Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Six








  


Millie turned six this week and we had a little celebration one afternoon with friends for her birthday and for Rosie's four year old birthday (which is this Saturday!)  Millie is getting so big, beautiful, and wonderful!  As a gift, Lyddie made her sweet little coupons for "free" things - "15 minutes snuggling together," and "20 minutes reading together," and "you choose the tv show we watch" and "Give this card to Lyddie to have your bed made for you," and other things like that.  I had to laugh because she was so excited for Millie to open her present but once open, she kept reminding her, "You can use this ONE time," just to make sure she understood that it was a one time only thing.... until she changed her mind and said she could use each one twice.  Rosie gave her a piece of paper folded up with a pen inside.  My precious girls!  I wish this darling innocent joy in gift giving would stay for a very long time and that they will not become self-conscious about it all for a few years at least. 

Millie has always been so determined; if once she sets her mind on something, she will accomplish it and won't stop trying until she succeeds.  This is a wonderful thing (most of the time)!  Jumping rope is just one of these things, so we gave her a beautiful wooden-handled jumprope on her birthday.  My other favorite gift for her was a Matryoshka (Russian nesting) doll we picked out in beautiful blue.  Each doll is painted holding something different: a teapot, a tea cloth, a tea cup, etc.  I might steal it and keep it for myself, I love it so much.  

Happy birthday to my dearest Millie... the birthday pictures are still coming since Rosie hasn't had her turn yet!  Then I might sleep for a week after three-in-a-row birthday plans and preparations. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

He is risen










We had a happy Easter and I hope you did too. One of my favorite parts was hearing Rosie and the other preschoolers in our little class learn to respond to "He is risen!" with "He is risen indeed!" in their sweet little voices.  

Jesse's birthday was yesterday, and we had a really lovely afternoon date browsing around antique stores in town and having a nice dinner out. Funny how our tastes are the same and different in new ways over the past several years. It seems like a long time since we had such a relaxing and fun time together - that is exactly the kind of date we used to go on early in our marriage. The girls spent the morning creating cards and other little gifts to present to him at lunch time and it was a precious treat to watch their faces as he opened their trinkets and notes.  Rosie kept trying to glue paper over some of our wooden toy food to give him as a gift.  She was so proud of these presents for him and gave him the longest, happiest hug afterward. This filled me with a bittersweet happiness as I realized anew how quickly these little years keep flying by and how I will so miss them when they are gone.  So soon her innocent joy over these beautiful childish moments will fade and she will become self-conscious and aware of our secret smiles over her innocence and carefree joy.  My heart aches to hold onto these exact moments of motherhood and remember them, but I also wish I could capture them and keep them alive somehow.

So now, I'm on to planning the next two birthdays that come up this week:  Millie will turn six on Monday and Rosie will be four the next Saturday.  I can hardly type that after writing the last paragraph without tearing up! 

April is a really busy month for this mama and I almost always feel completely inadequate for the task of making three people feel celebrated and special.  Fortunately it's not really about whether I'm up for it; it always does end up happening - the birthdays come and each person somehow feels amazingly happy even though I see all the ways I am dropping all the balls.  I am thankful that it doesn't really matter how imperfectly I manage it all; what matters is THEM and how wonderful they are.  So birthday gifts and wrapping paper and baking special treats will fill my spare time (of which homeschool moms have so much, right?) for the next few weeks.  Wish me luck in my continuing plunge into birthdayland...

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

coming up



















The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.  Exodus 14:14  -- Our memory verse for this week.

Spring break was a much needed change last week!  I was so thankful for a little time to rest, work in the garden, and visit family for a couple days, and plan and prepare for the rest of our school year.  I can't believe we have only eight more weeks before we change things up for summer break.  How glad I am that I have a game plan for the weeks ahead.  For several weeks I have been reading Happy Times in Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren and this morning we finished it.  What a delightful read!  In our "morning basket" time I try to choose a selection that Rosie will really appreciate, like Beatrix Potter, along with a few different longer books, like Noisy Village or Winnie-the-Pooh.  We have been loving Life of Fred during this morning time as a fun addition to our math curriculum, and I've kind of been developing our own Spanish curriculum using picture books, songs, and occasionally videos.  That's been a challenge but I finally am happy with the direction we're going for now.  

Do you plan for the summer with your kids?  I think we might continue with a few things that feel "fun" - Life of Fred which they rejoice over, maybe Spanish so we can continue to move ahead a little bit, and lots of reading that I might need to prepare in advance for, since our library's selection is very mediocre when it comes to really good children's literature.  

