Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A different type of Christmas

I love Christmas! Everything about this season is so much fun! But since Dave has been working at UPS, this has become his very busy season. He works long hours and is usually working Christmas Eve too. This has been a hard adjustment for me. I have often gone through this season with a grumpy chip on my shoulder, feeling like I was robbed of some right that I had to happiness. That was ugly to admit, but it was true. This year is different though. A lot of it has to do with our tree. How you ask? Well I have to admit that it started out ugly. Dave and I were trying to decide what to do for a tree this year. We have done real trees in the past. But we are in a rental this year and he was concerned about any possible damage the tree could cause. Plus, we decided to go artificial and get a pre-lit. We went in search of one, but to our dismay they are REALLY expensive! We know that they will be deeply discounted after Christmas, so Dave suggested that we just go without a tree this year. That didn't go over so well with me. That was just one more thing to give me fuel for my Christmas season, UPS fire. And THAT bothered me...a lot. I looked at my attitude with complete disgust. Dave also said that this was a great opportunity to really teach our kids what Christmas is really about. Hello guilt trip. For a few days, I was in a horrible grumpy funk. My stubborn selfish will was declaring a full out war with my reason, conscience, and heart. And it was UGLY.So I set out for some serious heart examination. And after lots of prayer and thought I knew he was right and that this WAS a great opportunity, not only for a teachable moment for the kiddos, but for ourselves as well. It's so easy to get caught up in all of the hustle and bustle of the season and lose focus on the true meaning of Christmas. This sparked my "advent tree" idea. I made a tree out of construction paper and am having the kids make an ornament that represents the Bible story that we read that day. I found online that someone had figured out that the number of stories in the "Jesus Storybook Bible" is the exact amount for the number of days in Advent! The last story falls on Christmas Eve and is the birth of Christ! How cool is that? We already had the book (its a REALLY great kids Bible story book!) so that was easy! I read a story while the kids make the ornaments. They really have enjoyed doing it and so have I! The funny thing is, is that once I decided to do this, the desire for a Christmas tree was gone. We even have had at least 3-4 offers for a tree! Ha! We turned them down for now. We will still plan on doing a normal tree in years to come, but I also want this "Advent tree" to be a new tradition that we start as a family. It really helps to recenter our focus on why we celebrate this beloved holiday! Merry CHRISTmas! :)
Our Advent Tree

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Gifts of Gratitude Day 8

So, I'm finding I'm not the best at being a regular "blogger". We've had a lot happen in the last month and I'm just not good at being consistent with this. But nonetheless, I will keep at this even though it may not be as regular as I hoped! We have a lot to be thankful for right now. We just moved closer to Dave's job and our church. Its so nice being so close to everything again! Love having our friends close by! And I just found out that I am STILL cancer-free!! It's been 3 years now! That's the longest stretch I have had yet! SO much to be thankful for!!
Yet despite all of that, I am still struggling to have a thankful spirit. Get ready for some brutal honesty people. There are days that I struggle to find the joy in motherhood. *GASP* I know, I know....that's a terrible thing to say. But let's face it. It's the truth. Now, don't get me wrong, I love being a mom! It was always my dream job. Its just also a lot harder than I anticipated. Ha! And there are days (especially lately) where I literally feel like I've ran a marathon at the end of the day. Motherhood is exhausting- physically, mentally, and emotionally. I'm attempting my first year at homeschooling (which is not going all that well), running a household, and the mother of 3 precious children- one of which is a 3 year old boy that has been exerting his strong will as of late. There isn't a day that goes by lately that this mommy doesn't feel like an utter failure at the end of the day. But despite all that, I know that this is just a phase in life and that it won't last forever. I also know that in order to make it through, I need to look at my own heart and change my attitude/behaviors instead of trying to change my children's. Kids learn by example. So I know that I need to constantly be checking the example that I'm setting and make adjustments accordingly. Definitely easier said than done!
Life itself is hard. That is a fact and something that won't change until our Lord makes his appearance again. Even though that's true, he is a gracious God and gives many many moments of joy even though we don't deserve it. As I've been sitting here typing, my precious Luke climbed into my lap, after having a massive meltdown that included an "I don't like you Mommy.", he snuggled in and apologized (without prompting). Those moments are grace-filled blessings for me. They remind me of the joy that is in motherhood and life. They remind me too of God's great love for us and that he cares even about the small things. I'm so undeserving of his love, yet he lavishes it upon me despite it. Thank you, Abba, for your many displays of grace and love! So even though mommyhood may not get easier, I know that this is my calling and I will keep clinging to those "grace moments" and the joy that comes with it. And if you're a struggling mama out there, know that you are not alone! I'm not one that hides what I'm feeling or going through. I believe that a lot of our struggles are the very same. But we won't know that unless we share! So I hope you get some encouragement from my ramblings! May God give you "grace-filled moments" in abundance!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Gifts of Gratitude Day 7

