My Fab Fam

My Fab Fam
Photo by Thousand Hills Photography. Click on photo to visit their site.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Pure Joy

Today's moments of joy:

Sending E off to school in a Superwoman outfit.

Running in Kroger, just as we were.  G in her pj's, covered up with a tu-tu and fleece jacket.  Me in my pj's--which are really yoga pants and a t-shirt--covered up with a fleece jacket.  No one would have ever known I didn't have a bra on.  But now you will all be wondering...when you see me in Kroger with a fleece jacket...won't you?

Sunbutter chocolate chip cookies for breakfast.  Oh, yay.

Coffee and (more) sunbutter cookies with an old friend.  Realizing again how much we have in common.  Catching up and encouraging each other to carry on in this difficult thing called life.

Having an open door and hearing the wind chimes through the screen door.

Driving with the windows down and letting our hands rise and dip in the wind.  Oh, how I wish I could have bottled G's laughter to open up and pour out whenever I need a lift.

Watching G smile and twirl and point and flex at ballet.

Getting free books thanks to a community-wide Literacy Month program.

Getting free BBQ thanks to a community business that truly gives as much as they receive.

Dropping off my girls at their Nana's and hearing G say, "You're wasting our time," and "You said you weren't going to stay long."  As ornery as it sounds, it is said in much jest, and with full understanding on my part that she does not want me interfering with her Nana time.  I am to drop them off and leave immediately so they can get straight to the business of playing.  Nana and I are to chat on our own time.

Gathering eggs with a friend.  Learning about chickens.  And chasing her two sweet boys as they run down hills, turn over riding toys, and climb in my Jeep.  Petting old their old dogs and going home with eggs and chicken poo on my hands and reminding myself, "Dirt is everything."  (Thanks, Katy.)

Welcoming our old Canadian friends back to town with hugs (and more cookies).

Some couch time and convo with my man.

And, now, a cup of cocoa and a good book while my man is off watching UK's tourney game with a friend.

Some days are hard, life is hard, but life is G O O D.

P.S.  I usually do not eat so much sugar, but maybe I should because this day was awesome.  Am I onto something here?  More sugar = more awesome?


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Not So Sleepy Anymore

I really am not trying to write a cliff-hanger here.  I have no intention of going into the mini-series writing profession.  I seriously was just so sleepy while writing my last post, that I had to end abruptly and go to sleep.  I had no intention of sleeping two days, though it appears I have.  But, then again, appearances can be deceiving, and though I said I would pick up my story "tomorrow," which was in fact yesterday, life as we know can just happen.  And life happened.  And I am just now getting to pick up my story again.

First, I am ever-so-happy to relay that big girl has had no complications from her insane fall.  We took her to the doctor yesterday since she was still complaining of back pain and she checked out just fine.  A miracle, for real.  As he said, "If you are going to take a fall like that, this age is the time to do it."  So, for any of you who are older than 6, please do not plan on taking any serious falls in the future.  Your opportunity has passed.

Second, I know you all are eagerly anticipating the funny.  Or not.  But, unfortunate for those of you that are, I realize that the funny is not nearly as funny as I thought it was, which is the usual case with anything I find funny.  I am not known for my sense of humor, but what little bit I have is somewhat strange.  But for those of you that find strange things funny, here is the continuation of my tale...

So, my man is carrying big girl (hereforth--I think I just made that word up, but I like it so I'm leaving it, the definition you can surmise from the context--known as E) from the play set up to the house.  (Were you able to follow that last sentence?  No?  Hmmm...)  We walk onto the deck and I step in front of him to open the door so he can carry her inside, only the door is locked.

Okay, let me remind you here that we were about to leave when we let the girls go outside to play "for five minutes."  We had opened the back door and locked it because we were about to walk out the door, but had not pulled it to.  But then we decided to grab water bottles because the school was only providing pizza and soft drinks and we don't do soft drinks.  So, I walked back in to pour water and my man declares he is excessively hungry because he did not eat lunch and I knew he was only going to get one piece of pizza from the school, which would only be an appetizer for him.  So, I tossed the chicken salad on the table and he started munching.  So, we are in the kitchen, pouring water and munching chick salad when I witness (well, kinda, sorta) the crash and fall.  I jet and he jets behind me, pulling the door to as he comes.

Now, you may wonder why he took the time to pull the door to if we think our daughter is seriously injured.  You are wondering this, right?  Well, we have a feline shadow, called Shadow, who likes to follow us everywhere we go, even outside every now and then.  Only, there's a catch.  She really thinks she wants to go outside--and has even learned how to push the screen door open to get outside--until she's outside and she gets completely freaked out by every little sound and movement and runs to hide and we have a terrible time coaxing her back into our arms or our house.  So, to keep the little adventurer safe and happy, we either lock the screen (which can only be done from the inside) or close the door.

Okay, so now that you know why we were locked out--because that was very important information--I can finally get to the funny part.  Only, remember it's not really funny anymore.

