Monday, June 29, 2009

make shift wagon

Such a proud moment when I opened the front door to discover what Brooklyn had made for her little brother. That's the kind of summer fun I love. A little creativity and making do with what's on hand. She pushed him around our court on this. And "He only tipped over once!" I love it. He was happy when I opened the door, but by the time I grabbed the camera and came back, he was ready to get out. 

Sunday, June 21, 2009

happy fathers day

(l-r:  Herb Pfremmer - Joe's maternal grandfather, Robert Swanson - Joe's paternal grandfather, George Wright - my maternal grandfather.)

(l-r:  Mike Stewart - my dad, John Swanson - Joe's dad)  at our wedding November 26, 1994)

my dad with Mercy (about six weeks old) and me.
(I've got to find a photo of Joe's dad with our kids.)

Joe and our kids last weekend.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

give away

Oops... I was up early blogging this morning and forgot about the promised give away.  So how about I award one lucky commenter with a $20 gift certificate to my etsy shop.  Go check it out and tell me what you'd spend it on.  (This will help me know what things people like, so it helps me out too.)  If you'd like, you can also offer suggestions of something you'd like to see offered there.. it can be an idea or phrase for a painting, some sewn item, etc.  I'll draw a winner on Friday the 26th.  

coffee bean

This morning I set down my laptop and cup of coffee when my little guy sleepily toddled over to me.  Since there were two girls (Brooklyn and a friend) sleeping peacefully on the living room floor, I decided to take Judah outside.  We snuggled on the swing, and as we rocked he fell sweetly back to sleep.  I stayed there, holding him for about an hour and a half as he slept.  I listened to birds and watched them play, heard the sound of tennis balls bouncing back and forth across the nearby court, contemplated life and prayed, while enjoying the peaceful morning.

To say that this has been a difficult year for our family would be a huge understatement.  But to say it's been a good year would be an understatement as well.  When Joe walked away from his law enforcement career to pursue his creative dreams a year ago, we didn't realize the magnitude of the struggling economy and how it would affect us.  I won't go into details of all that's happening  here, and I know there are many families struggling through these hard times right now.  I am thankful, because we have really never gone without.  We've always had a roof over our heads and something to eat.  And we've been very healthy, which is no small thing.  Through all the trials and tears, there have also been a lot of blessings, a lot of growing, a lot of bonding and a lot of loving.  

One thing that I'll share that is happening now is that for the first time since 1997, I'm going to work outside the home.  I've done a few different things from home since becoming a mom, but I'm actually going to go out and earn a paycheck for a while.  (Not a large one, but it will come with benefits after a while... plus a free pound of coffee every week.. woohoo!)  It's bittersweet.  I'd rather not work away from home, but if I must, I think I'll enjoy this new job.  It's just a part-time gig.. I'll be a barista at Starbucks.  I'm a big fan of Starbucks, and I love love love working in the coffee shop at our church, so I think it will be a good fit.  I enjoy seeking out little one of a kind coffee shops, and supporting small businesses, but I have this thing for Starbucks.  They've worked hard at establishing their branding and it works.  For a girl who has moved at least a couple dozen times in just a few dozen years (true story), I find something so comforting about Starbucks.  Maybe it's the security and familiarity.  No matter where you are, you can spot that round, green logo from far off and know what awaits you inside.  You walk in to that heavenly aroma and are surrounded with all that's familiar.  A little piece of home.  You know what to order and can depend on it to taste the way you want it to.  I'm a morning person and don't mind being there early.  It's nice for us that they open so early, so that Joe can be home with the kids while I'm at work, and I can be home before he leaves.  We'll be passing ships for a while, but "this too shall pass".  

So this is my wish/ prayer list this morning...

1.  That Joe can do what he loves and be paid well for it.

2.  That I can stay home with the kids and create things for fun and profit, adding some play money to the family budget.

3.  That until we get there, we continue to rally together with support and encouragement.

I'm sure everyone has heard the analogy of the egg, the carrot and the coffee bean.  Each is placed in its own pot of water, and the heat is turned up.  The egg turns hard, and sometimes even cracks in hot water.  The carrot gets soft and mushy.  The coffee bean remains unchanged, but changes the water it's in and presents the area around it with a comforting aroma.  I want to be a coffee bean.  Of course sometimes I resemble an egg or a carrot in this analogy, but I strive to be the coffee bean.  Our women's ministries pastor always refers to coffee bean-type people as the Steady Eddies/ the Stable Mabels.  That's who I want to be.  

Friday, June 19, 2009

check her out!

