Friday, July 31, 2015

The man I married. The man I love.

I married a boy. He was 20 years old. He had a huge smile and perfect lips. His dreamy eyes were big and green. My heart knew he was the one. He was generous, always looking for ways to bless people. He was reserved and gentle, yet outgoing and bold. He worked hard and was determined to be the best at everything he attempted to do and be. He wooed me by bringing me lunch on my shift at work or a Starbucks treat in the middle of the day. He made me feel like a queen. We were young, I was 18. We knew we wanted children, 5 or 6 to be exact. We knew we wanted to travel. We loved to cook. We loved to play games. We loved to talk. We loved to simply be together.

The boy I married is now 31. He still has his huge smile, perfect lips and dreamy eyes. He has proven to me to be more generous than I ever knew. He strives to give me everything I ask for and then some. He has exceeded my hopes and expectations as a provider. He still woos me with little notes, texts or by taking me to coffee. He's proven to me that I am his queen. I only want to be a princess but he won't have it.

We have 5 kids. With each one came sacrifice on his part as he has watched and encouraged his wife morph into an emotional pregnant woman 5 times over. And then came the nursing baby who is tied to the hip for a year. He not only puts up with it but takes the baby out for a walk when she won't calm down in the restaurant. He is an amazing father that brings more joy and laughter to the table than I ever could.

We love to cook more now than ever before. He is continually blessing me with his amazing skills in the kitchen. Be jealous ladies, sometimes he cooks AND does dishes. We also love to entertain. Sadly with 5 kids in the mix, it only happens about once a year! We still nerd out with games. It's moved from Scrabble to Settlers of Catan to Carcassonne to Dominion. We like games with words, and farming and dragons, we're just cool that way.

Stephen is my love. He stole my heart and has filled it with so much love and joy. We chose to live this life together. Some days are tough. Some years are tough. But loving him is constant. It is a constant choice and when chosen, it is wonderful. We aren't perfect. And I have failed him on many accounts. With God's grace though, and Stephen's patience, we get to grow old together; we get to experience life together. Marriage is a tricky thing. There are so many things that I didn't understand 11 years ago that I now know. I can honestly say this: marriage, this marriage, gets better with age. For that I am thankful and eagerly anticipate the next 11 years...and many more after that.

I love you Stephen.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Selling our house.

Imagine selling your house. Imagine wanting to make it look out of a magazine at the whim of a phone call. Imagine this taking place every day for two months. Okay, now add 5 kids. Add 5 beds that need made. Add 3 loads of laundry that need washed, dried, folded and put away every day. Add 6 meals per day. Add 50 fingers that you scramble to scrub after each said meal before they touch the ground, walls or furniture. Add 15 pairs of shoes laying around the house at any given time. Add the baby getting teeth and being tied to you at the hip. Add a bout of food poisening that both you and your husband were laid up for 2 days while the kids swept through the house like a tornado. Add influenza hitting and laying up everyone for 2 weeks following. Add a drought with 90+ degree weather every day and no air conditioning. Add the toothpaste that coats the sink after 4 kids brush their teeth twice a day. Add the pillows that seem to walk off the couch minutes after you put them on. Add the legos THAT ARE EVERYWHERE! got all that...welcome to my life. It's been a crazy couple of months. I'm ready for our house to be sold.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Minecraft, Legos, he's all boy!

And just like that, he's 5. Pike plays legos all day long, every day. When we are gone for a few hours, and return home, he goes straight to his room to build whatever was going through his imagination for the previous hours. 

Most days, the kids get 30 minutes of screen time (electronics) and most days Pike chooses Minecraft. He requested a Minecraft birthday and so I tried to make it simple and fun. He loved it! thankfully these pictures don't show what a poor sick little guy Pike was on his birthday. He spent the majority of the day sleeping with a fever. :( But, he doesn't seem to remember that. And by these pictures, hopefully he'll only remember the fun things.

Pike is strong. He is determined. He is brave. He is kind, especially to his sweet baby sister. Pike is challenging and I am being shaped into a better mother and person because of him. I'm so thankful for his silliness. Happy Birthday Pikee Dude!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Cowabunga baby dude!

Crew turned April. He is all about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It only seemed fitting to have a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pizza party. That's just what we did.

Crew loves to dance. And by dance, I mean he hears a beat and it's as if he can't help but to tap his foot which leads to nodding his head which leads to jammin' his arms which leads to wiggling his hips and then you find him full-on dancing. 

His other favorite thing to do is fight. As in Ninja fight or sword fight. The boys have a collection of weapons and they are constantly chasing each other through the house pretend fighting. 

Crew says the funniest things too. He is like his daddy in that he'll go to any expense to make people laugh. And he's good at it too! He is making us laugh all the time and for that, I am so grateful.

Crew and Pike are inseparable. That doesn't mean they play quietly and are always kind to one another but they rarely leave each other's side.

