Friday, December 10, 2010

Did They Know?

Did she know she would be chosen to bear the King?

Did he know that he would be by Mary's side to witness?

Did the donkey know the journey he was on this night?

DId the angels know the songs that would fill the skies?

Did the livestock know that they would be the first to see Him?

Did the wise men know how much wiser they would become?

Did Bethlehem know why His birth was to take place there?

Did the stable and that little manger know that their faces would never look the same again?

Did the people of then, and do the people of today know the significance of the love that entered the world that night?

This love so awesome... so unlike any other... With a light that shines just as the star did that very night...Such a love that saves me every day.

I stand amazed.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

First Snow... Last Winter


I read a few of my own blog pages the other day... WOW, do I ever sound like a bucket full of laughs! HA! :0) It's been a weird month, friends. Between losing a family member unexpectedly, my sister's wedding, a holiday and a move on the horizon, my mind and heart have been so occupied.

We experienced our first snow of the season about a week and a half ago. It's been so cold since then that there is still snow on the ground. Not a huge amount, and of course now it really isn't snow, (it's ice) but it's still pretty to look at. I was driving home from errands today, and as I looked out at the pretty sights, I thought it was time to finally put into words here what all of this doom and gloom stuff here has been about.

We are putting our house up for sale this week. The reasons are many, and it's definitely a BIG picture, not a small one, but it is the step we are taking. It's been a very hard decision. It's been a decision that has been prayed over countless times. With that prayer has come confirmation that we are taking the journey that He wants us to take. We are on the right path.

I have a lot of mixed feelings about all of this. Mainly, I feel like I will be leaving much behind. It's more than leaving precious friendships behind. I know that the ones that are dear to me, and I to them will remain that way. We are only moving about half an hour away. The sweet memories are what I will leave behind. Our boys have grown up here. Their little red wagon is still in the back yard (I already informed J that it WILL go with us... even though nobody rides in it anymore). Their tree fort is outside my kitchen window. The garden that we have re-planted every year sits patiently waiting for us to turn the soil once again in the spring. The cozy wood stove where I have snuggled countless times with the boys while reading to them can't go with us. Neither can the full wrap around deck from which I have watched them all learn how to ride a bike, run through sprinklers, and almost kill themselves on skate boards. I don't feel like I'm just leaving these memories behind... I feel like I'm leaving my three boys' young childhoods behind. I know, it's weird, but I'm a woman... I'm a mom. We are strange creatures.

With all of this being said, I also feel comforted about this change. Like I said before, I feel HUGE amounts of confirmation about the move. I know God has some great things in store for us next. The bounty will be different, but it will still be bounty. I have spoken here before about not putting off the joy that God wants to bless us with. In my heart, I know there is such joy coming. I already feel the joy. It is currently mixed with fear, but it is there even still.

I can actually say that I am excited. So those of you who don't know me very well don't know what a HUMONGOUS statement that is, but even 6 months ago I was still a person so paralyzed by any kind of change (or prospect of it) that something like this would have sent me into a coma!! God is growing me. He is working on those little (or big) areas of my life. That feels good.

I feel like I'm growing up all over again.

I have started praying for this next home of ours. I do not know exactly where it is. I do not know what it looks like. I do not know anything about it except this... It will be perfect.

It will be perfect because it will be right where God wants us to be. There will be purpose there. It will be a home that will bless us, and it will bless others.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

So Grateful


I have a white antique platter on my mantel. Some might think that's a strange thing to have on a mantel, but the very cool thing about it is that I use it to display meaningful words. They might be words on my heart, they might be words of the season. At the present time, the platter has black beautiful letters that read:

So grateful.

During this season, it's easy to think of all the things we are grateful for. The lists can get quite long. I talk to God every day and list for Him what I'm grateful for. I speak intimately with Him about these things. On my mantel though, all that needs to be said is simply, So grateful.

We went to the movies this weekend. We had our first snow of the season, and ALL the boys had colds. It was cozy inside, but then we lost power (typical). The wood stove kept us warm, but what do you do with four boys with colds when they can't go out and play in snow and there's no power for movies by the fire?

You go to the movies.

The older ones went to Harry Potter, and Caleb and I went to see Secratariat. I maintain that Caleb and I got the best show. It was an awesome movie!! The movie started with scripture. From Job 39:19-24...

Do you give the horse his strength or clothe his neck with a flowing mane? Do you make him leap like a locust, striking with his proud snorting? He paws fiercely, rejoicing in his strength, and charges into the fray. He laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; he does not shy away from the sword. The quiver rattles against his side, along with the flashing spear and lance. In frenzied excitement he eats up the ground; he cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds. ~

This morning I am grateful that God has created me to be much like this animal. I crave to be like the horse. With everything that I am blessed with, I will laugh at fear of the unknown. I will stand in excitement over the possibilities that God has for my life,and the life of my family.

I will not stand still as the trumpet sounds. I will charge the gate, for there is much to be had... Much to be done.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Coming Up For Air


For the past almost month, I have felt like I've been treading water. My legs have been kicking, my arms flailing, my mouth gasping. If you could see inside of my brain, it would look like a bunch of jumbled up thoughts, to do's... a WALL of emotions!! Almost nothing on my regular everyday list of things to do has been completed { with the exception of laundry, because we all have to have clean clothes to wear }.I go to bed at night thinking that the next day will be different. I will get up and tackle the day as I'm so used to doing. Then.... the wall floods me.

Today is different. Today I feel like the flood is starting to subside. I am up and I am dealing with the emotions in a healthy way and I'm determined to take baby steps toward "normalcy". I have a long list to tackle now, so I have to accept the fact that I'll be behind for awhile, but I will get to the end of that list... soon.

One thought that has kept me going is this:

Don't postpone JOY.

I saw these words on a bumper sticker when I came out of my uncle's memorial service. They resonate in my heart. I have written them on a framed chalk board that hangs in my dining room. These three words say a lot. They tell me to hang onto every moment. They tell me to stop putting off what God has called of me and my family. They say there's always reason to be happy, especially when it's the hardest thing to be. These words have become a part of me and I hope they always will be.

I believe that if I believe in these words, and I live my life as one who doesn't discount the joy that God graces my life with every day, then I will be a better person. I want to be a better person. I want to be the kind of person that shines light in this world. I want to stop treading and start swimming.... with a broad and even stroke.

Don't postpone JOY.

Monday, November 8, 2010

K-LOVE - Jason Castro "You Are" LIVE



So much continues to be on my heart. I heard this song this morning on my way home from the grocery store. It was too good NOT to share! Jason Castro calls this song his first "Love Song" to Jesus...

May he write many more. ~

** Remember to go to the bottom of this page and pause the music that's already playing. **

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Uncle Harold


I have been absent from my blog for over a week now. In a lot of ways, I feel like I have been absent from life for the past week.

I received a real shocker of a phone call from my mom last Thursday. The phone call was one that came as a very REAL reminder about a few things. These things have been heavy on my heart, so I figured it was time to record what's going on in this brain of mine.

My Uncle Harold very suddenly passed away in his sleep last Thursday. This just five days after we spent our Saturday night as a family watching the Giants play on Television. It still doesn't seem real! He has left behind a wife who is experiencing HUGE heartache, as well as a daughter just a few years younger than I that has suddenly lost her daddy without even a chance to say good-bye.

I know God hears my heart as I have been begging him these last few days to PLEASE let me have the opportunity to say my final good-byes to both of my parents before He takes them. I know this because I have heard His voice speaking to me distinctly. He has reminded me that I should always live each day like it's my last. I should tell my loved ones EVERY DAY how much they mean to me and that I love them dearly. Our lives are not our own, and because of that... we do not know when we will take our final breath here on this earth. We do not know when we have heard the last words from one of our loved ones before they are taken from this place.

