Monday, September 15, 2014

Just Because I'm On Vacation...

…doesn't mean that I'm completely silent;)

Join me over at KIDS IN THE WORD for details on our weekly
Colony Devotional Visuals.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Sweetest Act Of Selflessness

The Colony heads out to the Lake for our annual Via Vacation tomorrow afternoon.  Josh left with a long list of things he needed to get done before he can mentally check out from work, and my list was growing and growing as I work my angle of closing up shop around here on the home front.

I started the day with a gazillion little things to do (they'll get done easy enough) and two pretty hefty projects; mow the grass after the monsoon we just had and Alethia's hair...need I say more?!

After the breakfast mania died down I headed out to mow the grass.  Now, we have about an acre to mow and the time varies on how long it takes to mow it depending on the amount of pre-yard cleanup (sticks, lego houses, scooters, stray shoes and socks and children;).  Then you have to factor in if Josh and I are going to tag-team the yard or if one of us can run interference with the colony.  Or if we forgot to fill up the gas can...all to say, it can take anywhere between 2-6 hours.

And today I was prepared for the full six hours.  With all 5 kids at home, the riding lawn mower broken down and Josh gone, it was bound to take a huge chunk of my day.  But I was prepared.

I set out on my first stretch of yard.  I got about 1/3 of the way down before being interrupted by Zeke who needed something.  Then a few yards back in and Jude stubbed his toe and needed a bandaid.  The hill I was working on was kicking my butt but it's just part of the job.
Then out of nowhere I saw something miraculous come whizzing by.  It was a a was our 85 year-old neighbor, Lois, on her riding lawnmower!  She had totally stopped what she was doing in the middle of one of my multiple interruptions, hopped aboard her mowing machine and took off to the largest part of our yard.  After about 20-30 minutes she had completed the entire front yard, waving to Jude around every turn, and then quietly puttered her mower back home to resume what she had been working on before.

She didn't ask if I needed help.  She could SEE it.
She didn't stop for a thank you.  She just left.
She saw a need and selflessly served our family in a HUGE way.

I can guarantee she isn't going to blog about her kind heartedness or post a status of how helpful she was to the struggling mom next door for a pat on the back or the rush of accolades that would surely follow such a post.  I thought for a second I saw her taking a selfie of herself on the lawnmower, but then quickly realized she was just waving again to the 2-year-old who is enamored with trucks, machines and trains.

My eyes teared up and my heart was definitely overwhelmed and humbled at the selfless act of kindness from a woman who tenderly tolerates my kids, even though they misplace the gravel in her driveway, trample her tulips and interrupt their evenings with deliveries of homemade cards and cookies.

I couldn't help but thank God for the blessing of my neighbor, and wonder what kind of homemade "thank you" we can interrupt her evening with tonight.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Summer Reads

After my Hunger Games reading frenzy earlier this summer I kind of took it easy in the reading department.  Add in the pallet wood that NEEDS to be made into something fun and FREE in my home, and the sympathy purging that goes into helping a friend(s) move from house to house, I've been busy in other ways.  Oh yeah, and I have FIVE kids, ha!

All that to say, I've had some people ask for book recommendations.  Two of these I've completed, 1 and am re-reading from years ago and the other is just something different to add to my quiet time in the morning.

"Say Goodbye to Survival Mode"
by Crystal Paine

Excellent, fun, easy, practical read on re-prioritizing your life, time finances and goals.

"God Loves Ugly"
by Christa Black

This book was a little heavy and brutally honest, but so needed in this culture and for all generations.
Deals with fighting through addictive behaviors and thinking, getting past your past
and becoming comfortable in the person God made you.

"The Power of a Praying Wife"
by Stormie Omartian

There is definitely some cheese in this book, but how can you deny a book that can get you praying for your husband.  Saved or unsaved, our husband needs our prayers and this book lays out a plan focusing on 30 different areas to pray for our husbands about.

"Holy Spirit Power"
by Charles Spurgeon

I've never read any of Spurgeon's writing, but I am certainly a fan now!
This little book is chalk full of little nuggets to tuck away or meditate on.
I am going to be reading some more of his writing soon!

And that, my friends, is all I've got, but I'll be diving deep into some new reads this fall
and will share them with you soon!

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Day Rainy Found Out That Adults Have DRAMA Too

The other day I overheard a conversation between Alethia, Rainy and Zeke in the kitchen.  I'm not sure what the circumstance was but I heard Rainy give a little pep talk to Alethia and then Zeke inquiring about the details.  Rainy just turned to Zeke and flippantly replied; "Oh, it's just little girl drama".

As I was returning some dishes to the kitchen I made a quick reference to the fact that "little girl drama" was just as important as "big girl drama".  I was then quick to add that it was also just as important as adult drama.

Now THAT statement stopped Rainy in her tracks.

"Big people have drama too?!"
She asked this question with a sense of dread in her voice.
Like she had just realized that she was going to have to work at this conflict between friends thing for the rest of her life.

