Wednesday, August 9, 2017

I'm Still Alive

Well, hello there!

[Knock, knock?]

Anyone still there?

I want to say that I still love blogging. I do. Please don't measure that by the last few months. Ha!

Summer has kicked my rear-end.

Not necessarily in a bad way.

Our youngest son spent most of the summer working at Kamp. He loved it. And we missed him terribly.

And, I guess with age has come the inability to concentrate on more than one thing at a time...because he was constantly on my mind and in my prayers...and I just didn't have the mental energy to sit down and write about it on here.

It just hit me, at some point this summer, that this is our youngest child...and we have maybe one more summer with him under our roof, under our influence. Eeep!

I can't even deal.

God is telling me to hold things loosely...and I am telling HIM that I want to hold on tight.

Oh, I'm not telling him that with my words...I would never do that. That would be so disrespectful...like saying I don't trust that He knows best...that His ways AREN'T better than my ways. I would never do that.

Or WOULD I?

Did your Momma ever tell you, "actions speak louder than words?"

Yep.

So, lots of learning going on around here. God is stretching my heart, and it's uncomfortable, and it hurts. Lots of trusting Him without knowing my next step...when I can't look ahead to be sure that the road is nice and safe.

I started this blog to document our lives with Joshua, to share my faith, to show how God uses humor in my life every day...and to leave a type of journal for my kids and grand-kids to read one day.

You know...if they're really bored.

I just know that my Mom died young, and I would've LOVED to have had some insight into her heart...what she was thinking, what made her laugh, what struggles she had, how awesome of a kid I was...

Wait...WHAT?

And I try to remember that I write for an audience of ONE...and if I don't use my words to point to Jesus, then I'm just wasting my time.

Summer is coming to an end. Our college/grad school kids all start back in the next couple of weeks. Joshua's program starts back soon as well. Things will be a little more consistent and "normal..." whatever that means.

It's a good time to reassess...to regroup, refocus, plan. Hope to be back on here a lot more often! :)

"I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things You have done. I will be filled with joy because of You. I will sing praises to Your name, O Most High." Psalm 9: 1-2

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Letter From Clark

Am I dead?

Seriously...did I die?

Because I just go the most beautiful letter from my #4 child.

We really haven't seen much of him this summer, because he's been working at a Kamp. This letter was unexpected, unprompted, and I.was.blown.away.

I'm not throwing any shade on the other three kids...and this youngest child is not any more sensitive or appreciative than they are. But, like they did, he apparently had a moment when things just "clicked," and he wrote to tell us about it.

Our kids are all very sweet, and all 4 mean the world to me. They don't ask us for anything, and they are very appreciative of everything we do for them: little things, big things, and the big, BIG things.

I was just talking to a young mom from our small group this past Sunday. She was telling me how hard she works to please her family, ON TOP OF HER FULL-TIME JOB, and how her kids fuss, fight, and complain...and nothing she does is "right."

Things like, she fixed a healthy, well-balanced meal...and they all wailed because "that looks yucky."

And then once she told them they needed to wear tennis shoes to the gym instead of flip-flops, and they acted like she just killed their best friend.

I was thinking, "SISTER, I have been there."

I mean, haven't we all?

If you have several littles running around, like she does, this is magnified even more.

And can we just talk about summer, and filling the days, and it's hot, and you are worn out, and feeling trapped...AND YOU'RE THINKING ALL TEACHERS SHOULD MAKE A MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR FOR DOING THIS EVERY DAY.

There are good and fun days when your kids are little, but there are also some hard days. This happens at every stage. Not bad days, necessarily...just hard. Decisions and choices for us, and for them...when they're little, they don't seem as potentially life-changing as they do when they're older.

I told my young friend that there will come a day when her kids will understand and appreciate all she did for them...and then I got Clark's letter the next day!

Of course, he's 21...so it might be a while for my friend! Ha!

But, seriously parents...it's all worth it. It really is.

Well, actually, no. Not all of it is worth it. 

