Monday, October 15, 2018

 Malachi turns 9

Dear Malachi,

As you stand at the starting line of your tenth year I want to just pause and say a few things to you.

You have brought so much joy (and chaos and energy and noise) to our family. You are such a gift to us.

I see so much good in you and I want you to know that.  I spend a lot of my time "in training" with you right now, I know.  I know it may feel like I am getting after you all the time.  But kiddo - let me tell you why.  You are gold.  You are incredible treasure. And so I can not - I will not - let that gold be tarnished by will and way and strength of flesh.  I would never chase after something I didn't care about.

Thank you for working so hard at the things that are important to you.  Thank you for caring for those who others may see as inferior.  Thank you for not even batting an eye.  The way you love people even shows me a thing or two (and a child will lead them...).

Thank you for giving your all in your school work - I know 3rd is a big jump! Keep going.  Keep reading.  Keep asking for help when you need it.  You've got a great village.  

You are loved.  You are precious.  I'm so privileged to be walking along side of you, guiding you, and listening to all of your ideas, hopes, and dreams.  

Don't ever forget that you are forever, first and foremost God's boy.  That in and of itself will get you through every challenge that presents itself as you continue your trips around the sun.  

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

 Malachi turns 8

Dear Mali,

My sweet baby boy.


You are 8.

My eyes well up with tears - not because I grieve your babyhood, but because the older I get

and the older you get

the more aware of the awesome privilege it is to raise you.

I have watched you grow up so much this past year.  It has been, and will continue to be, my distinct privilege to love you as your mom.
I get to be the one whose hand yours slips into as you walk through different phases of life.
I get to be home to you.
I get to be your safe place.  I take that very seriously.
Especially as we give you more and more space and independence.
As you realize just how broken this world is that we live in.
I will be your safe place to fall.
Your safe place to grieve.
Your safe place to make mistakes and know that love will find you here.
Lay your head on my chest for as long as you want to.
I will be here.
I will love you through all of it.
 I could never stop loving you.

This year you went to overnight camp for the first time.
You started riding your bike like a champ.
You became a glasses wearer, like the rest of the fam.
Your reading level jumped up and you followed in your brother's footsteps of late night reading, devouring all of your precious books.
You made the decision to obey God in baptism (happening this Sunday!).

I know it isn't exactly easy to be the youngest of four boys... ;) And you certainly don't make it easy on the other three as you all clamor for dominance in this household. Sometimes it's laughable, sometimes it's frustrating - but beneath all of it,  I do hope that the solid foundation of life we are striving to build for each of you shows you that you are uniquely loved.  You are each our very precious gifts from God.

So, here you are - now starting your 9th year!  I am at the edge of my seat just waiting to see what God has for you this year, Mals! He is good and he is working and I know that this year will be no different than the last eight in his goodness to you.  Keep seeking him.  keep asking allll of those questions.  Keep following him and leading others.

I love you Mali.  Happy eight! You bring so much life to this family!

Monday, March 20, 2017

 A dozen years of Jay

Dear Jay,

You are the most fun pre-teen I have ever met.

 I think those "dreaded teen years" I've heard about are mostly a myth.  At least I think with you they will be.  We aren't there quite yet, and I suppose I could be wrong, but based on experiential evidence we are just going to continue to get closer and have all kind of fun together. 

You are my funny

and my crazy

and my caring boy.

Little bits of perfectionism are starting to break through your previously free spirited nature.  I admire your desire to do everything well, but my heart also aches when I see you struggle with the reality of imperfections in yourself.

Because you know what?  You are enough .  

Keep reaching higher.

Learn more!

Do those things that intimidate you, but are a source of true growth.

Stay up late to finish tough projects.

But never ever for a minute believe that you will be less in our eyes if you happen to fail.

Because see - we want to provide this place for you,

this home,

this love,

 this atmosphere - as a safe place to fail.

Fail and feel our love.

Fail and let us come along side of you and show you how to pick yourself back up.

Fail and watch us guide you - and learn from it.

Heaven knows your dad and I have both had ample opportunity to be an example of failing and moving forward this year.

Because some day - someday very soon, and much too soon for my liking - you will find your wings and you will be off to new adventures without us.  You are no longer our little Jay and I can already close my eyes and see you towering above me.

When that day comes - I pray that you are well practiced in falling well,

winning well,

losing well,

achieving well,

learning from your mistakes well,

knowing where to turn when none of it makes sense.

You are a bright spot in our day and an irreplaceable spot in our family.

Someday that youngest brother of yours isn't going to annoy you like crazy and you may even stop pushing all of his buttons {from my mouth to God's ears...}. ;)

I'm thankful for you, Jay.

You make me laugh and always have some interesting facts to share.

 I love how we share new movie trailers or book releases or songs with each other.

I love how we share complete grogginess and push through our desire for more sleep every week day morning at 5:30.

I love when you ride your bike next to me while I run and you tell me "I can do it" up those hills.

I love that you are patient with K and you are learning more and more the value of sharing life with one who has special needs.  From the deepest part of my heart - this means so very much.

 I love how patient you are with me as you teach me all about your new Wii U games. You just want me there with you, even if I'm super crappy at gaming.

I hope you will want me with you for years to come.

Happy 12th, buddy.   I love you.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

 {March} Ten on the tenth

5:30 am {Yawn}. 
 I'm up to read my Bible and have some quiet time, but when I see the piles of clean, but unfolded laundry in front of me I realize that I need to jump in to this.  I use my app to read to me while I get the boys' clothes ready for the day. 

Annnd, they're up.  It's reading month spirit week, and today is "dress like an artist day".  So - Dash from the Incredibles.  Obviously.  

Dave got the oldest two to the middle school, now it's my turn to get the littles off to the elementary school.   Gurt the penguin goes with us every day.  Noe may be 10, but he is pretty attached to this penguin that my mom made him. 

Got my run in at Dave's dorm.  It's spring break for the students and everything is empty,  so I can basically use whatever I want over there. ;)  My face shows you how much I loved this part of my day...

I'm in my van *alot* every single day.  My sweet little solar dancing sunflower makes me smile as I taxi around. 

Bonus points if your snack matches your tablecloth. ;)  Aldi for the win. 


First pick up done. Homework time until the littles are out. 

They have an hour wait between when they are done and their brothers are done.  So when someone offers you a phone, you don't even care if it's pink. 

We met with our small group tonight.  If you have people in your life - you know, the ones you can call at any hour of the night and the ones you can laugh your head off with and bawl your eyes out with? -  Then you are counted among the richest.  We are blessed.   Great way to end out our night.