At this point, the travel plans to Honduras stand. I feel both relief and trepidation. After all the planning, hoping, communicating, waiting ... we are so ready to go. Yet, we are parents of young children. Leaving two behind and bringing one. We need God's approval and protection if we are to go.
I am praying specifically for peace and confirmation. Tangible confirmation. It is my hope that if we are not to go, the Lord slams the door of opportunity shut with a bang. If we are to go, that we may see his direction and provision written all over it. Specific demonstrations of his "Yes. It is time to go." That we would have a "peace that surpasses all understanding" in traveling to a country in upheaval.
This morning I was reading in Proverbs. Peppered throughout the chapters were verses that seemed to jump from the page.
Chapter 16: •"We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer." (v.1) •"Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed." (v.3) •"We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps." (v.9) •"The path of the virtuous leads away from evil; whoever follows that path is safe." (v.17)
Chapter 17: •"Sensible people keep their eyes glued on wisdom, but a fool's eyes wander to the ends of the earth." (v.24)
Chapter 18: •"The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe." (v.10)
Chapter 19: •"Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. You can make many plans, but the Lord's purpose will prevail." (v.20-21) •"Fear of the Lord leads to life, bringing security and protection from harm." (v. 23)
We are willing to let go of "our" plans in favor of "His." If this means not going, so be it. If this means continuing forward, we do so in faith.
I'm choosing to only pray about this now. I will refrain from belaboring the concerns, as they tend to distract and worry me. Please join us in prayer for clear direction and peace. I'll keep you posted.
I'm so excited about this little zipper pouch, I can hardly stand it.
When I found these coordinating fabrics at the thrift shop, I knew I had to do something fun with it. The selvedge on the floral suggests the piece to be from the 60's and I adore it. That same day, I also found a bundled stash of vintage zippers for a dollar! I think this apple green zipper is a delicious match.
I have plans for this sweetie to come with me on our Central American voyage in a few weeks. Chapstick, ear plugs, sunscreen, nail clippers, toothbrush/paste ... and (sheepish grin) mascara. Perfect little carry-on pouch.
I have a feeling I'll be making more of these. Maybe with the inside lined in oilcloth or an iron-on vinyl? Goodness, I just love pretty, practical things.
For years, my son has loved to dig. He'll pass hours away with a shovel and some bare dirt. And forget the kid-sized tools, he likes man-sized.
One of the kitchen windows looks to the side of the house and I'll see him there laboring away. I think it's great he's outside and amusing himself. But last month, I actually strolled over to the side of the house and fully experienced the construction zone. Wow. You may not be able to tell from this photo, but we've actually lost Jane to the pit. It's so deep, she needs assistance to achieve freedom once she's tumbled in. Not long after this picture was taken, we had to halt excavation because he hit pipe. City pipe. Uh, yeah.
He's now busy filling the pit so he can shift locations. I was tempted to ban pit-digging altogether. It's messy, unsightly, and has it's potential hazards. But a boy who happily passes time digging dirt? Should I really be complaining?
For now, I think I'll just caution the guests and worry about landscaping a few years down the road.
I've been on a bit of a quest for some modern-day glamour. With a little bit of thought, I decided I needed some vibrant red lip-gloss.
Typically, I'm a drug-store kind of gal when it comes to cosmetics, but lip products always seem worth the splurge. Wonderful texture, no odd fragrances, long-lasting color. Plus, the sleek tubes always feel like a little bit of artwork in my hand.
Last evening, I set out to run some errands on my own and stopped in at the swanky cosmetic shop. A very chic and eclectic young woman quickly discerned just what I was after when I described my vision. She led me right to this little tube of "Venetian." Not quite as cherry-red as I was initially searching for, but a lovely shade of electric watermelon.
Hmm. I'm thinking Pops will be quite pleased to see me tonight.
This is not that great of a photo. Except that it is. The composition is off, but what it's composed of is exquisite. The lighting is wrong, but it is lit from within. The angle could be better, but the vantage point is perfection. The focus is hazy, yet somehow precise.
The expression of this father's face as he looks upon images of his children takes my breath away. The adoration I see makes me want to fall to my knees thanking God for this wonder called family. My family.
They gather around him, breathing in his presence, and he theirs. This is the father of my children. This is the man that I love.
The construction continues in our home. It's messy, true, but rather exciting. The staircase is the current task and we found ourselves still needing a little more direction. Thus, the pleading phone call to my in-laws. Thank goodness they love us so much and always seem pleased for an excuse to see the children!
Once they arrived today, it was right down to business. When Pops' dad breaks out the red suspenders, some serious work is about to be accomplished. If anyone is a jack-of-all-trades, it's Grandpa. And a mighty skilled one, at that. Grandpa hungers for a challenge like I hunger for pie. Always ready and eager.
