Monday, December 31, 2012
Saturday, December 22, 2012
So I know everything wrong with this photo; the biggest most obvious problem being the amount of noise. BUT, I’m determined to not shoot in auto anymore and I’m finally getting the hang of manual, so hopefully my pictures will improve again soon!!
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
It’s been 54 days since you left us. We have good and bad days, good and bad moments within those days. My perspective has shifted so much that I live minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day now. If I feel like this, I can’t even begin to imagine what our mother feels like. Or our sisters. Or brother. I’ve witnessed the entire spectrum of human emotion since you left us. Sorrow. So heavy, never lifting, constant companion sorrow. Anger. White hot, unrelenting, threatening to consume her anger. Grief. She keeps telling herself you’re on vacation. She waits for you to walk in the door. She longs for your smile, your laugh. One who cannot process what he saw; who cannot let it go and move on. Who will not, maybe ever. One who retreats even deeper into herself; unreachable. Who live in fear now. Who can’t sleep at night. Who curl up in the closet because the grief is unbearable. Who don’t want to be left alone anymore. Who can’t talk about the pain. Who have nightmares.
Your absence changes everything. In ways I didn’t even know were possible.
I’m angry today, can you tell? Last night it was sorrow. Bone-deep, gut-wrenching sadness. Out of nowhere, at the end of a pretty good day, it hit me.
My brother is gone. Gone.
You made a choice. You chose to leave us. And now we’re left to deal with the aftermath of your decision.
Your death makes me question things I thought I was sure of. Fundamental, who I am and what I know to be true things. So today, I choose anger. Because there are still some things that I get to choose.
I miss you. We all miss you. I wish…so many things. But most of all I wish I had called you that day.
I should have called…
I am so sorry I didn’t call.
Friday, November 16, 2012
On Thursday, October 25th my little brother took his own life. Just typing that sentence takes my breath away. It’s been twenty-two days and I still can’t wrap my mind around it. Can’t accept that he’s gone. Just gone. Sometimes the pain is so strong, so heavy, so unbearable that I’ve taken to trying not to think about him at all. But that only gets me so far, and when thoughts of him sneak in anyway they hit me so hard it’s like a physical blow.
Josh and I haven’t been close in a while. I haven’t decided if that’s a curse or a blessing. It’s a blessing because he wasn’t part of my daily life. I don’t walk around my house and have physical reminders of him. (Unless you count his daughter, but that’s for another time.) I don’t hear a song on the radio and remember it was his favorite. What I do have, however, is guilt. Overwhelming, tremendous, indescribable guilt. I am the oldest of all my siblings. Significantly older than some. Given the age difference I have felt a responsibility for them most of my life. To look out for them. To protect them. To love them. To fight for them. When I had children of my own they became my priority. I rationalized that my siblings were adults and didn’t need me anymore. Not a day goes by now that I don’t feel the weight of that decision. That I don’t run a million “if only” scenarios through my head. Josh was my brother. A part of my family…a part of who I am and where I come from. And I let him down. I knew he was broken. I knew it and did nothing. I let him down and I can’t ever make it up to him. Ever.
Writing has always been therapeutic for me. Right now I need an outlet. I spend most of my days thinking about him or talking to him in my head, and if I keep it all inside, I may just burst.
I’m so sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t fight harder for you. There were a million times throughout the years I could’ve and I didn’t. I’m sorry that you had to go through the things you did in your short life. I’m sorry we weren’t closer as adults. I’m sorry we didn’t spend more time together. I’m sorry that when I read through our texts they were all you asking me to babysit, and me almost always being too busy.
I’m sorry that you didn’t reach out to someone. I’m sorry that you thought you had no other choice. I’m sorry that your little girl will never know you, or how much you loved her. I’m sorry that you didn’t know how many people loved you, or how much they did. I’m sorry that you didn’t know the impact your decision would have on us all. Your absence changes everything. In ways I didn’t even know were possible.
I’m sorry that sometimes I’m angry at you. That sometimes I hate how selfish you were. And then I hate myself for hating you. Sometimes I hate my husband for not understanding. Sometimes I hate people for asking me how I am. Or telling me not to blame myself. Or that there’s nothing we could have done. Sometimes it scares me how strong my anger is. Sometimes I think I can’t stand another minute of the emotions warring inside me.
I’m sorry that it took your death to bring our family back together. I wish we could’ve done it in time to save you. I wish we could have known what you were thinking.
What were you thinking? What the hell were you thinking?? I try and try and try to imagine what could’ve been going on in your mind. And I just can’t.
I love you. I pray to God you knew how much.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Katie has been lobbying hard all year to institute a new holiday in our family-her half birthday celebration. In her mind this day would be just like her actual birthday with adventures and festivities including cake, ice cream, and presents.
Since the seed for this idea may or may not have been planted when she overheard her mama trying to convince her daddy that it would be a fabulous idea to celebrate half birthdays, we compromised. We took her out for lunch. She painted a special picture during school. She gleefully announced to everyone she came in contact with that it was her half birthday. And at the end of the day, we celebrated with a breakfast cookie. But the best part of all was that she felt special. We reminisced and loved on her and celebrated her, and that was enough. I love that in a world that puts value on fancy vacations and expensive things that we’re raising children that are content with celebrations filled with love and laughter, and not much else.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” –Matthew 6:19-21
Monday, September 3, 2012
The first picture is the before picture of the kitchen. We haven’t had the money to do much with the kitchen yet, but it’s in our five year plan to completely remodel it. ( I’m really hoping it will be on the sooner end of five years!) For now we pulled down the silver tiles that were there as a backsplash and repainted and added border. It’s much more us now that we’ve been here a while and it’s happy and cheerful and serves our family’s needs.
