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

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


Joshua is playing baseball this summer. . . and loving it!!!  It is so fun to watch him play because he is just so excited.  He is running hard, smiling often, and telling the story of each and every play to anyone who will listen.

In fact, he is loving it SO much that he actually encouraged me to take photos at his first game!

P.S. Joshua told me to add that his team's name is The Black Panthers.  His favorite part of playing is hitting.  AND - he is pretty good at it.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Wyatt is ONE!

One year ago, today, Chad and I became grandparents.


Of all the titles I have ever had, Grandma (or LaLa as I prefer) is the one for which I was least prepared.  In all honesty, I still don't feel much like a grandma.  Or at least, like I thought I would feel like when I was a grandma.

I love our grandson totally and completely.  He is truly the sweetest little soul.  He is always happy, always smiling, always content.  He loves food more than any other little guy I have ever seen.  He has the cutest boot scoot crawl in the universe.  His deep blue eyes and soft, blond curls are beyond precious.  And when he blows kisses. . . don't even get me started on when he blows kisses. . .

So you see, I know how to gush like a grandma.

What feels lacking is time.

I always envisioned my grandkids becoming the center of my universe every time they entered my home.  BUT our home is brimming with life, and NO ONE (save Jesus) is the center of my universe.  Wyatt, though adored, has to wait in line for LaLa's love and attention.  Some days I worry he will grow up feeling like LaLa always had time for everyone BUT him.  UGH!!!!!  I am so busy parenting that I often wonder if I am even a tolerable grandparent.

And then I remember my grandmas.

When I entered the home of my Grandma Flach, I became the center of her universe.  I was a part of everything she did.  When she cooked, she would have a fun little job for me.  She planned games and crafts and camping trips and outings.  She read books and popped corn and played badminton.  She was so fun.

When I entered the home of my Grandma Regner, I became a member of her household.  Her youngest kids were six when I was born.  I grew up playing with them, cutting beans, pulling weeds, and doing whatever other tasks needed to be done.  She taught me to pick chokecherrries and make jelly.  She brought me along when she cleaned her father's home and changed his bedding.  She planned outings to pick corn, so I could experience farm life even though I was a city kid.

And you know what?

I felt absolutely loved by both of them.

And I looked forward to time in both of their homes.

Furthermore, I miss them both like crazy.

So. . . although I expected to grandmother like my Grandma Flach, at this stage of life my grandmothering looks a lot more like my Grandma Regner.  It is my prayer that although Wyatt is not the center of my universe, he will always know he is adored completely and totally by me.

Because THAT is exactly how I feel.

Yesterday, we celebrated Wyatt John's first birthday.  His other Grandma made him the cutest smash cake.  Our little piggy-poo was shockingly sober while he ate.  But he surely enjoyed all the blue frosting.

 What I lack in "spoiling" I gain in experience.  I had a smash cake plan.  We let him eat naked on the patio.  When he was done smashing his cake, we carried him over to the water table and gave him an outdoor sponge bath while he splashed happily.  It worked perfectly.  No mess inside and a happy baby through it all!!

 Like most one year olds, he loved the wrapping paper more than the gifts!
However, he was definitely a BIG fan of the inflatable bouncy house his momma and daddy bought for him.  He may not walk yet, but he can butt bounce like a boss!

Wyatt John, at one year, you are a man of few words - but you charm us all with your smiles, claps, kisses, and waves.  You are the sweetest little guy, who can charm the grumpiest of grumpies with your sweet grin.  You and Auntie TayTay are beginning to play nicely together, but you have put up with a lot of Auntie's sass to get to this point.  You are a rare breed, precious one.  I am not sure I have ever been around a more pleasant and adaptable baby.  I fear you have spoiled your mom and dad!  I so enjoy caring for you three days a week.  Having so much time with you this past year has been such a treat.  LaLa loves you wide and high and deep and long, Wyatt John.  BUT my deepest prayer is that you realize Jesus loves you higher, deeper,and longer still.  Miles and miles and miles higher and deeper and longer.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Leaving "Little" Behind

This week it happened. . .

Brenna Joy painted over every last inch of pink in her room.  Sniff, sniff.

