Moving On

Friday, September 27, 2013 4 Comments A+ a-

Moving on…

  • We’re about six weeks into the school year.  And to quote a teacher-friend, “the honeymoon stage is over.”  Yes.  Yes, it is.  Already I’m neck-deep in reading logs, field trips, and an hour or two of homework a night.  Both Hudson and Devyn gravitate to the math homework first, which would make Uncle Caleb proud.  But getting Hudson to work on handwriting and spelling is like pulling teeth.  I’m always ready for a glass of wine (or two) by the time we finish.

  • Transitioning to all-day school has been hard for my little man.  Only in the past week or two has Hudson stopped finding excuses why he shouldn’t go to school.  My heart hurt as I heard the myriad of reasons why he shouldn’t go to school that day.  And the one time he asked if he could be homeschooled?  Arrow. Heart. But I’m happy to report that he’s finally adjusting, and the excuses have stopped…

  • Reagan, on the other hand, is loving school!  As I knew she would.  She skips into class every day, and skips out again at the end.  In fact, at this moment, she’s desolate that there’s no school today.  She’s writing letters all over our sidewalks and driveway with sidewalk chalk, and often refers to letters as numbers.  She loves being in the same school as her older brother and sister.  Truth be told, I love it too.  I love hearing how she ran into Hudson or Devyn in the hallways, and how Hudson lifts her off the ground in a bear hug.  Be still my heart. 

  • I’ve read a few really good posts lately.  I want to share them here.  Matt Walsh, both radio personality and blogger, is a new favorite of mine.  Between this post and this post, I happily added him to my blog list and I smile every time I see a new post pop up in my reader.  Mary, whom I’ve “known” since 2006, wrote this post today.  I doubt she meant it to speak to me as much as it did, but I can’t stop thinking about what “being true” looks like for me.  And lastly, this post.  I may join the author in her prayer to see others as God sees them, not how I see them.

  • Jon and I have reached a really good place in our marriage again.  I’ve talked numerous times about hills and valleys in marriage, and once again, we’re climbing a hill.  I’m loving it!  Its amazing how in-sync we are at the moment; how needs are anticipated, then met.  I could tell you about the moment I screwed up last month (big time!) and how my mom lovingly (more about this in a minute) pointed out where I took a left turn, instead of a right.  It was humbling to go to Jon and seek his forgiveness.  But hey, if the fruits of my groveling brought us to this hill, then so be it.  Besides, a little groveling never hurt anyone.

  • My mom loves me.  She can drive me a little crazy with her love and affection for me, but there’s not a single doubt its true, deep, and unconditional love.  And because she loves me, she is not afraid to speak up and tell me if I’m wrong.  Because she wants the best for me, she will gently remind me which way is north.  Its frustrating at times, because whenever Jon and I get into a fight, her first response is usually, “Jenn, what did you do this time?”  Nice, huh?  But in all honesty, I can count on her to keep me accountable.  I will NEVER forget the time in high school when I lied to a teacher about why I wasn’t in class that day.  I saw Mom walking down the school hallway towards me, little sisters in tow.  She was a woman on a mission.  She marched me down to said teacher’s room and made me apologize for lying to him in front of her.  It was a painful lesson.  But one I remember, for sure.  I’m thankful for a woman who is more concerned about my character and integrity, than my happiness.  I pray I can be the same kind of parent to my children.

  • Speaking of which…  Is it just me, or is this parenting gig getting harder as time goes on?!  Seriously.  Just when I think I have this parenting thing down, I’m thrown a curveball and I’m forced to admit that I have no freaking clue what I’m doing.  Several friends and I have talked about this recently, and I am absolutely terrified for the teenage years.  Especially after talking to one friend, Natalie, who already has teenagers.  I have no doubt you may find me in the fetal position, under the kitchen table (which would mean I’d have to actually mop my kitchen floor) during the teen years.  Just send wine.