I was also reminded that sometimes... I just need to stay out of God's way. Just a few short weeks ago, J was out dropping off our van to be sold in a parking lot about 45 minutes from our house. He was waiting to get a ride back to his car so that he could get home to me { anxiously awaiting his arrival so we could go out on our date }. He couldn't get in touch with my step dad for a ride and he was stuck in this parking lot, so I begrudgingly told him I would travel down to get him. He told me to just wait... hang on... He knew something would work out. I sat { more like paced the house } and fumed inside! Ugh... I was supposed to be leaving the house RIGHT NOW for my long anticipated date!!! J called me about ten minutes later and told me that he had "run into" my Uncle Harold in the same parking lot. He was there dropping off his truck to sell. My aunt was supposed to stop by and pick him up on her way home from work. So... she would pick both of them up now and give J a ride to his car. Our date would be pushed back an hour or two, but better that than no date at all.

It wasn't until last Thursday night that I learned that even in situations like this one, God has purpose. As J and Uncle Harold waited in that parking lot, they talked about all kinds of "guy stuff". They talked about cars, about politics (my uncle LOVED to talk politics) and they talked about GOD! Yes... J didn't share this with me until learning about Uncle Harold's death last week, but somehow, in the craziness of that day, in this very crowded parking lot full of men and their cars, boats, RV's, and motorcycles... J and my uncle talked about God. The reason this is so cool, and so extremely significant is because all of my life, I haven't known my uncle to be a believer. His wife and daughter have always been, and they go to church every week. Uncle Harold would usually gift them with his presence on Easter Sunday and Christmas. In this conversation, Uncle Harold shared with J that he knew there was a God and he even considered himself to KNOW God, but he just didn't believe that he needed to be in a church to know Him. He saw how God had blessed him in the every day things around him and the things that he loved about life.

I am so proud of my hubby for acting on this nudging to talk about God in the parking lot. God already knew that just three weeks from that day, Uncle Harold would no longer be with us. J obviously didn't know this, but acted on a prompting that would later make so much sense. I only wish that I would have acted on my own prompting to be still when waiting for my "date". Sometimes... God is taking care of more important things.

Please keep my aunt and my cousin in prayer. They are experiencing such pain right now. I pray that they are left with the knowledge that my uncle loved them both so much. It's always been easy to see that both my aunt and my cousin hung his moon in the sky. I pray that there will be reminders for us all of how important it is to live each day like it is the last... That we not let anything stand in the way of sharing life, and sharing Jesus.... Even if it is on a Friday night in a crowded parking lot.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Introductions


This precious baby girl is Isabella Grace. Her mommy and daddy recently asked J and I to become her Godparents. WOW... what an honor! When her mama asked, my eyes immediately filled with tears. They came so quickly that even I was surprised!! I think one of the reasons for the tears was that I was suddenly overcome with thoughts of a journey. The journey was one between Gina (Isabella's mama) and myself. The two of us are like sisters. There have been moments of unbeatable laughter, as well as moments of hurt and tears. We have been through individual trials in our lives.... and trials that tried to separate us. Thankfully, we serve a God who offers and encourages forgiveness. Our sister hearts have been made new and our friendship is so unique and sweet.

For me, being Isabella's Godparent means praying over her life for ALL her life. I will have the privilege of watching her grow, in body, mind and most importantly, in spirit. She was created for purpose, and I take praying for that purpose in her life very seriously. It's something I pray about for my three boys every day... now I get to pray these things for this sweet little girl too! Isabella, may you always shine the light of Jesus from that precious face of yours.

She is the newest member of "Us", Isabella Grace. I'm so honored and grateful to be introducing her to you...

~ You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. ~ Matthew 5:14-16

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Enough is Enough!

I've been reading a very good... very INSPIRING book.

It is called ' A Life of Being, Having, and Doing Enough ' and it is authored by Wayne Muller. Seriously, it is one of the best books I have ever read! Doesn't the title alone just intrigue you? I don't even remember how I found this book, but once I did... I was hooked.

This book is about knowing how to find "enough" in what we do, who we are and what we have. The reason it has touched me so much is because I have been recently hit hard with the fact that life goes by WAY. TOO. FAST. I know I mention this a lot, but seriously... it's something that weighs so heavy on me. It's something that stares me straight in the face every morning when my three men greet me with their good morning hugs. Over night they seem to grow at least an inch per night and they just change all the time! It's hard to imagine anything sweeter than the smell of a newborn babe, but I can actually say that the tight squeeze hugs that I get from my big boys brings that same sense of joy and contentment as when they were first placed on my chest.

Am I living each day the way I should? Am I focusing my thoughts and energies on the correct things for now? Am I expecting too much from myself... and others? Am I always looking to the future instead of living in the joy of today? I am SO guilty of that latter one... I get so excited about what is coming next in life that I miss what's happening right now. I have written about this before and it's something that I continually pray about. Finding this book has been such a gift because there are so many NEAT words for me to tuck away to remind myself. I'm a word person. I write down special little quotes that I hear, read and even think up myself in a journal. I keep it on my coffee table, and I open that book frequently. I have a framed chalkboard that I write some of these quotes on, and scriptures too... to remind us daily of heart issues. With that being said, you can just imagine how awe struck I was upon reading this little morsel from the book:

" Our journey is an adventure in listening for how we find sanctuary and see more clearly what is good, what is whole, what is beautiful and holy, and what is, in the end, this day, THIS moment, enough. " ~ Wayne Muller

Is that such an incredible thought? Did you notice the part about listening? I am learning that I am to be a better listener to what my sanctuary is. What do I believe to be good, whole, beautiful and enough? It doesn't say anything about what others think of me, or how they might perceive me if I say "no" to something. Others do not make my sanctuary... I do! Truth is, I haven't been very good at this. I am a people person. I love to be doing for others and be around others. I'm not saying that any of that will change, but MY sanctuary needs more balance in this area. Life will never slow down and I will never be able to enjoy THIS moment as long as I am living in a way that demands me to live my life in the fast lane.

I have also learned that I am guilty of always wanting to please others. I believe this to be the biggest reason why it's hard for me to say "no" to something or someone. I don't always say "yes" because I actually want to do what they are doing or be where they want me to be... but I just want to make them happy. So... I will be forty years old in a couple more months, and I'm dramatically making the change. It's so important, because my family HERE... this family that God has so gifted me with IS ENOUGH. The love and mercy that my Father shows me every day, in different ways, IS ENOUGH. The life that He has blessed us with, here, in this home in the woods, IS ENOUGH. Being the wife and mom that God has created me to be, IS ENOUGH.

I find myself lost in every page of this book. It really is incredible. These times are crazy. Life in the fast lane is INSANE, people. I would just like to offer you encouragement... If you find yourself feeling at all the same about any of this.... pray about it. Pray that God will show you something different { maybe it will be in the form of a good book }. Pray that something will take place in you that will make you feel passionate about being able to say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH... and then live it out. That's where I'm at. I am very passionate about saying it, and now... well, I'm just doing my best to live it out everyday. By God's grace, I will find my sanctuary through this process and it will be whole. It will be beautiful and holy.

It will be joy in EVERY moment... with no moments skipped by. ~

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Facing The Giants

My mind has been a bit cluttered lately. Cluttered with lots of things. When that happens, blogging is the last thing on my mind. It's just too difficult to try to sort things out enough to be able to make any sense.

However, I remembered my main reason for keeping this record of life... It's to do just that... keep record. Even if it means keeping record of the clutter.

Caleb is home this morning. He has caught yet another cold... UGH! One of his favorite movies is 'Facing The Giants'. He has good taste... It's one of mine too. Needless to say, I haven't been able to stick to my usual list of things to do today. I keep getting sidetracked by what's coming out of the TV. This movie has some of the all time BEST one liners EVER! It's one of the only movies that has the ability to make me cry all the way through.

"If we win, we'll praise Him, but if we lose, we'll still praise Him."

How many times are we given that choice? How many times do we make the choice to praise Him and give Him glory in whatever circumstances we are given? I have to admit, I fail Him a lot in this area. Over the past couple of years, I can see personal growth in this area, but I still have a long way to go.

