Monday, June 19, 2023

Full where I expected empty

 We’re in this season of life - it’s the preface to our boys leaving the nest. 

I think in some ways this is a gracious preparation. A kindness - preventing these levels of leaving from all hitting at once. 

Everyone has scattered, for an evening or two here and there, each week on the regular throughout the last year or two. But now - 

Now that summer has hit and the boys are older the scattering is longer and further. I’m so excited to watch them stretch and learn and grow. And I also have those quiet moments just to myself - those moments where my mama heart is smiling but weeping. Because deep love of course equals some need for time and space to learn the new

Noah is gone until the 30th of this month and he actually kind of nailed it the other day when we were talking. He said, “wow, it must be annoying to do so much for us and have us need you for so much and then suddenly have us begin to have our own thoughts and lives and go our own way.”

The part he didn’t nail was the “annoying” part. That word doesn’t even circle around the definition of what this is for me.  Not at all. But I think he came pretty close to actually getting it; this feeling that I carry and can barely even explain to myself. 

The time line between these amazing humans needing you for everything, to needing you for nothing (at least in a tangible sense) is shockingly more temporary than you think. 

With a graduation still fresh in the rear view of my mind, the processing of this life stage has been closely held in my heart. 

Tears have come quite easily, and sometimes without permission, of late. But it’s not in the way and for the reasons I expected. I remember watching “older” parents {ha!} as their children graduated, moved out, got married. And I saw the mama tears. “Oh this must be so sad!” - I thought. 

You don’t know until you’re there. 

And now I’m planted firmly “there”. 

I’m not sad. 

I’m deeply steeped in memories, nostalgia, and sentimentality. 

But it’s not sadness. Honestly I’m so relieved that this isn’t as crushing as my expectation had made it. 

At the same extent that this transition is not annoying, this phase is not sad. 

I suddenly get it - that the weight on your chest and the tightness of your heart is not the feeling of empty.

It’s the pressure of full

A pressing in from a fullness of life and joy and love and memories, 

not an emptiness from human presence being gone. 

Full to the brim of all the goodness of those years. The moments that I was intentional and I saw them and joined them and entered into their world. I fell deeply in love with that world. 


These tears seep out of that.

It’s the opposite of empty, but a fullness unlike anything I’ve ever known. Full of my purpose and God’s goodness. Full of traditions and surprises, and growing up together. 

They took my sleep and my pre-conceived ideas. They changed my body, and my mind. They obliterated my ill placed pride. They took my time, my second piece of pie, the color of my hair.

And in turn - they gave me…. Well, everything. 

So all of those articles and emotion manipulating media pieces stating that “you only have 18 summers” - 

yes, it’s true. 

Your time is limited with them. And there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop it. There is no pause button either. 

But it’s not to be dreaded! It’s absolutely, heart wrenchingly beautiful. 

Love each one of those summers with everything you have, but not with dread or fear. 

And when you do embrace that time, and it starts rushing by, you may feel this pressure on your heart that mimics sadness or emptiness - only to be pleasantly surprised that it is actually what being filled to the brim feels like. 

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Jacob is 18

 When I saw a positive pregnancy test in June of 2004 it was almost like stepping in line for the roller coaster that could potentially bring some fear. The roller coaster that can also cause excitement and thrills that make your heart feel like it could burst.

Waiting in that line. Wondering what it would actually be like. 

Cautiously stepping into that small car. 

Having that feeling of finality as the seat belt is buckled and pulled tight. 

Well. There's no getting back in line now. 

Heart starts to beat faster. Not sure

But then it's fine. It's kind of fun. A slow start. Maybe a little jerky. The car seems small and confined. But its fine. 

Then a large hill comes into your vision. 

Hmm. Big hill. Cool.

But wait. That hill is connected to the the track you're on. 

The track this small car that you're buckled into has to travel on. 

Wait. Wait. 

I can't do that hill. That's scary. I wasn't told about hills that go straight up like that! I thought they would be smooth and just slightly elevated. 

But somehow you make it through and on the other side it's flat and kind of fun and chill again. 

Until the next hill pops up. 

Parenting Jacob, in a slightly ill fitting analogy. And for the record, I have enjoyed it more than I enjoy roller coasters. ;)

The point is that here we are at 18. "The end" of some parts of parenting. Only the beginning of so many aspects as well. It's been a ride. Each "hill" has shown me to respect this thing called being a mom more and more and to rely on God for each decision. 

For each heart to heart talk, 

each moment I thought my heart could not be more full, 

each disappointment, 

each second of sincere love and pride in who God is making you to be. 

I didn't know it would be like this. Pouring into the baby and little boy you were. Sometimes being so depleted of sleep and energy to try to be everything you needed, but always being recharged when those sparkly blue eyes looked up. Those eyes - so full of life and adventure and mischief. I didn't know it would feel like a piece of myself was growing along side of me and that as I watched you experience life's hurts and hills and valleys, I would too. 

I realized fairly early on that everything about parenting you would be different than my first experience with motherhood. The milestones you hit were thrilling and the strong will you demonstrated was exhausting. But always always, watching you, loving you, parenting you - has been one of the hugest honors of my life. 

