I Asked the Lord - by John Newton

The first time I heard this hymn I was drawn to it...in a fearful sort of way. I still hold my breath most of the way through it every time I listen to it - which is pretty regularly. Newton's understanding of the sovereignty of God and prayer is much harsher than we are typically comfortable with. The Bible does say that God is love, but we want that to mean that his action toward us always feels warm and fuzzy and lovely. We want that to mean that he loves and accepts us just the way we are. We do not want it to mean that he is willing to take drastic measures (including sending his son to die) in order that we don't remain just the way we are.

Here are the lyrics. You can hear a clip of the song at igracemusic.com. It is on the Beams of Heaven album.

I asked the Lord that I might grow/In faith and love and every grace/Might more of his salvation know/And seek more earnestly his face.

Twas he who taught me thus to pray/And he I trust has answered prayer/But it has been in such a way/As almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that in some favored hour/At once he'd answer my request/And by his love's constraining power/Subdue my sins and give me rest.

Instead of this he made me feel/The hidden evils of my heart/And let the angry powers of hell/Assault my soul in every part.

Yea more with his own hand he seemed/Intent to aggravate my woe/Crossed all the fair designs I schemed/Cast out my feelings, laid me low.

"Lord, why is this?" I trembling cried, "Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?"
"Tis in this way," the Lord replied "I answer prayer for grace and faith."

"These inward trials I employ/From self and pride to set thee free/To break thy schemes of earthly joy/That thou mayest seek thy all in me."

There and back

Everyone was loading the car - this is what Olivia chose to bring.

And this was her traveling attire for the trip back. Joseph's pajama pants under her dress. I can't figure her out sometimes - and by the look on her face I think the feeling just might be mutual.

Stop two - Kalamazoo

Uncle Doug's comment was that he was too old to be doing this. You can tell by the look on his face that he isn't too miserable.

Joseph and "Gayrma" (as Olivia calls her - "Gayrmpa" is her husband)

Here is the proof that Doug likes the University of Tennesse more than he likes the University of Texas.

We do have the same picture with "Gayrmpa" smiling, but I had to post this one. This is the look he gets on his face when he is completely overwhelmed with love for his grandchildren. We see this look a lot. It gives me a lump in my throat.

Family Vacation - first stop

This is Olivia and her Uncle Fletch. We had a great time at his and Rose's house (just outside of Chicago). Olivia was beside herself because they had a dog AND a cat.

This is Rose and cousin Matt. Rose was so generous with our kids. She let Joseph empty out her recipe box all over the floor - three times!

We went into the city on Saturday and went to the Field Museum. (I just asked Mike why it is called a "Field" museum - and he said, "I don't know. Go look it up.") So, anybody know why it is called a Field museum? It had exhibits on everything from Egypt to weather to dinosaurs. Cousin Kurt recommended the Egypt exhibit and it certainly did not disappoint Olivia. It was hard to drag her off this Egyptian bed. There is a neck rest under her that you can't see - it is acutally quite comfortable.

Cousin Kurt! That is the museum behind us - not the tall building, the Greek Parthenon-looking one.

What, Why, and Where

Three questions for which there are no sufficient answers to a two and a half year old.

Chinese Culture Days

Though it was the Chinese Culture Days festival at the Garden this past weekend, you will see nothing of Chinese culture in these pictures. Olivia napped until 4:00 and we didn't make it to the Garden until 4:30 - it closed at 5:00. We saw some contortionists do a pretty cool presentation, but that was it.
Our tour guide.

If you can't read it, eat it.

More Nikki statues

The Bell Garden

St. Louis...