A story has been told of the time Grandma wanted a treadmill. Grandpa (and an enlisted young Pops) decided, "Why buy one when you surely have the needed parts in the garage?" And oddly, he did. While wholly impressive, the most aerobic exercise the beast elicited was in hysterical laughter. But I digress.
The staircase is coming along splendidly and will surely hold future memories of this very day together. Time to go help clean up some sawdust and admire all that the day produced.
Lucette was reading periodicals and found an example of bread bears she was quite fond of. "Mama, can we make these?" she inquired.
I often let opportunities pass when the children are interested in helping in the kitchen. The whole hurried, "I-can-do-it-faster-myself," or "I-have-too-many-other-things-to-do," mentality. Certainly, this is a purely practical perspective much of the time. But, I'm realizing they won't always be so eager and inquisitive in the kitchen. Or perhaps in life, for that matter.
So, this afternoon we tossed together our favorite bread recipe and made a family of cranberry-eyed dough bears. The smiles and giggles that ensued reminded me these efforts are simply worth my time. Because truly, was there really anything else more important to accomplish today?
Sweet childish days, that were as long As twenty days are now. ~William Wordsworth
Etiquette, by Emily Post. Revised edition, 1945. Inherited from my Grandmother, and by the looks of it, a fairly well-used copy. Since I'm hosting a Sunday engagement lunch/barbeque for my brother, I dove into the hospitality portion.
Apparently, there are different types of hostesses. One must make great pains to avoid becoming "The Anxious Hostess" or the "The Energetic Hostess." Instead, it is suggested, let us all strive for "The Perfect Hostess." Naturally, there are rules to abide by to achieve this hostessing nirvana. Thank goodness for Mrs. Post. And, in case match-making is on the horizon, here are a few words of wisdom:
"Never try to make any two people like each other. If they do, they do; if they don't, they don't, and that is all there is to it. But it is of vital importance to your own success as hostess to find out which is the case and collect or separate them accordingly."
Well, then. That's that, I suppose. At the moment, I'm feeling quite thankful my brother took care of his own match-making. I think I'll just shoot for "The Generally Competent Hostess."
Aunt Joanna gave this tiger lily to Jane for her 2nd birthday. After we enjoyed it's bloom, we dug a little hole, plopped the pretty thing in, and forgot about it until it decided to bloom again the next year! Jane won't be turning four until September, but this punchy display of color reminds us that her birthday is on it's way. Hang in there, Jane. It's almost your turn!
Lucette and I took a road trip. I wanted to head north a few hours to see some family friends and a scrumptious little 2 month old baby. But first, we stopped off at my ol' college pal, Lissa's. We were treated to mini pb&j sandwiches, cheese slices shaped like hearts, and even ... candy. Very fun.
But perhaps the most fun of all was had with Mr. Tom, Lissa's husband. He and Lucette buddied up for a couple hours and seemed quite content in each other's company. Nevermind the almost 40 year difference. They hunted for frogs (no luck), for snakes (1 dead, 1 live), and shot up a bunch of rusty ol' trucks with a paintball gun.
About 3 seconds after we bid farewell and drove off, Lucette sighed and said: "When are we going back there? I just loved it." It's easy to see why. (Photos by Miss Lissa)
We have accomplished so much. To date, we have now completed all vaccinations, finalized arrangements for the girls, ordered and borrowed backpacking gear so we can travel light and avoid suitcases, found necessary clothing/shoes, and secured all flights, accomodations, and bus travel. And let me tell you, deciphering Honduran bus schedules and figuring out connections was like a Sudoku challenge. Whew!
"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." (Deuteronomy 31:8)
Still on the list: • Pick up Malaria Rx • Order FloraStor supplements and anti-nausea pills • Work gloves • 1st Aid Kit/Deet • Written personal testimonies • Travel document/$ belts • Final funding • Finish collecting dental supplies • Easy-pack travel entertainment for Peter • Sp/Eng travel dictionary • Daily letters/package for the girls to open while we're gone • Find teenager-for-hire to water the yard and garden
Here's how you can pray for us: • Health for all of us in these weeks up to the trip. We want to travel healthy! • Pre-travel anxiety. I feel so confident in His plans for us and this trip, but I have mama-worries every now and then. Particularly in leaving the girls for so long. • Health and safety for Pops', Peter, and me while in Honduras and the girls while staying with grandparents. • A joyful and not-too-exhausting experience for care-giving grandparents. • Family unity. Traveling can be stressful. We want to work together and share this experience in a positive manner. • Team unity and relationship building opportunities with the locals. • For God to be glorified and His kingdom advanced by this whole trip.
