Thursday, December 31, 2009

In Review

Ten years ago today I was a week away from delivering my 4th child. My grandfather had just died 2 weeks prior, and I was not speaking to my parents. We were living in South Carolina, in a house we couldn't afford, and running feverishly hither and yon in an attempt to stay afloat. Our first three children were ages 2, 4, and 6 at that point, and the eldest was in Kindergarten.

*That kindergartener is now in 10th grade.

*We sold the house as it was going into foreclosure.

*We are speaking to my family again.

*We have lived in 3 states since then.

*God has restored our marriage TWICE in the last 10 years.

*My husband is now in the Navy, and financially we are in a MUCH better place than we were 10 years ago.

*God has given us two more children, in addition to the one I was waiting to deliver 10 years ago today for our current total of six children.

*I am no longer part of the rat race, being able to work from home, and be here for my children.

There's a lot more "between the lines" stuff that has happened...much of which you can read about in my Archives. But thinking over these last ten years reminded me Who is in charge of it all, and Who is responsible for bringing us through those peaks and valleys that made up our past ten years.

Psalm 31:15 "My times are in your hands."

Psalm 62:8 "Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Selah"

2 Corinthians 9:8 "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work."

For all the things we have been through, even those that we didn't understand and questioned God about, He has a plan. He is working it out in our lives, and it is exciting to look ahead and see what He has in store for us in the next 10 years...we have only small pieces of that puzzle now, but it is exciting to anticipate what He has in store for us!!

Happy New Year 2010!!

We are going to be going to some friends' house for a party this evening...probably not staying too late (after all, there are still youngish kids in this house), and coming home to Christmas decorations still up.

I'm not ready for the new year. I never am. I don't do well with change, including the inevitable changes that time passing brings my way. I take a while to warm up to each and every change, including the new year.

However, this year I HAVE made some resolutions. Do you do that? Do you actually make attainable goals, or just lofty dreams about what you want to do for the next year? I hope the goals/resolutions I have made are attainable. I think they are. I'm putting them out here for all 10 of you to read and keep me accountable.

In 2010, I resolve/determine to:
1. Lose at least 15 more pounds.
2. Go back to school to get my Master's Degree.
3. Keep my house in "company-ready" condition.
4. Sleep.
5. Eat better (goes with #1), to get out of the "pre-diabetic" range.
6. Keep growing into the woman, wife, and mom that God wants me to be.

So, what are your plans for tonight? And your goals for this new year?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Letter, 2009

Dear Friends and Family,

I am sad to admit that I have not been my best with keeping up this year. I apologize. I do not promise to do better, because frankly, I know I won't. I failed letter writing and thank-you notes 101...I do pretty well with phone calls, emails, and Facebook, but not so well with pen and paper.

So, in a moment of clarity (or is it insanity?!?), I will attempt to catch up with everything our family has done/accomplished/tried/failed/witnessed/avoided in the calendar year 2009. You ready? I know I'm not...

We started out the year, as we do every year, in the midst of birthday season. Our family birthday season starts in November and ends in April. As we began 2009, half of the children had just had their birthdays (Heather, Katherine and Frances), and the other half were still to come (Justin, Leah, and Jon). 2009 being an odd year, all of our children were odd numbers in age...this year saw us add another teen (Jon!)...with ages ranging from 5 to 15.

This year has seen travels to South Carolina for visits with family, and a trip to Alabama for vacation. Jason had a chance to go on a men's retreat in October, and Laura was able to go to Women of Faith in November. We have also has our share of challenges...with two car wrecks and repairs, buying a third car, weathering storms and floods, and dealing with various dramas, major and minor.

All of the children have had a good year in school.

Frances finished her freshman year in high school, and has moved on to her sophomore year. She again played flute and piccolo in the marching band, and is maintaining her good grades, studying at the Global Studies and World Languages Academy. A next step is to actually apply some of the classes, especially her Driver's Ed class, which she is taking right now.


Jon was happy to be finished with sixth grade, and so far seventh grade has proved to be much smoother for him. He is also playing in the band, taking on the challenges of playing the trumpet for the Pep Band and Jazz Band, as well as the tuba for the seventh grade band. He is excelling in some areas, and being stretched in others, but overall is doing well.

Heather finished out her elementary school years well, and is thrilled to be in middle school. She has followed in her sister's steps and is playing flute in the sixth grade band. She has also gotten involved in the Environmental Club at school, and in Girl Scouts. She continues to be her creative self, supplying the family with drawings, and illustrating many of her papers for school.


Justin has moved from third to fourth grade, and is continuing the excellent work. This year he is in the Chrome Club at school (a math and science club for 4th and 5th graders), and also played the part of Fred, Scrooge's nephew, in a play at school. He is having a great time learning about the tech side of the school's morning show, by being part of that team this year, too.

Leah is loving school, and has smoothly transitioned from first to second grade within this year. She enjoys reading and loves to come home and read to her sister, the cat, the dog, or whoever will sit and listen.

Katherine was THRILLED to start move into Kindergarten this year! She LOVES school, enjoys riding the bus, but particularly LOVES making new friends, and spending time with them. She is still at the stage where peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are GREAT, every day....but is quickly growing out of the baby stage...which makes this mommy just a little nostalgic.

Rudy joined our family in September, and has been an interesting addition. The kids love him, and he loves them unconditionally.... ....the way a dog loves.

