Thursday, June 30, 2011

something old: something new (day 4)

old: today was our last day at the YMCA.. *sigh* i LOVE the Y. i really, really, love the free child care at the Y. :)  i wish that i would have joined the Y when i became a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) 8 years ago. the one hour daily break that i get recharges my batteries, and  makes me a better, healthier mom. hands down the best money i have spent while being a mom. if we didn't have the Y i would be limited to working out at night or at 5 am in the morning. working out while the kids are awake is laughable :) there is no recharging when 4 little people are trying to do p90X yoga with you! and while i don't mind being a morning person, it's almost impossible to be a morning person when you have been awakened 3-4 times to nurse an infant. not that we are planning any more of those nights, but i am just saying while i was in the throws of it, 5 am was NOT an option. so, basically i love the Y.  i love what working out gives to me and to my family.  the workers are like friends, and have taken such GREAT care of my kids. i will miss our YMCA.

new: two words. Quick.Trip.
~s

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

something old: something new (day 3)

these posts might get shorter and shorter considering my to-do list is growing exponentially.  i officially will be loading the moving truck 3 weeks from today. that might sound like a lot of time. BUT, actually everything has to be ready by Sunday the 17th, which is 19 days away. and 5 of those 19 days we will be gone for VBS... so now it's more like 14 days... :() I am really missing my little helpers from Bekins. like a said short and sweet.

old: i will miss my multiple times a week 8 minute commute to cleydale.

new: after being 1200 miles away from my family, i will now be 7 miles from my mom, dad, and brothers... and 13 miles from my sister, bro-in-law, and nieces. THAT ROCKS!!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

something old: something new (day 2)

old: i will miss how beautiful virginia is! (i promise these all won't be so shallow, but the more shallow i stay, the less crying :)  VA is REALLY beautiful. the weather is VERY mild compared to KS and MS.  you get all four seasons here! there are mountains, rolling hills, open fields, forests and of course the beach.  VA has a lot to offer.

new: today i have to go to walmart. walmart, as you know, is 30 minutes away. the prices at walmart can not be beat. i can not shop local without spending AT LEAST 45-50% more.  that's why i make the effort every week to go to walmart. it's about a four hour ordeal.  i don't like to do it in the evening b/c then the store is a mad-house. i like to go at about 9:30 when it's quiet and fully stocked. BUT it takes away one full morning a week. as we speak they are putting the finishing touches on a walmart about and eighth of a mile away from our house here in KG. it will open 4 weeks after we move. :( BUT, BUT, BUT... want to guess how close walmart (panera and quick trip) are from our new house? about 1/2 a mile. really, i smile VERY big when i think how much free time i will have every week. i could even grocery shop by MYSELF and only be gone for 45 minutes. i could grocery shop at 1030pm or 6am.. it doesn't matter! i am very excited about this :)!!

~s

Monday, June 27, 2011

something old: something new (day 1)

in honor of our move across the country i will be noting one something "old" that we are leaving that we will dearly miss.. and one something "new" that we are very much looking forward too.  this way i will not cry all day long while packing boxes :)!  and i can continue to do short blog posts while the tasmanian devil spins throughout the house.

Old: today mark went into work at 10am. i will REALLY miss the flexible hours he works.

New: it stays light forever during kansas' summers. i am looking forward to that.

10 boxes down, 300 to go :)!
~s

Sunday, June 26, 2011

He is a beaver shark!

Today is my brother Zach's birthday!!

There is no blog post long enough for me to be able to convey to you the way I feel about my brother.  Just as there is no blog post long enough for me to be able to convey the way I feel about ALL of my siblings.

Zach and I were thrown together under the most severe of circumstances; birth order four and five. Four and five can be a treacherous location.  But with our companionship, dating back to our time spent as being "servant" and "dog", (while playing house) we made the most out of our hardships :)!

A phone call, a text, or an email from Zach can brighten the darkest of days. If I am in a really bad, sad, or depressed mood Mark's first question is, "have you talked to Zach today?" My very wise husband knows the influence that my brother Zach still has on me :)  Zach is funny, and has kept the sense of humor in our family alive and shaking.  My kids are drawn to him and his sick ways of picking on them. He threatens to shave Katie's head every time they talk, and he tells Jules that her feet stink all the time.. But they keep going back for more...

Zach is someone that you want to know and be known by.  He, just like our Lucy, is steady, calm, and loves very deeply.  His heart could not be any larger!

Zach, I love you.  Thank you for being Y.O.U! For bringing unending laughter and sensibility into our lives.