Today I tipped and cut a bucket and a half full of beans. There is nothing like the satisfaction of seeing the product of your labor. I'm so thankful for a plentiful garden and the knowledge I'm am acquiring this year. This is my first attempt at a garden and so far its going pretty ok! I'm not always good at remembering to weed and check it every few days, but hopefully those reminders will become more instinctive with time. It is really fun to see the end result! Even though we are in a drought, our garden is producing! I'm so thankful that the Lord provides, even amidst a drought:)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Gifts of Gratitude Day 6

I know I'm a few days behind, but in my defense, I've been busy being in a wedding!!! My beautiful SIL got married this weekend!! It was a gorgeous wedding and so much fun to be a part of! Nothing makes me happier than seeing two very deserving people pledge their lives to one another in front of God and family/friends. They are such wonderful people and it was truly a joy to be a part of their day! I miss her already! But I'm SO happy for her:) I was exhausted though after a very busy weekend! I think I'm finally recovering! It was great to see family that we don't get to see often too. This family is HUGE! I love it! What a great weekend! I hope she enjoyed her day even more than we did!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Gifts of Gratitude Day 5

Today I decided to write about my fantastic hubs:) Handsome, isn't he? This man has been with me through thick and thin. Words can't describe how much I love him. He married me, knowing that I would possibly be battling cancer for the rest of my life. Didn't phase him a bit. I'm still in awe by that. We just celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary! He did it well this year! He planned a short getaway for us over the weekend. He tried to surprise me, but I ended up finding out. No big deal. I was SO excited! We try to get away for our anniversary, at some point, each year. Its so great to have family around that's willing to watch our kiddos for us during this time! I'm truly honored to be MMM's wife. He's so much fun and keeps each day interesting! He's also a fantastic daddy. Our kids just adore him, and I can't say I blame them ;) There's never enough time in the day to spend with him, but I take every moment I can get. I am so thankful for the gift the Lord has given me in MMM. I know I don't tell him that enough:)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Gifts of Gratitude Day 4

I actually have two photos for today!

This photo is actually from a week ago. But I stumbled across it and had to write about it. It was such a great night! S went to VBS here in Darlington. The curriculum was created by the band "Go Fish". It was wonderful!! She had so much fun and the Gospel was really emphasized! Love it! At the end of the week, Go Fish came and did a concert for us! It was a blast! I really think MMM (my abbreviation for the hubs- check out my "about us" tab to find out what it stands for!) and I had more fun than the kids! We were dancin' and really having fun. At first, the kids were a bit embarrassed by us, I think! Ha! It didn't take long for them to get into it though! I am so thankful for the great family night we had, worshipping God in a totally fun way!

