For the beauty of the earth, For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise This our grateful hymn of praise.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Dance


By the time the doctor had announced "It's a boy" the third time, I had given up on pink. We'd even named the third child using the male version of our Grandmothers' names. By the time we heard "It's a boy" the fourth time, dance was the center of our life. By the fifth time we were looking for black baby ballet shoes just coz we knew. It was inevitable.

Braniac tried to fight it. Of all the kids, the one formerly known as Hippie-Freak didn't want to dance. But then one day he announced, in typical Braniac fashion, he'd start when he turned five and followed through with his promise the Saturday after his fifth birthday.

I've been watching them for eight years. It's as ingrained in us as reading. I watch The Teenager now, caught between the world of pain that has taken him out of ballet and the desire to return to the arts. I watch Thing 1 as he tries to push himself so he can achieve great things. I watch the joy and love of the dance in Thing 2's face as he zig-zags across the floor while practicing his spotting or leaps into the air trying to get even higher than the last time. I watch Braniac as he catches on with ease...things come too easily to Braniac. Now we ready for Babycakes first class because we know it's inevitable.

We don't know why. We don't know how they have been so captured. But they are, and they pull us right along with them.


Post-Script. The timing of this prompt was interesting in that just yesterday I was reading through some quotes on dance, looking for just the right thing and I found St Augustine.

I praise the dance, for it frees people from the heaviness of matter and binds the isolated to community.
I praise the dance, which demands everything: health and a clear spirit and a buoyant soul.
Dance is a transformation of space, of time, of people, who are in constant danger of becoming all brain, will, or feeling.
Dancing demands a whole person, one who is firmly anchored in the center of his life, who is not obsessed by lust for people and things and the demon of isolation in his own ego.
Dancing demands a freed person, one who vibrates with the equipoise of all his powers.
I praise the dance.
O man, learn to dance, or else the angels in heaven will not know what to do with you.
~ Saint Augustine

(Click on the 5-minute Friday graphic above to find more entries on this topic.)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Happy 3rd Birthday, Babycakes

So, I decided not to get as ethereal as I would like in my description of Babycakes' existence. Apparently some people got the wrong impression on Right to Life Sunday and thought I'd actually considered terminating the pregnancy. Um, NO!! Seriously, I guess people have to have it laid out flat for them...I am more pro-life than the current assumed Republican Presidential candidate. However, about 95% of babies aborted every day are aborted because they are "unwanted" in the way we didn't "want" him. Three years later, this is what the parents and other family members of those babies miss out on...

Started the day off right: GF waffles made from Pamela's mix, and Cars 2 on the "big screen." ;)

Then it kinda got not right when Thing 2 crunched his finger when folding up a table.  We had to put ice on it and prayed we wouldn't have to take him to the emergency room. Yeah, it did look that bad at first. Fortunately it wasn't as bad as it looked. And, of course, the idea the he was holding up the present opening was worse than the pain of the smashed finger for the poor kid. :)

In all honesty, Babycakes might have simply sat, staring at the bag all day if I hadn't had the boys take the tissue paper out of it. :D

He was only slightly excited about getting even more cars for his birthday, especially since these cars are Cars cars. ;)

He was even excited about his Cars jammies, and his Cars beach towel. He was starting to think that Cars bag was Mary Poppins' purse. :)

On the way to the zoo.

Got there just in time for lunch. 

Then it was time to hit the bottle. 

Babycakes entertained the crowds in line for the bus with his Irish Dancing skills. ;)

Braniac surprised us all with an apparent fear of least in buses. He doesn't act like this in the Skyfari. 

He got over it enough to look at a few animals. Here's everyone checking out a meerkat. (BTW, meerkat is not in spell check. I guess Disney really doesn't own the world.;))

Behind that fence on the right is the newest baby giraffe, just two days old yesterday. Braniac was pretty thrilled about that. :)

Babycakes was pretty thrilled about this. :D

Seriously, if they would have just let us sit and watch the construction work all day he'd have been happier.

Later, he tried cotton candy for the first time. Needless to say, he liked it. :)

This is my fave pic from the trip. The Teenager, Thing 2, and Thing 1 riding up the moving sidewalk.

