Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What I've Been Doing

~ a precious mother's day gift from my children ~

We have been busy.  Though the blog doesn't reflect what my family and I have been doing like it used to, we have have been busier than ever.  It's a "good busy".  Wonderful, actually.  

In talking to a friend recently, I described this stage of life with my kids as "the sweet spot".  We are between the tedious "baby years" and on the cusp of all that the "teenage years" will entail, and all of the kids are old enough to experience some really fun things together.  While the instructing and disciplining has not ended, I can see that the work that seemed unending a year or so ago - and for the 13 years before that - has changed to helping our kids live out the things that we have tried with our whole hearts to teach them in the first years of their lives.  Physically, they are not so demanding.  Assuming that everyone can find their shoes before we head out the door, we load up and go fast and furiously on a daily basis without a stroller or diaper bag and have no nap times to return home for.  So, in that respect, parenting has become "easier"... 

In other ways, parenting has become the most weighty thing that I have ever experienced in my life.  The understanding of the job that we have to do is more overwhelming now than it has ever been.  The importance of doing it well is more clear than ever before.  The consequences are eternal and will affect others - not just our family and our comfort - for the rest of our kids' lives.  The time that we have left  - especially with our oldest - seems to be visible sands falling through an hour-glass.  The end of this part of our journey with her is only four years away.  Four years - what used to seem like an eternity when there where sleepless nights, strong-willed toddlers, diaper-filled days - seems like the flip of a calendar page away now. 

Somedays I feel sad about that.  Sometimes, I am fearful or anxious.  But mostly, I just feel more focused than ever to fulfill God's will for my life in a way that He will be proud of and would bring Him glory.  I want to raise these souls to follow Him and love Him with all of their hearts.  I want to inspire them to be giving and considerate to the people around them.  I feel desperate to teach them to make good choices and know why they are making them.  I want to be more intentional than ever with the time that I have with them.  I want to impart to them the complete and total love that I have for them and help them to understand that the Lord loves them even more than that.  I want to seize every single opportunity that I have to spend time with them and pour into them.   

So, that is what I have been doing.  Well, the main thing, anyway... Working to do this job well, yet knowing that I fail at it on a daily basis.  Teaching my kids as often as possible that just like them, I am a sinner.  Saved by the grace of our Savior.  In need of daily mercy and forgiveness.   

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Happiness From Sadness

In my experience, the most profound joy can be birthed from the deepest sadness.  The most intense thankfulness from the most intense heartache.

Last week, as I huddled up with my family on Main Street of The Happiest Place On Earth, held my children close, saw my husband's face glow, and watched the most beautiful fireworks I had ever seen in my life I had tears streaming down my face.  Like the embarrassing why is that lady crying in public like that? kind of tears.  It was not simply because I was happy or that I was at Disney World or that I was exhausted because I had been up since 3:30am or that I was thrilled to be on a one week hiatus from doing laundry, driving my mom-taxi, and homeschooling my kids.  As I watched Cinderella's castle turn from pink to purple to blue and listened to the voice from the speakers talk about dreams coming true,  my mind was thrown back to points in the last several years that were far from a "dream come true".  They were a nightmare.  Those of you that know me well know the details.  Suffice it to say that the idea of being completely content and totally thankful were something that I seriously doubted I would ever feel again.  I had been sad, lonely, desperate.  For years.  In the last two years, however, the Lord has been restoring me.  He has redeemed the things that were lost in a way that I could not have imagined.  He has provided in so many ways... He has transformed my heart.  Made me thankful and content.  He has given me a view of Him and of life that I needed so badly.  He has worked in me to teach me about His goodness in all things... even things that don't meet my expectations of "good".  He has relieved me from depression that I suffered from for years.  He has worked in the life of my husband and me and has given us a desire to work on our marriage in ways that needed to happen for the last 18+ years.  He has given our family many of the desires of our hearts and is working on aligning all of our desires with His.  He has given me hope.

And that night - our first night at Disney World - as the 5 of us watched the sky light up behind the castle that we had all been literally been dreaming of standing beside for years - I was overwhelmed by the joy that I was feeling.  That night, I knew deep in my heart that the intense and wonderful feeling that I was feeling could not have been as intensely wonderful as it was had the previous years not been as intensely hard as they were.

The rest of the week that we spent in Florida was just as much of a dream come true as that first night.  It was not perfect by any means, but then my dreams are not that of a perfect life.  I am too much of a realist for that.  My dreams are mostly made up of the desire to be surrounded by my family.   Watching them enjoy themselves and each other...   And that happened.

So did a few other things... like a certain 5 year old falling on the ground proclaiming that "this is the worst day ever"... just moments before and/ or after he had proclaimed the exact opposite... several times during our trip.  Or older children that complained about having to pose for a photo... "Again?!?".  Or a mom that got angry because of that.  Or several hours of rain that ruined my "plan" for the day.  Oh, there are a whole list of things that were not the typical "dream come true" kind of moments, but that is life.  In those moments I was able to (pretty) quickly put things into proper perspective.  I was truly able to remain thankful for the opportunity to be in this place that we had prayed for over 6 years to be able to bring our babies.

He provided.

And through it all, He worked in my little bitty life to teach me something huge.

I am so very thankful.

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.
Psalm 126:3

January 2011

Oh. My. Goodness.

I never would have thought that I would get nearly a year behind on my blog... I used to blog a few times a day.  The thought of it breaks my heart.  I love my little blog!

