Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sweet Friends

Doodle has a natural gift for "playing" with younger kiddos. She just loves to escape into their imagination world with them and help them create wonderful places to visit each time they play. This comes in very handy as she is babysitting more now. She loves playing with the kids and not just sitting there telling them what to do which is a gift and a reason she is called often to watch friends' children. There are several kids who touch her heart, one little guy who has dimples that never end and is way too cute, another who loves to show her  the new moves she knows from ballet and many others. However, there is one little girl who has a tugs her heartstrings everytime she walks into a room and hears the little girl squeal her name and come running! 

The two of them are ten years apart and in normal situations that would seem odd. But the blessing of homeschooling your kids is that they learn to be with all ages and not feel odd. Doodle knows she is a role model to the younger kids she plays with and she takes that seriously. 

She loves helping them learn more about how to treat each other and how to follow God in all they do. I am grateful that Doodle takes her role seriously and that she already has little ones who look up to her. She works hard to be the role model that leads them straight to the foot of the cross and to Jesus. I am honored to watch her and see how much she truly does shine for Him. 

It is fun to watch your child be the helper now. It is also weird. I remember her being the little girl looking up to an older friend not all that long ago. But now, it is her turn. I am thrilled to see her being such a diligent little special friend to many of the kids she babysits. I am also thrilled to see her enjoy being that special friend to one little girl right now who thinks she hangs the moon. :) As she begins a new venture...teaching some of these sweet girls ballet this summer, I can't help but think there will be even more little girls looking up to her and I have to say, I totally see why...she amazes me too! (but I tend to be a bit biased! :)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mom's Legacy

In honor of Mother's Day, I thought I would take time to post about my mom. I am thrilled to have had a mom who loved me enough to tell me no, make me tell her where I was and had the audacity to call to double check! I am thankful I had a mom who loved me enough to teach me manners, hold me accountable when I was wrong and let me feel the sting of wrong choices. I am thankful I had a mom who made me try new things and not stay in my comfort zone all the time. I am thankful I had a mom who loved  me enough to be my mom when I needed it and now my friend! I am thankful I had a mom who taught me how to be a better mom today. Thanks mom! I love you! In honor of you, today I repost this earlier post all about your precious legacy! 

Originally posted March 18, 2009

This is my beautiful mom with my Gram.

I think some of the most precious memories for me with my mom as a child would be: walking with her,listening to her read, and watching her pray. Let me explain more.

When my mom walks, the woman walks fast! You have to keep up. But I remember very vividly her getting ready to take off and always her hand would come down and she would take our hand into hers. Off we would go at the speed of light! Truly, she walks fast, always has and always will I think. She knew we couldn't keep up without her help. She didn't want to leave us behind either.
My mom taking her grand-daughters arm to guide her down the stairs.

My mom's gentle guidance allowed us to meet her expectation. Just having her hand helping me, let me know I could make it. I also remember holding her hand through church and playing with her long nails. There is something about your moms hands that just bring a sense of calm. Isn't that true for us now? When we are feeling fearful, worried, sad and we go to our heavenly Father, when we begin to feel His hand on us our in our situation we can feel the calm seep in.
Mom holding hands and walking with her 8 grandchildren on the beach.

Secondly, hearing my mom read to me was precious to me. I remember sitting up on her lap and rocking away the day as she sat and read story after story to me. That made me think, would I do the same for my kids? Would I sit in that chair long enough to give my child the security and enjoyment they needed before my hopping up and running off to do a chore?

Later on, my mom made memories without meaning to by reading books that have great meaning in my life still today. At Christmas time, my mom read to us the story A Certain Small Shepherd. It was a story about a boy who could not speak becoming a shepherd in the school play. Sounds simple, yet when my mom read the part where the boy speaks for the first time, didn't matter if it was the first time or the 15th, she would tear up. Same thing happened when she read, Did You Carry the Flag Today, Charlie? I sadly recall making fun of her at that time and regret that. For in those moments of tenderness, we saw a side of our mom that was often not seen through daily life. You see, now as a mom, I totally get that I have to be the strong mom all day long in order to get the things done that need done. But when you get lost in a story, or a certain situation brings you to tears, we show our kids the tender side of ourselves that they need to see. God does this for us as well. Yes, God is our Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Mighty and worthy of great praise. Yet in the same breath, he is also our Abba Father, who is tender and loving. We need to show both to our kids as well.
My mom still enjoys reading to her grandchildren.

