Friday, September 28, 2012

First Day of Fall Party

I absolutely love how the trees change in Colorado.  It's like the leaves turn color from the inside out, but not all at the same time.  I think Autumn should be 6 months out of the year, seriously. There is just nothing like that cool, settling-in stuff that happens this time of the year.  Wood smoke from the neighbors chimneys.  Bright orange pumpkins dotting gardens and gracing the fronts of the grocery stores. Crisp cold apples. Steamy mugs of homemade soup. Curling up on the couch reading to my children. Jeans and sweaters. Flannel sheets. Fresh, cool air. I am soaking it up. Every bit.         

Last week was the first day of Fall, and we always have a party at our home!  Why? Because it's Mom's favorite time of the year, and it really deserves a celebration, that's why.  Sarah and Ellie popped out of bed early to pick out their 'fall outfits' from the newly acquired wardrobes in their closets (many thanks to our wonderful thrift stores...).  Sarah is swinging here with her new blouse, fall skirt, and snowflake tights, just in case. Doesn't she look much happier now that it's not 90 degrees?      

Mmmm...Homemade baked potato chowder in sourdough bread bowls.  We get our bread free from a local church that gives out day old Panera.  And just in case you were wondering, day old Panera is nothing to shake a stick at...
And neither is this cold, fresh apple cider.
Tommy and Nat tried to enjoy the meal without having their heads chopped off by Sam's sword.  During dinner.  At the table.  Sigh.
And Michael Jude says that he agrees with Mom (and everybody else) that Autumn in Colorado is the BOMB.

The Grandparents

Mary with Buddy

Last weekend, Kenny's parents were here. Phil and Kenny spent 3 days at a golf tournament (and won some cash!) and Mary and I hung out with the kiddos.
We all had a wonderful time- Good weather, good food, and good fellowship.
Joey and Sammy try to Beat the Old Guys at a Game of Foosball (and Succeed!)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Spend it Wisely

Have you ever read the words of Jesus and felt uncomfortable?  Me too.  I can bask in a kind word someone says about me, but when I go back to the Word of God, I see myself in a different light. 

The parables in Matthew and Luke about the Master and the Talents have always made me squirm.  I have tended to see myself as that last guy, who got 1 talent from his master, and hid it in the ground, getting nothing from it.  And then the Master's reply- that the servant is wicked and lazy.  Not forgetful, or ignorant, or even shy.  He is wicked and lazy, and there is no arguing with the Master's assessment.

In our culture, a 'talent' is something that certain people have and it completely impresses and entertains others.  Singing.  Acting. Writing.  Making people laugh.  Those are talents, right?  But what was it that the Master in this parable distributed to his servants?  It was most likely a very large weight of gold or silver.  It wasn't about them, having 'talent' for the world to applaud.  It was something of the Master's, being entrusted to them, to steward and invest while He was away.

For many years, I wondered if I might be like the guy who buried his, mostly because I didn't see I had much to offer.  I'm not all that 'talented'.  I seem to learn so many things the hard way.  How could I, without much 'talent', do anything that would please my Lord?

And yet...
As I have prayed many times through my adult life for the Lord to make me fit for His kingdom, I have started to see this parable in a different light.  Yes, the Master demands a return on His 'money', and yes there is a separation between those who do His will and those who don't.  But what I have been greatly encouraged in is that it's not about other's assessments of me, or how much I've been given, because that is up to God, and He is my judge.

He gave to each 'according to his ability'.  I spend what I have for my Good Lord.  I don't concern myself with how much I have been given, or not been given.  
I do concern myself with what I do with what I have.  Because my Lord has entrusted me with His things, to steward them and add to His eternal treasures.  He is returning, and I will give account.

My society tells me that talent is one thing.  The Bible says otherwise.  
'His lord said to him 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.  Enter into the joy of your lord.' Matthew 25:23
Oh, how sweet to think about entering into the joy of my Lord! May we all spend wisely until His return. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Caught Red-Handed

We Mom's aren't as dumb as they think we are.
When you tell your 5 year-old she isn't allowed to use your camera, and she says, 'yes, Mom' you think the deal is done.  And then one day, when you find said camera on that 5 year-old's bed, you hope that it was put there by somebody else.  But, when later in the day you take a look at the pictues that are on that camera, and you find this...

