Monday, October 24, 2011

Missing my husband...for a season

My husband is currently snoring lightly on our couch.  He's been pulling some late hours and comes home pretty exhausted.  Though I attempt not to become weary during the harvest seasons, I never seem to succeed.  I always end up at the point of tears and miss my husband so much.  However, I was recently reminded what a GIFT it is to actually miss my husband.  Some women, which I cannot comprehend, don't miss their husbands.  Some are glad when he's gone or it doesn't make much difference to them one way or the other.  God has blessed our relationship in a way that, after 17 years, we are still best friends and love to be together.  Oh, it's not all rosy and perfect all the time.  But, it IS pretty nice. :)

Yesterday, the adult members of our family got together at a nice restaurant to just enjoy some time together.  This dinner had been planned for a couple of months and included my mom, my brothers and their wives, my cousin, aunt and uncle - an all-around fun bunch.  Because the constant rain this fall has resulted in the harvest going later and because it was actually sunny & dry this weekend, I had to attend the dinner alone.  I'll be honest - I was pretty sad about it.  I had a bit of a pity party.  No, I wasn't mad at my husband.  I just missed him.  I missed not having this little date with him.  I was lonely as I drove our big van out to one of our favorite dining places without him.

Then I arrived at the restaurant and sat directly across from my cousin.

My cousin who became a widow 8 years ago when she was the age I am now.

My cousin whose husband was a farmer and died while doing a routine project on their land.

My cousin who has had to raise her 5 children alone.  At the time of the accident her children were 14, 12, 3, & twin boys who were 1 year old.

My cousin who drives to family get-togethers without her best friend all the time.  My cousin who can't just pick up the phone and ask her partner's opinion in matters regarding parenting or paying bills.  My cousin who goes to bed alone every night.  My cousin who misses her husband every day of her life. 

My cousin's husband died three & a half months before my husband had the accident that very nearly took him from me.  I was pregnant with our fifth child.  Her life is very much a reminder of what mine could have been like.

As I sat across from my cousin who was smiling and laughing, I realized that I am blessed to miss my husband.  For a season.  Not a lifetime.

He sleeps on my couch tonight.  He will work hard again tomorrow.  I will miss him.  I will be grateful, for I am abundantly blessed.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

They Walk in the Footsteps of Jesus

Recently, I have been thinking about foster parents, adoptive parents, and the children who are loved by them.  No, we're not looking to adopt - we don't feel we have been called.

And, a calling it is.  Or, it should be.  Sadly, many foster parents are not evidenced by their selfishness and lack of care for the young hearts that enter their homes.

However, there are many foster/adoptive parents who love each child who comes into their home with their whole hearts.  They love, teach, and care for the children as they were their own.  In some cases, those children will, indeed, be theirs one day.  In others, tears will be shed as they say "good-bye."  That is a grief I cannot even begin to imagine.

There are adoptive parents who fall in love with their child from miles away.  Parents travel halfway across the world to bring home a child who, in any other case, has no hope of love or home or family.

To adopt a child, a parent must often pay a lot of money.  They often have to have their home and family-life evaluated and "graded" by social services in order to be deemed "worthy" of the state.  Parents have to fill out mounds of paperwork before they may call these children their own.  Once a child comes into their home (if a foster child or the process of adoption has not yet been completed), that child must often leave for visits with their biological family members - often causing confusion & upheaval of schedules and emotions.  I know of one family whose daughter, even after being adopted, still has to have visitation with a biological parent!  Parents lose sleep over children who've been abused in ways they can't imagine and do all they can to protect them from any further harm or hurt.

I realize that foster and adoptive parents are not the same nor do they face exactly the same challenges.  I realize that each adoption story is as different as each birth story.  Some births are full of turmoil and distress while others are smooth and joyous. From what I understand, it is the same with each adoption.

I am in no way an expert in adoption or foster families.  I only observe, hear, and listen to the stories and challenges of friends who are walking down that road.  I can not empathize - I've not walked in their shoes.  I cannot fully comprehend the love, fear, sorrow, and joys these parents experience and the roller-coaster of emotions that they must feel - other than they are, in many ways, the same as all parents - biological or not.

I have come to learn that these parents don't want the fact that their foster children or adopted children to be labelled as such.  They are truly their children - not foster, not adopted.  No labels, just love.    Though the DNA will tell the world that these children and adults are not connected genetically, their hearts will tell the world that they are, indeed, family.  In my opinion, love trumps DNA.

There is no better example of how Christ loves us than that of adoption.  I was cast-off, unloved, and unable to care for myself (spiritually).  When no one else could save me from my hopelessness, then came Christ.  He saw my pitiful state and gave everything for me.  He reached down and offered me a place in His family.  Once I said "yes" He sealed the contract with His blood and I am now His child.  No one can change that.  I don't deserve to be in His family.  My sin made me unworthy.  But, He didn't see that.  He loved me and that's all that mattered.

To those who have chosen to bring in a child from the outside and love that precious gift, thank you for reminding me of the love my Saviour has shown me.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Soccer & Family Unity

Three of my children played on a 8-week Saturday soccer league this year.  While I love watching all my children play, I get the best action shots from Seth's group.  I just love the intense looks of their faces.

 Warming up.

 Just scored a goal!! Due to mother-failure, there is no photo of the scoring of the goal. :(

 Love the mouths!

 Keeping the goal (my favorite!)

