on being alone

I recently met this girl who has 18 month old twins and is a single mama while her husband is deployed overseas. I can’t imagine how tough that would be but she said this one isn’t as bad as the first, because the first time he deployed, she was all alone.

And I’ve been thinking about that all week. I have never been alone. I went straight from being part of a family of four into marriage with Wes. And anytime I’m faced with aloneness, whether in my mind or actually a day or two or week, I kinda crash. (Anyone remember that time I was stranded in the Charlotte airport?). And I know that even if I’m alone, I’m not really. I have a friend that sticks closer than a brother, as in the Holy Spirit, as in Jesus, as in God. Thank God. And I survive these times by desperately holding on to Psalms 23 and gritting my teeth.

Not really the picture of rest. I attempt to live life with open hands but I often find myself gripping the reins of control. Which is pointless, because really, I don’t have control over much.

Did any of you see that terrible news story about the mother of six killed by a drunk driver while on her way back from visiting her premie twins at the hospital? I tried not to absorb the words but her face kept finding mine and I wondered where God was. How was he going to redeem such tragedy. Why?

So, I think I’m having a hard time trusting God. My head knows the truths that he really would be everything I need, but my heart has a heart time getting there, and it never wants to really find out. So I hold tight to the humans that bring me such joy, even as I know our time together isn’t guaranteed. When instead, I should be holding onto; because he lives, I can face tomorrow.

So. No bows to wrap up these thoughts. Just the hope that getting them out of my brain and onto paper will clear my head and help me moving on the right path.

If you’re alone, hugs.

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Chicago

You may have noticed that we survived our trip to Chicago. All planes functioned as they should and that was my largest, irrational fear.

I didn’t realize Chicago was the third largest city in the U.S. and as Wes maneuvered the highways and then later as we walked through downtown at 9:00 looking for a place to eat, I was rather overwhelmed by humanity. Hello! I live in small, small town U.S.A. and kinda forgot about suburb life.

Over the next few days, as the sun shone brightly and we walked and walked the streets admiring the river and the architecture, I saw the part of Chicago that people love and that was fun. River taxi was a highlight.

But. The reason why we went. My childhood friends wedding.

As I watched my beautiful friend walk down the aisle and felt so many of our childhood dreams and talks come true, I was so thankful I was there. And when I watched all their family and wedding party surround them during the ceremony and pray over their marriage I was overwhelmed by the love and faithfulness of God. And then when I finally got to hug her after not seeing her for nine years, I was a bit overcome.

I’d been visiting with many of her friends during the dinner and was telling them, ‘So, I know the Leslie in that slideshow, I was in that tree there with her. Now you catch me up on the present day Leslie.’

And through their stories I recognized my childhood friend’s tender heart and love and oh it was just really lovely and wonderful.

Really thankful that Wes came with me, that my parents got to be there too and that my other kiddos had a fabulous time with their grandparents. Praise hands all around.

Nice moves mom. 😉

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i’m going to piddle

The other day, Wesley and I were sitting on the couch discussing how we were going to take advantage of the children’s naps.

‘I’m going to go mow the lawn and trim that tree,’ Wes said decidedly. ‘What are you going to do?’.

‘I’m going to piddle.’

‘What’s that?’ he asked.

‘Well. First I’m going to take these booklets out to the car. There I’ll notice that the car needs to be cleaned out. I’ll take a load quietly upstairs where I’ll see some kitchen laundry that needs to be put away. I’ll go back downstairs to the kitchen where I’ll see the sink of dishes and start to do those. I’ll notice a toy on the ground and start to bend over to pick it up, but then I’ll see the handprints on the cabinet and suddenly I’m wiping down all surfaces in the kitchen. I’ll then trip over the toy. So I’ll grab it and take it to the den where I’ll notice a house plant drooping. I’ll go back to the kitchen to grab some water and begin to water all plants down stairs. I’ll notice the dust gathered around the pots and make a mental note to grab a rag when I’m back in the kitchen. But then I’ll realize its been a while since I’ve checked on Ivy so I’ll go back upstairs to see if she’s still asleep. If she miraculously is, I’ll take a load of diapers downstairs to the garage to the trash. On the way through the hall, I’ll pop in to use the restroom only to discover an elephant taking a bath in the sink and water everywhere. I’ll continue on to the the garage to take the diapers out and venture back to the kitchen where I’ll stand wondering what I was supposed to be doing there (getting a rag for the bathroom. oh and all that dust). Then I’ll step on a cheerio, sigh, and grab the broom for the 3rd time. Then Ivy will wake up. And I’ll go back upstairs to get her while I try to remember to grab whatever’s on the stairs waiting on a ride up. I’ll sit in my chair and nurse her and wonder what exactly got accomplished. That’s what piddling is.’