It also goes without saying how incredibly proud we ALL are of the AMAZING changes Zach has made to his life. A sister gets to brag that her brother has lost nearly 60 pounds in 6 months! And oh me, oh my, he is SO handsome :)!  But we try to not focus on our fat days, or skinny jeans, or "apple in the mouth just call me wilbur" kind of moments in our lives. It is SO much bigger than all of that, and Zach is one of the few people in this world that gets it.

Thanks for showing me, and the whole world what friendship, REAL friendship can look like!
Smooch,
~s






Friday, June 24, 2011

EXTRA! EXTRA! read all about it!!

Dear Friends,

It is with much joy that I officially announce that Mark has taken a job in Kansas City and we will be relocating at the end of July!! Open-mouth smile

We want you to join with us as we celebrate!  We are full of dancing and delight as the dream of "moving home" is becoming a reality. We anticipate a sweet reunion with family and friends as we return to good ole' Kansas.

Thank you for your support as we have journeyed towards this for the last six months. Your prayers, emails, texts, phone calls have been encouraging reminders along the way. 

Our God is faithful. Our God is good.

As we dance with the anticipation of what is to come, we begin to allow ourselves to fully grieve what we are saying goodbye to.  Our friends, our church, our neighbors, and our home have all been apart of these special moments for us here Virginia.  With the kids older and more aware of the sting that moving brings, we ask that you pray for them, (and us big people too) as saying goodbye is never easy.

This verse has been ever present in my mind these last few months:

Ephesians 3:20 & 21
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to HIM be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

Mom, Dad, we are moving home!! Get your party shoes on!!!!!
~s

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Light of our Life, Lucy!!

Happy 4th Birthday to our one and only, Lucy Kharis!

As Mark and I sat and remembered the last four years it was so fun to recount Lu's life. My labor with her was SO easy.  To the hospital at 4:45am delivered at 7:21am.  Lucy was my easiest infant, and she breezed through toddler-hood. Lucy's demeanor is steady.  She is ALWAYS ready for a party, a good conversation, and I don't think I have ever seen her in a bad mood. She lights up every room she enters, and makes everyone laugh until their tummies hurt.  She loves life and lives it up everyday.  When I hear the song, "Dynamite" I automatically think of her. :) The girl knows how to celebrate. Lucy is pocket size fun where ever you take her, but she loves BIG!

Lucy, your daddy and I are beyond blessed by your presence in our home.  You add so much flavor to our daily lives! We praise the Lord that He saw fit to give you to us.  We pray that you continue to bring joy wherever you go, and that you will trust Jesus to see you through.

Today we celebrate Y.O.U.!

We love you so,
Mama and Daddy







Tuesday, June 21, 2011

This Little Light of Mine.

"This Little Light of Mine" is a crowd favorite around here!  All of the kids at some point have requested this song for months on end as their good night song.  AJ, is currently requesting it ALL.THE.TIME.   After singing this song hundreds of times with Katie I decided to turn the song into a prayer, rather than just going through the mindless activity of singing it.  Sense then, I have probably sung it thousands of more times, and each time I get a little teary.

Original Words:
"This little light of mine I am going to let it shine,
This little light of mine I am going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine"

My prayer:
"This little child of mine I am going to let him/her shine. This little child of mine I am going to let him/her shine, let them shine, let them shine, let them shine."

You see it became very apparent, VERY quickly, that my children were going to be the greatest "lights" that I ever possessed. My children can un-guard the hardest of WalMart checker-outers with an instant smile or laugh. You automatically attract attention when you are wheeling children in your buggy, and stop the presses if you have four children in your buggy.  People are always curious as to if all the children are yours, and if you know how children happen :) It's an automatic conversation starter.  I don't do small talk. I am really bad at it, but when my kids are around they are THE BEST at warming someone's heart with a, "thank you", or "have a good day!" Sometimes women feel that their "outreach" to the world ends when they have kids. For me, I have MANY more opportunities, and MANY more authentic conversations with people b/c of my kids. My kids are a greater light to this world than I'll ever be.

Original Words: "Hide it under a bushel, NO! I'm going to let it shine. Hide it under a bushel? NO! I'm going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine."

My prayer: "Hide them under a bushel? NO! I'm going to let them shine. Hide them under a bushel? NO! I'm going to let them shine, let them shine, let them shine, let them shine.!"

When the most precious treasure is placed in your arms, and you feel for the first time the weight of your calling, sometimes the tendency is to hold them so closely, and so tightly, that their light, their God-given calling is hid under the bushels we place around them.. Other wise known as fear and control. I pray that my fears, and the "bushels" I place around my children do not smother their lights. Rather, that I would have confidence in Our Great God to protect and shine through them WHENEVER and WHEREVER He chooses. I pray that I will walk in faith DAILY to let them go, and LET GOD have His way with them.

