Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Living In The Storm: An alone visit

Thanks to a super sweet friend, today, I went and saw my mom all alone. *Oh, what bliss* While, I am more than happy to take the kids and let them love on their Grams, sometimes I just want to go alone with no distractions. Today, I wanted to selfishly soak her up all by myself. I wanted to say things to her in private, for her ears alone.

Today, I sat in the very rocking chair she sat in and rocked me when I was baby. I rocked and held her very, tiny, frail hand. She slept, I rocked. The room was almost quiet, there was just the smallest background noise of... you guessed it, The Gaither Vocal Band. :) I am not the least bit acclimated to silence. Very, very rarely is silence the melody of which I dance my days to. But today, I let the silence stir me to a place of being uncomfortable. I refused to get up and clean her already clean room, or write additional notes on the board or in the notebook. I let the silence direct me to watch her, absorb her, take a million mental pictures that I swore to myself I would never forget. I watched her mouth try and form words, I watched her very heavy eyes try to open and look at me, I watched her chest rise and fall, each time I would hold my breath feeling as if there are not enough days left for me to tell her everything I need to tell her.

Recently, she said to me, as if she were out of breath, " I am so tired of this, I want to go home!" I stood up, brushed my hand thru her beautiful gray hair, leaned my forehead against hers and spoke the words every child dreads, "Go home Mama! Go and be with Jesus! He and a host of angelic company await you. If you are ready, go."

I know very little about the dying process. But I know that I don't dare waste one second of the precious time I've been given with my Mom to tell her all the things I need to say.

Thank you, for sacrificing your everything to see us through.
I love you.
Thank you, for instilling in us Jesus.
I love you.

I need you, desperately. I've always needed you.
Won't I be terribly lost without you?
I'll always on some level need you.

Thank you.
I love you.

Monday, September 24, 2012


i believe in giving my children the power of preference. the more children you have the more intentional you have to be about using your words/energy/corrections, wisely. otherwise, by the end of the day you would be a strung out lunatic(trust me i know her). with katie, mark and i had endless barrels of words/energy/corrections/directions/etc.. it supports my theory that first borns are inevitably screwed up creatures b/c their parents had way too much time to critique them.

after you have "a-nother" you are too dang tired to helicopter parent. typically, subsequent children are FAR more laid back than their older siblings   their every move was not scrutinized by two, overly energetic parents :) (unless the oldest child is so laid back that the 2nd and 3rd born naturally select a path of stark contrast to the first).

back to preferences. i do not have the time, the energy, the desire to oversee every decision my children make during the day. there are so many things that i honestly will not waste my words on. like for instance, all of my kids dress themselves. unless, we are missing an article of clothing, or it's sorely mismatched, we go about our business. mismatched socks, flip-flops, shoes? who cares! i am just so grateful they remembered their shoes. currently, anderson only wants to eat with measuring spoons. i could force him three times a day to eat with a spoon, but why? if the little man wants to eat with the measuring spoon, i say, "GO FOR IT!" lucy prefers to only drink cold water from the bathroom sink, because she says it colder than the kitchen. again, you go girl! you walk to the bathroom, pull out the ladder and fill your cup with cold water. why fight that? julia wants to sleep with 25 stuffed animals in her bed along with some of the most random stuff...ever.  i did fight it for a while, claiming "how in the world can you sleep with all that stuff in your bed?" but i quickly let it go. jule bean, if you want to sleep with stuff in your bed, you are the one that has to sleep in it... not me. go for it! katie, insists on wearing shorts and tank tops all year long when she is at home. i could waste my energy and make her put on "winter" clothes, but why? again, you go for it katie-bug!

these are only a few preferences in a long list of preferences that happen continually all day long. i learned long ago, to save my words for situations where preferences such as, "hitting your sister to get your toy back," were of far more value than the utensil you eat with.  or, the preference of "getting out of my bed during rest time" needed to be quickly addressed as opposed to water location preferences. believe it or not, i am a pro at conservation. there is no telling how many times before i open my mouth i ask, "is what i am about to say/correct/analyze/critique a preference of my child's that is totally harmless, or is it a character issue worth addressing?" i have saved myself millions of words over 9 years by contemplating that question. i don't get it right every time. there are some days when the monster mom in me can not seem to remember that children are in fact children and they are allowed to have preferences, even if they totally drive me nuts. that is MY problem, not their's.

in the end, i want my children to have sweet memories of their mother. not memories of  a mother that nags and nitpicks at ridiculous preferences. when i speak to them, i want them to listen. then when i enforce my preference or a family preference, it is much easier to accept because it's not spewed out in a long line of preferences all day long.

parenting is the hardest job in the entire world. i have to conserve every ounce of energy to refine, define, mold, shape, instruct, guide, lead, and direct my children. one of the smartest decisions we ever made was to allow our kids to have preferences. however, big or small it might seem... somethings, a lot of things, are just not worth oozing over.

so here is to dinner with a measuring spoon, cold water from the bathroom, tons of bedtime friends, and a tank top for all seasons!

happy, happy, preference monday!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Living In The Storm: Your Grammy Loves You

I know you might feel that I am working over time in writing in this segment of our posts, but the bottom line is, I want to record every precious moment. Of course, our life continues to move on in other areas, (the dang laundry NEVER stops :) and as I feel necessary I will update in that regard also, but Mama is on the brain... SO, there ya have it...

