Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Shhhh......

What I'm about to say may shock you. 

My kids don't "believe" in Santa.  They never have.

What I mean is: My kids know that Santa is not real.  They know that the man at the mall is in costume, just like the caracters at Disney World.  They understand that we pretend Santa is real and that he brings us presents, but really it's their parents who do the shopping.  I am honest with them when they ask, but I engage them when they pretend. 

The other day I was asked if I was "pro-Santa" or "anti-Santa".  My answer was neither.   Why do I need to take a side?  I'm not "anti-Cinderella" or "pro-Micky Mouse".  These are just characters in stories that engage my kids imaginations.  I don't need to take a stance on an imaginary person. 

I have friends that don't "do" Santa.  They don't want to take the focus off the real reason of this season.  While I completely understand and agree with their desire to focus on Christ, I think we can have both.  Because my kids understand that Santa is pretend, he doesn't hold any priority over Jesus.  Jesus is the TRUE story of Christmas, Santa is pretend. 

Growing up I never believed in Santa.  My mom was often told that she ruined Christmas for us.  Children who spend hours in a cardboard boxes turning them into castles and spaceships and grocery stores and airplanes and post offices can certainly handle the truth of Santa.  As a matter of fact, I would argue that the opposite is true.  I would say that for a child who spent years believing in something only to find out it was a lie, has a much harder time enjoying Christmas. 

The reality of Christmas doesn't stop my kids.  My 8 year old sent a letter to Santa and was beyond excited when she got one in return.  All three of them told Santa their Christmas wishes and sat on his lap.  They watch Christmas movies and pretend to be elves.  There will be gifts from Santa under our tree and they may leave cookies for Daddy to eat.  We will read the Christmas story from Matthew on December 25th before opening our gifts and we will spend the weeks ahead talking about this baby that came to save us all.  But when December is over and the Santa books get packed away, we will spend the next 11 months focusing our lives around the real miracle of Christmas.  Santa's got nothing on Him.

I am often asked how we "do" Christmas.  I hope that this explains our intentions and our decisions.  If you "do" Christmas differently, good for you!  Our decisions are right for our family.  Your's have to be right for you. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Control Yourself

It's been a CRAZY month around here!  While it may have seemed I had fallen off the face of the Earth, the truth is quite the opposite.  I have been so buried in the chaos of fall activities, I haven't had time to come up for air. There have been a dozen posts floating around in my head, but I have yet to get them to paper.  Life seems to be taking a quick break before the holidays, so I will try to get some of them out before a second round of action ensues.
 In the meantime, I will leave you with this story.  Brooklyn is my emotional child.  She cries with the flip of a switch.  She is highly emotional and overly dramatic.  Lately, her reactions have been even more exaggerated and frequent and it finally became more than I could handle.  After days of non-stop sobbing, I decided to try a positive approach.  We made a chart that reads "I Can Control My Emotions", we hung it in the kitchen, and bought a unicorn purse as a reward for filling the chart.  I then explained to Brooklyn that, while we all get upset and disappointed, we chose how we respond.  It's OK to be sad, but crying through the entire mall because we couldn't buy a pair of shoes is overreacting and out of control. 

To be honest, I had my doubts.  This kids cries about EVERYTHING, so getting her to stop and think about a response might be a long shot.  Would you know that she has stopped herself mid-tear and adjusted her response consistently since we put up that chart?!?  Things that I was sure would push her over the edge have not shaken her resolve.  She is getting that unicorn!  Last week, she asked me if I knew how she was controlling her emotions.  "I always have that unicorn on my mind!" she said. 

Our focus makes a difference.  We are all capable of change, but we must focus our attention to the matter.  If my little redhead five year old can stop herself from having a meltdown when I ordered a blueberry scone instead of the banana bread she requested, there is no problem to big.  Just go buy yourself a unicorn.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Reminders


Paige is my quality time kid.  She needs my attention, one-on-one, regularly.  We first realized her love language after a trip to Disney World when she was three.  As we walked to the van, we asked her what her favorite part of the day had been.  After listing off nearly every single highlight of the Magic Kingdom, only have her shake her head no, she finally spilled the beans.  Her favorite part.  Just being with us.  She couldn't have spelled it out any clearer.  Our time with her matters.  Our attention feeds her security. 

I should have known.  A year earlier, when her little sister entered the picture, she did her best to make her needs known.  I can not tell you how many times Brooklyn was punched in the head while trying to nurse.  (Which may explain a few things about our flighty redhead, but that's another post.)  Even after the initial jealousy subsided, Paige still struggled to share my attention.  Every time Brooklyn hit a new milestone, Paige acted out.  If she didn't get her way in the mall she would grab everything within arms reach of her stroller and throw it at me.  If we put her in her room for time out, she would empty her dresser and pull every hanger out of the closet creating a heap of clothing in the middle of the room.  I often kid that Paige would have been a perfect only child.  Many of her struggles stem from her need to be focused on.  God knew that she needed siblings to refine that in her. 

I have said before that Paige has matured greatly in the past year.  Her pleas for attention have become less extreme.  We are no longer dragging her screaming into school or buckling her into a carseat just to keep her in time out.  She is writing her feelings out. No matter how ugly.  She still yells and stomps and makes poor choices, but she is editing herself.  With her maturity, I have lost sight of her need for my attention.  Isn't that how it is?  When the struggle subsides we relax.  The things that used to top our priority list fall a bit and we lose focus.  This morning Paige reminded me of her need for my attention.  In a very subtle and comical way, she put herself back on my list.  This was all it took.



Pegs, I heard you (and I laughed).  Mommy date is on the calender.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Rest of the Story

A few weeks a go a friend called with a free ticket to the David Crowder Band.  In my exhausted Friday afternoon state I almost declined, but Adam urged me to go.  A girls night might do me some good.  Plus, he wanted a few hours alone with his XBOX.  Sigh. 

Half excited and half exhausted, I made my way to the concert.  I received my ticket only to realize that Laura Story would be opening for Crowder. Suddenly, I was beyond excited.  No offense David, but Laura is my girl.  We have shared many tear filled worship sessions in my minivan over the past year.  If you don't know, Laura Story wrote the song "Blessings".  If you don't know the song, Google it.  Now.  Anyway, Laura took the stage and she owned it.  She was funny, wise, humble, and downright amazing.  I bought her new CD that night and that has inspired this post. 

