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Psalm 78
. . . we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. .
so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Lord, Have Mercy

Have your family devotions kind-of languished since Advent? What about getting back into the swing of things just in time for Lent? My family devotional book is written to give you devotions for each day during Lent, but because we can't manage to have family devotions six nights a week, our family has already started! 

Here's the info from the back cover:
Lord, Have Mercy is a unique family devotional guide for Lent that can help you make Easter what it should be, the Christian’s most treasured holiday.

With forty days of devotions centered on discovering Jesus, Lord, Have Mercy will lead your family to the cross as you discuss Jesus’ humanity, his divinity, his miracles, his glory, his fulfillment of prophecy, and his gift of salvation.

Week 1: We need God’s mercy.
Week 2: Jesus is holy; we are not.
Week 3: Jesus is God and has the power to heal and save.
Week 4: Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of Man.
Week 5: Jesus is Glorious.
Week 6: Jesus is the Only Savior.
Holy Week: Jesus Christ, God’s Anointed One

Each day's devotion provides a question-and-answer discussion about the Bible reading so that you can easily lead an engaging discussion of God's Word. With questions geared toward both young and old, all family members will be able to participate in a lively and interactive conversation about the Scriptures.

By God’s grace your eyes will be opened to the wonders of God’s mercy that are given to us in Jesus Christ.

Get your copy of Lord, Have Mercy here.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Quite Alone in the World

"It is a very strange sensation to inexperienced youth to feel itself quite alone in the world, cut adrift from every connection, uncertain whether the port to which it is bound can be reached, and prevented by many impediments from returning to that it has quitted. The charm of adventure sweetens the sensation, the glow of pride warms it; but then the throb of fear disturbs it; and fear with me became predominant..."

So says Jane Eyre, as she arrives in Millcote, on her way to Thornfield, thinking that someone would be there to meet her, but finding that not to be the case, at least for a few frightful moments.

Good literature powerfully resonates in part because the characters have feelings or experiences that we all recognize. Oh, how I recognized this feeling!

As a young girl of twenty-one, I embarked on a journey alone, traveling from the middle of America to Nairobi, Kenya in order to spend the summer with my parents and sister, who lived in Nairobi at the time. Although they called Africa their home, I was an American college student headed off on my first trip to the continent. All was well and I had an uneventful trip over the ocean and reunited with my family in Kenya, never really feeling quite alone, even as I braved a long layover at Heathrow.

After a time in Nairobi, my family arranged for me to take a trip to visit some missionaries who lived in a very remote part of Zaire. I would travel on an MAF (Missionary Aviation Fellowship) flight into the jungle, spend a week or so with a few different missionaries in the village, then travel back to Kenya with several missionary families who were scheduled to come to Nairobi for meetings. I was eager for the adventure.

On the flight to Zaire, I sat next to the pilot in the small prop plane, and peered out the window at the terrain below. We first made a stop in Bunia, where I went through customs--which was essentially a pathetic building next to a small airstrip, at least in my memory. African men with machine guns slung over their shoulders seemed to be everywhere I had no inkling that in a few years a terrible and horrible civil war would devastate Zaire (now Congo) and that very place would not be safe at all. Before long I was back in the plane, next to the missionary-pilot, and on my way again. The jungle below us seemed endless, and I was surprised to see wisps of smoke curling up from countless spots across the greenness, each one a signal that there were people living there at that spot, cooking their food or burning their brush.

The pilot taking me to my destination in the jungle was only dropping me off. He had other stops to make and I don't remember details now, but he probably would be back in Kenya that night. As we neared the village, he talked on the radio, but I couldn't hear even his side of the conversation. Then he turned and told me the news.

 As nearly as he could tell, there wasn't anyone expecting me at the tiny airport in Isiro where we were about to land. He didn't know where the family was that I was visiting, but word on the radio was that there was no one at the airport to receive his passenger--me! In spite of this, the pilot had to continue on with his itinerary. 

And this is the moment that sticks with me stronger than almost anything else in my week-long visit. 

"Cut adrift from any connection, uncertain whether the port to which it is bound can be reached, and prevented by many impediments from returning to that it has just quitted." 

