This and that.

It's Friday!
A whole weekend ahead of us with plenty of enjoyment to be had.
We kick it off tonight by spending an evening with some dear friends and end with a Mother's Day celebration on Sunday.
Fun and rest seem all the sweeter after a week of hard work, don't they?

My gratefulness for the body of Christ seems to increase with my age. In the past week, we have needed a plumber, a therapist, a dermatologist, a car salesman, a network for a part-time job search, and prayer, and every single one was met through our brothers and sisters in Christ. A referral here, advice there, and prayer mixed in between. Thank You, Lord, for the beauty and joy of the body! You are all-sufficient to meet our every need, yet You give us people to join You in Your work. You don't have to - but You do! Thank You.

Meet our ducklings!

We have been enjoying them immensely these past two weeks! And since we actually know what we are doing this time, we have them on a feeding/playing/sleeping schedule! When it is time to eat the squawk like crazy, and when they are ready to be held they chirp in a way that says, "We want attention! Play with us!"
This experiment has been so much FUN!

~~~ The Summer Schedule (for Josiah, Isaiah, and Ellie) is DONE!
- 4 days peer week
- 2-3 hours per day
- One week off each month
Bible (we have a new book!), a unit study on character, math, and geography through literature. I am so excited!
The Eastman Academy does not close for the summer.
A) There are no crops to harvest (the original reason for summer break).
B) In the real world, no one except royalty and Mr. Darcy get to spend three months doing absolutely nothing, and we want our children to be prepared for the real world.
C) A productive summer allows for a lighter fall/spring academic schedule and gives us the opportunity to focus on something that didn't quite fit into our school year.
D) My children need structure and order or they fall apart.

Micah, Luke, and Caleb have a Summer Reading List and Math to accomplish each day, but all other scholastic studies will be set aside for the next three months while they WORK.
Micah asked to increase his hours to 20-25 hours per week at Chick-fil-A, and Luke will spend his second summer as the helpful sidekick of our friend who has graciously allowed him to work with him at his storage facilities. Our guys are so thankful for these jobs!

~~~ Josiah experienced something new and interesting on Thursday!
A friend sent me a message announcing that her seamstress friend needed a "size 12 boy" as a fit model for a boys clothing line and was I interested? Sure! Why not?
Jennifer invited us to her workshop so she could measure Josiah herself and determine if his body was "industry standard."
She was a deLIGHTful woman, full of energy and joy, and made the whole process pleasantly fun.
She took pictures, measured Josiah from head to foot, explained the ins and outs of the industry, walked us to the door, and told us she would contact me within the week if Josiah was chosen.
Chosen? I had no idea this was a "cast call!" #howdidInotcatchthisdetail
Children grow and change so quickly the seamstresses must replace their male/female fit models on a regular basis, whereas their adult fit models can work for years since they maintain size and stature.
"Really?" I asked. "Talk about pressure to stay the same size day after day, year after year!"
Jennifer said, "Yes. Even two inches can ruin an entire design, so if they fluctuate we have to find a new model."
I laughed OUT LOUD and said, "HA! I can change two inches after one really good Mexican dinner!"
It was an educational event, to be sure, and I think I will appreciate clothing a little more now that I know how much happens between the designer's sketch and the store shelf!

Honestly, I am not sure who enjoys our ducklings more. Me or the kids!
They make me smile and laugh.
Even watching them eat and drink is entertaining for they have a unique style and they do it with gusto!
My favorite part, however, is holding them. They start off chirping and climbing all over me (including in my hair) but then they settle in, get cozy, and fall asleep right in my hands.
Such a sweet time with God's creation!

~~~ Our Orphan Care ministry is exciting right now. So much is happening!
New placements, God moving on behalf of children who are being held up in the bureaucracy of the system, and six adoptions in the last six months for three of our church families.
God is good and He is truly the Father of the fatherless!
Sing to God, sing praises to His name; lift up a song to Him who rides through the deserts; His name is the Lord; exult before Him!
Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in His holy habitation. Psalm 68:4-5

~~~ Mother's Day.
A day that finds women rejoicing ~ and weeping.
Mother's Day is not a joyful one for many, many women.
Pray for those with empty arms.
Pray for those who have lost their own mothers, or are estranged from them.
Pray for those whose children are rebellious and angry and want nothing to do with them.
And before you walk into the church sanctuary or arrive at a brunch, ask the Lord to help you SEE the woman who needs extra kindness on Sunday. A word - a touch - a smile - a hug.
For, as Scripture says,
Even in laughter the heart may ache,
and the end of joy may be grief. Proverbs 14:13

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