Trapped and Taunted

Photo by Olivia

Bringin' 'er in

On our way home from the market this morning we happened upon a yard sale. I love our neighborhood more and more all the time. We got to know some new neighbors - ones I had seen in the park but never talked to. I got a handful of clothes for Joseph for 25 cents a piece. I got a banana muffin, Mike a cinnamon roll, and Olivia a chocolate cupcake with chocolate icing. Yes, I let my daughter eat that for breakfast - I can't feed her kale all the time. (I guess it was a yard and bake sale.) Olivia also walked off a with a pink pocket book and she scored this convertible horse thanks to our neighbor, Julie. (Her dog, Lionel, or "Lyneeeeelll" as Olivia says it, is Ridley's best friend.) It rocks or rolls. She is rolling it home...with her chocolate cupcake in hand...and only in her panties. The shorts were soaked from the fountain jets.

Summer is coming

The fountain is a sure sign that summer is coming. The jets and the big fountain are on, but they don't fill up the "concrete pond" until the beginning of June. You can see some of the tents on the other side of the pavilion - that is the Tower Grove Farmers' Market. It is every Saturday morning and there is always live music and good coffee. I have started buying some of our meat there - so far so good. Everything is a bit smaller, but so are most things that aren't on steriods - just have a look at present day Mark McGuire.

That shovel and pail aren't ours, by the way. She is so sly.


Choose Your Mode

...of transportation that is. The choo choo from the Transporation Museum we visited this morning, the Radio Flyer, or OUR NEW VAN!!! Hard to believe. Contrary to popular opinion (Veerman), we do not think we are too cool to own a van. We (I guess I should stop speaking for Mike) know I am cool, that is precisely why I am comfortable owning a van. :) It has been rather emotional though. For Olivia too - when we started this process a week ago and took the van for a test drive, she quit referring to my Ford as "Momma's car," and started calling it "my car." The day we drove it home she had a small melt down in the parking lot. (That could have been due to the fact that we were an hour past dinner time too.)

It's not so much the van that is the issue - because, truthfully, there is a reason why 90% of people with two or more children own one. It makes life a heck of a lot easier. We were squeezing both kids into car seats in a two door Explorer. I was constantly conking somebody's head on the door frame or the ceiling - including my own! The real issue is losing the stick shift. I have driven a stick since I was sixteen. My first car was actually a 1925 Nissan Sentra. Just kidding, it wasn't that old. But is was old. It wasn't a stick either, but my dad had a red, soft top Jeep Wrangler at the time (How wrong was that - for your dad to drive one of those and put his "I need to be cool" daughter in an old Nissan that didn't have a tape player so I had to ride around with my boom box in the front seat? But don't hear me complain because I didn't pay for the Nissan. I think we traded some chickens for it. JUST KIDDING. Good grief! I was appreciative.) Anyway, the Jeep was a stick and since my dad wasn't completely cruel he did teach me to drive it so I could take it to school a few times my senior year - especially the last day when all the seniors drove around the school honking and acting lame and all the under classmen watched admiringly out the windows. (Some traditions are so silly.) He taught me on a hill in our neighborhood that slanted about 90 degrees (or something, I'm not good spatially, but it was steep.) After about the third stall out I saw the look on his face change from, "Come on, I'll teach you how to do this. Sink or swim girl." to "Get out of my Jeep! I think you just dropped my transmission back on that hill!" A short time later I stalled through three changes of a red light. (In Amy Willis' car, Dad, not yours. Hope her dad isn't reading this.) The point is, I had to work hard to get this and every car since the Nissan was been a stick shift. So there it goes - an era. Though we are starting the new era in a similar vain with an old model. There is a tape player this time, but it is in the dashboard. Time to mature...unless anyone knows of a stick shift model minivan.

Family Foto

I wanted to post both so you could see the whole family close up, but also this great park that is essentially an extension of our backyard. (I have always been told I look like my mother - for the first time I really see it. She is blonde {well, now gray} hair and blue eyes and I am brown for two, so you can see how it isn't an immediate resemblance.)

And Evening

We went for a walk over in the park tonight with the Tuckers. This is Isaiah.

Levi trying to teach Olivia to run with a kite.

Olivia on the "ruins." These are fake ruins, by the way, for anyone who doesn't know that. Sorry to "ruin" the authentic feel for you. Henry Shaw wanted the park to look older than it was, like his British homeland, so he built these fake ruins to give it a feel of antiquity - it works.

