Monday, April 30, 2007

A Recipient Twice

This post is a praise to an all-knowing, all-compassionate God. This past week we spent in downtown Chicago. Ben was at another conference and the kids and I tagged along. We stayed right by the magnificent mile (of shopping). The spring flowers were in bloom and the store windows were testimony of opulence and glamor. I loved all the sidewalk cafes which remind me of Europe and a slower pace of life. It was a vacation from cooking (even the little I do), because the hotel provided complimentary breakfast and dinner. Lunch for the kids consisted of super easy favorites which we could cook in our suite's kitchen. Ben and I split lunches at the local eateries. Sushi, pizza and yummy yummies. I took the kids swimming everyday. We went to the fabulous zoo and children's museum, navy pier, rode the trolley and walked and walked. There was much to do for free. Perfect for our pocketbook. We were thinking this is great... We have had an all expenses paid vacation, but that is before I lost the diamond in my engagement ring. All of a sudden it was going to be an expensive trip. A trip linked with sadness and loss. Though I am not particularly sentimental, I became distraught over the loss of the very symbol of our marriage commitment. We had the hotel maintenance man take pipes apart and asked the housekeeping if the vacuum bag held anything sparkly. Forget about all the sheets and towels that had been stripped. That evening we went back to the pool and for the first time noticed how large the filter grates were on the bottom. How easily a diamond could be sucked up never to be seen again. Since we had walked miles everyday, to retrace our steps would have been impossible. The diamond was LOST.

The next day I took the kids to the pool again. I was glad our trip was almost over, I was morosely pondering and praying. I asked the Lord if the diamond was in the pool area to please allow me to find it. An hour later as we were about to leave my foot hit something in the bottom of the pool. IT was small. Could it be? When I flipped it over with my toes, I saw something glitter at the bottom of the pool. I quickly ordered my kids out of the pool, gave Jane to Alex and borrowed his goggles. When I resurfaced I saw all my kids safe and looked in my hand at my lost diamond. I laughed and laughed. God restored the stone of our marriage, he found that which was impossibly hidden from human eye with a lowly foot. What a lesson in God's grace and perfect concern for me. Indeed this diamond will be a double symbol of the love of my husband and my God. And that makes me a recipient twice.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Sleep Masks and the sleepy

Precious Fritz.

The kids have been having a glorious time wearing sleep masks (with added holes). How you wear it doesn't much matter. The important part is that you wear it. Fashion never looked so cute.

Finally after tears Fritz sat for a hair cut. He sits perfectly still unlike his squirmy brother. Leftover Easter candy served as an incentive.

Jane exhausted after eating a picnic lunch where she rolled her hot dogs in the dirt and crawled around the park with bark in her mouth. That milk must taste a whole lot better.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The erupting hat

Alex had crazy hat night at Sparks yesterday evening. He won a prize for his volcano hat made from cereal boxes.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Garden of the Selfish Giant

April snow showers kill the flowers. Because of our unusually warm March, new leaves were beginning to appear on the trees and bulbs were beginning to pop up through the soil. For those of you familiar with the Selfish Giant, the children must have been banished from this corner of the garden and winter crept in and...
"The Snow covered up the grass with her great white cloak, and

the Frost painted all the trees silver...they invited the North Wind to stay with them...He was wrapped in furs, and he roared all day around the garden, and blew the chimney pots down."

"But the Spring never came, nor the Summer. The Autumn gave golden fruit to every garden, but to the Giant's garden she gave none...So it was always Winter there,

and the North Wind and the Hail, and the Frost, and the Snow danced about through the trees."

As the story goes, when the children creep back into the garden, Spring comes at last. (Actually these two photos are from the day before the snow.)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Emily moments

Wide-eyed Emily.

Sad Emily.

Happy Emily.

Surprised Emily.

The time and place

This Easter Sunday our pastor's wife was involved in a terrible car wreck, her car went down a ravine and flipped upside down. She suffered broken bones, but blessedly survived. For those in warmer climates it might be hard to imagine snow on the ground for the last four or five days. Therefore, I'm sure the roads were slick this morning. The assistant pastor preached because of the senior pastor went to the hospital with his wife. He shared from Acts chapter 17. How short my memory, but I love verse 26.

"From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live."

In my last post I said, "I don't know where we'll be in 2 1/2 years", (aah) but God does. He orchestrated that we would be here. Wow. That means I can rest assured that he carefully and lovingly chose this residency program too. So when Ben will be working Q2 for the next two weeks. As believers we can claim the OT promise in Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
When circumstances seem pretty dismal, God is always working. When the hours Ben keeps seem so destructive, God is actively sheltering his child in the palm of his hand. What love he has for us.

As for daydreams about the future, I want to make sure I am not like the rich fool in Luke 12. Culture tells us that hard work entitles us to reward. We scrimp and save, we can buy the American dream. But my treasure ought to be in heaven. There is such a fine line between bettering one's circumstances and greed. Therefore, I leave none in doubt that if my heart is running after the things of this world, I am living futilely. What treasures I have in my children and husband. How life is but a vapor, and anytime I might be called to stand before my maker. May his words to me not be, "You fool!"

Friday, April 06, 2007

Spring Break

It is spring break, and it gives me time to dream a bit. I have been painting beds and looking at house plans. I did say dream. I really couldn't say where we'll live in 2 1/2 years or whether we would build or buy, but, nonetheless, it is fun perusing. Since we have so many books I think it would be great to have a house with a two story library. Of course a secret chamber would be neat like in the movie, How to Steal a Million. Lots of windows, wood floors and a walk-in-pantry. When my sister and I were little we loved to play MASH. If you have never played it, you have missed out. M stands for mansion, A for apartment, S for shack, H for house. We added C in there for castle or cave, R for ranch and B for boxcar. We would list off all the amenities in our homes. Whether it had an indoor swimming pool, golf course, candy store, beauty salon, the more over the top the better. We would list location choices for our homes- in the mountains, on the beach, surrounded by farmland, in the dessert. What state the house would be in. Whether the house had air conditioning or plumbing. How many bedrooms it had. How many bathrooms it had. I'm sure we had more variable but I've forgotten them all. My sister would spiral her pen and I would call "stop". Then I would count the loops on the spiral and that would be my magic number. If I got a number 3 I would start counting at M and cross off the third option. And keep counting till I crossed off all the variables but one in each category. Inevitable it would end up that I had a ten bedroom boxcar in North Carolina, in the dessert, with air conditioning but no bathrooms, it had servant quarters and a tennis court on the roof. Maybe I can convince Alex to play MASH with me.

Goodbye Kitty

After three months we decided our kitty had served a lifetime of torment under E and was in need of a new home. Poor thing spent most of her time in the dark basement hiding from E. God provided a Christian sister with grown kids to joyfully welcome kitty into her home. I was quite sad for a few days after her departure. I guess her sweetness had won me over. Emily also has wondered where kitty has gone. For the past few days she has gone down to the basement and called, "Kitty, Kitty, where are you?" So long, farewell. auf Wiedersehen!