Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Ever wake up and your heart is just so full of thankfulness that you feel that you might explode?  A morning when you can actually physically FEEL it boiling over and HEAR it spilling out of your mouth? 

I absolutely adore, love, live for these kinds of mornings.

They don't happen every day.  Sometimes they don't even happen every week.  When they do happen, I can't help but shout it from the roof tops.

I'm thankful for the little things...
~ sun (it's shining brightly and all the doors and windows are feeding me fresh air)
~ house (even tho it's dirty and cluttered from camping)
~ time (coffee time, Bible reading time, snuggle time)
~ fridge full of good (healthy) food
~ football pads (I do love watching my boys play AND they are currently injury free)
~ my Keurig (self-explanatory)
~ Green Mountain Coffee Company (maybe this should go under big things?)

And I'm thankful for the big things...
~ health
~ kids
~ my Bible
~ husband
~ family
~ mother
~ furloughs are over at the shipyard (for now)
~ prayers
~ God's provision, His mercy, forgiveness and presence
~ my patience with Josh's extreme stubbornness this morning

I woke with a grateful heart and began thanking Him for these things and more.  I made a mental list to draw from as the day moves forward.

All too often, when I get busy and stressed and annoyed and hear my name being called 31 million times (usually followed by the words "where is...."), I lose sight of all the blessings in my life.  Instead, I concentrate on the clutter in every corner, the mess on the dining room table, the empty checkbook or the tone with which someone spoke to me and probably didn't mean a thing by it but I spend and awful lot of time trying to figure out what I did wrong and correct it. 

In other words, I try too hard to be too much to too many people when I should be trusting God to be everybody's all.  He is capable.  I am not.

The Bible clearly states...

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.  Psalm 118:24

It DOESN'T say to rejoice IF we have a lot of money (or even enough to pay the bills) and nobody is sick... or IF the house is clean and the kids are well behaved... or IF the lawn is mowed and there's no chicken poop anywhere... or IF Josh decides to feed himself 7 meals in 3 hours... or IF (insert your own issue here because we all have a whole myriad of issues that steal our joy and our gratefulness... some bigger than others but none less important).

And wanna hear something even more overwhelming to think upon?  The verse just before that states...

This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.  Psalm 118:23

It completely overwhelms my heart to think that all those IF's that so quickly steal our joy have been ordered by the Lord for our well being.  I mean... how can not having enough money to pay the bills be for our well being?  How can being sick with something nobody can figure out be for our well being?  I sure don't have all the answers... but I rest in the fact that God says so.

Of course that doesn't mean I don't struggle.  I sure do struggle.  But today I'm not struggling (not yet anyway) and I'm thankful. 

What are YOU thankful for today?  Please share, I'd love to hear it.

I made every effort to find a photo to share with this post.
I don't love sharing photos of myself.
This is how my heart feels this morning.
I tried to make other photos fit.
They didn't.
I can't help it.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My girl...

On a beautiful August morning (much like this one), 12 years ago today, my daughter was born. 

A daughter.

After having 2 boys, I questioned the doctor when he announced it because I couldn't believe it.  I didn't care if I had another boy, but deep down inside I think I desired a daughter.  God blessed me a million times over with this one.

That morning was followed by a long, loud, stressful, sleepless 9 months (did I mention long?).  Abby cried morning, noon and night.  She cried in the car, in her swing and in my arms.  She cried long and hard.  The boys even asked (begged and pleaded) if she could go back in my belly. 

She gets upset when we tell the story but the ONLY quiet we got during those 9 (long) months was when her dad buckled her in her car seat or swing, put her in the dark, in the den, turned the music volume up to around 45 and played continuously changing psychedelic shapes on the computer screen in front of her face. 

(Poor sweet baby was probably literally scared stiff and couldn't cry... couldn't even move...but ohhhhh, it was glorious silence.)

I typically don't like loud music, but I like it a whole lot better than crying baby.  Our house shook as the 4 of us leisurely ate dinner around the table, had conversation, enjoyed each other like there was no music.  Amazing what you can block out when you have little kids. 

And then I blinked.

And now she's 12. 

And beautiful.  And sweet.  And a good friend.  And funny.  And helpful.  And sensitive.  And humble. And compassionate.  And fun to be around. 

(And no, she's not all those things all the time.  She's also almost a teenager a good deal of the time... but I wouldn't want to miss a day of it.)

Watching her grow and change is scary to me (as with the boys), but it's something I'm trying to embrace and enjoy every minute of. 

When she's frustrated, I try to encourage. 

When she giggles over boys, I try to giggle too (that one's hard because I'd rather move into a cave with her).

When she can't find anything to wear, I try to remind her that God sees her heart and she could wear a bag over her head and please Him (that one never works by the way... it usually ends up with her in tears because she can't find just the right outfit).

