Friday, March 28, 2014

Flashback Friday

Guess what today is?
It's someone's birthday!
Enjoy Anna-through-the-years ::
Anna at just a few days old :: 2008
Anna at 1 :: 2009
I can't believe our sweet Anna Grace is 6.
Anna at 2 :: 2010

Anna at 3 :: 2011

The year of the (short-lived) curls :: 2012

Anna turns 5 :: 2013
Happy 6th birthday, to our sweet girl, Anna. We love her lots and her spunky spirit. She adds snuggles, love, humor and fun to our family.

(Hi Robin!)

And here are a few more Anna favorites that I couldn't resist. Enjoy ::


Thursday, March 27, 2014

How on earth?

We had a big day around here over the weekend. It was our "twins" birthday. Jacob and Rebekah are exactly 2 years apart (within about an hour of time of day, too). They were due in different months, even, but we born on the same day. Jacob gave me a bit of high blood pressure that had the doctors worried and so they induced me early (he was due April 2nd). Rebekah was having a dandy time hanging out in my womb and saw no reason to leave, so finally when I was 6 days overdue and at the doctor for a check up, they insisted I come in the next morning to be induced -- which happened to be the 2nd birthday of my only other child. I wasn't super excited about them sharing a birthday (and cried about it in bed that night -- surprising, I know! Me. Crying?), but in the end it's kind of a fun thing for them to share a birthday. And it's good they didn't wait any longer to get Rebekah out of there, since she was over 10 pounds as it was. I hate to think what another day or two or three of "cooking" might have done to her! Yikes.
Jacob (3 or 4 months) and Daddy
Rebekah, almost 4 months
how sweet is that . . . holding hands

Jacob on St. Patty's Day in preschool (age 3)
Jacob (6 months or so) hanging out with his favorite college football player/uncle!

summer 2011
Rebekah (age 4) and her BopBop
eating pickles together at the state fair
first day of school :: 2nd grade and kindergarten
New Year's Eve 2012

right before Rebekah got all her hair cut off and donated it :: November 2012
Jacob and his mom
Rebekah made and decorated the cake with the candles (the 15 for Jacob and the 13 pink ones for herself), but since Jacob couldn't eat it Kirby whipped up another cake at the last minute so both birthday kids could enjoy some birthday cake on their big day!
the birthday "twins"

The Unexpected (and certainly unintended ) Sacrifice

So, I wrote earlier about the art exhibit of the "Stations of the Cross" that our church is doing, for which I was asked to create a piece. The one about which I was nervous, anxious and stressed out. I was in the company of some real, professional artists. Ones with crazy talent. Ones that I admire, respect and certainly wouldn't ever categorize myself with, as far as art goes! It was getting close to crunch time and the piece was due in the VERY near future. I had some ideas, but nothing firm or set in stone (actually, in my case, wood). I decided not to go to church with my family for Wednesday night activities and, instead, stay home and hope that some things came together and I could get a decent start, at least, on my submission. I was assigned the first station :: The Garden of Gethsemane. I read the associated passage from Luke in a few different versions, read a few commentaries on the passage and that night in the life of Jesus, and then started working with some ideas that had come to me -- some I had been thinking about since being given the assignment a few weeks ago and some that were fresh ideas to add to what was already percolating around in my mind.

All of a sudden things started to come together. Some of the ideas I had thought would work really well for my piece I threw out the window and some new ideas emerged. I had a basic idea laid out and was ready to put all the pieces together. I was close to being done -- my work is mainly a word collage with a couple visual aspects  as well. About half the words had been glued down and I was working on the rest of them. There is the aspect of time, that although not crucial, still can't be ignored. There is a limited time to work with things, you don't want things drying too quickly. So, when I noticed a speck of lint had found its way onto my piece, I blew it off -- clearly not thinking! The words that were yet to be glued down blew away (duh!). I wanted to pick them up quickly and keep working, so instead of moving my feet closer to where the pieces had landed, I kept planted where I was and stretched to reach them from the floor.

Here is where the unexpected sacrifice came into play :: I was wearing my favorite jeans. I bought them at a consignment store (where I buy most of my clothes) so I didn't pay too much for them. But, they fit great. They were long enough (tricky when you are long-legged). They were comfy. And, they looked good! I believe most of you understand how hard "that" pair of jeans is to find! So, some combination of my twisting and bending to get the blown-away words and I'm pretty sure you can guess what happened next . . . my very favorite jeans completely split up the back! No!

