10 months and counting

Ginny is 10 months old today.


She has a single tooth coming through her upper gums.  She has waved bye-bye, said  “a-done” when she was done with her lunch one day, and she is starting to really understand hugs as being different from someone just holding her.

Her favorite game is let me hold your hands and walk endlessly around the room.  This game can only be played by one adult and Ginny at a time.  Which is good.  Cause it is backbreaking.  Cute though.

Ginny’s second favorite game is to stand at her little “piano” and play it so she can dance (well, bounce in place and laugh.  But that’s dancing when you are only 10 months old).  It is actually a LeapFrog brand toy that encourages the development of motor skills.  Not to mention giggles.  It definitely develops the giggle reflex.


The reason I finally caved in and bought it is because the music it makes is very jazz oriented, so it doesn’t make me insane.  Most other kids toys/noisemakers make me want to go ….well…not to put too fine a point on it…somewhat postal.

I actually kinda like this toy.

But that’s not why I’m posting today.

I’m posting because we have new photos of Ginny.

ginnytophatcolor small

There are many that I can’t post.  She does have to forgive me for these someday after all…but this one is my all time favorite.

bw martin and ginny small



looking up

I’ve been thinking a lot about photography lately.  I’m working on developing a relationship with a photographer that I am hoping will be taking photos of Ginny and of us for years to come.  Probably at least four sessions a year.  And with all that focus in my head I’ve been looking more closely at poses.

And something hit me.

Did you ever notice that people are more beautiful when they are looking up?      First of all I’m not talking about exagerated poses here.  I’m talking about the difference between someone standing looking down at a person sitting behind a desk (that’s looking down) and the perspective of the person looking up at the guest (that’s the looking up).

try an experiment.

Get someone with a digital camera to take three photos of you.

1. looking up at them

2. looking down at them

3. looking forward at them

which one do you like best?

the best photos of me EVER are ones where I am looking slightly up.

misc photos 017


Narcissistic of me eh?

well I’m not bringing this up to make some personal beauty point or to tell you how to look best in photographs.

I think it has a spiritual application.

I think we all look best when we are in a servant position.  When we deliberately subordinate ourselves and put others “above” us.

Maybe that’s one reason children are so adorable, …..they are always looking up.  And as a child of God,  shouldn’t my attention, my spiritual eyes be turned towards Him?

Haven’t really decided where I’m going with this.  Maybe just that there is one more reason to be focused on God:  we are beautiful in His sight.

and from His angle.

change the world

This weekend I get to go to Atlanta Fest.  A Christian Music festival held in a park near my hometown.

Go here if you want to know more.

There’s a great line-up of musicians and speakers.

But I’m not going for that.

It will be a great day out in the sun, praising Jesus through loud music.

While that is wonderful, I’m not going for that.

I’m gonna lose at least three pounds just sweating in the Georgia heat.

fantastic.  But that’s not why I’m going.

I’m going because of a kid named Esteban.

And one named Kiran. And millions of others whose names I don’t yet know, but whose packets I will get to see on Saturday.

I’m going to Atlanta Fest because I am excited about the privilege of working at the Compassion booth.  My shift is only from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m.

I doubt I’ll be able to change the world in just 4 hours.

But, God willing, we may be able to change someONE’s world.

Compassion works very differently than a lot of other charities.  Compassion goes to a lot of trouble to put the real donors in constant touch with the real beneficiaries; the children.

When you sign up to sponsor a child you aren’t giving money to go into some pool with no way of understanding the impact except through some generic form letter that all donors get twice a year.  Nope. Compassion spends a vast amount of energy making sure that you and your sponsored child can exchange direct letters.

Talk about soccer players you each like.

Write about your struggles and the verse God gave you to help you through it.

Send photos and drawings that will be treasured and be ready to put up drawings that will get sent to you.

You can have a lifelong RELATIONSHIP with a child across the world from you.  And those letters, that relationship means almost more to these kids than the money.

When you walk up to a Compassion table, you will see packets.  Each packet is the ONLY packet on that child.  It’s not like getting an information leaflet that you can fool yourself into thinking is just worth the paper and ink.  No the weight, the reality of a child adds heft. meaning to that piece of paper.

Its the same way when you get your first letter from your actual child.  That is when it really becomes real.  You have opened your heart to someone a world away.  Someone who needs you.  I’m hoping that my sponsorship of Esteban will not only impact him and his family, but also give my own child a sense of perspective.  Foster a sense of compassion in her from an early age.

The work Compassion does is something I feel very strongly about (can you tell?) but here’s the rub: when I feel strongly about things, I have a tendency to be a bit much.  In conversation especially, and sometimes even on the blog.  Sometimes I’m sarcastic (when I think I’m being funny), sometimes I’m just too enthused and excited and it comes across as pushy.  All of which scares me.  I’m going to be helping represent these children to the public on Saturday and I don’t want my sometimes forceful personality to get in the way.

So please pray for me? pray that God would just shove my personality under the table and that HE would shine out and bring Glory to Himself.  I want to speak only God’s words.

And pray for the people at Atlanta Fest this weekend.  That God would be preparing hearts to honor him by taking care of the least of these.

oh, and you don’t have to come to Atlanta Fest in order to sponsor a child.  You can go on-line and search for a child to connect with, pray for and help change their world.

summer fun 2009

technically this doesn’t count as Ginny’s first swimming experience.  It was just a water/playmat thing.  You hook up a hose to it and water sprinkles out in all kind of neat ways that Ginny loved playing with.  It belongs to our neighbor who invited us over to hang out in the yard.

But it was her first time outside

in a bathing suit

playing in water that wasn’t a bathtub.

so I felt it deserved at least a few photographs.

ginny and annabelle

ginny and annabelle

ginny and her new favorite chew toy: a frog

ginny and her new favorite chew toy: a frog

I like the water mommy!

