Monthly Archives: June 2011

chasing the light

It is crunch time on the house – mornings beginning earlier, nights ending later, weeks seeming longer, weekends shorter.  It’s only Wednesday, but this morning my mind was full, breaths shallow, strength zapped.  

So, I set off into the woods to clear the mind, to chase after the light. 

It was more glorious than I remembered.  My pace slowed as I found the rays beaming into the woods, day unveiling its light.  

I rode by a stream we have passed hundreds of times, but this time I was drawn in.  Tapped down the kickstand, I needed a closer look.  

To study the way the light danced across the water.  

To memorize the gentle sound of river sloshing over rock.  

To still my soul long enough to recall:
The Lord is my Shepherd; I have everything I need.  He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams.  He renews my strength.  He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His name.  Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me.  Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.  You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.  You welcome me as a guest, anointing my head with oil.  My cup overflows with blessings.  Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.  Psalm 23 (NLT)


I could almost feel the strength breathed back into me.  
As I thought through the ways His goodness and unfailing love pursue me….
– my love loading up my bike for me escape for an hour, to renew my mind
– eyes to see all this

– ears to take it all in
– lungs to breathe deep
– sun breaking through, chasing away the night
– 2 boys jumping off the diving board (answered prayer!)
– 1 boy yelling “for a happy meal!” as he did
– joy in rewarding their courage with a happy meal
– freshly picked lettuce in a BLT with roasted red pepper mayo for mama
Udi’s for coming up with such great gluten-free bread
– recalling exactly 1 year ago today, laying in a hospital bed with a post-op drain tube from my neck, knowing His peace and courage
– He preserved my life
– He restores my soul
my cup overflows…
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boat-full of royers

Family has landed in our corner of the world from all over.  What fun-filled days these are of re-acquainting our kids with their grandparents, cousins and uncle, laughing and recounting old memories, making us some new ones.  

I’m looking forward to looking back on this day.  ~ Over the Rhine

Jude was the first to volunteer for tubing.  But, sweet little 2-year old got a good scare when the boat revved up and he almost fell off the tube (and cried “I want mama” until he was back in my arms).  Not sure how long a 2 yr. old’s memory is, but hoping he’ll forget by next summer, and we’ll try again.


After a video shown last week in swim lessons about how not to drown, Jack has not been so eager to get in the water. I coaxed him into it with his very own can of Coke.  He was a good sport too, and says “Yeah it was fun…well, kinda.”  

Miles was happy to chill the whole time.  Hey, him in the front of a boat that was twisting and turning every-which-way to knock off the tubers for 4 hours is HUGE!  A wave even splashed over the edge of the boat onto him, and he stands up, one fist raised in the air and yells “YEAH!”

Our baby turns 3 this week.  Not so much of a baby anymore, insisting to do more and more “all by myself”…like putting on his own sunblock and driving the boat.  I think he’s got a mental “bucket list” of his own going…

This is how you surf in Indiana, in case you were wondering…
Our boys definitely were inspired.  

I loved seeing every ounce of courage in them surface as they stepped out of the boat.  But as much as I coaxed and bribed, they were just as content as their mama to be in the boat than to jump out of it.  [That launched me into a whole lotta wondering where the balance is between embracing their preferences and encouraging them to try, leading them past their fears and accepting that it seemed more fun to them to be in the boat.]  

In conclusion (after way-too much processing of all that):  
While I hope they will become one with the waves (and we will continue to give them every opportunity to), a contented afternoon of relaxing in the sun was very much welcome.  
Big thanks to our friends for making it happen, you know who you are…and you’re pretty awesome!  These memories will be embedded in our minds, told of for years to come, and looked back on so fondly long after we have gone back to our little corners of the earth.

Oh yes, and remember this post so long ago?
Turns out rainy days can be very productive.
Superhero towels sewn.  Check.


Afternoon boating nap in the sun on grandma’s lap.  Check.

summer-lovin’

These are the days I dream of all year…having all 3 of them, all day long, no pressing agenda, just fun.  First-day-after-school’s-out trip to Wal-Mart quickly brought me back to reality.  [We haven’t been there since.]  It’s just plain crazy at times ’round here! 


It’s taken awhile to find our groove…  One of our boys in particular needs structure, or at least routine.  We’ve had some off-days, when no matter how hard I tried, his mood could not be turned around.  Something magical clicked this week when the boys started swim lessons.  Just one scheduled thing, every morning at 10.30 has done wonders for him to order his world.  The rest of the day may be a grab-bag of activities, but he has handled it so pleasantly.  