I knew taking this assignment would involve sacrifice. I would need to face my insecurities and step out of my cozy comfort zone. I would need to sacrifice time and mental energy to put my piece together. I would have to sacrifice a bit of money to buy the supplies. But I certainly did not intend to sacrifice my favorite pair of jeans! Believe me, had I seen this situation coming, I promise you I would have been wearing sweat pants, or an ill-fitting pair of jeans and NOT my favorites! Big bummer.

But, in the end, I really like the way my piece turned out, and I guess it was worth the sacrifice . . . all of them. Even the jeans (although I'm still mourning my loss). If you want to come and see the whole exhibit (I'm so excited to see how it comes together) that has a visual piece and a written piece for each station of the cross, it will be on display in the sanctuary of our church starting sometime next week. If you don't know where that is, I'd be happy to tell you, although I don't believe my audience is too vast and I'm pretty sure most of you are there most Sundays anyway (Hi Mom!).

Friday, March 21, 2014

Flashback Friday

March 2010 (clearly a warmer March than this one!)
What a difference 4 years can make. Everyone looks so little!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Wonderful Experience

I am currently tagging along on a work trip with Kirb. In California. Where it is currently about 70 and sunny! What a huge blessing. It's been more than 4 years since the last time we got away together (although my parents graciously swap houses -- and our kids stay with our house! -- with us each fall for a night or two around our anniversary). Plus, it's been a horrendous, cold, snowy, LONG winter and so some California sunshine is so very wonderful. While here, I have spent a little time "working" with Kirbs (meeting with donors), some time in the car, a little time by myself while he works and a little time together with him enjoying the MUCH nicer weather than what we've had at home this winter. Tomorrow starts our roughly 48 hours of pure vacation with no work commitments at all. Whoo hoo!

While in the Palm Springs area, we stayed with a wonderful lady that Kirby knows from work. We spent about 36 hours enjoying her hospitality and spending time with her and in her town. She took us to breakfast at this lovely restaurant on Saturday morning (not too early -- plenty of time for a mountain-view, outdoor (without layers of clothing), 7+ mile run to build up a good appetite!). There was outdoor seating in a fabulous setting (any good Minnesotan who has the chance to eat breakfast outside in the month of March in a place where the sun is shining and the food doesn't instantly freeze, better take the opportunity whenever they can!). We ate our delicious breakfast, looked around in the gift shop attached to the restaurant, which is mainly based around dates -- of all things -- since the restaurant is located in the middle of a date farm. I got quite the education on dates. SO very interesting! (really!). We noticed, while enjoying our breakfast, that there was a large fenced in area, labeled as "The Walk", behind the outside dining area. Nancy said she didn't know too much about it, as she'd never been back there. She didn't want to go after breakfast, because she had not brought along her sun hat. But we were intrigued.

We had a little down time in the afternoon and decided to go back and check it out.

I should really back up a bit . . . I was asked a few weeks ago to be a part of a collaboration surrounding Holy Week. Visual artists and authors from our area were asked to be a part of a "Stations of the Cross" exhibit to go along with our church's annual art show that we host each spring. I was honored (with a HUGE dose of intimidated and filled with anxiety!) to have been asked to be one of the visual artists! Yikes! I was collaborating on a significant, deeply meaningful project with some SERIOUSLY talented (and did I mentional, professional?) artists that I have major respect for and in whose artistic company I would never put myself in a million years! Yikes! (did I say that already?)

Anyway, I got the feeling this "Walk" was along the same lines as the stations of the cross and was hoping I might find a little inspiration for my part in the project (my piece is due at the end of this month. That's just over a week from now . . . cue mild -- or not so mild! -- panic!) It was, in it's most basic description, a visual walk through the life of Jesus. There were 15 stops along the way, each containing a sculpture and a verse of Scripture. Each "station" had a beautiful, meaningful natural backdrop that mirrored the life event in the life of Jesus. There was also a brochure that they gave you when you entered that showed a photo of each sculpture with a longer passage of scripture to go with each, as well as a commentary on the scene. 

It was such a meaningful experience and I'm so thankful we had (and took) the time to do it. I am thankful that the Lord lead me to this experience to help me gain confidence (a little, anyway) for this lofty project I have been asked to do. If Nancy had suggested a different place for breakfast, I never would have had this particular experience (woudn't have even known it existed). If I hadn't had the blessing (HUGE blessing) of tagging along on this trip with Kirby, I never would have had this particular experience. If we would have not had some down time in our day while we were there, I never would have had this particular experience. I love how everything worked together to give me the opportunity for this extra insight and chance to be freshly reminded, in a new way, of the life and death of Christ. That's so like God to bring all those circumstances together! I am thankful.