On her new album, there is a song called "Your Name Will Be Praised".  It is fun and upbeat and towards the end she says something that rocked me to my core.  The bridge says "For who you are/ For what you've done/ For what you've yet to do".  Earth shattering, right? I know.  This shouldn't be a new idea.  Maybe I've been spending too much time with Beth Moore or maybe I've focused too long on the "It is finished" theme of the bible, but whatever the cause, I was shaken.  HE'S NOT DONE! There's more!  We haven't seen it all.  We haven't even read it all.  The end may be decided but the journey isn't over!!  If I could reach through this screen and shake you I would!

I think that I have read the bible as a beginning and an end.  I am living life in a holding pattern.  Waiting for the time-out to be over.  In my head, I know that He is still working.  I believe that He is performing miracles.  I have seen His hand in my life.  Even so, I have lost the excitement for what He has yet to do.   This story isn't over.  We've just read the last page.  I can't wait to see what's coming on the pages in between!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

So Many Thoughts....

I'm not sure if I should laugh, cry, call a counselor, or buy another parenting book. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

You may have a problem if......

When telling your two year old his toy is upside down he replies "Upside down?  Upside down Macchiato?" 

When playing outside with the neighbors, he walks up to a play window and orders a grande hot chocolate.

On the way to Starbucks, the two year old says "You need coffee mommy?  Are you sick for it?  Are you sick for your coffee?" 

Also, if the treat receipts in your purse can be organized in consecutive order.

Monday, September 12, 2011

September 13th

I opened my inbox today and found an email titled "Wish Audrey's daughter a Happy 1st Birthday!"  In that instant, an all to familiar ache filled my heart.  I knew it was coming.  We talked about it just a few weeks ago.  Discussing ways that Annabelle's life could be honored.  Ways that her baby brother and future siblings could remember their big sister on her birthday.  Traditions that would become treasured memories.  Yet, I wasn't prepared. 

In the past 7 months, I have had hard conversations with Auds.  I have held her while she wept and I have prayed with her until I had no words left to speak.  I spent hours sitting at the foot of Annabelle's grave and I have felt more helpless than ever before in my life.  In that time, I have also watched a marriage be transformed.  I have joyfully shopped for windmills for sweet Annabelle's grave (you should have seen the cashiers face when Auds mentioned their destination).  I have laughed until I cried, hurdled sprinklers in the cemetery and found hope overcoming despair.  I have been inspired and challenged.

The last time we talked, Audrey said "I'm not going to say she should be here right now.  God knew from the beginning that she wouldn't be.  That wasn't the plan for her life."  Tomorrow Audrey and Kyle will celebrate the 5 months they spent with Annabelle and they will thank God for the blessings she brought to them.  Through her life and through her death. 


Kyle and Auds, 
I will spend tomorrow on my knees. 
I love you!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Less of Me

I'm a doer.  Ask anyone who's known me for more than an hour and they will agree.  I love a good dilemma.  Give me a challenge and I will find the answer.  I thrive in situations that allow me to step in, calm the chaos and fix problems.  I most likely have an issue with feeling needed, but that's for another day.  Today, I am coordinating childcare for a women's bible study at our church.  Every year around this time, I find myself searching for workers.  I beg, I plead, I make promises I most likely cannot keep, and I stress.  To date, we have never turned a mom away due to lack of childcare.  So help me, I plan to keep it that way!  This year we have a waiting list and I am beside myself. 

You must first understand that I don't view childcare as an added bonus to our bible study, it's vital.  These women are just like me.  Spending their days doing the invisible work of raising little ones.  They come in on Thursday morning weary and empty, but they leave refreshed.  Two hours where they can let their guard down, share their hearts, and fill their souls with the One who will see them through the next 7 days.  Friendships are built, tears are shed, and women laugh. This is what I work for. 

Last week as a spreadsheet of little ones glared back at me, I prayed.  I prayed that He would give me the workers.  Emails, phone calls, and pleas had left me short.  I had done my part.  I needed Him.  By the next day, I had two new workers.  One of them a volunteer, which will allow our budget to take on even more kids.  As I worshiped in church today, the tears slid down my cheeks.  How many times until I learn this lesson?  Doing my part is futile if I don't give Him the chance to do His. 

Now, I am asking for a favor.  Even with our two new workers, we are short.  I know that He can bring the hands even when I don't see a way.  Will you pray with me?  As you are reminded through the faces of little ones, will you ask God to make a way for their moms to seek His face?  Will you ask Him for a miracle?  Because I will be expecting one.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saturday Funnies

On our way to Ohio for a family reunion, I tell the girls that I don't think their cousin Cole will want to play babies..
Paige: Cole can be the dad.
Brooklyn: Cole doesn't like to be the dad.
Paige: Yeah, he likes to be the dog.
Brooklyn: Well, he's not a very good dog.

Brooklyn wants Paige to read her a story on our way home from Ohio. 
Brooklyn: Please will you read me The Magic School bus?
Paige: No, it's too long.
Brooklyn: Fine then.  Just read me the New Testament.




Thursday, August 11, 2011

Knowing

I recently had a glorious kid-free lunch and shopping trip with a dear friend from college.  As we talked she said that of all her "mom" friends, I know my kids the best.  To be honest, it kind of stopped me in my tracks.  The next day I polled a few other friends.  They confirmed that, indeed, I do know my kids.  Funny how you have to have other people tell you who you are sometimes.  Even still I would argue that there are plenty of moms more versed in their children than I, but that is neither here nor there. 

The point is, we have to know our kids.  Just living with them is not enough.  Caring for their every need won't do it.  Raising them to adulthood doesn't guarantee it.  The reality is that many mothers never truly understand their children.  They don't know the little people who follow them around and soon enough they have missed their chance. 

As a mom, it is my job to help my kids understand themselves.  If I don't know them, how can I help them know themselves.  What makes them tick?  What sets them off?  What feeds their insecurities?  What engages their creativity?  How do they handle correction?  What speaks love?  What hurts feelings?  Until I understand these things about my kids, I cannot help them. 

These answers only come with an intentional approach to parenting.  We have to pay attention. We need to ask questions.  "How does that make you feel?  Why did you make that choice?  What bothers/excites you about this?  What can I do to help?  What have I done to hurt?"  These questions, and so many more, can open windows into our child's heart.  Then and only then do we truly see them.

