Friday, July 29, 2005

lessons on slides, wind and busyness

yes, I did play with my kids yesterday. We went to the playground. (It was Daniel's afternoon off--and can you tell from the photo what he was working on in the adjoining football field?)

That's me at the green arrow, helping Mac walk up the steps while Bubbie crawls ahead. BigE is near the red arrow, at the top of the white ladder. Chickie is at the purple arrow, getting ready to go down the green swirl-a-slide.

We discovered that yes, one adult actually can help two nearly-walking toddlers have fun on a playground.

This was the drill: Kelly holds Mac's hands so he can "walk" behind Bubbie, who is crawling up any stairs he can find. When Bubbie gets near an opening he can fall through (ladders or stairs down), Kelly yells for BigE or Chickie to come guard the opening until we're safely past.

Fortunately Bubbie was only interested in going up, up, up. And Chickie and BigE thought it was very fun (and very important) to guard Bubbie. So Mac and Bubbie and I went up, up, up to the top of the swirly slide, and I put them both on my lap, and we slid down and went around and back up, up, up... and a good time was had by all.

Daniel, meanwhile, got caught in the beginnings of a small thunderstorm. After he launched his kite and camera, the wind got so strong he was scared he was not going to get it all back down. If we take this KAP thing (and the KAP experts) seriously, that means investing in another kite for high winds... or else only flying in lighter winds. Fortunately for us, kite and camera came down without any rips, tears, cuts or breakage. And he got some good photos too.

I set up a flickr account to warehouse our from-the-kite photos. I added a flickr badge here to the bottom of my sidebar, which will show our most recent good KAP shots, so I won't have to fill pages of our blog with all our photos. There's some new ones there now, if you want to have a look!

The best thing about flickr so far is that most of our KAP heroes who we've seen online over the past three years are now posting photos there, and they even have a flickr KAP group for discussion and sharing photos -- and they fall all over themselves answering any question you might have. It feels like hanging out with royalty.

I've also been working a bit on my peppermint font--it's almost done, I hope to have it ready to go next Tuesday.

And I've realized that, while I'm entertained and delighted by all the KAP and font-making and crafting and blogging... I'm far, far too busy. I've been running away from my life and from God. While the things I've been doing have been good and even fun, I've been using them to hide from some hard thinking and soul-searching that I don't want to do, don't want to think about... and I've been letting relationships with God and with friends slide. When I try to pray or think, I find myself thinking about kites and fonts and such instead.

So I'm hoping to blog (and KAP, and fontify) a bit less over the next few weeks in order to set some time aside to actually slow down, be quiet, and listen for God's voice.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

walking, talking, reading and writing

Mac is talking!

he's been talking awhile, but now says a few recognizeable words, mostly "Papa" and "Yite" (light.)

Bubbie is walking!

and ain't nobody gonna stop him. He tried to walk right over Mac today. Mac screamed bloody murder, but it didn't even slow Bubbie down.

Chickie's reading!

she still claims she can "read with her eyes closed even" - she's memorized a lot of books - but she now can also read new books with her eyes OPEN.

And BigE's writing!

He had a two-day writing class this week from a local author, and learned about everything from poetry to publishing. Now he's ready to be a writer.

Click on the pictures above to enbiggify them.

I can't believe how fast we're all growing up suddenly. Enough blogging for today, I'm going to go play with my kids while I still have the chance, before they're off to college and married with kids of their own.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Font Tuesday - font foundry (and KAP)

Well, I have no fonts to show-and-tell for Font Tuesday, but I did set up my Font Foundry on our website. Our website which needs major graphic help... Someday.

I also put my Peppermint font into Type Tool, but it's not worth displaying until I get the letters re-sized to match.

We did indeed our kite in the air last night, and had some more fun taking photos. It really is more guesswork than science for us at this point; even looking at the kite with binoculars we aren't sure exactly where the camera's looking, how high it is, or whether or not the picture will turn out.

In an hour's time Daniel spent ten minutes getting the kite and camera out and launched, twenty minutes shooting 170 pictures (15 of which were photo-worthy, and another 24 were at least interesting) and half an hour getting the kite back down (the wind was stronger today.)

