Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Permanent Pallet

 in our house the master bed is quite sacred. quite off limits to small people.  we have never allowed our kids to sleep with us. our reasoning is super deep and super spiritual so get ready for it.... WE ARE SELFISH! WE LIKE OUR SLEEP! ;) it took me a dag-gum year to learn how to sleep with mark in the bed.. i was not even going to consider letting the children sleep in the bed with us. i like my children...but not that much.

some of my la-leche friends are reaching for the phone and calling DHS on us, so let me redeem myself by telling you about our permanent pallet.  as a kid i had terrible, terrible, night meres. and believe you me i was not watching anything but the cosby show, 3-2-1 contact, and sesame street.. oh and the 3 stooges. nothing really night mere worthy, but i just struggled with fear, lots of fear. and up until about 18 months ago that fear held me in bondage. so i am very sympathetic to my kids when they are awakened in the middle of the night by bad dreams, thunder, or just the natural sleep cycle. not so sympathetic to let them into the throne room of the master bed.. but almost as plush.... there is a pallet ALWAYS made up by the side of the bed. it does not take much brain power to guess whose side it's by... (mine, of course). if someone needs some extra closeness, or extra comfort, they know without a question they are welcome to sleep here...

 some nights we have multiple pallet partners. but mainly it just bounces back between anderson and lucy. once upon a time they would wake me up to let me know they were joining me... recently, i just wake up in the morning and find them cuddled up in the plush pallet. for us, this is the perfect answer for those middle of the night moments.

just a little food for thought on this holiday hang over day!

Friday, May 25, 2012

summer somethings...

well, we have officially crossed over into summer time. i am very grateful to be on this side of the mason dixon line again, when memorial day marks the beginning of summer, NOT the beginning of the end of school.

katie's last day of school was bitter sweet for all of us. her school has a tradition that on the last day of school all the kids run down "the hill".. teachers stand at the top and parents stand at the bottom... everyone cheers as the kids run into summer. it was so, so, cool!

(katie, with faith and annie, her sweet-sweet friends!)

i am going to post through out summer some fun things and mainly the simple things we are doing to fill our time.  don't worry, nothing to get your pinterest pin boards out for.

most of our summer will include the following; pool, pool, cousins, pool, aunts/uncles, grandparents, drool on your pillow at nap time b/c you are so exhausted from the....you guessed it, POOL! this year will be the first summer in 9 summers that NO ONE will need my assistance in the pool. i have fully upgraded to lounging lifeguard. GLORIOUS i tell you, just glorious!

yesterday, we went to The Berry Patch and picked blueberries. DELICIOUS! therefore, this morning we had to make blueberry muffins. i don't do a lot of baking. cooking-yes...baking-no. i am not a big cake, muffin, cookie, pancake, waffle, person... so this was an especially big deal for the kids.

another key for our summer time is popsicles... however, the majority of all popsicles have high fructose corn syrup in them, and the ones that don't are outrageously expensive... 4 summers ago our sweet friends, the Maynors, who we met during our 10 week hotel stay in king george, va, AND ARE MOVING HERE IN A MONTH, introduced us to these amazing popsicle makers. i blend up yogurt, fruit, cinnamon, OJ, and milk and WA-LA... MAGIC!

while i do intend on having a very relaxed, super flexible summer with an emphasis on lots of quality time together, i have made excel spreadsheets for the big kids with some daily things on it like math flash cards, reading, piano lessons, chores, etc... some days nothing will get done on the list, and other days things will get done twice. it's just how we roll.
 we hope you have a fabulous memorial day weekend!
(here are some pics from one of our most memorable memorial days in Arlington cemetery. 2010)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Only Hope..

Hebrews 11:1
'Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."

My only Hope!

Jesus. Emmanuel. Savior. Messiah. Father. Almighty. God. Lord. Comforter. Healer. Beloved. Creator. Sustainer.

Friend of sinners.


Jesus Friend of sinners we have strayed so far away
We cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to
Jesus friend of sinners the truth's become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You but they're tripping over me
Always looking around but never looking up I'm so double minded
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided

Oh Jesus friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus friend of sinners break our hearts for what breaks yours


Jesus friend of sinners the one who's writing in the sand
Make the righteous turn away and the stones fall from their hands
Help us to remember we are all the least of thieves
Let the memory of Your mercy bring your people to their knees

Nobody knows what we're for only what we're against when we
judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and love like
You did
Oh Jesus friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus friend of sinners break our hearts for what breaks yours

You love every lost cause; you reach for the outcast
For the leper and the lame; they're the reason that You came
Lord I was that lost cause and I was the outcast
But you died for sinners just like me a grateful leper at Your feet

'Cause You are good, You are good And Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
Oh Jesus friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus friend of sinners break our hearts for what breaks Yours

And I was the lost cause and I was the outcast
You died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I Only Wish....

