Monday, October 29, 2007

The Pumpkin Patch

Late Saturday afternoon, we headed to the Linder Farm for a fun evening with our dear friends, the Mullins. They are always so much fun to be with and a great activity is always so much more fun for the kids when the Mullins kids are along. The weather was perfect, a little crisp, but not too cold. We enjoyed the ride to the pumpkin patch first, ate a hamburger, and then headed to the corn maze. By the time we finished, we were getting a little cold, but we had a gorgeous full moon to light the path. Here are a few pictures...enjoy.

Tucker, Jayce, Lauren, Preston, Brandon, Zach, Drew, Kendra and Kaden.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Kids "hard at work"

Wow! When mom leaves for the evening, interesting things happen at the French household! I must say that Robb is wonderful to watch the kids for the evening so that I can go to a meeting, book club, or just "out". He loves the chance to be with the kids and never complains. He does, however, have a knack for marrying work and play and the kids are usually always involved in a project when left with dad. Though they end up working, they always have a great time with it (so unlike when they are left with mom and it's time to work; there is little play involved, I'm sad to say). This particular night was the night of the BSU football game, thus the earphones on Robb's neck and Jayce's shirt (he faithfully finds his shirt and changes on the night of games).

While Lauren and Drew actually applied red paint to the trim of our outbuildings, Jayce and Tucker spent some time "painting water" onto the side of the building. I thought that was quite clever of Robb. It sure made clean-up easier!
I know that the kids will always remember these times with Dad and I am so thankful for the wonderful father and husband we are all blessed to have in our lives.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

10th Birthdays and Violin Music

Our sweet Lauren turned 10 this week! It is hard to believe that she has been with us a decade now...she adds so much love and enjoyment to our lives! My parents were coming to town for a Dr. appt. the day before her birthday, and her violin teacher had been on us for her to do her violin recital, so we made quick plans and had the recital Monday night. 18 people were here to hear her play 19 songs form memory (well, she had to peek to play one Gavotte). She played beautifully and the recital ended with Lauren and her teacher playing a rousing rendition of "How Great Thou Art". It was a gorgeous arrangement and they were several wet eyes. I accompanied her on the piano and my arms were tired ...I'm sure hers were too!
After all of that hard work, it was time to open presents! She loves the Andy Griffith shows and received 2 DVDS.
Also, a fun new Nancy Drew scrapbook...
These pictures are out of order, but this is the next night on her "real" birthday when we took her friend Meredith and went bike riding on the Boise Greenbelt. The fall colors were amazing!!

Here she is before playing, feeling nervous. Gramps calmed her down and told her that everyone was on her side, cheering for her!

Two special ladies from church; our children's pastor, Pastor Michelle, and Rachel, who worked with Lauren in Kids Praise Team.
More of the "audience"...Lauren's biggest supporters!
Her daddy and Nana made the table so pretty.
We are so proud of our girl! She is a treasure and we can see the "fingerprints of God" when we look at her!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Very Special Man

On October 9th, 61 years ago, a little boy named Thomas Harley McCall entered the world. He was the oldest of four children and set a Godly example for them when he, as a 12 year old boy, felt God's call upon his heart, even though he was not raised in a Christian home. He answered the calling to preach and later married his sweetheart, Carol. This wonderful man is my father and I have been so blessed to have his influence upon my life for all these years. There is so much I could say about him; here are a few things that we all love about him:

  • His kind heart..he has never been known to be harsh, even when frustrated or upset. I never feared him as I was growing up, and never wanted to make him sad. He always feels for the underdog.
  • His fun laugh...those of you who know him can recognize that laugh (and the red face to go with it).
  • The way he has influenced his family and changed what could have been. One of the things that amazes me is how he faced the challenges from his unhappy childhood, and determined to do things differently as a father. He did not use his past as an excuse to live as he was raised, but has now set into place a new legacy.
  • His interaction with his grandchildren. When around any of his 11 grandsons or 3 granddaughters, he can always be found hugging, holding, or playing with one or more of them. He has made his place in Montana a paradise for little boys (and girls) and my kids so love going there to see them. He is always ready to help little people tie shoes, eat their dinner, hold bottles, saddle up horses, or start four-wheelers. Not being able to grow up around a grandfather, I absolutely love to see him with my children. I hope they always know how blessed they are to have him in their lives.
  • His absolute love for God...he has made a career out of studying the Scriptures, but beyond that, you can see a deep love of the Word of God. One of my favorite things to do with him late at night is to watch old Gaither movies, and before too long, I will always see his eyes wet with tears as he worships with the music.
  • His model of marriage...he and my mom are the best of friends and it has been so enjoyable to watch them (especially since I've been married). He treats my mother so sweetly, and in turn, she spoils him to death. Dr. Laura would approve! I never once heard the word "divorce" in regards to them. What a treasure to be an observer of their relationship!

There really could be pages of things to say about him...I will leave with one last thought from my Lauren (as she is looking over my shoulder): "I love the way he is generous with donuts and how he doesn't like the smell of dirty diapers, but does love the smell of baby lotion."

He's truly a good and Godly man and I want to say "Happy Birthday!" I love you!

An Unexpected Blessing

Monday evening around 5:30, Robb called me and said that a friend had extra tickets to the "Casting Crowns" concert, set to start in 90 minutes. We quickly changed clothes, made arrangements for the kids, loaded up the baby, and headed out. We arrived a little late only to find that it was a "guy's night out" (Robb had missed that slight point in the conversation with his friend). But I think God had other plans; He wanted me to be there. The guys were gracious and it was a very worshipful evening. Every song they sang touched my heart. They really know how to write songs that speak to where "the rubber hits the road", so to speak, about a real walk of faith.

One song that seems to remind me of myself is entitled "Somewhere in the Middle". It talks about our walk with God and how we are not always the person we long to be, with the faith we want to have. Contradictions... and then the song ends by saying that God sees us where we are in our walk and loves us anyway. That's not to say that we shouldn't be striving to be more Christ-like, but we do need to remember that we are not the ones holding onto God, but rather, He is holding onto us.

Somewhere between my heart and my hands

Somewhere between my faith and my plans

Somewhere between the safety of the boat and the crashing waves

Somewhere between a whisper and a roar

Somewhere between the altar and the door

Somewhere between contented peace and always wanting more

Somewhere in the middle you’ll find me

Fearless warriors in a picket fence

Reckless abandon wrapped in common sense

Deep water faith in the shallow end and we are caught in the middle

With eyes wide open to the differences, The God we want and the God who is

But will we trade our dreams for His or are we caught in the middle

Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender without losing all control

Lord, I feel you in this place and I know you’re by my side

Loving me even on these nights when I’m caught in the middle.