There are giants in my life that seem almost impossible to defeat. Somedays the giants even seem to appear bigger than on other days. My only job though, is to get out of bed in the morning and give God my best. He will take care of the rest. It doesn't matter if it's relational, financial, past hurt or present... God knows the outcome. When I remember this, the giants shrink. They don't seem so threatening anymore. Facing them head on becomes something I strive to do. In that process, I can praise Him... no matter what.

I think of the miners in Chile. What giants they had before them, but over and over again we hear that their spirits remained good while in there for 69 days. The boys couldn't take their eyes off of CNN yesterday. We were in and out of the house all day, but every time we would come in, they would go straight to the TV to check and see if they had all been rescued yet. At one point, one of the boys asked if they were christian men. I told them all I knew and that was that a lot of the people in Chile are devout catholic people. They believe in a God who loves them and wants to rescue them from this life. I believe that the giants that were before them were made smaller by the fact that there were a lot of people praying for them since the first day. They had to have known that their lives were completely and totally in the hands of God, and that He knew the outcome, even when they didn't. I want to believe that their faith was made stronger (as well as many others) in the pits of that very dark mine.

I'm not thankful to have a sick child at home, but since taking time out to watch this movie with Caleb, I can say that I'm thankful this morning for the reminder of praising God in whatever circumstances. The giants that were crowding my brain have already been made smaller.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

18!


This past weekend, my best friend and I celebrated 18 years of being married. Wow... eighteen years makes us sound so OLD! Ugh...

We were gifted with a night out {shout out to Papa and Grammy Berta } without boys, and a morning to sleep in a bit. J and I went out to dinner, walked around some shops, went to Barnes & Noble { one of our favorite hang-outs } and then came home to a very quiet house.

It was lovely.

The next morning we picked the boys up and headed out for a geo-caching adventure! We hiked around, explored, and looked for our treasure. We went to lunch at this little hole in the wall deli { it was oh, so yummy } and then came home to be treated to a spaghetti dinner prepared by Caleb. Yes... our YOUNGEST made dinner for us... What a treat! He is taking a cooking class at school and LOVING it!

It really was a GREAT weekend of celebrating ALL that God has blessed us with. Originally, J and I were planning our weekend. We had thought that maybe we would be able to get away for a couple of nights and even escape to the ocean. As the weekend drew nearer though, we learned that WE wouldn't be planning our anniversary weekend after all... It would have to be a celebration designed by God. How foolish of me to be disappointed that we wouldn't be able to do what we viewed as a perfect plan. Doesn't He always prepare something even MORE delightful when we let Him?

On Saturday before we headed out for the soccer game before taking the boys to the game, I became very quiet. J came to me and asked if everything was okay. I told him that I was just processing. To be truthful, I was still a little caught up in "me" and feeling sorry for myself. I was still bummed that I didn't have bags packed to go to the ocean. I didn't share any of that with my hubby. I just told him I needed a little quiet time. After spending a little time praying, and asking God to give me a grateful heart and a mind that was focused on what this time of celebrating really was, I heard Him telling me something LOUD AND CLEAR...

This time was about celebrating our marriage, and every way that our marriage has been blessed. One of the biggest ways that our marriage has been blessed is the three little men that live with us. THEY are part of US. There will be plenty of time to celebrate with long weekends at the ocean. This year was intended to be celebrated WITH our three biggest blessings. I came out of my room and put my arms around all four of my men and proclaimed the fact that I was ecstatic about spending this year's anniversary perfectly... With some quality time out with my husband, and then with a day out with my family... doing something we all love.

God's design is ALWAYS perfect. It was a perfect weekend. Nothing could have made it any more perfect... Not even the ocean.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Letter To Colby



My sweet son,

It was eleven years ago today that I learned something big. I learned that the human heart has more capacity for love than one can even imagine. Like a lot of moms, I worried when I was pregnant. I worried about getting you here safely. I worried about how I would be mom to two. I worried too much. I remember looking at your big brother (who was then just two years old) and thinking, "I love this boy so much! My heart feels FULL of love for him, how can it get any fuller?" I have only two words to share about that... God knew.

God knew that as I carried you, my heart was beginning to expand. God knew that when they placed you on my chest for the first time, and I saw your precious face, my heart would suddenly have this gaping hole that I previously knew nothing about... filled by my love for you. God knew about you, and He knew that the love that you would bring into our lives would even be different than what we had already experienced with Luke.

From the beginning you had your own uniqueness. You were a quiet baby, loving to be snuggled, but also longing for your own alone time too. In other words, you loved your bed and sleep (you STILL do). You always viewed eating as an option, not a necessity. If I didn't intentionally wake you and feed you on a schedule, you probably would have starved! As you grew bigger and started to accomplish things such as walking and talking, we noticed that you were quite the book scholar. You were happiest when sitting by the bookshelf pulling books off and quietly turning through the pages. We had a few favorites that you would snuggle up on the couch with and let me or dad read to you. You LOVED your big "Bruh-ber". You wanted to do everything that he was doing. In fact, your determination made most of that possible. Even now... that is something that hasn't changed much.

As an eleven year old boy now, we are starting to understand more about your unique design. You are sweet and gentle... yet strong minded and firm. God made you that way with such purpose, Colby! He has incredible plans for you. As your parents, we pray for you everyday. We pray that your purpose will only become more clear to you as you become a man. We pray that your decisions will always be guided by your Maker. We pray that the love that you have shared in our home will be shared with the world.

Happy birthday Colby! I'm thankful that on this day eleven years ago I learned about the capacity of my heart. I'm thankful that on THIS day, my heart is the fullest it has ever been with the love that I have for my three beautiful boys.

I love you...

Mama

Monday, September 20, 2010

Slow To Speak

~ Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. ~
Psalm 4:4

Oh, how I pray that someday I will BE this scripture! God hands me challenges to strengthen me in this area. He tries and tries to refine my quiet spirit. With each opportunity to practice being quiet, I get a little closer, but still I am so far away.

Today, I am in prayer about being slow to speak. Well, slow in speaking with others... quick in speaking to God. In Him I find peace and rest, and the "need" to speak with others (which isn't actually a NEED, is it?) diminishes. I opened my devotional a day too late last week. If I would have opened it on the day when I was in need of being reminded, this is what I would have read...

'Rest in Me. When tired nature rebels, it is her call for rest. Rest then until My life-power flows through you. Have no fear for the future. Be quiet, be still, and in that very stillness your strength will come and will be maintained. The world sees strength in action. In My kingdom it is known that strength lies in quiet. In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.

Rest in Me.'

I LOVE THIS DEVOTIONAL!!! It speaks such truth, and when I read the words upon each page, I can actually hear the spirit's voice whispering these words of truth and love. I open it almost every day, and on the days that I don't, WOW... do I wish I would have!!

God, teach me to be quiet. Instruct me on finding stillness in the moments, and reward me with your strength and confidence in knowing who You are and what You are capable of.

Monday, September 13, 2010

More of the Story...





Beautiful Tahoe






We've been back for nearly a month now, but I have had a pretty severe case of "writer's block" when thinking about what to write about our trip to Tahoe last month. The pictures tell everything, really. I think I'll let them do the storytelling this time...

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Dump Truck


We were lingering our local Target store for nearly an hour before ending up in the rows of toys. We had looked at music, books, some clothing, and a few other miscellaneous things before resorting to the toys. You see, Caleb had received a gift card to Target from one of his little friends for his birthday. The gift card was burning a hole in his pocket. Unlike me, when my youngest gets a gift card, he wants to spend it. He does not want to wait until there's something that he's just DYING to have... He wants to spend it NOW!

