May 30, 2010

Thankful

I am thankful for
  • friends who are signed up to watch my kids over the next two weeks, so we can pack.
  • family that so anxiously awaits us in Pittsburgh.
  • upcoming final get-togethers with friends here.
  • a husband that's available to help with packing and, more importantly, who loves me well.
  • my kids, for bringing us joy and keeping us humble.
  • the number of times tears have welled up in my eyes as I think about leaving Cambridge.
  • warm weather and sunshine.
  • air conditioning, when the sunshine gets a little too hot.
  • our summer plans: DC for the 4th with good "old" Cambridge friends, a family reunion in WI, and a training weekend for me, alone.
  • God's Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.*
  • Sunday morning worship at CTK Cambridge.
  • legs that work, so I can run.
  • the saints who have gone before me.
  • answered prayer.
  • hope.
I'm sure I could add more, but I want people to read this post!

My friend Kit has joined a "gratitude community" of people practicing thankfulness and keeping lists on their blogs and/or in a notebook. (Hi, Kit!) I think this is super cool, even though I haven't officially joined in the fun. As Kit will quickly tell you, practicing the discipline of thankfulness will change you.

She's right.

What are you thankful for today?


*phrase borrowed from the Jesus Storybook Bible

May 28, 2010

The Big Picture, Books, & Boxes

The Big Picture


Books
(all to be returned to the MIT libraries)


Boxes

Special thanks to Lydia for watching Elizabeth this afternoon!

May 26, 2010

The 6th Birthday Party!

We decorated the lounge.

The girls colored as we waited for all to arrive.

We ate snacks.

We took a group photo.

We played two games:
pin the antennae on the butterfly

and cacoon wrap.
This one was so fun!

Mom entertained the girls, while we waited for Colin to get the matches I forgot.

We sang and had cake.

Afterward we played outside while we waited for parents. And my wonderful mother single-handedly cleaned up the lounge. Thanks, mom! We couldn't have pulled it off without you.

May 25, 2010

S'mores!

One of the fun things about graduate school is getting to interact with people from so many different places in the world and introduce them to American traditions and treats. Last week I walked past a display of s'mores ingredients at the grocery store and snatched up a bag of marshmallows, a pack of Hershey's bars, and a box of graham crackers. Our complex has "hot grill night" every Friday, the perfect opportunity to introduce my friends to the delicacy that is the s'more.

My mom and I collected sticks from around the playground in the afternoon, so we were ready when it came time for dessert!

The children went first:
Chile, the US, and Iceland toasting marshmallows together!

The moms had their share!
These are my good friends Gyda and Macarena.

The men got into it too!

Friday was E's birthday;
she ate a s'more in lieu of cake.

We were all happy Grandma was there too.
She guarded the chocolate so everyone got s'more!
(ha ha ha!!!)

Look at this tastiness on a plate!

You know you want some. I picked up more ingredients tonight, show up on Friday if you'd like to join in the yummy fun!

Let's Start Here

It doesn't matter how yesterday went, how you triumphed or how you failed.

Neither changes God's love for you.

Love drove Him to the cross, to die for all of the times you and I judge, condemn, refuse to forgive, hate, fly off in a rage, lust, steal, cheat, lie, complain, don't believe, think our good works will save us, etc.

And love kept Him there.

Yes, He could have called legions of angels. But that was not in the Great Rescue Plan.

And boy, do we need to be rescued.

Every day I struggle to remember that God's love never fails, that it endures forever, that His mercies are new every morning.

This morning, God reminded me that it's true. And I want you to be encouraged too!

God loves you.

This is not a cheesy saying for t-shirts and bumper stickers. This is a Biblical truth that will never change.

Will you believe today that God can and does love you, regardless of your performance, good or bad, based solely on the death and resurrection of Jesus, our only way out of this mess? We need it this morning whether we believe for the first time or have walked in the faith for years.

Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy, and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Isaiah 55:1

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Jesus, recorded in John 10:10

May 23, 2010

Self Portraits

More blosts* are coming about our crazy party day yesterday, but I just had to post a picture of what my mom and Elizabeth did last night while Colin and I were out.


*Blost is our shortened word for blog post, and it rhymes with toast.

May 21, 2010

6

This little bundle got me started in a little thing called motherhood,

six years ago!

There are so many things I could say about our little girl, but at the moment I can neither get my thoughts together, nor do I have the words to express the depth of my emotion.

Elizabeth, let me simply say I am thankful God placed you in our family; I love you beyond anything you'll ever be able to imagine -

until you give birth to your first.

