BY GOD'S GRACE, MAY OUR FAMILY TREE BEAR GOOD FRUIT AS WE GROW TO KNOW & LOVE HIM MORE EACH DAY.

11.11.2017

GATHERING LOFT


When we first took out the 4th bedroom in our home to create
an open loft space, we had a couch in the room facing our TV.


As the Lord has convicted our hearts over time, we find that there just aren't many DVDs we can watch with a clear conscience anymore, and so we started to rethink the focus of our loft space, wondering how to emphasize our family time and devotions with the furniture arrangement, instead of having a couch facing a TV.


We came up with this built in seating idea utilizing an XL twin mattress and the cushions from the other couch. The guys built the sides to function as both end tables and bench seating too...then they made a matching coffee table large enough for blocks, trains, doll house, schoolwork, artwork, family games, etc.


A little stain...


An extra bench.


And our new devotion spot was born.

We gather here for our nighttime worship and have started a new tradition of family game night with popcorn every now and then to replace our old family movie nights with popcorn and it's been such a sweet and welcomed change! It's interesting how we haven't missed the TV at all. As we have asked the Lord to rearrange our desires, He has faithfully led us to appreciate our time well spent socializing, praying, and playing as a family, worshipping Him together in our loft. It's funny how something that seemed so radical before (removing the TV from the home) feels completely natural now. I'm thankful.

We do still have a little TV monitor up in the closet for those special DVDs or online resources we like to watch from time to time via the laptop, the ones we benefit from watching because they point us to the Word, the Lord, and His creation. Yet, it's nice to have it all less accessible than before and to use the medium of technology with thoughtful intentionality.

Our basic rule of thumb is: If it glorifies God, it makes the cut. If it doesn't distinctly glorify God, we don't watch it, read it, participate in it, etc. It's amazing how much falls by the wayside when this simple biblical principle is applied.

"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."
1 Corinthians 10:31

Lord, by your grace, please continually open the eyes of our hearts to the blind spots we encounter every day so that ALL that we engage in lines up unmistakably with Scripture and is clearly pleasing to you! Lord, please help us to see as you see and be willing to make changes when you prompt us in your time and in your way. We want to be obedient to you in all things.

I'm thankful for lessons learned and for our special gathering loft.

"I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless."
Psalm 101:3

10.30.2017

COUSINS


We had a sweet visit with our New Mexico cousins this past week.


We enjoyed long conversations together, worship nights, pony rides, and nostalgic holiday meals.


We spent an afternoon at the beach where we had our special baptism years ago.


It was a joy to be together again, even if only for a little while.


(It was yesterday Nova was the little yellow-haired cutie pie in this wetsuit!)


Memories were made.


Goodbye cousins...We miss you already!


Until we meet again...

"I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,
always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy."
Philippians 1:3-4

10.09.2017

SOD


What a difference a little green can make!


We love a good family project.

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men."
Colossians 3:23

10.08.2017

KITCHEN UPDATE - CABINETS


{thanks to our very kind neighbors}

(waiting on that dishwasher panel)

A bright spot on an otherwise difficult day this past week...
God's timing is always so right.

(pot filler, backsplash, and hood trim here)

We are so grateful.


Next comes countertops, hardware, faucet fixtures, and a few more finishing details...


It's hard to believe our kitchen is finally almost done!


It's already the heart of our home.

"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!"
Psalm 106:1

10.07.2017

SLEEPY TOES


{savoring the days}

"As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you."
Isaiah 66:13

10.06.2017

BLANK


I've always preferred a blank canvas sort of home. Simple. Clean lines.
White on which to paint the life we lead. Minimal amidst all that we are.

. . . . . .

Over time and as the Lord peels back the many layers of my life, exposing more and more raw with each passing year and with every pruning experience, what I see He leaves behind is an increasingly blank-canvas-me on which to stroke the brush. A prism of multicolor choices, rightfully His to apply, rebuild with new and varied layers stacked upon the blank and in the same way I view my home life...I can see how He forges my heart life His. I am His to create.

Blank.

"Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed
into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature."
Genesis 2:7

I remember once after watching the narrated movie, Earth, as a family...Brodie, just a boy, said,

"It was like listening to someone go on and on about an amazing painting without giving any credit to the artist."

I love that.

He got it.

I see myself the same.

Who am I to think I have the right to tell the Creator how to create?

