Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Back to School Week and a New Goal for me !

Last week all the kids went back to school.
Sad to see summer go! It's my fav. Really it is.
I have to admit I have liked some of the changes. 
There are moments when I can hear my own thoughts. 
And when I wipe down the counter it stays clean till 2:30.
Some changes are still not my favorite.
Hearing myself say  . . . . 
"Do you have homework done?"
"Hang up your back pack."
"Do not wear those expensive socks outside without shoes. Seriously!"
"Have you done your reading?"
"We have to get to bed."
"You have to get up."
"You have ten minutes till you gotta leave. Brush your teeth, finish eating, comb your hair, use deodorant and have a great day."
Gotta love the new lingo that comes with back to school. 

7th, 4th, 4th, and 2nd !
It's gonna be a good year.
Here's to knowledge!!

Ian went a day early so this is day 2 for him! (hence the different clothes from his first picture)

And my favorite back to school pic always --- the new shoes pic !!
Or maybe they are inspecting the crack! ha.
Back to School always seems to be a time to set new goals. 
The kids have new goals . . . read so many minutes, get homework done before xyz, etc. etc.
Well, this school year I have a new goal.

MORE FAMILY MEALS around the table.
For the first time in our families history, last year was a FAIL on this one.
I chalk it up to new schedules, new sports leagues, a new schedule for dad, a tired momma juggling several new things and just needing nights "off" when it was just us.
It's not that we didn't ever do it but it just wasn't as often as I'd like or as much as we had in the past.
Don't get me wrong, we gather around the table. We gather around food.
We gather with friends and neighbors all the time. 
My kids see our table as a place to invite people too.
They've seen and experienced a FULL table.
We've used our extra chairs and extended our table more this year than in years past 
and it's been beautiful.
I believe in the gathering places.
I strongly believe in inviting people to gather with you. 
So since we have the "invite" part down; this year on nights when it's just our family of six, my goal is to make it a priority to have the table be a place again for our family of six.
Family Dinners is just one aspect of gathering. 

And a little side fact is that current research is showing kids who had regular family meals together do better in college. (said a source I trust who read it in a book I haven't read yet - how do you like that for an accurate statistic - ha) I do however, believe it! 

I've recognized the challenges with this new season of my kids ages and activities.
I don't think you realize the struggle it is to keep the family meal going until you hit a certain "season" in life. Last year we hit that season. 
I've acknowledged the obstacles and I'm not at over achiever, my goal is not to 
make this happen every night.   Three or Four nights a week is my goal. 

Some of you are like . . only three or four nights?? Shoot for more!
We have at least two nights a week we gather around a table in "community" and kids eat and play and run off. They are observing gathering and community in another form that is so important. 
This leaves us with one or two other nights to just eat on the go and be laid back and eat once we all come in from a night of playing or again gather in other forms with friends.
I'm one to buck anything that takes on a legalistic form. 
So there is flex in all things for me.

I've never been a lunch person. 
So lunch isn't when we gather.
Yes, if we are all here at the same time I put stuff out and we all grab it and head to the table or counter to eat together but lunch is not my thing. If it was all up to me we'd all eat a good breakfast and as you need lunch in the day you'd get it yourself and then we'd all gather for dinner at the end of the day.  
One it's to expensive and time consuming to create three full sit down meals a day. 
Just. Can't. Do. It.

And breakfasts in this house is a "chaotic form of gathering".
We eat as we are all ready for school. We are all together but all doing what we need to do. 
With six people in the house we all function at different speeds in the am. 
I do however, love how, for the most part, we are all together in the am.
Some days many are eating together at the same time.
On most days, when a majority are present, I read a quick word of encouragement to the kids.
And usually one morning each weekend is a bigger breakfast time as a family with Dad cooking something yummy.

So dinner (the evening meal) is the goal this year!! 

Here's three things I've decided.
1.  If 4 or 5 of us are here, then 4 or 5 of us are here. 
2. The time may change daily. 
3.  It doesn't have to be fancy.

