Saturday, November 30, 2013

Day 30

Because one Thanksgiving dinner isn't enough, we celebrated again today with my side of the family.  Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad!

S: Stress free day with family
M:  Getting to see my grandpa (his 96th Thanksgiving dinner!)
D:  Got to play with cousins!
P:  Got to play with cousins!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Day 29

S: Getting all the carpets tore up at the new house.
M: Fun time with the Colburns.
D: Getting to see our aunt and uncle.
P: Getting to play War with sister.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Day 28

S: Watching lots of football
M: Having our first meal at Aunt Lolo's house
D: Seeing Frozen (the movie)
P: Playing with cousins in their basement

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Day 27

S: Seeing my mentee and knowing he is doing so well.
M: Thankful for how beautiful our house is.  The new paint is gorgeous!
D: Going to Orange Leaf (frozen yogurt).
P: Getting to have pizza for lunch and getting to watch Charlie Brown.

(Healthy eating took a bit of a break today!)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Day 26

S: Remodeling has begun!
M: Having time to write today and enjoying a good meal.
D: Having five days off of activities.
P: It's a five day weekend!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Day 25

S: Work is busy, but good!
M: The end of the day.
D: More dress down days!
P: The beginning and the end of the week.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Day 24

S: Time to work on new house.
M: Great message at church and worship time.
D: Picking new color of paint for my new room.
P: Great time spent at church.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Day 23

S: Fixing all the fire alarms in the new house.
M: Getting to pick new paint for the new house.  Deciding to paint the whole house, yay!
D: Clean sheets.
P: Great basketball game.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Day 22

S: Back early from business trip and a good dinner with family
P: Doing clay owls in art class.
D: No homework!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Day 21

M: My last day of school.  Thanksgiving break has started!
D: Just a few problems of homework.
P: First big snow.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Day 20

S:  Got all of my calls done early.
M: Provision to fix broken things (both a car and our dishwasher broke!)
D:  No homework!  Getting a whole night off. 
P: Having a night off from activities.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Day 19

S: Car is fixed and I can go see my mentee.
M: An evening with just Delanie and I.
D: Finished up my homework quickly.
P: My sandwich at lunch was really good (oh, a good sandwich always speaks love, doesn't it?)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Day 18

S: A flexible work schedule.
M: Marriage (mine specifically ;-) )
D: House
P: House

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Day 17

S: Restful day.
M: An easy going baby at my photo shoot.
D: A yummy dinner!
P: A fun day doing fun stuff like playing outside, video games, TV, etc.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Meanwhile, In Their Professional Careers...

Both kids have been getting pretty involved in extra curricular activities this year.  I know I've mentioned a few times the time demands that these activities have cost us.  For me, it's easy to become frustrated when my "idea" of what a good time looks like, becomes disrupted.   I've made it no secret that I'm a big fan of lounging around the house, with my people close by, enjoying good food in comfortable clothing.  While my kids also enjoy these activities, they also like to do other things too.  Darn.  Actually, I'm thrilled that they are forming new interests.  I just wish there was adequate time in the day to do both really well. 

At first, it was hard for me to adjust to this new life of busy activity schedules.  I may have grumbled a few times *ahem*.  But when you get to see the end product, it makes it all worth it.  I've really been learning that we aren't made to be idle (unless in a season of rest, of course), but to do good works.  My kids have been doing just that in their activities.  God has given them a small section of the world to be salt and light in, and staying at home each night being comfortable, is like keeping the salt in the salt shaker, and the light under a bowl. 

I'm working on this. I'm learning...maybe slowly? I'm growing, thankfully.  I'm thankful to see Him work through my kids.

First, The Girl.  She was recently Gaston in a shortened version of Beauty and the Beast.  At first, she was very reluctant to be a boy, when clearly, she would have been a perfect fit for Beauty (HA!).  However, after a short chat about developing your craft, growing and learning, and stepping outside of your comfort zone (maybe I was just talking to myself), she came around, and really gave it all she had.  The result, was the best performance I have seen from her yet! 

That last picture?  It's my favorite.  My girl is getting a "Tommy Award".  Not for her performance, but for the way she helped others, was committed to learning, helped out when needed, and was an example of responsibility and respect.  

I think my heart expanded out of my chest in that moment.  My girl.  Salt and light in her small corner of the world.

