Thursday, May 28, 2015

The safe place

There are some big changes coming in our little world.

Big changes for us, that is. 

It probably won't affect many of you as much as it will us.


That's a different story for a different day, though...
(we're all healthy and our marriage is good....just lots of big changes- don't worry- we will update soon)


....because despite what the details are on our changes, this post deals with changes in general.


And how we deal with them, right?


This is a new season of parenting for Dave and I.

Meaning: this is the first time we're helping
our children navigate a heartbreak.


Up until now, we have only helped dry tears of skin abrasions and being too tired. 

Temporary things.


This is certainly a "before and after" moment in their lives.


So...my kids are dealing with it in different ways according to the way God wired them.

Both of them are turning to prayer. 

All on their own. 

And their prayers start for people other than themselves. 
(side note: oh, my mama's heart....)


On the other hand:

A. is showing a trend to anxiety attacks and OCD issues.

Middle C bottles everything up and shows anger bursts and then nightmares.



When these nightmares hit, naturally Middle C ends up at my bedside; cold, clammy and shaken.

I invite him into our bed- because I know that this is his safe-space.  Where he feels loved and safe.  He calms down after some time and falls into a deep deep sleep.  The kind of trusting sleep that cannot be shaken.  The kind of sleep that is balm for a hurting soul.

Then I lay there and listen to he and Dave breathing.  Peaceful in their sleep, but I'm awake now...

...my brain doesn't shut off.

                                             ...my child is hurting....


                                                                                 ....my heart is hurting....


....the future is uncertain.

Then I start to pray.

I start by being thankful for all we have, all we have been through, for the times God has called us to be obedient and we have listened.  I ask for convicting where I need to be convicted.  And, as Middle C blissfully slept in his safe place, I asked for God to show me where MY safe place was.



And He answered.

He reminded me of a conversation I had with my bestie, Gina, more than 20 years ago.

In that 2 a.m. place, God brought to me a 30 second conversation that is

OVER TWO DECADES old.

Two decades, people.
(side note:  how did I get this old?!?!?)

When she described her safe place in times of trouble:

Right in God's hands.


She said that she imagined these HUGE hands of God's cupped and her sitting right in the middle of it all- teeny tiny, but totally protected.  Nothing could touch her in that place...there was only peace, love and God's protection.




God used a very old conversation - a mustard seed planted by my friend so so long ago- to solidify and calm my troubled heart this week.

And since that moment, I have been at peace.  I am ready to make big decisions, and I am ready to follow my husband's lead.

So...now, in the midst of all this turmoil, I know that I am in a safe place.

The safest place.


I am held.
 
I am protected.
 
I am safe.
 
I am ready.
 
 
 
 
 


Friday, May 8, 2015

Counting Mine {364-386}

Friends, this is a therapy post.  It's for me.  Feel free not to read. 

My MOPS mentor mom - even though she was absent from our meeting yesterday- still found a way to bless me and God used her and her circumstances to pierce my heart.  She left a gift for each of us at our table...and followed it up with an email reminding us to be thankful...in all circumstances.  That has always been a motto of mine as well, but as soon as the sh*t hit the fan this week, I failed.

I forgot to be thankful.

So, in an effort to calm my heart amidst the storm...I need to focus on what is good.

(More on the storm later...but if you could pray for me, my family, my friends, our school and our current church body...that would be great.)



364.  Lori.  For who she is.  For what she does.  For listening.  For praying.  For keeping her eyes on God while caring for your husband.  Her grace does not go unnoticed. (And if you would pray for Lori and her husband, Dave, that would be wonderful too)

365.  For the sisterhood of steering. 

366.  For laughter that was balm for my soul. 

367.  #helpishelpful

368.  For the superfruit cosmopolitan.  (It's essentially healthfood, right???)

369.  For Barb.  Oh, my heart loves Barb.  She is steadfast.  She is supportive.  She is an ear.  She offers help.  She has the gift of hospitality (dude...seriously....).  This woman's heart...I just love her.  I'm so so so thankful for her in my life.

