bare white

bare white


Gloriously Mundane…revistited

Last year I was asked to share a post for a friends blog ( - and this is what I submitted. I realize as I am rereading it today - God needed to remind me today of how glorious the MUNDANE is.
So incase you missed it - here you go. Incase your momma heart needs to be encouraged today and you need to be reminded that the little things are really glorious - here you go. And just maybe for the mom who is wanting to just know she is valued…here you go.
how I long for this day today and no more cold!
As I awake up, the first thing I see is light. Somedays warm sunlight, somedays just daylight but light nonetheless. It shines on a picture I made for my husband, "You have my whole heart for my whole life" it says, but I realize more with each passing day this isn't just for my husband, but for me - to remind me of my love for my Savior and even greater His love for me. His deep, unconditional, grace filled love that I am not even close to understanding.  Every day I wake to this and I'm thankful for the breath I have for another day. I see Him in the sun.

My eyes open to the voice of Bitty calling every name of "Mom" she can possibly think of. "Momma, Mommy, Mom, Mom!" pause, then again, "Mom, Mom, Mommy, Mooommmmaaa!" and this repeats until I walk through her door. Some mornings this is a welcomed greeting. Other mornings, I will admit I might roll over and pretend I didn't hear her for awhile and maybe even a pillow pushed to my face. Especially with a newborn that has graced our lives (UPDATE : our newborn just turned 1) - the morning calls of this crazy, sunny-colored, rats-nest haired girl may go on for awhile. Each day one thing remains true - I am thankful I am the one who answers to her calls of "Momma". I see Him in these moments. His fingerprints are here.

I put RJ in my arms, feel his quick newborn breaths, smell his sweet baby smells and we go get Bitty from her almost too small bed. I see Him in this small baby and every amazingly intricate detail he holds - his finger nails, his lashes, little bits of hair, his sweet pouty lips and I could go on and on. (A newborn makes the Psalmists words, "fearfully & wonderfully made" come to life)

As we get Bitty the first thing she's says is "Good morning baby!" It melts me like the kids sticky popsicles on a hot summer day and I see Him here.

We take steps to go downstairs, get breakfast with siblings that have been awake since the crack of dawn. Breakfast is a bit chaotic with one who can have dairy, one who can't; one who can't have gluten, 4 others who can and not to mention we have some who like cereal and some who don't - needless to say I try to simplify and have very few options to choose from. Most mornings I am asking myself, how can I see HIM in this? Somedays are harder than others until we stop, pray and listen to worship... Ahhh, breathe...I see Him now. I see Him in their smiles and in their daddy's deep blue eyes and I have to stop and say thanks that their little beating hearts are here, that we have food gracing our table and a pantry full and for the Sun beaming in our window so blinding it is hard to see,  HE. IS. HERE.

Now our day truly begins. Getting dressed - I am so grateful for each one who can dress themselves and I have stop and say thanks realizing this is a gift (even when they come down in crazy, unmatched outfits). Now I am Changing diapers and the crazy mom in me is giving thanks for the poopy diaper because our baby hadn't pooped in 3 know the newborn "poop delay" so they call it. And with every child I worry with this delay thinking surely there is something wrong and then it comes and I cannot help but be thankful that it came and is everywhere including up their back...I relax - nothing is wrong. He is here and I see Him in the poop, literally.  I am thankful!

It is now time for school - getting the older two started - Bible, math, handwriting, history, geography, latin and our science projects. All the while, laundry and more laundry and never ending laundry is going and then on to picking up, and cleaning up and then picking up some more with a break to wipe a few tears every so often. It is then usually followed somewhere with the breaking up of brotherly fights and the stopping of everything for the teachable moments that I too often miss. Teaching them to speak with kinds words, loving words or at least when not to speak - every day it's a battle, a fight. I have to remind myself, too, sometimes I shouldn't let words pour out of my mouth like they do only to be left as a puddle at my children's feet. Now what do they do with those muddy words?  I have to stop to breathe in between the good moments and not so good reminding myself to choose joy, keep smiling - they are watching. He is here in the every day - what we call life.  My oldest, almost a lady, says, "Mom, I like it when you smile." Ohhhh - smile, that's right. I have to do that....they are watching. They see me not smile and if she took the time to tell me she likes it when I smile, I must not be doing this very thing enough.

I see Him in all of these moments and try often to remember to write down His finger prints in utter "thanks" because these moments, they are fleeting. These days, they are going by and and once they go by I cannot get them back no matter how hard my feeble self may try. I want Him in these moments because when He is with me, when I invite Him into the mundane - it is then that mundane becomes Glorious! It is then I can say "thank you" for each fight and argument, for each kiss and hug, for each time they say "I love you", for each toilet that needs to be cleaned, bottom wiped, diaper changed. "Thank you" for each article of clothing that must be washed and rewashed and folded and folded again and finally put away because one or two couldn't decide what to wear in the morning so they periodically changed during the day and put clean clothes in the dirty laundry - after all isn't that 'putting them away'? For each meal gone wrong, spilled cup of milk, dropped plate of food. For each crazy bed headed child, the tears while pulling through those very tangles and each cry for help. For each lego stepped on, toilet paper roll unrolled, and popcorn kernel found. I have to invite Him into every moment so it will become Glorious. I want my mundane to become Glorious. I have to say "thank you" so I see the gifts of every day life. And when I do, it changes ME and I see a little clearer. My view hasn't changed, but how I see has. This is where I find complete joy in the gift of motherhood.

