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

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Snow. . . Stinky?!?

It snowed this morning.

There were just enough tiny little flakes to cover the ground and roof - so I rushed to show Mataya.

My silly baby girl, who does not remember winter, looked outside in amazement.

She said,"Snow?"

I responded with feigned joy, "Yes!!! Snow!!!"

She responded, "WoooooW!"

And then after looking out the window a bit longer she asked, quite seriously, "Stinky?"

(She is officially her mother's daughter this time!  There is not much I like about snow!)

Oh, I laughed and laughed.

But I did reassure her that snow is not stinky, just cold!

Thankfully that "stinky" snow has melted. . .

for today anyway!

Monday, October 26, 2015

He Saved His BEST for Last!

It was a very difficult week.

First, Mataya got the flu.

Then I did.

It was bad.  I can't remember the last time I was that sick.  Along with sick, I was terrified - terrified that Jamison would get the flu, and it would affect his ability to run at the state meet.

As soon as I started puking, I texted a couple of trusted prayer warriors begging them to pray that Jamison would be protected.

We left for the meet on Friday.  I was still weak, but I was able to get us all packed up with a lot of help from my girls.  (Chad had the flu overnight - but he was sort of OK to go as well.)

We got about 3.5 hours into our road trip, and Brenna started puking.  Poor girl!  Stuck in the car with the flu is about as bad as it gets.

I was so frustrated.  I had planned for this meet to be a little family get away.  I rented a hotel room so the kids could swim, and I had promised to take the girls shopping.  I wanted it to be a party.  Instead, it was more like a nightmare.

We got to the hotel and tucked Brenna into bed.

Chad took the little ones to the pool. (Amazing news!  Joshua had his cast removed the day before we left!  He was able to swim!  He was one happy boy!)

I took Sierra shopping, as promised.  Chad and I were both exhausted, but we were trying to keep our promises.

By 3 AM, Sierra was puking.

When I heard her head to the bathroom, my sleep ended.  For the rest of the night, I lay in bed and pleaded with God to protect Jamison.  I SO wanted him to be physically capable of running.  He had dreamed of his senior year at the State Championship race for 4 or 5 years, I could not stand the thought of him getting ill.

After an endless night, Chad and I were feeling exhausted and weary.  I was an emotional mess.  Jamison's final high school race would have been emotional no matter what, but my worry and my exhaustion did not help.  I was blinking back tears most of the morning.

Sierra was too sick to go to the race, so we left her at the hotel.  She calls Jamison her hero.  She was devastated to miss this race.

We got to the course in time to check it out and make our plan.  A "good" cross fan runs around the course like a crazy person, in order to cheer on their runner as many times as possible.  Chad and I were both wiped, so we were trying to figure out just how far and how fast we could run.  Plus, I was a nervous wreck, moving, even slowly, helped me.

We watched the girls run.

By this point Mataya was a crab apple.  She needed a nap - but refused to cave.  Chad and I were both dead on our feet.  And I was more nervous than I have ever been before a race.  In all honesty at that moment, I just wanted the race to be OVER!

The gun went off and we started tearing around the course doing our best to cheer on our boy.

The state meet is always a thing of beauty.  Usually there are not many fans at cross - but at the state meet, there is a wall of people.  The kids run through a tunnel of cheerleaders almost every step of the way.  This particular course was really fun for the fans because you could see the runners often - with a little foot work, that is!

Jamison started out strong and fast.

At one point in the race, we were able to watch him from afar and it was amazing.  He has worked really hard this season on changing his stride.  It is very difficult to reframe your body - however, he did it.  As I gazed at our son while he raced, I know I have never seen him run more beautifully.

As we ran from spot to spot to watch him run, my heart nearly burst.  It was happening.  The race he had wished for always was taking place.  He was racing hard and fast and beautifully.  He looked strong and confident - and by the way, when did he get so old?!?

He stayed within in the top 20 the entire race.  After the mile mark, he was not passed.  He moved his way up the chase pack all the way to 14th!  And he nearly caught the guy ahead of him.  He raced his fastest time in his career.  (16.45) He met every single one of his goals.

Every single one!

(He later told me that at the mile mark he felt rough.  They started much faster than usual, and he had to take a moment to redirect his mind and body.  But when he reminded himself to hold his form and lengthen his strides, it all fell into place.  He felt great.  He looked incredible.  And for the first time all season, he was not even sore the day after the race.)

