and laughter too…

I couldn’t resist also sharing these shots of a boy and his dad that I was able to capture last week at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. The pure joy and love that radiates from their faces makes me smile every time I look at them.

DSC05208 DSC05207 DSC05203 DSC05202 DSC05194 DSC05191And then these of me and my oldest boy, who is growing up so quickly. But even when you are a great big boy you can’t escape your momma’s lovin’.DSC05251 DSC05254 DSC05270 These boys, they make me laugh and cry, and yes sometimes (umm, often times) they bring me to my knees. But they and their daddy know how to make me laugh. Beauty and laughter…these are food for my soul, gifts straight from Heaven.

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nourishment for the soul

After the long Chicago winter, which has seemed unwilling to release it’s grasp on our region these past weeks, as hard as Spring tries to come, we are finally seeing real warmth and growth outside. Last week we made a trip to the Chicago Botanic Gardens to drink in some of the beauty of colors and blooms and nourish our souls in nature.

DSC05099Who thought lettuce could be so beautiful!

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Someone was a little hungry. This container was overflowing with lettuce and green onions and flowers.DSC05125 DSC05132DSC05152 DSC05154 DSC05165 DSC05168 DSC05179

A somewhat unsuccessful attempt at a family portrait…someone was a little cranky by this point!DSC05162It started drizzling toward the end of our time, but the lighting was amazing and the colors just popped! Afternoons spent in the gardens help me breath just a bit deeper and my soul feels lighter. So thankful for these hours well spent!

At the Zoo…a Party for the Planet

DSC03586 DSC03589 DSC03601 DSC03609 DSC03610 DSC03629 DSC03632 DSC03642 DSC03653 DSC03655 DSC03663 DSC03672 DSC03673Last Sunday was a beautiful day, if a bit chilly, and so we decided to head for the zoo for their annual “Party for the Planet” for Earth Day. We actually didn’t see many animals (just some wild children – see the tiger and “Sonic the Hedgehog” above) since the zoo had a huge amount of flooding from the week before. Many of the animals were off exhibit and several of the houses were closed. But we still enjoyed ourselves. The boys especially loved the face painting and the chance to build animal houses. I enjoyed the flowers and the smiles on my boys faces. We are all looking forward to more outside time this summer and many more trips to the zoo!

Springtime

I’ve found myself rather quiet these past weeks, staying busy in a good way, waiting for the grass to turn green and the trees to bud. I’m beginning to think about our vegetable boxes that are still many weeks away from showing up but I already am hungry for arugula and radishes. I try to ignore the cold that is lingering longer than usual this year, refusing to allow the hats and gloves to be put away just yet. But I did wear a dress on Easter Sunday. My boys were a little in awe at momma in a dress because its been months since they’ve seen me “dress up” like that. I’m not one much for dresses in the winter mostly because I want to be as warm as possible and I am not a huge fan of tights. In the summer, though, I love to wear skirts…soon, I hope, it will be warm again!

Even as we anticipate the blooming of spring and the summer ahead I feel the empty spaces where a little girl, who’d be turning one two weeks from today, would have been. Those empty spaces…I think a lot about how to fill them, because they will be filled. Pain and sometimes hot bitter tears seep into them. At other moments those spaces become the sacred places where, if I can only stand to stay in them, I hear words of Love and Truth whispered to my soul, that death is not the final word, that Jesus is alive, that the days I will have with my daughter will be greater than the days I am without her. Though these empty places feel such a heavy burden at times, a stark reality which seems to highlight this broken world, I continue to find this amazing Grace where somehow God is restoring my joy and bringing healing to my heart in these days.

And I have much to keep my hands full with these days, for which I am grateful, else I do think it would all be too much to bear. God has been good to us.

As you think of us, friend, in the coming weeks as we remember Naomi’s birth and celebrate her life, may I ask, if you are so moved, that you find some way to show love to someone who could use some in their life? If you would help another person in memory of our sweet daughter, it would be a blessing to this momma’s heart to know she is not forgotten. Naomi’s life was full of so much love. In her short life, Naomi taught me how important it is not to take a even one day for granted, that life is a gift and that love is the greatest gift of life, the gift given to us by God Himself.

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us.

GodIsLove