"Yup.  Unfortunately adults have drama too.  Drama with friends, just like you do.  Drama with family, just like you do.  It is just over different stuff."

I went on to explain that she will get older and figure out healthier ways to get through confrontations and hurt feelings, and that God is always the guide through it if she will allow it, but that drama is just something that is inevitable.

As she began to process this information internally, I began thinking about how hard relationships really are.

Living life openly with other people is certainly not for the light hearted.
Life  gets messy and feelings get hurt and circumstances get blown out of proportion and things are said and acts are committed and words are taken out of context and people, yes adults, begin casting blame and pointing fingers and wanting to give up on relationships, because they are feeling too vulnerable to face the situation head on.

Don't give up on those relationships that God is nudging you to mend.  Even through the mess and the sweat and the hurt...God can make it beautiful again.

We were not created to do life alone.

I'm pretty sure Rainy walked away from that conversation with new insight, but a little more leery of the adult world just around the corner.  I don't ever want to paint an unrealistic expectation of life for our kids, but I do always want to include the HOPE that God has to offer through the hardships we are sure to endure.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Friday Five

Band: Radiohead

Song Title: Little By Little

Timer set on 5 min.


It's 10am and I've already been up to the kids school 3 times.  The teachers in the hallway joke around about getting me my own badge so I can come and go as needed without having to waste their "visitor" stickers and having to constantly sign in and out!

The first visit began at 7:45am for Rainy's teacher conference.  She is doing EXCELLENT!  So good to hear.  In fact, my conference lasted all of 9 min, ha!  I'm used to Zeke's teachers needed to allow 3X's the allotted conference time for his evaluation:)  Although, Zeke's conference was so very encouraging earlier this week as well.  Two more conferences on Monday and I get to track myself out of Sanford creek for 3 lovely weeks!

After my morning conference I came home, did the breakfast thing with the kids and then loaded them up and took them to school.

The last stop was for Zeke's "Writing Celebration".  He had been planning on his friend joining us his parents wouldn't be able to make it.  How sweet is he?!  We actually ended up having 3 extras in our group.  One girl wrote about the first tooth she lost and get this, her mom gave her $10 for losing her tooth!  That's not even inflation, that's CRAZY!  I'm sticking with $.25 a tooth.  We have a cheap tooth fairy;)

Rainy is a sleep walker.  It is quite comical to hear her wandering around in the middle of the night in the dark.  Even if nobody hears her, there is always evidence.  This morning the kids bathroom had undies and jammy pants strewn on the floor and she woke up with a living room throw blanket and different jammies on, heehee.

I can't wait for...

Timer off.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

"She has your smile"

I posted a photo on Instagram Sunday afternoon of me and Alethia.

She had been a little bit upset about something so I "bribed" her with some cuddling on the couch;)
Because FOR HER, a little cuddling goes a L-O-N-G way.

After a few minutes we were both asleep.

I woke up before she did but I didn't dare move.  I wanted this moment to last as long as it could!
It brought back memories of when we first grafted her into our family in Uganda almost 3 years ago.  She was always the first one awake so almost every morning I would wake to her staring at her new mommy and daddy until we made sleepy eye contact giving her the ok to come crawl in the bed with us.  She would never just lay right next to us.  She would literally crawl on top of us, sinking in deep as she laid tummy to tummy.  Many times she would fall right back asleep, other times she would go into her habitual humming of the songs in the babies home.

These are sweet, sweet memories that I hope I NEVER forget.

Anyway, after posting that photo I had a friend who commented; "she has your smile".

I read that sentence.
And then I re-read that sentence.
Over and over again.
Glancing up at the picture of me and my daughter, carefully examining the curve of our mouths and the creases around our cheeks as we smiled.
Then back to the comment below.

I have done this more times than I can count now.

There is something about finding those little similarities that grows this mama's heart in a way that nothing else can.  Knowing that even in her birth mother's womb, God was thinking about her future.  Her forever family.  Giving her something that connects her to us.  Even in some of her physical features.

So in times when one, or both, of us is feeling a little disconnected we can always remember that there is a resemblance.  That we were meant to do life together.  I mean, we can both curl our tongue, even when nobody else in the family can.  And by golly she has MY smile!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Words Worth Remembering

after getting hurt Zeke rushed in to help Cai clean up his "wound" then helped him lay on his bed, got out his guitar and began singing to Cai to help him feel better

Cai:"Zeke, do you feel sad for me yet?"


Cai:"It wasn't a vewey good day.  Ms Sook said I almost got in twouble because I awmost cheated."
Josh:"I wanna know why she thought you were about to cheat.  Were you trying to look at somebody's paper, like Jordan?"
Cai:"No they were in a special spot."
Cai:"Jordan and Cooper."
Josh:"Was it because they were in trouble?"
Cai:"No. Tyler was not."
Me:"So nobody was in trouble?"
Cai:"No. Some people were just in special spots and some people were in their own seats."
Me:"And then Ms. Sook told you what?"
Cai:"No, Ms. Britson tode me that was cheating."
Me:"What was cheating?"
Cai:"But I didn't know what the six looked like because I couldn't wemember what it looked like."
Me:"So you asked somebody what a six looked like."
Cai:"I did ask Tyler, but I'm not supposed to because that is cheating."

shew, glad we figured that out;)


Cai:"but I don't want to go to school cuz I have to label tuff and labeling is twicky."


