Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas loves

270.  A long car ride in the wee morning hours while the fog seems to swallow my car and the music plays.  There I had quiet moments where I could reflect and process this past month of crazy.  My conclusions, those three men of mine are my three true loves in this world.  If I get to ride the crazy with them then I'll take it.

272. Breakfast with my Pop and my Grandpa.
273.  Long car rides back home just me and my Grandpa.  Laughing until it hurts as I listen to how the washing machine came to be replaced.  (It had something to do with white sand that Grandpa stole being mistaken as washing soap...)

274.  The Joy of my boys knowing my Grandfather.  A man I love deeply and admire greatly.
275.  Quiet days at home just to be with my family.

276.  Two boys who were fighting over who got to be the first to give the gifts they had bought for the rest of us.  Oldest brother decided that it was okay if little brother went first.
277.  The sent of  a drying tree.

278.  Tree decorations to remember years past.
279.  Early nights, with a extra sleep.

280.  A family to share these quiet days with.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

My baby turns five

Well, Sweet boy, every year I go back through your years to remember you.  To remember how you've grown, the gift that you are, and to look forward to your future.  You have grown this year in ways I did expect, and I love it.  I love you.

 You couldn't wait to be in kindergarten, but we wanted you to wait a year or so as you were only 4. However we quickly realized you are ready for more then just some preschool projects, this year you're learning to read and write, along with some addition and subtraction.  I'd say you got what you wanted.

Honestly it's harder for me to let you grow up then I thought it would be.  Each day you grow I watch you become more independent.  Those hugs, kisses and snuggles that used to be daily are now a few times a week, if I'm lucky.  Sometimes when I ask for one you roll your eyes.  Soon those will be a thing of the past.  While Silas birthed me into motherhood, you are teaching me to hold my loves with an open hand allowing you to grow into the man God wants you to be.

My prayer for you last year was that you would continue to love unconditionally and hold back those punches a little bit more often.  You did.  You've learned to use your words before starting a fight while sharing your love with everybody you meet.

  Mile stones:
~ The first to break a bone, your clavicle, Easter weekend we were at a hotel, you were putting your shoes on so we could meet Uncle Jared for dinner, when you slid off the bed.
~  The first to lose a tooth, even if it had to be pulled.

I'm just going to sit here and sip my coffee.
An interview with you, my five year old:
What's your favorite color?  Pink
What is something that is very special to you?  My glow up dragon.  Wait no, it's the golden dragon.  He's my favorite because he's gone.  Just like Sopia is gone, he's gone.

What is your favorite word or saying?  Well...actually...
What is your favorite super hero?  Captian America, but you already knew that.

Look Mom I'm making a snow angel in the sand!

What is your favorite memory of this past year? Sopia 
When you're a grown up and you want to remember something special from this year what do you want it to be?  Living with the Bookers, Mom and Dad and Si.

What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to build houses and teach people how to use nunchucks.  I will live in New Hampshire and save money and then I will teach people about the Bible in Africa.

This year my prayer is this:
That you would follow your heart and desires because God gave them to you.  But also continue to learn your boundaries, what is right and what is wrong.  I pray that you keep dreaming big and loving unconditionally the way only children can.  May you never lose that part of you...Even as you enter your 5th year of life know that you are a child of God.  When you are grown and read this for the first time know it then too.  You are loved by me, your Dad and brother, but most of all the Creator of the heavens and the earth.   Love Him back.  Those wild dreams of nunchucks, New Hampshire and Africa or whatever it is you dream can easily become a reality.

Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.  Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it.
~ Words of King David (The baby in the family who fought bears & lions,  killed giants when a whole army couldn't, climbed cliff sides, became king, dreamed big, loved God.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Birthday preperation

I've never been one for decorations but with Laughter's birthday day just a few days before Christmas we try to decorate.  The two of us go on a little date to get the cake supplies this years pick dirt cake and an ocean theme.  Make sense for December.  This year was extra special as we got to go car seat shopping as well.