So painstakingly, we shopped. It was just daddy, Caleb and myself hunting for the pot of gold hidden somewhere within the walls of Target. After cruising the Legos, the action figures, and the board games, we stumbled upon the aisle with the cars, mini skateboards and Tonka trucks. Knowing that Caleb LOVES to take things apart and build things, I saw this box of mini skateboards with all of their mini accessories, parts, decorative stickers, etc.. I thought, "Wow... THIS has got to be the perfect thing. Surely our search will be over now!" I turned around to show Caleb and I saw the sweetest thing. I stopped dead in my tracks. Every bit of my anxiety over being in this store searching for the impossible came to a screeching halt.

My nine year old boy was on his knees taking a big ol' Tonka dump truck off the shelves. He was tinkering with the truck, learning about it's bells and whistles. What he learned was that it didn't have many bells and whistles. It didn't have any batteries. It was a plain and simple truck that had a back end to fill up with boy "stuff" (be it dirt, rocks or whatever) and then dump. J and I both saw him and our hearts just melted. On the front of the box it had the big number 3 in red. This was the age recommendation. Caleb soon saw it and his words took our melted hearts and broke them.

"I think I'm too big for this, but it sure is cool, huh?"

We explained to him that it was a SUPER cool truck. We told him that he actually received 2 Tonka trucks for his 2nd birthday and that he used to play with them all the time. We reminded him that we still had the trucks in our storage area under the house. We had put them there for safe keeping when we noticed that he had stopped playing with them as much. His eyes got big as he remembered, and he paused.

"Dad, do you think I could get something else with my card, but we could go home and wash my trucks and take them outside to play with again tomorrow?"

I don't know who was more excited... Caleb or my hubby. Right there in the middle of Target's toy aisle we explained to Caleb that there are some things that you never get too old for. We told him of the importance of always doing what you love to do (as long as it's something positive, and not negative, of course). J and I shared a moment with our son that we will never forget. It was a teaching moment... for all of us. Caleb taught us the importance of being true to yourself, no matter what others think. He was worried that his big brothers would think that he was a baby for wanting to play with Tonka trucks again. We tried to ease his mind about that, and in the end, it worked.

Not only did he pridefully pull the trucks out the next day and plop himself (along with his daddy) right into a big pile of red dirt, but his brothers were drawn to be out there with him. They respectfully allowed him his own "Daddy time" for awhile, but they lurked and then joined in later. Yes... my 13 year old, almost 11 year old, 9 year old and 37 year old boys were outside playing with trucks in the dirt, and what a sight that was to see.

Our hearts are only as old as our minds let them be.

I will have to thank the little boy who gifted Caleb with the Target gift card. He not only gifted Caleb... He gifted the hearts of our entire family.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Birthday # 9!


Tomorrow is my baby's birthday. Caleb will be 9 years old. Did you get the part about him being my BABY???? ~ SIGH ~

Tomorrow we are heading up to Tahoe for a week's stay on the lake. We will be celebrating Caleb's birthday BIG TIME! We are bringing the kayak, the raft, the fishing gear, books to read, games to play... etc., etc.. We are SO excited!! Today, my youngest son gifted me though. Today he gifted me with climbing up on my chest (well, he's so big now that actually, he covers a LOT more than just my chest) and falling asleep. I got to hold him in my arms on the couch and listen to him breathe just like I did the day he was born. Mmmmm... it was so very sweet, and it truly was his gift to me.

Caleb inspires me. He inspires me to be fearless about living life. He lives his life with such vigor and the smile that he carries on his face reaches the depths of every soul that he comes in contact with. I love this boy. When he tries something new, he always gives it his all, and usually... that is more than enough!

Caleb can make people laugh at the drop of a hat. He comes up with the funniest things to say. He can also warm you up with the biggest, strongest squeeze of a hug that you have EVER felt! Actually, right now his nickname around the house is "Baby Huey". He LOVES to go around picking people up. He has picked me up off the floor, as well as both of his big brothers. I have no doubt that he could probably even pick his dad up, but we won't allow him to. Hernias aren't a good thing.

This boy of ours is such a gift. He lifts me up in more ways than one.

My life is richer because of you, my sweet Caleb. Happy birthday...

Love,

Mama

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Vision of Summer





So... Here we are in the first week of August and I feel like it is actually the first week of summer! We are officially done with baseball and swim team... for now. We get a short break and then fall ball and soccer start. When our third boy came along I used to get all kinds of comments about how busy we were going to be. Our lives would be full of sports, sports and more sports. I told everyone that we probably wouldn't CHOOSE that lifestyle. Well, years down the road... I wouldn't have it any other way.

Caleb finished his first swim team season strong. He took several first place ribbons at each meet, and then he took a 4th place in the back stroke for the district championships! He swam against A LOT of other swimmers to get this ribbon. We are so proud of him and all of his hard work in the pool. He earned himself a special award at the award ceremonies too. He can't wait to get back in the pool for swim team next season!

We have been busy playing too. The boys and I have taken a few short road trips during the past couple of weeks. We traveled to the city a couple of times for baseball games, days of thrift shop hunting (Ooooo.... one of our FAVORITES) and lunch with Dad. We have canned jam and pickles here at home. We are waiting on the tomatoes to ripen so that we can make some pizza sauce to can this summer too. We are also gearing up to pick blackberries next week so that we can prepare them for pies, ice cream, etc..

Every sumer we pick an old TV series to rent and watch from the beginning of the series. We have watched 'Gilligan's Island', 'Brady Bunch', 'The Waltons', and this summer our choice pick was 'Leave it to Beaver'. I'm fascinated with how much the boys LOVE these shows. Just goes to show you... children crave good stuff. They would rather watch shows like these over the weirdness on the Disney channel ANY DAY! Makes my heart sing.

During the next couple of weeks we will be busy gearing up for school. There are rooms to clean out, drawers to clean out, back packs to clean out and fill again, etc.. Yesterday my mother in law gifted each of the boys with a $50 gift card to Old Navy! WOW... gift cards to help out with school clothes... now THAT'S an awesome thing!!!

We also get to go enjoy our family vacation in a little over a week. We are so excited to get away and spend quality time with each other. It's always much needed, but this year... I'm especially feeling the pull.

Summer is a time for neat traditions. Playing sports has indeed become one of those traditions, but we always fit plenty of time in doing these other fun and meaningful things too.

I'm grateful for the ability to do it all. What does YOUR vision of summer look like?

Friday, July 30, 2010

My Billboard

I've been wanting to write a post about the boys and all of our happenings lately. They are growing before my eyes. Summer time seems to do that. Like gardens... give them water and sunshine and watch them blossom.

This morning though, I need to write about something else, so I'll come back to boys soon....

For a long time, I have prayed that I would receive the gift of hearing God talking to me loud and clear. I have prayed for billboards before my eyes to make his words to me unmistakable. There are people in my life that have that gift, and it has always seemed incredible to me. They live their lives with such peace day in and day out. At least it has seemed that way to me... until yesterday.

Yesterday I got my billboard. Was I peaceful about it? No. Was I panicked? Yes. This morning I woke up with peace though. I woke up grateful that God listens to my heart cries and His timing is AMAZING! I have a task before me. I won't share here what that task specifically is, but it involves sharing Jesus with someone I love dearly. This person KNOWS Jesus, but has walked away many years ago. During these years, I have continued to share Jesus with this person... but I have not been bold about it. BOLD was the word on my billboard yesterday.... and now I am praying that God will give me the perfect words to share with this person, so that he can see that love brought me to this conversation with him. My love for him... but more importantly, God's love for him.

God is good. I trust Him. I know He will give me the words.... He gave me my billboard.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Refuge

Know my divine power. Trust in Me. Dwell in my love. Laugh and trust. Laughter is a child's faith in God and good. Seek safety in My secret place. You cannot be touched or harmed there. That is sure. Really feel as if you were in a strong tower, strongly guarded, and against which nothing can prevail.

~ Taken from a little devotional called 'God Calling'. These short 1 minute devotionals speak VOLUMES to my soul!