 Invite the Glorious into the mundane and let Him change not what you see, but how you see. This is joy and life full of joy. This is what counts and what makes this walk as a mom so amazing!


Thanksgiving, Joy, Full Heart

Living in the moment is something I strive after, some days successful, but not every day.
Whenever you are faced with trials in life though, all of a sudden that moment becomes crystal clear and the fog drifts away and you see where your focus should be. I kinda hate this. Why can't I see clearly every day and live in these fleeting moments? I really do know the answer to that, nonetheless I can't change my mind set quick enough. 

These are the moments I am talking of. It may not have lasted but a second or two, but it was there and I am thankful and I want to see it!

So many of the "living in the moment" memories embedded in my mind are around a table. Eating, drinking, talking and living. I cherish these moments - truly! And over the Thanksgiving Table this year, I clung a little tighter to all around that table knowing next years table will look different. The differences will bring great joy and great sorrow (most likely), but I know my God holds each of those moments already in is strong hands and will give them to us in his perfect time.

See that apron there in the background my dad is wearing…just another memory from when we were little. All of my siblings and I were puffed-chest proud when we gave that to him. And still 20+ years later, it still graces his chest - years of stains and all. Years of memories and all.

It is crazy to think of where we are now when it seems that just a bit ago we were all living at home, single, childless. I love where am I now, but I just cannot believe I am here! I am sure my grandma would say the same.
I tend to have a hard time letting go, I guess you could say. The ache of losing loved ones rings true and we have been so blessed in our lifetime to have lost very few (so far). Something for which I am truly thankful. It just means that we have had more time to visit with them, talk with them, glean from their years of life lived before us.  However, all of the above has to be done when you live intentionally otherwise, the years will pass and then you will be standing at an open casket wishing you would have called,  visited more.

I'm not trying to be morbid, just trying to live wide-eyed. We all know it will happen and like so many, with no forewarning.
So this is a way of reminding myself to not take for granted what I cherish and hold dear.

"But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all of these things will be added to you.
So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of it's own." (Matthew 6:33,34)

Every day I let worries crowd my view, but this year, my deepest desire is to take great strides in not worrying about tomorrow. Let Jehovah-Jireh fulfill his name, my Provider! There are lessons to be learned from generations before us…many a lesson!

And I want to be the one to take the time to learn.

So I think this year will be a learning year and one full of stopping to just say, "Thank you!" to the giver of each moment!


How we catch our Zzzzz's over here

I had a sweet friend email me a few questions about our sleeping arrangements at our humble abode...Other than the obvious of our master being occupied by the Mister and I.
I thought her questions were really great questions that I so should have thought of a bit ago. We are in our groove now, content with what kids are in what rooms and it is working really well, but not to say there isn't room for improvement. Because there is always room for that lovely thing!

 So here is how we work it out.

When we moved into this house we only had our three oldest and they each had their own room. Honestly, I didn't love it because I wanted our kids to share rooms. My sister and I shared a room for almost our entire life before we wed. Even when we did have our own rooms, most nights we slept in the same bed because we just loved to chat into the late hours of the evening. I longed for that for my kids. And DJ & I feel very strongly that we are raising our kids to be best buds. Yes, they fight…like cats and dogs sometimes. Yes, they disagree…we have many chiefs in our tribe. Yes, they giggle and laugh late into the evening some nights, but I am so thankful for that laughter. Yes, they get out of their beds at least 1, 2, 3, 6…9 times a night - and we are still working on this one.
I know this is hard to see - iphoneography at it's best in low light - but this is how the girls sleep in their queen…like spaghetti and it melts me.
So we have the 5 year old and almost 8 year old boys together - bunked two high in their beds.
We have the 3 year old and freshly 10 year old in the same room and SAME bed. They had separate twin beds but slept together every night (amazingly enough no one was hurt from falling out of bed) so we decided to give them our Queen bed and now we have a KING…yes a KING!
And littlest boy, almost 1 now has his own bedroom. However, I am hopeful he can bunk with the boys in this  house... we'll see. None of our rooms are huge so I am not sure if that will work or not in this house.

