Sunday, November 9, 2014

What a BEAUTIFUL Sunday!

What a gorgeous Sunday today was!  A couple special things happened today.
  The first thing which doesn't sound like a very big deal at all, except that it IS, was that Matthew actually COLORED/SCRIBBLED with a crayon.  Now, I will be the first to admit that that was probably a STUPID thing for me to encourage him to do, since he might just get the urge to repeat the activity at home ON THE WALLS or in some other less-than-appropriate spot.  But Matthew is one of those kids who just doesn't engage with activities easily, so if I can find just one more activity that he enjoys, it makes me happy.
 The other special thing that happened today was that we discovered this handicap-accessible park, just in the next little town over from us!
 The picnic tables have overhangs on the ends so that wheelchairs can fit under.  So, we took our lunch and ate out under that beautiful fall-blue sky!
 The BEST part of all was this swing set!  They had wheelchair swings!  And not just one, but TWO!  They KNEW we needed TWO!  MaKenzie and Jared loved them!  They have been on these kinds of swings before, but it's been a couple years.  What a treat to find them close to home!
 Lena helped Matthew navigate the slide, which gave him the giggles.
And they played hide and seek and played in the leaves. 
 And just hung around.
Can you see those sun rays?  It was such a beautiful day!
What a blessing to find this little spot where my kids can be kids--and SO CLOSE to home!  I'm so thankful for The East Ky Gearheads and CSX Railroads for providing such a wonderful thing for our local community!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

So Proud of John Wesley (and MISSING him)

(Where has the time gone???)
 Early this morning, around 5:30, I heard steps outside my bedroom door.  I knew it was John Wesley.  He was getting ready to head out the door in a bit to go to work.  I got up to talk to him for a couple minutes and hug him goodbye and couldn't help it when my eyes leaked a bit as he drove away.
Even before he graduated back in June, he had been applying for jobs here locally with NO luck.  He had some mowing/yard jobs through the summer, but there was no response to any of the applications he submitted.  But he did find one family that we knew through church who needed lots of odd jobs done.  So, he works at their home and property for 2-3 days a week.  Then a few days a week, he travels (a little over an hour away) to work for a musician friend of his who is building a house and owns a contracting business.  He spends the nights there when he's working for him.  And he's also working a night or two at a college in their dining hall, when he can get hours there.  And, of course, when he's not working, he's trying to divide his time amongst all his other passions--fishing, music, hunting, and of course trying to spend as much time with Christine as he can--so he's spread quite thin these days, which means I'm MISSING him LOTS!!!
 But I'm so proud of him.  Watching him become who God has made him is such a blessing to me!  I feel a little sorry for him that he had to be the oldest because that means we made all our biggest mistakes on him--we had to practice on SOMEBODY!!!  He works so hard and has such deeply held convictions.  He analyzes EVERYTHING and gives his heart 100% to the people and things he believes in and loves!  I can't wait to see how God is going to use that intensity and to find out where God is taking him!  I'm so very thankful that I've had a front row seat in his life.

Monday, October 27, 2014

William's Driving Solo!

Okay, I need to have a chat with whoever it was that kept telling me that being a parent would get easier as my kids got older!  It's just not true.
Since January (or so) of last year, I've been driving into town 3-4 evenings a week (sometimes more often depending on the rehearsal schedule) to deliver William and sometimes Lena to dance classes and Cody and Jonas to martial arts classes.  It has become my routine.  Hurry up and finish everything I need to accomplish (or don't) by 3:15, make sure Harold, Mom, or John Wesley is here to watch the other kids (or load some up to ride along), and head out the door.  And that was my evening.  We'd get home between 7:30 and 9:30 pm. 
Today, that routine has changed.  I'm still trying to talk myself into being happy about it, but so far I'm not doing a very good job.  William got his license today.  3:00 rolled around and I wasn't scurrying around to get ready because William and Lena were heading to the car ON THEIR OWN--without ME.  I found myself doing the weird mom thing, telling him where to put his cell phone so it wouldn't fly away from him and be unreachable in the event of the unthinkable.  (Hey, I know it's morbid, but you never know...) Harold quickly added, "Just put it in the center console that closes.  That way WHEN the car rolls, it'll be safe till you come to a stop."  I really DID NOT need that visual!
As William and Lena headed out the door, of course, I followed close behind with my camera (and Jared) to document the bittersweet moment.  William and Lena were admonishing me to hurry so they wouldn't be late, while Jared was hollering from the porch, "William, be careful with my sister!!!!"  Indeed, all you other drivers out there in the big wide world, be careful!  I have precious children out there.  John Wesley has been driving for a couple years now and I still don't sleep well until I know he's in for the night!  Being a mom DOESN'T really get easier, just hard in a different way!  I'll be way relieved when they get back home tonight safe and sound.  Until then, I know nothing will happen to them that God hasn't approved.  So, they're in good hands.  (I can still stress about it a little, though, right?)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Ballet, Battles, and Belts

