After Irene | Multitude Monday #17

Hurricane Irene cancelled the fun plans we had for an enchanted outdoor party for Sophia. Hopefully we can salvage our plans and party this weekend instead. This week, after experiencing a small earthquake, hurricane, and not to mention 1 year with Sophia, we have much to be thankful for!

426. A free Starbucks.

427. Clean windows, french doors, washed down cupboards, and washed down blinds in preparation for Sophia's party.

428. Catching up with a dear friend and hiking in Gunpowder State Park.

429. Babysitting finally booked for a hair appointment.

430. That despite the deep slice Owen's teeth made in his tongue one Saturday evening, he didn't have to go to the doctor and get stitches and it's healing nicely.

431. Seeing The Help with girlfriends on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

432. Beautiful weather for a photo session that had already been rescheduled due to rain once.

433. Our sweet Sophia's first birthday! We love that girl!

434. Awesome books from the library.

435. A impromptu trip to the park.

436. Aunt Bibby's life. A dear lady who was like a second grandmother (and best friend to my dear Nanny) died last week after 95 years. She was able to live independently in her own home until the end. She never forgot a single one of my 33 birthdays and no matter where I lived a card and $20 would always arrive for me. In recent years, this included the birthdays of my children. She was a generous and lovely lady.

437. A rainy day dance party.

438. That the earthquake was "small" and caused little damage.

439. For weather channels and internet that predict bad weather, leaving time to prepare.

440. That we could go to my mom's overnight when the weather was worse. We were worried about the three pines that constantly lose limbs during snowy and icy weather. Thankfully none of them came down.

441. That the power was only out a few hours and the fun we had making biscuits and gravy on the grill!

442. Thankfully, the two large branches that came down from the Maple did no damage to the house. For the neighbor that came and helped Josh clear it out and took the logs away for his wood stove. That the boys happily worked with Josh to help pile up logs and worked together to do so.

443. Seven quarts of green beans in the freezer, thanks mom! Also lots of freshly pulled sweet corn--enough to share with neighbors.

444. Seeing an absolutely great movie, Get Low. Can't rave about it enough: wonderful acting, writing, cinematography. A story of forgiveness and redemption. Watch it!

445. An inspiring article: Motherhood is Application. So true! Printed it out for future reference . . .

CSA Summer

After several years of considering joining a CSA, we finally did this year. And we joined up with some friends to split a full share from Rousedale Farm. The pictures here are of our share this week. This was actually a "lighter" week than usual. We've loved getting our veggies from Rousedale, and have purchased some of the best sweet corn of the summer there as well. Vicky used to work with my mom for a time as a caregiver. Both Steve and Vicky are friendly and engaging and it's great to know where our food is coming from. They also sell eggs, chickens, and honey, although I've not tried those products.

This summer, between our CSA and garden, we've eaten more veggies than ever. Our garden yielded  beans, lettuce, spinach, and swiss chard with tomatoes and peppers on their way now. Through the CSA I've now become a fan of turnips (sautéed with swiss chard, garlic, onions, and olive oil) and beets (roasted). I never thought I'd eat those vegetables! Their blueberries were the best I've ever tasted, no lie. We have feasted on zucchini cakes, sweet corn pasta,  eggplant mozzarella melts, more roasted veggies than I can count, and Swiss Chard, Snap Peas, and Beef Stir-fry.

If any of you local folks are looking to join a CSA, I highly recommend Rousedale Farm, although beware, there is already quite the waiting list!

1 Year

It's hard to believe a whole year has passed since the day I stood in the kitchen and my water broke. A mere hour and a half later, after barely making it to the hospital, I got to see her face for the first time.

And what a sweet face it was.

Sophia has brought us such joy the past year. All transitions for me were easier this time around. The boys adore her and she them.

She's standing and "cruising" and crawling her funny little crawl like crazy. She babbles and laughs and smiles. She loves books and follows her brothers around like a puppy dog. She lights up when she sees Daddy.

Happy birthday, Sophia. We love you!

