Monday, September 22, 2008

* fun at the orchard *

A week or so ago I felt the urge to get out and make a trip to the orchard. It was a cool day and one could smell autumn in the air. The forecast was calling for rain for the next 5 days so I thought, "we need to take advantage of this day and spend time at this beautiful place!" So I inivited a dear friend and her 4 little girls and off we headed to Wilson's Apple Orchard in Iowa City! The girls loooovvved it! They ran and ran and ran some more! They each were excited to have their own little buckets to pick their apples off the ground. That is, until the buckets started to get heavy and then it was," can you carry this, it is too heavy." Or, "I don't want to carry my bucket any more." But all in all they did very well and played very hard! And us mamas, well we left feeling refreshed from the abundance of fresh air, the joy and delight in watching our children enjoy themselves and the beauty of God's wonderful creation!

These four girls are the best of friends! They play and squabble together like sisters.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

** cousins **

Alannah and I were back in Missouri visiting family a few weeks ago and we spent an entire day at my brother and his family's home. So it was a great chance for Alannah to play with the cousins, specifically Lorelei. Lorelei is 6 months younger than Alannah so they play very well together. It also helps that they both enjoy playing dress-up and talking and talking and well, talking....

Sister in-law Beth and I wanted to get some photos of all 4 of them...kinda a little photo shoot....but as it always is when the mamas are in charge of the picture taking, they tended not to co-operate as well as they would have for the professional studio photographer! But we did get a few really cute ones.

This is the only one where we came the closest to getting all of them looking at the camera at the same time...notice Alannah's hand on the top of Tanner's.

Tanner, Alannah, Rueben & Lorelei
Lorelei loves to pose for the camera

Monday, September 08, 2008

::: shepherding :::

I have been meditating upon this week's verse....see right column.... from Deut. 6 quite a lot lately. These are some pretty weighty commands for those of us who are parents. But I also think it applies to those who are not or not yet parents.
What does it truly mean to love God with everything you are and have? I don't know about you but I find that is a very difficult thing to do in this busy and distracting world we live in. There are so many things that pull at our hearts, minds and time. Sometimes it is hard to sort out what is Godly and what is not. As I was thinking upon these verses I found it easier to take them verse by verse and form my thoughts about them. So here goes...I will attempt to share what is on my heart....
verse 6...."and these words shall be in your heart". If God's words are to be in our hearts then we need to be reading His Word every day. We not only need to be reading, but meditating upon them, memorizing them, doing whatever it takes to make ourselves so familiar with them that they truly are in our hearts. What we focus upon is what will overflow from our hearts, minds, lips and actions.
verse 7....I think that this verse embodies the whole of what it means to shepherd our children's hearts towards a love of God and His Word. I used to look at this verse and think, "wow, what a huge undertaking! How am I going to remember to do this all of the time? How am I going to do this amidst everything that is thrown at me every day?" But what I am finding is that the more of God's Word you have in your heart, the easier, the more naturally you can operate according to this verse. What I am also finding though is that it is much easier to obey this verse if you make a very concerted effort to simplify and slow down your life. For when you do that you are in a much calmer, quieter place to hear God speak and to then pass that on to your children. And that brings me to another point.....slowing down.....this is something that is so foreign to many of us in these days in which we live. But I feel that we are missing way too much that God has for us, way too many blessings because we fill our lives so full of stuff that does matter but also lots of stuff that doesn't really matter. We are so busy doing and going that we don't have enough quiet in our lives to hear God. And when I say "we" I am speaking of myself too. These are things that I feel God is speaking to me about, but I feel He is wanting me to share it. 
When I first read verse 7 I felt like it was speaking specifically to parents but I think that it applies to all of us as we can use these principles to minister to anyone that we come into contact with on a regular basis. If we are applying these principles our lives will ooze with the essence of God. Isn't that exciting to think about?!! I definitely think so!! It makes me want to spend every waking moment of free time I have reading His Word! And I am not talking about spending hours and hours every day in reading His Word, because I know that as busy mamas and wives many of us don't have hours and hours, but I do think that we have more time than we allow ourselves to think we do.  
Verses 8 & 9....."bind them on your hand and place them on your forehead"...."write them on your door frames and your gates".....this makes me think of placing scripture around my home, where, as I go throughout my day I see it everywhere. It is surrounding me. And in this technical age in which we live what about investing in the Bible on CD and listening to it as you are in your vehicle running this errand or the kids here or there? Or playing it in your home as you fold the laundry, make the meals, or clean the house. I often have praise music going in my home all day as I go about my daily routine. I have a 5 CD changer and so I load it up, hit the shuffle button and I am set up to have praise music playing for the next several hours. What I like about this is that as Alannah and I are colouring, working on school, putting a puzzle together or doing regular household chores, she will often hear something playing that catches her attention enough that she begins asking questions about what the song is speaking of. This gives me the perfect opportunity to instill the things that God is talking about in these verses!
So I challenge not only myself but all of you to take a closer look at how you spend your time, what you are teaching your children through how you do spend your time and where you can make the time in your life to spend more time reading God's Word. Also, try saying no to those activities that busy up our lives and make it harder to hear that still, quiet voice of God.
I would love to hear any comments you might have concerning these scriptures! And please feel free to share this with anyone you feel the need to.

Friday, September 05, 2008

.. legends & yummy food ..

ok, here are more pics from our weekend in KC.

I couldn't just choose one of the 3 "See the Legends" signs....they are too cool, reminding me of some old vintage signs from the 40's or 50's, so bear with me as I have included all 3.

awesome place to sit and relax
this was the best place to eat! Great gourmet style food! 
They pride themselves in saying that they have the world's largest selection of draft beer. I would say they may be right. The list included at least a hundred plus! Now, I am not a beer drinker....don't really care for any alcohol at all.....but Greg enjoys his beer every now and then, especially when we go out to eat (which isn't very often) with just the two of us. So, of course, being the beer coniseuer that he is, he had to try out a couple of the beers. He says great beer, I say great photo!
I had the Southern fried chicken breast served on a bed of spinach-corn-mashed potatoes and covered in bourbon gravy. Mmmmm, mmmm! It was divine! 
Greg saw the Onion Ring Tower and thought it was a good idea to get that too. Now, I am not an onion ring lover, don't usually care for them, but thought I would give these a try after I read that they are beer battered and sprinkled with parmesean cheese and served with chipotle ranch dip. Well, let's just say I liked them well enough to eat half the tower myself! yum, yum!! I was full by the time they brought my entree!
Ahhhhh, great ambience, great food, great fun!!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

* textures and lines *

This last weekend Greg and I spent 3 days in Kansas City celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary. We had a blast! He spent most of Sat. & Sun. at the Good Guys Rod & Custom Car Show while I spent that time in a variety of different ways......3 hrs with him at the car show, a little of it watching HGTV...we don't get TV at home so this is always a treat! and the remainder finishing a child-rearing book, spending a lot of time in God's Word and listening to some awesome Bible teaching tapes! 
The evenings were spent walking an awesome outdoor shopping district, enjoying some great gourmet food and me always with camera in hand snapping photos of everything from the food we ate to the environment of the shopping district. I took about 500 photos in a 2.5 day period. I share some of those with you now and will share more in the days to come.
What an awesome time of r&r I had!
 To me nothing is more relaxing than reading and photographing the world around me!