Monday, August 18, 2008

9131 days

9131 days...that is, to my best calculation, the number of days I have been married to my man. Lots of time it seems as I look at the number of days we've been together. My how they have risen in number without watching!

Today we celebrate our 25th anniversary. I remember our 5th anniversary as I was in the hospital following the birth of our first child. The 10th?? Hmmm no idea, the 15th??? the 20th fell as we were preparing the house for sale in the process of moving to NC from NY. We shared the day painting a foyer and enjoying dinner from Wendy's drive thru- I refused to eat in on my 20th but it was my favorite food to enjoy in my exhausted but contented state that day. Not the "normal" glory given an anniversary, but we are not normal and in that season it was just what we needed to move forward with life. My man honored me, the wife who was beginning to feel overwhelmed with what life was holding. He was about to head south and I was staying behind to sell the house alone. After that day I didnt feel quite so alone and overwhelmed.

Now here we are at the 25th year. How the years have passed, the last 5 years have been full with much adventure, change and life. Perhaps more than past seasons have held. Each "season" has had its theme and we have navigated through them. As I look ahead it is to a season of releasing some of the kinder for their own exploration of life and readjusting to new normals for each of us that such a season brings.

When I think of our marriage lasting so long, and the end not in sight I think of both the easy and the hard times. I wonder what has kept us stuck to this life path as partners instead of shooting off on our own. Amidst the reality of relating to one so very different and yet quite enjoyable enough to choose to spend to share life with it has not always been an easy choice to choose partnership rather than independence. Perhaps we're just too stubborn and proud to call it quits, perhaps it has been our choice from day one to forbid the "D" word to pass our lips or be entertained in our minds. We have had our seasons in the low lands of marriage and love as well as the heights of love and passion. Mostly though marriage is lived daily, and that calls for perseverence and grace.

I think of our many memories shared- military life, Germany tours, children, young adulthood, hobbies, camping together, shared friends and most important to us our faith. What rich heritage we have in the many memories and relationships we've cherished over the past years. How fun it is to realize that somehow this guy you married you have grown old with and yet in some things you are still a young bride. I am still learning things or maybe relearning who he is and how he is best blessed. We find that we continue to grow together as we share our joys and struggles. We have found new interests to pursue, parenthood continues to grow us beyond ourselves- both individually and as a couple.

As day 9131 approached many thoughts and conversations came and went about its celebration. We spoke of cruises and rings, campouts and other things- all the stuff of dreams and romance novels. Yet this simple hearted girl was brought to tears in reading the words of my love this morning when he wrote "Know your still my bestest friend and given the chance to do it for the next 25 years, I am all in. " I have his heart, He is all in. Wow! Who needs the stuff and doing when just being is what truly blesses my heart. So, as this day comes and goes it will be simplicity and inner delight in knowing that we are sharing life together, we are a team, running the race of life, pressing forward toward the goals that God sets before us and looking forward to the day when it wont be just 9131 but in the ten thousand range and beyond.

Update- my silly bear took me out for dinner - seems we're starting a tradition. It was Wendy's again- alfresco- we watched a soccer practice as we dined under the clouds amidst breezes and surrounded by nature. I laughed and enjoyed his consideration. It is kind of fun to be silly and simple - I think we'll dine in at Wendy's for the 30th- but I may bring the tablecloth and candles to make it a proper meal! Funny how traditions start and gain a life of their own!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A brief glimpse of our family life

At times it seems that life here is boring and blahh….. and then other times I wonder if others have the same color in the characters of their family as we do.

Sunday morning I took a photo of the men of the family preparing to worship. To quote me “before worshipping the creator you are going to kill the created”…. It’s the never ending battle of squirrel vs man and in our house the men want to win. Unfortunately it wasn’t a winning day that day- or maybe if you are the creation it was fortunate.

Weekly, of recent I have watched the evolution of the converses. Did you know that you can get converses custom made??? I didn’t, but do now thanks to #3. He, being a poor deprived child has to do them himself, and he does. First was the red on the side, then the 14K gold around the toes and band, then he moved on to chrome. It is a ever changing scene. Today it was almost jeopardized by skid marks on the linoleum until I realized that converses have white rubber not black- he and the spray paint may yet add new color to our life.

#3 is not alone with the spray paint can. Our youngest has followed in his footsteps of customizing. For him this week it was the plastic soldiers. We are studying WW2 so he wanted some tan soldiers, so he set up paintshop on the side lawn and went to work. Unfortunately the paint ran our before the men, so he moved on to blue and then I think black. I think the soldiers will soon go AWOL from paint fumes and confusion of which army they are in. He is having fun and creatively using up excess paint. Better soldiers than walls- recently there has been a rash of grafitti on business walls in town- so sad that kids lack imagination that is productive not destructive.

