Wednesday, 29 February 2012

study break

It was SOOOOOOOO nice here today.  Seriously, this weather is crazy.  It has made coming back from Ecuador very easy on us, that's for sure.  We made it a point to be outside today enjoying the nice weather.
So we pulled Dad out of the library (where he has been all day studying for midterms) to play at the little park on campus with us.

Flowers are starting to poke up everywhere!  Nothing blooming yet, but if we keep having these 60+ degree days I am sure it is only a short matter of time.

There are lots of good exploring places near the playground too.  Makes my little boy happy!

And lots of mulch for Elsa to use on teething gums.  Which apparently makes my little girl happy.

This was also Elsa's first time walking outside on her own.  And she was thrilled!  

I can't believe that Chris is already studying for midterms and will be taking his exams next week!  It doesn't seem possible that we have been here that long already.  And I am so happy that it is him in school right now and not me.  Perhaps going back to school is in the cards for me someday, but right now is so far from my radar.  He was up studying last night until about midnight and I went to bed early, only stopping to re-read a little Harry Potter before turning out the lights.  And oh how lovely it was.

And making it even lovelier is the fact that Elsa is now finally sleeping through the night!  
And there is much rejoicing in the Hoskins' home.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Drawing 101

Breck has shown himself to be quite the little artist.  Along with Legos, Little People, balls and books strewn about our house, by the end of the day I find bits and pieces of his work in nearly every room.  The boy LOVES to draw.  LOVES it.  His preferred medium, pen and paper.  Simple - makes my life easy as far as providing him with the supplies he needs for his creative endeavors.  Although we go through scratch paper like there is no tomorrow.  I've started saving every envelope that comes in the mail and cutting up empty cereal boxes just to find more surfaces for him to draw on.  I think the most repeated phrase that is shouted out in our house these days is, "MOM, I NEED MORE PAPER!"

Here are a few of my favorites as of late:

He often likes to create compilation pieces with his Dad.  Here is an underwater exploration scene they worked on together.

2 guys and a machine


man riding a camel

man with walkie talkie


David and Goliath

Epic scene of repelling whale rescuers from a plane above - and a random knight 

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Report from Seminary...delayed

Well, I had really good intentions of informing everyone, regularly and often, as to how seminary was going and what I was learning.  Well, that hasn't happened.  I will give you some updates now though, and try to keep up.

I am really loving the experience so far.  I learn so much it is staggering.  All the professors are great and all the reading is great.  If I dwell too much on the amount of pages I must read a week it gets a bit overwhelming, but we have developed a schedule here at home to help me keep up and do much reading everyday.  I also get to wear cardigans and feel like Mr. Rogers or my Grandpa. (Photo soon to come)

So, with Old Testament Theology, Christian Heritage II, Intro to Preaching, and Spiritual Practices.  It is a nice mix of subjects and areas of study, as well as providing space for spiritual growth and challenge.  Now this might sound boring to some of you, but it has been great for me.

I am picking up a course on Spiritual Autobiography.  We will start by reading and discussing St. Augustines book, the first spiritual autobiography, and then read others.  I am most excited for Dorothy Day's and Howard Thurman's stories of faith and journey.

So, my final words are: this week I am writing a paper on the work of Erasmus, a 15th century scholar and Christian writer.  I had never heard of him before, but I haven't stopped reading his work since I picked up a few books from the library.  I should really get focused on a particular theme for the paper but I'll leave you with a small quote to keep in mind for this volatile political campaign season:

Concord binds in a sweet bond, discord disrupts even those who are joined by blood.  The one builds cities, the other demolishes; the one creates wealth, the other dissipates.  Discord turns men into beasts. Concord unites souls after death with God.  I do not exhort you, I do not pray you, I implore you seek peace.  -Erasmus of Rotterdam    Oration on Peace and Discord

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

daily bread

I am a planner.  And this fact also tends to make me a worrier.

My prayer life has always been a bit funny.  I think it's because I put a lot of pressure or expectation on myself.  Expectations about what my prayer life should look like, when I should be praying, how much I should be praying, who I should be praying for...blah, blah, blah.  Trying to figure out what would be "normal" for someone trying to live their life following Christ.  But I'm starting to learn how to let go of a lot of that.  It's amazing how refreshing freedom is.

