"May the God of hope fill you with great joy and peace as you trust in him." Romans 15:13

Monday, April 29, 2013

Created For. . .

(Joshua and the grader)

Last week one of Chad's long term dreams came true.  He was able to purchase a motor grader!  Now to most of us a big, ugly, yellow motor grader is not too dreamy - but to Chad it is the bomb!

Ever since he was a tiny tot, he has adored equipment.  He spent hours and hours and hours as a kid playing with toy skidders, tractors, and loaders.  He examined them carefully, learning just why they were built they way they were.

An absolute passion for equipment is just part of who he is, which makes the blessing of a big, yellow grader so special.

Seeing Chad so pumped about this big hunk of metal has made me realize that sometimes who we are is who we are.  Sometimes when we look back, we realize that God has seemingly placed certain passions in our very DNA.  Some interests develop over time and others seem to be just a part of how we are created.

My passion has never been equipment, but there is one deep rooted love that makes me, me.  The one passion I have always had is for mothering.

As a little person, I mothered my dolls.  As I grew older and more capable my mothering changed.  I held every baby I could.  I delighted in making toddlers giggle.  I loved teaching toddlers.  I enjoyed helping school age children feel capable and noticed.  I adored listening to and advising middle schoolers.  I went to college to be a teacher - because there is not a major which gets any closer to mother than that!

That passion continues to this day.  Being a mom brings me more joy and satisfaction that anything else.  No matter the age our kids have been, I have delighted in caring for them, in nurturing them, in encouraging them.  The most frustrating part of my existence is that there are sometimes things (like work) that force me to focus on something other than my family.

I am so thankful that God creates us with passions.  As I look back over my life story, I am humbled at how often God has blessed me by calling me to tough service - but at the same time allowing that tough service to be within the areas I am most passionate by nature.  Many things I doubt in life, many things I fight, many things I complain about  - but you will never hear me complain about mothering.  Mothering is absolutely, positively, what I was created to do.

It makes me wonder, what were your created to do?  What passion were you born with and how are you using it for God's glory?

(Mothering is not the only thing I was created to do.  I was not created to be a mother for my glory, but for God's glory.  May He be glorified in all that I do.  I am so very thankful for the deep rooted passion God has placed in my heart for children.  I am curious to see how He continues to use that passion for His glory in the coming years as my children grow.  One will fly the coop soon, you know!) 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Beautiful Discovery

You all know that I have had a very hard time adjusting to country living.
I have had two major gripes - the time spent driving (or sitting in my car waiting for my kids to get done with one activity or another) AND the lack of running trails.
During snowy or rainy weather, there is only one loop on which I can run.
I have really missed all the different routes I could run when we were living in town.  So has Jamison!
Today, the trails were FINALLY dry enough that I could explore them a bit.
(I am not in good enough shape to explore them a lot. . . thanks to all the time I have spent sitting in my vehicle.  Sigh!  LOL!)
But, in terrible shape or not, it was a very fun run!
The trail was quiet, beautiful, and serene.
I have no idea what else I will find on this trail.
This spot may have been near the end, and the trail may also go on for many more miles.
It may circle back to the beginning, or it may come to a dead end.
It may become hilly, but I hope it stays flat!
I was so very excited to explore it.
I am equally excited to continue exploring it.
It will be fun to gain speed and endurance on this trail.
My summer fitness goal is to discover the end of this trail, with my feet - not the Rhino!
I am working hard at finding things I love about our new location.
I am so thankful for the surprise of this beautiful trail this evening.
It was a blessing I did not expect!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

2013 Karlgaard Invite - JV Only Meet

It was a great day for a track meet!

Especially if you were a spectator! The athletes are used to, and thus prefer, much cooler temps! We laughed all week that you only need to focus on hydration for a 70* meet if you live in ND. Since our bodies are more accustom to 38* that 78* the warm temps were a shock to the system for sure!  It is a very welcome shock if you ask me!
It was Jamison's first outdoor meet as a High School runner.
He has changed so much in the last year!
This photo was taken exactly a year ago!
Since this photo was snapped, he has grown many inches!  He has also trained very seriously.  He ran at least 5 days a week, every week since September.  I think the photos prove that his hard work is paying off!
(You can also tell that I bought a new camera!  My photo capabilities are much improved this track season as well!)
 I can only imagine how he feels when he has his toe to the line, waiting for the gun to go off!  I know it gives me butterflies to watch!
His first race of the day was the 1600 m run.

