Thursday, July 30, 2009

A first time for everything

Life is full of so many firsts.

Wouldn't you agree?

When you are young, that's all there is!

Then there is marriage - boy THAT has a lot of firsts!

Then the first baby. Talk about a steep learning curve!

The Coach and I had been married about three or four months when we found out our first child was on the way. We were thrilled. At least until I started throwing up.

Even so, I was optimistic. After all, it would get better after 12-14 weeks, right?

It didn't.

There were a lot of firsts that Summer and Fall. The Coach and I still newlyweds. Thrown into "survival" with the midwives trying everything possible to keep me from losing more weight (I miss those days! Ha!).

There is something so humbling about throwing up in front of your new husband (and I didn't know him well to begin with) all day long. Yuck.

Eventually I developed high blood pressure and was put on partial bed rest. Fortunately it didn't last long.

Two weeks before my due date (I was due the week before our first anniversary), I woke up in labor. In childbirth classes, they tell you to relax, get things ready, expect it to take awhile.

It didn't.

The Coach went on to school to drop of the stuff for his subs. I panicked and tried not to hold my breath until he got back.

Two hours later we had our first son.

5 lbs, 8 oz. of tiny perfect little boy. We were overwhelmed with gratefulness.

Then all of the firsts of parenting started. Wasn't as easy as we had hoped. Ha! But he was a sweet baby, in spite of my rigid schedule and inflexibility in his routine. He survived.

We celebrated our first anniversary with an almost three week old.

There were many more babies to come (and plenty of throwing up - ha!). But no more firsts. Many more anniversaries, but the numbers have only added up.

Today we had a first of what I hope will be MANY more.
We sent Son #1 off on his first mission trip.
Without us.
To Africa.
For 16 days.

One of our greatest desires from the day he was born - and for all our children - is that they would have a heart for missions. That they would long to tell others about Jesus. Here at home and around the world. I think we'd be the happiest parents in the world if some or all of them end up on the mission field.

But there has to be a first. A first time to see real need. A first time to be in a culture where Christ is unknown and hope is non-existent.

This is it.

In all fairness, although we aren't with him, his grandparents are. He'll be safe and cared for. Watched over and guided. I'm so grateful that they have the same heart for others that we hope to instill in our kids and have made it possible for Son #1 to go. Wow.

Can't wait to hear all the stories. I have a feeling he'll have a lot of firsts to tell us about.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

What? It's not Thursday?

Had every intention of posting on Thursday last week. Really needed to. Didn't happen.

So pretend with me that it IS Thursday. Here is a quick "Thankful List" to get you up to speed with what's going on at the troops.

1. The Coach is feeling much better and recovering from pneumonia. Rough week for him. Glad he's on the mend.

2. The Farm was BEAUTIFUL last week. Enjoyed it with friends AND cousins. Such gorgeous weather and delightful company (while the Coach rested at home).

3. Getting things in shape here around the house. Cleaning out cabinets and closets and sorting, organizing and chunking. Feels good.

4. I am feeling SOOOOOO much better. Truly. Lots of things have helped. Most of all? Went off caffeine, sugar and diet d.p. Ouch. But so worth it. I have energy and am seeing life through much rosier glasses. Whew.

5. God's provision. It's always on time and it's always sufficient. Sometimes I have to say that in faith - when there are needs, knowing from His faithfulness in the past that He will be faithful, again. And in the meantime, doing everything I can to be a good steward.

6. Summer. It's been crazy. It's been great. And I'm not the LEAST bit ready for school to start in a month or so. (hear me screaming NO in the background?)

7. The Coach. He really is amazing - those of you who know him in real life know this. He's felt so horrible, but been so thoughtful. Even when he didn't have the energy to do anything, he never complained. And thank heavens he can sleep through all of the chaos at our house!

8. Sweet family (thanks, Mom) and friends who have had some of the kids over or watched little ones swim or done returns for me. What would I do without all of the help? Such a blessing.

9. For my eldest son. Who is about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. At the ripe old age of 13. For his tender heart, his hard work and tremendous responsibility. I'm gonna miss that boy!

10. For good sleep. Since the day I went off sugar and caffeine I have slept better than I have in years. What a blessing! It's amazing how different one feels when one is rested. Ha!

Good night, dear friends. Thank you for your love, your concern, your friendship to us here at the troops. I'm off to bed (the Coach went long ago) and although I like to pretend it's not, it's the beginning of another crazy, wonderful week. Blessings on you all.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, July 17, 2009

All of these kids!

Summer is crazy at the troops.

Love it. Most of the time. I've been a bit tired of it this week, but I'm grateful, still. So much to be grateful FOR.

In the midst of the chaos, I keep thinking about the crowd of little ones (some not so little, anymore) that the Coach and I have charge of. It's humbling. And frightening. And in our own strength?  Totally impossible.

But the truth? We aren't raising kids. Not at all.

I don't want them to END UP kids. Good grief! I want them to grow into adults (which seems increasing uncommon these days).



Hard working.

God honoring.

(not necessarily in this order, of course)

Good husbands and wives.

