Wednesday, August 19, 2009

6 and 1/4 inches

Every year around my birthday, we celebrate by marking up our living room bookcase! Before you start imagining some chaotic painting fest, let me show you:

We started this tradition in 2005, our first year here in NC. Every year since, we line the kids up and mark their growth on this bookcase. The bookcase itself was a hand-me down bookcase that we received from Nathan's sweet Aunt many years ago. It was stained dark and had about 30 coats of high gloss on it. Nathan and I spent several nights (maybe WEEKS!) sanding it down, priming it, and painting it. Even still, it wasn't one of the items I would consider a "must-have" when we trimmed down our belongings to fit into a townhouse half the size of the home we left in the dust. NOW, however, it is one of my MOST prized possessions. I have often said, quite seriously, that should the Lord lead us to a space that does not have the dimensions, we would hae to dismantle the bookcase to remve the side panel before we disposed of it!

Tonight was the night. After dinner and baths, we lined them up and marked the bookcase. Graycen and MaryEvelyn had each grown over 2 inches. Cooper had grown over 2 inches also! Ella had grown a whopping 3 inches, but Annagail won the growth prize for the year! See the purple line at the top of this photo? Now look waaaaaaaaaaaaay down towards the bottom at the pink line.

That would be where Annagail's mark from last year!!! She grew 6 1/4 inches in the past year. It is amazing how much they have grown and how QUICKLY another year has gone by.

In the last 6 1/4 inches, Annagail has learned to run, learned to jump, learned to TALK up a blue streak. She has danced and can even climb into her crib all by herself (luckily for us, she has not yet climbed OUT!) Her hair has grown inot gorgeous bouncy (and brunette!) curls. She has taken to calling her Daddy "Crazy Tuna", which I think is just hysterical and cute. She has learned to say, "I'm sorry" and she has learned to say, "I forgive you". She has learned to say, "NO!" and she has gotten her first (but certainly not her last) spanking. She has learned to thank the Lord for her family and for her food and she has also learned how to ask Him to forgive her also.

Yes, these 6 1/4 inches have come with a lot of life lived for our littlest blessing. She has grown into a bubbly, giggly little girl. Annagail is cuddly and plump and I love feeling her little squishy arm wra around my neck early in the morning after she has called for her Daddy to get her out of bed and put her into ours.

More than any of these things she has grown into, she is my perfect, daily reminder that God's plan is always better than ours.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Contest and a Great Blog to Check out!

I stumbled upon this blog a while ago. Matt's topics and writing style are always interesting and get you thinking. Check out this contest he is offering, but also check out his series on "10 people Who Will Kill You Church" . It is a 3 part series that I would love to see in a book. You will read it and think two things. You will first think, "Oh, that is _________ ." Then, you will think, "Is that ME?!?!?!?!?!" or at least you SHOULD think that at least once when reading it. If you don't, you probably ARE one of those people. LOL!

For the cut-n-pasters out there:


Thursday, August 13, 2009

feelin' low & transparent

I'm feeling low tonight. Tomorrow is school pictures for the kids. We just can't squeeze the cost out of our budget right now. As much as I know that it is not a big deal in the whole scheme of things, as much as I praise the Lord for the food that graces our table each and every morning, this little thing has me feeling so awful. Ugh. awful.

The kids don't care what brands they wear. They don't have a single "keepin' up" bone in their body yet. I am a photographer, for goodness sake! So why is it that I am so gut-wrenched about not being able to buy these few, not even wonderful quality, cookie cutter "style" pictures?

Part of it is that it is Cooper and MaryEvelyn's first year, but most of it is that I have this sense that we should be able to do this for them. I realize that it isn't food, shelter, or clothing. It isn't a basic need. It is clearly in the "want" category. My head can see that. My heart, however, aches to see them standing in carpool line in a few weeks with their little plasticky, windowed envelope picture packet- so proud to show me how sweet they looked on picture day.

Sometimes it is the littlest of things...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Nothing to say.

