Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ice Festival!

Sea serpent


 It was c-c-c-c-cold but f-f-f-f-f-f-fun!!

Friday, January 23, 2015


I have a secret.

About 8 weeks ago I started training to run a 5K.  I have been reluctant to say it out loud because that makes it real, and I am afraid of failure.  Of not training enough to make it happen, or not finishing the race.  But I have been running at a gym in the early mornings before the children are awake, thanks to a friend and accountability partner who drives me to and from!   I am still in the early stages of training my lungs and my legs to RUN, but.... I am doing it.

It is both getting easier and not getting easier.

Last night my friend did not text to confirm a workout for this morning so I wasn't sure we were going.  I set my alarm for 6:15 anyway.  When my alarm went off, I lay in bed and prepared to text her to ask if she was planning on going to the gym.  My fingers were seriously about to type "sorry, but I'm cancelling this morning" when instead they typed "are we going to planet fitness this morning?" Every ounce of my body wanted to stay in bed.  But I didn't!  I am actively striving to "discipline my body and bring it under strict control."

During these past weeks of exercise I have been pondering these verses in I Corinthians 9:24-27:
"Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize.  Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away.  Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air.   Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified."
I have read these verses many times over the years, but they take on new meaning when I am in the midst of physical training.  Getting out of bed, going out in the cold, taking that first step on the is not fun.  Not even a tiny little bit.  But in doing it I know that I am "not running aimlessly," but rather for a goal, a prize.  For the sake of the prize, I discipline my body.  Make it do what it does not want to do.

In light of that, what does it mean to discipline my spirit?  My mind?  My will?  Make them do things they don't naturally want to do? And what is the prize?  It is a "crown that will never fade away," which means eternal life with Christ!  For the sake of that prize, what discipline am I willing to endure?

I don't want to just run.  I want to run in such a way as to win the prize.

Teach me, Lord.  And help me to run both the 5K and the race of life in such a way as to win!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Fun with Family

A few days after Christmas, my sister in law and her three children came from out of state to celebrate a late Christmas with us.  They stayed at our house so the cousins got a lot of great cousin time in, and we all had a great time.  We played a lot of card games.  This was the fast paced "spot it" I have mentioned before.  I crashed and burned on this one, but had fun anyway!

This was our first Christmas without my father in law, and we all felt his absence pretty acutely, none more so than my mother in law.  She is doing well adjusting to life without him, but it is HARD.

My sister in law with two of her kids.

Probably the most fun we had together was playing "Just Dance" on our new xbox.  Even *I* danced!!  And what good exercise, wow!  I was panting and huffing and puffing like crazy.  I should do that every day and I would soon be a skinny minny. ;)

Just after midnight on New Year's Eve.  Happy New Year!!  My mother in law was talking to her other son on the phone, so even though he was away at work he was in the picture too!

After sleeping in very late on New Year's Day, we later had a family sharing time where everyone gave an update on their lives and told us what we could be praying for them throughout this next year.  Before sharing time, everyone's phones had to be relinquished. :)

Just as our little friend admires son C's piano playing, son C admires his older cousin's playing! Even though he is a sophomore in college, he wasn't too old or too cool to play with C. They played numerous duets together.  Music to my ears.  Literally!

Proof that my sister in law can dance!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Fun with Friends

We recently enjoyed a wonderful evening with our dear friends....lots of music, and the first really good workout for our drum set.

12 drummers drumming! Okay, not 12, but one really good drummer. :)

This little guy idolizes our son C's piano playing ability. It was pretty fun to watch him watching son C play!

Doing nails!
 So thankful for friends!

Christmas Morning

Another beloved tradition...opening stockings on mom and dad's bed!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Christmas 2014

I was really struck this Christmas with the word "Emmanuel"...."God with us."  WITH us. Incredible. I pondered that a lot throughout the month of December, and the closer it got to Christmas Day the more I was overwhelmed with gratitude for God's willingness to come down and live among us humans and BE one of us.  Simply astounding.  Christmas Eve was a time of powerful personal worship for me.

As usual, the children "patiently" waited to open gifts. :)

Son C opened his very own container of chocolate covered raisins, new pajamas, and new set of books (the Alex Rider series).

 Daughter G gave daughter H a sign for her bedroom door that says "Spoiled rotten pug lives here" because daughter H is in LOVE with our pug.  It was a big hit!

Son L with his new vest and bow ties.

Could it be????

Yes!  The lego sets most desired by these two!  Happiness.

New watch.

Daughter G gave me the new Pentatonix Christmas CD!!

Daughter H opened her special ornament we had made in memory of her biological dad.  She said later that it was her favorite present.  Love.

I was blown away by my husband's gift...he gave me a picture of a Surface Pro 3 and said that we'd go shopping later to buy the exact laptop/tablet hybrid that I wanted.  Wow!!  Daughter G has her own laptop, but the other 7 of us have all been sharing my husband's.  I know it is a very first world problem, but it has been hard to divide the time on one laptop when 7 people all use it for some amount of time every single day.  My husband put a lot of thought into a computer solution that would work best FOR ME...what electronic tool would best help me in the ways I really need?  I just felt soooo special that he values making my life easier.  That knowledge alone was such a huge gift!

So, thanks to my husband's year end bonus, I am now the grateful owner of a Surface Pro 3!!!  It is a laptop/tablet hybrid, meaning it has the full functionality of a laptop, but you can magnetically detach the keyboard and the "monitor" becomes a fully functioning touch screen tablet.  (for the uninitiated, it is the Windows version of an Ipad.)  It is small enough to fit inside my purse, but not so small that I can't type easily on the keyboard.  And it has the coolest little pen that allows me to write directly on the monitor and circle things or make notes, etc.  It is an amazing little piece of electronic technology for sure!  It will allow me to print documents when I am down in the schoolroom without having to go upstairs, to easily update the shared Google calendar that me and my husband use, take it with me to our homeschool co-op, keep it open on the kitchen counter when using online recipes....etc.  In a myriad of ways, it will help with the little things.  And doesn't life so often come down to the little things?

In other amazing news, we wrapped up this set of bongo drums for all the children, to represent the ENTIRE DRUM SET that we obtained used from a friend at church.  Woot!  Full band capability now right in our very own home!

(we set up the full drum set the next day)

And in still other big news, all of our children were ecstatic to receive this family gift of an xbox one! For years and years I have resisted having any gaming system other than the Wii.  Even that was a stretch for me at the time.  Long story that I won't bore you with (unless you really want to know! haha) but for a variety of reasons we felt that now was the appropriate time to purchase this as a family gift.  It has been a big hit, and *I* have even played a few games on it!

Happy lego building continued long into the evening..... well as much merriment and singing into a spoon. ;)

We figured out the xbox controllers and the older kids played a bit right away while the younger ones worked on their lego sets.

A fun family evening.  My heart was very full!