  • And lastly, I’ve somehow been suckered into doing the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot 5K in November.  Courtney and Christine have done the Turkey Trot the past two years, and this year I’ll be joining them.  Don’t ask me how that happened, I still have no clue.  I abhor running.  I’m allergic to exercise.  And now I’ve actually downloaded a running app and am doing a training program.  Me.  I’m still in all kinds of shock about it.  Even Jon is encouraging me to go for a run when he gets home from work.  Now, I use the term “running” very loosely here.  It’s more like a hybrid of fast walking, interspersed with random bursts of jogging.  Its all very technical.  Ha!  And Courtney insists that we’re going to wear tutus for the event.  Of course which means a tutu-making party has been scheduled and I’m sure pictures of said event will be forthcoming.  Lord help me, I have no clue what I’ve gotten myself into.

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Life is like art…

Sunday, September 22, 2013 6 Comments A+ a-

images-3…you need to know where to draw the line.

We just spent an amazing weekend away.  Last year when Grandma died, some of our best friends moved out of state.  It was a lot of loss at once.  This was the first time we were able to get away for a long weekend and it couldn’t have come at a better time.  Coupled with Jon working tons of overtime, and six weeks of processing a life-changing event, it was great to get away and get some clarity.

Changed-Prorities-Setting-BoundariesLast month I wrote a post alluding to the said event.  I left it up for a few days, but eventually I moved it to my private blog.  (Why yes, I do have a private blog.  No one has access to it, not even Jon.  A girl’s got to have a space to call her own, am I right?)  I can honestly tell you that I have been doing some major wrestling these past 6-7 weeks.  And this weekend, with my own personal counselor available 24-7 for three days in a row (thank you, Mandy!!), I can finally tell you that I’m coming to a place of peace about the whole situation.

I am finally able to say a few things with certainty.

  1. Boundaries are a good thing.
  2. These boundaries have been a long time coming.
  3. Even someone as open and honest as I, can draw the line somewhere. 

imagesI don’t know why “boundaries” always seemed like a dirty word for me.  Or why they’ve been so hard for me to draw.  But its time and this is going to be really good for me and for my family.  We’re drawing a tight circle around our family of six and focusing on ourselves.  I’m still having a hard time writing out that sentence, mostly because it just sounds selfish.  But we’ve come to a point in our lives where its time to take a step back from circumstances and not worry about the rest.

Part of this weekend really let me come to terms with some things.  When this series of events began last month, I can’t begin to explain how it paralyzed me.  My self-esteem took quite the kicking.  My family didn’t recognize me, I didn’t recognize myself.  I felt like I was drowning in a sea of doubt and hurt.  I questioned my feelings, emotions, and actions.  I sought the counseling of two good friends, who helped me through those moments.  They gave me honest, clear, and Godly advice when I couldn’t see past the hurt.  Yes, sometimes the advice is not what I wanted to hear, or do.  But that’s when you know you have good friends.  They don’t always say the things I want to hear, but the things I need to hear.

images-2And again, this weekend has really helped to bring a lot full circle.  And I can feel some of my backbone getting stronger, some of my self-confidence is returning, and I feel I can finally say with some certainty that what happened last month has more to do with them, than it does with me.  As much as I want others to like me and believe the best about me, I can’t control others opinions.  Just like I can’t control the filter that is used when they watch my actions and question my motives.  And I can accept that.  The only thing I can do is check my heart and motives with God.  He is the only one that I should allow to bring true conviction to my life, not the false guilt that Satan likes to use to confuse me. 

Sigh.  Yes, that feels good.  And right.  And I’m ready to move forward now.  It feels great to be back…

We're Experiencing Some Rain

Sunday, September 15, 2013 8 Comments A+ a-

I'm not sure if you've heard or not, but Colorado seems to have made Mother Nature a little mad.  It started raining last week and it hasn't really stopped yet.  Within 36 hours, we'd received a year's worth of precipitation.  If you want to translate that to snow, it equals about 12 feet of snow.  That's a lot of moisture, in a short amount of time.

