Waiting

Roald Dahl Quote Typed on Typewriter

Baseball is underway.  School ended last week.  The summer daycare routine has begun.  Late evenings spent in the garden and playing in the yard have resumed.  The busy-ness of summer is upon us.

I’ve been doing a lot of pondering in the past few weeks as life has been whizzing by.

As Mother’s Day approached a few weeks ago my heart felt bittersweet pangs remembering Mother’s Day just one year ago.  On the Thursday before, as I sat at my desk diligently working on a project, I remembered the phone call from Grady that brought our world crashing down.  He’d been laid off from his job.  The pit of my stomach and my heart STILL remember to this day.  I don’t know that I will ever forget that feeling hearing those words and listening to him try to choke back his emotions.

I thought our world was coming to an end.  I couldn’t see anything except an out control downward spiral.  How were we going to survive?  I was a train wreck of highs and lows and every emotion in between.

A friend shared a quote today that hit extremely close to home and summed up the last year of our lives in a nutshell.

“Waiting isn’t only about putting off what you’ll receive at the end.  It’s about who you become in the process.”

Waiting.

It seemed like the first six months of the whole ordeal was spent waiting.

Waiting.

We were waiting on a job to come along.  We were waiting for money to pay our bills that seemed to be mounting.  We were waiting on answers to prayers that we thought weren’t being heard.  We were waiting on BETTER jobs to come.  We were waiting on life to stop kicking our butts.

Waiting.

At some point in time it dawned on me.  What if God is waiting on US?  What if he’s waiting on our hearts to be truthful in our search for what we REALLY want and what HE wants for us?  What if God is waiting on us to HEAR him and what he’s trying to teach us?  What if what we thought we wanted and needed isn’t what we’ve really been waiting for?

From that point on I got real with myself.  I got REAL with what I asked for from God.  I prayed from a place within myself that I never knew existed.  I prayed with a THANKFUL heart for the beauty and AWEsomeness that he gave to us.  I prayed for guidance and wisdom and an open heart and mind to HEAR him and his teachings.

When I finally let go of the control that I fault myself with having everyday, I was blown away with the answers that came before me.  I was awe struck by the beauty, kindness, generosity and love that surrounded me even in my darkest moments.

I saw that we were blessed.

We were blessed with a struggle and challenge that changed our hearts and made our marriage SOLID.

We were blessed with a struggle that made us better parents.

We were blessed with a challenge that made us more flexible.

We were blessed with a mess that opened our eyes to the world around us and opportunities we would have turned our backs on before.

We were blessed with a hardship that showed us what friendship REALLY means.

We were blessed with a misfortune that made us more faithful, prayerful and spirit filled Christians.

We. Were. Blessed.

We ARE blessed!

Living this blessing wasn’t comfortable by any means.  Living the uncertainty and unknown was a test of our faith and strength like none we’ve experienced.  Darkness crept in, but in the darkness we overcame with our faith and courage to NOT give up, to NOT take the easy road and to face our hardships head on.

Each day we are so incredibly thankful for the gifts we’ve been given.  We’ve both had opportunities laid before us that we wouldn’t have thought imaginable a year ago.  There is a happiness with simplicity within us that burns so brightly it can’t be anything other than Divine.

Waiting.

The best lesson I learned in this past year is patience.

Waiting.

When I gave up the control and WAITED for God, he led me to some of the most beautiful people, friendships and experiences I’ve ever known.

Today my heart is thankful and PEACEFUL.  My happiness is true and sincere.  My heart is full of light and hopefulness.  My soul is prayerful.

 

Peace, love and sweet reflection.

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Date Night

Saturday night Grady and I FINALLY got the chance to celebrate our 10th anniversary.

We got kind of wild….

Dinner, a drink at a friend’s bar and then a trip to WAL-MART!!!!

I know.

We got CRAZY!

We ate supper at a tiny, dive Mexican restaurant that my co-workers have been telling me about.  Authentic Mexican food, dirt cheap and out of this world, they tell me.

Date Night 1Grady order the “medium” burrito.  (Note: there isn’t a “small” on the menu, just medium and large….)  The “medium” was as big as his forearm!

I ordered this thing.

Date Night 9It’s called a Sope. It’s a masa cake with beans, meat (I chose chicken), lettuce, tomato, onion and queso fresco piled on top.  I added tons of their yummy homemade salsa on top.  It was incredible!

I love the simplicity of authentic Mexican food.  Just a few basic ingredients, prepared just the right way can become the most phenomenal meals.

Date Night 2The hungry cowboy couldn’t make it through the whole burrito.  He had to stop.  Actually, he told me that he could have eaten the whole thing, but he would have been waddling out of the restaurant.

As we left, a lady at another table actually ordered the LARGE version, smothered in cheese sauce.  We giggled as we walked by and Grady gave her a hard time about his doubt in her ability to conquer her plate.  (Who NEEDS that much burrito…????)

