It is astounding how busy this life can get! We have had appointment after appointment.
Thankfully, everyone's eyes are seeing how they should see…their teeth have no cavities…on and on, all is well!
We have built forts,
been to a Hillbilly Hoedown,
watched Pastor preach in his pajamas for the last couple weeks, seen Third Day and Glory Revealed in concert,
went on fall picnics and field trips...
went to New Zealand in our schoolwork and we are headed to Japan next week. We have broken bread with friends, grown deeper with God, shared broken hearts with each other, cooked with a toddler,
seen family we haven't seen in months,
invented new games,
and cuddled up to watch T.V. We have read books and drawn pictures,
and made s'mores. We have cleaned and made messes, worked hard and slacked off!
We have been doing life.
It's Saturday now...6AM. I can't sleep. I've been dealing with some anxiety lately. I keep waking up about 4 and just laying there…thinking. Thinking about tons of things…trying not to worry over anything, but instead, present everything to my Lord who is way able to handle it all better than me!
I've been reading a book called How We Love. I read A LOT, but never have I read a book that cuts to the heart so quickly. I am going through it with four other women I meet with every Monday. We have been together for almost a year now and my, how we have grown!
We have overcome fears, stepped out in faith, confessed our transgressions, talked about the taboo, touched places long buried, cried lots of tears, laughed till we hurt, and prayed heart-wrenching prayers.
We have shared life.
Everyone needs people they can tell anything to…and I am grateful to have these women warriors by my side!
This book is about how we are imprinted as children…how we learn to give love and receive love. It is soul searching! It is difficult, but I know it is necessary. It has brought a lot of things to the surface that I guess I have pushed down. But already, it is changing the way I parent…changing the way I love and listen, perceive and receive.
We all need it. We all want it. Many of us can't handle getting there…and so we shut down. We become numb to life and go through the motions, never really experiencing the deep. We stay superficial and we miss out.
Relationships become strained and our hearts become heavy. Our countenance falls and we withdraw.
This is not living. This is existing.
Well, I've made a decision. Mere existing is NOT for me! Nope, not me! I'm going through. I'm going to learn how to deal and heal.
BLAH! YUCK! That's how I feel today. Icky. Sickly. My body hurts. My tummy feels not quite right. My throat is scratchy and it keeps making me cough. I have little energy. I don't think I have a fever though. No flu...just a cold. But YUCK!
I know on the scale of life it's no big deal, but it makes life slow waaaayyyy down. I even canceled school today and we watched movies. I just couldn't do it!
My boys are being so sweet though. They have straightened up and carried in groceries and put them away. They loaded the dishwasher and swept the floor. They are getting too big! When did they start taking care of mom? Wow...you train them up in what they should do and then when they start doing it, you get sad! Motherhood is so weird!
Now it's getting ready to storm outside so what shall we do...more movies I guess because I can't read to them. I don't even wanna play games...and I LOVE to play games with them. Maybe they will build Legos or practice music and I can sleep. Oh that would be great...ZZZZZZssss!
Oh and I want my honey back home. I'm happy to be married to a man that really loves me and cares when I feel crummy. I am blessed.
Uh oh! Alex just asked Trey if he wanted to go make a big, ugly alien. I wonder what that plan entails! I better go.
Our studies this year have been so fun and interesting already!
We started out with a world geography review and then hit the Pacific Islands. We learned about the way many of them were formed (by volcanoes) and read books, both fiction and non-fiction, that describe life and culture in various people groups. It was neat to compare and contrast the tribes that live/lived right next to one another!
CULTURE! It's a strong thing! Culture is what we think, what we do, why we do it, and how we do it!
So last week, we went to...Australia...well, at least in our imaginations and books! The boys remembered many things about the animal life there from our biology units last year. We enjoyed pictures of the platypus and echidna, and we were awed by the Great Barrier Reef!
Did you know that many of the people that went to Australia were NOT just mere explorers or brave adventurers looking for a better or different life? No! These people were criminals...convicts from England...sent as punishment! Some of them committed murder. Some stole or couldn't pay their debts. But England was running out of room and didn't want to be bothered by taking care of their prisoners, so off they sent them. Most never saw their family members again!
And can you imagine being an Aborigine...a native Australian...trying to live your life on the land you have always known, and then a bunch of weird-looking people come onto your land and start changing things?
Oh...wait a second! That sounds a whole lot like what happened in America! Hmmm... Anyway, Australia has an interesting history!
For every country we study, we pick a project. For Australia we chose to paint Aboriginal art!
If you have never seen any examples, you should look it up. It is quite fascinating! Much of the art is filled with bright colors in dots, circles, zigzags, animals and figures. It's common for family members or a group to work on a giant canvas altogether.
So tonight...since Dad is out of town and I haven't felt the best, we put our hand to something CALM and tried our own painting! The boys opted to each paint their own picture, instead of working on one big one. The Aborigines would use their art to tell stories of their mythical ancestors and what happened on their land. Well, we don't believe that we (or the Aborigines) have mythical ancestors, but we don't see anything wrong with using art to tell stories. I told the boys to paint whatever they wanted. Here are the results:
You have to love the day that comes when you witness your kids "getting it."