Knowing my kids is a daily assignment.  I will never stop learning.  I am certainly not an expert, but having a child who is difficult to understand has required me to make this a priority.  I am so grateful that I have the honor to know such amazing little people.  I hope that they continue to give me open windows and I pray that I make the most of the opportunities I am given.  Don't you feel the same?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Through Her Eyes

Today I took Brooklyn to the dentist.  My mom came over to watch the other kids and, since she had parked me in, I drove her car.  As Brooklyn climbed out of the car she said "Mom, I love how these seat belts go back so quickly.  They are so nice!" As I smiled, both inside and out, I couldn't help but think of how much this 5 year old girl inspires me.  Brooklyn appreciates things that most of us don't even notice.  The curtains in a hotel, tile in a lobby, sparkles on the floor of Forever21, chandeliers in a jewelry store.  Sometimes I focus on the challenges of her sensitivity.  The crying, the whining, the hurt feelings.  Today, I was reminded of the good her sensitivity brings.  Brooklyn is grateful.  I hope that she stays that way.  I hope that she always appreciates the beauty around her.  I hope I become a little more like her.  

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My Promise

To my children:

I recently saw this sign...

"I am not your friend.  I am your parent.  I will stalk you, flip out on you, lecture, drive you insane, be your worst nightmare, and hunt you down when necessary because I love you and when you understand that I will know you're a responsible adult.  You will never find someone who loves, prays, cares, or worries about you more than me.  This is my promise to you."

At first glance, I thought I might agree, but then I read on.  The words that followed didn't settle.  You are little and, right now, I am not your friend.  On day, I hope to be and so I am making you a different promise.

I will give you the freedom to test your wings and the boundaries to keep you safe.   I will enforce constructive consequences that will help you better understand the choices you make.  I will listen to your fears, needs and desires.  I will treat you with respect, grace, and love always remembering that you are a work in progress just like your mom.  Though there will be seasons of life with more wrong than right, I will never quit trying to understand your perspective. 

When you are an adult, I pray that you will see me as a friend who loved you enough to let you become the best version of you.  I hope that I have helped you understand your strengths and your struggles and given you the tools to make the most of both.  I want you to look back on the those times of trial and know that I made tough decisions with your best interest in mind. 

I will spend the next 20 years treating you with the love and respect a friendship deserves, so that when the day comes, you will choose to be my friend. 

With Love,
Mom

Sunday, July 31, 2011

16 Days

16 days.  That's all I have.  16 days until my baby girl goes back to school.  Last summer I was ready for school.  I was excited to enter a year of structure and routine.  After Christmas break I was ready.  You may remember that from here.  As of today, I am not ready.  I'm anxious.  This hasn't happened since the first day of Kindergarten. 

This summer has gone entirely too fast.  We haven't gotten all of the things done that we planned.  The list that we made at the beginning of the summer is still full of activities we have yet to cross off.  Our time is running out and the calender is filling up.  I want to freeze time and clear our schedule.  I want to drink in every precious second with my little girl.  A little girl who has blossomed over the last year. 

Maybe that is the core reason I am so sad to let her go.  Paige has changed.  She is talking.  To people.  Without being forced.  If you know her, you understand.  Last week at the arcade, her game didn't give out tickets and she informed the employee.  By herself.  I had to pick my chin up off the floor.  Today, she ordered her own breakfast at Bob Evan's.  She looked the waitress in the eye, pointed to her menu, and explained that she would like the chocolate chip pancakes with a side of baked potato.  No bacon. 

She is helping, cleaning, communicating her needs/wants and compromising when things aren't exactly as she had planned.  The out of control, kicking, screaming fits have been replaced with a little sarcastic attitude, but we are working on that.  She's not perfect, just seven.  And I don't want to miss a second of seven.

So, if you ask to plan a play date or call me to have coffee, don't be surprised if I push you off until after the 16th.  My time is running short and I want to use up every minute.  Next year I may feel differently.  Hey, next week I may feel differently. For now, I'm going to enjoy my baby girl. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

You didn't hear it from me....

I would never want to have a recording of all the things I say in a day.  Most days there would be a whole list I'd like to take back.  Then sometimes, it seems like I am being recorded.  Three little mouths begin to speak back the words they hear each day.  Other than a random "What in the heck of the world?!?"  I have yet to be offended.  I'm certain that will change.  For now, I'll let my children do the talking.


Emerson while walking around the house hitting things with a foam bat...
"Dis is dangerous!  Dis is not safe, Bookyn!  Dis is dangerous!"
Paige giving Brooklyn one of the erasers she had picked out at Target
"You can have one and that's it.  I don't want to hear any complaining about it.  Do you understand?"

Brooklyn after deciding to put back 2 of the 3 things she wanted to buy
"That was a wise choice!"
Paige teasing Adam while trying to get him to put down the tailgate on truck
"You put it down or I am going to spray you with the hose.  Now, what do you want your decision to be? (He goes to the truck)  I see you've made your choice."

I guess I talk a lot about choices.....and danger.  Go figure!  I leave you with possibly one of the most telling quotes to date. 

Paige was three and Brooklyn was one.  We were on vacation and driving in the van.   Paige decided to play a game of word pronunciation with Brooklyn.

P: Brooklyn, say ball.
B: Ba
P: Brooklyn, say sky.
B: Ky
P: Brooklyn, say consequence.

Yep.  That pretty much sums it up.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Changes

"This pool is shady.  I NEED sun, so get back over here!" she scorned.  A mom who's little girl just wanted to play with her friend.  A mom who couldn't see past her need for perfect tan lines.  A mom who was missing the joy of vacation and was, in turn, stealing it from her daughter.

My heart breaks.  I wish I could make her see just how much she is missing.  I wish her daughter could spend an afternoon with a mom who was completely engaged.  I wish she could know the joy of splashing with her children.  The memories that far outlast a tan. 

I've traded pina coladas for snow cones, novels for sand castles, and late nights for early mornings.  My tan lines aren't even, my people watching has been narrowed to three little ones, and more money was spent at The Children's Place than Banana Republic.  Vacation has changed. 

It's not that I have given up on any of the original ways of vacation.  They are certainly more relaxing, but there will be times for those.  Soon enough, my book reading will only be interrupted by teenagers looking for money or food.  For now, I will cherish these moments with my little ones and, while I may be tired, my heart will be full and the memories will last. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Home

I have a friend who does The Gypsy Mama's 5 minute Friday posts.  The goal is to take 5 minutes and create a word picture.  No perfect writing.  Just 5 minutes.  This weeks theme is "Home".  I've never tired this before but the topic intrigues me, so let's give it a try.

Home.....

