Friday, May 18, 2012

{Teach Them to Know} God as a Creative Gift Giver

I sat on the lawn with my eldest & youngest girls.
These ones didn't nap.
Together we three shell fava beans.
Scott & I eagerly await the arrival of fava beans into our farm share box every spring.
Today was the day.

Gillian told me she was glad to quit whatever she was doing in order to do work with me.
She does thrive on time together, working with hands.
Painting, cleaning, cooking, sculpting, penmanship - 
if I am focused on doing it, she is happy to be focused to.
She pauses from her her chatter to say a heartfelt, "I love you, Mom."

We chat about how there are so many different kinds of beans.
More than a thousand, maybe?  
God is so creative to make so many different kinds of beans for us.
Gillian says, "I'm creative, too!"  
I tell her that is because God made her to be like Him.  
He created her in His image. And He made her creative.
She gives an emphatic, "yes!"

Gods creativity is a gift to us.  All the different things He made, in all their amazing variety, that is all a gift.
And He giving us the ability to create is a gift, too.
I tell my girl to use the gift well.
And that God loves to gives good gifts to His children.

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father..."  
James 1:17

I don't pretend to be an expert on teaching my children about who God is. 
But, I am going to give it my best shot.  Can we all encourage & inspire each other?  
Will you link up a blog post with us, sharing a way you were able to teach another to know more about who God is?
I want my children, first & foremost, to know who God is, 
the only One who can fully know them.
Join the link list below by adding the url for your blog post 
& be sure to link back here from your post.

I am linking up with Heather @ b. rooted - we Found a good gift from God in Fava Beans.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Learning & Walking Together in Loss

It seems hard to believe that it was seven years ago when our first child was born.
It feels strange almost.  Seven years old seems like such a big kid age.

As Gabriel’s birthday comes around this year another thing that feels strange are my emotions.
It is hard for me to pin them down & I am lacking clarity of thought.
My grief is most certainly not as piercing. 
When I turn my thoughts toward memories of him, it is usually more like a dull ache.
The tears don’t spill out as quickly or as violently.
I want to write something eloquent on this occasion. 
The calming of emotions makes it more difficult to access, I suppose.

We may not be able to make it to his grave site this week.
We always go for his birthday. 
I will be sad if we don’t make it there.
But, I am a little hesitant for the first time, too.
My confidence in guiding the kids through the muddy path of grief is rather shaky right now.
This past year has been interesting, in seeing how my various kids are processing the fact
that they never knew their oldest brother.

Gillian never forgets about Gabriel.  Ever. 
Any time anyone comments or asks about the size of our family, she always includes Gabriel. 
Strangers comment casually all the time about, “Wow- 3 girls & only 1 boy!  Poor little guy…” 
Gillian corrects every time – “No, we have 2 boys & 3 girls.”
Whenever she asks me about him, it is evident she has really been thinking about things. 
Peyton sometimes mentions to me how sad it is that he never got to see his brother.
Moira asks why he died.  And she tells me often how sorry she is that he died.

Scott & I don’t talk about Gabriel on a regular basis.
When we do speak of him & his life,
it is most often in the darkness of night, whispered from pillow to pillow.
Although I write about him here, the conversation is not a common part of our life.
I have to think most of their questions & thoughts about their brother
were birthed from our annual trip to his grave.

I wonder if it too much for them. 
But even as I wonder that, I know also that this is our family’s story.
I don’t want to brush it under the rug, so my kids can’t see it.
They already know it is there.  I can’t really hide it at this point.

It is a little bit scary learning to hold their hands & speak healing to their hearts.
It is scary because I don’t know what they are feeling & what they might ask.
But, isn’t that life?  I’m glad God is in control, because I don’t quite know what I’m doing.

Source: via Tasha on Pinterest

I think Jesus is shaping our family to welcome in another.
One who is most likely already knee deep in the muddy path of grief & loss.
We will have to learn along the way about his sorrows & fears.
Jesus, teach me to listen with a compassionate & wise ear.
Train my tongue to be an instrument of healing.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cake Talk

Can we talk about cake for just one minute?
For Moira’s birthday I made chocolate cake with salted caramel frosting.
I found the recipe through Pinterest.  Looks amazing, right?

Through the process of making it all, I couldn’t wait to finish the final product.
The cake batter was tasty!  And Caramel frosting?  Yes please!
But…  I ended up being rather disappointed.
The cake has potential for me.  But, I found it far too heavy in thick layers.
I baked my cake in 6” pans.  The final cake ends up cool looking – slender & tall.
If I were to make this recipe again, I would most certainly spilt each cake layer in half.
And I think I would make syrup to brush on each layer, too.
This cake recipe seems it may be at its best in a trifle. 
The frosting was sad for me, too.  The flavor of caramel was great.
But, I am reminded with the frosting that I do not like basic powdered sugar buttercream.
I find it gritty & overly sweet.  Some people believe they don’t like frosting.
I think that belief may be the fault of powdered sugar buttercreams.
Before you write off all frosting, please try meringue buttercream.  
The difference is incredible.

