Pictures from Fall 2014

 

 

Here are a few pictures from our Fall. In addition to the big events from the last post, there have been field trips, school projects, a visit from my mom, another lovely birth I attended, and some travels for Josh…

Here’s Lilia on a hayride. (Incidentally, Simeon remembers this hayride and talks about it often): P1010650 P1010653

At the pumpkin patch with friends from Lilia’s class: P1010659 P1010663

Getting to feed the giraffe (at the pumpkin patch!): P1010667 P1010670 P1010671

Simeon loved feeding the giraffe carrots:

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More sweet pictures from the field trip: P1010675 P1010678 P1010688

Lilia’s Kindergarten class!

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Everybody loves Nana Lou Anna!
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Pictures for a school project Jedidiah was doing. his class was making a community alphabet booking, and he had the letter “I.” We learned all about a community event called “It’s Thursday, Let’s Dance!” The kids took pictures where the dancing takes place. P1010697 P1010698 P1010699 P1010700 P1010701 P1010705

Lilia’s class at the Halloween party:

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This guy won Harvest Bingo and got a stick-on mustache!

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Lilia’s table:

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I was in charge of snacks, and we made monster mouths with apple slices, sunflower seeds, sunbutter, and strawberry “tongues”…

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The last days of Simeon in his fedora (we are on to winter hats, now):

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Kindergarten wears Lilia out some days…

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Lilia learned to do the monkey bars!

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Lilia in her beautiful coat from Memaw:

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Another piece of our Fall is that there has been a good deal of construction on our building. Our windows were replaced, and for the past 5 weeks our back porches and stairwells have been torn down and (nearly) rebuilt. During the construction on our unit, we took a short retreat to the community lakehouse in Wisconsin. On a cold day, we decided to do a tour of the Jelly Belly factory. As you probably know, food dye is not really our thing, but it was a fun, free activity. There was a train and jelly bean art and free samples – including the Harry Potter Every Flavor beans. We actually had a blast…2014-11-04 11.27.18 2014-11-04 11.40.13

We had a low-key Thanksgiving at home with just our little family. It was a quiet retreat after a busy Fall. We decided that we wanted to eat Chicago-style pizza one last time – a rare treat for us. In the end, we thought of several Thanksgiving side dishes we simply couldn’t do without. So, we basically had a Thanksgiving dinner with a pizza in place of the turkey. It was delicious.

2014-11-27 13.09.18Coming soon: Simeon’s turned two, and we had a sweet, train birthday celebration for him!

 

Big Stuff is Happening

Oh my. This Fall has felt heavy with decisions to make and new ventures to plan. It has been busy, but busy is really not the right word to describe it all. It’s the meaning and weight behind it all that has made it feel all-encompassing. And, truly, it is only good and exciting stuff! No tragedy or trauma. And woven throughout it all, our daily lives have been quite sweet and almost…normal. Still, I had a hard time finding the energy to bring our stories to this space. I hope to regain momentum for this in the coming weeks, as our lives begin their drastic change. Documenting the change and sharing our experience with loved ones seems like it will be a comforting practice during this time. But, no more dancing around it all, here’s what’s been brewing…

  • I have been dedicating a good chunk of time to launching my business: Sweet Water Offering. I have been seeing many bodywork clients, as well as a few health coaching clients. I even taught a local class this Fall – a series on taking processed sugar out of your diet. It was a new challenge, but one I’ve found fun and invigorating. I’ve also been working on my website and strategizing for an online presence with my friend and business partner Katie Palmer. Here’s our site, if you haven’t seen it, yet: http://sweetwateroffering.com/.
  • We’ve been adjusting to TWO kids in school. They’ve both had a great year, but it’s been a new form of juggling for us to keep their school routines on track and organized and to make time for hearing about their experiences and helping them cope with new struggles (like organization at school and interpersonal situations). So far, I actually really enjoy having school-aged children, but it is a different experience than being a mom to littles. Also, Simeon has been adjusting to being an only child for 7 hours each day. He doesn’t like it very much. He likes having other kids around and usually goes in search of friends in out building!
  • Josh and I did a very intensive “anti-racism training” this Fall. It was a great experience that will surely effect our future approach to life and community. We were given a lot to think about and take to heart, as well as the opportunity to move forward in new ways.
  • Finally, most of our energy the Fall was directed toward our hopes of starting a new Christian community in Little Rock, Arkansas. We are covenant members of Reba Place here in Evanston, which means that we share our money and decision-making in common with our community. We committed to be here “until God calls us elsewhere,” with the understanding that we felt called to start a community someday. Well, “someday” is here! And, we have discerned a plan and received an unfathomable gift of support and sending in a unanimous vote from the 50 or so other covenant members. A large part of that discernment was deciding to buy a house in Little Rock that seems right for hospitality and is in the neighborhood we selected through prayer and conversation and meeting neighbors and walking around. Our community here is helping us to make this happen in a unique and creative way – just the sort of thing they are best at. And we are deeply grateful.
  • SO, recent weeks have been spent making an offer on a house, making plans for renovations, and setting up a transition plan for our family over the coming months. We plan to move at the end of January. There are a million other things I could say about the process and the unknowns and the hopes and the dreams and the people who are dreaming with us. But, this is enough for now.

