Thursday, March 31, 2011

a marriage worth celebrating..

as a daughter; when i was a little girl, when i was a drama queen filled teenager, when i became a young woman, and then when i became a wife, i had the privilege of the watching the following.

when you watch two people joyfully juggle the intense responsibilities of raising 5 children, ministering to a church body through sacrifice, service, and sympathy.. and endlessly remaining faithful to their God and to each other above all else...

when you watch two people stir up love in one another by a single touch, a single look, a single word...

when you watch two people actively pursue a marriage that reflects Jesus...

when you watch two people counsel and marry numerous couples year, after year, after year....

when you watch two people openly work through conflict and disagreement...

when you watch two people laugh their way to a better marriage...

when you watch two people lay down their lives for each other...

when you watch two people run to the rescue of one another...

when you watch two people happily walk through daily routines with each other..

when you watch two people fulfill their covenant vows to one another while dancing through times of joy, peace, love, conflict, sadness,  heart ache, health, and sickness...

when you watch two people expectantly soak in life experiences TOGETHER, hand in hand, cheek to cheek, for 38 years....THEY ARE TO BE CELEBRATED!!

today my mom and dad celebrate 38 years of marriage.

when a child gets to watch her parents not just, "stick it out", but rather "stick together like glue" for 38 years, the implications for her own heart and her own marriage can NEVER be measured! besides my parents giving me the gift of siblings, my parents ALSO gave me this intangible gift of having a great marriage. a great marriage worth imitating and celebrating.

wedding days get all the glory. when really all you have done is survived the wedding planning. anniversaries should be celebrated more intensely b/c it means you have survived marriage :)

mom and dad, thank you for loving each other, not giving up on one another, holding each other close on sweet days and on sour days. i am the wife that i am, b/c i was unbelievably blessed through witnessing your marriage, your love for one another, and your utter dependence on Jesus to see you through.

i celebrate you BOTH today, and your SWEET, SWEET, marriage!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Homeschool Science 101

julia to katie while in the shower: "katie, why can't we poop in the shower?"
katie to julia:"well, julia poop is a solid, unlike pee which is a liquid, therefore poop would just puddle up and plug the drain!"

happy drainage!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

i don't care what you say...

i'm going home to visit and i am bringing the whole family!

when: april 10th-16th!!
where: KS
who: anyone!

if you have a job for my husband and you would like to interview him, let us know :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

a great marathon with a side of drama...

being on time is VERY important to me.  being timely for me communicates love. like, "i love you enough, you are so important to me, that i thought about you long before the clock struck the time i was suppose to be here!" for me being on time is being 10 minutes early. it's just how i work. when you add four kids to the mix it's like this clock challenge that i LOVE competing against. i calculate and recalculate things just to make sure we will be on time. anyway, i had studied maps, calculated mark's pace, and added in about an hour cushion time, and was prepared to meet mark at the finish line on saturday with EASE :)

we left the house at 8:50 am, it takes an hour and 15 minutes to get to our destination, add 25 minutes for unloading and walking to the finish line and our ETA was 10:30.. that was about an hour before mark thought he would cross. i thought we would cheer on the other racers, walk around the festivities and enjoy the race atmosphere.... ah, that was plan. i've learned a few things a long the way like... plans don't always work out. but i like to think that i am a flexible person with four children who takes things and rolls with them. ah, that's the plan anyway.

