Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Busy Girl

I was loading the dishwasher and Janae came over and grabbed a plastic grocery bag sitting under the dishwasher door and promptly climbed on top and grinned. I had to take a couple pictures.

By the way, we normally do NOT let our children play with plastic bags, incase you were wondering.

She thought it was great fun to sit up there and shake that bag!

Landon's Bedtime Tale

The other night Landon was playing in his room while he waited for his jammies and milk. The poor little guy just couldn't make it though.

Just steps from his bed but he zonked before he got there.

At last... all cuddled in.

The front of our house

After all that remodeling we did on the front of our house, you'd think I would have a nice picture to put up of it. Well, at last I dusted this one off after I realized I still hadn't put up an updated picture here. This was taken a few months ago when we had snow. Now the grass is starting to turn green already. So much for a white winter around here.

Pictures of my kitchen

The other night I was making supper and feeling rather nostalgic so decided to take some pics of the kitchen. I had to take a quite a few shots because of the way the kitchen is set up. Sorry to bore you with such petty pictures.

a repeat pic dolled up a bit

Still in love after almost 3 dreadfully long years. Can you believe it? And no, it really hasn't been very dreadful at all. Actually, it entirely has been wonderful.
Big Hug

Monday, January 30, 2006

He Forgets

I've been thinking lately about how God in His grace, FORGETS the wrong things I've done. When I come to Him and confess my wrong, He forgets. Even when I can't forget it, He does.

This song wraps it up so well. The chorus says,

"He forgets the sins He took to the cross
Every sin I can't pay, He forgets the cost
He knows who I am and all that I've done
When I come to Him and confess
Someway somehow He forgets!"

He doesn't say, "You know Courtney, here's the deal: you do this, this and this and I promise you that I'll forget any of this ever happened."

He doesn't say, "Sign on the dotted line right below the fine print and I'll forget how bad you are."

God doesn't make deals. He doesn't make you sign contracts and He never has fine print. God says, "You confessed it, I forget it."

Even when we go back and tell God how bad we are, He doesn't forsake us. He forgets.

Some Christians see themselves as unworthy, worthless wretches (which we are) and they "make up" for it by doing "good" things. We suffice ourselves by thinking we are appeasing God by replacing our wrong with our right.

Our right and God's right are as different as good and evil. Sometimes I wonder how long God can take it by not hammering into our heads that our righteousness is as filthy rags. He probably thinks that since He said it in His word as plain as day that maybe we should eventually get it.

But instead we crack out our Hebrew and Greek dictionaries and pick apart many doctorines until we can say them backwards. We read the verses on clothing and write enough books on the subject to fill all our bookshelves and all our time. We study the New Testament to get a check list on how to find the perfect Church.

And we read that "our righteousness is as filthy rags" and think that it means that by owning a Biblical wardrobe and simplifying our adornment, our righteousness is taken over by God's righteousness and we are no longer as the heathen. We think that filthy rags is what the ungodly churches have. The ones that wear bad clothes and listen to bad music. The ones that look like the world. The ones that aren't righteous. But, our righteousness is just as good as God's. Or so we think.

We wrap ourselves in our filthy rags of righteousness and call it holiness. God's righteousness is confined by our standards that we've contrived from a few little sermons and a few Greek words we've strung together. We continue to shine our filthy righteous rags and boast about ourselves in how the world is watching us because we have the truth. But most of our "truth" is only our righteousness. It's only filthy rags.

And God sits in Heaven and shakes His head because when we confess our wrong, we replace it with our right. We don't take on the image of Christ; we take on our own prescribed image of godliness.

If only the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ would be accepted by all Christians for what it really is. More people could be living that abundant life that Jesus promises. He forgets the sins HE took to the cross! We don't have to pay and any attempt to do so belittles Christ's work on Calvary.

If our righteousness is really filthy rags like the Bible says, then let's believe and obey God's Word like Christians are supposed to. There is still hope because when we confess our filthy rags, God forgets our filthy sin.

Someway, somehow, HE FORGETS!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

In The House That Toby Built

In a golden rule kind of a way, Toby would build himself a house different than he would a customer. He has more patience with his patients than he does with himself. He never cusses at his cussomers though the cost for a costomer may be greater in a monetary way considering when he does work for himself, he never gets paid.

And it's a good thing because Toby's house would be a different kind of house.

I happen to live in the house that Toby's built a lot of things in and considering I'm almost a foot shorter than the man himself, I see things on a much lower level than he does.

To hang my coat up in our coat closet, I need a step ladder in order to reach the rod with my hanger. If I attempt to reach for the light bulbs stashed on the shelf just above the coat rod, I have to bounce and jump to try to get a more vivid view of the top side of the shelf. From where I stand, all I can see is the grain of wood on the underside of this child proof shelf.

