Thursday, January 31, 2008

Hide and Seek


I've found that being an aunt has its advantages. Spoiling, playing, making a mess, I love the perks! Next week we are taking Jon to the circus and can I tell you something, I am soooooooooo excited about it! I can let him stuff his face with cotton candy and then conveniently drop him off at his house with a sugar high that hits da roof- I like that! With all this college stuff looming in the horizon (can stuff loom?), I need a diversion. Two year old Jon serves that purpose. So does his baby brother Si but this post is about a delightful time I enjoyed with Mr. Walking Backwards Guy (aka Jon). He likes to walk backwards every time he sees me. 

One day while visiting my sister and the babies, Jon and I played a game of Hide and Seek. We would take turns hiding and it was so funny to see him looking hither and yon for me. He had a preferred spot for me to hide which made the game rather unchallenging but still immensely fun. When it was my chance to find Jon, I would pretend to be completely baffled trying to locate him. I looked in the curtains. No Jon. In a pair of shoes. No Jon. In a drawer. Astonishingly, no Jon. Every single time he hid in the exact same spot. When it was my turn, I'd tuck myself under the dining room table and wait for him to "find" me.  He must have thought, "Wow, Dees (that's his name for me) is pretty dense," since I usually hid in the exact same spot. But that's one of the hidden rules of the game with Jon. 

I'm so glad he put up with my antics. We would still be playing hide and seek if it were up to him. How does he do it? He makes everything hilarious! Doesn't this look like fun? I can't wait to do it again and again and again! Bet you can't find me - HA!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Next Step

Today Nathan got a phone call from the local West Point recruiter. He is a 1993 graduate and wants to meet my son. The guy is coming by the school this Wednesday to answer Nathan's questions and maybe meet with the principal. One of the things I have appreciated through this whole process is how everyone seems to be very upfront and honest about what it takes to go to West Point Military Academy. They aren't sugar coating this experience, I feel like we are getting an honest appraisal, perhaps more than at a traditional university. My son is Army strong but am I? He can learn to run in the freezing cold and understand military strategy. He will be able to scale walls and carry a rifle with ease. But me, y'all, I am so terribly weak and vulnerable. I am such a wimp. Probably can't even do a decent push up if my life depended on it. I'm not talking about my physical strength. I know that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, I have to tuck that truth deep into my heart.
 
I know that when I am weak, He is strong. What would I do without my Heavenly Father right beside me? As my friend Janice reminded me, the Lord knows what it's like to give up your beloved son. While we were walking on the campus, I began to cry as I thought about my dad. 
He never met any of my children having died when he was only 44 years old. Warm tears streamed down my face as I thought about how proud he would have been of his grandson. I thought about my mother-in-law who is with the Lord now and wondered what she would have had to say?

Thanks to some sage counsel from another friend, my precious husband reminded Nathan of this; he is going to a success anywhere he goes. Mark is always a source of encouragement and perspective. It is so good to lean on a loving man and a Heavenly Father. 

When Nathan was staying overnight in the barracks, he called to check in. I asked my OS, "Well, what do you think? Do you want to go to West Point?" He gave me the best answer I could have wanted, "I like it but I'm praying about it."

I'll keep you posted. 



Friday, January 25, 2008

Visiting West Point


We arrived at the Admissions Office at 8 am on Friday. Since that time we have learned a lot of impressive things about West Point. I am honored that my son is even considering this place. West Point has a nobility about it that I haven't felt at other universitiesHaving not grown up in a military family, it's strange walking around in a camouflage-colored campus where people all walk the same and salute each other. I'm not saying I don't like, it's just a whole new culture. You don't see any dreadlockss in anyone's hair or piercings or tattoos, no facial hair either. It's a very clean cut campus body.  
West Point info we learned:

4,400 students attend
7 to 1 student/teacher ratio - This is less than in elementary school!
81% graduation in four years
Upon graduation cadets commit to five years of service in the Army - this is a very serious commitment
It's estimated that a West Point education is worth $448,000

Wake up time: 5:00, not 5:01, definitely not 5:15. It's not pretty if you don't wake up on time. If Nathan goes there, it should be a VERY interesting considering time to see how he does with that. Considering how much prodding his brothers do to get him up at 7 am, I wonder how he will adjust. 

