Obligated

When you have a blog it is darn near an obligation to share good news which today means celebrating how great my kids are. 🙂

Nadine and Macey were both crowned PE Students of the Year at their school. They also both made the Honor Roll. Nadine received a special recognition for being on the Honor Roll the 6 trimesters they can achieve that. Macey won 1st place at the area wide Track Meet for the Softball Throw. Pretty awesome! Sierra was on the Honor Roll as well for the whole of her 6 and 7th grade years. She has continued to excel as a writer and in art. Our 3 big kids are pretty special and we are so glad for their success in school!

After this summer I will have 5  kids in 3 different schools (2 of those in Junior High). 3 kids in soccer (one on a traveling team). And a bunny (my compromise on getting rid of our dog). So I am going to enjoy lazy days and sleeping in while I can!

Hope you and yours are well and cheers to a great summer!

Happy Mother’s Day

I am mother to 5 glorious children and had a wonderful day being spoiled by them and my husband (I won’t brag about it :)) but I have to say…the best thing about me is the man I am married to. Without a doubt most of the good that comes from me is because I have an amazing, faithful, loving man standing before, beside and behind me. He leads our family and is our humble guide. He listens to me and is my greatest confidante. He enjoys my thoughts and supports my dreams. He is a treasure to me. Here are a few of the things that make me smile about him today:

I love that he gets out the camera and takes pictures of the kids. When they are being silly or having a great time, he wants to capture it.

He takes me out for breakfast every Sunday morning. The man knows what a pancake means to me.

He takes our kids on Monday morning dates. No matter what.

He always hears me out. Even if I am complaining.

He calls me over to watch a replay if I missed it.

He works his tush off and is never ever selfish with the money he earns.

He helps me match up the socks even though he has no clue whose are whose.

*whispers* (He took Sierra to Abercrombie to buy her some overpriced jeans she wanted.)

He never complains about laundry (sometimes he has no undies) or dinner (sometimes we have cereal) but is always full of thankgiving for me as his wife.

He thanks me for taking the kids to the beach or Legoland or the park.

He makes an effort to make our lives fun and funny. No one is funnier to me.

He is madly in love with me. There is nothing better than knowing that about your man and being able to return it ten fold.

It is a Happy Mother’s Day because of the man who made me a mother. I am proud to be his. I love you Babe.

Girlfriends-A Quote

“What I expect from my male friends is that they are polite and clean. What I expect from my female friends is unconditional love, the ability to finish my sentences when I am sobbing, a complete and total willingness to pour out their hearts to me, and the ability to tell me why the meat thermometer isn’t supposed to touch the bone. ”

– Anna Quindlen

I thank God everyday I have girlfriends such as this. I would be breathless without you all. You are more than I deserve.

Key

Mike and I have been a little like two ships passing in the night the last couple weeks. He has a crazy busy work schedule, goes to school (which he is the tops at!) and is involved in some people loving kind of stuff. I have a husband who is crazy busy. So that makes me crazy too. Being busy is an any time characteristic of my life but being crazy only happens when Mike is over worked and over scheduled. We have had NO time to catch up on all the here’s and there’s of our lives and the people who occupy them. So I planned a weekend away to re-connect. I knew it would be great but I didn’t know how much we really needed it.

Saturday morning was a little rough. Mike had some work stuffs to do and the kids had some stuff they wanted to do and I had some stuff to sort out with Mike.We ended up in a fuss with one another. Sparing you all the specifics, our biggest issue was simply not spending enough (or ANY!) time together. There was really no one to blame; no one needed to change their attitude; there was nothing to apologize for. It was a simple case of no more gas in the tank.

As we got in the family car, Mike commented how long it had been since he had driven it and how nice it was to be together. There was an immediate sense of peace when we all were together. We had lunch together and registered Sierra for Cheer. It completely ‘fixed’ us. Spending time together healed the missing we had been experiencing and broke down any barrier we had as a result of not abiding with one another. We had been eating from the same fridge, getting ready in the same bathroom and sleeping in the same bed, but we had not been abiding with one another.