Mom we match we have to show our under shirts..  His white stripes matched my scarf and his burgundy stripes matched my shirt.

Gifts 261 - 269:
~  The way you let laughter flow from your spirit.
~  The unconditional love you show to every one you meet.
~  The way you pull your chair over at the restaurant so we can be close.
~  The way you cover me in kisses.
~  The little things you notice.
~  The way you think outside the box.
~  You always keep us on our toes.
~  I get to be your Mom.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Time is my enemy, or is it?

My head pounds.
My body aches.
My soul throbs.
I'm not sick.
I'm overwhelmed.  

My job, 48 hours doesn't seem like enough.  It's one of my loves, my team, working all positions, dealing with both the satisfied and unhappy customers, learning; the never ending learning, and the quit times of maintaining my store, all of this I love.

And yet my true love is at home being super Dad, as days go by where this Mom sees her boys for minutes only.  Two in a half days, really 30 hours a week is not enough time to be a mother, a wife, a housekeeper, a cook, and a friend.

The throbbing of my soul? Some how even in the thrills of life when I should see the blessings of a job I love and boys who are growing into men, and a husband who fights for our family, and the beauty of nature surrounding me, some how I forget the Giver; the Maker of all things good; both the heavens and the earth.  My souls throbs from the disconnect.  What is life without the One who gives me breath?

If only I cold slow time, or maybe just add a few hours here and there.  Then maybe I could find rest and beauty in these three loves of mine.  As I sit in the quiet this is what I contemplate.  How can I make time?  The answer:  I can not only God can add time to life.  All living things are bond by it, chained by it being dragged hour by hour, minute by minute, helpless to slow it.  Even so this these chains should bring me joy.  Without time there would be no end.  If there is no end why would there be any hope for what is to come.

What is it that I hope to have before my time runs out?  I hope for a home that is ours to share with hurting souls.  A Haven for others to find rest, for us to find rest in, a place full of Life.  I hope for my own store where I can daily be in the kitchen doing what I love in a small hole in some back ally corner where my cooking and the atmosphere does the advertising for me.  I hope for my boys to grow into men, and then fathers, friends of mine, but most of all lovers of God.

My conclusion, Keep on keeping on, and to remember the words of a wise man, "It is good that you grasp one thing and also not let go of the other; for the one who fears God comes forth with both of them."  

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Happy Anniversary! (I am hijacking your blog!)

It seems like you've been asking me (Strong Man, as you call me here) to hijack your blog for months if not years.  Our anniversary seemed like a good opportunity to take the time to do just that.

I will admit that one of the reasons I haven't done this, is because you have such an amazing way of capturing the heart of what happens in our live, be it big or small, and I am intimidated because I just don't.  I love reading Shanbrosia and not just remembering what we did, And it is bigger than simply seeing what you enjoyed about something, but as I read, more often than not I see how an event affected you, and that is priceless!

So I wanted to hit the highlights of our 8th Anniversary, and hopefully let you know how it affected me.

Our celebration was to take place the night before our Anniversary.  Typically December is such a crazy month that a big getaway on December 9th is impractical, if not almost impossible, and we had escaped on the anniversary of our engagement this year.  So our "actual" anniversary was supposed to be more like a regular date night.  But I was so excited that I booked us a hotel room and got my mom to watch the kids overnight.  And I'm glad I did.

Our day started out less than amazing.  I had my first 'real' doctor's appointment (ie not walk in care) of our marriage at 8:00AM which we followed up with a 9:00AM meeting with someone who was trying to sign us up for Obamacare.  This was of course after you had worked until 11:30 or so the night before, and because of my appointment you had to single-handedly get the kids up and out the door, so that they could sit through the hour and a half meeting that ended with us basically finding out that we can't afford insurance and can't get help because your company offers terrible insurance plans...  Oh and during the lovely little meeting you kept getting text messages from work telling you all the little things that were going wrong.

