Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thankful Thursday

Every year I brace myself for this season.  This "basketball has started and football hasn't ended" season.  I love it.  I hate it.  I'm tired.

One of the football dads told me last week (he coaches Daughter #6's basketball team) that he expected nothing less than 24/7 from the Coach preparing for this week's game.  He was kidding.  Sort of.  I just laughed.  The Coach was already 24/7 in anticipation of this week's game.  For several weeks now.

I'm realizing that I don't just love football because I love the Friday nights in the stands.  Or because I love watching my boys play.  Or because I love watching my Coach on the sidelines.  I enjoy ALL of that and look forward to it every Fall.

But football has taught me a lot, too.  About supporting the Coach even when I'm tired and I miss him and I've had enough of the constantly streaming film of next week's opponent in the kitchen every night.  About patiently gathering up page after page of sketched out and printed out play diagrams and sheets of plays for practice off the table so we can eat.  About realizing he WILL fall asleep if it sits down in a comfy chair after 8 - which is why he will chose the wooden desk chair instead.  About not getting frustrated when his alarm goes off at 5:30 on a Saturday so he can get up and break down film before he goes to meet the team - after being up until midnight on Friday.  About often eating dinner without him at night and spending most of Saturday without him around.

Sometimes I've just had enough and I let my ugly selfishness take over.  I forget all of this.  The need for support and patience and understanding.

Last night was one of those times.

I'm just being honest, here.  It's not all band music and clapping and cheering and "I'm so happy we won!".

This is real life and it's not always pretty.

I'm not sure how the next few days will even work, truthfully.  With two practices and two games, tonight.  Two games tomorrow and the BIG game (an hour and a half away, of course).  Two games Saturday and the Coach and I trying to get out of here and to the Expo for our half marathon before it closes on Saturday.  And then the running of the 13.1 on Sunday.

We're not exactly fresh as daisies around here.

I am thankful.  I'm CHOOSING thankful.  It doesn't come naturally.  I'm tired, cranky, overwhelmed, and wishing for quieter, less busy days.

Have you heard Trace Adkins song, "You're gonna miss this"?  Our Internet filter won't let me find a YouTube video for you, so go look it up. I'll wait. . .

See?  Besides the fact that Son (#1) has ruined me completely and I actually like some country music, now?

It's all going so quickly and I want to soak it in and enjoy every second and if it takes a third cup of coffee this morning?  I'm going to chose to be thankful.

1.  My precious, loving, faithful husband.  Who took time to read another chapter of "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" to the littles last night.    He's ever the optimist around here.  Always telling me it'll work out and we'll be OK.  Even when I'm all doom and despair.  Love him.

2.  A great football season, which I've enjoyed so much, even without a player out there on the high school team.  Week 2 of the playoffs!  GO BIG BLUE!

3.  The beginning of basketball season.  And the hope of having the Coach's help this year with the five players we're keeping up with.

4.  Colder weather.  A snow day on Monday.  And sunshine, today.

5.  Every need so graciously met by our loving Heavenly Father.  That Christ intercedes on our behalf and continues to pour out His grace.

6.  The tail end of this cold I've been fighting all week.  And Essential oils.

7.  Christmas lists from my kids.  Little Man's was priceless.

8.  The hope of things to come.  Making memories.  Enjoying this season.

And now?  My morning run is calling.

Happy Thursday.

"According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:"  2 Peter 1:3

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thankful Thursday

Winter is not my favorite.  Well.  I guess it's not that simple.  I don't like getting out in the cold (although running in it isn't as bad as you might think), errands in the cold, loading and unloading groceries in the cold, sitting at football games in the cold, or wearing coats.  Ugh.  Coats.

Sweaters, YES, coats, NO.

But I do love being HOME in the Winter.  I love having the fireplace on and candles lit and cooking soups and muffins.

Last night was a lovely at home evening.  Fire on.  Potato soup for dinner.  Kids (mostly) home.  Homework, hot chocolate, everyone piled on the couches and talking.  The littles went to bed and the bigs settled into stories and jokes and just being amazing.  As usual.

And then it happened.

The Coach and I sitting there across from each other.  He on one end of the couch and Daughter (#2) wrapped in a blanket on the other end.  Son (#3) sitting next to me, after coming in from church.  Son (#4) sitting in the big leather chair - inside his sleeping bag.  No one will ever accuse the Coach of keeping this house too warm.

Someone was missing.

It's not that we weren't talking and laughing and enjoying each other.  It just that we weren't ALL there and it was obvious.

It won't ever be the same, again.  I know that.  Son (#1) will come home at Christmastime.  He'll slide right back into the troops and it will feel like he never left.  But then he will.  And even if he's back for a longer time in a few months, Daughter (#2) will be heading off next year.  It's going to change a lot really fast at our house.

