Tuesday, December 31, 2013


It's New Years Eve 2013.  I haven't forgotten how to blog.  Truth be told, blogging has been on the to-do list almost every day, and I just haven't gotten far enough down the long, long list to make it to my writing time! I'd like to change that - I hope to change it!!

The other day, I was having a conversation with my parents and my hubs and I summed up the year with a negative attitude and a grumpy outlook.  "This year sucked" and "worst year ever" were both a part of my evaluation.  Because this isn't  my usual Polyanna way, the folks at the table were troubled,  shocked and taken aback by my declaration.  They said, "Not really"... and "Are you sure?" and "Think about this... and that... and this...".

And I have thought.

And maybe 2013 was a "smidge" better than I was giving it credit for.


To tell you the truth, the year was just a personal drag.  It was filled with letdowns, fears,  disappointments and sub-par quality of living.  Things I wanted to conquer, remained monstrous.  Places I wanted to see my life go, left un-visited.  Struggles with my health that I hadn't ever had to deal with.  Don't get me wrong - I didn't quit, never let anyone see me sweat (well almost nobody)...  Through it all, I smiled, prayed, and remained grateful, but towards the end of year it was no longer healthy not to just make an admission of "this is draining", "this isn't fun", and "I don't like this".  Sometimes, it just needs to be said.  


The year was also a year of adventures, vacations, remodeling, kids turning 7, 9, 13 and 15. ( It was an "odd" year!!  Maybe that explains something  :).)  The family laughed a lot, camped some, grew a lot, re-decorated a lot, prayed A LOT, fought a little (a lot), cheered each other on a lot, danced a lot, hugged a lot, texted a lot, folded laundry a lot, drove a lot,  loaded and loaded and reloaded the dishwasher a lot, shared secrets a lot,  cried some, cleaned a lot, kicked the ball a lot, threw the ball a lot, hit the ball a lot... in some ways it was a fantastic year.  I am so grateful that every year, each one of  us grow and change and morph into the person that God created us to be.  Its never going to be an easy trek, this living thing, but in our household this living thing is certainly never dull.

So... I'm ready.  Ready for a new year, a new perspective, a new day.

I welcome you, 2014.  Lets do this thing!!

I just got this sweet text from one of my dear friends.  It was a great reminder of the goodness swirling around my world. Icing on the New Years Eve cake...

I'm thankful for all that makes up this very special gift of life.  The good, the hard, the rough, the wonderful.  All mixed together, it produces what one of my favorite authors, Glennon Melton, calls "Brutiful". and That is a "for sure thing".  This Life is Brutiful.

Happy New Year!!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

This weekend was full of the goodness of fall and fun!!!  We had a lot of time together as a family, including our annual fall family picture taking adventure.  My kiddos and Patrick have given in to the fact that documenting our family year after year is one of my favorite things.  This year I think there might have even been enthusiasm!!! about our picture taking.  

I put the yard to sleep, which always makes me a little bit sad.  Chair cushions go back in their storage bins.  Cushions that have stories to tell of all of our spring and summer.  Naps taken, conversations had, feet rested, books read with glasses of iced tea.  Now, the chairs are empty, awaiting the snow that will soon take the cushions place.  

I tore up an entire flower garden, replacing worn out rose bushes with underground bulbs.  Planting bulbs is such an interesting activity.  I have to work super hard to dig the holes, prepare the holes, pop the little bulbs in and then... cover all of the work up with dirt and mulch, waiting for the cold months to pass to show any sort of proof of my labor!  I am more of an instant gratification girl than I am a wait for months to show productivity... so I think thats why this gardening activity causes me to muse.  I am excited for that particular garden to look better than it did this past summer though, so all of the work will be worth it.     

 Over the past few weeks we have had many great events in our family, the least of which was Marky's first homecoming!  She and her friends looked so amazing and it was so much fun for everyone.  I got to make dinner for the group of them and I also got to help the girls with their hair.

Marky looked like the beautiful, amazing young lady that she is.  We feel so blessed for the young adult that she is growing into.

We've also played lots of soccer, attended lots of football games, danced many steps, and finished Maddie's season of tennis.  Since school began in late August, our weeks have just been marching along at a very quick tempo.  Some days I find myself wondering about when life will slow its tempo down, yet I am growing more and more certain that slowing down just doesn't look like it is in the plans. Thats okay.  As long as we are organized and I spend a lot of time praying, we can keep up with the speed and volume of things.
 As the weather turns colder and colder, the inside of our house is just getting more and more delightful to us.  Having the extra space downstairs now is such a blessing.  I am so grateful that we were able to finish the basement this summer. It has made such a difference to us.
Yesterday I talked to my mom about Thanksgiving plans.  WOW - its just around the corner!!  It seems like just a minute ago I was taking the kids to the pool on a hot summer day. Lots to enjoy between now and then!!! I better go to it! :)

Friday, October 4, 2013

The delicious pumpkin spice latte that I drank at 6:00 PM is betraying me at a late hour tonight.  I knew that it was going to be trouble, when I needed to close my eyes and fall to sleep, but its tastiness over-ruled common sense and now, here I am.

