14 July 2014

One brick at a time

Life keeps on happening. It just does. I shared about the kitchen developments last week. And it's still awesome but the wave of happiness and joy stemming from that goodness doesn't carry very far. Life gets in the way. 
This, what we're doing, building a business and trying to establish community and making our home a functional and comfortable space continues to be the absolute most difficult time in our lives. There is stress over money (always), over chaos (always), over parenting struggles (sometimes), over marriage struggles (infrequently), over the will The Lord has for us. We work hard all the time just to survive. 
When we were sued Daniel and I felt much like Nehemiah. We had to simply keep building the wall. A friend of mine commented that this is where most everyone is. Everyone just keeps putting one foot in front of the other. Everyone has their very own hard things to tackle. I get it. I don't discount the struggles of others. Their struggles don't diminish ours any more than our struggles diminish theirs. Occasionally, I fall into the trap of thinking I have no right to lament our circumstances because, "it could be worse" or we've been "really blessed"  in so many ways. But really I don't believe our God calls us to a place if constant happiness. Joy can be found through Him in all things but there is a time for everything. Laments and groans in our spirits are powerful and faith changing. 
Just like I find myself thinking I have no right or purpose in slogging through this struggle, I find that attitudes in others, as well. Instead of encouraging one another we find ourselves in a pissing contest over who has it worse. Or worse still, we find ourselves called out for actions while we are simply trying to keep our heads above water. 
Most days, it's all I can do to stay afloat. The burdens we are carrying are so very heavy. And try as I might I don't know how to hand them over to Jesus and still continue working on them. 
We talked about Sampson in Sunday school yesterday. I was so encouraged by his story. He was a total screw up. He failed over and over again. Still the Lord used him. Still there was redemption in his story. He was still used. While I don't wish to remain in a state where I continually feel like I'm completely screwing everything up, I also know that even now The Lord can and is using me for His good. 
Recently I found that one of my safe places is no longer safe. Turns out, it may never have been. It's a devastating loss. One more in a series of expectations or hopes dashed. I have a couple of choices. 1. Allow the loss to further weigh in on the depression scale that is dangerously overloaded. 2. Get really angry that the hits just keep on coming and let my anger fuel forward movement until the flame dies. 3. Let it go and guard my heart more carefully.  In this place we are, I am, at this point, I just can't do anything but let it go. 
This life that we're living is full. It's full of hard stuff and great stuff and healthy stuff and unhealthy stuff. It's loaded with potential and hope and fear and skepticism. We're in a balance and it can go either way. My hope is that our balance tips to the good in a real and tangible way quickly but even if it doesn't, we'll just keep building the wall. 

11 July 2014

Friday Gifts 2.0

736.  Having to make sacrifices.
737.  Having a man who is willing to make the hard and not fun choices.
738.  God's provision.
739.  A sold van.
740.  Making moves to get back on a good financial track.
741.  A sold car (for my sister).
742.  The revelation of God's character and self in ways that are not always obvious.
743.  The revelation of God's character and self in ways that are totally obvious.
744.  Two 100+ degree days back to back.
745.  Four less than 90 degree days back to back to back to back.  Heaven.
746.  A better and cooler sleeping arrangement  for the family.
747.  Development of new friendships.
748.  Knowing the strength of old friendships even when harsh words are spoken.
749.  Run for you momma registrations picking up steam.
750.  Being in my element, using my talents.
751.  Summer days.
752.  A little time with just my little girls.
753.  A place for my bigs to go and be blessed by great friends and family.
754.  Catching up with old friends and getting to know their kiddos.
755.  Excitement growing about seeing David.  It's been more than three years.  

09 July 2014

Seven Months, almost to the day.

Hi everybody.  I'm back again.  We're just surviving over her so blogging has taken a back seat to all the trying to keep life going and such.  But, we have big news on the renovation front.  WE HAVE CABINETS IN THE KITCHEN!!!! Yes, that statement warrants all caps.  Last week, my mom and dad, sister and her girls came to Marion to help knock it out.  Daniel worked with all of them, minus the girls and me, sometimes, to get us to a point where we have storage and boy do we have storage.  We reckon we have about 3-4 times the storage in this kitchen than any of the other kitchens we've previously occupied.  Nice.  Here are some in progress shots for you.  We are by no means finished.  We still need countertops (stainless steel), finished electrical, a sink and our monster refrigerator wired in.  Then we can deal with cosmetics like paint and backsplash.  Oh, and at some point we need to drop the ceiling down to 10' and build walls for the laundry room and make a pantry.  Without further ado...

The room pre-insulation and new drywall.
The island, with a countertop that will eventually be covered with stainless steel.  
Insulation, drywall  in progress.  
Two of my favorite cabinets.  Glass front with glass shelves for all of my beautiful Fiestaware.  
"Finished" product.  

Seven months, almost to the day, after we moved in I have cabinets in my kitchen.  Having lived in a state of flux and chaos for such a period of time has a way of teaching lessons we may not have  wanted to learn.  Here are a few. 