By the time it was over your stress level was high, and the boys and I thought that if you got shocked by static one more time, it might provide the spark that made you explode.  Thankfully that didn't happen.  We managed to get lunch, get you a shower, and get you to your chiropractor's appointment.  Then we got the boys dropped of and our adventure began.

We started by shopping. As a bit of an anniversary gift, after hearing your many complaints that you don't have clothes that make you feel pretty, I told you that you could buy clothes anywhere you wanted, but the super practical woman that you are insisted on shopping at old navy.  You found clothes that made you feel beautiful and didn't break that bank. (seriously 60 bucks and that included a winter coat.  You're a bargain hunting rockstar!)

As we drove we had deep conversation.  The kind that made me fall in love with you.  We talked about how we can be more of who we were Created to be, and do more of what we were Created to do.  We talked about the people we love, and how to love them better.  It was fantastic.

When we got to the hotel we found out that I had booked the room for the wrong night.  But thankfully that we able to switch it and we got the same room I had booked.  We also found out that there might be a storm that would keep us trapped at the hotel.  It got our hopes up, maybe a little too much, because the storm didn't come as promised.  Once in the room, you got your new clothes on and we headed out to our new favorite spot in Belfast, Darby's.  We reminisced about the last 8 years, and throughout the night we had "8 years ago today" conversations.

Back at the hotel we considered a dip in the pool until we realized that the chair in our room was a massage chair, and all thoughts of swimming went out the window.  We watched HGTV, took turns in the chair having our muscle tensions melted away, and were sound asleep by 9:00PM.  WE ARE SUCH AN OLD MARRIED COUPLE!  We both loved it.  Our idea of a romantic getaway is dinner and falling asleep 3 hours earlier that normal...

This morning you said you had a gift for me, but you were afraid I wouldn't like it.  I practically had to promise not to laugh.  Once you gave it to me I had no desire to laugh at all.  You handed me a leather-bound journal, and told me that you bought it so that we can leave each other notes during these busy days.  I was my favorite part of the weekend.  HONESTLY.  I love the idea.  I couldn't ask for a better gift or a better person to spend life with!

I hope you'll take the time to add pictures to this.  Like the one of me in the chair, or the selfie we took on the balcony, and the picture of the street lights in Belfast.  I love your eye with the camera . It's another favorite thing about your blog.

I hope you know, from this weekend how much I love you.  How you really are my world.

I am so thankful for the last 8 years, and that we love each other more than we dreamed possible that exciting day 8 years ago.


Your Strong Man

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christmas tree getting 2014

Every year we make a big Ta-Do about our Christmas tree.  Strong man and I love it so much because our tree is full of memories.  Each year we all add a decoration of something we want to remember.  This year's memories:

A minion, I don't think I'll ever forget the "language" of the minions as Man of the woods used it for months driving us just a tad bit wacky.

Toothless, while Man of the woods picked this one out, it's really Laughter who loves dragons.  He plays with them like some boys play ball or trucks.

A teacher ornament, as this is our Strong man's first year teaching the boys.  Really it's the first year our home schooling counts.  With Man of the woods in first grade and Little Laughter doing kindergarten work.

We got the red snowflake because, "It was a great deal because we only spent a few bucks for it, It's worth a lot more then that because it has a REAL gem in it", so says Laughter.

I'm still looking for just the right one.  I'm hoping to find a coffee cup to remember the year my bestie and I shared a home having countless cups of coffee together while we were still in our pj's.

And then there's the tree finding.

Before kids we would wait until the Walmart trees were marked down to five bucks.  We would pick the tallest one which had been cut and tied up, rained on, and snowed on for weeks leaving us with no idea the shape we would find our Christmas tree in when we got it home.  That is why we always bought the tallest so we could take some off the top and some off the bottom if needed.  We loved it.  It was our tradition.  But these days it's worth the extra money to see the joy on the boys faces as we walk from tree to tree trying find the perfect one.

 This year Man of the woods wasn't really there to find a tree mostly to be impish, starting snowballs fights with all of us.

