•    24 Days of Sprinkles – Day 10   

    Kent Lake - MOPS 2014

    There is something about jogging next to the water that delights the soul. It is refreshing, encouraging and luxuriously beautiful. Today was a day outside of the norm for me. I decided to participate in a summer book study in conjunction with a little running and time on the trails at Kensington. I actually love to exercise. I love to run and love the feeling of breathlessly finishing up a nice, steady jog on a cool morning. However, during this season in my life I have not placed exercise at the top, or even near the top, of my priority list. While I think exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, most of my formal exercise these days is spent pushing swings, carrying a 25-pound baby around, and sometimes a 30-pound preschooler. I also sweep my kitchen floor several times a day, and surely that counts for something.

    Today I was given the opportunity to step out of my routine and into a new place in the sunshine. I jogged a fairly short loop around Kent Lake, and pushed our littlest girl in the stroller as I jogged for the first time in ages. It felt wonderful. I smiled and said “good morning” to the people that passed me from the opposite direction, and it felt just fabulous to be enjoying my time with fresh, outdoor air in my lungs.  I enjoyed the water by my side, the long grasses all around, and the magnificent sunshine on my back. It was a delightful way to start a Saturday morning.

    Today I felt God’s light in the sunshine and in the new friends I met on the trail and on our blankets as we talked in the shade, after our run. The sunshine is a natural source of nourishment for our souls and God’s love clearly radiates from gifts so readily available in nature. Today I feel blessed and so grateful to have legs that allow me to walk, run and dance in the sunshine. Our lives are filled with countless blessings and countless reasons to give thanks. Today let us all remember the simple gift of the sunshine.

  •    24 Days of Sprinkles – Day 9 – Change   

    One year ago todayNo roof - May 2013 our house was topless, but not tarp-less. We enjoyed the gracious and generous rains of spring under the comfort of a blue plastic blanket and learned that when push comes to shove, my husband can surely hustle up a ladder to protect our safety when the sirens at city hall announce a tornado may be near. It was one year ago today that we began a large project that included removing our old roof (circa 1951) , which was multi-layered from decades of exterior layering, and building an addition above the kitchen that would give us room to enjoy more space as a family. I was 7 months pregnant with our 3rd daughter when the project began and our lives were wonderfully hectic and a bit frazzled for the next 2 months. Our shower was gone, our privacy was out the window, and we made plans and improvised as we went. We also spent many late nights discussing finances as they related to our little project.

    Today, 1 year later, we see God in the changes a year brings. While we have a new roof, and a new shower, we are still working on the flooring and some trim work. Those things will be completed in time. Change is constant in big and small ways. This has been a wonderful year for our family in many ways, as we welcomed a new baby into our lives, but it also has been a challenging one. Life is never perfect and some seasons are more difficult. Through the tough seasons we can choose to open our hearts toKris and Jim 2013 God, or we can harden them, become angry and close our inner gate that leads us to deeper connection with other people and with God.

    Through the difficulties that this year has unveiled, I have felt myself need God’s strength more than ever, but not just for strength, also for comfort and surety. Maybe it is part of getting older, or maybe it is the whimsical reminder of the church bells that ring next door to our home. For me, I know my life is made richer and more vibrant through seeing God’s steady and constant spirit in the everyday. It is in the good times and in the bad that God’s guiding hand is with us. It is our choice to accept this offer of friendship or silently keep it tucked away.

  •    24 Days of Sprinkles – Day 8 – Real Friendship   

     

    Sometimes the simplest gifts are the most wonderful. True friendship is a treasure that is worth more than gold, silver and 700 facebook friends. Real friends are more than social media connections. They are people that know our hearts, accept our talents and shortcomings, and love us because of them all. Real friendship is something that often takes time to build and is founded on trust. Today we see God’s love in our hearts and our desire for deep, meaningful friendship.

    This video is of four furry friends who live in our home, Herald, Cotton Caramel, Rachel (the fancy one with long lashes) and Mr. Bear who accept each other, love life together in the playroom, and are the first friends our oldest daughter ever met, aside from her family. Friends come in all shapes and sizes and some certainly are furrier than others, but today, we ask God to help us be the kind of friend he wants us to be – to our neighbors, to our peers and to ourselves.

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  •    24 Days of Sprinkles – Day 7 – Little Red Hen’s Flag Day Wish   

    Little Red Hen's Flag Day Wish - May 2014

    “I will bake a cherry pie, cherry pie, cherry pie, I will bake a cherry pie in my oven…”

    The delightful sound of twenty eight second graders singing beautifully together is enough to make any mom’s heart melt. It is wonderful to see children work together as a team to create something through their own investment of time, determination and energy. Today we see God in the children who performed Little Red Hen’s Flag Day Wish in Mrs. Cavallaro’s classroom at Hornung Elementary. The children auditioned, memorized their lines and were oozing with enthusiasm and the feeling of accomplishment as the audience applauded after the last act and the cherry pie was served.

    Being with children is a treasure, and being a mom is the most wonderful gift and responsibility I have ever been given. Loving children is easy, but being their parent is not. It is tough raising a family and juggling many roles and duties, but the rewards are endless. This evening as I look at my sleeping children, I am reminded of their pure beauty as children of God. They are not mine to keep, but mine to raise. I am their mom, but they do not belong to me.

    The multi-purpose room at Hornung Elementary was hot and muggy tonight. Sweat seemed to be dripping from most parent’s faces in the audience, but as the play concluded and we were able to witness the children basking in their own sense of victory, the night felt precious. Each child seemed filled with pride and contentment after a job well done. Life with children truly is precious and filled with countless reasons to bake and enjoy a cherry pie together.

