Monday, March 28, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Always so good to be home!

Though for the first time in many years, I could have stayed on vacation longer.  With no babies in the house, it's a lot easier to travel, and I wasn't dying to get back to my normal routine.  It made me a little sad to leave beautiful, warm Maui.

It was a huge blessing to wake up Sunday morning and go to church and hear a great sermon on contentment from Philippians 4.  It was also much needed ammunition devotional material for my youngest kids today as they had the "I've had too much vacation" attitude.  God's Word is amazing!  Our morning had a complete turn-around after we read about Paul's contentment in any circumstance and the only true satisfaction (Jesus!) that doesn't leave us longing for more (John 4).

 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:12-13

And the thankful list continues... a few with photos...

124.     Bantam rooster in the morning
125.     Daffodils, anemones, hyacinths and camellias blooming (and bouquets of them in the house, made by my sweet mother)
126.     Not having to think about where the light switches are
127.     Jack, willing to wake up before 5 a.m. Hawaii time our first morning back, because he’s so excited to play some basketball
128.     Worship, great sermon, and sweet friends at church
129.     Lots of sun breaks
130.     Birdsong in the morning and frogs at night
131.     Everything familiar, especially my bed
132.     Cooking (I love the combination of making recipes that call for lots of vegetables and making chicken stock - adding the unusable or less desirable parts to simmer with a chicken carcass. Beautiful color!)

133.  Buds about to burst open on the magnolia tree outside my bedroom window (I think of this tree as the “Hope of Spring” as I see it’s big, fuzzy buds all winter long)
134.  Clean laundry
135.  Teaching Sunday School with Dan
136.  Sweet hugs from kids we teach
137.  Early work-out with my best friend, laughing, catching up – always a great start to my week
138.  Brother buddies

139.  Homeschooling moments

140.  Logistics working out for tonight’s two baseball practices, one parent meeting, one basketball practice, one gymnastics lesson, one piano lesson and one play rehearsal.  Everyone is able to get where they need to go thanks to a third driver in the family and a little help from our friends!

Friday, March 25, 2011


Today at lunch I saw a woman with the most joyful eyes. She was probably close to 70, white-haired and more than pleasantly plump. My instant thought upon seeing her was that I don't mind the thought of growing older if I can look like her. She was with family, and while they went in to order food she sat outside at a table.

I had to tell her. She was just so beautiful. She was surprised, a little embarrassed,
pleased and more than a little doubtful about my eyesight, I think. But I went on to tell her it was the joy in her eyes, such a brightness about her. Then she looked at me, a little deeper, and with a more knowing voice and said, "Well, I do love the Lord." I smiled big and nodded, "Of course you do. That's it."

I saw Him in her eyes.

She grabbed my arm and gave a little hug, her family came out and the moment was gone.

That's who I want to be. So full of his grace that I shine His love without saying a word.

Almost Aloha

I am looking forward to our last full day in Hawaii, but also looking forward to home!

Yesterday I finally got to swim in the ocean.  One of my favorite things in life.  I was trying to figure out why I hadn't done it before, and then I remembered!  I'd been so busy watching the kids I couldn't get in myself.  Now they are all ocean-ed out!

Here's a few shots from the past few days:

That last one is Cade playing his DS under a towel.  Ha!  Really appreciating the moment and all the beauty around him.

We did a family photo session with a photographer last night on a beautiful beach a few miles from here.  I can't wait to see the pictures, but for now, here's a glimpse of the scene.

And of course, I couldn't end this post without some thankful thoughts.

