Transition and Tractors

I took a month off from blogging. So I’ll quickly catch you up on August…

We were sick basically the entire month.

And now that everyone is caught up on August, let’s talk about September.
The month of September to me feels similar to being stuck behind a tractor on a one lane road.
The one thing I want right now is Fall. But no matter how close I drive to this tractor that is Summer; no matter how bad I want to pass this road block, wear a sweater and warm my hands on a hot beverage, this heat will be around for at least another 30 days.
It feels a lot like the season David and I are in as well.
It’s not completely comfy right now. And yet, it’s far from miserable. The scenery we’re passing as we creep along is breathtaking.
Watching our oldest become a young lady.
Watching our youngest become a little girl.
Watching our seven year old pick up the violin for the first time, and watching our five year old follow her dreams to dance ballet.
All this while falling deeper in love with each other than ever before.
When I stop and look at these things I find myself thankful for the tractor. Thankful for being forced to slow down and soak up this season right where it’s at.
I am also thankful for my dreams.
The ones that keep me up way too late looking at saddles and chicken coops for sale on craigslist.
These dreams bring excitement for a new season, without them I would likely cling hopelessly to the old one.
Sometimes I find myself listening to my emotions during this season. They are telling me to hurry. To force things. To try to pass this tractor.
The truth is that the next season won’t be what it’s intended to be without this one.
And so, until I find myself scattering chickens and ducking to miss my clothes line as I putter around on a real tractor, I’ll be thanking God for this figurative one that is helping me enjoy my beautiful life.

Fred.

A dear friend of mine passed away this week.
Fred was the father of one of my best friends growing up, and I have been unable to stop the flood of memories ever since hearing the news of his passing.
He was a CHP officer, and had the greatest stories about his years of service. I had two favorites out of Fred’s stories. One was when he would talk about handing out candy canes after pulling people over on Christmas Day. And the other was when he unknowingly pulled over an infamous “cop killer” in Southern California. Fred was later informed that the convict had planned to also kill him, but when he looked in his rear view mirror, he saw a “large man” sitting in the passenger seat of the squad car. Assuming he would himself be shot by Fred’s partner, he calmly accepted his ticket and drove away, leaving Fred and his nonexistent partner unharmed.
Fred was also a survival specialist, and taught many classes in the wilderness. He taught me how to build a snow cave, and brew pine needle tea. He took a group of us camping on the lost coast and drained my blisters with a syringe. He cooked for me. He loved to have me sit and watch television with him. He teased me. He hugged me. He yelled at me when I kept him up at night, giggling and raiding the pantry with his daughter. He shared his home and his family with me, and as he did with so many others, he shared his enormous heart with me.
There were two ways to make Fred cry.
One: tell him good news.
Two: tell him bad news.
I can’t count the times that I saw Fred cry, but still to this day I remember him being one of the most compassionate people I have ever known.
Its just not right that such a wonderful man was taken before his time.
I however have hope that his beautiful family, his precious grandchildren, and those of us who had the pleasure of knowing Fred will take what he taught us, the knowledge and the compassion that he gave us, and continue where he left off until we have the pleasure of seeing him again.
Thank you Fred for being a part of the “village” that raised me.
You will be greatly missed.

Summer lovin’

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As I sit here beside my overgrown bucket garden, I decided to post a quick blog.

My “Middles” (Kallai and Bella) are at the last day of Bethel’s VBS. Dayly is napping. And Ducky and two of her friend’s are across the lake giggling, squealing, and throwing who-knows-what from the lake into an ice chest full of water.

I’m supposed to be cleaning the house, but my motivation decided to spend it’s morning elsewhere.

It has been a busy summer for us…camp, a family reunion, my mom in town for a week, and now on to VBS season.

David is loving his new job. He actually told me that it’s basically his “dream job”. What a blessing!