The one thing I remember most about my mom to this day would be her prayer life and growth throughout the years. When I was little, my mom was a different woman that she is now. Through obedience and seeking God, she changed right before our eyes. There was a time when I was probably a teenager or right around there, when my parents grew in their faith tremendously. During that time, I recall vividly walking down the stairs each morning to find my mom on her knees before the couch, face down in the seat, praying. At that time, again, I regret joking with her about falling....but now, how precious. This memory is a vivid reminder to me of where she was able to get her strength and tenderness. Without God, she would not have been able to do her job as a mom. I thank my mom for many things. Most of all for showing me as a young girl that time with your children is more important than chores, guiding your child through life begins with a hand reaching out, showing tenderness allows our kids to see a side of us that they need to know and most of all that we are never so close to God that we should stop growing.
My mom having all of us circle around and pray before leaving the beach.

As a mom myself, I think I hold these things more closely now than I ever have. I know there are special memories of my mom with me that I don't want to share with the world, but I am so grateful that I had/have a mom who was invested in her children and was willing to show this young girl how to be a mom who loves God first. Now, I get to be the mom reaching for my child's hand as we walk, tear up in stories, and pray continually. Thank you for showing me the way, Mom.
My favorite picture of my parents: walking the beach with all 8 grandkids.
My mom holding the smallest ones hand, so she can keep up. Precious!

Update:After posting this today, my girls and I went out for a walk/bike ride. Doodle and I walked while Bean rode her bike. She took the camera with her in her little basket in case we found anything fun. While she was riding behind us, she snapped this picture. While I am never excited about getting my picture taken, I really don't like to have it taken from this angle. :) However, it reminded me of what I just wrote about. Here we are holding hands, talking and walking along. Just like my mom did with me. Thanks mom!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Are You Speaking My Language?

Recently, my husband has taken over the office from his dad, who owned it for almost 50 years. This transition in our life has been a blessing but also has brought many new things to deal with and learn together. One thing I noticed right away is Matt brings more of the office home with him now. He wears it on his face...I know that sounds weird but I see his concerns in his eyes. He doesn't share all that is going on but I know he worries about keeping everything going and not "sinking the ship" so to speak. It is a lot to carry for a guy. So, as his loving family, the girls and I decided to be creative and celebrate him one evening. We cleaned up the house, made a nice dinner, put scripture on note cards around the house to help him remember what is true. We posted notes of encouragement around the house to remind him who loves him.  The girls drew on the driveway with sidewalk chalk, welcoming him home. They even posted a poster on the door with all the things they love about their daddy. All of that was great to do together with my girls.
 My sweet man looking relieved and too cute. :)

Upon his arrival home, he looked over the stuff, said thanks, gave the polite kisses and headed out to mow. I stopped him and was almost offended at his lack of response. When I questioned his response later, his words stuck with me...and he meant them with all the respect in the disrespect at all, but he said, " I love what you guys did. It was great, but that is your love language, Janie. If you want to lessen my stress, mow the grass for me. That is a way you could show  your love to me right now." (which is what I asked him by the way..."how can we best show you we appreciate what you are doing and we love you")

Hmmm....most women and even I would have as a younger wife, would be angry at his response and his gentle reply. However, after almost 21 years of marriage, I was suddenly hit with that awareness that he was absolutely correct! I am very good at leaving notes around for him or calling/texting him what is going on or how we feel about him. That is because it is MY love language...words and touch.

