Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Advent Preparations

How is it already advent??! This year it crept upon me like none other. I just realized that I never even delved into about my box of autumn decorations and my November thankful notebook. I think the extent of autumn decor at our house consisted of two mini pumpkins. Lame. I'm afraid that a little person may have done a number on my brain. Not complaining...

Anyways, good thing a kind representative from some sort of church committee sent me a reminder about my duty to decorate the church.  I quickly went to work luring my posse with promises of coffee, donuts, Amy Grant Christmas albums and sweet baby cuddles. I'm so thankful for my willing family and friends who don't mind spending Black Friday "floofing" ribbons, hanging wreathes and placing candles!
Phil, being productive and decorating Brian....
That may or may not be my son in a pink fleece covered in hearts...(only warm baby thing Grammy could find, it was a bit chilly in there!)
Nana (or Great-Nana?) with her boy
then there's that..

Monday, November 28, 2011


So very thankful, for...

- lots of parties and oodles of good eats
a baby that doesn't mind being passed around to scores of doting friends and relatives all weekend long
- dinner and dessert with some new family
- advent decorating and my faithful helpers
- Levi's curiosity
- rollicking arguments discussions with Bri
- Dad's joke attempts
- Kimmie's visit
- the fact that Nana makes her delicious "figgy" pudding, even though only she and I eat it
- affirming parent-teacher conferences
- cousin Jeff's new job
- Jonny's enthusiastic love for his nephew
- talking to relatives in Papua New Guinea via skype on Thanksgiving
- a Sunday afternoon birthday party, the birthday girls, the crock pot chili, homemade bread and yummy dessert. 
- this cheeky little pose, this soft baby skin...

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

These days I'm...

- putting away warm weather clothes (still holding on to my beloved flip flops, though. crazy.)
- digging out the sweaters, hats and mittens
- watching Levi scootch and writhe, wanting so much to move, move, move!
- knitting my husband a scarf..
- ..learning that it takes infinitely longer to knit things when your hands are always full
- planning surprises
- making lists
- being thankful for a husband who sacrificially loves his family every day
- drowning in laundry...
- ..learning not to mind
- enjoying art explorations with awesome kids
- watching the leaves fall
- wondering why I decided to make this for Christmas (it's only $20 at Target...but it's not as special, right? right??!)
- trying not to be such an "elder brother"
- listening to the baby talk and sing and make "raspberries"
- buttoning my old jeans (yes!)
- coming to terms with the fact that my house probably won't be clean in the near future (or possibly 18 years)
- enjoying life as a family of 3 more every day
- giving thanks, for all

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Painted Paper Collages

My elementary kids have been creating some beautiful collages out of textured papers.  They made these papers themselves, using oil pastels, q-tips, combs, brushes and tempera paint to create as many different colors and textures as possible. After these were dry, they ripped, cut and glued their papers to create either an animal (1st grade) or a landscape (2nd-5th grade). Every class loved this project and they could have gone on for weeks, if I had let them. In fact, my 4th and 5th graders begged to take the leftover papers home to make more art. Yes, yes, yes!

(and there's always one, or two if you're lucky, who marches to the beat of their own drum!)...
 "Look at my beautiful textures, Mrs. James!"

Monday, November 21, 2011


Now thank we all our God 
With heart and hands and voices 
Who wondrous things hath done, 
In whom his world rejoices; 
Who from our mothers’ arms, 
Hath blessed us on our way 
With countless gifts of love, 
And still is ours today.

So very thankful, this Thanksgiving week...

- breakfast with Auntie Kate and Uncle Matt, and a fun Christmas card photo shoot, despite the wind
- secret projects and the season of surprises
- Thanksgiving week
- inquisitive looks
- friends who love Levi and save the day
- a creative husband
- a photo shoot job and a sweet little family to capture
- cream puffs
- feeling better
- cry room friends
- a third service feast and heartfelt testimonies
- sister Kimmie coming home!
- my family. every one.
- God's steadfast love; it's better than life

Friday, November 18, 2011

This Moment - a new discovery

"Hey, I've got toes!"

{this moment} - A Friday ritual
Joining with SouleMama

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Art Room Diaries - Linoleum Block Prints

In Middle School art we just finished a printmaking lesson using linoleum blocks. I brought in a bunch of pictures from Brian's beloved National Geographics (thank you, honey) and they chose an animal to sketch and then carve into linoleum.  Even though it can be tough to get the hang of the carving techniques, and despite only a couple bloody fingers, I think they did a fabulous job with these.  After we carved the linoleum blocks, they experimented with different types of papers and different colors of ink.  We framed our favorites!
our busy printmaking studio!
Kayleen's rabbit
Monica's polar bears
some prairie dogs by Josh
"An elephant looking up at a dead tree" - By Jack

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

sick day

at least we're in it together...
I can't say I'm not enjoying these cuddley, nappy days. Despite the sniffles, cough, lack of sleep and a runny-nosed baby who doesn't really understand the concept of a sick day, the slow-day snuggles are so worth it..

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Prodigal

Our church has just finished studying "The Prodigal God" by Timothy Keller, a book based on the parable of the prodigal son from Luke 15:11-32.  I highly recommend it (both the parable and the book!).   

My friend sang this song by Sovereign Grace Music at church as a very appropriate companion to our series.  She asked me to create some artwork to display along with her singing.  It is always my joy to use my art for the edification of the local church, so I jumped at the opportunity.  And I wish you could have heard her sing it.  It was beautiful and heartfelt.   It is her story and it is my story.  I hope it's yours, as well. 

(Unfortunately I didn't have her audio, so I used the original Sovereign Grace version for this video.)  

The Prodigal

You held out your arms, I walked away

Insolent, I spurned your face
Squandering the gifts You gave to me
Holding close forbidden things
Destitute, a rebel still, a fool in all my pride
The world I once enjoyed is death to me
No joy, no hope, no life

Where now are the friends that I had bought
Gone with every penny lost
What hope could there be for such as I
Sold out to a world of lies
Oh to see Your face again, it seems so distant now
Could it be that You would take me back
A servant in your house

You held out your arms, I see them still
You never left, You never will
Running to embrace me, now I know
Your cords of love will always hold
Mercy's robe, a ring of grace
Such favor undeserved
You sing over me and celebrate
The rebel now Your child

Monday, November 14, 2011


Give thanks to the Lord, our God and King
His love endures forever!
For He is good, He is above all things,
His love endures forever.
Sing Praise!....

Thankful, for -

- crunchy leafy walks
- Levi's face, when he sees his mama
- an early Thanksgiving dinner, fellowship, thanking and singing with the North Shore High Rockers
- a long weekend
- kind notes
- 4 year old girl style
- beautiful bird paintings by one of my high schoolers
- completing 1st quarter art evaluations
- Levi's stimulating conversations and beautiful songs
- forgiveness
- visits from dear friends...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011


It is a wise father that knows his own child.