What a blessing!  I am so incredibly thankful that the Lord protected him from this flu that is still affecting our family.  I am so incredibly thankful that the Lord allowed his mind and body to work the way they did during that race.  What a blessing!

It took forever to find Jamison after the race.  There were SO many people there - but when we finally did get to him, it was his dad that grabbed him for the first hug.  Chad was so thrilled to see Jamison race that way.  (Remember he missed WDA)  Chad usually steps back and allows me to grab our kids first - but Saturday, he did not.  I was so thrilled to watch him congratulate our boy.

This final race was followed by an award ceremony, and lots and lots of pictures.  I forgot my real camera at home, so I just have a few cell phone shots - but it is just as well. Sometimes it is good to just be a fan.

 Jamison was called on stage to receive his award for being an All State Runner.

His team had four runners earning All State titles (top 20).  This ties the school record.
As a team, they finished 2nd.
This also ties the school record.
However, in the end, they will go down as the fastest team in school history because all 10 of their runners finished the race so quickly.  Their 10th runner was in 53rd place.  There was not another team at the meet that had all of their runners cross the line that fast.
Pictured above are the coaches and the senior athletes.
 Sweet Brenna-girl wanted a pic with her big brother.
She is pretty sure he hung the moon.
(I am so thankful for the relationship Jamison has with his sisters.)
I wanted a picture of these two.
My dad is perhaps Jamison's biggest fan.  He and my mom came the vast majority of his meets.  For most people, cross country is not a "fun" sport to follow.  There are not bleachers, and many times you only see your runner for a couple of seconds during the race.  My parents chose to make Jamison's sport of choice, their sport of choice.  My mom currently has a fractured foot - but she chose to brave the uneven terrain of a golf course because she loves my son.  She was positioned to take photos and supported him in her quiet, loyal, always selfless manner, even though home would have been a much more comfortable place to be.  My dad has rearranged his entire fall schedule so that he would be at nearly all of Jamison's meets.  My dad is a reiner.  He loves to ride horse more than most of us can even comprehend, but he chose to put several shows on the shelf so he would not miss many races during Jamison's senior season.  Jamison has a very special bond with my dad because of how my dad has chosen to invest in him.  I am so, so thankful for that investment.

And Jamison is, too.  Yesterday as he was recounting the meet he said to me, "I need to call Grandpa."  I love that.

My parents inspire me.  We live in a society that is always "too busy."  We all love to do what we love to do.  Choosing to drop our own agenda to love someone is a thing of rare beauty.

Sooooo, I guess that is a wrap?!?
(If I had one wish for this season it would be to rewind and watch the state race again, only this time knowing the outcome!  I was SO relieved for the race to be over, for Jamison to have run well, etc. . . but all my nervousness caused me to miss much of the momentary joy. OHHHH, it is sometimes hard to be fully present in a moment.  If only life were a movie that we could rewind and relive the good parts and fast forward through the rough spots, right?)

I washed his CHS uniform one last time this morning.
(And yep, I cried.)
But as I prayed over that silly uniform, thanking God for the incredible high school career He enabled Jamison to have. . . for all the lessons learned, all the races - even the not so great ones, for the growth, the maturity, the coaches, the friendships, and the future; I felt so peaceful.  Moving forward is a gift.

And move forward we will!

We have two college visits scheduled this week!
I am so excited to see where the Lord leads our son next.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

LaLa's Day Care

 Yesterday, Wyatt and Krissy and I began a whole new adventure!

Krissy went back to work.
And I went back to the future... so to speak!

You see, many years ago, I operated a day care in my home.  Little did I know that the experience I had then would be used again!  BUT - I was so thankful yesterday for the years of experience I had in child care (from a professional stand point) as I was caring for Wyatt.  You see, even though I am his grandma (gulp), I want his mom to feel totally valued, totally included, totally reassured that she is his number one!  Communicating with my day care moms all those years ago taught me important skills that will (hopefully) benefit this new partnership Krissy and I and Wyatt are embarking upon!  

In all honesty, I am a little nervous.  So often we are cautioned to keep our distance from our adult children, but I don't totally agree with that recent cultural revolution.  I do not think I have the right to try and control how my adult children choose to  live.  They need to find their own way, make their own mistakes, and discover their own priorities.  At the same time, I want to support them in any way I can.  It is definitely a fine line.  And it is HARD.  But, it is also so good.  At the moment one simple way I can walk alongside Krissy is to care for Wyatt while she works.

