Wednesday, June 23, 2010

When your issues have issues

Been reading a great book. "Love and War" by the Eldredges. Really enjoying it. Goes right along with my "keepin' it real" theme here at Mrs. Troop.

It's given me a lot to think about regarding how we process things through what we've been through and experienced ourselves. We ALL have issues. Even with the blessed heritage that the Coach and I have been given (not because of our own merit, but because of the grace of God). . . guess what? Yep. Issues. They refer to it as baggage or being "broken" when we enter marriage. We have needs that no spouse can fulfill. We have walls that keep our loved ones out. You get the idea.

This doesn't just apply to marriage, either. I watch my kids all day every day (yes, it's Summer) and I see in them, from the time they are tiny, that they have things they struggle with, as well. Some of them enjoy hard work. Some of them avoid it at all costs. Some of them like to work together. Some of them want to be on their own. Some struggle with contentment. Some have a hard time keeping their mouth shut (have NO idea where they get that). ALL of them seem to avoid changing the toilet paper roll (except for the Coach - he's handy that way).

Wait. I've already been there.

But you get the idea. Yes, parenting is a huge part of it. Some of it is just their personalities, combined with the experiences they have as being a part of this family, school, extended family, church. All of which is shaping them and giving them the filters through which they see the world. I'm sure I've giving my kids lots of issues that they will have to work through, later. Ugh. I'm also working very hard to guard and protect them from things that will harm them for life.

At some point, I guess it's inevitable that we realize that each of us is "broken" in some way or another. Each of us has things we don't handle well, hear wrong (because of past hurt), or avoid. To think that I'm responsible for guiding these eight souls through the pitfalls of life (at least right now) is daunting, to say the least.

When we DO realize that we all have issues, we can have two responses. We can throw in the towel (and a lot of people do - I've done it myself, at times). Or we can throw ourselves at the feet of Jesus.

Our only hope is in Him. He can heal. He can give us the grace to forgive. He can give us the strength to show compassion when we want to get revenge. He can take our weaknesses and make them our strengths.

So you have issues? Your issues have their own issues? Me, too. Lay it all at His feet. Know it won't change overnight (it rarely does), but He will work. Maybe that's one of the best things about getting older. Being able to look back and see that when it seemed as if there was no hope, He was working all the time.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Welcome to our home - where the toilet paper roll is always empty and the trash is always full. . .

I have grand aspirations for my children.


Teaching them to Love God and His Word. Teaching them to love others. Teaching them to serve others and understand what is really important in life.

Some days I'm pretty sure I'm failing miserably. Like when they can't stop fighting, picking on each other, doing everything possible to irritate one another to the point of insanity.

But I'm pretty sure I would feel like I had finally arrived in the Mothering Hall of Fame if they would just change the roll of toilet paper when it runs out (instead of leaving it for ME) or take the initiative to empty the kitchen trash when it's overflowing onto the floor (about 3 times a day).

I'm just sayin' . . .

Friday, June 18, 2010

Giving thanks!

Just as I promised, here are the photos before and after the Coach and Son's (#1) trip.
Here: At the airport before they left. Or before we thought they were leaving.
Notice that Little Man was asleep at home so we didn't all come along.
I didn't even cry.

And a MUCH happier "after" picture. The whole family came along to welcome them home.
Much much happier. And grateful. And happy.

We are finally feeling like we've "recovered". The Coach and Son (#1) are getting caught up on sleep. We've made and devoured their favorite meals. All of the stinky jungle clothes have been washed. Even the "5 days in a sealed bag stinky wet shoes" have been salvaged for lawn mowing. The suitcases are stored back in the attic until next time.

So much to be grateful for.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Because a blog just isn't a blog without pictures. . . or is it?

The Coach and Son #1 made it home SAFELY and ON TIME on Saturday. My birthday. Ahhhhh.
Next best thing was breakfast and a pedicure with my two best friends before the plane arrived.
That night my parents brought Ted's for dinner. Lovely.
Things are somewhat back to normal here. Sort of. More on that later.

It has occurred to me that I have ceased to include pictures here at Mrs. Troop.

It's not intentional.

Most of the time? My kids have the camera.
Here is a sampling of the more recent (or not so recent) downloads:

Little Man's third birthday. Doesn't this make you smile?

He's the hunter/gatherer type. Helping Daddy in the back yard.

Have no idea about the beads on Son's (#4) head. But the strawberries were yummy!

Daughter (#5) zoned out on the computer. American Girl Games, if I had to guess.

Self-portrait by Daughter (#7). That kept her busy for hours.

So now I feel better and you've seen a few of my kids. Maybe tomorrow I'll get to that "New Roof: Before and After" picture post. Or the "Lamb Cake" I made back in March.