My parent's house on Lopshire Drive with a church pew and swing on the porch.  The home that holds nearly all of my childhood memories. 

My dad's cologne.  A smell that relaxes my soul and warms my heart.

My mom saying "Is that my favorite girl?" when I walk in the house.

Laughing around the dining room table on a Sunday evening.

The stillness of three sleeping children.

The strong arm of my husband wrapped around my shoulders as I rest my head on his chest.

STOP.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

They Speak

I have a friend who does a weekly post of the crazy things her kids say.  While I am not committing to do this on a regular basis, my little's have had quite a few good ones lately.  Maybe this will add a little sunshine to a rainy day.

Me: Are you excited to go to the beach next week?
Brooklyn: No.
Me: Why not?
Brooklyn: The crabs.


(Leaving the park in a rush after it started raining)
Paige: Mom, is it hard to take care of three kids?
Me: Why?  Does it look hard?
Paige: No.


Emerson: Me a boy.
Me: What is mommy?
Emerson: Mommy a girl.
Me: What is Daddy?
Emerson: Daddy a monkey!


(Brooklyn was watching me clean out the seeds of a cantaloupe)
Brooklyn: Ew! That is a gross job!  Will I have to do that when I'm a mom?
If she only knew the grossness that lay ahead!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Five-Year-Old Redheadedness



I have often said that when I had Brooklyn I joined a club and I can't get out.  Apparently, having a redheaded newborn is cause for every person who has ever known, seen or dreamed of a redhead to stop and tell you all about said person.  This is always followed by the oh so popular "Where did she get her red hair?"  I have been tempted on more than one occasion to dye my hair a similar shade just to end the nonsense.  Why can't they just assume her father has red hair and leave it at that??  I digress. 

My sweet freckle faced girl turned five yesterday.  She had a tea party today with eight of her closest friends.  There were actually twelve on the list, but I made her cut a few.  That may be the theme of her life.  This little girl LOVES people.  She always has. 

Brooklyn is sensitive, sarcastic, artistic, ticklish, talks incessantly and hates being alone.  She loves unicorns, butterflies, rainbows, kittens, shopping, diamonds, gold and silver.  She is going to make some man very poor one day!  Her love language is acts of service.  She is very much a middle child and often reminds me of my brother who is also the middle child.  She makes us laugh every day.

At her preschool graduation, whenever someone told her congratulations she responded with "If you say that to me one more time, I am going to wrestle you to the ground!"  She has also coined the phrase "What in the heck of the world?!"  We often hear her telling our puppy "You have to be nice or we are not going to love you anymore." 


If Brooklyn gets into trouble or is upset about something, she will go to her room in tears and proceed to cry/talk to herself.  The conversation goes something like this "Nobody likes me.  I have to do everything myself.  Nobody ever helps me do anything.  This is not fair!  I love everybody but nobody ever loves me."  We are so excited to see what puberty has in store for this one! 

The years go by so quickly and we are doing our best to treasure each moment as we look forward to the next.  It has been an honor to watch our little Brooks grow into such a big girl.  We are excited to see what the next years bring.  Happy Birthday sweet girl!  For breakfast I am eating those freckles right off your nose!


Sunday, May 15, 2011

No Excuses

Last week Adam and I went on a date.  The night didn't require expensive tickets, outrageously priced food or fancy clothes.  We have had those nights, but this wasn't one of them.  This night took us to Target, Walmart, Best Buy and a steakhouse with peanut shells strewn about.  It was glorious.  I didn't take anyone to the restroom during my meal, the seat in my shopping cart was occupied by only my purse, and not once did I have to move boxes off a shelf to remove disobedient children from crawling behind them. 

Halfway through our evening Adam looks at me dumbfounded and says "I am having a really good time!"   Resisting the urge to reach across the table and knock the shock right off his face, I inquire gracefully as to why he seems so surprised.  He goes on to say that this had been a stressful week at work and he just hadn't realized how much he needed to decompress. 

 I have spent seasons of our marriage waiting for Adam to ask me to go out on a date.  The waiting always lead to disappointment and the disappointment left me complaining.  It wasn't until recently that I have come to understand this cycle. 

Adam rarely brings work home, literally or figuratively.  He is steady and not much rattles him.  Because he doesn't let "life" get to him, he doesn't feel the need to get away as often as I do.  Adam is also and "all or nothing" guy.  If we aren't spending hundreds of dollars on the perfect date, he would rather stay home.  After a week with the kids, I would take Taco Bell and Redbox. 

Understanding these differences makes our marriage stronger.  Adam knows that if I ask to go on a date, he needs to make it happen...now.  I know that when he doesn't initiate the date, it's not because he doesn't want to spend time with me.  He just doesn't feel the need to get away.  It has been said that if you want to know how your marriage is doing, ask your wife.  I am much quicker to feel the disconnect that comes from doing life and so it is my responsibility to give him a heads up. 

All too often I hear people say "What's date night? You get to go out without your kids?  Maybe we'll do that again when they are in college."  To these couples I say,  your marriage can't afford to wait.  Your kids need to see you making each other a priority.  Don't wake up one day only to realize that you don't know the person laying next to you.  Make date nights happen at least once a month.  No excuses.  Budget for a babysitter, ask another couple to trade childcare, or look for honorary grandparents in your church to fill the void.

Beside having date nights, Adam and I take a weekend trip away once a year.  If you can find a way to make this happen, please do so!  A little bit spent on upkeep can save you thousands in repairs.  It's like the Casting Crowns song says "families don't crumble in a day, it's a slow fade."  Take the time to take care of your marriage.  It's more fun than car maintenance.  Trust me.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

In Case You Thought Otherwise

If you had told me at the age of twenty that I was not prepared for motherhood, I would have laughed in your face. I had been babysitting for years.  I cared for 10 infants every day for a year in a daycare.  I was a nanny to a newborn while pregnant with Paige.  I could do this in my sleep.  Kids were my thing.

Motherhood didn't shake me at first.  It took a year or two to realize how far over my head I was in.  Apparently, I'm a slow learner.  The truth is, all the things I thought I was going to "be" as a mom are so much more challenging than I could have imagined.

On occasion, I will have a friend comment on my "amazing patience" or call me "supermom".  Upon receiving such a compliment, I suggest we spend more time together.  Clearly I have given them a faulty impression of myself.   In an attempt to level the playing field, let me give you a glimpse of reality.