As it turns out, we had uncustomarily locked everything we own.  The garage was locked, so my man couldn't get his tools.  The cars were locked, so even the basic tool kits he keeps in there were inaccessible.  After borrowing a ladder from the neighbor and trying every window--even though we knew they were locked--some of them multiple times, he finally called the office secretary, Janet, to see if she could get the extra key to his truck (which is really the company truck) and bring it to him.  He thought if he could get in his truck, he might have the tools he needed to get into the house without destroying something.  Janet was free and even kind enough to run by the office, grab the extra key, and then deliver to our house.  We just had to wait.

Much time had already passed and it was cold and baby-big girl was still needing lots of cuddles.  (I say baby-big because she will always be my baby too even though she is my big girl. Just as my baby girl is also such a big girl, but I don't think she would appreciate if I call her big-baby girl. It only works one way.)  Our neighbor who had loaned the ladder invited us into her house to wait while my man figured out how to get in. Meanwhile, Janet arrived with the truck key, but alas!  He had nothing in his truck to aid in the break-in of our own property.  I of course did not know this because I was warm and cozy in the neighbor's house.  So, in a few (or many) more minutes when he came to get us and announced, "I'm in," I assumed he had found something in his truck to aid him.  "Yay!" I thought.  But when I asked how, he said...

"I kicked in the door."

Now, I do not know why this was so funny to me then, and actually is funny to me now again after typing it, but I laughed out loud at so many random times the rest of that night imagining him, with brute strength, kicking our door in.  My very calm, usually very rational, man, deciding that the best way into our home was to kick the door and bust up the door frame is just laugh-out-loud funny to me--all over again even now!

I had thought that perhaps the gigantic stressball I was carrying around from E's fall had just made me more prone to laughter, perhaps as stress relief.  But I am stress-free tonight and nearly in stitches all over again.

I'm sorry if you are not, but if you are not, then I would venture a guess that you do not know my man very well.  And I also predict that 40 years from now when my girls read this, because they will know their father then as well as I know him now, they will also find this mental image very funny.

To many more nights of laughter!  (if not busted doors)

G'night all.



Thursday, March 13, 2014

Oh So Sleepy

I did it again. I started and finished a novel last night. And I slept two hours. Two. I fought a headache all day until big girl came home from school and I finally had to take a nap. 

But I of course didn't really nap. Between the squeals and laughter of my own two happies and the constant knocks on the door from neighborhood kids wanting my girls to come out and make happy, there were a few winks but hardly the nap I was looking for. 

Then my man came home and a knock came through the door again and my two happies became happier as they were finally released to go outside and play. Five minutes, we said, until we have to go (to the family reading event my big girl's school was hosting tonight).

My man and I were pouring water bottles and munching on chicken salad and crackers to supplement the one-piece-of-pizza-supper the school was going to provide, all while keeping an eye on the four girls playing on the swing set. Baby girl was on the slide. Big girl was on the swing, going just as high as the swing will go. A neighbor girl was swinging all askew beside her, while another neighbor was grabbing swing chains. I couldn't tell exactly what they were trying to achieve, or if there was just horseplay, but I did have a gut instinct of alarm--a crash seemed imminent. 

I saw big girl cresting in her forward swing, looked down (to screw on a water bottle lid, perhaps?), but immediately jerked my head back up (did I see the crash out of my periphery or was it just intuition?) just in time to see the swing come forward again, jerking, and empty! 

My gut clenched. Where is she? My man told me later I said it aloud. I took a sideways step to see her writhing body on the ground with three sets of eyes glued to her. I bolted. 

The yard seemed like eternity! I was vaguely aware of baby girl turning towards the house to get us, not realizing we were already half-way there. My man was running right behind me. I said, "It's ok," as I neared her, though I was sure she was badly hurt. The fall must have been eight feet. We bent down and asked what happened but she couldn't talk. The other girls tried to explain--but all they were sure of is that she flipped backwards out of the swing. We consoled and rubbed and patted and prayed and I noticed the pure fright in her sweet baby sister's eyes.

She complained of her back and did not want to move. After several minutes, she did roll over and finally agreed to let her daddy pick her up. We headed inside to examine her, only to realize when we reached the door that in our haste we had locked ourselves out. 

And here things take a turn for the funny, and we need funny, but my two hours of sleep is insufficient. I will take this story up again tomorrow. For now, let it suffice to say we think big girl is ok. Her main complaint is her back, which we will monitor and see a doctor if it persists. Til tomorrow then...

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Battle Over Fear Continues

And to piggyback my last post...

I saw this on Facebook recently.  So true.

"Each time you dare to let go and surrender one of those many fears, your hand opens a little and your palms spread out in a gesture of receiving.  You must be patient, of course, very patient, until your hands are completely open."

I don't know where this quote comes from, but it spoke powerfully to me and my impatience in the battle of over-coming fear.

