01/30/14

Nights to Remember

I’ve been sick the last week, and disconnected. Thankfully I married a man who knows how to run a house and take care of the kids so I can rest. And rest I did all weekend. I let him do all the tucking in several nights and just gave the babes a kiss goodnight. It was hard doing that but I needed it. My body needed it. My precious little guy would hug me and check on me everytime he came upstairs over the weekend, but I’ve not had good quality time with my kids since being sick. Last night and the night before that all changed in an amazing way!

While still a little fuzzy in the head Monday night, I enjoyed watching our eldest son (13) dance to Michael Jackson.  What?! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, and hearing! He came alive and we proceeded to engulf ourselves in 80’s tunes for the next hour. It’s a total bonding thing, our love of music. God opened my eyes yet again to a way into his world.

Last night it worked out that I was able to spend time alone with each of our two youngest kids.  My little guy had just been missing his Mama, ( I love when they call me Mama), so I decided while my girl was preoccupied elsewhere, I would cuddle and giggle and tickle with him. We had a wonderful time tucking in with lots of hugs and kisses and saying prayers, and I got to sing him to sleep, even with my still scratchy throat. I told him ” only one song” because my throat still hurt a little. But after watching his eyes grow heavy, song after “Jesus” song poured out of my heart onto my lips. I worshiped as his quiet body cozily slept before me.

Next, my girl knew it was her “Mama time” and had our board game of Sorry all ready to play. Oh did we have fun chasing our green and yellow pieces around the board til she finally brought her last yellow man home! After that we talked. And then I kept rhyming everything I said, and we laughed until we made no sound at all.  Only our eyes squinted shut and our chests were bobbing up and down. It was so fun!  She’s getting so big! Sometimes from one day to the next I see huge differences, changes in her mannerisms from that of a little girl, my baby girl, to a big girl. A  young girl whose intelligence, talent, wit, and beauty amaze me, and call me to a place of such gratitude to be her Mama.

It was such a precious time that God gave me these last two nights with our children. That even in feeling only half human He gave me the strength to reconnect with each of my children individually. He strengthened my body enough for each of them to have all of me, so I could sing, be silly, and play. I don’t ever remember it being that good when I was feeling at my best. No. It was different. It was God. They were two nights that I may never be able to duplicate. They were nights I will look back on with such fondness yet such amazement of what God did for us. They were nights to remember.

01/11/14

A Sweet Summation

As I mentioned this week in an earlier FaceBook post about how blessed I feel to have this additional week off of work and school to be with my kids, a friend of mine commented that I should blog about it, so my dear friend, and you know who you are,…here it is.

The first two weeks of our 3 week Christmas break went way too fast and while it was very fun and festive, it was busy and hectic. So when New Year’s day came and went and the weekend brought about the holiday clean up, I thought about how I’d like to spend the last week with my family, this last week at 39. I knew I wanted to relax, but I also knew I had a lot to accomplish before school started again.

I was proposed with a question by my sweetie on New Year’s day, Wednesday, about what I wanted for my birthday, my 40th birthday. Did I want my long awaited dream of driving a real race car at the speedway or would I like a brand new sofa?  Both were a pretty penny and both I’ve wanted for a long time, but my sweet love knew he couldn’t decide for me and needed my input.  I put a great deal of thought into it. Driving a race car would be the ultimate thrill for me (outside of flying a plane), but I knew it would be over and done with quickly and I’d have nothing but a memory to show for it. But a sofa, a couch to grace my living room and beckon me to just sit and relax (something I rarely ever do) seemed like the better choice. By Friday I reached my decision. I wanted the sofa. In our 19 1/2 years of marriage we have never purchased a brand new sofa. They’ve all been hand me downs. They have all served their purpose but they were never “ours”.   And for an OCD germ a-phobe that’s a big deal that I’ve lived that long without my own new sofa!  So Saturday afternoon after all the Christmas stuff was finally packed away, we went on a sofa hunt. After 2 stops and an amazing deal we brought home our (MY) brand new leather sofa, and its the color of melted chocolate! It was the beginning of a wonderful week.

Sunday proved to be a lovely day with my sofa as I wrote on my blog, took a little snooze to break it in and watched as my kids played legos on the floor below. I was relaxing , I was really really relaxing…

Monday we had planned our “big hike” on the Armagosa trail across the side of Black Mountain. The little ones couldn’t wait for the day and bounded the entire trail with excitement! It was a precious time for me to be out in nature with my most favorite people in all the world and where I feel the closest to God. We could see for miles up there and to watch them enjoy God’s handiwork warmed my heart to the core.  Despite the cooler temperatures that morning the kids convinced me our “long” hike (long to them) deserved them a trip for frozen yogurt. I happily agreed. Then it was off to visit great-grandma and the family for a bit where Hannah and my mom played a piano duet. From there they convinced me that McDonald’s was the best place to go for lunch since they had gift cards…and so we did that too.  The afternoon brought about a very comfy cat-nap on my new couch, while the warm winter sun beat through the windows right onto my face.

