Sunday, April 24, 2011

He Is Risen

Luke 24:5-6
Why do you look for the living among the dead?

He is not here; He has risen!

May you enjoy a blessed Easter celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord. I am taking a short blogging break, while on vacation visiting family.

See you soon!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Word Filled Wednesday

Matthew 26:40-41

40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

I was just reading this tonight in my time alone with the Lord, and this verse stopped me in my tracks. Something struck me in a different way this time; the way I read it was different. After I read "....and found them sleeping" that word sleeping took on deeper meaning. The question welled up in my heart, "How many times does the Lord come and find me sleeping (like "sleep-waking", sleeping while I'm awake)?" "Sleeping" when I could be praying .... "sleeping" when I could be praising ... "sleeping" when I could be soaking in His word. How many times do I say "no" to God, and "yes" to something meaningless, an empty pursuit? "Sleeping" in my walk with him?

My honest answer is too many times, WAY too many times.

Yet, I also know our God is a gracious God. Just the fact that He stopped me in my tracks tonight gives me hope. Hope of a renewed heart, hope of a hungry heart, hope of a heart turning to Him to find my sustenance. As I take time to reflect during this Holy Week, my words seem hollow yet my heart is filled with yearning. It's the call to continue to dive deeper into His presence, His word, His very being. It's a call to live awake to HIM.

Thanks for stopping by! Please visit by clicking below for more godly encouragement.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

On the Go - We Love to Learn Through Play and Tot School

I love being a stay-at-home mom and feel really blessed spending my days with my son in this way. I also love taking pictures of all the things we are doing. J and I had a lot of away-from-home activity fun in March and April. I didn't include them in any of my Tot School/We Play posts so I decided to make a special "On the Go" post. I love that we have so many fun things to do where we are always learning too. We've been having LOTS of fun!

Tot School
**J is 34 months old**

Come over to play at the Childhood 101 We Play link up:

We Play

Toddler Dance Party (March 8)

Our local library had a dance party where they invited the little ones to come out and shake it all about. Three of my moms friends joined us and we had so much fun.

St. Patrick's Day Dinner (March 17)

We've kept in touch with friends from China who never met J. We've had fun over the years introducing them to various cultural things and this time we introduced them to traditional St. Patrick's Day dinner (corned beef, cabbage, red potatoes).

Madison Metro Bus Tour (March 18)

Our mom's group got to take the kids on a bus tour. We all went on a short bus ride and then stayed on the bus as we toured the city bus depot and enjoyed watching the bus get washed.

Visit to the Park (March 21)

We took a walk to our local park for the first time this spring. Instead of J riding in his car, he had a ball just pushing it. It's definitely a sign of him growing up since last year he always went in the car. He also wanted to wear his fire hat and fire chief jacket too. We had the park all to ourselves.

Birthday Party Play Date (March 22)

We have a regular play date with a couple mom's and their kids from my mom's group. One of the girls was having her first birthday and we were invited over to celebrate the fun.

Owen Conservation Park (March 30)

One afternoon I stopped by a conservation park my husband and I used to visit. We used to go cross-country skiing in the winter and bird watching in the spring. This was J's first time there and he did great hiking with me while sitting in the backpack.

Titus Group Zoo Play Date (March 31)

Our Titus mom's group had a play outing one day at the zoo. After going to all the exhibits, we had our first carousel ride of the season. This was by far J's favorite part. After that, we played for a bit in the zoo park and J enjoyed the dinosaur fossil area.

Life Group at the Fire House (April 4)

We lead a life group which is a small group through our church where we talk about the sermon together, share about our lives and pray together. One night we all met at the fire house where one of the group members is an intern and had to be on call. J got a personal tour of the fire house and was in 7th heaven!