370.  Hugs.

371.  Cappicino Crunch Ice cream (a very very small bowl...but it was so good).

372.  For a silent hand-hold in the middle of the night.

373.  For other parents to link arms with during this journey of parenthood

374.  For boundaries.  And understanding when and where they are needed before they are crossed.

375.  For wise pastoral counsel

376.  For just the right speaker to come in at just the right time.

377.  For someone to send me the perfect pin at just the perfect time

378.  For breakfast dinner

379.  For a clearer defination of the words "righteous anger" and the separation between that and "sinful anger"

380.  For punching bags

381.  For obedient hearts

382.  For history.  History in small circles.  Circles that you didn't realize overlapped.

383.  For fast drying toe nail polish

384.  For release.  Freedom.

385.  For the "I'm sorry"

386.  For the forgiveness.

Friday, April 10, 2015

An update of sorts

My friend and I exchange bullet-pointed emails a few times a day. 

Possibly because we are too busy to form a well-structured paragraph. 

Possibly because we are both ADD.

Possibly because it's the easiest way to get a bunch of information out in a short period of time.


Today, you get a bulleted update:

-  My house is on it's way to being officially organized.  (notice I didn't say squeeky clean...no one has time for that).  Seems like every spring break we do this...to find a lost library book. 

-  I have not found said book.

-  Yet.

-  My boys gave me a gift at my parent's house on Monday and vaccuumed out our van.

-  And then left the light on, and I ended up with a dead battery.

-  I worked with an amazing team coordinating our school's auction.

-  It was an amazing success- thanks to so many who are willing to open their hearts and wallets and support our little school.

-  The last 10 minutes of the night were my favorite.  Where so many people raised their numbers to sponsor a child for a month's worth of tuition.  My heart still swells when I think about it.  Pure, un selfish, generosity. 

-  We decided not to go anywhere for an extended period of time during spring break so I could potty train baby L.  Four days in, and she's toileting herself (or asking to go if we're out and about) without accidents.  Awesomesauce.



-  Truth be told, she was probably ready 6 months ago.  But I was too busy running around to do anything about it. 

-  A has had a growth spurt.  He is only a few inches away from being eye-to-eye with me.  I know this is part of his growing up...but my heart is not ready for that.



-  C has decided to give baseball a try this spring.  We made a deal with him- if he played fall soccer, he'd try baseball in the spring.  My mom-gut says he's going to get bored in baseball and miss soccer.  But at least he will have tried something new...but I do believe he's a soccer player at heart.



-  Dave remains busy, busy, busy.  Which makes me so so proud of him.  After 12 years of business, he has maintained a busy schedule solely by word-of-mouth.  Well, that's not entirely true...he had two weeks in there...one week when C. was a baby and one week when baby L. was small...where he had only small jobs....but he worked on the Love Shack, and then things got crazy again.  So...I'm still proud.


-  I am starting a MOPS group at our church this fall.  If you are the praying type, I covet your prayers for this new group: that God would bless the moms who sign up with the same type of community I have found at my local MOPS.  My life wouldn't be the same without it.

-  We hosted our families for Easter afternoon.  With our annual Easter Egg hunt.  I love watching the kiddos run for it.  My heart love love loves these guys.


-  We took our annual Easter Well-head family picture.  Which I wasn't going to post...because the picture is not the greatest, and my pose is very weird...but whatevs.  When you're running back through dog-poop-land-mined gravel down hill in heels to beat the timer, you'll have that.
 


-  The boys have spikey hair now.  They were growing it out, but the shaggy got to me.  While A is still obedient enough, and I can still manipulate C into submission, I decided to bite the bullet and take them to get their hair cut.  First time in over 2 years I've paid for a hair cut for them.  Not too shabby.  Although, I about choked on my saliva when she gave me a total.

- There is more to say here, but I have a little one who is showing me it's time for attention on her.  So, that's another post for another day.  Hope to see you before next quarter!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Just sayin'

So...C is on a preventative inhaler for his asthma.

It costs a lot as far as prescriptions go, and every time I have to pick it up, the pharmacy tech always says, "This one has a higher co-pay.  Are you prepared for that?"

I always shake my head sideways and say, "Yes. I know what my responsibilities are."


Anyways....


C's inhaler count was running low.

I call the pharmacy to refill.