saturday morning we leave on time, things are going smashingly.. traffic is great and we are about 1 mile from our destination. we come to a hault b/c of road construction. no problem.. remember, i had built in 1 hour for incidentals? when we finally got past the 15 minute delay i could see our turn. then i realized the road was shut down and police officers were directing traffic. ok, small problem. the police officer tried to shout a million directions at me with no luck. i turned down a residential road and parallel parked (i've had to master parallel parking in the city!). decided that we were on the marathon route and we would get out and go check things out and try and figure out our next plan. so we unloaded everyone and everything. we started walking. i thought maybe we would zig-zag our way to the finish line. it was about the time we started walking that katie complained she needed to use the restroom. i told her to hold it. ok, we parked ourselves and i called mark. "where are you?" he said, "mile 16!".. i said, " i have no idea where we are, but we are just going to figure out where we are and wait here for you. i have no idea how to get to the finish line." i hung up and asked the closest police man how far we were to the finish line... he said, "eight miles!" perfect, mark was at mile 16 we were at mile 18.. he should be here in about 15-20 minutes... all the while katie is complaining about going to the bathroom.. all the while i am noticing my surroundings more and more. large groups of police officers are circling around a church and patrolling this particular road, as well as police officers patrolling the race. as i am watching the metro and bus stop i am seeing many groups of very large african american men unloading from the buses and metro. at first i thought, "wow, all these people here to cheer on runners!" but the more that showed up the more i realized something else was going on. i strolled up a hill and realized i was standing in a very long line.. i was the only VERY white person with my VERY white four children. then i began to listen to conversation... it didn't take long to put the pieces together and realized i was standing in the middle of a dual gang member funeral procession. there was potential for opposing gangs to show up at the funeral and start something.... YIKES! at the same time i was hearing people cheer the runners on by saying, "your almost there... stay strong, the finish line is SO close!" what?what? i thought i was 8 miles out. i found the next police officer and asked him how far we were to the finish line.. he said 2 miles. oh, no ! we were going to be here for at least another hour, hour and a half. this was NOT going work. katie still had to go potty, and now i was convinced there was no where really safe for us to stop. while i knew i was not particularly unsafe b/c there was police every 10 steps, i was also not comfortable being there. especially, hauling my 4 white kids around. i kept asking people the quickest way to get to the finish line. everyone had a different way. katie is now sobbing b/c her bladder hurts so bad :( so we went back to the car.. saw a couple of drug deals along the way, saw a couple of homeless beggars along the way, some big man kept pointing at me and speaking jibberish along the way. i threw everyone in the car got out of dodge. i told katie we would find a gas station. we pulled out onto the main road and were in the middle of road locked, traffic jam. stopped in all directions for MILES. i started sobbing, it was now after 11 and i knew mark would be crossing any minute. i had no idea how to get to him based on the five police men's directions... i felt so helpless. after a good sob, i tried to get some composure and help katie. i told her to empty the wipe box and straddle the box and pee in it. she did so happily. we dumped the box and lucy went. my girls are SUCH amazing troopers. we spent the next 40 minutes turning down one way streets, dead ends, and closed roads. by now i had given up all hope on seeing mark finish. but i knew we had to get to the stadium to pick him. i could see the stadium but had to cross a river to get there. finally, i found another police man who gave me logical directions.. and finally two left turns later we were at the stadium. i had no idea where the finish line was in comparison to where we parked. it was 11:54am. i told the kids to get out and get in the stroller. by now everyone is half naked. i threw blankets on them and started running in the direction of the stadium. there was a huge hill i had to climb. i had no idea what was on the other side of the hill, but it looked like the shortest way to the stadium. i could see runners, but i had no idea where they were going. we sprinted up the hill, rolled over the top and low and behold, there we stood at the finish line. i didn't celebrate yet. i was pretty sure mark was waiting for us some where at the finish line festivities. i called him. he was ONE mile out.. "really, you aren't here yet?" "nope, i am close," he said. then i celebrated. i could NOT believe we had made it. after two hours of wrong turns, gang funerals, drug deals, dead ends, closed roads, sobbing mama, WE MADE IT. and just a few minutes later we saw our sweet runner.. we jumped up and down, screamed for our daddy at the top of our lungs, gave him high-fives as he passed; and celebration, pride, and relief welled up in ALL of our hearts! it was NOT the day i had strategical planned out. all my plans went to hell in a hand basket. and really it was ok. mark said that he was glad he didn't see us any sooner. he needed the motivation to keep running. :) and i needed to be reminded how amazing my children are, how God guides all of our steps, wrong turns, dead ends, and well as right turns and final destinations.  He saw this very white woman, in her very white honda minivan, with her very white children, totally lost in the big city... He knew how i needed to see how uncomfortable i was not having control, to remind me that HE is in control. We finally met up with mark, and could not have been more relieved or more proud to see him. it was such an adventure. one i would do all over again b/c at the finish line was the love of my life, and he makes EVERYTHING worth it :)!!

enjoy the pics,

even ed earl showed up. check out the bib.
 mark's running partners, jonathan and bethany franklin.

off to the finish line!

here is to a little bit of drama in your life today!

