Now

Hello there!
Have I told you lately how grateful I am that you stop by here week by week? You all encourage and bless my heart. I’m thankful that you all take me as I am: sometimes super serious, sometimes theological, sometimes creative, sometimes not so much, and sometimes just eager to share God’s goodness in grace often overlooked.

Today, I’m just counting some of those blessings…
Everyday moments around our house | gracelaced.com

I’ve been loving the family we are becoming this summer. I’m not necessarily loving the hard work or the commitment to the things we’ve determined to work on…but I’m thankful to see small signs of fruit…

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We are taking time for one on one time…photo (83)

…and working to embrace changes that might cause discomfort or make us insecure about where we stand in this world…photo (84)

…we are working to be more deliberately kind, more easily blessed by those around us…photo (86)

…and we are continuing to learn to grow, right where we are planted…

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…knowing that family, no matter what season of life, needs purposeful cultivation, and doesn’t just grow on its own…photo (89)

…and we are more aware than ever, that the path to manhood…photo (90)

…begins with serving others…photo (91)

…that it doesn’t take much to make another soul smile…

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…that it’s simply appreciating the best things in someone else, and not harboring the worst…

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…and that everyone needs a good downpour of tears and rainfall sometimes…photo (92)

…because we simply can’t know his promises without going through the deluge of pain…

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…and we can’t know how to lean and trust on Him unless we become a child…

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…because, really, the loveliest moments are often the ones you see in hindsight, now.

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Treasuring Yesterday, Welcoming Tomorrow {4 Day Old Photo Shoot}

My sweet little Mancub #6 turned two months just a few days ago. It has been two months of short nights and long days. And yet, it has been two months of nuzzling noses and kissing cheeks…holding him close because babies don’t keep.

God is so gracious; where I’ve lacked in sleep and energy, he’s provided for in rest and renewal. Where there could be chaos and frustration with boys home for the summer all day every day…he’s provided a newfound love affair with each of their quirks and in each of their little souls. The days pass too quickly, as seen visibly in the first few months of a newborn’s life. But, sometimes it’s easy to stop noticing once they are older, until you see snapshots from days passed by. I want to get better at seeing everyday with forward eyes…and not from the rear view mirror.

Newborn Pics of Baby Boy 6 | gracelaced.com

My dear friend Amy captured these photos of our family just four days after Haddon’s arrival. We didn’t coordinate clothing, prepare, pose, or use props. We just did our thing on a Saturday morning– as a family. And she captured it, and caught moments with our littlest– moments we will never have again. I’m so grateful for these reminders of the past, and see in each picture, the hope of what is to come. Life lived forward is life lived believing that God is forever transforming, forever growing, and forever making what was into what we cannot imagine will come. 

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Newborn Pics of Baby Boy 6 } gracelaced.com DSC_0347edweb DSC_0311edweb

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Hug your kids today. Take some pics with them. And make today a day you treasure the moments you won’t get back…and anticipate, with eyes wide open, the ones that are coming your way. Be blessed!

 

12 Things To Remember When Spending Time With Family

12 Things To Remember When Spending Time With Family | gracelaced.comThe older you get, the more you appreciate family.
I only get to spend about one week each year with my parents and my brother and his family. We were altogether for 3 of those days this year. For those of you who do not have regular or weekly opportunities to spend time with family, you know what it’s like to store up expectations for connecting and being together, just to feel overwhelmed by all that you desire for such a short amount of time. There is a delicate art to family reunions and vacations. I’m no pro; I’m a perpetual pupil. Nevertheless, here are some notes I’ve jotted down in reflection of my weekend with those that I see so little, but love so much.

12 Things To Remember When Spending Time With Family | gracelaced.com

1. Be flexible. Spending time together is more important than how perfectly orchestrated that time turns out to be.

2. There’s a right time to say everything. Think before speaking your mind, no matter how true or pure of heart you think you are.

3. Your family members aren’t always who they used to be. You aren’t either.

4. Keep short accounts.

5. Some of the best memories you’ll ever make will be recounting the best memories of the past.

6. Wonderful time can be shared in silence with those you love.

7. It’s okay to break tradition in order to form new ones.

8. Everyone is going through something they’d love to share with someone willing to listen.

9. Relationships either grow or wane; they don’t stay the same. You are either working towards one or the other.

10. Ten years from now, no one will remember what you said, but how you said it.

11. The gospel covers with grace the wounds that threaten to resurface again and again.

12. A better family begins with you loving Christ more, and loving yourself less.

What would you add to this list? What are some key things you focus your heart on when spending time with family?