Your room stays clean. Impeccably clean. 
I mean so clean not even a hair should be on the ground. You don't want a hair on the ground or a dust bunny or anything out of place. It's not pretty. You will walk the plain (a large flat field on campus) or worse. 

When we were walking around the campus, Mark was impressed with how many cadets called him, "sir" as he passed them by. I only heard some cuss word while on campus. When we visited another university, the cuss words were flying all over the place. I'm not saying they don't use them (wouldn't that be nice, though), it was such a totally different atmosphere.

I'm praising the Lord that I brought my trusty long undies as I was able to handle the chilly temp thanks to the layers of clothing. I wasn't exactly working it but sometimes you have to forgo high fashion, you know what I mean?

I have cried at least six times but not in an embarrassing way. One time, yesterday morning, the lieutenant mentioned something about saying good-bye to your family and I almost lost it. I drew a deep breath, getting ready to let loose of a few years but immediately Nathan looked over at me (he knows me pretty well) and I knew I had to try and get myself together. I sucked the tears back in and waited until Mark and I were together to let a few fall from my eyes.

We are awaiting news on his eye exam and physical so he hasn't been officially accepted yet. Nothing is a done deal yet. However, I have to accept is this - I have to accept and yield God's will for my son's life whether it's at West Point or somewhere else. The Lord and not me, have to determine my precious boy's future. We are earnestly praying and if I get ahead of myself, I'm a wreck but if I stay in the moment, I can handle things. It is obvious the Lord is using this experience to make us lean into Him more and more. 

We pick Nate up at 1 pm and we'll learn more about his overnight time with a cadet. Check back for more details as we continue on this incredible journey. 



 

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Flying to Fishkill

We arrived here in Fishkill, NY after an uneventful flight. I really like uneventful flights, they are my preferred type of air travel.

Nate was really excited to see a few snowflakes. We went to the Wal-Mart to pick up a few things and Nate saw a small pile of snow. As a true Southerner, he didn't have a clue so when he went to make a snowball only to find that it was a frozen chunk. Also in true Southern fashion, Nathan didn't think he needed his winter coat. He insisted that he'd be warm enough with his fleece jacket and a soft shell jacket. After spending a few moments in the East, Nathan decided he might need a hat. Duh! I think Nathan is going to learn the true meaning of frigid, bone-chilling cold if he goes to West Point.  Above is Nathan in a ski mask (he didn't buy this one) and then you'll see Nate jumping on his father (one of his favorite things to do). Bet you didn't know you could this much fun at Wal-Mart, huh?

We arrive at West Point by 8 am and we'll tour the campus. Then we'll say goodbye to Nate as he shadows a cadet and spends the night in the barracks. Mark and I will return to our hotel room without our boy.  That will be weird. I'm just taking this one step at a time, trying to not get ahead of myself. Taking in the experience, asking the Lord to give us all wisdom and direction, I'll keep you posted. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Books for 5th grade boys?

Isaac and I have accomplished a nearly impossible feat...we have finished reading a book together! Taa daa! This is not an easy task, especially with my youngest, orange-haired, freckle-faced olive shoot but I was determined to succeed. Despite countless temper tantrums, drama galour, Ike and I read every page of Roald Dahl's book The BFG.

As a fine purveyor of words, I find great joy and peace reading to my sons. With a dictionary somewhere nearby, some of the most cherished moments I've had with my boys have been cradling a book in my hands with one of my olive shoots (sons) tucked closely by my side. I love digging into the dictionary and learning new definitions, words fascinate me. I should have been a linguistics major!

