Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sigh of Relief/Letting Go

After 4 days of mama worrying, Emma came home today.

We dropped her off at Wake Forest University Monday for her first ever sleep-over camp. It was 101 degrees. Enough said??

I left my baby to put herself to bed at night in a dorm room. Yeah, that was a little scary to me. I worried for 4 days. That she would be scared, or need me. That she would get lost. Or sick, or hurt. Or be too hot and pass out from dehydration and heat exhaustion, and no one would find her. (yes, I have an active imagination.) I worried about whether she would take showers, or eat enough at meals. Would she put her sunscreen on? It's July in NC!

She's been my little girl for 10 years now. And it was hard to know that she was out there, without me being there to mommy her. HOW COULD SHE MAKE IT WITHOUT ME???

I used to think of myself as so capable of things when I was a kid. Of course it never occurred to me that any of my new-found and progressive independence ever worried my parents. I never stopped to think, as I grew up, that it might be hard for my parents to let go.

And now here I am, after 10 years of mommy-ing (is that a word?), realizing that I've got some letting go to do.

Emma had a blast. She came home with that camp-experience high, and wished that it went longer. She has no sunburn. She didn't drown in the pool. She ate, and slept, and bathed. She laughed, and made friends, and gained confidence in herself.

I was so happy for her. I know she'll remember it for the rest of her life.
And I'm so happy for me, too. Cuz I can sleep tonight without worrying! :-)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Time Flies

"Time flies."
How many times have I heard that??

"Savor each moment with your kids when they are young. It goes by so fast!"
I know, heard that a gazillion times, too.

But it's really sinking in for me.

If you know me well, then you have likely heard me proclaim that I will NEVER, EVER make a scrapbook. Cuz I'm just not that type of organized gal. Our pictures are all stored online, and I think the last one I had printed was four years ago.

Emma left today for church camp, (more on that later), and Clara wanted somthing to pass the time while she was away. So I enrolled her in a three day scrapbooking class this week. The trick is -- (get this.....) -- she has to bring 24 printed pictures with her. Imagine that!!

I spent the past hour or two online, looking through pictures of the last 7 years of our family's life. I felt absolutely transported back in time. Back to the days when I had two tiny little girls with shiny white hair, huge smiles and matching dimples that would melt your heart.

I saw pictures of fancy Christmas dresses, princess Halloween costumes, birthdays, and first days of school. Matching pink outfits. Ballet class. Tea parties. Welcoming baby brother to the world. A happy family.

A Blessed Family.

I reminiced with teary eyes. I wanted so badly to reach through the computer, into those photographs, and hug those precious little girls. My goodness, how time flies.

There is a big part of me that misses them being so little. And yet I'm so proud of the wonderful young ladies they are. They are beautiful, inside and out. They love God. They love each other, and their family. They are kind, and funny, and smart and thoughtful. And I wouldn't change a thing.

It was impossible to pick just 24 pictures from Clara's life. What a wonderful life God has given her (and all of us) so far!

The trip down memory lane was good for my heart. It's made me almost burst with thankfulness. And it's reminded me to savor each moment. Right here and now. Because pretty soon, today will be a memory, too.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It's Family

We have had a crazy few days over here.
We have had extended family in town visiting since Saturday. My uncle, his wife, and their 6 year old daughter Olivia (my cousin!) were in from IL.

We started the weekend with a birthday party, then a pool party with family, then everyone going to dinner and a ball game. Sunday was church, my sisters baby shower, and then 18 family members at my house for dinner. Monday we all packed it up and went to the beach for the day. Tuesday we wore ourselves out at the gym and pool. Last night I broke my nose, and this morning we got up early for horse riding.

And right now I am just SITTING HERE DOING NOTHING!!!


My girls really enjoyed playing with their cousin, whom they have only met once before. They all got along pretty well, and were sad to see her leave last night.

It's funny, because even though the kids didn't really know each other before their arrival, preparations started well before they got here. Rooms had to be cleaned, toys picked up. I even made a trip to Justice to buy Olivia a singing Hannah Montana doll as a suprise gift from Emma and Clara. We ran around like nuts once they arrived and spent far more money than we had intended, just to give everyone a good time and be together. But mainly because - it's family.

Isn't there a different kind of willingness that we show to family that we don't even know well or ever see? A certain way that we tend to put their needs and desires ahead of our own, and give them the royal treatment, because - it's family.

There are so many people that we all come into contact with everyday. Friends, neighbors, acquaintances, coworkers. Some we like, some we aren't so crazy about. What if we could somehow manage to treat everyone like long-lost family? What if we truly could love each other like Christ loves His church? See each other as family members, who all have the same Father? Because all those people - they really are family.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Old Ballgame

Last night we took all three kids to a baseball game. There were severe thunderstorms in the forecast, and it started to POUR while we were driving there.