We landed and the pilot walked me into the small airport building. Details are lost to me now, but another American showed up for me and took me to the home of the missionaries who were my hosts. Thankfully, the moment of being cut adrift was just that, only a moment. The pilot took off again, and a gracious woman welcomed me and took me to the home of the family I was visiting. 

Probably everyone who reads Jane Eyre has their own moment of recognition when they read that passage. This was mine.

(Photo found in Google Earth, taken about ten years after I was there.)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Discovering Greek Drama and Thoughts on Friendship

I wish I could call this post "Re-discovering Greek Drama," but the sad truth is that my education was very light on classics. I am playing catch-up these days and studying Euripedes and Aeschylus and Sophocles alongside my daughters.

This weekend we started in on Aeschylus's Oresteia trilogy, beginning with "Agamemnon." Last week we read Euripedes's "Trojan Women," a play that we are performing in a few weeks. Thankfully Greek drama calls for very spare productions! 

Greek drama is long on speeches and short on, well, drama. At least the sort of drama and realistic acting that we have come to expect from Hollywood or even Broadway. While the text of Greek drama is sometimes difficult for untrained ears to follow, it is worthwhile to make the effort. More on that in a bit.

This winter I have thought a lot about friendship through the reading that I have done. First, I read Lewis's Four Loves which has me thinking about philia in a new way.  Not long after that I re-read Chaim Potok's novel The Chosen, which deeply affected me. As Lewis describes it, philia love is the love of two people facing together a common aim or purpose, like the Greek warrior and his armor-bearer (this image resonated far better with me thanks to our school study of Homer last fall). In The Chosen, Reuven and Danny loyally support each other through their journey to manhood. Their relationship is marked by philia as well as agape, the sort of love described for us by Paul in I Corinthians 13. Selfless love that bears all things. 

Another book in my stack at the moment is Tim Keller's The Meaning of Marriage. (This is a highly recommended book about marriage and let me add my own endorsement. Very good.) In the chapter "The Mission of Marriage," Keller writes about the importance of building a marriage on Christian friendship. Keller writes, 

"Christian friendship is not simply about going to concerts together or enjoying the same sporting event. It is a deep oneness that develops as two people journey together toward the same destination, helping one another through the dangers and challenges along the way."

The ultimate destination in a Christian marriage--or friendship--is Christ. Dangers and challenges encountered may be physical and may be spiritual and may be emotional, but Christian friends ought to selflessly be ready to help a friend or be ready to receive help from a friend as they journey toward Christ.

Back to Greek drama.

That selfless agape love Paul described, added to the philia love (and in a marriage friendship eros love) is impossible to live out apart from Christ. And so it is no wonder that Aechylus puts these words into the mouth of Agamemnon, who has returned from waging war in Troy alongside friends for ten years:

"In few men is it part of nature to respect
a friend's prosperity without begrudging him,
as envy's wicked poison settling to the heart
piles up the pain in one sick with unhappiness,
who, staggered under sufferings that are all his own,
winces again to the vision of a neighbor's bliss."

(Lattimore translation, lines 832-837)

Envy is indeed a poison and the only antidote is contentment in Christ. Sad that the Greeks perceived so much truth but lacked knowledge of Truth. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Goodbye 2013

Our Christmas break was restful and refreshing. With Mr. Edwards on a vacation from work, we were able to enjoy some togetherness as a family, and as a couple without the kids. It was a lovely fortnight that I want to remember.

Some highlights of Christmas break:

Christmas Eve candlelight service

Gingerbread men
Sugar cookies

Pentatonix Carol of the Bells
Crocheted mittens
Miracle bread
Fish tacos (Can you believe we had never had fish tacos before? It turns out that baked tilapia, coleslaw, shredded cheddar, salsa and a dollop of sour cream is a great combination inside a tortilla.)

Homemade tortillas
Times Square jigsaw puzzle
Time with friends
Time with family and cousins 

A Christmas Carol, produced by the Edwards and Carr kids! 

Family Movie fun:
Monsters, inc. (although we all saw Monsters University this fall, the younger kids did not remember seeing the original!)

Thoroughly Modern Millie

Hello, Dolly!
My Favorite Wife 

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. 
Mr, Edwards and I did dinner and a movies with some friends last weekend. We topped off a leisurely dinner packed with great conversation by seeing The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I really liked this quirky film. It resonated in so many ways, and was just plain fun to watch. Charming yet side-splitting funny in parts. (There was one scene, however, making a joke about Benjamin Buttons, that was for me a swing and a miss.) 