 The above two photos are of Jamison and his good friend Joey.
I teased Jay that they are "twinning" in these pics.

 He had a very strong kick at the end of this mile.
I love watching him run hard!
 His coach told Jay to run a 5.10 mile today.
His personal goal was to run just under 5.
Coach was happier than Jay - but Monday he gets another chance to accomplish his goal.
I for one am VERY excited for Monday!
 Team mates cooling off together.
 Coach "RW" and Coach Lies
I truly appreciate the time, effort, and energy these men put into coaching.
I always laugh because if Coach says to do something - take your vitamins, drink a ton of water, go to bed early, stay away from soda - Jay is guaranteed to listen!
If mom says the same things, the guaranteed listening is not quite as definite!
 Jamison also ran the 800 m run today.
I was thrilled to see him run this race.
Last year, it was the race he wanted to specialize in.  It just never quite clicked.  He spent most of last season injured.  He was not injured "enough" to have to stop running.  He was injured "enough" to not be able to perform to the best of his ability.  It was frustrating for him.
Today he ran hard, strong, and well.
 The last 200 was the most exciting!

 (Don't you love the shadows in this photo?)

 In the end, he ran the exact time his coach asked him to run - 2.18.
He was happy with that.
At the end of the day, he had placed in both of his events.
8th in the mile.
6th in the 800.
It was a great first meet!
And it was SUPER COOL to see Jamison's name on the new score board! 
It is extra fun because last January Chad received a "911" call from the sign company.  They needed someone to come up and help excavate for this sign ASAP.  Chad drove right over and did the job.  When he has worked on something, it always feels just a bit personal - making it all the more fun to see our son's name on it today!
Well done today, my son!  After months of training, weeks of PT, several pairs of shoes, tons of ice baths, and many, many, many miles run -  your hard work is shining brightly.  I am proud of your determination.  I am proud of your performance.  I am really excited to watch you again soon!

**2 days later, Jamison ran on a cold rainy afternoon.  Even so, he acheived his goal and clocked a 4.56 mile.  Watching him acheive his goals is one of the most rewarding parts of parenthood.  He inspires me.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Hurdle Girl - Meet 1

After many, many, many cancellations - we FINALLY had an outdoor track meet!
It was even somewhat warm outside! However, notice all the snow in the background of photos!  We still have a crazy amount of snow for April 25!
Sierra started this track season running distance events.
Until the coaches noticed her long legs. . . and then they talked her into trying hurdles.
For a while, she was considering doing both - running some distance events AND hurdles.  That quickly became too hard.  After a distance workout, she was just too tried to run hurdles well.  So, for this season, she has chosen to be a full time hurdler.
It was fun to watch her!
 Above, she is warming up.
This was the first hurdle I saw her jump.  I was quite impressed!
 Soon she was on the line to run the 200 hurdles.
(notice the snowbanks!)

 She crossed the line in 5th place - but there were 2 disqualifications, so she officially placed third!
She was and is thrilled!
 Because her coaches required her to run at least 3 events, she ran the open 400.
 Berra Girl can be intense!
I love the determination on her face in this shot.
 Her final event was the 110 hurdles.
I have never paid quite so much attention to the 110 hurdles.
There is a lot that happens during that race!  I am most certainly not coordinated enough to attempt it!

She did a great job - finishing 8th.
It is going to be an intense track season!  There were many meets canceled, so now they are scheduling many meets close together.  We have a meet Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, and Friday (between Jamison and Sierra!)  Good thing I LOVE track!  I am looking forward to every minute!
Congrats on your success today Sierra!  I have great respect for the way you have pushed through many injuries this year.  You refuse to give up and that inspires me!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Is the Lord's Arm too Short?

Sometimes when I am reading scripture one single verse - or even just a couple of words - bring me to a screeching halt.  I will be reading right along and BAM! God speaks.  And when He really decides to get my attention, He continues to whisper those same words into my heart and mind continually for days, and weeks, and sometimes even months.

Most recently it has been these words from Numbers 11:23 that have been on a continuous loop in my brain.  "Is the Lord's arm too short?"

Biblically, this question comes right out of God's mouth.  It is spoken to Moses who is worrying about God providing for him.