The most common phrase you'll hear is, "I'm hungry. What I can have?" To which I answer with, "cheese, banana, crackers, etc." He will eat a couple of bites. Be done and return with the same phrase 20 minutes later.

Sunday, June 21, 2015


My flesh is trying to ignore today; to pretend that everything is okay. But my heart is aching. My heart is drowning in tears and memories.

Today is Father's Day. And for the first time, my dad isn't here to see or hear how much he is loved by his children. I told my dad so many times that he is "the best dad in the world!" And oh, what I wouldn't give to tell him one more time.

My dad was the most selfless man, with the kindest heart. He loved my mom so gently and fiercely. He was devoted to his family, to me, to my family. You know, my dad didn't really have a hobby. We were his hobby. Supporting us. Playing ball with us. Tinkering on cars with us. Playing games with us. Going on vacation with us. It was always WITH US and for us. I don't think he ever did much for himself. He took joy in us. And that is who he was. 

My heart hurts. But I think what some might not realize is that it's not simply because he's not here. I miss him, I miss him terribly. But the majority of my pain stems from how selfless he was, and how much he endured on my account. The tears that are flowing and the memories swirling around my head are of all that he tried to hide and how much he suffered, to spare me and my siblings the pain of knowing his pain. Little things like when I'd ask him how he was feeling, and he'd say "okay," when in fact he was far from okay. Or how many times he stubbed his toe because he couldn't see or walk very well during the last weeks and yet he wouldn't raise his voice in frustration but humbly kept going, trying to hide the pain. He had spasms which we called severe hiccups for the last week of his life. At one point I heard him say that they gave him a pounding headache and with each one he felt as though his brain would explode. In that week, I only heard that one small complaint. I said sorry that he had the hiccups several times, and he would wave his hand as to say, it's okay, don't worry about me. The living room was his bedroom for the last weeks. 9 kids, 4 of their spouses, 6 grand-kids, and he camped out in the middle of it all, in pain and humiliation and chose to grin-and-bear-it. These things seem small and are only a tiny glimpse.

I'm still having a hard time getting past how terrible the past several months have been. I have a hard time dwelling on good memories because my mind always drifts back to something that reminds me of his suffering. I want to be able to talk to my kids and tell them stories of "Pappy" but I still can't keep my composure long enough to tell them. 

My dad made life wonderful and fun. He imparted wisdom and joy. He listened well, and spoke encouragement and life into those around him. His embrace was strong and gentle and I miss it so much. I am so thankful to have been blessed with such a dad. And though I wish I could have had another 29 years with him, in the 29 years I had, he extended more love, joy and kindness than most experience in a 100. Life is hard and at times it seems the opposite of beautiful. One day I'll see him again and all will be well.

Monday, April 13, 2015

It's been two months. It feels like years. It's hard without you, dad. I will often think of something that I want to tell you and I wish so badly I could call you or even text you and hear your response.

I cleaned out the car a couple of weeks ago. We found so many special rocks that the kids picked out of your rock bowl. The kids and I will treasure them forever.

Hazel is scooting around everywhere. She uses her toes and inches along like a worm. She gets where she wants to go though.

I fixed the freezer, AGAIN. You'd be proud.

We are almost caught up on the books and the taxes. I kind of have fun bookkeeping. I never really realized it until I started doing them again.

We are getting ready to list our house. Once it sells, we will rent until we are ready to build that dream house we showed you. We may even do it on that property, I know you saw the vision with that property. You were actually the one that sealed the deal and really inspired us that it could be what we wanted. If it's meant for us, it'll still be available when we're ready.

The kids miss you. We were making cards for out-of-town family the other day and as we were discussing who we should make cards for Pike said, "and one for Pappy! 'cuz he moved." When I asked where you moved to, he responded, "to heaven."

We watched Interstellar a couple of nights ago. You'd find it interesting. It got me thinking about time and how different it must be for you and for God compared to us here. One day we'll all be on the same page. But for now, we don't understand.

You have inspired me to be compassionate. To be kind to others. And to enjoy the simple things in life and say yes more. I'm trying to enjoy my family, my kids, and make memories. You lived and enjoyed life and I'm trying to do the same.

Love you, dad.

Monday, March 16, 2015


"Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)"

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Oh, Jesus, you're my God!

I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

 I've sang these words and cried out so many times over the past months. I've sang them in hopes that through hard times, faith and trust would lead to a celebration of healing and that I would be proclaiming to the world around me that God can, and indeed did, heal. I've sang them with the intent that no matter the outcome, my faith will be made stronger as I am lead to walk on water. And yet, here I am, lost. I don't know what to sing. I don't know what to pray. I don't understand how my faith is possibly being made stronger when I feel so weak. 

Psalm 130:5I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. 6I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.

And so, I continue to ask, "Spirit lead me where I would never imagine going. Take me deeper than I think I can go. And make my faith stronger." Trust.