Gifts #:
256.  "Baby boy" old enough to label the gift tags.
257.  A family to celebrate with.
258.  Making our own traditions.
259.  Celebrating the gift of Life.
260.  Little boy excitement over everything Christmas, the joy they have buying for each other, the anticipation of what's to come, and watching them enjoy the moments we have together.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Thanksgiving love.

May favorite holiday ever! I've been busy hardly stopping at all.  While the boys and I still spend time together, it looks a little different then it did before I started working full time.  But Thanksgiving week it just so worked out that I had days off with my family.  Memories were made, joy was had and the gifts continue...

249.  Baking with my boys.  I don't have a growth chart because I've never really wanted one, but I do have memories of small toes sitting on the counter "helping" me bake.  Just days after I came home form the hospital with both boys I had them in the kitchen with me.  And so working together in the kitchen marks there growth for me.

250.  All of us waiting with anticipation for the sample of each and everything that comes out of the oven.

251.  Baking in bulk.  I had enough to send home with everybody who came.  I have enough batter frozen to cover all the goodies I need for Christmas.  I even have enough for those days when we're snowed in and just want to snuggle in front of the fire.

 252.  Speaking of snuggles, While the smell of baking goods waft through the house being able to slow and just be with those I love.

253.  Simple crafts that look forward to Christmas.

254.  Uncle who take turns getting up before everybody else and going to play in the snow with the boys.

255.  Pot pies & stew, meals to share.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The story behind the song:


To all my friends...

...Who are fighting for the joy in both the daily life, and the unexpected that we are given.

246. The ability to choose Joy.
247.  Music that heals the soul.
248.  A God "who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works withing us." (Quoting the apostle Paul who being locked in a prison for years still was able to say it perfectly.)

May I give Him the glory of all my Joy, by slowing to see life for all that it is.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

From Char's blog:

Change can be Emotional...

Today is an emotional day, because today we end what a friend called a 'Grand Social Experiment.'

27 months ago, we started our long term house sit of a huge house for some extremely generous friends of ours.  All they asked was that we share the blessing with others who may find themselves in need.

15 months ago our friends the Bookers took us up on the offer and moved into the second floor of the house.  Mom (Amy), Dad (Kevin), 3 boys (Kaden 9, Jesse 6 and Ransom 3) and 1 baby girl (4 months) made the jump from being friends to being family.

In the beginning there was lots of feeling mortified as our kids did the kinds of things kids do at home that you somehow manage to avoid them doing in public. And there was a fair amount of being mortified at ourselves, and the way we kept house, or parented.  But as Amy put it, the secret sauce was "radical grace".  Choosing patience, never letting anything fester, and coming to the place where you will genuinely miss being woken up in the night by a crying baby, who became a wicked cute toddler who likes to wake everyone up by throwing things out of her crib.

We knew from the beginning that this would probably not be a forever arrangement. That hasn't stopped it from being an emotional few weeks since they found a phenomenal deal on a little house just outside of town.  My Silas felt it first.  Since the announcement he has been "off" and not able to articulate exactly why.  I was in denial, even when they started taking load after load over to their new place, as they slowly began the moving process.  It didn't really hit me until I went upstairs one day and saw just how much they had moved out.  

Their kids spent one of their last weeks away, and the house was just too quiet. A portent of things to come.  My boys didn't know what to do with themselves with out their extra brothers around, and we realized just how much joy was moving to that little house just outside of town.  Even my dear overworked wife whose schedule keeps her working 13-15 hour days has been getting up early to savor coffee and toast with Amy.  My dear wife, who, even when it was just the two of us, found 1 person too overwhelming until she had spent at least an hour in silence with her bible and a cup of coffee, has spent her first waking moments several times this week in the natural chaos that is 5 little boys and 1 baby girl, just to savor the last drops of the joy that the Booker family has brought to our home.

