Peace in the Storm

Now that the calendar says it’s spring and the snow has almost melted away from our yard, I’m looking forward to finally packing away the boots and snowsuits so we can make room for warm-weather clothes.  This winter wasn’t too bad, as we had occasional breaks from the cold and only a handful of big snowstorms.  But one of those storms we did have certainly gave me a few grey hairs. 

When the forecasters first started predicting one of the big storms in February, I found myself panicking.  Jim was going to be out of town, and my father-in-law (who is always wonderful about helping out in a pinch) was stuck at home with an injury, so it was just going to be the five kids and me in our house, riding out the storm.  Now perhaps most people who grew up with snow wouldn’t panic at the thought of being housebound for a day or so, but I’m afraid I’m still a California wimp at heart.  I started thinking of a thousand “what ifs” – what if someone gets hurt and I can’t get them to the hospital quickly because our driveway isn’t clear, what if we lose power and I can’t keep the kids warm, etc. etc.  As it turned out, everything was fine.  Jim told me how to use the snowblower on the tractor, the lights stayed on, and the kids and I had a great day enjoying each other’s company and watching the snow fall.  But in the moment, when I felt like the responsibility for taking care of my family was all on my shoulders, I was a wreck. 

A little over a month later, we got word of another impending storm, even bigger than the last.  The forecasters were describing the storm in apocalyptic terms.  But I wasn’t scared or even the least bit nervous.  Why?  It wasn’t because my experience in the last storm had taught me I could handle whatever happened.  It was because I knew Jim was going to be home.  I had complete trust in his ability to handle the plowing, keep us warm in the case of a power outage, even snowmobile us to safety if the situation called for it.  I knew he would take care of us.

I was recently thinking about all this, about the fact that my perspective on the storm was based on whom I was trusting.  I trust my husband to take care of our family in a literal storm; how much more should I trust the Lord to carry us through ANY storm, literal or figurative?  Just as my mind is at ease when I consider Jim to be in control of our family’s well-being, I can have complete peace, peace that passes all understanding, when I remember that the actual Creator of the universe has my family in His Hands, and has promised to never leave me nor forsake me.  He has promised to care for His children far better than Jim could ever care for our children (and that’s no slight against my husband!).  So there’s no need for fear or worry or dread when I think about the future.  Sometimes I scare myself thinking about those “what ifs” when it comes to the kids, especially since we’ve been hit the past few months by so many stories of family and friends’ cancer diagnoses.  Possible illnesses and injuries and tragedies in the future, while they seem as dangerous and unpredictable as an ice storm, should not shake my sense of peace.  I can even release the day-to-day worries that creep in, such as: am I going to have enough energy to keep up with these kids today?  How am I going to stop this child’s tantrum?  It’s not up to me, or my store of energy, or my bag of tricks.  My sustenance, on a moment-to-moment basis, is in God.  “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD.  He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit” (Jer 17:7-8).  Just as my salvation is entirely dependent on who God is, not on what I have done, so is my peace of mind dependent on His character and His sovereignty, things that are blessedly out of my control.   “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.  Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength” (Isa 26:3,4). 

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Kitchen Science

We’ve been cooking up a lot of science in our kitchen these days!  The girls had their science fair at school recently, and Susie did an experiment about combining milk and vinegar to make “casein plastic” and Becky made an educational board about geodes and crystals.  Jimmy got in on the excitement too.  It’s so cute to see the kids hard at work!

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Big Sister, Little Sister

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Home Building

Leave Becky and Susie alone with cardboard, tape, fabric, and tiny furniture, and what do you get?  New dollhouse creations!  I especially love the loft in Susie’s house on the left, as well as the rocking chair she made out of an empty duct tape roll, and Becky’s welcome mat and sparkly roof!

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All Smiles

Jim brought this paper home from school last week:

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Translation: “I smile when I see my friends because I love them.”  I especially enjoyed his addition to the paper – I asked him what the white squares on his face were, and he said, “My teeth!”  I love his toothy grin!!!

Bring on Spring

The week after our Arizona family left, we experienced some amazingly warm temperatures, so the kids and I jumped at the chance to be outside!

Here’s Danny at our first picnic of the year:

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And here he is showing Baby T the fine art of four-wheeler riding:

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And grate-gazing.  What is it with kids and storm drains?  They’re like magnets!

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Our first park outing:

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I wish I could show you pictures of Baby T’s ear-to-ear grin while she was swinging.  She loved it almost as much as I loved watching her!  Bring on Spring!!

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Three Unicorns

We love friends with imagination!

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All Cracked Up

Extra protection from…airborne salmonella, perhaps?  One can never been too careful with food preparation safety!

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Cuddles with Daddy

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So Much Fun

The fun continued with the cousins as we went on a carousel:

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Filled our bags (and bellies) at the candy store:

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Ate out at great restaurants:

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And spent hours just playing and enjoying each others’ company:

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I’m just deeply thankful that the kids all love being together as much as we grown-ups do!

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As my last pictures from their wonderful visit, I wanted to share this before-and-after.  It makes me smile! 

Here are the girls having a giggle-filled slumber party, and here they are a few hours later, happily exhausted from all the good times.

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Now we’re dreaming of our next vacation together!!