Saturday, August 09, 2014

Last Weekend Of Summer Break

This is the last weekend of our summer for the year. Matt starts school next week and from that point forward, every waking moment will be consumed with responsibility for things outside of our home.

Most of you know how stressful and consuming Matt's job can be, so when I say that I'm seriously grieving the loss of summer, you may understand. Things change, and having experienced this transition for nearly ten years, I know how challenging it will be.

That being said, it's been a great summer in our new home, new town (Muncie still leaves a lot to be desired) and with new friends. To be honest, it's my nature to think of all the things I wished for and haven't accomplished: camping, kayaking, fishing, hiking, exploring and such; but when I focus on what we gained this past summer, I couldn't be more thankful.

The past month has been full of naps, snacks, impromptu projects (we almost have the whole interior of our house painted!), sleeping late, thrift shopping (our favorite), eating lots of good foods, haning with friends, gardening, and long talks of schemes and plans (my favorite!). I feel it's in these times of relaxation when our family is most whole. We don't really need "activities"... we just need togetherness.

So here we go! On to a new year of making income, creating programs, shaping young adults lives and careers, learning new things and most of all, hanging in there! Every school year is yet another opportunity to learn how to truly be partners and a family unit in the midst of life.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Summer Fun... and a Little Bit of Honesty

In spite of all the things (homesickness, sadness, grief and general malaise), this has been a great summer, thus far. We are seriously SO lucky to have such a great yard and home right now!

It brings me immense joy to see our Little Man climbing the tree, running through the sprinkler and doing laps around the yard, all the while laughing uncontrollably.

There are days (like yesterday) where I just feel ungrateful, thankless and wanting for more of the lifestyle (or a different lifestyle than we currently have) that I convince myself will supposedly make my life easier/more beautiful/fun... you name it.

But today, sitting out underneath the tree, drinking my homemade frozen strawberry lemonade (I win at some things), watching our hilariously goofy and happy child... I realize how good things are. So good.

Honesty? I am very aware of how my emotions change from day to day. I'm always very aware of how fortunate I am for grace...

Anyway... here are some funny pics of our happy little critter playing in our really big (and awesome) yard!

Ps. When I have to mow this lawn, I curse at it and sort of don't love it as much. Again, day to day... emotions and grace.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Season Of Sadness

Wandering through a season of sadness is confusing. It seems, some have wisdom and insight as to how The Creator is working in their lives in that very moment. The rest of us, when going through emotionally straining times, ask: "What is this purpose!?"

I introduced Sharon to you a couple months ago. Small recap: She seemed to have suffered from a fairly major stroke, and a few smaller strokes to follow. Early on, recovery seemed possible.

Presently, Sharon is suffering her final days with brain tumors.

Without details (because they just don't matter at this point), my friend Sharon is slipping farther and farther from us; closer and closer to The Lord.

I've put off this blog post for some time now... because how do you write eloquently, clearly, concisely when you feel deep pain in your heart? So often, our pain comes bubbling up... messy, all over the place and just... badly. There is a vain part of me that wanted to keep it "locked down", because that's just prettier.

But, now it's time.

Daily I go and visit my friend, who is currently being cared for by her husband. Every day I see Sharon's body crumbling little by little. Her speech is gone, she is incontinent, one side of her body is limp, she is unable to walk, she cannot feed herself... but when she sees me... she smiles. To see her eyes light up, brings my heart more joy than I can express in words. We hold hands, I kiss her face, massage her shoulders and speak words of assurance that "...though this time of life is hard, there is SO much good ahead of her."

It's as if that human connection of truly serving another's heart is what matters more than anything in the world.

My heart aches from loss. How easy it is for us to feel these connections are ours to keep. Rationally, I say: "This beautiful friend of mine... who loved me through a cold and dark winter... Lord, I give her to you... because, she is yours." Emotionally I say: "No... don't take her from me. She is wise, beautiful, and mine... she is mine. She is my friend and I don't want to be without her."

It is so easy for me to be selfish.

My heart... it has much to learn and it seems, that even in this blog post, I can identify one point. This connection, it's The Lord's. And I can't hold on to it forever.

