24
Aug
16

So I turned 40!

Schools back in session and I am playing catch up with my blog…..HA!

This year was the big 4-0! We celebrated in 1920’s style. Costumes and all. It was fabulous.

I went a little crazy and went all out…new dress… had my make-up and hair done professionally. We rented a big house on the lake and everyone dresses up! I did not want it to end. It was all so so perfect!!!!!

I have the best family and friends. They worked hard to make the décor, set up and were why it was so fabulous!!

 

24
Aug
16

Being okay doing nothing

bookI started reading Present over Perfect. It is a good book and one I need to keep handy. I am recovering perfectionist….it has made me very reflective about myself and how I have changed and am changing.

I use to always have to keep busy even if it was cleaning and re-cleaning back to back. Perfection was the enemy. Busy equaled tired and at the day ended in bed but without meaningful connections being made while awake. All I was doing made others think I could do and handle all things well. I just got good at hiding how well it was not going.

This was the first year when kids were gone during the summer I did nothing… I usually have a house project or a lists of places to go or a trip. But this year for the 2 different weeks when the kids were gone I did not do anything of significance or thrilling or needed besides the usual workout, eat, sleep and laundry as needed. I wasn’t bored and didn’t look for things to do, start or finish. It was quite needed without knowing I needed it. It was good practice as well. Not working full time and all kids being in school and mostly self sufficient I have lots of down time but I fill it with noise whether it’s volunteer, clean the clean, surf the depths of the Internet for no reason or cook and bake so much that I end up hating eating because it means I’ll have to cook again.

This year, this time I sat a lot. Maybe music was in the background sometimes it wasn’t. I read books. Which is odd but the more time that goes by the more I enjoy reading books that cause me to look at myself and reflect, get in tune with my own thoughts and feelings.

When I first decided to have do nothing days it was tough. I felt guilty, I got bored, but I’m learning  to rest in the ok of accomplishing nothing on some days. I’ve found it helps me balance what’s really necessary in our life… I began making decisions more on is it best for the life style that’s focused on less… Less stress, less stuff, less crazy….it has also given a great balance to the days life is going fast and furious.

Years ago I would have never thought I’d have days I did nothing.

At my core I like doing things and going places. I love being with people, helping , having fun and creating new things… I’m very social and don’t want to miss events. I just find more meaning in making sure the things I do are fruitful, meaningful, important to life’s goals and not the to do list and that what we do isn’t just because we want something to do…

I’ve always struggled with being worthy or good enough. Growing up and mean kids and struggles can make for a nasty self-image… My thinking was always ‘If I do this or that I’ll be accepted and find friends. I’ll look important and competent.’ But perfection created messes and fights and I began to see how selfish it really was…it only took 30 something years.

To be perfect was all about me and how I looked and nothing to do with those I loved. It just made them feel less than and the distance between us grew and grew. But I’m and extremist type person, all or nothing… I’d flip between do it all perfectly to doing nothing at all. I didn’t know how to live in the in between. It took so much work to not clean or say no or miss this event or that because I just needed to slow down and cut things out.

And then, like always, I feel, your kids or your health shock you into learning how to live in the in between perfect and idle.

For me, it was seeing distance in relationships, seeing my kids feel they are not worthy of me because they cannot do all I was trying to do. Then there were hardships for one child that cut me to the core and took all my energy to help her…that battle was over and I was struck with debilitating fatigue and spent about a year getting to the core of that. Luckily, my doctor and I have found the cause and we are repairing and supporting the issues. All of those things on top of the everyday life of being a parent, spouse, working part-time and anything else that came along really took its toll. At first it was more of a physical toll but as I slowed down I began to be confronted with the emotional and spiritual side of it.

At some point my soul became dried up. I was longing for something I couldn’t quite put into words. I need something deeper than what I had, a deeper connection with people, an intimacy in friendships that are authentic and vulnerable. A soft landing-place with friends that came naturally and easily.

I began to learn that my frustrations were a result of things not going my way, not being perfect or as expected. It was hard to take the step back, when frustrated or upset, and analyze why because almost always those feelings came from what I wanted and wasn’t getting. It doesn’t feel good to admit to yourself you are being so selfish.

