Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My weekend

I will elaborate soon, but for now...    I WENT HOME!!!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Answered Prayer

There are some days I feel like my prayers fall on deaf ears; like God is too busy to hear my pleas. And then there are days like today. Last night I prayed very specifically, "Lord, I need my tax return. Tonight." This morning, there it was in my bank account. Today I prayed for something I've been hoping for and then, the phone rang and, viola, I'm getting what I hoped for.
I shouldn't limit these praises to just today either, because the past few days have really been miraculously full of blessing. Valentines Day was yesterday and I got presents both from Chloe and from my husband. Lowell went shopping on Saturday and came home with a little something for everyone.. And a bag for me. He said that it wasn't a traditional Valentine's gift and that it might not even be the right size, but that he wanted to reward me for all the hard work I've done in getting my body back to the way I want it to be and, awesomely, it could also work as further motivation... What did my loving husband get me? A bikini. My first one ever. And I have to say, I look awesome!!!! I was shocked to see my reflection and to realize that all my hard work has really been paying off. What an incredible blessing because, honestly, most of the credit for my weight loss goes straight to God. He really changed my desire and my addiction to food. He freed me. All glory goes to Him. I would still like to exercise more and 'firm up' some, that's where the motivation comes in, but I have to say, this was a great VDay present indeed!
Monday was a difficult day for Chloe. She got a slightly less than perfect score on a project and was really upset by it. (Chloe also suffers from perfectionism.) She had also had a negative encounter with one of her classmates that day that was weighing heavily on her mind - he teased her about something she was wearing and she took it really hard. When I told Chloe it was bedtime and she realized she wouldn't have time to finish the Valentine card she was making for her teacher, she lost it. For the third time that day. So, I called her over to snuggle with me a little... I held her and rubbed her little back and let her cry. And then, I prayed -- "Lord help me love her and encourage her..." And God spoke through me. Not only did He encourage Chloe, He encouraged me. The words He gave me - "It doesn't matter to me what grade you get. Ever. It will never matter. I don't love Chloe the good student or Chloe the smart girl or Chloe the good speller or Chloe the silly one... I just love Chloe." She cried more and snuggled in close and I held her. My heart was full and she was comforted. God is so good. When she had calmed down, she went into her room where she had hidden a present for me. She made me a card and gave me a necklace. I wore the necklace the next day but more than the gift, I was heartened by memories of our time together on the couch.
Then, Tuesday, Lowell put a cherry on top of my already overflowing sundae.... I came home from work feeling like I hadn't even begun to do anything of substance when Lowell handed me a clip board... He had written me a 4 page love letter. 4 pages. 4 wonderful loving pages filled with memories, compliments and dreams... I would love to share it with everyone just to beam about how loved I am but instead, I'll share one of my favorite lines... "I love your soft sweet hands. They need help opening jars in the kitchen, yet they are firm enough to place on my back and help me move forward." 
I feel blessed and showered with love and affection in such tangible ways today. I have been spoiled by my kids, by my husband and by my God. Wow... I don't deserve all this, but I'm certainly reveling in it. How lucky I am.
 I'm proud of myself... Not done yet, but pretty good.  :)


Just wanted to share this moment of joy from a couple days ago. :) Bath time for the girls, and Wyatt couldn't help himself - he jumped right in. Simply adorable.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I wrote this post on Thursday. I took these pictures Friday because I recognized the irony. Probably you will too.

I read a friend's blog today. She was talking about how chaotic her family is. I don't feel chaos in my house. I know that we're busy; we've got school projects, Lowell's insane schedule, crazy everyday situations like living for 2 1/2 months without a water heater... And I've got a fairly crazy job, at least when I look at it from an outsider's perspective. And, theres the fact that we have four kids. And three kittens. And I'm getting my master's degree. And we're broke.
But I don't feel chaos. I honestly feel peace. I get stressed and overwhelmed and rundown and somedays I would give anything for a break from all my responsibilities... But, on most days, my saner days, I look around and realize just how blessed we are. There isn't yelling in our house. There isn't abuse or addiction. We aren't doing without clothes, shoes, food, etc. My husband loves me and our kids - fiercely. And I have Christ. As my best friend. That's about the coolest thing on the planet.
So, yeah, there's moments where I can't hear myself think because of three different stereos playing three different songs, and I can't walk into the bathroom because they believe "hamper" is a euphemisim for floor, and I can't cook until I do dishes because every utensil we own is dirty, and I can't pee without someone coming in because they simply have to tell me about this dream they had last night....   But I wouldn't have it any other way. This craziness is my peace. Its my sanctuary and my respite from a very scary, very dark, very chaotic world. Inside these walls, we're ok. We've got love and laughter and peace and arguing and forgiveness and hope and Jesus.
Count me in!
One of the forts the kids built
Nathan's fort on/under the kitchen table
Jillian's room...
My room in the middle of furniture rearrangement
My kitchen after Lowell brought home 5 boxes of fruits and veggies