Think of the biggest sky scraper you have EVER seen. Aren't they mighty... and even a bit beautiful? Their greatness makes them appear in-destructable. And yet... as history has told us, they are fragile even still. God is not though. He is mighty, beautiful AND His greatness is indescribable! HIS greatness is NOT fragile. It is strong! His love is the ultimate shelter over me. As the devotional says... under Him I am guarded and NOTHING can harm me.

I sit here in my quiet house this morning with the windows and doors open, cool air making it's way through and I am experiencing such peace. I have peace in knowing that God is my tower. He is my refuge and I am so grateful that I do not live my life without Him. Nothing breaks my heart more than knowing that there are people in my life that are experiencing such great pain, but they are doing it without Him. They are not choosing to seek refuge in the shelter of His tower.

This morning I am on my knees for these loved ones of mine.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Riding In Cars With Boys





Lately, I've done a lot of that.... Riding in cars with boys.

Summer has been flying by, mostly because we have spent it in full speed. This week is our first opportunity to slow down and enjoy some lazy dog days.... Oh, and hear it will be plenty HOT this week too! So, I wanted to start the week off by jotting down a few thoughts about our "adventures" around here.

Lucas once again played on the All-Star team this year. They had several two hour practices each week and the tournament was last week and part of this last weekend. It was a double elimination tournament, so they played three games and that was The End. Lucas did some awesome ball playing! Every year we are amazed at his abilities and how much he progresses at his game. He genuinely LOVES the game, and it's not hard to see. He puts every ounce of passion into every play, and he ALWAYS has some great plays and "at bats". However, we learned this year that one or two people can't carry the game. Everyone needs to feel the same in order to play their best game and win. It was sad to hear him express his frustrations after the last game. Not about not winning, but about how a couple of the boys on his team have bad attitudes and how they bring down the team causing everyone else not to play to their potential. Luke gets it... we hope and pray that someday he is able to play with a group of boys who get it too.

Caleb has been quite the fish this summer. He gets up at the crack o' dawn to go to swim team practice in the morning (we don't ALWAYS make that one) and then he goes again in the afternoon. He has participated in two meets and taken first place in his age category in three of the four strokes. His name is now on our local records board. His smile couldn't be any bigger or brighter! He has really taken this challenge and ran with it (or shall I say swam with it). We had no idea what to expect out of swim team since we have never done it before, but we are quickly learning that it is a HUGE time commitment, but it is what Caleb LOVES.

Colby has been an excellent encouragement to his brothers. He knows his season is coming next (soccer) so for the most part, he is happy to be the fan in the stands for now. He took a bad spill on his bike a couple of weeks ago, and the Doc thought that he had fractured part of his leg, but thankfully.... legs in casts were NOT in our summer plan. His leg was pretty gimpy for a week or so, and it required daily wrapping and an extra dose of Mama love, but I'm pretty sure he'll be back on his bike today. He has come up with some business plans for their "lemonade stand business" that would knock the socks off of many men in the Big City. This boy is a true thinker. The three of them have made $35 in selling lemonade for six hours! In addition, they have received two yard jobs from people on our street totaling $60! They are some money making dudes alright!!!

In all of this, I have been driving them around. We drive from home to baseball fields (some an hour or more away), from baseball fields to swimming pools, from swimming pools to grocery stores for lemonade stand supplies and weed wacker string, from stores to doctor's offices and then... finally.... back home. In between all of that, we have fit in a trip to the river for fun, a camping trip with friends, and a few just for kicks pool days.

I sat in church last night and listened to our pastor talk about reaching people. I immediately knew that this message served as a reminder of my "mission". After church I told the boys that as a young girl, I always wanted to go on mission trips, but I never got to. I explained to them that ever since then, I have had this un-fulfilled desire within me to go out and share Jesus with others. As I sat in church last night, I remembered that my number one mission is being served while riding in cars with boys. I am serving Jesus by serving my family and showing them what Jesus looks like in our home, on the baseball field, in the baseball stands, at the swimming pool, in front of our own house while helping them serve others with lemonade, and the list goes on.

We were blessed with an amazing opportunity last week. To back up, we were planning on being a part of our church group serving water bottles to the crowds at a local 4th of July parade. At the last minute, we decided that we probably shouldn't attempt it with one boy limping around on a very sore leg. We were bummed that we couldn't be a part of serving in this way. HOWEVER, the very next day we were traveling down to the river to go get wet on an extremely hot day. We were on a very long dirt road when we came upon a group of four young people whose car had broken down. They were going to attempt to walk out of the canyon to a service station to call for help. We had the truck, so we invited them to get into the back and we would take them out. Before we picked them up, we had our air conditioner cranked on this almost 100 degree day, but we thought it wouldn't be very 'cool' of us to stick them in the back, roll up our windows and enjoy the air conditioning. So we suffered the dust and hot air right along with them while climbing the one lane, winding, bumpy dirt road up the canyon for the next half an hour to 45 minutes. At one point, the boys started to complain. We talked about the Good Samaritan and the fact that there must have been many people who just passed these young people to get to the water, but in order to be who God CALLED us to be, we found it a privilege to stop and help these people. After all, it would have taken them all day to get out of there, and they didn't even have any water. God blessed us with this opportunity to serve... it didn't necessarily take an "event" to be the face, hands and feet of Jesus.

It's in the every day.

God has reminded me... It's in Riding In Cars With Boys.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Miranda Lambert - The House That Built Me



I found this video this morning and it brought early morning tears to my eyes. I can't tell you how many times J and I have wanted to move from this ol' house we live in. Every time we mention that though, our boys FREAK OUT! I have come to understand that it is home for us.... and for these sweet boys of ours... it is part of what "builds" them every day.

ENJOY!

Oh, and don't forget to dis-able the background music at the bottom of the page before viewing the video...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

In The Middle

I've been thinking a lot lately about my purpose in writing on these pages. It started out as being a way to communicate with friends and relatives that we don't see often. They get a taste of "us" on a semi-regular basis, and the pictures are always a bonus. Then... it became a way to "scrapbook" our lives. I have scrapbooks, but I seem to really stink at keeping up with them. In the midst of all of this, strangers have come to this site and left comments about being "inspired" by something that I wrote. One reader even said that he/she (it was an anonymous comment) had made some life changes based on their thoughts provoked by something I wrote.

Okay... so that is SO NOT what I EVER intended this site to be. BUT....

I won't lie and tell you that I wasn't at all excited about the fact that others enjoy reading what I write. Language arts was always my favorite, but especially the writing. I have kept journals since I was 14 years old. I have always been somewhat of a "deep thinker". Therefore.... During the past couple of weeks, I have stopped to think and pray (while taking MORE cough syrup) about the purpose in these pages.

I will continue to scrapbook. I will keep on journaling our lives so that all of the things that I might otherwise forget will get recorded. While doing this might seem to some like it should just include daily life and pictures, to me... since I am admittedly a deep thinker, it will also include much more. If this is an avenue that God chooses to make my life more missional, then I will consider that a gift and be grateful for the opportunity.

With that... brace yourselves for a long post.

I heard Casting Crowns 'Somewhere In The Middle' on my ipod last night. Like so many times before, I heard this song for the millionth time, but it's meaning just spoke differently to me. I found myself sitting there with this prayerful heart. I considered all that I've ever been, who I am now, and who I will become. I came home and looked back at posts from the beginning of these pages, and I see a person who has experienced HUGE growth. I have moved from the 'Whisper' to the 'Roar'. However, I'm STILL in the middle. I realized after thinking on it for a while that I'm pretty sure that's where I'll always be. Is that a bad thing? Well, I don't think it is. I think it's just where God wants me. Being in the middle means that I am continually seeking Him... wanting more. I am desiring to achieve that deep water faith in the DEEP end instead of the shallow end. And when I achieve that someday, then I will be seeking Him still... wanting to achieve even more.