I think about my relationship with God when I experience some reality of relationship. My relationship with God is the defining relationship in my life. Whether or not I am living that way, it is the invisible glue holding the rest together. After my last couple weeks with Mike and the peace of mind I had when we were together, I was reminded that there is no getting around the necessity of time spent together. It is the key of relationship.  Not a key, but the key. When you are not spending time together, I assure you, there is no growth and worse than that, there may be deterioration. Sure, there are ‘pick up where you left off’ kinds of friends. But those are rarely the deep, current relationships we all need. Relationships need current fuel. They need to be fortified and prioritized, today! Everyday! The primary relationship we have with God is not immune to us not spending time with him. If I have ever worried that I am purposeless; or felt overwhelmed by my circumstance; or frustrated by people around me; I can look back on my week and see that time with God has been lacking, my current hold on him is slight and I am insecure and uncertain. It is all about presence. We all know God’s hold on us does not waver and His presence in our lives is never in question. The challenge is: be faithful to Him. For He is faithful to us. Be a friend to Him. For He is a friend to us. We know He wants/knows the absolute best for us but even more, for some unfathomable reason, He wants to be connected to us; to be in relationship with us.

Thankfully, Mike and I have learned to operate composedly during seasons of busyness. But there is an affect. There is a sputtering after the last drop of fuel has been used. And so very very very often, the prescription is time together. We had an amazing weekend together. We talked our  hearts out, we laughed, we snuggled, we hiked, we got a deep fill of one another. The peace and harmony that results in our marriage is sweet and full. I pray for that in our relationships with God. Spend time with Him. So many blessings and treasures and insights will follow.

Hello Again

What can I say that would be incredibly poignant and profound after such a long blogging hiatus? I always feel I should catch up on life as I know it after such a gap in writing. But why? Would you like to hear how wonderful my life is on the days that it is in fact wonderful? Or hear about how challenging it is on the days that challenging beats out wonderful? Basically, my life is exactly like yours. Moments of clarity and insanity all bundled up in a fragile human body seemingly too small to contain the range. I have my highs and lows. I am getting better at living. I think that is the best I can say about me at this stage of my life.

I suppose the thing I am consumed with these days is my life being something all together not mine. I have a husband, I have children, I have friends, I have aquaintances that I hope will become friends, I have parents, I have siblings. How do I live my life while being such an intregal part of so many others? That is what keeps me up at night. How do I be Heather and be Wife? How do I be Heather and be Mom?  How do I enroll for a summer writing class and make sure my family knows they are my priority? How do I go to my book club meeting and make sure my family knows I want to be with them after a long week of busy schedules? How do I balance me and my life? When I take a step back I am so much less than I want to be and have so much more than I ever thought I would have. I feel like a girl who always dreamed of juggling… and now have 35 beanbags to keep in the air.

I have a beautiful car. It is shiny and powerful and just awesome. I LOVE my car. It has a pretty powerful engine in it but it is a pretty big car.  So I suppose it kind of evens out. There are other cars, luxury sport cars, which have my same engine but in a fraction of the metal. They are furious and exciting and so cool. Something like a cannon to my slingshot. My car’s engine is well balanced to the sum of it’s load; while others have juice to spare. All in all, I feel like my car. I feel like I have the juice to match the sum of life as it is right now. I have the power under the hood to carry the load of only so much. I don’t have a luxury sport car kind of life: a paired down rocket with eons of power and no trunk space. If I tried to roll in a corvette with my family of 7, I would be ridiculous. I have a full life, in need of much cargo space which taps out the capacity of my Heather engine.

It relieves me when I think about my life having a measure to it. To think of my life as having a capacity. I love the thought! I have so long been bogged down by the challenge to do and be as much as humanly possible. When my ‘humanly possible’ is entirely different than yours. I have to believe I alone am perfectly matched to the load I carry. I believe God teaches us that. We have the faith, the resources, the gifts, the grace, to match OUR lives. It gives me great peace to know that I have a limit. It frees me from feeling less than you. It frees me from feeling more than you, too.

I am learning more and more about what peace looks like in real life. The kind of peace that is generated in your mind not your circumstances. Part of that for me is learning that it is ok to be at capacity in life; to hang a ‘no vacancy’ sign on it and be committed to serving the ones who are already here; to protect what God has given me instead of taking on the weight of a burden I wasn’t meant to carry. If you think about it, Jesus was the master at moderation and focus and selection. He lived on purpose in such a haphazard, nomad kind of way. I could go on, this is really just the jumping off point to what I am thinking on the subject. And it is late. And I have Bible Study in the morning.

I hope to blog more. I love writing these thoughts out. A great relief to the mind. Don’t hold your breath but for a week or two…

Menagerie

We have lots of stuffs going on around our little Winter Wonderland. The Fall is always a great time of year for our family. I was thinking back on why I have such lovey dovey feelings come Autumn and I think it is because for so many years Mike and I were welcoming babies into our family. All our kids are born in the Fall and it just makes the season seems that much more lovely. I love it!