"Ma'am, there are no more refills for this.  You need to call the doctor to have them call in a new prescription."

Call the doctor

"Yes, but he's due for an asthma/well-child check up.  We won't refill it until we see him."


Sigh.

"I understand.  But we only have 3 puffs left, and I can't get in until next week. And I really don't like coming in for well-child check ups during cold and flu season because our well-child check-ups expose us to sickness, and we end up getting SICK from the WELL-child."



"Well, I suppose we can call in one refill for you to tide you over until we see you.  We'll make his appointment for first thing in the morning so you won't be exposed to a waiting room full of people."


Appointment made.

Script called in.

I pick it up: wrong inhaler.  They called in the rescue inhaler...not the preventative.

(There's $46.87 that we cannot return....ahem)

More phone calls...one month's worth of new inhaler ($186.14), and we're on our way.



So, we head to the doctor for our well-child/asthma check up first thing Tuesday morning.

We stand in our corner of the waiting room...no one touches a chair (they have been taught this).


Get to our room.

Doctor* comes in.  He's sick.  Congestion, flushed face, coughing...


Lovely.




So...today- 48 hours after said well-child visit...C wakes up with a fever, congestion and coughing. 


Baby L. is complaining of her "forehead hurting."


Seriously.




Just sayin'

 
*This is where I say that we do love our doctor...just not necessarily on days he is sick.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Counting Mine {343-363}

343.  Teamwork.  When the team is ALL working toward a goal.

344.  Thinking outside of the box.  Even if it's realatively uncomfortable, it means movement is happening.

345.  Walking into Bible Study knowing you did all the homework.

346.  Touching base with old friends that you haven't heard from since you were eight.

347.  Generous spirits.  Is there anything better?

348.  Humility.  Those that have it, those that strive for it.

349.  Good, solid leadership.

350.  Useful phone apps.

351.  An unsolicited back rub

352.  Finding ibuprofen....just before your head explodes.

353.  Well-timed movie events.

354.  A good night's sleep

355.  The parents at our school.  Seriously.

356.  Successful sleep overs and late night giggles.  (but not too many!)

357. The look of pride on the boys' faces when they have a good day at school.

358.  A happy-dance in the kitchen with all three kids.

359.  New faces at church.

360.  Old faces at church

361.  Baby L's belly laugh.

362.  Baby-head smell.  Sigh.

363.  The perfect dinner.  When no one complains, everyone eats something, and no one comes up to be 5 minutes later and says, "I'm hungry."

Thursday, February 5, 2015

HAPPY 2015! (you know...a little late)

I'm going to go ahead and start this year of blogging like the year is just beginning here.  More than half of my blogging friends are slowly returning to their blogs now, and I find myself driving around town with a blog post or two running in my head. Perhaps it's my time to return as well.



Happy 2015!!!


(insert cliche' "Where did the year go??? thought here...)


In our house, we usually decide to look forward to the next year as opposed to lamenting that another year is behind us.  Each year, we usually try to find a word to focus on and make that a theme for the year.  For so long- during the early house years, my word was "patience."
                               Over and over and over,

 year after year...I chose patience.                             


 
 
Spoiler alert:  I'm moving on from that word.  :)





Anyway, this summer, I received a fun chalk board from a friend, and we thought we'd all pick a word to work on for the year and write them up there.  (and now I need to find a new place to put C's memory work!).



Each of us chose something different:

 
 
Dave- compassion


I don't know why he chose that word, but it literally fell off his tongue without a moment's hesitation.  He didn't explain it to me, or what he was going to do with it this year, but I can't wait to see how God moves him.  You all already know I'm his biggest fan, but I also respect that man as the spiritual cornerstone of our family.  His humility and care with our children's hearts is something I'm so so grateful my children have.  So, compassion fits well here.





Me (Sandy) - Joy

I started seeing this word everywhere went starting in September, and I knew God was calling me out of my "patience" era with the house.  Joy.  It's an interesting word to define, isn't it?  Here's the thing, I was letting things steal my joy.  .

So many things. 

