Thursday, July 28, 2011

Glorious Morning

(pictures of flowers from our garden)
Morning glories live for one day.
They uncurl early in the morning and by noon expand ten times their original size.
They are fragile and practically transparent.
Even in their tenderness they are brilliant.

There have been times that mornings have not been glorious.
Fear and dread and unresolved problems have wounded my tenderness and kept me from uncurling.
But not today.
I will wait for the sun and wait for the miracle. (author unknown)

I copied this off of a friends fridge. It spoke to me because I am NOT a morning person. Most mornings I would rather sit at a table by myself and drink my coffee in peace rather than embrace my four hungry children and welcome the day.
So mornings may not be my strong point but I do believe in miracles and God's ability to change our hearts. So like the morning glory I want to embrace each day...each morning. I want to offer my children a smile and hug rather than wish they had stayed in bed so I could enjoy a few more minutes of solitude.
Bring on the morning....

(i know since i wrote this i will be tested on these very words. it is an area I want to see growth in. in my eight years of mothering this has always been a bit of a struggle. even the days I get up early someone will wake up and interrupt my time which actually can make it feel worse than just staying in bed. So yeah eight years later i am still trying to make my mornings a bit more glorious....)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

the gift of a life

Tommorow we celebrate six years of life for Sarah Elizabeth. I decided to post this today since tommorow we will be in the midst of partying! :)
Mark spent some time this week writing and reflecting on her birth and the perspective it brought to our lives and continues to bring....

As I reflect back on the anticipation and arrival of our second child I see the picture of Heather holding her daughter for the first time and tears fill my eyes. After the excitement that came with the birth of Moses came the pain of the tear and the reality of Heather going back to surgery instead of holding her son. Then came a long road to recovery – her being pushed around the city in a wheelchair and us as new parents spending a humiliating week on vacation with my family when she could hardly walk and Moses wouldn’t stop screaming. Those were some hard days in our marriage. As I write these words a song talking about being “marked by heaven” is playing from my iPhone. It is comforting now to hear those words as God confirms his hand. But, it did not feel like heaven was marking us at the time. So the joy of our first born was tempered by real pain and some hard times in our marriage. We learned a lot and she did her best to be strong when her second pregnancy reached it’s third trimester.

My wife is strong – in many different ways – but in a very old school way when it comes to child birth. No meds, no massages, no breathing techniques – she just goes somewhere inside and gets it done. I knew she was strong and I was as confident as I could be that our second delivery would be different, but I was still a bit apprehensive. Kind of like holding your breath when you watch one of your children do something in front of a crowd that you knew they had been practicing for a long time – I was hoping to see exactly what I saw. Sarah was born and Heather left out a sigh of relief. There was no tear, there were no issues. I announced that our baby was a little girl and as I watched Heather weep and reach out for her daughter we knew that Sarah Elizabeth Buckwalter had arrived. And we knew that God had our best in mind.
As I reflect on that memory that is the thing that sticks out to me the most. After months of trying to believe that it was going to be okay and trying to be strong and wanting to believe for her hearts desire – she got to hold her daughter and this time there was no rushing off to emergency surgery. There was no handing her child back because she was in too much pain to hold him- no – there was only the joy of holding and knowing that God is who he says he is and that he loves to give good gifts to his children.
This brought tears to my eyes and reminded me again that God knows our heart's desires and He is with us on every step of this journey! What made her birth extra special too was we had miscarried in between Moses and Sarah when I was 12 weeks along. That was October 9th. November 17th I took a pregnancy test... and it was postive! There was new life again! What a surprise and what a gift!
Happy Birthday Sarah Elizabeth...your life is a gift!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

remind me...

My teenage nephew, Judah, has been spending time with us this week. I picked him up yesterday at basketball camp and was surrounded by mothers who all appeared to be at least ten years older than me. I felt out of place and a bit uncomfortable for some reason. I felt like I was in unknown territory and I was. I suddenly realized I am not ready for that stage of life...although it is only five years away. It made me thankful for TODAY...even if "today" is not always easy.
I was recently talking to some older parents whose children in their late teens and early twenties have made some rough choices in life. All the sudden whether or not my kids can go play in the creek or whether someone peed their pants seems pretty small. I am thankful God leads us into parenting step by step but I do want to learn NOW some of this whole "letting go" thing. The older parents I talked to handled things with such love and grace and did not wear their kids decisions as their own...which impressed me. I think that is half the battle. When one of my children growls at a man in the grocery store or another kid throws a fit at church or yet another child of mine whines loudly through the aisles at Darrenkamps crying "You never let me get anything I want!".... I can tend to overreact because I want everyone around me to think I am a "good" mom and I have well behaved children who always listen and obey! HA!

