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Saturday, September 2, 2017

diving straight into fall!

Some people might sit around wanting to blog but not have anything to say, no encouragement to write.  I'm kind of the opposite.  I have SO much to say but I get overwhelmed finding a starting point that I just keep the laptop closed and procrastinate on regular updates.  It's a sorry state to be in because I never regret past posts when I look back on them even if they are just a quick blurb and shot into life at the time. Isn't that what this is, really?  Just a glimpse into life as it is right now?  So here we are, what is life right now?

Life these days is a little bit crazy but we are getting into a groove.  Summer was over before we knew it and as we transition into fall, Molli and Gavin wrapped up their second weeks of school and are doing so well!  Gavin started a half day kindergarten at Grace Lutheran.  He's a young kinder so he is going to do the same thing we did with Molli and use this time to grow in skills and mature a little bit before we do "official" kindergarten at public school next year.  He has writing homework everyday and while it's kind of a struggle for him, he's been amazing.  He's trying his best and working so hard on those fine motor skills!  He'll be reading and writing before we know it.

Molli started first grade at Kaleidoscope, the arts and science charter school where my mom works.  Getting to see Grammy each day has been a huge thing for my kids!  They love all their grandparents but man it is special and good to know that her Grammy is loving on her when I'm not there.  Her teacher seems very sweet and has already recognized her academic levels so she will for sure be challenged this year, which is great!  My girl is a reader like her momma and it thrills me!  She is excited to go to school and learn new things.  She's making friends and seems to be confident with herself at this new school. It's a bit of a commute, but so far clearly the right choice for us. She is also growing up in ways that are completely appropriate but as my oldest, surprise me sometimes.  She's becoming more empathetic and understanding a little bit more about her place in this big world. 

With the big kids in school this year I am excited to get to hang with my littlest man more often.  We miss the others, but the one on one time will be refreshing for Baylor and me.  He is still the same sweet guy he's always been with some extra exaggeration on those eyebrows... He is still moody and enormously expressive.  Someone recently told me that they never have to wonder what any of my kids are feeling.  This is absolutely true, particularly for Bear!  He sure can give "looks"! His imagination is really taking off and it just melts me to see him starting down the path of imaginary play.  It's such a fun stage and one that always amazes me!  Their little minds are just so fun.

Myles has been amazing this summer.  To be completely honest, it's been a really hard summer but Myles' resilience is impressive.  He's shown so much grace, maturity and strength.  He's been the project manager of a job up on the north slope, which has him working away most of the time.  It's not an easy schedule for him or for the rest of the family, but I have no doubt that it's the best thing for us.  Although a sacrifice, he is providing well for our family and we are thankful.  When he is not on the slope, he has been spending most of his hitches off down in Boise with his mom and family.

Loraine, Myles' mom, had a life changing fall back in April that has really shown us how precious and fragile life is.  In the process of healing and regaining her strength and self, she found herself back in a bad state with a life threatening infection post-surgery.  It was a major setback, to say the least, but she's making steps in the right direction.  It's very difficult for all of us being so far away and not being able to help with big or little things.  The kids and I pray for Loraine daily but sometimes it feels like not enough not being able to be the actual hands and feet of help.  Myles has spent as much time down there as he is able, and I think it's been worth it.  Everyone there needs him and the steadiness he brings. The kids and I miss him tremendously, but I try to emphasize how Daddy is loving on the rest of his family and taking care of them when they need it and I remind them as well as myself that this wont last forever.  We need him home too and he will be at the end of next week!

As for me, I kind of feel like a tornado.  I'm always hustling about, either physically or just in my mind.  It's exhausting!  I have so many good things going on in my life but some of my happy places are changing and somehow I'm in unique and somewhat uncomfortable positions. I'm facilitating a Bible study this fall and need to muster up the brain power to make that happen well.  I KNOW everything will be fine but it feels like such a big thing. Literally the day after I finally said yes to that I got a text from a friend who is helping put together a women's retreat confirming the day and time of the workshop I said I'd put together and lead.  Oh yeah.  Myles and I have had helped in the youth group with the high school students for a few years and we really enjoy it.  We love watching them grow and mature as they begin life as young adults, but as our church transitions and we look for a youth minister, we've been pulled from the position we love with high school and put with 8th graders.  A group I really need to pray for my heart to soften toward!  All these things are uncomfortable and not my favorite.  I told a friend that either God is teaching me to live outside my comfort zone more OR teaching me to say no to things I don't want to do, even if they are good.  I'm not sure which but I'm sure I'll learn!

I've also had the opportunity to be involved in a ministry for teen moms called Young Lives for the past couple years and it's been such a blessing.  I got to go to camp with 6 of our girls and their babies/toddlers and what an experience it was!  This was our second year going but was an entirely different experience than the first year, with twice as many teens and all toddlers rather than tiny babies. The camp is in Oregon so the travel was a journey to say the least.  I'll spare you the less fun parts because the main takeaway is that God is incredible.  These girls have been through SO much and absolutely have my heart.  I love each of them and am honored to call them friends.

