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

Monday, October 16, 2017

A Great Day in LaLa Land.

I often tell my girlfriends that I am a guilty grandma.  The grandmother that I had always pictured myself being is just possible yet. This summer we spent four days a week at the lake.  Building.  It was not an environment that was suitable for my grandbabies.  When we were home, I was frantically getting things done in preparation to go back to the lake.   I spent very, very little time with Krissy, Devin, and our grandkids.

This is NOT how I want to live.

While it is true that Wyatt and Sophia will grow up hanging out with Auntie Mataya and tagging along with Uncle Joshua, less spoiled by me than I had once pictured my first grandkids being - I DO want them to grow up feeling like an very special and dearly loved part of our family.  So, one of my goals for this fall and winter (and the rest of my life) is to clear  space and time for playing and exploring and creating with them.

About a week ago, I was finally able to have a super fun day with my most precious little ones.  We gathered leaves, painted pictures, made hotdog mummies for lunch, and headed to the Pumpkin Patch.  I know the Pumpkin Patch with all its hay and allergens would not be Krissy's idea of a fun afternoon, but she was such a trooper.  And Wyatt and Mataya had such a great time climbing, running, jumping, sliding, and exploring.  It was the best LaLa day I have had in a very long time.

 Mataya loved the corn pit.  She would have stayed there all day.

 Sweet, sweet Sophia Jean spent the entire time there snuggled up with her momma.

 Tractors were Wyatt's favorite.  He spends most of his time making one car noise or another.  You can almost see his lips buzzing in this picture.  I love it!

 Mataya loves to run and gallop.  Everywhere we go, she is running.  I tell Jamison often that he can move away - but there will come a time he will need to move back home so he can coach his littlest sister.  She certainly appears to share his passion.
And she oozes the charm, enthusiasm, and friendliness of Sierra.  She is always smiling and greeting people.

Wyatt follows her everywhere.  He is smart, so smart.  He is talking so much these days.  When he would get stuck in the bale maze, not sure how to get to the next section and too small to leap, he would say, "LaLa I need a ladder!"

Isn't he just the cutest?!?

 She is a brave one.  She figured out how to LEAP across the bales like the older kids she saw there.
 It is an amazing thing to watch my daughter parent.

His momma was always close by, making sure he was safe.

These two playing on the log was a hoot.  To Wyatt, it was a motorcycle.  He was pretending to drive and making motorcycle noises.  To Mataya, it was a horse.  She was clicking and neighing and pulling on the reins.  I adore preschool imaginations.

I adore these tiny ones.
I adore time with them, on their level, dedicated to them.

It was a GREAT day in LaLa Land.

Monday, September 25, 2017

13.1 (FINALLY) Done!

I started running when Sierra was a baby.  Prior to her arrival, I walked.  BUT with three little people under four, I needed to workout fast and cheap.  The only cost to running is shoes, and it burns calories more quickly than walking.  I did not really like running.  I was not really good at it.  I was simply practical.  I wanted to be healthy and fit the simplest way possible, and running seemed to fit the bill.

As I committed to running, I began to enjoy what it did to my spirit.  When I run, my mind rests.  Particularly when I am very stresses, running is where my defenses lower enough that I hear God.

The very first goal I set when running was inspired by President George W. Bush.  I was maybe 25 years ols and a very new runner.  I had never thought of speed, I was just proud of myself for moving my body in a forward motion.  Then one night I heard on a news report that President Bush was a runner, and he ran for at least thirty minutes every day, covering three miles.  I remember thinking, "If that old guy can run three 10 minute miles, I bet I could, too."  (Some people are inspired by famous athletes.  Me?  I'm inspired by old men.  That may say something about my running abilities!  Ha!)

Over the years, I have set goals off and on.  Usually the goals have had more to do with minutes spent running or frequency of my runs than miles, although I had always, always hoped to someday run a half marathon.

Someday was the key word!