So, I am in this wierd haze lately that has me not able to completely concentrate on any one thing for a long period of time and I find myself singing Edie Brickel songs all day. What is THAT about?!?!?!?!

AWANA is about to start, which means that it has started full swing for us in prep work. It has been H.O.T. and with no a/c in our Suburban, I have probably lost 20 pounds in sweat alone. I have had a few photo sessions and have been having fun learning even more about my camera when I am not in session. Nathan is continuing to look for work. His school is set to start in the next two weeks. I think I am just in a busy mama haze, but...Edie Brickel?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

cRaZy CoOpEr.

Cooper is one crazy kid. He is also very sweet and THRIVES on positive reinforcement. I am thankful to report that he has gone over a week in school with no disciplinary action needed. YAY!!!!!!

Nathan just came in and shared this story with me and I had to post it for memory sake. Maybe I will quote it at his graduate school graduation one day. ***Warning: Bodily Function mentioned. If you are too prim & proper for such talk, well, you may want to check back another day..or...not :o)

Nathan: (upon entering Cooper's room and seeing his lincoln log creations) "WOW Cooper. You are getting really good at building those houses!"

Cooper: "Thanks Daddy!"

Nathan: "You are so good at it that maybe you will be a famous architect one day."

Cooper: "Whats an architect?"

Nathan: "You know, someone who designs houses or skyscrapers?"

Cooper: "Whats a skyscraper?"

Nathan: "A big tall building that goes way up into the sky!"

Cooper: (looking up at Nathan smiling) "I just tooted."

LOL! He is only 6 remember. I guess there is plenty of time for him to daydream about what he will do one day. For now, maybe we will have a few lessons on manners.

Dilema Decided.

I convinced myself with my last post. I am done with facebook. Before Nathan changed my password to something I didn't know, I made sure that my email was correct and even posted my cellphone. Anyone who really needs or wants to get in touch with me can.

Thanks for your comments. A friend made a point that I thought was worth sharing.

" has not encouraged me to think graciously about people...about people in my own church. If I "think" I know what they are thinking b/c of what I see on their facebook page...then in real life when something comes up I automatically jump to conclusions and think the worst." ~Abby

This is very true. I am not sure it is completely healthy for any relationship to have that much access. Boundary lines begin to blur and unhealthy habits can breed like flesh-eating bacteria.

So, I am not a fan of facebook anymore. I realize that I could try and work it into my life in a healthy way, but I just don't want to manage this sin. I want it gone-eradicated.

I can tell you that not accessing it over the last few days has been really wonderful. If you are an avid facebooker, you should at least try a short break for a few days. It is amazing the things we find ourselves slaves to that we don't even realize.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Facebook Dilema

I find myself in a facebook dilema.

I have been on facebook for....oh....two years now. Since then, I have reconnected with hundreds (I am not kidding,hundreds!!) of people from my past, present, and future. It has been wonderful to see photos of people "all grow'd up" and catch up on the last twenty years (or more!) from some old friends. Facebook has been a catalyst for healing of some old hurts and a safe connecting place for some otherwise difficult relationships. It is sometimes far easier to keep up with a difficult relationship through short status updates and photo-documentaries.

So where is "the rub" you might ask?

It is two-fold.

First and foremost, it is addicting. People say that, probably a million times a day in cyber world and it is very, very, VERY true. I think it is absolutely, to some of us, what soap operas were to our Mothers and Grandmothers. It is escape. I love my family. I love my job as a home manager. I would be a big, fat LIAR if I told you that it wasn't a thrill to be able to sit here in my favorite chair and explore all of the ins and outs of other people's lives on facebook. I have enjoyed all of the mindless quizzes and "memes" to read. I have even had a cyber english bulldog named flash, who is surely dead by now! LOL! It is an escape-a ticket to journey through exciting events and other people's exciting lives. Plain and simple, it takes away from my first ministry-the one to my husband and my children. Even more sadly, it takes away from my relationship with the Lord.

