Sunday, July 31, 2016

Random Sunday Thoughts

The saddest part about Summer winding down?  Losing our lazy Sunday nights.  Summer Sunday nights are the best. School Sunday nights?  Not so much.  Like that project you were supposed to start on Friday and do something every day all weekend, except there was a football game on Friday night and volleyball all day Saturday and church on Sunday morning so RIGHT NOW it all must be done before you go to bed!  You can tell how much I'm looking forward to it, right?


Yesterday we had one of our last free Saturdays before schools starts.  Or I should say before footballs starts.  When I say goodbye to my men for months.  (Kidding.  Sort of.)

The Coach and I took an earlyish run.  Because early to him is 5:30 and early to me is 7:00.  I've given up on being a morning person.  Pretty sure he hasn't give up on making me one (bless him).   As we neared home, a thunderstorm was rolling by to the north.  Then we sat on the porch and drank our coffee and talked.  For over an hour.  We realized we didn't have too much on the agenda for the day (hence the porch sitting), so I assigned jobs to all of the kids and we took my dad to the noon movie.  So nice.


There were days when the kids were little that I was sure they'd never be independent.  I'd take 10 times longer to get a job done so they could be by my side learning along with me - on a good day.  On a bad day I'd do it all by myself while they napped or watched a video.  Remember Bear in the Big Blue House?  "Mmmmm.  You smell like... Honey."  Loved that.  Then I started assigning them jobs only to have to go give them step by step instructions, follow up after, and send them back to do it all again more thoroughly.

But I'm telling you.  The day will come.  When they will be SUCH a help to you.  And since you don't have to do all of the work (or spend 10 times longer doing it with them hanging on your leg or messing it up as you go)?  You'll have time to play games and watch movies and do puzzles and cook and bake WITH them.

Trust me.  Stick with it.  Take deep breaths and keep teaching and training and laughing at the frustration of it all.  So worth it.


We get obsessed with games at the troops.  They play the SAME thing for weeks.  And weeks.  Until I think I might lose my mind.  Then they switch to something else and play that for weeks.  It's odd and funny and maddening.

This Summer started with Volley/Tennis/Roof Ball.  Hitting volleyballs off the roof with tennis racquets.  Oh.  And you have to say a random word when you hit the ball.  Made up games might be their specialty.

It continued with croquet.  Hours and hours of croquet in the front yard.  They googled the rules and played all around our sloped, tree-filled front yard.  They even added a rule that everyone not hitting the ball had to stand on the sidewalk so as not to interfere.  Which created a cheering, jeering gallery that was far more entertaining than the game itself.  The neighbors must think we are nuts.

Then the extreme heat arrived and they moved inside to the A/C and Rumikub.  Always a favorite, but for several weeks an obsession.  Everyone trying to beat daughter (#7) who was blessed by God almighty with her daddy's math brain.  I actually beat her twice.  The whole Summer.  I'm so proud.

Currently?  They are playing indoor volleyball on their knees in the living room with a huge pink rubber ball and throw pillows for the middle line.  We've moved the candles, vases, and picture frames because it is obviously somewhat hazardous.  But also hilarious.

I'll miss all of this when we have games every night of the week.  But that has it joys, as well.


I've cut the boys' and the Coach's hair for years.  I was fortunate to start before they cared what it looked like (buzz cuts for everyone!) and gradually I've learned enough (with some lessons from my mother-in-law and my dad) to do a respectable job on five different heads of very different hair who all want it cut different ways.

But it's not my favorite chore.  At all.  So much pressure.  And itchiness.

So today, when the boys said they were paying to go to the walk in place and get their hair cut and giving me the day off?  I rejoiced.

These guys have my heart.

And I got a nap.


Last week the Coach and I sat down and talked about how we had gotten a bit lazy with each other.  My Coach is a such good man.  I know I say that a lot and if you know him you know it's true. But life with a houseful of teens just gets busy.  We were getting everything done.  But like ships passing in the night.  We'd quit doing a lot of the thoughtful things that make life with each other FUN.  We'd go days only texting "Are you bringing the kids home or do I need to come get them?" and "What's for dinner?" which was always a kid using the Coach's phone and not the actually the Coach.

We've been apart more than usual this Summer. It did give us a new appreciation for each other, but it also made us both more comfortable than usual doing things on our own.  When he's gone (and often without any communication) on a mission trip, I'm in charge.  When he's on a mission trip, I'm not experiencing what he's going through.  It gets to be a habit and then all of a sudden you're both acting independently instead of communicating and making decisions together.

Thankfully, we both realized it.  Talked about it.  Have been working harder at getting back to paying more attention to each other.  Texting "I love you." and "I'm grateful for you." and "Thanks for unloading the dishwasher before you left this morning."  Can I just say?  Makes life really good.  Somehow when we treat each other as if we like each other?  We remember how very much we do.  He's still my favorite after these 21 something years.


