Monday, February 28, 2011

27/28 (Love) (soon)

We're nearing the end of the picture-of-love-each-day project! A little sad... that's probably why I'm behind in posting the pictures I took these last 2 days...
Actually, I have the pictures ready to post, but my computer isn't helping out.

26/28 (Love)

See these people making a big mess in my house?
I think they really love me.
A Really Huge Lot of Love.
They let me pick out the colors and they did all the painting.
I really do not deserve this love.

Friday, February 25, 2011

25/28 (Love)

Everyone is feeling healthy! (insert cheering crowd noises)
And we had another snow day! (increase volume of cheering crowd)
And we did chores! (silence cheering crowd noises)
And took naps! (insert quiet disgruntled crowd noises)
And were sent outside! (increase volume of disgruntled crowd)
And read books! (increase volume of disgruntled crowd)
And made a craft! (collective sound of relief from crowd)
Love has fun...
and does its work (one last murmur, quickly cut off.)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

24/28 (Love)

This is my dearest seven year old son.
Today this one asked me if his daddy and I "tussled" at night.
I'm not sure what his definition of "tussle" is, so I said no.
Sometimes Love waits until you're older to explain things, right?


I'm on the computer way too much!
Off to be craaaafty! Maybe some pictures of completed projects will follow? Or maybe just some in-progress pictures.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

23/28 (Love)

This picture does not need many words, but, you know me, I will give them to you anyway.
If you are sick, missing your favorite school time, not getting to use the computer ('cause your mom is on!) and still willing to share a pink princessy book with your little sister, that is

Just Mom, Not Almighty.

"Mommy can't get sick," I explained to Norah as I crawled onto the couch.
"Well, Mommy has to take care of everyone else. Who else would do the laundry and cook and..." I continued on with every task I could think of.

But who am I kidding? I just wanted a nap. I'm not sick. I am not planning on being sick.


The world - the country - the state - the county - the school district - yes, even the household is not held together by my strength, wisdom and genius. My presence may make these entities (or at least the household) run more smoothly, but I am not indispensable.

You see, I am not God.

What a relief.
(And, yes, I had to spell check "indispensable.")
(And, yes, I enjoyed my nap immensely.)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

22/28 (Love)

Ahh... a snow day. As I wrote this morning, I was pleased with the prospect of a schedule-free day and looked forward to filling it with fun activities.

"My children will remember what a great mom I am," I thought. "We will do crafts, a few chores, bake cinnamon bread and take a frozen trek around our yard. Then they'll nap and I'll pay bills."

I did not anticipate the ridiculous amount of time I would spend messing around with photoshop. Nor did I consider how much laundry I had to fold.

"Good thing I never mentioned crafts or baking to the children."

After lunch and clean-up (more tasks that took longer than they should have) we started suiting up for an outside adventure. "What a great chance to take pictures of nature's beauty! Let's look for today's Love picture outside, kids!"

Turns out, not everyone wanted to go outside.

But they went. "They are going to have fun whether they want to or not!"

Turns out, not everyone had a good attitude or a good time.

And the snow scenes didn't take my breath away. No, that was accomplished by lugging a weary and cold toddler atop my 8 month pregnant belly as I trudged on the ice-under-snow-in-the-cold-wind.

The pictures look like we had fun (you can see them on my facebook page) but I didn't really "see" the love I was looking for. There were some examples of love: Sammy loving the pets by feeding them, Norah loving her sister by pulling her sled, Willa loving her mommy by not complaining, Weston loving... well, um... the outdoors? But really, it wasn't the special write-a-book-about-what-a-great-mom experience I hoped for. And really, I should have known better; two of my children have been sick this past week, they probably shouldn't have been outside so long.

Needless to say, the frozen trek wore most of us (including me) out too much to carry on with any more activities besides napping.

But after naps, when I went to retrieve Willa from her bed... I saw this picture out the window. It was the beautiful love I was looking for today. Something I couldn't create or manipulate. I could only try to record the moment through the dirty glass in my upstairs hall. How much God loves us: He not only prepares our paths and orders our days, but He surrounds us with loveliness.

I know this sunset was not just for me. I'm not the center of the world. I'm not even the best mother in the world... this peaceful sunset was there because God wanted it, because it sang a silent song of praise to Him.

Love humbles us when we're proud.

21/28 (Love)

I love a broken bedtime.
Late dinner.
Cookie baking & eating.
Family Bible time.
I think these four love it too.

Snowy Ramblings...

Snow day! Baking, craft projects, card games, books... how long before they're begging for movies and computer games? I love these relaxed days at home with no schedule to keep.

