Thirteen

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In August she turned thirteen and over the summer she somehow turned into a young woman and my heart turns over as I watch her grow.  She is stunning and she is funny and she is kind.  She is generous and steady and one of my favorite people.  She is not perfect, but she is growing daily in His grace.  She has survived thirteen years as our guinea pig child – the one who has had to weather the majority of our mistakes and failures as parents.  She has risen to every challenge we’ve given her and she’s never given up on us, her imperfect parents.

Our years with her are growing fewer and fewer.  I am thankful for the fun we have together, for the beauty and laughter she adds to our family, for the quiet love for Jesus she is growing, for the gift of being her mother.

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Grace, may this next year (the nine months that are left of it 🙂 ), draw you closer to Jesus and your family.  May you continue to grow in grace and beauty and wonder of the world around you.  May you seek the One who has relentlessly sought you and follow Him wherever He might lead.

For His Glory ~

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Only Twelve

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Today she is twelve but for a whole year I’ve been trying to make her thirteen when others ask.  This child who has always seemed older than she is, growing up right before my eyes.

I’ve written before of how she’s my rock, this one; steady, reliable, dependable, and how she honestly makes me a better mother.  We’ve battled hard this past year, she and I, and it’s broken my heart to struggle with her this way, so uncharacteristic of our relationship.  I know this is a season and it’s her finding her own way in the world as she grows into a young adult.  And myself not being one of those attached, child-centered moms, I find it strange how much it hurts to think of her going on without me, when that’s been the goal all along.

But for now she is only twelve and in all my weakness and imperfection I continue to strive to make the most of this limited window of time.  I fail daily, but God gives grace and I trust that He will take my efforts and make them something beautiful in her life and her sister’s lives.

And this one, she is already beautiful and lovely and I pray that she sees that, she who has become camera shy and sometimes self conscious.  I pray that she sees that she is amazing, both inside and out.  I pray that she will look to God for her value and strength and identity and not to some lie sold to her on magazine covers and billboards.  I pray that she will know that “true beauty emanates from the woman who boldly and unabashedly knows who she is in Christ“.  I pray that no one will ever be able to make her forget that she is loved wildly and madly by the God of the universe and by a Savior who gave His life for her.

This year she is “only twelve”, although she seems so much older and I am thankful.  It means more time to enjoy her companionship, her humor, her budding insight into the world around her.  It means more time to develop her leadership and gentleness and God-given gifts.  It means, by God’s grace, more time with her.

For His Glory ~

~ Sara

Catching Up and Giving Thanks

This morning we sit quiet.  Two middle girls are gone for standardized testing.  The youngest, she’s not old enough to test yet.  The oldest, she rests still, nursing a broken arm today.  And I am thankful for this week.  An unplanned Spring Break that our minds, souls, and bodies needed.  Nothing planned.  Just quiet, semi-structured days.  And I marvel at how much this has ministered to my home schooling heart; I, who typically does not take a spring break, and how well my girls have responded to the break.  Five weeks remain when we return.  The end is near.  🙂

So, the broken arm…  Our second born has been begging to go to the skate park.  She got a skate board for Christmas and apparently our driveway isn’t exciting enough.  So, last night, on a beautiful spring evening, we ate dinner early and loaded up.  When we arrived, the child who had begged to go wouldn’t even get her skate board out because there were some teenagers there and she was embarrassed.  (She won’t admit that, but that’s what happened.  I know, because I would have been the exact same way.  Some teenagers still make me self-conscious.  😉 )  But the first and third born children, they snapped on their roller blades and went for it.  And we weren’t even there five minutes and Matt comes over to me helping Grace hold her arm and no one’s crying or even seems upset, but the wrist, it looks strange.  And he says, “I think her arm is broken.”  Three hours, increasing pain, a trip to the ER, and some x-rays later, she was home with a splint, and feeling pretty slap-happy thanks to Tylenol-3.  Today she will rest and lay low; perhaps we all will, and tomorrow we will see what the orthopedist has to say.

This morning as I was getting ready it just intrigued me that God knew this was going to happen last night.  He knew we would only be at that park five minutes before she fell.  And I just find it so interesting.  I’m not upset about the arm or the expense or the inconvenience.  I feel bad for Grace, but these things happen.  But I am waiting expectantly for God to show me the purpose of this, the why.  I know He will.  Nothing is by chance; He allowed it for a reason.

It was sweet to see the other girls so concerned and compassionate.  One would have thought we were going to a funeral for all the tears the youngest shed.  And the third-born cut loose a scarf she had been knitting in the truck for her grandmother and gave it to Grace to use as a sling.  And Emma was concerned, she just showed it differently, through cautious questions and worried expressions.

I am thankful this week and this morning my heart feels full, in spite last night’s events.  There are so many things on my to do list, but the slowing down is a gift to us all.  God is so good.


1684.  a new day 

1685.  IBESR case number

1686.  lunch out with a sweet friend

1687.  Haiti girl’s 5th birthday

1688.  Skype and her smile and shy nod

1689.  grease burns

1690.  “Hot & Ready” pizza

1691.  just going to bed

1692.  looming project finished

1693.  sunshine!

