Thoughts on a Thursday

1. School’s out!

It went so. fast. I don’t know that a year has ever gone by so speedily. This coming fall, Evelyn will join her siblings… I’m not sure I am ready for it.

We are so stinkin’ pleased with the education our kids have received this year. The teachers were phenomenal. An excitement for learning returned to my kiddos, which is so important! Friends were made. Sports played. Growing happened.

There were- and still are- some bumps to overcome in our transition from homeschooling to brick and mortar school. This was definitely the right decision for our family though.

Can I also say that, I am so proud of our kids!?!? They worked hard and pushed through a very new environment. They are flourishing and I couldn’t be happier.

2. Paddle boarding

This has been years in the making. I remember watching a man paddle boarding on Lake Michigan and thinking, “That looks fun. I’d like to try it someday.” As if reading my mind, my best friend mentioned wanting to try it as well.

Well, it all seemed like a distant retirement goal until our Park and Rec department started renting them. So we took some out for a test drive. Paddle. Swim. Whatever. Needless to say, we were sold on this new sport.

So Stephen bought me one for my birthday and I’ve been out a couple of times. I only fell in once, but it was great fun. This will definitely be a good, gentle workout for a chicka who definitely needs it!

3. Isaiah

I just started reading Isaiah. So much good truth in this book. As I read through the OT, I am on the lookout for God’s character on display as He interacts with His creation. Even though we are free from the law, there is so much to learn about the Lord in the Old Testament.

In Isaiah, God’s long suffering abounds even amidst judgment and suffering. A loving God will not let us continue in our sin without calling us out and disciplining so we change and grow. It would be negligence in a parent, and God is not a bad parent by any means.

4. Gardening

I built two garden beds by myself last week. Besides some slight imperfections that will drive my husband insane, I am pleased with my work. The kids want to garden this summer, and I am happy to oblige.

I started getting serious about growing herbs indoors this winter and discovered they are easy to grow- just gotta be faithful in watering. My windowsill has been filled with happy little green things. So we’ve been enjoying basil, parsley and rosemary all winter! To add them to fresh veggies this summer will be amazing….

5. Sprummer

I always tell people I don’t have a favorite season. I stand by that statement. It is exciting to watch this hybrid season…. branches glowing with light green hints, promising verdant displays in the months ahead. Fields being cultivated and contrasting the darkness of soil with the green grass. It’s a season of possibilities, and I love the anticipation of watching them all unfold.

I hope that you get to enjoy the brilliance of creation this weekend!

Who’s in Charge Here Anyways?

Close your eyes. Imagine you are sitting on a couch with feet propped, sipping a warm beverage of your choosing. Calm, soothing music plays as you chat with a friend about topics near and dear to you.

Sounds like a perfect scenario, doesn’t it? My muscles relax just thinking about this….

Anyway.

It would be nice if we could control our circumstances and environment in such a way that this is the norm in our lives rather than the exception. There are those of you who are able to do just that and I give you mad props.

But for the rest of us, it is easy to live in disappointment that everything is not “just so.” Our houses are chaotic, our kids are a mess, our meal plan is non existent and our social life is spotty at best. Or maybe it is worse than that.

Perhaps, you have parenting struggles. Maybe your marriage is in a valley. There may be some of you dealing with serious health issues or financial issues or… issues.

Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash

Life rarely goes how we think it should.

Americans have a reputation for being control freaks. Everything must be a certain way or we will lose it in a big way. We have a hard time with the concept of leaning on something else or giving control to anyone other than ourselves.

Ask me how I know.

This time last year I was finding out that we were expecting not one, but TWO little babies. That after having finally planned out how being a mom to six would work, the plan changed with an ultrasound appointment. My field trip schedules? Gone. Continuing beloved ministries? Nope. It was back to the drawing board on how to make life work with this unexpected twist.

It has been a resounding theme in my life in many small ways: A man can plan his way, but the Lord directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9) We can plan every detail of our lives. I could give you stories about all the plans that I have devised. Every idea and goal I have planned for myself… it is downright inspirational. I used to share how my plan fit God’s so well- or so I thought.

Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash

But time after time He has changed my plans. Everything that I thought was in my control was not in my control at all. It was always in God’s hands. And there it will remain whether I think it is or not.