Ok, I guess I have a few chores to do too, but I am not going to let them (or the bored children's bickering) steal my pleasure in the cozy house, beautiful snowy landscape and all the wonderful ways I see God at work around me.

Hmmm... maybe we need to bundle up and work a freezing family hike around the back yard into our no schedule day.

Monday, February 21, 2011

20/28 (Love)

bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13:7
(Ruffer translation: Love still plans a garden in the midst of an ice storm.)
Love never fails, never gives up.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

19/28 (Love)

Yesterday all those affiliated with the David Hutchins family (minus one) gathered at my parents' house. I think the final count was 37 people, but I'm not sure. I really like my big, loud, obnoxiously strange family and I was really excited to look for examples of love in action. I walked around the house snapping pictures, no doubt annoying several of the two-year-olds (sorry, kids, but you're too cute!) and happened to be chatting with my sister when her sweet son, Jack, approached her. Nearly in tears, he said to his mommy "I make Papa sad."
So his mommy located Papa and Jack made his apologies. I have never seen such a tender heart in such a young child. Maybe he takes after his dad's side more than ours. ;)

Love makes it right.

Friday, February 18, 2011

18/28 (Love)

I forgot my camera, but tonight I had some "mom" time with others... and it was truly restorative! Maybe you can't tell, but those fine lines are from laughing, not stress.
So here is a shot of my "thank you" eyes. Thanks to my husband for staying home with 4 children (one still yucky feeling) while I ignored my responsibilities for a couple hours.
I Love You!
I had to crop out the rest of the picture, because I resembled Miss Piggy too much. Although, I think she has "thank you" eyes too.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

17/28 (Love)

Love is comforting a sick child and ignoring the housework.
I have a chore list from here to next week. But she's had a fever and been in my arms nearly all day. During her nap, I got a few tasks completed. When the boys returned from school, she was entertained by them for a brief time while I checked another item off my list. For the most part, however, today has not been very productive. I do not like unproductive days.
When she so willingly allowed me to put her "key-key yammies" (monkey jammies) on her instead of insisting that she do it herself...
When she laid down in her bed so willingly, snuggled under her "bebe" (blankie) and waited until I retrieved the camera...
When she turned to look at me through the crib bars and said "love mommy" as I clicked away...
I remembered that I don't love my house, clean or dirty, I love the little people inside it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

16/28 (Love)

My parents, not perfect, but excellent examples of Love.
Truly best friends, they have given their lives to one another.
They are so marvelously woven together, I cannot imagine one without the other.
I love you, Mom and Dad, and I love your Love for each other.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

15/28 (Love)

Love shares the details,
even when they're not that interesting.
My dearest husband likes to play basketball. It's good for him, I'm sure. One of the most endearing things about him is that he doesn't care that I have a very limited capacity for understanding any type of sports. Regardless of my lack of attention or concern, he comes home from each basketball game (church league, industrial league, what have you league) and reports on how well he played, who used "dirty" tactics, if he felt slighted in the calls, etc. etc. ad nauseum (and I do mean nauseum.) The only thing I really care about is that he remains uninjured, but I do appreciate that he wants to share with me the details of his life.
In regards to organized athletic endeavors, I'm really begining to like football, purely as a spectator pursuit. However, I am very glad that he doesn't play football.

Monday, February 14, 2011

14/28 (Love)

Love is Silly Breakfast food.
We've had a rather busy day... parties at school, sledding with preschoolers, home manicures (when we really needed naps instead), basketball games, and of course... heart-shaped food. I love my family and I took a lot of pictures today, but this one summed-up my feelings the best. Sometimes the over-rated holidays are just the excuse we need to show some nourishing affection through the necessary parts of life.
OK, that last sentence is a bit far-reaching, but it made sense to me, so I'm leaving it.

13/28 (Love)

Love puts others first.

Corey, I'm sure, wanted to take a typical Sunday afternoon nap on the couch. But after fixing the family lunch (tator tots guaranteed when daddy cooks) and putting away the leftovers (sorry, dear, but no one else wanted second helpings of sauerkraut) he took the older three kids outside to build "The World's Greatest Snowman" (Sammy's description). I want my kids to know what a great man their dad is. If they don't understand it now, I think they will someday.

12/28 (Love)

Love is genuine friendships.
On Friday night we went out with our dear friends, Matt and Tanya. Greater love has no one, Jesus said, than one who lays down his life for his friends. Time after time, Matt and Tanya have laid down their lives for Corey and I, allowing us to inconvenience them, confide in them and be our real (sometimes annoying) selves with them. Thanks for the Love, friends!

Friday, February 11, 2011

11/28 (Love)

I Love to craft and sew. My gifts are far from perfect, and perhaps I get more pleasure out of them than the receivers do, but the deliberate act of making something for someone in particular feels right to me. It feels like Love.

