Monday, July 29, 2013

Eleven Candles

My son recently turned 11
and it is hard to believe...

it's 10 years since his 1st
it's 10 years until his 21st
and I wanted to celebrate
with activities that he has always enjoyed like painting...

 blowing bubbles...

or even
experimenting with green slime like the kind you see on

It was quickly brought to my attention, however,
that he had outgrown that type of party

Breathe, Tondra


Eleven years have taught me...

to let go
loosen up
go with the flow


we decided to just keep it simple with a trip to the County Fair

to enjoy the animals
rides and food


The following day we kept it basic by... 

grilling hotdogs in the backyard
filling water balloons and
buying a small cake!

My son hugged me before bed and said...

"Thanks for a great birthday, Mom"

and I was happy that celebrating eleven proved to be easy with...

laidback fun

shared with

and a few foal

(two birthdays down... one to go!)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Under His Wing

I have enjoyed a beautiful week of


vacationing with close friends and family
children laughing and playing nearby
helping me celebrate another year of life

I am so blessed

Last night I packed all of our things and was prepared to head home,
with a heart full of gratitude and gratefulness

Until they found me...

anger and frustration
pushed their way into my hotel room at 3am, forcing me awake
two hours, too soon

Music blasting
TV glaring
Lights and noise everywhere

The intruders caught me by surprise which caused my defenses to immediately go up and I

felt like fighting
felt like making someone feel my wrath
felt like showing them who was the boss

so I did...

by forcing myself to do that which I did not want to do

I peacefully surrendered, dressed, and sat with my small travel Bible open to Psalm 91...

"He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High,
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty..."

Later at the airport

it took one... two... three... four tries through the metal detector
before being cleared with just enough time to run directly onto the plane

Smooth take off
Relaxed breathing
Worship song spilling forth

Book in hand
Settling into 14F; window seat

as a closer look at the wing subtly introduced

the lesson
the instruction
the inspiration for the day

It read...

"Do not walk outside this area"

I am sitting under the wing, and I am more than just the girl in 14F
I am so blessed and

my mind drifted back to what I had read that morning

cause even though the turbulence is worse when we're down in the clouds

I can't help but notice that...

there is beauty
there is glory
there is joy

under the wing

So I dare not walk outside of this area

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Hide Me

Watching my son and his younger cousin play "hide and seek" this morning was hilarious
(click here for a snippet of "Hide Me")

The younger...
(who has yet to understand the concept of the game)

could not stay put long enough to conceal his hiding place

while the elder...
(played along, pretending to be surprised, upon "finding" the restless younger)

I could hear them roaming throughout the house, and when they found their way into my room

I tried to help...
wanted to help...

the younger learn how to find and keep his position a secret from the seeker

But I realized a lesson like that only comes with
patient practice

And that it is two lessons really...

Learning to find a valid hiding space
Learning to be quiet while in that space

It is impossible to teach 37 years worth of hiding knowledge to a 3-year old in a moment

But if he only knew...

that there is a perfect hiding place

My first trip to "The Grand Canyon"

A place within a place...

that can be hidden inside of

a word
a song
a moment of quiet reflection

And I'm glad that I've found that place

A place in plain view
where I can remain hidden

while learning to be

in the moment

not anticipating

which direction He will show up
which direction He will take me next,

but just learning to

go with the flow
relax, enjoy, and hide

in the beauty of His presence

Psalm 91

Friday, July 19, 2013

Nine Candles

It is birthday season in our home and we like to celebrate big!

The festivities began with my daughter's b-day which is followed...
Thirteen days later by my son's b-day which is followed...
Thirteen days later by my b-day!

Check out how we kept the party going all month
First up... a spa party sleepover with facials, mani/pedis, giggles and girls galore!

Homemade "Cookie Cake" by Auntie Sunshine

with a 1985 flashback
(proof that second generation friendships rock!) 

The next morning the girls woke to a lovely continental breakfast
and then made these rainbow cupcakes from... Apartment Therapy


Then it was on to more fun  
in our Children's Art Studio with...
Microwave Puff Painting inspired by One Crafty Mumma
Cloud Dough inspired by Growing a Jeweled Rose
Rainbow Rice that you can read more about over at Things to Share and Remember

and finally, a chocolate play dough that
looked good enough to eat from Happy Hooligans

 One summer b-day down... two more to go!

Click here to see how we celebrated "Eleven candles"

(APFLH Children's Art Studio Time will resume with... Flavors of Fall)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Thanking God for All of That... and a Bag of Chips

Eleven years ago today, my son was born


We marveled that he didn't cry at birth. My mother worried, but the doctor told her...

"He doesn't need to cry, he needs to breathe... and he's breathing"

My husband
his father
God's man

took our tightly swaddled bundle of joy to the side of the room and whispered into his ear

Later I asked him "what did you say to the baby?"

It was...

"Hear the conclusion of the whole matter.  Fear God,
and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man"

That was eleven years ago today...

This morning I overslept and woke to that same child's lips pressing against my cheek.  My eyes opened and a broad smile spread across his face as he said "congratulations, you have a son."

Later in the car I listened as he and his little sister took a trip back down memory lane

"I remember when..."
"And then we..."
"Oh yeah, and what about when..."

And as I listened I couldn't help but smile as I noted that all of the things they were referencing were


we have shared together as a family

My kids weren't talking about

material gains

they were sharing memories

"Remember when we went to the snow for Christmas?" 

"Yeah, my favorite part was when we went in the cabin
and had hot cocoa, marshmallows... and a bag of chips"

I smiled at the details they remembered from a trip that we took over 4 years ago
I smiled, grateful for the memories, the lessons in life and love

and I thanked God that

my life
my experience
my gratitude really is for all of that...

and a bag of chips!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Same Black Dress... The Black and White Edition

The need for this project started a long time ago
(which you can read more about here)

The "Same Black Dress"

And now... 

"The Black and White Edition"


Check out my new black dress!