As I wander through this season of sadness, I ask the Lord to bring peace, wisdom and love to everyone affected by Sharon's sudden turn toward eternity. As the Lord is close to her in this time, I pray his peace transcends all understanding (or lack thereof) and fills her heart (and ours!) with joy for what is waiting (eternity with her creator!).

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

This Morning Is Different

It's a fresh morning, here in Muncie. There is something wonderful about getting up early, and today my morning brings thunder, wind, and rain. As I sit here at our kitchen table, I can see our freshly cut lawn, Lucas' adorable tree swing and the leaves blowing the wind. It's as if the bright summer sun took a break and allowed the clouds to roll in... giving all of us a small reprieve from the normal morning bustle.

These are moments I am thankful for. Often in motherhood, it can feel as if I'm on a carousel. We go round and round with days that are fairly similar in fashion. After too many roundabouts, I start to feel anxious, jittery and uneasy. I begin to hear my inner thoughts saying things like "this is not fulfilling" or "I'm bored, and that means this job I'm doing is not important."

What!? I know... negative self-talk. Just stop it, right? Right.

This morning is different and it's confirmation in my heart that even nature needs a break from the mundane. That beautiful summer weather was getting real mundane (listen to me!...I can't believe what I'm saying). And it's true; no matter how beautiful my life is, I need a break sometimes. I listen to the negative, focus on my inadequacies, and somehow convince myself that things should look different.

Sure, sure, sure... we all need breaks. I can say it, and even believe myself when I say it, but when the hubs tells me to "take a break," I immediately feel guilt and all the feelings that hang out with guilt. That darn guilt! Where does it come from!? Why should I feel anything negative when I am refilling my emotional tank? Sigh...

As I grow through this motherhood gig, I've learned to push those thoughts out. Ignore them. Deny them. And then, find truth! Finding time and space in my day to fill myself with truth, goodness, energy, and life is the ONE thing I SHOULD do. Meeting with The Creator, taking a nap, stopping to write blessings, eating a popsicle WHILE sitting down, calling my sister... these are all things that fill my heart, and enable me to feel joy and continue the journey of motherhood, wife, woman, sister.... you get the idea.

Loving these two... it's my favorite thing to do.
The routine must continue, because I've committed my life to serving in love (and I'm grateful for the
opportunity), but thank God for the small (or big) moments that cause us to stop and refill ourselves with goodness. I hope this post encourages someone to stop in their day today and fill their tank a little bit; to feel the rain on their face, watch their favorite episode of Arrested Development, thank God for a few blessings, order the sweetened coffee instead of the black, eat another bowl of berries, go ahead and take that nap, call a longtime friend, go for a jog, do some crafting (and make a mess!), sing your favorite songs, read an extra chapter in your book, or kiss your spouse a little longer when they come home.

Without the little blessings, the carousel continues and we grow weak; we believe the lie that we're not enough. We miss The Creator's moments to bless and enrich our hearts, and then, we never see the blessings to praise him for; the sweet, tender moments in which we know we are deeply loved.

"Jesus fill me. The Holy Spirit is our Steady Comforter and our Ready Reminder." 
Lysa TerKeurst, Am I Messing Up My Kids

Monday, July 21, 2014

Five Years of Life-Changing Adventure

I believe there are few things in life that truly change a person. Ultimately, we are all "wired" to be a certain way... and we abide by the same set of beliefs for as long as we exist. That is, until one of these life-changing situations comes into our own life.

That  chubby, lil' puppy face! Sigh...
Our life-changing situation was Lucas. Five years ago (on the 16th of July), he eventually came into this world... after a few days of labor, his nine pounds of chubby, adorableness locked eyes with me, and I knew I'd never be the same.

Lucas celebrated his fifth birthday last week and my heart is both joyous and grieved. This is the perfect description of parenthood for us. This little being of our flesh, our intellect, our spirit... he can both frustrate and bring joy in the same moment. Only a child can do this.