The weather turned COLD tonight!!  Not only did the rain fall, but so did the temperatures. BRRRR!!!

 We attended a high school football game, where Marky got to perform on her dance team.   When I watch her perform and see the huge smile on her face, my heart is absolutely delighted.  I am in love with that child.. (With all 4 of them, actually).  I love that I can tell that she's nervous because she mushes her lips together over and over.  I love that I can start praying for her when I see said lip-mushing.   I love that she is a part of a team.  I love every. single. bit . of. it... For her, for me, for her sisters and brother who love watching her, for the memories that she is making, for the privilege of watching her blossom into who God has made her to be.  This week, I also got to  sit on the sidelines while my Maddie-girl played tennis.  What a tennis player that girl is!!!  She is the most kind team mate ANDopponent.  I am so proud of her sweet, generous attitude.  It was such a risk for her to play tennis this fall, and she ended the season by saying "I can't wait to play again next year".  And THAT makes all of the driving and scheduling and juggling all worth it.  When they love it. When it stretches them and grows them.

Since my kids were teeny tiny, I have been in the protection business.  The safest car seat, putting them to sleep on their backs, holding their tiny hands when they crossed a street,  making sure the outlets were covered and the stairs were blocked.  The safety of my children has always been a high priority to me (as it is with most parents, but I as in most areas of my life I am an over-achiever so I have of course tried to over-achieve in THIS area as well...) .  I have fought battles over movie ratings, I have pushed bike helmets and scooter pads; I have talked to them about stranger-danger and  reminded them about what DOESN'T go in their mouths. Protection - its the degree that I have pursued for the last 15 years.  Most of the time, my attentiveness has been motivated by love, but there have also been times where I have been motivated by fear.  Neither emotion is better because they cause me to do different things.  Being motivated by love helps me teach my kids to make good choices about their OWN safety, for themselves.  Being motivated by fear helps me instruct them on how to stay away from what could hurt them.  Over the last few weeks however, I have found that I have been motivated by a third emotion -  A.N.G.E.R.  Mad, mother-bear, you-have-messed-with-the- wrong-kid type of anger.  Anger that has made me stompin' mad and anger that has made me cry.   Anger that has made me pray, pray and pray some more..  Because gone are the days where I can band-aid up the owies that come from my kids getting hurt from a fall on the sidewalk.  The pain that they experience these days is much deeper, requiring bandages that are so much bigger than what this mama can apply.   Pain from people who are supposed to be their friends, pain that comes from being made to feel inadequate, pain from being shamed by people who are suppose to love them.  These are the days where buckling their carseat correctly does nothing to  shield their hearts from disappointment and discouragement.  These are the days where we look to prayer to heal our hurts, to the Bible for encouragement for our pain.  Many days I want to scream back at the hurters "My kids are too young to experience real hurt and real pain!! Leave them alone!!!"  And yet, just as I have seen my kiddos practice and get better at the sports they are enjoying, I know that they will each get stronger because of the "practice" they are getting dealing with the hurts that they have had to endure over the past few weeks.  BUT...

Tonight, I'm tired of it all. I want the bullies (of all ages!) to "get theirs";  I don't want to hear my 7 year old tell me that his friend has made fun of him because his mommy sends him notes in his lunch box; I don't want to hear how my daughter feels left out at recess; I don't want my kids to feel the pain of being publicly embarrassed by someone who has a need to belittle them. I want to cover them with my arms and I know that my arms are too short and that there isnt enough of me to bear it all for them.  And that's why we have Jesus.  He is enough for all of these burdens.  He can take on their enemies, and I must bring my kids and their need for protection to Him.  I know that He is faithful.  He loves my kids more than I do and His power is everything that they need.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

We had a super, wonderful weekend.
(That is, until the Mr. came down with some sort of stomach sickly thing.
Friday night we had some friends over for dessert and chit-chat.
Its always a wonderful time to have other families over and
spice it up (and MESS it up!) around the house.
Its good to get out the special dessert plates 
and the one set of complete/matching drinking glasses in the house.
I keep these hidden so that nobody goes and uses them
and then breaks them so I don't have a complete set.  Sneaky, I know.
Necessary!!  If its not nailed down around here, its fair game
for the taking!!!  
I digress...

Saturday we spent the morning at the soccer field, cheering
Michael on.  His team played hard for their win!!
Saturday afternoon, the girls and I went out shopping
for a homecoming dress for Marky.
We found exactly what she wanted with minimal teeth gnashing.  
It was a success!!

