Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Super-Heroes

We love to watch the movie, The Incredibles. I love the mom in that movie. She's so cool with all her stretchy arms and amazing strengths. I wouldn't mind being a bit like her; but that is only a movie. In real life, we have no super-human powers, just the human characteristics given to us by God. It seems that some women are a bit wiser with how they handle those gifts though?! You know? Having just completed a blog on motherhood etc, I wanted to talk about a few women who have shaped and molded me over years. Honestly, they appear perfectly normal at first glance. They would blend in with a sea of faces. Their hobbies are not extra-amazing and their kids are normal kids. They are not leading CEO's of companies, not wives of important dignitaries............just normal women with incredible hearts. It truly is the inside of one's soul that embodies the most vital qualities that leads one to become so influential to small people, like me.

Robin is a woman about 10 years older than myself. Married young due to a pregnancy. Her mate didn't share her love for Christ and yet she stuck with him, loved him, supported him completely and most of all she respected him. Her words are filled with love, kindness and wisdom. I've never known someone to dive into the Word like her. When I met her, she was on her 1st ever missions trip with us. Paul told her she couldn't smoke on the trip, so she quit cold turkey. She was dressed in her 'older clothes' and not as stylish as others her age. She shared her feelings with open exposure and complete freedom. She was raw, vulnerable and honest. I couldn't find any masks on her face..........she was the real deal! To this day, she is still my hero. I love that God placed her in my life during my crazy, immature years. I'm still immature but imagine me as a 20 year old?!!!

And sweet, sweet Lori. A time in my life when my marriage was rocky, my husband a pastor at a church and I was lacking many qualities that a wife should encumber. I was feeling hopeless. She came along with her tender heart and picked me up. She listened to me ramble on and on about my selfish requests, encouraged me to keep digging into the Word and most of all, to grow forward. To this day, she still calls on me and checks in. I love her so much. An older sister, she is!

Of course, life wouldn't be the same without Aime. My soul-sister who is walking in the same stage of life as myself. After spending time with her, I feel empowered and encouraged to become a more loving wife, stronger individual, and more tender parent. There is no competing or comparing. We have vacationed together multiple times, with kids adn without kids. Our friendship survived a church split, even when we didn't agree. We live on opposite sides of the country and yet I am giddy with joy when I receive her 4 page emails. Our hearts are knitted together. She is quiet to be around but deep inside the span of her being is a roaring lion who loves justice, give compassion to the hurting and displays grace to all.

And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention my mom. A woman who single- parented for many years without any help. She worked as many as 3 jobs at one time. At one moment we were homeless and she sent us to live with a friend while she hit the streets looking for a job that would feed and house us. Romantically speaking, we were temporary vagabonds! Mom was successful in her search! To be quite honest she went through hell and back as a parent. I know, naughty word, but it fits. She dealt with an abusive husband, horrific jobs in fast food chains and even survived driving a school bus. She finally married her best friend and is happy and settled. I'm thrilled for her. I thank her for giving me the type of tenacity that only comes through rigorous and extraneous experiences.She's a rock!

I've been blessed with tons of amazing women who have shaped my life. I think of Jeannie, Julie, Holly, Maryanne, Alison, Sheryl, Lesa,Sloane, Jaine, Kineka, Linda and Roger, and so many more. All of these women love God, love people, and show it in their everyday lives. Their actions are synonymous with their deeds. They are unstained by cultural pressure, vulnerably strong, and not afraid to just be................I'm guessing you have a few super-heroes in your life too.

I'm Not a Superhero/Supermom........and That's Okay

i"m totally shooting from the hip here, as usual. Don't have time to proofread and change if you couldn't tell in previous missplelled blogs! The more I talk with women and hope to see a vulnerable side of their deeply rooted and hidden souls, I realize how unsure we all are and how much we compare ourselves to "her". You know, the mom who drives the way cool SUV, has buns of steel, the finest and most stylish outfits, kids are all dressed and color coordinated (yuck), cooks like Emeril, kisses her kids/husband every 5 seconds, uses words like "oh come here honey, it's okay sugar-pie", and is a coupon maniac. Well that couldn't be more opposite of me. I am in agony (due to my pride) as I rumble around in the most familiar grey Honda Odyssey mini-van, have jello for buns, clothes from Goodwill, kids in mismatched costumes and a boy who wears his sisters socks, and the list goes on...........Looking at either scenario for a mom.....both can be and are amazing. A truly loving mommy is not defined by her clothes, car, or buns, right? So how come we use these characteristics to measure our worthiness, at times? Because we are human!

