Friday, April 26, 2013


Longest. Week. Ever.

Is it just me?  Because when the Coach is gone, it's like I'm walking around with only half of myself.  And less than half of my brain, because we all know he's the smart one.

It's a cloudy, cool Friday morning.  I'm loving the LEAVES that are all coming out on the trees, softening the landscape of the yard.  I love every season.  But I grow tired of the harshness of Winter.  The tree branches that let the sunlight glare without filtering it before it hits the grass.  The sunlight rarely touches our backyard, once the leaves are out.  It's beautiful.

Yay for Spring!

And pansies.  Which I love.

The new kitchen floor should be scheduled sometime today.  There's that.  And tonight we have friends coming for dinner.  To make the time go faster, the kids decided.  We miss the Coach.

We've managed to survive a sprained wrist, pink-eye, and fingers slammed in a door.  Life at the troops is somewhat dangerous.  Today is also "Noah Webster Day" for the little sister, so she headed out looking like a cute little student from the 1800's.

The half-marathon is Sunday.  Yesterday, in the middle of my very last short run before then, my tummy did a little flip.  It's a weird feeling to FINISH training.  I can't describe it.  It made me oddly emotional. . . remembering last year's struggles (stress fracture - ugh).  And this year's.  It would be unusual (for me) to train and NOT have any issues.  It's hard.  It's such an analogy of LIFE.

Son #3 finished his run just as I was heading out, yesterday.  He runs at a 7:20 pace.  This makes me laugh and feel like congratulating him every time he finishes a run.  This annoys him.  My 10:30 pace is so much less exciting!

It's been a struggle to get homeschool done this week.  We have Spring Fever.  It's all we can do to get through those math lessons and grammar before the itch to do something else sets in.  This week, Daughter (#6) has cleaned out the fridge, organized the bathroom cabinets and shower (four girls = way too many shampoo bottles), folded masses of laundry, planned meals, made the list and helped me shop for groceries, along with her usual routine.  The girl is amazing.

Note to self:  When at home (the beach doesn't count), do NOT take a sleeping pill AND a Benadryl to keep from being up all night.  Unless you want to feel like the walking dead all of the next day.  And my apologies to everyone I talked to, yesterday.  Yikes.

And now we are off to get this day going.  Floor guy coming to measure, allergy shots, a trip down to the Expo to pick up our race stuff for Sunday, and getting the house and dinner ready for later, tonight.

Praying for all of my dear friends who have husbands who are gone more than not (I'm such a baby when the Coach isn't here).  And asking the Lord to show YOU His love, today.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lots of Send Offs

Just "yesterday" I had 6 kids seven and under and they NEVER WENT ANYWHERE.  And neither did I!  Ha.

Last week I had a fabulous beach trip with girlfriends, (and this one and this one and another one that doesn't blog). Ahhhhhh - a rare moment when I was the one being "sent off".  It was lovely.

While I was gone, Son #1 had his first Junior Senior Banquet (our school's version of Prom - with dress checks and minus the dancing!)

We love these girls!

This morning I kissed two of my men good-bye (the Coach and the 13 yr old) to travel to DC for 10 days.  It's an amazing trip.  This is the Coach's 3rd time to go - he's been with all of our 6th grade boys.  And I LOVED going with Daughter (#2) four years ago.  Wow.  Four years ago.

This Sunday is the OKC Memorial Marathon (and Half-Marathon, thank goodness!).  Training is done.  Love the taper!  Son #3 and I are running it, along with my mom (isn't she amazing?).  I dream of the day when THIS girl will come run it with me.  Someday!

And when they get back?  I'll be saying good-bye to the Coach and Daughter (#2) for the Sophomore trip.
And Daughter #5 will be off to 5th grade Science Camp.
And then the Coach and Daughter (#2), will be off to Haiti for a week.
Then Son #3 and my parents will be off to Africa for two weeks.
Then Son #1 and Daughter #2 will be off to Summit for two weeks.

While the big kids are all gone in June, the younger ones will have football camp, basketball camp, volleyball camp, and VBS. Along with Summer jobs and workouts and hopefully some time spent with this ministry, too.

Sometime around the first of July we'll all be here, together again.  For more than a few days.  And a week in Colorado that's already been planned.  Thank heavens.  We'll be back just in time for a new season of volleyball to start.

This is a crazy, busy, FUN season of life.  Never dull.  Never enough time in the day to get it all done.

I don't let my kids do "everything" - with the exception of Africa and the Summit, all of our activities are school related.

But with eight kids. . . it doesn't take very many things on the calendar to make it crazy.

The nights when all 10 of us can be around the table?  Have been few and far between.

I'm not complaining.  I love it all.  I love the opportunities my kids have to go and do and learn and share the gospel.

But it already seems quieter this morning with only eight of us.

Of course it could have something to do with who is gone.  (smile)

And I'm not talking about the Coach.