Really, it all just feel so epic I have a hard time putting it into words: a new business doing things that I love, a chance to live near my family again for the first time since summer breaks in college, a location to call home, the promise of new community and new manifestation of God’s work in the world. The sadness and brokenness of the world swirls around us constantly, and I know it is bigger than I can fathom. Still, I feel a peace that we are walking on the path God has laid before us. And, in this moment, I feel excited about offering the simple gifts we have to others. Please pray for our family during this time. We know that excitement will give way to long days and lost routine and hard work and missing friends and wishing for familiar things. Recently, Jedidiah said that he wished he had more real adventure in his life. So, we’re all trying to look at this as a real adventure. Pray that we would be able to remember that perspective on the hard days.

 

And one more epic thing…I got my long hair cut off!Photo on 2014-10-16 at 07.59 #3

Summertime

Summertime is the best. Most days I feel like I live in a children’s book or a fairy tale. Days filled with trips to the library, the zoo, the museum. I get to join in with my kiddos playing in the sprinkler, building sand castles at the beach, reading books, eating apple slices, having picnics in the backyard, and picking mulberries. As great as it is, it’s pretty non-stop. There are few quiet moments, and solitude is only a dream. Still, I know these days will pass quickly, and I’d rather treasure them than focus on the hard moments. I am thankful for this sweet life that I have as a momma of three little ones.

This first picture of the kids was an attempt at our “morning ritual” – getting out of the house first thing in the morning. Unfortunately, Simeon wasn’t interested in having his picture taken. 🙂

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Josh instituted a lovely summer tradition of having a family breakfast and devotional time. Also, Lilia and I have been juicing every morning (see picture of our juice ingredients below). It’s helped us to start the day off right, which has been a huge blessing.

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Also, the big kids are playing t-ball!

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Little Rock, Roller Skates, Antibiotics, and More…

I have mentioned before that our family is now considering a move to Little Rock, Arkansas. We have felt a call for many years now to start an intentional, Christian community. We’ve spent five and a half years as a part of a Christian community here in the Chicago area. We have learned a grown and hoped and dreamed and waited and been disappointed, but we still fell like this is the calling. For many reasons, Little Rock seems like a good place for us.

We spent last week meeting with people who might be interested in joining up or in supporting us in some way. We had great meetings, despite that I got sick enough to have to take antibiotics (boo!!). God was kind to me in so many ways – sickness can make me more spiritually aware, it helps me to stay present in the moment, and it reminds me of my priorities. Also, I was able to feel strong enough and clear-headed enough to participate fully in all of the meetings we had scheduled. We also toured some homes and neighborhoods. We feel really good about this possibility, but we are still waiting on a few pieces of further confirmation, namely a job for Josh and partners to begin community with us. We will meet with a potential partner and with our discernment team after Easter.

In the the mean time, it is a full week at our house. Tonight, we will celebrate Passover and Maundy Thursday with a special family service. Tomorrow morning, we will have a birthday bash for Lilia with her little friends. Saturday, we will meet up with Josh’s aunt, uncle, and cousin who are in town for Passover, AND we will celebrate Josh’s 35th birthday. THEN, we’ll have Easter celebrating on Sunday, including a big meal with friends!

Thanks to my wonderful mother, we already did some celebrating of our big FIVE year old…

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She got a scooter from Gramma & Grampa (which resulted in a secret happy dance in the corner), as well as these fun roller skates from her Memaw (and all the matching gear from Nana). Watch out – the girl is on wheels!