Next, The Little Man.  As you can tell from his "Thankfuls" he's got a one-track mind for basketball these days.  He was asked by some friends at school to join a basketball team at the rec center in our community.  Usually, we only play basketball for one season through Upward sports.  We have thoroughly enjoyed this organization not just because of friends we get to play with, but also for the Christ-like characteristics that they instill and acknowledge even before the child's basketball skills (or lack thereof).  So, the rec team with school friends was new to us, but exciting.  It was also one. more. thing. to add to the list of things to get done during the week and weekend, but we thought the importance of continuing to build friendships outside of the classroom with his classmates was important.  

When he came home from the first practice a bit miffed, I was a little concerned.  He was upset that there seemed to be a bunch of "ball hogs" and no one played together well.  Knowing the first day of practice with a new team can be a bit challenging, I encouraged him to keep with it, and try to do what he knows how to do, and maybe the others will catch on in time.  Now, my boy is NOT the best player on the team, but I have loved watching him play.  I have seen him a few times pass the ball off to someone else when the shot was clearly his.  Instead of taking an easy shot and running up his points, he passes the ball off.  Soon after, others started doing the same.  It may have been a coincidence in timing with what the coach was teaching as well, but I love watching him think of others before himself.  He may not be the most aggressive player on the team (someone said, "Once that boy gets a bit more aggressive, he'll be an awesome player."), but he values others feelings above the things that the world values.  I like him like that.  Salt and light.  In his small corner of the world.

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."--Jesus, Matthew 5:13-16

Day 16

S: Making a lot of progress on new house.
M: Good photo shoot and a special lunch with The Girl.
D: Having a restful day (UH! She didn't appreciate the lunch as much as I did, I guess ;-) )
P: Getting to practice Christmas songs on the piano (He loves playing the piano!)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Day 15

S: Making it through a long day
M: Closing on the new house and looking towards a new beginning.
D: I got to look through microscopes today in science (My little nerd!  I love her!)
P: Getting to start the weekend

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Day 14

M: Getting to spend time with the Colburns
S: Friendships with family
D: My friend played with me to day at recess (this is a particular friendship that has been on and off)
P: Getting to spend time at the new house.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Around Here...

Taking a break from all the riveting reading that has been posted here in the last few weeks *cough* to show some of what we've been up  to.

Going Old School and playing with Lincoln Logs.  You gotta love grandma!  She has all the cool old toys!
 Eating lots of carrots from our garden.
 Wrapping up a great cross country season:

 Taking some time to make our favorite fall treat.

Writing God's word on the floor of the new church wing before it was carpeted over.  (He wrote John 3:16 when we asked him what he wanted the people who might one day be standing in that very place to know.  My heart melted.)
 Basketball, basketball, and some more basketball.  Good thing it's a sport I like to watch!  Bonus points for it being indoors so I don't have to freeze my booty off.
 Earning their 4th stripe in Jiu Jitsu.  Next up: Yellow white belts!

 Someone KILLED it as Gaston in Beauty and the Beast.
Yes, that's my beautiful baby girl dressed as a man.
 The tree in front of our house looks Ah-Mazing.  I've been feeling a bit nostalgic at the the thought of this being our last fall in our home of 10 years. 
I know it's not much, but I'm hoping that the saying "Less is more" is true.  Because it's all I have right now! 

Day 13

Can I just say something?  It's killing me, totally KILLING me that I cannot write more about each of these thankfuls like I have in years past.  To simply list things makes it seem so impersonal, boring, and, well, unthankful.  However, it's the season of life we are in right now.  I must let go of doing things exactly the same each year (I have major issues with keeping routines), and embrace that this year just looks different on many, many different levels.  Not worse.  Not better.  Just different.  

Now that I've gotten that off my chest, it's back to list making I go...

S: Getting to see a chiro for a hurt neck
M: Bible Study Fellowship. I love learning from others and the Holy Spirit.
D: Getting a solo in the Christmas program at school
P: Friends

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Day 12

Me: Reading a challenging Jesus Calling devotion.  Having time to work out what God is showing me in my life that needed attention, and the peace that comes from being close to Him.
S: I was able to to get all my work done even though I was hurting really bad from my bike accident.
D: I had a test today in math, which means I also had NO HOMEWORK!
P: Fun at basketball practice.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Day 11

S: I'm thankful for bike helmets (Someone had a bad bike accident)
Me: Getting to go on a walk with The Hubs and Gracie in such beautiful weather.
D: I had fun at recess today.
P: Fun times at Jiu Jitsu.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Day 10

