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Rocky Mountain Father’s Day

Rocky Mountain Father’s Day

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For the first time in a long time, Father’s Day fell at the end of VBS week instead of the beginning!  That means that instead of setting up for VBS and celebrating quickly in the evening, we were able to leave after church and enjoy a beautiful drive through Rocky Mountain National Park.

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Travelling Trail Ridge Road was a fun way to celebrate the amazing man that is the father of my children, and his wonderful father as well.  It was especially beautiful up in the mountains because of all the rain we have had this spring, bringing beautiful wildflowers out in full force.  Take a peek…

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On the way out of the park, we even got to see a black bear tromping across a meadow, the crowning wildlife sighting of a day that also featured tons of elk, many with big antlers, and quite a sizable gathering of moose.  Mooses…  Meece…??

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There is no one else I can picture sharing this parenting joy with me so well, and I am eternally grateful that God chose Than to be the one I get to celebrate on Father’s Day.

 

HOPE for Christmas

HOPE for Christmas

The theme of the first Sunday in Advent is “HOPE.”  I don’t do much advertising on this blog, knowing that pictures of my kids are far more important and useful, but I did want to share with you my gratitude for the work I get to do for Get HOPE Global.

It is amazing being part of an incredibly wise and godly team of women, using my computer skills, working from home, and learning more about the transforming power of HOPE in the lives of impoverished women and girls around the world.  I encourage you to visit the website and learn more about what Get HOPE Global does.  You can even contribute toward sponsoring a business loan for a woman or girl who is receiving biblically-based business training to help her start or improve her business.  Shoot your questions my way–I could talk about it all day!!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Litany of Thanksgiving, from the Book of Common Prayer

Let us give thanks to God our Father for all his gifts so freely bestowed upon us.

For the beauty and wonder of your creation, in earth and sky and sea.  We thank you, Lord.

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For all that is gracious in the lives of men and women, revealing the image of Christ, we thank you, Lord.

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For our daily food and drink, our homes and families, and our friends, we thank you, Lord.

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For minds to think, and hearts to love, and hands to serve, we thank you, Lord.

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For health and strength to work, and leisure to rest and play, we thank you, Lord.

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For the brave and courageous, who are patient in suffering and faithful in adversity, we thank you, Lord.

For all valiant seekers after truth, liberty, and justice, we thank you, Lord.

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For the communion of saints, in all times and places, we thank you, Lord.

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Above all, we give you thanks for the great mercies and promises given to us in Christ Jesus our Lord; 

To him be praise and glory, with you, O Father, and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

(Thanks to the What’s in the Bible blog for bringing this prayer to my attention.)

The Results of Labor Day(s)

The Results of Labor Day(s)

Just before Labor Day, my dad came for a quick visit.  Not just a social call, though–this was a working trip for sure!  Before he arrived, Than moved all of our upstairs furniture into the dining room or the garage.

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On the way home from the airport the men headed for Home Depot to get everything needed to refinish our hardwood floors.

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With my dad as the foreman and Than and his dad as the crew, the floors were patched, sanded, vacuumed, coated, coated, and coated again.

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Less than 48 hours later, everything was finished–smooth, shiny, and just waiting to sit for 72 hours before we moved back in.  Wow!!

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We even had time for a little sight seeing before taking Dad to the airport.  Every time I see the gleam of my floor, I am thankful for the gift of hard labor by people who love me.

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A New Look

A New Look

When you realize that your kitchen counter looks like this…

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…it is time to take some action.  After months of deliberation, advice, decision making, saving, and waiting, we finally got a call that our new kitchen counters were in.  Than went to work immediately!

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Out came the old counters, off came the old tile, and in came a big trash can and the Shop Vac.

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After a hard day’s work (more for Than than for the rest of us), we were down to this…

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Bright and early the next morning, I did what any woman with a choice would do–went out to visit friends while Than stayed home with both kids and worked!  Not very fair, I admit, but oh-so-nice while Than and our kitchen contractor (a man I would highly recommend, by the way, if you need any work done) banged and hauled and fitted and tiled.  I did come home after a few hours to feed and entertain the kids while the work continued.  (Turns out an old sink is a new toy–amazing, right?!)

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Much to my amazement, by 9:00 that evening I could put everything back in its place in my gorgeous new kitchen!!!  It is much better in person, and I’ve already had dinner guests twice, so please come by and have a look.  In case you can’t, here are a few before-and-after photos.

A VERY old (and unusually messy) before shot, from long before we painted…

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And now…

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Old sink…

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New sink (stainless steel, much bigger, and with a seamless edge)…

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And one more overall shot from before…

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And after…

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My sister’s long-distance design advice was invaluable, and I am also thankful for the extra job that helped pay the bills, our contractor who did excellent fast work, and my husband who labored long and hard to make this happen.  I LOVE IT!!!

 

Take a Breath

Take a Breath

Nearly midnight on the last day of November…

Stillness, glowing lights…

Once again the journey begins…

Pause, take a breath–there is hope in the air!  God was with us, is with us, and will be with us again.

Not-Totally-Random Quote

Not-Totally-Random Quote

In reading The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris, I came across this quote about laundry, of all things.

Laundry seems to have an almost religious important for many women.  We groan about the drudgery but seldom talk about the secret pleasure we feel at being able to make dirty things clean, especially the clothes of our loved ones, which possess an intimacy all their own.  Laundry is one of the very few tasks in life that offers instant results, and this is nothing to sneer at.  It’s also democratic; everyone has to do it, or figure out a way to get it done.

It is a little too cold for the clothesline now, but I will admit to some secret pleasure at the piles of clean clothes, finally finished and folded and put away in my loved ones’ drawers.  It is a weekly chore that I can be grateful for.

At My Table

At My Table

When I see this…

I am thinking “abundance… anticipation… possibility… fellowship… laughter… camaraderie… goodness… nourishment… flavor… encouragement… potential… relationship.”  I hope you can come sit at my table soon!

Beauty in the Leaf Pile

Beauty in the Leaf Pile

One of the pre-Thanksgiving chores around our house is getting the leaves cleaned up before the heavy snow comes.  The task fell more in my lap this year, since Than ended up using the day we set aside for that to procure a new basement freezer instead!!  (A whole different story there, but anyway…)

As I started the job with my two kids in tow, I saw a bunch of dead leaves carpeting the yard. I heard whining and complaining from my helpers and felt the cold wind cut through my coat.  Not a great beginning.  But as we worked and I reflected, I realized I was surrounded by beauty.  Katya started it by discovering these, huge and brilliant, buried under all the rest…

Once I began to look, the list grew rapidly…

…the outfits of my work force, very unique choices for the job ahead.

…the roar of military planes overhead, flying in observance and ceremony rather than conflict and fear.

…bright red against the brown.

…bright orange too.

…progress, both in lawn cleared and in attitudes changed.

…peace and quiet on a perfectly still street, kids inside cleaning and me outside with a chance to think and listen.

…grey clouds giving a still hush and sending much needed moisture (but kindly waiting until we were nearly done.)

…bright beauty to bring inside long after the rest of the flowers are gone.

God has surrounded me with His beauty.  I’m so glad when I see it!