These kids make me laugh and frustrate me and fill me with so much joy and keep me on my knees.  But the whole POINT here is to raise them up and send them off.  It's going so quickly.

For now, we'll still gather around (under blankets and sleeping bags - ha!) on evenings home and spend time together.  Someday it WILL just be the Coach and I (Lord willing) and that will be precious, too.

Until then, I'm going to count the days until we are once again "ten" and thank the Lord for each moment.  They are all so precious.

And as the Coach and I were heading to bed last night, the big kids got on the phone and called Son (#1) - even though it's later there - and told him they missed him and loved him and, generally speaking, gave him a hard time.  So all IS right in our little world.

Today I'm thankful.

For a *sort of* warm house.  Ha!
For warm layers and coats and hats and boots and gloves - that early morning crosswalk duty for Daughter (#6) and afternoon football practice for the Coach are brutal!
For soup and muffins and hot chocolate.  And stretchy yoga pants.  Yikes.
For treadmills when the windchill is in the teens.
For hot showers.
For clean, warm laundry, fresh out of the dryer.
For coffee and second cups of coffee.
For things to look forward to:  A 1/2 marathon with my Coach, Thanksgiving, time off school, a 13th birthday for Daughter (#5), for Christmas preparations, and my boy coming home!

Happy Thursday!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sometimes I forget.

I woke up, this morning, feeling discouraged.  Sometimes?  I forget who I am.  I let the voices in my head convince me that I'm failing as a mom.  Failing as a wife.  Failing as a daughter, friend, sister.

I let myself believe that my house is a mess, that things need updated, that it will never be clean for more than 10 minutes at a time.

I let myself believe that I'm worthless, fat, slow, ugly, and stupid.

I tell myself that my kids need a better mom.  That my husband deserves a prettier, fitter, sweeter, smarter wife.

I tell myself that all of my efforts are in vain.  That my kids won't ever learn to obey.  To be responsible.  To love each other.

I tell myself that all of the time I spend working on the house, cooking, cleaning, caring for my family... is a waste.

I let those voices be the boss.  Take authority.

And you know what?

They are wrong.

So very wrong.

I may never be the perfect woman.  But I am NOT worthless.  NOT a failure.  And the things I do matter.  Tremendously.

If you need to hear it from someone today?  Can I be the one?  The one to remind you that you are beautiful, creative, special, talented, gifted, unique, treasured, and above all else?  LOVED.  That what you do matters because of LOVE.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.  You are a beautiful, precious creation of a loving God who gave His Son for you.  So you could be full of HIS love and HIS purpose and HIS salvation.

Don't let those voices be the boss.  Tell them the truth.  The truth about who you are in Christ and how very much you are loved.

I will if you will.

Happy Sunday.

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.
Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Rom 8:32-39

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Looking for the Thankful

What a week.  So much sad news.  So many scary things going on in our world.  A good week to practice thankfulness.  Sometimes you have to look hard for the good.  I usually find it's right there - underneath my bad attitude and pity party.

So today?  A list of thankful.  Besides, I needed to take a break from Netflix.

1.  No fever so far, today.  For my girlie or for me.

2.  Sunshine.  Fall sunshine is different.  I love it.

3.  A very neat and orderly house (thanks, Son #3!).  I woke up to a clean kitchen, laundry started, house neat.  Impressive.

4.  Kids who can get out the door for school without momma.  Glad it doesn't happen very often!  I missed kissing them all goodbye.  Of course, I wouldn't have kissed them, anyway, since I'm sick.  Boo.

5.  Coffee still left in the coffee pot.

6.  Feeling good enough to get some muffins in the oven and some chicken soup in the crockpot.

7.  Clean sheets.

8.  Thieves oil blend.  In the diffuser and on chests and feet.

9.  That even though I missed watching three games Monday night (because I was home with my feverish girlie), there weren't games to miss Tuesday, Wednesday, OR tonight.  So nice to rest.

10.  Beautiful picture from Little Man while I was sick in bed, yesterday.  He's quite the artist.

Most of all?  The reminder that sometimes the little things need to be let go.  But sometimes the little things are exactly what we need to pay attention to.

Last night, feverish and discouraged, missing time with my family and my aunt who is in town this week, wishing so much I could just WILL myself to be well, I left the bedroom, while the Coach was getting to bed, to get some IgG and Florajen.  Ended up talking with the big kids a little bit.  By the time I came back to bed, the Coach was sound asleep. But when I looked on the floor I almost cried.

