Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Meeting up with friends

The kids and I had a great time on Friday meeting the Meeks in OC for the day. Brian and Wendy are old friends from the church Josh worked at in New Castle, IN. They have three beautiful girls, Ally, Abby, and Mady. My kids didn't remember them at all, but they became instant friends.

Olivia and Abby really hit it off and could hardly be found for a photograph because they went from the water to digging/building/collecting and back to the water!

Garrett and Mady are the same age and got along great too. Mady seems to get along well with boys, and could handle his rough-housing.

Esther and Mady also had fun bonding in the surf. After the second trip to the beach this summer, I think it's safe to say that Esther loves the water, goes in as far as she feels comfortable and does not feel left out when the others go out further than her. She's happy to dance and spin in the surf all by herself. People probably wonder where that child's mother is!! :)

Gideon was awesome again - digging, chasing birds, and stealing people's holes. It seemed like everytime we dug a hole, he found it and took it over. It didn't matter that there were three other's right next to him, he had to go find the newest one.

Brian was a trooper and gave all the kids turns at going out to the really rough waves. Wendy and I manned the beach and kept count of all the little bodies we were in charge of. It was nice to catch up and spend the day soaking up the sun. It does a body good (or is that milk)??
All the "kids," minus Garrett. In the background from left to right, Ally, Brian (yes, a definite "big" kid), Olivia, and Mady. In the foreground from left to right, Abby, Gideon and Esther.

Gideon the hole stealer!

Esther coming up from her "dancey-dance" time in the surf.

Garrett was a great sport and let the girls bury him and decorate him however they wanted.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

What I can Control

I am a self proclaimed control freak. I fool myself into thinking that I've got it all together all the time. Our finances, our marriage, the kids, the housework. You get the point. The lesson that I'm not in control is one I learn, over and over. . .and over.

I was reminded of it again yesterday while sitting at a baby shower for my dear cousin Bekah and her husband Brian, who are expecting a little girl in August. Questions about adding a baby to your home were asked of the "seasoned" moms in attendance. Things like, "How many diapers will I change in a day?" "How will I know when my milk comes in" (for those of you wondering, you JUST KNOW!!)? "When will my baby sleep through the night?" Advice and expertise is always good for a new mom. However, while talking to my sister about it later, she expressed that the best answers to all questions would be, "Here was what happened with me, but every baby is different, every mothering style is different, all household dynamics are different." My cousin's experience of bringing a child into the world will be different and unique from all of the other moms she knows.

This is a gift that God gives us. Not only does he make us all unique and special, but He then directs us to someone we fall in love with, someone who is completely different and unique, stretching us and molding us into more of the person that He wants us to be. Then, in an amazing act of love and selflessness, He blesses us with children, each unique and perfectly woven together by Him. . .for US! For me. To once again, stretch me, teach me, mold me into the woman He wants me to be. Because of my children, I can relate to my Creator and in my finite thinking, get a glimpse of His love for me. How deep, and long, and wide, and high it is. . .that He sacrificed His son for me.

Ummm, that's not where I was going, but I guess that's where I was suppose to go. . .

Back to being in control (or not).

We have all chosen to raise our families, how we feel is best for us. As a house, family, and for each child. And hopefully, in a way that is leading us to train up and lead our children toward Him. We've all seen parenting styles we don't agree with, ones we wish we could institute in our house, and constantly changing styles. Like everything else in this life, parenting is a learning process. I don't have it all together. And when I look at someone else in judgement of the way they parent, (or don't parent), I am wrong. I know from learning about my own little "angels", that each of them is made so individually and uniquely, that they require different forms of rearing and training. When I stand in judgement of other families, I fail to see their individuality and the whole picture. There are so many factors that go into family dynamics, birth order, sexes of the children, closeness in age, age of the parent, the way we as parents were raised, all go into what style of parenting we choose.

But here's the kicker about parenting (and most other things in life). We really don't have all that control that I just talked about. I want to do my best for each of my beautiful children to raise them up to make wise choices in life, to choose to show love to others, the way Jesus showed his love for us, to love each other deeply and without restraint. But I cannot make the choices for them. I can lead them by example. I can control my reactions to them. I can choose to fly off the handle every time they slip up or I can choose to be there when the consequences come, in love and forgiveness. I can teach them right from wrong, but ultimately, they choose their own path. They too will walk down through the valleys and atop the mountains. I pray that I will be the parent who is understanding enough of each of my individual children, that I will be close enough to them, that they will let me walk the journey with them. Guiding them, listening to them, and teaching them along the way.

So to all you parent's out there, whether you're the parent of a 50 year old, 30 year old, 18 year old, or children who are still at home who "need" you, let's work together in raising our children. Let's come together in understanding and love, not judgement. Let's learn from each other, even if it's what "not to do." Let's love each other, and more importantly, each other's kids the way God made us to love. We all have different ways and expressions of love that can add to the lives of all children. Let's add to the beauty in each life that we contact and give the next generation a picture of full, complete, and uncompromising love.

Bekah and myself, belly to belly.

The many children at the baby shower yesterday. In all, 4 different families are represented in the two pictures. Look at all the beauty!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

hair cuts and new trucks!!

Garrett got his much needed summer cut today. He loves his mo hawk!