Me? I walked Mac and Bubbie around in the wagon, shot a few of the pictures while Daniel held the kite, talked to a few friends (who also took their turn with the remote control), and then walked the babies some more while Daniel cleated the kite off and took the remainder of the shots.

Even though it's nice to be outside in the sun and the wind, watching the photos on the computer slideshow is probably the most exciting part of the whole venture for both of us.

We're laughing that we took a photo every eight seconds on average when the kite was up, that about 10% of the photos turned out, and that we can't really tell which of us took what photo. I like it that way. It adds to the feeling that KAP is a shared adventure for us.

Monday, July 25, 2005

meditations on KAP

this past week we're batting 0.00 on our KAP venture, so I'm showing some more of the shots Daniel got when the rest of us were downstate.

We tried to take photos downstate: not enough wind. We tried to take some more photos at the school football field and they were watering the grass... and later that evening the wind died. Daniel took the kite and rig out to work one evening and forgot to bring the camera, which I had borrowed to take pictures of the kids. Last night we went out again, with kite AND camera AND rig AND new batteries AND wind.... but somehow when the camera got jarred on takeoff, it shut itself off. We took a hundred pictures, all with the camera off. And after we discovered it, the wind wasn't enough to get the kite back off the ground. Sigh.

Each of these losses feels like a real loss; we can still envision the pictures we might have taken. The sunset shot over the inner bay. Our local downtown on a bright Sunday afternoon, looking over the tops of the houses out into the water. The top view of 120 college students ambling out of the meeting house after a night of worship and singing and learning from the Bible. The over-the-trees picture of the cookout that's taking place in the next bay over. The slightly foggy view across 'our' bay. We might get another chance for some of these pictures, and we might not. Tonight we're going to try again; we're meeting Daniel at work at 5:01 PM with kite in hand.

I realized what I like about our kite aerial photography (KAP) has less to do with aesthetics than with seeing a place I love from a new point of view. It's like finding a candid picture of your parents when they were dating, before you were born. It's at once familiar and different. It's something you look at time and time again, not because it's a beautiful photo--it may or may not be beautiful--but because it's the same familiar thing, but seen through different eyes. Probably people who do not recognize the locations in our photos are not so drawn to them.

There are KAP photographers who do stunning artistic work, but we are not them (at least not yet!) But I can look at these photos for hours, saying "yes, this is where I wrecked the propeller on the old Floating Bear, when I had 20 junior high campers aboard. This is where the wild strawberries grow. This is the cabin that my sister and her friends stayed at, when we all did rubberstamping. I had no idea that this road curved to the left. Look, you can see where the water stays shallow for 50 yards out and then suddenly gets deep."

One of the best things about KAP is that it has reminded me what a beautiful place we live in. Over the past ten years we have had to cut a number of trees down - some at home and some where Daniel works - and many of them we have mourned. It has felt like our corner of nature is going from looking like a state forest, to looking like the KOA campgrounds of my youth, which we stayed at when there were no other camping options - an empty sunburned grassy field with wood posts holding up the electric boxes, ready to be filled with tents or (more likely) Winnebagos and fifth-wheel campers.

It's not. Seeing our world from a hundred feet up reminds me that spruce trees are a different color of green than cedar trees. I see how tall the very few pine trees are--remnants from the logging days 125 years ago. I see how many of the houses aren't even visible from a hundred feet up. I see how blue the water is, and how green the trees are (and how many still remain.) I see how much we still have to thank God for.

I also get very anxious to try again, to see more of my world from the sky. But meanwhile, laundry and dishes and children who need a mid-morning snack are reminding me that my life - this very life the kite photos has reminded me to be thankful for - is still very much here on earth.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

painted shoes

I have painted a number of canvas shoes in my life, mostly for children. I've painted them to look like hot rods (above.) And, less successfully, like garbage trucks (below.) I've painted apples and math problems for a teacher, and I've painted herb plants for the owner of an herb store. I've painted cats, rainbows, spiders, alphabets, butterflies and who knows what else. I've lost track of how many shoes I've painted.

