Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Colorado Trip, part 1

This summer, we took a trip to Colorado for a big Copeland family reunion.

Before meeting up with the larger Copeland clan, we met my parents and siblings and their families for a couple of days of sightseeing and hanging out.

The day we were in Colorado Springs was rather disappointing as the mountains were completely obscured by fog!

Standing in front of our hotel, Mom pointed up and said, "Pike's Peak is right there!" But all we could see was a wall of gray!

We headed to Garden of the Gods anyway to see what we could see.  It is less impressive without the mountains for backdrop!

We visited Hanging Rock which did not require a long-distance view.

Here are my kids with their cousins, one of whom was very amused by pretending to fall backwards off the rocks.

We had fun climbing the rocks and pretending to hold up the Hanging Rock.

Mostly because we were all together, and that's fun even without a gorgeous mountain view!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Sierra Nevadas

Some of you know that John and Will went on a backpacking trip to the Sierra Nevadas a few weeks ago.  It was, apparently, one of the hardest and most exhilarating experiences of their lives.

I can't provide much detail on exactly where any of this is and John and Will are both gone at the moment, but you can just admire the beautiful scenery.

The sun can be pretty intense, especially for a couple of pasty white boys.

God's amazing creation!

They came home with many stories, of both fun and pain.  And at the very least, they could say they had done it, they had endured, and survived.

I, for one, am very thankful for the survival part! I tried not to, but couldn't help imagining all the things that could go wrong on a trip like this with precipitous heights and crumbling mountain faces.  But the Lord kept them safe and brought them home!

As for whether or not they'll ever go again, Will says a definite, "No!"  John knows that Micah will want to go in a year or two so he hasn't said absolutely not, but perhaps it's too soon to contemplate going again!

Sunday, September 13, 2015


Hello again!

I was thinking the other day about why my blog lies abandoned for such long periods of time.  It certainly is not because we're not doing anything!  I identified a couple of common reasons, though:

1.  I am too lazy to download the pictures on my camera and who wants to hear about something fun we've done without a few pictures?

2.  We're busy but we're not doing anything that is really "blog-worthy" - whatever that means.

3.  At the end of a long day when I finally have a minute to sit down, the last thing I want to do is to craft an entertaining/amusing/thought-provoking/inspiring/whatever post.  I use up a lot of words in a day and even I run out of words at some point!  I don't need the pressure of that demanding little cursor blinking at me from the top of an empty page!

And so I don't write.

And then pretty soon I look and see that it has been four months since I last posted.

I know it's not like anything seriously depends on my writing my blog, but I like to think that it helps us to stay in touch with those we love, plus it lets me flex my writing muscles!  And since I don't scrapbook anymore, this is a good place to keep track of the kids as they grow.  

Grow up. And up. And up.  And then leave me!  Alone and desolate!  

I may be having the mommy version of senioritis.  My baby, my first baby, the most beautiful baby in the world (declared so by my grandmother and she would know), is a senior in high school!

Almost as hard to believe: Micah is in 10th, Johanna is in 8th, and Sam is in 4th.

I wrote all that several days ago.  As so often happens, I start in on something and then get called away by one thing or another and there it sits, abandoned, waiting for my return!

Well, I'm going to post this before I get called away again!

The above picture is from the first day of school.  Amazing how relaxed and even happy they were this time - so different from two years ago!  Praise the Lord!

And just to be sure Miss Evie doesn't get left out...


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Catching Up

In the immortal words of Ferris Bueller,

"Life moves pretty fast.  If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

And you certainly miss a lot of blog posts!  January to May this time!

Let me catch you up, just a little.

Easter in Wisconsin, visiting John's parents and his brother's family.  

This visit also included seeing Great-Grandma LeMahieu (Mary's mother), Great-Aunt Gladys, and Great-Aunt Lorraine (Bill's sisters-in-law).  In God's providence, Grandma and Aunt Gladys passed away on the same day, a few weeks after we were there, so we were especially thankful for the time we got to spend with them at Easter time. 

Minnesota friends.

John, Evie, and I travelled to Minnesota to help Mission OPC celebrate its 10th anniversary.  We saw many friends and acquaintances, some going back to our first days in Minnesota, and enjoyed celebrating the Lord's goodness there.  One particularly fun evening was had with three other couples from Mission - these ladies are my tribe.

New sunglasses - ready for summer!

Jr. Sr. Prom.

Will and his friend, Abby, who was very pretty in pink, attended together.  Everyone seems to have had a great time.  Will's vest and bow tie matched Abby's dress, and he was oh-so-handsome, if you will permit a very biased mother to say so.

That same weekend, we helped to celebrate my sweet niece's first birthday.  We also got to stay at Sean and Katie's new house and see their fine new digs. 

