Monday, December 21, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How the Coach Won My Heart - Part Ten

This has been one CRAZY week here at the troops.
Before it gets even more out of hand (which it is certain to), I wanted to take just a minute to post this. The next part of our story, "How the Coach Won My Heart".

If you don't know what I'm talking about (and yes, it's been a LONG time since I posted a chapter), you can catch up with us, here, before you read on.

Tomorrow, the Coach and I celebrate our 15th anniversary. Hardly seems possible. Well, except that Son #1 just turned 14 (just saying that makes me feel old!).

I can honestly say, that I love my Coach more today than I did not only 15 years ago - but even more than I loved him one year ago. I have never once had enough time with him. I'm always wishing for more. He's my best friend. Our marriage is full of JOY.

We are going to get some much needed time together this weekend. But in honor of our special day, tomorrow. . .

So the Coach, he had pneumonia, I was suffering with a sinus infection and the wedding? Just a few days away.

We finished up our pre-marital counseling (which gave us many good discussion topics!) and the last few preparations before family started arriving.

My best friend flew in from Florida, just in time. I was starting to lose it.

At my "Girls" party that sisters-in-law and friends hosted, I broke down in tears.

The Coach wasn't feeling well at all. No one wants to get married while they are deathly ill. I knew it was frustrating for him. And sad for both of us.
The girls were sweet and encouraging. Life is still REAL, even when we are trying to plan the "perfect" moments. Although the wedding is a wonderful moment, it isn't what life is all about.

Truth is, as wonderful as it all had been, there had been lots of "real", too. It's a big adjustment to go from being dependent on a wonderful, generous Father, to trusting a fine looking young man with a teaching salary that I barely knew. Leaving my home for really the first time, ever, to live with a guy that I loved, yet hadn't learned to fully trust, yet.

It was a lot to deal with.

But I knew.

I knew God had led us. I knew He wouldn't stop. And I had peace.

Peace that came from knowing we had our parent's blessing. Knowing God brought us together. Knowing the Lord would take care of the "details" and we were ready to give Him the glory. Although I hadn't really learned to trust the Coach, yet. I knew I could. I'd seen his heart.

The day before our wedding, my best friend's mother hosted a beautiful bridal luncheon for us. At the downtown, top-of-the-tallest-building club, that I had wanted to have the reception at. It was lovely. Topiaries made with white roses decorated the long table. We had such a small wedding party that she included all of the sisters, sisters-in-law, mothers, grandmothers, aunts. . . the people that were such a part of my life, or soon would be.

That night we gathered for our rehearsal, enjoying the thought that we were soon to say "good-bye" for the last time. The last evening we'd go home to different places. It had been one of the hardest things about our courtship. With so little time together, we seemed to always be saying good-bye. I couldn't wait to say good-bye to everyone ELSE and leave WITH the Coach!

At our rehearsal dinner, my granddad spoke precious words to us about me. He had been such a part of my daily life. Little did we know then, that we would have the blessing of being his next door neighbors for over 9 years while 6 of our children were born!

The Coach's oldest brother spoke about him. About his determination to do right. His love for the Lord. His commitment to his family. All so true, as I already knew.

I was fairly certain that I wouldn't be able to sleep that night. And I was sick. So my best friend, who was staying at my parent's with me, gave me NyQuil. For the first time in several days, I slept like a rock! Only to wake up at 5:00! Excited!
She and I headed out for one last "girls" breakfast together at our favorite coffee shop. When we got back to the house, it was time to start getting ready! My family was there (parents, brother) and my maid of honor/best friend and her mother. We laughed and laughed and sang to sweet music and laughed some more. Precious time.

When it was time to head to the church for pictures, my daddy and I climbed into a white stretch limo (the Coach and I had decided to leave the reception in my car - which we were taking on our honeymoon, so we had to fit a limo in somewhere!). On the way there, he asked me once again, if I was "sure". He said it was not too late, if I had any reservations at all about marrying the Coach.

At the time, that conversation seemed odd to me. After all, we were ON OUR WAY to the wedding! But years later, as a mother myself, having watched countless friends go through heartache and even divorce, I realize that he was telling me it wasn't enough for HIM to be sure. I was the one marrying the Coach. I needed to know. KNOW. Because this would be it. The Coach and I had already promised each other we would not ever leave or divorce one another. Only death could separate us. So we needed to be sure. And I was.

We had decided to have pictures done separately before the wedding, so that we could spend less time after, so the time at church was filled with last minute preparations and pictures with family and friends. I love those pictures. Our last pictures before we were married.

The Lord had provided one of the Coach's friends from college, a gifted pianist, along with a student of the Coach's (an amazing violinist) to play the prelude music. As I stood there in the back of the church . . . waiting. . . I listened to them play "It is Well With my Soul" - at our request (and the only music in the wedding that wasn't Christmas music!). It seemed to fit.

