Kara’s Collection: Abundant Living

from an article originally posted May 30, 2014...

Our gifts are not from God to us, but from God through us to the world.
~Janice Elsheimer

Oh my soul, life has been lived at such a lovely fast pace since school has been out. We have played, run away to the mountains, enjoyed the company of mamas and friends, and had the pleasure of having our favorite Nanny Mickey with us for a week. I was reintroduced to my favorite concert venue. Oh my soul, I would watch ANYTHING at Red Rocks Amphitheater. It’s just a stunning display of the best our state has to offer.

I want to spend it all this summer, every single ounce of energy and love I’m given. I want to fall into bed happily exhausted from the day of play and living near to Jesus and living from the overflow of that love onto the lives of those around me. I want to get dirty and get too much sun. I want to smell my kids as they are slathered in sunscreen and salty sweat. I want to stay up late watching movies and wake up slow, enjoying each child as they trickle in to catch love into our bed, maybe a slow snuggle shared with Curious George on PBS. Kids watching the naughty monkey-me watching the kids growing tall and brown, and wondrously unique and amazing.

I want to host dinners on our back porch of simple crunchy vegetables and dips and listening to children meet their imaginations that languished a little as they were bound to a chair for many months. I want to read books to myself, read books aloud, and sit in our rocking chairs on the porch, our outdoor chairs beside the fire, our mismatched chairs around our dinner table. I want to play with all these new babies, smell their sweet baby heads, and encourage the tired mamas that pass through my home. I want to champion their loving and raising of humans, excellent humans. Oh, Summer, you bring us the best of life. Summer, you are showing in your slow pace and hot days. Summer, you bring the drive-in and lush produce and spontaneous play with neighbors. Summer, you just got here and I’m already sad that there will come a time you will leave us.

I am happily exhausted from all of our going in our very first moments of summer break. I cannot maintain this pace, but I have loved every moment of our going: graduation, concerts, dinners, coffee dates, and baby love. The bookend of all this going was getting to love on a family that just welcomed their fourth baby into their family. I took my second born along with me and she and I loved as big as we could, and enjoyed the company of friends. We are home tired, drinking strong coffee, and planning our first summer family fun Friday. I think something tasty and slow tonight. We will end all this going with a fire and a new read aloud book before bed. I’m thinking a longer foot rub is in order for each of my littles. We have been going, and tonight we need to stop, meet, enjoy the quiet of just us—which isn’t quiet at all.

I am not a photographer, but I’m learning. Sharon and I laughed so hard as we tried to get everyone in a family photo together. We laughed and wrestled and begged everyone to look at the camera at the same time—the happy struggle of a large family. It was a mostly joyful time of trying to capture this sweet moment of welcoming a new family member. I had the privilege of rocking Sarah Francis last night while their daddy read the bigs their bedtime story. I was singing her songs and scratching her back when, in my sleepy state, I couldn’t remember anymore songs. Then, all at once, I started singing the songs from “Frozen.” Oh, this sweet little bit sang along with every song and we giggled and laughed and sang our hearts out. Her daddy is a professional singer; I was quietly worrying that she would tell me I wasn’t any good (which is an understatement) but sweet Franky just wanted to sing. She didn’t know the secret of my lame abilities. At least she didn’t tell me last night. I just love this family. I even learned how to play Risk. Play Risk, not win at Risk. It’s an amazing game. So here is the newest addition Rivka Mae less than one day old.

Then I couldn’t stay away, and at 3 days old I just had to return. Oh, I love these people. They are my people.

Oh, this spunky little bit. I can’t get enough of her.

Maggie is gentle and tender. She and Harper never stopped yesterday. Look at those tired eyes—those are the evidence of the best of childhood.

Abe is an inquisitive one. Last night he could not pick out an ingredient in the dinner I made. I wouldn’t tell him what the spice was, and his questions never stopped. He let me feed him to get the last bites down to make his daddy proud. We giggled as we tried to identify the spice. (I made the Bread and Wine enchiladas, they were creamy and delish.) Mama requested them, and new mamas get whatever their sweet heart’s desire. I was nervous because I had never attempted them, but they were easy and amazing like every other recipe in the book.

A daddy that understands the importance of play!

Seriously, just stop it. Look at this pretty baby!

We almost captured everyone... Almost…

Here it is—everyone looking.

Here it is—everyone looking.

I love Abraham here.

The reality of 6 captured here. I think we are trying to get the dog in this one.

This one came with the appropriate yucks from the kids.

I love this one! Okay. Here’s the shot! Harriet stealing the show!

Today I came home from Denver to find my first boxes from Door to Door Organics. Tomorrow I pick up my first basket from Bountiful Baskets. I’m going to compare the two and report back my findings. As I was going through my produce today, I found the strawberries were molded. I initially was disappointed, but then realized this is exactly why I’m doing this to see which company best fits our family. So I made a call to the company, and they were delightful, simply charming. They were so accommodating and lovely. I will report back all my findings. It’s really exciting. As a family, we are going to be eating a plant-based diet at home this summer. When we are out and about—everyone is free to make their own decisions. Ella made me promised to get her to a hamburger every once in a while.

How do you plan to spend your love this summer? How will you open your life to let those that need love the freedom to pass through your home and capture your love? It’s been given to you to give away—the world is desperately hurting—your big love matters. It truly does!