Voices live in every finite being,
Often undivined, near silence.
Hear them!
Hear them in you! in others!
They sense truth deep in all life;
They know the things true Pilgrims stand for.
Stand out!
Come to Him without the things the world brings;
Come to Him!
As a child and as a poor man.
He had all. He gave all.

~Charles Ives

Monday, August 22, 2011

Still doing this...

But he's also doing this...

When he brings me the same three books all day I have to remind myself how wonderful it is that he is interested in books at all. Both Charlie and I were slow to fall in love with the written word. I'm so grateful that he's proving himself to be his own person in that regard.

First Ride Facing Forward

Dad's Boots

What did I tell you about inclusion and imitation?

No need to say how happy we all were to have Daddy back home.

Unfortunately, I took these pictures on my phone and there was no posing for the camera while there was boot-fun was to be had.
My apologies for the blurry faces.

Walk in the Park with Grammy

While Grammy was here for Charlie's Annual Training deployment little Charlie, Grammy and I did as much out-of-doors fun as the weather permitted.

He loved being let out of the stroller. As soon as he gained his independence he concentrated all his efforts on collecting all sorts of "treasures" as Grammy called them.

How fortunate Charlie is in his grandparents on both sides!

Swearing In

This has been a particularly eventful summer for Robbie. First graduation, then passing his ordination exams, officially becoming a Chaplain in the Army, and finally being ordained in the PCA. The pictures that follow are of the family meal we shared the Sunday Uncle Steve came through St. Louis and swore Rob into the role of Army Chaplain. They were taken by Arrika Rayburn, who knows her camera a lot better than I do (We have the same one)!

The man of the hour!

Loved seeing Auntie Katie and Uncle Caleb love my little one. This last picture of them is particularly amusing. "Put a cork in it, Uncle Caleb!"

James and Arrika were excellent hosts. Arrika did the Rayburn Sunday meal for the first time and it was a smashing success!

Family portrait.

First Starbucks with Grandma

Mom came for about a week in June. She helped me organize my picture piles and get quite a few of them in albums and frames. On one of our trips to Target we stopped at Starbucks. This was one of the first times I saw Mom really act like a Grandma. Charlie was to have his own drink!
Whatever he wanted!

He took to that smoothie with alacrity.

I'm always amazed how much development takes place when a child is motivated by yummy flavors, the desire for control or inclusion.

At least he takes his Starbucks seriously!

The 4th of July

This year we finally pulled off an easy, laid-back, pool-side celebration! I even had Johnny Cash playing in the background. Here a few pictures to prove it:

The Fowlers and Jonathan

Yummy, very American spread, expertly organized by Jordan Rayburn.

Alex and Rachel Hass joined us at the last minute.

The boys had a blast in the pool.

I love it when their play gets in their own way.
When the reality of cause and effect just hasn't sunk in yet.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Now for the fun stuff!

Early in July Rob and I took Charlie to the Mills Outlet Mall to play on the jungle gym and keep out of the heat. Charlie had a blast and Uncle Rob was the tallest and most popular kid around. I got a series of really cute pictures of the two of them (white as white can be) surrounded by a crowd of dark kiddos whose parents or daycare had the same idea. Two little girls were especially keen on Charlie and took him around by the hand. He loved the attention and the pretty bobbles in their hair! Sadly, this is the only picture of the morning I can find. They must have been replaced when others were downloaded.

I loved seeing Charlie warm-up to his uncle! And we all loved having the Rayburns stay with us.

Okay, okay...

...I didn't actually get out of my blogging rut.

I have to say that the reasons have been many and happy for which I am tremendously grateful. After feeling so isolated last summer (when I started this blog), I confess to really dreading what this summer would hold for me. I am a compulsive calendar keeper as it is, finding great joy in seeing days, weeks and months pass away (analyze that if you dare!). So I decided, after a few words from my husband and my mother, to tame this habit over the summer and work hard at finding joy in my daily life. But my Heavenly Father made it easier for me than I could have wished. Mom and Dad have been in and out of St. Louis three times since May (!!!); the Moons and the Wykoffs have both been here once; Charlie and I have had a few moments of calm reprieve together; Rob and Jordan moved in for the month of July; I have had the incomparable pleasure of watching my son discover, learn, grow and enjoy; Charlie got a job as a chaplain at Barnes Jewish Hospital; my mother-in-law came to stay with me for the first week of Charlie's annual training with the Air Force; and once the weather cooled (Praise be to God!) being at home, taking walks, running errands, living daily life became pleasure as opposed to chore (God did not make me for hot weather. Sorry, Mom and Dad!). And here we are mid-August already looking back over the summer and forward to the Fall with a store of happy memories!

