Saturday, February 04, 2017

Some fun times

It has been a wonderful first few weeks of 2017.  I've gobbled down five books already; I have thoroughly enjoyed the warm January weather, which has led to many stroller walks up our driveway; I have officially gotten into my smallest sized jean pants (!!!); and have delighted myself thoroughly with Byron, the children, and friends.  Here are a few pictures --

On a holiday when the big kids were off school, my friend Shannon and her children came over and we went out on a hike on our property.  Once we got to the river, the children enjoyed throwing stick and rocks at the water.

It's fun to me how all of our children line up in ages with each other.  Don't miss Shannon on the tricycle in the background. 

And then no matter how often I see my two big children enjoying each other, it still makes my heart swell whenever I see it.  Here they are, Emma reading to her little brother.

And then last week we took them to see their cousin McNeill play basketball.  It is fun to see Emma cheer for her cousin and enjoy the game so much.

And here we are trying to keep our almost-one year old from crawling into the basketball court.

Emma got a little princess crown for a party favor, and here is Naamen gladly wearing it.  But that's not why I share this picture.  Ever since Naamen was eight months old we've noticed how he prefers to use his left hand when eating.  We wonder if daddy finally got his lefty.  

This past week was Spirit Week at Emma's school, and each day she had to wear different things -- pajama day, mismatch day, silly hat and sunglasses day, team day, and finally Heritage Academy spirit day.  Unfortunately, I only took pictures of her on team day.  It was funny though because Byron wanted his own "soccer shirt" and ended up wearing one of daddy's old sports shirts for most of the day.

He loves to eat!

This picture just makes my heart melt.  The kids wanted to "help" daddy outside, but had to eat their lunch first.  Here is Byron eating his sandwich while longingly looking out at daddy working.

Monday, January 16, 2017

The start of 2017

In an attempt to do a better job of posting our pictures on the blog, here are the few pictures I've taken over the past two weeks.

It is true what they say that "more is caught than taught," and our THREE kiddos are well on their way to becoming avid readers.  I came home from a solo walk the other day, and when I walked in this was my sight -- daddy reading a book to the big ones, and little Naamen flipping thru his own book.

We love having Emma all to ourselves during the holidays, and one of the fun things for everyone is of course the way her and her little partner in crime play together.  One day they decided to build a train in our TV room, and they must have played a total of five hours on that make-believe world of theirs.  

On that same day they decided to have a little parade outside, with a stick as a mic and an old box and maraca as a drum.  I'm not sure why we bother ever giving our kids toys for Christmas... they always just go back to the basics -- sticks and boxes.

And then another day they discovered some sand behind Memma and Poppa's house and decided that they would build "ant houses."  How kind of them...

In an attempt to live a little more frugally and below are means, I've been trying to incorporate more meatless meals into our diet.  With avocados being 50 cents at Aldi, this beans and rice dish is hardly a sacrifice to consume.

We've been taking a lot of walks lately up our 3/4 mile driveway, and on this slightly cold day, this handsome little "bear" was so cute I couldn't resist not taking a pictures of him.

One of my latest projects has been figuring out a family sourdough bread recipe.  This was my second attempt at it, and compared to my very first attempt (a complete failure), I'd say this one went much better.  I still need to work out some details, but I'd say all in all we are well on our way to making this a family favorite.

Family fires have been a favorite thing of ours to indulge in.  On a cold Sunday night, after the kids are in bed, you may find Byron and I having a little picnic date together near it, sipping hot chocolate after dinner is cleaned up.

And back to our kiddos playing together.  Here you have "Miss Morris" teaching Byron his lesson for the day.

This picture is sideways, but if you are able to read it you'll see that Emma is quite the perfectionist... just like her daddy.  We love having our Emma Girl with us during the holidays, but we also love watching her thrive in school both socially and academically. 

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The last picture dump of the year

The kids had been wanting to camp with daddy for a long time, so at the end of October they finally got their wish granted by camping outside of our land.  LB ended up coming back into the house to sleep on his bed.  When we asked the kids what their favorite part about camping was, Emma's response was:  "sleeping in the tent" and LB's response was:  "sleeping in my bed." :p

I had been wanting to refurbish our dinning table chairs for a while, but didn't want to spend too much money on them.  Lo and behold I found a huge roll of this fabric at a yard sale for $4.  I was able to refurbish all eight of our chairs, plus make the cover for one of our small side tables in our guest room.  Score!

LB likes playing with his tools, but somehow he got hold of one of daddy's tools as well, and one day while nursing Naamen, I heard him "fixing" something out in the hallway.  When I can out, I saw that he had dug a hold in the wall :'(  I just about died!

 One of Emma's school assignments one weekend this Fall was to bring Paws to the house and take care of him.  I'd say she did a great job at it.

I finally broke down one day at around Thanksgiving and gave Naamen a haircut that got rid of his head mullet that was always covering his eyes.  I took this picture and sent it to Byron to see.  His response:  "are you sure you've got the right kid?" :)

An early Christmas gift from Memma and Poppa -- a family outing to see the Nutcracker.   It was a hit, and both kids are already asking when we'll be going there again.

That glorious afternoon when all three of my children fell asleep in the car.

Setting up the Christmas tree.

Dunkin Doughnut treat with my kiddos to celebrate the beginning of Emma's Christmas break.

Emma loves to read to her brother, and brother loves to be read to.  I caught these two doing just that one morning over Christmas break that just melted my heart.

When we asked LB what he wanted for Christmas, one of his requests was that he wanted to go to "Green-bell" to see his cousins.  We had a wonderful day playing with them the Friday before Christmas.

This boy is just too cute.

We did a Nativity play this year on Christmas Eve at Memma and Poppa's house.  Emma was Mary, Ames was Joseph, and LB was the donkey that always tagged along side with them (he was supposed to be the innkeeper, but LB had other plans for himself).

