Saturday, July 2, 2016

First Half of Summer

June is the only "school-free" month in our year these days so it felt kind of special. 

We had one Saturday where just about everyone made it to Andrew's soccer game! Yay! With four children playing there is usually a one-parent allowance per location.

A friend from church and I took our youth group to an Indiana Fever game right after school ended. I think it was my first professional basketball game to attend.

The pool is open! We try to get there several times a week. The month of June has been unusually hot -- I think we've had four weeks of 90's. This weekend we have a break and it's nice to have the windows open again.

The younger kids still had a fair bit of soccer to play in June and one week it was bucketing rain!

Laura was not deterred in the least! She loves soccer and runs around crazy, helping her team to get goals! She also had one of her yearly checkups this week and we continue to praise God for her good health and amazing energy.

There were some celebrations with friends! Yum yum!

I've tried to make time to work on painting with my mom. I had a great rhythm going and then things got a little chaotic.

One day Rachel offered to treat Laura and me and to Starbucks. Couldn't turn that down!

It was our turn to host the Middle School youth group for an event in June. We started with a picnic at the IMA's 100 Acre Woods but when we ran out of water and the trails were closed we had to make an early dash for home. Our Middle School group is heavy on boys!

We are two-thirds of the way through our summer DIY project -- switching bedrooms around and painting them while we are at it.

The two younger boys are moving out of the large bedroom into Rachel's room and Rachel is joining Laura in the large room. Furniture was painted and the blue room turned into gray and blue.

Then came the Gospel Coalition's Women's Conference with 7200 other women from around the world. It really was fantastic and I can't wait to go the TGC conference next April here in Indy!

Rachel got glasses as a backup to her contacts. They are pretty cute on her!

The garden has been lovely this month. June really is perhaps the best month for the flowers I have.

What a shocking picture following such a beautiful one. Yes, this is the mess created by emptying two bedrooms. I think we lived like this for about 10 days with only a narrow path to my bedroom. Wow it was depressing!

Mom came over and picked the red currants with Laura.

Mom also took us to the Indianapolis Museum of Art to play the new mini golf they have available. Lots of fun!

 Soccer finished and here is Laura with her team. She was particularly excited to win the White Star Player Award.

James is aging out of Upwards Soccer so this was his last year in the program.

With just the right view I can pretend I have an English country garden. :) I love to look at this view while I eat!

Rachel had the marvelous opportunity of returning to North Carolina to spend a week with my Aunt Georgie and then another week with Michael's sister Nicole. Sounds like it was a lot of fun!!!

And now to breathe a sigh of relief, I did get the loft cleaned up and things returned to normal! We may move some bookshelves around in here in preparation for a better table situation for computers. But, it's good to have a clean space again!

And the girls' room is looking fairly good (much better than this photo as things are tidied). I think I will put fabric on the back of the room divider to hide the supports. Laura has the first part of the bedroom and Rachel the far end.

And the boys have a bright new green room with loft beds to fit their desks underneath. Michael and I already feel better from the decrease in clutter!

This summer is also so very special because of the number of friends we have seen/will be seeing. In the last 6 weeks I've been able to visit with three dear friends from my teenage years and meet all their children!!!!!!

Andria and I have known each other since we were 15. She has three boys now and one on the way! Can't believe the last time we saw each other was over 9 years ago.

 An unexpected bonus of the DIY stuff was suddenly having room in our bedroom for an extra chair and book stand and footstool. Wow, this is such a lovely place to retreat and read when there is a little window of free time. :)

I agreed to teach the Middle School Youth Group over the summer -- six sessions on the life of C. S. Lewis (biography of my choice). So far it's been a lot of fun! I'll have to document how I've organized the class when I'm finished. We do map work and timelines and read alouds and the best part is snack which is tied into the story. This past week we learned about C. S. Lewis' time in World War I so we had a World War I care package for snack! (I'll include the details when I summarize this class.)

Just this week we had my dear friend Jennie visit with her daughter since they are on furlough from Uganda. We have known each other since we were 13 or so and the only teenage American girls living full-time in Uganda. Naturally we had to be friends! It has been a privilege to be able to continue our friendship over these many years and now to meet her beautiful daughter Elizabeth and watch our kids playing together!

We had gorgeous weather and took a picnic to Eagle Creek where the kids could play in the water.

And so June was a full month. In just under four weeks this guy below will be starting high school! How time flies.

Right now I am looking forward to July 4th! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Mondays are for Grace

"Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says, "I will try tomorrow.""

-- Mary Anne Radmacher

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Words and Wool

It's time for another update on handcrafts and book reading. At the end of April I created this tea cozy for a customer. Fortunately she loved it and I loved the fact that it gave me some needed money toward my NYC trip!

My mom requested a small summer purse for Mother's Day.  I thought I'd experiment again with a leather base and handle. We both loved the result!