I am so very thankful for the time I will get to spend with Wyatt.  I have promised Krissy that Wyatt being at my house will be just like any other day care in that I will always treat her with the courtesy and respect I would bestow upon any other day care momma.  I will follow her lead in every way possible.  BUT it will be different than a regular day care in that I will run errands, go to track meets, my office, etc... with Wyatt and Mataya in tow.  It will be a unique balance - but I am hopeful that we can sort it all out!

Another benefit is that, for Krissy, I provide laundry and supper "services" along with child care!  I never offered that service to my other day care moms! (Sorry ladies!)
 One huge benefit for me is the hours and hours I will be able to snuggle and pray over this precious bundle.  At LaLa's day care you are sure to be loved to bits.
Mataya is so thrilled to have Wyatt here.
She pretty much exhausts us with her Wyatt love.  She always wants to be right where he is, constantly.  Since she has all the finesse of a toddler, this is more often than not a bit dangerous for poor Wyatt!  She tires. . . sometimes.  Other times she is deliberately naughty.  But usually, she tries!
(Above she is going in for kiss #1,589,135,798)
 For the record. . . 2 little ones is WAY more than 1 little one!

All of this may sound like complaining, but hear my heart, it is truth.  2 is more than 1 - HOWEVER, I  truly adore my time with them.  I am so blessed to be in a place where I can care for them.  I love (almost) every minute I have with them.  I would NOT change the crazy chaos that is caring for them for anything.  NOT FOR ANYTHING! ( And soon, these two will be fantastic playmates, having Wyatt here will be easy-peasy! Or easier-peasier, anyway!)

I truly feel so very, very lucky. 
And a little tired - Ha! 
Yesterday while Wyatt took his morning nap, I started rushing around, thinking I had better get some "important" tasks done while my arms were only half full.  Mataya asked me to "hold you" and for one quick moment annoyance crept in.  After all, I had laundry to fold. . .

And thankfully just as quickly, I remembered!

There is no more important work than loving my family.
Laundry will always be here, and yesterday's laundry was Krissy's!  Doing her laundry is a very good way to lavish my love upon her.  It made my heart happy to know that I was bearing some of her burden, however, these babies will soon be off to school.
For this season, they are my top priority.
My very most important work.

What a blessed woman I am.
Snuggles before cleanliness - now that is a GOOD way to live!

(For now, I only have Wyatt a day or two a week. In January, Krissy will start school and then I will have him full time.  I'm so thankful that we are entering into this transition gradually.  I think Krissy is making great choices, and I am so excited to be a part of her team!)

Monday, October 12, 2015

It was a "Make Yo Momma Cry" Good Day at WDA

I have had such an incredible time watching Jamison race these last four seasons at CHS.  I have seen him grow in so many ways.  So.  Many.  Ways.  I could not be more proud of him.

This season, he has been totally solid.  He has run every race with wisdom and control.  He has been a good team captain and teammate.  It has been so very good.

But I do confess, I have been praying for more.

I have been praying for him to run with joy and abandon.

It was not that I was longing for him to place better or have a faster time.  It was more that, just once, I wanted to see him risk it all, leave his heart on the course, throw caution to the wind, and have a blast.  (Not that there is anything fun about racing your guts out in the moment - ha!)

Friday, our family hosted the team's pre-meet spaghetti dinner.  As I was preparing our home, jamming to worship music, and praying that God would use our home as a place of refuge and encouragement that evening, I felt the Lord asking me to pray for the team before we eat.  That does not happen at these dinners - at least it has never happened when we have hosted in the past.  "Really, Lord?"  I asked.  And in my spirit I felt Him encouraging me to not just pray for the meal - but to pray for the race.  To pray boldly and to ask Him for success.


That is not the way I typically pray.


I kept praying and cleaning and jamming to my tunes, and I kept feeling more and more sure that I was supposed to do this.

It scared me.

I do not like to rock the boat.

Plus, if I prayed for success, what if God did not come through and it hindered someone's faith.  Thankfully, my prayer of "God I believe.  Help my unbelief" quickly squelched that fear.  Ohhhhh!  Trust is hard sometimes, but I KNOW that God is always victorious.  Always.  No matter what it looks like to my human eyes and heart.

