Friday, December 30, 2011

It started out as a "get away"  As in - I want to get away from home and stay away until home looks like it should.  Home is all 6 if us there.  All 4 of my children, HOME,  right where they belong.  But... for a few days, where they belong is not where they are.   They are away and SO... My sweet Patrick planned a tritp to take the "rest of us" out of town so what we could be away from what is normal as well.  He wanted to take us somewhere new, where we could experience fun hikes, beautiful scenery, and continue the collection of stamps in our passport books. Also take us to a place that would distract this mama.  If only that were possible.... I have loved our vacation, but my heart swings between guilt and happiness, vascilates between satisfaction and emptiness, relaxes with less all the while wanting more.  The loneliness for my older two is only comforted by the company of my younger two.  My heart is big enough to love all 4, no matter where they are.  How else does this mama drive down a Utah freeway, enjoying the beauty and noise around her while her heart also drives down a Colorado highway towards hometown, hoping that blankies and such weren't left behind in a mountain cabin.  I try to stay present with my smaller family, and still can't wait until I can share all that we have done with the WHOLE family.  Will they feel left out??   Will they want to know where we have been and what we have done??  Will our pictures matter to them?  Will they care asbout videos that star their younger siblings and not them? Today, little sister drew a picture for her 2 big sisters.  "I want to show them what we saw yesterday", she says.  "I know," I empathize.   "I miss them too".  And in a few days, we will conferge will all of our expeiences and we will have show and tell and we will reconect.  Our snuggles will be tigheter, our patience for one-another's imperfections will be greater.  And truthfully, I just can't wait for all of the noise.  I'm so grateful for a husband who understands and provides.  I am blessed to be known and to be loved.       

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


It wasn't like it was a weekend to go nuts over, BUT nuts I went!!  
The agenda held events that we did as a family, AND an overnight date for me and my man, where we dressed up and had a few minutes to ourselves.

A piano recital and some Christmas caroling, ice skating and party going, 

Christmas movies, sparkly drinks and family slumber parties.  
Every moment fit together to make a holiday picture worth remembering.  

We are 5 days from Christmas, we have 2 days left of school and I have about 8 more little odds and ends to wrap up before I completely finish my to-do list.  
We have one more concert, one performance on Christmas Eve, and one birthday to round out this twelfth month of 2011.   
December has been busy, but we have found Joy in the activity of this season.
Joy is what we try to pursue here around our house.  
As we chase it down and grab onto the moments that fit the Joy-bill, 
stuffing memories into our pockets, I am reminded 
that the effort is always worth it.  

Going after Joy in the midst everything else that goes on in our lives 
isn't always easy or convenient, 
but I am always glad 
when I make an attempt at Joy; when I make a conscious effort
to celebrate, notice, remember, and delight in the things that are going on around me.  

I always know that the Giver of all Joy is right there, ready to add the finishing touches, 
the perfecting touches to any effort that I put forth.  
He takes what little I have to give and makes it into something beautiful.
I herald with the angels...
"Glory to God in the highest!!"

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Sometimes I forget...

  • how blessed I am
  • what being "really tired" REALLY felt like
  • what using both of my hands feels like
  • that the petty stuff doesn't really matter
  • what a hot summer day feels like
  • that I need to take a deep breath
  • that even I need new undies
  • that an "I'm sorry" goes a long way   
  • how fast the Christmas season goes by
  •  how quickly time passes
  • how fast clothes get wrinkled
  • how amazing a long friendship is
  • how sad being alone was
  • how lovely the sand feels between my toes
  • how little the mess matters
  • the last time I stopped worrying was
  • what being relaxed feels like
  • what an empty heart really felt like
  • how kind people are
  • how lovely life can be when I focus on all of the good!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Two weeks ago, I was innocently volunteering in the library at my kids' school.  This time spent in the library is enjoyable to me, and you'd think it would br pretty harmless. UNTIL... duh, duh, duh...

a few books started to fall and I proceeded to catch them. Then - SNAP - pain, and now I have a wrist that is in a cast.  I am trying to make some lemonade with these enormous lemons.  I've been taking it pretty easy, relying on my sweet hubby, my wonderful kiddos, friends and family to help out in all of my daily tasks.  I can do a lot, just limited; I am more than aware that there are folks out there who are in much dire sraits than I am. This is just my plight for now. 

