This is my JOY

fam good life“What is one thing that brings you Joy? “

Once a month I host a dinner, If Dinner, is the name. Its purpose is to build community, deepen relationships around Christ centered conversations. Since I love to cook, throw parties and have a house full of people this is fun and easy for me. Our meals have varied, our attendance has been low and high, conversations have always been interesting and although we have questions to ask we have rarely gotten to all 4 or stayed on topic because the conversations, the learning from each other, the laughter has taken its own course and always ends up where we needed it to.

This past weekend was May’s If Dinner and the question “What is one thing that brings you Joy?” was asked. Although the list is long in answering this one thing that popped into mind and the reasons why it was joy filled kept flowing the answer is my kids. More specifically being friends with my kids. Now, we did not try to be friends with our kids, we have always and will continue to be parents first. We have been so much parent to our children we have been criticized about that from others. They say we are too strict, don’t let them have fun… Our children will even tell you that we have said multiple times things like… ‘I am not here to be your friend, I am here to parent you’ and ‘we can be friends when you are grown.’

kissing jasonBut as each year passes and experiences and memories are made I feel because Jason and I can parent well (meaning we are a great cohesive team whose end goal is how our children can function outside our home to stay safe, healthy, care for themselves, be kind and contribute positively to society) we have easily made friends with our kids.

I feel the parenting leads to trust and respect and boundaries. All things that make one feel safe and loved. I say I am friends with my kids because we laugh so much, we joke and they speak my language of song lyrics and movie lines. When I tell them I miss them and want them to hang out with me they say, “OK, sounds great.” I don’t get an attitude or sighing or argument.

When I substituted for a everyday for a month they told me they missed me. My older 2 wanted me home before they went to school. They seemed to miss our morning talks, even if it was just about the day’s schedule. They missed me not being so tired.

family mr rodgersI don’t know if it is coming or if we skipped it or if I will get double doses in the younger two but my older two have yet to show the “normal teenager angst” I am not even sure what that is… but I don’t have kids, like others I know, who back talk and complain and argue and huff and stomp away because they don’t get their way. We have all had our moments where we let emotions get the best of us and I have listened to my kids tell me they don’t like my decisions and feel I am unfair with great passion… but I don’t get the behavior from them that others I know carry on about. I like to think how J and I manage our homes atmosphere is why. If I’m honest, I won’t be too surprised if someday we get a nice dose of hormonal teenager attitude. But I have so much hope in how we navigate away from that bad behavior because when they ask if they can do something with a friend and the answer is no we are rarely questioned…when we explain we haven’t all been together lately, or I want to just be around them their response is positive, a simple ‘OK, I can catch up with them later.’

I have an almost 15-year-old and a 13-year-old who asks to do things with you, for you and as a family, well, that’s huge. It makes be excited about the bittersweet future we have in front of us… the future where they move out, get married have kids and come home again.

Just this weekend I sat at the kitchen counter sipping my coffee watching my oldest cook crepes while J filled each one to order, listening to them all joke and talk and plan. I soaked it in, laughing and making up stories about the future stories and shenanigans that would all be part of our life years from now.

love you so much


Wrapping up 2015

So it has been a few months… life just gets busy. We had a full fall schedule with Hannah dancing each week at football games, Taylor’s golf tournaments, Joshua’s foot ball. I started substitute teaching plus the work for RedSky as well.

Mom and dad came to visit in September and daddy baptized Joshua. During that time Mercie prayed such a sweet prayer for Joshua. I wrote it down because I knew eventually I would share with y’all.)

She prayed….

Please God let Jesus come into Joshua’s heart on Sunday when he’s baptized and please take out all his sin.

All 4 kids are doing great in school. We could not be more proud.

We camped some more this fall and Joshua earned his Polar Bear patch for cub scouts since it got down to 30 degrees while we camped. It was great and we all had fun. Looking forward to more this spring.

At Girl Scout Camp Mercie learned archery, kayaked and learned how to use a compass. It was a fun weekend for her and I.

We spent Thanksgiving at home and shared dinner with our neighbors. It was a fun, relaxing game filled day. We also spent Christmas at home, just the 6 of us. It was perfect. Or course we missed all our family but it was nice to be just us. Kids have had great quality time with us, each other and their friends. New Years Eve will be the same, I am sure friend will be in and out.

2016 looks to bring some excitement and changes.

Joshua will play basketball. Hannah will start taking dance classes and we start the year off with Jason getting back surgery. It been a long time coming and we are both looking forward to him feeling better being pain-free and able to do more things in a couple of months.

Summer will be upon soon I am sure. Kids are looking forward to some church camps and time with grandparents.

Here are a few favorite pictures from the summer to now…Enjoy!

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This boy, my heart, and football

IMG_0598This boy…my heart is full. I love him fiercely. It is a different love for a son than a daughter but it is just a much and as powerful and as complete.  

He loves football. Not just likes it he loves it. He eats and sleeps it. He watches it, commentates on it, tells the team on TV what they should’ve done and tells me plays as they happen, talks to his dad throughout the game asking questions giving his input. Shares how he wants to play the game, comes up with plays all the time. He plays football at recess, after school, on the weekends; he’s always looking for someone to throw the ball with.  

