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?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Having a Vision

I had a post all written for today, but I woke to this one by Sally Clarkson and had to share it instead.

This is exactly where my heart is right now.  I tend to get discouraged, wondering if I'm making the right decisions when it comes to raising my girls.  Sally always shares such wisdom.  I truly hang on her every word and have for years.

"Many days were weary ones and at all stages along the way, I found challenges. But I felt that the Holy Spirit would fill in the cracks and that if I obeyed His call, He would make my work more than the sum of all of my efforts, because I had trusted Him to raise my children through me."

"Consequently, the foolish woman tears down her own home, not intentionally, most women do not mean to leave a legacy of broken children with scars of anger, lack of training and purpose. But they never knew how to build and were not willing to do what it took to build, because they were side swiped by the storm of it all. And honestly many children grow into broken adults because their parents were passive and gave their children over to the voices and temptations of culture."

Planning must not be based on the emergency and immediate need, in the midst of a crisis, but on the long term building and work and endurance until the project is completed.
Planning is the key to what will be built and planning requires thought and time.
Click here to read the entire post.  And, bookmark Sally's blog for future reading.  She will bless you and encourage you in your walk.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Favorites

This week has been wonderful as far as weather goes.  It was chilly enough for a jacket most of the week and that makes me happy.  I know I'm fortunate to live in a state that experiences all four seasons.

That reminds me of my brother, John Patrick, who is still stationed in Hawaii.  We have no idea when he'll be back home {I can't talk about it much without getting completely bummed out} but one thing he did tell us the last time we talked was he had no interest in coming home until it's COLD here.  He is tired of waking up every day to the same {hot} weather.

Isn't that odd to imagine? We take for granted here what a nice thing it is to experience all seasons.

Anyway, enough of that.  Here are some of my {completely random} favorite things ...

Lindor's Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffles

I'm a sucker for anything dark chocolate/raspberry ... and lately, these are my favorite.  I allow myself two every day.  Well, ...  at least two :)

Gapfit Breathe Long Sleeve Hoodie

I think this is my new favorite hoodie to wear to run ... or to the grocery store ... or to lounge around. I bought the beach plum color and actually bought it in a size larger so it would be extra long.  With thumb holes and a loose hood, it's perfect.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat

I am sooooo not an expert on nails.  In fact, if you look at mine most of the time, you'd see they're often neglected.  I love it when they're painted but it just takes up so much time to only have to do it again in a day or so.

A friend told me to try a gel-coat and that has been hilarious! I've had some pretty unfortunate incidents BUT this product is amazing.

I realize you can do more steps with this, but if you just use this gel on top of your nail polish, your polish doesn't chip.  I've gone for at least 5 days without having to touch up at all.  And, the best part ... you can remove it with normal polish remover {most gels, you have to use 100% acetone}.  I just use it over any brand of nail polish.

I haven't been able to find it in stores yet, so I ordered mine off Amazon.  I love it.

Failing at a meaningful transition here, and on a less frivolous note, my family and I can't watch this video without bawling like babies.  We understand a little more about the sacrifice.

And, now one of our favorite things to do when we're out in public is to spot a military veteran.  We take the time to thank them, pay for their meal and most of all LISTEN if they want to talk about their time in the military.

Now all I can think about is seeing my little brother.  That would be a favorite day!

Have a great weekend, friends!

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