Today, I loaded up all the kiddos to go visit Mom. As you can imagine Mom has quite the entourage of visitors and fans. The last few days she has been very alert. More alert than I have seen her in a month. When we got there today she had just finished a shower and was watching one of her favorite music videos,  "The Gaither Vocal Band". Remember yesterday, when we talked about the healing power of music, it has never been more lived out than in the life of Mom. For a long time now, anything that involves music has had an eerily calming effect on Mama. Hence the reason she was watching/listening to one this afternoon when I got there. Taking four children into a nursing home can be, um.... quite the experience. But the staff has repeatedly told me to come and come often with the kids. "Do not hush them," they say. "The residence adore the sounds of small people talking, laughing, and yes! Even being naughty!" Such a wonderful atmosphere. Today, the kids hugged on their Grams, played hot potato with the staff, and of course found their way to some cookies.

Today, what we took away was the unforgettable moment when Mom had some clarity and repeated a phrase that she has said to each of them over and over again since their births, "Grammy loves you, Grammy loves you! Jesus loves you, Jesus loves you!"

Two of the clearest indications of who my Mom was/is/and for ever will be; a lover of family and a lover of Jesus.

People keep asking in such a genuine and sweet way, "What can we do?" Honestly, just make the steps however long, hard, and impossible they might be, to make peace and form deep relationships with your families. Don't hesitate to make that phone call, ask for forgiveness, initiate (even though you ALWAYS initiate), extend forgiveness, keep pursuing even though there is nothing in return, and love like you were dying!! If my Mom, who is literally going out of her mind, can find the words to communicate her love for her grandchildren and her Jesus, then by all means you have NO excuses!

Happy Loving,

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Living In The Storm: "Not For A Moment"

So, there have been several moments during the storm of this journey that God has filled all the cracked, calloused, and empty places with music. Waking up this morning I felt super raw and vulnerable. Heard this song over the clamoring voices in Honey the Honda. I shouted, "shhhh,shhhh,shhhh, be quiet." Between the piano intro and the first 3 lines of the song, I KNEW that the Holy Spirit had intervened on my behalf today and took my lack of words before the throne, and groaned as my heart just ached. ~s

You were reaching through the storm
Walking on the water
Even when I could not see
In the middle of it all
When I thought You were a thousand miles away
Not for a moment did You forsake me
Not for a moment did You forsake me

After all You are constant
After all You are only good
After all You are sovereign
Not for a moment will You forsake me
Not for a moment will You forsake me

You were singing in the dark
Whispering Your promise
Even when I could not hear
I was held in Your arms
Carried for a thousand miles to show
Not for a moment did You forsake me


And every step every breath You are there
Every tear every cry every prayer
In my heart at my worst
When my world falls down
Not for a moment will You forsake me
Even in the dark
Even when it's hard
You will never leave me
After all


Not for a moment will You forsake me

Monday, September 17, 2012

the magic of the mundane

Here is the description of my blog: I love writing about my family. I love writing about our adventures AND all the mundane randomness that makes this life uniquely ours.

Here is some of our mundane randomness that i wouldn't trade for the world!

Happy Magic Mundane Monday!


she LOVES working with her daddy :)

 my cowgirl ballerina
 isn't that the tiniest ballet bun you've ever seen? :)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Living In The Storm: The Final 100

Hebrews 12:1 "Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us"

If you have ever run the 400 you know exactly what I am talking about when I talk about the final 100 meters. It's the final straight away of one nasty race. Your blood is pumping so fast through your body that you think you are going to lose your lunch. You feel as if your legs weigh an extra hundred pounds each. And as you round the last bend it feels as if this giant bear has jumped on your back to steal away every last breath you have in reserve. Somewhere right after feeling everything you begin to go numb and feel nothing. Your eyes can see the finish line, but your mind is screaming, "stop it! stop IT! STOP IT!" In those last 100 meters the only thing to do is trust your training and press on. You hope that you have vigorously trained your body and mind so that it will not quit on you in this moment of sheer awfulness.

I was not an excellent 400 meter runner. I much preferred the 100 and the 200. I knew how to run those races, but the powers that be forced me to run the 400 ;) It became apparent after running it a few times that I was forgetting to breathe. While, this is normal for short distances like the 100 and the 200, it is not a highly recommended practice for the 400. So, I did the only logical thing I could think of, I placed my favorite people in the whole wide world at the 300 meter mark and told them to scream at the top of their lungs, "BREATHE, SARA!"