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Love it
"Motherhood is a choice you make everyday to put someone else's happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing - even when you're not sure what the right thing is... and to forgive yourself over and over again for doing everything wrong.   -- Donna Bell

Wise woman.  She did not specify, however, that she was talking about good moms. Not all moms make these choices. (I think of myself as a pretty good mom, and I don't make these choices everyday!!! Some days I am straight up selfish! I should be sent to bed without my supper and probably spanked with a newspaper on my way to my bedroom.)
I had a good "mom". What I mean is, the woman who raised me definitely put my happiness and well-being before hers. She taught me important lessons about working hard, going to church and being a kind, loving person; and her "mothering" is the standard I hold myself to today.
I fail. Miserably, most of the time, to live up to how well she mothered me.
Our circumstances are very different -- I was the only child she was caring for whereas I have four babies; she did not work outside the home and was not getting her masters degree at the same time... Even realizing those discrepencies between our lives, I still want to live up to the legacy of how she cared for me. She was an amazing housekeeper. And cook - although she hated every minute of cooking for us. :) Her house was immaculate - always!  She was at every event I was involved in and, let me tell you, there were a lot of them. I did dance, piano lessons, honor classes, yearbook, cheerleading... She went on almost all the field trips and volunteered in my classrooms. She was constantly baking brownies or cookies for me to take to school and was always home when I got off the bus. On weekends, she would load up me and whatever friends I had invited (usually more than 2) and take us to the mall, to the roller rink (both an hour away), to the park... 
Every year we went school clothes shopping and I remember coming home with bags and bags of clothes. I never went without... But, more impressively, I never saw her worried. She never showed me her stress over money or her worries about what she was spending to raise this child that wasn't hers. I know she had them, but she never showed me that she was concerned. I experienced the blessings, never the sacrifices.
I was spoiled. She went above and beyond. I got basically anything I wanted and I did not learn the value of money or how to help out around the house. Her rule was that I had to do well in school - that was my job. She took care of the cleaning, the laundry, the cooking, everything. (I was clueless when I went to college but by then, I had Lowell to help me.)
So now I try to balance my desire to live up to her example while teaching my children about sharing, earning money and helping around the house. I wonder sometimes if I push them too much toward those things simply because I soo want them to get it. Actually, I'm pretty sure I do this. I want them to learn these lessons and so I'm pushing them harder than I should. I forget that parenting is a marathon - not a sprint. When I don't give them everything, I feel guilty, and when they act like selfish brats and don't want to help out, I panic.
I am very thankful I have such a great role model to fashion myself after. Mamie raised me with love and care. She was devoted and selfless. I hope that I am showing her that I appreciate her by doing my best to love my children the way she taught me to. And also because I'm learning to be the best mom I can be, in my circumstances, with my children and my life using the strength and intelligence she taught me.
I've also been blessed to have another surrogate mother. I have a step-grandmother who has never been "step" and was rarely a "grandma" - she's always been more like an aunt or a big sister. She has been an invaluable resource for cooking questions -- especially, the "I don't have any ..., what can I use instead" variety! :) But, more importantly, she's been my go-to when I have questions about how to be a Christian wife and mother. She has prayed for me and supported me and loved me. She's given me information about my real mom, taught me to scrapbook and spoken words of truth into my life. I feel blessed to have her in my life and thankful for all she's done.

External vs. Internal Motivation

I had a conversation with Lowell yesterday about my blog and whether or not I was going to continue it. I started blogging three years ago as a way to try to connect with people. I also just wanted to have a place to write about our family, my life and the lessons I'm learning. Originally, I thought this was only for me but then I started getting comments and realized I loved the feedback from others. And now, I've found myself writing so that I can get input from people who are reading my blog, looking for encouragement, kuddos, a smiley face, anything to let me know that people are reading what I'm sending out into the internet world. Its not longer for me. Recently, I went over two weeks without a comment from someone, thus the conversation with Lowell. His answer - keep blogging because in the beginning, I did it for me; I enjoyed it. He said to keep writing, keep recording our memories and my feelings and do it because I enjoy it regardless of whether another person reads it or not.
So, thats what I'm going to do, keep writing.
I am considering disabling the comment option completely so that I am not obsessed with them. Maybe.