Summer fun revisited

 I have the external hard drive out so I figured I'd post more photos from our summer vacation in America.
Cass enjoyed the hike (I'd like to think) that took us all day and led us to several meeses, aka moose, wild strawberries, rain and ended with a bloody knee. But this photograph was taken before all of the drama and exhaustion. Notice the big smile and the tidy hair. Not so six hours later.

This is our Little Bean. All of you that said she must be getting teeth because of her constant tongue wagging were right. Two days after landing back in Jerusalem her two bottom teeth pushed their way through her sore little gums.

These boys make plaid look good. We miss all of our nieces and nephews, especially the newest one, Noble Jonathan, who decided he wasn't quite ready to meet us yet. He waited until we landed safely in the Middle East and then made his beautiful arrival. He's such a great guy that he shared his Papa with us just a month and a half after he joined the other Simons.

Surprisingly we remembered to have someone take our photo. Aren't we so good looking? Colorado was cold and wet but still gorgeous. And we had a great time in Colorado with my family. We're such a subdued and sophisticated tribe.

Or not.
We also enjoyed a night of KL soccer, which is always a highlight. Few things make me smile more than watching Tom use his dormant soccer skills, or celebrating with Lauren after she puts a ball past Paul while he's in goal.
Truly one of the biggest highlights was meeting Valor William and Iva Leigh in person. This last year was filled with so many ups and downs in our family and it tested my reliance on Yeshua. Seeing these ladies and their babies reiterated how good He is and that He gives us our every breath. 

If this wasn't enough photo fun for you, then go through and look at some of the older posts. This one should make you smile.


Not the Uncle Tom you know...

You may or may not know this, but I love to read, especially in bed before falling asleep, or in the afternoon in the sun with a cuppa to sip. In the last 5 years I've stuck almost exclusively to non-fiction. My interest in non-fiction was awakened in college because even though I took a variety of writing classes, non-fiction writing was my favorite. I just couldn't muster up any interesting stories out of thin air to be a decent fiction writer. But as I read more stories that actually happened I realized, I can do this. I can research and weave and re-create something that has already happened in an interesting way. Or so I'd like to think.

But this is not really the point. The point is this: I like to read and somehow, in my 30 or so years of reading I NEVER READ UNCLE TOM'S CABIN. Maybe I should have put that in smaller font. It's not something to brag about, really. Especially for someone who loves books.  But there it is, out in the semi-forever world of the internet.

While we were in the States I received a Kindle and it has changed my reading life and Cassidy's school life. It is an answer to prayer, seeing as English books are usually found in uncategorized bins and "real" books cost money, take up space and would weigh down a suitcase. So I looked up the free classics available on Kindle and Uncle Tom's Cabin was at the top of the list.


It may be over 150 years old, but it is a powerful, insightful, deeply emotional book. I highlighted so many parts (and conveniently placed in a tab called "My Clippings") and there are many excerpts I could share with you.  I can't remember the last time I cried and smiled this much over a piece of "fiction." Harriet Beecher Stowe stepped out boldly with this work, and I must repeat myself: READ THIS BOOK.

There is one section in particular, which draws the reader's heart deeper into the story, that reminds me of the Holocaust books I read after the boys left Earth. It hurt and comforted at the same time. So, because I feel it is a powerful passage, I will not say anything else about it. Perhaps it will mean something to you, perhaps it won't. But if you've gained nothing else out of this post, I hope you will feel compelled to consider reading this book. You can get it free on Kindle or at your library. Or probably at a lot of second-hand stores. Read it.


Has there ever been a child like Eva? Yes, there have been; but their names are always on grave-stones, and their sweet smiles, their heavenly eyes, their singular words and ways, are among the buried treasures of yearning hearts. In how many families do you hear the legend that all the goodness and graces of the living are nothing to the peculiar charms of one who is not. It is as if heaven had an especial band of angels, whose office it was to sojourn for a season here, and endear to them the wayward human heart, that they might bear it upward with them in their homeward flight. When you see that deep, spiritual light in the eye, -- when the little soul reveals itself in words sweeter and wiser than the ordinary words of children, -- hope not to retain that child; for the seal of heaven is on it, and the light of immortality looks out from its eyes.