You know how some people have those draw string ladders that you pull out of a little hole in the ceiling when you want to go up into the attic? I need one of those just to get the light bulbs stored in our utility closet.

Toby always changes the light bulbs in his house and it's no wonder because those light bulbs are all out of every one else's reach. If he didn't change them, we'd all be in the dark.

He never needs a chair to stand on in order to reach the ceiling lights either. It works well in our household to designate chores according to height. Toby gets the light bulb task since they're a dangerous thing for a short person to reach since the only way Shorty could get to them would be to shove them off the shelf with a broom handle. And unless you're good at juggling your hands in a fashion that would swiftly snatch the thin glass objects from thin air before they hit the floor in Toby's house, this uppity task is best left to those on higher levels.

Toby's house has unique places for shelves too. Not only are they unique but when peering from their locations, you tend to get a rather bird's eye view of your surroundings. It can tend to leave one falsely convinced they have a negative outlook on things because in order to see anything, you have to look down at everything.

One day Toby's wife was looking for a place to store her un-used kitchen things. Right off the kitchen heading down the stairs to the basement in Toby's house, there was a perfect little nook to put up a shelf that could store extra kitchen gadgets like a toaster, blender, empty jars, bags of chips and even boxes of un-opened cereal. Toby's wife suggested that a simple wooden shelf be mounted on the wall in the little nook that was so obviously lending itself to a practical shelf.

Toby is happy to upgrade his house and uplift his wife by doing charming things like making such rare conveniences like shelves for extra kitchen stuff so he cheerfully went about the task of completing the project.

Upon completion, Toby's uplifted wife went downstairs to admire her admirer's upgraded handy work. It was lovely but had a slight problem: the poor dear needed an extension ladder to even peer onto the edge of the shelf let alone actually lift a fragile item off with her own fair hand. It's since come to be a nice place to store the encyclopedias our kids will one day need in junior high or some other distance age down the road in case the internet is down one day. And they're right off the kitchen too.

I think if Toby built a house, it would be high. Everything about it would be high. Except for the floor, of course. The ceilings would be at least a foot higher than standard ceilings, the cupboards would be up to my chest and the door knobs would be so high we'd still be opening the bathroom door for our 10 years old kids. The bath tub would be long enough to lay an air mattress in and the shower head would be so high, the water would be cold by the time it reached your head.

Another thing with Toby's house would be books. Lots of them. Toby would calculate his finances and figure out on his calculator wrist watch the savings on drywall by building book shelves into the walls instead. Even if wood would cost more, at least he never had to pay money for drywall. He'd save on drywall that way.

Toby would fill those wood book shelves up with great quantities of books from the floor all the way to the high ceilings. The strange thing is though, most of them would end up piled high in the bathroom. For some reason, our books seem to always end up in the bathroom so I'm sure even with an adequate amount of book shelf space, the lavatory would still be the official library.

The other day, I was cleaning the bathroom in Toby's house and combed out a whole selection of a wide range of books with interesting topics. From dog stories to the dangers of demonism, our towel rack was littered with the leaves from at least a half a dozen books. After 3 blissful years of marriage and having as many books in my bathroom as I do towels and wash clothes, I finally put a special little book basket in our sacred little library to hold Toby's books.

I often wondered why they put quaint little coffee shops in book stores when if they just put up a whole line of bathroom stalls, they may get a lot more business. People would probably pay well too. Maybe that's why they put the coffee shops in there though: without the coffee the lavatory business would perish.

The house that Toby would build, would not be surrounded by a lush green lawn. With books to read and light bulbs to change and shelves to build, Toby is too practical to mow a yard with fast growing plants like grass. And since it rarely rains here anyway, he wouldn't have the time nor patience to water his yard of grass. He much prefers the free growing style of the slight shade of what looks like could be green that our currant lawn grows. It's somehow nourished by the few rare drops of rain we get once in a while.

Which about the rain, I really don't mind because with rain comes clouds and with clouds comes people like Toby who tend to get there head stuck in them. It's one thing to have a tall husband but when his head is in a cloud, that's a whole 'nother story.

If Toby designed and built himself a house, I would be more than happy to call it mine as well. Because at the end of a day of climbing ladders and stacking books, it gives a whole new meaning to have someone come down to your level just to give you a kiss after coming home from work.

Or, there is always the option to climb a foot high ladder when that I'm-home-from-work-kiss comes my way and then I get to be up on Toby's level for once... in the house that Toby built.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Our Christmas Picture

We took this picture for our second annual Christmas picture. It was probably one of 20 and the only good one. At least we got one good one though.

Our original pose was outside on the front porch but Landon was too distracted by being outside and both of them were getting too cold so it didn't turn out. Here's the best of that batch...

