Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Day out with Friends....

 We planned a morning out with friends... we did a little bit of hiking....
 A very tiny bit of hiking... but enough to smell the fresh smells of all the new little plants... 
The wood are really coming alive.  Eden isn't really into hiking and so when the suggestion came up that we turn around and go spend our time on the beach... she was THRILLED and all the kiddos agreed thinking that would be BEST. Eden was done hiking before we started... I'm thinking I might have to get that double stroller out - if I wanna keep up our "hiking every day we can" goal! 
Tansy LOVED the beach.... she played so great.  She ate 10 lbs of sand and little rocks -- it's impossible to keep them out of her mouth... so I stopped trying.  I figure eventually she will tire of having a mouth full of sand... eventually.
 
We weren't gonna "go swimming" today... but where there is water - my kids WILL be swimming even if that water is just a puddle!
 I'm glad the sun was hot today... I don't want sick kiddos!

Tansy was content with the sand and rocks for awhile - 
then she made made a BEELINE for the water....
She was seriously nuts... she LOVED the water and every time I took her out she just crawled back in and splashed... silly girl -- she's a water baby just like my other kiddos...

It's gonna be a good summer, but I can tell I'll be on my toes the whole time!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Turtle Hunting...

 I've heard rumors of turtles... My kids have seen turtles at the "turtle pond"... I never have.  We've gone multiple times, multiple places where turtles have been "seen"... I had yet to SEE one until today!  I FINALLY saw a cute little thing swimming through the water, poking his head out of the water for air... he was CUTE!  We searched for more, but didn't see any more!
It was one of those great days for hanging out in the sunshine... soaking up all those rays we've missed all winter long. 
Tansy is gonna be a wild one this summer... we are working diligently at "No" "you may not put that, this, or that... or anything in your mouth"...

 I can't imagine life without her... she really is a ray of joy in our house.  She is laid back, which is so different than Ethan and Eden.  She smiles, loves people, and generally goes with the flow!
I tell her all the time how thankful I am for those traits!
Bethany came along... I promised her a hike, but really with kiddos -- can you really "hike"... we lingered, met needs, found shells... looked for turtles, chased after baby ducks (cutest things ever).


 There are buds and blossoms everywhere you look... The grass is getting green -- school's almost out!  It looks like summer will come after all!
Today, I'm thankful for sunshine and little adventures with just the girls.  
Vitamin D was just what we all needed...

Ministry is Hard...

Yesterday, Bethany came over and kicked me out of the house.  I think she knew I was on the threshold of a nervous break down.  I've been so exhausted lately... getting out of bed has been hard.  I struggle throughout the day to go from task to task to task and never seem to finish.  There are still muddy handprints all over the walls, food caked on the kitchen cupboards (how did it get there!!!??), a giant pink stain on the bathroom floor where a pink feather boa got left there after a bath... Seriously?  we need a feather boa at bath time???  a sink full of dishes, a messy floor, dirty sheets.... piles of laundry to put away....

I was looking at my garden beds scattered with weeds and actually thought - I think I'm gonna skip gardening this year... I don't think I have it in me.  

I know this tiredness will pass - eventually, and I will feel life again, but as of now the blood is cold in my veins.  It's hard looking around and seeing no progress to all... my house is cluttered, disorganized, dirty... and it's not from a lack of cleaning.  In fact I feel like that is all I've been doing lately... 

Life has just been hard.  And that's okay, it's just the reality.  Back when I was in Bible college dreaming about my future in ministry - serving God and people... it was so full of unrealistic fluff.  "God will always provide" "we'll live by faith"...  Now a good 15+ years later the reality is that ministry is hard.  It requires everything and gives very little in return.  "God will provide" so that justifies being paid hardly enough to survive -- while requiring Micah to complete another Master's degree - costing THOUSANDS of dollars ... with absolutely nothing in return.  He won't make more when he finishes... there is not much hope of much more than a small raise each year (maybe).  It is a sad reality that he could make 15,000 more a year just by working at Costco... I wrestle... I cry... I struggle.  Do we get out of ministry? Do we do something else with our lives? Do I get a job? How are we going to afford tuition with Micah, Ethan, and Eden are in school -- that tuition will be almost 1/3 of our total income? We have no retirement... I could go on and on...