I guess this is what they call "spilled milk", so I better not cry over it.

There has been PLENTY going on with me and my family in the last several months.  I think I just got overwhelmed with keeping up with it all in the bloggy style that I had going.  And to be honest, Facebook and Twitter have become my way to connect with people and share life in that cyber-life-sharing kind of way.  It is quick, easy, and can be done from my iPhone.

Who knows what this new year will hold for the old bloggeroo, but I am hopeful that I will take a moment here and there to sit down and write my thoughts down.  I have missed that process so much.

If anyone is still "out there" checking in on For What It's Worth, I hope you have a Happy New Year and that we meet up here from time to time in 2011.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Catching Up April: Girls' Weekend Away

On one of the weekends in April my friend, Jenny, invited some of her girlfriends to her in-laws' house in the Hill Country near Austin, TX.  I had visited their home once before and remembered it being a couple of days of heaven... and this time it was, as well.  The atmosphere and scenery there are beautiful.  Jenny's in-laws, Steve & Shereda, are so caring and hospitable.  And it is just relaxing.  So very relaxing!

~ me & Jenny ~
We have been friends for over 10 years.
 ~ Friends ~
Randi, Amy, Stacy, 
Vicki, Jenny, Kim, & Michelle

Shereda & Jenny are amazing hostesses.  From being met at the front door with a margarita when we arrived to the goody bag on my bed to the water bottles and fresh flowers in my (very own) room, every detail was thought of...

The first night that we were there, Shereda made us a delicious lasagna, and we enjoyed a long, slow dinner with great conversation.

After dinner the girls all went out by the fire pit and made s'mores with Peeps Easter candy.

The next morning, Steve took us on a boat ride across the lake for brunch.  It was fun and delicious!
~ Shereda, Amy, Randi, & Tate ~

~ Jenny & me at brunch overlooking the lake ~

 The food was beautiful & delicious.

After the boat ride, we hung out in the hot tub and sat by the pool overlooking the lake all afternoon.

~ Steve, Shereda, & the girls ~

That night Steve & Shereda took us to a great Hill Country restaurant that is at a vinyard. 

It was such a good weekend....

Catching Up April: Misc. @ Home

As I am going through trying to catch up my blog, I am coming across some random photos that I will lump together into Misc. posts.  Here is a look into the life of our family on some random days in April 2010

These days, Cooper can often be found in a costume reading the new children's Bible that he received on Easter.  

He is ALWAYS ready to play a game!

One day in April, Corey told me to go in the backyard, and this was sitting on the table.  
Just Because.

~ Tulips for Allie from Daddy ~

We have many birds in our neighborhood.  We were surprised when we saw this red-headed woodpecker though.  He looked just like Woody Woodpecker!

Catching Up April: Easter 2010

April 4, 2010 - We had an untraditional, but really good Easter this year.  Our pastor asked that if at all possible, the regular attenders come to the Sunday evening service at our church to make room for those that don't typically come to church but come on Easter.  We decided to try to help by doing as he asked.  We have never not been in church on Easter morning.  It felt a little strange at first, but we ended up really liking it!  Corey started the day early, alone in the backyard with the squirrels (as seen a few posts before), and the rest of us slept a little later.  The boys woke up and had to rouse Allie from her sleep, then we were off to see what the Easter Bunny had brought to the kids' baskets and shoes. 

We literally spent the rest of the morning and afternoon in the backyard.

I even prepared our Easter Dinner on the patio table.  This is the preperation of the Apple Dumplings that I made for dessert.  They were to die for!!!

 ~ Corey, 100% relaxed ~
 ~ coloring Easter Eggs ~

We invited Allan & Emily and their kids to join us for Easter Dinner.  

~ my roast, potatoes, & carrots with a centerpiece from the backyard ~
 ~ Allan's homemade crescent rolls ~
 ~ Emily's cauliflower "brain" ~

~ The Kavaliches & the Powells ~
(Jacob & I are there - just not pictured.)

The men (even the tiny one) had their traditional after-holiday-dinner-naps.

~ our family ~

~ Corey & me ~

Since Allan & Jacob were sleeping at the house during our "photo shoot", I just took a quick iPhone photo of the Kavs at church.

~ me & my sister ~
I love this photo of us and that we got to share part of this holiday together!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Well, I Guess We Know How THAT Went

Catching the ol' blog up in August? ...not so much. 

I have blogged a little bit, however... just somewhere new.

The kids and I (or just *I*, so far) are keeping a chronicle of our (new and improved) school year on a blog that I created over here.  If you are interested in keeping up with that part of our life, check it out.  

And maybe, just maybe, I will somehow get back to this blog and catch us all up on my family's daily life.  I miss it, and I still look through it every so often.

Here's one little tid-bit of an update (while I'm here chatting with you)... Allie had wanted a new puppy for a LONG time.  I asked her to wait until summer to get one, so she could help take care of it.  As soon as we got back from our (heavenly) summer vacation in June, she was anxious to look for a pup.  We found super-cute, super-sweet little, baby ShihTzu at a rescue and adopted her.  Allie chose her name - Norah Jonas - (remember her love of the Jonas Brothers?), and the whole family has fallen in love with her.  Well... almost the whole family.  I am not sure that Corey would admit it, but I think he kinda likes her too.  

So, here is Miss Norah Jonas in her bloggy debute (at least on THIS blog)...
Isn't she just adorable?!?

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