Friday, November 09, 2012

New Life

I have had a dead tree in my back yard for several months, with no intention of pulling it up and trashing it. This tree happens to be the Japanese Maple that was given to us as just a little sapling when Eveyn died six years ago. When I realized it was not blooming this past spring, I was heartbroken. Gavin got on the phone with several tree experts to get opinions, and they all agreed there was no saving my poor little tree. As a last ditch effort, we had a guy actually come out and look at it to make sure. The guy understandably had no idea the significance of my tree, or the level of emotion that he was unfairly walking in to. Once he said the words, "that thing is firewood. I'll rip it up and get rid of it for you," and I started to cry and felt like I could punch him, I knew that it would absolutely not be pulled up until I had a plan for it. So, I've had a dead, abandoned and sad-looking tree just sitting and waiting for me to do something with it. Waiting for it's new life. Along comes Ann Voskamp and my little Eveyn tree has a new life. I knew that something would come to me to let me keep this sweet tree and reminder of our thankfulness for Eveyn's life.

The kids and I set out this morning with a saw to finally cut down the branches. It is still rather big to have in the house, and I need a much better vase or container to put them in, but it works for now. We cut out the paper leaves, read the verses on each one, and talked about our thankfulness for so many things. We are abundantly blessed.

Even though it's still just a grouping of bare branches, I can't tell you how much life it now has with these lovely leaves of thankfulness on them. I am truly thankful for this new life for my little tree.

I will also use my tree for a Jesse Tree for Christmas, and an Easter tree in the spring.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Dinner Conversation

My kids love the Dinner Question Game. It's not really a game, but a box of questions that I bought before I ever had kids. We've hardly ever used it until this year, but it has become a family favorite.

Gavin is a conversation starter, in case you didn't know. When the places are finally set, food is on plates, when the trio of noise has pulled up to the table, and a hungry prayer of thanks is said, dad is always eager for the conversations to begin. It started tonight with Eli miserably complaining about the homemade mac and cheese and green beans that were in front of him, because apparently the boxed variety is much tastier. He chose not to eat it. Fine by me - as long as his ravenous belly doesn't wake him up at 6:00 a.m. ready to be filled. Gavin, ever the encourager and optimist, instead of engaging Eli in a discussion about his distaste for this lovely meal, used it as a conversation starter.

"It's ok if you don't like it right now. Can you think of something that you used to dislike eating that you really enjoy now that you're older?" It worked. He immediately got out of his "I don't want to eat this" grumpiness and enthusiastically started listing foods while munching on his green beans (something that used to literally make him gag).

As we usually do with these conversations, we go around the table and take turns getting each person's opinion so that no little person or little voice is left out or talked over. However, when we got to Ella, she was bored with this topic of food likes/dislikes and instead went and picked up the question box. No matter how simple or boring the question is from the box, Ella gets excited about it. I think there is a bit of mystery to it for her that makes her enjoy it so much. Or it may just be the fact that it comes from a cute little box instead of her dad who asks her questions all the time.

Question #1: If your house was on fire and you could only take one thing with you, what would it be?

Well, this question totally threw them off. "What? My house is on fire? One thing?" Their answers reveal so much about their little minds, personalities and development at each age.
Emmie: "Flowers. And my Tangled flip flops." Makes perfect sense.

Ella: "I would just take a hose so that I could spray it on the fire." Clever. But if you can't take the hose, you have to take something that is important to you, that belongs to you. "OH! Then I would take my lovable Simba!" What if you couldn't get Simba because he's already out? What favorite item would you take? (I have no idea why we kept asking her for different answers when she clearly has already given us two very good answers).

Before Ella could try to answer, Emmie broke into tears since she had concluded from our interrogation of Ella that Simba was going to be left in the fire. I thought she didn't even like him! Apparently her attitude toward him has all been a sham, and she cares very deeply for him. I am touched. And we assured her that we would never leave Simba in a house fire.

Eli's analytical mind was tortured by this question. "Only ONE thing? I DON'T KNOW!" So Eli passes. Next question.

Question #2: If you could spend a day with a famous person, who would it be and what would you do?

Emmie: "Nana! We would sit and pet Bluebell all the time." Done! Check that one off your list! What an accomplishment in your little life.