I have been drinking tea.  Typically I dont like hot tea, but I have a new fav! To add insult to my injury, I came down with a stomach bug the past few days, and my usual coffee craving just sounded gross! One of my sweet friends brought this to me, and it just hit the spot.

 Im reading this right now. I love having a good Chrismas book to read at this time of year.
On Saturday I was given the privilege of being the maid of honor at my friend's wedding.  The Tuesday prior to the wedding, I hosted a shower for her.  My house was so full of love that night! I dont have a fancy house and was a little intimidated about 20 people arriving, but the size and quality of my home was not the focus of the shower.   Go figure!! I stress myself out about the dumbest things. My house is a gift.  Literally.  Years ago, my house was going into foreclosure. It was a desperate situation.  A wonderful, generous, compassionate couple saved my house and gave me the money that I needed to rescue it.  It was an enormous miracle, and I remind myself often that my house is a gift.  The night of the shower, after I recognized my foolish heart, I was able to simply enjoy having Polly's wonderful family and friends here.  My kids loved it too,  They absolutely adore it when I start getting the house ready for a party. They helped me move furniture around and get food prepped. 
It was such a wonderful weekend to celebrate my precious friend.

Last Sunday afternoon we made our anual trek up to the mountains to find our perfect Christmas tree.  We couldnt have asked for a better afternoon! The experience was freezing cold yet magical!!
The house is now all decorated, the gifts are slowly being delivered,  the holiday spirit is brewing.  We listen to our favorite Christmas music wherever we are at.
Everyone has their favorite tune,  and it is the background noise to everything that we do.
The girls are preparing for their piano recital where they will rock their
own tunes on the piano in a week. 

Holidays and Family. They go hand in hand. Now, Im just going to have to try to figure
out how to wrap gifts with only one hand!  It might be a gift bag type of year!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


The month of November is closing.  We've kissed Thanksgiving goodbye and we've spent many moments celebrating our sweet Marky - moo.  At 13 years old, my precious first-born is such a special girl.  She is incredibly artistic.  She is beautiful.  She is courageous and intuitive. 
I love listening to her process things.  She is wise beyond 13. 
 She has fashion sense that would make Stacey and Clinton proud.

Music flows from this girl.  She loves to sing and play the piano.
Her favorite store is I-tunes.   

 Her heart expands to include others and she has such a sensitive spirit towards people that she loves. 
She loves God and delights in following Him with her heart.

 I couldn't be more proud of who Marky is.  Every day I am blessed by her presence in my life.  I absolutely enjoy her as much as I love her.  Marky introduced me to true love.   She came into my life, and I have never been the same.  My values are different, my priorities have changed.  I see so much of life differently since I became a mother when Marky was born. 

Thirteen BEAUTIFUL years is just the first layer of color on this portrait that God is painting of my lovely daughter. I am absolutely, completely in love with you, my dearest Marky. 

You are a PERFECT first pancake!!
Happy 13th Birthday to you.    

Thursday, November 17, 2011

November ramblings - Try to keep up!

We are half-way through our November.  The days of late have been freezing cold with a wind that ignores your coat and makes its way straight down the front of your shirt, chilling you to the absolute bone.  I am not a fan of wind.  "I am not a fan" is Meredith's newest phrase to describe things that she doesn't like.  I guess she actually listened when I corrected her whenever she said "I hate...", so she came up with this alternative.  It's kind of funny when she says it.  I have had an aching neck that has slowed me down the last couple of days.  The pain has been intense and has forced me to take it a little easier rather than running around with both barrels loaded.  I've had a hot rice pack hanging around my neck everywhere I've gone the last few days and just so you know, you can't move very fast with one of those clinging to you.  I'm not exactly sure where I picked up this painful crick, but I'm feeling more sympathetic to people who carry constant pain around with them.  I am NOT a fan of it.  We celebrated our sweet Marky's birthday.  Thirteen and wonderful.  Thirteen and not-so-wonderful.  This is how our days go.  Up, down, back, forth.  The ride is intensely rewarding and challenging all in the same.  Every once in a while, I feel like I'm on Space Mountain... spinning in the dark.  I take one turn at a time, praying like crazy that I don't fall out of my seat, hating that I can't see what is around the next corner.  If I could see, if would probably scare the hell out of me and I would JUMP, so I close my eyes and hope, and trust, and try not to take anything too seriously.  I am not good at that.  I tend to take EVERY thing too seriously.  I care WAY too much about WAY too many things.  Can you say Control Issues????  After  sabotaging 3 cameras over the last 2 years, and being without one for the past few months (have you noticed the lack of pictures on the blog?), we purchased a REAL camera.  Now I just have to take a class to learn how to use it.  I'm really excited about what this piece of equipment can do, but man - it's not a point and shoot that's for sure!!  Thanksgiving is next week.  We have family coming from Portland to visit us over the next week and then we will go out of town to visit other family.  Having to being more still the last few days has caused me to look around.  To listen to the sounds around the house, to soak up the hugs and compassion that my kiddos have offered to their hurting mama, to appreciate all that I have been blessed with.  I'm grateful, so grateful. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011