So far last week we nailed it and this week we are on track! 

I love the talks that come around the table. 
We do the "Boom and Bust" thing. They've always liked this regardless of age.
Your BOOM is something that was awesome in your day.
Your BUST is something that didn't go so well or that you didn't like. 
For years we did the chat packs for kids -- those are so great to ignite discussion. 
May have to pull those back out - my kids loved them.
As my kids grow up and move away I want them to look back and remember our solid wood table as a place we came together, laughed, shared our booms and busts of life and invited others too. I want it to  be a place they will keep coming back too and will be a place where they will invite others to join them at "their tables" to gather. 

Here's to a year of gathering around the table with my family!

Tonight we'll be gathering and I have no idea what we will be eating - we ate two great meals the last two nights and so I"m already out of ideas (ha) but food or no food we will be gathering. 


Thursday, August 21, 2014

I'm a Mom of Identical Twins - part one

I'm a mom of identical twin boys.
This is our normal so it's not something I write about all the time. 
I'm not apart of any "moms of multiples" groups but I live this life and I love it. 

In the last couple days it's been on my heart so much, my twin boys turned 10 so that has a big part in it. Then on their birthday I was in the store alone and saw a mom with a double stroller with twin infants and a young toddler following along with her.  
I was in a hurry or else I would have tried to strike up a conversation, but as I passed her and walked out of the store a wave of emotion hit me.  That was me. I wanted to congratulate her for being out, I wanted to tell her raising twins is the ride of your life, it's amazing to watch their bond, I wanted to tell her to not worry about the messes and just love those babies because in a blink they will be 10 like mine. 
That same day a good friend asked me if the boys were in the same class or different classes in school. He wondered if that was a hard decision.  
And then my husband posted this on face book:

"I often forget that raising twins isn't "normal". Only 3% of births are twins & only .3% of births are identical twins! Well, I'm glad that we're not normal! Watching these two grow up has been a daily adventure! " (info from wikipedia)

On Proactive Genetics site (they specialize in testing  ) they state:

"The rates of twinning for identical (monozygotic; MZ) twins are relatively constant worldwide at about 3.5 / 1000 births" 

It all just got me thinking about our "normal" and I decided to write on it.

Here's the background on our twin story. 
I was 26 years old. We already had a sweet 1 year old boy. We knew we wanted more children and had no problem getting pregnant with our first son.  We were hoping to have our kids close in age and so we attempted to have them about two years apart.  I found out I was pregnant and all went normal. Our children would be two years and two months apart, not bad for planning - ha.  I was young, twins didn't run in our family and I wasn't taking anything to help with getting pregnant so I had no inclining I was carrying twins. The only symptom, looking back, that was a huge indicator is that I was TIRED.  As I would tell people that, they would say, "Oh it's because you are chasing a toddler this time."  Yes, I was chasing a toddler but this was different. I'd take a shower and be DONE for the day. I wrote it off as just apart of this pregnancy.  

We went in for our first ultrasound and as the doctor was looking at the screen he said,
"There's one. And there's the other."
The other? 
He thought we knew, and immediately I sat up and at the same time my husband and I both spoke.
"Are you kidding?"
"You are you serious?"
The doctor tried to answer us both at the same time by saying, "No. Yes."
Which made it all more confusing in that split second.
Then he said, "Yes you are having twins."
The rest is a beautiful moment I wish I had on video.  
We squeezed hands the remainder of the visit and looked in awe at a screen that showed two babies at the same time (they were 18 weeks) and they were moving and playing with each other. 
Never in my wild imagination could I have planned for this.
I cried and laughed the rest of the appointment. 
I sad up looking, then would lay back and shut my eyes. 
At one point I said, "See I told you. I was tired. I was creating two babies!"
And at one point my husband said, "Well, we said wanted our kids close together."
It was one of the few things in my life that was a genuine, no idea kinda surprise. 
To this day I'm thankful they were small enough yet that we could see them on the screen at the same time, I'm not sure I would have believed the doctor had I not been able to see them both at the same time. 
We went home in shock, with a healthy fear, and just in awe!

