Tuesday, April 25, 2017

It's five short weeks until school is officially out!!  The list of things to do is longer than the days we have to do them! Concerts and projects, meetings and deadlines.  We have a reading log that might NEVER be finished because it's for my youngest child, and well... I'm not going to lie - I am pretty tired of signing my name to a reading log.  Must press on... Must press on... 

Two major endings are upon us.  We have one mini who is graduating from elementary school, and one mini who is graduating from high school.  Both occasions call for great celebration and We. Are. On. It!!!!!  The years that the kids have spent at both schools have been been full of things that have educated their minds AND shaped their personalities.  

When Marky first stepped onto the high school campus, I wouldn't have ever imagined what blessings were coming.  Dance team, jazz choir, concerts, friends, opportunities for travel, games to attend.  It has been 4 years of constant go-go-go, and we have loved it.  Now, this child is ready.  Cooked.  SUPER ready for the next phase of life.  Adulting.  Just like high school, I'm guessing that she will find it mostly fun, sometimes challenging, and always full of growing opportunities.  She was born for greatness and this is such an exciting time for her.  






We've spent 13 consecutive years with 4 kids at our elementary school.  All of the kids walking the same halls, driving the same route to school, sharing many of the same teachers year after year.  We've had amazing years here and we have had some years that we just had to get through (4th grade girls - ICK!!!). There have been 4 different principlals, and so many teachers that we adored, (also too many substitute teachers that the kids did NOT adore!!) jump rope competitions and ECO week, talents shows, book bowl competitions and too many concerts to count.  Year after year, the kids have duplicated drawings and repeated school projects, each one designed to be the same yet finished with their own unique touch.  No two have looked alike, all four done completely different, yet all meeting the same criteria - DO YOUR BEST!  And this boy has!!  He has made some amazing friends and accomplished great things, and now he can't wait to join sister #3 at the middle school.  



We're leaving these schools better than when we started them.  This oldest child and this youngest child, saying farewell to  all of the good that they've done, and carrying with them all of the GREAT things that they have been entrusted with.  Strong character, great minds, and memories for a lot of tomorrows.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Motherhood



Tomorrow will mark my 18th Mother's Day.   My first thought after child number one was born was, “We're going to have so much fun!”.   Three more children and a bunch of fun later, I have arrived at a Mother's Day that looks differently than I had imagined it would some 18 years ago, yet I am grateful and humbled by the blessings that have been poured out on my life because I get to be a mom.    Being a mom doesn't make me a more superior creature than those who haven't chosen to be a mom.  It just so happens that motherhood is what God decided to use to continually sanctify and purify my heart, soul, and mind.  He has asked me to be more patient, through motherhood.  He has challenged me to die to myself, through motherhood.  He has encouraged me to surrender to His authority, through motherhood.  He has tethered my mother-fears to His sovereignty.  He has taught me to trust in His goodness, through motherhood.  He has taught me to love unconditionally, through motherhood.  He has carried me through seasons of grief and times of sadness, because of motherhood.  He has revealed my sin and selfishness, through motherhood.  He helps me with my control issues, through motherhood.  He has blessed me with joy beyond description, through motherhood.  He has taken me on adventures, through motherhood.  He has given me the opportunity to feel enormous pride in the successes of others, through motherhood.  He has allowed me to be overwhelmed with delight and overcome with frustration, through motherhood.  He has given me 4 disciples to raise to love Him with all that they are, because He chose ME to be their mom.  



Before I arrived at motherhood, I believed that hard things were bad things, so I steered clear of challenges, hugging the inside curve of the easy path.  However, once I heard the first cry of my oldest daughter, I knew that my heart was forever destined to love intensely, always thinking about someone else's needs before my own.  At that first-cry-moment, I took a sharp left turn onto a road unlike another I had ever been on:  a road that would curve sharply, detour often, and twist and turn like a winding river.  All of a sudden, I knew for sure that I would lay down my life for another person,  that I would give up sleep, sanity, and security in order to care for my kids.  What I didn't know is that  I would take on enemies and circumstances that were bigger than me in order to protect them.  I had no idea that I would enter courtrooms and classrooms, ready to fight for their well-being, or sit on a sideline or in an audience, fiercely believing that MY KID was the best player/dancer/singer in the bunch.  And through it all, God has been so good to care for this fearful, exhausted, imperfect, faith-filled, stubborn, head-over-heels-in-love with her children mom.  My mom-confidence does not come from anything that I can do on my own, it lies in the fact that God will never change; that He will be with me for the next decade, and the decade after that, and the one after that.  Because He gave me the privilege of motherhood,  I know that He will equip me and sustain me to be the mom that each one of my kids needs, whether the road is hard and difficult or easy and smooth. That's motherhood!  A journey of expected challenges  and unexpected joys.  One that has changed, grown and blessed me in countless ways.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Normal Day

“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.” 
― Mary Jean Irion 



Nearly 3 months after my last post, I sit here in my comfy chair, warmed by the sun, thinking back on all that we've been through in this short period of time.

Grief has made it's way into my life and seeped into every crack of my heart.  Tears flow regularly,  lubricating the emotions that I feel.  I don't think that the grief I'm experiencing is a bad thing.  "There is a time for everything..."  It's just that I'm usually not someone who spends a lot of time feeling ONE THING, and lately, all I feel is this overwhelming sadness over this interruption into our lives; this diagnosis that changes how care-free my daughter can live.   Grief has watered seeds of fear that haven't sprouted in years, causing anxiety that I long ago put out of my life.    It's also caused me to loosen the possessive "mom-grip" that I tend to have on my kids, knocking out all insane notions that I am in any way in control of anything.   Daily, I am challenged to let go of my fears and to trust God in ways that I should have been all along.  I read scripture that reminds me that He loves us and is watching over my kids. I find myself time and time again throughout the day bringing my concerns to the Lord, seeking His strength and His peace.

It's not all bad to have the depths of your heart woken up a bit.  It's a great thing to seek comfort in God's word and to trust more fully in His presence and His promises. Desperation makes me cry out even more to my Heavenly Father and His perfect peace never fails when I choose to bring myself honestly and fully to Him.  It's been a blessing to come together with Patrick in our collective thoughts and feelings about our girl, Maddie.  To have him as my partner in the good AND hard of life is one of the best ways that God has ever shown His love to me.   I have found great peace in music and in rest.
These are the good things that come from leaning into the feelings that have accompanied this unexpected life-change.  Admittedly, I  long to move through the stages of grief more quickly and to set up camp in Acceptance.  I feel like here is where I will be able to relax and hang out with less sadness. However, I know there is value to each step of this journey,  so for now, I'm willing to just take the next right step.
















Maddie is a strong warrior who is walking down this path set out before her with such strength and such poise.  She is brave and capable and most of all, full of laughter and life.  I admire her capacity to take in this unexpected and challenging hardship and still live life with an abundance of joy.

Normal days are becoming more normal again.  So often, I have taken them for granted.  But now, I'm just grateful for them.  Over the last few months we've had days of soccer, Sunday afternoon fishing trips, a fantastic Spring Break trip to Moab, and Patrick and I even got away for a quick trip to SF.  Life is not perfect or easy, but it is most certainly beautiful and one to be treasured.  

Psalm 71