And I can't resist adding funny accents to the characters in the books. When Aaron, Ike and I read The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien and The Tale of Despereaux (amazing book!) by Kate DiCamillo, I had countless crazy voices. Sometimes I'd change the accent mid-sentence when I realized that the character had an American accent instead of a British one, or it was a female
character not a guy but my boys put up with the inconsistencies and indulged me nonetheless. While reading The BFG, I had a lot of fun using quirky British lilts as I read the scrambled words of the Big Friendly Giant. The BFG said words like "bobsticle" instead of "obstacle," he was quite a colorful fellow. Occasionally Ike would allow himself to grin in the midst of my silliness. Even if he'd rather be outside playing basketball, I think deep down inside he was enjoying himself.

We turned the final pages of our book and I'm wondering this...Do any of you have any recommendations as to what we should read next? Ike is an 11 year old boy. I need a book that is interesting, clever with some surprising twists. Do you have any ideas? Let me know, I'd appreciate it and I'll let you know what we pick. I've got one in mind but it might not be a good fit. Your suggestions would be great.
video

Monday, January 21, 2008

Guitar Jam Session

"The babies are coming! The babies are coming!" I shouted as my two adorable nephews and sister began walking up the driveway. Mom had to go to the doctor again today and Denise and her guys decided to stop by while waiting to pick her up. I love seeing these two guys, I could write a blog about being an aunt almost as easily as I write about being a mom. A few moments with Jon and Josiah and life is good, really good. 
Five boys ranging in age from 5 months to almost 18 years old scurried around the house. Jon made himself comfortable and walked upstairs. There he huddled himself into Nathan's room and felt like a real big boy in his Thomas the Train pajamas. Listening to the sounds emanating from there, I opened the door and saw Nathan treating his 2 year old cousin to an impromptu jam session complete with singing. Soon Aaron was joining in and Jon sneaked in a few strums on Nate's guitar. Josiah was downstairs nursing having his own special moments ;) 
Btw, as a dutiful mom, I want to mention that my son does sleep with sheets on his bed. It was Monday and it is my washing sheets day. 
I'm trying to take care of my family like that cuz I'm not down with bed bugs and dust mites, ya know what I mean? Just didn't want anyone thinking my boy was severely neglected. Oh, and one more thing, the bottles on his shelves, those are Izze drinks, a natural fruit juice made with a splash of sprinkling water. Completely healthy, non-alcoholic, refreshing and innocent. Ok, now go and enjoy the video clip knowing those little caveats. (I'm having trouble loading the video, technical difficulties, check back again, folks!)

Being a mom of three sons is a blessing, being the aunt of two adorable boys makes my heart sing!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Apples of Gold


I am taking a women's mentoring class through my church for the next seven weeks. It's called Apples of Gold and we are learning the gentle art of homemaking and hospitality. Combined with a Bible Study we discuss things like kindness, hospitality, loving your husband, etc. Each week an intimate gathering of women ranging in age from 19 to 62 years old meet in a beautiful home and are treated to a wonderful meal and fellowship. We get a cooking lesson, hear from one of our group mentors and discuss applying God's Word into our daily lives as women.
I enjoy meeting with these women every week. 
I find that I have a lot more in common with them then I would have previously imagined. 
Some are dealing with issues I struggle with and others are just beginning their lives as adult women. How nice to have a place where you can be yourself and find common ground. 
You should see the gorgeous house where we meet. I'll have to take some pictures of it. A historical home, perfectly appointed, charming and old-fashioned, cozy and reminiscent of olden times. It's like a bed and breakfast just down the street. This week we dined on pork tenderloin, rice pilaf, fresh salad with a delicate homemade dressing and an apple dessert served with vanilla ice cream. 