Mom and dad drove down to pick up dad's new truck today. The kids have been really excited about it and took advantage of playing in it as soon as it was parked in the driveway. They also couldn't wait for a ride in the back. Dad took them the short distance from the driveway to the side yard so they could wash it. Tons of fun had by all, even Indy joined the fun in the back of the truck.

The girls hangin' out in the back of the truck. Olivia made this face on purpose, she's so mean!

Then she stood up and said, "Here mom, I'll pose now." She doesn't disappoint, does she?

Gid loved the back of the truck too. He really liked it when I got in the cab and made silly faces at him though the window.

The best shot of all four.

When dad moved the truck, Gideon opted to ride in the cab with P-Pop.

They had lots of fun washing the car. Their personalities were really evident too. Olivia was all about finishing the task, quickly but perfectly. Garrett was all over the truck washing small sections and constantly re-soaking his rag. Esther was really thorough, focusing on one spot until she thought it was clean enough to move on. She got stuck on the rear bumper where there is some rust. She continually came back over and over to try to get the spot out!

I think this is the only washing he did. He was more interested in getting close enough to the hose to touch the stream of water and get himself wet.

I'm loving having our Sunday's to ourselves. There have been things I miss about being a pastor's family, but for the most part, Sunday is more relaxing, less stressful, and actually feels like a real weekend, having two days off in a row! And man, do I LOVE having Josh home to help get everyone ready for church, drink our coffee together, and ride as a family to church. A refreshing change from the last five years in church work.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Psalm 40

Overall, I would consider myself pretty positive person, and I think that others would say the same. This has not been the case the last couple of days. I am in the middle of some major growing pains and I WANT OUT! I'm not sure what God's purpose in this refinement is, but right now, I'm fighting it with everything I have.

Yesterday, I actually wrote a blog about how I feel. This is one of the sentences I wrote, 'I want God to show me exactly what I can do to make everyone in my family happy. To fulfill every one's different personalities and I want it to fit into HIS perfect plan so we can live in utopia for the next 50 years.' REALLY!! I want a to live in a utopia?? How delusional is that?

I feel 'let down' by much of what is happening in our life. And immediately after feeling that, I feel guilt, because I have SO MUCH to be thankful for. I can rant on and on about the blessings and provisions we have been given, but they're just in my head - my heart hasn't been able to see them clearly.

As Josh and I talked about this last night, I told him I feel lost. I have no sense of purpose. I know the "Christian" answers to this problem, but those answers aren't enough for me right now. At least, I don't think they are. He said that everyone feels like that. That, most of us are walking around confused and reaching out to anything to find purpose. Is that true? Do you feel lost on this journey you're on? I know I haven't always felt like this, I know at some points in my life, I had purpose. . .at least I convinced myself I did. See? Did you see what just happened? The doubt just creeps in a steals any sort of joy that I could find that might bring me out of this valley.

I share all of this, because as most of you know, I process and grow by verbalizing. This is the way I can verbalize when the only people home are our beautiful rug-rats.

I feel lighter already.

This blog is mostly a testament to our kids. It has, when needed, taken the form of my growing pains. We aren't perfect in our marriage, as parents, or Jesus followers. We are traveling our path, sometimes in the dark, sometimes with big neon signs, sometimes on our own, sometimes holding our Guide's hand. Our path has taken us into lower valleys then this one. . .my hope and prayer is that I'm on my way up to the Rock.

If you're stuck in a valley, if you are also fumbling around in the dark, be encouraged. You are not alone. We have a Deliverer. We have one who does answer prayers. One who makes our path clear. One whose plan is GREATER than anything we can even wish for or imagine. Let us not lose hope. . .our hope is in the Lord.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The first of many

New Shovels and Buckets for the beach: $22.00

Philly Water Ice Pops for the kids: $4.00

Atlantic Ocean and endless beaches: $0

A day In Ocean City at the beach: priceless.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Thumb sucking and the growing kids

Anyone out there have any good ideas how to stop THIS:

He really loves his thumb, but he's five. This behavior is the worst, obviously, at night while going to sleep and also when he watches TV. I guess it might be time to stop him from doing it, any suggestions are welcomed!

Little Bean - seriously, I love this kid! Every time I get home from a Dr.'s appointment she says, "Mommy, did you get your baby out?" So cute. She said to me this morning on the way home from the store, "Jesus make me a mommy, ok?" I love that she wants to be a mommy!

Me and Gid. He's quite the mama's boy! Love, love, love his big brown eyes and irresistible laugh. He gets the biggest kick out of himself and of making others laugh. He's got a great sense of humor. So much fun!

Olivia's been really into writing stories, mostly about herself, but it a start, right? :) Today after she was finished with her homework she sat at the table and wrote this story:

I love skool it is fun.
It is fun fun fun.
I lrn los uf stuf.
I do math.
Math is fun.
The End
I'm really glad she wrote this story because lately she's been a bear to get out of bed for school. She's also made so many friends at school and here at home that we are starting to deal with; how to be a good friend, how to choose good friends, and constantly hammering the idea of treating others the way you want to be treated. It's exhausting and hard to watch as she gets hurt by "friends" and continually wants to play with them anyway. We've started praying for these friends as well as how we can love them unconditionally (the second part is harder for daddy and I then for the kids!).