Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I'm not talking about the recently concluded TV show, here. Never watched it. No time to get into a show like that. I haven't consistently watched any shows since Alias ended. Now that was a good TV show.

But I've told you before how much I hate losing things.

I'm not sure if it's really because it's inconvenient. Or if it's because it makes me feel like I'm not organized and "together".

Whatever the reason, things usually turn up eventually.

And in the meantime, don't you hate how things just sit there in your mind waiting to be found and "checked off" the list?

Right now at the troops we are missing the Living Room TV remote. Such a pain. And a Wishbone DVD from the library that we never even watched. I'm thinking maybe it wasn't in there to begin with. But I won't be able to prove that.

All of those library fines? I like to think of it as supporting the community. We do a lot of supporting the community here.

The very worst kind of lost, though, is when I FEEL lost. Confused, overwhelmed. Sad.

I have a friend who I know is feeling really lost this week after losing her husband. She has four kids. A home. A business. And she has to deal with it all by herself, now.

But as I've prayed for her continually these last three days, I've found myself remembering over and over (as I get overwhelmed for her) that the Lord has her in His hand. Has each of those children in His hand. He will care for her. She's not alone. She's not really lost. Her Heavenly Father will come to her defense.

The loss she is dealing with has to be the hardest of all. But it's not out of the realm of God's love and peace.

Praying for you, today, My Friend.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Keeping House

I do a lot of house work.

Are you laughing, yet?

My mom was here last Friday while I helped with a surprise baby shower for Daughter's 7th grade Bible teacher (did you get that?). She stayed with my little ones, my currently home-schooled 1st grader and the 2nd and 3rd graders who got out early. Whew.

(honestly it's a miracle that I haven't left someone somewhere, lately. probably shouldn't say that.)

Anyway, when I got home she had cleaned up the lunch dishes, unloaded the dishwasher and was cleaning up the back deck where construction has been going on for three something weeks. Or months. Or most of the last year.

Have I mentioned how grateful I am for my mom?

So she said that if all she had to do every day was the dishes that we dirty in this crazy house, she'd never get it all done. And she doesn't know how I keep up with not only the dishes, but the laundry, the house, the kids, the schedules, the yard (well, I barely make it out of the house, but somebody works in the yard).

Everyone needs a fan club. Even if it only has one member and she gave birth to me. (smile)

My point in all of this, is that I rarely get caught with the work of my actual, real-life, not cyberspace house.

And this blog? Well, it gets what's left. Which isn't much. Especially lately.

However, today, I worked a bit on my "link list" - took off some dear friends who are way too busy to keep up with a blog these days. . . and added a few new favorites. Truth is, I don't keep up very faithfully with many blogs. Not even the ones I love! I don't usually have time to even write my own! HA! But I do read a few - and they are mostly people I know. For real. I only occasionally read a couple that are "strangers" - and only when I am avoiding the house work.

So. . . blessings on your Sunday! And enjoy some of the new friends I've added on the right. . .

Friday, May 21, 2010

Checking in. . .

Good Friday morning!

The quiet here at Mrs. Troop is no indication whatsoever of the noise level in our lives right now.

It's been a couple of really busy weeks. Next week will be even busier with the end of the school year and packing the Coach and Son #1 for Brazil.

We'll make it.

I hope.

And you know what? I'm too tired to recount all that's been going on or all that we have coming up in the next seven days.

But. . .

I'm extremely thankful that school is almost over.
I'm so very grateful for our amazing teachers and our school.
I'm amazed at God's provision through our precious family and friends for the Brazil trip.
I'm enjoying the new deck that the Coach has been working on every evening for the last three weeks. (And grateful for all of the help he's had.)
I'm happy that my big kids have opportunities to serve this Summer.
I'm excited for our niece who is getting married, tomorrow.
I'm thankful that we've been safe during a crazy tornado season.
I'm tired of the "Backyardigans" DVD that we got this week from the Library.
I'm relieved to have cleaned out countless trash bags full of junk from a couple of rooms in our house this week (And much more to come!)
I'm glad that most people don't have six kids in school and all of the events and activities that go with it. And won't seven be fun next year?
I'm thrilled that the Coach and I may actually get a date night this weekend!
I'm hopeful that by God's grace we will accomplish all that needs to be accomplished both today, this weekend, next week, etc.

And you know what? I'm grateful for you, too.