Original Words: "Won't let Satan blow it out. *blow* I'm going to let it shine. Won't let Satan blow it out.*blow* I'm going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine."

My prayer: "Won't let Satan blow them out. *blow* I'm going to let them shine. Won't let Satan blow them out. *blow* I'm going to let them shine, let them shine, let them shine, let them shine!"

With my wee eight years as a mother I find it my highest calling to pray with urgency and purpose, for and with my children. Satan desires to devour the hearts and minds of my God-given children. But first He is going to have to fight off the prayers of this Mother. Praying for my kids is such an incredibly powerful blessing. My mom has said more prayers on behalf of her children than any one person can count. And I intend on continuing that AMAZING legacy she has started.

Original Words: "Let it shine til Jesus comes. I'm going to let it shine. Let it shine til Jesus comes. I'm going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine."

My prayers: "Let them shine til Jesus comes. I'm going to let them shine. Let them shine til Jesus comes. I'm going to let them shine, let them shine, let them shine, let them shine."

Everyday is a gift from God. I do not know how long I, or my children will live. BUT, I do know that my desire is for them to shine until they go see their Savior, or until He comes and takes them Home!!

Let your children shine.
Set your fears aside.
Let your children shine.
Fight the battle for and with them in prayer.
Let your children shine.
Until they meet their God.
LET YOUR CHILDREN SHINE!

~s

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fathers

fathers leave permanent marks on their children's hearts.

i am overwhelmingly blessed to have the beautiful marks my father engraved on my heart..



i am blessed to watch my husband leave incredible imprints on our children's hearts,



b/c HIS father left sweet imprints on his heart.




i have the privilege of getting sneak peeks into how my brother-in-law is molding the strong and sensitive spirits of my nieces:



AND now i am excited about watching my very own brother explore the beginnings of fatherhood, and lay his own imprints...


never, never forget the weight of your calling, dear dads! happy father's day. ~s

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Camp: Re-post

Original date June 14th, 2010


Nearly 20 years ago I went to Camp NEKAMO.  My mom signed up to be a counselor for another age group knowing I would not go unless I knew she would be there. Camp changed that nine year old girl for forever.

A few short years later, it was time for me to spread my wings and fly to French Camp, Mississippi. Assistant Counselor was my title. And the only reason I was going so far from home for so long was because Zach was with me.  Camp changed that brother and sister forever.

One year later, at the mature age of 17, I returned to Camp of the Rising Son, met a boy named Mark, and camp changed that boy and that girl  forever.

Hand in hand, Mark and I started our own marriage together at Twin Lakes Camp and Conference Center. For three years, Mark served as Guest Services Assistant Director and I was Program Director. Our first baby was born to us while we were there. Camp changed that married couple’s life forever.

The people we love deeply from our years of camp ministry are irreplaceable.  Your connection never dies no matter the distance or time.  You’re bonded together with something impenetrable. And camp people are undeniable the most fun people walking the face of this planet, just ask us. Camp changes people forever.

Today, June 14th, our eldest walked away from me with her back pack jammed packed, camp flowing in her very own blood, courageous, bold, and camp changed that Mama’s heart for forever.

~s







Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Living in the Storm: My anger does not intimadate God.

We have talked before how the grief process often times includes anger.  When I tell you that anger is not my typical M.O. I am not trying to say that my typical M.O. if more holy or "better-er" (as Lucy would say) than anger. 

Any who, last week I was cycling back through some angry moments.  Angry specifically with God.  I was able to verbalize this anger in a very safe place, with very safe people by my side.  And the beauty of being able to express this emotion is that God was in no way intimated, offended, or thrown for a loop by my anger with Him.  I was reminded on Sunday of the account in scripture when Lazarus has just died. Jesus is now coming to the house of Lazarus where his two sisters live, and Martha runs out to meet him, then she says, "Lord, if you would have been here Lazarus would not have died!"  We don't know what tone Martha used. She might have been pleading, she might have been crying, she might have been angry. I know that if my brother had just died, and I had sent a message to the Master and Healer to come quickly, and He delayed four days, I might have been a bit upset.  But notice Jesus' response. He does not scold Mary for her lack of unbelief.  He does not scold her for accusing Him. He does pull out the law and remind her of what it says. He does NOT tell her to get her act together and pull her boot straps up for the Kingdom... No, no. He does non of those Pharisaical things. He stops and  He weeps with her. The Creator of the world,  the Healer, the man who would just moments later raise Lazarus from the dead, wept for and with his friends.  Now, that is MY Jesus.  In my moments of intense anger last week, I knew that my response was not the correct response, but I was also in a safe place with my Savior to express that anger, and He knowingly, ever so gently, raised me up and wept with me. Just in same way my husband wept with me and my sister wept with me.