My view of our life has shifted in starts and fits over the last few months. In May I had hopes of Charlie finding a job in the Northwest; then it was Chattanooga (!); then it was anywhere; then it was here. God has provided. What a pleasure it is to see my husband's gifts recognized and put to good use, not to mention the bit of financial ease that comes with that. Yes, I have had to adjust my thinking about this city, its weather, our church, our house, our relationships. But the more I invest with my imagination the more I am rewarded. I love the Autumns here. I can't wait to take a trip to Eckerts Farm to pick apples and then return in the winter to get our Christmas tree. The international markets and the farmers markets in town are more accessible than I used to think. I want to take advantage of them! I want to repaint our nursery. I'd like to see my cousins more often. I'd like to finally have our neighbors over for dinner. I'd like to continue to improve my baking skills. I'd like to invest in several peripheral friendships, and enjoy the ones we have already worked so hard to maintain. Oh yeah, and all this while figuring out life with two kiddos. Think I can do it? That's not the point! The point is that God is giving me so much to look forward to and the mental freedom to pursue it. And for this I am so grateful!

So, farewell, scary St. Louis summer! I'm not afraid of you anymore!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Out of My Blogging Rut?

Though he may resent this post one day, I couldn't resist sharing the camouflage pants and the silver party purse. In his defense, the purse attraction seems mainly associated with putting things in other things and taking them out again.
I'm often surprised how long this take will keep his attention.

Where has the baby gone? And who is this little boy?

In other news he said his first recognizable words the other day: "all done!" This with his hands in the air at the end of the meal was to indicate that he was finished eating. He definitely has the sense of the words themselves though, since he has started saying them at the end of a prayer in place of "amen" or when he's done playing with a toy, etc.

What was it that I felt at first hearing his infant voice? I felt full, amazed, awe-struck, happy, proud...And now it seems that I am to daily discover new things he can do, understand and enjoy. I love this part!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


My brother is now a Master of Divinity, and we are so proud of him.

Everyone from the Rayburn side of the family (minus John Wykoff)
came to St. Louis to celebrate.

If you're wondering why Bryonie is wearing sunglasses inside the answer is, unfortunately, pictured below.

On the night of the Baccalaureate, when this neat picture was taken...

...I got in a car accident. I won't go into the details. Let's just suffice it to say that we were all so grateful none of the babies were in the car, and, though only after much pain, discomfort, and inconvenience my sister and brother-in-law are healing wonderfully. Thank God for His protection and blessing in the midst of one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. Even that statement is a witness of His kindness to me.

Thanks to my parents we have a beautiful new-to-us car, and have entered a new era of vehicular comfort and protection. Despite this great blessing, I couldn't help but feel sadness and loss watching our faithful Toyota Carolla being towed away. I'm sorry we had to end our relationship in such dramatic circumstances. I'm sorry the car did not have the chance to fully demonstrate its hardiness and tenacity.

What a weekend of change.

Beside my brother we witnessed several other good friends' graduation. Among them Jonathan Krueger, a good friend for the last five years:

Doug and Lori Kothe and Kristin and Joe Groeneveld (Our good friend Becky Rockett in the middle):

A few others that I did not have a chance to see on the day are Melynda and Billy Boyce, Kat and Kyle Sanford, Ian Hard, Adam Porcella...so many good friends moving away. This will be the fourth year we have had to say good-bye to close friends. Though we trust to see them all again it is hard to see them go. Such is the nature of living in an academic society. We miss them all! And as for Rob and Jordan...

...let me just say how grateful I am for the years we have had together here. They have added so much joy, comfort and love to our St. Louis life and I'm not sure how we can manage without them. We will miss you above all!

Outside Fun

Speaking of sunscreen and water...

Megan Fowler and I took the boys to City Garden last Friday.
They had a blast.

As I've been able to take him to public places it has been fun to see him respond to the older kids. He watches, wants to be close, responds to their play even if they aren't interested and copies them likes nobody's business.

We were all good and worn out. I love that kind of tired.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Inside Fun

Anytime we're outside these days it needs to involve lots of sunscreen and water. When those are not available we do things like this...

Play with our toys...

Help Dad workout...

Get a few rides in a box...

You know, stuff like that!