Last week I re-read The Chosen by Chaim Potok. Last time I read The Chosen I was a teenager and two decades later it is still one of my all-time favorite books.

Hope and Sydney have been reading all sorts of books, Jane Eyre among them. Lane has been reading Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson books. Toby has been reading Henry and Mudge books to me, but he also listened to The Lightning Thief (in addition to re-listening to his favorite audiobooks, Lord of the Rings). We have also all been listening to The Blue Fairy Book. 

Mr. Edwards and I had a wonderful getaway to Kansas City.

Happy New Year!


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Thanksgiving Reflections

 This weekend my friend asked me to give a Thanksgiving devotional at our Girls Night. We had a great time dining out and then creating some cool glass-etching crafts together. I shared these thoughts about Thanksgiving as we enjoyed a sweet dessert.

Perhaps of all the holidays, Thanksgiving presents the greatest crisis to the secularist that does not believe in God. Secular people have taken most of the religious holidays on our calendar and added their own mythology to make it fun. For Easter we have the Easter bunny and a celebration of Spring. For Christmas we have Santa and stockings, candies and cakes, gifts and goodness. For those without faith in God, they can get through these holidays without much thought of religion. But Thanksgiving presents a problem for those who deny God because the very act of giving thanks acknowledges that there is a Great Giver of all things.

Without acknowledging the existence of a Creator God who gives “every good and perfect gift,” the feeling of thanksgiving is reduced to a different sentiment altogether. Instead of it being a feeling focused on worship to God, it is a feeling of gladness for material things. In this way, we say we are thankful for our house and don’t want to take it for granted, but really we mean that we are quite glad when we see those with less that we have more. We may call it thankfulness, but it is more of a gladness and triumph about the things that we have. Even when we are good-hearted to realize we have more than things--we have family and friends--it is impossible for this to be a true act of giving thanks unless we acknowledge that there is a God who gives.

Our culture no longer acknowledges a God who gives, and Thanksgiving is in crisis. But we know better. Because of our faith in God, Thanksgiving is first of all an acknowledgment of God and our relation to Him. He is Creator. We are created. He is the giver, we are the receiver. He is the King, we are His subjects. He is everything; we are nothing in contrast, except for our reflection of His glory. Knowing this and knowing that apart from God, we are nothing, we are now in a position to have a thankful heart that overflows with thanksgiving to God, our Provider.

What exactly ought we to thank Him for? The Bible gives us lots of direction. First of all, we ought to be thankful to God for the character of God Himself. Scripture abounds with verses giving thanks to God for His character: His goodness, His steadfast love, His faithfulness, righteousness, His judgment, His trustworthiness, His justice, His holiness, and, well, the list goes on. We should follow the example of God’s people in the Bible and be sure to thank God for His character--for Who He is.

We also ought to give thanks for the works of God. Psalm 9:1 says,
“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all your wonderful deeds.”
It is right for us to be thankful for the works of God. This is why so many of the Psalms relate the amazing works of God in caring for His people Israel. Other Psalms thank God for His works of creation. We also read over and over in Scripture where God’s people thank Him for His specific care for them in their situation. David praises and thanks God because He “hears the desire of the afflicted.” When we thank God for His works, we ought to remember the works of God recounted in Scripture and be thankful for them, just as we ought to remember the works of God that we witness with our own eyes and are thankful for them.

We are also to be thankful for the Word of God. It is an incredible gift of God that we have His inspired words given to His prophets and apostles and written down for us. We do not deserve this gift and, indeed, many people still do not have the very revelation of God available to them. When Ezra read the Law to the people, who had not heard it in so many generations, the people stood to listen. All ears were attentive. They listened and Ezra and Levites helped the people understand God’s word. Immediately they sought to put it into practice. They read about the harvest Feast of Booths and realizing that it was time for this feast, they set about to celebrate it. The Feast had not been observed since the days of Joshua, but the people returning from Exile were eager to be thankful to God and obey His word. The people made booths and dwelt in them for seven days, as God had said to do. Each day Ezra
“read from the Book of the Law of God. They kept the feast seven days, and on the eighth day there was a solemn assembly, according to the rule.” (Ezra 8:18)
The Feast of Booths, one of the feasts given in the Law, was a harvest feast of thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is the right response to God’s Word.