Isaiah allowing Olivia into his and Levi's "secret" bamboo hideout.

This is Abel. He and Joseph were supposed to be delivered just two days apart from one another - only Joseph came three weeks early. Alice and I were college roommates and now we are raising our families just four doors down from one another. But, as you can see, we have five children between us so we don't get to spend nearly as much time together as we would like.


We went to the Transporation Museum this morning. I know that doesn't sound terribly exciting, but we really enjoyed it. It isn't free. Six bucks per adult, free four and under, four bucks per kid over four. I think that is a little pricey (because I am cheap), but it is a great place. Really well kept. Nice picnic tables to enjoy some lunch. A great gift shop with a ton of fun kids' books and toys. They have this huge room with murals and a big ship to climb on and hands on transportation-type toys - but it was closed. A kind older man who worked there let us in to see it. That is another reason why I liked this place. Everyone was so friendly.

I love anything you can tour - like the Biltmore mansion, Versailles, docked war ships, anything old especially. And especially anything that has a bathroom. I love seeing what bathrooms looked like. (I'm wierd.) We got to tour a private car on one of the trains. You couldn't buy a ticket to ride on it; you had to know who owned it. There was a lounge to entertain your guests, a dining car, sleeping quarters, a kitchen, and of course bathrooms. In the smaller rooms the toilet was in the room but had a cushion lid that looked like a small chair - to disguise it. Kind of fancy (if you are from East Tennessee). The bottom picture is me and O in the kitchen - they kept vegetables warm in those holes - in containers of course.

The first two pictures and this one are inside the engine car. You wouldn't believe all the levers and knobs, etc. It is very intimidating. Mike's grandfather was a conductor and his great grandfather was an engineer. If you want a fun kids book about trains you can check out Lois Lenski's Engineer Small from the library. (All her books are good.)

It wasn't just trains they had a big building of cars too.

Andy Warhol - McBride

NOT the Botanical Garden

This is our backyard!! My friend/neighbor, Alice, split her irises two years ago and gave us some. Last year the late freeze got them. Now they have doubled and are beautiful. There is another yellow bunch by our back stairs, though they are a little puny due to Ridley using them as a teether when she was really little. There is another bunch at the back of the garden that are both deep and light purple - but they haven't bloomed yet. You can see our purple tulips too, behind the irises. Olivia pretty regularly looks out the window now and says, "Yook! The flowers is booming!"

Mike and I are really enjoying gardening, though we are complete novices. I planted a bunch of flower seeds that are already coming up - sunflowers, shasta daisies, cosmos, and something else I can't remember. I put in a couple of tomato and pepper plants, but we aren't doing too many vegetables since we will be gone most of the summer. It is the most hands on experience I know (except for maybe child-rearing) of pushing back the effects of the Fall. If I can find them on our CD's I will post a picture of what this yard looked like when we moved in. Much like most of our lives before Christ and his Holy Spirit entered - ravaged with weeds, weak and spindly rose bushes, trash, no order, no care. But, to use Schaeffer's words, there was evidence of glory in the ruin as a few rose buds would pop through and the day lillies continued to bloom despite being overgrown with vines and weeds. Two and nearly a half years later more and more beauty comes up as we prune and weed and sow. I pray to have the same excitement (and courage) to be about pruning, weeding, and sowing of spiritual fruit in my own heart and life - and the wisdom to do the same in our children.

A Dramatic Interpretation

She asks the same queston at the end every time. She also, rather ironically, calls this her "cateschism." However, we can all probably agree on the first few questions at least.

The Bub's Birthday

I am only somewhat embarassed to admit that I call my son "Bubbilicious." Maybe it is the East Tennessee in me - Bubba...and the cuteness in him that I just want to eat up - licious. Either way, it is silly and, to save Mike's reputation, I don't think I have ever heard him call Joseph by "Bubbilicious." Most of the time, though, we just call him "Bub" and it is cutest when Olivia says it. Speaking of Olivia, can you read her mind in these pictures? During the singing of "Happy Birthday," we kept having to remind her to sing - she couldn't take her eyes off the CAKE!!!