S: Getting to play basketball with The Little Man today.  Having daddy and son time.
Me: God's faithfulness in being my helper.
D:  For a warm day to play outside.
P: An enjoyable day playing outside, playing video games, staying in my jammies, and watching TV.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Day 9

S: Got to see The Little Man almost get a triple double in basketball today.
Me: My sister is safe and being taken care of in a hospital with doctors who can watch over her.
D: I got to FaceTime my cousin today.
P:  Getting to eat out at The Rock tonight.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Day 8

S: Loved watching The Little Man play basketball (Again, seeing your kid do what they love is awesome.)
Me: Finally, making a decision on our carpet for the new house.
D: For Fridays.  (Enough said!)
P:  Having fun playing basketball and for winning.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Day 7

Me: The time and opportunity to go and see a chiropractor and a massage therapist for the crick in my neck.
S:  A good day at work.
D:  I got to see my friend today for a little bit.
P:  Having fun at school.  (We'll be working on not repeating things from here on out.)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Day 6

Me: A great time in God's Word at BSF
S:  Getting to spend some time with my wife, and then celebrating my niece's 16th birthday with family.
D: I was allowed to use my calculator at Mathnasium today. (Oh, it's the small things that make big things, right?)
P: I had enough time to get all of my spelling homework done.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Day 5

Me: Watching my girl thoroughly enjoy herself as she performed as Gaston in Beauty and the Beast.  There is nothing better than watching your child do what they love and also be quite good at it too.
S: Being able to go to watch Beauty and the Beast and also getting to see The Girl get awarded the Tommy Award by her peers.
D: Feeling relieved after a great performance at my play.
P: Having a good day at school.

P.S.  I hope to have some pics up from this play in the future.  You know, when I can catch my breath.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Day 4

Remember when I said I would probably have a bunch of lists for our Month of Thanks this year? Well, hold on tight. The riveting reading continues. 

Me: Not having a day where I felt rushed all day.  I felt like I could catch my breath.
S: I was able to get my job done even though I didn't feel well today.
D: Going to the Doctor and getting medicine for my cough.
P: Earning a 4th stripe at Jiu Jitsu.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Day Three

Me:  A great time of worship at church with a great message as well.  Also, for feeling more and more at home at our new church.
S: Got to spend a lot of time outside and I was able to get many chores done.
D: My cold is feeling a little bit better.
P: I got to play outside today and enjoy nice weather.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Day Two:

Me: Beautiful sky during an outdoor photo shoot.  Great weather for the entire "busy season" for my business.
P: A good basketball game.
D:  Having fun at our cousin's birthday party.
S: Getting to spend time with our extended family at the birthday party.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Thankfulness: Year Three

For the last two years, I have made November a Month of Thankfulness on the ol' blog here.  I love this little tradition!  It keeps my focus where it should be.  Since this year we are a bit more stressed out, with the move and all, I think it is even more needed.  In fact, I even got the kids and The Hubs involved.   I will not only keep track of our daily thankfulness here, but we are spending time as a family, during our devotion time, to talk about what we are most thankful for as well.   With all the busyness around these parts, don't be surprised if/when you see just a list.   In fact, that's most likely what you'll see.   Again, my prayer is that we might reflect back on these at a later date, and as a family, reflect on God's faithfulness, goodness, and love.

So without further ado, Day 1:

Me: Running into a friend unexpectedly at basketball tryouts.  Thank you, Lord, for friendships that last through time, rough spots, and good times.
S: Provision for the new house.
P: Doing well at Basketball tryouts.
D: Getting to see my counselor to work out friendship stuff.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

It's Getting Hard to Breathe

"Is it just me, or do you feel like you have an elephant sitting on your chest?" I asked The Hubs, and for once, I was only being slightly dramatic.  I know I've mentioned it a few times, but since school has started for the kids this year, my life has felt a bit chaotic.  We have entered into a new season of life, and I'm feeling stretched way out of my comfort zone.   In fact, I feel like my comfort zone is in an entirely different zip code right now.  The Hubs is affectionately calling this season a "transition period".  That's not dramatic enough for me.  I'm trying hard not to curl up into a ball and refuse to come out until someone promises me a solid week of lounging on the couch in front of the TV.  And just when I thought I couldn't be stretched any farther, or distance myself more from my comfort zone, we are facing another transition. 