  •    24 Days of Sprinkles – Day 6 – Memorial Day   

    We can’t ever really say “thank you” enough, but we can still say it, we can still feel it and we can still remember. Today we offer our heart-filled thanks to all of the men and women, girls and boy, and mothers and fathers who fought, and still fight, for our country.Memorial Day 2014

    Today we see God in the warm breeze, the American flag, and in the chalkboard perched outside of our front door.

    May our hearts never harden to the gift we have been given to be Americans.

  •    24 Days of Sprinkles – Day 5   

    Gab's American Flag - Memorial Day 2014It was a church day, a day (almost) free of chores, and a soak-up-the-sunshine day for our family. The day was bright, warm and the sun’s rays felt less like a spring day and more like a day in the middle of July. Our swimsuits were eagerly dug from the bottoms of drawers and we were ready with our sunblock. Although this weekend is the unofficial kick-off of summer barbeques and water excursions, it is a weekend that commemorates much more. Memorial Day is more than just a day off of work and a reason to slice up a watermelon – it is a day that honors those that gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect our country and our freedom. Today we see God evident in our lives through the lives of these selfless men and women who proudly served and gave their lives in honor of America – the land of the free, and the home of the brave. We are grateful for God’s gift of these bold and strong individuals.

    May God bless America.

  •    24 Days of Sprinkles – Day 4   

    Morning Dew Red Geraniums 2014

    Like little tiny lanterns

    sparkling in the sun

    not there when day is done

    Little tiny ice packs

    white you’re on your way

    to chill your wings before you fly away

    Little tiny faucets

    when you need a drink

    Little tiny lanterns

    By Gabriella Tobbe, age 8

     

  •    24 Days of Sprinkles – Day 3   

    Laughter cannot be purchased, given or taken, or even created – it must be experienced. It is a mysterious but wonderful tickle within our spirit that is almost unexplainable but is universally understood. Our laSwing Set Laughterughter rang loud and clear as we enjoyed the evening air and the creaking and twisting of our swing set that pops off the ground just slightly when the swinging enthusiast is filled with enough vigor. We laughed together and we laughed from deep within our souls. As a mom I am delighted by the sound of my daughters’ laughter as I see them building a friendship through the gift of sisterhood. God is in charge of the good times and the challenging times, but the times filled with laughter make the spirit soar. Today we swing and soar with laughter that surely is a gift from God.

  •    24 Days of Sprinkles – Day 2   

    The dirt was deeply imbedded under our fingernails from time invested in planting a few spring surprises at our back door. We embrace the changing of the seasons at our house because there truly is something remarkable and glorious about every season, but there is something uniquely inspiring about the promise of spring. Today we see God’s love in the worms squirming in the palm of our hands, and in the hardiness of our returning lemon balm and flat leaf parsley that forced their way through the cold compacted dirt of early spring and arose with great pride to agai24 Days of Sprinkles - Day 2n bask in the spring sunshine. It is a wonderful miracle to witness the returning of plants that rested beneath the earth in dark silence only to be rejuvenated by the whisper of spring’s gentle voice. It is a miracle to see new life emerge and grow, and to witness the promise of God’s grace in the rising and setting of the spring sunshine.

    Each day is a gift and today we celebrate the magical time when Old Man Winter escapes our presence and is replaced by the warm and gentle promise of spring.

  •    24 Days of Sprinkles – Day 1   

    Faith and how we connect with God is something I talk to my children about a lot. I love God. I know God loves me, but how do I really teach this to my children? Yes, I love God, but how do I show my love for God – someone who cannot be seen, heard or touched? It is a beautifully complex, yet beautifully simple idea, but sometimes I stumble. I’m not perfect and I am reminded of this all the time. I guess it’s God’s way of reminding me not to get too full of myself. I am shown that I feel my happiest when I am helping or giving to others, not because of the praise I may receive, but because of that warm glow within my belly that only God’s love can light. It is only through connecting with and giving to others that I feel fully free and full of happiness. It is through sharing my warm-belly glow after helping a neighbor or even a stranger that I am given the chance to teach my children about God’s grace and power on earth. It is not through lecturing and memorizing that we come to know God. It is through real-world stories, friendship with God, and adventures in the every day. That’s our specialty – real world wisdom and real world mistakes.Cupcake Sprinkles

    Last night was a night that started out well, but quickly turned murky and stressful. It wasn’t great. It wasn’t full of smiles, and actually was sprinkled with quite a few tears. Our expectations for a dinner out were quickly thwarted by a server who ignored us, nightly specials that disappeared from the menu, and a few tense words. However, in the midst of our rough night after work and after school, and after a rush-around day, we still laughed after a very late dinner at home on the patio and managed a prayer together with spaghettio-fingers and a little spilled milk. We squeaked in two bedtime stories and a round of baths for everyone. Some laughed, some cried, but everyone learned from the day. Hopefully, tomorrow will be better and even in the midst of our bit-of-bummer night, we still had each other and we still had God with us, even if we couldn’t see him, touch him or hear him.

    Today we embark upon a journey of 24 Days of Sprinkles. It is a project my daughters helped me create in one of our discussions about God in the car, which are usually initiated by this (well, sometimes) over-zealous mom. The topic was, “How do we see God working our lives?” The answer came quickly, “Life is a cupcake. We are the sprinkles, and God is the cherry on top.” I beamed. My children, whom I so willingly want to teach and shape gave me a teaching lesson in the Ford Flex on the way to church. They got it. I got it and they taught me.