Monday, May 27, 2013

My heart is heavy to hear of the loss caused by the tornado in Oklahoma. It hurts to hear stories of children missing, or teachers who died, their bodies covering surviving children. And more.
Sometimes I wonder why we are so fortunate to go without major natural disasters here in the Pacific NW. Grateful yes, but empathetic for others' loss, also yes. I could send money, but in reality, I'd like to resurrect the dead. And erase the events that have occurred.

I m not good at discussing theology during wreckage from national disasters, so I will leave it to those who are.

My husband is finally back home. He had a great trip, a time well-spent with his parents and other relatives, and also attendance at his cousin's beautiful wedding. I am very glad to have him back. He's such a huge help and I just plain missed him :) The girls especially. You should have seen him at dinner. All three climbing into his lap, vying for his attention! He could barely eat!

Today was co-op day. Brilla goes to the church to study Latin, Science and Art. Today was watercolor painting. Her teacher is excellent. They collectively painted a bird (the name fails me) with yellow and black. Brilla made a mistake and was down on herself, but cheered her with the fact that it doesn't have to be perfect and we are allowed mistakes, and her painting is till gorgeous to boot. She seemed happy about that.

After the big morning/afternoon, I put the littlest ones down to nap while Brilla and I "played" in the yard. I got most of our plants potted, or planted in the ground. The only things waiting now are the groundcovers. Just waiting for the weed killer to take effect so I can cover with dirt, and plant. It is looking so pretty around here! But I tell you what, gardening is exhausting and can take weeks. I need t remind myself it's not a sprint, but a marathon.

Later we had yummy leftover salmon, pilaf and peas such a simple,  but heathy, meal.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

In Love

I don't know about you, but I am in love with Spring. Especially Spring 2013. The sun has been pouring in, the flowers are in full bloom, and I am not pregnant. To which I attribute my ability to get  out and get my lawn looking nice again.

After all the sweaty hours, my yard is mostly free of weeds. First time in two years!

Bright yellow lilies wink at me from the right border of my lawn, as well as some pretty purplish blooms, whose names I am not familiar with. Hostas thrive in our shady areas, as well as some new groundcovers to hide the unsightly septic tank and aid me in my desire not to weed frequently. I also have a rose bush and lilac bush struggling to make it on the outskirts. Though I placed them in the sun and frequently use plant food, I can't help but feel worried they won't make it. Please, work a miracle.

I also have delightful tomatoes, primroses, carnation relatives, mint, azaleas and peonies yet to make their way into the ground. I am waiting for the rain the subside to order a load of bark to top it all off. Remember I actually weeded this year? I want to keep those beasties out.

Another amazing benefit of Spring here, is the natural curtain the trees provide to give us privacy from the neighbors. Though I love the brilliance of Fallish reds and oranges, by Winter the trees are sadly bare, making us a fishbowl for surrounding houses. Green and full, the trees currently stretch out their glory and hide us a bit. Just nice to throw open wide the curtains and not see another face staring back at us from across the back lawn.

My girls spend half their day playing out in the yard. In proportion to how small our home is, we have a huge back yard, about a quarter of an acre. That sounded minuscule to my sister-in-law, who has 10 plus acres, but for the city, that's pretty good. The sun has allowed the girls to jump on their new trampoline, sit or play on the deck, ride their bikes and scooters, or just do whatever they feel like doing. I also see it as getting our Vitamin D. And I am not kidding. Did you know our state has the highest rate of breast cancer? And it's attributed to lack of Vitamin D. Getting our vitamins never felt so good.

I am looking forward to more sun, more planting and more playing. Before that, however, we need to finish school. One more reason to enjoy Spring...a farewell to all things first grade!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

I should be in bed.

I've been saying that to myself the last week and a half. And every night I don't listen because there is something wonderful about being alone in the quiet, time to think.

