A word for the weary today <3

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Somewhere between the delayed and soggy end of spring and the hectic schedule of ball games, regular work and helping out others while they work, plus the unusual opportunities we have had to gather with our whole family several times…I have found very little time to care for our home, let alone do all the extras.

Life has come at us pretty fast and it is a bit like navigating the rapids in a kayak, which from the sound of it is pretty common for God’s people lately.

I could write a list a mile long of ways people have shared their broken hearts with me this past week.

 All kinds of ways they are being battered and are feeling defeated, alone, misunderstood, taken advantage of…hurt…wounded…tested.

People I love and care for who seem to be fighting to stay afloat in a rip tide with nothing but a pair of children’s water wings and if you are one of those today who is nodding your head in between waves crashing over you…then this is for you.

You are not alone. 

You are not abandoned or forgotten or unseen. 

Yes, the battle is fierce and yes, the fire is hot. 

Yes, it hurts and yes, it is hard. 

But the circumstances you are struggling in do not define you.

You are not your circumstances.

You are not what someone has said to you or about you. 

You are not what has been done to you. 

If you belong to Christ, you are a co-heir with Him. 

You are His brother or His sister. 

You are precious to Him. 

Your life was worth His life and you stand before God justified and righteous by His covering. 

You are who He says you are and He says you are His beloved.

One of my favorite passages for times like these is:

“When you cross deep rivers, I will be with you, and you won’t drown.

When you walk through fire, you won’t be burned or scorched by the flames.”

Isaiah 43:2 CEV

Do you understand what this is saying? 

You will be in deep water…but He is with you and you won’t drown.

You will feel the heat of flames licking around you, but they will not burn you. 

The rest of this passage gives assurance of how precious you are to Him and all that He would give for you. 

Take time to read the entire chapter and let the words wash gently over your weary head, heart and spirit.

In the midst of the voices that are attempting to keep you pushed down, I urge you today…listen only to the One Voice who knows you, loves you, made you, carries you and will save you <3 

That day we took the circus to the zoo….<3

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I really had not intended to share this on the blog for two reasons.

One reason is I feel I have overexposed our family on social media recently with all the get-togethers we have pulled off this summer.

And second, I didn’t take the crew on a field trip with a blog post in mind…but we had such a great time I want to give a shout out for the wonderful set up for families to have an adventure day in Peoria and they were so stinking cute and good, I can’t help but share some pictures.

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Since the forecast was for a cool, rainy day and I was going to be with this bunch from 8:30 to 5:00, I asked if I could take them to Peoria and visit their children’s museum. It is called the Peoria Playhouse and I can’t say enough good things about it.

Set up in what appears to be a large cabin-like house, the play areas are fantastic and fun and safe and made for kids to interact with other kids.

Things like a construction site where they could operate two different vehicles and load and unload super soft but realistic bricks and rocks…a hen coop…milk a cow where real water sprayed into a bucket…a huge kinetic sand box set up on what is a glassed in porch area.

If the idea of a children’s museum with one, let alone four children, freaks you out – this one is ideal. The play areas are designed in contained ways so that you don’t have panic moments where you have to leave the 99 to go find the one and fear you will now lose the 99…not that I have ever done that in a children’s museum..or back yard…or Chick Fil’a…or…the dinner table.

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The Playhouse sits across a park area from the Peoria Zoo and there are several amazing playgrounds and picnic areas dotting the park along with ample parking.

As God smiled on us, the Zoo was having a free day and since I had only planned to spend an hour or two at the museum and hadn’t packed a lunch, yet discovered we could camp out for a week in the museum and not stop having fun…we decided to take advantage of a somewhat non-rainy spell and walk over to get food at the zoo.

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The choices were a restaurant with pizza and hot dogs and such or lunchables at the gift shop.

The unanimous and enthusiastic win was the lunchables…who knew…

So a mere $20 later and with a bag full of processed food we headed over the indoor picnic area to set up our buffet…

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And if you want to pin this to your “Summer Entertainment Ideas” board, please feel free.

