hope

1656112_10203433295182758_1825563154_n

we’ve all seen the fb status updates filled with success stories of this or that child from this or that friend.

we’ve all seen how God is to be praised and thanked for such a success and for such a wonderful child.

we’ve all seen the praise “you’re such a good Momma”

but what about the child who never quite makes it into those status updates.

what about the momma of that child.

is she not a good momma?
is that child not a success story?

for all you mommas out there with the difficult children or the ones who simply haven’t found their place in this crazy world yet … rest.  hope.  trust. love.

It is the hard that brings us to our knees … the trials that draw us ever so quickly back to the cross … the struggles that keep us honest and humble and thankful for any little success, and not just for the great ones.

God has a plan.

His strength is made perfect in our and in our children’s weakness.

I am the author of many of those success stories on fb status updates.

I am also the momma to that difficult child.

I write this for you, because I need to write this for me.

I am not a perfect momma, but I am not a bad momma either.

I do not love or raise my success story children any different than I do my difficult one.  If anything I spend more time and work harder to love her than I do for the others.

But I can’t change her heart.  I can’t speed up the work that Christ is doing in her.

I can pray … for her heart and for mine.  Yes, for mine.

if you are a momma of a difficult child, I pray you are not discouraged.
It is okay.  Your child is okay.

Go give them a hug and tell them you love them.

Go tell them you are proud of them.

Pray over them and tell God thank you for allowing you to be their Momma.  Let them see your faithfulness.  Let them see where they are to find their strength.  Let them hear that you are thankful for them.  And then trust that God has got them in His hands, and that there’s no place better for them to be.

trust

DSC_0489

We have less than four months here at The House on Grant.

Wow.

I thought I would blog more than I have.
I basically haven’t blogged at all.

It has been quite an emotional three years … good yet hard.

Sometimes I want to share, sometimes I don’t.
Most times I don’t.

Sometimes I feel like I can’t blog … I don’t have a home business … I don’t homeschool fully anymore … I’m not adopting … and I’m not in my early thirties with littles at my feet anymore.  My IG feed is filled with amazing young Mamas with great hair and great style, who are traveling together, running together … and while I know they have their moments, they are basically “getting it right,” and getting it right together.

I can’t compete with that.  I am a loner of sorts … maybe it’s because of my girls and being married for so long to a soldier who wasn’t around … or maybe it’s part me.  You know the line in the Alanis Morrisette song that goes, “I’m hard but I’m friendly … ” yeah, that’s me.  I’m not sure if that was me before 9/11 or if it is just me now, but it is me.

I feel like I’m about to have a nervous break down half the time and the other half of the time I feel like I’ve completely failed at everything.  So basically I am struggling constantly.

But, I have this urge to write.  Maybe it’s to push me to not just acknowledge the real, but to really see the good and document the direction God is taking me now, which I know in my heart is going to be just awesome.

So, read if you like.

I can’t promise I’ll keep writing, but I hope I do.

It’s hard to put it out there and leave it.  But I think that is what I need now.
These years in Leavenworth have been so stressful!  Yet as my oldest has mentioned, it has seemed more like home here than anywhere.  This has been the first post since she was 4, from which Dad did not deploy.

She will be 17 next month.

We have had to learn how to truly be a family here … a family together.  And all the while we’ve transitioned from being all together all of the time with homeschooling, to three in school, one in part day school, and one home fully … to nights where we still eat at the table, but because of competitive sports, babysitting jobs and Youth Group (and just basically a house with big kids and young adults), it’s never the same group of people at the table.

So we are finally all together, but never really in the sane spot.

We’ve also had to learn how to regroup after the loss of the girl’s Gran and the loss of memories and traditions that went with her.  And I’ve had to learn how to handle the permanence of her gone and the hope that still remains.

I’ll admit, sometimes I have been so angry … just angry at everything.

Truth, y’all.  Truth.  