We are fed physically, emotionally and spiritually, satisfied and encouraged in every way. 
I leave inspired and ready to serve my family. 
What a far cry that is from my angry feminist days when I felt like the most demeaning place in the world was the kitchen?! My mother would toil away and rarely get a few sparse comments afterward.
 
Now I find that my home and kitchen are places where I can be creative and welcoming, like my true femininity has a place to prosper.  
Even my boys appreciate the little extra touches. Although this week they were a little frustrated. They wanted to eat right away and I made them wait so I could fold my napkins in a fancy way and make a nice table setting. 
My mom is visiting for the weekend and I wanted her to see my mad napkin folding skills! 
Here's everybody eagerly awaiting dinnertime. Actually this is a "Mom, just take the picture!" kind of moment. 

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Knife Video

I guess a bit of living in a house full of men has rubbed off on me. I got the best Christmas gift I could ever imagine. I got a knife. Not just an ordinary knife, it was a knife I've been longing to clutch in my hand for a very long time. A Santuko knife. I've had my eye on a Santuko knife for years and at last I have a really nifty one...a Santuko knife from Cutco. Yeah, it's sweet. I love watching the FoodNetwork and noticed this knife on several cooking programs. I feel like Rachael Ray and the Iron Chef!  My knife has fast become my favorite kitchen tool. Its full tang, triple rivet construction, dishwasher safe, highly engineered thermo-resin material, the list goes on and one. These are just some of the reasons I'm smitten with my Christmas present. 

It might be like Ralphie on A Christmas Story who longed for a Red Rider b-b gun only I think the worst thing that could happen to me is I could lose a finger or something. Hey, I've got ten of them, just in case! My eyes should be ok though. Using this knife requires some skill and attention, it is seriously sharp. The first time I used it, I was freaked out by how smoothly it sliced through things. 

My wacky OS Nathan created this video of me using my Cutco knife. In case you notice, I'm not wearing a wedding ring. I'm immensely happily married, especially since my husband is the one who bought me the knife. I just don't like to wear my rings when cooking, the water makes my rings feel slimy. Just something special about me, I guess.

At Christmas I motioned my mom into the kitchen just so she could watch me use my knife. She was overwhelmed to say the least. I also was gracious enough to allow my sister a complimentary slice. I'm sure she'll be calling me soon for another visit. 


video

Awkward discoveries

In order to thwart a worldwide epidemic which could have threatened humankind, we cleaned Aaron and Isaac's room. Oy, what a mess! Mark and I must be the worst parents ever because it could have been condemned. Praise the Lord, I didn't find any moldy food in there, but it was a distinct possibility.

So for the last two days we have vacuumed and dusted, rearranged and threw out. 
A huge pile of items will be delivered to the neighborhood Goodwill tomorrow and children throughout the county will be overjoyed with the stuff we are donating. 

If you are looking for some broken in GI-Joes, matchbox cars, plastic knights and sweaters, you'll have big fun!

Aaron was underneath the bunkbeds. Before I vacuumed, I had him double check and make sure nothing was there. I didn't want to suck up a sock. 
That's not fun and the sound makes me feel weird inside. A long pause and a few moments of silence interrupted his productivity. What was going on???

Here's the interactive part of this post. What did Aaron find?

Did my middle OS discover: 

Two dried washrags that he used in the summer when he got hot in the room and we wouldn't turn down the a.c.?
Did my teenager A rotting banana from a bag lunch
Or did Aaron find my blue bra which I had forgotten I ever owned?

Answer is....BLUE BRA!!!

This is a re-enactment of the moment. I honestly thought he found something very scary. The banana would have sent me into orbit. But I guess discovering a blue brassiere in your bedroom is kinda freaky for a 13 year old boy. I think I can use it a lot more than he could or at least I hope so! 
How did it get there, nobody knows! If we wouldn't have moved everything, it would have been there forever!~I did find two old washrags earlier in the cleaning process. btw. At least we had something to laugh about, the rest of the experience wasn't terribly amusing! It looks a lot better, yay! 