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Lent

Wild Vine

We are making a big deal out of Lent in our home this year. We’ve wanted to do more in the past, but we haven’t really made it happen before. And still, this year, it is more Josh and I who are taking on some new practices. Yet, we are reading verses with the kids and discussing Lent more with the children. We are also attempting to eat few sweets as a family, in addition to a more intense cleanse that Josh and I are doing. There are several levels to our participation in Lent this year…

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First, there is the physical level. We are taking part in an intense Candida cleanse, that includes eliminating corn, wheat, dairy, soy, peanuts, vinegar, processed meats, caffeine, most fruits, and fermented foods from our diets. It also includes some detox and antifungal supplements, as well as probiotics. As much as that probably sounds like an excruciating undertaking, it’s actually been really fun! I put out a call on facebook for others to join us, and they did! It’s been a far greater group of folks than I ever expected – encouraging one another, posting new recipe ideas, asking tons of questions, and even answering questions I didn’t know how to address. So far (we are two weeks in), it’s been an amazing experience. And, people are seeing real results in weight loss, energy level, digestion, and more. I love this kind of stuff, and during Lent I’m searching and praying about how this sort of thing might fit into my future career.

Lilia eating her healthy food - half an avocado, strawberry smoothie, and egg made in the piggy pan.

Lilia eating her healthy food – half an avocado, strawberry smoothie, and egg made in the piggy pan.

Wheat and dairy free lasagna!

Wheat and dairy free lasagna!

Second, I have been taking in more spiritual food over Lent. I’ve been reading the daily devotionals at http://sortacrunchy.typepad.com/. The focus is on servanthood, which is a great topic for me as a mother of three. I have also been getting up early many mornings to pray and read the Common Prayer Book for Ordinary Radicals. Also, as a community and as a family, we have verses to focus on for each week of Lent.

Third, Josh and I are coming to God daily with the question about our future and about the possibility of Little Rock, Arkansas as a place for our family to help begin a Christian community. We lift this up to the Lord daily, pray together many days, and take time to share our insights and thoughts. We have decided to take another trip to Little Rock over spring break in April, as an opportunity to get to know the place and people better. This seems fitting, as it will be toward the end of Lent. We would love to have you praying with us about this big decision. We know that I move would not be easy, but we are ready to be faithful to God’s call and to give back from the wisdom and maturity that we have gained from living in Christian community here.

Also, I am liking the image of “pruning” this year. I am taking on less additional responsibilities and saying no to little things in my ay that feel stressful. In this way, I am making room to hear God. Finally, I am hoping to begin some hand work projects – perhaps crochet or sewing patches in the knees of Jedidiah’s pants. I am hopeful that some quiet work with my hands will help me to be still, to listen, and to pray.

Funny Fathers Day Letter

Here’s the hilarious Fathers Day letter from many months ago. The kids dictated this to me as a letter all about their daddy! I put in parentheses which kid gave certain responses. This was back in June – I think they might be more accurate now. I’ll have to try this again this year.

MY DAD

My dad is Josh McCallister Wade. He is 52 (Lilia) or 80 (Jedidiah) years old. He works at Plain and SImple, where he works on furniture and works on doing the customers – the people who come there to buy stuff. Daddy grew up in the Wild West. His parents are Chris McCallister and Jane something.

Some of daddy’s favorite things are doughnuts, exercising, beans, sleeping for a longer time, and mommy – Candace Nisbett.

I like the way daddy can drive (Jedidiah). I like his strong muscles (Lilia).

Daddy likes to go to a restaurant just with mommy (Lilia). Daddy also likes to make his muscles stronger with those big weights (Jedidiah). Daddy likes to cuddle me (Lilia). He likes that I’m his son (Jedidiah).

We love you, Daddy!!!!!!!!!

Love,

Jedi (6) & Lilia (4)

And, one pic of each kiddo, just for fun…

Lilia making her lunch for “Lunch Bunch” – she has one day of full day preschool this semester:

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Jedidiah with his mouthful of missing teeth:

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And, Simeon doing one of his favorite activities – washing his hands!

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What We’re “Into” These Days

Jedidiah has always been a kid who gets really “into” something for awhile, be it trains or dinosaurs or ninjas. I thought it would be fun to take a little inventory of what each person in our family is “into” right now…I think it’ll give you a little glimpse into everyday life around here.

We’ll start with Jedidiah, since he’s the original inspiration for this post…

  • Beyblades – Jedidiah learned about these modern spinning tops from friends at school. Thanks to Christmas money from Memaw, he finally got a few of his own…
  • P1000812 P1000813 P1000814Legos – he can now follow the directions and build complicated sets with little or no help. I’m so impressed with this skill!
  • Dragons.
  • Slight the Fox – this is a series of chapter books Jedidiah has dictated to me and I have written. The main character is a skinny fox that Jedidiah thinks of as very much like himself.
  • Pokemon – Jedidiah is very newly excited about Pokemon and excited about the Pokemon gift he got for Christmas from Uncle Jason!
  • Rainbow loom.

