Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Goodbye, fall.

I've said it before... I wish fall could last forever.

Crunchy leaves. Dancing leaves. Colorful leaves.

Reds, oranges, yellows, browns. Crisp air and bright blue skies. Gentle breezes.

I've felt sad in the last few days as the trees get barer and barer. Emma told me the other day that the trees look naked. She's right - they're beginning to look that way. I'm trying to hang on to these last days of autumn, so hopefully the pictures from the last few weeks will hold me through until next year!

Okay... brace yourself for a LOT of pictures!

These were taken on a little morning hike by the Flatirons...



Helping Grandpa rake leaves in his yard...At the pumpkin patch...




And in our own front yard...

Monday, October 29, 2007

A brush with the law

Let me tell you a little story...

Once upon a time, when I was four years old, I shoplifted. I remember it as clearly as if it had happened yesterday. I was at K-Mart with my mom and little sister and somehow pocketed a small, plastic cow. I remember it looking something like this. I don't know why I needed the cow or if I knew I'd be in trouble, but I know that the cow found a new home that day. Maybe I thought I was being noble and rescuing it from certain damaged-goods-death at K-Mart. After all, the poor cow was all alone. Whatever set he had come from, whatever tag had once been placed on him, he was forgotten and lonely. I can make this sound as flowery as I want, but the bottom line is: I stole the cow.

I vividly remember pulling that cow out at lunch time while my sister and I sat in the booth in the kitchen waiting for mom to make us lunch. (Yes, we had a BOOTH in our kitchen. How cool is that?!) As soon as my mom saw it, the jig was up. She knew it didn't belong to me and figured out that I'd utilized the good ol' five finger discount. Here's the part of the story that's most clear to me - she took me straight back to K-Mart and had me apologize to the clerk at the customer service desk for taking that cow. I remember being embarrassed and taking to heart that it was the WRONG thing to do. I've thought back on that many times since then and admire what my mom did.

Okay. Fast forward roughly 26 years. You guessed it. Emma shoplifted today. She'll be four next Monday. Oh, the irony! We were at Hobby Lobby today and she asked if she could have this cheap little $.99 tape measure that was calling to her in the checkout.
I said no, and asked her to put it back. I watched her put it back, but in the busyness of checking out, she was able to go get it and quietly put it in her pocket without me noticing. A couple of errands later, I heard a click-click-click-click-SNAP! from the backseat. I turned around to see her playing with the stupid tape measure! I was furious. Not only had I told her no, she TOOK it. As soon as we got home Gary and I had a little chat with her. We didn't want to scare her, but we let her know that when some people steal things, they go to jail. She asked, "Do I get to go to jail?" So the scare tactic didn't work. I left Addie with Gary and off we went, back to Hobby Lobby.

Before we left, she announced that she was tired and wanted to take a nap. Folks, this is the first time in her short little life she's admitted to being tired. Coincidence? I think not.

We got in the car and took a silent drive to Hobby Lobby. On the way, I called my mom for a little reinforcement, which only brought me to tears. After I got off the phone, all Emma said was, "But Mommy I need this tape measure."

We stood in a very long line at Hobby Lobby, and I could see her wheels turning during our whole wait. She told me she only wanted to talk to a girl, which was too bad since we were in a "boy's" line. She pointed out where she got it and said she could just put it back and "that will be okay, Mommy." I said "no" as I tried to imagine how she'd look like in black and white stripes.

Eventually we got to the front of the line. I admit that I'm disappointed that the clerk was a teenage boy who really didn't get the gist of what I was doing and the lesson I was trying to teach her. I told him we'd been in earlier and that Emma had taken the tape measure, and that we had come back so that Emma could make things right. Emma promptly handed over her treasure and said, "I'm sorry I took this." He hardly looked at her, but looked at me with a clueless look and said, "Um, okay." I guess I was hoping for a sweet old lady who would deal with Emma with just the right amount of correction and gentleness. Oh well.

We were barely out the door, Emma skipping and be-bopping by my side, when she looked up at me with sparkling eyes and said, "Mommy! I'm not tired anymore!" Oh! Imagine that!

