Saturday, December 19, 2009
This year in Girls of Praise (our youth program for girls in the People of Praise), Kate is an Emerald. Each year the girls are named a different jewel - reminding them that they are precious to God like a jewel is to us. This year's theme is Christ Our Life. Kate hosted the last GOP gathering and as you can see, these are giggly, energetic, and fun girls.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
St. Lucy's Day is today and we began the tradition I grew up with - the eldest daughter wears a gown of white and a wreath and serves her family coffee and rolls. This morning Maddie served us rolls and eggs and juice. We had read about St. Lucy of Sicily last night and learned some of the traditions associated with her feast day. Maybe one day, we'll find a creative and safe method for wearing a crown of candles. For now, we'll have the daughter carry one in her hand.
Friday, December 4, 2009
So we are a couple holidays behind here, oh well. The kids and Ben had a great time planning, designing and carving. Kate's is hers from the garden which we later cooked and used in bread. More is in the freezer for more yummy treats!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I did a scripture meditation on the annunciation text found in Luke. I spent some time imagining the scene with the angel and Mary, then asked the Lord for some clarity on the subject and wrote down my thoughts. Two things occurred to me, both of them new thoughts to me. One is that Mary in her "troubling and wondering" probably had thoughts that were more practical in nature - Questions and problems with the fact that she would not be married when she conceived. She would have known the actual effects of this in her culture. I imagined her recalling a friend she had in a similar situation and the rejection she felt from those around her. What struck me was that Mary said "Let it be done just as you say." She totally accepted the time line the angel gave her knowing full well it would be her reputation on the line.
Secondly, I was struck by the Lord's mercy on her. The angel let her know of Elizabeth's expecting and told her, "Nothing is impossible with God." With this 'evidence', I think it was even more palatable for Mary to believe in God's acting in this way through her. Knowing her kinswoman, her situation, and loving her, she could share with her in the joy of motherhood. Leaving immediately to visit Elizabeth also gave Mary time to digest and accept even more the message of the angel. She was spared rejection for awhile and was able to rejoice and be glad in waiting with Elizabeth for the coming of their children. I have experienced this anticipation alongside friends and it is really a precious time. God blessed Mary beyond the announcement with at least some family around her to share in the amazing reality of his living on earth.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
I was remembering our honeymoon to France back 10+ years ago. We spent a few days in the northern part of the country at the monastery of Mont St. Michel, a beautiful place. We toured the main church and attended a mass in the crypt way down in the bowels of the church with a few people from all over the world. As we walked through the main church we met a priest and gestured to him with our hands (and rings) that we were just married. He didn't speak English but clearly understood what we said and took our hands in his and said a prayer of blessing. We didn't understand what he said, but we knew what he meant. To this day, I believe that the Lord blessed us in a special way with a special grace that day through the words of that priest. He was so joyful and seemed so honored to be praying with us. I just love that all the way across the ocean, we became one in the larger body of Christ with this man and our common faith. Who knows how deeply his prayer has truly guided and blessed us in our marriage? I believe it to be very significant.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Well, in terms of days, one million seconds = 11 days, 13 hours, 46 minutes, 40 seconds.
One billion seconds = 31 years, 8 months, 8 days, 1 hour, 46 minutes, 40 seconds.
And, one trillion seconds = 31,688 Years, 269 days, 1 hour, 46 minutes, 40 seconds.
I think this matters greatly, when we are faced with spending, deficits, and proposed legislation that now quite frequently involves amounts in the trillions. That's a whole lot of seconds. Some prices are really too high to pay and most of us may not see the actual effects of commitments made now with lots and lots of money (or revenue we hope is available sometime in the future).
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Otherwise known as "CWWA". Our first annual women's weekend away to the Goetzke farm was a truly blessed time. We cooked together, watched the Twins play, woke to a beautiful sunrise and snow, took turns answering reflective questions and set individual goals for next year. We harvested pumpkins and carrots, petted the goats and sheep, played games...Also, lots of wedding conversation and excitement about the two big events of the coming year.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
For reminding me about Pandora. I just created two radio stations, one called Pink Martini (for me) and The Beatles with 50's and 60's music for the family. I know I am late in discovering the awesome power one has to create her own music station. Oh well, it is really cool! I've discovered three new artists that I think I could really like. And with a dance studio just a few furniture moves away in the basement, this should work well to let loose on a Friday night. We are making attempts to revive Family Night where we choose to stay home or at least be together doing one purposeful activity. In the past we have done board games, played "Sardines", watched a movie, etc. We also make it easy for dinner and clean up by using paper plates (the one time mom gives in) and popping in a pizza or making our own. Family and Music should just go together.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Another $10 and Under Date Night Idea to share: Register with Buca Di Beppo and receive coupons in the mail for $10 off a $20 tab. That will cover a pizza and a drink.