In between all of our travelling, we have enjoyed the spring colors here at home.  Spring is perhaps Philly's prettiest season.  I must say, though, that I'm not a fan of the allergies which are plaguing me as a result of all the unfurling, blooming, and sprouting.  I suppose I must be comforted that at least I can feast my itching, watery eyes on the spring finery.

Now we are into the merry month of May, where the school year winds up before it winds down!  Softball, track, concerts, practices, rehearsals, drama...oh, yes, and schoolwork...keep our days full and the weeks flying by!

So, that's a tiny catch-up on what's happening here!

We are looking forward to summer and hoping for a little time to catch our breath and maybe chill a little.  Maybe.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Miss Evie

Miss Evie turned 2 on New Year's Eve.

And what a two years it has been!

This girl has changed our lives, for sure.

Sometimes I look at her and can't believe how God has blessed us.  

I do that with all of my kids, but her arrival in our family was a very different journey from the others and all of the bumps in the road to making her a Shaw makes her all the more precious.

New Year's Eve was not only the second celebration of her birthday, it was the first annual celebration of the finalization of her adoption.  I think December 31 has become my favorite day of the year.

This one above is such a precious picture.  I gave it kind of a washed out effect to play up the natural light already there and up the sweetness factor of the love between these sisters.

Happy birthday, Miss Evie.  You are loved beyond human ability to measure.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Movie Review: Boyhood

Last night, John and I watched the film, Boyhood.

It is the story of a boy (duh) and follows him through his formative years, from about 3rd grade to going off to college.

What makes this film unique is that it was filmed, a little at a time, over the course of those years, using the same actors throughout.  

It had lots of bad language and things that make it inappropriate for kids and people who can't hear a story if it is wrapped in bad language.

(I have a similar problem; I can't hear a story if it is wrapped in bad grammar.)

It was, I'm afraid, an all too familiar story in America: single mom, there/not there dad, drunken step-dads, "poor choices," bad advice, drugs, pre-marital sex, heart-breaking consequences.

On the other hand, nothing ever seems that bad.  Many situations that could have been tragic were merely sad bumps in the road of life and everyone moves on, moves forward, makes the best of things as they come.

Toward the end of the movie, the main character has just graduated from high school and he asks his dad - who has turned into one of the most steady, positive influences in his life - what it all means.  If we're just going from one life event to the next and if by the time we're 40 we have no more idea of what it all means than when we were 18, what good is it all?  

A good question.

His dad's answer?  I can't remember exactly what he says, but it's basically, "D***ed if I know."

And yet, impossibly, the movie ends on a positive note, the boy's life seemingly full of possibility.

And the secular world claims that Christianity is based on faulty reasoning and wishful thinking!

The movie is well-done, the acting convincing, the characters engaging.  I'm sure it deserves any awards it receives.

But it is flawed in the same way everything is flawed apart from the gospel of Jesus Christ.  

If we are only working to be as comfortable as possible before we die, then we should all just quit right now.  

If, however, we are working for the glory of Someone bigger than ourselves, Someone who created us and planned for us, Someone who has called us, Someone who equips us to do what we are called to do, Someone who has gone before us, Someone who will call us to our true home when this life is done, only then does anything make sense, 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

January Reading List

One of my goals for this year...

(Notice I say "goals" and not "resolutions." This distinction is important as a goal is always there no matter how often I fail, but a resolution is broken as soon as I fail.  And I will fail.  But I'll try again because my goal will always beckon and never shame me for failing.) to read more books.  I do read and always have, but more and more I find that my attention span doesn't last long enough for me to finish a book.  Non-fiction has always been particularly hard for me to get through.  

So, I go play on the internet - pinning pretty pictures on Pinterest takes much less attention than following an argument or even a plot through a couple of hundred pages.

I was killing time before picking up a kid from basketball practice the other day and picked up a book from the sale rack.  It is called 

and is the story of two girls from the University of Iowa who went to New York City in the summer of 1945 to find work and ended up as couriers on the sales floor of Tiffany & Co.

It is a fun, quick read and a lovely picture of a brief moment in time.  They see many celebrities, like Judy Garland on her honeymoon with Vincente Minnelli, and meet a few; go "clubbing" at the Stork Club and La Martinique; eat lunch at the automat; watch the parade for General Eisenhower from the steps of the New York Public Library; and have all sorts of other adventures, only some of which make it into their carefully edited letters home!  

In a completely different vein, I am also reading 

by Jen Hatmaker.  She takes the five women named in Jesus' lineage and encourages women to see themselves as our Creator sees us, not as others see us.  I'm only two chapters in, but so far it's very encouraging.  

I'm always leary of books like this because authors can so easily use Scripture as proof texts for their own agenda, and someone like Jen Hatmaker can do it while making me laugh (although I don't think she has done it.  Not yet, anyway.).  It takes a level of discernment I hope I have.

My list of books to get to is long and only getting longer, but hopefully this year I will be diligent in using what down time I have to knock out a few, learn something new and extend my rapidly dwindling attention span.