Monday, October 20, 2014

 In which I learn to embrace the INTENSE

I'm in the midst of a "parenting breakthrough" so, of course, I had to rush over here and record it. Because I will forget.
Because I climb right back into the trenches far too easily.
Because I am oh-so-human.

Over the last few years I have struggled with how tough some parenting scenarios are, that I have to deal with. I have often compared my kids with some of my friends kidos - 

And I have found myself continually thinking....
                                                 If only I did A)
                                                                      or B)
                                                                             or maybe even C)      differently,

They would be good.

We wouldn't have this struggle.

They wouldn't fight...   {All. The. Blasted. Time}.

My kids. 

The kids I prayed to conceive, 
prayed for in the womb,
prayed over their little bassinet for, 
dedicated them in front of my church family and God.

Those ones. 

They haven't liquefied and molded themselves into the shape that I thought they would 

                                 by now.

I mean, geez. They are 11, 9, 7, and 5.

SURELY by now..........


These beautiful, amazing, miraculous,

dirty, rotten sinners.

{Isaiah 64:6}

{Romans 3:23}

Just like their mama.

SURELY by now she should've........

Maybe stopped comparing?

Maybe counted it all joy?

Maybe seized the moment and chose contentment?


While I fully realize that comparison has stolen my parenting joy 10 times out of 10, I do have to say that God has gifted Dave and I with

Very Intense Children.

Sometimes when I am having a conversation with another mama, and I hear about some sweet soft things in the life of her child, an alarm sounds in my brain.

Signifying that my kids should be doing that...

 - Generous sharing

 - Or immediate obeying

 - Or willing tithing 

And I feel that cold band around my heart. 

"If you were a "better mom". 

If you were more intentional. 

If you had started teaching this in infancy. 

If you were



or C)...............

Now I do realize that all parents have challenges and that I can not make my situation "more noteworthy" than anyone else. 

But For Real. These boys, ya'll. INTENSE.

Oh friends. I am getting it now. While bettering my parenting skills should, and will, always be an open door for me, Staying the course through the thick of it is the key. 

These kids? These boys were given to me by God. They are intense. They just are. And what a joy. They will continue to be. 

We will still have to handle crazy 11 year old fits when we get to the school building. Because we have a boy named K. This is who our family is. We have a K. Not just anyone has a K. ;)
He processes things in a K way. I can't "better mom" my way out of this one. Blast that tendency to always want the "easy way out". While he may grow out of some of the current challenges we face with him, there will be new ones. Always.

We will still have those nights when we are just plain weary, and the bedtime routine is impossible.

{Just GO.TO.BED. Can you do that? Like, lay in your nice comfy bed, shut your eyes and Stay there. Dang it} 
{Bless their hearts} 

We will still have mornings, getting ready for school, that make me want to dig my eyes out with a spoon and run for the hills. 

But the key is that I won't. That comparison and perfectionism will get me nowhere.

No Where. 

But what WILL get me somewhere, what will keep our family moving forward in a way that glorifies God is just 

Sticking with it.

Hanging in there, sometimes with both fists securely wrapped around blessings abounding, 

And sometimes by a 

Of simply commitment and trust.

Because see, I could read All The Books.

And go to All The Seminars.

And talk to All The Right People.

But I've just been called to give them my heart.
Do my best.
To Build My House.

{Prov. 14:1}

To love them on those days that I don't really like them.

To stay.

To be faithful and persevere.

To find joy in the God given moments.

To be the heart of my home.

{Ephesians 3:17-19}

{Prov. 31:10-31}

{Luke 12:34}

To stop comparing and simply embrace these unique {INTENSE} personalities. 

Do you have any idea how freeing this new mindset is? It's like I have been freed to love my own boys. Weird. I know. But I don't know how to put it any other way. 

So here's to staying the course, loving well, and embracing the Intense. We're in this together. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

 {Not} 31 days of Blogging in October


It echoes in here, I think. ;)

In the midst of building a photography studio, from the ground up,

Getting into the full swing of young 5's, 2nd, 4th, and 5th grade,

Coordinating a trip for 18 women from our church to a National women's conference, True Woman '14,

Being knee deep in fall photo sessions,

Finding myself back at the Center for Women weekly,

Cooking pumpkin seeds,

and watching these four small growing people who call me mama, change and mature each day -

I began to notice a few of my blogging friends dive into a "31 days of October" blogging challenge.

~ Ooohhh. Blogging every single day in October! That would be fab.u.lous. ~

For them.
Fabulous for them.  :) And I will read their beautiful posts.

I will peak at them on my phone when I am in line at the preschool. I will sit down to my computer after throwing in a load of clothes. And I will smile. Because I have some greatly talented friends who weave words together like an art.

One of those friends once said that I was blogging "before blogging was cool". ;) And it's kind of true. I blogged to clear my mind. I blogged to gauge where my heart was and to process. I blogged to reach out to other moms; special needs moms, grieving moms.

Right now I am investing much more face to face. While writing will always be a passion, like a special treat to look forward to and relax with, I guess I just don't need my "voice" to be heard so much these days.

