Friday, January 29, 2010

Four Generations

This evening I have spent some time looking back at photos of my grandmother. I went to Pflugerville yesterday to say my final goodbye and collected many pictures that I had not seen in years. These are just two of the many that I like so much.

Granny, Grandmommie, my mom, and me 1977

Grandmommie, my mom, me and my 1st daughter - Girly Girl 2005

Monday, January 25, 2010

One of the Signs

Tonight at the dinner table, Toads announced that he was growing up. We agreed and continued listing different things that he can do that mean he is growing up - monkey bars, swimming the length of the big pool, the high dive, reading and riding his bike. Fun and sad at the same time. Here is what happened today. Thank you to my sweet friend who got this all rolling.........

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Please Remind Him

On the way home from school today I heard from the back of the van.......'Mommy, I love you so much. I am going to take care of you when you are old and sick.' Made me melt. I love this little guy. Someone please help him remember this conversation in a few years.

Monday, January 18, 2010

4 Was Easier

Toads had the day off school today so it is one big play day. Waffles, pool, park, picnic, no naps - all on the agenda. It was just easier to have all four kiddos at the pool. In general, the older pair is responsible for the younger pair. This really comes in handy when I am trying to keep them all from drowning. Toads and Girly Girl did a fabulous job getting pool toys, towels and keeping Samoosa in the shallow end. The pool rules have a 3 kids to 1 adult ratio that I completely understand. We had such a great time!

Friday, January 15, 2010

The First Response of Southern Baptists in Haiti

The people of Haiti are hurting. If you are burdened for this people begin praying now for their physical and spiritual needs. If you are looking for a place to give, this is an organization I trust. This is through the International Mission Board of which our family has personally invested time and energy in. They work alongside other global relief agencies to meet physical needs with the goal of giving spiritual abundant life to those affected by natural disasters such as the earthquake that hit Haiti on Tuesday.

Getting So Big!

String Bean - 7 months

More than Ashamed

As my husband reads this, he will most likely think 'how do you find these things?' I say 'the internet.' Really, this came to me via a retweet of a retweet of a retweet on twitter. I hate to admit it and I should be more than ashamed, but I am often not overwhelmingly passionate about my thankfulness to the Lord for allowing me to have such a healthy, unscathed by trauma, happy family. We have a home with heat and power, I spent the afternoon at the hair salon, we have not spent months on end at a hospital bedside, our children ride their bikes carefree down the trail, we are not buried beneath the earthquake ridden rubble, my husband is employed, there is laughter all about, I worry about what to type not what to feed my family. He has given to me more than I will ever deserve.

Just as the woman you will read about below cries deeply in a pain unfathomable by many to the Father, I should be crying out to Him with a heart full of joy and a thankfulness for the blessings He has given to me.

The McRae family has an amazing testimony of remaining faithful during the most difficult times. In the next few days they will make the most heart wrenching of decisions regarding the care of their 6 year old, Kate as she fights an agressive brain cancer. I will continue to pray for them and most often be convicted of my ungratefulness as I read their updates. You can access their caringbridge site here. An excerpt from today's post:
So tonight our hearts are heavy. The decisions and possibilities for our daughter looming. Words will almost not even come for prayer. Just the deep cries. Yet we know He understands those. Please be praying for wisdom. We need it desperately. Kate needs prayer also. She is doing great at home. She laughed hysterically tonight when we let Patrick (her dog) upstairs and on Will's bed. She kept laughing and saying she was so excited she thought she would explode. Sweet girl. We thought we were going to explode tonight too, just for different reasons. We are so grateful that she seems sheltered from the gravity of the decisions ahead. She knows she may go to transplant or may go for brain surgery again. She said "oh no" for the brain surgery. "I will get that icky taste in my mouth again". She is okay with the baldness. She says she may stay that way forever now. No tangles and her dog can't bite at it. I love her thought processes. She is special beyond words.
-----O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.-----

Friday, January 8, 2010

It's A Different Kind

Nathan and I are so enjoying our time away from normal routine. There is snow falling outside. We get to enjoy the company of good friends. The day is not dictated by our regular responsibilities. We are staying up late visiting, laughing and reminiscing. All of this is so wonderful and yet I am still so tired. It's a different kind of tired that I am accustomed. It is not 'mommy' tired. Being mom to four kids, or even just one for that matter, is so exhausting. I often say 'it is never ending.' It's true. Mom's shift does not stop. She is always on the clock. Vacation isn't vacation when Mom still has to take care of the kids. Mom is always thinking about children. The kids still need attention even when they are sleeping. The day is full of responsibilities and activities. There is always something to be done. The emotional investment in them is vast. It is constant and requires so much of you. Of course I never recognized this as a child living at home with my own mom and dad. I just demanded more and more from my mom.

