds held by an impish boy.

The impish boy.

And a tree because even though everyone sees trees like this every autumn...when you see one it makes your heart skip a dance with delight.

Twisty Tree

The stone bridge at Minnehaha Falls...Funny how so many beautiful scenes look like a Bob Ross painting in a photograph but are so soul-satisfyingly beautiful in person. (p.s. I feel compelled to clarify that I actually do like Bob Ross -- I would sometimes watch his tv show with my grandmother when I was in high school...but many pretty landscapes look trite to me when captured on canvas or paper...that is all.)

Oh how I love twist-y trees...and the multitude of colors and textures and lines God draws with wood.

And isn't it interesting how God can make decay so lovely and interesting...maybe because I have been aware of aging lately, but I have been seeing how some faces are so much more compelling as they age...there is more story there.