Because you see, Little Man has been coming into our room every night since our July Colorado vacation.  Every.  Night.  I figured after a couple of months of this (I'm a slow learner), that the easiest way to deal with it was to make him a bed on the floor before I went to sleep.  If I don't, he wakes me up.  So if there is a nice comfy (ha!) spot on the floor for him, he'll just crawl right in and go back to sleep and we all feel better the next day.  With #8, it's easier to realize that they DO grow out of these things - and they aren't worth stressing about.

Well, most of the time, I forget until I'm already comfy in bed.  Then I get back up and put it out for him.  So when I came to bed last night and saw this, I felt so loved.

Because my Coach had made a spot for Little Man.  Before I had a chance to do it.  And on HIS side of the bed.  Sweet man.

So yes, let the little things go.  But also remember to NOTICE them and be thankful.

And while we are at it?  What is WITH this book stack?  Ha!  Love my reading man.

It's time for me to put some of these back in our already bulging book shelves, I guess.  

Thankful today for the little things.  For the little ways my family and my Coach have loved me this week.  So thankful.

Happy Thursday!

Monday, October 6, 2014

One of those days. . .

Yep.  It's Monday at the troops.

Laundry everywhere.  I do mean everywhere.  Clean and unfolded.  Dirty and unsorted.  Dishes from last night still lingering.  Shoes.  And more shoes.  Spread throughout the whole house.  Unmade beds.  Towels that didn't get hung up.  Cereal boxes still on the dining room table.

I woke up feeling overwhelmed.  Tired.  Trying to think through this day and how to get it all done.  Turns out, unless cloning has become an option over night. . . not going to happen.

Jr. High Volleyball.  Jr. High Football.  Senior night for Varsity Volleyball.  I can't be everywhere at the same time.  The Coach?  He's not sure how to make it work, either.

To top it all off, I have a girlie home not feeling well, today.

Pretty sure the kids will want dinner, tonight.

And the gray roots?  They are shining in the morning sunlight.

Yes, the list is long.  The calendar full.

But so is my heart.

Because this girlie?  She cried about MISSING school.  You guys.  I just can't even.

And this house?  The dishes are strewn about because the kids fixed their own dinner while I was out with Daughter (#1) taking senior pictures last night.  SENIOR PICTURES.

And the laundry?  It didn't get folded because the Coach, Son (#3), Grandmother and I ran the Voices in the Dark 5K yesterday afternoon to raise awareness and help combat human trafficking.  We also all placed first in our age divisions.  Ba Bam!

And the mess?  Well.  There are 9 of us (just not the same as 10, is it?).  There was also a Pumpkin Patch on Saturday and yard work and errands and a date night with my handsome Coach.  Who was also on the front of the sports page on Sunday morning.

Reminds me of our basketball theme last year.  No mess, no mission.  Where there are no oxen the crib is clean.

If the troops weren't happy and healthy and BUSY, the house probably wouldn't be such a colossal mess.  And I wouldn't be as tired.  And my girlie probably wouldn't be sick (late Friday night football games and Oklahoma allergies are NOT our friends).

But instead.  We have the mess.  And a long list of things to be grateful for.

My second cup of coffee (which I've been enjoying while I type).
An early morning Sam's run.
Chicken and Salsa in the crockpot to eat in tortillas for dinner after the games.
"Moms Night Out" to watch while my sickie rests and I fold that gargantuan pile of laundry.
A box of hair color for those gray roots.
The amazing Fall sunshine filtering through the kitchen window by my desk.
A plane ticket purchased for Son (#1) to come home for Christmas.

And already today?  A call from my Coach with an "I love you."

Better go.  I'm missing the beginning of the movie!

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Weirder and Weirder

Life is moving along, here, at the troops.  School is going well.  Homework is endless.  My freezer is full of bugs for the 4th grade science project that's due Monday.  There's nothing quite like going to get chicken out for dinner and opening a freezer full of plastic containers with bugs in them.  She's up to 15, now.  Hopefully I won't confuse them with dinner ingredients before Monday.

Volleyball season is in full swing and the nights of both volleyball and football (which aren't quite as bad as the nights we have the first and last of 5 volleyball games. . .) are keeping us tired.

Son #1's chair at the table is still there.  Empty.  But his bed, dresser, and closet have quickly been taken over by the other boys.  That's life.  I told him when he comes home, we'll find some space for him.  In the meantime, only three boys in that room sure seems less crowded.

Monday, Son #3 got his drivers license.  So grateful.  Even though the online appointment attempt was a total FAIL (after a month of trying) and we had to get there at 5:20 and stand in line until 7 to be the 8th of 10 drivers tests for that day.  Quite an experience.

But he passed and headed off to school by himself in his new used car.

