Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Never Too Early

Even though Bill and I are made for each other, there is one big difference between us. I like to be early to everything, and if I arrive right on time, I consider myself to be late. Bill, on the other hand, can consider anything up to 15 minutes or more late to be in the realm of "on time". It doesn't drive me as crazy as when we were first married, but I still like to be early to anything. So it's no surprise that I was very early to an event last night. Madeline's preschool teacher from last year was launching her Premier Jewelry business, and I wanted to take Madeline to her launch party with me to spend some time with her. She lives in town about twenty minutes from our house, so Bill came home in time to watch the younger kids while Madeline and I went by ourselves. I was excited to have a night out with Madeline, and to look at jewelry. I was also happy to see her teacher Mrs. H, since it had been several weeks since I had talked to her- we never saw each other apart from school.

Madeline and I set off a bit late due to a bad thunderstorm. I knew we would arrive a few minutes late, but I still wanted to go. Once in town, I got lost on the side streets, and had to call Mrs. H to ask her about directions.  I felt terrible because it was already a half hour past when the party was to start. That's when she said, "Michelle- the party is NEXT Monday." I wasn't late. I was early. REALLY early. Seven whole days early. I was immediately frustrated with myself. But right away, she asked if I wanted to come over anyway. Normally, I would say- Of course not, I don't want to impose. Especially because I didn't "hang out" with her regularly, and would have felt awkward just coming over unplanned like that. But there is something about Lisa that puts me at ease. (She told me not to call her Mrs. H because that would be wierd- thank goodness, because yes- it did feel wierd.)  She's funny, easy to talk to, and I was excited for some girl talk. So after getting lost only twice more, I finally found her house. (I only drove past it three times before finding it.) I stayed for a couple hours and chatted away while Madeline played with her two children upstairs. She is so easy to talk to, the time flew by. When I was leaving, Lisa mentioned that she misses the days when people could just drop in at someone's house. I agreed with her. Bill and I are close friends with our neighbors across the street from us, and we stop over at each other's homes just about every day. I don't feel wierd rummaging through her kitchen, or running over to borrow a couple eggs to make dinner. It should happen more often between friends.

So Lisa, thanks again for having me over. I had a blast- I would love to hang out with you more. I'll see you next Monday!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Great Grandparents

Isaac is our shy boy. I never worry about him running away from me in a parking lot because he's usually clawing at my hand while glued to my side, terrified he'll be hit by a car. He is friendly to strangers as long as they don't try to get too close. He still whimpers when I drop him off at Sunday School with the same friendly faces he's known for two years now. Knowing all of this, I'm very glad that even though he doesn't see him every week, Isaac constantly asks about my Pap pap (my maternal grandfather) and wants to go see him. We don't see my Pap pap as much as we should or I'd like- he and my grandma don't live in the same town as us, and he is home-bound. When we do go visit them, Isaac is immediately playing with Pap Pap and getting as close to him as possible. It's like they have an instant connection. He also loves my grandma to pieces and likes to sit on her lap. Pap Pap and Grandma are my only living grandparents, and I love them both very much. I have great memories of sleepovers in their home with my cousins, watching Grandma frying her yummy cheeseburgers, and making milkshakes in Grandma's kitchen. Recently my Grandma made my kids chocolate milk, and it brought back those memories again.

Pap Pap (James Robert ) as a young man.

Pap pap and Grandma back when they were young loves. They are still in love, and young at heart. :) They raised five children together.

Pap Pap in 1954. James Robert  served our country in both the Marines and the Air Force. He was the driver for Admiral Delaney as a Marine. He retired as Master Sargeant of the Air Force.  

Taken in April of 1954 under a B36 Peacemaker at Lowry Air Force Base near Denver, Colorado.

Pap Pap holding my mother, born in 1957.

My sister and I eating popcorn with Pap Pap. One of my favorite childhood memories. He used to pick through the bowl and find pieces without the kernel for us.

Pap Pap holding baby Isaac. I love their grins here.

Grandma and Isaac- she loves holding her babies. She and Pap Pap have fifteen grandchildren, and eighteen great grandchildren- (did I count that right?)

Look how little they are! 