Pheobe has suffered through another year of captivity...escaping from the house at every opportunity, returning only because of rain or extreme starvation (ok, so not really, but I would swear that is what is going on in her head some days...). She has endured torture at the hands of Leah and Katherine, and various neighborhood kids, and has thoroughly enjoyed putting Rudy in his place on occasion.

For Jason and I, the year has held much more of the same...our work has remained blessedly stable, and our outside involvements have stretched us.

Jason is still in school, working on his Master's in Theology through Liberty University. He has handled well the challenges of full time school and full time work in the Navy. He has also coached softball, played raquetball, run sound for the church, lead a men's group, and is now supervising a major part of our church's structure/organization...and through the whole of it maintained a very high GPA...I am constantly amazed at his ability to balance it all!


I have pretty much been along for the ride, being taxi driver on occasion, and tagging along for others. I am still working from home doing medical transcription, and trying to keep up with the house and children in my spare time. I have had the opportunity at the end of this year to take on a couple of new things, including being my husband's command ombudsman, and I will be leading a women's small Bible study group starting in January.

All in all, 2009 has been a relatively stable year, with minor bumps in the road, but progress and growth, and gratefulness to God for all He has done in our lives during this year.

Merry Christmas to all, and thank you for being our friends!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

People in Pain

People in pain all over the place
sickness
disease
heartache
grief
voices in our heads
telling us
you're not enough
you'll always fail
the voices keep playing
again and again
living for years after their shelf-life
reminding us of failures and fears
things from our pasts we'd rather forget
that come back over and over
defeating us repeatedly

That we are people needing friends
to help to change the tapes
those recordings that haunt us
replacing them with the truth
Needing reminders that we are loved
that those tapes are lies...
that they need to be rooted out...

Because renewing our minds
means changing the things
that make up the way we think...
because having a new mind
will transform our lives...

...and rid us of the fear and pain...
that haunts us all
from day to day

So we can pass it on to other
people in pain all over the place....

Laura Paxton, December, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Happy Birthday to my baby...

I know she's not a baby any more...after all, this is her 6th birthday....but she's MY baby. My youngest....and she's growing up SO FAST.

Love you, Louly!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Preparing for Christmas

Towering trees
with long, naked arms.
Carols abreeze
at Christmas tree farms.

Children are thinking
of presents and food.
Parents are wishing
others were not so rude.

The Christmas tree's up,
dressed in white lights,
and long lists of wishes
kids are starting to write.

While parents are longing
for days in the past
with less stuff to do
and wine in a glass.

Ignoring the bills
that next month will bring,
All choosing to focus
on presents and things.

While out in the shadows,
forgotten by some,
there quietly waits
a reminder of home.

A pastoral scene
with unusual kine
A mother and dad
and a baby so fine.

"Why must that be here,"
people wonder aloud,
as they bustle to spend,
keeping up with the crowd.

Forgotten the reason
it all came about
in the rush of the season
and carols so loud.

Still He quietly waits,
no longer a babe,
Loving the ones
He was born to save.

by Laura Paxton, December, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009

***AWKWARD***

You know that moment.

The one you dread.

Some friend has had something happen to them. Something bad.

You hurt for them. REALLY. You want to say *something*. You think you really probably *SHOULD* say something. You've been thinking about what to say. But every scenario you have run through in your head ends up the same way. It won't sound right. It will hurt more than help. Nothing comes out right, and you end up embarrassed when all you wanted to do was express sympathy and caring.

So, what do you do? Do you say it anyway, even if you *KNOW* it won't come out right? Do you just give them that awkward pat on the shoulder...the one that says "I know I'm not close enough of a friend to give you the hug that I really want to give..."?

How do you handle it?

(so, I just patted her on the shoulder, and said "I'm sorry." I hope it helped, some)

Friday, December 4, 2009

How is YOUR Christmas shopping going?

Not doing so well? Got it all done (I *intensely dislike* you...)? What comes to mind when you get ready to "get into the season?" Do you dread all of the crowds, the shopping, the consumer mentality of this holiday? Ever wonder what you can do to change that attitude?

I have seen this video a few times now, and LOVE it. And apparently a LOT of other people do, too. It makes you really think about all that we spend on presents people don't really want or need.

The ADVENT CONSPIRACY will open your eyes. Go to the page and look for the video "Enter the Story." I tried to pull it to here, but couldn't figure out how....

Really. It will change how you think.

Oh, and our little church is hoping to dig a well with our little pittance...in Rwanda.
To save a village.

GO.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My brain is coming back!!

I am SO excited. I used to write, and paint, and sew, and decorate, and pretty much had creativity oozing out of every pore.

Then I had kids.

My brain abandoned me. I guess it was feeling a little abandoned..what with interuptions, and no sleep, and other inconveniences that go with having a bunch of children in a short period of time (wow...okay, so that's the first time I've EVER considered 10 years a *short* period of time!!).

Now my "baby" is almost SIX years old. My oldest two could probably run the house without me (that's my goal, anyway...). Yes, I'm busy, but in a controlled, more sleep, less chaos kind of way. I'm kinda diggin' it!

And I have discovered my brain again! It was there all along, just drugged-feeling from years of no sleep and the hectic-ness of life with small children.

I am SO happy to have my brain back! Now maybe I can get on with that book that's been brewing in the back of my head...or the poetry, or sewing, or web design....oh, where to start?!?