This photo is of my beautiful flowers I received for my birthday! My sweet SIL, Rachel, gave me the beautiful mixture bouquet. And one of my besties, Kara, gave me the beautiful roses! It was so sweet of them! I LOVE flowers! They add so much to a room and naturally brighten the mood! So thankful for friends and flowers!! :)

Gifts of Gratitude Day 3

Day 3

Again, I'm sorry for the late post. This was from yesterday. Yesterday was my birthday!! I had such a wonderful day full of love, shopping, movies, pizza, and cake! Each birthday for me is a reminder how truly awesome and gracious our great God is! I was told, after my cancer diagnosis at the age of 16, that there was a major possibility that I wouldn't make it past 5 years (my 21st birthday). I'm thrilled to report that I just turned 29 yesterday :) I have told my husband that I'm not very excited about turning 30. But in a way, I am. Since I'm really trying to focus on what I'm grateful for lately, I am now going to start saying that I am excited about turning 30...well maybe excited is too strong of a word ;) Ha! But in all seriousness, it is so awesome that God chose to be gracious to me and extend my life. I pray that He alone is glorified in that, and that He will continue to use my life in ways that will bring glory to him!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Gifts of Gratitude Day 2

Day 2

So I realized that I forgot to post last night. I had my picture, but forgot to upload it! So here is yesterday's picture. I don't remember if I said, in my last post, but my goal is to blog everyday for a year about things I'm thankful for in my life. So here is day 2!
These are my favorite three men :) I had NO idea how I would handle being a mom to a boy...especially 2 boys! I grew up with just me & my sister. Boys are foreign to me! But let me just say, that now that I am a mama to two precious boys, I love it! Boys are SO much fun! Their energy level and curiosity can be exhausting, but they warm my heart like I never thought possible. L & A are just getting to the point now where they like playing with each other. Its SO sweet! I envision many years of "double trouble" from these two. And they are definitely their father's sons:) Goofy sense of humor and all! I wouldn't trade a moment for anything! And my hubs is such a fantastic husband and father. He's so much fun! The kids (and I) just can't get enough of him! Love my boys!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Gifts of Gratitude Day 1

          I haven't been very good about keeping up with my blog. (Oops..) But I am newly inspired to start afresh. Through several different influences- mainly a friend's blog, and a life situation I find myself in- I thought of doing a "Gratitude Gifts" blog. Each day I will post a picture or something that I am grateful for. I find that lately I am focusing more on what's going on that I'm struggling with. What better way to counteract that then to focus on what I'm thankful for! After all, Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to "give thanks in all circumstances". So here's my two cents on that :)

Day 1

This little man of mine is almost always my first riser of the day. 6-6:30 am every day I can hear him tromping down the stairs, blanket in tow & ready to eat! My other two are often not awake until an hour (or two) later. So L and I get some time together every morning. He is a jewel. This kid knows how to make me laugh! The things he says and does are priceless. Last night, in the bath, I couldn't help but just crack up at his laugh! He's so adorable it's not even fair (I know I may be a bit bias about this, but others have said the same thing so...;) )! Anyways, I'm so grateful for this precious middle child of mine. He can drive me up a wall, and at the same time make my heart explode with love. What a precious gift he is to our family!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Life update:)

i just realized how long its been since i've written on here! wow! i'm not so good at keeping up! haha! SO much has been going on here! its crazy! my beautiful SIL is now engaged to her fantastic fiance! they are adorable together and the wedding planning is in full swing! SO fun! i was SO honored when she asked me to be her matron of honor! this is my first time, and i had no idea how much was involved in that role. but i LOVE it! its going to be a beautiful wedding! nothing gives me more joy than seeing two people united, in Christ, committing to each other their hearts and lives for the rest of their earthly lives. marriage is the best representation of our relationship with Christ. and to celebrate a union like rachel and ryan's, is nothing but exciting and joyful!! congrats you guys!!

on another note, i had another checkup and am still cancer free!!!!!! praise GOD!!!! its has been 2 1/2 years now since my last relapse. i'm really hoping and praying that this is all behind us now! that was such a good feeling to come out of that office with that news!

life is getting ready to get busier for us. summer is the busy season in farming. i'm also undertaking my first garden this year. that will be interesting considering i have a "black thumb" :) haha! i'm glad i will have help though! i'm getting ready to start a new curriculum with savannah this next year too. we did classical conversations this last year. it was a great introduction into homeschooling for me. and i got to meet one of my closest and best friends now! its crazy how quickly we became friends! i'm really sad though because they are moving to montana here this month. but i'm thankful for technology and skype! haha! it makes it much easier to keep in touch. i'm very excited about the upcoming changes in our schooling and lives. i'm actually a person who has grown to love change. it gives a fresh new perspective on things and can often be fun! i never used to be like that, but i think through all of our moves and changes, i have grown to love it. God always does something cool through the changes and its exciting to see that! you have to find the positives in change or you will constantly be weighted down. we live in a constantly changing world, so its impossible to avoid it. so why not embrace it? :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Daily Life Lesson