As many of you may have seen, I got my first tattoo last weekend. It’s a hen. And I love it. I dream of the day when I will have the pleasure of collecting eggs and feeding chickens on our farm. It’s amazing to me the exercise it requires to hold on to one’s dream. I have longed for the farm life for half of David’s and my marriage now, and there’s no telling how much longer I will ache for my farmhouse and pastures. The beautiful thing to me is that my life will be wonderful until then. I am indeed well taken care of.

Well…
The girls are almost back to this side of the lake now, and they’re hollering something about their new “pet” ?! I guess creepy crawling lake creatures are almost as good as free ranging chickens…

Much love dear friends!

He’s good.

I noticed a theme for this past week.

God is good.

Actually, it’s my motto for every week, but I found myself trying to convince several different people of this truth last week.

Here’s the scenario: you’re getting pelted from all sides by this world. And just when you think you can’t take any more, you get nailed head on by another blow.
The lie: “God knows how much I can handle…so He must just be testing me with all this..”

The truth:

God is good.

He’s not good in that twisted way of thinking, where He loads us up with trials and heartache to test our strength.
He’s good in the co-laboring, desires to see us blessed, future and a hope way.
He is God. He doesn’t have to stoop to breaking us in order to see us grow.
His love is pure, and when it is added to a problem, you get all the education you need.
Maneuvering our way through this life successfully is not about learning how to battle problems. It’s about learning how to wield the power that is God’s love.
It is God’s desire that we walk in favor, grace and blessing. When we are on the receiving end of anything less than that you can be sure He has nothing to do with it.
Picture Him sitting in the corner of a boxing ring. You are in the middle getting roundhouse kicked. His desire is to stand between you and your opponent. The only thing He needs to be subbed in is for you to acknowledge what side of the ring He’s on.

Know your Father.
And if you’re going to fight for anything, fight for more of an understanding of His goodness.

A story.

For the millionth time this week, I can’t sleep.
Possibly because, for the millionth time this Spring, we’re all sick.
We found a suspicious little patch of black mold in the bathroom and we’re wondering if it could be responsible for our continuous battle with chest infections since February.
Its all I can do to not grab David’s saw out of the garage and go ape on that spot. I’ll teach it to make my family cough and run fevers for four months.
But instead of an unqualified bathroom remodel of vengeance, I’ve decided to tell you guys a story.

That will make me feel better.

Now what story should I tell…

Oh I know.

I currently live in the town that I was born and raised in. It’s small. It’s quaint. The post office and the library have smelled the same for 30 years. The ice cream parlor that I loved growing up is the same one my girls love now.
When the waitress at the neighborhood diner asks one of the locals if he’ll have “the usual”, you can bet it’s been his order since the Reagan administration …or before.
Growing up I was convinced that my town was the center of the universe. We set the trends. We were on the cutting edge of technology. After all, we had an elevator inside city hall. We were the town to watch for anything up and coming.
It also just so happened, that I was the youngest in my family for a long time. Leading me to believe, as youngest’s do, that I was center of my family’s universe.
Thus making me the extreme center of the center of the universe.
Most would feel overwhelmed by this position.
But I was born for this.
My sister’s job was to keep my position a secret. Sometimes she even went as far as to try to convince me that I held no importance as a world power. She was that good at her job.
She specialized in protection. Constantly coming up with new locations to hide me in case of attack. The closet. The bottom of a sleeping bag while she carefully guarded the opening with her full weight. Once I was even found in the chicken coop, casually gnawing on a melon rind. Our parents warned her that the chicken coop was off limits from now on. But I was on her side…the coop was a brilliant and delicious hide out for an infant. She had gained my respect.
There was no end to the effort she put in to protecting me.
Once, while she was taking a shower and I was using the restroom, one of our fire security alarms was triggered. Without even stopping to turn off the water, or get dressed, she leapt from the shower, grabbed one of our highly trained guard dogs under each arm and ran, stark naked for the barn. Such loyalty. Such sacrifice. I was left in awe sitting there on the toilet, listening to the blaring alarms. She didn’t even hesitate. I was in good hands.
She taught me to do her chores for her. She carefully manicured my hair while my parents were away. The latest styles are of no concern when your focus is security. As a world power I was incognito, no one would suspect the little girl with the bowl cut.
For years I lived under her watchful eye.
My sister has since retired from the role of protection specialist. But then again, I also stepped down from my position as extreme center of the center of the universe. I’ve passed the position on to my youngest. And I’m proud to say she too is in good hands with three older sisters protecting her.