Today I have a gift for you.  Not in a give-away... actually why not?  Sure, with a give away.  But the real gift here is sending you over to a sweet blog.  I met Denise on my very first day of college.  I drove by myself one afternoon in August many years ago to a place I'd spend the next four years.  Only an hour and a half from home, but a whole new world for me.  A few of us had to be there a day early, to take a test... can't remember what it was or why now, but I moved into my quiet dorm room and then met the few others on our floor (which was called "Circus Hall". Love that name).  We were all new and a little nervous, but excited.  I remember being drawn to Denise.  She was warm and friendly and there was something so reassuring about her.  I was quiet and boring, I'm sure, but I was wide-eyed and soaking it all in.  As the year went on, we all discovered other friendships, boys and activities.  Our lives moved on and we didn't stay in touch after she left the school.  I thought about her over the years and wondered where she was, and then... Facebook!  After finding her, I found her blog, and have been hooked ever since.  She's so genuine.  So full of beauty and love.  She's silly and dreamy.  She's a new mother, a wife madly in love with her husband, and a photographer who really gets in touch with her photographees (?) to bring out their most beautiful selves.  (Someday I will have a photo session with her.  Someday.)  

Today her post titled "red tent" made my day.  I think you'll like her too.  I can imagine her having a red tent retreat, where we could all go and just be who we are and laugh and cry together.  

And recently she's been blogging about dreads.  Yes, dreadlocks.  I've secretly wanted them since those college years in Santa Cruz.  And since my hair is so unmanageable these days, it could be a good solution.  But I'll sit back and enjoy Denise on her journey with dreads for now.  I told myself (and Joe) that if I still want them, maybe I'll treat myself for my 40th birthday.  So I have a few years to research, imagine and decide.  In the meantime, I told a friend who is a hairdresser, and she said she could tame my locks, so I'll set up an appointment with her and see if there really is hope.

So go check her out!  I think I'll wait for tomorrow for the give away.  That way you can spend as long as you want, just soaking up all the goodness of her blog and not have to rush back here to enter.  You can come back tomorrow.  I'll try to make it a good one.

Monday, June 8, 2009

an interview of me?

Simply Dawn, blogger and good friend in Minnesota, asked me for an interview for her blog.  She has posted the first part of the interview here.  Thanks, Dawn, for deeming me worthy of an interview!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Scripture memory #11

I just started doing Angela Thomas' Bible study, When Wallflowers Dance, along with my sisters.  I went through her book Do You Think I'm Beautiful? a few years ago and it was the most personal, soul searching, heart cry of a study I've ever done.  This one is sure to cut to the heart again, in a fresh new way.  I'm a bit weary right now.  I have a three year old who is wanting control.  I realize part of it is the age.  And part of it is her need to feel secure.  There have been a lot of changes this last year for our family, and she may be feeling a bit unsure of her surroundings.  We need to try to help her feel secure in our love, in our Father's love, so that whatever changes are happening around her are not so hard to handle.  But it's a process.  And right now, it's hard.  She is easily upset and some days my patience wares thin.  I love her so much and just want to cuddle and play with her.  But when she acts out, I also have to discipline her.  And I am tired.

So I'm excited about our school year coming to an end and our summer learning to begin.  We have sort of a relaxed approach to homeschooling, not real rigorous as far as academics.  We do use assorted curriculum, but all of us enjoy learning through exploring and doing more than by reading and quizzing.  We're finished with all of our classes outside the home for the year, and this week we're finishing our technical school year at home.  I have Brooklyn making herself some flash cards for helping to remember some things throughout the summer and  Zeke is finishing up his math book.  Then we'll be reading, gardening (I really hope we do this), swimming, playing, creating art, and making memories this summer.

I'm thankful for my sisters wanting to do this study.  After I went through Do You Think I'm Beautiful? a few years ago and then heard Angela had another book out, I wanted to do this one, but never got around to ordering it.  It will be nice to go through it alone with God in the mornings, but with my sisters on the journey, sharing as we go.  One of the things I love most about God is that we can come to Him just as we are.  Not just when we're content.  Not just when we're happy and full of love.  But when we're weary.  When we are blowing it with our kids.  When we mess up in other areas.  When we're lonely.  When we're worried or angry or discontent.  Today in the study, we looked at 1 Peter 2:2,3 (which will be my Scripture memory verse for the next two weeks).

1 Peter 2:2,3  Like newborn babies, crave spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

In my weariness, I want to get back to really craving God's Word.  Newborn babies crave milk from their mothers.  The milk is their life source, providing the nutrients they need to survive and grow.  When babies are breast fed, they often reject formula because they don't like the taste.  They won't accept a counterfeit.  Our first baby was bottle fed.  I had trouble with nursing so we switched to formula after the first week.  She eagerly gulped it down, but her little tummy couldn't handle what we were giving her at first, so after some time dealing with her projectile spitting up (sorry for the graphic details) and trying to soothe her through tummy troubles, we switched to a soy formula.  Once we got it right, she started to really thrive.  God's Word is full of nutrients that we need for living and thriving in this life.  I want to crave it.  I have before, where I just can't get enough.  Lately I'm tired.  And I want to rest in His love, going to His Word for the nourishment and fulfillment that I need, accepting no substitutes.