Praying that you have a blessed weekend!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Still in Awe

In 15 years, I've never grown tired of the Coach. I've never felt like I've "had enough" time with him. I've always wished I could be with him all of every day. And when we are sitting at the table in the evenings talking about schedules and kids and things that need to be done - I find my mind wandering to how handsome he is. . . how much I love him. . . what a good job he does fathering our troops.

I hope I never stop thinking that marriage is amazing. No matter what trials lie ahead (and we know they will come), I pray that we never lose sight of what a gift it is to belong fully and wholly to one another. To share our lives, our hopes and dreams, our struggles. To carry our burdens for each other and not struggle alone.

Life is only getting crazier. As the kids grow, so does our schedule. Our home (it's always full!), our food budget. Ha! And more than that, the less we are all "just" home. We fight for it. It happens. But less often than it did when they were all little buggers.

I miss when things were simple. When it was all about obedience and schedules. It was physically exhausting to take care of them all, but it was easier is some ways. Now there is so much going on. School, grades, sports, friends, attitudes, responsibilities. It's great fun, but it's emotionally exhausting, now.

Sharing it all with my Coach not only makes it tolerable - it makes it fun! It's definitely an adventure! We can compare notes, offer suggestions (well, he's the one with the suggestions, I'm usually at the end of my rope!), and laugh. Lots of laughing sure helps.

So today? I'm so grateful for a God-fearing, hard-working, loving, wise and humble man to share this craziness with. And one day? It will be just the two of us, again. That 11 months we had by ourselves fifteen years ago just wasn't enough! :-)

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, May 10, 2010

There's a lot going on, for sure

Happy Monday morning!

Daughter (#6) is doing well! She has been tough. I've been amazed. She had her surgery on Thursday morning. By Friday night she had really improved. Saturday she ran around and played with everyone else. Yesterday she seemed pretty worn out (with reason) and slept for a couple of hours in the afternoon, but still felt well. I'm so grateful. The surgeon told us it could be as long at 2 months before we see the full improvement of her eating, chewing, swallowing, breathing issues. But we're on our way! And in the meantime, I make a yummy strawberry banana smoothie! If you want to see what she had, you can read here. If you are really brave (and I'm not!), you can watch a surgery like hers here. You can thank Granddad for that link!

Our new roof is almost done! I expect them back today to finish up one ridge. It looks really nice. I'll have to post before and after pictures (as if that will happen, right?). This new roof was a gift from God via our insurance. We were expecting them to cover about half, but in the end it was almost full coverage. So grateful for that! And no more leaks!

We are back to ONLY eight kids, here at the troops. It actually feels quiet. Of course, the extra kids didn't keep things from being quiet. . . but the extra kids kept my kids excited. Outside of our "normal" - and a lot of fun.

I'm pretty sure Mother's Day shouldn't be on Sunday. Good grief. There is SO much to do to get the troops to church. And to prepare for another week! It was still a great day, though. Delicious pancake brunch (the Coach makes great pancakes!), a NAP, and a sweet gift from the kids of flowers for the front flower bed and pots (something that hasn't been in the budget for a couple of years, now). Made me cry. Finished the day off with a Starbucks date with Son (#1). Next year he'll be able to drive us!

Saturday night we had a FUN Sunday school get together at the Farm. Beautiful weather! Complete with bonfire, smores and a hay ride. Son (#3) is covered in poison ivy - bless his heart - but that's what happens if you run through the woods in shorts and flip flops!

School is winding down - we are really looking forward to Summer here at the troops! The Coach and Son (#1) are getting ready for their mission trip to Brazil. It's been exciting to see God provide for them. Son (#3) is headed to the 5th grade "Creation Nation" trip this week.

I've been so overwhelmed this past week with the love and kindness of our family and friends. Sweet gifts began showing up for Daughter (#6) before and after her surgery. Sticker paper dolls, pens, markers, books, paper - she has had SO much fun with it all! Then meals. . . brave, brave souls who dared to cook for our 10 plus two - masses of food that have been devoured and enjoyed. The calls, e-mails, messages - we've felt so blessed and loved.

And now? Time to get going on another week. Daughter (#2) is home with a cold/allergies and the to do list is long. The kids have track and field day, today - if the rain will hold off? So they get out early. So it's a short day with a long list. Better get to it.

Have a great week!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Sounds like life to me!

There have been many times in the last 15 years I've asked myself, "Do I have what it takes?" Can I make it through this situation and handle it with grace while reflecting God's love?

