Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The test of a true friend

A true friend listens when you are in pain. :) A true, true friend, will also provide a darling son who entertains your many daughters with thrilling new games, such as "spray the hose."


Further, a true friend will have recently dug up trees from her yard, just in time for your daughters to turn an exciting game of "spray the hose" into a new game, entitled "let's make a mud hole."


The true, dear friend will then allow your children to get INTO that mud hole.


But the true, iron-clad test of a true friend? She will chase your children, playing "spray the hose" with them again, trying to remove the remnants of the mud hole. All while in white linen pants. She will then allow your children (who are literally mud up to their armpits) to enter her house, and even her lovely garden tub.


Blessed am I this week, for a true friend. :)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Eight Years


Eight years ago yesterday, I married the Love of my life.  This week has hardly been what most would consider a romantic anniversary week. :)  Many events have transpired, several of them less-than-pleasant.  But in the moments before I fell asleep last night, as I nestled close to Matt I realized with a smile that the "unpleasantness" of the week has given our Love a chance to shine more than ever.  I have felt more loved than ever by a husband who is kind and compassionate, patient and understanding.

We are One.  We are joyful.  We are together.  And regardless of where life has brought us, we have always arrived together.  I wish there were better words to express the absolute, adoring Love I have for him. 

I wake up every day so glad to be next to him.  I feel like part of myself leaves when he goes to work.  I feel whole when he comes home.  When I lie down next to him at night, I feel pure joy.  I truly cannot wait to live out my life, and an eternity beyond it, with him. 

If all women could have a Love like this, what a different world it would be.

Blessed am I among women, and I know it.  :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

I usually sit up the night before Father's Day making a video tribute to Matt.  It didn't happen this year...but we had a busy and lovely day yesterday.  It was a good day for taking a break from everything else.

We went on an "adventure," as one daughter called it, or in other words, a bike ride. :)  Seven people, five of them little, on a bike ride, is indeed an adventure.  It was a very fun one.  As I brought up the rear with the baby in the trailer, I looked ahead at Matt, pulling another trailer and leading our family cheerfully down the road, and I felt truly blessed to have a husband who leads our family with hope and happiness.

I love him for so many reasons, but I think one of the greatest reasons is that he encourages us to look up, to look onward, and to have faith in the future.  He helps us all be better than we were yesterday, and he helps us all feel the peace that everything will be alright.



Happy Father's Day. :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Comfort


The past three months have been challenging ones for various reasons. Some of the challenges I have shared here, and others I haven't. And though my challenges are so light in comparison to many others', they have been hard at times, nonetheless.


But incredibly, through each challenge, there is this child. Holding her is true comfort for me. Holding her brings me unspeakable peace.


It's like she was sent to be with us just at this time. She is just the spirit I needed in my life. Somehow, the look in her eyes tells me everything will be alright.

I think each of my children has done that for me at the various points they have entered my life.


What have you been given? What is the blessing you have, in spite of challenges, that helps you look above and beyond them? I believe we each have something, for I believe we are each loved.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Thank You

Matt is finally home.  He's been gone, gone to funerals, gone to help.

I don't think there's any joy comparable to a daddy coming home.

Our friend died Sunday night, after a week in critical condition.  So for his little boy, he had the joy of a dad coming home.  But his little girl is still here, and whatever relief it may be that our friend won't suffer, his little girl has still lost all of her family, and that is suffering aplenty, so please say a prayer for her.  I know how our little girls would feel if they lost their daddy.

It has been a hard and interesting week.

A week of perspective.

Once Matt was gone, I found myself in the midst of my own little set of trials, which he could not help me with. I have been struggling with dental issues ever since I had the baby, and it has been very painful. It is very challenging to take care of five kids while in so much pain. But I felt like it was a trial that helped me keep perspective, as I would talk to Matt at night and hear of the total devastation that so many had suffered back home in Ohio. My trial, though painful, was small. (And to my several kind friends who called me to check in, so sorry for not answering. My mouth just hurt so badly. But I love you and loved you calling!) :)

I am so grateful for perspective.

Life just doesn't feel the same now. And it's not necessarily because our friends are gone, but because of all the things that matter more than ever before. We've always been a strong, close family, but it is a different family now.

Stronger and closer, somehow. And with distaste for the things that just don't matter. And with an insatiable desire for more of what DOES.


I have been thinking about experiences this week with these friends who have passed on. I have been thinking about Matt and his experiences this week, being able to help people he doesn't know, but who have lost a tremendous amount. I have been thinking about our lives, and the people that pass through them, and how every experience with them, positive and negative, are all opportunities to grow and become better.  Perhaps that's one reason forgiveness and kindness are so important and vital to true happiness.

