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A Tentative Start

I’ve been away for so long, I’m afraid that my blogging muscles have completely withered, but lately I’ve been thinking that I need to start counting again – counting my blessings and recounting the precious moments that we are living out daily.

And so I’m trying to fit back into this space, fitting the thanksgiving into the numberline, where I left off:

531.  modern technology that allows international calls without the international price tag

532.  four month olds who are seriously chubby, one in particular

533.  smiles from babies, again, one in particular

534.  children praying for their daddy at night

535.  encouraging notes from a friend

536.  another friend who offers sage advice and a listening ear

537.  another friend who is letting me sit in on her knitting class again, to help teach this time

538.  painting with six-year-olds

539.  warm gingersnaps (I didn’t even think I liked gingersnaps until I made them for my class!)

540.  thirteen children who “Oooooh” and “Aaaaah” over my still-warm-because-I-barely-had-time-to-bake-them-before-class gingersnaps!

541.  the mom who told me that her daughter missed me when I was not teaching last week

542.  doors that seem to be closing while other doors are opening

543.  a little girl in the safe home of a friend who has three boys (even if only for a season)

544.  the knowledge that even prayers whispered are heard

545. new classes for my children

546.  anticipation

547. Valentines mailed and delivered

548. a lazy Sunday

549.  pajamas worn the whole day

550.  toothbrushes and toothpaste!

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This morning I told Handsome, “Just yesterday, we started this month, and now it’s the 11th – almost halfway done!  How does that happen?”

He looked at me straight-faced and replied, “Well, ten days passed.”

But I’m sure they didn’t; I’m sure I just blinked.

Is that what they mean when they say that time flies when you are having fun?

In this season, I’m grateful:

517.  I’ve learned to knit, something that I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember.

518.  I am so grateful to have something that I enjoy doing

519. . . . and it’s portable, so I can do it while I wait for the kids to do their activities!

520.  I’m enjoying finding yarn and patterns and putting them together to make masterpieces.

521.  Enjoying something.

522.  Oldest daughter is also learning to knit,

523.  and it’s so fun to have a shared hobby – another point of connection.

524.  After a long season of feeling “dry,” I am encouraged again.

525.  God shows grace in the funniest places, a basket full of yarn and sticks among them.

526.  The same oldest is currently sitting here next to me singing “Take this world and give me Jesus . . . ,” compliments of Building 429, while she does her math.

527.  She just wants to be in the same room as me.

528.  This parenting journey is so full of amazements

529.  and so much grace.

530.  I am keenly aware that is it all flying by too quickly!

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So my sister is much younger than I am, and she is just starting out on this baby-journey.

A bunch of us threw a shower for her last night.  I was in charge of two things:


(just one of eight that I threw together using vases and bowls we already had – going for the eclectic look)

and desserts:

(the dessert table – thanks to my cool friend who let me borrow the tied stands!)

(vanilla bean cupcake with cream cheese icing – I love me some cream cheese icing!)

(lemonade cupcakes with lemon glaze)

(triple chocolate cupcakes with dark chocolate ganache)

(sugar cookies – birds and flowers)

It was so much fun – all the baking and making . . . and truth be told my amazing-baker sister did help (yes, with her OWN shower!)  The vanilla bean cake recipe was a new one for me, but it was wonderful – super moist and yummy!  It was my first time using a real vanilla bean, and it was so fun . . . after I stopped being scared that I was going to do it wrong.

I got the lemonade cupcake recipe out of a Better Homes & Gardens Cupcake magazine that my mom bought before the shower; the glaze was simply juice from three organic lemons mixed with enough powdered sugar  to make it thick but not so thick that I couldn’t spoon it over the cupcakes.

The triple chocolate cupcakes were a disaster!  I made chocolate cake batter, added dark chocolate chips, then put them into special baking cups that don’t need a muffin pan.  They were a little shorter, so the cakes turned out shorter.  All went beautifully until I pulled them out of the oven and set them on the table to cool.  There they pulled away from the edge of the cupcake papers and shriveled to these mini-puck-looking shapes.  It was horrible!  Eventually, we came up with the idea of pulling them out of their original cups, placing them into the white papers and using the ganache as planned.  I think they turned out okay in the end, but I sure was sad about saying good-bye to my original vision!

While the taste of the lemonade cupcakes was my favorite flavor, the sugar cookies were my favorite thing to look at!  I have been looking for a sturdy sugar cookie recipe for years and years; when I found this one, I also found an icing recipe that I like better than the typical royal icing!  Talk about a score!  This is the second time I’ve used these recipes, and I just love working with the dough and the icing.  So. much. fun!