Here's Babycakes in the seal hole. Thing 1 and I didn't get to see this. Upon arriving at the top of the zoo in the Skyfari, Thing 1's spider bite from a couple days ago started bugging him so he and I had to turn around and go back down to the first aid station. It wasn't too bad. While we were waiting for the others to come down we went and picked out another gift for Babycakes.

Some zoo vehicles and animals. Yeah, the animals are nice, but the truck, car, and helicopter are best. :)

And what would a birthday be without a trip to Chick-fil-a?

Here he is riding off into the sunset.

Rounded out the day with a rather bloody tooth pulling. I guess Thing 1 took me very seriously when I said to wiggle out the tooth the dentist wanted to pull surgically. Saved us a bundle. :)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

WIWW Link-Up

Commit your works to the Lord,
And your thoughts will be established.
Proverbs 16:3 NKJV

I have started this post three different ways over the past two days and I still don't know if this will be the final copy. :D

Our actions, more than our words, more than our mannerisms & colloquialisms, more than anything else, our actions betray our thoughts. Now, if we have truly committed our works to the Lord, our thoughts will be established in Him. They will be brought captive to the obedience of Christ. If this happens, and let me assure you I haven't perfected this, we will probably look a whole lot different than we do now.

In this study on Proverbs 31, we see a woman who lives radically different than most of us are used to seeing. The World teaches us at every opportunity that we are to live for ourselves first. It's why we have sex ed in schools, it's why abortion is legal, it's why euthanasia is becoming more accepted. But if we were to turn away from this and live, as we see in Proverbs 31, putting others first, we will probably look a whole lot different than we do now.

When our works are committed to the Lord, He establishes our thoughts. He will give us the strength to fight against our nature of sin and selfishness. He never says we are supposed to do it on our own. The World is the one that taught us that. He says to come to Him all who labor and are heavy laden and He will give us rest. He promises us a Helper, the Holy Spirit. If we believe that, if we commit our works to the Lord and rest in Him and His promises, we will probably look a whole lot different than we do now.

Our non-Christian friends have seen it all. They've seen the false teachers and false prophets that the news media never tires of parading before them as examples of Christianity. They've known hypocrites and religious zealots who judged and condemned before they even bothered to know and understand, before they bothered to love and commit. But if we were to allow our thoughts to be established in the Lord, we would probably look a whole lot different.

The only question is, are we tired of looking just like the world, are we tired of our own hypocrisy? I know I am tired of mine. I'm tired of being another person's judge, jury, and executioner. I'm tired of putting myself first and everyone else last. I'm tired of it, because it dishonors God, but mostly because it repels people from the Gospel. It repels people I don't really know, and it repels those closest to me. I try to teach my kids that there are only two types of people in the world, people who need Christ, and people who need to be encouraged by Christ. If I live this out, I will probably look a whole lot different than I do now.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Babycakes' First Day of Preschool

God knew what He was doing when He gave me Babycakes. If we had ended things like I wanted, with Braniac, I'd have gotten all sniffy and sad on the first day of preschool for my "baby." But, with Babycakes being a little behind, every advancement is something to be celebrated so hopefully I won't become one of *those* moms. ;)

Picked up a small red bucket and some Cars stickers on Saturday at Target so we'd be all ready this am. Babycakes just picked it right up. He's been watching his big brother for a year so he knew the drill.

"Finally," or so he thought. "I get to play all day with these cars in my brother's classroom." Yes, I do believe this is what he thought Braniac did all day. :D

He did pretty good at sharing. He's kind of used to it from the mommy & me class we go to once a week.

He got to paint, which is his favorite thing. He even managed to control himself and not paint his hands, which is his absolute favorite thing to do. :)

Here's Braniac practicing his clock skills. As for the smiley faced kid, I got that idea from another blog. I get so tired of having to skip posting a pic I like simply because some other kid is in it. I found this smiley here.

Made a flower. Had to do most of it for Babycakes.

He watched a lot today, which is just like Babycakes. He is an observer. He's trying to figure out what's going on and what he's supposed to do.

He did well at snack time. He didn't spill his juicebox at all.

