Saturday, October 28, 2017

Highlight Real

Oren Paul
Willem Vance

Hazel and her sweet group of friends! ALL of these girls are in the same class this year.

I remember being about 23 or 24 years old and thinking "oh my goodness - life is good" I was getting my teaching degree, and without a doubt knew that was what I wanted to work for. I was working with kids -- what I love. I had just got married. Making connections with some terrific people in Moses Lake was happening then. I was thankful to not be living under my dad's roof. Thankful not to have the pressure of that. Thankful to be able to have a better, more healthy relationship with him.
About a year later my mom died and searching for a "new normal" and finding joy in the day to day took much more effort than it previously had.
About a month after my mom died, Vance and I moved to Boardman, Oregon. Leaving the connections I had made in Moses Lake felt tough and starting over while grieving was not easy. But a lot was to be learned in Boardman and many memories made. The #1 memory being Merit's birth and first year of his life.
I can't believe how lucky I am to be able to find the joy now. I could begin to list why I think I can do that now, but the list is long - which really is a huge blessing.
My dad's visits through the years have been good and hard with some tension.
I will be honest, the last visit was maybe the hardest.

What I took from feeling really down and stressed is that so many people have really hard relationships and very tough times. I am so not alone. People feel at loss or desperate. What we mostly see on social media are people's highlights. The good and the great, what looks to be the good and the great. I have a lot of good and great and I have hard. And for today I choose to express the real.
I have some of the most genuine friends. Friends who confess the hardships, the tough times, the hard words and the victories and blessings. They share good recipes and a child's success. But they aren't afraid to ask me and others to pray over the hard stuff.
So we press forward. I have asked my kids "hey, will you pray about..." or "will you pray for ..." many times they are already on it. This is a huge thanksgiving of mine. 
I meet students every week who face hard things. And I work at being a light in their day. I watch teachers do a fantastic job reaching tough students and they care about kids going through hard times.  I feel thankful for these caring people.
This week was challenging and now today on this gorgeous Saturday I have NO voice. ugh.
But it has still been a pretty terrific Saturday.

 There is something about the colors, the crispness and the feel of Autumn.

If through the years it can be considered a good memory to have worked together - even for just a couple of those involved, it would be good. Time does great things if we use it well.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


We are making soaps again! It is so much fun. 
I love clove, cinnamon and oatmeal - my favorite combo.

We have had some challenging days. 
The beauty of fall is pretty therapeutic. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Our sweet Hazel is 8!

Thank you God for Hazel Jane!
Happy Birthday to one of the sweetest girls EVER!!!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Happy 15th Merit!!!

 Watching this kid grow has been a dream!!
Such a naughty three year old! Such a great teenager.
Watching his hustle and determination in sports is amazing!
He is a prayerful friend, a fantastic older brother and a fun, compassionate son!
We love you so much Merit!!
Happy 15th Birthday!!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

October Goodness

I was a substitute teacher in second grade Friday morning. At snack time, the children had rice krispy treats. We were one short. I wish I would have realized all of this sooner, but by the time we realized it many had started eating and I was not sure what I would do for the little boy who was without a treat. One girl who had not yet opened hers, looked at me. I asked her if she would be willing to break hers in half and share with the little boy. She agreed. She happily agreed. And the boy didn't whine or complain about only getting a half. It was one of my favorite second grade moments.

A friend texted me and said her house was in shambles. Piles everywhere and was not sure where to begin. She asked for a little help and accountability. The good thing is, this was my situation two weeks ago and I had a friend encourage me to set a timer. (thank you Shannon) Ten minutes in one room and you can't leave for anything. Not for the dryer buzzer, not to refill my coffee cup, not to call someone and tell them about my recent thrift store finds, not to go grab a granola bar. The progress I felt after ten min. in one room made me want to set the timer for another 10. Three or four afternoons of this over the course of a week and things looked MUCH better. I was able to give my friend the same advice. (this sort of comes from the Fly Lady too) Another favorite is to go into a room and find seven things to throw away and seven things to donate.

Another thing that is great is before and after pictures.

There is a still a lot of work to be done.

This is a good weekend of pumpkins and pumpkin carving, applesauce in the crock pot, football, a visit with Papa and Grandma, a delicious dinner at Porterhouse, kitten cuddles and good times...

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Things Big Kids Say and Do

Raising bigger kids is good and hard and messy and beautiful.

We were at the Farmer's Market Saturday. We went to buy apples and raspberries, mainly. We bought our apples, we bought a couple of hot dogs (delicious). We got to the raspberries and I asked the man, "how much for a flat?" $15 he tells me (6 boxes) I reach into my wallet and see there is just a $10 left. How many boxes for $10? "3" the man tells me. So this is Willem, he quietly says: "Mom, don't buy them. If you can only get three boxes for $10 but could have gotten 6 for $15, the 3 for $10 is not a good value." I assure him I still wanted to buy them, knowing they would get eaten. We get to the car and he asks me why no one listens to him. This kid is SMART. Merit tells me that Willem will make millions some day. He also says Willem is a great person to have on your side but you wouldn't want to go up against him at anything. He is LOYAL. He won't eat any fat on meat. He likes two vegetables. His favorite food is pizza. He is a straight A student. He is a fierce competitor.

*note to self; listen to Will

Hazel got a new jewelry box at Goodwill, it is really more like a jewelry "tower." Watching her place her jewels in there was darling. And in the bottom of one of the drawers, there is a card I wrote her last summer. She kept that simple, special card.

We met our new niece and cousin Quinn today. Hazel adores her. I think watching Hazel look after Quinn and dote on Quinn will be a whole lotta sweetness.

I now hear things like;
"That candle smells good mom."
"Could you make more applesauce mom?"
"You did a good job on that."
"Thank you for your help."

Raising big kids has a new level of kindness. Well, on many days.

I went kayaking with Willem Sunday. Kayaking away from home was easy and relaxing. Heading back for home there was some paddling against the current. And then there was a small area where the current was swift. Wild Will and I could not paddle against it. He got out. The water was COLD! He walked his kayak to shore and came back and got me. He did not want me to have to get wet.
Our big boys are often gentlemen and for this I am so very grateful.

It has been a fun season of watching Willem play football too! 
He is playing well! 

Merit is an encourager. At home, with his siblings and his friends, through school and sports. Merit offers a lot of encouragement to his football team. I get as CLOSE as I can to the field, with my camera. I get close so I can take pictures. But I get close so I can hear what those boys and coaches are saying. There is a lot of learning going on out there and in many cases a lot of encouragement. 

I am praying for good rest. Sleep is something I do not do well at. 
I think that I know to appreciate each of these days, I also know that on the tired days it can be a struggle. 

My hope is I can just ENJOY. Not look too far ahead, not live with regrets, sleep well and keep on keepin' on.