Wednesday, January 29, 2014


All day, people would stop us to say how cute we were in our matching shirts. I always thanked them and explained that this is survival, people. 6 kids and 2 parents means I gotta know what I'm looking for.  My sincere apologies to the two unfortunate kids who happened to wear blue and black stripe shirts to Legoland that day, only to be chased down by a crazy, middle-aged blonde.
JUST KIDDING, people!!!!!
Being a family of 8, we took up two boats. We sent these four on ahead of us....
We brought up the rear.
So sweet.
Ezra behind the wheel....
Judah and I on the helicopters (I was actually there!)
The log ride!
Caleb and Noah....
Emma and Ezra....just before they soaked me.
An awesome playground!!! The kids had a blast. Ben and I did race up this was a little too close to call, I think. ;-)
They loved this slide!
Sweet baby girl....
This was a fun ride!
It was such a fun trip. We are just so, so thankful to have been able to go.:-)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Found in Him--book review

Found in Him, by Elyse Fitzpatrick, unfolds for the reader some of the often overlooked truths inherent in the incarnation of Christ, and our union with Him.  
Part One of the book, which includes more than half of the book, is devoted to examining aspects of Jesus' taking on flesh-His becoming like us in every way, that He might be able to fully sympathize with our weakness.
The second portion of the book then looks at how the intricacies of Christ's identification with humanity impact our union with Him.
This is a great reminder for us all to stop, and pause, and really meditate upon the work of our Savior.  True to the gospel, Fitzpatrick refuses to hand out "to-do" lists for obedience and transformation.  She relies fully upon the work of Jesus Christ to produce change in us, and encourages us to meditate and drink deeply of how the work that Jesus has already done on our behalf is actually what changes our hearts.

I really enjoyed the reminders of particular aspects of the incarnation-the transfiguration, His temptation by the devil, even His growing up.  And perhaps what impacted me most in this book came in the form of the appendices- one being devoted to the Creeds of the early church, and the last being devoted to a chart by Puritan William Perkins, showing the ways in which Christ's work on our behalf brings about transformative work in us.

The chapter comparing our union with Christ to a bride and her groom might be a little difficult for men to stomach...Fitzpatrick acknowledges this in a discussion on the masculinity of God.  This is the only portion of the book that I could see being difficult for the reader.

All in all, it is a good reminder for those who would want to meditate on the incarnation of Christ, and how we are found in Him.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Make Way for Ducklings....and our field trip

"It was a great responsibility taking care of so many ducklings, and it kept them very busy."

I was reading "Make Way for Ducklings" to Judah yesterday and ran across this line. It was so sweet. I thought...this needs to be up on my wall somewhere--especially on all those days where I mistakenly think that I have tons of extra free time with which to overextend myself. *big cheesy grin*

We recently did a fun field trip to the Natural History Museum. They were having a free homeschool day!!! We had such a great time and it was such a privilege to hop into the car and make the adventurous drive down to L.A. with all my "ducklings".
Ambree came with us which was a big treat. 
Judah had just been learning about "D" for "dinosaurs"....The dinosaur reminds us that "big and small, God made them all."  So it was perfect timing! The top of the picture shows the huge, long neck of a dinosaur!
Emma and the polar bear
Judah and his antlers....
So cool!
The "Nature Lab" had lots of fun things....least of which were rats running through clear tunnels just above our heads. Ew!!
How a rattlesnake sees you....
A jack screw! We had just been reading about this in history, so this was sooo fun!
The printing press!!! We read about this last year!
Lady Evelyn in her carriage...with her thumb
Scary!!!! Hahahaha! So much fun!

Friday, January 03, 2014

All done!!!

Ezra did it!!! He finished the entire Sing, Spell, Read and Write program. He got an "A" on his test. This is the fourth child that I have had the privilege of taking through this program. And although the stories, songs, and games are getting a *little* old....seeing your child's world open up and their confidence in reading blossom never does.
Great job Ezra! We'll be having an ice cream date soon to celebrate!!!! 

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Don't Hesitate-2014

Caleb has been really enjoying his skateboard. But there are certain things in skateboarding that require tons of effort, tons of patience...and quite honestly, tons of pain. This kid has been working on how to Ollie for about a year. But he got it! Recently though, he made his first few trips to the skatepark. The new hard thing: "dropping in" on a ramp. His first time trying, he just went for it. But he learned pretty quickly that it can be very painful as you are learning. Over and over, with his back and hips taking the brunt of the hit. 
It's scary, up there at the top of the ramp, looking down. You line up your board, set your feet...and the hardest part: don't hesitate.
The longer you stand there, the more you psych yourself out and the less likely you are to actually go!
Don't hesitate.
Over and over, the Lord has brought these words to mind as I've watched Caleb face his fears and conquer the "drop in."
I've thought about 2013...and how in some ways it felt like the year of standing at the top of the ramp, only to find myself crumpled at the bottom with my back and hips in pain.
There have been some hard things. Many of them so deep that I can't even give them words. At least not yet. 
But what the Lord had so sweetly whispered to me were those two words as a reminder: don't hesitate.
Don't look back and continually ponder every fall and every pain. Learn from them, YES!! But don't wallow in them. Don't swim in them. Set the board. Position your feet. And go for it hard. Don't hold back. Don't hesitate.
And so as I look ahead to 2014...that is what I am receiving from the Lord and asking Him to bring to life. Don't hesitate.  I want to hear His voice, and I want to go for it hard. I will NOT, by His grace, let the pain or hardship of the past, keep me from living courageously today. By His grace, I will not stand at the top, psyching myself out by the hurts and fears of the past. I will not hesitate. And when I that same grace, I will get back up and face it again. Without hesitation.
So. My prayer is that whoever is reading this....maybe you had a hard 2013 also. Or maybe you had a wonderful 2013!!! Either prayer is that God would whisper those sweet words: don't hesitate. That they would resonate in your own heart, and that you would set your mind to hearing His voice, and going for it hard. No holding back. No hesitation.
And the truly beautiful thing is that, because Jesus has "cleared the way" for us, we can approach God without any hesitation....trusting that He cares for us. And whether I find myself conquering the ramp, or in need of *more practice*, He is there with me. :-)

Then Elijah approached all the people and said, “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If Yahweh is God, follow Him.... (1 Kings 18:21 HCSB)

God said to Joshua, “Don’t be timid and don’t so much as hesitate. Take all your soldiers with you and go back to Ai. I have turned the king of Ai over to you—his people, his city, and his land. (Joshua 8:1 MSG)

So, friends, we can now—without hesitation—walk right up to God, into “the Holy Place.” Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The “curtain” into God’s presence is his body. (Hebrews 10:19-21 MSG)

So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. (Romans 8:31-39 MSG)