And, if you don’t want to make cake yourself, please try Kari’s Malva Pudding.
Kari is a Santa Cruz local with a small business just making amazing malva pudding cakes.
We first tried the cake when she was giving samples at our Nob Hill grocery store. 
We loved her South African accent & her lovely personality.  And we loved her cakes.
The kids kept asking her for more & more (& she was happy to share). 
It was hard to pull them away. 
Gillian exclaimed multiple times, “I just can’t besist that cake!!”  (besist = resist)
The cake is not sold everywhere - yet..  Check out the locations here.
Kari makes a Chocolate cake & a Caramel cake. 
We get one of each & then we split each of them in half
& put half caramel cake & half chocolate cake in a box.
Then throw the boxes in your freezer for when you want an amazing dessert last minute.
We had the lovely pudding cake for our mother’s day treat.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Gift of a Day

In anticipation of Mother’s day, Gillian & Peyton had gone on an exploring adventure.
They gathered rocks & daffodils & a dandelion puff ball, all for me.
They were very serious about keeping their secret.
Peyton greeted me in bed on Sunday with a Ziploc bag & a rock.

We had a perfect breakfast at Wyatt’s.
We played at Moore park on Klamath Lakeshore.
At “home” we went on an exploring mission to find lava rocks for our goldfish tank.
Scott likes to always change the little fishies’ environment for them with new rock designs.
We rested in the shade on the lawn with our collection of rocks.
The kids created design & design idea.

It is such a gift, being a mom! 

a hair cut that gives wings to fly away on, courtesy of his mom...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Identity {5 minute Friday}

I know I am late - but I writing with Lisa-Jo & friends about Identity 
for Five Minute Friday...


I am Erin- third born, home-schooled, church going my whole life.

When I moved from being a daughter in my parent’s home,
one of the biggest parts of me was changing drastically. 
I am still the same daughter, but it is different.

I am Mrs. and I love that part of me.  But that has not always been me.

I am mom to a team of tiny, energetic, smarty-pants kids. 
That takes most of what I have every day.
 But that will not always be.  They will grow, my role as mom will morph.

I am a good cook,
but sometimes I put a bad meal (or none at all) on the table.
I love flowers & I love arranging them, but it’s okay if I don’t get much chance to do so.

I have bangs, but plan to grow them out (if I can muster the patience).
I love to wear heals & dresses, but most days I wear jeans & a t-shirt.

There is so much that is part of me.  Most of it is forever changing, though. 
So where does the heart of my identity rest? 

In Jesus - from beginning to end. 
Whatever may come.

I am His daughter.  He formed me in my mother’s womb.
 He had a perfect plan for me then.
He still does.  He is still forming me. 
I am His creation - in process.
That is who I am.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Teach Them {to know Him who knows}

As much as I want to know my children well, 
I know I am not the one who will ever know them completely. 
Don’t we all want to be known? 
If it was all up to the mom & dad or the spouse or whomever 
to know a person all the way,
then every person would still be deeply lonely.
But we aren’t left alone.

To be fully known & to still be accepted & cherished can be found only in God. 
More than my desire to know my children is my desire for them to know God.
I want them to know the greatness of God; His love, His power, His mercy.
I want them to know God intimately; as Father, as Comforter, as Counselor.

We all know we can’t just make this come to be.  
So as parents, what can we do?
I want to make known to my children who God is, 
in my attitude, my words, my actions, my decisions.
I fail every day.  So, it is a good thing that I can’t make all this come to be. 
I am thankful God is the one who can draw them to Himself & make Himself known.
I am humbled that He would welcome me to take part in His work.

“…and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them
when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up…”

Can we encourage each other as we work to pass on to the next generation, 
what we know of God?
I want to host a weekly link up here.  
Every Friday, come & share a thought from your week.
Did you teach of God when you dug in the garden?  
Did you teach of God when you broke up a fight between siblings?
Did you teach of God when you encouraged diligent work? 
A prayer, a song, a game, a craft, a meal – whatever it was, 
share it here with us on Fridays
& read what truths others passed on & let’s be inspired.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Kids & Types {knowing}

I love personality assessments.  I’ve said that before.  Myers-Briggs and all that jazz.
I think I am an ESFJp 
I know that is cheating…  But, I waiver between the J & P.  
And sometimes I waffle on the N & S, too.  I am so confused!  Or maybe just balanced? ;)
My husband is an INTJ.  Totally.
As the kids are growing, 
I often wonder about their unique personalities & try to understand their own little “bents”.