My pregnancy was healthy and went to 37 weeks to the day. 
I wasn't on formal bed rest but I was asked to be off my feet and take it easy the last months. 
Our babies were born c-section because "baby A" had not turned in time. 
After a certain point their just isn't anymore room in this momma to move.
I was four feet around the night before delivery.

Part 1: The Very Early Days

I could sum up the early years with these short phrases.

In awe.
Learning to accept help.
Beyond tired.
Breakthrough moments thinking that we can do this.
Lots of laughter.
Crazy amounts of love.

It was an amazing time. One I'd honestly do again because the good far outweighed the hard.
I learned to allow people to help me.
I don't even want to list all the help and support we had because I'm not sure it's normal for one couple to have so many people in their life that loved them and supported them.
Our families, my mom especially, friends and our church community were priceless at the time. 
They gave in ways I can never repay. 
I had two friends at the time who had gone before one on this road and were moms of twin boys …. this was an amazing gift. Their twins were older, one set were in the elementary years and the other set were on the high school years. I was armed with experienced twin mom help!! 

Questions galore came in those first months. Here are the most frequent questions people asked. 

Are they twins?  - This one is sort of a funny question but I've asked it too of others. We would sometimes try to come up with funny ways to answer this like, "No they are just brothers." :))

Are they identical? -  We knew this was going to be a question asked often. We felt it was a very important piece of information for the boys to know about themselves. It's not as easy to determine, even with them looking so much alike and with knowing some of the medical things surrounding their delivery and birth.

My boys are Monozygotic (meaning identical)  Monochorionic - Diamniotic twins, meaning they shared the same placenta with two amniotic sacs.  

Little science lesson for you:
Monozygotic (Identical) twins split into two zygotes at some time very early in the pregnancy. The timing of the egg separating into two determines the chronicity (the number of placentae) and amniocity (the number of the sacs) of the pregnancy.  For Monochorionic - Diamniotic twins they split took place between days 4-8.

The doctors predicted they were identical because of the information they have, but they can determine that for sure in a majority of cases because of the many possibilities (if identical twins separate early enough, the arrangement of sacs and placentas in utero is indistinguishable from dizygotic -fraternal - twins.) 
No one should go through life not knowing something like this about themselves. 
So we sent off for DNA tests. 
This was a simple cotton swap test (in the mouth) and was advertised in Twin Magazine. 
We did this when they were 1.5 months old.

I would highly recommend this to any twins of any age.  It's a neat paper to have tucked away with their birth certificate. Because siblings of any age can have some of the same DNA markers twins can look so much alike and yet not be identical.  Think about how many times a mom says of one of their children that they look just like so and so did when they were a baby.  

Here's the link for DNA testing.  Proactive Genetics :

And here's a little more reading from Proactive Genetics on determining if they are identical or fraternal.

My physician already determined that the twins are fraternal. Why have a DNA test?

Interestingly, about 25-33% percent of the time when there are two sets of membranes (i.e. dichorionic) identified at delivery, the twins are actually identical and not fraternal. If the fertilized egg splits prior to 2 days after conception, two complete placentas and two sets of membranes are formed causing dichorionic placentation. This is a common misunderstanding that leads to incorrect zygosity classification. This is true regardless if the dichorionic placenta is fused or not. Unless a DNA or other blood test was performed, it is difficult to definitively determine if like-sexed dichorionic twins are fraternal. A DNA test is the easiest way to resolve this potential confusion. back to top

My physician already determined that the twins are identical. Why have a DNA test?

