It’s November 2nd, and I find myself with a couple of quiet hours in the house. Alone. For those of us that need times of quiet, this is truly a Sabbath rest. Wind blows outside and leaves fall like ticker tape. The calendar page has changed, Halloween is past, and the holiday season is officially upon us. Christmas music is playing at the mall and I finally turn it on at home because I can’t have Simon Management beat me to my favorite time of year.
September and October were wonderful, crazy, beautiful months that flew by, filled with sports, sports, and more sports. Having avoided the sports circuit for so long with our girls, this was a wild and fun (and sometimes overwhelming and exhausting) season for our family. We learned that having five kids in four different activities during the same eight week period with only two drivers in the home made for some interesting challenges and a lot of calling on gracious friends with extra room in their cars and on Grandpa and Grandma to help with the shuttling. We are crazy thankful for everyone that helped us make that schedule work!
So September was a little nuts.
Soccer season and road trips always make me wish we had a Suburban.
The beginning of September brought us the third annual Capitol Craze 5K Mud and Obstacle Run. This event benefitting Haiti Lifeline Ministries has been a highlight of our fall since its birth. It was a beautiful day for a race (although the poor kiddos had some chilly, chilly temps to run in) and it was a very successful fundraiser for the ministry. We are so thankful for the opportunity to serve alongside our kids as well as many wonderful friends and family members while benefitting some of our favorite Haitian cuties.
Behind the scenes work on registration and social media for the race meant some late nights, which means I consumed a lot of coffee the first two weeks of September.
The 300 foot water slide was a huge hit.
Race day started off foggy and cool, but it turned out to be an amazing day.
September also took us to Branson, Missouri, where we celebrated the marriage of the girls’ youth pastor (and our friend) to his beautiful bride. The weekend was a wonderfully refreshing time for all of us girls. We rented a condo, did absolutely nothing on Saturday (until it was time to go to the wedding), and just generally enjoyed being together without being busy in the midst of a very busy season. The wedding was one of my all-time favorites. It was a beautiful, peaceful ceremony that showed the couple’s spiritual maturity and love for the Lord and each other. It was a beautiful thing to see with my daughters all watching as well.
Ready for the wedding!
While the girls and I were in Branson that weekend, Matt stayed home and started our kitchen renovation. I would have loved to have him join us at the ceremony, but I also love that my kitchen no longer looks like a doctor’s office waiting room. It’s still a work in progress (the joys of a DIY), but so much better. I even scored a gigantic hole in the wall between the kitchen and dining room (a much needed change).
Before: 1970’s Jenn Aire cooktop that was top-of-the-line back in the day, but not equipped to serve the small army that is my family, and the beautiful backsplash tile. (#sarcasm)
Before: Sink, counters, backsplash.
Before: wallpaper and countertop matching – Level: Expert.
When you order a cooktop and have it shipped you take the very real chance that it will arrive looking like this.
After: Cooktop, take two. And a glimpse of the countertops.
Before and After: the old doorway and new opening between the kitchen and dining room. Also paint colors.
Late September and all of October were marked by extensive fundraising by Emma as she prepared to leave for Haiti. She baked and baked and baked to raise the funds she needed and the Lord provided most abundantly. As her mother, I was so blessed to watch the Lord provide through her hard work and watch her faith grow with each donation, large and small. She has experienced first-hand now the lavish love of the Owner of the cattle on a thousand hills and has witnessed His extravagant provision for her. And for the next several days she is enjoying the fruit of her labors as she plays with and ministers to the children at Lifeline. I can’t wait to hear how God uses this time to work in her life.
Fundraising: cookie dough and Oreo truffles were among some of the goodies Emma made and sold to fund her way to Haiti.
I’m so thankful that both of our girls have had the opportunity to travel with Matt to Haiti.
October also brought the Kansas City Royals to the playoffs and eventually the World Series. Matt has always loved baseball and has faithfully cheered on the Royals every summer, but even the girls and I got swept up in the excitement that was the Hunt for Blue October. Their games brought a lot of baseball instruction as well as late nights and great memories as a family. And I think it probably earned the Royals at least five more lifelong fans (Minion #4 never really got into it all and often read a book during the games 🙂 ).
Early in October I had told our Chef-in-Training that **if** the Royals made it to the World Series she could make bacon bowls the night of one of the games. Well, Game 6 brought us bacon bowls, scrambled eggs, and chocolate chip pancakes, courtesy of Minion #2.
Game 7 brought us a ballpark themed dinner with hot dogs, nachos, and soft pretzels.
Late in October, Matt’s grandmother Marcye went home to be with the Lord. She lived 95 years and left behind a legacy of love, forgiveness, mercy, generosity, and prayer. She was a wonderful, godly woman that I am thankful to have known and that our girls knew and will always remember her. We are thankful that she is whole and strong and dancing with Jesus now and that we will see her again one day.
Chandler shared a birthday with Grammy and also a certain fondness for her. This is the last picture of them together, from their birthday last June. Grammy was turning 95 and Chandler 11.
And it wouldn’t be a complete Week (Months) in Review if I didn’t also count the gifts, because they have been many and because I never want to forget.
3029. late summer storms
3030. remembering how much I’m needed
3031. being available
3032. learning to overflow
3033. a weekend experiencing and contemplating lavish generosity
3034. a 300 foot water slide
3035. turning 37
3036. birthday wishes and calls
3037. generous girls and husband and brownies with candles
3038. fall evening and girls playing hide and seek with walkie talkies
3039. another Capitol Craze completed – exhausting, hard, wild, fun, and always worth it
3040. time to reconnect with far-flung friends – glory in how our love for Jesus and our love for Haiti keeps us connected
3041. time to slow just a bit with the girls
3042. sleep and lots of it
3043. a wedding weekend for our favorite youth pastor
3044. slabs of granite that sing glory to God
3045. the gift of kitchen progress
3046. fall showers and grace that rains down
3047. walking out this faith in front of the girls – teaching them to live out their faith
3048. long talks about loving difficult people – living out love
3049. hot tears and tired children
3050. messy days that make us lean hard on each other, on Jesus
3051. no sleep, nights of prayer, late starts
3052. still eating dinner on the deck; these beautiful fall evenings
3053. weeks that feel disjointed and disconnected
3054. Saturday soccer and shopping
3055. Sunday that feels like a Sabbath
3056. watching baseball history as a family
3057. hard days
3058. installed cooktop
3057. surviving the wild weekend of sports
3058. lessons in character, grace; inner beauty shown
3059. Spoken banquet and time with friends
3060. an empty calendar page
3061. rainy days, quiet evenings
3062. a wonderful, wild, fun, hectic sports season ended
3063. sermons on prayer and more fall dinners on the deck
3065. knowing Grammy is with Jesus and whole and healed and home
3066. a beautiful celebration of the life of an amazing woman
3067. mourning as those who have hope
3068. a clean house and a hole in the wall
3069. date nights and Royals wins
3070. long weeks and late night baseball
3071. a girl with her Haiti trip fully funded; praising our Jehovah Jireh
I’ll close with a few more random photos from the past few weeks…
Last swim of the season
Amania got to have “flat” hair. Finally. 🙂
Chandler wearing nearly a dozen ties destined for kids on Haiti. Because Chandler.
A welcome sight after nine months in the Old Testament.
The trouble with trees.
My kids make amusing to-do lists.
How you shop for clothes in a large family. #HandMeDowns
I call this one Costumes for Lazy People – an old Tinkerbell costume and “Starbucks”.
May your coming week be blessed my friends. May God meet you where you are be real and present in your life and may you glorify and enjoy Him in all you do.
For His Glory ~