‘Gosh,’ he said with a slight grimace. I laughed.

And off we went.

A day in the life. Kids on swing.jpg

 

 

 

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I adore you. 

Wes and I (with Ivy) hop on a plane for Chicago nest week for the wedding of my oldest friend. Not oldest being age, but oldest being first friend ;). And I’m excited. I haven’t seen her since my wedding and I’m excited to share in the joy of her day.

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haha. Hi Les!

And I’m excited to toodle off with Wes. We’re sorta tossing our nine year anniversary (what?!) in with this trip and my parents will be there and so they can hold Ivy while we go kick our heels up.

But before all those feelings come, is first the thought that the plane will go down and I’ll leave behind my two eldest as orphans.

Bit of a buzzkill, eh? Welcome to motherhood. They’re really not joking when they say that business about your heart no longer being inside you, but instead wandering around with your children.

And so then the next thought is getting all our affairs in order and how I want to write the ‘in case I die’ letter to my children. (The what if road is not a good one to go down).

And then I remember this here blog. And how my love for them seeps off the pages. And I’m relieved all over again that they will have something tangible to hold on to if my what if’s came to pass.

And so. Once again.

Ev. I adore you. ‘Turn your eyes upon Jesus’ is still your bedtime song of choice and and so I get to sing in to you a couple times a day. And it’s such a good reminder to me as I sing to you; to let the things of this world (my anxiety) grow dim as I look into Jesus’s face. My prayer is that these words become etched on your heart and that you are able to live them.

I love you missy. You are my favorite little Evelyn.

Jackie. The other day I had to take Ivy to the dr. I was separated from your presence for an hour while you read books with Ev and your aunt and then we went to Chik-fil-a for lunch. I sat next you and as we ate, I reached over and rubbed your back. You looked over at me with your little ‘v’ shaped, close mouthed grin, scooted over towards me on your knees, reached your little arm up, hooked it around my neck and brought my face down for a little cheek to cheek hug. I might have melted right there in Chik-fil-A. I pray you always keep your tender heart.

(This is the blurry version of your v smile Jackie. Patent it bud, it works well).

I love you Jackie boy.

Ivy Mae. I’m so glad I get to squish you whenever I want next week. You fit perfectly over my heart and fill it up with a single snuggle. One of my favorite things is to watch your daddy when you squeal and clap and giggle at him. You melt hearts baby. Your face lights up when Dad comes home from work or whenever Ev or Jack run into the room. If you had a tail, it would wag. The delight you show and the love you give truly does warm the cockles of our hearts.THE girls-5THE girls-6THE girls-4THE girlsTHE girls-3

I love you baby. You and those cheeks and those squishy thighs.

Gosh. All praises to Him for these gifts of mine. May they always know how loved they are, not just by me and Wes, but by the one who made the stars and who formed their hearts.

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All about ivy 5-7 months

Shoo. Five months is not my jam guys.

Dad always remarks that Ivy does not seem to be following the stereotypical third child standards. Because whenever we facetime, she is always attached to me. None of this fending for herself. In fact, at five months of age, my describing words for the little darling should someone inquire of her were, ‘bored and hungry.’

Happily, she turned six months of age and almost immediately began sitting up by herself which was a wondrous game changer. So much self entertainment! And so much easier to take in the entertainment provided by her siblings.

Sadly, this new stage brings the, ‘aha, I now know how to sit up in my bed the moment mom lays me down for a nap.’ Coupled with a new teeth, my cat napper is taking record short naps. For instance, rock her to sleep for ten minutes, put her down, she wakes up, rock her back to sleep, successfully put her down. Run downstairs to see what damage the older two have created, unload the dishwasher, load it, wipe down the counters and hear Ivy crying in her bed.

I could have burst into tears. But instead concluded that I would not try to accomplish anything the rest of the day and just plan on holding the bebe.

