Saturday, October 18, 2014

What Matters Most

How many of you have a best friend? How many of you have had the same best friend for years? Now how many of you have had that same best friend all your life? I'm talking, your whole life. Like, you don't remember this person not being there...for everything. Well, my best girlfriend and I have only had each other for about 12 or 13 years. We didn't grow up together, but I seriously can't imagine life without her. She is my sister, my confidante, my bust-a-gut laughing partner. We have shared all of life's ups and downs, and I'm a better person for it. But there are 20-some years of our lives that we didn't share... our daughters are the best friends that I'm talking about.



Coco Mae and Molly Moo. Partners in crime, managers of mischief. Through thick and thin, these two have done it all. I can't tell you how many memories that they'll have tied to one another from their childhood - too many to even think of! From camping trips to concerts, they've shared many of life's important firsts together. They are preteens now, and they don't always have the same interests. Growing up and growing apart, unfortunately, go hand in hand for a lot of people. But these two don't give up so easily. When you have a bond this strong for this long, you will always have something to hold you to that person. Tonight definitely reminded me of that.



It was a wild and crazy, goofy night! The girls were so hyper to be going to see Colton Dixon together again (we saw him at Winter Jam earlier this year), their excitement was palpable. Steph and I just laughed and sighed intermittently at them all night long. They can make the most minor thing a major life moment, and I love that about them. Chloe on her own is a boundless ball of energy, but add Molly to the mix, and you get borderline chaos!! But I love every minute of it. I loved watching how they could be so completely silly together in one moment, then so completely caught up in worship in the next that nothing else mattered. Because that's the chord that binds them. Yes, they are both INSANE over Colton Dixon. But they are even more passionate about their Lord and Savior. It's not a night either will forget soon...and this mama won't either. Even at 11 and 12 years old, they know the important things in life are eternal. Glow-in-the-dark shirts and posters will fade in time. But their pursuit of Jesus will grow stronger as they grow older. And I hope and pray that they'll be chasing after Him side by side...best friends forever.





Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Remembering...

If you had asked me even a year ago what October the 15th was, I would not have had any idea. Yet, today, this year, it has great significance for me. Two sweet friends let me know that they had thought of me today in an extra special way. Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day. I can't tell you how many times over the last few months that I've had to mentally shake myself and literally count my blessings - including this sweet, rainbow shaded one I'm carrying right now - just so I didn't break down in a heap and lose myself in grief...as much as I love and feel for and have sincerely prayed for and with those dear friends who have gone through such a loss, I know I never truly understood the despair. The agony. The fake smile below tear brimmed eyes. Until I dealt with them myself. It is an empathy I wish I did not have to have, but I know that God is using me to be a blessing to others through it.
Am I glad we lost Cat? Of course not! But I hold tightly to the Lord's promises. He loves me. He loves all my babies. And He has blessed my life in so many uncountable ways. He is good. It's hard to put into words, but to know that Cat being in heaven with Jesus has given us the blessing of knowing Cadie soon...is beautiful. I will hold Cat one day. I will know her intimately, and we will spend eternity together. Will the pain lessen over time? I'm told so. Will Cadie take Cat's place? Never. But she will always be a reminder that though she is our sixth blessing on earth, she is truly our seventh - number six is in Heaven. I know there will be times (because it's already happened, and oh, the pain it caused!) when I miscount when I am in a hurry to get the kids in the car...1,2,3,4,5,6...who's missing? Oh, wait...she is right where she is meant to be.
So for all my friends who have lost a baby, whether before or after birth, I share your pain. You do not walk alone. We will carry on. We will not forget our sweet ones. But we will live more abundant lives...for them.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Reviving the habit...