But I’m here and I want to use these last few months to work through my thoughts and rework them to thoughts that praise God and thank Him.  Yes, I want to thank Him for not only being my Lord, but my Father.  I want to thank Him for my life and for my girls and my soldier and my circumstances.

I want to trust Him.

And maybe there is someone else out there who can be encouraged by my words and by this leg of my journey.  Maybe there is someone else who’s life isn’t IG glamorous either, but who is still right where God wants them to be.  Maybe there is someone besides me who needs to trust that God has a perfect plan … even for them. Maybe. But if not, that’s ok.

My life is not over, although for some crazy reason I feel as if it is … I need to learn to breathe again and to live again.  Maybe admitting that is a where I need to start.

Enough

10431718_10206288036709512_5544858458291144402_n

To my soldier …
thank you for making coffee for me every single morning
thank you for braving the cold to drive to get more coffee early in the morning when I’ve forgotten to pick it up the day before

thank you for walking a dog for a daughter … every night and every morning … a dog that you never wanted and for a daughter who rarely tells you thank you

thank you for asking me to look at the stars with you

thank you for letting me take a shower first every night

thank you for turning the van on for me, so it’ll be warm when I take the girls in … and thank you for also turning on my seat warmer

thank you for texting me, “Jesus loves you”

thank you for watching tv shows with me that you wouldn’t watch without me
and thank you for never complaining and even having the show set on dvd without my asking

thank you for telling me I’m smart

thank you for telling me I’m pretty

thank you for always opening the door of the van for me … and thank you for waiting patiently that Sunday it snowed, as I felt the need to snap a picture of your handsomeness waiting for me … and btw, thank you for never complaining that I am always the last one to be ready for church … thank you for just simply waiting and opening the door when I get there.

On this Valentine’s day I do want to say thank you for the dinner and trip to the art museum you planned last night … I don’t think you’ll ever know how much I really did treasure that … that even though you might think things have to be perfect for me, and while I know I can seem hard to please sometimes … ok, maybe all of the time … you totally have my heart.

I love you so much and have since I was 19.
You love me daily and I notice.  I forget sometimes at the moment to recognize, but I do notice and I always treasure the little constants up in my heart.

I know you wish you could give me more, but you have already given me enough, and you, YOU are truly more than enough.

So, thank you for loving someone as difficult as me.

Thank you for being my Valentine every day.

Intuition

Image

So, as a Momma of five girls, I’m all over the “Girl Power” mentality … or at least I used to think I was.  However, I have lately been cringing a little as various stories about girls and their “power” come my way.  It’s only a little bit of intuition, but my intuition is usually pretty spot on, so for what it’s worth, here’s my thought.

Girls are important, yes, but so are boys.   I want my girls to be proud of who they are, of who God made them to be.  But I am hesitant to promote their self esteem by constantly comparing them to boys.  I want them to take their gifts and talents and use them.  I want them to dream and try things that they are interested in, but I don’t want them to do something  just for the sake of proving to a boy that they can do it.  What is there to gain in that? I’ll tell you what, victory, yes, but a loss as well.

See here’s my thing … God created us to work together.  He is the Creator of the world, and if He wanted us to all be the same, then He would not have created male and female.  I don’t think all girls are the same, nor do I think all boys are the same.  But what I do think is that there are very dominant attributes that both genders on the whole have.  And while the world is constantly trying (maybe even without realizing it at times) to level the playing field by saying “Hey boys, anything you can do a GIRL can not only do as well, but many times better.” Wow.  I just don’t see the benefit in this.  I think we have to be careful the message we send out to our girls, and to our boys.  I like that there are things that my husband can do that I can’t.  I need him, and I am ok with that.  His strengths don’t make me feel inferior.  They teach me humility and team work.  They teach me selflessness and show me what love can truly be, and how I can be compassionate as well. I think God created an amazing world where we are designed to need one another and work together. I want my girls to have a good sense of self worth, sure!  But I don’t want them to feel that they have to “fight” to attain that.  I am all for a little healthy competition … there’s nothing that can bring out the best in us and show us how far we can soar, definitely.  But I am concerned with the daily inundation that I seem to be getting through Social Media … the constant praising of girls and their power, coupled with zero stories of young men and their successes.