Football starts up today. We shopped yesterday for the perfect cleats, gloves, and mouth guard. He was particular about the snacks we get for the team. He had to see this year’s roster, there was going to be no waiting. He was up first today. He was wearing his gloves, already had his football bag packed, he is sitting on the couch right now repeating “down, set, hut” doing the hand motions in church clothes at 7:45 am. His game isn’t until 4 pm.  

IMG_0597He’s found the thing he loves. As persistent he is about all things football I don’t see it changing anytime soon. I don’t mind that one bit. I love to see him play. He lights up on that field and enjoys it all and it’s the one time when things don’t go perfectly he’s not beat up, disappointed yes, but also he is encouraging to his team mates and analyzing what went wrong and how to fix and avoid it next time.  

After the game today, even though I will be there watching, he will give me the play by-play asking if I saw this and that and giving his coach, Jason, ideas, thoughts and asking questions on how to improve for next week. HE will talk about the good and the bad of the game all week. He will tell us what he thinks should be done. He will ask his dad what he thinks about running this play or that play. He will check to make sure Jason is thinking about the game, preparing for the game and he will ask “so dad, what is the plan for the game, who do you think should play what position?”

IMG_0556This will happen until he steps onto the field next Sunday. He is super excited about that game since Mimi & Papa will be here to watch him play.

Can’t wait to post new pictures from this year of him on the field.




Hold on! The carousel never slows down…

Frequently I have to catch by breath and stop to ask myself when did my kids get to be so grown and great and amazing and beautiful and capable and…and…and… Time flies faster each year, that carousel is spinning at light year speeds and it isn’t going to slow down let alone stop. My first baby started high school today… she was a bundle of excitement and nerves. It is a large school and she is like me, needs to know where she is going and how to get there before she can feel more comfortable.

Today as I drove her to school I looked over and said something like yeah, high school… I honestly do not remember because what she said next had arms that reached into my chest and grabbed my heart and wouldn’t let go. I felt the sudden jolt of reality and pain and realized a little bit more of this parenting thing means they leave and while we know that deep down and while we may dream of plans when kids are grown etc… I think we quickly forget how fast it goes and for those of us that haven’t released a child from the nest it may as well be like and imaginary friend… we can’t see it, we don’t know what it feels like, it seems far away…

She blurted out”4 more years before I am gone mom!”

WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT? She has no idea what that did to me. Even if I told her she couldn’t comprehend that. Why did she feel she needed to say it? I mean she is 14, she knows nothing about what a parent feels, how much we love with our whole beings, how deeply we hurt when they hurt and how hard it is to not break down with each passing phase and I doubt she can understand the sorrow and joy we can feel at the same time, the kind that makes us sob so loudly, ugly and we fear we will never stop. All she knows is the excitement growing up can bring, more freedoms, driving, graduating, working (cuz work seems cool and new and fun..HAHA). But OUCH! That stung, it hit me in the gut, yet, I am so excited for all my kids and each new year.  I am loving who they all are becoming and if that carousel of life wasn’t spinning I wouldn’t know them like I do.

So today marks 12th year (preschool included) I have cried on the first day of school. Each year it seems to happen later in the day than it use to but I am not sure I will ever have a first day of school that is tear free and I have 10 more to go.

So thankful for friends to spend the mornings with after school drop off and quiet days it brings; it is good for my soul and in turn good for my family. I am very eager to hear from all 4 of them about their first day. They were all excited and ready for a new year. So very, very thankful the amazing and loving friends they all have new and old to enter this new school year with.

P.S. love my paint touches up I need to do? Gees, there once was a time I would have painted that before I took the picture…

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My Heart is just too big….the love is just so much!

love parentY’ALL! I JUST CANNOT….my heart is too big, too emotional, too real, too mushy, too selfish and selfless and too much of everything to continue to parent without being a complete basket case who needs her Costco sized box of tissues in one hand and her mascara in the other hand AT ALL TIMES.

Parenting is hard… anyone who is a parent knows that. Anyone who is not has heard it. But let me tell ya it’s not hard because they are needy, whiny, clingy, selfish, loud, cranky, poopy, don’t let us sleep or pee in peace, it’s not due to the cost of raising a child or the battles of siblings or fending off suitors or bad friends blah, blah, blah….

Yes, those things are not easy. I have had to deal with all of them and more and many days wish we lived in a bubble of only the people J and I approved of because life was hard and I couldn’t see anything but the unpleasant not so fun stuff from having babies and raising kids.

But this, this is what is hard.

Watching them grow, because they grow at light speed.

Talking to them and seeing them become the person we envisioned when they were clingy and poopy and all we wanted was a night away from them.

Watching them live out what you have taught them… all those things you never thought they heard or cared about, they do them and they do it beautifully, flawlessly and you sit there with tears in your eyes in awe of them with relief knowing they heard you, they got it… and all you can do in that moment is weep and sit there in silence while your throat closes and hear pounds and eventually you have to tell yourself to breathe.

