Thursday, September 8, 2016

She's 20

It happens every year. On each birthday, I remember the very beginning. How she came into the world and we started life together. How she was the first to make me a mother. I remember that day so crystal clear, probably because it's written across my heart.

And now she's grown and living a new life. One of her own direction. One that makes me so very proud. In all the ways, she is still making me the mother I'm supposed to be.

I want to wrap my arms around her and soak her into my skin. But that will have to be for another day. She's too busy serving the Lord and becoming her divine self. Her work and living and teaching are literally inspiring. Hugs will have to wait until next June.

But love doesn't wait. It's here and it's there with her. And it ties us together. Just like we started 20 years ago. You are the air I breath and the joy in my heartbeat. As it should be.

Happy Birthday to this girl of mine.You are a part of me. The very strands of my soul. May you feel that love all the way to California. Hold it tight and don't let go. You are my light. Guide the way.

20 never looked so good.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The First Week 2016

That first day is always an eye-opener for me. Have I prepared them for this moment? Do they leave this house every morning know they are loved beyond even Heaven? Do they know, really know, who they are? Step by step they're knowing who they are becoming. Small steps can move mountains.

The oldest begins every missionary day at 6:30 am. Her days are full of studying and teaching and offering service. She's thriving and growing into a young woman we are proud to call ours.

Daughter #2 is a Senior. That I didn't see coming. Truly. It snuck up on me. Here she is so grown and beautiful with big decisions on her hoizon.

The Baby Child is now in 8th grade. For the last days she's compared classes, teachers and supposed  homework. This child of mine was in preschool when we moved here. Now she has grown into a fine young woman.

I can't quite place what it is about the start of a school year. It makes me look back, but it also makes me look forward. Life is living beyond the borders of our home. For years I never thought that was possible. But, they're slowly gaining speed and a little direction and a whole lot of faith to spread their wings and fly.

They are the very strings that hold my soul in place. And as they soar off to new freedom and new places and new life paths, they take my very soul with them.
They will always be my forever.

Happy New School Year, friends.
Love 'Em While Ya Got 'Em

Friday, August 12, 2016

Float The River

The whisper in the wind is "You're not a real Texan until you've floated the river." I've lived here 9 years and I had no idea there was a river to float. This summer, we took the challenge.

Being with great friends and family- check
Eating at amazing restaurants- check
Being entertained at a glass blowing factory- check
Late night trip to In and Out- check
Floating the river- check
Almost drowning- check

We floated while it rained. An interesting experience. Guess what else is interesting? It's a river. Like, with real river "stuff" floating everywhere. Twigs, leaves, long grass. For a paranoid OCD person like myself, that's tough stuff. Guess what else is tough? Daughter #2 almost drowned. Like, for reals. So for reals I got scared and she was terrified. She got caught in an undercurrent section. She was turned upside down on her tube. She lost her brand new $150 birthday Ray Bans and her shoes. When she was underwater, she couldn't find the surface. Can I just tell you how big of a prayer I sent to Heaven that day? Huge. I look at her even now and think, "miracle".

It takes hours to float the river. So of course, we took food. They have special cooler tubes for all that jazz. Just like Daughter #2, those tubes got turned upside down and the food sunk away. Awesome.

Would I head to the river again? Probably not. But at least we can all say we're real Texans now.

The best part of the trip was being with family and friends (who are like family). Lots of laughter and good times.

And of course the internet is a genius and tells you all the best places to eat and visit. Even Slurpees from 7-11 were on the list.

We had some of the best barbeque I've ever tasted. Ya'll, real Texans eat real barbeque. For sure.

We found a place to junk shop. I nearly died with happiness. We also visited a glass blowing shop. Amazing is the only word I have to describe it. Crazy talent.

All drowning aside, it was a great trip. There is some kind of magic that happens when you step away from your regular work and life. It allows you to enjoy the people right in front of you. It's a gift of time. One we fully enjoyed. Because of course we went outlet shopping on the way home. Spending a gazillion dollars is the best way to wrap up a trip.

From our Texas home to yours, Happy Friday.
School starts in a week :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Sisters Day 2016

Years ago we created our own tradition. Sisters Day. We've been celebrating this day so long, I can't remember when we even started. Here they are on Sisters Day in 2008:

Wow, time is a funny thing. It erases all the hardship and leaves you with the joy. I look at them at this age and I'm happy. My love for them just oozes all over the place.

Here they are today (well, yesterday. Aug. 1st is Sisters Day):

With Sam on her mission, this is the first year they haven't all been together. It makes my heart heavy. But we still celebrated in our own way. And Sam was with us and we were with her.

Having sisters is an extraordinary gift. If you're lucky enough to have one or two or more, count yourself blessed. Sisters are forever.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

But A Moment

I met them outside with one simple request. "Take a picture with me."
The moaned and complained, but still smiled.
They truly are my joy.
I want to hold them forever.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

How We 4th

3 girls in 3 different places for Independence Day.

Girl #1 with her companions in the mission field:

Girl #2 at home with her boring parents:

Girl #3 staying with a friend. I haven't seen her for days. Ah!

We partied all day long with Girl #2 in tow. I was so excited that she was actually willing to be with me. I begged her to take a selfie with me. That. Did. Not. Go. Well. So here's how I improvised in the moment. I took a picture of her and a picture of me and squeezed them together. Now I can pretend she was standing slightly near me and was enjoying it. See? We're both looking down at our phones. It's almost like were matching BFFs!

What's more American than baseball? The Houston Astros! A large group of friends gathered at the highest tier of the stands and had a blast. Baseball is actually interesting. Who knew?

We ate enough sports food to be slightly sick. When at a sporting event, soak in the beauty of the concession stand. And enjoy being with friends.

Fireworks finished off the day. Freedom feels like a beautiful thing.

Friday, June 17, 2016

And Just Like That, She's 17

I laid in the dark early this morning. Remembering. How she came into the world and into my heart. It was a short labor for a beautiful baby girl. She came out looking exactly like the sister before her. With her arrival, we became a family of "girls".

There has literally never been a dull moment. I can't think of any one calm space of time. She has challenged me and challenged the world. She has always looked at life from a different angle. She marches to a beat unknown to me. Sometimes it's chaos and sometimes it's pure beauty.

I have loved her always. Even that day she threw her entire bedroom out her second story window. I may have used my outside voice. But I still loved her. She continues to push my mothering skills way past any place I've ever known. She's forced me to see with new eyes and to love with my whole heart.

She is my joy. This girl that makes life one big adventure.
She is the brightest light in every way.
Her smile infectious.
Her laugh contagious.

She is a gift.
Unique and extraordinary.

Happy Birthday Little Layne