The other day, I rushed out of the house to pick up my kids from school and didn't even realize that I was still wearing my giant, bright blue Gator slippers. oops! And to make things worse, I was wearing my sweatshirt inside out. And it's true that I had on the same yoga pants that I was wearing the day prior. Hopefully no one was keeping track of my ridiculous outfit. Now, I normally like to look presentable but there are moments that the rush of life and cries of the baby take over and're left a mom. It's funny cause just years ago, you could spot me teaching in school and dressed to the hilt! So I am professional and I do have self respect. I'm not some country girl that's been raised by wolves. I like to look nice.

Bottom line is that you finally reach a point that you are okay with who you are and focus on your own strengths given to you by God. I can't sew a stitch but I love to cook, scrapbook (whenever time will allow), race in triathlons and that's about it. I kill all living plants; so gardening might be disastorous! Hair and makeup....ummm.........I read magazines and try and figure that one out cause I have no natural ability to curl, fluff, spray, or rosey up my cheeks. I wing it!

I've learned not to be intimidated by the most attractive moms who seem to have it all together. Once I get to know them, I realize we all share similiar fears, concerns, and joys in parenting. Just hoping you feel normal as you read this blog and see that being an amazing mom doesn't mean being a super-hero. But if you are a super-hero, that's cool too!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bonding.........Worth It!

Our family started it's first annual overnight trip with mother/daughter. Soon Paul will do this once a year with Lincoln. So we decided to let Mia go first.....since she is the poor middle child and life seems so "unfair to her", in her dear little words.On Spring Break we surprised her with a hotel trip away for one night. She took forever to pack her bags as she shoved everything from baby clothes, beads, bows, books, blankies, babies, more babies, baithing suit, and more babies. She took up an entire suitcase and had a carry-on bag. I squeezed what little I could in with her cool things. To say that she was excited is a definite understatement. I didn't tell her until a day before. We left the house around 3 and checked in at a local, affordable hotel. She wanted to build a penguin at Build A Bear, so headed there, walked around the outside mall, played at park , grabbed Chick-fil-a and took it back to hotel. Played in the pool and snatched more cookies from the check-in clerk at the hotel and layed around in our pjs all evening. We watched t.v. together, read books and conversed. That time was special, for both of us and looking forward to doing this annually with each daughter. So thankful for reading Raising a Trailblazer by Dr Virginia Friesen and reading Spiritual Parenting. Both books inspired me to do such a thing as this! worth it! You don't have to go away to a hotel to bond with your daughter but this was fun and extra special. Of course the nightly snuggles and tuck-ins before bed are just as vital too!

Springbreak= Family Time

I'm gonna warn you as you read this......I'm listening to the Braveheart movie soundtrack and feeling a bit nostalgic, sentimental, and vulnerable. So writing about my family might turn into a tear fest! Well, Springbreak was a smashing success, as usual. Each year we save up a few dollars and do a "staycation" at home. I think I like it as much as some vacations cause it's so easy! The best part is doing all the creative planning and keeping some of it a surprise. We have 2 weeks for break in AZ and we soak up every moment, soaking in the blue skies, sunrays, and blooming desert. We know that smoldering hot temperatures are around the corner, so we move outside as long as we can.

So each day of break there was some surprise. It was as easy as a rental from Redbox or as elaborate as camping in our own backyard. Paul took one week off and that's when we jumped into the super cool surprises. We saw Star Wars in 3D in the theater (our first 3D experience), went out to eat at P.F. Changs, hiked a 3 mile course up the mountain with a picnic lunch, camped for 2 days in the backyard, went swimming at the local outdoor heated aquatic center, played at the train park, and much more! We might as well have been at Disney! The kids were just as excited and the enthusiasm level was high. The only difference is about $700! I can handle that! Paul and I even squeezed in a date. Not to mention I had my triathlon during this time and that was a blast too. We sure did sandwich in tons of activities. I was feeling a bit forlorn when kids returned to school today. As much as they drove me crazy on the last day of Spring Break, I still wished for more time.