Worries, comparisons, STUFF, worries, anger, hard-heartedness toward people (this is where I struggle most currently) , worries, insecurities....they were all stealing my joy.  So, when our school year had a theme centering around Joy, and the auction I'm coordinating has a theme around Joy, well...I'm going to work on getting the joy down in my heart.  :)  Wouldn't you know it, though...as soon as I declare it a theme, satan works harder on me than ever.  But I'm onto him...and I'm fighting him.  Satan, get behind me because there is joy to be had.





A- self-control

I actually hesitated a bit when he said this.  Again, a quick roll of the tongue as if he didn't even think about it, this was God speaking through him.  Dave and I talk to him all the time about self-control.  My boy is growing up, and in the phase in life when he's bathing in testosterone from time to time, and sometimes needs to remember that a little self-control goes a long way when anger bubbles up.  I can see his wheels turning from time to time, so I know it's in his mind.  To have a grasp on that at 11 makes my mama-heart all warm and fuzzy.





C- consecrated to Christ

Yes, my second grade, 7 year old came up with this.  All on his own.  Well, not necessarily on his own...he's in a Christian school where concepts like this are discussed often.  I turned to him and asked him if he knew what it meant, "Yes, dedicated to Christ.  Dedicated to God."

(sigh)





Baby L. - patience

Whoop, there it is.  Again.

Actually, in all honesty, when we asked her what she wanted for 2015, she said, "Pizza!"  Which we're turning into patience.  :)  So, there it is again...because- well, she's 2.  Need I say more?






And also, pizza is served in the PMD house every
Friday night for Family pizza/game/movie night. 
You're welcome to join us!
*with enough warning, of course!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: highlights from 2014

In an effort to get myself back on the blog- one of my favorite creative outlets- and also a way for me to catch you up on all the blog post updates I may have missed..here's the top ten highlights of 2014 (for us... at least).




10.  Strong school year.  Both boys have seamlessly settled into 5th and 2nd grades, with new teachers, and a new zeal for learning.  Last year was difficult to get them motivated, and each morning was a fight, so this new-found enthusiasm has been a welcome change.



9.  Baseball, karate, soccer, and basketball, oh my.

We've done them all.  Manic May was rough (on me... they loved it!) with karate and baseball and soccer all at once.  But we managed to come through (relatively) unscathed. 

A started strong with pitching and hitting well, entered into a hitting slump, but pulled out of it in time to help his team clinch 2nd place in the league.



C graduated to a orange belt, and then we put the "hold" on karate to spare the budget and my sanity.  He asks about it often, so we'll be looking into some options coming soon.
 


C really developed quite a few soccer skills this year earning him top scorer at many (too many?) games.  He's FAST on his feet and understands strategy and skills needed to succeed in this game.  We made a deal with him- if he played soccer in the fall, he would try baseball in the spring.  He agreed. This will mean LOTS of baseball, but we enjoy the sport.



Dave is coaching A's basketball 4-6th grade team this year.  Due to some team members traveling during a tournament, C got pulled up to play.  Both boys enjoy the sport and are looking forward to building skills in the years to come.  (Side note:  my husband coaching is unbelievably endearing... and hot. Very hot.).



8.  We purchased a new set of wheels.  While I'm not one to brag about wheels... especially when we usually purchase them under the guise "don't laugh, it's paid for", it's worth noting that the engine is sound (ish), and it's super nice to have a van that doesn't start smoking when you stop at a red light and the heater is on.  Also, having a car with mileage UNDER 240,000 isn't too shabby either.




7.  Work.  Dave is still owner/operator of his own construction business.  His attention to detail, clean work space, and respect for others has really caught on because he is fielding calls for new work everyday!  His brother, Matt, works with him pretty much every day, and I think it's nice that he has someone to talk to other than (yelling at) talk radio.  :). I am still enjoying my sabbatical from the 9-5 grind to raise our family.  Christian Education continues to be a main focus of our family ministry, and my not-working a traditional job has allowed me to really get involved in things like helping with hot lunch ("hoagies and grinders, hoagies and grinders... navy beans, navy beans"....channeling Adam Sandler here!), coordinating a spring auction, running a road rally and serving our church as a social media coordinator.  I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to serve and have the kids see that in action.  I'm sure someday I'll go back to work full time, but I still need to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.  :)



6. Old friends/ new friends,  Dave and I continue to enjoy the friendships that we've made in years past, and continue to follow where God leads us.  This includes branching from our old small group and starting a new one- which was a transition- and while change is sometimes hard, it's refining and God has been faithful to us as we continue to grow in our faith in this new group.  I continue to serve in my local MOPS chapter at the church on the corner of our own street (where I serve with and met some fantastic friends), and I joined a new Bible study at a Lutheran church right down the road- where I met some really amazing women and played my first round of Bunco. (extrovert's delight!)



