God and His Athletic Abilities

During lunchtime today, the children and I were discussing a passage from I Corinthians 1, especially the last few verses:

Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.'”

As we talked about what “boasting in the Lord” might mean, I gained some insight into my 6 1/2 year old’s concept of God:

Jonathan: “God can do anything.”

Mommy: “But one thing that God cannot do is sin.”

Jonathan: “Well, and he can’t play soccer either.”

Rain, Swimming, and Stuff

We have had an amazing number of rain days so far this summer. I cannot recall a time in the last couple of weeks when it didn’t rain for at least part of the day. This article says we are seeing the second wettest June since records began in 1899 in the Dallas/Fort Worth area with over 10.5 inches of rain. That is about an inch short of the previous record set in 1928. And in stark contrast to the drought we have experienced for the previous two years. So…Dallas is very grateful for the rain. Aside from the larger and more serious repurcussions to a city in the midst of a huge drought, this house we bought stood empty all last summer. As a result, nothing was watered, our yard saw lots of damage, and huge areas were missing grass. We are grateful for the huge blessing all the water has been to the city as a whole, and in a more personal way, to us too.

Our children have been a little discouraged that the weather has limited their time in the pool, but we have tried to sneak in a few swimming trips in between the thunder, lightening, and downpours. We joined our neighborhood pool this summer, and when we’ve been able to go, we’ve really appreciated how close to home it is, the relatively small numbers of people there, and the diligent and watchful lifeguards on duty.

This month, despite the rain, we have been taking swimming lessons with a lady who lives nearby and who teaches only three students at a time, both her and a helper. We shelled out a few more buckos this year than in previous years, but I feel as if we’ve received about three years’ worth of swimming progress in the short time we took. (Prior to this, Jonathan spent three summers in swim lessons with very little to show for our time and effort and expense.)

This year, Abigail, already a pretty decent swimmer, polished her strokes, strengthened her abilities considerably, and learned to dive quite beautifully for an 8 year old (in my humble opinion!). She spent only a week in lessons, but we put the boys in for two, and they have also made excellent progress. As of two weeks ago, neither Jonathan nor Nicolas were swimming on their own, but when we went to the pool in our neighborhood yesterday, there were no swim vests or other props used. They swam everywhere, jumped off the diving board into the deep end, and slid down the ten foot slide and into the water with no help or parental assistance. I was so very proud of them, and loved watching how much they’ve learned.

It is a really great feeling to know that now when I take four children to the pool with me, I have three who swim pretty well. A lot less stress is involved mentally, and physically speaking, I have only one little person who needs to hold onto me! Of course I know they all still need to be watched carefully, but overall it really is a much more enjoyable experience for everyone. We look forward to more swimming, weather permitting, during the remaining two months of summer vacation!!

Scoop, Muck and Dizzy, and Roley TOO!

Here is the view out back of our house right now:

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Our forty-plus-year-old alley is being dug up and repaved. The estimated completion date is February 29, 2008. Ahem, cough, cough. But, I shall refrain from sharing my thoughts on the overwhelmingly massive and huge length of time allotted for this project, and instead try to focus on the positive. So……yes! What a blessing this will be to all of us in the neighborhood once it is complete. Admittedly, it is more than a little bit inconvenient to go without the use of our garage (off the driveway, which now deadends into a massive valley of dirt!) in this Texas heat, but we anticipate the end result being worth the current frustration!

In the meantime, the children are quite fascinated by the exciting Bob the Builder action right here in our very own neighborhood. As an added bonus, they consider themselves to have gained a fantastically huge playroom – also known as the garage – where they now, even if it is raining, can jump rope, play ball, and have wild sword fights with Mommy’s blessing!!

Not that way of matin’

A conversation at dinner that spun out of control…

Jonathan: Then you go to college? How long?

Jay: Usually for 4 years.

Jonathan: Do you live there?

Jay: Most people do.

Jonathan: Then what do you do? Do you look for a mate?

Chaos ensues.

Abigail: It’s not that way of matin’, like penguins.

Refreshment

For the second time in a little over a month, I have spent a night away from home, sans children (well, almost sans: Abigail came along too for this latest trip). Kudos to my amazing and oh so capable husband who has lovingly and cheerfully held down the fort at home, and facilitated my two little getaways. It is VERY rare that I am away from my mommy duties at home, especially without my husband, and I have appreciated these little bits of refreshment so much.