Recently, we received news that a house we had put an offer on over the summer, was now very interested in our offer.  They wanted to know if we would like our offer to be considered again.  Um.  We made that offer over the summer because selling a home, moving into a home, and remodeling a home (which this particular home will need) sounds like something that may take a little time.  This past summer, we had time.  Now? Notsomuch.   Oh, and what's that? It's the holiday season, you say?  Well, that just makes things so much more interesting, doesn't it?  Thank you, but I think we'll pass.  

Then we began praying about it.   And talking about it.  And we were up in the middle of the night praying and thinking about it.  You know what I'm hearing?  Sometimes trying to do what's easiest, what makes the most sense, isn't always where Peace is.  Peace is found in one place.   Actually, to be more specific, I'm hearing "Trust in the Lord with all your heart.  Lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways, and He will make your paths straight." -Proverbs 3:5-6

So, long story short, we threw a low ball offer (thinking they'd refuse it), expected that the process would take 30-90 days (giving us time to catch our breath),  and hoped something would snag (and we wouldn't have to enter into more chaos).  However, what's actually happened is: They accepted our offer, the bank approved in five days, and they would like us to close in three weeks.  

Deep breath.  

As I lay awake at night asking God if this is really what He is calling us to, there have been many things He's brought to my attention.  First, I'm struggling with leaving this house, as opposed to just moving, more than I think I am.  He's challenging me to really look at why I am holding onto things of this world too tightly.   Yuck.  You know what else I hold onto too tightly? Comfort, ease, and doing things my way (you know, control).  Double yuck.  Guess what? I thought I had worked through all those things three years ago.

When The Hubs first got sick in 2011, I had no control, nothing was easy, and my comfort zone was G-O-N-E, gone.   He's been reminding me of those days to reassure me. While we still struggle with health issues, one thing I have learned is that not one day has been walked alone.  Not one victory has been won in our strength, but with His power in us.   He's been so faithful.  

In comparison, these current struggles, while overwhelming at times, are what The Hubs calls "a cake-walk".  Hmmm. Not sure I would go that far, but The Hubs is right.  Why would I doubt that God would not be my strength, comfort, and peace when that's always been who He is.  He's brought us this far, there's no need to fear that He would leave us now.  

What I'm learning in this current season is that I need God each and every moment of each and every day.  With some exciting but overwhelming circumstances, He has put me in a place where everyday I must surrender my own strength and will for His.  While I might feel like my chest is tightening and it's getting hard to breathe, walking so closely to Him is not such a bad place to be.  

Not bad at all.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

This Week Could Not Have Come Sooner

I'm on the brink. 


I don't think I can remember a time in my life when I've been busier.  Between working part-time as a teacher, a full Fall photo shoot schedule, and two kids who are overly very involved in after school activities, I feel like I'm at a breaking point.  I have never had an issue with driving or being around people all day, but both of these things make me want to crawl into a room, turn off the lights, and sleep. 

In summary:  I'm not handling the busyness well.

However, this week is Fall Break.

When I saw our school schedule for the 2013-2014 school year, I thought it was weird that Fall Break was a week early.  Now, I'm so thankful!

I've been dying to read, clean/organize closets, plan out my science units until Christmas break, and write, write, write.  (Aren't I just a poster child for "cool"?)

Seriously.  There are some things that I have just needed to attend to, and for the life of me, there isn't enough time in the day.

Until now.

I have a sticky note on my computer it reads: Photos, Plan, Closets, Read, WRITE!  Lest, I get sucked into wasting my time on Facebook or other random internet searches, I have this bright yellow sticky to remind me of what I really want to do.

Thankfully, the kids are so excited to just chill as well.  They both are craving some TV time and jammie days.  And, can I just say? That makes my heart swell with love and pride.  My little sweeties!

Yesterday, I had some time to chat with some other parents as I volunteered at the kids' school for The Girl's class program.  I heard about family vacations and all sorts of Fall Break activities people had planned.  Instead of feeling bad that I had nothing planned for the kids or I, all I could think to myself was, "Thank GOODNESS!" 

The only thing I will need to fight against this week is sleeping too much, or sitting in front of the TV for too long.  And in the event that this does happen, I will still consider my Fall Break to be a roaring success.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Still Truckin' Along

I never thought time could move any faster than it already did.  Apparently, when you add a job to the mix, time really picks up the pace.  How in the world did we already hit the first day of Fall?  We are three quarters of the way through September!  The kids' teachers are already talking about getting signed up for the first Parent/Teacher conferences.  Have they even had enough time to get to know my kids?  I feel like the first day was just yesterday!

