Friday, June 29, 2012

Making a house a home takes time!

It's been a whirlwind of packing, cleaning, more cleaning, painting, loading, unloading, unpacking, sorting, arranging, rearranging, weeding, sweeping, mucking, and  a whole lot of other "ings". :)

The whirlwind has not left....but the chaos is beginning to look a bit more orderly and the house is starting to feel like a home...our home!

Trying to combine two kitchens was a CRAZY endeavor that took 2 days from start to finish....well worth it, though!

The kids have been hard at work pulling weeds. I am so bummed that I forgot to take "before pictures" but just imagine 2 feet of weeds everywhere you see dirt or rocks! I was so blessed by their efforts!

And our newest project today....goats. :) We couldn't pass up free goats to help trim down our back yard...and we couldn't help but laugh at how funny it looked to have 2 goats in the back of our mini-van. :) The stories that mini-van could tell if it could talk!

Meet Hershey and Daisy:

We are so thankful for all those who helped to get us into our home....watching the kids, cleaning, painting, moving loads of boxes and furniture, flowers to make our entrance inviting....God used each person and each situation to bless and encourage our hearts in the midst of the craziness and weariness of moving! Our hearts are full of rejoicing to be in our thankful for God's goodness and grace to undeserving us!

"Oh, how abundant is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You and worked for those who take refuge in You, in the sight of the children of mankind!"  Psalm 31:19

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Little Canadian "Potty" Humor :)

There is never a quiet moment in the Pichura matter where the kids are! :) I will keep the guilty nameless...but this was too good not to post! And, yes, I am standing outside the bathroom door :)

Pichura Happenings

“The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.”  -C.S. Lewis

It's amazing how quickly the moments fade into the past and the future becomes reality! I feel like I have so much catching up to do as I look back on the last several weeks of our life. It's been busy...but full of sweet things to highlight and remember!

We have had friends visit, birthday's celebrated, ball games attended, afro's eliminated, school plays enacted, science fair completed, awards bestowed, books read, life lived!

That was the short version...ready for the longer one? :)

What a blessing to have our friends and neighbors from Canada come visit a few weeks ago! The weather was lovely and so was the company!:)

We celebrated Titus' and Caleb's birthday this well as my Dad's birthday! Should I say how old you are, Dad?!:)

The boys team took first place in the regular season this the rest of this week...and then it's back to backyard baseball for them.:)

Speaking of backyards...Lord willing, the boys will be playing in their new "backyard" as soon as Monday. Lots of painting to get done before we officially move in on the weekend! Please pray!:)

Samuel decided it was to time to get rid of his "wool hat" for the summer! He looks great...and older!

Both Faith and Samuel were in the spring school play last week. Samuel was a "gangster weed" (they did the parable of the seed being sown on the 4 soils) and Faith was a girl on the farm. Both had speaking parts and duets! So fun, and they did GREAT!

Micah took 1st place on his science fair project. That was just short of a miracle! :) Way to go buddy!

Tonight the kids had their awards ceremony....what a sweet blessing to see them being used by God in their classrooms. Faith was awarded the "peacemaker" award in her class and Samuel for his respect.

Grace was awarded for "Biblical Connection"...her teacher described her as someone who could "connect the truths of Scripture to whatever subject or situation she was in". What a precious award and an encouragement to our hearts! She was also awarded the "Golden Brush Award" for 5th grade art!:) Not surprised by that one! Micah's award was for "wisdom". His teacher said that he "applies his knowledge of the Bible to classroom situations and really lives what he believes. He's a great mediator and conflict resolver". Thank you, Lord! He also made Honor Roll and got a "President's Education Award"!

Since we're on the subject of "learning"...I've been doing a bit of reading while I exercise on my elliptical. If you are looking for some summer "reads"....these are so worth it!!
                - "The Praying Life" by Paul Miller
                - "Pleasing People: How not to be an approval junkie" by Lou Priolo
                - "Putting Your Past in It's Place" by Stephen Viars
                - "But God...":The two words at the heart of the gospel" by Casey Lute

....and I am SO EXCITED about a book I just picked up to read this summer: "Cleaning House: A mom's 12 month experiment to rid her home of youth entitlement"  by Kay Wills Wyma.

I think that is it!:)

As time continues to fly by....may we all "make the best use of our time" and bring glory to God whether we "eat or drink or whatever we do"!
video video


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Happy Birthday Caleb!