I walk around my favorite store, on a typical search for treasure.  I finger a pretty sweater and enjoy its autumnal shade of orange.  I leave it neatly folded on the table, knowing with certainty that even though it is lovely, it is not what I'm looking for.  I continue to meander, gazing at trinkets and baubles.  I am a faithful lover of anything vintage, an ardent swooner over anything boasting chipped paint.  My home and closet don't have many empty spaces in them.  I only buy what I absolutely love, what jumps out and speaks to me.  Today the merchandise is quiet.   What I am shopping for isn't there.  I walk past an old table, snubbing a charming necklace, ignoring a pretty green vase, barely appreciating the thread-bared edges of a tablecloth I'm sure would look lovely with my fall centerpiece.  I see treasures from the past that  beg to share their stories.  Today I am too distracted to listen.  The alarm on my cell phone rings, reminding me of the present.  Daily responsibilities that have never gone unfulfilled.  Places I must be for little people that depend on me. I leave the store, promising to come back when I am more attentive.  I am confused by my empty arms, because typically, I leave with a treasure.  A purchase not based on price, but about value and personal taste. Today, whatever I was searching for was not to be found.

Four days later, I recall that shopping experience.  At the end of a day of to-do's and to-be's, I have one final task.  I need to change all of our clocks.  It is "DayLight Savings", and there is no choice but to comply with the directive to set the clock back one hour. An extra hour... a gift. After I finished up with resetting the microwave (I never remember how to do it!) I settle onto my bed with my book.   I read for a few minutes, and as I lounge,  a pleasant feeling covers me.  It is a  blanket of peace, the scent of contentment hanging in the air around me.  I think to myself "This is IT! This is what I was looking for on my shopping trip! "  TIME.  Minutes that are not completely filled with things that need attention or energy.  Sometimes my heart is searching for something that cannot  be purchased at my favorite store.  What I was really needing that afternoon while I was wandering around was some TIME!!  I was so grateful to drink in that extra 60 minutes last night, knowing that although most of the USA was participating in daylight savings time right along with me, it felt more like a personal gift with MY name on the box. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Today is a windy, fall day.  The leaves are falling onto grass that is still green, thanks to our Indian summer.  Earlier this morning, we had rain.  It wasn't cold, but it was wet.  And it was nice to be a little cooler.  I, who loves summer more than anything in the world, might just be ready for the weather to turn cooler.  To back up this declaration, I put flannel sheets on our bed this morning.  You won't be able to accuse me of having favorites!!!  However, I might just need to go try out one of those spray tans as every speckle of color left over from our summer has disappeared from this body.  

 I've been savoring pictures lately.   Last weekend, we took a trip to my mom and dad's house for our annual family photo session.  All family members were excited to make the journey east and actually were "up" for taking pictures.  Everyone obliged me in the outfit I picked out for them, and with happy smiley (mostly!) faces, we documented another special time together.  My dad is so wonderful to do this for us, and I love all of the pictures that he took.

For the past week, I have soaking up each photographed moment, memorizing the look of my kids at their present ages.  The pictures tell a story, of a family put together over time, glued together by hope, touched up with love and making it through each day by faith.  Faith that WE were meant to be. Believing that every bit of every one of us matters.  That our pieces and parts, genuine and imperfect, make the whole package of a family.  Our family.   A package of 6 people wrapped up together; un-returnable and non-exchangeable.  We are committed to finding out what's best in each of us, and putting up with what is worst.  I look into the eyes of the people I love in these pictures and gratitude surges through my heart.  Gratitude that extends  far beyond the minor annoyances and hurts that inevitably swirl around being in relationships. I am thankful that I get to be the mom and the wife.