Tomorrow is Mothers Day and can I say I am so thankful to be one? My kids teach me daily about grace. They know me inside and out. They know my failings, my strengths, and they still love me for who I am. They are so quick to forgive. To lavish their love. In an instant, I will have arms wrapped around my neck so tight, I can barely breathe because of the love in that hug. In moments like that, time stands still and I don't want my kids to grow up.

Being a mom is a learning process. There is no fail-safe book on how to do it, and all are surprised by  its naturalness, its harshness, its wonder. I was not one of those girls that longed to be a mom. But when I held my eldest for the first time, I knew this is what I was made to be: a mom. Privileged to raise her to love and be loved. To worship her Creator, to love Him with all her being.

Mom-hood is hard, no bones about it. Some days I don't want to be Mom, because it so demanding! It's tough to meet the needs of little children, give them food all the time, wipe their noses, get them dressed, help the handle their emotions when you can't even handle yours! It's painful too. There is loss, heartache and tough love. There is nothing that sharpens a woman like mom-hood.

Some days I just want to turn on the music and dance with my girls. And we do. Throw all schedules to the wind. Play outside in the sun, paint and do art projects to our heart's content. Bake cookies and lick the bowl and spatula. Shop and eat out. It is these times that seem the most fulfilling, the most joy-filled, the most meaningful.

However, all our moments are. When times are hard, it brings out the real me. Do I show my kids that I actually am insufficient and have need of a huge God? These times are the path to walking my talk. Not to be superwoman. But to fall on my knees and rely on God's gracious love and His power.
In fact. I have heard my daughter reflect on things I didn't even know she was paying attention to! Or understand things I thought were beyond her reasoning at the time.

These are the chapters where my girls see I am human, they are human too, and don't have to be perfect. But they can come talk and I will give a listening ear (and hopefully I am wise, not angry, not  wrongly judging). I want them to know they have a safe place. I want to know their hearts, see what beats within them.

And I want to show them what thankfulness looks like! Who wants a mopey mom? Am I stressed out? I need to take a chill pill and remember Who's in charge, Who has a purpose. Doesn't mean I have to smile 24/7, but doesn't mean I have to be a complainer either. The words that come out of my mouth are so permanent and set the tone of the day; a smile is infectious and a merry heart does good like a medicine. I serve a good God who has good plans for me.

Have a beautiful Mother's Day, looking through the lens of God's goodness. Our lives might look totally different than those surrounding, but I can personally proclaim His amazing care and love toward me. If you feel loss this day, I hope and pray you are aware of His peace. He wants to talk; open your heart to Him.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Somehow, Reese got a stomach bug and has been sick the last couple days. . There had been a bug going around our church and I thought we had missed it since we were gone for a week due to Brilla's cold. Obviously, it lingered and my youngest has got it. Reese has been very docile, had a hard time this afternoon with a fever, and has not eaten much. Trying to tend to her, keep up with school work, and do yard work is wearing me out.

However, I am thoroughly enjoying this sun...the reason for getting yard work done. My mother-in-law and I concocted a plan for my yard. It was random - she had come over to watch the girls during an audit - and I started talking about how this year I wanted to freshen up the yard since I'd let it go these last couple Springs. With babies and all, one is not motivated to pick up a shovel and dig upon weeds. Anyway, we started walking around the yard and talking about this idea and that. So fun to dream! And my m-i-l loves to garden. It's been invigorating though lots of work. I have a plan, but it will basically take me all Spring to finish. Mike isn't available to help so I've got to come up with a manageable plan. I have these huge expectations and I've a feeling they might need to be lowered until I can get extra help.

I'd like to haul in a bunch of beauty bark. We have a new nursery by our house but hoping to compare their prices with another place not that much further away. When it comes to all things green, or plants, I'm rather dumb. Maybe I should get my book out that an old friend gave me about making your soil less clayish and what plants to have in shady areas. Either that, or just consult am expert at the local nursery. Finally I've gotten smart enough to realize that perennials are the perfect solution to not having to plant every year. Ground covers, white rocks, a bird bath, a bench and simple walking stones are other details I have in my plan :) My parents were extremely generous this last weekend. They joined us for a get together at our house, and bore gifts of a gorgeous hanging fuchsia, and tomato plants! I was thrilled and told them it could be my Mother's Day gift...which made them laugh because they had completely forgotten about that.