There has been improvement. Today I was able to get a cake in the oven, and then unload and load the dishwasher before she woke up. Three cheers for cake. And the fact that it turned out amazing. Hashtag lemon loaf and iced latte! Woot!

But back to the little doll. It’s a good thing she’s sweeter than strawberry pie!6a65061e-dca8-48ee-baf2-4bc5659214b3img_2644img_2676

Truly. She is so sweet. Seven months is much more my style. Love and kisses for the sweet cheeks Ivy Mae.

 

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all about Jack. age 2

I like to refer to Jack as Absalom, who turned the hearts of the people.  It’s a pretty terrible analogy but it makes me laugh for various reasons. But it’s true. With a tiny smirk on that blonde head, hearts melt.

But we kind of talked about that already when Jack turned two. So what’s new with Jack? He’s sort of communicating! Praise hands and dance parties. We have deduced that he wants to sleep with his door open and this has reduced screaming parties in our house by close to 83%. Praise the Lord. (Oops, spoke too soon, or maybe it truly was the houseful of company and he’ll go back to this angel status).

Every other day he’ll pop out a new word without prompting and my heart flutters. For instance, ‘Ivy! Baby. Kick kick kick.’ A whole sentence. I almost fell over but I was still laying in bed and was spared a fall. I really like his rendition of ‘firefly’.

Have I mentioned that he has got the toilet thing all figured out? Another reason to truly rejoice. And another reason to cover my eyes as I look out the window where Ev has helped him remove his underwear to water a bush in the front yard. Most times, he’ll let her or me get him back dressed but occasionally, HE has to be the one to put his underwear on and so I have to endure watching him stick both legs in one side seven times before he’ll finally receive help.

Jack is incredibly trusting. Or fearless. Or brave. Or something. In June of 2016 Jack was tubing with his dad at 13 months old. June 2017 rolls around and Jack is now wake surfing with his dad. I truly do think his mindset is just, ‘well I’m with dad, so naturally it’s ok.’

His determination provokes a bit of awe in me. I mentioned he got a strider for his birthday and he was going to conquer it. And so in the blazing heat, he painstakingly walked his strider (definitely hasn’t figured out the gliding motion yet) down to the pond and then back up the hill again. And then was so incredibly proud of himself. Go Jack.

He’s such a boy. He’s such a thrasher. He loves to do whatever big sister does, whether running, hopping or jumping. He has a great smile and if he laughs, you laugh, its unavoidable.

We’re lucky to have him.

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Love you Jackie boy.

(Our new bedtime routine involves me singing ‘Jack goes hopping into bed hurrah, hurrah, jack goes hopping into bed hurrah, hurrah! Jack goes hopping into bed, momma bends to kiss his head and we all go hopping down to the ground to get out of the rain, bomp bomp bomp. Works wonders. hurrah.)

 

 

 

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Poppi and megee

Two days after Davey and Jennifer left, Poppi and Megee arrived.

This was great timing as I was pretty ready to sleep. Cold + poison ivy + prednisone + benedryl wiped me out. And so after a couple days of sending the dear children out to poppi and megee in the morning, I felt a little more like myself.

They arrived just in time for us to party like it was July 4th. And once I realized how decent we all looked, the kids had to be removed from the car so we could take red door pictures before venturing on to the firework show. Which was kinda hilarious. The kids did enjoy it but I think the fireflies were almost just as exciting as fireworks.

Dad got Jack a strider for his birthday and we saved it until they arrived. It was truly one of the cuter things I’ve seen. Jack diligently opened up the amazon box and then got his first glimpse of the bike. He pointed at it and said, ‘um! um! um!’ and then turned around to me and dad and clamped his hands over mouth for a split second before his face split into the biggest of grins and his eyes shined with many many stars. It was adorable.

So was his determination to master the bike.

Dad too got to drive snazzy cars around with Wes trailing him with the drone.

Dad and Mom both could go into Jacks room (after I would be in there singing, rocking, crooning, praying for a half hour and then walk out the door to immediate bellowing) and just politely ask Jack to be quiet and he’d sniffle and roll over and sleep. Honestly?

We didn’t do any running but we did get several nice sessions of Yoga with Adrienne in. Some more peaceful than others.

Spent a lot of time out on the front porch. It’s really a great spot.

And it was really a great time.

Three cheers for family in town.

Hugs and love.

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