So, I decided I would obey.

I emailed coach with my request.

He called me. . . right away.

And cautioned that it was "probably" OK if I prayed - but I should be careful to not be too religious.  He apologized for the comment, but let's face it, we live in a time in which we are beginning to have fewer and fewer rights as Christians.  His goal was to protect me, and the team, from any possible "crud."

I hung up feeling confused.

How do I proceed?  How do I please God, while also showing respect to the coach?  I know I serve Jesus first. . . but. . .

I finally threw up my hands and just asked the Lord to give me words.  His words.  Not mine.

I introduced the prayer that evening by explaining to the guys that in our home we pray before meals, and I would like them to join us in that tradition if they felt comfortable.  But if they did not, I was totally fine with that.

And then I prayed.

I'm honestly not sure what I said.

I do remember thanking God for their abilities.  Asking Him to allow them to race with joy, strength and courage.  Asking for success.  PR's.  And an end to the season in which they will never look back with "I wishes".  In His name.  For His glory.

Let's eat!
(Along with my thought of, did I do OK Lord?  Was that what You wanted?)

The evening was busy.  I slept well.  Morning came early.  Chaos soon ensued.

Just as we were leaving town, Joshua claimed he was too sick to travel.  He was sure he was going to puke.  So we scrambled.  Chad took the little kids home, and Sierra and I drove to the race.

Jamison's race was first.

And I was totally calm.  Peaceful.

I'm usually nervous.  Excited.  Fidgety.

Not Saturday.  Saturday I was just oddly calm.  I was not sure how to feel about that. . .  and commented to Sierra about it several times.

We were standing a ways down course when the gun went off, but I knew it was going to be some race from the first glimpse I got of my son.  His position in the pack was different than usual.  And his stride said, "I've got this."

Sierra and I ran to another spot to cheer and waited.

Those waits seem endless.

As he approached, he had that same stride and gleam in his eye.  And he was positioned farther still in front that usual.  We were so excited.

We sprinted to another spot to cheer some more.

And he was not slowing down, but creeping up!

He looked strong, courageous, and joyful.  Not to mention fast.

We were so stinking excited, and yep teary.

We moved yet again, and again.

Every time we saw him, he was moving forward.  He was strong.  Confident.  Joyful.  Running with more heart than I have ever seen before.

By the end, I was crying too hard to take nice pictures.  My tears were not about his success as much as they were about my complete admiration at the way he raced.  He left his heart on that course.  And it was beautiful and so very inspiring.

 Brenna had her own race to run later in the meet - but she joined Sierra and I to cheer for the first half of the race.

 Jamison finished this race  in 7th place.
He was ranked 13th.
 Sierra and I both had tears as we walked to find him at the finish.

And when we congratulated him, his first comment was, "Thanks!  That felt terrible!" along with a cough and a laugh and a huge sweaty grin, dimples and all.

Isn't that a metaphor for life?

Taking a HUGE risk, putting not just our best effort, but our very HEART on the line, feels terrible.  BUT the reward is so very great.

 The top 20 finishers were recognized post race as All Conference Runners.

CHS had 6 boys finish in the top 20.  All four of the team's senior athletes went All Conference.  As a team they finished second.
 And. . .
their coach received the award for the WDA Coach of the Year.

 I snapped this photo of the 4 Seniors walking away from their last WDA meet.

It has been such a great ride.
I also snatched a photo of the 6 All Conference runners.

It was an amazing day.

The state meet looms ahead in two weeks.  It will be his last official High School race.  And rather than sad, I am totally excited.  In my heart, Jamison has fulfilled his role as a CHS cross country runner, and he has fulfilled it well.  There is nothing to lose at this meet.  It is all joy and no regret.  I WILL miss these days - but I so look forward to the next phase.  At last, it (this ending) sits as a gift rather than a loss in my heart.  Will I cry?  Probably.  Especially if he races well.  When an athlete puts both skill and heart on the line, it often causes me to weep.  But they will be tears of inspiration and admiration NOT tears of grief or sadness.

Woah! Even mom's grow up eventually! (Ha!)

PLUS, I have Brenna's cross country career to anticipate!
You see Miss Brenna ran at WDA as well!

 While Brenna was not in the front pack as she raced this year, she was not discouraged.  She ended the season feeling proud of her progress and excited about the sport.  She says she will be trying again next year!