Katie made me a book for Mother's Day.  It's always very interesting to me what my kids have to say about who they think I am.  For instance, I often asked the kids to fill in the blank, "Name one thing you wish I (mom) did differently", " Name something that Mom does that makes you feel really loved," "Name something that Mom does that makes you feel unloved".  Although, these questions are REALLY hard to ask sometimes, I have learned that there are some things I do and don't do that hurt my children, things I would have never been aware of until possibly it was too late.  If you use this technique, please be forewarned, it can be very convicting.

Any who back to the book,  I will not repeat every detail of the book. It was totally Katie, and it was totally precious. The one page that spoke volumes to my heart was the page full of words describing me.

First, the oh-so-funny ones that are right on:
Fox News

I mean, for real? That is like one full day for me in five words. Although, had she added Twenty-Four, she would have been 6 for 6. ;)

Next, words that I really appreciate:
Ready and Respectful

Of course there were many words that made me feel very loved:
Knows a lot

But this one word in particular leapt off the page, smacked me across the face, broke my heart, and made me sob:

My heart heard the word as a small, intimate whisper, "brave, brave, brave"
The definition of brave is the following,
"possessing or exhibiting courage or courageous endurance."

I wanted to pull Katie in my lap and explain to her how I desperately lacked in the "courageous endurance" part. Just last week I publicly announced to my husband and few close friends that I was retiring from all of my jobs except wife, because it had some benefits. ;) The scary thing was I was only partially joking.  I was done. Every time I pivoted to a different department in my life all I saw and felt was desperation, pain, suffering, trials, humiliation, anger, and overwhelming challenges. And it was shitty. Oh so shitty.

A better "b" word to describe me right now, (of course other than the obvious "b" word) is BROKEN. Totally and utterly, broken. Not a "holier than thou brokenness". Not a red carpeted, black robed, high churched-presbuterous brokenness.... but an ugly broken. A swollen eyed, pitching a screaming fit on the living room floor, dry-heaving, begging the Lord to take my mother in her sleep, kind of brokenness...

The good news is I have not fully retired......... yet. (Check back tomorrow the title might be, HIRING!)

It's humbling to know that even as I walk around like an oozing, open, wound; in the eyes of a little girl I possess a characteristic as deep and as moving as bravery....

So today, here is to my little girl who is walking through her last day of school, and who has exhibited more bravery in one school year that I have in my whole life!

"brave, brave, brave"

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

cooking with LL Cool J

ok, so really i was cooking with AJ cool LJ.

i spend the majority of my life in the kitchen prepping, preparing, and cleaning up from 21 meals a week (give or take). it can well... be all consuming. thankfully, i have some really great helpers found in all my children and a husband who knows his way around the kitchen quite impressively (such a turn on) ahem.

i have said for a long time i think anderson is going to be a chef. he LOVES cooking. today he wore his spider man sunglasses while assisting me with el-mac-aron-de-la-cheese.

over the years i have had some pretty beautiful views from my kitchen sink. at twin lakes i could do the dishes while enjoying the view of the beautiful lake. in starkville and KG i had a beautiful view of our back yards.. the fresh breeze from the window could roll over my dawn soaked hands while i listened to all of nature cheer me on :)  in our current house, this is my view while i do dishes...

i LOVE this set up. an island with bar stools. it has proven to be super convenient time and time again. i typically don't sit during breakfast or lunch. i just stand at the island and serve up things from my short order diner. the mess is contained and i still get to be apart of all the chatter and giggles. at first i thought i wouldn't like people walking into my house first thing and seeing the kitchen sink, but as per usual people are drawn to the kitchen and camp out there for endless hours of food and conversation.

it was only right that my first mother's day as a mother in kansas i was given sunflowers (the state flower) as a gift. they are stunning!

we hope you are having a fantastic tuesday!

Monday, May 14, 2012

mother's day 2012

ok, so we had the most fantastic mother's day! my ubber creative husband stayed up til 330am making these shirts. aren't they amazing? i think they are. no, mark and i weren't fighting, we are standing 6 inches apart because we didn't want to cover up his shirt. usually we use any excuse to touch. :) and i'm sorry, but aren't those the cutest kids you have ever laid eyes on? ADORABLE!

after nine years of being away i was able to spend the day with my Mama ON mother's day. it was the PERFECT day!

hope you have a great monday!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Who me, a Mom?