100.     Perfect bird shadows (such cute little feet!) above my head as they walk across the cabana roof
101.     Torch-lit flagstone paths along the beach
102.     Wolfgang Puck’s amazing food
103.     Sunset dinners overlooking the ocean
104.     That Dan and I both love to talk and make new friends when we’re out to dinner
105.     Glorious mornings
106.     Birdsong
107.     First thoughts of day are thanks to God
108.     Birds in pairs
109.  Tan feet in flip-flops
110.  Polka dots of light on the page of my book; sun through the brim of my sun hat
111.  Amazing convenience and efficiency of email, camera, texting, games for kids to play, the Bible, Internet, note-taking all in one place.  Oh, and it's a phone too!
112.  Bougainvillea everywhere
113.  Swimming in the best wave pool ever (the Pacific Ocean)
114.  Watching liquid gems of sapphire, aquamarine, emerald and peridot cascade toward me again and again
115.  Gardenias
116.  Sashimi
117.  God-appointed conversations
118.  Psalm 25
119.  Running, dancing, posing, and kissing on the beach at sunset for family pictures.
120.  So tired of eating out that everyone is overjoyed at cereal, fruit, bread and lunchmeat in our hotel room.
121.  Praying together.
122.  A red cardinal on the railing not six feet from me.
123.  Wet sand between my toes.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Eucharisteo III

I realize it's really not hard to put together a thankful list while in Hawaii.  And I'm actually looking forward to more of a challenge when we're back to regular life.

Thought this was a great quote from the book today:

One act of thanksgiving,
when things go wrong with us,
is worth a thousand thanks when things
are agreeable to our inclinations.
Sant John of Avila

But I still like documenting our trip through random thankful thoughts.

80.  Holding hands and snorkeling
81.  The wonder of another world under the surface of the water
82.  Two proud little boys emerging from their room, very early morning, in matching outfits:  “We’re all dressed and we packed!”
83.  The fun of a new location (moving to a hotel today).
84.  My capable, caring husband; packing the car up for me since he was golfing when we moved to the hotel.
85.  Ahi Poke from Safeway, all packaged up in the meat department just like chicken or beef, with an expiration date.  Only in Hawaii…
86.  The scent of plumeria
87.  Ceiling fans
88.  All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before Him.  Psalm 22:27
89.  After four days in Hawaii, Kat and Cocoa are talking about missing their jeans and Uggs… that’s a little strange, but I’m glad they love living in Oregon!
90.  Jack’s new love for Ahi Poke
91.  But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever.  Psalm 52:8
92.  Today Abby told me she wants to go home.  Do you mean back to the hotel? “No, home.  I miss doing my kitchen jobs and cleaning my room.”  Again, really?  But I’m glad she likes her life at home (and cleaning!) :)
93.  I always tell Dan he does too much, but I have to love the fact that he pre-programmed my GPS while we were still in Portland for every location I would need while in Hawaii (including Whole Foods).
94.  Abby told me her tummy hurt as we got out of the car at the hotel, and threw up in the bushes!  I'm so thankful it didn't happen a moment earlier.  Poor girl, now she’s worried the bellman is going to recognize her every time we go somewhere in the car.  (She’s fine, was just a little carsick.)
95.  Seeing friends and meeting new people, all from Portland, but here in Maui for spring break.  A party put together on facebook. Thanks, Wooleys!
96.  Arbonne “Glow With It” after-sun lotion.  Saves me when I’m sunburned.
97.  Fresh sheets.
98.  Sunsets on the beach.
99.  Flower leis.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Eucharisteo II

From One Thousand Gifts:

"A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit."  Erasmus said that, contemporary and admirer of Martin Luther.  When I read this thought, I am surprised because I had never known and I am sad for all that would have changed if only I had.

I look down at the pen, this pen I keep wielding, one writing her way to one thousand.  This pen:  this is nothing less than the driving of nails.  Nails driving out my habits of discontent and driving in my habit of eucharisteo.  I'm hammering in nails to pound out nails, ugly nails that Satan has pierced through the world, my heart.  It starts to unfold, light in the dark, a door opening up, how all these years it's been utterly pointless to try to wrench out the spikes of discontent.  Because that habit of discontent can only be driven out by hammering in one iron sharper.  The sleek pen of gratitude.