Isaac was almost two years old here, loving on Pap Pap.

Little snuggler.

More recent picture- look, no teeth! I grew up thinking Pap Pap had magic teeth he could take in and out.

Mom, Pap pap and all four of my children. Thanks, Mom, for your interest in geneology, and giving me easy access to all these pictures!

Love you Pap Pap and Grandma!!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Closets Meet Spring

After being home less than thirty minutes from a week at the beach, Bill and I were already looking at beach area real estate, and contemplating if that was really a move for us in the near future. Real estate there was surprisingly cheap if we were willing to downsize- which then got me thinking about how much stuff we could get rid of, and still be quite happy. I imagined how much easier daily cleaning would be in keeping up with less space and things. After a couple days, reality set in that we already were home, and maybe one day when the kids were grown we could move to the beach, or at least have vacation property there. So instead, after spending two days of imaging a life in much less square feet, I decided it was time to clean out the closets. One of the reasons we (and when I say "we" I mean "I") fell in love with this house was because of the vast number of closets and how big each one was. We have only lived in this house for two years (today marks the anniversary we had our closing) and already I'd managed to fill each one without even realizing it. So to make a long story short, I spent the next week working in the morning at VBS in our local church, then spending all afternoon and evening purging our closets, completely rearranging the kitchen cabinets and pantry, and making countless (I seriously lost count) trips to Goodwill. The result? I smile every time I open a closet, the house stays picked up throughout the day with much less struggle, and I am a much happier momma.

At the Deeper Still conference in Kentucky, Priscilla Shirer spoke on the commandment from God regarding keeping the Sabbath. She posed this question: Are we as a society addicted to the chaos? Do we get restless and irritable when there is a day with no planned activity, instead of enjoying the rest? Do we have too much stuff in our lives- both in activities and our possessions? When the children of Israel were wandering in the desert, God provided them manna from Heaven that they were to gather each morning. They were only to gather as much as they needed, or else the remaining food would become infested with worms. However, on the day before Sabbath, they were to gather a double portion, so that they would not have to work the following day on the Sabbath. The way the original Hebrew is written, it appears that they did not have to work double to gather the food the day before because there was more bread per square foot. The same amount of work that day resulted in twice the results. Priscilla then gave the example of her own speaking schedule in 2007- she was traveling so much that she was exhausted and didn't feel she was praying enough for the women she was speaking to, and felt overwhelmed throughout the week at home with her small children. So she and her husband (also her manager) prayed for God's leading. They decided to leave the schedule for 2008 completely open, and wait on God. That is when Lifeway approached her about the Deeper Still conference series. Instead of spending every weekend speaking at an individual church, they could invite ten or so area churches to come at one time in a big arena setting, thereby reaching ten times the number of women in the same weekend as would have been reached before in the same amount of time. If she had continued to schedule speaking engagements as she had before, this opportunity would not have been possible. Priscilla said it was as if God was telling her, "You give me the Sabbath, and I will give you a double portion."

Purging the closets and getting rid of so much stuff- toys, clothes, and more toys and clothes, opened my eyes to the ridiculousness of it all. My girls have one entire wall of their bedroom that is one giant closet- and it is jam-packed with clothes. All of it bought on sale/clearance, and gifts from Grandma, yes- but they don't need that much! I still had infant baby blankets tucked in the linen closet because I didn't want to let go of them. Keeping a couple blankets as a keepsake is lovely, but twenty? Craziness. Today, for the first Sunday in a very long time, I did not fold a single item of laundry, clean one single bathroom, or mop one single floor. Instead, I went to church, played with the kids, and took a beautiful two hour nap (thanks to my parents who came to visit and play for awhile.)I have four children to feed and nurture, so in this stage of life there will never be a time I can prop my feet up for twenty four hours, but as far as anything that can wait for tomorrow? It will still be there in the morning. My double portion? I see it in the way my house seems to stay picked up so much easier- who knew cleaning closets could have that effect? Maybe it's more a state of mind that makes it seem simpler, but whatever the cause, I'm liking it. The children also pitch in a lot more now, and I know that's making a huge difference. So my new goal is to continue honoring God in this way, taking rest when I need it, and becoming a better wife and mom for it.