Life is good.  My kids are amazing and I am enjoying this stage of life even though I feel overwhelmed much of the time.  When Myles comes home, surely there will be a touch of respite for me as we have fun together as a family.  Until then, we'll keep on keeping on and try not to lose our collective minds! And if we're really lucky, maybe, just maybe we will get a day without rain soon!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's day

After Myles and I got married, when we were in college and still lived in Florida, I worked for a while at a Hallmark shop. This meant three things, besides a bit of income. First, I had constant access to cards, which meant there was never an excuse to let a holiday or birthday slip by without procuring the appropriate cards with plenty of time to spare. Second, I got to hear people's stories everyday as I helped them pick out just the right card or gift for whatever situation. Third, I always (always) had at least a speck of glitter perpetually stuck to my face. Hallmark is notorious for capitalizing on holidays and Mother's Day was certainly one that would ensure a constant parade of people in the store, searching for something that would say just the right thing for all the most precious moms out there.

This Mother's Day is no different; people everywhere will be hunting for that perfect little gift expressing sentiments of love and gratitude. But today, instead of hunting for just the right thing that says how they feel, why not just say it? I tell my kids constantly to "use their words" and it seems to be the most appropriate thing I can do today. I have been blessed with the most amazing Mom in the world, but when I got married (going on 11 years!), I also gained two other, incredible women I get to call "Mom."

Many of you know that Myles' mom had an accident a few weeks ago, resulting in a traumatic brain injury. She is in good hands and among helpful therapists as she recovers, but the road will be long and difficult.  Probably longer and more complicated than anyone fully realizes yet. Myles has been back in Boise to be with his family twice since the accident, and I went along once.  Let me tell you, it was difficult seeing someone so loved in such a helpless state; a strong, smart woman lost in the haze of an injury and putting forth great effort to overcome challenges that were never considered such.  The re-learning and remembering will surely take a long time, but she is being supported and lifted up by people in her family, community and truly in the prayers of people across the world. The situation is devastating, and our hearts are hurting so badly, but there is hope because our God is a magnificent healer.

The thought occurred to me as I was flying back home by myself this week, that I hope she knows how much she is loved. I hope that understanding is so deeply ingrained that she knows it even if she can't name it. I hope that same thing for everyone, but today, specifically for every mom in my life.  It's no secret that the love between a child and mother is unique. There is a bond that doesn't compare to any other relationship I've ever experienced. There's comfort, inspiration, acceptance, support and grace in each mother/child relationship I've been a part of.  It's a beautiful thing and I want to use my words to acknowledge it today.

Mom, Loraine and Suzette, thank you each for being Mom.  Grandma, you fit here too. You are all so different from one another but those motherly traits are a common thread between each of you.  I know you unconditionally love my family and me, and I hope you know we reciprocate. You've all taught me different things and there's no doubt that you have plenty more to teach in the years to come. Molli has some great examples in her life! I love YOU!

Mom friends and mentors, thank you! I have a whole tribe of women surrounding me and I don't have to do this alone.  It is so refreshing to come to you and tell you how much I've failed but once I've finished whining, you pull me back up to reality.  I have amazing Godly women in my life who can remind me that there's grace in each moment and my failures are not going to ruin everything.  I'm so far from perfect but I'm grateful that I don't ever feel like I have to pretend to be. I love YOU!

Molli, Gavin and Baylor- you three have changed me permanently (in so many ways, thank you very much). You guys drive me totally bonkers but I love you to pieces.  I mean it when I say "I love you more" because I've never felt a anything as enormous as I do toward you.  You simultaneously bring out the mamma bear in me as well as the softest pile of mushy emotions. I can't get over how amazing each of your different personalities are. It's been a pleasure to grow with you all your lives and I don't take for granted the many blessings of getting to continue this journey of motherhood.  Thank you for making me a mommy. I love YOU!

Myles, goodness gracious.  I don't even know what to say. Maybe you'll get your own Father's Day post, but for today, thank you for being a good man for our family and for helping me be a good mommy.  You're a great dad, husband and friend to us.  I'm thankful that your mom raised you well and for her love for you. You've shown so much grace and maturity, these past few weeks especially, I'm encouraged by you. When we became parents, our family changed tremendously, but I am happy that we are continuing to live out our wedding vows we made a lifetime ago and being the example our kids need. I love YOU!

Hallmark has a card for pretty much everything, but I don't think there are any that say all that I have on my heart.  I am so blessed to have all these amazing people in my life and so many great examples of love.  If motherhood were to be summed up in one word it would simply, and maybe obviously, be "love" and I've got more than I deserve.  I hope you all know, at the very core of your being, that you are loved and important! You are each teaching me and changing my life.  If your card is late, which is how I roll, I'm sorry, but these are the real words I want to say to you on this Mother's Day.  I love YOU!