If you wanna feel better about your family, just read about ours...

Starring: a dad, a mom, a son & daughter-in-law, a daughter & son-in-law, a teen, a tween, a grandson, a granddaughter, 3 dogs, 2 rabbits, 2 dwarf frogs, an unfortunate number of tadpoles, and a whole lot of love.




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Friday, January 30, 2015

22

Today is our 22nd anniversary.

Twenty-two of the hardest, but most wonderful years of my life spent with my best friend.  Our lives so intertwined that I can't tell where mine ends and his begins.  Joy in the memories we've made, excitement for the adventures to come, and contentment in our here and now.  

And yet, I'm finding this post hard to write. 

On the heels of a year where we witnessed the effects of Satan's marital grenades hitting too close to home, I'm sitting here with so little to say, yet so much that could be said.

I could talk about the collateral damage that ensues when you watch marriages end and it occurs to us that we might be a happily married couple today, but at some point might decide we're not so happy after all.
Paranoia.  Distrust.  Fear.

I could talk about watching the marriages that battle back and win.
Forgiveness.  Hope.  Victory.  

I could talk about the things we do within our own marriage to guard against potential areas of attack.
Safeguards.  Boundaries.  Accountability.

I could talk about the things everyone already knows in how to stay connected with each other.
Dating.  Intimacy.  Communication. 

But here's the deal.  Only God knows the intricate details within a marriage.  There's no formula or blanket statements that apply to everyone as a whole and it's not for anyone on the outside to judge.  The only thing I do know is that each and every one of us will answer for our own actions and the ripple effects that those actions cause.

So for me personally, at the end of the day, it all boils down to this:
Am I going to do what I vowed to do 22 years agoEven when it's hard?  Or on days I'm not happy?  For better or for worse?  For richer, for poorer?  In sickness and in health?  Till death do us part? 

You're damn right I am. 

Ron,
Thank you for your unconditional love and please forgive me for all the areas where I fall short.  It's my honor to faithfully spend the rest of my life by your side.  Your best friend, your lover, your wife.
I love you.

'What God has joined together, let no one separate.'
Mark 10:9




Friday, January 16, 2015

iPrank

Parental fail.
You recognize it when you're in the middle of it, but by then it's usually too late.

So let me tell you about Kearstin's 'big gift' for Christmas 2014.
I'll start by listing all the things we did right.

1.  We bought her an iPhone 5S.

Yep, that's pretty much the only thing we did right.

As you know, the goal with any Christmas gift, much less the big gift, is to see their face when they open it with the family at Christmas.  Her current phone had to be mailed back within 7 days of receiving her new phone.  The dilemma arose when we received her new phone 2 weeks before Christmas.  Crap

How do we get her old phone away from her for a week without telling her about her new phone?

We discussed options:
Tell her about the new phone?  (Unthinkable!)
Ground her and take away her phone?  (Hard to justify doing that to a 15 year old who gets straight A's and shows zero signs of teenage rebellion...knock on wood...) 

That was pretty much the end of our options list.
Until one night, an option presented itself.

We were leaving her basketball game on a cold rainy night and she didn't want to get her cheer shoes wet so she jumped into Ron's arms and he carried her out to the van.  Somewhere along the way, she dropped her phone and while Ron and I searched the dark parking lot, an idea occurred"Let's not tell her when we find her phone!"

It doesn't matter whose idea it was, okay?  Why throw around names?  I mean, history would indicate that it was Ron, right?  So let's just go with that.

Get off my back, it was me, alright?!?  IT. WAS. ME!!!

When Ron found her phone, he slipped it to me, I hid it in my purse and we climbed back into the van explaining that it was too dark and told her someone would surely find it and turn it into the office.

As I gave Ron a sly smile and a thumbs up, the sobbing began in the backseat.  What the...

I looked back to see tears streaming down her face.  Ron gave me his frantic what do we do gesture.  I answered with my how the crap am I supposed to know gesture. 

By the time we arrived home, we'd decided that as much as it pained us, we had no choice but to fess up and give her the new phone.  I mean we couldn't have an honor student sobbing around the house for a week acting like a normal hormonal teenager.  Geesh. 

While she lay in her bed crying, Ron and I unpacked the new phone and he said, "Oh, no...this isn't her phone...this is yours.  Merry Christmas."  Son of a !!! 

