Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Elaine Turns Seven!

Almost two weeks ago, my Elaine girl turn seven.  S-E-V-E-N.  Wow.  That makes me feel old!  Assuming she lives with us through college, that means we are about 1/3 done with our time with Elaine!  That is scary… I feel like there is yet so much to teach!

Elaine is really a great big sister.  She is a helper and a teacher and an example, to Mommy and her siblings.  She is nearly always happy.  If she isn’t busy and involved with her brothers and sister, she is probably curled up with a book somewhere.  I used to be like that.  My Grandma was always getting on me for bringing a book everywhere.  Elaine brings three or four!

I snapped a few pictures on the morning of her birthday.

Elaine's 7 Year Portraits

Elaine's 7 Year Portraits

Elaine's 7 Year Portraits
This was one of the few moments during our three weeks in Vancouver, BC that it wasn’t raining!

Elaine's 7 Year Portraits

Elaine's Seven Year Old Portraits
Finally got her to smile!

Elaine picked out her outfit for her birthday.  She loves purple, so the dress choice was easy.  The shirt is one that she bought with Ben on a daddy-daughter date, and it is one of her favorites for that reason.  She has been dying for cowgirl boots for a while now, and we finally found some at the thrift store recently.  So that is her outfit!  She looks so much more grownup with her bangs growing out, too!

What to do was a little more difficult to decide!  We had shared birthday cake with Makaela Little the week before, on Makaela’s 8th birthday.  They came over for dinner on Elaine’s birthday.  So, we did our “normal” celebrations in the morning, in our PJs.

Elaine's 7th Birthday
Breakfast cereal tradition – She chose Cheerios!!!

Elaine's 7th Birthday
Part of her presents.  They have come in a trickle this year, and more are waiting at Grandma’s house!  She got a new set for her Schleich horses!

Elaine's 7th Birthday
Love this picture of my kiddos!

Elaine's 7th Birthday
Giant “7” balloon from the Littles!  Homemade decorations were a family project the night before.

After that, we decided for a little city adventure.  We planned to take the train downtown and eat lunch at a food truck I had seen – Mom’s Grilled Cheese Truck.  Never having seen a grilled cheese food truck, and since grilled cheese is Elaine’s favorite, we thought it would be fun!  I discovered the flaw in my plan quickly – my transit directions were by bus, not train.  And to take bus to train involved double fares, and I didn’t have that much Canadian cash.  So in the end we drove downtown, ate our food truck fare, and then rode the train back to the transfer station where Daddy picked us up.  {The train involved a scary moment when Liberty exited a stop early and I didn’t notice.  Praise the Lord, the older gentleman behind me hollered and I got her back just in time!}

Elaine's 7th Birthday

Elaine's 7th Birthday

Elaine's 7th Birthday

Elaine's 7th Birthday

Elaine's 7th Birthday
So very glad these two are friends!  Makaela’s brought headband crowns from the ladies’ tea, and the girls enjoyed playing together!

Elaine's 7th Birthday
Cutting pineapple for her new favorite pizza – ham & pineapple!  (Glad we expanded our tastebuds from Cheese!”")

Elaine's 7th Birthday

Cake on Makaela’s birthday.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Some Thoughts on Halloween

This post has been brewing for a couple of years now.  I guess I’m finally brave enough to voice my thoughts.  But I have been censored and edited by my husband, who is much gentler and more forgiving than I. Smile

Through many of the recent posts floating around Facebook and Instagram (my favorite social network these days), it has become apparent to me that the celebration of Halloween is no longer taboo for many of my Bible believing friends.  I am personally very disturbed by this.

Why is it that a holiday which is so evidently associated with evil has become something which Christians feel they can or have to participate in?  Why should we even celebrate it in an alternative manner?

These verses are continually coming to mind:

Ephesians 5:11 – “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”

2 Corinthians 6:14b-15 “…for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?  and what communion hath light with darkness?  And what concord hath Christ with Belial?  or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?”

1 Thessalonians 5:22 “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

Whereas I understand that there is nothing wrong with dressing up as a princess or a pumpkin, I don’t understand why we would choose to partake in a day which has always been everything opposite of our holy God.  Can’t we dress up any time?  My kids love to play dress-up and role play nearly daily. 

Should we not take this opportunity to stand in stark contrast to the culture around us?  What a golden opportunity to show the difference between believers who have had their lives and purposes and even celebrations changed by Christ, and those who are still in bondage to darkness.  Instead we are blurring the lines between the holy and the profane.  This is a new trend.  Didn’t our parents and grandparents have a good reason for teaching us not to participate in this day?

Many try to seize upon this day as an opportunity for evangelism.  I appreciate their desire to reach souls for Christ, but I feel as though the ends do not justify the means in this situation.  Are we as zealous to use other opportunities to hand out tracts and share Christ throughout the year?  Or do we use this as an excuse to participate in Halloween?  Many “churches” would claim that a certain kind of music provides an opportunity for evangelism, and yet we would say that this music does not mix with the message of the Gospel.  Is not Halloween the same?

I have not said anything the last few years, though I always am vexed when I scroll through my newsfeed at this time of year.  Each year it seems to be getting worse, as more and more of my friends get involved.  I did not feel I could remain silent any longer.

Feel free to share comments and thoughts, but please keep it civil.  I also feel very alone in my position, so I would really like to know if there are some of you that stand with me.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Henry’s First Haircut

Henry got his first haircut at Grandpa’s barber!  I expected to have to hold him, but he sat up there in the chair just about perfectly still!  Such a cutie pie!