Scripture also teaches us to be thankful for the provision of God. He is our Provider and provides for our physical needs. In the Gospels, whenever Jesus breaks bread in a meal, we read that He “gave thanks.” He gave thanks to God when He miraculously provided food for 5,000 and He gave thanks to God when He broke the bread in the Passover feast at the Last Supper. We, too, should always thank God that He provides for our needs. Our habit of mealtime prayers should remain a habit, but with hearts full of gratitude, acknowledging that it is truly a “grace,” that God has given us food to eat, clothes to wear, and homes for shelter.

We also discover in the Word that we ought to be thankful for the people of God. Over and over in his letters Paul thanks God for people.
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. “ (Phil. 1:3-5)
He wrote to the church in Thessalonica and said,
“We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ...” (1 Thess. 1:2-3)
The fellowship of believers is a precious, uncommon gift and Paul’s example tells us that it is something we should always celebrate and thank God for. Our friendships and relationships should encourage us in our faith, strengthening us and building us up as we, together, stand side by side in proclaiming the Gospel. C.S. Lewis says in his book, “The Four Loves,” that philia, or brotherly love, is distinctive because it describes the relationship of two people working side-by-side with a common goal. The Greeks used philia to describe the friendship between a soldier and his armor-bearer. They were close and they were united in a common purpose. While affection may accompany philia, it isn’t the same thing. The brotherly love of Christian fellowship grows out of our service together, as we serve in the Kingdom of God. We should be thankful always for this fellowship, even as we are careful that our friendships and relationships do not become our god, but instead are gifts from God above.

Most of all, we are thankful to God for His indescribable gift, salvation by grace through faith by the redemption of Jesus Christ. Our souls are broken by sin and in need of the healing power of God. For Christians, we have been healed and made new. In Luke 17 we read of ten lepers who were healed of their leprosy. One of them, seeing he was healed, turned back
“praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:11-19)
Like the leper who was healed by Jesus, we ought to turn to Jesus, praise God for our salvation and healing with a loud voice, fall on our knees in worship, and give thanks. Ephesians 1:3-10 details the riches that we are given by God in the gift of salvation, for which we are so thankful:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
Because of our confidence and faith in God, Thanksgiving is more than a Thursday “turkey-day,” it is a sacred day of Thanksgiving. From the days of Moses, God instructed us to be intentional about giving thanks to Him. In fact, while most of the sacrifices given in Leviticus were atoning sacrifices where blood was shed to cover sin, Leviticus 7 tells of the peace offering for thanksgiving. Unleavened loaves mixed with oil were offered in sacrifice as a thanksgiving offering along with the animal sacrifice. The people offered this sacrifice in thanksgiving for the atoning sacrifice that covered their sin. It was a worshipful response of gratitude.

 Christ is our atoning sacrifice once and for all, and Romans 12:1-2 tells us that our very lives are essentially a thank offering of worship to God.

 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

 This Thanksgiving, may we use our traditions to help our family step beyond counting the blessings of “things” that they are glad for and take time to thank God for His character, His works, His Word, His provision, His people, and His Son Jesus Christ, our Savior.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Ancient World Timeline

 I put together Ancient World timeline books for my kids this school year and my PDF printable is now available for you to download for just $1.99. Click the black button or go over to my "Downloads and Printables" page for more information.

Buy Timeline Book PDF for $1.99


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Texas Trip

We are back from a refreshing vacation in Texas. Here are a few of our memories.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Freezer Cook BIG

BIG news!

Recently I partnered with a friend to launch, a website inspired by our freezer-cooking adventures together. I blogged about our first freezer cooking adventure over a year ago and since that time Tina and I have kept our freezers full of great meals for our families. We like to freezer cook BIG, which means we need a spreadsheet to manage our planning process.

We're so excited to make that can't-do-it-without-it spreadsheet tool and our e-book pdf "Make Dinner Easy" available on our new website. At you'll find our planning package, great free printable downloads, and we're adding free recipe downloads and other helpful content all the time.