May 19, 2010

Birthday Preparations

A couple of weeks ago we purchased all of the party goods we would need for Elizabeth's birthday party this coming weekend. A few days later I got the goods for making her cake. This year it's a butterfly theme and I found a "howdini" video about making a butterfly birthday cake. Here's the final result:



Elizabeth insisted that the butterfly have stripes on one side and spots on the other. It's her birthday, so I didn't argue. She took care of the spotted side and I the striped. At one point she was giddy with delight as she decorated. And I'm thankful that she's is who she is, and doesn't mind that her mama could not get a crumbless coat of icing on the cake!


The Next-to-Last Big Day!

Colin has completed his final thesis defense. I am now married to a man who got his doctorate at MIT. Wow! I am so proud of him...and hope I can live up to being the wife of such a smart dude!

Today, he will read through the document and make any final changes before taking it to the printer. Friday (our daughter's sixth birthday) he'll hand everything in and RELAX for the first time in many years!

Now, Defense Day in photos: (Thankfully, Colin's parents remembered to bring a camera. Wife fail!)

getting set up

talking

sharing with friends

Elizabeth practicing for her future in teaching

the necessary signatures

the gene pool

Our friend Roberto defended yesterday too;
we looked after his daughter.

quick trip to the student center before dinner...

...at Bisuteki, the Japanese steak house.
Oh Yeah!!

Onion volcano!

virgin piƱa colada

Brian did a great job,
finding many ways to keep himself busy.

Thank you, parents-in-law, for coming and the great dinner! Thank you, friends and colleagues to Colin, who attended the defense! Thank you to all of you who prayed for Colin and were with him in spirit! We're grateful to all of you for your friendship and support.

May 16, 2010

Remember ... Don't Forget

Tonight I was reflecting (while brushing my teeth) on the journey that we've taken to get where we are. Though there have been many great times, it has not always been easy. I don't want to reveal too much about our lives in such a public venue, but I do want to say that the joy we feel in Colin reaching this milestone goes far beyond the normal happiness of completing a degree. We are thankful. We give God the praise for guiding and sustaining us through these years in Cambridge.

God was always telling the Israelites to remember, lest they forget WHO was really sovereign and guiding their steps.

In this post, I will remember.

1. God provided me with a job BEFORE we moved up here, and I had gotten the interview call when we were up here trying to find a place to live. What a "coincidence," huh?
2. God got us, after 7 months, to the congregation we needed to be in to grow spiritually during our graduate school years.
3. God blessed us (though at the time we freaked out!!!) with an unexpected pregnancy that got me out of my all-consuming job.
4. God provided for us monetarily in a bunch of crazy ways at very crucial times: a residential life position, a in-home babysitting job for a good friend's daughter, and an inheritance we did not know was coming.
5. God met us each in places of deep need and waywardness and gently drew us back to Himself, assuring us of His love and the truth of the gospel.
6. God has kept us together, though there were times that life's challenges could have driven us apart.
7. God used our family and friends in practical ways to help us and encourage us through the darker times.
8. God used the years I waited to have our second child to teach me about waiting, trusting, respecting my husband, and rejoicing with those who rejoice & mourning with those who mourn.
9. God got Colin into a research project one summer, because he needed funding, that has become the topic of his PhD and what he will continue to pursue as a post doc.
10. God has seen fit to take us back to Pittsburgh; honestly, I don't know if I really believe it yet!

I'm sure there is more. This list is overwhelmingly awesome. God be praised!

With this tucked into the recesses of my brain and the depths of my heart, I can only look forward with GREAT anticipation to what God will do with us next. What peace there is for the child of God, who knows his life is always under the gentle guidance of his loving Father.

Would you care to share some "stones of remembrance" from your life in the comments?

May 14, 2010

Westgate Farewell BBQ!

Last Saturday was the Westgate Spring BBQ, a final celebration for those who are graduating - a category that describes us this year! The weather didn't fully cooperate, but the celebration was only briefly interrupted for a strong downpour. The Westgate Executive Committee put together an amazing event including the usual visit from Tim the Beaver (MIT's mascot), delicious food, and good music. This year they improved on an already fabulous tradition by adding face painting and a balloon artist. Those artists were really talented folk!


"What would you like to be?"

She chose a butterfly

They also did glitter tattoos - so cool!
The hand model is my friend Poojah.

Ballons!
Check out her sweet balloon pouch.

Westgate is a wonderful community. A special thanks to WEC for all of the hard work they do (voluntarily!) to serve the couples and families who live here. This showcases one of many activities they plan throughout the year.