Thursday, August 31, 2006

A Time to Be Brutal and a Time to Indulge

Thursday. Garbage day. The pile out front is pretty ominous. I wonder if he will charge a bit more for this pick up. And last week's. And next.

Yup. You guessed it. I'm hoeing out and throwing away once again. Really digging deep this time. Paper doll collections, first readers, old calendars (including my 1981 rendition with pencilled in Dr.'s appointments for Danica's birth -- I've hung onto that for 25 years now -- guess it's time to let go...)

Fifteen years ago or more, hubby made two tall cupboards for storing "school". They were my anniversary present. I remember that celebration well. Friends watched the kids for the whole day while Rick and I worked zealously on this project. We measured and sawed and nailed and glued and painted. By supper time two cupboards were fashioned. We cleaned up and headed to a favorite haunt: the local Chinese restaurant. Ah -- that's what I call a great anniversary! Yesterday, after many seasons of faithful service, the school cupboards were emptied and replaced with two small shelving units. The cupboards now stand on my front porch awaiting a new post; garage sale day may find them sporting a price tag, or maybe they will wend their way onto my side porch to store out of season boots and such. I haven't made a final decision on their future.

I can't say that tears haven't found their way down my cheek on more than one occasion, as I bagged up Barbie furniture for the garbage (most of it is missing parts, don't worry...) or stored away Friendship Clubhouse awards. Bit by bit these children of ours grow up and move on in life. New adventures await them, and therefore, me. So you see, it isn't all bad. Not at all.

Today will find me sorting through bins, removing as much as possible (Americans have stuff, stuff, and more stuff), "eliminating and concentrating", as Anne Ortlund would say. Time to simplify.

Did I mention that Merrick has a hard time with this -- you know, the little boy syndrome of collecting anything and everything -- and all of it? Candy wrappers, Burger King papers, cardboard from every Star Wars Action Figure package... It's hard, but he's learning! And please, don't worry. He's allowed more space than most of us. After all, he's only seven. Might as well indulge him while I can!

Monday, August 28, 2006

A Valued Marriage

Lately I have felt that familiar tug of the heartstrings pulling me toward home. Covenantal strings is what I've come to call them -- tied on a wedding day, established in those early days through care and purposed living, strengthened by choices that sacrifice my will for the betterment of the whole, and maintained with continued sacrifice, care, and purposed living.

I would have thought that 28 years later the safety of our covenant vows was a given, but statistics and real life reveal the fallacy of such thinking. Until my last day I will need to give myself to this thing called marriage and home. Investment is ongoing and needed. This is not maintenance free. Is anything in this world completely mainenance free? And since this is viewed by God as a top priority for maintenance, I guess I better view it that way, too.

So close to home I will hover. With cool weather on its way, this is a good season for hunkering down anyway.

There's no place like home.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Pennysaver fill-in

Does anyone out there have an extra queen bed mattress hanging around? Let me know -- we are in need of one here on Main Street in Madrid!

Friday, August 18, 2006

My Lifetime Goal

More than anything I want my children to love Him and genuinely serve Him. I am not interested in squeezing them into some cookie cutter Christian mold. Imposing a culture/lifestyle will not satisfy. Knowing that they will go to church and teach in Sunday school, saying the right words and lifting their hands in song is not the goal. I want them to know and love Him with absolute devotion and passion. That's all...

I've been reading Andrew Murray's book Raising Your Children For Christ (one of the perks of beach time) -- it's good to get a fresh glimpse at the goal for the upcoming year. Oh, I know. There are many goals. But raising my children for Christ is on the top of the list. It is my calling and responsibility -- and my greatest privilege. Every one of them is a treasure that He has created for His own pleasure. He delights in them! No wonder I delight in them, too!

So hopefully today I will read some more. Then you will probably be hearing some more. It seems to me we can never get too much encouragement along these lines. What an important task! And how easily we lose sight of the goal. He is so faithful to remind us. It really all comes down to Him, doesn't it? Always.

One more day and then we head home. It's been fun!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

NYC -- Again

Yesterday we took another trek into Manhattan. My son-in-law is not as familiar with the wonders of that place as the rest of us. So now that he has joined us we felt quite obliged to remedy that situation. I think we successfully introduced him to the pleasures of NYC. With strollers and three very young children in tow, along with our own young one, we hit the streets of midtown. Bronwyn was enamored with the tall buildings and all the shoe stores. Gabriel loved the "some-way trains" and Jackson just plain enjoyed the stroller. Merrick seems to find some enjoyment in most everything.

Brietta had not been in NYC since 9-11 so we included Ground Zero in our whirlwind tour. Pretty amazing. The view of the Statue of Liberty from Battery Park, which is always a treat for these eyes, seemed to be enjoyed as well. For the grand finale we wound our way to Little Italy for a pizza treat late at night before heading home. As 16 of us piled into the small restaurant, we wondered if there was any place in Little Italy that would accomodate such a large crew. Fortunately we had asked a local where to go for good pizza and he suggested Lombardi's on Spring Street. They had a nice basement dining room with plenty of seating for all of us. A great finish to a mild-mannered wandering through Manhattan.

Aunt Judy continues to spoil us all. I just overheard Rick telling her that he feels like he is on a cruise ship with food and entertainment galore.

Today we will hit the beach. There are a few little people that are definitely excited about that! The oldest little boys (ahem...) are busy discussing the cheap seats at the Yankee stadium. And my older girls are talking about a trip back to NY for a jazz club tonight. I wonder if I could hop on that train? Now that sounds like something worth considering! One thing for sure, I hope to enjoy the remaining two days. What do you think? It sounds like a real possibility to me.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Vacation Days

I am sitting in the lap of luxury -- I am here at Judy's on Long Island. Need I say more? She spoils us all terrifically!