 As late-October approaches, we are gearing up for the busiest season of our family.  Opportunities to make memories and laugh together.  Events over-crowd the schedule horizon, weekends are marked up on the calendar from here until after New Years.  I long to be present, aware of each moment that comes my way.  I want to embrace both the challenges and the celebrations.  The package it all adds up to be is the greatest gift of my life.  Our home and our family - so grateful.    

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Have you ever...

...missed someone so much that your HEART aches???

...hugged someone so hard that you made them grunt??

... been lonely even when there are many bodies around you??

... loved a new song so much that you turned it up LOUD all day long???

... ignored the baskets of laundry needing to be folded so you can take a little nap?

... shopped for shoes just because??

... stayed up late into the night reading a book so good you couldn't put it down??

...planned an outift for the next day down to the earrings?

...thought about running away... just for an hour?

....eaten ice cream without ANY guilt???

...just sat, and enjoyed the silence???

...wished that you could transport yourself immediately to be with someone you love??

...prayed so much for ONE SIMPLE thing???

...been mean even though you knew you should have been nice?

...bought a pair of boots just because they were SO cute?

...smiled  - just because...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Thankful Tuesday

Tonight I am thankful for:

*new books
*beautiful fall weather
*a fun football game
*finished laundry and clean sheets

*an excited 5th grader
*all of my faithful friends
*the book of Jonah

*caring parents
*school hot lunch

*a programmable coffee pot
*that I get to be the mom

*Tuesday and Wednesday nights at home
*the mercy of my Heavenly Father, which is new every morning

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I'm sitting in my garden on a quiet Saturday morning.  I can hear the asters and mums reminding me that they have beauty too - just because they don't bloom in June doesn't mean they can be overlooked.  Near to me is a pot of pansies and petunias that avoided being eaten by grasshoppers or scorched by the hot August sun. Their scent and color are providing an extension of summer - my first love.  However, coming in at a close second is Autumn.  The briskness in the air assures me that fall is peeking around the corner.  I love the falling leaves, and I love the coler.  I truly appreciate (are you listening?) the fall flowers that splash my garden with color. 

Fall means that soccer is here, and for my little guy, that is the best season of the year!  It brings ECO-week for my 5th grader.  She can't wait.  Middle school football games are the highlight of my oldest daughters week.  Meredith can't wait to wear her jeans and new sweaters.  All over the house we are filled with delight that this beloved time of year is upon us.

With all the kids in school, this mama is trying to find her rhythym.  I love the enthusiasm with which my kiddos come home to me, showing me that it is necessary that they are all in school.  I love enjoying the house being tidy for more than a few minutes at a time.  I love the moments of quiet that have been gifted to me.  HOWEVER, I haven't yet settle into a routine. I don't know where God wants me to be used, where He needs me to be an influencer.  I keep waiting for a knock on the door with a package to arrive that contains clear directions on what is next.  Should I work? Should I serve more? Do I have to bake? How many times should I straighten up the house? How many hours should I volunteer at school?  I am apprehensive at getting over-extended because I have relationships that I want to nurture, and now I have time to do that.  Lunch with one friend, knitting with another, Bible Study with a group of ladies from church, coffee with a mentor, prayer time with other special friends, alone time reading.  These are the things that are filling my days and I want them to be enough.  I want the Lord to be pleased with how I use my time. The kids come home in  need and by 4:00 every afternoon,  the crazy starts.  Is it okay that from 9-4 there is a peace flowing, establinshing a foundation for the afternoon busyness?    

As I sit here in the quiet, asking these questions, I feel in my heart that peace is gift.  "Go after that" is what I sense.  I will ponder what that means as we leave soon to attend Michael's soccer game.  He is so good.  It is so much fun to watch him finally have his own thing.  Last week, his sister's (and me, who are we kidding!) were the loudest group of cheerleaders on the sideline. Unfamiliar with his name being yelled at the top of our voices,  he frequently looked at us like we were NUTS.  I later explained to him that we were cheering for him, telling him that he was doing a good job, not yelling at him to get his attention.  His shirt has 2 sides to it and that intrigued him alot last week.  All of the boys were overly-interested in the fact that their shirts were really 2 in 1. Hopefully by this week, their focus will be more on the field and less with the complexness of their jersey.  Keeping 5-6 year old boys focused for 45 minutes - WHAT a task!!!  I'm looking forward to the game to see what happens.