Sunday, July 28, 2013

Who is that??

Some days I look in the mirror, and I'm not sure who I'm looking at. 
I just did it tonight.  I thought, "Who is that?  And where did she get all that curly hair?"  Yes.  My hair is turning curly.  Like I have spirals.  Big ones.  That disappear easily if messed with.  I'm actually afraid to touch them when I find them.  Afraid they're so fragile I'll ruin them and never find them again.
I read this Beverly Cleary "Ramona" book when I was young about a girl who goes to kindergarten.  She lives in awe of this little girl with perfect ringlets.  One day she can't restrain herself anymore, and she boings one.  The little girl screams, and Ramona gets in trouble for pulling hair.  The point is, I always wanted boingy hair.  And now, apparently, through absolutely no doing of my own, I have the fragile beginnings of boingy hair.  And am I utterly amazed. 

And I spend time wondering,

"Am I a person who wants new furniture and a pretty new house?  Or a person who wants to give all my money away to African mommies with starving kids and no shoes?"  Apparently I'm perfectly capable of wanting to spend all my money on myself to make my surroundings beautiful and convenient and wanting to give it all away to meet the needs of others at the same time. 


"Am I a country person or a city person?" 
I love the quiet out here.  The sky full of stars, singing so clearly that my God is HUGE times infinity and loves beauty.  I love the sun sets and the birds singing and the chance for absolute silence (when the irrigation wells aren't running).  I love that I never worry about traffic or strange neighbors or get letters in the mail asking us to refrain from parking our junky pickup on the street where it is decreasing property values with it's ugliness. 
But I miss the convenience of being 30 seconds from the library, the bank, the pool, the grocery store, and church.  I miss walking to Kayla's house just to hang out for the morning.  I miss the kids running next door to play with friends for a while after school.  It's hard to do extras like piano lessons and dance lessons and swim lessons and basketball/football/cross country camp.  It's really easy to get sick of driving out here.

See why I'm confused?   =)

I just keep reminding myself to accept the grace that Jesus freely lavishes on me every day.  And to walk in it.  And I've learned to speak truth to myself about who Jesus thinks I am.  Curly haired, selfish or generous, country girl or city girl - just me. 

Zeph. 3:17  "The LORD your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior.  He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy." 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Just a normal evening... =)

Yesterday Caleb came home for supper, and the girls had our two baby kitties dressed up in doll clothes and a pair of Julia's underwear.  I should have taken a picture, but I was a bit busy. 

Somehow since becoming a farmer's wife, I am in charge of a garden, four kids, two kittens, keeping the inside of our home in some kind of working order, four kids, mountains of laundry, a baby bird Caleb rescued from a field, three meals and two snacks a day for six people (at least three of which are STARVING at any given moment), mowing 8 acres of grass - ok mostly weeds, and did I mention the four kids?  Since Caleb works from 7:00 in the morning til 11:00 at night fairly regularly, my "help" for these responsibilities comes mostly from a bunch of little kids...
So ask me if I even knew the cats were dressed in purple flower underwear. 

I was making supper for the second time.  The first time I had a great plan to make red beans and rice.  But I tasted them around 5:00, and they were...interesting nasty.  Plan B was Caleb grilling chicken.  I can grill, but it's not my talent in life.  Caleb is much better.  Too bad he only had 20 minutes between hauling corn and irrigating on his way to worship team practice.  He was a little late.  But he grilled - I think because he was scared to find out what plan C was.  =)

Tiny little pieces of paper are strewn ALL OVER my dining room and living room.  Care to know why?  My girls have found a new favorite game.  They color dolls or letters or hearts on a piece of paper and then cut them out.  They try to clean up the extra pieces, but they can create thousands of tiny little pieces in half an hour.  So is half an hour of no fighting worth homemade confetti all over the floor?  Apparently it is to me...

Oh!  And a question for other farm wives.  Are you husbands injured all the time?  Caleb has a deep gash on his forehead and a chunk missing from his thumb. 

So the six of us are sitting at supper last night surrounded by white paper "crumbs", snarfing down our food as quickly as possible so daddy won't be late to worship team practice.  Caleb looks like he got in some sort of a fight - covered in mud with cuts all over the place.  The kids are filthy.  All the cushions are off both couches and piled on the living room floor along with practically every pillow and blanket we own.  The kitchen is buried under dishes from TWO supper making attempts.  And outside is no better.  Ethan mowed the front yard in some sort of almost ten-year-old boy crazy pattern.  So there are random chunks of tall grass dandelions sticking up all over the place.  Inch long pieces of sidewalk chalk (some of which were supposed to be Honey Rae's birthday present) are scattered all over the flower beds/ porch/ sidewalk in front of the house along with water guns, soccer balls, a hose, and the kitty dress up clothes (yes, this includes the purple flower underwear - which is probably still there 24 hours later...)

And Tam, Kayla, Hudson, and Honey drive up to play. 

I may have looked a little frazzled.  So we sat outside on the porch and laughed at Hudson "watering the flowers" and Ava and Honey making mud pies out of the mud at the bottom of the puddles Hudson made.  And I ignored the mess.

The kids were FILTHY by the time everyone left, but I was so thankful for people to sit on the porch and laugh with me.  And a sister who walked into my house, walked out, and said, "it doesn't look that bad in there!" 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Too much partying??

Wow!  Life has been crazy around here!  The month of June is over - and such a whirlwind I hardly even know what happened during it. 

