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Running Through The Night and More

After my last weepy post, I have been blessed by the hugs, reassurances, and reminders of faithful friends all around me.  It is difficult for me to know the balance between honesty and what could come across as, “Pity me, please,” that is so often inundating our lives… or walls.  It is my true hope that I can be real both in life and in writing.  That what you see is what you get.  I have daily struggles, and validating that fact is better than ignoring them.  I want to convey a well-balanced story of my heart and life, without being depressing or making one cock their head and wonder if everything is always perfect.  My life is an open book, and I hope I can be courageous enough to show you not only the beautiful parts of it, but also the difficult and sometimes ugly.  Ultimately, everything points to Jesus, the Author and Perfector of my faith.

This week has been full of spring-time activities.  A long-anticipated visit from an old friend.  Night-time talks on the front porch.  Roses from our garden in full bloom.  Putting a bathing suit on Betty for the first time.

Strawberry picking with the kids.

The boys decked themselves out the other day in this fashion.  Paperclips in their ears, gaudy jewelry, and the usual bling all over Jack.  They love to be tough and strong.  They can also be so gentle and loving.  I am constantly amazed by this sweet balance that both they and their Daddy possess.

Speaking of Matthew… he took me on a date Friday night.  We enjoyed live music at Burlap & Bean, with some delicious coffee and tea.  We had some much-needed time to reconnect and pray together.

Tonight he is running through most of the night in preparation for his ultra-marathon next month.  We will be posting more details about it soon.  I plan on interviewing him myself to answer the many questions poised his way.  In fact, if you have any questions about his goal of running 100 miles in 24 hours, please post them in the comments, and I’ll be sure to add them to the interview!

God painted a beautiful rainbow this evening.  I ran outside in the rain with a cardboard box on my head, squealing at the sight.  I always try to imagine I’m Noah, seeing a rainbow for the first time.  It always works, and I’m amazed every time.  God’s promises will never ever fail.



Purple and Camo: The Perfect Blend

This morning as we ate crepes there was much drawing going on around the table.  Robots, cats, and flaming arrows (which I innocently thought were flowers).  Elijah asked Elsie how to spell her name.  She began to clearly spell it out for him in a teacher-like voice.  Then she proceeded to tell him, “Elijah, you didn’t do it correct.  Here, let me do it for you.”  He is the type to be able to chuckle to himself at her bossiness, and we exchanged smiles about it.

This weekend there was a father-daughter dance at church.  The girls were decked out in their “wedding dresses” (dresses they wore to Matt’s brother’s wedding) all afternoon.  Yes, Elsie wore a yellow head-band.  One would never know the drama that went on with that decision.  When they came home that night Elsie told me that, “I was only dancing with my feet one time.”  The rest of the time Daddy held her while they danced.  We both realize this will not always be so, so we treasure the small beautiful girl with the high-pitched voice that we sometimes just want to be quiet.  Even though some days the tears seem to come in the quantity to fill a small ocean, we love our precious Elsie Rose who knows how to spell her name and loves everything pink.  And purple.

Then we have our oldest, who didn’t need to be held to meet Daddy’s eyes while they danced.  Her beauty is swiftly unfolding, and it’s frightening and exciting all at once to see her growing up.  When we were driving to church the other day she dramatically yelled from the back seat, “Don’t open the windows!  My earrings are dangly!”  Elijah agreed that they just might fly out.  It was pretty funny.

While the two oldest girls were away, the boys, Betty, and I stayed home.  At the moment I was taking this picture, I was not exactly happy with the mess going on here.  They made strawberry-watermelon juice with every kitchen tool imaginable and I was stepping on sticky juice all night.  Matt left me with a smile that said, “Enjoy them, they’re just being boys.”  After this picture, they hopped in the tub, Betty went to bed, and I made pizza.  Then I introduced the boys to one of my favorite shows as a kid: Knight Rider, and we ate homemade pizza and oohed and aaahed over the coolness of Kit, and there was nothing girly until the purple clad girls came home donning balloons and memories of dancing with Daddy.

Our house is full of the mixture of flowers and flounce, camo and guns.  Gaudy necklaces and hair ties that don’t match, bicycles that make loud noises and robot drawings.  Pretty tea parties and scary bike ramps.  Perfume and stinky feet.  Hello Kitty bandaids covering a scratch and bruised and bloody knees that deflect the stick of  a bandaid.  Once in awhile these two worlds collide, and I catch moments of gentle love between them.  True gentlemen can put aside their macho muscles to gently hug their sisters and tell them how pretty they look.  Strong women can hang on to their femininity while scaling daunting heights and playing in the mud.  When boys and girls live together there are clashes, yes, but there is also a perfect blending of beauty and brawn, sweet and salty, tenderness and toughness.  Sometimes I don’t always appreciate their differences and honestly I sometimes define different as wrong.  Don’t we all?  But having five little personalities surrounding me every day all day long, I realize and must embrace their differences and not try to compare them with others or change them.  They each fill a void that would otherwise be in this world, and together they are the perfect blend.

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Dreaming in Horse-Colored Glasses

So, when the boys play outside, they get their imagination helmets on… or goggles; whichever you prefer.  They have a fort in the backyard, tucked between the alley way fence and the pine trees.  They have it decked out with old car mats (trash-picked from a neighbor) and other special treasures.

Here they stand, on either side of the fence, working on the burglar trap.  Not sure how it works, but Jack is testing its effectiveness.

There is so much to consider and laugh about when building a fort.

Nadine has been taking horseback riding lessons for a few weeks now.  She is in her element while touching any animal, especially horses.  Her teacher is terrific, and Nadine loves to tell us everything she has learned.

Last week we had so much fun watching her in the ring.  Elsie entertained herself by doing things like jumping from heights and picking dandelions.

Betty was thrilled to have her Daddy close-by.

There is nothing cuter than a father-daughter conversation on a bench.  It is exciting to watch them imagine, learn, and enjoy doing what they love to do.  It is so satisfying to do what you have been created to do.  Speaking of, in the near future we have many changes coming to our family… no, I’m not pregnant, and I will share more soon.  For now I must go and do something I’ve been created to do: fold laundry!

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Sweet Six

Jack Attack turned six last weekend.

We had a relaxed family day at Grandma Weldon’s.  While the rain poured outside, we enjoyed chocolate cupcakes and a warm fire.

A new game of Perfection made us laugh, with its power to startle every single time it exploded.

Betty loves to give kisses, and who is better to love than Daddy?

So now we have a six-year-old in the house.  Even though he’s still patiently waiting for his first tooth to fall out, he’s growing up.  He’s my own personal body guard and he’s my sweet little boy.    I do hope he always dreams big, like his walls that are covered in taped up wishes and dreams.  Pages of lego magazines and cars and toys.  Drawings he has made.  Cockeyed static stickers.  He has so many dreams of being a man.  One day he will be just that, and I pray that his heart will always be tender towards others.  I know that one day he won’t have playing cards duct-taped to his bicycle wheels to make it sounds like a motorbike.  He won’t always wear his shirts backwards or forget to put on his underwear.   He will no longer have a shelf full of shiny rocks, bottle caps, lego men, old keys, and special memories.  Or, maybe he will.