Lucas has taught (and continues to teach) us about patience, tolerance, flexibility, selflessness, giving, grace, laughter, the simple, the complex, sacrifice, creativity, boundaries, discipline, compassion, emotions, our deep need for a higher power and acknowledgement of The Creator, and a healthy awareness of our own selves.

These are just a few things that have changed in us. It's not gradual... the learning curve with a child is steep, as we are constantly trying to keep up with our intelligent, inquisitive, creative little creature!

And, now he's five.

Good gracious, my heart!

We celebrated Lucas with a simple day. 

Matt spent the evening of his own birthday (which is the day previous) finishing a tree swing. It's beautiful! Ropes, wooden seat, clips to remove the swing when necessary... the guy thought of everything.

I made Lucas a cake... from scratch, you guys! I'm proud, because I've never made a white cake at home, that isn't out of a box. You can stop judging me now, because seriously... I didn't know any better! But this cake... it was good. So was that butter cream frosting... I'll never do a box again.

To finish off the day, we set up the tent and had a "cookout" for dinner. We sat around the campfire, roasted hot dogs, ate watermelon, corn on the cob and had a treat of sodas to go with dinner. After s'mores, Lucas went to bed in the tent while looking at lightening bugs and the stars. It was such a fun evening!

Five years ago, this little boy changed our lives. We know we wouldn't be the people we are today if it weren't for this special little heart that chose to be in our lives. Every year we are increasingly more thankful for his spirit, and we know without a doubt, he'll continue to push us, encourage us, and change into better people. There is truly nothing... NOTHING that changes you like a child and we couldn't be more thankful for our little life-changing man. 

Thursday, July 03, 2014

This Kid

This kid:
  • Will be five years old in two weeks! Sigh...
  • Loves superheroes
  • Eats yogurt like it's going out of style
  • Racing and general competition is everything. "Mom, I beat you!" is a statement that happens at least five times a day.
  • Desperately loves his family
  • Asks for candy on the regular
  • Plays with his Lego collection nonstop... prefers to build vehicles that have some type of warfare included.
  • Wants to be a "good boy" and shows deep concern when he is under the impression he's somehow failed. This grieves Matt and I, though we are glad he's intuitively listening to his heart.
  • Hide-and-seek... all the time
  • Loves Katy Perry, Mumford, Veggie Tales, and "rock and roll!!"
  • Calls Rascal Flatts "girl music"
  • Could play at the playground all day, if allowed.
  • Makes friends everywhere
  • Falls down, gets up, continues running. If bleeding profusely, he will deny it in an effort to continue play.
  • Blanket/couch forts are the preferred hide-out
  • Still collects rocks/sticks/random outdoor things and asks to bring them in
  • Helps with dishes, laundry and picking up
  • Loves having his picture taken
  • Surprises are the best form of entertainment... hiding, jumping out and yelling "surprise!"
  • Reading. Constantly. Lucas' love of written word is just joyous for Matt and I.
  • Upon seeing babies or a baby animal his reply is always: "Cuuuuuuute!"
Love this little critter!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend in Ohio

Lucas and I had a great time with "family" in Ohio this past weekend. My sister's husband, Eric... his family lives nearby, which enabled Lucas and I to have an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend of relaxation, play, sunshine and friendship.

Lucas and Audrina were in the water all weekend long.

They did take a few breaks to "Jeep" around the yard.

Boating with Pops and Liam... Grams helped load in the Critters. 
Trailer rides may have been the highlight of the weekend.

Preschool Was Great!

Last week was Lucas' last days of preschool. It was a great experience for all of us, him especially. If given a second chance, I would have changed a few things... but overall, our little man benefited greatly from a few hours a day outside of the home (so did mama!).

It's cliche' but I just can't believe how much growth and maturing happens every year... it seems just a few months ago our little guy was still having tantrums, sleeping hours a day, and barely writing his name. Now we have a little reader on our hands who loves friendship and listens carefully to his elders.

School was beneficial for Matt and I, as it allowed us to see where Lucas was both emotionally and cognitively throughout the year. It gave us a glance at how he handles stress and social challenges. Granted, our little guy will continue to grow and change... constantly keeping us on our toes... but we have a better idea of who he is through circumstance and challenge.