We ventured down the street for a margarita since the dive didn’t serve alcohol.  Mexican food without a margarita on date night is just not right.  We enjoyed our drink, saw a few friends from home, had a few good laughs and decided we should continue on with our excitement.

Date Night 3Yes, we went to the WAL-MART.

We had to.  We needed a few things.  We needed a few things the kids couldn’t be present in purchasing. (ahem… Easter…. stuff…)

Grady ALWAYS finds this most ANNOYING aisle.

The clearance aisle.

This place puts my mind in a frenzy with all its chaos, but it’s his dream come true.  UGH!  When I posted this picture on Instagram a friend commented that it looked like it could swallow him.

AMEN to that!

Date Night 4This is the kind of ridiculousness that appears in the clearance aisle.  Who REALLY needs one of these things?  Obviously, not too many because there was a PILE of them on sale.

Date Night 5…and this stuff?  Would you cover YOUR salad in something that looked like Pepto Bismol?  I just don’t think I could do it, and I LOVE garlic.

Yikes!

Date Night 6I had to convince Grady that we didn’t need an entire gallon of ranch dressing.  He likes the stuff, but I’m not going to encourage his addiction by buying a gallon of the stuff.

Date Night 7These, on the other hand, really intrigued us.

Hmmmm….

Date Night 8So, we bought the little can of this version.

They’re pretty tasty.  Sweet and spicy.  Interesting.

…and that folks, is how we celebrated ten years of marriage.  Not exciting to many, but we enjoyed a few good laughs.  Some at each other’s expense, but good fun, regardless.

 

 

Peace, love and wild nights!!!

The Big Ten

We’ve officially reached a milestone.

DSC_0200Ten years.

It may not seem like many to most, but I think in this day and age ten years is quite a mile marker.

Happy anniversary to my tender-hearted, rock solid, Mr. Fix-it, hunk of a hubby!!!  You are everything I ever imagined and never dreamed I could have.  The past ten years have been some of the wildest rides and calmest seas.  I can’t wait to see what the next ten have in store for us!

Thank you for loving at my best and my absolute worst.

 

Peace, love and TEN!!!!!

Shtuff

We’ve had a lot going on lately.

We’re still getting into the groove of new routines.  Tucker is participating in a 1st and 2nd grade flag football clinic.  He’s LOVING it!!  He’s really starting to get interested in football and this clinic is the perfect way for him to learn the basics.  Sooooo…. twice a week we go to the Big Town for practice and games.  A few weeks ago Tuck and I headed out and I left Grady in charge of supper.  I came home and found this on the counter.

Shtuff 5I truly adore little things like this!  Some ladies want flowers and jewels and showers of gifts.  Yes, those things are nice, but this… a potato with our initials carved into it means SO much more to me than any diamond.  Yes, a spud is special.  Why?  Because at the moment that he saw the heart-shaped tater it made him think of our relationship.  It made him take the time to let me know that WE’RE special.  It brought joy to my heart.  The tiny, little things mean so much more to me than the big sparkly ones.

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Shtuff 4Potty training, potty training, potty training.  UGH!  I have really been dreading this step.  It takes such a huge commitment and devotion of time that I think part of Monkey’s problem with getting started was that WE weren’t ready to make the leap yet.  But… two weeks ago I finally said enough was enough.  Monkey is a very stubborn kiddo and the potty stickers weren’t really cutting it.  It wasn’t motivating her enough.  I tried buying her a toy that I knew she wanted REALLY bad and kept it on display, but out of reach as motivation.  Nope.  She didn’t care.  So, I broke down and bought princess and Hello Kitty panties.  I decided that my last resort was playing into her girlie side.

BINGO!!!!

Holy cow!  You should have seen this kid prance around in her new undies.  The Diva had been unleashed.  So far this tactic is working.  We have to keep her on track, taking her about every hour, but she gets it.  We’re just waiting for the day that she starts telling US when she needs to go.  I don’t like skipping moments in life, but dang, I wish we could fast-forward through the potty training.

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Shtuff 3I was introduced to a fun new way to help Tucker practice his spelling words… finger paints.  It was so fun and Ella was able to “play” along.  The best part is that the sky’s the limit.  You can use shaving cream, whipped cream, pudding… anything.  I love when learning becomes so fun that the kids forget that it’s LEARNING.

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Shtuff 2“Me YIKE makeup, Mommy!”

Monkey found an old Avon catalog of mine and spent HALF AN HOUR in silence on the floor thumbing through the pages.  She keeps it in her little purse and looks at it every day!  The Diva strikes….again.  I’m beginning to think I may be in BIG trouble in a few years.  I take that back.  Her DADDY may be in big trouble in a few years. (Mommy YIKES makeup, too.)

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Saturday was a really busy day.  We were all going in different directions and finally met up at a bull riding event at our local rodeo grounds.  Tucker was disappointed to learn that he was now too old to participate in the mutton bustin’ event.  

We think we found his new talent.

Chicken chasing!!!

Yes, chicken chasing.  Five or six chickens are let loose in an arena filled with about 60 kids.  The goal is to catch a chicken.

