Saturday, May 31, 2008

Much improved

Remember this *Farmhouse Hutch*? Staring at the thing all winter long, I decided it had to be black. I think I made the right decision. It looks so polished and Pottery Barn-ish. And all of my white and silver POPS on the shelves. We are going to use it as a Coffee & Tea Bar. It will keep our mugs, teapots, loose-leaf teas, coffee beans and espresso cups etc. Now that I have taken the risk of transforming a big piece so drastically, and had it payoff, I've been looking around for something else to paint!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Country Kids Concert

"J'aime les couleurs de l'arc-en-ciel,
Bleu, blanc, rouge, vert, jaune, orange."

Tiny little people marching down the isle in pig costumes; cowboy hats & boots, and in my daughter's case, a flower head-dress. It was bedtime when the concert began, and it was entirely too late when it concluded. All the little ones were either dragging their feet, or jittery and unmanageable. . . but it was just so cute.
They sang to zippy music, lagging far behind the beat; their voices tuneless in an effort to shout out the words. They recited poems and did little dances. I LOVED the kid who ignored his classmates and wobbled out his very own moves on stage that strongly resembled the Macarena.
Caelah's class was the very last to perform. She sang and danced her heart out. I could hear her voice above the others because I know it so well, and because I was listening for it. She waved happily to us from the stage several times. And we waved back to our little green flower.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Small treasures

This Saturday at the Great Glebe Garage Sale I made some modest expenditures. In May's past I have been a big spender: Wooden doors, hutches, trunks... Yet these tiny finds delighted just as much.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Three for Three

Three boys: Three thumb-suckers.
Oh, the orthodontic bills ahead. . .

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Pretty: Red Door

Red Door
{To make up for all of the ugliness in the last post}

Monday, May 19, 2008


Does this picture make your skin crawl? Make you want to turn off your computer screen? Cause you to immediately scan the ceiling for signs of one of these eight legged monsters? If you answered YES to all three questions, you, like me, are. . .

Phobic. In that hair-raising, paralyzing, shriek-like-a-girl kind of way. I don't know when it began, but here is what I know: I once woke up to find one descending upon my face. All eight legs wiggling a few inches from my nose. While driving, one once dropped down from the van ceiling and hung, suspended in front of my eyes. I nearly drove off of the bridge I was crossing over. I once fell into an unsettled sleep after having forced myself to try and ignore the fat one in the far corner of my room. I woke with a large lump in the back of my throat and promptly swallowed. The spider was nowhere to be found, and whatever it was I swallow went down my pipe reeeeeally slow. I heard about a species that likes to burrow her eggs into human skin, and when they are ready, the babies break through the skin by the hundreds and scurry away. This very day I was sitting on the couching relaxing with my baby when a fat hairy spider the size of a walnut scuttled across my lap!

They know I hate them. They know I think the world would be a far better place without them, and so. . . they find me. Always me. The fat hairy spider did NOT find Aidan's lap. It found mine. And I tore off the couch clutching the baby far too tightly, (in hindsight, I have only God to thank that I did not drop Isaiah onto the floor), I hopped up and down and hollered Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! I did not stop hollering until I saw the spider on the floor. Aidan, naturally, sauntered over and squished it with a paper towel without a care.

Ugh. Give me a snake, and I will hold it as it coils around my hands. Give me a mouse and I will more likely chase it than hop up onto a chair. Give me a beetle, millipede, bat, rat or roach, but DO NOT GIVE ME A SPIDER!!! I despise them. I pride myself on being afraid of very little in the natural world, and am appreciative of most of God's creatures. But until I am safely home in heavens gates, I will NEVER see the beauty in this particular creation.

NOTE: I added the hideous picture above for dramatic effect, but I managed it only by looking sidelong at the screen. And, yes, I leaned way back in my chair, because it is entirely too big, and I am still in recovery from my visit with its cousin.

Images of Home: Sarah & Gerry {Chemin de la Riviere}

{Click on images to enlarge}

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Family Tree bearing Fruit

My older cousin sent out this email Monday morning to encourage us all. Take time to count up the growth of your spiritual family. If the numbers don't amaze you, surely the beauty of each individual heart and commitment is enough to make you want to sing out into the streets;

"Thank you faithful God of mine!"