I found this website that has an assessment quiz that you can do for your child.
Of course, I can’t resist that. 
The test is geared toward children 7-12.  I know mine aren’t that old yet.  
But, I gave it a go, for the two oldest.

Some of the questions were tough.  Surely I won’t be able to “get” their personalities completely.
But still, it has value to help me in trying to know them.
Giving it my best shot, I came up with the results of ISJ for my Gillian & IFP for my Peyton.
I can see how the results are fairly accurate, although some things are off.  
(Gillian is quite intuitive.  I may have come up with the completely incorrect letter there - N instead of S?)
I didn't do the test for Moira yet.  I am certain she is an E & probably a P, but not sure of the other letters.

I think she is perhaps a lot like myself.  So, it seems a little easier for me to “make sense” of her & what she does.
I like how the results offer learning style help for the different types. 
Try the test out your kids & tell if you think it seems helpful.

That’s about all I have for the thoughts on knowing your kids.
I was too lazy/shy to ask anyone to write a guest post.
If you have something you want to write as a guest post, let me know.
Check back Friday for my closing thoughts & a continuing blog community idea.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Letter for Moira

Moira Quinn,

Have we really only had three years with you? 
You are such a beautiful, vibrant addition to my life.
You are a gift.
I see joy in you – your bright eyes & your ready laughter.
You are so eager to love others.
I love the way you say “der welcome!” when someone thanks you.
When we praise you for your kindness to another,
your smile beams bright & your shoulders come up to hug your own face.
You run & jump & squeal & sing & you are a delight.
I know you are stubborn, too.
That’s okay.  That means you can stand strong.
If you give all this up to Jesus, He will use you in great ways.
I am blessed to be able to watch you grow.
Your year number four is looking like it will be pretty wonderful.
I love you,

Monday, May 7, 2012

Moira is Ready to Turn Three

Moira had been anticipating her birthday with the typical pre-birthday excitement.
She has been talking about her hopes for Hello Kitty scones,
Hello Kitty hot chocolate, Hello Kitty cake, Hello Kitty...

Until this weekend…
She has been complaining of her leg hurting lately. 
This is no surprise.  I remember having bad leg cramps as a little kid.
I still have them on occasion.  Gillian gets them often.
I was messaging & stretching her leg that was giving her trouble.
I told her that her body was stretching out & growing up, since she was turning three soon.
I said that she was getting growing cramps.
She started crying a bit. 
That night she cried when I tucked her in & said she didn’t want to be 3.
I asked why not.  She said she didn’t want the cramps to be owie.
I prayed for her, that her legs would feel better soon. 
She added, “and don’t let the cramps bite me.”

Thinking about that as I left her room, I realized what she thought was happening.
The next day she was still very sad about her birthday coming so soon. 
She was not looking forward to it.
So, I told her that cramps are when her muscles are worn out.
She did not have crabs in her leg. 
A smile broke out across her face & she started laughing.
Now she is ready to turn three tomorrow.

The end of the year interview is complete.
I am not sure about some of her answers.
She rarely finishes her pizza. 
She would eat 2 eggs, three times a day, if meal planning was up to her.

What is your very favorite food?  Pizza
What game do you like playing the most?  Super Avengers Team
(this game is made up by the kids with the help of Dad.  
Various super heros & avengers & such fight against the evil forces.  
Moira usually has the skills to power up others.  
She holds out her hands & sends bolts of strength through her fingers, to her team mates.) What is the best t.v. show to watch?  Cailou
Who is the coolest person you know?  Grandma & Lizzy
What is the neatest thing you have learned in school?  About birds, like B.B.
(b.b. is our neighbor’s cockatiel – full name – Bird Brain.)
What is something you are super good at?  Playing toys
If you could take a trip anywhere in the whole world, where would you go?  
to feed the ducks
Where is your favorite place to go?  Out to pizza 
(I don't know if we have ever gone to a pizza parlor with Moira...) What is your favorite animal?  Flamingos
What is your favorite color?  Purple & Pink
What would you like to be when you grow up?  Drive Tractors
What is your favorite song right now?  “I love Mommy & Daddy…” 
(singing a song made up at that moment.)
What is the best book you have read lately?  Jesus book
What is your favorite snack food?  Cereal
What food is the yuckiest to you?  Sandwiches  (??)
If you could have one wish, what would it be?  
That I would have a heart to go to dragon land.
(uh.  Dragontales… okay)
What is your favorite memory?  Seeing the Flamingos
(this was with Papa Bill & Auntie Kim at the Escondido wild animal park)