A new bed and dreams of a new roof over our heads.

Hello friends! Happy May to all of you!

Life has been busy around here…finishing up school, spring soccer, enjoying our beautiful weather…

And to add to all the fun, we have been half-heartedly-house-hunting.  Wait, that’s not right. Half-heartedly would mean  that our whole hearts wouldn’t hurt every time we don’t get a house we’re in love with. Lets make that whole-heartedly, half-financially house shopping. Our new plan of attack: get pre-approval letter before we look at another house. This market is just too darn hot to be looking without the funds ready to make a fast offer.

As with any stage of life, buying a house brings many lessons and choices with it. I find myself facing the decision daily whether or not I’m going to honor David and his amazing wisdom and patience, or just plow forward on my own. Its exciting to think that at the end of this journey we are going to have  the perfect house for us, as well as an even stronger marriage. I’m so thankful for my wise husband…remembering that he is wise has been a constant exercise these past few weeks.

Its also garage sale season!

Can I get an amen?

I have found some really fun things this year…

This cute little Big Bird record player is a combination of two of my favorite things: Sesame Street and raving. Our next black light party is going to rock.

I also found a great globe that the girls love to play with, bunches of gorgeous milk glass, and a new bike for Bella.

But I think the most used garage sale find this year has to be our new comforter. We had been using a big blanket for over a year and besides being boring, drab and too small, it clashed with everything in our room. I hadn’t realized what an eye-sore it was until put the new one on and the whole family swarmed the bed wanting to cuddle and snuggle. After catching up on our cuddles, the girls just had to jump on it.

And I just had to take pictures of them jumping on it.

Bella is in a bit of a Tangled phase right now meaning she is a little more princess-like than the other three…at least for today.

And Dayly would rather talk than jump. In fact I think she would rather talk than do pretty much anything else.

Yay for garage sales!!!

Blessings Friends! Thanks for reading my blog!

Spring

We had an absolutely beautiful week!

Its amazing what a little sunshine can do..

We have picnicked, we have planted, we have frolicked in the outdoors…taking deep breaths and soaking up  the season.

Seasons are so cool. God knew just when to bring the next one around, right when we needed it.

This past week my parents visited from Washington and bought us all the stuff we needed to plant a garden! And then they planted it with the girls while I took pictures! *bliss*

They planted both plants…

And seeds…

It was so fun watching them plant…even Guinness helped.

The girls loved it.

When it comes to nine year olds…she’s my favorite.

Yesterday Kallai played her second soccer game of the season…and lost. She was devastated. But a pep talk from Daddy made her feel a bit better.

*melt*

After the game we headed to the shooting range for some fun with Uncle Jon..

Are you noticing a theme here? People doing awesome things with the girls, and me taking pictures of them. One of my favorite hobbies :)

Happy Spring!

One year ago.

I have been waiting all year for today…and it was surprisingly tear free.

So far in my life I’ve peeled off another layer of healing on the year mark of every big event…I assumed Dayly’s birth would be the same. There’s just something about an anniversary that brings my senses and feelings back to almost full magnitude. And the healing that that brings is delicious.

Here’s what I did experience today:

I was given a glimpse into what that night was like from another standpoint.

The nurse’s who saved Dayly’s life.