If it were not for Lucas' teacher, I don't think this year would have been such a success. She paid special attention to each child, and it seemed nearly every day she would give me an update. Mrs. Candace was a gift, for sure... as she kindly and patiently discussed ways we could help Lucas over hurdles and give him a boost in character.

Matt and I are still exploring what it means to educate our child. As a family, we go the extra mile to ensure all of our values are being met. With that in mind, we want to be sure Lucas is being challenged, respected and being allowed to explore childhood in the best manner possible. Preschool was an excellent springboard into years of understanding what it means to learn.

Lucas friends!

Singing songs for family and friends. Exept Merit... he's just bugging his neighbor.

Lucas receiving his certificate of completion from Mrs. Candace and Miss Allysa (See that little girl in the blue... she's crazy. Can't trust that one!).

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Today is Earth Day, and I've gotta tell ya... It's a beautiful Earth Day here in Indiana! Spirits are high, the sun is shining, the birds are singing and the grass couldn't be greener.

Spring is a wonderful time of year. It has lifted my heart to a place of hope, and for this I couldn't be more grateful.

I had to get out and take a few pics this afternoon... because I just can't forget how sweet Spring is... the dainty flowers, the fresh dirt, the blue skies, the white toes and the dandelions! Oh the dandelions. They're everywhere.... and they're darling! Even if some people consider them a nuisance...

Thank God for Spring!

I just LOVE taking pictures of the kiddo's toes. Aren't they adorable!?

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Aggression, Messes and Yelling!

I gotta tell you guys... raising this boy of ours is a challenge! Every day feels like a fight to teach gentleness, manners, kindness, empathy, cleanliness, tidiness, respect, obedience and general social skills. On some level, I've always thought children inherited most of these life-lessons from their parents... gleaning attributes into their own lives as they live among their elders.

I cannot say this is true at this time in our lives.

Every day feels like dirt, loudness, defiance, rough housing, running, stomping, sassy talk, disrespect, disobedience, undoing everything, making messes, eating a lot, eating loudly, refusing food, demanding food, whining, chasing the cat, getting muddy, changing clothes, getting muddy again...

This boy will find a stick anywhere... it could be a parking lot, and he'll find it. Any object can be a sword and will be used as a weapon while running and jumping, nearly impaling himself, or another. I've found my child lodged underneath, beside and between things. He has hit his head on nearly everything. Smashed fingers, stubbed toes and slammed all appendages on all things.

There are many plans made. Plans for rockets ships, tree houses, forts, underground tunnels, digging lakes, adopting puppies, adopting kittens, collecting worms, feeding the birds, collecting the "worlds largest rock collection", finding dinosaurs, staying up all night, eating all the pizza, jumping the highest, running the fastest, being the sneakiest, and riding "all the animals!"

*Deep breath*

I end my days often sitting on the couch... with a cup of tea and blissful silence. After a day full of conversation, conflict, and compromise... I find myself empty. Hoping to fill my emotional tank just enough to start all over again the next day, I sit and mentally review the events... remembering the tough moments... but also remembering the sweetness.

Our boy is full of sweet. His morning greeting when he says: "Good morning mom. I love you and it's time to get up." The joy on his face when I place peanut butter and apples in front of him at the table. His giggles when we play hide and seek. The deep desire he has to be just like his Dad! I see sweetness between the hard moments... and though I often feel like our boy is too much "all aggression and messes and yelling!" I have glimpses of what his heart will always be like.

It will always be loving. Lucas will always have a heart that wants to serve others. He will always want to impress his father. Our boy's heart will always love his mother and always want to see her happy. That heart of his will always want to be adventurous and a physical challenge to make him feel like the brave soul he is!

This is the greatest challenge I've yet to come up against... this child of ours. He is opinions, and defiance and hard-headed... but the sweet, loving heart pulls me back in every time. Some days I wonder "what am I doing!?" because I am not equipped to raise this boy! But that heart... it slays me, and makes me want to try harder each day following.

Maybe, just maybe... this boy will be okay. As far as his mother goes... all bets are still out.