Luckily, both my mother and the man I married are amazing prayers (not that some of us are better than others, but it just comes so naturally to know what I mean).  And just from living life with them, I've learned a lot about the subject.  Recently I purchased Phyllis Tickle's The Divine Hours Seasonal series and I am really liking it.  It's given a little more rhythm and structure to my prayer life.  I like structure - most of the time.

In daily reading through the prayers, you end up saying the Lord's Prayer - a lot.  And lately, the line that goes "and give us this day our daily bread" has been consuming me.  Moving to Chicago, I've had a lot of stress about how we were/are going to make this work.  Lots to pieces to the puzzle.  And still pieces to fall into place.

I think I've come to realize, that I really just wish that the Lord's prayer would go a little something more like this...."give us this day our daily bread, and give me the bread we will need tomorrow, and the bread we will need next week, and the bread we will need next year and for the entire time we spend here in seminary".  But, guess what?  It doesn't read like that.

Especially in a culture where we are told to save for retirement the moment we graduate college, buy in bulk, hear nothing but stories about financial ruin in the news and are supposed to be saving for our children's college funds before they are even born, I find it is often difficult to remember how much my daily needs - and often wants - are being met.  It's so much easier to focus on the amount of money that we are not making, instead of how much we are provided for.  And it's not even that any of those future planning type things are bad, but I think they give me such a false sense of security.  Or maybe distort what a true security is really all about.

I have my daily bread.  And we have bread for tomorrow.  We have a daily apartment that I love.  We have daily friends to share our life with.  I have daily time to play with my kids.  We have daily internet and cell phones.  I have daily time with my husband in the midst of figuring out what life looks like here.  And the list goes on and on.

And I know that this is nothing new under the sun.  And I know that I will continue to struggle with worries and doubts.  But it's just good to get it all under a little bit of perspective sometimes. And I don't want to miss out on God showing me truly what my needs are today and the ways that He is meeting me there because I'm too focused on what I think I'm going to need tomorrow.

Sunday, 19 February 2012


So I ran into the kitchen the other day to put a few dishes in the dishwasher and came back into the living room to find that my son has taught himself how to use the mouse on the computer.  And then he somehow found the photo booth.  And this is what followed:

Oh how he makes me smile.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Trickle Down Effect

Kids are fascinating.  I love getting a glimpse of their world through spending my days with my kids.  One thing that I love is watching kids learn from each other.  (Although it can also be slightly terrifying at times).  Take, for example, the fact that my son LOOOOOVES Star Wars.  Now Breck has never seen Star Wars and has very little frame of reference to what Star Wars actually is.  But he had a little friend who had an older who has seen Star Wars.  So big brother told little brother, little brother told Breck and hence, the love and fascination was born.  Now Breck soaks up any little tid bit of information that he can about the subject.  What a glorious day it will be when he can actually see the movies.  

And it's fun to watch Elsa now learn from Breck.  She seems to study him in a way much different from us and in a way I don't remember Breck learning either.  For both good and for bad.  She already wants to feed herself with a spoon, but I believe that she also just threw her first intentional hit her brother's way this morning.  The good and the bad.

And Elsa already is learning about the world of Star Wars.  Watch as she joins in the epic battle, Yoda in hand.  The Force is strong with this one.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

hidden treasures

So I arguably had one of the best childhoods ever.  We lived on a block with tons of kids our age and would disappear outside to play and roam the neighborhood for hours on end.  Up until about jr. high, we would spend every Friday night as a family, celebrating "Family Fun Night" which often included going out to eat, epic rounds of putt-putt golf, movies or the like.  We spent summer vacations in Minnesota at my grandparents cabin.  We had a box turtle as a pet that spent most of his time roaming around the first floor of our house.  We had parents that would take us sledding at 11:30 at night when school was called off for a snow day the night before.  We saved up our allowance money to walk up to Baums, the corner drug store, to buy candy and gorge ourselves on it on the walk back home.  It was great.  I look back on my growing up years with nothing but fond memories - what a gift!

Often we also had one of these guys perched on a bookshelf or ledge in our house:

Any ideas what it is?