Spending a lot of time cutting your kids' sandwiches into the letter of the week in Kindergarten? Not worth it, because I did that for all 4 of mine, and NONE of them remember it.

Also not worth it: making anything "cute" for your child's holiday party at school. Do they even have those anymore?

I remember one year, a Mom spent hours decorating these homemade cupcakes. They were so cute, but I kid you not...no less than 3 kids went over to the trashcan, scraped the frosting ONTO THE RIM OF THE CAN, and then ate the cupcake. Even more kids ate the frosting, and chunked the actual cupcake in the garbage.

Young moms out there...swallow your pride, and grab your treats at Wal-Mart. I learned too late, and now I'll never get those hours of my life back!

But intentionally investing in the lives of your children, however that looks for you and your family, is totally worth it...and it would be worth it to me, even if they never took the time to say thank you.

"Do everything without complaining and arguing..." Philippians 2:14

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Father's Day 2017

The greatest thing my Dad ever did for me happened before I was born: He married my Mom.

It was because of her influence, early in their marriage, that he gave his heart and life to Jesus. That one decision set the tone in our home, and directed the path of our lives...and led us all, individually and at different times, to commit our lives to Him as well.

My Dad has quietly lived out his Christian walk on a daily basis. Day in, day out, he's been a faithful follower, and humble servant of Christ...leaning on Him in times of trouble, and pointing to Him in times of joy.

He taught me to praise God in both good times and hard times. He taught me how to be content, and that has been one of the greatest gifts.

Today, I am thinking of my Dad, and praying for him. I don't know if he realizes that today is Father's Day. He is such a humble and gentle man...I doubt he understands the profound impact he's had on each of our lives...or the example he has been to us, and to others.

I'm incredibly blessed to have him as my Dad.

And, today (and every day), I'm thankful for my husband.

We made a lot of mistakes in parenting, for sure...but by the grace of God, and with His help, we managed to raise 4 kids to love each other, and love the Lord.

And, BONUS...this year, our kids have gotten to see their Dad in a different role: as a fun-loving Puddin' Pop to Rhodie.

Our kids know they can count on their Dad for anything, and that he wants the absolute best for them.

We've been partners in parenting for 31 years now. We aren't perfect, by any means...but, together, we are a pretty good balance.

I'm thankful for this hard-working Dad, and for the way he loves and supports our family.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. Ephesians 6:4

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Catching Up: Bella Update and the Fence

Well, I promised myself that I was going to get back on the blog-train. I love writing, and I first-and-foremost want to leave a journal for my family.

Okay, kids...anytime you wonder what is going on, when there's a large gap between posts, know this: Momma's gone crazy.

It all started back in December, when I had the bright idea to get a dog for Joshua. I don't regret it, exactly, but there are times when I get right up to the edge of regret...the closest you can possibly get to regretting it without actually regretting it.

I.am.there.

I love this dog, but she is a horse. She is a horse on crack...with the energy of a Jack Russel. Think, if a Jack Russel terrier and the Energizer Bunny had a baby. That's Bella.

I can barely control her, because she's so BIG and energetic. When I take her on a walk, she about pulls my arm out of socket. I am trying to work with her, and so is Jim...but oh my word.

I think she will be a great dog for Joshua...in about 2 years.

If I'm still alive by then, I'll let y'all know.

I don't remember if I shared on here or not, but Bella kept getting out of our fence. We have a privacy fence on 3 sides of our house, and then wrought-iron fencing and gates on the front. Even tho she is huge, she could squeeze herself through the bars of the wrought-iron. Our Vet said, "she's like a mouse...if she can get her head through, she can get her body through."

And if she ever gets out...she.is.gone. I mean, Usain Bolt couldn't catch her if he tried.

So, I ordered her this "puppy bumper" thing from the Puppy Bumper company. You can look it up. It's like a neck pillow for dogs. It has loops on it, and you thread your dog's collar through it. And it snaps around their necks. It made it impossible for her to get her head through the bars.