Friday, January 11, 2008

Anticipating change


My oldest OS Nathan got accepted to UNC-Chapel Hill last week. He has finished all his college apps and is awaiting news on the other schools. With only 20 minutes to spare, he sent his application to Georgetown University the other day. It looks like our son is going to spread his wings and fly! It could be to a well-respected school nearby or one nine hours away. 

As we anticipate great change in our household, I admit sometimes I struggle. 
Where does the Lord want my son to be? What if it's far away? What'll I do? I have to grant my son freedom to go where he feels called but ouch, y'all it's painful!

This includes taking him to visit West Point Military Academy in New York.

In record time, Nathan completed all the necessary paperwork to apply to West Point. He had an endurance test, eye test and physical exam. He got a congressional nomination from a State Representative and we've heard they only give out five a year. Our boy was diligent and focused - normally these things take some time, Nathan did it all in less than a week.

One night before Christmas, my OS began to read his responses to the West Point questions on the application. With great conviction, Nathan recited his answers. He spoke clearly and didn't waver as he read to me that he was willing to die for his country and stand up for what is right even to the point of sacrificing himself. That's when I began to lose it. Whoa...I had to ask him to stop for a minute so I could get myself together. Of course I was crying as I told my handsome OS that my mama's heart needed a second to gain some composure. "Nathan, you have never had little feet kicking inside you and you've never heard that person who you gave birth to, say things like this. Mom just needs a minute here." 
My sweet boy understood as best he could. Pride, fear, excitement, sadness, love, oh the love overwhelm every part of me even as I write this tears stream from my face. 

Being a mom is at times the most selfish thing I've ever done but I'm learning to expect new lessons involving having to completely forget about myself and give my growing sons the courage to fly, even if it's far from my safe and cozy little nest.

I'll let you know how things are going. For right now, I need to get some Kleenex...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Bonjour Blois!


I was looking at my sitemeter today and noticed someone from Blois visited my blog. My husband and I visited Blois about 20 years ago. Quelle coincidence! Situated among the Loire Valley, Blois is a charming little town in France that is known for chocolate production. The entire town smelled like chocolate and we rode our bikes throughout the city. What wonderful memories I have of my time in Blois.  Salut de mon nouvelle ami de Blois! Soyez libre de me laisser un petit message, j'etais ravie de vous connaitre!
I've been speaking more French lately than I have in a long time. What is God doing with this? We have been eating late too, a common French custom. Whenever my boys complain about having dinner between 8-9 pm instead of 5-6, I just say, "We're French." They don't find it terribly amusing but it's a good excuse. Having spent a year in France, occasionally I'll claim French heritage. 
About three weeks ago, I even dreamt in French and recalled random words I thought I would have long forgotten. A few days previous, I had a student from Mozambique in my class. I spoke French to him for two class periods. He even understood me! 
My husband and I were engaged in France. That's another story. Here's a little picture to prove it. Bienvenue mes amis francophones!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Flushing...


Oh the never ending joys of motherhood. After repeated attempts to get my middle OS Aaron to think of others, i.e. flushing the toilet after using it, Aaron is currently experiencing a consequence. He has to clean the bathrooms...all three of them and wow, he's having a great learning experience! NOT! 

This morning I awoke to find a lovely yellow "present" in the potty. I shouted, er, uh, politely inquired of my children, curious to find who left behind the charming, lingering reminder of their presence. At least Aaron confessed. He can't seem to remember to flush every single time. How can a guy continually forget to flush the toilet? Ew! If you notice my profile, bathroom hygiene is a big deal for me. My lifelong goals are to raise three sons who love Jesus and also keep the toilet seat down after using it. Is this too much to ask? As I considered my disciplinary options, I decided I needed to get serious and give him a punishment he would remember. As of right now, I'd say this punishment is immensely effective.