When she feels close to God, I rejoice with her.

She's finding her way. 

There are times that are hard to watch and there are times I wish I could stop the clock and watch forever...

I love you.  Happy Birthday, my girl. I have 2 wishes for you today.

First, I wish for you to always follow God to the best of your ability.  Always put Him (and then others) first and keep your heart wide open to what He has for you.  His way is ALWAYS best (even if it gets hard or you're the only one going in that direction). 

And secondly, I wish for you to always know how loved and cherished you are.  Always.  You are beautiful... both inside and out.  Tuck that truth away for those days when you feel otherwise because we both know they will come. 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you do for me and others in our home.  You are the VERY BEST big sister to Josh.  He adores you completely.  You often put everyone else first and that doesn't go unnoticed Abby... I see it.  But, more importantly, God sees it. 

I hope you have a fabulous 12th birthday.  And if a gun makes you happy, then it makes me happy. 


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The paint brush...

I'm not a camper by nature.  I didn't grow up camping (unless you count the one time I went with my mom, dad and brother and it started to rain so we packed up the tent and went to a hotel... I'm thinking that tent MUST have had a hole in it but that part of the memory escapes me).  I'm not a very organized person but I do have a place for everything at home (hoping inside the house counts here because I can't claim that everything has it's spot and is always (or ever) where it should be).  But when we're camping, there isn't a place for anything it seems.  As many years as we have had the pop-up, I'm still trying to figure out how to organize it so I'm not driven to the brink of insanity by the question "where's the salt?"

Because of the above, we have had our share of spats while we're camping.  In fact, Jon might say I'm exaggerating a little when I say "our share".  He might, in fact, even say that we bicker every single day of every single camping trip every single year.  Yeah...

But I continue to try and don't argue with going for 2 simple reasons... #1 because it's cheap and we can only afford cheap... and #2 because Jon loves (adores, lives for, absolutely dreams about) camping and every part of camping and that love has rubbed off (immensely) on each of my children.

This year was different tho.  This year, God came camping with us.

Really, that might sound silly to you but to me it's the only explanation I can come up with as to why I didn't mind sweeping the floor 3 times a day with a paint brush. 

Did you hear that folks that I grew up with and would never have thought I would go camping, much less sweep the floor with a paint brush and not complain about it?

(Yes, I forgot the broom and yes, I was too cheap to buy another one when there was a perfectly good paint brush handy.)

God answered my prayers (and Jon's) and allowed me to settle in quickly, ignore the dirt and disorganization and actually............ here it comes......... ENJOY camping.  

What a lovely week we had.

 On the first day, we hiked up a mountain to swim in the waterfalls.

They jumped...

rode the waterfalls...


 rode the falls some more...

 and overall had a great time together.

That afternoon, we found bigger falls...

and explored more.

 This photo was snapped at the 2nd set of falls... it SO makes me smile.
Anyone who knows my boys, knows that this picture sums up their personalities perfectly. 
Photo-bombing at it's best (and truest).

We learned that Abby is part polar bear 
(she stayed in the water and ENJOYED the water far longer than the older boys were able...
 far longer than any normal human being could have stood the frigidness).  

Josh also loved the water and the falls.  
We couldn't get him out. 
Don't worry... he didn't turn purple once.

I spotted someone following us from a distance and snapping Josh's photo often. 
I finally had to say something as it was getting weird.  
She was so sweet... she said she was a professional photographer and was enjoying 
him so much as he enjoyed the water, the falls, the rocks.  
I asked him to 'pose' and here's the shot I took as she photographed him.  
I wish I had thought to get
her name/number... maybe he'll be famous one day (haha!).

That night, we sat around the camp fire and roasted
 (or burned because Josh isn't happy unless it's black) marshmallows...

 and ate marshmallows...


(the black spots are not ashes from Josh's burnt marshmallows, we have camera lens issues)

 and laughed...

and laugh we did.

I typically dislike pictures of myself and do everything possible not to be in one.  When I first saw this one, I hated it.  Then I loved it.  I don't belly laugh often (can you say control freak who never lets her hair down?).  This picture is evidence that God came camping with us this year. 
 The next day (and rest of the week) brought more exploring...

a little (or a lot... even Abby jumped this year)
cliff jumping...

some fishing...
(of course... my boys don't go for long without fishing)...

new waterfalls...

 new ways to fish...

a bit of rock throwing...

 and just...

 a whole lot...

 of being silly...

 and having fun...

 enjoying God's beautiful handiwork...

and each other... 

a lot.

And as corny as this sounds...
it's all because...

2 people fell in love.

Feeling grateful, overwhelmed, humbled and so happy that God came with us this year.  I'm actually looking forward to next year (did I really just say that?).