You know those days I'm talking about...the ones that come along, out of the blue, when you see your kids, or kids you've been working with, actually do what you have been teaching them?
I had one of those days the other day. All through the night Sunday to Monday, I had an awful migraine. Usually I can sleep and it will subside enough to continue on with life, but this one was a doozy!
I was down and out Monday. It was bad! I didn't want to see light or hear sound. I was so nauseous! Tom had left for New Jersey the day before.
I also had to start drinking some real "yummy" stuff at 1pm that day to get ready for the colonoscopy I was having on Tuesday. Can I even tell you how enjoyable all that was together?
I didn't want to call my mom over, for she was coming Monday night to help out anyway. So, here I was trying my best to get through the day. Well, can I just say that my oldest son was amazing!
He had looked in the teacher's manual and tried to figure out everything they were supposed to do for school! He was on top of it all...not just school, but reminding Alex and Trey of their chores, cleaning up the kitchen, coming in to check on me and even praying over me!
Of course I look forward to the day when Alex and Trey will actually listen and do what Garrison tells them in times like that, but I was so blessed that Garrison was trying!
I didn't see much of Trey...
...but I can say that Alex did come in to check on me and trade out the ice pack. He brought me drinks and popsicles and was trying to give me medicine. It was very sweet.
By the time my Mom showed up, Garrison and I were both thankful! She had them all fed and ready for bed in no time. I was starving by then, and I tried to drink some warm broth, thinking that sounded delightful. It did taste delightful, but here is a little public service announcement:
HOT LIQUIDS THAT GO INTO A CLEANED-OUT COLON COME OUT WARM TOO!
YES! I do know this doesn't make for fabulous reading, but I feel obligated to tell others what was not told to me! Be careful my friends!!! (Aren't you glad I have no photos to post of this!)
Tuesday morning had me up at 5am sipping more yumminess to prep me for this procedure! It isn't terrible. Don't let me scare you. The first thing doesn't taste very good, but the second step isn't bad. It's just bad if you are one that doesn't like to chug a bunch of liquid before the sun comes out!
I made it through, but I was really not feeling well by the time my dad got me to the hospital. Thankfully, I had great staff and after the meds went into the IV, I remember NOTHING! Next thing I knew I was in recovery. My Dad said I was saying and doing some funny things...none of which I will post here...sorry!
I am happy to report that nothing bad was found, and I am actually doing better now than I was when I went in with the symptoms in the first place. Yea!!!
I do just want to say thank you again to my parents for all they did and do for us. What a blessing to be close to them again.
AND HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!
I love you both, and I thank you for being dedicated and active parents and grandparents!
You know those people who come into your life and the second you meet them, you just know that you KNOW that you will be friends forever?
Those people who cause your heart to instantly jump and everything inside you screams, "Pick me! Pick me! Let's be friends!"
Well, I have been blessed to have that happen to me many times over in my life, but today, I want to tell you about some of them!
They came into my life at unexpected times, in unexpected ways, and they changed me forever.
~Laura, Heather, and Saunnie~
Affectionately known as "my girls." I adore these three people! I have been taught so much by them. Anyone who thinks they cannot learn from someone younger than themselves is a sad, ignorant soul!
These ladies challenge me. They inspire me. They believe in me. They encourage me. They see things in me that I cannot see; and they tell me I can do the things I dream. They love me unconditionally, and they care about people...all people...no matter who they are. They shine and they make a difference. And I have adopted them...spiritually:)
First, there was Heather. I met her at the church we were attending. I instantly enjoyed her...her smile, her intelligence, her quiet, thoughtfulness, yet her strong convictions and willingness to go wherever God would call her.
When she decided to intern with the leader of the church, we felt moved to offer our home for her to stay in for the summer. I never would have imagined what this simple act of hospitality would do in my life!
Heather and I are quite different, but we both love people and we enjoy life. That summer was filled with many happy memories for both of us. When it was time for Heather to go back to college, my heart broke! It was silly! It made no sense! It wasn't like we were not going to see one another anymore. But, our hearts were knitted together forever and it just hurt!
I had to learn to rest in knowing that no matter where we go, nor how many miles seperate us, God has created a bond that will last for eternity and people are our's to enjoy only for seasons.
I got to see Heather yesterday. It had been a while...far too long for my liking! She is getting ready to leave for Cambodia. She is following her God...following her heart. She is laying her life down so that others my live.
Heather~no words can express to you how much love fills me just thinking of you. I miss you immensely and my heart is torn. I want to hold onto you forever, yet I want to see you soar! My flesh wants to fear for you, but my spirit has peace that even if something were to happen, you would end this life KNOWING you did what you were created to do! There is nothing more I could hope for you!
I bless you precious girl. Go with God and make your mark on this world!
