Monday, February 02, 2015

Monday

January went just like I wanted it to.  I had such a cRaZy last six months of 2014, I knew something had to change.  I just couldn't continue on like I was .... physically and mentally.  I'm not just talking about a busy schedule, but the way I was handling situations and relationships as well.  I have set some very firm boundaries for January and February and so far, so good.

I know in terms of busyness, our calendars are going to fill up soon with golf team and soccer, but for now, I'm taking advantage of the gift of slower days and I'm saying NO to a lot of things.

And, boy, does it feel good! I can see a remnant of the former, healthier Deidre returning.

Won't my family be so grateful? ;)

So, on this Monday morning, I'm thankful for a few things ...


**  I'm determined to read through the entire Bible this year.  I've attempted it before but lasted only until April.  This time, I'm journaling each day about what I read and I think that's making a big difference.  Right now, I am fascinated! I'm also trying to stay a couple of days ahead so I won't be discouraged if anything comes up and I don't get to it one day.

Olivia asked me why I am reading it so much and I told her the Old Testament is like reading a juicy novel.  Goodness, the OT narrative is something else!

**  I'm leading our Monday night Bible Study group through Children of the Day.  This one is different for me though still good.  The life of Paul is so interesting to me anyway.

**  I spoke too soon last week thinking we all had escaped the flu after Emma seemed to be the only one to get it.  Olivia had it over the weekend, along with a double ear infection.  BUT, today she is feeling so much better and was happy to go to school this morning.

(Okay, maybe 'happy' will never be the word to describe how Olivia leaves for school every morning, but still, she was feeling better.)

**  February is the month of love :) I always look forward to doing little things for my family during this month.  My favorite thing Eric and I do is write messages on hearts to put on the girls' bedroom doors each morning.  We've done this for several years and they LOVE it.



We have the power to speak life or death into a person's life, so I am thankful we are intentional about speaking LIFE into theirs for a full month!

I'm convinced they need it now more than ever .... especially Emma, my middle schooler.  Because know what I'm not thankful for? Middle school girl drama!

But, even that has it's purpose, I suppose, as she learns how to STAND FIRM in what she knows to be TRUE and RIGHT.

Friday, January 30, 2015

January via Instagram

Instagram has become my 'mini blog'.  I post a picture there almost daily.  I love looking back at the 'visual' reminder of what we've done.  Even when I was blogging regularly, many photos I posted on Instagram never made it on my blog.  It's just easy, quick and convenient which is my favorite thing these days.

So, our January via Instagram ...


1) Facetime is our friend these days and the only way we can 'see' my little brother.  Looking forward to our next Facetime call!

2)  My Emma is OBSESSED with the Hunger Games.  Good grief, I don't get it.  But, maybe my Mom didn't get my obsession with Shaun Cassidy when I was 13.  Whatever.  But, the cool thing is that the footage for District 12 was filmed just a few miles from our home, so we hung out there one Sunday afternoon and Emma was in major freak out mode.  #TeamPeeta

3)  It's so cold here and the only thing that would make the cold bearable would be to have some snow.  So far we've seen NONE.

4)  Emma and I started memorizing scripture with the Beth Moore Scripture Memory Team.  I LOVE the accountability this group gives.

5)  I got to love on my niece, Landry, New Year's Day.  She is the sweetest.baby.ever.

6)  I read the book Unbroken just after the New Year.  While it certainly wasn't the best choice for me while my little brother is deployed, it was fascinating!! A must read!!! I want to see the movie, but my anxiety tells me to wait for the DVD when I can stop/pause when I want to.

7 and 8) We took a quick, overnight trip during the Holiday break.  Our family loves a good hotel stay :) We stayed up playing Clue and my Emma has a slight pen obsession.  She gets it honest, for sure.  And, we found Olivia sleeping while Snoopy safely held her glasses.  She cracks us up :)

9)  Emma had the flu, so there were lots of movies and card games going on.  The rest of us were spared, but I'm thinking Tamiflu had a lot to do with it.

10)  Emma wanted polka dots in her room, so I was happy to oblige.  I LOVE POLKA DOTS.  I want to post more on her room later.  I love it!

11)  I love flowers anytime, but having them in the winter brightens up our moods!

12 and 15)  Spelling Bee!

13 and 14)  Spirit Week.  Not at all my favorite, but fun for the girls.

16)  A fun night painting with our friends!

We slide into February this weekend ... unbelievable! Maybe we'll see some snow!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

S-P-E-L-L-I-N-G Life Lessons

To most people, it would be just a spelling bee.  No big deal, right?

I think back to when I was in elementary/middle school .... I have very little recollection of a spelling bee.