1.  We use far more dishes than are necessary.  
2.  We have far more dishes than are necessary.  
3.  We are capable of living without some serious conveniences.  For instance, I thought not having a dishwasher would be the most awful thing ever.   Not true. 
4.  Living without some major conveniences make having them all the sweeter.  (See #3).  
5.  Sometimes paper plates are the best you can do.  
6.  A person can do anything that is unpleasant, if there is some sort of end in sight.  
7.  Kids are resilient little buggers who are also sneaky to figure out how to take advantage of open shelves, short tables and easy to open refrigeration.  
8.  Living in a construction zone for too long can make you fall off your nut.  True story.  
9.  Construction has more steps than you can ever imagine.  To get to this state in our kitchen we've torn down two walls (one 8' tall, the other 14' tall), rerouted existing electrical, run electrical for new circuits, demolished the existing cabinets and sink, moved a water heater, re-plumbed the sink, torn up linoleum, sanded the floor, stained the floor (two coats), polyurethaned the floor (two coats), insulated walls, framed walls, drywalled walls, expanded a door (with a new supporting  header), and moved countless items several times.    
10.  Living without definitely makes getting something sweeter than can be adequately expressed.    

27 June 2014

Friday Gifts 2.0

726.  Tiny new Wonder Woman panties tucked neatly on a drawer, waiting to be used after school starts in the fall. 
727.  Recognizing that the tricksy little Bea was either not actually ready to pottytrain like the signs suggested or she was entirely too distracted by a the siblings and saying enough.
728.  Putting off the dreaded task of PT for a couple more months. 
729.  Spending the whole day with my friend Robynn helping her pack up her house.
730. Supporting/encouraging and being supported/encouraged through my friendships. 
731.  Time with my sister and nieces. 732.   A functionin, awesome dishwasher!!!
733.  A countertop (albeit unfinished) for the island. 
734.  Vision taking shape. 
735.  Gaining momentum. 

25 June 2014

Summer List 2014

My friend Betsy has inspired me.  She makes quarterly To-Do lists and then revisits them as she makes the next.  It's a good system.  For a few months now my list has had one thing on it:  Get regular stuff done and survive.  That's not going to cut it if we're going to get this house in some sort of normal order.  So, here goes.

Summer 2014 List

1.  Finish painting the big room.  Should take me 3-4 days.
2.  Help, as needed, with the kitchen installation.
3.  Finish planning and coordination for the MOPS Run For Your Momma Half Marathon.   (I'm going to add, try not to freak out that I agreed to plan the ONLY fundraiser our group has for the entire year.)
4.  Put up trim in the bathrooms.  (I feel like this is something I can do.)
5.  Start making our home homier by unpacking and hanging photos and pictures.
6.  Sort through kid clothes.
7.  Paint Gigi's desk.
8.  Decide whether or not I will be taking classes from K-State or go through a community college for business classes.
9.  Enroll, somewhere.
10.  Start a new school year (2nd and 3rd Grade!)!
11.  Start looking for "letters" to photograph to make a Madgwick sign.
12.  Frame chalkboard.
13.  Organize kitchen, hopefully.
14.  Plan meals better.
15.  Keep running.  
16.  Get regular stuff done, too!

17 June 2014

Just some words…..

*I'm potty training Bea today.  And tomorrow.  And probably the next day too.  It's how we do it.  I     glue myself to her, give her salty snacks, lots of liquids and get her to the potty when she shows signs of needing to go.  It's exhausting.  I sit with her, follow her around, remind her to tell me when she needs to go, read books, sit with her some more.  There are no shows during potty training.  There is little cooking during potty training.  If I need to get something done, it needs to happen now, during nap time.  It turns out the things I need to get done today aren't my favorite, so I'm procrastinating.

I have mixed feelings about all of this.  On the one hand, I'm thrilled that we are finished with diapers.  There will still be a need for some night pants since I don't push night training and let their bodies figure it out in their own time.  But, no diapers is huge.  It's been over 8 years that we've had a line in our budget for diapers or night pants or both.  It won't be a huge difference from month to month but it is a chunk of change that will be able to be put towards something else, aka debt.  :) On the other hand, having all of my babies out of diapers means that all of my babies are growing up.  We aren't having any more babies and if we feel led to adopt it will be an older child.  My heart hurts with the knowledge  that my children are growing up and will only continue to do so.  It is the nature of things and I am loving parts of each stage but knowing that my littlest is growing bigger by leaps and bounds is hard on this momma's heart.

*We are settling into a summer routine.  We signed up for the summer reading program.  We've been to the park some.  We are trying to keep things cool around the house.  We are staying up too late and traveling to see my family and swim.  Things I wish we were doing better at…. watching fewer shows and movies, staying inside too much, not swimming more.

*I got my acceptance letter from K-State.  I was hoping to finish out a business degree in one year of really intense work but it looks like it might be longer.  I'm feeling a little sick about it but am letting go and watching to see what God has in store.  Same goes for the funding.  I don't want to take out more student loans for this.  I'm hoping to see some provision for this that passes what I or anyone could come up with on our own.


13 June 2014

Field Day and Friday Gifts 2.0

Field day happened for both the bigs about a month ago.  I'm just getting around to sharing the pictures.  It was a nice cool day.  The kids do field day at the football stadium/track for the school district.  It's great because there are places to walk with the little girls while we wait for events and go between kiddos.  My mom was here so she got to be a part of it too but apparently I didn't take any pictures with her.  :( At any rate, here are some action shots of these fun kids.  Enjoy!

711.  Cooler weather.  
712.  Rain.
713.  Sleeping in while I was sick. 
714.  Recovering with Daniel. 
715.  A new festival experience in our tiny town.  
716.  Limeades. 
717.  Baby steps of progress. 
718.  Spending time with my oldest niece. 
719.  Watching the sweet relationship between Belle and my kiddos. 
720.  Being on top of bill paying.  
721.  Having enough to pay bills.  
722.  Fresh produce.
723.  Praying with my beloved.  
724.  Russin twists, modified.  
725.  Summertime schedule.