So I am thankful for the stage I am in...and yet I know by the time that next stage comes I will be ready for it too. I remember watching my sister in law with her four kids and my one and wondering how in the world she does it but yet here I am... and all the noise and kids and toys that I remember at her house is now my house. So I am sure when the teenage years roll around I will be ready to embrace them and will also probably be running to Naomi for some advice because Judah is a great role model for his younger cousins!
So remind me of this while in the midst of potty training and tantrums and legos on the carpet and crumbs on the floor... that I am right where I am supposed to be. Freedom will come before I know it along with a whole new set of I will enjoy the challenge of today!

These pictures were taken Sunday evening on our little excursion into Lancaster City to Carmen and David's ice cream shop and Binn's Park. Mark took hundreds of pictures that night so it was hard to narrow down just a few....but I picked these because I felt they represented my kids "TODAY" in this season of life and they made me smile!

"When your kids are little you pray that they would just fall asleep every night.
But when they are teengagers you pray that they would come home every night."
-quote from an older mom in the aisle at Kmart-

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


 I was sitting there unaware that the thoughts rolling around in my head had translated into my hands clenched into a fist...

Mark leaned over and whispered in my ear, "Let it go".
I looked at him confused. How did he know what I was thinking about?
He had the camera in his hand and showed me the picture of my balled up fist.
"Just let it go" Mark said again.
In order to receive from the Lord we first have to empty our hands of fear, control, worry, bitterness and disappointment so we are open to receive the good things He wants to give us in return. The result is peace, love, hope, faith  and trust.
I don't want to hold onto these things that cause me to tense up like a clenched fist. I want to come with open hands and an open heart....

" I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh." (Ezekiel 11:19)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

don't sweat the small stuff....

I may be sweating it out in this old farmhouse but I am really trying hard not to sweat the small stuff this summer...

 We have been looking for fun ways to stay cool  like water balloon fights, pool parties, wading in the plastic baby pool, running through the sprinkler, eating popsicles and laying in the shade on the hammock...

 As well as staying cool I am trying to learn to keep my cool as there are more fights and whining than I would like this summer....Just because they are fighting and it is hot and I am tired and still have not put away our clothes from vacation and want to hide out in my kitchen because it is the only spot I can stay is no excuse to lose my temper! I really want to rise above the circumstances and remain know really practice the whole love is patient, love is kind thing....
I laughed out loud on the beach as I was reading an article in a free magazine I had snatched from the library. In the article the author was talking about how her ideals of motherhood have not always come to be and she is learning to accept herself and the chaos that comes from motherhood. She wrote, "The world is one big blaring alarm clock going off in my ear, but I'm staring blankly at myself in the mirror. My hair is pulled back in a knot -not the carefree knot of a younger woman...but the perpetually frazzled looking knot of a 39 year old mother who spends her free minutes (what free minutes?) staring into the middle distance like a ghost, fantasizing about central air condinitioning."
Yes, that can be me somedays...thinking man, life would just be better if we had central air. But that is not my reality right now.....I want to learn to not sweat the small stuff....even if I am sweating.....HA~

Love never gives up.

Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. (um...even central air when the heat index is near 100)
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle, (even if it is hot and the children can't stop fighting)
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
(1 corninthinas 13 in the Message)
Have a great day and stay COOL....

Thursday, July 7, 2011

the sea shore....

 We had a great time on our vacation to Ocean City, New Jersey. A highlight was that Mark's twin brother and his family came along with us! Another highlight was our good friends Ryan and Denise coming to visit for 24 hours! It was a great time of relaxing, late night talks, laughter, a few tears, lots of food, sunshine, surf and sand! It was a week full of family bike rides, reading, sitting on the beach, and sharing our hearts with one another.
I spent some time yesterday reflecting on our time away and looking at the pictures. Mark took well over one thosuand images of our time together! If one picture is worth a thousand words than a thousand pictures could write a book.... So here is the abridged version of our VACATION:

I am always amazed at how the Lord uses these times away in our lives. It makes me want to steal away from everyday life more. It is amazing the perspective you can get when you are not day in and day out in the daily grind of life....

"And I'll pour my tears in the ocean.
And I'll leave my pain by the shore.
With your mightly wave yous sweep them away till they are no more."
-Sarah Reeves

"We go to the coast for perspective. The petty details are left behind and in the vast scope of the ocean we rediscover what's truly important. The moist wind whips the dust and cobwebs out of my mind and leaves behind only waht's strong and solid."
-Dorcus Smucker