My own personal favorite is painting random designs and getting to use the colors I want to use. I used to paint a lot of baby shoes like the ones below - until I had babies of my own, and realized how impractical baby shoes are. Now I prefer to paint shoes for young children instead.

I use acrylic paint on canvas shoes, and prefer the "artist's" tube acrylics such as Liquitex (though I have to water them down slightly) because they have a shiny finish and are more likely to bend with the shoe instead of cracking. But craft acrylics such as Plaid work fairly well too, and not having to mix all your own colors (nor dilute the paint) is definitely a time-saver.

One of the fringe benefits of the acrylic paint is that it waterproofs the shoe a fair amount. One of the drawbacks is that it stiffens the shoe and makes it harder to get on your foot. It also makes the shoe less breathable.

I've discovered you can resuscitate dirty or stained sneakers fairly well, but there's nothing you can do (with paint anyways) to prolong the life of well-worn favorite sneakers.

Many people have asked me why I don't sell painted shoes for a living. I have been tempted. But I treat the shoes like works of art; even small ones generally take me 20 hours or more. I couldn't stand to sell them for $200 and up. Perhaps there are people who would spend that on a child's shoe, but none of my friends would (or, generally, could.) Nor could I stand to turn the process into a quicker and less satisfying mass-produced craft. So I give them as gifts.

For awhile I tried to paint the shoe laces to match. But even with very thinned-down paint, the shoelaces get too stiff from the paint to tie well. If I want a colored shoelace for a particular shoe, I buy it. Painting on the rubber part of the shoes (toes or bottom edge of sides) doesn't work much better - the paint rubs off after very little wearing. I haven't tried painting on leather or fake-leather sneakers.

Every time I ask the kids their favorite way to have their shoes painted, their answer is always the same: "I'd like to paint them myself." As you can see from the photo below, it's been awhile. Lately Chickie, my artist child, has been asking when we could paint shoes again. Hmm. Well, summer's canvas sneakers ought to be hitting the sale tables at K-mart now...

Thursday, July 21, 2005

all God's critters

I set out to take pictures of my garden flowers, but instead got pictures of...

a spider on my black-eyed susan,

a bee on my bee balm,

a tiny caterpillar on my marguerites,

...and a monarch butterfly on my milkweed.

No more blogging about death: my yard and garden are more alive than I ever realized.

We have red baneberries and red currants fruiting, soon to have wild raspberries as well.

New garden flowers are bee balm, elfin thyme, nasturtiums, and showy evening primrose.

New wildflowers include goldenrod, mullein, pearly everlasting, shinleaf, and white sweet clover. (There's probably more, but I haven't been out to really look in awhile.)

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Font Tuesday.... er, Wednesday

I didn't get to post about fonts yesterday. I did manage to get something done... though it was nothing on my list. I got frustrated with the stuffed animal font because some of the letters are quite simple (like the 'A') and some have a lot of detail (like the 'G') and I can't decide where I'm going with the font. So I'm putting Stuffed Animal on hold for awhile.

Instead, here is a novelty handwriting font I'm calling Peppermint. I got it all inked and scanned last evening. Still have to import it to ScanFont, use that utility to smooth the letters enough-but-not-too-much, and then make the letters all the same size. (As you can see, my letters get bigger and bigger as I write them. That is my usual problem.) After resizing and some clean-up, I'll generate the font and try it out.

Look how many times I tried the 'M'. It just wouldn't work. I'm still not 100% satisfied, but I'll probably be able to stretch the curves of one of them in TypeTool to where I'm happy. Looking at it now the next morning, that's probably true of a bunch more letters as well.

I can't stand fonts that don't have a full set of punctuation and 'extras', so I'm adding lots of stars and other goodies.

What I'm excited to try this time is to see if I can make a black font from this outline font. Daniel observed with another font I was trying to ink that it should be easier doing it this way than the other way 'round - both easier to ink an outline, and also easier to delete existing inside curves to make a black font rather than generating them to create an outline from a black font. I'm still not sure how Daniel manages to figure these things out so quickly, but he's absolutely right.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Time with Poppie

We didn't get any aerial photos downstate, as there wasn't enough wind to launch the kite and camera. (see Kim's blog for story and photos of the attempt!) Nonetheless it was a good trip. We accomplished our two goals: going to Splash Park and meeting the new baby (now eleven weeks old already!)

