Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pericope No. 9 {Because That's All I've Got}

If I had two thoughts to rub together, I would.  But I don't.  So here are some bits of the whole lotta crazy I am feeling these days.  Crazy but really good.  My heart is grateful for the opportunity to build.  I am PRACTICING gratefulness towards all the time it takes.

Here goes my rambling.....

This won't surprise anyone-- for someone who CONSIDERED building the EXACT same house she moved out of.... it's not a shocker I had them build the EXACT same fireplace.  BIG smiley face.  I am so happy.  Now, the stone and brick are different but I can't tell you how much this whispers "home".

This is the dining room wall-- Jeff's handiwork, well, both of ours because I put out a little elbow grease here too.  Soperton wood--aka by Jeff as "the most expensive FREE wood I've ever met".

My nickname for the house is "The House that Craig Built"- no, not Jeff but Craig as in Craig's List.  We regret not filming the whole ordeal from the beginning, like in spring 2012.  Here we are with tubs for the kid's rooms.  We've strapped all sorts of things to this car.  You just never know what you are going to find as you check cities you are driving through!  And it looks GREAT on the budget sheet.  If you ever want to know what all exactly we found and acquired from CL, just ask.  We can make you true believers.  Promise.  {My Jeff is NOT for hire.}

So after I laughed like a crazy person after I got the bid back for blinds in my house, these pictures are scrolling through my Photo Stream- for the time being.  Hello, Home Depot...... and a hack saw.  Just don't tell my neighbors.

Note to self:  NEVER throw away/give away dress up clothes.  My mentor, Denise, taught me many things-- some of the most important things about life-- but this tip from her, for some reason, stayed with me.  {Btw--That's MY poodle skirt my Mom made for me in high school so I could dress up 50's style...}  And below, you'll see even the big girls enjoying dress up!

Can I tell you how ready I am for her foot to stop growing?  3 reasons why--- you can't just run to Target and pick up pointe shoes and you have to SEW ribbons on them once you pay a ridiculous amount of money for them and thirdly, on the plus side, we might can invest in new cowboy boots-- for us to share, even though I may have to do more of the "sharing".

How Julia spends her time at B's games...... I've tried to teach her the game but the book- any book- always wins out.

If Julia wants ANYthing at the new house, it's a GARDEN!  Mind you, we live IN Fort Worth, not "out".  I hope Jeff has some creativity up his sleeve.

Oh, this woman.  Betty Cox.  A Fort Worth Treasure.  Earlier in the month, we stopped by on our way to ballet to sadly tell her we would not be continuing sewing this year.  The lump in my throat held and I did fine but how I miss dropping Julia off on Tuesdays to be loved on, to enjoy friends and to learn more about sewing!
If you have an extra 3 and a 1/2 minutes click here to be blessed by part of her story.  Grab a tissue.

And this is where Julia wanted to put her sewing time.  A garden and horses...... hmmm...

Many "bits" of my day are trying to keep up with this guy.  Brighton adds the interesting commentary to our days.  He has been for quite some time.   His practice sentence above made me scratch my head, "Hey man like dude can I go with you?"  All that Sanders' surfer talk.


This is not a nap.  This is not a mental break.  This is not a quiet moment after exerting great amounts of effort on his writing assignment.  It's exactly what you think.  And I am supposed to work with that?

This is always fun to find, assignment in the trash AFTER he leaves for school.  I have no understanding of this.

Now, THIS, I totally get.  A little space.  A good book.  Yes.

Sweet moment?  Yes, I am choosing to remember it this way but reality is, they were SUPPOSED to be doing something else.

And this picture is just to document that Jeff's mind is in another hemisphere as he works so hard getting things ready in and for the house.  I went to make coffee as the school morning got started and could not find ONE coffee bean in the house.  Jeff Sanders is never without coffee beans.  And my Keurig is broken-- and by the way, is there a magic word to say when you call the customer service number in order for them to send you a NEW one?  Everyone keeps telling me, "They just sent me a new one, like twice!"  I have had no such offer and I have even descaled mine every three months! And spit shined it.  So.... no coffee yesterday morning until I wasted 10 minutes going through my 6 foot deep pantry and found this.  Happy girl.

To remember the hottest September, here is the lemonade stand from a few weekends ago.  These girls had it going on-- right at the speed bump in front of our house.  They even had Brighton down on othe corner in his football uniform waving people in off Camp Bowie.  They played on people's nostalgia and utter shock at how hot it was that Saturday in September.

Okay, so I saved the best for last.... You ready for this?  You've seen my boy's hair.  When he spends the night with people,  a parent NEVER fails to comment on his morning hair!  It's really quite unbelievable.  It's EVERYWHERE--- in all directions--- into the next room.  It's distracting.  So you can imagine the work it takes to get it DOWN-- drama almost every morning.  Yesterday, he hit the wall with it and turned to me and said, "I want my hair cut today and you can tell them to cut it however you want to!"  {You can figure out the background with that comment.}  I am all about simplifying these days and the less drama the better so I told the lady we wanted a traditional SHORT haircut.  Let's just say it got a whole lot worse before it got better.  I even pulled to the side another lady who worked there to ask her was this going to turn out okay?  It looked like a cross between a bowl and Steven Curtis Chapman from 1990.  From the look on his face, I could not leave the chair's side.  I really thought he was going to cry.  I am sure the lady was completely annoyed with me as I watched her every snip.  B was giving me the death look in the mirror and I tried to keep a reassuring smile on my face.  He was mor-ti-fied.  When we got in the car to leave, he had me STOP the car in the parking lot so he could get out and get in the back.  He would not even sit with me.

An hour later, he was hugging me and telling me he was sorry for all the things he said and that he really liked his hair.  Boys.......  {or is that "girls"?}

So here is the back!  Makes me think of my nephew RJ.


I can see him!!!!!!!  He got out of bed this morning and looked in the mirror and couldn't believe how tame it looked.

Our "housemate" Emily is housesitting for friends this week so I asked B could we take a picture for Emily and send to her, this is what I got:

There are a many pieces in my life these days-- just like yours.  In this season with building a house added, I don't want to forget these things that make up the real life.  And we want to enjoy the memories again later.  And who knew I could find my heart written on a book in the dollar aisle at Target.

And now, if Target would just sell pointe shoes.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Motherhood and Introversion: What I'm Learning About Me

I get to check The Gospel Coalition website once a month or so and last week I found this post.  I have heard songwriters talk about the songs they wish they had written and so now here is the post I wish I had written.  Not because it’s “great” or “amazing” but because this gal figured it out.  She said some really hard things but she’s better because she’s recognizing it all in her life and pouring the gospel all over it.  She doesn’t condemn herself or apologize for it.  It’s who God made her.  She’s an introvert.

Evidently, there is much buzz around this topic.  I didn’t really know that but I picked up a book the other night which caught my attention, “Quiet:  The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain.  “Quiet” caught my attention, because I gravitate towards quiet and still.  The tag line hooked me good and I bought it.  A few days later, I read this wonderful blog post.  I won’t rehash it but you should read it -- and you really don’t need to read what I have to say as I am simply responding to what I am learning and figuring out about myself.

It probably wasn’t until marriage that we figured this out about me.  For me to re-energize and be refreshed, I need solitude.  Jeff may have labeled me first -introvert- and that’s okay.  I like naming something.  It makes it smaller than not knowing why you feel the way you do.  I’ve noticed this “need” has come up more and more in recent years in mine and Jeff’s conversations so I’ve struggled, not really understanding it.  Not even liking it really.  Wishing I were different.  More like so and so, you know?

I have great memories from my childhood but a chunk of my pre-teen and teenage years were spent alone in my bedroom.  I remember reading a lot, writing pages and pages of silly words but I also remember just the quiet, the space and having the time to just look out the window.   How God made me was no different then than I am now-- I was VERY social in high school and involved in all the activities I loved.  My parents wouldn’t dare take my car from me because neither of them had the time to run me around to fulfill all of my commitments.  People would certainly have described me as “outgoing” but I could only be that way when I had the capacity for it-- after solitude and rest.  My room.  {I am what they label a "calm or social introvert"- not overly anxious about social interactions.}

College fostered this need with ALL of the studying I did.  This was so easy for me.  To study.  I could hide away in my room with an excellent excuse or find a cubicle in the ginormous Science Library at UGA.  I could go hours and not see a soul.  But when I did, I was ready for them.  I had great conversations in whispered tones at that library and the break was welcome.  It was simple to recharge in college.  Early marriage and young children had its challenges but finding time to be alone was pretty easy because it was bulit in. We both worked but I had days off during the week and he had studying to do.  Babies and toddlers took naps every day, sometimes twice a day so when nap time was over for Julia and Brighton, I was recharged and ready for them.

And then I said yes to homeschooling. {Big grin with a knowing look.}  I have some very sarcastic comments floating around in my head-- the humor of my family of origin that does not fly in Julia and Brighton’s family of origin.....-- so I will refrain.  Of course, we are together a lot and yes, now I have my Tuesdays and Thursdays but for an introvert, space and quiet are needed EVERY day.  Too much stimulation causes irritation and stress.  Just a few minutes of not being needed is helpful.

As the years have passed, I know myself better and know what works for me and what doesn’t.  At 43, I know I don’t multi-task well.  I can do it when I set my mind to it but I may not be spreading sunshine around while I cook, listen and respond, clean, greet hubby and grade homework.  I know once I have had overnight company, I need rest, space to be quiet and maybe most importantly, no big expectations from anyone for a period of time.  That is really hard to type because that’s not always convenient for me or for the ones I love and live with.  It sounds selfish but I also know how helpful it is and how READY I am to jump in again once I have had it.  At times, I experience anxiety or frustration when I am in extended small talk situations with several people.  Almost all parties, larger settings throw you into small talk world.  I love a party and I can talk with the best of them but after a while, you may see me off in a corner with one or two people or see me just riding the coattails of an extrovert friend. Thank God for those friends!!  Truly.  They are a gift to me and minister to me without even knowing in situations like that.  There’s much more but these are the biggest to me-- the things that affect the people closest to me, the things that have caused me the most guilt.  And that is what I loved about her post.

My sweet cousin who I get to enjoy each summer on St. George is the mom I have watched who wants to be with her kids ALL the time-- and seeming to never need a break.  I had thoughts of maybe I wasn’t cut out for this mom job.  And thoughts would go to here:

“The tug led to feelings of guilt. Why did I feel this constant urge to get away from my children if I loved them so much? Add to that tug the sincere Christian desire to sacrifice and you have a recipe for burnout. The guilt led me into a vicious circle. The harder I tried to be the mom I thought my kids needed me to be, the more intense the feelings of "I need to get away" would become and the guiltier I would feel, which would lead me to try even harder. I tried to change something I couldn't change about myself.”   

That’s been the struggle these years, not really understanding it, feeling guilt, wishing I were different, but being powerless to change how I felt on the inside and this driving need I had for solitude.  So no further wallowing and no more words needed except Eowyn Stoddard's lovely, wonderful, life giving conclusion...

“The gospel frees me to embrace who I am while not using my weaknesses as excuses for laziness. My identity in Christ has to be the foundation upon which I build my personal identity, regardless of introversion or extroversion. In his sovereignty, he made me the right mother for my kids. He has promised to perfect me and even use my weaknesses in his service. Sure, there will be challenges, but that is how God intends to grow me and conform me to his image.
You will be stretched to your limits. Every time you fail or sin against your husband and children in your introverted way is an opportunity for you to receive grace from God and to live out the gospel: repent, ask for your family's forgiveness, and let the Holy Spirit transform you. It is a hard but beautiful process to work out the story of redemption before your kids.” 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

You Bet I Am {"FIRST game of my ENTIRE life"}

If you are not a fan of football, click right on out of here.  Brighton had his first football game this past Saturday morning and declared as such in the car on the way, “Dad, this is my FIRST football game of my ENTIRE life.”  Oh, I don’t know, a year ago maybe, he also declared {he makes lots of “declarations”} that God made him for football.  But along with declarations like, “I am not going to bed at 8:30 because I have some other things to do,” and “I don’t have to do this assignment because I am not reading that book,” so we take, “God made me for football.” with a grain of pink Himalayan salt.  So, Saturday was the day and you bet I am going to post about it!

It was a 10 o’clock game with the sun blazing, not like it was September 7th but more like August 7th.  It was EXTREMELY hot.  Emily and Alyssa-- faithful friends and lovers of my kids-- came to sweat it out with us.

Blake, just consider this post dedicated to YOU!  I LOVED watching you play all those years and I especially loved the money you gave me for helping you out of those tricky uniforms and cleats.  You lazy bum.  However, I have already shared your secret with B.  Julia has already earned herself a few quarters.  I see many more in her future.

Here he is on the end-- at tight end-- where he played most of the game.

He's doing his job here-- going for the bigger boy {#50} at the knees.

He's just looking cool here--- Thanks, Em, for such a great picture!

He wore #1 because the #32 jersey was printed by a numerically challenged operator.

Going for #50 again.  I loved seeing him work so hard at it.

Jeff and Julia sweating-- doing their part for the team.

The coach was very clear at some point-- maybe at the end-- it's NOT a HUGGING game!

Brighton gets to play with one of his classmates from CLPS.  Love this part of it too!

So maybe this isn't a mother's favorite moment captured- and really, that may be some other boy wearing a #1 jersey.....but I post it because of the boy's socks next to him!

Mid game the coach YELLED them over to an impromptu huddle and gave them, most likely, their first good chewing out.  And, in the stands, we heard EVERY word.  It was great.  Again, B is riveted.