Alethia:"but I don't LIKE fish."
Josh:"But Ugandans LOVE fish!"
Areyna:"Well, obviously THAT Ugandan doesn't like them!"


Cai:"Dad, can you come help me with this game cuz dis is the twicky pawrt."


Jude:"Aaah own juice."
Me:"scuse me Mr.?"
Jude:"cuse me"
Me:"Can you ask nicely?"
Jude:"ummmm, k. now own juice."
Me:"we really need to work on the please part."


Cai:"but I don't like school cuz it's twicky!"


Areyna:" Are you going to practice the keyboard again today?"
Me:"Oh yeah.  I've got a lot to work on this weekend."
Zeke:"Well, I hope you don't break my amp!"


Cai:"I have so many itchies. They keep coming in my skin and then itching me."


Cai:"Unco Moose, are you feewing better fwom your stwipped thwoat?"
translation: Uncle Moose, are you feeling better from having strep throat?


Cai:"Pretend that I'm doing ballalet and you are my mom. Watch me point my toes."


Alethia:"I have a brain freeze in my mouth."

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Objectively Speaking

I am the first to admit that I'm an emotional thinker.

I can't help it.
It's the way I was made.
But even so, that doesn't mean that it's the RIGHT way to be.  I mean come on, just because I am MADE a certain way doesn't mean it's ok to embrace it, it just means I have to depend on the Lord even more in this area, to help me do it the right way.

But let's say I've been hurt by someone, or worse, you have hurt my family member(s) or a friend.  I'm just not going to like you very much.

At least that's my immediate response.
My default.

But the older and wiser I get, the more I am realizing the NEED to think objectively.

I can't just be mad at someone because of something I've heard that they've done.
I can't get frustrated because of a choice someone has made that is different than the choice I would have made.
I can't just believe something someone says without reading between the lines, praying about it, and then making my own decision and needed response.

In fact, I might be sitting in my self-inflicted so-mad-I-feel-like-my-insides-are-on-fire mental state for several hours before I ever realize that I need to check my attitude AND my thought patterns.

I have a handfull of people in my life that automatically pop in my head that are great objective thinkers.

Here is what I see:
they don't rush to conclusions
they don't jump on the trending bandwagon immediately
they don't just take someone else's word for something

they let the situation/act settle instead of fester

They can back away from the situation, no matter how personal it is, in order to get a proper assessment.
They can see through a bad choice and remember the life-long character behind the one acting inappropriately.  They can see between the lines of action to the root of the problem.

I am done basing my thinking on my inner hurts and feelings.
I want to strive to think objectively.

Because thinking objectively is the only way of loosening the grip of bitterness and revenge, and praying for the "enemy" who is doing the hurting.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Take Five

Band: Praise Baby
Song Title: one of the millions that we have

Timer set for 5 minutes...


Jude asks for "babababa" all the time.  That would be Praise Baby.  And Praise Baby has literally saved my life.  Rainy and Zeke grew up with Praise Baby, Album Leaf and Sigur Ros on the same playlist.  We must have gotten a little tired of it by the time Cai came along and so the only time it played was to help the littles fall asleep.

But now, we have reopened the world of the Praise Baby videos and Jude is a HUGE fan.

I had forgotten how magical it is in calming and settling the most "energetic" of kids.

So, now that I have about 30 consecutive minutes to accomplish things again I naturally thought blogging would be the best to start my day:)

All the kids have finally settled into the normal school routine.  Just in time to track out next week, ha!
But that's ok, because we have the Via Family Vacation to attend and then it can officially become FALL!

When I was at the beach last weekend we walked into a Bath and Body Works.  They had FALL candles ya'll!  I opened one, breathed it deep and literally got chills as my body jolted forward a month into the crisp fall morning air, walks in the fall through the crunchy orange leaves and cold nights cuddled up by the firepit with tea or wassail.  I.CANNOT.WAIT.

BUT, we aren't there yet and that's ok.

I have been shocked by the goings on in social media lately.  I feel like everyone, Christians included, are taking way too much joy in the fall of others and it honestly hurts my heart.  It seems as though everyone just wants to have a fight to fight, and they will do it at the expense of others.

All my kids have had a shoe basket by the front door...except for Jude.  He had one pair of shoes so we just kept them in his diaper bag for easy access.  But a couple of weeks ago when I was going through our clothes bins for some shoes that would fit Cai and Laithy I ran across Cai's old rain boots.  And wouldn't you know, they fit JUDE!  So of course I had to get a basket to put his shoes in, and for some reason he is my only child that actually puts his shoes AWAY when he gets home...if I can actually get them off of his feet:)