That went by so fast! I guess time flies when you’re having fun, or in our case, popping out and raising four children. It really has been so great though, but also stressful, tiring, exhilarating, maddening, wonderful, surprising, frustrating, glorious, crazy, and the list of adjectives could go on and on. The biggest lesson I learned (and still learning) through these past 10 years of marriage… deny myself, take up the cross, and follow Jesus.
Cheers to 10 Benny! I love living out grace and gospel with you!
It’s been strange just having Soul and Glow to care for… there’s less food to make and less things to clean up (it’s always much more quiet). Even still, we really miss our biggest gals (and all the noise that comes with having 4 children)! Soul gets really sad sometimes because she really misses True and Brave. To make it as fun as possible for her, I asked her to give me a list of things she wanted to do while they were gone, and we have slowly been checking things off that list.
Since we got back from our mini road trip, I have been busy cleaning and purging through the kids’ rooms. I feel like I can’t rest until it’s done. I went to IKEA to pick up some bed sheets and have a pile of things to put away and save, and then even more to move on and donate. I think their little library is out of control; I’ve never been good at organizing their books. Any of you have any tips to help me get that under control?
We aren’t painting the rooms (though it desperately needs a fresh coat of white), but lots of purging and reorganizing, and a little bit of furniture shifting here and there. I’ll be sure to share the results of the cleaning soon.
Our first full week off and we are all loving it! We’ve hung out with friends here and there, but basically there’s just been a lot of playing at home. The girls turn our downstairs upside down, but thankfully, they are pretty good at cleaning up too. It definitely helps that things have a specific place, and they know that if things aren’t back in its place, they get moved on out of here. I’m hardcore about this cleaning up business. I’ve gone through one room this week and got rid of stuff, and I organized my shelf in the garage. I’m slowly working my way through the house to organize and purge. I love purging! It’s such a good feeling.
Anyone else have organizing and purging on their to-do list this summer?
There has been lots of sister time lately since the baby sister has been back, and it’s fun to just be silly together again. They were telling me about all things they remember about me growing up, and it was fun to hear their perspective of how I was (I’m 7 years older than Reinna, and 10 years older than the baby). I was a self consumed teenager who loved hanging out with her friends, and boyfriend, and my siblings were so much younger that me that I didn’t pay too much attention to them. I remember being on the phone with my high school boyfriend and the three of them (we have a brother too) just running all over the house making silly videos. I just laughed at all the things they remembered about me, and apparently, I was really intimidating. Both of them really took my opinions of things to heart and cared a lot about what I thought of them (and choices they made). They also thanked me for blasting all my 90′s music because they love it so much, and frequently listen to it now.
One story we laughed really hard about took place near the end of my junior year in high school… I was invited to a graduation party with friends, but somehow my parents ended up following me, and went into the party! I was so pissed off and mortified that they did that! I was too embarrassed to even set foot inside the party. My sisters remembered the party room, what people were doing, and they told me that my parents just danced and laughed together, and then left (with my very young siblings in tow the whole time). I was outside the party fuming from the embarrassment and anger, then I went home with my family, and I had a yelling fest with my parents. I never knew what the party looked like or what my parents did inside, until yesterday when my sisters told me. I just remember feeling livid that they would do that and how I was so angry that I never got to study for a final I had the next day. It’s all so silly now, and we just had a good laugh as they described how pissed off they remembered me being.
It’s interesting to hear my younger siblings’ thoughts on my teenage self. One thing that seemed to have remained constant about me is that they remember me getting mad when the house was messy, and I still get mad about my own house being messy now. I guess I have always been a neat freak and the stress mess is real. There are lots of things I would have done differently knowing what I know now, but obviously, it’s part of life and all my mistakes have shaped who I am today.
It’s been 6 months since the second time Ben proposed (December), and 10 years ago we were about a month away (July) from our wedding. Looking back at these pictures make me smile and give me lots of happy butterflies. He brought in a lot of aspects from the first time he proposed… there was a bottle in the first proposal, Dave Matthews was part of it, as was the “W” and the phrase “fill my hole.” This time around, my family was substituted by our family. But I loved how he brought in the idea of Groundhog Day and “repeat” to signify this is the second time around.
When he first proposed, it was on his 30th birthday and I thought we were out to celebrate him, but the surprise ended up being on me. Same thing happened this time around on his 40th birthday (we did this for him in the morning), and I thought we were hanging out in the garden doing garden things because that’s what he requested we do on his birthday, and again, the surprised ended up being on me. I had just come back from picking up something we needed at Lowe’s, and I was starting to rip out weeds in the yard, and he was freaking out that I was making a mess while he swiftly swept up the weeds I had scattered on the ground. Next thing I knew, he was telling me to stand in a certain spot, then the girls assumed specific positions, and he started playing music. Seeing how I had been in this similar position 10 years prior, I had an inkling of what was happening, nevertheless, this man never ceases to amaze me with his creativity and surprises. He changed the lyrics to the Dave Matthews Band song, “Sweet” (we love DMB!), and in the end, he was on one knee with a ring in hand (the ring is from The One I Love NYC). My eyes bugged out when I saw the ring, and with tears in them, and my heart full of joy, I gave a giant squeal, “Yes!”
It was such a sweet day and I was calling my parents and BFF yelling, “I’m engaged!” He already clued them in on his plans, so it wasn’t a surprise to them, but it was fun to get all giddy with them on the phone. We don’t plan on renewing our vows, but the symbolism of that day was enough. In about a month, we will celebrate 10 years of being covenanted together, and while there’s been a lot of bliss, there’s been plenty of fighting too. You get two selfish sinners together, you’re bound to clash and fight. Even still, I’m glad that he’s the guy I get to experience grace and gospel with. What makes us work? Not because of anything we do, but rather, Jesus working through our marriage for His glory.
Sometimes my face expresses contempt, and I’m not talking about this not smiling type, but the “I’m-so-frustrated-and-mad-at-everybody” type. Two days this week I expressed that same contemptuousness; rather, my heart held onto it. There was a lot of not listening, disobedience, and broken things by the girls, which isn’t unusual considering they’re kids, but all of that put my heart in the wrong place. Actually, now that I’m looking back upon it, my heart was in the wrong place to begin with and it’s not their fault at all. My heart loves material things and having obedient children too much, and when those things are shattered, my heart crumbles. That’s because my hope isn’t meant to be put in those things and those things aren’t meant to last. I know earthly goods really are just a bunch of crap, I know I can’t take them with me when I die, but in that moment, I treasured it (more like hoarded it) in my heart. And kids, well, they don’t listen all the time, just like I don’t, and I’m constantly battling and praying for more patience. I even read this verse earlier this week… Proverbs 16:22 “Patience is better than power, and controlling one’s temper, than capturing a city.”
Thankfully, my story doesn’t stop there. I didn’t stay in my state of selfishness forever. Repentance happened, forgiveness happened, and I’m not defined by what I’ve done (or failed at doing, I even yelled “I suck at being a mom.”) because Jesus is my righteousness. Yeah, I’m a total screw up, but that’s why I know I need Jesus. He lived the life I should have lived, and died the death I deserved, and while I still screw up a lot (and will continue to), He covers all my screw ups with his blood. This probably sounds like the #storyofmylife over here, but it really is. My heart still wrestles with understanding grace and the cross, but each day, even through the screw-ups, God is giving me a clearer picture of what living a life of grace looks like… it’s never about me, it’s always about Jesus. When it becomes about me, that’s when trouble always starts, so I’m praying that my heart keeps battling to make it about Jesus. #endheartrant