Update

"I am afraid that all the grace that I have got of my comfortable and easy times and happy hours, might almost lie on a penny. But the good that I have received from my sorrows, and pains, and griefs, is altogether incalculable . . . We never have such close dealings with God, as when we are in tribulation . . . There is no cry so good as that which comes from the bottom of the mountains; no prayer half so hearty as that which comes up from the depths of the soul, through deep trials and afflictions. Hence they bring us to God, and we are happier; for that is the way to be happy--to live near God. So that while troubles abound, they drive us to God, and then consolations abound." -Charles Spurgeon Josh shared this quote in an email to some of those who'd been praying for us during this health "scare" and it had proven to be true in his life, especially the past few weeks. Josh met with the general surgeon yesterday who confirmed that he had nothing more than a lipoma (benign soft tissue tumor), and that no further testing/biopsy is needed. We are very grateful to God for this diagnosis, for your prayers, and encouraging words!

Multitude Monday #16

On Thursday, Josh will have a biopsy on a mass at the base of his neck/top of his shoulder. It is the final test after two weeks of blood work, an x-ray, ultrasound and CT scan. Some of the past tests have been somewhat conflicting, and we hope this final test will rule once and for all that it is but a fat build up, also called a fatty tumor.

All of this has reminded us that at any moment the future "certainties" that we take for granted can swiftly change. That the direction life is taking can change in a moment.

It's a reminder to learn to suffer well. We'll all go through suffering at some point, in some way. One can't get through life completely carefree. And so I'm reminded that "Since Jesus went through everything you're going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you'll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want." 1 Peter 4:1-2, The Message.

Part of me wants to be tyrannized by what I want, because what I want is comfort in every area of life. But I know, I really do know that doesn't bring lasting satisfaction. Not that I'm asking for a trial; I'm not. But I do want to face life free to pursue God in the face of whatever it is he has for us.

Despite the waiting for the biopsy results, I still can find thanksgiving in . . .

410. A wonderful interview with Nancy Guthrie. Her heart-breaking trials have resulted in a wonderful testimony of what it means to suffer well. She is an example to me of suffering in a Christ-centered way. Listen to it. Especially if you're facing hardship.

411. Casting my cares on the Lord--trusting Him with our future--whatever is in store.

412. The Holy Spirit's sustaining strength and not struggling that much with worry.

413. Sing, Spell, Read and Write purchased via Craig's List for $20.

414. Ice cream at Prigel Creamery.

415. A trip to Lancaster to catch up with good friends. Their hospitality and good food. A summer evening concert.

416. A weeded garden.

417. Fresh tomatoes.

418. Homeschool co-op lessons pretty much done for the fall.

419. An evening of watching Larkrise to Candleford and painting my nails. Felt like a vacation!

420. Josh's safe travel to and from WorshipGod11 last week.

421. New library books.

422. Banana sour cream pancakes.

423. Pool time, dinner, and a movie with my mom and siblings.

424. Quiet time to myself at Barnes and Noble with a Starbucks in hand.

425. Pizza night with the Almengor family.

Never Once

If you want to not just read, but listen . . .

Standing on this mountaintop Looking just how far we've come Knowing that for every step You were with us

Kneeling on this battle ground Seeing just how much You've done Knowing every victory Is Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way But with joy our hearts can say Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone Never once did You leave us on our own You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Never once did we ever walk alone Never once did You leave us on our own You are faithful, God, You are faithful You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Scars and struggles on the way But with joy our hearts can say Never once did we ever walk alone Carried by Your constant grace Held within Your perfect peace Never once, no, we never walk alone

Never once did we ever walk alone Never once did You leave us on our own You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Every step we are breathing in Your grace Evermore we'll be breathing out Your praise You are faithful, God, You are faithful You are faithful, God, You are faithful

-Matt Redman

Violet | Baby Session

We'd scheduled our session for what ended up being the hottest day of the year thus far. So, we rescheduled for the next week. It ended up being pretty sweltering too but little Violet was a trooper. She loved being held by mommy and cuddling her stuffed toys. And how about those big beautiful eyes and chubby arms and legs?

Check out more pictures of babies and children on my website. If interested in booking a session,contact me here.

Shed

Our shed has been a big ugly red box of peeling paint for the past 6 years. A few weeks ago, Josh started turning it into the beautiful little building we knew it could be. Sadly, I didn't snap a good "before" picture before this project started, but you get the basic idea of what it looked like with this shot:

And here's the progress Josh has made so far. Not done yet, but we've definitely come a long way!