And now, what Lilia is into…

  • Drawing and coloring – she is amazing. AMAZING. She draws fantastic pictures, colors carefully in the lines and in the appropriate colors. I never taught her these things, she just naturally likes them. She makes me heartwarming “MOM and LILIA” drawings multiple times a day. I love it.
  • Cooking – Lilia can make real food – fruit salads, dessert balls, hot chocolate, oatmeal, nachos. She’s even made up her own recipes for cookies and they’ve turned out pretty good. She thinks of all the ingredients that are important, and she rarely misses one. She says things like, “Sweet things always need a little salt, too!” She loves to contribute to potlucks. She got a new cookbook for Christmas, and she is more inspired than ever. She made a milkshake yesterday and said, “This is the best smoothie I’ve ever had!” Poor child, she’d never had a milkshake before…
  • Legos. (Thanks to Memaw, she now has some of her own.)

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  • Dolls -particularly her new bath baby.
  • Puzzles – she’s suddenly super-good at them. Blows me away.
  • Typing on the computer.
  • Strawberry shortcake.

 

Simeon is “into” some simpler things…

  • Forks – Simeons LOVES forks. He would prefer to eat with one in each hand. He will steal yours, if you let him get close enough. He will not let anyone feed him. At all. And, he would rather not eat anything if he does not have a fork. If you take one away (like when it’s time to get down from the high chair), be prepared for much crying…
  • Writing utensils (pens, crayons, markers) – You thought he cried a lot over that fork? Just wait until you try taking away a marker…red face, shaking, a complete broken heart. Simeon LOVES to color, but he still also loves to eat the utensil he was coloring with. It’s difficult to navigate. Lilia got him a little magnadoodle for Christmas, and that’s a pretty good compromise.
  • Dancing.
  • Saying “bye bye” anytime he or anyone else puts a coat on.
  • His siblings – he now calls their names when he wakes up in the morning: “Yi-yah!! Diah!!”

 

Josh is into…

  • Playing his mandolin.
  • Reading about community.
  • Remodeling the furniture store where he works.
  • Photography.

And, Candace…

  • Hot water with lemon.
  • Bone broth.
  • Simple handicrafts.
  • Reading, watching, listening to everything she can about health and healing through traditional food.
  • Soaking up the sweetness of a chubby baby, a feisty little girl, and a creative first grader.

 

It’s a good life.

 

Welcome to Fall in Evanston!

A picnic at our favorite park…

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P1000501 Apple picking…

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And, “Bike the Ridge” – Evanston blocks off one of the major thoroughfares so everyone can ride bikes…

P1000541 P1000536 P1000540Lilia learned how to ride a pedal bike (no training wheels) just a month or so ago. She was thrilled to get to ride on Ridge with all the big kids and grown-ups. The weather has been perfect the last few weeks. We are enjoying as much outdoor time as possible, because winter will be here before we know it…

 

 

 

August & September

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Are you ready for a long (but as brief as possible) update on our past couple of months? Well, ready or not, here we come…

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We had a great summer, with laid back routines and fun activities up until about the first week of August. Here are a few pictures from a particularly sweet summer day.

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We had a little picnic and watched these fluffy, brand-new ducklings.

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It was a quiet moment before the busy-ness of camp and births and SMC reunion and visitors and family vacation hit. But, all that excitement was a lot of fun, too.

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Josh organized a gathering of members from about eight communities. It was like a family reunion of sorts for those of us who live in intentional Christian communities. Also, we sponsored a visit of a dear friend of our communities: a famous El Salvadoran artist named Fernando Llort.

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It was a joy to have Llort and several members of his family here. His story is beautiful and deeply inspiring to a life of faith and art in action. Josh and others helped to arrange many shows of his artwork while he was here. He also created this piece as a gift to our communities.

2013-07-31 18.29.17Then, my sister Mallary, my brother-in-law Chip, and my new nephew Pilgrim came to stay with us for a few days. Here are my sister and I with our baby boys who are just six months apart.

Mal & Candace with baby boysWe all loved little Pilgrim…

Mal & Jedi & PilgrimWhat a joy to be with family! There is just a depth of connection that cannot be matched.

Mal & whole family shot

After a visit from some new friends from a community in New Mexico, we were on our way to Florida for a bonafide family vacation!

FL Gramma & SimeonWe had a lovely time visiting Josh’s amazing parents. Simeon unfortunately got sick for the first time, but he was still pretty sweet and cuddly.