What a wonderful day we had! Caleb turned 7 today and we all got to celebrate by going to church! What is more special than sharing your special day with, not only your family...but your whole church family, too! We also got to spend the day with a dear missionary. Dean Kirshner, who works for a really neat ministry, Gospelink, spent the day at our church and the afternoon at our home. He had a precious impact on all of us, especially our boys. God used him, his life, his words, his actions, as a sweet gift, not only to Caleb, but to all of us today!

I wish you all could have sat around our table, this afternoon, while Caleb read his cards and opened his gifts. It was Caleb at his best and he kept us in fits of laughter the whole time. I'll do my best to share:

His Gramps and Nanny sent him a GREAT card describing a "grandson"...Caleb just had a hard time reading some of the words...

"He's charming and he's pleasant. He's whitey and he's funny." We all started giggling because Caleb is not white-y at all...he'll be the first one to tell you he's "brown". The word was "witty" by the way. :)

"He's filled with so much angry..." Yep...busted out laughing again...the word was "energy" not angry.

Then my brother and his wife sent the perfect card for a 7 year old boy:

"Nephew, you're great just the way you are, so don't change a thing....well, your underwear...but other than that, don't change a thing."

Well...the second he read the word "underwear" he couldn't stop giggling....which got us all laughing.

Then there was my parent's card where my mom wrote, "We love you soooo much". Caleb thought the "s" was actually the number "5" and so he read, "I love you 5,000 much". He was totally confused and we were cracking up!

One of the gifts they gave him was a CD. Once he opened it up, he read the title, "Sing Over Me: worship songs and loobalubes. :) The word was "lullabies", but we just might have to rename it forever after that one!:)

That was a glimpse...I know there were other moments of laughter...but I can't get my pea-brain to recall them!

That's full of life, full of laughter, and full of smiles. And those big brown eyes and lashes that go on for miles just makes you want to "smoosh" him in hugs!:)

Caleb is also very sensitive and very sweet. He got an ipod touch for his birthday (thanks to saved up Christmas money that he didn't know I stashed away...and all the money from his relatives). He had NO idea (we told him he was too young for one :)). Well, anyway, I wrapped it in a box that showed baby blocks on the outside (they had been given to my little niece for Christmas). So, as he unwrapped it, I started talking about how fun the blocks would be for Caleb and asked what he would do with them. He was precious. Instead of showing an attitude of ingratitude or irritation over such a "baby" gift...he chose his words carefully and said, "I don't remember wanting them." :) Oh, the look on his face when he realized there were no blocks in his box!:)

Dear Caleb,

My sweet, smiley little bean! It's hard to believe you are 7 years old. I actually felt a bit of sadness wash over me when I realized that I could throw away the "7 candle" because I would not need it anymore! In some ways, you are still the "baby" of the family, but, in other ways, you have grown up so much!

Though one of your favorite phrases is still, " I do not understand" :), I am thankful for the many things you DO understand! I can't believe you will be going into second grade next year (though you did all second grade work but math this year)! God has given you a very smart mind.

He has also given you a love for music and, day in and day out, it's a blessing to hear you sing praises to Him at the top of your little lungs! You may not always have the words right...but God knows your heart...and it gives mom something extra to laugh about!:) I pray that He would continue to give you a heart for music and that Dad and I would have wisdom to know how to best help you pursue it!

You have a giggle that is contagious and an enthusiasm that makes us all smile. My prayer, dear boy of mine, is that God would give you a deep, abiding "enthusiasm" for HIM. That you would grow to love Him with all your heart and that, with your ability to read, God's Word would not just be consonants and vowels strung together...but words that would sink deep into your heart and bear fruit.

In your birthday card from your Sunday School teacher, she shared with you traits and verses about Caleb in the Bible...and her prayer for you to be like Caleb. I would echo her precious thoughts....

Caleb, you tend to be a follower more than a leader, but I pray that God would grow you up to be a courageous leader. That you would follow God no matter what others might be doing. That you would trust Him and obey Him...even if you are the only one!

Happy Birthday, buddy...I love you!


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sparkle with Wonder

Have you ever wished you could get back some of your childhood wonder, excitement, laughter, and joy? Do you remember those feelings of delight that came so easily years ago but are so hard to come by today?

Am I the only one asking these questions?

I love life, I really do. But I'd also be the first to tell you that there are not many things that make me feel "childlike" again.  When I use the word childlike, I am not referring to immaturity...I am referring to sweetness, to brightness of the eyes and lightness of the heart, to a heart that captures the moments and laughs with glee.