One of the many highlights of our trip downstate was time spent with my dad, Poppie. We get a lot more Moogie time than Poppie time, as Poppie often has business or church things to work on. When he spends time with any of his ten grandchildren, he never fails to notice their individual genius - particularly of the babies. Since I didn't have a camera, I didn't get any pictures downstate this time, so I'm substituting photos from this past month.

After the hot and humid weekend downstate Bubbie (above) blows air, making a fww, fww, fww sound, for the word "fan." Poppie remarks how impressed he is that Bubbie has learned the art of abstraction: he imitates what the fan does for the word "fan". The fact that Bubbie recognizes and responds to pictures of himself and people he knows also shows how good Bubbie is at abstraction.

Mac (above), as Poppie observes, is a ham. Mac knows how to make people smile. Mac is more of an extrovert than Bubbie. He also got carried around a lot, as Poppie delighted him with pointing to the lights and saying "light", handing him a large maple leaf and saying "leaf", giving him a ball and saying "ball"... then a crabapple leaf with "leaf" so that Mac can learn to generalize. Poppie not only recognizes their genius, he actively encourages it.

Today when I put Mac down on my bed while I folded some laundry, Mac flopped on his back, pointed at the light and said "yi. dite. Ite." This is not unusual. Mac babbles a lot. But Poppie would be convinced that he really is trying to say "light". I'm starting to think he is right.

If I take Poppie's word for it, then Mac has been talking for awhile (as has Bubbie.) The first word that I think I recognized was several weeks ago, and it was not Mama or Papa or light... it was "Tigger", pronounced variously along the lines of "tidi" or "dididid" or "giggit." Tigger is painted in the babies' room right next to the changing table. Mac doesn't repeat it on command, or pronounce it the same way twice - but he does light up when I say "Tigger" after his tigger-sounding comments.

here are the youngest geniuses fixing the lawnmower.

And Bubbie, after a weekend of Poppie's coaching, is starting to try to parrot any simple words we say to him.

Or maybe it wasn't Poppie coaching Bubbie and Mac. Maybe it's Poppie coaching me to be a better observer of my own children.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

fun above, fun below

I don't have to blog about the fun we had at Splash Park yesterday, since my sister wrote a great photodocumentary of it late last night.

So instead I'll post some great pictures Daniel took in my absence last evening with our new kite. He says the new kite (and the remote-controlled camera) is my birthday present. At this rate I'm guessing I won't need any birthday presents for the next 20 to 25 years!

Regular blogging should resume around Monday.

While below* I scanned in some different leaves for my leaf font, and discovered my grandmother's handwriting in an old address book which I'm going to fontify someday. And possibly enough of my grandfather's handwriting to do his font as well, I'll have to see... after the snow flies and I'm done with leaves and kites and gardening. Good thing, I wouldn't want to be bored all winter :-)

*below: that's how Yoopers say "south of the Mackinac bridge"

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Mmm... cumin

We arrived downstate... without a camera, because we decided to send the camera and kite rig with Daniel to the kite store on the way back home (he drove us all the way to my parents' house for our vacation on his only day off, what a nice guy!) Daniel is shopping for a new bigger kite for us and is going to bring our rig and hopefully a new bigger kite down to us on Sunday.

Meanwhile, without my camera I'll write about something different:

If it was not for my needing about 8000 calories a day just to survive*, I would probably eat this all summer long:

cucumber salsa.

It's a recipe from my sister, adapted to what's available in our local mini-supermarket.

1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 Tbsp Jalapeno Tabasco (the green Tabasco)
1 tsp celery salt
1 Tbsp minced garlic (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper, or to taste

2 medium cucumbers, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium yellow bell pepper, finely chopped (or use any color but green)

mix vinegar with salt and spices. Add veggies and stir. Let sit two hours or more until flavors combine.

It's also excellent wrapped in whole wheat tortillas, though it doesn't photograph as well that way.