FL Sponge Diving Boat

We went to a fantastic little town called Tarpon Springs, where we went on a boat tour and saw a sponge diver suit up in traditional diving gear and then dive for sea sponges. FL Jedi in Tarpon Springs FL - Simeon in Tarpon Springs

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FL Jedi Feeding a SharkThe town is very Greek, as many sponge divers immigrated from Greece many years ago. We ate delicious Greed food for lunch. Then, we went to this perfect little aquarium where we got to feed sharks and pet sting rays.

We also got to see some dear friends we knew back in New Mexico. They have since moved to Florida.

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FL Dave and Rhonda BoswellAnd, after much considering, we decided to do one day at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. It was truly a memorable day. Our kids were the perfect ages for this little adventure. And, they love to tell people all about it!

FL Mom & Lil Flying Elephant FL Simeon Small World FL Disney group shot FL Disney Castle Family FL Family and MickeyJosh, Jedidiah, and Chris (Grampa) drove back to Chicago in a van, given to us by Josh’s great aunt. What an amazing gift for our family of five! I flew home with Lilia and Simeon.

Then, it was time for a birthday party and back to school (see past posts for more about these). It took us a few weeks to find our rhythm and catch our breath.

And then, we had a lovely visit from my best friend Jenni. As I write this, I realize how blessed I am to have so many deep and long-lasting relationships in my life.

Jenni CollageWe had long talks and some fun outings. On her last evening here, we went to a neighborhood with Indian restaurants and grocery stores. We enjoyed walking around a bit then bought mango lassis.

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We are hibernating a bit now. We are finding our routines and organizing and planning for what’s ahead; but, we are still doing a lot of remembering and processing all the goodness of the past few months.

What a Week

Those are the words that rattled in my head and came out of my mouth hundreds of times this week.

What a week. 

As you know, this was the week of fun camp activities that my kids and I had planned together. We had 20 to 25 participants (adults and children), and we had a fantastic time! I shared already about the treasure hunt to the hidden park and the giant banana split.

On Tuesday, we went to a favorite beach. Here are a few pictures of my sweeties.

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And then, we ate these adorable “crabby sandwiches,” assembled from ingredients we all contributed.

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On Wednesday, we went to a fantastic little nature center, where we got to walk around in a wetland and an oak savanna. For lunch, we all brought fresh salad ingredients, homemade dressings, and different choices of proteins to put on our salads. The best part of the day was seeing a momma deer and her baby. We were even able to get really close to them!P1000323

On Thursday, we went to the Native American museum. This little Evanston treasure is wonderfully kid-friendly, with many items for children to touch and interact with. There is even a tipi with a simulated fire for the kids to sit inside. Here are a few photos from that experience.

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Afterward, we returned to our backyard for Navajo tacos. My amazing husband made the fry bread and meat, and everyone else contributed toppings. What a delicious meal!

And, what a week!

And, that would have been quite enough, don’t you think?

Except, that wasn’t all that happened this week.

This year, way back in January, I opened myself up to something God placed upon my heart. I accepted a nudge in my spirit to test out the work of supporting women in labor. There seemed no way to make this happen, but I told the Lord that I was willing. It is rare that a woman would ask some one to support her who has not ever done this kind of work before. But, God found a way. Not long after, two families asked me if I would be willing to support them in births this summer. Two families, not one. I was overwhelmed by God’s way of dropping this in my lap, so to speak.

This week, the births that I had been awaiting…the births that I though might happen last week…found their perfect timing to be this week. The first call came at 1:45 early Thursday morning. And, much to my surprise (and the surprise of the couple), the birth went so quickly that the midwife did not make it in time. The midwife and her assistant came in the door just minutes later. The mother and baby were quite healthy and amazingly beautiful. But, what a first experience with birth work, wouldn’t you say??

What a week. 

Then, at 1:45 early Friday morning, I got the second call. This time, the midwife and midwife assistant both made it in time. But, again, a beautiful, wonderful homebirth.

I am emotional and humbled and totally in love with these sweet families. I have no idea what the future holds for me and whether I will ever do this again. But, I am so grateful for these two holy and beautiful moments, as I got to be present when two little ones entered this world.

We had a camp activity planned for Friday, but the weather did not cooperate. I am taking that as a little grace from the Father, who knew I needed to sleep after two nights of being up all night!

On top of all of this, my diligent husband has been planning a Christian communities gathering and preparing for the visit of El Salvadoran artist Fernando Llort. He even hung an art show for him, on top of everything else!

What a week.

After an emotional high and much to be grateful for, we all fell apart on Saturday. Today, we are recovering, resting, and praising God for his goodness. I am hoping for a few more low-key days ahead of us.