Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Lords & Ladies

The boys have been begging for a cousin slumber party since we hit the US. So we seized upon the opportunity for some fall break fun and invited the older girls over to spend the night tonight. This morning, Silas, always full of ideas, suggested that we have a fancy dinner.....since the girls are princesses and like that sort of thing.  This quickly turned into a knights and princesses theme.  Everyone went the extra mile. .And it was just all absolutely adorable

About mid-way through the day though, when the preparations were already in motion, I realized that I was actually scheduled to speak to a small group tonight. Calendar fail. It was there. I just didn't look. In mercy, I remembered before it was too late. Hubs was out of town, so I called in for extra-Grandma support.  And she showed up, dressed like a Queen, to serve the dinner with Aunt Lindsey while I ran out for an hour or so. Definitely good sportsmanship points for NanNan! 

After dinner, there were light sticks to hide in the backyard, popcorn and a show, bedtime stories, lots of giggles and laughter brushing teeth together. And now they are all tucked sweetly in their beds. Hubs pulled back in from the farm at 8pm and I sure am glad I won't wake up to all these kids on my own! 

Good night!

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Our 11th Anniversary

We celebrated eleven this weekend. And enjoyed the benefits of the grandparent presence.  The boys spent the night with Grammar and Pop. They went to the Corn Maze....and had quite an adventure themselves. After an hour and a half in the maze, they were rescued by not one, but two employees. The first employee to try to get them out, got lost with them! Talk about good sports, those grandparents are fantastic!

I surprised hubs with a kayaking adventure on the Mississippi River.  (Don't worry, we stayed in the harbor!) We watched the sunset with the big "M" bridge behind us and paddled along the famed water enjoying the hometown.  Definitely one of my favorite Memphis memories ever.  

We ate Gigi's "Wedding Cake" cupcakes on bank, watched the barges roll past and then, after our sunset kayak paddle, we headed to Carrabbas in East Memphis, where we had our first real date all those years ago. Eleven years later, he's still my favorite person in the whole world! 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Thoughts from the hometown

This season of life back in hometown USA has been a curious time for us. Our first return to the US was a unique season.  The fogginess of late pregnancy, followed by newborn days, the recovery from the intensity of those long years of language study plus a couple toddlers. Not to mention that South Asia was a wee bit different than our current locale. I came back knowing that I needed a break.

This time though, it feels different. We're deep enough into this transitional life overseas that it's ceased to feel like a short season. This is our life. And you don't take a break from life.

Six months is too long to be a vacation, but too short to be considered a move.

There's a sort of flux that you live in during seasons like this that can be difficult to navigate.  My friendships on both sides of the world seem to stretch, like we're all reaching our legs over a really big gap.  Sometimes it feels like you're standing on ice that's just cracked, and you know eventually you're going to have to jump to one side or the other.  And you're not sure how far you can stretch before you make your move.

I find myself at a loss to explain who we are in social settings.  It feels false to imply that we live here, yet complicated, and even "look-at-us," to explain that we don't. All sorts of insecurities and temptations flare up.  I'd prefer to just be around people who know us. But when you've been overseas for seven years, that pool shrinks and even in that pool, the waters changed for all of you. The community we are a part of is in flux, just like we are. I have to be willing to be humbly complicated and allow glimpses into our story to be a tiny thread in the grander plot. The little stories that serve the greatest story.

I've been pondering the smallness of the life we live for quite a while now.   There's a lot less fanfare in adult life than I used to think. I find this true from the top all the way down.  Even when I get close up to the people that sure look like they have fanfare, they usually don't. I sure don't. All my Anne with an E romanticism needed to grow up a bit.

It is just what the Scriptures speak of life though, right?  Life is a breath. We are but dust. And while we are fearfully and wonderfully made, created in the very image of God - our chief end is the glory of God, not of us.  This is an orchestra playing His praise, not a solo for our fame.

Within the church, I would say that I'm making progress this time around in seeing who we are and what we do as a part of the larger working of the body.  It is exciting, and grounding all at once. Part of this is because of my repeated foot injuries.  Tiny, tiny bones....that are making a huge difference in the way I function. When I sprained my foot a couple of weeks ago, I saw bones on the X-ray that I didn't even know were in there.  But I know it now and I've been limping all over town consequently.

It's made me want to pursue health. Not just physical health (though you know I am really missing healthy feet), but spiritual health. Because when one part is sick, the whole suffers. And I might be a tiny little bone, but disfunction in a tiny little bone can be a big deal in a body.

So I'm digging into the Word like I haven't in a while. And my soul feels the difference. I hope the stretching of this season will serve the seasons to come well.

It's good to be "home." 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Soccer Season

Last night was the final game of our soccer season. I admit that I wouldn't have minded a few more weeks of games. It has been a really fun league.  Both teams were just starting to really work well together and the boys looked forward to every game. The grandparents have been all-star cheerleaders, even braving the rain (and excessive heat) on occasion.  Even with David out of town, we always had a cheering section. Their coaches were seriously wonderful, and they have both grown in the team work and healthy sportsmanship that we were hoping to build.

For the sake of memory, I'll include a few details.  Jude got Messi's number. It was a big deal in our house. He was on a team that was a mix of English/Spanish speaking families.  We loved that and are grateful it worked out. This is the season that Jude's aptitude as goalie and a defender really started to shine. His coach honed in on that, and helped him get better. For the final game, he was in the goal almost the entire game and blocked some strong shots. It has been fun to watch him develop in that way! (Though I do admit to mom-anxiety on the sidelines whenever he's in the box.)

