Thursday, February 24, 2011

Relax ...

For weeks and weeks now I've been googling "St. Petersburg, FL" to dream a little bit about what was coming up in my life ...

And right now, this very minute, I am on my way there! I received this gift of a mini-vacation from my brother, David and his wife, Carol. What a wonderful present!
The last time I was in Florida was almost TOO many years ago for me to remember ... I think I was twelve! My brother and his family moved down to Florida about ten years ago. I have not seen my nieces and nephews since then! And now, four of them are married and there are EIGHT grandchildren (MY great-nieces and great-nephews) that I have never met ... until this weekend! So ... I'm going to take lots and lots of photographs and when I return next Tuesday I will show you all of the FUN we had together ... although it will probably be Wednesday before I get around to editing and posting any pictures. I am leaving a very chilly and snowy Grand Rapids behind and am going to enjoy almost five days of 75+ temps and PURE sunshine. Ah ... relax!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

1-2-3-4-5 ... FIVE ... already??!!

Our granddaughter, Karis Danielle, is FIVE years old today ... and as usual, I can hardly believe how FAST the years have zoomed by! Karis is 19-1/2 months younger than her older brother, Jackson, and I have never in my life met two more competitive kiddos. Karis is not about to be outdone by her brother!
It's a lot of fun to play with Karis. She is all giggles and laughter and has a keen enjoyment of adventure.
Karis was slightly UNDER-enthused to pose for this annoying picture with the fake duck at the Austin Zoo back in September, but she had a blast feeding the goats while we were there.
Here she is modeling the pretty dress her mommy bought for her in Mexico ...
Karis knows lots and lots of cheers ... between attending Jackson's Raptor T-ball games and Olivia's high school football games ... she is a great little cheerleader!
And she dances too! I loved watching Jackson and Karis spin around their front room together ...
And Karis is a great little swimmer too ... isn't this a sweet picture of her?
We love you, Karis, and wish you a very HAPPY FIFTH BIRTHDAY ...
Your present is going to be a few days late ... many apologies ... hopefully by Friday! We hope you like your gift box!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Very cute ...

After we ate out on the evening of Valentine's Day, grandpa and I turned the corner into our neighborhood, and I spotted this SO cute snowman! We parked our car in the garage, and then I walked back up and around the corner to take a few pictures. Our neighbor, Len, really really gets into holiday decorations around their house. Each year, his Christmas decorations have become more and more elaborate ... but always in good taste ~ I have always enjoyed them. This snowman was obviously built for Valentine's Day (notice his cute heart)!

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Precious Valentines ...

One of my favorite Psalms is #139 because it reminds me of WHO made us and how much He truly LOVES us. So I'm going to kind of weave the words of that Psalm in and out of these pictures of my TWELVE beautiful Valentine grandchildren ...

Baby girl to be born in just a few months ... did you know ... God is watching you there in the warm darkness of your mama's belly? Did you know that the Awesome Creator is designing every eyelash, fingernail, each strand of hair ... every little kissable crease on your brand new body?
The Lord God sees you hiding there, little one, from ... all of us! We wonder what you will look like ... but He already knows the sound of your voice. He has already planned every day of your life!
When you wake up in the morning, Nia, God is there with you. He has been watching over you all through the night ... because He can see in the dark! Did you know that God even knows WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO SAY before you even say it?
You could swim the farthest oceans, Christopher, and God would still be there with you! There is no place that is too far away to Him. He even goes to school with you and watches you every minute of every single day! Everywhere you go, the Lord can guide you and His strength can support you!
You could climb the highest mountain, Nathan, and ride the "wings of the wind" and even THERE you would not be out of God's sight or His protection (although I think that climbing your roof is a bit risky!)
The Lord knows ALL about you, Emma! He knows that pink is your favorite color! He knows all of your favorite songs on the radio! He knows every single thought you are thinking and "He has placed His hand of blessing" upon your life!
Did you know that God saw you before you were born, Jeremiah? Just like your baby sister! He carefully created that beautiful smile you have, those big brown eyes ... every intricate detail of your sweet self!
And baby Liam wasn't born even one single day before God planned him to be born ... we thought you were EARLY ... but God knew all the time when you would make your appearance ... He wasn't one bit surprised!
Precious thoughts. Did you know that the LORD thinks about you so much Karis ... that if we tried to add up all the times He thought about you, they would be MORE than ALL of the sand on ALL of the beaches you have ever gone to? More than at Grand Haven?!
Did you know, Matthew? God has charted out a path for your whole life. He sees you as you play on the hill behind your house! He goes ahead of you and He follows along behind you ... hemming you in with His love and protection!
God sees you, Jackson, as you practice for T-ball! He watches as you SLIDE into base! Did you know that He is the One who gave you those fast legs?!
And that gorgeous glowing RED hair, Lottie-girl ... God gave it especially to you. You will always stand out in a crowd! What a wonderful Creator you have!
You have such a great smile, Olivia! I think the Lord smiles too as He listens to you play your flute ... He is the Master Musician! There is no place you can go in all the world that He will not be right there beside you. He knows everything about you. And He loves you with a never-ending LOVE!