The week progressed with a hearty trip to the grocery store for much needed food, and when I say food, I bought food.  Real food. This week brought about a change and a settling to my core, FINALLY, about where I stand with all this talk of food and diets, and eating healthy and vegan, and Paleo and gluten-free, and on and on and on. And while I won’t share in detail where I settled to in my mind, I will say that for once I felt very good about the meals I have made for my family this week. They were not completely organic, not completely Paleo, nor completely anything to anyone’s standards but the ones that I could live with, and feel good about for my family. Some of you who know me well know how I’ve struggled so long to find what’s right for us…following everyone else’s plans and ideas have only proved to cause me a great deal of stress and anxiety and that we know isn’t helpful or healthy. So I spent more money on organic this week, but we also ate Micky-D’s. My kids have eaten so much fruit and veggies this week I could just cry with happiness. Not that they didn’t before I but I just didn’t buy the snacky stuff, so there was no alternative and they were ok with that. We’ve had some amazing meals together this week and I’ve cherished every bite with my family around our counter and table. They’ve eaten kale and collards in their salad and didn’t even know it. Well, they noticed but I just told them it was different colored lettuce and they moved on. The little ones tried Kiwi and one of them liked it, and realized why big brother and I devour it. They tried new varieties of pears and they even ate salmon without complaining!  When I normally make it I don’t force them to eat it but this week it was dinner and there was nothing else and it was off their plates so fast my head spun. And for that matter let’s mark the fact that I ordered salmon while out to dinner one night this week! That would have never happened a year ago. Now I  cook it nearly once a week! And all these yummy meals we’ve been sharing I’ve been serving on my nice dishes. My pretty blue ones that we usually only see for the holidays. I decided this week that every day is a very special gift and using the good plates made everything taste better, and the counter or table where we ate looked prettier because of the plates, and the kids felt special.

We went for walks in the neighborhood this week. We (the younger ones and I) spent the majority of one whole day cleaning out their bedroom they share. The toy overload was more than this OCD neat-freak mom could bear. And so before we began we prayed. I asked God to help them see the things they didn’t need anymore and to be willing to bless others. He heard me because my heart was blessed by the black trash bag of toys they cleaned out from their room. And as Hannah hugged toys and special clothes for the last time and even shed a tear or two, my heart overflowed with gratefulness seeing God work in their little lives. Seeing them give of their hearts and even voice specific kids to whom they knew could use their stuff more than they could.

Then Friday came. Ah yes, Friday. Friday was the day I promised my 13 year old son we’d go to the movies to see Thor 2. We had planned to go when it first opened but circumstances kept us from doing that. So Friday was the day. I don’t like going to the movies. Its dark and creepy in there and this OCD Mama just can’t see what might be on the seat…I shutter to think! But you see my son and I both have the love language that speaks quality time, and it was high time we spend some good quality time together, but in his world not mine.  The movie was cool. I had to keep interrupting him with questions to get the back story as I’ve never seen the first Thor movie and I really have no clue about any of these avenger heroes. There was a really cool “cliffhanger” to the movie and I just might want to see the next one. He insisted I watch the first Thor movie, which I just might. On the way home, which took a little while because there was no theater near our home showing this movie anymore, I asked him to tell me all about the avenger movies and their villains and he did, in great detail. And I listened. I can’t remember everything he said but I remember some and that’s important. I’ve realized I’ve not been in his world for a long time. I’ve cooked and been his ride, and been his mom, but I’ve not been in his world. I’m more like the girl who has cooties, and I’m not ok with it.  Much like the 9 worlds that converged in the movie, or like being sucked into a worm hole, it was weird being in his world…but I liked it because I love him. And I realized this week that I need to be in his world more often and I really need to pay attention to when he’s inviting me there. And when he does invite me I need to allow myself willingly to go, and live.

This week we ran errands together. My oldest son bought me a Starbucks one day, and I saw that his report card was honor roll worthy. My younger ones held close to me and loved on me, and we cuddled a whole bunch. We got haircuts, played card games and board games, and tickled and chased. We laughed and at times they cried over their boo-boos. They spent quality time with each other, loving one another, helping each other, and playing nicely together. I had a date night with my hubby.  I spent quality time with close friends over coffee. I did laundry and blogged and have read and reflected and hoped for things to come, but mostly this week I have lived. I have lived and done what needed done all at once. Things are about to go full speed again this coming Monday when they go back to school and for me that is back to work (full time teaching ministry at their school).  If it’s anything like first semester, it’s going to get hectic and quick. BUT, if there is one thing I’m resolving in my mind right now is that I want to live, really live. And if it means that even once a week we use the nice dinnerware then that’s a start. If somehow I can incorporate only just a few of these wonderful things into our family’s week then I can say I lived. We enjoyed and we loved life and one another.

Recently, I read that we must feed our souls with the things that nourish us, so that we can do the things that drain us with greater energy and joy. If there is one thing I’ll vow to do this year it is that. To live, but not to live to get the stuff done, but to live, and nourish my soul so that I can, through Christ give life and nourish the lives around me.  Yes, this week was a truly a blessing, and a sweet summation of my 30’s, of being 39.