In other news, I am LOVING my job.  It is the perfect fit for me in the time department, it just right challenge wise, teaching only science has made my days teaching so much fun, and I'm finding it's a perfect balance for me as far as being a mom, wife,  and teacher.  So in summary: I'm praising God for His provision and goodness to me.

The Girl got a part in a local production of Beauty and the Beast.  She will be playing Gaston, which we are still laughing about over a week later.  My quiet, girly, peace keeping,  people pleasing girl will be playing a loud, boisterous, arrogant, bossy, mean-spirited, MAN.   We've decided this is a great time to learn about how to stretch ourselves.  It's not called acting for nothing!

The Little Man is getting ready to run his first cross country race this weekend.  He was training for the mile, but came home from practice this week and announced he signed up for the mile and a half race.  Well.  Okay.  It should be interesting.  He does love to run, though.  I love that!

The Hubs and I have been moving forward with our plans for a new future business.  I became a CEO this week, we got our tax stuff set up, and we bought our first property.  I'm keeping the details a bit sparse on purpose.  First, I would like to see some things develop before getting too attached, and also, I'm not sure exactly of all the details, the vision, etc. I'm sure you're thinking, "Well, that's kind of irresponsible!", as I'm sure it sounds that way.  The truth is, from the inception of the idea to where we are now, there have been some twists and turns.  The final idea and goal has remained somewhat the same, but getting there has been interesting.  So, instead of firmly planting our stakes into the ground, I'm trying to be very flexible and let God lead this where He would like it to go.  James 4:13-16 is rolling around in my head as I type this.  "13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil." (NIV)

It's a very busy season in life.  I'm sure I'll look back at these days with thankfulness and fondness.  I can't wait to see what we harvest!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Everything Looks Better When You Stand in a Hole

A real conversation around the dinner table:

D: I can hardly wait to pick our corn.  I love corn! This is going to be so good!
P: Yup! I'm gonna want to eat it everyday.
me: Guys, I don't know how well our corn is actually doing.  I mean it's not very tall.  I think that it's supposed to be much taller.
D: Well, I saw a corn cob growing on it, so I think it will be fine.
me: Well, I've heard a saying that corn is supposed to be "Knee high by the fourth of July." Ours wasn't even close to being that tall on the fourth of July.
P:  What?! Yes it was!  It was totally knee high if you stood in a hole.
The Girl and I: (Blank stares)

I still am not sure how to respond.  Clearly logic has left the building.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Catching Our Breath

What can I say?  There has been tons going on in the Wright household.  All of a sudden, we went from Summertime, to the beginning of the school year, and on through the first week of September.  The official end of summer, Labor Day, has come and gone.  I can barely type this, but some of the trees have leaves that are attempting to change color.  I think that is premature if you ask me, but there's always going to be those "Fall Fanatic" types.  You know, people who start talking about sweaters, everything pumpkin, and chilly weather as soon as the calendar flips from August to September.  I guess even the tree world has some of those.  I know you know where I stand on that. 


First up,  the big news around here: I got a part time job!  I know.  Crazy doesn't really cover it adequately.   I have been substitute teaching for the past two years, and slowly God was preparing my heart to get back into my own classroom.  About two weeks ago, a friend of mine called up and told me about a part-time position at the school she teaches at.  While I had been looking for a part-time teaching job, teaching at a school outside of my own children's school, seemed out of the question.  Transportation was the big concern, with a side of dismissal time conflicts.  I was super bummed out because I really felt like God was asking me to get back into the classroom again, He had completely changed my heart towards teaching again (I had swore never to return to the elementary classroom), but I couldn't figure out a way to make it work.  Turns out, I didn't have to figure anything out.  I just had to wait on Him.  He provided the perfect job with the perfect hours.  I am now teaching a third/fourth grade combined science class.  I love the age, the curriculum, and the subject.  I love that I am home to take my kids to school and pick them up, that I can plan and grade while they are at school, (meaning I'm available to them while they are home) and I love that I'm teaching one subject only.  Something I learned about myself when I taught a year at the high school level, was I appreciated a less diverse day.  The kids provide plenty of diversity for me.   Having a solid, unrivaled focus in regards to the teaching material, lets me connect with the kids in a way that works better for me.  I'm very thankful, and at awe at the way my Shepherd always leads me in the direction that is in my best interest.