On this roller coaster, there have been far more fun rides around smooth curves and enjoyable little hills than straight up climbs that lead to terrifying, heart stopping downhill drops. But they've been there too.  Mainly those downhill drops have been the thoughts that can invade my mind whispering ideas of failing you or causing pain. Of all the elements in my life - it's this one; the leading, guiding, loving, that I most want to get right. 

And I smile as I see the parts where I did. You know you're loved. You know that no matter what, you are welcomed, embraced, prayed for, supported. 

As hard as it is to believe, and come to terms with the fact, that you are 18 - I do believe it. Because I see a young man where a boy once stood. While you still exhibit some impulsiveness, which is reminiscent of that sparkly blue eyed little boy, I see how God has used life experiences to temper that and add wisdom. You are learning. You are growing. I am proud of you.

Here's to the next step, the next year, the next thing. In the next few months we will watch you finish school, graduate, continue to work, possibly move into a dorm, and start college. 

It is a joy, an honor, and something I will never take for granted to be able to parent you. Thank you for bringing so much joy and helping me to expand my life and heart. 



Wednesday, October 26, 2022


 Dear Malachi,

With the milestone of you, our baby, becoming a teenager - we now go into a little over 2 months of having four teenagers in the house. I love it. I love the stage of you being a teenager and becoming more and more of who God made you to be. I will still always remind you to stop trying to rush your childhood. Maybe some of that is selfish and I just want to hold on to the little bit of child I have left. 

I do recognize that you have grown and matured so much this year. Physically (taller than me now...), Spiritually, and emotioanlly. I am so proud of you.

I am proud of the new things you have tried. 

I am proud of the big thoughts you have entertained and the adventures you have not backed down from. 

You are brave and bold and independent. All things that I definitely lacked at 12 and 13, so I find alot of joy in watching you thrive in them. 

I pray that this year is a beautiful journey in continuing to learn to choose love and choose hard and embrace life with pure joy. 

I hope you get at least one monster buck.

I hope your friend support only grows and you are surrounded by positivity and spiritual input. 

I hope you figure out how to wake up quicker in the mornings. ;)

I hope your beginning experience with raising goats is everything you hope it will be. 

I look forward to watching you learn more behind the scenes technical skills, and use them to the glory of God.

I hope you can see how God has uniquely gifted you so very much. You are gifted in jumping in and helping out in almost any situation. Your work ethic is admirable. I know school is not your very favorite, but the way you have sailed through the first quarter of 7th grade shows that you are learning well. 

I know God is doing a work in your life. I know sometimes it's uncomfortable. Hang in there and let Him work. Just listen and open yourself to Him. 

No matter what, I will be watching and cheering and loving. Probably borderline annoyingly. You are a gift to our family. 

Happy 13 Malachi, Mali, Mal, Mallard. 

Love, Mom

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Educating our boys

 In about five years our kids will be done with K-12 school. I’ve been having a lot of thoughts lately about our choices in education. 

I feel strongly that schooling for our kids is a very person choice and I have deep respect for the choices I’ve seen people around me making for their kids. I see Instagram stories of mamas who are absolutely slaying the homeschool scene and honoring the choices they are led to make. I see amazing private schools helping raise up this generation in great ways. 

I was homeschooled K-12. Dave went to Public school. We prayed and talked at length when we were deciding how our kids would get their education. Part of my brain had a hard time registering that I was sending them to public school, since my schooling was so different than that. Every year we consider each of our boys unique learning situation,  emotional/spiritual well being, and the circumstances surrounding them and we pray over if any changes need to be made. 

We have felt a very clear direction so far each year that having them at western schools is exactly where they are supposed to be; where they are supposed to influence,  bring light,  and learn. While we are wide open to that changing, even mid school year,  so far it has not. 

I am so proud of our boys for being a light in their school. They will not graduate unaffected by the environment and some of the more negative aspects of this choice. I have had individuals in my life who subscribe to an anti public school thought process who will point out the above statement. And I will say that yes,  this is true. 

Here’s what I’m saying though. We, as humans on this earth will not “graduate” from this broken environment unaffected. Grace enters the equation and teaches us about God in our heart break and failures. But on our way through we will hopefully be grasping for any and all who will hear about the One who took our broken and fixes it daily. That brings light to the corner where we are. 

I know I don’t have to defend my position - because all who know our hearts know we are deeply nurturing and we continue to be protective of the boys’ young hearts in their vulnerabilities. 

But now -  I just tear up when I hear about the fruit we are seeing now. Noah straight up shared the gospel in his ap prep English a couple of weeks ago and I believe there’s a light shift in that building. I hear story after story,  and I know many go unseen and unheard, of each of the boys being willing to sit with/befriend/reach out to those who need friendship and light. I pray revival over that building every time I’m there or simply drive by. I’m also sending the Holy Spirit into that building as he works and lives and breathes through my sons. 

Of course there are times they fail as they are learning and forming their world view and figuring out life. They aren't always the light, But the God within them never fails and is always light; can only be light and the darkness can never extinguish it (John 1:4-5).

We’re setting them up for life here and then bolstering them and building them up for the life to come. I don’t believe this particular way of parenting and schooling would go well without our village. And so we have many pouring into them,  on the public school campus and off. Every chance we get we and others pour truth and life and love into them,  and then we send them to do the same.