Here’s the kicker.  I’ve watched Tucker do these types of events for several years now.  He’s never caught a chicken or pulled a ribbon off a calf’s tail.  So, this year, I didn’t really watch him closely.  NONE of us watched him closely.  The entire family was mesmerized with a small group of kids chasing a chicken in front of us.  When we looked up I saw Tuck standing next to the “bosses” of the show.  I told everyone, “Oh my gosh!  I think Tuck CAUGHT a chicken!  Oh, CRAP, I MISSED it!”  Then everyone said, “Crap, we ALL missed it!!!”  So, we whooped and cheered when he came over with his big winnings and NEVER let him know that we didn’t see a single bit of it.

SHHHHHHHHH!!!!

Shtuff 1He was SO proud of himself! (As he should have been.)

So, there you have it.  The SHTUFF of our lives lately.

We’ve had a lot on our plates lately, but it’s all GOOD.  We’re thanking God everyday for our health, our lives and each other.

Peace, love and GOODNESS!!!

Nine and Counting

Nine years ago today I woke up knowing one thing.

I was going to marry the man of my dreams… my best friend.  I only knew what the day would hold.  I would say, “I do”, celebrate with our families and friends and set out for a new life together.

DSC_0200

I didn’t know the joy that would fill my heart.

I couldn’t fathom the tears we’d share.

I had no idea of the insane laughter we’d cause each other.

I never IMAGINED the beauty in our children.

I never knew the love I’d feel for his family.

I never dreamed of the places our lives together would take us.

I could have only hoped for the deep and abounding friendship we share.

All of this, and it’s only been nine years.  My heart swells at the thought of what we have to experience in the rest of our lives.

Happy anniversary, Grady.  You are my light, my love, my world.

You are my only.

 

 

Peace, love and joyous uncertainties!!!!

Stress Relief

It seems like life has been one crazy thing after another this summer.  Much busier than usual.

I “think” I’m a person who handles stress well.  I “think” I prioritize and manage my responsibilities without losing it.  Even though I have a grip on it all there are times that it all just gets to me and I need to have some serious de-stressing.

Everyone has their own “thing” that they turn to get through those little patches in life.

Last night I walked into my house after my meeting and quick trip to the in-laws to grab kiddos and catch up.  I saw this WRETCHED disaster before me.  My kitchen looked like a high school football team just raided the fridge and left all the dishes and mess.  My mud room looked like a herd of elephants ransacked the place and the laundry piled on the couch needed desperate attention.  This week has NOT been friendly to our usual calm schedule.

We got the kids fed and I started tackling the NASTY kitchen that had been so sadly neglected. As I cleared the countertops and sanitized with my beloved bleach spray I felt this overwhelming calm wash over me. I could breath again. It amazes me sometimes how the clutter and chaos that are a result of all the chaos can CAUSE chaos within me.

While I was in my groove I started to think of all the things that bring calm to my spirit…

Beautiful sunrises and sunsets.

A quiet cup of coffee all by myself before the family gets out of bed.

Editing photos that I took for no particular reason.

Mowing the lawn. (I know call me crazy, but it’s an hour or so that the world is drowned out by a loud “white noise”. It’s soothing.)

Reading my book for 15 minutes before I fall asleep.

Quiet chats with Grady about nothing urgent or important. Just. Talk.

Grocery shopping.

Cooking a meal at a leisurely pace that REALLY means something to my family.

Long walks in my neck of the woods.

Reading cookbooks.

Sewing.

Rocking Ella to sleep.

Nap time with Tucker.

Listening to Eric Clapton sing the blues with BB King.

…and above all…

Prayer.

What calms you when life throws curve balls? What’s your happy place?

Peace, love and serenity!!

The Race Is On!

Saturday Grady and I headed for Oklahoma for an evening at the race track with some good friends.

Neither of us had ever been to a horse race.

It was definitely a learning experience.

Remington Park made a little money on us that day. 

Trifecta.

Exacta.

Win, Place or Show.

Superfecta.

Supercalifragulisticexpialidocious.

It was ALL a foreign language to me.  I wish I could say we had it figured out by the end of the night, but that wasn’t the case.

We did a little studying on the drive home and think we might have the insight for next time.

Our lack of racing knowledge didn’t hinder us from having a great time.

I got to see one of my ranch rodeo besties, Gretchen. 

This girl cracks me up!  She’s city girl, meets rugged cowboy, turned ranch wife.  I get to hear all of her crazy stories of “initiation into the ranching life and motherhood”.  They’re entertaining to say the least.

She’s also the momma to Ella’s boyfriend, Hank.  Yep, I said Hank.  Isn’t that the GREATEST name!!??!!??!!  He’s a little charmer, that Hank.

It was a great evening away, a little mini vacay, EXACTLY what we needed.

Thanks, Doug and Gretchen for inviting us!  We’re excited for the next time we can venture to the track!

Peace, love and a little wagering.