30 May 2008

D.C.--Day 2

Day 2 began with a tour of the Capitol Building. Kris' friend Julie Blackorby so generously opened her home to this whole gang of 7 Hobbits. Another neat thing is that Julie works on "the Hill" as a staffer for Senator Jim DeMint from South Carolina. Wait. I think I already mentioned that in the last post. Oh well. 

Julie took us on a tour of the Senate building where she works, and then underground to the Capitol. But quite possibly the most incredible part of the entire tour (which I still am convinced the children never really "got") was when Julie introduced us to a friend of hers who took us into the Senators cloak room where we left all our cameras. And then from there we went directly onto the Senate Floor. 

What an amazing feeling. There are all those desks of the men and women who represent us in Congress. They'd just begun their Memorial Day recess, so the place was pretty empty. But to stand there and realize that not many are allowed that privilege. Pretty special.  

Here are the kids behind Senator DeMint's desk. 

This picture still gives me chills when I look at it. I don't even know if I realized the lighting when I took this shot. I think this is quite possibly my favorite picture from the whole weekend. 

"THE" rotunda.
In the rotunda there are brass plates on the floor marking the original places of the desks from long ago. We found Representative James Buchanan from Pennsylvania.
Elsa and Julie, our most helpful guide of the day!!
Then a most memorable picnic on the Hill before we made our way to Union Station and the Metro, en route to. . . the ZOO!!!

Ah. The beautiful Union Station!
And whom should we see getting on Amtrak but the very band, Dr. Magpie, we'd seen the night before at the JFK Center for the Performing Arts. They kindly allowed a quick pic before they departed. 

Yes, I know it's blurry. But that's how the Metro feels. 
The National Zoo. 

Auntie Kris treated us all to freshly squeezed lemonade or cherry lemonade. Mmm. It did wonders on that hot day!!
We were dragging at the end of the day. 
But since our Metro passes were still good we stopped off to get a glimpse of the White House.
And we found the doorbell. Long since disconnected. We really wanted to have tea with Laura on the lawn, but it didn't work out. Maybe another time?

Five Hobb(it)s peering through the gate. . . 
And the last laugh of the day was to find this stone. Kris was born in 1980 as was a friend of hers who told her to look for this stone in a park. Kris and I looked and looked and looked and couldn't locate it. Even after a phone call. Finally, we found it. We didn't realize it was the address for the place. Oh well. 

Then we all headed back to Julie's house where the supper I'd made ahead of time was awaiting us in the crock pot. Then Daniel took some time with the kiddos so Kris and I could have a couple of hours to just be sisters. So, we went to Starbucks and sat and talked for several hours.

 Ahh. How thankful I am for my sister. I love you, girl!!

28 May 2008

One glorious weekend in D.C.--Day 1

We began the afternoon on Thursday by picking up Kris at Union Station. (She was in D.C. staying with a friend and had invited us to come spend a few days with her touring the city.)
After unloading our "stuff" at a friends house where we would stay for the next few days we made our way back into the city looking for supper and a parking spot. Obviously we weren't locals. If we would have been locals, we would have known where to find supper and we would have known that parking is nearly nonexistent in D.C. at 5 pm. After much driving and prayer we found both supper (at Potbellies!!) and parking. 
The next event of the evening was a free concert at the JFK Center for the Performing Arts. They do a free concert every evening of the year at 6 pm. The group of the evening was Dr. Magpie, a group of 6 guys playing acoustic instruments. It was an incredible hour of bluegrass, jazz and everything in between. Tristen slept through about half of it.

After the concert we went to the mall for a while and walked around the Washington Monument. I took this shot of the Capitol building while standing in front of the monument. 
Quite possibly the perfect end to a wonderful day: Baskin Robbins ice cream. 

Baskin Robbins has for many years been Dad's favorite ice cream store so Kris and I had to take these pics. Just to make him drool. 
And tonight's parting shot: the Washington Monument at sunset. 

Come back for Day 2 and Day 3 later (when I get a chance to post pics. . and the rest of the story). 

18 May 2008

When you can't see His plan. . .