We are gearing up for an active fall. We have become a soccer family again- our first time as a traveling team soccer family so we don’t know what lies ahead. It was kind of fun to see the guys out in the drizzle playing away- fun as we were safe and warm in the “soccer mom van”. School is up and running and we are adjusting to the new routines and tweeking what each child has need of at this season of their education. And I am prepping for an art class I’ll be leading at co-op. it is exciting and fun but also requires a lot of prior planning as it’s a art room on wheels- all has to be transported and accounted for as we are working out of a Sunday school room. This year its about 40 kids so it will be a bit more of a challenge. What always amazes me is how the same material is available yet the outcome can be so radically different because of the creative tendencies of each child. Some dive in, others are hesitant. Some pile on the paint, others dab and poke without confidence. It was encouraging to be reminded that even the masters did not keep and enjoy every work of art that came from their hands.

Life continues on amidst the killing of creation, or attempts to, painting of footwear and footmen and stepping up the pace of life here in Toney. Blessings to you.

20 is a special number today!

As I logged on I saw that I have published 20 posts so far. 20 seems to be a number that grabs my attention today... with a good reason....

20 years ago today we started our journey of parenthood. It has been a journey that has blessed us six times over, four of those blessings live with us, two are visiting with their grandfather, having greeted him as he entered heaven's pearly gates.

We have made many mistakes and learned many lessons in the past years. Our eldest has been there through it all, often closer and more involved than he'd like. My husband often acknowledges to him that he has gotten the best and worst of us- the first blessings but also the first mistakes as we attempt to parent and sometimes don't do a great job.

To meet the eldest you would be blessed to see the good stuff- he has done a good job of forgiving and forbearing our lack. God has blessed us with a compliant mild natured, patient young man who strives to make good choices. He was fun to watch grow, approach life and imagine adventures as a youth. He traveled the world well with us- while we lived in Germany for 3 years he never spent his birthday in Germany! He survived his years at homeschool, adjusted to and enjoyed private school and endured the final year at a public school- departing with 4 college courses under his belt and prepared for college ahead of him.

We had some ups and downs in the teen years but overall ithas beena fairly steady on path for him. We have been blessed to see him continue to have a heart after God- listening and seeking out good companions. He has seen God's provision in his life with jobs that have paid for his education and he continues to endure long days of studies and work to check the blocks for future gains.

This morning as we celebrated his life it was with a list of the things we love about him. He suffered well as I read it to siblings, things like- your smile, love of tapioca pudding and his math minded brain. He often reminds me of many of our family members- From my dad comes his dry humor and servant heart. His uncle passed on to him his signature and mathmatical talent- actually many bloodlines converged for that as he has electrons running through his blood and brains- just like his dad, and my dad and.... He handles a chainsaw well and shares that talent to bless others like his uncle.

It has been 20 good years, many life memories stored up. He is the one we began the path of parenthood with and some day soon he may be the one who helps us to begin the empty nest adventure. Until then I will enjoy him when we see him, I continue to learn to let go and watch him find his place in the life that awaits him. My the past 20 years have passed quickly, I sure hope the next 20 are as full of memories as these have been.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Its a mess outside!

I have realized that it is hard to consider having folks over to visit these days. The yard is a mess- but its all with purpose. We have holes dug in hopes of sinking posts for a pole barn, the wood is leaning up against the stripped play equipment to dry well and another "pit" is carved out of the clay dirt for an antenna tower base- several batches of concrete it will hold, or at least a boy. There is also the crater left by the unearthed tree of last month.

And then there is the siding situation. Slowly but surely it is being remedied or maybe rather covered. After many months of thinking, talking , praying, denying and then facing reality I came to terms with reality. Masonite siding is not wood, it wants to be wood, it was called wood, but it is not. As such is is much more prone to rot and decay and fungal infection- all which we had. So, we took the tiny settlement from the masonite folks for the decay and mess that was on the house and committed ourselves to having the house resided.

It is in the works and what has been hung so far looks great! I am pleased with the clapboard look of it and thrilled with the thought that water will no longer get in to the wood to rot it away. We contracted a national company so that it is warranted- probably paid more than a local guy but the attention to detail of the guys doing the job is wonderful. The local guys that are doing the job are hard workers, desiring to do the job to our satisfaction. To hear them tell me that they want me pleased, and then they actually correct problem areas to suit us is great to see. They are allowing us to have it done as we would do it - if we had the ability to do it. They make it all look so easy- which I know it is not, but indicates their experience with the materials.

So, if you drive by, you'll see a bit of a mess, but give it a few weeks and the mess will be gone, the yard will be cleared up and the barn boards will be restacked and we'll be ready for folks to share life with again. Until then I am enjoying the sound of hammers pounding and guys talking as they create a masterpiece with vinyl and aluminum around my house. I am enjoying the reality of much lower maintance burden upon the exterior of the house. That is life outside our house this week.