Archives for April 2009

Tuesdays Unwrapped

Today we drank it, spilled it, and showered in it. Heck, even my plants had their fair share of it. I can go to four different rooms in my house and get as much as I want, whenever I want. As I look for the gift unwrapped, the extraordinary in the ordinary, I see water.

We are so, so blessed. Beyond blessed actually. To us water is something we swim in, we wash our clothes in, we bottle up and put a fancy flavor in. But for 1.1 billion people, it is the difference between life and death.

Can I give you a statistic? Promise me you’ll read it. Twice. There are 42,000 people who die every week from a lack of clean water. 90% of them are children under the age of five. My kids will never know that kind of lack. That is a gift.

If you want to learn more about giving the gift of water and you want to make a dent in the statistics, read here. It’ll tell you all you need to know.

To read more about Tuesdays unwrapped, head on over to Emily’s blog.


“Whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” 1John 3:17

What does helping a brother in need look like? It looks like the smile on this child’s face. It looks like water.

I’m so proud to be a part of a church that cares about the things that God cares about. I’m so proud to be able to help change a child’s life. I’m especially proud that my kids are changed too. They see this photo and know that because our church has not shut up it’s heart from those in need, there are kids in twenty remote Ethiopian villages who have clean water to drink. When Liquid Church set out to build three fresh water wells in Africa, we had no idea that we would actually raise enough money to build 20!!! Our members saw our African brothers in need. They saw that this was a chance to give out of our incredible abundance here in America, and they believe that God’s love looks like water for a thirsty world. For the full story, or to learn about our latest love challenge, check out Liquid Church online. I promise it won’t just change the life of the child you help, but it will change yours too.


For related posts click here and here.

The almost, very close, soon to be last post about London

I know you’ve all been waiting on pins and needles for the rest of our photos on London. Oh, you haven’t? To be fair, I’m quite anxious to be done with them as well. I have other exciting things to share, like how I went to Target and Costco this week. And then I went to the supermarket, and let’s not forget the drug store. I jest, that’s next week. This week we’ve had a busy Spring Break, with all of the kids home from school. Michael had mercy on me and took a few days off to hang out with us. I’ll share those photos tomorrow. But, for now, on to LONDON!

I’m going to try to squeeze a lot into this post, so if it’s seems slightly random and haphazard, it is!

We started out today, Ethan’s birthday, with a little tour around Barnes. As I mentioned here, this is our little corner of southwest London. Ethan is posing in front of Barnes Pond, the site of many walks, croissants in the sun, and the occasional chase by errant geese.

My boys with a view of the Thames and Barnes Bridge.

The Birthday boy in front of the home where he was born on a beautiful sunny April morning. I had him at home with the aid of the sweetest Australian midwife. What possessed me to have a home birth without the help of pain medication like the good Lord intended? Sheer stupidity, I mean pride:) I just wanted to see if I could do it. Good news is, I could!

After a short tour of Barnes, we took the tube into central London. Like every good Londoner, my boy enjoyed the paper on the trip in. It’s the only way to do it respectably. You certainly wouldn’t consider talking to anyone on the train.

Our destination: Harrods. It’s big, it’s beautiful, and it’s filled with the most ridiculously overpriced merchandise. Shop at your own risk. However, it does have the most amazing food halls, filled with every kind of delicacy you can imagine. We grabbed a bag full of sandwiches and drinks and headed here:

Hyde Park. My second favorite spot in London, after the National Gallery. It is the best place for people watching, which is exactly what we did while we enjoyed our Harrods sandwiches.

Rumor has it there is a swim club that dives into these waters every weekend throughout the entire winter. God bless them. I have a thing about being cold and wet. Neither one agrees with me.

Ethan soaking up the sun and beauty of the park. His little feet have never seen so much walking.

Back to Barnes to celebrate with our incredibly generous hosts, the Dixon’s. They truly are the kindest, loveliest, wisest friends we’ve ever been blessed to have. I shouldn’t call them friends because really, they’re just family. Karen made a pan of brownies per Ethan’s request with a side of cookie dough ice cream.