Henry's First Haircut  Henry's First Haircut

Henry's First Haircut

Hiking Devil’s Head

On one Saturday, my parents took the kids and I to hike Devil’s Head to the Fire Lookout station.  It is the only one of seven original fire lookouts still in use in Colorado.  We hiked this as kids, so it was fun to take my kids back.  They got very distratected  by the sticks and stones, but we did make it to the top!

Devil's Head Colorado Hike  Devil's Head Colorado

Devil's Head Colorado
I love the mountains!

Devil's Head Colorado
My parents and the granddog, Sadie

Devil's Head Colorado

Devil's Head Colorado
At the top of the fire lookout station.

Devil's Head Colorado

Devil's Head Colorado

Devil's Head Colorado

Devil's Head Colorado Hike
Can you see the city of Denver?

After hiking to the top and back, we drove down to the South Platte River so that we could have a picnic and swim.  It was a little busier than expected,  but the kids enjoyed the water.  When we were finished I sent Elaine to get in the van first.  She started screaming, so I investigated.  I found a baby garter snake slithering away.  Nolan chased it across the road, and Grandpa (the snake guy) helped to secure it.  Once Nolan touched it and didn’t fall over dead, all the kids wanted a turn holding the baby snake.  We had to take turns and go around a couple of times.  When Grandpa went to release the snake Liberty was sobbing, “I’m just gonna miss that snake!”

Swimming in the South Platte

South Platte Snake

South Platte Snake

Our Summer at Grandma’s House

After Yellowstone and a meeting in Wyoming, Ben took the kids and I back to my parent’s house in Denver.  We stayed there for a month while Ben went and had some meetings in California alone.  We had two reasons for splitting up:  first, we couldn’t find housing for all of us in CA, and it would be very costly to live in a hotel for a month; and second, because Ben needed some time alone to write his doctrinal papers for ordination.  The time in one place gave us some stability, and the kids were even able to take swimming lessons!

Idaho Potato Fields
Idaho potato fields

Pinedale, WY
Pinedale, WY.

Playing Soccer with Wesley
Playing soccer with Uncle Wesley.  Soccer is his game – he was thrilled.

Pool Noodle Horses   Pool Noodle Horses
Grandma made the Grands these adorable pool noodle stick horses!

Cow Appreciation Day
Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-A!

Cow Appreciation Day  Cow Appreciation Day

Elaine's School
Elaine set up a school and thoroughly enjoyed teaching Aunt Jo!  She enjoyed her authority a little too much, perhaps – complete with rules!

Fire Breathing Dragons
Fire breathing dragons!  (Toilet paper rolls and tissue paper)

Giving Sadie a bath at the Dog Wash
We took Sadie to the quarter wash for a bath.  Brilliant idea – there are two dog wash booths right there at the quarter car wash!

Henry in the bathroom cupboard
Whenever Henry turned up “missing” we could usually find him crawling through the bathroom cupboards!

Highline Canal Walk
An evening walk at the Highline Canal.  The kids loved feeding crab apples to the horse!

Highline Canal Walk
Grandma got her exercise!

Cowardly Clyde quickly became Nolan’s favorite book!  He conned all of us into reading it – sometimes multiple times per day!  This was Grandpa’s turn!

Liberty Motorcycle Ride
Motorcycle rides with Grandpa – one of the big highlights for all the kids!

Elaine Motorcycle Ride

Nehemiah Motorcycle Ride   Nolan Motorcycle Ride

National Watermelon Day
National Watermelon Day – celebrated appropriately!!!

National Watermelon Day   National Watermelon Day
I let Henry go at his own wedge without cutting it up.  He finally got the hang of picking it up!

Nolan's Staples   Nolan's Staples
Two days after Nolan’s Yellowstone stitches came out, he slipped at the water park and busted the wound open again.  So off to the ER we went again, and this time we got staples!  It was a rough life – he got popsicles, the TV remote, and toys!

Painting   Sprinkler Day
Painting outdoors, and Henry watching the sprinkler time, surrounded by all the boy toys one could hope for!  Thanks Uncle Kenny & Uncle Wesley for leaving your toys at home!

Sprinkler Fun

Sprinkler Fun   Sprinkler Fun
e buckets came out for the water guns, but soon ended up being the main attraction!

Sprinkler Fun
Revenge on the older sister!

Swimming Lessonss
Swimming lessons!  The three youngers were in the same class.

Swimming Lessonss
Elaine was in the older class – the only girl among five boys.  I think she enjoyed it!

Last Day of Swimming Lessons
Last day of swimming lessons.  Everyone passed, except Nehemiah.  He wouldn’t really get into the water.  So, it’s kinda hard to progress!

Last Day of Swimming Lessons
New goggles all around!  Love Libs’ piggies, too!

Washing the Truck with Wesley and Grandpa   Washing the Truck with Wesley and Grandpa
Washing the trucks with Uncle Wesley and Grandpa soon turned to a soap and water fight!

With Grams in Colorado
My Grams was in town so we got to spend a few days with her!

Kids with Grandma Grandpa and Sadie
Last day at Grandma & Grandpa’s.  Thanks for putting up with us for a month.  Enjoy the quiet!  Sadie, we pray for you often (more than for Grandma & Grandpa Smile).  We will miss you!  Elaine wept (literally) when we had to leave, and we get requests often to return to Grandma’s house.

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