It's been an excruciating week. And a good week. Pastor Ron Dunn once said, "Good and bad run on parallel tracks and usually arrive at about the same time." It's been true for me more than once. Maybe more like a million times. This past week was no exception. Some of our "heart friends" came to visit last week. God refreshed us through them. Other news came to us that shook us to the core. 

And then Daniel reminded me of this song. 

Trust His Heart

by Babbie Mason and Eddie Carswell

All things work for our good
though sometimes we can't see how they could
struggles that break our hearts in two
sometimes blinds us to the truth

Our Father knows what's best for us
His ways are not our own
So when your pathway grows dim, and you just can't see Him
Remember you're never alone

God is too wise to be mistaken
God is too good to be unkind
So when you don't understand
When you don't see His plan
When you can't trace His hand
Trust His heart

He sees the master plan
And He holds our future in His hands
So don't live as those who have no hope
All our hope is found in Him

We see the present clearly
But He sees the first and the last
And like a tapestry He's weaving you and me to someday be just like Him

God is too wise to be mistaken
God is too good to be unkind
So when you don't understand
When you don't see His plan
When you can't trace His hand
Trust His heart

He alone is faithful and true
He alone knows what is best for you
So when you don't understand
When you don't see His plan
When you can't trace His hand trust His heart

This is where I'm living today. I can't see. I don't understand. Some days I'm even struggling to believe the truth that God is "too good to be unkind". But I know that I shall pass through this storm. I only pray I am stronger because of it. 

11 May 2008

Happy Mother's Day Girlfriends!

Daniel preached a fantastic message to parents today from Psalm 127 and Deuteronomy 6. Since we'll have a missionary at our church on Father's Day, today was for everybody, not just mothers. 

As I listened to Daniel I was reminded of how much his parents invested into his life. And especially his Mama. Mama took the command from Deuteronomy 6 very seriously. It was her life's goal to get God's Word into her children. Today I heard the results of her labor. 

Mama went to be with Jesus in January of 2006. I miss her. I miss her wisdom. I miss her prayers. I miss the influence of her life on my children. But her investments into the lives of her own children will prayerfully produce results in the lives of her grandchildren. But that means I must live Deuteronomy 6 as well. Oh God, grant me wisdom. 

And today how grateful I am for my own Mama. I watch her continual sacrifices to bless the lives of others. I watch and listen to the things God is doing in her life. I hear her growth. And I marvel. God bless you Mom. I love you!!

On a lighter note, a dear friend sent me this last week. Daniel shared it before his message this morning. If you have children you'll realize just how true this is. Read it and laugh. 

Thoughts on the Birth Order of Children:

1st baby: You begin wearing maternity clothes as soon as
your OB/GYN confirms your pregnancy.

2nd baby: You wear your regular clothes for as long as possible.

3rd baby: Your maternity clothes ARE your regular clothes.


Preparing for the Birth:

1st baby: You practice your breathing religiously.

2nd baby: You don't bother because you remember that last
time, breathing didn't do a thing.

3rd baby: You ask for an epidural in your eighth month.


The Layette:

1st baby: You pre-wash newborn's clothes, color-coordinate them,
and fold them neatly in the baby's little bureau.

2nd baby: You check to make sure that the clothes are clean and
discard only the ones with the darkest stains.

3rd baby: Boys can wear pink, can't they?



1st baby: At the first sign of distress--a whimper,
a frown--you pick up the baby

2nd baby: You pick the baby up when her wails threaten
to wake your firstborn.

3rd baby: You teach your three-year-old how to
rewind the mechanical swing.



1st baby: If the pacifier falls on the floor, you put it away until
you can go home and wash and boil it.

2nd baby: When the pacifier falls on the floor, you squirt it
off with some juice from the baby's bottle.

3rd baby: You wipe it off on your shirt and pop it back in.



1st baby: You change your baby's diapers every hour,
whether they need it or not.

2nd baby: You change their diaper every two to three hours, if needed.

3rd baby: You try to change their diaper before others start to
complain about the smell or you see it sagging to their knees.



1st baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics, Baby Swing,
Baby Zoo, Baby Movies and Baby Story Hour.

2nd baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics.

3rd baby: You take your infant to the supermarket and the dry cleaners.


Going Out:

1st baby: The first time you leave your baby with a sitter,
you call home five times.