I suppose in that moment when your first child is born, you face the most overwhelming sense of responsibility. . . yet I don't think any of us realize in THAT moment, what the coming years will hold. Any more than I realize right now what the future will hold for these eight very different personalities - kids that I am seeking to raise up to love the Lord.

I've always thought that it's God's goodness that He doesn't show us what's coming. He gives us the grace AS the trials come, building our faith, knowing that if we knew ahead of time we wouldn't have the strength to anticipate what the trial will hold.

Yesterday, while sitting with Daughter (#6) before and after her out-patient surgery to remove a cyst on her neck, my mind wandered to some of that "Do I have what it takes?" moments in the story of our family here at the troops.

The first moment my mind wanders to is when Daughter (#2) had RSV at 5 weeks of age and spent a week in the hospital.

Then the multiple trips to the ER with Son (#3) in the middle of the night before finally finding that he has asthma. I don't think we slept through the night regularly until he was three.

Son (#4) pinched the end of his thumb off in my mom's folding coffee table when he was nine months. I remember thinking (all the way to the hospital), "He will be just fine without his thumb." So grateful they were able to reattach it and he has all 10 fingers to this day!

Same son also broke his arm jumping out of a rolling chair - he was about two. But the broken arms had the biggest year last year with Daughter (#2) AND Daughter (#5) both breaking theirs.

When Son (#3) broke his nose and needed out-patient surgery to fix it, that was a difficult time. He moaned and groaned for over a week afterwards. Even though I did everything I could to make him comfortable, it just took time.

There have been other moments for sure. But none of these compare to the grace that is needed to face a trial of the SOUL. Our physical bodies are going to get hurt and they will get sick. Here at the troops, none of those physical trials have been lasting. I know for some of you, you are living in the midst of a physical trial that is a spiritual one, as well.

We've had a few "Soul trials" here at the troops, for sure. They aren't the kind of thing that one can blog about. But they have made me realize that most things aren't the "big deal" that we tend to make them. Most of the time, bones will heal, they will recover. . . the soul things will matter for life. How we face them can change our character. The choices we make. The relationships we have with the Lord and with others.

I didn't intend for this post to be so depressing! :-) But it's where we are living right now. Striving with all that we have (by God's grace) to shape the character of our children. Knowing that character is developed IN the trials. Not wanting the trials at all! But wanting them to (and us) have the Christ-like character that makes us a shining light in this dark, dark world.

I know these precious children will fail. They already have. And I know there is more of that to come. My prayer, lately, has been that their character development will come without life-long consequences. But I realize that our Lord and Savior bore his trials unto death. And unlike us, He didn't deserve it. Hadn't earned the consequences of OUR sin.

So in following Him, we choose a hard road. I don't except my children to have "easy" lives. But I do expect them to have blessed lives. If they choose to follow Jesus, the joy will be beyond explanation. Even if there are scars.

And now? A little girl who wants some hot cereal for her very sore throat. She's been amazingly brave, tough and sweet through her trial. And Lortab certainly helps! Ha!

May the God of all Grace fill you with His comfort and strength today for whatever trial you are facing. And as our BSF leader always says - if you haven't just come through a trial, or are in one right now, get ready - it's coming. It's part of being a follower of Christ!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Today at the Troops

Morning, All!

Day three of 10 kids seems to be going smoothly. Visiting teen-age boys require much less of this mom than the little ones we've kept. They've been on their best behavior. And our days have stayed pretty much the same, as they are at school all day with our big kids.

We've enjoyed the laughter around the dinner table. They've been excellent guests. And Son (#1) sure loves the extra basketball players on the court in the evenings! The Coach even has extra help on the deck project. What a deal!

In the meantime. . . we've been trying to get organized and plan for Thursday. Daughter (#6) will be having outpatient surgery to remove what we think is a Thyroglossal duct cyst from her neck. Fun, huh?

She's had great courage in the whole ordeal thus far.

I've been so grateful for family and friends who have offered help. Meals, car pool duty, watching little ones. What a blessing!

The Lord keeps bringing to mind His amazing love and providential hand in our lives. Little did we know when we took Daughter (#6) out of school that this would happen. And yet. . . what a blessing that she hasn't and won't miss even more school at the end of this school year. We've been able to take a casual approach to finishing up her school work. She's read a lot, helped in the kitchen, just enjoyed being home. And now she will have the freedom to recover from this surgery at home without school work piling up and pressure to get back. God is so good.

Greatly appreciate your prayers for us this week. Life continues to be quite an adventure here at the troops. Wouldn't trade it! But it sure does wear me out!

Blessings on your Tuesday!