Here I am, just lovin’ the laid-back rhythm of summer.  
How did I ever forget how important it is that he knows what to expect?
We gotta dream *together* what these days should look like. 
So, we all sat down on the porch swing and wrote our to-do list for the summer (AKA, summer-lovin’ 2011).  
. t-ball
. campfires
. bike rides
. stomp in river
. fishing
. catch dragonflies
. pick strawberries
. swim lessons
. soccer camp
. picnics
. afternoons at the lake
. silver beach
. O-H-I-O
. pick blueberries
. art museum
. snow cones
. catch fireflies
. watch fireworks
. spray-bleach shirts
. soccer games
. pizza in the park  
. nature walk  
. hunt for frogs  
. sparklers  . go to wal-mart (not my idea, at all 🙂  . scavenger hunt  
. canoeing  . boating  . splash park  . camping in our backyard 
. eating watermelon so juicy it drips off your elbows
. dad and mom date at cerulean’s garden  . barbecues with family and friends and iced tea in the afternoon and staring at the sky from a yellow gingham blanket 
Sure, we’re moving in a month.  I know it’s a bit ambitious.  But I want summers to be so much more than packing and unpacking (we moved last August too).   

This is the day the Lord has made.  
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
psalm 118.24

He made this day.  How I want to handle this present with joyful, thankful care, savoring the moments that can too quickly pass by…and to coach them to ever so intentionally do the same.


Now to go cross some things off that list 🙂
Happy summer-lovin’ all!


P.S. For more summer-love:  

23 weeks and counting…

The nesting continues.  But only 5 weeks left!!! 
Just a month ago, our kitchen/dining room looked like this…
Now, it looks like…
It’s coming together, people!!!

Last week…
Andy tiled the upstairs bathroom!  (His first attempt at tile.  Of course, this is probably the hardest.  But, he did such a fantastic job!)
Drywall finished!
Andy and Marty primed the walls!
We ordered paint!
Our kitchen cabinets arrived!  (To be installed next week)
Kitchen sub-floor repaired, ready for tile!  (Sometime this week)

I moved around some more of the landscaping, relocating the hosta and mysterious flowers that popped up around the blueberry and raspberry bushes I planted.

We discovered a peach tree, with peaches growing, in our yard!  
[True Story:  Andy and the boys bought me a peach tree years ago for Mother’s Day.  The first year we picked off the peaches to strengthen the tree.  The next year there were 2 good peaches.  The third year was full of peaches, but our house sold and we moved just as they were ripening.  Andy talked me out of uprooting that tree and taking it with us.  It was very special to me.  But finding this peach tree already here for us, with peaches ripening just about the time we’ll be moving in is just like God winked at me.  It was unnecessary, but so incredibly cool to see!]
My favorite project of the week was a quick trip to Ikea with my love.  We left early in the morning and were home before T-Ball.  We were on a hunt for curtains.  But, we took full-advantage of the drive to and from Chicago, date in the car, wind in our hairs, smiles as wide as can be, just bein’ together.


For the living room curtains, I saw these on Anthropology…
I was smitten. [with the curtain, not the price]  
So I went to JoAnn’s and bought this (in orange) to sew onto these
I can’t wait to share pics when they’re done!

basil pasta salad

‘Tis the season for barbecues and cookouts and carry-in gatherings with loved ones.  I don’t have to wonder what to bring anymore.  It’s this.  An old dish I love, but even more so, de-glutenized…
basil pasta salad
1 pound fusilli pasta (I use trader joe’s brown rice pasta)
1/4 cup roasted red peppers, cut into strips
1/4 – 1/2 cup kalamata olives, chopped 
1/2 cup cheese (feta, or grated asiago, or grated parmesan)
You could leave it as this, or improvise, depending on what you have:
1/2 cup spinach, chopped
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup hard salami, cut into strips
thin slices of red onion 
thin slices of green pepper
Dressing:
2 cups basil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil, approximately

Cook pasta according to package directions.  While pasta is cooking, make dressing:  Add all ingredients except the olive oil to the blender.  Blend well, then drizzle in olive oil, and mix until well-blended.  Toss cooked pasta with dressing.  Add desired amenities, and toss.  Enjoy a hearty, summer-savory gluten-free dish!  Make it a side dish, and if you have any leftovers (lucky you :), it makes a yummy lunch the next day (the rice pasta is best warmed a bit).
We feasted yesterday, in honor of the fathers.  (Not pictured: watermelon and chocolate cheesecake)
We were excited to have Andy’s parents with us, all the way from Brazil.  
The night before, we were pulling out pictures of our dads, to place on the table (thanks to Ang for the idea!)  
Our boys are blessed with some great footsteps to follow in.  
Fathers who love and follow after Jesus.  
Fathers who cherish their families, working hard to provide for them.