And I have no idea where I heard this one either - perhaps on K-Love - but somewhere over the last couple of days I heard someone say, "When I'm tempted to fear, I tell myself, 'No where in the Bible does God say, "Be careful," but over and over Scriptures tell us, "Do not fear."'"

Since hearing this, I have been battling the urge to tell my girls at every turn, "Be careful!"  There are times I see them doing something that makes my stomach grip and I just bite back my desire to warn and turn my head so I don't have to watch.  =)  Let them play.  Let them live.  Give them room to be adventurous.

I want them to climb trees and flip over monkey bars and jump on trampolines without fear.  And some day they may be teenagers like I was, wanting to ride the wildest roller coasters, bungee jump, or (oh, how I wanted to!) jump out of a plane.  And may they befriend the wild kids in class, without fear of what others may think, and still stand strong.

They may go off to college and rock climb and repel or (if only I had!) go white-water rafting.  They may travel the world, invite homeless strangers to live with them, and give unknown co-workers rides home, even it if means driving far into the country, making too many turns to count, and relying on prayer and God's leading to find their way out of that wooded maze.  May they befriend the homeless and destitute and prostitutes and those souls loved of Christ who everyone else avoids.

They may talk to strangers on the plane.  And walk with strangers on campus.  And dance with strangers on the street.  They may leave their car doors and apartment doors unlocked, and they may be robbed, and may they say, "I guess they needed it more than I did."

And someday they may venture into the wilds of Africa to bring villages of people into the wild life of Christ.  Or they may fearlessly perform risky surgeries, believing God can use them to bring life and healing, and never blaming self if He does not.  Or they may fight injustice with words and wit and love for all people.

Someday they may face sickness or pain or heartache or...  It is not in my power to see what lies in their path, but I know with certainty they will have some--if not many--struggles.  And I hope they embrace the trials as the blessings they are that draw them into deeper intimacy with the only One Who Is always stable and safe.

I hope they choose life abundant, without fear gripping and hindering.  "In this world you will have trouble...but fear not, for I am with you..." (Yes, I'm marrying some verses here.)

"In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world."  John 16:33

"Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you may go."  Joshua 1:9

"The Lord is my light and salvation - whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid?"

"The Lord has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-discipline."  1 Timothy 1:7


Friday, February 28, 2014

Thoughts from a hospital room:

Can someone tell me why, at any given time, I have at least three inspirational books going? And it will take me months to finish any of them! But give me fiction, a biography, or an autobiography, and I will neglect home, family, and sleep to finish it in a few days. Never mind, I just answered my question: THIS is why I usually just read inspirational.

It is ten o'clock at night. And I am sipping on a cold cup of old coffee even though I'm dehydrated and needing--and wanting--water, simply because the old, cold coffee tastes good. I think this is a real addiction. Legal, perhaps, but not necessarily okay. 

Did you know some hospitals actually have good food? I have already taken home one recipe from the hospital cafeteria: January Salad with spinach, grilled chicken, red bells, oranges, barley, and balsamic vinaigrette. Today I had another awesome dish I want to try recreating:


Yum!

And, last of all, the subject that has been on my mind most lately:  fear. Why is it I am anxious about the girls jumping on the couch or not sitting in their dinner chair properly, but I am pretty chillaxed when big girl hops on a 5-feet-tall horse? Is it possible that at some point you max out on the fear scale and simply can't register it anymore? The fear is too great; so, like a bad experience that has a hold on your emotional development, you bury it and try to pretend it isn't really bubbling down in the core of you. Or, if I'm really not bothered by the prospect of falling from said horse, why does far less bother me?

Fear. It's a strange thing. It is a fraud. A ploy of the enemy to make us doubt God's strength and provision and protection and presence. 

As I speak the morning blessing over our girls, "May the Lord bless you and keep you...Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid or discouraged; for the Lord your God is with you, wherever you go...God does not give you a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind..." As I speak it, I think, and sometimes say, "The enemy wants us to be afraid. But if there is no place God isn't, why should we fear?" 

God is there...here...everywhere. God is love and "Love drives out all fear." 

God is here; so, I will not fear. 

At least that's how I want to be. But, honestly, I am riddled with fear. And that is how I know I have not been "made perfect in love." 

I John 4:18
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."

I realize I have a lot more to learn about love--both the One Who Is Love and the act of love. I want to love well.  And I want Love to drive out my fears.

Perhaps one indicator of the health of our relationship with our heavenly Father (also known as "Love") is the presence or lack of fear. Love drives out fear. And God is love (I John 4:8). So, the closer we walk with Christ, the farther away fear stays. He drives it out. We are either in His presence, subject to the power of the Loving Master and protected by the One whose very presence drives our fears away...or we are wayward, wandering about the fear buffet, tasting this one and that one, unwittingly becoming addicted to the old, cold food of the enemy until we are subjects to fear. 

Which one are we feeding? Which one gets more attention from us each day? On which do we focus? Our relationship with Christ or our fears?

Preaching to myself tonight.