When we got back to the car, I looked straight into her eyes and thanked her for apologizing to the man at the store. I told her that was the right thing to do and that God would be proud of her for doing the right thing after making a bad decision like that. My frustration is that she just took the whole thing so lightly. She spent some time in her room when we got home, but I think the whole incident was long forgotten by then. I really need to be seeking out answers and ways I can teach my kids the difference between right and wrong, and how to make them more sensitive and remorseful when they choose wrong.

In the meantime, I guess I'll start saving up for when we'll be posting bail.

And okay, yes. I took a picture of the tape measure. And yes, my first thought when I realized what she'd done was, "Oh, this will be a great story for my blog!" Is that wrong? :)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

He knew

I was flipping through a devotional that I began over the summer (but unfortunately haven't finished). It's David: 90 Days with a Heart Like His, by Beth Moore. It's amazing and I highly recommend it. My plan was to start it on June 1st and end it on September 1st. And then I was going to do the Jesus: 90 Days with the One and Only devotional from September 1st through December 1st, just in time for Christmas. Great plan, right? Okay, so it didn't happen. I'm still on David. But I'm not giving up, I'll just keep on truckin'. (By the way, click on this link if you want to see those devos.)

Anyway, sometime in early to mid-June I was on Day 5 (hey, I'm being honest. I could've said it was June 5th and that I was right on track). I was reading about Hannah praying for Samuel and ultimately giving him to the Lord.

Near the end Beth asked this question, "What works the hardest against your heartfelt desire for your children to be used by God in whatever way He chooses and desires?"

My answer was this: "I just can't stand the thought of them being taken from me. I wouldn't knowingly put them in dangerous situations - but God might! That scares me. The thought of them dying and being taken from their earthly home, even in the context of it being for God's glory, is unbearable to think about. But it happens. I just want them to be safe and happy and healthy, but I know God's plan doesn't always mean those things."

I had no idea that in just a few short months I would indeed be giving my child over to God. When we kissed Joshua's cheek and handed him over to the nurse, sobbing and feeling so empty, we recognized that it was the Lord we were giving our son to. I might've handed him over almost eight weeks ago, but I feel like I've done it every day since. Not a single day has gone by that I've not revisited the day we lost him. The burden of losing our son is so great - too great to do alone. Every day I have had to give my sorrow to the Lord and lean on Him.

Hannah prayed for a son that she vowed to give over to the Lord for all the days of his life. She did so during his life, not his death, but I still feel a similarity. Day 5 of this David devotional really stuck with me, and I know it's no accident that I read it. I think it was preparing my heart for what was to come. Hannah gave Samuel over to do great things for the Lord, and I know that Joshua's short life has brought glory to God as well. Gary even shared with me the other night that he's almost thankful for what happened because of what the result has been. We've grown closer and stronger in our marriage, we've become aware of the loving community surrounding us and have learned how to love others as a result, and we've been able to share our testimony and dependence on God through our strife. Even at my MOPS group on Tuesday morning I was able to share briefly what happened, but it opened the door to talk to other moms who are hurting. I was surprised by the number of moms who spoke with me afterward, either relating their own experiences or just thanking me for opening their eyes to the hurt others have been through.

I ended Day 5 ended with this prayer: "Thank you for today's lesson, Lord. What a good and faithful mom Hannah was. Please show me how to pass my faith on to my children and teach them about You every day. It's a scary calling with HUGE responsibilities. Help me to be a mom like Hannah who willing hands my children over to you."

Joshua's death wasn't my idea. But even had he lived, I would've had to hand him over to God, just like I try to do with the girls daily. I can only continue to pray what I did back in June, that I can be like Hannah, and give my children over to the Lord willingly. It's kind of hard to swallow the fact that back in June God knew Joshua would die. But He's a good God, whose purpose in taking Joshua wasn't malicious. He put this devotional in my hands in time for His truth to marinate my heart before my world was shaken. He knew.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I {heart} fall

Today is one of those days that I feel like I'm going to burst because I just can't contain my love for fall. It's beautiful outside. It's in the mid-70's, the sun is shining bright, the sky is bluer than blue with not a single cloud in the sky, the trees are all showing off their brilliant colors... (I know - get off the computer and enjoy it, silly girl!) I drove past some horses today that were all facing a cluster of yellow trees with the mountains in the background. In my mind, they were enjoying the view as well.