Not only that, FreezerCookBIG is collecting the best of the best in our Pinterest boards. Find us at our website, or on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube (yes, we have videos and new ones are coming), and, of course, Pinterest.

Check it out!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

That's Progress!

We're studying the Progressive Era in the Edwards Academy, but it almost feels like we're studying current events. Progressive ideology is increasingly carrying the day, at the expense of individual liberty. Hope and Sydney have been thinking through the pros and cons of Woodrow Wilson's Progressivism, taking an honest look at the good that came of it, and a hard look at the harm that has been done by it.

In short, Progressives saw problems in American society that they sought to solve through government intervention. Because American Constitutional government was limited in its power, Progressives were limited in their ability to accomplish social reforms without re-imagining the Constitution to be a "living" document, a system that should adapt to the times. Government action is costly, so the Constitution was amended in 1913 to enable the federal government to collect income tax. 

We set aside our studies for our lunch break today and I read this news headline to the kids: "NYC Board of Health passes big-soda crackdown rule." I explained that in New York City they now have a 16-ounce size limit on sugary drinks served in restaurants, movie-houses, and concession stands.  Why? Because they believe that people are too fat and unhealthy, partly because they don't say "no" to high-calorie drinks.

Sydney responded, "That's Progressive!"

Lane asked, "Well, if they think that sugary drinks are bad for you, why do they allow alcohol?"

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Narrative

I'm seeing a lot of word cloud visuals for the major political party convention speeches lately. Looming large in everyone's speeches, for Democrats and Republicans, are words like "president," "America," "Obama," "Mitt," and "government." I'd like to see some word cloud analysis on the words of the television anchors and analysts, reporters and pundits. I'm betting that this phrase would loom large: "CREATE A NARRATIVE."

Yesterday's spin is today's narrative. This is more than a turn-of-phrase. It is a revelation of worldview. And everything comes down to your narrative. In spite of the popularity of journalistic fact-checkers, the media that shapes our interpretation of the news events is hardly focused on facts. Instead, it is all about the narrative. 

The media tells us that there is a GOP narrative, a Democrat narrative, a Romney narrative, an Obama narrative, a Ryan narrative, and, well, even Biden has a narrative (and it isn't a happy one). Like sports analysts before the game telling us what the quarterback must do to win the game, pundits tell us what sort of narrative the politician must create in order to win over voters. 

What if the brilliant narrative created by the speaker doesn't match reality? No matter. In this post-modern age, the reality of a speaker's belief system takes a back seat to their narrative. If the narrative isn't polling well, politicians scramble to shift the narrative. When the Democratic party platform failed to affirm Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and failed to mention "God-given potential" it rightly upset a lot of Americans. To remedy the situation, Democrats scrambled to amend the platform and shift the narrative. Did it change the beliefs of President Obama, who has been pretty candid about not affirming Jerusalem as the capital? Not at all. Did it even reflect the sentiments of the delegates who, when asked to vote on the amendment, did not cooperate with the new narrative (in three tries the nays were at least equal to the ayes). Not really.

Tonight we hear from President Obama. Recent news reports have revealed that he has struggled to govern, struggled to lead the executive branch, and struggled to form relationships with people in government in order to get things done. This isn't a narrative that he must struggle to overcome. This is the reality of his administration.

In spite of this, I expect to hear a masterful narrative tonight and I expect that the media will expound enthusiastically on the narrative that our President has managed to craft.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Advice from Lord Kitchener

This week in Edwards Academy we kick off our study of the Great War, the one that was supposed to end all wars.

The kids are working on drawing some propaganda posters from the period and Lane chose this one, which pictures Lord Kitchener urging you to carry on.

It has none of the soothing "keep calm" that appeared on British propaganda posters in World War II, but I find it to be timeless advice and particularly applicable to Edwards Academy students.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Mothering Math

The odometer on our old Suburban is closing in on 200,000 miles. Sometimes when I'm driving around town, watching the dial tick closer to the 200k mark, I start reflecting about all the milestones we're passing this year.

 This is the summer before our oldest children start seventh grade. This means, I was startled to realize, that they are two-thirds of the way to 18--and halfway through their formal pre-college schooling (okay, I know you know I started formal schooling with them early because I was eager, but these days I don't count kindergarten as "formal.") Their elementary years are past and they are on to upper school.