Also, we had the pleasure of replacing our dishwasher.  Our stove also went out this summer, so it looks like we might be at the end of our appliances' lives.  We all know that these things happen, but since we have been considering a move, it makes the decision on what to replace the appliance with a little more difficult.  We don't want to spend more money than we have to if we aren't going to stay.  However, since we change our minds about moving about every other day, I also want to get something that we like. 

At the same time I was getting used to my new life as a part-time teacher (Which by the way I only had three days to get used to.  Yes. Three.), The Little Man got sick for four days.  Yes.  School is back in session and so are the days of colds and other gross things.  This particular illness kept both of us up through out the entire night for two nights in those four days.  Just when he thought he was doing better, he'd go down again for another round.  It was rough. 

Also, nothing says, "Welcome back to school!" better than a little Girl Bullying.  Awesome.  This was one of those times that I was so thankful for The Hubs.  I mean I lost all rational thinking for a small amount of time and went straight into emotional decision making mode.  I love it when I do that.  Thankfully, The Hubs stepped in and snapped me back into reality, and we were able to meet up with principals and counselors and get things situated without too much damage.  Prayerfully.  

So as I plan science experiments, sign off on homework assignments (my kids as well as my students), shuttle kids back and forth between activities, listen carefully about all sorts of recess antics, and stick to a strict bedtime routine, I think I can officially say our long, lazy, summer days are but a small speck in the rear view mirror. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Derailed Plans

I had a plan.  It seemed pretty solid, logical, and I even felt as though I had received several confirmations through other people/events, prayer, the Word, and peace in my heart.  I mean things just kept falling into place where I thought for sure they wouldn't.  Doors seemed to fly right open with barely a knock. 

The funny thing was, this plan, it was totally not me.  Like if you were to have told me only a few years ago about this plan that I had, I would have laughed and said no way.  I may have even gotten a little angry because of how staunchly against some of the ideas of this plan I was.  But that's what was making things so exciting!  I couldn't believe God would change my heart in such a way that I was now embracing something that I would have rejected years earlier.

All summer I embraced this plan.  I got ready for how this new plan would impact our family as well as myself.  I was getting excited for everything to come together and to be able share an awesome story about how God had brought me to this new place in my life.  I may have even written a blog post in my head about it.  Maybe.

Then, out of no where, the plan became completely derailed.  I mean, the door wasn't just shut, it was slammed.  Hard.  In my face.  My fingers even got caught.  I was totally caught off guard and crushed.  Even worse, I was embarrassed.  I hate it when you can't tell if you are crying because you hurt or because you are embarrassed you got hurt in the first place.   Crying over embarrassment takes so much longer to get over.

So here I am, a few weeks later, blue bruises have turned that funny yellowish green, and I feel like I'm on track for a full recovery.   I won't lie and say that I've sat quietly and waited to heal.  No, there were some ugly moments for sure.  I had some tough spots in my heart that I had to work out.  Anger, defensiveness, self-pity, and revenge just to name a few.  The thing was, my train was derailed by someone else, purposefully.

I sat before the Lord (and continue to do so as my wounds are still scabby as we speak) and asked Him, "What in the world was THAT?"  I couldn't understand what I did to deserve what happened.  I didn't understand why it had to go down the way it did, so painfully.  I was certain, I was following exactly where the Lord was leading me, each step in faith and obedience.  So why this painful derailment?

In the days that followed He was gentle to show me a few things.  First, His plans will never be thwarted.   Ever.  They are always for my best, and better than anything I could ever hope or even pray for.  There are just some things that I can't and won't understand until later.  Maybe not even on this side of eternity.  He never says "No" out of a mean spirit.  He can't be mean.  He is good.   He does good things.  It's impossible for anything bad to come from Him. 

He also gently reminded me of Abraham marching his only son, Issac, up the mountain to sacrifice him.  God had told him to do that.  He gave specific directions, and made a way for it to happen.  But!  Then at the very last moment, God changed the plan on Abraham.  (Not to be confused with God changing His mind, God knew all along that this was how it would go.)   Right before the blade touched Issac's skin, an angel of the Lord calls out to him and tells him to stop.  Imagine if Abraham just continued to march forward saying, "No, God!  This isn't the directions you first gave me.  You gave me clear instructions and even changed my heart to agree with you, so I'm moving forward."  That would've been crazy, right?  Probably about as crazy as it would have been for me to force my way back into a plan that was so decisively changed.

