Saturday, January 29, 2011


I've seen it in the eyes of so many lately.
I see it in the girl staring back at me in the mirror.
There are weeks and seasons of life when hardships fall,
and like the snow outside my window, they just keep coming.
Frozen flakes, so insignificant in their own right, stomped down,
compounded, pressed to ice, suffocate the life from the ground of the heart.

And the heart, feeling the weight of each trial, threatens to stay this way:
frozen in perpetual winter, fearing perpetual loss.
Disappointments mount and the songbird just won't sing.
Not now, its the dead of winter.

Ah, but spring is coming, so they say.
Try telling that to ground, so exposed, so devastated.
It is coming, whether the ground, or my heart,
believes it or not.
But not until the fullness of this season has come to pass.

Until then, I'll do as the earth:
I'll look to the same Son that governs each winter day,
Just as He reigns in the extravagance of spring.
And as I wait, I trust the warmth of His love will thaw the ground of my heart,
as I move toward Him.
And that nothing, not even a heart frozen with fear and disappointment,
Can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38-39).

*A few picts to lighten a heavy heart:

You thought the curls left with the mullet, didn't you?
So did I, but, alas, my heartbreaker is back!

Judah's getting inspired watching the #1 rated Buckeyes.

Still learning his table manners.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Long Story Short

Erica, Isabelle, and Judah are on the upswing of an upper respiratory infection characterized by a stubborn fever unyielding to the authority of stacked tylenol and ibuprofen. Said outlaw infection (the flu, I suspect) steamrolled us for nearly a week.

Aron contracted this evil bug, and his fever started day #1 of recording in Ohio.

We returned to Michi Monday after leaving Sunday afternoon.

Aron has been quite sick at home today, and Dr. Belle presented her daddy with a card, wrapped in tissue paper, that she had made completely on her own. I had never even seen it before.
It reads,
Aron read it aloud. Belle corrected,
"It says, 'Front?'" she said in a high pitched questioning way.
"FRONT!" she said excitedly.
"Front." she matter-of-factly explained.

Inside a picture of the world and the sun and moon, day and night, she explained.
"D End".

Lots of healing going on over here.
But who says we can't try to smile while we're doing it.
At least the kids and I can as we are on the upswing. Poor Aron has a long few days ahead of him if goes the course of Judah and I.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

2 things of immense beauty to me this week:

Yesterday while cleaning the kids' room, I was listening to my best-ever Pandora mix (Aron even agrees...which is huge; ask me about it and I'll let you in on the musical magic). Judah was tugging at my leg, begging me to pick him up. When I finally did, he wrapped his left arm around my neck, and with his right hand feverishly reached for my free hand to hold it. In rhythm with the music, he swayed and said, "Dance. Dance!" My little prince asked me to dance for the first time. It was a magical moment for this mama.

"The Gates of Heaven"

Isabelle Rose
Watercolor & pastel


Friday, January 14, 2011

Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen

Belle would agree that there was at least one too many.
Baby Bro shoveled flour faster than she could scurry away.

And would someone explain to me why I cannot force this child to eat good food - ice cream, cheese, meat, potatoes - but he will sit and eat spoonfuls of flour?!?!
I give up. Picky eaters make me crazy!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Seeds of Faith

Isabelle Rose 1.13.11

Luke 18:15-17 (The Message)

People brought babies to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. When the disciples saw it, they shooed them off. Jesus called them back. "Let these children alone. Don't get between them and me. These children are the kingdom's pride and joy. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in."

The beauty and simplicity of the gospel is no more evident than through the eyes of a child. Isabelle and I got to talk today about God's house that he's preparing for those that love him. Belle grew more and more excited as I told her the Bible says there are many rooms in God's house. And I began listing the people in her life who love God and believe in Jesus and will live in this big house - together - one day. She could hardly contain her excitement. I explained to her as simply as I could the message of the gospel. That Jesus died for the forgiveness of our sins so that we could be with God forever. I asked her if she wanted to live with God forever too. This sweet girl was bursting at the seams - "Yes! Yes! Yes!". So we talked to God - told him that Belle loved him and that she wanted to be with him and Jesus forever.

Such a simple faith. Small as a mustard seed, some would say, but its as real and tangible as anything I've seen. I will do my best to nurture and water this precious seed of faith, but I trust God will make it grow and blossom into a mature, fruit bearing tree - in its proper time. Still, there is beauty in the first sprout of green from humble seed. A miracle in the making.

After dinner the kids and I had David Crowder's "Oh Praise Him" cranked; we were dancing and singing, praising our King along with all creation. I told Belle that when we praise God, his Holy Spirit comes. That Jesus loves to hear our songs.

"Where is Jesus, Mom? I thought he was in my heart?" she asked.
"He is Belle. He lives within you." I answered.
"Well then who lives in you...if Jesus is in me?"
I did my best to explain God's gift of his Spirit that He gives to all who accept Jesus. And that the Spirit is like the air we breathe. Its inside of us (I breathed on her), but it fills the room and every inch of this world. We have the same Spirit alive within us.

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:4-6

Praise God for His Spirit. He has been making Himself so evident, so visible in our lives lately. Or maybe He is giving us eyes anew to see Him in His beauty. Either way, its a gift from Him. Praise God for childlike faith. And Praise Him that He is a God that values the humble, the pure, and the simple efforts of His children to love Him, returning it in extravagant showers of goodness and life.