Sometimes, life is really good. Sometimes in life there is sorrow. But always we are "well" in the hands of our loving Savior. It was beautiful.

Fortunately the Coach had made it to the doctor AGAIN the morning of our wedding. When I look at pictures, he seems awfully stoic to me. I'm sure it's just the high doses of antibiotics and steroids. But whatever it was, he made it through.

The church was decorated with lighted trees and poinsettia plants. Beautiful white flowers sat on either side of the steps to the platform. My maid of honor and the Coach's little sister (Junior Bridesmaid) wore black velvet. The guys (the Coach's youngest brother was his best man) wore traditional black tuxes. I carried a white bouquet. The girls carried red roses.

What an amazing, beautiful day it was. My dad began the ceremony with a bit of our story (a lot of what I've shared with you). The Coach's dad led us in our vows to God and one another, and pronounced us "The Coach and Mrs. Troop". Followed by our very first kiss.

We enjoyed a beautiful reception (that was a complete blur!) in a room decorated by sweet friends, with delicious food that more sweet friends and family had made. More pictures, more visiting and congratulating. And we were on our way.

And yes, there IS more to come. . .

Friday, December 11, 2009

"Stay at Home" Mom

Today is, blessedly, at day at home for us. We've been out every day this week with this and that. Which means I'm frightfully behind. Makes the fact that I am technically a "Stay at Home Mom" seem like a joke.

We've had a fun week. Basketball games, BSF, Christmas cards mailed, dentist appointments for seven, field trip with my 5th grader, class mission projects for school, the big van in for some maintenance (and the associated car swapping that ensues), and countless other good times!

Some huge blessings, too.

This verse for me from the Coach:
"If anyone speaks, his speech should be like the oracles of God: if anyone serves, his service should be from the strength God provides, so that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To Him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen." I Peter 4:11

(and yes, this is his very sweet and not so subtle way to let me know I've been raising my voice WAY too much, lately)

And the reminder (from the Coach AND BSF) this week to start each day by asking the Lord to send in each day what He has for me. And the strength to do it.

Can't say I've done it, well. But I have known that He is there, offering in His sovereign plan, what I need for the moment, the day. I haven't always obeyed. Or abided in His strength. But I'm learning.

This time of year offers so many opportunities to focus on the Lord. On Jesus' choice to obey the Father and come to this fallen, cold, dark earth to be the Savior of the world.

It also offers countless chances for unrealistic expectations, ridiculously long to do lists, overly full calendars, overdrawn checking accounts, ungrateful hearts and tired grumpy kids.

Be careful. Strive to glorify God in everything. Tell Him you have a heart to obey, then ask Him what He would have to say "yes" to and what to maybe say "no" to (when I'm not sure, I ask the Coach!). Be a pleaser of your Heavenly Father and not of men. Share Christ and the hope of salvation with those He brings across your path this season.

And in the real life moments? When Little Man eats a cracker out of a 2 year old set of Resurrection Eggs that pulled out of the upper cabinet after pushing a chair up and climbing onto the counter? When the laundry pile is bigger than the Christmas Tree? When the kids have a wrestling match or play basketball in my living room because it's 12 degrees outside? When daughter reminds me that her stocking for the City Rescue Mission is due tomorrow (and it's 8:00 at night)? When I burn the cookies the Coach asked me to make for his meeting at school? When the Coach told one group we had a TV they could pick up for donation and I told a completely different caller the same thing? When Daughter #6 has slept in our room every night this week because I'm a "magic mommy" and she has good dreams when she sleeps on the floor by my bed? When you discover that the entire front of your stainless fridge has been scratched (hmmm. . . wonder which two year old did that?), your hair needs colored, you have started closing doors so you won't see the messes in the kids' rooms when you walk by, and you STILL can't think of a gift for that one person on your list. . .

He is still God. He is still on the throne. He loves you. Has a perfect plan for you. And you can trust Him. So can I.

And my time is up. Little Man has been playing with a roll of tape and my essential oils from Beeyoutiful. I just hope he's been rolling the calming one all over his arms and not the refreshing one. Because I SO need a nap! After I play Skipbo with Daughter #7. And take a shower. And finish the dishes. And get something going for dinner. . .

Blessings on your Friday!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Good Reminder. . .

I'll admit to having one of the most wonderful husbands in the world. Really. I consider myself so very blessed to be his helper. His love, faithfulness, consistency and kindness is a continual challenge to me. He's such an example of the character of Christ.

But it's easy to get my focus off of others (and being a good helper to my husband) and back onto myself. Ugh. What I need, what I want, what would help ME.

Reading through this book (for the fifth or sixth time now, I'll admit) always challenges me. I know the main reason is because it's full of God's Word to women. I need to be reminded of my role, my purpose and how blessed I am.