And finally, an unofficial Christmas Picture of Toby and I... (this was taken after Christmas though so that's why this one didn't come with our yearly Christmas mailing. We're all ready for next year.)

Sunday, January 08, 2006

My Resolution For New Years Resolutions

So, I haven't posted for a long time. Life for me has been busy, interesting and full. But, not the kind of busy-ness that's worth writing about. Of course, having two rambunctious and healthy kids makes for many interesting moments that are very worth writing about. Those moments are just usually so interesting and long that it doesn't leave one with any other moments for time to write about the interesting moments.

Just now, my 22 month old Landon keeps bringing me Double Stuf Oreo cookies for me to open so he can suck off the Double Stuf. I'm glad he brings them to me and doesn't do it himself because I can at least safely discard half of the cookie and that leaves only one sucked-on-half to be left for the carpet or some other unlucky receptacle.

(My key board is being peppered with black, cookie crumbs.)

As for New Years Resolutions, I decided to make only two New Years resolutions. And, no; one of them is not to keep my blog updated this year. (Although that is something I plan to do.)

Resolution #1 is that I would make NO New Years Resolutions and Resolution #2 is that I would live each day for itself and wouldn't be trying to attain to some lofty, far off goal that I made at the beginning of my previously untrodden year.

So far, I've kept both.

I think Janae has a few New Years Resolutions though. Number 1 would be to eat more food. Number 2, to communicate more and Number 3, to pull herself up next to furniture. I hope walking is also one of her New Years Resolutions but so far, we've seen no aspirations on her part for that goal. I think she's choosy about her New Years Resolutions just like her mother.

I believe Landon's New Years Resolution #1 is to talk more. At the end of every phrase we say, we here the last syllable echoed back. Many times he'll pronounce the actual word and you can see the connection being made in his little head as he says the word, repeats it, and then repeats it again and then for good measure, says it again and repeats it a few more times before saying it again...

"Hun, while I run up to do the laundry, can you feed the kids that banana?"

And before Toby can even say okay...





Or, "Janae, lets get in your walker."



"Fini, vaa-kr." (Fini is Janae's pet name. One of them.)


It's like having a little parrot in your house. Only this one doesn't spill bird seed but rather cookie crumbs.

Just now I'm seeing Janae recycle one of Landon's discarded cookie halfs and I'm hoping that the chocolate on her white sweater will wash out some day. She keeps happily grinning at me with a black mouth and a mushed up wad of sweetness in her fat fist.

Kids sure have been my focus lately. Just yesterday we babysat 1 niece and 2 nephews while their mother celebrated their birthday with their dad. It was busy and fun. Janae's cousin, Caden, is only 5 days her senior so 50% of the kids were under 2.

But, four-year-old Tierra by far passes them all up.

Being the busy little mother she is, I had to keep concentrated on her more than the other kids because she was more focused on them than I was. She was forever helping, holding and taking care the 3 kids younger than her.

After waking up from her own nap, she wanted to check on sleeping Landon. I was enjoying the peacefulness of having my boy sleeping in his safe little bed that I didn't want to risk his wakefulness by a little girl peering into his room just to make sure his was still sleeping.

I assured her he was fine and that we would hear him when he woke up.

"Oh, you have a thermometer in his room?"

"Yes, Tierra, there is a baby monitor upstairs," was my reassuring response.

But that wasn't enough because until he got up, she kept asking if he was okay and if maybe she should go check on him. She was the first one in his room when we heard his call at last.

Other than babysitting and avoiding New Years Resolutions, I've been sewing a few projects and keeping up on my laundry. It's weird how life can be so busy that it causes you to avoid your computer but when you actually sit down to write about your busy-ness, you can't remember what it was that kept you away for so long.

I guess it goes to show that when a cloud of busy-ness shrouds your life, it soon takes on an appearance of normalcy that you don't think twice about the 7th basket of laundry you washed or the 18th diaper you've changed in a day or the countless numbers of fingers you washed or the 25th milk spill you cleaned off the floor or the endless parade of owies and other such life threatening pains you kissed in a single hour.

The longer I sit here and think, the more I realize my life is too full and busy for even a list of New Years Resolutions. I mean, I wouldn't even have the chance to think about making that list let alone write it down.

And if I did make a list, I wouldn't be keeping my New Years Resolution #1.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Long Time No Post

Life has been a series of changes and upheavals. We were gone on "vacation" for 12 days to visit my family up in Wisconsin. It was a wonderful trip and we had many happy times. Check back soon for updates and pictures. They should be coming soon. I don't have the necessary time to do a long post right now but promise to catch up soon.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and that all your New Years resolutions are being kept so far!