Fathers who have so much else to do, yet choose to be with their kids.

Fathers who stick it out in hard times, reassuring his wife that we’re a team, in this together….even 3 months of colic.

Fathers strengthened through the hard times, rejoicing in the good!

Fathers who adore their children, enjoying the opportunity for a Father’s Day backyard soccer match.

It’s a fallen world, and no father is perfect.
But I am so thankful our dads taught us very young that there is a Father who never fails.  We can trust Him, no matter what.   There is a Father whose character is flawless and whose name is love.  He is a Father to the father-less, and He will never leave or forsake you.  


The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save,
He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3.17

Thank you, dads, for loving us well, for pointing us to Him.  


sweet reunions.

We have looked forward to this day since we waved our “see you later’s” to them 2 years ago.  Overheard this morning in the other room was Jack practicing “Hi Grandma Becky….Hello Grandma Becky…”  
There has been *lots* of anticipation for our reunion.  

What can I say? In a car-full of boys, a lamborghini-spotting is big stuff right there!

Literally, on the edge of their seats.

Gotta love the flurry of hugs.

Also, gotta love little boys reaching for their grandpa’s hand (especially if they’re insisting on wearing a bike helmet 🙂

We are *thrilled* to have them close for a few months!!!
Miles told them “We don’t have to skype with you all year!”

There’s much I’d love to share, like the fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants last-minute trip to Ikea with my love this week (big thanks to my parents for making this happen, for watching our 3 munchkins)…or, the “better than normal” gluten-free crust that has me excited for strawberry picking and fresh strawberry pies…or, my latest anthro-copy idea for curtains…or, our walls that are now primed and ready for some color-love!  
I’ll get to all that.  I will.
But quite honestly, these days are a bit of a blur.  Filled with so much good, but…filled.  I so wish I could slow. time. down.  To pause all the construction and decisions about trim to linger in the moment of the boys fishing or ending the day with Bible stories on the couch or coming home the other night after zumba to this:
We may not be able to stop time.  Our deadlines and schedules press on.
But, we are learning to welcome the beauty of the moment, letting the wonder of it soak in.  
Like, our violets blooming in the middle of a pile of rocks.
What a marvelous Creator!

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful…
Welcome [beauty] in every fair face,
in every fair sky, in every flower,
and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

somebling special.

7 ¾ years ago, we were driving to my brother’s piano concert in our forest green Jeep, with our 4 month old in the backseat.  Andy had fixed me a classic “Roy’s Cup o’ Joe,” but this time I couldn’t stomach the taste.  We had to pull over so I could dump it alongside the road because the smell started to get to me too.  We were at a reception after the concert, and I was telling a friend how my stomach was in knots…while I was piling the green olives on my plate.  My friend looked at me and said “Olives are good for an upset stomach…  You sure there’s not something you need to tell us?”  [Haha, very funny…]  But, those olives did taste pretty darn good.  So, we made a stop at the Wal-Mart pregnancy test aisle on the way home…We have never been so surprised to see 2 lines in our lives!

7 years ago, we welcomed another little one into our family, Jackson Paul.
God knew we needed him in our lives – what a gift he is to each one of us!


Sunday, we celebrated another year of this boy’s life and spunk and all the ways he lights up our world. 

He chose a “Bug Party” (surprise, surprise 🙂  Grandpa and grandma were at the top of the guest list he wrote. 

We had a scavenger hunt, which was a hoot! 


We played What bug am I? [The kids had to guess the insect on the card above them by asking questions.] 

We ate dirt cake. 

dirt cake (gluten-free):  layer with cubed chocolate cake.  spread worms evenly on top. pour on chocolate pudding (I doubled the batch).  top with crushed GF oreos in food processor (works best if they’re frozen).


Then they ran off the sugar in a rousing soccer match. (Still not sure whether the dads or the kids had the most fun with that one 🙂  It was a day full of his favorite things (including Papa John’s pizza). 
And, sitting around the campfire at night, his smile said it all.  

Can I say I adore him?  Is that still okay to say when he’s seven?  
I’ll learn something cooler for when he turns 8 – less embarrassing, more street-friendly.  But for now, I *adore* this little man!

“When I get to be a man like you (telling Andy), I’ll get to drink hot coffee and sleep in the big bed with you and momma.” – Jack, 8.19.2007

“Mom, if you were a queen, I’d beat up some squirrels and bring them to you for your lunch.”  – Jack, 1.7.2011