Sunday, December 30, 2012

resolution: getting off the roller coaster

Do you make resolutions?  I am making one this year.  It's not to lose weight.  It's not to exercise X number of times per week.
My resolution is to be thankful for my body.

Weird?  Let me back track & keep it real.  For as long as I can remember, I have had body image issues.  I always seemed to be a little thicker when I was little, & then my body matured faster than everyone else's, which only added to the self-consciousness.  And then the teen years....Ugh.  I want to share a story, not for sympathy, but because it just goes to show how one ugly act can become something a person wears for years.

When I was a junior in high school, I was asked to model a prom dress for a local bridal shop's photo shoot for the newspaper.  It was really fun to get all dressed up, & then I was shocked to see a really big picture of myself in the paper.  A few days later, I got something in the mail.  When I opened it, I could see that it was something clipped from the paper, so I assumed someone had been kind enough to send me an extra copy of my picture (remember when people used to do that?).  It was indeed my picture, but when I opened it up, someone had written across it FAT PIG in black marker.  To this day, I'm really not sure how to put into words how that hurt.  Was it true?  No (& for the record, I don't even care what size a person is, they should never be spoken of in a hurtful way).  But when someone hits you where you struggle, you tend to wear it.

Joe & I talk a lot about living in the truth, so awhile back I began asking the Lord where I am still holding onto false beliefs in my life.  It didn't take long for this to be brought to the forefront.  It happened in November.  If you've been reading for awhile, I spent the month of November trying to be mindful of being thankful.  On November 18, I achieved a goal I had set for myself by running a 15K race that I'd been training for.  It was an awesome (very cold!!) morning, & I did it!!!  There were event photographers along the course, so there were a few pictures of me running.  And this is where it went downhill.  When I saw the pictures, what I should have said was, "Wow...look at your 43-year-old-mama-of-9 self out there running 9.3 miles!!"  Instead, I started in with the negative, destructive self-talk that too many of us seem to be able to do so easily, basically picking apart my every flaw.

And then all I could think was, "Be THANKFUL".  Like I said, I was part way through November & really trying to seek thankfulness.  I can't explain it fully, but some things started making sense to me.  And I had an ugly cry.  I cried for my hurt feelings over those hateful words on that picture.  I cried for all the energy I have wasted over the years on self-loathing, obsessing over diets, & self-inflicted guilt.  I cried for the times I couldn't take a compliment from my husband or my children.  I cried because I have spent all these years wanting my daughters to love themselves & recognize their beauty, but I didn't show them how.  I just cried.

Then I made a choice...mind you, sometimes I have to make this choice daily, but I am choosing to be thankful for my body.  I am thankful for the stretch marks that are evidence that I have carried 5 healthy babies to term.  I am thankful for the deflated breasts (yes, I just referenced the girls on my blog) that nursed those 5 babies.  I am thankful for the wrinkles that bear witness to years of living through good & tough times.  I am thankful that this body is healthy and strong enough to carry me for 9.3 miles, chase around after 2 toddlers, & keep up with the happenings of my active family.

Okay, I am not thankful for grey hair, & Miss Clairol & I will continue to fight that battle.  I'm a work in progress, people.

However, I am done making resolutions to lose weight, trying to attain some unrealistic level of skinny.  As a matter of fact, I already quit weighing myself in August.  For real!  Will I try to take care of myself & fuel my body so that I can keep on keepin' on?  Absolutely.  Will I set some goals for myself?  Yes!  But not with the intention of weighing a certain amount or wearing a certain size.  I am setting goals because I actually like training for something & then having that sense of accomplishment.  I also like being able to haul children or laundry up the stairs without gasping for air, but anyway...Know what I want to do in 2013?  Run my first half marathon.  :)

But even more, in 2013 I want to liberate my mind from the garbage & be thankful.  I think this post is a good start because I'm learning that once you speak of the things that tend to hold your mind & heart hostage, they lose their power.  So garbage, be gone.  I'm getting off this emotional rollercoaster & welcoming a new year with a new attitude!