It doesn't matter how it's said, (ok, when it's said in the high pitched whiny tone it loses it's charm :) how often it's said, or which child says it... my heart still skips a beat when I hear it; "Mama, Mom, Mommy, Mimi, (Julia's silly name for me). I want to look over my shoulder and see if MY mom is standing there. How is it that I am a Mom? A real life Mom. Someone looks at me with the unfiltered eyes that I look at my sweet Mama with.

 I am humbled, inspired, filled with joy, deeply satisfied, and unbelievably blessed to carry the title of "MOM". I do not take this title lightly, nor am I intimated at the ramifications my role possesses. My calling weighs heavy upon me. Being asked to get up day after day, month after month, year after year and lay your life down for your child is absolutely the hardest thing I have EVER done, and probably will ever do. But the secret and not so secret rewards could only be held in the deep chambers of the heart of a mother.

First time Mom's say it all the time in preparation, "People say everything changes after the baby comes, I am going to try really hard to not let that happen!" Experienced Moms hold in their guttural laughter. Bottom line, motherhood changes everything, and thank God every selfish bone in our bodies is stripped away by the innocent cry of an infant child that needs us for survival. Thank God everything changes, because we are a people in DEEP need of a change. Thank God our Savior uses our love for our children to transform our hearts FOREVER!

I am the Mom of the funniest, craziest, silliest, sweetest, and stunning 4 kids this planet has ever seen.
I am a Mom, unashamedly, unreservedly, unconditionally.... I am a Mom!

If you don't know it already, I am pretty crazy about my own Mom.
If you don't know it already, God saw fit to bless me with the most incredible Mother-in-law EVER.
If you don't know it already, my sister is an AMAZING Mom who has kept me from running away from my calling many a day.
If you don't know it already, my sister-in-law has so graciously crossed over into motherhood land with the sweetest love.
If you don't know if already, I journeyed with, have been influenced by, carried, and am indebted to some the most selfless, awe-inspiring, moms.

I am blessed beyond all measure.

Mark asked me the other day if our life was all I had ever dreamed about... My response, "Our life is FAR beyond all I have ever dreamed about!"

I became a Mom the very second Katie was conceived in my womb (December of 2002). I will be a Mom for as long as my soul exists.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

i was SO wrong..

what was i wrong about? well, you might remember from this post when i said, "and currently we have no  planned major life changes."

key word.... planned.

i was wrong.

from the ages of 0-20 i lived in 2 houses. from 20-30 i will have lived in 7 houses. yes, 7. for many of my faithful military friends you are thinking, "so what? join the club!" :)

long story short, we are moving. thankfully, not out of kansas city. we are just down sizing. ugh. sometimes it just stinks when you have to be responsible. do i want to leave our house? no. do i want to leave the community we have built? no. do i want to live my dual sided fire place and amazing kitchen....NO. but sometimes we have to make hard decisions.  we are downsizing so that we can minimize our output and reduce our debt, therefore we can be debt free and start saving for a nest egg so we can buy a home. curse that Dave Ramsey ;)

we want a home of our own. but we don't want to be house poor, we don't want to be slaves to our home. we know what that feels like and it's this dark pit of suffocating YUCK!

in light of all the pain in this world, this is really a minor hiccup. like my brother-in-law so wisely states, "these are first world problems." we will have a wonderful roof over our heads, we will have more space in our home than the majority of this world, we will have food to feed our children, and most importantly we will have our family. i would say that's a pretty amazing life indeed.

unfortunately, we are leaving the school district we are currently in and currently LOVE! :( because of the uncertainty of how long this down size will be we are going to pull the kids back into homeschooling. i am super sad. had we remained in our home all 3 of our girls would be attending public school next year. anderson and i would have had 5 days a week of single-child bliss. oh, the things we could have accomplished! however, i am unwilling to drop them in and out of the public school system. until we are really settled i want to offer them the consistency of homeschooling. katie took the news with such ease. she loves efficient processes. homeschooling has it's problems, but if anything, it's efficient. she, of course is going to miss, miss, miss her friends, but we are committed to keeping up with her friends. although, we know life will change when we leave.

we know without a shadow of a doubt God had us in this magnificent home for 12 months for some very specific reasons. we are thankful for the year of reprieve. our house has truly been a haven. we have hosted more parties in one year than most people do in a life time. we love a full home so we want to work towards having a home of our own that we can host parties in for a life time...

here is to being "responsible" argh......