13.1 was a daunting destination to me.  It would take bravery, and determination to run the mileage necessary to complete a half marathon.  Life handed me plenty of excuses. . . and I hid behind them!  One year I had run most of mileage and chosen a race, but then Jamison became serious about running - so I went to his race instead of my own.

Very early this spring, a friend asked me if I would run a half marathon with her in September.  I debated for a few days.  Life had plenty of really good excuses.  We were building the cabin and the summer would be very busy. It would be tough to put energy and time into running along with all the building. The kids would be racing in the fall.  I hate to miss their races.  My list could legitimately continue, but in all reality at the base of my excuses was fear.

Committing to a race - running in PUBLIC - was scary.  13.1 was daunting.  Asking my family to help me in various ways so that I would have the time to train didn't sit well with me.  I like to be the helper, not need the help.

Yet, I could not deny my desire to do it.  Plus, I had never had a friend who would hold me accountable and support me as I followed through on this goal.  So I gulped down fear and excuses and decided to commit.

Training was hard.  Thrilling.  Boring.  Freeing.  Time consuming.  Satisfying.  Exhausting.  And fun!

At one point, I was sure I could not do it.  My first ten mile long run was a total bust.  It was hot, very hot.  I overheated.  It scared me.  Then we had company for a few weeks straight and training was definitely not falling into place.  I nearly gave up.


But, I kept trudging through.  Runs 9 miles and under became almost fun.  I kept getting stronger and faster bit by bit.  Over 10 mile runs remained hard, very hard - but possible.

I'm sure I drove Jamison crazy with inexperienced questions and observations.  I know Chad was tired of scheduling our weekends around my long runs.  I am certain that Sierra and Brenna would have preferred me to be home many mornings so that Mataya would awaken me instead of them.  However, they never complained. None of them.

And this weekend - thanks to Rebekah's challenge and the help of my family - I finally completed 13.1!

Many people have asked me if it was fun.

It was NOT fun!

It was hard.  The only thing I can compare it to is labor.  Not the physical part.  The mental part.  As I was having each of my babies there was point in which my brain said, "I am done.  I am not doing this.  I need this pain to stop now!"  Choosing pain is not fun.  Relaxing into the pain and trusting your body is not natural.

But the reward can be pretty cool.

So, no my race was not fun.  But I am so glad I did it.  I am proud of myself.  I survived and persevered.  My goal was to keep all my miles under 10 minute pace.  I finished in 2:03:25 (under 9:30 pace)  Not fast, by any measure - but as fast as I am currently capable.  

Will I do it again?  I'm not sure.  Maybe.  Probably.  I would like to run 13.1 in less than two hours before I retire from the racing scene (insert laughter) - but today my sore quads and gluts will settle for a simple walk!

Thanks for being my race mentor inspiration and mentor, Rebekah!

Thanks for being mom for a day so I could check this crazy goal off my bucket list, Sierra!

I am so thankful it was possible, God.  I do not take for granted the ability to run, ever. 


Soooo - here is my rookie racer confession:  I finished the race thinking, "I want water!"  There were 8-10 people standing between myself and the water station.  All were handing out race medals.  Me, being me, I took one from the littlest kid and quickly headed for water.  Upon returning to our hotel, I discovered that the cute little guy gave me a medal for finishing the 10K walk/run rather than the half marathon.  I did not have the time or the desire to chase after a new medal - but after getting home, Jamison talked me into emailing the race director.  Jay convinced me that I needed the medal to commemorate a goal achieved, and the race director was kind enough to mail it to me.

After I received the corrected medal, Joshua claimed my "fake" one.  He wore the 10K walk/jog medal to school and convinced his friends that he had completed the race.  Little do they all know that Joshua HATES distance running!  

Final thought - next time I choose a race, I will pick one with a cooler name.  Wild Hog?!?  Stick a fork in me, I'm done?????!!!!!!!!  Toooooooo funny! 

Thursday, September 14, 2017


Summer was too full of life to blog.  Our home was a constant blur of activity.  We had many guests, a constant stream of teenagers in and out of the house, and went back and forth to the lake constantly.  I don't usually do chaos well, but this summer God stilled my heart in many ways, and I LOVED every minute.