My Silas has learned that leading means putting others first from Kaden (and man I will miss having you mow the lawns!).  We've all gotten a little tougher as Jesse's 'nothing slows me down' attitude and abundant energy have rubbed off on us. (you seriously are one of the strongest, toughest people I have ever met) Infectious laughter has been a constant in our house as Isaac and Ransom laugh at anything and everything the other says or does.  Little London has blossomed from a 4 month only baby to a year and half old little lady who will take my hand and sit me down on the carpet and play with me, clapping her hands when I finally understand what she is trying to get me to do (I am the only one who can call you princess).  

I've been grateful for a brother living under my roof.  Whether its remembering to take out the trash when I forget.  Fixing little things without being asked, using his snow blower to keep a path clear to the wood pile for me, almost weekly basketball games, or just being someone I can bounce big ideas off, I have treasured our unexpected deep conversations in the kitchen as you cooks up you latest kill, and lots of free samples of venison.  

Then their is Amy, who has made my transition to "house husband" much smoother.  She does so much around the house in her constant attempt to bless Shandy.  I swear the woman has washed more of my dishes and folded more of our clothes than I have.  While she has been trying to bless Shandy, I have certainly been blessed as well.  She makes my wife smile, helps her to process big thoughts, and gives her a reason to express big feelings.  Without you being the friend to Shandy that you are, she would not have gotten through her lowest points. You have been the quintessential best friend to her and thank you just seems insufficient.

All of these blessings and one more.  We've long desired to be a Haven for those who need it.  To provide a place where people can step out of some of their stresses and into a place of rest.  Given some of our past experiences we've wondered if we were cut out for it.  This was not our first attempt at living with friends.  In our 8 years together we have lived with extra people underfoot more often than not. Shandy's sister, a guy from our small group, good friends, a single mom and her 3 kids.  Ups and downs, some of which made us wonder if we had misunderstood the calling we call Haven.  You have renewed our hope that our Haven is a real and tangible thing.  That we can be a blessing and be blessed at the same time. 

Thank you for being a part of our experiment.  We consider it a huge success.  You came to us as friends and go out as family.  We will miss having you underfoot.  We pray (HARD) that God will continue to grow our connection to each other as you embark on the next chapter of your story.  May your little house just outside of town be filled with all of the joy that you brought to ours.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Sick days need to be counted

When I was a child my mother had to force me to stay home from school on those days that I was pale as a ghost and couldn't walk straight because I was so sick.  In Europe I had to have three rounds of antibiotics for bronchitis because I waited over a month to go see the doctor.  That time my husband told me either I could take myself to the doctors or he would call an ambulance in to take me, but either way I was going to see the doctor...

I hate being sick, but when I woke up this morning feeling off and then as I got my clothes together for work and had to make a run to the bathroom.  As I sat next to the toilet gagging trying to keep what little there was left of my breakfast down I thanked God for text messaging as I "called" out of work.  Still I assured my boss I would try and get some computer work down.  Not because she asked or even hinted because she didn't, but because I hate to be sick.  But it's now after 5 and all I can say I did today was log into my work email account staring at it long enough that it timed out, which is when I realized today I wasn't going to be good for anything.

Even so today is worth counting...
~ Sick days with furry cats sleeping on my feet
~ Coworkers to fill in for me.
~ Husbands to take care of me.
~ 6 year old boys to worry about me when I get out of bed to make myself a cup of soup.  Offering over and over to make me chicken nuggets so I don't have to move, because that's all he can make in the microwave.
~ Laughter who climbs into bed with his favorite trucks so we can play together because he doesn't want me to be alone.  I play along because I don't have the heart to tell him all I really want is to be alone.
~ A camera next to my bed so I can remember my joys.
~ A big bed we can all snuggle in as we watch Charlotte's web the movie, as we just finished the book last week for school.
~ A warm cozy house.
~ Rainy days make perfect sick days.
~ "I'm all done's" being whispered just after I fall asleep a signal that a certain little boy needs help wiping his bum...These days are almost gone.
~ My favorite pianist softly playing in the back ground as Strong man takes the boys out to eat so I can have some quiet.
~ This blog to keep track of my counting, so I don't forget that God is good, and all of life is a gift.
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