Monday, May 7, 2012

Living In The Storm: The Birthday Book

Tomorrow, this beautiful woman I call Mom turns 67 years young ;)


We are getting fuzzy. Her very own flesh and blood is fading in the intricate connections of her brain.  We knew it was coming, we have seen the signs for awhile.  This look in her eyes when she just can't seem to place you.  The details are gone.  On good days our names will come, on bad days our names don't fall off her lips. She has asked for a book with our pictures and our names so she can study them. She knows we are slipping away and she is grasping for a means to hold on. We will give her whatever she wants so she can hold on. I am even willing to be Zach if that helps her hold ;)

I will make her this book.

It will be similar to the following, maybe less words because long winded things bug her...

But the facts will remain. We are all hers, each and everyone of us connected to her in body and soul. While we might fade from her memory, when the layers are pulled back and she is made whole we will ALL be there protected in her heart where a wife, a mother, a mother-in-law, a Grammy, a daughter, a daughter-in-law, a sister, a sister-in-law, an aunt, a cousin, a mentor, and a friend, stores treasured data for all time.

Happy Birthday to a woman who will be celebrated for all time!

This is your husband, Clint. You have been married for 39 years.  He is crazy about you.  He always has been. You have always been best friends. You are "the woman" behind the man. He has long sought out your company, your advice, your wisdom, your cooking. You are his.

  This is your first born son, Jonathan  When the rest of the world told you to give up on him you begged the Lord to save him.  God heard your prayers and spared his life.  He loves you. He is strong headed like you. :)  He cares for you so gently and has been your companion for many, many years. He carries with him your love for a full house and a party at any given time.

This is your first born daughter, Joanna.  She is married to Matt.  Joanna earned your devotion and trust many years ago.  You trust her. Her strength and determination puts you at ease in moments of crisis and calm. You look to her to steer you through. She loves you. She speaks truth just like you do. :) She carries with her your love for all things holiday.

This is your second born son, Andrew. He is married to Liisa. He loves you. He made you earn your parent badge. :) He is so unbelievably loyal to you. He has carried on your spirit of adventure and always wanting to find that next get-a-way! He traveled the world, but he came home... home to you. He warms up a room just like you do.

 This is your third born son, Zach. He is not married and for some *expletive* reason you won't let him forget that. :)  He loves you. He too came home to be with you. He gets away with murder. You always look the other way and just laugh.  He brings much joy to you.  He carries with him your sassy.

This is your second born, and last daughter, Sara.  She is married to Mark.  She too came home because she couldn't imagine herself any where else right now. She loves you.  She carries on your fertility gene. :) Your sensitivity to people, the Holy Spirit, and life in general has taught her so much.  

These are your grand children; Katie, Julia, Megan, Lucy, Lizzie, Anderson, and Jaxon. Each of them carries their Grammy in their heart. Whether they will have lots of memories or just a few, you touched them. You raised their parents. You have loved them well!

You have left a legacy we will never, never forget!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

dancing with YOU!

Mark Adam, my love, I do not want to dance with anyone else in the whole wide world. Thank you for laying down your life for me day after day. Thank you for giving me the name Littlejohn!

"When I forget my name, remind me!"

I am yours!

*Angela Morgan gets the credit for introducing me to this amazing song*

I was nineteen, you were twenty-one
The year we got engaged
Everyone said we were much too young
But we did it anyway

We bought our rings for forty each
From a pawn shop down the road
We made our vows and took the leap
Now fifteen years ago

We went dancing in the minefields
We went sailing in the storm
And it was harder than we dreamed
But I believe that's what the promise is for

"I do" are the two most famous last words
The beginning of the end
But to lose your life for another I've heard
Is a good place to begin
[ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/a/andrew_peterson/dancing_in_the_minefields.html ]
'Cause the only way to find your life
Is to lay your own life down
And I believe it's an easy price
For the life that we have found

And we're dancing in the minefields
We're sailing in the storm
This is harder than we dreamed
But I believe that's what the promise is for

So when I lose my way, find me
When I loose love's chains, bind me
At the end of all my faith, till the end of all my days
When I forget my name, remind me

'Cause we bear the light of the Son of Man
So there's nothing left to fear
So I'll walk with you in the shadowlands
Till the shadows disappear

'Cause he promised not to leave us
And his promises are true
So in the face of all this chaos, baby,
I can dance with you