American Vacation

We spent 5.5 weeks in the States and I think a photo survey of our time will have to suffice. It will come in here goes so far.

I love these boys. Sam joined us for part of our time in Colorado. Can you tell these guys missed each other? 

There was major cousin time.
Eliana, Liam and Emmylou loved spending time together.

 Valor, Emmylou and Loch were waiting around for their cousin Noble to arrive.
 But the waiting proved too much for Loch...
 And then things got out of hand. Well, not really.
And Pop caught a raccoon.

Sidenote: We are reading 'Little House in the Big Woods' and one of the stories is about Pa taking the animal skins to town to sell so other people could turn them into coats and rugs and whatnot. I told Cassidy it was like when Pop trapped the raccoons. I pointed out that, unlike Pa, Pop didn't kill the raccoons but took them to the park and let them go free. She was quick to say that it would be ok if Pop killed the animals to use their skins because Mima knows how to use a sewing machine. Yes, that will be the day, when Mima wears homemade 'coon skin clothing.


Just like I promised...

I believe I said in my last post that there would be a link soon to the video where Tom talks about the trial of Yeshua. Well, BOOM, here it is. Seeing the spot and having him explain it was eye-opening. Granted, it doesn't look like it did 2000 years ago, but to have some sort of idea about where He stood while Pilate questioned the crowd is powerful. And to hear Tom talk about it, with his usual passion and wisdom is really fun. It makes my heart smile. Not the trial part, obviously, but the knowledge part. Tom is one smart cookie.


Summertime with Maasen

For starters, we are having some incredible weather. We haven't even turned on our fans yet; the nights are cool and there is a refreshing breeze almost every day that makes living on the Hill a huge blessing. 

A big activity right now for Maas and Cass: Legos.
They've built homes, tree houses, cars and a horse cart thing. Watching Maasen work alongside Cassidy is pretty hilarious. Order meets randomness and somehow it works.

We've also visited the Old City twice (not counting Tom, Maasen and Cassidy's trip through Hezekiah's tunnel and the Southern Wall). Today we saw the probable place of Yeshua's trial and took some video. I'm excited to share that with you soon at our RJ website.
A classmate of Tom's gave him an old camera (old to him) that he suggested we give to Cassidy so she can take her own photos. Here's the little photographer in action:
This most likely means we will have a new feature where Cassidy posts some of her favorite photos. It helped make the long day more enjoyable for her. She's already been to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Garden Tomb a few times, so having the assignment of taking photos was fun and kept her happy.

And of course we're having a great time just being with Maasen and enjoying the little things she brought with her. One of Emmylou's favorites: this black and white blankie with red tags made by new Mama Cass.
Emmylou loves it, obviously. She tries to eat it or suck on it with her thumb on a daily basis. (Notice she is wearing pants. I told you it was cool here.)

We still have almost two weeks left with Maas and we've only just begun the adventure. We're loving every minute of it!


Silent Shimmy

Maasen arrived and apparently she brought some dance moves with her. She laid down on the mat with Emmylou and this is what happened...


The Girls

I just have to post these photos, no particular reason except that I know Lauren will appreciate them, and Stephanie is a faithful reader, and I have them sitting on my external hard drive screaming to be seen. I love these girls and all the little amazing things they do. They are a joy and delight, they increase the laughter and the volume in our home and constantly remind me to slow down and love more.
This was taken when we went out for my birthday to Cafe Kadosh. She is so gorgeous and did a wonderful job humoring the grown ups as we talked and sipped our coffee. Of course the fancy dessert at the end helped things. 
Who doesn't love naked babies? And naked babies with fluffy hair?! I want to kiss her pudge just looking at this photograph.
 I had to see what her hair would look like in a spike. It's a bit similar to Cousin Valor's, although his hair grew into a natural mohawk. Very cool.
Happiness is chilling on the couch with your sister.

Nothing much more going on, just chilling this Shabbat with Maasen, enjoying the sunshine and cool breeze. It's a great day to say Thanks to the One Who makes all things possible.