It's not a bad thing to make goals in life. I have always been encouraged to do so, and I now encourage my boys to do the same. I have learned though, that our goals might not be the same as God's goals for our lives. Something that we see as a small and almost insignificant goal can become a life changing opportunity... IF we don't miss it. It's easy to miss too. It's easy to overlook the obvious and say, "Well, maybe somebody ELSE can handle that, but most certainly NOT me".

After praying about what I was to write today, It became obvious. Today, what I want to share is that each time I step out in obedience of my Creator and go forward with something that I never would have considered for myself, I get closer to the Altar. I get closer to living out God's desires for my life instead of my own dreams for myself.

To me, this deep thinker that I am.... THAT'S a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Letter To Luke


Dearest Son of MIne,

I can't even fathom that you are actually a TEENAGER now! I know I say this all the time, but WHERE does the time go?

Last night I hugged you good night and I held you tighter than I usually do. I told you that my boys' birthdays were a bittersweet thing for me. I explained that I LOVE to celebrate the day of your birth, but at the same time, I recognize that we are one year closer to the day that you will leave this nest. That's hard for a Mama. I know you don't completely get it now, because I remember my parents saying the same goofy things to me, and I thought they were a little cooky (sorry Mom & Dad). However, I can now say that someday you WILL get it. The day that you lay your eyes on each of your babies (LOTS... remember?) is when it first starts and I guess that yes... we DO get a little cooky with all of our little "mushy" statements and long stares at the breakfast table while you're just trying to enjoy your pancakes.

I never get tired of telling you how proud I am of you. You are an example for many to follow.... Including me. Your heart is so sweet. You gain the respect of others so easily. I have had the most awesome privilege this year of observing you interact with teachers and fellow class mates. I never worried about that too much, but at the same time, I had no idea how many hearts you would melt. Every student, teacher and parent had nothing but GREAT things to say about the person that you are. The thing that makes me so proud is this...

The person that you are is the person that God created you to be. You have never tried to change that. You have never wanted to be anything different. So many other young people your age are trying to do that continuously. They even take it into adult hood. They aren't happy people usually, and it shows. You see the gifts that you have and you just build upon them. People notice that and they admire it. There are many reasons that I could list of why I'm so proud to be your mom, but THIS is the reason that is at the top of my list.

I have enjoyed watching your guitar skills improve this year, and your love of music in general has definitely been sparked. The musician in me LOVES this and I am grateful that we have that in common. I have also loved watching you play baseball again this season. You set goals for yourself and you achieved them. Everyone says that you are fun to watch during the games because you are so serious about it. I tell them that this game is fun, but to you, it is a serious matter. I inform them that you've been strategizing this game since you were two years old holding that little Fisher Price chunky bat!

This year, as you face even more of life's ups and downs (yes, it seems to increase the older you get) I pray that you will continue to stand firm in who you are and your faith in The One who made you so perfectly. I will also pray that you will keep on being that light in a world that has so much darkness. I love you, Lucas. On this day thirteen years ago I couldn't take my eyes off of you. You were so beautiful. Today, I feel even more the same.

Love,

Mom

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Someone Pushed The "Mute" Button!

I have spent the last two days with no voice. It was slowly going starting on Friday. Saturday morning I woke up and had very little... THEN, we went to Luke's baseball game and he hit a GRAND SLAM....

VOILA! No voice left now....

I'm pretty sure I have laryngitis. I have never had it before, but I "researched" it on the internet, and it sure sounds like it. It's frustrating, not having a voice and being a wife and mom of three boys. I'm sure most of you can imagine. Oh, and I think the worst is having dogs with no voice. I have tried my best just to avoid the dogs these past few days. They DON'T listen for my sweet little whisper the same way my boys do. They take FULL advantage instead.

Anyhow, going to church tonight was unique (without a voice to speak or sing), and I thought it would be a big bummer. Truthfully though, it turned out to be a blessing. I discovered that when you cannot talk, you listen better. I heard everything differently tonight. The songs we sang we have sung a hundred times before, but tonight... I listened to them differently than I ever have before. They were like lullabies. I closed my eyes and lifted my head. I just listened and I sung the words through my soul! It was awesome!! Our message was awesome too. I think I even heard the message differently than I would have with a voice. I know that sounds crazy, but I know that I've heard before that when one sense is weakened, (not to say that your voice IS actually a sense, I guess) the others are heightened. It all makes such sense to me now. It was a huge blessing for me to hear things tonight... without a voice.

I'm praying that my voice will be back tomorrow. I don't think I want to attempt any days without a voice AND a husband. Tonight I ate soup from the "Get Well Mug" that the boys and I made last year at the pottery place. It has a really good record of success.... Well, the mug AND the many prayers that my boys are saying for their Mama. Yes... they DO miss my voice. It's been strangely quiet. I really didn't know the amount of noise I make around here I guess. :0)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Woodpeckers & Water Balloons


Today, the boys are on a mission.

But before I inform you of their mission, I should warn you...

This post contains graphic scenes if you are an animal lover. We love animals too, thus the name zoointhehills... BUT we have limits. Limits such as pesky little birds making swiss cheese of our house!

Today, the boys are on a mission to send a message to all of the woodpeckers in our neighborhood. THIS HOUSE IS OFF LIMITS!!!! They are armed, birds. They have bee-bee guns and water balloons. They WILL harm you!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Process

I was inspired to write this morning... by my deck plants.

I have a hydrangea bush in a large container on my deck in front of a big floor to ceiling window. I also have a small lavender plant in a tin pot not too far from the hydrangea. You can see both plants from this large window.

This morning I was folding laundry on my couch and I was praising God for another gorgeous day of sunshine. It's finally here... the sun and the warmth. As I was gazing out the window, I saw these two plants and I immediately started wondering WHEN they would finally bloom! They have both had buds on them for awhile now, and in the past, they have already been in bloom by this time of year. I looked out the window again and tried to imagine them with their beautiful purple and blue flowers and the fragrance that enters my screen door. Then, I was hit hard with this thought...

When they bloom, the bees come. They torment us as we pass by going to and from our front door. Another thing... when they bloom, it will be beautiful, but then their blooms dry up and I have to wait another year for them to come back again. Do you see where I'm going with this?

Sometimes I find myself rushing the process. I get so excited about what's to come, that I fail to truly enjoy where I am already at. In every stage of life, there is beauty and then there are things that torment me, or make me long for more of what used to be... all at the same time. Even still, I catch myself wanting to move on to the next stage. Not because I dis-like where I'm at, or because I can't find the beauty in where I'm at now.... BUT because I look to the future with excitement and anticipation! What will life be like in 5 years? What will the boys look like? What will they be doing? Will J and I still love doing the same things we do now? I picture them in my head and I see such miracles. I see boys who love life and how perfect they are RIGHT NOW. I see a husband who puts his family first in everything he does and always makes sure we are more than taken care of. I wouldn't want him to be any different than he is at this very moment.

My hydrangea and lavender plants reminded me this morning not to rush the process. They are perfect just as they are right now. They are a daily reminder of all that is yet to come, but they remain beautiful even today, without their flowers and swarming bees. One of these mornings I will look out there and see purple or blue and I will smile then too. I will smile because of their pretty flowers, but I'll also smile because I will know that they won't last... but that's okay. It's part of the process.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

End of Year CRAZINESS!




My head is STILL spinning!!! The last two weeks of school have been fast, furious and FUN! We have gone on FOUR field trips, we have had a talent show, an end of the year musical and a family BBQ. All of this sandwiched between the usual two to three baseball games per week and Luke's first ever research project (complete with power point presentation). WOW... after typing this all out, I'm not sure how I've done it without the aid of a lot of caffeine ( I have recently gotten back on the wagon).

This has been our first experience with "end of the year craziness". Since our schooling started, our end of the year here at home has been pretty low key. I have to say though... all of this action has been fun and it has taken be back a little. I remember doing all of this stuff when I was a youngster. The boys even asked me to get them some plain white t-shirts and a sharpie pen for t-shirt signing on the last day of school. Remember that?? Gosh.... like it was yesterday!

