Scooters

We're big into scooters around here. Mostly, I think, because the boys can go faster than they can when on their tricycles. And if my boys like anything, it's speed. Breakneck speed, preferably.

Owen always gives it all he's got. The type of kid that "goes for the gusto."

This often includes many facial expressions.

Duncan shows off his "leg in the air" trick.

Sophia looks on, lounging in her "new" stroller, waiting for the day she too can join in on reckless scootering.

That smile makes my heart melt.

Father's Day Surprise

 

It was such a delight to get the phone call to do a Father's Day surprise session. Not to mention I got to photograph some of my favorite kids. Remember Little Monkey? He's filled out so much in the past few months and gained a nice head of hair. Remember the birth of Anna? She's now a spunky big girl who's 1st birthday will soon be arriving.

Well, these kiddos are also cousins and it was a blast to get together to do a secretive session to surprise their grandpa with some framed pictures for Father's Day.

We even got a few of just the "babies."

This little girl was quite the clapper!

I never tire of close up portraits of babies. Look at Garrett's stunning blue eyes!

I had so much fun, hope all the cousins did too!

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

 

Practice and Passion

I distinctly remember when I started reading the Bible regularly and spending time alone with God. I was about 13 and we were living in my grandparents' unfinished basement because my dad was switching from a farming career to an insurance career.

Perhaps it was the uncertainty of that time that led me to get out my NIV Bible, journal, and "Our Daily Bread" and sneak away for some quiet in my grandmother's mauve colored "good room."

It was then that I began a practice that I've stuck with to this day. The daily feeding on God's Word. The practice has become more of a passion with each year and I'm  thankful that even when I don't "get much out of it" the practice holds.

It's what gets me up each morning--desperate to spend time alone with God before the clamor of the day begins. Sometime around 6:00 a.m. it's what pulls me from the comfort of bed. That and the aroma of percolating coffee.

Once coffee is quietly poured and mixed with sugar and half and half, I head to the deck on these summer mornings. I hope for a half an hour before the boys rise, if I'm lucky an hour. And that's when I read God's Word, pray, and work on the passage I'm memorizing. I watch the morning sun creep quietly into the back yard and listen to bird song.

Yesterday, I finished reading Revelation. Not that big of a deal, right? But by finishing Revelation I finished reading the entire Bible using the chronological reading plan. It was organized to be a one year reading plan, but mine was more like a year and a half. Or two years. Something like that.

It doesn't matter how long it took me. I loved reading the whole Bible and this was the third time I've done so in my life. The chronological plan was really interesting because it helped me place everything in the correct timeline. For instance I read Job in the middle of reading Genesis. And the Psalms that correspond to David's life were mixed in with his story. This method helped me gain an overarching view of the Bible and identify  it's theme of redemption and grace through out.

I'm looking forward to taking a different approach in the next few months though, with a Bible study by Elizabeth George up next and then I'm considering Nancy Guthrie's The One Year Book of Hope as my Bible study aids. I'm looking forward to taking more time with a single passage and a specific theme and slowly soaking up all the details and nuances of that particular scripture.

So this is my practice and my passion when it comes to God's Word.

What's yours? What are you currently reading in the Bible? How do you read it? When do you set the time aside and do you use devotionals of any sort? I'd love to hear about how you spend time alone with God.

Multitude Monday #11

It's so amazing to count up my blessings every week. I would have forgotten so many of these if I hadn't written them down . . .

321. Duncan asked to say his Bible verse to be before going to bed one night.

322. Both boys passed a 3+4-year-old speech/language assessment with Harford County! I'd taken them to be assessed after wondering for a few months about their speech development and being referred to them by their pediatrician.

323. The blue blooms of Hydrangeas.

324. The boys bringing me fist-fulls of clover: "You want some flowers, Mom?"

325. The summer reading program at the library.

326. A good visit with my friend Robin and making vanilla body cream together. We used to do lots of crafts together, so it was fun to do something like this again. The sweet and generous birthday gifts she gave me, some of which were handmade.

327. Shopping online and getting products mailed to your door. So much better than "real" shopping--at least to me!

328. Getting more work done on my book.

329. Biographies of strong, courageous, godly women to be examples of how to live for God.

330. House finches living in my fern on the front porch and building a nest with 5 eggs in it.

331. Free ice cream sundaes.

332. A photo shoot in honor of Father's Day and afterwards some visiting for the adults and playtime for the kids.

333. Josh being able to come home early when I got a fever and severe sinus pain.

334. Getting the garden weeded and basil planted at last!

335. Turnips and Swiss Chard! I'm addicted. Seriously.

336. Being able to support my sister in her Figure Competition and that she won a trophy.

337. Josh getting work on our front porch done.

338. C. J. Mahaney preaching at church today on Jude 22 with a message entitled "When Someone Doubts." Excellent, thought-provoking, encouraging, and convicting. I love one verse messages because you can squeeze everything you can from something that looks deceptively simple in the Bible but is surprisingly deep.

339. A peaceful Father's Day filled with lovely weather and naps.

340. For Josh, who's patient, kind, and loving to his children. He loves to play with them and teach them how to work hard. He's always eager to take the boys with him pretty much anywhere and happily cares for Sophia. He cares for their souls and prays for them everyday. The boys look up to him and love him and Sophia lights up when he walks in the room--and so do I, for that matter!