Dear all-

Yesterday was kind of reflective and meaningful for me…obviously. I have faced a challenging year at so many levels , which has made it so meaningful to celebrate what has been and what is to come. Especially as a mother. But one thing that came to mind is this: Our Family Tree.

Think back to Mom and Aunt Liz’s early womanhood. Both without Christ and searching, always searching. Think about the present. I counted up the believers in our tree. In the early 1960’s, the Belford/Challies family tree was kind of spiritually bare. A total tally of 0 Christians. Zero.

In 2008, let’s count. Mom and Dad Millar; Mom and Dad Challies, Andrew; Tim, Aileen, Nick, Abby, Michaela; Pat, Maryanne, Anna, Josh, Emma; Jo, Aidan, Caelah, Elijah, Gabriel, Isaiah; Rick, Susanna, Micah, Ellie; Kate, Dave, Baby; Grace, Justin; Daniel, Connor; Aunt Peggy, Uncle Ron, Jesse, Jon. . .

In just one generation, where no believers were found, there are now 37!!!

I pray that we all continue to instruct our families and lead them to Christ. If we have produced 37 who can proclaim the Gospel, imagine how many family trees can spring out from us. This is God’s pattern of faithfulness. That He is faithful “to the third and fourth generation of those of love me and keep my commandments”. I have been amazed looking at Pat’s family tree, how true this is. Though Pat was raised without ANY spiritual teaching, we once drove through rural Alabama and found a grave-site where a great-grandfather was buried: “A Baptist minister.” Aha, I thought. There is where the link is. God is always there. If the responsibility is dropped, the repercussions are serious. But, He is faithful to the generations, and His links can always be found. Dropped sometimes, but then He shows up again. He is faithful.

Just wanted to share. And hoping that we work tirelessly to in our families that the link will never be broken.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Country Mailboxes: A Collection

Yes, this belongs to a farmer. Dairy farmer? And the kicker is, it swivels. So, you never know which end will be facing you when you drive by.
Diamond View RoadGothic meets Kitschy Country?
Donald B. Monro

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mother's Day::Three

{Fresh mug of coffee::Crepes & Berries prepared by Aidan before I even made it down the stairs this morning}
{Pretty pastel card from Caelah::Not one but three cups of wildflowers from my kids}
{Tiny "Shrinky Dink" butterfly keychain made by Caelah::My husband's nearly-packed travel bag}
Bitter/Sweet day for this mama. I was treated to a BIG dose of love that morning by my precious family: fancy breakfast and a giddy presentation of beautiful handmade gifts. But as soon as the dishes were cleared away my husband busied himself with packing. He left for a week in Philadelphia: Work. Oh. . .
This mom is missing half of herself.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day::Two

{Red Trillium found on Caelah's "Wildflower Expedition" with Oma::Roasted potato wedges::BBQ Beer Can Chicken}
{Fresh Fruit Tart::Red Ale home brew}
{Handmade Frame by Aidan & I::Pink Roses for me from Mom::Brown Lilies on White}
To see the FRAME in more detail *CLICK*

We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day to have Mom and Dad Van Dyk out for a BBQ Mother's Day celebration. We hunted for wildflowers in the forest, lounged on our big back porch, and smelled the mouth-watering aroma of a fresh farm chicken being roasted beer-can style on our BBQ. If you have never tried this, please do. The bird looks absurd; like it's standing at attention on the grill, but as it is "smoked" with cedar chips it becomes infused with flavour and ends up SO tender, with the crispiest skin. Mmmmm. Aidan & I were even surprised with an early birthday present: A cooking class in June. The session is called "Gourmet BBQ." Can't wait!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mother's Day::One

{Tulips from Karin&Josh::Cream cheese Brownies::Hanging flower basket from Dad::Latte prepared by Josh}
{Grilled Chicken::Fresh Herb basket for us girls from Mom::Grilled Potato Salad}
{Garden Tote from Kate::Bleeding Hearts Basket::Lily Stamp}
{Handmade frame and card for Mom from Aidan & I}
See the FRAME in more detail *CLICK*

We celebrated Mother's Day in THREE stages this year. ONE:Friday::My mom. TWO:Saturday::Aidan's mom. THREE:Sunday::Me.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Keep her Close:: An early Mother's Day tribute

*1 Kings 2:19*
Bathsheeba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah. And the king arose to meet her, bowed before her, and sat on his throne; then he had a throne set for the king's mother, and she sat on his right.