I"m hoping we will all remember these sweet experiences. It's not really about what we did but doing it together as a family; it has been so worthwhile and speaks greatly to my heart.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Big 4!

I cannot believe that my baby turned 4 this month! Where did time go? Just yesterday, we were bringing that little bundle home from the hospital. I had no idea was I was in for with a boy. Our house has changed dramatically since his arrival, princess dolls replaced with army men, super heroes found fighting Jesus in the manger scenes at Christmas, hard and crusty play-do found hidden in the deep secret places of Lincoln's room, volume increased from quiet to VERY LOUD, Star Wars battles erupting numerous times with numerous weapons, including vacuum hoses, wrapping paper tubes, and eating utensils. I love how our home has evolved over the past 4 years with the male influence.

Lincoln, we love your adorable smile, your 'angry faces', your 'nuggles' that come with great demand in the evenings, your hip hop dance style, your funny laughs. We love watching you run full throttle down the road with your head bobbing back/forth and your hair dancing in the wind. We love waking up in the mornings to find that all the chapsticks have been stolen and concealed in your room. We love listening to you create battle between Buzz Light Year and Iron Man. We love you!!! May God grow you into the man He has designed you to be and use you in an incredible way!

Wherever There Be Water...........

Well, girls were extremely excited to get baptized after much waiting and anticipation over the last year. They had previously requested to be baptized over a year ago but they had been feeling under the weather and we just didn't want to push it. So we waited and they asked again. Baptism is a public statement of our girl's faith and their earlier decision to follow Christ; so it's a big deal in our family. We invited any and all who could attend. Pappa came to help with the baptism and even Uncle Jeremy and cousin Maddie were able to come. We were so excited that family was coming! Seeing the faces of much loved friends and family there in church that day was very encouraging for all of us, especially the girls.

As the girls dipped into the water with daddy and pappa, they were greeted with a cool surprise; the water was NOT heated. There was no way that these warm blooded, Phoenix creatures were going under those cold waters. To be honest, I was a bit taken back at first and probably displayed a bit of a disappointed demeanor. So many family and friends had come and we had planned for over a year and...............I was being plain selfish! So we walked the girls back to the dressing room and gently explained that we were not disappointed with them and still very proud of them and understood why they didn't want to be dunked in freezing cold water. This was not the end of the world. We wanted them to have a positive experience with baptism not a forced one. So we asked if they'd like to finish that evening at home in the hot tub and they were more than excited to do so. Hot tub baptism..........why not?! Thank goodness for hot tubs! So some amazing friends from our small group hopped over that evening, as well as one of our pastors from church and we started all over. Pappa and daddy slipped into the warm waters of the hot tub and the girls were officially baptized. It was a unique and memorealbe experience. I think we will all enjoy that memory and maybe even laugh a little about the cool waters at church :-)

Weekend of Glee

Giggles, glitter, and glee!!!! Lots of that took place over a short-lived and fully packed weekend with 3 little girls in one house. Kennedy and Mia were estatic, to say the least, when they heard the good news about Maddie. Cousin Maddie from Boston was coming for their baptism and there would be lots of play for the 3 of them. Of course, Nanna and I were equally excited to spoil the three girls and enjoy our sacred moments together. Because we live on opposite end of the country, we hardly ever get to see eachother and this was a very special treat. It wasn't so much the activities that we did that made the trip memorable, but just being together was truly the best part. So, we hobbled around town doing ordinary things like: visiting the pet store and gawking at every cute creature, crawling all over the playground and exploring every imaginable spot, playing around the pool in the backyard, picnicing on blankets, sitting in the hot tub in the middle of the day, building campfires and roasting marshmallows, sitting in Starbucks and playing silly coin games at the table, watching movies, making crafts that require large quantities of glitter, adopting stuffed animals from the Build a Bear, and eating tons of homemade sweets. I feel quite assured that our kids will always remember this visit. I will too! Thank you Pappa and Nanna for helping make this all possible. It was truly a gift!