Build Like Nehemiah {Ungrind}

Nehemiah angrily paced back and forth in his chambers. The chaos of the day had melted away to nighttime silence, giving him time to think. Earlier in the day he had discovered that Israelites of wealth and position were exacting interest from loans and even enslaving their poorer countrymen!

Nehemiah sighed. Another problem. He'd just gotten everyone back on track with the building of the Jerusalem wall after dealing with the Sanballat and Tobiah situation! At least those enemies -- intent on sabotaging Israel's ability to get the wall rebuilt --were foreign enemies. He knew how to encourage the people to faith in the Lord's protection and how to fight against foreign invasion.

But this circumstance was harder to deal with. He needed time to think, pray, and decipher the wisest approach for dealing with this newest trouble. And if there was one thing Nehemiah had plenty of since returning to Jerusalem, it was trouble!

Have you ever felt like Nehemiah? Weary from never-ending trouble? Or maybe it's not even trouble, just the daily grind that taxes your patience and wears you down?

I sure have.

Continue reading . . .

(Image: ungrind.org)

 

 

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons . . .

For I have known them all already, known them all; Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,                    I have measured out my life with coffee spoons; I know the voices dying with a dying fall Beneath the music from a farther room. So how should I presume?

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot.

The image has always stuck in my mind--measuring one's life with coffee spoons--ever since I sat in British Literature class and read "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." I certainly didn't get the poem completely at first, all the references and metaphors. But under my favorite professor Dr. Pucio's quiet questions, the poem began to unlock itself to me.

One theme of the poem is time. At first there always seems to be time. "Time for you and time for me / And time yet for a hundred indecisions, / And for a hundred visions and revisions, / Before the taking of toast and tea." But time is passing, running out. It asks the question "how should I live the rest of my life?" In trivial moments only? Measured out with coffee spoons? In the end time runs out. If there's anything we know, it's that time will run out for us all.

So how will I live the time I have?

Measuring my life with coffee spoons is something I don't want to do. To let time slip by with none of my dreams attempted or accomplished would be a sad thing. That said, I'm not talking about living at a frenzied-filled pace either, doing everything and spread so thin downtime doesn't exist. What I'm talking about is living a thoughtful, prayerful, and purposeful life. And that can be quite a challenge! It comes down how I organize my life.

I'm finding that being able so say "no" is important to not measuring my life with coffee spoons. To know what I'm called to do helps weed out what other people ask of me. What others want me to do might not always line up with what I should be doing. That said, I also need to not live selfishly, only concerned about what I want to accomplish. There are many times I need to accommodate others' needs that may come up spur of the moment. But when I know I'm doing what I'm "supposed" to be doing, when things do get hectic, I know God will give me the strength to accomplish all I need to.

Here's some practical ways I'm currently have in place to organize my time and hence my life:

Let the Fence Hold I loved this article on time management by Doug Wilson. And I love the visual of "letting the fence hold." If we don't build a fence around our life in some way, we'll be running around like crazy. Everyone's fence will be different. Everyone will have different values or needs for rest. But everyone needs to figure out where their fence will be. It really comes down to choosing your priorities, as Tsh has already written about so well over on Simple Mom.

Bucket Lists I'd never get anything done if it wasn't for bucket lists. Truly, they've revolutionized my life. Mostly, they organize my "free" time in the afternoon when my kids nap. My bucket lists are 1.) meal planning/grocery list, 2.) book proposal, 3.) photography, 4.) blogging, and 5.) read/nap. I move them around every week. They're not assigned a day. I'm flexible. On weeks I have a photography or writing deadline, I may spend three days on one task. But I'm finding I have to do that less because I'm keeping up with everything better this way. Before bucket lists I was more motivated by the "tyranny of the urgent."

Talk to Your Spouse Josh and I generally talk to each other before adding a new appointment or task to our schedule. Why? Not because we're indecisive but because what one does has a direct impact (usually) on the other person. Even if it doesn't, the other person can add clarity to the decision or bring up issues the other person hadn't considered. We want to operate as a team and make sure we're both on board with each others' activities.

How do you practically organize your life so that you make sure you're doing what matters to you?

Summer Blessings | Multitude Monday

305. A "new" stroller for Sophia found through Craig's List. She was growing out of her Snap-n-Go, so I was glad to find a great deal on a Bumbleride!

306. Excited that the boys will be doing science, music, and art this fall in a homeschool co-op. And I'll be co-teaching Literature with some wonderful ladies! I'm very excited about the books we've chosen and discussing them with the high school students!

307. Going for a hike on the trail, using the new stroller.

308. Sophia's safety when choking on a leaf she picked up and put in her mouth. Truly a scary few moments!

309. A delicious stir fry recipe, using our CSA ingredients.

310. A fresh sand in the sandbox where the boys love to play.

311. Grilling on hot summer days.

312. Sophia beginning to crawl. My little lady is growing up so fast!

314. Super soakers and water balloons for days filled with humidity and heat.

315. Iced coffee.

316. A visit from Lib + Isabel.

317. Homemade pita bread for this recipe.

318. Duncan + Owen making up songs and singing around the house.

319. A fun family trip to the beach for the day. Seeing the boys race the waves.

320. Seeing and hanging out with lots of family at the annual Jones Family Reunion. Seeing how much fun the boys had with their cousins.