I hammer.

And so my list continues.

58.  Enjoying different family dynamics when our oldest three are elsewhere
59.  Dinner for 6 on the lanai
60.  Tucking in tired, sun kissed children
61.  Not knowing or caring what day it is
62.  Early morning cuddles.
63.  Kissing soft chubby Bode cheeks.
64.  Wondering what deep thoughts Cade is thinking.
65.  The strange feeling of having a child that is smarter than I am.
66.  God’s goodness in giving me everything I need, mostly a relationship with him, to raise these children to His glory.
67.  Contentment
68.  Simple habits of coffee, Bible, reading the Psalm of the today’s date.
69.  The spiritual disciplines of adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication (ACTS).
70.  Leather journals
71.  Bode sideling up next to me, asking me what all the highlighted verses in my Bible say
72.  Blond highlights coming out in my children’s sun-kissed hair.
73.  Bode back for round four of morning hugs.
74.  Early morning TV for kids so I can have some uninterrupted quiet time.
75.  Dan waking up right when I realized I have no idea how to operate the TV
76.  Working out in a breeze
77.  The feel of a good stretch
78.  Post workout pineapple juice
79.  More time to read One Thousand Gifts on the deck

    Saturday, March 19, 2011

    A Prayer for Japan from John Piper

    Two blog posts in one day!  After six weeks of silence.  I know, it's a miracle.  That, or I'm on vacation.  But this is so beautiful, and too long for a facebook status, so I had to share.

    Father in heaven, you are the absolute Sovereign over the shaking of the earth, the rising of the sea, and the raging of the waves. We tremble at your power and bow before your unsearchable judgments and inscrutable ways. We cover our faces and kiss your omnipotent hand. We fall helpless to the floor in prayer and feel how fragile the very ground is beneath our knees.

    O God, we humble ourselves under your holy majesty and repent. In a moment—in the twinkling of an eye—we too could be swept away. We are not more deserving of firm ground than our fellowmen in Japan. We too are flesh. We have bodies and homes and cars and family and precious places. We know that if we were treated according to our sins, who could stand? All of it would be gone in a moment. So in this dark hour we turn against our sins, not against you.

    And we cry for mercy for Japan. Mercy, Father. Not for what they or we deserve. But mercy.
    Have you not encouraged us in this? Have we not heard a hundred times in your Word the riches of your kindness, forbearance, and patience? Do you not a thousand times withhold your judgments, leading your rebellious world toward repentance? Yes, Lord. For your ways are not our ways, and your thoughts are not our thoughts.

    Grant, O God, that the wicked will forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts. Grant us, your sinful creatures, to return to you, that you may have compassion. For surely you will abundantly pardon. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord Jesus, your beloved Son, will be saved.

    May every heart-breaking loss—millions upon millions of losses—be healed by the wounded hands of the risen Christ. You are not unacquainted with your creatures' pain. You did not spare your own Son, but gave him up for us all.

    In Jesus you tasted loss. In Jesus you shared the overwhelming flood of our sorrows and suffering. In Jesus you are a sympathetic Priest in the midst of our pain.

    Deal tenderly now, Father, with this fragile people. Woo them. Win them. Save them.
    And may the floods they so much dread make blessings break upon their head.
    O let them not judge you with feeble sense, but trust you for your grace. And so behind this providence, soon find a smiling face.

    In Jesus’ merciful name, Amen.
    John Piper



    It’s one of those books. 

    All of a sudden everyone is talking about it.

    Two friends, who rarely text, both texted me the same week to ask me if I’d read it.

    Another friend is blogging about it.

    It’s featured on the book table at Barnes and Noble.

    And one of the texting friends bought it for me to take to Hawaii.

    I haven’t even finished reading it, but I love the ideas in it.  I can’t say that I love the book perfectly.  I’m not a huge fan of flowery, wordy writing.  But I love lists.  And I love being thankful.  And I love it when something that is already a part of me is so well expressed by someone else.