Most of the family will have arrived by late tonight. The only one not coming is Jamie, and he will be so very missed.

Rick said there is a free Liza Minnelli concert somewhere in Queens. I know she is a bit over-the-hill, but it's my guess that her showmanship is still something worth seeing. That's my opinion, and not the opinion of most, so I don't know if I will get there or not. We shall play it be ear...

My lovely ten year old turned eleven today. As Ryan said, "Everyone who wants to see Camilla grow up, raise your hand." None were raised. We kind of liked her as a ten year old. But I know God's plan for her as an eleven year old will be just as wonderful!

Spent Saturday in NYC. A bit taxing on the ankle, but not too bad. Well worth it, of course! The Metropolitan Museum, picnic lunch in Central Park, a stroll through Times Square, a quick look at Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Opera Theater, and fabulous Thai food in Chinatown. Plenty of subway and bus travel completed the day.

The next few days will include continued birthday celebrations, beach fun, shopping, strolls through quaint historic towns, and lots of great food and laughter. This family knows how to laugh and eat...

Enjoy your August days. They will be gone before you know it. Then on to crisper, more ambitious days. And that will be good as well.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Newsy, that's all

A quick update on my busy and not totally interesting week - unless you like getting rooms redecorated and bedrooms moved around. But they are not actually moved, only in process. That, my dear readers, is not a fun stage. But we are getting close to the finish line. However, today we head to Long Island for a week of family and fun at Aunt Judy's house (Rick's baby sister) so the project is on hold while I throw the essentials into a suitcase (that definitely includes swim gear for the beaches which will be close at hand.)

Leaving a house in turmoil is not my favorite thing, but in my mind I have a plan of attack for the reorganization, so that brings me comfort. I can deal with messes when there is an end in sight. Up until now, a plan has not been clear, but finally I can see what the end result will look like. So -- step back world! When this lady gets a vision, it can be dangerous (or at least very busy...)

Some of my kids left yesterday, some others left at 5:30 this morning -- heading to Pittsburgh, PA where they will assist as a worship team for a youth rally weekend. From there they will all drive to LI and join us there. We will finish up a week long reading program at the local library where my son has been playing Captain Nobeard. The theme was pirates, so every morning he has donned his costume with great relish and headed down the street. Today he will entertain them with his "Pirate King" tune from The Pirates of Penzance. "Ah, yes, we like to start 'em early around here, right mateys?!"

When the last note has been sung, we will whisk him home, change into boring everyday clothes, pile into the van along with my very pregnant daughter (Danica is expecting in 5 weeks), and hit the road. Sounds like a blast to me. I have always treasured long trips in the vehicle with children. I resent DVD players and even CD players if they intrude on our time of communication and song-singing. We definitely listen and watch at times, but hopefully not in lieu of family time. Round-singing and game playing has always been a part of vacation travel time and I, for one, love it!

Happy weekend to all. He reigns supreme forever and ever -- and that's always Good News!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Time Is Short

It's Monday morning. That leaves four days until we head out for a weeklong vacation with a beloved aunt on Long Island. We will spend days on the beach, days in the city, and eat lots of wonderful food (she always treats us to the best!) I wish it could be two weeks instead of one, but we are grateful for the time together with her.

Today I will encourage my painters to finish their task (an upstairs bedroom that will serve as a boys' dorm this fall) within the allotted four days. Yours truly will get school planned a bit. Practicing, laundry, and various chores will be accomplished (I hope) by the younger set.

I will also work on a rehearsal schedule for the fall dinner theater that my husband has asked me to put together. Last night I couldn't get to sleep on time because I discovered a script that I think may work very well for a small group of talented people from our church and other nearby churches. Fun! The community has come to expect quality shows from our congregation. It has been a wonderful bridge into their lives. I am grateful for the opportunity to use this gift for His purposes. Have I mentioned before that I love musical theater?!

Be blessed in your service to Him! And may all be done to His glory.

ps -- Ooops! I almost forgot to tell you; Julia won First Place in the Lachine Guitar Competition in Montreal this past weekend. Hooray for her!

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Theater

Every day I head to my daughter's place of business, otherwise known as Candace's Shapes and Colors, where she slathers my head with goop and gets started on creating a 1930's hairdo. Sporting a headful of sculpted finger waves, I head out for another performance of The Sound of Music. "You play a nun. So what's with the fancy do?" Well, for one short scene I get to sneak out of the abbey, don a gorgeous chiffon gown, and hobnob with the richest and fanciest of them. To top off the special "evening out" I enjoy dancing the waltz and the foxtrot. Then it's back to the abbey with wimples, veils, and robes -- and Gregorian chants with Latin texts. Such dual living has earned some of us the name of "naughty nuns". We are all glad for the chance to wear something a bit more delightful than black and white heavy robes. And finger waves!

The show is fun -- totally. Have I ever told you that I love this stuff! Do you know that I even love rehearsing? Really -- I do! What's wrong with us theater aficionados? Is there too much in us that never outgrew dress up and make believe? Oh, well. I suppose we may not get answers to such questions. But this much I know -- I have a never ending supply of energy when it comes to singing, dancing, and acting. Three more shows and then it will be on to the next theater project. Hmmmm. Do I see a pattern developing?

In the meantime, the home is buzzing along with painting projects and the usual chores. What I really need to do next is plan the school year. "I must keep track of such important things," I remind myself!

Off to the salon I go! Maybe I will see you tonight!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Another Op'ning, Another Show!

Sound of Music opened tonight and seemed to go quite well. Great audience and I didn't forget anything! Lots of fun. Come if you can!