There were cards and gifts, most notably a chocolate egg the size of Ethan’s head. He loved it!

The guest list included us, the Dixon’s, their daughter Katherine and her fiance Luke, and a wonderful suprise guest in the form of our former Pastors John and Ellie. They spoke into our lives weekly for almost four years, so what a pleasure to see them again!

What a full and fulfilling day. Old friends, old haunts, a new year to celebrate. And one huge chocolate egg.


London Resumed

Thanks to the skillful hands of my husband and a few suction cups, our mac is now in working order again. We can finally finish our tour of London. I think I have a few more posts in me! I’m going to condense them a little bit, so the chronology might seem a bit mixed up.

I shared with you here, about our first day in London. After that, we decided to fit in as much of the city as we could, so we were all over the map. Our first stop of the day was here, at the Tower of London.

There has been a fortress built at this site along the Thames River for over 1000 years. It is ancient and beautiful, and the site of some of the most infamous beheadings in history.

I love the modern urban landscape in the background. It makes for strange bedfellows with the stone walls and turrets of the Tower.

Traitors Gate. This is where criminals and enemies of the crown would enter by boat from the Thames. I don’t think that too many of them came back out again. In one of the towers, there are numerous engravings and scratchings in the wall made by the prisoners. Some engraved their names, others their crest, quotes, and scripture. It’s very moving to stand in the same spot that imprisoned another and imagine them spending day after day, year after year scratching out their name in the hopes that someday someone would remember them.

My boys. Ethan loved the doom and torture, but even he was disturbed by the spot in the courtyard that claimed to be the exact place where the beheadings occurred. People like Anne Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey met death here. Morbid, I know. We took a break from the gloom by having a look at the Crown Jewels which are also housed here.

Here’s Ethan in a low blood sugar moment. Look at the face. Love it. So, we refueled at an outdoor eatery in the shadow of Tower Bridge.

Our day wasn’t over yet. From here we took the tube to Trafalgar Square, which is the site of one of my favorite places in all of London, The National Gallery.

Can you see Ethan at the top there? This is Lord Nelson’s column. For arguments sake, lets just pretend that I know who Lord Nelson is. Ethan loved climbing up as far as he could go. He then muscled his way past the crowds to climb one of the four huge lions in the square. I don’t know who the lions are either.

After all of this climbing, we made our way into the National Gallery, my absolute favorite art museum. In my mind it is synonymous with London. I don’t have any photos of the museum, but I will say that Ethan really enjoyed it. He has quite an artistic streak, and could appreciate the beauty and nuance of many of the paintings. Especially the nude ones. As he liked to point out in a stage whisper, “Look Mom. Do you see it? Small, but noticeable.” Hilarious.


Tuesdays Unwrapped

I’ve been reading Emily’s blog for a while, and so much of what she writes resonates with me. Today she talked about “discovering the gifts in the midst of the ordinary”. I admit that I am a miserable failure at this. Emily asked her readers to Unwrap our Tuesday and see the gift in the small things. The small things that go unnoticed, that slip and shimmer away before we can really grasp them.

I was sitting here thinking about it, and all I could think of was how many arguments I had to referee today, how many loads of laundry, how many shirts ironed, how many times my train of thought or activity was interrupted. I couldn’t see past it.

So I sat, feeling lousy about the fact that I really didn’t see the joy or gift in the day. I sat and listened the thunder storming outside, and felt the thunder storming a bit on the inside. I sat, and then I heard my sweet baby girl crying out for me from her bed. The thunder had stirred her enough to make her cry, but not enough to fully wake her up. She didn’t speak, she just held out her arms for a hug, and let me bury my face in her neck and smell her hair and feel her breath on my cheek. It was a gift.

It won’t be like this for very long. This I know from experience. My oldest doesn’t cry for me or hold out her arms in the night. She doesn’t let me nuzzle into her sleep damp neck and smooth her hair and kiss her face all over. She still needs me, but not in the way that unwraps and unfolds like a gift, like a sleepyheaded, sweet breathed late night gift.

For more Tuesday’s Unwrapped check out Emily’s blog, Chatting at the sky.