When a pathologist or physician correctly examines the membranes surrounding the twins and determines that the twins were monochorionic, the twins are always identical or monozygotic (MZ), regardless if the amniotic membrane is shared (i.e. monoamniotic) or non-shared (i.e. diamniotic) and a twin zygosity test is not warranted. Sometimes the placental examination is skipped or made difficult by the delivery, especially if there was a cesarian section. If chorionicity is unknown or uncertain, a DNA test is the best way to definitively know if like-sexed twins are identical or fraternal. back to top

Do you nurse them at the same time?  -- I will spare you the details. The short answer is yes, it saves crazy amounts of time. I nursed them till they were 4 or 5 months old at which point I felt like I just couldn't do it. 
It was Christmas of 2004 and after that holiday and being with both sides of the family and  people all the time I felt like I had just spent weeks sitting in a room alone (because nursing double out in public isn't a hidden site.) I was emotional over it and knew this was the end. I never regretted my decision.  I support a mom to do whatever a mom needs to do. Nurse, bottle feed, pump, whatever . . . it was never worth it to me to go insane. Each mom needs to pick their battles and know their body and their limits. 

I did have "places" picked out at various location that I knew would work well for nursing doubles with a toddler in tow.  JC Pennys  Enid, OK mall had a great big dressing room.  I'd wheel that double stroller and my toddler in there and hang out for 20-30 minutes.  I'm sure they wondered what the heck was taking me so long in trying on clothes. It had enough space for the stroller and for my toddler to play on the floor. I needed a contained space, I wasn't going to be able to chase a toddler int he middle of nursing. 

Do they sleep in the same crib?Our boys slept in the same crib. We had both cribs up but they both slept in one crib till they were rolling around.  I also had a pack in play that was a permanent fixture in our kitchen where they both laid and many time slept throughout the day.

Most of the time I'd find them facing each other, I would put them on opposite sides often just to help them turn different ways.

How do you tell them apart?
I made bracelets for my boys in the hospital. Carter was a dark blue and Coleson was a baby blue bead and they said their names. 
This was for us and for anyone that was helping them in a nursery situation. 
They wore these bracelets until they were like 6 months and I never took them off unless I was making them a larger one. 
The genius of the bracelets was that in pictures I just always made sure one babies "color" was showing so when I went back and looked at pictures of them I knew who it was. 

Knowing them apart was a big deal to me. It still is.
It's probably the thing I fretted about the most as their birth came near. 
Would I know them apart?
How will I bond with both of them?
I'll talk about "the bond" in part two of these posts but the bracelets were a life saver. 

And the comment (it wasn't a question) that I wish I had tallied every time someone said it . . .   "You have your hands full."  
To which I should have replied, "Yes, yes I do so can you just help me." Lol. 
I get why they said it but it's a hard one to reply to and a comment that could mean so many things . . . . you are crazy for having so many kids (as if you can MAKE twins happen), you look tired (thanks for noticing), or you are super mom and you are rocking it (I tried to tell myself that's what that comment really meant!).  

Yes my hands were literally full! 

Advice I'd give moms of infant twins.

Accept help. It's not a sign of weakness. Look at it as a way to enhance your experience and make it even more beautiful.  This was a hard one for me but at some point you just know you need it. To this day, it's a life lesson I know God used to stretch me.  

Grammy (my mom) was a life saver! 
Get out with them. Take a walk, go get a few groceries, go to a girlfriends house. It may be a lot of work to get out the door and it may just be for a few minutes but it will make you feel normal and will break down the fear of "I can never go anywhere again." This is your family. This is who you will do life with and the sooner you just do it the better. Take a friend. Think through what you can handle. Don't over do it. Start small but get out!! 

Don't allow yourself to wonder what others are thinking of you.  I did this. Our first full day solo outing as a family we went to a Thomas the Tank Engine day and then to a HS football game. As we walked up to the stands at the game I felt the eyes. One set of eyes were saying, "Awesome. Look at them. They got out. Good for them." The other set of eyes were saying, "What are they doing? It's late. It's cold. They are gonna get sick. They are crazy."  I'm not sure ever conquered this one. But I sure tried. Eventually, I had to tell myself, this is our life, it may be crazy, but it's ours and we are gonna do it the best we can.  What it did help me do it to not judge other moms or families . . . we are all doing the best we can and doing what we think is best for the people in our walls.

