P365 – Day 62 (A Day full of pictures)

When night falls and I sit down to download my pictures, I always wonder what number will appear on the screen. Have I been a picture, snap-happy fool or a more sedate, busy person with little time for picture taking?

Tonight the magic number was ninety-one! Now that is an impressive amount but hardly excessive. I know one day in January I took at least 150 pictures. When Tim is involved with WNW Day Camp he takes hundreds and hundreds of pictures in a single day. Ninety-one is way below hundreds and hundreds. It’s even below a hundred. With ninety-one you know it has been a good day. You know the camera has been well used and the day thoroughly documented. Since the Project 365 only requires ONE picture, some would say ninety-one is a bit overkill. Those people probably get things done in their home rather than just sit around blogging all evening. For the time being, let’s just ignore that sort of riff-raff (as my mother-in-law would surely call them).

So, please be forewarned. This is a blog of many pictures. If each picture really was worth a thousand words, we’d be in real trouble. Whew, the mind boggles.

Daniel and Adam and a few ‘gun poses.’

daniel and adam

these are 'hot' guns

your shoe must go

yes, that shoe is dead!

Rachel and Sarah spent the night at a friend’s house. We, in turn, brought home Adam with us. Although the boys are rowdy, noisy (which is trouble on a Saturday morning) and full of energy, I think we had the easier group of kiddos. Poor Sarah got scared and turned around in the middle of the night and, um, putting it delicately, didn’t quite make it to the bathroom in time.

Thank you so much, Jennifer! You took excellent care of Sarah in her hour of distress.

Fifteen minutes before we were supposed to leave, I got an overwhelming urge to cut David’s hair. It was SO shaggy and messy looking, I just couldn’t take his sloppiness any longer. He said he would love to take a shower (a requirement after a haircut), “I’ve been wanting to take a shower again sometime.” What does that mean? Is someone stopping him from showering? Has he been sitting around contemplating showers for days now? I guess perhaps the last shower was quite an experience and he’s been eager to try again? Baths are blasé showers are the new ‘it.’ These are the things that a mother contemplates late at night when she reviews the day and the comments from her very precocious six year old. A definite sign the mother should stop staying up so late and get some sleep.

david's hair cut

cutting away

After Sarah and Rachel were returned to us, we set off for a dinner with Tim’s parents and some old friends. We used the drive time to go over our Proverbs chapter of the day. It being March 3rd, we read Proverbs 3. We don’t normally have Tim with us for these Proverbs devotional/study time. He has such an amazing gift for teaching. We were able to really look deeply into the meaning of the different verses. It was awesome!! It was enlightening!! It was really long!!

It was the longest Proverbs discussion time we’ve had since we’ve begun this practice. Since I’m normally the one who handles the study time, I’m not sure if I should be embarrassed by that or relieved.

rachel and sarah

Rachel listens intently from the back seat, but Sarah just can’t stay awake for Proverbs.

I find myself convicted about the length and depth of our typical Proverbs discussion. What a blessing it was to have Tim with us today! I am very challenged to take more time during our school Bible time and look carefully at the verses with the children. I DO NOT have Tim’s gift for teaching and applying word pictures to a study but I DO have the Holy Spirit living in me and there to help me understand God’s Word.

We stopped along the way to visit some friends and see the progress on their house. I took all sorts of pictures. Tina and Greg, these are for you. Enjoy. Everyone else can skim along at a clipped pace.

garage doors are onfront of the housewhole houseback of houseback w/ J.more backhousefireplace inside

Now a few photos that include some kiddos (lest you think I only took pictures of boring old, I mean, new houses).

How cute is this little face!
B. and the scaffolding

Joshua and David play tetherball while Z. takes a ride on the tire swing.

joshua and david

z swings

Sarah loves her friend, A.

sarah and a.

Look at this gorgeous face – and no braces!!

e. braces-less

The men folk visit and tour the new house.

tim and j.

After a wonderful visit with our dear, house building friends, we went off (late at this point, sorry Mom and Dad) to join Tim’s parents for dinner. Tim’s dad immediately gathered the children (our five and the visiting two) and took them all off to race boats in the creek. Mom worked on the dinner preparations while Tim and I had few minutes to sit down and talk with the B’s.

You’ll have to envision the pictures of the boat race since I stayed inside where it was cozy and warm and chatted with grown ups, not taking a single picture (for the first five minutes anyway). It was grey and wet and very fun down at the creek. Two of the seven children came back with soaking wet shoes and socks. My goodness! Somebody should really talk to their mother about proper creek etiquette and the importance of keeping your feet dry. Oh wait, that mother would be me. Never mind.