The whole state has flooded.  Not just one area, but everywhere.  I have friends and family that had to be evacuated, they closed a major interstate ALL day Thursday, they've closed schools, called in national guards, its been declared a national disaster, and rivals Hurricane Katrina for number of rescues by aircraft.  Here are the latest numbers per a local news station: 17,494 homes damaged, 1,502 homes destroyed, 11,700 people evacuated, 1,253 people unaccounted for, and 26 shelters open.

Unfortunately this doesn't include miles of highway and roads that have been destroyed. Jon has worked 41 hours of overtime (in addition to his regularly scheduled hours) in 3 days.  His road has washed away in spots, and he has yet to survey the full damage.  We were on our way to church when he was called in to join the assessment team.  I groaned, knowing what that cell phone ring meant.  Even more frustrating was that the assessment ended up being postponed due to the fact that it started raining.  Again.

I grew up learning about the Big Thompson Flood of 1976.  We grew quite familiar with the white signs peppered throughout the canyon reading: "In Case of Flood, Climb to Safety."  Never in my wildest imagination did I ever think I'd see a flood that would surpass that flood.  Highway 34, leading up to Estes Park, is gone.  Completely demolished.  The bridge that we cross to get to the family cabin is gone.  I don't imagine we'll be getting up there any time soon.

This has been a surreal experience!  Watching flood waters overtake areas where I've grown up and memories made.  Trying to navigate through my hometown like a maze, as each street came to a dead end because of high water.  Its inconceivable to think that our beloved little town of Estes Park is completely isolated from the world, as every road in is damaged.  I've been without internet service for days (thank goodness for smart phones and blogging apps), but I refuse to complain.  Its nothing in the grand scheme of things.  Towns are gone, loved ones are missing, power is down, water treatment plants compromised (my sister is one who is under a "boiling water" restriction), etc.  Internet service is nothing.

Pray for Colorado.  We are a strong state, having survived floods in the past and fires in the present.  But I don't think we can wrap our minds around the extent of the damage, or the amount of time it'll take to rebuild.  Pray for the families who have loved ones missing.  Pray for the rescue workers and the emergency responders.  Pray for those who no longer have homes.  Pray for the...  well... just pray.   We're gonna need them in the weeks, months, and years ahead.

And the Milestones Keep on Coming

Tuesday, September 03, 2013 6 Comments A+ a-

Devyn had her ears pierced when she’d just turned three years old.  And rarely, if ever, wears earrings.  I look at all the other girls with their pretty earrings and I sigh.  Someday she’ll wear earrings again, but it won’t be any time soon.

I vowed not to make that same mistake with Reagan and Ashlynn.  I was going to wait until they asked for it themselves.  I wanted it to be their idea, not mine.  Because let’s face it, at three years old, Devyn really could’ve cared less about pierced ears. 

Well, the past few weeks Reagan has been begging… and begging… and begging to get her ears pierced.  There were a few times that I thought my ears might bleed from the repetition.  But needless to say, we all survived and after this morning, Reagan is now the proud owners of new earrings. 

Reagan1

Reagan2So excited! I can’t even describe how excited she was for this next step of “big girl” status. Reagan3Marking her ears…
Reagan4Marking the other side. Reagan5First the left side.  (I’m the horrible mom who didn’t tell her what was used to pierce ears.)
Reagan6Then the right side.  (You can tell she had a better idea of what to expect this time around.) Reagan7All done!  And not a single tear!
Reagan8Happy. Happy. Happy. Reagan9Mama and the big girl, with her beautiful ears!

Whew!  I’d love for the milestones to slow down just a bit.  This mama needs a break from all the growing up that’s been happening around here.  Seriously.  How is a mama’s heart supposed to endure all of this?!