Speaking of Mother's Day, I haven't the slightest clue as to what to get mine. I don't have time to make anything, but thinking of something for her garden.

As for trying to finish off this school year, it's going pretty slow. Brilla is having a hard time concentrating with the sun out. Her cough is getting the best of her and we are hoping to get a prescription for her antibiotics by the end of the week, if it doesn't let up. I feel like I'm pulling teeth to get her to sit and focus. Good thing it's May and not September or we'd really be in trouble!

It is supposed to be in the 80s this Friday. Thinking of surprising the girls with a visit to the beach. Perhaps one that is cleaner than the one closest to us. Looking forward to seeing them use their buckets and shovels!

I am finishing up another Julie Klassen read. My tablet makes it so much easier for me to keep up with reading. I can take it anywhere and read hands free. Haven't been to the library lately. Ever since being able to access our videos and books online, and with this nice weather, our visits have been scarce.

Sometimes I go on these streaks of no cooking, especially when I have a big project in tow. I am in one now because of the gardening project. It's just so exhausting that I don't feel like spending time in the kitchen. That's where sandwiches, ground beef recipes, and quick cook frozen meals from Costco come in handy. Funny, but sometimes I think we east healthier this way. Fresher food, not baked.

It's bed time. The munchkins have been asleep for a while now (had to comfort one in the middle of writing this). Just so nice to have them sleeping, which is funny to me, seeing their batteries are only recharging to wear me out again tomorrow! Ha! I say that without malice because I love my girls to pieces but boy, are they a handful.

Good night and don't let the bed bugs bite!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

God has been whispering in my ear lately..."take time for people and show a little love." I'm a doer and I like to get things done. I get on a roll, sometimes running over my own children and I just don't slow down to take in the fresh breath of life. My definition of a successful day would be a checked off checklist. A clean house. School work done. I'm not an unfeeling person, just a driven one that needs to be reminded of relationships once in a while.

So, I felt a pull to go a different direction this last week. Because of audit preparation (thank goodness it's over!) and sickness, school was on hold. The girls and I have had such a fun time together. Having Easter egg hunts even though it's not Easter, playing out in the sun as much as possible, thinking of art projects, and going to the park. I have been able to spend extra one-on-one time getting to know my girls better.

I'm always telling and directing. Taking more time to listen to my children. Hard to do.

I called my grandma. We had a marvelous chat, long overdue. How I would love to visit her. But a trip to the Midwest is a long haul. Grandma is my sister in Christ and we always talk long and deep. I am always interested to hear what she has been learning lately. Trust in the sovereignty of God. How much I need that too.

I also took time to stop and talk to my neighbors this week. One instance was especially poignant. A girl that was in our summer Bible club at our home (she's now 15!) was out in her yard. Normally I would just drive by and just wave, but it must have been the Holy Spirit that told me to pull over and chat. We talked about boyfriends, temporary love and other deep girl stuff. Such a sweet girl with a soft heart, but comes from a rough home life and I pray that some day in her life she will surrender fully to Jesus.

The biggest relationship I'm trying to make time for is the Lord. Because I want to. Sometimes my heart isn't in the right place and I don't pray. Maybe I do, but it's mechanical and cold hearted and just sad words that fall as flat as the affect. Just talking with God and thanking Him for all he's done, is going to do. Amazement at his awesomeness. Confession because I'm sinful. He always forgives, always hears.

It's necessary to get things done, but necessary to listen to the Holy Spirit. That includes stopping my selfish tendencies and caring for someone who needs it. I pray I don't bypass a hurting heart, a needy soul.