Good parents.

And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. (Luke 2:52)

Who will, themselves, raise children up to be the same. Hopefully, used by God to make a difference in our world. And for eternity.

It's a long list and a tall order. Especially on days when I just want to run in the opposite direction of the latest mess or tearful breakdown. Or maybe have a tearful breakdown of my own!

But if I remember where I'm headed, it sure makes life different. If I want them to grow up to be great kids, then it's all about FUN and doing things FOR them and letting them have their way.  Making them happy, forheavenssake.

On the other hand, if I want them to grow up to be sober minded ADULTS, I have to work on increasing their independence, letting them shoulder responsibility and deal with the consequences of their actions. To feel the weight of answering to an all-knowing all-mighty creator God.

My very wise mother-in-law always says that our goal as parents should be to raise kids who are independent of us.


But she's right, you know. I see it more every day, as my kids get bigger (way too quickly) and are called upon to do more and try more and learn more things (most of the time with my help, sometimes without).

And I'd go a step further. Striving to raise them to be independent of US, but DEPENDENT on God. It makes all the difference. Being independent is a good quality.  But not if it leads you to think you don't need the Lord.  All that I want my kids to be depends completely on the relationship they have with God.  Totally sold out to Him.  Dying to self.  Living for eternity. 

The same thing I'm striving to do, myself.  As a tired, worn out, overwhelmed, mom of eight.  And I pray that they will be much better at this than I am!  Praise the Lord for HIS faithfulness.

Nothing like a little contemplation on a Friday night, right?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I'm in a Serious FUNK

Feeling a bit low, lately.

Tell me I'm not the only one who gets a little discouraged now and then?

So I have a question for you:  When you are feeling low, what do you do to get back into the land of joyful, energetic mommyhood?

I can tell you what I usually do.  Just to get us started.  (This would all come after a pan of brownies, grouching at my kids and crying on the Coach's shoulder.  First things first.)

I spend more time in the Word.  And in prayer.  I've found a new understanding of "continuing in prayer" these days.  Is there a favorite chapter or Psalm that encourages your heart?

I read.  My two "I'm discouraged" favorites are, "Tender Mercies for a Mother's Soul" and "Created to be His Helpmeet".  But I've given my last copies of both of them away, so that isn't really an option right now.  What book do you reach for when you're down?

Then there is a girl's night out.  Which I'm hoping to pull together this week.  However, part of my discouragement is usually related to the Coach's having to work more and being gone a lot, so that cuts into options for a night out.  Seriously.  What do you do to "get away" when life overwhelms you?

Most of the time, if I can just get one or two things on my "list" (the forever long list that never goes away - or even seems to get shorter - ever), I feel much better.  But honestly?  It's Summer.  Not a lot being accomplished at the troops these days.  Well, other than LIFE.  Please don't tell me all that you're getting done right now.  That SO wouldn't help!

Sleep helps, too.  The Coach always says that it's hard to be spiritual when you are tired.  He's right.  But sometimes it seems like the more I try, the less sleep I get.  I think Little Man is ready for a later bedtime (he's getting up so early!), but then evening comes and I NEED him to go to bed.  If you know what I mean.  So I'm trying to go to bed earlier.  Trying HARD.

So now it's your turn.  What do you do when you are discouraged?  How do you find the energy and motivation to pull yourself out of a serious funk?  

I thank you in advance for your help.  Actually, I think the Coach and the troops will be even more grateful.

"For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen:  for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
2 Cor. 4:16-18

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Can you say delinquent?

Yes, I see you can.

I know. Not a lot of blogging going on. I'm so sorry. Really I am. And I miss it. Really I do.

But WHERE to find the time?

Here's a bit of our Breckenridge-Coach's-ENTIRE-Family-Vacation to tide you over. Believe it or not, no one got sick or hurt (at least in our little troop). THAT, my friends, is a miracle. Remember last year? For that matter, I remember every year for the last 10 that we've taken this trip. Ha!

And maybe things will soon settle down a bit and we can catch up.

For now, I'm cleaning out the house, so there is a great chance I won't ever come out, again. Your prayers are appreciated. We already have seven trash bags in the garage for donation. Ugh.  I even have steroids to keep me going, after a trip to the Allergy Clinic for testing today and arms bloated up like fire hydrants.  Except hotter.

Happy Wednesday!

First morning - Family picture (our troops are wearing brown)

Second morning - Family Olympics - Dodge Ball
(I shouldn't mention this, but I lasted quite a while - until my own sweet Coach got me out.  Still can't believe it.  I did forgive him.  Eventually.)

Everyone was divided into four teams - and we did three rounds of games.  Fun!  I have absolutely no clue what team ended up winning the week.  Didn't really matter (and I admit I missed a few competitions while watching Little Man and other little ones).

Fourth morning - Grandkids hike with Papa

July 4th morning - bit of history teaching on the Constitution.  Wish every family in America could have heard it.

Watching the Breckenridge Parade with a few of the kiddos.

More to come (if I make it through the "Great Stuff Reducing Project of '09", that is)!