Sunday, June 20, 2010

So Here We Go

Life is an ever changing world of emotions and experiences. Throw kids into the mix and it changes even more. If I had ever thought about what I was doing 20 years ago by getting pregnant...ok I would have done it anyway but I wouldn't have wanted to know everything that the next 20 years would hold for me. Today was just another realization of the fact that my children are getting older and moving on with their life and I have no choice but to sit here and watch.

For the last week, it was just me and Jonathan at home. The other kids were on a mission trip to San Antonio where they worked on a few churches and helped with a food pantry and various other acts of service. It was very weird at first. It has been a while since I had a quiet house for longer than, oh, say, three or four hours. This was a full six days of just me and an 11 year old who wasn't going to ask to borrow the car or stay out until 3:00 in the morning. I knew when I went to bed that he was staying inside and would go to bed soon after me. But honestly, it didn't take long for me to find something else to do to keep my mind busy. Imagine that.

They all came home on Saturday. I was so excited to hear the stories and see the pictures of what they had been up to while they were away. They were different - in a good way. There wasn't any fighting or arguing, even with me when they wanted to go out to see the friends they had just left or when I called because it was 11:30 and I wanted to know they were home before I finally fell asleep. This will last a while, I expect. But we are all human and there will be arguing again. For now, things are good. They had great stories to tell and seeing them getting along, well that was priceless.

Today at church it was Mission Sunday. The service focused around the mission group and testimonies were given. Then came the end of the service. Michael was called up front because this was his last official Sunday leading Sunday morning worship. The church was asked to pray for him as he moves on to the next step of his life, playing guitar in the band Mouth of the South. I was trying to be good and not cry but I have been on the verge of tears a lot lately - full of pride for my kids and who they have become. As people started gathering at the front to pray over Michael, I headed up to get a good picture (because that's what moms do - take pictures of everything) and my friend, Tonia, touched my arm and hugged me and the waterworks broke loose. I cried like I have not cried in a long time. After I got home, I thought about how touched I was to have my friend - a friend from high school that I have reconnected with - love me and sympathize with me because she knows exactly what I'm going through. I haven't been held like that to cry in so long I had forgotten what it felt like.

We all need a good hug and a good cry every now and then. Did you know crying is good for you? It's true! Google it!
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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Amsterdam came to Texas

One big happy group

This past weekend was definitely the busiest weekend I have had in a long time. Andy and Fred came in on Friday afternoon from Amsterdam and were here until Monday morning when they left for Washington DC. We all met at their hotel in Southlake Friday night and went to dinner at Buca de Beppo. I had already decided what we were going to order because it's served family style and there were eight of us and over half of the group was mine (LOL). It turned out that we had plenty of food and leftovers.

One of the best parts of having Andy and Fred in is when it's gift giving time! They always bring great goodies to us. The kids got t-shirts and stroopwafels. (We all got our own box of these.) Mom got a nice candy dish with licorice to put in there and I got a coffe mug that I took to work so I can learn Dutch while I drink. I also got a cute music box thing that plays "Tulips of Amsterdam". Mom and I also got our own copy of a magazine that published an article written by Andy. There was a lot of candy, too.

Dinner on Friday night

Saturday, while they were visiting with an old high school friend, I was running around getting things for the kids because they were leaving Sunday for a mission trip to San Antonio for seven days. I had been sweating all day long because the humidity was horrible. I was almost ready when they got to my house to pick me up for dinner with other high school friends at Pappadeaux’s. We stopped quickly by mom’s house so they could see her cute new apartment and then it was off to meet friends.

(This is a staged picture of Andy blowing out his birthday candle. Saturday was his birthday.)

The group was a nice mix of people that I don’t usually see at these functions. There was a little bit of pre-drama to the event, but all in all, it went very well and we stayed way longer than anyone expected. It’s always interesting to me to see how people change and how some just do not. It makes me wonder what people think about me. After the evening was over, I was so exhausted but still had to go home and finish getting things together, making sure that everyone had what they needed for the week.

Sunday was church and sending the kids off to San Antonio – but more about that later. Then lunch with my dad, Lene, Uncle Mac and Aunt Ema, and Aunt Mary so Andy and Fred could visit with them, too. I didn’t have to be there, but I wanted to take mom and of course, never pass up a chance to see my extended family. You just never know when you won’t have the chance again. I think that went very well. Fred isn’t much of a talker but he mingled well with Uncle Mac and Aunt Ema. He is such a sweet guy. In these settings, I have noticed he does a great job of just sitting back, letting Andy engage in conversation with his friends and family. He will talk if you bring up conversation but it seems he is good with just sitting back and listening.

(Group shot)

After a nice respite at home, I met Andy and Fred at the hotel for a final dinner, just the three of us, at my request. We had Sushi – a LOT of Sushi and a great time just talking and laughing. It is now Wednesday and I just now feel like I am recovering from all of the parties. It was very worth it. Andy is coming back in October and I hope to make it a less busy but fun-filled time together. I have definitely missed them both but I talk to Andy so much on the phone that it doesn't feel like I have been away from him for any length of time at all.
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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

All Sorts of Excitement

If anyone ever told me of all the different paths I would take in my life, I might have had second thoughts about a lot of stuff. But thankfully I haven't had an option (or one that was really told to me - or maybe I just didn't listen).

When I was a little girl, I never thought much about getting married although I did think a lot about having children. I just knew that getting married sorta came along with the children so I was ok with that. I didn't have the best example of what a good marriage was but I also didn't think about it much until I was a teenager. It is what is it and I am a better person for where I am now. I just want to be a better example for my kids.

Once the kids came along, I could never seem to see past the age of the oldest child. I am still this way. Michael is 19 and I can't see past any of the other kids being any older than 19. I think it's a protection mechanism that God gives mothers. If we knew what the future would hold we would all NOT have kids or keep them so guarded and protected that they wouldn't even be any good to anyone.

2010 is proving to bring so many changes to our house and it's not even half way through the year yet. I had to move my mom out of her house and into an apartment near me. The situation with her house had become such that she needed a place to start over - by herself except that me and the kids are just a couple of steps away. When we moved in November I was thinking that would be it for a LONG time - until my Mr. Almost Right came along to move me with movers and packers and all that fun stuff. Hahahaha Anyway, mom is happy and getting settled in her new home and really enjoys that we are just around the corner.

Michael was asked about a month ago to be the lead guitar player for a band call Mouth of the South. They are a christian progressive heavy metal band. I am so happy for him because I know this is something he would love doing. By the way, I found this out on Mother's Day.....He has been in a few concerts and will play in Austin, TX tonight at The Garage @ Gateway Church. As a mom, it's a bit scary to think of your child going on with several other "boys" to go play in a band. Yes they are all adults and yes they are good kids, but I am still his mom and I still worry.

This Sunday, Michael, Alyssa and Benjamin will be going on a mission trip with the church to San Antonio to help with a Methodist church or two down there. I don't know everything they will be doing but I am very excited for all of them. It's an opportunity to do some community service work for people who are not as fortunate as us. While we do not have a lot, my kids want for nothing - EVER. They have never missed a meal because we didn't have food. They have never not had a bed to sleep in. They have always had two parents who loved them and a host of grandparents, aunts and uncles who would give their life for them. They people they will be ministering to may not be able to say that. I just pray that all of the kids and adults that are going will be blessed beyond measure and will return home with amazingly wonderful, life changing stories.
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