Category Archives: Uncategorized

Choosing God

The other day, I mentioned that just because something happens, it doesn’t mean that God wills it.  It isn’t God’s will, for instance, that children get sick and die.  It isn’t God’s will that we commit violent crimes against each other.  It isn’t God’s will that some among us suffer hunger, homelessness, or loneliness.  It isn’t God’s will that we treat our most vulnerable, the unborn and the elderly, with callous indignity.

None of this is God’s will.

He envisioned something much better and more beautiful for us: peace, joy, love, and intimate friendship with the King of all.

But God is a gentleman, and he never forces Himself upon us.  He asks us to choose Him, to want Him above all other things.  He longs for that, and it is why He so cherishes the sinner who returns to Him, but He never demands it.

This is the great problem of free will: we are equally free to choose or reject God, to choose evil or to choose love.

Advent begins today, four short weeks to prepare our hearts to receive the infant Christ, to turn away from sin and worldliness and choose He who is Love itself.  This is a time for penance, for renewed acts of charity and mercy, and for refocusing on what matters most to us.

I’m grateful for these times, because it’s so easy to be distracted.  But God is always calling, always seeking, and always waiting for us to turn back to Him, too.

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The Angry Internet

The internet is ugly this week.  If we kind of thought the deep divisions and angry rhetoric would die out after the election, I guess we were wrong!  It seems worse than ever out there, name calling, and accusations, and bitterness all around.  It doesn’t seem to matter whether a person was a “winner” or a “loser”.  There’s just a lot of bad blood right now, and social media is a very negative place to be.

Anyway, the most important thing is to keep our eyes on Jesus, for it’s only when we look away that we sink under the stormy waves of our worries.  I love that story, don’t you?  The one where Peter gets all excited about walking on water like Jesus, but then he notices that it’s really actually quite stormy on that little sea, and what was he thinking, anyway, walking on water?!  And as he starts to sink under his fears, Jesus reaches out and grabs hold and asks him, “Why did you doubt?”

Why, indeed.  I don’t think for a minute that Donald Trump is God’s will for the country.  Not everything that happens is God’s will; sometimes, things just happen anyway, and we have to make the best of them, or turn them to good by the power of our tiny faith in a man who could walk on water.  We can walk above this as long as we keep our eyes on Jesus.

Next up: I find myself in rather an ironic situation…

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Family

4x6-crop

We’ve been in New Jersey visiting with my mom since Thursday, and today is our last day. Tomorrow, we go home! I love my mom, and I love my sister who also lives here, but I miss my family. I’m anxious to get back to them. My life is crazy, but it’s crazy good.

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How Silly of Me

A blue September morn.

A blue September morn.

Yesterday, I got word at the last minute that there was a free event that afternoon at the art museum. “I wish we weren’t doing chickens, today,” I mentioned to Delaney early in the morning. “Otherwise, I’d totally be there.”

She looked at me with raised eyebrows. “You know you can do both, right? You’ll be done with the chickens by lunchtime, and then you can go to the museum.”

Well. That’s a rather shocking suggestion, don’t you think? Two major events in one day?

We did finish the chickens by lunch, and so I bravely buckled up the stressed out babies and drove them into Louisville. And I’m glad I did. It was fun! Well, mostly. At a couple of the art stations, the staff deliberately ignored us, and that was pretty obnoxious.

We hopped on an elevator to go downstairs to the art lab. We admired the pinkness of the elevator, and we chatted about what we were going to do down there, and about how lovely the day was, and how angry the performing poet we’d just seen outside. I was starting to think that the elevator ride was taking an unusually long time, but before I had fully formed the thought, Penelope asked, “Um, should I push one of these buttons?”

“I thought this was taking a while!” Brenna said, as we all burst into laughter.

I’m just going to chalk that one up to exhaustion. Mr. Henry has suddenly decided to wake four or five times a night, and since he’s been sleeping straight through since he was born, this is an unusual development. I don’t have the stamina I used to, and I can seldom get him and Evie both napping at the same time, so we’ll just have to ride this one out! I’m sure I’m in good company, though. Here’s to all the mamas up in the middle of the night to feed and change the babies!