Buy a kick butt stroller. You won't regret this purchase. It's your lifeline when you are out. At one point we had 7 strollers - I know insane.  Double carseat strollers (or as I called them "mall strollers"), single carseat stroller (from our firstborn and later fourth born), double jogging stroller (never really jogged but the best for outside), single jogging stroller, double umbrella (this became important when I was pregnant with our 4th and needed a light weight one to use when they were toddlers, this was my most loved stroller as they got older), and then two single umbrella strollers. Crazy! It was a great garage sale the day we sold all those. 

Week one at home -- just getting out for a short walk.  Yes we look very tired.
Sleep when you can.  Really enough said on that. You need it. You can tackle all things better with a little sleep.

Don't forget to be in awe at what is happening in front of your eyes. It's a crazy amazing experience to carry, birth and watch two human beings bond. Don't let the structures, the tasks, the sleepless season make you forget that you are living amongst miracles. You have a front row seat at two beautiful creations! Look at the little things. The way they turn towards each other as they sleep, the way they get in each others "space". Oh dear moms, don't miss it. It's beautiful ! 

(Part 2 - The Bond -- Coming up on the next post.)

I'd love to hear from any of you moms of twins. Where are you at in the seasons? What advice would you give in the infant years OR what do you need advice on. I'd love to hear from you. 


Monday, August 18, 2014

Something for all Ya'll.

This is a must read. 
Been a Christian since you could breathe? This is a book for you.
Been a believer for a long time but need a new fresh wind to blow into you life? This book is for you?
Done with religion/church but not done with God?  This book is FOR YOU!
By chance are you planting a church? This book is FOR YOU!
Just like to read good stuff? This book is for you.
And I urge YA'LL to read it.  (Had to add some Texas flare in here for our Texas author!) 

It's one of those books I just want everyone to read. 
I blogged about it here when it was released. 
Today I'm doing a book review for Jen's "blog tour".

In Jen's post today this hit me . . .

"Church planting is harder than you think. Following Jesus is complicated and not everyone comes to grace on the same path you’ve walked. God has set you ablaze, but you have much to learn still. Be humble, be a good listener, be gracious, be kind. You will regret burning bridges like a pyro but you will never regret gentleness."

This is my life. 
Just wrapped up year one of church planting with my husband in Utah. 
How I pray we've been good listeners, built bridges, been gracious and kind and more than anything lived out the crazy love Jesus has for each one of us.
I've been a believer in Christ for many a years but my heart beats for those who are done with religion or church but are not done with God. There are so many out there needing a fresh look at the gospel. Needing to know it isn't what so many of us (myself included) have made it. 
I'm on a journey to love God, love People, and Serve the World.
Jen's book spurs us on to do just THAT!! 

Jen entered my world in the form of her fist copy of "Interrupted".  I highlighted it like a mad women feeling like someone out there was relating with the inner struggles I was experiencing with God.
The revised and expanded version is even more amazing. Different things are challenging me. Things are REchallenging me! 

A couple pages I'm chewing on from the book . . . 

"Our only hope is to follow the example of Jesus and get back out there, winning people over with the ridiculous love and a lifestyle that causes them to finally sit up and take notice.  Listen, no church can ever do this for me - not one who once hired us, not one we started, not an invented on in our imaginations. This is my high calling: to live on mission as an adopted daughter of Jesus. If people around me aren't moved by my Christ or my church, then I must be doing a miserable job of representing them both."  (page 95)

Boom. There it is. My thoughts exactly.
Live on mission. 
Let's be people who the world "sits up and takes notice". Let's REPRESENT well, not defend but represent.  Jen's book brings a women's voice and experience to the missional conversation. 