He is a guy of service. His heart is to serve others. Any of his friends could attest to the fact if they need something done, Matt is their guy. He shows love to his family and friends  by doing things for them. He goes to get gas in my van when it is late at night so I won't have to. He picks up dinner when we have had a rough day and he knows I am wiped out. He takes the girls out and lets me have a couple hours of quiet when he sees that look in my eye each spring with homeschooling. He sends me out with my friends and takes over stuff at home when he knows I need to laugh. He will drive anywhere for anything to get whatever we need just because he loves us. So, when he is mowing the grass, doing yard work, folding laundry it is not just a task to check off the list for him. It is his way of displaying his love for us.

So, with that revelation, what did I do? I started mowing. And if you know me at all, you would know I HATE mowing. I only do it out of the pure dedication and love I have for my husband. And now with the lack of our riding love has a stronger chance to bubble up as I push the entire lawn. :) With every pass of the mower, I try to spend those moments praying for Matt. You know what, that makes it worth it. I still hate it but when I realize how blessed he feels in coming home to it being done and I see some of the weight off his shoulders right now...well, I am happy to do it. (And happy to teach the girls how to do it too)  Now I should say I am praying God shows up in a mighty way and fixes our riding mower though! LOL! Until then, you will see me walking back and forth. Don't be offended if you wave and I don't see you or you yell and I don't hear you. I will be praying for my man...and claiming every single thought to remember that while it feels like a chore to me, in his language it is pure love. :)
This is love to my sweet man...may not be my language but blessed to be able to speak his. :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Honoring Your Parents

I know we all have heard one of the commandments is to honor your mother and father. That is one I think all of our parents are quick to teach us as a child. :) But this past week, I was able to join in as one of my daughters sweet friends was able to honor her sweet mom by throwing her a surprise birthday party.
 Her mom is a dear friend of mine and I adored being able to spend time with her daughter and watching her work. It amazed me at how much detail this 10 year old little girl went into with the planning. When I picked her up to go shopping for things, she had a list ready. She knew the stores she needed to hit and what she wanted. When I dropped my oldest daughter off to "babysit" for her birthday dinner out with her husband, I actually was getting her out of the house so we all could decorate. Even in decorating this little gal had plans and knew just what she wanted to do. It was precious. 

 She had the balloons ready. The cake ordered from a mutual friend and we had purchased plates and such the day before. So everything was set up and then she waited....or maybe more like paced. :)

 She could not wait to see her mom's face. She kept looking out to see if they were returning from their special dinner. And when she finally saw their van, she greeted them on the street! :)

 When mom finally got out of the van, she was so thrilled! She had no idea and was truly blessed by all the people that were standing in her garage. At first, I was so happy to see her joy and excitement but then I shifted my glance to her daughter.
 There stood a sweet girl gazing at her momma with such adoration and love that it truly touched my heart. I know this picture doesn't do that moment justice but both of my friends girls were totally captivated by her at that moment.
 When she finally got to hug her mom, the total unconditional love she felt showed across her sweet face. I was truly touched and so happy to have been a part of this sweet fragrance of a child's love and honoring a parent.
 A few things I pulled away from this little life lesson:
   1.) Whether we realize it or not, our children are watching us and learning how to honor one another by what we teach. This young girl displayed back to her mom what was taught to her. It was beautiful. So, am I displaying such grace and love to my girls?

  2.) I loved the way this sweet girl looked at her momma with such adoration and respect. How are my girls looking at me? What do I need to erase from my life to allow more moments of honoring my parents and girls? Am I teaching them to honor one another?

 3.) Most of all, do I look at my Heavenly Father with the same longing and love as this young girl looked at her momma? Do I yearn to run into His arms and feel that peace and comfort only He can bring? Do I honor Him with all I do?

I am sure there will be more things I walk away from this sweet moment, but I know one thing for sure...if any of my girls' friends ever ask me to help them with doing something to honor their parents...well, you can count me in!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Visiting with Kay Jay

Once upon a time, I actually was a student at Ball State University. At that time, I met a sweet friend across the hall, Kay Jay. We had great times talking into the wee hours and coloring with new crayons and books during finals week.