This is the dining area that opens to our back deck, and the room that my husband has put the most work into. Since this is less of a room and more of a nook he put a giant hole in the wall to open it up. The wall used to be an outside wall, so it was quite a lot more work than he originally thought it would be, but it was so worth the weeks of construction and drywall dust all over the entire house! It used to feel very small and claustrophobic, and now it’s perfect! (This is just one illustration of the many, many talents my husband possesses and I am so very blessed to be his wife. He can literally do everything!)
First is the before picture of the family room. The second picture is taken standing in the dining area looking through the newly constructed hole (window? I don’t even know what to call it!) We took down the chair rail and border and painted, and now we have a nice big room we can all spend time together in. The right side of the room has all the girls toys, etc., as well as the keyboard and lots and lots of books. The left side of the room has my big desk with all of my craft supplies, etc. and a desk and computer for the girls.
In the bathroom we stripped and repaired the walls then repainted and put up a new border. It’s a little small for our family being the only bathroom, but my husband has plans to put a second bathroom upstairs. After my kitchen is done, of course!
New paint and border for the living room, and that’s about it. This is my favorite room in the house. There’s lots of light and it’s just bright and sunny and happy. We still need to sand and refinish the floor, but other than that it’s perfect!
Before and after of the girls room. Don’t mind the mess, I never remember to get in there with the camera when it’s actually clean…
We’ve been here for eight months now, and already I can’t imagine living anywhere else…it’s been home since the day we moved in!
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
I am not your average homeschooling mom. I didn’t come from a homeschooling family; in fact I didn’t even know there was such a thing as homeschooling until after my second daughter was born-and she’s only eight now. And although I am now saved by grace through my faith, it wasn’t until about that same time that I found that salvation in Jesus Christ. So while we sometimes went to church while I was growing up and I heard about God here and there, I was well into adulthood before I truly became a Christian.
Becoming a new creation in Christ is a process that happens over time. I had many, many strongholds that I needed to break free from. Thankfully, and only by God’s grace, I am a different person now than I was before I knew Jesus five short years ago. While I’m a different person than I was, I’m far from done. I am thankful to be a work in progress; to know every day I have the opportunity to grow a little closer to the person God meant for me to be.
Homeschooling is challenging, and sometimes I let my fears and feelings of inadequacy get the best of me. Sometimes, like this past year, I let those fears win. We moved into a new house at the end of December. I was overwhelmed with the work involved in moving, at the point of the year that I always tend to get in a funk anyway. We were in a new town with a new school system, and very long story short we decided to send our kids to public school. It was January at this point and we figured it was just a few months. “Let them try it out” we told ourselves. “It’ll be good for them” we rationalized. I was tired of being different. I wanted to be like all my friends; to experience the same things they did, to have something in common. I wanted to pursue my dreams, to go to school so I could be something the world viewed as successful, instead of “just” being a homeschool mom.
And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God -Romans 12:2
The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. -Matthew 13:22
The girls did fine academically; they were so far ahead of their classmates after being homeschooled for the past few years that class work was a breeze for them. However, those few months in public school did nothing for us but reinforce why we chose to homeschool in the first place.
- God. Our relationship with God is of eternal significance. It is my greatest desire to nurture the love my girls have for Him into a life long walk with Him.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. –Deuteronomy 6:5-7
How do I impress these things on my children if someone else is responsible for teaching them eight hours a day?
- Family. I want our most important earthly relationships to be with each other. Homeschooling allows us to foster these relationships without my girls taking their cues from society as to how they should treat each other. It allows us precious time together that we wouldn’t have otherwise. The American family isn’t what it used to be. We are all so busy doing things that time with our kids can get lost in the shuffle if it isn’t made a priority. Time passes by so quickly, before we know it our kids will be grown and living their own lives. What a blessing it is to be able to spend this time with them now, when it’s most important.
- Character. When our girls are grown we want them to have an unshakeable relationship with Jesus. We want them to have a firm knowledge of the Word of God and to trust in it absolutely. We want them to be confident in who they are and what they believe, to know they are loved unconditionally. We want them to be kind, joyful, loving, compassionate, giving, humble, respectful, and faithful. We want so many things for them, things that we can more firmly lay the foundation during these impressionable years.
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” –1 Corinthians 15:33
- Our girls are gifted academically. The absolute best learning environment for them is at home. We can go at their pace and tailor the curriculum to their interests. Statistically homeschoolers are exceptional, often performing well above grade level. As for the socialization issue, which is a favorite topic in my extended family, putting a bunch of six year olds together in a room isn’t socialization. At least not the type I want my girls to take part in. My girls can carry on a conversation with people of all ages. They have friends. They go on field trips. They play soccer, take dance, all kinds of things. They aren’t sitting at home isolated with nobody to talk to because they homeschool. Enough said.
Homeschooling is hard work. It’s an all-consuming, never-ending, test your resolve, make you question your sanity type of hard that some people may never be called to experience. But I’ve been called. I’ve been called, and that’s what I need to keep my focus on during those times of doubt and feelings of inadequacy.
And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. –Romans 8:30
The other day I was baking muffins and the little girls were at the table, talking to me and to each other while working on some math work. It was late afternoon and my kitchen was warm and smelled good, and there was a nice summer breeze flowing through all the windows. It was in that moment of complete contentment that I realized we are exactly where we should be, doing exactly what God intended us to be doing. There’s no feeling in the world like it.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.-Romans 8:28