I am definitely a contender for World's Worst Mom today.  It's not a title I covet but I'm willing to accept it since I know it's only temporary. I just don't want to be a wimp when it comes to raising my three OS. Check out what the Bible says about discipline, "no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." (Hebrew 12:11) Is there someone in your family you think could have benefited from more discipline, more consequences, more training? I see scores of young people who fall into this category. I know plenty of adults who are spoiled and self-centered. This world certainly doesn't need three more! 

One day when Aaron is older, I think he will look back at this experience and smile. He will hopefully recall how we didn't back down and trained him up in the way he should go.  "You show love to your family when you flush the toilet," I offered a proverb of my own. (Feel free to use it with any male in your house). Aaron reflected upon this, not sure what to say but I think he's learned a few lessons, not just about washing sinks and scrubbing toilet bowls but about character and consideration. Maybe he'll be a Christian plumber/actor/football pro one day! A righteous man who loves the Lord, puts the seat down AND flushes - I have high hopes! He should be excellent husband material one day! 



Sunday, January 6, 2008

Don't see Spelling Bee!



Our family went to the Raleigh Memorial Theatre today for a Broadway play. I was looking forward to doing something cultural and artsy with all our boys. Instead it was a horrible disappointment and we ended up walking out of the performance before intermission. We went to see "Spelling Bee" and I wish every seat had been empty. This was supposed to be a play about a spelling bee, for goodness sake but there was an agenda that had NOTHING at all to do with it. I love words and spelling. I am the type of person who stops to take pictures of typos, this sounded like my kind of show. Instead it was disgusting. 

Several offensive comments and jokes kicked off the show. I was confused from the very start about the premise of the whole thing. We heard jokes about sexual orientation, jokes about politics, jokes about Hispanics, jokes about things I won't write about because they are completely inappropriate and you would be offended (and rightly so). 

I heard a few people behind us, who had brought a children, groan and squirm. At times, it felt like the audience was growing cold and weary. We certainly were. But the absolute worst assault of all was when all the performers sang in unison "G-D it!" during one of the songs. All the performers sang it gleefully. Sickening! My spirit sank and I was angry. I looked over and noticed Nate's jaw tighten and 11 year old Isaac peering over at me. Everything about staying felt wrong. But my husband had given me these tickets as a Christmas present! We had spent over $250 on these tickets! That's a lot of money! Some of my readers might be wondering why we stayed even a second longer. I am not sure, we have since apologized to our children. They broke out in song and used the Lord's name in vain again. There was an embarrassing joke about boy's anatomy and it was clear to us, it was time to go. I am happy that we walked out during the performance so it was obvious five people, a family, were leaving. My prayer is that it gave permission for others to follow suit.

When we spoke to the theatre manager, he said he has heard this from other people. He totally appreciated our perspective. There was nothing glorifying about this event. They were not especially talented or funny either. We had used our Sunday afternoon for this event and had gone just after leaving church. The manager gave Mark the name of his boss and Mark has already called demanding a full refund. This was not a family oriented show. It was a disgrace. 

We walked out from the theatre and I felt like I could breathe again. 
The sun was shining, the day was not lost. I praise the Lord that those words stung so deeply because I have been delivered. Friends, for many years, I must confess, those terrible words found residence on my own tongue. 
I hate sharing this. Lord, please forgive me. But as horrible as this play and those words are, I think it would have been worse to still be sitting in those chairs with my precious husband and babies and not feel anything at all.
 

"But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. 

I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness."

Romans 6:17-19


Friday, January 4, 2008

My New Ring Tone


While listening to my XM radio yesterday, I learned about some super cool new ringtones. The Center for Biological Diversity has free endangered species ringtones of some of the world's most threatened birds, owls, frogs, toads and marine animals. I've been using a boring ringtone for years now and I'm ready for a change. I'm ready to step into this new audio frontier. I'm ready to see people's reactions. I told my OS Nathan about this since he loves tree frogs but he's too "cool" to change his ringtone. Whatever, Nate, talk to the hand...However, my amazing husband downloaded the orca whale and wow, did it elicit a strange reaction from his boss while they were in a meeting! Very professional, wouldn't you say?