Dear Friends, sweet Mama is running her final 100 meters. We were informed recently by the nursing home that it is time to bring in hospice care for Mom. I know this news might be shocking and almost too much to swallow,  but the truth of the situation is Mama-Mama is rapidly losing weight, she is almost totally immobile, and her body is beginning to slow down. We do not have a crystal ball so we can not tell you with 100% accuracy how long we have left, but we are rounding the bend, facing the straight away, and eying the finish line. As you can imagine we feel as if we are going to lose our lunch. We feel as if a hundred pounds of grief have been added to our hearts. We feel as if there are moments during the day and the ever present night, when the bear of grief jumps on us and threatens to suffocate us. We are all somewhere between feeling everything and feeling nothing. Our eyes are on the finish line while our hearts selfishly scream, "No! Stop it! Not yet!!!" We are trusting in the deep training of our souls that we will press on and not give up in this sheer awfulness.

My very wise track coaches always reminded us, "no one remembers how you start the race, but they'll never forget how you finish!"

Oh friends, we ache with desire to finish this race that we have been called to well! We want to gracefully, faithfully, and with open palms offer up our sweet Mama to her merciful Savior and her forever home. As we walk (maybe sometimes crawl) together during these last 100 meters we covet all of your prayers. We know that our favorite people in the whole wide world are still standing at the 300 meter mark shouting with tears, sadness, and pain of your own "BREATHE! JUST BREATHE!"


Monday, September 10, 2012

operation 9th birthday party

i was way too busy plotting obstacle courses, helping solve mysterious clues, pumping up the volume for our car jams, and trying to drive safely with other people's children in the car... to take pictures.

but the two i got are super cute!

happy monday!

Friday, September 7, 2012

someone stole my camera and my gumption

some little hands stole my camera and took some pictures for me. i am actually kind of glad because i get a big, fat, incomplete in the area of picture taking. for those who care, "incomplete" means lacking and unfinished. ;)

with 3 separate grades on the home school docket i am worn the slap out, as my southern friends would say!

i feel like i have an infant again; lunch at 2, still in PJ's at 4, and totally forgetting to brush my teeth every other day.

this afternoon it is overcast and cloudy. the kids have started their rest time and i would typically be looking for a cup of hot tea and a book. but today, even as i type i can't keep my baby blues open.

so here is to weekend of reclaiming the camera and my gumption!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Your Name


Verse 1

As morning dawns and evening fades
You inspire songs of praise
That rise from earth to touch Your heart
And glorify Your Name

Chorus 1

Your Name is a strong and mighty tower
Your Name is a shelter like no other
Your Name let the nations sing it louder
'Cause nothing has the power to save
But Your Name

Verse 2

Jesus in Your Name we pray
Come and fill our hearts today
Lord give us strength to live for You
And glorify Your Name

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Living In The Storm: The Power of People

i believe in the importance of people.

i believe that people are the ONLY thing that lasts forever.

i believe in investing in people; near or far, convenient or inconvenient, zygote or full term, easy or hard, painful or joyful, energy sucking or energy giving, short term or long term. i believe in the importance of investing in people.

we were never called to walk this life alone. isolation and independence can be dangerous and extremely lonely.

we need each other. and we need A LOT of different EACH OTHERs!

my mom invested well in people. the other night i spent the evening cleaning out a cabinet at their house. i can not exaggerate the number of blank cards mom had filed away. probably most of them intended to give to you! :) every occasion was covered. however, the "i am thinking of you", "i am so sorry you are walking through this", "i hope to encourage you" cards, WAY out numbered all the rest. this surprises no one. our Mama invested in people. but just not happy, fun, exciting people... but hurting, burdened, and broken people. there is no telling how many mornings i walked down stairs to breakfast to find  mom in her multi colored robe (purchased by dad) all wrapped up in the long, white, telephone cord... she was on the phone encouraging someone, sympathizing with someone, empathizing with someone, offering help, counsel, and prayer for any and all who needed it.  *ugh, i just miss that with every fiber in my being!*

i was kind of down and out last night because we have been in this house 7 weeks now and we are not even near being unpacked. not a single picture is hung, not a single decoration is placed in the kids rooms, etc,etc.... but then i stopped my pouting and realized that most of our "free time" has included people centered events. yes, we could have skipped those events and stayed at home and cleaned and unpacked, (and there is nothing wrong with cleaning and unpacking) but some how with everything we are walking through right now it seems temporary and unimportant. this house is not coming with us. it shall remain here on earth in all of its coziness. but those sweet, adorable, baby bellies i rubbed this weekend, those fun art projects crafted at kaleidoscope, those amazing friends who came over and shared dessert with us even in an imperfect house, those very busy monkeys who swam for 5 hours in the pool, while the onlookers chatted, hugged, and ate deliciousness... and that moment of holding her hand and kissing her cheek over and over again because i could... those moments are forever kind of moments. moments when the power of people in our lives is undeniable.

so here are to moments filled with people. not the pressures of home decor, or home cleanliness, or the exaltation of the temporary. rather, those moments grounded in the power of people!

happy holiday hangover day!