Friday, March 25, 2011

morning routines..

anderson is my big helper in the morning. he loves to help me brush my teeth and get ready for the day. a lot of the time he likes to sit on the potty and pretend he is a big boy..

and sometimes he loses his pants and goes looking for them in the medicine cabinet.

no luck today! we'll have to keep looking.
happy weekending,

Thursday, March 24, 2011

i am proud of him..

mark is running his second marathon this saturday through the amazing city of DC.  he has spent the last 6 months diligently training for this event.  anyone, who loves someone, who is committed to sport of marathon, knows that BOTH parties are making HUGE sacrifices. with this knowledge in hand, mark does an excellent job checking in with me about his running schedule to make sure that, first and foremost, it fits into our family routine. because of his sensitivity to the situation i have only had to ask him to step down from running on one occasion.  there were LOTS of occasions that i didn't want him to go run, but that was a pure, self serving reason.  i enjoy watching mark accomplish his runs. i LOVE the energy that he has after he runs. i love knowing that he is ultimately taking care of his body for our family. that makes saying ,"YES!" a lot easier.

i am SO proud mark. i am SO proud of his determination and his diligence. i am proud of the sacrifices he has made to meet another goal. ladies, if you have not figured this out yet, men need goals. men then need to accomplish those goals for personal satisfaction and affirmation. i can tell mark he is a great runner, but finishing a marathon builds a confidence in mark, which is encouraged and grows by my words of affirmation. the opposite is true, if i spend the whole training season grumbling and complaining about his goals, then the marathon is far less encouraging and promotes less growth in mark.

one of my favorite roles as wife, is cheerleader! i am mark's biggest fan. i can not wait to watch him cross the finish line yet again. fully knowing what it has taken to get him there. i am proud of him. i am proud of myself too, for not having had complete meltdowns and temper tantrums ( too many times that is :).

if you think of it, PLEASE, PLEASE pray for mark (and jonathan and bethany franklin) as he runs on saturday at 7AM. pray for protection, strength, determination, and a strong finish.

~here is to my sweet, sweet husband!!

first marathon!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

a sibling no, no!

if you have been hanging around lj life and literature long you know that i am completely in love with my siblings!! not a day passes that i am not in contact with one of the four.. via phone, text, email. i pride myself on having a pretty solid relationship with all four of my siblings. i'd like to think after nearly 30 years i know them. i know parts of their lives that no one else will ever get to share with them. it's like this forever relationship.. one that goes way back, and the promise of it never ending. there is something incredibly special about having siblings. so incredible in fact, that i believe the GREATEST gift i have ever given my children is the gift of each other. my parents did an amazing job instilling relationship amongst our family. family ALWAYS came first. so much so that my dad did not lead a christmas eve service b/c the my mom's side of the family had a long standing tradition of being together on christmas eve. my dad took that seriously. i forever cherish that decision. there was never ANY question about who came first for my mom and dad. it was ALWAYS family.. work or family? church or family? sports or family? comfort or family? convenience or family? elders meetings or family? money or family? the answer was ALWAYS family. being together and sharing with one another was never optional for us. i remember zach and andrew fighting over cd's and sweater vests, but it ended as quick as it began. i remember dumping baby oil all over my sisters clothes and ruining them b/c she was dating some guy, and i felt extremely left out. i remember arguing over who got to sit shot gun, and what music we were going to listen too.. but again, these matters were never allowed to linger long. the older i got the rule was, "you can do anything you want as long as you are with one of your siblings!" you better believe i longed to be in my siblings presence! and to this day i LONG to be in the presence of my siblings.

after julia was born i was terrified of raising two girls who were so close in age. my sister and i were seven years apart, so we HARDLY ever fought. there was never competition between us, she really took me under her wing and raised me. as i expressed to mark my concerns he said, "strife amongst our children is not going to be an option, it won't be allowed under our roof!"   and since then, that has been the rule of thumb when it comes to our children interacting with one another. sibling rivalry, hateful speech, hateful actions, are met with the most severe of consequences and punishment. sibling rivalry begins when the second child comes home from the hospital. from the time we brought julia home from the hospital the message to katie was, "love her. encourage her. be her best friend. nothing else is acceptable." so when the "my's, the me's, the gimme's" began to emerge, the fire was swiftly put out. everyday, all day long, we encourage our kids, "to think of their siblings more highly then themselves!"(romans 12:10) putting feet on that means julia letting lucy go first; katie letting julia borrow her most prized possession; lucy giving anderson her last sweet tart; mama giving daddy the softer towel, or the biggest piece of steak; daddy letting mama rest and taking over the bed time routine. there are endless opportunities to apply this verse. and when even a hint of strife, hatefulness, ugliness, disrespect, selfishness, rears it's head.... mama and daddy have the opportunity to reinforce the Littlejohn rule of thumb. we tell the kids ALL the time, the reason you have to share with each other, stand up for each other, watch out for each other, protect each other, encourage each other, is because you are called to do it for the REST of your lives. these formative concepts spill over into other relationships. if katie can't share with julia, who is her very flesh and blood, how in the world is she going to learn to share with her room mate, her husband, a stranger, or even her children? if julia refuses to protect lucy in public situations, how is julia going to learn what loyalty and conviction looks like in any other relationship? if we can't celebrate each others successes as a family, how are my children going to learn how to be genuinely excited for others? relationship 101 is being taught in our home day in and day out. no, it's not perfect. yes, the kids argue and fight. yes, i realize that someday i will have a 16,14, 12, and 10 year old in my home and things will come up. but, no, no, no, it will not be tolerated for one second.