I am so proud of her.  
Sierra loves post race pictures.  She jokes that the sweaty runners make her look good. Ha!

PS - Joshua was fine.  Grrrrrrr!  After a HUGE meal his tummy was fixed.  Chad missed all this for nothing.  BOO!

PPS - It took me days to write this post.  I debated and debated over the section on prayer.  You see, I never want it to seem that God is some sort of celestial genie and if you say right words, He will grant your request.  The truth is that while Jamison had one of the best races of his career and his team as a whole had an amazing day, one of his best friends and teammates did not achieve his goals.  He had a tough race, and he "deserved" to run much better than he did.  I do not know how, when, or why God grants our requests.  I do know that He is always faithful, and that He uses every bit of our life - even (perhaps especially) the hard moments.  I will always remember this race and the way He stretched me and the way He answered.  His graciousness is something I want to hide in my heart forever. Additionally, it is my prayer that He will use this as only He can, to deepen the faith of my son and His teammates.  To Him be the glory, always and forever.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Steadfast Love Endures

It was a hard week.

It was Homecoming for our High School kids.  Last year at Homecoming, Sierra's life was changed forever when she injured her shoulder.  Anniversaries are hard.

Mataya is cutting her two year molars.  She thinks it is the end of the world.  Much crying and many tantrums filled her week.

And poor Joshua fractured his arm.

 Friday morning, I was tired.



Mataya was tantruming.


And again.

And then again.

Joshua was aching.

My house was noisy and filled with discontentment.

As was my soul.

I was throwing a mental pity party about how hard and unfair it all was.  I was really, really wishing I could copy Miss Mataya and throw a knock-down, drag-out temper tantrum and then cry myself to sleep when the door bell rang.

It had arrived!

And the timing was certainly not a coincidence!
I had ordered this sign a few weeks earlier when I was feeling very, very thankful.  I had been wishing for it for a whole year, and I had been counting down the days until it would arrive.

I thought the reminder in it would be thankfulness.

BUT - when I opened it as Joshua moaned and Mataya tantrumed and read the words with my heart of discontentment - God used His words differently than I expected.

As I read it, I heard Him whisper.

Steadfast love endures...

Steadfast love endures...

Steadfast love endures...


I just love Him.

And in that very moment, He removed all my discontentment and replaced it with a desire to love as He loves.

His steadfast loves that endures all my troubles, pain, temper tantrums, and pity parties inspires me.  It soothes me.  It restores my soul.

Life is still crazy here.

I expect it will be for at least the next 17 years!

BUT His steadfast love endures.  And because His love lives in me, my love can be steadfast and enduring, too.

Thank you, Lord.

(And thank you, Kam.  I love how your work makes my heart and my home more beautiful.  You can find her work at http://onegirldesignshoppe.com/)

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Mischevious! Determined! Daddy's Girl!

 At 18 months, Mataya is mischievous!

Sometimes she is downright naughty!

She has learned all about time out this last month, that is for sure.
And she is learning to apologize.
Humility is hard, even when you are one.

 Thankfully, along with being naughty, she is incredibly sweet and silly.

She makes us laugh often.
Especially when she laughs.
Joy is contagious.

 We are having fun exploring with all sorts of textures.  Shaving cream play is among her favorites.

She also loves blocks, puzzles, shape sorters, BOOKS!, and babies.
 Although Mataya adores her mommy time, she is equally in love with her daddy.
Last week she was able to help him run equipment for the first time.
 In typical Daddy Dietrich style, he started her in his largest "toy."

She was pretty serious while they worked, but when the trench was completed, she gave him a big smile and said, "Daddy! Good job!!"
 As the baby baby she goes where we go. Today's cross country race was chili!  Good thing she had daddy to keep her warm!
 TayTay is increasingly independent. . . or at least she tries to be.  Sometimes it is so hard to let her do things for herself, it takes so much longer than just doing it for her - but seeing her joy in accomplishing a new task is worth the wait for sure!
Where, oh where, did our baby go?

As she would say, "Gone Gone!"

Oh precious TayTay!  You are currently the cutest, sweetest, sassiest, busiest, funniest, smartest, most mischievous of little ladies.  You keep us on our toes.  And you fill us with laughter and joy.  I am so thankful for your spicy, sweetness. You are a blessing, my love.