Monday, October 16, 2017

Soaking It In

With Bran as a newborn, one of my first opportunities as a mom to "soak it in..." I loved watching him laugh at his reflection in our little upstairs bathroom

Life just doesn’t get easy this side of Heaven.

Corbin and I ran into a small grocery store Sunday evening for ice cream and saw an elderly woman hobbling toward her car parked in the handicapped space right near the entrance. As we passed her, I whispered to Corbin, “How can we help her?” Here it was, after 9 pm on a Sunday evening, and she was just feet away from us hunched over her cane with a small bag of groceries. She didn’t necessarily need our help, but my heart went out to her ~ all alone shopping late at night and then driving home. We simply smiled and said hello, and she launched into a story of how she couldn’t find her best cane, she’d looked all over, but this one would do. She finished with a half smile and shrug of her shoulders, “oh well” and climbed into her car.
Where was she driving home to? Should she even be driving? Would anyone be waiting for her at home as she arrived under the dark cover of night?

Several weeks ago I sat across our patio table from my dear friend and her lovely mother as they discussed the nearly two years since losing their father and husband. Said it felt like a blink.
“Tell me about his passing,” I asked.
And as they recounted the events of that shocking, difficult day, this precious woman's eyes moistened as she described being without her husband of nearly fifty years, “It’s so very difficult.”

Life just doesn’t get easy this side of Heaven.

I have this unfounded expectation that we finish school, get married and raise our children, and then coast a bit. I can’t think of one older couple actively pursuing the Lord who are simply coasting. The weight of loved ones struggling, chronic health issues, loneliness, despair with the state of our culture and world... the challenges seem to remain until we meet our Heavenly Father. So ~ I can either choose to carry the weight of the unknown struggles ahead, or I can choose gratitude for this day and soak in the good and the hard. And perhaps the best strategy ~ take one day (one moment) at a time.

One of the few times I've captured her without a huge spunky grin ~ but I love this one
It’s good and hard that our youngest is finished with elementary school and started middle school. No more little bitty ones in our home. (She will always be little!!) Soaking it in.

I just love her so completely
It’s good and hard that our almost-fourteen-year-old looks more like a woman than a child. She is growing up beautifully and seems comfortable in her own skin. She is sensitive to others’ feelings yet doesn’t feel guilty if things go well for her. I learn so much from her steady countenance. Soaking it in.
Has there ever been a sweeter face??!
It’s good and hard that Hud chose to leave his childhood friends and comfort zone and move schools to be with his big brother. Watching them suited up on Friday nights - in the same uniforms, on the same team  - it’s too much. Soaking it in.

The "wrestling window" is smaller than we think
It’s good and hard that our oldest has started his senior year. Eight more months at home, and then as he says, “I’ll probably never live in Fort Worth again.” Who knows, but I sure believe that’s a possibility. We’re in our “lasts” together as a family living under one roof. Soaking it in.

Well this is enough to make my eyes a little misty, but there is just so much good mixed into the hard. And this broad overview of our current season isn't even getting into the nitty-gritty of the daily good and hards! The way I see it, the years stretched ahead will continue to be a mix.

Amy Grant has a song on one of her latest albums, "Better Not to Know" ~ here's the chorus:
Oh, it's better not to know
The way it's gonna go
What will die and what will grow.
Oh, nothing stays the same
Life flickers like a flame,
As the seasons come and go
Goodbye more than hello
It's better not to know

I love that song. At first glance it can sound a little depressing, that it's better not to know the struggles ahead. But we also don't know the joys.

That elderly woman at the grocery store, I don't know her story or situation. But the lovely grandmother sitting across my patio table ~ as she grieves her husband, she also wakes every morning in a lovely home and in good health to the cacophony of her daughter's vivacious family. Three amazing grandsons still living under their roof all together, and she has great purpose as the matriarch of that family, sharing their daily struggles and joys.