We went on vacation the first week of June with the Johnson family.  I knew that would be chaotic.  25 people in one 8 bedroom home in Breckenridge for the week.  And I volunteered (with Kayla) to be in charge of food.  Maybe a little nuts...  And it was so loud grandpa kept taking his hearing aids out.  =)

But we had so much FUN together!  Mountain climbing

and talent shows (for which my son learned to play the recorder through his nose.  I'm such a proud mama.  =)

Who knew Micah and Allie could rap??? 
Mom and dad doing their skit written for them by Kristi.  =)
 And playing a game called "How many kids can you fit in the hot tub with the daddies??"

 And our awesome family t-shirts - perfect for family picture time.  Go Becca! 
Ok.  This one might be my favorite.  =)

 And just sitting and holding my newest niece and playing kickball and trying on hats and "wine tasting" with the girls. 
Becca has already informed me that I look like I'm wearing a lampshade...

It always makes me so happy to have everyone in one place.  I just love to watch my kids playing with their cousins.  Brady and Julia going on their "honeymoon" and adopting two two year olds (Clark and Kylie) while there was hilarious to watch. 

 I walk away from these times together a little frazzled but so much longing for heaven where time does not exist.  I think the fact that time always seems too short is the best evidence that we were created for eternity. 

On the way home from Breckenridge we stopped for a night in Colorado Springs where we got to go to one of my favorite places - The Garden of the gods.  The kids were not nearly as impressed by my favorite place as they were by Ethan's favorite - Whit's End at the Focus on the Family Welcome Center.  And Caleb got a Wod-fam-choc-sod at Whit's end, so he was happy.  =)

We got home Sunday and dove right into VBS at 8:00 on Monday morning.  The kids had fun as always, and Ava and I survived a week with ten mostly three and four year olds!  I just love kids that age!  We were EXHAUSTED by the end of that week. 

But then it hit us that Kristi only had a week and a half left at home before moving to Zambia.  So we crammed every single fun thing we could think of into those 10 days.  We went boating at Sherman and got pedicures and went to Fuji's for Hibachi. 
Who can tell whose toes are not original Johnson toes??  (Kayla???)  =)
We ate frozen yogurt at Red Mango - twice! - and had s'more parties at our house and went to the pool and ate fry bread and got pounded by Kristi playing Ruzzle.  We went to the church send-off and helped organize a party for Kristi's friends. Then the kids and I drove to the airport and said goodbye in the parking garage when her flight was cancelled.
And then I cried all the way across Omaha through traffic but managed to get ahold of myself long enough to order some very unhealthy food at McDonalds.  And I didn't even care that the food tasted like rubber.  
Oh!  And did I mention that Rob and Christina were here?  And they're moving to Thailand in September, and we won't see them again before they leave.  So we partied with them too, of course!  (And apparently stopped taking pictures...)

Clay came to VBS to hang out with me, and we did all the same stuff as we did with Kristi.  And the kids played in the river with Becca and in the indoor play place while it thunder-stormed at Mahoney, and they caught fireflies, and we grilled and ate red beans and rice (it was so smart of Rob to marry a woman from New Orleans!).  And then we said goodbye to them entirely too late at night after laughing so hard we cried at Christina's Chiquita banana box story.  Did I mention how happy I am that my brother married her?  =)  And then I cried again most of the way home while trying not to hit at deer by the river at 11:00 at night.

And now everyone's gone and I am exhausted.  (And I may have told Rebecca that if she ever tries to leave, I will tell my kids to attach themselves to her legs so she's stuck.  Really, if she wanted to leave, she should've run before everyone else did.  Now she's missed her chance.  =)

And I'm remembering.  How much we laughed.  Joy is a very fitting middle name for Kristi because everything is funnier when she's with you.  And I just love Rob's family.  Zeke thinks Caleb is AWESOME.  Caleb gave him a ride in the tractor, so now every time Caleb holds him, Zeke just looks at him and says "tractor" over and over.  I think he thinks that's Caleb's name.  =)

All of us are going to be pretty spread out here soon.  We figure maybe we'll try to get one of us on each continent.  We have Africa and North America covered now and soon Asia will be.  So we just need to send someone to Europe, South America, and Australia.  We decided Antarctica doesn't count.  Not much of a point going to be missionaries to penguins.  Pretty sure I got Europe cuz I'm a history geek who loves museums...  Yay!  =) 

The 30 hour drive to Micah and Allie is looking shorter. 

And I am so thankful. 

Thankful for my family - so devoted to Jesus and the cause of the gospel and to loving and serving those around them.  Whether that means going and being His hands and feet to the people of Africa or changing diapers and mopping floors and hilling corn and building homes and writing books in His name.  

Contrary to what I may have said to my dad while crying and saying goodbye to Kristi and Rob, I am thankful that my mom and dad cultivated a love of Jesus and a love for the lost people of the world in all six of their kids.  I know that Jesus loves all the people of the world, and I am so proud to call those who are going to the dark, needy, marginalized places in the world my brothers and sisters.  I feel like I get to go with them. 

I am SO thankful for modern technology.  I texted my baby sister in the middle of literally nowhere outside of Lusaka, Zambia this afternoon.  I saw pictures of her room and heard about the cow bells that woke her up in the middle of the night last night.  You have no idea how much joy that brought to my big sister heart. 

And now I have to go water and weed my completely neglected garden.   And make supper.  Two things I have almost forgotten how to do it's been so long...