Check out the website (linked above) and if you are ever in the Palms Springs area of California, check it out in person. You will be glad that you did! Also, if you're local to the Twin Cities, come check out our church's art show and Stations of the Cross exhibit this April.(and don't be too critical a certain, timid "artist" that will try her best to represent visually, in a meaningful way, what her Lord and Savior went through in the Garden of Gethsemane.)

Now I'm off to enjoy the last couple days of vacation! I think I will read a book while enjoying the poolside sunshine! (My apologies if you are somewhere where it is cold and snowy today . . . I feel your pain. Just not actually right at this very moment!)

On a related note, I could never, ever live in the Palm Springs area, where we spent the first two days of our trip (my trip anyway, Kirb spent a few days working in Phoenix before I arrived). I thoroughly enjoyed it and am so thankful for my time there. Truth is, although I find the mountains glorious, full of spendor and beauty, they kind of freak me out. (Maybe more than 'kind of'). If I did a 360 degree circle and looked toward the horizon, I could probably have seen mountians on the horizon (and often pretty much RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME) about 300 of those 360 degrees. I don't know about you, but that makes me feel a bit panicy and claustrophobic. I felt a bit trapped. "What if we needed to leave?" I asked Kirb. "That doesn't make you feel panicky that we're surrounded by mountians on pretty much every side?" He assured me it didn't and we shouldn't have to flee quickly in the next 48 hours and I should just enjoy the beauty. Easy for him to say! Mr. Matthew-6-who-never-ever-worries-about-anything! Therein lies the beauty of marriage. It's my job to worry and it's his job to not. At all. Ever. (I'm not even kidding about this one.). Man, do I love that guy!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Multitude Monday

Here's my continuing Multitude "Monday" post which is part of a series started years ago on Ann's blog, which is a favorite of mine. If you've never checked it out, do yourself a favor and click on over. She's an amazing, gifted writer, a wonderful friend and an inspiration to so many (not to mention a mother of 6)!

"One Thousand Gifts"::

3856. finding missing things :: a mitten clip and a social studies project
3857. great conferences
3858. wonderful teachers that work with our kiddos
3859. our Falcon community
3860. Joey's tired morning voice
3861. safe driving on HORRIBLE roads
3862. kids dancing without inhibition
3863. sunshine
3864. the smell of coffee brewing in the morning
3865. time with friends
3866. kids growing up
3867. encouraging words from others
3868. Joey's excitement about regionals
3869. Magic Eraser working its magic
3870. an understanding husband
3871. double coupon day at the gas station
3872. Joey home sick from school, curled up in his bed reading the Bible
3873. warmer temps
3874. Dunn Bros coupon
3875. "bigs" who are old enough to babysit
3876. my mom home safely from her trip to California
3877. playing Spinners with the kids
3878. watching Joe play hockey
3879. after 2 sets of x-rays and a MRI, finding out that there will be no surgery or casts in my future :: just rest, ice, advil and a brace. What an answer to prayer!
3880. melting
3881. running outside sans hat
3882. 43 degrees!
3883. Joey's swimming at regionals
3884. a fun run with a friend
3885. safe, fun trip to Iowa for Joe, Jacob and my parents
3886. Rebekah having fun and doing GREAT in her school musical
3887. my Bible study girls and how much they mean to me
3888. 2013 taxes filed :: bring on the refund!
3889. words from "Glitter and Glue" by Kelly Corrigan that resonated so strongly with me
3890. Anna and her imagination :: I just love to listen to her
3891. all the people who came to watch Rebekah in the musical and support and encourage her (we have THE BEST "village"!)
3892. glorious sunset through the trees
3893. encouraging, supportive friends
3894. planning for my trip :: just me and Kirb and a snow-less destination
3895. re-organizing the pantry
3896. my selfless, giving, helpful parents
3897. van headlight replaced (see #3896)
3898. hilarious text conversations with a friend :: laughter is good for the soul!
3899. the kids singing in church (even Joe!)
3900. 7 kids singing along to the multi-lingual version of "Let it Go" on the way home from youth group

 May you realize all the blessings the Lord brings your way and take the time to make note of them. (you'll be glad that you did!)

Friday, March 7, 2014