Life is, indeed, very good.

Life is, indeed, very good.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


It's Tuesday afternoon. It's the end of March. It's the end of a school day. When I think back to a few years ago, that combination would have meant me at the end of my rope, pasted to the front window waiting for Tim to get home, angry if he called to say he was stuck at a job or ready to check out the minute he got home. Now, let me preface by saying that those days are certainly not a thing of the past, but they don't seem to be the norm anymore. What's different? Are the kids better behaved? Well, they're older and more independent - and that surely helps - but really it just means they can duke out their fights on their own most of the time and can get their own snacks! :) So, what....better organization around the house? Not really. Got parenting and marriage down to a expert science? Definitely not. No, I have to say that for the first time in my life, grace may actually be sinking in. Not in the trite sense of the word grace, but the kind that assures you of your identity in Christ. The kind that gently loosens your white-knuckled grip on all your expectations of yourself, your husband, your kids, your name it. The kind that reminds you of how much you have to learn, but gives you the freedom to stumble through the lessons and truly trust God for today. The kind that takes all of my opinions and soapboxes and pity parties and places them in light of the cross.......whew. Humbling perspective. Of course now that I've put these thoughts into words, I'll freak out about something or other by the end of the week and put my husband through the all-too-familiar emotional spiral. :) And, as I hear my four-year-old having a temper tantrum (right now, actually) in the other room, I will resist the temptation to yell at him to "knock it off! Mommy's blogging about grace!!!" :) Yes, my pensive train of thought is officially broken, so I must go. Tuesday afternoon. End of March. End of a school day. Grace. Thanks for being pensive with me.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines....

A few weeks ago the kids participated in the hallowed AWANA Grand Prix race. They were so proud of their cars, and the church where they attend AWANAs makes it a very special event. None of their cars won a trophy, but everyone had great attitudes about it and had a great time anyway. Well...almost everyone. :)

Monday, March 16, 2009


This past weekend I was very blessed to have attended the Hearts at Home conference in Normal, IL, which -if you're not familiar-is a conference for moms. New moms, old moms, moms with one child, moms with 19 children, moms with tattoos, moms-to-be, moms who have outside jobs, moms who stay home, and every mom in between. This is the fourth time I've attended this conference, and each year when it comes time to register I always wonder if I really need to spend the take a weekend away from my family, etc. Do you know the feeling of not knowing you needed something until you had it? Well, that is exactly what I experience as soon as I sit down on Friday night in that huge auditorium with 5,000 other women - entertained, uplifted, and encouraged by great speakers, comedians, and musicians.....all there with the purpose of affirming the job of motherhood. I suddenly realize how much I need to be there. But I'll tell you what my absolute favorite part of the whole thing is: When all of those 5,000 women-all mothers with struggles and joys and heartaches and stories of their own- lift their voices to worship God. It is one of the most beautiful sounds in the world, and I weep every time. I do believe it's a taste of what heaven will be like.

In addition to these huge sessions, you get to choose from many, many workshops to attend...all with different topics...and you can choose to pack in as many as you can or take it easy and attend just a few. The first year, I packed 'em in and picked all workshops that I thought would "fix" various to deal with a strong-willed child, how to have a perfectly behaved child in five easy steps, how to have a deeper spiritual walk, how to be a perfect wife, how to organize your home.....are you getting the theme here??? HOW FIVE EASY STEPS!! Of course those weren't the actual names of the workshops, but that was pretty much what I was hoping to get out of it. So I came home from the conference to my loving husband and proceeded to, in GREAT detail, tell him everything I learned from every speaker and how we needed to implement all these great tips and ideas and "how-to's"....and NOW. Can you imagine his bewilderment at what I was asking him to do, and my utter disappointment that he didn't share my desperate enthusiasm?? Ahh, the clarity of hindsight. Over the years, I've learned to maybe attend ONE workshop that focused on a "problem" issue. I've learned to take the easy schedule and enjoy having an hour and a half to eat lunch....SLOWLY. I choose my favorite speakers, no matter what topic they're speaking on, because I know whatever they have to say will be encouraging and insightful and honest. And I come home rested, rejuvenated, encouraged.....ready to be a grace giver. (And I don't puke everything I experienced all over my husband within the first hour of my returning home....I actually wait until it FITS into a conversation over the course of days and weeks! I may quite possibly be becoming LESS of an emotional freak of nature! But I'm going to ask that you not hold me to that statement.)

