Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Peep, A Mess, A Flower and A Goodbye

This post has a lot of miscellaneous pictures from this week.  Enjoy!

Claire enjoying her first Peep – a pumpkin.  Yummy!002

One night this week, as Claire was eating her dinner, she kept saying what we thought was the word “hot.”  (She often says her food is hot and blows on it – even if it was never heated, i.e. a peanut butter sandwich.  Everything is deemed hot and blown on.)  Turns out she was saying “hat.”  Oh the difference one little letter makes!  The result – a big mess but very cute pictures.099



We Nortons believe in celebrating Christmas for a few months.  We put up our tree this week.  We bought a new tree this year – one that will go in Claire’s room next year, but it is perfect for our apartment this year.  (We bought shatterproof ornaments and tied them onto the tree with ribbon – so no worries about broken glass or ornament hanger injuries.)  Claire LOVES her tree.  She calls it “flower.”  (It doesn’t really look like a tree.)  And she calls all of the ornaments “ball.”  Too cute!106


And finally, we flew to Houston this week and listed our house for lease.  We are making the move to Memphis official.  Goodbye, house.093 033





And the room that was hardest for me to say goodbye to – Claire’s room.  I dreamed about this room for years.  I carefully chose every detail, and Steve worked so hard to make my dreams a reality.  This is the room where my baby slept and played.  Every time she walks into her room, she looks around with big eyes and declares it “pretty.”  I love this room.070


Goodbye, house.  You were an answer to prayer.  You provided shelter and comfort.  We know that you will be a blessing to the next family who finds refuge within your walls.  We are moving onto greater blessings.

Today we are headed to the Pumpkin Festival at church.  Tomorrow, we are attending church and then a party.  More pictures next week…  Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Love and marriage

A man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. –Genesis 2:24

This verse is God’s original blueprint for how marriage is supposed to work.  It involves a tearing away and a knitting together.  It reconfigures existing relationships while establishing a brand new one.  Marriage changes everything.  ‘Leaving’ means that you are breaking a natural tie.  Your parents step into the role of counselors to be respected, but can no longer tell you what to do.  The purpose of ‘leaving,’ of course, is not to abandon all contact with the past but rather to preserve the unique oneness that marriage is designed to capture.  Without ‘leaving’ you cannot do the ‘cleaving’ you need, the joining of your hearts that’s required to experience oneness.  ‘Cleaving’ carries the idea of catching someone by pursuit, clinging to them as your new rock of refuge and safety.  As a result of this essential process, you are now free to become everything God meant when He declared you ‘one flesh.’  Leave.  And cleave.  And dare to walk as one.”

Today’s Dare:  Is there a “leaving” issue you haven’t been brave enough to conquer yet?  Confess it to your spouse today, and resolve to make it right.  The oneness of your marriage is dependent upon it.  Follow this with a commitment to your spouse and to God to make your marriage the top priority over every other human relationship.

Steve and I have resolved the “leaving” issues in our marriage.  (However, there are certain family members who have still not come to terms with the fact that we both “left” and “cleft.”)  But as for Steve and me, we have become one.  We have made our marriage the most important of relationships.  We love each other.  We depend on each other.  We support each other.  We are one.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Another Amazing Weekend

On Friday, Claire and I went back to the zoo.  The weather is so nice here right now.  Fall has arrived!024

Friday night, we went to Cheeburger Cheeburger for dinner.  Yummy!028

After dinner, we went to “Screen on the Green” (a big screen set up outside in the middle of a square) for a showing of Monsters, Inc.  It was fabulous!!030

On Saturday Uncle Roy and Aunt Vi came for a visit!!!  We took them to the park to play with Claire.  Here’s Uncle Roy and Claire on the slide.023

Claire had so much fun showing them her favorite place to play.027

Claire and Aunt Vi swung on the swings.040

After the park, we went out for pizza at Russo’s.  It was de-lish!050

Then we headed back to the apartment where Aunt Vi and I stayed up talking until midnight.  I love the time we spend together!  Sunday morning, Claire and Uncle Roy watched Veggie Tales while the rest of us got ready for church.  059

Claire adores her Uncle Roy.  But then again, who doesn’t?!058

Once we were all ready to go, Uncle Roy took us to McDonald’s for breakfast.  Claire ate a breakfast burrito and had her first taste of coffee, compliments of her Uncle Roy.  She loved it!067

Aunt Vi, who always wears bracelets, shared her bangles with Claire.  She had so much fun putting them on, taking them off, switching arms, etc.  Who knew bracelets could be so entertaining?063

We had SO much fun with Uncle Roy and Aunt Vi!  We can’t wait to see you in the spring!  We love you!!!072

On Sunday afternoon, we made puppy chow, aka Chex Muddy Buddies.  It’s so tasty!

Claire stirring it up079

then shaking it up082


then it’s ready to eat up!085

We had a fabulous weekend!!

Today Claire and I went shopping.  We’re very much in the mood for Christmas, so we bought a couple of ornaments for Claire’s Christmas tree.  We’ll have pictures of those in a future post.

Tuesday we’re headed to Houston for the day.  We simply must pick up some warmer clothes.  Sleeveless shirts and dresses and shorts are just not warm enough for the beautiful fall weather.