What's that you say? You don't care about what our new roof looks like and Easter was a long time ago?

OK. How about some pictures of the Coach and Son's (#1) welcome home?

Consider it done!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Well. . . here goes.

1. That I'm getting used to being alone at night and am sleeping better after two weeks. (although it makes me sad, too, that I've "gotten used to it.")

2. That the leak in the A/C unit in the attic is fixed (hopefully!). Thank you, Lord! And thanks to the roofer, my daddy and the guys working on it.

3. For the Venti White Chocolate Mocha (non-fat, no whip, of course) that I downed this morning while out running 100 errands. OK, 99 errands. I felt guilty at first for buying it AND drinking it. But I got over it when the caffeine kicked in.

4. For a clean house and clean sheets. Ahhhh. And a mom who helps.

5. For sisters-in-law and nephews and nieces that have made these two weeks go so much more quickly!

6. For a pool to "borrow".

7. That there is not a "mending pile" any longer in this house.

8. Or a ironing pile.

9. Wal-mart one mile away - I'll be there tomorrow. At least once.

10. For the much. much. much. shorter to do list after the late nights working while the Coach has been gone. Of course, "clean out my desk" is still on there. Ugh.

11. That the countdown has begun!

(To when the Coach and Son #1 get home, that is!)

Tomorrow will be full with baking, cleaning, grocery shopping and getting things in spiffy order for their arrival. Along with ferrying boys home from basketball camp, ferrying a girl to a birthday party and back and hopefully getting my hair colored (thanks in advance, Mom!).

Then Saturday morning, bright and early - breakfast with two of the sweetest friends ever! Can't wait to talk both of them to death and hear what's going on in both of their very busy lives, as well. What a treat!

All of which will bring me quickly and happily to the Coach's soon return on Saturday afternoon.

(I already have butterflies in my stomach!)

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The light at the end of the tunnel? Or an oncoming train? . .

So this morning I got up, sent the boys off to basketball camp and headed out the door for my walk/jog - which is becoming more jog than walk each and every day. I love it. I'm becoming addicted to it. (Have I mentioned how delightful it is to have kids old enough to leave at home watching cartoons while I go? Well, it is. Even if it took 13 years.)

The fresh air, the sun beating down, the lack of little people calling my name, the tunes on my i-pod. . . I seriously thought - you know what? This has been OK. We've made it so far, it hasn't been too bad and the Coach will be home before we know it! (must have been those exercise released endorphins or something.)

Except for the fact that. . . I feel like half of my body has been ripped off and taken away. To the jungles of Brazil.


Never was it more evident that I am, indeed, missing my better half, than tonight when we sat down to eat dinner in the dining room (maybe for the third time in two weeks?) and I noticed a dark stain on the ceiling. A BIG dark stain. A big dark water stain. Still wet. On the ceiling.

So there obviously wasn't anything to do about it at 6:00 pm on a Tuesday night. Except panic and call my Daddy, who was in route from vacation in Florida (yes, I've been without husband AND parents!).

They came straight from the airport, as good parents do, and Dad checked it out while Mom did the dinner dishes (told you they were the best.)

No conclusion, but the water stain is huge and the roofer will be hearing from me in the morning. There is a small spot in another room, as well.

I might have responded more calmly if I hadn't just single-handedly weed-eated around all 555 trees on the entire 1 acre yard that surrounds our home. Alright. . . 554 trees. And by the way. . . WHY are those weed-eaters so heavy? No problem for the Coach because he's, well, STRONG. REALLY strong. He's done such a good job training my boys to do all of the mowing for me. But the trimming is strictly the Coach's job. Fortunately it will grow a bit before Saturday and hopefully won't look so bad that he will notice what a pitiful job I did. I tell you what. . . never doing THAT, again!

Anyway, I guess we are still OK. Still hanging in there. Looking forward to dinner with my b-i-l, s-i-l and four adorable nieces and nephews tomorrow night. Looking forward to another dinner with another s-i-l and fun nephews and a niece on Thursday (see? Having a big family comes in handy!). In the meantime the boys will finish the week at basketball camp, I'll get a few more projects done, take lots of Advil for my sore arms and on Saturday? Lord willing and the creek don't rise. . . my men will be home.

I'm so grateful that I know that God has us in His hands. His providence is guiding all that touches us. (Just finishing up "Sweet and Bitter Providence" by Piper and I highly recommend it.) I need to be reminded that He is in control - especially when things go wrong and the Coach isn't here to help. God is. I trust His plan (whether I know what it is or not) and I trust HIM.

