...............The Hellwig Family

Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Few Books for 2016

Every January, I choose an array of new books to read in the coming year.  Sometimes, I get through all of them, plus a couple dozen others.  Other years, I read only one or two from my list, plus several dozen others.  Last year, I only read one of the books on my list, but I went through so many others.  Many of these I outlined and took notes from, and several I have even used to apply to my life, to effect change.  A few were to provoke thought.  Some, were simply a good story.  There's a place for each of those.  Not every book has to be practically applicable in order to benefit.

Of course, the Book of books remains my top read every year.  And every year, it precipitates the greatest change!  Zephaniah, Matthew, Colossians, Ezekiel.... all leading me upward, to Him Who inhabits its pages.

My list for this year?

A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller

The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller

Onward by Russell Moore

Fierce Convictions by Karen Swallow Prior

The Art of Work by Jeff Goins

Lit!  by Tony Reinke

Your God is Too Safe by Mark Buchanan

Heaven by Randy Alcorn

Paradise Lost by John Milton

The Pilgrims Regress by C. S. Lewis

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg


Through Many Dangers, The Story of John Newton  by Brian Edwards

A bit of this, and some of that.  I'm sure I'll be throwing in a book on the philosophy of teaching, and perhaps some historical fiction, plenty of  history and  more biography. And I still need to finish A Tale of Two Cities, which I started but didn't finish, along with a few others that suffered the same fate.

What are you reading in 2016?  What did you read in 2015?  What did you like, love, hate?  And why? What would you recommend?  What made you think?  Laugh?  Weep?
I'd love to hear from you.

An Athletic Saturday

by Lisa H.

What do a 10-mile trail race and a CrossFit Festivus Games competition have in common?

For the Hellwigs, they happened on the same day!


Elliot participated in a CrossFit Festivus Game challenge in October, spending the whole day at the gym.    He seemed to fly through Burpees... and lunges and sit-ups. 

Oliver, earlier that morning,  ran a 10-mile trail race:


Keep running!
Finished in great time!  Faster than expected!

A 10 mile race for one of us, and one who worked hard in the Festivus;
A day of athletics for two of us, with lots of cheering from the rest of us.
(Rhyme originally unintended... but I just HAD to finish it! )

Good work, Hellwig men!

To Every End There Is a Beginning

I've finally gotten used to writing '2015' on my checks and correspondences.  I'll be writing it still for a few more months, the '5' marked over hard with  a sloppy, unnatural '6.'

So I must ask this question: Does time seem to accelerate as we age, or are our thoughts and experiences so varied and full and rich that they use up more of the 24-hour day we are each allotted, so leaving us with far less empty space?

Benaiah taking his kite for a fly-by!
While this year was quite full, the next promises to continue at high speed.  And I'm not sure how to approach it in such a way that I would do better.  It is all in the approach, the mindset....
We all have giftings, talents, callings.  Do we use them for the right purpose?  Do we even know what they are?  Do we drift through days, reacting to things that present themselves to us, or do we direct ourselves to drive through the events and open doors God puts on our path?

My big brothers....
Drift or drive?  Is there a middle ground?  Is there a time to be still and simply be?  To listen and not to do?  To think and be quiet?  To marvel in the simple but profound Truth?

For me, that is the start of my day, but by the middle of the day, too often I find myself swept up in the bustle, with no time to linger, gaze and contemplate.  I do not savor as I ought.  And so, I forget or miss the sweet tidings of the fleeting minutes of the day.  I am blind to the blessings and benighted by the blur. 

more sibling fun
Words for this year include deliberation, intention, carefulness, mindfulness, savor, and wonder.

There is beauty in the dew drop as well as the thunderstorm, in the dandelion seed wafting in the breeze as well as in the hawk catching the updrafts, and in the shaft of dusty light slanting in at the window as well as  in the holiday fireworks display.

the faces!  Sheer delight!
May 2016 be a year of noticing all those little things, whose sum make up 99% of life... the big "impressive" events only a tiny fraction.

A very joy-filled New Year to you, friends and family.  Thank you for reading.  Thank you for walking with us.  Thank you for being a part of that 99%.  May we all discover the middle ground between the overwhelming drive and the uninspiring drift.  May 2016 be a year of knowing, not only our gifts and callings, but the Gift, and the One Who calls. 

May we each rest in Him, while we reflect and respond, pray and press on,  wonder and work. 

Blessed New Year from our family to you

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Deck the Halls... and the Living Room

It is hard to believe it is December already, especially as the weather outside is delightful - a lovely 70 degrees and sunny!

Liquid sunshine is pouring through our windows.... let it flow, let it flow, let it flow!
Gabrielle's matryoshka doll

Elliot's Flamingo
 A few of the ornaments on our tree.... these are mostly  personal ones belonging to particular individuals...

 But a couple were family gifts....

Some have great sentimental value as the gift-giver is no longer with us....
The Christmas Cross.... my personal favorite
Jeddie's fox
Gabrielle's rooster

Benaiah's sheep

Christianna's violin....

