Monday, September 28, 2009

A week of firsts...

There were so many "firsts" last week...

The first snow...

The first loose teeth...

...and a first bike for a girl who has waited a long time.

Is there anything more magical than snow, loose teeth, and bikes? What a week. :)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sleepy Feet

The other day, the girls and I were driving home in the rain after what had been another long day for them in the car.

From the back, my oldest called to me, "Mom, my foot is asleep."

"Start to wiggle it around. It will help it wake up."

"No, I think I better just let it sleep. If it fell asleep in the car, it must really need the rest."

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Space to Write

Something about these cold, rainy days makes me love to listen to Priscilla Ahn. :) Isn't she delightful? Anyway, I've had her Space to Write in my mind for days.

In our family, most everything is shared, and we love it that way. There is rarely a sense of "that's mine," which has brought me much peace as a mother. But lately, I have also noticed a need for something individual once in a while...namely, space. Everyone needs their own space, just once in a while, to create in the way that they need to.

We're all different. Some of us, like two of my lovely friends (Nicole and Tara), love to sew and create and blow others simply away by the beauty of their creations. Though I wish I had that gift, right now in my life, I have others that I work on, like my yoga, among other things. I have my own little spaces that I work on that creating and my yoga mat and my computer.

Lately, as my little ones have started to express themselves more and more through yoga, my heart has sung. I know what it can do for them. They have all tried to share the floor or take turns with my extra mat, but they have needed their own little "space to write" their own little yoga story.

"Space" now exists for each of them. Last week, we made them each their own mats, just the right size to fit a little body on, and just right to fit all four + mom's mat into our small living room.

It is amazing what this "space" has given them! Yoga time is so much better, and I can see them reaching and creating further than they ever tried before. It has been amazing to watch. :)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

All my heart

Today was truly one of the most incredible days of my life. For months, I have been doing something that has been very hard for me, harder than most people know, trying desperately to help someone else. It has been humbling, exhausting, and exhilarating, all at the same time.

Today was my Run for Congo Women, but it was more than a run, more than a race. It was all of my heart, going out to women I have never met, but who I feel in my soul. It was love and joy and gratitude for all of the dear friends, family, and loved ones who have stunned me by their love and support.

As I have tried with everything I have to help these women I care so very deeply for, I have, in turn, been blessed. I have felt loved and supported as I never have before, and I have never felt so encouraged and blessed. It is amazing and hard to describe.

It isn't easy to put yourself out there, to do something that is really hard for you. It isn't easy to keep going, when everything around seems to push you down. It isn't easy to keep climbing the rocky hills, but you have to if you ever want to get to the downward slopes. Helping other people is never going to be easy to do. But it is worth every single struggling step, because then you are becoming your best self, because you are living outside of yourself.

As I ran today, and as I hit the hard moments, and even when I fell down (yes, big surprise)...I thought of the pain these women are suffering every day of their lives. I ached and hurt for them. To be truthful, I ached and hurt myself, on a superficial level, but it was definitely challenging for my body to complete this course right now. But as I ran, I thought of you. I thought of each and every one of you, my family, my loved ones, who have supported me, and who have given me so very much, more than you can imagine you have given, and as I thought of that, I had the strength to keep going. It made me think...perhaps one of these women, who have been so tortured and beaten down by life, just maybe her mind will catch hold of us, who raised money and who ran for her, trying to save her life. And maybe she'll be able to stand back up and keep going, too.

I ran the whole way today. I didn't have to, but I wanted to give all of my heart, everything I had, to those women. When I was finished, I knew I had worked as hard as I could and done my best. And I knew that lives would be changed forever for it, and that feeling is like none I can ever begin to describe. I cannot find words to express my love and gratitude to each of you...I am amazed as I look back at the day and the past few months.

MommYoga was the top fundraiser for the Denver 2009 Run for Congo Women. How can I possibly thank you? There are no words. I am amazed tonight, as I look again at the list of contributors. I asked a lot of people for money. Few of them donated. But those of you who gave the most were among those I know who had the very least to give. By that I am humbled, honored, and blessed to know you. You showed your true, Christlike hearts. I love you. Thank you for loving me, and for helping me to keep going. Not just in my run, but always.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Labor Day was...

...a time for some driving lessons from Grandpa.

(you drive better if you stick out your tongue...)

...a time for sisters,

...and new babies.

(I have a picture just like this of my Grandma and Grandpa Cottam.)

...a time to feed the dog grass (she assures me he loves it).

...a time to put my life in my husband's hands...

...and wash his muddy pants. :)

...a time for taking down those pesky uncles.

(Here it looks like Libby is trying to stop Joe from doing drugs...
As much as I tease my little brother, I love him more than he can know, and I am so happy he has a good woman watching over him.)

...a time to run half-naked in the grass and be children. :)

...and a time for Grandma hugs, the best kind of all.

Baa Baa Black Sheep...

...American style (when you haven't really heard those British words or really had the song enunciated to you):

Baa baa, black sheep, have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full.
One for the monster
And one for today
And one for the little boy who gets in my way.

Ha ha!! It cracks me up so much when they sing it that I can't stand to correct them. My poor kids will grow up so warped. :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The first day of school!!

Well, the first day of school this year got us off to a great start! Our first day consisted of a field trip to the "big city" to learn all about goods and services. It was a great day as a family! :)

I forgot my camera, so the only pictures are cell pics, but here is a cool fountain downtown that we played in:

Thank goodness for strollers!

We had a great time!

Interesting and humbling

Last week, I started to hit a low point. A really low one. Lately, as I have been working hard on these good things on my life, the opposition seems to grow day by day. There have been tangles after tangles after tangles that I need not go into right now, but which have slowly and steadily beaten on me. Finally, on Friday, one blow took me out.

I guess I should say I let it take me out. Nevertheless, I was out. I was beaten, I was down, and I sunk.

I didn't feel like doing much of anything, and taking care of the four girls while feeling this way was very difficult for me. I kept feeling drawn to the computer, oddly, and when I finally went there, I read two blog posts that struck me deeply.

One was my own. One was a friend's. She tagged me, and at the moment, I didn't feel too tag-worthy in that category. But as those two posts remained in my mind through the weekend, I realized many things.

I guess I actually want to answer that tag now, in my own way, because as I have thought and prayed about those two things all weekend long, miracles have happened and light has returned to my heart.

Five reasons I love my life as a mother:

1. The Lord loves mothers enough to reach out to them, even when they are feeling or acting in ways that they shouldn't at the moment. Even in the darkness, He is there, pulling you back.

2. Our children learn to endure their own heartache by watching us endure ours. It gives us a reason to fight harder.

3. You learn that your parents tried their hardest and did their very best, just as you are trying to. Somehow, it's more comforting to feel so "human" when I know my own parents felt that way, too.

4. Forgiveness and mercy are abundant and readily-given, both from the Lord, and from my husband and children.

5. Joy comes through misery and heartache. At times, my greatest sorrows are actually windows to see just how very blessed I am. As I look at others in my life, and their intense suffering, I realize that my own trials and pain are truly blessings, and that my suffering is not as great as I may have thought. I have realized this week that everything that was weighing me down, everything that was killing my spirit outright is actually a tremendous gift, and one that I should be grateful at every moment for.

I am blessed, and I am grateful for a patient and loving husband, children, and Father, who help me to see it, even when I struggle to at times.