No one's ever seen or heard anything like this,
Never so much as imagined anything quite like it—
What God has arranged for those who love him.
But you've seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you. 1 Cor 2:9-10 (The Message)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Imaginations alive, smiles blazing.
We will not succumb to cabin fever.

Gotta love a good firefighten' farmer.
That's how it is where we come from...
no fire departments but the volunteer ones, so all the farmers serve as firefighters too. It must be in his blood!

Check out the fierceness on that face! She is in serious warrior mode!

And while it may look like the sword is suspended in mid air...or held by a ghostman, Aron actually just knocked it flying out of Judah's hand!

Double team the black knight!

Little bears playing in their cave...

Roasting mini-marshmallows around a fire
*(fire consisting of a small led light in a tiny pot!)

Our knight in shining armor.

Off to battle!

We hope your hearts are alive and your spirits are warm through the lows and blows of winter.
All our love!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Goal of All my Efforts Each Day:

*click here to view this print in its etsy shop

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8

May my stories, my songs, my discipline, my play, my work - point them toward Him who is Love. May I teach Love this day. Give them hearts to perceive You, even in their youth. Woo them to yourself. Because your Love is better than life.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Sweet, Sweet Rose

Belle brought home this photo in a homemade frame from her Bible class at church:

It makes me smile.
A tears-well-up-in-my-eyes, heart-swelling kind of smile.
She LOVES going to church. And she has been memorizing her Bible verses each week, happily reciting them to us proud peacocks.

She is growing so big, becoming so articulate.
Yesterday, Aron and I sat cross legged on the floor, playing Candy Land with our girl. Belle, inching closer to the Candy Palace, completely sincere, sweetly said,
"Oh, I'm ever so close!"

I'm cherishing these days - counting them down before I have to share her with Public School.
Where have 4 years gone?

A bit sappy tonight.

New Year's Eve - The Pre-Party

Aron and I had the chance to sneak away on New Year's Eve before the celebrations began. We waffled on whether to take the opportunity to get a few moments away without the kids or to rest in the comfort of the Kirk home. Aron's daddy had the brilliant idea that we should take the ferry over to Augusta, Kentucky, and grab a bite to eat, while enjoying the quaint town on such a beautiful day. We were sold.

Ohio, Kentucky and the love in between.

This goofy girl couldn't keep the hair out of her eyes or her eyes open for a decent picture.

Strolling the riverside streets of Augusta.

There were cafes and antique stores aplenty. This heart was happy!

We had lunch at Bravo Cafe. And we were the only customers.

The ride home to the banks of Ohio. The sun setting on a very blessed 2010.

Grateful. Humbled. Inspired anew.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

With Expectation

An unexpected gift: a warming, a reprieve before the months of bone chilling cold clench their grasp on our world.

65 degrees of glorious sunshine never felt so amazing.

It was almost ironic as our half clothed boy grabbed melting globs of snow and tossed them about.

So alive in the sun's warmth, so exhilarated to feel the wind in his face.

I couldn't convince him to come inside. No way, now how. It wasn't happening.

"I'll stand here at the door and watch you all from outside."

Now Judah walks to the window and just points, begging to go outside. Little does he understand single digit temps and biting winds are not kind to little fingers and toes. Spring is coming, sweet boy. Until then, we'll rest in the pace of the season of slumber. When the all the earth sleeps beneath blankets of lace, waiting. We'll chose to embrace the lessons of this season, inhale the beauty of stillness, togetherness. And wait with expectation for the awakening.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Winter Beauty, Winter Fun

By Wednesday, the temps were above freezing, and we had only hours left to enjoy the snow.

So we bundled up Randy, I mean, Judah and hit the slopes.

The powder blue skies and the crisp air awoke the adventure in Judah like I have never seen. He was like a caged animal, just set free into the wide blue yonder.

He loved the running around and exploring,

but the verdict was still out on this whole sledding deal.

Daddy showed him the ropes of outdoor play.


And the holy grail of little boys... papaw fired up his tractor to play...err, move some snow?

My turn, Dad!

Gracie and Sis showed Judah just how much fun there was to be had!

"Are you ready for this, Son?"
*this picture looks almost post-apocalyptic or something, doesn't it?

"You call this fun?!"

The lovely Grace.

Eli the Great.

Luke the Valiant.

*Speaking of Eli...
We'll take this moment to wish him a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY. We love you (and you'll always be E-Buddy to us, though we attempt to refrain from calling you that in your current teenage state).

Ready to try again...

Getting the hang of it!

Papaw has a lot of birds - cardinals, blue jays, woodpeckers, yellow ones, oriels, chickadees, (I obviously don't have the years of teaching that Aron does as I can't even think of their proper names or the plethora of species he and his dad can spot.) Apparently, if you feed them, they will come. So Belle made papaw some adorable little bird feeder ornaments for Christmas. Here they are hanging them out for papaw's birds.

"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?"
Matthew 6:26

And the gang with Frosty the Snowman meets Indiana Jones. All decked out in gumdrops and butterfly bush, crowned with a fedora, this guy was the cutest snowman I've ever seen.
Loved this day completely.