Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer, Part One

I kind of miss my pictures of the day. I like that taking them made me pay attention to the good things (or not so good things) that happen every day. I like that writing about them made me take even more notice of how quickly time was passing and how valuable each moment is. I'm considering starting again, but posting them on a different blog, since it did take up a lot of real estate.

Along those lines, I decided at the beginning of summer to try to make every day fun in some way for the kids. Last summer had some redeeming moments, but overall was a bust. The summer before was also (but not equally) hard due to the selling of our house and upcoming move, so I was determined to prove that yes, indeed, summer can be fun.

So here are some of our highlights: (Warning: Lots of pictures ahead.)

 My cousin Blake took me to U2 at the last minute. Our night involved sidewalk moped riding with no lights. A very fun night.
 Josh graduated from junior high school.
 Kate got an honorable mention in the Salt Lake Piano Competition.
 Sophie got locked out while babysitting some of our favorite kids.
 We went to the old neighborhood to hang out with people we love.
 We walked up to our favorite Shave Ice place.
 Josh went to youth conference.
 We pulled lots and lots and lots and lots of weeds (oh, wait. That's not fun.)
 The kids made goo. And earned blue hands in the making.
 This is after the kids made homemade ice cream and sold it at an ice cream stand. They put the $7 they earned on the back of my car and I drove off with it. It was never seen again.
 Ananda came to visit, and I met my newest niece, baby Jane. I fell in love love love.
 Sophie made a cake with her buddy Canyon.
 We danced with Matt in the Great Salt Lake.
 The kids bought t-shirts from Matt.
 Bri, Celia and Mike came to visit for a night.
 Everyone else got to meet baby Jane. Can you see that she is very very loved?
 We blew up the alligator pool and had fun.
 We had a slip and slide night

 We played in the sprinklers.
 The kids had an outside movie night.
 I let the older kids have a sleepover on the trampoline with some buddies, but will not be making a habit of it.
 We had a 4th of July pre-celebration with Ash and her mom.
And then we headed to Spokane to spend a week with Dave's brother and his family.

So far, so good. I think we may have broken the summer curse this year. (Knock on wood...)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Slippery Hope and Roadblocks

Over the last couple of months, a familiar but long-missed feeling has started growing in my heart.

My 5:50 wake up time on running mornings doesn't feel like an impossible hurdle, making breakfast and doing the tasks of the day take up the appropriate amount of brain time and nothing more. We accomplish much and when we're done accomplishing, I try to pat us on the back collectively about our good work rather than focusing on what we missed. I notice sunrises and sunsets with an inner thrill that has been missing. My children's faces even seem sweeter.

I try to lay aside those thoughts that don't belong in my new framework. go away. go away, too. Insecurity, doubt, fear...take a hike.

I have this fluttering of hope that maybe, just maybe, we're moving out of the winter into the summer. Maybe we're arriving at the oasis that marks the end of an extended desert journey. Maybe the Lord has tried us enough that he'll finally allow us to flourish spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically and financially.


But hope can be such a slippery bugger. It takes so much effort to clear my mind of negativity, to remember that roadblocks are just that: blocks. Not journey stoppers, but blocks.  I can travel around them, or climb over them, or if I'm really at the end of my ability to cope, sometimes the grace of God can just lift me over them.

I think that He's trusted me enough in the last few years to lift me over my hurdles less and less often. He's allowing me to struggle and fall. He's allowing my muscles to burn with reach the breaking point and move beyond it. I still need His grace, of course, and it is often all there is giving me the ability to cope, but I know he's letting me grow, even though the growth is painful, sometimes even seemingly unendurable.

I hit another roadblock today. It nearly sent me reeling, especially since I had allowed myself the hope that something important was finally going to run smoothly. That's a dangerous hope...a hope for perfection in this life. And that's just not going to happen. The right hope is that when things don't run smoothly (and really, when DO they? I think I've decided the idea of things running smoothly is just fiction), I will be given the strength and ability to cope.

(Again, my caveat...I'd really REALLY love for things to run smoothly. I'm no masochist.)

I'm going to pull myself up by my bootstraps, apologize to my children for getting snappy, and move on. I can't fix this block myself, so I'll work on the next one instead.  Maybe the one where I have a $122 library fine?  (Shhh...don't tell David. It will be much lower when I find all the missing books...  Sigh.)

Oh, and it's easier to hope on more than five hours of sleep.  Curse you, Veronica Mars and Netflix.