For a while I was a little worried, thinking:
"Have I lost my voice? Writing is who I am! What happened?! Is this a crisis?" (Because if I don't have a current crisis to worry about, I'm awesome at making one up...).

I found myself becoming more and more tense as I allowed some jealousy to seep in. I read words that thinly resembled something I could've written. I was used to being the one who could move people with words.... not the one being moved by the words of others. Noticing the unhealthy direction I was going in, I made a decision to open my heart to the talents around me, and back off. I'm too quick to offer words when I may or may not have anything to say. I'm learning to weigh those words carefully.

Ahhh. I do love finding my fingers on these keys. Like I love a good hot cup of coffee. It's kind of a comfort and a delicacy.

I look forward to finding a window of time to write about my Jay and how my heart swells with a sweet love that can only come from watching growth take you by surprise.

And my K. Oh my, that K. So headstrong and independent. Not only walking unassisted, but running. Running like there is no tomorrow.

Kai, who will be 5 in 8 days. Five. That baby boy. He makes my hair grey, you guys.

Noe. Dear one who makes sock snow men for everyone he loves. If you get know, you are a highly honored individual.

My man who is pretty much doing the equivalent of 3 full time jobs. And in his exhaustion, finds time to take my breath away as I observe his posture towards us, his family.

I do, I really do like these smooth keys under my tired fingers. There will be more. Not like 25 more in the next 25 days, but more. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

 {through the window}

I was scrolling through some photos I took today. From the library. Because doesn't everyone take photos in the library?

The boys were having an outstanding time enjoying the wonder of books and games and fun space that isn't home. So naturally, I just had some play time of my own. A library really does make a creative backdrop for photos. I tried different angles and perspectives. Good stuff.

When I came across this picture of my K, it made me pause.

Because I feel like this alot. Do you get me?

Looking through a window.

I want to know you. I want to know what goes on in your head. So much of *you* is still foreign to me.

I would never assume that by knowing one child I would know all of my children, but there are certain patterns that three of mine follow.....

Not you.

And that's ok.

But just to get more of a glimpse into what makes you tick.
What powers you.
How you learn.
What energizes you.
How to help you be more independent.
How to teach you boundaries, limits, socially acceptable vs.... not. {Not that we are overly hung up on "social correct-ness" - but there are certain behaviors that are innate to some... and some need to be taught}
How you hear love, how you feel love.

Instead of just a window.

Oh, but how thankful I am for that window! Because you have found your voice, and your opinions do fly. The window is good and the window is a 100% God thing.

I'll take the window. A million times over, I'll take seeing you through glass over not seeing you at all.

Sometimes I feel like the window opens a crack, and I just relish the moments.

Like last night when we were laughing together, so hard. My eleven year old was teasing me and neither one of us could cork the fountain of joy spilling over as laughter. We were on the couch together, way past our bedtime, having the tickle fest of the century, and you threw your arms around my neck, looked me in the eye (even this... what an extravagant gift. He looked me in the eye... ), and said, "I love you better than peanut butter".

So, yeah. That's the big time. This kid loves me.

Those times are precious. And I do know how to make you laugh. Even better? You know how to make me laugh. And it still can take me by surprise. That sense of humor that is so real and so you and so hilarious.

 It kind of takes the edge off of the lack of filter you demonstrate when things don't go your way. Like a two year old fit coming from an ever growing adolescent body. *shudder* Not cool. So not cool.

I know the window is my grace from God. I have seen the statistics, I have heard the stories.... I'm humbly aware of the beauty in our window.

Monday, August 11, 2014

 {August} 10 on the 10th

This is what 10 on 10 is all about: taking a photo every hour for ten consecutive hours on the tenth of each month, documenting a day in your life and finding beauty among the ordinary moments. 

I missed 10 on the 10th in July. But I did it in my head and it was lovely. ;) We were in Iowa on the 10th of July - so much going on! 

Things have been good. Actually pretty mellow for the first time in a long time. We've been focusing much of our time and energy on building our photography studio. Every spare afternoon is spent prepping the area to have a foundation poured. It's been a big commitment, and oh-so-exciting! 

The 10th of August happened to be a Sunday. We try to keep Sundays restful and very low key. Often no matter how hard we try, that just doesn't happen. This week though? It totally did. Thankful!

This month is a mixed bag of phone pics and big girl camera pics. ;) I grab whatever I can find to capture the moments. So here we go. 

He's been so busy lately. Having him home all day and (mostly) commitment free all day was amazing. He's makin' the coffee.  

Sunday school is withdrawn at our church, for the month of August, to give teachers a much needed break. Not being at church until 10:45 was quite a change for our family! 

I made a very exciting purchase after church! Reading up on all of the great things it can do... {My first full frame! Camera nerds can squeal with me here...}

I totally match our bathroom

The boys are "making a game"  - the newest craze in the Mc household.

Finding a little window of time to tuck up in a corner and do some reading. Oh this book..... hitting home with impact! 

Trying to convince these guys that rest is good. And that they should rest. {And let mommy rest}. You can see how well that 's working...

My happy little family. It feels complete now. ;)