Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Thoughts for today

Pete pointed this out to me this morning, and I thought it was really compelling.  It's from a Lenten devotional book by Calvin Miller, called "The Christ of Easter."

People die with purpose when they have clearly marked the reason they were given life. Jesus existed to do the will of God.

Since doing what his Father wanted would bring pleasure to the both of them, Christ was thus occupied with the pleasure of God. Jesus served this single passion: to glorify God – to live to serve him, to please him. He faced every mortal decision at every juncture of his life with only one concern: how will my decision affect my Father.

Seeing that such a passion owned Christ, how can we become Christlike? We must seek what he sought. Our chief duty is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. Think of how your world would change if in every moment of decision, you did only those things that you knew would bring glory to the Son of God. In such a life there would be power!

In such a life there would also be simplicity. To want only one thing is to achieve purity of heart. To want only one thing puts to silence the competition of your inner appetites. To want only one thing silences the quarrel of trying to serve both Jesus and your own need for power.

Glorify God! Let this be your reason to live! You will then love God. And the simplicity of loving him so singularly will help you to discover and love yourself as well.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Father-daughter, Mother-son Dance

One of the things we miss as a homeschooling family is the annual father-daughter dance that a lot of schools around here have.... until now!  Our neighborhood association hosted a dance in our community center this weekend, so we gladly took the opportunity to attend.  (Well, "gladly" might be a stretch for Pete.  But he was a good sport and even dressed up for it when I asked him to.)

Strider decided he was a little old for something like this, so he stayed home, but my other two sons were quite eager to be my escorts.  Rayna, of course, was very excited about being Daddy's date.

 The dance ended up being really fun.  Not too many families were there, but the kids who were there were all dancing enthusiastically.  Colsen and Rayna jumped right in and very energetically whirled around the floor.  When the songs came on for which everyone is supposed to do the same moves (I'm so out of it I don't even know the names of these dances!), they eagerly followed what the other kids were doing and pretty much got the hang of it!  (I had to laugh, though, when I saw Rayna crouched down on the floor for awhile, and then I realized she was copying another girl -- who was fixing her shoe.)

So it was a fun night and I'm glad we had the chance to see our kids at their first non-wedding dance.
Miles liked the balloons best

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Tea Party

Our friend Alicia has designed a way to teach manners and spiritual truths to young girls by inviting them over for a tea party each month.  I love her ideas and methods and as we were talking about it all a few months ago, she graciously invited Rayna to come be a "helper" since the other girls are younger.  Rayna, of course, is super-thrilled about it!

Yesterday was the first time she was able to go, and she was counting down the hours before she could put on her dress.

The girls made little flower napkin-holders, read a story about a princess, read a Scripture verse, talked about manners, drank some vanilla tea, had some fancy snacks, and then went off to play.  It was a lovely afternoon!

Rayna is looking forward to next month's tea party already!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


We have noticed that Miles has a strong penchant for justice and a keen sense of logic... so he reminds us of a little lawyer.  He is always coming to remind us if someone is supposed to have a "consequence" for earlier actions, saying things like, "But remember, Rayna isn't supposed to have any treats because she did _____ this morning."  He's definitely more on the "prosecution" side usually.

The other morning he woke me up by running into my room with this speech:

"Mom, I have bad news for you.  Remember when I did _____ and you told me that Daddy was going to spank me when he came home on my bottom?  And you know what?  He didn't!"

(In other words, "I'm much smarter than both you dim-wits who forgot.")

So I responded, "Ok, well, he can go ahead and do it today, then."

"NO!" he objected.  "It was last month!"

 (In other words, "The statute of limitations has long since expired.")

I had been lawyered.

This morning he was giving us another big speech and I said to him,

"Miles, I know you're quite the little lawyer, but guess what.  I'm like a lawyer, too, so we're going to have some interesting arguments in the future, I bet."

He just gave me a blank look, not knowing what "lawyer" means.

Then he quickly thought of something:  "Then you're like a child."

"What?" I asked.

His logical explanation was: "If I'm a lawyer and you're a lawyer and we're both the same, then you're like a child."

Once again, Lawyered.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

70's party

For our friend Donna's 40th birthday, we were invited to a 70's party last night. It was really groovy.

(My kids wanted to know why we dressed up like Indians)

There were plenty of afros, suits made of polyester, and disco-ing characters.