And this...

And then this...
Well, then (after a good laugh), it's time for a little visit.
By the way, that fuzzy little girl in the above photo isn't five.  She's the three year-old sister who takes a nap across the room from the criminal.
Case closed.
I think I missed my calling.  Homeschool Mom Turns Detective.

Homeschooling Through Osmosis

The other day, Ellie told a lady at the store that she was born in New Zealand.  
And Sarah reminded us all that "the tiny country near Malaysia is Brunei, guys."  
Well, of course.  How could we forget?  
I don't always count on the unit study for the older kids meaning so much to the younger kids. But how fun to hear these things coming out of their mouths!

Natty, in Number Heaven

I love how the learning happens around here.  It's a wonderful trickle-down, really.  
How many times have I heard a 4 or 5 year old ask what something-times-something is, after they hear an older sibling reciting multiplication facts?  And boy do we all remember when a much younger Tommy calmed down a sibling fight at Goodwill (somebody else's family!) by telling them what the fruit of the Spirit was. I recall a tiny Sammy telling the people at Safeway that their grocery carts were designed using hexagons. And now whenever Nat sees shrimp in the store, he is sure it comes from Australia.
It's a lot of fun over here.  Even if Ellie wasn't really born in New Zealand.

Sarah, Making Wooden Sandwiches for Lunch

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Snake-Bite Sam

I'm a bit late in posting this, but hey, I have 10 children.
About 3 weeks ago, Sammy was bitten by a little baby snake, outside a church.  It was close to 10:00 at night, and he, Tommy, and Kenny were heading out of a prayer meeting.  Kenny called to say they'd be a bit late, as they were heading to the ER to check out the bite.  The above photo shows the very beginning of the night, with the bite just under the top knuckle.  (Those dark lines are hospital markings to check swelling.)
Sam wasn't too thrilled to be spending the evening in the ER.
Throughout the night, I kept getting calls from Kenny.  The finger is swelling.  A lot.  His arm is swelling and in pain.  The photo taken on his phone of the snake looks like a baby rattler.  There is venom in Sam's blood.  He is in an ambulance on his way to St. Luke's in Denver- where they specialize in limb preservation.
Now I have to say, before I went up in the morning to see Sammy, I never felt panicked.  Why?  Because I am married to a very easy-going man.  And he never sounded disturbed.  Not sure I'd want him taking care of me if I was near-death or something, but then again, he'd probably call half the state and get a prayer rally going for me, as he calmly sat by my side.
Anyhow, Sammy spent a long day (15 hours) in the ICU getting vials of anti-venom and being monitored. He got to come home Saturday night and all is well.  Okay, he got his plum-sized, grotesque blood blister popped by (who else?) his oldest brother (an accident, I'm sure...).  But the swelling went down well and I praise the Lord for taking good care of my son.

Labor Day Fun

After talking about it ALL summer long, I took some of the kiddos down to our new pool on Labor Day- the last day it was open.  Kenny and the older 4 boys were at the park, heavily engaged in a large game of ultimate frisbee with many other friends, and so Hannah, Emma, Nat, Sarah, Ellie, Michael Jude and I just really enjoyed staying cool at the pool. And the vanilla swirl ice-cream afterwards was amazing, but we were too busy eating it to take pictures!
Emma, coming down the water slide!
Beautiful Sisters resting from the current of the lazy river
Mama, take another picture of me!
Bathing Beauties, drying out
Hannah was wonderful.  She swam for an hour, then watched the younger 2 so I could have some fun.  And yes, that is a water-logged diaper on Ellie. 
Eliana ended up swallowing some water, and just got tuckered out.  She laid down and was fast asleep in a minute or so...Under these beautiful skies.
And Baby didn't last much longer!