Enjoy your day!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Love brings unity

“Unity.  Togetherness.  Oneness.  These are the unshakeable hallmarks of our God.  From the very beginning of time, we see His unity at work through the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Though distinct, they are one, indivisible.  And because this relationship is so special – so representative of the vastness and grandeur of God – He has chosen to let us experience an aspect of it.  In the unique relationship of husband and wife, two distinct individuals are spiritually united into ‘one flesh’ (Genesis 2:24).  The unity of the Trinity, as seen from beyond the reaches of history past and continuing into the future, is evidence of the power of oneness.  It is unbreakable.  It is unending.  Therefore, love this one who is as much a part of your body as you are.  Serve this one whose needs cannot be separated from your own.  Honor this one who, when raised upon the pedestal of your love, raises you up too in the eyes of God, all at the same time.”

Today’s Dare:  Isolate one area of division in your marriage, and look on today as a fresh opportunity to pray about it.  Ask the Lord to reveal anything in your own heart that is threatening oneness with your spouse.  Pray that He would do the same for them.  And if appropriate, discuss this matter openly, seeking God for unity.

On our wedding day, Steve and I vowed “until death do us part.”  We meant it.  We mean it still.  In the course of our relationship, we have had some threats to our unity, but Steve and I always deal with them swiftly.  We are one flesh and cannot be torn apart.  I love you, Steven.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cookies and Pumpkins

Over the weekend we made some chocolate chip cookies and some peanut butter cookies.  Claire loves helping.  Here are a few pictures.  (Claire is also going through a phase of not wanting to have her picture taken.  She avoids eye contact whenever the camera is in-hand.  It makes for some very odd pictures of the top of her head.)001.2






Our church has a pumpkin patch as a fundraiser for the children’s department.  Last night we volunteered to man the patch and sell pumpkins.066

Claire helped.034

I tried taking a few pictures of Claire in the middle of the pumpkins, but she kept running away.055


What’s better than having your name spelled out in pumpkins?087



Tonight we are attending a small group meeting.  We’re hoping to make lots of new friends.  Then on Thursday, we’re headed back to Tulsa for the weekend.  And Sunday, we’re planning another trip to Sea World.  Hopefully there will be lots of good pictures.  Have a great week!

Love’s motivation

“It doesn’t take much experience to discover that your mate will not always motivate your love.  [But] when God is your reason for loving, your ability to love is guaranteed.  That’s because love comes from Him.  The love that’s demanded from you in marriage is not dependent on your mate’s sweetness or suitability.  The love between a husband and wife should have one chief objective: honoring the Lord with devotion and sincerity.  The fact that it blesses our beloved in the process is simply a wonderful, additional benefit.  Being able to wake up knowing that God is your source and supply – not just of your own needs but also those of your spouse – changes your whole reason for interacting with your mate.  No longer is it this imperfect person who decides how much love you’ll show, but rather it’s your omni-perfect God who can use even a flawed person like yourself to bestow loving favor on another.  Love motivated by mere duty cannot hold out for very long.  And love that is only motivated by favorable conditions can never be assured of sufficient oxygen to keep it breathing.  Only love that is lifted up as an offering to God – returned to Him in gratitude for all He’s done – is able to sustain itself when all other reasons have lost their ability to energize us.  Love that has God as its primary focus is unlimited in the heights it can attain.”

Today’s Dare:  Before you see your spouse again today, pray for them by name and for their needs.  Whether it comes easy for you or not, say “I love you,” then express love to them in some tangible way.  Go to God in prayer again, thanking Him for giving you the privilege of loving this one special person – unconditionally, the way He loves both of you.

I am so thankful that God brought Steven into my life.  God is so good to me!  I am honored and humbled to have the privilege of loving Steven.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fantastic Friday!

Steve took off work today, and we went to the Memphis Zoo.  We’ve been to lots and lots of zoos all over the country; and so far, the Memphis Zoo is our favorite!  We liked it so much that we are now season pass holders.  Anyone visiting us here in lovely Memphis will now get to go to the zoo with us.  I promise you’ll love it!  Here are some great pics from today.

Claire getting ready to go008

a red panda012

Claire checking out the animals016

the cheetah looks to be “on the hunt”021

Looking at lions – Claire repeated the names of all the animals today.  She’s talking so much!028

This was the first time Claire was into EVERY animal at the zoo, not just the monkeys and fish.


peeping at the penguins036

Claire LOVED the frizzledy chickens.  The frizzledy rooster crowed, and she crowed right back at him.  It was hilarious!  Claire’s the one crowing in this picture.  (BTW:  Frizzledy chicken is a term Pops used, i.e. “Your hair looks like a frizzledy chicken.”  I can only assume these were the chickens to which he was referring.  I have no idea what these chickens are really called, nor do I care.  I love the term “frizzledy chicken.”)049

Here’s a better picture of the frizzledy chickens, just so you can see if your hair might resemble this.050

petting a horse055

Someday Claire will ask us where babies come from.  We will show her this picture.  (She’s in an egg shell.)069

Claire cheering on the critters – here we were watching gibbons swing and jump while playing chase077

one of the gibbons079

There were several fall displays at the zoo.  We decided to turn one of them into a photo op.





The Memphis Zoo’s latest exhibit is the Teton Trek.  It’s fantastic!  This picture was taken from the top of the waterfall.  You can see the grizzlies playing in the stream below.  The grey wolf pack and the elk herd are off to the left, and in front of the lodge is a fountain that mimics Old Faithful.  Amazing!101


Claire’s favorite animals of the day were the frizzledy chickens, the monkeys and gibbons and the penguins.  She LOVES the zoo!  It’s not too far from where Steve works, so Claire and I will be going to the zoo quite often.  I can’t wait!!

Tomorrow, we’re helping to set up the pumpkin patch at church (a fundraiser for our church’s children’s department).  It should be a lot of fun.  Hopefully we’ll get some great pictures.

Have a wonderful weekend!