Hiking at Natural Bridge State Park (April 9)

We had a beautiful Saturday with temps in the 60's and made a visit to the bluffs of Baraboo, WI. We had intended to go to a bird watching area but the road was closed, so we ended up at Natural Bridge. L and I had gone there before J was born, so it was so great introducing this to him. He had his little binoculars and insisted he could walk all by himself instead of being in the backpack. He did a GREAT job walking and hiking and only asked to be held once when we were going down a steep hill (and he was fine with me just holding his hand).

Devil's Lake State Park Visit (April 10)

We had a Sunday with the temps reaching into the 80's (unbelievable for WI in April) so we made our first visit of the season to Devil's Lake in Baraboo, WI. The lake had broken chunks of ice floating in it and J had a great time stirring the "ice soup" with his stick.

See what others are up to at The Play Academy on the Nurture Store blog.

play academy

Thanks so much for visiting!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

What My Child is Reading

One of J's favorite activities is reading books and I absolutely love cuddling him on my lap and reading. I like to link up to What My Child Is Reading blog link-up. Not only is it a great way to record the wonderful books we've read, but I've found so many new good book ideas by visiting each week. Click on the button below to see what others have been reading!

Corduroy, Lost and Found by Don Freeman
We love the Corduroy books and this was another good story. In the story, it's Lisa's birthday (Lisa is the girl who owns Corduroy the teddy bear). Corduroy wants to get her something special and ends up getting lost. Luckily, he is found by Mr. Gonzales at their newspaper stand who keeps him up on the shelf knowing someone lost him. Lisa is thrilled when she comes by and finds Corduroy and they get a giant lollipop from the owner.

Does a Sea Cow Say Moo? by Terry Webb Harshman
We have been enjoying a DVD called "Wild Animal Baby" where J learned there is a cow that lives in the sea, the manatee. I have been looking for good "sea cow" books and this one was OK. J really loved when I read it, but it was a bit goofy in that an alien comes to earth and this boy Jack has to help him. He wonders "why some names in the sea are the same as on land" like a school on land, and a school of fish or a horse you can ride versus a horse in the sea. I'm also still looking for a good picture book just about manatees.

Gingerbread Fred by Nick and Claire Page
My son still loves anything Gingerbread, so I picked up another gingerbread story. The pictures are great and J liked naming the different shapes on Fred like his triangle nose and circle cheeks. It teaches a good lesson about listening to your parents and being humble, and since it's emphasized that he's a tasty cookie, my son isn't spooked that he gets eaten at the end by the fox.

The Littlest Dinosaur by Michael Foreman
My son really loves dinosaurs and I like finding cute dinosaur stories. This one was a cute one. The main character is the tiniest little Triceratops ever who finds that even though he is small, he can still be significant. He also helps a giant Brachiosaurus learn that he's not just big and clumsy, but he has a purpose too.

Roly Poly Pangolin by Anna Dewdney
I didn't know what a pangolin was, so this was a good learning book for me too. A Pangolin is basically a scaly anteater that can roll into a ball to protect itself. This pangolin is very scared venturing out in his world until he meets another pangolin, and he finds out how much fun things can be when done with a friend.

The Sparrow's Easter Song by Michelle Medlock Adams
I purchased this book based on how good it looked online and I'm so happy that we did. I wanted to find a book on his level to help him understand Jesus' death and the Good News of His resurrection. My son loves this retelling of the Easter story. The story is of Jesus' death on the cross as witnessed by a little sparrow as he spreads the "Good News" of what he saw to all these other animals. The illustrations are wonderful.

Tippy, Tippy, Tippy Hide! by Candace Fleming
This book was a bit goofy, but I really like rhyming books so we've hung onto this one form our library for a few weeks now. The story is about an old man (in my opinion a grumpy one) who hunkers down inside to wait it out until Spring. The little bunnies he fed carrots come begging yet he refuses to share his house with them. He ends up blockading the house so well that when lovely Spring comes, he can't get out! Some lines in the book remind me of Goldilocks, as the bunnies sneak into his house and he'll say "some bunny's been....(in my chair, in my bed, etc)".