Or, is this my favorite?  :)

Seth has a great time every year at soccer.  His first two years, he had great coaches.  While his coach this year was nice enough, his "coaching" seemed to be a bit lacking.  It seemed the team was made up of many individuals who thought they didn't need their team-mates.  The coach would put the team in their positions and cheer for them, but never give them direction in HOW to play and how to work together.  Though they're only 8 years old and it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things, I was able to learn a lesson from them:

The team is only as good as their coach.  

This lesson was good for me as a mom.  If my family-team is not working together in unity, I am failing. If I am only putting them in their positions of responsibility, but not guiding them in how to work together pleasantly, our team will lose.  When the opposing team confronts one of our members, we must be able to pass our burden on to another member who is standing close by to help.  Unity is essential in success and success will only come from good leadership.  

I did notice one time when the assistant coach (whom you see in the background of the last photo) did, indeed, give instruction to one of the players.  However, the player flat out said, "No!  This is the way I do it!"  He proceeded to fail.  So, just as coaches aren't always at fault, neither are parents.  Sometimes, the guidance is given but not heeded.  Often, the parent can do nothing but stand on the sideline and watch as their child misses the goal.

Oh, that my family would work together as a unbeatable team.  That our determination to succeed would be as evident as the intense looks of determination on the face of an 8 year old soccer player.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Let's Hear it FROM the Boys

All of my boys made me laugh (or roll my eyes - whatever the case may be) in the last week.

The 14 year old
Grandpa brought over a telescope he picked up at a neighbor's garage sale.  Bring out a telescope and kids come out of the woodwork!  Well, the telescope that's been in hiding in our basement made an appearance, as well, and daddy and the kids have been having an out-of-this-world time! One morning last week, my 14 year old comes into the house looking for his sisters.  When I told him they were upstairs and asked him what he needed he replied, "I wanted to warn them to never look at the sun through the telescope!"  This gem he had just learned through experience.
Let's just say that I have decided that any male who makes it to the age of 25 alive and not permanently maimed is a very real miracle!

The 7 year old
We were stopped at a red light before pulling into the parking lot of a local plaza.  My daughter says, "That looks like Mrs. S over there!"  She had seen a vehicle that resembled that of a friend's.  However, as we were pulling into the plaza, it was evident that the vehicle was NOT Mrs. S's and the driver was definitely NOT Mrs. S.  Instead of stating the obvious problem with my daughter's statement, my 7 year old says, "That's not Mrs. S.  Mrs. S. isn't that old a man!"

The 4 year old
The other night my little one was sitting in the front room with me as I did some computer work.  I looked over at him and said, "I'm pooped!"  He suddenly gets this look of concern on his face and said, "In your pants?"  Oh dear!!  I guess I should be careful in what figures of speech I choose to use!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

5 birthdays in review....

Six of our seven children celebrate their birthdays between June 30 & November 16.  It makes for a crazy time (especially as 3 of the birthdays are within a month of each other).  As summer was busy and now school is upon us, I haven't had much time to post pictures or details.  Tonight, I'm staying up late due to too much caffeine.  So, I've caught up on filing pictures, etc., and I will give you a quick review of birthdays.  Bare with me if I do not caption everything.  Also keep in mind that several of these photos are SOOC....just not enough time.  

Happy birthday to Zane (6/30/07), Cassia (7/14/99), Gloria (7/31/05), Michael (9/8/97), & Anna (10/5/00).

While birthdays keep me hopping, I'm grateful for the time we have to focus on each special gift God has given to us!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Time to Start a Fire

There are awkward moments in every annual event.  The Readying of the Wood Stove is no exception.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Soccer Saturday

It was COLD and rainy today.  My husband was suggesting various things I could wear in order to survive the elements while I took my children to their Saturday morning soccer league.  As he was leaving the room, I suggested that HE take the kids today.  "Uh, I have a project to work on!" he says as he quickly closes the door and flees.

My 9 year old gashed her leg pretty badly yesterday.  As a result, she would not be able to play with her team this morning.  She still wanted to go and watch, but, given the weather conditions I told her that she would be better of actually playing if she went in order to stay warm.  Knowing this was not possible, the decision was made that she would remain home.  However, a few minutes later she appeared wearing her soccer jersey and culottes.  I asked her if she had changed her mind.  She hadn't.  She just wanted to support her team the best she could from home.  Precious.

My 6 year old scored her first goal! The cheering that occurs on the sidelines of Field 11 for the Pink Team is the loudest and most enthusiastic I've ever heard at this league.  They are a fun group of girls to watch!

My 14 year old has been an assistant coach all year.  Today, he planned what players would play what positions, etc.  He put a kid in goal that hasn't played goalie all year.  The kid let in 3 goals and ended up crying after his father gave him a hard time.  Thankfully, the head coach spoke encouraging words to this young man.  I'm grateful for such a man for my son to assist and learn from.

My 8 year old accidentally kicked the ball into his own goal while trying to keep it out.  One of his team-mates yelled at him.  My son is crushed whenever he feels he's let someone down.  As he left the field in order for the subs to play, he came to me close to tears.  When he told me what happened, he DID cry.  I wanted to tell his team-mate what I thought of him, but I restrained myself.  Instead, I explained to Seth that it was an accident and that the ball would have gone in either way (I saw it - it's true).  Then I said (loud enough for aforementioned team-mate to hear) that EVERYONE makes mistakes and that I've seen that child make a lot of them this year.  Ok, so that may not have been the most Christian way to deal with the problem.  So, a few minutes later, I said (again, loud enough for team-mate to hear), "It's cold and everyone's a bit cranky.  We all make mistakes.  Not a big deal."    In the end....don't make my kid cry.

One more week of soccer.  All in all, it's been a good season.