My brother-in-law had tickets from work, and we all had VIP parking, a private room and meal and drinks for free! My two sisters, parents, and some of our friends also went. We were unsure about taking John, and I called around to a few sitters. But alas, no one was available with one hour advance notice. So we took him. I'm so glad we did!

We got to wait in the private room while it finished raining. Then we took our seats, expecting John to last a whole 10 minutes. But he LOVED it! Since Papa is such a big baseball fan, he had fun sitting with John, and trying to explain baseball to him and the girls.

We all had free t-shirts, all the kids had them on. They looked really cute all sitting in a row in these massive adult sized t-shirts. They laughed and goofed around, and stuffed themselves with treats. John had Goodberry's (frozen custard), popcorn, sno-cone he mooched from his cousin, and candy. He stuffed himself so much that we were about 99% sure we would be experiencing his treats all over again on the ride home. They lasted until 10:15 at the ballpark, and got to bed at almost 11pm.

It was a really fun night, and the kids had a blast.

What was NOT a blast was waking them up early this morning to go to horse riding lessons.
But that's another story.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Big Dreams

The 4th has passed, and it was a good weekend for us.

The morning started with our annual tradition of drinking root beer floats for breakfast! The girls LOVE it and talk about it all year!

Then we took the kids to our town's Old Fashioned Celebration in the downtown area. It was fun - and hot! They had lots of kids games, and a bunch of huge inflatables to jump and slide on, and lots of sno-cones!

Later I took the girls to the pool while John napped. Then family came over to grill.

BUT..... fireworks were RAINED OUT! A thunderstorm started 10 minutes before we were going to leave to see the show. Thankfully a neighbor had some cool fireworks that he shot off in the rain, so we stood on the front porch to watch them. John didn't know any better, and he loved it!

Later we watched the Boston Pops play to the fireworks on TV.

What touched me most was seeing our US troops, dressed in their military clothing, listening to the music and watching the fireworks. I kept wondering what their background was, and what was going through their minds at that moment. These are men and women who risk their lives every day to protect us and our freedom.

Many years ago, some men had a big dream. A dream of freedom for our country.

A dream that probably seemed impossible to most.

And yet God gave it to them.

Without promise of what the end result would be.

And we sit here today because of men (and women) who trusted God enough to pursue the dream He put in their hearts.

While I could never compare anything I go through with the struggles and dreams of our Founding Fathers, I've found myself in a situation lately that reminds me of their big dreams.

I'm planning a big event at church right now. Without going into details, it is (God willing) going to be huge! But it's stressing me out.

And recently, I had some ideas about it that seem kind of crazy. As in, crazy BIG.

Yes, I'm thinking BIG, because we have a BIG God.

But these big ideas scare me a little bit, because I don't want to be disappointed. And I don't want anyone to think my "crazy big" thinking is just plain crazy.

With a lot of prayer, I know God will reveal what it is He has in store for this event.

What about you? How do you deal with big dreams?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Favorite Recipe - Chicken Cacciatore

Works For Me Wednesday!

Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer is asking for favorite 5 ingredient recipes today, as part of "Works for Me Wednesday."

Mine is Chicken Cacciatore, and you'll really love it!

In a crockpot, add:

3 large chicken breasts, on the bone, but no skin
5 links of italian sausage, each cut in 3 pieces
1 large onion, cut in wedges
2 green bell peppers, cut in thick slices
1 jar spaghetti sauce

Cook this on low for 8 hours. I like to serve it over spaghetti. Delicious!

*If you are feeling spunky and want to add more than 5 ingredients, then go ahead and add some fresh cloves of garlic*

BTW, to read Shannon's blog, which I've really enjoyed, go to:


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Passports and More

I spent part of my day today with Ryan and the kids at the post office, getting our passports renewed. FUN!

We went to Europe 12 years ago, before kids. And we haven't been out of the country since.

My passport expired two years ago. Ryan's expired in 2000!

And so now, with the possibility of a trip looming, we need those bad boys to be current!

This is what I hate about the renewal process though:

1) We aren't even sure that we are going anywhere anytime soon.
2) Just in case we go somewhere this month, we needed to expedite our requests.
3)That costs a lot of money. For something we might not even need this year!

But what if?

Good question.

Doesn't it apply to so many things in life?

Although the cost seemed high to renew, would I be willing to pay the price of not having it when it's needed, and ruining a posible vacation?

What things in life am I waiting on doing, just because it's an inconvenience now?

I want to live my life in such a way that when the storms come, I am secure. Secure in my relationship with God. Confident in His Word, because I've spent time letting it seep into my life and my heart - changing me from the inside out.

I want to look back and know that I did the things that needed to be done to make a better tomorrow.

Our gracious friend and travel agent commented a few days ago, "Just think, once you have your passports, you're ready to go wherever you want for the next 10 years!"

I liked that comment, because that's what got me thinking.

If I take time today, to get ready for tomorrow, who knows what awesome things God will bring my way??