The girls come in with handfuls of kale (which overwintered) from the garden and discovered some carrots that were frozen in the ground all winter so they dug those up and have been chopping them up into their own "salads" with the kale.  The carrots are fine but they look slightly shriveled and totally unappetizing to me and I just laugh.  In the garden everything is coming up: lettuce, spinach, radishes, carrots, bok choy, onions, peas... my potatoes are still under the earth with no signs of life but one of these days I know they will make an appearance.  

My "Love and Joy" cross-stitch sampler was finished today, just in time to start a new spring sampler!  We dyed eggs with friends and I caught up on laundry and started some chick eggs in the incubator just for fun.  We'll see if they hatch!  Apparently I think 18 chickens isn't enough for us, so why not try for half a dozen more...I'm sure I'm crazy.  But why not be a little crazy if it makes life more fun, right? 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

front lines




























I feel a little like I might be limping to the finish line of our ministry-laden March, but we are certain to finish it out in due course, right?  

There are things about working in ministry on the Rez that are really difficult to put into words but I know they must be real because I'm not the only one who experiences it.  Sometimes I think, "I really want to write about this" so I can share and hopefully encourage and challenge others to see God's faithfulness, but when I try to write, the thoughts and concepts are so tangled that I don't often know where to start. {And in my effort to be realistic, I also sometimes feel like I end up with a "downer" of a post, or that I'm going to sound really depressed when I'm not.  After gradually easing into the knowing of these things you kind of learn to live with the knowing of them without being constantly devastated by the brokenness it reveals.}

 Someone recently said to me, "I did not know what true spiritual warfare was until my first trip to the reservation."  Whew!  Sometimes I convince myself I am imagining the dark cloud of difficulty or even sorrow that gathers.  Sometimes the struggle is my own doing, consequences for choices I'm making about my sleep, my attitude, my habits.   Sometimes it's sorrow directly related to sorrow over things I carry now, things I know. Sometimes the struggle is clearly a direct attempt to discourage and disable: opposition.  

We know that as God's children we have an enemy.  We know that when we are engaging in the front lines of ministry the enemy would surely rather us not be successful.  We know that the enemy of our souls prowls like a lion seeking to devour.  We also know we have nothing to fear because of the lover of our souls.  Here on the Rez we are without a doubt on the front lines of the Kingdom of God.  Our lives intentionally center around serving and loving "the least of these" within a people group that is so marginalized that many people talk about them in the past tense. "When the Indians lived..."  "The Indians did..."  

I believe God protects our church family mightily from deep darkness all around.  I believe He completely controls the suffering His children encounter and experience.  I believe He means all of the things we walk through to be for our good - no, not an abstract version of "good"-  He has in mind the deepest, most beautiful healing of our selves.

Bear in mind that as I write these things I am thinking of children I have seen recently with suspicious bruises.  Of a child who never has adequate clothing for the weather.  Of a young mom I came in contact with today who told me her brother passed away in a fatal car wreck in her own car last week.  I'm thinking of children who haven't got any running water at their house; of a family with several precious children that didn't even have a door on their house for a significant part of last year; of a couple that lived in a tent last summer and now live in an RV with a leaky roof.  

I'm also thinking of how the Lord has met each of those scenarios with His love now and His promise of care for the future.  How the children I worry over have tasted the goodness of His love and safety through the church.  How the mother got a listening ear and got to see her young children having fun in a safe place today.  How the children without water have had showers and care at the home of some of our friends.  How the missing door was replaced by some of the men from our church, and how the man and woman in the RV can have a double understanding of what it is like to be cared for by the Lord, an understanding I may never fully grasp in this lifetime.  His healing touch is merciful and perfect in His time.   

I can say that all our experiences are meant for the healing of our souls because He promises it, not because I never doubt it.  Sometimes I can't touch that in my mind, sometimes my heart is too broken to land on the truth of His goodness, and then I do sob.  But soon the reminders come: This world is not our home.  This sorrow is fleeting.  Jesus knows our every weakness. Jesus loves the little children.  Jesus suffered first for us. Joy comes in the morning.  

"Come then, my beloved, my lovely one come.
For see, winter is past, the rains are over and gone." (NJB Song of Solomon 2:10)

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I am working on Lyddie's Suzanne sweater in KnitPicks DK Swish.  Her chest measurement is small so I am knitting a smaller size but forgot to adjust the sleeve length and just had to rip it back to increase the length of the sleeve.  The multicolored yarn was a beautiful gift from a sweet reader here and I can't wait to plan a project for it - possibly a sweater for Millie next.