I’m sitting right now watching two of those plan changers playing on the floor. As they crawl around exploring and playing, they feel that they have control over their little world. They grab toys to stick in their mouths, and occasionally one is too small for them or they grab a piece of something that brother or sister dropped. We have to take the dangerous object away. And let me tell you. Nothing makes a baby more upset that getting that fruit snack wrapper pulled from their death grip.

Ha! Another example in the baby realm: Delaney loves our stairs. She also loves the kitchen. So she will make a bee-line in either direction when I release her from my mama smooches. If I’m not fast enough, she will climb the stairs. I’ll find my little chubby cherub at the top of the stairs, so elated and proud of herself. But then I have to take her back down stairs. It must be so deflating. Her plan, her control of the situation is gone.

In both these cases, I’m protecting from harm they have no clue of. Either the timing is wrong (stairs) or I know their judgement is lacking (wrappers). They need me to help even though they don’t know it.

Photo by Jon Flobrant on Unsplash

We are like my babies. God really is the Ultimate Parent. He’s watching out for us. He gives us room to roam, but sometimes He must remove the danger from our lives. Sometimes we just aren’t ready for what we have planned. And sometimes, we are ready but scared.

And God is doing all this for our good. He really is on our side. He is not some cosmic force out to get us. He is not a sadistic parent looking to take away any joy. No, He is the joy-giver. He knows what is the very best for us. Any pain we go through has a purpose and any uprooting of our well planted lives has a greater goal.

So make your plans, friend. Ask for God’s guidance in those plans. And don’t be surprised or disappointed if those plans go awry. God’s working a far greater adventure for your life.

Ask me how I know….

I got nothing.

I know that I am a slacker. Haven’t been writing much lately. What else is new, right? Inconsistency is what you can depend on me for at this blog. And the kids are definitely not asleep right now. I am still waiting for that to happen today.

I have been having a hard time coming up with coherent thoughts on what to write. There is a lot I could write about, but I am not sure how to write it. Call it a blogging cramp, if you will.

It’s really stupid too. (I know, stupid is a mean word, but it is the only appropriate one for this case.) Because since last time I wrote there have been birthdays for two of my kids, I had surgery, my brother is getting married, by best friend is getting married, Easter, Mother’s Day, I turned 30, my in-laws came to visit, and not to mention my sister too! That’s a lot going on.

Yet, I got nothing.

I want to write though! Argh!

I guess I will just post some cute pictures of my kids and call it good for today. Sound good to you? Good.

Ethan reflecting on the pinball table. No, really, do you see his reflection?

Sophie may want to be a bus driver someday…

Natalie and Meredith’s floral creations
They break my kitchen utensils by using them as instruments…
They hurt themselves as we walk out the door to go to church…
They “have” to touch the new thing, no matter how restrained…

They insist on being half-naked many, many days…
But they are happy (usually), healthy,
And I love them!

The Baby Stage

My sister had her baby yesterday. A little girl. Of course, I got to the hospital as soon as I could. Entered the room. Washed my hands and sanitized. Baby Madelyn was asleep in her little bassinet, but no matter. I picked her up and it began again…

“She’s so little… Ethan is so beefy compared to her.”
“Well, he is nine months older.”
“Yeah, but wow!”

She is beautiful. Round, wrinkly and pink. Thick brown hair. Just a little thing. Knowing nothing. Dependent completely upon her mommy and daddy to protect and care for her in every way. Nervous mommy on the other hand – just as beautiful, but frazzled. I know the thoughts that new moms think.

“Am I ready for this?”
“Is this it? Am I done?”
“What’s the world going to be like when she gets older?”

The memories of having children comes back to me. It was only nine months since I had Ethan. He’s grown up so much in those few months. I am not ready for more right now, but with every new baby the thought creeps into my head – “Am I ready to be done having children?” And I have no answer. I love my children. I love having children. I am ready for a break at this time, but do I want to close the door on that stage of my life… forever?

To be honest, I cannot say either way. Neither can Stephen. We will rely on the Lord to lead us in this area, as in all areas of our life together. And I find it funny that neither one of us will say, “No, I think we are done.” We very readily say, “We are definitely not having any more right now.” But to end it all is just too hard to think about. We love being parents. We have said before, if the Lord ever blessed us with enough finances to do it, we would definitely have more.

So little Madelyn makes the question loom in my head once again as large as life. I can guarantee, in a day or two it will dissipate and just go to the back of my mind once again. But it will creep out every time I see a new little babe. I think I will just enjoy the ones God has given me right now, and not worry about it…. what do you think?

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