I was helping him with his schoolwork so much I forgot to take a picture of him working on that. Overall it went well and the teacher seems to think it will work out. I'm very happy. We'll see how things go Wednesday.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Miscellaneous Nonsense

1) So, this morning in Sunday School, I had an epiphany. My dh is not a planner and I am. I know, people like to say that a non-planner is spontaneous, but that's not how a planner views them, because "spontaneous" sounds fun. ;)

2) I started a photo blog on Tumblr of all the fascinating stuff I do while waiting. Yeah, that oughta thrill folks.

3) I need more sleep. I think that's why I can't think. OK, so  it's probably more complex than that, but I know there was a time I could think. The decline in my thought processes seems to coincide directly with the birth of my firstborn, and has been steadily decreasing with each added child.

4) For the life of me I cannot remember why we were changing our plans to leave for Texas. Originally I wanted to leave a few days after The Teenager and Thing 2 came home from Summer Camp (Hume Lake & Forest Home, respectively). Then something happened that made me think it had to be delayed. Unfortunately I didn't write it down so now I'm at a loss. But I think if I just keep typing about it here maybe I'll remember. No?

5) Braniac is going to stage a hostile take over of Spotify. Just a heads up. Watch for it in The Wall Street Journal next week.

6) I'm participating in three separate Photo-a-day things for June on Instagram. It gives me something else to do while I'm waiting.

Well, there are a lot more mundane things I could write about but I need to sleep some time. :)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Facing the Giants--Cinderella story with a twist

Facing The Giants - DVD

The following contains major spoilers.

So the kids wanted us to get them Facing the Giants. They loved Courageous so much that, sight unseen, they knew they wanted all the other films. We found a good deal on a box set with Flywheel, Facing the Giants, and Fireproof. Yes, I bought Fireproof. I know, I know I'm not a big fan of Kirk Cameron as an actor, but I guess it won't hurt to watch it. ;D

Anyway, we watched FtG last night for movie night at home. Obviously, it's not as polished as Courageous, but we all enjoyed it. The Middles (ages 8, and 10) were enthralled. I will say that the infertility storyline really got to Thing 2. He's a child with a heart bigger than the universe, I'm pretty certain. He was quite upset. Of course, having gone through 5 years of infertility myself, I was kind of upset too. ;)

We really enjoyed the message. As Christians we oftentimes try to do everything on our own. We also, far too often if we would be honest, live more like the world than like a people set apart. This movie shows that that sort of living is not how we are to be. We are to view everything we do in life as something to be done to bring God glory. I was kind of chuckling at several points in the movie, not because I found them humorous, but because these were conversations I have with my kids on a regular basis, and in fact we had just had a long one that morning.

While I will probably always go back and forth on what I felt would have been a more realistic resolution to the infertility issue, that is mostly because I have gone through it, and know many women who, unlike me, have never had their prayers for a baby answered with a 'yes' but only with a 'my grace is sufficient for you.' I figured the whole movie would be a big "happy ending" but part of me thought it might have been better, maybe even more sensitive, if this part would have been left "unanswered." But I don't disagree that God sometimes answers our prayers for children with 'yes,' coz, well, I've had four since our bout with infertility.

So, in the end, I would give it 4 JJJJ out of 5. I suppose people who watch a lot of movies will have issues with the acting, but if they have issues with the 'happily ever after ending' they probably should just avoid American movies altogether. ;D

Friday, June 1, 2012

Five Minute Friday: See



What do we see when we see others? When we first meet them? Before we even bother to get to know them?

When we see someone dressed in a way that we don't like, what do we see? What about a homeless person? Or a guy with long hair? Or a girl with short hair...wearing pants? Or for you young people, a person in a suit, or a well-coiffed outfit? What do we see when we see a person who is different from us? The answer is important because the answer tells us exactly how we view the rest of the world.

If we look at another and pass judgement based solely on their outward appearance or, even oftentimes, their behavior, we have just turned our backs on them. We put up a barrier to "protect" ourselves from the unusual, the out-of-the-ordinary. For years Christians even judged others on the basis of skin color.

Having both participated in this act, and been at the receiving end of it, it seems to me to be the most pervasive and despicable practice in the church.

Where in Scripture do we find that we are to judge each other by our outward appearances? Where do we find that we are to judge each other by our mistakes and failures and imperfections and bad grammar?

Yes, there are evil people out there. Probably even people we should protect ourselves and our children from, but when we see everyone who is different from us as someone who falls into that category, do we not turn our backs and bar them from the Kingdom?