Monday, December 31, 2012

A resolute confession

Earlier this month, when we were housebound due to the creeping crud, we started listening to The Chronicles of Narnia on CD. (If you haven't done this, you should! Cuddle up and you'll have a cozy way to spend these long winter evenings, we promise!) Last week, we were somewhere in the middle of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and we heard something I've not stopped thinking about since.

Reepicheep, the (brave! valiant!) mouse who is an ally to Prince Caspian, realizes he's lost his tail in a battle and says, "I am confounded...I am completely out of countenance."

Do you know what? Completely out of countenance is exactly what I've been for days and weeks and even months, and while it's charming in a tiny talking mouse, it's not quite so flattering on me. I've allowed circumstances - and not bad or even slightly bad circumstances, just situations which have not proceeded according to my ideas and expectations - rob me of gladness and thanksgiving and courtesy. No, wait. The way in which I've responded to those situations has robbed me of those things. I have, in an awful nutshell, been throwing a long and constant temper tantrum, and when I stop to consider my behavior, it makes me cringe and squirm.

I'm so sorry that Jan Michael has been front and center, smack dab in the line of fire for all of this, but I'm also vastly relieved that he, the person who loves and understands me best, is the only one who has seen the worst of it. (And that, without question, he loves me still.)

Yuck and ick.

BUT! We are on the verge of a bright and shiny new year, and in it I am going - no ifs, ands or buts - to learn more about being content.

"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." Hebrews 13:5 

"...for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content...I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Phillipians 4:11,13

Here are some of my favorite outdoor pictures from this last year, and I love them because when my attitude and heart are right, and I'm resting contentedly in God's love for me through Jesus, this is what everything, no matter what it is, looks like:

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is serious business. Let's talk about it for a second, ok?

- Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. About 1 man in 6 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. 

- Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer. About 1 man in 36 will die of prostate cancer. 

- Prostate cancer is very rare in men younger than 40, but the chance of having prostate cancer rises rapidly after age 50. Almost 2 out of 3 prostate cancers are found in men over the age of 65. 

- Having a father or brother with prostate cancer more than double's a man's risk of developing the disease.

That's obviously just the tip of the iceberg where prostate cancer facts and figures are concerned, but we want to share these things because men's health is an issue that seems not to be discussed as openly as, for example, women's health and breast cancer. This is something that's become very personal to us as our Dad was diagnosed in September. So, we want to do our small part in helping spread awareness, which will help promote early detection, which will help increase survival rates, and everyone's the better for it, yes?

Punch prostate cancer in the face, we say!! 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Wonder boys

One week ago today we were scurrying around, packing bags and yelling, "Do not forget your passport!" 

 One week ago tomorrow we were squeezing Derek and Caleb and telling them how much we'd missed them (although words can't really do justice to those kinds of feelings) and marveling at how tall they've grown and how perfect their French accents have become. 

And then, one week ago Monday we were wishing we could stay a day longer instead of having to drop them off for school and rushing to the ferry ourselves. Every time we visit, it's impossibly difficult to leave them, but it does help to know that we'll certainly see them again. And between hugging them hello and kissing them good-bye, we celebrated Caleb's 6th birthday, Derek's 8th, and their Daddy's 31st with singing and cake and and a pile of presents. We put together Legos and lit off a vinegar-and-baking-soda-powered rocket. We laughed at hearing the word 'Roger' repeated 17,000 times while they played with their new walkie-talkies. And my Auntie heart almost burst at watching the two of them and their Uncle Jan wrangle a bunch of pesky ghosts with a makeshift tripod-turned-ghost-buster and immense amounts of enthusiasm. 

Until next time, you precious nephews..

One thing I'm grateful for is this: If they have to live so very far away, at least they're in a place where the ocean is right at their fingertips and the sky is is so beautiful, it's almost unbelievable. Maybe as they grow, they'll find as much awe and peace in these parts of God's creation as I do. 
This one is being framed pronto:

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

A valley October

Congratulations to October for winning the very lofty prize of my favorite fall month!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mason jars and grapevines

Just a glimpse into the day before Zach and Shannon's wedding...

What they say is true:
Many (willing!) hands make light (happy!) work :) 


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

September Seabrook

True or false: The two of us + Derek & Sara + a weekend at Seabrook = the very best way to wave good-bye to summer and hello to fall. 

True, of course. True, true, a thousand times true!

Among the bazillions of awesome things we enjoyed, two of my favorites were dog paddle races in the pool and S'mores for breakfast on the porch. 

Now, if you've not yet visited, what in the world are you waiting for?! You will love (!!) it, I promise! 
 I'm so sorry for everyone who's not had the treat of Sara's crepes for breakfast. I think I ate 12, and I stopped there only because I like to give the impression of being a lady:
Our Sara baked the two of us a belated birthday carrot cake with all of the things a perfect carrot cake should have (walnuts! raisins! pineapple! cream cheese frosting!), and I ate so much of it that I was rendered comatose. Evidently I become less concerned about ladylike-ness when dessert is on the scene :)
We didn't have any candles, but 36 x 2 would have burned the poor house down anyway, so were were happy to pretend: