Friday, November 24, 2006

May I Suggest the House Coffee?

In honor of "Black Friday" I want to give an absolutely shameless plug for my husband's fresh roasted coffee. I've never liked coffee due to its bitterness but he makes a cup I can drink without chocolate and sugar in it! He roasts coffee as a side business and we're hoping that in time he'll be able quit his "real" job and roast full time from home. A pound of coffee makes a great stocking stuffer or gift for someone who is hard to buy for. It's also a thoughtful hostess gift and a nice alternative to a plate of cookies. (It's low-fat, low-carb, and low-calorie!) We ship all over the U.S. and you can specify when you want to receive it. We'll be happy to include a gift card with a message from you as well. We also offer various subscription options so you can give, or receive, great coffee on a regular basis. Mention that you're a blog reader and we'll give you a discount of $1 per pound from now until Christmas. (This option isn't offered on the website, so email us your order and we'll send you an invoice.)
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Leaving on a Jet Plane


A long-awaited day has finally arrived. We're flying south for the winter. Well, for two weeks anyway. The weather forecast at home is showing highs in the mid-30s next week but we won't be here to enjoy the cold; we'll be playing on a tropical beach in Zihuatanejo , Mexico! With the onset of our gray, rainy weather we've really been looking forward to this. I've dealt with my share of worries over keeping the kids healthy and safe and feel like God is giving me peace. I've laughed over the complexity of packing for a family of four. In just six short years I've gone from a single girl who traveled the world with a pack on my back to a Mama with matching suitcases. They even have red ribbons tied on their handles; we're lugging a play pen along, and having to remember to pack things like diaper wipes, kid friendly sunscreen, sippy cups and board books. The joys of mommyhood. (And you know I wouldn't trade it for anything!)
We've been reading books about Mexico and books about airplanes and airports to Peregrine for weeks. He's been asking for days "Is today the day we fly to Mexico?" Today is the day my boy, at last! Daddy is off work for over two weeks and there is a nice little casa waiting for us, not to mention fish tacos, fresh pineapple, and steaming bowls of pozole. And to sweeten the deal my Mom and Dad are joining us for the second half of our vacation! It will be so fun to be with them there. (And to take them up on their offer of a little babysitting so Erik and I can go snorkeling!)
Please pray for our safety and health while we are away. I hope to be able to post some updates on our adventures. Also, we've been in contact with a coffee grower in the region and hope to visit their plantation with the hopes of being able to import some of our own green coffee to roast. Pray that this will work out if it's supposed to. Thanks!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Apples and Idioms

Even though I'm a native English speaker, the usage of our language still holds surprises for me on a regular basis. Most of these come in the form of idioms Erik uses that, even after 31 years of being immersed in English, I'm unfamiliar with! It seems that about once a week he says something to which I put on my best blank stare and say "What does that mean?" It's become a bit of a joke between us, so much that I've suspected he makes them up just to see my reaction! How can I have missed out on so many odd little phrases that are in common usage? Is it because I grew up in Canada? Went to private schools and was homeschooled? Don't watch television? Recently we were speaking of someone getting a new job and it was said that "it must have been a real shot in the arm" for him. Erik had to explain what that meant to me, and later I tried to use it in a similar context, only I said "a real shot in the foot" instead! Oops, I guess I shot the wrong body part with that one. (But now I know two new idioms and I *think* I can use them correctly!)
Another phrase I read recently was "don't judge October apples in June". This, again, was new to me, but I've been pondering it because I tend to do this when it comes to my children. We've had some hard days with Peregrine and his fierce will. I easily start to envision the teenage years and beyond, how horrid it will be, all the trouble he will get into, how we have failed so dreadfully, et-cetera. And he's only just turned four! At other times he's sweet and compliant and very enjoyable- then I do the opposite thing and think "he's going to turn into a fine godly man after all." Both extremes are pretty silly (and I know it), but I do get caught up in this kind of thinking, letting the moment with its emotions dictate how I perceive the future. I need to remind myself that none of us, including my children, have finished the race yet. It's only June in their little apple lives- they are small and immature and have a long way to go yet. There is still much sun that needs to shine on them and many rains that need to fall before we can say they are "ready".
I vacillate between congratulating myself on my great parenting skills when all is peaceful and condemning myself for my lack of them the rest of the time. Instead I need to be looking to God for wisdom each moment with Peregrine and Alethea and trusting Him to draw my little ones to Himself. I need to thank Him when things are going well, when Peregrine is making wise choices and having a good attitude. And when the opposite is true, when we see his selfish and stubborn streak, I also need to be praying for him, and for Erik and I as we seek to raise him in righteousness. And in all things I have to trust God for the souls of these precious little people he's given to us. It reminds me of another old idiom I did learn as a child. "Don't count your chickens before they're hatched."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I've been thinking recently about how many of my hopes are hung on some elusive day in the future.... The day I can breathe a sigh of relief that my children have turned out "okay", the day I become the perfect wife, the day self-discipline comes as naturally as breathing, the day I'm able to maintain my home and responsibilities with ease and balance, the day there is justice in our land, etcetera. (My list goes on and on.) Even as a small child I always was looking forward to some event; my birthday, school being out, Christmas, a trip. These are the sort of things that come and then are gone, unlike my list of ideals as an adult. Most of those are worthy things to work towards, but really are unattainable.
Listening to the way people talk, the way the media feeds the idea that if only we had certain things we would then be happy, makes me think this is innate to our humanity. It's the waiting for your proverbial ship to come in.... someday. It's graduating from school, getting married, settling down or seeking adventure, having children, getting a promotion, retiring. It's always some time down the line, this elusive contentment we seek.
As humans we're filled with longings, some of them base and selfish, but many of them noble and good. On a natural, survival level we long to love and be loved, to be comfortable and happy in this life. And, I believe, because we are made in God's image, we long for peace and beauty and justice. So the thought that struck me as I was pondering these things, is that inborn in us is the longing for heaven. For there our hope will be fulfilled, for love and peace, for joy, and ultimately for perfection. If the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever then on some level we're longing for the fulfillment of what we were created for. Why is it far easier to let the cares of this earth weigh us down, to let our affections and hopes rest on things that will never ultimately satisfy us, for the very reason that they aren't meant to!
I remember thinking as a child that heaven sounded pretty boring. Granted, it sounded a whole lot better than hell, but I thought it would be... well, boring. The more I "grow up" though, the better it sounds. I have had, and do have, a wonderful life. I have a great family, amazing husband, precious children. I'm living the life I've always wanted to, being a wife and mama. There is a feeling though, of anticipation, of still longing for that "some day". The best way I can describe it is by remembering how I was so eager to be married during my late teens and first half of my twenties. Over time I did learn to be content, but I felt strongly that my "calling" was to be a wife and mama and that there was part of me that would be unfulfilled until that happened. And I was right- I love being married to Erik and caring for Peregrine and Alethea and wouldn't trade it for the world. But I'm realizing that nothing in this life will ever fully satisfy, that it's not supposed to, and that seeking perfection here will only disappoint. We're made for heaven, made for glory; all of the happiness we seek here is but a shadow of the real thing.
Losing Esther has been one thing that's made me think more about heaven. Ultimately she is where I want all of my children to be. Amidst the pain and the sorrow there is a sigh of relief, knowing that she is safe, that she is Home. I've always had "wanderlust". I never feel fully at home, and I'm starting to realize that it's because I'm not. I am a pilgrim here. As long as I am here there will be pain and sorrow, there will be, on some level, discontent. I need to be reminded- often- to think on things that are eternal, because I'm just so earthbound. I need to remember that we are just "camping" here, and it's nice in many ways, but that most of it is not nearly as important as it seems.
Someday..... we will be Home. I will be reunited with my precious daughter. The pain I've caused others and the hurt I've known will matter no more. We will fall at the feet of Jesus, we will join the saints around the throne singing "Holy, Holy, Holy"!
Even so, come Lord Jesus!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Meet my Dad

My Dad (on the right) and one of his friends.

I've written a bit before about my Dad's ministry to the homeless in our community. Yesterday's paper carried this article about him. I was blessed to read it, and I hope you will be too. Apart from the fact that he's my Dad, it's refreshing to read something positive about Christians!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Our Days of Creation pages..... so far!

I'm so enjoying learning alongside Peregrine. Together we read lots of books, and while we haven't started anything "official" as far as school goes, there's plenty of learning going on around here. It's fun, and it happens so naturally as we spend our days together; does "school" really have to be much different than this? One of the reasons I'm so excited to homeschool my children is because of all I get to learn along with them! Here are some of the things we're doing right now:
  • Reading through The Story of the Orchestra by Robert Levine and listening to the accompanying CD. I am totally clueless about classical music so we're really learning this together. The book is separated into three sections; composers divided by era, the instruments, and the conductor. Each track on the CD highlights what we read about. The university here puts on inexpensive performances occasionally so I hope to take him to hear a real orchestra at some point.
  • Learning about the days of creation. We've been making a picture for each day. I'm no artist (read: cannot draw) and I've been raiding my scrapbooking supplies to help him do these pictures! Hooray for stickers and patterned paper!
  • Reading poetry. We have a very old, worn, and well-loved copy of Poems Children Will Sit Still For that my Mom read to me as a child. He also loves the poetry of AA Milne.
  • Reading Daniel Boone: Frontiersman. Peregrine, of course, is fascinated with the battles and the hunting, and I'm learning a lot. (Seriously, my knowledge of Daniel Boone was limited to a 'coon skin cap, exploring the frontier, and some poem about elbowroom. Pertty pathetic, especially since we learned in this book he preferred a plain cap and not the fur cap I associated with him.)
  • We're just getting started with Beginning Thinking Skills. He has enjoyed the few sheets we've done and especially enjoys playing with the cubes and blocks!
So, all this "learnin" is pretty exciting! I was surprised when I realized that Mozart was composing at the same time that Daniel Boone was exploring the Eastern frontier. Which makes me want to have some kind of a timeline we could be filling in. I know there are lots of different options. Does anyone have one they would reccomend?
I'd also like to expand our poetry selections a bit. If you know of any good books of poetry would you please let me know? Thanks!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Through Peregrine's Lens

Since photography is something enjoyed by both Erik and I we decided to give Peregrine a camera for his birthday. We found one that is built for kids and hopefully will not be destroyed too easily! And it's digital, so he can take all the pictures he wants without wasting film. In fact, he seems to be pretty fond of the garbage can icon and deletes more pictures than he keeps. Here are a few of his pictures that I thought were interesting- Mom and Dad the way he sees us!

Mama in Apron


Thursday, November 02, 2006


About a year ago I bought the complete tales and poems of Winnie-the-Pooh on cassette tape for Peregrine to listen to. I guess cassettes aren't a real hot commodity anymore because they were marked down to what I thought was a great deal. Last week I got an email saying that you can purchase the entire set of eight tapes now for only $10! Peregrine has spent countless hours listening to these stories and poems during his rest time, and Erik and I have also enjoyed them in the van. They're read by a British man, Peter Dennis, who does an excellent job. They are unabridged; this is pure, unadulterated Winnie-the-Pooh!
Christopher Robin Milne with Pooh, 1925

A.A. Milne's son Christopher said "... Peter Dennis has made himself Pooh's Ambassador Extraordinary and no bear has ever had a more devoted friend. So if you want to meet the real Pooh, the bear I knew, the bear my father wrote about, go and listen to Peter. You will not be disappointed. ..." We certainly have not been disappointed by these. Books on tape don't come any cheaper than this, so I thought I'd pass this on as I know people are starting to think about Christmas gifts. There's also a fascinating history of Winnie-the-Pooh along with lots of pictures of the original characters on the Pooh Corner website. I grew up on these stories and poems and I love reading them to Peregrine. But I still enjoy having them read to me!

Eeyore, Pooh, Kanga and Roo, and Tigger

Wherever I am, there's always Pooh,
There's always Pooh and Me.
Whatever I do, he wants to do,
"Where are you going today?" says Pooh:
"Well, that's very odd 'cos I was too.
Let's go together," says Pooh, says he.
"Let's go together," says Pooh.

(Read the whole poem Us Two here; from Now we are Six by A.A. Milne)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Long-Awaited Day

My Peregrine,
It is the eve of your fourth birthday. There has been much talk of it, much anticipation and eagerness. You have practiced holding up four fingers instead of three. We had a party for you on Saturday; you dressed like an astronaut and your eyes shone like the stars. You were surrounded by people who love you, people who have watched you grow over the last four years. How quickly they have gone by, these days with you. You who are full of life and laughter and opinions and stories and will.
When you went to bed tonight I lay down with you and told you the story of the Autumn night on which you were born. It was much like this night was, cold and clear with stars like frozen diamonds in the sky. I spared you most of the details, but when I said that I had to work hard and that I had some pain you scrunched up your face and asked with all sweetness "Is this what your face looked like when you had that pain?" I told you how Daddy walked with me, how Daddy held me and reminded me that you would be born soon. And when finally you were in our arms what joy we felt, our boy, brand new, dark hair and dark eyes, a life entrusted to our care, tiny, precious. I told you how you cried, and Daddy leaned close to you and spoke, and at the familiar sound of his voice you turned toward him and grew quiet. As you heard this story tonight you tucked into your blankets, your big blankets in your big bed, and pretended to be that tiny baby once again.
But you are changed, no longer that baby who needed me for your very life and sustenance. You are racing toward independence, becoming the person you will be. I lingered with you tonight, feeling the passage of time, saying goodbye to three and hello to four. It's only one day's difference, but it feels big. It's unstoppable, this thing called time. I kissed you and hugged you, feeling your arms around my neck. (Arms that fly toy airplanes and throw rocks and swing swords.) Some people give bear hugs, but you "boa constrict" me when you want to give me your strongest, fiercest hug. And I boa constrict you right back, wanting to hold on to my little boy. Tonight one hug and kiss wasn't enough, (it's never enough) and we did it again. I looked at you and told you with all seriousness that this was the last kiss and the last hug as a three year old, that you would never be three again. You looked sober for half a second at the thought of that, but soon gave way to merriment once again.
Daddy took us out for dinner tonight; you ate pot-stickers and rice with "pump" sauce. You exclaimed several times how much you loved this meal. In the parking lot afterward, I crouched down next to you and we breathed into the cold night air, breathed dragon smoke together. We breathed dragon smoke, and roared, and laughed. Daddy bought you a new sword, one with a sheath, and when we got home you knelt down in front of him and he knighted you with it. You were full of excitement.
I don't know when this happened, this bigness. You have a different look, different even then a few months ago. You are becoming more somehow, more you, more complex, more of who you will be. I'm glad that God chose me and Daddy to walk this road with you. We hardly feel equal to the task, but that keeps us crying out for wisdom. You were our baby, our firstborn; you are our boy. We love you, with all that is in us.
Here's to many more adventures together, my sweet Peregrine.
And a very happy birthday!
I love you always. (And I love you more.)