YIPPEE! I finally had some freedom. I could let her be outside, which is where she wanted to be...and I didn't have to constantly worry that she was going to get out.

BUT THEN...a couple of weeks ago, Holly was here, picking up Joshua to go to the store. They were backing out of the driveway, when she stopped and pointed. Bella was standing in the yard with half of the puppy bumper IN HER MOUTH.

The other half of the puppy bumper, and the stuffing, was spread out all over the yard.

KILL.ME.NOW.

But, she's bigger now...and we haven't noticed her trying to get out of the gate.

Then, last Friday, we had a storm. I heard a noise, and looked outside. The wind was ROARING. A couple of the potted plants were blown over, the trees were nearly bent over...and things were rolling all over the place. I came in, and told Jim, things are really blowing around out there...the wind is so strong." He was, like, "mmmmm..." I said, "YOUR LARGE PLANT JUST BLEW OVER." He was, like, "mmmm..."

All of a sudden, there was a crash outside, and he JUMPED UP and ran to the window. He said, "MOOSE! Our fence just blew down."

Yep.

And, ya know, I miss the days when, if a fence blew over, or a tree fell down, or water was nearly up to the front door...and neighbors and friends would show up with, ya know, hammers and...wrenches or whatever...and help you get things back to normal.

No one came to check on us...even tho I posted a picture of it on Facebook, and several people commented, "bless your hearts" and things like that.

And, apparently, we are at a time where, when something like this happens, we don't even attempt to move it, much less, FIX it...until the insurance adjuster comes by to look at it. And then the fence guy comes by to give you an estimate. And then the fence guy tells you that it might be 1 1/2 - 2 weeks before they can get to it, and SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT I AM GOING TO DO ABOUT THIS DOG IF SHE CAN'T GO OUTSIDE.

She cannot be contained.

SHE WILL NOT BE CONTAINED.

And now, about our back-yard neighbors. ..the fence separates our back yards. Jim met them 3 days after the storm, when they saw him outside looking at the fence. The man's comment? He said, "I told my wife, 'well, you've always wanted a pool...there you go.'"

I really value our privacy. Safety for Joshua is very important to me. I don't know these neighbors at all. They are never outside.

Correction: they were never outside until this happened, and now they are outside ALL THE TIME.

So I said to Jim, "please tell me that you did not invite complete strangers over to use our pool." He claims he did not, but the next day, when Jim was working outside, the neighbor lady came out on her back deck, WEARING HER SWIMSUIT TOP with shorts, and looking over at our house.

Eeek!

They sit on their deck, and stare at us if we're outside. The other night, we were at the dinner table, and Joshua said, "what are those people doing?" I said, "what people?" He nodded across at our neighbors. I looked out the window...they were staring at us while we were eating at our kitchen table.

WHAT IN THE WORLD?

Please, fence people. PLEASE HURRY.

I hear banjos.

"When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away, but the godly have a lasting foundation." Proverbs 10:25

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Clara's Birthday

She came into our lives when we were recovering from the loss of our mother.

Truthfully, she'd been in our lives for years...as our mom's best friend.

But, in the days, weeks, and months that followed, she was a constant support, and a faithful friend, to my Dad. When God allowed them to find love with each other, we were excited and thankful. Besides my Mom, I cannot imagine anyone being a better match for my Dad than Clara.

She embraced all of us, even tho she has a large and loving family of her own.

For most of our kids, she's the grandmother they know and will remember.

You know, life doesn't always turn out like we plan, and we don't always get to end our days with great healthy and mental clarity...and then slip quietly into Heaven.

Sometimes there's a lot of hard and a lot of struggle.

That's kind of where things are right now, because Clara has gone from being a wife, companion, and friend...to being a caregiver.

I don't know if my Dad will remember to acknowledge Clara's special day.

I'm pretty sure he will not be able to thank her for the tender and diligent way she is caring for him...but Happy Birthday, Clara!

Thank you for everything you do to help our Dad! We love you!

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18