You've been looking for a band-bellied owl sound, no problem. Maybe you've been longing for a foothill yellow-legged frog sound, well, my friend, your wait is over. I can't wait until they have a penguin sound. (OM gosh, they just added it! Untold joy is filling my heart and soul!!!) According to the commercial, penguin sounds should be arriving shortly as the winter season progresses. I love penguins. Best animal in the world and I hope I'm not offending anyone but it's the truth. 

In the meantime though, in honor of my mission trip this summer, I have selected the Peruvian Plantcutter. Granted I never saw a Peruvian Plantcutter while in Lima but that's not stopping me. Tell me what you'd think of you heard this sound coming out of a lady's purse! http://www.myxertones.com/ringtone:30756

Check this site out yourself and let me know if you have changed your ringtone http://www.myxertones.com/artist/5119 or www.biologicaldiversity.org

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Getting the Right Perspective

Depression can hit me without a lot of warning. It doesn't take too much to bring on the blues. Starting back to work on January 2nd, returning from a brief family vacation, Christmas being only a week ago and yet it seems like it was only here for a moment, those are the things that have me blue right now. Then what usually happens is that I get angry with myself for being depressed. Thus a stupid, vicious cycle begins until the proverbial fog is lifted. Not a lot of fun...
In an effort to help me gain a more positive perspective, I wanted to reflect on some memorable moments in 2007.

Peru - During the summer, I went on a mission trip to Lima, Peru. The Lord taught me that I can do all things through Him who gives me strength. 
I look at the globe on my desk and find myself in disbelief that I really traveled to that dusty land without my family. 
I remember watching my feet walk along the cobblestone steps on the way to my hotel room and it was like an out of body experience. What was I doing in a place like this? God touched my heart and is moving me to ponder future adventures...hmmm...

Children - My children are growing and I still enjoy them very much. How blessed I am to have three sons who still snuggle with me and display affection. We are silly and serious and my OS bring me joy in every way. I love how Aaron gave me a penguin Christmas card this year and I was the only person to get a card. He remembered that I love penguins (it's common knowledge that I love penguins) but took the time to buy the card and write a tender message on it for me.  
I love how Nathan indulges my corny jokes and lets me hold his hand. 
Even when we're at the mall, he'll still let me grab onto his elbow even if it's not long enough for me. I rejoice in Isaac's quick wit and orange hair. 
He is my Freckled Fire and I adore him. 

Organization - It was a brave step to allow an organizational consultant into my nasty home office. For years that room had been a place of embarrassment and shame. With a lot of hard work and her optimistic vision, my home office was transformed into a pretty room with personality. 
I took the doors off the office, that's how good it looks. 
I never imagined the transformation that took place but it all came together. 

Home Improvements - The Lord blessed my husband this year in the area of home 
improvements. My DH designed our new kitchen island, built me a super cool chalkboard for a kitchen wall and installed travertine tiles on the floor. And that's not all! Mark discovered his inner handyman and it's been wonderful to see him develop new talents and prove to himself that he can tinker around the house. 

Nephews - 
This year our family welcomed Josiah Samuel into our lives. He is my sister Denise's youngest boy. Josiah is a precious butterball. His two year old brother, Jon knows my name and they all live nearby. This is the first time I have had the opportunity to really be an aunt. I love my aunts so much and my boys love my sisters, I just wanted to have the chance to really know what it's like. As far as I can tell, being an aunt is second only to being a grandparent. It's the best of all worlds because you're not responsible to raise them but can lavish love and affection and leave when you want. 

Ok, I'm feeling better. 2007 had exciting journeys and unexpected blessings and the new year is about to begin. I'm sure there will be interesting moments along the way.