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Our first American Girl doll store experience.

Clara & Julie ready to go.
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Road trip. Five hours to Atlanta. 20130316-122152.jpg

Lunch break
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Made it!
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Birthday tea
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Tea menu
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Birthday cake
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Doll salon
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Julie’s new “do”
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Checking in at the hotel & trying out all the pinkness.
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American girl movie on pink bean bags with popcorn & pink lemonade.
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“Swimming” in the hot tub because the pool was too cold for mommy.
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Julie & her new puppies (L to R-Rufus, Cutie & Fluffy-Clara named them)
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Learning to shop with a couple of pro’s
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Clara & Julie ready for bed & enjoying a bedtime snack. What a fun day!

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I’m sad I missed doing a post on Clara’s birthday. Hoping to catch up for that now. We are having a girl overnight trip with Granny Helen & Aunt Becca tonight/tomorrow to Atlanta for an American Girl doll store visit. This trip is intended to celebrate Clara’s 5th birthday. (Which was February 11th.) So it seems fitting to do it now.

Clara is a sweet & beautiful little girl. And I love her much! 💗

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My mom used to tell me a little rhyme that I now tell Clara. And it’s also pretty accurate:
“there was a little girl with a curl,
That hung down on her forehead.
And when she was good,
she was very good.
And when she was bad,
She was horrid!

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Clara (so we both can remember), you love all things pink. Your favorite food is spaghetti. You like to play with your dolls & to play dress up. You love your brothers. You are [mostly] sweet with your little Fritzy & you adore big brother Will & want to do whatever he is doing. You are a good helper. You love your daddy so much & often pray that “he could be done with work” so he could be home with you. Honestly sweetie, I’m glad your daddy goes to work & works hard for us. And I know you will too someday. 😉

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And oh how she has taught me what grace looks like. Over and over. I mess up a lot. I lose it. She forgives me. She loves me. She hugs me & kisses my cheek. I remember once when she was working on making a necklace. She had spent a LOT of time carefully stringing little beads on a long strand. Meticulously putting them in special order as she chose each one. She asked me to come tie the ends when she had finished. I came to do just that, but when I started grab hold of the strands…I dropped it. And all her work tumbled to the floor. I about cried. Not Clara. She sweetly said, “it’s ok mommy. I can put them back on.” I totally thought she’d start screaming, crying, throwing a fit & rightfully so as I had just ruined her beautiful creation that took her a lengthy amount of time to complete. But no-she offered me grace. Sweet grace. By no means is she a perfect child. There’s no such thing. But my maker often shows me his love for me through examples & teachings from my children. And how sweet it is.

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Shortly before Christmas Clara asked me a question in a very serious tone… “Mommy, how is it that in the summer time Jesus gets big & in the winter time, he gets small again?” In my easily confused adult thinking, I had no idea what she meant. So the poor thing had to repeat her question to me several times before I got what she was getting at. How is he (Jesus) a grown adult man in my Sunday school papers/pictures in the summer & then a tiny baby in my Sunday school literature & all we discuss about him around & leading up to Christmas? Then suddenly he’s a grown man again in January? I finally saw her question: to her he cycled every year (& quickly!) from infant to grown man & back again. How does this work?… So I tried in my feebleness to explain that Jesus is God & is always with us, but he was here as a man for a period of time a long time ago. How in that time he was born as a baby & grew to be a grown up man in the manner that all people grow so that he could really “relate” to us (or for us?…) & how he died for us. I explained how we celebrate what he did for us every year-especially in his coming (birth) & his dying & resurrection. Oh salvation. And then my little Clara wants to sing the song I also sang as a child “Deep and wide.” How deep & wide is his love for us. That he should send his son for us. I honestly cannot understand. I get little glimpses from my little teachers he sent me to care for.

I hate that I missed doing a post for Clara’s birthday. More on my little sweetie later, but for now…the time change tells me it’s late & time for bed. Good night friends!

Well, we made it. We didn’t have to walk. (Except for the two short times to take our “goos.” I can’t run & eat at the same time. Too hard to coordinate swallowing with breathing. And thus, that walking didn’t count.)

It was hard. My legs were tired. After while I had to think hard to keep my legs going because they were ready to be done. My girls encouraged me & were so sweet to wait on me when I was slower.

It is pretty amazing that I just started to run again about six and half months ago. That after relearning how to walk with altered balance after three surgeries on my head. What?! God is amazing. Really. Only he could do that. And I praise him for it. But I think I have to be careful to say that we praise him in the trials & in the outcomes no matter if the outcome is what we hoped for or desired. Because he is worthy of praise. One day when I am not here, I hope my family & friends will praise Jesus for me.

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The Lord blessed me with another year of life. Each day is a blessing. And I am so thankful for these days.
I cut my hair to even it up with my short hairs from surgery. Here it is:

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Someone asked me the other day about if I felt fully recovered-and specifically about speech, swallow & hearing. I feel fully recovered. Two of my girls from my running group are running with me tomorrow (Saturday) in my first half marathon. It’s in Charlotte, NC. We are on our way now.
As for the other recovery items-I’ve adjusted pretty well to hearing with just my right ear. It’s harder with background noise, but I think I manage pretty well. Swallowing is fine, & my voice is normal enough. I don’t know that I can sing as well as before (not that it was great, but I can tell the difference).

Would love your prayers tomorrow morning as we run-for freedom from injury & a successful finish. Thanks friends!

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