  • My patience level is nothing to admire.  I should pray for more, but I'm afraid of the consequences.
  • My kids eat breakfast bars, dry cereal, bananas or yogurt for breakfast while watching TV or driving to school.  I NEVER cook for them in the morning!
  • My van is littered with wrappers, cups, french fries, and crumbs.  The back seat has been declared a hazard zone.
  • I yell.  It is my biggest disappointment as a mom and I am working on it, but I still struggle daily.
  •  My children receive no more than 3 baths a week.  Tops.
  • I can not stand noise.  Three children in 1100 sq.ft. make this VERY challenging.
  • On Saturdays, I lay in bed and let the kids trash the living room until I absolutely MUST get out of bed.
  • I often answer questions with "I don't know" simply to avoid explaining the answer. 
  • All too often, I miss the intentional moments.
  • My son has at least one screaming meltdown in EVERY store we enter.
  • I have issues with being touched all day long.
I guess all of that is just to say that none of us are perfect.  No matter how calm or collected we seem on the outside, we may be just a "mommy" short of losing it on the inside.  We all struggle and we all fall short some days.

I love my kids and I don't regret a second of being their mom, but this job is HARD!  No age or job or class could have prepared me.  Not for the challenge or for the impact. 


I'm just a mom.  A mom who is still learning how to be a mom.  After all, I'm only 7 years old.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

What I Know

On the way home from soccer, the girls and I were talking about school and when they would go to college.  The conversation ended something like this:

Paige: So you went to college to be a mom?
Me: Well, they don't really teach how to be a mom in college?
Paige: So they just didn't teach you anything?

Not exactly, but some day's it sure feels that way!  Take today for example.  The morning started with Paige refusing to get in the van because she didn't feel well.  By the time I convinced her to move, Emerson had not only stepped in dog poop but had smeared it all over his socks and jeans.  After a quick cleaning of the shoes and grabbing extra clothes to clean the boy up, we left for school only to realize that I had failed to feed anyone breakfast.  Lovely.  Paige hates breakfast, so she was not disappointed to be missing a meal, but my Brooklyn is a Farmers Platter kind of girl and Emerson was already begging for a drink.  Starbucks to the rescue! 

Fast forward to four o'clock when I realize that Adam left Paige's soccer cleats on the back deck after cleaning them.  Practice starts in two hours and we need them dried.  I had been told to stuff them with newspaper to help absorb the water.  Paige did a superb job of stuffing, but I thought we could speed things up a bit more.  I pulled out the hair dryer and told her to give it a go.  Two minutes later she is standing by my side saying that she is very sorry but she got the hair dryer too close and the newspaper is shrinking down.  Half way to the bathroom she mentions that their is smoke.  Was there ever!  If I soak the cleat I will be back to square one, so I risk burnt fingers and dig away.  Disaster averted.  For now.

Two hours later we are finally ready to head to practice and the soccer ball that had been sitting next to our front door for two days is suddenly missing.  I don't if I should blame the wind or a thief but it is gone.  We searched the yard, the garage, and the house.  Nothing.  I spent the fifteen minute car ride convincing an idealist 7 year old that this would not ruin her practice.  During which there would be 50 mph winds of 37 degree air pounding my ear drums incessantly.  I had nothing.  It was miserable.

When the hour was finally up and everyone ready to leave, the sliding door to the van will not unlock.  During my attempts to unstick the lock, Paige slams the door locking my keys inside.  Fantastic.  A quick call to my mom and my brother (who just move home yesterday) is on his way with my spare key.  Fifteen more minutes.  I can do this.  Then both girls announce that they need to potty and it cannot wait.  We are standing outside an elementary school at 7:30pm.  There is no where to go....but outside.  Of course. 

There is no degree, class, book, theory or experience that prepares you for what motherhood has in store.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Nine Years and Counting

You know him as Adam.  I call him Neil.  He calls me Liz, which is better than Taco.  Trust me.  We've been there.

Our story goes back 20 years.  Two thirds of my life.  I did the math.  It blew my mind.  I was the mother in our 4th grade play of Peter Pan and he was my youngest son, wearing red long john pjs with a butt flap.  The following year, I crossed him out of my year book and wrote "emenies" next to his picture.  He was excellent at spelling.  Me, not so much.  This may have fueled my hatred.

I have no memory of this boy through middle school, but in high school he caught my eye.  Or should I say, someone guessed that I liked him and after a few seconds of consideration I decided to go with it.  Before that moment, the thought had never crossed my mind.  I was 15.  My reasoning skills hadn't exactly matured.



Little did I know that one moment in a chemistry class would impact my life forever.  In the next few years, I would fall in love with a boy and watch him turn into a man.  The one and only man I have ever kissed.

We were married before either of us could buy a bottle of wine.  My mom says that she has never seen me smile as much as I did on that day.  To this day, I can honestly say that no one makes me laugh harder than Neil.

In many ways our relationship has changed and, yet, it is exactly the same.  We have grown up together.  From doing homework together to doing homework with our daughter, our relationship has evolved.  I love that.   


After 9 years of marriage, he is still the one that can make a bad day better.  He still dances to the store's music while I shop.  I still believe him when he answers me with a sarcastic response.  We still fight over the wrinkles in the sheets.  He still thinks flowers the day after a holiday are more thoughtful (but has agreed to table the issue.)  I still can't fold a shirt to his liking.  He would still drop anything to save me.  I still smile the most when he is near.  We are still a team. For better or worse. 

 I am his and he is mine.  
I love you, Neil!  Happy Anniversary!









Monday, April 25, 2011

Just Like Us

If you know my children, you know that movies are an issue in our house.  Convincing our girls to watch a movie can take weeks and more often than not brings them to tears.  The reason: Paige can not handle suspense and Brooklyn wants to be like Paige.  We once made her watch Toy Story and she sobbed through the second half.  (That may qualify as faulty parenting.)  I can count on one hand the number of full length movies she will sit through and most of those were discovered in the last six months. 

So tonight when they both agreed to rent Hotel for Dogs at the Redbox, I was impressed.  Five minutes into the movie Paige was freaking out, but that passed. Towards the end of the movie the dogs are taken away by dog catchers to the pound and I began to hear a whimpering.  As I looked down, I noticed that Brooklyn is shaking and when she turns her little face is wet with alligator tears, lip quivering.  "Why are they going to kill the puppies?" she cries.  In that moment, I couldn't help but hold in a little laugh.  My heart broke for her but all I could think of was a story that had been told so many times.  A story of her daddy, when he was a little boy, sitting in front of Charlotte's Web quietly sobbing. 

