Wednesday, June 26, 2013


I shut the bathroom door and took a deep breath. Even here I could not find any peace and quiet as I could hear the kids fighting and screaming just outside the door. "Lord I feel like I am drowning"I said quietly.  In wash. In dishes. In children. In chaos.
I had just gotten off the phone with Mark who got an ear full. He gently reminded me that I need to let go of some stuff and if I try to control everything I am going to go crazy. I told him I thought I already may have. 
Now I was in the bathrooom trying to regain composure. Nothing was wrong. Just another day in the life of summer with five kids. Grocery shopping. Swim lessons. Everyday life stuff. But I felt like I was drowning.
As I said those words, the words to a song I heard on the radio came to my head. I looked up the words to the song...

Here I am Lord and I'm drowning
In Your sea of forgetfulnessThe chains of yesterday surround meI yearn for peace and rest
But today I feel likeI'm just one mistake awayFrom You leaving me this way
Jesus, can You show me just how farThe east is from the west?'Cause I can't bear to see the man I've beenRising up in me again
In the arms of Your mercy I find restYou know just how farThe east is from the westFrom one scarred hand to the other (Casting Crowns)

The song was talking of a different kind of drowning. Drowning in God's grace and not my own self pity.  I was encouraged again by the Lord's mercy and grace that covers a multitude of bad mornings, angry words, tantrums and much more. 

I treated myself to a LARGE glass of iced coffee and took a deep breath. And there was and is still plenty of craziness but my day is getting better. I want to drown in His forgetfulness and not my own. I am too quick to forget His goodness and love. Oh how it makes a difference! 

"If His grace is an ocean we're all sinking.
-John Mark McMillan

a heart in the sky. a reminder of his love.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


love these pictures and these two

One of my kids favorite things about summer is hanging out with their cousins. We celebrated an early father's day and Papaw's birthday a week ago with a picnic and some volleyball. It was my kids first time playing and they loved it! Mark captured some great shots of the family in action.

Silas loves his Uncle Matt :)

so many little cute and so much personality!

Summer is off to a great start...

Thursday, June 6, 2013

a life well lived.

I was standing at the kitchen sink when I heard a little voice from the next room say, "Let's play funeral". 
"Okay", said the other little voice. "I'll be the dead one."

Death has been a recent topic in our house as Mark's Grandma Shank passed away and was buried on Memorial Day. We went to visit her a few days before she died to say goodbye and took all the kids with us to the funeral. She was buried only a mile away from our house so now whenever we pass by Hope will wave and shout out the window to the "dead grandma". Kids have a way of making serious things comical. And I love their innocence. After visiting her at the nursing home on her deathbed we had a lively discussion about heaven around the dinner table. We all wondered outloud what heaven would be like.
Would Grandma Shank be with our babies we lost? Maybe she will hold them? Will there be legos? Chocolate? All the candy we could want? Will we live in houses there? Oh so many questions!
Death has a way of confronting life. It causes you to search out your own soul and stirs the desire to love more, live better. I think what jumped out to me the most at her funeral was the legacy that Grandma was leaving behind. Her legacy was 5 children, 17 grandchildren and 35 great grandchildren who were all impacted by her life and her love.
Wow. If I ever feel like my life does not make a difference its probably because I am too nearsighted.

I loved hearing all the stories shared at her funeral of the ways Grandma Shank impacted lives.
It makes me want to love big. Pray steadfast. Sing a little more...
(grandma shank was known to always have a song on her lips)

mark saying goodbye to grandma shank

Even though I did not know her well my life has been impacted by grandma's legacy. Thank you.

a little pep talk.

Tomorrow is the last day of school. Well the last two hours really. But who's counting anyways. 

I'm here to give myself a pep talk. I love having my kids home. It feels right. Its why I contemplated home school (remember that short lived adventure). I love going to parks and fun places. Eating lunch every day together. Camp outs and barbecues. Making a summer full of memories.
But five kids home together every day all day also at times means more fighting, more laundry, more dishes, more energy....more of everything really.
But the more I travel on this path of motherhood I find that the one most important thing I can have is perspective. If there is utter chaos in the house and I have a good attitude then we are good. If there is fighting and dishes piled high and someone peed on the floor and I am struggling with perspective then the ship is sinking and we are all going down fast.

My problem is I know this. And I am a recovering perfectionist who at times can think everything is my fault. I am learning that it is okay if I mess up. His mercies are new every morning. God's not afraid of my mistakes. What is His grace if I do not receive it and extend it to my children? 

So, my pep talk is this...

Have fun. Laugh at yourself. 
Don't put too high of expectations on yourself or the kids.
 Eat a lot of icecream. 
Embrace the chaos. Whatever doesn't get done today will still be there tomorrow. 
Lift off the heavy yoke of "shoulds". 
Celebrate the good moments and try to forget the not so good ones.:) Extend grace and you will find it. 
If you are having a bad day load everyone into the air conditioned van, blast the worship music and start will probably start to feel better.
 Go swimming often. 
The crazy moments make the best blog entries.

It's going to be a great summer!

Monday, June 3, 2013

so long may.

Dear May,
How did you go by so fast? 
You were filled with lots of end of the school year fun like field trips to the zoo, Olympic Day, and the school picnic.  School is winding down.
 It was a month of pulling the shorts out of the drawers and the popsicles out of the freezer. During your stay we slowly started spending more time on the porch and in the yard then in the house and it is a nice change. We have enjoyed the smell of fresh cut grass on our new-to-us mower and bike rides on our new-to-us bikes. We have loved the addition of a tire swing in the big old tree in our front yard. It feels like home.
We grieved the loss of Mark's grandma but rejoiced in her life. We traveled to North Carolina to celebrate a graduation and a new baby for Ryan and Denise and partied with my sister and our good friend Jed as they graduated college. There have been may cookouts and many more to come. And though you have come and gone in a blur we are excited that summer is now upon us.
 Thank you for the many great memories. 
June we welcome you with a sense of anticipation. 
love, Heather

One of Sarah's desires for the summer was to create a blog. She has a love for writing.
and is always drawing, writing and creating. So last week I decided to let her start her blog. She was ecstatic.  It has been fun to see what she writes about and awesome to see her come alive in writing. If you want to check out life from a seven year old perspective go to: