The Dream I Never Knew I Had

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I always dreamed of growing up, marrying a wonderful man, and having a bunch of babies. I would have a pretty house and I would bake cookies often. Everything would be bliss (because of all the babies and cookies, no doubt).

I’m thankful for the dream. I’m thankful I had high hopes and high expectations and I’m very thankful that God said “yes” to so many of my dreams. He could have said “no.” He could have said, “I have something different for you that will be better than your dream.”

But here I am. I’m all grown up with a wonderful man and a bunch of babies. But whoa. Did you know babies don’t stay babies for long? They actually get bigger by the day, and before long, the babies turn into big kids and then, if you can believe it, they become teenagers and then adults. This doesn’t just happen to all those other “older moms.”

In my younger years, my dreams never really took me that far.

I never dreamed beyond a houseful of kids ages 7 and under. I never knew there would be life after Tonka trucks and wooden puzzles. I never thought about being my kids’ biggest cheerleader during high school and college sports or buying them man-sized jeans. I never considered that some day, these babies would grow up and discover talents and careers and their own senses of humor and a personal relationship with Jesus that challenges their “old mom” and helps her to grow.

I never knew that part of the dream would include heartbreak. I didn’t plan for times of sadness or disappointment. All the cookies in the world don’t fix what hurts. As it turns out, living the dream sometimes means crying through the reality, but pushing through together in faith.

And what I really never knew about the dream? One dream brings forth new dreams. As God continues to reveal His work in the lives of my sons and in my marriage, He’s given me new dreams. Dreams for the future and all of the good that is yet to come.

But what I’m most thankful to discover is that the best is not in the dream. It is in the now. The best of the best happens when I choose to love and enjoy and appreciate this moment, today.

The best of the best happens when I’m not dreaming about what is to come, but am instead gratefully loving today’s goodness. See, the place I keep finding myself to be in is the one that I never even knew to dream about in the first place. It’s in the moments…

  • My adult son brings a pack of his college friends to our house, and I get to set out the food and be amazed at this new piece of life.
  • I hear our grown-up boys reminiscing and laughing over “that time we were little and…”
  • We are piled in the living room having our family prayer time and I hear the hearts of my boys as they talk to their Father.
  • I see my boys serving others willingly or taking leadership or speaking kindly to someone.

This is the dream I didn’t even know to dream. I look at what I have (laundry piles included) and at where I am (often at the kitchen washing a sink full of dirty dishes) and I think, “This is what I would have dreamed about had I even known it was a dream to be dreamed.”

I didn’t know to dream this. But God knows perfectly well. He knows each of our needs and so often, He even provides for our desires. Sometimes He says, “no” but often He says, “Yes, and also…” because He has more to offer than we know to long for.

Some of Asa’s college soccer teammates around our kitchen table…

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Hanging out with college students after dinner with about 4 gallons of ice cream…

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Our living room filled on the eve of “National Pancake Day.” I made 12 batches of pancakes that night…

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and a few more pounds of food just in case we ran out of pancakes…

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I didn’t even dream about days like this. It never even crossed my mind. How amazing of God to give it to me anyway.

Dream big, my friends. But mostly, trust that God has good plans for your future, resting peacefully and joyfully in this moment, today. Focus on His Kingdom purpose for you. He’ll give you more than you’ll ever know to dream.

College Students Like Easter Egg Hunts Too

This year might have been my favorite Easter yet. A great day of worship. A houseful of college students. A kitchen full of great food. Sunshine. It was a fabulous day overall.

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So here we are, celebrating Gratituesday on Wednesday – mostly because I don’t even know what day it is. If I was feeling energetic and especially clever, I’d wait and post this on Friday, April 1. You know – April Fool’s Day? Gratituesday on Friday…hahaha. Boy, that would have been a good one. {lamest prank ever}

Bare with me here. March tried to kill me. I don’t know when I’ve last had so many huge and wonderful events to take part in all during the same month. Weddings and tournaments and youth events and banquets and meetings and all of the rest of life trying to stay afloat during it all. It has been incredibly enjoyable – but the running!! The month ended with an Easter celebration. How fitting. How perfect. How necessary.

(Technically, the month is ending with a small getaway for Matt and me. We both need it and plan to rest and not talk to people – except each other – for 36 hours. Every time I think about it, I cry. That is how I show excitement right now. This translates to, “Laura needs to get away.” Bless my husband.)

So, Easter. We were on our way home from Kansas City on Saturday after another whirlwind event for our kids. I texted Asa and told him to invite whatever college friends he wanted to join us for Easter. We stopped at the store on the way into town to buy strawberries (because, of course) and white flour rolls (because have I told you about the month I’ve had?) so we could put an easy feast on the table for Easter. I had everything else I needed in the freezer. Sunday we pulled off a grand buffet with little effort (thank you spiral cut ham and frozen vegetables for being there when we needed you).

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We ended the meal with a Brownie Sundae Bar, of which I failed to get a picture. Here, take a look at the ham and potato bar again:

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Elias had mixed up a Bacon(less) Ranch Hashbrown Casserole before we left for Kansas City. 

Asa didn’t hold back on inviting friends. He filled our living room with several from his soccer team, plus some of our adopt-a-students joined us. There were 16 of us altogether. God made this meal practically effortless, and I just sat back and watched the fun while they ate.

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Then the Easter Egg Hunt began.

Five of the college guys chose to be the “hiders of the eggs.” We have a big yard (with a lot of junk all around) – making for great hiding places. The other students, plus our younger boys were handed fancy Easter baskets (plastic Walmart bags) and headed out to hunt.

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It was ridiculously fun to watch!

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While all of the rest of the day had been my favorite so far, then my favorite favorite happened. The students made their way back to the front of our house where they started to visit.

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They got the loot out of their eggs…

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Then they began kicking a soccer ball around. In the meantime, I sat on the porch in the sunshine watching and taking it all in. My college son. His college friends. My husband and younger sons. In our yard. Hunting/hiding eggs. Talking. Kicking a ball. Laughing. Bliss.

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Because of my exhaustion, I had been hesitant to invite anyone to join us this Easter. God gave me the green light, then He provided everything to fill the day with joy. He always knows what we need. He always provides.

And now, hallelujah, He’s provided a little getaway for my hubby and me. Think of me tomorrow while I’m sitting and not moving for many, many hours. (Elias told us we should Vlog our getaway experience. Matt told him it would be hour after hour of “Sitting,” “Still sitting,” “Sitting some more,” “Laying down now,” “Back to sitting,” “Ready to sleep…”) We sure do know how to party.

What is God providing for you right now? No matter if you’re going through the good stuff or the hard stuff, God is providing. Reflect and share!

Gratituesday on Friday

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I’ve been completely exhausted this week after our Youth Rally weekend followed by our week of crazy. I’m not sure what I could have done differently to keep myself from becoming over-tired. There was just a lot going on. My body thanked me this week by coming down with a cold. Boo.

I’ve spent the past couple of days resting, taking baths with Epsom salt and essential oils, and binge watching Netflix. Rest is good.

Then yesterday I heard the sad news that one of my friends died suddenly. She had just recently gotten her life back on track and I loved watching God at work in her. She was sweet and kind and she had my back. I’m going to miss her.

Funny (not funny) how losing someone can put life in perspective. Just a few hours before my friend died, she was chatting with others in her normal, cheerful way. A few moments later, she was gone. Life is delicate. Most of what we think matters – doesn’t really matter. All that really matters is Jesus, love, and relationships. That’s it.

Why Gratituesday on Friday? I guess because I’m a little weary and sad and reflective. And I’m grateful. I’m grateful for life and friendship. I’m grateful that God promises so much more than all we experience in this fleeting life. I’m grateful for rest. I’m grateful for reminders to keep the important pieces of life important. I’m grateful for tears. I’m grateful for people coming together as we mourn our loss.

It might be quiet around here the next few days. We’ve got a weekend full of basketball, a wedding shower, and then a funeral. <— That sentence right there is a great picture of life on earth, isn’t it? Fun, joy, and sorrow. All of the above, with Jesus in every place.

I love that through everything, there are reasons to be grateful. Hang on to that as you enjoy a blessed weekend!

Sick Kid, God’s Care, and Last Day for Real Food eCourse Sale

I’ve got some fun posts in the works for you, but I have been running and running and running…

Yes, definitely picture me actually running. Like, in tennis shoes, across miles of terrain, with a pink head band catching my sweat, while I look adorable and perky in a cute athletic outfit. Picture that. That is definitely what I mean by running. I just can’t stop running. I am such a runner.

Now, if you’re realistically thinking, “Yeah right, Laura” then you can instead picture a more accurate description of my running which involves barely being home during the past few days and if I was home, I had guests. I have posts in my head that have not yet come out of my fingers and onto this screen. Now that I’m finally sitting here at my keyboard, I’m too tired to write actual words. Therefore, I’m going to take a couple of days off to rest and find some complete sentences. I know they’re in there somewhere.

Before I sign off, I wanted to share a little Gratituesday with you, and also offer you a “last day of sale” reminder.

First, Gratituesday.

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Part of my running recently has been in the form of caring for a very sick boy. Most of us had a stomach bug a couple of weeks ago, which is no fun at all, of course. But one of our sons got a seemingly weird version that has been hanging on for way too long. When a teenage boy doesn’t feel like eating day after day after day, you know something is wrong.

It was beginning to get scary for us and for him. I am grateful to share, though, that today we got some answers. I was able to get him into our natural doctor in Lincoln who discovered the root of the problem and provided treatment solutions. He’ll likely still be weak for a few days, but I’m confident now that nothing is seriously wrong with him and that he is on his way to recovery. I don’t think any of us knew how worried we were until we got home from Lincoln and his brothers met us anxiously at the door asking for answers about what we learned from the doctor. (This is significant because these are boys who would normally say, “Oh were you gone? I didn’t realize. What’s for lunch?”)

I am so thankful for God’s provision in this. It is extremely difficult to get an appointment with this doctor right now as she just had a baby and is only back for very limited hours. In fact, I’ve had my next appointment scheduled months in advance. The fact that I called at 8:01 and got in because “there was a last minute cancellation” is amazing to me. Praise God for opening a slot that worked perfectly for us on the very day we needed it, and for providing answers that will put our son back on the road to good health.

Soooo after I got my sickie settled back at home in the recliner with food and drink and remedies, I got into the van again and headed south to a ranch with Malachi for a horse class he’s taking right now with some fellow homeschoolers. This class has been so fun and fascinating!

As you can see, I’m very gifted at photography with my phone camera. Also, you can see that as much as Malachi enjoys horses, he likes dogs even more.

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Praise God for Make-Ahead Meals. Wearily, I slid a prepared casserole into the oven when I got home from the ranch (which we will eat with a salad consisting of whatever greens and veggies we pull out of the fridge). Then I plopped onto my computer chair to try to find some words (which I obviously found, thank you).

Thanks for letting me share. It’s great to reflect on God and His work and to be able to share it with people I care about (you!).

More fun posts coming back after I take a short Sabbath rest. :)

Gratituesday: Why I Will Always Have Coffee in My Fridge

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Remember that one time my oldest son graduated from high school and moved all the way to the other side of town to the college dorm

I am one spoiled mama, that’s what I am. While Asa is super busy (16 mostly upper-level credit hours plus work study) and super involved (soccer, choir, club, and everything else fun he can squeeze in) and is barely getting any sleep – every once in a while we do get to see his face. I love those moments. 

We get to see Asa at church most Sundays. We go to his home soccer games and the away games that are close-by. He comes home to do laundry every week or so. I feed him whenever a meal at home can be worked into his schedule. Sometimes he referees one of his brother’s soccer games. See? I am super spoiled. I know many moms who said goodbye in August and won’t see their son or daughter again until Thanksgiving or beyond. I’m blessed to see my boy here and there. 

We’re adjusting to life with just three boys at home. We’ve re-vamped the chore list and shuffled around beds in the boys’ bedroom and even figured out how to play games and watch movies without Asa being here. <— that part was so weird and hard at first. “We can’t watch that because not everyone is here!” had to be replaced with a sniff from Mom and an “I guess we’ll watch that without Asa.” Who knew that would be a tough adjustment? (It’s a “We love our family time” thing. That’s when we miss him most. That and when it’s his turn to take out the trash.)  ;)

Do you remember what it’s like to be a college student? We all stayed up way too late most nights and still got up for early morning classes. Somehow we survived. Now that I’m 42, my body is like, “It’s almost 9:45 and I might pass out if I don’t go to bed soon.” But 9:45 pm is still mid-afternoon for college students. That’s the time they have meetings, write papers, and hang out with friends. Night life in the dorm begins at midnight. But still there are 8:00 am classes. This is what motivates a college kid to begin drinking coffee, am I right?

So guess who likes coffee now? 

It happened like this: 

Asa’s girl, Brittany — Yes, Asa has a girl. Has had for over a year. I’ve respected her/their privacy by not going on and on about her here, but then I asked and she said it was okay so there you go — Anyway…Brittany has liked coffee shop coffee for quite some time. Asa teased her about it until the morning after the twelfth night in a row he hadn’t gotten enough sleep. That’s when he said, “I sure could go for some coffee” and she fell out of her chair. (See, this is why people shouldn’t give me permission to write about them on my blog.) 

She didn’t fall. She just hopped up and ran to our local coffee shop.

Long story short(ish) – now they both love fru-fru coffee but aren’t enjoying paying high prices or drinking oodles of sugar. They have loved my Frappes when I’ve served them, so recently when they were here, I said, “Anytime you want coffee, text me. My coffee will cost you nothing and it’s not full of sugar (plus then I’ll get to see you both which will make my day so please want coffee often and text me daily).” 

coffee for asa and britt

Lookie there. Frappes in to-go cups. 

I will stop here and tell you the specifics of my favorite way to make a delicious Frappe, because everyone needs to know this.

How To Make an Amazing (Much Healthier) Frappe

1. Grind some of the best coffee beans in the world. (I discovered these beans from Guatamala and I can’t stop loving how good the coffee is.)

2. Brew coffee as normal or make some via the cold brew method. By default, I usually brew coffee to drink in the morning, then cool and refrigerate leftovers to use in Frappes.

3. Make coffee ice cubes

4. Make Chocolate Frappe as directed here. Or this: Put cold coffee, a few coffee ice cubes, some cream, and a few squeezes of this amazing stevia sweetened chocolate syrup into a blender. (Note, that stuff is not cheap, but is still much less expensive and absolutely healthier than coffee shop coffee, so I grab some when I have Amazon or Vitacost credit.)

5. Blend until frothy and serve. 

Stevia Sweetened Chocolate Frappe

Starbucks is jealous of how delicious this is. Asa, Brittany, Matt, Justus, and Elias all love this drink. I’m still in the “plain coffee with cream” camp because it is so delicious as-is. It is so much fun to drink coffee with my people! (Malachi will come around, and for now will stick with hot chocolate.) 

The above combination of ingredients also tastes delicious as a hot drink (minus the ice cubes, I hope that was obvious). This is why I grabbed to-go coffee cups with lids because it is getting chilly outside and cold frappes for the college students probably won’t cut it much longer.

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So there you go. I will always have coffee on hand so that I’m ready to say “Yep!” whenever I get a “Can we come get coffee?” text. For the record, I will also always have food to warm up (do not ever question this), fresh fruit, boxes of kleenex, an assortment of natural remedies, and if ever there is a request that I cannot immediately fulfill, I will put it on my Walmart list because I can’t even help it.

I’d love to hear what all of you are thankful for this Gratituesday!

Gratituesday: How Much You Mean to Me

I decided it’s high time I wrote another Gratituesday post. Please join me today as I celebrate God’s goodness in my friend Edith.

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She first emailed me in 2009 to say, “I want to tell you how much I enjoy your blog newsletters. I have shared many of them with our two daughters.”

That email came when my blog was a baby. She was one of my first blog followers. Her name was Edith. She was from Ohio.

Edith and I continued to email from time to time during the next few months. Then something I said in one of my posts sparked an interest, and would you believe? Her husband was born in the very same town where I grew up. Wonderful thing, this internet – connecting people who otherwise would not have met.

The email she sent in June, 2010 took our relationship to a new level. I had just written a blog post about our oldest son becoming a teenager. She wrote to tell me how wonderful teenagers are. Then she went on to say:

“Count your blessings every day – treasure every moment. And I know it’s trite, but do live each moment as though it truly were the last moment you have with your loved ones. We recently unexpectedly lost our elder daughter at age 36 in a matter of just a few hours.”

This began a friendship that was absolutely God given and beautifully selected. You see, the daughter Edith had lost was just my age. And my mom. Well, my mom had been gone already for a few years.

No one takes the place of a lost loved one. But Edith and I – well, I suppose we needed each other. She continued to send me emails of encouragement every few weeks, often to let me know she was praying for me. She sent me beautiful eCards for every holiday, which she personalized.

Edith loved me. Her love blessed me in ways I cannot describe. She was on my team. She was my prayer warrior. She was my friend. I loved her so.

Edith died unexpectedly last week. When I received the email from her younger daughter, who was so kind to think of me and share the news, I fell tearfully onto Matt’s chest. Not my Edith. I need my Edith.

I am going to miss this precious lady. Edith – the lady I never met face-to-face. The lady I could count on hearing from every few weeks as she cheered me on in my parenting, my writing, and my Christian walk.

My dear readers, I share this to let you know how much you mean to me. You’re not just “some people out there who read my blog.” You are a part of my life – a God given part that I do not take for granted. I treasure you and I am thankful for you.

When her oldest daughter died in 2010, this is what Edith said to me in her email:

“We are truly at peace even in our sadness. We know she’s having the time of her life in the presence of her beloved Lord and Savior. As her sister said, ‘She beat us home.’ And in that we rejoice.”

Now I say goodbye to my dear friend Edith, using her very words.

Thank you for loving me, Edith. Thank you for allowing God to work through you to be such a blessing in my life. I miss you already. But you’re having the time of your life in the presence of your beloved Lord and Savior. You beat us home. In that, I rejoice.

How About That? God Really Does Work Everything Out.

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Remember this post? You know, that one post I wrote last September? The one where I shared this:

I hate to spoil the ending...

The one where I talked about how we had no idea how everything would work out for our oldest son at the end of the school year? How we didn’t have any idea what would be best for him? How if he chose college, which one would it be and how would we work that out financially? How there were so many unknowns and what ifs and major decisions to make?

And more importantly, the one where I shared that God was teaching me to trust – like for real.

Last school year was wonderful and exhausting in countless ways. In the midst of it, we knew God had a plan and would roll it out for us in His timing. But when I wrote this post, we had no idea how the story would end. I just knew that it would…end. And that the ending would be good because God was writing the story.

In the midst of the waiting (we all know what that’s like, right? no matter what it is we’re waiting for) – our minds can turn toward all kinds of doubt and worry. We can invent scenarios that may or may not happen and then create all sorts of responses to the made up scenarios.

Unless any of those thoughts are Spirit led, they are absolutely pointless and completely exhausting. When I look back on our school year and how we watched our son learn to listen to God as he made his decisions, I am…

1) Really glad it’s behind us because it was just hard. Good, but hard.
2) So excited to realize God’s absolute promises and His guidance in everything. Everything. All of it. Every single bit.

We should never doubt. Never, ever, ever.

Not sure about an employment situation looming in your future? God does. Wait for Him to show you. Listen to Him and trust.

Not sure about a decision you’re making about parenting? God does. Wait for Him to show you. Listen to Him and trust.

Not sure how you can possibly afford whatever that need is that there is no money for?  God knows. Wait for Him to show you. Listen to Him and trust.

Not sure what to do about forty different questions floating in your head about everything from little to big? God does. Wait for Him to show you. Listen to Him and trust.

God never asked us to get it all figured out. He only asked for our faith. If you don’t believe me, go read all the words of Jesus in the gospels. All of them. They will change your life.

And oh yeah – about this post. The one where I wrote about how we had no idea how the story would end, about what would be best, about how we would survive such a major change in our lives (yeah, I know, all the parents do it, but it’s hard and that’s just the truth). Go back and read this.

Then. Then read this one. Seven months after I wrote the “we have no idea” post – I was blessed to be able to write the “well look at that. now we know” post.

There is always an ending to the story. If we’re seeking God, the ending is beautiful. If we’re not, well, God can still work and God is always lovingly waiting for us to turn to Him.

I write this as a reminder. To you – to me. Trust God. Where there are question marks, trust God. There will always be question marks. But there will always be answers because God is God and He is faithful. And because of that, there can always be peace.

Gratituesday: On a Positive Note…

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I consider myself to be a fairly positive person. Grumbling helps nothing. I don’t like hearing it from others and I don’t like participating in conversations that are negative and whiny.

Inside my own head, however? I have found myself fighting to take captive every thought and make them obedient to Christ. I haven’t even recognized how negative my thoughts have been because ultimately, I really am trying to figure out positive outcomes for every aspect of my life – my marriage, my boys, our church life, my friendships. But with each of those can come discouragement since life isn’t perfect and my ideals aren’t being rolled out on a red carpet. That’s how I find myself focused on the negative instead of breathing in and relishing in the positive.

This was my brain this morning:

  • Did he really leave his strawberry bowl on the floor after I asked him last night before bed to put it in the sink? I’ve gotta get that boy to listen and obey better.
  • Whose duffle bag is that? I know they are tired after camp, but I asked the boys so many times to unload their dirty laundry in the bathroom. Ugh.
  • I don’t even know where to begin on my to-do list.
  • Is it really cloudy again today? When is the sun going to shine???
  • Shoot. I forgot to thaw meat last night.

This was, of course, all within the first five minutes after I stumbled out of bed this morning. So much for “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!”

While frustrations are real, my thoughts and attitude have been very negative.

Without knowing it, a friend of mine – during a 30 second, obviously Spirit led conversation – convicted me in the church foyer yesterday between Bible class and worship time. I don’t even remember her exact phrase. I was just struck by her suggestion that the positive must outweigh the negative. I actually barely heard her at the time because I was gathering my kids so we could find a pew.

Well, God did His work, as He always does. I chewed on my friend’s words, which helped me recognize how negative many of my thoughts have been. This morning (strawberry bowl, duffle bag, list, cloudy, meat – yes that) sealed the deal as I got ready to open my Bible with my coffee.

Even in my prayer life, I have been so focused on the negative. It’s as if I don’t even recognize all of God’s goodness and His promises.

So hi. I’m confessing all of this here to you. God is so good, you guys. He offers so much goodness. My life is full of goodness. When I stop being negative and recognize the positive? It’s a no-brainer that I am more cheerful and have more energy.

I’m sharing this on Gratituesday not just so we can think about what we’re thankful for. It’s more than that. It’s about fully allowing our minds to recognize that God has provided so much goodness! We’ve got to fill our minds with the positive so that we can actually see the God-given blessings that are absolutely overflowing around us.

Please join me today in allowing God to do His work in our minds as we recognize His abundant goodness.

Look around you. Breathe in the good. Leave a comment here to share and encourage us all: In what ways do you see God’s goodness in your life?

Weekend Gratituesday ~ And Why Is There a Margarine Container on My Countertop??

It’s a weekend Gratituesday. Why not?

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Tuesdays have been passing right along without a moment for me to post something especially Gratituesday-ish. Therefore, I decided to take the time this weekend to share some highlights from our week that I am grateful for.

(I’m pretty sure the grammatically correct way for me to say that would have been, “highlights for which I am grateful.” But really. Who talks like that? And anyway, at least I didn’t say ain’t or say something like I am more grateful then you know. It’s than. More grateful THAN you know. That one really gets me. Not that any of this matters when we are focused on that for which we are grateful.)

So where shall we begin?

One of the biggest highlights of our week was that we received a surprise visit from my cousin and his family. Their kids are similar in age to our older kids and we rarely get to see them. While traveling, they drove an extra few hours out of their way to see us on Wednesday/Thursday. We grilled chicken and had a feast, followed by Strawberry Cheesecake Parfaits.

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All the kids and the dads spent hours in our yard playing soccer. It was awesome. We moms cheered and swatted mosquitoes on the side line. I love this picture:

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After we sent them off the next day, Asa and I drove three hours to watch his girl compete in the Miss Nebraska pageant. Here she is singing for the talent competition. I teared up as she sang The Revelation Song – proclaiming her faith right there on stage, “Holy, holy, holy…is the Lord God almighty, who was and is and is to come.”

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Tonight (Saturday) is the final competition. I’ll update as soon as I hear the results.
UPDATE: She didn’t win Miss Nebraska. We are so proud of her for her hard work and commitment to staying true to her values and faith during this. Now she can breathe and enjoy her summer counseling at church camps!

Asa and I drove all the way home that night, doing whatever we had to do to keep ourselves awake and safe until we got back at 1:30 am. It was so worth the drive. When we walked into the house, what would be the first thing I saw? This. On my countertop.

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A margarine tub? Who would dare bring such a thing into my home?! Funny that at first I didn’t even notice the Dr. Pepper and Doritos, etc – just the margarine. Turns out, the tub was full of popcorn. That, along with everything else, was the result of Matt having guys over to play games while we were gone. They left their snacks behind. The next day, I had a few Doritos. As opposed as I am to margarine, I choose to ignore the label on the bag of cheesy nacho chips. It makes no sense. 

But back to our week and the real food and blessings that came with it. I attempted to make a healthy version of the Chocolate Lasagna recipe I’ve seen floating around. I thought it would be a perfect Low Sugar Treat to add to our collection here. Yeah. Tasty though it was, my version turned out anything but picture worthy. And yet, here I am, showing you a picture anyway. I don’t know why.

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My grocery store run this week looked like the following. As you can see, we cannot get enough fresh strawberries. Our family has gone through almost all 10 pounds I bought this week. Bet you’re wondering what that Feta cheese is for, right? Right. That’s for my other addiction: BLT Factory Chopped Salad.

june 11
It was a Bountiful Basket week too, so we are set on groceries for a while – especially since our older boys are headed to camp Sunday. (Also, much of what is pictured above and below has been eaten already.)

june 16
june 17

Hey, what does a person do with Endive, pray tell? That’s a new one to me.

june 18

This week it’ll be just three of us at home with all the teenage boys at Soul Quest (on the York College campus). Matt, Malachi, and I will head to campus each evening to worship – a huge perk to living right here where this awesome camp takes place. It is a highlight of our year, for sure!

So now – your turn! What are you thankful for? It’s Gratituesday over the weekend, after all.

Gratituesday: The Decision

gratituesday[2]

I tell you what ~ it has been one wild ride having a senior in high school. I had no idea all that went into this year, not to mention the emotions that would smack me over the head without warning.

God has been so good to love me so gently this school year. As I talk to other moms who have graduated or are graduating their kids, I’m learning that I am quite normal. This is good to know. Home school mom, public school mom, private school mom – it matters not. We are Mom. We are loving our kids through making giant decisions all while preparing to launch them into all that God has planned for them. We cry a lot, not necessarily because we are sad. We cry because we’re happy. Because we’re excited. Because we’re a little bit weary. And because we couldn’t be more proud of our graduates.

Well anyway. That’s been my year in a nutshell. That, along with helping my senior through some very difficult online college courses all while trying in vain to keep up with other aspects of life like dust and laundry.

You know how some kids just know what they are going to do after high school? Our kid wasn’t one of them. He’s been searching for God’s answers all year long, not feeling confident in making a final decision for his immediate future.

The wrestling. That’s been tough to watch. And yet, it’s also been beautiful. For the first time, our 17 (almost 18) year old found himself faced with many great options and four thousand questions about what would be best. Had the answers just fallen into his lap back in September, I don’t believe the he would have experienced God’s work in his life in such a life-changing way. He had to learn to block out all the other voices and only listen to God. Then and only then did the right answers come.

As of last week, the decision has been made. Asa sees it as the one God has laid out for him in a very exciting way. And would you believe, after all the wrestling, everything came around to Asa choosing to go five minutes down the road to our very own York College? (Matt and I met and graduated from this Christian school in the 90’s.)

york college

Indeed. He is YC bound. While doors were closing on the other options, God kept paving the way to YC. The soccer coach recruited him and offered him a scholarship. The choir director recruited him and offered him a scholarship. The admissions director saw his grades and granted him an academic scholarship. In those ways and many more, God just kept making it more clear that this is the school for him.

He plans to pursue a degree in Business Communication. This is a great fit for him as he continues to develop his skills in videography to perhaps run his own video business someday.

soccer picsm

He has decided to be on the soccer team and in the concert choir. He will live in the dorm – and hopefully sometimes he will sleep. While Matt and I loved our YC experience, we were very open to other options God might have for Asa. Now that he’s chosen York College, we’re rather excited that we can be a fly on the wall during some of the events he participates in on campus. We’ll get to meet more of his friends. He can come home to do laundry and raid the fridge.

Yes, we’re all very excited. Most of all, we’re so grateful to see how God worked to pave out the path for Asa and to make it so clear to him that this is the way he should go.

And now, we carry on with the final few weeks of the school year. It’ll be a bittersweet ending this year, full of gorgeous new beginnings. God is faithful through every season of life. How exciting it is to see all He has in store for us all in the tomorrows.

What are you thankful for this Gratituesday?