We watched the movie Doubt last night and found the performances by the main characters to be supurb. Meryl Streep did it again and the cinematography by Roger Deakins made the play-to-big screen project work as well as it did. I need to watch it again to catch more of the nuances that add to the mystery of the plot and help flesh out the characters even more. If the play is ever performed nearby, I'll make it a point to go. I imagine it is quite an intriguing and captivating play to watch.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
And it was Goooooooood!
The Minnesota Twins clinched the Division and along with Ben, Jill and Dan, I got to see it!
From the super crowded-thought-I-might-witness-some-Metro Transit-rage to the horns honking throughout downtown Minneapolis, last night was a great time!
Brought home two Homer Hankies to show the girls and explained to them what needs to happen now for the Twins to take the World Series title...let's take it one game at a time. It will be a tough road. But that's what the Twins are used to.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Depending on how adventurous we feel today, we may take a trip to the apple orchard. Weather looks cold and damp.
I've been working hard to keep responsibilities in order as I figure out how to best use my time and when to be attentive to the needs of family, house and others. Of course, exercise takes a back seat. Will it ever be the top priority? In terms of long term health, something has to change here! I just heard of a new book out that I am told is a good read..something about being younger next year. I think its about practical ways to maintain good health to live to an old age. Maybe that will provide some inspiration!
In light of Gail Lee's passing, I have thought a lot about homemaking and what it means to do it well. Much of it comes naturally for me, but there are also areas where I need to be more attentive and work to develop skills that I wish to pass on. It seems that Gail really impacted her kids with practical skills, love for the outdoors, striving for excellence, hospitality, and much more. Example means so much. It seems that Gail "taught" a lot just by doing and not preaching much. I think that's a good tone to set in a household. I have been convicted lately of what my children and husband see me doing as opposed to what I say I am going to do or what I talk about. They will learn better and appreciate me I think if I let them work alongside me, observe good and healthy living, and participate in worthwhile projects and endeavors. Sounds simple, but can be hard to do. I also learned from Gail's example that learning continues and can be a wonderful pursuit no matter the age. Curiosity, wonder, intellectual pursuits all should be very active in a home. Otherwise, how will we change, grow, impact others, and just appreciate the awesome world we live in?
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Floor was completed last night and now the decisions begin...what to put where, do we really need that, and which of our old things can/should we replace with new ones to go along with the clean and lighter look of the basement.
Izzy is now playing and reading in the "Hobbit Hole", the little closet we fashioned to be a little space for the kids to play and read. I still need to paint it, but with a book shelf, bean bag chair and small round rug, it is quite cozy. I also plan to hang a string of cute lights I bought at Goodwill, my destination of late to try and acquire cheap, but nice accessories for the basement. So far, I've had a few good finds.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Our fourth gift from God arrived! After a miscarriage and many, many prayers and months of waiting, Isabel Grace came into our lives. She is such a gift. When she was born I realized more powerfully the awesome and precious gift of life and the total goodness of God.
The bonus of course is her lovable and joyful personality, her helpfulness, her sense of humor, her friendship, her "I'm up for anything" attitude, her affection, her sense of peace, and her imagination.
She's a wonderful daughter!
Thursday, September 10, 2009
In the emantime we are also in teh midst of daily rituals like homework help (Maddie announcing today, "I hate Math."), keeping little tiny objects off the ground so Pieta can't swallow them, cariong for the Lee kids while Mary spends time with Gail who is fighting cancer, etc. Little and big things all in a day.
Besides the basement coming together there is much to look forward to. Like our CCWA (Crazy Cunningham Weekend Away) in Oct. with just the ladies. And, the 5k walk I get to do with Ann as a chance to catch up with her and get some much needed exercise in. Also, the garage sale coming up and the chance to sell our wares and hang out with neighbors and friends.
Much to do and much to be thankful for.
Monday, September 7, 2009
We are gearing up for school to begin tomorrow for Maddie and Kate. I will be home with Izzy and heave Pieta here Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. I have really enjoyed this summer with all the girls - they have been helpful with new chores, playful with friends and neighbors, imaginative in their play, willing to try new things. Kate learned how to play tennis from her "Aunt" Jill. She really got the hang of the swing, positions, and was able to hit a lot of balls. I'm considering the Urban Tennis program for her next summer, especially since they meet right up the road at Homecroft School.