Somewhere along the way, I lost a lot of that. I thought the loss was normal.

You see, the more I live the more aware I am of just how fallen life on earth is. The more I live, the less ignorant I am to the faults of others and the sins in my own heart and life. The more I live, the more opportunities I have to be hurt and to hurt others. The more I live, the more cynical I become and the less I trust.

What I have struggled to realize is that the less I trust, the less I become childlike.  Here is the equation I forgot:

Childlike Joy = Childlike Dependence

True joy, true delight, true lightness of heart and brightness of eyes is impossible without dependence on God. I've lost a lot of my "child-likeness"  because I was depending on ME instead of God without even realizing it. I lost joy, delight, and wonder....because I was trying to find joy, delight, and wonder in myself, my plans, my ingenuity...and it's not to be found there at all, let me tell you!

Here were some more words (from Paul Miller "A Praying Life") that both pricked my conscience and gave me fresh perspective:

"Whenever Jesus starts talking about His relationship with His heavenly Father, Jesus becomes childlike, very dependent. "The Son can do nothing of His own accord" (John 5:19). "I can do nothing on my own" (John 5:30). "I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me" (John 8:28). "The Father who sent me has Himself given me...what to say and what to speak" (John 12:49). Only a child will say, "I only do what I see my Father is doing."

When Jesus tells us to become like little children, He isn't telling us to do anything He isn't already doing. Jesus is, without question, the most dependent human being who ever lived...he prays. And He prays. And He prays. Luke tells us that Jesus "would withdraw to desolate places to pray" (5:16). 

When Jesus tells us that "apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5), He is inviting us into His life of a living dependence on His Heavenly Father. When Jesus tells us to believe, He isn't asking us to work up some spiritual energy. He is telling us to realize that...we don't have the resources to do life. When you know that you...can't do life on your own, then prayer makes complete sense."

When childlike dependence on our Heavenly Father is the cry of our heart, our hearts will sparkle with wonder, with childlike delight whether we are 30, 40 or 80 years of age!

"How precious is Your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and You give them drink from the river of Your delights. For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light do we see light."  Psalm 36:7-9

Monday, June 4, 2012

Happy Birthday Titus!

I have had an empty womb for the last 8 years. It's hard to believe! There was a time when I felt like I was always pregnant and now I can barely remember what it felt like to have a baby inside of me.  I am so thankful for the gift of life...both inside and outside the womb!

Today, my mommy's heart is full and so are my eyes as I thank God for the gift He has given our family in our son Titus! Eight years ago, today, Titus entered the world through a cut in my belly. The scar has since healed beautifully....and our dear boy has grown wonderfully!

Much of life, with 3 toddlers and a newborn, is a blur as I look back on it. I wish I had more memories stored in my head, but I am so thankful for pictures!!! I am not sure if they "jog the memories in my head" or if they actually recreate them :) but, either way, I am so grateful for them!

Titus was my only "summer baby" and I can remember how fun it was to see his barely clothed body sleeping, wiggling, and smiling. It was fun not having to bundle him all up and being able to spend extra time looking at his cute little feet and toes! And summer outfits are just so much fun! :)

Titus was an easy going fact, when he was 6 weeks old, we took him camping to Lake Tahoe with my parents! He slept under the table in their trailer in a make-shift bed. You have to be easy going to do that! Although, I distinctly remember at least one night where he ended up in his daddy's arms to sleep off his "fidgets".

Maybe that was the night that Titus sucked up all of Bryan's personality?!:)

Titus is not just a daddy's boy....he is his daddy's clone! Well, almost. I guess Bryan was not very opinionated and "stuck in his own way" growing up (and he still isn't now!)...but Titus has an opinion about everything and often lives as though having a different opinion than his is just plain dumb!:) For the most part, he is so easy going...but when he has determined he must have his own way, he often ends up with one sore bum and logs many hours on his bed!:)

Okay...back to being a daddy's boy. Titus has an imagination like his dad ( I was not born with an imagination gene!) Whatever interests him at the moment is not just something he plays's something he becomes. Policeman, Prince Caspian, Firefighter, Sheriff, Drummer, Pastor, etc...there is no half-way with's all or nothing.