The Water Hole by Graeme Base
I loved this one mainly for the pictures. The main story line is that the water hole keeps shrinking, it finally disappears, but then it comes back when the rains come. This book is beautifully illustrated and we love that it's a counting book (1-10).

Thanks for visiting!

Here are links to a couple other fun book reading link ups:

As an affiliate of Amazon, I will receive a small commission for any books purchased from the links in the widget above!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Word Filled Wednesday

I am joining Word Filled Wednesday for the first time today, having been blessed by this site for a while. We have been going through a series at our church on Justice and what this looks like. I love the simplicity of this verse and continually ask the Lord to help me live this way.
I created the picture below using Microsoft Publisher.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Our Ducks are Back! (Musings of Spring)

It has become my true harbinger of Spring ... when my ducks come back to our yard! For the last 3 or 4 years, our yard and bird feeding area has been a welcoming place for the return of a pair of mallards. I can't for sure tell if they're the same ones, but I do know when I moved my feeders from the side of the house to the back of the house they found them ... and they are the only 2 ducks that come each year around this time and visit every day. So I call them "our ducks".

Our Cute Ducks

To rewind a bit and share why this is so special to me, when we first moved into our home, (a condo with a sparse yard which is close to a 4-lane road), I didn't have a lot of hope for viewing wildlife here. Yet I did pray that the Lord would bless our little yard and allow it to be home for any critter he would choose. Over the past 8 years here with our little condo yard, we've been blessed to see so many different creatures. They've included a wild turkey who once visited our feeder, a ground hog that made a temporary home in our rock wall, several litters of 13-striped ground squirrels and chipmunks that grew up here, a raccoon who ransacked our feeders a few times, a couple gray squirrels and various birds like sparrows, grackles, chickadees, mourning doves, a pair of resident cardinals, a robin pair, a few blue jays, house finches, an occasional goldfinch or two and the Cooper's Hawk who comes to hunt them. Yet the ducks remain my favorite. They come at the end of March and visit every day, and are usually gone by May. Momma duck loves just sitting in my bird bath, which is just a giant plant saucer I leave right on the ground and fill with water.

Our Backyard Critters

This time of year is such a special time for me. I love watching the birds flying around with straw in their beaks as they bustle about making their nests. Once the baby birds come, I love watching the parents feed their fledglings and see them learning to fly as they hop around the small back yard. I love watching the baby ground squirrels as they wrestle around and play near the rock wall which is their home.

I love taking rides out in the country and visiting the state parks nearby. This weekend was our first trip out to the state parks in the area and we enjoyed a lovely ride out in the country. I love seeing the rolling hills, the open farmland interspersed with swaths of trees, fields dotted with cows. The smells, the sights, the sounds are such a comfort as our little corner of the world is warming up and new life abounds. It also means I'm out prepping our garden; cleaning out the flower bed, pruning, preparing to plant.

I love the deeper meaning for me, of how the Lord working in my life is like this. He seeks out the hardened areas of my heart, the places that need weeding out like ugly attitudes, bitterness, selfish tendencies and he brings light and warmth into those places encouraging me to let him in to refurbish and refine me. It's a season that I like to take time to pause and reflect, not only to enjoy what's happening in nature but to look within to work in the garden of my own heart. April 22nd is the anniversary of my adult baptism in 2001, and I like to celebrate every year in this way. We're several months out from the new year and it's a good time to take stock again of what ways the Lord wants my garden of life to grow.

Recently, we had a speaker at our mom's group who talked about taking time with the Lord every day. She encouraged us to learn our pathways to God. She was inspired by a book she read called Sacred Pathways (Discover Your Soul's Path to God) by Gary Thomas. He talks about the various ways we connect best with God. For some it is through nature, some through group study, some through worship, etc. This really resonated with me. For me, nature is the most powerful way that I connect with the Lord. Being out in his creation, enjoying nature just renews and fills my spirit. What is your favorite pathway to God?