I know some of you have probably made your kids wait to get there licenses.  I understand.  I do.  And I guess if I didn't NEED them to drive so desperately, I might be tempted.  But YOU GUYS!  I need the help.  Big time.  And he's a great driver.  Not even kidding.  He already brought the kids home for me Monday AND Tuesday.  Before he came down with a fever on Tuesday night.  He's been on the playroom couch with the thieves-filled diffuser next to him ever since.

I think I've written about this before, but when someone gets sick, it makes me miss the days when they were little and would all get sick.  I know.  Weird.  It's just that when they were all little, having them sick made us STOP.  Slow down.  Stay home.  Take a break.  Watch movies and drink tea and not answer the phone (well, I don't answer the phone, anyway, but . . . ) and it gave us an excuse for REST.

Oh my heavens.


This momma is tired.

The only problem is, when someone is sick, now?  Nothing stops.  Most of the kids are old enough to stay home alone, so I have to keep on keeping on.  Pick up kids, go to games, run errands, go to workouts.  Having someone sick only adds to the list because they need to be taken care of ON TOP of everything else we already have going on.

So I miss those little infirmary days. . . with kids all over the floor on sleeping bags and cartoons and . . . I know.  I'm weird.  And I've forgotten the miserable part.  Sort of.

I will NEVER say I miss the stomach virus.  Oh no.  Never.  I love my essential oils.  And I hate the vomit monster.

In the meantime, the kids ARE older and rarely sick.  Even more rarely at the same time.  So grateful.

I, on the other hand, just keep getting weirder.  I say "yellow" when I mean "lemon".  I look right at one of the kids and say the wrong name.  Or the wrong teacher.  Or the wrong WORD.  Or mispronounce the right word.  Or stutter trying to say ANY word.  Or forget why I went out in the garage, or in the boys' room, or pretty much anywhere.  It's getting SO bad.  I'm telling you.

Our house is covered in yellow (not lemon) post it notes.  My phone is full of reminders.  And alarms.  It's pitiful.  My kids write me notes when they need something put in the dryer or baked for school or picked up at Hobby Lobby.  They've given up on ONE note.  There are usually five.  Or more.  They write themselves notes, too.  To remind me.

The new quirk I seem to have adopted (please don't ask for a complete list, because who has time?) is that I can NOT go to bed without washing my feet.  I know, right?  Perfectly normal to have to wash your feet before crawling into bed.  Totally exhausted.  Sigh.  Granted I DO walk around barefoot pretty much all of the time I'm at home.  And to the mailbox.  And down the driveway.  And out on the deck.

But regardless of whether or not they ARE dirty, something tells me that I can NOT crawl into that amazingly soft comfy white sheeted bed without clean feet.  And if I try to?  I can't sleep until I get up and wash them.  So very weird.  And how in the world am I getting weirder?

My kids would surely agree.  Every kid needs to be able to laugh at their mom, right?

Happy Wednesday!

Friday, September 12, 2014

The beginning of a new season

It's been a good day.  A good week.  A super busy week.

Fall has crept in and it's still my favorite time of the year.  It reminds me of love and being engaged and wedding planning and looking at rental houses with my Coach.  20 years ago.

But when "I drive your truck" came on on the way to school?  It made me cry.  And please don't ask why I was listening to the country music station.  It was sort of an accident.  Sort of.

I miss my boy.

Not that he's that kind of gone, of course.  But his truck is sitting out there.  And he's so far away.  I haven't exactly been tempted to drive it just to think of him (the muffler makes my head hurt).  But still.

It's a dark and dreary and COLD drizzly day.  Pizzas are cooking and pumpkin muffins are sitting on the cooling racks and we are headed to the football game in a bit.  After we bundle up a LOT.  Brrrr.  Even though I don't have a boy out there playing, this season, the kids still love our Friday night football games and after 20 years. . . well. . . it's just what we do.

Little Man is at a friend's house, so it's quieter than usual, even with two extra friends at our house.  I want to curl up under a blanket with the fireplace going and watch a movie.

But not The Chronicles of Narnia.  Because when "The Call" came on Spotify, it made me want to cry, again.

Dear heavens.

I need a slap in the face, apparently.

And maybe another muffin.  (Seriously, found a new recipe, today, and it's fabulous!)

I just keep thinking.  It's not that he's gone.  It's really not.  I'm so HAPPY forheavenssake.  I really truly am.

It's just that this is the beginning of SO MUCH CHANGE, here.

The end of a season.

The "all of our eight troops under our roof every night, for the most part" season.

Cooler weather and the drizzle and the smell of pumpkin (all things I love!) are reminding me that the seasons are changing.  So is life.  Always changing.  Never the same.

So I guess it's OK to be a little sad.

There is a whole lot to be happy about, too.  For sure.