1694.  Miracle cream for burns

1695.  Bradford pear blossoms falling like snow

1696. sunshine and afternoon prayers on the porch

1697.  fine arts competition

1698.  girls who use their gifts and one who stretches herself

1699.  friends, Sol Cantina, and a Jayhawk win

1700.  quiet Saturday to rest at home

1701.  day of rest that was actually restful

1702.  watching the Jayhawks with my favorite people

1703.  Final Four bound!

1704.  wonderful end to a wonderful day

1705.  the smell of spring

1706.  walking to the park

1707.  “Father May I” and charades with the girls

1708.  a quiet day at home

1709.  eating dinner outside

1710.  girls excited to paint the playhouse

1711.  oldest child’s broken wrist

1712.  compassionate, merciful sisters

1713.  precious friends for all of us

A friend posted this on Facebook recently:

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'” – C.S. Lewis

This year has been long and I wear it on my sleeve and share it with the world and I thank all of you for being such precious friends to me through prayers and encouragement and hanging in.  I am blessed by the encouragement I receive from so many for simply sharing my heart and what God is doing in this broken life.  He is merciful and you all are so kind.  Thank you.

For His Glory ~

~ Sara

Eleven

She’s strong and steady.

She’s ballet and beauty.

She’s a lot like her dad.

She’s a lot like me.

She’s the oldest child.

She’s the least eager to grow up.

She’s born to lead.

She’s growing in His grace.

She’s amazing.

And now she’s eleven.

Happy Birthday, Grace.  I’m so blessed to be your mother, so humbled to lead you on this walk into womanhood.  You, like all your sisters, truly are an “undeserved gift”.

Week in Review

It’s been a normal (but busy!) week in our home.  We’ve picked back up with ballet schedules and I’ve run twice and not been able to sleep worth a darn.  Another week of school is in the books, so to speak, and the weekend awaits.  By the time you read this, I will be well on my way (Lord willing) to Chicago with our oldest daughter.  A mother-daughter getaway, a gift for her tenth birthday.  I look forward to uninterrupted conversations with her, this one who needs my love and words so she can learn to become a woman.  And I look forward to just getting to know her more and more.  She’s beautiful and amazing and I love the heart God is growing in her and the way she wants what He wants in her life.

Have a blessed weekend, friends.  I plan to see you on Monday and I cannot wait to count the blessings with you.

~ Sara

Ten

She’s ten.  I don’t know how it happened, but she’s ten.  I look at my youngest and still feel a bit like I’m playing house, but I look at the oldest one and realize this is not pretending.  This is real life and she is growing up too fast.

The first born is always “born old” I believe.  She’s always been more mature, more responsible, a little more serious.  She’s a funny combination of her father and me.  She has my desire for order, organization, and neatness.  She has her father’s propensity for teasing, his natural ability to be responsible with money, and, of course, his hair.  She is one hundred percent girl, yet loves the outdoors and bugs and, of course, the environment.  Ahem.  😉  She is smart and funny and strong.  She is a rock in so many ways, just like her dad.  And I love that about her.  She makes my job surpassingly simpler as I  know that I can count on her to do whatever I ask, even though it may not always be done cheerfully.  She leads her sisters well and they all look up to her.

She is ten.  I look back on the first ten years and the moments that I thought would be the death of me and I look out over the next ten and realize that the potential for greater trials lays still ahead.  Hormones and boys and alcohol and drugs and dangers that I haven’t even considered yet.  She and I are going away later this month to begin deeper conversations that should have likely started long ago, but I figure it is better to start it now, even if I’m a little late, than to continue to sweep it under the rug.

Grace, I love you.  I daily feel unworthy to be your mother, but am endlessly thankful for the privilege.  You challenge me, encourage me, make me laugh, and sometimes, you drive me crazy.  I pray that the next ten years will be even better than this first ten  I pray you will continue to honestly seek the Lord and make wise choices.  I know much will change in the next ten years and there will be tears mixed with the laughter, but I pray that ten years from now as we prepare to celebrate your twentieth birthday we will see a young woman who has learned to view her life in the light of God’s grace and who is continuing to learn to live for His glory.

Happy Birthday, my beautiful first-born daughter.  You have forever changed my life for the better.

Love, Your Mama


I ::Heart:: Faces

This week’s photo challenge over at I ❤ Faces is “Play”!  Well, in a house full of four little girls and one fun husband, it was hard to choose just one photo, but I finally settled on one from last winter.

It was early January and winter had already felt an eternity long. I was discouraged about kids, house, family, school.  I was a general crabby mess.  So my man decided to get us all out of our rut and take us sledding and he made me go, too.  In spite of the dreadful cold we had an amazing time and this little photo captures just a bit of the pure glee that we all enjoyed….


M & G sledding down the big hill

Head on over to I Heart Faces by clicking the link below and enjoy some more “Play” themed photos!

Happy Monday, y’all!

~Sara