Girls are pretty special to me.  I’ve got five that amaze me and teach me daily the power within a girl.  But I am also learning daily the importance of a certain man in my life.  We are allowed to be great because of his love for us, and we are all at our best when we live for each other, rather than for just ourselves.

I hope that my girls set big goals and dream big dreams, but I hope they have the confidence to be who they are without always having to tell everyone, or show everyone how great they are.  I hope their self worth comes from just doing their best, rather than having to have someone praise them for being the best.  And I hope they learn to encourage others … both girls and boys … to be the same.

If my intuition is correct, we are going to have a lot of “successful” girls out there, but a lot of lonely girls out there who won’t have anyone to share their life with because they’ve spent their whole life trying to prove they don’t need anyone but themselves.

Just a thought.

 

 

Sixteen

Image

I have a sixteen year old in my house.

There is so much I could say … she has so many praises for me to sing … but honestly, this snapshot I got last Thursday when I picked her up from her French tutor says it best.

That smile.

I don’t care what she does in life, what accomplishments she attains, or how many zillions of dollars she makes. All I care about is that she keep that smile … for in it there is found great joy and unmeasured hope.

In it there is peace.

Much love to my beautiful firstborn!
Proverbs 31:25 “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”

 

 

Tri

Image

Image

There is nothing quite like the stillness of a Sunday afternoon, especially when the weather is warm. I’m thankful for a warm, still Sunday afternoon today.

It’s been a good weekend. Fort Leavenworth is mostly a school environment. Every year it holds a triathlon for the schoolhouse. Yesterday my soldier participated in that triathlon. It was his first tri. He has wanted to do one for as long as I can remember, but has just never had an opportunity for various reasons. When we moved here two years ago, one of the very first things he did was purchase a used tri bike. Life was crazy that first year, and he spent most of his time running with me. Then last year his leg gave out right before the triathlon here on Post, and it really set him back physically for a while. He mentioned about a month ago that the tri was coming up and that he wanted to sign up. Without even hesitating, I told him he should. Last year it was so cold they cancelled the swim part of the tri. This year, though, the weather could not have been better. Sunny and in the 50’s when the tri was going on. Absolutely perfect. It was so fun trying to meet him all over Post … when he was on his bike and when he was running. It was fun to surprise him by being there when he came around the corner, and over the hills. I was just praying his leg would hold out, and not only did it, but he came in 19th overall (85 total athletes), and second for his age group! I was so happy for him.

That said, it wasn’t a huge triathlon, or one that would qualify anyone for an Ironman or anything like that. And my soldier certainly would say it wasn’t that big of a deal. But as I thought about it, I thought about there are so many opportunities in life to have … if we would just go out and have them. Oh the things we miss by dreaming only with our eyes closed! I am also reminded of blessings that we miss because they are not huge in the world’s eyes, so we therefore consider them small in our own. The bottom line is that we are to give thanks to God in all things, for “from Him and to Him and through Him are all things.” (Romans 11.36)

Life is such a gift. May we always seek to live it to the fullest, and may we always give thanks to Him from whom all blessings flow.

Congratulations to my soldier for his accomplishment this weekend! Thank you for the example you seek to set daily, not just for the younger Officers and soldiers around you, but for the girls and for me.

 

Swim

Image

Tonight we attended the end of the year swim banquet for our mermaid.
I provided the background music. She earned the most improved swimmer award.

She is a quiet girl.

She is kind, yet still unsure how to rest in who she is.
I suppose we all struggle with that our whole life.  She, however, really has to fight to push through it.

Four years ago she tried out for a team in Georgia, but didn’t want to compete. I pulled her and decided that at age 8 it wasn’t all that important to push her.