I wanted quiet and kids were fighting.

I wanted sleep and Jason needed me.

I wanted be at home and kids had places they needed to go.

I wanted my friend but her family needed her.

I wanted and I wanted and there wasn’t much grace on my part. I’d get frustrated and mad. At times I could mask it and no one knew. But I was a wreck and I was pouty and questioned if I was good enough or worthy. I looked to the perfection and the busyness to hide and bury the things I didn’t or couldn’t deal with the  as well as the things I wanted to go away and forget. The thing is they don’t, you become busier because it always takes more and more work to try to keep them buried. I didn’t have my people, the intimate friends and the vulnerability with them. I was searching for that, still am. I’ve tried to make it happen because I wanted it so bad and sometimes it happened with the wrong people which left more of a mess, hurt and empty space.

I still have those I call my people outside of family relationships but most live so any miles away and we don’t get to connect the way I yearn for often. Those friendships that are physically close seem to only go so far, when there’s a moment or time for intimacy and vulnerability things get silent, life seems to be really busy and it’s only after the fact you find out someone was having a rough time and needed help. I’ll admit I’ve not gone deep with them at times… Being vulnerable is earned and fearful. It all takes time and seems like everyone else’s life is so busy….

 

21
Jun
16

40 sounds so odd….

love_your_lifeIn a month I will be 40.

That is the oddest sounding sentence I have ever uttered!

Everyone is the age of their heart. ~Guatemalan Proverb

 I don’t feel 40. I am not sure what 40 should feel like, I never thought about what it would feel like. So far there are no signs of gray hair or wrinkles…I see many my age whose genes are different, the heaviness of their life visible. Some are grandparents already and having a blast with that. Some have kids younger than most of mine. A lot of my friends are older, heck Jason is…maybe he keeps me feeling young. I feel our kids do too; we all have a ton of fun together doing life.

Grow old with me! The best is yet to be. ~Robert Browning

The thing is I don’t feel like I have aged since I was 20. Yes, I have had huge life events, amazing experiences, and learned hard lessons the hard way, learned from heartbreak, grown wiser and have let go of a lot of baggage I thought was important when I was younger. I am more comfortable in my own skin; I have more confidence and security in myself. I quit caring about a lot of things and started caring more about other things. Maybe it’s the letting go of baggage that keeps one feeling young. In years past I struggled to keep life looking perfect all the time…Clean house, great cooking, top-notch volunteer, best parent, perfect time manager…etc…etc… This only caused anxiety and suffering. It just took a few years to wake up to that.

Learning to say no and not be everybody’s everything was the best lesson, along with, stopping the comparison game and not caring what others thought about my life choices. It made me love me for me. Most importantly, it has been a great life experience to refer to in teaching my own kids to figure out who they are as a person not who they are by what they do or what others say about them… I’ve enjoyed parenting more. It’s been fun. Years ago I would have never thought that being transparent with my kids would be an amazing teaching aide. I’ve learned I don’t want them to see me as perfect but rather as brave because I did what I felt should be done and I handled all things with love and humor despite the outcome; that I tried things without care of how I would be looked at or how much I might fail. My kids are so much more confident and daring than I ever was at their age. So much excitement for their future just to hear about what they do and be along for the ride with some of the things they will do in life. I cannot wait!

A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams. ~John Barrymore

As each year passes I do more things I didn’t think I would do. Jason and I take on more adventures whether it is learning a new skill for fun, trying new foods or going to new places. It is all an adventure. They create memories and laughter. It provides a wealth of conversations we will have when they kids leave home and create their own life.

We sit very little. Luckily, we both love to explore and be active. Our kids are the same. Once summer began the questions started immediately “What adventure are we doing today? What new place we will see today?” They each will research and create their own list and I just love it. We are all always creating and planning and hoping….we may never have the time or money to do all that we imagine and hope but rest assured we will enjoy the planning and we will see if I feel older than 20 in another 40 years.

Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

09
May
16

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

27
Dec
15

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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20
Sep
15

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.

 

 

24
Aug
15

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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