We have always observed early bed times. I feel VERY strongly kids NEED sleep - for health, happiness and because they are growing like weeds. So they are in bed early but that doesn't always mean go to sleep right away. Even when they don't though, they talk and DJ & I have overhead some conversations which are absolutely precious. And I know they are making memories they will cherish someday.
The two oldest ones are able to stay up later reading or doing puzzles together now that they are getting older. And they do this often…I love seeing and hearing them read to each other. This does mean that little siblings are at times woken up when they hop in bed, but typically they just go back to sleep - I guess this is just part of it.

When all of our babes were new in our arms (with the exception of Arae because I didn't think I was "supposed" to do that…however the more babies we had the more I realized what a bonding experience it was and so convenient for nursing moms and good for babies who spit up), they slept the first 3 weeks or so in our bed, in my arms propped with pillows all around me (we so could have used the KING bed then). I LOVE these days so much! (side note, I know not everyone agrees with this…it's just how we do it)
After that, they slept the next 4-5 months in our room in a pack and play - again for ease of nursing and having them close by. We also have spitter-uppers - some severe and on more than one occasion we had to suction a baby's mouth in the middle of the night - which is so scary! Those are the nights that I am extremely thankful they were in our bedroom as close to me as possible so I could hear and help them.

Between 5-6 months of age our babies, typically, were sleeping through the night and then in their cribs in their own rooms.

After that point, they do not sleep in our bed again (with the exception of a sick child). I don't think it is healthy for them or us to have babies in our bed to the point they then don't want to sleep in their own bed (again, personal decision). If our kids are sick or have bad dreams or growing pains, as one particular son has often, and we cannot comfort them in their own room then we make a sweet little place of slumber on our bedroom floor. We have established this early on so honestly, they don't even ask to sleep in our bed. For them, the floor is where they want to be. I have held many a sweet little fingers over the side of our bed as they fell asleep.

This is just how we do it…what about you? Any novel ideas for having little ones sleep peacefully in their own room?


Knock, knock…anyone there??

One word - LIFE.

Life has happened in full force and I have thought about it, thought some more about it…then thought more but just never sat down to update this dear blog of ours.
New Years Resolution…blog often…will it happen? - I don't know, but I hope so.

Today is a good day. Yesterday was a good day. I take them in stride - because I don't know what tomorrow will bring. Cherish this moment (is what I remind myself of often) because the next we may be falling apart. That is just the truth in any family, isn't it (no matter the size)? Hormones, emotions, twists and turns, fits or anger, disappointment, changed schedules - they all affect each second that is lived. But today - today is good!

Here it is…Life unscripted :

Our homeschool journey continues on with great effort, but even greater joy.  We finally have two STRONG readers - one came easy…okay so easy it was like eating ice-cream - it took no effort.

 The other, well let's just say more like eating lima beans (if you strongly dislike them). I had a sweet friend give me the most valuable advice with this feat…"Read to him and pray the Lord would give him a strong desire to read." So that is what we have been doing and finally - like the click of a light switch  - he loves to read. Thank you Jesus! I am so thankful we are able to homeschool and I am able to witness first hand these HUGE milestones. What a privilege!

The most fantastic part of it all - it has been the fuel or kick in the pants to get us all reading more. I love to read but I don't always make the time every day to read more than the captions under my Facebook feed. Pathetic to say the least and just sad! 

 I am cherishing these winter days of being home more, eating out less - another New Years resolution as we are on a journey to financial freedom, cooking much more which I LOVE and finally reaping the benefits of our kids actually loving good food. Cooking/baking is a passion of mine from growing up in a  foodie family but up til now, no one has cared a whole lot (which is very typical I know)  it so it took the joy out of it a bit. No longer!! In fact,  I have a couple really amazing recipes I will share soon!

Our days have been filled with football loving boys and ballet plie'ing girls - so extremely opposite it just makes us laugh. We experienced the Nutcracker in a totally new way to us this year - Arae performing…that was an experience she will never forget and a post for another time. Bitty girl was convinced she was in the Nutcracker as well - such a vividly amazing imagination she has!
The boys, despite my great opposition to, LOVE football - and I don't just mean a little. They really LOVE it. I was hoping for more  golf loving boys (no offense to my brother Michael - it's just a little less head pounding than football). But it is a football they play catch with in our yard. However, they do have golf clubs as well…maybe just maybe they will love that as well.

And yes, we are all longing for the dog days of summer again. Longing to be outside, barefoot, splashing in the Lexington Pool, walking on the delightfully warm, sandy beaches of Lake Michigan…oh how I long for that!!

Until then we will continue to bundle up on these bitter cold, every so windy Illinois winters days.

and enjoy footsie PJs

Incase you are in need of a good book to give you a kick in the pants as a Momma or Daddy :
Here is one of my favorites I have been reading  - here's the thing…I fail daily at giving them grace, but after reading this I was totally and completely rejuvenated in the way we parent. DJ is reading it next. It's so good!

One more little side note - I thought I liked reading real, paper filled books until I started reading on a kindle - I think I'm hooked now. I love our kindle and I am reading a ton more - go figure.

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