This man {Mr. B-- thank you VERY much} had my boy's back the entire game-- squirting water into his mouth, making sure he was on and off the field at the right time, keeping him off the bench etc.... Very grateful Momma.

And here is his biggest fan-- love how hands on or hands off Jeff can be.  It's a tough balance for dads and I feel Jeff does a super job knowing when to step in and when to back off.

Now, isn't that fun?  Once my brother's playing days were over with high school, I got to watch Jeff play his senior year at Furman.  LOVED every game.

The "FIRST game of [his] ENTIRE life" is over and we look forward to many, many more.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Game Time and a Little Random Instagram-ness

Last night, Jeff announced it was “game time” in regards to the house.  So, for me, that means, no more considering and contemplating or ordering more paint samples from Benjamin Moore, no more swatches of fabric from Cutting Corners-- all of which I did this morning-- but it’s time to pull the trigger on things I’ve got to like for quite a while.  That also means spending gobs of money.  Spending money stresses me out.  Jeff is pretty handy and he has saved us thousands over the years because of his handyman prowess {and his is affection and patience with Craig's List} but the one thing I told him I wish he had learned was how to reupholster furniture.  I mean, really.  THAT would be one useful skill in this duo.  But alas, he only paints furniture, can fix just about anything, can use carpenter tools for bookshelves, crown moulding, frames etc., refinishes furniture, stains concrete- and makes countertops out of it too....... but he cannot recover my grandmother’s chairs.  Oh well.

So I have stared, rearranged, cut more swatches, mixed it all up again, trying to decide how I can work with what I have and recover what's worth keeping.  Each home I have lived in has had plenty of blues and greens and my favorite fabric of all time, creamy, beig-y linen.  I wear it and I like to sit on it and I like it to block out the sun on my windows.  I like the neutral bones of a room.

And then there are all the pops of color to add but how much, how permanent and which ones?!? And WHO is going to sew up all these pillows?  And when?

And if you were wondering how many shades of blue there are out there, quit your wondering.  I can tell you.  Infinity and beyond.... Palladium Blue, Wyeth Blue, Covington Blue and Kensington Green {yes "green" but it comes off blue, or gray or green..... depending on your angle and light source.  Makes it a simple choice.}

Then there is all this furniture that my handy husband is able to paint............ or not to paint.......... Leave it a mirror or do I have him paint it with chalkboard paint...... Do I want all painted furniture or do I want to leave some of it natural.  YES!  But how much to paint and what pieces?

All the trim was unloaded this morning and in anticipation of that Jeff and I made a history making trip to IKEA this weekend.

There are 2 flatbeds and a buggy.  Jeff found the Clearance section and bought cabinets doors and drawers that will make a huge difference in what we are doing.  We also bought things to go in the closet and Julia and I got out the girl tools and worked on a 7-11 Slurpee while we put these together.

We timed ourselves, of course, to see if we could beat ourselves since we had 4 to put together.  We whittled our time down pretty well.


To celebrate we ended the night with a little Roman Holiday with Miss Hepburn.

Where were the guys, you ask?  Dove hunting!  B was Jeff's bird dog.

However, before they left we began the washing of the wood from Soperton.  Friends had been storing it on a borrowed trailer for a couple of months so we went and picked it up and scrubbed it like maniacs.  Hot maniacs, let me tell you.  Our typical summers came late this year.

Here, it's wet, shining in the sun.  You know, this could turn out really good, like, way cooler than the Sanders really are but it could also wind up smelling really funny or worse, be the home for tiny, crawly thingies.  We've done all we know to do so we will give it a whirl and see what happens!

And to just break up my thoughts on house stuff, I get texts like these from my brother.  My handsome nephew caught this in St. Augustine.  Yikes!  The ones they catch in St. George aren't nearly as intimidating but this looks like a mini Jaws!  Freaky.

To REALLY brighten my week, I get a visit from Alyssa bearing divine yumminess--  pretzel rods covered in all my favorite things.  Thank you!!!!!! {I did share like you asked me to..}

Then, there's this book that is completely intriguing me...... "The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking"  I'm not too far in but far enough in that I get now why I spent HOURS alone in my room growing up, why I always want to crawl in bed {and sometimes do} when overnight company leaves, why being alone recharges me, why I LOVE going to small talk functions with my extrovert friend, why I like doing projects by myself, why writing for me is like taking a nap...  It's a great book and her research is sound.

Game time-- time to make these rooms look like a place the Sanders live.  I can't wait to hang out in here with them-- and you!  And in the meantime, I am going to keep snapping the pictures of all the in between times.  The random that fills in the cracks of the calendar that we have trouble remembering the next day which actually is a really sweet, fun memory.