Hearts at Home not only renews the love I have for my husband and children, but it also reminds me of the gift of having so many amazing women in my life. Women who put up with me, for starters.....who listen to me verbalize every single thought and bit of minutia that passes through my brain (I really do wish I had better control of that particular idiocy-oops, I mean idiosyncrasy), who inspire me, who encourage and challenge me, who remind me of God's truth, and who sometimes have to thump me upside the head. That they are willing to love me despite all that's messy about me is a humbling and beautiful picture of Jesus, and I am so thankful for each of them.

One of these days I'll post something short and sweet.

But it probably won't be tomorrow. Life is just too full of good blog material!! :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

financial motivation

*Vacuuming the stairs on Saturdays: $1
*Scrubbing the kitchen floor: $1
*Doing chores for Mrs. Poppy: $2
*Earning $35 of their own money to buy a 929-piece Indiana Jones Lego set (which actually retailed for $100 and mom bought on clearance for $35...yesssssss) which took three straight days to build: PRICELESS!

Friday, March 6, 2009

for the Dad...

Tim has lately become our resident photographer. He takes tons of pictures, not only at events like birthdays (I'm always too busy making sure the child reads the cards BEFORE opening the presents and says "thank-you" to the right person for the right gift. Somebody has to be controlling like that, you know..), but just randomly around the house....he takes pictures of things. I love it. Anyway, as I was looking through some of his random shots, this particular photo struck me as symbolic. Dad's work boots. I was having a conversation with one of the boys the other day about how we have to pay for things like food, homes, water, electricity, etc....pretty much everything....and how Dad goes to work every day to earn money to pay for those things. I'm not sure if this boy fully understood the correllation there, but I know I do. I know how that responsibility in our family rests fully on Dad's shoulders, and I know how daunting it can be sometimes. Pretty thankless, too, since kids don't really get it........they just know that when Dad gets home they can ask him to wrestle or play games or fix their ipod...and then tell him that they'd rather have mom tuck them in for bedtime. :) But this mom gets it. And she's thankful. Thankful isn't even an adequate word. She just wanted the wearer of these work boots to know that.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Only a mother...(warning: those with weak stomachs should read at own risk)

After two weeks of various sicknesses, we are finally well. We missed two weeks of AWANAs, various music lessons, art classes, science classes, and church. Only a mother knows what happens when four children are confined to the same four walls for two weeks with varying degrees of sickness/wellness (at times competing for the "sickest" title) and a mom who could really use a sick day herself. Throw in the fact that it's late February and you can safely add "cabin fever" to the list of ailments! LOSS of PERSPECTIVE is what the mother, anyway. Over the weekend I thought we were pretty much in the clear. I was confident of this until I was standing in the check-out lane at Target on Sunday afternoon with Joe and Pete. Pete was laying down in the big part of the cart, Joe was standing by the tabloids being exposed to who knows what kind of damaging smut. I was waiting to put my items onto the checkout, and I heard Peter cough rather strangely. I look down to see him vomiting. Again. And again. Oh. Dear. My child just puked in the check-out line at Target. At this point I wasn't sure if the MAN in front of me or the SEVENTEEN year old clerk saw Peter throw up. However, when Joe blurted out, "Man, that puke really STINKS!", I'm pretty sure they figured out what happened. Fortunately, Pete had been sort of laying on his side, so all of the vomit was sort of on the inside of his unzipped coat. There was literally none outside the coat. AND all the items I was purchasing were in the "seat" part of the from the catastrope. So in my mind I'm frantically weighing the options (while hissing at Joe to stop carrying on about the stink), and I decide that it would be futile to try to clean him up right there. Besides, we were next in line, and I had a stack of really great coupons I had made this specific trip to the store to use. So I zipped up the coat - sealing all the vomit inside, went ahead and paid for all of my items (and saved $15 in coupons, yessirree), ignored the seventeen-year-old's look of utter disgust, and got outta there. I mean really, what was I supposed to do - take him in the bathroom at Target and start scraping vomit out of his coat, shirt, and undershirt with one-ply toilet paper? I don't think so. I mean, any mom would have done the same thing, right? Right? Anyway, we got him home and into the tub and all was fine. And I don't know what made him sick, but whatever it was did not travel to the rest of the family (thankyouthankyouthankyou). So today is was sunny today and warm enough to go to the park. The kids were in great spirits, and we got a little taste of spring. As thankful I am that our bout with colds, influenza, and the stomach flu seems to be over, I have to say that the one part I really didn't mind about the last two weeks is the excuse to snuggle with my kids pretty much 24/7. And having them lay their head down on my lap and fall asleep. And serving cozy little comforting meals with 7-up on trays.

It's a tough job, being a mother...but somebody's got to do it. And I wouldn't trade it for the world.