Well, except maybe one in 6th grade ... but, really I only remember that one because as I waited for my turn to spell, I spotted a circle drawn on the chalkboard.  I decided to use that 'target' to practice my punches.

You see, there was a boy on the bus that was bullying me.  My best friend, Cathy, told me if I didn't hit him that day on the bus, she would beat me up.

True story.  Who would make this up?

So, instead of spelling, I practiced punching.  I looked up to see my friends watching me and then we burst out laughing.

Who needs spelling, anyway?

Learning to fight little boys on buses? ... now, there's a life skill!

But, these girls of mine .... they are a product of Eric .... and that changes everything!

Just before Christmas, BOTH girls got in the car after school to tell me they had won their class spelling bees.  I did my normal thing .... I rolled the window down, honked the horn and yelled out the window ... "Coming through, coming through! I have spelling champs in the car!"

Yes, we are normal people.

And, maybe a tad obnoxious.

Then reality hit, and I realized my girls were going to be competing against each other.

Uh oh.

I have one that loves to study spelling all.the.time. and one that chose to study just because she saw her sister preparing for the big day.

The week leading up to the school spelling bee, I forbid any talk about it.  I could tell the pressure was getting to be too much and knew nothing good would come out of it.

I mean, there's only one winner, right?

We watched the spelling bee and chewed our nails as both of my girls were in the final four.  Olivia (last year's champ) sat down before Emma, who later went on to win.


I knew this was going to be a tough lesson learned, so I took Olivia out to lunch to talk it through with her.  She's the one that LOVES a spelling bee so I knew this would be a tough loss for her.

I love a 4th graders heart .... so honest and without pretense.  She confessed her disappointment but was SO happy it was Emma that won and not someone else.  And, then she resolved to be Emma's 'trainer' so to speak.  She purposed to do everything she could to help Emma win the next level.

So, I'd have to say both my girls were winners yesterday when my Emma won the County Bee.


Now, she moves on to the State Spelling Bee and I really don't think she has a bigger fan (or coach) than her little sister.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE what these last few weeks have taught my girls and our family.  They have learned what to do with a jealous heart and how to turn a disappointment into a blessing.

And, surely that's better than learning to beat up little boys :)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Long, Overdue Update

Most days, I miss blogging.  The true joy of blogging for me comes from being able to look back and read about what we were doing during the same time a year ... or two years ago.  This space has, for the most part, been a mini scrapbook for us.  And, THAT'S what I miss.

So, since .... umm ... sometime in the Fall ... what we've been up to ...

Emma's Cross Country season ended with a HUGE bonus.


She ran with the HS team part of the season and was able to run in the State Meet.  (Check out my little 7th Grader with these high school girls ;)


The Girls' Team WON State!

We were soooo proud of how Emma finished (and I'm not just talking about her running either :)

While Emma spent the Fall season running, Olivia played soccer.  Normally, the goalie (her favorite position) but she got to play offense during a few games as well.



My sweet Emma turned THIRTEEN in November and we hosted a house-rockin' slumber party (truly the best word to describe it.  Thirteen year old girls tend to get a bit loud :)



On Emma's actual birthday, we got an unexpected surprise! My little brother, John Patrick, was able to make a quick 9-day trip home.





This was such an emotional time for all of us.  We hadn't seen him in ONE YEAR (I get so bummed about it) and even though he is stationed in Hawaii, the majority of his time is spent underwater in a submarine ... with no communication whatsoever (I get more bummed about that part).



So, the words This Too Shall Pass have never been more comforting.  I know it won't be forever, and yes, I know it could be worse, but we miss him like crazy.  No communication is brutal.


Aside from celebrating Thanksgiving, we finished off his visit with all my nieces spending the night so we could have one last all-night nerf war.  These wars are intense! We turn off every light in the house and battle 'til the last person wins.  And, then we do it again.  So fun!


We had a big breakfast before seeing him off ... which turned out to be the absolute saddest day!!

In December, we tried to overcome our sadness and focus on Christmas in our new home.

We took a Family Fun Day and visited Grove Park Inn, viewing their gingerbread house displays (so beautiful!)



I took very little pictures at Christmas, which is odd, but we ended up having a wonderful day with family.

2014 brought a lot of trials, but at the same time, we experienced many, MANY blessings ... more than we deserve!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Our year in Pictures ~ 2014

Our Year in Pictures .... 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Perspective

I think I have experienced every emotion imaginable this Christmas.


The four of us have a different kind of excitement, spending our first Christmas in our new home.


This place feels like we've always lived here.


It's cozy .... and welcoming .... and without a doubt, more than we deserve.