As time went on, we both met our sweet men, got married and off we went. I always wondered what happened to her and many years later, I was walking through a homeschool convention and there she was! Cracked me up! It was a breath of fresh air to see her and reconnect. I feel that way every time I get to spend some time with her. Recently, Kay Jay's family has moved. Luckily, they moved close to where we stayed on Spring Break. So, I got to spend the day with my friend and meet her precious children, finally!  I walked away thrilled to know that time may change some things but the things that matter stay the same. I am so thankful to have such heart friends all  over the place that when we see each other we just pick up right where we left off. Thanks for hosting us for lunch and swim time, Kay Jay! I hope you enjoy the sweet pictures of your little guy and his new gecko friend. :)

 Sweet boy loved the gecko the girls found on a noodle.
I love the look on his face as he shows his mommy what he found! Precious!
The little gecko had a mind of its own...which made the little one a bit curious. 

I loved getting to hang out with all the kids and KJ. :)

I realize I will not see my friend until next Spring Break most likely, however, I also know through facebook, email, texting, we are walking through life, serving our Lord and raising families who do the same. I look forward to spending time catching up with her again...until then.....we make her guacamole! :)

Spring Break 2012

The girls and I returned to Destin, Florida with my entire family for Spring Break this year. My sweet husband has taken over the dental practice so he could not join us at this time. We are praying he will soon be free enough to leave with us, but for now, we are grateful for all he does so we can go with family to such a beautiful getaway. Since my man was not going, I hated the thought of driving myself down there, so I grabbed a ride with my parents. ;) Love that! I really enjoyed the time with my girls and parents on the way down to our first stop in Tennessee. We had just lost our dog and were all feeling a little sad, but the calm music and rainy day helped. 

My brothers girls with mine sad about no bus to take us
 to the beach the first night for a beach walk. :(

Once we got to Destin, we were in a condo with my brother's family. It was really a nice week together. I felt so good leaving knowing that we all had been given a sweet time together to reconnect. Sometimes we all get so busy in our own lives, we lose track of each other and that always makes my heart sad. However, I loved getting to joke around with my nieces and nephews on the beach and around the condo.  I am grateful to have parents, siblings who get that spending time together is more important than any gift they could buy for us. We truly adore those moments of just us....sitting around talking, laughing, doing life. 

My sweet nephew digging in the this kids laugh!!!

 I tend to be the resident photographer for our family so I enjoyed getting to take some shots of our sweet crew hanging out through the week. I loved watching the kids taking night walks....
My brother's girls with mine again on successful night walks. :)
 ....being silly...

 ....hanging out with their parents, aunts/uncles, grandparents and cousins....
 Moments like this are why I adore these trips: Daddy and daughter walking along

 Oldest nephew looking more and more like a 
man and less and less like a boy. Love him!

My sweet girls

 I loved the day the girls and I went to a beach by ourselves too. While we enjoyed spending time with everyone, there was still a sweetness about being there together with no one else. I love watching my girls play together and nothing soothes my soul like the ocean waves hitting the shore line. I think with each wave that rushed over my feet, I was washing away the worries that were there. I felt nothing but peace. Truly a gift.

 The last day we always try to get a picture of all eight cousins lined up in front of the ocean. Sadly, this year it was raining and for some reason, the kids didn't want to stand in the rain. Huh...go figure! :) I think these pictures grab my heart more every year as the kids get closer to leaving the nest. These eight have no idea how much they are prayed over, planned for and loved. One day, my prayer is that they will all still find time to meet up for some fun time together...and just maybe it will be all lined up by the beach in honor of Nana and Poppy. :)

And of course...before they leave, I surely hope they will circle up for prayers as we always do before hitting the road. I am blessed to be a part of this family. No matter how hard life may feel sometimes, I always know they are on my side and love me in spite of our differences, which there are differences. We don't always get along perfectly, but we do love each other and want the best for each other. I pray our kids see that loving each other means work and not taking each other for granted, saying sorry when you are wrong or forgiving when wronged. I pray they see in us the fingerprints of Christ and want to share that wherever they go. 
What I pray my girls think of when they remember these trips: 
a family that prays together. 
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