The first took place in May, when I joined a few friends in the country for scrapbooking, which was lovely, and only somewhat impacted by my spiking a fever and falling ill during the second day!!

And the second was last weekend, a jaunt to College Station with the girls over at Casa de Clemmons (thanks for driving, S!) to help celebrate the impending arrival of my newest nephew, Isaac along with lots of family, and the lovely and gracious ladies of Westminster Presbyterian Church, who really know how to throw a wonderful baby shower!! What fun we had visiting with out of town friends and family, and what a treat for me to spend an entire day and night with just Abigail, and share some sweet times together.

Here is a picture of our little girls, such happy traveling buddies, all dressed up and ready for the shower:

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Here is the gorgeous expectant Mama with various immediate, extended (and adopted!) family members present that day:

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Totally cute cake – I had to include a picture:

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It was a great time, and such a joy to be able to help join in the festiveness of preparing to welcome another baby into the family! We cannot wait to meet you, little Isaac!

Itsy-Bitsy, Teenie-Weenie Girl!

After her shower this morning, Abigail (the 8 1/2 year old) got herself dressed. As I glanced at the outfit she’d chosen: striped shirt and khaki shorts, it occurred to me that she was not wearing a pair of shorts that I recall ever buying for her. We checked the tag: “2T” is what it read. Somehow a pair of Josiah’s shorts ended up in her laundry pile the other day. Amazingly, they fit her perfectly. Wow.

Plump it UP!!

If the bed pillows at your house are anything like ours, they grow flat and floppy over time. Washing and drying them only seems to make the problem worse, and often adds “bunchiness” to the poor pillow. Soon, those lovely, cushy pillows on the beds start looking sad and limp on account of the pillows that are inside them, and they are no longer very comforting to sleep on. What is a lady to do??

Well, a friend of mine has the most clever way of utilizing the worn-out pillows: she stuffs TWO limp pillows into each of her decorative bed shams, thereby making them look plump and luxurious. What a great way to reuse something that seems past its prime! I tried this new trick today with several shams on our master bed, and can honestly say the pillows have never looked nicer!

Mumblings

I’m back home after a second weekend in a row of travelling. Hopefully I’ll have a post up about that soon.

It’s VBS week. I stuck to last year’s resolution, partly because I did not have a desire to put Josiah in the nursery for three hours each morning for a week, and partly due to a general sense of feeling overwhelmed. Instead of signing up to teach or help during the week, I opted for some administrative work prior to the actual event, which would still be a bit of help to those coordinating, but not put me at risk for having to back out again due to illness with children. And, it’s a good thing I did: Josiah has himself a very yucky cold, severe enough that he should not be around other wee ones. The two of us have cherished our little mornings together this week – he being the fourth child does not get as much one-on-one time with Mommy as perhaps his older siblings did. We even kidnapped a certain Grammy earlier today and enjoyed some breakfast with her.

Recently I relinquished a leadership role at church which I have held for some time – heading up our TLC (Tender Loving Care) Ministry, which provides meals to members and visitors going through times of hospitalization, illness, bereavement, welcoming a new baby, etc. This is a ministry I have always loved, and I have gladly served here, but recently opted to “give notice” due to a need to take a break. I have prayed for a few months for a replacement(s) and just today I received news that someone has stepped forward and asked to help serve this need in our church body. I am so very thankful for them, and for this answer to prayer.

Well, my messy house could use some of my attention, so I’m going to stop rambling, and start straightening!

Same old stepping “on somebody’s neck”

This is a great quote, but it is not the greatest quote:

“I had looked around the plane for help, and all the younger guys had averted their eyes. When I asked the guy next to me if he was up to it, all he said was, ‘Retired captain. USMC.’ I said, ‘You’ll do,’ ” Hayden recalled. “So, basically, a couple of grandfathers took care of the situation.”

No, the greatest quote comes at the end of the article:

Hayden’s wife of 42 years, Katie, who was also on the flight, was less impressed. Even as her husband struggled with the agitated passenger, she barely looked up from “The Richest Man in Babylon,” the book she was reading.

“The woman sitting in front of us was very upset and asked me how I could just sit there reading,” Katie Hayden said. “Bob’s been shot at. He’s been stabbed. He’s taken knives away. He knows how to handle those situations. I figured he would go up there and step on somebody’s neck, and that would be the end of it. I knew how that situation would end. I didn’t know how the book would end.”