Monday, September 24

too exhausted to use the shift key to capitalize

life is going full steam ahead. kids are in school, loving it, but busy. Niki is in the pep squad, i think she has found her calling. :) Bria got to march with the high school band on Friday, she had a great time (I'll try to get pictures of these events uploaded soon) and tonight....well tonight started a whole new phase of my mothering years. i am coaching my son's soccer team. yep. me. i think i am more tired than i have been in awhile. I'll be sure to get some pics of that as well, since some of you may have a hard time believing that i am coaching.
much love to all of you, I'll try to be more on top of things tomorrow. (bonus, spell check capitalized some of my words for you.)

Wednesday, September 19

Silly, Chilly, Hilly-Billy

Originally uploaded by Jean 1.

Last night, while the older two girls went to their schools football game, the younger two and I went to Culvers for some dinner. I had actually planned on going to a "kids eat free place" since it would be so much cheaper, but I was weak-willed and let them talk me into Culvers. They love going to the free custard they get when they finish their meal, I love that they share with me. Bonus...they have great fries!
Once the sugar from the frozen custard kicked in, the two little ones were very content for me to take pictures of them making silly faces...this one is my favorite.

Monday, September 17

And now, a few words about my son

Originally uploaded by Jean 1.

**editing to remove typos...blaming them on the thumb!**

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to another episode of "My son, My heart!" When we left last time you had just learned that Ryan had turned 8 years old. There was a thumb incident that left Momma unable to detail his greatness. Today, we pick up the story.

The weekend before the big birthday our church body had a Pastor's
Appreciation Picnic, an annual event that happens to be the exact place that Ryan, when still in -utero, decided to break forth with so much praise that my water broke standing in front of about 15 people, give or take a few. So to say that Ryan loves this annual event is an understatement. He looks forward to it as much as Christmas. This year, he was particularly excited. I wrote it off to what I call "birthday glitter"...that time before the actual birthday that the child practically sparkles with excitement.
Upon arriving, our tradition is to mingle, give our pastors cards that try to express our appreciation for unyielding service to our church body and, after a prayer of blessing is said over the food, we get in line for the food. (I know this is a lot of detail, but it's necessary for the story I am laying before you) After loading plates, Ryan and I went to the drink station where Liz and Sherri, two women from our church body, were serving drinks (we all have job shifts for fairness). My son was so sweet and said "Thank you for making my drink for me...have a good day!" and went on his merry way. I was glowing with pride for his manners and smiled, thanked my friends and went on. Later, when I approached the drink station for a refill, my son was there again, this time giving them a small plate of what looked to be leftover food. My smile of pride from earlier was replaced with sternness.
Me: "Ryan, they are not responsible for your plate." He looked at me strange,
Ryan: "That's OK." and walked away.
The momma in me opened my mouth for a quick rebuke, but was stopped, mouth open, by Sherri.
Sherri: "You don't understand. He brought that food for us. He wanted to make sure that we get something to eat since we are in here serving. He brought it to be nice."
I was amazed. They were amazed. They had thought that I had sent him over to do it to be nice since a couple of years ago they had actually missed out on a lot of the food because they had been serving drinks that time too. They thought I knew it and sent him to take the food. I had no idea and just stood there stunned. Later I was stopped by one of the elders in my church...He had taken her food as well. Still later, he went and took dessert to the women he had served, making sure that they had what they needed. That night, when I told my husband about the servants heart that my son had displayed I cried. Not tears of ungodly pride, but tears of humility. My son had the courage to be gracious and serve without need for reciprocation.

That following Monday, Grandma called. She told him that she hadn't had a chance to get him his gift yet, that it would be late. To which he responded. "I do not need anything Grandma, just your love." And he meant it. It flowed through my heart like honey, watered my soul like a quiet rain. I saw him for the first time as not just a little boy, but as someone who was well on his way to be a Godly man, a joyful giver and heart sensitive to the Lord's leading.

It was his birthday, but I feel like I received that most precious gifts this year!

Tuesday, September 11

Happy Birthday, Son

Originally uploaded by Jean 1.

Today is my only son's birthday...I know he will spend a lifetime hearing "Oh, your birthday is September 11th? That's so sad." But to him and us, although we do remember that day with extreme sadness, we also have great joy associated with that day. He is the sweetest, most giving boy...he makes my heart so glad to know that I get the privilege of being his mom. I have some stories I will be writing soon about him to demonstrate his heart...but it will sadly have to wait until I am able to type a little better. (short story: thumb on dominate hand...van door smashed shut on it from a gust of wind..had to pry van door open to release thumb. It's not broken, but it is making life [and typing] more difficult.)
Blessings on your day.

Monday, September 10

He's on a roll!

Originally uploaded by Jean 1.

My husband is one for surprises. He doesn't like to receive them as much as he likes to give them. He's the one one who gave me three years worth of surprise birthday parties. He's the one who plans get-a-ways for the two of us, he's the one who bought me a necklace and smuggled it in my sister's suitcase to Mexico to give to me on our first dress up dinner night. He is good at surprises. Last night he gave me a great surprise. He decided to learn how to make sushi, since we both love it so much. He bought all the stuff, found out how to make my favorite combinations and he spent two hours preparing, cutting, assembling and arranging these yummy plates of sushi for our dinner. He amazes me at each turn of our lives.

Thursday, September 6


Originally uploaded by Jean 1.

Yesterday, while waiting for school to start Christi and I had a few minutes to visit with one another about life and playgrounds. She informed me that she likes the playground because it has a lot of different things to can slide, climb, swing, dig, run and jump. "It makes playing more funner", she said. I asked her which activity she liked best. "Hmm", she said, "I guess it's the one where you're having fun." Good point!