"Such knowledge is TOO WONDERFUL for me, too great for me to know!"

Thank-you, LORD, for your forever love and for these T-W-E-L-V-E precious Valentines!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

LOVE ... in a pretty, round box!

little shapes of spring
blue birds
blossoms of pink yellow and white
owls, big and little
twisting vines
and more flowers of every size and shape ...
reminders of smiles to come
mailed to me
in a pretty, round box of LOVE!
"The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save." Zephaniah 3.17a
is written on the decorative signpost
that I will display with
and thanks
to you,
dear Sabrina
for the time and thoughtfulness and sweetness
of this gift!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

It's Rachel's birthday!

Rachel is the youngest "adult" in our blended family of 24.6 people ... but even with her turning 26 today, she is still ... practically a kid! But age is so ... NOT an indicator of ... ANYTHING really!

I love both of these pictures of Rachel that I have stolen from her photo files on FB. These are beautiful shots of her!
We are sending lots of love to you on your birthday, Rachel. We miss seeing you and your beautiful family and wish you deep-down happiness throughout this coming year!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

LOVELY snow ...

Yesterday was a perfect day for a winter walk here in West Michigan. The temperature was very mild and there was absolutely NO wind. The air was crisp and clean. I had some errands to run over on the Beltline, so since I received a membership gift to the Fredrick Meijer Gardens, I decided to walk the Frey boardwalk over there and take a few pictures ...
There are beautiful little birds all over the place on this walk ... but not a single one of them posed for my camera, even when I was as quiet as can be and tried to sneak up on them!The shadows were magnificent there in the woods, and all of them made friends with me!
Clear blue sky and plenty of sunshine ... both are difficult to find around here in February!
Since I had a little extra time on my hands yesterday, I drove out to Rockford as well. I remembered those beautiful swans I had seen in November and wondered if maybe they were still sailing the Rogue River ...
But most of the river was snow-covered and solid ice. No swans.
This is the ice sculpture on the wrap-around deck of "Reds," and upscale restaurant overlooking the Rogue River. I've never eaten there, but it looks like a nice place!

There is a river walk, both north and south of the dam, and I walked both directions yesterday. I love to be outside and just drink in the beauty that God has created. I was listening to one of my outdated CD's last night that had this old beautiful hymn:

"Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole;

I want You forever to live in my soul.
Break down every idol, cast out every foe --
Now wash me and I will be whiter than snow."
MUSIC: William Fischer
TEXT: James Nicholson

"God makes us as clean as freshly fallen snow." ISAIAH 1.18

Friday, February 4, 2011

We have a LOT of snow ...

I've been wanting to drive to some place beautiful ... out in the country somewhere ... to take some pictures of ALL this snow we've accumulated here in West Michigan. Our roads have been pretty clear and dry for the last 48 hours (almost), but I've been too much of a sissy to drive anywhere very far away ...

So instead I have some not-very-interesting or exotic or beautiful pictures to show you. However, it's all I have! The picture above is our back deck and yard, looking from the family room ...
And this is the front of our house, where the sidewalk is that goes up to the porch ...
And this is our back shed with the thermometer that reads 71 degrees ... I know, I know ... the sun is blazing down right on top of it ... but isn't it a weird phenomenon nonetheless?
This is our next-door neighbor's front bushes drifted with snow ...
And these are OUR buried front bushes. Out in our neighborhood, between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, we picked up about another 14" of snow, on top of the 8-10" we already had ... that's quite a bit of snow! If I am brave enough tomorrow and I can find enough layers to squeeze into, I might take a hike somewhere and try to get some decent pictures ... but these single digit temperatures are NOT to my liking ...