    So here it is – the key to a joyful life.  Let Jesus rescue you first.  Then practice thankfulness.

    Make a list of a thousand things you’re thankful for.  Work on it everyday.  When you’re done, do it again. 

    I’m going to attempt a list while in Hawaii… I may not make it to a thousand.  But when I get home I’ll keep going…

    1. Feeling the sun on my face, while still in the Northwest, but flying at 30,000 feet
    2. Five hours of quiet time on the plane - reading, sleeping, journaling
    3. My kids filing past me as they walk back to their seats, and getting the often asked question, “Are those ALL your kids?  How many are there?”  Knowing how thankful I am for the answer of so many blessings.
    4. Remembering what it feels like to be hot
    5. Bode running with abandonment and delight on the beach
    6. Everyone’s joy in body surfing, getting braver moment by moment
    7. Dining al fresco
    8. Beach walker’s faces lighting up with smiles as Bode runs across their path, concentrating on his shovel of sand
    9. Being home from the beach, so I can stop counting to seven over and over :)
    10. Early morning cup of coffee
    11. Quiet time outside, full moon lighting the ocean
    12. Lemons and limes on a black bamboo tray
    13. Pineapple in a wooden bowl
    14. Eggs in a weathered basket
    15. Getting my work out done early
    16. Early morning on the deck, seeing Ryan and Abby through the window, both reading in bed
    17. A luxurious second cup of coffee
    18. Everyone’s delight with individual servings of microwaveable white rice
    19. Katherine’s eyes
    20. The laughter on my children’s faces as they preview the beginning of another family music video
    21. Morning sun lighting up big, white, puffy clouds
    22. A day of nothing planned… except swimming and beach time… settling in for quiet time, round two
    23. Grapefruit piled in a pedestal bowl
    24. Remembering that my big kids need hugs too and feeling them relax into my arms
    25. An almost 180 degree view of the ocean from my bed
    26. Palm trees blowing in the tropical wind
    27. Jack’s deepening voice and growing height; mistaking him for Dan from across the way.
    28. A vacation house on a hill in an unfinished subdivision, surrounded by empty lots = not having to worry about the noise we make
    29. Browsing contentedly at the bookstore for almost an hour before dinner
    30. Seeing my husband help in random situations – moving displays at the bookstore when the water starts to leak from the ceiling
    31. Dinner out with my man
    32. Ordering salad and soup (which is all I really want, but liking helping him justify his Surf and Turf) and sharing bites of his steak
    33. Surprising my little ones with legos in the morning
    34. A stunningly bright red bird in the bush
    35. Cade’s look of concentration as he builds his legos
    36. Doting on my kids; having nothing to do but bring them juice in the hot tub or pick up their towels.
    37. Hearing “I love you more” from Cade, every time I tell him I love him
    38. Surprise hugs from behind; my husband’s arms around me
    39. My sweet friend Jenni, for buying me this book, One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp
    40. Katherine and Courtney’s closeness when there are no other friends around; knowing they will be best friends for life
    41. Abby’s dimples
    42. The bright sapphire blue ocean
    43. Whitecaps
    44. Sailboats
    45. The flower in Abby’s hair
    46. Cute new cork wedge heels
    47. A rainbow
    48. “Look, Daddy!  A blue ladybug,” says my fifteen-year-old daughter.
    49. Cade’s arm around Bode; their sweet friendship
    50. Kids in matching bathing suits.
    51. Courtney’s curls
    52. All my girls piled on my bed with me
    53. My parents examples of thankfulness; living a life of trusting God and His Word
    54. My dear friend Dayna, for living a life of joy with me and teaching me to beautify and simplify
    55. How much bluer Cade’s eyes look when his face is tan
    56. Seeing gigantic tropical versions of plants I know and love from home
    57. Hearing that the sun is shining in Portland!