Hello, all! It's been a while, I know! Life just ran away with me and this had to take a backseat for some time...so much has happened in the last two years. For one thing, we are now a much larger family than what my URL describes! Caleb was the baby when I began my hiatus, and now he is a big brother. Castle Jason was born in December of 2012. We lost a precious one in January of this year, Catniss Faith. And Cadie Sean is due to join us in late January. So many things need updated - the kids' profiles, pictures, and so much more!
We are doing our best to live life to the fullest. Not just surviving, but thriving, remembering Who it is who has Abundantly Blessed us. So to catch you up with the family, I will begin with the kids.
Connor is now a teenager - I know, how on earth did that happen?!? Thirteen years old with all the attitude that comes with it! I swear, the Lord is trying to teach me something about patience, and something else I'm not easily learning right now...may He help us both get through these next few years! Seriously, though, he is growing up so quickly, and I pray God's guidance for him as he finds his way into manhood. He is playing football this year for the first time. The smallest and one of the youngest on the team, not to mention one of the least experienced, he is not getting much play time. He is a little disappointed, but he is taking it well and willing to learn all he can and to keep working hard. It's all about paying his dues, and he is learning some great character building lessons that I pray stay with him. He has made some great friends this year, and I'm so proud of him for sticking with it.
Chloe Mae, our sweet girl, is 11 now. She is quickly becoming a fine young lady, but still very much a little girl, as well. She is our star. Acting and singing are her life, and she is so very talented. We love seeing her shine in all she does. She has matured a lot this last year, going through the changes of life, experiencing true grief when we lost the baby, and stepping up to be such a help to me as I've been very sick with this pregnancy. I am so proud of my girl, and so thankful for the grace and compassion God has instilled in her.
Canon hit double digits in August - my, oh, my, how time flies! He took some time off from Cub Scouts to play some sports and try his hand at acting (which he is SO good at), but decided to go back to scouting this fall. He is all about the outdoors, camping, animals, and learning about survival skills. He is such a ham, but also my sensitive one. You never know what's going to come out of his mouth - whether it be an off-the-wall joke, or his deep understanding of a scripture passage he's been working through. He never ceases to surprise and amaze me, this one. :)
Caleb is growing all the time, and I just want to stop the clock!! Six years old and filled to the brim with spunk and orneriness, my little redhead freckle face! He just lost his first tooth this past weekend - a milestone he's been anxiously awaiting...since his best friend and cousin, Emmalea, lost her first one MONTHS ago! He is reading and doing well in school, and he joined Cub Scouts this fall for the first time. There isn't much the little guy can't do - he's an athlete, an actor, an awesome big brother.
Castle Jason, the baby for a few more short months...he is a gem. My beautiful boy, he is so precious. He has a very serious, contemplative demeanor, but his laughter lights up my life. He has no problem expressing himself, even with his limited not quite two year old language skills! He is quite attached to sissy, but loves his brothers, too. He fluctuates from Mama's baby to Daddy's boy, you never know which way it'll go! He has a mechanical mind, just like Kelly. He wants to know how things fit together, and he insists on doing it all himself. He loves blocks and stacking toys right now. He LOVES Pops' 4 wheeler and going to see his cows. If he could be outdoors from morning to night, I don't think we'd ever hear him cry.
Now to catch you up on Kelly and I. Kelly is still at City Utilities, working the 2nd shift (boo). He is teaching for the 2nd year at our co-op, and he has really enjoyed it. He is still into hunting, and he loves just being home with the kids and I more than anything else. Simple life, happy hubby. ;) I am still homeschooling the kids, staying home with them (rarely actually AT home), teaching at co-op, and serving at church. As I mentioned earlier, this year has been full grief and joy. Losing the baby truly took its toll on me, but the Lord carried me through. Conceiving Cadie so quickly after has been a blessing, but physically tough. I am doing better now, but still wear out quickly. We are plugging away, staying busy with all the things that come with a larger than average family, but striving to remember how thankful and blessed we are.
This was a long post, but I'm glad to catch everyone up after such a long time away. I pray this post finds you all remembering how abundantly blessed you are, as well!