The funny thing is that as Moses is worrying and whining to God, he has been living miracle after miracle after miracle.  Moses heard the audible voice of God.  Moses witnessed the plagues of Israel.  Moses saw God part the Red Sea.  Moses was lead through the dessert by the God - through a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.  Moses lived off of  manna that God provided daily. Etc, Etc, Etc. . .

If anyone should KNOW that God has it covered, it should have been Moses.

And still he doubted.  He worried.  He feared.

Just like me.

I have seen God meet my needs, direct my path, change my heart, open my eyes, and show me the way COUNTLESS times. 

And still I doubt.  I worry.  I fear.

I sin.

We all do.

God has been using His question, "Is the Lord's arm too short?" to redirect my thoughts.  When I am tempted to question, doubt, wonder, worry, second guess, or otherwise borrow trouble - this simple question serves as a reminder that I am overstepping! 

NO!  The Lord's arm is NOT too short!  Of that I am positive.  It even embarrasses me to realize my own lack of faith sometimes!  I can totally feel the pain and frustration and embarrassment that Moses may have felt when God asked him this very same question, as I have been feeling it often lately!

Thankfully, I serve a God that does not want my embarrassment or shame.  I serve a God who uses His word only to redirect me - to gently guide and correct me.  When I hear this question echo in my very soul, it is not filled with condemnation.  It is filled with love and grace.

And it is changing my thought process.

When I start to grasp for control (because when it comes down to it the reason I doubt or worry or question is because I want to be in control, rather than allowing God to be) this simple question helps me to exhale, to release my grip, and to let God be God.

"Is the Lord's arm too short?"

Six simple words that are changing my life.

(These six simple words are changing my life right now because I, like Moses, can look back into my life story and see many times in which God has been faithful.  He has provided much evidence of His trustworthiness throughout both scripture I have read and life I have lived.  If this whole post sounds like a bunch of bologna, I encourage you to start reading scripture and as you do to ask God to reveal to you how He has been present in your life.  Even in those moments we are totally unaware, He is near.)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Momma's Heart is (Finally) Home

It was such a good weekend.
From my own perspective, it was good because I feel like me again.  Our house was pure, delightful chaos.  There were not 15 minutes that we did not have extra people around - lots of family, many of the kids' friends - and I loved it!  For real, LOVED it!  It energized me, rather than drained me.  It felt like a miracle.  It has been a LOOOOONG time since I have felt that way, and having ME feel like ME makes me soooo happy!

 Krissy's very thoughtful boyfriend smuggled me a few more photos.
Krissy says she will not go to another Prom, so I will savor these photos!
 This morning we had a fun family brunch - and then the salon work continued.
 My Auntie Patty is the "funnest" person I know.
And when she gets an idea, you just go with it!  So, when Auntie Patty wants to dye my 10 year old's hair blue - I just laugh and tell them to have fun!
They DID have fun!
 Only Auntie Patty could get away with this!
 Brenna is thrilled!
 She also cut and styled Jamison's hair.
And Jay tolerated it!
(at least until she left. . . My boys just do not do trendy!)
 Miss Sierra had friends here off and on all weekend working on a big school project.
Silly or not, a house full of 7th graders is an answer to prayer for this momma.  One of the things I have always wanted is for our house to be a house where our kids felt comfortable having their friends over.  When Chad talked me into moving into the country, I feared that would not happen.  I was concerned that kids would not appreciate the drive (or their parents would refuse it.)  I am so thankful that has not been the case!  I love having a house full of energetic, laughing, gabbing teenagers.  The last couple of weekends, there has been a steady stream of teenagers in and out of our home - which makes me SO happy! 
I am feeling like I am finally home.
I am (trying to be) done fighting this move.
I am sinking in.
Enjoying the features, rather than regretting the cost.
Savoring the space.
Getting cozy and falling in love with this big, comfy house.
To celebrate that, and ALL that we went through to build this house - I had this sign made.
It came Friday.
Perfectly timed, as I can finally hang it with peace and joy.
The artist had never made one like it before, but she was willing to make my vision a reality.
I love it, but better still, my kids love it.
They seem to feel honored by it - as they should!
This house would not be here without their hard work.
We all worked so hard, filling this HOME with love, dreams, and sweat equity from the very beginning. (sniff!)
I am so thankful that my heart is finally HOME.