We had a delicious dinner followed by a yummy cherry cobbler. The grownups sat around talking about everything from parenting to eschatology while the children watched a movie.

family visit

movie time

At one point the three girls dressed up and snuck around, presumably on Spy Duty.

rachel and the dress up girlsoff they godefinitely sneaking around

Sarah wasn’t interested in the movie so she set up the doll house and played contentedly for a long time in the hallway.

give this girl a doll and some furniture

She also spent some time chatting with Grandma. Aren’t they sweet, matching girls. Did you plan that, Sarah?

g'ma and sarah

It was a very full day. Three of the children fell asleep on the way home. I finished the last chapter of our school book, Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze. Hooray for long drives and a good book. We spent the last 15 minutes of the drive describing for Tim the other adventures of the main character. I’m not sure he was interested in the story but he was interested in staying awake so he listened cheerfully. I was pleased to see how much of the story Rachel and Joshua were able to recount. Hooray for listening children!

So that, dear reader, if you are still here and awake, is the story of our Saturday in full pictorial glory.


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P365 – Day 61 (5 A’s)

The Young Peace Maker’s class continues at our homeshooling co-op. As we progress through the material, I often wonder if we are reaching the children’s hearts. The class is full and the kids appear to have a great time. They recite their weekly memory verse, answer questions as best they can, engage in discussion, and beg to be in the weekly skits.


Daniel sits in class.

But, I ask myself, are they learning anything? Is any of the discussion about choices and consequences sinking in? Are they absorbing the lessons? Will this make a difference in their life? Are they beginning to recognize the different ways people respond to conflict?

The questions plague me in particular because two of my five children are members of the class, two that are constantly battling to get along. I desire for my children to learn how to respond to conflict in a godly way. I long for them to grow in wisdom. I agree with author, Corlette Sande, that conflict can become an opportunity to please and honor God, to serve other people, and to grow to be more like Christ.

I don’t want my children to simply gain communication and problem-solving skills, I yearn for them to take responsibility for their wrongs, express sorrow for hurting others, and commit themselves to forgive one another as God has forgiven them.

If I can help them understand the root causes of their conflicts (pride, selfishness, greed, unforgiveness, etc) and encourage them to ask God to free them from these sinful attitudes, I will be helping them to become true Peace Makers.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Matthew 5:9

Every single day my children have ample opportunity to respond to conflict. Conflict abounds in my family. Unfortunate but true. I’m afraid a bunch of sinners lives in my home (and I’m one of them!). Some form of dissonance or conflict is always ready to spring forth – from lips that speak angrily, from arms that push and shove, from countenances that darken, or from offenses easily taken.

Silence is easy – I can tell my children to be silent and the house will be quiet. I don’t want simply a hushed atmosphere, I crave a peaceful home where love abounds more than contention, where grace, patience and joy are the defining characteristics. The stakes are high!

sleeping david and sarah

I guess they are quiet SOME of the time.

This week, in class, we studied the 5 A’s of responding to conflict.

1) Admit – admit what you did wrong, take ownership or responsibility for your attitudes and choices

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:3-5

2) Apologize – “I am sorry for … ”

3) Accept – accept the consequences for your choices, understand that there is a need for restitution, or making right what you did wrong.

4) Ask – ask for forgiveness. This is beyond apologizing, it is asking the person to accept your apology and forgive you. It shows you are seeking to restore the relationship and seek reconciliation.

5) Alter – alter your choices in the future. Tell others how you want to change, pray that God will give you the heart and will to do so.

Rachel and girls

Rachel and some other girls act out a conflict and the 5 A’s.

This morning Daniel and David woke up early and decided racing up and down the stairs (sometimes on their knees) would be a fun way to entertain themselves. As Saturday is Tim’s only day to sleep in (and he is consistently short on sleep) this turned out to be a bad choice. Both boys were punished and received lectures on respect for others and being quiet on Saturday mornings.

Afterward I happened to mention to Daniel that he should use the 5 A’s from our PeaceMaker’s Class. I must admit I had little hope that Daniel would know what I was talking about, much less be able to pull back any of the information from our study on the subject. To my great delight and surprise, he immediately rattled off all 5 of the A’s (in order). I was stunned. He was listening! He remembered! It had been a whole day and the information was still there, fresh in his memory. I decided to go further (why not live dangerously!) and asked him to apply the 5 A’s to his situation.

Again he surprised and pleased me. He admitted that he was wrong to be so noisy in the morning. He apologized. He said he accepted the punishment we gave him. He asked for forgiveness and then said he would try to be quiet and respectful next time.