In the midst of all the coming and going, Mataya blossomed.  She and I have always had a very special relationship. We are very close, and we delight in being together all the time.  Having so many people around this summer did not sever that tie, but it did expand her universe.  She spent tons of time with her older sisters, Jamison, and Jay's girlfriend, Ida.  And their love, acceptance, and inclusion watered her very soul.  She became bolder and more loving all at the same time.

There are moments that I see Mataya snuggled up with Ida reading a book.  Or jumping on the trampoline with Joshua.  Or doing "homework" with Sierra.  Or playing frisbee golf with Jamison.  Or singing with Brenna, and my heart feels fractured.  I worry about how much she loves and admires each of them because someday - long before she is grown - they will be off in the world, working and raising families of their own.  Will she feel forgotten?  Will she feel alone?  And then I remind myself that LOVE is never a bad thing.  You can not love too much or too many people.  So, I rejoice in her weird childhood.  I rejoice that she is growing up cherished and adored by so many big people.  I rejoice that she is surrounded by really awesome mentors.  Each one is unique and has something totally different to offer her.  What a lucky little one she is!

In addition to loved and adored, Mataya is very tactile.  She loves to try and experience things.  She is physical and competitive in a way none of our other preschoolers have been.  She is ALL IN.  When she succeeds she succeeds BIG, and when she fails, she makes a big splash.  She is the sweetest, most loving little one I have ever parented.  She expresses love, along with every other emotion, with an elaborate vocabulary.  She likes to pretend, read books, draw, sculpt, paint, build, and play games.  She is all energy and enthusiasm.  She asks me to tell stories whenever we drive anywhere.  She is increasingly well mannered, the fits of her toddlerhood are disappearing.  She is determined and strong-willed, yet she has a unique and genuine sweetness that makes her delightful to be near.

In what may forever go down as my most shocking momma moment, Mataya came out of her bedroom one morning looking like this.  While the rest of us thought she was asleep, she gave herself the haircut to end all haircuts.  I have NEVER seen anything like it.  But, that is Mataya - all in.

So we brought her to Krissy, who had no other option than to shave her head.  Mataya literally cut her hair all the way to the scalp in several areas.  I do not know how she did not cut her skin, although I am VERY thankful that all that was damaged was her hair.

One month later, Mataya says she will not try this again.

I'm hoping so!

Following are some snapshots taken on much more lighthearted occasions!

Mataya LOVES dogs.  Everywhere we go she asks to pet every dog she sees.

She also loves to draw.  She draws on anything we allow her to draw on, including the cabin walls!

Mataya finds beauty everywhere.  She is constantly picking flowers, rocks, and leaves to save.  She notices every sunset, interesting cloud pattern, and the stars.  She watches for wildlife when we drive.  The way she sees the world inspires me.

She almost always has a baby with her.  The one in this photo is Molly, her current favorite.

Her newest passion is riding bike.  She rides fast and hard for the entire .75mile loop around our neighborhood.  She is happiest when she's riding fast enough that I have to jog.

When Sierra does homework, Mataya joins her with work of her own.

 Ida is quite possibly Mataya's favorite person in the universe.  In a scary situation, I might come in first - but any other time, Ida is her top pick.  She told me the other day, "Mom, I love you!  BUT I realllllly love Ida!!!!"  I feel very thankful that she and Ida are so close.  They are precious together.  Jamison has chosen well, we all adore Ida.  
Mataya is becoming a much better Auntie!  She delights in Sophia.

 Brenna and Mataya watching the sunset and counting the stars.

Precious Mataya Hope, 

You will not remember much about the summer of 2017.  But I firmly believe that the love and adventure, the moments laughter and play, the snuggles and tickles are somehow, someway embedded into your soul.  You are adored, sweet girl, by all who know you.  May the love that surrounds you fill,and fuel you so that you can pour out love on all those you meet.  You make my world fuller, richer, more vibrant, and oh-so-much more joyful.  I cherish the gift you are.

Love always,