Thought I'd share something I read this morning. Hopefully it will challenge you be a better wife this week as you seek to be a good helper to your man.

"Traits of a Good Help Meet

1. She fears God.
2. She believes God's Word as it is written.
3. She considers her position as a help meet a privileged command.

Make a list for each day of the week.

Monday: Write three new things that you will add to your life that will cause you to become more precious to your husband.

Tuesday: List three things that you can do that will be a help to him.

Wednesday: Write down three things you can do that will be an encouragement to him.

Thursday: Jot down three things about your appearance that you can change, which he is sure to like.

Friday: List three things that you can do to your house that will please him.

Saturday: Write three things you can do that will make him feel like he is THE MAN.

Sunday: Plan three ways you can respond to him in front of others that will show a heart of respect and honor toward him."

from "Created to be His Helpmeet" by Debi Pearl, page 123

I don't know about you, but this list immediately brought a few things to mind that I'm not doing and should be doing.

Hope it challenges you, as well. I highly recommend this book. I read it every year or so and am constantly learning and growing from it's insight. You can read more about it and order it here. Or order it here, too. If you haven't read it, yet, just order it from SOMEWHERE, OK?

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Thursdays are such a good time to pause for a minute and "Count my Blessings". I hope you will count YOUR blessings, today, too. We can choose what our mind is fixed on. It can be fixed on everything that is wrong with our lives, everything that makes life hard, everything we would change if we had the power - or we can choose to remember God's faithfulness. His provision. His salvation. His love for us. It's a choice. I hope you will choose today, with me, to thank Him for His goodness and all he has done for us.

So here's my thankful list for today:

1. That in between changing DVD's, getting drinks and snacks and administering Tylenol and Motrin, I've found a minute to write this post. (And I should mention that I have "Barbie's Princess and the Pauper" and "Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas" completely memorized. Which I'm sure will come in handy some day.)

2. That my house is decorated for Christmas, courtesy of my kids. Amazing.

3. That the Coach is so very patient with me and tolerant of my headcold-tired-cranky self. Bless his heart.

4. Two projects finished for school last night (Little Pilgrim's Progress poster with 3-D map, "My Own Colony" with laws, map and facts poster). Still have a pioneer toy and few other things to finish up. Along with everyone's class mission projects for Christmas. Grateful for kids who do the work themselves.

5. That I have our Christmas cards done. Not mailed, mind you, but ready to address. Just can't decide whether to spend hours fixing my address list to print the envelopes or write them by hand. At this point, I haven't had time to do either.

6. For bakery thrift stores. Love buying 12 loaves of bread for my freezer at 1/2 price. Son #1 eats the bagels by the bag. Good thing they are so inexpensive!

7. And have I mentioned, lately, how grateful I am for my kids' amazing, wonderful teachers? I love and appreciate them so much. We are blessed. I honestly don't know how they do it! It's a full-time job plus a lot. A lot of them have families of their own to prepare Christmas for. I stand in awe!

8. The anticipation of Christmas break. We learned a long time ago at the troops that anticipation is half of the fun. We sit around and talk about what we will do when school gets out. Driving to see Christmas lights, the live nativity, hot chocolate, Christmas movies, wrapping presents, sleeping in, cooking and baking. So much fun.

9. Receiving Christmas cards in the mail. My kids fight over getting the mail in December! We all love to open the cards and read notes from friends and see the pictures.

10. Lam. 3:21-23 "This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness."

Blessings on your Thursday!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Checking In

So many fun things to blog about in the last week or more. And no time to do it!

Had a wonderful Thanksgiving week! Fun time with friends and family. Really enjoyed time with these friends. Some work done and rearranging in the house. Great day with the Coach's family on Thursday. More time with family over the weekend along with watching Bedlam and celebrating two birthdays (Son #1 turned 14 *oh-my-heavens-I'm-getting-old* and Daughter #5 turned eight). Good times.

Monday morning dawned on a relieved mom (to see the kids all back at school so I could get caught up around here! Ha!) and a sick girl (Daughter #7 with a fever), so we are back in survival mode once again. Missing basketball games, running errands in the afternoon when I have big kids home to help, skipping BSF and trying to single-handedly take down a two year old who has decided he's boss of the universe all of a sudden.
Although he is pretty sweet when he's sleeping - like here on his cousin's lap at Thanksgiving.

As tired as the troops are, we've made some great memories. The house is decorated for Christmas (because my big kids took it on as their project!), we are settling back in for the last few weeks of school before the break and I'm even getting Christmas shopping taken care of slowly but surely.

It's all good.

And here comes Little Man for the 555th time out of bed at naptime. I told you he thinks he's in charge, now. Better go remind him he's not.

Have a great week!