Hilary and I actually go way back. Which, in my opinion makes all of this more fun. I first met her husband John (a Ford fan) back when I was 17 and a die-hard Chevy fan. We always had plenty to banter about, him owning a classic Mustang, and me having helped my dad rebuild a classic Camaro. Our loyalty was fierce, and our friendship fun. Never could I have imagined the role he would play in my life someday. I first met Hilary when she and John moved in across the street from my sister. Such a fun coincidence! Except that my sister and her husband were also Mustang fans. I was outnumbered in their neighborhood, so I rarely brought up the Ford vs. Chevy debate this time around. A few months after meeting Hilary, I was blessed to have her as my nurse after delivering Ducky at Mercy Hospital. She was great. So kick back and confident. She was exactly what I needed as a nervous, first time mommy. Soon after Ducky’s birth, my sister moved out of state and I lost contact with John and Hilary. So you can imagine my surprise, 9 years later and at a different hospital, when Hilary walked in to my room and said she would be Dayly’s and my nurse for the evening! It was like running into an old friend when you’re far away from home. I loved  that Hilary was there to take care of us.

Most of you know my side of Dayly’s birth story. And if you don’t, you should read my blog about it. Today, however, I got a glimpse into Hilary’s part in Dayly’s birth.

This afternoon Dayly received a two page letter from Hilary in the mail describing the affect Dayly’s life has had on her as a person, a Christian, and an OB Nurse. In her letter Hilary said,”I will always remember you…and thank God for witnessing His awesome power through you…for God has a plan for you..”

*tears* ..ah…there they are.

We drove down to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital this evening to surprise Hilary and thank her again for what she did a year ago tonight. It was surreal being in that place again. Those halls that we followed Dayly’s transport gurney through. The windows of the nursery that, the last time we looked through them, had held our very sick baby. The front desk, where my voice cracked when I asked to see my baby, explaining, “…she’s the sick one..”

All of that was my experience. Not until tonight had I put myself in Hilary’s shoes. She stopped by our room that night for a routine vitals check…never expecting to leave that room pushing a 12 hour old CDH patient breathing what could have been her last breath.

In her letter, Hilary said, “there is not a single day that I walk into the OB at St. Elizabeth’s hospital that I don’t think of you.”

What more could a mother ask for than for her child to be a walking example of God’s power and goodness.

Thank you Hilary.

God is Good.

Call me Crafty McGhee

Maybe its because I haven’t left the house for weeks and I’m tired of looking at the same old stuff around here, but recently I’ve had a bad case of the crafting bug.
Here are few of my latest creations

In honor of this little cutie’s birthday…

…we got her a roll of toilet paper.

I kid.

I made her a little birthday shirt! Here’s a progression of pictures to show you how I made it..

I found the shirt for A DOLLAR at Wal-Mart. Am I the only one that loves things even more when they’re on sale?

I also used this cute fabric, some iron-on fabric adhesive stuff..? Pink thread, hot tea (Mmmm) and brand new scissors (Hallelujah Chorus).

I ironed the fabric to the adhesive stuff, then traced and cut out the letters and number..

Its right about this point that I fell in love with the shirt and it made me do a little squeal.

Next I ironed it all together…

I probably should have kept right on going and ironed out all the wrinkles, but I was too busy squealing.

I then stitched around the letters and numbers with pink thread. This felt like it took years…but in reality it only took me four hours. If I didn’t have to change diapers, fix snacks, and kiss my almost-one-year-old, I probably could have cranked it out in much less time. Here’s what it looked like almost halfway done..

And finally the finished product!

Its almost as cute as the little peanut that will be wearing it in 2 weeks.

Then this morning, the idea hit me to use up the rest of the green fabric from the shirt and reupholster our step stool chair!

I wasn’t so good about capturing every step of this process, but I assure you, it was SIMPLE! If you ever come across one of these chairs, buy it! You could almost change the upholstery with every season.. It was THAT simple!

