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!