Thursday, August 25, 2011

Love Notes

Remember when I posted a picture of the "Welcome" sign. Well, our family has changed a bit. We have added teenagers to the mix. We are parenting backwards! One wonderful perk is that I know when they are on youth trips, they are in the BEST hands! Of course, I am VERY partail to the minister!

We are integrated everyone into the new schedule, routines, and responsibilities.

I enjoy sticking notes in their stuff with silly comments. Today someone had the word BEHAVE written on the outside of a pack of notebook paper. Tomorrow morning when someone gets the peanut butter out for breakfast, they will find this note.

I am truly enjoying these people and the fun of leaving little notes!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Everlasting Arms

As a little girl, no one is stronger than your Daddy! My parents were very affectionate toward us growing up and still are. They hugged tight- none of those framed armed hugs. My dad's arms could squeeze me like a snake with his prey and I loved it! The feel of his tight hug became a part of me. As I worked with children with special needs I realized I had my own occupational therapy need. I need deep pressure at times, the deep pressure my parents offered when they hugged me. My dad's hugs were especially special.

After I went to college, met My Dear and married I could still receive my dad's tight hugs but My Dear's hugs were needed as well. My dad is a much bigger man than My Dear so their hugs are different. When I self diagnosed my need for deep pressure, My Dear quickly learned the Boa Constrictor Squeeze and since he was far more accessible to me, those hugs worked. My Dear knows that when I flop toward him like a wet noodle that is when I need the tightest squeeze!

While on a mission trip to V*etnam, I really missed those hugs! One day on the trip I had such a moment before God it drained me....literally drained me. You know, like the wet noodle. In V*etnam, a man is not to hug another woman's wife. Although my girlfriends offered their hugs, it was not my daddy's hug nor was it the Boa Constrictor hug My Dear gives. Our friend Bob was on the trip. His build is a tiny bit more like my dad's with big (and hairy) arms. (Guess folks in V*etnam do not have big nor do they have hairy arms.) I knew it was against V*etnam social norms but I knew Bob's wife (my friend) and My Dear would not hesitate so I stole a much needed big armed, man hug which worked!

Recently, I was challenged to explain what God is to me. All I could think about were those strong arms that have held me and hugged me when I needed it most. Those arms that comforted me through the saddest days of losing someone I loved, the arms that held when I could take no more. I recall the moments when the hugs were tight out of pride on my wedding day, my college graduation, and when we announced a baby was coming. Those days were the days the I felt God most of the joy and in the sorrow.

One day, in church, the pastor shared a passage in John 12 about the "arm of the Lord." THOSE were the arms I had felt all of those times. That was the Boa Constrictor squeeze telling me to press on from My Dear. The squeeze to DELIGHT me from family and friends! The hugs just because He loves me from my dad and the big arm squeeze I received in V*etnam to tell me that He forgives me. There is a lot of curiosity about God and what He is doing and what He looks like but this I know, I have felt his Everlasting Arms.

Monday, August 15, 2011


The last of my 8 cousins got married in the D.C. area so we partied with the family then headed out for our field trip!

We pricelined a hotel and had a yard sale to pay for it and packed up the darlings and went! What a GREAT TRIP! We loved it! I follow and they have made the trip twice. She has excellent suggestions and well, it was indeed awesome! We used the metro and spent a couple of days there with our picnic lunches. We may make a quick trip to a museum and we may come back for more. Since the majority of attractions are free in D.C., My Dear and I could say "yes" and say it often.

Dolly wanted to see the flag that flew over Ft. McHenry from the War of 1812. It is the flag that inspired the Star Spangled Banner. We read every word of information in that are at the Museum of American History. In fact, we did this museum two days because of the "kid" areas in the basement.

Billy, My Dear and I all loved Ford's Theater where Lincoln was shot. The theater has been rebuilt and is a National Park now. Museum in the basement then a lecture in the actual theater. Very good! Billy, as a second grader would read anything he could get his hands on about Abraham Lincoln so he had a strong base to build on! Even B. knows he comes on the $5 bill. She can't read the 5 on the bill but she knows "Abewaham Weencon!"

The children were good with walking through the monuments but it is the new World War II Memorial that really caught their attention. It is done so well and connected some history dots for me. The display of stars, each representing 100 American lives lost in the war stopped all of us in our tracks.

The zoo is also free so Miss B. enjoyed the few hours we were there and watching the funny Pandas. It was suggested that one of the Panda was the actual panda used in the movie Kung Fu Panda as it layed spread out on a rock-fat and happy!

The Natural History Museum had a nice insect exhibit with included a greenhouse area of butterflies. My brother had gone and strongly suggested we go. He even told me when the free day was to see the butterflies! So that is what we did on Tuesday and that was EVERYONE'S favorite activity of the day.

We put the miles on our tennis shoes and on the stroller! But we loved it!

In fact, we loved it so much we added a day to our trip and went to Philly! Independence Hall, the "Liverty" Bell (Dolly's favorite), Betsy Ross's home, and first post office in the US and it is still in operation. We had read about this post office and the work of Ben Franklin. Billy had read about William Penn's coming to America as a Quaker and his views that all are created equal because we are in the image of God! Very cool to see what we read about!

We LOVED the "Once Upon A Nation" story tellers who set up around Philly and told stories of less than well known heroes. I learned, I don't know a lick about history really and our text books are limiting! Even the homeschooling book we have used was disappointing.

Billy, Dolly, and My Dear joined the regiment and were trained while Miss B napped in the stroller and I laughed! The children LOVED it as folks were dressed in period costumes. One of them asked Dolly what "Colony she hailed from?" Seeing that we are not from an original colony-she just froze. He asked if she was Scottish because My Dear was wearing plaid shorts. I of course wanted to eat a Philly Steak while there...yum!

After a night in a historical building turned hotel (thank you Priceline!), we hit the road! But since we were so close to Valley Forge decided to stop for only an hour......ok, that does not scratch the surface!!! We MUST go back again! I want to take the bicycle tour of the area! We did get to hear one of the "Once Upon A Nation" storytellers.

The trip was filled with extended family, points of interest for everyone, picnics, 2 birthdays (Billy and I), swimming, history, and sleepovers every night!