All the weight of this causes tension, long discussion... I fight anger, bitterness...

God does provide.  We have never been hungry, we always have clothes to wear, and money to put gas in the car... we are in reality rich in comparison with so many.  We don't have debt (except our house)... we work hard... and for today -- I'm tired.
 Last night - I went on a little hike... I wanted to cry, but have you ever been so tired - you just can't cry...? That was me... plus there were tons of people on the trail... I wished I was alone...
 I consciously made myself breath deeply.... over and over again.
 I mentally started listing off all the many things I am thankful for... focusing on those good things helps life the burden... helps me not worry, fret, feel stressed. 
 I need to believe more-- take my eyes off the overwhelming sea of trouble at my feet... to focus on my eyes on Him -- and that He loves me.  I wrestle with that so much - because if He really loved me would things be so hard -- would we struggle so much... I know that is a lie -- I'm working on believing truth... to believe He does have a plan through this. That we are walking in obedience.
This morning I'm still tired, my heart is still heavy -- I'm still wrestling with all my questions... but it really was nice to have a few hours to myself - to be quiet, and still.  To not have a single person call me MOM! or need something from me.  Sometimes I forget what it's like to be an individual... to be myself because I'm so lost in this crazy season of life. 

I know like only four of you read my blog... I rarely know who you are... so leave a comment.  I would love some words... to know I'm not alone in this universe. 

And don't worry - I'm okay.  I'll spring back - I always do.  I'll find some more energy and we'll be going a million miles a hour again - soon -- I'm sure.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Pre Mother's Day...

 Yesterday, I got to hang out with my two oldest kiddos.  I mean I hung out with them all week long, but this time it was just the three of us.  Ace Hardware was offering a "paint a Mother's day pot" workshop and so we went there.
 My kiddos are artists, whether they want to be or not... it seems we always have some sort of paint, crayon, marker... in our hands.
When they finished painting they got to plant a flower in their pot... they are so pretty!  I love them!  The rest of the day we ran errands... getting groceries, beads for a custom bird order, etc.  We stopped for hotdogs at Costco... It was busy, but fun to be with my big kids - especially since they listened really well (for the most part).... my life is so different with children... and most of the time that is a good thing - definitely a HARD thing, but always a good thing.

Dino Dig

 This past week we were in Glendive, Montana on a week long dino-dig.  The college where Micah works offers this week long class every year and this year Micah was the Faculty supervisor. He brought us along.  It was hard to know what to expect and how much we could be apart of the class, because it was a college class. 
Micah was gone with the students from 8-5 and then from 6:30-8pm every day.  We were able to tag along for a little bit every day.  The rest of the time I tried to fill with hikes, visits to the Dino museum, local sites, and the state park. 
 It is such beautiful country... I'm from the desert so I enjoyed all the desert beauty!
There is an amazing Dinosaur Museum in Glendive.  It is all from a Creationist perspective and so it is fascinating. I never quite knew what to think about dinosaurs.  I mean were there really creatures like that? Did they just find a couple bones and make up these animals... I was SHOCKED by all that I learned.  The Paleontologist that taught the class was fascinating.  I wished I could have listened to him all day.  I'm also amazed at how many dino bones have been discovered and are still to be discovered in Montana!  
The land that the student dug on belonged to the Paleontologist and he has discovered so many bones.... even while we were there the students discovered a triceratops neck bone, a T-rex tooth, a raptor skull, tons of turtle shell, and tons and tons of bones.  Most were fragmented pieces of bone, but others were full bones like vertebra.  I think they found a rib bone too...
The majority of our time was spent away from the class... just the four of us.  
e hiked a lot around the State Park.  

 It was great burning off the kiddos endless energy, because I sure didn't have that much!
 Tansy did fabulous... she was such a trooper... she ate more rocks and dirt than any child should consume in their life, but it made her happy...