As I reflected on that similarity, my mind drifted to all of the other ways our kids take after us.  When Paige was born, Adam's mom stood in front of her tiny bed and was taken back 20 years.  There was no denying she was her daddy's girl.  Brooklyn's loud and incessant talking is no doubt a gift from her mother.  Ask her to throw a ball and you may see a glimpse of me there as well.  Also, I dread watching any movie that doesn't fall in the comedy or romance category.  Wonder where they get it?

The beauty is this, a God who didn't NEED me to create these kids USED me.  He didn't just place them in my belly.  He used two of His children to form three more.  Taking into account our physical characteristics, personality traits, and tendencies. Some days it may feel like more of a punishment than an honor to be raising these unique mixtures of ourselves, but my heart knows it's a privilege.  What an amazing gift!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Changed

I suck at prayer.  If you need someone to pray for you, I'm probably not your girl.  Sure, I'll say I'll do it.  I'll even have good intentions to get it done.  But I won't.  The light will turn green, the kids will yell, the phone will ring and I will forget.  Every time.  My personal prayer life isn't much better.  It's embarrassing to say, but I'm too rushed, tired, and distracted.  The thought of prayer seldom crosses my mind.

Apparently, God has been noticing.  In the past few months I have found myself on the outskirts of situation after situation that lead me straight to my knees.  Not a passing "Please God work in that situation" way, but a "My words have run dry and still I pray" kind of way.  I have prayed myself to sleep and then awoken with an urgency to pray again.  I have wept as I pleaded with God to work miracles.  I have prayed that God's hand would be seen and I have prayed that Satan's lies would be revealed.

 Then, on Friday night, I found myself standing in a pediatric hospital room rocking a sweet little boy to sleep while his mama lay broken and exhausted on the bed across the room.  In the stillness of night, I began to pray.  As natural as breathing, it came.  I prayed for healing and rest and grace and strength.  I prayed and I rocked until both were asleep.  I prayed through the parking lot and on my drive across town.  I prayed myself to sleep.

If you would have looked in on me that night, you would have seen me smiling.  Not because I was doing some grand thing, but because for the first time I really knew that God was changing me.  He had given me a heart of prayer.  I may still get distracted and forget, but we're working on it.  Knowing that He is still working gives me hope.  Hope for my quiet time, attitude, patience, self-control, selfishness.............. you get the idea.  He is blessing me.  Through tears and heartbreak.  He is working.

Find more Laura Story albums at Myspace Music

Monday, March 21, 2011

When Good Intentions Go Bad

Sometimes, my quest to balance life sends me in a tailspin.  This may be one of those times.  Months ago, I was approached by a childhood friend asking me to do a MARK party to help start her business.  Perfect!  I NEED to reconnect with my friends and this could be fun girls night.  Wine, chocolate, coffee, make-up, and friends.  Who could turn that down?!? 

Knowing that March was the best month for my friend's business, I picked a date and sent the invites.  No problem.  It's March.  What could possibly be going on?  Nothing, other than the Book Fair at Paige's school which I volunteered to staff.  Nothing, other than Adam's big project for Writing for Engineers.  Nothing, other than a clothing resale that I sold, shopped and worked at for much of last week.

If I didn't need this night so badly, I would reschedule.  That, however, is NOT happening!  I will have girl time if it kills me.  I will have wine and chocolate and a side of laughter.  My carpet may have puppy stains, my shelves may have dust and my counters may have clutter, but my soul will be fed.

The finger smudges on my front window, pen marks on the hallway wall, and discarded toy collection under the couch make me hesitant, but we are called to be hospitable.  To leave the kitchen and gather in the living room where relationships are nurtured and hearts are encouraged.  And this week, there is no place I'd rather be.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Would You Like Some Cheese With That?

I have a bad attitude.  It's been building for about a week now.  At first I blamed hormones, then lack of "adult" time, and now I am at a loss.  There are no more excuses.  While hormones didn't do me any favors, they were not totally responsible.  A date night was long overdue and an enjoyable break, but by morning the gray cloud was back. A man at Meijer told me how much he admired me as a mom, but that held me for only a few minutes.  I have even enjoyed two play dates with sweet friends in the past week and, still, I can't kick the gloom. 

Being married is hard; having kids is harder; having a new puppy is insane.  Carpool lines, laundry, grocery shopping, baths, homework, dinner, PTO meetings, dentist appointments, dishes, and diapers consume my days. A screaming toddler and a bed-wetting preschooler interrupt my nights.  If I'm not refereeing fights, I'm answering another unending "why" question or playing yet another game of I Spy. My world is rarely quiet.  I'm tired.

In the movie "Date Night", Tina Fey says to Steve Carell "I just want one day that doesn't depend on how everyone else's day goes."  Can I get an AMEN?!?  Lately it feels like everything I do is dictated by what everyone else needs done. When I'm not caring for everyone at home, I'm organizing childcare for dozens of other moms.  In many ways, I love my job, but, sometimes, it feels like more than I bargained for.  When do I get to sit back and let someone take care of me??

If all of that whining were not enough for one post,  I end feeling guilty.  Guilty for complaining while my friend longs to hear the voices her two babies still in Ethiopia.  Guilty for whining when another would give anything to spend one more sleepless night with her daughter.  Guilty that my service has turned to burden.  Mostly, though, I end feeling convicted.  This Martha world isn't going anywhere. I've got to find my Mary spirit and STAT.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Plan Perks

Sometimes planning pays off.  I have found that, in motherhood, planning rarely hurts.  The plan may not play out exactly as intended but having one is never a bad idea.

Today I planned.  Instead of spending the glorious quiet of nap time vegging on the couch zoned out to some random TV show, I typed out a grocery list.  Two actually.  I looked up clip art to match the items on one of the lists(for the non-reader) .  And I prepped myself for a rare afternoon shopping trip with all three kids.

I don't take all three to the store if it can be at all avoided.  I go in the evening, in the morning with just two, or on a day when I can get a sitter.  I don't take them all.  It never ends well.  There's frustration, short tempers, harsh words, angry stares and often tears.  The kids don't fair well either. 

But this was one of those weeks.  The fridge was bare, babysitters were busy and evenings were booked.  We had to go. 