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Crowd Pleasin’ Chicken Tacos

This recipe came to me from Kristy B. through Facebook and boy was it good! She calls it Crockpot Chicken Taco Meat.

I served the chicken on homemade tortillas with a dollop of sour cream and the children loved it, even going so far as to mention it in the same sentence as their all-time favorite meal of enchiladas. Somebody said, “We never like crockpot dinners, but this is really good!” Even Rosie, who is firmly entrenched in the picky-eater stage, gobbled her taco right up. “Make this again!” somebody else called out.

Of course, whether a meal gets repeated or not – or at least how often – depends pretty heavily on the opinion of the Man of the House. He’s not a real emotional guy and did not express the same enthusiasm as the rest of the family. He just nodded and said, “You can make this again.” Then he had seconds.

Ingredients

1 whole chicken 1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chicken broth 2-4 tbsp diced jalapenos; to taste
3 tbsp taco seasoning

Preparation

Pour the tomatoes and jalapenos into the bottom of the crockpot and top with the chicken. Dissolve the taco seasoning in the chicken broth and pour over all. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. About an hour before dinner, shred the chicken with two forks and return to the sauce for soaking. Serve on tortillas with cheese and sour cream.

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Just Henry

A pair of photos for my mom.  Regretfully, I haven’t taken many photos yet.  That would be One More Thing and I’d rather take a nap.

Mister Henry had his two week well baby yesterday, and I’m happy to report that his constant nursing has paid off.  Eleven pounds eight ounces!  Go, baby! He’s a happy boy, sleeps like a baby (ha!) and loves his family.  Naturally, we all adore him.  And Evie is almost reconciled to the whole breastfeeding thing.

Otherwise, we’re getting All The Things done, but it takes three times as long.  Especially if I want to avoid any conflicts with nap time.  :-)

About the photos: Brenna was holding him and he was putting all his effort into working up an “Ah!”

henry 1 henry 2

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Growing Up

When last I left you, Evie and I were suffering from separation anxiety.  You’ve probably been wondering about us…

"Can I climb on the rocks, Mama?"

“Can I climb on the rocks, Mama?”

It’s going pretty well, actually.  She went through a few days of deep sadness, something we’ve never seen in this happy and most contented girl.  When we moved a new bed for the baby into her corner of the room, I let her sleep in it at nap time, of course, but she’s a big girl now, she tells me, and she just giggles now when I put her in the little crib.  With five weeks left in this pregnancy, I’m fairly exhausted myself, so we just snuggle down together in the big bed for naps.  When I wake, I tuck pillows around her and let her finish her own nap.

"Thank you, Mama!"

“Thank you, Mama!”

At bed time, she whines that she doesn’t want to go to sleep, and I whine back because she sounds so silly.  She keeps her sisters up much later than they’d like, with her chattering and antics.  Sometimes, after the lights are out, she falls asleep sitting up, and then she slumps over, folding her wee self in half, and so I have to make sure to stay awake till she’s asleep so that I can lay her back out before she suffocates herself or cuts off the circulation to the lower half of her body.  Weird.

"Mama, look! I'm big!"

“Mama, look! I’m big!”

And me?  I miss her… and I don’t.  It’s all part of growing up, for both of us, I guess.  And the new baby is coming soon, and we had to make room, in our house and in our hearts.  There’s room for sure, and we’re waiting, waiting, waiting.  Both of us.  All of us.

"Woah!"

“Woah!”

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My People

8x10 jon 8x10 my people dad takes on daughter father against son getting ready to play picking teamsThe weather was so fine on Saturday, we took a family trip to the park in Louisville, so the Amtgarders could play Amtgard and the little ones could play on the playground.  It was a nice afternoon, and a much needed break to our routine.

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6/365 Winter School

6.365 Winter SchoolOur school room is unheated, except for these two kerosene heaters, so each morning, when I light them up, we’re starting pretty much from outdoor temps and hoping to get to comfy by school time.  It was 18° this morning, and while those heaters did a great job warming the place up, it was still a bit chilly.  I call this Hobo School.  😉

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