And this long quote . . .
"Outside of my spiritual titles - pastor's wife, Bible teacher, Christian author and speaker - there were no radical lifestyle distinctions that would cause anyone to say, "Wow you live a really different life." I realized I was completely normal. But my Savior was the most un-normal guy ever. And it was His un-normal ideas that made everything new. Truly, Jesus never fit in. HE was never the cool guy. He was always wrecking everyone's life. I'm positive the disciples sat on pins and needles  when Jesus talked to a crowd, worried what crazy thing He might say next. But it wasn't just what He said; it was what He did. It was who He spent time with, who He talked to, who He argued with - to say nothing of His very unaffluent life. If we took Jesus' famous teachings away and just focused on the way He lived, He would still be radical. Which, of course, I've heard but somehow I was content letting Jesus do the messy work. I would just talk about it. Or I made it fit, inventing a way to merge it with my normal context. Sure, He hung out with lepers, but we don't really have a leprosy epidemic anymore, so I'll just be kind to customer service reps and telemarketers, which is about the same sacrifice . . am I right?"(page 51)

Oh how we I do this.
In the margin next to this part I wrote . . . "Are we normal? Am I normal?"

Let's get messy. 
It will be worth it. 

Interrupted is refreshing, it's challenging and it spurs you on to live out your faith. 
Like I say every time I talk about Jen's writing or speaking style, she goes deep but gives you comic relief along the way. To me this is a beautiful combination. To me it's an honest dialogue and it's beautiful.

I hope all YA'LL read it. 

(This post is a part of Jen's BLOG TOUR. You can check out all the other blog reviews and read more about Jen Hatmaker here.)

W - I - N - N - E - R
And to announce the winner of the free Interrupted book from my last post on it . . . Gina you won yourself a copy. Shoot me your address and I'll get it in the mail with a fresh highlighter! 


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Back to School brings out two sides of me!

I don't know what it is about the "back to school" month but it leaves me nostaligic and to be honest totally split on my thoughts and emotions.

On the one hand this momma is loosing it.
If I run the dishwasher 2 or 3x in a day ONE MORE time I'm gonna lose it.
All of a sudden the "boys locker room feel" in my kitchen is too much.
Mouthguards and shoulder pads on the kitchen counter?? Really?
Everyone is fending for themselves when it comes to certain meals.
I tell myself this is a good thing ... my boys know how to crack open a can of Spaghetti O's or make a microwave bowl of mac n cheese.
I'm preparing them for the real world someday right? 

I'm craving real meals.
I don't think I can eat another hot dog.
I need them to leave for several hours so I can hear the quiet. 
As I type this I hear the three boys playing and one says, "I don't want to fight. That's when people get mad and leave the game. So let's just play."
The other two chuckled and they all kept playing.
My jaw dropped --- maybe this summer we all have learned some new problem solving techniques.

It's been a good summer.
Even with all the fast microwaved food, the locker room feel, and fighting I don't want it to end.
I adore summer.
But all good things come to an end.
Because of that, this is why I also have all the nostalgic emotions about another year down, another summer over, a new season on the horizon, new, new, new . . . . . and it makes me think of the individuals we are raising.
It makes me stay up late at night asking myself questions like . . .
Are our kids catching what we are "preaching" by how we live?
Will they thrive this year in their classrooms and with their teachers?
Do I stop enough to see them grow up? 
I'll stop with those three questions, for fear then you will be up late asking yourself questions and someone needs to be sleeping! 

So this post is a shout out to my tribe of four!
It's probably one of those posts that many don't wanna read, it's more for this momma and the grandparents I guess - but here it goes.

The crazy four!!

The oldest --- Ian.
The one that has to do everything FIRST making my mom heart go crazy.
Starting middle school in two days.
Has a crazy love for community.
People matter to him. People make everything better.
But he also has a place that's just for him, I think this is where he refuels when he's had enough of people and just needs to be alone --- his books!
He is a mad reader.
He's great with little kids.
Says "I love you" easily and doesn't care if I'm silly in public.
He's a great friend.
He's nostalgic. 
He's a cuddler and would let me tickle his back for hours.
He's a goof ball - everything should be fun or why do it?
He's on the fence about growing up. 
He has his challenges - they all four do - but this post isn't about those.