they WILL love each other, and they WILL have fun! :)

i know without a doubt that i can call on any of my siblings at ANY time and they will do whatever i need. without question, without hesitation. if i told them all i needed them here tomorrow, they would be here. i have no doubt that my siblings would go to the end of the earth for me, and that is the most special feeling in the WHOLE entire world!

i just pray that my kids receive as many blessings from each other as i have received from jonathan, joanna, andrew, and zach!

here's to a CD and sweater vest sharing kind of day,

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

suggestive praying..

if you have visited our house lately you would know that lucy is adamant about saying meal time prayers.  her sweet little voice offers prayers of thanksgiving for the food, for everyone present at the table, and everyone in the whole world.  recently, she has taken to doing something that i call "suggestive praying." example: today before lunch she asked me, "mama, can we go on a walk after nap time?" i said, "we will see how the afternoon looks luce. katie has a lot of school to finish up."  fast forward to lunch time.. lucy's prayer, "dear God, thank you for this day, thank you for the food, thank you for mama, daddy, katie, julia, anderson, and lucy. thank you for the sunshine outside and that we get to go on a walk after nap time if mama will let us!*extended pause, glance up at mama to see if mama heard me*  amen." i almost snorted i was laughing so hard.

but like all things when interacting with children, you have to ask the standard val hall question, "how does this relate to my relationship with God?" oh, there is application. MUCH application. many times we come before the MOST holy God with our grocery store list of requests. and as we go down our lists, our minds and hearts are often VERY far from the words we are speaking. other times, we feel like prayer is a tool of persuasion. if i pray just right, with just enough persuasive phrases and beautiful accolades then God will hear me and i will get what i want. prayer is neither a place for grocery lists of persuasive speeches. rather, it's an intimate time to HEAR from the Lord. to beg Him to reveal Himself to us that we might KNOW Him, and that He might show us what and how to pray. we have made prayer so normal and so everyday, that sometimes we forget whom we are communing with. sometimes we forget with whom we are speaking. He is HOLY, so Holy in fact that no one has ever seen His face. and those that have come even slightly close to seeing Him have fallen to their faces. He is to be revered and high and lifted up. not a genie in a bottle that has to be rubbed the right way. not a judge who needs persuasion from well spoken lawyers in expensive suits. He needs a humble heart and a contrite spirit.

enjoy pics of my suggestive prayer and her partner in crime.
no joke, this is how her face looks when she prays.

Monday, March 21, 2011

it's flip flop time!

no words for the cuteness level :) ~s
happy flip-flopping,

i wouldn't trade a thing..

i wouldn't trade a thing getting to wake up next to this face every morning...
i wouldn't trade a thing getting to teach this little brain-monster...
i wouldn't trade a thing getting to hug these curls...
i wouldn't trade a thing getting to kiss this bald head..
and i wouldn't trade a thing to squeeze this chunky monkey..

we have SO much to be grateful for! we have so much to live for. love your spouse without reservation. hug your children and tell them, "yes!" instead of  "no!" stop cleaning your house and read your children a book. touch them. hold them. look at them in the eyes when you speak to them. call your mom. send your dad a letter. ask for forgiveness. forgive. let wounds heal and bitterness go. smile instead of frown. say,  "thank you". stop complaining about the weather and enjoy it. live your day with a purpose, not just the goal to survive it. be life giving, not life sucking.  build each other up with your words, stop tearing each other to shreds. BE THANKFUL for what you have, and stop wanting what your neighbor has... and be still and know that HE is God. you aren't and you never will be.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Post Spring Break Blues...

we had SUCH a wonderful week with our MS family here.
the kids cried and cried when they left yesterday.

here are just few pics from the week and from AJ's bday party.  he loves to share his bday ice cream with his sisters. he was also WAY more interested in the fire on the ice cream then the ice cream itself. also, on his birthday he tried to blow the house up by microwaving light bulbs... let the good times rolls :)