Saturday, September 28, 2013

Friends are Friends Forever...

Admit it.

If you grew up in the church at all, especially as a teenager, you have the whole Michael W. Smith song going through your head right now.

That is okay.

I do too.

So why the song?

Well, this summer, one of my "bucket list" items was to reconnect with friends.

I have often said that beyond my husband and family (parents/sister/etc), I don't have a BFF.

I don't particularly even care for the term BFF. Or bestie. 

I just don't.

I do have friends.

And some are really good.

Maybe I am too quirky.

Or ornery.

Or just too transient (we moved around some when I was a child).

I don't have that one BFF who knows me better than I know myself.

I don't have a BFF to go on a cruise with though there are some friends I would probably enjoy time with.

Unfortunately, with my four kids and their different kids/events, an occasional dinner out is difficult to accomplish.

Sometimes I am sad about that.

I see things about "My bestie (I really don't like that term but it is used a lot) called me just when I needed her to..."  Or "I am so thankful for my BFF; BFF's are forever..." on Facebook.

And I wilt a little.

Am I not worthy?

But though I don't have a BFF, I do have some good friends.

And I am blessed with them.

They come from different parts of my life.

But they are the ones who I know will always be there for me.

The ones who love me in spite of myself.

The ones who are there for me if I truly need them.

I may not see them often.

I may not talk to them often.

But I know if I called and said, "Hey, I need a kidney", they would at least consider it.

So this summer I did get to see my friend from high school.  We get to see each other maybe once a year if that often.  But as always, it is like we just saw each other yesterday.

Well, today I was blessed with a morning with another friend from my early married life here.

We used to do a weekly Bible Study together.

We were newlyweds.

We went through pregnancy together.

In fact, I am pretty sure she was one of the first people I told when I found out I was pregnant.

Eventually our Bible Study came to an end.

And so did our time together.

We used to run into each other on a rare occasion.

But as is normal with life, things got busy. We kept having more kids.  And though we live in the same region, we live in different cities.

Our paths rarely cross.

So this summer, I sent her an e-mail (she is hardly ever on Facebook). 

And again, it was hard to find time to meet.

But finally we did.

This morning.

It just so happened to work out that Mark was going to take the little people for an outing.  The big people wanted to sleep in.  So I was on my own.

We agreed to meet at a park.

I couldn't wait.

Except I had to.

Apparently there was some kind of "walk" going on (like maybe a charity thing?) so getting TO the park was a challenge.

But eventually I did.

And as has been my experience, all of the years of not seeing each other were forgotten.

We just picked up where we left off (with some updates on our lives, children ages, etc).

We spent about 2 1/2 hours talking, reminiscing, philosophizing, sharing, catching up.

It was wonderful.

We left with promises to do it again but not wait as long next time.

And I plan to stick to that.

Because we need those friends.

Friends who are loyal.  Who listen.  Who encourage.

What I treasure most about this friend is her love for God.

She loves Him.

She seeks Him daily.

She walks with Him daily.

I can't quite compare to her spiritually.

I love Him too.

But I am not as faithful as she is being in the Word.  Praying.  Listening.

However, because I know Him, and she knows Him. 

And that is the reason we are friends forever. 



Friday, September 20, 2013

Thankfully Thursday

Here I am, a blog post I started over a week ago just sitting waiting to be finished.

Life has been busy.

But no matter how busy it is, I still have things to be thankful for.

Things like...

  • rain, no matter how little (and it has been little). At least it brought cooler temperatures.
  • Fridays. And nowhere to be for that one night.
  • dinner out with a friend to share in the ups and downs of adoption.  
  • two workouts under my belt. And I can almost walk now without moaning and groaning.
  • a hard-working husband.
  • my mom who came to my rescue not once but twice this week with my kiddos.
  • guilt.  Yes, guilt. Not for me but for one of my children who expressed feeling it for the first time (that I know of).
  • my crockpot.  It was the only way we had dinner (in about 15 minutes tonight before the shuttling of activities).
  • our sweet puppy who greets us each day with a wagging tail and obvious excitement to see us.
  • time with a book.  I may not be blogging regularly but nearly every day I find time to read just for fun.
  • watching my students "get it" (whatever "it" is...).
  • finishing up some paperwork at school that has been consuming my time and energy.
  • getting to watch my kiddos play their sports. This week I have watched Child 2 play volleyball, Child 3 "cheer", and Child 4 play baseball. Child 1 will run cross country.  It keeps me busier than I want sometimes but I love seeing their passions unfold.
  • laughs.  This week Child 4 woke up feeling ill. He told me that after he finished breakfast, he would go take his "blood pressure".  You know, with a thermometer.  Thankfully I got a laugh out of that because I wasn't laughing later when I found out his temperature was too high for school.  I guess I can also be thankful for short-lived viruses...
  • dinner out with my parents and grandmother earlier this week to celebrate my mom's birthday.
  • my mom.  I could write a whole blog post about her but won't. At least not today.  :)
  • Alleve and Advil.  (Refer to the workout post above)
  • a new Razorback shirt. Yep, totally treated myself...
  • the fact that my kids follow me around the house to tell me about their day. I can't always say I enjoy it (when I am trying to do other things to) but I am thankful for those time!
How about you?