We were all looking forward to decorating ... figuring out what old decorations would look best in new places.


A new home isn't the only difference this year.  This will be the first year my little brother, John Patrick, won't be with us.  I, absolutely, without a doubt, know that it could be worse, and yes, the reality is that he's simply stationed on the other side of the world at a Naval base, but we're a pretty traditional family and his absence will be greatly felt.


My big brother moved about 2 hours away, and with a new {ADORABLE} baby, he's only coming in Christmas Day.


For the past 30 years, my parents have had a Christmas Eve party.  This year, we have no plans and it feels sort of odd to me.


I keep talking to my girls about all the changes.  Mainly because, I still remember the first year we didn't go to my grandparents on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.


Nothing felt the same ... until new traditions were started (hence my parents' Christmas Eve party).


I know it all seems odd to them as well, but we're determined to make the most of it ... and honestly, enjoy every second.















Maybe this year, more than ever, we're reminded each day is a gift ... especially each day our family can be together.



So, on Christmas Day, our home will fill with family ... cramming it all in one day, what we normally stretch out into two.


And, though I know the absent of John Patrick, his quick wit and his jokes won't be far from any of our minds ...


We'll still enjoy the day.


The past six months have been an absolute whirlwind for me.  I've gone from being overjoyed to deeply hurt to immensely happy to sad and discouraged to calm and peaceful.


I wondered {and maybe even out loud} if I would make it.


But, the good news is that I have.


And, I have a healthy dose of perspective.


Just in time :)



 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:
and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor,
The mighty God, The everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6







Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Deep in the Trenches

And just like that ... I'm off track again.

In all the years I've been blogging, I have hesitated to ever promise I would do anything {like post regularly for a series}.  With the exception of our February series on God's Relentless Love, too much 'life' happens and I can't seem to carry it out.

It is what it is.

So, what is 'life' all about right now?

On any given day, you'd find us rounding up soccer cleats, running shoes and water bottles, as I'm sure many of you are.  'Tis the season.

Emma just finished up her Middle School Cross Country season but has two more weeks on the High School team, with the State meet a week from Friday.

Not going to lie ... we talk a lot about that Saturday after.  As in "it's almost over, it's almost over". This has been an interesting season trying to juggle both schedules, so we're pretty pumped about the end.  She wants a day where she comes straight home from school to hang out with us instead of heading to practice and I want that too!

Olivia, on the other hand, is soaking up every second she can of her soccer season.  She has had the most fun the last couple of seasons being on a team with her closest friends and the BEST coaches. They'll all go separate ways next season because of age, so she NEVER wants this one to end.  She's having a blast.

Emma and I are stepping WAY out of our comfort zones this Friday night and welcoming ALL the 7th grade girls in our home for a monthly bible study.  Eric and I talk about it and always end up laughing because God has to be showing off His deep sense of humor when we realize what He has me doing.  I'm an extreme introvert found doing very extrovert things these days.  It's fun, exciting, exhausting and scary all at the same time.

And, if that's not enough, Olivia and I have been invited to participate in a monthly Mother/Daughter bible study for 4th grade girls.  Our first meeting is this Sunday at a Mother/Daughter tea.  So fun!

I feel like my deepest spiritual lessons and studies are always with Emma, so this time with Olivia will be invaluable.  Best of all, other women are leading it and I couldn't be more thankful for the influence they will have in my Olivia's life.  It's going to be a fun time.

Though all of this takes up a big portion of our time, the one thing consuming most of my thoughts these days is our church's Ladies Retreat.  It's time ... with only 3 more weeks to prepare.  This week is a study week and I'm about midway through.  I'm at the point where I sit down to study and become overwhelmed with the subject.  I laugh when a thought comes together and cry a lot because of the grace He pours out in His Word.  These are special days.

So, yes we are busy {loathe that word} but God has us in some unique places ... new places ... doing new things.  We wouldn't choose half of it, but have learned through the years, it's a lot more rewarding to follow Him scared than to hide out at home.

We're just along for the ride, excited to see what He has in store!



Wednesday, October 01, 2014

{Gratitude} Lately

Lately, I'm grateful for ...
Days off from school spent playing golf {on a GORGEOUS day that felt like FALL} ... 

.... and when school is in ... we'll squeeze in a game before soccer practice.  We're kind of addicted.


Saturday mornings when little girls stick to me like glue ...



Living close to the lake and enjoying beautiful sunsets with my girls ...

Noticing Olivia's hand after a soccer game.  "It helped me to not be anxious", she says.


While substitute teaching, I find a packed lunch and note left by my Emma ...


Always having help in the kitchen .... 


What are you grateful for?



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