We can take such comfort in the Lord's command to not worry about tomorrow, that today has enough concerns. Let us just soak in today and look forward to tomorrow with our chins up, knowing that He holds the good and the hard, and He will equip us as we go. 

Life will not get easy this side of Heaven. But we've got our Heavenly Father's promises and His presence, and we've got all of Heaven with no tears, no sadness, and no pain. Until then - may we soak it all in.

And here's to hoping we can enjoy lots of laughter in the process!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Practicing Gratitude 9.22.17

- Essie's first 6th grade cotillion

pretty cute 6th grade boys
- This PUNKIN in Bozeman, our newest little cousin Audrey Crystal

- More football - loving our Friday nights
even with Hudda injured, still a thrill to see my boys together
cheering on those Eagles
the gang's all here
so PROUD of them ~ and football is tip of the iceberg. but it's in there!

 - LUKE. So so so very thankful for him. And he's sure a lot of fun to watch on D

- Corbin coming home from DC - we miss him when he's away

- A quiet day yesterday - Sunday - wonderful!

- Walking down to the park with the girls last night, and then how well they got along practicing vb together in the ga ga pit - a gift
 - Canwick 2017 - Hud and Amanda

- McLean's 911 service - that they do this every year and teach our 8th grade kiddos about 911. I always cry
Basden is waaay back there in the choir
Retiring a well-worn flag and burning it, I didn't know about this custom until these services

- How much she's loving vb, feeling more accomplished and skilled

with our middle school chuch leader, Taryn

awesome cheering section
 - Sic Em Bears
win or lose, #our team
 - Ruby snuggled up ~ always

 - What a fun crew!! Go Rangers! I'm just so grateful these principals would take the time
Luke, Shane Naderman, Joey Richards, Bran
 - These two killin' it in Montana ~ pun intended

 - Special lunch, special friends

- An evening with Hannah and Chase and SHEPHERD


Shepherd falling asleep in Hud’s arms - precious

 - Hud’s clear MRI

- Shrimp and sausage kbobs last night and how much Bran ate!

- Hud & Joy working hard on homework

- Getting Hud to cryotherapy, Bran willing to take him

- HSM baptism - THIS many of Hud's PHS 10th grade friends at CCBC to celebrate - amazing

- Painters here, along with new windows for sunroom - which also gives me a deadline to work in sunroom and clean things out (!)
"before" windows
"before sunroom" - although mostly cleaned out. terrible stained carpet, chipped paint, just dirty. But this room has been one of the most invaluable in our home over the years as an amazing playroom
- Wylidlife watch out!

- Private school perks - time and capacity to celebrate Seniors well
a few of the dozen seniors
love this pic and that Mama Lott did ALL of this - she works tirelessly

 - Boys making it safely to school this morn - along with every other morn they've gone

- Snuggling with Essie last night - she was so scared listening to her Nancy Drew book that she was literally sweating when I went up to check on her

- That she can achieve her AR points in by listening to books

- That she taught herself how to make a bar graph in pages

- Hud’s shoulder (nerves) still injured, sitting out another game or two, thanking you in all things, Heavenly Father, for what you have for him in this

- Baby Noah's birth!!


- Ali and Cormac staying with us this week, what joy they bring

Noah time
- Keisters staying with us over the weekend for TCU parents’ weekend

- Your timing, Lord - my boys going to small groups last night and then getting Ali at this hospital for me; painters and windows and yard stuff - You are orchestrating timing so beautifully in ways that I couldn't

- When I feel jealous - that I can run to you. When I feel aimless - I can run to You. When I feel like my circle of influence is tiny and insignificant, I run to You, Father, and I know in your economy that doesn’t matter anyway. SO. Thank you for my feelings of jealousy and inadequacy, and please help me take my eyes off of myself and instead shape those thoughts into how I can worship You and encourage others around me. But I need your strength & hope to do it

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles...   1 Chronicles 16:11-12