So we headed to her room to crush her soul twice in one night.  I put a phone in each hand and both hands behind my back.  In my cheeriest mom voice I said, "Hey Kearstin, pick a hand!"  She looked at me like I'd just said, "Who wants to go to the doctor to get her shots?"  It took 5 long minutes of convincing, but she finally decided to put an end to this psychotic game and pick a hand.  I pulled out my arm and revealed her old phone and smiled and said, "It's not lost!"  and waited for her to jump out of bed and give me a hug.  Instead she screamed "WHY DO YOU HATE ME?!?"   I said, "Wait!  Pick another hand!!!"  and she screamed, "GET. OUT!!!!"

Holy crap, we've unleashed the teen years.
I whipped my head to Ron who shrugged with his deer in the headlights look.

If our bottom-of-the-parental-barrel "pick a hand" move isn't solving this, we're screwed.  

So I pulled out the new phone and put it in front of her.  The sobs stopped as her eyes adjusted to what she was seeing.  She looked up at me with her tear stained face, gave me a huge grin and said,
"Is this mine?!?"

"Well, no, this one's actually mine."

We totally rock this parenting thing.






Thursday, January 1, 2015

Remembrance and Resolution, 2015

The only resolution I felt God telling me last January was to 'Be still.'  I didn't understand why or know what it meant.  Looking back, I see it as the warning I didn't heed.

If my life were a snow globe, 2014 was the year somebody picked it up and shook the crap out of it, or as I call it, 'The year my children tried to kill me.'

I survived, albeit with 8 extra pounds, 12 new wrinkles and countless stray grays popping out of the top of my head every time I look in the mirror, but I survived.

Event after event after event and in between events was all the prep work for the next event.  Bridal showers, graduations, marriages, baby showers, holidays, birthdays, receptions, parties, work,...life...and the panic within of what mine would look like when the snow in my globe finally settled to the bottom.

My remembrance of 2014 is as the year of change.  On every level.  Change.

Half of my children moved out of our home.  We're a family of 4.  They each married their best friend.  We're a family of 8.  I left my job at the salon, cut my massage hours down to one day a week in my home office and in a leap of faith, jumped into the world of Freelance Writing.  I still don't know what that even means, but I know that God told me to do it.  Other aspects of my life that I won't share were suddenly altered.  Things around me that I never thought would change.  Boom.  Changed.

Basically, most of 2014 spun wildly out of my control and let's just keep it real here.  Although a lot of it was good, I spent most of it in fear.

Then, on November 12th, something amazing happened.  My son and his wife welcomed a son who will call me 'Sassy.'  And with that, we're a family of 9.  Different.  Natural.  A new normal. 

There are two images in my mind of this past year that I want to carry into the next.  The first is an anchor.  On the surface, I might feel like a ship rocking wildly out of control as life's storms rage and the waves of circumstance crash against me.  But as long as I'm tethered to the One who is holding me firmly in place, I'm safe.
'We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure'.  ~Hebrews 6:19~

The second is a seed.  What good does it do to keep it held tightly in our hand where we think it's safe under our control when we're actually preventing it from becoming what it's ultimately meant to be?  The harvest of the seed comes after it's break through the shell.  We have to let go.

Growth through pain.
Beauty from change.

As I sit in my office recliner with my laptop on my leg and my grandson in my arms, the crashing waves have settled to a relaxing ripple that soothingly sway me in the calm after the storm and I look ahead to the new year of unknown.

My resolution for 2015 is to practice really trusting God.  Sounds simple, but I'll have to constantly remind myself that nothing is going to rock my world that He doesn't already know about, hasn't prepared me for, or won't bring beauty from in the end.

Therefore, I'll allow Him to unclench my fingers and spend this year with open hands, sewing seeds into the roles that He's entrusted to me; wife, mother, sassy, writer, massage therapist and yes, zumba instructor because as Ecclesiastes reminds us, there is most certainly a time to dance. 

Aaaaaand I'm gonna lose the 8 lbs, find a super powerful face cream, diligently visit my hair stylist...and most of all, the next time I feel God telling me to Be Still, I'm gonna freakin crawl into bed and sleep till it passes.

Hey, I can't let go of everything at once here, people.