Right now, as I'm headed to bed, Daughter (#2) is somewhere over the water, flying from Dubai to Dallas on her way home from two weeks in Kenya.  She's shared the gospel and held beautiful babies and watched the elephants at the watering hole.  I can NOT wait to hear all about it.  After she sleeps for two days.  Ha!

Which brings me back to these crazy kids. Parenting is the hardest job there is.  There are days I'm fairly certain I won't survive and the only reason I keep going is because I'm blessed to have a community of family who HAS.  Survived, that is.  It gives me hope on the days when I'm sure I've failed completely.

But how very grateful I am to be their momma.  To watch them grow and learn and serve others and become these amazing people that I love so dearly.

So grateful.

Keep trusting your people to their loving Heavenly Father and take deep breaths and go to bed earlier and leave the dishes for the kids to do at 10:00 pm.

It's the best.

Happy Summer Sunday!

Phil. 1:6 "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."

Friday, July 22, 2016

Adjusting Expectations

I slept in AND ran yesterday.  Which means I ran at 8:30 when it was already a billion degrees outside.  With the humidity, I'm sure the heat index was a billion ten.  At least.

But I got out there, anyway.

I hadn't run in 12 days.  After almost 8 years of running consistently, I rarely miss more than one run.  Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday or Sunday.  Every week.  Every month.  All year.  The only decision to be made is whether it's going to be Saturday or Sunday this weekend.

The time off was unplanned and - in my thinking - un-needed. I've just been a slacker.  A tired, Summer-mom slacker.

Finally sucked it up yesterday and got out there.  It wasn't horrible.

The whole thing has made me think...

Sometimes you need to rest.  I need to rest.  Even when there isn't a "good" reason.  I'm so grateful that the Lord knows this.  Often it takes a super busy schedule or a sick little one or a husband going on an unexpected trip to get me out of my routine and cause me to REST.

My expectations of what I can do, the pace I can keep, the amount I can get done each week?  Sometimes I need to adjust them.

Allow for Summer.  For naps.  For rest.  Take a day off from running (figuratively or literally or both).  Or 12.

During the school year I find myself saying, "THIS Summer we are going to get to that closet/cabinet/room/project.  THIS will be the year!  Organize the things!  Clean out the stuff!"

Then Summer comes and I hear myself saying, "THIS Fall when the kids are back in school I am going to get to that closet/cabinet/room/project!  THIS will be the year..."

Sound familiar?

Every now and then we get something extra done.  The list gets a little shorter before it gets longer again.  It works.  It's ok.  We are getting ENOUGH done and learning so much together in the process.

The house doesn't have to be clean all of the time.  In spite of my expectation for it to be so.  We can watch a movie in the evening.  Even if there is unfolded laundry.  We can have pancakes for dinner and leave the dishes for morning.

It's OK.

What I want more than anything is to hear and obey the indwelling Holy Spirit each moment - whether that means deep cleaning the house or sitting and playing "Kube of Rum" with my kids.  There is a time for both.  And these days are passing so quickly.  So very quickly.

I don't want to let my own expectations of myself or others be my master.

Yesterday I sat down on the Coach's laptop to write this post and realized that his filter didn't allow him to access blogs.  Any blogs.

Think about that for a minute.

So now I'm letting go of the expectation that the Coach reads anything I write.

(Are you laughing, yet?)

How I love him.

(And he had those pancake/dinner dishes done before I left for workouts this morning.  He's a good man.)

I think I'll just go back to Colorado where it's cool.  Sigh.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Some Kind of Irony

I'm not talking about the opposite of wrinkly.  I'm all for wrinkly - which is why my kids iron their own clothes.

Monday evening - after being up since 3:30 AM - I told the Coach, "This Summer is killing me.  I'm exhausted.  Overwhelmed.  Getting nothing done.  And SO TIRED."

As usual he just laughed.  Which I tell myself isn't out of lack of compassion (?), but because he finds me amusing.  Which keeps things interesting.  I hope.

Once again he said, "We're not going to be anything but busy.  Eight kids, remember?"

He says this to me a lot.  As if I might forget that we have eight kids.


Sometimes I am a tad bit forgetful.

Can I just say?  Adult kids are mentally exhausting for several reasons (that I've discovered thus far).

First, they aren't physically WITH you all of the time.  I know, I know, you're thinking "YAY FOR PEACE AND QUIET" which of course, is lovely.  But when they aren't with you, you're still thinking about them, praying for them, worrying about them, wondering how they are, and trying very much to speak into their lives in some sort of regular fashion. Which honestly, is somewhat tricky when you ALSO still have six kids at home - in various stages - that are around every day.  And since they aren't WITH you?  You can't just look at them and see that they are or aren't OK.  You can't look into their eyes.

