The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. ~ Psalm 16:6 nasb

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Square Root Of...

(...desperately trying to catch up with blogging...)

(...and thinking that she'll just have to stay behind...)

Thomas joined Alpha Omega Math Team!  (That was in late January.)  Then, a few short weeks later, he dazedly attempted to compete with his team in the regional tournament (mid-February).  The A/O team leader, Mrs. Macwan, insisted that he compete, in order to get some experience under his belt for next year, and to help the team (only 12 students large) get extra points to try to qualify for the state tournament.

It was requested that we all bring food/snacks for the students (and for parents who stayed).  Thinking healthy, I put together chicken/cheese wraps.  Another mom thought of the teens competing and brought the below:

Real teen food!

Before the competition began, the students gathered together, and Ryan led them in prayer.  I was totally jazzed at that point.  :)


Thomas and Kirsten (below) made up one of the eight-man teams.  Yes, there were only two of them.  I felt so badly for them when they walked into their room for that particular round of competition, and eight-man teams were sitting at the other tables.  Sort of like feeding them to the lions!  They didn't seem nervous, and did great for having only two people on their team.


Once the adults found out I was a photographer, they wanted me to take their kids' pictures.  I, of course, was happy to oblige.  Here is one team picture I really like--the kids, though extremely goofy--cooperated nicely for this one.


The team sat together for the awards ceremony.  We knew that Thomas--barring a miracle--would probably not receive any awards, but we were excited to be there and to cheer on the team.  I was pretty nervous waiting for the ceremony to begin.


Here is Ryan receiving an award for one of his competitions.


After the competition, and since everyone was pretty close to home, we all met at Portillo's for a late lunch and socializing.  We didn't get out of there until almost dinnertime!  We had so much fun, though, getting to know the other parents and watching the students all have fun together.


Rah-rah, Alpha Omega!  Go Team!!  :)


Back to life,
Christine

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tea Talk -- Something New


Welcome to my home for Ruth's Tea Talk!
Click on Ruth's button above to participate with me.
Sit and share a cup of tea with me as we encourage each other in the Lord.


I'm having...a cup of Irish breakfast tea in my Polish pottery mug.

Creamer {coneflower} with teapot in background {blue poppy}

I'm feeling...pretty good after a few nights of good sleep.  It has been so warm--summer-like temperatures have reigned for over a week!--that it has been hard to get sleep.  I'm wearing short-sleeved shirts and my hair up off my neck, and bare feet around the house.  I even weeded my gardens this week!

On my mind...all those appointments and dates and events are starting to stack up again.  I'm staying upbeat about them all, though this warm weather is making it hard to get anything done.  I've also been preoccupied with our anniversary trip coming up in September.  I know it's a long way off, but it's now official--we've purchased plane tickets and are now researching accommodations to make sure we can get a good deal early.  And that means time to research, read, email, ask, etc.  Here's a hint:  think caf├ęs and coffee, narrow streets and amazing architecture, and too many places to see in one week's time.  :)

I leave you with...a Scripture verse containing the word spring (even though it means something different).

Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:19 NASB

Spring daffodils in my neighborhood!


Back to life,
Christine

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tea Talk -- A Home for the Lonely


Welcome to my home for Ruth's Tea Talk!
Click on Ruth's button above to participate with me.
Sit and share a cup of tea with me as we encourage each other in the Lord.


I'm having...a cup of pomegranate green tea, leaves given to me by my sweet neighbor Lorraine.

Green tea leaves with pomegranate

I'm feeling...warm and humid!  You would not believe how warm it was here yesterday--close to 80 degrees Fahrenheit!  In March!  In Chicago!  Here (below) is a picture of a teacup; I took it at the Mother/Daughter Encouragement weekend and it fits these summery days perfectly.  The warmth is supposed to continue for a week or so!


On my mind...is lots of stuff, as usual.  Jacob has gotten some appointments and things out of the way and on the calendar (that's always good to get appointments set!).  I'm helping my mom de-clutter so she and Dad can get ready to list their house for sale.  And I scheduled a photo shoot for April--always something to look forward to!  Everything else is rather haphazard right now, so I'm trying to muddle through.  I also have big plans on my mind for Fernando and me to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary this autumn!  Fernando and I have been huddled around books and the computer screen a lot, doing research and mostly dreaming right now.  Hopefully one of the dreams will become reality, and I'll let you know as soon as it does!

I leave you with...a little passage of Scripture.

God makes a home for the lonely;
He leads out the prisoners into prosperity,
Only the rebellious dwell in a parched land.
Psalm 68:6 NASB



Back to life,
Christine

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Drudgery or Dominion?

Daily chores.  My days are sometimes seemingly consumed with maintenance, keeping the house clean and things running smoothly.  One day I was frustrated with how messy things had become after just a few days, so halfway through cleaning the kitchen, I started taking before-and-after pictures.  That always helps.  :)


Oh, the kitchen!  That's the never-ending cleaning chore, isn't it?  It looked like the above for about ten minutes--then the guys came in and decided they were really hungry.  I remind myself that this house, this home, is my domain, over which I am to take dominion!  The Lord has given this realm to me, and I am to subdue it.  Who says housewives--or whatever you want to call us--are weak?  Or empty-headed?  Or mindless slaves?