My 43-Year-Old-Mama-to-9-Self with KiKi after completing my first 15K 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas 2012

 Christmas, 2012.  Thankfully, by Sunday I was recovered enough from the flu to get some wrapping done & pick up a few last-minute things I couldn't get online (did I mention how thankful I am for online shopping this year?).  While it looks like a lot, when you divide these gifts between 9 children, it's really not.  The kids get more of things they need with a few fun things mixed in.  Add that to the fact that we had some weird package shapes this year (yes, I wrap everything, including a set of kettle bells for Kearsten...that was an awkward one!).

I love these smiling faces, even if they had us up at 5 a.m.!  Before you blame the little ones, don't.  It was the older variety instigating the early wake-up call.


These next pictures are probably some of my favorite things from Christmas.  We always give the kids new jammies & a book on Christmas Eve.  This year, the little girls got cute new nightgowns that just happened to match nightgowns that were on their new dollies they opened Christmas morning.  So fun!


Kemeri got the hang of opening gifts pretty quickly.  I do think she was most excited about the new baby doll, though! :)


Of course, Ella had to be in the middle of everything!

Stockings are always practical (deodorant, lotion, socks, new undies!) & a couple of sweet treats.


I am so thankful that we get to celebrate Jesus' birthday with one another, & being healthy enough to enjoy it was an extra blessing!

Thursday, December 20, 2012


We have the flu.  With ear infections & bronchitis piggybacking on it.  It got me today, & I truly can't remember the last time I was this sick.  I even had to miss Kam's basketball game tonight, which I haven't done her whole high school career.
But just when I start feeling sorry for myself, I think of the families in CT, & I get over myself pretty quick.  This will pass, but even in the midst of it, I can still hug my kids & catch glimpses of them just being together.  Thankful.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


The milestones with our children are amazing moments, each unique for the individual child.  It is such a privilege to get to celebrate these moments as parents.  This weekend, we celebrate Kaelee, who hit a milestone that is a first for us as parents...she graduated from college!
I have learned over the years that a degree does not make the person, but having this degree will enable Kaelee to do the thing she loves, which is to teach children.  We are so proud of the hard work she has put in, but even more for the heart she has for "her kids".  As she has gone through her student teaching experiences (and this last week began in a kindergarten position that could go through the rest of the year!), I love how she is so excited about the things "her kids" do and say.  I am especially proud of her heart for the kids that are considered the underdog.  I pray that as the years go by, her heart is continually consumed with renewed enthusiasm for this calling on her life.
Congratulations, Kaelee Morgan.  We are so happy for and proud of you.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

it can wait

Twenty-some years ago when Kaelee was born & I began taking her for her regular check-ups, I remember this quote hanging on the wall in the pediatrician's office:

Cleaning and scrubbing
can wait til tomorrow,
for babies grow up
we've learned to our sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs,
dust go to sleep,
I'm rocking my baby
and babies don't keep.

~ Ruth Hulbert Hamilton adapted by Wendy Lyn 

I've certainly come to appreciate just how true these words really are.  For some reason, Kendi awoke from her nap today much sooner than normal.  When I picked her up, she settled in for a snuggle, & I soon realized she was sound asleep again.  Instead of laying her back down, I opted to plant myself in the rocker & just hold her.   Anymore, these moments with Miss Busy are few & far between.  

Yep, I will continue to treasure these moments, especially when the next moments have me chasing her busy self at Kade's basketball game.  Ahem.  Does all that running count toward my weekly mileage?

Monday, December 3, 2012

doing for others

This morning, I was ironing a shirt for Kade to wear tonight for his choir concert (yes, he is in, he doesn't like it).  As I was ironing, a story that my sister-in-law told me the night before Joe's dad's funeral hit me full throttle.  She told me about my father-in-law's wife, Sue, saying that she had ironed Jack's shirt that he would be buried in 5 times.  Why?  Because she wanted to cherish "getting to" iron his shirt for him for the last time.