Today has been a day of a mix of sunshine and rain.
We went to church and had lunch out. 
Marky went to a Rockies game with friends, Michael went to play at a friends
house, and Meredith and Maddie went to the movies.
WHEW - a VERY social day around here!!
I spent some time at the fabric/craft store, getting inspired
and stocking up on a few items for some projects that I want to do.
It was a teeny, tiny vacation for me.  
I don't need much.
Weekends as a family are so special.  
I hope that everyones was a wonderful as ours was as the 
First Day of Fall 
made its arrival.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fall Fall Fall

September... It is the "witching hour" of the summer.  Its the time of year that you wonder if you should put any more water on the garden... add any more soil to the pots.  Do I weed, or do I let the weeds take over??  Should I plant more or just give in to the destiny of winter...

I love the beginning of fall.  It is delicious in its smells, its colors, its meaning.  We desire cozy and calm, warm and inviting.  Pepper that with the wonderfulness of boots, tights, and comfy sweaters and the month gets its very own bright gold star placed on the center of the calendar.
Every day is busy with practices, rehearsals, homework and "lets just hang out".  The month is peppered with activity yet frosted with the icing of fall.  Good smelling candles and candy corn.  Full Saturdays accompanied by lazy Sundays.  Banners of orange and yellow, glazed with apples and cider.

Maybe you've heard that Colorado got a little bit of rain.  Holy Smokes!!!  It was the Mother Lode of LIQUID!!!!!  As I drove around the neighborhood today, accompanied by the green, green grass and trees I was confused as to weather we were in SPRING or in FALL???  The amount of rain that we've gotten over the past 10 days is INCREDIBLE and the plants, trees, and grass are just soaking it up.  Instead of the regular colorful foliage of fall, we have the remnants of our summer and spring.  Green, Green, Green!!!
I am a summer girl, no doubt about it. I love the heat!!!  I think that with these gorgeous flowers blooming in the garden, joining in my crusade against cold weather, summer will gain a grand extension in our yard!!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

I'm finding my bearings as summer turns into fall.   Gone are the longer, warmer days of summer. Days that had few commitments on the calendar.   Those days have been exchanged for cooler,  more scheduled days.  Days with checklists and packed bags and stop and start times.  I'll take "activities for $300"!! Or maybe I want "folder signing for $100"!!!  The rush to get the kids off to school is followed by a few solo hours where I clean up the messes, re-fill the drawers, replenish the fridge and the cupboards, all the while keeping a close eye on the clock knowing that I will need to pack myself into my mini-van sooner than later to take children where they need to be after their days at school (and sometimes during!).

Last week, a friend of mine recounted her day to me.  It included driving, and dishes, and laundry, and shopping, and driving, and picking up and taking, and more driving, and packing, and more laundry...  I would have thought she was NUTS, except for my story sounded very similar to hers when she asked me how MY day had gone.  Knowing that she faces some of the same daily challenges that I face with a husband who is out of town frequently, I was grateful for the chance to laugh together about the stage of life that we are in.  We sighed about how exhausted we were, we smiled at how fast the kids are growing up, we gave thanks for the wonderful schools our children attend, we stated that we felt blessed that our husbands had jobs and our kids had hobbies. AND... that we are the lucky ones, getting to be the ring leaders of our families as we live this amazing, circus-similar life.

A few days have passed, and I have thought about our conversation and our empathetic story-swapping moments.  It helped to have her understand me.  It encouraged her to have me nod and smile in agreement.

 In my reflection, I was reminded that God never intended me to live alone, or Lonely. There is no award given out at the end of the day for just toughing it out.  I am meant to share and encourage and uplift.  Yet, sometimes I shut community out, my pride getting in the way of my needs.  There are days, I'm ashamed to admit, that I try to be the Lone Ranger mom, or the Super mom, ignoring the fact that I am desperate for someone to take my hand or pat my shoulder and say "Hang in there..."or "You'll make it" or "How can I help you?".  I came across a couple of verses for myself that I am going to meditate on more and more when I sense myself strolling down the path towards independence of either friends or the Lord.   I couldn't believe how timely these scriptures were to me today.

Psalm 29:11 "The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace."
Psalm 38:21-22 "O Lord, do not forsake me; be not far from me, O my God.  Come quickly to help me, O Lord my Savior."
Psalm 46:5 "God is within *her*, she will not fall; God will help *her* at break of day."
Psalm 23:1-3 "God, my shepherd!
    I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
    you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
    you let me catch my breath
    and send me in the right direction."

What loveliness the Lord brings through the presence of friends and the healing balm of His word.  Dark days brighten up,  heavy loads seem lighter, vision becomes clearer, despair moves away.  

See you later, dear Summer.  Fall is calling. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Catching Up

Reasons that we LOVED summer !!! 

Vacation to Glacier National Park
and Yellowstone National Park! 

Basement Remodel!!!

Lots of SOCCER!!! Lots of WINNING!!!

Hermit Park with our awesome friends!!!

The County Fair!!!