Carter - the oldest twin - yes that matter to him.
He's a minute older.
Sweetest kid you'll ever meet.
You can see behind his eyes when he's trying to take in the world.
 He thinks deep.
He loves people. Never wants another one hurt.
Sometimes I think he's an old soul in a 10 year old body.
He moves fast, I've described him as a hyper puppy at times - just excited to explore life.
 He can still play make believe like crazy.
Always looking for a good time.
Makes me laugh - great humor.
Question asker.
Loves hugs and to cuddle up with dad or I on the couch.
Still sits close to his bros when watching a movie. 
Like his big brother says, "I love you" easily & doesn't care if I'm silly in public.
Watching him challenge himself to do something is a site this momma loves to watch. 


Coleson- the minute younger twin - but that doesn't phase him!
I adore watching this kid maneuver life.
He isn't missing a minute of it in that brain of his.
Black and white.
Whitty - his comments crack me up because of the honesty behind the humor.
Life should be fun and pe time should be great.
Deep thinker - again, old soul in a young body.
He loves people. Thinks deep about them.  I learn from him.
Asks lots of question and then processes them for himself.
Says what he thinks. 
He's the first one up for school and the most on top of getting ready.
On the move and quick.
And like his brothers, he says  "I love you" easily and doesn't care if I act silly in public.
A cuddler.

 Tatum - the girl!
She's a fierce one.
Loves hard. Lives loud. In love with love.
Loves to dress the part of whatever she does.
Can get dirty and leave her hair ratty and just go with it
Can accessorize an outfit with the best of them.
Is a great friend. Loves people. 
Oblivious to certain things . . . on the playground why wouldn't everyone be able to join in?
Come one, come all.  
Still wants mom to say the hard things like telling a friend she doesn't want to come out to play.
She wouldn't want to hurt them.
Lives up to the meaning of her name (Bringer of Cheer).
The fiesty side she saves for those who love her best reminds me of me. (Help me Jesus.)
Just wants to have a good time,  can live with no care in the world.
She loves to give me a massage or play with my hair but doesn't like me to dance, sing or tell stories to others about the funny things she said as a little kid. 
Unlike her bros, she doesn't want me to be silly in public.
Just looking at this pic makes me want to squeeze her. 
She's my sweetie.

That's my tribe.
The ones that dominate our "world".
The ones that we pray will be world changers!
School is coming . . . bring it on . . . these four are ready, are sort of ready, will be ready.


Friday, August 8, 2014

Two Great Days

I feel like writing these next words is a real tragedy . . .

Summer is going to end. 
It always does. I wish it could linger a little longer.

We had a crazy whirlwind summer.
Filled it with lots of on the road time.
Many friends - near and far.
And did I say lots of on the road time??
I'd be lying if I didn't say it's left us a little weary.
Their are two days this summer that are by far my two favorite days of the entire summer!

San Francisco and Santa Cruz!
While on our way to a conference we added in two days that would just be our days.
Two days - on our own time frame - hanging as a family - enjoying the joy that comes when you explore new places - a realization that my kids are growing so fast - they were such good days - a reminder to me that I love this little big family of mine!
We are a mess of a family most of the time.
Doing the daily grind of meeting each persons unique needs and all the while trying to point each other to Jesus.
We are a mess but I love this messy family and these were good days of remembering that!

There is something almost magical about exploring a city with a family. 
They see things we don't see.
They ask things we don't ask.
To give me kids a tiny glimpse at how others live is priceless to me.
It broadens their horizons and reminds them everyone doesn't live the same.
I love watching my whole tribe walk down a street.
We all were looking forward to the soup in a bread bowl --- I may have pumped them up for that for weeks - and it did not disappoint. They loved it.

Then onto the beach for another amazing day.
I heart the beach!
It's a happy place for me for sure.
Full of the awe and wonder of God's creations.

Good days. Good memories.

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