Taking Life One Step At A Time

Taking Life One Step At  A Time

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Swollen lips and bellies

Today my heart breaks for my children. Its been a tough week already. I'm very busy with VBS preparations and have had meetings each night this week. Beyond that, we're back to a full week of school and are pushing to get everything done. But today was the kicker.

After getting some school done, I sent the kids outside to play for a bit. They began playing with a neighbor boy who constantly practices his baseball skills. Needless to say, he's got quite a swing. We know this because we find balls way on the other side of our yard pretty frequently after he's been practicing. Today he had a stick and used it to swing at a bee as if swinging at a baseball. Unfortunately, he missed the bee and got Zack instead. I'm so thankful that Zack saw it coming and turned slightly, because he has a huge welt across his middle, but the hit missed his ribs by about a 1/2 inch! Knowing our neighbor's swing, he could have easily broken a few of those precious ribs! We've been monitoring Zack carefully and I think he's fine with no internal damage. Praise the Lord!

But then, while I was out today, Abby got stung on the lip by a bee. Of course, the pain was horrendous and has made her sick to her stomach now three times. Her lip is GIGANTIC!

I feel so bad for her. We called the doctor, but they said that unless she has trouble breathing, just to keep ice on it and give her benadryl if she needs it. Hmph. That doesn't seem enough in my opinion.

So, I think we're staying in for the rest of the day. It doesn't seem to be a safe day to go outside.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Remember who you are

Parents seem to always have little gems of wisdom to impart to their children at just the right moment. My husband's mother always says, "Don't forget!" as her children depart from her presence. It means, "Don't forget I love you", but was shortened to "Don't forget" so that her teens would know what she was saying without being embarrassed in front of their friends.

As we are entering into the world of preteen, I've been contemplating what I can say to our children that will have a lasting impact even when they are out of my presence. I want to impart some important words. If it's the last thing I say to them, what should it be?

My Dad always said the same words to me throughout junior high and high school. Every time he dropped me off at a dance, a friend's house, a music or sport practice or even for youth group, he'd say, "Remember who you are". At the time, I thought I knew what he meant. "Remember who you are". You are a member of our family. What you do and say and the choices you make reflect directly on our family. At least that's what my teen mind heard.

As I have matured in wisdom over the years (ha!), I've come to realize that I completely misunderstood what my Dad was trying to tell me. He wasn't admonishing me to keep the family name squeaky clean. He was reminding me to remember who I am in Christ. He was reminding me to keep my focus on what, or rather WHO, I stand for. To keep my eyes pinned on the One who made me and saved me and not to get caught up in what my friends were doing. Pretty good wisdom to impart to your child as they leave your protection.

So, here I sit, wondering what I should be saying to my kids each time they leave my reach. I don't have the words yet, but I'm sure they'll come. Until then, let me admonish you ... Remember who you are and Don't forget!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Tribute to my Sister

I'm writing this entry simply for the purpose of providing a laugh for my sister. It was her birthday yesterday and while I'd love to share the backstories behind all of these one-liners, there simply isn't space or time. So happy birthday, Sis, and I hope you enjoy this walk through memory lane! These are in no particular order. And I apologize for the large amounts of space after some pictures. That's just how they scanned in.

~ bumpy, striped pink wallpaper with giant flowers!

~ you arriving home from college with Jim's class ring on a chain around your neck and a dreamy look in your eyes at ALL times.
~ Red, Red Wine and I Just Called to Say I Love You - the first "rock" songs I knew courtesy of you.
~ the way your rug in junior high and high school always had coins stuck in it. It was a shag rug and I always knew where to go to find some extra cash! (I don't think I've ever told you that!!!)
~ the day you got special horse riding clothes - complete with the hat!
~ you and Holly playing dress up with me as the doll. Lets not go into details - I'm still scarred by the memory.
~ getting letters from you while you were in college. You've always been the one who's good at that!
~ you and your friends jumping off the top bunk onto a beanbag.
~ Jaws the mouse and Jasper the parakeet
~ you helping me write my very first love note/card complete with bubble writing and a fancy sticker!
~ playing in the playhouse that Grampy made for us.
~ watching you sneak into the house in summertime to watch a soap opera and almost daring to tattle so that mom would put on something we could both watch. Although, somehow I knew that idea wouldn't quite work out in favor of either of us!
~ the kartwheel that knocked out my bottom two teeth!
~ the cruise in Hawaii when everyone asked for pictures with the fair skinned, blue eyed girls. We felt like celebrities!

~ the license plate of your first car - I still remember it!
~ the fear I felt when I heard you'd crashed that car.
~ you playing with baby David on the floor when I was sick with the stomach flu and Josh was away.
~ hearing your laughter as you tell funny stories about your boys
~ going to the Dairy Bar at UConn as kids
~ sleepovers in your room on Christmas eve and your strict rule that I could not wake you up until 7am. I broke that rule every year!
~ giggling together until late at night during those sleepovers.
~ the youth group New Years Eve overnight at 49.
~ one of your birthday parties (I think you were 10) when everyone got a punch balloon! I had just had a shot in the butt that day and couldn't even sit down for your party.
~ your beautiful voice raised in song with three others at PCC.
~ napkin fights between you, me and Dad
~ matching sweaters for Christmas from Gail. Gorgeous sweaters!