(A side note?  Just when they become these amazing adult people that you LOVE to be with, admire, and enjoy tremendously?  They leave.  It stinks.)

Secondly, there is the supposed gradual change from your control to their control.  Natural, needed, appropriate.  Also hard.  Because you are constantly debating whether or not to address things in their lives.  Sometimes you should.  Sometimes you should keep your mouth shut.  It's challenging. And I'm not so good at the keeping your mouth shut part.

All to say, I know we only have six kids living at home full-time.  It's less laundry, less food, fewer people and fewer activities.  Sort of.

But mentally there are still eight.  Always eight.  Well, until there are MORE than eight.  But I'll think about that another day.

No, I don't have toys all over the floor, highchairs to clean, baths to give, or diapers to change.  Thankful for that.  I don't miss it.  But these grown people are still MY people.  Figuring out these new roles, relationships, and communication is work.  Different work, but still work.

Back to the irony.

After telling the Coach how tired I was?  I had a full night of teens who couldn't sleep and needed to talk, and - unfortunately - a Little Man who was hit with a violent stomach bug in the night requiring LOTS of cleaning, laundry, a shower, and sleeping by him on the floor.  And Febreeze.  So thankful for Febreeze.

Last night?  A full eight hours of sleep.  Pretty sure I heard the angels singing when I woke.  And thankfully... a clean house.  Because nothing motivates me to clean and sanitize like the threat of the vomit monster catching another kid.  Yikes.

I could easily think that we were jinxed by the fact that I told someone the other day that we hadn't had the stomach flu in AGES.  Then I told the Coach I was unusually tired.  Just don't.

But the truth is, it's just part of life.  God is still in control (in spite of the current political scene) and He loves us.  He gave the grace and strength for today.  And He'll be faithful tomorrow, as well.

That's the comfort in it all.  Not that it will be easy, He doesn't promise us that.  But that He'll be with us.  Even when I'm cleaning up vomit at 1:00 AM.  

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Cor 12:9

So thankful.  

Prayers appreciated for Daughter (#2) and my mom who arrived safely in Kitale, Kenya this morning.  I'm slightly panicked about how FAR AWAY they are after 45 hours of traveling (you'd think after sending kids to Africa six times it would get easier - it doesn't).  But also excited to hear about what God is doing in that part of the world.  Thanks for praying with us!

Happy Wednesday!  

Monday, July 18, 2016

Summer 2016 Update

Time for blogging has been overtaken by early workouts and post-workout naps and bacon and egg breakfasts at 11:00 and Psych marathons on Netflix and packing and unpacking and laundry and SO MUCH dropping kids off and picking kids up...

There is about a month of Summer left.  Between workouts and camps and VBS and vacation and mission trips, we haven't had much time to catch our breath.

OH so much to be grateful for.

Son (#1) is settled in at the ranch.  And loving it.  Maybe a little too much.

We were so thankful to have him home for a friend's wedding in June!  I have such handsome men, don't you think?

The Coach and Son (#3) had a great trip to Honduras.  They worked in a small school on the island of Roatan doing tutoring and VBS.

We had a FABULOUS vacation week together in Breckenridge.  Granddad's amazing breakfasts, mountain morning runs, family hikes, puzzles, jeep tours, and even 24 hours with our oldest boy.  Glorious.

Driving back from Colorado, we found out that Son's (#4) Leadertreks trip to Montana was lacking a male sponsor.  So instead of just getting him ready to go?  We had 24 hours to get him AND the Coach ready for 7 days of backpacking in the Big Horn National Forest.  Whew.  They headed out early the next morning and after 8 days... the Coach flew home and left his brother to handle week 2 of the trip.

Last week we sent Son (#3) off to Impact 360 Immersion in Georgia.  He's doing great!  One more week to go.

Last night we got Son (#4) back safe and sound.

This morning we sent Daughter (#2) off to Kenya for two weeks with Grandmother and Reaching Souls International missions.

And our little freshman, Daughter (#5), headed off to her first high school volleyball team camp this morning, as well.

We've made it through ALL of the goodbyes.  All that's left is welcoming everyone back home.

A couple of quieter weeks with just volleyball and football practice and then we'll be getting everyone ready to go back to college and school for the Fall.

So much grace.

And since I've been up since 3:30 AM... so much tired.

(Isn't this shirt that sent me for my birthday the best?!?)

One of these days?  The Coach and I will actually have a chance to talk about this Summer.  It's been a doozy so far.  Continuing to pray for wisdom and discernment and sometimes it just comes out, "Help, Lord."  He hears.  He knows.  He's so faithful.

Happy Monday!