To be completely honest, I was NEVER a fan of Brenna's hot pink walls.  I tried to talk her out of them - but to help her paint over them was still terribly sad.  You see, in my momma heart, removing all the crazy hot pink in her room was a bit like painting over the last of her childish ways.  "The pink is too crazy,"  she claimed.  "I want something soothing and soft, that goes with everything.  Like grey."

When a girlie chooses grey paint, you know all the little is gone.

Her grey walls are lovely.

They are serene.

She has beautifully arranged black and white photos on her walls.  It is very artsy and very grown up.

Like my Brenna is.

It's official, even my one-time baby girl, is all teenager.

Photography by Joshua - and it pretty much sums up our Brenna.  Artsy, silly, serious, and addicted to her phone.  

It is a gift to watch each of my kids blossom and change daily.  But once in a while, I need to step back and REALLY look at them.  They grow and change and mature so quickly that I almost miss it in the mix of mundane crazy. Taking the time to paint with Brenna - to invest in a project just she and I - caused me to step back and really notice just how mature she has become.  

Brenna Joy, Joy - I am so proud of you.  You are helpful - always noticing housekeeping and cooking tasks that need to be done.  You have an amazing eye for line and color.  You are a wonderful artist and amazing musician.  You are a respectful daughter, a caring friend, and a patient sister.  You are a deep thinker, mathematical, analytical, and inquisitive.  You seem quiet, but you are not afraid to express your opinions and stand your ground.  I am so very thankful for you.  So very thankful.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Fear Dismantled

I have been stressing out this week.

Jamison is going to college.

Like - for real!!!  He is GOING to college!

With all the crazy that was our spring, we were not overly prompt in getting his FAFSA paperwork filed.  So in the last two weeks, the reality that he is going to college (and thus has to pay for said college) has hit me/us full force.

We have always told out kids that they will be responsible to pay for their own college tuition.  We will pay for their books, medical expenses, phones and give them a bit of a monthly stipend - but the bulk of their expenses, we will expect them to cover.  That has ALWAYS been the story.

Yet, somehow, this week the thought of Jamison TRULY being responsible for adult things - like $24,000 a year in college tuition and dorm living - I was nearly frozen with fear.

That is no exaggeration.  It was waking me in the night in a cold sweat.

After several sleepless nights, hours of prayer, and a bit of research, I was feeling better.  Sort of.  Though we did not have all the financial details figured out, the number  (broken down by semester, scholarship accounted for, etc. . .)  was seeming less daunting.

However, once again, I woke up in the night in a panic.  And in that moment, I knew I was being tormented by a spirit of fear.  Sleepless nights and a spirit of fear are not the same, what began as fairly typical mommy worry, was being used by the evil one to draw me into doubt.  My only solid thought was, "Jesus."

As my mind began to race, a Voice, His Voice broke through.  It said, "How long did you pray for Jamison as he chose his college?  How many doors closed to lead him to UMary?  How certain are you that this plan is MY plan?  And since I know you know this is MY plan, why do you doubt that I can finance it?"

Instantly, my entire being relaxed.  I slept peacefully until my alarm went off the next morning.

I tell you that as of today, we do not have a complete plan for Jamison's college finances.  Not even close - but we do have a plan that, God-willing, will get him through his first semester of college with very little debt.  It will take tight budgeting, and some hours in the workforce - even during racing seasons for Jamison - but we have all been there.  (Heck, some days I feel permanently stuck there!  Ha!)  Where I do not have a complete plan, I do have peace.  His peace.  Which is perfect, all-consuming, and complete.  I know He has a plan, and I look forward to seeing how it unfolds.  And how the unfolding of His plan grows both my son and I closer to Him.

I am so very thankful for the way the Lord spoke into my fear.  Fear is real, people - but it is NOT of the Lord.  He can and will overcome our every fear if we choose to hand it over to Him.

"Have I not commanded you be strong and courageous?  Do not be terrified.  Do not be discouraged, for the Lord, your God, will be with you wherever you go."  Joshua 1:9 has proven to be TRUTH over and over in my life.

And though I can control nothing (and that makes me very fearful if I choose to dwell on it), I serve a God who created the universe, cares for each bird, and is always faithful.  Always. especially when I do not have any idea how the impossible will become possible.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

One Year Ago...