*there are some fringe benefits to nursing twins...

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

it's Font Tuesday - but it's really about KAP

I'd been so busy with our Kite Aerial Photography (KAP) I'd almost forgotten about my fonts. Here are the stuffed animal G, K and V. (A,B,C,D here and E, F,J here.) I realized with not a little sadness that my font-every-ten-weeks plan only works for fonts with 26 letters: no lowercase, no punctuation, no numbers. That's all I planned for the stuffed animals, but the other fonts will take a fair bit longer.

On the KAP front, we had a semi-successful venture in the local football field on Sunday, where it seemed like there ought to be enough wind for it to work but it just really didn't. BigE is manning the controls, above. If the photo wasn't so blurry (or shrunk) you could see the huge grin on his face.

Daniel did some online research and discovered that our kite, a five-foot delta conyne, is considered too small to launch a 'real' rig like ours, which is two or more pounds weight between the camera, servos, servo battery, gears and frame.

That's right; when I bought the camera I was thinking we'd build a cheap-and-easy rig with a wind-up timer hitting the shutter on a disposable camera... but I guess the plan just sort of grew in our heads over the three years we discussed it before building it. So it looks like we might be in the market for a bigger kite in the near future. (We're still well below the $500 limit we imposed on ourselves, so I need to stop wringing my hands now.)

And when I was going through the football field photos I discovered another 'keeper' from our first trip out, below. It's not even blurry! What a happy surprise!

The kids and I are hoping to go downstate to visit my parents and sister and her family this weekend. We're bringing the kite and the KAP rig, and if there's enough wind and enough luck (and a large enough grownup-to-kid ratio), I might have some photos to share next week...

but even with the best of intentions I'll probably forget all about my fonts. KAP is just too exciting. Oh well, the fonts will give me something to do (and blog about) this winter.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Summer and death

new garden flowers blooming now: Bachelors Button, Coreopsis 'Moonbeam', Cosmos, Cranberries, Marguerite, Oregano Thyme, Poppies.

new wildflowers blooming now: Black-eyed Susan, Bull Thistle, Cinquefoil, Milkweed, Pineapple Weed, Queen Anne's Lace, St. John's Wort, and some purple thing that sounds similar to Fireweed. must get another wildflower guide...

Gardens and roadsides now are lovely, despite how dry everything is. Everything is in bloom, even annuals grown from seed.'s the time of the year when I start thinking about death again.

The solstice has passed, the days are getting shorter, and already the 'new' flowers blooming are the ones that signal "late summer" to me.... Summer is half over. I start to notice seed pods, and seeds and fruits as often as I do flowers. One one level it's silly to start worrying about winter and death right now in the middle of summer and life.

But life and death are always intertwined on earth. Joy and sorrow are always joined together here, until Heaven. The challenge is not to ignore winter or pretend it isn't coming. It's not to try to hold winter off or prevent it. The challenge is to know and accept that winter is just around the corner, and to still celebrate summer to the fullest. To use the reminder of winter to remind me that summer is fleeting and that I should enjoy every minute of it; I should store up all the sunshine and flowers and growth and joy for the winter. I guess it's the spiritual and emotional version of freezing and canning and drying the fruits and vegetables of the summer.

I'm glad there's still a lot of summer to harvest!

Saturday, July 09, 2005


Last evening Daniel finished our Picavet and other small pieces of remote control work for our kite-mounted camera.

Last night Bubbie and Mac and I were hit with the stomach flu. Daniel got it this morning as well.

Nonetheless, we packed a picnic supper and met Daniel after work to fly the kite and the camera. (Yes, I was THAT excited.)

There wasn't a lot of wind. It took nearly an hour to get the kite aloft, and there wasn't enough wind to hold the camera up in the air for long. But we managed to do it!

Among the 46 shots we managed to get, 20 of them looked like the one above.

I'm still getting used to the 'tilt' feature, and when I thought the camera was looking at the horizon, it was looking at a 45 degree angle down. Most of the time I had the camera pointed nearly straight down.