Yesterday was a CRAZY day! We finally hit what is a true Wisconsin winter- and its the middle of January! We have definitely been spoiled this year. Of course the freezing rain/crazy snow had to hit on the only morning of the week that we have to travel to school! I contacted my director and she said they were still planning on having school, but that it was up to each family if they wanted to tackle it or not. Well being the crazy woman that I am, I decided that we would tackle it! I loaded everyone up (which was a task in itself!) and we took off into the winter wonderland. We live in the country, so the roads out here tend to suffer a lot because of blowing snow. And it was very windy!! I was determined though and so we literally plowed through:) I was already tense and a bit stressed because I didn't want to be late and I knew that we would have to travel slow. I didn't get left as soon as I wanted and I knew I had to be calm behind the wheel. Afterall, I had 3 extremely precious cargo sitting behind me! So as we got onto the highway, I thought to myself "calm down heather...calm down...". I just couldn't get the tense feeling out of my body though. Then I was hit with a divine revelation. Worship Me. I love music. Its my favorite way to worship our Almighty. So, I turned up the radio and right at that time one of my favorite songs was playing. I kid you not- as soon as I started to sing, my muscles relaxed and I could feel the tension seep out of my pores and float away. As I was worshipping, I thought about how true this is in life as well. When we are in the midst of a "storm", the best thing to do is to worship our Creator. We are told to be thankful in everything. I don't know about you, but I often have a hard time being thankful during a dark (or just even gray) storm. Call me crazy, but I don't think that the Lord is calling us to be thankful for the circumstances, but He's wanting us to be thankful IN the circumstance. Despite whatever I or you are going through, we ALWAYS have something to be thankful for. If you can think of nothing else, focus on the gift our great God gave us over 2,000 years ago. That alone is enough. So when you find yourself in the midst of a storm, worship Him. When things are bright and sunny- worship Him. When you feel like you can't pull yourself off the floor- worship Him. There is no better place to be than on the ground, at the feet of our Lord. Turn your focus on Him and it will change everything, even if nothing changes. :)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Precious Moments

Yesterday was a day filled with memorable precious moments. It was just an ordinary day that became extraordinary. Not because anything major happened....but because of the little moments that I will now treasure forever. There were two things that really stuck out to me yesterday. The first was seeing my precious daughter dancing with her daddy. She is completely enamored with her daddy. A daddy's girl through and through! Dave and I had the privilege to see the movie "Courageous" a while ago. That movie rocked our world in a major way. There was a song in the movie that the little girl was dancing too. It became significant (but I won't say why in case you haven't seen it yet!). Dave had found the song on YouTube and the two danced together to it yesterday. I was in the kitchen doing what every mom would do if you saw that- blubbering. :) Hundreds of thoughts were zipping across my mind during those 2 minutes. Thoughts of her now and soon to be a woman. Past memories and future ones. How time goes by so fast and is yet so precious. Thank you Lord, for such a wonderful and precious memory to tuck away.
The other memory I have from yesterday was my movie date afternoon with Savy. She was so sad that daddy had to go to work (tears were shed). So I popped some popcorn, made chocolate milk, got out The Sound of Music, and we cuddled up on the couch for a quiet afternoon of girl time:) She told me later that that had helped her feel better after being so sad about daddy. I love that she loves her daddy so much!
We've had a shift in our family dynamic lately- a good one! Dave and I have both been challenged to become better and more intentional parents. We've had so many reminders that life is short and that the Lord has entrusted us with these precious vessels of His, to care for and love them, and teach them of His love. What a tremendous responsibility! One that I don't take lightly. Its not always easy, but it is definitely a privilege and DEFINITELY an adventure!! :)