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Still here . . still smiling . . . still counting my blessings,

Just hasn’t been out loud lately.

Sometimes I feel like I have the choice between blogging and living.

Right now I am choosing living,

and I’m really enjoying it.

Today was one of the most hilarious days of my life (even if it was full of my own stupidity!).

Hopefully I’ll be back soon to tell the story.

Until then know that I’m laughing, and I hope you’re laughing with me!

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“When we first married I told my husband that I never wanted roses for Valentine’s Day; it seemed silly to me to pay for overpriced roses that weren’t going to last anyway.”

That is a quote from yesterday’s post.

Yesterday is also the very same day that I went upstairs to grab something that we needed for school downstairs.

Yesterday is also the same day that the doorbell rang when I went upstairs.

Yesterday is also the very same day that I answered the door to find a delivery man who handed me a very large vase.

Yesterday is the same exact day that my littlest Dimples exclaimed at the top of his lungs, “This is gonna be GI-NOR-MOUS!” as I removed the paper from the top of the vase.

And yesterday is the very first day that I beheld these:

Oh, I’ve gotten lots and lots of flowers before (LOTS!), but I don’t think in all these years he’s ever gotten me a dozen long-stem red roses. . . and they were ginormous!

He doesn’t listen very well, does he?  (Though he claims he’s off the hook, because they weren’t for Valentine’s Day.  They are just because he loves me.)

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I do love a good snow.  I love hearing the excitement in the kids’ voices.  I love the anticipation of going out to play in it.  I even (kind of) love shoveling the driveway.   I love getting the kids all suited up and sending them out one by one as they get all dressed in warm, puffy clothes.  I love coming in just a minute or two before they do to put the tea kettle on.  I love hearing them tell their stories while they get undressed – all breathless and still using their outside voices.  I love seeing their boots all lined up in the laundry room while just above them mittens and hats and scarves are lined up for drying.

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Gratitude (Again)

This is a repost from three years ago, just after we brought home Dimples and Gus.  That January was a very hard time for our family, but it was so very worth it . . . and this year, as we enjoy the fruits of all of our labor, I have thought a lot about how blessed we are.  I hope you are encouraged by this little flashback.

Today a friend posted the following quote in regards to adoption:

“We didn’t sign up for easy.”

It struck such a chord with me; I literally broke down and sobbed sitting right here at my computer. You see, I am so full of gratitude for the blessings we have seen this month, for the fact that Gus is beginning to want to communicate, that the children are relatively healthy, that our trip to Ethiopia was wonderful and I long to do more/know more about the wonderful place that will always hold a part of my children’s hearts. Yet I am so very in touch with my sinfulness – with my complete inability to meet all of these children’s needs at every moment. In my own strength I just don’t have enough patience, enough grace, enough washing machine capacity to get it all done! But God does, and He has shown me that again and again this last month.

Beyond all of that I am keenly aware that however hard this is, I so badly want to show these children the love of God. I fail daily, probably even every minute…yet I want what God wants for our family, even if it is hard. I want to know God more. He might not bring us hardship, but He might…and that is okay.

Send some rain, would You send some rain?
‘Cause the earth is dry and needs to drink again
And the sun is high and we are sinking in the shade
Would You send a cloud, thunder long and loud?
Let the sky grow black and send some mercy down
Surely You can see that we are thirsty and afraid
But maybe not, not today
Maybe You’ll provide in other ways
And if that’s the case…
We’ll give thanks to You with gratitude
for lessons learned in how to thirst for You
How to bless the very sun that warms our face
if You never send us rain
Daily bread, give us daily bread
Bless our bodies, keep our children fed
Fill our cups, then fill them up again tonight
Wrap us up
And warm us through
Tucked away beneath our sturdy roofs
Let us slumber safe from danger’s view this time
Or maybe not, not today
Maybe You’ll provide in other ways
And if that’s the case
We’ll give thanks to you
With gratitude
A lesson learned to hunger after You
That a starry sky offers a better view if no roof is overhead
And if we never taste that bread
Oh, the differences that often are between
Everything we want and what we really need
So grant us peace, Jesus, grant us peace
Move our hearts to hear a single beat
Between alibis and enemies tonight
Or maybe not, not today
Peace might be another world away
And if that’s the case…
We’ll give thanks to you
With Gratitude
for lessons learned in how to trust in You
That we are blessed beyond what we could ever dream
In abundance or in need
And if You never grant us peace
But Jesus, would you please….
–from Nicole Nordeman’s cd, Woven & Spun

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