BUT... we got one slightly blurry winner (below, shrunk down so the blurriness disappears) as well as the obligatory from-the-kite self-portrait (at the beginning of this post, though I didn't manage to get Daniel in the shot.)

AND... no equipment was dropped or dunked in the making of these photos. So we're calling it a successful maiden voyage.

Now we can go to bed and dream about all the pictures we'll take from the sky when there's more wind... and when our tummies feel better.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Bragging rights

Look, look, look what Papa brought home from work today! It tilts! it pans! and it clicks the camera shutter! BigE, below, is testing it out while the whole family watches (Mac pictured here with the bottom half of BigE's face)

...but we can't attach our new KAP rig to the kite without a Picavet. (PICK-uh-vay, as we keep telling ourselves. PICK-uh-vay, not "pivva-kett" like we misprounounced it for the first two weeks we read online articles about it.) A Picavet is a cross-shaped piece of metal or wood, like Pinocchio-type dancing dolls are suspended from - it's for suspending a camera from a kite, which gives it a little bit of stability in the wind.

Immediately I rushed down to the bathroom.

To take a remote-controlled portrait of the KAP rig, of course. This, the only decent camera in the house, can't take a picture of itself otherwise, and the bathroom is the only mirror in the house. (You can also see where my son got his self-portrait skills from!)

I can't believe my amazing husband, the creative and mechanical genius, who is also amazingly generous, has gotten it together so quickly, AND has not abandoned me to take care of the kids alone while he tinkers in the shop. Woo hoo! He's a great guy.

And I'm excited to try it out - if my kids will let me. They think it's a lot of fun, too.

My generous husband also informed me that if I run low on crafty blog content, I can fill up a few entries with his blacksmithing and other metalworking endeavors. Seeing as he is so kind (and such a good artist), I might just do that.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Font Tuesday: Markley; Chickie; E, F and J

In the last two weeks I finished and a font for my daughter. It was a surprise. Unfortunately she detested it.

Since she enjoys writing and usually does not complain about her own handwriting, I'm not sure what she hates so much about it. Perhaps because it represents Mama's time spent on the computer rather than with her? We'll just quietly mothball it after this mention, and I won't be offering it to anyone for downloading. Which is a pity in my mind, because I think it's beautiful - but it's a great relief to Chickie.

On a happier note I finished my Markley font (which Chickie also hates, for good measure - probably because they were done at the same time.)

you can get it here if you'd like it... please drop me an email or a blog comment if you do... I'm curious who is interested.

I like Markley best using a mix of capitals and lowercase, which in this font are interchangeable. I put my favorites on the lowercase letters, generally. :-)

...and now I'm moving on to my harder fonts. I'm scanning in some leaves (before they fall) to make a leaf-shapes font, but other than scanning I won't pursue that until I finish my stuffed animal font, my food font, a routered-sign font, and my hand-lettered map fonts. I've set myself a goal of four to five letters a week - (either drawing and scanning, or cleaning up/resizing/spacing the final letters) - hoping that this means I can finish a font in ten to twelve weeks without taking too much time from my kids, my laundry and my dishes.

Accordingly here are sketches of three more stuffed animal letters: E, F and J. (I haven't liked my attempts at G or H yet, and I'm saving I because it's easy, for whatever animal I want to use that doesn't end up working elsewhere. A,B,C and D are here.) Hey, maybe I'll make myself a Font Tuesday, and try to post my progress every Tuesday.

Now BigE is disgusted that the J is a chicken... "which doesn't start with J."

Never mind that the A cat (bunny?) doesn't start with A, and the E bear doesn't start with E. I'm striking out with my children on these fonts! Oh well, it's no ill will that a "quick" game of Monopoly can't restore...

Sunday, July 03, 2005

OK, now it's a meme

My sister wants to be thankful too, but doesn't want to look like a copy-cat. I think it's time to create a meme about thankfulness and tag her with it, because as everyone savvy to the blog-world knows, a meme is license to be a copy cat. Indeed, it virtually obligates you to copy.

So here it is. Tag, Kim--and anyone else who reads my blog and wants to participate--you're it. Follow the format as tightly or loosely as you want. My answers are in my previous blog entry.

