West Meets East

You are the apple of my eye!

“Look mom! Look at me!” 
The cries ring out at the apple orchard for me to see their bags of apples and hearing their cries for my attention I am immediately back to the  heat of that sultry hot July afternoon and the lesson that God spoke to me from the pleas of a 2 year old on that day. 
The sun beat down hot that day and tiny beads of sweat roll down his chubby little cheeks.  He prepares himself to jump into the swimming pool like his older brother and doesn’t want me to miss it.

I look and I see a little boy trying hard to impress and astound me, and I am not at all a stranger to this feeling and behavior.  Don’t we all want to find our “place” in this world? Don’t we all want to “impress” or make another proud of us? I wonder for a moment if he really knows how astounded I am at just who he is and who is becoming.
He musters up enough courage and jumps in.  Water splashes up, I see his orange Hawaiian swim trunks bob up and down.  His head emerges and his eyes dart to me to see if I was watching, to see if I saw how much courage it took to get his entire head wet in that one big boy jump.  We make eye contact and he knows.  
I clap furiously and immediately swim to him to hold him and look that little boy right in the eye.  I search for the right words to say, “Look at me buddy. . . THAT was amazing!  YOU, Levi James Hunt, are amazing!”
I see him now – smile as wide as the sea, wet hair dripping down his cheeks and the pride of knowing he is loved for exactly who he is beaming from  his head to his toes and I know on an emotional level that this is what I have been searching for and maybe you too? to know that we are loved for exactly who we are.  And this love is found in our Savior, friends.  We are loved perfectly for exactly who He made us to be.  

On this fall day I am at the apple orchard with the kids and reflecting on this truth as I hear those words, “Look at me!” 
I tip my head up to the sky, feel the sunlight warming my face and I realize that I am. . . you are. . . each one of my kids and my little Levi James IS truly the apple of His eye! And it is this truth that is found in these simple little words, “Look at me!.” 

The Sounds that Surround

Five Minute FridayToday, I stopped and listened. Listened to a million things that I hear every single day but often times I don’t take the time to really listen to what I hear.  I heard the sound of my children laughing and playing and pretending and I made a mental note to not forget that sound.  I heard the sound of dishes clinking as they were being washed, and the quiet whirling of my front load washing machine.  I heard the demands for this toy and for “what is mine” and “what is yours.”  But I also heard the resolutions without my interference.  I heard peace.  I heard the squeals of delight wrapped up in the words, “DADDY’S home!”, I heard my own voice loud and soft at different times throughout the day as it encouraged, loved, comforted,corrected and disciplined each of my kids at various times.  Then I stopped and I wondered what they hear daily.  What do these sweet, little beings hear all day long and more specifically, how do they hear my voice?  Sometimes,  I hear it encouraging. . . do they hear it that way? Sometimes I hear it correcting. . . do they hear it that way?  Do they  hear patience or do they hear frustration? Do they hear love or do they hear hatred?  Do they hear joy or do they hear self desire? Then I wonder how these daily voices they hear will paint a portrait in their own minds of who they are and what they are capable of as the years unwind before us.  For a moment I am overwhelmed with sadness at what they might hear and then I hear another gentle voice whisper to my heart, “It’s all grace precious one. “  I am reminded immediately and I am choosing today to embrace this truth.  I will never live a perfect day on this earth as a wife, as a mom or as a human being. It will simply never happen but the grace of God which has been extended to me as His child covers me and it stirs in me a desire to love Him and them even more.  So it's with this in mind that I silence my heart before my Heavenly Father and I listen for his voice.  

Happy 70th Birthday to the World's Greatest Mimi!

What a blessing to have a special lunch with Karen to begin her birthday celebrations! A special day all 3 of us girls will remember forever!
 Abby was so delighted to get to share her love of American Girl Dolls and the cafe with her Mimi!  They got to have lunch together at the Mall of America AG Cafe complete with a birthday dessert and pink lemonade (even for Lydia her "me doll")

Departing was the hard part for all of us!  We had such a fabulous time together- even though it was so short. But  memories were made and celebrations had that we will never forget. Abby was blessed to get a McKenna doll before we left as a special gift and was so excited to have them both on the airplane trip back. 

Welcome - pitter patter of little feet

Five Minute Friday
A tiny ray of light sneaks it’s way through the curtain illuminating a  portion of my bedroom.  I squeeze my eyes tight, snuggle under the covers and into the cradle of my husbands embrace a little bit more and think to myself how good sleeping in my own bed feels.  I have been away for a week and having just returned home at midnight just 6 hours earlier, I’m grateful for these 6 hours of jet lagged sleep before my 1st day home begins.  A few minutes later I hear the sound of bare feet hopping out of bed and the pitter patter of tiny feet coming down the hall as they cover the distance of the last week and the 100 meters between his tiny preschooler sized bed and mine.  He leaps up onto my bed in a single bound throwing his tiny 5 year old super boy body completely into this hug, wrapping his arms around my neck and after a few minutes of complete silence he says, “You are the most amazing thing I’ve seen all week long!”  and my heart melts right here.  I hear more pitter patters of feet and a tinier  face emerges with squeals of “MOMMY! I want up on your bed too!” More hugs and kisses  and immediately I feel welcomed home by all of my boys and I know clearly and deeply that I am loved. 

A trip home to be with my family. . .

 My mom and I September 2012 
 My sweet Abby and I on the same trip September 2012
 My sister and her youngest September 2012
 And the 3 girl cousins unite! 
 It was SO refreshing to be in the MN fall foliage! SO refreshing!

Abby is learning some photography skills in 2nd grade! :)

Grasp - the last sentence on page 76

Five Minute Friday
She grasps my hand tightly and looks up at me with those beautiful brown eyes decorated with the long dark eyelashes her daddy gave her.  She squeezes my hand and snuggles in for another chapter in her American Girl Doll book. I give her a motherly wink and our hearts are connected and engaged in the story within minutes.  It is moments like these that I cherish, that I hold dear and I’m so very grateful that my 7 year old is being given a childhood, a “real” childhood.  There are a lot of children in the world who are not.  A lot who are not given a childhood, not given a chance at life or at freedom.  I just finished reading a heart wrenching book on the “4-14” window.  “4-14” refers to the children of the world between the ages of 4 and 14 years old.  I have  three kids but two  are in this category.  150 million of these precious children are forced to labor as slaves. Many of them sold into a form of slavery and child prostitution, sometimes by the very woman who bore them.  Their childhood. . . stolen from them and their innocence and hope along with it.  There are no tender moments with their mom or dad reading books or playing games. The only intimacy that they know is vile.  I read and wept over stories of children intentionally maimed and disabled in South East Asia so that they would attract more pity and therefore more pennies while forced to labor on streets for their “pimp” who holds them in bondage to an ever increasing debt they can never repay.  But the last sentence on page 76  is what I can’t erase from my mind and which  is causing my heart to beat right out of my chest. . . and the mama Lion in me to rise up ready to pounce on the enemy of these kids.  Yohannan wrote on page 76, “close your eyes and just imagine it was your child who was gagged and bound and whose eyes were blinded by boiling oil.  Picture your daughter trapped in a cage with lines of men outside.” Even as I type those words out. . . I am enraged. . . furious. . . and ready to pick up a sword.  I look down at her brown doe eyes and sweet smile and I vow to the God I love and serve with everything in my being. . . that I will be a part of bringing this atrocity of modern day slavery and exploitation of children to an end! One step and one child at a time.  Who’s with me?