5.  Work on the Love Shack continues.  2014 marked the 9th year we've been at this location- and while we're no longer in the 780 square foot shack, the work is still unfinished.  BUT, this year, we completed the exterior portion of our home with a deck (hooray!!!) and the stone facing on the front. 
 
 



 
This was well-timed as our neighbors just put their home on the market.  We're so sad to see them leave our wooded-community, but excited at the prospect of a young family next door!  Fingers crossed!  (If you're in the market for a new home, and have a family, and are normal... and like dogs, won't you be my neighbor???)

Lest you think we're close to being complete... we aren't.  We still need to complete C's new room, main hallway, main bath and kitchen.  Then we have a driveway to do... then sprinkling... then the kid's college.  :). (BUT- as I type, the floor in C's room is being installed... so there's progress!)



4.  Dave and I both made it to 38.    A few bumps and bruises along the way, a few more wrinkles (me) and gray hairs (him), but we're here!  And we're still learning things about each other, and still enjoying each other.   We were able to steal some time away - just the two of us- for a few dates this year, and it was nice to reconnect. I love that guy more than anything, and I'm so glad he chose to dance the minefields with me.



3.  Chicago.  We had our first family "vacation" in.... well.... I'm not sure we've ever been on a family vacation (that wasn't a visit to someone's house)... so in ever.  You can see the blog post on it here.    We had a small radius in which to travel, and an even smaller budget, but the kids talk like we took them to the TajMahal.  When asked about the best part of the trip, the kids said:


A: "LEGOLAND and Soldier Field"
C: "Staying in a hotel"
Baby L: "My-cago and fishies."



Now, every time Baby L. sees a city with a few tall(ish) buildings, she calls it "My-cago.". It's cute.

(Also worth noting that Dave and I learned a LOT about each other during this trip.  Like my need to fly by the seat of my pants, and his need to plan out.every.last.detail.  Something for both of us to remember on our next family trip.)

2.  Birthdays. 

A made it to 11!    Double sticks.  This sweet, sport-loving boy is the quintessential first born.  Lots of planning, lots of anxiety, lots of cuddling, lots of love.  He is very responsible, and wants me to let you know he now knows how to make scrambled eggs and macaroni and cheese.



C. is now 7 (how did this happen??? It seems like time flies the fastest with him.)  He has two speeds:  fast and sleeping.    When he's in, he's ALL in.  His teacher informs me that he has become quite the leader in his classroom this year- which warms my heart (as long as he's leading in the right direction).  He has the biggest heart, and great empathy for the under-dog.  I love this about him.  As of TODAY, we have officially made it 2 years without calling 911 or an emergency department visit for his asthma.  We'll counting that as a "win" and saying prayers we're over the hump of scary-blue-faced midnight runs to the hospital.



Baby L is less "baby" and more "trying toddler.". This girl knows what she wants... and what she does NOT want.  She's head-strong (I have NO IDEA where she gets this), as well as sweet to the core.  She's a hard-core extrovert- knowing every name of every child in school and church, and loves to be around people.  Every Monday she goes through a little slump when the boys go back to school.  She loves all things Mickey Mouse, Curious George and Thomas the Tank Engine.  She has rounded my mom-boy corners and added a loving ruffle to our family.  Sometimes I'm still amazed that she even exists, and at the same time, I cannot image our life without her.  She loves her brothers, and is daddy's little girl. 



1.  God's grace and mercy abounds.  Always a highlight of every year.  Always number one.  Dave and I have been given many opportunities this year to grow in our faith, as well as share our faith with others.  We both sin and mess up daily...but God's grace pulls us through to show His love another day. And for that, we are so thankful.