This is not merely cleaning.  Oh, no.  This is about creating beauty.  (Even if I'm not very good at it!)  I know that the Lord is the only One who truly can create beauty.  But I'm responsible for ordering, organizing, and arranging my environment so that it is a place of beauty.  First and foremost, I do this for the Lord.  The side benefit is that my environment is beautiful to me.  That makes me happy.  But the other reason I do it is for my family, for them to have a beautiful place in which to live, to relax, to interact.  Even if my men don't notice their beautiful environment, I believe it affects their sense of comfort and safety.


Taking dominion over this little realm isn't simply about cleaning; nor is it about creating beauty for the Lord, myself, and those around me.  I can arrange beautiful physical surroundings, and yet still be ugly in my heart--whether it is in my attitude, thoughts, actions, or words.  Just as it is a surrendering of my own selfish desires to perform these daily chores, I must surrender my heart to the Lord to work His beauty in me.  Arranging my home to be beautiful reminds me of this.


Splendor and majesty are before Him,
Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.
Psalm 96:6 NASB


Back to life,
Christine

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Tea Talk -- Oaks of Righteousness


Welcome to my home for Ruth's Tea Talk!
Click on Ruth's button above to participate with me.
Sit and share a cup of tea with me as we encourage each other in the Lord.


I'm having...a cup of Emerald Isle tea, which I bought at our farmers market last summer.  I've been enjoying tea in my Polish pottery, a gift from Jacob.


I'm feeling...tired.  I haven't been getting enough sleep lately, and life is crazy right now.  I have way too much on my mind!  Speaking of which...

On my mind...helping Jacob get all his paperwork, essays, applications, etc. done by their respective deadlines.  Transferring to WIU is crazy!  Then, there's Joseph's possible employment, which he's now balking at; Fernando and I have begun a discussion about implementing a plan for "a future and a hope" for our autistic son.  Plus, Danny is suffering through a bad cold while trying to keep up with college classes, and Thomas is home with me working with a haphazard, slightly crazy homeschool schedule.  There's other stuff, but really, I can't handle any more right now.  :)

I leave you with...this verse of Scripture.

...Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.
Isaiah 61:3 NASB

A tree at North Central College


Back to life,
Christine

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Monday, March 5, 2012

Dear Jacob

I finally got around to going through my images from this year, and I found that I had to go all the way back to the end of January.  (That's actually not too bad!)  I found one image from Jacob's birthday, and it inspired me to publicly share a letter to him.



Dear Jacob,

As I reflect back on your recent 21st birthday, I'm filled with thankfulness to the Lord for the person you have become.  I know you feel as if you've arrived--confident and self-assured in your faith--and I also know that you realize you have a long journey to travel in life.  I continually pray that you will always follow the Lord in all things, throughout all your life.  I'm confident in Him that you will.  :)

You have been a source of joy throughout your growing-up years.  All I have to do is think of a funny thing that happened in our family, and I usually find you at the center of it.  You were such a happy baby, smiling through diaper changes and even the flu.  I remember you sweetly smiling up at your Nana, who had arrived at midnight and woke you up in your crib to see her six-month-old grandson for the very first time.

I never lacked for conversation with you around!  We read books together, and you talked about all that you had learned, whether through those books, or through experiences collected in your little life.  Oh, the things you could tell me about cars and trucks, dinosaurs and trains!

Let's not forget the famous dance, that strange singsong-y movement around those large stacking boxes, and you trying to kick them until they fell over.  I am forever grateful that Grandma recorded that little scene, saved for all eternity (or at least until your wedding day).  I can't see that little video without dissolving into hysterical tears of laughter.

Forgive me for all the reminiscing.  You have to realize, dear son, that you are grown up now, and those memories are the treasures I will cherish in my heart forever.  You are grown up, and are beginning to forge your own way in the world.  The path that the Lord has laid out for you is no longer hand-in-hand with mine.  Your road is beginning to diverge, and as I look into the near future I see it curving away even more.

I have five little months left to enjoy all that you are, and then you will begin to leave.  I'm already trying to prepare my heart for your departure as an upperclassman to WIU, because I know the weekend will come when you've settled in to your dorm, and the moment will arrive when your father and I will drive away without you.

I already know you will be academically successful.  I already know you will find strong Christian friends.  I already know you will be successful in the vocation you have chosen.  I already know you will conduct yourself with honor and integrity before the Lord and men.  I will miss you all the same.  You are a treasure to me.

Love,
Mom


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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Tea Talk -- No Longer


Welcome to my home for Ruth's Tea Talk!
Click on Ruth's button above to participate with me.
Sit and share a cup of tea with me as we encourage each other in the Lord.


I'm having...a cup of Irish breakfast tea to start off my morning.

Two cups for two sisters

I'm feeling...tired.  We have had a trying week, and I feel weary attempting to process the wildly erratic emotions connected with event after event.  Mind you, the events haven't been earth-shattering, but the week has been one thing right after another.

On my mind...is my to-do list with deadlines looming and no desire to get anything done.  I'm not down in the dumps; I'm just tired.  I know the Lord will lift me up, and I know that many are praying for me, and for our family (again, nothing dire).  I'm resting in His mercy and strength in time of weakness.

I leave you with...hope from the Scriptures.

And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes;
and there will no longer be any death;
there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain;
the first things have passed away.
Revelation 21:4 NASB


Last week--looking down the street where my parents live


Back to life,
Christine

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