Last night, right before I went to sleep, I opened my Time Hop ap.  And what I saw brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my heart.

One year ago yesterday, Chad and Jamison were in Ethiopia.  Krissy was impatiently waiting for Wyatt to make his appearance, and the other four kids and I . .

headed to my Grandma and Grandpa's house.

We had the truck loaded with Papa Murphy's pizza, salad, watermelon, and soda.  We shared lunch with my grandparents, and then we headed outside.  The kids climbed the tickle tree (weeping willow), rode ancient bicycles, and explored the farmyard.  My grandparents and I chatted while we laughed at them.  They took us for a walk around the yard.  We admired the flowers and the garden.  My grandma pulled out a scrapbook she had put together of ancestors.  She showed me photos of my great, great, great grandmother Mathea.  I apologized for spelling our Mataya's name "wrong."  Grandma said it didn't matter.  Grandpa told me our spelling was prettier.  (In truth, I did not know I had a grandmother named Mathea when we named our baby - BUT it has made TayTay's name even more special.)  Mataya was not very outgoing last summer, however she was full of hugs and love for my grandparents.  I was shocked and thrilled.

It was a precious day.





I can not believe that I will not have any more days with them.

It is just so very shocking.

I read recently, "Grief is a funny thing.  It hits like a huge waves in the sea, one after another, at first.  Then the waves are a little less frequent until eventually a whole day passes  without one hitting.  But when it does, each wave is nearly as intense as the first.  And they can come at the most unexpected times."

I thought that an accurate explanation of the grief - at least in my experience.  My Grandma and Grandpa Flach have been residents of heaven for about 12 years.  Though I no longer think of them daily, there are still moments in which the missing of them takes my breath away.  But - the beauty in that is twofold.  One, I had a wonderful relationship with them.  Two, I know without a doubt that I will see them again someday.

Here are a few more pictures from that beautiful afternoon a year ago.  I can not bring grandma and grandpa a pizza picnic this summer, but I can cherish that precious day one year ago.

 My grandpa loved fruit.  My kids do too.  We always tried to bring fruit when we visited.  Even when he was in the hospital, I tucked a little container of fruit into my purse when I visited him.

Oh how I miss this.  How I would love to sit at that table with them again.

Thank you Jesus that someday we will all feast together again.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Aaaaaah, Lake Time

All right momma friends - although summer is the best.,it is a HUGE adjustment.  Amen?!?  I ADORE having a less crazy schedule, lots of daylight, and kids home all the time.  Truly!  But - adjusting to constant activity and constant chatter, it a challenge!  My brain works harder in the summer, even though my schedule is more relaxed, and adjusting to the new kind of crazy is always a bit exhausting.

So when Chad decided that the forecast Thursday and Friday were perfect for camping, I was THRILLED.  I very happily finished my work for the week, and then packed up the camper and the kids so that we could head to my happy place.

We spent half of Thursday and all day Friday enjoying sunshine and lovely lake weather.  We spent time boating, jet skiing, tubing, surfing, watching movies, eating, running, and napping. It was so, so, so good.  

 Sierra and Joshua both tried surfing.  They were not overly successful - BUT Sierra feels that her shoulder is strong enough to keep trying.  Praise Jesus.  She is healing, it might be happening slowly, but she is healing!

 I am not sure what Mataya loves most - water or her sisters?!?

 Though the air temp was nearly 90*, the water still felt freezing to me - but these four crazies swam anyway.  Mataya actually likes cold water, the rest of them were just bravehearts!

 She LOVES boating.

 Chad let Sierra drive his new boat.  She was so thrilled.
How cute is she?

Because the weekend forecast was for high winds, we packed up everything Friday night.  We slept late Saturday morning, watched a couple of movies, ate breakfast, and then headed home.  Though it was brief, some lake time was so refreshing.  At the lake I rest.  I nap.  I don't worry about laundry and vacuuming, I play.  I watch movies and eat too much popcorn.  I laugh.  I might even dance spontaneously.  Somehow, I need to learn how to turn on "lake mode" once in a while at home.  It is good for me and for my family.  

I tend to be all business - but thankfully, I married a man who makes FUN a priority.  Oh, he is sooooo good for me!

Praying that you, my precious friends, choose rest and fun - even if only for a few moments - today.