"But who are you, O man, to answer back to God?
Will what is molded say to its molder, 'Why have you made me like this?'"
Romans 9:20

"Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his."
Psalm 100:3

Why would I think, based on what I read in Scripture,
that I should choose the layers, colors, overall composition for the Artist?"

"But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay,
and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand."
Isaiah 64:8

"Woe to him who strives with him who formed him,
    a pot among earthen pots!
Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’
    or ‘Your work has no handles’?"
Isaiah 45:9

He is the Potter. I am the clay. He is the Painter. I am the canvas.

Blank.

"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them."
Psalm 139:13-16

10.02.2017

WILLING (MISCARRIAGE AFTER MISCARRIAGE)


On that special day, after months of waiting, our prayers were answered and we were again...pregnant.

{Even now, it makes me smile.}

We rejoiced at the knowing, yet held loosely after all that had happened last year.
Our secret warmed our hearts and home as we celebrated what God had done.

Just look at what God has done!

"Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return.
The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD."
Job 1:21

Praise the Lord for the soul He created! Praise Him even now as our baby is safe with Him, another life to share all eternity with in His presence and that's what it's all about anyway. Eternity with Him. Our babies, they're the lucky ones...straight to heaven, straight to Jesus?! I can only imagine the bliss and the skipping the realm of the fall.

But here I am, here and now still me in this world aching at the loss yet again. My spirit willing, my flesh falling weak into the arms of Jesus. Yep, He's led me gently and by His grace right back to this place, the gap in my heart being filled by Him. He's penned another chapter and it's a good place to be so I accept and I process and cry and grieve as is natural and I suppose, healthy. I can thank Him for the sorrows as they tenderize what I thought couldn't possibly melt anymore, but I have. I've melted even more and in the dissolving of me...I find more of Him. He is faithful. Praise the Lord! God, you are faithful!

"Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing!
For the LORD has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted."
Isaiah 49:13

Being willing to continue to conceive at my age is a sign up for hard and I can see that it might look like miscarriage after miscarriage. But I can see just as plain that such willingness equates to precious peace in the trusting, soaring freedom in the submission, and inexpressible joy in the knowing that there is life. There is life! There is eternal life and this partnership with the Lord, offering my body as a living sacrifice to readily serve Him however I can is my giving back a mere fragment of all He's given me. So I choose to keep giving and offering more of melted me...willing.

"And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you.
Let them be a living and holy sacrifice--the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him."
Romans 12:1

Willing.

I am willing.

I choose to remain willing, available to whatever the Lord calls me to for Him. To the Creator and Author, I choose willing and available should it be His plan to design another life in His time and in His way and for His intended purposes. Whether we experience the gift of the child to raise up and love here on earth or should we be required to release our reward straight to Him, I will gladly receive either blessing of whatever-the-kind again because even in brokenness, I am willing.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 5:3

9.28.2017

KITCHEN UPDATE - WINDOWS

(before)

They've never done windows before, but this was their opportunity to learn,
raising the windows to counter height to accommodate the sink.


...mid-process...


Learning as they go...

(new windows in + added siding)

(after)

I love watching our sons learn alongside their dad. Great work on the windows, men!
(And thanks for painting, Elka!! And for catering during project mode, Aida!!)

We love a good family project. Now for those cabinets...

"My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways."
Proverbs 23:26

9.18.2017

SEED SAVING - CILANTRO


First came the cilantro (lots of it!)...and now for the seeds!


"And God said, 'Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the
face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.'"
Genesis 1:29

9.15.2017

SO GOOD THAT IT HURTS (SAFARI PARK)


Sitting in traffic on the way home from a day at the Safari Park and my heart is so full it might burst at the sound of the song
and the flashbacks of the day and I'm suddenly so aware that this blessed life sometimes feels so good that it hurts.

(following our leader)


(the birthday girl's favorite)




I thank you, Lord Jesus, for this family of mine that stretches and challenges, encourages and loves me
chock-full to the top and overflowing with gratitude that you would think to give me such a precious gift.


(Olia Lily loving the lilies)

(taking our time with my big walking girl)

The woman at the counter pushed away tears (which is more than I can say for myself) as she looked into our children's eyes today at the zoo. "Homeschool?" She asked and she choked up as she followed with comments of the love she could feel and here I am feeling the same as I reflect on this really great day in the life and it's all just so good that it hurts.



"And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace."
John 1:16