Often anger masks whatever underlying emotion we are struggling with. For me, the underlying emotion is grief.  When anger is stuffed or not worked through, the underlying struggle grows and grows and we are suffocated by the anger we feel, and the underlying problem is never solved.

Are you a safe place for people to run to when they are struggling? Do you validate their feelings or squash them by the lack of affirmation you offer.  Are you a safe place for your spouse?  Are you a safe place for your children? Are you a safe place for your friends?

May we all be encouraged to respond to people, to crisis, to pain, to anger, with the grace that our Lord Jesus offered time and time again!

~s

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Odd Couple!

Julia and Anderson.

2nd born and 4th born.

Anderson and Lucy seem to be more buddy, buddy, these days. Seeing that they are only 21 months apart, it's fitting that they are getting along. AND it doesn't hurt that they are the same size.  When they are both in their life jackets swimming in the pool, from the back you can not tell them apart :)

BUT Julia and Anderson have this, big sister-little brother thing going. Julia is FIERCELY protective of her little brother. She still tries to carry him around as if he were a baby.  It's going to be Julia that beats up the first girl that breaks Anderson heart.  Julia will spend all day outside with Anderson.  And since the tides are turning a bit in our home, and Julia is our early morning riser, she often is the first one to greet Anderson with morning hugs and kisses.

I love seeing how the kids interact with one another.  I love seeing how their relationships are beginning to take their own form.

Happy Monday,
~s



Saturday, June 11, 2011

i've waited my whole life for this...

ok, so maybe not my whole life. but a really, really long time.

every time i envisioned having a boy, i envisioned this:



the super hero covered tush. i know, you can't resist, you just want to pinch those tiny cheeks of his :)!

girls have lots of cute clothes, but boy's underwear is FAR superior.

so, logic probably tells you if AJ is in big boy pants we are attempting to potty training. well, this a true and a false assumption.  "we" is more like LUCY, is attempting to potty train anderson.  i learned after the nightmere that i walked through with katie, when i tried to potty train her at 21 months, (forgive me katie dear. i threw more money in the counseling fund for the awful year i put you through. poor, poor first borns) to relax and let the child tell ME when they were ready. with this new, relaxed, method in hand julia potty trained at 26 months in one week, and lucy the exact same: 26 months, one week.  i had NO intention of potty training anderson right now. i hope to be packing boxes and moving across the country this summer. there is NO time for potty training. but lucy has been consistent and persistent with anderson, and he is coming along nicely. although, when i feel lazy, i put him back in the diaper and call it a day.  lucy takes him to the potty parties, dumps the potty, sanitizes the floor, and repeats the routine a lot. it helps that they spend 60% of their day outside, where anderson typically runs in the nude and lets loose whenever possible :)!

a word of encouragement for all your first time potty trainers... HANG IN THERE! don't stress, kids sense stress. don't ruin your relationship with your child. someone told me the first time your child uses the potty on the pot, you have about 3-6 months to go before their body is actually ready to potty train. this has proven SO true in all 4 of our children. potty training is WAY more about the parent then is it the child. set your expectations low, and let go of your agenda and time table. this might be the first "challenge" you and your child have faced together. lay the foundation for good team work, encouragement, and success. read, "toilet training in less than a day" by nathan azrin. no, you aren't going to do it in a day, but there are GREAT ideas and resources in this book.

hope everyone has a great weekend...
i am off the find those spider man cheeks!
~s

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

once upon a summer time..

sleeping in til 9 am? um, yes!


two trips to the pool in one day? um, yes!



children who take 3 hour naps and pass out at 8pm? um, yes!

 (this is an old pic of my baby boy)

i LOVE summer time. and this one is off to a good start!

happy day,
~s

Monday, June 6, 2011

play, dance, sing, and sit..

we have had such a full eleven days PLAYing with our sweet company!

we watched our katie bug DANCE and do her acrobatics thing with excellence!









and we are ready to SING and shout to the whole world the new, exciting, news that my brother andrew, and my sis-in-law Liisa, are expecting their first little babe ( my third niece or nephew :) in December. tu-tu, fun! for the record, i think it's a girl.


and now that the house is empty, i am ready to SIT on my caboose for a short while and rest!

hope you find a reason to play, dance, sing, and sit today :)!
~s