But why the hurt?  Couldn't the doors closed a little more gently, and maybe without my fingers in them?  I mean, I felt like I was obediently walking in faith, which, by-the-way, isn't something I'm very good at.  Then, I read about Joseph, Mary, and their newest addition to the family, Jesus.  Mary and Joseph were certainly obedient to God when, by faith, they accepted that Mary would conceive as a virgin.   And Joseph? He married her because he trusted what the angel of the Lord told him about who this baby was and how he was conceived.  He didn't waiver once he had clear instructions.  Yet, here this young couple was, delivering their child in a feed trough, and on the run under threat that the king was out to kill their child.  Not once, but twice!  I can't imagine how difficult that would have been.  Painful at times, I'm sure.  However, each painful experience led to the fulfillment of ancient prophesy, which spoke of God's perfect plan. 

A plan that would not be thwarted. 

There are days when I still feel like I am licking my wounds.  I'm not sure when they will heal completely, but I'm sure that they will.  I know that God has a perfect plan for my life, and it will not be thwarted.  Even the painful stuff, while not fun, has a purpose.  In the end, I trust I will look back at my life and say, "I wouldn't have done it any other way.  Your way was the best."  I trust that this time is growing and equipping me for something farther down the line.  So, I will continue to pray, not only to be comforted and healed, but to grow and be ready for His sovereign plan.  Whatever it may be.

Friday, August 16, 2013

A Silver Lining

My house is empty.  I'm no longer packing pool bags or washing swim suits.  No more picking up or dropping off at friend's homes.  There is no TV blaring with Phineas and Ferb or Good Luck Charlie.  Outside of the 35 minutes of hustle and bustle in the morning, the house is quiet. 

The Hubs upstairs in his office, working away, the dog snoozing on her bed already tuckered out from the morning, and me with my empty calendar.  The first few days like this were blissful.  However, I'm now feeling bored.

Over the summer I had taken the free time to teach the kids some new chores.  Things like emptying the dishwasher, doing laundry, picking up dog poop.  Oh, how they loved it.  While it was nice to have things done by someone other than myself, there were things that would get under my skin.  Just small annoyances.  Things like not being able to find a lid for a Tupperware container.  Or trying to open a drawer, that is usually full of organized cooking utensils, to find that I couldn't open it at all because said utensils were thrown in haphazardly and drawer slammed shut.  Or smelly laundry that should've been taken from the washer and put into the dryer days ago.  Things that happen when kids are just learning how to take care of themselves a little more.  They need gentle correction (and then I would find The Hubs and complain like I had just endured the worst type of injustice.  Don'tkidyourself...He loves it when I do that).

The last few days, though, I have done the dishes.  I'm putting all the utensils away in an orderly fashion.  Lids are put in a place where they are easily found.  Laundry is getting moved into the dryer in a timely fashion.  Okay.  That laundry one was a half-truth.  Whatever.

While my home is empty and quiet for seven hours a day, I'm doing what I can to find a silver lining in missing my kids.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Farewell, Summer 2013

Dear Summer 2013,

I'm so sad to bid you farewell on this day.  While the calendar still shows you will be sticking around for another five weeks, the reality is: School started today.  While temperatures will still be wonderful, grass and trees green, flowers still blooming, and gardens still producing, there will be no more laid back pool days, fun outings that last all day because we have nowhere to be, or sleeping in.  It's back to the grind.  Back to school lunches, homework, after school activities, and a tight schedule.

Thank you, Summer 2013, for somehow feeling like you lasted an eternity, yet also zipping by at the speed of light because of all of the fun we had.  While it was only two and a half months ago, it feels like it was already last year that we threw my sis a bridal shower.

You also gave plenty of time to get some traveling in.  We made some fun family memories as we gallivanted around the country.

Then, there is the pool.  Oh, how your lovely weather makes for a perfect pool day!  It's our favorite way to spend summer.

Thanks to your carefree days, we had time to explore the museum and zoo.  We hit every nook and cranny, and even caught an iMax and movie at the Planetarium because, why not?  There was nothing too pressing causing us to go home.  Oh, and our friends came with, you know, since they are on the same schedule.

Your warm daytime temps and frequent thunderstorms did our garden good.  It was a little slower growing than expected, but that just meant we could leave it unattended for a few days at a time.  That may or may not have led to growing our biggest zucchini to-date.

Speaking of backyards and growth, Summer of 2013, you also brought life to our backyard with some sweet little baby Robins.  Even for the most staunch bird-hater, those little sweeties softened hearts.