In the past, I have tried movie carts, bench carts, cookie bribes, and death threats.  They climbed out of the windshield of the movie cart, fought over the steering wheel, pushed each other off the bench, smeared warm chocolate chip cookies all over themselves (seriously.  who gives kids warm cookies???), and called my bluff on the whole death thing.  I've even tried drowning myself in Starbucks as we shopped in hopes of calming my nerves.  They spilled $4 of said drink through the bottom of the cart in the first aisle.

With so many failures, I had very little faith in my shopping list plan.  It might work for 5-7 minutes, but beyond that would be chaos.  That's what I told myself.  I have never been so glad to say that I was wrong.

They were amazing!  As I taught them to park the carts along the sides of the aisles and out of the way of other shoppers, they obliged.  Their little lists sat in their carts directing us to our next stop.  Organizing the lists from the back of the store to the front prevented skipping around from aisle to aisle.  Somehow, our organized trip managed to calm Emerson's usual "I'm buckled in and don't like it!" fits.  At one point he was quietly singing to himself.  Unheard of!!

As a treat for being such great helpers, they each got to pick one special treat.  Other than that, we stuck to our list.  And honestly, I felt like they did most of the work.  I was just supervising and passing out coupons.

Planning served us in so many ways today.  We all stayed calm, enjoyed the trip, accomplished the our goal and learned a life skill.  What's more, they were proud of themselves.  They felt such accomplishment having their lists checked off and their little carts full.  I have to say, I was pretty proud too.

Friday, February 11, 2011

No Words

I have sat down many times to tell you about this week, to share my heart with you and offer a glimpse of the greatness of our God, but the words won't come.  The wounds are raw and the tears still sting.  My sweet friend, who has come to me for advice and encouragement as she began her journey of motherhood, has lost her precious baby girl. 

This is not the first time that tragedy has struck close to home.  Yet once again I watch from the sidelines as those in the heat of battle proceed with a strength, peace, and joy that draws me to my knees.  I want to know Him so intimately that even when I can't see His ways, I trust His heart. 

When my words fail me, I turn to music.  There is a Point of Grace song that has carried me through many tough days.  Below is the Nichole Nordeman rendition.  I pray that it comforts your heart as it has mine. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Seven Years Ago

You know that moment? That moment when your life suddenly becomes so much more.  That moment when everything you thought you knew suddenly turns upside down.  That moment when your heart aches and loves in a whole new way. Because in that moment, you became a mom. 

It's hard to believe that moment was seven years ago.  I remember it like yesterday.  I will forever be grateful that this baby girl gave me the gift of motherhood. 


Paige demands structure, exudes energy, and avoids attention. She loves skateboards, soccer, gumballs, and reading.  She spends her days playing in the mud puddles, climbing trees, jumping off swings, and catching bugs.  She just does it in "high heels" and a dress. 


You dare not get in her way when Paige's mind is made up to do something.  She doesn't take lightly to people messing with her plans. 


She has also been known to blow a spelling or math test just to make a point. Though you will never get her to admit to such a thing

Our "Pegs" is here for a purpose.  I don't know what that is quite yet, but everyday she reminds me that she was created for BIG things.  God didn't put all of that determination into one little body for nothing!  I am so proud to call Paige Elizabeth my daughter and I am so excited to see who she will become. 

Happy 7th Birthday Pegs!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Stunned

Apparently, I have had my head in the sand or maybe I'm just too sheltered.  One way or another, I am in shock.  To say that I had no idea is an understatement.  I am honestly still having a hard time wrapping my mind around all that I have read here.  (Take a minute and read it for yourself.)

I knew that sex trade was an issue.  In far away places.  Not here.  Not where I live.  The things that are done to these girls is sickening, but the idea that our own country is taking part inexcusable.  A country that represents freedom to so many is offering slavery to thousands.

In the wake of this disgusting news, my emotions want to curl up in a ball and cry for these precious girls, but that will do nothing to save them.  So I will pray.  With everything in me I will cry out to their Creator and plead for Him to do miraculous things on Sunday and everyday after. And while I pray I will participate in Project Love Day. Because, for now, that is all I can do.  I hope that you will join me.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Gift

I don't like to be cold.  I hate when the snow starts to melt and the slush soaks the ends of my jeans.  I would rather spend my days under a blanket than in a ski lift, but the truth is that winter without snow is dead and ugly.  Every year, winter begins and the complaining ensues. Wishes are cast, threats are made, and prayers are said.  Anything to keep the snow away.  But the rest of the truth is this.  Underneath all of the snow lays the death of summer.  In this overwhelmingly complex universe, there is a necessity for seasons.  Like it or not winter must come.  So what if instead of hating the snow, we were grateful for the gift.


Last week, my first grader came home from school with a note from her teacher on her daily calender saying that she had trouble paying attention and keeping her feet off the desk.  This was the first time in three years of school that we have ever had a note regarding behavior and let's just say, it didn't sit so well......for Paige.  Arms crossed she looked at me and said "Cross it out!"  Oh, no!  We will do no such thing.  You see, her daily sticker was still on the chart right beside the note.  A sticker that she most likely should have lost for her poor listening skills.  That sticker was a gift.  A gift of grace.


All too often I find myself staring into the face of grace frustrated by it's presence. Like an Israelite with a bowl full of manna, I am so caught up in my self I miss the gift in front of me.  Grace may not always look like we expected, but that doesn't lessen the value.  So as a blizzard swirls outside, I am grateful for each unique flake.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Happy Birthday, Bubbies!

This blog is not intended to be a documentation of our life as a family, but there will be some exceptions and this happens to be one of them.



Today my baby boy turned two.  This seems unbelievable until I find him standing on the kitchen table with the toilet brush in one hand and then there is no denying.  Emerson is two.  He has balanced out our princess filled home with trucks, trains, and Toy Story. 



To celebrate his big day, he made a call to 911, smacked his sisters and kicked the dog.  When I sing him Jesus Loves Me before bed, he now lifts his head from my shoulder looks me nose to nose and whispers "Shh!  No. Don't sing dat."  He then proceeds to tell me what to sing. Tonight he requested "Happy Birthday" for the tenth time today.



 
Emerson is a kid who hates change (much like his big sister).  He has a temper that can clear Target on a Saturday and a vocabulary that keeps us constantly amazed.  Not to mention, a smile that melts my heart!



From the first days Emerson was born, people would ask me if it felt different to have a boy.  Not really.  He's a baby.  Same as the other two. But as he neared his first birthday, something changed.  This little brown eyed boy pulled strings in my heart that had never been tugged at before.  Suddenly, I understood.  I can't put it into words.  There is no way to explain how this adorable little boy, who creates so much chaos, can pull so tightly on my heart, but he does. 