Did I mention this was easy? I literally reupholstered this chair in the time it took for Dayly to get bored with Baby Einstein and army crawl her way into the kitchen to see what I was up too.

Here she comes….

…and DONE!

Ducky also caught the bug.
To be more accurate, Ducky spends most of her life under the influence of the crafting bug. She’s always sewing, painting, or hot gluing something.

Yesterday she learned how to knit and started her first hat!

And here she is modeling it today..

Beautiful. Creative. Lovely.

…and the hat’s pretty cool too :)

Get comfy, it’s a long one

So much has happened since my last blog…where do I even begin? I’ve changed roughly 100 diapers, chopped my hair, celebrated my 7 year old’s birth, even WON AN AWARD since we last talked…we have so much catching up to do! So lets begin…
In the last two weeks we caught all the trendy bugs going around…flu, cold, Roseola…the girls were troopers. They did the flu part. Dayly added Roseola to her flu. And I am handling the cold portion of our winter wonderland of germs.

Here’s my beef with having a cold: not being able to smell seriously hinders my performance as a mother. Diapers, dairy products, hygiene…they all require a competent sniffer. Of which I have spent my week without. I find it ironic that this is the week I decided to try out an all natural, homemade deodorant. While singing its praises to a friend the thought broadsided me…
There’s a possibility that this deodorant isn’t working AT ALL and I would be none the wiser. I may have been waltzing all over town making large arm gestures with a completely false sense of security in this product.
Which brings me to this blog’s life lesson:
When plugged is your nose, keep elbows and ribs close. Save hugs and high fives for a more sure scented time.

You’re welcome.

I bet you didn’t know I was so poetic. Well…neither did I.

Anyways, enough about my possible/probable odor. Because even in my congested state I WON AN AWARD this week!
My dear, long time friend Alicia, author of the amazing blog Pedals & Pencils, passed on the coveted

to ME!

Apparently pajama pants, hoodies, and a wad of toilet paper shoved up each nostril counts as style in the blogging world. No wonder I feel so at home here..

Here’s what I get to do as the recipient of such an honor:

I get to tell all of you a few fun things about myself! Beginning with:

1. When I was 7, I was fascinated by kids with broken bones…and CASTS. Oh what an exciting word for a 7 year old…CAST. So one evening, I was riding 80’s style in my dad’s camper shell, and I decided to ask God for a cast of my own. I remember whispering, “You say you’ll answer our prayers, God…so I want a cast” It wasn’t 6 months later and my friend and I were riding double on her horse. She started to fall and pulled me off with her. That day God gave me TWO casts. And with that my mind was made up. God answers prayers :)

2. When I sleep at night I have to put the arch of one foot on the knee cap of my other leg. For those of you Reading Rainbow fans, this sleep position greatly resembles Ki-Pat who stood out on Kapiti Plain and shot his arrow at the clouds, all full of rain. Try it! Its comfy! :)

Ok, and last but not least…

3. As it gets later in the evening, I’m finding that I can only think of bedtime things to tell you about. So in keeping with the theme… Every dream I’ve EVER had has been in water. In the dream we may be going about our day as usual, shopping at the mall or watching kids play at the park. But the “ground” is always deep water instead of earth. And instead of walking, we casually swim along…sometimes doing the backstroke, sometimes doggy paddling. As if its perfectly normal. I barely even notice the water anymore. But its always there. And oddly enough, no one ever drowns :)

Ok…so there you have it. You now know me a bit better than you did a few minutes ago :)

Now I have the pleasure of crowning the next Stylish Blogger Winners!

Here they are!

The lovely and talented Amy Culp. Author of the popular Increasingly Domestic blog. Read it and fall in love with her creativity and quirkiness. You’ll be glad you did.

The hilarious and witty Liz Flaherty. Liz practically just started her blog One Transparent Cat but already it is amazing. Get ready to laugh. Or in my case – snort. Either way it will make your day better.

Until next time readers!

Love you all!