As adult, we often find pleasure in certain things and a deep dislike in others. Not because they are terrible things, just because of our attitude involved in them. I tend to dislike grocery shopping and cooking. But...when Jean 2 meets me @ W*lmart for groceries I have a good time, probably too much of a good time since it takes three hours instead of one. And cooking. Well, if Jean 3 is in the kitchen with me to talk to and with which to visit, it's suddenly fun. It's not the task, it's the company that changes the task. I've not tried this theory yet with toilet scrubbing...but I have a sneaking suspicion that it would apply here as well.

Podcasts are becoming my ready companions for my mundane or less joyful's like carrying my friends in my earphones, helping me to laugh through the day and hum a tune while I work. Nothing gets the ironing done faster than a bit of Ron Kenoly praise music or floors mopped more thoroughly than Casting Crowns.

Tuesday, September 4

Behold the Pillow of Truth

Originally uploaded by Jean 1.

Spur of the moment. On a whim. Spontaneous departure. Getting the Heck out of Dodge. Whatever one calls it, Mommy's need time to just be. Be who they are when they are not with their kids. Be who they are when they are not caring for their homes. Be who they are when they are not ironing clothes for their husbands. Be who they are when the kids are grown and out of the house. Be who they are, Period. As a mom, until last year, I had fallen into the belief that who I was had been engulfed and absorbed by my husband and children, that I no longer had my own separate identity. I'm not trashing on my family. OH NO! I cherish my husband and children beyond words. I would not trade one day that I have had with them (although I would maybe try for a trade on some of those "flu and strep throat days) nor do I wish for a different life, I am very content. But there are days when it is easy to allow oneself to lose sight of who it is that God Not self-centered looking, but inward looking. When I had lost sight of that, I had stopped growing, changing, becoming a new creation. I was more focused on helping my children be who they were created to be, more focused on supporting my husband as he was doing and being who he was created to be....but myself, no. It's not to say that God had discontinued to speak to me, or that I had no direction in life, but I had lost sight of the fact that someday down a fairly short path, I was going to emerge as a person who no longer had the responsibilities of raising my children. Who would I be without that calling? How mature could I be if I had not been growing?
As I pondered these questions and re-read a couple of chapters in "Purpose Driven Life" I found that my purposes had lost definition. I was only living up to a few of the callings I had been given in my life. I was a loving wife, I was a giving mother, I was a caring friend, I was a productive part of our church body, I belonged to PTA and MOPS, I did A LOT OF STUFF. But, I was not feeding my spirit, allowing myself to relax, I was tying myself up in knots with my roles.
Last year, two of my best friends and I were blessed to take the trip of our dreams. We left behind all for one week and just lived. We talked, we discussed, we grew. It refreshed my spirit, my soul, my life. My husband said I came back a better me than I had ever been. Since that time, I've found that my heart had been yearning for that type of release, but I had denied it out of a presumed obligation to denying myself for the sake of the family. It brought the three of us (Jean 2 and Jean 3 and myself) closer...not just to each other, but to our families. It created a spout for all that stored up emotion, relieved all the emotional knots.
This past Saturday Jean 3 called and said "Jean 2 says she's in a funk. I told her what she needed was for her to kidnap you and meet me in Kansas City for a night." My spirit leaped. I was immediately on board, I just needed to run it by my spouse. His response "Sure, why not?" Just that easy. We three Jeans talked through 3-way calling and made our plans. We drove up, found a hotel, went for some retail therapy and then spent the rest of the night talking. The kind of talking that gets on deep levels, that deals with real issues and vaporizes tensions.
We headed home the next day fueled for life, energized for our families and refreshed in our spirits, and ideas of where we will go next year.

Saturday, September 1

Goodness Sakes, enough papers already!

Rated G
Originally uploaded by Jean 1.

I have spent much of my time the last week and a half writing. If I were working on a deadline for a novel, I think I would have been able to contribute about 15 chapters in the last few days. But alas, I was filling out school forms. With four children in the school system I have filled out forms for each of the children that gives them the permissions, information, documentation, and maybe even the password to my ATM card. This is not my first experience with this onslaught, so I have developed some tried and true practices to help with the writers cramp.
1. Fill out the paper work minus the name and date and photocopy the paper, put this photocopy in a file. Why? Because you will get these same forms next year and in multiples if you have more than one child in school. If you have a copy on hand, provided you haven't changed their name or address from one year to the next, you can just print out a copy and fill in the name and date and send the form out the door. It's also the time saver if you happen to get a phone call or note home that says "Mrs. Blogger Queen, we didn't get little Blogglet's form, could you please fill it out again and send it in?" HIT PRINT AND BE DONE WITH IT.
2. Go through all backpacks, lunch bags, binders, Walmart bags (or whatever else your child uses to transport papers) and sort all papers into piles of "Return to School", "Save for Posterity" and "File 13". All File 13 papers go directly into the trash/recycle bins. Have your child take the "Save for Posterity" papers and put them into your saving place. My kids have bank boxes that hold file folders personalized with their names on it. That give you a smaller pile of paper with which you must deal. Sign all field trip, enclose lunch money and such and return them immediately to the more forgotten items. Anything that can be filled out at leisure can be saved for the car line to relieve boredom and gives you the opportunity to concentrate on it while you wait your turn to pick up your darling....just be sure to put these forms into the backpack when you are dropping them off the next morning.
3. Do not feel like you need to keep everything that your darling creates. Trust me, you will get many, many, many items that you will feel compelled to keep. Let your child pick one favorite paper a week. At the end of the year you can go through and save the ten favorite items and a writing sample from the first of the year and the last of the year to show progression and development.

As my mind allows me to draw a deep breath on this long weekend, I wish a restful goodnight. :)