Summer has pretty much officially started. We're still waiting for the official summer weather ( I actually had a fire going in my wood stove two of the days this week.... SO not normal for us), but I keep telling myself that this IS summer in the good ol' Northwest! Just last summer, we visited the Northwest and I kept pining for it. I kept telling J how much I missed it, and I would LOVE to go back. Well, if you live where I live, I guess you can blame me for all of this crummy weather! God has successfully reminded me that I COULD NOT deal with this kind of weather EVER again!! So... I get it. Can we please move on now???

I am so looking forward to spending the summer days with my boys. We'll be picking berries soon, going to the pool, heading to the river, hanging out with each other and friends. I'll have lots to share... pictures included.

Monday, May 10, 2010

On Being "Mom"...

Yesterday was Mother's Day. It was a beautiful day... in spite of the ugly clouds and rain. All four of my boys got up and made me breakfast (waffles with homemade chocolate whipped cream) and coffee. Oh, and my furry boy actually WOKE me up to say "Happy Mother's Day" with the sound of his bark. :0)

We had a slow, lazy morning. I received the sweetest cards and ceramic plates that they had decorated. I got lots of hugs, kisses and snuggles on the couch. Mmmmm... my favorite. Luke played "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" on his guitar and successfully made his Mama cry. Then, we talked about what we would do for the day. The boys had planned on taking their mom for a hike, but the dark clouds pretty much changed that plan. Instead, they took me to Borders and set me free to browse. They know that's one of my soft spots. I don't normally fall to buying funny "coffee table" books. However, I found THE FUNNIEST book EVER that had me laughing so hard that my stomach muscles were hurting right there in the middle of the book store! So, I bought it. We will have plenty of conversation over THAT book now positioned carefully on my coffee table. We had a late lunch and bought some gorgeous strawberries at a stand by the road and came home. A perfect day with my boys...

Mother's Day is my favorite. It has been my favorite holiday since May of 1998 (my first Mother's Day as a mommy). It's not necessarily because I get to live like a princess for a day (although, that IS so fun). It is because I get to celebrate being a mom. That's something I never take for granted. I remember being in high school about to graduate. My friends were all talking about what they were going to do with their lives. Some were going off to four year colleges, some were going to trade schools. A lot of them knew EXACTLY what they wanted to be. Some would be teachers, some would be doctors, one friend even aspired to be an opera singer. I went to a nearby junior college to further my education, but the one thing I wanted to "be" was a mommy.

I've written here before about my becoming a mommy. It proved to be a lot harder than what I ever thought it would be. It probably would have been easier for me to get a doctorate degree in something! It definitely had it's share of heartache too. BUT.... God made me a mommy. He fulfilled the desires of my heart. I get to celebrate being a mom EVERYDAY!

Now my oldest is almost thirteen. My youngest will be nine at the end of summer. I am entering another phase of mothering. It is all new, yet I still love it the same. I miss the days of strolling to the park with the boys piled into the Radio Flyer. I love the days of watching them play ball. I miss the days of preparing homemade baby foods in my kitchen. I love the days of having them cook with me. I miss the nights of rocking them while singing to them before bed time. I love the nights of listening to them lullaby ME with their sweet heart felt prayers said before the lights go out.

Even though they're growing and they need me less, being their mom is still what I want to "be". Being their mom is different now than what it used to be, and I know it will continue to change, but it's God's calling on my life. I couldn't be happier about that. Being a mom brings such joy and satisfaction. Oh, and I have to add... being the mom of boys brings a TON of laughter!

God made me a mom, and I love to celebrate that! I like to tell the boys that I wish everyday was Mother's Day, but truly... for me... it already is.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Weeds... or Pansies?

Spring is finally here! Everything is beautiful and green.... the trees, the shrubs, the flowers popping their little heads from the earth... it all looks so new.

It is new.

It remembers not the hot, dry days of last summer. The fires that lit up the hill sides during the driest months isn't something that is taken into consideration when sprouting the beauty from within. This kind of beauty shows up every spring... regardless of the past.

Makes me a little envious of a simple plant. Sounds weird, huh? Let me try to explain what's on my mind...

As people, we aren't so good at forgetting the past and exuding beauty regardless of our mood or circumstances. We withhold the best part of us when we just plain ol' feel like it! We let the ugliest part of us prevail over our days more often than we should. We allow the weed inside of us to grow instead of gracing the world with the lovely blossom of Jesus' love.

It's easy to let this happen, isn't it? Life is busy. There's homework to be completed, laundry to be done, dinner to be made, activities to get to. There are job deadlines, grumpy people to have to work with, financial worries and stresses that just seem to never go away! However... isn't that what defines life? We, on the other hand, can choose how we define ourselves.

Will we be the weed of ugliness... or the flower of Christ's beauty?

Two things caused me to ponder these thoughts this week. The first was something very visual. We were at the nursery (as in horticulture) the other day purchasing our plants for our garden. As we were exiting, I looked down and saw the prettiest little pansies growing out of a crack in the pavement. There was no soil that I could see, and I'm not sure how the roots could be healthy at all, but obviously, they were. Talk about thriving in impossible circumstances???

Secondly, my boys have been praying all week for a friend of theirs who had surgery on his legs this week. This boy has never been able to walk un-assisted and he's never had the joy of running. The surgery is supposed to correct his legs almost completely, but not without a lot of pain (initially) and extreme amounts of physical therapy. As Luke was praying the other day, he said something that made the tears just flow from my eyes. He spoke of this boy's character and how he is virtually NEVER without a smile on his face! He has always been able to see the boys around him run and do all the things that he would LOVE to do himself, but we have NOT ONCE heard him complain. This boy is like that patch of pansies growing in the concrete. He knows of Jesus' love for him and he is confident in his purpose. Because of this... his beauty prevails through the smile on his face and the laughter in his voice.

I want to be the pansies growing out of miserable circumstances (not that my circumstances are necessarily always miserable). I want to have the kind of character that even a 12 year old boy stops to consider and admire.

I want to be new... Just as Christ's love is new every morning.



'

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

No Boundaries

Something struck me hard this weekend.

Once again, it wasn't an idea that came brand new to me. However, it's an idea that for some crazy reason doesn't stay with me for long periods of time.

God has no boundaries. There is nothing too big or too small for him. Nothing outrageously difficult... or silly. His hand is upon things that we have forgotten about, or maybe even just given up on. He hasn't forgotten, and He most definitely DOES NOT give up on anything!

I find it absolutely amazing when God shows me proof of this. Not that I need proof of His existence, or what He is capable of. It's just... SO. GOOSEBUMPISHLY (I know, not a word) COOL! Can I just share with you some details?

There is this family that J and I have been praying for. They are a really neat family. They are good people. They don't know Jesus. It breaks my heart because I happen to be extremely attached to their sweet little two year old girl. She is the little one that I have watched three days a week since she was two months old. Their older son is Luke's age and he has been a big part of us for a long time too. Now that this little girl is old enough to talk and sing, we have taught her songs like 'Jesus Loves Me'. Hearing her sing about Jesus and hearing the boys tell her stories of Jesus and His love for her makes me want to cry. I want to cry because I wonder if she will grow up really knowing about God's love for her. I honestly don't even know what that would feel like. Anyhow, we had the most awesome opportunity to take both she and her brother to church with us last Sunday. We have asked their parents many times, but there has always been a reason why it wouldn't work. This time... they said "Yes". This past Sunday, a friend at church approached me and told me that she had biked with their dad that day. Coincidental? I don't think so. God is actively at work... even though I had almost given up. He never had, and all this time He has been there. I know He will continue to be, and in my heart I feel that sweet little Keirrah WILL know of her Savior's love for her. She will sing the words of 'Jesus Loves Me' and know what it means!