...and her egg

Timothy's pickle....
So many represent God's gifts to us, in both His creation and in the gifts He has given us to create as He creates.

...and his fish
Toby's owl
Arianne's gingerbread people
Can you guess whose this is?
            May your Christmas be filled with God's good gifts, especially the greatest gift of all... His salvation made possible through the substitutionary death of His Son... Jesus- God with us.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Deputy Black Belt

by Mommy H.

Last week, Elliot passed his Deputy Black Belt test in Tae Kwon Do.

It has taken him 2 years of hard work and dedication to get this far, and we're excited to see him finish the course next year with his Black Belt!

Jumping turning Whip-kick

He's been an example of perseverance to other family members, and we are so thankful to the Lord for what He is working in Elliot.

With his Deputy Black Belt and certificate

Thankful also to his instructors, for encouraging the moral high ground.

Congratulations to all!

Monday, August 24, 2015

A Museum Outing

post by Mommy

Several days ago, Arianne took Benaiah out to the Science and Natural History Museum in Raleigh.  It was a gift from her to him for his 8th birthday.

                                                  Looks like they had an enjoyable time!

 They've got the whole world.... at their backs!

Benaiah really enjoyed the stuffed rodents!  Definitely a "boy" thing.  He couldn't stop talking about this experience when he came home.

 And to pose with a brontosaurus .... it hardly gets better for an 8-year-old boy!

Look!  A two-legged bug wearing shorts and sneakers!  And I had always learned that insects had 6 legs!

   Inside a "tree"....

And what's a museum outing on a hot summer's day without.... ice cream?  Not quite as tasty as when enjoying a cone on a bear's back!

Fun times for brother and sister.

Thanks Arianne... Benaiah really enjoyed his time with you, while the older children hiked Grandfather Mountain with Daddy!

And I, well, I cleaned and organized closets.  Exciting stuff.  Really.  All alone.  In a quiet house for 5 full hours!
                 It was almost surreal.

Next up... hopefully some Grandfather Mountain shots.

We have a new 8-year-old!

 Happy Birthday to my youngest!
Benaiah turned 8 this month and he's loving it!
Timothy had something funny to show us!

Happy Birthday to you.....

Blowing out candle....

Benaiah requested a Rubik's cube for his birthday.  He received one, and shortly afterward philosophized :  A Rubik's cube is much like our heads.  When it's solved, it's like having a clear head.  When it's all jumbled up, it's like being crazy and not knowing what we're talking about.

Wise observations for one so young.  May we all have solved cubes!  ;-) 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

One of my Favorite Quotes

From Mark Buchanan's book "Hidden in Plain Sight" :

           "Real love loves us, not just as we are, but so that we can become what we are meant to be."

This is a very helpful book, an easy read, though, if you're like me, you'll stop and chew a lot, and will take your time going through it, to let it sink in.  I've written lists of "thinks".... thoughts that this book has provoked, things that need changing, especially in me.

Remarkably, the changes are actually being effected!

2 Peter 1:1-11 has never come alive so robustly for me.  I hope you will take the time to read this book.  As one of modernity's better contributions, it is well worth it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Wordful Wednesday!

A conversation with my youngest:

Benaiah : (while running his trucks and tractors across the floor) I'm going to own a yellow Mustang one day....

Mommy : Those are very expensive.

B: Well, maybe I'll be a millionaire, then.

M: If you work hard, maybe.

B: Well, I'll make good investments and build developments....
               (his voice trailed off as he thought about his future, smiling confidently to himself.)

 I'm glad my 7 year old is thinking about his future!   And gratified to see he knows he needs to work hard and smart for those things he wants.  Let's hope he aspires to higher things than yellow Mustangs!  ;-)

Friday, June 5, 2015

Benaiah's "Toothless" imitation

It's cute when children lose their first two bottom teeth, but this....

Benaiah with Zadok and "Quail"

And who can deny that when that second upper tooth loosens, cuteness overflows!

Love this boy!

Congratulations, Benaiah.  You're growing up!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Family skate

Elliot is a young man of few wants.  His preferred birthday gift this year was for the family to go skating together.... so that is exactly what we did.
Elliot and Christianna

Oliver had always been the one to bring each of us skating, one-on-one, so most of us have had a bit of practice, but he's had the most practice!
Oliver helps Benaiah

Tobias skates toward Arianne

Christianna finds new friends when she skates

Every.single.Hellwig in the family made it there that day!  Even Timothy!

Gabrielle decided not to skate just yet, so she took pictures:
Timothy and I

Timothy, Arianne, Elliot, Christianna, Tobias, Benaiah, me,Jedidiah, and Oliver

Now, what is an ice-skating party without an ice-cream afterwards?  (Answer: a lovely one, but made even sweeter with a treat!)


While waiting for a treat,  my eldest and youngest posed with "bears."

Aaaaah... the treats are here!

Arianne and Christianna
Arianne and Benaiah

And Arianne with the birthday boy!
Not everyone there got a picture.... maybe next time!
                           Happy Birthday Elliot!