What are you thankful for on this Thursday?


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Long Days, Short Years...

One of my favorite parenting sayings is "The days are long but the years are short."

Oh, how true this is. 

The days are long.  I am sure there are some parents out there who would disagree but for me, the days can be endless.  There is always a crisis, a drama, an issue, a challenge, a concern.  The homework and school papers and school activities and social activities keep me hopping after a full day of school. 

Sometimes, especially when we are in the midst of a not fun stage, I wonder why and how long I will be there.

The days are long.

But the years are short.

I am reminded over and over of this.

Today Child 3 came into the kitchen to ask me a question. She was wearing a t-shirt that I am pretty sure Child 2 just wore last year or the year before. I had to do a double take.

Child 4 just had his first spelling test yesterday.  The first of many.

Child 1 is now learning how to drive.

Child 2 has surpassed me in both height and shoe size.  And much to her father's dismay, she is beginning to talk about boys (giggle, giggle, giggle).

Child 3 is reading long chapter books, the Junie B Jones books pushed to the side.

Child 4 reads to me about as much as I read to him now.

Child 1 has started talking about college (and getting ready for that).

Child 2 went to the football game with us last night and hung out with friends rather than sit with us.

Child 3 and Child 4 have been sitting and playing together (cars and blocks) all morning long. 

I always hated it when people told me "Enjoy this moment; time will fly by" as I rocked my newborn son.

I mean, at that time especially the days (and nights) were long.  They seemed never ending.

And I honestly have no desire to return to those days.

But I won't lie.

I do miss certain moments.

Rocking my newborn babies.

Watching my sweet babies toddle around the house.

Snuggling on the couch with the kiddos as I read Little Critter books with them.

Holding a feverish child.

Singing Amazing Grace to them as they drifted off to sleep.

Most of those moments have passed.

We do have new moments.

Sharing a laugh over a political cartoon.

Watching our youngest swing the bat at his baseball game.

Buying make up and clothes with my giggly girl.

Hearing new and big words in their vocabulary.

Some days do still seem long.

But the years are undoubtedly short.

Time is flying by.

In just a few years, our first will leave the nest.

We will have teenage drivers.

The Little Critter books will be packed away for future grandchildren.

And one day our house might even be silent. 

I could be sad.  And am sometimes.

But it is part of life.

Instead, I am going to just stop and enjoy these moments.

They really will be gone in a blink of the eye...


Friday, September 13, 2013

Alive and Kicking...

When I am awake. :)

I am still here.

I have two different posts started (and another one the cooking blog).

I have good intentions and always have posts running around in my head.

But the truth is, I often don't get to sit down (other than for dinner) until 9 or 10.

Then there is a short window until I fall asleep.

I keep reminding myself it won't always be this way.

But I am honestly not sure.

It has been a challenging year (school and health).

Hope to be back soon!


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Thankful Thursday, Thursday Thankful

I better type this while I am still awake.

That is an issue with me lately.

I keep reminding myself that I am this tired EVERY year at the beginning of school.  That I am not just getting old.  That eventually I will be back to my night owl old self.

But I fall asleep reminding myself.

I wake up usually long enough to take my medicine (hubby brings to me) and fall back asleep. Usually fully dressed on TOP of the covers.  Meanwhile, a little dog is getting spoiled because she falls asleep with me and may or may not get to her crate.

But I digress.


It has been a busy week, a bit hectic at times.  But I have plenty to be thankful for (besides the allergy stuff, the cold sore on the corner of my mouth, and that darn fatigue).