To see understanding and application in a child who struggles dearly with authority and bristles under rebuke, was a beautiful gift from the Lord. It gave me tremendous hope and joy and encouraged me to persevere in this study. I need to model and practice these 5 A’s until the children thoroughly comprehend and internalize them.

Did I already mention that this study is as convicting, if not MORE, for the teachers as it is the students? Almost every week Lisa (my co-teacher) and I comment on how much we are learning in teaching this class and how challenged we are to live out these principles. If we can share even a portion of this with our children and the other kids at co-op, they will be mightily blessed and enriched.

Today, in our Proverbs study we read about the value of wisdom.

Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.

She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.

Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.

Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.

She is a tree of life to those who embrace her;those who lay hold of her will be blessed. Proverbs 3:14-18

These are the riches I want for my children.


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Saying Goodbye to “The Cousins”

We miss “The Cousins!” I don’t know when we gave them such a lofty title, but at some point we began calling Tim’s brother’s children “The Cousins.” The kids have other cousins, my brother has three children and Tim’s sister has three as well, but neither of them have been so dubbed. Who can explain how these things come about.

cousins and friends

Rachel and Rebecca enjoy a quiet moment together before the Big Goodbye.

For one glorious year The Cousins lived near us in Washington. It was wonderful. We came together for birthdays, celebrated holidays in each other’s homes, and, near the end of the year, met almost every Friday for pizza and Game Night. Sigh.

And then they left. Moved overseas. Just like that, they were gone. No more family birthdays or game nights or cousin time.

daniel weeps

Daniel weeps to say goodbye to Samuel

Lately The Cousins are reading the blog. Daniel and Samuel got on Skype and talked for an hour one day this week. When I asked him what all they discussed, he said they mainly chatted about the blog, looking through pictures and laughing together.

Ever since I heard that, I knew I had to write a blog to The Cousins. What is more fitting than a tribute to their departure last summer.

Notice the manly way Joshua and Timothy say goodbye – no tears or hugs, just a simple handshake. Either that or they’re cementing a clandestine business deal (not sure why Joshua is in his pajamas, but these are the days of “casual wear,” even on Wall Street).

joshua and timothy

The girls, on the other hand, are a little more demonstrative.

rachel and rebecca

We prayed and prayed that The Cousins would be able to stay in Washington but the Lord had other plans. The children devour any contact they have with the kids – Rachel and Joshua both correspond with Rebecca on a regular basis, Daniel talks on the computer with Samuel, and of course, then there is the blog (obviously the glue that holds us all together). When we received a cd full of pictures and videos we had to take a half day off of school in celebration (we needed that long to go through all the video of Mark careening through the streets of their new town).

So this quick little blog is to say hello to The Cousins and let them know how much we love and miss them. Come back any time, all is forgiven!


Aunt Koffee

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P365 – Day 60 (A Letter to Sarah)

Dear Sarah,

Hello Princess! We had another busy day – nothing extraordinary or unusual – just one of many that flow together to make the beautiful, crazy tapestry of our life. I’m taking a quiet moment to write and tell you that I’m sorry.

I’m sorry I pushed you aside this morning when you wanted to climb in my lap (I already had a keyboard there and was “busy”).

I’m sorry I didn’t let you kiss my cheek (I was eating breakfast and was “too busy for kisses”).

I’m sorry I didn’t snuggle in for another book at school time. Your request was so simple and sweet and yet, I pushed you aside. It was time to move on to the next thing.

I’m sorry I fussed at you for pulling on my jacket in the library. I told you to “hold on” and then was impatient with your tugs. Even though I could see the irony in the moment – you were “holding on” but not “waiting” like I intended – I still felt irritable.

I’m sorry I didn’t take the time for a real embrace this evening. I was hurrying out the door and didn’t pause for more than a quick brush as I went by.

Please forgive me. You are my precious daughter and I love you. Your smile and cheerful bounce brings a deep, contented joy to my heart. Even though I was busy and distracted today, you remained radiant and full of warmth. I am so blessed to be your mother and I am honored that God chose to place you in our family. May tomorrow bring a new sweetness to our relationship.

The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. Lamentations 3:22-23

Most of all, I am excited to see the way God is pulling and tugging at your heart. He wants to do wonderful things in your life. His love is everlasting and unconditional (unlike a tired, preoccupied mommy). He is calling you to Himself.

And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory. Romans 8:30

Here is a little glimpse of your day.

sarah's spelling list

Contemplating your (okay, Daniel’s) spelling list – checking off the words you finished.

sarah smiles

“I’ve got these words down pat.”

sarah and the boys

Some stair sliding with the boys. All part of a busy day.

You bring joy and laughter to our home, Little Princess.


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