Pete, Dan and Evan
As soon as Rayna saw the above picture, she said, "Oh, there's Grandma Deuce!"  I guess she's right.

The night was "far out!"

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My lovely dancer

When Rayna gets ready for dance class these days, I always think she looks so grown up!  This week marks her half-birthday, so she will be 10.5 -- half-way to 21!   I love seeing glimpses of the lovely woman she is growing to be...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

All done for awhile

How I feel right now:

The good news:
Now that all of the kids are even-number ages, we have made it through the even-number age party year.  This means I am not due to host another birthday party for almost 2 years now!

The first thing Miles said to me this morning, the day after his birthday, was, "Mommy, I'm 4 now!"  
The second thing he said was, "How long is it until August 9th?"

He apparently thinks big things should happen on his half-birthday, too...  He is going to be rather disappointed.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Another Milestone for Miles

With a name like Miles, it only seemed fitting that this boy should have a car-themed birthday party.  His last birthday was in Moldova and the ones before that were pretty low-key since he was so young, so this 4TH birthday was the time to celebrate with an actual party!  He invited a friends/cousins over and before they came we had fun getting everything ready...

Once the other kids arrived, it was cars, cars and more cars everywhere!

We played a few racing games, and then it was time for FOOD:

The cars were NOT edible!

Looks like he liked it!
 All week before his birthday, Miles had been "ordering" what kind of cake he wanted.  Strangely, this is what he kept repeating:  "I want a cake with raisins and craisins in it, and I want chocolate sauce and Magic Shell on top and no candles."

I kept trying to sway him on these details -- telling him I had never put craisins (or raisins) in a cake before, etc.  But he insisted that's what he wanted.  Finally I gave up trying to change his mind, and just told him I was going to make him a surprise cake and I bet he would like it.

So today he was surprised -- and at least I did put homemade Magic Shell on it (for the track) and we didn't use candles per his request -- and he did like it.  Then tonight when I asked him if he was happy I made it the way I did, he said yes.  But then in the very next breath he said,

"When I turn 4 and a half on August 9th, can you make me a cake with raisins and craisins in it and chocolate sauce and Magic Shell on top and no candles?"

Man, I hope he forgets that request in the next 6 months....

On another note, don't my sisters (one in-law) look pretty together?  And Lincoln is looking good, too...
Not as much car-playing by these guests today

Friday, February 8, 2013

Some girly activities -- finally

Poor Rayna is surrounded by boys in our house, in our neighborhood, and in her Sunday School class.  Although she never really seems to mind, I am always on the look-out for girlfriends for her!  (Thankfully she has a couple of cousins who she can hang out with occasionally at least.)

I decided it was a good time to go ahead and start a girls' group (associated with "Keepers of the Faith") through our local homeschool co-op.  At our first official meeting yesterday, eight girls gathered, ages 7-15.  It was a really sweet time with them all getting to know each other and playing together.

Our group plans to meet twice a month and each time a different mom will lead the girls through a specific activity or skill.  Yesterday I taught the girls the beginnings of calligraphy, and then we used the fancy lettering to make Valentine cards for people.

They all worked hard, practicing the whole alphabet before starting to write out the verses for the cards.  Afterwards we talked about how a lot of things take hard work, and then they memorized Colossians 3:23 as a reminder of Who their hard work is for.

Last night as Rayna was praying before dinner, she ended with, "And thank You that I had a really good time with all my friends today."  I don't get to hear her say things like that often, so I was very thankful, too!  I hope these girls will all continue to be friends over the coming months, and that they'll continue to grow into beautiful young women who love God.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Super Bowl Party

Strider had his first (annual?) Super Bowl Party this past weekend.  And by the word "had" I mean that he invited some friends and then let me do the rest of the work to prepare for it.  :)

A bunch o' boys
 Besides watching the game with great enthusiasm....

 ... the guys also made some guesses on how they thought the game would go (who would score the first touchdown, etc.)  Zach was the big winner at the end of the night!
And there was some good food, too, if I do say so myself.  Besides the requisite pizza and wings, we also had "Super Bowl Brownies," which were topped with potato chips, pretzels and popcorn!  Clearly a "guy" food.
And the "football" chocolate-covered strawberries were a hit, too.  The veggies.... not so much.
 Poor Rayna was severely out-numbered.... but she didn't seem to mind too much!  We all had fun.