(p.s. if you run into the Coach in the Amazon jungle please don't tell him about the ceiling. wouldn't want him to worry.)

Friday, June 4, 2010

How in the World?

So the Coach has been gone . . . well. . . something like 8 days. Depends on whether you start counting from the first time we took him to the airport or the actual time that he ended up leaving (he was home a few hours in the middle of the night at some point). Anyway. . . it's been a while.

He's been away once before for 9 days. I'm so not going there. It was difficult. Little Man was one. And school was still in. And I'm not going there.

I've been gone for 8 days, once. Last Spring for Daughter's (#2) 6th grade trip (was that really just one year ago?). Really for the most part, the Coach doesn't travel. He's a teacher, forheavenssake. He has to be HERE to do his job.

There have been the occasional ACSI accreditation teams. The football camps (but he takes the boys), the camping trips (but he takes most of the kids). Once we actually left our kids (seven then) for 8 days to go to Boston TOGETHER. That was awesome.

This 16 day thing is so rare it's never happened. Before now.

My original strategy was to stay really busy. Keep the kids occupied. Keep myself occupied. Go hard and sleep hard and hopefully get it over with as quickly as possible.

I won't tell you all that we've done so far. I have the list with things crossed off to prove it. It makes me even more tired just thinking about it.



I hit a wall. The "haven't slept more than a few hours a night for a week straight" wall. The "late night projects and organizing" wall. The "I'm tired of being a single parent and settling every dispute, wiping every bottom, answering every question" wall.


One more week to go.

The good news, I suppose, is that I have successfully survived half of this ordeal. The house is still intact (and actually better for all of the work we've done), the kids are still healthy (praise the Lord for that!) and happy. We've had lots of sweet friends call and check on us, offer to help, invite us to swim.

I've learned some things, too, I suppose. ANYTHING with seven kids and one parent is a lot of work. Even if it's "fun". Kids still expect meals three times a day. Even when their dad is out of town. The Coach and Son (#1) are not the significant contributors to the laundry in this house. I'm just sayin'. Adult conversation is vital to one's existence (I'm just warning you if you decide to call and I actually get to the phone before the answering machine does). And last but not least, it's easier (and more fun) to GO than to STAY.

And now my eyes are crossing and I'm thinking I may actually be able to sleep, tonight. I even got out the "sleep spray" (as we call it) for the kids. Even when I have fallen asleep this week without the Coach, the kids seem to come in a steady stream and keep me from sleeping all night. So maybe tonight everyone will cooperate!

Of course these times make me realize how hard it would be to be a single parent. Or have a spouse overseas. Wait! My spouse IS overseas! No, seriously. Those who parent alone are unbelievable. And if you are raising kids by yourself? I'm so sorry. And I hope you don't have seven!

Night all~

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Well. It's Thursday. Let me think. . .

1. The Coach and Son #1's safe arrival in Brazil. Took 5 days instead of 1, but they made it! And saw a lot of new places in the process. Salt Lake City, NYC, Sao Palo, Manaus, etc.

2. Safety during five days at the Farm with the seven kids (without the Coach!). Enjoyed time with grandparents and friends, swimming in the pond, riding the ATV's, roasting marshmallows, watching movies. Lovely.

3. Lots of projects to do here at home. No chance of getting bored! Time is passing quickly and there is still a lot to do!

4. OH! School is out! We went straight from the end of school, to the departure of our men, to time at the farm. But YEAH for Summer!

5. A great school year. It wasn't an easy one in some ways. But we learned a lot. Grew a lot. Were stretched and tried. All good.

6. Not being able to sleep well without the Coach here. Let me tell you, I am getting SO much done! HA! Another 9 nights and I'll be caught up on everything there is to catch up on! Of course I may also go completely nuts, but that's another thing all together.

7. Sweet family and friends. We've have felt so loved with all of the people checking on us, inviting us over, offering to help. What a blessing!

8. Only 9 more days! (Have I said that already?)

9. Time with my kids. I am really enjoying them when I'm not frustrated with them (just being real, here). They've been great. Helped so much with packing up for the farm and packing up to come home. Babysitting so I can get groceries, run errands, helping with projects, etc. I know they miss their dad, too, but they've been great.

10. The opportunity for the Coach and Son #1 to spend this time in Brazil. I'm just so grateful. Grateful for the new perspective they will have. The lessons they will learn. The maturing that I know will happen in Son #1. Our prayer for our kids has always been that sharing the love of Christ will be their heart's passion.

And now? Going to clean out the garage. I've been thinking about what the Coach would like to see finished when he gets home. Working on the list little by little. Happy to have so many helpers. Even if it is HOT outside! :-)

Happy Thursday!