12 Things To Remember When Spending Time With Family | gracelaced.com

12 Things To Remember When Spending Time With Family | gracelaced.com

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Linking up in community…

Welcome to GraceLaced Mondays, a link up dedicated to sharing any and all blog posts by like-minded lovers of grace–God’s grace! Grace is found in the everyday when you are intentional about taking note of it…and I invite you to share your story, great or small, of how everyday moments are full of Grace.

*Link back to GraceLaced –so your readers can find us here– by copying and pasting the code below into the html page of your post. (Make sure you scroll down and copy the entire code, thanks!)

*Please link up your post, not your blog’s home address.

*Enter the name of your blog post, not your own name.

*Visit the other links and leave a comment–everyone loves comment love!

*Add your link anytime this week!

GraceLaced Mondays
GraceLaced Mondays

 

Little Bits Of Life Lived In The Last Month

The last month seems to have left me regrouping, pensive, and generally quiet. I haven’t been interested in saying something just to be heard. Nothing seems worth saying until you own it. I know I’ve said this often, but I’ll say it again: You have to be living if you want to write about life. Sometimes it’s tempting to make it the other way around– speak first, think later. Blog first, live later–that just simply won’t work for me, and I pray it doesn’t for you. The internet can be noisy, but it doesn’t have to be. I’m beyond honored and blessed that you join me here…when I’ve got to much to say…and when I’m still thinking through the hardships and joys in my own life and the world around us.

Here’s a little tour through my month in pictures. Many moments of joy captured, many struggles and heartaches woven in between…and God’s purposes spoken clearly in love even when you may be at a loss for words.

This little Mancub #5 turned 2 at the very end of April…

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The whole fam took him on a train ride up to Santa Fe, just the 8 of us. It was great fun…even if I was only a little more than one week post partum.

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Camera worthy or not…I’ve been trying to take more pics of me with Number 6, even though he’s been a fussy little one, and photogenic moments are scarce.

GraceLaced family pics

The beginning of May found me 2 weeks post partum, but pressing through with a labor of love, a painting to be auctioned at our school’s annual benefit gala…

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These tulips were painted in dark hours of the night and in the early light of day. Instead of bright and cheery blooms, I painted ones that reflected my pensive and quiet mood. I was so thrilled to see it sell for over $1,325…what an honor.

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This was Mr. Simons and I on the night of the event. Maybe I’m over-spiritualizing it, but I sure felt God’s gracious love for me when I found this dress at Dillard’s for a mere $30 on clearance when nothing in my closet fit me. 🙂

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As the weather warmed up, the kids and I made time to head to Grandma’s house, where each of us got to enjoy some R & R…

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I can’t tell you how many games of chicken foot I’ve played with this 4 yr. old. He is a genius at the game, and is equally disappointed at losing. The art of enjoying the game is what we’ve been working on…

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This is one of the few pics we’ve gotten as a family of 8, here, attending a 50s themed birthday party of special friend.

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…and as a side note, Number 5 is definitely in the “terrible twos.” We are intentionally and purposefully combating the tantrums, belligerance, and willfullness emanating from such a small and sweet munchkin. I’ve been down this road five other times, but it really isn’t any easier this time around. Consistency and deliberate training is exhausting! But praise the Lord…I have seen it’s fruit, again and again.

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My dear father-in-law turned 70 this month. It was a joy to host family from near and far for a Sunday dinner in honor of his special day.

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And, finally, as my little one turns 6 weeks old, my parents are now here from California to enjoy quality time with their 10th grandchild. I don’t know what is better than seeing good parents become great grandparents.

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These are just some of the little moments that have happened around here this past month? Not everything that’s worth documenting has to be big. I hope you are taking note of your days in small ways, even if there are seasons when you don’t feel there is much to say and really no energy to process it all anyway. It might be taking all you’ve got just to keep on living genuinely and with purpose. If so, you are in good company; right now–that’s enough for me.