This week, my parents passed through town on their way to a trip they have planned for a long time, but they delayed their trip to help me since I was in so much pain. Matt went home to mourn with friends, but was able to put tangible effort and a great amount of work towards helping others who have lost SO much.

Sometimes, the answer to pain is to go out and to give what you have to helping others who are hurting. Other times, it just might be letting go and allowing others to help you.

As I looked through photos this week of the destruction so many people have endured, I have been touched and influenced by their profound gratitude for those who are helping them.


Tonight, especially now that I have Matt back, and as I am humbled by the mercy and blessings in our lives, I just want to be thankful.

Take a minute this evening, and just say "Thank You" for all that you have.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Life

I don't really know how to describe this past week.

Lots of sadness.  Lots of praying.  Lots of quiet moments of gratitude.

Lots of reevaluating.

I feel like we were already reevaluating everything in our lives before this happened, but this week has only intensified those feelings and those evaluations.

This week has brought moments of reflection.  More than that.  Pause.

Moments where I feel like I am pressing "pause" on life, and watching that moment happen.

I think we should do that more often. 






Matt is going back to Ohio tomorrow, to be with friends.  I will miss him, and I think I will miss him more because of the new, humbled, changed person I am inside.  That new person still feels a little raw inside.  But it is a good change.  I thought before this week that I already loved him more than was possible.  I love him more now than I ever did.  Kisses mean more.  We hold each other tighter at night. 

Today there was a commotion in the kitchen.  You know those old movies where ladies somehow didn't know how to use a dishwasher or a washing machine, and soap bubbles came pouring out, making a monumental mess?  

I thought that wasn't actually, truly possible.  :)  Turns out, it is.  

I've been learning to make soap by hand.  It's been a wonderful life experience, and something so basic that has reconnected me and helped me this week.  I'll write more about why I'm making soap later, but Matt and I have turned out several lovely batches now.  

I've been really good about cleaning it up the right way.  But today, there were just a few "test" containers I had used that I didn't clean out totally before putting them in the dishwasher.  They had just a little bit of soap in them that had set up after I took the bars out to cure.  I figured it wasn't much soap, and would only help the dishes. 

These pictures only show the very beginning of the total eruption.  :)



When it first started, the girls anxiously called to me.  I could see from my oldest's face that she was a little worried about how I might react.  After absorbing what I had done for just a second, I burst out laughing.  It was such a release.  After these pictures, soap erupted and it was everywhere, and it was a bugger to clean, but it was so "cleansing," ha ha.  :)

I think that this week has taught me many, many things.  Many things have been reaffirmed about what actually matters in life.  And it has also taught me not to care so much about the things that just don't.  

Life is full of moments...wonderful ones, and very, very hard ones.  There will be many of both.  

Hopefully, the moments that make us cry help us to love and laugh even harder during the other times. 

(PS - If you ever chance to sample one of my soaps in the future, I can promise you after today that they have EXCELLENT lather, and that they smell divine.  And they clean skin, floors, and dishes.  And to any other moms that accidentally do this someday...I figured out how to get it out.)  :)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Little moments


The past few days have been so humbling and have given us many reasons to pause, reflect, mourn, and also be grateful for what we have.  This picture shows what used to be the home of our friends.  It has been a stark and vivid reminder of what truly matters.

It has made little moments like this one so much more meaningful.


What are you rushing to accomplish today?  What are you stressed about?  What are you spending your time on?

Does it really matter?

Hug your wee ones today.  Call an old friend.  Forgive.  Love something, someone, today.  That's what matters.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Love your families.

Today started out like any normal Sunday morning...the sun shone through the blinds, the alarm went off, I snuggled closer to Matt after he shut it off.  I saw the news, and learned there had been a series of tornadoes that had hit Ohio, where we lived before moving to Colorado.  I told Matt we should call his parents.  Later, we started to get ready. I had forgotten the laundry, learned the dryer was broken, and scrambled to find new clothes and put five little bodies into them while struggling to figure out what else I might wear.  I mentally tried to get ready for the day and for all that I was planning to do.  The morning went on, and all of the little things piled up.

We nevertheless made it to church, and not two minutes after arriving, we got a phone call. 

We learned that a tornado had hit the home of some friends.  The mother and their son are dead, and the father is in critical condition in the ICU with very severe head injuries, and it is unclear if he is going to make it.  Their daughter is also hospitalized.

It's been a difficult day, as we have mourned for this young family.  It's been a humbling day.  Life can change in an instant.  All of the little things that seem so important just really don't matter.

Forgive people when you should.  Love your families.

Oh, love your families.  Hug them all and remember what really matters.