I love being mom and I regret not being more thankful for my own over the years. It is a responsibility I take very seriously and that I enjoy more than I can express. I am so thankful that the Lord has enabled me to be a stay-at-home mom. Being able to fully invest all of the time and energy into the thing that God has called me to do is so rewarding. I wouldn't trade my around-the-clock, exhausting 'job' for anything. I get to see the growth, pretend football games, fears, silly moments, cute dances, sad eyes, jubilant screams, hurts, desires, disappointments, and fun times all from the front row seat that God has given me. Thank you Lord for giving me the desire of my heart to be mom to Toads, Girly Girl, Samoosa and String Bean.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

One of the Perks

I am currently enjoying one of the perks of my husband's job. So fun. I left three-fourths of my job at home and I get to hear my husband speak without distractions. Rare. This is why we are here in the Baltimore cold. We enjoyed the company of Calvary Baptist Church tonight where Nathan shared just part of his passion to have a missionary's heart for the lost. He was obedient to share about the vast lostness that can be overcome by the Gospel. I am always encouraged and ususally convicted when he shares. The Lord has gifted him to be able to effectively communicate the heart of God. It is something that I treasure and love about him. I am looking forward to many more years of supporting him and travelling alongside him as the Lord leads us.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Isn't This How Everyone Does It?

Middle of the night...again.....and this time I have just finished packing. Every mother knows that it usually takes more time to pack your kids to stay with someone than it does to just take the kids with you. Well, three of ours are staying behind while we are away. I just finished packing -for the most part. My need to have everything just so took over a long time ago. I always have a list before we go anywhere. If it's not on the list, it doesn't get done or packed. To leave the kids, I take it to a whole other level. Every kid has an outfit for every day or event (so sometimes two changes a day) and it is placed in a ziploc bag with a color coded index card that has the outfit written out including what shoes and hairbow goes with it and when it is to be worn. I do all of this in hopes of outfits being correctly matched, kids wearing the correct size and to ensure that there are enough clothes for the visit. This time was a little more challenging as the clothes are getting bigger in size and all of the winter-wear that is required for the frigid tempertaures approaching. I have convinced myself that this is actually helpful to whoever is keeping them. Well anyway, I feel good about it even if everyone thinks I am a little weird. So if you see my kids out and about mismatched, just don't tell me.

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year - New Design

I needed a change - and it wasn't my hair color this time. I spent this evening redesigning my blog. New color scheme, design and best of all - the new pictures. String Bean is finally in the family picture. It's always fun for me to figure out a new technical challenge. You can learn how to do anything on the internet these days. I got the design idea from the cutest blog on the block and then used Photoshop to change it up to meet my needs (pictures, no big swooshes, etc.)

I had the hardest time choosing which pictures to include on the final copy. Here are some that didn't make it on to the banner.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Hoping to Make It Three In a Row

2008 and 2009 both managed to bring snow to Houston. The kids (and me, too) are hoping for a Third Annual Snow Fight between the Linos and Haths. The boys are best buds and Girly Girl can usually manage to hang with them. This year, since Daddy was stuck on an airplane, the Haths bundled and loaded everyone up to come over to our house. The kids had a fun time making snow balls and just being goofy. I know these will be some of the fun memories that our kids carry along life's journey. I am thankful for good friends that share our values and are willing to hangout with the sometimes nutty, often quirky, and never dull Linos.

Samoosa learning to make her first snowball.

The bed of the truck is always a good place to find the snow stacked up.

Friday, January 1, 2010

It's the middle of the night and here I sit at the computer. I have four small children sleeping upstairs and they will rise much earlier than what I call a reasonable hour. This new year will no doubt be an exhausting one - starting now. It seems that my days can get away from me. On some I am not even sure what day it is. One thing I do know is that most of this past year and decade for that matter has been a blur of activity. Some great, some good and some not so hot. The Lord has been so good to me and the people I love. He has seen us through what I hope were our darkest days of ministry and family life. He has blessed us beyond measure with four amazing kids, extended family, and loving friends. He has taught me about myself, Himself and molded me continually.

Each year at Parker Christmas, every person gets a plain ornament for the tree and writes all over it things about the past year that are memorable to them with the year and their name. The tree is filled with past years' ornaments and the memories are spectacular. New baby, new house, finished 'read through the Bible' early, sent first baby to kindergarten, New Orleans mission trip and 10 year anniversary are some of the things I put on my ornament this year. I am looking forward to 2010 and what I will put on my next ornament. I have no doubt it will move at a fast and furious pace, but I am excited to write on that next ornament just a fraction of the things the Lord will have done in and through me.

Thank you Lord for 2009 and the path You have ordained for me in 2010.

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