Last summer we decided it was time for her to try out for the Swim Team here on Post. I’ll never forget my soldier returning home from taking her to tryouts. He walked in through the kitchen. I was in the living room as the weekly Neighborhood Bible Study we hosted had already begun. He sat in the chair beside me and whispered in my ear, “I couldn’t get her to get out of the car.”

As I looked at her tonight laughing and giggling with her friends, I thought about that day of tryouts. We obviously eventually got her to get out of the car. She tried out, made the team, and started at the lowest level with kids several years younger. It’s been almost a year since then. She has moved from the Bronze, to the Silver and now is practicing two hours a night, four to five days a week on the Gold team.
No doubt she earned that award tonight.

Yet …
She cried on the way home.
She still feels like she’s not good enough.
Her times aren’t as good as her friend’s times.

I got to talk to her about how she’s got to push through that.
This year was a learning year.
This year she did great!
This year she grew.

I got to talk to her about how she’s got to keep things in perspective and make sure she’s always doing her best, yet not sacrificing more than she wants to sacrifice. If she wants to add two hours a week of dry land practice, fine, but she’s young … does she really want to trade two more hours of time with friends, family, or just of down time, for more practice? Is she okay with doing that even if her times do not improve?

I got to talk to her about how she needs to remember that none of this is about swimming in high school or college, etc. This is about swimming right now. This is about glorifying Jesus in her swimming right now.

We don’t know what the future holds.
But what we do know what the Bible says about making plans (James 4:13-15).

Today.
Now.
Jesus.
That is truly all it’s about. Anything else is extra. Anything else isn’t worth it.

My girls saw their Gran last May. They knew she was sick. They knew she could die from being so sick.
But they are kids, and she lived far away.

It was hard for me to grasp, and I know it was just all the more so for them to.

I wondered earlier today how difficult it must be for them to have just been told that she was gone. It had been six months since they saw her. They didn’t get to say goodbye.

While my swimmer still struggles so much with being confident in who she is, I wish so deeply that her Gran could have seen her swim … just once.
I wish so much that she could see how much this quiet California girl of mine has grown this year … and to see the young lady she’s becoming.
I wish she could have had just once the hug from her Gran telling her that she did a good job.

It really is so true how we realize what’s the most important once we no longer have the chance to have it.

My swimmer’s coach also commented tonight on her character.
When you’re 12 I’m sure that making a District I/II time is far more powerful to you than a speech on your great character.
But as we all know, we’re not 12 forever.

A seed was planted tonight.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to just listen to her and love on her a little extra.
I am thankful for the words God put upon my heart to point her to Him.
I am thankful for the ache that only He can remedy.

I am thankful I got to water that seed a bit.

So proud of my girl.  And as I told her tonight, I would be just as proud … even if she didn’t swim.

 

Survival

Image

I’ve been hosting this weekly study in my home every Wednesday morning for the last month and a half.  This is a first for me and waaaaaaaaay out of my comfort zone.  I stress about my house.  I stress about my kids.  I stress about the coffee.  I stress.  But every week the study meets.  It meets despite my house not being the best decorated.  It meets despite the dirt on the floor and the smudges on the door.  Despite the books being piled up on the coffee table (I really did mean to put those away), despite the fact that I’ve never led a Bible Study before … really despite myself, basically, it meets.  People come and even more profound, they come again.

We are studying Jennie Allen’s book, Restless, (http://www.jennieallen.com/books/restless) and with one week left, I can safely say that I highly recommend that you not only read this book, but that you grab a friend, a neighbor … anyone, and read this book together.  It is not profound.  It is not the greatest written work.  But this book makes you think.  Change that, this book makes you stop, pick up the shovel and dig.

