Observe these things

"Whoever is wise will observe these things, and he will understand the lovingkindness of the Lord." Psalm 107:43

I used to be obsessed with a certain blog that will go unnamed (mostly because most of you already know what it is). But I am starting to understand (I think) why I enjoyed reading it so much. I so often find myself bogged down in daily struggles - disobedience, bickering, stuff to do, my own attitude - and I neglect to observe or pay attention to "these things" - God's faithful things - the peaceful moments, the funny ones, or the ones when everyone is attentive or interested. Instead I dwell too often on the negative and allow Satan a foothold in my mind and attitude.

The woman who writes unsaid blog spends a lot of time focusing on the positive. She writes about the seasons and creation (though she does not acknowledge a Creator) and her family in them. She photographs it and thinks about it and longs for it to come again, misses it when its over, but totally enjoys every moment of it while it is here.

In some ways I feel like she is a better steward of life and creation than many Christians I know, including myself.

This isn't the exact application of the passage above. David is really telling us to look at the ways of God with man. When we sin or rebel or wander or are dishonest or are oppressed - when we cry out to him, he hears and praiseworthy are his steadfast love and deeds toward us. We would be wise to observe them.

"The lovingkindness of the Lord is shown in a thousand ways and if we will but watch carefully we will come to a better understanding of it." C.H. Spurgeon

Maybe I should see if I can count a thousand...

House Hunters

Sorry, I forgot to give notice of this sooner. Our St. Louis rehab is going to be on House Hunters tonight. You can check the website for time in your area. It will also be re-aired on Valentines Day.

Hiking with The Cousins Eddie

Columbia has this great warehouse sale in St. Louis twice a year and just before we moved I picked up these ensembles - his and hers Cousin Eddie hats with matching gloves. I think I paid like $3 for each set.A couple of weeks ago we went up to Palomar Mountain. It is about 2 hours outside the city and about 5,000 feet up. Usually they have snow, but not while we were there. There is a Christian retreat center that gives discounts to pastors. We didn't stay the night this time, just hiked, but I am looking forward to spending a weekend there sometime soon.
All that dead stuff in front of Joe and me is fern. You can see a live one in the front of the picture. I don't know what killed them, but I love ferns and I bet they were so beautiful on that hill.

The kids did great. We made them walk all the way down. We found some deer tracks to follow and Joseph had to poop once so that kept things exciting. I was wandering out to explore the trail a little when I heard Joseph say, "I need to poop." I pretended not to hear and kept walking. Then I heard Mike say, "Okay kids, I'm going to teach something about hiking in the woods." I stayed gone long enough for all business to be taken care of.

A meadow on a mountain top.
Okay, so I have been beyond tired lately. Don't know if it is pregnancy low iron, or pregnancy at 34 with 2 small children, or I am weakling. Anyway, this was a pretty good day - but hiking back up the mountain with a 30+ pounder on my back....well, honestly I said I was fine, but Mike didn't like how the pack was wrapped around my belly...and the fact that I was wheezing. Geez, 34! That's it! And I have wheezing lately like...like something that wheezes a lot. California has given rebirth to all the allergies I ever had. So he doubled up. Olivia complained about Joseph's butt being in her face the whole time, but otherwise it worked out fine and I felt horribly guilty for being so weak.

I at least got to bring him in the last leg.

We ended a great day with them snugly in bed...Olivia in her Cousin Eddie hat and gloves, picking her nose. I'll spare you the picture.


We aren't opposed to child labor around here. Olivia has just learned to sort the laundry into piles - darks, lights, whites, and underwear. She's pretty good. I wasn't hearing much out of Joseph the other day...I found him "sorting" the laundry. For a few minutes I never saw him - just clothes flying out of the bathroom. That is one massive pile!


Three conversations in a row tonight:

Olivia: "How old do I have to be before I get gum again?"
Mom: "About 6 or 7."
Olivia: "About 5 or 7 before I get gum?"
Joseph: "How old will I be a skunk?"

Mandy to Mike: "I see it in your crease, right there." (referring to the smile crease around your mouth)
Joseph: "I want to see his grease."

Olivia: "Mom, I think your the bomb." (thanks Mimi)
Mom: "Olivia, I think YOUR the bomb."
Joseph: "I hear the bomb!"

I think he might having hearing issues. He comes by it honestly. I can't hear very well and my great granny was deaf as a doornail.

Sunset Cliffs

This is one of my favorite places in San Diego. Can I say that even though we have only been there twice? I keep imagining we will go there once a week at least, but it is a little out of my normal route so we don't go often. The sunset alone is worth the trip, but there are often surfers to watch or crazy people jumping off the cliffs into the ocean. This night there was significant cloud cover and we thought the trip might be a bust. But I was looking down eating my Chick-fil-A original with EXTRA pickles, when God lit it on fire. It was gorgeous.

Who are these kids?

Sometimes I wonder...especially today as we went out to eat with some friends after church and Olivia sat at the bar the whole time chatting with the wait staff. I look at Joseph sometimes and he is such a little squirt. A little person. A little future Elton John??!! How he got outside on his bike in that get up...clearly I was distracted.This is kind of hard to see, but it is one of the constantly evolving window gel scenes. Sometimes they are sorted by color, sometimes by shape, sometimes they are all crammed into one pane, and sometimes they are dropped in a brown bag and toted around the house. Who are these kids? I wouldn't trade them for much...I mean absolutely anything. They are really funny. Today, Joseph ran out of the nursery, right up to me and kicked me in the shins. Not really all that funny, but it just makes me all the more interested in who they are and how they work and what they will be. Any predictions?
Maybe an interpretive dancer?


Sorry, Grandma, these aren't the best pictures - but they represent well enough. We nixed the water for the "winter" and there is only sand in there. Nearly every piece of plastic we own is out there.
Thank you, again. They stay busy out there for quite some time.

Coming around

Moving here toward the end of a long hot summer, a summer including a drive across the desert in the heat of July, I was pretty bummed about arriving at a new home that did not come with a clear, refreshing change of the seasons. But I have to say I have been pleasantly surprised. You've read about our Fall experience. And I have to say that it has definitely been Winter-ish here. All our shorts are put away. I'm no longer wearing my sandals. Our "tans" are faded. (Olivia is still wearing her swim suit every other day, but that is an issue entirely different.) We wake up chilly in the mornings and we often end the evening with a fire in the fireplace. So, all in all, it has been enough. But the past few days have been a surprising treat. I find that every year I subconsciously expect Winter to be over when Christmas is over. I know there are still two long months left, but I find myself let down every year that we have to wait so long until Spring. After 34 years you would think I would catch on. But this year it happened! Christmas has come and gone. The New Year is here. And 75 degrees is back! I don't mean to brag, especially in front of those of you with a foot of snow on the ground. But, my 8 week pregnant body is gasping for energy and this "break in the weather" has been just what I need. So come out and visit us if you need a break too!These pictures were taken at Seaport Village. It is a touristy little place on the harbor. But peaceful during the week when everyone is in school. This day we took our library books down there and read them by the water and played around.
(Her swimsuit is on underneath her clothes.)
This is when I was pretty sure I was pregnant. That corn dog never tasted so good.
Joseph agreed.