Realizing despite how emotional you thought you were or were not, there comes a day when you cannot stop the tears, you cannot stop the crying. Crying for joy that despite all the faults, and fights and sleepless nights and bad words you said or your child said, despite the criticism from yourself, your spouse, your family, your friends, society, your child still loves you and has become the person you wished and more… they still say I love you mom and they will lay their head in your lap at age 14, of their own will and want to watch their favorite kids shows with you.

Realizing each year that it is one less year they will live at home.

Having so much fun, being chill, hanging out with them and their friends and doing fun things and having great family time in the summer and then having to give them back to whatever education system you choose that cuts into all that carefree, fun, lazy, amazing time you spent with them.

Life is hard. Living life of work, training, sports play, school, vacations, holidays, cleaning and so on takes time away that I know one day I will wish we did less of, even if we barely did it, because it was time we weren’t doing what we wanted to with one another.

It’s hard to let them go, not because you want to keep them, be a helicopter parent or make their choices for them… it is hard because you love them so, you love being with them and you love who you are with them and you just don’t want to miss a minute of their life because it is just so good.

The good is hard because it hits you in the gut, it pulls at your heart-strings, it smashes into your soul, and it stops you in your tracks and prevents you from taking a breath. Thinking on any negative or making a list of improvements and criticism would be easy, it’s easy because it doesn’t touch your soul, and it is easier to be negative than to be overcome, flooded and immersed in all the good, positive and amazing things that come from being a parent.

Listen, I hate to cry. I do not like to get a stuffy nose, wipe my tears, and make awful noises that seem to only be made when crying. But let me tell you, embrace the cry. You cannot run from it… it will find you and you will have days it doesn’t stop. It may be like a leaky faucet and turn on and off all day but it is coming. It is coming because there is so much joy in parenting. It is coming because with each new phase with each new year you will see how things in the past were not as big of a deal and you made them out to be and you will mourn the time you lost because you thought it was a big deal. That will make you cry because you can now see with better vision how you should have spent your time, how you should’ve reacted and engaged. But, please DO NOT get stuck there. That is in the past and you cannot do anything about that. All you can do is this moment, now, be the parent you want to be, love like you want to love, NO, love like they need you to love and make that choice each moment of everyday over and over again… time is fleeting, time is precious. Even though they will grow and move on and leave home make them not want to, make them always want to come home, make them the person who loves their children like you loved yours and more. Give them your heart that is all too big for all this parenting stuff so they have a heart that is too big for their kids.

Parenting is not easy it is hard and it is hard for many reasons but keep going, keep loving, keep crying, it Is all a beautiful, horrible mess that you will not ever regret, EVER!


Love Notes from Mercie

mercies notes 1This summer we have been redecorating and switching rooms upstairs. This endeavor has led the kids to go through and clean out, throw out, organize all their possessions. I sat with them most of the time while they purged and prepared to move rooms. In doing so I came across quite a few gems from Mercies notebook.

The pictures and writings say it all and say everything my heart wants for my kids. Love for Jesus, others and confidence and security in who they are.

mercies notes 3

mercies notes

mercies notes 2


In a blink of an eye


Being the oldest it is no surprise to learn Taylor takes charge, likes to lead, thinks she is a second mama sometimes and is very responsible. Those characteristics have always made be remind myself that she is still young, especially now that she towers over me barefooted. Of course, she doesn’t like to think so. But what teenager enjoys being told they are too young?

Have you ever been somewhere and seen a girl that you just assumed she was 16 years old or older than that but then learn she is only 13 or 14? I don’t know about you but I have and then my jaw hits the floor and I think wow, she does not look that young. But, here lately I have to remind myself that Taylor is not even 14 yet.

Shopping with her is a chore, not because it is unpleasant but because it requires a lot of shopping. With her height and shoe size it is not easy to find 10 ½ sized shoes that are not high heels. Swimsuits are not made for the tall, thin framed, young girl that as a mom I would call appropriate. We spend time going from store to store or settling for what works. She is a good sport and understands things so it’s not a fight to have her agree with what we find that is appropriate vs. her preference. I am just not wanting to nor am I ready to have her look older than she is, however, this past week that slapped me in the face.

She starts high school in the fall. Her entire 8th grade class had a semi-formal dance last week. As I took pictures of her my heart stopped, I felt I couldn’t breathe. What I saw when I looked through the camera lens was a grown, gorgeous, young lady and I wasn’t sure where she came from. I mean it felt like in a blink of an eye she went form little girl to young lady. I don’t feel a day older than the day I gave birth to her so how can this be? Where have almost 14 years gone? If I don’t feel older, or drained from parenthood, how can she be so tall, beautiful, smart and ready to take on whatever comes her way?

Saying we are blessed to have her feels like an understatement. I love being her mama, I love watching her grow and become who God created, I cannot wait to see all the other changes and areas she will blossom in BUT, I want it to stop or at least slow down. The carousel of life seems to be spinning faster and faster.

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Day by Day

May 2016
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