And because of your easy-going style, I think you also attract love-birds by the droves.  I mean, how many people do you know that have a summer wedding anniversary?  Well, add one more to the list:  My sister, the new Mrs. C!

Oh, Summer 2013, we thank you!  Thank you for all the fun, the memories, the togetherness, the warm weather, and just over-all goodness.

This morning, with sadness in our hearts, we bid you farewell.  So, sad to see you go, yet so excited to see what lies ahead!

Second and fifth grade, here we come!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Just When You Thought You Caught Your Breath-Part 2

I know I left you all hanging.  Waiting with baited breath, if you will.  Wait no more! Part two of the "Great Photo Catch-Up" is here.

First up:  Pictures I never thought I would take.

It is a well known fact that I am no bird lover.  Since I was very young, I have never been fond of birds.  Their flapping wings, unpredictability, and pecking beaks absolutely freak me out.  However.  This summer a momma bird Robin made herself a nest under our deck.  Since The Girl is a lover of all nature (and anything that needs nurturing), she was beside herself with excitement over this nest.  She was just sure that meant babies.

And she was right.

Within a day or so of noticing the nest, Momma Bird (we called her MB out of our deep fondness for her) had started laying eggs.  The Girl went right into research mode and found out that Robins lay one egg a day up to about four eggs.  Once the last egg is laid, we have a seven to nine day wait before little baby birds hatch.

Wait we did!  And somehow, I kind of grew fond of MB, and her little bundles of joy that were on the way.  When they arrived, I lost all semblance of myself, and just went into crazy bird lover mode.  No one could recognize me.  Not even myself.

Here is MB and her sweet little bundles:

The first time we noticed that MB was acting a little different, we waited for her to leave the nest and when we did we found these guys:
Here's MB (she even looks like a good momma bird, right?):
 The next day:
 And then there were four:
After waiting we met these three guys (sadly not all the eggs hatched, which we learned is normal):
These guys are a little older than freshly hatched.  We aren't sure how old, though, because we were in Orlando when they hatched.  We decided they were so ugly they were cute.

We decided it was the most cute when we could get them to open their mouths for food at us.  I know it sounds mean to trick these little guys like that, but we were careful not to bug them too much.

This is literally the next day.  These guys don't mess around.  They grow super fast.  I love their little bald heads.  Also, their opened eyes make them not so freaky looking.

Just two days later.  Not as cute, right?  Too birdy for my taste.
Then we left for our South Dakota trip and when we returned our babies had left the nest.  I was a little sad.  However, MB returned a couple weeks ago!  She rebuilt her nest, and laid three more eggs.  Just yesterday we watched as two more babies hatched and we are hoping for a third by the end of today.  I haven't taken anymore bird pictures yet.  I may have gotten my bird fill with the last batch.  The Girl, however, is in LOVE and has practically video taped the babies every waking breath.  I love that girl.

Before baby robins invaded our hearts, we had reserved almost all of our summer hearts to swimming.  This year has been a bit off swimming wise.  We were traveling a lot of the time that we had really nice weather, and then my kids have changed things up on me.  Turns out, they only like to go swimming when their friends can also come with them.  So while we have been to the pool maybe two times without friends, the rest of the time we are towing people along.  Which is great, however, we aren't at the pool all that often anymore.  Again, I can barley recognize myself.

What you can't see is all of the wildfire smoke we endured this day in order to take a dip.  The things I do for birthdays.

He calls this: Up From the Deep

Here are the kids with their dear friends from birth:

All boys love to perfect their cannon balls:

We took a break from all the wedding planning to go with this guy to the pool:

Some sort of trick:

We've even had time to spend with cousins at their grandma's private pool.  Private pool is also known as: "Do whatever tricks you've ever wanted to try in a pool".

Lastly, we celebrated The Little Man's birthday.  Hey, we were only a month late.  He wanted to take his buddies to see Despicable Me 2.  So, that meant we had to wait a month for opening day and then the holiday weekend to pass.  The movie was great, the kids were awesome, and there were lots of laughs and frozen yogurt to be had. 

All these boys, self-serving themselves frozen yogurt.  You should be afraid.  But we had fun and that's what matters, right?

 A group of happy boys after a hilarious movie:

I think the initial powerful force of the fire hydrant of photos has slowed down.  From here on out, I am hoping for a slow stream or trickle of pictures.  

You're welcome.