It's cecropia moth cocoon.  My parents, being the science buffs that they are, would take us exploring to find them growing up.  Or my dad would often show up at home with one he had found during his work day.  So there it would sit in our house,  and we would all go on about our business.  And then one day, in the spring the moth would imerge and we would spend some time together watching it, studying it, just being amazed at the creative natural world around us.  And then we'd set him or her free to find a mate.

So this year, for Elsa's birthday, Breck received a special box from Grandpa Kurt.  (And Breck made out like a bandit, by the way, on a birthday that wasn't even his - how does that work?!?)  And inside was the little guy pictured above.

Hope he or she hatches!  

Saturday, 11 February 2012

worlds apart

A few things I am loving about life back in the US of A:

*worshiping regularly in English
*cottage cheese
*sidewalks you can actually push a stroller down with ease
*public libraries
*thrift stores
*knowing my mama is only an eight hour car ride away
*a car I know how to drive
*drinking water from the tap
*my friends

A few things I am missing so much from life in Ecuador:

*worshiping regularly in Spanish
*buying 4 avocados for $1
*snow capped volcanoes 
*super affordable fresh flowers
*drying clothes outside on the line year round
*driving around in the beat up old blue Trooper with my fam and listening to mix cds
*our yard
*communal living with the Mergies
*my friends

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Game Day!

I have the coolest friends.

Like the one that has a commercial in the Super Bowl.

Yeah, that's right.  

I met Ariel in 7th grade on one of her early creative endeavors.  Our Honors Special Projects class was commissioned to paint a mural for The Storybook Monkey, a local bookstore downtown.  We bonded painting a waterfall together and the rest was history.  We were super great friends up through high school and I was so glad we were back from Ecuador in time this fall to be at her wedding.  My friendship with her is one of the longest of my life and she's fabulous.

Congrats Ari!  You're amazing!

please ignore my squinty was sunny :)

Read more about her and her commercial here.

Saturday, 4 February 2012


Do you ever have those moments where you are all of a sudden just hit with overwhelming gratitude for your life?  Those moments that you're not expecting, that kinda creep up on you when you are not looking for them and really doing nothing out of the ordinary, but something in that moment just makes you stop and be grateful from the very depth of who you are.  I had one of those moments this morning.

We were sitting around the table in our sunlit dinning room eating a BIG breakfast (thanks to my marvelous mama who stocked our pantries while she was here last weekend!) of eggs, bacon, toast and hash-browns.  Breck was presenting many compelling arguments about why we should give him another piece of toast instead of finishing the eggs and hash-browns still on his plate.  Elsa was meticulously trying to discover how many pieces she could crumble her hard boiled egg into.  And then deciding that it would make a better hair treatment than breakfast.  My husband sitting across the table from me, still in pajamas.  Nothing really that different than many other mornings in our house.  But it hit me.  An overwhelming sense of gratitude for my life, the people in it and where we are.  My husband who loves me so well.  My kids who fill my days in every sense.  Sipping coffee out of my favorite mug.  An apartment that I love.  Big windows that the sun shines through all day.  And a God that continues to show up and provide for us in ways we don't deserve, in ways that show us He is so totally faithful and He so totally loves us.

Maybe I was hit with this feeling this morning because my heart has been so heavy with burdens that others are facing right now.  Good friends whose 13 year old son just started chemo this week.  Another whose grandson passed away after just 3 days of life here on this earth.  I can't imagine.  Situations that seem so hopeless.  And while I have never been in their shoes, I have had loss.  I've had those moments when it feels like you'll be stuck in that pit forever and you'll never feel anything else other than the despair and fear, pain and confusion that you feel in that moment. And I am not there now, but I know I will be there again on this human journey we are all on.  And while our hearts do break with those that we love when they are going through difficult times simply because we love them, maybe we also feel pain because we know that tragedy in our own life could only be a moment away.  

But, in some way that I don't at all understand, God meets you there in the misery and turns your mourning into dancing.  You find a reason to smile again.  Laughter creeps into conversation.  Beauty shows up in unexpected places.  The sometimes mundane, daily rhythm of life takes over and brings a known kind of comfort.  And then I find myself in a moment like I had this morning.  A moment when life simply could not be any better.  A moment that took my breath away in the way that it totally filled up my soul.

So that is where I am at today, so overwhelmingly grateful.  And praying that those I love who are mourning will be dancing again soon.