  • What are you thankful for in your life this week as compared to last week?
  • This year, as compared to last year?
  • This past decade, or 20 years, or more?

  • What about your family are you thankful for?
  • What about your spouse (if you have one) or a good friend are you thankful for?

  • If you have ever lived or worked among people poorer than you, what did you discover about your own life?
  • What basic necessities do you have that you take for granted?
  • What luxuries do you have that you take for granted?

  • What things are you tempted to complain about which (if you look closely) also reflect great blessings?
  • for example, Daniel being at work today means that he has a job. And it's a job that he can use his gifts in, and that he largely enjoys, to boot!

  • What are you thankful for in your house?
  • In your neighborhood?
  • In the surrounding area (city, town, county) near where you live?

  • What can you look forward to, God willing, in the next week?
  • In the next year?
  • In the next decade, or 20 years, or more?

  • What else are you thankful for?

  • Now you can tag three other people if you want.
    But before you do, spend some time thanking God for these things that he's given you.

    it's not 90 degrees and humid

    Daniel is on "Sunday Coverage" today - a vague term which means he has to be physically present at work, but may or may not have to "work", depending on emergencies, inclinations and other factors.

    Last week the kids were sick and missed the end of Vacation Bible School. So I promised I would take them, solo, to church today - second service, when the babies usually nap - so that they could sing with VBS this morning. Another consolation prize; some days it seems like our life is nothing but consolation prizes.

    So I decided I should write an incomplete list of things I am thankful for today.

    better than it was

  • It's not 90 and humid. It's actually cold at night right now, and this morning is beautifully sunny.
  • We are done being sick, for the moment.
  • Mac and Bubbie are now healthy huge 14-month-olds; this time last year they were tiny preemies who required 14 doses of medicine a day and having what looked like tiny defibrillation paddles strapped to their chest all night as part of the most aggravating sleep-apnea monitors ever invented
  • I have four great kids and a wonderful husband.
  • and all six of us our healthy.
  • and it's summertime, and we can go outside with no coat and no boots. And it's sunny until bedtime.

  • better than it could be
    or, what I learned from a summer in Africa

  • We have a house. It's small by American standards, but it keeps us warm and dry. (I intend to expand on this thought someday in this blog...)
  • And we have A/C, which prior to having twins I swore I would never use. Now I rely on it.
  • We have food to eat. Every meal. And not just any food, but food we enjoy eating.
  • We have running water. Hot water. Can take showers in our own home.
  • We have money to buy luxuries like a computer, Internet access, remote control gadgetry, kites, cameras, and books.
  • And we have been rich for so long (by world standards) that these luxuries seem like necessities. We have never known real poverty.
  • And my husband, who is not a "book person", understands anyways, and lets me buy books.
  • We can even put ice cubes in our iced tea. Ten times a day, if we want to.

  • uniquely ours

  • We have an enormous yard, with a sandbox and a sprinkler. A lot of sunshine from our southern exposure. And a big tree for shade.
  • And space for a garden, and money to buy plants, and time to tend the plants (even if it's not EVER "enough" time!)
  • Daniel can fix almost anything
  • and it's fun to be married to a creative genius
  • who is also patient enough to listen when I need to talk.
  • We live in a beautiful place, with trees and flowers right in our yard
  • and ocean-sized lakes a short walk from our house. Sandy beaches less than five miles away
  • and we've seen deer, bald eagles, pileated woodpeckers, porcupines, foxes, and bunnies.

  • bright hope for tomorrow

  • Daniel gets Monday off, which means (barring any emergencies) we can go to the parade tomorrow. Which the kids really wanted to do, and I was afraid to tackle by myself.
  • Someday I will get to sleep through the night, at least some nights of the week.
  • and get to curl up by the fire with a book on a snowy day. All day.
  • or experiment with crafts. And not have to clean up before naptime ends.
  • And if we save our money, we may someday be able to buy a bigger house.
  • Or be able to give more to those who have nothing.
  • Today Daniel brought our camera and his remote control gadgetry to work and may just have time to work on it.
  • And whatever happens, we know our real home is in Heaven, and we'll be home before we know it.