1. an image or other material object representing a deity to
which religious worship is addressed.
a. an image of a deity other than God.
b. the deity itself.
2. any person or thing regarded with blind
admiration, adoration, or devotion
3. a mere image or semblance of something, visible but without substance, as
a phantom.
4. a figment of the mind; fantasy.
5. a false conception or notion; fallacy.

Almost all of these definitions apply to facebook for me. The bottom line:

My prayer life isn't what it should be, but my facebook status is always accurate.

So you might say, "get a grip and some self-control while you are at it!", right?


That brings me to the second issue I am having with facebook. It can be what I am calling False fellowship. When a woman has early labor pains it is often called "false labor" which equates to a lot of action that amounts to no real progress.

Facebook creates an artificial sense of "friendship" with people where there is no real relating to one another going on. There are at least a few people on my friends list that would comment away about status updates or posts I make on fb, but would never dare to come up and hug my neck after service on Sunday about the same thing. I know that I do the same thing!!! I think facebook creates a false sense of fellowship that, in reality, is building walls even higher in real life. We can seemingly communicate without judgement on facebook. The kind words, the sarcasm and even the unsolicited advice flow freely from the tips of fingers onto the keyboard, but are kept in tight at the lips when the chance to really fellowship with someone presents itself. Remember those difficult relationships I spoke of earlier? I wonder if it is indeed a blessing to have this "safe zone" to relate to each other or if it is actually just a place that we can be comfortable at, while avoiding the healing of those heart issues that make those relationships hard to begin with.

On the contrary, I have made friends through through groups on facebook that I think I could really get along with in real life. It can go both ways I guess.

I don't know what I will do. For now, I am taking a facebook break. I am leaning towards deleting my account, but I love getting to see some great old friends on there and hear about their lives. I have been encouraged greatly by more than one long phone conversation with friends from over the years that I have caught up with on facebook. I just wonder if the benefit is worth the risk.

So what do you think? Do you facebook? Do you find yourself sitting at the keyboard when you should be relating to someone face-to-face? I would love to hear your facebook thoughts :o)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Hello old friends!

That is how it feels getting back onto my blog. I don't have any time lately. I thought that getting two more kiddos in school would give me more time to get things done during the day so that I would have time at night for things like my blog. It isn't true though. I am grateful that isn't the only reason we decided to put them into school! I would be sorely disappointed right about now. Haha! I am sure these first two weeks of school won't be the norm, but they have been CRAZY. I am hoping that they settle down very, VERY soon :o) Nathan is concentrating his job search to areas that would allow us to continue living within drivable distance to the kids' school, so it looks like we will be staying put for at least another year (YEAH!!!!).

Nathan IS still job hunting. We are still faithfully seeking God's Will. While we pray, seek, pray, seek and pray some more, we have put some time and energy into restarting our photography business. That has been so much fun to work on as a team. (I am so very grateful to have so many things in common with my beloved!) We have created as site to promote our business and offer online proofing for our customers. . Our business is called Kariseen Images. Kariseen is a word we came up with because we have always said that portraits should capture the light the shines through each of us. (Our business in GA was called Heartlight Images). The word Karis means "grace" in Greek. Kariseen means simply, "grace seen". We like the reference to the oil kerosene also-the fuel, the fire that comes from it. We have so enjoyed being back on this side of the lens and working with clients again. I have several sessions already booked for August and am really praying that the Lord will grow or limit our business completely according to His perfect Will.

Aside to that, I have renewed my status as a Creative Memories Consultant. You can probably guess that I am not a high-pressure saleswoman, nor do I aspire to be. However I do enjoy scrapbooking and love the new choices that CM offers. There are a few albums that we plan to use as our package albums. If you are a scrapbooker (traditional or digital) and are looking for a contact in CM, please check out my site. One of the things I like best about the new format is that you can order from my site and have it shopped directly to your door. :o)

So that is what is new in the world of this busy mama! I am off to wash school uniforms and plan lunches for the next week. Have a great weekend!