Kids in school means new routines at home. We will have to drive the girls to and from school - maybe bike it or walk a few times! I'll have to create a cleaning and laundry schedule to keep me on task and make sure it all gets done well. I function better on a schedule and like routines. I also hope to build in exercise-I think I can make it to the YMCA twice a week and maybe do something here at home the other days. I still have knee problems after I exercise. Just a slight pain, inflammation maybe. I also hope to build in time for prayer and meditations on the Gospels. I learned a great new method of focused prayer that really helps to get to know the person and humanity of Christ. Will blog more about that when I actually do it!
On a totally different note- I have been getting the paper and read a big front page article the other day about stay at home moms and the use of i-phones. While I am all for technology and its amazing uses and help for convenience and other good things, I was struck at the three large photos printed of this one mom who used her i-phone a lot. The pictures showed her on a walk with her kids checking her email; at a cafe with her three kids checking the latest headlines; and I forget the other one. The point of the article was broader than that, but I was just surprised that all the pictures and captions showed her in fact not being present to her kids, but using the device to do things that probably could have been done at a different time. I just know from experience that it is really tempting to go to the computer or cell phone to catch up, touch base, or amuse myself. But, I am often convicted of the thought, "Is this the BEST time for this?" My children still nee me to be attentive and present to them especially if we are on a walk, at the park or other outing TOGETHER. This is something I am finding may actually be a 'lost art'- being present to people. I always find more productive and efficient time to use technology in the moments when all is quiet and the kids are otherwise occupied. Just my reaction to the news! It's tough in this time to be a really good homemaker. The paper doesn't make it any easier.
Friday, August 28, 2009
2. Much zucchini of record breaking lengths and widths - have made yummy Carrot-Zucchini Muffins and Bread
3. Green beans - a perfect snack. Just ask Izzy, who eats off the vine.
4. Chili peppers
Still to come...tomatoes, Kate's pumpkin, and more kinds of peppers
I love being able to pick, eat, share and enjoy in one day.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Well, we have made great progress on the basement! Ben worked days and evenings with John and Steve to wire, insulate, sheet rock and mud/tape the basement. We were tested with moisture...something I heard the Lord say we might deal with and to be ready to fight against. Shellee lent us her de-humidifier, so hopefully we'll see less dampness on the floors and the mud will dry so we can start sanding and smoothing the walls. Already the space feels lighter, more like a room you would want to hang out in and the new storage space is going to be very useful. We have nicknamed the kids' hideout under the stairs the "hobbit hole." I think Izzy is looking forward to playing in a cozy little spot. The girls and I bounced around a bit to avoid the noise and the mess. Thanks to Shellee, mom and dad, and Nana and Pops for their hospitality!
Maddie is off to Servant Camp this week and we hope Kate can join her friends there this weeek as a Pony. She woke up with a cold and fever this morning. Pray she is healed and can enjoy camp. She continues to care for her pumpkin plant in our garden we share with the Lee's and Shellee. So far her plant has produced one nice looking pumpkin! We are getting some good tips from Shellee about caring for pumpkins so they grow BIG!
Ben is back to work and will have a busy week getting back into the routine at the office. I hope to enjoy the outdoors for this sunny week ahead and maybe get some reading done! I'm reading a great book called "In Defense of Food", a book I started on our vacation with the Cunningham's...will blog more about the book's topic later. Let's just say for now that it is fascinating and life changing (or eat-changing) stuff!
We booked one more short camping trip for later August...probably the final hurrah of the summer. Hope grandma and grandpa can join us and maybe Barbara too!
All three girls really enjoyed the Great Adventure Camp at Messiah Episcopal Church two weeks ago. Izzy is "playing/pretending" GAC today! They learned some new praise songs and learned a lot about the apostle Paul and the life of the early church. They have talked about and played "the Romans", and I am reminded of the times my siblings and I pretended to run and hide from the evil Romans. We used to dive under blankets on the couch and scream, "The Romans are coming!!" Fun to see it come around 25 years later!
Also had an opportunity to toss around water balloons, and watch Ben take on the younger alumni at Alumni Field Day at River Ridge. Ben never felt so old!