Yesterday (I found out after the fact) the three bigs gave speeches for Student Council offices.  They don't bother mentioning it because they don't think it's a "big deal", but the Coach told me last night.  And when I fill out forms and make appointments for overseas shots and check passports and. . . well, you know. . . I'm just so grateful.

For kids who LOVE the Lord and His people.  For a Coach who goes with them, encourages them, teaches them, reminds them that serving it where it's at.

Because he lives that each and every day at school and at home.


I miss him already.

Happy Wednesday!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Hard to Predict

Some mornings I wake up with an idea of what the day will hold.

Unloading the dishwasher and starting the coffee.  Getting out the cereal and waking the littles.  Lining up the lunchbags and writing names on the lunch sacks (at a certain age, lunchbags become uncool, you know).  Washing out and filling the water bottles.  Putting in ponytails, making sandwiches.

Occasionally (OK.  Pretty much every day.) there are surprises.  Son #3 forgot to put his khakis in the dryer last night so they are still wet.  Shoes are lost.  PE bags are still full of dirty clothes from earlier in the week.

Or someone wakes up sick.

It happens.

Yesterday, I wasn't surprised at all to have two girlies who needed to stay home.  I wasn't surprised by the ice on the trees, or the frigid temps.  I wasn't even surprised to wake up to our 4th born turning THIRTEEN!

But I was just a bit surprised when the plumber, who came to fix the kitchen drain, got his snake STUCK in the kitchen drain and couldn't get it out.


Then a bit more surprised when he told me that the reason it was stuck was (I should be saying IS because it IS still there, this morning!) that the line has a break in it.

Why does this scenario feel strangely familiar?


We've done this before?

Jackhammered up the kitchen floor?

Replaced a section of the kitchen sewer line?

Re-poured the slab?

Replaced the entire kitchen/laundry/boys' bath flooring?


Not our first rodeo.

I was just a tad bit frustrated when the Coach called to discuss our "options"  (which seem to be leaving the snake IN the drain and never using the sink, again. . . or tearing up the floor).  A birthday party to get together for evening.  No way to wash dishes.  Two sick girls.  Trees covered with ICE and a cold blowing wind.

Not my best moment.

He reminded me, though (as he always does), that "it is what it is".  Do the next thing.  We can't change it, so get on with what needs to be done and purpose to be grateful.  (Which always seems easier for him to say while sitting in his quiet office at school. . . instead of the chaos that is here!)

I am grateful.

For foam bowls and plastic spoons.
For running water in the bathrooms (and some way to wash the dishes I can't avoid using).
For a clean house (at least until the jack hammer arrives).
For healthy kids (one girlie back at school and one still home but MUCH better).
For sunshine and melting ice.
For a handsome, fun, newly THIRTEEN year old son.  Love him.
For parents, in-laws, and friends to help us celebrate.
For birthday gifts and angel food cake from Sam's.
For clean clothes (the washer and dryer are still working!).
For a warm house.
For a precious Coach who loves me in spite of my tendency to have a melt down on a fairly regular basis.

So see?

I may not be able to predict what any given day will hold here at the troops.  But I can count on having something to be grateful for.  And a loving Heavenly Father who holds it all.

Maybe I should get a shower before the water gets turned off?

Happy Thursday!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Loving this SUNSHINE!

Thank you all for your sweet and encouraging comments on Tuesday's post about the temptations our guys face.  I was blessed by knowing there are so many of us on the same page - desiring the same things - with the same goals and struggles.  Bless you all.  I promise, anew, not to mutter under my breath the next 50 times I have to type in a password.

This morning I'm stuck at home while electricians are here.  Trying to get the house in order after a late night.  Looking at the piles of laundry and mail/papers and ohmydearheavens the email inbox.  Am I the only one who just quits looking after it hits 300?  Yikes.   The only problem with ignoring it?  My kids need to know how much to bring for "this" and when "that" starts and did I get the email with the attached permission form for "that"and did I send a check yet for ChoirTour-WashingtonDC-CreationNation-8thGradeRetreat trips?


I'd rather iron.

And I hate to iron.

Our two oldest have been gone on choir tour this week.  I miss them.  I love getting their texts about where they are singing and how much fun they are having and how someone was SAVED at their concert last night!

But can I just say?  It's quieter with six.

I know you are laughing.  I am, too.

But it's less food, less laundry, less noise.  I should mention the two that are gone are by far the quietest.  Although without Son #1 home I can cut the food volume in half.  Easily.

I still miss them.

And their ability to run errands, pick up kids, and bring home the afternoon carpool.

Yesterday we had a major crisis.  The coffee tasted HORRIBLE when I fixed the Coach's to-go cup for school.

After cleaning the coffee maker twice, washing the pot and letting it air dry, changing the filter and getting new creamers. . . we are back in business.

It did require a stop at Starbucks for my own morning caffeine fix.  Sad, I know.  Fortunately, my dad was there having coffee with a friend so we got to visit with him, too.  Is there a support group for Starbucks addiction?  Hmmmm.