And James made me a purse for Mother's Day! Yay!!! It was just what I wanted (I added the flower). It's been serving me well ever since.

 I made this fox to take to NYC. His sweater was so fun to knit -- the perfect sweater size (fast and easy as well as cute!).

It was fun to see one of my pea pod hats in use while I was in NYC!!!

James spends most of his days now that school is out making things in his room. I was so impressed by the top of this staff he created.

I've used the trouble I've had with my wrists to funnel some of my creative energy more towards painting and sketching. I'm so glad I'm spending more time with it since that is the only way to improve. My wrists are getting better from the rest though I think it's nearly time to find a small knitting project to take up and try.

I made this case for a friend about to take an epic trip to England. It seemed to echo Jane Austen themes......

Now it is time to talk about books, lots of them. After much pondering, I decided to let go of my purchased library card for the summer. That meant we would only have one library card for my favorite library system with only 75 books available. It meant finding the 122 books that were checked out on my purchased card but it also meant saving $65 if I could go 9 weeks with just one library card. (Andrew will receive a card worth 75 books when he goes to high school in August.)

I decided I could use the summer to try and read all the books I have acquired in the last few years and still not read! Getting rid of the library card would be good motivation, I thought.

But, I only had a day's notice to find and return all the books! The kids were bribed; the books were found! There were stacks all over the living room as we sorted out which books went to which card since we had to return quite a few on the 75 limit in order to allow each person about 10 books a piece coming home.

It took three suitcases and 6 book bags and some very kind library clerks who helped me get them all checked in and the account closed!

So here is the shelf that is meant to hold my library books but has been overtaken by my own books that need to be finished or read.

It sounds great to think of polishing them off over summer until I remember that summer is only June and July (school starts the end of July). Or, until I find myself sitting at the computer ordering 13 books on a subject I am researching and must have now! Maybe I should aim for just 10 of these polished off!

Because there is a pile by my bed too.

Books are so fun. And using the library is such a joy to me. I'm also coming to grips with the fact that I love researching topics and I'm always going to be ordering more books from the library no matter what. :)

Here are some of the ones I've finished recently:

The Silent Traveller in Lakeland by Chiang Yee (2005-10-01) -- I posted about this author's Edinburgh book: a quaint, intriguing travelogue by a Chinese man in the early twentieth century. I had to read his book about the Lake District since that part of England is very dear to me. I found the book also quite amusing. Yes, it was slow, and by today's standards, boring. However, I enjoyed seeing the land through his eyes and his artist's viewpoint.

Delicious!: A Novel by Ruth Reichl. As I mentioned in this post about NYC, I loved this book and had so much fun reading it while I was in New York.

For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards by Jen Hatmaker was such an entertaining read that I consumed it like a novel. Below the hilarious stories and mannerisms Jen brought out some very important truths. I didn't agree with everything she said but definitely recommend the book.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown was a great book with many helpful insights. I have found all of Brown's books to be good. This book focuses on the courage to be vulnerable and what that looks like played out into our lives.

Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World: How One Family Learned That Saying No Can Lead to Life's Biggest Yes by Kristen Welch was a good and easy read on intentional parenting in this modern age -- helping our kids become more grateful, aware of others, and service-minded. Certainly worth reading.

Joy: Poet, Seeker, and the Woman Who Captivated C. S. Lewis by Abigail Sanataria. This book definitely captivated me. I'm still thinking about it. It was absolutely fascinating to read the life story of Joy: her beginnings in NYC in a Jewish immigrant family, her education, her heavy involvement in the Communist party, her headstrong thinking and rough, harsh personality and then her conversion to Christianity and her dogged pursuit of C. S. Lewis. I still don't know what I think of everything I read. But, the author does a good job of bringing all the mess around to a beautiful thing in the end and I think that's actually the message of this woman's life: our lives are all messes, some more visibly so than others, but God doesn't save people based on their behavior but rather based on his eternal love and purpose. I would never have chosen someone like her for C. S. Lewis, but in the end I think she brought something to his life that he would have been bereft of without her.

A Fine Romance: Falling in Love With the English Countryside by Susan Branch. After reading Martha's Vineyard: Isle of Dreams I had to "finish" the story with Susan's first book which really tells the end of her story. Loved it just as much as I did the first time!

Letters to My Daughters: The Art of Being a Wife by Barbara Rainey is my new favorite book for women on marriage! This book is not only beautiful but beautifully written. Rainey compares marriage to painting, photography, cooking, gardening, and several other art forms, answering along the way the questions she has received over the years from her daughters (and others) about how to be a wife. Rainey is compassionate, honest, gentle yet firm, as she seeks to help other women make their marriages a work of art.

I think that's all for now! You can find more ideas over at Ginny's Yarn Along.

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