I always thought the saying "Mama's boy" was about the boy.  Now I know it's really about the Mama.  That boy is mine.  Toilet brush and all.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Twilight Zone

Today was a "Me" day.  Twice a month an angelic women (whose name I will not give for fear that you will steal her from me) watches my maniacs from 9:30 am to 3 pm free of charge. I have no idea why she would offer such a thing, but I'm not digging.  You never know when she may realize the error of her ways.  Up until this fall, these "Me" days were unplanned.  I would run errands ALONE, shop ALONE, have lunch with friends ALONE, stare off into space in complete silence ALONE.  You know, all the things moms put on their bucket lists.  It was glorious.

Then this fall I decided to sacrifice my "Me" days to work in Paige's classroom.  You can hold your applause.  I get plenty around here.  You see, Paige is a quality time kid and I saw this as an opportunity to give her some of my undivided attention.  Plus, that laminated "Volunteer" name badge makes me feel important.  So instead of having 5 1/2 hours to myself, I have exactly 1 hour to do everything before I need to be at school.  Everything usually amounts to a quick grocery trip. And I do mean QUICK! 

Today, however, in an effort to make this week a complete educational bust, our school was cancelled.  Seriously, a holiday, a delay, and a cancellation in three days??  Anyway, despite our school situation, my Angel phoned to say that she would still be happy to take the kids for the afternoon.  Can you hear the Hallelujah chorus?!

At 12:30 I dropped off all three kids and made my way to Meijer where I purchased a Grande Low-Fat Upside down Caramel Macchiato.  I then proceeded to meander the aisles sorting through coupons and snagging deals.  Life is good.  That is, until I entered the soup aisle.

Now, I am not an impatient shopper by nature.  I am courteous, forgiving, and all smiles most of the time.  And when I entered the aisle to find a women in a motorized cart filled to the brim balancing a very large dog bed on top all while clearing an entire shelf of canned soup, I just waited patiently until she was done.  And then when the woman behind me had her motorized cart blocking the entire selection of chicken broth, I waited for her to finish before grabbing my items.  Then as I found myself trapped between her cart and her friends cart, I tried to stay calm.  By the time I zig-zagged past them at the cookies, I was ready to keep my distance. 

I turned the corner into the cereal aisle found a place to park my cart and scanned the sales still a bit annoyed by the hassle of the soup aisle.  And then it happened.  Down the cereal aisle came two motorized carts carrying a husband and wife.  As they passed me arguing over how much coleslaw mix to buy, I began to think on the odds of having this many scooters in the store, but before the thought could really take hold, two MORE came rolling towards me.  As I watched the parade of 4 driving down the aisle, it took everything in me not to let out an audible laugh.  Instead, I shook my head and said to myself "Erin, you have entered the twilight zone. Proceed with caution."

Monday, January 17, 2011

Finally

When I left Taylor, I got married and had a baby within 2 years.  This wasn't an accident.  The baby wasn't either.

I loved my little family.  It was everything I had ever wanted.  Yet very quickly I realized that I was alone.  I had my husband, my baby and my family, but my friends where suddenly miles away (both physically and personally).  None of them had babies.  Heck, few of them were married.  They had jobs, boyfriends and graduation.  I had diapers, laundry and grocery shopping.  I had taken an early exit and they were still heading down the highway.

The closest of those friendships soon became my focus obsession.  I needed a best friend.  I was hanging on for dear life and in turn choking the living daylights out of her.  To expect one person to be everything is never fair.  Unfortunately, I couldn't see that.  My quest to keep a best friend was doing the very opposite.  Soon, we were over.  Yet another item to add to the list of "Things I Would Change".

God must have known that I was unable to make this one-on-one thing work, because through the most random of events, I found myself smack dab in the middle of a mom's group/playgroup/gimme the coffee I've been up all night group.  These seven women were a breath of fresh air. Our mornings together offered more than a distraction from the day to day (though that in itself would have been enough).  They offered encouragement, advice, laughter, compassion, and friendship.  For 5 years, once a week, eight women sat in a living room scattered with toys, sippy cups and pacifiers sipping coffee while 16 children around us.  Our husbands often asked, "Is it worth it?"  The answer always rang the same. "YES!"  Those mornings will live in my heart for all time.  These women walked through the trenches with me. 

More recently, I have found myself in a bible study small group that has called my bluff, kicked my butt, and offered no apologies.  They have also picked me up, carried my load, and dried my tears.  I think I remember a bit of laughter and sex talk as well.  Sorry mom and dad.  That was inappropriate.  Seriously though, we have a good time.  They encouraged me to write this blog on a day when I wanted nothing to do with it and they support my efforts even when I'm not sure they should.  They offer balance to my life when I offer mayhem.

For the first time in my life, I know that I have friends.  More importantly, I am committed to being a good friend.  Somedays insecurities still get the best of me and sometimes I still expect to much, but I hope that I am approaching my relationships with less pressure.  I want to value the matchlessness of each relationship instead of longing for inclusiveness.  I don't know if I'll ever be able to fix the relationships that I have ruined, but I'll never stop trying.  If I can come this far, anything's possible.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Joy Abounds

Whew!  Glad to be moving on and in turn...up. 

In the fall of 2000, I moved car load of belongings into Hauser Hall on the TUFW campus a mere 20 minutes from my parents house.  Crazy, right?  I might agree with you. But I can't.  Every penny that I spent to live in that tiny dorm room was worth it and the friendships that formed inside those cinder block walls are priceless. 

I only lived on campus for one year.  I only attended Taylor for 3 semesters.  In that time there were camping trips, heart to heart talks, midnight Stake-n-Shake runs, pranks (mostly mine), heartbreak, crushes, a trip to San Fransisco, and loads of laughter.  My roommate and I were often confused for sisters/cousins/childhood friends though we had never met before that sticky day in September.  Our neighbors across the hall and next door were nothing less than exactly what I needed.  These friendships were easy.  They challenged me.  They laughed with me.  They loved me.  And I loved them. 

Our lives have taken twists and turns. Some of those friends I haven't talked to in years.  Some I see regularly.  In either case, I am grateful that my life was touched by theirs.  They taught me the joy of friendship. 

Last week I had dinner with two of those dear friends.  We talked about motherhood, marriage, bible study, and life.  Then we laughed until we cried.  Right in the middle of the Children's Place. Over absolutely nothing.  Because that's what we do.