As we ate the skies opened up again…

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so we thanked God for perfect timing, ate, talked and waited until the deluge subsided and then made our way back to the museum with a slight detour in some of the fun climbing exhibits.

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We did more exploring and playing…

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and drenching our already soaked clothes with more chemically treated water.

And when we were so wet that someone’s diaper had increased triple its size, we headed out to the van and did a wardrobe change and then decided we needed to go back to the zoo which is pretty incredible.

There are beautiful habitats housing some impressive creatures like a rhinocerous, giraffe family and zebras and including…

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Simba and Nala…yes…that is not a mural…those are two real, live lions and yes…we did roar at them…repeatedly.

It was indeed a best day ever.

It was spontaneous…it cost a little cash…and it wasn’t without bodily injuries of the toddler kind.

It wasn’t well-planned, nor was stylish attire required.

It was loud and wildly fun and for me, who tends to talk herself out of trying new things…it was amazing to just watch them go at their pace and make our decisions and see them care for each other as they navigated an unfamiliar place and made it their own…

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I am thankful for it and thankful if you had fun sharing it with us.

I really hope for each of you some summer delights that catch you by surprise and refresh your soul.

You are loved <3

And in the blink of an eye <3

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So yesterday afternoon, my Gdawg stuffed a nerf gun, a birthday present and a ball cap in his back pack…along with a small piece of his Lola’s heart…and hopped on his bike to ride four blocks up the way to a birthday party. 

All by himself.

Four long blocks where you turn corners and are out of sight from the woman who used to rock you til you fell asleep and then wouldn’t put you down because she knew this day would come. 

I went back in and put his little sister to her nap…and I may have held her a little longer than I needed to.

Then I went and put Joely Bear down and I spent some extra time watching his chest rise and fall and those lashes that go on for days rest on his chubby cheeks.

And finally I went down and sat extra close the one who tries so hard to keep up with and outdo, whenever possible, the kiddo who was running around in some yard four blocks away with about ten thousand angels surrounding him…if God answered all my prayers. 

So all you mommies and daddies…grandma’s and grandpa’s….don’t blink.

Don’t miss a minute. 

Soak in the every day’s because…

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it is in the ordinary that God pours out His richest treasures <3

Papipalooza recap <3

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We celebrated someone’s birthday this weekend with great joy and lots of personality.

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With the help of these three…

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and the original three R’s…

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we gathered in Kansas City and took Papi to the stadium he and his family would visit as children.

The youngest of us helped make his favorite cake before we left…

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I decorated it in retro style from his 35th…

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because apparently I have always had a flair for cake decorating…

plus the kids wanted to do a reenactment photo and …

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which brought me so much joy and laughter…I can’t even capture my heart with a thousand words or pictures or happy tears, though believe me…I have tried.

We got the world’s best BBQ…

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and had a fancy dinner in the hotel…

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We mixed and mingled….

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and napped when we could…

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and all in all …. .

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had….

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Best. (Birth)day. Ever.

<3

Running the numbers just for fun <3

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So today I am led to do one of those number things because I think they are fun to read so I hope you agree because that’s what I have for you today.

38

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The number of years since this one and I covenanted to love each other for better or worse, and so far the worst hasn’t really been too bad at all and the better just keeps getting better.

0

The number of times we stayed up late talking and while I hear of couples doing this, I am totally fine with the fact that we talk in shorter increments of moments. Also, I out talk him by a long shot and even I get tired of hearing me ramble on so it’s all good.

8

The number of homes we have lived in, starting with our little apartment and ending here in a ranch style that I fought tooth and nail because I love traditional two stories and now thank God every day for the ease of getting to live on one level.

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5

The number of months we dated before we knew we would be miserable until we could be married. 

11

The number of months we were miserable until we got married.

1 

A great podcast I listened to yesterday https://thewarriorshe.com/5-vital-virtues-warrior-wife/ that made me cry because she talked about how our spouse should be our “battle buddy” and that’s what this guy has been….for all of us under his love and care.

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Even though, lately he seems to have eyes for a younger woman…

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Oh well…she is kinda cute <3