This morning’s discussion was on Passions.  As we talked, we found that it is important for us to be present in our lives, as well as in others.  It is important to not just go through the motions, but to feel them, think about them … to notice them, wrestle with them … to truly be there.  Jennie uses the life of Joseph to guide the readers in her book, which she refers to as her “project.” Joseph was always present.  Joseph was always there.  He was always doing his best and going the extra mile, so to speak, in whatever circumstance God placed Him.  It took decades for God to reveal His plan to Joseph, and decades of losses for every little gain Joseph made.  I couldn’t help but think back today of where I am right now.  For the last two years I have been coming off of the biggest “survival stretch” that I’ve ever been on.  Many of you are readers from my old blog.  Many of you watched (via my words) me push through the hardest 15 months of my life.  And many of you would probably say that I “encouraged” you or that I was “so strong” or even, deep breath, that I was “a great example.”  The reality, however, is that I have never been in more of an autopilot role in my life.  I had to.  I wouldn’t have made it had I not.  But the letting go of that … the turning off of the autopilot … the transitioning to living from simply surviving has been a daily fight. I started blogging again because this was my “home” during those months.  This is where I was present most.  This is where I need to be right now … for whatever reason, for however long.  I love words, I love life … I love being forced to “say it,” to have to write it down and be accountable for it.  Yikes, did I really just type that? Okay, we all make too many mistakes to actually love being held accountable … but I guess what I appreciate and what I need is the push to “show up” here.  I do feel like I started something and in many ways I hit a bump in the road and then the road started getting really crowded with other drivers and some of them displayed a bit of road rage towards me and I just decided that my trip was over and I needed to go home.  And all the while the there were people who kept looking out their window waiting for me to drive up, but I never arrived.

Life.  We were not created to simply survive.  No, God loves us too much.  He had something different in mind when He created us.  We were created to live for Him.  Surviving is not living and surviving is not eternal.  Surviving is hard, yet many times it is safer to just show up, than to truly “be there.”  Well, I don’t want to just show up anymore.  I want to be present … to live.  I want to show my girls what it means to invest in the lives of others.  I want to show them that somedays that’s a whole lot easier than others, but many times it’s the hard investments that yield the greater return.

I have held on to surviving far too long.  And my heart, I’m sad to say, has become a little hard.

Watching Momma look up at me just hours before she died … too exhausted, too weak, too dehydrated to speak … I couldn’t help but wonder what her eyes were trying to tell me.  And for once, this Southern girl who never seems to struggle with something to say, felt zero desire to even think, much less speak.  All I could do was just brush her bangs over off of her face.

That moment taught me that life is so fleeting, so quick, so precious.  I am thankful Momma gave me one last lesson of the value of life, by hanging on until I could get from Kansas to Alabama.  Life … it’s not about our house, or our kids or us at all.  It is about pointing others to Christ, and looking to Him ourselves.

Thankful for the girls who show up at my house each Wednesday at 8:30am.  They are all amazing in different ways, and far exceed me in just about every area.  But they come, and as a result force me to be present, too.  They encourage me to live, and I am thankful.

disclosure: The bunny photo has nothing to do with this post, other than that it was cute and kinda crazy. I can’t help but wonder if bunnies off military installations are walked on leashes … 

Back

DSC_1015

“In this life we cannot always do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” Mother Teresa

After almost two years, I am back in the blogging world.  I am not sure if anyone noticed that I wasn’t here … but that’s okay.  I am not here for anyone necessarily.  I am here for me.

Since I last blogged, I have turned 40, and my oldest turned 16.  For those of who followed me before, I am sad to say that I never dreamed I’d celebrate both of those milestones without my sweet Momma.  I lost her to cancer the day my third daughter turned 10 in November.  In her life Momma didn’t do anything profound by the world’s standard, but she did everything with great love.  I was there with her the morning she took her last breath.  The ache of that moment is not only still with me, but it grows each day.  I miss her … everything about her.

Life is so different now.  But life is still a gift, and I want daily to focus on the blessings … even though there’s loss.  I want to remember how Momma lived, and show my girls how to live like her and love big in the small.

It is good to be back.