Another example? There is another family that we have known for many years. We have had more than our fair share of difficulties with our relationship. There have been some pretty rocky roads for us where forgiveness has been HUGE. I think we have all thought that we had forgiven each other, but we hadn't really lived it out until... this weekend. I realized how important it is not to just forgive someone, but to exemplify forgiveness in our actions and our words. This family that I speak of had dinner with us in our house this weekend, and it wasn't until they left that night that I realized how big it was that they were here... in our house. I talked with her later and told her (through many tears) how amazed I was at how God works in our lives. I told her how I stood in my living room for a good 15 minutes after they left almost in dis-belief. I am amazed at even concerning something that I thought I could just forget about, God had something so much bigger in mind. He had complete restoration in mind.

There are no boundaries for my God. He reminded me of that this weekend. He takes care of the details... even the ones that I'm tempted to give up on or forget about. I'm so overwhelmed with these thoughts.... so grateful.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Worth of a Dandelion


Today I am flooded with memories of dandelions. I know to a lot of people, they are considered just a weed. To me... they are beauty. They are beauty because of the worth that they hold in my heart. I dug through my bookshelves this morning and found my old handwritten journals. I have many. I have kept a journal all of my life. I went digging for them because I wanted to go back to an old entry that I had written about dandelions. I thought I'd share....

June 2nd, 2003 (The boys were 6,4 and 2)

One of the fondest memories I'll ever have of being a mommy is receiving hand picked dandelions from my boys. I'm not sure when or how it started, but with each new spring's crop of fresh dandelions, the first thing Lucas, Colby and now Caleb do when we go outside is run to pick the best one they can find. They bring it to me and watch me as I tuck it behind my ear. Almost always they smile and say something really sweet. I don't think my eyes will ever stay dry... no matter how long this goes on. Today Caleb was picking them and trying to put them in my hair for me. Of course, I ended up with an ear full of dandelions, but it was so incredibly sweet. Sometimes I wonder if they will ever just stop this beautiful act. Will they ever feel they are too old to pick flowers for mama's hair? I hope not. I hope they will always feel how very special it makes me feel. I hope they will always know how much I love being their mommy! I am so blessed to have these beautiful boys. They bring me such joy and contentment beyond measure. Thank you, Jesus for being so good to me and for honoring my deepest desires to be who I am today... a very proud mommy of three.

I wrote this in my journal almost 7 years ago. Our front yard was infested with dandelions then, and they continue to make their appearance every year starting right about now. Seven years ago, I had vases full of dandelions inside the house too. The ones that they would pick for my hair would be put in water when we came inside. Today, there are no vases of dandelions sitting on my kitchen window sill. I have the memories in my heart though... and they are very fresh today. It seems the boys have become older. They find "big guy" ways of expressing their love and adoration for me. Things like sharing baseball stats and laughing over bad plays. Things like showing me what kind of "original" contraptions they have made out of scrap wood and miscellaneous "things" lying about. Dandelions are just another weed in the grass to them now, but to me... they are precious memories. They are worth more than a thousand words. ~

Monday, April 5, 2010

Today is The Day!

With a title like that... it almost makes ya' think that I have some HUGE announcement to make, right? It might not be what you think, but in my mind, it is huge. Read on if you're intrigued...

Today is the day that my house if full of children. Boys are home for spring break and little Keirrah is with us today. The house is cozy with the sounds of playfulness and creativity.

Today is the day my house is oozing with sugar! I don't know about you, but I could really do without seeing another jelly bean or peep for a LONG TIME.

Today is the day that my laundry room has a constant hummmmm flowing through it's doors.

Today is the day that I can take a moment to reflect upon all the emotions that this weekend brought....

Friday was J's birthday, and it was also Good Friday. We had a light dinner before heading off to church that night. Our church service was one of the BEST church services we have ever been to. The worship was incredible, the messages spoken were undeniably God's words being poured out from men who have dedicated their lives to doing so. We even had an artist who created this amazing painting on a large canvas during our service. It was very moving... very emotional. At the end of day, J was so blessed by it all being ON his birthday. What a gift!

Sunday morning we got up and enjoyed a family brunch together here at home. We read out of the book of Matthew and had some great discussions with our boys about what Jesus' resurrection means for them. I absolutely LOVE these talks that we have these days. I loved the veggietales days too, but these are the days that bring tears to my eyes. After breakfast, I assigned the boys to stuff some eggs for us to take to my grandparents. They sat at the table and stuffed while singing loudly to David Crowder Band. WOW... yet another love of mine. As I listened to them from the kitchen, I had to stop when 'How He Loves Me' came through the speakers. What a perfect "non-traditional" Easter song. My God loves ME so much that He sent His son to endure and overcome such a horrible death. It is sad to me that I can't ALWAYS remember the exact words that were shared this weekend regarding what Jesus TRULY endured for me. My husband put it into such great words. When we were talking about the details of the resurrection... the awful, painful details, J said that so often we romanticize what Christ did for us. In truth, there was NOTHING romantic about it! It was an awful, gruesome death. It was the worst kind of death.

I was reminded again of just what the song says... "Just how beautiful He is and how great His affection is for me".

Love doesn't get any greater!

Today is the day that I make a promise to myself to remember this daily. I want to share it daily.... with my children, with the people that I am surrounded by, even those that may be reading this that I can't put any face to. Jesus loves me. Jesus loves YOU...

His love indeed IS like a hurricane.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

He Takes "Keep Your Eye On The Ball" SERIOUSLY!




UPDATE:
Here are a couple of updated photos. As you can see, he has developed a sense of humor about it.
We had a game last night. Well, long story, but it wasn't truly OUR game (as in our normal team). Another team was down two players, so they called us Thursday night and asked if they could "borrow" Luke for their game. Anyhow, we had a game last night. Except...

We didn't play.

Lucas didn't play anyhow. During the pre-game warm ups, he took an in-field ball hop right in the eye. OUCH! So...

They had a game last night.

We had a FIVE HOUR emergency room visit instead. He's fine. No broken bones. Just a very sore and gruesome looking eye for a couple of weeks. With any luck, it will be healed up before team pictures on the 17th.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Boy Stuff


I love to write what's on my heart, and it seems I do mostly that. It's been a long time since I wrote a post about the boys and what's going on in their lives though, so I think it's time.

Lucas continues to inspire me. He is growing up so fast and becoming an amazing young man who loves Jesus and desires to please Him. His passions are baseball and playing guitar. This past weekend he asked to talk to me after church. We went in his room and he proceeded to tell me that he felt like God has been telling him to use his talents in ways he hasn't before. He wants to play guitar with our worship team at church! Talk about bringing tears to a mother's eyes... He told me that he would like to talk to our music pastor himself about it. Wow... he's so grown up. How did that happen?

Colby is making us all proud too. He struggled a little bit with his grades during the first semester this year. It wasn't because his academics weren't there though. It was because he was enjoying the social life too much. After LOTS of talks and many weekends of being grounded, he finally came to us and said that he knew could do better, and that he would try harder. He has done a MARVELOUS job of improving! There's simply nothing sweeter than having your child come to you, admit his/her faults, praying about how to make the changes, and then seeing the change take place. He also came to us and told us that he wanted to read the bible front to back this year. He has been reading and I have so treasured the discussion times that we share about God's word.

Caleb can't wait to start swim team this summer! He opted out of baseball this year because in his words, he wanted to "save his energy for swim team". He continues to be a leader in his class, both academically and socially. He LOVES to help me with the little girl that I watch when he's home. He and Keirrah have the sweetest relationship. They pal around like best buddies and when Caleb isn't home, she misses him so much. It's been good for Caleb to experience being a big brother (part time, of course). Caleb still loves to snuggle with mom, which is good for a mommy's heart. It's hard as they all get older and become more independent! I've noticed where they need less of me, and more of their dad, but at the end of the day... Caleb is asking his mama to snuggle on the couch. Mmmmmm.... Love that!

I love these boys. They all inspire me and challenge me to be the best mom that I can be. To be the woman that God created me to be. They are miracles... each one of them. My heart smiles because of them. ~