He has amazing balance like his dad and, therefore, loves (and is REALLY good at) skate boarding and paddle boarding. In fact, Bryan took him paddle boarding yesterday for his birthday and he had a few "onlookers". Of course, when you put a cute 4 foot kid on a 10 foot board, I guess it's going to draw attention. :)

Titus also has his Daddy's humor. There is a lot of laughter in our house because of Bryan....and, with each passing year, Titus keeps us laughing more and more, too!

One "skill" he did not pick up from his Dad is that of drumming and singing. :) He has his Papa Parker to thank for the drumming and Nanny Pichura to thank for the singing, I think! He and Caleb often spend hours each day (yes, hours!) singing and "drumming". Up till now, his drum set as been a collection of helmets, tops of bins, sleeping bags, etc...

Today, that changed!:)

His collective birthday gift from all his relatives was a electronic drum set.  He was SO EXCITED! Thankfully, we caught it on video (see the bottom of this post). In fact, as I sit here typing, he just passed his third hour of drumming and singing this morning!

There is an excitement and "spark" to our house with Titus in it...and we are all so thankful to call him son, brother, and friend!

Dear Titus, 

Happy Birthday Tater-Tot! 

It's hard to believe you are 8 years old. Although, I have to say, you have really "grown-up" before our eyes these past few months. Gone is the little boy and, in his place, is a little young man who uses gel in his hair!:)  But there are still many things that I hope you never grow out of....the hugs, the "I love you's", your sensitive spirit, and your precious smile. 

You used to tell me that you wanted to marry me someday :) And, while you may know now that that is just not possible, I pray that I am and will continue to be a mom who seeks to live for Jesus and be like Jesus....and that, by the grace of God, I can be an example of what you should look for in a wife. 

And, I pray that you will not just follow Dad's example when it comes to skate boarding and paddle boarding...but that you will follow his example when it comes to loving Jesus. Your Dad thinks deeply on the things of the Lord, Titus. He loves Jesus and His Word most of all and THAT is what makes him a great Dad! I pray that his example will encourage you to be the man that God wants you to be!

Much has already been said, in this post,  about the joy that you bring to our home. You bring many giggles, smiles, laughs, and fun to our house!  We love you so much, sweet son!

All my love, 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Seek first His kingdom

Oh, how I love technology!


In fact, I couldn't even get onto my own blog to write a new post. They have updated things on my blogging sight and I couldn't figure it out!:)

Somehow, I managed to get here....and truthfully, that is about how life feels right now....somehow just managing to "do the next thing" by the grace of God! It's not's great's just busy. I am daily reminded how finite I am and how much I can't do on my own. You would think that would lead me to such a sweet, great, child-like dependence on the Lord...and yet, so often, I still find myself trying to "work it all out" on my own.  My mind will spin and spin with ideas, with solutions to problems, with plans, with details, with fears....but so often I don't stop the spin and fall at the feet of Jesus. I fall short of seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness.

Jesus isn't an "add-on". Jesus isn't an afterthought. Jesus isn't a last resort. Jesus isn't a genie in a bottle.

Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords. Jesus is Sovereign Ruler. Jesus is the only One who can change hearts, the only One who can solve every problem; the Holder of all details, the Dispeller of all fears, the Completer of all plans, and the Author of every life story.

I am reading a book on prayer...."The Praying Life" by Paul Miller and I have been humbly reminded of all the ways that my lack of prayer really shows my lack of dependence on the Lord. Here are some of his thoughts:

"If we think we can do life on our own, we will not take prayer seriously. Our failure to pray will always feel like something else - a lack of discipline or too many obligations....If you are not praying, then you are quietly confident that time, money, and talent are all you need in life. You'll always be a little too tired, a little too busy. But if, like Jesus, you realize you can't do life on your own, then no matter how busy, no matter how tired you are, you will find time to pray.

Time in prayer makes you even more dependent on God because you don't have as much time to get things done. Every minute spent in prayer is one less minute where you can be doing something "productive". So the act of prayer means that you have to rely more on God."

What a great thought! Isn't that so much like God?! The very things He asks us to do (like pray) are to be done so that He can display more of Who He is to us!!!!!

Paul Miller says it like this: "When you stop trying to control your life and instead allow your anxieties and problems to bring you to God in prayer, you shift from worry to watching. You watch God weave His patterns in the story of your life. Instead of trying to be out front, designing your life, you realize you are inside God's drama. As you wait, you begin to see Him work, and your life begins to sparkle with wonder. You are learning to trust again."

How many of us have lives that sparkle with wonder? It's something I have been thinking a lot about.

...more to come in the next few days!