Ella: "Pop! We would go to the fair or the circus all day!" Again - Check! Move on to the next big dream in life. (Am I being too sarcastic with their sweet little minds?)

Eli: Said with such certainty and enthusiasm. "Roger Federer. We would play tennis all day."

A little peek into my sweet kids' minds. I love the way they work.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012


Either race car driving or pod racer driving. Either way, they were racing.

Today I am thankful for the creative genius in the heads of my kids. We spend a whole lot of time outside of the house running errands, playing tennis, seeing various family members, going to church, friends' houses, etc., etc., etc. But, as a homeschool family, we also spend a good amount of time at home doing chores, reading, writing and being "bored" with down-time.

I love the "I'm bored" state that the kids get to. It's in this state of boredom where their true creativity and thoughtfulness comes shining through. It only takes about five minutes of realizing they have "nothing to do" before they realize this actually isn't true. The melancholy voices and glum faces are quickly faced with a mom demanding a list of things they are thankful for. There is an amazing transformation that occurs with this practice. Their selfish boredom gives way to thankful creativity, which in turn makes this mom very thankful!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Lost Time

Yes, here I am again...3 years later. Amazing. I am writing again with both enthusiasm and apprehension. Enthusiasm because I am motivated to start recording the happenings of our little family again - if only for myself to be able to have my favorite memories recorded. Apprehension because I am very critical of myself on many different levels, and to once again put myself out here feels kind of like I'm standing on the edge of a cliff. I realize most of the time my entries here consist of tales from the lives of my little people, however I have been consistently prompted and lead to write about some of my more personal journeys in life.

I have told myself over and over that I don't need to put that stuff out there on my blog, but I don't really think that's true. What I have discovered that I need most (and I really do mean "I". This is a personal journey, which everyone does differently) is to share these things, these issues, struggles with others.

It's difficult for me to describe the amount of anxiety and panic I feel when I encounter someone who I feel could benefit from and be ministered to by my own experiences and trials. I want to share openly so very badly, but I just can't. My heart starts pounding, my head gets light and dizzy, my stomach starts turning and I get about one step away from passing out. It's crazy!

But here's the deal - I'm convinced it's gotten worse each month, each year that I keep it all to myself. I cannot change the fact that certain struggles and trials have been brought into my life. Some of them make some sort of sense, some of them I have no clue what the point of them are. But one thing I can't deny is that God has allowed them to be there. I believe strongly that the trials in our lives have two general purposes - 1) for ourselves to learn, grow and change, and 2) for someone else to learn, grow, and change from our experiences.

I have been half-way allowing the first part of this to take place from my experiences. I am half-heartedly trying to learn, grow and change from my struggles because there's a part of me that is fighting the fact that they are in my life in the first place. And the second part, the part about letting others learn, grow and change from my experiences, I'm not doing at all because I'm keeping it all to myself. And I think this is where the anxiety really comes into play. If I am completely open and honest with others about where I'm coming from, what I've struggled with in life, then I have to fully admit and accept that it's a real, present part of my life. Ouch!

I have recently been distantly introduced to a family that lost their almost full-term baby girl a few weeks ago. My heart breaks for them. When I first learned about it, I cried for them and their loss, and had an instant desire to make contact with them. And then immediately following that, I cried for myself and my absolute panic when I think about talking to this other grieving mother. An instant wave of emotion and grief came over me as if Eveyn had just died. How could I possibly be a voice of experience, comfort or wisdom if I'm in this emotional, panicked state? And how could I not reach out to this hurting woman simply because I couldn't pull myself together emotionally?

It was an epiphany moment. And a very scary moment. I have known for a while now that I have never processed through my grief over losing Eveyn. I'm emotionally stuck just a few weeks past her death. I have been half-heartedly trying to move beyond this point, because again, if I really start moving forward in this, I have to really accept that it's there. Yes, that one stings.

So, here's what I have decided. This blog is one where I want to and NEED to record my memories with my funny kids and dear husband (which I have apparently missed the last three years of!). But it also needs to be a place for me to process through bigger issues and allows me to get them out in the open. My thought, and my hope is that as I write them out here, it will not only be therapeutic for me, but also a first step in sharing them with others. And then, just maybe, I won't feel like I'm having a heart attack when I need to actually talk to someone in person.