For now, I'm off to refill my cup with coffee that is once again. . . delish. . . and make the best use of my stuck-at-home morning getting caught up on things here at the troops before the weekend and all of it's craziness hits:  Two volleyball games and a wedding on Saturday, Sunday morning choir concert for our kids, and running the Red Bud 10K on Sunday afternoon.

Each and every day I am grateful for my Coach and how he continues to talk me down from the ledge. Last night when I arrived home late with a little volleyball player and the house was a mess, the kids not settled down in bed, yet, my shins hurting, and in desperate need of a shower?

"This is just crazy," I told him, eyes glazed over while standing in the less than clean kitchen.

"Well.  It's just going to be crazy," he responded.

Eight kids from 6-17.  Six in school.  Homeschooling a 4th grader.  One Pre-Ker.  Three playing volleyball.  One taking piano lessons and training for the 1/2 marathon.  Four cars.  Two in after-school workouts.

And all of the books, homework, laundry, and food that go along with it all.

I love it.  I do.

Another group of workmen has arrived to put a counter in over my new washer and dryer, so the day is off to a running start.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Purposing to be grateful . . . and vigilant!

The other night, I stopped, turned to the Coach, and thanked him for being a faithful husband to me.

I take it for granted, and I don't say it as often as I should.

But I'm so so grateful.

He would tell you his faithfulness is because of the LORD's faithfulness to him.  He would.  And it is.

And if one of us stumbled, fell, or blew it completely, God would still be faithful.  To both of us.

In our culture, though, it seems like a marriage of faithfulness and commitment and determination to be pure is a rarity.

There are so many things pulling us away from each other in towards the world.  The devil, the sensuality of our culture.  Even our own selfish hearts.

Hearts that often would rather NOT work though a conflict.

Hearts that are often too quick to snap when irritated.

Hearts that treat someone unkindly, then expect them to respond in love.

Hearts that think being tired is an excuse for not reaching out to one another.

Hearts that only focus on what annoys us, instead of how we are blessed.

It's tough.  I won't lie and say it isn't.

We can NOT underestimate the temptations that are out there for our men.  From larger than life pictures in store windows at the mall, to the easy and sometimes acidintal access to pornography on our computers and phones, to the junk that arrives in our homes over the airwaves and is just a TV power button click away.

Our culture is rough on men.  The visual assult never ends.  It requires non-stop vigilance and protection and accountability to survive.

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Phil 4:8

So today. . . help a guy out.  Your husband, your sons, your brothers.  If you don't have a filter on your computer, a good one, install it NOW.  Install it on your phone, your itouch, your ipad (on EVERYTHING!).  Get the mail before they do and trash the swimsuit catalogs.  Go through the paper in the morning and chunk the ads.  Dress modestly and encourage your daughters to do the same.  Limit your freedom, if necessary, to be blessing to them.

And then. . . SAY IT!  Tell your husband you are grateful for all he does and how hard he works to be faithful to you.

If he has failed in the past, encourage him to get the help and accoutability he needs to be faithful to you from today ON.  PRAY for him.  Every day.  ASK him the hard questions.  Encourage him to have men in his life that will ask him the hard questions, too.  Find someone who has loved their husband through failure and ask them to pray for you and encourage you.

I wish I could just ignore it.  Stick my fingers in my ears and shout, "I'm not listening!" when yet another friend starts to tell me their husband is having an affair or is addicted to pornography or worse.  But as a wife and mother, I don't have the option.  I have to fight.  Fight to protect my family.  Fight to guard my sons, do the hard thing, say NO to things I know will open them up to temptation, and work constantly to have a relationship with them that warrants talking about it all.

Think I'm blowing it all out of proportion?  Just ask someone who is struggling right now in the battle of the mind.  Ask them  how hard it is.  Ask them if they can even quit fighting.  Ask them how many relationships their addiction has destroyed.  Read some statistics about addiction.  Ask your boys what they've seen or been shown, lately.  Then get on your knees and PRAY for the men in your life.  Do everything you can to protect them.  PRAY some more.  And encourage.  And love.

We are beyond the place in our culture that our boys will get through life without seeing pornography.  They WILL see it.  They WILL have someone show it to them, come across it on the computer, or even find it intentionally.  They WILL.  Have you prepared them for when that happens?  Have you given them scripture to show them how dangerous sin is and how far reaching the consequences are?  Have you equipped them to look away, turn the page, close the browser, turn off the TV, and then tell you the truth?

This is something we are constantly talking about and working on at the troops.  If you don't think you need to be working on it, I pray the Lord will open your eyes.  And then give you the strength and grace to face it honestly in your home.

I hate it.  But it's our reality.  It's your reality, too, whether you realize it or not.

The GOOD news (yes, there is good news!)?  Is that no matter what you've done, no matter what sin holds a grip on you, no matter what your past (or future) failures. . . CHRIST gives us hope.  We have forgiveness.  We have power over sin.  HE has conquered sin and death and because of HIM we can conquer it, as well.

"But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."  I Cor 15:57-58

Come quickly Lord Jesus.