Speaking of birthdays, we just celebrated Macey’s 9th with a fantastic, old fashioned party. Mike came up with all these really challenging games for the kids to play, with teams and prizes et all. Everyone had a blast. She’s our middle child so it was fun to spoil her. The other kids were a little jealous! which usually doesn’t happen with Macey. 🙂 We are getting ready to celebrate Ansen’s 4th birthday in 2 weeks. We are going down to the San Diego Model Train Museum in Balboa Park. Ansen is passionately in love with trains so my mom rented a room in the museum for a couple hours to bring all his buddies down to celebrate. It’s going to be awesome. Sierra’s next with the big 13 and Nadine will finish us up in December. Never mind Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas!!!!

Our kids are growing up so fast, hard to believe our baby is nearly 4. They are shaping up to be kind, generous and good natured people… people who think and say the funniest things…

Ava and I were chatting and she says “I wish Jonah (our puppy) could read.” “Why’s that?” say I. “Then we could send him an email.”  That is the world she is growing up in. It is fathomable to her that we could send our dog an email if only he could read.

I have been holding off on buying the kids new cereal until the ones already bought get eaten up. The stragglers are Honey Bunches of Oats and Raisin Bran. I was telling Ansen that we are not getting new cereal until the ones we have are gone and he says “Oh, I gotta eat Raisin Branch?” Poor kid probably thinks that’s what that cereal is made of!

For our Friday night movie night our family watched the greatest movie ever, Ironman. Mike and I had seen it in the theater and I was so excited to watch it again. Even with 5 kiddies. No one like to sit by Ava when we watch movies because she is such a yakkety yakker. I was blessed to be Ava’s choice of bedfellows. So I am gently telling her to zip it for about an hour when I agitatedly say “Ava. I cannot listen to you and the movie!” She looks at me, rolls her eyes a little and says ‘You do have two ears.” I think she really believes that. That I have two ears and should be able to listen to her and whatever else at the same time. Poor moms. Never a break in a kid thinking you are not giving enough. 😛

Sierra asked me to cut bangs into her hair. I am not a hairstylist. Not by any stretch of the imagination. So I am protesting and balking forever, it seems, when finally I take the scissors and CHOP right through her hair. It was the weirdest feeling and I IMMEDIATELY regretted doing it. She looks at me and then her hair and a pale shock creeps over her face as we both stand there in stunned disbelief of what just transpired. One more look in the mirror and then the tears… and then the shouts that I ruined her hair… then Mike looking at me like it has to be impossible that I just caused this disaster. I didn’t know what to do. It looked a little off, but not horrible. So I apologized profusely and promised to make an appointment with our REAL hairstylist Tera so she could fix what I had done. About an hour later she came to me and said she loved me and that it really wasn’t that bad. About an hour after that she had parted the bangs on the other side and came down stairs jumping up and down hailing me as a ‘genius’ (HER WORDS!) She has a way with hair and clothes and makeup and ended up making the whole thing work fabulously. She looked great and even I thought I had done well!

The last example is a great theme song, if you will, for what I am facing as a mother of a teenage daughter. Lots of highs and lows ahead of us. I’m getting ample opportunity to trust God and believe in myself as her parent. I do not want to be a finicky friend-mom who can’t stick to her guns and gets just as emotional as the child when faced with the struggles that plague the teenage years. I guarantee I will NEVER cut her hair again, but I know there will be things I do that annoy, frustrate and irritate the child to no end and that’s where my bond with the Lord has to be rock solid in all circumstances. Mike is my greatest human resource in all these things and I can not imagine raising these kids without his wisdom and gentleness. I am thankful to have a partner who cares as much as I do and who is much wiser than I.  I am looking forward to being in touch with what it means to have God guiding your life and following his ways in all situations. I believe he can get me and Mike through these teenage years with all our kids not only not pregnant or drug free but with our hearts and souls and minds and relationships in tact. I trust God to make the investment Mike and I are making into our kids into a return beyond any other, a harvest of souls committed to the Lord. That is my hope and aim. God gives me so much more hope than a satisfactory life. I trust in the abundant life. Even with teenagers in it.

A little above all the heavy stuff of raising kids is looking forward to the Pumpkin Patch and Halloween. After taking one year out of the last 9 off, we are having our neighborhood over for our famous Chili dinner and the kids already have their costumes together. We are a creative group of people and our costumes reflect it this year. I’ll post pix when it gets closer! And of the puppy and Ava’s party and Macey’s and Ansen’s when it goes down…

Love to you all and Happy Fall!

Acknowledgement

Our oldest child has a science teacher named Mr. Schwenkenmeyer.

A SCIENCE teacher named Mr. Schwenkenmeyer.

That’s it for today. Because that is… just… wow.