Coming To America and The Breakfast Quesadilla

Coming To America and The Breakfast Quesadilla

My family immigrated from Taiwan to the United States when I was three years old. My parents started a life from scratch, with hardly any English under their belts. I learned quickly, but really didn’t converse fluently until the first grade. Moving to New Mexico furthered the culture shock. My parents did not have much use for tacos, pinto beans, and enchiladas. They were homesick for jiaozi, congee shops, and jian bing–an egg and flour savory pancake sprinkled with chopped green onions. It’s more like a crepe, really. A savory breakfast crepe. Troy and I ate one hot off the griddle at the base of the Great Wall of China. (That may have been the most delicious thing I ate that entire summer. I digress.)

My parents have never made a trip back to Taiwan. The closest thing to jian bing was the making of a breakfast quesadilla with flour tortillas. Chinese folks in New Mexico — they were resourceful. Cultures have common denominators in food and family. Different ingredients and flavors, but common vehicles and values around the table. Homesickness can be the start of new traditions; it’s why I make breakfast quesadillas for my family today. My mom and dad wouldn’t have added the shredded cheese or bits of ham. You may be the sort that adds swiss and mushrooms.

Reinventing themselves, their tastebuds, and dreaming new dreams for their future was not just resourceful; it was brave. I’m understanding that more and more, as we raise a family that chooses some of one culture and some of another. We are seeking to make a recipe for family that is uniquely our own. You’ve gotta make it your own before you can call it home.

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The Breakfast Quesadilla
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Author: Ruth Simons
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 15 mins
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • spray oil
  • 2-3 eggs
  • 2 large tortillas
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/2 cup diced ham (or slices of lunch meat if that’s all you’ve got)
Instructions
  1. Beat the eggs and set aside.
  2. Lightly spray a large non-stick pan, and heat the pan at medium heat. Pour the beaten eggs into the pan, rotating it gently so that the egg is spread evenly over the bottom of the pan.
  3. While the top of the eggs is still wet, gently place a tortilla on top, covering the entire surface of the eggs. Lightly spray the tortilla with oil and let the eggs beneath finish cooking. With a long spatula, test to see that the egg is done. When it is done, carefully flip the egg with the tortilla completely over so that the tortilla is at the bottom of the pan.
  4. Sprinkle cooked egg surface with diced ham, and then shredded cheese (in that order, so that the tortilla will stick). Place another tortilla on top of the cheese. Spray the tortilla with oil once again, and flip the quesadilla one final time so that the other side can also be grilled and golden.
  5. Let cool slightly before cutting into wedges, and enjoy!

 

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When The Family Gathers ‘Round The Table

The last significant time the Lord Jesus spent with his disciples before his crucifixion was over a meal. He chose to memorialize his broken body and spilled blood in the everyday elements of bread and wine.
The table– the family meal— is a significant place of connecting, training, investing, and nourishing more than our physical bodies.

Meaningful mealtimes

On the Good Friday, I’m at Mom Heart today, sharing about meaningful mealtimes around the dinner table, and tips for how to achieve that intentional time. Join me there!

Of Dim Sum and Family Reunions

Several weeks ago, we had an opportunity to make a last-minute trip to Colorado Springs to meet up with my parents who were going to be visiting. Driving 7 hours each way over the course of a weekend was more than worth it for the chance to reunite my parents with my family and my brother’s family…all in one place, at the same time…for a total of 24 hours.

We were so blessed and excited to all be together, we really could’ve done nothing at all but sit around and chat and we would have been happy. But no, we did not sit around. At the top of the list was a family dim sum lunch. Don’t know what it is? You really must find out. It’s like afternoon tea and tapas combined. It IS my love language. 🙂 It’s Chinese culture in a meal: hot tea, small morsels of intricate flavors that come by cart, boisterous conversations, and hours of slow savoring.

My mom, my niece, and Number 3. These two are three days apart!

And of course, there was the Auntie (me) taking pics of the adorable nephew (Shepherd). Yes, Gap-model baby…

Delicious. I could eat him…with or without whipped cream. Slurp. Chomp. Yum.

The rest of the family got snapped as well. I finally captured some of my super-active 1.5 yr. old Number 5. He’s a character. And completely edible as well. These photos are gold to me!

My parents with all 9 of their grandkids.

If you have family nearby, don’t forget to hug them soon and share meals frequently. What grace it is to have family…near or far. We can make the most of whatever time we have together–even when it’s only 24 hours!