Since Silas will probably never read this blog until he's old enough to laugh at this statement: Silas's team was painful to watch on most nights.  They kind of flopped all over the field, watched as goals roll past the line, kicked down field in the wrong direction at times and generally speaking, clustered themselves in an ineffective little bunch around the ball.  They lost all but one game and I think they scored a total of 4 goals the entire season.

Their coach never gave up though and did the best she could with their floppy little group. She was super encouraging and they grew as the season went. They didn't wane in enthusiasm!!! And when a goal was scored, the parent reaction was World-Cup-equivalent. Silas himself showed promise as a goalie and, to his credit, always went in the right direction with the ball. He kept a good attitude in spite of the losses and remained hopeful, right to the bitter end.

His claim to fame was that he did indeed score the first goal of the season. We celebrated it big in our little house.

Basketball starts in two weeks.  Stay tuned!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Farmer Boys

Harvest is here. The corn is being picked.  The cotton is still growing.  We are listening to Farmer Boy in the car, and waiting for the weather to actually turn cool.  

The boy spent a day down on the farm with my dad this week. Jude and Silas rode in tractors most of the afternoon, learning how to drive. They played with kittens, and looked at stars on top of the grain bins.  When we found hubs, he was covered in grease and wearing overalls.  It's like a little boys' dream world out there. 

The day ended for me with a hasty jump down from the tractor. For the first time in my 38 years, I sprained my foot.  I felt so stupid. B now that the x-ray is in, I'm only relieved that it's not broken. After 6 months of resting stress fractures, a broken foot would be my nightmare.  Hopefully though, in a week, I'll be back up and running! 

The 20th Reunion

I had my 20th high school reunion last weekend.  I'm awkward, so it was a little awkward.  But I am so glad I went.  It was great to hear what people are up to, and remember how much we've all grown in twenty years.  

While I admit that Saturday night social downtown was a stretch for me, the Friday night football game was nothing but fun! The kids loved seeing where David and I went to high school, they had all the Harvest Festival activities out in full force, the campus looks amazing, and I'm the kind of nerd who loves bumping into old teachers.  It was great to reminisce a little at a place that helped shape me!  

And, there were "MemPops," so everyone was happy! 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Spelunkers

We had a busy weekend in Nashville. It was full of friends, fellowships, and coffee dates.  At the end of it, we hopped up to Mammoth Caves National Park for an overnight in a cabin with some dear friends.  When I say dear, hear this.  For the past six years through multiple time changes, continents, and seasonsthis friend has called me almost weekly.  For thirty minutes (and no more, because in busy-mom world 30 is a lot!!!) we share our struggles, talk about parenting challenges, catch up on what's going on, and do our best to encourage one another.  And then we pray. This weekend we got to pray in person, right there with the husbands we pray for so often. It was sweet.

And then we went caving. Because with seven kids, we needed some serious activity. The kids are now obsessed with caves. They worked hard on their Junior Ranger books and got a badge. Fat Man's Misery was a life moment for them. When we returned, we ate dinner by lantern light and Silas is still wearing his ranger vest.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Friday Five

1. Hubs told me the kids need to learn better sportsmanship while we are in America. I may have, consequently, gone a little overboard on their sports enrollment. They are loving it. Both boys lost their games this week. And I won't deny that I was screaming on the sidelines like a soccer mom. They handled it well though, and so did I. (I did voluntarily congratulate a rival dad, a.k.a M. Pritchard.) 

2. They also just completed a round at The Pool School. My sis highly recommended their "system" and I admit that I'm sold. They boys loved it and all of them made significant progress. Jude's swim skills were apparently lying dormant. (This is probably because the sea makes me nervous and I don't let him venture far.) He was swimming some serious laps by the final day. 

3. They're signed up for basketball next. (I told you I went overboard.) 

4. Hubs is apparently driving heavy machinery out on the farm. He sends me pictures from the wide open fields and talks with a twang when he calls. He's started wearing coveralls and today he was having lunch at a truck stop when he called. We try to live a varied life. And I think we do. I think Spain to coveralls counts as pretty diverse experience. 

5. This weekend we head to Nashville for some speaking engagements. We are taking all of our children. I have been home alone with the kids since Wednesday, and have successfully homeschooled them this week.  I'm almost packed. Loading may be a different story. We'll pick hubs up on the way to Nashville. We will sleep in three different places over the course of three nights and drive roughly 10 hours. I may or may not be a functional person by next Tuesday. Prayers appreciated:) 

Happy Friday to you! 

Bradley 2018

We drove to Georgia for Labor Day weekend for the "Bradley Family" college reunion.  We actually haven't been to the annual get together in eight years. (Yikes. I didn't realize it had been that long!) I can honestly write that I stepped in the door and felt like it'd only been a year or two. They are the kind of friends that just pick up right where you are. 

I can't stop from wondering what kind of person I would be today if they hadn't been my friends way back then. A lot of my theology has been shaped by late nights in the dorm and porch talks with this crew. It felt good to be home. 

Mom-confession: We left Asher with Grammar and Pop, and the weekend was oh-so-relaxing because of that little choice. To be fair, he didn't miss me either.  He was livin' the dream in grandparent-land.  


Don't worry, he's been in detox all week.