Tuesday, June 11, 2013


It is June, and that means that Big Philip is living in Starkville for most of the month to help coordinate new student orientation at MSU.  After several years, our family has learned to adjust, especially as the children have grown older and able to keep busy with either each other or with friends and summer activities.

Still, June is a month of anxiety and stress for us as husband and wife.  We've had a lot to deal with in our marriage over the last few years and at one point, we reached a place where we could not go on...together.  In the midst of that time we experience the devastating diagnosis of NF with our son that would lead to the diagnosis of our daughter and Big Philip this year.  As we reeled from the diagnosis it caused us to pause, make our son the priority in our hearts and minds, and as a result, knee jerk decisions were delayed and ultimately never made.

God has worked miracles in each of our hearts in the last two years and that has led to the miracle of our marriage not just still standing, but being stronger, deeper in the wisdom that God has led us to, and the recognition of the gift of joy we gain from each other through God's work in our lives.

Big Philip left last Thursday for his weekend of class and grandparents picked up the children to take them to the annual family reunion at the beach.  When Big Philip returned from class Saturday we had a little over 24 hours with just each other.  We had a romantic date night and worshipped together as husband and wife on Sunday morning.  And then, it was time for Philip to head to Starkville.

Doubt began to creep into in my heart as I fought back the tears, fears, and worries of the past.  And in that moment, Philip placed three envelopes in my hand:

Open when you have a long day
Open when you really miss me
Open when you need a smile

He knew and my heart swelled with joy once again.  

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Fairy Houses

When Helen turned three, we gave the highest form of praise in the form of copying another friend's fairy themed birthday party that had been a smashing success.  We too, had a fairy party where the party guests made little fairy houses.  The houses were beautiful, each lovingly made by the tiny hands of the children and we sent them home as a favor, with the instructions to place the houses where a fairy might take up residence.

When we moved in 2011, I accidentally forgot to move our fairy houses that had been placed beneath our children's bedroom windows in the yard.  I invented a quick tale about how we could not move them because "Puck" and "Pixie" would be homeless, promising that the new house owner would take good care of them (leaving out the part about the new owner being a recent college grad and bachelor).

Helen is quite the imaginative child and we want to celebrate our children's developing personalities by embracing activities that encourage imagination and curiosity about God's beautiful creation around them.  So recently, we made a new fairy house with her.

We started with a peat pot.  You can purchase about 6-8 of these for under $5.00 at any home improvement store.  Simply cut a small door in it and glue it to any discarded piece of wood, heavy cardboard or a leftover floor tile.

If you don't have any natural moss available to you, you can purchase an inexpensive bag at any craft store.  Spanish moss is also a fun thing to attach to your fairy house.  We used simple white glue to cover the walls and roof of our peat pot with moss and then glued natural ornaments gathered from the yard (especially those prickly foot-damaged gumballs).  And this is the end result.  You hear Helen in the background, squealing and giggling with excitement.

From there, we found a home for our fairy house underneath a bush in our front yard.  About a day later, Helen found a green note just inside the front door of her fairy house from Flutter.  Flutter shared that she is the younger cousin of Puck and Pixie that lived at our old house.  And then, she shared rules for Helen.

Helen has cleaned her room completely, even helping her older brother clean his room.  She is enthralled with the idea that a fairy is living in her front yard and that Flutter looks in on her through her bedroom window from time to time.   On the morning after the room cleaning, Helen woke up and ran straight to the fairy house to see if Flutter had noticed.  A small bag of Pop Rocks was there waiting for her.  We have great plans for our little fairy friend and think this will be a good way to embrace Helen's imaginative but strong willed spirit rather than fight it as we help her develop personal responsibility, a loving spirit, and a kind heart.