2nd baby: Just before you walk out the door, you remember to
leave a number where you can be reached.

3rd baby: You leave instructions for the sitter to call only if she sees blood.


At Home:

1st baby: You spend a good bit of every day just gazing at the baby.

2nd baby: You spend a bit of everyday watching to be sure your older child
isn't squeezing, poking, or hitting the baby.

3rd baby: You spend a little bit of every day hiding from the children


Swallowing Coins (a favorite):

1st child: When first child swallows a coin, you rush the child to the hospital and demand x-rays

2nd child: When second child swallows a coin, you carefully watch for the coin to pass.

3rd child: When third child swallows a coin you deduct it from his allowance!

Happy Mother's Day ladies!!

10 May 2008

Favorite photos of April. . . and May

Here is Sophia with a perfect marshmallow. We love fireside suppers. 
A sweet friend from church stopped by as we were finishing our first fireside picnic of the year. As we sat there shivering I had to ask, "Whose crazy idea was it to eat outside anyway?" It was mine. (This one's for you Alice.)
Not staged. Emmy was folding laundry and also trying to read a book. She propped it open with her feet. 
Another tea time, only it was lemonade this time. 
Remember that orange marker I mentioned? See the previous post.
I was chopping onions and Tob's eyes were burning so he needed goggles. 
My lovely chocolate mousse, created by my sweet sister-in-law Esther for my birthday. She and my friend Jules planned a party for me in a "Life is Good" theme. Check out Jake and his goodies HERE
And then a most delightful visit from my dear friend Angie. How fun to remember the "good ole' days". I'm so grateful for the friends God has given me: the ones from long ago and the ones who have only recently become friends. 
Movie night trivia: Guess who had a nap and who didn't. 
Elsa at a very cold picnic in our back yard.
These guys LOVE each other!! Most of the time. 

Tristen could have stood by the reservoir for hours just throwing rocks in the water. 
The kids enjoyed the pond at Mom and Dad's house. No, I didn't let them go swimming. It was just too cold. They were wishing. . . 
In April we attended IHC in Dayton and then spent two days at Mom and Dad's house near Columbus, Ohio. Daniel attended a prayer conference. The kids and I enjoyed being with Grandpa and Nana. And playing outside. The girls helped Mom plant strawberries, onions, and a few other things. 
Papa and Tristen come down the stairs this way often. 

08 May 2008

A day in the life. . .

  • It's Thursday, but it feels like Monday for some reason. 

  • Daniel spoke for high school chapel at Belleville Mennonite School this morning.

  • That left me in charge of math. I hate math.

  • The play dough I made for the boys several days ago is ruined. They pulled it out this morning and it stuck in nasty stickiness all over the kitchen table. I had to use a spatula to get it off.

  • Even after mixing extra oil and flour into the nasty mixture, it was still sticky. I threw it in the trash. Hopefully the trash guy doesn't see it. 

  • Oh, and while I was dealing with that nastiness, sweet daughter, age 9, was toiling over a math pyramid. It made sense to me, but not to her. 

  • Then the mischievous 2 year old took the dish soap from under the sink. I asked him to put it away. As he obeyed, he lifted the bottle high over his head, upside down, squeezing the bottle as he went. Palmolive in a nice neat trail across my kitchen floor. 

  • Sweet daughter, age 8, offered to clean up the mess. Thank you Lord for helpful children.

  • Sweet daughter, age 6, had to be reminded many times to finish her simple addition. A promise of "no lunch until you're done" did the trick. Amazing how the thought of no food motivates some children. 

  • And did I mention the several phone calls that came while I tried to rescue the nasty mixture. Or the phone calls that came while I listened to sweet daughter, age 8, read aloud. 

  • Or the cries of delight that came from the upstairs bathroom as the three youngest played in water in the bathroom sink. Mischievous son, age 4 and mischievous son, age 2 each had to totally change their clothes. Do I throw the clothes in the dryer since it was just water, or do I put them in the laundry for later? 

  • Then I hear, "Oh Mama!" This time it was mischievous son, age 2, who had discovered the sheer delight of an orange marker. His pants and arms now have not-so-mysterious streaks of orange. 

  • And we haven't even had lunch yet. 
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