I was in California last week and felt a little sad that I was missing a whole week of Colorado fall. Don't get me wrong, I love California, but there really isn't "fall" in Southern California. I imagined that I was leaving my crimson bushes and glowing yellow maples only to come home to stark, bare trees and a ground covered with dead brown leaves. Praise God that I was wrong!



I've been taking pictures non-stop (I suppose in my quest to stall fall as long as possible), and am posting just a sampling here. I don't claim to be a great photographer (or even a GOOD one), but this morning on my way home from Bible Study, I just thought to myself, "I'm so blessed to live here!" And then I thought, "God, you've let me live here my WHOLE LIFE!!!" I couldn't ask for more!



I've had to remind myself lately to enjoy fall and not stress out over it. My stress only comes from the fact that I feel like I'm going to miss the beauty if I don't take it all in properly. I feel like I can't open my eyes wide enough to see and appreciate it all. Fall is slipping away day by day and I'm afraid I'll miss it so much once it's gone for good. I don't mind that the colorful, crunchy leaves are replaced by beautiful snow, I just wish fall lasted longer. Maybe that's why I can appreciate it so much once it's here each year. The colors, the smells, the sights, the activities... I love it all.



These pictures are all from either my yard or my folks' yard. A lot of our leaves are bright yellow now and I haven't even taken pictures of them yet. And I feel like I need to add that I haven't altered these in any way - these colors are the real deal, folks!!!





I took these pictures on my way home from Bible Study today. You need to know that I didn't even get out of my car to take any of these. Nor did I take side roads - these are all from my regular everyday drive! I have such a simple lesson to teach my girls every day about the glory of God's creation. We live in a work of art! (And these pictures hardly do it justice!)


That's Long's Peak:



Those are the Flatirons waaaay in the distance off to the left. Imagine... a 20 minute drive and I'm next to them. That's what we're doing tomorrow: hiking around the Flatirons, per Emma's request. It took me all of a half second to say yes to her request! I can't wait.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Proud mama

Pssst... I'm in California on vacation!

I just spent the last three days in a row at Disneyland. Believe it or not, I'm NOT Disneyland-ed (?) out. That's a whole new post.

So I was standing in line with my family yesterday for a ride when I noticed some teenage guys watching my 2 year old. First one guy pointed her out to his one friend, who passed it on to the third friend. They stood there smiling at her, and how could they not? With her bright yellow pigtails glowing in the sun and those blue eyes that melt your heart, she really is a cutie. And then I noticed the family next to them looking at her too. I couldn't help but smile, trying to suppress my pride and bursting heart. Yes, people, she's cute. Smiling from ear to ear, I glanced down to share the precious sight of sweet Addie and adore her with my own eyes, only to see that she was picking her nose. The girl was going to town and not giving up easily.

Did I mention it was her 2nd birthday yesterday?

Hmm. Well, isn't she adorable.

More when I return home...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

How considerate

The scene: My room
The time: This morning
The characters: Emma and Mommy
The situation: I had just gotten out of the shower, dripping wet in my towel



Emma: Mommy?
Mommy: Yes, Ems?
Emma: It's okay with me if you go downstairs and bring me back some juice. You can even go in your towel if you want to.

GEE, THANKS!

It actually reminds me of a funny little story: When we were little, my mom was taking us to my grandma's house and was reminding us of our manners on the way. My grandma had a cookie jar that was always stocked for our visits. (Hey - my mom is a grandma now and needs to get on that!) My mom told us, "Now remember girls, you may have a cookie if grandma offers you one, but don't ask her for one." Sometime during the visit, my brilliant little sister Amy marched right up to Grandma and said, "Grandma, we can have a cookie if you ask us to." Smart girl.
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