I have to admit that sometimes I struggle with how to create meaningful traditions for my children. I find that I get so bogged down in the daily routine that I forget to make things special or intentional. I'll get through an entire day and wonder where did I purposefully train in righteousness or teach them about God's love for them? I desparately hope that I am modeling that even when I am not thinking about it, but honestly I think I am often more purposeful about minimzing chaos and "getting things done." Olivia looks at me EVERY night while I am preping dinner and says, "Hold me" and I always say, "If you want supper I can't hold you right now." And I ALWAYS feel guilty because the truth is sometimes I would rather hold her than cook supper - and I love to cook. Sometimes, when things are getting hairy and I have had to redirect Olivia and Joseph for the 100th time away from something they should not be doing and tension and voices are rising, Olivia will suddenly break into "Jesus Loves Me." (And it is the Olivia version with long vowels: "Jeeeeeeeeeeesus loves me....") I am supposed to be training in righteousness and she is reminding me of God's love for us.

I started out talking about traditions, but what I think I meant was perspective...priorities...values. Joseph is one year old. One. What does a one-year-old need for his birthday? A few warm, nutritious meals, some breast milk, a bit of predictable routine and a bit of fun, his goofy sister, and his broken but redeemed parents. He won't remember anything else, but he would notice if those other things were missing. We got him a book. A very simple, beautfully illustrated book about baby animals that we hope he will soon love as much as his sister (real baby animals that is). But for now he just likes to chew on the book. We got him a cake because, well two reasons: 1. I was hungry for sweets when I was shopping at Trader Joe's and 2. I figured you had to have a picture of your one-year-old eating a sugar loaded, overly processed cake for his first birthday. But more than anything I just want to hear him sing, with his sister, "Jesus Loves Me" at the top of his lungs. I want him to know what is important - not necessarily minimized chaos or accomplished tasks or supper on time or the perfect birthday party. Better than any of that his Jesus loves him and that puts everything else in perspective.

Old Man Whiskery-Whee-Kum-Wheeze

Old Man Whiskery-Whee-Kum-Wheeze
Lives 'way up in the leaves o' trees.
An' wunst I slipped up-stairs to play
In Aunty's room, while she 'uz away;
An' I clumbed up in her cushion-chair
An' ist peeked out o' the window there;
An' there I saw - wite out in the trees-
Old Man Whiskery-Whee-Kum-Wheeze!

An' Old Man Whiskery-Whee-Kum-Wheeze
Would bow an' bow, with the leaves in the breeze,
An' waggle his whiskers an' raggledy hair,
An' bow to me in the winder there!
An' I'd peek out, an' he'd peek in
An' waggle his whiskers an' bow ag'in,
Ist like the leaves u'd wave in the breeze-
Old Man Whiskery-Whee-Kum-Wheeze!

An' Old Man Whiskery-Whee-Kum-Wheeze,
Seem-like, says to me: "See my bees
A-bringin' my dinner? An' see my cup
O' locus'-blossoms they've plum filled up?"
An' "Um-yum, honey!" wuz last he said,
An' waggled his whiskers an' bowed his head;
An' I yells, "Gimme some, won't you, please,
Old Man Whiskery-Whee-Kum-Wheeze?"

James Whitcomb Riley's
Childhood Poems

Thanks, Great Toots! Olivia is loving this...and so am I.

Birthday Thank You's

We have a few birthday pictures to post, but I don't have time to sort through them all now. Here are a couple of preliminary thank you's sent out to Great Toots, Grandpa Tony, Uncle Alex and "Grandpa Joanie" (per Olivia at times). We drug Joseph's birthday out for a few days - which he loved but it was killer for Olivia. Like her mother, she loves opening presents and had a hard time conceding to Joseph.

About a Stick