~Until all have heard~
See these six kids? Yeah...you know them. My own three boys and my two nieces and nephew...Hannah, Gracie, and Matthew. Kids inspire us constantly...well, if we take the time to notice them!
When the unthinkable struck our family, these three kiddos came to live with us. This was the summer after Heather was there. Again, God called us to open our home, reminding us we are blessed to be a blessing...not to horde and be comfortable!
Did I think I could do it? Did I think I could mother six children, nurturing them and homeschooling them? No...not really! But I did know that God would never call me to do something He wouldn't also equip me to do.
We heard Tom's sister had been shot while on our first mission trip to Honduras. In those moments, God had already planted the seed. We knew they were gonna be with us. We didn't know how their momma would be convinced of this, nor why in the world God would choose us, but we knew. There was never a time of questioning. God moved on our hearts and we walked it out.
Taking care of these six children stretched me more than I have ever been stretched. But we did it! We made it! And it was very, very good. God's hand was upon us and though we went through many hard times...at the end of the day, when I had helped someone through their anger or their tears one more time, and then cried my own when they couldn't see...I knew peace that passed understanding.
Hannah, Matthew, and Gracie~No day goes by that I don't think of you and wonder how you are doing. No day goes by that I don't think of the choices that were made that impacted you forever. No day goes by that I don't commit you to the Father and cast my care for you upon Him. I could go on for pages about each one of you...about all the things I love about you and see in you. I pray you know the affection and care Uncle Tom and I feel for you, and know that we are here for anything you ever need.
Garrison, Alexander, and Trey~To know you from babies and watch you grow is the greatest gift, next to salvation, that God has given me. I have no idea why God would allow me to be your mom, but I am utterly grateful to Him for the chance. When I was young and dreamed of what my children would be like, never, EVER, did I envision you three! In truth, I really thought I would have daughters. But praise God that He knows what we need more than we do! You have shown me a glimpse of God that I would not have had otherwise. I want to be a better person because of you. I can't imagine what our future holds. I cannot imagine being any prouder of you or loving you more. Yet, in my heart, I know so much more awaits us. Thank you for being giving people...for allowing your dad and me to do what we are called to do, other than parent you. Thank you for supporting us and doing your best to understand. Thank you for sharing us and for sharing your home with others.
And then there's these two...
Saunnie and Laura were scheduled to move in when Hannah, Grace, and Matt left. That move got put on hold and for a short time, there were eleven of us living in the house. Heather, I think, even came back during that time, which put us to twelve. My mind blurrrrs trying to remember those days! But for all the chaos, it worked and it was fun most of the time. It helped us all be a little less selfish...and God provided for all of our needs!
Saunnie....oh Saunnie! Now there is a character. Everyone on planet Earth should have the experience of knowing this girl!
The first time I really remember Saunnie was at a retreat. I commented on her name and she went into this story about how her mom named her after a friend who had died. She finally started laughing and admitted to her joke! I was smitten from that moment. Completely and totally in love!
We are so different, yet so alike it is hard to explain. Kindred spirits, bonded together in no way that I am bonded with another human being. Our story is unbelievable really, and we have just about given up trying to explain it.
We have grown so much together. We drive each other crazy, yet there are times we are the only one the other can talk to. It's wierd...but it's a God thang! He indeed uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise!
Saunnie~Thank you for making my life bright...for all the hilarious laughter and for being so real you leave me speechless. You challenge me to think in ways few others can! You are truly one of the strongest women I have ever met. If there is any woman who I had to pick to "do it all," you, my dear, would be the one! Your drive inspires me. Your maturity astounds me. And though some people have misjudged you, I know the real you...and your confidence in God through you, teaches me. Stay focused on who you are and Whose you are because, girl, you are gonna move mountains!
And my Laura~my dear, sweet one, sent to me from the Lord! When I needed help, God sent you. You think this relationship is meant to bless you, but will you ever see the blessing you are to me? I will never forget that scared, hurting soul that stood before me, averting her eyes and barely able to speak. I will never forget watching you through that meeting, nor the days that followed and how God orchestrated, step-by-step, the breaking down of walls.
You hold within you a compassion, kindness, and thoughtfulness few people have. I long for the day when you are completely set free and see yourself the way God sees you!
Your loving way with children is amazing. I have met few people that make kids feel as comfortable as you do. It is a gift, not to be taken lightly...and truly has everything to do with the desire and passion in your heart.
I want to cuddle you up and protect you...not because you cannot handle life, but because I don't want one more person to make you feel like you can't! I don't want you to experience any more wounds! But that isn't possible.
So for what life is and what we have to walk through, I am so thankful to have you and to be able to be there for you. Our talks have gotten fewer and further between, but they are the real deal...raw and uncensored. We don't always find the answer, but we sure grow closer trying. Thank you for always caring about me and going out of your way to make sure I am okay. It means a lot...more than I can say.
One day soon, when all of the junk gets stripped away and your vision becomes clear, I know with all my heart that you will take the asignment God has given you and do it with excellence!
I love you all, and I want nothing but God's very best for you.