Lucette was out coaxing the vegetables today. It was with great consideration that she spent time smoothing out peas frills and whispering words of encouragement to the pole beans.
Then ... there was discovery. The radishes were ready. Lucette pulled the first with delighted vigor and I showed her how to ready it for consumption. She was sure she wanted to pop the whole bit at once, shunning my idea of slices. Her mouth went from smiles to grimace after the first few crunches and the peppery radish sent her to lap up water from the faucet like a naughty cat. Next time, she agreed, she might advocate slices. Thin slices. On salad. With dressing.
I traveled down the freeway to help my parents with the estate sale this weekend. Pops watched the kids for me so I could go and really be available. We accomplished a lot, though the burden continues. It is a strange and taxing thing, to dissolve a household. We are praying for a miracle in this real estate market. We need to sell the house.
I also was able to spend some time each day with my grandfather. This was a joy. His confusion and tender emotions are still present, but he is improving. It must take a lot of fortitude to settle into a new life, in a new place, without Grandma.
Today, when I went to visit, we read from the book of Romans. "I like it all," he responded, when I asked him what his favorite book was. But we settled on Romans, as it was his favorite book to teach from. I would read, then pause ... waiting for his still astute observations and commentary. He is so engaged and clear-headed when discussing the Bible. We did this for a good hour.
I noticed in the basket on his desk, a card. This card I penned a good 25 years ago. Goodness, I drew those butterflies all the time. How touching to see it and wonder how it survived all these years.
Grandad has photos of the family in the entryway of his new apartment. I believe it's his wall of pride. He told me: "I walk past this wall and look at these photos. This is my family. Not every time, but almost, I stand here for a moment and look at them. And I pray for them."
This morning I was praying in earnest. I was asking God to forgive me for my impatience and lack of maturity in trusting His timing and provision for Peter and schooling. I had become so weary. But then I kept thinking about Abraham and Sarah, and how God wasn't less faithful for having them wait. It was part of His plan even when they didn't understand.
A couple of hours later, I was in car-line to pick up Lucette (from the last day of kindergarten at our local charter school) and the principal came over to tell me that Peter was in for next year. I had to pull over on the drive home. Praise God. That's all I can say about it! Praise God!
At this sweet, little school, history and science are a focal point to the curriculum. So when we got home and read through the scope and sequence for 3rd grade, Peter about passed out in sheer delight: Ancient Rome, Vikings, Early American Explorers, Light and Optics, Sound, Ecology, and Astronomy. He's been walking around with a faint and quiet smile all day.
Thanks for being so patient at the dermatologist's office today, Peter. Sure, Mom. I had to get two more moles removed today. Oh. Did it hurt? Yeah, a little. But not too bad. So ... do moles cause cancer. Well, they can. Is that how you got skin cancer? From a mole? Yes. I'm surprised. I didn't think you were around them that much. Huh? The moles. You're not around them a lot, are you? --- Side Note: We have been battling rouge moles in our backyard. They drive me crazy tunneling under my plants, and I'm often muttering about them. --- Ohhhhhh! Did you think I got skin cancer from a mole ... the animal? The brown dots on your skin are also called moles. The animal doesn't have anything to do with it. Hmmm. Well, that makes much more sense.
Jane, please don't stand on the toilet and jump off. You almost hit your face on the bathtub! I'm fine. I didn't get hurt. I'm glad you are okay this time, but you can really hurt yourself. No more standing on or jumping off of the toilet. But Mom, I not get hurt! Jane. No more. You could smack your teeth and they could all fall out (a little scare-tactic here). Well, Greaty Papa's teeth fell out and he just puts new ones in. I want those grown-up teeth.
We all like carrot salad. It's a fun change from the standard veggie side and laughably easy to toss together. The worst part is all the grating, but if you're blessed with a food processor and grater attachment, you'll be running shredded carrot circles around me. I'm not sure if this counts as a real recipe but ... I'll just tell myself that it is.
• Carrot Salad • - Shred a whole bunch of carrots (Look at these 'rainbow' carrots I found!) - Generously douse with favorite Italian dressing* - Toss in some sunflower seeds
*Our favorite Italian dressing? Those funny little packets of dry mix from the grocery store. It's true! Toss in cruet with red wine vinegar, a splash of water, and olive or canola oil.
It is so ridiculously fun to sew for babies. Last night, I stayed up stitching these cute bamboo twigs and today pieced the flannel together, completing the blanket. Somehow having cute things for baby makes all the late nights and general exhaustion that much more bearable. Wouldn't you agree?
I'm thinking Jenny's new little man won't mind being wrapped in cuteness if it makes his mother's day just a smidgie more fun. Can't wait to meet you, Benjamin!