Of this passage, Piper writes:
Then they had their conversation. He rose for her. He bowed to her. And he called for a throne to be put beside his for their conversation. She was his mother. Even kings should stoop when their mothers enter the room.

I do as Solomon did: I keep my mother close. I bring her my joys as soon as they alight upon my heart, and weep openly at her feet when I can't keep my sadness at bay any longer. Because I know I will hear "It will pass," from someone who understands me deeply. I came from her womb. She is intimately entwined in my genetics; my thought patterns, my emotions; my personality. . . She has seen so much of life. What is offers. What it takes away. She listens. Attentively. Tuned in to the various plains of meaning I operate on. She offers wisdom, seeking to steer us away from the troubles that once ensnared her. Seeking to propel us towards Christ, the truest and most trustworthy advisor. She does not shy away from her duty to admonish, when admonishment is required, but she cushions it with love because it pains her deeply to see us hurt by her words, true as they might be. She is so quick to praise. To hold up her children, in words, as shiny, irreplaceable, treasures. And we take note, feeling warmed by the honour. She finds her way into my mothering. I see her show herself in so many corners and crevices of my efforts to be a good and loving and godly parent. She will never be shaken from those places. She will remain an eternal transformative presence in all of my ways. Because she is my mother. She was charged with the task of breathing love and wisdom into my young heart, and that is something that does not become dislodged with time. A mother remains in her children. Even once her children become mothers.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Baby smile

{First smile caught with the camera}

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

New mornings

Yesterday was a bad day; or, perhaps, a good day made bad by me. I suspected the latter to be true as Caelah sat upon my lap this morning and I said to her; "Are we going to have a better day today?" "What do you mean?" "Well, yesterday was so so hard." "No it wasn't. It wasn't hard."

There was glass broken. Glass stepped on. High-pitched screechy fights; the kids, of course. Spilled milk, I very nearly cried over. A few seriously explosive diapers. Miscommunications. Regretful words. And just a general sense of failure. I felt like a horrible mother and wife yesterday.

While we mom's tend to carry a mantle of guilt upon our shoulders most days, I think I wore it legitimately yesterday. I hadn't read the Word. Hadn't prayed. Didn't pause before action or speech. I just whirled and raged like a hurricane all day long. Ugh. Tiring as it is being a hurricane, sleep doesn't come quickly for the guilty. Please Lord, fill me up so I can be who I'm supposed to be.

I spotted the above offering on the dining room table this morning. "Mommy, we have something for you. You're going to like them." A handful of wilting wildflowers brought to me yesterday, yet not fully appreciated until now. . . New mornings come; an array of choices before us with which we shape the day. I want to make this day as beautiful as God intended it to be.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Notes from the Road:: A travel blog

National Geographic is a jewel among magazines. Everything in print has a bias but I think we can all agree cost-benefit analysis and a bit of discernment can lead to to some fantastic reads. If you love the world-wide scope of the magazine, and the beauty of the photography, and the glimpse into world conflicts, there is a blog I recommend:
*Notes from the Road*The writer, Erik Gauger, travels the world, taking notes along the way. While he is not affiliated with the magazine, many of his readers are National Geo staffers. Read about the blog *HERE* and then give this blog a try.

{Pictures taken from Notes from the Road}

Friday, May 02, 2008

Pretty: Pink & Silver

Have a lovely weekend everyone. My husband is heading off with the guys to trek through the woods in the cold and rain . . .fun. Meanwhile my brave sister is taking me and all of the kids into her little apartment for a weekend of
good eats, giggles and sleeplessness.