Our son Lane will soon be ten, but for now he's halfway to 18 and half-way through elementary school.

Tobias is just getting started.

 And Lydia? Well, I've got a lot of milestones yet to mark. I've had 12 years of mothering children under 12 and by God's grace I'll have 18 years of mothering teens.

It seems like a big deal that our oldest are moving into their adolescence. When I left the hospital twelve years ago with a baby in each arm, I was brimming with confidence. These days I know that I'm not at all up to the task of being a godly mother!

  I'm reading Paul Tripp's Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens in search of some biblical wisdom to help me in the next eighteen years of mothering.
"The tumult of the teen years is not only about the attitudes and actions of teens, but the thoughts, desires, attitudes, and actions of parents as well. The teen years are hard for us because they tend to bring out the worst in us...These years are hard for us because they expose the wrong thoughts and desires of our own hearts. (p. 17)
 "However, it is my experience that when parents begin to recognize, own, confess, and turn from their own wrong heart attitudes and the wrong actions that flow from them, the result is a marked difference in their relationship to their teen and in the way they view the struggles of the teen years. When we look with concerned eyes toward the teen years, we need to look not only at our children, but also at ourselves. Parents who are humbly willing to change, position themselves to be God's instruments of change." (p. 18-19)
Tripp identifies several idols that parents tend to worship that keep them from godly parenting, particularly in the teen years. One of these idols is control.
"In the early years of parenting, we were in control of everything, and although we complained about the stress of it all, we liked having the power! There is a little that an infant chooses to do, other than spontaneous bodily functions. We chose their food, times of rest, manner of physical exercise, what they saw and heard, where they went, who their friends were, and the list could go on and on..." (p. 37)
I'm intentionally and purposefully trying to let go of some of my control over my older kids, but Tripp is correct--the idol of control creeps up on you. In fact, you may not believe this is really an idol for you until you feel the control that you once held slipping through your fingers. It was all an illusion anyway, so the sooner I surrender that control to Jesus, the better. The sovereign God, the Lord of lords, is the only One in control and who could be a better keeper of my children?

May God give me the wisdom to see my own wrong heart attitudes and wrong actions, the grace to have a repentant heart, and the mercy of forgiveness as I embark on the next season of mothering.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Lake Holiday

We are back from a second annual trip to Toronto Lake, where we spent five days with family. We are blessed to be able to vacation at the lake with both sets of grandparents, my aunt and uncle, and my sister and her family.

We rent some cabins in the state park and bring Grandpa Shimer's ski boat and Grandpa Edwards's fishing boat with us. Here you can see Sydney standing on the rocks outside our cabin, which gives a great view of the lake. Toronto Lake is located in a part of Kansas that looks nothing like you imagine with you think of Kansas. On our first day there the temperature was only in the upper 60s, so we spent the day off the water.

Grandma and Grandpa Shimer had a wonderful patio outside of their cabin where they hosted lunch and dinner each day. My mom (Grandma) manages all the food for us, which is no small task for 18 people! Not only does she do a fabulous job, but we eat like we are at a resort hotel!

The kids did a nature scavenger hunt on the chilly day. Thank you, Pinterest!

Shish-ka-bobs cooked on the fire.

Quiet morning on the cabin porch.

Toby's big catch!

Here's a long shot of Sydney on the kneeboard, cruising along adjusting her life jacket. I try not to take too many pictures of the kids on the kneeboard and towables, and yet somehow I have a lot of some kids and few of others. I couldn't find a close-up shot of Sydney.

Grandpa Edwards and Toby came over on the fishing boat to show off Toby's catch. Afterward, Hope got on the kneeboard and waved over at their boat. As Grandma Shimer said, she's ready for Busch Gardens!

Toby and Grandpa in the background.

Lane, before grabbing the tow rope, giving the thumbs up!

Mr. Edwards, across the wake and enjoying the smooth water!

I'm throwing this one in just to prove that I got out there and did it!

Lydia enjoying her wading pool at the cabin.

Mr. Edwards finally tossed off Lane and Nathan, the two silliest cousins you'll ever know! Nathan was out there begging for waves and speed and Lane was out there calling for us to slow down! As much as he was afraid, he always climbed in the boat saying, "Awesome!"

Toby loved riding on the towables. Here he is with Wesley.

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