Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Day in the Life

At each meal we pray for them.  Son #1 in Colorado working as a wrangler at a ranch.  Daughter #2 and Son #3 in China on a mission trip with school.

It's quiet with only five.  We aren't quite sure what to do.  So many empty seats around the table.

In the Fall, there will only be six kids around the table on week nights.  In two more years, there will only be five here most of the time (not just for three weeks of the Summer).  In four more years, we'll be down to four.  In ....

Well, you get the idea.

I'm not complaining.  It's less food, less laundry, and it's quieter.


Today I got up and headed out for a run while the Coach and Son #4 headed to the dermatologist.  When I got back, I loaded up Daughter #7 and Little Man and we met Granddad and Grandmother for coffee.  Then to get my allergy shots.  Then to wash and clean out the big van, which hadn't been washed since before vacation - and has since been taken on an overnight backpacking trip by the Coach and four of the kids.  Then to the cleaners and to return a movie...

You get the idea.

When we got home I switched kids (for Daughter #5 and Daughter #6) and headed out to another doctor's appointment while Son #4 mowed the yard.  After the appointment we ran more errands (Birthday coupon from Loft?  Why yes, yes I will.) before coming home and switching kids (again).

Daughter #7 had found something to make on Pinterest and she had a Hobby Lobby gift card, so we headed out with list in hand (and a birthday gift to buy).  Little Man found a project (he is the project MAN) to do, as well.

When we got home, it was time to fix dinner and tackle the laundry that had been going all day from our three days at the farmhouse.  Where we headed after dropping our two off to head to China on Saturday.

After an early dinner, the Coach and Son #4 headed to 7 on 7 football.  Finally I'm sitting down, after a visit with Papa (who came by on a walk), to catch my breath.

A typical Summer day around here isn't restful - even with only five kids.  We never lack for plenty to do.  Or someone to talk to.  Or run errands/watch a movie/play a game with.  But it also means there is lots of help when it's time to make dinner or clean the house or fold laundry.

Someday, as I frequently tell the kids, the Coach and I will spend Summers taking an RV around the country to visit all of them and their families.  

For now, I'm happy to be home base, keep up with the comings and goings, make airport runs, cook meals (and try to adjust recipes for varying numbers of kids), and now and then?  Sit down to write so I don't forget what it's like RIGHT NOW, this moment, today.

Happy Tuesday!

Prayers appreciated for our team in China for the next two weeks.  We miss them, already.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

It's a lose, lose situation...

Parenting is a rough job.  I can honestly say I am continually challenged, defeated, rejoicing, discouraged, laughing and crying.

Often all at the same time.

When your kids fail?  You take responsibility.  (I'm not saying you SHOULD, I'm saying I DO.)  I should have... I wish I'd... if only we'd...

The Coach and I take our God-given responsibility very seriously.  I know it's my job to teach and train, to love and discipline, to make wise decisions.

It's my job.

It's also impossible.  They are each completely different and we are imperfect.  Some days it feels like we fail more often then we get it right.

And when they succeed?  Make wise decisions, work hard, love others, serve without complaining?  We can't take credit for that.  Because it's truly God's work in their hearts.  Not our doing.

So in some ways, it's a lose lose.  You take the responsibility for their mistakes.  You can't take credit for their successes.

The other night, the Coach and I were talking about how having adult kids is a humbling experience.  There is a WHOLE lot of "keeping your mouth shut". You are sometimes holding your breath waiting to see if they'll do what's right.  Or even just what you'd like them to do.

After discussing this, each kid and their various challenges and decisions ahead, we both started laughing.  "Why does anyone even HAVE kids to begin with??"

We were kidding, of course.

Sort of.

Because in spite of the lose lose guarantee, we would do it all over again.

Parenting has taught US so much.  We are different people than we would be without each of them in our family.  I know we've missed the mark as parents at times.  But I'm rather fond of the eight people they are becoming.

I know there are still rough days, ahead.  I can count on it.  Thankfully God's grace will be there, just like it has been in the past.

But today?  

This lose lose situation feels very much like a WIN.  

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Missing Mr. Postive

The Coach gets home tomorrow night from a week in Haiti with a group of teens from our school.  Our #4 went along, too.  Without my better half I am not even a responsible adult.  We've eaten out most nights, stayed up too late, and spent more money than we should have (although, in my defense, the to do list is looking amazing!).  It's a good thing he'll be home soon.

Last night we started "Confessions of a Shopaholic" at 10 PM.  Yikes.

I figure A) I don't sleep well when he's gone, anyway.  And B) Between camps and parties and jobs and swim lessons I've only had two or three kids here for dinner every night.  Does anyone even bother to cook for two kids? Apparently, I don't.

There are a zillion things I miss about the Coach when he's gone.  But one thing does stand out.

In this house?  He's the one with the positive attitude.

I'm the doom despair and agony on me, overwhelmed, I'll never make it, it won't work (OK, maybe a bit of a drama queen?)...

He just gives me a smile and says, "It'll get done."  "It'll be OK."  "We'll make it."  "We'll do better next time."

Of course he can't guarantee these things.  (See how I'm so positive?)  But somehow hearing it allows me to take a deep breath, quit stressing out (as much) and keep on going.

His football guys gave him this at the end of the season.  On each coach's photo they put what the guys agreed the coach was known for saying.  My Coach didn't so much want his picture for his own desk (ha!), so I stole it for mine.  I looked at it many times before it hit me what exactly it says about him.

He's always sure that the best is yet to come.

I know that sounds silly, but I certainly don't live that way most of the time.  I'm sad the kids are growing up and leaving.  I'm discouraged that my body is aging.  I miss the kids that are gone all of the time.  I struggle to find hope that my family will be restored.  I feel like so much suffering is in vain.

He knows it's not.

Because whatever else the future holds, we can trust our Heavenly Father who holds it all.  No, our kids will not always do what we would like for them to do.  No, our siblings may not follow the Lord.  No, our parents health won't always be restored.  No, we probably won't ever NOT be tired.

But the coach looks forward to what IS to come.  Today?  We have each other.  He tells me over and over again - YES we will miss these goofy kids - but Lord willing we'll have some time to ourselves one day (Woohoo!).  And yes, life will continue to hold sorrow and illness and broken relationships.  But no matter what?  We have secure salvation in the righteous of Christ.

Puts in all in perspective, doesn't it?

So even though I miss his handsome face and his voice saying I love you (he can only text from Haiti) and his telling me to go to bed already and his reminding me I've already used the dining out budget for the next three calendar years and how he jumps in to help with dinner chores and laundry folding and bedtime reading...

Most of all, I miss him telling me that I'm gonna make it.

I spend a lot of time when the Coach travels praying for my sweet friends who are walking through this season of life without their husbands or wives (lots of prayer time when I can't sleep).  I know I can't imagine for a second what that's like.  But I appreciate the reminder to lift them up to the Lord and ask Him to meet their every need in Christ.

Watching them walk through so much heartache, they've taught me something.

Those of us who are in Christ?  We're gonna make it.

And maybe I'm starting to make that my own, even without the Coach here to tell me.

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Happy Tuesday/almost Wednesday Dear Ones.