This week I am thankful for...
  • a new garage door!  Okay, a pricey thanks but a much needed one.  It is SOOOO quiet and even better, it goes up and down when we push the button. Our old one was kind of finicky. It went up fine, not down so much. And that was usually when I was in a hurry and trying to leave the house quickly.
  • Speaking of garage doors, I am thankful that our old one never came crashing down on us or our cars.  Apparently it was much more broken than I realized!
  • another good week of school for the kids.
  • our oldest child's initiative.  He went (on his own) to his school counselor and asked for a more challenging class in one of his least favorite subjects. It changed his whole schedule. But he is happier. And I am so proud of him for taking care of it himself!
  • the cool nights.
  • beautiful sunsets.
  • a four day work week. I love school but after a very busy few weeks prior, I was ready for another day at home.
  • bears.  There is a bear on the loose not too far from our house.  I have ALWAYS wanted to see a bear and look for them when we are hiking.  I haven't seen the one spotted yesterday (at the Tyson Headquarters) but I saw pictures.  And that made me smile.
  • new babies.  I have a few friends who made announcements of little bundles to be.
  • cheese stuffed rolls.  I just wish I wasn't SOOO thankful for them (and could stop eating them).  
  • evening walks with my hubby and pup (especially on cool evenings with bright shining stars).
  • a sweet class.  
  • a delightful visit with friends from church.
  • my parents' swimming pool (which we used a lot last weekend).  
  • Ghirardelli dark chocolate squares with sea salt caramel.  Chilled.
  • entertainment via my children.  When they don't make me cry, they make me laugh. :)
  • family dinners.  It gets hard this time of year. And it doesn't always happen. But more often than not, it does.
  • listening to my youngest read books to me.  He is such a confident reader.  I can't wait to see what he learns this year!
  • Child 3's servant heart.  She will just take out the trash or help with laundry, all without being asked.
  • my mom who faithfully washes kids' laundry throughout the school year.
  • my sister. I don't get to talk to her or see her nearly as often as I would like but I am still thankful to just know that she is there.
  • Child 2's positive attitude.
I better stop for now.  I still have to exercise (refer to the cheese stuffed roll comment above for why...).

How about you? What are you thankful for this week?


Monday, September 2, 2013

What a Difference...

 seven years makes...
Sidenote:  I typically save these stories for just our private family blog.  But I am going to make an exception for this one. I want to share it in the hope that it will give hope to those who have adopted.  I want to share for those who have known us and our challenges.  And I want to give thanks to our God who has walked this journey with us, for without Him, NONE of it would have been possible.

Seven years ago, we brought home our little Miss Maria.  (I know I have pictures of that somewhere but this was the closest I could find...the top one above is from a visit trip)

So Friday I checked on my Facebook.  A friend had written on my "wall" that she had heard Maria's announcement on the radio.

And for a brief second I was REALLY confused.

Her birthday is in June.


Oh, yeah!

I had totally forgotten.

Gotcha Day.  Forever Family Day.  Homecoming Day.

It is called a lot of things by different families.  We honestly have never really called it any of those things. 

So what is it for us this year?

The 7th anniversary of Maria landing with us, her new family, in the United States of America.  (If I remember correctly, her first official time to put her feet on the ground, making her a citizen, was eating french fries at McDonald's in the Houston airport...)

We had sponsored this day with our local Christian radio station this year.

Thus the radio message.

We have never really made a big deal about this "anniversary day".  In the early years, it was kind of a bittersweet day. Sweet for our family and the blessing of finally having her home but still a reminder of the family and culture and history left behind for one confused and unhappy 2 year old.

So we celebrate birthdays big.  And rarely do we even acknowledge the "homecoming anniversaries".

But this year (in February) when I was trying to decide what day to sponsor, this date came to mind. 

So a couple months ago, I jotted down a message to be read and clicked send.

Then I hadn't really thought of it since.

This is a busy time of year.  I am trying to keep my head afloat with school.  We have volleyball and gymnastics and cross country.  We have church activities, outings with friends, etc.

And honestly I didn't think about it Friday until getting the message on FB from my friend.

Then I remembered. 

We heard the actual message that afternoon while in the car waiting for Hunter after school.

Maria Elizabeth, seven years ago we brought you home to our family from Guatemala. You dazzle us with your gymnastic moves, get lost in the world of reading, run with flair across the finish line at 5Ks, and loudly sing praise songs around the house. We so proud of the young woman you are becoming and look forward to watching God continue to mold you and grow you into a lady after His own heart.  No matter what life brings, we hope you dance, Maria.
Mom, Dad, Hunter, Lauren, Joshua, and Marley Pup

And I could see it on her face.

She beamed.

She asked if we were having a party.

She asked if she was getting gifts.

Because apparently this year, it is a big deal.

When her big sister told her nobody else got gifts, Maria defended herself.

 "Adoption is different."

And my heart smiled. 

It wasn't said with any sadness.

It was said with bitterness.

It wasn't said with anger.

It was said with pride.

With love.

With joy.

The afternoon was filled with questions about her life before us.  (I can only answer some of them since my information is limited.)  We looked through the photo album of her pre-family days.  We talked about Guatemala.

And then she asked, "Was A. (birthmom) married?"

I told her honestly I didn't know for sure but more than likely not because adoptions were not typically allowed for babies from married couples.

And I saw the wheels turning.  Felt a bit nervous about where this conversation might go.

Then, "So if she had been married, I wouldn't have gotten to come here and be part of our family."

Again, said with no sadness.

No bitterness. 

No anger.

Just love.

Unless you know us and our story very closely you will not likely know how much these conversations meant to this mama.

There are no words.

Some tears.  A lot of joy. 

No words.

We didn't really have a party or gifts.

But we did go out to eat (though we are going to have to save her favorite restaurant for another day). And then we walked around as a family (minus one) just enjoying downtown.

Which is where I snapped this second picture.

And my heart is full.

What a difference 7 years makes...