I like the water mommy!

Ginny also grasped the concept of waving byebye and saying byebye today.  and I THINK she said “a-done” for all done when she was ready to stop eating at lunch.

oh, and I have to show you how cute she was this morning in her hair bow that Auntie Missy sent

she's the bald one. the one with all the hair is Martin

she's the bald one. the one with all the hair is Martin

is this girl a flirt or what?

is this girl a flirt or what?

I don’t know how I go to work everyday and leave her with my mom.  I really don’t.  I’m completely jealous.

Boulder photos

tired mommy, happy Ginny

tired mommy, happy Ginny

This is a pretty good depiction of what we looked and felt like after that 12 hour airport ordeal.  Bleary eyed and happy to finally be barefoot and at the cabin.  Ginny’s bottle was being heated up and we were only about 20 minutes from bed at this point.  ah….heaven.

the wall of family history

the wall of family history

This is the grand-kids wall.  There is a kids wall that is the whole family from Martin’s generation.  Seems like Everybody who grew up as a Russell or Spears kid has their hand print and height marked on this wall.   These bathrooms will NEVER be re-painted.  This was like the final symbolic culmination of our adoption of Ginny.  If you enlarge the photo I think you can see the her little hand is resting on her hand tracing.  I got goose bumps when we did this.

mama altie, martin, ginny & me

mama altie, martin, ginny & me

This, of course, is the obligatory shot of the family in Boulder. I think we all pose here in this spot every time.  I love having tea out on that porch and just gazing at the mountains.

well hail did freeze over…

Okay. This weekend went better than I expected on a number of fronts.

First off I took out that wretched pony tail while I was still at work on Friday.  I went to the bathroom armed with a hairbrush and an iron determination that I would come out of there with hair that looked at least marginally decent and was comfortable.

okay, now don’t freak out.  I rinsed my head in the sink and re-stlyed it right there in the bathroom.

Yes.  You read that correctly.  Short hair does have it’s occasional benefits.

So, that took care of my headache and I set out for the airport in a much more cheerful frame of mind.

which was a good thing.  Because the airlines were not my friend this weekend.

We got through security just fine.  I really think we are starting to get a handle on this whole “getting us and baby and baby’s stuff through security” gig.  No problem there.

We got on the plane.

the plane sat at the gate.

and sat.

and sat.

confession time.  I had deliberately timed Ginny’s feedings so that she would want a bottle during take off.  Which is one of the best ways I know of to keep a baby’s ears/eustacean tubes comfortable during such a rapid change in altitude.  But the plane is just sitting.  And Ginny was getting past hungry and into angry.  I finally gave up and decided that we’d better go ahead and feed her.

good choice as it turns out.

FORTY FIVE MINUTES LATER the mechanics finally signed off on whatever it was they were doing and we could leave the gate.

Have I mentioned that we timed our flight so that we would arrive in Denver one hour before Martin’s mother?  Have I also mentioned we had concerns about Mama Altie’s safety if she were to find herself alone in the airport.  We HAD to get to that gate.

yup. so the “paperwork issues” have eaten up 45 minutes of our safety margin.  Ya’ll we HAVE to get to Mama Altie’s gate before she has a chance to wander off on her own.

I prayed.

then we hit rough weather.

I prayed some more.

Apparently I prayed too hard.

When we landed in Denver we rushed over to Mama Altie’s gate….only to hear that her flight from Dallas had not even left the ground yet.  (by the way, just TRY rushing through any airport these days with a stroller.  it’s an adventure)

Weather and mechanical difficulties in Dallas.

alrighty then.

We now have a tired, hungry baby. A tired, but compliant mommy, and a frustrated Martin.

I won’t bore you with the catalogue of our loooong evening in the Denver airport, but let’s just say that we still had many more hours to go before we had finally collected everyone and everything and gotten in the car on the way to the cabin.  All in all we spent 12 hours on Friday in the airport.

I am so glad I took the pony tail down.  It may have saved lives.

The rest of the weekend went pretty much as planned.


Except for the TWO INCHES OF HAIL. In Boulder, CO. in June.  On the way to the airport.  Which delayed our leaving Denver and resulted in us landing back in Atlanta at 1:30 a.m.

but, hey we met the Life University Rugby Team on the plane.

and Ginny slept beautifully for most of both the flight out and the flight back.

And I won something from AllKidsFurniture! An outdoor table for Ginny to play at from Missy over at It’sAlmostNaptime.

So basically life is good and I’m glad to be home.

don’t cross the screams..I mean streams

I was getting bogged down (or is that blogged down?) in the search for a new blog name.

All kinds of creative things were percolating around in my busy brain.  I knew I liked the water/bridge motiff.  I really liked the stream idea, since they are such a great metafore for life.  Water, the Holy Spirit, peace, the music water makes, the water 0f life.  These are all things I wanted to work with.  did you ever think about how a stream would not make music if it didn’t have rocks to gurgle over?   if the bed of the stream was perfectly smooth, there would be no musical tinkle and trickle and flowing sounds.  Our lives are like that.  We need obstacles and things to flow over in order to make music for our creator and our fellow creatures.

sorry. small digression there. 

Finally one person suggested something so blindingly simple.   It stopped my whirlingbrain in its tracks.

She said that she had never realized the pun, she always read the blog title inside her head as “stream of consciousness” and it wasn’t until she went to put me in her blog roll that she realized that it was something else.

So, I’m going the easy route.  The URL will remain screamofcontinuousness, but the blog title will be

stream of consciousness

Now I just have to learn how to consistently spell consciousness properly.  Without having to think about it so hard.