I have reflected on this story so many times over the last 10 days, so when it hit me again this morning, I thought it needed sharing.  It has made me think of being in a mindset of cherishing the things I "get to" do for the people I care about versus seeing things as a chore.  It's so easy in this selfish world we live in to get caught up in the "what's in it for me?" mentality. 

But as I think of Sue's sentiments, I can tell you what's in it for me.  It's knowing that my family feels cared for.  It's when the boys have brought home papers listing what they are thankful for &  mentioning that Mom washes their uniforms.  It's the security my children have in knowing that if their team needs a place to have dinner, our door is open. 

The kids don't throw a parade of gratitude for these things (which I totally do not expect), but every once in awhile, something comes up in general conversation that reminds me that these things don't go unnoticed.  Just recently when Joe was out of town, Kameryn came upstairs & brought me milk in bed (Joe is always doing this for me without me asking).  She said, "Since Dad's not here, I thought I'd step in."  Not only do the things we do for our children not go unnoticed, but also the things we do for each other. 

I guess this grieving process has me evaluating a lot of things in my life.  This story continues to put a lump in my throat.  I'm sorry for the times I've grumbled at having to do for others.  I pray that I would do things for my family with a happy heart, cherishing them as opportunities to show that I care & that I am here.

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel".  ~Maya Angelou

Friday, November 30, 2012

thankful {day my life}

I can't believe this is the last day of November.  I started strong with the daily thankful posts, but some unexpected events derailed me a bit.  I figure that's ok for two reasons:  One, it's my blog, so I guess I can be flexible with my "rules" & two, I figure y'all might have been getting a bit tired of hearing from me everyday anyway. ;)
For real, though, I am glad I set out in an attempt to do a thankful post each day this month.  Even though my thoughts didn't always make it to the blog, I found myself in a frame of mind on even the hardest of days to seek a thankful heart.  It's amazing how powerful our thoughts are, & when we set out to guide those thoughts into viewing life through a lens of gratitude to the One in our every moment, we have the eyes to see Him in the details.
Not gonna lie...these last couple of weeks have been HARD.  But in the midst of hard, I have found myself purposely looking for those things around me that I am thankful for.  Not only that, but I have also found that my tendency has been to appreciate those moments all the more.  Here's just one example from recently:
Thank you, Lord.  Thank you for the moments that make us pause.  Thank you for the opportunity to see things through the eyes of children.  Thank you for the love & support of family & friends.  Thank you for Your mercies that are new each day...a great gift that is undeserved.  I pray that I would continue to seek an attitude of thankfulness & appreciation so that I can better see You in my life.  Thank you.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

thankful {day 25...tradition}

Today, I am thankful for my family & the traditions we have developed.  In particular, I am thankful for our annual outing to the Christmas Tree Farm where we take a wagon ride out into the field to cut down our Christmas tree.  It is truly one of my most favorite things we do together!

So here's the thing....every year, we eyeball those trees & pick one that looks perfect.  Problem is, we get it home only to find out that we have to cut off at least a foot so it fits in the living room.  Every.Single.Year.  So this year, Mommy got smart & took along a tape measure.  People thought I was kinda funny, but guess what?  The tree is the perfect height!
My little oompa-loompas, but it gets so windy at this farm, & it was cold anyway!  So, they were warm oompa-loompas. :o)

Kade was eaten by caught the tree.

Kemeri took awhile to decide what she thought of this tradition, but she finally came around.
Somehow, Ella got to tag along.  I think in this picture, she caught sight of the huge horse team & was trying to pull Kyler in that direction, thinking they were just new friends.

I really am thankful for this tradition.  I am realizing that traditions are comforting because they are intentional moments for making unique memories with those we love the most.