This past week (or should I say month?) has been a whirlwind of activity. Preparations for the end of the school year is in full swing, as well as preparing for Joe's nephew, Patrick McNamara's, wedding. It took us a long time to find a modest, acceptable-to-Daddy dress that we liked as well as the bride. The Lord blessed and helped us have everything ready just in time. Much thanks to Mrs. Nill for all her help with the alterations and shrugs she made. I do not know what I would have done without you! I owe you one! Below you will see a bunch of the photos that were taken at the wedding. My girls made beautiful flower girls, and my guys made handsome guests. I promised my boys that I would not post their pictures on Facebook, but I never mentioned that they might go up on my own website. I have one extraordinary one of JJ, which I think it going to go on my wall.
Very soon it will be the last day of school and I am rejoicing in the fact that I am going to be able to write more this summer. I will be able to keep up with my blog, hopefully weekly again, as well as get that next story out of my head and onto the paper. I miss my time of writing and sharing with all of you. So, enjoy the pictures below. Let me know which one is your favorite! I know which one (or two, or three) is my favorite.
It sure has been a long time in coming, but I am glad to say that JJ's room is now finished. Joe began work on it back in September, or was it in August? It was in the talk phase at the end of the summer and seeing that three boys in one room was getting quite cramped, we figured it was time to move the oldest out. He needed a little space of his own. The work began, but like any project, each task turns into something bigger when you find the underlying foundation in disarray, or when something does not go as planned. Waiting for the money to work on the project causes delays too, so after nine months of waiting, JJ was able to move his stuff downstairs. He has slept extremely well the past two nights, without having to wake up to brothers talking in their sleep about cannon or races, or having to listen to their snorting; not to mention the fact that it is about 10 degrees cooler down there too. Joe did an very good job and I am happy to say the Lord answered my prayer a long time ago when I prayed I would marry a guy who was like my dad in that way - one who could build and was good with carpentry. He can transform just about anything he puts his mind to.
I was thinking about this idea of new versus hand-me-downs the other day as I was looking in JJ's room, taking pictures of it neat and clean. JJ is blessed to be able to have a fresh, clean, brand new room he can call his own. It is like getting a fresh start in life, with a clean slate that has not been written on yet. God is like that too. He does not give us second hand items, or half used blessings. Each gift He bestows on us is brand new; each morning holds new mercies for us; each day He fulfills the promises of old, yet each one is designed specifically for us. Like a new dress that is tailored for the specific size that a woman needs.
Recently we purchased some new dresses for the girls who are going to be in a wedding in two weeks. Their cousin is getting married and they were asked to be the flower girls. I personally think they are a little old to be the traditional flower girls, so I view them as junior bridesmaids who will perform the duty of flower girls. The girls are very excited to be able to dress us and do their hair, and be a princess for a day. When they tried on the dresses though, one found it to be quite long so we needed to adjust it to her height. Not only that, but they need little shrugs to help cover up the sleeveless sides a little bit. We took a ride down to Hobby Lobby (what an awesome store that is! Christian music played in the background, and on the door where it listed the hours it said, "Closed Sunday so workers can be with family and worship." How cool is that!) I was looking for a specific color to match their dress and was praying the Lord would bless our efforts. They had quite a variety of fabric, but it did not take us long to find the exact color we needed to go with the dresses. A few more minutes of searching for a pattern and we were finished in 1/2 hour. As we drove home that night I expressed to the girls how God had come through and provided us exactly what we needed. What were the chances that we would find the exact color of lavender as the dress? It gave me goosebumps. So, I thought again about how God does not give us second-used blessings. I look forward to seeing what other blessings God has in store for me this week. Keep your eyes open and watch as God pours down blessings on you this week and share with me your answers to prayer. Have a blessed week!
When I was a growing up one of my, and my younger siblings, favorite games to play was what we called the "animal game." We would gather up all our favorite stuffed animals and put them into a huge pile and begin acting out some sort of story with each one as a character in our show. They always started to play along, but it usually ended up with me putting on some crazy play and they would sit back and watch the story unfold. They loved being an audience and I loved being the storyteller, unless my older brother happened to peek his head in the room and ask, "Aren't you a little old to be playing with those?"
I can remember the day when I was holding one of the ugliest stuffed animals we had in the house, a green, rough feeling pig that my mother had won at a fair many years before. I can still see the scene as we sat in my parent's room by the closet, which was a dark cave in my story. My littlest sister, who was about three years old, was sitting on the floor near me as I acted out the story, and during one part of the show I had the pig growl and jump toward her. It must have shocked her because she began to cry and backed away from the ugly pig.
"Don't worry, Christa," I reassured her, "it's not real."
"It is Real!" she cried. "It's Real!"
It took me a while to realize that she thought the name of the pig was Real and she was convinced that it was alive and was going to get her. For months after that she cried if she even saw the pig and so we had to hide the stuffed animal to keep her from panicking and saying Real was coming to get her.
It was about six months later when I finally coaxed her to pet the pig on the head. "See, it is not real. He won't hurt you. It was just a game we were playing and I made him growl. He is NOT Real."
With a slight hesitation, she reached out and patted the rough feeling pig. When she saw it did not move or do anything she carefully reached out and took the pig from me. A big smiled spread across her face as she held the pig. I sighed. I had finally overcome the evil I had committed by making it jump and growl at her. She shifted the pig in her arms and touched the mouth just under the snout and suddenly screamed. She threw the animal on the floor and ran away shouting, "It is Real! Real bit me!"
With a puzzled expression, I picked up the animal and felt near the mouth. I found a small hole underneath and a little wire stuck out from inside. It had pricked her finger, convincing her that the animal was indeed alive and Real. Somehow Real ended up in the trash that week and we never saw the homely stuffed animal again, much to all of our relief. For weeks we constantly had to assure Christa that Real was at the dump and never coming home.
I was thinking about this issue of "real" and was wondering how many of us think that certain things are real simply because of little circumstances that arise to convince us that what we believe is true. A look from someone who is having a bad day may make us think they do not like us. A comment from someone that is misunderstood, causing a grudge to come between two people simply because of a misunderstanding. The fact that someone does not say hello one day and we think they have something against us. It happens to all of us. Especially when we are having a particular bad, moody day and we automatically jump to conclusions because we feel particularly vulnerable.
All week long I was dealing with little issues between the children in my class. They were constantly coming up to me with complaints about this child doing this to them or informing me of something bad that someone else was doing. I grew very tired of the whining and complaining and began to tell that that they needed to get over it. It was not the end of the world. I was trying to teach them to deal with their own issues as they came up, to not constantly inform me of every bad thing that was happening. I mean, really, if someone makes a face at you it is not the end of the world. "Smile back," I would say. "It will all be fine in five minutes." What really matters is what God wants us to do with our life. None of the trifles in life will be remembered in a year, a month, or even a day later. I am not sure how much they understood, or chose to listen to, but it made me think that I need to follow my own advice. It will not really matter in a few days anyway. We have eternity to look forward to and all these trifle things will not matter in heaven. What will matter is that Jesus, our Lord and King, will be there and we will spend all of our time worshiping Him together in the best place of all. And that, my friends, is real.