10/28 (Love)

My children Love to play with laundry baskets... I believe the moment I captured yesterday was when she was the "caged puppy" game. Creativity: another echo of our Creator who Loves us (even when we say "woof!")

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

9/28 (Love)

Don't rush to conclusions; this isn't a picture of how much I love my daughter (although I do very much) this is a picture of how Norah showed love to me this evening. I love love love to "fix" little girl hair. She hates hates hates the pain of having her hair "fixed." But tonight, at her own suggestion (quickly pounced upon by me, of course) we put 5 french braids in her hair so she can have "wavy" hair tomorrow. She sat perfectly still and uncomplaining through the whole process. Thank you, sweetie... I love you too.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

8/28 (Love)

I hope I showed Love in many ways today, but perhaps the most time-consuming, if unemotional, demonstration was laundry. It is one of my favorite household chores, but a chore no less. With four children and two adults, the laundry is never ending 'round here. Still, I like the transformation process: disorganized, soiled, wrinkled, stained becomes sorted, cleaned, folded... well, sometimes the stains don't come out. I love folding my children's clothes: matching soft pajamas, tucking one sock inside it's mate, shaking out those-didn't-I-just-buy-these-but-there's-a-hole-in-the-knee-already jeans... I feel so benevolent and close to the little bodies that will wear these items in the next few days. I don't know for sure why I like it, but I do. Maybe I'm more of a tactile type person than I realized. [What is a tactile type person?!?]

Monday, February 7, 2011

7/28 (Love)

I got to visit a two-day new baby today.
I Love the wrinkles on tiny baby hands and hugeness of tiny baby yawns.
Newborns point my heart and mind toward our Creator... who Loves this precious new life more than we can ever imagine.

6/28 (Love)

Yes, I am a day late.
No, I am not beating myself up about it.
Love knows how to give and receive a joke.
My sister, Amy, knows that Corey is a Steelers fan and thus we all are. Yesterday she made an extra special effort to help him celebrate the Superbowl. Weston was not amused, but then, maybe Corey understands a little more about love.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

5/28 (Love)

Love has His eye on the sparrows... and the cardinals, chickadees and... me!

4/28 (love)

Yesterday two friends unexpectedly showed me some Love.
One friend took my daughter to preschool while I was temporarily without transportation.
(Thank you, Tiffanie!)
Later that afternoon another friend brought me some of her homemade blueberry - white chocolate scones because she knew I needed a pick-me-up.
(So delicious! Thank you, Helen!)
Sometimes it is the little ways that Love is demonstrated that make the biggest differences in our day.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

3/28 (Love)

First waking thoughts today: I really love my Baby #5... I am so blessed that I'm pregnant again.
I do not like being pregnant and I complain a lot about aches and pains, but that does not eclipse the love that God has put in my heart for this little one I have never met. Incidentally, I also really love my Baby #4 and I'm thrilled that she will have a little sibling close in age.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

2/28 (Love)

Tonight, my in-laws brought and shared dinner with us... the kids' all-around favorite: lasagna! There is no reason why Grandma had to cook for us, except that she loves her son, his kids and even his wife (that's me!).

It is pretty hard for me to pick just one picture for each day, so here is another bonus shot: my kids with their Grandma and Grandpa Ruffer. [Can anyone see a few family resemblances?]

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

1/28 (Love)

Love of a brother (or a sister)

Anyone who has siblings, or more than one child knows that part of life with brothers and sisters is fighting. As the mother of these four, it seems like life is mostly fighting. But then, just when I needed to see it, I witness their love for one another. I walked into the living room to see the older three children playing "Sorry" (yes, a highly competitive game) and allowing their two-year-old sister to take part. They didn't have to include her, they could have asked me to provide a distraction for the wild-haired toddler and I would have. But instead, they showed her some love. Bonus: the game ended without anyone fighting!

I had to include this additional picture of Willa's "game pieces:"

28 Pictures of Love

I am embarking on a month-long project. It wasn't my idea, so you are more than welcome to borrow it. I'm posting one picture for each day of the month of February. Since this is the month of Valentines, each picture will represent love in someway. I'm sure some of my representations will be rather far-fetched and cheesy; you'll just have to bear with my fetchingness and love for cheese.
In all seriousness, looking for a picture of love in each day should be a good exercise for my 7-month-pregnant-and-given-to-grumpiness self. I believe that expressions of God's love are all around us, but I'm usually not taking notice.
So let's look for love, people! Check out my friends, Brian and Amy Shaw, (originators of this idea) and their blog for details and join in the fun! While you're there, you'll find yourself challenged by their lives and their passion for children around the world.
This should be fun and good for us all!