~ many matching clothes made for us by mom.
~ you explaining to me about the birds and the bees at Grampy's house. And I didn't believe you!!
~ special luncheons at the Manchester house
~ how beautiful you looked on your wedding day!

~ getting baptized together
~ how much you remind me of Nana with your passion for cooking
~ going over to Nana and Papa's to play cards, eat sandwiches with the crust cut off or ravioli and drink iced tea with about a pound of sugar in it, and snagging candy out of the soup bowl! Oh, and I particularly remember that Nana kept a jar of double stuffed oreos just for you!
~ our time in Vienna with the Grissen kids and no parents for several days. What fun that was!
~ going to a craft fair together just after I got married. The woman at the gate sold us one adult and one child ticket. Guess who was mistaken for the child?!!!
~ Fluffenutter and PeanutButter the lop-eared bunnies
~ the beach ... searching for shells, swimming, building castles and throwing mud.
~ your love of all things nature

These are just a few. If I think longer, the list will never end! We've had some great times together and I look forward to many more over the years. Happy birthday, Christy! I love you! And may this year be full of wonderful memories with your own sweet family!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

To my sweet children ...


I'm sorry if I scared you today. It's not often that you see me cry. Although, I don't mind if you do. But today, you couldn't see me and you just heard my heartache. I know you were worried and I'm so thankful that you care so much for me!

Not to worry, Mom's gonna be fine. I've just been dealing with this fever for days and finally hit my breaking point. I want so much to be up and caring for you all and for Dad. I want to play with you. I want to watch the older boys play soccer before camp is over. I want to do fun things with the younger two while the older two are out. I want to enjoy this last week of no school before we start back in next week. But, I'm sick and can't do those things. And you've been so sweet and so forgiving.

But my loves, I hope you are learning a lesson while I am sick. I hope you are watching your Daddy closely and seeing what a great man he is! Boys, take note of how tenderly he cares for me. Watch how he patiently waits for me to communicate my needs and how selflessly he gives of his time and energy to serve me. Learn now so that when you have a wife you can care for her in such a way. Such a woman will be truly blessed!

My sweet girl, long for a man who will treat you like Daddy treats me. You'll never find a perfect man, but don't settle for someone who won't allow you to flourish and grow. Find someone who appreciates your strengths and doesn't belittle you for your weaknesses. A man who will stick with you during your ugly moments - both on the inside and out! A man who will pray for you and with you.

My children, I can't stand to be sick and unable to care for you. But if I must, I hope that you learn what a man can be by watching Dad. You can know that he loves you because he cares so well for me.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Duking it out ... one blow at a time!

Best moment of the day:

Yup. That's my husband and oldest son duking it out in the jousting bounce house at the park today. Hilarious!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Surface clean or deep clean?

Ever feel like you've been cleaning house forever?? Like you've been working your tushy off and the house should be spotless?

I spent much of the week working on switching furniture around, reorganizing, and ridding ourselves of some unnecessary junk. Which made me feel like my house should be pretty clean by now!

All it takes is one visitor for you to realize that your house really isn't all that great though. My sister flew into town today, and although we had scurried around trying to clean things up before she came, I realized afresh after she arrived how much dirt was beneath the surface. I knew we had a few piles here and there, but was actually embarrassed when she picked up a picture frame to look a little closer and had to wipe away the dust. Whoops. Forgot to dust.

As I looked closely at my house, I realized I hadn't mopped the floor. There are pencil marks on the walls and I missed wiping the counter behind the toaster where the crumbs tend to fall.

I know myself well. I'll never have a perfect house. And that's fine with me. But as I sit here tonight and take stock of the state of my house, I can't help but realize that I should be taking stock of my life too.

It's easy for me to surface clean my life. It's easy to act nicely in public, to say the appropriate things and even to do good works. But what dirt is lurking under the surface? Greed, anger, self-love? If I truly want to "clean house" in my life, I can't just look at the surface level. Because I have a permanent guest in my home - the Lord Jesus Christ. And He sees the dirt. All of it. I can't hide it from him and neither does He allow me to really forget that it's there. I'm thankful that He forgives me for the dirt (sin) in my house (life), but knowing that I am forgiven should not be an excuse to leave the dirt. It should spur me on to clean up.

So tonight as I look at my house and at my life, I ask myself, where should I start? What is the dirtiest place? And I pray that I'll have eyes to see what needs to be cleaned.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Mr. Sandman ... please visit me!

There's just nothing that beats the comfort of your own bed at night. Even the thrill of sleeping under the stars can't compare.

We thought our kids would love a night of camping out in the backyard during our vacation week. So, today we dragged out the tent, set it up and let the kids played in it all afternoon. Tonight we cleaned it out, set up the sleeping bags and prepared for a fun night outside. Except that mom and dad were not sleeping outdoors with them. Josh went out to sit in the tent until they fell asleep, but after only 1 hour in traipsed all four children declaring that they "just wanted to sleep in bed tonight".

I guess we all love our comforts, don't we. I certainly have no desire to trade my bed for a sleeping bag on the cold ground! And I've got some smart kids who feel the same way.