Disclaimer:  I DO realize the photos in the post below are grainy, fuzzy, blurry, and generally of poor quality.  You'll have to do what I did--get over it.  My good camera had a dead battery and I have spent far too many years worrying about "perfection" at the cost of enjoying "good enough."  These pictures, blurry and grainy as they may be, represent memories that are precious, therefore they ARE precious and...good enough, yea, nigh unto perfection.  In fact, there might be lots more grainy, blurry pictures on this blog.  Who has the time to worry about photo quality when you're stopped at a red light snapping selfies with your sweet daughter?  Isn't she beautiful???
 Now, on to the subject of this post...  Friday morning, Cody headed off to battle (Civil War reenactment), John Wesley and William went to work for a family at our church, and the rest of us carried on with business as usual.  That evening, on the spur of the moment, Lena and I decided to take a quick trip to watch a performance being put on by a dance studio down in Pikeville.  We dressed up in our better-than-Sunday clothes (which only means it wasn't blue jeans) and she got to enjoy actually WATCHING the dancers instead of being one.
 Then Satuday morning, Lena volunteered at the library to help work at a Family Fun Day event.  (She is a cave-person, in case you are wondering.)  The library folks dressed her up for the part she was to play in their who-dunnit activity.  Lena's decided that books are her thing.  That makes the library a pretty special place in her opinion.
 Then, Harold and some of the kids headed to the battlefield to pick up Cody so that he'd be back in town in time for his and Jonas' martial arts test.
 This was the first time we had gotten to see them in action.  They just started martial arts classes a few months ago, and this was their first demonstration. 
 As soon as I saw them bow to each other before the sparring, I started wondering what on earth I was thinking to have allowed this?  I knew I had been hearing more and more thumping and clumping coming from downstairs since they'd begun classes, but in the interest of my sanity I had not investigated.
 I'm sure if I investigate next time, I'll probably see something like this.  Kicking, jabbing, and all manner of limb-whacking.  Maybe it's best for me to ignore the noises.
They must've done a fair job kicking, jabbing and limb-whacking, because in the end, the instructors awarded them both their yellow belts. 
Now I suppose it's on to the next level.  I wonder what new manner of noises and thumps I'll start hearing?
 Aren't these guys so handsome?  I'm so proud of them--but not because of the martial arts stuff.  That's great and I'm glad they're enjoying it, but I'm PROUD of WHO they are and who they are becoming.  See the smiles?  Those are the faces I see everyday.  No bad attitudes, willing workers, tender hearts, sweet to their Momma, respectful to their Daddy. Good boys.  I'm just a little partial--and blessed.
 To celebrate, we headed out to eat.  We were quite a sight to behold.  In we walk with 2 wheelchairs, a Mex/American, a Haitian, and a Yankee soldier.  Sprinkle in a few not-so-regular regulars and that's us--and we have a problem being quiet.  Add to that the fact that we had 3 tables shoved together at the FRONT of the restaurant by the door.  We have always traveled a lot and go out to eat pretty regularly, and have always gotten our more-than-fair-share of looks, but for some reason, tonight we seemed a little extra "out-standing" (if you know what I mean).  I'm pretty sure it was the Yankee soldier.
 I love the diversity in our family and I love that God makes it all work, weaving all the strands together.  Each strand is beautiful and precious by itself, but when they are all put together, it is truly a masterpiece that only God could create.
Masterpiece or not, sometimes our family is a bit silly.  Jared decided that the barbecue sauce was so good that it would be a shame to leave any in the cup.  After dinner, it was time for Harold to take Cody back to the battlefield so he could fight in the next day's battle.
Our kids sure are growing up on us!  Every time we are blessed with a day or weekend like this one, I feel so privileged.  Already the kids are so busy with their activities and becoming who God has made them to be.  We all seem to go in a thousand directions most of the time and it has become rare to all be together, so I'm treasuring these days with these treasures of mine.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Let's Play "Catch-Up"

It's been about a year and a half since I've updated here.  Life has moved on and our family has experienced milestones corporately and individually.  We've all grown in years, in faith, and in wisdom. 

 There have been birthdays and driver's permits and licences.
 Harold and I celebrated 25 years of marriage!  I can hardly believe that one!!  I've been so blessed to share this life with him.  His love for me, for our family, and for the Lord is the glue that makes our family strong.
 John Wesley became the first official graduate of Hope Academy Homeschool.  That was an emotional day for this momma.
 But it was a GOOD day.  We celebrated HIM.  And now he's out in the big world making his way, working and learning and chasing God's plan for his life.
 This past year also saw our family take a super fun trip to New York City and the New England states during the fall at peak leaf viewing time!!!
I loved getting to experience the sights with my crew, watching them see things that they had only ever seen in pictures or on TV.
We continued to worship and grow beside our church family.  John Wesley's participation in the worship team has yielded a passion (and talent) for music that he is continuing to nurture. 
 We went to Winter Jam where we (especially Jared) rocked and worshipped with the Newsboys!
We've praised the Lord through dance.
And we've had just plain fun with dance.
 We've had fun with our animals!
 And fun on a boat. 
 And fun on the battle field, where Cody has discovered a love for Civil War reenactments.
 We've spent precious times together as a family thanking the Lord for His love, His provision, and His protection.
 I got to visit with my beautiful friend, Mary, who has known me forever!  It feels good to "be known."
 And we got to put our toes in the sand.  It's been a good year and a half!  We have so much to be thankful for--so many gifts.  It feels like it would be a shame not to record them here, so it's time to pick our story up here where we left off.

Monday, July 8, 2013

4th of July!!!

 This year we have so enjoyed having the space to bring friends into our home!  We know that God didn't give us this space for us to just rattle around in and keep as a museum.  These rooms and walls are intended to serve--to make a place for LOVE.  And our aim is to FILL it to the brim!
 Each Sunday, we are blessed to host our Community Group here.  I don't wanna brag, but we have THE BEST group of friends EVER.  These folks are family to us.
 There are about 40 of us (give or take a few) when we're all together.
 More than half of that number is children.
 These are folks that I could not have picked on my own.  Totally God-matched.  He knew EXACTLY who to put together in this community.
 Because this isn't just a church-prescribed "Community Group."  It is a true COMMUNITY of believers--a family.  And God is the architect of families.
 So, what do families do on the 4th of July?
 We party!  (Or not...Christian played with cars, and Jared watched his TV.  Anyone surprised?)
 We play.
 We love.
 We relax.  Together, of course.