It always startles me a bit the first time I see my babies pull up on their own.

Loving their gifts from Tia Alison.

Naamen's passport picture is just too much :)

Thursday, December 29, 2016

My favorite 2016 reads

Not including the entire Bible (which I have now read completely three years in a row... woot!), I read a total of 33 books in 2016, which makes me wonder how on earth I got anything done.  But reading is my "social outlet" during this season of life, so I do it with gusto.  As C. S. Lewis put it:  "we read to know we are not alone."

How did I narrow down the books on this list?  They all moved me and/or changed me in some way.

So without further ado, in no particular order, here they are --

By Liane Moriarty

Image result for what alice forgot

What if you were to wake up tomorrow and realize you have lost 10 years worth of memories?  Would you be pleased with the way your life "turned out"?  Have you maybe been putting too much importance on things that really don't matter?  These are just a few of the many questions the author will have you reflect on while walking alongside the fictional character Alice.

Excellent writing, excellent story.  It changed the way I relate to my husband, children and friends.  This is not a "G-rated" book, so please keep that in mind while flipping through its pages.

By E. Prentiss

Image result for stepping heavenward

The story of a girl that grows into adulthood, and her day-to-day struggles as wife, mother, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, friend, homemaker, etc.  It is a fictional story, but it's saturated with so much wisdom that I would even dare suggest it could also be read as non-fiction.

This was my second time reading it, and I already know I'll be reading it multiple more times throughout the rest of my life.

By Jim Martin

Image result for the just church

Jim Martin is the founder of International Justice Mission (IJM), an organization that uses the local law enforcement of countries around the world to free modern-day slaves.  A *must* read for everyone in the church.  It not only exposes you to the problem, but it also presents ways in which we can be part of the solution

By D. A. Carson

Image result for memoirs of an ordinary pastor da carson

A short book on the simple life of pastor and Canada missionary Tom Carson.  Why this book was so moving to me?  I am not entirely sure.  The book was as "ordinary" as Tom himself.  And yet... I think it's because of that precisely that it meant so much to me.  Ordinary me over here, just plowing away, trusting the Lord to do his thing through me, whether I will ever see (or whether there will even be) the fruit of my labor on this side of Heaven.

By L. M. Montgomery

Image result for anne of green gables series

I reread this entire series because I was looking for an escape from this modern-day world, and that is exactly what you get when you read through the life of fictional character Anne.

The story of Anne begins in the late 1800s, when she is mistakenly adopted by an elderly brother and sister who were hoping to adopt a boy to help them on their farm.  They instead got this red-haired, high-spirited, loving and simple girl.  This series walks you through Anne's life from age 12 to around 50.

All eight books are excellent, and depending where you are in life, different books will mean more to you than others.  When I read them the first time around about seven years ago, my favorites were #6 (Anne of Ingleside) and #8 (Rilla of Ingleside), but this time around I found myself really enjoying #3 (Anne of the Island) and #7 (Rainbow Valley).

by Christopher Ash

Image result for zeal without burnout

This is a quick and to-the-point book.  A good read for anyone doing any kind of ministry and constantly struggling with how much they should do.  As anyone in ministry will tell you, there is always something more that you can do, and this reality will drive you to the end of yourself if you don't pace yourself and realize that you have human limits.

When God Doesn't Fix It:  Lessons you never wanted to learn, truths you cannot live without
by Laura Story

Image result for when god doesn't fix it

I first heard of Laura Story when I heard her song Blessings.  Then I would often YouTube her video and listen to it every morning before the kids woke up and my day started.  There was just something about that song that deeply resonated with me.  Then I learned her story.  This is the book where she tells her story and how this song came about.


I will list the remainder of the books I read below.  These were also very good (I do not read a book I do not like), but they were simply not on my "Top List."  They will not be linked to Amazon, and may or may not have my brief thoughts on them.

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership:  Follow them and people will follow you
by John C. Maxwell

He had good insight, but I don't like the way he seems to base the success of a church by numbers.

Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World:  Finding Intimacy with God in the Business of Life
by Joanna Weaver

I didn't agree with some of her interpretations of Bible characters Mary and Martha.

When People are Big and God is Small:  Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependancy, and the Fear of Man
by Edward T. Welch

He seemed a bit redundant in some chapters.  Good message.  Just too many words.

All the Light We Cannot See
by Anthony Doerr

The Last Sweet Mile:  A Journey of Brothers
by Allen Levi

Just Because I said "Yes":  One woman's testimony of what great things God can do through an ordinary person who simply says "YES" to God
by Rohnda Jackson

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
by J. K. Rowling

A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family
by Mary Ostyn

I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced
by Nujood Ali and Delphine Minoui

Gifted Hands:  The Ben Carson Story
by Ben Carson

The Fortune Hunter
by Daisy Goodwin

Life Together:  The classic exploration of Christian community
by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up:  The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing
by Marie Kondo

The Language of Flowers
by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

The Awakening of Miss Prim
by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera
 This was actually a very good book and I highly recommend it.  However, the ending is a bit vague, and so because of that it did not make it to my "Top List."

Mistakes Leaders Make
by Dave Kraft
Another really good book with great insight that would have made it to my "Top List," except that it annoyed me that the author used fictional examples instead of real ones.  

 You are What you Love:  The spiritual power of habit
by James K. A. Smith
Another good read.  Great insight.  However, there were a few things that were a bit over my head, so because of that it did not make it to my "Top List."

If you counted all the books on this post, you'll realize that I am short two books that would add up to 33 books total.  There are two that I do not feel comfortable announcing to the world that I read.  I am not embarrassed by them, so if you are just dying to know which ones they are, please feel free to PM me :)

Happy Reading!