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
I come from a place where elegance is valued, where beauty is enough of an argument for the existence of anything—where walls are draped in silks and gorgeous textiles, where women know how best to drape themselves, how best to make up a face, how best to make up a room so lovely it radiates its own light, how to host a proper cocktail party, where men know what a good single malt Scotch tastes like and when it rains, they get their feet wet walking you to your car under umbrellas.
I come from a place where ritual is respected, where children are taught to say Ma’am and Sir because it’s respectful. Because the act of saying so acknowledges the truth that these people have come before you and know better than you do just how bloody costly life is.
Monday, July 27, 2009
We spent a glorious week with our whole Cunningham family 'up North' at a Cabin on Lake Alexander. We all enjoyed the swimming, soaking in the hot tub, fishing off the dock, reading and relaxing on the swings and hammock, biking, playing 500, eating delicious food, and just hanging out the the fam.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I'm happy when...we get to go to a fair (like the Nova and Nativity fairs).
I like to think about...my birthday.
I like to read..."Kate and the Beanstalk".
Tell me about your room...Well, it has a green wall; and red covers; a bunk bed; it has flowers, fish, really pretty curtains and a pink carpet with flowers. And it has chimes in it that when you ding them make a pretty sound, and they are really colorful.
If I could plan my summer, I would go to the Bell Museum. I would go to the Mill City Museum. I would swim at the brotherhood pool. I would keep the bunnies away from my pumpkin. I would make a kite. I would hula-hoop. I would go to a movie theater. I would go to the Minneapolis Institute of Art and I would go somewhere with mom.
Happy Birthday, Kate!
The pictures above are not of the 8 year old Kate, but maybe a 3 year old Kate. I am awed by how much Izzy looks like she did at that age.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
This afternoon, after patiently waiting for Pieta to wake from her long morning nap, the girls and I toured the Minneapolis Institute of Art. We could have spent a lot more time there as the girls all really enjoyed it. Isabel found a small screen showing a cartoon story about the British and their love for tea. Kate ooohed and ahhhhed at the ancient Chinese sculptures. Maddie like the American colonial paintings and the short film we watched documenting a New Ireland ritual honoring the dead. We learned that New Ireland is part of New Guinnea. Needless to say, the girls were not impressed with the Monet and Van Gogh paintings we saw. I told them they would probably appreciate them more as they learned about the painters and the techniques they used.
Friday, June 5, 2009
Sacagawea or "Bird Woman" as her name translates, made a surprise appearance in Mr. Long's third grade classroom last Friday. She was clad in brown clothing and her prize possession, a blue beaded belt. On her back was tied her little son, Pomp (as William Clark has nicknamed him). Sacagawea was one of many famous individuals of American history who showed up that afternoon to share their story and invite us to read and enjoy their boards and artifacts detailing their life. I was especially impressed with Maddie's, I mean with Sacagawea's, presentation to her class and their parents. She was poised, calm (even though she admitted later to much nervousness), and audible as she shared her 2.5 page report of her life. Well done!
Thursday, June 4, 2009
We needed to leave the house for most of the day last Saturday due to excessive noise and dust from the concrete saw, so I treated the girls to lunch at Snuffy's and a matinee at Highland Theater. This is anther great film by Pixar; a fun family friendly movie. I laughed. I cried. Maddie and Kate did too.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
I took two mounds of dirt (from above, well from below actually) and used it to fill in everything I dug out from the flower garden in the backyard. I've decided to just do with it what I want, even if that means transplanting and maybe destroying perennials that have been there for decades. I am excited to make it more my own and choose plants to put in. It has also been a great opportunity to "garden share" as many people are looking to divide their overgrown plants. It's really just moving one piece of the earth to another location. I love it!
So, progress on two fronts. More work to go, but we appreciate the beautiful weather we've had to work outside and the chance to do the hard labor. Pictures to follow soon!
Monday, May 11, 2009
Mother's Day was truly a blessed day. Ben and the girls served me all day while I rested and attempted to get ahead of this bad cold. I got coffee, gifts and breakfast in bed; lunch on the couch; dinner and honorings on the couch and was in bed by 8:00! We did make an excursion to church at 9am on our bikes and I nearly froze my fingers and toes off - very cold, but nice to know we can do it as a family and will make more trips like that this summer. I am so grateful for a loving, attentive and caring family. They are so worth being a mom everyday!
Monday, May 4, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
I hope this routine continues as the girls look forward to our family prayer!
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
A Series of Unfortunate Events
"...is a very interesting series because it is also somehow a mystery and usually the author is always making up things that happen to himself that describes what is happening to the B. children."