 The country side was just gorgeous... 
layered dirt, 
sand formations, 
all sorts of beautiful colors and shapes....
(have I mentioned I love the desert???)
 My awesome hikers -- we covered a lot of miles! I taught them to identify all the plants - cactus, yucca, rabbit brush, sage brush... etc.
 My sweet baby...


 We learned a TON about dinosaurs!  I bought them some excavation kits where they could dig up dinos and then the dinos became the game pieces to a game with all sorts of dino trivia. We had dino egg oatmeal for breakfast (the kind where dinos hatch from eggs as you add the hot water)!  
It was fun!
The last day was warm enough and DRY enough for us to tag along to the dig site!!!  
We were so excited!


Thanks to a kind student who scoured the hills for bone fragments the kids were able to "dig up" some dino bones.... they were THRILLED that they actually found real Dino bones!
I kept pinching myself -- what a wonderful experience for them!

In the process of keeping busy the kiddos earned their State Park ranger badges.  They were super proud and thrilled!  Plastic badges are amazing things!
Sometimes it's really, really, really hard to be in ministry.  We have to watch every penny and be super careful with everything we do... we have to say no to sooooo many things... we can't afford swimming lessons, gymnastic lessons, music lesson, soccer, t-ball... etc. BUT then we have a trip like this - where most all the expenses were paid for,  and I'm reminded that God watches over us and gives us special - once in a life time experienced that are truly a gift.  It is a battle to fight again discontentment, one I'd like to share more about -- but this trip reminded me that we are so blessed.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Into the Woods... 5/1

This week I went to the doctor.  I've been having some "issues" and struggling with (can I be honest) gaining weight.  My doctor tested my thyroid.  It's one of those things where you secretly hope something is wrong with your thyroid so that you can have some sort of excuse for those extra 15lbs that just appeared on your body (not like taking care of three busy kiddos NIGHT AND DAY and not having much time to yourself AT ALL... isn't an excuse enough)... BUT like always and THANKFULLY my thyroid is just fine... 

Escaping to the wood is what I do best when I need to think... 
to process through life and come up with a plan.
 Getting out is so good for my kids.  They have endless energy... I wish I could have just an ounce of what my son has bottled up in him!  I also wish I could eat like he does... goodness gracious!
 I take so many pictures of tree bark... why?  I find it fascinating... so detailed, so unique... so beautiful... I get lost in detail while I stroll through the woods... Yesterday, my soul needed to drink in the beauty and be still before the Lord... And I was...


In college I had an assignment to interpret a piece of scripture artistically.  I loved that assignment and have been doing it since... I choose to Psalms 25:4 


Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths.


Back then I borrowed a camera and hit the trails... I took pictures of paths... I love of trails... I always think... Where are we going? Where is this taking us?  It is intriguing and wonderful... A lot like life... Where are you taking me, LORD?  I know I can trust you, but still the path seems uncertain... I'm not sure where you are leading me?
My little Tansy bug is such a great hiker... she sits quietly taking everything in... every once and awhile I break off a branch for her to hold... she is my buddy!

 By the time we reach the car... the stroller is full of sticks, rocks and many other things... like beaver wood chips!!!  The kids found a beaver dam and a place where beavers had been chew up wood... the stroller was full of little wood chips... funny kids!




 Through the twists and turns in the trail, my heart became quiet and still.  
I worshiped... 
prayed... 
even cried.  
 Parts of the trail were washed out (with really deep water)... so we had to turn around... make a detour... that is life...
 The woods are coming alive with little plants... buds are forming... the BIRDS... Oh the birds were singing... it was so lovely!



I've started a food log... thinking through what I eat before I eat... trying to be intentional.  Trying to take care of myself -- I'm horrible at setting boundaries for myself and I don't realize it until I'm really burned out and frustrated.  I've shared with the kids they are no longer able to interrupt me a 100 times while I work out... it is my time.  I'm now locking my bathroom door (I no longer feel like a full-time stripper).  I sit down to eat meals... the kids can wait and learn patience.  Little things, but hopefully little things are what I need for some big change...

My time in the woods was needed.  
I believe He created this corner of the world "just for me"...